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Books

Still time to escape in a good book

     With half of summer stretching before you, there’s still time to get lost in a good book.     Armchair travelers stretch our confined worlds with books that take us places we’ll probably never see on our own. Certainly not with the open-eye and open-heart clarity of the ­writers we love best.

Mine makes 15,001

     Five years ago in Wisconsin, Todd Bol built a model of a one-room schoolhouse as a tribute to his mother, a former teacher. He installed it on a post in his front yard and filled it with books to give away. It was such a hit with his neighbors that he built and gave away several more, each with a sign that read free books.

You can get (most) anything you want — even a good book

If the medium is the message, then there’s more to be learned from Calvert Library’s huge festival of local authors than you’ll read in this week’s feature story, The Writers Next Door.     Your neighbor may have written just the one for you, I say, introducing 33 authors and their latest (or favorite) books. These are quick introductions, the literary equivalent of speed dating, with a life compressed into one sentence and a plot into another. At the May 31 festival, you’ll meet even more authors from 9:30 am to 4pm.

Is your neighbor the next New York Times bestseller?

The death of reading — like the death of Mark Twain — may be greatly exaggerated.     For the Digital Age has given us high-quality, nearly instant do-it-yourself publishing. Thus the book each of us has within can find a publisher — if it finds an author.     Then it must find readers.     If you’re a reader in search of an author, you’ll find them on May 31 at Prince Frederick Library’s huge Author Festival.

A tribute to one man’s time in Korea

Is it coincidence that graduation coincides so closely to Memorial Day, when we honor those lost in battle, so many of whom don a uniform upon leaving school?     When William Edward Alli, now of Bowie, enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve in 1950, he was barely 18 and not yet out of high school. “I had been clueless about what was happening to Marines deployed to a seemingly doomed southeast corner of Korea,” Alli recounts.

Connecting food to farm: It takes chickens, cows and maple trees to make French toast

When Patrick O’Shanahan stumbles into the kitchen for “another boring breakfast,” he’s in for a surprise. Dad is making his World Famous French Toast, and there’s a cow in the kitchen. As if that’s not exciting enough, a trio of hens “bagaaaawwwkkk” in the fridge, and maple trees spring up from the floor.     In these days when kids from cities and suburbs know only that food comes from the grocery store, Patrick’s about to learn a big lesson, all based on the ingredients in Dad’s specialty.

World Class; Poems Inspired by the ESL Classroom, by J.C. Elkin

My students arrive in a dust storm of change. …     their tongues in accents lush as rustling crop leaves.

Meet Secret Life of Bees author Sue Monk Kidd … at Sam’s Club

Sue Monk Kidd, author of the bestselling novel The Secret Life of Bees, is coming to Annapolis.     She’s selling and signing her newest book, The Invention of Wings, not at familiar book haunts but at Sam’s Club, a newcomer in author appearances.

Local and regional authors help you — and your gift list — read into a good new year

    For Bay Lovers … Chesapeake Views: Catching the Light by Wilson Wyatt Jr.      Almost four hundred years ago, one of the first European visitors to the New World, Captain John Smith, extolled the Chesapeake: “Heaven and earth never agreed better to frame a place for man’s habitation.”

Stuff their stocking with a good book or video

The dedicated outdoorsman or woman is, by definition, equipped. The few things such a person might lack are likely so specialized as to be a mystery to outdoors outsiders.     Books and movies, however, fall into a safe-gift zone. If you’re intent on pleasantly surprising an outdoors lover with your gift, the following suggestions might help.     Kayak Fishing (Sportsman’s Best www.Florida