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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

Local animal lovers read local Short Leash writer

If you read Marley and Me and cried like a baby, we may have the book club for you.     The readers in this club carry their passion about animals into their taste in books. They’ll read any animal-themed book. They started on The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein and The Pitbull Placebo by Karen Delise.     This month the young, unnamed group — mostly Anne Arundel County SPCA volunteers — is reading local memoirist Janice Gary’s Short Leash.

Your chance to peer behind the “bubble”

At St. John’s College this Sunday, I’m sure to be asked how I got the access to write my latest book, Prisoners of the White House: The Isolation of America’s Presidents and the Crisis of Leadership.     It’s a question I’m used to, for I answer it all the time.     The theme is a natural extension of my work as chief White House correspondent for U.S. News & World Report. This has been my job since 1986, and President Obama is the fifth commander in chief I’ve covered.