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  1. James Swain deals a new novel about casino scams, 'Take Down'

    Books

    On a recent Tuesday evening in the Tap Room, the cozy restaurant in the Hollander Hotel in downtown St. Petersburg, a young boy watched a man pour a deck of cards between his hands like water, pluck from the deck eight different cards chosen by onlookers, and drop a tiny red ball into a silver cup — and pull out a …

    After doing a magic trick at the weekly gig he recently signed on for at the Tap Room restaurant at the Hollander Hotel in downtown St. Petersburg, author James Swain shares a fist bump with an audience member. Swain, 58, lives in Odessa with his wife, Laura.
  2. Review: Set in Tampa, Sterling Watson's 'Suitcase City' a noir revenge tale

    Books

    Tampa is suddenly showing up in new novels, although those literary depictions might not be exactly what the tourist bureau would order.

    Sterling Watson, Peter Meinke professor emeritus of literature and creative writing at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, co-founded the Writers in Paradise conference with Dennis Lehane.
  3. Notable: Short form fantasy

    Books

    Notable

    Short form fantasy

    Fans of fantasy and science fiction will welcome short story collections by three masters.

  4. Events: Lisa Kirchner to discuss, sign her memoir

    Books

    Book Talk

    Lisa Kirchner (Hello American Lady Creature: What I Learned as a Woman in Qatar) will discuss and sign her memoir at 2 p.m. March 1 at Safety Harbor Public Library, 101 Second St.; and at 4 p.m. March 7 at Inkwood Books, 216 S Armenia Ave., Tampa.

  5. What's Melissa Cutlip reading?

    Books

    Nightstand

    Melissa Cutlip

    Cutlip, owner of Violet Media in Chicago, earned her master's degree in journalism from the University of Michigan in 1995. She did not plan on becoming a TV producer for reality shows (or "nonfiction television,'' as she describes it), but in the last six years she …

    Melissa Cutlip is the owner of Violet Media in Chicago and is a TV producer for reality shows such as TLC’s “My Strange Addiction.” Her newest endeavor is “My City’s Just Not That Into Me,” which will air on FYI, a division of A&E Network.
  6. Review: Nick Hornby's 'Funny Girl' should be more entertaining

    Books

    Speaking at a college campus a few years ago, I joked about feeling like Lucy in the chocolate factory, and an undergraduate asked me when Lucy Hale worked in a chocolate factory. It was one of those moments when you suddenly picture yourself stooped and holding an ear trumpet.

  7. What's Robert Vera reading?

    Books

    Nightstand

    Robert Vera

    It's Oscar Sunday, and we'll soon learn which movie wins best picture. Among those nominated is Clint Eastwood's American Sniper, based on the life of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle. In March, Thomas Nelson/HarperCollins will release A Warrior's Faith by Robert Vera. …

    Robert Vera has written a book about Navy SEAL Ryan “Biggles” Job, a central character in American Sniper and a friend. A Warrior’s Faith comes out in March.
  8. Events: Pulitzer winner Leonard Pitts Jr. to speak at USF

    Books

    Book Talk

    Nathan Van Coops (Chronothon) will sign the second volume in his time travel trilogy at 2 p.m. Feb. 22 at Haslam's Book Store, 2025 Central Ave., St. Petersburg.

  9. Review: Lisa Unger's 'Crazy Love You' blurs fantasy and reality

    Books

    In Lisa Unger's new psychological thriller, Crazy Love You, narrator Ian Paine makes his living as the writer and illustrator of a popular graphic novel series called Fatboy and Priss.

  10. Review: Norman Lear's memoir reveals TV icon's personal side

    Books

    Norman Lear was not only present at the creation of the Golden Age of Television in the 1950s, he was one of the key architects of broadcasting's second coming in the 1970s, leaving a legacy of creative energy, taboos broken and icons created that continues to define and challenge the medium to this day.