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    July 19,2009

    Should we be congratulating pot smokers and jailing drinkers? A new book will make the argument that marijuana is a far safer recreational substance than alcohol, and that our national policies should be adjusted to reflect that.

    Chelsea Green Publishing in White River Junction plans a July 27 release for "Marijuana Is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink?"

    It promises to compare and contrast the relative harms of the two substances both on personal health and community safety and examine the laws and social practices that steer people toward alcohol. The authors offer a primer on the cannabis plant and its effects on the user, "debunk the government's most frequently cited marijuana myths," says the publisher.

    Indeed, the book is designed not just to inform but to, you might say, light a fire under potential pro-marijuana activists. It lays out "talking points" that advocates of marijuana-law reform can use on friends, family, colleagues and elected officials. Its authors represent three organizations dedicated solely to marijuana policy reform: the Marijuana Policy Project, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, and Safer Alternative for Enjoyable Recreation.

    Those last two go by the acronyms NORML and SAFER.

    We're waiting for a group to lay claim to the name DUDE.


    orwich resident Pamela Harrison mines her family experiences and surfaces with a rich story that she tells in her recently published poetry collection, "Out of Silence."

    Here's how fellow poet Barbara Dimmick describes it: " Harrison goes down into the darkness of her parents' love story and returns, not with a child's pity or blame, but with poems that are frank, compassionate, tender and shocking. How rare and how moving to encounter Harrison's clarity, acceptance and resolution."

    Harrison graduated from the Vermont College master of fine arts program in writing and won the PEN New England North Discovery Poet Award in 2002.

    She will read from her latest work Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Norwich Bookstore.

    A spotlight on on upcoming events of note

    As the 40th anniversary of the Woodstock festival approaches, Michael Lang, its co-creator, has written an account of the behind-the-scenes planning that went into this cultural phenomenon.

    Lang was just 24 when he set about to produce a large-scale festival that he hoped would bring the world three days of peace, love and music. What he got was mud, mayhem and an event that transcended music and ended up defining a generation.

    He will present his new book, "The Road to Woodstock," on Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Northshire Bookstore in Manchester Center.

    Everyone is encouraged to wear or bring authentic Woodstock memorabilia to be eligible to win a copy of the book. The event will also be filmed by C-SPAN's "Book TV."

    Yale University law professor and author Stephen L. Carter will present his fourth mystery-thriller, "Jericho's Fall," on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Misty Valley Books in Chester.

    It tells the story of former CIA head Jericho Ainsley and a younger woman who is drawn into a battle over a secret that foreign governments and powerful corporations alike want to wrest from Ainsley before he dies.

    Former Manchester fixture Steve Brown recently published "Sol Y Sombra," a series of short stories that follow the lives of two families of cattle ranchers as they struggle to prosper in the rugged Sonoran Desert.

    Brown was raised on an Arizona cattle ranch and owned Eastman's Market in Manchester from 1976 to 1983. He formed the nonprofit Vermont Community Agricultural Center and was a founder of the Long Trail School in Dorset. He now lives on Cape Cod.

    He'll talk about and read from the book Friday at 7 p.m. at the Northshire Bookstore in Manchester Center.

    Former Gov. Howard Dean will discuss and sign copies of "Howard Dean's Prescription for Real Healthcare Reform" when he visits Phoenix Books and Cafe at Essex Shoppes and Cinema in Essex today at 3 p.m.

    Do you have a tip for Between the Lines? Send it to ruth.hare@timesargus.com.

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