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We’ll be running quite the gamut in this week’s column — politics, music, botany, theater, and the death of a literary giant.

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If you’ve been keeping a close eye on the remarkable goings-on within the White House, you’ll be fascinated by reporter Allen Salkin’s talk at the library at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 14. Salkin has covered Donald Trump and associates like Jared Kushner as a reporter for the New York Times, New York Post, Washington Post and Vanity Fair. His new book, “The Method to the Madness,” is an oral history that penetrates into Trump’s inner circle. Salkin will address Trump’s re-election prospects, how “The Apprentice” helped him get elected, and many other intriguing questions.

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Also at the library, the UC Master Gardeners will discuss “Seed Saving” at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 13. Saving seeds is a great way to share and grow your favorite plants.

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Linda Neal, who plays an instrumental role in producing Rianda House’s wine, sends word of her ongoing Peace Corps mission to Morocco. Now in the 11th month of her 27-month mission, Linda serves at a Youth Center and teaches English to underprivileged Moroccans. She’s also trying to organize a youth soccer league. “Yes, of course, I get homesick, especially at holidays, but I knew that would be part of the deal,” Linda writes. “My living conditions are better than I expected when I signed up. Am I glad I came? Ask me in another year.” We miss you, Linda.

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Napa Valley College Theater Arts is holding auditions for its upcoming production of Shakespeare’s “Two Gentlemen of Verona” at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 14, at the NVC Performing Arts Center Studio Theater. Auditioners should be prepared to perform a monologue or read from the script. Performances are scheduled for Sept. 13-29. For more information, email Jennifer King at jking@napavalley.edu.

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Huzzahs to Christopher Kinney of Yountville, who earned a spot on the honor roll at the Missouri University of Science and Technology, where he’s studying computer engineering. Keep it up, Christopher!

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As part of Music in the Vineyards, the 2nd Street String Quartet will perform two free concerts next week, at 4 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 13 at the Cameo Cinema and the second at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 14, at Rianda House. At the Cameo, they will play a recital focusing on Beatles classics before the screening of “Yesterday.” The quartet is playing at various venues as part of Music in the Vineyards’ Outreach Program. For the Rianda House peformance, please RSVP by Aug. 12 to 963-8555, ext. 101.

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That concert is sure to get you into the mood for “Ludwig the Hero,” a lecture by Michael Adams about Beethoven at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 21, at Rianda House. Michael, the founding artistic director of Music in the Vineyards and a violist with the Minnesota Orchestra, will talk about Beethoven’s historical legacy became linked with the “artist as hero” theme that was characteristic of German romantic literature.

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I was saddened to hear of the death of the great author Toni Morrison. Her novels often dealt with traumatic and painful subject matter, but her writing was so strong that you just kept turning the pages anyway. My favorites are “Beloved,” “Song of Solomon” and “The Bluest Eye.”

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