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The latest from the Butler Center.

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DARLING: Hal Smith.
  • DARLING: Hal Smith.

The Butler Center's publishing arm, Butler Center Books, has two new titles out now. “The Barling Darling: Hal Smith in American Baseball” ($16.95, paperback) is the story of Smith, the St. Louis Cardinal great, who acquired his nickname through his hometown of Barling, near Fort Smith. Author Billy D. Higgins, with contributions from Smith, traces the catcher from the days when he'd strengthen his arm by throwing balls at a Dr. Pepper sign on the side of a building in Barling to his years in the minor leagues and on circuits in Mexico, Cuba and Asia, and ultimately to his six years in the majors with the Cardinals, when he was widely thought to be one of the finest catchers in the game.

The other title, “Pfeiffer Country: The Tenant Farms and Business Activities of Paul Pfeiffer in Clay County, Arkansas, 1902-1954” ($19.95, paperback; $37.95, hardback), by Sherry Laymon, details not only all that's in the title, but also the general milieu of turn-of-the-20th-century Northeast Arkansas. The subject of the book, Paul Pfeiffer, seems to be a good window through which to view the area. The St. Louis-born entrepreneur first started buying land, for timber and to farm, in 1902. By the time he was finished snatching up Clay County land, he owned some 63,000 acres. Literary-minded folks will recognize Pfeiffer as the father of Pauline Pfeiffer, who was married for 13 years to Ernest Hemingway, who wrote part of “A Farewell to Arms” in the Pfeiffer mansion in Piggott.

A reminder: Better get them before they're gone: Tickets for David Sedaris' talk at Pulaski Academy's Connor Performing Arts Center on Hinson Road are now available at all Central Arkansas Library Branches. The humorist will speak on Sunday, Oct. 11. Proceeds benefit the Arkansas Literary Festival. Tickets cost $40-$50.

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