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Wednesday, 27 January 2016 16:21

The Web is changing us in more ways than we know

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In Reclaiming Conversation, author Sherry Turkle notes that significant changes sometimes come to our daily lives without our noticing, until…
Wednesday, 20 January 2016 15:33

Start off with something old, something new

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With the new year now upon us, it strikes me that “something old” and “something new” is appropriate for this…
Wednesday, 13 January 2016 16:16

A look at religion and the ‘misfits for Jesus’

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Nadia Bolz-Weber is the founder of the House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver, Colorado. She defines herself as…
Wednesday, 06 January 2016 16:50

A man addicted to reading and writing

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My name is Joe Ecclesia. On a recent December Saturday, when I interviewed Jeff Minick about his new novel, Dust…
Wednesday, 30 December 2015 16:19

E.M. Forster 1907 novel relevant today

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When I was in graduate school at Western Carolina University back in 1970, I encountered a remarkable teacher, Dr. Louise…
Wednesday, 23 December 2015 14:53

Courage, greed and political intrigue in Peru

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When we think of Peru, we think of captivating pictures of Machu Picchu. We’ve all seen them. Some of us…
Wednesday, 16 December 2015 16:54

Forschen novel looks at collapse a year later

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In the spring of 2011, there appeared William Forschen’s One Second After, a novel set in Black Mountain, North Carolina,…
Wednesday, 09 December 2015 16:24

King is spot on with new short story collection

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Being a lifelong Stephen King fan, I have always been pleased to note that King is always keenly aware of…
Wednesday, 02 December 2015 16:40

‘Dead White Guys’ ideas still relevant

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Whatever our denominations or religious beliefs, many of us are familiar with the old adage of this season: “Peace on…
Wednesday, 25 November 2015 16:57

Irving still churning out sublime writing

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Avenue of Mysteries is John Irving’s fourteenth novel and it marks another amazing tale from an author who has been…
Wednesday, 18 November 2015 16:55

Rash’s poetic prose infuses new novel

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“How near at hand it was If they had eyes to see it.” —G.M. Hopkins
Wednesday, 11 November 2015 16:30

Four short reviews to help clear the desk

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In the last month, my reading of books has outstripped my reviews. Consequently, stacks of books surround the desk at…
Wednesday, 04 November 2015 15:55

A post-apocalyptic world fuels sci-fi novel

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Back in the ‘60s, I went on a science fiction bender that lasted a decade.
Wednesday, 28 October 2015 14:59

Women writers who took me by the hand

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Many readers — and I am one of them — are fascinated by books lists. There are scores of these…
Wednesday, 21 October 2015 16:17

Let’s go surfin’ now …

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In a surfing genre memoir complete with a SurferMagazine, globe-trotting storyline, all set to a 1960s rock & roll soundtrack,…
Wednesday, 14 October 2015 14:45

Touchstones: Seven novels that carry weight

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English writer Graham Greene used to divide his literary works into entertainments, which we might call thrillers, and novels, which…
Wednesday, 07 October 2015 16:07

A tragic, lively tale of 18th century London

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Being a historical fiction addict, I have always loved books about London, a city that has been around for over…
Wednesday, 30 September 2015 15:42

Fabulous novel is rife with words of wisdom

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In The Little Paris Bookshop (Crown Publishers, 2015, 400 pages), novelist Nina George, who lives in both Germany and France,…
Wednesday, 23 September 2015 16:01

Book explores persecution of early Japanese Christians

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In 1549, Jesuit priest Francis Xavier, two companions, and a Japanese translator entered Japan, seeking to bring the Gospel into…
Wednesday, 16 September 2015 17:13

Essays highlight breadth of Styron’s knowledge

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Some 30 years ago or so, William Styron — the acclaimed author of novels like The Confessions of Nat Turner…
Wednesday, 09 September 2015 16:12

WNC’s African-American history

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This is a monumental work. Ann Miller Woodford has gathered an astonishing amount of information, including old letters, church records, unpublished…
Wednesday, 02 September 2015 15:12

Collection manages to combine horror and comedy

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There aren’t many successful horror fiction writers who are described as comical and/or whimsical. The terms seem incompatible. You don’t…
Wednesday, 26 August 2015 15:26

Interesting book draws some unusual conclusions

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We Americans are noted for our ignorance of world geography. Few of us, I imagine, could distinguish Iraq from Iran…
Wednesday, 19 August 2015 16:24

A second look at Williams classic

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In recent years, I have been surprised to learn that it possible for books to win prestigious awards, honors and…
Wednesday, 12 August 2015 15:40

A traveler’s library; books read and unread

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As some readers of this column may know, I have spent the past six weeks in Europe, specifically the British…
Wednesday, 05 August 2015 16:34

A murder story unlike any other you’ve read

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In recent years, literary works that are classified as “investigative reporting” have not only become best sellers, but have lingered…
Wednesday, 29 July 2015 15:41

Harper Lee’s ‘Watchman’ hits the mark

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So, Scout (Jean Louise) comes back home to Maycomb — where “everyone is either kin or almost kin”— at age…
Wednesday, 22 July 2015 16:17

Discovering Rome with the help of American ex-pats

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When we think of American writers living and working overseas, most of us turn to those authors who lived in…
Wednesday, 15 July 2015 17:53

Manana is a shocking, dark and fantastic read

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I have been waiting for this book for a long time.  Back in 1978, I read Falling Angel, which was that…
Wednesday, 08 July 2015 14:53

Keats’ Roman home honors one of our great poets

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It is not yet ten o’clock on this Saturday morning in late June, and already Rome’s Spanish Steps and the…
Wednesday, 01 July 2015 14:51

Scotland pays homage to its writers

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With literary tours, literary pub crawls, monuments, plaques, and museums, Scotland honors her writers.
Haworth, West Riding of Yorkshire, England.  It’s 4:30 in the morning, Sunday June 18, and I stood a few moments…
Wednesday, 17 June 2015 15:15

Stratford-on-Avon: in search of ‘The Bard’

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It is mid-June in England, and the skies are a brilliant blue. Sunshine spills on the street and the clipped…
Wednesday, 10 June 2015 16:29

The literary signposts will point the way

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In the opening pages of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, we meet Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit who treasures his snug home…
Wednesday, 03 June 2015 16:11

A fantastic collection of life-changing stories

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I have always been a Russell Banks fan, and when I look back over the last 40 years, he has…
Wednesday, 27 May 2015 15:45

Ten years of soaking up great books

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About two months ago, I began culling books from my shelves. I live in an apartment with several thousand books,…
Some 30 years ago, I saw a disturbing film entitled “Koyaanisqatsi.” The title comes from a Hopi word meaning “unbalanced life.”…
Wednesday, 13 May 2015 15:04

A place where home is an elusive ideal

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In the last decade, British authorities uncovered evidence of massive sexual abuse and human trafficking in Rotherham, South Yorkshire. Two…
Back in the days when I still believed in Santa Claus (well, actually I still believe, I just no longer…
Wednesday, 29 April 2015 02:28

A withering cultural critic takes aim

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In Withering Slights: The Bent Pin Collection (National Review Books, 2015, ISBN 978-0-9847650-3-4, 186 pages, $24.95), Florence King demonstrates once…
Wednesday, 22 April 2015 15:25

Dam politics and freedom of religion

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The growing threat of drought in the Southeast and the problems of “water politics” has prodded the memory of many…
Wednesday, 15 April 2015 15:45

Fate and fortune sing in new novel

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Spartanburg poet and nonfiction writer John Lane has broken out of his comfort zone and journeyed into the netherworld of…
Wednesday, 08 April 2015 14:49

Remembering the horrors of Europe’s wars

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Many Americans — and I count myself among them — are often hard on Europeans when it comes to issues…
Wednesday, 01 April 2015 15:19

An outlandish life makes for hilarious novel

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Irish novelist Kennedy Marr is making millions of dollars through the sale of his books and as a Hollywood scriptwriter.…
Wednesday, 25 March 2015 15:48

A story that makes one look differently at life

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Like some other readers I know, my taste in books these last 20 years or so has shifted from fiction…
Wednesday, 18 March 2015 15:54

Below ‘the line,’ it’s a world unto itself

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I spent a week reading this novel, and each time I laid it down, I expected to find a damp…
Wednesday, 11 March 2015 13:56

Book captures turn-of-the-century north Georgia

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In Annaliese From Off (Five Points Press, ISBN 978-0-692-24434-0, 362 pages, $15.99), Lindy Keane Carter gives us a rich, old-fashioned…
Wednesday, 04 March 2015 15:16

First novel by local writer strikes a chord

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Eighteen-year-old Jacob McNeely, a shy high school dropout from Walter Middleton High School in Jackson County, North Carolina, seems resigned to…
Wednesday, 25 February 2015 15:40

Words, language and grammar do matter

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“In a time of universal deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” — George Orwell We live in an…
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