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The twenty-ninth Banned Books Week Sept. 25 through Oct. 2 celebrates not only the freedom to choose what to read but also the freedom to select from a full array of possibilities. This year’s theme is “Think for Yourself and…
Wednesday, 22 September 2010 19:37

Southern stories don’t disappoint

The publication of New Stories from the South 2010 marks the 25th anniversary of this prestigious series. Obviously, the folks down at Algonquin Books in Chapel Hill know how to put together an appealing anthology. In the introduction to this…
Under the Dome by Stephen King. Scribner, 2009. 1,074 pages Before I had read 20 pages of Stephen King’s new opus, I found myself thinking about Thornton Wilder’s Our Town — not because the small town, Chester’s Mill in Under…
Drood by Dan Simmons. Little, Brown & Company, 2009. 775 pages. I must admit, I’ve never been much of a Charles Dickens fan. Other than watching those wonderful film adaptations (“Oliver” and “A Christmas Carol”), I have only read A…
Wednesday, 11 November 2009 13:37

Typical Zombie fare

If you are a fan of the apocalypse movies that are currently common fare in American theaters, you will immediately recognize the landscape of Season of Rot. From Cormac McCarthy’s classic, The Road to the endless clones of the “Mad…
Wednesday, 18 November 2009 14:10

Eli Book takes us back to a nostalgic time

Eli the Good by Silas House. Candlewick Press, 2009. 295 pages Eli Book, the 10-year-old narrator/protagonist of Silas House’s new novel, Eli the Good, dreams of being a writer. As he secretly records the pains and joys of living in…
Wednesday, 25 November 2009 14:55

Judgment day arrives

The Cleansing by Ben Eller. Fireside Publications, 2009. 292 pages In Ben Eller’s science fiction novel, The Cleansing, (2020), progress in the next decade is a mixed blessing. Although significant advances have been made in areas such as astronomy, weapons…
Among the varied “revelations” brought to light during the celebrations attending the 75th Anniversary of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park this year was the verification of the existence of an unpublished novel by Hoarace Kephart. Until this discovery, Kephart’s…
Wednesday, 21 October 2009 19:53

Whimsical tales defy explanation

Willful Creatures Stories by Aimee Bender. Doubleday & Company, 2005. 208 pages Recently, Garrison Keilor mentioned a new writer, Aimee Bender on his daily post, “The Writer’s Almanac.” Garrison noted that Bender’s quirky and enigmatic books were causing quite a…
Wednesday, 09 December 2009 15:13

Of golf, relationships and life

A Son of the Game: A Story of Golf, Going Home, and Sharing Life’s Lessons by James Dodson. Algonquin Books, 2009. The way we lead our days, wrote Hollins graduate Annie Dillard, is the way we lead our lives. The…
Wednesday, 23 December 2009 13:45

Love and sonnets meet in Shakespeare’s Italy

The Sonnet Lover by Carol Goodman. Ballantine Books, 2007. 368 pages. In The Sonnet Lover (Ballantine Books, ISBN 978-0-345-47957-0, $24.95), Carol Goodman takes her readers on yet another exploration into worlds literary and classical. Known for works relating to the…
Wednesday, 04 November 2009 20:00

Ivey’s ‘Up River’ offers valuable lessons

Up River: A Novel of Attempted Restoration by George Ivey. Dog Year, 2009. 304 Pages. George Ivey’s Up River: A Novel of Attempted Restoration (Dog Year Publishing, ISBN 978-160844-164-8, $16.95) tells the story of Peter Bailey, a young man who,…
Wednesday, 14 October 2009 16:04

A memoir about misguided parents

Lies My Mother Never Told Me by Kaylie Jones. William Morrow, 2009. 284 pages Memoirs by children of famous people and children of alcoholics — and often the twain do meet — have long occupied a special niche in the…
Wednesday, 28 October 2009 20:24

A peculiar angst

Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book by Walker Percy. Picador, 2000. 272 pages. Walker Percy not only wrote these lines (see below), but he also lived them. He recognized early on that he was indeed a peculiar bird.…
Wednesday, 08 October 2014 14:52

Learning how to organize information overload

Twenty-five years ago, while under a good deal of pressure and stress, I began noticing I was forgetting things. I would tell a customer in my bookstore about a novel and then found I couldn’t dredge up the name of…
Tuesday, 06 July 2010 20:41

Shakespeare still valuable in space

Muse of Fire by Dan Simmons. Subterranean Press, 2008. 105 page In recent years, it has become fashionable for writers who have “cult followings” to issue limited editions of handsomely packaged and extravagantly priced short works. Somebody like Stephen King,…
Wednesday, 28 July 2010 13:00

Tales of alienation and horror

For the past few years, internet literary critics of fantasy/supernatural novels have been raving about about a writer of “punk rock prose” named Caitlin Kiernan. The praise has been excessive, comparing her to H. P. Lovecraft, Poe and Clive Barker.…
Tuesday, 10 August 2010 20:28

Memoir project a mixed bag

The design of this book’s cover, in addition to being visually attractive, quite possibly serves as an inadvertent assessment of this book’s contents: Judaculla Rock, in all of its ancient splendor, serves as a backdrop for a diverse collection of…
Tuesday, 24 August 2010 19:40

A fascinating murder story

On a hot July night in 1935, a young Wise County, Virginia, school teacher named Edith Maxwell came home late. Her father Trigg, who did not approve of his daughter’s late hours, confronted her and a violent argument (which turned…
Wednesday, 09 June 2010 13:28

Yearning for ancient ties

The Memory of Gills by Catherine Carter. Louisiana State University Press, 2006. 59 pages. Recently, when Catherine Carter was asked for a bit of biographical information that could be used to publicize her appearance as a participant in the Gilbert-Chappell…
Wednesday, 23 June 2010 14:32

Slow corruption

The Death of Sweet Mister by Daniel Woodrell. Plume/Penguin Group, 2008. 196 pages. Several years ago, I read an amazing novel by Daniel Woodrell entitled Winter’s Bone, and after the review was published, I found that Woodrell’s narrative style lingered…
Wednesday, 26 May 2010 12:34

Reading Nina Simone’s tragic life

Princess Noire: The Tumultuous Reign of Nina Simone, by Nadine Cohodas. Pantheon Books, 2010. 449 pages. The first time I ever heard Nina Simone sing, I was in one of those pretentious “high fi” stores in Atlanta back in the…
Wednesday, 26 May 2010 12:34

The tannery and the Green Fly

During my first year at Western Carolina Teachers College (now Western Carolina University) in 1953, I managed to offend my grandfather so severely that he banished me. “Out of my sight!” he said, and sent me to Brevard to spend…
Wednesday, 12 May 2010 15:18

Learning to play the Angel’s Game

The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. Doubleday, 2009. 470 pages.A few days after completing The Shadow of the Wind, I discovered a copy of Carlos Zafon’s new novel, The Angel’s Game. When I sampled a few pages to see…
Wednesday, 14 April 2010 17:37

A modern take on Chaucer’s classic

eoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales: a Retelling by Peter Ackroyd. Viking Press, 2009. 436 pages Being an old English teacher, I am aware of a literary tradition regarding classical works of literature: every generation of so, “masterpieces,” such as The…
Wednesday, 28 April 2010 17:37

Taking readers down a deep spiral

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. Penguin Books, 2005. 487 pagesLet’s begin with a marvelous story — one of those timeless fables that is charged with mystery and magic — the kind that provides the basis for…
Wednesday, 10 March 2010 16:12

A requiem for Cataloochee

Requiem by Fire by Wayne Caldwell. Random House, 2009. 335 pages Dear readers, if you have some slight respect for my opinions about Appalachian literature, I hope you will believe me when I say that Wayne Caldwell has written a…
Horns by Joe Hill. William Morrow Publishers, 2010. 370 pages. Ignatius William Perrish (“Iggy” to his friends) awoke one morning to find that, in addition to a headache, he had a very tangible set of horns sprouting from his forehead.…
Wednesday, 10 February 2010 17:04

Power struggle

Enemy of God by Bernard Cornwell. Saint Martins Press, 1998. 397 pages Several years ago, when I was reading everything I could find about mythical figures such as King Arthur, Lancelot, Guinevere, Tristan, Iseult and Galahad, I blundered on the…
Tuesday, 07 September 2010 20:15

Putting the spotlight on Whittier

My Mountain Granny by Matthew Link Baker. Catch the Spirit of Appalachia, Inc., 2010. In the opening pages of My Mountain Granny, author Matthew Link Baker announces his intention of producing a book that would embody a kind of memorial…
Wednesday, 24 February 2010 17:50

One fateful night

The Turnaround by George Pelecanos. Little, Brown and Company, 2009. 320 pages On a sweltering summer night in 1972, three white teenagers in Washington, D. C., decide to cruise through a black neighborhood called Heathrow Heights. On a dare, the…
Wednesday, 13 January 2010 16:12

Suspenseful guest drives novel

For some 30 years now, Bernard Cornwell has been one of the most prolific writers in the western hemisphere. With over 40 books to his credit, he has settled comfortably into the “historic fiction” genre and has become famous for…
Wednesday, 27 January 2010 17:37

A different take on a legend

The Winter King by Bernard Cornwell. Saint Martin’s Press, 1997. I was probably 10 years old when I discovered King Arthur in the local library. I never got over it. That battered copy of Bullfinch’s Mythology was filled with illustrations…
Tuesday, 13 July 2010 18:49

Piecing together a picture of home

Although Americans are known for their wandering ways, traveling to California in Conestoga wagons, taking the train to find a place in Broadway’s spotlight, many also retain in their hearts a deep affection for a particular place. Whether that place…
Tuesday, 03 August 2010 20:15

Searching for God and the self

Home. The word is as twisted with complications and mystery as all those other household words we use every day: wife, mother, father, son, daughter, family. Home slips from our mouth easy as air, yet only in our hearts and…
Wednesday, 02 June 2010 20:17

Juggling through books

In Spite of Myself: A Memoir by Christopher Plummer. Knopf, 2008. 656 pages. Like most readers, I usually have a stack of books going beside my bed and in the living room. In addition, the books in my permanent collection…
Wednesday, 16 June 2010 14:24

Holding on to an identity

Someone Named Eva by Joan M. Wolf. Clarion Books, 2007. 208 pages. On May 27, 1942, resistance fighters who had parachuted into Czechoslovakia attempted to assassinate Reinhard Heydrich, deputy Reichsprotector of the Nazi Germany Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, the…
Most Americans are surely aware our economy is still in trouble. The downswing in the last year of the Bush administration has not yet seen an equivalent upswing. Frightened by the state of the economy, the massive public debt, and…
Wednesday, 30 June 2010 15:27

O’Connor’s life and characters

Two weeks ago, a friend and I traveled down into Central Georgia looking for Flannery O’Connor. My friend, whom I will dub Lucky for this piece, had never heard of Flannery O’Connor nor read anything written by her. She didn’t…
Stephen Hunter’s I, Sniper (ISBN 978-1-4165-6515-4, $26) brings to readers once again that intrepid sniper, now old and aching from his lifetime of combat, Bob Lee Swagger. As in previous novels in this series, the government entangles itself into the…
Wednesday, 19 May 2010 13:19

Self-help without the sugar

Seven Pleasures: Essays on Ordinary Happiness by William Spiegelman. Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2009. In Seven Pleasures: Essays on Ordinary Happiness (Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, ISBN 978-0-374-23930-5, $23), William Spiegelman, an English professor at Southern Methodist University and editor of…
Wednesday, 05 May 2010 15:14

In Next, life changes in a day

Next by James Hynes. Reagan Arthur Books, 2010. 320 pages. In The Lecturer’s Tale, previously reviewed in The Smoky Mountain News, James Hynes offered a withering satire of the academic world, in particular the Machiavellian machinations carried on in a…
Wednesday, 07 April 2010 17:37

Obsessing over grammar

Twelve years ago, while teaching Latin at a local high school, I was discussing a point of grammar — I think it had to do with the dative case and indirect objects — when one of the brighter students in…
Wednesday, 21 April 2010 17:37

Bring poetry to the people

“April is the cruelest of months, breeding/ lilacs out of the dead land” — so wrote T.S. Eliot in the much-cited first two lines of “The Waste Land.” April is also National Poetry Month. Had he lived today, Eliot may…
Wednesday, 03 March 2010 16:12

A guidebook for raising boys

Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys by Stephen James and David Thomas. Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2009. 368 pages. In Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys (13-978-1-4143-2227-8, $14.99), Stephen James and David Thomas make clever use of Maurice…
Wednesday, 24 March 2010 19:03

Exploring the legacy of Ayn Rand

In Ayn Rand and the World She Made (ISBN 978-0-385-51399-9, Doubleday, 568 pages, $35), Anne C. Heller has given readers an intimate look at the woman who wrote such novels as The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, works which had a…
Wednesday, 03 February 2010 15:01

Fitzgerald comes to life in Asheville

The Fitzgerald Ruse by Mark De Castrique. Poisoned Pen Press, 2009. 250 pages. Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, and magazines like Black Mask are the great-grandfathers of the American detective novel. Readers, for example, can open a Chandler novel and from…
Wednesday, 03 February 2010 15:01

An American original

Devil’s Dream by Madison Smartt Bell. Pantheon, 2009. 352 pages. Although several biographies of Nathan Bedford Forrest have found publishers over the last 60 years, Civil War buffs, serious followers of fiction, and those who simply enjoy a great read…
Wednesday, 06 January 2010 15:43

Characters mirror SMN readers

Rain Gods by James Lee Burke. Simon and Schuster, 2009. 448 pages. Readers of this column know that some authors turn up here regular as church bells, reviewed with each new book. Ann Tyler, Carol Goodman, Pat Conroy: these and…
Wednesday, 20 January 2010 16:12

A tale of both despair and hope

Tears in the Darkness: The Story of the Bataan Death March and Its Aftermath by Elizabeth and Michael Norman. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2009. 480 pages In the summer of 1966 I worked one day a week as a volunteer…
Wednesday, 15 September 2010 19:19

Words speak louder than actions

A Postcard From The Volcano: A Novel of Pre-War Germany by Lucy Beckett. Ignatius Press, 2009. 520 pages World War II has long provided Americans with literary meat and drink. The combat novels of men like James Jones, Norman Mailer,…
Wednesday, 17 February 2010 17:10

A book about beer, food, and Gnometown cooking

Cooking with wine is familiar. Cajun chef Justin Wilson, one of television’s first real food celebrities, liberally tipped Chablis into his etouffe (who-wee), and Julia Child introduced America to the French style of cooking, deglazing and saucing with wine in…
Native American writers from the Southeast are invited to participate in the first-ever Southeast Indian Writers Gathering, to be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 16, and Friday, Sept. 17, at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian…
Twenty-eight Carolina authors will be selling and signing their books at the Celebration of Books from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 11 at the Highlands Civic Center. There will also be workshops, readings, and entertainment for the…
Lin Stepp will sign copies of Tell Me About Orchard Hollow from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 18, at Blue Ridge Books in Waynesville. The novel tells is second in the Smoky Mountain series and tells the story…
Wednesday, 19 February 2014 15:47

A poetic description of a savage time

It took me almost a year to read this book. I kept losing it, leaving it in restaurants and other people’s cars. However, the major reason for the delay was that I didn’t want to finish it. I kept going…
Tuesday, 17 August 2010 20:23

A grim look at Appalachia

Authors often dig into their childhood to mine for the coal and diamonds of their books. Sometimes they use the picks and shovels of fiction; Charles Dickens, Charlotte Bronte, and Thomas Wolfe come most famously to mind as writers who…
Tuesday, 03 August 2010 20:13

Free writers workshops in Waynesville

Upcoming free workshops at Blue Ridge Books in Waynesville will offer writers behind-the-scenes tips on getting published and provide guidance to women writers over 50. • “Don’t murder your mystery — or any other manuscript,” will be led by seasoned…
Mary J. Messer, author of the newly published Appalachian memoir Moonshiner’s Daughter, will be at Blue Ridge Books at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 14. In the book, Messer wrote about her memories growing up in the Smokies during the…
Tuesday, 17 August 2010 20:25

Authors of two new mountain memoirs speak

Jean Boone Benfield, of Asheville, will read from her new book, Mountain Born: A Recollection of Life and Language in Western North Carolina, at 7 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 20, at City Lights Bookstore in Sylva. The book recalls her…
Michael Beadle and Peter Yurko have published a new photographic history of Waynesville in honor of the town’s bicentennial this year. Their first book signing will be held 3 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 28, at Blue Ridge Books in downtown…
Tuesday, 17 August 2010 20:26

Coffee with poet Bill Everett

Poet Bill Everett, author of Red Clay Blood River, will appear at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 19, as this month’s guest at City Lights Bookstore’s Coffee with the Poet. After a break for lunch, attendees can come back to enjoy…
A reading and book signing for the new anthology Echoes Across the Blue Ridge will take place from 1 to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 28, at Blue Ridge Books in Waynesville.   The anthology includes a variety of stories,…
Western Carolina University psychology professor Hal Herzog will celebrate his new book, Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: Why It’s So Hard to Think Straight About Animals, with an appearance at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 7, at…
Readers will be in for a surprise when thumbing through the pages of the all-Cherokee issue of Appalachian Heritage literary journal, which will be celebrated at Western Carolina University next week. The issue turns on its head every generalization about…
Tuesday, 20 July 2010 20:48

Storytime with puppets

Jackson County resident Josie Williams will be guest storyteller at a special children’s storytime at 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 24, at City Lights Bookstore in Sylva. Williams is co-creator (with her sister-in law Kim Williams) of Shert: The Helping…
Tuesday, 20 July 2010 20:47

All about the Carltons

Dr. Barbara Carlton will autograph copies of her book, This Nearly Was Mine: A Journey Through Carlton Country at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, July 28, in the Friendship Garden at the Albert Carlton-Cashiers Community Library. In June 1994, the Albert…
Tuesday, 20 July 2010 20:47

An official Star Wars party

Join the fun at a Star Wars party at 2 p.m on Saturday, July 31, at Blue Ridge Books. The bookstore in Waynesville is one of only 70 in the United States hosting a 2010 DK Star Wars Event. The…
Wednesday, 02 September 2009 14:46

Vivid descriptions fail to save flawed book

South of Broad by Pat Conroy. Nan A. Talese, 2009. 528 pages. In his latest novel, South of Broad (ISBN 978-0-385-41305-3, $29.95), Pat Conroy writes with his usual sure touch of subjects and places familiar to his fans: Charleston and…
Wednesday, 09 September 2009 15:01

The dark side of the Romantics

The Monsters: Mary Shelley and the Curse of Frankenstein by Dorothy and Thomas Hobbler. Little, Brown and Company. 374 pages. Back in the 1950’s, when I was an English major, I frequently found myself moribund with boredom as I suffered…
Wednesday, 16 September 2009 15:51

Entering the mind of a terrorist

First up for review this week is Piers Paul Read’s The Death of a Pope (Ignatius Press, ISBN 978-1-58617-295-4), the story of a terrorist plot following on the heels of the death of John Paul II in which the terrorists…
Wednesday, 23 September 2009 18:17

Film highlights Asheville’s many offerings

“The Spirit of Asheville” (video) by Arthur Hancock and Katie Brugger. Time Capsule Video: Highlands. Running Time: 73 minutes. The Spirit of Asheville” is an unabashed siren call to the rest of the world: “Come to Asheville! This is the…
Wednesday, 30 September 2009 19:09

Rebellion reigns in historical novel

Devil’s Brood: The Last Days of the Tempestuous Marriage of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine by Sharon Kay Penman. G.P Putnam’s Sons, 2008. Politics is not a game for sissies. It is not even necessarily a game for the…
Wednesday, 05 August 2009 20:14

Particular parables and perverse ponderings

Willful Creatures Stories by Aimee Bender. Doubleday & Company. 208 pages. Recently, Garrison Keilor mentioned a new writer, Aimee Bender on his daily post, “The Writer’s Almanac.” Garrison noted that Bender’s quirky and enigmatic books were causing quite a stir…
Former WCU student Matthew Link Baker will read from his new book, My Mountain Granny: The Story of Evelyn Howell Beck in the Mountain Town of Whittier, NC at 7 p.m. Aug. 14 at City Lights Bookstore in Sylva.Baker met…
Wednesday, 12 August 2009 13:47

Oxford American: The best magazine ever

There aren’t many things that cause my weary heart to quicken. The local bookstore, Netflix, rain crows and, yes, the Oxford American which is “proudly published by the University of Central Arkansas.” I’ve stuck with them through bankruptcy, inept leadership,…
Wednesday, 19 August 2009 14:15

Goodman’s second ‘classics’ story

The Night Villa by Carol Goodman. Ballantine Books, 2008. 413 pages. Over the last decade, Carol Goodman has rightly earned a reputation as a skilled novelist whose themes and characters are often focused on the study of Latin and Greek,…
Wednesday, 26 August 2009 14:57

A force of lyrical storytelling

Tender Graces by Kathryn Magendie. Bell Bridge Books, 2009. 315 pages Some of the most poignant passages in literature are uttered by children: Tom Sawyer, Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird, and Ree Dolly in Daniel Woodrell’s Winter Bone —…
Wednesday, 29 September 2010 12:33

Fiction author to appear at Sylva

Susan Gregg Gilmore, author of Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen, will read from her new novel, The Improper Life of Bezillia Grove, at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 1, at City Lights Bookstore in Sylva. In the novel,…
Wednesday, 29 September 2010 12:32

Twenty regional authors at Blue Ridge Book Fest

Blue Ridge Book Fest: A Regional Author Festival will take place from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 2, at Blue Ridge Books in Waynesville. Twenty authors from the region will be in the store to meet readers…
Wednesday, 29 September 2010 12:31

“Therapy Dog” sales to support animal shelters

Dianna K. Klingel will be signing her book, Just for the Moment: The Remarkable Gift of the Therapy Dog, from 4 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 7, at Chapter 2 Books in Cashiers. Ten percent of the sales will…
Wednesday, 29 September 2010 12:29

An irresistible adventure

Some novels ask for a close reading. Entranced by the author’s language, intrigued by an intricate plot, and in some rare fortunate circumstances captivated by both, we slowly digest such a book, feasting on a banquet of sentences and paragraphs,…
Wednesday, 06 October 2010 20:24

Art and authors at Blue Ridge Books

Blue Ridge Books in Waynesville is offering a full lineup of special events this month. For more information on any of these events call 828.456.6000. • 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 9: Vicki Lane, the popular regional author of the Elizabeth…
Wednesday, 06 October 2010 20:19

REACH gets help from local book author

Mary J. Messer, author of Moonshiner’s Daughter, the recently published Haywood County based Appalachian memoir, presented a check to REACH of Haywood at their annual board meeting Sept. 20. Messer’s donation will to help REACH in its effort to prevent…
Wednesday, 06 October 2010 20:17

Crews’ world is full of blood and bone

Getting Naked with Harry Crews, edited by Erik Bledsoe. University of Florida Press, 1998. The first time I ever heard of Harry Crews — some 30 years ago now — was when a friend gave me a copy of The…
Wednesday, 01 July 2009 17:30

Freaks and morality

Flannery: A Life of Flannery O’Connor by Brad Gooch. Little, Brown and Company, 2009. 464 pages. “Whenever I am asked why Southern writers particularly have this penchant for writing about freaks, I say it is because we are still able…
Wednesday, 08 July 2009 18:19

Take a chance on Ravens

When a friend sent me an advanced reading copy of Ravens with a note that said, “There is no one to like in this one,” I prepared myself for a dark and bleak journey through South Georgia grunge. That is…
Wednesday, 15 July 2009 19:47

Chick-lit at its finest

Jane Austen Ruined My Life by Beth Pattillo. Guideposts, 2009. 288 pages Art and literary whodunits are so plentiful these days that they might nearly constitute their own genre. The DaVinci Code is the best-selling of these works, but anyone…
Wednesday, 13 October 2010 20:35

Young writers win recognition

Western North Carolina students captured most of the prizes in the Student Laureate Awards sponsored by the North Carolina English Teachers Association this year.   The annual awards, begun by the family of former Laureate Kathryn Byre, are established to…
Wednesday, 13 October 2010 20:34

Upcoming events at City Lights in Sylva

David Watkins of Cullowhee will offer a free personal budgeting workshop at City Lights Bookstore in Sylva at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 16. The program is based on his book, Little is Much: Learn How to Live Within Your…
Wednesday, 13 October 2010 20:32

A new collection of mountain writers

Many of us have attended a Methodist or Baptist “dinner on the grounds.” At these events, once popular across the South but now fading somewhat, church families gathered after the Sunday service for fellowship and a feast of pot-luck dishes:…
Authors Michael Beadle and Peter Yurko will discuss and sign copies of their new pictorial history book, Waynesville, from noon to 2 p.m. on Oct. 22 at Cackleberry Mountain Gift Shop. This is Beadle’s second Images of America book and…
If you’ve got a young reader who has difficulty reading to parents or teachers, the Haywood County Public Library may have a new approach to consider — reading to a friendly, non-judgmental canine. Puppy Tales, a program designed to encourage…
Wednesday, 20 October 2010 20:11

Local author to hold book signing

Author Barbara Dumas Ballew will be signing copies of her novel, George’s Creek to Georgia, on Oct. 23 at PumpkinFest in Franklin. Ballew, an accomplished genealogist and storyteller from Franklin, takes readers back to a simpler time in her novel,…
Wednesday, 20 October 2010 20:08

Unwieldy story still packs a punch

Reading So Cold the River may give many readers a weird sense of déjà vu — a feeling that they have been here before. When the protagonist, Eric Shaw, travels to a remote part of southern Indiana to film a…
Wednesday, 27 October 2010 20:45

Secret Life of Bees to be discussed

Sally Salyards will lead a discussion of The Secret Life of Bees at 7 p.m. on Nov. 4 in the Jackson County library as part of the library discussion group Bookends.   The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk…
Wednesday, 27 October 2010 20:44

City Lights book group meet and greet

Are you in a book group? Do you want to be in one? Is your book group looking for good suggestions of books that bring out lively discussion? Come to City Lights in Sylva from 3:30 to 5 p.m. on…
Wednesday, 27 October 2010 20:43

Taking readers to a warm and colorful place

As cooler weather plucks leaves from the trees, stripping the branches bare as a freshly-barbered poodle, as that wonderful green grass of summer now takes on a sheen of frost at dawn, as fall in the mountains deepens into the…
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