In the first half of the fifteenth century, decades before Columbus set sail, the great Chinese admiral Zheng He commanded…
Some 30 years ago, a science-fiction writer named Whitney Striber wrote a novel called Wolfen, and it frightened me badly. The…
“Chick-lit” is, of course, the slang expression for those books appealing especially to women. Though not politically correct, most men…
Some books — novels, certain histories and biographies — deserve full immersion. We dive into them, plummet into their depths,…
I have always been fascinated by the folklore attending the too-short life of Robert Johnson, “King of the Delta Blues…
Poetry. Po-e-tree. A word with a lovely sound, but with bleak connotations.
It took me almost a year to read this book. I kept losing it, leaving it in restaurants and other…
In the Prologue to Norman Mailer: A Double Life (978-1-4391-5019-1, 2013, $40), biographer J. Michael Lennon writes that “Mailer’s desire…
I did not like this book. My first response on finishing it was that I would not review it, but there…
Four years ago in November, a schoolteacher in Knoxville asked her English class to write a composition on family dinner…
This remarkable collection of interviews with African-Americans in North Carolina who were once slaves is a fascinating discovery. Conducted by the…
In Voyage To Alpha Centauri (Ignatius Press, ISBN 978-1-58617-832-1), Michael O’Brien, Canadian writer and painter, gives us a grand tale…
The new year is a time when many people, dissatisfied with some condition of their lives, resolve to make changes.…
Back in 1981, a provocative film called “My Dinner With Andre” created quite a stir by reducing drama to the…
The times in which we live may someday be celebrated for our advancements in medicine, technology and education, but surely…
I was never a fan of drone missiles. Until now, I had always regarded drones as killing machines or mechanical spies.…
Although this book was published over a decade ago, A Fierce Green Fire has grown steadily in popularity and is…
By Joe Ecclesia My name is Joe Ecclesia, and I have a bone the size of an elephant’s thigh to…
I first encountered a Donna Tartt novel some 20 years ago when a friend reverently placed a copy of The…
In What I Came To Tell You (Egmont Publishers, ISBN 9781606844335, $16.99), local author Tommy Hayes brings us the story…
It has been more than 30 years since Stephen King published The Shining, but I still remember that little kid,…
Book reviews shouldn’t begin with dedications. But with Strings Attached (ISBN 978-1-4013-2466-7, $24.99) being the book under review, I feel…
I am convinced that author Daniel Woodrell is what is frequently referred to as “a writer’s writer.” In other words,…
Google books on parenting, and you will find thousands — tens of thousands — of titles. There are books on…
I first encountered Robert Henry’s name some 30 years ago in Lyman Draper’s account of the Battle of Kings Mountain…
Jim Harrison is an American phenomenon. Not only has he written more than 30 books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction…
An online visit reveals hundreds of books written on hiking the Appalachian Trail. These range from Bill Bryson’s A Walk…
In Light of the World (ISBN 978-1-4767-1076-1, $27.99), James Lee Burke once again gives readers writing cut and polished like…
I have always had a fondness for great, sprawling epics, especially if they chronicle the downfall of a family/dynasty that acquired…
For most students, parents, and teachers, autumn rather than spring is the season of budding growth, new life, and hope.
By Newton Smith • Contributor Gary Carden, local bard, playwright, host of the Liars Bench and reviewer for The Smoky Mountain…
Every once in a while, we encounter a situation so strange and so far removed from the natural order of…
Let me begin by saying that this is a remarkable novel, and I suspect that it will be around for…
On June 24, 1993, David Gelernter, then an associate professor of computer science at Yale University, opened a package in…
Priscille Sibley’s The Promise of Stardust (ISBN 978-0-06-219417-6, 399 pages, $15.99) is a fine first novel by a woman who…
Thirty some years ago, my wife and I announced to my mother that we were expecting our first child. After…
We Americans like to sidle around the truth nowadays, which we do by labeling ourselves relativists. Like Pontius Pilate, we…
Reviewers of Philipp Meyer’s new novel, The Son (ISBN 978-0-06-212039-7, 561 pages, $27.99) have compared his epic story of the…
In The Bridge (ISBN 978-1-4516-4701-3, $19.99), Karen Kingsbury treats readers to a tale of romance and tribulation centered on a…
There is something about carnivals, amusement parks and shoddy summer circus operations that inspire a special kind of supernatural tale.…
Here are the true stories of some young people, all of them still under the age of 35. For the…
Robert Morgan has a rare and cunning gift: he can sift through the detritus of the past, pluck objects and…
In The Last Self-Help Book You’ll Ever Need: Repress Your Anger, Think Negatively, Be a Good Blamer, and Throttle Your…
My decision to read this “docudrama” (part memoir, part history and part detective story) was prompted by my genuine wish…
Here they are, books yammering for review: a hillock of books on the floor by the desk; more books stacked…
Stephen Dobyns has written 20 novels and more than 10 volumes of poetry; however, he is difficult to “classify.” His writing…
“Bookshops are magic.” This quotation, buried in the middle of Wendy Welch’s The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap: A…
Most booklovers have suffered that “Oh, no” moment when a friend, with nothing but the best of intentions, presses an…
Mark Powell’s The Dark Corner is probably the best Appalachian novel that I have read in the last decade. It is…
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