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Wednesday, 27 March 2013 13:41

The unforgettable life of Nancy Silver

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Recently, when I was surfing through a depressing collection of nighttime TV programs — religious rants, psychics, cooking shows and…
Wednesday, 20 March 2013 13:49

An insightful look at guerilla warfare

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Since the Second World War, Americans have lived by the old dictum that only the dead have seen the end…
Wednesday, 06 March 2013 16:04

Rash’s Appalachia is both rich and flawed

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Ron Rash’s latest collection of short stories echos a theme that runs through all of his works: an awareness that Appalachia…
Wednesday, 27 February 2013 00:00

Final volume of Churchill biography a long-awaited gem

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William Manchester, author of a number of best-selling books, including The Death of A President, American Caesar, and Goodbye, Darkness,…
Wednesday, 20 February 2013 15:01

1967 novel sheds light on obscure mass drowning

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In recent years, I have become interested in an obscure incident that occurred in Jackson County in 1882 — the…
Wednesday, 13 February 2013 13:39

To be (born) or not to be

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Since reading Ben Wattenberg’s The Birth Dearth 25 years ago, the subject of demography has fascinated me. This past week…
Wednesday, 06 February 2013 14:57

Zombie lore, one bite at a time

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If you are literate and moderately aware of what passes for entertainment in film, popular novels and comics, then you…
Of all the Beat writers of the 1940s and 1950s — Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, John Clellon Holmes, Gary Snyder,…
Wednesday, 23 January 2013 14:30

Historian presents a factual story of Cleopatra

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“Times are bad. Children no longer obey their parents, and everyone is writing a book.” — Cicero, 106 B.C. Stacy…
Wednesday, 16 January 2013 00:00

An America divided by class

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For the past 80 years more and more Americans have linked themselves economically to the machinations of the federal government.…
Wednesday, 09 January 2013 00:00

Uncompromising, dark and a worthwhile read

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A couple of years ago, I blundered into something called “The Bottom Dog Appalachian Writers Series.” Published in Ohio, this…
Wednesday, 02 January 2013 03:45

Novel explores the woes of rich white trash

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Let me take a deep breath and see if I can get this out in one long ugly sentence:  A…
Wednesday, 26 December 2012 14:40

Racism and adultery drive Spencer’s novel

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Daniel Emerson is afraid of black people. After a chance encounter with a group of violent African American teenagers left…
Wednesday, 19 December 2012 00:00

Re-discovering a child’s outlook and a sense of humor

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Although its publisher marketed Robert Munsch’s Love You Forever as a children’s book, this touching story of a mother’s love…
Wednesday, 12 December 2012 14:26

Bringing out the horror of teen angst

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In recent years, there has been a kind of Swedish literary invasion in America, especially in the horror genre. Perhaps…
As the poet Yvan Goll lay in a hospital in Paris dying of leukemia, a continuous line of some of…
Wednesday, 28 November 2012 13:51

Books for holiday gifts can be a risky business

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Think of the times someone has said to you: “You’ll love this book!” This well-intentioned person then shoves a book…
Wednesday, 21 November 2012 13:35

Novel is both shocking and admirable

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Anyone who remembers Ira Levin’s Rosemary’s Baby (1967) and the Roman Polanski film that came out about a year later,…
Wednesday, 14 November 2012 00:00

Diversity within unity — a book for the ages

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From the foothills of the Southern Appalachians, and in the tradition of such spiritual classics as Gurdjieff’s Meetings With Remarkable…
Wednesday, 07 November 2012 13:49

For the love of local bookstores

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When I was a child living in Boonville, N.C., a town of 600 people, my mother would load us into…
Wednesday, 31 October 2012 01:17

Lahane scores with steamy suspense novel

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I have been a Dennis Lehane fan for about two decades now, and after reading classics like Mystic River, Shutter…
Wednesday, 24 October 2012 11:58

A flawed story that is still worthwhile

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Mark Helprin drives me crazy. Helprin’s novels — he is the author of A Soldier of the Great War, Freddy…
Wednesday, 17 October 2012 13:39

MacDonald may be innocent after all

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I always thought he was guilty. Any doubts that I might have felt vanished after I read Joe McGinniss’ Fatal…
Wednesday, 10 October 2012 13:20

Burke again captures the essence of the Bayou

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In Creole Belle (ISBN 978-1-4516-4813-3, $27.99), novelist James Lee Burke returns to a territory he now owns in the literary…
Wednesday, 03 October 2012 19:58

Winter has come and Martin turns up the heat

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Kind hearts, winter has come. That dire prediction that began over 4,000 pages ago with A Game of Thrones has…
Wednesday, 26 September 2012 13:25

A thoughtful examination of love and parenting

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A distracted mother off to the store forgets to shut the door from the kitchen to the garage, puts her…
Wednesday, 19 September 2012 13:47

Real stories and lessons on how to tell them

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Here is a book about storytelling that strikes a responsive chord in my own heart. Not only is Mary Hamilton a gifted…
Wednesday, 12 September 2012 12:51

As fall nears, let’s clear the clutter

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By early September in these mountains the markers of autumn are very much with us. The cool nights diminish the…
Wednesday, 05 September 2012 02:42

An environmental saga and a mountain story

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By Brent Martin It is a rare event these days to come across a work of non-fiction dealing with any…
Wednesday, 29 August 2012 13:37

Finding kindred souls in the Wyoming backcountry

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Let me begin by telling you that the book title above is misleading. Gerry Spence has more then a dozen published…
Wednesday, 22 August 2012 13:58

A book a day keeps the bad grades away

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It’s that time of year when yellow buses roll down country roads, when children disappear from the stores and streets…
Wednesday, 15 August 2012 14:34

Rare book harkens back to a different time

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Ramblin’ in Rabun is a reprint of a delightful book that was written down in Clayton, Ga., some 40 years…
Wednesday, 08 August 2012 13:40

Crisp prose and humor keep novel moving

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In her latest novel, Starting From Happy (ISBN 978-1-4391-02185, $24), Patricia Marx, author of Him Her Him Again The End…
Wednesday, 01 August 2012 13:55

New religions and powerful women aplenty

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Well, kind hearts, here we are in the fourth of a five-book series.  At the risk of being accused of…
Wednesday, 25 July 2012 13:48

An erudite look into the cultural wars

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Some years ago, a local artist mounted a painting in a local art show in which he painted Christ with…
Wednesday, 18 July 2012 13:26

Martin earns mention alongside Tolkien

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I apologize. About a month ago, when I concluded my review of Clash of Kings, I noted that I would…
Wednesday, 11 July 2012 14:04

Frank’s characters confront moral uncertainties

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What would you do if your teenaged daughter was assaulted, beaten and shot almost to the point of death, and…
Wednesday, 04 July 2012 11:53

Dig deep and ‘The Father’s Tale’ will reward

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Michael O’Brien’s The Father’s Tale (Ignatius Press, ISBN 978-0-89870-815-8) has more strikes against it than Babe Ruth on a bad…
Wednesday, 27 June 2012 14:02

Snake handlers riveting but cliché

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“... and these signs shall follow those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons, they will speak…
Wednesday, 20 June 2012 15:39

Rivers in WNC bear native names

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Long before the first Europeans arrived, the Cherokees developed ceremonials that focused on the spiritual power of running water. When…
Wednesday, 20 June 2012 14:53

A page turner with a WNC connection

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In Frank B. Robinson’s Thirty Days Hath September (ISBN 978-1-4701-6725-7), a man with a murky past, Alex Madrid, finds temporary…
Wednesday, 13 June 2012 19:46

Watch out! Bigfoot sighted in WNC

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I’d never read a horror-fiction genre book in my life. That is, until I found myself at an author’s event…
Wednesday, 06 June 2012 13:13

Sequel picks up enticing tale

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Although A Clash of Kings, the second in George R. R. Martin’s epic series, has a multitude of unforgettable characters,…
Wednesday, 30 May 2012 13:28

Finding the right word

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In his Foreword to Robert Hartwell Fiske’s The Best Words (ISBN 978-193333882-8, $14.94), Richard Lederer reminds us of Mark Twain’s…
For those who don’t know, James Still (1906-2001) is one of the most beloved and influential of all Appalachian writers.…
Wednesday, 16 May 2012 13:07

George R.R. Martin’s world captures readers

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Readers, be forewarned. If you willingly enter the fanciful world of George R. R. Martin’s Songs of Ice and Fire:…
Wednesday, 09 May 2012 13:06

Dusting off a few worthwhile volumes

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Spring-cleaning remains a ritual in many households. We throw open windows, rid closets, shelves, and drawers of unwanted items —…
Thursday, 03 May 2012 01:36

‘Raylan’ is business as usual for Leonard

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Like a growing number of FX addicts, I have become a devoted fan of “Justified” (Timothy Olyphant and Sylva’s own…
Wednesday, 25 April 2012 13:11

The tales of two Joyces

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In The Guys in the Gang and Other Stories (ISBN 978-1-4697-7768-9, $20.95), James T. Joyce and James T. Joyce —…