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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 —…
Wednesday, 18 April 2012 12:28

Light-hearted take on life’s last lingering years

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I remember, I remember The house where I was born, The little window where the sun Came peeping in at…
Wednesday, 11 April 2012 13:47

Homegrown poet spreads her wings

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Rose McLarney grew up in rural Western North Carolina, where she continues to live on an old mountain farm. Daughter…
Wednesday, 04 April 2012 12:53

Rash creates new genre of mountain western

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Just when we all thought that Ron Rash had taken his Southern Appalachian noir novels to the limit with Serena,…
Wednesday, 28 March 2012 12:31

Forgotten but not gone — emphasizing grammar

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Fifteen years ago, when I was the temporary teacher of Latin at Tuscola High School in Waynesville, I was discussing…
Wednesday, 21 March 2012 13:57

Nature shines in Morgan poetry collection

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To see a world in a grain of sand, And a heaven in a wild flower, Hold infinity in the…
Thursday, 15 March 2012 04:18

Gossip and privacy in the modern world

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Little Sally was eating lunch with her family when her parents ask her if she learned anything in Sunday School…
Wednesday, 07 March 2012 13:58

Taking a trip down dark, violent passages

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This novel contains an endorsement from the late William Gay that tweaked my interest. I immediately bought the book. Gay…
Wednesday, 29 February 2012 22:15

A newfound power in 20 minutes a day

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Twenty minutes a day. In early January, writing in my book column for this paper, I made a New Year’s…
Wednesday, 22 February 2012 21:50

Book tells the story of a young boy’s journey

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Fifteen-year-old Charlie Thompson is always hungry. Luckily, he is blessed with a high metabolism rate, so the excessive amounts of…
Wednesday, 15 February 2012 13:49

How an enduring writer created himself

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There are many reasons to love the writing of Ray Bradbury. His early short stories — science fiction “lite,” tales…
Wednesday, 08 February 2012 21:39

Book delves into a dark corner of our world

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Thursday. Throughout this anguished and gripping tale, this day of the week, Thursday” is usually italicized, suggesting that it has…
Wednesday, 01 February 2012 21:36

Some novels requires a certain tolerance

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Recently I watched several early episodes of “Blue Bloods,” a fine television series centered on a New York family with…
Thursday, 26 January 2012 03:19

Well-crafted stories about the dark side of life

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Several months ago, I reviewed Daniel Woodrell’s Winter’s Bone, and received an unusual number of responses from readers. In general,…
Wednesday, 18 January 2012 14:46

Jane Austen decoded for men

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Of female writers who appeal the least to the young men in my seminars, Jane Austen surely holds first place.…
Wednesday, 11 January 2012 15:10

Intrigue, violence and opium in Oslo

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The Leopard marks the eighth crime novel featuring the chain-smoking alcoholic Inspector Harry Hole of the Oslo Police Department, an…
Thursday, 05 January 2012 03:40

Planning a year of purposeful reading

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The New Year’s resolution typically leads a short and tragic life. Its father is misdeeds, its mother remorse. Once born,…
Wednesday, 28 December 2011 14:01

Separating the good guys from the bad

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About 20 years ago, the book collector’s magazine “First” published an impressive article on George Pelecanos, a new writer that…