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Wednesday, 30 September 2009 19:09

Rebellion reigns in historical novel

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Devil’s Brood: The Last Days of the Tempestuous Marriage of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine by Sharon Kay Penman.…
Wednesday, 23 September 2009 18:17

Film highlights Asheville’s many offerings

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“The Spirit of Asheville” (video) by Arthur Hancock and Katie Brugger. Time Capsule Video: Highlands. Running Time: 73 minutes. The…
Wednesday, 16 September 2009 15:51

Entering the mind of a terrorist

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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…
Wednesday, 09 September 2009 15:01

The dark side of the Romantics

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The Monsters: Mary Shelley and the Curse of Frankenstein by Dorothy and Thomas Hobbler. Little, Brown and Company. 374 pages.…
Wednesday, 02 September 2009 14:46

Vivid descriptions fail to save flawed book

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South of Broad by Pat Conroy. Nan A. Talese, 2009. 528 pages. In his latest novel, South of Broad (ISBN…
Wednesday, 26 August 2009 14:57

A force of lyrical storytelling

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Tender Graces by Kathryn Magendie. Bell Bridge Books, 2009. 315 pages Some of the most poignant passages in literature are…
Wednesday, 19 August 2009 14:15

Goodman’s second ‘classics’ story

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The Night Villa by Carol Goodman. Ballantine Books, 2008. 413 pages. Over the last decade, Carol Goodman has rightly earned…
Wednesday, 12 August 2009 13:47

Oxford American: The best magazine ever

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There aren’t many things that cause my weary heart to quicken. The local bookstore, Netflix, rain crows and, yes, the…
Wednesday, 12 August 2009 13:28

Mountain granny comes to life in book by former WCU student

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Former WCU student Matthew Link Baker will read from his new book, My Mountain Granny: The Story of Evelyn Howell…
Wednesday, 05 August 2009 20:14

Particular parables and perverse ponderings

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Willful Creatures Stories by Aimee Bender. Doubleday & Company. 208 pages. Recently, Garrison Keilor mentioned a new writer, Aimee Bender…
Wednesday, 29 July 2009 19:11

Toole explores boxing from inside the ring

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Pound for Pound by F.X. Toole. HarperCollins, 2007. 416 pages. Million Dollar Baby by F.X. Toole. Harper Perennial 2005. 256…
Wednesday, 22 July 2009 18:49

Don West’s affinity for Appalachia

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A Hard Journey by James J. Lorence. University of Illinois Press, 2009. 344 pages. Once on a warm, summer afternoon…
Wednesday, 15 July 2009 19:47

Chick-lit at its finest

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Jane Austen Ruined My Life by Beth Pattillo. Guideposts, 2009. 288 pages Art and literary whodunits are so plentiful these…
Wednesday, 08 July 2009 18:19

Take a chance on Ravens

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When a friend sent me an advanced reading copy of Ravens with a note that said, “There is no one…
Wednesday, 01 July 2009 17:30

Freaks and morality

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Flannery: A Life of Flannery O’Connor by Brad Gooch. Little, Brown and Company, 2009. 464 pages. “Whenever I am asked…
Wednesday, 24 June 2009 16:00

Humanizing literature

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The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. Dial Press. 277 pages For…
Wednesday, 17 June 2009 19:18

Snippets from a poet’s life

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Fall of Frost by Brian Hall. Penguin Group, 2008. 352 pages Since his death in 1963, Robert Frost has come…
Wednesday, 10 June 2009 19:16

Recreating the past with nostalgic

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Remembering Henderson County by Louise Bailey. History Press, 2005. 144 pages. In Louise Bailey’s Remembering Henderson County, the author recreates…
Wednesday, 10 June 2009 19:08

Former Mountaineer publisher puts together Aleutian book

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Photographer Ken Wilson of Waynesville recently published his first book, The Aleutian Islands of Alaska, Living on the Edge. The…
Wednesday, 03 June 2009 18:44

Patriot’s story is unflinching, honest

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American Patriot: The Life and Wars of Colonel Bud Day by Robert Coram. Little, Brown and Company, 2007. Robert Coram’s…
Wednesday, 27 May 2009 17:33

Death in the arctic

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The Terror by Dan Simmons. Little, Brown and Company. 2007. 769 pages. Dear readers, let’s begin by establishing two contrary…
Wednesday, 13 May 2009 16:52

Remembering Popcorn

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To tell you the truth, when I read that some woman claiming to be Popcorn Sutton’s daughter was publishing a…
Wednesday, 06 May 2009 16:19

Finding distinction in literature

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The Genius by Jesse Kellerman. G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2008. 384 pages Sixty years ago, Graham Greene, one of the great…
Wednesday, 29 April 2009 16:57

Dispatches from the kinky South

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Surreal South: an Anthology of Short Fiction and Poetry edited by Laura Benedict & Pinckney Benedict. Winston-Salem: Press 53 $19.95…
Wednesday, 22 April 2009 16:45

Bradbury succeeds again with new novel

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We’ll Always Have Paris by Ray Bradbury. William Morrow, 2009. 224 pages Ray Bradbury was born in Waukegan, Ill., —…
Wednesday, 15 April 2009 16:15

Everyone's mother

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Mother Jones by Elliott J. Gorn. Hill and Wang, 2002. 408 pages. When Mother Jones celebrated her (allegedly) 100th birthday…
Wednesday, 08 April 2009 15:53

Anne Rice’s spiritual journey

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Called Out of Darkness: A Spiritual Confession by Anne Rice. Alfred A. Knopf, 2008. 256 pages. The books are piling…
Wednesday, 01 April 2009 15:36

A gem of a novel

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The Missing by Tim Gautreaux. Knopf Double Publishing Group, 2009. 384 pages. This is a novel that seems to vibrate…
Wednesday, 25 March 2009 20:29

Frank is always provocative and thought-provoking

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Criminal Justice in America by Marshall Frank. AuthorHouse, 2008. 276 pages. In Criminal Injustice in America: Essays by a Career…
Wednesday, 18 March 2009 20:23

A complex legacy

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William Dudley Pelley by Scott Beckman. Syracuse University Press. 269 pages. The first time I heard the name William Dudley…
Wednesday, 11 March 2009 20:01

Digging up John Williams

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Butcher’s Crossing by John Williams. New York Review of Books, 1960 reissued 2007. 274 pages. For those of us who…
Wednesday, 04 March 2009 15:47

Conservatism with a small “c”

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Ain’t My America: The Long, Noble History of Antiwar Conservatism and Middle-American Ant-Imperialism by Bill Kauffman. Metropolitan Books, 2008. 304…
Wednesday, 25 February 2009 19:30

Brooding obsessions

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Dying Light by Donald Hays. MacAdam/Cage, 2006. 261 pages In recent years, I’m sure that the average reader feels intimidated…
Wednesday, 18 February 2009 19:08

The age of acting and the rapture of writing

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The Age of Dreaming by Nina Revoyr. Akashic Books, 2008. 320 pages Every once in a while a novel comes…
Wednesday, 11 February 2009 17:21

Tales of survival from the American frontier

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Fine Just the Way It Is by Annie Proulx. Simon & Schuster, 2008. 240 pages. When critics attempt to define…
Wednesday, 11 February 2009 17:11

WCU Cherokee studies professor wins Oklahoma book award

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Robert Conley, the Sequoyah Distinguished Professor of Cherokee Studies at Western Carolina University, is winner of the 2009 Arrell Gibson…
Wednesday, 04 February 2009 16:34

Savage salvation

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The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb. HarperCollins, 2008. 752 pages. Wally Lamb’s newest novel, The Hour I First…
Wednesday, 28 January 2009 16:27

A new take on murderess legend

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Midwinter by Maurice Stanley. Whittler’s Bench Press, 2008. 208 pages. North Carolina’s folklore and music resonates with the pain of…
Wednesday, 21 January 2009 16:07

Westward Revelations

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Art in America by Ron McLarty. Viking Adult, 2008. 384 pages. In Art in America (ISBN 978-0670—01895-6, $25.95), Ron McLarty…
Wednesday, 14 January 2009 14:50

From Here: Authors spotlight Haywood County

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In an expanding spotlight of regional and national acclaim, three of Western North Carolina’s own have distinguished themselves by penning…
Wednesday, 07 January 2009 13:45

Beyond the rules of fiction

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2666 by Roberto Bolano. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008. 898 pages Dear reader, it seems altogether fitting to begin the…
Wednesday, 31 December 2008 16:14

Today’s boys

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The Trouble With Boys: A Surprising Report Card on Our Sons, Their Problems at School, and What Parents and Educators…
Wednesday, 24 December 2008 15:39

Music for the land

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Dirt Music by Tim Winton. Scribner and Sons, 2003. 411 pages. Well, dear reader, we are about to discuss a…
Wednesday, 17 December 2008 15:16

Russell’s ‘dog of a book’

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Dreamers of the Day by Mary Doria Russell. Random House, 2008. 272 pages. One of the great delights in browsing…
Wednesday, 03 December 2008 14:21

Vintage King

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Just After Sunset by Stephen King. Scribner and Sons, 2008. 367 pages. Unlike the majority of his peers, Stephen King…
Wednesday, 03 December 2008 13:20

Bragg explores fatherhood by looking at his dad’s past

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The Prince of Frogtown by Rick Bragg. Alfred A. Knopf, 2008. 272 pages. Biography affords the reader a rare chance…
Wednesday, 05 March 2008 00:00

Taking back America for Christianity

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God’s Harvard: A Christian College on a Mission to Save America by Hanna Rosin. Harcourt, 2007. 304 pages Every once…
Wednesday, 27 February 2008 00:00

Close encounters

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Skywalker: Close Encounters on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Walker. Indigo Publishing, 2007. 224 pages. Bill Bryson’s account of his…
Wednesday, 20 February 2008 00:00

Rash's Chemistry "notable"

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Chemistry and Other Stories by Ron Rash. Picador, 2007. 230 pages This remarkable collection of short stories has already been…