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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…
Wednesday, 13 February 2008 00:00

Poetry dying for readers

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In a Prominent Bar in Secaucus: New and Selected Poems, 1955 by X.J. Kennedy. — The Johns Hopkins University Press,…
Wednesday, 06 February 2008 00:00

Life chronicles

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How To Make A Journal Of Your Life by D. Price. Ten Speed Press, $9.95. Ant Farm by Simon Rich.…
Wednesday, 30 January 2008 00:00

The peril of complacency

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The Cult of the Amateur: How Today’s Internet is Killing Our Culture by Andrew Keen. Doubleday, 2007. $22.95 Web 2.0…
Wednesday, 23 January 2008 00:00

Evolution In a Nutshell — the book

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Evolution In A Nutshell by Martin Malloy. Trafford Publishing, 2007. 302 pages Evolution is one of those wonderfully fiery topics…
Wednesday, 16 January 2008 00:00

Another mystery mines our fascination with the past

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The Machiavelli Covenant by Allan Folsom. Forge Books,2006. 560 pages The last 20 years have seen the creation of a…
Wednesday, 09 January 2008 00:00

Big as a mountain

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The Encyclopedia of Appalachia.  University of Tennessee Press, 2007. 1864 pages Sometimes good things come in big packages. And the…
Wednesday, 02 January 2008 00:00

What? Me read?

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Letters to My Son on the Love of Books by Roberto Coltroneo. Ecco Press, 1998. 151 pages. In the Dec.…
Wednesday, 26 December 2007 00:00

When Florida was wild

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Crackers in the Glade: Life and Times in the Old Everglades edited Betty Savidge Briggs. University of Georgia Press, 2007.…
Wednesday, 19 December 2007 00:00

Christmas traditions from the Moravians

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Moravian Christmas in the South by Nancy Smith Thomas. The University of North Carolina Press, 2007. 184 pages Easter is…
Wednesday, 12 December 2007 00:00

The way of the sword

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The 47th Samurai by Stephen Hunter. Simon & Schuster, 2007. 384 pages. Eight seconds. Eight seconds, according to Stephen Hunter…
Wednesday, 12 December 2007 00:00

A look at the dark side of the season

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The Christmas Curmudgeon is available at: Barnes &Noble.com, the Western Carolina Internet Café in Dillsboro, or directly from the author…
Wednesday, 05 December 2007 00:00

Reading for the holidays

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Books are the ideal gift for the Yuletide season. Think of the many advantages in giving a book to a…
Wednesday, 28 November 2007 00:00

An English breakdown

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Sister Bernadette’s Barking Dog: The Quirky History and Lost Art of Diagramming Sentences by Kitty Burns Florey. Melville House Publishing,…
Wednesday, 21 November 2007 00:00

Of Fathers and Wardrobes

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Men’s Style: The Thinking Man’s Guide to Dress by Russell Smith. Thomas Dunne Books, 2007. 256 pages. For many years…
Wednesday, 14 November 2007 00:00

Carter through the eyes of a friend

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Prophet From Plains: Jimmy Carter and His Legacy by Frye Gaillard. University of Georgia Press, 2007. 144 pages In the…
Wednesday, 07 November 2007 00:00

Paging all book lovers

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Readers of the Smoky Mountain News are acutely aware of the writing and storytelling talent here in Western North Carolina.…
Wednesday, 31 October 2007 00:00

Lessons from the jungle

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The Airmen and the Headhunters: A True Story of Lost Soldiers, Heroic Tribesman and the Unlikeliest Rescue of World War…
Wednesday, 24 October 2007 00:00

Forgotten poetry illuminated by Dark Horses

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Dark Horses: Poets on Overlooked Poems by Joy Katz and Kevin Prufer.  University of Illinois Press, 2007. 232 pages Dark…
Wednesday, 17 October 2007 00:00

A Storm in the Big Easy

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The Tin Roof Blowdown by James Lee Burke. Simon & Schuster, 2007. 384 pages. Fans of James Lee Burke’s bayou…
Wednesday, 10 October 2007 00:00

An undefined culture gets its own guide

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Emo. Emo. Emoooooo. Occasionally the word (pronounced, I believe, I-moo) pops up on the Internet or jumps out of some…
Wednesday, 03 October 2007 00:00

Not such a safe place

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The Pesthouse by Jim Crace. Nan A. Talese, 2007. 255 pages “Let’s drop the big one and see what happens.”…
Wednesday, 26 September 2007 00:00

Chick lit, chauvinism and modern Ireland

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Whitethorn Woods by Maeve Binchy. Knopf, 2007. 352 pages. Recently my sister asked me if I had met anyone, which…
Wednesday, 26 September 2007 00:00

What is wrong with teaching in the US?

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In 1991, 30-year veteran and master teacher John Taylor Gatto resigned immediately after being named “Teacher of the Year” in…
Wednesday, 19 September 2007 00:00

Intersection of American minds

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American Bloomsbury by Susan Cheever. Simon & Schuster, 2006. 240 pages Susan Cheever, novelist, critic, and writer of acclaimed memoirs…
Wednesday, 12 September 2007 00:00

Life in the midst of change

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A Three Dog Life by Abigail Thomas. Harcourt, 2006. 192 pages A blurb on the front cover of Abigail Thomas’…