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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 &, 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’…
Wednesday, 05 September 2007 00:00

A taste for noir

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Wild to Possess and A Taste for Sin by Gil Brewer. Stark House Press, 2006. One of the great delights…
Wednesday, 29 August 2007 00:00

Burning down the house

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An Arsonist’s Guide to Writers’ Homes in New England by Brock Clarke. Algonquin Books, 2007. 305 pages. Some writers come…
Wednesday, 22 August 2007 00:00

Put your money on Saratoga Fleshpot

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Murdering Americans by Ruth Dudley Edwards. Poisoned Pen Press, 2007. 236 pages. Skewering the politically correct codes of our colleges…
Wednesday, 15 August 2007 00:00

Heading Home waffles but New Stories shines

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Choosing the genre in which to write is, of course, a major factor in the success with which we communicate…
Wednesday, 08 August 2007 00:00

Harry — The boy who lived

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By Katie Polonsky I’m a firm believer that when reading a novel, you bring to it the whole of your…
Wednesday, 01 August 2007 00:00

Book Mania: Showcasing some up-and-coming writers

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Cataloochee by Wayne Caldwell. Random House, 2007. 368 pages Readers planning to attend Book Mania in Waynesville have several treats…
Wednesday, 25 July 2007 00:00

Deer hunting in the twilight of American culture

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The Twilight of American Culture by Morris Berman. W. W. Norton & Company, 2001. 224 pages. When I think of…
Wednesday, 18 July 2007 00:00

Author’s bias shows through

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What’s Liberal About The Liberal Arts? Classroom Politics and “Bias” in Higher Education by Michael Berube. W. W. Norton, 2006.…
Wednesday, 11 July 2007 00:00

Summertime and the reading’s hazy

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On the Road by Jack Kerouac. Penguin Classics. 310 pages Summertime, and the living is easy ... For most of…
Wednesday, 04 July 2007 00:00

A Frank look back

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From Violins to Violence: A Memoir by Marshall Frank. Fortis Book, 2007. 308 pages In Tom Stoppard’s Lord Malquist and…
Wednesday, 27 June 2007 00:00

A clean miss

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Gun Show Nation: Gun Culture and American Democracy by Joan Burbick. New Press, 2007. 288 pages. While teaching Latin at…
Wednesday, 20 June 2007 00:00

Literature deprived

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Certain genres of literature fare better when critically judged by the standards of that particular genre rather than by any…
Wednesday, 13 June 2007 00:00

Dad’s take on father’s day

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Father’s Day, surely a boon to the greeting card industry and certain segments of the male apparel industry, has taken…
A country which has accepted the mantle of “empire,’ however inimical that mantle may be to its professed destiny; a…
Wednesday, 30 May 2007 00:00

Another look at Wolfe

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Thomas Wolfe: An Illustrated Biography by Ted Mitchell. Pegasus Books, 2007. 341 pages. Thirty-three years ago this month, at the…
Wednesday, 23 May 2007 00:00

A hard day’s work

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On Earth’s Furrowed Brow: The Appalachian Farm in Photographs by Tim Barnwell. W. W. Norton, 2007. 224 pages. For a…
Wednesday, 16 May 2007 00:00

The first lady of the South

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First Lady of the Confederacy: Varina Davis’s Civil War by Joan E. Cashin. Belknap Press, 2006. Civil wars are marked…
Wednesday, 09 May 2007 00:00

Hootnoggers: History, definitely delightful

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First, the tomatoes. Then the applause. Rob Neufeld’s Mountains, Heroes & Hootnoggers: A Popular History of Western North Carolina (The…
Wednesday, 02 May 2007 00:00

Southern Comfort

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Cornbread Nation 2 by Lolis Eric Elie. The University of North Carolina Press, 2007. In the last 50 years, home…
Wednesday, 25 April 2007 00:00

Livingroom predators

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Relentless Enemies: Lions and Buffalo by Dereck and Beverly Joubert. National Geographic, 2006. 176 pages. Four years ago, my family…
Wednesday, 18 April 2007 00:00

Heir to the King

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Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill. William Morrow, 2007. 376 pages Although both the publisher and the author of Heart-Shaped Box…
Wednesday, 11 April 2007 00:00

Today’s writing smacks of sameness

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The 1920s were a golden age for American fiction and poetry. F. Scott Fizgerald helped give the decade its name…
Wednesday, 04 April 2007 00:00

Stories from the dead

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In the small Southern community where she lives, Finch Nobles, the narrator of A Gracious Plenty, easily qualifies as a…