By Joe Ecclesia
My name is Joe Ecclesia, and I have a bone the size of an elephant’s thigh to pick with one of your reviewers, Jeff Minick.
For 12 years or so, I have known Mr. Minick. We’ve shared many meals, spilled some wine together, had some laughs.
In What I Came To Tell You (Egmont Publishers, ISBN 9781606844335, $16.99), local author Tommy Hayes brings us the story of 12-year-old Grover Johnston, his family and his friends.
Book reviews shouldn’t begin with dedications. But with Strings Attached (ISBN 978-1-4013-2466-7, $24.99) being the book under review, I feel compelled to commence by issuing a few long-overdue honorifics:
Google books on parenting, and you will find thousands — tens of thousands — of titles. There are books on parenting boys, books on parenting girls, books on parenting toddlers, adolescents, and teens, books on parenting the chubby and the thin, books on parenting every sort of child under the sun.
Jim Harrison is an American phenomenon. Not only has he written more than 30 books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction — the last category includes a fine cookbook, The Raw and the Cooked: Adventures of a Roving Gourmand, and a memoir, Off to the Side, which is a worthwhile account of his triumphs and failures in life — but he has, during all these years of writing, maintained a standard of excellence rare among his contemporaries. His books are indelibly marked by his style, which we will examine briefly below, and by certain themes: outsiders, love between men and women, failure, and America’s changing landscape and values.
An online visit reveals hundreds of books written on hiking the Appalachian Trail. These range from Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods, which is the witty account of a man who hiked part of the trail, to Bill Walker’s SkyWalker: Close Encounters of the Appalachian Trail, in which the author gives us vivid and humorous portraits of some of his fellow trekkers, to Paul Stutzman’s Hiking Through, which tells of the author’s quest for peace and freedom on the Trail. There are at least a score of books offering practical advice on how to hike the Trail; there are even a few that deal solely with preparations for the hike.
In Light of the World (ISBN 978-1-4767-1076-1, $27.99), James Lee Burke once again gives readers writing cut and polished like a fine diamond. Unfortunately, what he actually has to say and the story he has to tell is so flawed that if this novel were a diamond, the plot and most of the characters would be ground into dust and used for manufacturing.
For most students, parents, and teachers, autumn rather than spring is the season of budding growth, new life, and hope.
Every once in a while, we encounter a situation so strange and so far removed from the natural order of things that we label the event a “miracle.” (In my own case, this would involve getting eight straight hours of sleep in a single night.) The unexplained healing of some horrific, normally fatal illness; synchronistic convergences so strange that they go far past mere coincidence; the appearance of some apparition — a deceased relative, an angel, the Virgin Mary — bearing private, detailed and accurate information to a human recipient: these are some of the occasions which startle us into breaking out the concept of a miracle to explain or at least acknowledge the unexplainable.
On June 24, 1993, David Gelernter, then an associate professor of computer science at Yale University, opened a package in his office that exploded, tearing off most of his right hand and damaging his hearing and eyesight. Gelernter, who had written extensively about computer usage and was a frequent critic of our use of them, was ironically one more victim of the Unabomber, who detested technology.