Annus horribilis: A review of Taylor Downing’s ‘1942’

Annus horribilis is Latin for a horrible year, a time of disaster, and aptly applies to the first months of…
Read More

Comment

 

Stepping backwards through time via literature

In the past 10 days, whim, a desire for a breather from our breathless age, and heaven knows what else…
Read More

Comment

 

A trio of books all worth a read

Before proceeding to reading and books, a note on circumstances and environment.
Read More

Comment

 

Murder, bibliophiles, and a B&B

In “A Fatal Booking” (Crooked Lane Books, 2022, 304 pages), Victoria Gilbert’s third novel in her series “Booklovers B&B Mysteries,”…
Read More

Comment

 

Ecopoetry ruminations from the Great Smokies

“We must unhumanize our view a little, and become confident / As the rock, and ocean that we were made from.” —…
Read More

Comment

 

Local author pens novel about pre-Depression Asheville

I’ve said it before — our local authors are “going to town” these days, and in this case quite literally. 
Read More

Comment

 

Regrets and no regrets: a review of two books

Daniel Pink’s “The Power of Regret: How Looking Backward Moves Us Forward” (Riverhead Books, 1922, 256 pages) opens with a…
Read More

Comment

 

Making a positive change in the world

“Eleutheria” is the Greek word for “freedom.” It is also the reference name of an island in the Bahamas (Eleuthera).…
Read More

Comment

 

The boy monk: a review of ‘Monastery Mornings’

To be human is to suffer. In the case of third-grader Michael O’Brien, that meant watching the apparent disintegration of his…
Read More

Comment

 

Shipwreck, survival and faith all in one novel

Novels that touch on faith and God have long intrigued me.
Read More

Comment

 

Pride, ignorance and high tech equal disaster

About halfway through “Blue Fire” (Kensington Publishing Corp., 2022, 326 pages,) John Gilstrap’s apocalyptic novel about a worldwide nuclear war,…
Read More

Comment

 

A well-told history of the Lakota Sioux

Having grown up in these Cherokee hills, I became interested in things native from an early age. This interest, spawned…
Read More

Comment

 

Off to the beach with “Shrimp Highway”

Too much time has passed since I last visited the coast.
Read More

Comment

 

I don’t get it: A Review of ‘The Ballad of Laurel Springs’

Sometimes a book I’ve read, particularly a novel, will leave me mystified, which is not always a good thing.
Read More

Comment

 

One man’s vision of the Southern Appalachians

In my recent passion and ongoing interest in reviewing books by local and regional authors, I am offering here, yet…
Read More

Comment

 

A quick review and a word of gratitude

Recently in this space I reviewed “The Broken Spine” by Dorothy St. James, a murder mystery set in a small…
Read More

Comment

 

‘The Broken Spine’ and ‘The Dead Beat’

Cypress, South Carolina is a moderately-sized town surrounded by farms where neighbors know one another and the pace of life…
Read More

Comment

 

Making your business a success; making success your business

It’s not often, if ever, that I would review a book about “how to succeed in business.” But I’m in…
Read More

Comment

 

Medicine for the soul: reading Roger Scruton

So why take a look here at two books by a philosopher and polymath, neither of which may appeal to…
Read More

Comment

 

One long, one short: ‘The Book of Candlelight’ and ‘Human Smoke’

Some men pick up a copy of Ellery Adams’ “The Book of Candlelight: A Secret, Book, and Scone Society Novel”…
Read More

Comment

 

Making peace with the past

I spent my boyhood living in Graham County in a community called Milltown in Robbinsville. In those days, there was…
Read More

Comment

 

Take time to read the ‘Book of Nature’

During the pandemic, regional authors have been busy. I’ve been made aware of several books being released this year by…
Read More

Comment

 

Summer’s coming, and it’s time for some fun!

“Summertime, and the livin’ is easy….” So begins one of the George Gershwin’s greatest songs, an aria in “Porgy and Bess”…
Read More

Comment

 

National Poetry Month: Honor our poets by listening

What month other than April could possibly be designated National Poetry Month?
Read More

Comment

 

From Soviet Russia to the American rural South

Time for the book review machine to travel back a few years.
Read More

Comment

 

Good book, bad ending: ‘A Stolen Focus’

Sucker-punched. That’s how I felt when I finished reading Johann Hari’s “Stolen Focus: Why You Can’t Pay Attention — and How…
Read More

Comment

 

From pole to pole, reimagining the future

It’s rare to come across a book that takes one far afield from the original focus presented by the artist…
Read More

Comment

 

Wild and free: two books, two approaches

A friend who was a fan of the Lee Child’s novels used to wear a T-shirt reading, “What would Jack…
Read More

Comment

 

An old guy looks at graphic books

Over the last year or so, I’ve noticed that the graphic books on the shelves of my public library are…
Read More

Comment

 

‘Just Maria’ a good read for all ages

What’s up with me? In my old age, am I regressing backwards to my teenage days? Or is Jay Hardwig’s…
Read More

Comment

 

Take the edge off winter with story hour

It’s late Saturday afternoon, February, that hour before supper when the little ones go bananas, and the 5-year-old and his…
Read More

Comment

 

Pancakes, with a side of ‘Craft & Culture’

Several years ago, when my children and grandchildren were gathering for a week at the beach in a house I’d…
Read More

Comment

 

A close encounter of the pleasant kind

Sometimes the right book just comes along.
Read More

Comment

 

Making boys into men the Jocko Willink way

Many readers of The Smoky Mountain News, particularly younger adults, are probably familiar with Jocko Willink, a former Navy SEAL…
Read More

Comment

 

A book from after the apocalypse

Manon Steffan Ros is a Welsh author of more than 40 books, writes in the Welsh language and has only…
Read More

Comment

 

Rowdy adventures: a review of “Sharpe’s Assassin”

Good grief! Let me say that again: Good grief!
Read More

Comment

 

Exploring the life of Cherokee’s first female chief

I was recently gifted with the loan of a book from my friend Lee Knight titled “Wilma Mankiller,” (TWODOT Books,…
Read More

Comment

 

More questions than answers in this book

To get the most out of out of James Lee Burke’s latest novel, “Another Kind of Eden” (Simon & Schuster,…
Read More

Comment

 

Reading our way into the New Year

Let’s kick off 2022 with a bunch of books.
Read More

Comment

 

More than just a ride on the rails

In the years after the Civil War, train travel in America exploded. Rail lines soon crisscrossed the country, bringing travelers…
Read More

Comment

 

A rose amongst the thorns

Steve Brooks is a prolific artist, poet and writer who has lived in Asheville for 10 years now, having moved…
Read More

Comment

 

Popcorn and caviar: a look at three books

Popcorn has little nutritional value, but it’s great when you have the munchies (and no, I don’t puff dope or…
Read More

Comment

 

In the shadows of the sun

Kazuo Ishiguro, who was born in Nagasaki, Japan, is an award-winning author whose accolades include The Nobel Prize and the…
Read More

Comment

 

Family, friends and gratitude: a great American holiday

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I raided my public library, brought home an armload of books having to do…
Read More

Comment

 

Regular people shine in novel set in Paris

Sometimes the world seems pretty crazy, especially for those of us who follow the daily news and commentaries online.
Read More

Comment

 

A book about the paths most traveled

In my younger years, I used to do a lot of hiking. I would follow footpaths and trails or blaze…
Read More

Comment

 

Words from a wisdom keeper

Joy Harjo is the current Poet Laureate of the United States. She is “Native,” “Indigenous,” of the Muscogee/Creek (Mvskoke) “Native…
Read More

Comment

 

Those who served: a review of ‘The Twenty Year War’

As of this year, around 19 million Americans are veterans, which is less than 10% of our population. Currently, 1.4…
Read More

Comment

 

Torches: literary lights for dark times

Ever had one of those times when every day brought bad news? In addition to our boatload of national catastrophes…
Read More

Comment

 

‘Love is always stronger than fear’

There are at least three reasons why Nicholas Sparks has sold over 100 million copies of his books and seen…
Read More

Comment

Smokey Mountain News Logo
SUPPORT THE SMOKY MOUNTAIN NEWS AND
INDEPENDENT, AWARD-WINNING JOURNALISM
Go to top
Payment Information

/

At our inception 20 years ago, we chose to be different. Unlike other news organizations, we made the decision to provide in-depth, regional reporting free to anyone who wanted access to it. We don’t plan to change that model. Support from our readers will help us maintain and strengthen the editorial independence that is crucial to our mission to help make Western North Carolina a better place to call home. If you are able, please support The Smoky Mountain News.

The Smoky Mountain News is a wholly private corporation. Reader contributions support the journalistic mission of SMN to remain independent. Your support of SMN does not constitute a charitable donation. If you have a question about contributing to SMN, please contact us.