Spilling words like a house afire

News flash: Buncombe County author Wayne Caldwell is also a poet! Evidenced by his just-released collection Woodsmoke (Blair Publications, Durham)…
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Blindsided by Rachel Hollis

My sister, her husband, and a friend recently visited me for several days. Though I don’t own a television, there’s…
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Silence, devils, pollyanna and peace of mind

“What happens to people who live inside their phones?” In his short novel The Silence (Simon & Schuster, Inc. 2020,…
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An excellent history lesson

Having recently read and reviewed for the Smoky Mountain Living magazine Vicki Lane’s And The Crows Took Their Eyes, a…
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Lit-bits: a wild week with books and words

Sometimes I feel waist deep not in flood waters, troubles, quandaries, or even grandchildren, but in books, literature, literary classics,…
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A look inside a Nazi family

About 10 years ago, I was standing in the checkout line at my local Ingles. The clerk, age 19 or…
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Ginseng, family, friends and home

Many of us who read novels find ourselves in awe of authors who create a landscape and a place so…
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An earth-focused vision for the future

David  Suzuki is an internationally renowned geneticist and environmentalist and is the author of more than 40 books and recipient…
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Joys and comforts of cooking: Kitchen Yarns

Before taking a look at Ann Hood’s Kitchen Yarns: Notes on Life, Love, and Food (W.W. Norton & Company, 229…
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For what would you lay down your life?

Not everyone will enjoy Michael Walsh’s Last Stands: Why Men Fight When All Is Lost (St. Martin’s Press, 2020, 358…
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Life, dreams, canoes and rivers

One fond childhood memory involves a yellow fiberglass canoe and the Yadkin River. My dad, one of my younger brothers,…
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Secrets, winning friends, and ‘Ivanhoe’

All families have their secrets, but some families have deeper and darker secrets than others. In June Titus’s novel Banjo Man…
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A resolution to get back to the books

Harper Lee of To Kill A Mockingbird fame once wrote, “Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved…
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Folks and faith: two books about the South

In his short essay, “Dear Santa (Again),” Rick Bragg writes, “For my big brother Sam, I would like you to…
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Honoring the old ways

“I make a prayer for words. Let me say my heart.” — M. Scott Momaday As the winner of almost all…
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Too many books, too little time: books unread but recognized

For five years or so, Nick Hornby’s Ten Years In The Tub: A Decade Soaking in Great Books has occupied…
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Tracing the human family tree

As someone who was an anthropology major in college and have been somewhat obsessed by the truth behind the idea…
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Helpful, innocent, sweet, informative: four reads

As I write this book review, the presidential election is one day away. Like many of my readers, I have…
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A voice of his own: the stories of Ed Stansell

So you’re a reader, a lover of books and the printed word, and if the pandemic permits, you visit your…
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Sitting in the sweetgrass of freedom

“I want to dance for the renewal of the world.” —Robin Wall Kimmerer
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Finding joy and exploring a museum

Near the beginning of Katherine Center’s novel What You Wish For (St. Martin’s Press, 2020, 309 pages), school librarian Samantha…
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Some books for the little ones, some fun for you

It’s time to put away the books About politicos and other crooks, No more fat novels for today, It’s time…
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Good reads: romance, cupcakes, and the Constitution

So why would a guy approaching 70 select for review a “Contemporary Romance” about the owner of a cupcake and…
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Digging into history: a visit to Jamestown

Right after Labor Day, my friend John and I traveled to Virginia’s Historic Triangle: Jamestown, Williamsburg, and Yorktown. A paper…
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Don’t know much about history: time for a change

In mid-August, I was sitting in the waiting room of my local auto repair shop typing away on my computer…
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Lost and found in the woods

It has been said that the best place to start a story is at the beginning. With the first page…
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Looking back at famous Americans

Every once in a while, I’ll read a book of history and want to throw a party: bottles of champagne,…
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What if we tried thinking instead of screaming?

It’s September 2020, and you’d have to be living as an anchorite in the deserts of New Mexico if you…
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A train ride through Prohibition-era NC

“We are here on this earth separated from God, so that we might learn and grow.” — Jedidiah Robbins If there’s…
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Jefferson’s education, books, reading and gifts

For five years, just after we were married, my wife and I were house parents for a sorority at the…
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One long, three short: reviews and reflections

We are, at our core, remembering and story-making creatures, and stories are one of the chief ways we find meaning…
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Two for the price of one

When I find an author I like, I usually get on a roll reading several of their books. Such was…
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Why we need honest journalists right now

The ancient philosopher Diogenes used to stroll about Athens holding a lantern to the faces of those he met and…
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A story about second chances

A friend in a book club to which I once belonged disliked Anne Tyler’s novel, Saint Maybe. “I’ve read other…
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A feast for readers: A Poor Man’s Supper

The years following the Civil War brought great changes to Western North Carolina. The railroads penetrated these coves and mountains,…
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Advice for those ‘Walking Through Hell’

Many among us have committed crimes or wronged other people, dark deeds which we regret and which may well have…
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In her own words

If you’re like me and are interested in or curious about the day-to-day life and especially the early life of…
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Redemption and Occasional Magic: two books of inspiration
 

Redemption and Occasional Magic: two books of inspiration

Many readers are familiar with his story.  Johnny Cash, also known in later life as “The Man in Black,” grew…
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Writer argues that common sense is not so common

“At the heart of this wonderful book by Robert Curry is the simple belief that you as a human being…
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Story delves into illicit affair and its fallout

About halfway through Kate Russell’s My Dark Vanessa (William Morrow, 2020, 372 pages), I nearly put the novel aside. Like…
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An old book for today’s mayhem: The True Believer

Let’s take a look at fanatics, particularly political fanatics. Heaven knows there are enough of them around these days, most…
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Trailblazers & Traditionalists pulses with life

Years ago, in the parking lot of the Haywood County Public Library, I met a man in his late 20s…
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A meeting of two great minds

Looking for a reading challenge and something with a little depth to it? If so, then I’ve got the book…
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Soldiers who shaped our nation

May the memory of these men sustain us all and remind us of their sacrifice to secure our freedom. May…
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Churchill’s spirit comes through in new biography

Sometimes in a crisis it helps to take a look in the rearview mirror. In The Splendid And The Vile:…
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Back to the future

If it’s true that timing is everything, then Ben Okri’s new novel The Freedom Artist is right on time.  As…
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This pandemic may bring us closer

Weird, weird, weird. Every morning until about two months ago, the online sites I visit daily offered accounts of someone…
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Poetry and pandemic: Let’s celebrate National Poetry Month?

“Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote,” The Canterbury Tales begins, “the droghte of Marche hath perced to the roote….”
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Four essential reads for the Anthropocene

By Boyd Holliday • Guest Writer | Concerned about the reports of global climate change? Depressed? Confused by the competing…
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Fire, fire burning bright … the notebooks of Leonard Cohen

In some literary and music circles the debate continues as to whom is the best songwriter of the 20th and…
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