A shiner’s tale, a woman’s perspective

In a literary genre (Appalachian noir) dominated by men, Amy Jo Burns’ new novel Shiner breaks through barriers and the unspoken publisher-induced rules of the genre — conflict, conflict, conflict — and comes out on the other side with a compelling story that has an interior rather than a dark, action-driven or plot-driven narrative.

Perhaps we all need to laugh a little more

Recently I realized I needed to laugh more often. 

I do laugh when I’m on the phone with one of my children or a friend, and occasionally if I watch some YouTube video.

Surprised by Stewart’s ‘Very Good Things’

Most of us like comeback stories.

Neanderthals were smarter than we thought

Toward the end of 2020, I reviewed a book here titled The Last Neanderthal by Claire Cameron. This was fiction and a novel based on actual anthropological research giving the reader a camera-eye look into the lives of the last full-blood Neanderthals to inhabit Europe. Cameron had done her homework and had written a captivating story.

A few lessons in virtue from a veteran

On the shelves around the room where I write and work a visitor would find all sorts of books, including a few “self-help” guides and manuals on writing and composition. My theory on spending money on such books is this: If they contain even one piece of advice, however small, that might improve my life or my writing, then the money I paid for that book is more than worth that expense. 

The poetry of living off the grid

If the word “value” is to mean anything, it should at least apply to two or more things. First it should refer to monetary worth, and second, and more importantly, it should refer to appreciation of higher consciousness regarding human experience. 

Reflections on spirituality, creativity and art

Sometimes a book can overwhelm us with its energy and its wisdom.

Like most readers, I love when a writer, especially one completely unknown to me, reaches out from the pages, grabs me by the shoulders, and says, “Listen to me!”

Reading Room: Brandi Carlile's Broken Horses

There is so much I love about Brandi Carlile I don’t even know where to begin, but at the moment I am in love with her memoir released last month, “Broken Horses.”

Peterson updates his popular ‘Rules for Life’

In 2018, Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules For Life: An Antidote to Chaos became an international bestseller, and Peterson himself became a celebrity, speaking to packed auditoriums and lecture halls around the United States and other countries. He then fell ill, in large part from various legal drugs he was taking, almost died, recovered, and has now written and published a sequel to 12 Rules For Life.

Insight into the power of listening

Have you ever engaged in a political argument where instead of listening to your opponent your mind is furiously creating counterpoints to your adversary?

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