Contacting my hirsute love

Back in the early 1950s when Western Carolina University was still Western Carolina Teachers College, I got a crush on a feisty little co-ed named Hedy West during my sophomore year. Hedy played a banjo and sang exhilarating songs about dying miners and terrible injustices visited on people who worked in cotton mills.

A debut reminiscent of other stirring westerns

Back in the 15th century, when Europe underwent a remarkable surge in creativity, the word “Renaissance” (meaning “rebirth”) was frequently applied to England, Germany, Italy and France where music, art, literature and the sciences were suddenly thriving.

Locked away

Coventry by Joseph Bathanti. Novello Festival Press, 2006. 261 pages.

When 30-year-old Calvin Gaddy finds himself working as a guard in Coventry Prison, he is plagued by the memory of the promise he had made to his mother: that he would never follow his father MacGregor Gaddy’s example and become a prison guard – especially since the aging, retired “Mac” had become a legend at Coventry due to his reputation for cruelty.

The Stone Raft: Surreal of so real

If you remember those wonderful fairy tales in which the hero acquires the aid of “helpers” in their journey to acquire some prize — usually, three or four creatures with remarkable powers — then you have the basic plot of The Stone Raft.

Remembering the spirit of Saide Luck

I grew up thinking that libraries had a lot in common with churches. I guess I need to explain that.

Revenge rising

Well, dear readers, modern pop fiction’s most famous killer, Hannibal the Cannibal, has quietly returned. For those of you who thought you had seen the last of Thomas Harris’ deadly (but cultured) gourmet murderer, brace yourselves.

Dexter: friendly, gruesome with a twist of sociopath

Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay. New York: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard. $12.95 – 288 pages. Dearly Devoted Dexter by Jeff Lindsay. New York: Doubleday and Company. $22.95 – 292 pages.

Abandoned library 06

Well I just received a hurriedly written letter from 2006. (It was on a page torn from a Gideon Bible). She asked that I forward her belongings to an address in Music City, and that she was sorry for the “recent misunderstandings.”

A darkness that resides

Coronado by Dennis Lehane. William Morrow Publishers, 2006. $24.95 — 232 pages.

A Christmas swap shop atop a mountain – now that’s the spirit

Listen! Did you hear that? I’ve been hearing it for weeks now, the faint but steadily growing whisper of something approaching. From the east, I hear ... Dum, dummity, dum, dum! Me and my drummm ....” Heard that, didn’t you? And now, from the west ...“Three French hens, two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear treeeee ...

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