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?

Insightful and beautifully written

Thirty years ago or so, perhaps in Time Magazine where he was a long-time essayist, I read a Lance Morrow article on the subject of honor. His piece so impressed me that I read it multiple times, and later photocopied it and passed it on to the students in my Advanced Placement English Language and Composition class as an example of stellar writing. 

Throwing punches and having some fun

Jack Reacher must own the toughest set of knuckles on planet Earth.

About halfway through the latest Reacher saga, The Sentinel (Random House, 2020, 353 pages), I lost track of the number of times Reacher threw a punch into some bad guy’s face. Long ago, when boxing was done without gloves, some of the fighters soaked their hands in salt water to make them tougher. Though Reacher is never shown practicing that technique, we must assume he spent his youth and his years as a military policeman for hours a day with his fingers in a bowl of water that would put the salt content of the Dead Sea to shame.

Unhappy reading vs. happy reading

Books, books, books, and more books.

After a long hiatus, in the last month books have again become my daily companions. I set aside at least an hour every day, put on my glasses, and take up a book. 

It’s National Poetry Month: Join the party!

Time to party, everyone!

April is here, and along with warmer weather, blossoms and flowers, and grass grown green, April is National Poetry Month, and this year marks the 25th anniversary of this celebration.

Book details atrocities in Chinese factories

Historically, and presently, the women at Masanjia experienced worse torture and degradation than men. The guards would jam and twist toothbrushes up women’s vaginas, pour chili powder onto their genitals, and shock their breasts with electric batons. Then they gang-raped their victims, who often vomited blood afterwards.

Taking a vacation with Nicholas Sparks

February and early March were a little rough on your reviewer. We got slammed with some bad weather — snow I like, but long, gray winter days wear on me — and I suffered some health problems, one of which put me in a dismal emergency room cubicle for five hours. A week of fighting a severe chest cold has also taken its toll.

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 a DVD player downstairs along with a modest collection of movies, and I offered several times to bring it to the living room for their entertainment. Each time they waved me away, explaining they were content just to read.

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, 117 pages), Don DeLillo raises this question, and then shows us some possibilities when an unexplained break in the power grid shuts down phones, computers, and televisions.

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 fine novel set in Madison County during the Civil War and focused on the Shelton Laurel Massacre, this week I returned to that era with J.L. Askew’s War In The Mountains: The Macbeth Light Artillery at Asheville, N.C. 1864-1865 (Covenant Books, Inc., 2020, 535 pages).

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