Ken Follett’s tribute to Notre Dame

On April 15, 2019, Notre-Dame de Paris, one of the world’s most beloved architectural landmarks, caught fire. The blaze started in the roof, incinerating the enormous ancient wooden beams located there and causing the collapse of the central spire, which “leaned sideways, snapped like a matchstick, and crashed through the flaming roof of the nave.”

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.

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!”

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?

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.

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.