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 library or local bookstore, and browse the shelves. Or maybe a friend hands you a book and says, “I think you might like this one,” though the last one she gave you sits untouched on the nightstand. 

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 Casey suffers an attack of epilepsy while driving and runs her car into the side of a 7-Eleven. She suffers bruises and requires stitches for her cuts, but she is chiefly distraught at the return of her epilepsy after so many years.

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 to have some fun and play.

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 cocktails café falling for the owner of the axe throwing sports bar next door?

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 for which I write had commissioned me to do some pieces on each place, and though I had visited there earlier in my life, that was long ago. 

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 when a conversation from the adjoining room intruded on my concentration. There the two men who operate the service desk and two mechanics were lamenting their children’s ignorance about history. For several minutes, they traded stories of kids and grandkids who had little knowledge of the American Revolution, the Civil War, and the major events of the twentieth century.

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, hors d’oeuvres, music, and even dancing, though I am as awkward on a dance floor as a Mississippi farm boy on ice skates for the first time. Encountering such a book leaves me giddy, “High as the flag on the Fourth of July,” as the song in the old musical “South Pacific” puts it.

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 are unaware of the turmoil in American society. The coronavirus crisis, the riots in various American cities, the daily bombardment of charges and countercharges from candidates for political office, members of the mainstream media, bloggers, and anyone else with an ax to grind: all provide evidence that we are as deeply divided a country as possible without actually engaging in civil war.

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 University of Virginia, responsible for the upkeep of the building and for the safety and behavior of the 20 young women who resided in the old brick home. 

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 in the flow of events.

Historical consciousness is to civilized society what memory is to individual will. 

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