Bringing Van Gogh home: the value of art books
Recently I wrote an article on the American artist Edward Hopper and his vision of solitude and alienation. Though I used the internet to hyperlink pictures of his paintings to those discussed in my essay, I also went to my local library, where — this was a bit of a miracle — I found three volumes of his work.
Lost and found in the woods of Appalachia
Another regional writer has just published a new book. Janisse Ray, whom I know as an original member of the Southern Nature Project (www.southernnature.org) and author of “Ecology of a Cracker Childhood,” is winner of many major national literary awards as well as being inducted as a member of the Georgia Literary Hall of Fame. A Georgia native, she is a neighbor of ours here in the Southern Appalachians, which is where her new book and her first novel takes place.
God forbid it ever comes to this
Every once in a while, a book gives me the willies.
“2034: A Novel of the Next World War” did more than that. It scared the hell out of me.
The lost poems of Wilma Mankiller
Wilma Mankiller was the first female Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation from 1985 to 1995. She was an activist for many Native American and progressive social causes and programs throughout her adult life and was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Heroes, misfits, and men: two reviews
In “Sexual Personae,” controversial feminist Camille Paglia wrote, “When I cross the George Washington Bridge or any of America’s other great bridges, I think: men have done this. Construction is a sublime male poetry…. If civilization had been left in female hands, we would still be living in grass huts.”
Hope and laughter from a patron saint
Dear Christine Simon,
Normally I write a book review in this space, and I intend to do so here in regard to your novel “The Patron Saint of Second Chances” (Atria Books, 2022, 304 pages). But as this is also a thank you note as well as a look at your book, I am breaking ranks with my usual template of review.
Buddhism and the San Francisco Beats
“Crowded By Beauty” (University of California Press, 2015) is the poetic title of the most recent biography of Philip Whalen. Who was Philip Whalen? As the author David Schneider describes him:
Annus horribilis: A review of Taylor Downing’s ‘1942’
Annus horribilis is Latin for a horrible year, a time of disaster, and aptly applies to the first months of 1942. On all fronts the Allied Forces — Great Britain, the Soviet Union and the United States after the attack on Pearl Harbor — suffered defeat after defeat.
Stepping backwards through time via literature
In the past 10 days, whim, a desire for a breather from our breathless age, and heaven knows what else tempted me away from contemporary literature and into the past.
Murder, bibliophiles, and a B&B
In “A Fatal Booking” (Crooked Lane Books, 2022, 304 pages), Victoria Gilbert’s third novel in her series “Booklovers B&B Mysteries,” we again meet Charlotte Reed, owner of Chapters Bed-and-Breakfast in Beaufort, North Carolina. Charlotte is a former school teacher and 40-something widow who has inherited this inn from her great-aunt Isabella. With a passion for books and reading, Charlotte remodels the old mansion, turning it into a literary lovers paradise.