Different ways to look at love

I had a book in mind to review for Valentine’s Day, but was hesitant to reveal the choice to my mentor and fellow reviewer Jeff Minick. Would it fit his idea of what a Valentine’s Day book should be? 

Rash takes care of business in ‘The Caretaker’

Ron Rash’s new novel “The Caretaker” (Doubleday, 2023, 252 pgs.) is much different than his previous novels.

Straight up or subtle satire? You decide

Writers of fiction find themselves under several obligations. First and perhaps foremost, they must entertain their readers, enticing them to keep turning the pages. Doing so means creating believable characters who must get past some challenging hurdles, whether those involve love, war, nature, or other obstacles.

The good and the bad: two book reviews

À chacun son gout, as the French say: “To each his own,” or if you prefer, “There’s no accounting for taste.” Best to keep that thought in mind in this review.

Rowdy adventures: a review of “Sharpe’s Assassin”

Good grief!

Let me say that again: Good grief!

David Joy releases latest novel 'When These Mountains Burn'

Situated at the corner of N.C. 107 and 281, in the Tuckasegee community of rural Jackson County, is a newly-built Dollar General. And sitting in his pickup truck in the convenience store parking lot one recent afternoon is acclaimed author David Joy. 

A few good books about old times

In 1960, when I was in elementary school, the pop group Dante & the Evergreens rocked my young ears with two hit songs on the radio: “Alley Oop” and a little later, “Time Machine.” (Both songs are available on YouTube. Have some fun and give them a listen.) In “Time Machine,” a young man sees a picture of Cleopatra in a book, falls in love with her, and vows to build a time traveling “thingamajig.” Here is the song’s refrain:”

Yiddish noir novel hits the mark

So, how many Yiddish authors do you know? If you’re like me your answer would be none. That is until I happened upon Jacob Dinezon’s (1855-1919)  novel The Dark Young Man (first published in 1877), translated by Tina Lunson and adapted and edited by Scott Hilton Davis and newly released by Jewish Storytelling Press in February. 

Catch him if you can: David Joy releases highly-anticipated third novel

If you didn’t know him, you wouldn’t even notice him.

Sitting by himself at the counter of the Innovation Station in Dillsboro one recent sunny afternoon, David Joy sips on a heady craft brew, the blonde ale to be specific (his favorite). The sparkling new second location for Innovation Brewing (based out of nearby Sylva), Joy is fiercely loyal to the indepently-owned/operated company, a loyalty akin to the hardscrabble characters of his wildy fascinating and acclaimed novels.

Choose your summer reading carefully

The last 10 days have brought some broad swatches of time for reading.

Two novels have traveled from the library, visited my fingers and eyes, and returned to their comrades on the shelves. Will Durant’s The Story of Civilization — I’ve just finished Volume VI: The Reformation — keeps me out of trouble for 30 minutes a day, and old friends like Robert Hartwell Fiske’s The Best Words, Mark Helprin’s A Soldier of the Great War, Nina George’s The Little Paris Bookshop, and Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules For Life offer, as a Coca-Cola ad once put it, “the pause that refreshes.” 

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