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.

Spilling words like a house afire

News flash: Buncombe County author Wayne Caldwell is also a poet! Evidenced by his just-released collection Woodsmoke (Blair Publications, Durham) we are treated to a life in the Western North Carolina mountains from the perspective of an elder gentleman who has lived, according to a multi-generational tradition, the old ways.

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).

Lit-bits: a wild week with books and words

Sometimes I feel waist deep not in flood waters, troubles, quandaries, or even grandchildren, but in books, literature, literary classics, movies based on books, questions about authors, and friends and family members either recommending titles I should read or asking me what books they should read.

A look inside a Nazi family

About 10 years ago, I was standing in the checkout line at my local Ingles. The clerk, age 19 or 20, tattooed and pierced, was telling a customer, clearly an acquaintance, that she couldn’t wait until society fell apart and we’d all be forced to survive by our wits and resources.

Ginseng, family, friends and home

Many of us who read novels find ourselves in awe of authors who create a landscape and a place so well that we can see the fields and forests, hear the birds, and feel the sunshine and rain on our faces. 

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