Author Archive

The Book woman of Troublesome Creek

June 24, 2019

indexThis was a real eye opener for me. It takes place in 1930 Kentucky and relates the efforts of the “Pack Horse ” librarians, as they were called, to deliver the printed word to their patrons. They were almost all female, and rode horses and mules in every weather imaginable and across hundreds of miles at times. Young Cussy Mary becomes one to feed her father and herself, and enjoys the work immensely. She has led a difficult life: she had an abusive husband, was almost raped by his brother, and is at the mercy of the townspeople, since she was a “blue”. A local doctor ran tests on Cussy or Bluet, as he called her and discovered that she had a condition known as methemoglobinemia. Due to a recessive gene, the blood contains less oxygen and is a more brownish color, causing the person’s skin to have a blue color. Blues in that area were regarded as being lower than any other person of color and discriminated against terribly. Kim Michelle Richardson tells a fascinating story about the hardships and joys of living in Appalachia.

The Gown: A Novel of the Royal Wedding

June 17, 2019

bookDid you ever wonder who makes the gowns for England’s royal weddings? Jennifer Robson set out to write a novel about the years following the World War II. She discovered that during that period, everyone was most excited about the wedding of Princess Elizabeth to Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, and Robson uses this event for the basis of her novel. Her two main characters, Ann Hughes and Miriam Dassin, are embroiders working for Norman Hartnell, the gown designer. I found this story fascinating; the main characters are based on an interview that Ms. Robson had with an woman who actually worked at Hartnell’s on the gown for Princess Elizabeth. As with all historical fiction, the sections of the story based on actual events leave the reader with a bird’s eye view into that time period. Definitely recommended for fans of the British royals.

My Bookstore

June 10, 2019

my-bookstore.w300I should mention the subtitle of this: Writers Celebrate Their Favorite Places to Browse, Read and Shop. Edited by Ronald Rice and booksellers across America, My Bookstore is a compilation of essays that pays tribute to the independent bookstores. Eighty-four authors explain why they love their neighborhood bookstores, not least of which is the ability of the booksellers to befriend their customers and offer them exemplary service. Writer Pete Hamill’s favorite is the Strand in NYC, while Carrie Ryan choses Park Road Books in Charlotte, North Carolina, a store I visited while on vacation. Thumb through this; you  just may discover one of these gems in your travels.

Once More We Saw Stars

June 3, 2019

index.aspxNo parent should ever have to deal with the loss of a child. Author Jayson Greene never gave it a second thought until the unthinkable happened. His 2 year old daughter Greta was sitting on a bench outside a NYC apartment building along with her grandmother one day, when a loose brick dislodged from an eighth story windowsill. One chunk hit Greta in the head, and the other hit her grandmother on her legs. Greta was kept alive long enough to donate her organs; her grandmother recovered from her injuries. Greene has written an account of how he and his wife were able to pull themselves back from the brink of total despair. They learned how to live in a world without their daughter in it, and his memoir is a heartbreaking story that is a true inspiration to the reader.

Gratitude

June 1, 2019

oprahThis was the subject of an article in Oprah magazine last November, titled “How Gratitude Shifts Your Attitude.” Letters from various people were contained within the article, where the writer addressed the person or object for which he or she was most grateful. One of the letters that caught my eye was “Dear public library,” penned by author Catherine Newman. She explains that she loves the library not only for the beautiful roses growing that she can stop & smell, but especially for enabling her reading addiction and saving her “eleventy trillion dollars in the process.” Newman also pays homage to the kind librarians who work there, explaining “your librarians keep all our secrets, like bartenders we never tip.” Apologizing for her many overdue books, she adds, “your librarians, those gracious hosts, would never be so crass as to mention what I’m costing them” by keeping overdue items. She ends with: ” you are the hero of a story, and it’s this one.” What a wonderful tribute to libraries and librarians…


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