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susannah eanes commented on Rob Neufeld's blog post The Invention of Nature, an inspiring book--author Andrea Wulf at Malaprop's May 1
"So chuffed about this! Sadly, I won't be there except in spirit. Andrea Wulf is a force of nature, herself. Her amazing work The Brother Gardeners should be made into a feature-length film - the characters live and breathe again between the…"
41 minutes ago
Evelyn Asher updated their profile
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Rob Neufeld posted a blog post

The Invention of Nature, an inspiring book--author Andrea Wulf at Malaprop's May 1

Author of key book of our times comes to AshevilleAndrea Wulf makes Malaprop's Bookstore one her stops, Sun., May 1, 3 p.m., in talking about her thrilling work of non-fiction, The Invention of Nature: Alexander von…See More
2 hours ago
Rob Neufeld's discussion was featured

Salman Rushdie to Asheville with new novel

Atheist believes in genies, novel revealsby Rob Neufeld             Salman Rushdie’s latest novel—“Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights” (1,001 nights)—has permitted me to come up with a headline as wild as the one above because the book is so exuberantly and infectiously…See More
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Julia Nunnally Duncan updated their profile
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City Lights Bookstore posted events
Apr 23
Rob Neufeld posted a blog post

8th Annual Blue Ridge Bookfest Apr 22-23

The 8th Annual Blue Ridge Bookfest brings authors to Flat Rock There are a few oases where writers congregate to share wares and wisdom, and Apr. 22-23, the place is Blue Ridge Community College, featuring 19 readings and workshops, and many more opportunities for conversations with authors at exhibition tables.  See full schedule at…See More
Apr 20
Toby Hill posted a blog post

Asheville- The Way I Remember It- Hester

I have posted a new blog about a man I knew growing up in Asheville. It is entitled " Hester." Anna says guys will like it better than women. It's pretty long, but enjoy it.HESTERGrowing up in Asheville in N.C. in the 50’s and 60’s seemed, at the time, to be filled with a rhythm of adventure and strange encounters sprinkled with an assortment of particularly interesting and somewhat odd characters. One of those persons who fascinated me as a child was my father’s friend “Hester. “ My dad was…See More
Apr 19
Frank Thompson posted an event
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Frank Thompson at Yancey History Association

April 19, 2016 at 6pm to April 19, 2017 at 7pm
There is a permanent exhibit at the Yancy History Association in Burnsville devoted to the film "Then I'll Come Back to You" (1916) which was produced in nearby Pensacola. It's a small exhibit but well curated and filled with great photographs and other memorabilia of this century-old film.See More
Apr 19
Sharon Freeman Pace replied to Rob Neufeld's discussion Jerry Steinberg--Asheville history, contrarian views, new book
"In the 60's, early 70's, one of my uncles on my mothers side worked as a groundskeeper for Mr. Sternberg. I remember our driving up to the "castle" and my sister asking my aunt where the moat was.I also remember touching the…"
Apr 19
nancy dillingham replied to Rob Neufeld's discussion Interview with Ron Rash on occasion of 2016 Selected & New Poems
"A wonderful discussion on craft, Rob!"
Apr 17
City Lights Bookstore posted events
Apr 16
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

Interview with Ron Rash on occasion of 2016 Selected & New Poems

Something unseen stirs the words in Ron Rash poemsby Rob Neufeld             Ron Rash, award-winning novelist and short story writer, is also an acclaimed and accomplished poet.  His new book, “Poems: New and Selected” (HarperCollins) draws from six volumes and adds eight new poems.  He comes to Malaprop’s…See More
Apr 15
City Lights Bookstore posted an event
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Fred Chappell to Present His New Fantasy Novel at City Lights Bookstore

May 13, 2016 from 6:30pm to 8pm
Poet and novelist, Fred Chappell will return to City Lights Bookstore on Friday, May 13th at 6:30 p.m. to read from and sign his new fantasy novel. In A Shadow All of Light, a young man sets off on a journey to become the apprentice of a master shadow thief. His mysterious master challenges him with difficult mental and physical tests, setting in motion adventures with con men, monsters, ingenious detection, cats, and pirates.Fred Chappell is a former professor of English at the University of…See More
Apr 12
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

A Shadow of All Light by Fred Chappell

Literary master evokes classic fantasy taleby Rob Neufeld             Let’s say you’re going to a book fair, and a guy with a long grey beard and glittering eye stops you at the entrance.  He points to worn and rebound books he’s laid out on a table: Gulliver’s Travels; The Story of Sir Launcelot; The Three…See More
Apr 10
City Lights Bookstore posted an event
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Courtney Lix Presents Her History of Women in the Smokies at City Lights Bookstore

May 6, 2016 from 6:30pm to 8pm
Courtney Lix will visit City Lights Bookstore on Friday, May 6th at 6:30 p.m. She will present her book Women of the Smokies which chronicles the women who contributed to making the Smokies what we know today. She will share some of the stories of these women and sign books. To reserve copies please call City Lights Bookstore at 828-586-9499.See More
Apr 9

ASU name expert, Dr. Donna Lillian, reveals fruits of study

Words with friends; Appalachian professor leads American Name Society

Article from Appalachian State University

BOONE—Onomastics. It’s a word a computer spellchecker won’t recognize but one that speaks volumes to those who study names and naming practices.

Dr. Donna L. Lillian, director of the women’s studies program at Appalachian State University and an associate professor of English, is an onomastician and has begun a two-year term as president of the American Name Society (ANS), the oldest scholarly society devoted to the study of names in the United States. She took office earlier this month during the society’s annual meeting held in Boston in conjunction with the Linguistic Society of America.

“Names have a lot to do with identity,” Lillian said. “So if we want to know who we are, then one way of exploring that is what we call ourselves, all the things we do and interact with.”

Onomastics also encompasses a range of academic areas of interest, Lillian explained. For example, areas of interest to researchers include names in politics, religion and literature. Society members who are geographers study names of cities, towns, streets, mountains or rivers.

“If you look at the place names of North America, you can learn a lot about history, migration patterns and values,” Lillian said. “Scholars of literature will often study names in favorite pieces of literature or those used by certain authors, such as Dickens who did interesting things with his characters’ names,” Lillian said.

Dickens’ colorful and character-defining include Mr. Sloppy, Artful Dodger and of course, Scrooge. Others study trade names.

“Trends in name choices for children can say something about what we as a society are preoccupied with,” Lillian said. “If a particular individual such as an athlete, actor or politician gains quite a bit of popularity, then a lot of people start naming their child after that person. Historically you can look back and see what were some of those preoccupations.” 

Each year during its annual meeting, the American Name Society votes on the preceding year’s top personal name, place name, trade name and fictional name.  Winners were Malala, Gangman, fiscal cliff and Downton Abbey, respectively.  Malala was selected because the name has become associated with a cause – advocating for education of Pakistani girls, particularly in an area controlled by the Taliban.

The society’s overall name of the year was Sandy for its association with Hurricane Sandy and Sandy Hook Elementary School, Lillian said.

Lillian’s interest in names was fueled while teaching a language and gender course while a master’s degree candidate at the University of Toronto. “I began thinking about women’s marital name choices, our naming practices in general and how the family surname is virtually always the father’s surname,” she said. “For my master’s thesis, I did an empirical study on patterns of women’s naming choices and the courtesy title Ms.”

She has continued her research on women’s use of surnames when they marry and their use of the courtesy titles Miss, Ms. or Mrs. and how those trends have changed during the past 30 years.

“There have been some interesting shifts,” Lillian said. “In the mid-80s, there was a growing trend toward women keeping their surname when they married. Professional women and younger women were more likely to keep their name. Women who had married before the mid-70s changed their name.”

That trend began changing in the mid-90s. “The trend is reversing itself now among younger women. Fewer women under 30 are keeping their name when they marry,” Lillian said. Some of the women Lillian surveyed recounted the hassles their mother encountered by keeping her surname and didn’t want a similar experience. “There was also a big connection with a return to conservative values including a family all having the same surname.”

When it comes to the use of Ms., the trends are also interesting. Originally used to eliminate the distinction between Miss and Mrs., Lillian said that by the 1980s many people had a negative association with Ms., equating it with feminism or radical overtones, or a title used by divorced women.

“By 2006, people assumed it was a third title, not associated with feminism, and they are surprised to learn it was meant to replace Miss or Mrs. The women I surveyed thought it was a handy third term to indicate someone who is separated or divorced or to use as a placeholder if you don’t know their marital status. It has undergone quite a shift.”

Lillian recently has been researching the various names of the 750 college and university women’s studies programs in the U.S., any changes that have occurred over the years and why. “Within my field now, that’s a big topic of discussion,” she said.  Program names range from women’s studies to gender studies or gender and sexuality studies.

In addition to her duties as president of the American Name Society, Lillian, with the help of Dr. Cheryl Claassen from Appalachian’s Department of Anthropology,
hopes to revive the Blue Ridge Names Society and hold a conference in the fall.

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