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Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

In 1937, ex-slaves in Asheville bore witness

Interviews with former slaves in Asheville strike the heartby Rob Neufeld             Every day we see and feel the beauty of the world and of humanity.  But history sometimes shows us how wrong things can go, and we wonder why we are vulnerable to such aberrations.            One of the most powerfully distressing examples of human cruelty and suffering comes from the testimony of M.L. Bost, an African American former slave who moved to Asheville from Newton, and spoke with Marjorie Jones of…See More
5 hours ago
Doris Anne Beaulieu posted a blog post

Woodsmen Day

Woodsmen Day ( Poem)Sport using handsaws With a toothed edge blade One or two handed sawingOn a woodsmen fair dayTraditional log rolling Is a lumberjacks technique Style used in river drivingThe illustration is uniqueSpringboard tree is branchless With live action you can’t beat Platform board is dangerousA risk if you competeBlock ax chopping Is a loggers sport indeed Hard on your back swingingBe careful of your feetWoodsmen day activities Is part of the fair you see I bring it all to my…See More
19 hours ago
Rob Neufeld commented on Deborah Worley-Holman's photo
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Peter McClay "M.C." Worley

"Great photo, Deborah!  Have you got some stories and details?"
Monday
Rob Neufeld posted discussions
Sunday
Christine Lajewski posted a blog post

Discussing JHATOR at UCC in Norwell, MA

JHATOR was chosen as the summer read for the book club at the United Church of Christ in Norwell, MA.  Today, the Rev. Deborah Spratley hosted an author's brunch and discussion of the book with me and members of both the book club and writer's group at the church.One of the first things I learned from the group members, who are approaching the book from a Christian POV, is that starting the book with Anat, the vulture, was unsettling for most of them.  Of course, that is the point of Chapter…See More
Sunday
Rob Neufeld posted discussions
Saturday
Jerald Pope posted an event
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The Backyard as Metaphor: Poems on Cattle, Gardening & Goats: a Poetry Reading and Discussion with Tina Barr at Monte Vista Hotel

August 21, 2014 from 5:45pm to 7pm
The Black Mountain Author’s Guild will present nationally known poet, Tina Barr, this Third Thursday at 6pm at the Monte Vista Hotel. Ms. Barr will read a twenty minute series of poems set in Black Mountain, and will follow the reading with a discussion of her process for generating ideas in poems, with lots of audience interaction.  She will bring in a series of drafts demonstrating her revision process, from rough draft to published poem, and talk about fictionalizing elements so they move…See More
Aug 12
Doris Anne Beaulieu posted a blog post

Wishing Witch

Wishing WitchMy Halloween screenplay is funny as can be It’s funny how witchcraft is what we need to seeBrewing up trouble with all your classmates The teacher will get angry, make no mistakeCrazy riddles from a child can be so scary Being her classmate leaves you feeling waryYou may start a princess and end as a boar As her riddles will leave you in an uproarWill you return to normal after all this nonsense Is the question that has everyone in suspenseYou may not have believed in the…See More
Aug 11
City Lights Bookstore posted an event
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Timm Muth to Present His Fantasy Novel at City Lights Bookstore

August 30, 2014 from 3pm to 4:30pm
Jackson County resident, Timm Muth will read from and sign his new fantasy novel on Saturday, August 30th at 3 p.m. at City Lights Bookstore.  Disciple of the Flames chronicles the story of Darn, whose life as a herder’s son was hard, dirty and not in the least adventurous. Fate intervenes when on a journey with his father, a stranger saves Darn from a near fatal rousting by local bullies, eventually leading to Darn’s induction into a powerful religious and military order: The Disciple of…See More
Aug 9
Malaprop's Bookstore Cafe posted events
Aug 9
Doris Anne Beaulieu posted blog posts
Aug 7
Sharon Gruber posted an event
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Social Function of Narrative in Appalachian Society with Charlotte Ross at Ferguson Auditorium - A-B Tech Campus

August 9, 2014 from 2pm to 3:30pm
Presented by the Asheville History Center - Smith McDowell House in conjunction with the exhibition Hillbilly Land:  Myth and Reality of Appalachian Culture currently on view at the Smith McDowell House. Made possible through a grant from the North Carolina Humanities Council.See More
Aug 6
Caralyn Davis posted a blog post

New Essay Published at Dr. TJ Eckleburg Review

My new essay "A Damn Fine Female Body Part" is live at the Doctor TJ Eckleburg Review. It is NSFW, covering the topics of curse words, sexual objectification, and the actor Norman Reedus of The Walking Dead, all in under 2,000 words! See More
Aug 5
Deborah Worley-Holman posted a photo

Peter McClay "M.C." Worley

My grandfatherm M.C. Worley 1894-1983 who was a musician and instrument maker.
Aug 5
Dave Turner posted a blog post
Aug 4
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

Book discussions in WNC, August 2014

WNC BOOK DISCUSSION CALENDAR, AUGUST 2014Friday, August 1BOOK CLUB: The Best? Books book club holds a book discussion at the College Walk Retirement Center, 100 N. College Row, Brevard, 10:30 a.m. Call 884-3151, ext. 226.Saturday, August 2 Sunday, August 3ROYAL BOOK CLUB: The ROYAL Book Club meets to discuss “Darius and Twig” by…See More
Aug 3

The pointers suggest many good reads:


Holiday book buying list, The Read on WNC

New WNC Books

Also see Best Books 2012, of Part 2

Daily Beast Top 10 (Lucas Wittmann)


The Yellow Birds By Kevin Powers

From the breathtaking opening paragraphs, you know you are in for a novel of exquisite and careful writing about the most horrible things. After 11 years of war, we finally have a fiction that dodges Heller’s shadow and goes right to the heart, our hearts.

The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson

I like books that take risks on being topical (see above), and I was in awe of what Stanford English professor Adam Johnson is able to do in his funny, terrifying novel about an orphan’s picaresque life in North Korea (from fighting in tunnels to listening to Japanese broadcasts on a fishing boat to being remade as a heroic general). From one short visit Johnson creates a world where only fiction is true.

Dear Life By Alice Munro

She just gets better and better. Her leanest writing yet, so quiet and subtle you’ll miss lines that devastate her characters and then you. Her most autobiographical collection too, with a series of linked stories around a young girl finding her way in a rural, complicated world.

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain

As I said, I like topical. If Powers dodged Heller’s shadow, then Ben Fountain has taken it on his shoulders and can justifiably claim the mantle of the great satirist of the Iraq War. But he keeps his eyes firmly on the home front as the boys of Bravo Company, minted war heroes by YouTube, return to ogle cheerleaders, get patted on the back by millionaires, and entertain the crowd at a Dallas Cowboys halftime show.

Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel

Should really be called “Power and How to Use It.” The most compelling study of political power since The Prince. OK, that’s hyperbole, but Mantel’s brilliant portrayal of the dark master of Henry VIII’s as he moves inexorably toward Anne Boleyn’s execution is profound. Pair this with Caro’s latest LBJ volume, and you’re on your way to world domination.

Joseph Anton by Salman Rushdie

So Rushdie’s memoir has gotten a bit (a lot) of flak this year, like most years for the author, and some of it was deserved. To start, it’s too long by half, but that first half, say those initial 270 pages, give one of the most compelling accounts of a life on the run I’ve read, and a deeply important testament to one of the great political and moral questions of our time: Can a man or woman speak without facing death?

The Barbarous Years by Bernard Bailyn

I didn’t think they wrote history like this anymore, but here comes Bernard Bailyn, at the age of 90, to wow us with a work so elegant, assured, and masterful that you need to read no other book to understand America between 1600 and 1675. To put it simply, life was nasty, brutish, and short, as great civilizations (the Dutch, the Powhatens, the Iroquis, the Swedes) crashed and burned, and what was left was what became this country.

Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story by D.T. Max

I’m a little biased here, because I edited an excerpt from this book (and the author’s wife is a colleague), but the imposing writer of this generation, David Foster Wallace, was all legend until Max started peeling. What he reveals, at times devastating and wrenching, but always fascinating and judicious, is that heroic figures come from somewhere, and it doesn’t make them any less monumental to know where that is.

Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo

So much has been written about this wondrous book that I have little to add, except that 10 months after reading it I still have no idea how she did it.

Far from the Tree by Andrew Solomon

The biggest-hearted book of the year, and the book that every parent, wannabe parent, used-to-be parent should read. Solomon sets out to find out the love and tears and joy of what happens when your kids are deaf, autistic, prodigies, dwarves, and so on.

 

Slate Top Ten of 2012

Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo.  New Yorker staff writer Boo “has many ways of illuminating the people she writes about,” Elaine Blair wrote in February. “The most important and obvious is that she listens closely and intelligently.” For this, her first book, which recently won the National Book Award, Boo spent over three years listening to the residents of a Mumbai slum.

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain.  The young men of Bravo company visit Cowboys Stadium in this funny and wrenching novel, which is seeded “with finely honed insights that reflect the hypocrisy and jingoistic thinking that dominate discussions about the country's wars,” wrote Jacob Silverman in September. And Fountain’s writing is “head-shakingly good.”

Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel. The sequel to Wolf Hall (both books won the Booker Prize), this story of Thomas Cromwell, according to William Georgiades’ May review, chronicles “the careful, patient rage of the consummate professional in a world of highborn twits who never see him coming.” The worst you can say about Mantel, he adds, is that the book “makes you angry, because you want more.”

Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story by D.T. Max. New Yorker writer Max’s sympathetic biography of David Foster Wallace is “one of the saddest books I’ve ever read,” wrote Mark O’Connell in September. The book offers both illuminating discussions of Wallace’s editorial life and harrowing depictions of his depressive end. “I’m having trouble remembering when I was last so consumed by any piece of writing, fiction or non.”

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. This thriller about a marriage gone toxic was the book that everyone you know took to the beach this summer—and this best-seller lives up to the hype. “This is not the kind of book that sits on your bedside table unread,”said Emily Bazelon in the September Audio Book Club. Instead, it’s a book that readers refuse to put down—and that wraps them up in its seductively corrupt worldview.

Journalism by Joe Sacco. This collection of comics journalism, which tells stories reported in Iraq, Chechnya, and other nasty places, makes a case that our best war correspondent might just be a cartoonist. “Sacco grants dignity to his subjects—the petty tyrant and the suffering victim alike—simply through the meticulousness with which he renders them,” Campbell Robertson wrote in July.

The Lifespan of a Fact by John D’Agata and Jim Fingal. In this “enraging, fascinating, singular book,” according to Dan Kois’ February review, a journalist and a fact-checker go to war about whether the falsehoods incorporated in a magazine story matter. The result is a Talmudic debate about storytelling, truth, and lies that spills off the page.

NW by Zadie Smith. This novel, set in and around a council estate in northwest London, is remarkably perceptive about female friendship, race, and class. But it’s also “an argument,” Hanna Rosin noted in the December Audio Book Club, “between two different ideas of what a novel should be”—part lyrical-realistic storytelling, part modernist deconstruction of the very idea of story. As a whole, it’s a masterful, emotional portrait of a city as seen through four of its residents, striving and failing to move beyond the neighborhood where they were born.

The Unreal and the Real by Ursula K. Le Guin. “There is no better spirit in all of American letters than that of Ursula Le Guin,” wrote Choire Sicha in November. This two-volume collection of her masterful short stories – one book of science fiction, the other of the mundane – “guns from the grim to the ecstatic, from the State to the Garden of Eden, with just one dragon between.”

Wild by Cheryl Strayed. Strayed’s chronicle of her 1,100-mile trek along the Pacific Crest Trail is “by turns both devastating and glorious,” wrote Melanie Rehak in March. The memoir’s value isn’t in oh-so-wisely answering questions – it’s in asking “many, many new questions far more valuable than any platitudes about self-discovery.”

New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2012

 

National Book Awards

Fiction

WINNER:

Louise Erdrich, The Round House (Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers) - Interview >

FINALISTS:

Junot Díaz, This Is How You Lose Her (Riverhead Books, a member of Penguin Group USA, Inc.)
- Interview >

Dave Eggers, A Hologram for the King (McSweeney's Books) - Interview >

Ben Fountain, Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk (Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers) 
- Interview >

Kevin Powers, The Yellow Birds (Little, Brown and Company) - Interview >

FICTION JUDGES:

Stacey D’Erasmo, Dinaw Mengestu, Lorrie Moore, Janet Peery

Non-fiction

WINNER:

Katherine Boo, Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity (Random House)
- Interview >

FINALISTS:

Anne Applebaum, Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1945-1956 (Doubleday) 
- Interview >

Robert A. Caro, The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Volume 4 (Knopf)

Domingo Martinez, The Boy Kings of Texas (Lyons Press, an imprint of Globe Pequot Press)
- Interview >

Anthony Shadid, House of Stone: A Memoir of Home, Family, and a Lost Middle East (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

NONFICTION JUDGES:

Brad Gooch, Linda Gordon, Woody Holton, Susan Orlean, Judith Shulevitz

Poetry

WINNER:

David Ferry, Bewilderment: New Poems and Translations (University of Chicago Press) - Interview >

FINALISTS:

Cynthia Huntington, Heavenly Bodies (Southern Illinois University Press) - Interview >

Tim Seibles, Fast Animal (Etruscan Press) - Interview >

Alan Shapiro, Night of the Republic (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Susan Wheeler, Meme (University of Iowa Press)

POETRY JUDGES:

Laura Kasischke, Dana Levin, Maurice Manning, Patrick Rosal, Tracy K. Smith

Young People's lLiterature

WINNER:

William Alexander, Goblin Secrets 
(Margaret K. McElderry Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing)

FINALISTS:

Carrie Arcos, Out of Reach (Simon Pulse, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing)

Patricia McCormick, Never Fall Down (Balzer+Bray, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers)

Eliot Schrefer, Endangered (Scholastic)

Steve Sheinkin, Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World's Most Dangerous Weapon
(Flash Point, an imprint of Roaring Brook Press)

YOUNG PEOPLE'S LITERATURE JUDGES:

Susan Cooper, Daniel Ehrenhaft, Judith Ortiz Cofer, Gary D. Schmidt, Marly Youmans

Washington Post

NONFICTION
Behind The Beautiful Forevers, Katherine Boo
House of Stone, Anthony Shadid
Iron Curtain, Anne Applebaum
Marigold: The Lost Chance for Peace in Vietnam, James G. Hershberg
Why Nations Fail, Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson

FICTION
Arcadia, Lauren Groff
Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, Ben Fountain
Bring Up the Bodies, Hilary Mantel
Broken Harbor, Tana French
Canada, Richard Ford

(See more.)

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