"Billion-Dollar Kiss" gives a long, knowledgeable insider's look into the lunatic bin known as the Writers Room, glimpsed in "30 Rock," and the process and huge pressures of a weekly show. The dialogue in "Fireworks over Toccoa" is unimpeachable and each scene is drawn as camera-ready for the folks at Hallmark or Lifetime as a seasoned television professional can make it.
When a writer wishes to have a number of characters reveal their stories, some structuring device must be found. Through an omniscient narrator, DeMott makes the reader privy to the conversations at the actual meetings of the family and to the various private conversations of the participants.
Naslund has tended to be over the years a kind of historical novelist. Although the novel is not science fiction, exactly, in order to have a chance, it needs to be read in a flexible, imaginative way.
When a writer wishes to have a number of characters reveal their stories, some structuring device must be found. Chaucer has a group of pilgrims entertain each other on the road to Canterbury. Boccaccio puts a group of people in northern Italy in a country house to wait out the plague, and their stories constitute "The Decameron." Miles DeMott has chosen a different and thoroughly modern way.
Dogs bark, yip, whine, even growl sometimes, but now they can tweet!
By Mindy Norton
Do you tweet?
That has become a familiar question as folks with computers and smart phones engage in social networking through Twitter, a website that allows them to post short messages that others can see. A message is referred to as a tweet.
L. J. (Larry) Davenport, Professor of Biology at Samford University, may be known to some for his engaging and humorous talks at the West Blocton Cahaba Lily Festival each spring, and to many more for his quarterly nature columns in Alabama Heritage magazine.
The name Michele Norris will of course be familiar to NPR listeners. Often teamed with Steve Inskeep, Norris is a well-known NPR reporter. Usually these radio personalities are just voices to us, without even faces to go with them, never mind life stories, but Norris has written what is, more or less, a memoir.
You can't swing a cavalry saber in these parts without striking someone who thinks of himself as a Civil War buff, an amateur expert on the War Between the States. Yet as Howard Jones reminds us in his Epilogue, "Historians of Blue and Gray diplomacy remain small in number particularly compared with the military and political historians [amateur and professional] of the conflict. Battles, generals and politicians all helped to determine the outcome of the war; but so did diplomats."
Michael Knight of Mobile, Alabama is putting together a remarkably successful career, almost a model. He began with a volume of stories, Dogfight and Other Stories, and a novel, Divining Rod, both in 1998. There was then a second volume of stories, Goodnight, Nobody, in 2003 and a pair of novellas, The Holiday Season, in 2007. It is widely understood that the lead story in Goodnight, Nobody, entitled "Birdland," is being made into a feature film with Robert Duvall. Here's hoping.
It might better have been titled "An Introduction to Albert Murray," because without doubt Murray, who is still alive at 94 and living in Manhattan, is the most important Alabama writer that few Alabamians know much about.
By Don Noble
Audio ?2010 Alabama Public Radio
Do not be put off by the academic-sounding title. This is a highly readable collection, accessible and of interest to the common reader.
It occurred to me as I was reading through Leaving Gee's Bend that in all the young adult books I have read in the last couple of years,...the authors have been men and their protagonists boys.
By Don Noble
It occurred to me as I was reading through Leaving Gee's Bend that in all the young adult books I have read in the last couple of years, by authors such as Brent Davis, Watt Key, Ted Dunagan and Peter Huggins, the authors have been men and their protagonists boys.
In this volume, which was a New York Times best-seller and sold 100,000 copies when published in 1982, when Grizzard was only 37, he tells of how he had earlier learned he had a problem, the up side of which, he says, was being given "a reprieve from the mud and blood of Vietnam," and describes the then-revolutionary procedures which would prolong his life.
When I first held this volume I was disappointed to see it contained only seven new stories with another seven "selected" from previously published works. Like Smith fans everywhere I already own Cakewalk, Me and My Baby View the Eclipse and News of the Spirit. But disappointment soon turned to gratitude as I reread Smith's story of heartbreak and healing, "Bob, a Dog" and then to the delight of reunion with one of my favorite short stories of all time, "Intensive Care."
Ms. Cherry is the author of 27 previous volumes of fiction, essays, poetry and translations from Greek and Latin. This is a mature, accomplished writer who shares in these essays, Girl in A Library, a variety of memories of her own life as a woman writer and a variety of opinions on which women writers we might pay more attention to.