Arts & Life

Don Noble
12:04 pm
Mon April 16, 2007

Longleaf

The protagonist of Longleaf is fourteen-year-old Jason Caldwell, who is the son of academics?an astronomer father and a mother who is finishing up a doctorate in biology, herpetology to be precise. As part of his mother's research into frogs, Jason and his family are camping in Alabama's Conecuh National Forest, near Andalusia.

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Don Noble
10:50 am
Mon April 9, 2007

The Innocent Man

The life of Ron Williamson, convicted in Oklahoma of rape and murder and later acquitted, is reviewed in this book.

With the possible exception of books such as A Time to Kill and A Painted House, there is usually no real point in reviewing the annual novel by John Grisham. His loyal readers buy them and love them. Hollywood has turned nine of them into movies. His legal thrillers have sold 225 million copies in 29 languages.

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Don Noble
4:36 pm
Mon April 2, 2007

Severance Stories

Choosing sixty-two beheaded subjects, some historical, some mythological, some playful, some serious, Butler has created sixty-two 240-word short-short stories, sometimes called flash fiction, yet these pieces have the density and intensity of prose poems, and, with their exact word length, the formality of sonnets.

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Don Noble
3:56 pm
Mon March 19, 2007

Queen of Broken Hearts

This is, entirely, a relationship novel. I feel ethically obliged at this point to warn male readers that this book is by, for, and about women.

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Don Noble
11:09 am
Mon March 12, 2007

Midnight Red

When I picked up this novel, the first thing I saw was a bit of copy on the back cover: "In the summer of 2000, the Buckhead Vampire was at large."

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Don Noble
10:52 am
Mon March 5, 2007

An Ornament to the City: Old Mobile Ironwork

Sledge's story is in large part a sad tale, however, due to the lack of preservation in Mobile. But, along the way, we learn a lot about the various kinds of ironwork, both locally manufactured and shipped from Philadelphia and NYC, how it came to flourish there, and what happened to it.

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Don Noble
10:47 am
Mon February 26, 2007

Fishing for Gold: The Story of Alabama's Catfish Industry

While fish had been raised for food for centuries in some cultures, it wasn't until recently that farmers in Alabama started raising catfish. Most of those people are, happily, still alive, and Karni Perez, an independent researcher in Auburn, has found them and talked to them.

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Don Noble
12:19 pm
Mon February 19, 2007

Carry My Bones

Carry My Bones is an impressive debut novel, and very much an Alabama book. Yoder worked for a number of Alabama newspapers, including the Anniston Star, was an assistant to Rick Bragg in Appalachicola, and in his off hours wrote Carry My Bones.

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Don Noble
4:50 pm
Mon February 12, 2007

Tubby Meets Katrina

Tony Dunbar has written several books on the South?about Mississippi, migrant workers, and Southern political radicals?and has won the Lillian Smith Award, given to a book which promotes racial understanding and harmony.

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Don Noble
3:35 pm
Mon February 5, 2007

"Everybody Was Black Down There"

This volume, a study of the Alabama coal mining industry from about 1930 to the present, is a reworked doctoral dissertation and certainly lacks the zip of Lawrence (Sons and Lovers)or Hickam (October Sky).

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Don Noble
2:24 pm
Mon January 29, 2007

Exile

In this novel, Exile, Patterson truly becomes a writer of international thrillers. The fictional Prime Minister of Israel, Amos Ben-Aron, is touring the United States to promote a peace plan which will be equitable to Palestinians and Israelis both.

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Don Noble
10:46 am
Mon January 22, 2007

Discovering Alabama Forests

In this book, Doug Phillips, like the forests themselves, achieves balance. Phillips has "adroitly avoided placing blame" and understands that there just are social and economic forces at work that will change the forests, for they are neither "underutilized" sources of wealth to be exploited, nor are they museums.

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Don Noble
3:04 pm
Mon January 15, 2007

The World Made Straight

Ron Rash is an accomplished poet, and his descriptions of the mountains, the laurel, the creeks and trout, the sky and atmosphere of the Smokies are beautiful, but these people are held in place not by the beauty of the land, but by the magnetic pull of their ancestors' bones and blood.

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Don Noble
4:24 pm
Mon January 8, 2007

The Right Attitude to Rain

Set in Edinburgh, this work partakes of place as thoroughly as any Yoknapatawpha novel. The action moves up and down the streets of the old city, in and out of restaurants and coffee shops and parks, art galleries and delicatessens.

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Don Noble
2:55 pm
Mon January 1, 2007

Smonk

Smonk reminds one of Blood Meridian, by Cormac McCarthy, in which there seems to be a homicide on every page. The strongest element of Tom Franklin's new novel, Smonk, is character. You have absolutely never seen people like this before.

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