Wayne Flynt, in his monumental Alabama in the Twentieth Century, discusses several self-taught, outsider folk artists, the Mose T's, you might call them, but he spends time on only one professionally trained Alabama artist, the man he calls "the Vincent Van Gogh of the Black Belt," William Christenberry.
Haines the novelist has a penchant for the dark and violent, and she has taken time off from the Bones books to indulge this urge; Penumbra is indeed dark, violent, disturbing, nearly melodramatic.
By Don Noble
Caroline Haines of Semmes, Alabama, has been publishing novels for many years. After a score of genre novels, she published Summer of the Redeemers and Touched, and then Haines seemed to have hit the mother lode with her Sarah Booth Delaney mystery series.
Obviously, I have come late to this novel. By the time I became aware of it, Off Magazine Street, published in 2004, was already a movie, A Love Song for Bobby Long, starring John Travolta and Scarlett Johansson.
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.
The life of Ron Williamson, convicted in Oklahoma of rape and murder and later acquitted, is reviewed in this book.
By Don Noble
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.