Arts & Life

Books
9:20 am
Mon October 27, 2008

The Great War in the Heart of Dixie: Alabama during World War I, Edited by Martin T. Olliff

Alabama from 1914 to 1918, that is, during the Great War, is a subject historians agree is understudied.

Alabama from 1914 to 1918, that is, during the Great War, is a subject historians agree is understudied. The fighting of course did not come here, and direct U.S. involvement was only from April 6, 1917 until the armistice of November 11, 1918.

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Books
1:49 pm
Mon October 13, 2008

Gather Up Our Voices: Edited by Jeanie Thompson

Selected Writings from Recipients of the Harper Lee Award for Alabama's Distinguished Writer 1998-2007

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Books
4:46 pm
Mon October 6, 2008

Breathing Out the Ghost, by Kirk Curnutt

Breathing Out the Ghost, by Kirk Curnutt

There is no question about whether Curnutt's first novel is well done. Breathing Out the Ghost has already won the Independent Publishers bronze medal for fiction and the 2008 Best Book of Indiana in Fiction, and is a finalist in the Foreword Magazine fiction competition.

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Books
4:29 pm
Mon October 6, 2008

Swimmers in the Sea, by Denzil Strickland

Swimmers in the Sea, a first novel by an absolutely unknown, middle-aged author, published by a small, new press in Winston-Salem, N.C., was not a slam dunk. But I was captured by the blurbs.

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Books
2:52 pm
Mon October 6, 2008

Staying Ahead of the Posse: The Ben Jobe Story

This book is not what it appears to be?that is, an as-told-to sports biography. It would be better if it were, because Ben Jobe is a man who has led an unusual and interesting life.

This book is not what it appears to be?that is, an as-told-to sports biography. It would be better if it were, because Ben Jobe is a man who has led an unusual and interesting life.

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Books
10:40 am
Mon October 6, 2008

Coming of Age at the Y

Coming of Age at the Y, by William Cobb

Cobb's novels since this first one have been either serious or, if comedies, dark ones, whereas Coming of Age at the Y is an effervescent, bubbly pleasure.

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Books
10:05 am
Mon October 6, 2008

Letter From Point Clear

Ellen Owen and her brother Morris were raised on Mobile Bay, on the promenade, just a few houses down the boardwalk from the Grand Hotel. When they were teenagers, their affluent family sent them north to New England, to school, and that was that.

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Books
10:01 am
Mon October 6, 2008

A Yellow Watermelon

A Yellow Watermelon is the fourth "Young Adult" novel I have read recently. Is it useful to ask a critic in his mid-sixties to evaluate a story intended for 12-year-olds? Maybe not, but what choice do we have?

A Yellow Watermelon is the fourth "Young Adult" novel I have read recently. Is it useful to ask a critic in his mid-sixties to evaluate a story intended for 12-year-olds? Maybe not, but what choice do we have?

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Books
9:52 am
Mon October 6, 2008

The Bay of Pigs

Howard Jones's tenth and newest book, The Bay of Pigs, is published by Oxford University Press in its series Pivotal Moments in American History.

Howard Jones's tenth and newest book, The Bay of Pigs, is published by Oxford University Press in its series Pivotal Moments in American History.

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Books
3:53 pm
Thu September 4, 2008

The Girl Who Stopped Swimming

The Girl Who Stopped Swimming, by Joshilyn Jackson

Many years ago, when I was writing a movie review column, an older woman came up to me at a cocktail party and said, "Dr. Noble, my husband and I read your reviews faithfully. We find them very useful. If you like a movie, we don't go." Perhaps this is the case here. I don't hold with ghosts and Ouija boards, but if my description of The Girl Who Stopped Swimming sounds good, by all means, buy it and take it to the beach.

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Books
12:42 pm
Thu September 4, 2008

Pocketful of History: Four Hundred Years of America?One State Quarter at a Time

Pocketful of History: Four Hundred Years of America?One State Quarter at a Time

James Noles is a West Point graduate and a Birmingham attorney who has created a second career for himself, not as a novelist in the now overcrowded tradition of John Grisham, but as an independent historian.

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Books
12:08 pm
Thu September 4, 2008

With Music and Justice for All: Some Southerners and their Passions

Frye Gaillard

Frye Gaillard, now writer-in residence at the University of South Alabama, has earned a place on the top shelf of interpreters of the recent South. This is the shelf occupied by popular writers such as Hal Crowther and Roy Blount Jr. and academic scholars such as Wayne Flynt.

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Books
3:32 pm
Sun July 6, 2008

No One You Know

No One You Know

This novel may seem at first to be genre fiction, but it is in fact literary fiction, the best sort. Richmond explores the devastating effects of grief and survivor guilt. She demonstrates how little, really, we know about even the people closest to us.

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Books
9:36 am
Mon June 30, 2008

Oh Don't You Cry for Me: Stories

Oh Don?t You Cry for Me: Stories

The rednecks in this volume are sweaty and petty and frightening--not attractive or romantic, nor salt of the earth types, at all. And they seem to favor the Dodge Ram truck, for what that's worth.

Philip Shirley, native Alabamian, has been successful in the advertising and public relations business for many years, but, almost as if he were a lawyer, has had an irrepressible desire to write fiction. Oh Don't You Cry for Me is Shirley's first collection, and it is a perfectly respectable debut.

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Books
4:47 pm
Mon June 23, 2008

Portraits and Observations: The Essays of Truman Capote

Portraits and Observations: The Essays of Truman Capote

Many of these pieces are ironic, somewhat scornful, but many are not. Capote has sympathetic words for Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor, and absolute encomia for Isak Dinesen and Capote's favorite American author, Willa Cather.

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