Arts & Life

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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Don Noble
11:06 am
Mon December 18, 2006

Raising Kane

This novel is sold as young-adult reading and is just that. There is no sex or unpleasant violence, and Eddie, like any twelve-year-old, is a combination of innocence and curiosity, with a road trip that speeds up the process of his maturation.

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Don Noble
12:58 pm
Mon December 11, 2006

A Mansion's Memories

Mary Mathews, wife of University of Alabama president David Mathews, lived in the mansion for eleven years, 1969-1980, and did her research and sought out the stories of the previous presidents and their families. Those stories are collected in this book.

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Don Noble
3:37 pm
Mon December 4, 2006

Forgetfulness

One of my favorite non-Southern writers is Ward Just, a mid-list writer with fifteen novels, who has never been on the best-seller list. Forgetfulness is a typical Just novel, which is usually set in Europe, most often in France or Germany, which means the characters are eating cassoulet and papillon oysters instead of barbecue, grits, and cornbread.

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Don Noble
12:00 pm
Mon November 27, 2006

Alabama Moon

Alabama Moon, while sold as a novel for teenagers, is a good read, and although I have not been a teenage boy for a very long while, I read it with pleasure.

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