Arts & Life

Alabama Moon

Nov 27, 2006

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.

Twilight

Nov 20, 2006

Gay, like Faulkner, usually writes of his own postage stamp of land, rarely straying far. And Gay tends to set his work in the Tennessee of the forties and fifties, a Tennessee of dirt roads, considerable isolation, and insulation from outside influences.

On Agate Hill

Nov 13, 2006

There are twelve novels and three volumes of stories by Lee Smith, and On Agate Hill marks a new turning. After several novels inspired by the culture around her, Smith has written her first genuinely historical novel.

Since his death in 1990, there have been several biographies written on Walker Percy, author of The Moviegoer, Love in the Ruins, The Second Coming, and a shelf of other works, both fiction and nonfiction. The purpose of Harwell's research is to gather some of the stories and anecdotes and "fill in some of the details of . . . [Percy's] life, to add a little color to the background . . . in the words of different people who knew him."

Magic Time

Oct 30, 2006

Marlette's second novel, Magic Time, also has a biographical dimension like his first novel, The Bridge, which chronicled the life of his grandmother, whom he had not known well. Magic Time chronicles the life of a teenage boy, living in Laurel, Mississippi, in the 1960s, during the turmoil of the civil rights movement.

Sena Jeter Naslund wrote Four Spirits from memory. Ahab's Wife, however, a novel of New England in the nineteenth century, is deeply researched, and Abundance even more so. She has learned most of what is known about Marie and Louis, and this novel is as accurate as historical fiction is likely to be.

Transcript to follow soon. Click the MP3 above to listen to Don Noble's review of SWAG: Southern Women Aging Gracefully, by Melinda Rainey Thompson

A Sound Like Thunder

Sep 22, 2006

Like The Poet of Tolstoy Park, Brewer's first book set in 1925 Idaho, A Sound Like Thunder is set in Fairhope, AL, but this time in 1941-42, at the opening of WWII.

The Longest Pregnancy

Sep 18, 2006

Livingston Press specializes in offbeat literature, and The Longest Pregnancy qualifies beautifully. Each of the fourteen stories in this book is, in some way or other, odd. These are all "what if" stories: the reader grants the premise and then goes along for the ride.

Blood and Circumstance

Sep 11, 2006

Frank Turner Hollon, a practicing attorney in Baldwin County, Alabama, has been turning out short murder-suspense novels at an incredible pace. Blood and Circumstance is his sixth of these since 1999, and he has also published a children's book, Glitter Girl and the Crazy Cheese.

The Blue Moon Boys

Sep 4, 2006

Don Noble reviews "The Blue Moon Boys: The Story of Elvis Presley's Band" by Dan Griffen and Ken Burke.

Click the MP3 link above to listen to the review.

Alabama Life - September 3, 2006

Sep 3, 2006

Jennifer Horne interviews poet Kathy Starbuck.

Click the mp3 link above to listen to the interview.

Electric Beach

Aug 28, 2006

Click on the MP3 above to listen to Don Noble's review of Electric Beach by Joe Hilley. Transcript to follow soon.

One Mississippi

Aug 21, 2006

Monroeville native Mark Childress' biggest hit to date was, "Crazy in Alabama." Childress is again concocting a mix of the comic and dark, and it would be best for the reader to stay alert.

Between, Georgia

Aug 14, 2006

Joshilyn Jackson, after only one year from publishing gods in Alabama, is back. Although the population of Between, Georgia is tiny, the reader may rest assured that the inhabitants have gigantic eccentricities.

War is nearly the perfect subject, as Tolstoy and Hemingway, to name a couple, have shown. And the War of 1812, in particular, is a fine choice.

Right from his first book, Winston Groom has been taking his readers on a march through America?s wars, from the Civil War through the war in Vietnam. I am told that there is another book coming set during the war with Mexico. That will leave Groom only the American Revolution and the Spanish American War, of our major wars, to hit for the cycle.

Don Noble reviews Patriotic Fire by "Forrest Gump" author Winston Groom.

Text version coming soon. Click the MP3 link above to listen to the review.

Alabama Life - August 6

Aug 6, 2006

On this episode of Alabama Life: Changes at Alabama Public Radio, making movies in Huntsville with the Film Co-op, and on the road again with storyteller Kathryn Tucker Windham.

Click the mp3 link above to listen to the show.

Larry L. King takes up the challenge of answering the question (What happened to Willie Morris?) in this volume which is partly a researched biography of Morris and partly a memoir of Willie by King. This is no whitewash.

In the spring of 1967, at the tender age of thirty-two, Willie Morris became the editor-in-chief of Harper?s, America?s oldest magazine. Harper?s was 117 years old and Willie was only its eighth editor. It was the apex of his career.

Alabama Life - July 30, 2006

Jul 30, 2006

Sweet Potato Queen Jill Connor Browne is coming to Birmingham to help raise funds for Birmingham's Literacy Council. Also, storyteller Kathryn Tucker Windham tells a tale about the Civil War and a famous rose bush in downtown Selma, Alabama.

Click the MP3 link above to listen to the show.

Howell Raines has been fishing all his life, and it is such an important, meaningful activity for him that he has used it twice as a controlling metaphor for recounting his life in memoir.

Howell Raines has been fishing all his life, and it is such an important, meaningful activity for him that he has used it twice as a controlling metaphor for recounting his life in memoir.

Alabama Life - July 23, 2006

Jul 23, 2006

We start with a report on the drought in Alabama. Then we take a road trip with storyteller Kathryn Tucker Windham. First stop: Pleasant Hill Presbyterian Church and cemetery.

Click the MP3 link above to listen to the show.

Mockingbird is a fine biography of Nelle Harper Lee from her birth in 1926 to the age of forty and makes good reading.

Alabama Life - July 16, 2006

Jul 16, 2006

On this episode of Alabama Life: A report on a statewide effort to improve students' grades in math and science; a preview of stories to come from Gina Smith, who recently traveled to Cuba; and the storyteller Kathryn Tucker Windham misses some of the old adages.

Click the MP3 link above to listen to the show.

The first thing to be said about this volume is that it takes the reader through Hugo Black's life only until the age of forty, until l926. This is unfortunate, since our strongest interest is in Black as the country's most liberal justice, the Alabamian who voted for the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision outlawing public school segregation.

Alabama Life - July 9

Jul 9, 2006

A look at the summer reading program at the Tuscaloosa Public Library, as well as the Alabama Reading Initiative summer training. Plus, storyteller Kathryn Tucker Windham remembers the old Brownie cameras.

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The Summer We Got Saved

Jul 3, 2006

Devoto recreates in her three novels the life -- the daily, ordinary life -- of her fictional Bainbridge, Alabama, in the northwest corner of the state, between the Tennessee River and the Tennessee border.

Pat Devoto is a historical novelist, not in the sense that Irving Stone was, who wrote, for example, The Agony and the Ecstasy, set in the Italian Renaissance, but Devoto writes of the semi-recent past, Alabama in the forties and fifties, living memory for many of us.

Alabama Life - July 2, 2006

Jul 2, 2006

A quick wrap-up of some Alabama news, then a summertime story from Storyteller Kathryn Tucker Windham.

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Alabama Life - June 25, 2006

Jun 25, 2006

Although it's officially summer, the public and library communities in Alabama have been active. Public librarians are attending a series of town meetings, and educators are learning more about integrating technology into their classrooms. That's on this edition of Alabama Life, as well as a story from the storyteller Kathryn Tucker Windham.

Click the MP3 link above to listen to the show.

Alabama Life - June 18, 2006

Jun 18, 2006

Father's Day edition of Alabama Life, including stories from Wendy Reed Bruce and LaVale Mills -- but first, a story from the Southern Baptist Convention.

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