May 2007 Book of the Month

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May 2007 Book of the Month

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maig 4, 2007, 12:02 pm

The time has passed for a "Deep South Book of the Month" for May 2007. As I set out elsewhere, we're leapfrogging, so when we get the reviews straightened out one of our Ecology of a Cracker Childhood readers will pick the book for June. This months pick is owed to the best reviewer of A Confederacy of Dunces which, by default, is survivingniki, who "thought it a sharp, funny, and irreverant read."

So, niki, what's your pick for May?

maig 5, 2007, 10:21 am

Hmm, my homeland is Kentucky, so I think I'll choose a book that has been touted as the Grapes of Wrath for the Appalachia.

From Amazon: "James Still's novel River of Earth has become one of the classics of Appalachian literature.

It is the story, seen through the eyes of a small boy, of three years in the life of his family and their kin. He sees his parents pulled between the meager farm with its sense of independence and the mining camp with its uncertain promise of material prosperity. In his world privation, violence, and death are part of everyday life, accepted and endured. Yet, withal, it is a world of dignity, love, and humor, of natural beauty, which Still evokes in sharp, poetic images. No writer has caught more effectively the vividness of mountain speech or shown more honestly the trials and joys of mountain life."

The two things that I appreciated most in this book were an authentic look into depression-era Appalachia before it became politicized and the exquisite use of mountain language.

Happy Reading!

maig 5, 2007, 6:17 pm

Thanks, Survivingniki. This book has been in my TBR stack for months. I'll have to move it to the top now!


maig 19, 2007, 11:51 am

My review is posted. I hope we get a discussion going after a few more reviews are posted.


maig 22, 2007, 5:00 pm

I finished James Still's River of Earth. Click on the title, then reviews to find it.

maig 22, 2007, 5:14 pm

CarolinaCatherine #4,

Here's some info on the pawpaw.

BTW, If you are familiar with Asleep at the Wheel, do you know they started in Paw Paw W.Va.?

maig 23, 2007, 9:21 am

Thanks, geneg. I see that it is seldom found on the Atlantic coast. I guess that's why I have never heard of it.


maig 23, 2007, 9:29 am


If I said, "Pamlico County", would that mean anything to you?

maig 23, 2007, 1:08 pm

I know it's a county in NC. Do paw-paws grow there as well?

maig 23, 2007, 1:41 pm

Naw, just checkin'.

juny 1, 2007, 9:52 am

OK, all 4 reviews of Janisse Ray's Ecology of a Cracker Childhood are visible now, and I think CarolinaCatherine's stands out for its depth of feeling. So, Catherine, you get to pick the Book of the Month for July.

All those reading River of Earth have the rest of June to write reviews and become eligible to make August's selection. Further discussion of Ray's work is always welcome here.

Editat: juny 1, 2007, 11:00 am

Thank you, Dystopos. I choose Ella Minnow Pea: A Progressively Lipogrammatic Epistolary Fable by Mark Dunn. It is a very quick read, one I finished in less than 2 hours. It is a cautionary tale about free speech and censorship presented in a very clever way. It is both hilarious and chilling.

Book Summary: Ella Minnow Pea lives on the fictional island of Nollop off the coast of South Carolina. The island is named for Nevin Nollop, author of the immortal pangram, "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog", which is spelled out in tiles on a memorial statue to Nollop.

Life on the island is idyllic, until the day a tile from the pangram falls from the statue. The town council sees it as an omen, and bans the use of the letter in words spoken and written. Watch what happens as more letters start to fall and the town council's actions take a dangerous turn toward totalitarianism.



oct. 20, 2007, 9:39 am

Thought some of you would like to know about this new book about River of Earth author James Still:

Ted Olsen & Kathy H. Olsen, eds. (2007) "James Still: Critical Essays on the Dean of Appalachian Literature."
McFarland & Co., Inc.,
Publishers. ISBN 9780786430765