Thanks to Lynn Richardson for providing this great review of Greg Iles' latest thriller, Natchez Burning. After reading her review, I can't wait to check it out!
I really do hate to sound trite, but this book is really a page turner. Be warned, it is long, 788 pages. But worth every minute spent reading it. I confess, no housework or cooking got done until I had finished it. This is the first of a trilogy and it is going to be hard to wait for the next two books. The writer left a number of characters in place for more books. The setting is present day, but the past of the civil rights era of the early sixties is what started the events in play. The early murders of civil rights activists in Ms., and La. and the murders of the informants who infiltrated the KKK. Some of the references are based on fact and others are inspired by real cases. The present day and they are set in the present, bad guys are very believable and are just as evil as the old KKK. In fact, some are descendants of the early members of the Klan. The plot involves a reporter who has focused on three fictional murders in Ferriday,La. in the early sixties. He has done a great deal of research, talked to friends and family members of the victims and is trying to bring FBI attention to these cases. This threatens the people who committed the crimes, so he talks to attorney Penn Cage, who has been featured in earlier works by the author. When he finds out his father may have been somehow involved with one of the victims, he decides to help the reporter. Things go downhill from that point and his father is accused of a mercy killing of one of his patients. She was a nurse who had worked for his father for some years, then moved to Chicago. She had come back to Natchez very ill with cancer and was being treated by Penn Cage's father. If I write much more, it will give away too much of the plot and you would not have to read the book. Since this is a book that is really enjoyable I will say no more, just happy reading and read slowly. Lynn Richardson
The children's summer reading program at the Franklin County Public Library was literally a blast during the month of June. This year's reading program was Fizz, Boom, Read.
Every Wednesday, the children enjoyed taking on science in a BIG way with our science theme. Mississippi State University Extension Service set up work stations and discussed colors, food, and the environment. Meadville native and 5th grade science teacher, Lequinda Washington shared many exciting experiments with the children. The children especially enjoyed the exploding sea foam experiment.
Several children participated in our robot contest by either drawing, coloring, or making their own robot. Those who participated in the contest received a small prize.
We had a tremendous turnout this year with over 100 children enrolled and hope to see more next year!
I often think of "modern classics" as those books I read in school but didn't like. Studying three novels a week per class (with several classes per semester) made it difficult to really pay much attention to anything but what would work well in my next essay. One of the wonderful gifts of old age is that we can return to some of those blurred works and actually pay attention. Reading East of Eden recently was a wonderful experience of a great book by a great author which deserved much more attention that it got in my 20th century novel class.
East of Eden is often relegated to a lower status than Grapes of Wrath in Steinbeck's cannon, but it is without a doubt a masterwork. Steinbeck's writing is superb. His characters are absolutely true to life. His settings and descriptions put the reader in exactly that place at exactly that time. Perhaps the only slight weakness of the book is the scatter shot plotting and its daunting length.
Based on the Book of Genesis, East of Eden is the multi-generational study of two families as they move across the country and through time. While the literary references and symbolism may seem at times a little heavy handed, they add much depth for the careful reader. Through these families, the book present a wonderful picture of America as it grew and matured along with its citizens. Steinbeck gives us a deep study of what it means to be human in the most classical sense through his very "modern" novel.
If you haven't read East of Eden, please don't hold the James Dean movie against it--it really is a great book. And if you haven't read books from the canon of American literature since college, please take the time to really read a few giving them the attention they deserve. They deserve their fame!
Ever since moving to Mississippi I've heard that the Delta is its own special world. Driving through it, you see that it is a land of cotton fields and swamps, churches and blues joints. But people told me, it isn't the geography that makes it different it's the people. They are different. They don't live in the same world we do. Reading Being Dead Is No Excuse by and about Delta people will help you understand just what "eccentricity" means.
Even the book format is eccentric. Short humorous chapters about the people and social events of the Delta are followed by party recipes commonly served at funerals. The writing is light and the juxtaposition of social grace and careless decadence leads to irony laid on with a trowel. And a hint: the most important element in any Delta social event (including funerals) is a well-stocked bar.
This book is total fluff, but it is fun to read these catty Delta ladies skewering their closest friends and neighbors. The recipes tend to include lots of canned soup and cake mix, but as long as the bar is well stocked, nobody seems to notice.
The Long Fall is the first book in Walter Mosley's Leonid McGill series. Mosley leaves Easy Rollins and Los Angeles behind and moves to New York with former prizefighter and current P.I. McGill. McGill has lots of baggage, and his biggest problem is that he wants to be good and do the right thing. Somehow, that seems almost impossible in McGill's world.
Temptation is everywhere in 21st century New York. McGill is old school and more that slightly connected with some really bad guys. His attempt to go straight is stymied by some seemingly innocent jobs that turn out to be much more complicated than expected. In addition, McGill's ex-wife and children add to the drama and his beautiful landlady is something of a siren, calling him into additional complications that he really doesn't need but really, really wants.
Mosley is one of the best crime writers. His books combine grit with colorful characters whose imperfections often include a heart of gold.
Nevada Barr's 16th Anna Pigeon novel is a much darker and more violent study than her earlier books. Here Anna is in New Orleans after Katrina and deals with the dark side of humanity--including horrific child abuse.
In Burn, Anna is on leave from her job to recover from emotional wounds that are taking much longer to heal than her physical ones. She goes to visit her park service friend Geneva who is a singer in the New Orleans Jazz National Historic Park. Anna finds herself immersed in world filled with evil that she simply can't ignore. She gets involved in situations that are not what they seem to be on the surface, but are much more evil than they seemed at first.
I am one of Nevada Barr's biggest fans, however some of her newer books are losing long time readers because they have become so filled with evil and foreboding. I also miss the wonderful descriptions of glorious landscapes--including cityscapes--that here take a back seat to the ruminations on evil and depravity. Still, I enjoyed this book because of Barr's great storytelling and her use of language. It would just be nice to have a little more sunshine.
County Public Library received special recognition from the U.S. Forest Service
for helping hunters obtain permits to hunt with dogs on the Homochitto National
Forest. For many years, landowners and leaseholders near the Homochitto National
Forest have suffered having dogs turned out on private land from non-local deer
hunters. Starting in the 2011 hunting season, the Mississippi Wildlife,
Fisheries, and Parks and U.S Forest Service passed a permit system for dog-deer
hunters. The online permit system runs from November 1 through January 31 and
requires that all dog hunting groups or individuals hunting with dogs obtain a
permit to hunt any animal or to train dogs on areas open to hunting on
Homochitto National Forest. Many hunters who needed the permit would come by
the Library for assistance. It is just one of many services that the Library
provides to the residents of Franklin County.
Following my recent reading about one of my favorite writers, Walker Percy, I felt I had to look into one of his favorites: Teilhard de Chardin.
Teilhard de Chardin was a French Jesuit monk who was also a scientist--a combination Percy, as an MD and an artist with a spiritual bent himself, would understand. Pere Teilhard did extensive research and fieldwork in the fields of human paleontology and geology in the early 20th century, contributing to the advancement of the theory of evolution. He viewed his scientific research as an act of worship, as developing the awareness of Christ as the center of the universe and the entirety of the universe.
The Divine Milieu is probably Pere Teilhard's most important spiritual book. Here he addresses the spirit and the role of the world in the spirit. This book is extremely heavy going. It is definitely not the book to bring to the beach, but a careful reading will be repaid with a much greater insight into what our place in the world is and ought to be.
The library does not currently have a hard copy of The Divine Milieu (I re-read the dog-eared paperback I bought for an undergraduate philosophy class many, many, many years ago), however it is available free as an e-book here.
And speaking of e-books, if you haven't explored our collection of e-books available for check out, please visit our web page and sign up! With vacation season here, you'll find it is much easier to carry around a reader with e-books than a stack of hardbacks.
As we near Easter, I have completed my "assigned reading" for lent: The Life You Save May Be Your Own by Paul Elie. The reading was assigned by me to me to help celebrate the season of patience and waiting that is lent. Subtitled, "An American Pilgrimage," the book is a collective biography of four of the greatest 20th century American Christian writers. Elie's theme is that these four were on a great pilgrimage in life to more fully know the love of God and their fellow humans.
The four authors are the Trappist monk Thomas Merton, the founder of the Catholic Worker Dorothy Day, the southern Gothic writer Flannery O'Connor and physician and philosopher (and Mississippian) Walker Percy.
Elie's excellent book presents these important thinkers not as saints, but as humans with many weaknesses to overcome who are aspiring to make the world better through their love of God. The book is long and occasionally a little tough going, but it is well worth not just reading but studying in depth.
The renovation of the children's room of the Lincoln County Public Library in Brookhaven is in high gear now! The walls have been painted, the furnishings returned from the refinisher and the new furniture installed. While a few new surprises haven't arrived yet, the room is almost "ready for its close-up."
The fans of Lee Child's Jack Reacher series are among the most devoted in all of series novels. On the surface, Reacher seems an unbelievable character--in addition to being frighteningly intelligent and strong, he is a Christ-like figure with his refusal to own any possessions and his devotion to charity.
While these characteristics would seem to make a character into a caricature, in Child's capable hands, Reacher becomes not only real but extremely likable.
And while Child has created a character that has a legion of fans, his writing is also in the first rate of thriller writers.
In 61 Hours, Reacher has hitched a ride on a tour bus traveling through the northern tier of states during the coldest time of the year. Of course, the bus crashes and the elderly tourist are saved by Reacher and the local police. While stranded in a small town in South Dakota, Reacher is enlisted by the locals to solve an international crime that reaches from South Dakota to Mexico and Russia via the CIA and the Pentagon.
Child's Reacher books have been described as "airport thrillers." And while I suspect those critics mean that as an insult, I think it is a great description--the books are fast moving, exciting and well written with believable characters that the reader cares about. If you like thrillers and haven't discovered Jack Reacher, do yourself a favor and pick up any of the books.
IT'S OFFICIAL, Neil White, author and publisher is doing a fund raiser for FRIENDS OF LINCOLN COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY. Neil is author of several books one being IN THE SANCTUARY OF OUTCASTS about the time he was incarcerated in federal prison at what was the last Leper Colony in the United States. He is also author of several books about famous Mississippians.
Now we can reveal all of the facts. First, go mark your calendar forAPRIL 12. The first part of the fund raiser will be a casual intimate luncheon for Neil and his wife Debbie. Twenty sponsors and their guests will be able to mingle with Neil. Since the number of sponsorships is limited and several have already been taken, if you are interested let us know soon and we will save you two tickets. Sponsorships are on two levels Business/Corporate for $300.00 dollars and Individual sponsorship for $200. The Business/Corporate sponsors will each receive two tickets to the luncheon and four (4) tickets to the keynote address and reception which will be held at Olde Town Church. Individual sponsors will receive 2 tickets to the luncheon as well as 2 tickets to the keynote address and reception. In addition, if you are interested in becoming a Patron of the Library you may elect to join at this time for the $100 membership fee which will also entitle you to 2 tickets to the keynote address and reception. There is also a Patron membership for $100.00 and you will receive 2 tickets to the night event. The night event, held at Olde Town Church will start at6pmwith Neil’s presentation in the sanctuary. Tickets to the night event only are $20. Since we have been told the sanctuary only seats between 185-200 people there is obviously limited seating so please make your reservations early. If you have not had the opportunity to see Olde Town Church since the renovations this will be the perfect opportunity to do so. Please feel free to email me firstname.lastname@example.org you have any questions or would like to be put on the ticket list. Neil will also be bringing some of his books to sell and sign. We are not sure which ones he will bring but it might be a good time to put back a Christmas or Birthday gift early, especially, if he brings his books on famous sportsmen. Every man is going to want a copy of that one. Please share this post so all can see this wonderful event coming to Brookhaven. FOL hopes this is the first of many literary events we will sponsor.
The renovation of the Children's Room at the Lincoln County Public Library is continuing as the painters prepare to paint this weekend. Meanwhile, the newly refinished and recovered children's chairs have come in.