Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), Miracle of the Concrete Jesus & Other Stories, and several Kindle ebooks.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Books I've Read Lately

Yesterday, I posted a picture of the books I haven’t read yet but intend to. What have I read lately?

I just finished Sin and Syntax: How to Craft Wickedly Effective Prose, by Constance Hale, and loved it: A grammar book that goes way beyond grammar books! I checked it out from the Franklin County Library but might have to break down and buy a copy. It’s the second best writing book I’ve read this year. (The best was literary agent Noah Lukeman’s The First Five Pages.)

I’ve enjoyed a couple of self-pubbed books recently. Right now, I’m slightly past the middle of Fred First’s Slow Road Home: A Blue Ridge Book of Days. I’ve been savoring this collection of essays by reading a few selections a night.

Fred, who sometimes reads his essays on the local NPR station, lives the next county over from me. If you want to get a feel for the Blue Ridge region, take a look at Fred’s blog, Fragments from Floyd. Fred will be one of the readers at the Franklin County Book Festival’s kick-off on Friday, August 18, at 6:30 p.m. at the Edible Vibe in downtown Rocky Mount.

Two other self-pubbed books—actually POD—that I read in the last two months are When Men Move to the Basement, a collection of humorous essays by Marion Higgins, and Scott’s Addition, a memoir/autobiography of growing up in a certain section of Richmond, by Ken Woodcock. Marion will also be one of the readers at the Edible Vibe.

Last week I finished The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver. Yeah, I know, I’m probably one of the last to read this wonderful book that everyone else has already discovered. I bought a used copy last March at the Virginia Festival of the Book, finally opened it, read the first page, and was hooked. I really like books told in multiple viewpoints.

Also at the Virginia Festival of the Book, I picked up a used copy of Mary Lee Settle’s memoir, Addie. I’d enjoyed Settle’s Beulah Land series many years ago, and—while I’m not a big fan of memoir—I enjoyed Addie, too.

During the last year, not only have I read (and own signed copies of) three of the 2006 Library of Virginia’s Readers’ Choice nominees—Emyl Jenkin’s Stealing with Style, Nancy Beasley’s Izzy’s Fire, and Sharyn McCrumb’s St. Dale—but I’ve also heard all three authors read from their books. An antiques mystery, a story of a Holocaust survivor, and the Canterbury Tales meets NASCAR: how's that for eclectic reading?


Blogger fred said...

Come on up to Floyd Co in September when B Kingsolver will be speaking to cap off the 175th anniversary of the town of Floyd. I'll let you know details for the date when they are posted soon.

10:55 AM  
Blogger Leslie Shelor said...

Well, now you've added to my stack of books to be read!

8:01 AM  

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