August Read of the Month: “The Nickel Boys,” by Colson Whitehead

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro Colson Whitehead once more proves the sheer power of his talent with The Nickel Boys (Doubleday, 2019), a heartbreaking, chilling story about an innocent black youth sent to a hellish reform school in North Florida during the Jim Crow days. While the book is fiction, what makes it so devastating […]

“The Leaf Does Not Believe It Will Fall,” By Marina Brown

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro Marina Brown’s The Leaf Does Not Believe It Will Fall is, in a word, genuine. Written with heartfelt honesty and thoughtful insights, this collection of poetry is both eloquent and graceful. Brown’s poems find that delicate balance between exposure and restraint, leaving a touch of mystery. The craftsmanship is consistently […]

“Watermelons, Nooses, and Straight Razors: Stories from the Jim Crow Museum,” by David Pilgrim with a foreword by Debby Irving

Reviewed by Phyllis Wilson Moore Watermelons, Nooses, and Straight Razors: Stories from the Jim Crow Museum (PM Press, 2018), by sociologist, author, and lecturer Dr. David Pilgrim, is a ground-breaking scholarly work. In it he highlights and explores the impact that racist artifacts and demeaning images have on the maligned race as well as on […]

“A Pure Heart,” by Rajia Hassib

Reviewed by Donna Meredith In Rajia Hassib’s A Pure Heart (Viking, 2019), characters present different versions of themselves, depending on where they are and whom they are with—as we all do. The result is multi-faceted characters with secrets kept even from closest friends and family. Hassib’s novel shines as one of the finest explorations of […]

“Stars of Alabama,” by Sean Dietrich

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro Sean Dietrich’s Stars of Alabama is a beautiful novel, mesmerizing with its complex characters, lush settings, and lyrical language. It is, quite simply, Southern literature at its finest. Written with wisdom, insight, and captivating diction, it is poignant and hopeful, engaging and vivid, full of people who might have died […]

July Read of the Month: “Privilege,” by Claire Matturro

Reviewed by Donna Meredith On the first page of Claire Matturro’s steamy mystery Privilege, 18-year-old Ruby asks criminal defense attorney Gardner Randolph if she can trust him. He leers at Ruby’s chest and already readers want to sound the warning: “No! Don’t trust him!” But she is young, homeless, in trouble with the law and […]

Allen Mendenhall Interviews Susan Cushman, Author of “Friends of the Library”

AM:  Susan, so glad we get to do this interview.  Friends of the Library is your latest book, a collection of short stories.  This is the fifth book you’ve published in just two years.  What’s going on?  How have you become so productive? SC:  Hi, Allen. Thanks so much for the opportunity to chat. And […]

“Friends of the Library,” by Susan Cushman

Reviewed by Niles Reddick A few months ago, I got an email from Susan Cushman asking if I would endorse her newest book project, a collection of stories titled Friends of the Library. As usual, I immediately agreed and didn’t regret that decision. I have known Susan for several years through a Southern authors blog […]