April Read of the Month: “Road’s End,” by Rebecca Barrett

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro Lush, lyrical, often painfully sad, the ultimately uplifting Road’s End (Witch Creek Publishing 2017), by Rebecca Campbell Barrett, is Southern literature at its finest. The story of three generations of a West Alabama family focuses on headstrong, sometimes impetuous women whose menfolk are not overlooked. Inspired in part by Barrett’s […]

March Reads of the Month: “Walker Percy, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and the Search for Influence” and “Reading Walker Percy’s Novels,” by Jessica Hooten Wilson

Reviewed by Leslie Marsh Jessica Hooten Wilson’s stated ambition is no less than “to revitalize influence studies, especially as they relate to our religious assumptions about aesthetics.” On current form, she may well be the one to achieve this. Hooten Wilson’s two books are dealt with in tandem not only because they have appeared in […]

February Read of the Month: “Waters Run Wild,” by Andrea Fekete

Reviewed by Phyllis Wilson Moore Andrea Fekete’s first novel, Waters Run Wild (Guest Room Press, 2018) is a brutal story of the struggle for equity in the West Virginia coal fields in the industry’s early days. Before federal laws and unions intervened, workers were exploited in every imaginable way. Unions were prohibited, wages were low. […]

January Read of the Month: “Where the Crawdads Sing,” by Delia Owens

Reviewed by Donna Meredith With gorgeous imagery and breathtaking detail, Delia Owens perfectly captures the exquisite song of the North Carolina coastal marsh and all its creatures in her debut novel, Where the Crawdads Sing. Not since Pat Conroy’s Prince of Tides has there been a love song to the low country as poignant. And […]

December Read of the Month: “Like Headlines,” by Nancy Dillingham

Reviewed by Fred Chappell Ezra Pound, that cranky ringmaster of twentieth century American poetry, offered this definition:  “Poetry is news that stays news.”  His point, that strong poetry is always important, fresh, and urgent, would be soberly received by many an earnest striver in the art, even those who had never heard of Pound.  Some […]

November Read of the Month: “Christian Bend,” by Karen Spears Zacharias

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro Karen Spears Zacharias writes with remarkable sensitivity and insight. She is so profoundly in touch with her fictional people that she can present a tale from multiple points of view with an acuity and heart-felt honesty that soon makes her characters feel like close friends to the reader. Because of […]

October Read of the Month: “Finding Joe,” by Rebecca Hunn

Reviewed by Donna Meredith If you’re looking for an entertaining mystery crafted around a strong setting and unusual characters, check out Finding Joe, Rebecca Hunn’s debut novel. The protagonist Donna Cain is “an oil and gas leasing agent—part sleuth, part genealogist, part salesperson,” who believes she has “the best job in the world.” She lives […]

September Read of the Month: “When Nighttime Shadows Fall,” by Diane Michael Cantor

Reviewed by Brandy Renee McCann  As a social scientist and native to southern Appalachia, I picked up Diane Michael Cantor’s novel, When Nighttime Shadows Fall (University of South Carolina Press, 2017), with interest. Similar to the characters in the novel, in 1976 my eighteen-year-old mother was pregnant with me. My folks were married at the time […]