“The Gospel of Rot” by Gregory Ariail

When deciding to review a book I try to avoid blurbs, other reviews, or anything that may influence my review. I’ll read the author’s bio or visit their website, but initially I prefer to select a book based on the author’s synopsis. So, when I read the back of The Gospel of Rot (Mercer University […]

“The Ballad of Cherrystoke and Other Stories” by Melanie McGee Bianchi

To the surprise of many who were raised on Hee Haw and The Beverly Hillbillies, the Appalachian region, rich with Scots-Irish, African-American, Hispanic, European, and Native American influences, positively simmers in diversity, like a pepper sauce in the stew that makes up the region’s populace. An expanse where abject squalor lives hand-in-calloused-hand with blue collar […]

“Let Me Say This: A Dolly Parton Poetry Anthology” edited by Julie E. Bloemeke and Dustin Brookshire

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro Let Me Say This: A Dolly Parton Poetry Anthology (Madville Publishing, 2023) is a complete delight. It is filled with poems which are alternately bold, splashy, wise, personal, revealing, poignant, funny, thoughtful and thought-provoking, utterly charming, or more—just like the iconic cultural figure the anthology pays homage to in verse. […]

March Read of the Month: “Atomic Family” by Ciera Horton McElroy

For a novel that begins by plunging right ahead to its grim ending—a little boy falling from a water tower—Atomic Family (Blair, 2023) still manages to build excruciating suspense by the time the story circles back to the fall. Why did the boy climb the tower? Will he survive the fall? Author Ciera Horton McElroy […]

“Justice in the Jim Crow South: An Unlikely Journey from Negro Policeman to Florida’s First Black Parole & Probation Commissioner” by Charles J. Scriven

Reviewed by Debbie Floyd Living through a time and reading about a time in history are two very different experiences. About the time I was born (1950) and growing up in Jacksonville one man was facing an uphill climb for civil rights and equal justice regardless of race. Charles Scriven was bringing about change and […]

“Another Appalachia: Coming Up Queer and Indian in a Mountain Place” by Neema Avashia

When I came out to a college friend, I lamented my hesitance to claim the label bisexual. “Questioning if you’re bi enough is like, peak bi,” she told me. This conversation replayed over and over in my head as I read Neema Avashia’s Another Appalachia: Coming Up Queer and Indian in a Mountain Place (West […]