With profound apologies to the ghost of John Steinbeck, I offer the following –
A few miles south of Lucedale, Miss., two dusty travelers pause by the roadside. Both are dressed in denim trousers and denim coats with brass buttons. Both wear black, shapeless hats and carry tight blanket rolls slung over their shoulders. The first man is small and quick, dark of face, with restless eyes and sharp, strong features. Every part of him is defined: small, strong hands, slender arms, a thin and bony nose. Behind him stands his opposite, a huge man, shapeless of face, with large, pale eyes and wide, sloping shoulders. He walks heavily, dragging his feet a little, the way a bear drags his paws.
George Clinton (Photo credit: Burns!)
The first man takes off his hat and runs his fingers through his greasy black hair.
“I’m beat. Let’s rest here by the side of the road awhile, Lennie.”
His companion mumbles assent and the two flop down on a low bank. The first man spies a discarded newspaper on the ground and absent-mindedly picks it up.
“Whatcha doin’, George?” asks his companion, eyeing the smudged paper curiously.
“What’s it look like I’m doin’, you dumb ox,” the first man growls. “I’m readin’ this …
Writers from Alabama and all over the Southeast are packing their sandals and sunglasses for a weekend on the beach where they will learn how to get published and can network with other writers at the Silken Sands Writers Conference.
Sponsored by the Gulf Coast Chapter of Romance Writers of America, the conference will be held at the White Sands Resort Holiday Inn in Gulf Shores on April 25-27. The registration fee is $125 before April 1, $150 after. “The conference has something for every fiction writer,” said chapter president Elizabeth Smith of Pass Christian, Miss. “Although we are a romance chapter, we believe good writing has common elements that cross all genres. We invite all writers to participate.”
Conference chair Fran McNabb of Ocean Springs, Miss., agreed. “This is a wonderful opportunity for aspiring writers to talk with New York editors and agents, learn from successful writers, and meet others who share their interests. One of our members sold her first book to an editor she met at our conference. Writers at every level will find something of value here.”
Award-winning, best-selling author of 22 historical and contemporary suspense novels, Katherine Sutcliffe of Houston is the keynote speaker at the Saturday evening banquet.
FAIRHOPE — Pulitzer prize-winning author Rick Bragg will be on the Eastern Shore Wednesday for a program at the University of South Alabama-Baldwin County.
“An October Evening with Rick Bragg” will begin at 7 p.m. and is sponsored by Over The Transom Books, in collaboration with the Fairhope Center for the Writing Arts and USABC.
The New York Times Journalist and Pulitzer Prize winner will be winding up his tour promoting his latest book “Ava’s Man.” Recently released in paperback, the book is currently on the New York Times paperback best-sellers list.
Cover of All Over but the Shoutin’
The book was chosen by the Mobile Tricentennial Book Committee as “Mobile’s Book.” It chronicles the life of Bragg’s maternal grandfather, Charlie Bundrum, and how his strengths in overcoming the struggles of raising a family in the Great Depression and beyond translated into the strength of character of Bragg’s mother as told in his first book “All Over But The Shoutin’.”…
The Irish author John Banville‘s “Shroud” is itself a shroud, a roman clef concerning the life of Paul de Man (1919-1983), teacher at Cornell (1960-66) and Johns Hopkins (1967-1970), and distinguished Yale professor (1970-1983). Paul de Man is the father of American deconstruction or, more precisely, rhetorical reading: a theory of language which focuses on figurality — metaphor, personification, symbol, etc. — and the production of meaning in a text. The amazing thing about Banville’s novelization of this theory that confounds many is the irony behind “Shroud’s” conception: Banville himself never attended university but is, rather, an autodidact. At once brilliant in its pastiche and clever in its construction, “Shroud” ends as uncertainly as it begins, which is appropriate considering that, within the realm of deconstruction, there is no logos and no telos.
Cover of Edgar Allan Poe
Suffice it to say, “Shroud” narratively performs the very theory it allegorizes. The effect for the reader of such a performance is that, when you finish “Shroud,” you return to the book’s beginning for some guidance or clue as to its meaning only to confront, once again, the book’s first line: “Who speaks?”
“Shroud” does not answer that question nor does it mean to. The story engages quite suspensefully at times but …
This is no exaggeration — one of the best bookstores between Washington, D.C., and Houston, Texas, occupies an unassuming downtown Pensacola storefront. I owe my friend Franklin Daugherty a debt of gratitude for recently introducing me to this slightly scruffy literary haven, packed with more good, serious, used books than any other place I’ve been to in a long time.
The proprietor, Paul Williams, is a widely-read, friendly young man with a passion for what he’s doing. In a recent interview, he was relaxed and attired in jeans and a T-shirt. A native Pensacolan, he grew up with a single mother in a blue-collar neighborhood. Despite the poverty, reading was part of his childhood. He described memories of his mother lying on a bed “heaped with books.”Subterranean Books is located at 9 East Gregory St., just around the corner from several restaurants and bars on North Palafox Street. It consists of a series of shelf-lined rooms running front to rear. The titles are grouped thematically — art, fictioliterature, gardening, history, poetry, philosophy, science fiction, women’s studies, etc. — and are very reasonably priced. At the front of the store are stacks of avant-garde publications (“zines” in popular parlance), unusual cards and a very sophisticated selection of used compact discs.
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Tis a season of war. And though we in the West like to think of ourselves as a peaceful people, the reality is that we are heir to a warrior tradition stretching back millennia. It begins with Achilles, tempestuous, passionate and fearsome in battle. Immortalized, perhaps invented, by Homer, Achilles has inspired admiration and envy down the centuries. Alexander the Great slept with a copy of the Iliad on campaign, and styled himself the new Achilles as he swept across Persia. During the early 19th century, the Romantic Poets praised him as a man of action, loyalty and feeling. And when the British stormed ashore at Gallipoli in 1915, more than one officer, knowing his Homer, keenly felt the resonance of fighting in the same part of the world where Troy’s ruins stand. In a lull before the assault, one of them wrote, Stand in the trench, AchilleFlame capped, and shout for me.
Literature, it seems, isn’t yet done with this hero, as demonstrated by the publication of Achilles (Picador, paper, $11), a graceful prose poem by British scholar and writer Elizabeth Cook. In a mere 107 pages of text, Cook retells Achilles’ story from a medley of sources ranging from Homer to John Keats. The result is an extraordinary …
Today’s Books page highlights “The Heaven of Mercury” (Norton, $23.95), an earthy new Southern novel by Brad Watson. Other writers have been especially impressed with this complicated, darkly humorous and sometimes disturbing tale. Larry Brown called it “As mythic and miraculous as Faulkner and Mrquez” and Barry Hannah declared “Each page a deep pleasure.” Reviews in the press have been mixed, however, and squeamish readers should be warned of the book’s strong sexual content (necrophilia, rape, masturbation and more). “The Heaven of Mercury” stirs many emotions.
During a recent telephone interview, Watson spoke about his background, influences and literary aspirations. Though he is now writer-in-residence at the University of West Florida, Watson revealed that his path to the writing life was anything but direct. Born and raised in Meridian, Miss., he “was not a serious student.” What he really wanted to do was act, and as a teen-ager he traveled to California to chase his dream. After some time on the West coast, he returned to his native Mississippi and enrolled in college. He credits an early teacher, Buck Thomas at Meridian Junior College, with turning him into “a serious reader.” Matured by his California experience and guided by Thomas, Watson plowed through the works of William Faulkner, Eudora Welty …
ROBERTSDALE — From Magnolia Springs to Little River, the county bookmobile continues make its rounds.
Its fall schedule includes several new stops, including one in the parking lot of Bruno’s grocery at Blakeley Square Shopping Center at U.S. 31 and Alabama 225 in Spanish Fort.
The bookmobile makes 37 stops every two weeks at schools, retirement communities and community centers.
In addition to the 3,000 books and audiotapes on the bookmobile, items can be borrowed from any library in the county.
The bookmobile is managed by the Baldwin County Library Cooperative in Robertsdale. The cooperative also maintains collections at deposit stations in nursing homes, mental health centers and centers for the aging throughout the county. These collections are rotated every three to six months to bring in new materials.
The staff of BCLC also manages the integrated library system used by nearly all of the libraries in Baldwin County. The collections of most libraries in the county, except Lillian, are now in the catalog and material can be acquired from across the county at your home library, even if your home library is the bookmobile, cooperative officials said.
The Baldwin County Bookmobile runs from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays, Oct. 8 and 22 and Nov. 5 and …