Magazine article Appalachian Heritage

New Book Notes

Magazine article Appalachian Heritage

New Book Notes

Article excerpt

Laura Benedict. Devil's Oven. Carbondale, Ill.: Gallowstree Press, 2012. 324 pages. Trade paperback. $13.95.

This book calls itself "a dark suspense novel." The title is also the name of a fictional mountain in Appalachia. "Devil's Oven is stunning and lyrical and all kinds of creepy. Benedict taps into our childhood's grimmest fairy tales, and takes them in a delightfully spooky new direction. [She] has graced us with a sophisticated and thoroughly grown-up contemporary nightmare. I won't sleep for days."--J. T. Ellison. Laura Benedict is a Kentucky native who lived for years near Roanoke, Virginia, and now lives near Carbondale, Illinois. This is her third novel.

Susan Power Bratton. The Spirit of the Appalachian Trail: Community, Environment, and Belief on a Long-Distance Hiking Path. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2012. 284 pages with photos and index. Hardback with dust jacket. $49.95.

This book about the Appalachian Trail is a curious amalgam of scholarly discourse and subjective tidbits. It is informed by five sources: a survey, diaries and memoirs, trail logs and postings, personal observations, and conversations with what the author calls the "AT community," including "trail angels" who aren't hiking the trail. "Want to know what wilderness means to people who live it for over two thousand miles? Then read this extremely interesting, informative, intelligent and thoughtful book."--Roger S. Gottlieb.

Jeanne Bryner. Smoke: Poems. Huron, Ohio.: Bottom Dog Press Inc., 2012. 95 pages with photos. Trade paperback. $16.00.

Jeanne Bryner is an accomplished writer who is sensitive to the Appalachian area from which her family migrated to Ohio. These poems explore the author's experience as an emergency room nurse in and around Warren, Ohio. "Bryner intertwines striking images and perfect metaphors in poems that use nursing as a lens through which to view the world of healthcare as well as the lives of families, communities, and the art of writing."--Cortney Davis.

Casey Clabough. Inhabiting Contemporary Southern and Appalachian Literature: Region and Place in the Twenty-First Century. Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 2012. 192 pages with epilogue, works cited, and index. Hardback with pictorial cover. $74.95.

Such a shame this book is so overpriced, because it has a lot of useful material. Clabough has chapters on George Garrett, Fred Chappell, William Hoffman and David Huddle, and he includes a chapter which is a montage of short essays that treat Victor Depta, Sheila Kay Adams, Jim Minick, and Mark Powell (this last is a review by Clabough which first appeared in the Spring 2007 issue of Appalachian Heritage, but which the book does not credit as being first publilshed in this magazine.)

Amy Clark. Success in Hill Country. Wise, Va.: The Napoleon Hill Foundation, 2011. 170 pages. Trade paperback. $14.94.

The author, Amy Clark, an area native who teaches at the University of Virginia at Wise, exemplifies her topic. The book consists of short vignettes and interviews of successful people from Central Appalachia in sports, literature, business, education, and medicine. "As a proud son of the 'hill country' who has achieved a degree of success, I recommend this book with enthusiasm and admiration."--Earl Hamner.

Anne Cockerham and Arlene Keeling. Rooted in the Mountains, Reaching to the World: Stories of Nursing and Midwifery at Kentucky's Frontier School, 1939-1989. Louisville: Butler Books, 2012. 160 pages with photos and index. Hardback with dust jacket. $30.00.

This is a nice coffee-table book which tells the story of the Frontier Nursing Service, based in Leslie County, Kentucky, with both pictures and words. Some of the pictures seem a little like staged public relations shots, but others really give a feel for the area and the good works done by the FNS. Amy Cockerham studied nursing with the FNS and, like her coauthor, Arlene Keeling, earned a PhD at the University of Virginia. …

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