Monday, October 20, 2014

The Ron Rash Reader

Idgie Says:
This is a fantastic collection of all that is Ron Rash.  It has poems, short stories, non-fiction pieces, excerpts from novels and a selection of "uncollected stories".  You can dive into this book in one giant leap, or leave it by the bedside for a story a night.  

This really is a lovely compilation of stories from a wonderfully diverse author - it shows off all of his talented writing abilities.  Many writers are locked into one style of writing, but not Ron.

I started toward the back of the book, with Uncollected Stories.  By the first page of the first story, Outlaws, I was hooked. 

Perfect book for the Ron Rash enthusiast, or simply someone who enjoys a good story. 
The Ron Rash Reader
Edited by Randall Wilhelm
An exemplary sampling of poetry and prose from the internationally acclaimed writer of the Southern experience
USC Press
October, 2014


Over the last three decades, Ron Rash has emerged as one of the quintessential American writers of his generation. He has steadily gained critical and commercial recognition, from his native Carolinas to an increasingly international audience. With four volumes of poetry, four short story collections, and five novels as evidence of his multifaceted talent, Rash has amassed an impressive list of accolades, including the O. Henry Prize, the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award, the Sherwood Anderson Prize, the James Still Award of the Fellowship of Southern Writers, the Weatherford Award for best novel, and the Fiction Book of the Year Award from the Southern Book Critics Circle.

The Ron Rash Reader is a collection of essential works that covers the full range of Rash's career to date, from his first published collection of stories, The Night the New Jesus Fell to Earth: And Other Stories from Cliffside, North Carolina (1994), to Nothing Gold Can Stay: Stories (2012) and includes previously unpublished material as well. Edited by Randall Wilhelm, this collection of more than sixty of Rash's writings demonstrates his remarkable breadth and vitality—from short stories and verse to novel excerpts and nonfiction—comprising a best-of volume for new readers and established aficionados alike.

Arranged chronologically and by genre, the collection highlights the evolution of Rash's craftsmanship and of his major themes, revealing the rich tapestry of expanding interests that transcend genres. Wilhelm's introduction offers a biographical and critical guide to Rash's work as well as insightful discussion of the writer's most crucial themes and techniques, including his use of traditional and nontraditional poetic and literary forms; of different narrative strategies, story forms, and character voices; and of landscape and historic settings. Readers can see for themselves in one volume how Rash continuously returns to his deepest concerns for greater and greater effect, concerns that begin with his early poetry and stories and persist into his most recent works.

Randall Wilhelm is an assistant professor of American and southern literature at Anderson University. He has published numerous critical essays on American, southern, and Appalachian writers, and his work has appeared in the Faulkner Journal, Mississippi Quarterly, Cormac McCarthy Journal, Southern Quarterly, Appalachian Heritage, and Hemingway Review, among others.

Friday, October 17, 2014

A Quilt for Christmas

A Quilt for Christmas
Idgie Says:
This book reminds me of those lovely historical fiction books that they write for children and sell at Civil War bookstores and sites such as Kennesaw Mountain.  Where they take a fictional character and put them in true life situations that occurred during this war.  This is like that, but on an adult level with no punches pulled as to what happens to slaves, women and soldiers during this time period.  Very eye opening on several levels, while still being a book that keeps you interested in turning the pages to find out what happens next!


A Quilt for Christmas
Sandra Dallas
St. Martin's Press
October 14, 2014

It is 1864 and Eliza Spooner's husband Will has joined the Kansas volunteers to fight the Conferedates, leaving her with their two children and in charge of their home and land.  Eliza is confident that he will return home, and she helps pass the months making a special quilt to keep Will warm during his winter in the army.  When the unthinkable happens, she takes in a woman and child who have been left alone and made vulnerable by the war, and she finds solace and camaraderie amongst the women of her quilting group.  And when she is asked to help hide an escaped slave, she must decide for herself what is right, and who can she can count on to help her.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future

Idgie Says:
This is a compilation of stories that I would say veer heavily toward scientific and technical content. More on the side of science writing than science fiction writing. But no matter if the subject is based around technical how to of a space bar in the atmosphere, rather than the aliens that might be drinking at the bar, they are put forth in a positive manner of what we can do with our world, instead of how we will ruin it. That right there makes is an interesting read. 

Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future    
by Ed Finn, Kathryn Cramer
William Morrow
September 9, 2014
560 pages

Book Description:
 Inspired by New York Times bestselling author Neal Stephenson, an anthology of stories, set in the near future, from some of today’s leading writers, thinkers, and visionaries that reignites the iconic and optimistic visions of the golden age of science fiction

In his 2011 article “Innovation Starvation,” Neal Stephenson argued that we—the society whose earlier scientists and engineers witnessed the airplane, the automobile, nuclear energy, the computer, and space exploration—must reignite our ambitions to think boldly and do Big Stuff. He also advanced the Hieroglyph Theory which illuminates the power of science fiction to inspire the inventive imagination: “Good SF supplies a plausible, fully thought-out picture of an alternate reality in which some sort of compelling innovation has taken place.”

In 2012, Arizona State University established the Center for Science and the Imagination to bring together writers, artists, and creative thinkers with scientists, engineers, and technologists to cultivate and expand on “moon shot ideas” that inspire the imagination and catalyze real-world innovations.

Now comes this remarkable anthology uniting twenty of today’s leading thinkers, writers, and visionaries—among them Cory Doctorow, Gregory Benford, Elizabeth Bear, Bruce Sterling, and Neal Stephenson—to contribute works of “techno-optimism” that challenge us to dream and do Big Stuff . Engaging, mind-bending, provocative, and imaginative, Hieroglyph offers a forward-thinking approach to the intersection of art and technology that has the power to change our world.

Women of War

Idgie Says:
 What a fascinating book!  I'm so glad Casey sent a copy my way.  This is brilliant for the Civil War enthusiast, and at the same time an excellent look into the minds of women during the Civil War and that time in history in general.  We are truly blessed that during this time of hardship and heartache, women took precious moments out of their struggle for daily survival to record their thoughts, feelings and daily endurances on paper so that we may feel and hear through them a clear picture of that time in history.
Love this book.

Also, if you haven't already, go check out another Casey book that the Dew reviewed - Confederado.  A very well written and gripping novel about a Confederate Soldier far from home.  Click HERE to read that review.

ISBN-13: 9781937875503
Publisher: Texas Review Press
Publication date: 9/2/2014

In their variety, the memoir, poetry, and fiction included in this exciting new anthology show the transitory nature of the literature of southern women who lived through a violent and defining crossroads in their lives. In rare and rediscovered excerpts and verses these women writers evidence the early hopes of a cause destined to be lost, the propagandic rhetoric which accompanied it, and the destruction ultimately visited upon them, their homes, and their families. Paradoxically, even as these women defended and spoke out for a cause concerned in part with extending human bondage, they found themselves forced to experience the harsh wind of freedom and personal agency as their husbands, sons, and fathers abandoned them to their homes and, in many cases, never returned. The editor, who also serves as editor of the literature section of the Virginia Foundation for Humanities' Encyclopedia Virginia, has chosen these pieces carefully and arranged them chronologically or thematically depending on the content of each genre. A book that should prove useful to literary scholars, historians, and anyone possessed on an interest in the Civil War, Women of War brings to light a cornucopia of heretofore obscure women's writings which enrich our understanding of a complex, unsettling time unmatched in our nation's history.

Casey Clabough is the author of the novel Confederado, the travel memoir The Warrior's Path: Reflections Along an Ancient Route, the memoir SCHOOLED: Life Lessons of a Professor, a biography of legendary southern writer George Garrett, five scholarly books on southern and Appalachian literature, an edited collection of women's Civil War writing, and a creative writing textbook. Clabough serves as series editor of the multi-volume "Best Creative Nonfiction of the South," as editor of the literature section of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities' Encyclopedia Virginia, and as general editor of the literary journal James Dickey Review. His work has appeared in over a hundred anthologies and magazines, including Creative Nonfiction, the Sewanee Review, and the Virginia Quarterly Review. Clabough’s awards include the Bangladesh International Literary Award, an artist's fellowship from the Brazilian Government, and several U.S.-based fellowships. He lives on a farm in Appomattox County, Virginia and teaches at Lynchburg College.