One of the things I love about writing book reviews is I can encourage people to pick up a literary treasure they would have passed over or never heard about. That is why I feel a little disappointed I'm essentially telling readers not to bother with this week's novel. And it is particularly disappointing that it is from an author whose first novel was such a success and so highly praised.
"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted." These words were spoken and recorded many centuries ago by one referred to as the Preacher. Of course, they are found in the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes.
How long have you wanted to market your family heirloom recipe for barbecue sauce or peach relish, but didn't know what was required by the USDA/FDA, the Georgia Department of Agriculture, or the health inspectors, etc., to get started? Now you can attend a seminar like this one.
Today, many adult children are returning home to live with their parents. Often this move is because the adult child is experiencing financial problems as the result of being unemployed, in the process of divorce or simply because of the inability to earn enough to make ends meet.
"Nothing in life is free," my mother once told me. To a 7-year-old boy, this didn't make much sense. After all, I had plenty of things that I'd never paid for. Surely there had to be something in life that was totally without cost. So I wracked my brain to come up with it.
Some say that a brisk walk does a body good. Others say that reading great literature expands the mind. While I'm sure that there is considerable truth in these statements, I prefer to share another recently discovered bit of wisdom. A leisurely walk in the woods with a 2-year-old grandson replenishes the soul.
One night back in the summer, Louise, Rodney and I stopped to see Russell and Neva, whom we have all known in one way or the other for decades. Yet, we go ages without seeing each other. It's a crying shame, as Mama would say.
Karen Russell's debut novel, "Swamplandia!," is unlike any story you're familiar with, and it may be an odd literary confection that many readers would have to acquire a taste for. However, once you venture into Russell's mystical menagerie of the Florida Everglades, there is an ecosystem of blossoming prose and vibrant imagination. It all weaves together into a mesmerizing gothic portrait of love, death and the loss of innocence.