A look at famous authors, Book Review

July Newsletter Book Review: Lewis Grizzard

Screen Shot 2019-07-23 at 2.55.55 PMBook Review by Glenda Bonham ~ Lewis Grizzard

If you’re in the mood for some light reading this summer to rest your brain along with your body, consider picking up one of 25 books by Lewis Grizzard. Born in Georgia, he was first a sport writer, writing for the Atlanta Journal and moved on to become executive sports editor at the Chicago Sun-Times. His career was successful, but he was unhappy living in Illinois and longed to go back to the South. He outlined his personal struggle in “If I Ever Get Back to Georgia, I’m Gonna Nail My Feet to the Ground”.

After two failed marriages, he returned to Atlanta to write sports, but found his calling in humor as a columnist. He soon enjoyed enduring popularity across the nation because of the perceived humor, humanity, patriotism, and “old-fashioned” values that permeated his writings. At his peak, he was syndicated in 450 newspapers and was making regular appearances on television and the stand-up comedy circuit. He appeared with famous comedians such as Jerry Clower. In 1988, Grizzard made his television acting debut on the sitcom Designing Women, in the episode ‘Oh Brother’ where he portrayed a half-brother of Julia and Suzanne Sugarbaker.

Some of his humorous books are collections of his newspaper columns “Chili Dogs Always Bark at Night” and “Shoot Low Boys – They’re Riding Shetland Ponies”. Other writings are results of his failed relationships such as “If Love Were Oil, I’d Be About a Quart Low” and “They Tore Out My Heart and Stomped That Sucker Flat”.

Some of his book titles have become main stream remarks such as “Life Is Like a Dogsled Team; If You’re Not the Lead Dog, the Scenery Never Changes”.

If there was one thing Lewis Grizzard was not, it was being politically correct, even for the time of his popularity. He made relentless fun of Yankees and pointed out flaws as he perceived them in politics and pop culture of the 80’s and 90’s.

Biting Southern humor knows no age limit. Lewis Grizzard’s books stand as testimony of this statement. Screen Shot 2019-07-23 at 2.56.09 PM.png

Book Review

June Newsletter Book Review: Clarissa

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Book Review—Reading Clarissa ~ By Richard McGee

For the last few years I have been trying to read as many of the literature classics as I can. It has been an interesting effort with a wide variety of subjects. I have reread some that I had first seen many years ago in college and I have discovered some new ones that I had not heard of before.

“Clarissa, or the History of a Young Lady” is one I was unaware of. Written by Samuel Richardson, it was published in 1748. In 2015 the BBC rated Clarissa 14th on its list of the 100 greatest British novels.

The story revolves around Clarissa Harlowe, whose quest for virtue is challenged by a libertine, Robert Lovelace, who strives to compromise her morals to prove that virtuous women do not exist. Mistrust, jealousy, and greed by her family are the biggest impediments for her and push her toward Lovelace. The author makes us care about Clarissa and we feel the angst as she is pressured from all sides. The novel is unusual as the entire story is told in letters between the characters. It was interesting to see this different way of relating the tale.

This was a challenge for me to read. Clarissa is among the longest novels written in the English language. The digital copy for my Kindle was nine volumes for the complete book. The other challenge is to get a copy of the book. You probably will not find a copy of it in your bookstore. Amazon recently made it available in print and kindle editions but they appear to be condensed versions. I downloaded mine from the Project Gutenberg website where 59,000 books with copyright expired are available for free. When you have time, I recommend you read this one.

Book Review

December Newsletter Book Review: Before We Were Yours

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Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

A review by Richard McGee

This story is told from the point of view of two people, separated by age, time, and economic class. Rill is twelve years old and the oldest of five children living with their parents on a Mississippi River shanty boat. Her father must take her mother to the hospital and Rill is left in charge with her siblings. A group of men grab the children from the boat and they are placed in a Tennessee Children’s Home Society Orphanage. At first the children are told they soon will be rejoined with their parents, but the children grow to realize that is a lie.

Avery is in a wealthy family in South Carolina and has left her job as a US Attorney to help her dad get re-elected to the US Senate. She is a smart and politically astute woman destined to follow her dad to elected office. In a chance meeting, she discovers a secret involving her grandmother and decides to investigate to learn the details of the secret. Her search eventually uncovers the truth of the ties between her family and the orphan children seventy years before.

The scandal of the Tennessee Children’s Home Society that stole children from impoverished families and sold them to wealthy powerful clients around the country is a true story. The story of Rill and her siblings is a fictional composite drawn from the accounts of actual children taken into the orphanages.

The story is an emotional pull that will have you continually turning pages to discover the outcome of characters you have come to love. I highly recommend it.

 

Book Review

November Newsletter Book Review: Texas Ranger

A Book Review by Jodie Martin

Texas Ranger By James Pattterson

( co-authored by Andrew Bourelle)

The story begins with a not so typical good-guy, bad-guy race to save the damsel, though she’s not your average damsel in distress. However, in this case she surely is in distress. Our hero in this story is disgraced Texas Ranger, Rory Yates. The disgrace he faces is two- fold. He is under suspicion for the gruesome murder of his ex-wife, and the shame he feels for failing to find the real killer. He must fight time and the powers that be in the bureau to find the real killer, and clear his name before everyone he cares about dies of mysterious “accidents”.

There was a fairly good twist at the end, however, being from Texas might have colored my opinion of the book.

I give it 3 1/2 stars, out of 5.

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Book Review

October Newsletter Book Review: The Nightingale

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah A Book Review by Richard McGee

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Novels and stories about war are usually told from the perspective of men fighting on the battleground or from the commanders forming strategy and tactics. The Nightingale gives us insight into World War II from the perspective of the women left behind. Two sisters, estranged from each other and from their father, struggle to survive in Nazi-occupied France. Each follows a different path to negotiate through the dangers and hardships they face.

The sister that had always depended on her husband had to learn to cope after he left to fight. The sister that had al- ways rebelled against authority had to find a way to channel her energies. The father that was devastated by his experiences in the previous war and had spurned his daughters, had to find his way back to them.

The tension begins in chapter one and escalates in each succeeding chapter. I occasionally find a book that I can’t put down until I finish it. This book was different as I found I sometimes had to set it aside for a few minutes, because the emotions became so intense I had to take a break. There were several “oh wow” moments.

The Nightingale won the People’s Choice Awards for best novel in 2015 and Goodreads Best Historical Fiction Novel for that year. Production as a movie is currently underway and will be released in 2019. Hurry and read the book before then as a two-hour movie cannot capture the depth of this book.