One of the great joys of genre is that you know pretty much basically kinda exactly what you are going to get. If you attend an opera, it is a safe bet that you will hear people singing arias with an orchestra. This is usually a good thing; if you’re in the mood for a Big Mac, you’d be pretty upset if you were given a tofu burrito.
Other times, however, it can be a lot of fun when a work breaks some of the “rules” of its genre. An Amish Courtship is such a book. Don’t get me wrong. It’s an Amish romance. The characters are Amish, the problems are Amish, there is romance. Great. But Ms. Long gives the recipe a twist or two… Continue Reading
As a kid I loved baseball cards and the men pictured on them. This oriented my attitude towards race in a positive direction. To me, the black players on my cards, such as Mays, Aaron, Brock, and Banks, were not black at all—just as the white ballplayers weren’t white. They were all simply Giants, Braves, Cardinals, and Cubs. And I loved all players with all my heart. Continue Reading
The Beatles have always been a part of my life, though I was born a certain number of years after they broke up. There are so many reasons that The Beatles have stood the test of time and will continue to be an important part of human culture. Beatlemania ushered in the rise of youth culture in the West, the reverberations of which continue to this day. The Beatles’ music was a beautiful mash-up of classical influences and the lively rock-and-roll (and soul and Motown) that were blossoming when John, Paul, George, and (eventually) Ringo were learning to play and write.
At the heart of it, The Beatles were a partnership of four young men who went from obscurity to vast fame and fortune. Such partnerships can never last forever, no matter how much we wish that were the case. Bryce Zabel must have had a lot of fun writing his new book, Once There Was a Way, a work of alternate history in which the author wonders what would have happened had the Fab Four found a way to get back homeward.
Nellie is a beautiful young teacher who spends her days caring for little children. Pretty soon, she’ll be caring for her own little ones. The rich and handsome Richard swept her off her feet. And what a great guy he is! Sure, the money is nice, but Richard make sure that she wants for nothing. There’s only one problem: the ex-wife.
Vanessa is not taking the divorce well. She lives with her Aunt Charlotte and works at a clothing store…the same kind of clothing store at which she once shopped. Her old friends sometimes show up to find her in such a lowly state. And Vanessa won’t stop trying to contact her replacement. Continue Reading
David Callow is exactly the kind of person I love to hate. There’s absolutely nothing special about him. He doesn’t sing. He doesn’t dance. He has no talent aside from waking up and clicking “record” with his cell phone.
You know what? I usually begin these essays with a description of the book in question. The opening of Robert Bausch’s In the Fall They Come Back, however, demonstrates one of the principles we can learn from the book, so I’ll paste it in right after I tell you where you can buy the book. (The publisher, your local indie, Amazon.) Continue Reading
Kayla Dienner is a sweet young woman who works as a waitress at her family’s restaurant. She was pretty close to a guy named Abram, but he broke up with her shortly after her firefighter brother died while on a call. (What a jerk, right?) Jamie is a firefighter who is sweet on Kayla. See how his vocation is an obstacle to their relationship? Kayla and Jamie are two great young people…will they be able to make and build a connection? Continue Reading
Have you ever loved someone who didn’t love you back in the same way? Have you ever gotten what you wanted at the exact wrong time and wondered how you would cope? Have you ever felt mistreated by someone you love and hoped they would come around before you take off? Continue Reading