After a lengthy hiatus from the blog, I’ve been slowly making my way back. There’s still a whole lot going on academically and professionally, but this blog is a place that I simply need to be, sometimes. I may not be posting/reviewing regularly, but I’ll definitely still be here. I’ve also found some time to surf around and visit some of my favorite blogger pals, which has been great for me.
As a welcome back or “grand re-opening” of sorts, I thought I’d celebrate in my traditional style, with a giveaway! I’ve recently stumbled across a couple of books that I would love to share with interested readers. So why not now?
Dog Gone: A Lost Pet’s Extraordinary Journey by Pauls Toutonghi
The true story of a lost dog’s journey and a family’s furious search to find him before it is too late.
Saturday, October 10, 1998. Fielding Marshall is hiking on the Appalachian Trail. His beloved dog—a six-year-old golden retriever named Gonker—bolts into the woods. Just like that, he has vanished. And Gonker has Addison’s disease. If he’s not found in twenty-three days—he will die.
The search begins. Fielding and his father, John, are dispatched to the field. They have the family’s other dog, Uli, in tow. Combing the trails, Fielding and his father bond like never before. Fielding’s sister, Peyton, calls and talks him through some of his lowest moments. And—at home—Fielding’s mother, Virginia, sets up a command center.
Virginia becomes a field general. With a map and a phonebook at her side—she contacts animal shelters, police precincts, general stores, community centers, newspapers, radio stations, churches, and park rangers. She is tireless. The local paper in Waynesboro writes a small story about the family’s search. The story hits the AP Newswire. Tips—many of them of questionable authenticity—pour in from across the country. But as the search continues, the Marshalls realize they may not survive losing him. Even as the wounds of their past return to haunt them and threaten to jeopardize everything—they know they have one mission: Bring Gonker home.
With a big heart, intelligent humor, and a deft touch, Pauls Toutonghi tells this true tale of loss, love, and resilience. Dog Gone is by turns a story about how a family comes together in a crisis—and the way heroism can assert itself in the little things we do each day.
Nitro Mountain: A Novel by Lee Clay
An astonishing, even shocking debut–darker than a bad night in hell–that is written with both humor and heart by “a writer with abundant and scary gifts and consummate skill.”
Set in a bitterly benighted, mine-polluted corner of Virginia,Nitro Mountain follows a group of people bound together by alcohol, small-time crime, and music. There’s Leon, a hapless bass player who can embroil himself in trouble just by getting out of bed in the morning. And his would-be girlfriend, Jennifer, who’s living with Arnett, the town’s most dangerous thug–and hoping Leon will help poison him. And there’s Arnett himself, a psychopath for the ages–albeit so charming and deranged, so strikingly authentic, that he arrests the reader’s attention at first sight and holds it fast. His mirror image, a singer-songwriter named Jones, has his own moral issues, though at least he’s trying to be a good man. The bright if battered soul who pulls us through this story is Jennifer, struggling heroically to survive the endemic hopelessness and violence that have surrounded her since birth. Relentless? Yes. But nothing remotely gratuitous: only the pain and misery that inspire so much of the music these people love more than life itself.
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You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it. That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence. Octavia E. Butler
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