Friday, March 09, 2012

"At Home in the Heart of Appalachia": A Review

At Home in the Heart of AppalachiaAt Home in the Heart of Appalachia by John O'Brien
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Disgruntled ex-pat returns to his home ground. Misunderstands locals and is misunderstood. Has the same noblesse-oblige toward the locals that he resents in others who've moved to the area and just want to "help." Hopeless liberal trapped in a very conservative backwater and having a hard time just chilling. Another axe-grinding Appalachia book? Yes, but it has made me curious about his region -- Green Bank, Franklin, such areas -- and he's a decent if muddled guy. He has a good wife, good kids, stability. The sad part: The author died a few years after writing this, and even more sadly he died at a hospice in Charleston (learned all this on WikiPedia), which is not the kind of place where he would have liked dying. This fellow really loved his native woods, and I appreciate that. Jack and I will plan a drive or two up there.

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Thursday, March 01, 2012

How About 'Proper Use of the Subjunctive'?

The place where I work, Media General's Consolidated Editing Center in Lynchburg, Va., has an intranet home page with a blog that we're to check daily for notices, reminders, updates, scoldings, admonitions, exhortations, etc. One of the features is 'Question of the Week," to which CEC folks are encouraged to post answers. This week's Question of the Week is . . . drum roll . . . "If the CEC was creating its own library, and everyone were to contribute at least one book, what would yours be?"