Memorial Day Event 2023
2023 Memorial Day Commemoration Ceremony
If you are out and about in Fayetteville, Arkansas Memorial Day, consider attending this celebration at the Fayetteville National Cemetery:
Fayetteville National Cemetery will be conducting its annual Memorial Day Ceremony and invite the NWA community to attend.
Building from last year’s theme, “The Year of our Youth”, this year’s theme is “Recognizing Military Diversity” and highlights the many walks of life of our Veterans and their families. We will have a wreath-laying ceremony, special guest speakers, the Singing Men of Arkansas, the Ozark Highlander Pipe Band, and other guests as we honor those who served and the families who supported our Veterans.
The ceremony will be held on Monday, May 29th beginning at 10:00 am.
Please note that the road going south from MLK along Lt. Col Leroy Pond Ave up to National St / Dunn Ave will be blocked off to traffic.
For more information, please contact the cemetery at (479) 442-2566.
“If the Creek Don’t Rise: Tales from the South”
“A Creole beauty. Eccentric sisters and a black rose. One granny woman and a red button. Church suppers and bingo nights. A poet out of his element. Dreams of Mexico. The shadowy world of thoroughbred horse racing. If the Creek Don’t Rise is a collection of hard-used characters, tangled relationships, family angst, and fortitude. Step into the Deep South and experience the lives and hardships, hopes and dreams, of folk who have nothing except grit—and sometimes love—as their currency. Eighteen tales and six postcard vignettes, highlighted with artwork by Susan Raymond, make this collection a skillful and moving exploration of the commonplace, the hidden, and the unforgettable.
Review: “If the Creek Don’t Rise” is an appealing collection of Southern-based stories that captures the essence of the region. The author’s deep Southern roots lend an authentic voice to the tales woven within this book. Readers are transported into a raw, unfair world filled with relatable characters. The stories evoke vivid sensory experiences, allowing readers to feel, smell, and hear the surroundings while immersing themselves in the characters’ emotions. The honest and genuine dialogue transports readers back to a bygone era, reminiscent of conversations heard in front of a country store on a Saturday morning. The figurative language and storytelling of the South are a perfect fit, and Nancy Hartney skillfully addresses themes of race and gender. This collection is an interesting tapestry of Southern life, painted with diverse tales reflecting the soul of its people. It is an easy and enjoyable read, providing both entertainment and insights into life’s experiences. The characters come to life through the author’s keen understanding, making readers feel as if they truly know them and are present in every scene.
About the author:
According to her bio, Nancy Hartney writes short stories and, although she has lived in Texas and California, she is a daughter of the South loving its sweaty beauty and feeling grief about its dark underbelly.
She has contributed to Big Muddy: A Journal of the Mississippi River Valley, The Ocotillo Review, Arkansas Life, The Chronicle of the Horse, Sidelines, and the Horsemen’s Roundup. Her book reviews have appeared in the Ft. Worth Star Telegram, motorcycle touring articles in American Iron, general interest pieces in Do South, Fayetteville Free Weekly, and Ozark Mountaineer. Her fiction has appeared in mid-west regional anthologies while Cactus Country, Frontier Tales, and Rough Country have featured her western tales. She writes for the Washington County Historical Journal Flashback (AR).
Visit With New Author
Had an enjoyable visit yesterday with one of Fayetteville’s newest authors, Cindy Quayle at Pearl’s Bookstore here in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Cindy’s debut work is a cozy mystery “Death On Cozumel Island, A Claire O’Keefe Mystery”
“Claire O’Keefe,a world traveling English as a foreign language teacher, has volunteered to plan her best friend’s bachelorette party in Cozumel, Mexico. Excited by the thought of scuba diving at her favorite diving destination, she tries not to be bothered by the bride’s seemingly perfect and attention-grabbing bridesmaid.
On the way to the swanky resort that the bridal party is staying at, Claire meets a laid-back and handsome guy that even for an introverted person like herself, she can feel relaxed talking to. However, when one of the guides from the scuba diving company is suspected of a fellow diver’s death, Claire decides to extend her vacation on the island to help clear her friend from the crime and try to solve the mysterious death.”
Writing That Captures the Essence of May
The month of May is a wonderful, colorful time of blooming flowers, gentle warmth, and a perfect opportunity to dive into literature that encapsulates the spirit of this time of year. Here are three captivating works that revolve around or capture the essence of the month of May.
“May Day” by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Known for his masterful portrayal of the Jazz Age, Fitzgerald takes us on a different journey with his short story “May Day.” Set in the vibrant 1920s, Fitzgerald paints a vivid picture of the May Day celebrations, an occasion that symbolizes the arrival of spring and new beginnings. In this tale, Fitzgerald intertwines themes of love, class, and the transient nature of relationships.
The story follows a group of characters as they navigate the festivities of May Day in New York City. Through his exquisite prose, Fitzgerald skillfully captures the excitement and joy that permeates the city streets. Amidst the revelry, the characters’ lives intertwine, their paths crossing in unexpected ways.
Fitzgerald’s keen observations of social dynamics and his ability to delve into the complexities of human relationships shine throughout “May Day.” The story serves as a poignant reminder that amidst the celebration and merriment, love and connections can be both fragile and transformative.
“The Darling Buds of May” by H.E. Bates
The setting for this work is the picturesque English countryside, transporting readers to a simpler time. This tale captures the idyllic charm of rural life and follows the adventures of the Larkin family during the month of May.
The Larkin family, headed by the charismatic Pop Larkin, his vivacious wife, Ma along with their six children, embody the essence of a carefree and joyful existence. In May, when nature is arguably at its most resplendent, the Larkins immerse themselves in the beauty of their surroundings, reveling in the simple pleasures of life.
Bates’ evocative descriptions vividly portray the breathtaking landscapes, fragrant blooms, and the infectious enthusiasm of the Larkins. Through their infectious zest for life, the Larkins remind us to savor the joys of nature and embrace the abundance of May.
“The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
While not exclusively centered around the month of May, “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” encapsulates the spirit of resilience and hope that blossoms in the aftermath of war. Written in the form of letters, this captivating novel explores the lives of the inhabitants of Guernsey, a British island, during and after World War II.
May plays a symbolic role in the story as a time of renewal and rebuilding. Through the correspondence between the characters, we catch glimpses of their lives during May, as they navigate the challenges of the past and embrace the possibilities of the future. The letters paint a vivid picture of the island’s recovery, its natural beauty, and the indomitable spirit of its inhabitants.
Shaffer and Barrows skillfully weave together themes of love, friendship, and the power of literature. As the characters find solace in their book club, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, they discover the transformative power of stories, particularly during the month of May, when nature’s resurgence mirrors their own journey of healing.
As May unfolds with its vibrant colors and gentle breezes, these three literary works offer a glimpse into the magic of the month. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “May Day” captures the intoxicating energy of the Jazz Age celebrations, while H.E. Bates’ “The Darling Buds of May” immerses us in the idyllic English countryside. Finally, “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows reminds us of the enduring power of hope and literature in the aftermath of war.
Give yourself a treat. Indulge in these literary treasures and allow yourself to be swept away by the enchantment of May. Whether you’re seeking tales of love, rural bliss, or post-war resilience, these books will transport you to worlds where the essence of the month comes alive on every page.
National Chocolate Chip Day
No, this is not a food blog but today I thought it appropriate to turn it over to a delicious treat, a cookie to be exact. The chocolate chip cookie is a classic American treat that consists of a soft, chewy cookie dough studded with chocolate chips, and today May 15th is National Chocolate Chip Day in the USA. This delicious holiday pays homage to the popular cookie, which is loved by many. It was invented by Ruth Graves Wakefield in the 1930s at the Toll House Inn in Massachusetts. Since then, the chocolate chip cookie has become an iconic dessert enjoyed by people of all ages.
What does this have to do with books and writing, you may ask? Here are three delicious novels that mention the holiday or the chocolate chip cookie:
“Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder” by Joanne Fluke: This cozy mystery is the first book in the Hannah Swensen series. The story revolves around a small-town baker named Hannah Swensen, who finds herself investigating a murder that takes place during the annual Lake Eden Chocolate Chip Cookie Contest.
“The Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder” by Joanne Fluke: Another book by Joanne Fluke with a similar title, this is the first book in the Hannah Swensen Mysteries series. Hannah Swensen, the owner of a cookie shop, becomes entangled in a murder investigation after one of her customers turns up dead. The story features delectable descriptions of cookies and includes recipes for chocolate chip treats.
“The Lost Art of Mixing” by Erica Bauermeister: While not solely centered around National Chocolate Chip Day, this novel explores the interconnected lives of various characters, including a pastry chef named Chloe, who bakes a mean chocolate chip cookie. The book delves into themes of love, loss, and the joy of food, with occasional mentions of chocolate chip cookies.
Chocolate chip cookies provide a delightful backdrop in these novels for those who enjoy both literature and delectable treats. Enjoy the celebration!
Enough writing for the moment. I’ve made myself hungry.
Enjoy National Chocolate Chip Day!
Run, Rose, Run
“Run, Rose, Run” is about an aspiring country singer named AnnieLee. She moves to Nashville, trying to shake a dark past and make it big in music. She gets help from charismatic country star Ruthanna, who wears wigs and fake nails (here’s looking at you, Dolly).
From the book flap: “A thriller from American’s most beloved superstar and its greatest storyteller (Dolly Parton). A young singer-songwriter on the rise and on the run is determined to do whatever it takes to survive. Every song tells a story. She’s a star on the rise, singing about the hard life behind her. She’s also on the run. Find a future, lose a past. Nashville is where she’s come to claim her destiny. It’s also where the darkness she’s fled might find her. And destroy her. Run, Rose, Run is a novel glittering with danger and desire—a story that only American’s #1 beloved entertainer and its #1 bestselling author could have created.”
“Run, Rose, Run” is a novel that tells the story of a young woman named Rose who dreams of becoming a country music star but faces numerous challenges along the way. Dolly Parton, a legendary country music singer-songwriter, and James Patterson, a bestselling author known for his suspense and thriller novels, collaborated on the book to bring their unique perspectives and storytelling styles together.
The story follows an aspiring country singer named AnnieLee who moves to Nashville to pursue her dream of making it big in music. Maybe it’s just a personal preference on the part of this reader, but if you forget her name, don’t worry, it appears annoyingly in one iteration or another in the first line or first paragraph in practically all of the 96 chapters.
Despite what the book flap promises, this was not a “thriller” nor was it “glittering” for me. I had no problem reading along and hearing Dolly Parton’s voice but for me, the suspense was missing. The 465-page novel was a bit of a slog as the story meandered along seemingly without any interesting direction. The characters lacked any strength or power beyond the predictable and boring generalizations commonly assigned to those among the Southern poor, downtrodden, and abused. Sadly, I found the plot to be simplistic and predictable and I was disappointed in the book’s ending. However, if you’re a fan of Dolly Parton (and I am) or James Patterson, it might be worth checking out “Run, Rose, Run” but be prepared for a straightforward story that may not deliver the suspense and drama you might expect from these two storytellers.
French Independent Bookstores
April 29th was Independent Bookstore Day and that reminded me of something the French government did to help their independent bookstores.
In 2021, the French government passed a new law aimed at protecting independent bookstores by setting a minimum price for books sold online. The law, known as the “anti-Amazon” law, is designed to prevent online retailers from undercutting the prices of physical bookstores, which have been struggling to compete with the convenience and low prices of online giants like Amazon.
Under the new law, online retailers are required to charge a minimum of 5% above the publisher’s price for new books and cannot offer free shipping to compete with physical bookstores. The law is intended to level the playing field between online and physical bookstores, and to help support local businesses and cultural diversity.
The move, however, has been controversial. Critics argue that the law will lead to higher prices for consumers and limit choice of where to purchase books. Not surprisingly, Amazon believes the move is nothing but discrimination (https://www.bbc.com/news/business-24383113) but proponents have countered that the benefits of supporting independent bookstores outweigh these potential downsides.
France has a long history of protecting its cultural industries, including book publishing, through various laws and regulations. These efforts are seen as crucial for preserving French culture and maintaining a vibrant literary scene, which is highly valued in France.
“Passing laws to protect books and the book trade is a rare point of political consensus in France, where debate has otherwise become increasingly tense in the run-up to next year’s presidential race. Emmanuel Macron has declared reading “a national priority”, extending opening hours for libraries. The move to force net giants to charge the same for delivery as small bookshops is part of the French notion of “cultural exceptionalism”, which has long sought to shield books and independent booksellers from the ravages of free-market forces.” Reference: Bookshops thrive as France moves to protect sellers from Amazon
Anyone have any first-hand knowledge of how this new law has helped or hindered French bookstores since its inception?
The Indie Bookstore
I spent some enjoyable time this weekend at my favorite local independent bookstore in downtown Fayetteville, Arkansas. Pearl’s Books.
To read more about Pearl’s Books and the Independent Bookstore Day, I recommend you visit author Susan Holmes’ wonderful blog, Waterside Kennels Mystery Series. She has an interesting and informative post worth reading!
The Accidental Spy
The Accidental Spy by David Gardner is an entertaining and engaging read combining both humor and espionage. The story revolves around Harvey Hudson, a history professor who has lost everything and takes a high-tech job for which he is completely unqualified. When he outsources his work to India, he unwittingly becomes embroiled in a Russian cyberattack on the US petroleum industry.
The author skillfully creates a flawed and relatable protagonist in Harvey. Despite Harvey’s personal struggles (and there are many), Gardner manages to inject humor into the story, adding levity to an otherwise tense situation. Gardner weaves an intricate web of twists and turns that kept me guessing (and smiling) until the very end.
The book is a quick and easy read, and the pacing is just right. The writing is clear and concise, and the characters are well-drawn and believable. The Accidental Spy is a must-read for anyone who enjoys espionage thrillers with a touch of humor. Highly recommended!
About the author:
David Gardner grew up on a Wisconsin dairy farm, served in Army Special Forces and earned a Ph.D. in French from the University of Wisconsin. He has taught college and worked as a reporter and in the computer industry.
He coauthored three programming books for Prentice Hall, wrote dozens of travel articles as well as too many mind-numbing computer manuals before happily turning to fiction: “The Journalist: A Paranormal Thriller,” “The Last Speaker of Skalwegian,” and “The Accidental Spy” (all with Encircle Publications, LLC).
He lives in Massachusetts with his wife, Nancy, who is also a writer. He hikes, bikes, messes with astrophotography and plays the keyboard with no discernible talent whatsoever.
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