Kim, World Traveler

September 7, 2013 at 5:31 pm (Guest Blogger) (, , , , , , , )

KimMeet today’s Guest Blogger: Kim Ogonosky.  She’s a reader, a writer, has the most *amazing* singing voice, and loves to travel…

I firmly believe that people who love to read are natural born travelers.

There is no scientific data to back this up; it is my [completely biased] personal opinion based on firsthand experience. Simply put, I love to read, and I love to travel.

Of course the word “travel” does not necessarily need to be understood strictly as the physical act of traveling. For avid readers who get metaphorically lost in literature, are they not, in a sense, traveling as well?

pemberleyYou bet they are, and I can attest to this. I traveled to Pemberley with Elizabeth Bennet where I fell hopelessly in love with Mr. Darcy. I partied with the wild, over-indulgent upper crust of society at Jay Gatsby’s mansion on Long Island’s West Egg. I’ve been to post-apocalyptic worlds and dystopian societies. I’ve traveled halfway around the world and broken the barrier of time. I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, and I’ve thrown things across the room in outrage.

And if anyone dares tell me this is not a form of travel, I assure you they have never gotten lost in a book!

Aside from traveling through books, I also love to physically travel. Never one to sit still, I am always looking for the next adventure. I once said my life’s goal is to visit every single country before I die. I have 13 under my belt, which means I have approximately 183 to go. Hey, a girl can dream!

florenceMy favorite place in the world is Florence. My favorite family vacation has been to Disney World. And I definitely recommend taking your significant other to the Caribbean for a vacation that looks like it came straight from your computer’s screensaver. But the most influential trip I have ever taken was to Tanzania.

In graduate school I was given the opportunity to travel to Dodoma, Tanzania to help film a documentary about a nongovernmental organization called BRAC. Another student and I were sent there to highlight their Empowerment and Livelihood for Adolescent girls program. I had never picked up a video camera before in my life, and I only knew a few choice phrases in Swahili, but off I went with just one other person, malaria pills in tow!

Side note: I have never taken any sort of illegal substance, but I’m pretty positAfrica - BRAC ELA Girls Club 2ive if I did, the effects would be similar to that of taking malaria pills. That stuff is no joke.

When I got back from Africa, I remember people asking me if I had “fun.” Yes, it was the most influential experience of my life thus far, but I would choose other adjectives to describe it: Eye-opening, humbling, transformative, educational, challenging, and emotional all come to mind.

The pinnacle moment of the trip came when the Internet at our hotel went out, and I almost had a nervous breakdown.

My Family

My Family

Now, in my defense, the reason I had the nervous breakdown was because I wanted to contact my loved ones, not because I wanted to update my Facebook profile, so it was coming from a well-intentioned place.

However, we had just spent the day in the nearby villages interviewing these incredible young girls who had faced more hardships in their lives than the majority of us could ever imagine. Many didn’t have shoes. Most didn’t have clean water. And a startling number were in danger of not finishing their educations. Yet they came together to sing, dance, play, learn about how to start their own businesses, and support one another through strong female friendships.

And here I was at my hotel, with a pool, a nice restaurant, and plenty of clean water, crying about the Internet going out.

Needless to say, I was dealt with a healthy dose of perspective in that moment.

So yes, my trip to Africa was the most eye-opening, humbling, transformative, educational, challenging, and emotional experience of my life. And I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I learned so much from these brave young women, and I was inspired to immerse myself in similar travel situations again. Not because it was “fun,” but because I learned so much about the world, about humanity, and about myself.

Sounds a little like reading a really good book, doesn’t it? And here we are, coming full circle!

I recently stumbled upon what I consider to be the opportunity of a lifetime. An up-and-coming travel website called Jauntaroo is hiring a “Chief World Explorer” who will travel the world for a year, while blogging and filming webisodes about their experiences. Moreover, this person is encouraged to participate in “Voluntourism” activities while traveling. Sign me up!

Yes, the competition is stiff, but if I’ve learned anything from my books it’s that you must go after your dreams. Or simply put, if you don’t shoot, you don’t score!

I went for it and submitted a video application for this position, which can be found at It is only a minute long, so should you decide to watch, it will not take up a lot of time. After having read this and watched the video you feel I would be well suited for the job, I would be incredibly grateful if you “liked” my video. You don’t have to fill out any forms, and you can do it once every 24 hours if it tickles your fancy! This would be an incredible experience, and I would love to be given the chance to travel the world and take others with me on the journey- through the fun, the relaxing, the challenging, the emotional, and the meaningful times.

Africa - BRAC ELA Chicken Farm

Thank you for taking the time to hear my story. I wish all of you safe, exciting, and meaningful travels, be it in the metaphorical or the physical sense. Life would be so less interesting without them.

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This Is Monstropolis

August 14, 2013 at 1:32 am (Guest Blogger, Reviews) (, , , , , , , , )

A Weekly Low Down on Kids Books and Guest Blog by Maura M! (2 in 1!)

Maura guest blog photoTitle:This Is Monstropolis!

I’m excited to share this little piece of toddler entertainment gold. This Is Monstropolis is an adorably illustrated flap book that is stuffed to the brim with things for little hands to explore. There is not much text here. The real beauty of this book is the vast amount of things there are in the illustrations to describe to your little one. In the 3 days that we have owned This Is Monstropolis, I’ve probably spent more than an hour discussing the scenes on the 14 pages of this book and what is happening behind each flap. This book is recommended for 3 year olds and beyond, but my 2 year old enjoys it immensely. The Richard Scarry-esque illustrations can be adored by child and caregiver alike and curious 2 year olds can’t get enough of the flap flipping.

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When Bookish Ones Get Engaged…

August 12, 2013 at 7:57 pm (Guest Blogger) (, , , , , , , )

It looks something like this:

When the Bookish Ones Get Engaged...

Matt & Nicole, Incandescently Happy

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Antique Book Find

June 23, 2013 at 4:35 pm (Guest Blogger) (, , , , , , )

Antique Book Find

#thingswelove: discovered at the antique store yesterday: Victor Hugo The Man Who Laughs from 1888 #goodreads – Jennifer Fritz

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Love The Magic School Bus? Need a Pet Lizard?

June 17, 2013 at 11:28 pm (Guest Blogger) (, , , , , , , )

Well, technically she’s a bearded dragon.

Magic School Bus CollectionTitle: The Magic School Bus

Author: Joanna Cole and Bruce Degen

While I was out hosting events, my husband got the kiddo for a day.  That usually means some good old fashioned father-daughter bonding time over the boob tube… just as I grew up watching Star Trek with my dad, so kiddo shall be raised to enjoy all of Daddy’s old favorites when Mom is out.  This week it was The Magic School Bus.

Convenient that it is also a very extensive book series.

So the next Half Price Books trip I made, guess what I stocked up on? Yep.  We’ve got picture books, leveled Scholastic early reader ones, and even the chapter books.  I want her to grow up enjoying these as she does now, learning basic science the fun way with Ms. Frizzle and that fabulous classroom pet Liz.

Shelly as the FrizzWhat genius timing that our very own real life Ms. Frizzle (whose real name is Mrs. Veron) and Liz (aka Professor Crikenator) have a dilemma.  Ms. Frizzle has to part (only in real life, not in the books!) with her beloved Liz because she’s getting a new tiny baby!… Crikey needs a new home and stat.  Are there any adoptive parents of bearded dragons out there? Anyone who would love to be the proud parent of a bearded dragon? Any Magic School Bus loving families who need a very dynamic new family member? Or any teachers out there daring enough to summon their inner Frizz with a Liz?

This is Professor Crikenator – Crikey for short and this lovely lady needs a new home. She has been wonderful to me for almost two years and is AWESOME to have in a classroom. For $200, the new owner would get lights, a 40 gallon terrarium, heated rock, timer for lights, lounging log, water and food dishes, temperature and humidity gauges, vitamin sprinkles and a hammock.

She sits on your shoulder, loves to lay on the back of the couch with the shades open, and lets you know promptly by wiggling around when its time to head back to her habitat.Crikey

She is excellent to teach children about inherited traits, learned behaviors, adaptations, dessert ecosystems, and the process of shedding.

Though she gets defensive when you let her loose outside in the sun (it’s a BIG world to her), when exposed to sunlight, her skin turns a brilliant golden yellow and orange.

She has truly been the “Lizz” to my “Frizzle” for the past two years in my classroom. The children handle her often and is very well adjusted.

Crikey 2Like most reptiles, she gets irritable when shedding and its best to just give her a squirt or two of water on those areas but then leave her be during these times.

She requires fresh greens and water everyday and a live treat of meal worms or crickets once a week.

She gets cranky, like any pet would, if she is not fed or handled regularly. Crikey gets a bath once every month or two. Simply put some luke-warm water into a deep tupperware or pan with a drop or two of gentle soap. Crikey will wiggle around and do all the work for you. Rinse her off and you are done!

She also comes with day, night, and basking bulbs, fresh keeper bags for her greens, a mini terrarium for her insect treats, food for the crickets, and a nifty background for her habitat. – Ms. Frizzle (oops, I mean Mrs. Veron)

Crikey Grown

Bearded Dragon Stuff

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Philip Schubert Speaks About His Book…

June 14, 2013 at 11:50 pm (Guest Blogger) (, , , , , , , , )

51QxxU9wWYLTitle: Letters to the Granddaughter

Author: Philip Schubert


Anakalian Whims Readers,

I’m really pleased to accept A.K. Klemm’s invitation to be a guest blogger and tell her readers about my biography ‘Letters to the Granddaughter – The Story of Dillon Wallace of the Labrador Wild’ (print edition: ISBN 9781482388442). It has been out since January 2013 and can be purchased in print and eReader format on:,,,,, Create Space, Barnes&Noble, Kobo, Nook or Smashwords . It can also be purchased as an iBook and read on an iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad. Reviews of the biography are posted on,, and Barnes&Noble.

Dillon Wallace was a key figure in the Hubbard and Wallace Saga which took place more than 100 years ago in Labrador and northern Quebec. Approximately 10 books have been published on the saga over the years but this is the first biography on Dillon Wallace.

Wallace ensured that the story would never be forgotten by publishing one of the finest books ever written on the North, ‘The Lure of the Labrador Wild’, and by taking part in the three canoe trips linked to the saga. To date no one person has been equal to the challenge of fully retracing these trips.

I discovered the joys and dangers of travel in trackless wilderness starting in 1999 after reading Dillon Wallace’s ‘The Lure of the Labrador Wild’. I spent a decade retracing the routes in Labrador and northern Quebec described in ‘The Lure’, in Wallace’s follow-on book, ‘The Long Labrador Trail’, and in Mina Hubbard’s ‘A Woman’s Way Through Unknown Labrador’.

Nothing in Dillon’s early life as an impoverished youth on a farm suggested that he would still fascinate people nearly 150 years later. Dillon was blessed in fact with “Grit A’Plenty”, which no one would suspect from his unimpressive physique and unsmiling face. He pulled himself up by his bootstraps, rising from gristmill employee, to self-trained telegraph operator, to stenographer, to finally becoming a lawyer. His life from that point on, however, was equal parts tragic and heroic, but continued to be marked by splendid accomplishments. Starting at the age of 40 in 1903, he carried out a series of trips in Labrador and today’s northern Quebec covering several thousand miles.

The first trip sadly resulted in the tragic death of his trip leader and best friend, Leonidas Hubbard, and a narrow escape for him. His book on the trip, The ‘Lure of the Labrador Wild’, published in 1904, became a best seller and is still in print. It would change Dillon’s life forever. It told the story of the trip as it was documented in his and Leonidas’ trip journals. Leonidas’ widow, Mina Hubbard, who would be forever changed also due to the unbearable loss of “her laddie”, had commissioned the book. When Dillon refused to rewrite the book and make Leonidas into the larger than life figure she had been expecting, she became Dillon’s sworn enemy for life.

There then followed two extraordinary trips in 1905 across Labrador, following the route planned in 1903. Dillon led one. Mina, drawing on skills that no one had realized she had, led the other. She planned hers in secret, and then provoked a life-long estrangement from Leonidas’ family by telling the press as she left that she suspected that Dillon played a role in her husband’s death and was on her way to investigate it. A third fascinating figure, voyager George Elson, the other survivor of the first trip, safely canoed Mina the length of Labrador down some of the most challenging rivers that George and his crack team of outdoorsmen had ever seen. No one was more impressed than George, or more disappointed than Mina, when Dillon and his only team member, forestry student Clifford Easton, successfully completed the trip as well. The evidence that George, a heroic figure in his own right, had fallen in love with Mina and which may have motivated him to agree to organize the trip at Mina’s behest, added another fascinating dimension to the saga. The 1905 trip formed the basis for Dillon’s second book and he went on to publish another 25 books, becoming a legend in his time.

This is the story of Dillon Wallace as told by me, with an introduction by Dillon’s granddaughter, Amy McKendry. It includes extensively illustrated maps and dozens of my colour photographs of the challenges faced and overcome in the wilds by the saga participants.

This book will appeal firstly to hard-core canoeists like me who have learned to survive in the kind of wilds experienced by saga participants 100 years ago. It will appeal secondly to those in love with nature at its most unspoiled and pristine. Finally, it will appeal to those looking for stories involving a character like Mina Hubbard who loved and hated with equal intensity and a character like the quietly courageous Dillon Wallace whose achievements have never been equalled to date.

– Philip Schubert

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A Tidbit from Miss Golightly

April 16, 2013 at 8:43 pm (Guest Blogger) (, , , , , , , )

Yet another reason to be jealous of the life of Miss Golightly…


“It’s so nice being friends with Natalie. She’s a swell human being, AND she makes vanilla bean frozen custard and chocolate candies for her pals.” – Miss Golightly

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Latte Art

February 19, 2013 at 9:03 pm (Guest Blogger) (, , , , , )

A Tidbit from Miss Golightly

JJ's coffee art

This is my second attempt at latte art! And it tastes good 🙂  – JJ Golightly

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February 1, 2013 at 9:02 pm (Guest Blogger) (, , , , , , , , )


A Short Story

by E.B. Jones

Mason Maxwell wasn’t like most of the other boys that he went to school with. Whenever he was twelve years old his mother bought him a box with a glass front and he decided that he was going to use it to start a butterfly collection. He liked the idea that butterflies weren’t always the way that butterflies seemed to be. For he himself, felt as though he was a caterpillar, simply waiting until he was able to wind himself up in a cocoon and then to emerge and fly away from everyone and everything.

Mason had never been a very popular boy, he was skinny, small and had to wear very large glasses in order to see. He spent most of his time alone in the library reading books and avoiding confrontations at all costs with the mean boys in gym class.
His only real friend at the school was the librarian. She had taken a special liking to Mason because of his love of reading. Many times he would excuse himself from the pep rallies and assemblies, saying that he needed to go to the bathroom, and he would sneak off to the library to read.

Mason wasn’t the only kid in school that didn’t get along with the mean boys in gym class but they weren’t the same as Mason was. They all wanted to be accepted by the popular kids. One of them, Lynn, had once been friends with Mason years ago. But whenever the boys would be mean to him he would run to the bathroom and cry.

There was another boy, Jeremiah, who would be made fun of as well. But instead of running off to the bathroom and crying, he showed up to school one day wearing all black and pretending like he had no emotions. The kids eventually stopped making fun of him but they never accepted him and Jeremiah would spend most of his off time standing behind the dumpster smoking sweet smelling cigarettes.

Mason was made fun of just as much as any of the other kids that were made fun of, but he didn’t mind it so much. He never wanted to follow the status quot, but preferred to focus his energy on things that interested him. With his affinity for insects he categorized all the students in the school into different groups. Most of the kids in school were ants, just following whatever was popular at the time and doing things that way because that was what you were supposed to do. Mason never got angry at them or wanted to cry whenever they made fun of him because he knew that was just how they were. He knew that none of the ants could understand him, being a caterpillar, and he never expected them too. “There’s always tomorrow.” He would tell himself and smile.

One day, one of the boys from gym pushed Mason up against a locker, “Hey nerd,” The boy said, “How come you like butterflies so much? You a fag or something?”

“No,” Mason said calmly, “I just think they’re pretty. I mean, they aren’t at first, whenever they’re still caterpillars. But eventually they grow up and are beautiful, then they fly around in big groups with their own and are never alone anymore. Not like ants, ants just stay on the ground and do whatever they’re told to do, never thinking for themselves.”

“Whatever faggot.” The boy said, pushing him down on the ground. “I bet you like other boys, that’s why you like butterflies.”

“I don’t see the correlation,” Mason said smiling, “Don’t worry, one day you might see.”

“Shut up faggot,” The kid said. Then he swung and knocked Mason’s glasses off. “That’s what you get for being a fag.”

That evening Mason’s mother picked him up and asked him what had happened. He explained and she just sighed. She didn’t understand him either, “Why don’t you try to play sports of something and make some friends?”

“It’s ok mom. I don’t want to be friends with people like that. They’re mean and one day things will change and I’m going to have a bunch of friends. People that aren’t just mean to each other because they are insecure in their own shortcomings,” he told her.

“Where do you get this stuff?” She asked. She didn’t understand her son, but she didn’t really care, she was proud that her son was more mature than even she was.

“I don’t know, I think it’s because I read a lot of books,” he told her.
A week later Mason decided that he wanted to explain to the other kids in school why he loved butterflies so much so he asked his science teacher if he could do a presentation on then for class. His teacher agreed and he set to work laying out all the details and making sure that he had everything in order for his presentation.

The presentation went well despite the spit wads and name calling. After he finished his teacher stood up and addressed the class.

“That was very informative Mason. Now, can anyone tell me what the process that a caterpillar goes through to become a butterfly?”

Mason raised his hand but the teacher just looked at him and smiled. “Obviously you know Mason, does anyone else know?”

A girl at the back of the class raised her hand slowly, as if she thought she might know the answer.

“Yes, Sandy?” The teacher asked, “Do you know?”

Sandy hesitated for a moment and bit her lip, “Is it, metamorphosis?”

“Very good Sandy.” The teacher said.

Sandy wasn’t the most popular girl in school, but she was a cheerleader and her boyfriend was on the football team. Of all the members of the cheer squad she was the only one that actually seemed to care about any of her school work. Mason turned around and looked at her and smiled.

She looked at him and started to smile, then someone coughed out the word “nerd.” Then her smile went away and she rolled her eyes at Mason.

Mason didn’t mind Sandy rolling her eyes at him. He just turned back around and kept smiling.

Three weeks later Sandy missed several days of school and rumors started to circle around. Someone had said that her mother had been murdered by her father and that she had been kidnapped and was in Mexico. The only thing that anyone knew for sure was that the news was saying that her mother had been murdered and her father was on the lam.
Eventually Sandy did show up to school. Most of the time she kept silent and whenever someone tired to talk to her she told them to go away. Many of her friends ended up taking it very personally because none of them understood what she was going through.
The day before her mothers funeral, Sandy was standing at her locker whenever Mason walked past and noticed that she was crying so he decided to walk up to her.

“Sandy.” Mason said to her.

“Go away, I just want to be alone.” She told him.

“I’m sorry about your mother.” Mason said.

“Just go away! All right?” She yelled at him.

Mason continued on towards the library and went inside and sat down at his usual seat. The librarian came and sat down next to him.

“You like that girl Sandy huh?” She asked him.

“I like everyone. I just think she’s sad and I want to be nice to her because her mom died.” He told her.

“Well, I think you are being a very kind and proper gentleman.” The librarian told him.

“I don’t want her to be sad.” He said “I know why she’s sad, but everyone thinks she’s just being mean to them. They tried reaching out but I don’t think any of them really understand.”

“Well, she is going through a lot right now, and you have to understand that there are a lot of things going on in her mind. Just try and let her know that you’ll be there if she needs to talk to someone, but don’t be pushy about it.” The librarian said, “It’s kind of like whenever you get a little older, you’ll learn that you need to be available, but also respectful of boundaries. Lord knows I’ve been waiting for a boy that understands that.”

“You aren’t married?” Mason asked.

“No,” She laughed, “I was a caterpillar until about two years ago.”

“How old are you?”

“Here’s one more lesson. Never ask a girl her age.” She told him, “But between you and me, I’m 27.”

“Wow,” Mason said, “You were a caterpillar for a long time.”

The librarian laughed and then said, “Yeah, I was.”

“You made a pretty butterfly though.” He smiled.

“Thanks kid.” The librarian said.

Sandy opened the door with her head down and stood in the entryway for a bit, then walked to one of the aisles of books.

“Go get her kid.” The librarian said.

“Right, available, but respectful.” Mason said confidently.

“You’re gonna be something someday.” She smiled.

Mason walked slowly to where Sandy and gone. “I know you don’t want to talk to anyone right now, but if you ever do want to talk, I just wanted to let you know I’ll listen to you.”
Sandy looked up at him and had tears in her eyes. They stared at each other for a moment and then Mason smiled at her, turned around and walked away.

The next day Mason asked his mother if he could go to Sandy’s mother’s funeral and his mother agreed that it would be a nice thing to do.

Sandy arrived with her grandparents and Mason with his mother. “I don’t want to get too close, she’s going through a lot.” Mason told his mother.

After the funeral service ended Mason looked up in the sky and noticed a dark cloud moving swiftly towards the site. Mason’s mother put her hand on his shoulder, “We should get going.” She said.

“Not yet,” He told her.

The dark cloud got closer and closer until everyone that was left at the grave site could see that it was a swarm of butterflies. As the small group marveled at the site, Sandy looked down and noticed that there was one single butterfly resting on her mother’s coffin. She watched it as it slowly moved its wings and then took off and joined the other butterflies and flew north. She watched them until they disappeared into the sky. Whenever she looked back she noticed that Mason was watching the butterflies as well.

“I want to go talk to that boy.” She told her grandmother.

“That’s fine dear.” Her grandmother said.

Sandy walked towards Mason and tapped him on the shoulder. “What kind of butterflies are those?”

“Those are called Red Admiral butterflies. They migrate through here during the spring and fall.” He told her, “This is the first time I’ve seen that many of them though.”

“Do you think they took my mother to a better place?” She asked.

“Maybe,” Mason said, “Maybe in this life we’re all just caterpillars right now. Then one day, we go into a coffin for a little while, and then come out as something even more beautiful.”
Sandy’s throat closed up and tears started forming in her eyes. She tried to open her mouth to make words but nothing could come out so she just leaned in and kissed Mason. It was the first time a girl other than his mother had kissed him. They both stood for a moment looking at each other.

Then, Sandy turned around and walked away, and even though no one ever saw it, for the first time since her mother had died, Sandy smiled.


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Guest Post by Joey Pinkney

January 25, 2013 at 6:49 pm (Guest Blogger, Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , )

I’ve been peeking in on Joey Pinkney’s blog for awhile now. It’s a book blog too. We’ve been playing follow-tag on Twitter for ages… you know we follow each other, for whatever reason someone un-follows someone, and then a while later says “Oh Hey, That Person Looks Neat,” and then we’re back to following each other again… I’m sure you’ve played it with a few people too.

So this time I said something about it. The guy is super cool about being pleasantly called out on this game we’ve been playing… a game I only noticed because his profile picture is unmistakable and I genuinely enjoy his posts.

After a little chat, he agreed to guest blog for me. Yay! I love having guest bloggers and doing interviews.  It makes me feel like Oprah.  Meet Joey:


Southern Strife Book Review by Joey Pinkney

Title: Southern Strife

Author: Valerie Stocking

“Southern Strife: A Novel of Racial Tension in the 1960s” is Valerie Stocking’s sophomore effort. The notion of “sophomore slump” does not apply. This novel is a powerful portrayal of America’s not-so-distant history in dealing with the false concept of this country being a melting pot.

“Southern Strife” is refreshingly offensive. I say that because Valerie Stocking sculpted the characters in a realistic manner and not in a way that would fit in a neat, little box. Stocking’s portrayal of racism within the pages of “Southern Strife” is like an honest parent’s portrayal of Christmas. (“Honey, there is no Santa Claus. I bought you those presents under the Christmas tree…”)

The author uses Willets Point as a microcosm of the effects of racism on both black and white people in 1960s America with twelve-year-old Joy Bradford uncomfortably stuck in the middle. With her scotch-loving aunt being one of Willets Point’s key socialites and her narcissistic mother seeking the affections of her divorce lawyer who is also the leader of the local Ku Klux Klan chapter, Joy’s experience with racism is more than casual.

“Southern Strife” is much, much more than a story about racism. There are many points and counterpoints cleverly woven into the fabric of this novel. Coming in at a healthy 435 pages, “Southern Strife” is not a short read. There were a few lulls in the plot here and there, but that is to be expected in a book of this length. The author makes great use of non-linear storytelling. As the time periods ebb and flow, situations become more clear yet more complicated.

Read More.valerie stocking southern strife

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