A review of The Cailiffs of Baghdad, Georgia by Mary Helen Stefaniak

I first encountered Mary Helen Stefaniak in 1998 when I was on the Wisconsin Library Association’s Literary Awards Committee. At the next to the last meeting, the last one being when we pick the winner for best book by a Wisconsin writer, someone brought in a slim volume of short stories called Self Storage and Other Stories and said we all better try and get a copy to read even at such short notice. It more

Reviewed by Helene on
August 23, 2011 | 0 comments
A review of Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin

I read Mississippi author Tom Franklin’s historical novel, Hell at the Breech, a few years ago when I was traveling in rural Mississippi and Alabama on my way to a Florida winter getaway. It was a perfect companion piece for the trip because Franklin is a worthy successor to William Faulkner for getting more

Reviewed by Helene on
July 28, 2011 | 0 comments
A review of Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes

Like many others, I came of age during the Vietnam War and each night let Walter Cronkite and Huntley/Brinkley bring its horrors to my living room and later college dorm room. The military has since learned its lesson and will never again allow the public to see such raw footage, but to this day the wup-wup sound of a helicopter brings on a surge of dread and I couldn’t bring myself to read any of the novels that first came out of the war. But, 40 years later, it’s time, and Matterhorn more

Reviewed by Helene on
July 9, 2011 | 1 comment
A review of This Republic of Suffering by Drew Gilpin Faust

2011 marks the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the American Civil War and so far the only two news items I've seen about this are not inspiring. Some Southern states are omitting mention of slavery in their official pronouncements about the causes of the conflict, but what's worse is that many states, facing huge financial crises, have not budgeted a single dollar for commemoration activities. Times may be tough, but it would be a great shame to let this anniversary go by without devoting more

Reviewed by Helene on
January 13, 2011 | 0 comments