LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — With black Friday upon us, I’m making a point of having at least two good books ready to keep me company all day. Loretta is clipping store advertisements and intends to join the craziness. I may shop online for some good books to give the kids and grandkids. I can’t think of a better gift than a good novel by an Appalachian author, so before the weekend is over I’ll be perusing the inventory on Heritage Nook’s website and writing a check.
I trade at Heritage Nook because the owner, Brenda Salyers, does more to promote central Appalachian writers than anybody I know and, if you search her catalogue, you’ll also discover that she stocks well over 200 titles written by folks from the hills that I call home.
Heritage Nook Books, 8009 Main St., P.O. Box 373, Pound, Va. 24279. Check out the website at www.heritagenook.com or call Brenda Salyers at 276-796-4604. Or stop by the store and browse next time you’re in Pound. You save a bunch of money by shopping in the store.
Hot on the heels of Clinch River Justice comes Honaker Virginia native and recently retired Dean of Eastern Kentucky University Business School, Alfred Patrick’s, latest book entitled Clinch River Echos.
Readers may recall a recent review of Al’s Clinch River Justice in this column just last month. Echos is not a sequel to the first book, but the setting, deep in the rugged hills and hardscrabble farms of southwest Virginia is the same and a few characters from Justice do make cameo appearances in the second book. If you liked Clinch River Justice, you will absolutely love Clinch River Echos.
Al Patrick’s hobby is hiking our nation’s premier trails. With C.R. Echos, he has certainly found his literary stride. The tale is another murder mystery romance in which the author also explores the ignorant ugliness of bigotry and violent crime. Al continues to capture our mountain language (“the copperhead was quiled in the middle of the path”) and his writing style makes me feel like I was right there. Heritage Nook ships the book for $19, $24 for CR Justice or $36 for both when bought as a set, a savings of $7. Or order directly from the author: Al Patrick, P.O. Box 2077, Richmond, Ky. 40476. Email Al at: athiker37@ bellsouth.net or phone him at 859-623-4290.
My favorite novel last year, also previously reviewed here, was The Dark and Bloody Ground, by Jenkins, Ky. native, and great friend, Roberta Webb. This one is an epic tale of the fictional first familes to settle in the uppermost reaches of The Big Sandy River near what is now Jenkins, Ky. The story follows family descendents from the late 18th into the mid 20th century. It is 381 hair-raising pages that kept me reading into the wee hours for several nights. Heritage Nook ships it for $25.
Eastern Kentucky Short Stories by Maynard C Adams is a 400-plus pages illustrated collection of historical essays, articles and photographs authored by a native of McRoberts, Ky. It is a fixture on my nightstand. Ships from Heritage Nook for $30.
The Strange Tale of Jonathan Swift and the Real Long John Silver by Robert Prather explores the whereabouts of the legendary Swift treasure and silver mine that persists to this day throughout eastern Kentucky. Numerous photos and documents are included in the 376-page book. Yet another one that had me gut hooked, and it’s $27 shipped from Heritage Nook.
My good friend and fellow Letcher Countian Jim Cornett, P.O. Box 336, Burnside, Ky. 42519, has written and self-published, self-printed and hand-bound, two excellent short novels as well as several how to and Appalachian cookbooks. All Jim’s work sells for less than $10 per book including S&H. If you want more information, you can email him at: email@example.com or call him at: 606-219-8302, cell phone: 606-561-5620 and have him send you a price list. Or mail him $20,tell him you want both novels and whatever else 20 bucks will buy.
All the literature I’ve mentioned here is suitable for, adolescents, young adults, and even old timers like yours truly. I simply believe the best way to keep ourselves and our youth in touch with their cultural heritage is to read it.
What little store shopping I do will be at Top Drawer Gallery, 202 Broadway, in The Old Town Section of Berea where my old Letcher High School buddy Terry Fields has arguably the best collection of Appalachian wood crafts, furniture, pottery and regional cookbooks you will ever find under one roof. Terry is open 9:30 until 5:30 Monday through Saturday as well as Sunday afternoons. Take a gander at his website, www.topdrawergallery.com to get an idea of what you’re going to find.