Category Archives: Book Reviews



I am not a voracious reader, but when I read, I tend to pick a memoir or some form of non-fiction. This practice, I understand, is not the acceptable habit of someone who writes fiction.

Nevertheless, I recently enjoyed reading a quartet of books I highly recommend that you consider as you while away the summer at the beach or at some mountain retreat.

I developed a kinship with Lee Smith as she recounted how she left her backwoodsy Virginia environment to get some “culture” only to find that she never really left her home in “Dimestore,” a 100-page memoir that was just published.

Smith, who is now a grandmother, writes about marble cake, moonshine, wading in the river running black with coal debris, folks sitting on the front porch talking about the latest town gossip and how she could run for miles in the hills without the thought of danger.

In the 15 essays she describes how her daddy’s dimestore served as a launching point for exploration of this Appalachian country during her childhood and how she drew on this experience and the people there in her later writing of fiction. Continue reading A BIT OF CULTURE, HOPE MIXED IN READING RECIPE

Author Critical of How Clintons Became Rich

By Dean Rea

Track the money is the cornerstone function of journalists who perform the watchdog role of government as members of the Fourth Estate.

Peter Schweizer assumes that role in his new book, “Clinton Cash, The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Amazon Book CoverBusinesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich,” especially while Hillary made her first run for the presidency and later while she served as secretary of state.

Two things are at issue: The Clinton Foundation, a charitable organization, which was formed after Bill completed his presidential term, and Bill’s payment for speeches he has made since Hillary’s ascendancy in public office.

The Clinton Foundation raises money for charitable work around the world and deals with such issues as economic development, climate change, health and wellness, especially in combating AIDS worldwide. Bill, Hillary and their daughter Chelsea are officers. Schweizer contends that it is difficult — often impossible — to learn how the money is allocated and spent.

Claims of questionable ethical practices have been rebutted by Hillary and other sources, who contend that her actions as a public official always have been in the best interests of the country. Other critics of the book contend that much of the research was “sloppy” and many of the statements in the book are inaccurate.

As Hillary begins her second quest to become president of the United States, every citizen should consider reading Continue reading Author Critical of How Clintons Became Rich

A Combat Photographer’s Life

It's what I do coverLynsey Addario chose a unique profession for a woman who wanted to see the world and who wrote about her life as a combat photographer in “It’s What I Do,” a book published this year by Penguin Press ($29.95).

For want of a better term, bohemian may best describe her environment while a child growing up in Connecticut and eventually while pursuing a career as a freelance journalist. She honed her photographic skills in South America and was working steadily in places like India, Pakistan and Afghanistan when she learned of planes smashing into the Twin Towers on 9/11.

She knew the territory and began covering fighting in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq not only as a foreigner but also in cultures where women were expected to remain hidden in burkas and homes.

She writes about being kidnapped and fearing that she would be raped. She photographed burned villages and countless dead in Darfur. She documented a culture of violence against women in the Congo and covered the civil war in Libya.

She devotes more than 50 or the 341 pages to color photographs taken during her decade of work as a Continue reading A Combat Photographer’s Life