Archive for the ‘ Good Books ’ Category

There’s Hope Yet…

Helen Hooven Stantmyer would be 121 years old today.


Her book …And Ladies Of the Club was published when she was 88,


…There’s hope for me yet!

Stantmyer was born in Cincinnati and lived in Xenia, Ohio when her book was published obscurely by the OSU Press.

Only a few hundred were printed and sold to Ohio libraries.

By pure chance, the book fell into the hands of agents who saw a wider audience.

It became a best seller when the Book of the Month Club made it its monthly selection.

Anything is possible!

Have a great weekend.

If you need a book it’s a good read, it’s “chick lit” to be sure.

But it ‘s a great story that spans several generations.

Hillbilly Elegy

This is a book review.

I love it when I find a book that hits home.

Something I can relate to because it’s based on places, people, and things I actually know.

NO, I don’t know the author of today’s tome, but I know plenty of people like him.

I might even be one.

On the surface, JD Vance seems like the American Success Story.  And, in a way, he is – but, not completely.

JD Vance

His book, Hillbilly Elegy*: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis from Harper Collins is a great read, and is available on your nook, assuming you have one.

Hillbilly Elegy

I saw him on CNN one morning while I was getting ready for work, and thought the subject matter, the demise of the white working class would be an interesting read.

Little did I know he grew UP in Middletown, Ohio, only nine miles down the road from where I lived in Germantown.

Once I found that out, I was completely hooked.

I recognized the places, businesses, streets, schools, and hospitals, most of which aren’t there any longer, he referenced in the book.

Much of what he wrote about hit home.

Granted, his hillbilly grandmother and mine were quite unalike in many ways, but there were similarities as well.

First of all, I never heard either of mine swear; his Mawmaw was quite the potty mouth.  If foul language offends, you may want to avoid the book; but I’ll have to say, you can get past it if you try.

The book sheds light on the centuries old value systems provided to Scots-Irish stock through the generations.

It’s eye-opening.

Vance’s book helps those of us who come from Appalachian Scots-Irish and German families understand what makes “hillbillies” tick, why they live the way they do, and the choices they make.

It’s a different breed.

His family came from Jackson County, Kentucky, moving to Middletown to work at Armco Steel, later Armco Kawasaki Steel, later not there any longer.

Vance got out.

It’s a miracle he did, and his success story gives hope to every young man and woman who feels trapped by the families they were born into.

He tells his story with humor, which must have been hard to do.  His comparison between the dreadful hand of cards he was dealt and his drive and gumption to not only survive but thrive and escape the life is gripping.

It’s an easy read; you’re cheering him on the entire way.

Sure, sure, there are a few people you want to smack along the way, but don’t worry.  Mawmaw does that for you.

Everyone in Middletown should read this book.

Everyone in Germantown should read this book.

You’ll find out more about yourself – maybe more than you want to.


*An Elegy is a form of poetry, generally a poem of serious reflection.  Most typically used as a lament for the dead.

He Really Should Be!

This is a book review.

My dad was a big fan of the talking head shows on CNN, Faux, NBC, CBS, and ABC.  He loved to listen to them argue, and aside from the hour a day mother commandeered the TV and watched “her stories”, he had some pundit yelling at him all the time.

Unless there was a baseball game on.

One of his favorites to watch, and vehemently disagree with, was Bob Beckel.

Bekel on the Five

I’ll have to admit, although I also do not agree often with Mr. Beckel, I did enjoy his style and his banter from shows like Crossfire and Faux News’ The Five.

Recently, Bob came out with a “redemptive memoir” about his many decades as a political operative, diplomat, pundit, addict, and alcoholic.

It is entitled I Should Be Dead.

Bekel Book

Really, he should be!

Over 75 % of the book is a story of drink, drugs, debauchery, and deceit.

I really liked the guy until I started reading the book.  For a while, I was on the off ramp of disgust and disdain for the boy.

The book helped to cement my perception of political operatives as well.


Just sayin’.

Growing UP a “survivor” in an abusive home dominated and driven by an alcoholic father, he learned to hide his feelings, survive, lie, and deceive which all came in very handy in his Washington career.

Seemingly at the pinnacle of success in the political and infortainment worlds, Bob was hiding – not so well – a big secret.

He was a drunk.

Waking UP in the psych ward on “W’s” inauguration day in 2001 was rock bottom for him, but allowed his story to change.

The story is a difficult one to read.  I had to put the book down repeatedly and move on to something else for a day or two.

Once I started it, it took me 6 months to read this book.

It has fewer than 300 pages.

It’s not me, it’s him.

Once started, it’s a must finish.  He weaves a story of his addictions and how they nearly killed him and a story of help, faith, friendship, sobriety, and redemption from unlikely sources.

It’s not a book I’ll re-read, but I’m glad I read it.

And he’s right, he should be dead!

Agnes Canon’s War

I haven’t mentioned many books lately on the blog.  It’s not that I haven’t been ready, oh, I have.  Lots and lots of reading.  It’s just my thing.

Sometimes when I do a book review, I wonder if any of my faithful followers care.  It seems the book review posts are generally ignored.

But, I love to read, and I love to talk about what I read.

So, here goes.

Agnes Canon's War

Agnes Canon’s War is relatively new, I’m generally way behind on reading, but this one came to me out of the blue and I jumped on it.

Written by Deborah Lincoln, the novel chronicles a 10 or 12 year portion of the heroine’s life leading UP to the Civil War.

Tired of living on the sidelines in a family of many, and shunning an unworthy suitor, Agnes leaves her small town schoolmarm life and follows the Pennsylvania rivers west.

Yearning for independence only reserved for men of the day, her quest for freedom rewards her with love, life, sorrow, and happiness.

Situated on the prairies of Missouri and Montana, she finds love and freedom, to her surprise, in a marriage.

Watching the nation torn apart on the beginning battlegrounds of Kansas and Missouri, she and her husband fight injustice, hardship, and heart break.

Struggling and failing to keep the community from falling apart, they move on to better pastures and more challenges.

Prepare to cheer her on in her quest for independence and love. You’ll love with them and grieve with them along their journey west.

Well developed characters paint pictures of 19th century life along with its prejudices and struggles.  From time to time, you’ll feel like you’re there.

Deborah Lincoln

Deborah Lincoln is an Ohio girl and the descendant of doctors, lawyers, and farmers.  She lives with her family on Oregon’s coast.  Much of the book is based on her family history.

Check it out; I liked it so much I wrote to tell her so.  I’ve only done that two other times in my life.