Book Review: Whispering to Horses

Book: Whispering to Horses
Author: Thomas Nye

I was intrigued to read this novella as it was written by a local author about a man who moves into Amish country.  Thomas Nye’s writing is poetic and calls you to sit down and listen.  As Matt, the main character was rediscovering his roots, I too was pulled to recall my own.  A beautiful read which sweetly reminds us to breathe in our surroundings.

I’ll definitely read another by Mr. Nye.

Review by: A.C.

Book Review: Hillbilly Elegy

Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance

A sad song for the hillbilly. Vance shares his hard-knock story of growing up in southern Ohio among people who share and perpetuate an Appalachian culture. His is a story of teen pregnancy, broken families, substance abuse, violence and a perpetual cycle of poverty few have a chance to escape. Vance is one of the few who escapes, making his way to the Marines, the Ohio State University and Yale Law School.

As Vance traces his first thirty years of life  he makes interesting observations about his people, the education system, the church, and our political system. He doesn’t offer easy answers or solutions, because frankly there aren’t any.  He describes his high school as poor, yet notes there were teachers who cared and pushed him to do better. The missing element were examples of those who went on to college or successful careers.

The church he is exposed to tells him science is bad and that he should fear the world, but offers no tangible help, or hope, for his dysfunctional family life. People stand on the literal truth of the Bible, but few actually read the Scriptures.

Vance is self-aware enough to realize his family is different, something which is compounded when he makes his way to Yale. His stories of finding himself in situations with wealthy people are cringe worthy and sadly humorous. If there is one concrete solution Vance suggests it is that we need to find ways to bridge the economic segregation present in our society.

Some have suggested the book explains why poor whites voted for Trump, something it does but perhaps in a roundabout way. His people are quick to realize when they are being looked down upon, and resent being told what to eat, drink, and how to live. Towards the end of the book Vance chides his people, saying they need to move on from blaming Obama or Bush and take responsibility for their own failings. He criticizes “his people” in a way those from inside a culture can, pointing to the poor choices made by those who feel the system is and has been rigged against them. It is indeed a sad song for the hillbilly.

Review by M. M.

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Quote of the Week:  “If you have a garden and a library you have everything you need.” ~Cicero

 Fiction:     Nighthawk by Clive Cussler

Saints for all occasions by J. Courtney Sullivan

Emma (LARGE PRINT) by Alexander McCall Smith

The Farmer’s Market Mishap by Wanda E. Brunstetter

Death Rides A Chestnut Mare by Ralph Compton

Non-Fiction:      Patient H. M.: A Story of Memory, Madness, And Family Secrets by Luke Dittrich

Young Adult:     Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

Junior Fiction:  The Wimpy Kid Movie Diary: The Next Chapter by Jeff Kinney

Lowji Discovers America by Candace Flemming

Easy:        Touch The Earth by Jullian Lennon

Peteriffic by Victoria Kann

Mama Built A Little Nest by Jennifer Ward

DVDs:       PopStar Minnie

BCD (BOOK ON CD): Just One Kiss by Susan Mallery

Junior BCD:      Adventures In Odessey: Head Over Heels