I finished the last book I blogged about and sunk my teeth hungrily into a collection of short stories by Ron Rash called Burning Bright.
This collection is close to my heart because of the service work I did repairing homes for the needy in the Appalachian Mountains in high school and college. It opened my eyes to a brand new culture, steeped in rich traditions.
Ron Rash's stories took me back to that area of the country as soon as I read the first story. The stories span a period of time from the Civil War, The Great Depression, all the way to present day Appalachia. There is a theme throughout the book of hardship, loss, perseverance, pride, and a sense of family and community. These are all lessons I learned while working in the mountains of Kentucky, Virginia, and West Virginia myself.
I have three favorites from the collection. The first story is Dead Confederates, which is about two men who decide to dig up Confederate graves in a cemetery for profit. The second is The Corpse Bird, which addresses the folklore of the owl being a harbinger of death in Appalachia. This instantly brought to mind the folk song I Wish My Baby Was Born performed by Tim Eriksen, Riley Baugus, and Tim O'Brien on the Cold Mountain soundtrack -- a chilling accompaniment to this tale, and the third and final favorite of mine from this collection was Lincolnites which featured the Union supporters living down south during the Civil War.
If you're interested in picking up a copy for your personal library, here is the link:
Otherwise, you might pay a visit to your local library as I did.
As always, happy reading and happy writing to all!
FYI: This is now an ongoing series where I will discuss the books I devour like candy. Check back for more entries such as these, if you like what you read. They will always be titled as above, so there will be no confusion.