Category Archives: Fiction

A Reading Suggestion in Light of Russia Acting a Fool – Alas Babylon

alas babylon

There are a few books that I read over and over again. One of these is Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank.

I first read it while in Junior High School, which you have to remember was during the 70s so war with Russia was a very real possibility, at least in our minds.

The Amazon description of  Alas, Babylon is:

"Those fateful words (Alas, Babylon) heralded the end. When the unthinkable nightmare of nuclear holocaust ravaged the United States, it was instant death for tens of millions of people; for survivors, it was a nightmare of hunger, sickness, and brutality. Overnight, a thousand years of civilization were stripped away. But for one small Florida town, spared against all the odds, the struggle was just beginning, as men and women of all ages and races found the courage to join together and push against the darkness."

The book is short. Amazon lists it at 352 pages but I can only assume that is some version with some type of fluff added in since the book is easily read in a day or two by a casual reader and less than a day by an avid one.

Although dated in many ways, the original year of publishing was 1959, the characters in the book still ring true and it does a good job of pointing out ways people find to cope and survive in a disaster.

I would rank  Alas, Babylon in my top ten books and it should still be required reading in all high schools. To show how much I think of it I actually have several copies around the house, purchasing a new one every time I couldn't find a copy here, and recently bought it again on Kindle so it would be available whenever I got the urge to leap back into it.

While I realize a book about a nuclear war in 1959 isn't as sexily terrifying as some of the Apoc-lit or Zombie Apocalypse (Zompoc) books that are out now, to those of us who wtill remember the duck and cover drills the potential for a man-made nuclear disaster is still real and just as terrifying as the walking dead.

 

Thanks to Everyone at the Natchitoches – NSU Folk Festival

 

What a great time at the Natchitoches NSU Folk Festival! There were tons of people that came by to visit, many of them who were familiar with the turpentine camp that I wrote about in The Bottle Tree and one gentleman had even been there and we talked about what it looked like! It turns out that my great Aunt who had first told me about the camp had taught him in school when he was a kid.

Many, many thanks to everybody that came by and special thanks to those of you who bought the books! We almost sold out of The Bottle Tree and quite a few people bought Junebug and the Body and No' Chance as well.

I hope you enjoy the read and please let me know when you finish them.

We were invited back for next year so I'll have to get to work and finish a couple more books to have there!


Junebug and the Body – Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars Felt Like a Kid Again July 16, 2012
By Evergreen
If you like books that can take you back to a simpler place and time, read this one.
Sweet and endearing, this book is very enjoyable, with well drawn characters and a few twists and turns. I read this on the beach in Michigan, but as I flipped the Kindle pages I was easily taken south, to a small Texas town of the 70's. It brought back many great childhood memories of my own. Don't be afraid to upload this to your Kindle, and enjoy.

5.0 out of 5 stars Best Whodunnit Read For Summer …(or anytime, really) July 23, 2011
By bookfan
I just read this little gem of a whodunnit and was completely enthralled. First off, kudos to the author on character development. It's the first thing that carries you in to the story because the 2 boys are so genuine that they engage you right away. This can't be easy for an adult author to pull off, but he does it in expert fashion. The use of childhood -or rather, boyhood humor, comes at unexpected yet welcomed times and had me laughing out loud on more than one occasion. You might be disappointed if you're looking for a gruesome read, because this one's "G-rated."
Second, the plot is masterfully crafted with twists and turns that come at the pace you'd expect from a murder-mystery. Plus, the twist at the end will surely come as a surprise to even a serial whodunnit reader. I have to add that for anyone who is fond of southern culture and idioms, this story will quench your thirst in a big way. I can't remember the last book I read that had this kind of authentic grasp on southern mannerisms, and being a born and bred northerner, I literally crave southern characters. I'm definitely adding this author's name to my search list.

5.0 out of 5 stars Will be rereading this one. June 20, 2013
By Donna B. Smith
Eagerly awaiting sequels. Chilling story line with unique characters. I certainly felt connected to events as they unfolded and felt the horror that Junebug and friend must have felt. Chillbumps!

Michael Vick has his place in Fiction

If you are a politically correct, Animals Have Rights Too, kind of a person you are probably not gong to like this post very much and I may even lose some potential readers because of it but for some reason I feel compelled to write it.

Let me start off by saying I am not a Michael Vick fan. Not because of the dog fighting deal, we'll discuss that later, but because he used to play, and play well, for the Atlanta Falcons and I am a die hard, have been forever, stay off of the bandwagon, New Orleans Saints fan. As those of you who read my books know I am from Louisiana and very proud of it, and was a Saints fan back when we were ecstatic if they won just one game a year. As a Saints fan, it is my solemn duty to hate the Falcons and anybody who ever played for the Falcons except for 1) those who now play for the Saints, 2) Bobby Hebert, and 3) Morton Anderson. 

Before I get too far off track here though, back to Vick.

As you know, VIck was convicted and sent to prison for dog fighting, a crime which he would not have gone to prison for twenty years (and maybe even ten years) before it happened. I'm not in favor of dog fighting but it happens and the people who do it should be punished, although I think Vick probably was treated a little harshly because of who he was rather than the crime itself. Dog fighting, and rooster/cock fighting, are a throwback to a day that has long passed yet it still is a part of certain cultures. No excuse, but the simple fact is certain poorer Southern communities and cultures don't view it the same way that more enlightened folks do.  To this day you can drive around the rural south, and I know a spot just a few miles from where I am typing this, and see small chicken coops with each containing a single rooster bred for one purpose…fighting.

Back on topic again, Vick did something wrong and was punished for it. However, his story is one echoed in thousands if not hundreds of thousands of books.

A hero falls and is then redeemed.

Vick came out of prison and went back to what he knew best, football. And no mistake about it, he is a gifted athlete.

He took his place as the third string quarterback on a team that gave him a chance, the Eagles. Then he fought his way back to being a starter.

While I don't agree with much of what he has done or much of what he has said in his life and career, he does deserve props for stepping back up from a place that is as low as he could go and making his way back to being an NFL superstar.

Hate him if you want, but he does embody many of the characteristics of our greatest fictional heroes. A willingness to fight, a refusal to give up, and the ability to use his talents.