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Malaprop's Monthly Letter to Readers


by Emoke B’Racz

Being a book buyer has many advantages. We get to read books that will be coming out three to four months later in the year. This is the case with Nothing Gold Can Stay, a collection of short stories by Ron Rash. While I am reading his short stories I hear his laid-back drawn out but true voice in the words. The feelings follow right under and over my heart as I continue to read on. Oh, to be such a good storyteller! What a blessing for us, the reader. Look for this book in early March and do attend his reading at our store and you will know what I felt and wrote about here.



To get to know an author like Ron Rash is a blessing in every sense. Linda, Ron and I were at Grove Park Inn for the annual Our State conference this past weekend and had a few moments to catch up with Ron, the featured speaker. He is an ever thoughtful gentleman who loves writing short stories and poetry like he loves fishing. The calm and setting sun on the river is reflected in his words and directed to my heart.


I treasure his poetry and keep returning to the latest volume Waking. I have written that I loved “Mirror” poem and today the “Car Tags” got me good. A poem a day keeps me sane!


To turn to another author/poet shaped by her life as the daughter of Southern grounds is bell hooks. Her new collection is Appalachian Elegy. I immerse myself in these words and invite you to do the same.


          " to hold tender this land

           hard clay dirt

           rock upon rock

           charred earth

           in time..........


           pushing the fragrance of hope

           the promise of resurrection.”


A trust in nature to revive our soul is the gift in these lines for me. The poet looks to nature and looks into darkness to see her self better. In poem 43 I read


         when the dawn

         Is still almost dark

         I rise restless

         watch the

         morning come

         sly slow

         movement into light

         from shadow play

         an unveiling

         inside this dark heart

         a yearning to live

         as nature lives

         surrendering all


There are ample reviews of ms. bell' s contribution to our cultural mind and it all leads back to nature and the importance of not being afraid of digging and finding our self fearlessly ready to be at peace. I know that is what I receive reading her prose and poetry.


Elizabeth Bishop painted, wrote many letters and, of course, the poetry for which she is known the most. I found the recently published Objects and Apparitions to be a delightful addition to my world of beautiful books. She surprises me to no end and gives me courage to be fully who I am and can be. Reward yourself with this gift.


Thinking of beautiful books I must give Tara publishers the Malaprop's EZB Star Award. Such beautiful presentation for the eyes and hands to hold. Waterlife by Ramharos Jha, Oh, Yes!


Daniel Ladinsky is one of my favorite translators walking this planet. The new volume of Rumi translations Purity of Desire can heal any aching soul. Read him, see him and hear him at Malaprop's February 9 or 10. The inspiration in Rumi' s words is the inspiring life we can have even if just for a moment!


Terry Tempest Williams' new book When Women Were Birds is an amazing read. I was moved because I have lost my mother also and she left me journals to ponder, an experience Williams shares in her memoir. I love most about this book the beauty of Williams’ mind. She spends some time in the town of Moose (Wyoming) and since I was there this August I fully understand the inspired mind she is living with. That is about the most open and silenced-by-mountains place I have been so far in my sixty-four years. This silence, I suspect, invites and allows all good things to surface for the writers. Another Wyoming author is my other favorite writer Gretel Ehrlich. She also writes from the silence that is experienced in the silence of these mountains. Her new book coming out this spring is Facing the Wave. Yes, the big one in Japan this last year. How do I recommend a book that is so painful and beautiful? I think facing the big wave is more a devastating than a teaching moment but there it is. It is a reality in our world and we can not avoid it or abandon those it impacted and will impact for their entire lives.


The twist of fates brings me to Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeons Journey into the Afterlife by Eben Alexander, MD. This book was a gift that landed on me as I walked by a stack of that title in our store. Intrigued by the title? Well, I do recommend for everyone to read this little book just out in paperback edition.


This year I witnessed the goodness that is you, our readers. You came in and honored your ethical self and bought your presents LOCALLY. This is no small accomplishment. Did you know that 95% of the titles you want to purchase with us are free freight because we have them in our store! Did you know that when you look online at you can see what is on our shelves? Call in or walk in or shop online with us and there you have it.


But I do digress and should not really. This is a country where you do as you wish and it is nobody else's business. But business it is and slowly but surely the evil empire is winning the battle on the large screen/scale. Have you seen the movie Brazil or Wallie? Well, remind yourself of the future you do not want for you or your children and keep your money and energy close to the home you want to keep intact.


Welcome 2013 by supporting your life by staying local!

Looking back at the books I have read and mentioned amazes me that such diverse literature shapes me daily. Some of the titles I loved but have not reviewed I put here as a list for you to investigate (and order/buy locally) and see if it suites your hunger for reading:


     Untie the Strong Woman by Clarissa Pinkola Estés

     Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool

     Rendering the Bones Susan M. Lefler

     A Thousand Mornings by Mary Oliver

     Glaciers by Alexis M. Smith

     Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

     Red Brick Black Mountain White Clay by Christopher Benfey

     Bigger World by Noelle Kocot


And will keep reading for years most likely:

     The Lure and the Truth of Painting: Selected Essays on Art by Yves Bonnefoy

     Cosmic Revelation by Bede Griffiths (out of print, I think)

     Lapham's Quarterly (available at Downtown Books & News)


And last but not least:

     Recski Tábor Tagjai

     Régi Magyar Mondák

     Hun Birodalom


As I have stated before being a book buyer is a great thing. I just received an invitation to read Jill McCorkle's upcoming novel Life after Life due out in April. I shall gloat about it quietly. Reading upcoming works in advance is not only fun but allow us to be more supportive of our authors. I do believe that supporting our regional authors is the best thing ever we can do for our readers and ourselves. Local, I find most times is the most rewarding!


Read globally, breathe and build locally.




“every little thing is everything”




Nothing Gold Can Stay


Nature's first green is gold,

Her hardest hue to hold.

Her early leaf's a flower;

But only so an hour.

Then leaf subsides to leaf,

So Eden sank to grief,

So dawn goes down to day

Nothing gold can stay.


Robert Frost


Tabula Rasa

by Cecil Bothwell

Wow. Just, wow.


Terry Tempest Williams has delivered yet another brilliant tome. She has fashioned a writing career from profound insights concerning the bones and bits of our natural world and the vast territories of the human heart. From the knife's edge in An Unspoken Hunger: Stories from the Field, which continues to send me shivers many years on (even now, as I think back), to the power of Red: Passion and Patience in the Desert and the revelations in Leap, Williams never fails to reach deep into her own and a reader's experience, to hold a mirror, to shine a light.


When Women Were Birds does it again. This time it is a very personal story connecting mother and daughter, expectation and surprise, flight and grounding, fear and forgiveness. Williams has made complicated peace with her Mormon upbringing over many years, somehow asserting feminism and adhering to science while embracing spirituality and ceremony.


I remember asking Williams, in 2002, about the climactic moment in Leap, when she and her husband went into the desert to renounce their Mormon marriage, to burn the document, to step clear of allegiance to church and culture and fully embrace that which they did believe. Her author-on-a-book-tour composure cracked into tears ... and our hearts touched, along with every other heart in the room.


Terry Tempest Williams is the real thing. Read it.


Upcoming Events

T Cooper

Star Wolf

Young Adult Authors Event


Kim Harrison

Daniel Ladinsky

Day 1

Daniel Ladinsky

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Malaprops Bookstore/Café • 55 Haywood Street • Asheville, NC 28801
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