A great friend of mine from the area, Judy DiGregorio, as warm and funny a person as you’d ever want to meet, early this year released a recording of her reading her humorous memories and observations was released called Jest Judy. The CD contains sort of a “best of” tour of her books Life Among the Liliputians and Memories of a Loose Woman. The stories are autobiographical takes on life’s foibles in general and her own, in particular, along with a funny story or two along the way about her husband and life partner, Dan. If you like funny stories, not so much as in a southern tradition, as maybe in the tradition of Lucille Ball, you might enjoy checking out the recording or the books. She lives in Oak Ridge, but is active in the Knoxville Writer’s Guild.
Since I’ve mentioned one local product, I’m going to mention a few others from the area that might interest some of you. The first two I’ve mentioned before and the last one, I think, is new to this blog. First, if you enjoy historical fiction, there are two fine books by local authors that you really should consider or at least check out on Amazon.
Some of you may have heard Pamela Schoenewaldt read from her new book, When We Were Strangers, at Central Street Books on First Friday. It is a beautifully written debut novel published by Harper Collins about a girl who leaves Italy in the late 1800s to find a new life in America. It follows her through the pain, loneliness and ultimately the growth and strength she draws from her experiences. It is a very meaningful story in a time when immigration and immigrants are, once more, a very hot topic in America.
The other book which I’ve mentioned before is The Typistby UT English professor and widely published short story writer, Michael Knight. I’ve re-read sections of this short book in the last few days and the spare writing is as near perfect as you are likely to find. With great economy Knight tells the story of a young man who became a witness to history while struggling into adulthood as the typist for General Douglas MacArthur. Set in Japan in the time after the dropping of the nuclear bombs and showing a more personal side to history, the novel humanizes the almost mythical general and reveals a view of history also very relevant today.
Bloodroot by Amy Greene is the story of a family in the Tennessee Mountains, examining both their gifts and their curse, which sometimes seem intertwined. This is not a light-hearted book, but is wonderfully well written with language you’ll want to savor and read out loud. Recently available in paperback, this is a book that will linger in your mind.