Archive for March, 2011

The Warmth Of Other Suns: The Epic Story Of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson has received great praise and hopefully a wide readership.  It should appeal to all African-Americans who care about their place in American history and culture.  It is also a good Southern read.  Although the book could have been shortened without any damage, it is well written.

The author interviewed over a thousand people directly involved in the relocation of six million blacks from the South to Northern cities from 1915 through 1970.  She gives extended stories of three of those pilgrims and their families.  In the aggregate they are a most compelling account, but the individual stories are based on anecdotes retold in old age.

Would we trust an account of the Vietnam War told by a few aging veterans forty to fifty years after the war?  This is narrative historical fiction.  It is not history.  Read it for what it is and enjoy.  Charles Marlin

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It’s too large and heavy for a field guide for birding, and too different to easily transition from your old field guide to it.  The plates of the old field guide are totally ingrained in your birding experiences so when you look at a plate you see it and it brings to mind innumerable sightings in the past.  The plates speak to you and that is too precious to give up.

So there is a negative to Richard Crossley, The Crossley ID Guide Easter Birds, but there is also a positive of why you will enjoy owning yet another birding guide.  Each plate is a composit photograph giving you up close and distant sightings, and good sightings to the not so good sightings we often have to settle for.  Don’t be thrown off by some of the dark photographs as they come far closer to our own sightings than the perfect images do.

This is the perfect reference to keep just inside the front door, by the big bay window, at the summer cottage, sealed in a plastic bag on the boat, or again sealed in a plastic bag and stashed in the car.  On second thought, you may find you need more than one copy.  If your birding mate wants the copy strategically placed in a spot that is not your first choice, for once be gracious and agree.  You then have an excuse for buying your own copy and greedily putting your name on the inside cover.  Charles Marlin

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If you want to play doctor with the current polyglot of American literary writing, just put your playtime stethoscope to 2011 Pushcart Prize XXXV Best Of The Small Presses, edited for all of its thirty-five year run by Bill Henderson.  You may be able to say the health of the patient has never been better.  For me, I am not so sure.  I can not profess to any substantial knowledge of literary magazines, so I don’t know what to say, despite purchasing a number of the volumes in the past.

Each volume is a mix of short stories, poetry, and personal narrative; and no matter how sour you are, you will find something to please you within a few pages if not the next page.

Collectively, the writing may be a bit old-fashioned, whatever that means.  It is a pleasant read, nothing more.  Anyway, next year I may be raving mad about it.  The Pushcart volumes are like the stock market, you need to take a three to five-year perspective.  So send me a comment in five years.  Charles Marlin

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The Clarion County Community Foundation Annual Meeting held March 16th marked our fourth anniversary as an affiliate of the Bridge Builders Community Foundations.  The principal business for the annual meeting is the election of officers.

To serve a partial term as Director in the 13 March 2012 class we elected Tracy Becker.

To serve their first full term as Directors in the 13 March 2014 class we elected Clara Belloit, Jerry Belloit, Charles Marlin, and Barry McCauliff. 

To serve their second full term as Trustees of the BBCF representing CCCF we elected Jerry Belloit, Janice Horn, and Charles Marlin. 

To serve their second full term as officers of CCCF we elected Jerry Belloit President, Barry McCauliff Vice-President, and Nancy Ambrose as Secretary.

Friends of CCCF interested in serving on the Board of Directors should contact Dr. Jerry Belloit at Home (814) 227-2673, or Cell (814) 221-5537.  We have two openings, one in the class of 13 March 2013, and one in the class of 13 March 2014.  Charles Marlin


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In The Company Of Angels by Thomas E. Kennedy is not an easy book to like, but if you want something easy, just take a nap.  Naps are nice; but this book is nicer, so make the effort.  There are two damaged main characters.  The first one you read about is Nardo, a political refugee in Denmark from the torture regime  of Pinochet in Chile.  The second is Michela from a dysfunctional family in Denmark and more importantly a formerly abused wife and currently abused girlfriend.

The task of the novel is to bring them through their damaged life fields to a place where lasting healing can occur.  They meet and despite the encumbrances of their lives, and the dreadful weather of Copenhagen, they fall in love.  As a reader you will cheer when they are finally together as it is most obvious they deserve the grace of happiness.

The historical observation from the novel is that abuse is obscene regardless of how it is inflicted: politically, personally, or self-inflicted.  Sadly we often do not recognize it even when it invades our lives.  The best assault on abuse is find a happy escape, and if in that escape you are helped by angels, you are most blessed.  Charles Marlin

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