I Am a Town

River's Edge Media, LLC
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 Shari Smith's roots reach into the Midwest and spread under the Mason-Dixon line into the heart of Dixie. She draws on both in this collection of heartwarming stories that originated on her blog, Gunpowder, Cowboy Boots, and Mascara. With the compassion of an old soul, irreverent wit, her North Carolina vernacular, and more than a few cuss words, Shari takes the reader into "her country," the small town of Claremont, North Carolina and a mystical land in Alabama called Waterhole Branch. Holding nothing back, she explores the sensitive issues of a rural community, creative minds of the music and literary world, and how a small town's tragedy affects an entire nation. Smith introduces the reader to real war heroes and a Bronze Star recipient author who told their story in graphic detail in We Were Soldiers Once and Young. She allows us to listen in on a telephone conversation with a handsome cowboy actor who had called that hard-nosed reporter to thank him for his work, and without a word of introduction, the reporter passed the phone to Shari, telling the movie star to "say hello." Shari Smith writes with insight into the ordinary folks who meet each morning at the Claremont Café, the Boys at the Back Table, and with equanimity of prize-winning writers, songwriters, and musicians who gather on the deck of her hundred-year-old farm house. Her world is populated with beloved dogs, horses, children, neighbors, and a bunch of crazy artist-types. All are "her people" - people you want to know.
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About the author

Shari Smith is a contributor to The Shoe Burnin': Stories of Southern Soul and also is the producer of the "Shoe Burnin' Show." She has been published in Thicket Magazine, Wildlife in North Carolina, Western North Carolina Magazine, O. Henry Magazine, Pinestraw Magazine and Abilene Living; and she also has written for BMI (Broadcast Music Incorporated). Smith authors the blog Gunpowder, Cowboy Boots and Mascara.

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Additional Information

River's Edge Media, LLC
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Published on
Nov 25, 2014
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Biography & Autobiography / General
Biography & Autobiography / Literary
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Content Protection
This content is DRM free.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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In April 1992 a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. His name was Christopher Johnson McCandless. He had given $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all the cash in his wallet, and invented a new life for himself. Four months later, his decomposed body was found by a moose hunter.  How McCandless came to die is the unforgettable story of Into the Wild.

Immediately after graduating from college in 1991, McCandless had roamed through the West and Southwest on a vision quest like those made by his heroes Jack London and John Muir.  In the Mojave Desert he abandoned his car, stripped it of its license plates, and burned all of his  cash.  He would give himself a new name, Alexander Supertramp, and , unencumbered by money and belongings, he would be free to wallow in the raw, unfiltered experiences that nature presented.  Craving a blank spot on the map, McCandless simply threw the maps away.  Leaving behind his desperate parents and sister, he vanished into the wild.

Jon Krakauer constructs a clarifying prism through which he reassembles the disquieting facts of McCandless's short life.  Admitting an interst that borders on obsession, he searches for the clues to the dries and desires that propelled McCandless.  Digging deeply, he takes an inherently compelling mystery and unravels the larger riddles it holds: the profound pull of the American wilderness on our imagination; the allure of high-risk activities to young men of a certain cast of mind; the complex, charged bond between fathers and sons.

When McCandless's innocent mistakes turn out to be irreversible and fatal, he becomes the stuff of tabloid headlines and is dismissed for his naiveté, pretensions, and hubris.  He is said  to have had a death wish but wanting to die is a very different thing from being compelled to look over the edge. Krakauer brings McCandless's uncompromising pilgrimage out of the shadows, and the peril, adversity , and renunciation sought by this enigmatic young man are illuminated with a rare understanding--and not an ounce of sentimentality. Mesmerizing, heartbreaking, Into the Wild is a tour de force. The power and luminosity of Jon Krakauer's stoytelling blaze through every page.

From the Trade Paperback edition.
A Pulitzer Prize–winning, #1 New York Times bestseller, Angela’s Ashes is Frank McCourt’s masterful memoir of his childhood in Ireland.

“When I look back on my childhood I wonder how I managed to survive at all. It was, of course, a miserable childhood: the happy childhood is hardly worth your while. Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood.”

So begins the luminous memoir of Frank McCourt, born in Depression-era Brooklyn to recent Irish immigrants and raised in the slums of Limerick, Ireland. Frank’s mother, Angela, has no money to feed the children since Frank’s father, Malachy, rarely works, and when he does he drinks his wages. Yet Malachy—exasperating, irresponsible, and beguiling—does nurture in Frank an appetite for the one thing he can provide: a story. Frank lives for his father’s tales of Cuchulain, who saved Ireland, and of the Angel on the Seventh Step, who brings his mother babies.

Perhaps it is story that accounts for Frank’s survival. Wearing rags for diapers, begging a pig’s head for Christmas dinner and gathering coal from the roadside to light a fire, Frank endures poverty, near-starvation and the casual cruelty of relatives and neighbors—yet lives to tell his tale with eloquence, exuberance, and remarkable forgiveness.

Angela’s Ashes, imbued on every page with Frank McCourt’s astounding humor and compassion, is a glorious book that bears all the marks of a classic.
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