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By Ben Loory
$17.00 Penguin

From critically acclaimed author Ben Loory comes TALES OF FALLING AND FLYING, his second collection of short stories which is nothing short of extraordinary.

If Aesop’s Fables had a three-way with The Grimm Brothers Fairytales and The Twilight Zone and then gave birth to a book, it would look a lot like Ben Loory’s latest release which is chock-a-block full of fantastical characters who are just trying to understand what life is all about. Multi-dimensional ideas and out-of-size concepts pepper this collection which runs the gamut from talking animals to dead presidents and painters, zombies and a lemon tree that bares strange fruit. Although each of these stories is as unique as a set of fingerprints there is a tie that binds them: Loory’s limitless imagination. This is the component that allows the author to begin with one premise and stretch it in so many directions you can’t help but follow the zig-zag of each story’s trajectory no matter where it leads. And although none of these little gems end up anywhere near where you think they might, this fact only adds to the delightfully funny, thought provoking and entertaining writing which is the hallmark of Loory’s unconventional-yet-conversational style.

A confectionary treat for the brain, reading these stories gave me the same sugar high I get when devouring a box of Krispy Kremes. Loory has a talent for reaching out from the page to tickle your curiosity, your funny bone and your fancy while challenging every parameter you thought you understood about storytelling. And his masterful understanding of what it takes to make a sentence sing in a witty, winsome and deep way is just one more reason that this collection of short stories is one you’ll want to binge on over and over again.

A Novel
By Sarah Creech
$26.99 William Morrow

Having lived in Nashville for several decades I’ve read more novels about Music City and the Music Business than I care to count. Far too often, I’m afraid to say, these novels come nowhere close to describing what it takes to make it in this town, so I am often hesitant to read yet another less-than-stellar fictionalization. Luckily, however, THE WHOLE WAY HOME, Sarah Creech’s novel about the inner workings of Music Row, is a spot-on departure from the rest, making it a realistic read that runs on the heady fumes of an engaging story.

Jo Lover is the real deal: a pure talent with brains and beauty to match, whose spunky, can-do energy on stage rivals that of her Country Music idols Loretta Lynne and Dolly Parton. Jo’s music and style reflect her small-town Virginia roots and with her independent label deal and engagement to her rich, handsome producer it looks like she has life figured out.

Enter Country Music Heartthrob JD Gunn, Jo’s childhood friend, former musical collaborator and ex-lover who sold-out, hit the big time and lost her in the process. Although Jo has moved on JD has not, and when they’re forced to share billing on a nationally-televised show their undeniable chemistry comes roaring back, making the duo an over-night sensation, which leaves Jo feeling confused and frustrated. As if she doesn’t have enough to contend with, out of the blue the media gets wind of a story dating back decades that only she and JD know the truth about. And despite her better angels, Jo comes face-to- face with the feelings for JD she thought she had buried, along with her past, forcing her to make a choice that could end her career forever.

It’s obvious that Ms. Creech knows a lot about music and took time to get the skinny on the inner workings of Nashville. Her ability to create dense, plausible characters makes this a satisfying read and her visual representation of Music City made me feel like I was seeing the place through fresh eyes. A must read for anyone who loves Country Music and the musicians that make it.

THE NOCTURNAL JOURNALTHE NOCTURNAL JOURNAL: A Late Night Exploration of What’s Really On Your Mind
By Lee Crutchley
$16.00 Tarcher Perigree

Have you ever felt restless in the night? Tossing and turning; trying to put the rapid-fire repetition of negative thoughts out on the street where they belong? Lee Crutchley, author of THE NOCTURNAL JOURNAL feels your pain. And not only that, he has a solution that, although it might not bring you the instantly-deep sleep an Ambien could provide, might just help you get some insight.

As we get busier and busier in our daytime pursuits, we are often left with a reservoir of untapped creativity and inner musings that have no space to exist. And so, when nighttime rolls around and things get dark and quiet these musings take the opportunity to surface, often keeping us from getting those much needed z’s. This can be quite annoying. But what if we didn’t allow annoyance to take over? What if we turned the table on the mounting feelings of frustration that come with the territory and acknowledged those musings rather than trying to shut them down? Would we find out that there was great power and reward in doing so? And would this power help us in the long run, in our everyday lives? Mr. Crutchley believes this is the case and has therefore, kindly supplied us with a map to our unconscious and the tools to release the buried creativity that’s crying out to be heard.

Filled with led-journaling pages, word-puzzles, and questions that make you think twice about your life such as, “What ghosts from the past are still haunting you?” and “What do you think are the ten most important questions in your life?”, this little tome is a great tool to get you on the road to mental clarity and relaxation, which are key to getting a good night’s sleep. And as you delve into its pages, you’ll find you’re so consumed by the fun and the deep insights you’re having that those burdensome negative thoughts will ease themselves out of the picture, leaving you a little bit lighter and ready for some shut eye.

Whimsical, poetic, imaginative and magnetic, this is a great book to keep by the bed alongside a handful of pencils. Crutchely’s conversational style makes you feel like you’re getting advice from a dear friend and although he offers a disclaimer right up front that this book may not chase the insomnia-goblins away, his guidance and inspiration might just do the trick. / Issue 195 - June 2018
Turnpage Blk

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