Reader’s favorite looks at life in Appalachia

Alice Osborn is a published author, poet, musician, and editor. She has facilitated the Wonderland Book Club for nine years.

Recommended read: The Winter People” by John Ehle. It’s set in the early years of the Great Depression in Appalachia. One of Ehle’s trademarks in his mountain series novels is to never demean the people who live in the mountains – these people are not hillbillies. The prose and dialogue is beautifully written and also filled with so many details about this community’s ordinary life – cooking and preparing of food, cleaning, and matters of courtship, death and birth.

Currently reading:Origins of the Dream: Hughes’s Poetry and King’s Rhetoric” by W. Jason Miller.

What is your favorite reading memory? Reading an original edition of Captain William Bligh’s logbook 20 years ago. This book changed my view of Captain Bligh from being a tyrant to a misunderstood hero who saved 18 men in a too-small boat after the famous mutiny. I wrote a poem about this historical event.

What is your favorite book that nobody’s heard of?Storming the Magic Kingdom: Wall Street, the Raiders and the Battle for Disney” by John Taylor. I read this book when I was 14. It’s about how the Disney I grew up with could be completely taken over by corporate sharks because Disney’s stock fell below their value of their assets in 1984.

What movie was better than the book? “House of Sand and Fog.”

Where do you go for book recommendations? I attend my friends’ author readings, and those are primarily the books I read first. I’m also involved with the North Carolina Humanities Council’s “Let’s Talk About It” program and read the books we discuss there – they always exceed my expectations.

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The Winter People

John Ehle

Down Home Press, 272 pages