Book Reviews: More reasons to avoid the in-laws this holiday season
Peter J. Thomas is a lot of things. He's a poet and a photographer -- but, secretly, we probably all are. A claim not a lot of us can make is that we are residents of northwestern Florida who spend their summers in a bungalow on an island off the...
Peter J. Thomas is a lot of things.
He's a poet and a photographer -- but, secretly, we probably all are. A claim not a lot of us can make is that we are residents of northwestern Florida who spend their summers in a bungalow on an island off the North Shore. Nor do we go around reciting poems by the likes of Bill Shakespeare, Edgar Allan Poe or Rudyard Kipling as wandering performer "the Live Bard."
That said, his first collection of poems, "I'm Sober, But There's Still Hope: Narrative Verse with an Attitude," is a bit uneven.
While there is a lot of truth to the book's subtitle, sometimes Thomas falls flat. Such is the case with "Martha's Little Lam," a little ditty about the oft-ridiculed Martha Stewart. It leans too heavily on topical fodder only Jay Leno would touch: "Martha had a little lam / She'd fleeced outright some dough / And everywhere that Martha went / The law was sure to go."
What's more interesting is Thomas' black and white photography that accompanies each poem. Shooting on a professional Mamiya camera, the poet produces winning shots that could open doors beyond casual, tinkering verses.
For more on the Live Bard, visit www.livebard.com .
Although the Rev. Michael D. Wuchter, a senior pastor at Duluth's First Lutheran Church, died suddenly of a heart attack in 2000 while on a mission trip in Namibia, Africa, his message lives on. "Uplifting Christ Through Autumn: Sermons for the Fall Season" was compiled by his wife, Shirley, after being urged to do so by her late husband's parishioners.
It's easy to see why they were growing impatient.
Like Peter J. Thomas' poems, Wuchter's sermons transcend their medium. Shirley, herself a member of Lake Superior Writers, thoughtfully selected sermons that drew inspiration from all over the place, including novels he had read to headline news. They move beyond overbearing details and bad golf jokes, becoming altogether heartwarming and -- this is key -- readable.
A testament to Wuchter's down-to-earth approach is the book's closer, "The True Source of Thanksgiving." Comparing Thanksgiving to Christmas, he says it is quite enjoyable because, for the most part, there's not a lot of build-up to the holiday and, sparing those stuck in kitchen, responsibility for most equates to just showing up.
However, flaunting his critical side, he warns that those without family or those with families "who are perhaps less than they should be -- whether cold, or stifling, or culturally removed, or whatever -- the many in this position at Thanksgiving can, I believe, more than ever sense the loss, sense the gap, sense the separateness, sense the need for trust and honesty and love at the very center of their web of personal relationship. This insight of a deep need for love at the core of relationships forms the magic of Thanksgiving."
Alternately wise and abrupt, one thing's for sure: His aim is true.
For more information, check out www.csspub.com .
The brother and sister team of illustrator Lynn B. Sandness and writer Elizabeth S. French are up to the eighth edition of "Exploring the Twin Cities with Children," a quick and easy guide to just about anything you can think of dragging your rugrats to.
While the siblings both hail from Duluth, French has since headed down I-35 -- which makes sense, considering that coverage of Duluth's attractions is extremely limited.
However, some Duluth standards have managed to find their way in, like the Irvin and Lake Superior Zoo.
And, while personal favorite the Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center didn't make the cut, it's hard to stay mad when Sandness' illustrations are laced throughout.
They may be reminiscent of the creepy children in Aphex Twin's "Come to Daddy" video, but they still radiate hometown pride.
For details, see www.nodinpress.com .