A Sampling of Virginia Writers

Once There Was a Farm: A Country Childhood Remembered

By Virginia Bell Dabney

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"It was an unusual household: the mother and three daughters lived on a ramshackle farm in western Virginia while the father stayed in Chicago, visiting his family during summer vacations and at Christmas. Virginia (Vallie), much younger than her sisters, never felt comfortable with her father. Playmates were a rarity, but she found rewards in the company of farm animals and the three black people who were hired help. Vallie's attempt at self-baptism and the cook's reaction makes an endearing story."
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Stealing with Style

By Emyl Jenkins

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When rare and valuable pieces mysteriously start showing up at the local Salvation Army store—tucked into an oven mitt, hidden in a quilt—expert appraiser Sterling Glass is brought in to evaluate their worth. As she researches the origins of a rare urn, one strange detail leads to another. Before long she uncovers an intricate plot involving a slew of antique treasures, the oldest families of Leemont, some sophisticated scammers, and shifty associates at New York’s most prestigious auction houses. Add to that one elderly man trying to preserve his family’s treasured collection of bronze and ivory Art Deco sculptures, and Sterling finds herself tangled in a web of greed, deceit, and danger.
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Texas School Book Depository: Prose Poems

By Cathryn Hankla

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"Humorous, quirky, and spiritually meditative by turns, Cathryn Hankla's prose poems move by associative leaps and take their inspirations from cultural and personal icons. A shadow narrative moors the collection in the perspective of a woman who survives a difficult childhood to eventually comprehend the paradoxes of adult life and whose journeys into her heritage bring her to a fuller realization of her place in the world."
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The Black O: Racism and Redemption in an American

By Steve Watkins

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In 1988, several white managers of the Shoney's restaurant chain protested against the company's discriminatory hiring practices, including an order at some restaurants to blacken the "O" in "Shoney's" on minorities' job applications so that the marked forms could then be ignored or discarded. When the managers refused to comply, they lost their jobs but not their resolve - they sued the company, and their case grew to become one of the largest racial job discrimination class action lawsuits and settlements in American history. The Black O is a fascinating, behindthe- scenes detective story about how the case evolved. The saga is populated with many unforgettable characters. Watkins teaches at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, VA.

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The Ebony Swan

By Phyllis A. Whitney

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Returning to her Virginia home town to confront her past, Susan Prentice confronts the fears of people who believe that her memory might harbor the secret of her mother's "accidental" death.

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The Flying Change

By Henry Taylor

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"The poems in The Flying Change embrace a wide range of subjects and tones. Henry Taylor's concern with the rural anecdote, demonstrated in his two earlier works of poetry, The Horse Show at Midnight and An Afternoon of Pocket Billiards, is here broadened to include not only funny stories called "snapshots" but also extended meditations on change and death. Throughout this collection, Taylor combines everyday speech with careful control of traditional forms to produce poems of unusual power."
A Pulitzer Prize-winning book.

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The Many Aspects of Mobile Home Living

By Martin Clark

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"Hung over, beaten by the unforgiving sun, bitter at his estranged wife, and dreading the day’s docket of petty criminal cases, Judge Evers Wheeling is in need of something on the morning he's accosted by Ruth Esther English. Ruth Esther's strange story certainly is something, and Judge Wheeling finds himself in uncharted territory. Reluctantly agreeing to help Ruth Esther retrieve some stolen money, he recruits his pot-addled brother and a band of merry hangers-on for the big adventure."

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Tidewater Blood

By William Hoffman

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"The secret was buried deep within the high mountains of West Virginia. It spiraled down to a devastating legacy of betrayal, revenge, and rage that was destined to destroy a dynasty. Charley LeBlanc is the black sheep, a disgrace to the family name -- a name steeped in tradition, wealth, privilege, and prestige. But when Charley is hauled out of his shanty hideaway in a Chesapeake inlet by the sheriff, he's up against more than he had ever faced in Vietnam, prison, or the rest of his miserable past. Presumed guilty of setting a charge that blew his family to kingdom come, Charley becomes a fugitive, running deep into the mountains -- and into the past. Unless he can find out who did it and why, he's going to pay with his life, and that suddenly seems too precious to lose."
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Virginia Horse Racing: Triumphs of the Turf

By Virginia C. Johnson and Barbara Crookshanks

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"Virginia, mother of presidents, is also the mother of American horse racing. From the very beginning, Virginians have risked it all on the track as eagerly as on the battlefield. Follow the bloodlines of three foundation sires of the American Thoroughbred through generations of rollicking races and largerthan- life grandees wagering kingly stakes, sometimes on horses not yet born. How did the horse nicknamed Damn His Eyes get protection money from other horse owners? What did it mean to tap the claret to break a neck-and-neck tie? Why was Confederate cavalry so much better than the Union--was it the riders, or was it the mounts? All these and many more stories of horsemanship on and off the track fill the pages of Virginia Horse Racing: Triumphs of the Turf."

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