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Bad Girls And White Whales

In Deep Dixie (Alabaster Books, $9.99), popular Kentucky
author Annie Jones entertains readers with a story set in Fulton’s
Dominion, Mississippi. Protagonist Dixie Fulton-Leigh is
determined to make the best of life after the death of her father,
but along the way she runs into a formidable opponent named Riley
Walker. He is a hardworking, determined single parent. She is
wealthy, headstrong, and beautiful. Only “the good Lord”
and Fulton-Leigh’s oldest ally, Miss Lettie, can help Dixie
overcome this challenging man.

Liz Curtis Higgs’ Bad Girls of the Bible: And What We Can
Learn From Them (Waterbrook Press, $12.95) loosely fits modern
tales to biblical stories as teaching tools for her discussion of
“the bad girls” of the Bible. With wit and conviction,
Higgs dissects the lessons of Eve, Delilah, Sapphira, and others.
Then, with compassion, she suggests ways in which women and men
can call upon biblical verse for the strength to defend themselves
from sin.

In Sporty Creek (University Press of Kentucky, $9.95), former Poet
Laureate of Kentucky James Still captures life in the Appalachian
mountains of Kentucky during the Great Depression. In this
collection of short stories, a young boy recounts growing up in
coal-mining camps and on “Old Place,” the family
homestead. The wide-eyed boy learns to plow behind an ornery mule
and to gamble on a gaming rooster. The young “tadwacker’s”
family gracefully endures the hard times caused by the boom and
bust of coal. They wear “clodhoppers” and eat
“Irishmen” to get by until the government takes
“the peg off coal.” Sporty Creek can be enjoyed by young
and old alike, read to oneself or shared aloud.

Home Sweet Kentucky (Plum Lick Publishing, $18.95) by David
and Lalie Dick is a collection of portraits of Kentuckians. It
reveals that Kentucky’s wealth is in its people. The authors bring
to light the “quiet lives” of Kentuckians like young
Leslie Kendrick, a Paintsville native and current Rhodes scholar,
and Medra “Mickey” Hays, a Fayette County bookbinder who
works from her home. Also included are the authors’ own editorial
essays about important issues, people, and places in the state.

Sena Jeter Naslund’s mythic adventure story, Ahab’s Wife
or, The Star-Gazer (William Morrow, $28.00), will deeply engage
readers. Set in the 19th century, this novel spins a parallel tale
to that of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. But this story is told by
Captain Ahab’s wife, a woman with strength and courage. Readers
meet her just as the Pequod sets sail from Nantucket,
Massachusetts, on a quest for whale oil. Readers get a sense of
the sadness the protagonist feels at surrendering her husband to
his perilous journey. Yet as she watches the white sails of the
Pequod reach the horizon, she considers the forces that compel her
to take her own journey.

Island Magic (Simon & Schuster, $16.00), a children’s
story written by Martha Bennett Stiles and illustrated by Daniel
San Souci, tells the touching story of a young boy and his
grandfather. Grandparents and grandchildren will enjoy this tale
of how the narrator helps his grandfather overcome his grief by
sharing with him the magic of life on Grosse Ile.

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