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Sometimes things are not as they seem. Several years ago, a movie called The Truman Show chronicled the life of a man who didn’t realize he was the star of a television show. He grew up believing his life to be normal, not realizing everyone around him was an actor and every event was staged by a producer. A scary thought indeed.

Lexington author Kim Edwards spins a similar tale where things are not as they seem for Norah Henry in The Memory Keeper’s Daughter (Penguin, $14). Her story begins in the early ’60s when her husband, Dr. David Henry, is delivering their baby only to discover there are twins. Upon first glance, he identifies the second baby, a girl, as having Down syndrome. While Norah is sedated, he quickly decides to send the baby girl to an institution where she will have a better life than he believes he and Norah could give her. He intends to tell Norah the truth, but instead concocts a lie that will change their lives forever into years filled with grief and guilt.

Martin, Kentucky, is a pleasant little Appalachian town where the folks are happy to be among their mountains. But are things really as they seem? Continued flooding of this town has ousted its residents more than once, leaving them with washed-out belongings and mold on the walls. Recently, the Army Corps of Engineers took on a literal moving of the town, carving out the mountain to move Martin to higher ground. Michelle Slatalla’s extended family grew up in Martin, and in The Town on Beaver Creek: The Story of a Lost Kentucky Community (Random House, $24.95), she provides their memoirs. Starting with great-grandmother Hesta Mynhier, who moved into new houses more times than neighbors could count in order to protect her secret, Slatalla’s family endured the flooding, calling it a normal thing to pull up and replace the flooring each year. Slatalla introduces us to several generations’ worth of the town’s best characters and shows the tenacity of each one to stay in the town they call home.

Dr. Dwight A. Moody, chaplain at Georgetown College, has a natural ability to see and appreciate the irony in life, especially when things are not as they seem. I had the pleasure of hearing many examples of this ability while he served as the interim pastor at my church. In his book, On the Other Side of Oddville: Stories on American Religion and Everyday Life (Mercer University Press, $20), I can hear his voice in each of the stories compiled from his former radio shows and newspaper columns. With bittersweet illustrations by his talented but imprisoned son, Moody’s musings on such topics as church and religion, our culture, college life, family, and life in general will leave his readers laughing, pondering a point, or perhaps considering a new opinion on an old thought.

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