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The Stuff Of Dreams

What are your dreams?

Most of us have a mental list of things we’d like to see or do “someday.” Have you ever stopped to think about how that list has changed since you were a child or a teenager? Chances are it is drastically different. In our wonderful state with all its quaint little towns, many of us may have dreamed of life in the “big city” at one time. One of my dreams as a teenager was to experience the thrill of being a jockey thundering down the racetrack on the back of a majestic thoroughbred. One of the great things about reading is that we can go where the book takes us, into the dream world we conjure up in our mind’s eye.

Rooster Creek Girl Runs Away (Adams Press, $8.95) is the first work of eastern Kentucky teacher Shawna Hopkins. The book is set in the fictional Appalachian town of Rooster Creek. Emily Justice is the teenage daughter of a poor coal miner and has a dream to take a bus out of town to a new life. She feels trapped by her small-town surroundings and imagines what leaving will be like. She falls in love with a local boy, though, and starts to have doubts about running away. Hopkins has done a wonderful job of describing, through Emily’s eyes, what it’s like to grow up in a rural area. The ending leaves you wanting to know more about Emily’s future.

Nan Mooney has a “love story” with the sport of horse racing. In her book, My Racing Heart (Harper Collins, $24.95), she chronicles how her grandmother instilled in her a great love of horses and racing and a dream of going to the Kentucky Derby someday. After her grandmother’s death, she put any thoughts of horse racing aside, only to awaken the old excitement a decade later while watching the Derby on television. She realizes through this rediscovery that life is full of risks, just like her beloved sport. Her book is part memoir, part education on the culture of the horse industry.

Until John Sparks’ book, The Roots of Appalachian Christianity (University Press of Kentucky, $32.50), the “founding father” of Appalachian religion was not recognized. An Appalachian minister himself, Sparks began the search to uncover the man who so influenced the region’s religious beliefs. His search led him to Shubal Stearns, an 18th-century minister to whom most historians had given a mere mention. Stearns’ ministry and life history is now well-documented thanks to Sparks’ diligent research. This book is a must for those interested in church history.

Wendell Berry’s new release, Three Short Novels (Counterpoint, $25.00), is just that–a collection of three short, easy-to-read novels that chronicle a community’s response to World War II. Nathan Coulter is the story of a family dealing with the declining health of Grandpa. A World Lost tells of 9-year-old Andy searching for answers concerning his uncle’s murder. Remembering follows adult Andy through a search to find himself after leaving the land he loved.

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