Category: Literature

Agatha Christie’s English Riviera

On the south coast of Devon, in that part of Britain known as the English Riviera, stands the picturesque town of Torquay, a stylish resort with a bustling waterfront and a scenic palm-lined promenade. Human history here goes back half a million years, as evidenced by the startling discoveries of prehistoric tools and other remains found in Kent’s Cavern. And though records of settled human occupation date back to the 11th century, Torquay didn’t become a winter health resort for another 800 years. Princess Victoria (who later became Queen Victoria) visited Torquay in 1890, enhancing the town’s reputation as...

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From Hemingway to Cash: Arkansas’ Literary and Musical Past

Arkansas usually is short-shifted when it comes to recognizing cultural geniuses of the past. What most Americans do not realize is that Ernest Hemingway came to Arkansas via his second wife Pauline Pfeiffer. In the 1930s, Pauline’s parent converted the barn on their property into a place where Hemingway could write while visiting. He completed parts of A Farewell to Arms and several short stories here. Johnny Cash and his family moved from Kingsland to Dyess, Arkansas in the 1935, and occupied a house in the Dyess colony through 1953. Arkansas was the influence and roots of his budding beginnings as a musician and singer.

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Gone with the Wind: Happy 75th Anniversary

Seventy-five years ago, over a million people traveled to Atlanta, Georgia, in anticipation of the gala premiere (on December 15, 1939) of Gone with the Wind. Three days of celebration included a costume ball, receptions, a parade of limousines carrying stars from the film – and thousands of confederate flags. Gone with the Wind went on to become one of the biggest blockbusters of all times. While some movies have casual fans who watch a film once, then move on to the next new thing, GWTW still has legions of fans who are loyal for a lifetime and are...

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Whatever Happened To The Metric System? An Interview with John Bemelmans Marciano

Whatever Happened To The Metric System? How America Kept Its Feet by John Bemelmans Marciano (Bloomsbury, 2014, 310 pages, hard-cover with inset of colour and black and white photos) Quick: Where were you the day the Metric System died in America? Actually, it’s a trick (and tricky) question. For one thing, despite what the gas-station attendant pumping your gas in gallons would tell you, the metric system is very much alive in The U.S.A. Your medicine comes in metric doses (no one, on a long trans-Atlantic flight, asks for 1/18th of an ounce of Xanax), as does cocaine (in...

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Shackleton: By Endurance We Conquer

In 1922, a journalist remarked to General Bruce, leader of the British Everest Expedition, about British tenacity. Bruce replied with a single word: “Shackleton.” Ernest Shackleton is one of history’s great explorers, an extraordinary character who pioneered the path to the South Pole over one hundred years ago and became a dominant figure in Antarctic discovery. A charismatic personality, his incredible adventures on four expeditions to the Antarctic have captivated generations. He was a restless adventurer from an Irish background who joined the Empire’s last great endeavour of exploration— to conquer the South Pole with Scott on the Discovery...

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Salem VI: Chain of Souls

Salem VI: Chain of Souls Book Excerpt courtesy of This is the second book in the Salem Witch Trilogy, to read a chapter from the first book, Salem VI: Rebecca’s Rising click here. by Jack Heath and John Thompson PROLOGUE T h e  g i r l’ s  f e e t  k i c k e d  u p  s m a l l  p u f f s of dust as she walked down the dirt lane. The greens, blues, and reds of her plaid skirt seemed to pulse with every step, and the wind tossed the...

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Paranormal Thriller Author Making Movie Magic

The Salem witch trials has always been of interest to me since I was in elementary school. We made our weekly trip to the school library and were allowed to check out one book a week. My personal struggle was selecting the next book in the Nancy Drew series or to grab another book on the history of Salem. Our library was small and I ended up reading the same books over and over again, never tiring of the stories and always wanting more. As an adult, I’m still fascinated with the history of Salem. In December 2011, I...

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Salem VI: Rebecca’s Rising

Salem VI: Rebecca’s Rising Book Excerpt courtesy of This is the first book in the Salem Witch Trilogy, we’ll be featuring Salem VI: Chain of Souls Book II next month. By Jack Heath and John Thompson Prologue Burlington, Vermont, October 17, 1978 THE MAN STOOD IN THE SHADOWS, SHIVERING, rocking from foot to foot to keep his toes from freezing and watched his breath whiten in the cold air. It was only mid-October, but up here in Vermont the unseasonably frigid night felt like January. Across the street the lights of Davis Hall burned through the clear air...

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Unraveling WWI’s Start – The Sleepwalkers By Christopher Clark

Review of The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914 by Christopher Clark This book covers in minute, but always interesting, details the events of June through early August, 1914 in Europe. The Sleepwalkers shows how World War I started, but also points out several cases where more resolute actions by leaders might have averted war. Several interesting arguments are made from Clark’s voluminous documentation not seen before: Leaders of Germany and Russia, Kaiser Wilhelm and Tsar Nicholas (first and second cousins, respectively of King George V of England), are not portrayed as absolute rulers who alone made the decisions...

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Review of D’Souza’s “America”

Book Review: America: Imagine a World without Her By Dinesh D’Souza I should emphasize that D’Souza does not mean a world where, literally, America never existed. Presumably, if that were his intention, it could mean that the colonies remained to this day under British rule, the British took over the Louisiana territory after Napoleon’s demise, Texas became an independent republic and Mexico retained control over California, Arizona and the Southwest (or similar scenarios). On an even stranger basis, if Canada and Mexico existed, but never the U.S., the territory in between those two nations could still be one inhabited...

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The End of Innocence

Luxe Beat Magazine has the exclusive sneak preview of Allegra Jordan’s book The End of Innocence. Prologue The wind bit into his neck. It burned his bruised ear, and the quick- falling snow piled around his boots. But the question repeated ceaselessly in his mind, like a record’s needle turning after the song is through, the machine’s energy not yet spent. It seemed like such a short time ago when one single death had brought his world to a halt. Mere months before, he’d been a student in America, at Harvard, when Max von Steiger, a fellow German classmate...

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“A Collector of Affections” by Judith Glynn Book Excerpt

Chapter Three The bucolic and pastoral scenes en route to Madrid blurred as Leah’s eyes drooped and finally closed after the exhausting visit with Javier combined with her lingering jet lag. When the bus jerked to a stop at the AutoRes station, she rubbed her eyes awake and was the last person to get off. Just being in the city again gave her an adrenaline high to walk the few blocks to the subway station where she swiped her multi-ride ticket at the turnstile. Tirso de Molina was her stop, close to the center of Madrid. Although familiar with...

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