• Banned Books

    Banned Book Review-The Goosebumps Series By R.L. Stine

    When I was in school we were required to read books, which were given a point value, and in order to get a good grade in English, we had to meet a set number of points by reading and taking tests on books.  Now, I liked reading but having to read so as to earn points provided a mental block for me, because as a stubborn man, when I have to do something, even something I may want to do otherwise, I tend to buck at the assignment. However, the wonderful Goosebumps books by R.L. Stine saved my skin when I discovered a treasure trove of spooky and fun reads…

  • Books To Film

    They Filmed The Book: Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke (Part 2 of 3)

    As we continue on in the series we see the action starting to pick up.  Again, there will be spoilers and vagaries ahead so if you haven’t read the book or seen the show, but want to, please be aware. Now, as Jonathan Strange begins to increase in his knowledge of magic, thanks in part to his own skill, Mr. Norrell, and Mr. Norrell’s books, he is called to serve England in their war against France.  Strange has to work hard to win the trust and admiration of the soldiers and the commanders but soon finds ways to make himself of use to the cause and is welcomed by the…

  • Buncombe Brief Book Review

    Buncombe Brief Book Review: Thinner By Stephen King

    While this isn’t one of King’s more famous novels, it’s a good story and one that poses a lot of questions.  I think the main character is also complicated in that he goes through a lot of changes (physically and emotionally) but I’m not so sure we can say he’s learned his lesson in the end.  The novel focuses on Billy Halleck who hit a woman with his car who is part of a traveling band of gypsies. The father of the woman then curses Billy. Billy, being a massive man, obese and a man of means, starts to lose weight as a result of being freed from any wrongdoing…

  • Events,  Libraries

    N.C. State University Library Book Sale Starts April 8th!

    I attended N.C. State University so I am biased about the universities in this state and I keep tabs on my alma mater.  One of the events I enjoyed when I was in school was the Library Sale that takes place each year in the NCSU Brickyard. It just so happens that next week the book sale starts so if you’re in the Raleigh area, or plan on making a trek out that way, then you might want to check it out!   Library book sales are incredibly helpful to both the library and the public.  Most libraries will take used book donations and it’s a way to bring income…

  • Writing

    The Craft of Writing Fiction: Characters (Part 2)

    Characters are obviously vital to any story and while some aspects of a good story or novel can be endlessly talked about, characters are something that have so many levels and pieces, are so varied and unique, that they can’t be put into a simple category.  However, there are some universal pieces of a character that are always better than others, and while we may have covered some of this in previous articles, it’s worth repeating. Characters must be unique, driven by motive, and understandable. Obviously, you want a unique character, which if you take the time to think about your characters, can be accomplished without needing a divine muse…

  • Reading

    Finding Books For People That “Don’t Like To Read”

    I know a few people (maybe more than a few) who say they don’t like to read.  They’ll check out magazines or watch reality shows but they are opposed to reading a book or two.  Mind you, some have a very few books they like from when they were younger or they claim that school (college mostly) took their love of reading or some people say they simply have no time for such fanciful pursuits as reading for fun. However, I believe that any non-reader is that way because they’ve yet to find the book that is the spark which ignites their imagination and leads them to pursue other books.…

  • Books From My Younger Days

    Books From My Younger Days: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

    I think this, while not the darkest of the Harry Potter novels, begins to get us into the deeper waters of the story as we deal with betrayal, enemies, dangers from the Dark Lord, and much of the past, including what happened to Harry’s parents, is brought to light.  This is a more mature Potter novel, in my opinion, but it still takes us on a great ride through Hogwarts and the world of Harry and his friends. The story begins with Harry learning of Sirius Black escaping, causing some chaos with his Aunt and Uncle, then runs away in the hopes of freeing himself from his troubling guardians.  He…

  • Non-Fiction Of Note

    Nonfiction of Note: I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara

    Last year I read more non-fiction and one of those books was I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara.  This was a haunting book that was well researched, fantastically written, and it’s publication was well-timed despite the tragedy surrounded by the author’s death.  However, the book is one that gives a terrible account of a serial killer who was wreaking havoc in California, taking lives, and causing fear among the citizens. This book is an account of a killer who seemed to target couples, would break into their home, incapacitate the man, and rape the woman.  This was a…

  • Reading

    There Are Two Types of Readers: People Who Read The End Of A Book First!

    I’ve learned of a disturbing trend in my circle of friends.  There are people out there, perhaps in your very neighborhood, your friends, possibly even people in your house who read the ending of a novel before they begin!  I know, I was shocked too. However, there are people who have to know how a journey ends before they begin. While this took me as a surprise and made me question why anyone would do this, I started thinking that there are some merits to this method of reading but I don’t think I am entirely sold.  The reasoning behind this is books take time and obviously no frequent reader…

  • Buncombe Reads Philosophy/Religion

    Buncombe Reads Philosophy/Religion: The Tao of Pooh

    Taoism, or Daoism, is a religion (or philosophy to some) originating in China and it emphasizes living in harmony with the Tao, meaning “the way”.  While that definition is an oversimplification of Taoism, the Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff is a great little read where the author uses examples from Winnie the Pooh to explain the principles of Taoism.  He also explains these principles by talking to the characters so, for someone unaware of Taoism or needing to start at the beginning, this is a good starter book. While I don’t think it’s something you would lean heavily on for a deep understanding of Taoism, it does a great…