Weekly Reads

There’s Nothing Like a Book!



Books.  There’s nothing like them.  Is there anything better than relaxing in your favorite chair, with your favorite drink or snack, and a good book?  How about relaxing in your favorite chair, with your favorite drink or snack and a good book about good books?  Now that’s the ticket.  Here are some titles to help you with that goal.

The Man Who Loved Books Too Much: The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary by Allison Hoover Bartlett



Weekly Reads

Happy Birthday!  You have a birthday?  Of course you do.  Everybody does.  It might not be right now but sooner or later, as the year goes by, you’re going to be blowing out the candles on the cake and eyeing those gifts.  You might be a little young to understand the concept so here are some books the big folks can share with you.

How Do Dinosaurs Say Happy Birthday? by Jane Yolen with illustrations by Mark Teague



On the Write Track

It is interesting to see how many different sports have been invented and sanctioned over the past few years.

I had no idea until I saw it on a television show the other day that sport stacking was even a real thing. Yes, there actually is a sport that people compete in that is known as sport stacking.

For those of you who might not have heard about this fast-growing sport, it involves stacking and unstacking cups in a competitive manner to see who can do it in the best time.

On the Write Track

Imagine you are traveling down Highway 68, minding your own business, when someone decides they want your lane and comes barreling towards you.

Well, unfortunately that happens more often than people realize.

Sometimes, that particular car has at least a little time to duck back into the lane, but then other times they don’t.

Head-on collisions are happening in this area and around the county and surrounding counties and there’s really no reason at all for them.

On the Write Track

Is it me or is this year’s summer heat on a completely different level than it has been in the past?

It sure seems to be more extreme this year, but then again, I do live in the south so that’s to be expected.

I almost had to speak out and defend where I lived the other day when I overheard a young lady saying she couldn’t live here. Here, meaning the south, due to the heat.

While I did not actually speak to her, I heard her say that about three times. I was enjoying some ice cream at the time and was laughing to myself.

Easy Rider Writer

Upon a motorcycle with the helmet visor up, or down when the “skeeters” get bad, is in my opinion one of the greatest ways to discover a new destination, especially after moving to a new area of the country as I did.

On the Write Track

Well, if there’s one thing I know it’s that the majority of the people in Hampton County and even a few other areas sure do love their mayonnaise.

Why mayonnaise, you ask? Well, it’s the one specific kind they all claim must be paired with some freshly grown garden tomatoes in the summer between two slices of bread.

Who Are You?

One sunny October day of last year, my mother and I were heading towards Estill from Luray. I was listing the names of my classmates from my junior year of high school. We had just received some new students and she wanted to know “the scoop” as she so eloquently puts it. Soon I came upon the unfamiliar name she was so patiently waiting for. “Who’s that?” she asked with such honest curiosity. I repeated the name, but she persisted, “Yes you’ve told me, but who is it?” I couldn’t find the words to piece together the answer I thought she wanted.

On the Write Track

A few weeks ago, I wrote a feature story about the new activity that has a lot of folks in Hampton County just jumping at the chance to find a frog. They are even hunting for a falcon and even a fox.

It’s a new activity called Hampton County Rocks! and it has really taken off in the county as the thing to do for kids and their families. The event was established by Kandi Hewlett as a way to get a new event started that has already been established in other surrounding counties and around the state and nation.

On the Write Track

That movie screen never looked better than it did during the summer.

Although we did go see an occasional movie during the school year, there didn’t ever seem to be anything better than going to the movies during the summer.

I think myself and my brother enjoyed the summer movies better because we didn’t have to worry about getting up early the next day for school. We could stay up late and enjoy it.

On the Write Track

Sometimes they can get overlooked.

Sometimes they do most of the behind the scenes things that may or may not be recognized.

They are always there, but can be quiet and not really want to be recognized for the things they do, just because they love you. Their one special day came along even after Mother’s Day had already been established but they didn’t seem to mind.

This Sunday, fathers around the country will have their special day. It might just be one day, but fathers do so much for their children each and every day that might not get attention.

Weekly Reads

Reading in the Real World

by Scott D. Strawn


All right!  Enough of the reading about half-clothed superheroes.  Enough reading about aliens from another planet or elves from other realms.  Enough about the love at first glance that can overcome all.  How about some reality folks?  How about reading about some of the real world events taking place?  How about reading world events that helped create the world we live in?  How about some titles like these?


Alone, by Brett Archibald


Weekly Reads

The Most Loyal of Friends

by Scott D. Strawn


They are our friends and our helpers.  They guide us in the dark, keep us going when we’re down, entertain and befriend our youngsters, and know when we’re sad.  All they ask of us is a little care and attention.  Cats, dogs, horses, and other animals are unquestionably part of our society.  And when that society goes to war,   they are there too. 

Faithful Elephants, by Yuko Tsuchiya (translated by Tomoko Tsuchiya Dykes) with illustrations by Ted Lewin


On the Write Track

Traditions are important to pass along from one generation to the next and one tradition I am keeping in my family is the art of making pickles.

These are not your normal bread and butter pickles, but ones you definitely have to either develop a taste for or love them right away.

I loved my grandma’s homemade pickles right away. Maybe it was because they were just the right tint of dark green or maybe the sweetness combined with just a little bit of a tartness. I think it was the sweet side that I enjoyed most.

On the Write Track

I remember it like it was yesterday and I am so glad that little bumble bee visited me for candy on Halloween so many years ago.

She was one of what felt like a thousand children visiting that night, she was dressed in a bumble bee costume as was as cute as could be. I am sure that will make her blush now that she’s exchanging that bumble bee costume for a cap and gown tonight at Patrick Henry Academy.

Weekly Reads

They’re Still Winners

by Scott D. Strawn


A book wins the Newbery Award.  Almost instantly, all the copies of the book sell out, the book goes into another printing and it’s almost certain that the book will be on every school reading lists across the country.  In fact most lists are filled with “winners.”  But wait, there are some titles on the lists that aren’t Newbery winners.  There are those books that fill the lists, ones that almost everyone would assume would have been winners that never received the prize or even an honor.

On the Write Track

Living in the South my entire life, there’s one thing I have grown to enjoy, although not a combination that I would have ever thought would be a delicacy to some.

I have had my share of Coca-Cola’s in my life, and small bags of salted peanuts, but not too many times have I combined the two.

Apparently, that’s what you do if you are a Southerner. You open a small bag of oven roasted peanuts and pour them into the top of your Coke. At first, I was thinking, how could that even taste good, but I will say it’s not all that bad.

On the Write Track

Since the name of my column has the word track within it, I decided to write about racing this week and how it can be similar to life at times.

Watching a NASCAR race the other afternoon, I realized just how much patience and determination drivers have to have to drive in a race.

If you think about it, they are having to make split second decisions during each and every turn.

Doesn’t seem that much different in life.

Weekly Reads: Cooking with Your Favorite Characters

Cooking with Your Favorite Characters

by Scott D. Strawn



You’ve known them all your life (or so it seems).  They’ve been with you through good times and bad.  Okay, so maybe they’re not real, but does that really matter?  You spent time watching them on screen (both small and big).  Wouldn’t it be nice just to be able to sit down with them and share a meal?  Maybe you can with the help of these titles.


Aunt Bee’s Mayberry Cookbook, by Ken Beck and Jim Clark



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