Cards Anyone?

There you are sitting at the table, cards at the ready. Your opponent has just asked for two cards. You asked for three.  He’s raised and shows a full house.  You look down at your cards.  You have three aces, a king and the instructions to the deck of cards (wasn’t somebody supposed to remove those before shuffling?).  What does it mean?  What do you do?  Suddenly you realize – you never learned how to play poker!  What are you going to do?  No problem.  Run out to your car, get your copy of this week’s paper and quickly read one of the following books:


Teen Romance novels

Young and In Love

By Scott D. Strawn

The human heart never seems to be stronger than when it is young.  Anyone who fell in love as a teen remembers the joy and pain of the experience for the rest of their days.  It may be the love that lasts a lifetime or merely a passing experience.  Regardless, it is the first and arrives at an age when it can brand the heart forever. 

These titles may help the reader recall that experience.

Looking for Alaska by John Green

Hunting ducks is a "blast"

Chilly early mornings, the shrill sounds of the wood duck as it whizzes by, the beauty of the sun rising over South Carolina wetlands—these are certainly memories which I will look fondly upon when my time writing here in the Lowcountry comes to an end in the distant future.

This was my first season taking to the water with a shotgun instead of a fishing pole and a paddle. The ability to mix two of my lifelong passions, hunting and fishing, was an exceptionally fun experience.

Visions of the Hereafter; Library ideas

Visions of the Hereafter

by Scott D. Strawn


What comes after the end?  People have been thinking about the question and its possible answers since the dawn of time.  Poets have written pages on it and artists have covered canvases with their visions of it.  Since motion pictures came out, film artists added their interpretations of it.  Some are very traditional, or follow a specific religious view, but others have taken liberties to bring the afterlife to the screen.  Here are a handful of those visions.


The Best of Junior Fiction from 2015

The Best of Junior Fiction from 2015

By Scott D. Strawn

Before getting too far into 2016, junior readers and their parents might want to take a quick look back at the books of 2015 to make sure they didn’t miss any that they really felt they should have read.  Can’t think of any?  Here’s a handful of suggestions that might fulfill the requirement.  Hurry up and read them, because there are many more to come this year.


The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin


Picture the Best of 2015; books

Picture the Best of 2015

Scott D. Strawn


Each year brings the world hundreds of beautiful picture books for parents to share with their young children and 2015 was no exception.  After much consideration, (and a little frustration) I have finally narrowed my favorites down to a handful.  Check them out to see if they are, by chance, yours as well.


The Wonderful Things You Will Be, by Emily Winfield Martin


Some of the Best Reads of 2015

Any list of “best books” is bound to have issues.  There are simply too many to get into a column.  So here are a handful of “unusual” reads that received good word, sold at least relatively well, and just may linger over the years.  These are the ones that are unique – the ones that are made to be discussed and not merely explained.  These are the ones that you might want to go back and explore before launching into 2016’s books.


Dead Wake, by Erik Larson


Award Winners Worth Reading

The Caldecott Award has appeared on the cover of books for over 75 years.  The Newbery Award has been given to books for over 90 years.  That makes the Michael L. Printz award a relative newcomer among book awards.  Since 2000 this award has been bestowed upon books that display excellence in young adult literature.  Here are some of the winners and honor books that may be of interest to teens and adults.

Revolver, by Marcus Sedgwick

Talk About a Bucket List!

Take cooking classes.  Learn Latin.  Write a song.  Finish your novel.  Okay, another year’s up and did you do any of these things on your bucket list?  And how about the really wild ones?  Probably a big “NO”!  Well, at least before the year is through, you can read about some of those BL items.  Here’s a start.


Bird Dream by Matt Higgins

Charleston: A City Woven Together

Charleston’s strength doesn’t come in numbers; it comes in the city's diversity. Black or white, food or art, music or wildlife—the pieces of the population’s cultural identity are what keep this city #CharlestonStrong, as the popular hashtag adopted this summer goes.

We asked six notable locals what makes the city strong, and here's what they had to say:

Christmas Faves

Christmas – a time when a whole lot is going on.  There’s gift buying, cookie baking, parties, church events.  Among all the joyous madness, some important things can too easily be overlooked, like making sure to keep reading to the kids at bedtime.  Here are some classic seasonal favorites that just might help.


Santa’s Twin, by Dean Koontz, with illustrations by Phil Parks

A Merry, Merry Murder

Aw, the holidays!  Peace on Earth, goodwill towards all.  Well, all except those obnoxious cretins who manage to find ways to be even more obnoxious during the holidays, the ones that are so fun to be with.  Uncle Bob, who if he tells that stupid fishing story one more time…   and Aunt Flora, whose cinnamon cookies, which she brags about all the time, aren’t that great.

Day of Infamy

Day of Infamy,

By Scott D. Strawn

Dec. 7, 1941 – FDR deemed it a “date which will live in infamy.”  To those Americans alive on that date is was one of those historical moments that they remember where they were and who they were with when it happened.  For many of us who were younger, those accounts were handed down through parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents.  For others it was history that needs to be read in titles such as these:


Air Raid: Pearl Harbor! Edited by Paul Stillwell

The Lowcountry comes together in winter to butcher hogs, family stories

In the fall, football is king of the weekends for most men. But for some, frosty mornings and pig skins take on a whole different meaning.

Blood, sweat and hard work sound like elements of a typical football game, too. They just so happen to be elements fundamental in the art of butchering, as well.

Eight Special Nights

Eight Special Nights

By Scott D. Strawn


Once again the holidays are upon us.  This week it’s Thanksgiving.  In less than four weeks it’s Christmas and shortly thereafter Kwanza.  And of course there’s New Year’s, which means it’s almost 2016.   But before we get too far ahead on the calendar, let’s not forget that first comes Hanukkah which begins December 6th.  For those celebrating Hanukkah or those simply interested in knowing more about it, the following titles are suggested.


Don’t Invite These Folks to Dinner!

The holidays are here.  It’s time for families and friends to gather.  These are the times to remember and treasure.  Or at least most of them are.  You know that somebody will start a dispute, at least a minor one.  But hopefully, it will be over quickly and be forgotten.  And while it’s going on, you can at least take consolation in the fact that there are some families and friends who never seemed to get over it, such as:


Sneaker Wars by Barbara Smit


Time to Make the Menu

Turkey, Ham, Potatoes, Rice, Corn, Squash, Gravy, Rice Stuffing, Cornbread Stuffing, Yams, Cranberries, Turkey Gravy, Giblet Gravy, Pumpkin Pie, Mincemeat Pie, Pecan Pie… No matter who you are, no matter where you come from, no matter what your dietary traditions are, it is time to once again gather around the table, say thanks for the bounty and dig in.  It’s only a couple of weeks away and it’s time to plan the menu for the big day.


Williams-Sonoma Thanksgiving, by Michael McLaughlin


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