New books to add to your reading list
By Clare S. Richie
“All I could say was, Yes Ma’am,” the epilogue reads. With a gulp and a leap of faith, Angie Howell promised to fulfill her grandmother’s lifelong dream of publishing her stories. Three years later and with the loving help of family and friends Excerpts from the Life of a Good Bad Girl, or a Bad Good Girl is now available at Amazon.com.
The author, Mary Louise Shipp Dukes – known to her granddaughter Angie as “Ma” – was a child of the Great Depression, prankster, packrat, beloved teacher, and loving grandmother. Ma wrote, “I have always been a storyteller and a closet writer. (My) notebooks have stories I wanted my children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren to know, thoughts I needed to put down on paper, or happy memories I didn’t want to forget.”
In March 2010, when Ma asked Angie to fulfill her dream, somehow she knew she didn’t have much time left. Three months later, Ma was diagnosed with liver cancer. Angie worked as fast as she could but realized securing a book contract would take more time than Ma had. Angie and her cousin Anne Dukes came up with an interim plan to make a book using Shutterfly. Angie was to present this version to Ma at her 86th birthday party, but instead the preacher read from it at her funeral.
Ma’s passing strengthened Angie’s commitment to fulfill her promise. Publishers wanted more context and Angie’s childhood friend Nancy Fullbright was there to lend a hand. For each excerpt, Angie and Nancy pulled content from Ma’s notebooks, letters and conversations. They added historic context and likely quotes, but stayed true to Ma’s vision. “These are the stories Ma wanted to tell.” Angie reflected.
From Chapter 2: The Great Depression began soon after my daddy came home from the TB sanitarium. He had to start over as a city salesman. His savings were wiped out. So, we all continued to live in an apartment at Nannie’s
From Chapter 4: So many boys joined the military that… there was really no point in having a football team [at Mercer] anymore.
“It’s bittersweet that Ma did not live to see the published book,” Angie says.
But Ma’s voice lives on in her memories of the Great Depression, World War II and beyond. She would be proud of what her granddaughter has accomplished on her behalf.
Books By Local Authors
Hot Ice by Gregg Loomis (Open Road Media) Jason Peters is a painter, animal lover, and classical-music enthusiast – and a deadly assassin. He works for NARCOM, a corporation that prides itself on doing what the CIA cannot. But after an extremely successful career, he has decided to retire to a small island off the Italian coast, promising his girlfriend that he’s through with his deadly past. Unfortunately, his past isn’t quite through with him. Hot Ice picks up where Gates of Hades left off in Loomis’ ongoing series.
Skin in the Game by R.P. Finch (Livingston Press) A stodgy, mega law firm, an urban strip club, the Mob, the CIA and a quantum physics lab all come into play after a young scientist creates a revolutionary code-breaking system that could have extraordinary consequences.
A Raft of Grief: Poems by Chelsea Rathburn (Autumn House Press) Award-winning poet Rathburn probes the varieties and nuances of love and relationships with what fellow poet Stephen Dunn calls “unsparing lucidity.” From Atlanta to Paris to Poland, Rathburn documents the end of one relationship and the promise of another.