You Know You Want It: December 2nd

xmas ham


It’s still early in the holiday season, you still have time to send cards to friends and family, and those cards can be far more awesome than your standard holiday card fare. All you have to do is visit Dear Hancock and jump over to their holiday section. How awesome are these cards? My personal fave is the Christmas Ham truck!!! It’s all whimsy and joy over here. Everything they sell is designed and hand-painted by a lovely couple out in Los Angeles. They sell wrapping paper, too! Give your holidays a fresh twist. Give Dear Hancock.


Heading Out to Wonderful by Robert Goolrick

This semester I’ve taught a course on Appalachian literature. I also teach a composition class through the prism of music writing. I say all of this because Heading Out to Wonderful by Robert Goolrick perfectly combines both of these things.


The novel, set in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley in 1948, is a deliciously gothic tale centered on a stranger who arrives in town with two suitcases. One is full of money. The other is full of knives. How’s that for a hook?

The novel is essentially a smart play on the themes of murder ballads—illicit love, religious torment, and a smothering community. Goolrick’s crisp, clean prose paints the time and the place with detailed perception.

His characters rise from the page, caught in a delicate web entirely true to life for post-World War II rural Virginia.

This was my students’ favorite novel from the semester—and we read such classics as Deliverance, River of Earth, and A Death in the Family. Needless to say, it’s high praise. And it’s deserved. This is the kind of book that lives with you long after you finish the final chapter.

About Talus, Or Scree
Jay Varner. Patrick Culliton. A Podcast.

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