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OPINION: Holiday Books Take Focus Off 'Footrace To Courts' By Officials

by Maylon Rice | November 10, 2021 at 5:25 a.m.

It is time for a break from politics and bring out the annual holiday book lists while Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge are in a footrace to court to sue over vaccine mandates.

Politics can take a back seat for a week while we toss out some really neat books and groups just in time for holiday gifts.

These books can be found online, at local independent bookstores in our area or direct from the publishers.

The University of Arkansas Press in Fayetteville, which went all in for online sales these last 18 months, has produced a great crop of new books for 2021, 2022 and this Christmas season.

The true lover of libraries will love this most unique book, "Remote Access: Small Public Libraries in Arkansas," by Sabine Schmidt and Don House, with a great introduction by Robert Cochrane. Due out this month, it looks like a page turner.

Need a gift of a status book, not yet a biography, but an update on a national political leader? Try the UA Press's "Rising Star: The Meaning of Nikki Haley, Trump's Unlikely Ambassador" by Jason A. Kirk, a professor of Elon College in North Carolina. Kirk tells us what happened to this "up and comer" in the Republican Party, as the book shapes up to be a complex yet interesting read.

Got grandkids that need a book? The UA Press has an interesting collaboration with Crystal Bridges in a children's book, "Friday Comes on Tuesday." by Darcie Pattison, illustrated by Rich Davis. It is a delightful story of a dog who discovers that the world of art is filled with many wonderful friends. It looks like a great stocking stuffer for boys and girls of young ages, especially those who love to be read to in the evenings.

Perhaps my favorite of any reissue that the UA Press has attempted is an update and reissue of one of the best from the magical writer, and now Fayetteville resident, Crescent Dragonwagon. The UA Press is offering an edition of her fantastic "Dairy Hollow House Soup & Bread: A Country Inn Cookbook Thirtieth Anniversary Edition." This book is simply just as marvelous as it was on its debut three decades ago.

It is a great gift for your own self, or new son- or daughter-in-law, a new adult niece or nephew and a welcoming gift of appreciation to an adult child now embarking on a tour of the kitchen in their own new home. The volume is more than a cookbook; it comes alive with hospitality, infused with humor, generosity and making one appreciate a sense of place.

Local books of great interest include Nancy Hartney's newest, "If You Walk Long Enough," from The Wild Rose Press. It is a compelling tale of coming home from Vietnam as two Marines try to adjust back to the U.S. and the family tobacco farm.

Got a plant expert needing some help? The Ozark Society Foundation has a Green Thumb offering. "Trees, Shrubs and Woody Vines of Arkansas," a behemoth volume, is just what a plant nerd is looking for as a holiday gift.

J.B. (Jerry) Hogan, has a new and different venue with a novel begun by the late Dusty Richards. "Bounty Man and Doe" is a western book, the fifth book in a series begun by Richards called the Brandiron series.

Still needing better hints for gifts?

History lovers, especially those in Northwest Arkansas, must have a membership to the Washington County Historical Society. For a basic membership of $30 per year ($20 for students and senior citizens). This membership level includes all four 2022 issues of the Flashback, the historical quarterly. Check it out at [email protected] or by calling 1-479-521-2970.

For lovers of the state's history, no better organization to join would be the Arkansas Historical Association, which publishes the Arkansas Historical Quarterly and has other programs. The basic membership is $20 per year. Information can be found at

And next week, if I can put these must-read books down, I'll be back to politics.

Print Headline: Holiday Books Take Focus Off 'Footrace To Courts' By Officials


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