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Book Notes: Aug. 26, 2012

By Staff reports
Midwife pens first novelCHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Patricia Harmon's novel "The Midwife of Hope River," published by William Morrow Paperbacks, will go on sale Aug. 28.The Morgantown woman has spent more than 30 years as both a lay midwife and a nurse midwife. She has written about her experiences in two earlier memoirs.In her first novel, a publisher's news release says, "Harmon explores one of the most tumultuous times in American history and the challenges that the Depression, Prohibition and the West Virginia coal wars brought to an already struggling Appalachia."The Library Journal describes the novel as "an uncommonly good piece of American historical fiction," and Kirkus writes, "Midwives are warriors in this beautifully sweeping tale."Harmon will launch her debut novel at 7 p.m. Aug. 28 at the Morgantown Barnes & Noble, 3000 University Town Centre Drive.History of W.Va. CapitolCHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A former statehouse reporter for the Charleston Daily Mail has written a history of the West Virginia Capitol. Jim Wallace, author of "A History of the West Virginia Capitol: The House of State," said his paperback book also serves as a guide for visitors "to the many artistic features of the building and its campus. The Capitol is a masterpiece from the legendary architect Cass Gilbert, but state officials began deviating from his plans before the building was finished."This year is the 80th anniversary of dedication of the Capitol.Wallace spent two decades covering state government as a newspaper and radio reporter. He is senior counsel for public relations for TSG Consulting in Charleston.The book, published by the History Press in Charleston, S.C., is available at local bookstores and online for $14.99.'Shrapnel' book signing
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Marie Manilla, of Huntington, will sign copies of her novel "Shrapnel" from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 22 at Taylor Books.She is a graduate of West Virginia University, Marshall University and the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Her collection of stories "Still Life with Plums" was published by WVU Press in 2010. Her latest novel, "The Patron Saint of Ugly," was just purchased by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and will be published in spring 2014.
Valerie Neiman, author of "Blood Clay," wrote this about "Shrapnel":"From the opening pages, where we find Bing Butler selling off the remnants of his life at a yard sale, 'Shrapnel' takes us on a journey through the reshaping of the American family and American community. Texan, veteran, workingman, husband -- the life that Bing Butler had imagined for himself has exploded, and he will have to assemble a new one from the shards, far across the country in West Virginia, a place known only through jokes and stereotypes. This crotchety Candide will be led astray and will experience terrible, ordinary betrayals on his way to a future he'd not imagined. This is a sensitively wrought first novel with characters you'll long remember."Find more about Manilla's work at 'Reflections'CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Letha Judge, a West Virginia native, has published a book of poetry titled "Reflections of the Soul."Judge attended West Virginia University-Parkersburg where she studied journalism and creative writing. Her book is available online from, and on her Facebook page.
Vote for Reel TeensCHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Voting starts Monday in the Kanawha County Public Library's Reel Teens Book Trailer Contest.Teens have been working all summer writing and filming their own trailers for a favorite book, using live action, animation, puppetry or any other form of filmmaking.Visit the library's website at to view the entries and to vote. Voting ends at the close of business on Sept. 10.Cash awards will go to the top three vote-getters: $100 for first place, $50 for second, $25 for third. Winners will be announced Sept. 12. Prizes are provided by the Friends of The Library Foundation of Kanawha County.
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