Letters

Letters 05-02-2016

Facts About Trails I would like to correct some misinformation provided in Kristi Kates’ article about the Shore-to-Shore Trail in your April 18 issue. The Shore-to-Shore Trail is not the longest continuous trail in the Lower Peninsula. That honor belongs to the North Country Trail (NCT), which stretches for over 400 miles in the Lower Peninsula. In fact, 100 miles of the NCT is within a 30-minute drive of Traverse City, and is maintained by the Grand Traverse Hiking Club...

North Korea Is Bluffing I eagerly read Jack Segal’s columns and attend his lectures whenever possible. However, I think his April 24th column falls into an all too common trap. He casually refers to a nuclear-armed North Korea when there is no proof whatever that North Korea has any such weapons. Sure, they have set off some underground explosions but so what? Tonga could do that. Every nuclear-armed country on Earth has carried out at least one aboveground test, just to prove they could do it if for no other reason. All we have is North Korea’s word for their supposed capabilities, which is no proof at all...

Double Dipping? In Greg Shy’s recent letter, he indicated that his Social Security benefit was being unfairly reduced simply due to the fact that he worked for the government. Somehow I think something is missing here. As I read it this law is only for those who worked for the government and are getting a pension from us generous taxpayers. Now Greg wants his pension and he also wants a full measure of Social Security benefits even though he did not pay into Social Security...

Critical Thinking Needed Our media gives ample coverage to some presidential candidates calling each other a liar and a sleaze bag. While entertaining to some, this certainly should lower one’s respect for either candidate. This race to the bottom comes as no surprise given their lack of respect for the rigors of critical thinking. The world’s esteemed scientists take great steps to preserve the integrity of their findings. Not only are their findings peer reviewed by fellow experts in their specialty, whenever possible the findings are cross-checked by independent studies...

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Mountains of Books for Great Summer Beach Reads

Nancy Sundstrom - June 12th, 2003
There are mountains of new books that look to be great summer beach reads, so as you start listing the reasons to look forward to summer or the plans you have for the season, sizzling summer books ought to at least make a decent showing.
No matter what genre you prefer, author you favor, or subject you want to immerse yourself in, summertime provides a near guarantee that you’ll find something to please your reading palate. Seasoned readers have been compiling their summertime wish list for some time now, based largely on anticipated new releases, and those choices are probably many and varied. Here’s a few of mine for the next few months, and I look forward to bringing you reviews of them in upcoming editions of Express.

Dry: A Memoir by Augusten Burroughs

After surviving James Frey’s powerful and harrowing “A Million Little Pieces,“ I thought it might be a while before I delved into an addiction saga again, but the buzz (no pun intended) for Burroughs’ latest has been so strong, that it looks like it shouldn’t be ignored. Burroughs is the author of the bestseller “Running With Scissors,“ and in this latest chronicle of his endlessly fascinating and sometimes heartbreaking life, he explains how he tried to “out-drink his memories, outlast his demons, and outrun his past.“ As an advertising executive in Manhattan, he becomes way-too-fond of drinking, and after landing in rehab (“where his dreams of group therapy with Robert Downey Jr. are immediately dashed by grim reality of fluorescent lighting and paper hospital slippers“), he has to return to his same drunken lifestyle, but do it dry. In this author’s hands, it promises to be quite a journey.

The Dirty Girls Social Club by Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez

A “Sex in the City“-styled tome that features six complicated Latina woman who are approaching 30, this debut novel from Valdes-Rodriguez follows in the footsteps of novels like “Bridget Jones’ Diary,“ meaning it’s a sure-fire hit among women of all ages. The story centers around the las sucias who have been inseparable since their days at Boston University almost ten years before, and form the Dirty Girls Social Club. The group provides them all with a lifeline of mutual support and admiration, no matter what fate befalls them, and apparently, there’s plenty of misadventures among the triumphs of everyday life.

Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith by Jon Krakauer

Krakauer is the respected author of such outdoor-based books as “Eiger Dreams,“ “Into the Wild,“ and “Into Thin Air.“ His literary reputation rests on the insightful forays into lives conducted at fringe of extremes. In his latest, he moves to new territory in the extremes of religious belief within American borders. The book centers around a double murder committed by two Mormon Fundamentalist brothers, Ron and Dan Lafferty, who say they received a mandate from God to kill their innocent victims. In examining it, Krakauer constructs a “multilayered, bone-chilling narrative of messianic delusion, savage violence, polygamy, and unyielding faith,“ all of which sounds quite chilling. As part of the process of examining an offshoot of America’s fastest-growing religion, he raises questions about the nature of religious belief itself.

Getting Mother’s Body by Suzan-Lori Parks

Parks is a novelist, playwright, songwriter, and screenwriter who found time to write “Topdog/Underdog,“ the play that won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Clearly gifted and versatile, she has a staggering range of exciting projects on the horizon, now that she has completed this novel about Billy Beede, the teenage daughter of the “fast-running, no-account, and six-years-dead Willa Mae.“ One day, Billy receives a letter saying that Willa Mae’s burial spot in Arizona is about to become a grocery store, and as her only daughter, she has to take possession of the body, but in doing so, may also become the caretaker of a cache of jewels believe to be buried with her. Needless to say, all of the characters who knew Willa Mae also have a stake in finding out if the gems really exist, which sounds like great fodder, especiallay in the hands of such a talented and distinctive voice as Parks’. I, for one, can’t wait to see what she does next.

Sushi for Beginners by Marian Keyes

I’ll check out this one right after “Dirty Girls Social Club“ and right before “The Devil Wears Prada.“ Author Keyes is a phenomenally successful writer whose name alone guarantees sales, but the flip side of that coin is that she has a smart, funny, disarming style, even when cranking out what some might suspiciously view as “chick-lit.“ Her latest appears to stay within the parameters of her template for guilty pleasure reading, and in this outing, she follows three fabulous women on their search for happiness, and other fabulous things. I know, I know - Stephen Jay Gould this is not, but the potential here for a great beach read? Priceless.

Living History by Hillary Rodham Clinton

You can admit it. Aren’t you the least little bit curious about what Hillary’s reaction was to learning about hubby Bill’s dalliance with then-White House intern Monica Lewinsky? After all, we’ve heard everyone else (pretty much) give their side of events, why not those from the now-Senator from New York who some expect to make a Presidential run herself someday? Clinton has promised that this will be a no-holds barred accounting of her personal and political life, and if she delivers on that, this promises to be an honest and provocative memoir from one of the nation’s most respected and reviled women. The book, by the way, is due out this week, and one can expect a flood of media attention to accompany it.

 
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