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As is my custom, at least twice each year, it is time to "lay aside" politics for a bit and pick up some very interesting local books for summertime reading.

These long afternoons and evenings, as the sun begins to set, are wonderful times to drag out the lawn chair, grab a glass of iced tea and pull out a good book.

So here go some local suggestions, available at your local independent booksellers in Northwest Arkansas.

One book that all can enjoy from Butler Books in Little Rock is: "It's Official!: The Real Stories behind Arkansas' State Symbols," by David Ware. With all the talk about changing the Arkansas State flag and making a new law, that did not pass, about Confederate monuments in our state -- this is a must read.

The summer of 2019 is a time for serious readings as well -- for instance, comes from the University of Tennessee Press, "The Rise and Fall of the Southern Tenant Farmers Union in Arkansas," by James D. Ross Jr. Aside from the political scope of the book, a lot can be learned about Arkansas in this thin volume.

Another regional book of interest is "Whispering In the Daylight," by Debby Schriver, a deep look into the terrible activities of the children trapped in the Tony Alamo Christian Ministries. It is a book that is not for the faint of heart. This book is also from the University of Tennessee Press.

From the University of Illinois comes the first of a three-book set about the History of the Ozarks by noted Ozarkian expert, Brooks Blevins. This first volume is called "The Old Ozarks," and is a heavy 275-page read. Remember this is the first of a three-book set.

The University of Georgia has a new book of essays that the state is focused upon: "Arkansas Women: Their Lives and Times," compiled and edited by Charisse Jones-Branch and Gary T. Edwards. These essays define Arkansas women through the years.

Another exceptional look at our state, "Hillbilly Hellraisers: Federal Power and Populist Defiance in the Ozarks," by J. Blake Perkins over at Williams College in Eastern Arkansas, is a gem to read and savor. Several Fayetteville and Washington County references abound in this book.

For pure fun, the University of Arkansas has hit a home run with "The Guest Room Novelist: a Donald Harrington miscellany." This volume of interviews, essays, articles and reviews, edited by Brian Walter, gives great insight into one of the best novelist minds of our region.

For those who love Arkansas history, the best bargain, delivered four times each year to your mailbox is a subscription ($20) to the Arkansas Historical Quarterly, the official publication of the Arkansas Historical Association.

Another publication I am also very proud of, with local Washington County history in it four times each year, is the Washington County Historical Society's Flashback. Those dues are set to rise in 2020, just a bit, so a general membership now is $20.

As always, all these books can be ordered at your local independent bookstores in Fayetteville, Rogers or Siloam Springs.

Enjoy whatever you are reading. And there are more books to enjoy as summer progresses.

• • •

Maylon Rice is a former journalist who worked for several northwest Arkansas publications. He can be reached via email at maylontrice@yahoo.com. Opinions expressed are those of the author.

Editorial on 04/17/2019

Print Headline: Set aside politics, taxes and votes, some great reading is ready for the summer season

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