Dimestore: A Writer's Life

For the inimitable Lee Smith, place is paramount For forty five years, her fiction has lived and breathed with the rhythms and people of the Appalachian South But never before has she written her own story Set deep in the mountains of Virginia, the Grundy of Lee Smith s youth was a place of coal miners, tent revivals, mountain music, drive in theaters, and her daddy s dFor the inimitable Lee Smith, place is paramount For forty five years, her fiction has lived and breathed with the rhythms and people of the Appalachian South But never before has she written her own story Set deep in the mountains of Virginia, the Grundy of Lee Smith s youth was a place of coal miners, tent revivals, mountain music, drive in theaters, and her daddy s dimestore It was in that dimestore listening to customers and inventing adventures for the store s dolls that she became a storyteller Even when she was sent off to college to earn some culture, she understood that perhaps the richest culture she might ever know was the one she was driving away from and it s a place that she never left behind.Dimestore s fifteen essays are crushingly honest, wise and perceptive, and superbly entertaining Smith has created both a moving personal portrait and a testament to embracing one s heritage It s also an inspiring story of the birth of a writer and a poignant look at a way of life that has all but vanished.
Dimestore A Writer s Life For the inimitable Lee Smith place is paramount For forty five years her fiction has lived and breathed with the rhythms and people of the Appalachian South But never before has she written her own

  • Title: Dimestore: A Writer's Life
  • Author: Lee Smith
  • ISBN: 9781616205027
  • Page: 148
  • Format: Hardcover
  • 1 thought on “Dimestore: A Writer's Life”

    1. Growing up in Grundy, Virginia a coal town and spending much of her life in Chapel Hill, Lee Smith is Southern to the core. I am sure that those raised in the South will identify with much that I didn't, phrases, foods, manners and traditions. But, I loved this memoir, love this author and her books and you don't have to be Southern to mourn the changes in your home town, or in my case neighborhood, the stores that are gone, places that meant much in your youth no longer there. Family and the im [...]

    2. 4.5 Stars“Whether we are writing fiction or nonfiction, journaling or writing for publication, writing itself is an inherently therapeutic activity. Simply to line up words one after another upon a page is to create some order where it did not exist, to give a recognizable shape to the chaos of our lives.”My exposure to this particular part of Southwestern Virginia, where Lee Smith grew up, is limited mostly to the years my brother went to college close by, but I’ve been there before and s [...]

    3. Lee Smith begins her collection of fifteen autobiographical essays this way:“I was born in a rugged ring of mountains in southwest Virginia – mountains so high, so straight up and down, that the sun didn’t even hit our yard until about eleven o’clock.”I certainly wasn’t born into that world. Just a few miles from my birth place in the middle of the country the elevation is only 230 feet above sea level. The landscape is so flat that the most useless thing in the world is a vehicle’ [...]

    4. It's always a joy to get a glimpse inside a favorite author's life and thoughts. Lee Smith has been a writer that I follow, reading and loving her fiction for many years. This small book of essays takes us to Grundy, VA, a small coal mining mountain town, where Lee was a much loved only child, running wild with friends and cousins, surrounded by relatives and a community who took care of one another. Of course, she also received "lady lessons" from an Aunt. "The South runs on denial. We learn de [...]

    5. I had three books going and admittedly don't multitask well, however this one kept calling me back to read more. Dimestore isn't a linear or chronological type of memoir but the author does effortlessly blend Appalachian culture and her childhood/adult experiences with the reasons why she became a writer. Although much of the book is filled with the small details of everyday life, it was still interesting. Maybe that is what made the book so engaging? I enjoyed the flow of Lee Smith's writing an [...]

    6. LYRICAL. AN ENTERTAINING READ.“Whether we are writing fiction or nonfiction, journaling or writing for publication, writing itself is an inherently therapeutic activity. Simply to line up words one after another upon a page is to create some order where it did not exist, to give a recognizable shape to the chaos of our lives.” (Kindle Locations 1933-1935) I quite enjoyed reading Lee Smith’s autobiographical essays in Dimestore: A Writer’s Life. She offers a close-up and very personal loo [...]

    7. Dimestore: A Writer's Life by Lee Smith, author of Oral History, Fair and Tender Ladies, and On Agate Hill s a beautiful memoir consisting of essays on aspects of her life. Lee paints a warm and nostalgic portrait of growing up in a loving, supportive, yet dysfunctional family in Gundy, Virginia. Her father ran the dimestore in town. A later visit to the city reveals the changes that occurred over the years. Grundy, on the flood plain, had been literally moved to high ground. Wal-Mart was invite [...]

    8. This is divided into more than a dozen essay chapters of strongly memoir based topics. It's a fast read and gives a delectable and specific feel and locale identity to her Grundy. The small mountain town in Western Virginia that was her father's home place and her first place.Some of the chapters I liked and enjoyed much more than others. Absolutely loved the one in which she highlights her Mother's recipe box. And the Miss Daisy one was great too.It would have been four stars for me except for [...]

    9. Lee Smith mentored me when I was first learning how to write fiction. With DIMESTORE she is mentoring me still, showing me how to live as a writer. Smith recognizes story when she hears it, be it in an MFA program or coming from a woman wearing a man's hat and dropping papers and pens all over the place when she enters class late. Once I'd successfully written a novel, I became in the public's eye, a writer. It can actually be a heavy mantle to carry, and difficult to navigate. With wit and char [...]

    10. The cadence of the heart is pure poetry when Southern writers such as Rick Bragg and Lee Smith write of home. Lee Smith tells her story, her life story, her writing story, in the beautifully written collection of essays, Dimestore: A Writer's Life.Born in a town surrounded by mountains in southwest Virginia, Grundy, Lee Smith celebrates the town where her father owned the dimestore, and her mother raised her to leave. While her mother, who was "not from around here", no matter how long she lived [...]

    11. There’s something about Appalachia that brings out tales. Lee Smith grew up in a mining town in the Appalachian Mountains in southwest Virginia where she says a lie was called a “story” with little distinction between them. That idea traveled south along the ridges of those mountains right down to where I grew up in its foothills in north Mississippi. I, too, heard when the possibility arose that I might be in trouble, “Now, don’t you be telling me a story.”Dimestore, Lee’s book re [...]

    12. I started this book this morning as we drove away from Gulf Shores and by the time we got home at one pm, I had finished it. I rarely give books five stars but this was really a four and a half. I have always enjoyed reading Lee Smith's novels and her book, Dimestore, gives the readera glimpse of her life growing up in Grundy, Virginia and how it influenced her writing. She also shares the sadness of the loss of her son, Josh to a family demon, mental illness. She wrote Agate Hill as therapy for [...]

    13. Perhaps you need to be of a certain age (boomer) and have lived in the South to truly appreciate how wonderful Lee Smith's fifteen essays that comprise "Dimestore - A Writer's Life". Lyrical storytelling with familiar nuggets sprinkled throughout made for a lovely afternoon totally immersed in her life. How excited I was to find that we shared the love of many of the same titles. All families have their own particular dysfunctions, thus her honesty about hers gave the book a depth that I appreci [...]

    14. As all of my book borrowing friends will readily attest I’m an unrepentant page crimper - I simply fold over the top corner of a page that holds something I want to reread. Needless to say my copy of Dimestore by Lee Smith is probably the most page crimped book to be found. It is a treasure filled with warmth, honesty, understanding and humor. In this her first work of nonfiction Smith tells us of growing up in the small coal-mining town of Grundy, Virginia. It was a place where everyone knew [...]

    15. Lee Smith's memoir DIMESTORE is a delight that anyone would enjoy. I've had the pleasure of knowing Lee as a friend and a role model for many years, and I knew quite a bit about her childhood and life and had heard some of these stories before, but the telling here is so much more complete and detailed, still in that wonderful Lee voice that I can hear in my head whenever I read her work.I loved the sections about growing up in the coal town of Grundy, VA the best; they brought a flood of nostal [...]

    16. A wonderful collection of autobiographical essays, mostly related to being a writer. There were only two that fell a bit flat for me (“On Lou's Porch” and “Lightning Storm”), but they were short ones, and the rest ranged from “good” to “excellent” (generally improving as the book went along). Part of my enjoyment derived from the fact that Smith is writing about the part of the south where I've lived for the past ten years now – I knew just what she was talking about when she t [...]

    17. I feel that I was deceived and lead to this book under false pretenses. Lured by reviews that said this book was about her childhood and her father's dimestoreNOT. I can count on probably one hand the teeny tidbits about the store.Is this book a case of a published author capitalizing on her publishability? I tend to think so. These chapters are, unless I miss my guess, a re-packaging of essays, excerpts, and columns this author has written on a variety of very loosely related topics.Don't bothe [...]

    18. Being familiar with the area and culture described in this book, I found it interesting to think about how things have changed since Smith's childhood and how they have stayed the same. Her stories of growing up in a small Virginia coal-mining town are spot-on to the way of life that is still prevalent in many of those places. Through life's ups and downs, she has hung on to the lessons learned all those years ago, and they have helped her become the writer she is today.

    19. I don't know why this came across by TBR list, but I'm bummed that it took up space for a few days because I could not connect. I didn't enjoy the writing, the name dropping, or the stories themselves though I would be interested in the setting and the time period, just not the narrator unfortunately. I didn't even want to stick with it and skim it.

    20. This is a collection of essays on writing. In one of the essays, Lee Smith recommends a book by Katharine Butler Hathaway, saying it is a book every writer should read. I think Dimestore: A Writer's Life is a book every writer should read. It's fascinating and inspiring.

    21. I have read all of Lee Smith's novels. I am fascinated with the ways in which she tells a story. "Dimestore: A Writer's Life" is her memoir, and in it she does a beautiful job of telling how she became a writer. I couldn't put it down until I'd finished, and then I was sad when I did. I absolutely love books where the central character becomes my new best friend, and that is what Lee has done here.

    22. I really enjoyed this book on several levels. Lee's childhood and hometown stories are very relatable and similar to most of us born during the baby boom. Many had me in tears reminiscing about times past and an aching for happier times. But time marches on and the realties of our imperfect lives are fodder for her stories that I so enjoy. So now I know where the inspiration comes from, her very own life. And if you think that a good writer has an extra dose of glitter dust tossed onto them to c [...]

    23. I loved this book in so many ways and for so many reasons. I've read nearly everything Lee Smith has ever written and I love her writing. This collection of essays about her life and her writing are just as beautifully written as any of her novels and short stories.Lee Smith was born and raised in Grundy, Virginia, a small town in southwest Virginia up in the Appalachian mountains. So many of the details of her childhood are so familiar to me because they mirror so many of my own. She attended H [...]

    24. Okay, I'll admit it. An autobiography gets an automatic ten points from me just because. However, this one earned it. I had a quiet appreciation as Lee Smith spoke in that honest, mature voice that expresses real life in a way that says, "This is it; live; don't waste it" At least, that's what I heard.Writing was integral from the beginning. Her path of self-discovery included childhood reading and stories, and later, college; but it was teaching and witnessing the passionate, unorthodox writing [...]

    25. ** Thank you to Algonquin Books for providing this advance reading copy of this book through the First Reads Giveaway program **This memoir in the form of short stories gives the reader a glimpse of author Lee Smith’s life from growing up in the small town of Grundy, Virginia set deep in the Appalachian Mountains, through her adult life mostly spent in and around the college town of Chapel Hill, North Carolina. If you are interested in knowing more about the author Lee Smith, I recommend this [...]

    26. This was a charming book and also had some good advice about the approach to writing and how it helped her in life. Her descriptions of childhood in the southern coal mining mountains I would have thought would have been a lot more different than the childhood I had in the Midwest during the same period, but in fact there were a lot of similarities despite the cultural gap and the patterns that arise from a specific geographic location. I found it interesting that American life can be pretty hom [...]

    27. Difficult to put down, Dimestore pulled me in immediately and plopped me next to Lee Smith's childhood. Beautifully written, Ms. Smith made me feel as if I were her oldest and dearest friend, trading childhood stories over a cup of tea at a cabin on the coast of Maine one moment; while the next chapter had me feeling as though I was a devoted student sitting attentively in the front row of one of her writing workshops.

    28. Smith's delightful book of essays helps you understand her rather charmed life, even as she shares the fact that her parents were "kindly nervous" and her son also suffered from mental illness. I enjoyed the Southern flavor of her writing and the details that made her essays so vivid. Special to me was her essay on Chapel Hill, which captured my feelings about that wonderful college town exactly.

    29. what a great writer is Lee Smith, a true southern literary giantI've heard her tell stories about growing up in Grundy, VA and her Dad's dime store, and this book reaches back and shows how Lee found her grounding for becoming the writer she is todaywell donefeatured in April edition of People Magazine

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