Debut novelist to read from, sign book at Watermark Books

Christopher Scotton, whose debut novel, “The Secret Wisdom of the Earth,” has become a No. 1 Indie Next pick by independent booksellers across the nation, will read from and sign copies of his book at Watermark Books and Cafe, 4701 E. Douglas, at 6 p.m. Jan 16.

The novel, about two boys’ struggle for survival in the Kentucky Mountains in the 1980s, has been praised for its expert handling of themes of violence, compassion, cruelty and community, and its evocation of small-town life in the coal country of Appalachia.

Among the novel’s rich list of characters is the adult Kevin, who narrates the story, looking back at the fateful summer he and his backwoods friend tried to fight the mountaintop removal operation that threatened to destroy the Kentucky landscape.

The book has been called a “powerful epic of people and place, loss and love, reconciliation and redemption.”

The event at Watermark is free. For more information, call 316-682-1181.

Eagle staff

Book charts history of founding and closing of Marymount

“Marymount College of Kansas: A History” by Patricia E. Ackerman (The History Press, 158 pages, $19.99 paper)

In 1922, after years of planning and construction, Marymount College was opened in Salina by the Sisters of St. Joseph. The state’s first liberal-arts college for women graduated its first class – seven women – in 1926 and went on to graduate thousands more women, and eventually men as well, before closing in 1989 for financial reasons.

Alumna Patricia Ackerman has documented the history of the college – the historical context of both women’s higher education and Catholic higher education, the process of building and opening the college, the growth and later decline of Marymount, and the eventual fate of the campus and buildings – in this detailed book.

Short chapters focus on individual topics, including a decade-by-decade look at the college, and Ackerman combed through archives and old articles, and conducted personal interviews to delve deep into the history of the college. Numerous photographs, most from the Sisters of St. Joseph archives, add a visual component to the history – showing the campus through the years, the growth of the student body, and major events on campus (such as a visit by John F. Kennedy).

For Marymount graduates and readers interested in Kansas history, this book is a wealth of information about the college and the role it played in the community of Salina and the lives of young Kansas women.

Lisa McLendon