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Saturday, February 18, 2012

A Committee of One and Other Essays by Chuck Avery

Thoughtful Ruminations of a born and bred Hoosier

Published in 1997 by D and C Publishing

Chuck Avery writes a column for the Richmond Palladium-Item, the local paper in Richmond, Indiana. His typical essay could be classified as one of those slice-of-life pieces - a little reminiscing, a little wry observation, a bit of good-natured humor. Avery is also a teacher.

I never heard of Chuck Avery before I picked up this book at a local book sale (ironically, he describes picking up books in a similar sale in one of his essays  - the essay that gives the book its title). A Committee of One is one of those rare books that gets better as it goes along.

I particularly enjoyed the essays "Clevenger's Pond" (a humorous look at human nature and why his farm pond is no longer open to the public), "The Allure of Instant Esteem" (a look at the self-esteem movement in the classroom and why it makes no sense unless you have actually done something), "Solitude and Reform" (the world of instant communication vs. the need to talk to those closest to us and even to work on ourselves).

I particularly liked this serious line from a humorous essay called "Food: The Chore of Eating:" 

"In our continuing effort to make life effortless, we have made child rearing frightening to parents, pushed education beyond the scope of even the most competent teachers, confounded the family to the point that we must have psychologists to untangle relationships."

A little humor, some serious points. All in all, a good read.

I rate this book 4 stars out of 5.

This book can be found on Amazon.com here: A Committee of One and Other Essays.

Reviewed on February 18, 2012.

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