"By Philip Gulley
Harper One; $15.95
An engaging collection of small talk about large issues, be they personal, communal, church-related and to the point about current issues, e.g., why Donald Trump should pay more taxes. If you’ve missed the previous titles, it’s OK. Start with Porch Talk and work your way back to Front Porch Tales, Hometown Tales and For Everything a Season to enjoy the essays. Then look for his Harmony series of novels for good reads, and pick up If Grace is True and If God is Love (co-authored with James Mulholland) if you crave something even a bit more spiritual.
With Porch Talk you’ll traverse the small-town landscape and wade through a changing national mentality that does indeed make you long for the old times when common good trumped personal ideologies, vendettas and agendas for elected officials. As a computer luddite myself, I especially savored “The Death of Freedom.” Other members of the Gulley “fan club” will certainly counter with their favorites. No matter, each essay delivers a kick point following a well-executed play (on words and ideas).
Gulley is a regular on WFYI-Public TV’s Across Indiana with his homespun Porch Talk, for which he has been nominated for a regional Emmy. Gulley is also featured on Gary Harrison’s documentary, Festival of Friends: An Offering of Four Quaker Voices, along with Scott Russell Sanders, Carrie Newcomer and Brent Bill. Log on to www.wfyi.org and navigate to Local Programs and Shop WFYI.