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Hill of Beans, published 2011

Hill of Beans Front Cover

Kirkus "Best of 2012" Review

Coverage from May-June 2012 issue of University of Chicago Magazine

Coverage by the Transylvania Times (Brevard, NC)

Quantity discounts available to the trade through:

  • John Snyder
  • Wayback Publications LLC
  • 285 Central Park West
  • NY, NY 10024
  • 917-566-4341 or

"Hill of Beans" is now available as an audibook, available from any of the sources below

Listen to a sample chapter from "Hill of Beans" audiobook

Praise for Hill of Beans

"John Snyder has recovered a lost universe with a particularity so fine and fresh as to create a kind of poetry."

Diane McWhorter,
author of Pulitzer Prize winning Carry Me Home.

"This is great stuff, extremely well remembered. There can't be many memories left of this time and place, and these are richly told."

Roy Blount, JR.,
humorist and author of 22 books including Crackers, Be Sweet and Alphabet Juice.

"John Snyder has conjured up a vanished world. The hardscrabble South he depicts in this beautifully evocative memoir calls to mind Faulkner and Flannery O'Connor. It's a work of inspired anthropology, rich in folklore, and a work of literature."

James Atlas,
author of Bellow: A biography and a memoir My Life in the Middle Ages

"An absorbing and moving exploration of the effect of environment on character."

Jonathan Galassi,
poet and translator of Giacomo Leopardi and Eugenio Montale.

"John Snyder writes beautifully and evocatively of a time, a moment in history, and of the people in a way that makes you feel as if you are right alongside him. I loved this book."

Kathy Pories,
Senior editor, Algonquin Books

"If you had the sort of adventurous, bittersweet childhood that many children only dream about after reading Laura Ingalls Wilder books in school, John Snyder's Hill of Beans will be irresistible. From the tremendous, larger-than-life father to the stiflingly cruel Aunt Bess, Snyder transmits the images and feelings of a unique childhood wonderfully."

Lydia Crowe,
University of Iowa

"As spellbinding, nuanced, intricate, evocative, and absorbing as his highly crafted metal-and-wood sculptures, John Snyder's magical, magnificent Hill of Beans is a swirling, recursive American Journey through the rivers and woods and fields of a boy's formative years, along highways of perception, memory, language, and expression, asking what it means to imagine, yearn, experience, and love."

David M. Darst,
investment analyst and author of six books, including The Art of Asset Allocation and The Little Book that Saves Your Assets

"John Snyder's Hill of Beans evokes an era, a way of life, long passed into history. Recounted in vivid detail, with photographs, candor, affection, humor, this memoir brings to life the voices and struggles, the strengths, the industry, of families and communities long gone. It is a story that helps us understand and appreciate those who came before us, and also helps us understand our own times better. You will be pleased that you read it."

Robert Morgan,
author of Gap Creek

"I very much enjoyed this book. It's a lovely evocation of a southern upbringing, with a fine sense of place and memorable, well-drawn characters, and the portrayals of family life are nicely rendered and often quite moving."

Charles Gaines,
author of Stay Hungry, Pumping Iron, A Family Place, and The Next Valley Over

"Memoir done well is a wonderful and necessary contribution to culture, and Hill of Beans is among the best. These are beautifully written and skillfully layered stories that spring from a place beloved by many, the mountains of North Carolina. The stories have the delicate richness of chocolate, made even more delicious by John Snyder's honesty. I very much enjoyed these real-life adventures of a place and time gone by, told with pathos and love."

Janisse Ray,
author of Ecology of a Cracker Childhood, A House of Branches, and others

The author talks about writing Hill of Beans