By Christina Cathcart/Around&About editor

Among all the things that keep life hectic should be some down time — a time to unwind and contemplate life beyond what’s scribbled in your date book. Many folks choose to spend their free time curled up with a good read; be it book, magazine or newspaper that lets them open pages to a new world or new information. “The Book of Saws” by Steven Cope, an Eastern graduate, is just the sort of easy read one can unwind with.“The Book of Saws” is a collection of fables and tales, more than one of which seem to be Appalachian folk legend passed down the through the generations. The stories vary in length and message, but much like Aesop’s fables, contain nuggets of truth.

Like a true fabulist should, Cope tackles wisdom, writing, reading and even death in a way that will keep readers laughing at the human condition. This lighthearted examination of life through the eyes of Cope’s characters will nurse the imagination.

In “The Eagle and the Cupboard Mouse,” a mouse begs an eagle to teach him how to fly. The eagle, finally relenting, warns the mouse “you must know beyond a doubt who you are. For if you waver whatsoever in that, soaring will surely destroy you.” At that, of course, the mouse plummets off the cliff.

The book contains more than 50 such tales, but is a surprisingly enjoyable read for even a restless college student. Many of the tales are told from an animal’s point of view, making human arguments sound all the more ludicrous. Cope does an excellent job of unveiling life’s deep truths in these tales.

“The Book of Saws” is available online at I give it four out of five palettes for Cope’s ability to amuse me without insulting my intelligence.