Appalachian Christmas

Sharyn McCrumb brings back fans’ favorite characters in her new Ballad novella

by Faye Jones

November 21, 2014 Sharyn McCrumb gives fans of her Ballad series an early Christmas present with her new novella, Nora Bonesteel’s Christmas Past, which is told in alternating vignettes featuring Sheriff Spencer Arrowood and Nora Bonesteel, two popular characters from the series.

Published Friday, 21 November 2014

Sophisticated Tales, Hardscrabble Lives

The stories in David Madden’s The Last Bizarre Tale reveal hidden hopes in the South’s dark corners

by Sean Kinch

November 19, 2014 The stories in The Last Bizarre Tale, a new collection by Knoxville native David Madden, exhibit the protean nature of Madden’s gifts: his masterful tales run the gamut of literary styles and genres, each entry marked with the stamp of its author’s ingenuity. Madden will appear at Knox Heritage in Knoxville on November 21, 2014, at 11:30 a.m.

Published Wednesday, 19 November 2014

A Lover’s Quest

Brandy Wilson’s The Palace Blues tells a story of a Prohibition-era lesbian romance

by Maria Browning

November 18, 2014 Frankie, the young heroine of Brandy Wilson’s Prohibition-era novel, The Palace Blues, comes from respectable folks who expect her to marry a nice boy, but she has no interest in respectability, and she’d rather pass for a boy than marry one. When she falls in love with Jean Bailey, a beautiful blues singer, she begins a journey that leaves her family and respectability far behind.

Published Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Scared and Ashamed and Full of Hope

In The Heaven of Animals, David James Poissant limns the lives of the thwarted

by Ed Tarkington

November 13, 2014 David James Poissant’s delicately crafted stories of human longing and loss have earned him comparisons to Richard Ford and Anton Chekhov. In his debut collection, The Heaven of Animals, Poissant paints a broad canvas populated by a memorable cast of hard-luck cases. He will appear at the University of Tennessee’s Hodges Library in Knoxville on November 17, 2014, at 7 p.m.

Published Thursday, 13 November 2014

A Little Back-Up from the Dead

With A Sudden Light, Garth Stein delves into a ghost story with historical and ecological ripples

by Emily Choate

November 10, 2014 In Garth Stein’s new novel, A Sudden Light, fourteen-year-old Trevor and his father head west during a time of family crisis. In a fight over the fate of Riddell House, the crumbling mansion built from their family’s timber fortune, conflicting agendas of both the dead and the living come to light. Stein, the bestselling author of The Art of Racing in the Rain, will discuss A Sudden Light at the Nashville Public Library on November 14, 2014, at 6:15 p.m.

Published Monday, 10 November 2014

Legal Literature

In an interview with Chapter 16, Scott Turow discusses Jeff Bezos, Monica Lewinsky, Warren Zevon, and his latest legal thriller, Identical

by Michael Ray Taylor

November 3, 2014 With nine bestselling novels and two books of nonfiction, Scott Turow, recipient of the 2014 Nashville Public Library Literary Award, has proven himself a master of the legal thriller. His latest novel, Identical, explores questions of betrayal, family, and identity set against the sweeping political backdrop for which his books are famous. In connection with his acceptance of the NPL award, Turow will appear at Montgomery Bell Academy in Nashville on November 8, 2014, at 10 a.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Published Monday, 3 November 2014

A Stubborn, Gentle-Hearted Survivor

Robert Bausch talks with Chapter 16 about his novel of the old West, Far As the Eye Can See

by Maria Browning

October 31, 2014 Bobby Hale, the protagonist of Robert Bausch’s Far As the Eye Can See, is a stubborn survivor and a bit of a con man but essentially a gentle soul. Caught up in the movement westward after the Civil War, Hale struggles to find some sort of human connection in a violent, unforgiving environment. Robert Bausch will appear at Burke’s Book Store in Memphis on November 7, 2014, at 5:30 p.m.

Published Thursday, 30 October 2014

Breathing Another Country’s Air

Dinaw Mengestu’s The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears, the inaugural selection for Memphis Reads, reveals the complexity of the immigrant experience

by Maria Browning

October 30, 2014 Sepha Stephanos, the immigrant protagonist of Dinaw Mengestu’s The Beautiful Things that Heaven Bears, is not the archetypal ambitious newcomer, striving for American success. He’s a sensitive, troubled man bewildered by life in a culture not his own. The novel is the inaugural selection for Memphis’s first city-wide read. On November 4, 2014, Mengestu will visit Memphis to discuss the book at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library and Christian Brothers University. Both events are free and open to the public.

Published Wednesday, 29 October 2014

A Surveyor in the Back of Beyond

Ron Rash’s Something Rich and Strange reveals a master storyteller charting his terrain

by Emily Choate

October 28, 2014 Ron Rash has achieved wide recognition as a masterful craftsperson, and Something Rich and Strange: Selected Stories will seal that reputation. This collection, drawn from more than twenty years of stories set in the Southern Appalachians, confirms Rash as that landscape’s foremost literary mapmaker and guide. Ron Rash will discuss Something Rich and Strange at The Skillery in Nashville on November 4, 2014, at 6:30 p.m.

Published Monday, 27 October 2014

Mother Love

In her latest novel, The Midwife, Jolina Petersheim ponders what it means to be a mother

by Faye Jones

October 23, 2014 In Dry Hollow, Tennessee, Hopen Haus takes in unwed pregnant women, and head midwife Rhoda Mummau struggles to provide the best care for them even as she keeps the whole Mennonite community at arm’s length to protect a secret from her own past. For her new novel, The Midwife, Jolina Petersheim taps her Mennonite heritage to consider the question of what exactly makes a woman a mother.

Published Wednesday, 22 October 2014

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