Staring Into the Abyss

Christian Wiman, former editor of Poetry magazine, searches for the “poetry and prose” of contemporary faith

by Beth Waltemath

April 23, 2014 A married father of two fighting a rare cancer, Christian Wiman faces the bottomless questions of existence and craves the “poetry and prose of knowing.” His memoir, My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer, draws on both forms to describe his own experiences of grace. Wiman will speak at the Buechner Institute at King University in Bristol on April 24, 2014, at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Published Wednesday, 23 April 2014


With In It For The Long Run: A Musical Odyssey, Jim Rooney takes readers on the ride of his life

by Stephen Trageser

April 17, 2014 In a music career spanning six decades, Jim Rooney has worn nearly every hat—from stage hand, promoter, and performer to producer, publisher, and biographer— and crossed paths with all manner of luminous talents: Bob Dylan, Howlin’ Wolf, John Prine, and Iris DeMent, just to name a few. Rooney will discuss and sign copies of his autobiography, In It For The Long Run, at Parnassus Books in Nashville at 6:30 p.m. on April 23, 2014, and at The Station Inn in Nashville on April 24, 2014, from 6 to 8 p.m.

Published Thursday, 17 April 2014

In Praise of Moderation

Todd S. Purdum’s new book about landmark civil-rights legislation looks back at a Congress capable of compromise

by Peter Kuryla

April 16, 2014 In An Idea Whose Time Has Come: Two Presidents, Two Parties, and the Battle for the Civil Rights Act of 1964, his highly readable popular history of the politics behind the groundbreaking civil-rights legislation, Todd Purdum is open to messy, multi-causal explanations involving a large cast of historical characters. Purdum will appear at Union Ave. Books in Knoxville on April 23, 2014, at 3 p.m.

Published Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Take it From Mama Rena

When it comes to comfort food, Pat and Gina Neely are onto something

by Susannah Felts

April 14, 2014 With their third cookbook, Memphis restaurateurs and Food Network celebrities Pat and Gina Neely offer a charming celebration of handed-down traditions, memories preserved through meals. The Neelys will discuss Back Home with the Neelys at the Nashville Public Library on April 17, 2014, at 6:15 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Published Monday, 14 April 2014

Tennessee’s First Hero

Gordon Belt and Traci Nichols-Belt examine how history has treated Tennessee founding father John Sevier

by Ralph Bowden

April 10, 2014 John Sevier was widely recognized as a hero during his own time. Later writers and historical societies frequently revisited his legend, producing literature and monuments that reflected their own historical context. In John Sevier, Tennessee’s First Hero, Gordon T. Belt and Traci Nichols-Belt dig into those books, pamphlets, speeches, sermons, editorials, and letters to see how Sevier’s reputation has evolved over the years. The Belts will appear at Union Ave. Books in Knoxville on April 13, 2014, at 2 p.m.

Published Thursday, 10 April 2014

Circular Perfection, Infinite Hope

Robin Layton’s photographs capture the origins of basketball dreams

by Sean Kinch

April 2, 2014 Robin Layton’s new book of photography, hoop: the american dream, captures the romance of basketball through images of lone baskets around the country. Ranging from urban playgrounds to suburban parks to backboards nailed to the sides of Iowa barns, Layton’s subjects are as various as the people who play the game. Robin Layton will appear at Parnassus Books in Nashville on April 4 at 6:30 p.m.

Published Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Telling Stories

Hampton Sides talks about Memphis, civil rights, and why some people think he’s a CIA agent

by Clay Risen

April 1, 2014 “It’s a time-honored literary instinct for a writer to want to return to the place where he was born,” Hampton Sides says about his reasons for writing Hellhound on His Trail, a history of the murder of Martin Luther King Jr. On April 3, 2014, Hampton Sides will give a talk titled "Telling Stories: The Art and Craft of Narrative History" at the University Center Theater on the campus of the University of Memphis. Following a reception at 5:30 p.m., the lecture will begin at 6. The event is free and open to the public.

Published Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Freedom Turns Fifty

In The Bill of the Century, Clay Risen explores the fascinating twists and turns of groundbreaking civil-rights legislation

by Michael Ray Taylor

March 31, 2014 Clay Risen, a frequent Chapter16 contributor, garnered widespread praise for A Nation on Fire, his 2009 account of the riots that followed the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. Risen returns to the historic struggle for civil rights in The Bill of the Century: The Epic Battle for the Civil Rights Act, a penetrating account of the heroic effort to pass the landmark 1964 legislation.

Published Monday, 31 March 2014

Profound Activities of the Mind

Prior to her Memphis appearance, Shakespearean scholar Marjorie Garber talks with Chapter 16 about the pleasures of reading and the value of the humanities

by Sean Kinch

March 20, 2014 Marjorie Garber believes that the way we read Shakespeare’s plays tells us as much about ourselves as it does about the Bard himself. In an interview with Chapter 16, Garber discusses her approach to Shakespeare, her love of literature, and her commitment to intellectual speculation. She will speak at Rhodes College in Memphis on March 27, 2014, at 7 p.m. Her talk, “Occupy Shakespeare: Shakespeare and/in the Humanities,” is free and open to the public.

Published Thursday, 20 March 2014

Giving Gifts to Keep As Long as You Live

Stephen Wade discusses the stories behind the classic folk recordings in his book, The Beautiful Music All Around Us

by Randy Fox

March 18, 2014 In The Beautiful Music All Around Us: Field Recordings and the American Experience, Stephen Wade unearths the stories behind classic Library of Congress folk recordings. In thirteen involving narratives, he demonstrates how cultural forces and personal experiences combined in a few brief moments behind a microphone to create powerful musical legacies.

Published Tuesday, 18 March 2014

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