In The Adventures of Henry Thoreau, Michael Sims follows along the path of self-discovery that led to Walden Pond
February 24, 2014 “In the decades since first encountering Walden in my late teens, I had often glimpsed Thoreau as the bearded sage of literature, natural history, or civil liberties,” writes Michael Sims. “I had seldom met the awkward young man who loved to sing, who ran a private school and applied his engineering skills to the pencil business, who popped popcorn and performed magic tricks for Ralph Waldo Emerson’s children, faced his own illnesses and the deaths of loved ones, and tried to make it as a freelance writer in New York City.” In The Adventures of Henry Thoreau, Sims offers a portrait of a young man who went on to mold both American literature and American identity. Sims will appear at the Jean and Alexander Heard Library on the Vanderbilt University campus in Nashville on April 11, 2014, with a book-signing at 6 p.m. and a free public address at 7 p.m.
Published Monday, 24 February 2014
The Minimalists, Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, show readers how to make room for creativity
by Ralph Bowden
February 13, 2014 In Everything That Remains, Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus offer a modern application of the long tradition of living better with less. This memoir about the transition of two upwardly-bound young men into what they call a minimalist life gives readers a how-to example. Millburn and Nicodemus will discuss Everything That Remains at Union Avenue Books in Knoxville on February 17, 2014, at 7 p.m.; at Parnassus Books in Nashville on February 20, 2014, at 6:30 p.m.; and at The Booksellers at Laurelwood in Memphis on February 21, 2014, at 7 p.m.
Published Friday, 14 February 2014
Vanderbilt philosophers Scott F. Aikin and Robert B. Talisse discuss their handbook for political disagreement
February 7, 2013 According to Vanderbilt University philosophy professors Scott F. Aikin and Robert B. Talisse, the failings of contemporary democracy can in large part be traced to our inability to engage appropriately in political debate. In Why We Argue (and How We Should), the authors set ground rules for the kind of productive, democratic disagreement that they say is fundamental to a civil life. Only by addressing our opponent’s reasons––as opposed to our opponent herself––and by giving a “proper hearing” to those reasons can we foster the reciprocity upon which democracy depends.
Published Friday, 7 February 2014
Aram Goudsouzian’s new book recounts the story of James Meredith’s final push for civil rights
by Clay Risen
February 4, 2014 In June 1966, James Meredith began his “March Against Fear” from the sidewalk just outside the Peabody Hotel. As Aram Goudsouzian, a historian at the University of Memphis, documents in Down to the Crossroads: Civil Rights, Black Power, and the Meredith March Against Fear, his gripping account of that summer in Mississippi, Meredith’s march occurred at a turning point for the civil-rights movement. Goudsouzian will discuss Down to the Crossroads on February 11, 2014, at Parnassus Books in Nashville; on February 13, 2014, at Rhodes College in Memphis; and on February 24, 2014, at The Booksellers at Laurelwood in Memphis.
Published Thursday, 6 February 2014
Edmund White talks with Chapter 16 about his dishy, sexy new memoir of life in Paris
by Liz Garrigan
February 5, 2014 “I hate writing,” Edmund White told a newspaper last year, but he has nevertheless been turning out celebrated titles since the 1970s, writing novels and nonfiction to wide acclaim and drawing on his life as a gay man for all but a handful of them. White moved from New York to Paris in 1983 and stayed in the City of Light for fifteen years, an experience he details in his latest book, Inside A Pearl: My Years in Paris, a contemporary, gay version of A Moveable Feast. White will discuss the book at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Buttrick Hall Room 101, on February 6, 2014, at 7 p.m.
Published Wednesday, 5 February 2014
Alan Lightman ponders it all in The Accidental Universe
February 3, 2013 Writer, physicist, teacher, and philanthropist Alan Lightman is best known for his novels, including the widely acclaimed Einstein’s Dreams, but in his new collection of essays, The Accidental Universe, he sets fiction aside to confront head-on some of the big questions about reason, faith, and our place in the cosmos. Lightman will appear at Rhodes College in Memphis on February 6, 2014, at 7:30 p.m. and at Burke’s Book Store in Memphis on February 7, 2014, at 5:30 p.m. Both events are free and open to the public.
Published Monday, 3 February 2014
Eric Dahl traces B.B. King’s everlasting affair with Lucille
January 14, 2014 In B.B. King’s Lucille and the Loves Before Her, lifelong blues fan and guitar collector Eric Dahl pays tribute to the regal bluesman and the close relationship he shares with Lucille, his guitar and trusted sidekick of more than sixty years. Dahl will appear at Parnassus Books in Nashville on January 16, 2014, at 6:30 p.m.
Published Tuesday, 14 January 2014
Dwight Garner talks with Chapter 16 about being one of the last full-time book critics in the country
January 13, 2014 It’s not easy to find a silver lining in the decline of local literary coverage across the country, but if there must be only a handful of full-time book critics working today, it’s good news, at least, that one of them is Dwight Garner, who writes for the daily New York Times. Prior to his appearance at Vanderbilt University in Nashville on January 16, 2014, at 7 p.m. in Buttrick Hall, Room 101, Garner answered questions from Chapter 16. The event is free and open to the public.
Published Monday, 13 January 2014
Lisa Guenther contemplates solitary confinement—historically, socially, and philosophically
by Ralph Bowden
January 9, 2014 Nashville author Lisa Guenther, an associate professor of philosophy at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, describes solitary confinement as “one of the simplest and most devastating” ways to destroy a person. In her exhaustive new book, Solitary Confinement: Social Death and Its Afterlives, Guenther gives an historical overview of solitary confinement in the U.S., discusses theories concerning its use, and examines the role of race in its application.
Published Thursday, 9 January 2014
Glenn Feldman explains how the once-blue South turned red
January 7, 2014 “The South began its move toward the modern Republican party in 1865,” writes Glenn Feldman in the opening sentence of his new book, The Irony of the Solid South: Democrats, Republicans, and Race, 1865-1944. Feldman, who earned a master’s degree in political science at Vanderbilt, spends the rest of the book backing up this surprising statement with overwhelming historical evidence.
Published Tuesday, 7 January 2014
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