Nonfiction

Rockin’ His Life Away

Rick Bragg talks with Chapter 16 about writing the epic tale of Jerry Lee Lewis

by Randy Fox

August 20, 2014 Since bursting onto the national scene in 1957, Jerry Lee Lewis has lived a life as wild as his music. Drawing from extensive interviews with Lewis, author Rick Bragg tells an epic Southern tale of triumph and tragedy in Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story. Rick Bragg will appear at the Southern Festival of Books, held in Nashville October 10-12, 2014. All festival events are free and open to the public.

Published Wednesday, 20 August 2014

The Cost of a Thing

Decades after first reading Walden, Michael Sims still finds Henry David Thoreau exciting and challenging, maddening and inspiring

by Michael Sims

August 18, 2014 When I first read Thoreau as a teenager, I quickly realized that I had found a magic carpet to my own rural Tennessee world. Henry helped me see and hear and smell my own woodland paths, and my own pond, with fresh senses. He brought a deeply poetic sensibility and a fine education to bear on observing the passenger pigeon and red squirrel, and I tried to apply his way of looking to my own rose-breasted grosbeaks and box turtles.

Published Monday, 18 August 2014

Great Success

Acclaimed novelist Gary Shteyngart talks with Chapter 16 about his memoir, Little Failure

by Stephen Trageser

August 12, 2014 In Little Failure, Gary Shteyngart turns his sharp satirical skills on his own history as a Russian Jewish immigrant coming of age in 1980s New York, and on the long and painful history of his family. Poignant and funny in equal measure, the memoir eloquently considers the complicated relationship between family and culture. Shteyngart will appear at the Southern Festival of Books, held in Nashville October 10-12, 2014. All festival events are free and open to the public.

Published Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Perpetually on the Lam

In On the Run, sociologist Alice Goffman examines the effect of zealous policing on one inner-city neighborhood

by Maria Browning

August 11, 2014 There is endless debate about whether zealous policing and harsh sentences are effective in reducing crime, but according to sociologist Alice Goffman they have a profoundly damaging effect on troubled, low-income communities. In On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City, Goffman reports her observations from six years spent in a tough Philadelphia neighborhood, where she found that aggressive law enforcement cripples lives, ruins relationships, and creates a major barrier to escaping crime and poverty. Goffman will appear at the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville October 10-12, 2014.

Published Monday, 11 August 2014

Bunnies Behaving Badly

Scandal, mystery, and controversy in the “fuzzy bunny” world of children’s literature

by Tracy Barrett

August 5, 2014 The best books for young readers are as controversial and thought-provoking as anything written for their parents. Wild Things! Acts of Mischief in Children’s Literature by Betsy Bird, Julie Danielson, and Peter D. Sieruta casts a revealing light on children’s books and their creators. Danielson will appear at Parnassus Books in Nashville on August 7, 2014, at 6:30 p.m., and at the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville October 10-12, 2014.

Published Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Polar Odyssey

With In the Kingdom of Ice Hampton Sides captures the horror and heroism of nineteenth-century exploration

by Michael Ray Taylor

August 4, 2014 With In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette, Memphis native Hampton Sides, known for his suspenseful historical writing, records a heroic three-year struggle for survival by the crew of a nineteenth-century polar expedition. Sides will appear at The Booksellers at Laurelwood in Memphis on August 8, 2014, at 7 p.m., and also at Montgomery Bell Academy in Nashville on August 12, 2014, at 6:15 p.m. Both events are free and open to the public.

Published Monday, 4 August 2014

No Strangers

A new spiritual practice for novelist River Jordan leads to a surprising memoir

by Serenity Gerbman

July 30, 2014 When she faced the prospect of sending both of her sons into war zones—one to Iraq, the other to Afghanistan—River Jordan conceived of a unique way to calm her fears: every night she would say a prayer for someone she didn’t know. Along the way, her project became an Internet phenomenon. Jordan will appear at the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville October 10-12, 2014. All festival events are free and open to the public.

Published Wednesday, 30 July 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

July 28, 2014 Clay Risen, a frequent Chapter16 contributor, 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. He will appear at the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville October 10-12, 2014. All festival events are free and open to the public.

Published Monday, 28 July 2014

The Sound of Soul

Robert Gordon talks with Chapter 16 about Respect Yourself, his new history of Stax Records

by Stephen Usery

July 22, 2014 Robert Gordon’s Respect Yourself: Stax Records and the Soul Explosion is a propulsive page-turner about a white fiddler and bank employee named Jim Stewart and his sister, Estelle Axton, who built the Stax Record label in the Soulsville neighborhood of Memphis. Robert Gordon will appear at the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville October 10-12, 2014. All festival events are free and open to the public.

Published Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Stand By for a Fighter Pilot

With The Death of Santini, Pat Conroy delivers an emotional farewell to his titanic father

by Ed Tarkington

July 21, 2014 “In the odd, bewildered world of children, we knew we were in the presence of a fabulous, overwhelming personality, but we had no idea we were being raised by a genius of his own mythmaking,” write Pat Conroy in his new memoir. With The Death of Santini, the beloved author of runaway bestsellers like The Prince of Tides, Beach Music, and, of course, The Great Santini, lays bare the origin of his storytelling impulse. Conroy will discuss The Death of Santini as part of the Salon@615 series at the Hume-Fogg Academic High School Auditorium in Nashville on October 29, 2013 at 6:15 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Published Monday, 21 July 2014

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