Book Reviews

When It Works, It Never Ends

Michael S. Roth argues for the necessity of a liberal-arts education

by Tristan Charles

October 17, 2014 Liberal education, argues Michael S. Roth, is a tool that “matters far beyond the university because it increases our capacity to understand the world, contribute to it, and reshape ourselves. When it works, it never ends.” Roth will give a free public lecture at Rhodes College in Memphis on October 23, 2014, at 6 p.m.

Published Friday, 17 October 2014

Long Player

Sparks fly from poetry, prose, art, and music in Language Lessons, the first title released by Nashville’s Third Man Books

by Randy Fox

October 16, 2014 The first publication from Nashville’s Third Man Books, Language Lessons: Volume One, is a diverse collection of poetry, prose, art, and music. Editors Chet Weise and Ben Swank present material in a unique format that demonstrates the excitement of human language beyond the simple printed page.

Published Thursday, 16 October 2014

Vagabonds and Gurus

In Darcey Steinke’s novel Sister Golden Hair, the spiritual path encompasses everything from Bibles to Bowie

by Emily Choate

October 14, 2014 When Jesse’s father gets thrown out of the Methodist ministry in the early seventies, her family enters the vagabond spiritual path so prominent in that era, and Jesse negotiates her awkward ride into adolescence through encounters with her semi-transient neighbors. Darcey Steinke will discuss her new novel, Sister Golden Hair, at Burke’s Book Store in Memphis on October 16, 2014, at 5:30 p.m.

Published Tuesday, 14 October 2014

The Party Primer

A Chapter 16 writer takes Martina McBride’s new cookbook for a spin

by Susannah Felts

October 13, 2014 Dinner-party mavens and newbie entertainers alike will find bright ideas in Martina McBride’s debut cookbook, Around the Table, which offers four seasons’ worth of themed gatherings. With recipes, decorating ideas, shortcuts, and even music playlists, each chapter guides the host through all the paces of pulling off a terrific, memorable party. McBride will discuss the book at the Harpeth Hall School in Nashville on October 13, 2014, and at The Booksellers at Laurelwood in Memphis on October 14, 2014.

Published Monday, 13 October 2014

Beyond Bullets and Battles

Redeployment, Phil Klay’s debut story collection, considers the complexity of modern warfare

by Ralph Bowden

October 9, 2014 Redeployment—Phil Klay’s debut story collection, which has just been long-listed for the National Book Award—considers the complexity of modern warfare, where fighting units compete for glory; corpse-eating dogs have to be shot; and soldiers are counseled, patched up, or shipped home in a bag. Klay 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 Thursday, 9 October 2014

The Impossible Reach of History

Rebecca Makkai’s second novel unearths a century’s worth of family secrets

by Tina LoTufo

October 9, 2014 Rebecca Makkai’s new novel, The Hundred-Year House, reveals its secrets slowly, layer by layer, as the reader travels back in time from 1999 to 1900. At the center of the story is a house that becomes a character in its own right as Makkai combines straightforward narrative with snippets of poetry, telegrams, and letters to create a mood that is both modern and mysterious, historical and haunting. Makkai 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 Thursday, 9 October 2014

Each Day a New World

Jacqueline Woodson’s Brown Girl Dreaming is the story of a life told in soaring verse

by Tracy Barrett

October 8, 2014 In evocative verse, Jacqueline Woodson, who has just been longlisted for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, shares the story of her childhood in Brown Girl Dreaming. Woodson will appear at the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville on October 12, 2014, and at the Booksellers at Laurelwood in Memphis on October 13, 2014. Both events are free and open to the public.

Published Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Endangered Magic

The Magician’s Land marks the grand finale of Lev Grossman’s bestselling trilogy

by Sarah Norris

October 2, 2014 So much of what’s appealing about Lev Grossman is on display in the 400-plus fantastical pages of The Magician’s Land: his easy way with grandly deployed plotlines, his nuanced attention to the ways men and women communicate (or fail to), and his taut pacing. Lev Grossman will discuss the final volume in his fantasy trilogy at the Southern Festival of Books, held in Nashville October 10-12, 2014. All festival events are free and open to the public.

Published Thursday, 2 October 2014

This Is Your Brain on Metaphor

Patricia Lockwood brings her mind-bending poems to the Southern Festival of Books

by Steve Haruch

October 1, 2014 Patricia Lockwood’s Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals is at times gut-punch funny, and it is wildly inventive throughout, but the book’s center of gravity is “Rape Joke,” the poem that went viral last year. Lockwood 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, 1 October 2014

Walking the Good Path

Linda Leaming, who found happiness in Bhutan, has some advice for worried Westerners

by Faye Jones

September 29, 2014 In A Field Guide to Happiness: What I Learned in Bhutan about Living, Loving, and Waking Up, Linda Leaming combines fascinating descriptions of a mystical country with funny, touching, and sometimes harrowing stories about her life there. It’s enough to make even the most travel-phobic reader dream about buying a plane ticket for this hard-to-reach land. Leaming will appear at Parnassus Books in Nashville on October 1, 2014, and at the Southern Festival of Books, held in Nashville October 10-12, 2014.

Published Monday, 29 September 2014

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