Book Reviews

When Fury Meets Guilt

In her new YA novel, I Was Here, Gayle Forman explores the questions surrounding a teen suicide

by Tracy Barrett

January 27, 2015 In I Was Here, bestselling author Gayle Forman has created a powerful story about an eighteen-year-old girl’s search for the reasons behind her best friend’s suicide. Forman will be joined by fellow young-adult authors Ruta Sepetys, David Arnold, and Courtney Stevens at Parnassus Books in Nashville on January 30, 2015, at 6:30 p.m.

Published Tuesday, 27 January 2015

A Voice Like Thunder

Beth Bachmann’s latest poetry collection explores the ramifications of war

by Erica Wright

January 26, 2015 In her new collection, Do Not Rise, Nashville poet Beth Bachmann writes about war and its aftermath with unflinching insight. Bachmann will read from her work on January 29, 2015, at 7 p. m. on the Vanderbilt University campus in Nashville. The event, which also includes a reading by Vanderbilt novelist Tony Earley, is free and open to the public.

Published Monday, 26 January 2015

A Home in Writing

A unique writers’ group in Memphis has produced a book of first-hand accounts of homelessness

by Joe Nolan

January 23, 2015 The Door of Hope Writing Group in Memphis is a weekly meet-up for homeless writers. The nonprofit’s new project, Writing Our Way Home: A Group Journey Out of Homelessness, chronicles both the hard times and big breakthroughs of writers living on the street.

Published Friday, 23 January 2015

Memphis, Key to the Mississippi

Edward B. McCaul Jr. examines the Civil War struggle for control of the Mississippi River

by Ralph Bowden

January 22, 2015 To Retain Command of the Mississippi is Edward McCaul’s thorough look at everything—strategy, politics, personnel, boats, technology, and battles—connected with the campaign to establish control of the Mississippi during the first two years of the Civil War. McCaul argues that the river battle at Memphis could have gone the other way, with consequences that might have led to Confederate independence.

Published Thursday, 22 January 2015

Girl at a Crossroads

Sharon M. Draper crafts a tale of community, family, and courage in the Jim Crow South

by Tracy Barrett

January 15, 2015 Eleven-year-old Stella Mills has always felt safe in the embrace of her family and community. But Stella feels helpless during a resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan—until she finds a way to help. Sharon Draper, five-time winner of the Coretta Scott King Award, will discuss her new middle-grade novel, Stella by Starlight, at the Nashville Public Library on January 22, 2015, at 6 p.m. and at The Booksellers at Laurelwood in Memphis on January 23, 2015, at 6:30 p.m.

Published Thursday, 15 January 2015

Of Love and Terror

Tim Johnston brings depth and lyricism to the thriller genre with Descent

by Ed Tarkington

January 14, 2015 How does one survive the unthinkable? How does a parent live without knowing what’s become of a missing child? How long can a person go on without abandoning hope? These are the questions that frame Descent, the new literary thriller by Memphis novelist Tim Johnston. He will appear on January 22, 2015, at The Booksellers at Laurelwood in Memphis and on January 28, 2015, at Parnassus Books in Nashville. Both events will begin at 6:30 p.m.

Published Wednesday, 14 January 2015

How They Live On

In The Secret of Magic, Deborah Johnson tackles the difficult truths of segregation-era Mississippi

by Emily Choate

January 13, 2015 Regina Mary Robichard, the determined young NAACP lawyer at the center of Deborah Johnson’s The Secret of Magic, finds herself deeply drawn to the case of a brutal murder in segregation-era Mississippi. Investigating, she enters a world of both racial conflict and magical surprise. Deborah Johnson will discuss The Secret of Magic at Parnassus Books in Nashville on January 17, 2015, at 2 p.m.

Published Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Rock’n’Roll Sunset

In The Next Elvis, Barbara Barnes Sims offers a down-to-earth view of the legendary Sun Records

by Randy Fox

January 9, 2015 Barbara Barnes Sims spent three years witnessing rock’n’roll history from the ground level, working at the legendary Sun Records label in the late 1950s. Her fascinating memories of that time are collected in The Next Elvis: Searching for Stardom at Sun Records.

Published Friday, 9 January 2015

More in Heaven and Earth

In The Deepest Human Life, Scott Samuelson conveys an infectious sense of wonder

by Steve Haruch

January 8, 2015 In The Deepest Human Life: An Introduction to Philosophy for Everyone, Scott Samuelson brings together a broad range of philosophical writings, poetry, stories from his students, and the occasional folk song. It is an approachable book full of insight and wonder. Samuelson will appear at Rhodes College in Memphis on January 15, 2015, at 6 p.m.

Published Thursday, 8 January 2015

The Consolations of Nature

In Christopher Scotton’s debut novel, a young man finds strength in the Kentucky mountains

by Sean Kinch

January 6, 2015 Christopher Scotton’s debut novel, The Secret Wisdom of the Earth, is both contemporary and old-fashioned, addressing present-day issues in a novelistic form that harks back to the nineteenth century. Scotton will appear at Parnassus Books in Nashville on January 13, 2015, at 6:30 p.m.

Published Tuesday, 6 January 2015

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