In Beth Hoffman’s new novel, a Charleston woman searches for long-lost pieces of her family’s past
by Sarah Norris
May 23, 2013 Beth Hoffman’s new novel, Looking for Me, delves into territory that’s very similar to her bestselling 2010 debut novel, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, with female protagonists who are forced to reckon with familial loss. Both books take place in the South and feature chivalry, friendly small talk, iced tea, good manners, and respect for hard work and older generations. Hoffman will discuss Looking for Me at The Booksellers at Laurelwood in Memphis on May 29, 2013, at 7 p.m.
Published Thursday, 23 May 2013
Civil War novelist Jeff Shaara resurrects Vicksburg under Grant’s barrage
by Ralph Bowden
May 22, 2013 Legions of historians have written narratives of Civil War battles bristling with footnotes and rigorous research. They would never presume to include the principal figures’ real-time thoughts or speculate about any conversations between them. Civil War novelist Jeff Shaara, on the other hand, has the freedom to invent. Though his books are also grounded in historical sources, he gives his characters life and includes richly detailed scenes, recreating the guns’ thunder, the ringing ears, the sweat mixing with dirt. Shaara will discuss A Chain of Thunder, his newest novel, on May 26, 2013, at 3 p.m. at the East Tennessee Historical Center in Knoxville.
Published Wednesday, 22 May 2013
Screenwriter Heywood Gould’s offbeat thriller turns the classic detective story upside down
by Liz Garrigan
May 17, 2013 It can be a little disorienting to pick up a detective thriller only to discover that the identity of the homicidal maniac is no mystery. To find, in fact, that the killer is making a movie about his serial crimes, directing an imaginary crew to pull back on this decapitated head, move in tighter on that drowning body, etc. But, hey, this is Hollywood, where backstabbing producers must die, and violently. Heywood Gould will discuss and sign copies of Green Light for Murder, the first in a series of Detective Tommy Veasy mysteries, at Mysteries & More in Nashville on May 18 at 2 p.m.
Published Friday, 17 May 2013
Bill Cheng’s debut novel, Southern Cross the Dog, channels Delta Blues mythology with striking authority
May 16, 2013 “The past keeps happening to us,” writes Bill Cheng in his debut novel, Southern Cross the Dog. “No matter who we are or how far we get away, it keeps happening to us.” These words are potent, both for their echo of Faulkner’s famous dictum (“The past is never dead”) and for the fact that their author is a Chinese-American New Yorker. Despite having never set foot in Mississippi, Cheng has staked a formidable claim in the heart of Faulkner Country. Cheng will appear at Parnassus Books in Nashville on May 22, 2013, at 6:30 p.m.
Published Thursday, 16 May 2013
In A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, Anthony Marra charts the crossfire of dirty wars
by Sean Kinch
May 15, 2013 Anthony Marra’s A Constellation of Vital Phenomena puts a human face on the dehumanizing forces of war, revealing the ways in which the lives of people in a small mountain village in Chechnya are overturned by fifteen years of conflict with the Russian Federation. Memorials to the disappeared are a form of defiance, and even a single life spared from obliteration feels like a moral victory. Anthony Marra will appear at Parnassus Books in Nashville at 2 p.m. on May 18, 2013.
Published Wednesday, 15 May 2013
Julia Reed, an expert on Southern food and traditions, celebrates life’s sybaritic pleasures
by Sarah Norris
May 9, 2013 Julia Reed’s new essay collection, But Mama Always Put Vodka in Her Sangria!, is a happy, happy book, intended to make readers laugh out loud and reminisce about family culinary traditions, to inspire them to labor in a kitchen, perhaps with a frothy cocktail in hand, and then to share the delicious rewards. Reed will read from and discuss But Mama Always Put Vodka in Her Sangria! at the Southern Food Writing Conference, held in Knoxville on May 16 and 17.
Published Thursday, 9 May 2013
Robert Benson writes a poignant meditation on caring for an aging parent
by Tina LoTufo
May 8, 2013 The only people who don’t love Robert Benson’s mother, the author writes in this memoir, “are the ones who have not met her yet.” Benson has written many books about the contemplative life and teaches prayer and writing workshops around the country. His beloved mother, Peggy Jean Siler Benson, is the mother of five children, widow of a former pastor, and a successful writer and speaker in her own right. Moving Miss Peggy is Benson’s poignant book about “the beginning of the end of her life.” Robert Benson will appear at Parnassus Books in Nashville on May 16 at 6:30 p.m.
Published Wednesday, 8 May 2013
Vince Vawter’s semi-autobiographical novel for children is about overcoming obstacles
by Tina LoTufo
May 7, 2013 “I was an eleven-year-old kid standing on a street corner in Memphis in short pants,” observes the narrator of Vince Vawter’s Paperboy. “I felt like I was so small that I would be blown away if the slightest puff of wind came up. But you didn’t have to worry about any kind of a breeze showing up on a late July afternoon in Memphis.” Paperboy is a rare treat: a gentle coming-of-age story that manages to be smart, funny, poignant, and original—the perfect marriage of style and substance—with a narrative voice that rings true. Vince Vawter will discuss Paperboy at The Booksellers at Laurelwood in Memphis on May 14 at 6 p.m., and at the Knoxville News Sentinel on May 21 at 6 p.m., where Union Ave. Books will be on hand with book sales. Both events are free and open to the public.
Published Tuesday, 7 May 2013
Former NBA superstar Penny Hardaway coaches a team of disadvantaged Memphis youth to victory in Wayne B. Drash’s moving first book, On These Courts
May 3, 2013 Wayne B. Drash’s On These Courts: A Miracle Season that Changed a City, a Once-Future Star, and a Team Forever is the story of how former NBA star guard Penny Hardaway coached the boys’ basketball team at Lester Middle School—where he had once played himself—to a Tennessee state championship. That season provides a backdrop to the most inspiring sports story to come out of Memphis since Michael Lewis’s The Blind Side, and like that book, it too seems custom-made for Hollywood. Drash and Hardaway will discuss and sign copies of On These Courts at the University of Memphis Bookstore on May 8 at 6 p.m., and at The Booksellers at Laurelwood on May 10 at 6 p.m.
Published Friday, 3 May 2013
After an eight-year hiatus, novelist Sallie Bissell is back with her fifth Mary Crow thriller
by Liz Garrigan
May 2, 2013 In 1959, a young husband returns to his cabin in the Appalachian hills to find his bride having sex with his best friend, and he kills them both. In the decades after the crime, the cabin becomes a camping destination for adventure-seeking college kids—like the ex-governor’s daughter Lisa Wilson, one of a group of friends who stay overnight at the creepy shack in the woods. When she is found gruesomely slain under a pine tree, the North Carolina town of Hartsville struggles for answers, and attorney Mary Crow finds herself with another unforgettable case on her hands. Music of Ghosts is Sallie Bissell’s fifth Mary Crow mystery. Bissell will read and sign the new book at Union Ave. Books in Knoxville at 6 p.m. on May 13, and at Mysteries & More in Nashville on June 15 at 2 p.m.
Published Thursday, 2 May 2013
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