Book Reviews

Staring Into the Abyss

Christian Wiman, former editor of Poetry magazine, searches for the “poetry and prose” of contemporary faith

by Beth Waltemath

April 23, 2014 A married father of two fighting a rare cancer, Christian Wiman faces the bottomless questions of existence and craves the “poetry and prose of knowing.” His memoir, My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer, draws on both forms to describe his own experiences of grace. Wiman will speak at the Buechner Institute at King University in Bristol on April 24, 2014, at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Published Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Desperate Times, Desperate Measures

Andrew Gross’s latest thriller captures the moral dilemmas that arise during calamity

by Chris Scott

April 22, 2014 In Andrew Gross’s Everything to Lose, Hilary Cantor makes one wrong decision that turns her financially desperate life into a fight for survival. A New York City cop whose life is equally upside down joins her in a battle through a landscape still struggling to recover from the twin disasters of the Great Recession and Superstorm Sandy. Andrew Gross will discuss Everything to Lose at Barnes & Noble Booksellers in Cool Springs on April 28, 2014, at 7 p.m.

Published Tuesday, 22 April 2014


With In It For The Long Run: A Musical Odyssey, Jim Rooney takes readers on the ride of his life

by Stephen Trageser

April 17, 2014 In a music career spanning six decades, Jim Rooney has worn nearly every hat—from stage hand, promoter, and performer to producer, publisher, and biographer— and crossed paths with all manner of luminous talents: Bob Dylan, Howlin’ Wolf, John Prine, and Iris DeMent, just to name a few. Rooney will discuss and sign copies of his autobiography, In It For The Long Run, at Parnassus Books in Nashville at 6:30 p.m. on April 23, 2014, and at The Station Inn in Nashville on April 24, 2014, from 6 to 8 p.m.

Published Thursday, 17 April 2014

In Praise of Moderation

Todd S. Purdum’s new book about landmark civil-rights legislation looks back at a Congress capable of compromise

by Peter Kuryla

April 16, 2014 In An Idea Whose Time Has Come: Two Presidents, Two Parties, and the Battle for the Civil Rights Act of 1964, his highly readable popular history of the politics behind the groundbreaking civil-rights legislation, Todd Purdum is open to messy, multi-causal explanations involving a large cast of historical characters. Purdum will appear at Union Ave. Books in Knoxville on April 23, 2014, at 3 p.m.

Published Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Everyone Wanting Only the Best

In The Vacationers, Emma Straub’s characters head to Mallorca amid simmering conflict

by Ed Tarkington

April 14, 2014 Just as Jim and Franny Post prepare to embark on a two-week jaunt to Mallorca—a final family trip before their youngest child leaves for college—their perfect life falls apart. Emma Straub will discuss The Vacationers on April 17, 2014, at 7 p.m. in Buttrick Hall, Room 102, on the Vanderbilt University campus in Nashville. The event is free and open to the public.

Published Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Take it From Mama Rena

When it comes to comfort food, Pat and Gina Neely are onto something

by Susannah Felts

April 14, 2014 With their third cookbook, Memphis restaurateurs and Food Network celebrities Pat and Gina Neely offer a charming celebration of handed-down traditions, memories preserved through meals. The Neelys will discuss Back Home with the Neelys at the Nashville Public Library on April 17, 2014, at 6:15 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Published Monday, 14 April 2014

Tennessee’s First Hero

Gordon Belt and Traci Nichols-Belt examine how history has treated Tennessee founding father John Sevier

by Ralph Bowden

April 10, 2014 John Sevier was widely recognized as a hero during his own time. Later writers and historical societies frequently revisited his legend, producing literature and monuments that reflected their own historical context. In John Sevier, Tennessee’s First Hero, Gordon T. Belt and Traci Nichols-Belt dig into those books, pamphlets, speeches, sermons, editorials, and letters to see how Sevier’s reputation has evolved over the years. The Belts will appear at Union Ave. Books in Knoxville on April 13, 2014, at 2 p.m.

Published Thursday, 10 April 2014

Highway to Hell

Sallie Bissell is back with another Mary Crow thriller in which death and disappearance are frequent travelers on an infamous North Carolina roadway

by Liz Garrigan

April 9, 2014 Two gay men near Asheville, North Carolina, are brutally murdered, possibly in connection with a backwater preacher’s shocking anti-gay bombast on YouTube, and North Carolina Governor Ann Chandler is worried. Clearly, this is a case for special prosecutor Mary Crow. Sallie Bissell will discuss Deadliest of Sins, her sixth Mary Crow mystery, on April 12, 2014, at Mysteries & More in Nashville at 2 p.m.

Published Wednesday, 9 April 2014

A Darkly Funny Dystopia

Margaret Atwood brings her apocalyptic trilogy to a close with MaddAddam

by Maria Browning

April 8, 2014 With MaddAddam, the final book in Margaret Atwood’s trilogy about a bioengineered apocalypse, the story takes a turn toward the comic, transforming a dystopian vision into a darkly funny fairy tale for grown-ups. Atwood will discuss MaddAddam at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville on April 11, 2014, at 8 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Published Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Circular Perfection, Infinite Hope

Robin Layton’s photographs capture the origins of basketball dreams

by Sean Kinch

April 2, 2014 Robin Layton’s new book of photography, hoop: the american dream, captures the romance of basketball through images of lone baskets around the country. Ranging from urban playgrounds to suburban parks to backboards nailed to the sides of Iowa barns, Layton’s subjects are as various as the people who play the game. Robin Layton will appear at Parnassus Books in Nashville on April 4 at 6:30 p.m.

Published Wednesday, 2 April 2014

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