Nonfiction

Dream Big and Work Hard

Oprah’s new book offers an assortment of her distinctive personal philosophies

by Tina LoTufo

December 9, 2014 Film critic Gene Siskel once asked Oprah Winfrey what she knew “for sure.” The Tennessee State University alum calls this “the central question of my life,” and her new book takes its title from Siskel’s query. A small, attractively bound volume, perfect for gift-giving, What I Know For Sure will undoubtedly delight Winfrey’s many fans.

Published Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Priceless Peer

In a new biography of Ralph Peer, Barry Mazor untangles the roots of American roots music

by Steve Haruch

December 3, 2014 Barry Mazor’s Ralph Peer and the Making of Popular Roots Music traces the life and career of Ralph Peer, who rose from Kansas City phonograph salesman to one of history’s most influential A&R scouts, record producers, and music publishers. From the birth of what came to be known as country music to the popularization of blues, regional, and eventually Latin music, Mazor tracks it all.

Published Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Farm to Table—to Bookstore

Chapter 16 talks with celebrated chef Sean Brock about his new cookbook, Heritage

by Nicki Pendleton Wood

December 1, 2014 Sean Brock used to swear he’d never write a book. The acclaimed chef and owner of Husk was too busy making food the farm-to-table way, relying on improvisation and in-season ingredients. Nevertheless, Brock has now released a cookbook titled Heritage, and it’s a big book, too: a foot tall and 334 pages long. He will discuss Heritage at POP Nashville on December 3, 2014, at 6:30 p.m.

Published Monday, 1 December 2014

Untamed Narratives

In Short Stories by Jesus, Amy-Jill Levine revisits the parables with an eye toward their first-century context

by Beth Waltemath

November 24, 2014 Short Stories by Jesus, the latest book by Vanderbilt professor Amy-Jill Levine, analyzes a misunderstood and nearly forgotten literary form: the parable. Levine, a professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt, argues that Jesus’s parables have been domesticated into easy lessons, robbed of their power to surprise, subvert, and indict.

Published Monday, 24 November 2014

Much More than Tea and Sympathy

In The Way of Tea and Justice, Becca Stevens tells the story behind Nashville’s Thistle Stop Café, a cottage industry for former prostitutes

by Tina LoTufo

November 20, 2014 “A Story in Every Cup”—that’s the motto of Nashville’s Thistle Stop Café. In The Way of Tea and Justice, Becca Stevens, Episcopal priest and founder of Thistle Farms, tells the story of the Thistle Stop Café, where, in Stevens’ words, “we recognize the dignity of each person” while providing additional employment opportunities for former prostitutes in recovery.

Published Thursday, 20 November 2014

Tossing a Firecracker into Journalism

Curtis Wilkie is much more than a political reporter or a Southern colorist

by Clay Risen

November 14, 2014 It’s tempting to close Curtis Wilkie’s new collection, Assassins, Eccentrics, Politicians and Other People of Interest, reach for a bottle of bourbon, and sigh about how they don’t make journalists like they used to. Wilkie will discuss and sign copies at The Booksellers at Laurelwood in Memphis on November 21, 2014, at 6:30 p.m.

Published Friday, 14 November 2014

Alone in the Locker Room, Bleeding

Andrew Maraniss’s Strong Inside is a superb biography of SEC basketball pioneer Perry Wallace

by Clay Risen

November 12, 2014 Like any great biography, Andrew Maraniss’s Strong Inside concerns more than just its subject. It is also a history of Vanderbilt, of Nashville, of the SEC; a history of basketball and Southern sports culture and how they clashed with the civil-rights movement. Above all it is a meditation on the personal price of progress, about what happens to the people we ask to be racial pioneers, and what we—as whites, as blacks—owe them in return. Maraniss will discuss Strong Inside at Parnassus Books in Nashville on November 19, 2014, at 6:30 p.m. The discussion will be moderated by Mayor Karl Dean.

Published Wednesday, 12 November 2014

On the Record

In Sound Man, Glyn Johns recalls his many encounters with rock’n’roll royalty

by Randy Fox

November 11, 2014 As a successful recording engineer, producer, and sound mixer, Glyn Johns has spent more than five decades in the music business. In Sound Man, he offers a string of entertaining anecdotes about rock’n’roll royalty. Johns will appear at the Nashville Public Library on November 18, 2014, at 6:15 p.m. The event, part of the Salon@615 series, is free and open to the public.

Published Tuesday, 11 November 2014

“Give Me My Daily Wickedness”

Celebrated novelist Gish Jen talks with Chapter 16 about truth-telling and the project of fiction

by Sarah Norris

November 6, 2014 A prolific writer known for exploring multiculturalism with keen intelligence, grace, and humor, Gish Jen is the author of four novels, a short-story volume, and, most recently, a nonfiction book created from the talks she gave at Harvard University in 2012 as part of the William E. Massey Sr. Lectures in the History of American Civilization. Jen will give a free public reading in Buttrick Hall Room 101 on the Vanderbilt University campus in Nashville on November 13, 2014, at 7 p.m.

Published Thursday, 6 November 2014

Paging the Cake-Mix Doctor

Anne Byrn comes to the rescue with a whole new set of recipes for real life

by Nicki Pendleton Wood

November 4, 2014 Anne Byrn—famously known as the Cake Mix Doctor—talks with Chapter 16 about surviving her own culinary emergencies, the gift she brought Julia Child, and why home-cooking really is better than takeout (and not much harder to pull off). Bryne will discuss her new cookbook, Anne Byrn Saves the Day! at Parnassus Books in Nashville on November 11, 2014, at 6:30 p.m.

Published Tuesday, 4 November 2014

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