A new essay collection edited by Kristopher Ray provides a scholarly look at Tennessee’s origins

by Ralph Bowden

March 26, 2014 In Before the Volunteer State, Kristofer Ray has gathered essays from eight scholars that add layers of complexity to the superficial story Tennesseans learn in school. The real story of Tennessee begins much earlier, in the anthropological records left by Native Americans as they adapted to European contacts. Then came the influx of settlers and frontier fortune hunters, and then the wars. The birth of Tennessee was not as simple, painless, or edifying as we may have thought.

Published Thursday, 26 March 2015

Leon’s Dog

A Chapter 16 writer considers the complications of kindness

by Maria Browning

March 25, 2015 One day in early January the weather reports were full of breathless predictions about a brutal cold snap on its way. When I drove by Leon’s house that afternoon I saw the dog out there, and knowing it would soon shiver in a sub-zero wind chill, I suddenly couldn’t take it anymore. It was unbearable to continue doing nothing.

Published Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Marching On

The graphic trilogy March, Congressman John Lewis’s memoir of the American civil-rights movement, continues with a focus on Nashville’s Freedom Riders

by Michael Ray Taylor

March 19, 2015 Impressive artwork by Nate Powell, a gripping story by Andrew Aydin, and an eyewitness view of history from U.S. Representative John Lewis combine flawlessly in March: Book Two, the second volume of Lewis’s graphic memoir of the American civil-rights movement. This installment highlights Lewis’s Nashville-based efforts to launch Freedom Riders onto segregated bus lines throughout the South.

Published Thursday, 19 March 2015

“I'd Rather Be There than Any Place I Know”

In Beale Street Dynasty, Preston Lauterbach chronicles the tumultuous history of Memphis

by Randy Fox

March 12, 2015 Preston Lauterbach’s Beale Street Dynasty: Sex, Song, and the Struggle for the Soul of Memphis paints a beguiling portrait of American ambition, ingenuity, tragedy, and the birth of the blues. Lauterbach will discuss the book at Rhodes College in Memphis on March 19, 2015, at 6 p.m. in the McCallum Ballroom of the Bryan Campus Life Center. The event, part of the three-day Beale Street Symposium, is free and open to the public.

Published Thursday, 12 March 2015

Show Business

In The Tennessee Theatre journalist Jack Neely celebrates Knoxville’s landmark movie palace

by Tristan Charles

March 6, 2015 What really matters to a city’s identity are the places that maintain a singular character over decades of change and still find a way to coexist with their contemporary neighbors. In Knoxville, as journalist Jack Neely points out in The Tennessee Theatre, that distinctive personality is formed by its surviving movie palace.

Published Friday, 6 March 2015

Terror in Tuscaloosa

In What Stands in a Storm, Kim Cross recounts the deadly tornado outbreak of 2011

by Michael Ray Taylor

March 3, 2015 With all the drama and heroism of a Hollywood action thriller, journalist Kim Cross follows the unrelenting march of a line of killer tornados that crossed the American South on April 27, 2011, killing 324 people. Cross will discuss What Stands in a Storm at Parnassus Books in Nashville on March 13, 2015, at 6:30 p.m. and at The Booksellers at Laurelwood in Memphis on March 14, 2015, at 3 p.m.

Published Tuesday, 3 March 2015

“In 1814 We Took a Little Trip”

Archivist Tom Kanon examines Tennessee’s role in the War of 1812

by Chris Scott

February 27, 2015 The nearly forgotten War of 1812, with the related Creek War, made Andrew Jackson a hero and launched Tennessee to national prominence. In Tennesseans at War, 1812 – 1815: Andrew Jackson, the Creek War, and the Battle of New Orleans, state archivist Tom Kanon details the causes, facets, and consequences of a fight that should be more remembered.

Published Friday, 27 February 2015

Passion, Precision, and Wit

John Jeremiah Sullivan takes home the 2015 Windham Campbell Literature Prize for nonfiction—and $150,000

by Mary Emily Vatt

February 26, 2015 Sewanee grad John Jeremiah Sullivan has already won two National Magazine Awards, a Whiting Writers’ Award, and a Pushcart Prize. Now he’s added a new title to his list of accolades: the 2015 Windham Campbell Literature Prize for nonfiction.

Published Thursday, 26 February 2015


Alice Randall and Caroline Randall Williams remember the kitchens of their ancestors—and offer healthful versions of family staples

by Nicki Pendleton Wood

February 19, 2015 Soul Food Love, the new cookbook memoir by Alice Randall and Caroline Randall Williams, is an elegy for the foods that nourished their ancestors, as well as an up-to-the-minute collection of flavor-forward recipes for sustainable, healthful eating. The mother-daughter duo will appear at the Nashville Public Library on February 28, 2015, at 2 p.m. as part of the Salon@615 series.

Published Thursday, 19 February 2015

Mother Lode

Kelly Corrigan’s third memoir, Glitter and Glue, is a poignant tale of learning to love her mother

by Sarah Norris

February 18, 2015 In her newest memoir, Glitter and Glue, Kelly Corrigan weaves together the complicated story of her relationship with her own mother and her 1992 experience as a nanny for a motherless family in Australia. Kelly Corrigan will discuss her third memoir, Glittler and Glue, at Gilda’s Club in Nashville on February 25, 2015, at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 and include a paperback copy of the bestselling memoir.

Published Wednesday, 18 February 2015

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