Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

Kashif Andrew Graham

Travel and Disappearance

Kiese Laymon’s novel Long Division operates at the intersection of language and time

The reissue of Kiese Laymon’s Long Division echoes a familiar Black church precept of doing your first works over. In this new iteration of his 2013 debut novel, Laymon separates the story into two books, or testaments, each centered around 14-year-old Citoyen “City” Coldson.

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Life, Breath, and Death

Michael Eric Dyson’s Long Time Coming is an elegy and a call to action

Michael Eric Dyson’s Long Time Coming: Reckoning with Race in America focuses on life, breath, and death, particularly regarding Black bodies. Dyson beatifies the slain and enjoins those newly “woke” to approach social justice work with humility.  

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The Light of Truth

Michelle Duster delivers an intimate biography of Ida B. Wells

Ida B. the Queen: The Extraordinary Life and Legacy of Ida B. Wells offers a fresh, relevant take on the anti-lynching activist. Moving beyond mere biography, Michelle Duster weaves Wells’ history with her own memoir. Duster will discuss the book at a virtual event hosted by Parnassus Books in Nashville on February 4.

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Go Tell It in the Valley

Wrestling with God and a three-letter word

I cannot recall now whether it was by some serendipitous search or opportune recommendation, but Go Tell It on the Mountain was soon in my hands. I had never read James Baldwin, but judging by the forlorn Black boy on the cover, I knew that the book was for and about me. The opening lines confirmed my thoughts: “Everyone had always said that John would be a preacher when he grew up, just like his father.” I was there, in Cleveland, and in seminary, to answer just that call — or threat. For when the saints marked you as a preacher, you could run, but you could never really hide.

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Yes, We Feel Like You Do

Guitar legend Peter Frampton tells his own story

Do You Feel Like I Do? is a catalog of musician Peter Frampton’s life and career, told by Frampton himself for the first time. Frampton’s renowned gift for songwriting translates to storytelling, and his vivid, conversational style lends this memoir the intimacy of a coffee shop chat. Frampton will discuss the book in a ticketed virtual event hosted by Parnassus books in Nashville on October 20.

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Home, Happiness, and Hurt

Writers of color consider what it means to belong in the South

A Measure of Belonging: Twenty-One Writers of Color on the New American South considers the varying societal access points for people of color below the Mason-Dixon line. From a broad range of perspectives, the book takes on an essential question: What does it mean to “get into” the modern South, rather than remaining an eternal tourist? Editor Cinelle Barnes, along with contributors Jennifer Hope Choi and Minda Honey, will appear at the 2020 Southern Festival of Books, held online October 1-11.

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