Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

Michael Ray Taylor

Rye Wit

Clay Risen talks about death, history, and the rebirth of America’s first spirit

Clay Risen’s American Rye presents a comprehensive guide to a uniquely American spirit. As with his previous books on bourbon and scotch, Risen explains the evolution and making of rye whiskey before offering reviews and tasting notes on 225 contemporary expressions of the spirit.

Read more

Scared Yet?

Vanderbilt historian Michael Bess explores four ways humanity might destroy itself

How does the world end? Futurist and Vanderbilt history professor Michael Bess lays out four convincing scenarios in Planet in Peril: Humanity’s Four Greatest Challenges and How We Can Overcome Them. After making well-researched arguments for the existential dangers of global warming, nukes, pandemics, and uncontrolled artificial intelligence, Bess offers hopeful antidotes to our imminent mass destruction.

Read more

Big River

Rinker Buck navigates turbulent swells and history in Life on the Mississippi

Tennessee-based journalist Rinker Buck’s second book, Life on the Mississippi: An Epic American Adventure, presents an engrossing and often comical account of his flatboat journey down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. Buck will appear at the 2022 Southern Festival of Books in Nashville on October 14-16.

Read more

A Finely Drawn Tragedy

Anna Olswanger’s A Visit to Moscow depicts a modern exodus

In 1965, an American rabbi investigating persecution of Jews in the former Soviet Union escaped KGB handlers to make a remarkable discovery, as told in A Visit to Moscow, a graphic history by Memphis native Anna Olswanger.

Read more

Drawn into Conflict

Aram Goudsouzian talks with Chapter 16 about a new graphic history on James Meredith

Historian Aram Goudsouzian has partnered with artist Bill Murray and editor Vijay Shah to produce Man on a Mission, a graphic history chronicling James Meredith’s struggle to integrate the University of Mississippi in 1962. Goudsouzian will discuss and the book at Novel in Memphis on September 27.

Read more

Big Man on Campus

James Dickey in the classroom

In those days I wanted to become a novelist, but Mr. Dickey, author of a bestselling novel and wildly successful screenplay, taught only poetry, which he called in one of his book titles “the central motion.” So poetry it was.

Read more