Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

Michael Sims

Goddesses and Coal Miners

Michael Sims remembers the bookstore where he found the world

I loved opening the bookstore alone on Sunday. I loved how it smelled — all those books with their genie-in-a-bottle dreams of love and fear, goddesses and coal miners — Sherlock Holmes on the foggy moor — barefoot Sappho — Harriet Tubman, vampires, Lassie. Often I would arrive well before noon, to have some time alone with the books.

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Dark Lantern

An author finds his own teenage ghost in a thrift-shop book

What I saw was not a dusty old book but a boy in a wheelchair by a window in a ramshackle house farther east in Tennessee—two hours away, on the Cumberland Plateau near Crossville.

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A Super-Man

Book excerpt: Arthur and Sherlock: Conan Doyle and the Creation of Holmes

Michael Sims’s new book of nonfiction, Arthur and Sherlock: Conan Doyle and the Creation of Holmes, will be released on January 24, 2017. Today Chapter 16 readers have a sneak peek at the first chapter.

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Elegance of Fancy

A writer remembers Nashville’s BookMan/BookWoman, which will close its doors at the end of the year

Shelves groaned from overpopulation. But it was this gaudy Shakespearean excess, the Mumbai crowds of jostling books, that made it such a heady experience to visit BookMan/BookWoman. It was the archaic opulence of it all, as if you might come home smelling of myrrh.

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The Cost of a Thing

Decades after first reading Walden, Michael Sims still finds Henry David Thoreau exciting and challenging, maddening and inspiring

July 27, 2015 “When I first read Thoreau as a teenager, I quickly realized that I had found a magic carpet to my own rural Tennessee world. Henry helped me see and hear and smell my own woodland paths, and my own pond, with fresh senses.” Michael Sims will appear at the Southern Festival of Books, held in Nashville October 9-11, 2015. All festival events are free and open to the public.

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Where the Wild Things Are

In connection with a show at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Mark W. Scala considers the unsettling side of human imagination

May 14, 2012 Mark W. Scala’s Fairy Tales, Monsters, and the Genetic Imagination, a beautiful catalog for an art exhibition, is both invigorating and disturbing. It’s invigorating because it isn’t another business-as-usual record of a museum playing it safe with crowd-pleasers like the Impressionists but rather a lively demonstration of a museum engaged with the primordial dark side of the human psyche. It’s disturbing for the same reason, and it’s meant to be. “Fairy Tales, Monsters, and the Genetic Imagination” runs through May 28 at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville.

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