Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

Maria Browning

The Ecstatic Moment

Christmas memories can be complicated

December 18, 2015 The Brownings excelled at Christmas excess, and no one enjoyed it more than I did. Becoming an adult took most of the shine off the holiday for me. There is not much wonder in shopping and cooking and managing contentious relatives. But there was a time when Christmas wonder returned….

Read more

A Lively Dialogue Between Friends

Lisa Alther and Françoise Gilot discuss art, sex, war, and other things in About Women: Conversations Between a Writer and a Painter

December 7, 2015 About Women: Conversations Between a Writer and a Painter by Lisa Alther and Françoise Gilot is a lively dialogue between longtime friends about family, war, sex, fashion, food, and any number of other subjects. The conversation meanders through the history of the twentieth century, exploring the way culture and circumstance shaped the lives and work of two brilliant, unconventional women.

Read more

A Friendship Across the Divide

In Sarah Einstein’s Mot: A Memoir, a woman in search of herself befriends a tormented wanderer

November 17, 2015 Sarah Einstein’s Mot: A Memoir tells the story of the unlikely friendship between a woman trying to find some purpose in her troubled life and a chronically homeless man who struggles with an army of inner demons.

Read more

Dangers Unforeseen

The stories in Colum McCann’s Thirteen Ways of Looking explore the inescapable nature of risk

October 26, 2015 In Colum McCann’s latest story collection, Thirteen Ways of Looking, characters fall prey to unforeseen or unknowable threats, and their efforts to make the world safe and comprehensible fail. McCann will discuss the book at the University of Tennessee’s Hodges Library in Knoxville on November 2, 2015, at 7 p.m.

Read more

A Safe, Cozy Prison

Margaret Atwood’s The Heart Goes Last ponders just how much security is worth

October 12, 2015 Margaret Atwood’s The Heart Goes Last takes the very real ills and absurdities of the early twenty-first century—economic recession, for-profit prisons, gated communities, loss of privacy, technology-fueled narcissism, etc.—and gives them the signature Atwood tweak into the realm of speculative fiction. The issues it takes on are serious, but the story itself is a sexy, bitterly comic romp. Atwood will discuss The Heart Goes Last at the Nashville Public Library on October 19, 2015, at 6:15 p.m.

Read more

Failed Love in a New Nation

Rafia Zakaria’s memoir, The Upstairs Wife, sets the story of a sad marriage against the torturous history of Pakistan

October 8, 2015 In The Upstairs Wife, Rafia Zakaria nestles the story of her aunt’s difficult marriage within a broadly-sketched account of Pakistan’s torturous past, humanizing the country’s suffering and making its complex political situation more understandable, if no less troubling. Zakaria will discuss the book on October 9, 2015, at 3:30 p.m. in Conference Room 1A-B of the Nashville Public Library. The event, part of the Southern Festival of Books, is free and open to the public.

Read more