Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

Sean Kinch

The Revised Rules for Caregiving

In Julia Claiborne Johnson’s comic novel, Be Frank with Me, a reclusive novelist needs help raising her difficult son

April 8, 2016 The premise of Julia Claiborne Johnson’s debut novel, Be Frank With Me, sounds like a winning Hollywood pitch: a reclusive author who’s published nothing since achieving phenomenal success decades earlier is forced to write again when she loses her fortune to a Madoff-style swindler.

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A Theory of Love and History

In fiction and essays, Julian Barnes proves that truth is multiple

March 21, 2016 Reading Julian Barnes is a paradoxical pleasure: the author makes clear, in book after book, that literature provides no reassurances, no uncanny access to wisdom or happiness, no affirmation to troubled readers—and yet the experience of reading his work is strangely comforting. Now seventy, Barnes keeps exploring profound questions and continues to produce brilliantly conflicting answers. He will give a free public reading at Vanderbilt University’s Ingram Hall in Nashville on March 23, 2016, at 6:30 p.m.

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Explosive Passions

Ariel Lawhon’s Flight of Dreams re-imagines the final voyage of the Hindenburg

February 16, 2016 Ariel Lawhon’s new novel, Flight of Dreams, is a historical mystery that imagines the real cause of the Hindenburg’s explosion. While private drama occupies the foreground of Lawhon’s story, the specter of Hitler is never far from the characters’ minds. Lawhon will appear at Parnassus Books in Nashville on February 24, 2016, at 6:30 p.m.

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The Desperate Housewives of Hong Kong

In Janice Y. K. Lee’s The Expatriates, Americans abroad learn to persevere

January 25, 2016 Janice Y. K. Lee’s new novel, The Expatriates, depicts the intersecting lives of three women in Hong Kong. When their world of privilege is thrown into disarray, they learn how to overcome trauma and rebuild their lives. Janice Y. K. Lee will read from The Expatriates at Parnassus Books in Nashville on January 26, 2016, at 6:30 p.m.

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In The Wake of History

In Golden Age, the culmination of Jane Smiley’s Last Hundred Years Trilogy, America’s past catches up to the present

November 10, 2015 The first two volumes of Jane Smiley’s Last One Hundred Years trilogy cover 1920-1986, as reflected through the lives of an Iowa family. In Golden Age, the final installment of the series, Smiley takes readers through the heady ‘90s, the shaky aughts, and the present decade, finally offering a disturbing glimpse into the near future. Smiley will discuss her new novel at the Nashville Public Library on November 18, 2015, at 6:15 p.m.

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The More Masks, the Better

In Tom Piazza’s A Free State, a runaway slave creates a new identity as part of a blackface-minstrel show in Philadelphia

October 1, 2015 In Tom Piazza’s new novel, A Free State, a runaway slave, Henry Sims, joins a troupe of minstrels in blackface, but for Henry the only possible freedom comes from the liberating power of music. Piazza will discuss A Free State at Crosstown Arts in Memphis on October 8, 2015, and at the Southern Festival of Books, held in Nashville October 9-11, 2015.

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