Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

Joe Nolan

Beautifully Bound

The Beautiful Books exhibit at Vanderbilt University celebrates books as objects of art

March 20, 2012 Before the invention of the printing press, books were handwritten on handmade materials, and every volume was unique. Book as Art: Beautiful Books, an exhibition which includes works on display at a number of venues around the Vanderbilt University campus, offers examples of bookmaking arts through the ages—the oldest book in the collection dates from 1480—and will run through August 12, 2012.

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The Woods Are Lovely

Photographer James Valentine’s new book captures the fine details of an ancient place

November 17, 2011 Southern Appalachian Celebration is not just a big book filled with pretty pictures. It’s also laced with big ideas that call for bold actions, a book that poses important questions, literally asking its readers to put themselves in the forest’s place when we consider our role as its custodian. Despite such sentiments, the book never feels like a hippie tree hug. The combination of Chris Bolgiano’s sober, clear text and James Valentine’s resonant images gives the book a Zen-like stateliness that affirms the seriousness of its intentions without insisting on its own seriousness.

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Story Bound

Handmade & Bound, a book-arts festival at Watkins College, kicks off a new tradition in Nashville

September 29, 2011 Handmade & Bound, a new book-arts festival in Nashville, will give visitors a chance to read between the lines. The festival features demonstrations and workshops that explore the world of carved wooden books, book restoration, indie-publishing resources, DIY pop-up books, zine-making, and more. “It really is an all-ages thing,” explains Annie Herlocker of Watkins College, a co-sponsor of the event. “This is something that spans all generations.”

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Lion of the Blues

Author Charles Farley tells the story of blues legend Bobby “Blue” Bland, invoking a pantheon of soul music’s most important faces and places

August 10, 2011 With Soul of the Man: Bobby “Blue” Bland, Charles Farley illuminates the life of a towering talent that The New Yorker recently called a contender for “voice of the century.” While Bobby “Blue” Bland may not be a household name outside the music community, he played a pivotal role in the blending of blues, country, and gospel that created the soul-music revolution. Farley recently answered questions from Chapter 16 via email and will be signing his new book at The Booksellers at Laurelwood in Memphis on August 11 at 6 p.m.

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True Myth

Poet Tony Tost looks at the Man in Black through the lens of American Recordings

June 3, 2011 Tony Tost has no interest in debunking the myth of the Man in Black. In fact, his new book depends on it. Instead of relying on a hackneyed fact-versus-fiction structure, Johnny Cash’s American Recordings (33 1/3) gives itself over completely to Johnny Cash’s outlaw/prophet mystique. The book’s specific goal is to get to the truths that lie past the treeline of the merely factual. Beyond the cavernous voice, poetic songwriting, and towering stage presence, Tost argues, Johnny Cash’s single greatest artistic accomplishment was the creation of “the mythic version of himself.” In fact, for Tost, the “mythic self” is the single greatest creation America has given the world, for him, Cash, the country, and American Recordings are forever entwined.

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The Art of Recovery

A new book by the Creative Arts Project spotlights the healing power of art

May 20, 2011 Challenged Lives: Artistic Vision, a colorful new art book by the Creative Arts Project, is bringing attention to a number of Middle Tennessee creators, showcasing their work as well as their personalities and their thoughts on the creative process. Years in the making, it’s the latest effort by this Nashville-based organization to raise awareness about mental illness and addiction, and to draw attention to the life-changing benefits of art therapy. Jane Baxter, director of the Creative Arts Project, recently answered questions via email about the book, the artists it showcases, and the value of creative therapy.

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