Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

Michael Ray Taylor

The Energy Hiding in Our Hearts

Robert Gipe’s Appalachian trilogy concludes with Pop: An Illustrated Novel

“Why can’t we tell our own stories?” asks the young hero of Pop: An Illustrated Novel, the final installment of Robert Gipe’s groundbreaking Canard County trilogy. Amid the weight of the past and poverty, the 2016 presidential election, sexual assault, and an invading mess of movie people, his nuanced characters do exactly that — in fine prose and disarmingly simple drawings.

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Spenser Hits 50

Ace Atkins keeps the action going in Robert B. Parker’s Someone to Watch Over Me

Spenser faces an old nemesis in Someone to Watch Over Me, Ace Atkins’ ninth addition to the late Robert B. Parker’s much-loved series. Accompanied by his friend Hawk and new protégé Mattie, the detective chases a billionaire sex trafficker from Boston to the Caribbean, drawing the interest of the strange villain known as the Gray Man.

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A Glorious and Invisible Map

In M.O. Walsh’s endearing new novel, a strange machine disrupts life in a small Southern town

The Big Door Prize, a new novel from M.O. Walsh, poses a big what if: What if a vending machine could read your DNA and provide your “potential life station?” The answers shake up residents of a small Southern town in ways that are by turns comical and profound. Walsh will discuss the novel at the 2020 Southern Festival of Books, held online October 1-11.

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More than a Dream

Jon Meacham delivers a rich account of a life built on protest and hope

In His Truth Is Marching On: John Lewis and the Power of Hope, Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer Jon Meacham, a distinguished visiting professor at Vanderbilt, has written a moving, rigorously researched account of the late congressman’s life, with an afterword written by Lewis himself. Meacham will discuss the book at a virtual event hosted by Parnassus Books in Nashville on August 25.

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Remembering Robert Johnson

Brother Robert provides a human perspective on the man who changed American music

Assisted by journalist and historian Preston Lauterbach, 94-year-old Annye C. Anderson describes growing up in Memphis with her stepbrother, Robert Johnson. This detail-rich oral history recounts the famous bluesman from his earliest childhood to his death at 27, along with the long legal battle for his music that followed.

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“The Bridge”

Book Excerpt: Hidden Nature: Wild Southern Caves

Michael Ray Taylor’s Hidden Nature: Wild Southern Caves, a mixture of memoir and subterranean natural history, will be published in August 2020. He chairs the communication and theatre arts department at Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas.

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