Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

Tina Chambers

Steady as Time

In The Hills Remember, Johnson City poet Ted Olson collects James Still’s beautiful stories of Appalachian life

November 13, 2012 The difficulty of finding work during the Depression drew poet and novelist James Still to Knott County, Kentucky, but it was the wild beauty of the place that kept him there. As he got to know the fiercely independent inhabitants of a harsh landscape, he began to write about their lives. In The Hills Remember, editor Ted Olson, professor of Appalachian Studies at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, has put together a collection of Still’s short pieces spanning more than forty years. In them Still’s own voice emerges, as clear and as pure as a dipperful of cold mountain water.

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A Brain on Fire

Award-winning author and literacy crusader Mem Fox preaches the importance of reading to children

October 25, 2012 Mem Fox believes passionately that a good book has the power to move a reader “profoundly, one way or another—to laughter or tears, horror or delight, disgust or dismay, fascination or fright. If a book makes children laugh, cry, squeal, shiver, or wriggle and jiggle in some way, it takes up residence in their hearts and stays there.” Inspired by decades of experience as an educator, an award-winning children’s book author, and a parent, Fox considers her most important role to be crusading for the importance of reading aloud to young children, which she believes is an absolutely essential component in a child’s healthy development. On November 5 at 6:15 p.m., Mem Fox will appear at the Nashville Public Library as part of the Salon@615 series. The event is free and open to the public.

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More at Peace than Ever Before

Kingsport native Lisa Alther talks with Chapter 16 about her career-retrospective story collection

October 19, 2012 In Stormy Weather & Other Stories, bestselling author and Kingsport native Lisa Alther has put together a collection of short stories written throughout her decades-long career. The selections are lively and varied, and together they represent a body of work that reaches all the way back to the publication of her first novel, Kinflicks, in 1976. Most recently, Alther returned to Appalachia as she researched Blood Feud, an accounting of the famous feud between the Hatfield and McCoy families. On October 25, Lisa Alther will be inducted into the East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame and also receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from Knoxville’s Friends of Literacy.

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La Vie Bohème

John Shelton Reed brings to life a French Quarter arts community in 1920s New Orleans

October 1, 2012 In 1926, two New Orleans roommates—one a writer, the other an artist—decided to put together a little book about their French Quarter circle of friends, most of whom were also writers and artists, and publish a few hundred copies, consisting mainly of caricatures and witty captions. In Dixie Bohemia: A French Quarter Circle in the 1920s, John Shelton Reed uses this little book by artist William Spratling and his roommate—a fellow by the name of William Faulkner—as a snapshot out of time through which to explore the bohemian arts community that thrived in the Vieux Carré of the 1920s. John Shelton Reed will discuss Dixie Bohemia at Nashville’ s Southern Festival of Books on October 14 at 2:30 p.m. in Legislative Plaza Room 12. All festival events are free and open to the public.

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Misfits and Magic

Wendy Welch tells the charming, true story of the little bookstore that could

September 27, 2012 When Wendy Welch and her Scottish husband, Jack Beck, decided to open a used bookstore in the small town of Big Stone Gap, Virginia, they had a whimsical vision of what their lives would be like. Soon enough, they were introduced to the long hours, aching backs, small margins, and myriad problems that make up the life of an independent bookseller. In The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap, Welch describes the evolution of their business, as they are led full-circle to the realization that, despite all the headaches, “Bookshops are magic, and books are the road maps by which misfits find each other.” Wendy Welch will discuss The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap at Union Ave. Books in Knoxville on October 6 at 2 p.m., Parnassus Books in Nashville on November 8 at 6:30 p.m., and at The Booksellers at Laurelwood in Memphis on November 9 at 6 p.m.

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Before, When We Were Young

The past is a nightmare in Peter Heller’s terrifying, funny, heart-breaking, and suspenseful debut novel

September 11, 2012 Imagine a decent, ordinary, hard-working guy who just wants to be a good husband and hang out with his dog and go trout fishing once in a while. Then imagine that guy in his 1956 Cessna 182 airplane, flying over the brutal, lawless rubble of civilization’s end. Where would he go? How would he survive? What would he become? That’s the premise of award-winning adventure writer Peter Heller’s wonderful debut novel, The Dog Stars. Heller will discuss the book at the twenty-fourth annual Southern Festival of Books, held October 12-14 at Legislative Plaza in Nashville. All events are free and open to the public.

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