Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

Empty Gyms

On basketball in a pandemic, private milestones, and a teary farewell to Paul Westphal

Watching the NBA this season makes me think of empty gyms not as unfortunate pandemic protocol, but as basketball returning to its purest state.

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Violence, love, and animals

Colin Dayan discusses the obsessions that shape her work

Colin Dayan’s Animal Quintet, as the title suggests, is an ensemble of short compositions, each with an animal motif. The collection is a potent mix of memoir and meditation, tender dreams and nightmares.

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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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Anything So Dangerous and Painful as Hope

Alan Gratz’s Ground Zero contrasts the terrors of 9/11 with a day in war-torn Afghanistan

In Ground Zero, possibly his most heart-wrenching middle-grade book yet, Knoxville native Alan Gratz weaves the terror of 9/11 and the pain of the ongoing war in Afghanistan into a story whose relentless pace and nonstop suspense ensure readers feel every bit of it. Gratz will discuss Ground Zero at a virtual event hosted by Parnassus Books in Nashville on February 12.

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The Light of Truth

Michelle Duster delivers an intimate biography of Ida B. Wells

Ida B. the Queen: The Extraordinary Life and Legacy of Ida B. Wells offers a fresh, relevant take on the anti-lynching activist. Moving beyond mere biography, Michelle Duster weaves Wells’ history with her own memoir. Duster will discuss the book at a virtual event hosted by Parnassus Books in Nashville on February 4.

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Legendary Lady

Nashville author Ariel Lawhon’s latest is a masterful novel about an unsung World War II heroine

Ariel Lawhon’s Code Name Hélène, an exhaustively researched and vividly woven historical novel, introduces readers to unsung WWII heroine Nancy Wake, who led a thousand French Resistance fighters, became a critical Allied asset, and eluded the Nazis so effectively that she inspired the nickname “The White Mouse.” Lawhon will discuss the book at virtual events hosted by Parnassus Books in Nashville on February 2 and Novel in Memphis on February 9.

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