Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

Fascinated, Not Afraid

Erica Wright takes a sympathetic look at serpents in Snake

“The more reptile facilities I’ve visited and festivals I’ve attended, the more photos I’ve browsed online, the more I’ve become fascinated rather than afraid,” says Erica Wright in Snake. She shows the reptiles some love in this deeply personal and highly readable essay collection.

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Rejoice in the Complexity

In Vesper Flights, Helen Macdonald explores the interconnectedness of humans and wildlife

In her new essay collection, Vesper Flights, English naturalist Helen Macdonald reveals that the interconnectivity between humans and wildlife is constant, often fraught, and — on occasion — sublime. Macdonald will discuss Vesper Flights with Margaret Renkl in a ticketed online event benefiting Humanities Tennessee, hosted by Parnassus Books in Nashville on September 15.

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The Glorious Pastime: Alan Gratz

Bestselling kids’ author Alan Gratz talks about his love of detective novels and a book that surprised him

Knoxville native Alan Gratz takes on tough subjects in his fiction for young readers, as in his 2019 novel, Allies, set during World War II. Resist, a companion novella to Allies, will be released as an ebook and audiobook in September. In response to our Glorious Pastime questionnaire, Gratz tells Chapter 16 what he’s been reading lately and recommends an underappreciated book series.  

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What does it mean to go where you don’t belong?

We’re driving up to Marquette, a college town in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula for the beginning of my freshman year, something no other Vargo has ever done in the history of the Vargos. As we drive, I grow more ashamed with each passing mile marker. My father is old and we are poor and I am 18, trying to reinvent myself in a place I’ve never known.

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American Crow to Great White Shark

The Southern Wildlife Watcher surveys the region’s creatures

Rob Simbeck takes a close look at 36 creatures in The Southern Wildlife Watcher: Notes of a Naturalist, offering readers glimpses of the mundane and the miraculous. Simbeck will discuss the book at a virtual event hosted by Parnassus Books in Nashville on August 31 and at the 2020 Southern Festival of Books, held online October 1-11.

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Seeing Other Possibilities

Julia Alvarez talks with Chapter 16 about sisterhood, global community, and living by metaphor

Award-winning author Julia Alvarez helped pave the way for other Latina writers in the U.S. with her 1991 debut novel, How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents. Alvarez talks with Chapter 16 about her latest novel, Afterlife, and what it means to envision new possibilities in this troubled time. She will appear at the 2020 Southern Festival of Books, held online October 1-11.

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