Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

Joe Nolan

Hip-Hop Homeboys

Ben Westhoff’s new book finds hip-hop born again in the South

May 9, 2011 In the introduction to his new book, Dirty South, Ben Westhoff outlines the New York origins of rap, its transformation into a unique West Coast style, and the deadly rivalries that created real body counts between the warring factions. But the real focus of Dirty South is the rise of a third front that finds artists and groups from below the Mason-Dixon Line dominating the charts and soaking up the spotlights. It’s a style that emphasizes danceable bass and favors grunts and chants over metaphor-heavy lyrics. More than just a music book, Dirty South is an exploration of the racism, poverty, joie de vivre, and pride that are all a part of the art and lives of some of the biggest rap artists in the South and the world. Along the way, Westhoff plays equal parts flatfoot reporter and gonzo journalist, immersing himself—and his readers—in a culture that is as vibrant and provocative as the music it’s become known for. Westhoff will discuss Dirty South at DK Booksellers in Memphis on May 9 at 6 p.m.

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Stalwart Sentinels

Photographer Nell Dickerson combines her own images with a story by Shelby Foote to argue for the preservation of historic buildings

May 3, 2011 In her new book, Gone: A Photographic Plea for Preservation, architect and photographer Nell Dickerson teams up with the late Shelby Foote, her cousin by marriage, to offer two intertwining tales of a disappearing South. The first is a Foote novella that recounts the loss of historic structures to the torches of Union soldiers during the Civil War nearly 150 years ago. The second is the story told through Dickerson’s images, which document the neglect, poverty, and apathy that have caused the disappearance of so many historic buildings since the war. Nell Dickerson will discuss Gone: A Photographic Plea for Presentation at DK Booksellers in Memphis on May 7 at 1 p.m.

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A Dog's Best Friend

Robert J. Blake’s new picture book teaches kids how friendship really works

March 22, 2011 Robert J. Blake’s latest picture book features the tale of two best friends who’ll do anything to stay together. The protagonists of Painter and Ugly are a pair of dogs whose love for one another is nearly matched by their love of competing in Alaskan dog-sled races. Blake, who is also the book’s illustrator, immerses readers in the story of a Junior Iditarod race, a grueling test in which a group of competing teenagers push their dog-sled teams on a nearly eighty-mile trek into the Alaskan wilderness, only to complete the return run the very next day, after a night of camping in the cold with their dog teams. He recently answered questions from Chapter 16 via email.

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Time Savers

Jim McCann and Janet Lee save the day—and the night—with their big-buzz graphic novel

December 9, 2010 Hear that buzzing sound? No, it’s not Rudolph’s nose on the fritz. It’s what’s happening as an author and artist with Nashville connections give Santa a run for his sleigh with Return of the Dapper Men, one of the season’s hit holiday gifts. Jim McCann and Janet Lee will sign copies of their new graphic novel at Art & Invention Gallery in Nashville on December 9 at 5:30 p.m.

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Kell Black’s new book is a make-your-own collection of New York icons, all entirely constructed of paper

November 30, 2010 A fold-and-glue tour of iconic Gotham architecture and scenes, Kell Black’s new book, Paper New York, is a tiny treasure trove, an architecture primer, and a sentimental postcard from The City, all wrapped up in one, slim, tasteful volume. Including simple instructions, twenty die-cut, pop-out models, and a smattering of smart, engaging information about the buildings that the book depicts—and its readers recreate—Paper New York is much more than just a crafty activity pack.

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Building Stories

Robin Hood and James A. Crutchfield take readers on an architectural tour of Tennessee history

November 1, 2010 It’s no mistake that the word history holds the word “story” within it. A new kind of history recorded by a pair of accomplished Middle Tennesseans— Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Robin Hood and James A. Crutchfield, author of fifty books—isn’t a dreary textbook full of forgettable facts, and it doesn’t feature the ponderous tones of an overbearing expert guiding you through predictable, well-worn paths of the Volunteer State’s bygone days. The pair recently spoke with Chapter 16 about their new book, Historic Nashville, which benefits the Tennessee Preservation Trust.

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