Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

Maria Browning

After Memphis

Journalist Clay Risen looks at the legacy of King assassination, then and now

Clay Risen‘s A Nation on Fire: America in the Wake of the King Assassination offers a detailed examination of the riots that ravaged U.S. cities after Martin Luther King Jr.’s murder in April 1968. Drawing on a rich array of sources, including firsthand recollections, Risen depicts a country that was not united in mourning, but divided by rage and fear.

Read more

Semi-Tragic Romance

In Manette Ansay’s fictional world, men and women are doomed to disappoint each other

Good Things I Wish You is Manette Ansay‘s eighth book and arguably her most ambitious. Ansay originally conceived it as a historical novel, but it evolved into a story that, she says, “leans backwards out of the present world and into the 1860s.”

Read more

Voices of Stone

Poetic interpretations of a master sculptor’s work

Nashville sculptor William Edmondson believed he worked at God’s command. In a collection of poems for young readers, Elizabeth Spires gives his creations voices of their own.

Read more

In Praise of Doubt

Grappling with ethical and existential dilemmas (religion optional)

David Dark—a schoolteacher, scholar and evangelical gadfly—urges his readers to question everything, including the whole of orthodox religion and even their belief in God. Consequently, although his new book was clearly conceived with a Christian audience in mind, Dark’s thoughtful iconoclasm invites anyone to, as he puts it, “submit everything we’re up to, at work and at play, to the discipline of sacred questioning.”

Read more

Engaging Ontogeny—and Animal Sex

Michael Sims discusses biological and literary creativity

Where do babies come from? It may be a child’s question, but the answer is far from simple, especially if we consider the baby-making processes of the whole animal kingdom, as Michael Sims does in his companion to the National Geographic Channel’s television special of the same name, In the Womb: Animals. It features ultrasound images of fetal animals that are so detailed and vivid it’s almost hard to believe they aren’t simulations.

Read more

Good Clean Crime

With The Penguin Book of Gaslight Crime, Michael Sims assembles a collection of tales about genteel fin-de-siècle con artists

Michael Sims is a longtime fan of early crime fiction, with a particular taste for caper stories told from the criminal’s point of view. His new book features a dozen colorful miscreants, including little-known creations by O. Henry and Sinclair Lewis, along with background material and author profiles.

Read more