Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

Not Your Father's Tennessee Vols

In On Rocky Top, Nashville sportswriter Clay Travis turns UT football’s worst season into a study of contemporary college athletics

When Clay Travis got a book deal to cover the 2008 University of Tennessee football team, he had no idea he was about to witness the worst season in the program’s 110-year history. The hapless Volunteers won only one of six Southeastern Conference matchups during their twelve-game schedule, which also saw the firing of coaching legend Phil Fulmer. For Travis, a lifetime UT fan, the losses resonated far beyond the arches of Neyland Stadium, the Vols’ home. On Rocky Top channels Travis’s disappointment into a riveting analysis of what’s at stake in the increasingly mercenary world of college athletics.

Read more

Finding the Energy to Move

Amanda Little traces the origins of America’s oil dependence—and investigates options for the future

Amanda Little has been doing some traveling. After the great northeast blackout of August 2003, the Nashville environmental journalist decided that she wanted to learn the nuts and bolts—or, more appropriately, the barrels and watts—of America’s energy infrastructure. She investigates the ways in which energy shapes our lives and considers possible options for the future, now that our addiction to fossil fuels is becoming untenable. The result is Power Trip: From Oil Wells to Solar Cells—A Ride to Our Renewable Future.

Read more

Happiness is a Sad Song

Dr. Ralph Stanley discusses his 63 years in music

When he was a child, he was often called “the boy with the hundred year old voice.” At 82 years old, Dr. Ralph Stanley remains younger than the sound of his singing and continues to travel the world performing for capacity crowds. In his new book, Man of Constant Sorrow, Stanley recounts a career spanning six decades and millions of miles.

Read more

Honeymoon Pleasures

In her fifth Lady Emily mystery, Tasha Alexander’s Victorian heroine discovers the many benefits of married life, the exotic beauties of Constantinople—and the real killer of a diplomat’s daughter

Lady Emily Ashton has never lacked confidence. In the deft hands of her creator, former Nashvillian Tasha Alexander, this widowed nineteenth-century beauty drinks port with the boys, studies ancient Greek, solves murders (including that of her late husband), and clears the falsely accused. In her latest adventure, Tears of Pearl: A Novel of Suspense, Lady Emily is as stylish as ever, and newly married to the handsome Colin Hargreaves.

Read more

Hello, Legendary Songwriter

Marshall Chapman talks with Chapter 16 about her new book, her new record, and her gig with Garden & Gun

Marshall Chapman is one of Nashville’s most loved and revered singer-songwriters. To date she has released ten critically acclaimed albums and has written songs for a laundry list of country and rock superstars, including Emmylou Harris, John Hiatt, Wynonna, Joe Cocker, Jimmy Buffett, Crystal Gayle, and Ronnie Milsap, among many others. Her first book, Goodbye, Little Rock and Roller was published in 2003 and was a finalist for both the 2004 SEBA Book Awards and the Southern Book Critics Circle Award. Her next book, They Came to Nashville, will be released by Vanderbilt University Press in spring 2010.

Read more

A Voice Worth Finding

Kevin Wilson’s first story collection displays great emotional depth—and a few youthful missteps

Young fiction writers in America tend to receive their early training around the workshop tables of college creative writing programs. They next prove themselves in the minor leagues, writing short stories for the handful of respected journals that continue to print them. When the stories are good—as Tennessee native Kevin Wilson‘s surely are—the writer is rewarded with a rookie contract to the majors, which is to say, a big-name publisher agrees to put out a collection, with the promise of a (usually yet-to-be-written) novel. Tunneling to the Center of the Earth proves that Harper Perennial’s faith in Wilson was justified, but the book also illustrates the foibles inherent in the farm-team system.

Read more