Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

The Labyrinths of Memory

In Aliens in the Prime of Their Lives, Mississippian Brad Watson returns to familiar territory—and reinvents it

Brad Watson‘s new collection, Aliens in the Prime of Their Lives, returns to the post-Faulkner, post-modern South of bleak strip malls, cheap motels, tacky Gulf Coast beaches, and lonely outposts surrounded by murky water, the faint odor of decay, and the ever-present specters of longing and loss. But despite the well-known milieu, these new stories demonstrate a mastery of the surreal that lifts them above the typical conventions of Southern Gothic. Brad Watson will be at Burke’s Book Store in Memphis on March 30.

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You Say It's YA; I Say It's for Everyone

Darnell Arnoult interviews Silas House about his latest novel

March 25, 2010 Not every novel featuring a young protagonist is appropriate for young readers, but Silas House didn’t want to exclude anyone when he wrote Eli the Good. As House tells Darnell Arnoult, “I just wanted to write a book that anyone could read, so I made sure that it was suitable for high school and on up.” But an open-armed welcome to teen readers doesn’t mean the book is boring for adults, he adds.

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Moonlight and Macaroons

In The Girl Who Chased the Moon, Sarah Addison Allen stirs up a sweet froth of a mystery

Mullaby, North Carolina, is like many a small Southern town, complete with barbeque joints, eccentrics, and neighbors with long memories. The setting for author Sarah Addison Allen‘s latest novel, The Girl Who Chased the Moon, Mullaby is a place where mysteries are so commonplace the town’s inhabitants have come to view them with an air of blasé acceptance. Allen will be in Nashville to read from her gentle new mystery at Davis-Kidd Booksellers on March 25 at 7 p.m.

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Creating the Playground

Michael Martone talks about ruined cities, rewired culture, and collapsing categories

Michael Martone has made a literary career out of re-imagining the ordinary, from the landscape of his native Indiana to the college sweatshirt. In anticipation of his reading at APSU on March 31, he answers questions from Chapter 16 about his fascination with place, his relationship with readers, and whether there’s a need for more college creative-writing programs.

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Horse, Dog, Land, Sky

In the harsh landscape of Wyoming, Nashvillian Laura Bell finds her elemental home

In 1977, Laura Bell—who grew up in Nashville—traveled to Wyoming for a short visit and never left. Her memoir, Claiming Ground, can more than hold its own against any survivor narrative of failed love and misplaced ambition, against any epic quest for understanding and mercy, and in language so tempered, spare, and beautiful that it rivals any poem’s. In the context of celebrity tell-alls and fabricated survivor narratives, literary worth is only rarely the measure of a memoir’s success, but if ever a book deserved to be a bestseller, Claiming Ground surely does. Laura Bell will discuss her memoir at Davis-Kidd Booksellers on March 31 at 7 p.m.

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Marshall Chapman wraps a movie

What’s new in Tennessee books—and at Chapter 16—on March 18, 2010

Marshall Chapman wraps her first movie, Love Don’t Let Me Down; the Los Angeles Times salutes Richard Bausch‘s Something Is Out There; and Ann Patchett‘s 2001 novel Bel Canto finally reaches the stage.

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