Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Welcome to Chapter 16, an online journal about the literary side of life in Tennessee. There’s a certain irony in the whole concept of a website devoted to celebrating books. (Wags might claim there’s also an irony in the concept of a literary life in Tennessee.) The Internet can be a dispiriting place, where total cranks and nincompoops effortlessly assume the mantle of authority, and anonymous comments savage the most enlightened points of view. Internet publications tend to be instantaneous and often incompletely considered — the very opposite of a book. Plus, it’s a sensory wasteland, lacking the satisfying heft of a book, the rustle of pages, the lovely scent of glue and ink.

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Book Excerpt: They Came to Nashville

Emmylou Harris tells Marshall Chapman about moving to Nashville in a flesh-colored Ford with a baby bed tied to the roof

My earliest memories of Emmylou are sketchy at best. Let’s see. At one point―it may have been 1972―Emmy was waiting tables at a Polynesian restaurant out on White Bridge Road at about the same time that Rodney Crowell and I were working at T.G.I. Friday’s. I can’t remember if I met Emmylou then or not. But I distinctly remember the first time I heard her singing voice.

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