Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

As Real as They Are Magical

Bradley Sides’ debut collection delivers sincerely strange stories

Bradley Sides dedicates his first book to “all the dreamers, young and old — those now and those becoming….” Whether or not you consider yourself a dreamer — or a fan of magical realism — you will likely find something to believe in reading Sides’ beautiful stories.

Read more

Life of Two

Margaret Verble weaves the real and imagined in When Two Feathers Fell from the Sky

In her beguiling When Two Feathers Fell from the Sky, novelist Margaret Verble, a 2016 finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation, reimagines, for her own wily aims, the Nashville of a century ago, with allusions to Jim Crow, W.E.B. Du Bois’ Talented Tenth, and the city’s white gentry.

Read more

The Animal in the Mirror

Susan Orlean shows us ourselves in stories about furry and feathered companions

The four-legged and two-winged subjects in Susan Orlean’s essay collection On Animals include the wild and domestic, the friend and the servant. But really, it’s more about the people. She will be appearing at a virtual event with Elizabeth Strout and Ann Patchett in the Salon@615 series on October 20.

Read more

So Much Is Lost

The reality of life with a profoundly autistic child

Just before turning 2, Allison Moorer’s son was diagnosed with autism, later revealed to be Level 3, the most severe degree of disability. In I Dream He Talks to Me: A Memoir of Learning How to Listen, Moorer shares her hopes and fears for her son and offers an honest look at their life together. She will discuss the book at Parnassus Books in Nashville on October 15.

Read more

Radical Joy

In Alice Randall’s Black Bottom Saints, a dying man eulogizes the “Black Camelot” of mid-20th-century Detroit 

In Alice Randall’s fifth novel, Black Bottom Saints, a terminally ill columnist, club impresario, and dance school founder dictates tender hagiographies of the Black creatives who built and nurtured a thriving community in mid-20th-century Detroit. Randall will take part in the presentation of the 2021 John Egerton Prize, awarded by the Southern Foodways Alliance at an online session of the 2021 Southern Festival of Books on October 7.

Read more

Murder Songs and Mountain Secrets

A story of women bound by blood and music

The Ballad of Laurel Springs, the new novel from East Tennessee native Janet Beard, follows nine generations of women in a fictional town at the base of the Smoky Mountains, weaving murder, tragedy, and heartbreak into a singular tale bound together by the power of music.

Read more