Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

Week Links

Check out all the places Tennessee writers have appeared online in the past week

July 19, 2010 Bill Friskics-Warrren, Silas House, Amanda Little, Adam Ross, Rebecca Skloot, and Abraham Verghese are popping up all over the news scene:

Music journalist Bill Friskics-Warren, author of I’ll Take You There: Pop Music and the Urge for Transcendence, memorializes Nashville songwriter Hank Cochran in this obituary in The New York Times. “Heartache was Mr. Cochran’s great theme as a songwriter,” he writes.

Poet and novelist Silas House is a longtime and passionate opponent of mountaintop-removal mining. In an op-ed piece in the Louisville Courier-Journal, he comes to the aid of actress Ashley Judd, whose speech before the National Press Club in June caused controversy in her home state of Kentucky because of her position on mountaintop removal. Money quote: “I believe everyone has the right to offer their opinion about MTR and Judd’s speech, and I welcome differing voices. But twisting words and purposely taking things out of context is just flat-out wrong. It’s lying. When people and the media do this, however, they’re doing just what the industry wants them to, as big corporations have always furthered their own causes by dividing and conquering the people.”

Science writer Amanda Little talks with Alison Stewart of the PBS program Need to Know about why she’s both an environmentalist and a supporter of offshore drilling in U.S. coastal waters. Her reasons may surprise you. Listen to the podcast here.

Novelist Adam Ross continues his sweep across the media landscape as his debut novel, Mr. Peanut, climbs the bestseller lists (reaching number thirty-three in The New York Times and number twelve at NPR/IndieBound). Recent coverage includes reviews in the Edmonton Journal (“a tour de force of literary gamesmanship which never takes itself too seriously”), the The Kansas City Star and other newspapers served by the McClatchy syndicate (“an author whose voice is so distinct and vivid that you truly can’t find any comparison”), The Dallas Morning News (“an author whose voice is so distinct and vivid that you truly can’t find any comparison”), and BookReporter (“Ross’s way with descriptive prose is amazing”). Ross has given several new interviews this week, as well—to Charlie Rose, Stephen Usery of BookTalk, and Leonard Lopate. The book has also landed on The Daily Beast’s Buzz Board, Candace Bergen’s nightstand, and in the Incredible Hulk’s Twitter feed. (This is not a joke. Click here for proof.)

Rebecca Skloot, author of this year’s hit nonfiction book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (which has spent twenty-one weeks on The New York Times bestseller list so far), has moved her award-winning blog, “Culture Dish,” from its longtime home to protest’s decision to allow employees of PepsiCo to write a blog on health and nutrition. Read Skloot’s explanation for her move—and follow links to media coverage of the controversy—here.

As a novelist, Abraham Verghese has written the story of a mid-century medical clinic in Ethiopia where scanners and screening devices aren’t available but skilled doctors can diagnose—and treat—a host of illnesses simply through careful physical examination. As a physician on the faculty of the Stanford University Medical School, Verghese teaches contemporary doctors-in-training just how much they can learn through human touch alone. On July 16, the PBS program Religion and Ethics NewsWeekly featured an interview with Verghese in which he explains why doctors should resist technology’s temptation to turn human beings into what he calls “iPatients.” He makes a similar point in the summer issue of Stanford Medicine, in an article called “The Healing Hand: Putting the Physical Back in the Physical Exam.” In the July 10 issue of The Wall Street Journal he lists his own favorite books about the lives of doctors.

For more updates on Tennessee authors, please visit Chapter 16‘s News & Notes page, here.