Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Bear Hunter by James T. McCafferty

Posted By on Tue, Nov 24, 2015 at 2:11 PM

James T. McCafferty grew up in the Mississippi Delta during the 1950s and 1960s and is the award-winning writer of hundreds of articles that have appeared in Field & Stream, Outdoor Life, and many other publications. His two children’s books, Holt and the Teddy Bear (the story of Holt Collier, Theodore Roosevelt, and the Mississippi Delta hunt that resulted in the naming of the Teddy Bear), and Holt and the Cowboys, each received Children’s Crown Collection designations. 

In his latest book, The Bear Hunter: The Life and Times of Robert Eager Bobo in the Canebrakes of the Old South, McCafferty explores the life of bear hunter Robert Eager Bobo. Over a century ago readers of sporting journals in America and Europe relished the tales of Bobo coming out of the Mississippi Delta. Yet, in the years since, this famous bear hunter of the late 1800s has been all but forgotten. The Bear Hunter brings to the modern reader, not only the story of Bobo’s bear hunting, but a thoroughly fascinating and entertaining picture of pioneer life in the nineteenth century Delta wilderness. 

From the advance media package: "Come now with Bob Bobo and a variety of captivating characters – including the notorious outlaw Jesse James – on their quests for black bear in an environment that now exists only on the pages of history: the wild, trackless, Delta canebrake. Gallop at a breakneck pace through sloughs and swamps, where a horse’s stumble over a cypress knee could mean sudden disaster; thrill to the savage chorus of the hounds as they pursue their game; charge into the cane to knife the bear before it can decimate the pack; taste the fear when the tables turn and hunter becomes the hunted; relax by the campfire on a frosty November evening and listen to the tales of wolf and panther and gun and knife; laugh, too, at comical stories of old time Delta backwoods ways; and, perhaps, shed a tear, as the inevitable tragedies of life visit your newfound friends. The book will delight hunters, outdoors lovers, nature enthusiasts, southern history buffs, folklore fans, and anyone who just enjoys a good book. But let us not delay! The hunters are gathered; the horses are champing at their bits; the dogs are spoiling for a fight; Bobo is sounding his horn. It is time to ride!" 

McCafferty practices environmental and education law in McComb, Mississippi. The Bear Hunter is available for download at Amazon.com and in hardback at The Booksellers at Laurelwood.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Books Read: BookBub Edition

Posted By on Fri, Nov 13, 2015 at 4:15 PM

I joined BookBub maybe about a year ago??? It offers ebooks, ranging from free to $2.99. You give them your interests (historical romance, biographies, true crime, etc.), and they send you an email every day with about 3 or 4 titles. 

I'm just the sucker they're looking for. I'm going to estimate that I buy about six books a month. I could easily check, but am too scared to know the truth. I would say about 90 percent of the titles are garbage, some of which I've bought. If the book is free, do not buy.

One thing I learned form BookBub is that there are a LOT of series. (Post-Human, Wild Hearts, The Chances, Sandy Cove, creepily The Girl in the Box, etc., etc.) The first book I read from the service was from the Spademan series, which was a fun read — in the future the well-to-do live in a suspended state; Spademan kills 'em for a fee.  

But I've read some great books because of BookBub; titles I wouldn't have necessarily gotten if they weren't so darn cheap.

Currently, I'm William Styron's Sophie's Choice, not what I thought it would be like. I've downloaded  Hubert Selby's Last Exit to Brooklyn and Halperin and Heilemann's Game Change and a couple books by Dennis Lehane and Alice Hoffman. 

Books I've enjoyed include Masters of Doom about the guys who created the video game Doom; The Billionaire's Vinegar, about wine fraud (this one was a Memphis cameo); the Agatha Christie book At Bertram's Hotel; Welty's The Optimist's Daughter; A Night to Remember about the Titanic; Booker Prize winner Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively; and Pulitzer Prize winner A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley. 



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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Memphis Noir release party and signing

Posted By on Tue, Nov 3, 2015 at 9:17 AM

Today is the release day for Memphis Noir, a collection of stories celebrating the underbelly of the city, its ghosts, and the characters that give Memphis its rich patina of blues. Edited by Laureen P. Cantwell and Leonard Gill, the tome brings together many of Memphis' best writers [edtior's note: I am one of the authors included — when noting "the best," however, humility dictates I speak only about my fellow writers] who capture the feel of our unique city past and present. 

"Memphis Noir covers train cars and Beale Street, hoodoo and segregation, Nathan Bedford Forrest and, of course, Graceland, and even includes a graphic novella, the only one in the series," writes Lesley Young in the current issue of The Memphis Flyer. "Veteran Noir contributor and writer Cary Holladay says she was delighted to participate in the project. 'Memphis literally has stories growing on trees. Every day, I heard about or read aobut or find myself involved in . . . stories that, to paraphrase Mark Twain, are not too strange to happen but are much too strange to believe,' Holladay says. 'Memphis is quirky and feral. It should have its own entire series.'"

The Noir series from Akashic Books is 71 strong with another 18 on the way. The first is centered in Brooklyn, but they range from Tehran to Trinidad, Young reports. And, Gill says, "Memphis should be proud. The collection was beyond my expectations, and I couldn't be happier with it."

To celebrate the release, there will be a signing and release party this evening at Story Booth in the Crosstown Concourse development in conjunction with The Booksellers of Laurelwood. Many of the writers will be in attendance to discuss their stories and sign books.

Memphis Noir
Story Booth
438 N. Cleveland Street
Tuesday, Nov. 3
6:00-8:00 p.m.

The full list of writers included in the anthology:

David Wesley Williams
Kaye George
Jamey Hatley
Richard J. Alley
Dwight Fryer
Adam Shaw
Penny Register-Shaw
Lee Martin
Arthur Flowers
Suzanne Berube Rorhus
Ehi Ike
Stephen Clements
Cary Holladay
John Bensko
Sheree Renée Thomas
Troy L. Wiggins

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Wailing Wall

Posted By on Wed, Oct 28, 2015 at 10:34 AM

It isn't the sort of book I'd normally read. I have a lot of books coming across my desk and I buy more books than I have shelving for at home. I get even more press releases emailed to me from publishers and publicists trying to entice me into pleading for a review copy of their latest offerings. The vast majority of those fall in the genre of "self-help" or someone telling a story of suffering and redemption and how you, too, might be redeemed if you only follow these 800 simple steps. No thank you. I'm a very slow reader, the father of four kids, am working to write my own novel, have a full-time job, and, therefore, am very choosey about the time I have to read.

So when I received a copy of Wailing Wall: A Mother's Memoir by Deedra Climer in the mail yesterday, I was ready to resign it to that shelf of redemption that I would never go back to. But I read the first page. And then I read the second. And then I finished the book a couple of hours later.

At only 86 pages, it is slim enough even for me to have finished in one sitting, but its brevity doesn't take away from its punch — this is a firecracker of a book filled with raw emotion.

Climer grew up in North Memphis to a family besotted by drugs and neglect. The daughter of a teenage mother, she would go on to become an unwed, teenage mother as well. But Climer rose above that, eventually getting married (though it ends in divorce), working to support her children, and learning along the way that there is more to life than the fragile web of abuse she grew up in. Tragedy strikes when her son Joshua is thrown from his motorcycle and killed at the age of 23. By this time, Climer is living in Michigan, making a new life with a new husband on an organic farm the couple owns. The book is the tale of her coming home, coming back into the fold of an extended family she'd loved and left, and coming to terms with the death of her only son (she has four daughters as well). 

Climer's storytelling is economical and well-paced as she takes the reader from the past to the present day. It is a heartbreaking tale that searches for redemption, a search that we get the sense is ongoing. It's also the story of family — those we're born into and those we choose — and the unconditional love we call upon in our darkest moments.

Wailing Wall is published through Inkshares, a process I wasn't familiar with. Explaining in the back of the book that they aim to "democratize publishing by having readers select the books we publish," the house has taken up the crowd-funding torch already being carried by independent filmmakers and musicians to have their visions brought to the screen and airwaves. And why not? Without such a vehicle, we may not hear stories like Climer's, which is all of our stories whether we've lost someone dear or not.   

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

2015 National Book Awards finalists named

Posted By on Wed, Oct 14, 2015 at 10:42 AM

The finalists for the 2015 National Book Awards have been named. How many have you read?


Karen E. Bender, Refund

Angela Flournoy, The Turner House

Lauren Groff, Fates and Furies

Adam Johnson, Fortune Smiles

Hanya Yanagihara, A Little Life


Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me

Sally Mann, Hold Still

Sy Montgomery, The Soul of an Octopus

Carla Power, If the Oceans Were Ink: An Unlikely Friendship and a Journey to the Heart of the Quran

Tracy K. Smith, Ordinary Light


Ross Gay, Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude

Terrance Hayes, How to Be Drawn

Robin Coste Lewis, Voyage of the Sable Venus

Ada Limón, Bright Dead Things

Patrick Phillips, Elegy for a Broken Machine

Young People's Literature

Ali Benjamin, The Thing About Jellyfish

Laura Ruby, Bone Gap

Steve Sheinkin, Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War

Neal Shusterman, Challenger Deep

Noelle Stevenson, Nimona

The winners will be announced on Nov. 18 at a ceremony in New York City. 

Last year's winners were:

Fiction: Phil Klay, Redeployment
Nonfiction: Evan Osnos, Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China
Poetry: Louise Glück, Faithful and Virtuous Night
Young People's Literature: Jacqueline Woodson, Brown Girl Dreaming

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Man Booker Prize for 2015 announced

Posted By on Tue, Oct 13, 2015 at 4:23 PM

A Brief History of Seven Killings (Oneworld Publications) by Marlon James was named as the winner of the 2015 Man Booker Prize for Fiction today.

The Man Booker Prize was launched in 1969, and aims to promote the finest in fiction by rewarding the best novel of the year written in English and published in the United Kingdom. Winners receive a prize of £50,000.

From the Man Booker Prize website:

The 44-year-old, now resident in Minneapolis, is the first Jamaican author to win the prize in its 47-year history.


A Brief History of Seven Killings is a 686-page epic with over 75 characters and voices. Set in Kingston, where James was born, the book is a fictional history of the attempted murder of Bob Marley in 1976. Of the book, the New York Times said: "It’s like a Tarantino remake of 'The Harder They Come,' but with a soundtrack by Bob Marley and a script by Oliver Stone and William Faulkner . . . epic in every sense of that word: sweeping, mythic, over-the-top, colossal, and dizzyingly complex."

Referring to Bob Marley only as ‘The Singer’ throughout, A Brief History of Seven Killings retells this near mythic assassination attempt through the myriad voices — from witnesses and FBI and CIA agents to killers, ghosts, beauty queens and Keith Richards’ drug dealer — to create a rich, polyphonic study of violence, politics, and the musical legacy of Kingston of the 1970s. James has credited Charles Dickens as one of his formative influences, saying, "I still consider myself a Dickensian in as much as there are aspects of storytelling I still believe in — plot, surprise, cliffhangers.'" (Interview Magazine).

In addition to this year's winner, the 2015 shortlist included: 

Tom McCarthy (UK)              Satin Island (Jonathan Cape)

Chigozie Obioma (Nigeria)    The Fishermen (ONE, Pushkin Press)

Sunjeev Sahota (UK)             The Year of the Runaways (Picador)

Anne Tyler (US)                     A Spool of Blue Thread (Chatto & Windus)

Hanya Yanagihara (US)         A Little Life (Picador)

Monday, October 12, 2015

Upcoming book events in Memphis

Posted By on Mon, Oct 12, 2015 at 3:16 PM

Pat Morgan
Tuesday, Oct. 13
 5 p.m. (reception), discussion and book signing begins 5:30 p.m.
Blount Auditorium in Buckman Hall, Rhodes College

Pat Morgan will discuss her book The Concrete Killing Fields: One Woman's Battle to Break the Cycle of Homelessness at Rhodes College in Blount Auditorium in Buckman Hall. Free and open to the public, the event is hosted by the college’s Department of Political Science. The event will be followed by a book signing.

From Goodreads: With her gift of story-telling, deep sense of compassion, and rich Southern sense of humor, Pat Morgan takes you on a ride . . . a kaleidoscope of adventures that few ever experience. From the cotton fields of Arkansas to the concrete killing fields of Tennessee to the Presidents box at the Kennedy Center you will open your eyes, your heart and discover that it is never too late to live out your dreams.

Pat Morgan found her calling in the basement of Calvary Episcopal Church in Memphis, where she discovered the invisible people the homeless. She hadn't set out to become an expert on homeless people; she hadn't planned on working in Washington D.C.; and she hadn't planned on finding the missing healing ingredient that she needed. As a political insider, part policy maker and confessed political activist and junkie, Pat Morgan was the fly on the wall with a ringside seat. Failing at picking cotton as a young girl, she discovered that what she was good at picking was smart people and mentors to guide her.

The Memphis Jewish Community Center is celebrating its 3rd-annual Jewish Literary & Cultural Arts Festival. The festival will begin on October 15th and run through November 18th, showcasing world-renowned artists and authors. The schedule through October is as follows:

Thursday, Oct. 15
Artist talk and Shainberg Gallery opening with Keron Psillas
7:30 p.m.
Free event

Saturday, Oct. 17
Author talk with Faye and Jonathan Kellerman
7:45 p.m.

Monday, Oct. 19
Author talk with Alan Lightman
7:30 p.m.
Malco Ridgeway Cinema Grill
$15, general; $12, members

Wednesday, Oct. 21
Artist talk with Shirel Horovitz
7:30 p.m.
Free event

Thursday, Oct. 29
Author talk with Dani Klein Modisett
7:30 p.m.
$15, general; $12, members

For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit jccmemphis.org or contact Amy Israel, aisrael@jccmemphis.org or 901-259-9209.

Leigh Anne Tuohy

Thursday, Oct. 22
6:30 p.m.
The Booksellers of Laurelwood

Leigh Anne Tuohy, whose family inspired the hit film The Blind Side, will be at The Booksellers of Laurelwood signing her new book, the devotional Turn Around.
Giving isn’t always about money, much less a lot of money, and Tuohy challenges us to re-think what giving really means. Turn Around is a five-day-per-week devotional that uses scripture as a springboard to reconsider what it means to give sacrificially, generously, and immediately — many times, without having to leave your own community. We encounter opportunities to give every single day; what may seem like a small gesture to us may make a world of difference in someone else’s life. Make your next step one that causes you to turn around and meet a need.

Leigh Anne grew up in Memphis and attended the University of Mississippi, where she met her future husband; she now owns an interior design company. The Tuohys live in Memphis but travel all over the country speaking to thousands of people about their family, their faith, and how each of us can make a difference.

Linda Lee Patterson
Tuesday, Oct. 27
6:30 p.m.
The Booksellers of Laurelwood

Linda Lee Peterson is at The Booksellers of Laurelwood to read from and sign her new novel, The Spy on the Tennessee Walker, an enthralling tale of hidden secrets, the Civil War, restrained love, and intelligent women of the past and present.


This is the third in the acclaimed Maggie Fiori mystery series, but it’s not quite like the others. Yes, Maggie is still the smart-mouthed magazine editor in San Francisco whose curiosity leads her to become (or so says her long-suffering husband) over-involved in other people’s business, especially if a crime is involved. But this time the trigger is not a dead body — it’s a cache of journals, letters, and photographs of her great-great-great-grandmother Victoria, Maggie’s 19th-century doppelganger and a woman of much mystery. She was a nurse in a Confederate hospital during the Civil War, but why did she still have a horse, her beloved Tennessee Walker, long after all other horses had been conscripted for the war? What was her relationship with Walt Whitman? Who was Gabriel, the man she exchanged love letters with? And, most of all, why did she end up imprisoned under charges of treason and bigamy?

Linda Lee Peterson is the author of two previous Maggie Fiori mysteries, Edited to Death and The Devil’s Interval. She has also written several nonfiction books, including The Stanford Century, On Flowers, and Linens and Candles, and has written for many national publications, including the Chicago Tribune. A longtime San Franciscan and an alumna of Stanford University, Peterson now lives in Portland, Oregon.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Corey Mesler: Poet, author, entrepreneur, podcast fodder

Posted By on Thu, Oct 1, 2015 at 3:14 PM

Our friend, the prolific writer and co-owner of Burke's Book Store, Corey Mesler, is being feted on the October 2015 podcast from Poetry Magazine. His poem, "Let the Light Stand," is featured in the recent issue of the magazine and editor Don Share, assistant editor Lindsay Garbutt, and consulting editor Christina Pugh have gathered to discuss it.

The trio jumps right into the fun at the 00:38 mark with Pugh reading. But first, Share shares that he grew up in Memphis and, while he doesn't know Mesler personally, he "grew up going to Burke's Book Store, which was pretty much the only place you could see real books like poetry books when I was a kid, so I'm very fond of Burke's."

You can listen to the podcast here.

Pugh says beforehand, "I really liked the mood of this poem, it's very upbeat and playful." After reading, she calls it a poem "in the litany tradition" and compares it to the English poetic tradition while pointing out that it isn't religious but, instead, a celebration of the body. 

Share, however, points out that, "It is suffused with something spiritual enough to raise us above and outside that lovely world he outlines . . ."

"I think it has sort of a plain-spoken sexiness about it," Garbutt adds.

"One of the things I really like about the poem," Pugh says, "is the way it does this kind of interesting dance with metaphor, wanting to resist it and yet letting it in, almost against its own will in certain ways, and I like the push/pull aspect of it."

Mesler is the author of numerous poetry chapbooks and novels, most recently Memphis Movie.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Memphis Reads Dave Eggers

Posted By on Fri, Sep 25, 2015 at 2:06 PM

Memphis Reads, the city-wide book club, has chosen What Is The What by Dave Eggers as its next community read. 

Memphis Reads selects one book annually to be read by the Memphis community at large. 
The month-long event consists of discussions and related arts events, and culminates in an event with the author on November 5th. All events are free and open to the public.

What Is The What is an epic novel based on the life of Valentino Achak Deng who, along with thousands of other children, the Lost Boys, was forced to leave his village in Sudan at the age of seven and trek hundreds of miles by foot, pursued by militias, government bombers, and wild animals, while crossing the deserts of three countries to find freedom. When he finally is resettled in the United States, he finds a life full of promise, but also heartache and myriad new challenges.

Eggers, born in Boston, is also the author of the memoir A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (2000), the novel You Shall Know Our Velocity (2002), and the story collection How We Are Hungry (2004). He founded McSweeney's, an independent book publishing house in San Francisco which puts out a quarterly literary journal, the monthly magazine The Believer, the website McSweeneys.net, and a DVD quarterly of short films, Wholphin. With Ninive Calegari, he has written Teachers Have It Easy: The Big Sacrifices and Small Salaries of America's Teachers.

Memphis Reads began as a program from Christian Brothers University as part of their "First Year Experience" wherein all incoming freshman participate in the reading of a selected book and hold discussions and other events throughout the school year. In 2014, the University teamed up with local partners, including Memphis Library, Rhodes College, and Facing History and Ourselves, to expand the program city-wide.

Last year, Memphis Reads featured The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears by Dinaw Mengestu.

For more information on the program and all events, please visit memphisreadsbook.org.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Books Read: Booker Prize Edition

Posted By on Thu, Sep 24, 2015 at 11:00 AM

So recently, a coworker was talking about a book he accidentally downloaded — something about witches and vampires. He called it “a horrible piece of filth.”
This is exactly how I would describe a book I’ve been thinking about a lot about lately because of the recent announcement of the shortlist for the 2015 Man Booker Prize for Fiction.

I had seen a link about the Man Booker and clicked to see if I had read any of the titles and to get suggestions. One of the books I had read — the horrible piece of filth, aka A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara.

Now, it wasn’t exactly a surprise about the nomination. After I read the book, incensed, offended, and confused, I googled other reviews and, while I saw similar opinions as mine about the book, the majority of it was effusive praise. I was stunned.

Many, many years ago, I was at a barbecue where a young girl of about four or five told her mother to stop eating her plate of barbecue while she, the girl, ate her meal of McDonald’s or whatever. The mother looked at her incredulously, to which the daughter responded, “I’m not wrong about this.”

I’m not wrong about this.

A Little Life starts follows four men, starting in college and through decades after. They are: the handsome Willem with a gift for people and a sad past; the privileged Malcolm working out his place as a biracial man; the coddled Jean-Baptiste, the artist who demands to be the center of attention; and the brilliant Jude, wracked by a painful but mysterious condition and a more mysterious backstory.

The novel starts out promisingly enough. There’s a St. Elmo’s Fire vibe to it. But then it starts to almost exclusively focus on Jude.

His story is parceled out little by little. And it is horrific. Truly and absolutely. He was abandoned as an infant in a dumpster and ended up in a home with a bunch of monks … you can see where this is going. But then it gets worse and worse yet again to the point where it pushes at the ridiculous. (I’m not wrong about this.) Humans can be bad, sadistic, and it seems the worst of society’s worst ills — all of it — had befallen Jude.

Jude is enveloped by the acceptance of the other three men and finds true, unconditional love in a professor and a doctor. But his demons make him do horrible things to himself. Those around him are terrified and beg him to stop, and Jude pleads, “I’m so sorry” so much over the course of 700-plus pages I was moved to count it. “Sorry” appears 193 times. (That’s about every four pages. To be sure, not all of them are from Jude’s lips but the vast majority are.)

Things start to look up again for Jude, but then …

Jude’s story and A Little Life is straight-up suffering porn. That uneasy feeling you get is not art.

A Little Life is a horrible piece of filth. I’m not wrong about this. 

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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Upcoming book events for the remainder of September 2015

Posted By on Wed, Sep 23, 2015 at 11:23 AM

Taylor Kitchings
Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015
6:30 p.m.
The Booksellers of Laurelwood

Taylor Kitchings will be discussing and signing his new middle-grade novel Yard War


It’s 1964 in Jackson, Mississippi, deep in the civil rights movement, and the one black person 12-year-old Trip Westbrook knows well is Willie Jane, the family maid, who has been a second mother to him. When Trip invites her son, Dee, to play football in the yard, Trip discovers the ugly side of his smiling neighbors. Even his loving grandparents don’t approve. But getting to know Dee and playing football, being part of a team, changes Trip. He begins to see all the unspoken rules he lives by but doesn’t agree with, such as “respect your elders.” What if he thinks their views are wrong? This engaging, honest, and hopeful novel is full of memorable characters, and brings the civil rights-era South alive for young readers.

Taylor Kitchings’ roots in Mississippi run many generations deep, though it took him a while to circle back to them. As a college freshman, he recorded the original album Clean Break, now considered a collector’s item. As a junior, he wrote music for mallet and giant Mobius strip, and performed at Manhattan’s Café La MaMa. In the years between his BA from Rhodes College and MA from Ole Miss, he traveled from Memphis to New York to Europe, writing and performing songs on piano. He and his wife Beth have two children and live in Ridgeland, Mississippi, where he teaches English at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School. His short story “Mr. Pinky Gone Fishing” was published in the collection Tight Lines from Yale University Press. Yard War is his first novel.

Audrey Taylor Gonzalez
Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015 2:00 p.m.
The Booksellers of Laurelwood

Memphian Audrey Taylor Gonzalez will be discussing and signing her coming-of-age novel South of Everything


Set in 1940s Germantown, South of Everything is a magical coming-of-age story about the daughter of a plantation-owning family, who, despite her privileged background, finds more in common with the help than her own family. She develops a special kinship with her parents’ servant Old Thomas, who introduces her to the mysterious Lolololo Tree, a magical, mystical tree with healing powers that she discovers is wiser than any teacher or parent or priest. Her connection with the Lolololo Tree opens her eyes to the religious and racial prejudice of her surroundings, and readers will root for her to fight against injustice and follow her heart to meet her fate.

Reverend Audrey Taylor Gonzalez was born in Memphis in 1939. In the span of her long career, she has been a journalist, TV host, art gallery owner, racehorse breeder, mountain climber, world traveler, breast cancer survivor, and the first woman to be ordained to holy orders in the Southern Cone of South America at Uruguay’s Holy Trinity Cathedral in Montevideo. She’s a philanthropist, mother, and grandmother to her own children, as well as many people in need who have crossed her path over the years. As a deacon at Calvary Episcopal Church in Memphis, Audrey received the prestigious Juvenile Court Judges Award for Outstanding Service in 2012 and 2014, and she was selected by the governor of Tennessee as a Commissioner on TCCY (Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth). She is the author of three books, the fictional memoir The Lolololo Tree and two collections of writings and homilies, Sermons and Such and The Shady Place. South of Everything is her first novel. Gonzalez resides in Memphis.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Ann Beattie’s Nighttime Reading, Southern-Style

Posted By on Thu, Aug 27, 2015 at 10:57 AM

Wanna know what books Ann Beattie’s got on her night stand right now? The New York Times knows, because the paper just asked her.

Top of the list is Memphian Corey Mesler’s latest novel, Memphis Movie. And it’s right up there with Paragon Park by poet Mark Doty, who spent time in Memphis growing up.

Among Beattie’s all-time favorite short stories? “The Fireman’s Wife” by Richard Bausch, who taught a few years ago at the University of Memphis, along with “The Womanizer” by Richard Ford and “No Place for You, My Love” by Eudora Welty, two of Mississippi’s finest, living (Ford) or dead (Welty). Among the best writers, period, working today? Beattie lists Elizabeth Spencer, born in Carrollton, Mississippi, in 1921.

But if you haven’t read any of the above, don’t be too hard on yourself. The book that Beattie is embarrassed to say she’s never read: On the Road by Jack Kerouac. •

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Get Carded: September Is NLCSM

Posted By on Tue, Aug 25, 2015 at 3:51 PM

What’s the most important school supply this new school year? A library card, and it doesn’t cost a cent.

That’s the message of the American Library Association, which is partnering with public libraries across the country in September to celebrate National Library Card Sign-up Month. Snoopy, in a “Joe Cool” T-shirt, is national honorary chair for the monthlong campaign.

Continue reading »

Friday, August 21, 2015

Happy Anniversary, Burke’s!

Posted By on Fri, Aug 21, 2015 at 1:13 PM

How many 140-year-olds do you know asking for a bike to celebrate nearly a century and a half of doing business? In Memphis, that would be Burke's Book Store, which was founded in 1875 by Walter Burke on North Main, and it’s been operating at different locations ever since. That makes Burke’s one of the oldest businesses in Memphis still operating (now at 936 S. Cooper) and one of the oldest independent book stores in the country.

Continue reading »

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

“Killing Fields” a Triple Winner; Writers Conferences Slated for This Year’s Mid-South Book Festival

Posted By on Wed, Aug 19, 2015 at 4:37 PM

Memphian Pat Morgan has made it her mission to work on behalf of the homeless both locally and nationally, and she wrote about that mission in The Concrete Killing Fields: One Woman’s Battle To Break the Cycle of Homelessness, published in early 2014.

In that book, Morgan described her days directing the Calvary Street Ministry in downtown Memphis. She wrote about her government work in Washington, D.C. But she also wrote engagingly about her difficult past and need for personal healing, both of which she handled with candor and surprising humor. The Flyer was impressed. Others have been impressed.

Continue reading »


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