Friday, May 6, 2016

What I’m Reading: A writer, a baby thief, snake-handling, the ‘70s, and a sequel

Posted By on Fri, May 6, 2016 at 9:53 AM


It’s been a productive time of reading around here, despite the demands of work and family and the beautiful weather luring me into outdoor activities.


Lee Smith is an acquaintance and sent her new book, Dimestore: A Writer’s Life (Algonquin Books), to my wife when it came out last month. I quickly claimed it as my own and devoured it. Smith focuses her superpowers of acute observation of characteristics, mannerisms, and personalities, and the culture of a region, to her own life in this series of essays. She touches on her time growing up in Grundy, Virginia, and what she gleaned from its people and time spent in her father’s dimestore. From her childhood comes a love of books which would lead (lucky for us) to a life of writing. It hasn’t always been an easy life, but Smith handles the stories of depression, divorce, and suicide with the tenderness that has resounded in her prose for decades.


Reading Dimestore led me immediately to our bookshelves and the first Smith novel I could lay my hands on, 1995’s Saving Grace (G.P. Putnam’s Son’s). It is everything I wanted after reading about the author’s life and where she grew up. Florida Grace Shepherd is part of a devout family led by a charismatic, snake-handling, preacher as father. The book follows her life in and out of that family, and explores a person’s ties to religion and faith, and the feeling of comfort within one’s own skin. I plowed through it in a matter of days, rushing through Grace’s life with an eagerness to learn where she might end up.


City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg (Knopf), by comparison, has been a slog. Good story, interesting characters, but a length and various plotlines that have left me feeling as though I’ve walked uphill through Lee Smith’s Appalachian mountains in the dead of winter. More on this book in a forthcoming issue of the Flyer.


I’m reading The Baby Thief by Barbara Bisantz Raymond (Carroll & Graf Publishers) for purely information purposes for another project I’m working on. Not so much reading, really, as taking it up now and then to pick my way through it as I tend to do with nonfiction. The story of Georgia Tann, who turned the world of adoption on its ear with her business of selling babies through her children’s home in Memphis, is a fascinating and heartbreaking one. The book is well-written, too, and I look forward to getting in deeper and learning just how and why a person might do what she did, and of what happened to some of her victims.


I have read everything Pulitzer Prize-winner Richard Russo has ever written. Much of it more than once. When I first saw he had a new novel coming out, I was beside myself with anticipation. Then I looked closer at the advertisement and realized it’s a sequel to 1993’s fabulous Nobody’s Fool (Random House). That book was the third in his Upstate New York novels, following Mohawk (Knopf) and The Risk Pool (Random House). Russo’s ability to bring a place to life is unparalleled in my opinion (though Lee Smith does give him a run for his money). My fear was that he would take the beautifully wrought characters of Sully and Rub and even Wacker, and wring their stories dry like a dishrag. I’ve been burned before. I anticipated 1997’s voluminous Bridge of Sighs (Knopf) — which took Russo from his comfort zone of New York State and academia to fine art and Venice, Italy — as much as any book ever, and was disappointed in its ramblings. (He would vindicate himself in my eyes two years later with That Old Cape Magic [Knopf].) Anyway, I got Everybody’s Fool (Knopf) the day it came out earlier this week and, though only on page 20 or so, I’ve already laughed out loud twice. I have a good feeling about this one.


What are you reading?

Thursday, April 21, 2016

What are y'all reading?

Posted By on Thu, Apr 21, 2016 at 4:36 PM

Overton Park -  - House of Echoes (Ballantine Books) by Brendan Duffy -  - Courtney Robertson: “I just got the book, but so far so good. It’s about a family, the dad is an author and he’s having writer’s block, if you will, and the mom recently lost her job so they were looking for a fresh start. I think their child is being bullied at school as well, and they didn’t like Manhattan, so they end up going to stay in this house that’s out in the woods in rural New York. There are things going on in the woods, and slowly things are starting to unfold.”
  • Overton Park

    House of Echoes (Ballantine Books) by Brendan Duffy

    Courtney Robertson: “I just got the book, but so far so good. It’s about a family, the dad is an author and he’s having writer’s block, if you will, and the mom recently lost her job so they were looking for a fresh start. I think their child is being bullied at school as well, and they didn’t like Manhattan, so they end up going to stay in this house that’s out in the woods in rural New York. There are things going on in the woods, and slowly things are starting to unfold.”

Monday, April 18, 2016

Jess Walter to visit Rhodes College

Posted By on Mon, Apr 18, 2016 at 12:34 PM

New York Times bestselling author Jess Walter will do a reading and signing as part of the Jack D. Farris Visiting Writers Series at Rhodes College. There will be a Q&A following Walter's presentation on Tuesday, April 19th.

Walter is the author of such acclaimed novels as Beautiful Ruins, The Financial Lives of Poets, The Zero, and We Live In Water. He as been a finalist for the 2006 National Book Award and the PEN/USA Literary prize in both fiction and nonfiction, and won the 2005 Edgar Allan Poe award. His work has been published in 30 languages and his short fiction has appeared in Best American Short Stories, Harpers,McSweeney's, Esquire, and more.

Along with author Sherman Alexie, Walter was the host of the podcast A Tiny Sense of Accomplishment from the Infinite Guest network.

Jess Walter
Tuesday, April 19
7 p.m.
Rhodes College — Buckman Hall

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Michael Hicks Thompson to discuss and sign The Rector

Posted By on Thu, Apr 14, 2016 at 12:02 PM

Author Michael Hicks Thompson will visit the Booksellers at Laurelwood on Saturday, April 16, to discuss and sign his latest novel, The Rector (Shepherd King Publishing).

If Solo, Mississippi, had any claim to fame in the 1950s, it was due to the small town's proximity to notorious Parchman Farm Penitentiary. When the rector of Calvary Episcopal Church dies suddenly, most locals believe he had a heart attack. Martha McRae, widow and owner of the local newspaper and boarding house, disagrees. She knows the young rector was carrying on with Martha's friend, Mary Magden Grater, wife of the wealthy Capp Grater. Martha believes Capp had more than enough motive for murder. Martha's suspicions go unvoiced — in part because she hopes to shield Mary's past from public scrutiny and in part because the new rector captures her attention. Father Cain's brand of prosperity preaching and good works captivate everyone in town, but something about the man doesn't sit well with Martha. Then Cain is murdered. Everyone's a suspect. Including Martha. When the new rector arrives, she encounters a different sort of puzzle, one that takes her into Parchman Penitentiary where she comes face to face with evil.

Born and raised on a Mississippi farm, Thompson can claim more than a little knowledge about small towns, strong Christian women, alcoholic men, and Jesus. A writer of movie scripts and novels, Thompson is a self-taught artist, licensed offshore sailor, and scuba diver. He is the writer and director of the two-volume David, an illustrated novel on the life of King David. Volume one was awarded the Silver Medal IPPY from the Independent Publisher's Association in 2011, with volume two winning the Best Graphic Novel award from International Book Awards in 2013.

Michael Hicks Thompson
Booksellers at Laurelwood
Saturday, April 16
2:00 p.m.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

What are y'all reading?

Posted By on Tue, Apr 12, 2016 at 3:33 PM

Overton Park -  - The Witch of Painted Sorrows (Atria Books) by M.J. Rose -  - Laurie Amento: "It’s a historical fiction book that takes place in the Belle Époque period in Paris, a woman has fled New York and a treacherous husband. It looks like there’s going to be some sorcery, witchery, and some art. I like it so far, it’s very intriguing."
  • Overton Park

    The Witch of Painted Sorrows (Atria Books) by M.J. Rose

    Laurie Amento: "It’s a historical fiction book that takes place in the Belle Époque period in Paris, a woman has fled New York and a treacherous husband. It looks like there’s going to be some sorcery, witchery, and some art. I like it so far, it’s very intriguing."

Memphis Reads Erik Larson

Posted By on Tue, Apr 12, 2016 at 2:36 PM

CBU and the Booksellers at Laurelwood present a Memphis Reads event featuring author Erik Larson and his latest book, Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania, on Friday, April 15th, at CBU in the University Theater at 7:00 p.m.

Dead Wake is the enthralling story of the sinking of the Lusitania. On May 1, 1915, with WWI entering its 10th month, a luxury ocean liner as richly appointed as an English country house sailed out of New York, bound for Liverpool, carrying a record number of children and infants. The passengers were surprisingly at ease, even though Germany had declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone. For months, German U-boats had brought terror to the North Atlantic. But the Lusitania was one of the era’s great transatlantic Greyhounds, the fastest liner then in service and her captain, William Thomas Turner, placed tremendous faith in the gentlemanly strictures of warfare that for a century had kept civilian ships safe from attack.

Germany, however, was determined to change the rules of the game, and Walther Schwieger, the captain of Unterseeboot-20, was happy to oblige. Meanwhile, an ultra-secret British intelligence unit tracked Schwieger’s U-boat, but told no one. As U-20 and the Lusitania made their way toward Liverpool, an array of forces both grand and achingly small hubris, a chance fog, a closely guarded secret, and more all converged to produce one of the great disasters of history.

It is a story that many of us think we know but don't, and Erik Larson tells it thrillingly, switching between hunter and hunted while painting a larger portrait of America at the height of the Progressive Era. Full of glamour and suspense, Dead Wake brings to life a cast of evocative characters, from famed Boston bookseller Charles Lauriat to pioneering female architect Theodate Pope to President Woodrow Wilson, a man lost to grief, dreading the widening war but also captivated by the prospect of new love. Gripping and important, Dead Wake captures the sheer drama and emotional power of a disaster whose intimate details and true meaning have long been obscured by history.

Larson is the author of five New York Times bestsellers. Dead Wake hit Number 1 on the Times list soon after launch.

Tickets can be purchased at the Booksellers at Laurelwood, or online at this link. All college students are admitted free with a student ID.

Erik Larson
CBU — University Theater
Friday, April 15
7:00 p.m.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Author of KLANDESTINE to speak at the National Civil Rights Museum

Posted By on Tue, Mar 29, 2016 at 11:27 AM

Journalist Pate McMichael, author of KLANDESTINE: How a Klan Lawyer and a Checkbook Journalist Helped James Earl Ray Cover Up His Crime (Chicago Review Press) will discuss his book as part of the National Civil Rights Museum’s Book & Author Series. This event is free and open to the public.

On April 4, 1968, while standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was killed by a single bullet fired from an elevated and concealed position. Almost half a century later, unanswered questions surround the circumstances of his demise, and many still wonder whether justice was served.

After all, only one man, an escaped convict from Missouri named James Earl Ray, was punished for the crime. On the surface, Ray did not fit the caricature of a hangdog racist thirsty for blood. Media coverage has often portrayed him as hapless and apolitical, someone who must have been paid by clandestine forces. It’s a narrative that Ray himself put in motion upon his June 1968 arrest in London, then continued from jail until his death in 1998. In 1999, Dr. King’s own family declared Ray an innocent man.

After his arrest, Ray forged a publishing partnership with two very strange bedfellows: a slick Klan lawyer named Arthur J. Hanes, the de facto “Klonsel” for the United Klans of America; and checkbook journalist William Bradford Huie, the darling of Look magazine and a longtime menace of the KKK. Despite polar opposite views on race, Hanes and Huie found common cause in the world of conspiracy. Together, they thought they could make Memphis the new Dallas.

Relying on novel primary source discoveries gathered over an eight-year period, including a trove of newly released documents and dusty files, KLANDESTINE takes readers deep inside Ray’s Memphis jail cell and Alabama’s violent Klaverns. Told through Hanes and Huie’s key perspectives, it shows how a legacy of unpunished racial killings provided the perfect exigency to sell a lucrative conspiracy to a suspicious and outraged nation. 

McMichael is an award-winning journalist. His stories have been published in Atlanta magazine, Saint Louis magazine, Zócalo Public Square, and elsewhere.  

Pate McMichael
Thursday, March 31st
6 - 8 p.m.
National Civil Rights Museum (Hooks Hyde Hall)
450 Mulberry Street

Friday, March 25, 2016

Bill Haltom book signing postponed

Posted By on Fri, Mar 25, 2016 at 10:45 AM

Due to a death in the family, Bill Haltom has had to cancel the book signing scheduled for Saturday, March 26h, at Burke's Book Store.

A later date will be named in the near future and we will keep you up to date.

Milk & Sugar: The Complete Story of Seersucker (Nautilus Publishing)  traces the origin of the seersucker suit from its humble beginnings to its rise as a darling of both men’s and women’s haute couture. It examines its role in Southern culture from courtrooms and law offices, churches and synagogues, fraternity row and sorority rush, tasteful garden gatherings to raucous fundraisers. Along the way, Haltom also outlines the regional “rules” of wearing and accessorizing seersucker and its embrace by fashionistas and celebrities from New York City to Hollywood.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Bill Haltom and the story of seersucker coming to Burke's Books

Posted By on Tue, Mar 22, 2016 at 1:38 PM


Milk & Sugar: The Complete Story of Seersucker (Nautilus Publishing) by Bill Haltom, an award-winning author, columnist and attorney, is set for release on Saturday, March 26th. Haltom will be at Burke’s Book Store that day from 2 – 4 p.m. for a book signing.


Milk & Sugar traces the origin of the seersucker suit from its humble beginnings to its rise as a darling of both men’s and women’s haute couture. It examines its role in Southern culture from courtrooms and law offices, churches and synagogues, fraternity row and sorority rush, tasteful garden gatherings to raucous fundraisers. Along the way, Haltom also outlines the regional “rules” of wearing and accessorizing seersucker and its embrace by fashionistas and celebrities from New York City to Hollywood.


The book is being published with the blessing of Laurie Haspel Aronson, CEO of Hansel of New Orleans and great-granddaughter of the originator of the seersucker suit.


For over 25 years, Haltom has been a newspaper and magazine humorist as well as author of five previous books. He has chaired editorial boards for four magazines, including the ABA Journal, the flagship publication of the American Bar Association. He practices law in Memphis and is a frequent speaker at conventions, banquets and leadership seminars.


“I had to figure out a way to combine two loves — writing and my seersucker suits — so I was compelled to do a book,” Haltom says. “I have long been fascinated with how seersucker seems to bring a sort of civility to any gathering, while also being a sort of wink towards playful, yet high, fashion.”


Bill Haltom

Saturday, March 26th

2 - 4 p.m.

Burke’s Book Store

936 South Cooper Street

Tags: , , , , ,

Monday, March 21, 2016

Chris Offutt, the pornographer's son, to read at story booth

Posted By on Mon, Mar 21, 2016 at 1:39 PM


When Andrew Offutt died, his son, Chris, inherited a desk, a rifle, and 1,800 pounds of pornographic fiction. Andrew had been considered the king of twentieth-century smut, with a writing career that began as a strategy to pay for his son’s orthodontic needs and soon took on a life of its own, peaking during the 1970s when the commercial popularity of the erotic novel reached its height. With his dutiful wife serving as typist, Andrew wrote from their home in the Kentucky hills, locked away in an office no one dared intrude upon. In this fashion, he wrote more than 400 novels, including pirate porn, ghost porn, zombie porn, and secret agent porn. The more he wrote, the more intense his ambition became and the more difficult it was for his children to be part of his world.


Over the long summer of 2013, Chris returned to his hometown to help his widowed mother move out of his childhood home. As he began to examine his father’s manuscripts and memorabilia, journals, and letters, he realized he finally had an opportunity to gain insight into the difficult, mercurial, sometimes cruel man he’d loved and feared in equal measure. Only in his father’s absence could he truly make sense of the man and his legacy.


In My Father, the Pornographer, Offutt takes us on the journey with him, reading his father’s prodigious literary output as both a critic and as a son seeking answers. This is a book about the life of a working writer who supports his family solely by the output of his typewriter; it’s about the awful psychic burdens one generation unthinkingly passes along to the next; and it’s about growing up in the Appalachian hills with a pack of fearless boys riding bicycles through the woods, happy and free.


“A literary detective story interwoven with memories of a youth riddled with sexual confusion and inarticulate yearning. . . . There is a touching universality to his tale and its mix of longing and despair . . . . In the end, the value of this haunting account lies in Offutt’s refusal to find a pat moral in his journey.” — The Washington Post


Chris Offutt is an award-winning author and screenwriter. He worked on the HBO drama True Blood and the Showtime series Weeds. His books include Kentucky StraightThe Same River TwiceThe Good BrotherOut of the Woods, and No Heroes: A Memoir of Coming Home. His work has appeared in The Best American EssaysThe Best American Short Stories, and many other anthologies. He lives near Oxford, Mississippi.


Chris Offutt

Thursday, March 24th

6 p.m.

story booth @ Crosstown Arts

438 N. Cleveland

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Dog behaviorist Bryan Bailey to speak at Booksellers

Posted By on Thu, Mar 17, 2016 at 1:19 PM

Dog trainer and Memphian Bryan Bailey's new book, Embracing the Wild in Your Dog, is about developing a deep understanding of the authors of your dog's behavior-nature and the wolf. By doing so, you will learn the whys and hows of its behavior and how activating and deactivating the natural, wolf-like impulses and mechanisms in your dog will lead to the harmonious existence and the control you always dreamed of. Most of all, you will come to embrace the wild in your dog and the grace and the peace that is breathed into its acceptance.

​"[T]his book represents much more than a simple training guide. There is an undeniable power and beauty to the author's musings as he weaves into the text vital lessons learned from his mentor during intense survival training in the Alaskan wilderness. A firm response to currently accepted dog-training methods."  — Kirkus Reviews

Raised in Fairbanks, Alaska, Bailey grew to appreciate the wildness of the land and its abundant wildlife. In particular, he developed a fondness for the gray wolves that roamed the vast mountain ranges and forests near his home. Under the guidance of a Special Forces Survival Instructor, he spent years studying the social interactions of wolves in their packs and discovered that, beyond obvious physical similarities, there were also behavioral similarities between the wolves and the sled dogs that were his family’s pets. Bryan has traveled to over thirty countries in Europe, Africa, the jungles of southeast Asia and the remote regions above the arctic circle in his pursuit of learning the behaviors of hyenas, lions, tigers and the gray wolf, with an emphasis on how instinct, passed from the gray wolf, has affected the behavior of our domestic dogs.

Bailey and wife Kira own ProTrain Memphis and Taming the Wild in Memphis. From their website: "A nationally-recognized, award-winning author and behaviorist, Bryan has studied wolf and other predatory behaviors worldwide. He has been featured on CNN, 'Fox & Friends,' SiriusXM radio, 'Talk of Alabama,' WREG TV-3, and in many publications, including Dog World, At Home Mid-South Tennessee, Bloom Magazine, HOSS magazine, SheKnows, The Chicago Tribune and the Miami Herald. Veterinarians, dog owners and celebrities such as John Mellencamp, James Fitzpatrick, the late Junior Seau, Julio Jones and many others have eagerly sought out his services." 

Bryan Bailey
The Booksellers at Laurelwood
Saturday, March 19th
2:00 p.m.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Author Stephen V. Ash to speak at Rhodes

Posted By on Tue, Mar 15, 2016 at 12:27 PM

In May 1866, a year after the Civil War ended, the city of Memphis erupted in a three-day spasm of racial violence aimed at the recently-freed African Americans who lived there. More than 40 black men and women were murdered, many more injured, and all of the city’s black schools and churches and many homes destroyed by fire. It was the first large-scale racial massacre to erupt in the post-Civil War South, impacting subsequent federal policies and constitutional law.

On March 17th at 6 p.m., in the McCallum Ballroom, Bryan Campus Life Center at Rhodes College (reception at 5:30 p.m.), Dr. Stephen V. Ash will speak about his book A Massacre in Memphis. Ash is a professor
emeritus of history at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and has published many books relating to the dynamic, racial interplay in the Civil War and post-Civil War South. He takes special interest in Tennessee

His lecture at Rhodes, which is part of the college’s “Communities in Conversation” lecture series, will examine the origins of the Memphis riot, describe its horrific violence, assess its significance in American history, and especially its importance to Memphis as a city. This event is free and open to the public and will be
followed by a book signing.

Ash’s book gives a portrait of Memphis as a southern city in the immediate aftermath of the civil war. It was a
time when racial tensions were high and there was talk of the Emancipation Proclamation as an abomination
by “Rebel Memphis” and their Irish supporters. Most whites resented the influx of blacks into the city and
especially the presence of black federal troops and Yankees who had come to assist the recently freed
slaves. By spring of 1866, tensions were high and riots and racially incited murder ensued. Congress
eventually blamed them on “the intense hatred of the freed people by the city’s whites, especially the Irish — a hatred stoked by the Rebel newspapers.”

“Meticulous . . . Ash offers remarkable portraits of ordinary Memphians . . . caught up in the tumult of their
time . . . riveting.”— Kirkus (starred review)

“This detailed account of the lengthy riot and its reverberations surges at the reader . . . For those who want
to understand the roots of America's racial issues, Ash's captivating and thoughtful book offers explanations
and raises many new questions.” — Publishers Weekly

The Memphis Massacre is one of the best-documented episodes of American history in the nineteenth
century. And yet it remains little known today, even by Memphians. This event is part of a semester-long
effort to commemorate the Memphis Massacre, headed up by University of Memphis historians Beverly Bond
and Susan O’Donovan. They are working with a slew of community partners, including the National Park
Service and the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area, and Humanities Tennessee. The goal of this
communal series of events is to shatter the silence about the Memphis Massacre and to mark this moment
as a turning point in Memphis, Southern, and American history. Ash’s lecture will be an important occasion in
this set of events.

Ash was awarded the UT Alexander Prize for Distinguished Research and Teaching in 2005, and the UT
Chancellor’s Award for Research and Creative Achievement in 2004. Rhodes College is excited to have him
deepen our understanding of the history of our city.

Find Communities in Conversation on Facebook, on Twitter, and on Instagram.

Dr. Stephen V. Ash
Thursday, March 17, 2016
6 p.m. (reception at 5:30 p.m.)
McCallum Ballroom (Bryan Campus Life Center)
Rhodes College

Tags: , , ,

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Bob Mehr to sign Trouble Boys at Booksellers

Posted By on Tue, Mar 1, 2016 at 4:04 AM

Trouble Boys is the first definitive, no-holds-barred biography of one of the last great bands of the twentieth century: The Replacements. With full participation from reclusive singer and chief songwriter Paul Westerberg, bassist Tommy Stinson, guitarist Slim Dunlap, and the family of late band co-founder Bob Stinson, author Bob Mehr is able to tell the real story of this highly influential group, capturing their chaotic, tragic journey from the basements of Minneapolis to rock legend. Drawing on years of research and access to the band's archives at Twin/Tone Records and Warner Bros., Mehr also discovers previously unrevealed details from those in the group's inner circle, including family, managers, and musical friends and  collaborators.

“Bob Mehr’s raucous, ribald, and oft-times harrowing book takes us behind the scenes, to the bottom of the bottle, all the way to the end of the road, and then further still—revealing the story of the Replacements, a band that gave away its soul on every record and refused to sell its soul to a corporate world.” —Robert Gordon, author of Respect Yourself: Stax Records and the Soul Explosion

Tuesday, March 1st
6:30 p.m.
The Booksellers at Laurelwood
387 Perkins Road Extended

Monday, February 29, 2016

Greg Sestero, author/actor, to appear at the Mid-South Book Festival

Posted By on Mon, Feb 29, 2016 at 2:30 PM

As everyone with any current culture awareness knows, Room is the Best Picture-nominated, and Best Actress-winning (Brie Larson) movie of this week's Academy Awards ceremony. 

This blog post is not in any way about that movie, but it is why I was confused when Kevin Dean, executive director of Literacy Mid-South, contacted me today to tell me that someone connected with the film had been booked for this September's Mid-South Book Festival.

I am clearly on the low end of pop-culture consciousness because The Room, as it turns out (with its all-important article), is the cult classic starring Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero. Dean implored me to stop whatever it was I was doing (poking around Facebook) and get a copy, as though this journalistic locomotive might be so quickly halted. "It's epic," he reiterated. 

The Room has been called "the best worst movie ever made" and "the Citizen Kane of bad movies." And people love it. In fact, it sells out showings all over the place and fans have watch parties in their homes. 

The book The Disaster Artist is a bestselling look behind the scenes of the making of the movie that cost $6 million to produce and earned a total of $1,800 at the box office. From Goodreads: "Readers need not have seen The Room to appreciate its costar Greg Sestero’s account of how Tommy Wiseau defied every law of artistry, business, and interpersonal relationships to achieve the dream only he could love. While it does unravel mysteries for fans, The Disaster Artist is more than just an hilarious story about cinematic hubris: It is ultimately a surprisingly inspiring tour de force that reads like a page-turning novel, an open-hearted portrait of a supremely enigmatic man who will capture your heart."

"We are excited to add Greg Sestero to the Mid-South Book Festival," Dean told me. "Cult film enthusiasts will be thrilled to know that his presentation at the festival will be free and open to the public, and we are working with Indie Memphis to have a screening of the film before the festival. Even more exciting is that the movie version of The Disaster Artist will open in theaters one month after our festival." That film version is directed by and stars James Franco.

The announcement of Sestero comes on the heels of the news that Lauren Groff, author of the bestselling Fates and Furies, will also be a part of the fall festival. In only its second year, 2015's event saw 80 authors and 5,000 attendees. And that's way more than attended the first run showing of The Room when it was released in 2003. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Author Ed Tarkington to visit story booth at Crosstown Arts

Posted By on Wed, Feb 10, 2016 at 1:25 PM

Ed Tarkington will visit story booth at Crosstown Arts this Thursday for a discussion of his debut novel, Only Love Can Break Your Heart.

Welcome to Spencerville, Virginia, 1977. Eight-year-old Rocky worships his older brother, Paul. Sixteen and full of rebel cool, Paul spends his days cruising in his Chevy Nova blasting Neil Young, cigarette
 dangling from his lips, arm slung around his beautiful, troubled girlfriend. Paul is happy to have his younger brother as his sidekick. Then one day, in an act of vengeance against their father, Paul picks up Rocky from school and nearly abandons him in the woods. Afterward, Paul disappears.

Seven years later, Rocky is a teenager himself. He hasn’t forgotten being abandoned by his boyhood hero, but he’s getting over it, with the help of the wealthy neighbors’ daughter, ten years his senior, who has taken him as her lover. Unbeknownst to both of them, their affair will set in motion a course of events that rains catastrophe on both their families. After a mysterious double murder brings terror and suspicion to their small town, Rocky and his family must reckon with the past and find out how much forgiveness their hearts can hold.

Praise for Only Love Can Break Your Heart:

“A lush mystery-within-a-coming-of-age-tale-within-a-Southern-Gothic. If a book could have an Instagram filter, Tarkington’s would be set on something called ‘Nostalgic’ . . . interesting, readable and beautifully written.”—NPR Books

“Tarkington’s writing is talky, devoid of flash, and calls to mind a young Pat Conroy . . . propulsion is its primary attribute. Not mere plot propulsion—though there’s plenty of that, especially after the corpses turn up—but emotional propulsion: Tarkington’s fidelity to period and place is matched by his fidelity to human contradictions, to the gray area between heroism and villainy in which most of us reside. The gothic elements add spice, but the protein in this assured debut—the part that sticks to your ribs—is the beautiful but ever-threatened connection between Rocky and Paul. Only Love Can Break Your Heart is a novel about brotherhood, most of all, about the delicate fortress of that bond.” — Garden & Gun

“Well-written and observed  . . . Tarkington carefully lays out his elaborate storyline and sensitively depicts his troubled characters.” — Kirkus Reviews

Ed Tarkington
story booth
438 N. Cleveland Street
Thursday, February 11th
6 - 8 p.m.

© 1996-2016

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation