Friday, March 19, 2010

"Pinch" Party

Posted By on Fri, Mar 19, 2010 at 3:39 PM

You can party with The Pinch on Saturday, March 20th, 7 to 9 p.m. at the Wright Carriage House (688 Jefferson) to celebrate the literary journal's spring 2010 issue. (Yes, you, the public, you're invited; plus, it's free: live music, readings, appetizers, drinks).

But you can also still submit your fiction or poetry for this year's Pinch literary contest. The submission deadline has been extended from March 15th to April 15th. For more information, go to, brought to you by the good folks in the writing department at the University of Memphis.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Tammy Wynette: tragic, country, queen

Posted By on Wed, Mar 10, 2010 at 11:41 AM

You a "bookish type"? That's how biographer Jimmy McDonough addresses some of you in his audience — readers who maybe don't know enough of Tammy Wynette's music; even less of Wynette herself. Tammy Wynette: Tragic Country Queen (Viking) introduces you to both the woman and her work. But given her history with alcohol and medications and five husbands (the first, when Wynette was 17, to a man named Euple Byrd; the second to songwriter Don Chapel — in 1967, annulled in 1968; the third to George Jones, no slouch himself in the boozing department; the fourth to Michael Tomlin — in 1976, annulled in 1976; the fifth to her manager, by many estimates a real creep, named George Richey), the "tragic" of the subtitle isn't overstating it. Wynette died in 1998. Her music, which McDonough does a good job steering you to, lives on. But you'll either view it as a minus or a plus to find the biographer himself so often in these pages too. Janet Maslin in The New York Times takes the latter view. McDonough himself: He's at Davis-Kidd signing Tammy Wynette today, March 10th, at 6 p.m.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Code Name: "The Clone Codes"

Posted By on Fri, Mar 5, 2010 at 11:15 AM

Everything old is new again in a new book (from Scholastic) by the married team of Patricia and Frederick McKissack.

The book, The Clone Codes, is set in 2170. There's peace and prosperity on planet Earth. But the cyborgs and clones that populate the planet are little more than slaves. And yet, there's an underground movement afoot to free those cyborgs and clones, and the mother of a 13-year-old girl named Leanna is part of it.

The book is science fictional, but it draws on elements and individuals from American history — elements such as the Fugitive Slave Act, the Thirteenth Amendment, the abolitionist movement, and Plessy v. Ferguson and individuals such as Benjamin Franklin, Sojourner Truth, Justice John Marshall Harlan, and Eleanor Roosevelt. Which makes The Clone Codes a futuristic lesson in America's past, designed for readers ages 9-12.

Something brand-new: The McKissacks have been up to some "cloning" themselves: The Clone Codes marks the writing debut of their son John, a mechanical engineer living in Memphis.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Dolen Debuts

Posted By on Mon, Mar 1, 2010 at 9:00 AM

Drayle is master of the house — the plantation house in pre-Civil War Shelby County. Fran, Drayle's wife, is mistress of the house. But it's Lizzie, a slave, who is Drayle's mistress, both in Tennessee and at the resort in Ohio, where Drayle takes Lizzie for three summers in the early 1850s in Dolen Perkins-Valdez' debut novel Wench (Amistad/HarperCollins).

Here's what the author, a native Memphian, had to say by phone from Washington, D.C., a week before she returns to her hometown to read from and sign copies of Wench at Rhodes College:

Continue reading »

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