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.

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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.

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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.

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Saturday, August 15, 2015

For Joshua Hood, the Road to Publication Was an Uphill Battle

Posted By on Sat, Aug 15, 2015 at 6:27 AM

Joshua Hood had already gone through QueryTracker.com, a database of literary agents, and gotten a slew of rejections in answer to his query letters. He’d exhausted WritersMarket.com too in search of an agent. But through the annual conference known as ThrillerFest, an agent got interested in Hood’s manuscript, a contemporary military thriller set in today’s worn-torn Middle East, and she got interested in Hood himself.

He told her about being a decorated war veteran and former member of the 82nd Airborne division in Iraq and Afghanistan, and after reading his manuscript, she had two things to say. The good news was: Hood had a story to tell. The bad news: Hood didn’t know how to write a book. There were rules to storytelling in general and added rules to writing a successful thriller in today's market, and Hood needed to learn them. She gave him the name of a “story doctor.”

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