One Awesome Weekend, Two Amazing Events, Three Inspiring Young Stars

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Parents: Want to earn some serious kid-cred? Tell your offspring to hop in the car, then as you start driving toward Harding Academy, casually toss a comment over your shoulder like, “Oh hey, have you ever seen those Kid President videos on YouTube? What about Lennon and Maisy? You know them?” Then prepare for a great deal of screaming and excitement, because this is happening: Read the rest of this entry »

“So Damn Lonesome” — The Complex Woman at the Center of Jill Alexander Essbaum’s Hausfrau

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Such pretty flowers. Such a haunting story.
Such pretty flowers. Such a haunting story.

Great news: We’ve planned your reading for the next week. Stop by sometime in the next few days and pick up a copy of Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum. (You know, the one NPR called “meticulous and resonant and daring” and which the Chicago Tribune praised for its “virtuosic intercutting of past and present.” ) Read it. Put it down. Stare out the window wishing you had someone to talk about it with. Then remember — ah, yes! — you do. Come to the Skillery next Friday evening, May 1, to meet Essbaum herself, get your book autographed, and discuss the dark psychological thriller you won’t be able to stop thinking about. Read the rest of this entry »

Yes to “Honesty and Vulnerability,” No to “Dramatized and Cheesy”

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Nashville Ballet dancer Keenan McLaren demonstrates how to stretch properly before reading a long novel. (photo by Anthony Matula)

One of Shakespeare’s most whimsical plays will leap from the page to the stage as the Nashville Ballet presents A Midsummer Night’s Dream April 24-26. In honor of this literary dance adaptation, we spoke with two Nashville Ballet dancers about their favorite books. Read the rest of this entry »

Almost Famous: Megan Mayhew Bergman on Underdogs, Good Intentions, and Pep Talks

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Author Megan Mayhew Bergman and a friendly alpaca on the Vermont farm where she lives with her family

Fame and talent don’t always overlap. Off the top of your head, you can probably name a half-dozen “personalities” who have become household names with little to back up their popularity besides a pretty face or a catchy stunt. Conversely, we all know there are brilliant people out there whose work isn’t getting the attention it deserves, yet it’s hard to name any of them, because, well . . . they’re not famous. We don’t know their names yet. So it’s a true delight when one of the great talents teeming beneath the surface of the artistic waters breaks through with a name-making piece of work, as author Megan Mayhew Bergman did with Almost Famous Women. Read the rest of this entry »

So We’ve Been Publicly Enlightened: What Jon Ronson Wants Us to Learn from Our Own Behavior

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Jon Ronson discusses So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed with Jon Stewart on The Daily Show

In So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, Jon Ronson tells the stories of people who have been savagely pilloried for their mistakes, and — just like when these events unfolded in real life — it’s impossible to look away. Read the rest of this entry »

Strike a Pose, Readers: Nigel Barker Visits Nashville

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Contrary to popular belief, booknerds can in fact be fashionable, and the fashionable can be quite booknerdy. Case in point: Nigel Barker, author, model, photographer, former America’s Next Top Model judge, and author of Models of Influence: 50 Women Who Reset the Course of Fashion. Barker is headed into town for Nashville Fashion Week, and while we’re doing some serious outfit-planning for our events with him this Tuesday, April 7, he tells us a bit about his favorite books — including the ones he has written himself.  Read the rest of this entry »

Author Ariel Lawhon on the Book That Changed Everything

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The Outlander series, based on Diana Gabaldon’s novels, returns for the second half of season one this Saturday, April 4, on STARZ.

If the above image fills you with the kind of glee you normally feel when unwrapping a birthday present; if you’ve been referring to this weekend as a “holiday” for reasons that have nothing to do with Easter or Passover; and/or if you’re taking today off to binge-watch every episode of a series that aired the first half of its first season last fall, then this essay is for you. Inspired by a fangirl moment in our own storeroom when our Stephanie and local author Ariel Lawhon realized they shared an obsession with all things Outlander, it’s a tribute not so much to a TV show (although some among us are indeed freaking out about the upcoming new episodes), but to the books that change our lives. Read the rest of this entry »