MidnightHour

Southern Voices

Three new books take the reader from the dividing line of the North and South in the Civil War to the heyday of R&B and American Soul Music (with a stop along the way at Stax in Memphis), to a mix of tales that rely on past technology to tell today’s stories.READ MORE

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I’ve been a fan of Paul Auster’s since I picked up a copy of his 2004 novel, The Brooklyn Follies, while perusing the shelves of Bookstar, the long-gone bookseller in Poplar Plaza. In the years since, I’ve delighted in finding Auster’s books by making my way down the “A” shelf until I, hopefully, found something I’d never read. And many of them — Oracle Night, The Red Notebook, The Music of Chancehave been found this way.READ MORE

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sladehouse

Judgey

Here in the Book Review Department of the Literary Arts Wing of The Memphis Flyer, we see a lot of books. Novels. Short story collections. Poetry chapbooks. Graphic novels. History. Day in and day out, packages come across my desk from Alfred A. Knopf, Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, and self-publishers in every genre.READ MORE

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cityonfire

City on Fire: a long, slow burn

This review originally appeared in The Memphis Flyer.

“Are you trying to set a record for the longest time to read a book?” My wife asked me this question one night recently as I turned to page 745.

I began reading City on Fire (Knopf) by Garth Risk Hallberg when it first came out. That was back in October of last year, and I’ve only just finished. I’m a notoriously slow reader, and this tome is 944 pages. Still, I should have finished it earlier. Why didn’t I? Things got in the way: Work. Kids. I clicked around on Facebook, made a tweet or two. I binge-watched House of Cards andDaredevil. We started and finished every season of Black Sails in the time it’s taken me to read this book.READ MORE

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book_frannyandzooey-mag

Remembering Franny and Zooey and Jim

Wrapping paper. Sugar-sweet carols. Televised cartoon specials. Noise-making toys. Tinsel everywhere. I have four children, so this is how my Christmases have looked and sounded for the past 17 years. And that’s great. This is just how it should be — loud and colorful and joyful.

But I need my alone time, so every year I’ve managed to carve out a little space just for myself during these end-of-year celebrations. While the kids are watching those television specials or playing with their toys or baking cookies, I’ve made it a point to take a book off the shelf, sit, and read. And for many years — more than I can remember, really — that book has been Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger.READ MORE

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