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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



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


Returning to the Scene

For me in my early 20s, there was no better place to be than on a bar stool next to one of Richard Russo’s characters. Or in a diner swilling thick, black coffee while looking over the daily racing form. Of course, that bar stool and booth are purely metaphorical, but I spent so much time reading Russo’s prose at that age that I feel as though I know his characters — Wild Bill, Harry Saunders, Sam Hall, Sully, Rub —intimately.READ MORE


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


Mid-South Book Festival overcomes the odds

For the number of problems Memphis is said to have, we don’t deserve the arts scene that we have.” So said Dan Conaway, public relations stalwart, city bard, and a cousin of mine. We were talking among a group of writers at the recent Well Read Reception, the party to kick off what, by all accounts, was a rousingly successful Mid-South Book Festival. Put on by Literacy Mid-South, an organization whose mission it is to stamp out illiteracy in our area, the weekend welcomed 80 authors and 5,000 attendees.READ MORE