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



My wife Kristy and I celebrated our 22nd wedding anniversary last month. I fell for her in high school, in part, because she was a reader. She was a reader long before I was, and for years she told me, “You have to read Fair and Tender Ladies.” Lee Smith’s story of Ivy Rowe, a girl who grows into womanhood and finds her strength in the Appalachian Mountains, is Kristy’s favorite novel of Smith’s. And for years I shrugged the suggestion off even as I delved into Hemingway and Cheever and Barry Hannah and Toni Morrison. READ MORE



I’m somebody who’s more timid than I want to be,” says Sonja Livingston, associate professor in the M.F.A. program at the University of Memphis.

That’s the beauty of literature: The ability to lose yourself in a book and live many lives, to experience adventures that take the reader around the globe, to outer space, and into situations impractical in the day-to-day of our real world. And for writers, it’s the thrill of creating these worlds, of embellishing our domestic escapades into something larger than life. READ MORE


Pedaling forward for 40 years

When Memphis magazine first appeared on newsstands and in mailboxes, I didn’t read it. I turned 6 years old in 1976, the first year of Memphis, and I was busy learning to ride my bike across a weedy patch of lawn in front of my family’s small bungalow on Central Avenue in Midtown.

I would ride a parade of bicycles through elementary and high school but, as a child of the 1970s, I was promised jetpacks and flying cars as a means of travel into the distant future. Those promises have yet to be realized and, at 45 years old, I instead rode my bike to work today.READ MORE