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


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