Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Out with the Old Books, In with the New

No. Not really. It just sounded like an appropriate title for a New Year's Eve post.

What a year. I know that it has been tough for so many. Thank goodness for book people.

Christmas is just passed, and the giving and getting of books is always a big part of our household's holiday.

For instance, one of the gifts that my wife received from me this year was a book about sewage. How many people can say that? I'm just sentimental and romantic that way, I guess.

Oh, and didn't I score big this year, particularly on the used and hard-to-find book front. First, there was the book adaptation of Bill Forsyth's brilliant film 'Local Hero' (1983). Then there were the two angling gems that I received--Book of the Black Bass (1881) by J. A. Henshall and Fresh Water Bass (1954) by Ray Bergman. Finally, I received a book that I have wanted for nearly fourteen years--since returning to the U.S. from a two-year teaching stint in Albania--Red Cross, Black Eagle: A Biography of Albania's American School (1981) by Joan Fultz Kontos, and signed by the author.

My wife's sister and her family also gave me copies of Jon Meacham's new American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House and Doris Kearns Goodwin's Team of Rivals. Both books are bestsellers. In addition to being a serious American history buff, I have taken real pleasure over the past ten years in seeing so many books like these become national bestsellers. These intelligent, well-written and well researched titles on the likes of Madison, Jefferson, Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Lewis and Clark or the Band of Brothers are such the opposite of the simple-minded fluff of politician and pundit silliness (though, admittedly, the latter are great cash cows for the bookselling industry). It's exciting to see people buy these histories and biographies up in droves. Also, I had a really big crush on Doris Kearns Goodwin when I was in graduate school.

Regarding books and family, my nineth-grade niece and I have made an agreement. At her urging, I am going to read the first of the Stepahine Meyer Twilight series, and my niece, in turn, agrees to read Bram Stoker's Dracula. My niece insists that, once I read the first of the Meyer books, I will be hooked. We will see. I do know that America's booksellers (as well as the makers of black nail polish and eyeliner) must be quite grateful to Ms. Meyer.

In 2008, the book business sent me twice to Chicago. I was there in early December, and hoped to gather a little dirt from Grant Park, the site where our new President-elect gave his acceptance speech in November. Unfortunately, there was about three inches of snow on the ground and an arctic breeze blowing in off of Lake Michigan, so my thin Georgia blood did not allow me to carry through with that project. I did, however, get to have dinner one night at the largest Czech restaurant in America, where I visited a (former) brothel upstairs and saw a room where the former owner used to play cards with Al Capone.

Also, in 2008, I had the pleasure of having a beer with South Carolina author Roger Pinckney at his favorite hang-out on Daufuskie Island, where he lives. Finally, this past summer I suggested a book title to an acquaintance who also happens to be one of the book people for whom I have the greatest respect. Some months later, a positive review of that book(penned by my friend) appeared in one of the leading professional journals of the book world and to which my acquaintance is a regular contributor. This was very gratifying, and highlights several of the biggest reasons that people like me get into the business of recommending books in the first place--mind control and eventual world domination.

In with the new. Georgia author Phil Williams has a new book of poetry coming in February, An Ode to Water, by Mercer University Press. Already there is a line-up of excellent literary events coming to Atlanta and elsewhere in Georgia (see tomorrow's post).

So, it is off to the store to gather everything for a traditional Southern New Year's Eve Celebration (alchohol and explosives).

Happy New Year everyone. May 2009 bring many great books and much time on, in or near the water.

RWR

Monday, December 15, 2008

WordFeast, Horizon Theatre & Roy Blount, Jr.

Tonight, December 15, at 7:30 pm, Horizon Theatre in Atlanta's Little Five Points District will present WordFeast, a Georgia author-filled event to help the Atlanta Community Food Bank. Among those appearing will be Melissa Fay Greene, Pearl Cleage, Joshilyn Jackson, Carmen Deedy, and Rob Cleveland. It's just $15 to get in or--better yet--15 canned goods. For more information, call Horizon Theatre at 678-553-5972, or visit the Atlanta Community Food Bank at http://www.acfb.org/.

In addition to a great line-up of terrific authors and performers, Horizon Theatre is a hoot all by itself. If it hasn't changed over the past few years, it kind of reminds you of what the original Saturday Night Live studio looked like. And they do great stuff (see Santaland Diaries, for example).

You'll also be in the Little Five Points District. While you are there, be sure to get over to A Cappella Books. You'll also be just a short distance from the Virginia-Highlands area. Get over there and visit the Atlanta Book Exchange. Finally, you'll also be just a short drive from Georgia's bookstore Mecca, Decatur.

Yesterday, Georgia native and author, and regular contributor to Garden & Gun Magazine, Roy Blount, Jr. was interviewed on NPR's Bob Edward's Weekend. He was discussing his new book, Alphabet Juice. Here is the perfect holiday gift for your college English major, your aspiring author loved one, or your favorite Scrabble addict. The interview was worth listening to just for the discussion of certain off-color words.

Could someone please send me a quick email and assure me that Memorable Books of Stone Mountain, Georgia has not fallen to the current economic times? I can't seem to get in touch with that famous Georgia book landmark.

Merry Christmas Everybody, and Happy Holidays (whatever your holiday happens to be).

And Good Luck.

Recommended (Santa, are you reading?): George, Being George--George Plimpton's Life by Nelson W. Aldrich (just out from Random House)

RMR

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Terry Kay Holiday Program at the Margaret Mitchell House

Author Terry Kay will be reading tomorrow night at the Margaret Mitchell House & Literary Center in downtown Atlanta. He will be reading selections from his book, To Whom the Angel Spoke-A Story of the Christmas. The author inscribed a copy of this book to my little girl when she was just two weeks old. Terry, she'll be reading that book to her little brother this year.

Mr. Kay will be accompanied by members of the Atlanta Public Schools Elementary Honors Chorus performing holiday favorites.

The event is free, but you'll need to RSVP. The reception begins at 5 p.m., and the program gets under way at 5:30 p.m. Mr. Kay will also be autographing books.

Here is a terrific opportunity to take a break from the phony, stressed-filled side of the season, and to be reminded of what the season is really about. It's free and involves no mall parking.

More information may be had at the Margaret Mitchell House website, www.gwtw.org/events.

Terry Kay is the author of numerous works, including To Dance with the White Dog, Taking Lottie Home, The Valley of Light, and The Book of Marie.

Happy slow, inexpensive holidays everyone.

RMR

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

November 4th, 2008


November 4th, 2008
We never cease to amaze ourselves, or the rest of humanity.
RMR

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween, book people!

In recognition of the season, here is a family story that I would like to share. Make of it what you will.

My grandfather grew up in the foothills of Alabama. One of his favorite stories that he liked to share with us kids during the Halloween season involved an event that occurred in the small town where he grew up in rural Alabama. The event occurred during the nineteen twenties, when he was just a boy himself, and took place sometime around late October.

There had been an early snow the night before. Granddad recalled that by the time he had gotten up to do his morning chores—early—there was already some talk going on with the neighbors about some queer animal tracks that people were noticing around town. He said that he didn’t have any idea as to what the commotion was about, until one of his neighbors, a farmer who lived just down the road from his house, came to fetch his own father to have a look at these tracks.

Granddad said that he saw the neighbor come up the road and head into the yard around in the front of the house. So, naturally, granddad said that he walked around front to say “hey”. His father, my great grandfather, was already standing in the yard, out in the snow, looking down at the ground, “studying somethin’”, as granddad put it.

“Well, I guess you found ‘em, too?” the neighbor said to great granddaddy. “What do you make of those?”

These were men who hunted on a regular basis, and knew the animals that inhabited the surrounding country quite well. And the tracks, at first, didn’t really strike a person as being all that odd.

The tracks that came into granddad’s yard looked like those of a small animal, maybe a deer. “They weren’t some Bigfoot tracks or that kind of foolishness,” granddad would always assure us.

Still, the tracks, which always seemed to be going in a straight line, and never backtracked over themselves, appeared to do some very strange things.

“Well, first of all, they came right up on the front porch. And whatever it was, it walked down the whole front of the house.” Granddad went on, “And what was really strange is that, once we started looking, we could see that whatever this thing was, it had walked in a circle all the way around the house. And the thing was, that the tracks would come right up to the house whenever they came to a window, like whatever it was might have been looking inside for something.”

Granddad went on to say that things took a real turn on the scary side when people all over town started to notice the tracks doing the same thing on their property. It wasn’t a big town by any means, but including the surrounding farms that more or less circled the town square, it was a relatively large area.

“Whatever it was, it sure was getting along in a hurry,” Granddad would add. “And it didn’t miss a single house.” The only place that no one recalled seeing any of the tracks was around the Baptist or Methodist churches. Granddad said that he’d heard his father laughing with several of the other men in town about the critter, whatever it was, not having any religion cause it hadn’t walked around in either of the church yards in town.

“Folks didn’t laugh long, though.” Granddad would always lead into the last part of his story with that line.

“NO, Sir. People started getting pretty scared when the whole picture started coming together.” He would go on, “The snow from the night before was pretty thick, so the tracks were pretty easy to see, especially once everybody got all excited about them.”

“Those track were everywhere. People found them where they would go right up to a ten foot haystack,” and then, after a loaded pause, “and they just kept right on going on the other side like whatever it was hadn’t even slowed down a lick.” He said that people swore that they’d even found the tracks on their roofs.

“Those tracks just kept on going, like whatever it was was just on some moonlit stroll and wasn’t going to be interrupted.”

The tracks had come into town from a deep woods on one end of town, and exited into the same at the other end of town after crossing through a large pasture. As the day wore on and the temperature began to go up, the melting snow began to create big gaps in the tracks and made them impossible to follow.

As we got older, Granddad would add the parts to the story that he had chosen not to tell us when we were younger. “I didn’t want to give you kids nightmares, or anything.”

He told us about how one of his neighbors, a man named Herschel, had set several coon dogs on the tracks. “They went off into the woods, in the direction that the tracks went away from town. Them dogs never did come back and Hershcel never did find no bodies, either.”

But I was in college when granddad finally gave me the final bit of detail about the mysterious tracks. I was home from school for the weekend, during fall semester. I asked him to tell me the story again. When he got to the end, he said, “Well, you heard all of that before.”

Then he got a slightly more serious look on his face. “You know what the real strange part about those tracks was?”

I asked him to tell me. He looked me square in the face, and raised his eyebrows.

“Well, they were just little hoof prints, like maybe a doe or even a goat. Some people even thought they looked a little like a pig, maybe a wild hog.”

He considered a moment, and gave what seemed just a tad bit like a shudder, before he finally finished the whole story.

“But that just didn’t make sense. You see, those tracks hadn’t been side by side, like an animal walking on all fours. Them tracks had been one right in front of the other. Whatever made them tracks that night walked upright. Like a man.”

Be Safe Trick-or-Treaters!

Recommended: Savannah Spectres and Other Strange Tales by Margaret Wayt DeBolt. Some of the best ghost stories from Savannah, America's most haunted city.

RMR Ghost Stories

Where do you get your books?

The joy that I experience in bookshops has nothing to do with their size. I like them all.

-Lawrence Clark Powell


Highly recommended: Patience & Fortitude by Nicholas A. Basbanes (and anything else by this book person's book person).

Monday, September 8, 2008

Upcoming Author, Book & Literary Events in Georgia--Updated September 8th

If you just didn't get enough of a book fix last weekend at the Decatur Book Festival, the following list contains some additional--most, I hope--author events, signings, readings, festivals, etc. that are upcoming in Georgia.

Monday, September 8th

Hanif Kureishi
Something to Tell You
7 pm @ the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory UniversityPresented by A Capella Books in Atlanta

Wednesday, September 10th

Anne Rivers Siddons
Off Season
7 pm at the Margaret Mitchell House in Atlanta

R. A. & Geno Salvatore
The Stowaway
7:30 pm at Wordsmiths Books in Decatur

Kevin Cantwell & Seaborn Jones, Poets
8:15 at the Callanwolde Fine Arts Center
404.872.5338 for information.

Thursday, September 11th

Dr. Nell Rogers
Beyond Best
7:30 pm at Charis Books and More in Atlanta

Ian McNulty
A Season of Night
7:30 pm at Wordsmiths Books in Decatur.

Friday, September 12th

New South Reading Series
7:30 pm at Wordsmiths Books in Decatur
Sponsor: New South’s Writing Workshop at Georgia State University.

Stephane Dunn
Baad Bitches and Sassy Supermamas: Black Power Action Films
8 pm at Charis Books and More in Atlanta.

Saturday, September 13th

Angela Benson
Up Pops the Devil
2 pm at Borders Books in Lithonia
678.526.2550 for information.

Mary Monroe
She Had it Coming
Barnes & Noble at Camp Creek, East Point
404.349.0359 for information.

Linda Robertson
What Rhymes with Bastard
7:30 pm at Wordsmiths Books in Decatur.

Sunday, September 14th

Linda Robertson
What Rhymes with Bastard?
2 pmA Cappella Books & the Opal Gallery in Atlanta.

Hollis Gillespie
Trailer Trashed
Writing Seminar, Atlanta
Visit www.hollisgillespie.com for more information.

Monday, September 15th

Helene Cooper
The House at Sugar Beach: In Search of a Lost African Childhood
Decatur Public LibrarySponsor: Georgia Center for the Book.

Tuesday, September 16th

Charles Martin
Where the River Ends
7 pm at the Margaret Mitchell House in Atlanta.

Wednesday, September 17th

Hollis Gillespie
Trailer Trashed
6:30 pm at the Book Exchange in Marietta.

Thursday, September 18th

Thomas Frank
The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule
Georgia Center for the Book, Decatur.

Dionne Warwick
Say A Little Prayer
7 pm at Barnes & Noble in Alpharetta.

David Williams
Bitterly Divided: The South’s Inner Civil War
A Cappella Books & the Opal Gallery in Atlanta
7 pm

Hollis Gillespie
Trailer Trashed
7 pm at the Blue Elephant Bookshop in Decatur.

Friday, September 19th

Michael Scott
The Magician: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel
7 pm at Barnes & Noble in Alpharetta
770.993.8340 for information.

Brad Meltzer
The Book of Lies
7:15 pm at the Georgia Center for the Book at the Decatur Public Library.

Monday, September 22nd

Rick Atkinson
The Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy
7:15 pm at the Decatur Library (Georgia Center for the Book).

Michael Gates Gill
How Starbucks Saved My Life
7:30 pm at Wordsmiths Books in Decatur.

Tuesday, September 23rd

Stuart Woods
Hot Mahogany
7 pm at Barnes & Noble in Alpharetta
770.993.8340 for information.

Wednesday, September 24th

Stuart Woods
Hot Mahogany
7:15 pm at the Georgia Center for the Book/Decatur Public Library.

Thursday, September 25th

RM Johnson
The Million Dollar Deception
7 pm at Barnes & Noble at Camp Creek, East Point
404.349.0359 for information.

Sonya Huber (Georgia Southern University Creative Writing Professor—GO EAGLES!)
Opa Nobody
7:30 pm at Charis Books and More in Atlanta.

Friday, September 26th

Garrison Keillor
Liberty
The Margaret Mitchell House in Atlanta.

Reverend Candace Chellew-Hodge
Bulletproof Faith: A Spiritual Survival Guide to Gays and Lesbian Christians
8 pm at Charis Books and More in Atlanta.

Sunday, September 28th

Linda Villarosa
Passing for Black
6 pm at Charis Books and More in Atlanta.

Monday, September 29th

Bob Schieffer
Bob Scheiffer’s America
Presented by A Cappella Books in Atlanta7 pm at the Day Chapel of the Carter Center in Atlanta.

Annette Gordon-Reed
The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family
Presented with A Cappella Books in Atlanta
7:15 pm at the Georgia Center for the Book at the Decatur Library.

Tuesday, September 30th

Diane Wilson
Holy Roller: Growing Up in the Church of Knock Down, Drag Out; or, How I Quit Loving a Blue-Eyed Jesus
Presented by A Cappella BooksTBA at the Existentialist Congregation of Atlanta, 470 Candler Park Drive.

Wednesday, October 1st

University of Georgia Faculty and Staff Author Reception
3:30-5:30 pm at the University of Georgia Bookstore, Athens
706-542-2251 for information.

Thursday, October 2nd

Dexter Filkins
The Forever War
Presented by A Cappella Books and the Georgia Center for the Book
TBA at the Decatur Public Library.

Friday, October 3rd-Saturday, October 4th

Book Fair on the Square in Marietta
Authors at the event will include Richard Grinker, Rachel Simon, Doug Crandell, Laura Flynn, and Katherine Noel. Kids events.
Sponsor: The Cobb County Community Service BoardVisit www.bookfaironthesquare.org for more info.

Saturday, October 4th

Hollis Gillespie
Trailer Trashed
7 pm at Borders Books in Athens.

Monday, October 6th

Candace Bushnell
One Fifth Avenue
TBA at the Margaret Mitchell House in Atlanta.

Ken Silverstein
Turkmeniscam: How Washington Lobbyist Fought to Flack for a Stalinist Dictatorship
Presented by A Cappella Books
7 pm at the Presidential Library Auditorium of the Carter Center, Atlanta.

Tuesday, October 7th

Greg Melville
Greasy Rider
7:30 pm at Wordsmiths Books in Decatur.

Wednesday, October 8th

Honor Moore
The Bishop’s Daughter
TBA at the Margaret Mitchell House in Atlanta.

Dave Zirin
A People’s History of Sports in the United States: 250 Years of Politics, Protest, People and Play.
TBA

Karen Head & Collin Kelley
Poetry Reading8:15 pm at the Callanwolde Fine Arts Center
404.872.5338 for information.
Presented by A Cappella Books in Atlanta.

Thursday, October 9th

Darrell Huckaby
A Southerner Looks at All Fifty States
6 pm at the Tate Student Center, UGA, Athens
706-542-8199

Michael Largo
Genius and Heroin: The Illustrated Catalogue of Creativity, Obsession, and Reckless Abandon Through the Ages
7 pm at A Cappella Books/The Opal Gallery in Atlanta.

Nancy Floyd
She’s Got a Gun
7 pm at Charis Books and More, Atlanta.

Saturday, October 11th

Collin Kelley (After the Poison) and Cecilia Woloch (Narcissus)
2 pm at Wordsmiths Books in Decatur.

Steve Doocy
Tales From the Dad Side
7 pm at Books A Million, Atlanta.

Tuesday, October 14th

Dixie Divas (Julie Canon, J.L. Miles, Patricia Sprinkle, and Karin Gillespie) with special guest Haywood Smith.
The Margaret Mitchell House in Atlanta.TBA

Wednesday, October 15th

Sandra Lee
Money Saving Meals
Margaret Mitchell House in Atlanta.
TBA

Sandra Lee
Sandra Lee’s Sweet & Simple Bake Sale
2 pm at the Cook’s Warehouse in Decatur
Presented by Wordsmiths Books.

Thursday, October 16th

Paula Deen
Paula Deen’s My First Cookbook
7 pm at Barnes & Noble in Savannah
912.353.7757 for information.

Friday, October 17th

Andrew Porter (The Theory of Light and Matter) and Peter Selgin (Drowning Lessons)
7:30 pm at Wordsmiths Books in Decatur.

Saturday, October 18th

2nd Annual Gwinnett Reading Festival
Rick Bragg and Carmen Agra Deedy confirmed.
Lawrenceville
Sponsor: Gwinnett County Public Library.
www.gwinnettreadingfestival.org for information.

Judith Ortiz Cofer
A Love Story Beginning in Spanish
Gwinnett Reading Festival
www.gwinnettreadingfestival.org

John Hodgmann, author and contributor to ‘The Daily Show’
More Information Than You Require
7 pm at Barnes & Noble in Buckhead, Atlanta.

Hollis Gillespie
Trailer Trashed
7 pm at Bound to be Read Books in Atlanta.

Monday, October 20th

Hollis Gillespie
Trailer Trashed
7 pm at Barnes & noble @Georgia Tech, Atlanta.

Maureen McCormick (formerly of The Brady Bunch!!)
7:30 pm at Outwrite Books in Atlanta.

Tuesday, October 21st

James Kuntsler
The Long Emergency
4 pm at the University of Georgia Chapel, Athens706-542-3966.

Judith Ortiz Cofer
A Love Story Beginning in Spanish
6 pm at the University of Georgia
www.ugapress.uga.edu for more information.

Thursday, October 23rd

Judith Ortiz Cofer
A Love Story Beginning in Spanish
Watkinsville Public Library
www.ugapress.uga.edu for information.

Rinku Sen and Fekkak Mamdouh
The Accidental American: Immigration in an Age of Globalization.
7:30 pm at Charis Books and More in Atlanta.

Saturday, October 25th

Georgia Literary Festival
8 am to 5 pm on the Campus of Bainbridge College
Including authors Jay Barbee, Michael P. White, Cathy Cox, Jack McDevitt, Claire Matturo, Frye Gaillard, Valerie Boyd, Bobby Dews, Janice Daugharty, James Kimbrell, Wynton C. Hall, Dana Wildsmith, Philip D. Beidler, Sonny Sammons, and Joyce Cauthen giving a one-woman performance as Caroline Miller, author of Lamb in His Bosom and Georgia’s first winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Literature in 1933.Sponsored by the Georgia Center for the Book, the Georgia Humanities Council, the Decatur County-Gilbert H. Gragg Library and Bainbridge College. Call 229.248.2590 for information.

Whit Gibbons
Turtles of the Southeast
Georgia Museum of Natural History
Athens
www.ugapress.uga.edu for information.

Robert Morgan
Boone
7:30 pm at Wordsmiths Books in Decatur.

Monday, October 27th

Sarah Vowell
The Woody Shipmates
7 pm at the Day Chapel of the Carter Center in Atlanta.
Presented by A Cappella Books.

Monday, October 27th-Thursday, October 30th

The Pulitzer Legacy in Georgia
Featuring Stephen Dunn, Natasha Trethewey, Hank Kalibanoff and Edward Larson.
At the Jekyll Island Club, Jekyll Island, Georgia
Contact the Georgia Review at 800.542.3481 for information.

Friday, November 7th

June Akers Seese
Whose Coffee is it?
7 pm at the Callanwolde Fine Arts Center
404.872.5338 for information.

Saturday, November 8th thru Saturday, November 22nd

The 17th Annual MJCCA Book Festival
Featuring Tony Curtis, Alan Alda, Annie Leibovitz, Amy Bloom, Martin Fletcher, Evan Handler, and Jeffrey Toobin among others.
www.atlatajcc.org or 678-812-4000 for more information.

Wednesday, November 12th

Stephen Bluestone
Poetry Reading
8:15 pm at Callanwolde Fine Aarts Center404.872.5338.

Saturday, November 15th

5th Annual Savannah Children’s Book Festival
Forsyth Park, SavannahVisit
www.liveoakpl.org

Atlanta Film Festival Screenwriting Competition—Winning Screenplays Presented
Margaret Mitchell House in Atlanta
TBA.

Monday, November 17th

Jon Meacham
American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House
A Cappella Books presents
7 pm at the Carter Center Library and Museum Theater.

Micheal Wex
Just Say Nu: Yiddish for Every Occasion (When English Just Won’t Do)
7 pm at A Cappella Books in Atlanta.

Friday, November 21st

Roy Blount, Jr.
Alphabet Juice
Margaret Mitchell House in Atlanta.
TBA.

Randy Owen (Lead singer from the group Alabama)
Born Country
7 pm at Borders Books in Buckhead, Atlanta.

Saturday, November 29th

Mike Huckabbee
Do the Right Thing
8 pm at Borders Books in Marietta.

Thursday, December 4th

Harry Potter: The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J. K. Rowling release.

Saturday, December 13th

Rachel Ray
Big Orange Cookbook
12 noon to 2 pm at Books A Million, Atlanta.

Friday, February 6th-Sunday, February 8th, 2009

2nd Annual Savannah Book Festival

NOTE: This list is by no means complete. Events may be added—or cancelled. Events may change. Please contact specific venues or organizations (see links on this website) to confirm event times, dates and details. Happy reading.

Friday, August 29, 2008

The 2008 Decatur Book Festival

The greatest book festival in the World begins today in downtown Decatur, Georgia. Seriously, at just three years of age, the Decatur Book Festival is officially FAMOUS. Two hundred and fifty plus authors will be in attendance (many from Georgia--many from Decatur). Some 50,000 to 75,000 people are expected to attend. So much to see, do, eat, read. See the Festival link at right for the entire phenomenal schedule...if you are not already there in Decatur.

As an avid promoter of the Georgia book world--and former Decaturite--it's hard not to gush. Having been in the book business for so long, I recall a time when Atlanta was spoken of as just, "not a book town".

See you there.

Suggested reading:

See full schedule of Decatur Book Festival authors for suggestions.

RMR

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Natasha Tretheway & Karin Slaughter on the Same Bill

The Georgia Perimeter College Writer's Institute, in conjunction with the Atlanta Writer's Club, will present 2007 Pulitzer-Prize winning poet Natasha Tretheway and internationally acclaimed crime novelist Karin Slaughter (both Georgia authors) together at 1 pm, in Room C110 on the GPC Dunwoody Campus on Saturday, August 16th.

For more information about the Georgia Perimeter College Writer's Institute and its events, see the link on the right. For more information about the Atlanta Writer's Club, visit their site at www.atlantawritersclub.org.

Counting the days until the Decatur Book Festival.

Suggested reads:

Anything by Ms. Tretheway or Ms. Slaughter

RMR

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The First Day of Kindergarten


Well, there she goes.


Yesterday was the first day of kindergarten for my house.


Didn't she just get here? Didn't she just learn to walk and wasn't she just in diapers? Now she says that she wants to dress up like one of the B-52s for Halloween.


I am looking at a book that was inscribed to her by author Terry Kay (To Whom the Angels Spoke) when she was barely a month old. She has books that were autographed for her by authors before she was even born. Now she is reading books.


She's reading.


Today was Day 2 of kindergarten and she marched right in to the school building like she owned the place.


Recommended Reads:


Nothing. Absolutely nothing helps.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Upcoming Author & Book Events in Georgia Updated August 5th, 2008

Upcoming Author & Book Events in Georgia

Thursday, August 7th

Sandy Jones
Great Expectations: Baby Gear
7 pm at Barnes & Noble in Alpharetta
770.993.8340 for information.

Texas Governor Rick Perry
On My Honor
Borders Books in Buckhead (Atlanta)
404.237.0707 for information.

Mark Baurlein
The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future
7:15 at the Decatur Public Library
Sponsors: Georgia Center for the Book & Wordsmiths Books

Friday, August 8th

Margaret Hoffman signing
7 pm at Barnes & Noble Alpharetta
770.993.8340 for information.

Laurinda Brown
The Highest Price for Passion
8 pm at Charis Books & More in Atlanta
404.524.0304

Friday, August 8th-Sunday, August 10

The 2008 Dahlonega Literary Festival
Authors and illustrators attending include Karen Abbott, Steve Berry, Patti Callahan Henry, Nathalie Dupree, Joshilyn Jackson, Mark Braught, Laura Knorr-Braught, Jackie Cooper, Jack Bass, Mitchell Graham. Lots of kid’s events.
For more information, visit www.literaryfestival.org.

Saturday, August 9th

Hodge Steve Children’s Author & CPR Demonstration
11 am at Barnes & Noble in Columbus
706.653.0947 for information.

Charles Martin
Where the River Ends
2 pm at Books A Million in Savannah

Meesha Mink
Shameless Hoodwives
2 pm at Borders Books in Lithonia
678.526.2550 for information.

Nancy Nichols
Secrets of the Ultimate Husband Hunter
2 pm at Barnes & Noble in Marietta
770.422.2261 for information.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta
Chasing Life
2 pm at the Decatur Public Library
Sponsors: Georgia Center for the Book & Wordsmiths Books

Karin Slaughter
Fractured
3 pm at Borders in Marietta
770.565.0947 for information.

Sunday, August 10th

August is Romance Awareness Month
Authors Michele Sinclair, Missy Tippens, Gilian Summers, Michelle Roper, Berta Platas and more.
1 pm at Barnes & Noble in Marietta
770.422.2261 for information.

Joe Harris
The Stars That Never Shine
2 pm at Borders Books in Lithonia
678.526.2550 for information.

Tuesday, August 12th

James Kautz
Footprints Across the South: Bartram’s Trail Revisited
7 pm at the Northeast Georgia History Museum in Gainesville
678.797.2214 for information.

Noah Andre Trudeau
Southern Storm: Sherman’s March to the Sea
7:15 at the Decatur Public Library
Sponsors: Georgia Center for the Book & Wordsmiths Books

Lauren Fix
Lauren Fix’s Guide to Loving Your Car
7:30 pm at Barnes & Noble in Buckhead (Atlanta)
404.261.7747 for information.

Thursday, August 14th

Jay Hakes
A Declaration of Energy Independence
Reception at 6 pm & Program begins at 7 pm.
Margaret Mitchell House in Atlanta

Jack Pendarvis
Awesome
8 pm Ballroom Book Bash at the Highland Inn (Atlanta)
Sponsors: A Capella Books & The Chattahoochee Review
404.681.5128 for more info.

Friday, August 15th

Mary R. Butler
Mama Peavy Says….
6:30 pm at Borders Books in Lithonia
678.526.2550 for information.

Jack Pendarvis
Awesome
7:30 at Wordsmiths Books in Decatur

Saturday, August 16th

Whit Gibbons
Turtles of the Southeast
Reed Park in Augusta
www.ugapress.edu for information.

Glenda Krueger
Surviving the Tracks
2 pm at Barnes & Noble in Columbus
706.653.7880 for information.

Trina Stroud
Writing My Face
2 pm at Borders Books in Lithonia
678.526.2550 for information.

Sunday, August 17th

Arnold Fleischmann & Carol Pierannuzi
Politics in Georgia
2 pm at the Atlanta History Center

Reginald Beaty & Tony Owens
Faces of Change
2 pm at Borders Books in Lithonia
678.526.2550 for information.

Tuesday, August 19th

Lesley Kagen
Land of A Hundred Wonders
7:30 pm at Barnes & Noble in Buckhead (Atlanta)
404.261.7747.

Thursday, August 21st

Rev-Run (aka Joseph Simmons)
Take Back Your Family: A Challenge for American Families
7 pm at Georgia Perimeter College, Clarkston Campus
Sponsors: Georgia Center for the Book & Wordsmiths Books

Patty Brisben
Pure Romance Between the Sheets: Find Your Best Sexual Self and Enhance Your Intimate Relationship
7:30 pm at Barnes & Noble in Buckhead (Atlanta)
404.261.7747 for information.

Saturday, August 23rd

Bill Curry
Ten Men You Meet in the Huddle
2 pm at Books A Million in Lawrenceville

Debbie Zep
Savannah: A Photographic Portrait
2 pm at Barnes & Noble in Savannah
912.353.7757 for information.

Fiona Zedde
Hungry For It
2 pm at Borders Books in Lithonia
678.526.2550 for information.

Sunday, August 24th

Pamela Mueller
Aloha Crossing
1 pm at Barnes & Noble in Savannah
912.353.7757 for information.

Thursday, August 28th

Hollis Gillespie
Trailer Trashed
7:30 pm at Charis Books and More in Atlanta
404.524.0304

Friday, August 29th-Sunday, August 31st

The 3rd Annual AJC Decatur Book Festival
250 authors in attendance, including Rick Bragg, Pearl Cleage, Billy Collins, John Dean, Eric Jerome Dickey, Emily Giffin, Lee Smith, and Karin Slaughter.
For more information, visit www.decaturbookfestival.com

Saturday, August 30th

Patti Pruit
Meeting Paddy O’Rourke
1 pm at Borders Books on Cobb Parkway
770.612.0940 for information.

Patrick McDonnell
South
2 pm at Barnes & Noble in Alpharetta
770.993.8340 for information.

Dr. M. F.
Nothing’s Wrong
2 pm at Borders Books in Lithonia
678.526.2550 for information.

Victoria Lang
To Liberia: Destiny’s Timing
4 pm at Borders Books in Lithonia
678.526.2550 for information.

Patrick McDonnell
South
7 pm at Borders Books in Snellville
770.982.0454 for information.

Sunday, August 31st

Tony Di Terlizzi
Kenny & The Dragon
2 pm at Barnes & Noble in Alpharetta
770.993.8340 for information.

Wednesday, September 3rd

Haywood Smith
Wedding Belles
7:30 pm at Barnes & Noble in Buckhead (Atlanta)
404.261.7747 for information.

Thursday, September 4th

Hollis Gillespie
Trailer Trashed
7 pm at Barnes & Noble in Athens
706.354.1195 for information.

Charla Muller
365 Nights
7:30 pm at Wordsmiths Books in Decatur

Friday, September 5th

Martha Lucia Espinosa
Quantum Spirituality Symposium & Book Signing
6 pm at Barnes & Noble in Norcross
770.209.4244 for information.


Wednesday, September 10th

Anne Rivers Siddons
Off Season
7 pm at the Margaret Mitchell House in Atlanta

R. A. & Geno Salvatore
The Stowaway
7:30 pm at Wordsmiths Books in Decatur

Kevin Cantwell & Seaborn Jones, Poets
8:15 at the Callanwolde Fine Arts Center
404.872.5338 for information.


Thursday, September 11th

Ian McNulty
A Season of Night
7:30 pm at Wordsmiths Books in Decatur

Friday, September 12th

New South Reading Series
7:30 pm at Wordsmiths Books in Decatur
Sponsor: New South’s Writing Workshop at Georgia State University

Saturday, September 13th

Angela Benson
Up Pops the Devil
2 pm at Borders Books in Lithonia
678.526.2550 for information.

Mary Monroe
She Had it Coming
Barnes & Noble at Camp Creek, East Point
404.349.0359 for information.

Linda Robertson
What Rhymes with Bastard
7:30 pm at Wordsmiths Books in Decatur


Tuesday, September 16th

Charles Martin
Where the River Ends
7 pm at the Margaret Mitchell House in Atlanta

Friday, September 19th

Michael Scott
The Magician: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel
7 pm at Barnes & Noble in Alpharetta
770.993.8340 for information.

Tuesday, September 23rd

Stuart Woods
Hot Mahogany
7 pm at Barnes & Noble in Alpharetta
770.993.8340 for information.

Thursday, September 25th

RM Johnson
The Million Dollar Deception
7 pm at Barnes & Noble at Camp Creek, East Point
404.349.0359 for information.

Friday, October 3rd-Saturday, October 4th

Book Fair on the Square in Marietta
Authors at the event will include Richard Grinker, Rachel Simon, Doug Crandell, Laura Flynn, and Katherine Noel. Kids events.
Sponsor: The Cobb County Community Service Board
Visit www.bookfaironthesquare.org for more info.

Wednesday, October 8th

Karen Head & Collin Kelley
Poetry Reading
8:15 pm at the Callanwolde Fine Arts Center
404.872.5338 for information.

Saturday, October 11th

Steve Doocy
Tales From the Dad Side
7 pm at Books A Million, Atlanta

Thursday, October 16th

Paula Deen
Paula Deen’s My First Cookbook
7 pm at Barnes & Noble in Savannah
912.353.7757 for information.

Saturday, October 18th

2nd Annual Gwinnett Reading Festival
Lawrenceville
Sponsor: Gwinnett County Public Library
www.gwinnettreadingfestival.org for information.

Judith Ortiz Cofer
A Love Story Beginning in Spanish
Gwinnett Reading Festival
www.gwinnettreadingfestival.org

Tuesday, October 20th

Judith Ortiz Cofer
A Love Story Beginning in Spanish
6 pm at the University of Georgia
www.ugapress.uga.edu for more information.

Thursday, October 23rd

Judith Ortiz Cofer
A Love Story Beginning in Spanish
Watkinsville Public Library
www.ugapress.uga.edu for information.

Saturday, October 25th

Georgia Literary Festival
8 am to 5 pm on the Campus of Bainbridge College
Including authors Jay Barbee, Michael P. White, Cathy Cox, Jack McDevitt, Claire Matturo, Frye Gaillard, Valerie Boyd, Bobby Dews, Janice Daugharty, James Kimbrell, Wynton C. Hall, Dana Wildsmith, Philip D. Beidler, Sonny Sammons, and Joyce Cauthen giving a one-woman performance as Caroline Miller, author of Lamb in His Bosom and Georgia’s first winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Literature in 1933.
Sponsored by the Georgia Center for the Book, the Georgia Humanities Council, the Decatur County-Gilbert H. Gragg Library and Bainbridge College. Call 229.248.2590 for information.

Whit Gibbons
Turtles of the Southeast
Georgia Museum of Natural History
Athens
www.ugapress.uga.edu for information.

Monday, October 27th-Thursday, October 30th

The Pulitzer Legacy in Georgia
Featuring Stephen Dunn, Natasha Trethewey, Hank Kalibanoff and Edward Larson.
At the Jekyll Island Club, Jekyll Island, Georgia
Contact the Georgia Review at 800.542.3481 for information.

Friday, November 7th

June Akers Seese
Whose Coffee is it?
7 pm at the Callanwolde Fine Arts Center
404.872.5338 for information.

Wednesday, November 12th

Stephen Bluestone
Poetry Reading
8:15 pm at Callanwolde Fine arts Center
404.872.5338.

Saturday, November 15th

5th Annual Savannah Children’s Book Festival
Forsyth Park, Savannah
Visit www.liveoakpl.org

Thursday, December 4th

Harry Potter: The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J. K. Rowling release.

Saturday, December 13th

Rachel Ray
Big Orange Cookbook
12 noon to 2 pm at Books A Million, Atlanta

Friday, February 6th-Sunday, February 8th, 2009

2nd Annual Savannah Book Festival

NOTE: This list is by no means complete. Events may be added—or cancelled. Events may change. Please contact specific venues or organizations (see links on this website) to confirm event times, dates and details. Happy reading.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Upcoming Author & Book Events in Georgia

Hello Georgia book people,

Here is a sampling of upcoming author and book events here in Georgia. The list is by no means complete. One day, I will have a website linked to this blog that will--in my dreams--provide a regularly updated and "comprehensive" list of literary events in Georgia. Until then,

Wednesday, July 23rd

David Sirota
The Uprising
7 pm at Manuel’s Tavern in Atlanta
Sponsored by A Capella Books

Friday, July 25th

Tamara A. Johnson and George & Katrina R. Chambers
Player hateHer
7:30 pm at Wordsmiths Books in Decatur

Saturday, July 26th

Rebekah & Stephen Hren
The Carbon Free Home: 36 Remodeling Projects to Kick the Fossil Fuel Habit
2 pm at The Opal Gallery
Sponsored by A Capella Books

Poetry Atlanta Presents Alice Teeter, Amy Pence & Maudelle Driskell
2 pm at Wordsmiths Books in Decatur

Daniel Black
They Tell Me of Home
3 pm at the Margaret Mitchell House in Atlanta

Monday, July 28th

Sean Carswell
Train Wreck Girl
7 pm at The Opal Gallery
Sponsor: A Capella Books

Richard Doster
Safe at Home
7:15 at the Decatur Public Library
Sponsors: Georgia Center for the Book & Wordsmiths Books


Tuesday, July 29th

Eoin Colfer
Fairies, Fiends and Flatulence
4 pm at the Decatur Public Library
Sponsor: Georgia Center for the Book

Karin Slaughter
Fractured
7 pm at Barnes & Noble at the Forum (Norcross)
770.209.4244 for info.

Robert Olen Butler
Intercourse
7 pm at the Opal Gallery
Sponsor: A Capella Books

Carmen Deedy & John McCutchen
7:15 pm at the Decatur Public Library
Sponsor: Georgia Center for the Book

Doug Crandell
Hairdos of the Mildly Depressed
7:30 pm at Wordsmiths Books in Decatur

Wednesday, July 30th

Karen Traviss
Star Wars: The Clone Wars
7:30 pm at Wordsmiths Books in Decatur

Thursday, July 31st

James E. McWilliams
American Pests
7:30 at Wordsmiths Books in Decatur

Friday, July 31st

Release Parties all over the state for Stephanie Meyers’ new book, Breaking Dawn. Contact your favorite local bookseller and literary venue to see what they have planned.

Tuesday, August 5th

Hollis Gillespie
Launch Party for Trailer Trashed
7-10 pm at Paris on Ponce, 716 Ponce de Leon NE, Atlanta

Delia Champion
The Flying Biscuit Café Cookbook
7:15 pm at the Decatur Public Library
Sponsors: Georgia Center for the Book & Wordsmiths Books

Thursday, August 7th

Mark Baurlein
The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future
7:15 at the Decatur Public Library
Sponsors: Georgia Center for the Book & Wordsmiths Books

Friday, August 8th

Laurinda Brown
The Highest Price for Passion
8 pm at Charis Books & More in Atlanta
404.524.0304

Friday, August 8th-Sunday, August 10

The 2008 Dahlonega Literary Festival
Authors and illustrators attending include Karen Abbott, Steve Berry, Patti Callahan Henry, Nathalie Dupree, Joshilyn Jackson, Mark Braught, Laura Knorr-Braught, Jackie Cooper, Jack Bass, Mitchell Graham. Lots of kid’s events.
For more information, visit www.literaryfestival.org.

Saturday, August 9th

Dr. Sanjay Gupta
Chasing Life
2 pm at the Decatur Public Library
Sponsors: Georgia Center for the Book & Wordsmiths Books

Tuesday, August 12th

Noah Andre Trudeau
Southern Storm: Sherman’s March to the Sea
7:15 at the Decatur Public Library
Sponsors: Georgia Center for the Book & Wordsmiths Books

Thursday, August 14th

Jay Hakes
A Declaration of Energy Independence
Reception at 6 pm & Program begins at 7 pm.
Margaret Mitchell House in Atlanta

Jack Pendarvis
Awesome
8 pm Ballroom Book Bash at the Highland Inn (Atlanta)
Sponsors: A Capella Books & The Chattahoochee Review
404.681.5128 for more info.

Friday, August 15th

Jack Pendarvis
Awesome
7:30 at Wordsmiths Books in Decatur

Thursday, August 21st

Rev-Run (aka Joseph Simmons)
Take Back Your Family: A Challenge for American Families
7 pm at Georgia Perimeter College, Clarkston Campus
Sponsors: Georgia Center for the Book & Wordsmiths Books

Saturday, August 23rd

Bill Curry
Ten Men You Meet in the Huddle
2 pm at Books A Million in Lawrenceville

Thursday, August 28th

Hollis Gillespie
Trailer Trashed
7:30 pm at Charis Books and More in Atlanta
404.524.0304

Friday, August 29th-Sunday, August 31st

The 3rd Annual AJC Decatur Book Festival
250 authors in attendance, including Rick Bragg, Pearl Cleage, Billy Collins, John Dean, Eric Jerome Dickey, Emily Giffin, Lee Smith, and Karin Slaughter.
For more information, visit www.decaturbookfestival.com

Thursday, September 4th

Hollis Gillespie
Trailer Trashed
7 pm at Barnes & Noble in Athens

Charla Muller
365 Nights
7:30 pm at Wordsmiths Books in Decatur

Wednesday, September 10th

Anne Rivers Siddons
Off Season
7 pm at the Margaret Mitchell House in Atlanta

R. A. & Geno Salvatore
The Stowaway
7:30 pm at Wordsmiths Books in Decatur

Thursday, September 11th

Ian McNulty
A Season of Night
7:30 pm at Wordsmiths Books in Decatur

Friday, September 12th

New South Reading Series
7:30 pm at Wordsmiths Books in Decatur
Sponsor: New South’s Writing Workshop at Georgia State University

Saturday, September 13th

Linda Robertson
What Rhymes with Bastard
7:30 pm at Wordsmiths Books in Decatur

Tuesday, September 16th

Charles Martin
Where the River Ends
7 pm at the Margaret Mitchell House in Atlanta

Friday, October 3rd-Saturday, October 4th

Book Fair on the Square in Marietta
Authors at the event will include Richard Grinker, Rachel Simon, Doug Crandell, Laura Flynn, and Katherine Noel. Kids events.
Sponsor: The Cobb County Community Service Board
Visit www.bookfaironthesquare.org for more info.

Saturday, November 15th

5th Annual Savannah Children’s Book Festival
Forsyth Park, Savannah
Visit www.liveoakpl.org

Friday, February 6th-Sunday, February 8th, 2009

2nd Annual Savannah Book Festival


NOTE: This list is by no means complete. Events may be added—or cancelled. Events may change. Please contact specific venues or organizations (see links on this website) to confirm event times, dates and details. Please let me know if you see any information here that is incorrect, or if you know of events that need to be added. Happy reading.

rmr

Monday, July 21, 2008

When Rivers Run Backwards and Fish Crows Speak French

Some folks mistake kindness for weakness, forbearance for indecision.

--Roger Pinckney, Seventh Son on Sacred Ground

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Georgians Seek to Change the Record Books



In his epic of Americana, Sowbelly: The Obsessive Quest for the World-Record Largemouth Bass (Plume, 2006), angler, author and Forbes contributing writer Monte Burke writes,


"Navel-gazing literary books like A River Runs Through It by Norman Maclean and Fly Fishing Through the Midlife Crisis by Howell Raines became a movie and bestseller, respectively. There are no similar tomes about bass fishing."


Yet.


rmr

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

I'm Going to Hell

This coming Saturday, I am going to Hell—Winder, Georgia.

I mean this as no slight to the good people of Winder. In fact, Winder isn’t actually Hell, per say, it just happens to be located near the entrance to the place. In this particular instance, the Hell that I am referring to is a place once referred to by local Native Americans—the Creek and the Cherokee, according to my sources—as Nodoroc.

Nodoroc is interesting for a number of reasons. Apparently, it is the sight of what was once a large bog, and is believed to be the site of a now dormant volcano (we have everything in Georgia). The Native Americans who once inhabited these parts considered it a dark place leading to the underworld, and apparently they once regularly tossed war captives, criminals, and other human sacrifices into the bog to appease what lived there.

Which brings me to why I am going to visit the place. I am going on a search for the Wog, the hideous creature that once inhabited Nodoroc, and roamed the night in this part of North Georgia. Maybe it still does.

Reported to be about the size of a small horse, the Wog had a head like a dog. Its front legs were slightly shorter than it’s back legs, making it appear to walk hunched over. It had huge teeth—so big that its large lips couldn’t close over them. It had a long tail, at the end of which was a knot of wiry hair that the beast constantly swished from side-to-side making a sound that could be heard for quite some distance. It had a long, forked tongue that it darted in and out of its mouth like a snake.

I am going in search of the Wog, on assignment for Accent Gwinnett Magazine, a local publication. I look forward to posting my findings here on my blog.

Assuming, that is, that I return.

Suggested reading:

Weird Georgia by Jim Miles (Georgia author)

rmr

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

GB&W in the Field


Your humble blogger last week visiting with author, columnist and conservationist Roger Pinckney (R) on Daufuskie Island, South Carolina, where he lives, writes and occasionally fights.


more proof that rmr

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

An Encouraging Sign & A Job Opportunity

A new book list.

In yesterday’s edition of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, there appeared an article by Phil Kloer pertaining to a book list recently published in Entertainment Weekly magazine. To see the article, ‘Ooh, another list! EW’s Top 100 books of the last 25 years.’ go to www.ajc.com and click the books link. It’s always good to see book news in the dailies, and lists are always fun. Book people seem particularly prone to making them.

No comment on the selections that made the list, or the order in which they appear. What I found encouraging was that the article appeared in the June 30th edition of the AJC. Of course, the article was also on the paper’s website, and allowed readers an opportunity to post their opinions about the list. By the end of the day yesterday, thirty had done so. That’s encouraging.

Barbara Kingsolver’s book, The Poisonwood Bible, came in at number 48. It should have been much, much higher in the list.

A Job Announcement.

I can’t help but think that the following career opportunity has relevance to Georgia books. Think of the jacket cover to John Berendt’s 1994 work of creative non-fiction, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, perhaps the most well-known and successful book written about Georgia in the past twenty years. Specifically, I am referring to the haunting photograph of Savannah’s Bonaventure Cemetery that was taken by the late Jack Leigh.

In any event, the City of Savannah is currently seeking someone to fill the position of Cemetery Events Coordinator, in the Department of Cemetaries, located at 330 Bonaventure Road, in Savannah, Georgia. For more information about the position, call 912-651-6484, or visit the website www.savannahga.gov.

According to the job description, one of the duties of the position will be “Schedules and prioritizes after-hours activities and events.” Well, that’s just plain creepy.

The position requires, among other skills and knowledge, “Experience working with a variety of clients preferred.” Yes, well, I would suppose so.

I lived in Savannah from 1988-1990. I used to take the occasional stroll in Colonial Park Cemetery, located in the heart of the historical district. It was a peaceful place, filled—so to speak—with much history. From time to time, and for the same reasons, I would also drive over to Bonaventure Cemetery, located adjacent to a marsh on the outskirts of the City. It is a beautiful and peaceful place. And rather isolated. It’s filled with old tombstones and monuments, many of them hundreds of years old. It is also filled with Live Oaks draped with Spanish moss, the result being that the Cemetery appears somewhat dark, even in the middle of the day.

I would occasionally visit Bonaventure, just to find a quiet spot. I would find a bench on which to sit and stew, or I would simply walk the grounds. Occasionally, my imagination would get the best of me and I would development a real case of the heebie-jeebies. It would start out slowly—a creepy sensation of, say, not being alone, or perhaps being watched by unseen eyes. This feeling would build to a point where my walk back to the car would quickly progress from stroll, to quickstep, to outright run. I kept going back, though.

Recommended:

Drums and Shadows: Survival Studies Among the Georgia Coastal Negroes. This interesting book was first published in 1940 in cooperation with the Savannah Unit of the Georgia Writer’s Project, part of the Work Projects Administration. It was re-released in 1986 by the University of Georgia Press.

Savannah Duels & Duellists, 1733-1877 by former Savannah Mayor, Thomas Gamble. First published in 1923 by the Review Publishing and Printing Company. Reprinted in 1997 by The Oglethorpe Press, Savannah.

Savannah Spectres and Other Strange Tales by Margaret Wayt DeBolt, 1984, Donning Company. Savannah has often been referred to as the most Haunted City in the United States.

rmr

Monday, June 30, 2008

Daufuskie Island, Pat Conroy, Peace Corps & Wordsmith's Books



The photographs shown here are of the Mary Fields School located on Daufuskie Island, South Carolina. It was here that (Georgia) author Pat Conroy taught between 1969-1970. He later turned his experiences on Daufuskie into the 1972 autobiographical novel, The Water is Wide. The book was later made into the 1974 feature film Conrack (the name Conroy’s students gave him), starring Jon Voight.

Recommended:

The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy (1986), maybe Mr. Conroy’s best-known book.

The Lords of Discipline by Pat Conroy (1980), another autobiographical novel, this one about the author’s time as a cadet at The Citadel. This book contains the best description of a southern forest at night that I have ever read.

The Great Santini by Pat Conroy (1976). You end up hating Santini’s guts, really. Still, you want to keep reading, and you end up maybe not hating his guts quite so much.

The Water is Wide by Pat Conroy (1972). I bet that I have sold a hundred copies of this book over the past ten years. I like recommending it to education students and new teachers in particular. It is also one of the titles that I most recommend to prospective Peace Corps volunteers, particularly those going in to service to teach. My wife and I are both former Volunteers (Mali and Albania, respectively).

Speaking of the Peace Corps, Wordsmith’s Books in Decatur, Georgia will be hosting a Peace Corps information session tonight at 7 p.m. It seems appropriate that a bookstore would host a Peace Corps event, especially considering the role that books play in most Volunteer’s experiences. Also, the Peace Corps has quite a reputation for churning out writers. Paul Theroux and Kinky Friedman are examples.

For a more extensive list of Peace Corps writers (there are several hundred) and their works, visit Peace Corps Writers on the web at http://www.peacecorpswriters.org/.

Also, visit the Peace Corps at http://www.peacecorps.gov/ for the official view of things.

Recommended:

Power Lines: Two Years on South Africa's Borders by Jason Carter (2002 by National Geographic). Former Peace Corps Volunteer, Georgia author, and grandson of former U.S. President Jimmy Carter discusses his Peace Corps service in South Africa during the late 1990’s. Back in July of 2002, your humble blogger had the honor of introducing Mr. Carter during his appearance on C-SPAN’s Book TV.

Finally, congratulations to Wordsmith's Books in Decatur (Georgia's biggest and newest indie book store) on their one-year anniversary earlier this month. Shendet!


rmr

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Daufuskie Island, South Carolina


Aboard the Capt. Eulice on the crossing between Hilton Head and Daufuskie Islands.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A Natural Sense of Wonder--Connecting Kids with Nature through the Seasons by Rick Van Noy


“Imagine if they (kids) knew plants and animals the way they knew brand names and logos, if they knew mountains the way they know malls.” writes Rick Van Noy.

Yes. Just imagine.

Just out this month from the University of Georgia Press, Van Noy’s new collection of essays, A Natural Sense of Wonder, considers many of the same themes as Richard Louv’s Last Child in the Woods—Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2005, with a newly expanded edition out this past March).

Van Noy considers his children, in nature, through the seasons. All of the usual villains are here, of course—television, fast food, materialism, television, bad development, strangers, television. Still, as a father of two small children—children whom I want to grow up outside camping, fishing, hiking, wandering, exploring, reading, loafing, and safe—I enjoyed the way that Van Noy related his stories and observations through his kids.

There were a number of other reasons that I liked this book. Chief among them was the author’s thorough trashing of yard work and, in particular, Godforsaken weed eaters. I hate the damn things. It’s a mutual hatred, too.

“It is downright un-American not to fawn over our lawns,” writes Van Noy. I gave up weed eaters two summers ago, and went back to clippers.

But I digress from the main points of the book.

I also liked the book because it mentioned Slovenia. My wife and I had the opportunity to live there for much of 1999. Slovenia is a very green and very healthy place. The Slovenes have a real passion for the outdoors. They walk everywhere. This is probably to offset their love for and consumption of so much German-influenced food and Italian-influenced-coffee and desert. A word or two about Slovene beer—they take it quite seriously. The national brewer, Union, actually built it’s main brewery in the country’s capitol of Ljubljana over a vortex—a geographic location that draws in all nearby positive energy and focuses it into one big happy spot. It’s a good story. It is also a very good beer. Apparently, hops from Slovenia are sought by brewers from around the world.

Regarding the country’s “greenness”, is there another capitol city in Europe—or anywhere—in which one can look over the rail of a bridge that crosses a river that runs right through the city…and see trout?

Another digression.

Van Noy also explores the benefits of tree houses, swimming holes and fishing, among other things.

Finally, I also liked the fact that, though the author explores the more complex issues of kids in nature, his essays are all firmly grounded in the reality of actually having and raising kids.

“As I write this, I’m granted a little writing time because the kids are finishing a movie.” Van Noy confesses.

On hiking, he adds, “But we have finally crossed that most important stile a hiker with children must cross: just getting out the door.” Amen.

And, on fishing, something near and dear to me, he notes that, “And when you fish with children, you discover that fishing tangles have their own laws of physics. On a good day, the number of fish we land is greater than the number of trees we catch.”

True. But he adds, with regards to fishing as teaching medium, “Patience is what people commonly say you need to fish, and perhaps that’s it if all you do is watch your bobber. But persistence is what it takes. If one thing doesn’t work, you try another, or you move to a different section of the stream.”

I’m already seeing the truth of this in the slightest hints of its taking hold of my own two little ones, ages five and three. They seem to be figuring it out, and all on their own.

Van Noy addresses some of the same issues as Louv. There is the danger—real and perceived—of nature itself, and of strangers lurking in it. There is the natural parental concern that one’s offspring might get hurt.

On the subject of getting hurt, Van Noy, like Louv (like me) sees kids’ time in the outdoors as a means of acquiring confidence born of experience—and being given the leeway by mom and dad to gain that experience.

“If they fall, they learn to pay attention to those conditions that made the fall happen.” and, “—pay attention or you could get hurt.”

Like Louv, the emphasis is on “pay attention”, not “Be careful!!”

Yeah. I know. I’m a big talker. Be careful!!!

It’s a hard thing to do. There’s water, fire ants, ticks (we’ve had two in a week). There are strangers out there. Lions, tigers, bears and, etc. Van Noy understands a dad’s worries, and eloquently addresses them in his essays.

“Spend time with your children and experiences intensify, take on a special poignancy….Not too much is new as we grow older, but with children we rediscover the newness and brightness we once knew, the potential in a pile of wood shavings. Blink and they will pass you by—reach summits before you do.”

—Rick Van Noy, A Natural Sense of Wonder.
Suggested:
Georgia Outdoors by Victoria and Frank Logue (a couple of friends from my college days at Georgia Southern). Published in 1995 by John F. Blair.

rmr

Monday, June 16, 2008

Father's Day 2008

Yesterday was Father’s Day. I scored big. No tie, but a really cool—retro—shirt. Plus the latest titles by Jimmy Buffett (Swine Not?) and David Sedaris (When You are Engulfed in Flames).

Best of all, though, was spending the day with my wife, my kids and my dad. And fishing down at the small lake that my dad owns just south of Atlanta.

We call him Pop. The kids call him Poppy. And do they adore their Poppy. Why not? He has a lake, an endless supply of Fruit Loops, and believes that his grandchildren hung the sun, the moon and all the stars.

All three of them love fishing. Me too. And their mom—my wife—still speaks of the rod and reel that Pop gave her years ago as one of the most thoughtful and original gifts that she ever received. She still has me bait her hook, though.

Most days, I can barely get my little one’s to sit still for anything. It’s amazing to watch them when we go fishing down at Pop’s. The lake seems to slow them down. They can spend several hours doing nothing but casting and reeling in their lines, and tossing rocks into the water.

Yesterday marked my kid’s first experience with night crawlers. “Night Crawls”, my five-year-old daughter called them, which had my humming Bob Seiger’s song, ‘Night Moves’ (inserting the phrase, “Night Crawls”) all afternoon. I was a little concerned about them being squeamish at first, but they took to the night crawls from the start, wanting to hold them in the backseat of the van during the drive down to the lake. My daughter just couldn’t get enough of the night crawls. She’ll soon be baiting her mother’s hook.

So, Pop, again, Happy Father’s Day (and Happy Grandfather’s Day, too). Thank’s for helping to teach the kids to fish. And thanks for teaching me to fish, forty plus years ago. I swear that I will never reveal the dark secret behind the bass that you have mounted over your fireplace—the bass that you caught back in the late 1960’s. I’ll never tell how you finally landed him, or what you said to the taxidermist when he asked you, “Whut the hail happened to this fish?” I’ll take it to the grave. By the way, what caliber lure were you fishing with that day? I forget.

Pop. My dad taught me to fish and camp. He also made sure that I grew up with books, though never a big reader himself.

Pop introduced me to the world of trucking and logistics, where I cut my teeth in the working world. He just retired a few years ago after nearly forty years in the trucking business in Atlanta. He has a never-ending supply of stories that begin with some version of “You know, ol’ So-and-so, the traffic/warehouse/distribution manager up at such-and-such company….” If you got it by truck in or around Atlanta between 1960 and 2005, there’s a good possibility that my dad had something to do with your getting it.

My dad’s always had a knack for finding things that others have lost. Maybe it had something to do with his having always been out and about for work. He once had a sermon dedicated to him at a local African American Baptist church near Atlanta. He had found a bank bag out in the road and had looked up its owners. Turns out it was the bank deposit bag with all of the church’s offerings for that week. Someone had left it on a car, from which it had fallen on to the road.

My dad has helped a lot of people over the years, in one way, or another. He’s given money, references, and time. And more patience than Job. He has saved a lot of butts over the years, too. Mine, for one. Many times. He helped raise three children not his own. He’s intervened on many occasions to keep a few people out of very—very—serious trouble, for no other reason than it was what he thought was the right thing to do, and he thought the person needed another chance. Always patient, though he never gave genuine stupidity, irresponsibility, or bad behavior even an inch.

Pop’s always been a great teacher by example. A great dad, bottom line. And he did all that while caring for and sticking by my late mother through years of chronic illness, and more than three hundred hospital stays. So, great dad, great husband, doting grandfather.

Back in the early seventies, a drawing of straws took place involving the fathers in our neighborhood. I imagine it did, anyway. And my dad lost. Big time. That next weekend, he would escort me, and four of my best friends, to the Fabulous Fox Theatre in downtown Atlanta to attend the (all day) Planet of the Apes Film Festival. That’s right, all five classics (Planet of the Apes, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Escape from Planet of the Apes, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, and Battle for the Planet of the Apes) all together, back-to-back. God, it’s tedious just typing the film titles. Even we kids were miserable by the time it was all over. And Pop insisted that we stay for the entire Festival—it was a stamina thing, I think.

Thanks, Pop.

GB&W recommend for this Father's Day:

Wisdom of Our Fathers by the late Tim Russert

rmr

Monday, June 9, 2008

Georgia Books--The Georgia Center for the Book 2008 Must Read Georgia Authors

The Georgia Center for the Book, located in Decatur, has released its latest version of The Books that All Georgians Should Read. Some great titles here:

The 2008 Georgia Top 25 Books By Living Georgia Writers

Taking After Mudear
Ansa, Tina McElroy

Above the Fall Line: The Trail from White Pine Cabin
Blackmarr, Amy

Be Sweet
Blount, Roy Jr.

Waltzing Through the Endtime (poetry)
Bottoms, David

Baby Brother’s Blues
Cleage, Pearl

Dwelling Place
Clarke, Erskine

Strong at the Broken Places
Cleland, Max

Georgia Odyssey
Cobb, James C.

The Meaning of Consuelo
Cofer, Judith Ortiz

A Cabinet of Wonders
Dodd, Renee

There Is No Me Without You
Greene, Melissa Fay

The Untelling
Jones, Tayari

The Race Beat
Klibanoff, Hank

The Book of Marie
Kay, Terry

Crabcakes
McPherson, James Alan

A Little Salvation (poetry)
Mitcham, Judson

Your Body is Changing
Pendarvis, Jack

Pinhook: Finding Wholeness in a Fragmented Land
Ray, Janisse

Downtown
Sams, Ferrol

Beyond Reach
Slaughter, Karin

Native Guard (poetry)
Trethewey, Natasha

We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For
Walker, Alice

For the Confederate Dead (poetry)
Young, Kevin

The Big Mama Stories
Youngblood, Shay

In the Morning: Reflections from First Light
Williams, Philip Lee

Source: The Georgia Center for the Book, 2008.

The Center also has a nice new look to its web site.

Does anyone have any good Kiwi authors to recommend?

Recommended titles: see above list of authors.

RMR

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

A Georgia Record Still Holds

Seventy-six years ago yesterday, a nineteen-year-old Georgia farm boy named George Washington Perry landed a 22 pound, 4 ounce largemouth bass. He caught it in Montgomery Lake, located in middle Georgia. Perry’s bass still holds the record for the biggest largemouth bass ever caught. Ever. Anywhere.

This likely does not seem like such a big deal to non-fisherpersons. Bibliophiles might wish to think back to Ahab’s obsession with Moby Dick, to get some idea of just how important a thing it is to some people, however.

Perry caught his fish from a boat that he had made by hand, from some seventy-five cents worth of material. The rod and reel that he was using cost about two dollars. It would be difficult to count the millions—millions—of dollars that have been spent since then, trying to best Perry’s record. Or the millions offered to the angler who finally does it.

In addition to the dollars involved—and the record’s longevity—are the stories. The myths and legends surrounding the quest to break Perry’s record are many. And some of the “mysteries” surrounding the Perry bass are just as interesting. For example, Jack Page, Perry’s fishing partner on the day that he caught his record bass, is lost to history.

It was only in the past few years that a photograph of the famous bass turned up. A story about the photo by Bill Baab appeared in Bassmaster Magazine in 2006 and was featured on ESPN.com. The full story can be read at the link below:

http://sports.espn.go.com/outdoors/bassmaster/news/story?page=b_fea_Perrys_bass_060706

I recently spoke with George L. “Dazy” Perry, son of the late George Washington Perry. A retired Delta pilot now living up in the mountains of north Georgia, Dazy obviously likes talking about his dad, and does so with obvious fondness. He spoke of the many “side” stories related to his late father and the famous bass. He said that there was a lot of nonsense that had been written. About the biggest thing missing, he seemed to think, was the lack of what people really know or remember about his late father.

“All they know about is the fish. And there was just so much more about him.” says Dazy.

It would be difficult to asses just how much paper and ink has been used on the Perry Bass. I’ve suggested it before, but check out Sowbelly by Monte Burke, for more about Perry’s bass, and about George Washington Perry. I’m looking forward to full story, someday.

The honest, enthusiastic, unrestrained, wholehearted way that a largemouth wallops a surface lure has endeared him forever to my heart. Nothing that the smallmouth does can compare with the announced strike of his big-mouthed cousin.

John Alden Knight
Black Bass, 1949

Noah smiled. He knew the trick. It was a way of making the fisherman think that the catch was at hand, making him relax, and when the grip on the rod was made loose, the fish would yank it into the water.

Terry Kay
The Valley of Light, 2003

You can’t say enough about fishing. Though the sport of kings, it’s just what the deadbeat ordered.

Thomas McGuane
In Silent Seasons, 1978

The largemouth bass is the official State Fish of Georgia.

RMR

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Georgia Books--A Literary Travel Guide for Georgia?



Earlier this week, I read an article in the Atlanta Jounral-Constitution about the success that the Georgia Department of Economic Development was having in using Georgia's literary heritage to attract international tourism to Georgia.

The piece appears in the AJC 5/13/08 edition (see 'Georgia entices British travelers with big dose of the South, Gone With the Wind piques interest abroad').

This got me to thinking. Wouldn't it be great to have a Literary Travel Guide for the entire State of Georgia?

So, I sent the following letter to an official at the Department of Economic Development who was named in the AJC article:


Kevin Langston
Assistant Commissioner for Tourism
Georgia Department of Economic Development
75 Fifth Street, NW Suite 1200
Atlanta, Georgia 30308

Dear Commissioner Langston,

I recently read an article in the
Atlanta Journal-Constitution that discussed your agency’s efforts to attract international (and, I assume, domestic) tourists to Georgia using our state’s rich literary history (‘Georgia entices British travelers with big dose of South, Gone With the Wind piques interest abroad’, AJC, 5/13/08). Having spent the past decade in the Georgia book trade—and having spent time as a teacher and director of a small Georgia chamber of commerce—I applaud your efforts to promote our state in this way.

Reading the article, I wondered what the total economic contribution to our state has been from the works of authors Margaret Mitchell, Pat Conroy, James Dickey, Alfred Uhry, Alice Walker, John Berendt, and Tom Wolfe alone. Does your agency maintain such statistics?

When one adds up the total economic contribution of Georgia’s entire literary community over the decades—and centuries—I expect that it would be quite a figure. Georgia’s literary resources (Georgia writers, books by Georgians or about Georgia) are certainly worth shouting about, not just in terms of the works themselves, but also including the personal stories of the authors, the State geography and history associated with their works, the national attention that their collective works have drawn to the State, the film adaptations of their works, and the range of subject matter about which they have written and continue to write.

I am curious to know if the Georgia Department of Economic Development has ever considered—or is perhaps currently considering—the creation of a guide to Georgia’s literary people and places? Some wonderful publications do already exist. One of the best examples must certainly be
The New Georgia Encyclopedia Companion to Georgia Literature by Hugh Ruppersburg and John Inscoe, and published in 2007 by the Georgia Humanities Council and the University of Georgia Press.

However, the example that most readily comes to mind is
The Best of Georgia Farms Cookbook and Tour Book by Fred Brown and Sherri Smith, and published in 1998 by CI Publishing and the Georgia Department of Agriculture. The book is a wonderful collection of recipes, and combines Georgia history, contributions by notable Georgians, illustrations, and relevant and interesting travel recommendations.

Regretfully, and to the best of my knowledge,
The Best of Georgia Farms is no longer in print. This is too bad, as I know from personal experience that it was hugely popular and a regular local interest bestseller. Please let your counterparts at the Department of Agriculture know that the State’s booksellers sorely miss the book. Perhaps the Department of Agriculture would consider a new, updated edition—one that would also take into account the increasing interest in locally produced agricultural products, organic farming, and the drought?

I can assure you that a similar title, devoted to Georgia’s rich literary history, would be hugely popular with Georgia’s booksellers and educators, not to mention Georgia’s writers and publishers. Perhaps it could include writings by some of our State’s notable authors, or information pertaining to important literary sites and venues? The only trouble you would likely encounter would be trying to decide who and what to include in it.

Sincerely,


Some recommended reads:


The Pat Conroy Cookbook by Pat Conroy


Literary Savannah by Patrick Allen


Friday, May 16, 2008

Stay at Home Dad--Field Trip to the Sewage Treatment Plant




As a part-time stay-at-home dad, I am always looking for interesting, educational and fun activities that my three-year-old son and I can enjoy together. Earlier this week he came to me and said that he needed to get out for a while, so I took him on an impromptu field trip to a water treatment facility.

This may sound a little strange for a three-year-old (or most anyone else, for that matter), but I thought that it would be interesting, give him a chance to get out and blow off some steam, and also give me a chance to engage in a few teachable moments. Besides, given the state of affairs with water in our area, I thought that this might give me one more opportunity to talk with him about that issue. Plus, his mom is an environmental and water resources engineer. This would give him another chance to see what mom does for a living.

We went to a local facility that is very hands-on and very kids friendly. In fact, they allow the kids to jump right into the wastewater treatment process (there are, of course, facilities close by to wash hands after playtime). My son loves it, running back and fourth through the coarse debris screen, then hiding from me within the solids and sludge containment area. Of course he would like playing somewhere with a concentration of sludge--he’s all boy. He just squeals when I surprise him by sticking my head through the screen that catches the raw sewage and yell “Ha! Gotcha!” This is what parenting is all about—the moments you’ll always cherish.

He isn’t much interested in the part of the facility where disinfection takes place (again, he’s all boy), though he does like to hang out in the aeration section and watch the bubbles. The only thing that really bothers him is the “rotten egg” smell. There is also a toilet on site that he is allowed to flush over and over and over again. And he does, too.

His older sister, who is in preschool, would be furious with me if she knew that, while she was busy with the serious business of reading, writing, and Spanish, I was letting her brother have a field day in sewage. I can hear it now. “That’s not FAIR!!”

The facility, the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center (about thirty-five miles east of downtown Atlanta), also has many opportunities to get wet, pet a horseshoe crab, visit with a turtle named Bubba, and watch a movie about water conservation that is projected onto a screen that is essentially a waterfall. There are also acres of woods and trails.

Interestingly enough, the facility and its grounds are surrounded by some of the most densely populated and developed land in the state of Georgia. Just as interesting, the facility was paid for in large part by Gwinnett County, Georgia taxpayers. I say “interesting” because, politically, Gwinnett County, Georgia (a suburb of Atlanta) is known as perhaps one of the “Reddest” counties in perhaps the “Reddest” state in the country. I guess it goes to show that you cannot always peg people, or the place from which they come. It’s an interesting place to be at an interesting time, without a doubt.

On the matter of my local tax dollars--and how they are being spent--the new stadium for the Atlanta Braves farm team is going up about three miles from my house. I confess that I like that idea, though we’ll see how I feel about the traffic and etc. when the time comes. I would like to thank Georgia Governor Sonny Purdue for finally giving the thumbs up to beer sales at the new stadium. If my children insist on my playing John Fogerty’s song, ‘Centerfield’ even one more time, I will certainly need one, if not several.

Recommended reads:

The Crackers: Early Days of Atlanta Baseball by Tim Darnell

Taking Lottie Home by Terry Kay

Everyone Poops by Taro Gomi
RMR

Friday, May 9, 2008

Georgia Water--The Chattahoochee Nature Center




This past weekend, my family and I attended the award ceremony for the Annual River of Words arts and writing contest which is sponsored by the Georgia Center for the Book, Project WET, and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. The award ceremony was being held at the Chattahoochee Nature Center in North Atlanta.


More accurately, my family and I went to the Chattahoochee Nature Center for a visit, and I had hoped to get some photos of the award ceremony, some of the artwork, and perhaps chat with some of the young writers and artisits. As it turns out, we headed out on the trails and more or less missed the ceremony. And by the time we had gotten to the pavilion where the awards were being presented, the card on my digital camera was full. I'll try again next year.


It was such a beautiful day, and our schedules just don't allow us to get out like that as often as we would like, so we seized the opportunity.


It's hard to believe such a place exists so close to some of the busiest and most congested areas in the metro Atlanta area.


Congratulations to this year's winners of the Georgia River of Words competition.


RMR