Books

  

Harrison Scott Key's debut memoir The World's Largest Man is the funniest book I've read all year. Throughout his rural Mississippi childhood, he tried to make his father happy by accompanying the man on hunting trips and to other outdoor activities. But Key was more interested in reading than in hunting, and he and his father never seemed to understand him.

  Bob Boilen, the host and producer for NPR’s All Songs Considered as well as the popular Tiny Desk Concerts, has put together Your Song Changed My Life, a printed collection of some of the many interviews he has conducted with musicians in the nearly thirty years he has worked at NPR. He talked to WUTC's Richard Winham.

  Claire Vaye Watkins won two major literary prizes for her 2012 debut Battleborn, a collection of short stories rich with details of desert life in her home state of Nevada.

    Dr. Rhea Seddon joins us to talk about what it was like to be one of NASA's first female astronauts. A Murfreesboro, Tennessee native, she was a medical resident who applied to NASA on a whim after hearing the organization was searching for women to join the space program. She was accepted, launched into orbit to conduct medical experiments, and found a family; she and her husband Hoot Gibson were the first married astronaut couple, and Dr. Seddon gave birth to the world's first "astrotot."

   Former NPR journalist Barbara Bradley Hagerty joins us to talk about the myths and mystery of midlife: how prevalent is the so-called "midlife crisis," really? What can you do to ensure midlife is the best part of your life, even when facing job loss, divorce or other disruptive events? What factor is the biggest predictor of happiness in midlife? She researched all these topics for her latest book, Life Reimagined: The Science, Art, and Opportunity of Midlife.

  You may remember James Mahon as the Irish reporter who used to be on WDEF, Chattanooga's News Channel 12.  Mahon's first book, Through Irish Eyes, chronicles his journey from an adoptee from communist Romania to being an Irish newsman in the Scenic City and more.

Here's an excerpt from his LinkedIn page:

Emma Bell Miles lived on Walden's Ridge in the early 20th century, writing about nature, Appalachian culture, and the hardships women faced in mountain life.  The new collection The Common Lot and Other Stories is a compilation of her short fiction.

Harper Lee, the author of the classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird, has died in her hometown of Monroeville, Ala. The Pulitzer Prize-winning writer was 89.

Monroeville city officials confirmed reports of Lee's death to Alabama Public Radio. Her publisher, HarperCollins, also confirmed the news to NPR.

Her famous novel about a young girl's experience of racial tensions in a small Southern town has sold tens of millions of copies and been translated into dozens of languages.

   David Epstein joins us to talk about the relationship between genetics and athletic ability.  Epstein is the author of The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance, which became a New York Times bestseller and inspired this TED Talk.  Epstein (and UT Vols coach Phil Fulmer) will be in Chattanooga on February 22nd to give a talk at the Tivoli Theater.

   As part of their South Bound Lectures series, the Southern Lit Alliance is bringing Adrian Matejka to Chattanooga on Wednesday, February 10th.  In this interview, Matejka talks about The Big Smoke, his Pulitzer-nominated (and National Book Award-nominated) collection of poetry about Jack Johnson, the first African-American world heavyweight boxing champion.

  Chattanooga native Janie Dempsey Watts joins us to discuss her new novel Return to Taylor’s Crossing, which explores the lingering effects of racism and violence during the Civil Rights era in North Georgia.  The novel was published in 2015.

  North Georgia author Tim Champlin joins us to discuss his new book The Wild West of Louis L'Amour: An Illustrated Companion to the Frontier Fiction of an American Icon.  The book describes the real places, people and history that inspired L'Amour, who was one of the most prolific, bestselling American authors of all time.

  J.D. Frost is the author of two crime thrillers set in Chattanooga: Dollface and Face2Face.  Both novels feature Chattanooga police detective Moses Palmer as the protagonist, and the books are the first two installments of a planned trilogy.  

Bennett Miller

  In 1998, author Sarah Vowell went on a road trip and followed the Trail of Tears.  Vowell grew up in Oklahoma; her ancestors were Cherokee.  She visited Chattanooga and North Georgia, seeking the trail’s beginnings, then followed it to the West and created an hour-long episode of This American Life about her journey.

The trip changed her.  

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