Jul 14, 2018

Caleb Johnson - Treeborne


Caleb Johnson has worked as a small-town newspaper reporter, an early-morning janitor, and a whole-animal butcher, among other jobs, but today we'll be talking about his debut novel, Treeborne,(Picador) which is the story of the Treeborne family, spanning three generations in a small Alabama town and the countryside land that they hold dear.


Jul 7, 2018

Hannah Pittard - Visible Empire


Hannah Pittard is the head of the creative writing program at the University of Kentucky. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Oxford American, McSweeney's among many others. She is the winner of the 2006 Amanda Davis Highwire Fiction Award. Her novels are, Reunion, The Fates, Listen to Me, and in this episode, we talk about her fourth published novel, Visible Empire, available from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. It's the story of grieving, greed, and racial oppression in Atlanta in the aftermath of Airfrance Flight 007 which crashed in Paris and killed over 100 of the richest white Atlantans of the early 1960s.


Jul 4, 2018

Rob Sangster - No Return


Blake McVey talks to Memphis author Rob Sangster about the third installment of his Jack Strider series, No Return, which has his hero in the crosshairs of wealthy investors and foreign governments alike who are chasing after control of rare-earth mineral mines.


Jul 4, 2018

Wayne Wiegand - The Desegregation of Public Libraries in the Jim Crow South


Blake McVey talks with Professor Wayne Wiegand about his book, The Desegregation of Public Libraries in the Jim Crow South: Civil Rights and Local Activism, which he co-wrote with legal scholar (and his wife) Professor Shirley Wiegand

From LSU Press: The Wiegands trace the struggle for equal access to the years before the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision, when black activists in the South focused their efforts on equalizing accommodations, rather than on the more daunting—and dangerous—task of undoing segregation. After the ruling, momentum for vigorously pursuing equality grew, and black organizations shifted to more direct challenges to the system, including public library sit-ins and lawsuits against library systems. Although local groups often took direction from larger civil rights organizations, the energy, courage, and determination of younger black community members ensured the eventual desegregation of Jim Crow public libraries. The Wiegands examine the library desegregation movement in several southern cities and states, revealing the ways that individual communities negotiated—mostly peacefully, sometimes violently—the integration of local public libraries.


Jun 30, 2018

William Boyle - The Lonely Witness


William Boyle was last on Book Talk to discuss his collection of short stories, Death Don't Have No Mercy. His novel Everything is Broken was recently published exclusively in France. His first published novel was Gravesend, and his new novel, The Lonely Witness, is set in the same New York neighborhood with a few familiar characters, but it isn't really a sequel.


Jun 24, 2018

Ace Atkins - Robert B. Parker’s Old Black Magic


Ace Atkins is a former journalist and current writer of fiction. He's published over 20 novels, including the Nick Travers series and the Quinn Colson series. The eighth book of the Colson series is The Sinners, and it will be available mid-July 2018, but today we'll be talking about the seventh Spenser novel he has written for the Robert B. Parker estate, Robert B. Parker's Old Black Magic, published by GP Putnam's Sons.


Jun 17, 2018

Melissa de la Cruz - Love & War


Melissa de la Cruz is a tremendously successful and prolific writer of fiction for mostly the young adult market, having written over forty novels including the series Blue Bloods, Heart of Dread, and The Descendants which has been made into a series of hit musicals for The Disney Channel. Today we'll be talking about the second title in her series about founding father Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton. It's called Love and War, and it's published by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers.


Jun 15, 2018

Rick Bragg - The Best Cook in the World


Rick Bragg is a former reporter and bureau chief for The New York Times. He's written biographies of notable Americans Jessica Lynch and Jerry Lee Lewis. He might be best known for writing about his family's history in best-selling books including, All Over But the Shoutin' and Ava's Man. Today we'll be talking about his latest book which looks at the role that food and cooking took in his family going back to before The Great Depression. The book is called The Best Cook in the World: Tales from my Momma's Table which is published by Knopf.


Jun 14, 2018

Joseph Rosenbloom - Redemption


Blake McVey talks to former Commercial Appeal and Boston Globe journalist Joseph Rosenbloom about his book, Redemption: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Last 31 Hours. Beginning with Dr. King's arrival in Memphis late in the morning of April 3, 1968 and continuing through his assassination, Redemption humanizes the man who was beset on many fronts as he gave one of America's finest speeches the night before his untimely death the next day.


May 21, 2018

Michael Kardos - Bluff


(Note: This episode has been corrected with the proper audio file.)
Michael Kardos back to the program today. Michael is the co-director of the creative writing program at Mississippi State University. He has written a text book for creative writing, and has published a collection of short stories and three novels. We've interviewed Michael for The Three Day Affair and for Before He Finds Her. Today, we'll be talking about the newest one, Bluff, which is published by The Mysterious Press.


May 14, 2018

Leah Stewart - What You Don’t Know About Charlie Outlaw


Leah Stewart is the chair of the English department at the University of Cincinnati and is also a much lauded writer of fiction. Her previous novels include Husband and Wife, The Myth of You and Me, Body of A Girl, and The New Neighbor. Today we'll be talking about her recently released novel, What You Don't Know About Charlie Outlaw, which is published by G.P. Putnam's Sons.


May 10, 2018

Sloan Crosley - Look Alive Out There: Essays

Sloane Crosley back to the program. Sloane was last on to talk about her debut novel, The Clasp. She's also landed on many best-seller lists with her collection of personal essays, I Was Told There Would Be Cake and How Did You Get This Number. Today we'll be talking about her latest collection, Look Alive out There, which is published by MCD, an imprint of Farrar Strauss and Giroux.

May 4, 2018

Ariel Lawhon - I Was Anastasia


Ariel Lawhon is a historical novelist based outside of Nashville, TN. Her debut was The Wife, The Maid, The Mistress about a New York Supreme Court Justice who disappeared in 1930. Flight of Dreams about the last voyage of the  Hindenburg came next. And Today we'll be talking about her latest novel, I Was Anastasia, about a woman believed by many to be sole survivor of Tsar Nicholas II's family, Anastasia Romanov.


Apr 25, 2018

Eric Barnes - The City Where We Once Lived


Eric Barnes publishes several newspapers throughout Tennessee. He's also an author of literary fiction. He's appeared on Book Talk previously to Talk about his novels, Shimmer and Something Pretty, Something Beautiful. Today we will be discussing his latest novel, The City Where We Once Lived, which is available from Arcade Publishing.


Apr 20, 2018

Michael Farris Smith - The Fighter


Michael Farris Smith is the author of four novels, The Hands of Strangers, Rivers, and Desperation Road. Little, Brown has recently published the fourth, The Fighter, a story of a broken-down, bare-knuckle boxer who heads back to the Mississippi delta to answer for his past.


Apr 15, 2018

Robert Gordon - Memphis Rent Party

Robert Gordon is a documentary film maker and writer. His most  well-known film is Best of Enemies about the series of debates between Gore Vidal and William F Buckley in the late 60s. His many books include the biography of Muddy Waters, Can't Be Satisfied, and Respect Yourself, a history of Stax Records.Today we'll be talking about his new book, Memphis Rent Party: The Blues, Rock, and Soul in Music's Hometown, a collection of his previous writings about some of the lesser known, but still massively talented musicians who are from or came to Memphis.  A soundtrack album of the same name is available on vinyl and via streaming services from Fat Possum Records.

Apr 10, 2018

Podcast - Elizabeth Crook - The Which Way Tree


Elizabeth Crook is a novelist from Texas who has published five novels, including her newest one, The Which Way Tree. In a story told through letters,  a teenage boy recounts tale from the Texas frontier during the Civil War about his half-sister's fervent search for the panther that disfigured her and killed her mother.


Apr 2, 2018

Donna Everhart - The Road to Bittersweet


Bestselling author Donna Everhart recently returned to Book Talk to discuss her second novel, The Road to Bittersweet, with Linda Lloyd. Set in the 1940s, the musically-inclined Stamper family must fight to service after all they have is washed away in a flood.


Mar 30, 2018

Marc Perrusquia - A Spy in Canaan


Blake McVey talks to Memphis Commercial Appeal Reporter Marc Perrusquia about his new book, A Spy in Canaan, about how the FBI used famed Civil Rights photographer Ernest Withers as an informant.


Mar 25, 2018

John T. Edge - The Potlikker Papers


Blake McVey talks to John T. Edge, director of The Southern Foodways Alliance, about the paperback release of his book, The Potlikker Papers: A Food History of the Modern South, which pays particular attention to the Civil Rights era and how immigration is adding to the social and culinary makeup of the American South.


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