October Books

The Arts

September 27, 2019



Southern Women: More Than 100 Stories of Innovators, Artists, and Icons, by the editors of Garden & Gun

A collection of 100 brilliant women — groundbreakers who have by turns embraced the South’s proud traditions and overcome its equally pervasive barriers and challenges —  are featured through interviews, essays, photos and illustrations. These remarkable musicians, actors, writers, artists, chefs, entrepreneurs, designers and public servants offer a dynamic portrait of who the Southern woman is now. The voices of icons such as Sissy Spacek, Leah Chase and Loretta Lynn join those whose stories have been overlooked or underestimated, from pioneering Texas rancher Minnie Lou Bradley to Alabama quilter Mary Margaret Pettway — all visionaries who have left their indelible mark not just on Southern culture but on America itself. 

Holding On to Nothing, by Elizabeth Chiles Shelburne

Lucy Kilgore has her bags packed for her escape from her rural Tennessee upbringing, but a drunken mistake forever tethers her to the town and one of its least-admired residents, Jeptha Taylor, who becomes the father of her child. Together, these two young people work to form a family — though neither has any idea how to accomplish that, and the odds are against them in a place with little to offer other than bluegrass music, tobacco fields and a Walmart full of beer and firearms for the hunting season. Their path is harrowing, but Lucy and Jeptha are characters to love, and readers will root for their success. A present-day Appalachian story in the tradition of Lee Smith, Silas House and Ron Rash, cast without sentiment or cliché but with a genuine and profound understanding of the place and its people. A stunning debut of what promises to be one of the South’s finest novelists.

Edison, by Edmund Morris

Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer Edmund Morris spent seven years of research involving more than five million pages of original documents from Thomas Alva Edison’s huge laboratory. His biography brings forth the amazing life of one of history’s most prolific inventors. Though Edison was the most famous American of his time and remains an international name today, he is mostly remembered only for the gift of universal electric light. His invention of the first practical incandescent lamp 140 years ago dazzled the world, already reeling from his invention of the phonograph and dozens of other revolutionary devices. However, it cast a shadow over his later achievements. In all, this near-deaf genius (“I haven’t heard a bird sing since I was 12 years old.”) patented 1,093 inventions, not including others such as the X-ray fluoroscope, which he left unlicensed for the benefit of medicine. This new biography portrays the unknown Edison — the philosopher, the futurist, the chemist, the botanist, the wartime defense adviser, the founder of nearly 250 companies — as fully as it deconstructs the Edison of mythological memory.

Guitar: The World’s Most Seductive Instrument, by David Schiller

An obsessive, full-color book presented in an irresistible slipcase, Guitar features 200 instruments in stunning detail, including icons such as Prince’s Yellow Cloud, Willie Nelson’s Trigger, Muddy Water’s Thunderbird, and Rocky, lovingly hand-painted by its owner, George Harrison. There are historic instruments — Fender’s Broadcaster, Les Paul’s “Log,” and the Gibson Nick Lucas Special, the very first artist model — and  hand-carved archtops, pinnacles of the luthier’s art, from John D’Angelico to Ken Parker. Stunning acoustics include a new wave of women builders, like Rosie Heydenrych of England, who’s known to use 5,000-year-old wood retrieved from a peat bog, and quirky one-of-a-kind guitars, like Linda Manzer’s Pikasso II — four necks, 42 strings, and 1,000 pounds of pressure. 

Kindness and Wonder: Why Mister Rogers Matters More Now Than Ever, by Gavin Edwards 

Charlotte’s own Gavin Edwards is a New York Times bestselling author of seven books — his latest is about America’s beloved Fred Rogers. For more than thirty years Mr. Rogers was a beloved fixture in American homes. Warm and welcoming, he spoke directly to children — and their parents — about the marvels of the world, the things that worried them, and above all, the importance of being themselves. Kindness and Wonder pays tribute to this cultural icon: the unique, gentle man who embodied the best of what we could be. 

Gavin  reminds us of the lessons and insights that Mister Rogers conveyed — what it means to be a good person, to be open-hearted, to be thoughtful, to be curious, to be compassionate — and why they matter. Beautifully crafted, infused with Mister Rogers’ gentle spirit, and featuring dozens of interviews with people whose lives were touched by Fred Rogers, Kindness and Wonder is a love letter to this unforgettable cultural hero and role model and the beautiful neighborhood he created.  SP

Sally Brewster is the proprietor of Park Road Books, located at 4139 Park Road. parkroadbooks.com

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