Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Teacher's Halloween Horror

By way of Drexel University's online publication The Smart Set comes this article: The Term Paper Artist.

The title says it all; a freelancer who writes term papers for a living. He's made such good money at it that he was able to buy a house. Not sure what's more terrifying: the cheating, the fact that his "Dumb Clients" are being passed from one college course to another, or the idea of writing one term paper after another. (The idea of grading one term paper after another is also an experience never to be forgotten.)

Is a diploma really just a piece of paper?

To Do: Remember: You love learning. You love learning. You love learning for its rewarding sense of accomplishment.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Evening with an Author--the recap

It was a full crowd at last night's Evening with an Author. Robert Hicks and Justin Stelter, editors of A Guitar and a Pen: Stories by Country Music's Greatest Songwriters, entertained an audience of 60 people. (Or terrified, as Hicks talked about the time his family accidentally ate his great-uncle Homer. Of course, to know the full truth, you have to read the book!)

Vanderbilt professor Dr. Robert Barsky even brought a class of Vanderbilt students to the event. Yes, they ventured off-campus to attend. Encouraged to ask questions, the audience didn't disappoint. (One question high on the list? "Why did you eat your great-uncle?") Evening with an Author's tag line is "books, wine and smart conversation," and last night Ginna and I wanted to emphasize the latter: conversation. It's in the dialogue between author and reader that some of the most interesting stories/anecdotes/information is gleaned. It's also really fun.

Next month's featured writer is Kip Gayden, author of Miscarriage of Justice. A true story of murder in a small Tennessee town, the book--and its author--are sure to intrigue and entertain all.

*Wondering who those beautiful people are in the picture? From L to R, that's Justin Stelter, LitMagic's Ginna, and Robert Hicks.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

C-Span's BookTV

On Friday night, Michael Newton author of Enemy of the State: the Trial and Execution of Saddam Hussein will be doing a reading & signing at Barnes & Noble Cool Springs. Michael is a Vanderbilt law professor who advised Iraqi jurists as they drafted the Statute for the Iraqi High Tribunal, provided training to the Tribunal's judges, and shuttled back and forth to Baghdad to provide assistance to the judges during the trial of Saddam Hussein.

This is a topical subject given how prominently the war is playing in the upcoming Presidential elections. (As an aside, I did early voting today and found the line to move quickly. I was in and out of there in about 15 minutes.) I also heard that C-Span's BookTV will be taping the event. If you ask a good question during the Q&A session, you could end up on national television. Think you don't even have to know how to sing to do Nashville proud (think NBC's Nashville Star or CMT's Going Country -- smile). Look forward to seeing you there.

From the Publisher:

A work of non-fiction written like a novel. A page-turner brimming with illuminating anecdotes, this remarkable account will leave you stunned.

At 12:21 p.m., on October 19, 2005, Saddam Hussein was escorted into the Courtroom of the Iraqi High Tribunal in Baghdad for one of the most important and chaotic trials in history. For a year, two American law professors had led an elite team of experts who prepared the judges and prosecutors for “the mother of all trials.” Michael Scharf, a former State Department official who helped create the Yugoslavia Tribunal in 1993, and Michael Newton, then a professor at West Point, would confront such issues as whether the death penalty should apply, how to run a fair trial when political and military passions run so high, and which of Saddam’s many crimes should be prosecuted.

--Ginna F.

Books, Wine and Smart Conversation

Dear Friends,

It's hard to believe that another month has gone by and that October's Evening with an Author is almost upon us. We hope you will be able to join us this Thursday from 6:00-7:00pm at Martha's at the Plantation for a special treat -- as always the reading is free and open to the public; if you would like to stay for dinner & music there is a $25 per person charge (please see below). The featured guests will be Robert Hicks and Justin Stelter, co-editors of A Guitar and a Pen: Stories by Country Music's Greatest Songwriters.

We thought we'd co-opt the format Lacey G. used in moderating a panel with Sigourney Cheek and Robert Rummel-Hudson at the Southern Festival of Books because it worked so well. In addition to readings from the book, she will pose some structured questions to Robert and Justin and then open up the discussion to the group. Our goal is to stress the 'smart conversation' part of the series' tag line, "Books, Wine and Smart Conversation".

And if you would like to receive HTML emails with more information on the series, please send an email to with "Subscribe" in the subject line. A full calendar of events can be found at Swift Book Promotion's website. Thank you and we look forward to seeing you soon.

-- Ginna F.

Come Enjoy the Sixteenth Event in the
Evening with an Author Series
Featuring Robert Hicks and Justin Stelter

Date and Time: Thursday, October 23rd from 6:00-7:00pm**

Place: Martha's at the Plantation (Belle Meade Plantation, 5025 Harding Road)

Featured Guests: Co-editors Robert Hicks and Justin Stelter on A Guitar and a Pen. Books will be available.
To RSVP in the affirmative for the October 23rd event, please send an email to
** Note: For those interested, you can stay for dinner and a musical performance. The price for dinner and music is $25. Dinner is at 7:00pm and music starts at 8:00pm. Please call the restaurant directly at (615) 353-2828 to make your reservation. Mention Evening with an Author to be seated at the group table. For more information, please see

From the Publisher

This unique collection presents, for the first time, the literary work of some of the best storytellers in the world: the songwriters who cut and polish tales down to sparkling three minute gems. A blend of fiction and nonfiction, humor and poignancy, these tales cover a wide range of styles and country artists.

Nashville, Music City USA, is a place where entertainment and artistic fortune are built on the bedrock of songwriters. It has been said in Nashville over and over that "It all begins with a song." Country music's wordsmiths have shaped and molded some of the greatest stories ever told into three and a half minutes that fit neatly on the radio. The editors of A Guitar and a Pen set out to answer the question, "If they can put all that into a song, what could and would they do with a blank piece of paper and a pen?" The answer lies in this remarkable collection of creativity and insight.

Co-edited by Robert Hicks, New York Times bestselling author of The Widow of the South, and by John Bohlinger and Justin Stelter, A Guitar and a Pen features a stunning array of talent. This collections features contributions by Charlie Daniels ("The Devil Went Down to Georgia"), Tom T. Hall ("Harper Valley P.T.A."), Bob McDill ("Song of the South"), Tia Sillers ("There's Your Trouble," "I Hope You Dance"), Gary Nicholson ("One More Last Chance," "She Couldn't Change Me"), Mark D. Sanders ("Daddy's Money," "It Matters To Me"), Bob DiPiero ("Cleopatra, Queen of Denial," "You Can't Take the Honky Tonk Out of the Girl"), Kris Kristofferson ("For The Good Times," "Sunday Morning Coming Down"), Hal Ketchum ("Hang In There Superman," "Sure Love"), Bobby Braddock ("He Stopped Loving Her Today"), and Janis Ian ("Society's Child") to name a few.

In "A Rock," Kris Kristofferson tells the insightful and humorous story of how an explicit natural rock formation brings chaos to a small farming town out west. Collection editor Robert Hicks presents "Gathering Together," a quirky contemporary story of a Southern family. This is just a handful of the wonderful contributions to this entertaining collection.

Co-editors Bios:

Robert Hicks has lived and worked in Nashville for almost thirty-five years. As a music publisher, he has run his own company, launching the careers of some of Nashville's best-loved singer-songwriters and publishing hits like "Just Call Me Lonesome," "Kisses Don't Lie," "Lipstick Promises," and "Never Say Die." He has worked as an independent publisher and has also been in partnerships with both PolyGram Music and MCA/Universal Music. In 2001, Robert Hicks co-authored Nashville: The Pilgrims of Guitar Town (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, New York) with French photographer Michel Arnaud. He is the author of the New York Times Best-Selling novel, The Widow of the South published by Warner Books/NY September, 2005.

His regular "guitar pulls" out at his cabin in the hills south of Nashville have attracted everyone from John Hiatt and the late Harlin Howard to Mary Chapin Carpenter and Beth Nielsen Chapman; from Jules Shear and Larry Carlton to Ray Wylie Hubbard and Steppenwolf's John Kay. Keith Richards once remarked, "You just don't stumble upon the guitar pull, you have to persevere in your heart to get there."

Justin Stelter grew up in Eagleville, Tennessee. He writes regularly for regional periodicals and as Head Gardener at Historic Carnton Plantation in Franklin, Tennessee, speaks throughout the Mid-South on nineteenth century American gardening. A passionate traveler and student of literature, Justin is planning a career as a fiction and garden writer.

Share in the excitement

In preparation for John Irving's visit to Nashville to receive this year's literary award, Mayor Karl Dean is reading and discussing The World According to Garp on Thursday, Oct 23rd at 12 noon at the downtown library. Bring a brown bag lunch and share in the excitement. Seriously, I love this town.

2008 Nashville Public Library Literary Award

John Irving, award-winning novelist, will become the fifth recipient of the Nashville Public Library Literary Award this fall.

Patrons Party will be Friday, November 7 at 6:30 p.m.

$500 per person/$1,000 per couple

Public Lecture at the Ryman Auditorium will be Saturday, November 8 at 10 a.m.

Free and First Come, First Served

Literary Award Gala will be Saturday, November 8 at 6:30 p.m. (Black Tie)

$500 per person/$1,000 per couple

About the Award and Gala:
The Nashville Public Library Literary Award was first given in 2004 to recognize distinguished authors and other individuals for their contributions to the world of books and reading. The award brings outstanding individuals to Nashville to honor their achievements, to benefit the library and to promote books, literacy and reading. It carries with it a substantial honorarium.

Proceeds from the Gala fund the multiple endeavors of the Library Foundation, including Bringing Books to Life, T.O.T.A.L. and the Summer Concert Series.

For more information, please see this link.

--Ginna F.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

David Sedaris--Rock 'n Roll Writer

This past Friday, my father and I saw David Sedaris perform (and it is a performance) at TPAC’s Andrew Jackson Hall. Every seat was filled in the nearly 2500 seat auditorium. Rock stars may rule in pop culture cool factor, but Sedaris holds his own in comparison. Let no author despair; some writers don’t toil in obscurity, and people will pay good money to drive downtown to have someone read to them.

Opening with a piece that was still a work in progress (Sedaris tweaks and edits his work with each reading), Sedaris followed with an essay scheduled for publication in this week’s New Yorker. Except for the questions he took at the end, as well as his statements endorsing George Saunder’s new collection of essays The Braindead Megaphone, Sedaris read to the audience. On the surface it sounds unbearable, but this is Sedaris and what he has to say is insightful, hilarious, irreverent, and always unexpected.

It was very much an NPR-loving crowd, and Sedaris said that when he hears people crying to the reporters on “Marketplace” about how “this Christmas just won’t be very big this year,” he says, “Well, they should have shopped early for Christmas gifts, back when they had the money.” Every year, Sedaris finishes his shopping in January.

The author didn’t shy away from politics, either: Of those who say “I’m leaving the country if Obama wins,” he asks, “Leaving for where? Where else in the world could they possibly go?”

Not many writers can fill an auditorium; hell, not many writers can fill a book-signing. Again and again, David Sedaris proves why he can: His authorial voice is too vivid; he’s too much an original. His work is his own—-no apologies.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Drum roll, please...

(cover image from this week's Nashville Scene)

Drum roll, please. The Best of Nashville 2008 is out and there are a number of local authors / books on the list. This of course does my heart good. It's recognition of our thriving literary community. Congratulations to the winners! And thank you to all of the local authors who help to make Nashville such a wonderful place to live. You have my gratitude and respect.

Best Mystery/Thriller Writer
J.T. Ellison

Best Nashville True Crime Author
Mike Glasgow

Best Knitting Wit
Ann Shayne

Best Local Cookbook
Around the Opry Table, Kay West

Best Incentive for Local Writers
The Parthenon Prize

Best Place for Used-Media Bargains
McKay Used Books & CDs

Best Local Boy Done Good
Clay Travis

Best Local Alternative to Zagat's

--Ginna F.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Book'em & Cat in the Hat

Given that Lacey and I had our photo taken with the Cat in the Hat at the Festival (see Saturday's post), I could not resist passing on the below. And, what can I say? We are huge fans of Book'em!

Emperor's Celebrity Read-a-thon and Book Drive
and Breakfast with The Cat in the Hat

Vice Mayor Diane Neighbors, local TV Personalities Davis Nolan
and Lelan Statom, The Cat in the Hat, and others


Saturday, Oct 18


Davis-Kidd Booksellers

2121 Green Hills Village Drive
Nashville, TN 37215

Breakfast with The Cat in the Hat will be from 9 to 10 a.m.

Tickets are $7.95 for kids and $9.95 for adults

and can be purchased at Davis-Kidd.

The Emperor's Read-a-thon will be from 10 a.m. to noon.

Books can be purchased from Davis-Kidd to donate to Book'em

and a portion of all sales from the day will be donated to Book'em.

Get an early start on your holiday shopping

and support Book'em on October 18!

--Ginna F.

Elizabeth Strout

Elizabeth Strout, author of Olive Kitteridge, did a nice post on the WNBA, Nashville Chapter event on Saturday. She identified us as people who "engaged easily and passionately" and are "dedicated to the art and act of reading". To read the full post on book club girl, please see this link.

Special thanks to Lee Fairbend, President of the Chapter, for organizing this successful event!

--Ginna F.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Southern Festival of Books - Day 3

A friend wrote on Facebook that she is "recovering from the Southern Festival of Books". I identify with the sentiment. I am wiped out and ready for a long nap. With that said, am happy that I made the effort to get down to Legislative Plaza for a few hours today. Got to hear David Wroblewski author of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. It was my favorite presentation of the Festival (see above).

A few highlights from today include:

* Catching up with Emily Masters of Humanities TN at the Children's Stage (see below).

* Seeing Nina Cardona of WPLN and her family enjoying the Festival (see below).

* Reconnecting with Darnell Arnoult, author of Sufficient Grace who did Evening with an Author about a year and a half ago, and her husband (see below).

* Chatting with Will Akers author of Your Screen Play Sucks on the steps leading up to the Plaza before his presentation (see below).

* Remembering how good the pulled pork tacos were from Mas Tacos -- yes, had them for lunch on both Friday and Saturday - smile.

--Ginna F.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Southern Festival of Books - Day 2

(Nina Cardona and Elizabeth Strout at the WNBA, Nashville Chapter event)

Hard to believe that I am saying this but Day 2 was even better than yesterday! It was just so great to see so many book lovers come together in one place. The morning kicked-off with the WNBA, Nashville Chapter's Breakfast with the Author event at the downtown Public Library (thanks to Dollar General for sponsoring the event). Nina Cardona, on-air personality at Nashville Public Radio - WPLN, interviewed Elizabeth Strout author of Olive Kitteridge (Random House, 2008). Both were incredibly articulate and thought-provoking. Our group was thrilled that 50 or so people came out for the inaugural National Reading Group Month event. We hope you will be able to join us next year.

So what were some of the other highlights from the day?

* Spending the day with Lacey G. and seeing so many friends, both old and new. We also got our picture taken with the somewhat scary Cat in the Hat (see below).

* Attending the panel discussion moderated by Lacey G. with Sigourney Cheek author of Patient Siggy and Robert Rummel-Hudson author of Schuyler's Monster. We got to spend quite a bit of time with Robert over the course of the day; he's just plain great (see below).

* Watching Linda Ragsdale perform her magic (read: arts & crafts demonstrations) at the Children's Stage and enjoying a cupcake because it was Lars the polar bear's birthday (yeah, not sure what that was all about but we got cupcakes so we did not ask too many questions -- smile. See below).

* Hearing Marshall Chapman tell the story that inspired the song "Call the Lamas!" and then perform the song.

* Getting to know Michelle Jones of BookPage.

* Attending two awesome parties. One was hosted by Humanities TN at the State Capital and the other by the Parthenon Prize at the Arts Company. Let's just say that publishing types, authors and other hanger-oners just plain fun and the conversations cannot be beat!

--Ginna F.

Southern Festival of Books - Day 1

Day 1 of the Southern Festival of Books was great! And we still have another two full days left to enjoy - nice! Those Humanities TN folks sure know how to put on a good show. Did I mention it's all free and open to the public? What's stopping you? Put on your comfortable shoes and come out and join in the fun.

What were some of the highlights for me?

* Walking around Legislative Plaza at 9am with the beautiful morning light a few hours before the Festival began (see photos above).

* Picking up some note cards with the image of the girl in a purple dress & books at the WNBA, Nashville Chapter booth (see photo below).

* Meeting Bill Ivey author of Arts Inc. in the hospitality suite.

* Seeing Kip Gayden author of Miscarriage of Justice and new WNBA, Nashville Chapter member. (Our ranks are swelling and we hope you'll consider joining us too! Members include publishing types, authors, teachers, librarians and good old fashioned book lovers! Check us out at the Festival or online)

* Escorting Bret Lott author of Ancient Highways and some of his former grad students to the author signing area. (Had no idea until I read his bio that his book Jewel was an Oprah Book Selection - am sure the sales numbers are impressive to say the least).

* Catching up with Jonathan Harwell producer of A Word on Words.

* Sharing a belly-laugh with Robert Hicks and Justin Shelter, co-editors of A Guitar and a Pen, at the Authors in the Round party.

* Having dinner with Honor Moore author of The Bishop's Daughter who is a Wylie client (the literary agency where I worked fresh out of college). Cannot wait to read her new book! She's so talented.

--Ginna F.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

This weekend!

(cover image from this week's Nashville Scene)

A friend asked me last night if I had any big plans for the weekend. I sure do and so should you if you are here in Nashville. It's the Southern Festival of Books, Oct 10th-12th, held at Legislative Plaza downtown. It will be amazing! Make sure to stop by the Women's National Book Association's (WNBA) booth to learn more our vibrant organization. (And yes, despite our name, we have both men and women as members.) You'll even get a free bookmark with our Fall line-up. What could be better?

To better plan your time, a hard thing to do with +250 authors being present, I have added three helpful links. The first is the schedule of events. The second is the Young Adult and Children's schedule. The third is the cover article from this week's Nashville Scene. Enjoy and hope to see you there!

--Ginna F.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


Do you have those books that you just keep recommending to people over and over? One of mine is Michael Lewis' Moneyball. In fact, I just bought a copy of it this weekend for a family friend. (It's really good! And even for someone like me who's not a sports fan. See description below)

Accordingly, I was excited to see in this morning's mediabistro that Michael Lewis may be signing on with Vanity Fair on an exclusive basis. See this link to read the full article in The New York Observer.

From the Publisher

The Oakland Athletics have a secret: a winning baseball team is made, not bought. In major league baseball the biggest wallet is supposed to win: rich teams spend four times as much on talent as poor teams. But over the past four years, the Oakland Athletics, a major league team with a minor league payroll, have had one of the best records. Last year their superstar, Jason Giambi, went to the superrich Yankees. It hasn't made any difference to Oakland: their fabulous season included an American League record for consecutive victories. Billy Beane, general manager of the Athletics, is putting into practice on the field revolutionary principles garnered from geek statisticians and college professors. Michael Lewis's brilliant, irreverent reporting takes us from the dugouts and locker rooms-where coaches and players struggle to unlearn most of what they know about pitching and hitting-to the boardrooms, where we meet owners who begin to look like fools at the poker table, spending enormous sums without a clue what they are doing. Combine money, science, entertainment, and egos, and you have a story that Michael Lewis is magnificently suited to tell.

Author of the bestsellers Liar's Poker, The New New Thing, and Next, Michael Lewis is also a columnist for Bloomberg News. He lives in Berkeley, California.

--Ginna F.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Holiday Shopping

If you typically purchase books through Amazon, here's a way to help out the Nashville Public Library at the same time: Go to the Nashville Public Library Foundation website. From here, you can search Amazon for the books you need; when you make a purchase, Amazon donates up to 15% of the purchase price to the Nashville Public Library. You have to go through the Foundation's website for them to receive the credit, but it's a small inconvenience if you can feel this good about shopping. It is the season to give, after all.

Many thanks to Lele Thompson for sending me the link. Yes, she found the info, but I gave it the power of the blog. For your efforts, Lele, you will be receiving one book of your choice from my own personal library.*

*The books available for choosing are ones from a special "Will-You-Please-Take-This One-Away-So-I-Can-Buy-More" library collection. Many are advance reading copies; if you can stand the clutter, in a hundred years it might be worth something.

The Gifted

In today's Life Section of the Tennessean, there's a profile of Lorraine Lopez, an English professor at Vanderbilt, and her new book The Gifted Gabaldon Sisters. My interest is piqued; I am quite taken with how Lopez positions the book. She says,

"To me, the sisters are not cultural representatives so much as human beings motivated by longing and conflicted responsibility," she asserted. "As (the author) Sandra Cisneros says, 'We all share one nation, and that's the body.' In their bodies, and in their way of walking in the world, the sisters are very much like all of us, at least to me."

If you would like to learn more, she will be giving a reading at Davis-Kidd on Thursday night at 7pm. Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend. Will you pick up a signed copy for me? I cannot wait to read this book!

From the Publisher
Having lost their mother in early childhood, the Gabaldón sisters consider Fermina, their elderly Pueblo housekeeper, their surrogate Grandmother. The mysterious Fermina love the girls as if they are her own, and promises to endow each with a "special gift" to be received upon her death.

Mindful of the old woman's mystical ways, the sisters believe Fermina's gifts, bestowed based on their natural talents, magically enhance their lives. The oldest sister, Bette Davis Gabaldón, always teased for telling tales, believes her gift is the power to persuade anyone, no matter how outlandish her story. Loretta Young, who often prefers pets to people, assumes her gift is the ability to heal animals. Tough-talking tomboy, Rita Hayworth believes her gift is the ability to curse her enemies. And finally, Sophia Loren, the baby of the family, is sure her ability to make people laugh is her legacy.

As the four girls grow into women they discover that Fermina's gifts come with complicated strings, and what once seemed simple can confuse over time. Together they learn the truth about their mysterious caretaker, her legacy, and the family secret that was nearly lost forever in the New Mexican desert.

--Ginna F.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Books into Movies

Was introduced to a wonderful blog called book club girl which is "dedicated to sharing great books, news and tips with book club girls everywhere".

The post that really caught my attention was on books being adapted into movies (a comprehensive list can be found here.) Seriously, who doesn't love seeing a movie based on a beloved book? (OK, it's true. I come love the movie only after I have come to terms with the various "creative" changes that Hollywood makes in translating the story onto the silver screen.) It got me thinking about some of my favorite books that have been made into equally good movies.

My top ten favorites are:

1. Out of Africa (1985) with Meryl Streep and Robert Redford
2. The Princess Bride (1987) with Robin Wright Penn and Cary Elwes
3. Emma (1996) with Gweneth Paltrow and Jeremy Northam
4. The English Patient (1996) with Ralph Fiennes, Juliette Binoche and Kristin Scott Thomas
5. One True Thing (1998) with Renee Zellweger, Meryll Streep and William Hurt
6. An Ideal Husband (1999) with Cate Blanchett and Rupert Everett
7. The Hours (2002) with Julianne Moore, Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman
8. Cold Mountain (2003) with Nicole Kidman and Jude Law
9. The Devil Wears Prada (2006) with Meryll Streep, Anne Hathaway and Emily Blunt
10. Atonement (2007) with Keira Knightley and James McAvoy

What are some of your favorites?

--Ginna F.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Public Discourse

(Margaret Renkl, Jonathan Marx and Trisha Ping)

One of the most interesting points made last night at the "Role of the Book Review" panel was how a good book review offers a form of public discourse. I hadn't thought of it in those terms and couldn't agree with Jonathan Marx more. Isn't that what we need most right now, in our local community and in the world at large? Public discourse, individual participation, and a recognition that we are all connected is required for a liberal democracy such as ours to function properly. This subject is particularly relevant as we watch the presidential and vice-presidential debates and vote in November.

This train of thinking makes me think of Martin Luther King, Jr's famous "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" and his discussion of justice and freedom.

"But more basically, I am in Birmingham because injustice is here.... Moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial "outside agitator" idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds."

For me, there is not that large a distinction between MLK, Jr's Letter, the presidential debates and the discussion that happens at a five-person book club. These are all opportunities to think in depth and discuss important social and moral issues. Books and the discussions they generate play an important role in forging bonds between people. When these bonds are in place, we can more easily tackle larger and more thorny issues.

So, come out next weekend and experience the Southern Festival of Books, a celebration of books featuring approximately 250 authors. Who knows what bonds and discussions will come out of it.

--Ginna F.