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JACK WEATHERLY — Wells’ memoir offers best of two worlds

Memoirs come in two categories. One is by famous people, whatever that means. The other is by others who are not so famous, if at all. The former has the sales advantage. And less is expected, though more is hoped for. Luckily, for some, they can have it both ways. It’s tempting to say that Lawrence Wells’ memoir, “In Faulkner’s ...

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Mississippi’s two big indie bookstores grab Grisham lifeline

By JACK WEATHERLY Independent bookstores are always facing changes in the marketplace that can threaten their very existence. First came the chains, then the Internet, which gained the upper hand over all booksellers. Then Amazon, which as the name suggests, has become the biggest retail bookseller in the world. Now the corona virus pandemic has cast an invisible net over ...

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JACK WEATHERLY — ‘Blackwood’ takes us on a journey into the darkness

‘In the midway of this our mortal life, I found me in a gloomy wood, astray.’ – Dante’s Inferno, Canto 1, lines 1, 2 Michael Farris Smith has taken two Southern jokes and turned them on their literary heads. Kudzu and ghosts are not worthy of serious fiction unless in the hands of a master storyteller, such as Smith in his ...

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JACK WEATHERLY — ‘Portis experience’ ready to meet you where you are

“I hear you had the Charles Portis experience,” my colleague at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette said. I had had a chance meeting with the famous writer at a west Little Rock book store. And I may have still looked a bit starstruck. I introduced myself to Portis, told him I was a fan and had worked with one of his brothers ...

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JACK WEATHERLY — Trump and the ‘battle for our better angels’

What better time than now to discuss, as historian Jon Meacham titles his latest book, “The Soul of America”? After all, we now have the completion of the report from special counsel Robert Meuller on the Trump administration regarding widespread speculation that the president conspired with the Russians to influence the 2016 election. Meuller found no conspiracy and thus no ...

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BOOK BIZ: Jessica Chambers slaying inspires newest Ace Atkins novel

At the beginning of Ace Atkins’ new Quinn Colson novel, The Innocents, we are right back in the middle of Tibbehah County, a fictional community hidden away in the hill country of north Mississippi.  It’s the setting for what Atkins’ himself has described as a “redneck Game of Thrones.”  Lillie Virgil is the County’s sheriff, having replaced former Army ranger ...

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JACK WEATHERLY: A British writer cottons to Mississippi, and vice versa

Richard Grant, a British expat, came to the nether regions of the Mississippi Delta, was quickly mesmerized and decided to write a book about what he saw and experienced. He vowed to relate his impressions of this rarest slice of the Deep South through critical but nonjudgmental eyes. Uh-oh. Here we go again. Another “outsider” tells Mississippians who they are. Well, ...

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