The beauty of curiosity

The appeal of A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life ultimately has as much to with who Brian Grazer isn’t as with who he is.

Grazer isn’t a psychologist or a scholar, and he never formally studied curiosity. He’s an Academy Award-winning movie and television producer (Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind, “24,” “Empire”) and a first-time author who spent the past two years trying to personally define his own curiosity. Continue reading “The beauty of curiosity”

The fateful path to the Boston Marathon bombing

The truth is no one is ever likely to know exactly why two brothers—Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev—decided to set off two homemade bombs, on Monday, April 15, 2013, near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

However, Masha Gessen’s latest book, The Brothers: Road to an American Tragedy, serves as a painstakingly detailed chronicle of how, after more than a decade of living in Boston, the Chechen brothers detonated two pressure cookers, killed three people, injured 264 others, cost Tamerlan his life and quite possibly—depending on the outcome of Dzhokar’s current trial—could cost his younger brother his life as well. Continue reading “The fateful path to the Boston Marathon bombing”

Barnett’s debut is Jim Crow-era coming-of-age tale

“Jam on a Vine” is LaShonda Katrice Barnett’s first novel.

The story’s main character, Ivoe Williams, is loosely based on civil rights activists Ida B. Wells-Barnett and Charlotta Bass. The novel picks up Williams’ story at age 9. By the time she enrolls in an all-black university, in 1905, she has begun to get involved in politics and, like Wells, is developing a voice of her own. Continue reading “Barnett’s debut is Jim Crow-era coming-of-age tale”

Book follows former child soldiers from horror to healing

The stories are horrific.


On her first trip to Congo, in 2008, Bethany Haley Williams listened and cried — mostly she cried —

while being told stories of children being kidnapped at young ages and forced to kill their parents.


Children were forcefully taken away by the Lord’s Resistance Army and made to fight as child soldiers.

Continue reading “Book follows former child soldiers from horror to healing”

Author Kim Cross pieces together storm stories

This wasn’t just any storm.

It was the largest recorded outbreak of tornadoes — 349 to be exact over a three-day period — in U.S. history, including the hardest-hit areas of Mississippi and Alabama. More than 324 people lost their lives and the storms caused more than $11 billion in damage.

Kim Cross, an Alabama native, who’s written for everyone from Southern Living and Cooking Light to Outside and Runner’s World, “felt really attached” to the stories of heartbreak and redemption. Continue reading “Author Kim Cross pieces together storm stories”

Father / daughter story inspires songwriter

In a city like Nashville, it takes a lot to stand out.


Nearly two decades after arriving and making his home in Franklin, longtime songwriter Greg Pope has

finally found his voice in the crowd.


“I think it’s this children’s book and me taking the time to put my heart and life into it,” said Pope, of his

first book, “I’m a Big Girl,” which will be released March 3. Continue reading “Father / daughter story inspires songwriter”

‘The Nightingale’ tells female WWII story

Kristin Hannah has written 20 novels and her 2009 release “Firefly Lane” sold more than 1.2 million copies. Her bestselling “Home Front” is currently being developed by filmmaker Chris Columbus into a major motion picture. Yet the Seattle-based author said this month’s release of “The Nightingale” is still “cause for celebration.”

According to Hannah’s website, her latest story revolves around “two ordinary French women living in a city under siege and in a country at war, where surviving can sometimes mean doing the unthinkable.” Continue reading “‘The Nightingale’ tells female WWII story”

Marty Robbins’ old car sparks ‘rat rod’ hobby

When Tommy Ring and his pal Ronny Robinson pulled the 1933 Plymouth out from the bottom of the creek, he had no idea what would become of the nearly 80-year-old car.

Country Music Hall of Famer and onetime NASCAR driver Marty Robbins had discarded the car back in 1976.

All those years ago, it had slid sideways into the water with the suicide doors open, and the body broke free from the frame when it hit the creek bed. Now, on a drizzly Saturday morning in 2010, Ring and Robinson cut the weeds back that had grown high above the roof line and found the old Plymouth along with the remains of several other classic cars.  Continue reading “Marty Robbins’ old car sparks ‘rat rod’ hobby”

Move to gospel earns songwriter first Grammy nomination

Songwriter and musician Tim Menzies had gone a lifetime without even being nominated for any sort of music award, much less a Grammy.

It’s only fitting that last month, on Dec. 5, it would feel like another lifetime while the Thompson’s Station resident waited to find out if his first-ever gospel album, “His Way of Loving Me,” was among those receiving a nomination for the upcoming Feb. 8 awards show. Continue reading “Move to gospel earns songwriter first Grammy nomination”