Southern Festival of Books kicks off virtually on Thursday

Readers and writers from across Tennessee, and the world, will celebrate the joy of reading and lifelong learning through free online sessions with more than 100 authors beginning n Thursday. {Art Provided}

Books and other forms of the written word are helping us get through this global pandemic. It’s for that reason among others that the organizers of the state’s largest literary event will transition the annual Southern Festival of Books to a free, virtual event.

Organizers announced in July that this year’s Southern Festival of Books would take place virtually, and for free on October 1-11 in order to maintain the health and safety of not only the authors but also the hundreds that attend the annual Music City event.

“We will miss being at the beautiful Nashville Public Library and on War Memorial Plaza, with all of the buzz and energy that the Festival weekend brings. But the important traditions will carry on in new and exciting ways; the opportunity to hear writers read from and discuss their works, and the chance to engage in ideas and discourse that are vital today. Writers will join us from around the country, and we will also share some sites and literary history from Tennessee,” said Humanities Tennessee Literature and Language Program Director Serenity Gerbman.

“We are energized by the chance to reach audiences of all types who aren’t able to visit Nashville in person but who will be able to join the Festival from anywhere in the world. The celebration of the written word will continue, and we hope you will join us Oct. 1-11.”

Confirmed authors include actor, comedian, and writer Michael Ian Black, poet Nikky Finney, Devil in the White City author Erik Larson, author and Parnassus owner Ann Patchett, and former U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethway. For the full roster of 100 authors click here.

“Now more than ever we need to find ways to connect with each other and foster community.  Ingram Content Group proudly supports Humanities Tennessee and its decision to virtually host the Southern Festival of Books this fall.  The free programming offered during the festival and throughout the year is vital to the region as it prompts us to reflect upon stories and ideas of all kinds,” said Ingram President and CEO Shawn Morin.

By necessity, the Festival’s annual Authors In The Round fundraising dinner will also transition to a virtual format with details forthcoming.

“We look forward to all we will learn presenting this year’s Festival online, so that when we return in 2021 with the Festival and “Authors In The Round” dinner in person, both events will be energized to celebrate community, literature, and learning as never before,” said Humanities Tennessee Executive Director Tim Henderson.

For more information, visit the Humanities Tennessee website by clicking here.

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Moore County … covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, the Lynchburg Music Fest, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Local book club “heads West” with September pick

The MCPL’s Brown Bag Book Club picked The Outcasts by Kathleen Kent as their September read. {Graphic Provided}

EVENTS — The Moore County Public Library Brown Bag Book Club picked a historical fiction for their September read. The local book club will read The Outcasts by Kathleen Kent this month.

The Dallas-based author has authored three best-selling, historical novels including The Heretic’s Daughter, The Traitor’s Wife, and this novel. She say she was inspired to write by reading a lot of Dickens, Poe and James Michener as a child.

Here’s the summary provided by the publisher:

It’s the 19th century on the Gulf Coast, a time of opportunity and lawlessness. After escaping the Texas brothel where she’d been a virtual prisoner, Lucinda Carter heads for Middle Bayou to meet her lover, who has a plan to make them both rich, chasing rumors of a pirate’s buried treasure.

Meanwhile, Nate Cannon, a young Texas policeman with a pure heart and a strong sense of justice, is on the hunt for a ruthless killer named McGill who has claimed the lives of men, women, and even children across the frontier.

Who – if anyone – will survive when their paths finally cross? As Lucinda and Nate’s stories converge, guns are drawn, debts are paid, and Kathleen Kent delivers an unforgettable portrait of a woman who will stop at nothing to make a new life for herself.

Normally the book club meets each Friday at 1 p.m. but there will be no meeting this Friday, September 11. The group ends and begins a new book on the last Friday of each month, so they will discuss The Outcasts on both September 18 and 25.

For more information, visit the Moore County Public Library’s Facebook page or call them at 931-759-7285. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Moore County … covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, the Lynchburg Music Fest, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Library hosts Meet the Author event for native Rodney Syler

LYNCHBURG — The tall hickory saplings, the family farm, and the river that runs through it all. To Moore County readers who pick up a copy of native Rodney Syler’s new book, Yellow Fever, they’ll feel awfully familiar.

Yellow Fever, 274 pages, Archway Publishing

“Growing up in Lynchburg and the surrounding area was very influential,” says Syler. “The JuJu scene came from a few similar rides on tall hickory saplings back on the family farm with brothers or friends. The river in the book seems a bit bigger, but the Elk River it certainly comes to mind.”

Syler will visit the Moore County Public Library on Friday, August 28 from 1 to 3 p.m. for a Meet the Author event. He will bring copies of his novel for purchase and signing.

Set in a rural southern town, the book reminds the reader of the pure fun of imagination-fueled childhood adventure. It’s a nostalgic tale, of Don, Ray, and Amber as they navigate their friendship and the rural county looking for treasure and a sense of belonging. It an engrossing story of resilience and the power of childhood friendships. It’s Home Alone meets Treasure Island with a small town southern twist.  

There’s no doubt that local readers will see familiar images and scenes in his book. Though it’s not set in Moore County, Syler says much of the setting was inspired by a childhood spent hunting, fishing, camping, and working on his family’s farm.

“The cave is a combination of Motlow Cave, Silvertooth Cave, Bishops Cave, Chicken House Cave and a few more,” Syler told The Times. “I expect that even subconsciously, I included familiar local places that shaped the dialog.”

A native of Moore County, Syler hails from the Hurdlow community where he grew up with his parents, Clayton and Maggie Syler, and four siblings Kerry, Rickey, Craig, and Tanya. He graduated from Moore County High School and then attended both Motlow State and MTSU. He worked at Jack Daniel’s Distillery for many years as the assistant production controller.

He now lives in Franklin with is wife, Lisa. The couple have three children and four grandchildren. Syler is also a designer and inventor who holds 13 U.S. patents for various designs.

Yellow Fever is the first in a series, Syler says.•

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Moore County … covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, the Lynchburg Music Fest, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Library book club picks The Crane Wife for August read

LYNCHBURG — The Moore County Brown Bag Book Club recently announced they’ll be reading The Crane Wife by Patrick Ness for their August pick.

It’s the retelling of a Japanese folktale. In Ness’s retelling, he imagines how the life of a broken-hearted man might be transformed when he rescues an injured white crane that mysteriously lands in his backyard.

“One night, groggy American expat George finds himself tending to an injured crane that bizarrely appears in his London backyard. The next morning, Kumiko — a quiet, independent woman — soars into George’s life. She vaguely reminds him of the crane and leaves him wondering whether he was dreaming. As if in a storybook, Kumiko brings opportunity, human interaction and love to the lonely man but remains an enigma. George’s yearning to know more about her threatens their relationship and endangers their lives,” their synopsis reads.

The Crane Wife book cover

Ness is a southern-born author who grew up in Hawaii and now lives in London. He has won the Carnegie Medal twice, The Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize, and the Costa Children’s Book Award.

The Brown Bag Book Club meets every Friday at the Moore County Public Library. The group usually ends and begins a new book on the last Friday of each month. However, they will finish this novel early on Friday, August 14 so that they can move on to “the perfect suspense, mystery book,” according to their social media post. We’ll post that pick as soon as they release it. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Moore County … covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, the Lynchburg Music Fest, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

4 Things to Do This Weekend

A firefly hike at the botanical gardens, classic 80s flicks at the drive in, a new moon hike to Stone Door, and a blown glass exhibit at Cheekwood … yeah, there’s plenty of (socially distanced) things to do this weekend.

THURSDAY Firefly Garden Hike at Huntsville Botanical Garden: We are all trying to live our best life while socially distancing and outdoor events are sometimes a perfect fit. The Huntsville Botanical Garden offers a great opportunity this Thursday with their Firefly Garden Hike. The South’s most charming insect are most active right before sunset. The hike includes a walk through the garden as you learn about the firefly life cycle. Bring a jar so you can catch and release along the way. The hike starts at 7 p.m. Click here for more details.

THURSDAYGhostbusters, Karate Kid, Empire Strikes Back at the Drive In: Thursday will be the last day to catch a trio of classic 1980’s films back on the big screen. The Montana Drive In will play Ghostbusters (1984, rated PG), Karate Kid (1984, rated PG), and The Empire Strikes Back (1980, rated PG). For full coverage on these films, click here.

SUNDAYNew Moon Hike to Stone Door: Legend holds that 10 foot wide by 100 foot deep crack in the rock formation at South Cumberland State Park was once used by Native Americans as a passage way from the cliff to the gorge below during seasonal migration. The two mile round trip hike also offers scenic overlooks and a one-of-a-kind view of the new moon. Meet at Stone Door Road in Beersheeba Spring to a guided night hike with Ranger Spencer beginning at 8:30 p.m. Click here to register.

ALL WEEKENDChihuly Nights at Cheekwood: Imagine large-scale, blown glass sculptures in a gorgeous outdoor setting. It’s the perfect solution to feeling cooped up during social distancing. Chihuly Nights at Cheekwood will display the sculpture of American glass sculptor Dale Chihuly against the bright, southern night sky. Chihuly Nights happens on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for 5-10 p.m. To learn more, click here.

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Iconic 80’s films play at drive in

A trio of iconic eighties films, Ghostbusters, The Karate Kid, and The Empire Strike Back, will play at the Montana July 10-16. {Images Provided}

ESTILL SPRINGS —Watching a classic blockbuster again on the big screen enjoys a certain cool factor. Beginning on Friday, the Montana Drive in will play a trio of iconic eighties flicks: Ghostbusters (1984, rated PG), Karate Kid (1984, rated PG), and The Empire Strikes Back (1980, rated PG).

Starting Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, and Sigourney Weaver, the original Ghostbusters is a hoot. Released on June 8. 1984, Aykroyd conceived the films plot as a comedy device for John Belushi and himself. When Belushi died, he partnered with Harold Ramis to re-write the film – setting it in New York City. In 2015, the Library of Congress selected Ghostbusters for preservation in the National Film Registry. It will show nightly at 8:30 p.m.

Wax on … wax off. Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita, and Elizabeth Shue star in this first installment of the Karate Kid franchise. The plot follows a teenager as he learns karate to protect himself against a couple of bullies. The film earned critical acclaim for its action sequences, writing, storyline, acting, and music. Morita earned both Academy Awards and Golden Globe nods for his role as Mr. Miyagi. It will show directly following Ghostbusters each night.

Easily the most popular of the Star Wars franchise, The Empire Strike Back follows the original Star Wars as Luke Skywalker and friends pursue Darth Vader. It stars Mark Hammil, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, and others. It was the highest grossing film of 1980 and was also selected for preservation by the Library of Congress’s National Film Registry. It will play nightly following the 2015 Disney Pixar film Inside Out.

Through the summer, the drive in showings are $10 a carload. The restrooms are open but only two individuals are allowed in the at one time. To encourage social distancing, they’ll serve a reduced menu at their outside concession stand only. For more information, visit their website by clicking here. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Moore County … covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, the Lynchburg Music Fest, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

5 Things to Do This Weekend

FridayFight Like a Girl Benefit for Breast Cancer at Twin Creeks Marina: Four female country music artist will play at Twin Creeks’ open air event center, The Honeysuckle, on Friday to perform for a good cause. Trick Pony’s Heidi Newfield, Anita Cochran, Suzanne Alexander, and Jamie O’Neal will play from 7-10 p.m. at the Fight Like a Girl Concert to benefit the Love Anchors Breast Cancer Fund. There will be limited seating due to social distancing. To get yours, click here. Doors will open at 5 p.m. For more information visit the event’s Facebook page.

FridayWaterfall Photography Class at Old Stone Fort:  Photographers love to take pics of waterfalls, but it’s a little more complicated than point and shoot. On July 10, David Duplessis of Tennessee Photographers will host an All Day Outdoor Waterfall Photography Class at Old Fort State Park in Manchester. Students should bring a DSLR camera, lenses, a tripod with shutter release, and wear clothing they don’t mind getting wet. There will be a small amount of hiking and since the class does not provide lunch or water, students should plan to bring their own. To learn more, click here.

FridayRolling Stones Havana Moon at Montana: In May 2016, the Rolling Stones played a historic concert in front of over 500,000 Cubans. It marked the first time a foreign rock band played an open-air concert in Cuba to a crowd that size. Director Paul Dugdale had the foresight to produce a concert film around it. That film, The Rolling Stone: Havana Moon, will play on Friday at the Montana Drive In. See our complete coverage here.

FridayNight Hike to Stone Door: Hiking to Stone Door at South Cumberland State Park is always fun but a guided night hike under a new moon is sure to be special. Ranger Spencer will guide this two mile hike through the beautiful Savage Gulf area. This hike is limited to the first 10 people to register and is $10 per person. Please meet the ranger at the Stone Door Station about 15 minutes before the start of the hike to check in. To register, click here.

SaturdayQuarantine Chameleon opening at Tullahoma Art Center: The COVID-19 quarantine has brought out a lot of unique expressions. On Saturday, local artist Joy Snead will open her Quarantine Chamelon show at the Tullahoma Art Center. The self-taught artist will show her works inspired by her time at home during the global pandemic. The opening takes place from 12-2 p.m. at the TAC located at 401 South Jackson Street. Click here for more details.

SundayBeginners Cookie Class at Promise Manor: Tullahoma-based small business Sami Kay’s Cookies will host a Beginner’s Cookie Class on Sunday at Promise Manor from 1-4 p.m. Students will learn tips, tricks, and secret to creating gorgeous iced cookies with a summer theme. To register for the event, click here.

Rolling Stones concert film plays at the drive in

The U.S. issued an embargo on Cuba on February 7, 1962 prohibiting all exports after Cuba nationalized an American-owned oil refinery without compensation. It’s why Cuban cigars became the holy grail of the aficinado world and why modern day Cuban drivers are still fond of 60’s era vintage American cars.

During his second term, then President Barack Obama re-established diplomatic relations after Cuba agreed to a prisoner exchange. On May 29, 2015 the U.S. State Department rescinded Cuba’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism.

Less than a year later, on March 25, 2016, the Rolling Stones performed a free, outdoor concert at a sports complex in front of an estimated 500,000 Cubans. It marked the first time a foreign rock band played an open-air concert in Cuba to a crowd that size.

On Friday, July 10 the Montana Drive In will show The Rolling Stones: Havana Moon – the concert film from that performance that explores the first time in their 50 year career that the Rollings Stones played live in Havana, Cuba.

Music as a tool for social change

The concert took place five days after President Obama visited Cuba. It was the first time a sitting president visited the island nation in 88 years — since Calvin Coolidge in 1928. Prior to their performance, The Stones were guests at the British Embassy in Cuba where over 200 people, including many Cuban musicians, attended. Following the concert, The Stones launched  a “musician-to-musician” charity initiative in which musical instruments were donated by major instrument suppliers to Cuban musicians of all genres.

“This was no ordinary concert. People hugged and shared looks of disbelief. Coming at the end of a run of shows in South America and Mexico, last night might have marked at least a temporary pause for the legendary group, but it had all the markings of a new chapter for music in Cuba,” said Rolling Stone author Richard L. Dewey at the time.

The film explores the ways in which music can be used as a tool for social change. It will cost $8 per person (car load prices will not apply to this screening). For more information, visit the Montana Drive In website by clicking here. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Moore County … covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, the Lynchburg Music Fest, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

7 Things To Do July 4 Weekend

All Weekend — Going to the drive in is as American as baseball or apple pie. Southern, middle Tennessee is lucky to have one of our very own located in Estill Springs. The Montana Drive In will show a couple of vintage flicks this weekend that are perfect for a little socially distanced fun. They’ll play Gremlins (1984, PG), Batman (1989, PG-13), Curse of la Llorona (2019, R), Nightmare on Elm Street (1984, R), The Jungle Book (2016, G), and Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015, PG-13) this weekend. Click here for showtimes.

Friday — Oh hello grandmother … kick off July 4th weekend with the musical styling and overall entertaining DJ Dusty D at Hard Dock Cafe at Tims Ford Marina from 5:30-8:30 p.m.. He’s a local fourth grade school teacher and Jack Daniel’s tour guide who also spins a few mean tunes. You’ll have a good time … we promise.

Friday — A July 4th weekend shrimp boil? Yes please. The Mercantile Cafe offers a Friday night shrimp boil each first Friday of the month and in July that lines right up with the July 4th holiday. The Shrimp Boil starts at 5 p.m. and ends at 8 p.m. and take out is available. Click here for more info.

Friday — The River Bistro is one of the hidden gems in the southern, middle Tennessee dining scene. Nestled in quaint downtown Normandy, they offer seafood, pasta, steaks, as well as a meat and three lunch menu. On Friday night, they’ll host live music by Rosenthal + Fox. Seating is limited due to social distancing and reservations are highly recommend. Click here for more details.

Saturday — Pssst. Come here and we’ll tell you a secret. A certain Moore County resident throws a huge Independence Day bash each year complete with fireworks. Though it’s a private event, the fireworks rival anything that a surrounding county puts on. You can view them from anywhere near the intersection of Highway 129 and Highway 55 on Saturday starting around sundown.

Saturday — There may not be a Frontier Days celebration this year but one Moore County tradition lives on. The Metro Volunteer Firefighters will be on the Lynchburg Square on Saturday with their famous roasted corn from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. They will offer corn for a donation and all proceeds will go to Moore County-based non-profits.

Saturday — July 4th and fireworks go hand-in-hand. Drafts and Watercrafts Restaurant at Twin Creeks will host their annual Light Over the Lake event on Saturday at 9 p.m. Seats at the restaurant will be available via reservation only. Call 931-201-5516 to reserve your spot. Even if you don’t snag a spot, the fireworks will be visible at both the Dry Creek Boat Ramp and the Winchester Bass Club area. Click here for more information.

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Moore County … covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, the Lynchburg Musict Fest, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Library’s book club announces July selection

The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler is the Brown Bag Book Club’s July Pick. {Art Provided}

LYNCHBURG — The Moore County Brown Bag Book Club is back at it and they’ll be reading The Book of Speculation by Erika Swylar for their July pick.

The novel follows the life of a young, research librarian with an interesting family tree. His mother – long dead – worked as a circus mermaid and died mysteriously on July 24. One day a book arrives on his doorstep … fragile and water-damaged. It chronicles the life of a traveling carnival owner in the 1700s, who reports strange and magical things, including the drowning death of a circus mermaid. Since then, generations of “mermaids” in Simon’s family have drowned – always on July 24, which is only weeks away. Is his sister next?

According to Publisher’s Weekly, it’s a book, “in the tradition of Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants, Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, and Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian. The Book of Speculation – with two-color illustrations by the author – is Erika Swyler’s moving debut novel about the power of books, family, and magic.”

The Brown Bag Book Club meets every Friday at the Moore County Public Library. The group ends and begins a new book on the last Friday of each month. They will begin The Book of Speculation on Friday, June 26. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Moore County … covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, the Lynchburg Music Fest, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}