John Netherton has been a busy man. The prolific Nashville-based photogra-...pher published not one but two new books last month: Tennessee, A Bicentennial Celebration, which he wrote and photographed, and Frogs, a collaboration with MTSU associate professor of journalism David Badger.
, Netherton commemorates the state’s upcoming bicentennial, paying photographic tribute to five distinct regions: the Smoky Mountains, the Cumberland Plateau, the Highland Rim, the central basin and the wetlands. The state is already a great subject for a photographer: After all, the Nature Conservancy describes Tennessee as the most geographically diverse landlocked state in the country. Netherton’s artistry is no less impressive. His spectacular photographs capture the rugged beauty of the state in ways that few others have.
Equally worthwhile is , an immensely appealing salute to the ubiquitous amphibian. A mixture of anecdotes and facts, the book documents everything from the prevalence of frogs in pop cultureincluding Kermit the Frog, The Wind in the Willows’ Mr. Toad, and George McCowan’s 1972 ecological horror film to information about frog families and species. Badger writes in the introduction that Netherton didn’t want the book to be a reference work, but rather a “ selection, showcasing some of the more interesting and colorful frogs and toads of the world.”
That it is. Filled with vibrant, minutely detailed photographs that rival anything in National GeographicFrogs is eminently readablea treat for young and old alike. Together, the two books reaffirm John Netherton’s status as one of our finest nature photographers.
John Netherton and David Badger will sign copies of at the Nature Company in the Mall at Green Hills, noon Nov. 18.
Jim Hoobler, a contributor and curator of art and architecture for the Tennessee State Museum, has just published Under the Gun: Images of Occupied Nashville and Chattanooga. The book contains more than 300 photographs by George N. Barnard, Gen. William Sherman’s photographer. As Barnard’s stark photos reveal the effects of the Civil War on Nashville and Chattanooga, Hoobler provides telling details about life in Nashville under military rule. The result is a fascinating look at a tumultuous time in U.S. history. The Rutledge Hill Press book is available at local bookstores.
Former Metro Councilman Rod Williams has founded a literary journal, New Millennium Writings: A Journal for the 21st Century, with his brother, Knoxville News-Sentinel reporter Don Williams. Despite New Age undertones and a seeming lack of editorial focus, the journal has potential. Plans for the first issue include an interview with John Updike, “new and noteworthy fiction, poetry, essays, cartoons, photography, reviews, The Janus File, tips on writing and publishing, and winners of the first New Millennium Awards.” Don Williams, who received the 1995 Malcolm Law Award for Features, intends to quit his job at the paper by the end of the year to devote more time to the project.
In the meantime, stories, poems, essays and interviews may be submitted for the journal’s New Millennium Awards through Dec. 1. Prizes are $500 for best fiction, $350 for best poetry, and $250 for best essay. There are no restrictions on style, content or length, although stories longer than 20 typed, double-spaced pages will not be published in their entirety. The address is P.O. Box 2463, Knoxville, TN 37901. Send contest entries to the same address, but label them “NMW Contest” and include a $10 check with each entry. The first issue is slated for publication March 21, 1996.
Beverly Hillbillies Brady Bunch cookbookbut this week the company plans to release what may be its most successful book since H. Jackson Brown took it upon himself to offer advice. The Cooking With Friends cookbook, based on the wildly popular television show Friends, will feature bios of the stars along with recipes that many twentysomethings may actually make on a fairly regular basis. The book includes many vegetarian recipes, as well as food that might found in Central Perk, Rachel’s coffeeshop. Look for it on the shelves this weekend.
A. Manette Ansay, author of Vinegar Hill and assistant professor of English at Vanderbilt, has assembled a new collection of short stories. The pieces in Read This and Tell Me What It Says are set in the fictional town of Holly’s Field, Wis., the backdrop for Vinegar Hill, the stories concern rural people and their struggles with family and religion. Winner of a Pushcart Prize and a National Endowment for the Arts grant, Ansay writes evocative and haunting prose, and she’s definitely a writer to watch. Her second novel, Sisters, will be published by Morrow.
Poems & Plays, a Murfreesboro-based literary journal, is accepting manuscripts of poems and plays, including submissions for the Tennessee Chapbook Prize, which will be published as an interior chapbook in the journal’s third issue. Send 20- to 24-page entries, with a self-addressed, stamped envelope and $10 (for the next issue) by Jan. 15, 1996 to: Gay Brewer, editor, Poems & Plays, English Department, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN 37132.
Dowling Press, Inc., a new Nashville-based publishing company, may have the year’s most provocatively titled release: The Good Girls’ Guide to Great Sex. If only the book lived up to its title. It reads like a low-budget Kinsey Report knockoff: With probing questions like “Do you spit or swallow?,” Thom W. King and Debora Peterson’s “guide” has all the credibility and insight of a Penthouse Forum poll. Nevertheless, the book is attractively packagedit could even pass for a paperback from the Random House imprint Vintage, which consistently publishes good books that you can judge by their covers. Although the similarities end there, give Dowling points for publishing The Good Girls’ Guide to Great Sex in a city chiefly known for Thomas Nelson and the United Methodist Publishing House.
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