Saturday, November 1, 2008

Theme Day: Knoxville By the Book

Oh, I am taking Theme Day so very literally, so very literary.

Books and reading have always been a huge part of my life. Whenever I moved to a new community, one of the first things I did was to seek out books about the area, fiction and non-fiction. Knoxville is a veritable goldmine when it comes to literature, so today I'm sharing my personal library of Knoxville-related books with you.

There are, of course, the coffee table picture books about the city - I love how they become history books as the city changes, and these books capture a moment in time.

Then there are the collections of older historical photographs, such as local historian Jack Neely's The Marble City. I use that as my guide to the interesting cemeteries in the area. Jack has also collected his weekly column of essays on some of the more obscure stories of Knoxville's history in Knoxville's Secret History. Volume I is out of print right now, but go get a copy of Volume II, it's good stuff. Disclaimer: Jack did not pay me to say that.

Knoxville is also a rich setting for fiction - local boy James Agee's autobiographical A Death In the Family recounts his life in the Fort Sanders neighborhood near the University of Tennessee, and the impact of his father's tragic death on the life of his family. Local author Jack Mauro weighs in with some quirky stories of the eccentric goings-on along Gay Street. Pulitzer Prize winner Cormac McCarthy's early novels are set in Knoxville and the surrounding area. Suttree is a hard read about a man adrift on the seedy side of Knoxville in the 1950s, but he tells the story with dignity and grace.

And finally, there's my autographed copy of Death's Acre, Dr. Bill Bass's history of the University of Tennessee's Forensic Anthropology Center Outdoor Research Facility. You might know it better as the Body Farm.

So there's Knoxville between the covers of some very good books. Now go forth, if you haven't already, and find some good books about your own communities.

Click here to view thumbnails for all participants

15 comments:

Joy said...

You have such interesting books there! Love to meet someone else who loves books.

Do visit Norwich Daily Photo and find out what I have in store for this month's theme. Happy theme day! Enjoy your weekend!

joy

A Pinay In England
Your Love Coach
I, Woman

Tanya said...

An interesting collection you have! I do the same thing when moving to a new area. It always seems I can't get enough information! Happy theme day :)

Ineke said...

an autographed example! Thats cool.

Virginia said...

I knew you would love this theme and you did! we should all read more about our communities, you're right!

Hope said...

You have an excellent collection of Knoxville-related books!

marley said...

Very interesting. Your post has reminded me of my few Cheltenham books. I could have done the same!

Jilly said...

Super post and all the time faithful to Knoxville. Fascinating.

Laurie said...

This is a great shot for Theme Day! I'd like to look through some of those books. Isn't it fun to see what bookworms we all are in the City Daily Photo family?!

Jim said...

I would like to look through that graveyard book. Sounds neat.

Kuanyin Moi said...

Great selection of books you have here!

USelaine said...

I shall take heed of your directive, KG! Everyplace has its unique stories, specific to its geography and people. Great idea.

babooshka said...

I have decided Knoville must surely have been the setting for Buffy. No Hellmouth? Suttree definitely sounds like my kind of read. Pulitzer Prize winner conncetions too.I am impressed. This theme has certainly had some inspring choices.

Chris said...

Great take on Theme Day!

Sorry I haven't been commenting. . . .Too much classwork right now . . . .

slim said...

Great interpretation of theme day. You certainly have learned a lot about your city. Thanks for sharing.

Tash said...

What a clever thing to do - READ about the city you live in or have moved to. I've just started doing that cuz of the blog - & I've read tons about other places (travel books were my all time favorites for a while). Excellent post & a great example for us.