Arts & Life

Tune in for a quick history lesson on this episode of Alabama Life. Learn more about the beginnings of public radio and more about how Alabama Public Radio came to be. Plus the storyteller tells about the Tale Tellin' Festival that happens each year in Selma, Alabama. Kathyrn Tucker Windham was there when it got started, and previews the event happening October 14 and 15.

Click the MP3 link above to listen to the whole show, or click below for individual segments.

Think you know all there is to know about the life of Paul "Bear" Bryant? Allen Barra assures us that there have been no authoritative biographies.

The Last Coach: A Life of Paul

We all think that we know all there is to know about the life of Paul "Bear" Bryant, but Allen Barra assures his readers that there have, in fact, been no authoritative biographies.

We're talking about stories this week. The StoryCorps project is coming to Alabama in November. Zachary Barr is an advance coordinator for the project. He came by Alabama Public Radio to help us prepare for the StoryCorps Mobile Booth visit, and then he spent a little time in the production studio talking about the project and what it means to you. Storyteller Kathryn Tucker Windham has a few words about the importance of recording those family stories. Plus, we have a look at events from the APR Events Calendar.

gods In Alabama

Sep 26, 2005

This novel vacillates, in a disconcerting way, between being a comedy of manners and misperception and a grim depiction of the sexual violence of small-town teen life.

gods In Alabama

A dear friend and long-time supporter of Alabama Public Radio passed away recently. We remember Joyce Mahan today and listen back to an essay she wrote for APR. Also, the Birmingham Post-Herald printed its last issue on September 23. Our news director has a conversation with its editor and president. David Duff, our classical host, reads Vivaldi's Autumn sonnet from the Four Seasons. Fall brings back childhood memories for storyteller Kathyrn Tucker Windham. Plus we have another look at the APR Events Calendar.

Winston Groom may be better known for Forest Gump, goofily portrayed on film by Tom Hanks. But Groom is also a historian. His newest work, 1942: The Year That Tried Men's Souls, is a focused study of that crucially important, pivotal first year of WWII.

1942: The Year That Tried Men's Souls

Twenty years ago, most Americans would have identified Winston Groom as the creator of Forrest Gump, goofily immortalized in film by Tom Hanks.

September 17 was US Constitution Day, designed to educate the public about the constitution of the United States. It was ratified more than two centuries ago. Now another constitutional debate is occurring, but this time in Iraq. Many Iraqis in America are hoping to cast their vote. One of them is a professor at Jacksonville State University in Calhoun County, Alabama. Also, storyteller and author Kathryn Tucker Windham remembers Joe Smitherman, former mayor of Selma, Alabama. Plus we have a look at the APR Events calendar.

Saints at the River

Sep 12, 2005

Ron Rash had a distinguished career as a poet and short story writer before his first novel, One Foot in Eden. This is his second novel, Saints at the River. It's a short book and a good read.

Saints at the River

Appalachian mountain culture, north to south, has been very well served these last few years in fiction and nonfiction.

It has been four years since the largest terrorist attack on US soil. Now the Gulf Coast has experienced possibly the worst natural disaster in US history. Lawmakers wonder why 9-11 didn't better prepare emergency management for dealing with Hurricane Katrina. People in downtown Tuscaloosa talk about the recovery New York made and ways the Gulf Coast might do the same. Plus, we have a story about the Navy's Blue Angels and the service men and women on the ground who help keep pilots in the air.

The Widow of the South

Sep 4, 2005

Gone With the Wind meets War and Peace in this meticulously-researched novel.

The Widow of the South

The Widow of the South, a first novel, arrives as the most heavily touted novel of the Fall.

The press package alone is a couple of hours of reading. Warner Books has made Widow their number-one focus, with a $500,000 ad campaign, and at least seven book clubs have chosen Widow as a selection or alternate.

How two men, one on a national stage and one in a small town in Alabama, both helped the cause of race relations in America

Here's to You, Jackie Robinson

Despite the title, the heart of this book is the story of Jesse Norwood, who, by all accounts, was a great human being.

A collection of quirky, yet commendable, short stories. Perfect end-of-summer reading.

Tartts: Incisive Fiction From Emerging Writers

In a contest named after Livingston folklorist Ruby Pickens Tartt, Joe Taylor of UWA's Livingston Press put out a call for collections of short stories by writers who had never published a collection and received 153 manuscripts in the mail.

A novel about growing up in the literally and figuratively hot South.

As Hot As It Was, You Ought to Thank Me

The most famous unreliable narrator in American fiction is Mark Twain?s Huckleberry Finn.

Huck is not a liar and, unlike an Edgar Allen Poe unreliable narrator, who tells the reader in the first few sentences that he is an alcoholic or caught for years in the trammels of opium, Huck means to tell you the truth.

Junior Ray

Jul 18, 2005

A difficult, but truthful, look at life in the Mississippi Delta. Comes with a "warning label."

Junior Ray

Junior Ray is an odd book.

It comes like a pack of cigarettes, with what amounts to a warning label. Even the publishers seem afraid of this book.

The promotional materials say things like, ?This book is not for the squeamish,? and, boy, is that the truth.

Junior Ray begins like a 19th-century fiction, with faux verisimilitude.

The Ambassador's Son

Jun 28, 2005

A mix of politics and adventure on the high seas. Recommended "summer reading."

The Ambassador's Son

Homer Hickam of Huntsville, Alabama, was best known for his memoirs of growing up in the coal-mining country of West Virginia.

His first volume, Rocket Boys, made into the very fine movie October Sky, was followed by Sky of Stone and The Coalwood Way.

Alabama Curiosities

Jun 20, 2005

Everything you ever wanted to know about Alabama landmarks, people and other...curiosities.

Alabama Curiosities

As the title suggests, this volume has entries not only on literal, physical places, where there is something to look at or to do, but also entries on where things happened.

Articles of War

Jun 9, 2005

A young WWII soldier comes to terms with his fear.

Articles of War

This short novel takes place in Normandy and then in the Hurtgen Forest in 1944.

The protagonist, and I assure you he is no hero, is George Tilson, a U.S. Army private, 18 years old, a farm boy from Iowa and a callow, unsophisticated young man who seems to know nothing and be afraid of everything.

Seven Laurels

Jun 1, 2005

The life of a hard-working, yet unfortunate, Alabamian is set against the backdrop of the Civil Rights movement in this historical fiction book.

Seven Laurels

A look at Alabama's own notorious Tallulah Bankhead--her fast-paced acting career, sex scandals and drug abuse.

Tallulah! The Life and Times of a Leading Lady

Alabama is rightly famous for its production of flamboyant females with unforgettable names.

This Sunday's broadcast of From The Top was recorded in Tuscaloosa, and will feature talented young performers from Tuscaloosa and Auburn.

From The Top
Sunday 11:00 a.m.
Alabama Public Radio

This week's edition of From the Top comes from the Moody Concert Hall at University of Alabama.

The repertoire includes violinist Heather Engebretson, age 14 from Tuscaloosa, playing Kreisler's "Praeludium and Allegro."

Wayne Flynt's latest, most comprehensive examination of the state's virtues and vices. "Required reading" for Alabamians who want "to vote, or even talk about Alabama sport, religion, politics, taxation, or laws."

Alabama in the Twentieth Century

Wayne Flynt, a native son and Auburn University historian, has been preparing to write this book all his life.

Alabama native and baseball announcer Mel Allen is painstakingly profiled in this latest biography.

How About That! The Life of Mel Allen

Mel Allen is one of those public individuals, one of those celebrities, who has been so much a part of American everyday life we feel we know him well. Of course, we don?t, but readers will know a lot more after reading Stephen Borelli?s biography of Allen, who died at age 83, in 1996.

The Poet of Tolstoy Park

May 2, 2005

A man who is dying of tuberculosis discovers how he wants to live the last year of his life.

The Poet of Tolstoy Park

There really was a poet of Tolstoy Park.

In Montrose, Alabama, there sits a round house, built of hand-made concrete blocks. It was erected, alone, by Henry James Stuart, the man who was known as the ?Hermit of Montrose? but was not actually much of a hermit at all.

An Alabama Songbook is a thorough collection of ballads, folksongs and spirituals. The music displays a rich history of some of the state's lesser-known arts.

An Alabama Songbook: Ballads, Folksongs, and Spirituals

This volume has been a very long time in the making.

A fictionalized account of the worst accident in Amtrak history that happened in Mobile, Alabama.

The Wreck of the Twilight Limited

In real life, here?s what happened.

Satchel Paige's America

Mar 28, 2005

Satchel Paige talks freely and candidly in this memoir by William Price Fox. He discusses baseball past and present, finances and, of course, Alabama.

Satchel Paige's America

In the early 1970s, novelist William Price Fox of South Carolina met with Satchel Paige, perhaps the best pitcher ever to play baseball, in the Twilight Zone Lounge of the Rhythm Lanes Bowling Alley in Kansas City.

I'll Never Leave You

Mar 21, 2005

Nine stories in I'll Never Leave You examine the influence of the sea on the lives and loves of people in a mythical New England town.

I'll Never Leave You

Let Us Now Praise Famous Women: a Memoir provides a front-row seat to 1960s rural Alabama--the thoughts, feelings and daily life of a white family living in the midst of the civil rights struggle. Sikora portrays his wife's family vividly, intimately and honestly.

Let Us Now Praise Famous Women: A Memoir

Too Brief a Treat

Mar 7, 2005

This collection of letters from Truman Capote shows another side of the Alabama native who achieved national acclaim through his short stories and novels. A more personal look at Capote's "raw material" including rare literary criticisms as well as notes from his extensive travels.

Too Brief a Treat

A letter from a friend is a treat. If the letter is short, it is ?too brief a treat.?

The Romanov Prophecy

Feb 28, 2005

A tale of "chase and narrow escape, historical fact and speculation" that leads readers to wonder about the true survivors of a fallen dynasty.

Everybody knows that poets don?t sell many books or make much money.

Fewer people realize that writers of literary fiction don?t get rich either.

Only one of the five novels nominated for last year?s National Book Award sold more than 3,000 copies.

Ah, but genre fiction?that?s a get-rich-scheme, right?

Not necessarily.