Arts & Life

These photos, all black and white, are stunning. Engaging, beautifully composed, many telling a story in a flash, this collection is worth anyone's attention.

Picture Taker: Photographs by Ken Elkins

Ken Elkins took photographs for the Anniston Star for decades, thousands and thousands of them--local events, stock car races, beauty pageants, high school football games--and won his share of prizes along the way.

On this edition of Alabama Life: Two StoryCorps interviews, a preview of holiday events, and old sayings from Kathryn Tucker Windham.

Listen to Alabama Life from 11-20-2005

Click the MP3 link above to listen to the show.

Today on Alabama Life, we continue to bring you the interviews and stories told by Alabamians who have participated in the StoryCorps project.

Bass player Cleveland Eaton talks with his daughter, Tania Adams.

Hank Williams was, in his own way, an enigma. He was also a kind of genius. Hardly educated, a high-school drop-out, neither a reader nor a writer, he was a poet. Hank was writing songs in his teens that will be played for another hundred years.

Lovesick Blues: The Life of Hank Williams, by Paul Hemphill

On this edition of Alabama Life, listen to a story from a veteran of WWII, hear the history of Discovering Alabama, and learn what it was like to work in the newspaper business before computers.

Click the MP3 link above to listen to the show.

Click the MP3 link above to listen to the show.

StoryCorps is still in Alabama. On Veterans' Day they recorded several stories with veterans. On this edition of Alabama Life, we'll hear from one who was taken prisoner during World War II.

Novel: A Novel

Nov 7, 2005

This is a highly self-conscious, playful, post-modern kind of novel, with many digressions and red herrings and no certainty for the reader that anything is "true."

It is very difficult indeed in America to establish a writing career producing only short stories. Few have remained pure. O. Henry, Alice Munro, and Harold Brodskey perhaps come the closest, though others, like Peter Taylor, Flannery O'Connor, John Cheever, and Katherine Anne Porter have given in and written one or two novels.

The StoryCorps MobileBooth is now in Alabama. They began recording stories this past Thursday and through the weekend, and on this edition of Alabama Life, we will play four of those stories.

Click the MP3 link above to listen to the entire show.

StoryCorps is a national oral history project. The StoryCorps MobileBooth that?s been touring the country is now in Alabama. They?re parked in historic downtown Northport till November 21.

Was Eudora Welty a reclusive, shy, a provincial, untravelled, unloved, and always at home in Jackson, Mississippi. Much of this is wrong. Welty traveled quite frequently on lecture and reading tours, and accepting many prizes such as the Pulitzer Prize, the Howells Medal and eight O. Henry short story awards. This book has captured her in a way that is accurate, objective, and full of the right kind of intelligent affection.

Eudora Welty : A Biography.

Now that Harriet Miers has taken herself out of consideration for a seat on the Supreme Court, people are talking about the qualifications they'd like to see in the President's next choice. We'll see what some senators in Washington are saying, including Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions.

Also, we have a report on former governor Don Siegelman's indictment on charges of bribery, extortion and racketeering.

Listen to some of the people who attended a memorial service for Rosa Parks who talk about what an inspiration she was to them.

The Thunder of Angels

Oct 24, 2005

On the evening of December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks took her seat on bus number 2857. When a white passenger boarded, Mrs. Parks was ordered to give up her seat, refused, and was arrested. In this book, the Montgomery bus boycott that lasted 381 days is fully fleshed out, using extensive research.

The Thunder of Angels

The U.S. Secretary of State came home for a visit and lecture. Condoleeza Rice visited the University of Alabama and talked about growing up in Alabama and how the nation overcame segregation. Listen to some of her comments on this edition of Alabama Life. We'll also look at the APR Events Calendar and hear from the storyteller Kathryn Tucker Windham.

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

From the Westervelt-Warner Museum to the Kentuck Arts Festival to the APR Events Calender, this is the ART edition of Alabama Life.

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

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.