Local Books For Christmas Gifts

RB Morris, Tennessee Shines, Knoxville, 2014

I don’t normally write an article for Saturday and I’ve certainly got enough going on to fill my time otherwise today, but I need to do a sort of “make up post.” See, I’d planned to write this for yesterday, but the larger news story broke and I had to go with that. Waiting until Monday doesn’t seem like a good idea because many of us will shop this weekend – and I just couldn’t let the season go without mention of some excellent book choices by Knoxville writers. There’s something here for everyone. And, of course, I expect you to purchase them locally. Please keep all the money local if at all possible.

Dream Seeker's Daughter

Like biographies? Enjoy a little adventure? A can’t miss by widely-loved Knoxvillian Carole Borges should be on your list. Dreamseeker’s Daughter covers Carole’s true story of coming of age on the Mississippi River in an improbable boat with a father who’s romantic notions of the world often put his family in peril. It’s one of the most gripping stories you’ll ever read.

Three Bridge

Recently published, Three Bridges: An Anthology, is an excellent collection of literary short stories by a group of Knoxville writers. These six authors have just published their second collection of fiction in the form of eleven stories referencing bridges – both literal and figurative. For the last decade the group has gathered monthly in downtown Knoxville to hone their craft. You are the lucky recipient of their gifts.

Live Gree

Want a funny mystery as well as something Knox-centric? Try Live Green or Die Trying by Yvonne Loveday. This is the first in a planned series of Urban Farm Mysteries. You might guess there is an environmental theme and politics comes into play – all set in the shadow of our very own Sunsphere.

Love poetry or have someone on your list who does? Nothing says Knoxville and excellent writing better than RB Morris. This past year saw his publication of the excellent collection, Mockingbird, which becomes through the course of the cycle of poems a much an exploration of the human condition as that of our aerial friends.

Market Square

While we’re looking at Knoxville-Centric books, a mention has to be made of Market Square: The Most Democratic Place on Earth. It’s not new this year, but it is so important for anyone trying to understand Knoxville history, that I just had to mention it. I’ve got two autographed copies and I think I’ve read them both. It’s critical if you want to understand how we came to the place we are as a city today. He’ll also have The Tennessee Theatre: A Grand Entertainment Palace out a couple of weeks after Christmas covering the history of the Tennessee Theatre. It promises to be another important (and beautiful) documentation of our history. You can give it for Christmas via pre-order, and the book will be available for pick up January 14.

When We Were Strangers

Swimming in the Moon

If historical fiction, and particularly immigrant fiction are of an interest, you might want to catch up on Knoxville writer Pamela Schoenwaldt’s first two books, When We Were Strangers and Swimming in the Moon. Beautifully written literary fiction examines the struggles of new citizens on our shores merged with historical events that shifted America’s consciousness. You will lose yourself in her writing and you’ll be prepared for her next book, Under the Same Blue Sky, set to be released in May.

Urban Hikes

Interested in the outdoors and want a tie-in with Knoxville? Easy: Urban Hikes in Knoxville and Knox County, Tennessee by Ron Shrieves, Mac Post and Christine Hamilton. Published just a few weeks ago, this book includes hikes all around the county and allows you to really learn about where you live while getting some great exercise. Some inclusions you would expect (various greenways, House Mountain) are paired with some of which you may be less familiar, such as Seven Islands State Birding Park or the Lost Chromosome Trail.

Haunted Knoxville

Like to have a little tingle run down your spine while learning about your city? Laura Still, best known for her poetry, has produced A Haunted History of Knoxville. There were those who came before us. And maybe they are still here!

Christmas Tree Angel

The Unmade Moose

Have a child on your list or want to buy something seasonal? Local author Lisa Soland has a set of books you’d probably like. Christmas Tree Angel, published last year, was joined by a sequel in recent months: The Unmade Moose. Both have a Christmas theme and are certain to engage the child in you or the child in your life with a message of finding purpose and hope in our world – whatever that world may be.

So, there’s a Knoxville-related book for almost any reader. Where are you going to buy it? Union Avenue Books, of course. Every book listed here is available there and if you are really in a bind they may be able to personally deliver it! Located just two blocks from Market Square beside the Locust Street Garage and the Market Square Garage, there’s no reason to go elsewhere! Several of these books are also available at the East Tennessee History Center and the Knoxville Visitor Center. Please buy locally. It matters.

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