Holiday gift ideas: Books by Tennessee authors

Dec 4, 2018

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (OSBORNE)  --  If you’re looking for holiday gift ideas you might consider works by some of Tennessee’s outstanding authors.


WMOT asked the mid-state's Serenity Gerbman for her suggestions. Gerbman directs the Southern Festival of Books each year for Humanities Tennessee. Her recommendations include:


Jon Meacham’s “The Soul of America: the Battle for Our Better Angels” Meacham is a Tennessee native, former editor of Newsweek and Pulitzer Prize winning author. He now lives in Nashville.  In this book, he looks at turning points in American history and how our core values prevailed during difficult times. Referring back to what President Lincoln called “the better angels of our nature,” Meacham revisits the Civil Rights era, isolationism before World War II, the McCarthy hearings, the fight for women’s rights, and more. Meacham’s books are not dry as people sometimes think of history books. They are highly readable and this book in particular provides great context for those interested in current events and how this period in our history compares to others. The book is a #1 New York Times bestseller and is available everywhere.




Anne Byrn "American Cookie: The Snaps, Drops, Jumbles, Tea Cakes, Bars & Brownies That We Have Loved for Generations" Byrn is best known as “The Cake Doctor,” with a successful series of books and products that help home cooks use store bought baking mixes as the starting point for desserts with a homemade taste. With this book, and her last book “American Cake,” she really digs into American history through our love of sweets. Every recipe comes with a story of where the recipe came from, and why it’s important to American culture. These books are great for the cooks among us who love to read recipes, and for anyone who wants to bake great cookies for any occasion. Byrn lives in Nashville, and the book is available in stores and online.

J.T. Ellison’s "Tear Me Apart" Ellison is a bestselling author of thriller novels, including the Taylor Jackson series, about a Nashville homicide detective. She is also co-author of several mysteries with Catherine Coulter. You may have seen her also on WNPT as co-host of the Emmy award-winning series “A Word on Words.” Her new thriller explores what happens when competitive skier Mindy Wright is diagnosed with leukemia, and medical tests show that her parents are not her biological parents.  Was she switched at birth, or is something else going on? You can count on lots of twists and turns in  Ellison’s fast-paced thrillers, along with fascinating psychological components. It’s perfect winter reading. Ellison lives in Nashville, and her books are available everywhere.





Alice Faye Duncan’s "Memphis, Martin and the Mountaintop: The Sanitation Strike of 1968" Duncan is a writer from Memphis, and this book was chosen as the Tennessee selection for display at the National Book Festival this year. Memphis will of course be forever tied to Martin Luther King as the place of his death, but this sensitive and beautiful book explores the important reason he went there to begin with, which is often overlooked. In this era of increased activism, the book introduces young readers to how important King was and to the bedrock American principle of citizens having a voice in government. Duncan’s book can be ordered by any independent bookstore, or purchased online.



(This is age roughly 9-12 recommended): Victoria Schwab: “City of Ghosts” We are living in a golden age of young people’s literature, especially the fantasy genre, and  Nashville resident Victoria Schwab is one of its stars. She reached #1 on the New York Times bestseller list with her Shades of Magic series, and this new book is a really fun ghost story complete with graveyards, cemeteries, and secret passageways throughout Edinborough, Scotland. The heroine is a girl named Cass who nearly died in a drowning accident, and ever since can see the ghosts among us. This book is oozing with atmosphere and humor, and is great fun for middle school readers. It’s available everywhere.