It’s a Book – SIBA Authors Video

The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) created a video featuring a number of authors reading from It’s a Book by Lane Smith. The results are below:

From the SIBA press release:

In support of (print) books and indie bookstores, a group of authors gathered together in New Orleans earlier this fall to make a video where they all read aloud from Lane Smith’s It’s a Book. The project was devised by the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) and once it was confirmed that Lane Smith and the book’s publisher Macmillan supported the project, the taping began. Authors graciously (and often gleefully) stepped into a makeshift studio to read their lines with little notion of what the final outcome would look like, but nevertheless believing in the good cause the project was designed to highlight: the benefit of print books and indie bookstores. The result has been everything they and SIBA and her member booksellers could hope for: a wonderful read-aloud of Lane Smith’s It’s a Book!

Each author reads, with the helpful inset illustrations of “monkey” and “jackass”, to cue viewers as to who is speaking. Viewers can see authors with their own print book as they read from Lane Smith’s. Sandra Brown, Michael Buckley, Karen White, George Bishop, Susan Crandall, Walter Jury, Jenny Han, John Milliken Thompson and Gigi Amateau are just a few of the approximately  three dozen authors you will see in this two-minute video.  The closing line is read by Amy Tan (and her dog). (There are more surprises in the credits.)

In order to raise awareness and enthusiasm about the video, print books, and indie bookstores, SIBA reached out to its author “Frindies” (“Friends of Indies”) to help spread the word via social networking and embedding the video on their websites. The response from authors was immediate and radically gratifying.

The following writers have agreed to participate in this radical movement: Tony Abbott, Kaye Barley, Betty Bolte, Kathryn Stripling Byer, Malcolm Campbell, Julie Cantrell, Cindi Carver-Futch, Walter Culpepper, Anna Dewdney, Nell Dickerson, Patti Digh, Stephen Doster, Elizabeth O. Dulemba, JT Ellison, Beth Finke, Dorothea Benton Frank, Mark Hainds, Tommy Hays, Jennie Helderman, Kaye Hinckley, Ann Hite, Amalie Howard, Joshilyn Jackson, Charles Jacobs, Jessica James, Deborah Johnson, Dianne Johnson, Cassandra King, Irene Latham, Christopher Loren, Kelly Lyons, Charles McNair, Laura McNeal, Adrian Miller, Jim Minick, Mary Alice Monroe, Robert Morgan, Bryan Powell, Sharman Ramsey, Aaron Reynolds, Bryan Robinson, Karen Spears Zacharias, Martha Stiles, John Thompson, Carol Wall, Robin Wasserman, Millie West, Laura Wharton, Deborah Wiles, Jessica Young.

SIBA is looking for more people — authors, bloggers, booksellers, book lovers — to join their “radical underground movement for good” by sharing and linking to the “It’s a book!” video, in the hopes that this “underground” print and indie partnership will erupt nationwide.

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Burns Club Atlanta

Charles McNair Burns Club Atlanta I was honored to be invited to read from PICKETT’S CHARGE at the Burns Club Atlanta on October 2, 2013.

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Photos from Avid Bookshop Event in Athens, GA

Thanks to Rachel, Janet, Frankie and all my friends at Avid Bookshop in Athens, GA for a wonderful event on September 24. Also thanks to Kent Hannon for introducing me and to Page Campbell for playing songs. Here are a couple of photos from Avid’s Facebook page.

Go visit this wonderful independent bookstore that celebrates its second anniversary in October.

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Feature in Atlanta Intown

Flip to page 28 of the September issue of Atlanta INtown magazine and you’ll find an article entitled “McNair’s Charge,” written by editor Collin Kelley.

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My True Story: A Gentleman of Verona

True Story Georgia - Charles McNair PodcastIt was a privilege to read at True Story on Friday, August 16, 2013, and be a part of its first podcast. Thanks to the lovely curator of True Story, Kate Sweeney, for the opportunity to share my tale of playing baseball in Italy. Did you know I was once 3rd baseman for the Verona Arsenal? It’s true…listen.

True Story Podcast: Charles McNair

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A box of books just arrived here. My name on the cover. My words inside. Ahhh…

Picketts Charge Arrives Although Pickett’s Charge doesn’t officially release until September 20, my publisher sent these copies to me as I continue the big promotional push. And Livingston Press went beyond the call of duty to make sure that copies of the book will be available at the AJC Decatur Book Festival. I’ll be speaking a few times during the festival, which takes place Labor Day weekend in Decatur, Georgia, so please come by and say hello.

In the meantime, I’ve posted Chapter One of Pickett’s Charge to the website. Read the excerpt and if you’re intrigued, use one of the pre-order links. I’d be grateful.

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Video of Charles McNair Reading from Pickett’s Charge

The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) has created a new video channel called Parapalooza where you’ll find some of your favorite authors and book lovers reading a paragraph from one of their books or another book of their choosing.

As SIBA writes on the Parapalooza website: “In the time of Vine, and Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, the Paragraph may prove to be the quickest entry into a good read.”

In the following short video, recorded today at the offices of Paste Magazine, I read an excerpt from Pickett’s Charge. I hope you’ll enjoy.

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Charles McNair on the 150th Anniversary of Pickett’s Charge

July 3, 2013 marks the 150th anniversary of the climax of the Battle of Gettysburg. General Robert E. Lee ordered more than 12,000 men to challenge the center of the Union line. The unsuccessful attack, led by George Pickett, became known as “Pickett’s Charge.” Author Charles McNair named his soon-to-be-released novel after the costly Confederate defeat at Gettysburg.

McNair talks about the fictional PICKETT’S CHARGE (which will be published on September 20, 2013 by Livingston Press) and the Civil War’s influence on literature and the cultural landscape in the following Q&A.

1.     What inspired you to write your novel Pickett’s Charge?

When I grew up in the South, the climactic battle of the Civil War – Gettysburg – and the climactic event in that battle – Pickett’s Charge – held high ground in the collective memory of many southern families, especially those with ancestors who served … and were lost … in the Civil War. For many Americans, Gettysburg holds a place in history like Waterloo, for Europeans, or the Battle of Hastings for the English.

If you want to truly understand the South of the last 150 years, you have to understand Gettysburg.

I wrote Pickett’s Charge to guide readers on a journey through Southern consciousness, to probe the personality and problems of the region most deeply affected by war and its aftermath.

2.     What came first–the title of the book or the name or your protagonist, Threadgill Pickett? 

I grew up in the Wiregrass region of Alabama, where Florida, Georgia, and Alabama meet. I remember many unique family names from down home: The Turnipseeds. The Quattlebaums. And, yes, the Threadgills.

That unique name stayed in my head for years – it felt colorful, memorable. The surname Pickett, of course, resonates for an audience having any familiarity with the Deep South. So Pickett’s Charge seemed the right title for a story of this quest by an old Confederate who heads north to fight the last Yankee.

3.     What, if anything, does your novel have in common with the real-life Pickett’s Charge that took place on the third and final day of the Battle of Gettysburg?

Everything, in a word.

Everything the South became for the next 150 years goes back to a failed Napoleonic-style Confederate attack at 3 p.m. on July 3, 1863. The actual Pickett’s Charge – the massed assault – really isn’t referenced until the last pages of my novel … but every word in the book can be written today because of what actually happened at Gettysburg. The battle shaped the subsequent history of the South … a history my novel explores through a unique character with a personal history that mirrors the South’s.

4.     What are your “Tops” in the following categories, and why?

Top Civil War novels

The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane

Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Andersonville by MacKinley Kantor

The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara

Top Civil War nonfiction

The Civil War: A Narrative by Shelby Foote

The Civil War by Bruce Catton

5.     Are the Civil War and its many battles still fertile ground for fiction writers? Why? 

One of the fundamentals of fiction writing? Conflict.

War is the ultimate conflict. War and how war affects those who fight and those left behind, will always compel writers. In this country, even with our changing demographics and evolving notions, millions of families still carry stories of the Civil War – white families, black families, rich families, poor families. Those stories will continue to surface and be told.

6.     Why is it important for our country to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg?

Fifty-one thousand human beings were killed, maimed, or lost in the three days of battle at Gettysburg. Modern warfare began that day, with the failed massed charge by Lee’s forces on ranks of precision weaponry. The armies on that battlefield fought for causes and cohorts. Those lives and this conflict go for nothing without commemoration – remembrance by another word. Americans still fight Gettysburg today, in our legislatures, personal interactions, town squares, sports events … sometimes even our bedrooms.

7.     In your opinion, are Civil War reenactors living historians or novelists in action? Why?

Reenactors come with as many motivations as moustache styles.

Many dress up and go to battlefields to serve the muse of history. Among reenactors, you’ll find deeply learned experts who simply enjoy gathering on battlefields and immersing themselves in the minutiae of the period. These men deeply value the knowledge they gain from taking part in living history events.

Others come along more lightly, less for history and more for the thrill, for being part of a spectacle.

You will also find mossbacks and secessionists in reenactor ranks. But even among these, who can hold their opinions in our democracy thanks to moments like Gettysburg, I often find thoughtful men. They choose not to give up beliefs from a bygone day, but some do not shut themselves off from discussion and ideas contrary to their own.

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