Books

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Atlanta Pop in the 50s, 60s and 70s: The Magic of Bill Lowery

With co-author Andy Lee White

An interview-based journey into the late 20th century Atlanta music scene centered around producer/promoter/publisher Bill Lowery. Stories of regional bands The Bushmen and The Candymen, Joe South, Billy Joe Royal, Tommy Roe, Roy Orbison, Ray Stevens, The Tams, The Classics IV, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Atlanta Rhythm Section, and many others.



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Village People: Sketches of Auburn

Author John M. Williams, who grew up in Auburn, Alabama, has penned an unusual memoir written in the form of essays about the people and places that made the greatest impact on him as a young man. Village People: Sketches of Auburn will both transport readers to a simpler time, and provide a snapshot of the history, from Williams' point of view, of the place called "The Loveliest Village." Williams' keen eye for detail is the cornerstone for this book of remembrances but don't expect a lot of sentimentality - his wry sense of humor shines through every essay.

Of course, football made an impact on Williams and he includes stories of two players - Bobby Freeman and David Langner - but the majority of the stories are about teachers, band directors, preservationists, businessmen, a dance instructor, and even a place called Toomer's Corner. This is a book almost everyone would enjoy, but particularly anyone who has ever lived in Auburn, as a resident or as a student, and considers it "their town."

Rheta Grimsley Johnson writes in her foreword to Village People: "He makes us see the things he saw, from a perspective-his perspective-that is not old but wise, not cynical but careful. The boy on the Western Flyer has grown up, and the Auburn characters in this beautiful book had much to do with it. Johnny has waited, as he eloquently puts it, until 'the ego is losing its muscle tone' to deliver these words."



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Lake Moon

A novel of both self-realization and self-destruction, John Williams's Lake Moon is the story of a band and its young members in their quest for recognition and fulfillment. Set primarily in the moral and social turmoil of the 1960s and '70s in Georgia, the novel depicts the characters' struggle against self-doubt, naivete, and addiction in their pursuit of the inescapable calling of music. This is also the story of the relationship between music and musician, between youth and belonging, between commerce and art, between self-loathing and self-awareness.

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Special Forces

Thirtyish and unemployed, Riddle has moved to the town where he has placed his mother in a care home. Weighted with guilt and bad memories from his tour in Iraq, he spends his days exploring the rural county with his camera. On one of these excursions he comes upon a deserted club where he sees a ghostly figure. The place itself seems to have been abruptly abandoned some years ago. Investigating later, he learns that a young man disappeared there ten years earlier, and his curiosity begins to draw him into an underworld of killers and drug-cookers run by renegade commando Tig Ledoux, and his assistant Doc. He finds his only ally in Leila, the deep-sighted daughter of a local fortune-teller. Drawn into Ledoux’s employ, he begins to piece together the connection between the disappearance and these dangerous men, and after witnessing first-hand their depravity, finds himself in a lethal dilemma: kill or—something worse.

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The Weariness of the South

Ten stories of the old and new south feature the young, old, and middle-aged confronting painful transitions and oppressive memories, from brothers at odds in the 1880s to a kid in Civil Rights era Montgomery to an old man lost in the cosmos on a late-night bathroom trip.

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The Slyburn Girl and Leonard

Two novellas. “The Slyburn Girl” follows Reuel, then Nedra, to their destined meeting in the depraved landscape of Slyburn, and then accompanies them as they attempt a dangerous escape together to the fabled city of Brazeal. “Leonard” is the story of an ordinary young man, Hugo, and an extraordinary man from another place, Leonard, who gives Hugo the power to stop and restart time. Hugo wields the power with glee but growing uneasiness, and ultimately finds himself in a showdown with forces he doesn’t understand in a mysterious house.

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A Cross of Centuries: Twenty-five Imaginative Tales About the Christ

A broad and various collection of writings about the Christ figure. Contains my story, “Passion.” In some pretty impressive company here. Edited by Michael Bishop.


Chinaberries and Crows

Chinaberries and Crows

A sundry collection of poetry and fiction and non-fiction pieces about east central Alabama. Contains my essay “Growing Up in Auburn.” Edited by Bert Hitchcock.