Cover To Cover is the anchor program for GPB’s literary coverage. Cover To Cover features a collection of distinctive Southern voices interviewing Georgia writers, Southern writers, and writers dealing with the South. The GPB Southern Lit Cadre will provide you with a varied, weekly glimpse at fiction, non-fiction, history, poetry, and even the occasional ‘old school’ nod to Flannery O’Connor or William Faulkner.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Sarah Vowell's Wordy Shipmates On Cover To Cover Thanksgiving Weekend

Frank Reiss interviews Sarah Vowell about her new book about the Puritans, The Wordy Shipmates. Here are Franks thoughts about Sarah and the interview. The show airs Sunday night at 8pm, the following Thursday night at 11:30pm and is available online for on demand listening at
While the so-called “Republican base” gets a charge out of the feisty Sarah Palin, for the public radio crowd, there’s an equal and opposite excitement generated by another sassy Sarah, “This American Life” contributor Sarah Vowell. Vowell is a public radio star in part because of the incongruity of her little girl voice talking about very serious subjects with a striking intelligence and obvious depth of knowledge. What can go unnoticed in her most famous role is what a uniquely gifted writer she is. Reading her books leaves no doubt about these gifts. They combine an enthusiasm more often associated with the young rock critic she once was with a profundity that can only come from the kind of focused study that usually results in deadening history books people read only when forced to. And there’s also her post-modern wit that makes her a favorite guest of David Letterman and Jon Stewart. All of which add up to some of the most enjoyable books being written by the distinctive generation of writers that include Dave Eggers, Nick Hornby and the rest of the McSweeney’s/Believer set. Vowell’s latest book, The Wordy Shipmates, is also her most ambitious. Its subject is the Puritans who settled the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1630 under the leadership of John Winthrop. Winthrop’s most famous sermon included the image of “The City on the Hill” which was so effectively used by President Ronald Reagan. It is this connection that fuels Vowell’s research, examining this image as the origin of American exceptionalism, and the irony of how this sermon on “Christian Charity” came to inspire quite uncharitable political policies. In conversation, Vowell is just as one would hope: funny, self-deprecating, and tending to let conversation go off into unpredictable, though always entertaining, directions.-Frank Reiss

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Prophetizing from the Front Porch

This week on Cover to Cover, Jesse Freeman sits down with Rome, Georgia writer Raymond Atkins about his book The Front Porch Prophet.

What do a trigger-happy bootlegger with pancreatic cancer, an alcoholic helicopter pilot who is afraid to fly, and a dead guy with his feet in a camp stove have in common? What are the similarities between a fire department that cannot put out fires, a policeman who has a historic cabin fall on him from out of the sky, and an entire family dedicated to a variety of deceased authors? Where can you find a war hero named Termite with a long knife stuck in his liver, a cook named Hoghead who makes the world’s worst coffee, and a supervisor named Pillsbury who nearly gets hung by his employees?

Find out the answers to these questions and how the small town of Sequoyah, GA helped shape the book, this week on Cover to Cover. Airing Sunday at 8PM on YOUR Georgia Public Broadcasting.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thomas Jefferson's Secret Family

Join Stan Deaton on Cover to Cover this week as he interviews African American Historian Annette Gordon-Reed about her new book The Hemingses of Monticello. Annette's latest work tells the story of the Hemingses, whose close blood ties to our third president had been systematically expunged from American history until very recently. It brings to life not only Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson but also their children and Hemings's siblings, who shared a father with Jefferson's wife, Martha. The Hemingses of Monticello sets the family's compelling saga against the backdrop of Revolutionary America, Paris on the eve of its own revolution, 1790s Philadelphia, and plantation life at Monticello.

Cover to Cover airs Sunday at 8:00PM. Tune in on your favorite GPB Station, or log on to listen here.