Kentucky Born & Read
Political leanings aside, I think most of us can agree that 2016 was a rough year, marked by divisiveness, disappointment and loss around just about every corner. No doubt many will be happy to hit the reset button this winter and escape into hibernation mode with a hot beverage in one hand and a good book in the other. I’m happy to report that despite our country’s social and political upheavals, this year’s harvest of literature with a Kentucky connection has been especially fruitful, providing readers with an abundance of voices to please even the most particular of pallets. Below, we’ve tapped on staff members from Lexington’s leading literary hub, The Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning, along with a few favorite local literary experts to recommend some of those voices for your winter reading pleasure.
CrimeSong: True Crime Stories from Southern Murder Ballads
by Richard H. Underwood
Recommended by JAY MCCOY, The Morris Bookshop
If you spend any time in Kentucky, it’s not a far stretch to think you might eventually happen upon a musical soirée where a haunting rendition of a ballad is played – one that recounts a heart-wrenching or gruesome tale that sounds too far-fetched to be true. In “CrimeSong: True Crime Stories from Southern Murder Ballads,” author and University of Kentucky law professor Richard H. Underwood delves into such lyrics and pulls back the autopsy sheet on 24 Southern murder ballads based on true stories – some well-known, others obscure and all fascinating. Underwood shares findings from his extensive investigations of the actual crimes that inspired the songs, eight of which took place in Kentucky. In addition to the extensively annotated text, the book includes an intro by UK professor of music Ron Pen, ballad lyrics, newspaper clippings, photographs and illustrations (including three works by Lexington artist Christine Kuhn). “CrimeSong” is the first book from the newly established local publishing house Shadelandhouse Modern Press.