July Album of the Month!

If you love music (listening to it, talking about it, and especially reading about it and getting new suggestions), you need keep up with Terry Barr on The Riff!

Most recently, he wrote a piece about picking the “Album of the Month” for July 2021. Out of the hundreds of thousands of albums that exist in the world, one can imagine the pressure to find just one that really speaks to you. As Barr notes in the article, “The criteria are more than problematic: is it your favorite album, a desert island wonder? Is it trendsetting? Will it engage with a broad audience? Is there a great personal story behind it? Does it have a good beat and is fun to dance to? Can you hum a few bars of any song on it?” So many questions and so many choices!

So, what did he pick? Head over to the website to read the full story, but spoiler alert: it’s David Bowie’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars from 1972. Even better, you can join a Zoom call in a few short weeks to listen and discuss this album of choice with Terry! More information and link down below. Happy reading (and listening)!

Zoom Meeting Link for Sunday, July 11 – Begins at 7:00 EDT!

Meeting ID: 86769627069
Passcode: N9d<4U00

First LIVE Reading of 2021!

Beautiful view for a reading in Warm Springs.

As we are slowly approaching the mend from the multitude of setbacks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, readers and friends can now begin to celebrate and share the wonderful stories from Dr. Terry Barr’s Secrets I’m Dying to Tell You in person!

Last month, Terry and his daughter helped with the launch of the “Little Free Library” at The Coffee House Inn, located in Warm Springs, Virginia. Attendees were charmed by the work and readings from his latest book, which we all know is deeply special to hear read aloud by the author, complemented by the mountain views of V.A.!

Be on the lookout for another in-person reading and signing. In the meantime stay safe, and happy reading!

New Book Release

Most recently to his collection of works, Dr. Terry Barr has a new addition, Secrets I’m Dying to Tell You. Published in 2020 by Redhawk Publications in Hickory, NC, the collection of essays dives into Barr’s life growing up in Bessemer, AL: revealing town secrets, #MeToo stories, and the intimacies of his relationships and experiences in a southern suburb.

An excerpt from the introduction-

“My friend Fred called me last week to ask if I had heard about the most recent murder in Bessemer. I wondered why this murder–sadly out of th too many occurring regularly in my hometown–should warrant a special call. But as Fred explained, this order occurred right across the street from the house in which I was born and raised. I Googled the story on AL.com and saw a video of the murdered man’s loved ones talking about the senselessness of the crime and its effect on them. I didn’t know this family, but as I watched them standing on ground I know intimately, I felt a certain pain and a more certain longing.

The place where I was raised is troubled, and I know so little and am so far removed from these troubles.

The house where this man’s body was dumped is uninhabited, and for many hours, it kept a secret of something horrible that had been done there.

I called my brother Mike and told him. As we spoke, he did some Googling of his own, initially just to see the story. After a few minutes, and a very pregnant pause, he asked,

“Did you know that a Klan headquarters used to sit on Fourth Avenue in Bessemer, between 17th and 18th street? This was back in the 1920’s, but still.”

I didn’t know that.

But I wasn’t surprised to learn it.

We all have secrets. Even and especially, towns have secrets–secret histories–which many don’t know, and many more try to cover up or forget.

I don’t keep secrets very well, as you’ll discover in the essays following. Some secrets are lighter, even funny. Some are so well hidden–in basements. abandoned pieces of property, or just down the street from your seemingly safe house– that you’ll likely never know them, or their potency on you and those you love, at all.

Actually, I can and do keep some secrets. So after reading these, imagine all that I haven’t told–the stories that keep me awake on so many nights.”

To read on and uncover the secrets soon unhidden, you can purchase Barr’s book online through Amazon, or by contacting gtbarr@presby.edu for a signed copy. Happy reading!