Covering the South for more than three decades as a newspaper reporter and columnist, Rheta Grimsley Johnson is known for her humorous and insightful musings on life, love and everything in between.
The author will be giving two readings from her latest book, “Hank Hung the Moon and Warmed Our Cold, Cold Hearts,” on Tuesday. The first will be at 11:15 a.m. in Turner Hall at LaGrange College.
The second will be at 5 p.m. at LaGrange Memorial Library, with a reception and book signing following the talk. The event is sponsored by the Friends of Memorial Library, and both readings are open to the public.
Johnson grew up in Montgomery, Ala., and studied journalism at Auburn University. She has lived and worked in the South all of her career.
Her reporting has won numerous awards, and in 1991 she was one of three finalists for the Pulitzer Prize for commentary. In 1986 Johnson was inducted into the Scripps Howard Newspapers Editorial Hall of Fame. Syndicated today by King Features, Johnson’s column appears in about 50 papers nationwide.
She is the author of several books, including “Good Grief: The Story of Charles M. Schulz,” “Poor Man’s Provence” and “Enchanted Evening Barbie and the Second Coming.” In December 2010, she married retired Auburn University history professor Hines Hall. They now live in Iuka, Miss.
Reviewers have called her new book more a musical memoir than a biography. It is Johnson’s evocative personal stories of 1950s and ’60s musical staples – elementary-school rhythm bands, British Invasion rock concerts and tearjerker movie musicals.
Johnson recounts the story of a Cajun girl who learns to understand English by listening to Hank Williams on the radio, and a Williams impersonator who works by day at a prison but by night makes good use of his college degree in country music. Johnson also provides insight into the singer’s lost daughter, Jett, who devotes her life to embracing the father she never knew.
Finally, there are stories readers haven’t heard a thousand times before about people – some famous, some not – who loved Hank Williams. Johnson uses Williams as a metaphor for life.
For more information about Johnson’s visit, contact John Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org or (706) 880-8305.