Saturday, January 20, 2018
Books

Review: Gregg Allman doesn't sugarcoat life story in memoir 'My Cross to Bear'

Any one of Gregg Allman's stories about his life could lure a reader into his new memoir, but the 64-year-old begins My Cross to Bear with his biggest moment of shame, the induction of the Allman Brothers Band into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995.

"It should have been the greatest week of my life, but instead I hit an all-time low," he writes. "The Allman Brothers Band, the band my brother started, the band with our name on it, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and I flat-out missed it. I was physically there, but otherwise I was out of it — mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I was drunk, man, just s--- -faced drunk, the entire time. Welcome to the story of my life."

Allman has no trouble hooking readers with the unflinching details of his highs, musical and otherwise, and lows. He writes in a charming, Southern gentlemanly first-person voice with help from Rolling Stone scribe Alan Light and contributing author John Lynskey.

Lead singer, songwriter and keyboardist for the band since its formation in 1969, Allman never knew his father; he was only 2 when his dad was murdered by a hitchhiker. He lost his brother and bandmate Duane Allman, one of rock's most revered guitarists, to a motorcycle accident in 1971 just as their band was ascending to the A-list.

His five marriages failed, and one of them, to pop culture fixture Cher, made him People magazine fodder in the 1970s. (Allman recently announced plans to get married again, to Shannon Williams, 24.) He has struggled with drug and alcohol addictions, battled hepatitis C and had a liver transplant.

Allman doesn't spend too much time explaining why his marriages failed and gives only cursory mentions to his five children. But the book's detail-rich examination of key events in his music career gives Cross its dramatic momentum and value.

The musician doesn't skimp on dishing on the final acrimonious departure of founding member Dickey Betts from the band in 2000 or on his conflicted relationship as "baybrah" of Duane Allman. The book's most indelible moments focus on the relationship between the two.

Its tone is so open and engaging, My Cross to Bear could appeal even to readers whose knowledge of the band begins and ends with Ramblin' Man. The book's unfussy style also increases its value in helping readers understand how these major league musicians persevere despite the pitfalls. Simple: "A player has got to play," Allman writes after doctors warn him to take it easy post-transplant. "(I)f traveling and making music is what takes me, I can't think of a better way to go."

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‘Year in Provence’ author Peter Mayle dies at 78

‘Year in Provence’ author Peter Mayle dies at 78

Peter Mayle, whose international bestseller A Year in Provence sent countless tourists to the vineyards and lavender fields of Southern France, has died.In an email, Mr. Mayle’s publisher, Alfred A. Knopf, reported that he died Thursday in a hospital...
Published: 01/18/18

Events: Bob Woodward to speak at Mahaffey

Book TalkAuthor and journalist Roy Peter Clark (Writing Tools: 55 Essential Strategies for Every Writer) will lead a workshop, "How to Read Like a Writer," at 2 p.m. Jan. 21 at the Oxford Exchange, 420 W Kennedy Blvd., Tampa. Tickets $5.Bob Woodward ...
Published: 01/18/18
Notable: Books from those countries

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Published: 01/18/18
Review: Tim Dorsey’s ‘The Pope of Palm Beach’ reveals a sweeter side of Serge Storms

Review: Tim Dorsey’s ‘The Pope of Palm Beach’ reveals a sweeter side of Serge Storms

It’s an odd thing to say about a book in the Serge Storms series, but The Pope of Palm Beach is really kind of sweet.Serge might not want to hear that. He does, after all, kill people, in highly creative ways, when he’s not in manic pursuit of his pa...
Published: 01/18/18
‘Fire and Fury’ burns up bestseller lists

‘Fire and Fury’ burns up bestseller lists

When author Michael Wolff was interviewed on the Today show about his book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, Savannah Guthrie asked him how he felt about President Donald Trump’s attacks on it. Wolff responded, "Where do I send the box of ...
Published: 01/17/18

Events: Writers in Paradise features Banks, Lippman, more

Book TalkThe Writers in Paradise evening readings continue this week. All readings will take place in the Miller Auditorium at Eckerd College, 4200 54th Ave. S, St. Petersburg. Books will be available for purchase on site. All readings are free and o...
Published: 01/11/18
Notable: Books on Trump, one year in

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Published: 01/11/18
Andre Dubus III reads to ‘sink more deeply’ into the human condition

Andre Dubus III reads to ‘sink more deeply’ into the human condition

NightstandAndre Dubus IIIEckerd College’s Writers in Paradise conference takes place this week, and one of the returning faculty members is Andre Dubus III. Dubus is the author of six books, including Bluesman, Townie and two novels turned films, The...
Published: 01/11/18
Steph Post’s Florida noir ‘Walk in the Fire’ a sizzling sequel to ‘Lightwood’

Steph Post’s Florida noir ‘Walk in the Fire’ a sizzling sequel to ‘Lightwood’

In Steph Post’s new novel, Walk in the Fire, there’s a young aspiring criminal with a gift for astute observation. Asked to describe the tiny Central Florida town of Silas, where much of the book takes place, he says, "You drive through and it’s like...
Published: 01/11/18
Former Times columnist Klinkenberg named Florida Folk Heritage Award winner

Former Times columnist Klinkenberg named Florida Folk Heritage Award winner

Raise a glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice and toast former Tampa Bay Times columnist Jeff Klinkenberg. This week, he was announced as one of three 2018 winners of the Florida Folk Heritage Awards.The awards honor outstanding folk artists and folk ...
Published: 01/10/18