Radio Bristol Book Club: Mama, Me, & the Holiday Tree

Welcome to Radio Bristol Book Club! Each month, readers from BCM and the Bristol Public Library come together to celebrate and explore one book inspired by our region’s rich Appalachian cultural and musical heritage. We invite you to read along and then listen to Radio Bristol on the fourth Thursday of each month at 11:00am when we will dig deep into the feelings and questions raised by the books, learn more about the authors, and celebrate the joys of being a bookworm!

Our book for December is Mama, Me, & the Holiday Tree. Fantasy fiction set in Washington and Unicoi Counties in Tennessee on Embreeville Mountain, this 2018 book is simultaneously down-home, imaginative, and groundbreaking for its placement of fey creatures in East Tennessee. By local author Jeanne G’Fellers, Mama, Me, & the Holiday Tree speaks to the ways our family members influence our lives at different ages and in various states of grace and imperfection – and ultimately how family can sometimes find common ground despite differences. Set during the Christmas season, G’Fellers story also highlights how holidays mark our lives.

The cover of the book is a close up on a wooden tabletop where a mug of tea/coffee, a candle, holiday dcor, and some capsule pills sit.
The cover for Mama, Me, & the Holiday Tree, published by Mountain Gap Books.

Jeanne G’Fellers is a Washington County, Tennessee-based author. She’s authored ten published books, including Surrogate (2017), Cleaning House (2018), and Striking Balance (2020), along with editing or contributing to three others. She is also a mixed media artist. Her efforts in literature and arts support her as she copes with the disabilities that partially govern her life. You can visit https://jeannegfellersauthor.com/ for more information about her work.

The artists collage consists of 7 different sections ranging from butterflies, a portrait, leaves, abstract designs, and different words and fonts.
Mixed-media collage by Jeanne G’Fellers.

Be sure to tune in on Thursday, December 17 at 11:00am – a week earlier than normal due to Christmas the following week – to hear the book club discussion about Mama, Me, and the Holiday Tree! You can find us on the dial at 100.1 FM, streaming live on Radio Bristol, or via the Radio Bristol app. And be sure to pick up a copy and read it ahead of time. We look forward to sharing our thoughts on this wonderful Appalachian fantasy journey!

Looking ahead: We have picked all of the books for 2021 – and are looking forward to a wide range of titles and topics from Dolly Parton’s songwriting and Affrilachian folktales to a Carter Family graphic novel and an illustrated fiction book about Appalachian economic and social challenges. Our first pick of the new year – I Saw the Light: The Story of Hank Williams by Colin Escott – will be discussed on Thursday, January 28 at 11:00am. Happy reading!

Brenda G'Fellers works at the Avoca Branch of the Bristol Public Library.

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