NewsPub Notes

Song, Poetry and Book Recommendations

You may know Grady Thrasher as a retired Atlanta lawyer who grew up in Athens and eventually returned home, or as the author of children’s stories, or as the behind-the-scenes supporter of various vital Athens groups, or maybe for his greatest achievement as the husband of artist Kathy Prescott. Who knew he was also a songwriter? 

Grady recently emailed that he’s “bursting with pride” over the recording of his song, “True Love (and Plastic Money)”.

“I wrote the lyrics more than 30 years ago,” he says. “Lucky Mud, the swampytonk duo from the Florida panhandle (they are of our generation), has made an excellent recording of it for their swell new album, My Last Bad Habit.” 

Here’s a sample of Grady’s lyrics: “Your life can be an extended vacation/ Just call my Visa for verification/ Let’s find some true love with my plastic money/ I’ll sign the sales slips if you’ll be my honey/ I know your love could never be free/ so why don’t you spend some time spending with me?/ I’ll dress you in style, right up to the minute/ My American Express doesn’t have any limit.” And so forth.

Can’t wait to hear the rest—with the music? You can listen to the entire album for free. “True Love (and Plastic Money)” is the lead song on this swampytonk/folkabilly collection of “songs of emotion and story” that can be found at


On a higher plane, Eugene Bianchi’s Interbeing is a collection of “New and Selected Poems on Ecological Spirituality” by a former Jesuit priest who left that order and had a long career teaching religion at Emory. Bianchi now writes poems from his screened porch nearby on the Oconee and, at 90, muses on life, the world and cats. That feline influence is the tipoff that these poems, in spite of their lofty title, are eminently accessible and down-to-earth, anchored in the real world of flora and fauna surrounding Bianchi out there beyond Athens. To wit: “It can’t be long before my last day/ as Siamese Max, also afflicted,/ kneads my napping chest/ in a long purr, knowing that we live/ less by knowledge than by belonging,/ less by fame than by touch,/ less by searching than by listening,/ summed up in minor acts of kindness.” 

I’m sure Avid Bookshop can find you a copy.

Avid Bookshop

Speaking of Avid, they have finally announced their reopening—on Saturday, Aug. 7. Beginning then, if everything goes smoothly in the meantime, we will actually be able to go inside and (whoa) browse. That’s like going inside a restaurant and eating, except that at Avid you can keep your mask on. In fact, they will insist on it, because they will be feeling their way back to normalcy. For the last year and more Avid has done a good job of keeping the books flowing through online orders, but there is just no substitute for holding a book in your hands. I mean, that’s what it’s all about.

Also speaking of Avid, a guy named Mason Engel includes Avid and owner Janet Geddis in a film he has made after a cross-country-and-back road trip visiting independent bookshops all over the country. You can watch The Bookstour trailer at, and you can download the film for as little as $10. All proceeds for the first month go to the support of the Book Industry Charitable Foundation, which has done a lot to help keep independent bookstores going financially during the past year. The trailer is a reminder of what a rich addition a locally owned bookshop is in any community. It will be fun to see Avid and Janet in this film for a good cause.

Ride Free

As reported in Flagpole and elsewhere earlier, the mayor and commission have extended free bus rides for everybody for another year. This is one good result of the pandemic, and it was long overdue—a great help to those who depend on the bus to get around, and a great incentive for everybody else to figure out ways to leave the car at home. Sure, buses are still basically hourly, so you’ve got to do some planning and route study, but that’s a whole lot easier with the help of the free My Stop app for your phone.