Booklunch returns to library with regional author as guest speaker

ABERDEEN – After a two-month hiatus from monthly booklunches due to Evans Memorial Library’s being closed for renovations, the January booklunch will be Wednesday, January 16 at noon.
Well-known and beloved author Rheta Grimsley Johnson will begin the new year speaking about her book HANK HUNG THE MOON. Johnson, who is well-remembered from her days as a columnist and reporter with the COMMERCIAL APPEAL from 1980 to l994, is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Ernie Pyle Memorial Award for human interest reporting and the American Society of Newspaper Editors’ Distinguished Writing Award for commentary, to cite only two.
The complete title of Johnson’s newest book is HANK HUNG THE MOON…AND WARMED OUR COLD, COLD HEARTS. The book is a “musical memoir” inspired by an inherited affinity for Hank Williams and a lifelong appreciation for many types of music.
The book’s whimsical cover illustration is by Bill Garner, a former editorial cartoonist for the COMMERCIAL APPEAL.
Johnson says that the book is, “In part, about ‘the music that sustained me along the way, in the junctures of my life.”
As a writer, Johnson said, she has a keen appreciation for the economy and potency of Williams’ way with words. She stated that in her opinion Hank Williams wrote the best love story of all time, in “Cold, Cold Heart,” and it takes only two minutes and 41 seconds to sing it.
Some of the material in the new book is autobiographical, as when Johnson describes the love of her daddy for the music of Williams and Tennessee Ernie Ford, among other country stars.
Some is drawn from past “musical misadventures” tracing encounters with such legends as B. B. King, Rufus Thomas and Kitty Wells.
Johnson can be found in her home Fishtrap Hollow near Iuka, Mississippi, where she lives with her third husband, Hines Hall, professor emreritus of history at Auburn University, and two musically monikered “found hounds,” Hank (named for Williams, of course) and Boozoo(named for the late zydeco master Boozoo Chavis.)
The public is encouraged to come and join a full-filled hour with Rheta Grimsley Johnson at Evans Memorial Library, Wednesday, January 16, at noon.  A delicious and filling box lunch will be available for $6.

About Ray Van Dusen

I've been with the Monroe Journal since Aug. 2009 as a staff writer, but took the role as news editor in late 2012. I'm always looking for interesting story ideas from around Monroe County. You can reach me via email at