[Book Review] Frommer’s Nashville & Memphis

*Unless explicitly stated otherwise, all book reviews on Alternative Muses are for volumes I’ve read as part of my J biography research. I hesitated to use the word review, as this series heavily focuses on WHY I chose to read a book and what I got out of it research-wise. As a compromise, I’ll end each post in this series with a short review of the actual book.*

Frommer’s Nashville & Memphis by Linda Romine (Frommer’s-2002; this edition-2012)


Because I’m in the early stages of research, I’m still trying to get a feel for Memphis, its history, and architecture, etc. What easier-to-digest resource could there be than a travel guide? My reason behind selecting this book wasn’t deep: I went for the title that was available on Overdrive. If I wanted to plan a leisure trip to Memphis, I would have looked for an updated edition. Since I was only looking for mentions of historic buildings, landmarks, events, and districts, the publishing year didn’t matter. I got what I was looking for and nothing more.


I’ll be frank. We are in a pandemic. The copy of Frommer’s Nashville & Memphis that I read is eight years old. If I planned on throwing caution to the wind in order to travel to a place I’ve never been (unless staying in a motel off a highway outside of Memphis in 2014 counts) during a world health crisis, this is not the book I would have turned to. It is little more than fine. The writing barely surpasses meh. I assume that many of the businesses mentioned are closed. If you genuinely need a travel guide, find an updated resource.

Helpfulness scale: 6.5 (for Memphis parts; I didn’t read the Nashville section)

Entertainment value: Lol

The Memphis Zoo opened in April 1906 when J was five. Although the zoo is mentioned in the book, this photo is in the public domain and was not included in the publication. I’ve added the image here as an illustration of what the zoo was like as J was growing up.

Memphis Zoo Cat House (circa 1910). 

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