The Making of "Memphians"

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"This is about staying focused on what makes a coffee-table book enjoyable," Neil White says of Memphians (from White's company, Nautilus Publishing, out of Taylor, Mississippi).

White, who is also the book's creative director, is referring to his coffee-table-sized book of prominent (and some not so prominent but certainly memorable) Memphians who've made their mark in the city and across the country and the globe.

"We are strictly people," White says about the idea behind Memphians, which is first and foremost a picture book with accompanying text from a team of contributing writers. "Other coffee-table books have focused on the corporations, the architecture, the scenery of a region.

"We've tried to find people who have done something no one else in the world has done. Memphis may not have the beauty of Lake Tahoe or the economy of Atlanta, but in spite of that — or maybe because of it — Memphians are amazing."

Memphian Richard Murff, editor of Memphians, agrees:

"Memphis gets a lot of bad press — a lot of it from outside. But Memphians are pretty hard on our hometown too. I've been as bad as the next guy about this. But this project was a great eye-opener ... to see all these talents listed together."

"More importantly, these talents weren't just shooting stars," Murff adds. "They were — they are — a community. That's very evident in the Music and the Entrepreneurs sections of Memphians. Lots of people helping each other out. Playing on each other's albums. Investing in each other's businesses. Any greatness Memphis has achieved has been done through the community."

And as a community, Memphians needs the help of Memphians. The book is technically a limited edition. Meaning: There will be no second printing. But there will be a second edition. The makers of Memphians are asking for your input. Is there anyone you'd like to see featured? Someone you missed seeing this first go-round? Your comments and nominations are welcome. Go to memphians.com to have your say.

"Don't be angry if you think we've left someone out," White says. "Let us know. We live in a world of dialogue. Let's embrace it."

On Thursday, November 10th, Burke's Book Store will host a booksigning and launch party for Memphians, which is priced at $45. The event is hoping to attract a number of those featured in the book, and it starts at 5:30 p.m. But it won't exactly be at Burke's. Go four doors down, to 944 S. Cooper. Questions? Call Burke's at 278-7484.

Can't make it to the book launch on November 10th? Look for another Memphians event at the Booksellers at Laurelwood later this month.

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