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10 books about the South
Pick up one of these featured titles on the South in May 2021.
Where I Come From: Stories from the Deep South by Rick Bragg
This book was published last year by Knopf and takes approximately 8.5 hours to read.
"A collection of wide-ranging and endearingly personal columns by the celebrated author, newspaper columnist, and Pulitzer Prize winner Rick Bragg, culled from his best-loved pieces in Southern Living and Garden & Gun. From his love of Tupperware ('My Affair with Tupperware') to the decline of country music, from the legacy of Harper Lee to the metamorphosis of the pick-up truck, the best way to kill fire ants, the unbridled excess of Fat Tuesday, and why any self-respecting Southern man worth his salt should carry a good knife ... [this] is an ode to the stories and the history of the deep south, written with tenderness, wit, and deep affection"--
The Deepest South of All: True Stories from Natchez, Mississippi by Richard Grant
Category: United States
This book was published last year by Simon & Schuster and takes approximately 9.6 hours to read.
Bestselling travel writer Richard Grant offers an entertaining and profound look at a city like no other. Natchez, Mississippi, once had more millionaires per capita than anywhere else in America, and its wealth was built on slavery and cotton. Today it has the greatest concentration of antebellum mansions in the South, and a culture full of unexpected contradictions. Prominent white families dress up in hoopskirts and Confederate uniforms for ritual celebrations of the Old South, yet Natchez is also progressive enough to elect a gay black man for mayor with 91% of the vote. Much as John Berendt did for Savannah in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and the hit podcast S-Town did for Woodstock, Alabama, so Richard Grant does for Natchez in The Deepest South of All. With humor and insight, he depicts a strange, eccentric town with an unforgettable cast of characters. There’s Buzz Harper, a six-foot-five gay antique dealer famous for swanning around in a mink coat with a uniformed manservant and a very short German bodybuilder. There’s Ginger Hyland, “The Lioness,” who owns 500 antique eyewash cups and decorates 168 Christmas trees with her jewelry collection. And there’s Nellie Jackson, a Cadillac-driving brothel madam who became an FBI informant about the KKK before being burned alive by one of her customers. Interwoven through these stories is the more somber and largely forgotten account of Abd al Rahman Ibrahima, a West African prince who was enslaved in Natchez and became a cause célèbre in the 1820s, eventually gaining his freedom and returning to Africa. Part history and part travelogue, The Deepest South of All offers a gripping portrait of a complex American place, as it struggles to break free from the past and confront the legacy of slavery.
Great Houses of the South by Laurie Ossman
Category: Houses & Hotels
This book was published 11 years ago by Rizzoli and takes approximately 9.1 hours to read.
"The 'great house' of the South inhabits a place of the imagination as much as it does any particular geographic terrain. Margaret Mitchell's Tara from 'Gone with the Wind', though fictional, stands even now for many Americans as the epitome of the type, with its stately white-columned porticos, shady verandahs, and elegant interiors with graceful proportions. Yet the Southern great house is much more than this. From the bookish if slightly irregular Neoclassicism of Mount Vernon to the aristocratic European splendor of Biltmore, Great Houses of the South documents through vibrant new photography the many manifestations that this mythic, highly individualized architecture has taken while richly nuanced text narrates a great American story of tradition, aspiration and reinvention."--Front flap.
The South Carolina State Hospital: Stories from Bull Street (Landmarks) by William Buchheit
Category: State & Local
This book was published last year by The History Press and takes approximately 5.3 hours to read.
Nearly two decades after it closed, the South Carolina State Hospital continues to hold a palpable mystique in Columbia and throughout the state. Founded in 1821 as the South Carolina Lunatic Asylum, it housed, fed and treated thousands of patients incapable of surviving on their own. The patient population in 1961 eclipsed 6,600, well above its listed capacity of 4,823, despite an operating budget that ranked forty-fifth out of the forty-eight states with such large public hospitals. By the mid-1990s, the patient population had fallen under 700, and the hospital had become a symbol of captivity, horror and chaos. Author William Buchheit details this history through the words and interviews of those who worked on the iconic campus.
Whiskey in a Teacup: What Growing Up in the South Taught Me About Life, Love, and Baking Biscuits by Reese Witherspoon
Category: Interior Design
This book was published 3 years ago by Atria Books and takes approximately 10.1 hours to read.
Academy Award–winning actress, producer, and entrepreneur Reese Witherspoon invites you into her world, where she infuses the southern style, parties, and traditions she loves with contemporary flair and charm. Reese Witherspoon’s grandmother Dorothea always said that a combination of beauty and strength made southern women “whiskey in a teacup.” We may be delicate and ornamental on the outside, she said, but inside we’re strong and fiery. Reese’s southern heritage informs her whole life, and she loves sharing the joys of southern living with practically everyone she meets. She takes the South wherever she goes with bluegrass, big holiday parties, and plenty of Dorothea’s fried chicken. It’s reflected in how she entertains, decorates her home, and makes holidays special for her kids—not to mention how she talks, dances, and does her hair (in these pages, you will learn Reese’s fail-proof, only slightly insane hot-roller technique). Reese loves sharing Dorothea’s most delicious recipes as well as her favorite southern traditions, from midnight barn parties to backyard bridal showers, magical Christmas mornings to rollicking honky-tonks. It’s easy to bring a little bit of Reese’s world into your home, no matter where you live. After all, there’s a southern side to every place in the world, right?
The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee
Category: Children's Books
This book was published 2 years ago by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers and takes approximately 12.8 hours to read.
"1890, Atlanta. By day, seventeen-year-old Jo Kuan works as a lady's maid for the cruel Caroline Payne, the daughter of one of the wealthiest men in Atlanta. But by night, Jo moonlights as the pseudonymous author of a newspaper advice column for 'the genteel Southern lady'"--
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
Category: Coming of Age
This book was published 18 years ago by Penguin Books and takes approximately 11.7 hours to read.
After her "stand-in mother," a bold black woman named Rosaleen, insults the three biggest racists in town, Lily Owens joins Rosaleen on a journey to Tiburon, South Carolina, where they are taken in by three black, bee-keeping sisters.
Trouble the Water: A Novel by Jacqueline Friedland
This book was published 3 years ago by SparkPress and takes approximately 11.7 hours to read.
When a young woman travels from a British factory town to South Carolina in the 1840s, she becomes involved with a vigilante abolitionist and the Underground Railroad while trying to navigate the complexities of Charleston high society and falling in love.
We estimate total reading time by multiplying a book's page count by an average reading speed of 2 minutes per page. Summaries sourced from Google Books.
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