Wednesday, March 1, 2017

March Reading Theme: Road Trip: The Sunny South

Winter, winter, go away… We’re daydreaming of warmer days ahead, or perhaps just of regions where March doesn’t mean the chance of a blizzard. This month’s featured fiction titles all take place in the American South. Fix some sweet tea and set yourself down a spell to read one of this month’s picks.

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High Hearts by Rita Mae Brown: “When her new husband joins the hastily organized Confederate Army, Geneva changes her name to Jimmy, dons a uniform, and enlists to be with her beloved.” (Publisher’s summary)

Other Voices, Other Rooms by Truman Capote: “In this semiautobiographical coming-of-age novel, thirteen-year-old Joel Knox, after losing his mother, is sent from New Orleans to live with the father who abandoned him at birth. But when Joel arrives at Skully's Landing, the decaying mansion in rural Alabama, his father is nowhere to be found.” (Publisher’s summary)

Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier: “Sorely wounded and fatally disillusioned in the fighting at Petersburg, a Confederate soldier named Inman decides to walk back to his home in the Blue Ridge mountains to Ada, the woman he loves. His trek across the disintegrating South brings him into intimate and sometimes lethal converse with slaves and marauders, bounty hunters and witches, both helpful and malign. At the same time, the intrepid Ada is trying to revive her father’s derelict farm and learning to survive in a world where the old certainties have been swept away. As it interweaves their stories, Cold Mountain asserts itself as an authentic odyssey, hugely powerful, majestically lovely, and keenly moving.” (Publisher’s summary)

Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All by Allan Gurganus: “Lucy Marsden is narrowing in on her 100th birthday. She had been married to her husband William More Marsden since she was fifteen. But Willie, a veteran of the Civil War, never recovered from his youthful foray into battle, and more importantly, the loss of his closest friend. And the stories Lucy has to tell of the war, Willie, her life with him, and the tales she heard from his one-time slave Castalia, call to mind a time and a place, a history and a legacy that is not soon forgotten, and a call to justice that never should be.” (Publisher’s summary)

Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris: “Sookie Stackhouse is just a small-time cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana, until the vampire of her dreams walks into her life. When one of her coworkers checks out, she decides that maybe having a vampire for a boyfriend isn't such a bright idea.” (Publisher’s summary)

Stormy Weather by Carl Hiaasen: “When a ferocious hurricane rips through Southern Florida, the con artists and carpetbaggers waste no time swarming over the disaster area.” (Publisher’s summary)

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee: “Through the young eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores with rich humor and unswerving honesty the irrationality of adult attitudes toward race and class in the Deep South of the 1930s.” (Publisher’s summary)

Tending to Virginia by Jill McCorkle: “This is the story of Virginia Turner Ballard, know to her North Carolina relatives as Ginny Sue. It's also the story of her mother, her grandmother, her great aunts, her closest cousin--three generations of women who gather around Virginia to help her at the end of a hard pregnancy, to tend to her, to help her prepare for the fourth generation.” (Publisher’s summary)

The Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers: “Frankie Addams, a motherless twelve-year-old raised by her father and the family's African-American cook, struggles with conflicting feelings about her brother's upcoming wedding.” (Publisher’s summary)

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell: “This is the tale of Scarlett O’Hara, the spoiled, manipulative daughter of a wealthy plantation owner, who arrives at young womanhood just in time to see the Civil War forever change her way of life. A sweeping story of tangled passion and courage, in the pages of Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell brings to life the unforgettable characters that have captured readers for over seventy years.” (Publisher’s summary)

The Neon Bible by John Kennedy Toole: “John Kennedy Toole--who won a posthumous Pulitzer Prize for his best-selling comic masterpiece A Confederacy of Dunces --wrote The Neon Bible for a literary contest at the age of sixteen. The manuscript languished in a drawer and became the subject of a legal battle among Toole's heirs. It was only in 1989, thirty-five years after it was written and twenty years after Toole's suicide at thirty-one, that this amazingly accomplished and evocative novel was freed for publication.” (Publisher’s summary)

The Golden Apples by Eurora Welty: “Welty is on home ground in the state of Mississippi in this collection of seven stories. She portrays the MacLains, the Starks, the Moodys, and other families of the fictitious town of Morgana. ‘I doubt that a better book about “the South”-one that more completely gets the feel of the particular texture of Southern life and its special tone and pattern-has ever been written’ (New Yorker).” (Publisher’s summary)

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