Thursday, September 5, 2013

Camellias, severed legs, and sweet tea!

Hello, Everyone! Summer is coming to an end, but why not prolong the essence of heat, humidity, mosquitoes, and sweet iced tea with some Southern literature? Here are a few reads I've gathered up...

Conveniently, Deep South Magazine has published a list of "End of Summer Reads," including The Last Camellia by Sarah Jio. In this loosely-Southern novel, the characters search for the last surviving specimen of a Charleston camellia, along the way stumbling upon long-hidden crimes!

The excellent book review site Cannonball Read 5 features a review of Nowhere But Home by Liza Palmer, a snappy Southern romance-esque novel with a twist -- the main character Queenie is a chef who ends up making the last meals for death row inmates!

North Carolina author Lisa Logan recently released Of The People, a collection of inspiringly eclectic short stories, featuring "nuns, Vietnam War veterans, car thieves, insanely jealous husbands, and a sweet old aunt who keeps her severed leg in the deep freezer." I've read this one, and it's great -- darkly humorous and poignant, reminiscent of Flannery O'Connor's gothic style.

And, finally, if you haven't already read Mindy Friddle, you should check out her latest novel Secret Keepers, which won the 2009 Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction. Her protagonist is 72-year-old Emma, stuck handling the problems of her grown children in her South Carolina hometown. Botanicals and family secrets intertine in this serious-but-comical Southern novel.

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