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Peppermill
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Southern Novel -- Suggestions

[ Edited ]

A friend is looking for good Southern novels.

 

She would probably prefer a female author, but would be open to any good suggestion, including a classic, but probably a preference for a modern story.

 

It should have good literary qualities -- characters at different levels of development responsive to their role in the plot, considerations of broader social issues, as well as a convincing immediate story around the protagonists.

 

(Don't bother suggesting Gone with the Wind or Faulkner or Eudora Welty or Flannery O'Connor or Cold Mountain.)

 

Look forward to whatever suggestions y'all may have.

 

Pepper

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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Stephanie
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Re: Southern Novel -- Suggestions

Anne Rivers Siddons.   Absolutely the best.  I started with Colony.  Her latest is

Off Season 

 

Stephanie
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Peppermill
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Re: Southern Novel -- Suggestions

 


Stephanie wrote:

Anne Rivers Siddons.   Absolutely the best.  I started with Colony.  Her latest is

Off Season 

 


 

 

Stephanie -- Has Siddons, or her editors, gotten better about careless mistakes (grammar, spellings, inconsistencies from one part of the novel to another -- season, times, character actions, things of that ilk.)?

 

I read a couple of her novels a number of years ago, but was actually the one who steered our book club away from selecting one of her novels because of the sloppiness.  Yet, her stories are quite memorable -- at least one of them had a plot sequence that still returns to my thoughts frequently.

 

Pepper

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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Stephanie
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Re: Southern Novel -- Suggestions

Peppermill,

 

I never noticed grammatical mistakes or other typos (perhaps all yours were first editions!) and I probably read her too fast to pick up on inconsistencies that weren't detrimental to the storyline.   I find her books to be rich and full, without "too good to be true" characters.  Her style is "real" Southern to me, the old-fashioned kind, anyway.

 

 

Stephanie
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KathyS
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Re: Southern Novel -- Suggestions

Hi Pepper, here's my favorite southern author:  Silas House

 

The first three books do follow a family history, which I hadn't realized until after I first read, A Parchment of Leaves, my favorite. I once described his books as "tactile".  Nature, which surrounds his characters, becomes part of them, and part of you.  As you connect, everything will touch you.

 

The Coal Tattoo, unfortunately gave me the feelings of struggle and kept me deep in sadness.  But, I asked someone else about this, who had also read the book, and it didn't give her that feeling.  So, I guess everyone gets something different out of their books.

 

I'm now reading his latest published [out last Fall], Eli The Good.  A little boy of ten, taking place in the summer of 1976.  I'm only on page 94 of 295,  but very good so far.  His books are relatively small, but House packs a lot of timeless emotions into them.  I hope everyone tries his books.

 

Clay's Quilt         

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Parchment of Leaves  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Coal Tattoo  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eli the Good  

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Peppermill
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Re: Southern Novel -- Suggestions

 


KathyS wrote:

Hi Pepper, here's my favorite southern author:  Silas House

 

The first three books do follow a family history, which I hadn't realized until after I first read, A Parchment of Leaves, my favorite. I once described his books as "tactile".  Nature, which surrounds his characters, becomes part of them, and part of you.  As you connect, everything will touch you.

 

The Coal Tattoo, unfortunately gave me the feelings of struggle and kept me deep in sadness.  But, I asked someone else about this, who had also read the book, and it didn't give her that feeling.  So, I guess everyone gets something different out of their books.

 

I'm now reading his latest published [out last Fall], Eli The Good.  A little boy of ten, taking place in the summer of 1976.  I'm only on page 94 of 295,  but very good so far.  His books are relatively small, but House packs a lot of timeless emotions into them.  I hope everyone tries his books.

 

Clay's Quilt,

 

A Parchment of Leaves 

 

The Coal Tattoo 

 

Eli the Good  

 

(Wikipedia link for Silas House added in this reply.)


 

 

Kathy -- thank you for the suggestions.  I will pass them along -- and do a bit of checking them out myself.

 

Pepper

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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Peppermill
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Re: Southern Novel -- Suggestions

Is any one aware of an author who has fictionalized the rebuilding of one of the great Southern cities like Atlanta or Charleston?

 

Or authors who have written of the impact of the Japanese building large car manufacturing plants in the South?

 

Who has fictionalized Katrina and its impact?  Or immigration into Texas across the border from Mexico?

 

Pepper

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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pjpick
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Re: Southern Novel -- Suggestions

[ Edited ]
 
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Peppermill
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Re: Southern Novel -- Suggestions

[ Edited ]

 


pjpick wrote:

Hi Pep!

To Kill a Mockingbird  Well, I guess I'll start with the obvious one


 

 

Thanks, PJ.  Yes, we read that one a few years ago.

 

But, your product select caught me by surprise.  I received a delightful holiday basket from a friend who frequents yard and estate sales.  One item of its contents was Harper Lee's novel in CD form -- this jacket.  So next time I shall listen to it.

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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pjpick
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Re: Southern Novel -- Suggestions

 

Hi Pep! Well, here's a couple of obvious ones.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dairy Queen Days  And here are a couple of others. I was truly prepared to dislike DQD (I think it was the cover) but was pleasantly surprised! It has some great characters and is a different type of teenage angst type of book. The teenager is actually more mature than most of the other characters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Old Dogs and Children  Haven't read this one by the same author but it is supposed to be even better than DQD.

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Peppermill
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Re: Southern Novel -- Suggestions

PJPick -- OOps!  I barged in while you were posting!

 

I like the idea of Cold Sassy Tree  by Olive Ann Burns.  I have heard of it many times, but have never read it.

 

Dairy Queen Days by Robert Inman keeps showing up, too.

 

Thanks much.

 

I'll pass these along (with Old Dogs and Children, of course).

 

Pepper

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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Stephanie
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Re: Southern Novel -- Suggestions

Oh - I should have mentioned Rebecca Wells!

 

Even though she wrote Little Altars first, read them in this order.  Same story, differently written.  After you've read Sisters the other will give you multiple perspectives.  

 

 

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood 

 

Stephanie
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KathyS
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Re: Southern Novel -- Suggestions

Pepper, has anyone suggested Pat Conroy? 

 

Years ago I got several of his books, a friend of mine recommended his writing.... I sat them down, ready to read, and found I couldn't allow myself to tolerate his insights.   His writing tore me apart.  They were near autobiographical for him.  I know that sounds strange, but in those years I was so full of my own tormented personal emotions, and any more of someone else's, just filled me up to over-flowing, until it hurt.  I gave his books away. 

 

That was at least 20 years ago.  Lately, I've invested in some of his others.  South of Broad sounded interesting, which just came out.   Also, our Borders (Waldens) book store closed in our Mall couple of weeks ago.  They were selling their books for 65% off.  I picked up his Beach Music, 1995.... and a little book called, The Water Is Wide, which was published in 1972.  I remember seeing this one as a movie for TV, and I loved the movie!  Pat Conroy had been a teacher, and this is a beautiful little story of one segment in his life. 

 

Anyway, I'll get to reading these books, one of these days, but I have the feeling it won't be until this Spring.  I have too many to finish right now!  I need to actually "read" one of his books, I suppose, before I start recommending them....but a ton of people like his novels.  I'm ready to try him again.

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Re: Southern Novel -- Suggestions

Re: Pat Conroy

 

My father reads mainly westerns, WEB Griffin, and WWII history. I happened to have a copy of Beach Music at my house and he was bookless. He picked it up and couldn't put it down--totally enthralled. I'm a little embarrassed to say I haven't read it myself. Have also loaned it to a gal at work who also said it was very good.

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Re: Southern Novel -- Suggestions


pjpick wrote:

Re: Pat Conroy

 

My father reads mainly westerns, WEB Griffin, and WWII history. I happened to have a copy of Beach Music at my house and he was bookless. He picked it up and couldn't put it down--totally enthralled. I'm a little embarrassed to say I haven't read it myself. Have also loaned it to a gal at work who also said it was very good.


 

That's good to know, thanks PJpick.  I have so many books I'm anxious to read, I started five, and have to finish them first!  Then re-read the book for the discussion on this board for March, and the FL book,  I gave in and decided to join...reading that book for a month long discussion...two in one month is a first for me....I think my eyes are too big for my brain!  I have a to-be-read pile tall enough to stand on, and reach the top cabinet over my refrigerator!

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Peppermill
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Re: Southern Novel -- Suggestions

 

 


KathyS wrote:

pjpick wrote:

Re: Pat Conroy

 

My father reads mainly westerns, WEB Griffin, and WWII history. I happened to have a copy of Beach Music at my house and he was bookless. He picked it up and couldn't put it down--totally enthralled. I'm a little embarrassed to say I haven't read it myself. Have also loaned it to a gal at work who also said it was very good.


 

That's good to know, thanks PJpick.  I have so many books I'm anxious to read, I started five, and have to finish them first!  Then re-read the book for the discussion on this board for March, and the FL book,  I gave in and decided to join...reading that book for a month long discussion...two in one month is a first for me....I think my eyes are too big for my brain!  I have a to-be-read pile tall enough to stand on, and reach the top cabinet over my refrigerator!


 

:smileyhappy: lol! Which probably means that it is two piles, one for each foot!

 

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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KathyS
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Re: Southern Novel -- Suggestions


Peppermill wrote:

 

 


KathyS wrote:

pjpick wrote:

Re: Pat Conroy

 

My father reads mainly westerns, WEB Griffin, and WWII history. I happened to have a copy of Beach Music at my house and he was bookless. He picked it up and couldn't put it down--totally enthralled. I'm a little embarrassed to say I haven't read it myself. Have also loaned it to a gal at work who also said it was very good.


 

That's good to know, thanks PJpick.  I have so many books I'm anxious to read, I started five, and have to finish them first!  Then re-read the book for the discussion on this board for March, and the FL book,  I gave in and decided to join...reading that book for a month long discussion...two in one month is a first for me....I think my eyes are too big for my brain!  I have a to-be-read pile tall enough to stand on, and reach the top cabinet over my refrigerator!


 

:smileyhappy: lol! Which probably means that it is two piles, one for each foot!

 


 

Ha!  you got that right!

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Re: Southern Novel -- Suggestions

I just got to thinking, Pepper, did you ever read Sue Monk Kidd's novel, The Secret Life of Bees?  I thought that was an excellent one.  I love Sue Monk Kidd, she writes outstanding spiritual non-fiction.

 

I was also thinking of Lisa Tucker's novel, Shout Down The Moon.  It takes place in Kentucky...fast paced, well written.  It's true what is written on the cover: 

"Shout Down the Moon is about following dreams and overcoming obstacles, about finding your voice and becoming the hero of your own life.  In Patty Taylor, Lisa Tucker has created an unlikely heroine, a gutsy girl with a wry sense of humor, whose life will depend on having the courage to trust in her big talent and even bigger heart."

 

I hope that helps a little more in your selections.

 

K.

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eclecticreaderPG
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Re: Southern Novel -- Suggestions

Three of my favorite Southern writers: Kaye GibbonsCharms for the Easy Life ; Michael MaloneLast Noel; Terry KayTo Dance with the White Dog. They all have several books to their credit. Also, two popular writers who are Southern, though not necessarily thought of that way: John Grisham and Nicholas Sparks.

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Peppermill
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Re: Southern Novel -- Suggestions


eclecticreaderPG wrote:

Three of my favorite Southern writers: Kaye Gibbons Charms for the Easy Life ; Michael Malone Last Noel; Terry Kay To Dance with the White Dog. They all have several books to their credit. Also, two popular writers who are Southern, though not necessarily thought of that way: John Grisham and Nicholas Sparks.


 

Thanks, Eclectic and each of you for this on-going discussion of Southern writers.

 

We have also been continuing our research a bit and here are three Southern writers whose work we do not know, but I am wondering if anyone here has read any of them and is willing to share comments: (I shall continue this exercise from time to time.)

 

Wendell Berry (Born August, 1934, Henry County, Kentucky)  Leavings  Hannah Coulter    The Unsettling of America    Jayber Crow  The Art of the Commonplace    Is he good or is he didactic or other?

 

Erskine Caldwell (1903-1987, Moreland, Georgia) Tobacco Road    You Have Seen Their Faces    Deep South    In Search of Bisco     Journeyman    Trouble in July    Georgia Boy    God's Little Acre   Why read Caldwell versus more contemporary writers?

 

Tim Gautreaux (1947, Morgan City, Louisiana) The Missing    Same Place, Same Things    The Clearing  The Next Step in the Dance    Welding with Children   Who is this author?

 

 

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy