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Topic: Looking For Something Southern..OPINIONS PLEASE

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Subject: Looking For Something Southern..OPINIONS PLEASE
Date Posted: 8/17/2010 12:08 AM ET
Member Since: 5/17/2009
Posts: 52
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 I  love to read books in which the characters are from the South, or the story itself takes place in a Southern location. The style of writing I enjoy reading the most is first person narratives. I am looking for something that flows well, and can hold my attention. I enjoyed reading The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd.

 I am contemplating the idea of reading, Bastard Out of Carolina, but I would like to hear about other book titles that may interest me. I would also like to know if the members here feel like Bastard Out of Carolina is worth the read. I know everyone has their own likes/dislikes when it comes to books, but I am interested in getting a feel about what the members here think of it.

So, what do you think of Bastard Out of Carolina and can you suggest any stories centered around  Southern characters/living?

Thanks in advance,


Last Edited on: 8/17/10 12:16 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/17/2010 1:04 AM ET
Member Since: 11/24/2005
Posts: 5,638
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Last Edited on: 9/16/10 7:12 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/17/2010 7:37 AM ET
Member Since: 9/8/2009
Posts: 625
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There's always Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood and I think pretty much anything by Fannie Flagg.  I think that most of Eugenia Price's novels take place in the south, too. 

Date Posted: 8/17/2010 10:12 AM ET
Member Since: 10/10/2007
Posts: 5,272
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I haven't read Bastard Out of Carolina, but it's on my TBR list.  I like Joshilynn Jackson's southern stories; most, if not all of them are written in the first person narrative.  She's written Gods in Alabama and Between, Georgia.  

Also, The Help, by Kathrynn Stockett is a very good southern fiction novel, although it's not first person.  

Date Posted: 8/17/2010 2:30 PM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2007
Posts: 2,276
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I haven't read Bastard Out Of Carolina so can't comment on that, but one of my favourite Southern authors is Augusta Trobaugh. Great Southern voice who also reflects both southern past and southern present.

Date Posted: 8/17/2010 2:32 PM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2009
Posts: 2,016
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I read Bastard Out of Carolina in high school. It's a dark book that deals with serious themes such as sexual abuse. Definitely not light reading, and while it does take place in the South, I wouldn't want to characterize the entire South based on this book.


A friend who is an Atlanta transplant just recommended

Gary Pomerantz's "Where Peachtree Meets Sweet Auburn"

in his facebook status update.

Subject: Southern fiction
Date Posted: 8/17/2010 2:49 PM ET
Member Since: 12/16/2007
Posts: 2
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Don't miss Ellen Gilchrist's early short stories. In the Land of Dreamy Dreams and Victory Over Japan 

Date Posted: 8/17/2010 6:23 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2005
Posts: 1,737
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I really liked Bastard Out of Carolina.  It is very dark.  It is a novel, but autobiographical and reads like a memoir.  It's funny you are asking about this as I think that was the book that got me really interested in books about the south.  Anything by Rick Bragg and Mary Karr is good too.

Date Posted: 8/17/2010 8:52 PM ET
Member Since: 2/16/2009
Posts: 485
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Ann B. Ross writes a series starting with Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind that is set in the south and is very enjoyable.

Date Posted: 8/17/2010 10:26 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
Posts: 1,427
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Eudora Welty is a very good Southern novelist and short story writer.  She is associated with Mississippi.  I can recommend her novel, Losing Battles.  

Date Posted: 8/18/2010 12:00 AM ET
Member Since: 4/23/2009
Posts: 59
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Check out Mary Alice Monroe, "The Beach House", and the story continues in "Swimming Lessons".  Then read "Sweetgrass".  All three of these books take place in the south and they are all wonderful stories and the characters are people that you would love to meet.  I loved all of these books.

Date Posted: 8/18/2010 5:14 PM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2009
Posts: 122
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I enjoyed 'Cold Sassy Tree' by Olive Ann Burns which takes place in Georgia.

Date Posted: 8/18/2010 6:54 PM ET
Member Since: 4/17/2008
Posts: 1,451
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Mary Kay Andrews has some good books that are southern-based.  I just finished Hissy Fit a few weeks ago and liked it a lot.  Savannah Breeze was also a good read.  Fun & light, but well written too.

Date Posted: 8/18/2010 10:54 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2007
Posts: 12,842
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One of my all-time favorite sets: TR Pearson's A Short History of a Small Place, Off for the Sweet Hereafter, and The Last of How It Was.




Date Posted: 8/19/2010 9:44 AM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2007
Posts: 1,599
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Some really good Southern [from the South & write about it] writers are:

Curtiss Ann Matlock,     Dorothea Benton Frank,     Margaret Maron,    Clyde Edgerton,    Earlene Fowler,     Sharyn McCrumb,   Patricia Rice,   Adriana Trigiani   

Avoid Linda Bruckheimer's The Southern Belles of Honeysuckle Way ... undoubtably one of the worst portrayls of Southern life I've ever read [and I live in the South!]

I'm sure there are more, these are the ones I'm familiar with and have enjoyed everything I've read by all of them.

Check my shelf, I always have a deal going.

Date Posted: 8/19/2010 4:22 PM ET
Member Since: 8/8/2010
Posts: 1
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Ecology of a Cracker Childhood  by:  Janisse Ray

This book is slightly about conservation but is mainly about the author's childhood in S.E. Georgia.  The memories and characters she shares made this a book that I would recommend to anyone. 


Date Posted: 8/19/2010 10:42 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2009
Posts: 509
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I loved The Secret Life of Bees.

Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman was a wonderful book.  The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder by Rebecca Wells was really good too.

Date Posted: 8/19/2010 10:49 PM ET
Member Since: 2/18/2010
Posts: 171
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I must recommend Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell.  A favorite of mine.

Date Posted: 8/20/2010 8:39 AM ET
Member Since: 12/8/2007
Posts: 1,011
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Oh my goodness, Cozi, I laughed my fanny off over the Bailey White book! Very good Southern reading!

I highly recommend Charles Martin as a Southern writer. The Dead Don't Dance and the sequel, Maggie, are both awesome. Don't let the first title put you off, it is not what it sounds like. Mr Martin has such a lovely lyrical style of writing that you can almost hear the drawl of the words and smell the Southern air. He has several others that are as good, but these two are the best to start with so you can get into the flow of his writing.

Date Posted: 8/20/2010 9:42 AM ET
Member Since: 2/2/2010
Posts: 1,207
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I second The Help and all of Charles Martin's books.  Another good one is South of Broad by Pat Conroy and all of Dorothea Benton Franks books.

Last Edited on: 8/20/10 9:43 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/20/2010 10:07 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2010
Posts: 3,673
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I agree that Cold Sassy Tree is an excellent option.  I loved it and remember it was not hard to read at all (very engaging).  The most obvious to me is To Kill a Mockingbird, but I am thinking that that may be too obvious.

I have read and loved William Faulkner and Flannery O'Connor.  Both authors were very proud southerns and really influential in the southern gothic genre.

Date Posted: 8/22/2010 11:23 AM ET
Member Since: 2/25/2007
Posts: 13,991
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Rick Bragg and all Pat Conroy, for sure.

Here's another one: Ad Hudler, who worte "Southern Living," set in Macon Ga. It's contemporary, and spot-on hilarious!

I read "Bastard....".....as others said, it's dark, very heavy, and yes, deals with poverty and abuse issues. It's  literature, but it's not a happy read.

Sharyn McCrumb has some great books, set in the southern  Applachians. More recently she has written books about NASCAR, which I was not at all interested in, but her others are terrific.

Florence King wrote one of the funniest books ever, "Southern Ladies and Gentlemen," making fun of southern "manners".

Date Posted: 8/22/2010 6:35 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2008
Posts: 96
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I read this book years ago.  It was very good.  It was in a diary form called Dear Anna  by Steve Cannon.  It setting in is SC and GA.  I couldn't put it down. If you can find the book I highly recommend it. 

Date Posted: 8/22/2010 8:35 PM ET
Member Since: 1/11/2009
Posts: 176
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I have only read a few books set in the South.  My favorites are:

The Help by Kathryn Stockett (Mississippi 1962)

Refiner's Fire Series (3 books in series) by Lynn Austin

* Candle In The Darkness (Richmond, VA during Civil War)

* Fire by Night

* A Light To My Path