Sharing our Reading with the World

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First meeting this afternoon

Always fun to talk about books and find some you HAVE TO READ RIGHT NOW!

Schedule for this season (following our virtual world tour theme)

November 3 – Ireland

December 1 – Israel

January 5 – India

February 2 – Scandinavia (and to keep the I’s going we’re including Iceland in this month)

March 1 – Africa

We started in the American South and got some great recommendations – turns out several of us are Faulkner fans.

The Snopes Trilogy – The Hamlet,  TheTown, The Mansion

The Sound and the Fury

The Faulkner Reader

Go Down Moses (short story collection)

Three mysteries were mentioned

Have You Seen Dawn by Steven Saylor – set in Texas about missing teenagers

Knock Off Rhonda Pollero  (and because knowing what you don’t want to read is important too, this wasn’t recommended – the main character is mostly interested in buying cheap versions of designer clothes)

Rituals of the Season by Margaret Maron – one of her Deborah Knotts series – the first in the series is The Bootlegger’s Daughter

Anything by Pat Conroy or Donna Tartt

The Water is Wide is Pat Conroy’s story of his years teaching black children on an island off the coast of South Carolina – highly recommended

South Toward Home by Margaret Eby – a Southern literary travelogue as the author visits the homes of her favorite southern authors including Welty, Wright, Faulkner, Lee, Capote and others

I Hate to See that Evening Sun Go Down – Collected stories by William Gay – shows Faulkner influence

The Whisper of the River and Run with the Horseman by Ferrol Sams – fiction based on his life – Run with the Horseman was the story of his childhood – The Whisper of the River is set during WWII as a rural boy heads off to college.  Also shows a Faulkner influence.

The Help by  Kathryn Stockett – set in Mississippi in the 1960’s about African american maids working in white households.

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara (The People in the Trees – not as highly recommended) – long and intense but well worth reading. – not sure this is on the Southern theme but when book people get together all kinds of books get mentioned.

The Awakening by Kate Chopin -an American classic written in the late 1800’s

Life After Life by Jill McCorkle – set in a retirement community

GospelWilton Barnhart – search for a lost first-century gospel of the Bible – a document that could shake the foundations of Christianity.

Natchez Burning Greg Iles – mystery that looks at the racial conflicts of the south

Deep South Paul Theroux – non-fiction look at modern day south, especially the small towns, the poverty, and the racial divides.


We are meeting this Tuesday at 2:30 and we’ll be talking about books from the US South (subjects, authors, etc).  We have added a section to the on-going sale shelf opposite the elevator for books that fit the Bagels and Books subjects.  There are a number of books for October (look on the bottom shelf at the right).

Talking to people at the book sale, we decided to choose a November location and pull some books for that area – IRELAND IT IS and those books will be added to the selection area on Tuesday after our discussion.

HOPE YOU CAN JOIN US – if you haven’t read books to mention come anyway – you’re sure to go home with some good suggestions.

First session this fall – just a few days

We are meeting on Tuesday, Oct 6 at 2:30 to talk about books with a southern exposure.  I have two I can’t wait to tell you about and I am even more eager to hear what you’ve been reading.


Hope you can join us

Searching through my past reading for southern authors/books that I really enjoyed

I tried to find a few that I thought you might not be familiar with.  Here are some of my favorite books (with a southern accent)

Kate Vaiden by Reynolds Price – 0ne of the most feisty, spellbinding and engaging heroines in modern fiction captures the essence of her own life in this contemporary American odyssey born of red-clay land and small-town people. We meet Kate at a crucial moment in middle age when she begins to yearn to see the son she abandoned when she was seventeen. But if she decides to seek him, will he understand her? Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, Kate Vaiden is a penetrating psychological portrait of an ordinary woman in extraordinary circumstances, a story as joyous, tragic, comic and compelling as life itself.

Mudbound by Hillary Jordan – In Jordan’s prize-winning debut, prejudice takes many forms, both subtle and brutal. It is 1946, and city-bred Laura McAllan is trying to raise her children on her husband’s Mississippi Delta farm—a place she finds foreign and frightening. In the midst of the family’s struggles, two young men return from the war to work the land. Jamie McAllan, Laura’s brother-in-law, is everything her husband is not—charming, handsome, and haunted by his memories of combat. Ronsel Jackson, eldest son of the black sharecroppers who live on the McAllan farm, has come home with the shine of a war hero. But no matter his bravery in defense of his country, he is still considered less than a man in the Jim Crow South. It is the unlikely friendship of these brothers-in-arms that drives this powerful novel to its inexorable conclusion.

Jaybar Crow by Wendell Berry – Jayber Crow, born in Goforth, Kentucky, orphaned at age ten, began his search as a “pre-ministerial student” at Pigeonville College. There, freedom met with new burdens and a young man needed more than a mirror to find himself. But the beginning of that finding was a short conversation with “Old Grit,” his profound professor of New Testament Greek. “You have been given questions to which you cannot be given answers. You will have to live them out—perhaps a little at a time.” “And how long is that going to take?” “I don’t know. As long as you live, perhaps.”
“That could be a long time.” “I will tell you a further mystery,” he said. “It may take longer.”

Lookaway, LookawayWilton Barnhardt – Steely and formidable, Jerene Jarvis Johnston sits near the apex of society in contemporary Charlotte, North Carolina, where old Southern money and older family skeletons meet the new wealth of bankers, land speculators, and social climbers. Jerene and her Civil War reenactor husband, Duke, have four adult children–sexually reckless real estate broker Annie; earnest minister Bo; gay-but-don’t-tell-anyone Joshua; and naive, impressionable college freshman Jerilyn. Jerene’s brother, Gaston, is an infamously dissolute novelist and gossip who knows her secrets and Duke’s; while her sister, Dillard, is a reclusive prisoner of her own unfortunate choices. When a scandal threatens the Johnston family’s status and dwindling finances, Jerene swings into action…and she will stop at nothing to keep what she has and preserve her legacy. Wilton Barnhardt’s Lookaway, Lookaway is a headlong, hilarious narrative of a family coming apart on the edge of the old South and the new, and an unforgettable woman striving to hold it together.

The Night TrainClyde Egerton – In 1963, at the age of 17, Dwayne Hallston discovers James Brown and wants to perform just like him. His band, the Amazing Rumblers, studies and rehearses Brown’s Live at the Apollo album in the storage room of his father’s shop in their small North Carolina town. Meanwhile, Dwayne’s forbidden black friend Larry—aspiring to play piano like Thelonius Monk—apprentices to a jazz musician called the Bleeder. His mother hopes music will allow him to escape the South. A dancing chicken and a mutual passion for music help Dwayne and Larry as they try to achieve their dreams and maintain their friendship, even while their world says both are impossible. In THE NIGHT TRAIN, Edgerton’s trademark humor reminds us of our divided national history and the way music has helped bring us together.

A Land More Kind Than HomeWiley Cash – In his phenomenal debut novel—a mesmerizing literary thriller about the bond between two brothers and the evil they face in a small North Carolina town—author Wiley Cash displays a remarkable talent for lyrical, powerfully emotional storytelling. A Land More Kind than Home is a modern masterwork of Southern fiction, reminiscent of the writings of John Hart (Down River), Tom Franklin (Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter), Ron Rash (Serena), and Pete Dexter (Paris Trout)—one that is likely to be held in the same enduring esteem as such American classics as To Kill a Mockingbird, Of Mice and Men, and A Separate Peace. A brilliant evocation of a place, a heart-rending family story, a gripping and suspenseful mystery—with A Land More Kind than Home, a major American novelist enthusiastically announces his arrival.

Man Booker Short List announced

The Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2015 shortlist is revealed 

15 September 2015

Marlon JamesTom McCarthyChigozie ObiomaSunjeev SahotaAnne Tyler and Hanya Yanagihara are today, Tuesday 15 September, announced as the shortlisted authors for the 2015 Man Booker Prize for Fiction.

The six names were announced by Chair of judges, Michael Wood, at a press conference at the offices of sponsor Man Group.

The judges remarked on the variety of writing styles, cultural heritage and literary backgrounds of the writers on the shortlist, which includes new authors alongside established names. Two authors come from the United Kingdom, two from the United States and one apiece from Jamaica and Nigeria.

This is the second year that the prize, first awarded in 1969, has been open to writers of any nationality, writing originally in English and published in the UK. Previously, the prize was open only to authors from the UK & Commonwealth, Republic of Ireland and Zimbabwe.

The 2015 shortlist of six novels is:

Author (nationality)                  Title (imprint)

Marlon James (Jamaica)       A Brief History of Seven Killings(Oneworld Publications)

Tom McCarthy (UK)               Satin Island (Jonathan Cape)

Chigozie Obioma (Nigeria)       The Fishermen (ONE, Pushkin Press)

Sunjeev Sahota (UK)               The Year of the Runaways(Picador)

Anne Tyler (US)                       A Spool of Blue Thread (Chatto & Windus)

Hanya Yanagihara (US)            A Little Life (Picador)

Possible armchair travel destinations

This seemed like a good link for our series of arm chair travel sessions – they are recommending that you actually go to these places but we can ignore that.

So starting on Oct 6 we’ll be reading in the US south but you should be thinking about where you’d like “to go” next – check out these suggestions.


Apparently Amtrak has created a “residency” program for writers.  You can read about the first 24 selected at this link


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