Sharing our Reading with the World

October suggestions

We can start by talking about what constitutes the American South – I think it begins at the Mason-Dixon line – heads south and is pretty much bounded by the Mississippi River but most people think it includes the southwest which certainly takes it to Texas and the surrounding area – and I think Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry is one of the great American novels – so I could go with that.

What kind of books excite you?


The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls (started out in Arizona but was in West Virginia when most of this memoir occurred (see – we’re very loose about our definitions)

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle Barbara Kingsolver – (another transplant)

pretty much anything about the Civil War

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson – story of his establishment of the Equal justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama.

Being Dead is No Excuse: The Official Southern Ladies Guide to Hosting the Perfect Funeral by Gayden Metcalfe (and yes – there are recipes and yes – it’s funny)


Authors include Eudora Welty and Mark Twain (although probably not Yankee in King Arthur’s Court), Kate Chopin, William Faulkner, Katherine Anne Porter, Thomas Wolfe, Robert Penn Warren, Tennessee Williams,  (Margaret Mitchell?)


Too many to count but given the recent publicity we’d have to start with Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird and Go Set a Watchman

The Help by Kathryn Stockett, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg, The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy, Cold Sassy Tree  by Olive Ann Burns, Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier, Sophie’s Choice by William Styron, Mudbound by Hillary Jordan, and Fair and Tender Ladies by Lee Smith.  (just to mention a few selected at random and it doesn’t even include all my favorites)


By author – just a few of the many – John Grisham, Margaret Maron, Patricia Sprinkle, David Balducci, Michael Malone – they all have so many titles that you just list them by name


(not a field I know a lot about so you may have to help here)  How about Jan Karon’s Mitford series?

and it goes on and on – please post your suggestions and – since you have several weeks before we meet – get reading.

Bagels and Books is moving to the first Tuesday of each month beginning in October – October 6 –  at 2:30 in the afternoon.  I hope this will turn out to be a convenient time for everyone and you’ll stop by and join us.

We have a topic  – this year we will be traveling around the world through our books and in our chairs (or maybe our couches).  To make it familiar, we’ll start in October with the US South.  You can choose a book(s) by southern authors or books set in the south or books that you feel have a particularly southern feel to them.  You can choose classics, mysteries, romances, non-fiction – in fact you can choose anything that to you has the feel of the south.

Because it’s afternoon rather than morning I will probably search for a more appropriate snack than Bagels but we’ll keep the name – just for the history of it.

The BLOG will be available to you to write about what you are reading (or watching) – to ask questions – to look for book suggestions on the monthly location.

but we are thinking about the fall.  We are going to try one more change to see if we can attract a few more people to this group.  The change will be a move to a weekday afternoon – early afternoon.  I am waiting for response on room availability to give you a definite day and time.

So – what is this group?  It’s a reading group for people who 1) already know what they want to read and would like to make sure everyone else gets to enjoy great books and 2) like to read but aren’t sure what they will enjoy.

We select a subject, place, or time and everyone reads whatever they want around those topics (and we provide some suggestions).  At the end of the discussion, everyone should have a list of books that have been either recommended – or equally important – NOT recommended.

We’ll continue to call it Bagels and Books because I can only deal with so much change but since it will be afternoon it might more likely be tea and cookies (possibly even sympathy).

Hope you’ll think about joining us – like all our events at the library it’s free and you are welcome to come when it’s convenient – long-term commitment not required.  And the blog is always available if you like to read but just can’t make a meeting but would still like to tell us about your books.

and wanted to share my favorite quote today from Martha Grimes’s The Lamorna Wink

“Heavy with anger and corsets, Matron turned on her heel and marched down the galleried hall.”

hope you are finding something as much fun

not sure what serious reading might be for you – big books?  lots of reading hours?

I read a review saying that the first book in Jane Smiley’s 100 year trilogy was great for book groups so when I was at the library and saw a new book by her on the new book shelf I immediately picked it up.  Started reading it and discovered that I was in book 2 and the cast of characters is so large that I decided I really needed to start at the beginning so went back and got the first book – Some Luck – and read it before coming back to Early Warning which is the latest out.

I liked them both – Early Warning more because I think I was more familiar with the characters – and this is a book where you need to refer frequently to the genealogy list at the beginning – and because she had hit the era that was more familiar to me.  So my serious reading is nearly 1000 pages of Jane Smiley but enjoyable and recommended.

Now I have to wait until she finishes writing the last one to see where she takes this large family that starts on a farm in Iowa.

Finally getting some summer weather so time to haul out those books that you have been meaning to read all year, find a cool spot and a chilly beverage and enjoy.

I just got two that I am really eager to read.  The final book written by a very favorite author – Kent Haruf.  It is a small book so will have to be read slowly – Our Souls at Night.

A few years ago when The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was introduced, it was my very favorite book of that year – recommended and shared with everyone I met.  It was written by Annie Barrows’ aunt, Mary Ann Shaffer,  and when she couldn’t finish it, Annie Barrows stepped in.  Now she has her own book, The Truth According to Us.

So what’s on your list?

I somehow missed the information that Kent Haruf died in November but after he had been diagnosed with a terminal illness, he wrote one last book – finishing it days before his death.  It’s called Our Souls at Night and is due out the end of the month.



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