Summer Reading

Whether you’re spending your summer days on the front porch, by the pool or in the passenger seat, pick up one (or a few) of these southern reads to keep you company.

 

book1“It’s 1939, and the Federal Government has sent USDA Agent Virginia Furman into the North Carolina mountains to instruct families on modernizing their homes and farms.

There she meets farm wife Irenie Lambey, who is immediately drawn to the lady agent’s self-possession. Already, cracks are emerging in Irenie’s fragile marriage to Brodis, an ex-logger turned fundamentalist preacher: She has taken to night ramblings through the woods to escape her husband’s bed, storing strange keepsakes in a mountain cavern. To Brodis, these are all the signs that Irenie—tiptoeing through the dark in her billowing white nightshirt—is practicing black magic.

When Irenie slips back into bed with a kind of supernatural stealth, Brodis senses that a certain evil has entered his life, linked to the lady agent, or perhaps to other, more sinister forces.

Working in the stylistic terrain of Amy Greene and Bonnie Jo Campbell, this mesmerizing debut by Julia Franks is the story of a woman intrigued by the possibility of change, escape, and reproductive choice—stalked by a Bible-haunted man who fears his government and stakes his integrity upon an older way of life. As Brodis chases his demons, he brings about a final act of violence that shakes the entire valley. In this spellbinding Southern story, Franks bares the myths and mysteries that modernity can’t quite dispel.” – www.juliafranks.com

 

 

book2

“A tragicomic tour de force about one man’s redemption through love and art.

‘”You have lost everything, yes?”

Everything? Henry thought; he considered the word. Had he lost everything?’

Fleeing New Orleans as Hurricane Katrina approaches, Henry Garrett is haunted by the ruins of his marriage, a squandered inheritance, and the teaching job he inexplicably quit. He pulls into a small Virginia town after three days on the road, hoping to silence the ceaseless clamor in his head. But this quest for peace and quiet as the only guest at a roadside motel is destroyed when Henry finds himself at the center of a bizarre and violent tragedy. As a result, Henry winds up stranded at the ramshackle motel just outside the small town of Marimore, but it’s there that he is pulled into the lives of those around him: Latangi, the motel’s recently widowed proprietor who seems to have a plan for Henry; Marge, a local secretary who marshals the collective energy of her women’s church group; and the family of an old man, a prisoner, who dies in a desperate effort to provide for his infirm wife.

For his previous novels John Gregory Brown has been lauded for his “compassionate vision of human destiny” as well as his “melodic, haunting and rhythmic prose.” With A THOUSAND MILES FROM NOWHERE, he assumes his place in the tradition of such masterful storytellers as Flannery O’Conner and Walker Percy, offering to readers a tragicomic tour de force about the power of art and compassion and one man’s search for faith, love, and redemption.” – www.leeboudreauxbooks.com

 

 

book3

“Over 2 million copies of his books in print. The first and only author to win back-to-back Edgars for Best Novel. Every book a New York Times bestseller. After five years, John Hart is back.

Since his debut bestseller, The King of Lies, reviewers across the country have heaped praise on John Hart, comparing his writing to that of Pat Conroy, Cormac McCarthy and Scott Turow. Each novel has taken Hart higher on the New York Times Bestseller list as his masterful writing and assured evocation of place have won readers around the world and earned history’s only consecutive Edgar Awards for Best Novel with Down River and The Last Child. Now, Hart delivers his most powerful story yet.
Imagine:

A boy with a gun waits for the man who killed his mother.

A troubled detective confronts her past in the aftermath of a brutal shooting.

After thirteen years in prison, a good cop walks free as deep in the forest, on the altar of an abandoned church, a body cools in pale linen…

This is a town on the brink. This is Redemption Road.

Brimming with tension, secrets, and betrayal, Redemption Road proves again that John Hart is a master of the literary thriller.” – www.johnhartfiction.com

 

 

Smith_Dimestore_HC_jkt_FINAL_PRNT_REV.indd

“Lee Smith has firmly established herself as a preeminent voice of the South, and beyond, through her award winning and critically acclaimed fiction over the past forty-five years. Now, in her very first work of nonfiction, DIMESTORE: A WRITER’S LIFE (Publication Date: March 22, 2016; $24.95), Smith looks inward to tell her own heartwarming story, from growing up in the small coal-mining town of Grundy, Virginia to becoming a writer and raising her own family in North Carolina. Frances Mayes says, “We have Eudora Welty’s memoir, One Writer’s Beginning, and now we have Lee Smith’s brilliant DIMESTORE. These two great American writers have in common an immense gift for characterizations, a humorous sense of the absurd in daily life, and precise, evocative prose styles.”

Although her parents were raising her to leave Grundy, Smith loved every aspect of her hometown—set deep in the rugged Appalachian Mountains—from the Ben Franklin dimestore her father owned and ran for many years, to the music played down by the river bank, to ice tea and gossip on the front porch, to the drive-in theater where The Stanley Brothers played before the movie began. And while her education and travels took her far from Virginia, Smith’s appreciation of Appalachian culture never wavered. In telling the story of her enchanting childhood, revealing the mental illness that courses through her family tree, sharing her mother’s long-cherished recipes, and introducing readers to relatives, local characters, and people who changed her life, Smith portrays a time and place that most of us will never experience, a way of life that is fast disappearing.” – www.leesmith.com

 

 

book5“Lauded for her “astute and engrossing” (People) writing style imbued with “originality galore” (RT Book Reviews), Kim Wright channels the best of Jennifer Weiner and Sarah Pekkanen in this delightful novel of self-discovery on the open road as one woman sets out for Graceland hoping to answer the question: Is Elvis Presley her father?

Blues musician Cory Ainsworth is barely scraping by after her mother’s death when she discovers a priceless piece of rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia hidden away in a shed out back of the family’s coastal South Carolina home: Elvis Presley’s Stutz Blackhawk, its interior a time capsule of the singer’s last day on earth.

A backup singer for the King, Cory’s mother Honey was at Graceland the day Elvis died. She quickly returned home to Beaufort and married her high school sweetheart. Yearning to uncover the secrets of her mother’s past—and possibly her own identity—Cory decides to drive the car back to Memphis and turn it over to Elvis’s estate, retracing the exact route her mother took thirty-seven years earlier. As she winds her way through the sprawling deep south with its quaint towns and long stretches of open road, the burning question in Cory’s mind—who is my father?—takes a backseat to the truth she learns about her complicated mother, the minister’s daughter who spent a lifetime struggling to conceal the consequences of a single year of rebellion.” – www.simonandschuster.com

 

 

 

 

book6

“A historic literary event: the publication of a newly discovered novel, the earliest known work from Harper Lee, the beloved, bestselling author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning classic, To Kill a Mockingbird.

Originally written in the mid-1950s, Go Set a Watchman was the novel Harper Lee first submitted to her publishers before To Kill a Mockingbird. Assumed to have been lost, the manuscript was discovered in late 2014.

Go Set a Watchman features many of the characters from To Kill a Mockingbird some twenty years later. Returning home to Maycomb to visit her father, Jean Louise Finch—Scout—struggles with issues both personal and political, involving Atticus, society, and the small Alabama town that shaped her.

Exploring how the characters from To Kill a Mockingbird are adjusting to the turbulent events transforming mid-1950s America, Go Set a Watchman casts a fascinating new light on Harper Lee’s enduring classic. Moving, funny and compelling, it stands as a magnificent novel in its own right.” – www.harpercollins.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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