I really did not plan to give in and join another challenge (note that I have ditched the Year of Reading Dangerously challenge, because I simply fell too far behind -- maybe next year) but Maggie is persuasive!! Plus, the Southern Reading Challenge is simple and straightforward:
The rules are easy: 3 Southern Setting Books by Southern Authors in 3 Months beginning May 15 through August 15!
And, Maggie mentioned chocolate-covered pecans in there, somewhere. Well, shucks, how can you pass up a thing like the potential for winning chocolate-covered pecans?
As usual, I'm not willing to simply choose and list three books because I know my own fickle nature (plus, I have plenty of Southern Lit/Southern author works lying about). Instead, I've been piling up books to choose from. Here's what I've got to choose from, so far:
1. The Rabbit Factory - Larry Brown
2. Homesick - Sela Ward
3. Soldier's Pay - William Faulkner (?? - not sure if the setting will work)
4. Return of the Stardust Cowgirl - Marsha Moyer
5. Run with the Horsemen - Ferrol Sams
6. The Known World - Edward P. Jones
7. Confederates in the Attic - Tony Horwitz
8. Giant - Edna Ferber
9. Hell at the Breech - Tom Franklin
10. When Crickets Cry - Charles Martin
11. Vicksburg - James Reasoner
12. Them - Nathan McCall
13. High Cotton - Gerard Helferich - returned to library unfinished, darn it
16. In the Land of Dreamy Dreams by Ellen Gilchrist
Numbers 13 and 14 are library books, so I'll have to read them hastily or they'll fall off the list. I have a Eudora Welty or two, somewhere, but I can't find them at the moment. Seems like I have plenty to choose from, anyway. And, I'd really like to get my mitts on a copy of Mudbound, which I drooled over in Borders on Sunday.
My personal recommendations:
I love Larry Brown's nonfiction: On Fire and Billy Ray's Farm. Nobody gives you a sense of who Mississippians really are like Larry, in my humble opinion, for better or worse. May he rest in peace. I must have read both of those Brown books prior to becoming a blogger because I can't find reviews to link to on my blog, unfortunately. Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen seems to be a book that receives rather polarized reviews, but I loved it. A friend told me the author has a new book coming out in June, as well. Wahoo for that! Maggie's review of Garden Spells can be found here. When I read Faulkner's The Unvanquished, I had to keep a dictionary on my lap; I wrote and defined vocabulary words in a spiral-bound notebook. I'm pretty sure the eldest (who was supposed to read the book for AP English -- I read along in order to quiz him and he failed my off-the-cuff test) never even cracked the book.
Two of the books on my list are Texas books. Is Texas considered a part of the South? I'm not sure. But, if heat were the only qualification, I know it would fit in just fine. If not, I'll have to knock Giant and Return of the Stardust Cowgirl off my list, although I want to read them both, anyway. I'll close this post with a photo of cotton taken in the Mississippi Delta in September of last year.
Now, I just have to try to hold out for three days because I'm really anxious to get started.
*Note on sheep video, below* - Husband says the bleating sound is definitely the sheep, not his cohort trying to catch their attention. Thank goodness for that.
Happy Southern Reading!