"[...]I felt a comfort in that room, and in that company, I have seldom known. Maybe that is because by taking me into their past, they took me back t"[...]I felt a comfort in that room, and in that company, I have seldom known. Maybe that is because by taking me into their past, they took me back to my own."
Ahhh, Rick Bragg. I have read bits and pieces of his work for years, mostly when I was going to Bama and traveling the circles that talked about every new work he produced. This book is a compilation of his articles centering around the southern way of life that he grew up surrounded by, and I pretty much loved every story.
When I was younger I wanted nothing more than to run away from all things "Southern". I didn't want to be part of a culture that was known for so many awful things, and ridiculed for being unintelligent and stuck in the past. As I've grown older I've ended up growing more and more proud to have grown up here. Bragg's stories hit the heart of that love, and his introduction alone expressed so many of those feelings.
He shares stories about the deep family roots we cling to here. About our suspicious nature when it comes to "Yankees", especially concerning their alarming tradition of making "stuffing" instead of dressing. Our shared love, not religion, of football (there are several Bama-centric articles, fyi). He devotes an entire section to the food of the south and the bonding experiences it creates throughout our entire lives, not to mention the act of "saying grace" that must happen before one bite is touched. He delves into the architecture and landscapes of the coast, beaches, farms, and small towns we cherish.
Just to cherry pick a few of my favorites, I would have to say that "Red Dirt" is right at the top. Bragg's descriptions of the pervasiveness of the stuff and how ground in it becomes struck a real nerve though I haven't had time to fully process why yet. "Bad Slaw" made me want to start a campaign to bring greater awareness of the travesty being perpetrated to this most essential of southern foods. "Why I Write About Home" was a beautiful expression of exactly what the title states. "Stuck for Good" was just hilarious. Especially his impression of call-ins to radio stations. Spot. On. Roll Tide.
I don't know that someone not from the south would completely enjoy this collection, simply because this is our culture and I could see it being hard to enjoy it the way someone with shared experiences would. But I would like to hear a take on it from someone is another region. I love where I'm from, no matter the opinions of those who have no idea of our true culture, and reading Bragg's work put that love into words.
Copy courtesy of Time Inc. Books, via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review....more
This was actually a nice addition to the series. So often these kind of books are just replaying the scenes you already know from the main series. ButThis was actually a nice addition to the series. So often these kind of books are just replaying the scenes you already know from the main series. But here we really get a better look at Hudson's past and his reactions to some of the more compelling parts of the story.
I've got to say that I'm not sure if I like him more or less after having read this. He had reasons for doing what he did but seeing all the gritty details of how awful he was made me that much worse.
The back story with him and Celia was wonderful too. I'd almost want to read just a story about those games they played, but it all added to the bits and pieces you get of it from the main series.
Overall, if you've read the main books and liked them I would say that is a must read. There is just so much more depth that you get from his family, Celias story and his side of what went down with Laynie....more
Oh, Thug Notes. How I love watching your videos on YouTube. And how I am not entirely certain that translated into book form quite so well.
This book bOh, Thug Notes. How I love watching your videos on YouTube. And how I am not entirely certain that translated into book form quite so well.
This book basically takes the format of the videos and puts it into prose form. But it basically reads like a straight transcript of the show, complete with the mashed up image collages they use throughout.
The stories I already know well (The Great Gatsby, Pride and Prejudice, To Kill a Mockingbird), I was able to appreciate reading. Since I already knew the plot and major themes it made it easier to step back and just appreciate the style being used to convey everything. Those breakdowns I was happy with. But for the books I am less familiar with (Invisible Man, Crime and Punishment, The Color Purple), the style here got in the way of me actually understanding the points being made.
And let me be frank, the writing was crazy hard for me to read. I had to slog my way through it all very slowly, and even then I wasn't entirely sure I understood the point of some sentences. Just not my vernacular or one I'm exposed to very often except through watching the Thug Notes videos really.
So I would highly recommend watching the videos on the Wisecrack channel on YouTube. This book might be worth it to big fans, but as far as actually getting useful information out of it, it didn't work for me personally.
Copy courtesy of Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review...more