On the Southern Literary Trail discussion

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Best Southern Novels

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message 2: by Jessie J (new)

Jessie J (subseti) | 324 comments Interesting list! These were most interesting to me:

The Marrow of Tradition by Charles W. Chesnutt

I Am One of You Forever by Fred Chappell

In Country by Bobbie Ann Mason


message 3: by Everitt (new)

Everitt | 493 comments That's a good list. Thanks for posting it. I'd not read about half of those books, but would really be interested in getting a chance too check them out, especially In Country.


message 4: by Kathy (new)

Kathy | 157 comments I loved the movie In Country. I guess I need to check out the book.


message 5: by Everitt (new)

Everitt | 493 comments That was exactly what I was thinking about.


message 6: by Kathy (last edited Apr 18, 2012 04:34AM) (new)

Kathy Duffy Thomas (Kathy_Duffy_Thomas) | 23 comments Where are the happy books? LOLololol. *hiccup* sorry


message 7: by Jessie J (new)

Jessie J (subseti) | 324 comments Kathy wrote: "Where are the happy books? LOLololol. *hiccup* sorry"

Those are the ones I want! Where are they, I say!


message 8: by Everitt (new)

Everitt | 493 comments Wait... Look Homeward, Angel wasn't a comedy?


That explains so much...


message 9: by Kathy (new)

Kathy Duffy Thomas (Kathy_Duffy_Thomas) | 23 comments Jessie wrote: "Kathy wrote: "Where are the happy books? LOLololol. *hiccup* sorry"

Those are the ones I want! Where are they, I say!"


The happy books end: "And then she died. But the peaches were particularly good that year."


message 10: by Jessie J (new)

Jessie J (subseti) | 324 comments Kathy wrote: "The happy books end: "And then she died. But the peaches ..."

Thank goodness! I was worried about the peaches. We all knew she was going to die.


message 11: by Mike, "Lawyer Stevens" (new)

Mike (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 2229 comments Mod
Having been absent for a while, I certainly enjoyed the smiles this discussion thread produced. Currently, a wave of late arriving Cedar Waxwings stripped my neighbor's mulberry tree next door. The blue jays are delicately testing the ripeness of the figs. And the squirrels are eyeing the young green peaches. However, I must agree with Jessie. The belles are dropping left and right everywhere. For those expressing an interest in In Country, I highly recommend it. However, my wife, who covered for me at a Bobbie Ann signing, indicated Ms. Mason had the demeanor of one who had eaten one too many unripe persimmons. Perhaps it was just a truly horrible, no good, very bad day. However, Ms. Mason,upon meeting my wife, asked if I had read her books or was just a collector. I considered it the equivalent of being asked, "Do you people read?"

For all the dying heroines, those authors who have had one too many green persimmons, and those looking for the happy books to read pick a Clyde Edgerton, take two aspirin and call me in the morning.

Lawyer Stevens


message 12: by Wordsmith (new)

Wordsmith (WordsmithIsReading) | 20 comments I'm not a HUGE fan of lists, but they're inescapable. Here's one I've saved.

http://www.ageefilms.org/southern_boo...


message 13: by Jessie J (new)

Jessie J (subseti) | 324 comments You know what I'd like to see? A list of the best of the pre-Faulkner Southern writers.


message 14: by Wordsmith (last edited May 06, 2012 09:26AM) (new)

Wordsmith (WordsmithIsReading) | 20 comments Did you go to the link? Clarification: Which I should of stated above, as it was in MY head. Not that y'all are mind readers, lol. IMHO, that list is good as a starting point, say, for a person new to the genre. No, it's not an Authoritative List. But it does have a wide-range, good for introduction to Southern Lit. Again, however, I'm not much a fan of "Top" or "Best Of" Lists. Once a person reaches a certain level of mastery in their craft, it's all relative.


message 15: by Everitt (new)

Everitt | 493 comments I like that idea Jessie. Let us put together our own list here. Why not?

So I'll start us off with a few bigger names. Anyone contribute authors you would like to see on it and tell us why you love 'em.

Oh and I'm going to count this starting in 1926 due to the publication of Soldiers' Pay. It is possible to make arguments as to why the date should be later in the century. This novel did not exactly change Southern or American literature they way his other work did. If you think we should set the date else where please tell us why.

1. Mark Twain
2. Kate Chopin
3. Edgar Allan Poe (born and died in the South, despite spending much of his life in the North)
4. Charles W. Chesnutt
5. George Washington Cable (not listed on GoodReads. He was a New Orleanian born in 1844, died 1925. Author of "Old Creole Days" and "The Grandissimes" both novels set in Louisiana. He was an early critic of racial politics in the South and a proponent of Civil Rights.)
6. Frederick Douglass (not an author of fiction, but an influential writer none the less. Abolitionist and freed slave.)


So who do you think belongs on the list?


message 16: by Jessie J (new)

Jessie J (subseti) | 324 comments Wordsmith wrote: "Did you go to the link?..."

I did go to the link, and then to the link of the top 100. That and also something Flannery O'Connor said in one of her essays had me thinking that I'd like to see a pre-Faulkner list. In the essay she was balancing the writers of New England with what was present in the South and mentioned

7. Joel Chandler Harris

of Brer Rabbit fame (or infamy, however you look at it).


message 17: by Jessie J (new)

Jessie J (subseti) | 324 comments Here are some that I find intriguing for what they are and not necessarily for how well they wrote (since I haven't read them):

- William Wells Brown, especially for The President's Daughter.

- William Gilmore Simms, especially for The Sword and the Distaff; Or, "Fair, Fat and Forty"

- Sidney Lanier for several reasons, one of which is his similarity to Gerard Manley Hopkins.


message 18: by Wordsmith (new)

Wordsmith (WordsmithIsReading) | 20 comments Jessie wrote: "Wordsmith wrote: "Did you go to the link?..."

I did go to the link, and then to the link of the top 100. That and also something Flannery O'Connor said in one of her essays had me thinking that I..."


Yup. I'm of that generation that grew up under the influence of THAT "dirty wabbit" and survived it, even going so far as becoming a humanist! Imagine that? lol.


message 19: by Everitt (new)

Everitt | 493 comments 1. Mark Twain
2. Kate Chopin
3. Edgar Allan Poe
4. Charles W. Chesnutt
5. George Washington Cable
6. Frederick Douglass
7. Joel Chandler Harris
8. William Wells Brown
9. William Gilmore Simms
10. Sidney Lanier

I had contemplating putting Simms on my inital list. However, I was wondering whether anyone else would do it. Thank you for that. There could be a lot of controversial opinion on him and his writing. This due primarily to the fact that he was a major opponent of "Uncle Tom's Cabin" and a proponent of Slavery.

Also, I completely forgot about Brer Rabbit. I remember seeing "Song of the South" as a kid back in the 80s. I never viewed it or any of the Uncle Remus stories as racist. But I was also about five and had no idea those arguments existed.


message 20: by Wordsmith (new)

Wordsmith (WordsmithIsReading) | 20 comments Everitt wrote: "1. Mark Twain
2. Kate Chopin
3. Edgar Allan Poe
4. Charles W. Chesnutt
5. George Washington Cable
6. Frederick Douglass
7. Joel Chandler Harris
8. William Wells Brown
9. William Gilmore Simms
10..."



I first read Brer Rabbit tales in the early sixties, and of course then, at that time, and at five, had no concept of a book being "racist." Having lived through all arguments and the counter-arguments, I still believe a book is a book. I'm as hip on censorship as I am on lists, I'm afraid.


message 21: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 64 comments Don't know how many people can be on the list, but Eudora Welty and Flannery O'Connor and Lee Smith and Reynolds Price and Larry Brown and Terry Kay belong on the list of great Southern writers.


message 22: by Kathy (new)

Kathy  | 18 comments I would add Margaret Mitchell. I know that she only published one book in her life time, but my what a book. Ask any person from any other region in the country to mention a Southern writer, and I bet they would mention her. Plus I am a female from GA so I vote for my hometown girl!


message 23: by J. (new)

J. Keck | 26 comments Kathy,
I think you are correct about Margaret Mitchell. I don't believe any other Southern novel has been bought by as many readers as this writer's book. J.


message 24: by J. (new)

J. Keck | 26 comments Kathy,
Another note on Margaret Mitchell. It's generally understood that she wrote one novel: Gone With The Wind. There is another work: Lost Laysen, which was written by the author when she was sixteen. The introduction is interesting as it contains letters and photos of the author. J.


message 25: by Brenda (new)

Brenda (the_crabby_librarian) | 93 comments Kathy, what about To kill a mockingbird?


message 26: by Kathy (new)

Kathy  | 18 comments J, I have not heard of her other novel. I will definitely try to get a copy of it.
Brenda, I loved To Kill a Mockingbird. It dealt, head on, with painful issues that were being experienced not just in the South but all over the country in that time period. Harper Lee's greatest character, Atticus, was written with such dignity and empathy to others that he makes a wonderful role model even today. I think she should also be added to the list.


message 27: by Jacki (new)

Jacki Nelson | 3 comments Lee Smith makes me laugh and almost hear my grandmother and her sisters every time I read her work!


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Books mentioned in this topic

The Marrow of Tradition (other topics)
I Am One of You Forever (other topics)
In Country (other topics)
Soldiers' Pay (other topics)
The President's Daughter (other topics)
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Authors mentioned in this topic

Clyde Edgerton (other topics)
Mark Twain (other topics)
Kate Chopin (other topics)
Edgar Allan Poe (other topics)
Charles W. Chesnutt (other topics)
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