Good Minds Suggest—Fannie Flagg's Favorite Books About Female Heroes

November, 2013
Fannie Flagg "Good heavens, I'm nervous just getting on the freeway," says author Fannie Flagg. "Imagine the courage the very first women settlers must have had. First, to travel across the ocean to an unknown land and then later to cross the country in covered wagons and help settle the West!" Flagg may have her reticent moments, but the best-selling novelist writes about plenty of courageous and independent American women in books like Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café (1987) and Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man (1983). Out this month is The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion, a comic mystery full of Flagg's trademark heartfelt sass. In it she tells the story of a 59-year-old Alabama woman who goes on a journey into the past, uncovering stories about a mother who was part of a female flying squadron in World War II. Here, Flagg shares her favorite strong literary heroines.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
"My very first strong American literary heroine was Jo March. I also loved the quiet courage of Marmee, who held her family together during the Civil War. This book shows how American women survived in wartime."


Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
"Fighting to survive on the other side of the Civil War was the unforgettable Miss Scarlett O'Hara, the very first Steel Magnolia. I suspect that if Scarlett had been born in modern times, as smart and resourceful as she was, she would be CEO of her own company."


Nancy Drew and The Secret of the Old Clock by Carolyn Keene
"As a child, I read all of the Nancy Drew books and wanted to be just like her. She was curious and brave, and how I admired that little blue convertible sedan she drove. As a secret tribute to Nancy, a little blue sedan sits on the cover of my new book."


A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
"This book shows us a different kind of courage. Who can ever forget young Francie Nolan as she fights her background of poverty but never gives up her quest for a college education. Francie loved books so much. I'd like to think she grew up to become an executive director with a large publishing house."



A Woman of Independent Means by Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey
"It seems to me that Texas has always had more than its share of strong, independent women: Ma Ferguson, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Kay Bailey Hutchison, etc., etc. And in this novel the main character, Bess Steed Garner, a Texan, is no exception. I admired her courage and was inspired by the way she handled adversity with such grace."


Comments Showing 1-32 of 32 (32 new)

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message 1: by Rachael (new)

Rachael Wait, what? Gone With the Wind by L. Frank Baum?


message 2: by Gina (new)

Gina Boyd Rachael wrote: "Wait, what? Gone With the Wind by L. Frank Baum?"

Oops. Someone's face is red!


message 3: by Laurie (new)

Laurie So, i am thinking only a non-reader would make that mistake. Please fix it.


message 4: by Carrie (new)

Carrie Rachael wrote: "Wait, what? Gone With the Wind by L. Frank Baum?"

Hah. Glad I'm not the only one who did a double take on on that!


message 5: by Leslie (new)

Leslie Adams No mistake, Laurie. Look at "View Book"--it even gives Margaret Mitchell credit, saying it's set against the "backdrop of Margaret Mitchell's epic love story." It's probably a fantasy rewrite or something.

Leslie


message 6: by jess (new)

jess Leslie, the cover image says Margaret Mitchell and when you click through, it is the MM book. It is a mistake on this page, not a LFB fantasy rewrite of Gone With the Wind.

Now I'm going to go think about how the world would be different if lfb had written GWTW


message 7: by Kathy (new)

Kathy jess - I love the "what if" concept. I'm going to bring it up as a topic at book club.


message 8: by Sherri (new)

Sherri L. Frank Baum was the writer of the Wizard of Oz and subsequent Oz books. Margaret Mitchell was of course the writer of Gone with the Wind.


message 9: by Adel (new)

Adel I loved all these books.


message 10: by Barbara (new)

Barbara My mind is already playing enough tricks on me please don't complicate things further with errors of this sort.


message 11: by Pam (new)

Pam A Woman of Independent Means is one of my favorite books.


message 12: by Susan (new)

Susan Green Fried Tomatoes was the best movie...based on a perfect book.


message 13: by Dawn (new)

Dawn Lee In addition to the wrong writer for "Gone with the Wind," the first spelling of Fannie Flagg's name is misspelled in the opening quote: "Good heavens, I'm nervous just getting on the freeway," says author Fanny Flagg. Ms. Flagg is a humor icon, for decades now, from as far back as "Candid Camera," so she deserves to have blurbs to promote her book that match the level of her excellent writing. Readers do appreciate, though, that everyone has a first day at the office and is still trying to find the copy machine. Please just correct it!


message 14: by Sue (new)

Sue Anything by Fannie Flagg is worth an afternoon in peace & quiet ,old PJ'S and a moderate supply of dark chocolate .Now if I can just achieve that ! My fantasy !


message 15: by Nancy (new)

Nancy Fiala Fried Green Tomatoes, best movie ever! Love Fannie Flaggs books. Worth reading more than once!


message 16: by Ginger (new)

Ginger People are SO ready to FIND mistakes! Quality not mistakes!!


message 17: by Dawn (last edited Nov 09, 2013 06:57PM) (new)

Dawn Lee Dawn wrote: "In addition to the wrong writer for "Gone with the Wind," the first spelling of Fannie Flagg's name is misspelled in the opening quote: "Good heavens, I'm nervous just getting on the freeway," says..."

Ready to find mistakes? As a copyeditor, I do that for a living. It's reflex! Quality is imbued by the level of presentation to the reader. The author deserves the best presentation possible of his/her heart's work.
Good news: They fixed it quickly--way to go! Thanks!


message 18: by Aer (new)

Aer Bluewilson Love her book choices, but I wish the interview and her picks were longer, but that's only because I'm a big fan. I am so excited about her new book!


message 19: by John (new)

John R Suther Fannie: "Fried Green Tomatoes" is indeed a very great and grand movie about the South. I truly enjoyed it very much. Do you still live in Birmingham?


message 20: by Joanna (J) (new)

Joanna (J) Finley I loved Fried Green Tomatoes but another good Fannie Flagg book, "Standing in the Rainbow". I LOVED hearing her read it! Some scenes that were funny to read were just about hysterical to hear! I have to get more of Fannie's books!

But speaking of good authors I got to meet, I found a writer named Josephine Cox (Rainbow Days) who writes in the spirit of Catherine Cookson, who I'm also getting acquainted with. YES!!! My winter reading list has been made!


message 21: by Leslie (new)

Leslie Adams John--
I looked up "Fannie Flagg" on Amazon, and she was born in Birmingham, but now she divides her time between California and Alabama.


message 22: by Aer (last edited Nov 10, 2013 07:51PM) (new)

Aer Bluewilson "Standing in the Rainbow" and "Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man" are tied as my favorites. "Can't Wait to Get to Heaven" and "Fried Green Tomatoes" are pretty close up there too. "Standing in the Rainbow" is probably one of my favorite books of all time. I really want to get this new one, I read a complimentary first chapter of it, and it was awesome! I like that she's not just a writer, but a story teller too, while being a comic as well.


message 23: by Judy (new)

Judy Gacek Agree with everyone of the choices!


message 24: by John (new)

John R Suther Fannie,I was wondering if you reviewed books for first time authors from your home state of Alabama, as I live in Verbena! My novel, "Disappearances.....?" has been proofed and is ready for print, and I would be tickled to death to have it reviewed by a well known author from our great state!


message 25: by Karen (new)

Karen Susan wrote: "Green Fried Tomatoes was the best movie...based on a perfect book."

Susan, you must not be from the South. LOL! They're Fried Green Tomatoes.


message 26: by John (new)

John R Suther Fannie: Saw you on Channel 6 Six this morning. You are still looking good! Are you planning to stay here long, I surely hope so!


message 27: by Joanna (J) (new)

Joanna (J) Finley After the Christmas hubbub is over, I'm going to invest in some Fannie Flagg books and audio books for days when I'm too busy for a SIT DOWN read. I LOVED her reading of Standing In the Rainbow. Especially the Oatman family gospel singers!!!


message 28: by Leslie (new)

Leslie Adams Joanna--I've seen Standing in the Rainbow but never read it. Never known how good it is. Now I'll have to put it on my upcoming list.


message 29: by Adel (new)

Adel My favorite is Can't Wait to Get to Heaven-- love Elner!


message 30: by Joanna (J) (new)

Joanna (J) Finley Leslie wrote: "Joanna--I've seen Standing in the Rainbow but never read it. Never known how good it is. Now I'll have to put it on my upcoming list."


I didn't know it was a movie! WOW!!! If you do get it, I suggest the audio book. Fannie's reading is perfect....like she's telling a story and not reading it! You'll love it! On the other hand, if you're more a reader than a listener, get the book. Good deal either way.


message 31: by Julie (new)

Julie Ehlers I missed out on the first round of corrections, but... it's "Marmee," not "Marmie."


message 32: by Linda (new)

Linda Wow... I read all of them! I agree with the choices with the exception of Little Women. For me, Jo, weakened in character. I found the ending too neatly tied up where it may have been more interesting if the "sisters" developed more and interacted more with the changing times.

Favorite choice would be A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, which truly shines light on strong - can do women, from childhood to adulthood.

Gone With The Wind - a true classic and not many, for that time period, competed with Scarlet's courage.

Loved Nancy Drew as a coming of age series. It developed a life long love of mystery writings, as well as serial books that put an emphasis on friendship.


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