Best Southern Literature

Our favorite works of Southern literature.

Books that are set in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.
1

by
4.28 avg rating — 4,364,193 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
2

by
4.30 avg rating — 1,056,715 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
3

by
4.47 avg rating — 2,102,608 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
4

by
3.82 avg rating — 1,134,542 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
5

by
4.28 avg rating — 261,275 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
6

by
4.05 avg rating — 1,097,576 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
7

by
4.21 avg rating — 503,216 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
8

by
3.91 avg rating — 738,787 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
9

by
3.86 avg rating — 156,109 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
10

by
3.92 avg rating — 253,152 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
11

by
3.92 avg rating — 215,712 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
12

by
3.98 avg rating — 91,074 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
13

by
4.24 avg rating — 190,028 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
14

by
3.72 avg rating — 134,310 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
15

by
3.98 avg rating — 257,922 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
16

by
3.89 avg rating — 226,326 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
17

by
3.82 avg rating — 518,050 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
18

by
4.22 avg rating — 38,057 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
19

by
3.86 avg rating — 217,724 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
20

by
4.01 avg rating — 97,431 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
21

by
4.10 avg rating — 1,299,135 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
22

by
4.07 avg rating — 691,572 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
23

by
3.97 avg rating — 38,295 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
24

by
4.09 avg rating — 55,414 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
25

by
4.11 avg rating — 38,368 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
26

by
4.23 avg rating — 391,281 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
27

by
3.65 avg rating — 168,043 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
28

by
4.44 avg rating — 142,285 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
29

by
really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 472,524 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
30

by
3.70 avg rating — 109,748 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
31

by
4.08 avg rating — 51,767 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
32

by
4.07 avg rating — 509,395 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
33

by
3.96 avg rating — 488,281 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
34

by
3.87 avg rating — 191,780 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
35

by
4.25 avg rating — 17,872 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
36

by
4.40 avg rating — 35,461 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
37

by
4.19 avg rating — 80,724 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
38

by
4.11 avg rating — 25,211 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
38

by
4.06 avg rating — 58,802 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
40

by
4.07 avg rating — 83,567 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
41

by
3.94 avg rating — 53,047 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
42

by
4.20 avg rating — 226,968 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
43

by
3.94 avg rating — 75,254 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
44

by
3.93 avg rating — 12,580 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
45

by
3.81 avg rating — 14,698 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
46

by
4.14 avg rating — 29,319 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
47

by
4.27 avg rating — 16,607 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
48

by
4.16 avg rating — 42,714 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
49

by
4.01 avg rating — 362,947 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
49

by
3.86 avg rating — 25,828 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
51

by
4.06 avg rating — 45,730 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
52

by
4.30 avg rating — 24,574 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
53

by
4.25 avg rating — 5,705 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
54

by
4.02 avg rating — 552,502 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
55

by
4.20 avg rating — 55,650 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
56

by
4.07 avg rating — 83,018 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
57

by
4.01 avg rating — 384,596 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
58

by
really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 94,797 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
59

by
3.58 avg rating — 716 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
60

by
4.17 avg rating — 105,107 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
61

by
3.82 avg rating — 39,809 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
62

by
4.05 avg rating — 198,780 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
63

by
4.12 avg rating — 19,616 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
64

by
4.04 avg rating — 61,365 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
65

by
3.97 avg rating — 698,121 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
66

by
3.25 avg rating — 88,447 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
67

by
4.23 avg rating — 7,615 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
68

by
4.12 avg rating — 9,985 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
69

by
3.95 avg rating — 50,332 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
70

by
3.68 avg rating — 24,296 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
71

by
4.01 avg rating — 10,762 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
72

by
3.68 avg rating — 15,666 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
73

by
3.80 avg rating — 12,698 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
74

by
3.98 avg rating — 41 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
75

by
3.88 avg rating — 29,427 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
76

by
4.17 avg rating — 6,929 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
77

by
4.03 avg rating — 89,779 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
78

by
4.13 avg rating — 236,931 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
79

by
3.97 avg rating — 53,541 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
80

by
4.24 avg rating — 11,236 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
81

by
4.01 avg rating — 172,102 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
82

by
3.73 avg rating — 13,493 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
83

by
4.02 avg rating — 11,989 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
84

by
4.02 avg rating — 234,318 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
85

by
4.18 avg rating — 17,355 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
86

by
4.32 avg rating — 73,836 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
87

by
3.42 avg rating — 537 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
88

by
3.86 avg rating — 20,449 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
89

by
4.11 avg rating — 99,700 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
90

by
3.93 avg rating — 8,956 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
91

by
3.87 avg rating — 14,038 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
92

by
4.02 avg rating — 171,742 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
93

by
3.87 avg rating — 23,151 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
94

by
3.98 avg rating — 48,871 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
95

by
3.52 avg rating — 51,589 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
96

by
3.82 avg rating — 33,286 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
97

by
3.50 avg rating — 10,184 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
98

by
3.85 avg rating — 56,002 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
99

by
3.85 avg rating — 42,057 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
100

by
4.23 avg rating — 48,935 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
flag this list (?)
467 likes · 
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


JG (Introverted Reader) 3015 books
401 friends
Jessica 5129 books
595 friends
Jay 1080 books
27 friends
Jennifer 2559 books
50 friends
Lara 1752 books
186 friends
Brigid ✩ 1386 books
3684 friends
Todd 302 books
111 friends
Carl 3569 books
139 friends

More voters…


Comments Showing 1-50 of 62 (62 new)


message 1: by TexasMargarita (new)

TexasMargarita I think Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil could almost make it in here, and some day maybe some James Lee Burke


message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

And what about Kathleen Anne Porter?!


message 3: by Sunita (new)

Sunita these books are cool and Ilike them



message 4: by Sunita (new)

Sunita cool book peoples and I like them very much you rock
lvu you people very much and how you keep voting for these book and as for the people who don't do it now and when I say do it now I mean it just do it now .For those people who collect these books u rock so much that I can't say how much it must be for you to read and that is the one things that is the mager thing about collecting books and I hope thatyou keep collecting these books
thank you
sunpoo0994


message 5: by pcb (new)

pcb ditto about james lee burke


message 6: by Joann (new)

Joann The Known World by Edward P Jones


message 7: by [deleted user] (new)

Is The Plain Truth really Southern? Jodi Picoult lives near my sister in VT. I read it but don't remember much about it now. Wasn't it about the Amish?


message 8: by Maxine (new)

Maxine Dexter Aaaw no All the Pretty Horses? That's my favorite Cormac McCarthy book.


message 9: by Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (last edited Mar 29, 2010 08:42PM) (new)

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads The Prince and the Pauper? It's set in Tudor England!

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court is set in a fantasy English Dark Ages.


message 10: by Hayes (new)

Hayes Susanna wrote: "The Prince and the Pauper? It's set in Tudor England!"

Yes... *Southern* Tudor England! ;-)


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Ah dew declare!


message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

Gone with the Wind is listed twice.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads I told it to check for duplicates, which hopefully got it.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Is this list for works about the South, or by Southerners?


message 15: by Bettie (last edited Oct 20, 2011 12:06PM) (new)

Bettie Hayes wrote: "Susanna wrote: "The Prince and the Pauper? It's set in Tudor England!"

Yes... *Southern* Tudor England! ;-)"


hahaha - you are right, the title doesn't say Southern North America now does it; a touch arrogant n'est pas!?


message 16: by [deleted user] (new)

Susanna wrote: "Is this list for works about the South, or by Southerners?"

Well, Southerners do tend to read books about the South, honey chile.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Yes, indeedy they do!

And I myself interpreted it as "books about the South." But "books by Southerners" is the only way I can think of that Prince and the Pauper, A Tramp Abroad, or A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court could qualify, so I thought I'd ask!


message 18: by Bettie (new)

Bettie Susanna wrote: "Yes, indeedy they do!

And I myself interpreted it as "books about the South." But "books by Southerners" is the only way I can think of that Prince and the Pauper, A Tramp Abroad, or A Connecti..."


I'll wait for an answer to your question before voting
:O)


message 19: by holly (new)

holly Plain Truth takes place in Pennsylvania and the author is from New York...


message 20: by David (new)

David Ernest Gaines's novels should be added to this list. So should books by Gayl Jones and Nikki Finney.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads You could add them; it's easy to add books to lists. At the top of the list, at the tab next to "all votes."


message 22: by David (new)

David Thanks, Susanna.


message 23: by Beth (last edited May 12, 2012 08:15PM) (new)

Beth Susanna wrote: "Is this list for works about the South, or by Southerners?"

I took a course called "Southern Literature" at the University of Georgia when I was working on a graduate degree. Southern Literature was defined as literature that was written by a Southerner AND set in the South. I have always found this definition to be very helpful.


message 24: by Shawnee (new)

Shawnee I didn't see West Virginia in the list of states but I added books with author and setting from WV. Most of the state is below the Mason-Dixon line and we mountaineers consider ourselves southerners.


message 25: by Eddie (new)

Eddie Whitlock Forgive my crass marketing here. I've written a book called EVIL IS ALWAYS HUMAN that's been compared to Flannery O'Connor and Cormac McCarthy. I invite you to take a look at it.


message 26: by Tina (new)

Tina Lovell Eddie wrote: "Forgive my crass marketing here. I've written a book called EVIL IS ALWAYS HUMAN that's been compared to Flannery O'Connor and Cormac McCarthy. I invite you to take a look at it."

Beth wrote: "Susanna wrote: "Is this list for works about the South, or by Southerners?"

I took a course called "Southern Literature" at the University of Georgia when I was working on a graduate degree. South..."


TexasMargarita wrote: "I think Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil could almost make it in here, and some day maybe some James Lee Burke"

thank you for the information! I loved "midnight in the garden Of good and evil"


message 27: by Tina (new)

Tina Lovell ~☆ Alice☆~ wrote: "Susanna wrote: "Is this list for works about the South, or by Southerners?"

Well, Southerners do tend to read books about the South, honey chile."
Yes we Do! Tina L.

Eddie wrote: "Forgive my crass marketing here. I've written a book called EVIL IS ALWAYS HUMAN that's been compared to Flannery O'Connor and Cormac McCarthy. I invite you to take a look at it."

Shawnee wrote: "I didn't see West Virginia in the list of states but I added books with author and setting from WV. Most of the state is below the Mason-Dixon line and we mountaineers consider ourselves southerners."


message 28: by Pat (new)

Pat W. Virginia separated from Virginia rather than be part of the South. So, that's a done deal.
"Sophie's Choice" takes place in Europe with no mention of 'the South' so, multiple people putting it on the list is just sad.
Including William Tecumseh Sherman's biography several times is wrong. While a work about only his maniacal acts in the South could be included, it would hardly seem to merit "the Best Southern Literature".
These mistakes aside, the list is enjoyable.


message 29: by Beth (new)

Beth Well stated!I completely agree.


Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) Pat wrote: ""Sophie's Choice" takes place in Europe with no mention of 'the South' so, multiple people putting it on the list is just sad."

Well, in their defense it might be mentioned that the author is from Virginia. Which, owing to the book's setting and subject matter, doesn't make it a "Southern" novel IMHO either, though ... nor, based on the description now added to the list, in the opinon of the list's creator.

JG, do you want the list to be pruned back to books actually set in the states you mentioned?


message 31: by [deleted user] (new)

Oh my god, how is "The Sound and the Fury" not number 1, fuck you Goodreads, this is not debatable


message 32: by Beth (last edited Dec 31, 2012 10:01AM) (new)

Beth Lists are made by Goodreads members/readers. Goodreads provides the arena for its readers who can vote for the various books listed in any Listopia. In other words, people have voted for these books and their rank is the result of these votes. Several books on the list would have been ranked differently for me personally. Nevertheless, it is interesting to see where different books line up after votes are calculated.


message 33: by Steve (new)

Steve Yep, those that like southern lit should vote and/or add their favorites. The list will sort out over time.


message 34: by Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (last edited Dec 31, 2012 09:52AM) (new)

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads The one that makes me scratch my head currently is #36: I Talk Slower Than I Think: An Antidote to Helicopter Parenting, as it looks to be non-fiction?

Also, 5 ratings and 33 votes???


message 35: by Shawnee (new)

Shawnee West Virginia separating from Virginia had more to do with perceived unfair distribution of state resources and divisive beliefs on slavery and nothing to do with whether it wanted to be part of the south. More important, the U.S. Bureau of Census states West Virginia as part of the South Region. I think my position is valid and West Virginia should be included in this category list.


Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) Susanna wrote: "The one that makes me scratch my head currently is #36: I Talk Slower Than I Think: An Antidote to Helicopter Parenting, as it looks to be non-fiction?

Also, 5 ratings and 33 votes???"


The voting pattern is highly suspicious (1 of 1 or, at most, 1 of 2, all of them).

It being nonfiction alas doesn't seem to be a reason for exclusion on this particular list, though (the list title says "literature," not "fiction," and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil -- currently ranked no. 12 -- is nonfiction as well) ...


message 37: by Sandy (new)

Sandy Pat wrote: "W. Virginia separated from Virginia rather than be part of the South. So, that's a done deal.
"Sophie's Choice" takes place in Europ..."


Sophie's Choice does not take place in Europe,it takes place in New York. Only the memories of Sophie take place in Europe. One of the main characters "Stingo" is a very southern boy who comes to New York to write.


message 38: by Vicki (new)

Vicki Charlaine Harris & Anne Rice made this list, but not Peter Taylor, Elizabeth Hardwick, Dorothea Benton Frank, Anne Rivers Siddons, the Fugitive poets, etc etc. WTF??


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads That's because it's a user-sourced list. You are free to add them, if you like. (It's easy to add books to lists - at the top of the list, at the tab next to "all votes.")


message 40: by Beth (new)

Beth Vicki, those are good candidates for the list and I encourage you to add them. I was not familiar with the Fugitive poets until you mentioned them in your post. That's one of the good thing about Listopia, it allows us to learn from each other regarding books and authors of which we might not have previously known.


message 41: by Manray9 (new)

Manray9 Agreed. That's why "In Cold Blood" shouldn't be on this list.


message 42: by Donna (new)

Donna Davis I am surprised at how little nonfiction is here. I added some, and I voted for Sherman's memoir as #1, since there is absolutely no denying that he changed the course of Southern history, like it or not.


message 43: by Donna (new)

Donna Davis Shawnee wrote: "I didn't see West Virginia in the list of states but I added books with author and setting from WV. Most of the state is below the Mason-Dixon line and we mountaineers consider ourselves southerners."
I really question that subscript also. How is Florida not a Southern state, yet Oklahoma is? Kentucky was not a Confederate state, but it is in the list, and rightfully so. I think West Virginia should be, since culturally, they fit. An argument could be made for Maryland; rural, I think they are Southerners, but the cities are much more northern in character imo.


message 44: by Manray9 (new)

Manray9 Donna wrote: "Shawnee wrote: "I didn't see West Virginia in the list of states but I added books with author and setting from WV. Most of the state is below the Mason-Dixon line and we mountaineers consider ours..."

I grew up in Maryland, but now live in South Carolina. Nobody in SC considers Maryland the South. When I went to grad school in New York City, everyone there considered me Southern. Who knows? Perspective is everything.


message 45: by Manray9 (new)

Manray9 Donna wrote: "I am surprised at how little nonfiction is here. I added some, and I voted for Sherman's memoir as #1, since there is absolutely no denying that he changed the course of Southern history, like it o..."

I disagree about Sherman's memoirs. He was an Ohioan who campaigned in the South. Grant campaigned there too, so why not add 'The Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant?" Neither work would meet my definition of Southern literature. In fact, I adhere to the definition of literature as "imaginative or creative writing, especially of recognized artistic value." That eliminates non-fiction, although I realize some would consider all written works in a particular language as literature.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads I'd consider Maryland "Southern."

It was a slave state, and kept in the union 150 years ago by hook or by crook (and for good reason - D.C.'s situation would have been utterly untenable if it had seceeded).

Also, I remember from my childhood, that on trips north, that the line dividing where if you asked for "tea" what you automatically got was iced, rather than hot, was about the Maryland/Delaware line. (Circumstantial, I confess.)


message 47: by Manray9 (new)

Manray9 Susanna - Censored by GoodReads wrote: "I'd consider Maryland "Southern."

It was a slave state, and kept in the union 150 years ago by hook or by crook (and for good reason - D.C.'s situation would have been utterly untenable if it had ..."


We always considered the line to be Maryland-Virginia, south of that line they included grits with breakfast.


message 48: by Terry (new)

Terry Perrel Have you read my comic Southern novel, Cooley & Rose, which is primarily set in 1948 South Norfolk, VA? If you like Grit Lit, please take a look at the reviews on Goodreads and Amazon. Thanks.


message 49: by Sue (last edited Jan 03, 2014 08:59PM) (new)

Sue Peyton Place? Oh come on. New Hampshire has never been very southern and Massie's book on Empress Catherine Isn't either. Otherwise there are some great titles here. I'm trying to think of the title of Peter Mattheisen's book so I an add it. Oh well later I guess.
I looked it up...Shadow Country. What a book.


message 50: by Donna (new)

Donna Donna wrote: "Shawnee wrote: "I didn't see West Virginia in the list of states but I added books with author and setting from WV. Most of the state is below the Mason-Dixon line and we mountaineers consider ours..."

I agree, WV should be added to the list of Southern books.


« previous 1
back to top



Related News

Like  The Mothers , Brit Bennett’s bestselling debut,  The Vanishing Half  revolves around a secret with far-reaching implications. 

Anyone can add books to this list.