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

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4.28 avg rating — 4,837,022 ratings
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2

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4.30 avg rating — 1,114,010 ratings
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3

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4.46 avg rating — 2,298,291 ratings
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4

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3.82 avg rating — 1,183,620 ratings
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5

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4.27 avg rating — 276,292 ratings
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6

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4.06 avg rating — 1,161,381 ratings
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7

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4.23 avg rating — 556,483 ratings
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8

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3.92 avg rating — 800,497 ratings
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9

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3.86 avg rating — 163,301 ratings
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10

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3.95 avg rating — 284,343 ratings
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11

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3.92 avg rating — 239,017 ratings
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12

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3.98 avg rating — 96,344 ratings
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13

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3.72 avg rating — 142,655 ratings
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14

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4.23 avg rating — 198,678 ratings
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15

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3.98 avg rating — 271,469 ratings
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16

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3.88 avg rating — 242,809 ratings
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17

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3.83 avg rating — 531,290 ratings
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18

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4.21 avg rating — 40,228 ratings
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19

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3.87 avg rating — 228,060 ratings
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20

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4.01 avg rating — 99,131 ratings
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21

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4.12 avg rating — 1,404,440 ratings
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22

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4.08 avg rating — 738,307 ratings
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23

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3.97 avg rating — 39,841 ratings
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24

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4.06 avg rating — 60,937 ratings
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25

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4.12 avg rating — 39,848 ratings
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26

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4.25 avg rating — 443,877 ratings
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27

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3.66 avg rating — 177,565 ratings
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28

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4.42 avg rating — 152,195 ratings
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29

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really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 510,534 ratings
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30

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3.71 avg rating — 117,140 ratings
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31

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4.06 avg rating — 568,670 ratings
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32

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4.07 avg rating — 54,906 ratings
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33

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3.88 avg rating — 206,634 ratings
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34

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3.96 avg rating — 515,296 ratings
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35

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4.25 avg rating — 18,590 ratings
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36

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4.40 avg rating — 36,721 ratings
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37

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4.18 avg rating — 84,135 ratings
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38

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4.03 avg rating — 93,705 ratings
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39

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4.11 avg rating — 26,009 ratings
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39

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4.05 avg rating — 61,638 ratings
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41

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3.92 avg rating — 58,595 ratings
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42

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4.18 avg rating — 246,952 ratings
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43

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3.82 avg rating — 15,537 ratings
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44

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3.92 avg rating — 80,993 ratings
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45

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3.92 avg rating — 13,178 ratings
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46

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4.16 avg rating — 44,581 ratings
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47

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4.27 avg rating — 16,904 ratings
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48

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4.15 avg rating — 30,334 ratings
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49

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4.02 avg rating — 393,122 ratings
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50

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4.03 avg rating — 587,844 ratings
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51

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4.07 avg rating — 46,786 ratings
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52

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3.85 avg rating — 27,657 ratings
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53

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4.31 avg rating — 25,581 ratings
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54

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4.02 avg rating — 411,316 ratings
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55

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4.10 avg rating — 92,164 ratings
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56

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4.19 avg rating — 58,565 ratings
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57

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4.16 avg rating — 115,807 ratings
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58

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4.26 avg rating — 6,086 ratings
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59

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4.06 avg rating — 219,244 ratings
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60

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really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 102,504 ratings
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61

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3.58 avg rating — 760 ratings
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62

by
4.13 avg rating — 21,078 ratings
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63

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3.80 avg rating — 45,032 ratings
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64

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3.28 avg rating — 97,292 ratings
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65

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3.97 avg rating — 758,349 ratings
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66

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4.04 avg rating — 64,440 ratings
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67

by
4.12 avg rating — 10,943 ratings
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68

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4.22 avg rating — 7,760 ratings
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69

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3.67 avg rating — 25,555 ratings
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70

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3.98 avg rating — 14,005 ratings
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71

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3.96 avg rating — 52,885 ratings
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72

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3.68 avg rating — 16,073 ratings
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73

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4.23 avg rating — 12,804 ratings
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74

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3.88 avg rating — 30,271 ratings
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75

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3.80 avg rating — 13,470 ratings
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76

by
4.07 avg rating — 46 ratings
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77

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4.11 avg rating — 255,927 ratings
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78

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4.17 avg rating — 7,120 ratings
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79

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really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 181,905 ratings
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80

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4.05 avg rating — 104,777 ratings
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81

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3.97 avg rating — 55,471 ratings
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82

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4.31 avg rating — 78,054 ratings
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83

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4.18 avg rating — 18,492 ratings
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84

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4.02 avg rating — 242,510 ratings
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85

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3.73 avg rating — 13,919 ratings
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86

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4.02 avg rating — 12,195 ratings
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87

by
3.86 avg rating — 21,463 ratings
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88

by
3.87 avg rating — 14,676 ratings
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89

by
3.42 avg rating — 572 ratings
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90

by
4.23 avg rating — 50,692 ratings
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91

by
really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 181,737 ratings
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92

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4.10 avg rating — 105,852 ratings
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93

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3.94 avg rating — 9,262 ratings
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94

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3.85 avg rating — 43,146 ratings
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95

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3.98 avg rating — 50,382 ratings
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96

by
3.50 avg rating — 11,031 ratings
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97

by
3.88 avg rating — 24,205 ratings
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98

by
3.56 avg rating — 55,806 ratings
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99

by
3.82 avg rating — 33,683 ratings
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100

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3.85 avg rating — 57,628 ratings
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485 likes · 
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


JG (Introverted Reader) 3204 books
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Jessica 6694 books
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Jay 1124 books
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Jennifer 3010 books
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Lara 1745 books
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Brigid ✩ 1412 books
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Todd 303 books
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Carl 3652 books
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More voters…


Comments Showing 1-50 of 60 (60 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 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 27: 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 29: 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 30: 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 31: 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 32: 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 33: 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 35: 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 36: 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 38: 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 39: by Manray9 (new)

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


message 40: 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 41: 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 42: 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 43: 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 45: 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 46: 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 47: 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 48: 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.


message 49: by Calypso Jane (new)

Calypso Jane Beloved takes place in Ohio.


message 50: by Kelly (new)

Kelly How about The Yearling by Rawlings?


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