On the Southern Literary Trail discussion

note: This topic has been closed to new comments.
Nominations > Now Accepting Nominations for December, 2015, Group Reads

Comments Showing 1-41 of 41 (41 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Lawyer, "Lawyer Stevens" (new)

Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 3313 comments Mod
I am now accepting nominations for our December group reads.

As a recent new member suggested, here's a bit of information you need to know about nominations.

You may nominate a work in TWO categories. Those categories are PRE-1980 and POST-1980. Those dates refer to WHEN a book was PUBLISHED. Not when a book was set in time.

The book SHOULD be a work of SOUTHERN LITERATURE. Just what is that? Well, I could write a book on the subject. But, very briefly, a work of Southern literature is written by an author born in the South dealing with Southern settings, characters, historical events such as the Civil War, Reconstruction, and many more. Think William Faulkner. However, it may also be a work by a Southern writer who has LEFT the South, who lives, for instance, in Brooklyn, New York, who observes life with the values of his growing up in the South. A Prime example would be Sophie's Choice by William Styron.

But, to broaden the definition, hopefully not to confuse you, a work can be Southern literature, even when written by an author born in the North. Think Beloved by Toni Morrison, a work you will find on many "Lists of Best Southern Literature."

Now to the nitty gritty. I accept SIX nominations in each category. OR, the Nominations remain open for FIVE DAYS. The nominations are CLOSED upon receiving the required number of nominations or the passage of five days, WHICH EVER HAPPENS FIRST. I then set up the POLLS on which YOU VOTE.

Many of our members have been around since I founded this group in February, 2012. The group has changed in membership since it was formed. I recognize that newer members may wish to read a novel which has been previously chosen as a group read. AND WE DO THAT! However, I ask that you NOT NOMINATE A WORK READ WITHIN THE LAST YEAR AND A HALF. Groups work best where everyone plays well with others. How do you know WHAT HAS BEEN READ WHEN? Go to the BOOKSHELF on the GROUP'S HOMEPAGE. SEARCH for the title you're interested in. You will see if a work has been read before and when it was. And, of course, if you have a question, e-mail me via goodreads. I'll let you know.


I'm sure some of you may have other questions. You may always write to me through goodreads e-mail. I ALWAYS respond. It may not be right away. All of us have lives outside the goodreads community. BUT I ALWAYS RESPOND!

ONE LAST THING! I believe in this group being member driven. I do not nominate. I do note vote. My fellow moderators do. I couldn't do without them. As a group, each of us take turns offering an alternate read each month called the MODERATOR'S CHOICE.

Happy Reading,
Mike Sullivan

message 2: by Laura, "The Tall Woman" (new)

Laura | 1397 comments Mod
Pre-1980 Strange fruit by Lillian Smith.

message 4: by Doug H (last edited Oct 17, 2015 11:57AM) (new)

Doug H Paris Trout by Pete Dexter for Post-1980

message 5: by Tina (new)

Tina  | 499 comments Post 1980 :Rivers

message 6: by LeAnne: (new)

LeAnne: GeezerMom | 1319 comments Do we happen to have a consolidated list of second or third place books from our polls? Id love to skim over the win-place-show lists, but need to hop off this iPhone to do so.

message 7: by LeAnne: (new)

LeAnne: GeezerMom | 1319 comments And I loved both Paris Trout and Rivers!

message 8: by LeAnne: (new)

LeAnne: GeezerMom | 1319 comments "A Feast of Snakes,"1976, by Harry Crews - s'il vous plait!

message 9: by Iris (new)

Iris (iris-livia) | 1 comments The Heart is a lonely hunter by Carson McCullers

message 10: by [deleted user] (last edited Oct 17, 2015 05:28PM) (new)

Warriors Don't Cry (Unabridged) by Melba Pattillo Bealswarriors do not cry post 1980

message 11: by [deleted user] (last edited Oct 17, 2015 05:42PM) (new)

if you push for a feast of snakes on and on it would win soon or later

message 12: by Thing Two (new)

message 13: by Tina (new)

Tina  | 499 comments Pre- 1980 A Streetcar Named Desire
Because I'm not shy about trying one more time. ;0)

message 14: by Howard (new)

Howard | 370 comments post-1980

THE ICE GARDEN by Moira Crone

"In the sixties in a small town in North Carolina, young Claire McKenzie's new baby sister arrives. Her mother has always been fragile and unsteady, but her lack of interest in the infant signals a new emotional deterioration. While Claire struggles to keep every one safe, her father is too distracted by his beautiful wife to recognize the impending dangers. Claire is left largely on her own to save her family. Her outsized responsibility brings about mesmerizing, and shocking consequences---and trigger events that will shape Claire's life forever."

message 15: by Howard (new)

Howard | 370 comments pre-1980


"Since it was first published in 1952, Lincoln and His Generals has remained one of the definitive accounts of Lincoln’s wartime leadership. In it T. Harry Williams dramatizes Lincoln’s long and frustrating search for an effective leader of the Union Army and traces his transformation from a politician with little military knowledge into a master strategist of the Civil War.... In this superbly written narrative, Williams demonstrates how Lincoln’s persistent “meddling” into military affairs was crucial to the Northern war effort and utterly transformed the president’s role as commander-in-chief."

message 16: by Tom, "Big Daddy" (last edited Oct 17, 2015 07:28PM) (new)

Tom Mathews | 1842 comments Mod
Post 1980: Landfall by Ellen Urbani.
Landfall by Ellen Urbani
Ellen's book has been described as “A deeply soulful novel set during the chaos of Hurricane Katrina and the long, moody ebb of its aftermath, Landfall recalls Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God for the strength of the women in its pages, and their resilience despite immeasurable loss. Urbani knows it's only love that truly overcomes catastrophe, that even as we search for the answer to that most elusive question--Why?, everything in our lives can always change in an instant, sometimes even for the better."

I had the opportunity to meet with the author last weekend and she would be thrilled to participate in a discussion of her book.

message 17: by Tina (new)

Tina  | 499 comments Loved it!

message 18: by Angela M (new)

Angela M I loved it too and think it would be a good one for discussion.

message 19: by CS (new)

CS Barron pre-1980
Richard Wright, Native Son (1940). A seminal work, a classic, by an Afro-American author who influenced Ralph Ellison. It has been criticized as polemic literature. Nonetheless, its themes of black identity and race relations, particularly the entanglement of black men in the criminal justice system, are relevant today. Wright grew up in Mississippi and moved to Chicago as a young adult. The novel takes place in Chicago. I haven't read this book.

Joy Williams, Breaking and Entering (1988). A novel about two drifters who break into Florida vacation houses. Williams has gotten attention lately because she has published a new collection of short stories.
I have read some of Williams' short stories, not this novel, and yes, her writing can be unsettling.

A couple new releases by Southern authors, both in Sept 2015
Joy Williams, The Visiting Privilege
Ron Rash, Above The Waterfall
I haven't read either of these books; would like to, though.

message 20: by Tom, "Big Daddy" (last edited Oct 17, 2015 08:48PM) (new)

Tom Mathews | 1842 comments Mod
LeAnne wrote: "Do we happen to have a consolidated list of second or third place books from our polls?"

Here are the other nominations for the last three months. In the pre-1980 A Feast of Snakes scored very highly in the last two polls. Under a Dark Summer Sky was also in two of the last three polls.

Maybe it would be worth considering whether we should occasionally have a poll consisting of high-scoring runner-ups.

•The Ice Garden
•Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs
•Under a Dark Summer Sky
•Where the Souls Go
•Boy's Life
•Phantom Army of the Civil War and Other Southern Ghost Stories
•The Pecan Man
•Citizens Creek
•An Hour Before Daylight: Memoirs of a Rural Boyhood
•Under a Dark Summer Sky
•Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America
•Fair and Tender Ladies
•Flight Behavior

•Feast of Snakes
•Love in a Dry Season
•The Water is Wide: A Memoir
•My Soul Is Rested: Movement Days in the Deep South Remembered
•The Old Order: Stories of the South
•A Feast of Snakes
•The Marrow of Tradition
•Lie Down in Darkness
•Raintree County
•The Education of Little Tree
•Lamb in His Bosom
•Beasts of the Southern Wild and Other Stories
•Roots: The Saga of an American Family
•Lanterns on the Levee: Recollections of a Planter's Son
•Knight's Gambit

message 21: by Tom, "Big Daddy" (new)

Tom Mathews | 1842 comments Mod
LeAnne wrote: ""A Feast of Snakes,"1976, by Harry Crews - s'il vous plait!"

I'm most likely going to go with this one. A Feast of Snakes has come in second the last two months and deserves to be chosen.

A Feast of Snakes by Harry Crews

message 22: by Jane (new)

Jane | 777 comments Hi I don t feel I should nominate this time around because I am still in the process of moving house and I am halfway through just about all past months' books.

However, I do check the group and comments everyday and that gives me great pleasure so I will be back once these boxes have moved .......

message 23: by Doug H (new)

Doug H I like the sound of all of those will add some to my TR list even if the group doesn't pick. I officially withdraw my pre-1980 suggestion (*waves notarized papers around*) and fifth the nomination for Feast of Snakes.

btw, Hard to find Harry Crews unless you buy a paperback online through Amazon. No eBooks of anything and nothing in stores. I was looking for his stuff in used and new bookstores last week and couldn't find a thing, even at a big B&N. Something's wrong there.

message 24: by Doug H (new)

Doug H Feast of Snakes for Christmas, oh my!

message 25: by Lawyer, "Lawyer Stevens" (last edited Oct 18, 2015 08:44AM) (new)

Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 3313 comments Mod
Laura wrote: "Pre-1980 Strange fruit by Lillian Smith."

Good morning! Thanks, Laura. Strange Fruit by Lillian E. Smith, Pre-1980, is nominated.

This novel was published in 1944 and became an instant best seller when it was "banned in Boston." It deals with an interracial relationship and a lynching in a small southern town after WWI. The novel was not allowed to be read by American combat troops. Eleanor Roosevelt read the novel and told FDR the book must be removed from the banned list.

The title? It comes from one of Billie Holliday's most famous songs "Strange Fruit," the lyrics taken from a poem by Abel Meeropol, written in 1937.

Here is the poem:

Strange Fruit

By Billie Holiday and Abel Meeropol (1937)

Southern trees bear strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.

Pastoral scene of the gallant south,
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,
Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh,
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh.

Here is fruit for the crows to pluck,
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop,
Here is a strange and bitter crop.

Brava, Laura, for a great nomination!

message 26: by Lawyer, "Lawyer Stevens" (new)

Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 3313 comments Mod
Doug wrote: "Reflections in a Golden Eye by Carson McCullers for Pre-1980"

Doug, many thanks for your nomination of McCuller's Reflections in a Golden Eye, pre-1980. It is nominated.

Gloriosky! Reflections in a Golden Eye contains, for this reader, Carson McCullers' most dysfunctional cast of characters.

McCullers wrote the novella in 1939 in a furious two month period of writing. She originally titled the piece "Army Post." It is safe to say that the Post is Fort Benning, Georgia, near Columbus, Georgia, where McCullers grew up.

The story line comes from a story related to McCullers by her husband Reeves who had been a soldier stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, concerning a voyeur, who peeped into the windows of married couples on post.

From WIKI:

Plot Summary:

Capt. Weldon Penderton and his wife Leonora, a feeble-minded Army brat, have a fiery relationship and she takes in many lovers. Leonora's current lover, Major Morris Langdon, lives with his depressed wife Alison and her flamboyant Filipino houseboy Anacleto, near the Pendertons.

Capt. Penderton, as a closeted homosexual, realizes that he is physically attracted to Pvt. Williams, but remains unaware of the private's attraction to Leonora.

Reception and critical analysis

After its publication in 1941 the novel caused some consternation in Columbus, Georgia and at Fort Benning, where people speculated about the source of McCullers' tale.

According to author Michael Bronski, writing in 2003, McCullers tackled the topics of "homosexuality, sadism, voyeurism, and fetishism [while exploring] the boundaries of eroticism, outsider status and the fragility of normal in Reflections in a Golden Eye."

Anthony Slide, another 21st-century scholar, considers Reflections in a Golden Eye to be one of only four familiar gay novels in the English language in the first half of the twentieth century. The other three are Djuna Barnes' Nightwood, Truman Capote's Other Voices, Other Rooms, and Gore Vidal's The City and the Pillar.

Dinner and a movie? John Huston filmed the novel and released the movie in 1967. It was among his favorite films. What a cast! Brando. Elizabeth Taylor. Brian Keith. Julie Harris.

Great nomination, Doug!

message 27: by Lawyer, "Lawyer Stevens" (new)

Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 3313 comments Mod
Doug wrote: "Paris Trout by Pete Dexter for Post-1980"

Doug, another winner from you! Paris Trout by Pete Dexter, Post-1980, is nominated.

Peter Dexter won the National Book Award for Fiction for this 1988 novel. Paris Trout is a store owner in the small town of Cotton Point, Georgia, in the 1950s. He's a damned mean man who casually murders the baby sister of a young black man who owes him money. This is a novel about racism, violence, and a community's reaction to it. It is a compelling read.

Dinner and a movie? The novel was filmed for HBO starring Dennis Hopper as Paris Trout. Hopper was magnificent. Ed Harris starred as Trout's defense counsel.

message 28: by Lawyer, "Lawyer Stevens" (new)

Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 3313 comments Mod
Tina wrote: "Post 1980 :Rivers"

Done, Tina! Rivers by Michael Farris Smith is nominated. Post-1980.

From the Washington Post Book Review:

"By Mary Doria Russell

September 25, 2013

Michael Farris Smith couldn’t have known that his first novel, “Rivers,” would come out shortly after Cleveland headlines told of young women held captive by a creepy guy who thought he was doing those girls a big favor. But another other element of this fine near-future story relies on headlines we read as each hurricane season begins: Ocean Levels Continue to Rise; Louisiana Shrinking as Climate Change Softens the Gulf Coast; This Can Only Get Worse.

In “Rivers,” the government stops trying to save inundated coasts and draws a line in the sand — “a geographical boundary that said, We give up. The storms can have it. No more rebuilding and no more reconstruction.” Residents get fair warning. “The Line was coming and a mandatory evacuation order had been decreed and help was offered” to those who decide to move inland.

Stay where you are, however, and you do so at your own risk. There will be no police or fire protection, no services of any kind in a Mad Max dystopia where only those “mobile enough to scavenge and brutal enough to pillage” are likely to survive for long.

That sounds fine to Aggie, the snake-handling messianic antagonist of “Rivers.” He likes the idea of no taxes, no laws and no interference with his plans to found a biblical community that takes its inspiration from the story of Noah.

If you’ve heard about Ariel Castro’s enslavement of those young women in Cleveland, you’ll find Smith’s portrayal of Aggie instructive. In less talented hands, Aggie would have been a soulless villain, inevitably vanquished by the Decent Man, Cohen, who stumbles onto a village of women locked in old FEMA trailers, rescues them from Aggie’s clutches and leads them like Moses to the promised land above The Line.

That’s probably how the screenplay will be written — and this is a wonderfully cinematic story — but there are no Hollywood cliches in Smith’s prose or plot. He portrays each character as a human being with a back story and personality: They may make choices that appall or frustrate us, but the characters are rounded and real — they make sense to themselves and act accordingly.

The hustler Charlie, for example, has always believed that society would disintegrate. “[H]e had found satisfaction in a return to the natural world, where there was no credit. There was no payment plan. There was what do I have that somebody wants and how much are they willing to pay for it. It was a system that he thrived in. A system that gave him a purpose.” Survivalist mentality, in a nutshell: a yearning for simpler times where what you didn’t understand doesn’t matter because it’s all disappeared.

As Cohen struggles to save a small band of women from Aggie and the punishing weather, Smith resorts to no formula, and his ability to keep you guessing about what will happen next adds tension to long stretches of honed prose. He also manages to make 300 pages of relentless rain so real that you’re surprised your fingers aren’t pruney when you look up from this engrossing story."

message 29: by Lawyer, "Lawyer Stevens" (last edited Oct 18, 2015 10:09AM) (new)

Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 3313 comments Mod
LeAnne wrote: ""A Feast of Snakes,"1976, by Harry Crews - s'il vous plait!"

LeAnne, as you wish. Bad Santa delivers. *Ahem* A Feast of Snakes by Harry Crews, Pre-1980, is nominated.

From "Lawyer Stevens'" Review:

"Want to take a trip to the Rough South? Let Harry Crews take you down to Mystic, Georgia, for the annual Rattlesnake Roundup, a dark mixture of booze, sex, football, and violence, in his eighth novel, A Feast of Snakes.

Mystic, Georgia, is basically a dot on the map these days, located in Irwin County, with a population of 229.

At twenty-one Joe Lon Mackey is a has been. The former Boss Snake of the town's high school Rattlers, a mean football machine, could have played anywhere he wanted except for one thing. He wasn't a good student. Though a star on the grid, and over the hood of head cheerleader Berenice Sweet's Corvette, Joe Lon scored on a regular basis, Joe Lon wasn't accepted to any college.

"That's the way they all put it in Mystic: Joe Lon Mackey is not a good student. But it was worse than that and they all knew it. It had never been established exactly if Joe Lon could read. Most of the teachers at Mystic High who had been privileged to have him in their classrooms thought he probably couldn't. But they liked him anyway, even loved him, loved tall, blond, high school All-American Joe Lon Mackey whose exceptional quietness off the playing field everybody chose to call courtesy."

Berenice has moved on to the University of Georgia. Her younger sister Hard Candy is head majorette at the high school and goes with the new Boss Snake Willard Miller. Though three years younger, Willard is Joe Lon's best buddy. It's Joe Lon's link to his glory days.

Joe Lon's real life makes him want to howl. He has married Elfie who started out pretty enough, but after he's put two babies in her belly one after the other, Elfie has lost that girlish appeal. Their two boys constantly wail, and Joe Lon had rather be anywhere other than their double wide. Elfie is the target of Joe Lon's constant emotional abuse and, at times, physical.

Big Joe Lon was the town bootlegger. Little Joe Lon has been allowed to take over the business. He spends his days selling shine and unlabeled bonded whiskey. The big money comes once a year when the Rattlesnake Roundup rolls around.

Joe Lon bought ten acres of land, turning it into a trailer and camp site. The Roundup started out small, but through the years, the word has gotten around. Thousands of snake loving hunters and snake curious tourists descend on Mystic and Joe Lon's camp ground."

What happens at Mystic's Rattlesnake Rodeo will blow your mind.

Put A Feast of Snakes into your Christmas stocking and it will really writhe and wiggle. This is Grit Lit pure and simple.

message 30: by Lawyer, "Lawyer Stevens" (new)

Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 3313 comments Mod
Within moments of calling for nominations yesterday, I received these nominations via goodreads e-mail. They are as follows:

From Brenda https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/8...

Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner, Pre-1980.

From Bookrags.com:

Published in 1936, Absalom, Absalom! is considered by many to be William Faulkner's masterpiece. Although the novel's complex and fragmented structure poses considerable difficulty to readers, the book's literary merits place it squarely in the ranks of America's finest novels. The story concerns Thomas Sutpen, a poor man who finds wealth and then marries into a respectable family. His ambition and extreme need for control bring about his ruin and the ruin of his family. Sutpen's story is told by several narrators, allowing the reader to observe variations in the saga as it is recounted by different speakers. This unusual technique spotlights one of the novel's central questions: To what extent can people know the truth about the past?

From Lawyer Stevens'" Review:

"And the king was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept: and as he went, thus he said, O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son! Second Samuel, 18:33, King James Version

Interestingly enough, Absalom, Absalom! and Gone with the Wind were both published in 1936. Both were novels of the Old South. However, while Margaret Mitchell chose to romanticize that society, William Faulkner removed any element of fanciful romance from the story revolving around the rise and fall of Thomas Sutpen, a man with a design to found a patriarchal dynasty, but who lost everything in his attempt to do.

Faulkner originally titled his novel, "Dark House," but as he wrote his complex story adopted the story of King David and his son Absalom as a more appropriate fit with the figure of Thomas Sutpen and his family. This was a novel that Faulkner struggled with through false starts, interruptions with his work as a screenwriter for Howard Hawks, and the death of his younger brother Dean who died in a plane crash in 1935. Further, his initial submissions to his publisher were returned to him as being confusing and incapable of being understood.

Faulkner's premise for Sutpen's story is no one person is capable of knowing what truth is. History is an amalgam of documentation, memory, and the telling of it. One lawyer colleague of mine has as his motto, "Perception is reality." For the reader of "Absalom, Absalom!" it is quite similar to being a member of a jury, listening to the testimony of multiple witnesses, weighing their demeanor, their testimony, their biases and prejudices, viewing the exhibits, and ultimately, as a group determining what is the truth of the case tried before them.

Faulkner had his characters and story in mind. His problem was how to tell the story of Thomas Sutpen and the lives of his children which occurred in the past by characters in the ostensible present of the novel. Among his working papers was a flow chart showing the sources of information and the basis of how his characters knew what they did. At the top was Thomas Sutpen, originally named Charles. From Sutpen, a line flowed to Rosa Colfield, who would be Sutpen's sister-in-law. Another line flowed to the right to General Compson, his only apparent friend, to his son Quentin Compson II. In the center at the bottom of the working page is Quentin Compson III, whom we originally meet in The Sound and the Fury. Quentin is linked to Sutpen by his direct connection to Rosa Colfield who tells the story from her perspective, and from information passed down to him by his grandfather and father. Quentin emerges as the central thread from whom we learn the "evidence" of the case of Thomas Sutpen. Then, in a masterstroke of structure, Faulkner provides the reader with Quentin's Harvard roommate, Shreve McCannon, an outsider, a Canadian, who provides questions and his own interpretation of the information Quentin provides him.

In essence, Faulkner's structure is much akin to eating an artichoke, peeling the delicate leaves from it, nipping the tender flesh from the base of the leaves, until we reach the unveiled heart, the ultimate delicacy, or in literary terms, what the reader discerns to be the truth."


Bad Monkey by Carl Hiaasen

From the goodreads summary:

Carl Hiaasen is back doing what he does best: spinning a wickedly funny, fiercely pointed tale in which the greedy, the corrupt, and the degraders of pristine land in Florida--now, in the Bahamas too--get their comeuppance in mordantly ingenious, diabolically entertaining fashion.

Andrew Yancy--late of the Miami Police, soon-to-be-late of the Key West Police--has a human arm in his freezer. There's a logical (Hiaasenian) explanation for that, but not for how and why it parted from its owner. Yancy thinks the boating-accident/shark-luncheon explanation is full of holes, and if he can prove murder, his commander might relieve him of Health Inspector duties, aka Roach Patrol. But first Yancy will negotiate an ever-surprising course of events--from the Keys to Miami to a Bahamian out island--with a crew of equally ever-surprising characters, including: the twitchy widow of the frozen arm; an avariciously idiotic real estate developer; a voodoo witch whose lovers are blinded-unto-death by her particularly peculiar charms; Yancy's new love, a kinky medical examiner; and the eponymous Bad Monkey, who earns his place among Hiaasen's greatest characters with hilariously wicked aplomb.

message 31: by Lawyer, "Lawyer Stevens" (new)

Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 3313 comments Mod
Iris wrote: "The Heart is a lonely hunter by Carson McCullers"

Iris, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers is nominated. Pre-1980. Should this novel take poll, it would be the most read novel by the group with three reads. McCullers has been a favorite on the Trail!

From WIKI:

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (1940) is the début novel by the American author Carson McCullers; she was 23 at the time of publication. It is about a deaf man named John Singer who does not speak, and the people he encounters in a 1930s mill town in the US state of Georgia.

Plot introduction

The book begins with a focus on the relationship between two close friends, John Singer and Spiros Antonapoulous. The two are described as deaf-mutes who have lived together for several years. Antonopoulous becomes mentally ill, misbehaves, and despite attempts at intervention from Singer, is eventually put into an insane asylum in away from town. Now alone, Singer moves into a new room.

The remainder of the narrative centers on the struggles of four of John Singer's acquaintances: Mick Kelly, a tomboyish girl who loves music and dreams of buying a piano; Jake Blount, an alcoholic labor agitator; Biff Brannon, the observant owner of a diner; and Dr. Benedict Mady Copeland, an idealistic black physician.

When published, the novel created a literary sensation, enjoying a meteoric rise to the top of the bestseller lists in 1940; it was the first in a string of works by McCullers that give voice to those who are rejected, forgotten, mistreated or oppressed.

The Modern Library ranked the novel seventeenth on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century. Time magazine included it in TIME 100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005."

And, yes, it IS one of my all time favorites. Thanks so much for your nomination!

message 32: by Tom, "Big Daddy" (new)

Tom Mathews | 1842 comments Mod
Mike wrote: "Interestingly enough, Absalom, Absalom! and Gone with the Wind were both published in 1936. Both were novels of the Old South. However, while Margaret Mitchell chose to romanticize that society, William Faulkner removed any element of fanciful romance from the story revolving around the rise and fall of Thomas Sutpen, a man with a design to found a patriarchal dynasty, but who lost everything in his attempt to do."

Sutpen's Hundred may not be Tara but I just read that it has made it onto a list of 20 of the Creepiest Haunted Houses, Castles, and Mansions in Literature.

message 33: by Lawyer, "Lawyer Stevens" (new)

Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 3313 comments Mod
Erika wrote: "Warriors Don't Cry (Unabridged) by Melba Pattillo Bealswarriors do not cry post 1980"

Erika, good on you for your perseverance. You've consistently stuck to your guns in nominating this one. I was looking at this one just the other day. It looks like an excellent read. Many thanks for your continued contributions to the Trail.

Warriors Don't Cry: The Searing Memoir of the Battle to Integrate Little Rock's Central High, by Melba Pattillo Beals Post-1980, is nominated!

From the goodreads summary:

The landmark 1954 Supreme Court ruling, Brown v. Board of Education, brought the promise of integration to Little Rock, Arkansas, but it was hard-won for the nine black teenagers chosen to integrate Central High School in 1957. They ran the gauntlet between a rampaging mob and the heavily armed Arkansas National Guard, dispatched by Governor Orval Faubus to subvert federal law and bar them from entering the school. President Dwight D. Eisenhower responded by sending in soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division, the elite "Screaming Eagles" - and transformed Melba Pattillo and her eight friends into reluctant warriors on the battlefield of civil rights. May 17, 1994, marks the fortieth anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education ruling, which was argued and won by Thurgood Marshall, whose passion and presence emboldened the Little Rock struggle. Melba Pattillo Beals commemorates the milestone decision in this first-person account of her ordeal at the center of the violent confrontation that helped shape the civil rights movement. Beals takes us from the lynch mob that greeted the terrified fifteen-year-old to a celebrity homecoming with her eight compatriots thirty years later, on October 23, 1987, hosted by Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton in the mansion that Faubus built. As they returned to tour the halls of the school, gathering from myriad professions and all corners of the country, they were greeted by the legacy of their courage - a bespectacled black teenager, the president of the student body at Central High. Beals chronicles her harrowing junior year at Central High, when she began each school day by polishing her saddle shoes and bracing herself for battle. Nothing, not eventhe 101st Airborne Division, could blunt the segregationists' brutal organized campaign of terrorism that included telephone threats, insults and assaults at school, brigades of attacking mothers, rogue police, restroom fireball attacks, acid-throwers, vigilante stalkers, economic

message 34: by Lawyer, "Lawyer Stevens" (new)

Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 3313 comments Mod
Tina wrote: "Pre- 1980 A Streetcar Named Desire
Because I'm not shy about trying one more time. ;0)"

Tina, another persevering nominator. GRIN A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams, pre-1980, is nominated!

All right, people. Listen up. One. More. Time. *ahem*

From WIKI:

A Streetcar Named Desire is a 1947 play written by American playwright Tennessee Williams[1] which received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1948. The play opened on Broadway on December 3, 1947, and closed on December 17, 1949, in the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. The Broadway production was directed by Elia Kazan and starred Marlon Brando, Jessica Tandy, Kim Hunter, and Karl Malden.[2] The London production opened in 1949 with Bonar Colleano, Vivien Leigh, and Renee Asherson and was directed by Laurence Olivier.[1] The drama A Streetcar Named Desire is often regarded among the finest of American plays of the 20th century, alongside Long Day's Journey into Night and Death of a Salesman.


message 35: by Lawyer, "Lawyer Stevens" (new)

Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 3313 comments Mod
Tom wrote: "Mike wrote: "Interestingly enough, Absalom, Absalom! and Gone with the Wind were both published in 1936. Both were novels of the Old South. However, while Margaret Mitchell chose to romanticize tha..."

That would be quite appropriate, Tom. Indeed.

message 36: by Lawyer, "Lawyer Stevens" (new)

Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 3313 comments Mod
The Nominations for the PRE-1980 Group Reads for December, 2015 are now CLOSED.

message 37: by Lawyer, "Lawyer Stevens" (new)

Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 3313 comments Mod
Thing Two wrote: "I'll nominate
The Dharma Bums by Jack KerouacThe Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac for pre and
A Place We Knew Well by Susan Carol McCarthy A Place We Knew Well for Pre-1980. BUT! I will go ahead, confess my ignorance and admit I have NEVER, EVER, read KEROUAC. *THUMP!* Sooooo...uhm, save me a little time. How is this Beat writer Southern Lit? I wanna know!

Having said that...A Place We Knew Well by Susan Carol McCarthy, Post-1980, is nominated!

From the book blurb:

Susan Carol McCarthy blends fact, memory, imagination and truth with admirable grace,” said The Washington Post of the author’s critically acclaimed debut novel, Lay That Trumpet in Our Hands. Now McCarthy returns with another enthralling story of a family—their longings, their fears, and their secrets—swept up in the chaos at the height of the Cold War.

Late October, 1962. Wes Avery, a one-time Air Force tail-gunner, is living his version of the American Dream as loving husband to Sarah, doting father to seventeen-year-old Charlotte, and owner of a successful Texaco station along central Florida’s busiest highway. But after President Kennedy announces that the Soviets have nuclear missiles in Cuba, Army convoys clog the highways and the sky fills with fighter planes. Within days, Wes’s carefully constructed life begins to unravel.

Sarah, nervous and watchful, spends more and more time in the family’s bomb shelter, slipping away into childhood memories and the dreams she once held for the future. Charlotte is wary but caught up in the excitement of high school—her nomination to homecoming court, the upcoming dance, and the thrill of first love. Wes, remembering his wartime experience, tries to keep his family’s days as normal as possible, hoping to restore a sense of calm. But as the panic over the Missile Crisis rises, a long-buried secret threatens to push the Averys over the edge.

With heartbreaking clarity and compassion, Susan Carol McCarthy captures the shock and innocence, anxiety and fear, in those thirteen historic days, and brings vividly to life one ordinary family trying to hold center while the world around them falls apart.

Advance praise for A Place We Knew Well

“Gripping . . . Even as those tense days of the Cuban Missile Crisis are depicted in unwavering detail and with inexorable dread, the intimate moments between human beings on the verge of the apocalypse stand out. This multilayered story will remain with you long after you turn the last page.”—Melanie Benjamin, New York Times bestselling author of The Aviator’s Wife

“Susan Carol McCarthy makes a nightmarish moment in America’s recent past terrifyingly immediate and devastatingly personal. This was what it was like to live, and even more astonishingly, to go on loving—as a husband, as a wife, as a young girl on the cusp of womanhood—with the threat of nuclear annihilation hovering only miles offshore.”—Ellen Feldman, author of Next to Love

“Susan Carol McCarthy’s genius is in turning history over to muscle-and-blood human beings who variously hope, fear, lash out, hold steady, and tear at the seams. If you weren’t there, this is as close to living through the Cuban Missile Crisis as you will ever come.”—Tom McNeal, author of To Be Sung Underwater

A Personal Recollection of the Cuban Missile Crisis

It takes a worried man...
June 9, 2010 at 6:25am

Michel de Montaigne, the French essayist, wrote, "My life has been filled with terrible misfortune, most of which never happened."

If you look around town you can still find fall-out shelters in the yards of some homes. Just down the street from me there is a vacant house with a huge shelter. The shelter has become overgrown with vines. The door is rusted. It hangs slanted on its hinges. The sun has to hit it just right to light the interior. Of course, I've been in it. It is dark, damp and dank.

When I was ten years old, I wanted a fall-out shelter. The Cuban Missile Crisis was on. We had drill days at school. I learned to duck and cover with the best of them. We had to draw a map showing how we would get home in case the missiles launched. One afternoon the sirens wailed, we were released from school and told to walk home. It was a scary time.

My grandparents didn't see the need for a fall-out shelter and they didn't build one. I had sleepless nights over that. My grandparents liked our back yard just the way it was. They kept it the way they liked it.

When I was older, I liked it that way, too. I planted roses back there. I tilled the ground and planted squash, okra, tomatoes, peppers and pole beans. The roses were beautiful and the vegetables delicious. It was a much better use of a back yard.

In the late 1920s, A.P. Carter, the head of the Carter Family, met a one legged black singer and guitarist, Esley Riddle. Riddle introduced Carter to many spiritual and blues songs. They went from door to door in the heart of the Jim Crow South collecting songs. They must have made a sight to see. You might think they had something to be worried about.

Riddle and Carter found and collected "The Worried Man Blues." The refrain goes, "It takes a worried man to sing a worried song, I'm worried now, but I won't be worried long."

The market crashed in 1929, ushering in the Great Depression. "The Worried Man Blues" was a hit song of 1930. During the days of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the song was a hit for the Kingston Trio.

If we allow ourselves to be scared of shadows, what kind of life do we lead?

It's difficult to keep your worries in perspective. Most of the time Michel Montaigne has it right. At other times, I think of Satchel Paige's rules to live by. Say, this one: "Don't look back. Something might be gaining on you."

In October of 1962, it was one minute to midnight on the Doomsday Clock. Well, it takes a worried man to sing a worried song.

Now I am sixty-three. As the years pass you learn to accept the ticking of the clock with more ease. Sometimes, you don't hear it at all.

To Life--

Copyright 2015. Mike Sullivan

message 38: by Lawyer, "Lawyer Stevens" (new)

Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 3313 comments Mod
Tom wrote: "Post 1980: Landfall by Ellen Urbani.
Landfall by Ellen Urbani
Ellen's book has been described as “A deeply soulful novel set during the chaos of Hurricane Katri..."

Tom, you're becoming a Trail Dynamo. My continued thanks for your efforts. Landfall by Ellen Urbani, Post-1980, is nominated!

Well, this one has deinitely piqued my interest. Looking at a sample of this one, I learned that the incidents related ironically begin in my hometown, Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The setting is eerily accurate. Then, I found out why.

About the Author

Ellen Urbani is the author of Landfall (Forest Avenue Press, 2015), a work of historical fiction set in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and the memoir When I Was Elena (The Permanent Press, 2006), a Book Sense Notable selection documenting her life in Guatemala during the final years of that country's civil war. Her autobiographical essays and short stories have appeared in a variety of bestselling pop-culture anthologies as well as the New York Times.

Ellen earned a B.A. in Writing and Design at the University of Alabama in 1991. After serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Guatemala from 1991-1993 she returned stateside to obtain a Master of Arts degree in Art Therapy from Marylhurst University in 1996, specializing in oncological illness and trauma survival. She is a renowned speaker on the national lecture circuit, and her work is the subject of a short documentary, Paint Me a Future, which won the Juror's Award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival in 2000, qualifying it for Oscar consideration. As a former mental health specialist for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and advisory board member at the Annenberg Center for Health Science Research, she focused on addressing the emotional repercussions of disease and disaster. This therapeutic perspective informs her characterization of the victims of Hurricane Katrina in Landfall, allowing for a nuanced fictional interpretation of historic events.

Having spent her formative years in Virginia and Alabama, Ellen's a Southerner at heart--meaning her pets will always be dawgs and any group of two or more is consistently referred to as y'all--though she currently lives on a working farm near Portland, Oregon, with her husband, two young children, and a passel of barnyard pets.

About the Book

Two mothers and their teenage daughters, whose lives collide in a fatal car crash, take turns narrating Ellen Urbani's breathtaking novel, Landfall, set in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Eighteen-year-olds Rose and Rosebud have never met but they share a birth year, a name, and a bloody pair of sneakers. Rose’s quest to atone for the accident that kills Rosebud, a young woman so much like herself but for the color of her skin, unfolds alongside Rosebud’s battle to survive the devastating flooding in the Lower Ninth Ward and to find help for her unstable mother. These unforgettable characters give voice to the dead of the storm and, in a stunning twist, demonstrate how what we think we know can make us blind to what matters most.

Pat Conroy said this: "With her new novel Landfall, Ellen Urbani enters the world of American fiction with a bang and a flourish. She brings back the terrible Hurricane Katrina that tore some of the heart out of the matchless city of New Orleans, but did not lay a finger on its soul. It is the story of people caught in that storm and the lives both ruined and glorified in its passage. Her descriptions of the flooding of the Ninth Ward are Faulknerian in their powers. It’s a hell of a book and worthy of the storm and times it describes."

Wow, Tom. What a nomination!

message 39: by Lawyer, "Lawyer Stevens" (new)

Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 3313 comments Mod

message 40: by [deleted user] (new)

did my votes on polls go though?
it does not say if it went though or not.
feast of snakes
warrior one

message 41: by Tom, "Big Daddy" (new)

Tom Mathews | 1842 comments Mod
Erika wrote: "did my votes on polls go though?
it does not say if it went though or not.
feast of snakes
warrior one"

Your votes were counted.

back to top
This topic has been frozen by the moderator. No new comments can be posted.