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Book for lovers of Southern writing

Gretchen's picture

One of my book clubs is doing Southern women writers this year and as a kickoff we are discussing 3 authors/stories from an anthology called Down Home edited by Elizabeth Mee. ALL the major (and minor!) authors are represented.
 Our power went out yesterday afternoon so I sat down to start. It is a wonderful book of short stories/excerpts, and points up the richness of the Southern voice, in my opinion.


I have lived in several other parts of the country but haven't done any in depth "study" of regional authors, but it just seems to me that the South holds an incredible number. Maybe the storytelling tradition of families, the very real strife of the racial makeup of the population, Civil War, the changing racial tolerance, the urban and rural contrasts, rich dialects and accents,and lots more I'm sure.


If you'd like to 'get your feet wet" in southern authors, I really recommend this anthology. It has an interesting breakdown of topics--children, relationships, etc. and then within those, the authors are arranged from earliest to later so there ia a progression of many things such as tolerance, education levels, etc.


Gretchen
Gretchen
chiquiNO's picture

Have you read any of Eudora Welty's books???  I just love her "voice" as she writes about the graces of Southern living when being labled a "Southern Gentlemen" really meant something and daily social graces were part of daily living like having a little glass of Madiera in the afternoon accompanied by a little linen cocktail napkin that was perfectly laundered and pressed!!

Chiqui from way down yonder in New Orleans

 

AJ12754's picture

I ADORE Eudora Welty -- to me she is the Chekhov of the South...remarkable.

The trouble today is that almost everyone is famous and almost no-one is interesting. (paraphrased Tina Brown)

Cave obdurationem cordis

chiquiNO's picture

I KNOW that New Orleans is not considered the south even though we are at the southern most part of the central U.S.....LOL  But even here I was raised with very southern traditions, although they are getting lost by the hour.


I still love to say and hear "Yes, Ma'am", please, precious, darling, sugah, my word, etc.  I still love the smell of a baking pound cake (I have one cooling on the counter as I write) and using monogramed anything!!  I still drink my coffee and hot tea out of a real china tea cup and I love my iced tea poured out of a crystal pitcher into a tall stemmed, crystal glass...LOL


One of my favorite past times is polishing the silver and I drag out "the good stuff" whenever company comes over and sometimes just for myself when I need a little mood elevator!  I adore talking to senior citizen's about the good old days and about their family's traditions.


I lament that there are no longer "church socials and pot luck suppers" because our churches are so "mega-minded" now I hardly know anyone very well.  Besides, people are in such a hurry to get home after service, it's not so easy to get to know them!


 


Oh well, maybe things will be a little different in Raleigh.....a girl can hope!!


Chiqui from way down yonder in New Orleans

 

AJ12754's picture

Raleigh is pretty "Yankee" now -- I lived there from 93-98 -- thanks for the lovely and evocative response -- I have not been to New Orleans since I was a very little girl but my husband just got back from his first visit and he loved it and can't wait to go back.

The trouble today is that almost everyone is famous and almost no-one is interesting. (paraphrased Tina Brown)

Cave obdurationem cordis

Gretchen's picture

I'm not sure why you don't consider NOLA "the South". It does have an exta culture and panache, but it sure seems "south" to me. Of course, maybe NOLA doesn't consider itSELF the "south".


And we are a large urban church and just had "dinner on the grounds" on Sunday, and BBQ and Bluegrass last night for Wednesday night supper. We (our church) doesn't have "prayer meeting", but do have family activity/study night. You can pretty easily find this kind of church anywhere in the South. The mega churches are not "churches" but "ways of the good life".  Just ask Joel.


Gretchen
Gretchen
chiquiNO's picture

Oh, I certainly do consider myself a southerner...it's the rest of America who doesn't.  I think it has something to do with the Civil War maybe??? 


 


Anyway, I'm so jealous of your church socials...will be looking for a church when I get there!!


Chiqui from way down yonder in New Orleans

 

MadMom's picture

I remember my eldest granddaughter seeing a sign on a building which read "friendshipchurch.com" and she asked me, "Shouldn't that be dot org?"  No, I replied, it was correctly a dot com, and mentioned that it had something like 20,000 members.  She asked "How can they get to know one another?"  I had no answer.



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Not One More Dime! Not One More Life! Not One More Lie!

End the Occupation of Iraq -- Bring the Troops Home Now!

And Take Care of Them When They Get Here!

Jean's picture

Some folks just like the anonymity.  That way they won't be asked to contribute time or talent. :(



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MadMom's picture

That could be true, but isn't it sad?



Not One More Day!
Not One More Dime! Not One More Life! Not One More Lie!

End the Occupation of Iraq -- Bring the Troops Home Now!

And Take Care of Them When They Get Here!

chiquiNO's picture

My children attended a small Christian private school in New Orleans for grammer school.  I was very active as V.P. of the parents club for several "terms"  We were always having fund raisers that were auctions, covered dish socials, BBQ days, bake sales, talent shows.....etc.  I felt like I helped to raise some of those kids cause I spent so much time at the school and working with all the parents.  We really had to be creative to get people interested and to give of their time and money....unlike the Catholic schools that had a beer truck, gaming tables and "chances" sold to win items....LOL


 


I knew EVERYONE and it was like one big happy family...especially fun to be close to the teachers, too!  Ah Well......those days are long gone and so is that little private school!


Chiqui from way down yonder in New Orleans

 

Gretchen's picture

Yes, and she is, of course, well represented here.

Gretchen

Gretchen
roz's picture

Thanks Gretchen for the recommendation. I will look for this at the local library.

"Our power went out yesterday afternoon so I sat down to start."

Sometimes it takes a power outage to force us away from our computers. OMG, I am addicted! LOL!

Be impeccable with your word. Don't take anything personally. Don't make assumptions. Do your best. Don Miguel Ruiz
shywoodlandcreature's picture

Thanks.

I'm reading TR Pearson's "Short History of a Small Place" right now, and luxuriating in that "southern" voice. I love the run-on sentences, evenand the way he throws in these wonderful round-about detours through all the characters' lives, quirks, and family histories that you have to know before you can know what happens next. The rich detail, the colour, the absurdity, the humour, the pathos, the rhythm of the writing -- I just cannot get enough of it.

Eudora Welty, Flannery O'Connor, Tennessee Williams, Faulkner, they all seem to have that magic -- don't know what it is; must be something in the water.





"lucky in love; unlucky in metabolism"
unknown
chiquiNO's picture

Williams and Faulkner were frequent visitors to New Orleans....maybe it was the gumbo>>????LOL

Chiqui from way down yonder in New Orleans