Summer Reading List 2012 | Deep South Magazine – Southern Food, Travel & Lit

Summer Reading List 2012

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Summer Reading List 2012

The best beach reads, mysteries, chick lit and new releases from down South. 

We’re excited to partner with Better World Books  for our reading list again. Headquartered in Atlanta, BWB donates a book to someone in need every time you buy one. Better yet, they offer FREE shipping and have provided Deep South readers with a special discount code. Just click on the book titles to go to BWB’s site and enter BWBDEEPSOUTH to get 10% off when ordering. Code can only be used once and expires August 31. Scroll down for giveaway details. 

Alligator Lake
by Lynne Bryant
published by New American Library

Lynne Bryant's second novel, following last year's "Catfish Alley," tells the story of a Avery Pritchett, who returns to her hometown of Mississippi for a summer wedding with her mixed-race child. It's been 10 years since she left as a pregnant teenager, and as the summer progresses, Avery's return releases a Pandora's Box of shocking discoveries.

Calico Joe
by John Grisham
published by Random House

America's favorite storyteller and Mississippi native takes on America's favorite past-time in his new novel about Cubs rookie player Joe Castle. This boy from Calico Rock, Arkansas, blew fans away in the summer of 1973, as he scored one home run after another, always tipping his hat politely and breaking every rookie batting record.

by Carl Hiaasen
published by Random House

"Mickey Cray had been out of work ever since a dead iguana fell from a palm tree and hit him on the head," goes the first line of Florida writer Carl Hiaasen's latest YA novel. An animal wrangler in a zoo, Cray takes a job with a reality show, while his son, Wahoo, tries to keep him from killing the show's boneheaded star. It all comes to a head on location in the Everglades, when the host gets bitten by a bat and goes missing in a storm.

The Cove
by Ron Rash
published by Ecco

New York Times bestselling writer Ron Rash returns to Appalachia in his new novel, which centers around Laurel Shelton and her brother, Hank, who are living out on farmland the locals say is cursed. Laurel’s fate is forever altered when she comes upon a stranger in the woods one day, who slowly insinuates himself into life in the Cove and brings her the only happiness she's ever known, along with profound danger.

Creole Belle (available July 17)
by James Lee Burke
published by Simon & Schuster

The latest Dave Robicheaux novel by James Lee Burke finds the detective in a recovery unit on St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans. When Tee Jolie Melton, a young woman with a troubled past, visits his bedside, Robicheaux becomes obsessed with her memory and begins to find links between her and a recent oil spill in the Gulf.

by Charlaine Harris
published by Ace Books

The latest in the Sookie Stackhouse series, "Deadlocked" continues fictional Louisiana town Bon Temps' tradition of vampire politics. Felipe de Castro, the Vampire King of Louisiana, is in town, and it's the worst possible time for a human body to show up in Eric Northman's front yard. It's up to Sookie and Bill to solve the murder.

The Family Fang
by Kevin Wilson
published by Ecco

"A comedy, a tragedy, and a tour-de-force examination of what it means to make art and survive your family," says Ann Patchett about Tennessee writer Kevin Wilson's new novel. Performance artists Caleb and Camille Fang have dedicated themselves to making great art, but things haven't been so easy for their children. Now grown up, Buster and Annie go back home to discover their parents are planning one final performance.

Helen Keller in Love
by Rosie Sultan
published by Viking

Exploring the little-known romance of American icon Helen Keller, Rosie Sultan's new book reads like a historical romance. The book begins when Keller is in her thirties and her teacher, Annie Sullivan, becomes too ill to keep up with their grueling lecture schedule. A young reporter named Peter Fagan steps in as her private secretary and offers Keller a whole new world, but not one her family is willing to let her have. Read our interview with the author here.

A Land More Kind Than Home
by Wiley Cash
published by William Morrow

A debut novel from North Carolinian Wiley Cash, who's being compared to John Hart and Tom Franklin, "A Land More Kind than Home" revolves around an autistic boy who is smothered during a church healing service. His 9-year-old brother secretly witnesses the tragedy and is thrust into an adulthood for which he's not prepared.

Ocean Beach (available June 26)
by Wendy Wax
published by Berkley Trade

The sequel to Wax's 2011 "Ten Beach Road," "Ocean Beach" picks up following the trials and tribulations of four unlikely friends who are trying to launch their new business venture by refurbishing a historic Art Deco home in Miami, Florida. As the women work together, they also find themselves struggling with their own personal renovations in life, work and love as hurricane season looms.

Porch Lights (available June 12)
by Dorothea Benton Frank
published by William Morrow

The latest from bestselling lowcountry author Dorothea Benton Frank, "Porch Lights" is the story of Jackie, whose  fireman husband is killed in the line of duty, and her 10-year-old son's return to her childhood home on Sullivan's Island. Crossing the bridge from the mainland, they enter a world full of wonder and magic. Awaiting them is Annie Britt, the family matriarch who has kept the porch lights on to welcome them home.

The River Witch
by Kimberly Brock
published by Bell Bridge Books

A debut novel from Atlanta author Kimberly Brock, "The River Witch" tells the story of Roslyn Byrne, who spends the summer recovering from a car wreck and miscarriage on Manny’s Island, Georgia. Despite the serene setting, she becomes caught in a mysterious stew of past and present caused by the dead and dying who haunt the riverbank and a little girl who keeps appearing at her doorstep. (Signed copies with free shipping are available from FoxTale Book Shoppe here.)

Salvage the Bones
by Jesmyn Ward
published by Bloomsbury

Winner of the National Book Award, "Salvage the Bones" by Mississippi native Jesmyn Ward is a gritty and tender novel about family and poverty in the days leading up to Hurricane Katrina. Fourteen-year-old Esch and her three brothers attempt to help their father prepare for the storm that's coming, but have other things on their minds, from pregnancy to the survival of a litter of pitbulls.

Sea Change (available June 5)
by Karen White
published by New American Library

Author of "The Beach Trees" and the popular Tradd Street series, Karen White returns with a tale set in the historic area of St. Simons Island off the coast of Georgia. Midwife Ava Whalen meets psychologist Matthew Frazier at a conference and thinks her days of loneliness are behind her. After a whirlwind romance, they elope and move to St. Simons, despite Ava's fear of water. As she tries to start her new life, Ava discovers it may be impossible to escape her past.

Spring Fever (available June 5)
by Mary Kay Andrews
published by St. Martin's Press

Beach read favorite Mary Kay Andrews delivers her delicious, new escapist novel about small towns, old flames and deep secrets. Annajane Hudgens truly believes she is over her ex-husband, Mason Bayless. She's engaged to a terrific new guy and ready to leave her small Southern town until fate intervenes at Mason's wedding. Annajane realizes she may want him back, but the secrets of Hideaway Lake and its people have other plans for her.

A Teeny Bit of Trouble
by Michael Lee West
published by St. Martin's Press

Michael Lee West's Teeny Templeton returns from last summer's "Gone With a Handsomer Man" for a new, peach-infused adventure. After witnessing a crime, the Charleston pastry chef finds herself trapped in the zany "little Savannah" of Bonaventure, Georgia. Teeny tries to solve the murder of her high school rival, while fending off the advances of an old beau, decoding an encrypted diary, outwitting a stalker and developing recipes like "The Right to Remain Silent Salsa."

Oldies but Goodies:

The Awakening
by Kate Chopin
published by Herbert S. Stone and Co.

Louisiana author Kate Chopin's controversial 1899 novel is still relevant today, and its coastal Grand Isle setting makes it a thought-provoking summer read.

Bastard Out of Carolina 20th Anniversary Edition
by Dorothy Allison
published by Plume Books

First published in 1992, Dorothy Allison's novel about a young girl growing up in a troubled family in rural South Carolina celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. The new edition has an afterword from Allison.

Light in August
by William Faulkner
published by Random House

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Faulkner's death, the Modern Library is reissuing six of his most acclaimed works. We suggest "A Light in August," set in late summer in Mississippi, 67 years after the Civil War ended slavery. The new edition is available August 7.

Summer Crossing
by Truman Capote
published by Random House

Set aside in 1943 for "Other Voices, Other Rooms," the manuscript for Capote's "Summer Crossing" was discovered in notebooks put up for auction at Sotheby's in 2004. The story of a young socialite whose parents leave her alone in their New York penthouse for the summer, the book is a precocious first novel reminiscent of "Breakfast at Tiffany's." (Scarlett Johansson is said to be working on the film version.)

The Wettest County in the World
by Matt Bondurant
published by Scribner

Read Bondurant's tale of violence, desperation and greed, as three brothers run moonshine in Virginia during Prohibition, before the movie version comes out August 31. It's based on a true story involving his grandfather and uncles.

Giveaway Details: 

We'll be giving away copies of most of the titles on this list throughout the summer. All you have to do to enter to win is tell us what you’re looking forward reading this summer. If it’s a book on our list, even better!

To participate, you must do ONE of the following:

1. Comment on this post. Mentioning the giveaway on your own blog and linking to us will get you an extra entry.

2. Tweet or retweet about the giveaway and what you’ve been reading to @deepsouthmag using the hashtag #southernlit. You’ll be entered for as many times as you tweet or RT.

Deadline to enter is August 1, but we’ll be picking winners periodically throughout the summer as books arrive. (If you have your heart set on a certain book on our list, let us know in your entry.)

Thanks for reading!


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