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Literary Friday

Summer Reading

Our annual list of summer reads from down South debuts May 1, so get your beach chairs ready. In the meantime, check out Flavorwire’s 10 Contemporary Southern Authors You Should Be Reading. You’ll recognize a few of them on our list next month.

Fans of Mary Kay Andrews and her book “Savannah Breeze” will be glad to know they can spend the night in her Tybee Island vacation rental cottage, appropriately named “Breeze Inn.” With three bedrooms and three bathrooms, the cottage is filled with beachy reads and furniture scored by Andrews herself at flea markets and estate sales, just like her character in the book. For more info and photos, click here.

Also be sure to check out featured reads from BelleBooks in Memphis on the righthand column of our website, right below “Join the Conversation.”

Upcoming Twitter Chats

Thanks again to all of you who participated in our first Twitter chat last month. We’ve got another one scheduled for next week, April 20 (2-3 CST), and one in early May coinciding with our review of Cory MacLauchlin’s new book about John Kennedy Toole, “Butterfly in the Typewriter.” Cory has agreed to host the chat and discuss and answer questions about Toole and his one-hit wonder, “Confederacy of Dunces.” For those of you who have yet to discover Toole’s New Orleans character Ignatius J. Reilly, we suggest you pick up copies of both books and find out what all the fuss is about.

Inside the App: 

This year marks the 75th anniversary of Florida author Zora Neale Hurston’s “Their Eyes Were Watching God.” Featured in several sites in the Deep South Literary Trail App, Hurston was associated with the Harlem Renaissance and influenced such writers as Toni Morrison and Alice Walker. The African American author was born in Notasulga, Alabama, but moved to Eatonville, Florida, when she was a toddler. This rural community near Orlando was the country’s first incorporated black township and would influence much of Hurston’s writings, including her 1937 masterpiece “Their Eyes Were Watching God.”

Hurston moved from Eatonville to Fort Pierce in 1957. Fans of she and her books can follow her “Dust Tracks Heritage Trail” there and see her home, branch library named after her, grave and other sites. (Her home, plus the trail and a festival in Eatonville named after her are all sites on our app.) Perhaps the most fascinating is her grave, which was discovered by Alice Walker in 1973, abandoned and overgrown in the segregated Garden of the Heavenly Rest Cemetery. Walker ordered her headstone and wrote her epitaph: “Zora Neale Hurston: A Genius of the South.”

Click here to download the Deep South Literary Trail App and find out more about Zora Neale Hurston’s life and death, along with many other Southern authors.

Honorable Mentions

  • We published Florida writer Michael Laquerre’s story “Forever, For Always and No Matter What” in our Southern Voice section in  February, along with another story about unexpected friendships. Laquerre talked to the Bloomingdale-Riverview Patch last week about working on his first novel, and they gave us a mention. Click here to read the article.
  • Erin Z. Bass was interviewed by the Southeastern Literary Tourism Initiative about the creation of our Literary Trail App and its potential to be used in conjunction with e-books, say a digital edition of Faulkner. Click here to read the interview.
  • Thanks to William Lusk Coppage and Zoe Etkin for mentioning on their blogs that their poems were published in DeeTip South this month for National Poetry Month!
  • Hunter Murphy’s “Greatest Bromances in Southern Literature” list, published March 21, has traveled the world, with mentions in Romania and Brooklyn, New York. We can’t wait to see where Huck and Tom, Jem and Dill and Forrest and Bubba end up next!

Recommended Reading

This Sunday marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. While the ship was sailing from England to New York and nowhere near the South, Samford University (in Birmingham) Journalism professor Julie Hedgepeth Williams has established a Southern connection with her book, “A Rare Titanic Family: The Caldwells Story Of Survival.” Williams is the great-niece of Albert Caldwell, who survived the disaster along with his wife, Sylvia, and 10-month-old son by getting into Lifeboat 13. When Albert and Sylvia split, he moved to Virginia and married into Williams’ family, thus she grew up hearing stories of the Titanic. Her book is a fascinating read for anyone interested in the disaster and what survivors really experienced that night. If you want to mark the anniversary without having to see the movie in 3D, then pick up this book, available now from NewSouth Books.

We have one copy of this book to give away. To be entered to win, comment here on any of today’s Literary Friday topics. One winner’s name will be picked at random from among everyone who comments and announced next Friday. 

Lovebug Seasons
  • Doni Molony / April 13, 2012

    Just Picked up a copy of Cory MacLauchlin’s “Butterfly in the Typewriter” @ Maple Street Books in New Orleans. Haven’t read it yet. Walker Percy was at Loyola in New Orleans when I was a student and Confederacy of Dunces was shoved at Percy by Thelma Toole until he read it. Looking forward to the Tweetchat on the 20th.

  • Tamara / April 13, 2012


    Cannot wait to see the books that will be on the Summer Reading list. You never disappoint, as there is always at least one or 2 that I just LOVE!

    Happy Reading!

  • Charlotte Swint / April 13, 2012

    I really enjoy Mary Kay Andrews books… Easy, enjoyable books usually with an interesting plot twist. I would really love to read the Titanic book!

  • Leslie Deason / April 13, 2012

    Well, I look forward to the annual list of Southern reads for summer. Meanwhile, I’ve added a few new reads from the Contemporary Southern Authors List. Now, I just need a glass of sweet tea, my favorite comfy chair, and a place under a shade tree to relax with unmissable Southern Fiction. “A Rare Titanic Family” sounds like an especially interesting read. What better way to mark the anniversary of the Titanic disaster?

  • Patrick Miller / April 13, 2012

    I already have a copy of A Rare Titanic Family, but I just wanted to mention that Julie Williams writes in a unique historical style that brings the reader into the moments of historical periods. Perhaps it’s her journalism background combined with history, an unusual duo, that allows this. I also enjoyed her book Wings of Opportunity: The Wright Brothers in Montgomery, 1910.

  • Sherry Perkins / April 16, 2012

    A Rare Titanic Family sounds absolutely fascinating. I have never heard of this book till now. Thanks!