Discussing Lyle Saxon's 'Children of Strangers' and the culture of Cane River Creoles.
I was honored to attend the Birmingham Public Library's Eat Drink Read Write Festival at the beginning of October. A tasty celebration combining Southern literature with Southern food, EDRW gave me the chance to spend a week in The Magic City and discover its booming culinary scene. Most folks are probably familiar with signature restaurants The Highlands Bar And Grill and Hot and Hot Fish Club, but Birmingham has lower-key spots serving internationally inspired cuisine, favorite food trucks, coffeehouses, plenty of vegetarian options and establishments with desserts that are hard to forget. At the end of the festival, a new book celebrating the city's food scene, Birmingham's Best Bites, was unveiled. In celebration, I decided to compile my own list of best bites from Birmingham (listed in the order I ate them). 1. Deviled Egg BLT with fried pickled okra from Saw's Street Kitchen Sunday in Avondale Park gathered several of the city's food trucks, including Saw's Street Kitchen. Among options for barbecue and a Sweet Tea Fried Chicken Sandwich, I couldn't pass up the Deviled Egg BLT. Between two slices of toasted white bread came a sandwich stuffed with deviled egg filling, lettuce, tomato and bacon. A side of pickled fried okra and
Spring 2014 Books & Film Class Topic – Faulkner & Flannery: Exploring the Southern Gothic Held Wednesdays through February 26 at UL Lafayette Instructor: Dr. Mary Ann Wilson This is the final set of class notes on this topic. In the final class, we watched John Huston's 1979 film version of Flannery O'Connor's Wise Blood. Reading the book wasn't required and the movie can stand alone, but Wise Blood is a wacky story and a must-read for any O'Connor fan. Her first novel, Wise Blood was published in 1952 and received little attention at the time. The first chapter is an expansion of her master's thesis, "The Train,' from the University of Iowa, and other chapters are reworked versions of short stories she wrote. You'd never know that from reading it though. Wise Blood is a cohesive story that's very clearly written. While strange and extreme, it's also very O'Connor and incorporates all of her favorite themes to perfection. If you consider the time period, O'Connor was working on her prayer journal, released earlier this year, at the same time as Wise Blood. She was envisioning herself as a writer like she never had before and also struggling with her faith, asking God to "make me a
Spring 2014 Books & Film Class Topic – Faulkner & Flannery: Exploring the Southern Gothic Held Wednesdays through February 26 at UL Lafayette Instructor: Dr. Mary Ann Wilson Notes will be updated each Friday through February 28; comment to join in the discussion. On Wednesday, we delved into Faulkner's second novel As I Lay Dying. His most well known and the one that's taught in high school English, this novel has all the elements of the Southern Gothic. "You can't get more Southern Gothic than carting your mother's rotting corpse across the state for burial," says Dr. Wilson. As I Lay Dying is also one of the few books by Faulkner that has much humor in it, but not everyone in class agreed with that. Some viewed the novel as quite dark, but I can admit I chuckled a few times, especially in some scenes with Anse Bundren. It also helps to consider the time period this book is set in — the Depression-era South — and that the Bundren family is poor white trash, only a step up from the African Americans, who are mostly absent in this book. Most of them have their own motives for wanting to go to Jefferson to bury their mother,