- Roark Bradford, Ol’ Man Adam and His Chillun, a 1930’s recounting of Bible stories, in the black vernacular. Not too politically correct today, but brilliant understanding of the language and the Bible.
- The late John McDonald’s series on Travis McGee. Each title has a color in it. Understated if anything, but well done. He knows South Florida well, and was one of the first writing about the environment there.
- Ferrell Sams, Run with the Horseman. He is a Fayette County doctor, still living and writing with understanding and humor.
- Clyde Edgerton, The Floatplane Notebooks, North Carolina writer, with a fine touch.
- William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying. He writes about one fictional county in Mississippi, and its many facets. Google to read his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, a brilliant piece.
- T.R. Pearson, A Short History of a Small Place. Either you like this writer, or you don’t. He writes long sentences, like Faulkner. Just pause where there are commas, and get the cadence right, and his thought can come through. His second book has a first sentence that goes for a page and a half….and I understood it!
- Terry Kay, The Year the Lights Came on in Georgia, fascinating first person account.
- The late Paul Hemphill, King of the Road. An Atlanta writer, his writings are prolific. This is an account of his truck-driving father.
- Ralph McGill, The Fleas Come with the Dog. The Atlanta Constitution editor for years, cussed by much of the South, was at the same time the South’s conscience.
- Janisse Ray, Ecology of a Cracker Childhood. Writing out of Baxley, Ga., she switches chapters back and forth between a personal story, and the ecology of Southern forest. It’s a fascinating technique which comes off quite well.
- Melissa Faye Greene. Praying for Sheetrock is the best, I think, while The Temple Bombing gives insight into Atlanta. Her Last Man Out, about a Nova Scotia coal mine disaster, tells how the 1958 Georgia governor impacted this story and how modern segregation began on Jekyll Island.
- Jimmy Carter, An Hour Before Daylight. His best book by far, many say.
- Joe Dabney, Mountain Spirits, about the how, why and when of moonshine in the North Georgia and southern mountains.
- Gary Pomerantz, Where Peachtree Meets Sweet Auburn, about the Allen and Dobbs families, white and black, and how they impact Atlanta. Maynard Jackson was from the Dobbs line, and Ivan Allen from the Allen line.
- Donna Leon writes beautifully in short novels about Venice, and a police inspector. You get a lot of insights about Venice, about Italy, about food, and about his family.
- Alexander McCall Smith is a prolific Scot author. From a book about the first female detective in Botswana, to writing about a six year old prodigy in Edinburgh, he’s great. He even writes serially in the Scotsman. We heard him talk in Atlanta, baldheaded and wearing kilts, very tall (about 6′ 4″) and he kept us in stitches with his stories. Laughs harder at his stories than anyone.
Whew! This ought to be enough for several weeks. Of course, order through the Internet, and find bargains. (Go to Fetchbooks. There I just bought a new $25 book for $4.50. Amazing the bargains you can find.)
Photo by ginnerobot via Flickr using creative commons license.