That Southern Flavor

John Kennedy Toole

"When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him." -- Jonathan Swift

Ignatius J. Reilly of New Orleans--selfish, domineering, deluded, tragic and larger than life--is a noble crusader against a world of dunces. He is a modern-day Quixote beset by giants of the modern age. In magnificent revolt against the twentieth century, Ignatius propels his monstrous bulk among the flesh posts of the fallen city, documenting life on his Big Chief tablets as he goes, until his maroon-haired mother decrees that Ignatius must work.

Nancy French
"The heartland's answer to Sarah Vowell and David Rakoff, Nancy French tells it like it is--one laugh-out-loud anecdote after another about a red state American's experiences living in the blue states.

"For the first 20 years of her life, all Nancy French knew of the world was Paris--Paris, Tennessee, that is. When the former homecoming queen trades in cow-tipping, big hair, and the Catfish Capital of the World for a new life in the Big Apple, she is in for a real education. With a keen sense of humor, French discusses everything from the South's obsession with church attendance to the blue-state notion that red staters think as slowly as they speak."

Joshilyn Jackson
Nonny Frett understands the meaning of “between a rock and a hard place." She...has two families: the Fretts, who stole her and raised her right; and the Crabtrees, who lost her and won't forget how they were done wrong. (summary)
Nancy Bell
Mrs. Fiona "Biggie" Wooten Weatherford is well known for landing five-pound catfish, mowing down mailboxes when she drives, and owning half the county. Now she's mobilizing the local ladies against City Hall's new garbage dump, right next to the graveyard of their forefathers -- especially James Royce Wooten, founder of the town and namesake of Biggie's eleven-year-old grandson, J.R. But when the mayor himself drops facedown in his angel food cake, Biggie smells something worse than a garbage dump.
G. A. McKevett
Establishing her own business as a private detective in San Carmelita, California, karate expert and sleuth Savannah Reid is hired by real-estate broker Brian O'Donnell to find his long-lost sister, but the case soon becomes complicated by murder.
Celia Rivenbark
The author offers humorous observations on the human condition, particularly in the South, covering such topics as grits, beer, redneck women, television, ATMs, politics, work, funerals, friendship, and men.
Mark Childress

"Comic and tragic, unique and outlandish, Crazy in Alabama is the story of two journeys--Lucille's from Industry, Alabama, to Los Angeles, to star on The Beverly Hillbillies and her 12-year-old nephew Peejoe's, who is about to discover two kinds of Southern justice, and what that means about the stories he's heard and the people he knows."

Rebecca Wells
In the small river town of La Luna, Louisiana, Calla Lily Ponder enjoys a blissful childhood at her mother's side, learns the art of healing through the humble womanly art of "fixing hair," and encounters first love with a boy named Tuck. (summary)
William Hoffman

Stories on class and conformity in the South. In Roll Call, a Southern gentleman works hard to maintain gentlemanly appearances, Place is on a poor woman's disillusion with her rich boyfriend, while the title story is on a snobbish widow and her house repairman.

Carl Hiaasen
R. J. Decker, star tenant of the local trailer park and neophyte private eye, is fishing for a killer. (T)here’s a body floating in Coon Bog, Florida – and a lot that's rotten in the murky waters of big-stakes, large-mouth bass tournaments. (summary)
Michael Malone
Twenty years is a long time to be without a father, and, for Navy pilot Annie Peregrine-Goode, the sky has become a home the earth has never been. So when her father calls out of the blue to ask for a dying wish - one both absurd and mysterious, no is the easiest of answers. (summary)
Margaret Mitchell

Spoiled Southern belle Scarlett O'Hara never stops loving the married Ashley Wilkes even as she faces the hardships of life during the Civil War and the changes brought about by Reconstruction.

Clyde Edgerton
"A heartbreaking, side-splitting new novel of life, death, and family in the South...The whole Bales family is buzzing over which of its oldest members will pass on first, what will be passed down to whom, and what will happen when a black-sheep uncle comes home. (
Dorthea Benton Frank
“Honey, you think you’ve got a dysfunctional family? Anna Lutz Abbot wants you to sit yourself down with a glass of sweet tea and hear all about why her family takes the pound cake.” (Publishers Weekly)
Mary Alice Monroe
Every woman in the lowcountry knows the unspoken fear that clutches the heart every time her man sets out to sea. Now that fear has become a terrible reality for Carolina Morrison.
Dennis McFarland
A brother and sister return to their Southern hometown to rescue their younger sister from her marriage to an evangelical preacher-only to find their expectations turned completely upside down. (summary)
Lewis Nordan

Leroy Dearman is twelve, and he lives on a llama farm in Mississippi. Life is perfect. It's true that his grandfather just died in the attic and that wild dogs kill a baby llama now and then, and it's true that one little sister curses him and the other one wets her pants. But up to the day Uncle Harris moves in, life looks like it's right out of a Walt Disney movie. No wonder the llamas greet each morning with a song. Uncle Harris arrives in a sports car, full of funny stories and new ideas.

Mary Kay Andrews
“(A)ll about the important things in life: marriage and divorce, mothers and daughters, friendship and betrayal, small-town secrets, and one woman’s lifelong quest for home – and the perfect recipe for chicken salad. (book description)
Michael Lee West
Struggling with the loss of her mother, a case of writer's block, and her boyfriend's affair, Renata DeChavannes travels to her Gulf Coast family home, where she struggles to become the empowered woman her formidable grandmother believes her to be. (summary)
Stephanie Gayle
When I telephoned with the news of my imminent relocation my father asked, "Georgia, as in the Republic of Georgia by the Black Sea, or Georgia as in the Peach State?" He hoped I meant the former because that Georgia promised unique opportunities to advance the democratic cause of justice. (summary)
Sarah Shankman
"With fascinating characters and pungent dialogue, this spirited, rollicking mystery crackles with danger and excitement when Atlanta journalist/detective Samantha Adams accepts an invitation to visit the Big Easy--New Orleans at the height of Mardi Gras."
Tim Dorsey
Serge A. Storms, Florida's resident madman and serial killer, continues to dispense his own variety of justice against society's evildoers--this time he and his pal Coleman are out to get an assortment of skinheads and shysters as well as a particularly nasty thug called Jellyfish. (summary)
Cathy Holton
Bonded by years of friendship, (Eadie, Nita and Lavonne) discover what else they have in common: lying, cheating spouses. So they heed their collective betrayals as a wake-up call and band together to exact sweet revenge. The take-charge trio will see to it that the punishment is just, exquisitely humiliating, and downright hilarious. (summary)
Lee Smith
...a darkly comic and compelling novel about Gracie, blessed with a gift she doesn’t want, who pursues earthly and divine love on a road that comes to a disturbing but inevitable conclusion. (
Pat Conroy
After his brother's suicide, Leopold Bloom King struggles along with the rest of his family in Charleston, South Carolina, until he begins to gather an intimate circle of friends, whose ties endure for two decades until a final, unexpected test of friendship. (summary)
Sara Addison Allen
Emily Benedict came to Mullaby, North Carolina, hoping to solve at least some of the riddles surrounding her mother's life. But the moment Emily enters the house where her mother grew up and meets the grandfather she never knew--a reclusive, real-life gentle giant--she realizes that mysteries aren't solved in Mullaby, they're a way of life. (summary)
Todd Johnson
Five very different Southern women meet in a nursing home and develop a friendship that resonates over the decades. (summary)
Louise Shaffer
Laurel Silence, a young woman who has spent most of her life nursing her alcoholic mother and a huge grudge, is about to put the pieces of (a) puzzle together and demand to know what happened the night the three Miss Margarets swore their oath of secrecy. (summary)
Gin Phillips
Witnessing what she believes to be the murder of an infant in a Depression-era Alabama mining town, a nine-year-old girl and her civic-minded family subsequently struggle with the darker side of their racially torn community. (summary)
Mary Saums
(R)ecently widowed Jane Thistle...moves to Tullulah, Ala., where she soon meets Phoebe Twigg, also a widow, who has lived in the small town all her life. The two women, despite their differences in outlook and personality, become close friends. (from Publishers Weekly)
Gail Godwin
Sparking enthusiasm for a play about the founding of their North Carolina mountains Catholic girls' school, a charismatic ninth grader and her recently orphaned best friend set in motion a series of events that have decades-long ramifications. (summary)
Manly Wade Wellman

"This is a fine collection of Wellman's most recent Appalachian tales written in the 70's and 80's. Tales about Judge Pursuivant, John Thunstone, Silver John and others all make appearances."

Trill Coster’s Burden -- The Spring -- Owls Hoot in the Daytime -- Can These Bones Live? -- Nobody Ever Goes There -- Where Did She Wander? -- A Witch For All Seasons (originally by “Gans T Field”) -- The Beasts That Perish -- Willow He Walk -- Chastel -- Rouse Him Not -- Hundred Years Gone -- Keep Me Away -- Yare -- Chorazin -- The Petey Car -- Along About Sundown -- What of the Night -- Dead Man’s Chair (as “Rock Rock”) -- Lamia -- Caretaker -- The Ghastly Priest Doth Reign -- Goodman’s Place --

Lisa Patton
Southern belle Leelee Satterfield moves to Vermont from Memphis to follow her husband's dream of managing an inn. It doesn't take long before realizing that following someone else's dream isn't working for her... (summary)