Tag Archives: Southern fiction

Sunday Salon: A Slack Reader

The Sunday Salon.com

Between my boss’s retirement on Wednesday and going out of town for the first part of the holidays to help my parents with Thanksgiving – and playing with photos on my other blog – I didn’t read too much last week. I barely began reading The Heretic’s Daughter last weekend before deciding to save it for a time with fewer interruptions.

Instead, I’ve read about half of Haven Kimmel’s Something Rising (Light and Swift). The same day that Wendy posted a review of The Robber Bride by one of my favorite authors, Margaret Atwood, I went in search of it at the used bookstore I frequent during lunch. I scored – for $23 I picked up The Robber Bride and The Blind Assassin, along with Kimmel’s book and Zadie Smith’s On Beauty.

Last summer I listened to the audiobook of Kimmel’s memoir, A Girl Named Zippy, and loved it.  I decided to read Something Rising, figuring it wouldn’t be as demanding of my undivided attention. So far, the book is a pleasant enough coming-of-age story, and if you like to shoot pool, you’ll love it.  It’s not heavy on plot, but Kimmel is a lovely writer. Although Cassie lacks the personality of Zippy so far, I understand the book takes off in the second half, and I’ll be along for the ride.

Speaking of audiobooks, I finished listening to Jane Green’s The Beach House last week – a guilty pleasure indeed, because it’s truly chick-lit beach reading. But I enjoyed it and its multitude of characters in audio format, regardless of how shallow and contrived they (and their situations) were. The book reminds me of the Low Country writers – what I call the three-name southern writers: Dorothea Benton Frank, Mary Alice Monroe, Anne Rivers Siddon – in nearly every respect. If you enjoy any of them, you’ll probably like the Nantucket setting for the same themes – preserving the family home against rising coastal property values and predator developers, marital discord, mothers and daughters, fathers and sons. It’s all there, even a hint at the end of Monroe’s environmental overtones.

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday!



Filed under book chat, The Sunday Salon

Sunday Salon: Writers on Writing

What: Adventures in Pen Land: One Writer’s Journey from Inklings to Ink

Who: Marianne Gingher, with illustrations by Daniel Wallace

Why: Because this is a cool concept – an illustrated book – remember those? I read about this book in the Arts section of our local Sunday newspaper this week, and I’m intrigued for several reasons.

gingher1I’ve never read any of Gingher’s novels, but hers was among my favorite entries in The Store of Joys: Writer’s Celebrate the North Carolina Museum of Art’s Fiftieth Anniversary. I became museum editor shortly after this compilation, published in 1996, which featured North Carolina writers and poets commenting on a work in the museum’s collection.

I recently listened to the audiobook of Big Fish (which also became a film that I have yet to see) by Daniel Wallace, and I loved it. I’m a sucker for mythology ever since Latin class in the early 1970s. Wallace designed greeting cards before hitting the big time with Big Fish. Gingher also teaches English at UNC-Chapel Hill, and the collaboration sounds perfect.

According to the article, Gingher chronologically describes her literary struggles in a series of essays both poignant and funny. I love reading books about writing, so I’m looking forward to this one.

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Filed under memoir, Nonfiction, Salon Sundays, Southern fiction, The Sunday Salon


Verbena by Nanci Kincaid
Kincaid’s writing is lovely. I laughed out loud at many of her observations. Well-developed characters, too. And best of all, it’s not really Southern lit. The themes are universal, and the humor is perfectly placed. I will read other books by this writer.

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Filed under Literary Fiction, Southern fiction