In which Mr. Cliff Cash insists that he is funnier than his brother, Mr. William Faulkner is an unreliable postmaster, Fiction Addiction Books asks its customers to take a trust fall, (and they do), and Miss Ada Combs plays a banjo bedecked in purple ribbons.
February 16, 2014
Last week her ladyship, the editor, like many across the southeast, was forced to spend a few chilly days holed up in her house with neither heat nor power, while outside a late winter ice storm turned everything she could see into wet, shining glass.
There is really only one thing to be done in such a situation. Her ladyship, and her ladyship’s dogs, plus several of her cats, all burrowed under a pile of down blankets armed with several fat books, a flashlight, and a pile of back up batteries. Her ladyship spent the next day and a half reading either by flashlight or candlelight, mostly to herself but occasionally out loud to the dogs, who seemed to enjoy various excerpts from The Enchanted Wanderer. After all, if one must endure an ice storm in a house without heat, one might as well be reading the Russians.
Once the power came back on, her ladyship spent the following hours doing various tasks that required abundant heat and hot water. And the next book she picked up was set in Jamaica.
her ladyship, the editor
Lady Banks' Pick of the Week
Lady Banks' Commonplace Book
Noteworthy poetry and prose from her ladyship's bedside reading stack.
Ada Combs & Fred McDowell
Ada Combs was an 86-year-old banjo player who lived alone in a mountain shack a few miles from the nearest road in Whitesburg, Kentucky. She greeted Lomax and Collins wearing her best--and only--dress and carrying an "old wooden banjo...bedecked with purple ribbons" in her "brilliantly varnished fingers." Although her hands were shaking too badly to play more than a few songs, she entertained her visitors with stories about topics ranging from snake handlers to murder, square dances, and reading children.
"I shall never forget," wrote Shirely Collins, "the first sight I had of Fred in his dungarees, carrying his guitar and walking out of the woods towards us in a Mississippi night." Of all the musicians recorded on the Journey, Fred McDowell became the most Fameous. Lomax recorded him over four nights in 1959 because during the day McDowell was busy picking cotton. A sharecropper who sang and played slide guitar in juke joints and at dances, he embodied a legacy of black work songs and field hollers. When he performed his "61 Highway Blues" for Lomax, the folklorist wrote a single word beside the entry in his field log: "Perfect."
--The Southern Journey of Alan Lomax, Library of Congress with Tom Piazza (WW Norton, 2012) 9780393081077
The American novelist, short story writer and Nobel Laureate was honored on Aug. 3, 1987, with the release of a 22-cent United States commemorative stamp in his hometown of Oxford, Mississippi. The stamp is part of the Literary Arts series. There is a bit of irony in the honor extended to Mr. Faulkner by the U.S. Post Office. The author held the title of postmaster at The University of Mississippi for three years, and by a number of accounts, he was not a model postmaster. It is said that Faulkner would ignore patrons who called at the window, and delayed taking outgoing mail to the train station. 9780375701092
AAUW of North Carolina is pleased to announce the winner of the 2013 Juvenile Literature Award: Kelly Starling Lyons for Tea Cakes for Tosh. For 60 years, the North Carolina Literary and Historical Society has administered this award to a North Carolinian for the best example of juvenile literature published in the previous year. 9780399252136
On this day, more than 200 years ago, the Dan was the finish line in a race between two armies, a race that determined the course of the War for Independence. If the Southern Department of the Continental Army, led by Nathanael Greene, crossed the Dan first, they could find rest, recruits, and re-supply in Virginia, which the war had not yet ravaged as it had the Carolinas. If the British Army in the South, led by General Charles, Lord Cornwallis, caught Greene before he reached the Dan, they could force the weakened Continentals into an unwinnable all-out battle. Cornwallis could end the rebellion in the South, split the infant nation in two, and move north to corner and crush the bulk of the Continental Army under George Washington.
I wasn’t really a very good journalist. I was just a writer who happened to work for a newspaper for a while. They were always on my ass to keep it briefer, stop elaborating. Every time I got onto a good story I felt like I had to write everything I knew about it. I wanted to tell the whole story. 9780393324655
Cliff Cash likes to quip that he’s the funny brother, and his older brother, Wiley Cash, is the skinny, smart, successful one. Which is one way to look at it. True, the better known is Wiley, a Gastonia native whose 2012 debut novel, “A Land More Kind Than Home,” became a best-seller and New York Times Notable Book. But Cliff is also a storyteller. He’s a comedian who skewers a certain kind of Southerner – the redneck who believes President Barack Obama is a secret Muslim and that Dale Earnhardt died because God needed a driver. 9780062088253
JoAnna Garcia Swisher is set as one of the leads in ABC‘s drama Astronaut Wives Club, recently picked up for summer with a 10-episode straight-to-series order. The project, from Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage’s Fake Empire, Michael London’s Groundswell Prods and ABC Studios, was written by Savage based on Lily Koppel’s novel. It tells the real story of the women who stood beside some of the biggest heroes in American history during the height of the space race. 9781455503254
“The similarity in writing ‘The Inventor and the Tycoon’ and writing ‘Slaves in the Family’ is that the records of plantations are sitting in archives just like these guys in California. ... You go to the archives and study these dusty old documents and try to extract a story from them. “But with ‘The Inventor and the Tycoon,’ I didn’t have a personal stake in Muybridge and Stanford, but I had a deep personal stake in telling the story of the Ball family and the people enslaved.” 9780767929400
''There are always those perfect times with the people we love … These moments are the foundation upon which we build the house that will shelter us into our final years, so that when love calls out, 'How far would you go for me?', you can look it in the eye and say truthfully, 'Farther than you would ever have thought was possible'.'' 9780062236678
What are "STARS" authors? These are authors listing in the Southern Traveling Authors Registration Service--a directory of authors who live in, or are traveling in the South and are interested in meeting with book clubs, civic groups, classrooms, and readers of all kinds. The STARS directory is brought to you by Southern Indie Booksellers, who want to connect readers with their favorite writers.
After teaching in the US and Japan, Larissa Reinhart enjoys writing, particularly sassy female characters with a penchant for trouble. The first in the best selling, humorous Cherry Tucker Mystery series (Henery Press), PORTRAIT OF A DEAD GUY, is a 2012 Daphne du Maurier finalist, 2012 The Emily finalist, and 2011 Dixie Kane Memorial winner. STILL LIFE IN BRUNSWICK STEW (2013), HIJACK IN ABSTRACT (2013), and DEATH IN PERSPECTIVE (June 2014) follow, with the Cherry Tucker novella, QUICK SKETCH, in the 2013 anthology, HEARTACHE MOTEL, as a prequel to PORTRAIT. Larissa lives near Atlanta with her family and Cairn Terrier, Biscuit, where they have their own adventures home and abroad. Visit her website, LarissaReinhart.com, or find her chatting at her Facebook page; Twitter; and on Goodreads.
Larissa's Touring Schedule:
Georgia, Smyrna | 03/08/2014 to 03/09/2014
Maryland, Bethesda | 05/02/2014 to 05/04/2014
North Carolina, Asheville | 08/01/2014 to 08/03/2014
In Halo, Georgia, folks know Cherry Tucker as big in mouth, small in stature, and able to sketch a portrait faster than buckshot rips from a ten gauge — but commissions are scarce. So when the well-heeled Branson family wants to memorialize their murdered son in a coffin portrait, Cherry scrambles to win their patronage from her small town rival. As the clock ticks toward the deadline, Cherry faces more trouble than just a controversial subject. Between ex-boyfriends, her flaky family, an illegal gambling ring, and outwitting a killer on a spree, Cherry finds herself painted into a corner she’ll be lucky to survive.
See the full list of authors in the STARS Program online here and find the authors touring in your area here
In January, Jill Hendrix, owner of Fiction Addiction, Greenville, S.C., sent an e-mail to customers asking, "How much do you trust Fiction Addiction? Will you take a trust fall with us?" Noting that she had fallen in love with a debut hardcover novel (that would be released in February) and had "coerced" friends, family and staff to read it, Hendrix proposed the following deal: "I know you will all love it as well, but I'm afraid that the title/cover will turn you off. So, what I want to know is whether you'll agree to pre-order this book, sight unseen, just based on our love for it if we give you a full money-back guarantee if you read it but don't love it as much as we have."
Monday, she offered an update on Facebook: "We had a great response to our Trust Fall promotion; 53 of you have now picked up your book and we're starting to get some feedback from those who've read it. So far, we've heard it's 'captivating'... 'all I want to do is sit here and keep reading [it]'... and 'I'm enjoying the heck out of it.' If you've read or started the book, please let us know your thoughts. But try to keep the title and author secret for a little while longer as we still have about 15 people who haven't yet picked up their book. If you didn't already take the fall, we have extra copies available--just let us know you're interested!"
Pandora's Books, Lexington, N.C., is closing some time next month. Owners Pandora and Ronnie Hamilton opened the store in 2007, after a longtime store in the town closed. Saying they "made this difficult decision with heavy hearts," the Hamiltons attributed the closing to "the poor economy, onset of e-books and Internet sales."
Read This! Okra Picks & Recommended Reading from Southern Booksellers
From the Okra Picks
One Way Out by Alan Paul St. Martin's Press, Hardcover, February 9781250040497
One Way Out is the powerful biography of The Allman Brothers Band, an oral history written with the band’s participation and filled with original, never-before-published interviews as well as personal letters and correspondence. This is the most in-depth look at a legendary American rock band that has meant so much to so many for so long.
For twenty-five years, Alan Paul has covered and written about The Allman Brothers Band, conducting hundreds of interviews, riding the buses with them, attending rehearsals and countless shows. He has interviewed every living band member for this book as well as managers, roadies, and contemporaries, including: Gregg Allman, Dickey Betts, Jaimoe, Butch Trucks, Warren Haynes, Derek Trucks, Oteil Burbridge, the late Allen Woody, Jimmy Herring, Eric Clapton, Bob Weir, and many others.
Tracking the band's career from their 1969 formation to today, One Way Out is filled with musical and cultural insights, riveting tales of sometimes violent personality conflicts and betrayals, drug and alcohol use, murder allegations and exoneration, tragic early deaths, road stories, and much more, including the most in-depth look at the acrimonious 2000 parting with founding guitarist Dickey Betts and behind-the-scenes information on the recording of At Fillmore East, Layla, Eat A Peach, Brothers and Sisters, and other classic albums.
Read This! Recommendations from Southern Indie Booksellers
Recommended by the staff and customers of Quail Ridge Books and Music in Raleigh, North Carolina:
This has been a nonfiction week. Knocking on Heaven's Door: The Path to a Better Way of Death by Katy Butler (Scribner $25) is a must read about the inevitable—your own path or helping your aging parents to a “good death”. It's a difficult book to read—disturbing, profoundly moving and enlightening—and I had to put it down many times to process what I'd read. Hospitals, insurance companies, doctors, pacemakers—you'll learn about every aspect of the health care system through the experiences of a journalist whose father suffered a stroke, and though severely debilitated physically and mentally, his life was extended for six excruciating years, also devastating for his wife and family. Dr. Sherwin Nuland, author of How We Die, says: “This is a book so honest, so insightful and so achingly beautiful that its poetic essence transcends even the anguished story that it tells.” 9781451641974
On the other end of the nonfiction spectrum is a most pleasurable book: Out of the Woods: A Memoir of Wayfinding by Lynn Darling (Harper $25.99), author of Necessary Sins. The author, a widow, tells of her quest for a meaningful life after her only child goes off to college. After living in NYC for 23 years, she buys a “cranky little house” in a remote area of Vermont to find a new sense of direction, both metaphorically and literally, with dramatic results. A delightful book that will keep the pages turning. 9780061710247
The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman (Scribner $27.99). A beautiful, haunting story set in New York in 1911. The city and its history are lovingly woven into the lives of Eddie, a photographer, and Coralie, a 'mermaid' from the Museum of Extraordinary Things. A murder brings them together after the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire when they try to discover what happened to a young woman who worked at the factory and disappeared after the fire. 9781451693560
Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick (Roaring Brook $17.99). The year is 2073 when a visitor comes to a very remote island. It is a stunningly, disturbingly perfect place. No one even ages. In seven stories going back, way back, in time we see a painter, vampire, Viking, and others that are connected to this island and bound in some way by an agonizing love. The writing is breathtaking and powerful art. You won't be able to put this book down or stop thinking of it. Worthy of its 2014 Printz Award. For ages 14 and up. 9781596438002
Zbinden's Progress by Christoph Simon (And Other Stories $15.95). This charming novel is a character study of an elderly Swiss man who loves life, loves people—his wife especially—loves to walk, and loves to talk, but struggles to make a connection with his son. This is just the book to read on a rainy day, perhaps in front of a fire with a cup of cocoa. Or if you want to slow yourself down to enjoy more of your life. 9781908276100
Two from Martha:
The Call by Yannick Murphy (Harper $14.99). Loved it! Go read it! Especially if you're willing to experiment with structure of the narrative, and if you like books about forgiveness, redemption and animals. 9780062023148
Does This Church Make Me Look Fat?: A Mennonite Finds Faith, Meets Mr. Right, and Solves Her Lady Problems by Rhoda Janzen (Grand Central $24.99). This book will find a different audience than her earlier, hugely popular Mennonite in a Little Black Dress. This memoir is much more of a faith journey, yet still has her great sense of humor and a good pacing to it. I think many church book groups would find her account rich with the connections: of being at peace with embracing many of the elements of a pentecostal church while still respecting many of the traditions of her earlier Mennonite upbringing, and even holding on to a belief in nonliteral interpretation of the bible. And it has lots of jump off points for discussions of readers' own journeys. The audio is read well by the author. 9781455502882
1. The Invention of Wings Sue Monk Kidd, Viking, $27.95, 9780670024780 2. The Goldfinch Donna Tartt, Little Brown, $30, 9780316055437 3. Still Life With Bread Crumbs Anna Quindlen, Random House, $26, 9781400065752 4. This Dark Road to Mercy Wiley Cash, Morrow, $25.99, 9780062088253 5. An Officer and a Spy Robert Harris, Knopf, $27.95, 9780385349581 6. The Days of Anna Madrigal Armistead Maupin, Harper, $26.99, 9780062196248 7. One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories B.J. Novak, Knopf, $24.95, 9780385351836 8. Ripper Isabel Allende, Harper, $28.99, 9780062291400 9. Under the Wide and Starry Sky Nancy Horan, Ballantine, $26, 9780345516534 10. Sycamore Row John Grisham, Doubleday, $28.95, 9780385537131 11. Tiger Shrimp Tango Tim Dorsey, Morrow, $25.99, 9780062092816 12. The Husband's Secret Liane Moriarty, Amy Einhorn Books, $25.95, 9780399159343 13. Gone Girl Gillian Flynn, Crown, $25, 9780307588364 14. Lost Lake Sarah Addison Allen, St. Martin's, $25.99, 9781250019806 15. The Gods of Guilt Michael Connelly, Little Brown, $28, 9780316069519
1. Duty Robert M. Gates, Knopf, $35, 9780307959478 2. Everything I Need to Know I Learned From a Little Golden Book Diane Muldrow, Golden Books, $9.99, 9780307977618 3. Things That Matter Charles Krauthammer, Crown Forum, $28, 9780385349178 4. David and Goliath Malcolm Gladwell, Little Brown, $29, 9780316204361 5. Decide: Work Smarter, Reduce Your Stress, and Lead by Example Steve McClatchy, Wiley, $23, 9781118554388 6. Grain Brain David Perlmutter, Little Brown, $27, 9780316234801 7. The Boys in the Boat Daniel James Brown, Viking, $28.95, 9780670025817 8. I Could Pee on This Francesco Marciuliano, Chronicle, $12.95, 9781452110585 9. All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood Jennifer Senior, Ecco, $26.99, 9780062072221 10. Glitter and Glue: A Memoir Kelly Corrigan, Ballantine, $26, 9780345532831 11. The Southerner's Handbook: A Guide to Living the Good Life Garden & Gun Magazine, HarperWave, $27.99, 9780062242389 12. Little Failure Gary Shteyngart, Random House, $27, 9780679643753 13. The Accidental Universe: The World You Thought You Knew Alan P. Lightman, Pantheon, $24, 9780307908582 14. The Death of Santini Pat Conroy, Nan A. Talese, $28.95, 9780385530903 15. My Promised Land Ari Shavit, Spiegel & Grau, $28, 9780385521703
1. Life After Life Kate Atkinson, Back Bay, $18, 9780316176491 2. Dear Life Alice Munro, Vintage, $15.95, 9780307743725 3. Me Before You Jojo Moyes, Penguin, $16, 9780143124542 4. A Land More Kind Than Home Wiley Cash, Morrow, $14.99, 9780062088239 5. The Aviator's Wife Melanie Benjamin, Bantam, $15, 9780345528681 6. Where'd You Go, Bernadette Maria Semple, Back Bay, $14.99, 9780316204262 7. Beautiful Ruins Jess Walter, Harper Perennial, $15.99, 9780061928178 8. The Dinner Herman Koch, Hogarth, $14, 9780385346856 9. A Tale for the Time Being Ruth L. Ozeki, Penguin, $16, 9780143124870 10. Tenth of December George Saunders, Random House, $15, 9780812984255 11. A Week in Winter Maeve Binchy, Anchor, $14.95, 9780307475503 12. The Light Between Oceans M.L. Stedman, Scribner, $16, 9781451681758 13. Orphan Train Christina Baker Kline, Morrow, $14.99, 9780061950728 14. The Woman Upstairs Claire Messud, Vintage, $15, 9780307743763 15. The Yellow Eyes of Crocodiles Katherine Pancol, Penguin, $16, 9780143121558
TRADE PAPERBACK NONFICTION
1. The Monuments Men Robert M. Edsel, Back Bay, $17, 9780316240055 2. Lone Survivor Marcus Luttrell, Back Bay, $17, 9780316324106 3. Dance of the Reptiles Carl Hiaasen, Vintage, $15.95, 9780345807021 4. Philomena Martin Sixsmith, Penguin, $16, 9780143124726 5. Quiet Susan Cain, Broadway, $16, 9780307352156 6. The Wolf of Wall Street Jordan Belfort, Bantam, $16, 9780345549334 7. Hyperbole and a Half Allie Brosh, Touchstone, $17.99, 9781451666175 8. Detroit: An American Autopsy Charlie LeDuff, Penguin, $17, 9780143124467 9. Wild Cheryl Strayed, Vintage, $15.95, 9780307476074 10. Unlikely Loves Jennifer S. Holland, Workman, $13.95, 9780761174424 11. The Secret Rooms Catherine Bailey, Penguin, $16, 9780143124733 12. Brain on Fire Susannah Cahalan, S&S, $16, 9781451621389 13. The Forest Unseen David George Haskell, Penguin, $16, 9780143122944 14. My Beloved World Sonia Sotomayor, Vintage, $15.95, 9780345804839 15. Think Happy, Be Happy Workman, $8.95, 9780761177579
1. The Catcher in the Rye J.D. Salinger, Little Brown, $6.99, 9780316769488 2. To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee, Grand Central, $7.99, 9780446310789 3. 1984 George Orwell, Signet, $9.99, 9780451524935 4. The Diary of a Young Girl Anne Frank, Bantam, $7.99, 9780553577129 5. A Clash of Kings George R.R. Martin, Bantam, $9.99, 9780345535429 6. Days of Wine and Roquefort Avery Aames, Berkley, $7.99, 9780425255551 7. A Dance With Dragons George R.R. Martin, Bantam, $9.99, 9780553582017 8. The Monuments Men Robert M. Edsel, Little Brown, $10, 9780316240079 9. A Game of Thrones George R.R. Martin, Bantam, $9.99, 9780553593716 10. Best Kept Secret Jeffrey Archer, St. Martin's, $9.99, 9781250040770
1. Pete the Cat: Valentine's Day Is Cool Kimberly Dean, James Dean (Illus.), HarperFestival, $9.99, 9780062198655 2. Goodnight Moon Margaret Wise Brown, Clement Hurd (Illus.), Harper, $8.99, 9780694003617 3. The Day the Crayons Quit Drew Daywalt, Oliver Jeffers (Illus.), Philomel, $17.99, 9780399255373 4. The I Love You Book Todd Parr, LB Kids, $6.99, 9780316247566 5. Pat the Bunny Dorothy Kunhardt, Golden, $9.99, 9780307120007 6. Elmo Loves You Sarah Albee, Maggie Swanson (Illus.), Golden Books, $3.99, 9780385372831 7. Founding Mothers Cokie Roberts, Diane Goode (Illus.), Harper, $17.99, 9780060780029 8. Good Night, Gorilla Peggy Rathmann, Putnam, $7.99, 9780399230035 9. Oh, the Places You'll Go! Dr. Seuss, Random House, $17.99, 9780679805274 10. Locomotive Brian Floca, Atheneum, $17.99, 9781416994152
1. The Fault in Our Stars John Green, Dutton, $17.99, 9780525478812 2. Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures Kate DiCamillo, K.G. Campbell (Illus.), Candlewick, $17.99, 9780763660406 3. The Book Thief Markus Zusak, Knopf, $12.99, 9780385754729 4. Wonder R.J. Palacio, Knopf, $15.99, 9780375869020 5. Looking for Alaska John Green, Speak, $9.99, 9780142402511 6. Three Times Lucky Sheila Turnage, Puffin, $7.99, 9780142426050 7. Eleanor & Park Rainbow Rowell, St. Martin's Griffin, $18.99, 9781250012579 8. Hatchet Gary Paulsen, Aladdin, $6.99, 9781416936473 9. Every Day David Levithan, Ember, $9.99, 9780307931894 10. Paper Towns John Green, Speak, $9.99, 9780142414934
CHILDREN'S FICTION SERIES TITLES
1. Divergent Veronica Roth, Katherine Tegen Books, $9.99, 9780062024039 2. Insurgent (Divergent, #2) Veronica Roth, Katherine Tegen Books, $17.99, 9780062024046 3. Hollow City (The Second Novel of Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children) Ransom Riggs, Quirk, $17.99, 9781594746123 4. Cress (Lunar Chronicles, #3) Marissa Meyer, Feiwel & Friends, $18.99, 9780312642976 5. Allegiant (Divergent, #3) Veronica Roth, Katherine Tegen Books, $19.99, 9780062024060 6. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children Ransom Riggs, Quirk, $10.99, 9781594746031 7. I Am Amelia Earhart (Ordinary People The Change World) Brad Meltzer, Christopher Eliopoulos (Illus.), Dial, $12.99, 9780803740822 8. The Hunger Games Suzanne Collins, Scholastic, $12.99, 9780545425117 9. It's Valentine's Day (I Can Read Books: Level 2) Jack Prelutsky, Marylin Hafner (Illus.), Greenwillow, $3.99, 9780060537142 10. Mockingjay (The Final Book of the Hunger Games) Suzanne Collins, Scholastic, $18.99, 9780439023511