In which a Walker Percy festival is planned and some academics put up a fuss, reading from the King James Bible gives one’s speech a musical quality, a bookstore promises they have almost every kind of book, and Mr. Ron Charles has trouble pronouncing a word.
June 24, 2013
When Mr. Ron Charles of the Washington Post recently reviewed the debut novel from Anton DiSclafani (such a nice Italian name for a Southern girl), the much-buzzed and praised The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls, he admitted to having some trouble…not with the writing style. With the title. Which he was having trouble pronouncing.
It took her ladyship somewhat by surprise. Literary names come to this country from a around the globe and her ladyship freely admits to stumbling over more than a few author names in her long career as a bookseller. To this day she is still apt to mispronounce “Coetzee” (here is a handy guide to help with that).
But it had not occurred to her that “Yonahlossee” would be difficult. It is a Cherokee word that means “Trail of the Bear” according to the website of the original resort and camp. This country is strewn with Native American names--opaque, perhaps, to those of us who don’t speak these nearly lost languages, but pronounceable and even musical, as they are always spelled out phonetically. Just a casual perusal of the map near her own house revealed a waterfall of such names: Ocracoke, Hattaras, Pamlico, Roanoke, Currituck, Manteo…. move further west and there Catawba, Cullowhee, Saxapahaw, Swannanoa, Watauga….
Really, a word like “Yonahlossee” doesn’t give one a moment’s pause. But then, this is the land that reveres Mr. William Faulkner. As one reader commented to her ladyship, “we got through Yoknapatawpha, we can do this.”
her ladyship, the editor
Lady Banks' Commonplace Book
Noteworthy poetry and prose from her ladyship's bedside reading stack.
Most people never understood why Arla went and married a Bravo. The world genuflected before her. She was beautiful, then: skin like white linen, blue-blooded and hot tempered, stood a full six feet tall in her pink Capezio flats. She could have had so much more. Leon Fontaine, that sweet young man, perfectly lovesick over her and set up so nice like he was in his father’s law practice. He bought her a diamond ring; she thanked him and had it made into a pendant. Donny Pellivier, who took her to the senior prom, got to second base, and then went off to seminary at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Savannah. He wasn’t there even a week when he nearly went crazy with longing for her. He embarked on an aggressive and frantic spiritual reckoning, reevaluated the munificent bodily benefits of lay service, then hitchhiked back home to be with Arla, who wouldn’t have him. When she told her parents, Mr. and Mrs. James Bolton of St. Augustines Davis Shores, that she intended to marry Dean Bravo, her mother put her hands to her face, and her father went for the Scotch.
--Laura Lee Smith, Heart of Palm (Grove, 2013) 9780802121028
The books lying open on her ladyship's kitchen counter.
Bill Smith's White Peach and Pepper Soup
2.5 pounds white peaches 1/4 cup sugar 1 cup inexpensive medium sweet white wine 1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes 2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns, tied up in cheese cloth or in a tea ball 2 bay leaves 1 cup half-and-half chopped fresh mint for garnish
Peel and slice the peaches and toss with the sugar. Let sit for 30 minutes then pour them in a nonreactive pot with the wine and the seasonings. Bring them to a simmer until they are just heated through, about 2 minutes. If you go too far they will turn a dull brown and taste like jelly. Fish out the bay leaves and the peppercorns and puree the soup. Add half-and-half. Serve very cold with a garnish of chopped fresh mint. If the soup seems too thick, thin with a little more half-and-half.
--From Seasoned in the South, Recipes from Crook's Corner and from Home (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2005) 9781565124790
Put shells from hardboiled eggs in your coffee grounds before brewing, they will cut the bitter taste and acidity of cheap tinned coffee.
To clean your teapot, put crushed eggshells, dish soap and hot water in your tea pot and shake vigorously. Leave over night and then rinse it out.
You can make sidewalk chalk from eggshells: Wash and dry 4-5 egg shells, place in a bowl and crush to fine powder. Discard any larger pieces. In a second bowl, add 1 teaspoon flour, 1 teaspoon hot water, and 1 tablespoon of the eggshell powder. Mix into a paste (you can add food coloring for colored chalk). Shape into a chalk stick, roll in a paper towel and let dry for several days.
Literary News & Gossip passed along from the readers, the writers, the reviewers, the resellers, the riff raff, and dutifully repeated here by her ladyship (who falls into the last category).
Texas-born Tomás Rivera’s coming-of-age story of a Mexican boy’s life in a migrant family in the 1940s and 1950s, with its themes of family life and tensions, is apparently too much for the parents of a Clarke County seventh-grader and they want the book banned. They demanded that the Clarke County Board of Education overturn Superintendent Philip Lanoue’s decision not to remove the award-winning book from an Athens, Georgia school. Banned in Athens 9780613179591
Spoiler alert: Mr. Rochester is keeping a horrible secret from Jane Eyre, and the longer he delays telling her what it is, the more horrible his secret had better be. After months of anguished sighing, we don’t want to find out that he cheated on his taxes or ripped the tag off his mattress. We want to be appalled. That’s the challenge Anton DiSclafani sets up in her first novel: A dreadful secret keeps accruing our compound interest, but can the author pay off the debt of suspense when the bill comes due? Trust her — she can. Yonahlosse is no one-trick pony 9781594486401
The whole time I was working on my review of “The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls,” I froze whenever anyone asked me what I was reading. Sometimes, I’d just hold up the book and let them try to pronounce the title themselves. Other times, I’d call it “That Riding Camp for Girls Book.” Can you spell that?
What makes the southerner’s attachment to place unique? Perhaps the answer lies, as it so often does, in the history. Here, one finds an anomaly, a singular experience, lone in scope and scale, which could most definitely serve as a schism between the South and the nation as a whole; this being, of course, the South’s existence, ever so briefly and long ago, as a nation outside of that one which it helped to found. Writers favorite places 9781611172515
The winner of the 2012 Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction has been announced as “A Short Time to Stay Here” by North Carolina novelist Terry Roberts, published by Ingalls Publishing Group. The award is given annually for a novel set in the original states of the Confederacy that best reflects “hope for belonging, for belief in a people’s better nature, for steadfastness against all that is hollow or crass or rootless or destructive,” - Willie Morris Award 9781932158991
I wanted to update readers who have expressed interest in the Walker Percy Weekend festival we have planned for Spring 2014, here in St. Francisville. Our local planning committee met last night, and we talked about the complaints we’ve received from a number of academics who want to participate, saying that our initial plan for the festival, in mid-May, was problematic. For many of them, it’s right in the final exam and graduation season. So, to accommodate them, we’ve moved the date to June 6 and 7, 2014. Walker Percy Weekend update
Tamassee-Salem High School has joined the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail with two quilt blocks…. The 1981 Class of Tamassee-Salem High School is sponsoring a second addition to the school. This quilt block is in honor of their former English teacher, Ron Rash, well-known local writer. The original quilt, called Crossroads, was made by Mr. Rash’s mother, Sue Holder Rash of Boiling Springs, N.C. Quilting in honor of Ron Rash
Of all the Southern authors I have ever read that weren't named Margaret Mitchell or Mark Twain, Pat Conroy is my very favorite. It almost makes me cry to read his prose. He can describe a salt marsh in such a way that I can taste raw oysters in the back of my throat, and he understands the pathos of growing up in the integrated South and living as a man in that same South just as the wounds that came with segregation were beginning to scab over. Reconnecting with my Southerness
I am awfully fond of my mother-in-law’s sayings. She was a great reader, but the only book she had available to her when she was a child growing up in Bluefield, Virginia, was the Bible, so her everyday speech had the cadence of the King James Bible, and her voice had a quiet musicality to it. Listening to her talk was almost like listening to someone read a psalm. Susan Tekulve 9781891885211
STARS Authors on tour:
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.
Where’s Waldo? In Raleigh, of course! The famous children’s book character in the striped shirt and black-rimmed specs is visiting once again visiting Shop Local Raleigh businesses throughout our community this July. Those who spot him can win prizes, gift certificates to local businesses and more! Waldo figurines will be hidden in local establishments all over town. - Where’s Waldo at Quail Ridge Books?
Read This! Okra Picks and Recommendations from Alabama Booksmith in Birmingham, AL
A Place at the Table by Susan Rebecca White Touchstone Books, June 2013 9781451608878
Celebrating the healing power of food and the magic of New York City, A Place at the Table follows the lives of three seekers who come together in the understanding that when you embrace the thing that makes you different, you become whole. A Place at the Table tells the story of three unforgettable characters whose paths converge in a storied Manhattan cafe Bobby, a young gay man from Georgia who has been ostracized by his family; Amelia, a wealthy Connecticut woman whose life is upended when a family secret comes to light; and Alice, an African-American chef from North Carolina whose heritage is the basis of a renowned cookbook but whose past is a mystery to those who know her. These characters are exiles--from homeland, from marriage, from family. While they all find companionship and careers through cooking, they hunger for the deeper nourishment of communion. As the narrative sweeps from a freed-slave settlement in 1920s North Carolina to Manhattan during the deadly AIDS epidemic of the 1980s to the well-heeled hamlet of contemporary Old Greenwich, Connecticut, Bobby, Amelia, and Alice are asked to sacrifice everything they ever knew or cared about to find authenticity and fulfillment.
Susan Rebecca White's first two novels were hailed for the beauty of her writing, her wit, her compassion for her characters, and her sharp insights into their inner lives. A Place at the Table announces the maturity of her talents and reveals her wise and open heart.
Recommended Reading from The July Indie Next List
The Illusion of Separateness: A Novel, by Simon Van Booy (Harper, 9780062112248, $23.99) “Van Booy’s newest novel simply reminded me about what it means to take joy in reading. The story, spanning a number of decades, delicately intertwines the lives of several characters who, at a glance, seem like strangers but are, in fact, making an unforgettable impact on each other’s lives. This book sinks its teeth into the hell of war, the pain and unspeakable joy of loving another human being, and what it means to grow up and grow older. With the introduction of each new character, pieces of the story begin to fall into place, building on a truth that Van Booy clings to — that there are no coincidences and the experiences we share with others are vital in shaping who we are as individuals. I could not put this book down!” —Hannah Hester, Lemuria Bookstore, Jackson, MS
Lexicon: A Novel, by Max Barry (Penguin Press, 9781594205385, $26.95) “Barry’s newest novel manages to be a gripping, page-turning thriller as well as a phenomenally intelligent dissertation on language’s raw, neurological power. Barry manages to maintain a blistering pace in an ingenious, complex plot structure with seeming ease, while at the same time exploring conspiracy theories, intense paranoia, privacy concerns in the Internet era, and countless other frightening ideas for the reader to ponder long after the book is finished. Lexicon is simultaneously brainy and muscular, like a Heisman Trophy winner who just happens to work as a semiotics professor on the side.” —Hank Stephenson, Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC
Whistling Past the Graveyard: A Novel, by Susan Crandall (Gallery Books, 9781476707723, $24.99) “Fall in love with spunky Starla Claudelle, who runs away from a strict grandmother in 1963 Mississippi to find the mother she hasn’t seen since she was three. As she journeys with a black woman named Eula, Starla has her eyes opened to larger issues of race and segregation. This wonderful novel will be devoured by book clubs and will cause every parent who finishes it to immediately want to find and hug their children.” —Jill Hendrix, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC
Amy Falls Down: A Novel, by Jincy Willett (St. Martin’s, 9781250028273, $24.99) “A once-famed writer considered the voice of her generation 30 years ago, Amy now teaches creative writing online and lives a hermit’s life. One day, she falls down in her yard and receives a concussion, and afterward gives a most peculiar and stirring interview, none of which she remembers. While seemingly inconsequential, the interview restarts her career, and within a year Amy is once again the voice of writers everywhere. Amy Falls Down is a wonderful exploration of the business of writing in our modern era.” —Meaghan Beasley, Island Bookstore, Duck, NC
Imperfect Harmony: Finding Happiness Singing With Others, by Stacy Horn (Algonquin Books, 9781616200411, paper, $15.95) “Listening to choral music has always been moving for me, but I never realized the profound emotions felt by the chorus members. In this delightful, charmingly self-effacing memoir, Horn explains how singing with the Choral Society of New York’s Grace Church has been life-affirming, and even life-saving. Drawing on the reflections of other singers, composers of choral music, and scientific evidence, as well as her own experience, Horn beautifully puts into words the joy of singing in harmony with others. Any lover of choral music will love this book!” —Samantha Flynn, Quail Ridge Books & Music, Raleigh, NC
1. And the Mountains Echoed Khaled Hosseini, Riverhead, $28.95, 9781594631764 2. Inferno Dan Brown, Doubleday, $29.95, 9780385537858 3. Bad Monkey Carl Hiaasen, Knopf, $26.95, 9780307272591 4. The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls Anton DiSclafani, Riverhead, $27.95, 9781594486401 5. The Silver Star Jeannette Walls, Scribner, $26, 9781451661507 6. The Last Original Wife Dorothea Benton Frank, Morrow, $26.99, 9780062132468 7. Gone Girl Gillian Flynn, Crown, $25, 9780307588364 8. TransAtlantic Colum McCann, Random House, $27, 9781400069590 9. The Son Philipp Meyer, Ecco Press, $27.99, 9780062120397 10. Ladies' Night Mary Kay Andrews, St. Martin's, $26.99, 9781250019677 11. Z Therese Anne Fowler, St. Martin's, $25.99, 9781250028655 12. A Delicate Truth John le Carre, Viking, $28.95, 9780670014897 13. The Time Between Karen White, NAL, $25.95, 9780451239860 14. Revenge Wears Prada Lauren Weisberger, S&S, $25.99, 9781439136638 15. A Dance With Dragons George R.R. Martin, Bantam, $35, 9780553801477
1. Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls David Sedaris, Little Brown, $27, 9780316154697 2. The Guns at Last Light Rick Atkinson, Holt, $40, 9780805062908 3. Happy, Happy, Happy Phil Robertson, Howard Books, $24.99, 9781476726090 4. The Unwinding George Packer, FSG, $27, 9780374102418 5. The Boys in the Boat Daniel James Brown, Viking, $28.95, 9780670025817 6. Keep It Pithy Bill O'Reilly, Crown Archetype, $21.99, 9780385346627 7. Vader's Little Princess Jeffrey Brown, Chronicle, $14.95, 9781452118697 8. Eleven Rings Phil Jackson, Hugh Delehanty, Penguin Press, $27.95, 9781594205118 9. I Could Pee on This Francesco Marciuliano, Chronicle, $12.95, 9781452110585 10. Lean In Sheryl Sandberg, Knopf, $24.95, 9780385349949 11. Cooked Michael Pollan, Penguin Press, $27.95, 9781594204210 12. The Girls of Atomic City Denise Kiernan, Touchstone, $27, 9781451617528 13. Unbroken Laura Hillenbrand, Random House, $28, 9781400064168 14. The Drunken Botanist Amy Stewart, Algonquin, $19.95, 9781616200466 15. Help, Thanks, Wow Anne Lamott, Riverhead, $17.95, 9781594631290
TRADE PAPERBACK FICTION
1. Joyland Stephen King, Hard Case Crime, $12.95, 9781781162644 2. Flight Behavior Barbara Kingsolver, Harper Perennial, $16.99, 9780062124272 3. The Great Gatsby F.Scott Fitzgerald, Scribner, $15, 9781451689433 4. The Art Forger B.A. Shapiro, Algonquin, $14.95, 9781616203160 5. Beautiful Ruins Jess Walter, Harper Perennial, $15.99, 9780061928178 6. Where'd You Go, Bernadette Maria Semple, Back Bay, $14.99, 9780316204262 7. The Chaperone Laura Moriarty, Riverhead, $16, 9781594631436 8. The Light Between Oceans M.L. Stedman, Scribner, $16, 9781451681758 9. City of Women David R. Gillham, Berkley, $16, 9780425252963 10. World War Z Max Brooks, Broadway, $14.95, 9780770437411 11. A Hologram for the King Dave Eggers, Vintage, $15.95, 9780307947512 12. A Thousand Splendid Suns Khaled Hosseini, Riverhead, $16, 9781594483851 13. The Orphan Master's Son Adam Johnson, Random House, $15, 9780812982626 14. The Language of Flowers Vanessa Diffenbaugh, Ballantine, $15, 9780345525550 15. Bring Up the Bodies Hilary Mantel, Picador USA, $16, 9781250024176
TRADE PAPERBACK NONFICTION
1. Proof of Heaven Eben Alexander, M.D., S&S, $15.99, 9781451695199 2. Quiet Susan Cain, Broadway, $16, 9780307352156 3. Wild Cheryl Strayed, Vintage, $15.95, 9780307476074 4. The End of Your Life Book Club Will Schwalbe, Vintage, $15, 9780307739780 5. How to Read Literature Like a Professor Thomas C. Foster, Harper, $15.99, 9780060009427 6. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) Mindy Kaling, Three Rivers, $14, 9780307886279 7. Double Cross Ben Macintyre, Broadway, $15, 9780307888778 8. Outliers Malcolm Gladwell, Back Bay, $16.99, 9780316017930 9. Into the Wild Jon Krakauer, Anchor, $14.95, 9780307387172 10. Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake Anna Quindlen, Random House, $15, 9780812981667 11. Let's Pretend This Never Happened Jenny Lawson, Berkley, $16, 9780425261019 12. America the Beautiful Ben Carson, Zondervan, $14.99, 9780310330912 13. How to Tell If Your Cat Is Plotting to Kill You Matthew Inman, Andrews McMeel, $14.99, 9781449410247 14. All Over But the Shoutin' Rick Bragg, Vintage, $15.95, 9780679774020 15. The Devil in the White City Erik Larson, Vintage, $16, 9780375725609
1. A Game of Thrones George R.R. Martin, Bantam, $9.99, 9780553593716 2. A Clash of Kings George R.R. Martin, Bantam, $9.99, 9780345535429 3. 1984 George Orwell, Signet, $9.99, 9780451524935 4. To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee, Warner, $7.99, 9780446310789 5. Lord of the Flies William Golding, Berkley, $9.99, 9780399501487 6. A Storm of Swords George R.R. Martin, Bantam, $9.99, 9780345543981 7. Ender's Game Orson Scott Card, Tor, $6.99, 9780812550702 8. Animal Farm George Orwell, Signet, $9.99, 9780451526342 9. A Feast for Crows George R.R. Martin, Bantam, $9.99, 9780553582024 10. The Hobbit J.R.R. Tolkien, Del Rey, $8.99, 9780345534835
1. Oh, the Places You'll Go! Dr. Seuss, Random House, $17.99, 9780679805274 2. Goodnight Moon Margaret Wise Brown, Clement Hurd (Illus.), Harper, $8.99, 9780694003617 3. Good Night, Gorilla Peggy Rathmann, Putnam, $7.99, 9780399230035 4. Where the Wild Things Are Maurice Sendak, Harper, $17.95, 9780060254926 5. When a Dad Says "I Love You" Douglas Wood, Jennifer A. Bell (Illus.), S&S, $16.99, 9780689875328 6. Fancy Nancy: Fanciest Doll in the Universe Jane O'Connor, Robin Preiss Glasser (Illus.), Harper, $17.99, 9780061703843 7. Steam Train, Dream Train Sherri Duskey Rinker, Tom Lichtenheld (Illus.), Chronicle, $16.99, 9781452109206 8. The Giving Tree Shel Silverstein, Harper, $16.99, 9780060256654 9. A Day at the Seashore Kathryn Jackson, Byron Jackson, Golden, $3.99, 9780375854255 10. The Very Hungry Caterpillar Eric Carle, Putnam, $10.99, 9780399226908
1. The Fault in Our Stars John Green, Dutton, $17.99, 9780525478812 2. The 5th Wave Rick Yancey, Putnam, $18.99, 9780399162411 3. Wonder R.J. Palacio, Knopf, $15.99, 9780375869020 4. The Moon and More Sarah Dessen, Viking, $19.99, 9780670785605 5. The Book Thief Markus Zusak, Knopf, $12.99, 9780375842207 6. Looking for Alaska John Green, Speak, $9.99, 9780142402511 7. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children Ransom Riggs, Quirk, $10.99, 9781594746031 8. The One and Only Ivan Katherine Applegate, Patricia Castelao (Illus.), Harper, $16.99, 9780061992254 9. Tuck Everlasting Natalie Babbitt, Square Fish, $6.99, 9780312369811 10. Paper Towns John Green, Speak, $9.99, 9780142414934
CHILDREN'S FICTION SERIES TITLES
1. Pete the Cat: Pete at the Beach (My First I Can Read Series) James Dean, Harper, $3.99, 9780062110725 2. Theodore Boone: The Activist John Grisham, Dutton, $16.99, 9780525425779 3. Tales from a Not-So-Happy Heartbreaker (Dork Diaries, #6) Rachel Renee Russell, Aladdin, $13.99, 9781442449633 4. The Hunger Games Suzanne Collins, Scholastic, $12.99, 9780545425117 5. Divergent Veronica Roth, Katherine Tegen Books, $9.99, 9780062024039 6. Catching Fire (The Second Book of the Hunger Games) Suzanne Collins, Scholastic, $12.99, 9780545586177 7. Matched Ally Condie, Speak, $9.99, 9780142419779 8. Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer John Grisham, Puffin Books, $7.99, 9780142417225 9. The Name of This Book Is Secret (The Secret Series) Pseudonymous Bosch, Little Brown, $7.99, 9780316113694 10. Mockingjay (The Final Book of the Hunger Games) Suzanne Collins, Scholastic, $17.99, 9780439023511