In which Mr. Nic Pizzolatto assures us that we are all born storytellers, daffodils teach us about planting potatoes, Miss Lily Rain reads about the zombie apocalypse, and her ladyship, the editor, wishes she were mean and impressive.
January 12, 2014
Last week, January 7, was the birthday of Zora Neale Hurston -- an important fact which many people were utterly ignorant of until they turned on their computers and saw Google’s “doodle” for that day. Her ladyship still remembers vividly her own introduction to Zora:
Once upon a time, a long, long (looooong) time ago, when her ladyship was still young even if the world was not, she was spending an afternoon exploring the dusty shelves of an old used bookstore when she came across a postcard of a laughing black woman in a floppy straw hat and dusty dress. The caption under her photo said “I love myself when I am laughing . . . and then again when I am looking mean and impressive.” The woman’s smile, and the sentiment, appealed to me greatly. I became suddenly enamored of Zora Neale Hurston.
Her ladyship was rather late in her discovery, of course. Zora Neale Hurston’s reputation had been enjoying resurgence thanks to the enthusiasm of contemporary African American writers like Alice Walker and Toni Morrison—who tended to adore her—which is why there was even a postcard of her in a bookshop in the first place. And really, what’s not to adore? “Zora was funny, irreverent (she was the first to call the Harlem Renaissance literari the “niggerati”), good-looking, sexy.” writes Walker.
She was indeed. But her ladyship’s own personal interest might have ended with the postcard if it wasn’t for the fact that on the shelf next to it she found a slightly abused copy of Hurston’s ground-breaking book (although it would be decades before anyone realized just how ground-breaking it was) Mules and Men. It was a collection of black folk tales and “big old lies.” Her ladyship had never read anything like them.
So this winter, her ladyship, the editor has been re-acquainting herself with the storytelling mastery of Zora Neale Hurston, in both Mules and Men, and the more recently released Every Tongue Got to Confess. Cold rainy days are excellent for telling tall tales, and nobody tells them taller than Zora. She gives one mean and impressive story.
Have you nominated your favorite southern books yet?
Read mean and impressively, (and naturally, independently)!
her ladyship, the editor
Lady Banks' Pick of the Week
Lady Banks' Commonplace Book (the garden journal)
Noteworthy poetry and prose from her ladyship's bedside reading stack.
Natural Gardening Signals
In these times of climate change and erratic, unpredictable weather, many scientists and gardeners are returning to the observation of nature as a guide to planting and predicting insect emergence. Phenology is the study of recurring plant and animal life cycles and their relationship to weather. Many historical figures, including Thomas Jefferson, recorded phenological observations that are being resurrected and used to understand how climate and weather have changed over the last century or more.
Plant and insect development is temperature dependent, not calendar dependent….So a gardenr who records bloom times, insect occurrences, and bird migrations and uses the concept of phenology has another important tool for success at their disposal. For example, if you plant your peas when the forsythia blooms, you risk losing a few plants to late frost but you will be in the ballpark.
Phenological Sign / Association dandelions begin to bloom / sow beets and carrots daffodils begin to bloom / plant potatoes forsythia begins to bloom / sow peas redbuds begin to bloom / expect flea beetles lilacs in full bloom / sow beans, squash and cucumbers oak leaves the size of “squirrel ears” / sow corn foxgloves begin to bloom / bean beetle eggs hatch fall dead nettle shoots emerge / sow spinach
--Ira Wallace, The Timber Press Guide to Vegetable Gardening in the Southeast (Timber Press, 2013) 9781604693713
Hurston felt the creative urge from an early age, although in her autobiography, she recalled that she was "weighed down by a power I did not want." She read relentlessly and listened with great interest to the stories of the men and women gathered in the Eatonville general store. "It is one of the blessings of the world," she later wrote, "that few people see visions and dream dreams." 9780060838676
We're all born storytellers. It's part of the species. But, more specifically, I suppose a particular combination of sensitivity and trauma made me a writer, an essential disquiet with reality, which required exploration through portrayal. 9781439166666
On Christmas morning in 1956, Harper found a small envelope under the tree with her name on it. Inside the envelop there was a note from Michael Brown and Joy Williams that said: "You have one year off from your job to write whatever you please. Merry Christmas." 9780446310789
As pleasant a place as its name implies, it still harbors all manner of fractious folk, including Texans and recent refugees from unlikely places like Korea and Michigan, all of whom have learned to get along tolerably well, better than most in fact, who watch LSU football and reruns of M*A*S*H, drink Dixie beer, and eat every sort of food imaginable, which is generally cooked in something called a roux.
“It’s just such a fine novel, period. But for it to be a first novel, I think it really knocks it out of the park,” says best-selling author Jill McCorkle, who picked the winning entry from a field of four finalists. “Also, I’m a sucker for a child narrator. I think it is hard to walk that line, but he never once fell off that tightrope.”
Kidd, author of the best-selling novel The Secret Life of Bees, grew up in Georgia in the '50s and '60s. As a white teenager, she watched as the civil rights movement played out around her. These experiences shaped her, and they still pull at her as a writer. "I think it's part of my history. It is part of who I am," she says. "I can't explain exactly why it lives within me for so long and passionately. But race matters to me, racial equality matters to me, as does gender. There is something about these kinds of social injustices that go to the deep of me."
White started her first novel in 1996 “as a stay-at-home mom with two babies.” It took her three years to write that book “while the babies were napping.” She entered it in a contest; one of the judges was a literary agent from New York. That led to a contract with a small, now-defunct publishing house. “They paid me maybe grocery money,” White says. But it opened the door to her writing career.
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.
Meet Elizabeth O. Dulemba
Elizabeth O. Dulemba is an award-winning children's book author/illustrator with two dozen titles to her credit. She gives back to the community that supports her as Illustrator Coordinator for the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Southern Breeze region (Alabama, Georgia, Florida panhandle) and as a board member for the Georgia Center for the Book. She is a Visiting Associate Professor at Hollins University in the MFA in Children's Book Writing and Illustrating program. She also teaches writing and illustration at other venues and speaks regularly at schools, festivals, and events. Her latest picture books are LULA'S BREW (Xist Publishing) and THE 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS IN GEORGIA (Sterling). Her debut historical fiction mid-grade, A BIRD ON WATER STREET, will come out Spring 2014 (Little Pickle Press), for which she's lining up speaking engagements now (visit http://ABirdOnWaterStreet.com for details). Her "Coloring Page Tuesday" images (free to parents, teachers and librarians) garner around a million hits to her website annually with over 3,000 subscribers to her newsletter. Learn more at http://dulemba.com.
Elizabeth's Touring Schedule:
Georgia, Atlanta | 03/14/2014 to 03/16/2014
Georgia, Blue Ridge | 04/04/2014 to 04/05/2014
Georgia, Atlanta | 09/12/2014 to 09/14/2014
North Carolina, Brasstown | 12/03/2014 to 12/06/2014
A Bird on Water Street is a coming of age story about Jack, the son of a miner growing up in a Southern Appalachian town environmentally devastated by a century of poor copper-mining practices. After a tragic accident and a massive company layoff, the miners go on strike. When nature begins to flourish as a result, Jack fights to protect it, but the cost could be the ruin of everything he loves
See the full list of authors in the STARS Program online here and find the authors touring in your area here
In 1946, a young female attorney from New York City attempts the impossible: attaining justice for a black man in the Deep South.
Regina Robichard works for Thurgood Marshall, who receives an unusual letter asking the NAACP to investigate the murder of a returning black war hero. It is signed by M. P. Calhoun, the most reclusive author in the country.
As a child, Regina was captivated by Calhoun's "The Secret of Magic," a novel in which white and black children played together in a magical forest.
Once down in Mississippi, Regina finds that nothing in the South is as it seems. She must navigate the muddy waters of racism, relationships, and her own tragic past. "The Secret of Magic" brilliantly explores the power of stories and those who tell them.
Because her ladyship, the editor, is a lady of…well, a certain age, she is perhaps not so well-versed in certain kinds of literature. She is, for example, somewhat clueless about that category of books called “young adult” -- a diverse genre that seems to encompass everything from animal stories to the zombie apocalypse. So her ladyship turned to an expert, her young niece Lily, who reads voraciously and has very strong opinions about what makes a good story.
Specifically, she asked if Lily had any thoughts about which young adult books from the last year might be worthy of consideration for the SIBA Book Award. She had plenty:
There have been so many wonderful Southern books published in 2013, especially within the Young Adult category-- my favorite! Over the next few weeks, I’m going to talk about some outstanding YA books that you may or may not be familiar with. From werewolves, time travel, young love, dark future worlds, to cancer survival and supernatural teens- we’ve seen it all this year. For the first set, we’re going to take a look at some of the hottest YA books from 2013, which take place in a not-so-pleasant future. Here are some notable YA dystopian stories, with a southern flare. . -- Lily
The Book: The Elite: The Selection Series (book two) Author: Kiera Cass Published: April 2013 Category: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Romance 9780062059949
Kiera Cass, a southern gal from South Carolina (currently living in Virginia), is the author behind The New York Times Bestselling series, “The Selection”. This dystopian story is like “The Hunger Games” meets “The Bachelor” meets [insert your favorite fairy tale]. It is set in a post WWWIII United States, where the people are ruled by a royal family and regimented by a prescribed caste system. The books follow 16 year old America Singer, who is chosen to participate in “The Selection”, a contest that includes 35 girls, competing to marry the prince. This series has it all; the dystopian setting, power plays, fierce competition and fairy tale love. It’s also part of the ever growing trend of books that are young adult with a crossover appeal to the adult audience. Released in 2012, the first book follows America through the beginning of “The Selection” process, which is complicated by her love for a boy who is in a caste beneath her, being forced to compete for a crown she doesn’t want and having to reconcile her feelings for the prince. Its wild popularity made the 2nd installment one of the most highly anticipated YA books of 2013. Picking up where the first book leaves off, the competition has been dwindled down to only six girls, “The Elite”. Tension is high at the castle; the rebels, determined to overthrow the monarchy, are growing more violent and the competition for the crown has become even fiercer. Time is running out and America must make a choice that will change her future forever. Equally as gripping as the first book, we can bet that the conclusion, which comes out this spring, will be one of the biggest YA books of 2014.
The Book: The 5th Wave: The 5th wave Series (book one) Author: Rick Yancey Published: May 2013 Category: Science Fiction, Aliens, Dystopian
Single-handedly one of 2013’s hottest YA books, “The 5th Wave” takes a unique spin on dystopia by bringing aliens into the mix. This is the first book in Rick Yancey’s “The 5th Wave Series”, and it’s madly entertaining! Another YA book with adult cross-over appeal, the story sets off after the first “4 waves” have occurred and the characters are now living in “The 5th Wave”. As the book describes, “after the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one”. The book follows 16 year old Cassie, who is trying to rescue her little brother while also trying to survive. This thrilling story, which at times even gets a bit scary, has also been optioned for a movie by Sony Studios. Written by author Rick Yancey, a native Floridian and the author of two other critically acclaimed series: “The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp”, for young readers, and “The Highly Effective Detective”, for adults. Both books are set in Knoxville, Tennessee, where Rick lived for ten years before returning to Florida. The 2nd installment of “The 5th Wave Series”, to be titled “The Infinite Sea”, is expected to be released September, 2014.
The Book: Endless Night: The Arcana Chronicles (book two) Author: Kresley Cole Published: May 2013 Category: Paranormal Romance, Dystopian, Science Fiction Setting: Louisiana 9781442436671
Kresley Cole combines paranormal fantasy and dystopia to bring us The New York Times Bestselling series, “The Arcana Chronicles”. Set in Louisiana, 16 year old Evie Green starts experiencing what she believes are horrifying hallucinations, but after an apocalyptic event decimates her hometown, she realizes she had actually been receiving visions of the future. Desperate for answers, she sets out on a quest with “bad boy” classmate Jack Deveaux, to find out the source of her visions. Along the way she learns that she’s not the only one with special powers and is actually part of an ancient prophesy being played out, where 22 teens have been chosen to reenact the ultimate battle between good and evil. Cole’s second installment “Endless Night”, which debuted at #5 on The New York Times bestseller list in May, 2013, takes readers even deeper into the dark world of Arcana. The story becomes grand, as an epic battle for mankind ensues and Evie must trust new allies against other Arcana, Bagmen zombies, post-apocalyptic storms, and cannibals. Although this story doesn’t have the same cross-over appeal as the first two on this list, it does have a bit of everything else; supernatural creatures, the apocalypse, an agonizing love story, a strong heroine and, potentially, the end of the world. The 3rd book in this series is expected out sometime in the fall of this year.
A few other notable dystopian Young Adult books worth consideration for this year’s SIBA Book Awards include:
“Sever”, the third and final book of Lauren DeStefano’s New York Times bestselling series, “The Chemical Garden Trilogy”. Set in Florida, this series takes place after a botched effort to create the perfect race left all males with a life span of 25 year and all females with a lifespan of 20- a “genetic time bomb” of sorts. Geneticist are seeking an antidote to restore the human race, but meanwhile poverty and violence have taken over and the main character, Rhine Ellery, becomes one of many girls who get kidnapped and sold as polygamist brides to bear more children. This gripping story follows 16 year old Rhine in her race against time. 9781442409095
“Breaking Point” is the 2nd installment of the exciting “Article 5 Series”, by Southern author Kristen Simmons. This story is more of your pure dystopian, which takes place after New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C. have been abandoned, the Bill of Rights has been revoked and in its place is the “Moral Statutes”. There are no more police; instead soldiers. And there are no more trials or courts in place, rather people who get arrested don’t come back. The story follows 17 year old Ember Miller, who lives a rather simple life, until one day her mother gets arrested for breaking Article 5 of the Moral Statutes. The arresting officer is none other than the only boy Ember has ever loved. This is an action packed story that will keep you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end. The 3rd and final book of this series is expected to be published next month. 9780765329622
“Dance of the Red Death”, by Kentucky author Bethany Griffin, is the final book in the “Masque of the Red Death Saga”. Inspired by the Edger Allen Poe classic, the story takes place after a devastating plague has decimated the population, and those who are left, live in fear of catching it as the city crumbles around them. The story follows seventeen-year-old Araby Worth who is haunted by the death of her twin brother Finn. Trying to forget the devastation that’s all around, Araby spends most of her nights attending club parties, where she ends up meeting Elliott, the reckless nephew of the mad Prince Prospero who controls the city, and Will, a boy who works at the Debauchery Club who is desperately trying to take care of his little brother and sister. These relationships wake her up from the numb acceptance she’d had of the world and she learns that she just might hold the key to saving countless lives. 9780062107824
1. The Goldfinch Donna Tartt, Little Brown, $30, 9780316055437 2. Sycamore Row John Grisham, Doubleday, $28.95, 9780385537131 3. The First Phone Call From Heaven Mitch Albom, Harper, $24.99, 9780062294371 4. The Gods of Guilt Michael Connelly, Little Brown, $28, 9780316069519 5. The Ocean at the End of the Lane Neil Gaiman, Morrow, $25.99, 9780062255655 6. The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion Fannie Flagg, Random House, $27, 9781400065943 7. The Circle Dave Eggers, Knopf, $27.95, 9780385351393 8. We Are Water Wally Lamb, Harper, $29.99, 9780061941023 9. Guests on Earth Lee Smith, Shannon Ravenel Books, $25.95, 9781616202538 10. The Good Lord Bird James McBride, Riverhead, $27.95, 9781594486340 11. And the Mountains Echoed Khaled Hosseini, Riverhead, $28.95, 9781594631764 12. The Luminaries Eleanor Catton, Little Brown, $27, 9780316074315 13. The Lowland Jhumpa Lahiri, Knopf, $27.95, 9780307265746 14. Dog Songs Mary Oliver, Penguin Press, $26.95, 9781594204784 15. The Valley of Amazement Amy Tan, Ecco, $29.99, 9780062107312
1. Things That Matter Charles Krauthammer, Crown Forum, $28, 9780385349178 2. David and Goliath Malcolm Gladwell, Little Brown, $29, 9780316204361 3. Everything I Need to Know I Learned From a Little Golden Book Diane Muldrow, Golden Books, $9.99, 9780307977618 4. The Death of Santini Pat Conroy, Nan A. Talese, $28.95, 9780385530903 5. Killing Jesus Bill O'Reilly, Martin Dugard, Holt, $28, 9780805098549 6. The Bully Pulpit Doris Kearns Goodwin, S&S, $40, 9781416547860 7. This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage Ann Patchett, Harper, $27.99, 9780062236678 8. The Southerner's Handbook: A Guide to Living the Good Life Garden & Gun Magazine, HarperWave, $27.99, 9780062242389 9. Grain Brain David Perlmutter, Little Brown, $27, 9780316234801 10. Stitches Anne Lamott, Riverhead, $17.95, 9781594632587 11. One Summer: America, 1927 Bill Bryson, Doubleday, $28.95, 9780767919401 12. George Washington's Secret Six Brian Kilmeade, Don Yaeger, Sentinel, $27.95, 9781595231031 13. My Promised Land Ari Shavit, Spiegel & Grau, $28, 9780385521703 14. Financially Fearless Alexa Von Tobel, Crown Business, $19.99, 9780385347617 15. Help, Thanks, Wow Anne Lamott, Riverhead, $17.95, 9781594631290
1. Dear Life Alice Munro, Vintage, $15.95, 9780307743725 2. Where'd You Go, Bernadette Maria Semple, Back Bay, $14.99, 9780316204262 3. The Aviator's Wife Melanie Benjamin, Bantam, $15, 9780345528681 4. Me Before You Jojo Moyes, Penguin, $16, 9780143124542 5. The Dinner Herman Koch, Hogarth, $14, 9780385346856 6. The Art Forger B.A. Shapiro, Algonquin, $14.95, 9781616203160 7. The Light Between Oceans M.L. Stedman, Scribner, $16, 9781451681758 8. The Golem and the Jinni Helene Wecker, Harper Perennial, $15.99, 9780062110848 9. The Round House Louise Erdrich, Harper Perennial, $15.99, 9780062065254 10. The Silent Wife A.S.A. Harrison, Penguin, $16, 9780143123231 11. Life After Life Jill McCorkle, Shannon Ravenel Books, $14.95, 9781616203221 12. The Great Gatsby F.Scott Fitzgerald, Scribner, $15, 9781451689433 13. Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore Robin Sloan, Picador, $15, 9781250037756 14. Flight Behavior Barbara Kingsolver, Harper Perennial, $16.99, 9780062124272 15. The Orphan Master's Son Adam Johnson, Random House, $15, 9780812982626
TRADE PAPERBACK NONFICTION
1. Hyperbole and a Half Allie Brosh, Touchstone, $17.99, 9781451666175 2. Quiet Susan Cain, Broadway, $16, 9780307352156 3. Orange Is the New Black Piper Kerman, Spiegel & Grau, $16, 9780812986181 4. Unlikely Loves Jennifer S. Holland, Workman, $13.95, 9780761174424 5. Outliers Malcolm Gladwell, Back Bay, $16.99, 9780316017930 6. Brain on Fire Susannah Cahalan, S&S, $16, 9781451621389 7. Dog Shaming Pascale Lemire, Three Rivers Press, $15, 9780385349345 8. The World Almanac and Book of Facts Sarah Janssen (Ed.), World Almanac, $13.99, 9781600571824 9. The Old Farmer's Almanac 2014 Old Farmer's Almanac, $7.95, 9781571986030 10. The Wolf of Wall Street Jordan Belfort, Bantam, $16, 9780553384772 11. Unfathomable City: A New Orleans Atlas Rebecca Solnit, Rebecca Snedeker, University of California Press, $29.95, 9780520274044 12. The Monuments Men Robert M. Edsel, Back Bay, $17, 9780316240055 13. Wreck This Journal Keri Smith, Perigee, $15, 9780399161940 14. The Devil in the White City Erik Larson, Vintage, $16, 9780375725609 15. Long Walk to Freedom Nelson Mandela, Back Bay, $18, 9780316323543
1. A Game of Thrones George R.R. Martin, Bantam, $9.99, 9780553593716 2. A Dance With Dragons George R.R. Martin, Bantam, $9.99, 9780553582017 3. Ender's Game Orson Scott Card, Tor, $7.99, 9780765370624 4. The Catcher in the Rye J.D. Salinger, Little Brown, $6.99, 9780316769488 5. 1984 George Orwell, Signet, $9.99, 9780451524935 6. A Clash of Kings George R.R. Martin, Bantam, $9.99, 9780345535429 7. A Storm of Swords George R.R. Martin, Bantam, $9.99, 9780345543981 8. Slaughterhouse-Five Kurt Vonnegut, Laurel Leaf, $7.99, 9780440180296 9. A Feast for Crows George R.R. Martin, Bantam, $9.99, 9780553582024 10. The Racketeer John Grisham, Dell, $9.99, 9780345530578
1. The Day the Crayons Quit Drew Daywalt, Oliver Jeffers (Illus.), Philomel, $17.99, 9780399255373 2. Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglasses James Dean, Kimberly Dean, Harper, $17.99, 9780062275561 3. Goodnight Moon Margaret Wise Brown, Clement Hurd (Illus.), Harper, $8.99, 9780694003617 4. What Does the Fox Say? Ylvis, Svein Nyhus (Illus.), Simon & Schuster, $17.99, 9781481422239 5. Good Night, Gorilla Peggy Rathmann, Putnam, $7.99, 9780399230035 6. Barnyard Dance! Sandra Boynton, Workman, $6.95, 9781563054426 7. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? Bill Martin, Eric Carle (Illus.), Holt, $7.95, 9780805047905 8. Journey Aaron Becker, Candlewick, $15.99, 9780763660536 9. Pat the Bunny Dorothy Kunhardt, Golden, $9.99, 9780307120007 10. The Very Hungry Caterpillar Eric Carle, Putnam, $10.99, 9780399226908
1. The Book Thief Markus Zusak, Knopf, $12.99, 9780385754729 2. The Fault in Our Stars John Green, Dutton, $17.99, 9780525478812 3. Looking for Alaska John Green, Speak, $9.99, 9780142402511 4. Wonder R.J. Palacio, Knopf, $15.99, 9780375869020 5. Paper Towns John Green, Speak, $9.99, 9780142414934 6. Fortunately, the Milk Neil Gaiman, Skottie Young (Illus.), Harper, $14.99, 9780062224071 7. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children Ransom Riggs, Quirk, $10.99, 9781594746031 8. Will Grayson, Will Grayson John Green, David Levithan, Speak, $9.99, 9780142418475 9. An Abundance of Katherines John Green, Speak, $9.99, 9780142410707 10. Out of My Mind Sharon M. Draper, Atheneum, $7.99, 9781416971719
CHILDREN'S FICTION SERIES TITLES
1. Divergent Veronica Roth, Katherine Tegen Books, $9.99, 9780062024039 2. Allegiant (Divergent, #3) Veronica Roth, Katherine Tegen Books, $19.99, 9780062024060 3. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck Jeff Kinney, Amulet, $13.95, 9781419711329 4. Insurgent (Divergent, #2) Veronica Roth, Katherine Tegen Books, $17.99, 9780062024046 5. Catching Fire (The Second Book of the Hunger Games) Suzanne Collins, Scholastic, $12.99, 9780545586177 6. The Hunger Games Suzanne Collins, Scholastic, $12.99, 9780545425117 7. Mockingjay (The Final Book of the Hunger Games) Suzanne Collins, Scholastic, $18.99, 9780439023511 8. The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 1) Rick Riordan, Hyperion, $7.99, 9781423134947 9. City of Ashes (Mortal Instruments, #2) Cassandra Clare, Margaret K. McElderry Books, $12.99, 9781416972242 10. The House of Hades (The Heroes of Olympus, Book Four) Rick Riordan, Hyperion, $19.99, 9781423146728