In which Mr. Donald Link explains how to fix a drink, Mr. Tim Dorsey thinks Florida crime is “weird,” Mr. David George Haskell spends an inordinate amount of time staring at a patch of dirt, and Ms. Nathalie Dupree thinks she may have attended too many parties.
February 23, 2014
Well, dear readers,
Last week her ladyship, the editor wrote about reading Russian novelists during the winter ice storm. This week the ice has melted away, the days are warmer, the nights less frigid, and the signs of spring are impossible to miss--redbuds and plums are in bloom, daffodils are up, as are all the peas in her ladyship’s garden. Overhead the Canadian geese are on their way north, but in the field across the street the robins are flocking.
So her ladyship is re-reading one of her favorite “spring” books, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard. It is a book that has been a personal touchstone for her since she was a little girl and was first given the book by her mother. But she loves to read it during this time of year, especially, because this is the time when things are first coming forth, and Annie Dillard is someone who teaches one to look closely and carefully at the small things coming forth.
For those of her readers who also remember Annie Dillard’s obsession with her creek fondly, her ladyship also recommends a more recent book, The Forest Unseen: A Year’s Watch in Nature, by David George Haskell. Mr. Haskell, who must be a bit mad, spent a year watching a patch of old-growth forest in Tennessee and reports on the riveting events he witnesses therein. And when she says “a patch” what her ladyship means is one square meter--an area rather less than half her ladyship’s dining room table.
There is a reason Mr. Haskell’s book has made its appearance on the bestseller lists. As it turns out, there really is a world to be seen in a grain of sand. Or dirt. 9780143122944 9780061233326
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.
Let’s start with a drink
Salty, sand-dusted beach shacks along the Gulf Coast. Sweaty backyard barbecues and crawfish boils with the Black Keys blaring. Freeze-your-ass-off deer hunts and balmy evening fishing trips.
In my home town of New Orleans, there’s an elixir of options that range from fancy cocktail parties in the Garden District to a random sunny afternoon on St. Charles Avenue. It’s hard to imagine kicking back with friends anywhere--anytime--in the South without cranking music and imbibing some sort of adult beverage. Lucky for us booze, like food, is relished with gusto.
In the last couple of years, the craft cocktail trend has exploded in cities across the South. While I’m not one for affectation, the bars that do it right, with an understanding of historic context and a reliance on quality small-batch ingredients, serve some pretty spectacular drinks. It’s worth the fuss at home too--a balanced, well-made cocktail that relies on fresh citrus juice, infused simple syrups, aromatic bitters, and quality spirits is a world apart from a sloppy drink.
Herbsaint Champagne Cocktail Use real champagne. Makes ONE drink
1/2 ounce crème de mûre Splash of Herbsaint Champagne Twist of lemon peel
Combine the crème de mûre and Herbsaint in a champagne flute and then fill the remainder of the glass with Champagne. Rub the rim of the flute with the lemon twist and drop it in the cocktail.
Donald Link, in Down South: Bourbon, Pork, Gulf Shrimp & Second Helpings of Everything (Potter, 2014) 9780770433185
Tim Dorsey’s latest novel, Tiger Shrimp Tango, is a delightfully demented crime story/Florida pseudo-travel-guide about a serial killer named Serge Storms. Rambling around the Sunshine State, he hunts down scam artists and scumbags and doles out inventive, lethal forms of punishment, such as trapping a crook in a huge soda container, then performing a jumbo-sized version of the Diet Coke and Mentos trick. Dorsey is part of a school of Florida writers that includes John D. MacDonald, Carl Hiaasen and Dave Barry. They are “writing the history of Florida in real time, in the mystery genre,” Dorsey says. “It’s weird crime, too.” 9780062092816
When I was in high school in Virginia, an inspired teacher introduced us to Faulkner with a long, descriptive passage from one of his novels. The text was complex and yet clear, singular and poetic. And when the reading was done, as if to communicate his awe, Fr. Charles Norman of Bishop Ireton High snapped the book closed with an audible pop and whispered a single word: “Wow.” More than 40 years later, I stood at Faulkner’s gravesite Tuesday afternoon and wondered how many remembered him for the “wow” and how many for the whiskey. 9780679600176
Lee Caplin is founder and chairman of Picture Entertainment Corporation, co-owner of Keystone Studios and author of the book The Business of Art. Caplin’s relationship with Faulkner dates back to the 1950′s when the two were neighbors. Faulkner used to watch Caplin play little league baseball. Having such a personal connection to the family, Caplin takes the writer’s name very seriously. “People who want to license quotes must use them in proper context,” he said. “Nothing can diminish or depreciate his reputation. Even the issue of whether or not to have a gift shop at Rowan Oak was a long, thought-out decision.”
Nathalie Dupree, co-author, “Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking” (with Cynthia Graubart): “Pat hung out at the Old New York Book Shop. Cliff (Graubart, the owner) was a friend of mine. He used to have big author parties with rot-gut champagne. Everybody drank too much. I went to a lot of those parties.” 9781423602750
Where does a fiction writer get ideas? Imagine she rents a historic summer house in the Blue Ridge Mountains and comes across its eerily beautiful, but neglected garden—a garden that only blooms at night. Imagine that this writer stumbles over a strange circle of stones that marks the grave of the previous owner, the lady of the house. Now, picture this writer with a favorite book in her hand—Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca 9781940210001
This year’s Book ‘Em North Carolina Writer’s Conference and Book Fair was the biggest one yet, said organizer Patricia Terrell, but even as the author paused to sign books and answer questions, Terrell said her mind was already making plans for next year. Terrell, a Lumberton author who writes under the pen name p.m. terrell, was all smiles at Saturday’s event, which took place between 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. at Robeson Community College. And who could blame her? After just three years of holding the annual event in Robeson County, Terrell says that attendance has doubled from last year, attracting 4,000 book lovers from all over the state.
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.
Betty Bolté writes both historical and contemporary stories that feature strong, loving women and brave, compassionate men. No matter whether the stories are set in the past or the present, she loves to include a touch of the inexplicable (i.e., supernatural or paranormal). HOMETOWN HEROINES: TRUE STORIES OF BRAVERY, DARING, AND ADVENTURE (2012) is a collection of short historical fiction based on the real-life achievements of 19 American girls in the 19th century, each with a landmark in the United States of America. The first edition won Honorable Mention in the 2003 Writer’s Digest International Self-Published Book Awards and 2000 Writer’s Digest Writing Competition. She’s the author of several nonfiction books and currently marketing a romantic historical fiction trilogy. Watch for her latest book, TRACES, a contemporary romantic women’s fiction novel set in a haunted plantation home in Tennessee, scheduled for release on April 28, 2014.
Betty's Touring Schedule:
South Carolina, Charleston | 02/27/2014 to 03/01/2014
South Carolina, Myrtle Beach | 03/01/2014 to 03/07/2014
Hometown Heroines: True Stories of Bravery, Daring, and Adventure
During the 1800s, numerous courageous girls helped America grow bigger and better. Many are missing from our history books. Virginia Reed, at 12, survived the trek to California with the Donner Party. Belle Boyd risked her life to spy for the Rebels during the American Civil War. Kate Shelly, at 15, crawled across a nearly washed-out railroad bridge in a ferocious thunderstorm to 'stop' the next train before it come barreling through. These are just a few of the inspiring true stories of 19th century American Girls who made a difference in their world.
See the full list of authors in the STARS Program online here and find the authors touring in your area here
Little Shop of Stories wins grant for Bookmobile Little Shop has written about the grant on it’s blog this morning, stating in part… The check came yesterday. There are no stipulations. There are no strings attached. So … we’re buying a bus. We have absolutely no idea what we’re doing, but we’ll figure it out.
Other grant recipients: Park Road Books in Charlotte, NC; Page and Palette in Fairhope, AL; Malaprops in Asheville, NC; Books & Books – Coral Gables, FL; Parnassus Books – Nashville, TN
Read This! Okra Picks & Recommended Reading from Southern Booksellers
From the Okra Picks
Down South: Bourbon, Pork, Gulf Shrimp & Second Helpings of Everything By Donald Link; Paula Disbrowe (Clarkson Potter, Hardcover, 9780770433185, 256pp.) February
"A born and bred Cajun who grew up eating his grandparents' homecooked food, Donald also learned to love "shooting rifles, hunting, fishing...drinking beer with the boys, [and] water skiing in snake-infested rivers." And as a good citizen of the South, he's done his due diligence traveling the region, tasting foods from all over, and falling for true down home flavors. "It's impossible for me to say which part of the South has the best food, because each place has it's own soul." And Link explores it all in DOWN SOUTH--from the slow-cooked pork barbecue of Memphis, to spicy gumbos of Louisiana, fresh seafood all along the Gulf, and shell beans from the farmlands in Mississippi and Alabama. In 110 recipes and 100 full-color photographs, he takes readers on a tour of the best of the area, introducing all sorts of characters and places along the way, including pitmaster Nick Pihakis of Jim & Nick's BBQ, Louisiana goat and pig farmer Bill Ryal, Tupelo honey maker Donald Smiley in Florida, beloved Southern writer Julia Reed, and a Texas lamb ranch with a llama named Fritz"
Read This! Recommendations from Southern Indie Booksellers
Book Club recommendations from Blue Ridge Books in Waynesville, North Carolina:
God's Hotel by Victoria Sweet 9781594486548
God's Hotel is a doctor's memoir about her experiences practicing medicine in a way seldom seen in our day. Dr. Sweet spent 20 years working in San Francisco's Laguna Honda Hospital, which provided long term hospital care for patients with no other options. Dr. Sweet share her insights into the practice of medicine by sharing the stories of the patients she treated. Dr. Sweet believes modern medicine may have taken a wrong turn in the search for "efficiency" and forgotten the art of what she calls slow medicine. Slow medicine involves being with the patient, examining, listening, and maybe doing it all again. Along with what she learned at Laguna Honda, Dr. Sweet discusses the lessons she learned while studying the healing work of the medieval cloistered nun, Hildegard of Bingen.
My Beautiful Hippie by Janet Lynch 9780823426034
Haight-Ashbury in 1967, The Summer of Love and Joanne is 15. She discovers bell bottoms, acid, love beads and Martin, her 'beautiful hippie' boyfriend. This is a very sweet coming of age story with clever dialogue and references to some fantastic music and fashion from the 60's. I am not convinced that teens in 2014 would enjoy this story as much as someone in their 50s and 60s would but I encourage all age groups to read it!
The Round House by Louise Erdrich 9780062065254
Winner, 2012 National Book Award, Round House is a story told by a 13 year old boy whose mother is brutally attacked one summer day on the reservation where they live. In one day, Joe's life is irrevocably transformed. He tries to heal his mother, but she will not leave her bed and slips into an abyss of solitude. Increasingly alone, Joe finds himself thrust prematurely into an adult world for which he is ill prepared. Joe becomes frustrated at the slow pace of solving the crime and sets out with his trusted friends, Cappy, Zack, and Angus, to get some answers of his own. Their quest takes them to the Round House, a sacred place of worship for the Ojibwe. The Round House is a thriller and a coming of age story and told in Erdrich's signature style; pointed, truthful and without flourish.
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. Sycamore Row John Grisham, Doubleday, $28.95, 9780385537131 5. This Dark Road to Mercy Wiley Cash, Morrow, $25.99, 9780062088253 6. Ripper Isabel Allende, Harper, $28.99, 9780062291400 7. The Husband's Secret Liane Moriarty, Amy Einhorn Books, $25.95, 9780399159343 8. The Martian Andy Weir, Crown, $24, 9780804139021 9. One More Thing B.J. Novak, Knopf, $24.95, 9780385351836 10. The Days of Anna Madrigal Armistead Maupin, Harper, $26.99, 9780062196248 11. The Kept James Scott, Harper, $25.99, 9780062236739 12. An Officer and a Spy Robert Harris, Knopf, $27.95, 9780385349581 13. Private L.A. James Patterson, Mark Sullivan, Little Brown, $28, 9780316211123 14. The First Phone Call From Heaven Mitch Albom, Harper, $24.99, 9780062294371 15. The Circle Dave Eggers, Knopf, $27.95, 9780385351393
1. Things That Matter Charles Krauthammer, Crown Forum, $28, 9780385349178 2. The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History Elizabeth Kolbert, Holt, $28, 9780805092998 3. David and Goliath Malcolm Gladwell, Little Brown, $29, 9780316204361 4. Duty Robert M. Gates, Knopf, $35, 9780307959478 5. Everything I Need to Know I Learned From a Little Golden Book Diane Muldrow, Golden Books, $9.99, 9780307977618 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. Killing Jesus Bill O'Reilly, Martin Dugard, Holt, $28, 9780805098549 9. The Boys in the Boat Daniel James Brown, Viking, $28.95, 9780670025817 10. HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton Jonathan Allen, Amie Parnes, Crown, $26, 9780804136754 11. Zealot Reza Aslan, Random House, $27, 9781400069224 12. George Washington's Secret Six Brian Kilmeade, Don Yaeger, Sentinel, $27.95, 9781595231031 13. Jerusalem: A Cookbook Yotam Ottolenghi, Sami Tamimi, Ten Speed Press, $35, 9781607743941 14. The Bank on Yourself Revolution Pamela Yellen, Benbella, $25.95, 9781939529305 15. The Southerner's Handbook: A Guide to Living the Good Life Garden & Gun Magazine, HarperWave, $27.99, 9780062242389
TRADE PAPERBACK FICTION
1. Me Before You Jojo Moyes, Penguin, $16, 9780143124542 2. Tenth of December George Saunders, Random House, $15, 9780812984255 3. Dear Life Alice Munro, Vintage, $15.95, 9780307743725 4. Beautiful Ruins Jess Walter, Harper Perennial, $15.99, 9780061928178 5. Life After Life Kate Atkinson, Back Bay, $18, 9780316176491 6. Where'd You Go, Bernadette Maria Semple, Back Bay, $14.99, 9780316204262 7. Cockroaches Jo Nesbo, Vintage, $14.95, 9780345807151 8. The Light Between Oceans M.L. Stedman, Scribner, $16, 9781451681758 9. A Land More Kind Than Home Wiley Cash, Morrow, $14.99, 9780062088239 10. The Secret History Donna Tartt, Vintage, $16, 9781400031702 11. A Week in Winter Maeve Binchy, Anchor, $14.95, 9780307475503 12. The Son Philipp Meyer, Ecco, $16.99, 9780062120403 13. A Constellation of Vital Phenomena Anthony Marra, Hogarth, $15, 9780770436421 14. The Dinner Herman Koch, Hogarth, $14, 9780385346856 15. Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore Robin Sloan, Picador, $15, 9781250037756
TRADE PAPERBACK NONFICTION
1. The Monuments Men Robert M. Edsel, Back Bay, $17, 9780316240055 2. Lone Survivor Marcus Luttrell, Back Bay, $17, 9780316324106 3. Hyperbole and a Half Allie Brosh, Touchstone, $17.99, 9781451666175 4. Dance of the Reptiles Carl Hiaasen, Vintage, $15.95, 9780345807021 5. Wild Cheryl Strayed, Vintage, $15.95, 9780307476074 6. Orange Is the New Black Piper Kerman, Spiegel & Grau, $16, 9780812986181 7. Wreck This Journal Keri Smith, Perigee, $15, 9780399161940 8. Gift From the Sea Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Pantheon, $9.95, 9780679732419 9. My Beloved World Sonia Sotomayor, Vintage, $15.95, 9780345804839 10. Quiet Susan Cain, Broadway, $16, 9780307352156 11. Philomena Martin Sixsmith, Penguin, $16, 9780143124726 12. The 5 Love Languages Gary Chapman, Northfield, $14.99, 9780802473158 13. What to Expect When You're Expecting Heidi Murkoff, Sharon Mazel, Workman, $14.95, 9780761148579 14. Outliers Malcolm Gladwell, Back Bay, $16.99, 9780316017930 15. Unlikely Loves Jennifer S. Holland, Workman, $13.95, 9780761174424
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. A Game of Thrones George R.R. Martin, Bantam, $9.99, 9780553593716 4. The Monuments Men Robert M. Edsel, Little Brown, $10, 9780316240079 5. A Storm of Swords George R.R. Martin, Bantam, $9.99, 9780345543981 6. The Name of the Wind Patrick Rothfuss, DAW, $8.99, 9780756404741 7. Six Years Harlan Coben, Signet, $9.99, 9780451414113 8. A Dance With Dragons George R.R. Martin, Bantam, $9.99, 9780553582017 9. Night Moves Randy Wayne White, Berkley, $9.99, 9780425264621 10. 1984 George Orwell, Signet, $9.99, 9780451524935
1. Pete the Cat: Valentine's Day Is Cool Kimberly Dean, James Dean (Illus.), HarperFestival, $9.99, 9780062198655 2. The Day the Crayons Quit Drew Daywalt, Oliver Jeffers (Illus.), Philomel, $17.99, 9780399255373 3. Locomotive Brian Floca, Atheneum, $17.99, 9781416994152 4. Goodnight Moon Margaret Wise Brown, Clement Hurd (Illus.), Harper, $8.99, 9780694003617 5. Little Blue Truck Alice Schertle, Jill McElmurry (Illus.), Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $6.99, 9780547248288 6. On the Night You Were Born Nancy Tillman, Feiwel & Friends, $7.99, 9780312601553 7. Never Too Little to Love Jeanne Willis, Jan Fearnley (Illus.), Candlewick, $8.99, 9780763666569 8. Mr. Tiger Goes Wild Peter Brown, Little Brown, $18, 9780316200639 9. The LEGO Movie: The Piece of Resistance Ameet Studio (Illus.), Scholastic, $8.99, 9780545624619 10. Where the Wild Things Are Maurice Sendak, Harper, $18.99, 9780060254926
1. The Fault in Our Stars John Green, Dutton, $17.99, 9780525478812 2. The Book Thief Markus Zusak, Knopf, $12.99, 9780385754729 3. Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures Kate DiCamillo, K.G. Campbell (Illus.), Candlewick, $17.99, 9780763660406 4. Looking for Alaska John Green, Speak, $9.99, 9780142402511 5. Three Times Lucky Sheila Turnage, Puffin, $7.99, 9780142426050 6. The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing Sheila Turnage, Kathy Dawson Books, $16.99, 9780803736719 7. Paper Towns John Green, Speak, $9.99, 9780142414934 8. An Abundance of Katherines John Green, Speak, $9.99, 9780142410707 9. This Star Won't Go Out: The Life and Words of Esther Grace Earl Esther Earl, et al., Dutton, $19.99, 9780525426363 10. Counting by 7s Holly Goldberg Sloan, Dial, $16.99, 9780803738553
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. Hollow City (The Second Novel of Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children) Ransom Riggs, Quirk, $17.99, 9781594746123 4. Insurgent (Divergent, #2) Veronica Roth, Katherine Tegen Books, $17.99, 9780062024046 5. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children Ransom Riggs, Quirk, $10.99, 9781594746031 6. The Hunger Games Suzanne Collins, Scholastic, $12.99, 9780545425117 7. Legend Marie Lu, Speak, $9.99, 9780142422076 8. Cress (Lunar Chronicles, #3) Marissa Meyer, Feiwel & Friends, $18.99, 9780312642976 9. Wildwood (The Wildwood Chronicles, Book I) Colin Meloy, Carson Ellis (Illus.), Balzer + Bray, $8.99, 9780062024701 10. Mockingjay (The Final Book of the Hunger Games) Suzanne Collins, Scholastic, $18.99, 9780439023511