Serious question for Twitter: if someone was to do an Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana road trip, what five books should they read in preparation? Non-negotiable: Diane McWhorter’s “Carry Me Home” for Alabama. But what else?
Book mentions in this thread
Dispatches from Pluto
by Richard GrantNew Yorkers Grant and his girlfriend Mariah decided on a whim to buy an old plantation house in the Mississippi Delta. This is their journey of discovery to a remote, isolated strip of land, three miles beyond the tiny community of Pluto. They learn to hunt, grow their own food, and fend off alligators, snakes, and varmints galore. They befriend an array of unforgettable local characters, capture the rich, extraordinary culture of the Delta, and delve deeply into the Delta's lingering racial tensions. As the nomadic Grant learns to settle down, he falls not just for his girlfriend but for the beguiling place they now call home.
by Richard Downing WhiteA portrait of one of America's most colorful political figures documents the career of Louisiana governor Huey Long, reassessing his controversial and paradoxical roles as demagogue or charismatic visionary in light of the Depression era that brought himinto the limelight.
by Chuck PalahniukEvery weekend, in basements and parking lots across the country, young men with good white-collar jobs and absent fathers take off their shoes and shirts and fight each other barehanded for as long as they have to. Then they go back to those jobs with blackened eyes and loosened teeth and the sense that they can handle anything. Fight Club is the invention of Tyler Durden, projectionist, waiter and dark, anarchic genius. And it's only the beginning of his plans for revenge on a world where cancer support groups have the corner on human warmth.
To Kill a Mockingbird
by Harper Lee"Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird." A lawyer's advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of Harper Lee's classic novel—a black man charged with the rape of a white girl. Through the young eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores with rich humor and unswerving honesty the irrationality of adult attitudes toward race and class in the Deep South of the 1930s. The conscience of a town steeped in prejudice, violence, and hypocrisy is pricked by the stamina and quiet heroism of one man's struggle for justice—but the weight of history will only tolerate so much. One of the best-loved classics of all time, To Kill a Mockingbird has earned many dis-tinctions since its original publication in 1960. It has won the Pulitzer Prize, been translated into more than forty languages, sold more than forty million copies worldwide, and been made into an enormously popular movie. It was also named the best novel of the twentieth century by librarians across the country (Library Journal).
Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer
by Warren St. JohnA zany journey into the heart of football mania follows the author's odyssey by RV with the world's most obsessive sports fanatics to follow Alabama fans and their Crimson Tide team from game to game across the South, profiling the colorful individuals--including a couple who skipped their own daughter's wedding to attend a game--over the course of a full football season. Reprint. 50,000 first printing.
Where the Crawdads Sing
by Delia Owens#1 New York Times Bestseller A Reese Witherspoon x Hello Sunshine Book Club Pick "I can't even express how much I love this book! I didn't want this story to end!"--Reese Witherspoon "Painfully beautiful."--The New York Times Book Review "Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver."--Bustle For years, rumors of the "Marsh Girl" have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life--until the unthinkable happens. Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Karen Russell, Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.
by Duff McDonaldA behind-the-scenes, revelatory history of the controversial consulting firm traces its decades-long influence in both business and political arenas, citing its role in the establishment of mainstream practices and modern understandings about capitalism while evaluating the failures that have compromised its reputation. 60,000 first printing.
The Battle for Alabama's Wilderness
by John Nevitt RandolphUsing newspaper reports, Congressional testimony, interviews, and his own recollections, John Randolph traces the development of Alabama's environmental movement from its beginnings with the establishment of The Alabama Conservancy in the late 1960s and early '70s to the preservation efforts of present-day activist groups, such as the Alabama Environmental Council, the Cahaba River Society, and the Alabama Wilderness Alliance.
The Yellow House
by Sarah M. BroomA NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER WINNER OF THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FOR NONFICTION 'A major book that I suspect will come to be considered among the essential memoirs of this vexing decade' New York Times Book Review In 1961, Sarah M. Broom's mother Ivory Mae bought a shotgun house in the then-promising neighborhood of New Orleans East and built her world inside of it. It was the height of the Space Race and the neighborhood was home to a major NASA plant - the postwar optimism seemed assured. Widowed, Ivory Mae remarried Sarah's father Simon Broom; their combined family would eventually number twelve children. But after Simon died, six months after Sarah's birth, the house would become Ivory Mae's thirteenth and most unruly child. A book of great ambition, Sarah M. Broom's The Yellow House tells a hundred years of her family and their relationship to home in a neglected area of one of America's most mythologized cities. This is the story of a mother's struggle against a house's entropy, and that of a prodigal daughter who left home only to reckon with the pull that home exerts, even after the Yellow House was wiped off the map after Hurricane Katrina. The Yellow House expands the map of New Orleans to include the stories of its lesser known natives, guided deftly by one of its native daughters, to demonstrate how enduring drives of clan, pride, and familial love resist and defy erasure. Located in the gap between the 'Big Easy' of tourist guides and the New Orleans in which Broom was raised, The Yellow House is a brilliant memoir of place, class, race, the seeping rot of inequality, and the internalized shame that often follows. It is a transformative, deeply moving story from an unparalleled new voice of startling clarity, authority and power.
The Killer Angels
by Michael ShaaraIt is the third summer of the war, June 1863, and Robert Lee's Confederate Army slips across the Potomac to draw out the Union Army. Lee's army is 70,000 strong and has won nearly every battle it has fought. The Union Army is 80,000 strong and accustomed to defeat and retreat. Thus begins the Battle of Gettysburg, the four most bloody and courageous days of America's history. Two armies fight for two goals - one for freedom, the other for a way of life. This is a classic, Pulitzer Prize-Winning, historical novel set during the Battle of Gettysburg.
by Isabel WilkersonThe Pulitzer Prize-winning, bestselling author of The Warmth of Other Suns examines the unspoken caste system that has shaped America and shows how our lives today are still defined by a hierarchy of human divisions. "[Caste] should be at the top of every American's reading list."--Chicago Tribune "As we go about our daily lives, caste is the wordless usher in a darkened theater, flashlight cast down in the aisles, guiding us to our assigned seats for a performance. The hierarchy of caste is not about feelings or morality. It is about power--which groups have it and which do not." In this brilliant book, Isabel Wilkerson gives us a masterful portrait of an unseen phenomenon in America as she explores, through an immersive, deeply researched narrative and stories about real people, how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden caste system, a rigid hierarchy of human rankings. Beyond race, class, or other factors, there is a powerful caste system that influences people's lives and behavior and the nation's fate. Linking the caste systems of America, India, and Nazi Germany, Wilkerson explores eight pillars that underlie caste systems across civilizations, including divine will, bloodlines, stigma, and more. Using riveting stories about people--including Martin Luther King, Jr., baseball's Satchel Paige, a single father and his toddler son, Wilkerson herself, and many others--she shows the ways that the insidious undertow of caste is experienced every day. She documents how the Nazis studied the racial systems in America to plan their out-cast of the Jews; she discusses why the cruel logic of caste requires that there be a bottom rung for those in the middle to measure themselves against; she writes about the surprising health costs of caste, in depression and life expectancy, and the effects of this hierarchy on our culture and politics. Finally, she points forward to ways America can move beyond the artificial and destructive separations of human divisions, toward hope in our common humanity. Beautifully written, original, and revealing, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents is an eye-opening story of people and history, and a reexamination of what lies under the surface of ordinary lives and of American life today.
by Cormac McCarthy
by Margaret Wise BrownIn this classic of children's literature, beloved by generations of readers and listeners, the quiet poetry of the words and the gentle, lulling illustrations combine to make a perfect book for the end of the day. In a great green room, tucked away in bed, is a little bunny. "Goodnight room, goodnight moon." And to all the familiar things in the softly lit room—to the picture of the three little bears sitting on chairs, to the clocks and his socks, to the mittens and the kittens, to everything one by one—the little bunny says goodnight. One of the most beloved books of all time, Goodnight Moon is a must for every bookshelf and a time-honored gift for baby showers and other special events.
by Leroi Jones"The path the slave took to 'citizenship' is what I want to look at. And I make my analogy through the slave citizen's music -- through the music that is most closely associated with him: blues and a later, but parallel development, jazz... [If] the Negro represents, or is symbolic of, something in and about the nature of American culture, this certainly should be revealed by his characteristic music." So says Amiri Baraka in the Introduction to Blues People, his classic work on the place of jazz and blues in American social, musical, economic, and cultural history. From the music of African slaves in the United States through the music scene of the 1960's, Baraka traces the influence of what he calls "negro music" on white America -- not only in the context of music and pop culture but also in terms of the values and perspectives passed on through the music. In tracing the music, he brilliantly illuminates the influence of African Americans on American culture and history.
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
by Robert M PirsigA narration of a summer motorcycle trip undertaken by a father and his son, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance becomes a personal and philosophical odyssey into fundamental questions on how to live. The narrator's relationship with his son leads to a powerful self-reckoning; the craft of motorcycle maintenance leads to an austerely beautiful process for reconciling science, religion, and humanism. Resonant with the confusions of existence, this classic is a touching and transcendent book of life. This new edition contains an interview with Pirsig and letters and documents detailing how this extraordinary book came to be. This P.S. edition features an extra 16 pages of insights into the book, including author interviews, recommended reading, and more.