Reading Guides: American Southern Fiction

Printable Guide With Library Holdings

Asian American Fiction

Suggested Titles

Baszile, Natalie / Queen Sugar --- PS3602.A8523 Q44 2014
Why exactly Charley Bordelon's late father left her eight hundred sprawling acres of sugarcane land in rural Louisiana is as mysterious as it was generous. As the sweltering summer unfolds, Charley must balance the overwhelming challenges of her farm with the demands of a homesick daughter, a bitter and troubled brother, and the startling desires of her own heart.
Carpenter, Brian and Tom Franklin, editors / Grit Lit: A Rough Southern Reader --- PS551 .G75 2012
Drawing on storytelling traditions as old as southern literature itself, Grit Lit is the first anthology devoted to contemporary writing about the Rough South. From literary legends to emerging voices, the acclaimed writers featured in this collection view their hardscrabble South without romanticism or false nostalgia, not through moonlight and magnolia but moonshine and Marlboros. 
Cheng, Bill / Southern Cross the Dog: A Novel --- PS3603.H459 S68 2013
Convinced that he is cursed after the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927, 20-year-old Robert Chatham, who, constantly followed by trouble, has lost his will to live, finally shakes his demons until he is forced to make an impossible choice.
Crouch, Katie / Men and Dogs: A Novel --- PS3603.R683 M46 2010
In the spring of 1985, Hannah's father disappeared, and was presumed drowned. Now she has returned to Charleston, S.C., and encounters rivals and ghosts from her past, as she sets out to discover what really happened to her father so long ago.
Flagg, Fannie / The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion: A Novel – PS3556.L26 A45 2013
A fun-loving mystery about an Alabama woman today, and five women who in 1943 worked in a Phillips 66 gas station, during the WWII years. A riveting, fun story of two families, set in present day America and during World War II, filled to the brim with Flagg's trademark funny voice and storytelling magic
Franklin Willis, Amy / The Lost Saints of Tennessee --- PS3606.R42255 L67 2012
After losing his twin to a drowning accident and his wife to divorce, Zeke Cooper leaves his mother and two daughters behind in Tennessee and travels to Virginia horse country, where he considers his responsibility to repair his fractured family.
G’Orge-Walker, Pat / Sister Betty Says I Do --- PS3607.O597 S577 2013
For Sister Betty, the marriage proposal from trustee Freddie Noel is a once-in-a-lifetime surprise blessing. She's armed with enough sense and scripture to keep church busybodies Bea Blister and Sasha Pray Onn from sowing even more chaos amid the congregation-- until a rehearsal disaster and an unexpected secret causes Freddie to break off the engagement without explanation.
Gran, Sara / Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead --- PS3607.R362 C58 2011
Augmenting her brilliant deductive skills with dream analysis, marijuana, and the written work of a mysterious French detective, private investigator Claire DeWitt reluctantly returns to post-Katrina New Orleans to solve the disappearance of an unpopular prosecutor.
Greene, Amy / Bloodroot: A Novel --- PS3607.R45254 B57 2010
Myra Lamb of Bloodroot Mountain has troubling "haint" blue eyes and a grandma whose touch charms people and animals alike. When their neighbor John Odom tries to tame Myra, he meets a with shocking, violent disaster.
Iles, Greg / The Bone Tree --- PS3559.L47 B66 2015
Former prosecutor Penn Cage and his fiancé reporter and publisher Caitlin Masters, have barely escaped with their lives after being attacked by wealthy businessman Brody Royal and his Double Eagles, a KKK sect with ties to some of Mississippi's most powerful men. Their investigation trail leads deep into the past, to a secret killing ground used by slave owners and the Klan for over two hundred years... a place of terrifying evil known only as "the bone tree."  (Inspired by a true story.)
Jackson, Joshilyn / The Girl Who Stopped Swimming --- PS3610.A3525 G57 2008
Laurel Gray Hawthorne's life seems neatly on track--a passionate marriage, a treasured daughter, and a lovely home in suburban Victorianna--until everything she holds dear is suddenly thrown into question the night she is visited by the ghost of a her 13-year old neighbor Molly Dufresne.
Joy, David / Where All the Light Tends to Go --- PS3610.O947 W54 2015
Set in North Carolina's Appalachian Mountains, eighteen-year-old Jacob McNeely is torn between appeasing his meth-dealing kingpin father and leaving the mountains forever with the girl he loves.
McTeer, James E. II / Minnow --- PS3613.C67M56 2015
A small boy leaves his dying father's bedside hunting a medicine for a mysterious illness. Minnow unexpectedly takes a dark and wondrous journey deep into the ancient Sea Islands, seeking the grave dust of a long-dead hoodoo man to buy a cure. Meanwhile, a tempest brews out at sea, threatening to bring untold devastation to the coastal way of life.
Niven, Jennifer / Velva Jean Learns to Fly --- PS3614.I94 V46 2011
Velva Jean leaves Appalachia to pursue her dream of being a singer, but instead discovers she wants to be a female pilot after her brother treats her to a surprise flying lesson.
Panowich, Brian / Bull Mountain --- PS3616.A385 B85 2015
A multigenerational saga set in the mountains of north Georgia, where the Burroughs family has been running shine, pot, and meth for decades. Rogue son Clayton Burroughs has become a local sheriff to keep what peace he can, until an ATF agent who's not quite what he seems throws a wrench into the works.
Smith, Charlie / Ginny Gall: A Life in the South --- PS3569.M5163 G56 2016
Delvin Walker is just a boy when his mother flees their home in the Red Row section of Chattanooga, accused of killing a white man. Taken in by Cornelius Oliver, proprietor of the town's leading Negro funeral home, he discovers the art of caring and a rare peace in a hostile world. Yet tragedy visits them near daily, and after a series of devastating events--a lynching, a church burning--Delvin fears being accused of murdering a local white boy and leaves town."
Townsend, Jacinda / Saint Monkey: A Novel --- PS3620.O9596 S25 2014
Two friends from the mountains of eastern Kentucky try to retain their friendship when one of them is invited to play the Apollo with a jazz group while the other sinks lower in her poor, backward, backwoods life.
Walsh, M.O. / My Sunshine Away --- PS3623.A4464 M93 2015
A man reflects on the summer of his fourteenth year, where in Baton Rouge he fell in love with a golden-haired girl across the street before an unspeakable crime shattered illusions in his seemingly idyllic neighborhood.
Wascom, Kent / Secessia --- PS3623.A8668 S43 2015
New Orleans, May 1862. When twelve-year-old Joseph Woolsack disappears from his home, he draws into the unrest his mother Elise, a mixed-race woman passing for white, and his father Angel, whose long and wicked life is drawing to a close. What follows forces mother and son into a dark new world: Joseph must come to grips with his father's legacy of violence and his growing sentiment for Cuban exile Marina Fandal ... Elise must struggle to maintain a hold on her sanity, her son, and her own precarious station, but is threatened by the resurgence of a troubling figure from her past."
White, Karen / On Folly Beach --- PS3623.H5776 O5 2010
To most people, Folly Beach, S.C. is simply the last barrier island before reaching the great Atlantic. Janie Hamilton's mother encourages her to buy the local bookstore, Folly's Finds, hoping it will distract Janie from the loss of her husband. The seller insists on one condition: Janie must allow Lulu, the late owner's sister, to continue selling her bottle trees from the store's backyard. As details of a possible murder and a mysterious disappearance during World War II are revealed, the two women discover that circumstances beyond their control, sixty years apart, have brought them together, on Folly Beach.
Whitehead, Colson / The Underground Railroad: A Novel --- PS3573.H4768 U53 2016
Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Their first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven. But the city's placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens. And even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom.

Last Updated: April 2017

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