Recent national bestsellers and beloved local literature by poets, Pulitzer Prize winners and first-time novelists fill the Georgia Center for the Book's "25 Books All Georgians Should Read” list announced this week.
"We use this list as a bridge between readers and writers in Georgia," said Bill Starr, the center's executive director, when he introduced the list on Thursday. "We want to see that more readers in Georgia know about them."
This is the fourth list of "Books All Georgians Should Read" published by the center, Georgia's representative to the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress. Books may have been published at any time, but must be about Georgia, written by a resident or by a former resident.
The 2010 list:
“Snakeskin Road,” by James Braziel. Americus-born and Pitts-raised Braziel set this dystopian novel in the southeast. He teaches at the University of Cincinnati.
“A Cry of Angels,” by Jeff Fields. Fields was born in Toombs County, lived in a boarding house in Elberton in his youth and now lives in Atlanta. "A Cry of Angels" tells the story of an orphan in a boarding house.
“Luminous Mysteries: A Novel,” by John Holman. Holman, an English professor at Georgia State University, tells the story of orphans Grim Power and his sister, Rita, in 13 sections that stand alone but are woven together.
“How Far She Went,” by Mary Hood. This first collection of stories by Hood, a Brunswick native, won the Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction. She lives now in Jackson County.
“The Confederate General Rides North,” by Amanda Gable. Gable, a Marietta native and Decatur resident, attended Emory University and Georgia State before writing “Confederate General,” about a young history buff on a journey with her mother in the 1960s.
“Bombingham,” by Anthony Grooms. Grooms' book tells the story of a black American soldier in Vietnam. "Trouble No More," a collection of short stories by the Kennesaw State University professor, appeared on an earlier "Books All Georgians Should Read" list.
“The Girl Who Stopped Swimming,” by Joshilyn Jackson. Jackson lives in Atlanta and attended Georgia Perimeter College and Georgia State University. "Swimming," a Southern family drama that unfolds after the drowning of a young girl, was a national bestseller.
“Hue and Cry: Stories,” by James Alan McPherson. McPherson, a Savannah native, was the first African-American recipient of the Pulitzer Prize in fiction for his 1977 story collection, "Elbow Room." McPherson's "Crabcakes" appeared on an earlier "Book All Georgians Should Read" list.
“When the Finch Rises,” by Jack Riggs. Riggs, a professor and writer in residence at Georgia Perimeter College, wrote “Finch” about two friends in a North Carolina mill town in 1968.
“Nothing with Strings: NPR’s Beloved Holiday Stories,” by Bailey White. White, a Thomasville native and resident, is a commentator for National Public Radio. This collection features her popular Thanksgiving stories that air each year on All Things Considered.
“The Heart of a Distant Forest,” by Philip Lee Williams. Williams was born in Madison and now lives in Oconee County. His books, “A Distant Flame” and “In the Morning: Reflections from the First Light,” appeared on earlier “Books All Georgians Should Read” lists.
“Winter Sky: New and Selected Poems, 1968-2008,” by Coleman Barks. Barks is a poet and professor emeritus at the University of Georgia, and lives in Athens. His books include "The Hand of Poetry" and "The Essential Rumi."
“New and Selected Poems of Thomas Lux, 1975-1995,” by Thomas Lux. Lux directs the poetry program at Georgia Tech. He was awarded the Kingsley Tufts poetry award for his collection, "Split Horizon."
“The Watchers,” by Memye Curtis Tucker. Tucker teaches at Callanwolde Fine Arts Center and is a senior editor at Atlanta Review. She received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Georgia Writers Association in 2007.
“Slavery by Another Name: The Re-enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II,” by Douglas Blackmon. Blackmon, a Wall Street Journal writer in Atlanta, won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction for "Slavery."
“Long Time Leaving: Dispatches from Up South,” by Roy Blount Jr. Decatur-born Blount is a journalist, essayist and panelist on public radio’s “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!” His novel, “Be Sweet,” was on the 2008 “Books All Georgians Should Read” list.
“At Canaan’s Edge: America in the King Years, 1965-68” by Taylor Branch. Atlanta native Taylor Branch won a Pulitzer Prize for “Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954-63," the first of a trilogy that “At Canaan’s Edge” completes.
“The Heart of a Patriot: How I Found the Courage to Survive Vietnam, Walter Reed and Karl Rove,” by Max Cleland. Cleland was born in Atlanta, raised in Lithonia, attended Emory University and was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1997.
“Invisible Sisters: A Memoir,” by Jessica Handler. Handler lives in Atlanta, teaches film classes and wrote her first book, a memoir, about life with two fatally ill sisters and parents with a failing marriage.
“The Cracker Queen: A Memoir of a Jagged, Joyful Life,” by Lauretta Hannon. Hannon attended the University of Georgia and lives in Powder Springs. “The Cracker Queen” follows her early life, college years and career.
“Lovesick Blues: The Life of Hank Williams,” by Paul Hemphill. Hemphill was famous for writing about the blue-collar South, including this biography of country singer Hank Williams. Hemphill’s "Leaving Birmingham" was on the 2005 list of "Books All Georgians Should Read.”
“Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy,” by Frances Mayes. Mayes, a Fitzgerald native, poet and novelist, shared the story of the home and life she renovated in Tuscany in 1996. A 2003 film version starred Diane Lane.
“The Ballad of Blind Tom,” by Deirdre O’Connell. Australian author O’Connell wrote the story of Blind Tom, a sightless, probably autistic piano prodigy born into slavery in Columbus in the 1840s.
“An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith,” by Barbara Brown Taylor. Taylor is an Atlanta native and former Episcopal priest who wrote the bestselling memoir “Leaving Church.” She teaches at Piedmont College.
“Bon Appetit, Y’all: Recipes and Stories from Three Generations of Southern Cooking,” by Virginia Willis. Willis, a chef, grew up in Georgia and Louisiana and trained in France. She combined her history, family recipes and kitchen skill for this Southern-French cookbook.