Books

Three Life Lessons From Southern Grandmothers

By CJ LotzBelow the LineApril 21, 2015

Since 2012, Alysia Burton Steele has logged more than 18,000 miles on her odometer, driving through the fields and swamps of the Mississippi Delta to find the Jewels. That’s the name she has given to the fifty grandmothers whose oral histories she recorded and portraits she captured for her new book, Delta Jewels: In Search of My Grandmother’s Wisdom.

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Threads of a Story

By CJ LotzA Southern FocusNovember 14, 2014

Few objects embody a story quite like a soft, worn, handed-down quilt. Take the tale of one traveling minister’s wife who collected appliqued fabric blocks from friends at every one of her husband’s churches in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. in the 1840s. To ease the strain of frequently moving, Frances Muse Eggleston sewed thirty-six signed fabric blocks into a memory album quilt top, the way a mother today might paste photographs to scrapbook pages.

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Botanical Prints: Six Books For Plant Lovers

By CJ LotzBelow the LineOctober 24, 2014

Gardeners know fall is the time to invest in the future: plan for next spring and summer's perennials, buy bulbs, plant shrubs and trees. As temperatures turn cooler, these six new books will inspire anyone who tends plants or just loves to read about them.

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What We're Reading Now: 'The Story of Land and Sea'

By Jessica MischnerA Southern FocusOctober 1, 2014

Author Katy Simpson Smith’s hotly anticipated debut novel, The Story of Land and Sea, recently arrived on shelves after sparking a bidding war among 10 publishing houses (Harper Collins eventually won distribution rights). Set in coastal Beaufort, North Carolina, during the waning stages of the Revolutionary War, the book chronicles in spare, crystalline prose the entangled lives and emotions of a multi-generational cast of characters. "The effect," writes reviewer Joanna Scutts in the Washington Post​, "is to root the novel in its historical moment but to reach toward the universal in its exploration of love and grief."

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