Arts & Culture

April Reading List

April showers bring…time to kick back with a stack of new books

The Beachcomber’s Companion
By Anna Marlis Burgard, illustrated by Jillian Ditner
April 17, Chronicle Books

Folks with beach houses across the South take note—you’ll want this beautiful little book displayed proudly, waiting for a guest to thumb through the serene watercolor illustrations to learn the names of what they found on a sea shell hunting trip. Here’s a preview.

Varina: A Novel
By Charles Frazier
April 3, Ecco

The author of the National Book Award-winning Cold Mountain, Frazier brings to the page another unforgettable story, this one set partially in Mississippi, centering on a family of fugitives in the aftermath of the Civil War.

Charlotte Moss Entertains
By Charlotte Moss
April 10, Rizzoli

Leave it to Virginia-raised interior designer Charlotte Moss to write a book that makes it feel like you’re the guest of honor at one of her elegant parties. Soak up style pointers for throwing your own garden luncheon, dinner party, or casual but flower-draped brunch with friends.

Plus: Don’t miss two more stylish botanical reads: Seeking Eden: A Collection of Georgia’s Historic Gardens by Staci L. Catron and Mary Ann Eaddy (April 15, UGA Press), is a tour of personal and public greenspaces in the Peach State. And Gardens of Style: Private Hideaways of the Design World by Janelle McCulloch (April 10, Rizzoli) is like getting a VIP pass to the secret gardens of top tastemakers.

People Fishing: A Century of Photographs
By Barbara Levine and Paige Ramey
April 17, Princeton Architectural Press

Delightful in its simplicity, this is a book of charming, mostly black-and-white pictures of folks casting a line.


Beneath a Ruthless Sun
By Gilbert King
April 24, Riverhead Books

A true crime story set among the citrus groves of Florida in the late 1950s, this deep dive by a Pulitzer Prize-winning author is a powerful page-turner.


Design by Nature
By Erica Tanov
April 3, Ten Speed Press

Side-by-side photographs in this earthy design book show how the veins of a leaf resemble lace, ocean waters mirror indigo-dyed fabric, and style inspiration can be found in decaying flowers, wavy tree bark, and anything else you might discover on a walk in the woods.

Photo: Ngoc Minh Ngo

A still from Design By Nature.

Son of Real Florida: Stories from My Life
By Jeff Klinkenberg
April 3, University Press of Florida

The Sunshine State is often the butt of jokes when it comes to bizarre news headlines and quirky characters. But Jeff Klinkenberg, who worked as a reporter there for four decades, covers key lime pie, snake wranglers, and the oyster-shucking queen of Apalachicola with nuance. And that lets the rest of us lovingly celebrate our country’s (arguably) most fascinating state.

Southern from Scratch: Pantry Essentials and Down-Home Recipes
By Ashley English, photographs by Johnny Autry
April 24, Roost Books

Alongside beautiful photography from G&G contributor Johnny Autry, Ashley English shares steadfast recipes that build on the pillars of the Southern larder, like pickled okra and dilly beans, plus some with unexpected twists you’ll want to try tonight, like macaroni and cheese with a potato chip crust.

Three More Foodie Reads…

“Edna Lewis was a great cook in life. In death, she has become an even greater teacher,” writes G&G contributor Kim Severson in the foreword to Edna Lewis: At the Table with an American Original (April 13, UNC Press), which also includes essays by Michael W. Twitty, Mashama Bailey, John T. Edge, and Vivian Howard. It’s a beautiful ode to a grande dame of Southern cuisine. Next turn to Rick Bragg, the heralded Southern writer who pens a loving, recipe-filled ode to his favorite cook in Alabama and on earth—his mother—in The Best Cook in the World: Tales from My Momma’s Table (April 24, Knopf). In Buttermilk Graffiti (April 17, Workman), learn why James Beard Award-nominated chef Edward Lee’s bio reads: Korean-born, Brooklyn-bred chef who found his soul in Kentucky.

… And A Cocktail Book to Finish.

Booze and Vinyl: A Spirited Guide to Great Music & Mixed Drinks
By André Darlington and Tenaya Darlington
April 17, Running Press

You don’t need anyone to tell you good music and a nice cocktail pair perfectly. But this groovy book with artful illustrations and photography, dozens of recipes and musical trivia, is packed with creative recommendations for how to enjoy the two. Yes, we would enjoy sipping a Greyhound while listening to Robert Johnson, that great Delta bluesman at a crossroads.

Photo: Jason Varney

Greyhounds and blues.