Arts & Culture

A February Reading List

Your guide to great new Southern reads this month


The Kiss: Intimacies from Writers
Edited by Brian Turner
February 6, Norton

A thoughtful Valentine’s Day gift, this collection of essays, stories, and poems is all about that oh-so-human act of kissing. Edited by Florida-based writer Brian Turner, the book includes memorable pieces by G&G contributor Beth Ann Fennelly and a lovely, lyrical tribute by the Kentucky-based writer Ada Limón.

My Floral Affair: Whimsical Spaces and Beautiful Florals
by Rachel Ashwell
February 13, CICO Books

Known for her lifestyle brand, Shabby Chic, Rachel Ashwell penned this lusciously photographed book to let readers in on her floral design secrets, take them on tours of her favorite gardens throughout Europe, and invite them for a virtual visit to her Texas bed and breakfast, with its buckets of bluebonnets.

The Pines: Southern Forests
Photographs by Chuck Hemard
February 13, Daylight Books

A gorgeous coffee-table book dedicated to chronicling the South’s disappearing longleaf pinelands. The word “sacred” comes to mind when studying Hemard’s images of the landscapes in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina.

Weird Homes of Austin: The People and Places That Keep Austin Strangely Wonderful
By David J. Neff and Chelle Neff
February 20, Skyhorse

The co-founders of “Weird Austin Home Tours” invite you to step inside the quirkiest historic mansions, artist dens, lofty treehouses, and mosaic-tiled wonderlands keeping this corner of the Lone Star State funky.

The Southern Skillet Cookbook: Over 100 Recipes to Make Comfort Food in Your Cast-Iron
February 27, Cider Mill Press

Sure to be a crowd-pleaser, this cookbook includes recipes we can’t wait to try and which we’re happy to share here: skillet-charred chicken wings for game day, and a giant chocolate chip cookie that’s—you guessed it—baked in your favorite cast-iron skillet.

Finally, if you’re dreaming of a beach vacation, you can at least pretend you’re soaking up some sun by disappearing into these four can’t-take-a-break-novels:


The Which Way Tree by Elizabeth Crook
February 6, Little, Brown
The setting is 1860s Texas Hill Country, and young Sam Shreve is determined to avenge the death of her mother. This riveting Western has a bit of True Grit feel, penned by an award-winning Austin-based author.


Sunburn by Laura Lippman
February 20, William Morrow
The New York Times bestselling author who lives in Baltimore is back with a suspenseful modern noir that starts in a Delaware tavern, where a handsome stranger strikes up a conversation with a mysterious, sun-burned, redheaded runaway.


The Pope of Palm Beach by Tim Dorsey
January 30, William Morrow
The rollicking storytelling of Dorsey, who wrote for the Tampa Tribune for more than a decade, rocks the page of his latest adventure featuring his character, the amateur Florida historian—with homicidal tendencies—Serge A. Storms.


The Friend by Sigrid Nunez
February 6, Riverhead
A woman is unexpectedly left to care for her best friend’s Great Dane in a powerful ode to the bond between dog and human. Yep, we can get into that (once we get over reading the last issue’s Good Dog column).