Arts & Culture

October Reading List

Fall brings extra servings of cookbooks, historic novels, stirring biographies, and a secret garden book you’ll want to spend an afternoon paging through
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Unsheltered, by Barbara Kingsolver

The South has been one of bestselling author Barbara Kingsolver’s most constant characters—from her 1988 debut, The Bean Trees, with its spunky Kentucky heroine; to The Poisonwood Bible, a sprawling tale of Georgia missionaries; to Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, which chronicled how her family ate locally for a year near their home in the Virginia mountains. Her latest, Unsheltered, traces two intertwining storylines. One follows a Virginia couple who lose their jobs and reckon with larger questions about their hopes while they fix up a crumbling brick house. The other is peppered with nineteenth century characters who are curious about Charles Darwin and science. Tying them both together are themes of curiosity and the boundless human spirit.

Johnny Cash, by Alan Light

Plenty of music history books pay tribute to the Man in Black, but only this one, published by Smithsonian Books, shares never-before-seen personal photographs, scrapbook pages, and letters from the Cash family.

A Well-Behaved Woman, by Therese Anne Fowler

North Carolina-based author Therese Anne Fowler first fixed her historical-fiction gaze on the story of the most famous flapper in Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald. Her new release is a fascinating look at Alva Vanderbilt, a strong-willed woman at the dramatic center of the gilded-age family renowned for its wealth and properties, including the Biltmore Estate in Asheville.

My Love Story, by Tina Turner

Before she was the queen of rock and roll, Tina Turner was born Anna Mae Bullock in Nutbush, Tennessee. In 1986, she published a bestselling memoir which was adapted into the Academy Award-nominated film What’s Love Got to Do with It. This intimate new book continues her story, allowing the singer to reflect on the peak of her career and her personal life since finding love again.

Heavy, by Kiese Laymon

A dynamic and eloquent memoir from a Jackson, Mississippi-raised writer who is a professor at the University of Mississippi. Laymon explores how his life has been shaped by race relations in the South, his struggles with weight, his mother’s insistence on academic perfection, and his unforgettable, resourceful grandmother.

The Farm, by Wendell Berry, drawings by Carolyn Whitesel

Readers of Wendell Berry, the Kentucky farmer and poet, will love to give or receive this collector’s edition reproduction of one of his book-length poems. It was first illustrated and printed more than twenty years ago at the beloved craft-publisher Larkspur Press in Monterey, Kentucky.

The Hunter’s Way, by Craig Raleigh

This thoughtful meditation on sporting pursuits digs into the paradox of hunting and fishing as conservation, and is a love letter to time spent in the outdoors.

The Gardens of Bunny Mellon, by Linda Jane Holden, Roger Foley, Peter Crane

The late Rachel “Bunny” Mellon was famous for her fantastic wealth and marriage to Paul Mellon. But her life’s greatest passion was gardening—she even designed the White House Rose Garden. In this first-ever deep dive into Mellon’s greenspaces, photographer Roger Foley shares lush images, most notably of her stunning Virginia equestrian estate.

Flower Color Guide, by Darroch and Michael Putnam

A simple, delightful book that consists solely of page after page of flower photos arranged by color, from a crisply white azalea to a stunning purple-black calla lily. It’s the highly-organized (or obsessive-compulsive) garden lover’s dream.

Southern Discomfort, by Tena Clark

Songwriter and music producer Tena Clark is known for her work with Aretha Franklin, Patti LaBelle, and Gladys Knight. Here, she shares her own story of growing up in a broken family on an antebellum farm in Mississippi, and how youthful escapes to a recording studio in New Orleans paved the way for her barrier-busting career.

Rooms for Living, by Suzanne Rheinstein

Interior designer Suzanne Rheinstein was born in New Orleans and has worked with homeowners across the country. This new coffee table book shares many of her traditional-but-not-stuffy designs, plus tips on displaying books, dressing a bed, and decorating for a Crescent-City-worthy party.

Becoming Mrs. Lewis, by Patti Callahan

Celebrated the world over for The Chronicles of Narnia, the British author C.S. Lewis has long fascinated scholars and book lovers. Now, author Patti Callahan shares a lesser-known part of his life in an historic novel based on his real-life relationship with Joy Davidman, a New York poet whom Lewis called “my whole world.” Callahan, who splits time between Mountain Brook, Alabama, and Bluffton, South Carolina, is currently on book tour, with stops in South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and North Carolina.

Sweet Home Café Cookbook, by NMAAHC, Jessica B. Harris, Albert Lukas, and Jerome Grant

If you haven’t yet made it to D.C. to see the National Museum of African American History and Culture, which opened in 2016, you can at least taste the flavors of its lauded Sweet Home Café. With more than 100 recipes, this cookbook shares dishes that reflect African-American contributions to American cuisine, including hoppin’ John, peanut soup, and shrimp and grits.

Carla Hall’s Soul Food, by Carla Hall and Genevieve Ko; Mississippi Vegan, by Timothy Pakron;  Chasing the Gator, by Isaac Toups and Jennifer V. Cole; and Red Truck Bakery Cookbook by Brian Noyes and Nevin Martell

Read more about these four fall cookbooks in our October/November 2018 issue.

Vinegar & Char, edited by Sandra Beasley

A rich feast of poetry collected by the Southern Foodways Alliance includes delicious contributions from writers Natasha Trethewey, Robert Morgan, Nikky Finney, and G&G contributing editor John T. Edge.

Frederick Douglass, by David W. Blight

At more than 900 pages of deeply researched history, this is the definitive biography of one of the most important Southerners of all time. Frederick Douglass escaped slavery and went on to become a major literary figure, and here, author David W. Blight draws on newly discovered Douglass papers and rarely-seen documents from a private collection to tell a full life’s story.