Arts & Culture

September Reading List

New titles out this month include a pile of cookbooks, a surprising garden read, luscious design tomes, and one whiskey book that just might stir up some folks
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The Compendium of Amazing Gardening Innovations, by Abigail Willis, illustrations by Dave Hopkins

This delightful book with elegant black-and-white illustrations shares the history behind fifty botanical wonders: Did you know when you “dead-head” prune a flower, you’re actually linking back to an early tool inspired by the guillotine? And that hundreds of the varieties of roses we know today trace back to four “stud roses” from China?

Dark Testament, by Pauli Murray

Originally published in 1970 and unavailable for years, this collection of poetry is being re-released to honor and bring into focus its author Pauli Murray (1910-1985). Murray was a Durham, North Carolina-based civil rights activist, the first black woman to receive a doctorate of law at Yale, and a fine, fierce poet.

The Next American City, by Mick Cornett

Cities of modest size and population have plenty of bragging rights these days. Like Charleston. And Louisville. And Chattanooga. Four-time Mayor of another up-and-comer, Oklahoma City, Mick Cornett knows that mid-size cities have a lot more going on than megalopolis residents might think.

Wine Food, by Dana Frank and Andrea Slonecker

Part cookbook, part wine-pairing explainer, this drop-the-intimidation book feels like attending the most thoughtful, casually elegant dinner party where the host knows how to keep the conversation going—and when to refill glasses. Gorgeous photography and recipes include this decadent Pimento Cheese Soufflé that the authors recommend serving with an American Gamay.

Island Hopping, by Amanda Lindroth

Interior designer Amanda Lindroth works primarily in the Bahamas and has a second studio and shop in Palm Beach. This book shares thirty of her colorful, playful designs that blend the indoors and outdoors, including this Harbour Island guest house featured on the cover of G&G.

Hacking Whiskey, by Aaron Goldfarb

Nearly blasphemous—but enough fun that it can be forgiven. Hacking Whiskey serves up two recipes for mixing at-home whiskey blends that the author claims approximate the taste of Pappy. Goldfarb goes bold with tips for storing, pouring, and even using whiskey to age your next batch of ribs. Those who refuse to adulterate whiskey with ice may want to turn away, though.

A Hard Rain, by Frye Gaillard

The pop historian and John Egerton Scholar in Residence at the Southern Foodways Alliance, Gaillard delivers a sprawling history of the 1960s in this hefty tome centered primarily on the South during the Civil Rights era.

Basque Country, by Marti Buckley

Dream life achieved: Food writer Marti Buckley is from Alabama and has lived and cooked in coastal San Sebastian, Spain for nearly a decade. Here, she indulges wanderlusters with recipes and stories from her slice of Spanish soil.

Changers Book Four, by T Cooper and Allison Glock-Cooper

G&G contributor Allison Glock-Cooper and her husband, the writer T Cooper, deliver the final book in their young adult series Changers, which deals with adolescents discovering who they are and what’s important to them.

The Cash and Carter Family Cookbook, by John Carter Cash

The Man in Black could stir a mean pot of chili; June liked a fresh tomato salad. Read Cash-Carter family stories and try out recipes collected by their son John Carter Cash.

Seeing Deeply, by Dawoud Bey

Photographer Dawoud Bey presents his forty-year retrospective, including a moving project in Birmingham. His portraits illuminate the diverse American experience, from Harlem to Chicago to the deep South.

Mathis Menefee and Cassandra Griffin, Birmingham, AL, 2012. By Dawoud Bey.

The Month of Their Ripening, by Georgann Eubanks

This lovely ode to Tar Heel State heritage captures foods at their peaks—shad in March; ramps in April; persimmons in November—while introducing readers to the growers, hunters, foragers, and fishermen who harvest them.

Money Rock, by Pam Kelley

A former reporter for the Charlotte Observer tells the fast-moving true story of an entrepreneurial North Carolina family caught up in the 1980s heyday of cocaine.


Whiskey in a Tea Cup, by Reese Witherspoon

Reese Witherspoon might frequent the red carpet and star in major films, but she’s right at home hosting backyard get-togethers centered around fried chicken. Here, she shares recipes, her family’s traditions, and personal tidbits such as how her grandmother Dorothea remarked that many Southern women are like “whiskey in a teacup”—showy outside; strong inside.

Suzanne Kasler: Sophisticated Simplicity, by Suzanne Kasler, Judith Nasitir

From surprising tips—such as hanging a favorite piece of art in a high-traffic mudroom—to more involved recommendations, like bringing back a home’s original columns, Atlanta-based interior designer Suzanne Kasler delves into her most useful advice. Spotlighted projects include homes in Buckhead, Georgia, and Palmetto Bluff, South Carolina.

Handcrafted, by Clint Harp

Clint Harp may appear for just a few minutes on Fixer Upper each episode—carting in a massive table or chatting with Joanna Gaines about her latest design—but the carpenter has a charming personal story. After learning woodworking from his grandfather, bouncing around jobs, and eventually starting a shop out of his garage in Houston, Harp became a fixture on the Waco, Texas-based smash-hit show.