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RECENT RECOMMENDATIONS FROM SOUTHERN INDIES...

I love the quirky, eccentric characters in Fannie Flagg’s books, and this one is full of them. At 59 (or is she 60?), Sookie finds she is not who she thought she was and her subsequent search for answers takes her away from small-town Alabama life to Poland, Wisconsin, Texas and California and back in time to the World War II era and a little known group of independent and brave women who gave their all to the war effort as pilots. Comical situations as well as zany, off-beat personalities give heart and warmth to Sookie’s emotional conundrum. It is a tribute to family, friendship and the strength of the human spirit. A heart-warming feel-good read.

The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion By Fannie Flagg ($27, Random House), recommended by Pat, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.

Ball’s tell-all book of his family’s entwinement (in every conceivable manner) in antebellum slavery is a thoroughly researched history specific to the Ball family of South Carolina.

It’s well-written and heroically candid. But more than all that, it is a look at contemporary America, forcing us to examine the aftermath (for both races) of slavery and its legacy into the 21st century.

Slaves in the Family By Edward Ball ($17.95, Ballantine Books), recommended by Connie, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.


Rick Bragg reveals the raw bone of southern poverty in which he grew up; a culture of  violence, grinding pain and humiliation – delivered as a blow-by-blow assault his poor- white class endures every day. You can taste the anger and determination that propelled him, through bold honest storytelling, to the Pulitzer Prize in 1996. I didn’t want to like this book. Instead, I fell in love with it – and its author.

All Over but the Shoutin' by Rick Bragg ($16, Vintage Books USA), recommended by Connie, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.

Fall under the spell of the magical Sarah Addison Allen as she weaves a Southern fairytale of a lost lake, a boy who turned himself into an alligator, and a series of second chances for newly-widowed Kate, her daughter Devin, and her eccentric great-aunt Eby.

Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen ($9.99, St. Martin's Press), recommended by Jill, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.

 

Twins Matt and Em are special -- they're Animare, people who can animate their drawings into physical manifestations.

When their powers become unexpectedly strong for such young children, their mom is forced to move them to the protection of their paternal grandfather's estate. Unfortunately, the people who want control of Matt and Em won't be put off so easily, and the twins must find their family secrets in order to be able to protect themselves.

Fans of Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series will be thrilled to discover this action-packed and magical adventure.

Hollow Earth by John Barrowman (Aladdin) Recommended by Melissa at Fiction Addiction, Greenville SC

Judith Finch was held captive for two years before being returned to her hometown, maimed and mute for fear of what she might reveal. To the people of Roswell Station, including her own mother, she's been cursed. The one bright spot in her life is Lucas, the boy she's loved since she was a girl but who doesn't give her a second glance. After Roswell Station is attacked, Judith has to make a decision -- stay silent and let people make their own conclusions, or reveal all the truth that's in her. Berry's poetic language makes this mystery and love story a captivating read that you won't want to put down until you know everything that Judith has to say.

All the Truth That's In Me by Julie Berry ($17.99, Viking Juvenile), recommended by Melissa, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.

This debut novel is a thriller, a love story, a story of courage and the many unknown heroes who made life and death decisions in the face of the horror that was Berlin in 1943.

Gillham's language is stunning and his characters are real, with all their flaws and all their bravery. This is a book that will stay with me for a long, long time.

City of Women By David R. Gillham ($16, Berkley Trade), recommended by Rene, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.