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RECENT RECOMMENDATIONS FROM SOUTHERN INDIES...
With their realistic and sometimes brutal details, these stories by a former Marine captain and Iraq war veteran are not always easy to read. But ultimately they proved to be harder to stop reading. Klay gives voice to a variety of viewpoints through nuanced characters and prose that strikes a balance between bitter irony and real emotional depth.
Redeployment By Phil Klay ($26.95, Penguin), recommended by Tony, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.
I love this collection – quick read that you can pick up and start from any chapter. The author deftly shows you one side of this historic man and then in a flash, shows the conflicting side. There is so much information about Winston Churchill in the literary world, this book breaks it down simply into the man that was an artist, a father, a husband and a world leader. You gain a little glimpse into the contradictions that ruled his world.
Forty Ways to Look at Winston Churchill: A Brief Account of a Long Life By Gretchen Rubin ($17, Random House Trade), recommended by Linda, Books & Books, Coral Gables, FL.
Mr. Ellena is the exclusive perfumer for the House of Hermes, the book is a little gem.
While reading the book my mind tricked me into actually smelling orange blossom and bergamot and other lush and exotic scents. For anyone that loves luxury for the sake of luxury this is it.
The Diary of a Nose: A Year in the Life of a Parfumeur by Jean-Claude Ellena ($24.95, Rizzoli Ex Libris), recommended by Linda, Books & Books, Coral Gables, FL.
A little known treasure I discovered, this book is written by a close companion of Chanel and the story tells of her life in her words. The author and Coco spent many years together traveling and entertaining. It’s an insight into the personal life of Chanel, her politics, fears, desires and dreams. The book is beautifully illustrated by Karl Lagerfeld, Head Designer and Creative Director for House of Chanel.
The Allure of Chanel by Paul Morand, Euan Cameron ($29.95, Pushkin Press), recommended by Linda, Books and Books, Coral Gables, FL.
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.