Friday, June 22, 2007

Southern Books!

My goal for the Southern Reading Challenge was to read one southern book in each summer month, June through August. My three picks are listed over on the right. With only one week remaining in June, I figured that I should get on the stick! After a trip to our cozy, local bookshop, I came home this afternoon with the first two: Maya Angelou's autobiographical book and Flannery O'Connor's short story collection. Sorry to be slow getting started, Maggie, but my TBR pile was just so seductive!

Think I'll start off with Flannery O'Connor as I have a rather morbid curiosity for this writer. From what I hear, her Southern Gothic style does not make for good bedtime reading as it can be a bit disturbing in its realism at times. After being diagnosed with the autoimmune disease, lupus, O'Connor lived the last fifteen years of her life on her ancestral farm, Andalusia, in my hometown of Milledgeville, GA. Her mother, Regina O'Connor, lived in a beautiful, grand antebellum home in downtown Milledgeville, one of the few southern towns that Sherman did not burn in his March to the Sea. Her home was right next to the church where I attended preschool and kindergarten and she did not take kindly to having kids playing and hollering too close to her property. She wasn't shy in voicing her opinion, either! This experience, combined with Flannery's ethereal presence about town made an impression on me--locals revere her, for there is a scant number of famous people, much less published authors, from this small town. Since I have lived away from my hometown for a number of years, I have developed a fondness for it, but there was a time when I was repulsed by anything associated with the place. I felt stifled growing up there and left for college without looking back. Now, however, I look forward to discovering O'Connor's work. Rather than rejecting her for her ties to Milledgeville, perhaps (?) I will find in her a kindred spirit. She was, after all, a misfit (an Irish Catholic in the middle of the Bible belt!) simply trying to find her place.


Maggie said...

No Problem, Kelly! I picked up A Good Man is Hard to Find just yesterday while touring this really old, crowded bookstore in DC.

Hey, yea, you better get on the stick! ;D