Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Fiction Favorites, Southern Style

I'm a huge fan of fiction. I love a story well told, no matter the genre. Some of my must-read's include fantasy (Ted Dekker's The Circle Trilogy), historical (Lynne Austin's Refiner's Fire series), and the classics (you know it, Pride and Prejudice, of course!).

I have to admit, my standards are pretty high. The Circle Trilogy notwithstanding, I don't like cliffhanger endings that force you to wait on pins and needles for the next installment. Further, I have no patience to wade through a novel full of plastic Barbie-type heroines, with perfect hair, perfect clothes, perfect faith and the perfectly hunky leading man. I like depth to my characters and realism to their struggles (perhaps not realism to their situation necessarily, but their struggle). And, I like for the end to be the end.

Jane Austen aside, I think my favorite fiction by far is the Southern story. Being a southern girl myself, the setting and the personalities therein resonate with me. As I also prefer stories with a redemptive theme (aka "Christian"), finding the well-crafted, redemptive, Southern fiction can sometimes be a challenge. Not an impossible one, however. If you're like me and love a good story, here are some of my fiction favorites, southern style:

(in no particular order)

Flabbergasted by Ray Blackston.
The first time I read this novel, I laughed out loud with tears streaming down my cheeks. A funny, funny story of a single guy looking for a date in the local church singles crowd. Wonderful!

When the Day of Evil Comes and The Soul Hunter, both by Melanie Wells
Eerie, spooky and wonderfully suspenseful.

Grace at Low Tide by Beth Webb Hart
Her second novel, Adelaide Piper, is also good, but I much preferred this, her first novel of a young girl coming of age in the southern society of Charleston.

The Dead Don't Dance
Wrapped In Rain
When Crickets Cry
Maggie, all by Charles Martin
Hands down my current favorite southern author. I finished the Dead Don't Dance with tears. All are absolutely incredible reads!

A Place Called Wiregrass by Michael Morris
A novel of second chances and unlikely friendships.

Winter Birds by Jamie Langston Turner
Also one of my favorite authors. This is a moving first person glimpse into the life of Sophia as her heart is slowly changed by the selfless love of others. By the Light of a Thousand Stars and Some Wildflower in My Heart are also very good.

And for some chick lit, I loved Savannah from Savannah and Savannah By the Sea by Denise Hildreth. Both poke a little fun at some of our southern idiosyncrasies and were a lot of fun to read.

Of course, it goes without saying that no list of good Southern fiction is complete without Jan Karon's Mitford series. I absolutely loved them all, each time I read them!

So, there you go, a (not so very) small glimpse into my bookshelves. Feel free to share your favorites as well (southern or otherwise)! Happy reading!

10 comments:

  1. Most of my reading is non-fiction, but once in a while it's fun to amuse myself with a good story. Thanks for the list--I haven't read any of it but the Mitford series. I love stories with a Southern sensibility to them, since I'm a northern girl raised for the most part in Tenn. The southernisms tickle me to death!

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  2. Off to add these to my library list! Thank you so much for the suggestions!

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  3. Oh more I need to add to my ever growing list! I really like Jamie Langston Turner also. When I discovered one of her books I went and put them all on hold at the library and just devoured them.

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  4. I'm so glad you shared these! I rarely read Christian fiction because most of it is appalling. I love character-driven fiction with gritty, realistic characters. My favorite novel is actually a secular Pulitzer Prize winner, "Lonesome Dove" by Larry McMurtry. Have you happened to have read it?

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  5. I have in fact read "Lonesome Dove," although it's been years ago now, not long after the miniseries aired. I did like it, except everyone dies. I guess I am enough of a romantic to like a good ending! :-)

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  6. I love fiction, too. Thanks for the recommendations!

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  7. I love fiction, too. I am trying to balance it out with some non-fiction this year. I saw a few on your list that I have never heard of. I will have to check them out of the library. Some of my favorite authors are Lori Wick, Terri Blackstock, Gilbert Morris, and Lynn Austin. There are many more, but those just come to me quickly. Thanks for sharing! Janis

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  8. I am going to look into several of these titles. Also, if you enjoy Lynn Austin, you should check out her Chronicles of the Kings series. I thought they were great.

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  9. Thank you for all the wonderful recommendations. i was able to order A Place Called Wiregrass, Grace at Low Tide, Adelaide Piper, Flabbergasted, Fire By Night from Paperbackswap.com. The rest I had to put on my wishlist. I can't wait to receive my new books!

    Jennifer

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  10. I am working in marketing for author Melanie Wells. You have been added to her contact list for your blog's mention of her books, "When the Day of Evil Comes" and "The Soul Hunter." We are missing some of your information which she might use to contact you by phone, mail, or e-mail. If you could send me your physical address, city, zip code, last name and phone number to airandwaters@gmail.com, it would be appreciated by Taylor-Made Press and Melanie Wells.

    Thank you!
    Erin Waters

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