2011 Southern Literature Challenge

2011 Southern Literature Challenge Button

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2011 Southern Literature Reading Challenge Button

I am proud of my Southern heritage, troubled and imperfect as it may be, and I love to read books set in my region. It sometimes feels like we are a little under-represented in the publishing world, so I would love to encourage any of you who haven’t read any Southern lit to give it a try!  And, of course, if you’re already a fan, I would love to see what you’re reading so that I can add to my ever-growing to-read list!  So here is my 2011 Southern Literature Challenge!

Read a book(s)–non-fiction or fiction of any genre, adult or young adult–written by an author from the South and set mostly in the South.

Definitions of the South are flexible, so I’ve decided to define it the way I want. That’s the fun of hosting your own challenge, right? 🙂

The states:
South Carolina
North Carolina
West Virginia
Florida–as long as you find a book by a Florida author and/or set in Florida that feels Southern.


Level 1–C’mon in the house! Read 1 book.

Level 2–Pull up a seat and stay a while! Read 2 books

Level 3–Have a glass of sweet iced tea, honey. Read 3 books

Level 4–Y’all come back now, y’hear! Read 4 books

The challenge will run from January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2011. You can join in anytime throughout the year.

I am not limiting the challenge to bloggers.  You can also link to a review you wrote on another site, such as GoodReads or LibraryThing.

Reading suggestions: I have a shelf on GoodReads with lots of books on it. There’s also a Best Southern Literature list on GoodReads that readers have voted on that should give you lots of ideas.

I can’t help but feel like there should be a reward for a challenge successfully completed.  So, I’ll offer up one Southern lit book of your choice (up to $15) to two randomly-drawn readers at the end of the challenge.  Each review you link will give you one entry, with a limit of four entries per person.  This part will be open to anyone who lives in an area where Book Depository offers free shipping.

The button is a picture of Annandale Plantation near Georgetown, SC that I found on the Historic American Buildings Survey website.  As far as I can tell, it is in the public domain.

My reviews:

  1. Plant Life by Pamela Duncan
  2. The Fixer Upper by Mary Kay Andrews
  3. Zora and Me by Victoria Bond and T. R. Simon (Set in Florida! Aren’t you all proud of me?)
  4. The House on Tradd Street by Karen White
  5. Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America by John M. Barry
  6. Leaving Gee’s Bend by Irene Latham
  7. Big Cherry Holler by Adriana Trigiani
  8. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  9. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
  10. The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen
  11. Passing by Samaria by Sharon Ewell Foster
  12. The Sweet Potato Queens First Big-Ass Novel: Stuff We Didn’t Actually Do, But Could Have, and May Yet by Jill Conner Browne with Karin Gillespie, read by the author

Link your sign-up posts and reviews here using Mr. Linky. Please enter the name of the book and enter the url that will take us directly to your review, not your home page. When linking a review, enter your name or your blog name and then the title of the reviewed book in parentheses. Example: The Introverted Reader (Oral History) I hope you’ll join in!

1. Stalking the Bookshelves
2. This Miss Loves to Read
3. Jennifer
4. Book Rat
5. Mavis
6. There’s A Book
7. Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews
8. Nise’
9. Denise
10. drivin’ on 9
11. lemon123
12. Books, Just Books
13. Tiny Librarian
14. A Book Lover
15. Jenna’s Book List
16. Beth Sheffield
17. The Happy Booker
18. Peppermint Ph.D.
19. Rie Conley
20. Reading Extensively
21. Whitney
22. Christa’s Hooked on Books
23. Martha G
24. Book Rat (Fallen)
25. Caroline Bookbinder
26. Miss D
27. Jackie Is Reading….
28. No Page Left Behind
29. Lynn
30. Care
31. My Round File
32. Lynn (Sweet Tea at Sunrise)
33. Abigail
34. Tiny Librarian (Somebody Everybody Listens To)
35. Alexa
36. Lynn (Sunrise)
37. Carrie (The Help)
38. Carrie (The Girl Who Chased The Moon)
39. Carrie (Beautiful Darkness)
40. Carrie (The Peach Keeper)
41. Lynn (The Help)
42. Carrie (The Sugar Queen)
43. BJ (Southern Plate)
44. Stalking The Bookshelves (The Girl Who Chased the Moon)
45. Carrie (Bloodroot)
46. JP @ Elle-Lit (The Help)
47. JP @ Elle-Lit (Gumbo Tales)
48. No Page Left Behind (The Help)
49. Quixotic Magpie (My Reading Life)
50. Quixotic Magpie (Prodigal Summer)
51. BJ (Glazed Murder)
52. Quixotic Magpie (Pawleys Island)
53. Quixotic Magpie (Calpurnia Tate)
54. Quixotic Magpie (Magnolia League)
55. Quixotic Magpie (Shem Creek)
56. Linda (Down River)
57. Quixotic Magpie (Summer Rental)
58. Charla Wilson (Night Train)
59. Carrie (Dead Reckoning)
60. Carrie (Garden Spells)
61. Quixotic Magpie (Heart of Evil)
62. Quixotic Magpie (Savannah Blues)
63. Quixotic Magpie (Folly Beach)
64. Linda (Iron House)
65. Quixotic Magpie (Summer in the South)
66. Carrie (The Splendor Falls)
67. RachelKiwi (As I Lay Dying)
68. RachelKiwi (Everything That Rises Must Converge)
69. RachelKiwi (Cold Sassy Tree)
70. RachelKiwi (Coming of Age in Mississippi)
71. No Page Left Behind (Sugar Queen)
72. Quixotic Magpie (Beautiful Creatures)
73. Carin (Watery Part of the World)
74. Carin (The Reservoir)
75. Carin (Silver Sparrow)
76. Carin (Confederates in the Attic)
77. Seaside Book Corner (Home in the Morning)
78. Seaside Book Corner (Saving CeeCee Honeycutt)
79. Seaside Book Corner (Ballad of Tom Dooley)

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  1. Well, I was wrong my last Southern book challenge is Ballad of Tom Dooley. I did not realize how much southern novels I have been reading and is not on purpose. I quess because I am from the south. But, I am going to trying reading more books on the Appalacian moutains. I can't believe I have read 4 southern novels. Thanks for hosting. I will see you next year. I already have a few lined up.

  2. Psoting my lost blog post for this year, for the Southern Challenge. Takes place in Mississippi, during the 1960's. I will start her next book for your new challenge for 2012, in a few weeks.

  3. So glad I stumbled across this challenge! I've been doing my own personal Southern Lit challenge because my husband and I are going down to your neck of the woods on a rambling camping road trip in a few weeks. Thanks for hosting!

  4. Love this! Asouthern reading challenge! Yea! Here is a link to my first review for this challenge

  5. Read "Glazed Murder" by Jessica Beck, the first in a cozy Donut Shop Mystery series. Book is set in a fictional North Carolina Town. Linked above to GoodReads review./bj

  6. So far, I've only read one book for this challenge – Burning Bright by Ron Rash. Although now that it's summer, well, that always puts me in a Southern sort of mood and I'll be visiting in August, so hope to do lots more then!

  7. Lawd have mercy! This challenge is right up my alley! I used to write at a blog called "shouldabeenabelle" and I am soooo sooo sooooo in love with all things Southern!

    Excellent challenge! So glad I found your blog!

    And of course I signed up with Mr. Linky wrong. 🙁 Sorry.

  8. I love this challenge!! Southern Lit is my favorite genre!


  9. I visited Charleston, South Carolina this spring and fell in love. It was my kind of place. I have been reading some books set in the south already. I wish I would had seen this Challenge earlier.

    Brenda Gail

  10. Posted a couple weeks ago Butterfly's Daughter, it is not a southern novel, but the author is southern, Mary Alice Monroe. Does that count?

  11. It's April and I'm just now getting around to posting my first Southern Lit book review, LOL!

  12. Not your typical Southern Lit, but I could not resist posting this review here. I read Southern Plate for my Foodie Challenge, but it is a great Southern cookbook. So many of these recipes reminded me of Mom and Grandma's recipes. Please check out link to review at Goodreads above. Thanks./bj

  13. Thanks for hosting this challenge…I am so glad to have found it. I fancy myself a "Southern Belle" (hehe) and love reading books set in the South. Awesome idea 🙂

  14. I just posted on my blog, All Other Nights. It is a Civil War Story.The story about how the south was divided by everyone. The story is unique because it is about southern Jews. I hope you don't mind, but the author is a northerner, but the story is a true southern novel. I promise the next one will be born and bred in the south. Thanks for hosting.

  15. I know I'm a little late but I still wanna play if that's ok. My sister listed this challenge on her blog so here I am. I love Southern Lit so this challenge is right up my alley. I am planning on doing level 4 although I have almost completed that already.


  16. Ohmygosh how did I not know of this challenge?! I love books set in the South. In fact, I just read a FANTASTIC ONE – Shine by Lauren Myracle. Definitely recommended. I loved it. 🙂

    But I have to say Jen, I'm a little hurt by the Florida thing! *sniffle* I grew up there, and believe me, it's Southern. OK, well.. parts are. That Miami just gives us a bad rap! 😉 LOL

    Anyway! I will definitely be joining for this challenge! 😀

  17. I am up for the challenge, I am from Myrtle Beach, SC. There are so many Southern authors out there. Looking forward. I live about a hr. from Georgetown SC, where the pix is from.
    Good luck to all of us.

  18. My first Southern read is "A Piggly Wiggly Christmas" by Robert Dalby. This is the fourth installment in Robert Dalby's Piggly Wiggly series. It is a charming, readable series, well worth a read if you like characters that are purely southern, small town senior citizens. The other books in this series are Waltzing at the Piggly Wiggly, Kissing Babies at the Piggly Wiggly and A Piggly Wiggly Wedding. I have enjoyed them all. The books center around a group of women who call themselves the NitWits and the zany, unexpected ways they come up with to solve problems in their small town in Mississippi. They are a great group of characters and this is a fun read. Gave this one 3 stars on GoodReads.

    My second Southern read was "Mermaids in the Basement" by Michael Lee West. It is very Southern in tone, which I enjoyed. The characters were interesting, but I didn't really care enough about any of the characters to invest myself in what happens to them. Not one of my favorite books. Gave it only 2 stars.

  19. Am already signed up for 37 different Challenges (or so it seems) but how could I exclude this one (which I just found). In the spirit of reality, I'm going to go for Level 2, because I also have to read memoirs, and books from 36 different countries, and at least 12 books on my TBR pile, and 12 memoirs…

    This will be fun! I love!
    Southern fiction….

  20. Finished my first book. Not the best one I've ever read. Hopefully I'll get a better one next time. I've posted my link to my review.

  21. I want to read some Flannery O'Connor and am taking suggestions. I do have The Yearling on my in-house tbr stack, too.

  22. This is a great reading challenge! Any ideas for a book on Nashville? I'm still looking but picked 3 other books for now.

  23. I hope it's not too late to join. I live in the Pacific NW, but grew up in north Florida and east Tennessee. I like to keep in touch with my "roots" through reading.

    Check out author/poet Mary Jane Ryals for books about Florida. She just wrote a new one called Cookie and Me.

  24. I am so HAPPY to find this challenge! Although I did graduate course work in Southern Lit, I still have shelves full of books I've been wanting to read. However, I've had enough Faulkner to last me a life time…lol (I enjoyed all of his books…just very intense). I'm also hosting The Classics 2011 Challenge on my blog.

  25. I'm from Southern Mississippi so I'm about as southern as I can get 😉 Thanks for hosting this!!

  26. I was born on one of those borderline states (MD) but now live on the beautiful Crystal Coast NC and I LOVE to read about the south. I was so happy to stumble upon this challenge and happy to sign up! And the challenge button is gorgeous! Thanks so much for hosting this.


  27. I haven't picked my first book yet. I hope it's right to sign in on Mr. Linky. I chosen to read 3 books.

  28. This is really tempting, especially since the button reminds me of Tara. I'll probably cave later this week.

  29. Complete works of Flannery O'Connor, here I come! Thank you for including Florida in this challenge. I live in Pittsburgh, and when I tell people I'm from south Florida they look surprised and say, "You don't have an accent at all!" as if an accent is the definitive attribute of life in the south. I'm also often told that Florida is not the south by people who have never been there.

  30. I'm in. I spent most of my life in Virginia and now live in North Carolina, Greenville. Love stories that take place in the South, especially the Charleston, low country area. Found a wealth of books on you list at GoodReads. Thanks for that. Sign me up for level 4. This is the first year I have ever done challenges and am going challenge crazy. Thanks for hosting this./bj

  31. Wahoo! Better late than never, right? I'm finally jumping into this party and I can't wait! I'm so excited for this challenge and getting more of these great books under my belt. It should be fantastic. Thanks so much for hosting! :o)

  32. Does anyone know if Nevermore by Kelly Creagh is considered Southern Lit? I know the author is Southern, but does anyone know if the book takes place in the south? Thanks

  33. I'm in! I love, love, love Southern Literature. Love it.

    I'll do a sign up post shortly, but wanted to say thanks for hosting this one!

  34. I love this! I just read the latest Fannie Flagg book, and I am hungry for more stories of awesome Southern women. I will publish a post shortly!

  35. Carin–I'm glad you like the challenge!

    Mel–You're still in there, just with a caveat that it should have a Southern feel! I'll have to look at re-wording Florida's little section.

    Irish Eyes–You are moving to a beautiful area! I've just walked through Georgetown's little downtown and thought it was utterly charming. I had no idea there was anything about a wave of Lebanese immigrants there. Books in the City's Immigrant Stories Challenge might interest you as well.

    Irina–Don't feel bad! Atlanta's an easy weekend trip for me, and I've never read Gone with the Wind either! I do have a copy of it here though, so maybe someday I'll get brave!

    Shannon–There just has to be a cutoff somewhere, and I decided that Oklahoma looks more Mid-Western. It's hard to leave out Florida when they're technically more southern than any of us, in geography if not in lifestyle!

    Jennifer–I'm so glad you're going to use this challenge to push yourself to write reviews! As long as you're honest about how you felt about the book, you've written a good review. They don't have to be literary masterpieces! Start with GoodReads if you want (I did notice you linked your profile). It feels like it's easier to blend in if you're one of a group of reviews rather than having one who website solely to yourself. But if you're brave, plenty of people do go straight to blogging! Let me know if I can help you with anything! Oh, and I'm glad to have a fellow North Carolinian onboard! (Although I'm thinking Carin might be from around Charlotte)

    Booksnyc–Thanks for joining!

  36. Hello. For me this challenge is two-fold. One to read some great books. I grew up in Ohio but since being married have lived in four more states. I have now been in North Carolina for almost 8 years and have begun to really embrace the South.

    Second I have never posted/written a review. I am an avid reader. Have been forever. I ran a library out of my house when I was a kid with my neighborhood friends. I have been debating getting in gear and beginning a blog and writing reviews. I am uncomfortable sharing my writing. But I am ready to go for it. My husband is a huge supporter and so this is part of the challenge for myself.

    There it is. I am looking forward to it and I am going for 3 books this year.


  37. I might have to sign up for this, as a southern girl how can I say no. Wondering why Oklahoma is not included though, surely its more southern then Florida 🙂

  38. Hmm…I think I have a few I could work in, though I guess I won't know how really "southern" they are until I read them. I've had Beautiful Creatures forever, though, and need an excuse to read it, and everyone talks about its southerness…
    Also, I think you've been spammed(ish), because the only link up there is for Reverse Telephone look up, which, yeah, definitely not a blog, but a weird one to spam with…

  39. Oh, yes! I will join this challenge. I will add my link tomorrow, but count me in. I'll go for four novels and this challenge may FINALLY force me to read Gone with the Wind because it's true, I haven't read this book yet. *blush* Thanks for the list of recommendations on Goodreads!

  40. Marjorie Rawlings from rural north Florida (1896 to 1953) is very southern author of The Yearling and other works-!-nice idea for a challenge but as a member of a 5th generation or more Florida family please add us back in!

  41. I am so happy! I wanted a Challenge like this last year and couldn't find one. I had nearly decided not to do challenges next year but yours convinced me not to give up! Yipee!

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