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During my first book blogging stint, I hosted a few reading challenges, as much for my own benefit as for anyone else’s. One of the challenges I’ve decided to resurrect is the Southern Literature Reading Challenge 2021, focusing on books and authors from the southeastern region of the United States.
Table of Contents:
Definition of “The South”
Definitions of the South are flexible, so I’ve decided to base my definition on the current makeup of the Southern Legislative Conference:
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
- West Virginia
That said, I’m not looking for a debate and I’m flexible. These are only guidelines so use your best judgment.
- Read books by Southern authors set largely in the South
- You can read any genre, including fiction or nonfiction, classics or modern works
- You can read books meant for any age group
- Crossovers with other challenges are fine
- Any format that you choose is also acceptable
- The challenge will run from January 1 through December 31, 2021
- A blog is not required for participation; you can also link to reviews on other sites such as GoodReads or LibraryThing
- Sign up anytime throughout the year
- I’ve tried to keep this simple but if you have any questions, reach out in the comments, via social media (links in my sidebar), or my contact form.
- Most importantly, have fun!
As a White woman from the South, I debated whether I should revive this challenge because of the ongoing racial injustices throughout the country. Some of our books glorify slavery, racism, Jim Crow laws, the Civil War, and the issues surrounding them, each of which I wholeheartedly condemn. Ultimately, I decided that, while these flaws must not be ignored and are a shameful part of our heritage, they do not constitute the entirety of that heritage. Southern writers add a strong, unique voice to literature. However, that voice is incomplete unless it includes BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) authors. I encourage participants to add BIPOC Southern authors to their book choices for this challenge. This is one of my personal goals and I will try to share my progress here. Please feel free to share any recommendations with me.
I typically choose a photo of the romanticized, black-and-white, Spanish-moss South for the challenge button but this year I decided to go with a more modern approach. I chose the skyline of Atlanta, a vibrant, multi-cultural, 21st-century city. It felt more indicative of the inclusivity and equality we in the South should strive for.
(Many, many thanks to my uncle for helping me write this section. He helped me clarify my stance while trying to be sensitive to the issues. Any missteps are inadvertent and my own.)
I have a shelf on GoodReads with lots of books on it. There’s also a Best Southern Literature list on GoodReads that should give you some good ideas. Or you can reference the linked reviews from the 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, and 2011 versions of the challenge.
Level 1–C’mon in the house! Read 1-2 books.
Level 2–Pull up a seat and stay a while! Read 3-4 books
Level 3–Have a glass of sweet iced tea, honey. Read 5-6 books
Level 4–Y’all come back now, y’hear! Read 7+ books
Spread the Word
If you like the idea of this challenge, please help me spread the word via social media using #2021southernlit. Please also add a link to this post and/or the challenge image to your sign-up and review posts. You can also tag me @IntrovertReader on Twitter, @Introverted.Reader on Instagram, or @IntrovertedReader on Facebook if you’d like and I’ll try to share. Thank you!
Sign Up Posts
I’m signing up at level 4 myself.
Please link directly to the post announcing your intention to participate (Not your home page), or your social media profile (Please keep in mind these links are publicly viewable).
Please link directly to your review and not your blog home page. My suggested format is your name and/or the title of your blog and then the title of the book in parentheses.
Example: Jen @ Introverted Reader (To Kill a Mockingbird)
Wrap Up Posts
If you’ve completed the challenge, congratulations! If you choose to write a wrap-up post, you may link it here.
I have an affiliate relationship with Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe in beautiful Asheville, NC. I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you if you purchase merchandise through links on my site.