Here's our round-up of new releases to read at the beach, the coffee shop, the dog park, and the airport this summer. These are the titles to stack on your nightstand and toss into the backseat of your car. Full of complexity, humor, and that particular Southern need to read the past into the present, these books consider the inheritances of the modern South, the people that live here, and the places that shape us. They're also damn good reads by some of the most talented authors currently working. Here's hoping you grab a book this summer, and that a book grabs you. 

 

Whiskey and Ribbons - Leesa Cross-Smith

One of O, The Oprah Magazine's Best Books of the Summer, this heart-pounding novel is “a requiem for marriage, family, and friendship” from an author that Roxane Gay calls “a consummate storyteller.”

In Whiskey and Ribbons, Evi is nine months pregnant when her husband Eamon, a police officer, is killed in the line of duty on a steamy morning in July. Now, it is winter, and Eamon's adopted brother Dalton has moved in to help Evi raise six-month-old Noah. Whiskey & Ribbons is told in three intertwining, melodic voices: Evi in present day, grappling with motherhood, loss, and guilt; Eamon before his murder; and Dalton, as he struggles to make sense of his life and role.

A book about grief, hope, family, and love, this celebrated book from Kentucky’s Cross-Smith unspools effortlessly, asking questions about what we really owe each other, and whether it’s possible to heal.

Atticus Finch: The Biography - Joseph Crespino

From Emory University professor Joseph Crespino, Atticus Finch: The Biography explores how Harper Lee’s own father was the central inspiration of To Kill a Mockingbird and Go Set a Watchman. Atticus Finch embodies the principles, ambivalences, and complexities of the South; he is the moral conscience of Mockingbird, but a paranoid racist in Watchman. Crespino makes the case, persuasively, that both sides of Atticus Finch were inspired by the intricate truths of Harper’s father, A.C. Lee.

Crespino gained exclusive access to Harper Lee’s papers and correspondence, and finely analyzes Lee’s life, writings, and the social complexities and traumas of the 20th century South.

Sweet + Low - Nick White

Praised by the Washington Post as "Tennessee Williams . . . transposed to the twenty-first-century," Nick White’s collection of short stories takes on masculinity and ideas of place with boldness, honesty, and a mature voice.

Full of unexpected vignettes, compelling characters, and a vision of the South that is manicured on the surface and writhing just beneath, Sweet + Low’s stories are provocative and urgent. Populated by promiscuous academics, aging podcasters, and lawnmower enthusiasts, you’ll be torn between devouring each story, and moving slowly through the pages of this oddball, subtle collection.

Treeborne - Caleb Johnson

Treeborne is a celebration and a reminder: of how the past gets mixed up in thoughts of the future; of how home is a story as much as a place.” 

Janie Treeborne lives on an orchard at the edge of Elberta, Alabama. When the town is threatened, Janie tells its story as a means of reclamation – by remembering the place, Janie also invokes it. Treeborne is a novel about the land, the past, and the tangled lives of Elberta’s inhabitants. Janie recounts the history of her family, the stories that make a place, and the choices and imperatives that carried them all here and created Elberta, AL as they know it.

Visible Empire - Hannah Pittard

In this novel by Hannah Pittard, inspired by the 1962 Air France plane crash which killed all 122 passengers, characters reckon with tragedy, loss, and the lot of those who are left behind. Based on true events, the historic flight carried Atlanta’s art elite, who were enjoying an organized tour of Europe before the plane crashed at Orly shortly after take-off.

The novel spins out the story of a husband and wife thrown into clarity by crisis, and a city struggling to find its identity and morality amidst the Civil Rights movement. Pittard’s novel is a prismatic and personal take on a tragedy that continues to shape Atlanta’s artistic and political landscape.

The New Inheritors - Kent Wascom

The New Inheritors is the third of Kent Wascom’s ambitious and encompassing novels, which aim to tell the story of America through the lives of one Gulf Coast family. Following The Blood of Heaven and Secessia, The New Inheritors treads themes of family, loyalty, and the inheritance of place.

In 1914, Isaac, a myserious, nature-loving artist, meets Kemper, a defiant young heiress from a hot-blooded family. Isaac and Kemper build a refuge for themselves on the wild Gulf Coast, but their escape is short-lived as summer storms wrack the coastline and the country slides into war. At once a love story and a family drama, a novel of nature and a novel of war, The New Inheritors traces a family whose life is intimately tied to the Gulf.

Lilith, But Dark - Nichole Perkins

This book of poetry, available for pre-order til July 17, 2018, offers windows onto a black woman’s life, love, and loss. Each poem tells the story of losing and finding yourself, of judgment and want, and of the decisions that make an identity. The lines are subtle and singular, both peculiar and universal. Nichole Perkins pours history and personality into each verse until it rings true, to describe experiences, thoughts, and a life lived close to the bone.

Written By:
Jess
Bernhart