Monday, June 16, 2008

Sense of Place Contest

Maggie is running another contest for the Southern Reading Challenge involving a sense of place. I knew immediately what passage I would choose - from gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson.

Arlene is talking about a local "make out" place at the start of the book:

The woods, mostly scrub and loblolly pine with a few sycamore and oak trees, ended on the hilltop. There was a little grassy clearing where you could spread a blanket and get on with it. The clearing ended in a track of gravel at the lip, and where the hill started its descent on the other side, the heaps began.

"Heaps" was our name for kudzu, a fast-spreading vine that climbed anything it could find and turned it into a shaggy, amorphous mound. The heaps had eaten the woods in the pit at the center of the ring of hills, creeping over the ground, coating the trees. They formed piles and climbed up themselves when nothing else was offered. In some places they loomed up higher than the hilltops. Roach Country, Clarice called it. Roaches love to nest in kudzu.

I found the photo at this website - kudzu is a really scary plant! Be sure to check out the photos in the Kud - Zoo!

Southern Reading Challenge Update

Well, I'm not exactly on track but I am doing some Southern reading. It seems once I made my list, all these other southern books have been popping up in my library stack. While I have started gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson, I've not gotten that far because I was sidetracked by Deep Dish by Mary Kay Andrews and Flabbergasted by Ray Blackston.

Deep Dish is the lastest book by Mary Kay Andrews and I guess I'd call it a cooking romance. The two main characters both have small regional cooking shows in Atlanta and are pitted against each other in a "cook off" for a national cooking show similar to the reality shows you can see on the Food Network and Bravo. Regina Foxton takes traditional Southern cuisine and makes it healthier while Tate Moody catches whatever he cooks. In a fairly traditional story, boy and girl end up together and cook up their own show. The book includes some traditional southern eccentrics and some pretty tasty sounding recipes. A great summer each read for sure but not necessarily my favorite Andrews book. I think I like her first two the best.

Flabbergasted was an audio book that I chose for the cover colors and the title with the intent of having something to "read" while I was knitting. The back cover blurb on the CD case really didn't provide much info and for a number of CDs, I wasn't sure I was liking the story as it dragged on a bit. It is written by Ray Blackston and tells the story of a young stockbroker who moves from Dallas to South Carolina.

In order to meet some singles in Greensboro, his real estate agent suggests he join a church singles group. He ends up at a Presbyterian church where he falls for a young church missionary in the singles group. Over the course of a beach trip to Myrtle Beach during Labor Day weekend, Jay gets to know Allie better and forms a more solid friendship with the other singles in the group. It's a humours piece of Christian fiction that turned out to be quite entertaining, giving a good message without being preachy. I loved the author's ability to bring me back to Myrtle Beach and Pawley's Island as well as paint a small slice of missionary life in an Ecuadorian village in the rain forest through his descriptions. My library doesn't have the next book in this series (I think there may be three?) but I will see if it can be ordered. I feel the need to know the rest of the story....