Summer at our house is a time to get lost in books and small bruises of the sort acquired as badges from “playing in the woods”. Since I’ve had a few friends ask for summer reading suggestions, I thought I would share what tastes like sweet summer reading lists for the Coryell Casa (with a little bias towards Southern writers and those who know how to stare down mosquitos). Warning to the hip and current: There is no bias towards novelty on these lists.
For the people who cover their bruises with capris:
- The Prince of Frogtown by Rick Bragg. My review and excerpts here.
- Love in a Dry Season by Shelby Foote. Sun reading.
- Cleaving: A Story of Marriage, Meat, and Obsession by Dennis and Vicki Covington. Birmingham writers who walked the line.
- The Forge by T.S. Stribling. A disturbing classic.
- The Man Who Cried I Am by John A. Williams. Race, identity, the “me” generation, and coming of age.
For the people who don’t notice the bruises until their children point them out:
- Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle by Chris Hedges. Thought-provoking and stimulating. Note the homeschooling implications of Hedges’ conclusions.
- The Ballad of America: The History of the United States in Song by John Anthony Scott. A history of American folk songs. Great to share and read aloud on long car trips.
- Telling Memories Among Southern Women: Domestic Workers and Their Employees in the Segregated South by Susan Tucker. Eye-opening.
- If I Were a Carpenter: Twenty Years of Habitat for Humanity by Frye Gaillard. Rich local history that enlivens the landscape and inspires its inhabitants.
- Listen to Me Good: The Story of An Alabama Midwife by Margaret Charles Smith. Illuminates local midwifery traditions in a compelling, personal narrative.
For the munchkins and fairy-lovers who live in the land where bruises are the daily costume:
- All Over Alabama by Laurie Parker. A geography lesson with lovely illustrations.
- The Cow of No Color: Riddles and Justice Tales from Around the World by Nina Jaffe and Stephen Zeitlin.
- The Oxford Book of Animal Poems by Michael Harrison and Christopher Stuart-Clark. Poems about every animal you can imagine. And then some.
- A is for Amazing Moments: A Sports Alphabet by Brad Herzog and Melanie Rose. Detailed and attractive survey of various sports and athletes.
- Leaving Gee’s Bend by Irene Latham. A lovely excuse for a field trip to Gee’s Bend.
- I Took A Walk by Henry Cole. And you will.
- Forest Explorer: A Life-Size Field Guide by Nic Bishop.
Also take a peep at this list of Alabama authors and their books to sate more specific longings.