Reading the Alabama summers.

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:

  1. The Prince of Frogtown by Rick Bragg. My review and excerpts here.
  2. Love in a Dry Season by Shelby Foote. Sun reading.
  3. Cleaving: A Story of Marriage, Meat, and Obsession by Dennis and Vicki Covington. Birmingham writers who walked the line.
  4. The Forge by T.S. Stribling. A disturbing classic.
  5. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Telling Memories Among Southern Women: Domestic Workers and Their Employees in the Segregated South by Susan Tucker. Eye-opening.
  4. 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.
  5. 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:

  1. All Over Alabama by Laurie Parker. A geography lesson with lovely illustrations.
  2. The Cow of No Color: Riddles and Justice Tales from Around the World by Nina Jaffe and Stephen Zeitlin.
  3. The Oxford Book of Animal Poems by Michael Harrison and Christopher Stuart-Clark. Poems about every animal you can imagine. And then some.
  4. A is for Amazing Moments: A Sports Alphabet by Brad Herzog and Melanie Rose. Detailed and attractive survey of various sports and athletes.
  5. Leaving Gee’s Bend by Irene Latham. A lovely excuse for a field trip to Gee’s Bend.
  6. I Took A Walk by Henry Cole. And you will.
  7. 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.

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