The Best Books Featuring the American South

atkins-bookshelf-books“The American South offers famous food, memorable music and honest hospitality,” ask the editors of AbeBooks, “but why do so many authors dwell on the dark side of this region?” Chalk it up the development of Southern Gothic in the aftermath of centuries of violence and strife — for example, the devastating Civil War, slavery and racial oppression, and financial hardship — that provided the fodder that literary giants like William Faulkner and Flannery O’Connor needed to spin their riveting, haunting tales. So many of the critically-acclaimed novels that are set in the American South reveal its dark underbelly (cue the dueling banjos theme from Deliverance): natural disasters, epidemics, betrayal, deceit, isolation, injustice, racism, drug addiction, voodoo, cannibalism, assault, hate crimes, prostitution, theft, infanticide, incest, rape, and murder. Below is the editor’s list of books that feature the American South — for better or for worse:

A Walk on the Wild Side by Nelson Algren
My Sweet Audrina by V.C. Andrews
Exquisite Corpse by Poppy Z. Brite
The Tin Roof Blowdown by James Lee Burke
Tobacco Road by Erskine Caldwell
The American Plague by Molly Caldwell
The English Breakfast Murder by Laura Childs
The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy
Deliverance by James Dickey
Quiet Belief in Angels by R.J. Ellory
Quiet Vendetta by R.J. Ellory
The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier
Light in August by William Faulkner
Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin
The Chamber by John Grisham
True Evil by Greg Iles
The Known World by Edward P. Jones
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Outer Dark by Cormac McCarthy
Wolf Whistle by Lewis Nordan
The Complete Stories by Flannery O’Connor
The Moviegoer by Walker Percy
All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren
A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams

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Read related posts: Books that Shaped America
The Best Love Stories
Books that will Change Your Life
Banned Books that Shaped America

For further reading: http://www.abebooks.com/books/american-south-deliverance-faulkner/southern-discomfort.shtml?cm_mmc=nl-_-nl-_-CPrpt27-h00-southnAM-123314TG-_-01cta&abersp=1

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