Paperback Classics of the American South

Looking for a paperback for those hot summer travel days? How about a classic of life in the sultry American South?

Below are a few suggestions.

Beloved / Toni Morrrison – Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Nobel laureate Toni Morrison. The novel, her fifth, is loosely based on the life and legal case of the slave Margaret Garner, about whom Morrison later wrote in the opera Margaret Garner (2005). The book’s epigraph reads: “Sixty Million and more,” by which Morrison refers to the estimated number of slaves who died in the slave trade.

The Complete Stories / Flannery O’Connor – The publication of this extraordinary volume firmly established Flannery O’Connor’s monumental contribution to American fiction. There are thirty-one stories here in all, including twelve that do not appear in the only two story collections O’Connor put together in her short lifetime – Everything That Rises Must Converge and A Good Man Is Hard to Find.

Gone with the Wind / Margaret Mitchell – Margaret Mitchell’s monumental epic of the South won a Pulitzer Prize and is one of the best-selling books ever written.

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter / Carson McCullers – Set in a small town in the middle of the deep South, it is the story of John Singer, a lonely deaf-mute, and a disparate group of people who are drawn towards his kind, sympathetic nature. The owner of the café where Singer eats every day, a young girl desperate to grow up, an angry drunkard, a frustrated black doctor: each pours their heart out to Singer, their silent confidant, and he in turn changes their disenchanted lives in ways they could never imagine.

To Kill a Mockingbird / Harper Lee – The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it, To Kill a Mockingbird became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was later made into an Academy Award-winning film, also a classic.

There Eyes were Watching God / Zora Neale Hurston – Their Eyes Were Watching God  follows Janie Mae Crawford, a middle-aged woman in Florida, who details lessons she learned about love and finding herself after three marriages.

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