Sometimes people ask me why I never list books “not to read” or give bad reviews. While my column is devoted to only positive suggestions, I admit I read a number of books that I’m not fond of. In fact some of them are, I think, even bad. However, each month I push myself to read as many different authors, styles, and genres as possible. Yet what I do not like, another may find wonderful. For example, my husband loves old Pulp Fiction reprints. I confess I have tried to read those bygone blue-collar novellas. Melodramatic, sometimes childish, and riddled with unnecessary violence and period dialog it is just not my cup of tea. Nonetheless, he enjoys them and more power to him. Which brings us to the words of British playwright, novelist and short story writer W. Somerset Maugham: “The only important thing in a book is the meaning that it has for you.” This month, I hope my suggestions offer you the delight and pleasure that only a good book can. Happy reading!
The Simplicity of Cider
By Amy Reichert
I love apples. I have one almost every day. Pink Lady and Honey Crisp are two of my favorites. That is why Amy Reichert’s new book was so appealing to me. Educating one’s self never ceases, and learning all about the color and taste of fermented apple cider was fun. As a bonus, this book is about family and recognizing the importance of supporting dreams. The characters, Sanna Lund and her father and brother who own an apple orchard in Door County Wisconsin; single father Isaac Banks and his son Sabastian; and the nosey Mrs. Dibble, bring to life a story of happiness. Yet there is a worm in this tale of the road to happiness, as outside dangers threaten the nightly ritual of apple desserts whipped up for dinner. Reading a chapter or two of Amy Reichert’s latest novel might not keep the doctor away, but the recipe at the end will make your taste buds pop with joy.
My Southern Journey
By Rick Bragg
Every month I look forward to the last pages of my Southern Living magazine. That is where I find one of my favorite writers – Rick Bragg. Rick writes about his famous mama and aunts, red clay, the best food you can find, and all the things he holds dear to his heart. Many of his stories are from his childhood growing up in Possum Trot near Jacksonville, Alabama. There he listened as his grandparents taught him how to tell a story. He has written for the NY Times, Sports Illustrated, ESPN The Magazine, Anniston Star, Jacksonville News and Louisiana Kitchen just to name a few. Rick is the author of several books including My Southern Journey. I enjoy reading Rick’s stories. They make the world slow down so I can remember what it was like being a kid in the south surrounded by fields that could produce some of the tastiest watermelon. His stories take me back to a porch where I played barefoot with my brother and our dogs while eating homemade popsicles; the kind we made with Kool-Aid in metal ice trays. This month take time to read some of Rick Bragg’s best works and remember your own Southern childhood.