Southern Summer Reading List

Southern Summer Reading List

Explore the South from variety of perspectives—natural, personal, irreverent, weird—with our curated selection of summer reads.

Late Migrations: A Natural History of Love and Loss

In Late Migrations: A Natural History of Love and Loss, Margaret Renkl weaves the experience of loss and with an appreciation of nature's renewal and insensitivity to the inevitable. Listen to her interview on WPLN where she also expresses an appreciation for OxyClean and other inheritances.

Spying on the South

Tony Horwitz's final book reports on the residents of small Southern towns bubbling with divisions. He doesn't try to analyze the folks he meets. Rather, he shares his experiences with “the three-dimensional individuals I drank and debated with in factory towns, Gulf Coast oil fields and distressed rural crossroads.” After publication, he unexpectedly passed away and his obituary highlights his respected career.

I Miss You When I Blink

The essays in I Miss You When I Blink are full of spot-on observations about home, work, and creative life from acclaimed essayist (and bookseller at Parnassus) Mary Laura Philpott. She takes on the conflicting pressures of modern adulthood with wit and heart. For delightful distractions featuring dogs, deers, and books, follow her on Instagram.

Southern Lady Code

In her book Southern Lady Code, author Helen Ellis dishes on the sugar, the spice, and the not-so-always-nice of being a Southern woman. She explains Southern sayings including "'Bless your heart,' which could mean 'Thank you for this funeral casserole,' or it might be the last thing you hear before someone pushes you out of a moving car."

South Toward Home

South Toward Home, with a foreword by Jon Meacham, is Julia Reed’s attempt to provide a view of the South in all its complicated, sometimes embarrassing glory. Find out more about her love of the South and its rich characters in this Q & A.