Saturday, November 27, 2010

2010 Was a Busy Year For Georgia Authors

Georgia authors were all over the place in 2010. From children's books to regional interest titles to New York Times bestsellers, Georgia authors had a prolific year.

Now that the holidays and the gift giving season is here, you can show your appreciation to Georgia's writers (and to your favorite bookseller) by giving the best present of all--books.

The list below is just a sample of what Georgia authors produced in 2010 (or close enough to 2010 to count). I apologize up front for any titles that I left out that deserve to be listed. Please feel free to add them in the comments below.

I'm listing them in no particular order.

Since Christmas is just around the corner, I'll start with The 12 Days of Christmas in Georgia, which is illustrated by Georgia artist Elizabeth Delumba.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett. Published in 2009, the book became a national bestseller in 2010.

Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin. Another national bestseller. One of Ms. Giffin's earlier works is headed to the big screen soon.

The Fixer Upper by Mary Kay Andrews.

A Soft Place to Land by Susan Rebecca White. A personal favorite. Ms. White comes from a writing family. She is married to business author Alan Deutschman (Walk the Walk), and is the sister of New York Times bestselling young adult author, Lauren Myracle.

Back Seat Saints by New York Times bestselling author Joshilyn Jackson.

International slice and dice murder mystery sensation, Karin Slaughter knocked'em dead (again) with Broken.

Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and Emory University faculty chair (and former University of Georgia cheerleader) Natasha Tretheway released Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

The Mile High Club by William Rawlings, Jr.

Fireworks Over Toccoa by Jeffrey Stepakoff.

Truckers by Mary Richardson. Another personal favorite (and actually published in late 2009). This is an artsy (in a folklore kind of way) photographic essay about the people who drive big rigs. Great interviews, and a really interesting look at a bit of Americana and business.

The Food, Folklore and Culture of Low Country Cooking by Joseph Dabney. This book is a small masterpiece. From a James Beard Award winner, this book has it all--history, recipes, and interviews with the likes of Pat Conroy and Nathalie Dupree. Also check out Joe's book on Appalachian cooking and culture.

Vince Dooley's Garden: The Horticultural Journey of a Football Coach by college football legend (and certified master gardener) Vince Dooley. Illustrated by Steve Penley, this book spans the globe.

The Triangle of Truth by syndicated columnist Lisa Earle McLeod.

Superbug by Maryn McKenna. From the author of Beating Back the Devil. If you have an interest in public health, the medical profession, science, or terrifying scenarios and the technology to fight them, this book is for you.

The South and America Since World War II from acclaimed historian James C. Cobb.

Intelligence: The Secret World of Spies--An Anthology by UGA Professor (and one of the nation's top intelligence experts) Loch Johnson.

A House of Branches by Janisse Ray. A new collection of poems by the author of Ecology of a Cracker Childhood.

Zero, Zilch, Nada by Wendy Ulmer, and illustrated by Georgia artist Laura Knorr.

Illustrator Mark Braught has two new books out this year. Baby, I'm Watching Over You is perfect for a military family with young children. And Ellen Craft's Escape From Slavery would make a nice edition to a school library. Tremendous artwork.

Remembering George Washington Perry by former Augusta newspaperman Bill Baab. I still don't know why this book hasn't made it to the New York Times bestseller list. I guess they don't fish.

The Council of Dads by Bruce Feiler. Mr. Feiler is a native Savannahian, and several times national bestselling author (Walking the Bible). He recounts his experience of learning that he might have a fatal case of cancer. He gathers up the men who will fill his shoes for his two young daughters, should he not make it. Read it.

Within Our Reach: Ending the Mental Health Crisis by former First Lady Rosalyn Carter. Put simply, this lady is an angel and a national treasure.

Bartram's Living Legacy: The Travels and the Nature of the South by Dorinda Dallmeyer.

The Flower Seeker: An Epic Poem of William Bartram by Phillip Lee Williams. The South gets its Odyssey. Phil's Civil War novel, The Campfire Boys, is the best thing since Frazier's Cold Mountain.

My Reading Life by Pat Conroy. A book for the book person on your list.

Then there are the perennial favorites. Terry Kay. James Dickey. Roy Blount. Coleman Barks. Rosemary Daniell. Augusta Trobaugh. Hollis Gillespie. Melissa Fay Greene. Ferrol Sams. And don't forget Carson McCullers, Margaret Mitchell, Flannery O'Conner, Anthony Grooms, Driving Miss Daisy, Andersonville, A Man in Full, and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

So, there you go, some shopping ideas. For more details, go visit your favorite bookseller. They need your support. Also, try visiting the website for the New Georgia Encyclopedia (author section) to really amaze yourself. The Georgia Center for the Book and the Margaret Mitchell House will be fun places this holiday, too. Again, sorry for titles and authors not mentioned. Please feel free to add them.

All the best, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, New Year & Hanukkah


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day 2010--Georgia Authors Remember our Veterans, Serving Military Personnel, and Their Families

Happy Veteran's Day!

Some months back, a Facebook friend forwarded an article to me that he had seen in the news and that pertained to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The title of the article asked, "Is America Still Fighting the War on Terror?"

My friend forwarded the article with the following comment. He said, "No. America is not fighting the war on terror. The United States Marines are. America is at the mall."

I confess that I pretty much agree with that sentiment.

Today is Veteran's Day. All else set aside, today is the day to acknowledge the sacrifice of America's former and current members of the military.....and the sacrifices of their families.

Two recent titles by Georgia authors do just that.

Dear Baby, I'm Watching Over You (just released in October) is a children's book for ages 2-8 years old. The book was written by Carol Casey, and is illustrated by the talented Georgia artist, Mark Braught. The target audience of this picture book is the young children of military personnel serving away from home.

Think about it for a moment. Or all day today.

One of Braught's illustrations has a Navy seaman looking out to sea from the deck of his ship. He's looking out over the ocean at a star filled night.

"I'm sure you wonder why I'm away for a birthday, game, or holiday."

Here are the dedications from the book:

To U.S. service men, women, and veterans, and to your families. Thank you for your patriotism and sacrifices, and for watching over all of our children. ---Carol Casey

For those that believe in, patriotically serve and sacrifice for our way of life so we may enjoy the same. Thank you. --Mark Braught

The next title is from former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, and just hit the bookshelves this fall. The book is Within Our Reach: Ending the Mental Health Crisis, and is co-written with Susan Golant and Kathryn Cade.

Mrs. Carter is an acknowledged powerhouse when it comes to mental health advocacy. Of the many topics that she discusses in her new book, she takes special pains to address the mental health needs of America's veterans and their families, and how woefully short we fall as a nation in meeting those needs. She devotes a considerable amount of the discussion to the issue of PTSD. The numbers are terrible.

Mrs. Carter sums up her message, We support our troops in the field, but it is critical that we continue to support them when they come home.

There is an interesting parallel to be drawn here. Like terrorism, mental illness is a heartless, indiscriminate, destructive force. And Mrs. Carter is the equivalent of an Army Ranger.

Remember your veterans today, and their families.

Postscript: To Specialist Castro. If you see this, here's wishing you and your comrades a safe and speedy return home to your families. We look forward to your return, as your father will be moving to the minors next season and our daughter is in need of a quality softball coach.