Reviews

Because What You Read Is Not Who You Are…? I Hope.

That title makes this post sound way more meaningful than it is, though I do sincerely hope that is true.

Let’s all take a minute to be thankful that “you are what you eat” cannot be translated – in regards to one’s literary tendencies – to “you are what you read*”. Because that would be bad.

So what have I added recently to my to be read list (for more lists, go here)?  Southern Gothic novels with a gritty undertone. I was partially inspired by this list, which made me realize that I have so much more to read in my favorite genre, and partially inspired by my haphazard second viewings of True Detective and True Blood.

Southern Gothic Image

In no particular order, except that I cannot read these all at once (because the potential nightmares…):

08. Child of God // Cormac McCarthy*. “In this taut, chilling novel, Lester Ballard–a violent, dispossessed man falsely accused of rape–haunts the hill country of East Tennessee when he is released from jail.”

07. Smonk // Tom Franklin. “It’s 1911 and the secluded southwestern Alabama town of Old Texas has been besieged by a scabrous and malevolent character called E. O. Smonk. Syphilitic, consumptive, gouty and goitered, Smonk is also an expert with explosives and knives. He abhors horses, goats and the Irish. Every Saturday night for a year he’s been riding his mule into Old Texas, destroying property, killing livestock, seducing women, cheating and beating men—all from behind the twin barrels of his Winchester 45-70 caliber over and under rifle. At last the desperate citizens of the town, themselves harboring a terrible secret, put Smonk on trial, with disastrous and shocking results.”

06. Twilight // William Gay*. “A Southern gothic novel about an undertaker who won’t let the dead rest.”

05. The Long Home // William Gay. “In a literary voice that is both original and powerfully unsettling, William Gay tells the story of Nathan Winer, a young and headstrong Tennessee carpenter who lost his father years ago to a human evil that is greater and closer at hand than any the boy can imagine – until he learns of it first-hand.”

04. Bastard Out of Carolina // Dorothy Allison. Because I started this one and didn’t finish it yet.

03. A Feast of Snakes // Harry Crews. “From the acclaimed author of such novels as “Blood and Grits” and “Childhood” comes a wildly weird and breathtakingly original visit to the rural South that reveals the exotic subculture that erupts in all its glory at the Rattlesnake Roundup in Mystic, Georgia.”

02. Whatever Donald Ray Pollack writes next.

01. The Heaven of Mercury // Brad Watson*. “Finus Bates has loved chatty, elegant Birdie Wells ever since he saw her cartwheel naked through the woods near the backwater town of Mercury, Mississippi, in 1917…”

*All contain necrophilia. You can see my concern, no?

(Image found here)

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  • http://www.fortheloveofwords.net/ Bonnie

    I’m dying to read something by William Gay. And Tom Franklin too for that matter. Child of God was a real doozy and The Heaven of Mercury also got added to my TBR because of the same list. :)

    • http://www.fourthstreetreview.com/ Rory O’Connor

      I love the Tom Franklin I read – I’d highly recommend him. And I read a short story collection by William Gay that I really enjoyed.

      • http://www.fortheloveofwords.net/ Bonnie

        I’ve got Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter but want to get my hands on Smonk as well.

  • Susan W

    I have bookmarked this page. Of your list I’ve only read Child of God, which was great, but I love McCarthy. We are definitely not what we read, that is why we read, to experience something different, right? …says the person who has read 50 shades of grey

    • http://www.fourthstreetreview.com/ Rory O’Connor

      I love McCarthy too, so I’m hoping the subject isn’t TOO offputting.

      (I read the whole 50 Shades trilogy)

  • http://rivercityreading.com Shannon @ River City Reading

    I have the same concern about my reads at times. And can’t agree more on Donald Ray Pollock, though I’m also worried there may not be another book.
    I’m reading The Animals by Christian Kiefer right now and it’s so very much a Rory book.

    • http://www.fourthstreetreview.com/ Rory O’Connor

      It’s like he fell off the face of the earth!

  • http://thenovelorange.wordpress.com Maggie Seagraves

    William Gay lived in a tiny town about 30 minutes from where I live. I would love to read his work as well! I hear he was quite the ingenious writer!
    My Top 10: https://thenovelorange.wordpress.com/2015/03/31/top-10-tuesday-10-books-i-recently-added-to-my-tbr-list/

    • http://www.fourthstreetreview.com/ Rory O’Connor

      I read I Hate To See the Evening Sun Go Down and loved it. It was a short story collection, so I am very hopeful about his novels.

  • http://www.bookishlyboisterous.blogspot.com/ Christine @ BookishlyB

    I read Bastard Out of Carolina when I was a sophomore in high school and was a little take aback by the masturbation scenes. Otherwise I liked it…. I think. Obviously a reread is necessary.

    • http://www.fourthstreetreview.com/ Rory O’Connor

      Haha, yes. I’d be curious if it seemed as shocking.

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