Dave Barry's Greatest Hits - As I knew it would be, this is a hoot. It contains a collection of columns Barry wrote for the Miami Herald and was published in 1988. Barry offers his bizarro thoughts on a wide variety of topics from a review of his son's kindergarten play "The Cave Man" to pot shots taken at Reagan, Oliver North, television evangelists, and dinosaurs. He is a funny, funny man.
Diamond Dust - Another mystery starring Bath's most famous murder investigator Peter Diamond. I love this series written by Peter Lovesey. In this, the seventh, someone very close to DS Diamond is murdered. As he is not allowed to be involved in the formal investigation - he is even considered a suspect - he has to conduct his own unofficial inquiry into the crime.
The Southerner's Handbook - A couple of years ago I was spending a quiet weekend at a fine old hotel, the Beaumont Inn, in Harrodsburg, Kentucky. On the bedside table were copies of a magazine I had never heard of - Garden & Gun. I thought it an odd juxtaposition of subjects but found the publication to contain some finely written articles on Southern living.
This book is a collection of short essays on Living the Good Life put together by the editors of G&G. It is a delight and takes a look at the food and drink, style, sporting and adventure, homes and gardens, and arts and culture of the large area of the country that makes up The South. Here the genteel reader will learn how make Southern biscuits and gravy; how and when to wear seersucker; ways to collect mint Julep cups; how to get invited back as a house guest; the intricacies of college football rivalries; and, how to create a year round cutting garden. There is a laugh-out-loud ode to that iconic Southern libation, sweet tea (also known as hillbilly heroin!).
But best of all are instructions on how to stock your home library.
Here is the list of five essential Southern books according to Richard Howorth, founder and owner of Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi.
Let Us Now Praise Famous Men (1941) by James Agee and Walker Evans
The Moviegoer (1961) by Walker Percy (I wrote about this one here.)
The Complete Stories (1971) by Flannery O'Connor
All God's Dangers: The Life of Nate Shaw (1974) by Theodore Rosengarten
Long, Last, Happy (2010) by Barry Hannah
Per chance, do any of these books grace your shelves?