Here are some notable Southern books popping out this Autumn.

Tennesse-based novelist, Ann Patchett kick off Fall with a group of essays, The Precious Days (HarperCollins, $26.99). With an lovely canine on the entrance cowl, what extra is required. The writer of Bel Canto writes about reality and the way life usually takes sudden turns.

Her writer says: “At the center of These Precious Days is the title essay, a surprising and moving meditation on an unexpected friendship that explores ‘what it means to be seen, to find someone with whom you can be your best and most complete self’. … A literary alchemist, Patchett plumbs the depths of her experiences to create gold: engaging and moving pieces that are both self-portrait and landscape, each vibrant with emotion and rich in insight.”

Buy Here or from her personal bookstore, Parnassus Books.


Local-Charlottesville writer, Jocelyn Nicole Johnson releases a daring story of fiction, My Monticello (Macmillian, $26.99). Already lauded by Pulitzer Prize-winner Colson Whitehead, this novel is about: a younger lady descended from Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings drivenaway from her neighborhood; a college professor finding out racism; a single mom determined to purchase her first house.

Her writer says: “United by these characters’ relentless struggles against reality and fate, My Monticello is a formidable book that bears witness to this country’s legacies and announces the arrival of a wildly original new voice in American fiction.”

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Current Poet Laureate of the U.S. Joy Harjo has a brand new memoir out, Poet Warrior: A Memoir (W.W. Norton & Company, $25). If you are acquainted with her poetry, this will probably be an attention-grabbing look into the author herself and her experiences as a Native American of the Muscogee tribe (in Tulsa, Oklahoma).

Her writer says: “Harjo listens to stories of ancestors and family, the poetry and music that she first encountered as a child, and the messengers of a changing earth—owls heralding grief, resilient desert plants, and a smooth green snake curled up in surprise. She celebrates the influences that shaped her poetry, among them Audre Lorde, N. Scott Momaday, Walt Whitman, Muscogee stomp dance call-and-response, Navajo horse songs, rain, and sunrise.”

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After 20-some years, Kentucky Southerner Gayl Jones, recognized for her novel Corregidora (1975), is publishing a brand new guide. Palmares (Beacon Press, $27.95) recounts a black lady’s journey by slavery and liberation, set within the seventeenth century. 

Her writer says: “Combining the author’s mastery of language and voice with her unique brand of mythology and magical realism, Jones reimagines the historical novel. The result is a sweeping saga spanning a quarter century, with vibrant settings and unforgettable characters, steeped in the rich oral tradition of its world.”

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Tennesse-based author and musician Jeff Zentner‘s newest guide, In the Wold Light (Penguin Random House, $17.99), offers with life in a small Appalachian city.

His writer says: “Life in a small Appalachian town is not easy. Cash lost his mother to an opioid addiction and his Papaw is dying slowly from emphysema. Dodging drug dealers and watching out for his best friend, Delaney, is second nature. He’s been spending his summer mowing lawns while she works at Dairy Queen.”

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UVA-graduate Eric Rickstad‘s newest thriller is an efficient one. I Am Not Who You Think I Am (Blackstone Publishing, 25.99) is an ingenious, addictive, and shattering story of grief, obsession, and destiny as eight phrases result in lifetimes of smash.

His writer says: “Wayland Maynard is just eight years old when he sees his father kill himself, finds a note that reads I am not who you think I am, and is left reeling with grief and shock. Who was his father if not the loving man Wayland knew? Terrified, Wayland keeps the note a secret, but his reasons for being afraid are just beginning. Eight years later, Wayland makes a shocking discovery and becomes certain the note is the key to unlocking a past his mother and others in his town want to keep buried.”

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