Dy's Take

August 31, 2011

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Filed under: Book Club,SouthernLit — Dy @ 22:43

( 66 )


April 11, 2011

Dixie Divas by Virginia Brown

Filed under: Book Club,Mystery,SouthernLit — Dy @ 20:34


Finished this the day after the meeting where we discussed it, lol.

This was a Kindle freebie several months ago, presumably to drum up interest in the author’s next Diva book. Over half of our book club owns Kindles, now, thanks to the advocacy of Candy over at Candy’s Raves and it seemed like a good choice since it was free. It was formatted like a freebie, though. By which I mean horribly–random number sequences in the middle of the text, the word, “quote” where a quotation mark should be, etc. There was enough of it to be truly distracting. I’m used to less than stellar formatting on my Kindle since too many authors and publishers lack the skill (or willingness to pay someone with the skill) to do it right.

But enough on the tech spec.

The story. Well, I’m a Texan and this was the flavor of Southern lit that reminds me that Texas is the SouthWest, not The South. Or maybe it’s just that my family emigrated to America after the Civil War was over. It was 140 years ago — I just wanted to smack all these people who won’t let go and tell them to get over it. Even if they are fictional.

The story was decent, and the characters were fun, but the random psycho at the end felt false — like the author knew who did it, then changed her mind at the last minute.

Also — grown women in their 50s calling each other Trinket and Bitty and Itty and… Really?! What is wrong with these people?  Obviously Southern Lit is not my thing…


December 21, 2010

Backseat Saints by Joshilyn Jackson

Filed under: Favorite Authors,SouthernLit — Dy @ 23:22


I really wish I’d re-read Gods in Alabama before I read this so I’d remember Rose Mae a little better.  I love JJ’s books, but this one left me a little cold. The ending felt wrong, off somehow.

But I’d re-read it and recommend it anyway, cuz it’s still good. Just not as good as her previous books.


September 1, 2010

Once Around the Track by Sharyn McCrumb

Filed under: SouthernLit — Dy @ 18:19


I loved McCrumb’s “St. Dale,” and jumped on this when I saw it free on Kindle.  It was a fun little read, pretty light and fast. I seem to remember finishing in less than 24 hours.

It lacked the depth of St. Dale, but I liked it, and would recommend it just the same.

August 3, 2010

Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns


I slogged through read this whole book. Even though I missed the book club meeting where it was discussed.

Oh how I wish I had the hours spent reading it back so I could read something not boring with an over-emphasized regional dialect that made me want to edit my copy on the spot.

Of course that’s just me.

May 23, 2009

Mermaids in the Basement by Michael Lee West

Filed under: ChickLit,SouthernLit — Dy @ 23:10

( 38 )

I’ve got a friend (waves at Candy) who digs Southern lit, so I’ve been reading a little more of it the last few years. I liked this book, I enjoyed the story, but the technical issues drove me mad.

When you are changing from one character’s perspective to another, sometimes a mere chapter change is not enough of an indicator.  I hated having to get a full page into a chapter before being able to readily identify which character was telling the story.  Particularly with not one, not two, but ~four~ semi-interchangeable old Southern women narrators. The addition of the MCs boyfriend as a perspective character at the tail end of the book annoyed the hell out of me, too, as well as the 2 or 3 times the MC’s dad told the story.  Sure, in the dad’s case it was a perspective we needed in order to move the story forward, but the way it was done was untidy.

Which brings me to my other big gripe about this book, and the one that most thoroughly pulled me OUT of the story to notice the technical flaw.  During the storytelling chapters, when a character was telling a story from the past to Renata (the MC), they would refer to her in third person.  It read like Gladys or Honora was speaking to the reader about the MC, not speaking to the MC.  For me, that tore it.  I lost the illusion. Until that started happening (more toward the latter half of the book–sloppy editing?) I could imagine myself as the MC having all these conversations with myself and my family, discovering my past. Until my Great-Aunt started speaking about me like she was talking to a stranger…

See what I mean?

I loved the plot, and the characters, particularly Isabella, and, oddly enough, Louie, but the shifting POV thing left me cold.  I ~might~ recommend it, but would NOT re-read it.

For Candy— say 6 out of 10 😉

March 18, 2009

Big Stone Gap by Adriana Trigiani

Filed under: audiobook,LitFic,SouthernLit — Dy @ 11:23

( 22 )

A friend gave me this audiobook when she was done with it.  It was well read by the author and I enjoyed listening to it. I like hearing authors read their own work. They are not pro voice actors, but they have heart and a story to tell.

This was an abridged version–can I just state for the record I despise abridged versions on principle?  Thanks!

The MC lacked emotional depth and when her emotions did have depth it felt false; I hope this is due to the whole abridged thing, but I’m not counting on it.  I really enjoyed the portrayal of small town mountain life, and the vivid compare and contrast between similar communities in two different countries.

Don’t get your hopes too high, but for a little commute listening, this is nice.

Oh, btw… The friend who loaned it to me doesn’t want it back, so if you’d like to listen this one leave me a comment with a valid email address and it’s yours.  If I get multiple requests I’ll pick a winner by the highly scientific method of having my 7yo draw a comment number from a hat 🙂

July 27, 2008

Rhett Butler’s People by Donald McCaig

Filed under: SouthernLit — Dy @ 10:11

( 51 )

After the disappointment that was Scarlett, I didn’t have much hope for this, but the title got me. I am happy to say I was pleasantly surprised.  It stayed true to the original story in all the right places and filled in a lot of blanks in the original with grace and eloquence.

The section where the book went on past the end of GWTW felt a little awkward and flat. Or it may have just felt that way because it went past the part where I could picture Leigh and Gable acting it out in my head… Either way, I think GWTW fans will be much less disappointed in this than Alexandra Ripley’s messterpiece (who the hell was her editor and what drugs were they on?!?!)

March 16, 2008

The Girl Who Stopped Swimming by Joshilyn Jackson

Filed under: Mystery,SouthernLit,Thriller — Dy @ 11:48


Omigosh this was SO good!  I hate when people talk about writers growing and maturing like we are all closet teenagers, but JJ really is.  Each book is better than the last.  This one I devoured in 2 days.  It would have been one but about 130am my husband came and turned on the TV and I couldn’t read with all the noise.

There was not a single character I didn’t adore.  Not ONE.  I loved Laurel and her closet insecurity, her mother hiding behind manners and refusing to really SEE anything, her Dad living in his own world, happy as long as it kept revolving around her mom, and David.  I adored David, being married to one of those engineer types myself I could totally relate.

I firmly believe this is Joshilyn Jackson’s best book to date, and am already chomping at the bit to read the next one!

June 9, 2007

The Rosewood Casket by Sharyn McCrumb

Filed under: Book Club,LitFic,Skip It,SouthernLit — Dy @ 14:05


November 17, 2006

Between, Georgia by Joshilyn Jackson

Filed under: ChickLit,SouthernLit — Dy @ 11:33


“Men can be so stupid, but cake is always good.”

That’s a line from Joshilyn Jackson’s Between, Georgia and it is one of the best lines I’ve ever read about/by a Southern woman and I just had to share.

This was soooo much better than Gods in Alabama. Don’t get me wrong, ‘Gods’ was good, but this was infinitely better.  There did seem to be a little character borrowing from one staunch southern aunt to another, but it was enough different that I didn’t mind so much the parts where it wasn’t.

Nonny reminded of Arlene a lot at first, but somewhere in the middle they split and became their own people.  I like Nonny better.

August 26, 2006

gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson

Filed under: ChickLit,Mystery,SouthernLit — Dy @ 23:06

Not what I was expecting. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I do know the ending seemed to fall a little flat. I enjoyed never knowing whodunnit til the end, despite knowing from very early on WHAT was done…

I did enjoy the humor – I’m on a few different writers’ email lists with the author (which is why I decided to read it, since neither Southern lit nor Chick Lit are my usual forte and this was both) and a LOT of her own personality filters into this book, to it’s benefit. Gonna hafta get my hands on a copy of Between, Georgia now…

If you’re curious, you can track this one at bookcrossing.com.

August 21, 2006

St. Dale by Sharyn McCrumb

Filed under: SouthernLit — Dy @ 21:59

I’m not sure you can classify this book as anything–Southern Fiction, maybe?

I’m not a huge racing fan, but the premise of modern-day saints intrigued me, and I have lots of trivia to show off to my gearhead dh, so it’s all good 🙂

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