Monday, August 22, 2016

3 Mercer University Press Summer Releases

Idgie Says: 
 Mercer University Press recently sent me a lovely box of eye grabbing and interesting novels.  All of these books are deeply Southern and  fully alive in their storytelling.  I think you would find yourself pleased to have any, or all, of them on your bookshelf.  Check out the cover to Crackers - I love it!

Mercer University Press
All 3 Novels Available Now
Summer 2016 Releases

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Sleeping Above Chaos
Ann Hite 

Idgie Says:
Ann has magic in her writing in that she easily gives vision to the scene, the characters and their voices.   I was completely hooked into Ella Ruth and Buster by the first chapters.  I felt like I knew them. I wanted to hug them close and provide comfort to both.  Ann brought them fully alive to me.

Imagine the relationship triangle from "East of Eden" and set it deep in the Appalachian Mountains. Add a couple of ghosts, a good measure of dysfunction, and a whole lot of twists and turns, and you have Ann Hite's new Black Mountain novel, SLEEPING ABOVE CHAOS. Hite's fourth novel returns to Swannanoa Gap, a small town at the foot of Black Mountain, and introduces new characters while revisiting some favorites from her previous novels. Buster and Lee Wright are the sons of Swannanoa Gap's sheriff. Their personalities couldn't be more opposite and these differences bring conflicts that may not be resolved. Ella Ruth Allen was born on Black Mountain. Her mama, a city girl, runs off with another man, leaving the two-year-old Ella Ruth behind with Paul Allen, her father. He in turn promptly dumps poor Ella Ruth on her grandparents' farm to be raised by Grandmother Allen, a woman who has an extreme dislike for her wild, runaway daughter-in-law. Hite weaves a ghost story throughout each of her novels and this one is no different. Ella Ruth follows a haint into the woods near the farm and stumbles onto her family history. When her life crosses paths with Buster and Lee Wright, fireworks explode. The reader will travel to a ranch in Montana, to Pearl Harbor, and to the beaches of Normandy on D-Day, while watching the cast of characters struggle through World War II, emerging into adulthoods which would weigh heavy on anyone's shoulders. The story ends as the Civil Rights Movement ignites. 

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Idgie Says:
It's always so interesting to hear true account stories of our past.  Nothing like getting the information from someone who actually lived those experiences, thoughts and feelings. A great book for the Southern recent history buff.


Crackers: A Southern Memoir
Bill Merritt

Bill Merritt grew up in Atlanta, Georgia during the turbulent years between the end of World War II and the Vietnam War. A joyously unreconstructed Southerner, he looks on with amazement as Atlanta changes from a sleepy Southern town into the City Too Busy to Hate. This was the time of Martin Luther King and Ivan Allen, but also the time of Lester Maddox, the Temple Bombing, great moral certainties, Elvis, Klan rallies, the Cuban Missile Crisis, a corrupt political system keeping some of America's finest statesmen in office (some since the Teddy Roosevelt administration), and a man named Armstrong walking on the moon. Merritt's family is eccentric and colorful, occasionally courageous, often self-centered. This is the story of how the government took the land they'd lived on for nine generations to use as a place to brew poison gas during World War II, then changed it to Redstone Arsenal to build rockets to the moon. It is the story of how the family was caught up in the Orly Air Crash, the Vietnam War, and the emotional fallout from a Cuban whose family had been murdered by Che Guevara. It is the story of the way the Civil Rights Revolution looked to Southerners: to decent people trying to honor their heritage while realizing the time had come to let go of parts of that heritage, and how difficult that letting go was made by the outsiders who most wanted change. This is the story the way Southerners remember it-and tell each other.

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Idgie Says:
A Southern Fiction novel that once again brings home the hard truths about our past, where race was a not so hidden barrier to friendship, and where every family has secrets.

Cardinal Hill 
Mary Anna Bryan

Margaret Norman lives in a family with secrets, not the least of which is her own. But what concerns Margaret more is that her family will not talk about her mother, "Weezie," an artist who died shortly after Margaret was born. Her father, Jim Norman, a brooding attorney, is too obsessed with his own pain to share. Louisa, her older sister, is hostile toward Margaret and ignores her. Black housekeeper, Ida, who is helping to raise Margaret, does not think it her place to tell what others will not. And gentle great aunt, Maggie, did not know Margaret's mother. When close friend Lily May, Ida's daughter, suggests "There may be stuff 'bout your momma folks oughtn't to know," Margaret rejects the notion, and determines to find out all she can. Early impressions of her mother as an ethereal beauty are strengthened when she discovers the romantic inscription on Weezie's tombstone. Those impressions change, however, when Margaret's art teacher-and Weezie's best friend-gives her a painting of Weezie portrayed as a gypsy. Finally, Ida shares what she knows, and Margaret must face painful truths concerning her mother. Set in the South during the 1930s and 1940s, CARDINAL HILL takes place in a world where blacks and whites, although separated by custom and law, often thrive in personal relationships; where half a world away, a war disrupts lives of those close to home; and where little girls suspect that kissing causes babies.

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