Southern Salon: a podcast about culture & communication

Books and More! Recommendations for Reading, Watching, and Listening

May 01, 2020 Amy Clark Spain and Brittany Robertson Season 1
Southern Salon: a podcast about culture & communication
Books and More! Recommendations for Reading, Watching, and Listening
Show Notes Transcript

If you're looking for something to read or a Netflix series to binge, we're talking about our recommendations for books, shows, and podcasts in this episode. What better way to spend some time as you're social distancing or quarantining, than to curl up with books by Lee Smith, Ron Rash, Silas House, Wiley Cash, Amy Greene, Rick Bragg, Anne Lamott, Katherine Howe, Francene Rivers and more? (We also talk about that bestselling "hillbilly" book and what you need to know if you're considering reading it.) Hear why Peaky Blinders is Amy's favorite Netflix series, and what Brittany thought after watching Tiger King.
Bonus: we begin with a little bit of mountain lore as we discuss Lee Smith. Have you heard the one about a bird in the house?

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spk_0:   0:04
Welcome to Southern

spk_1:   0:09
Salon podcast on Amy Clark, Spain and I'm burning Robertson and we're glad you're with us today, so we hope that everybody's hanging in.

spk_0:   0:17
Well, Amy, I think I'm probably like a lot of other people. I think the depth of the situation is starting to sink in now. You know, the first week I was pretty much Suzy home school, I was baking bread from scratch and my kids were getting lesson plans and all that good stuff. And then here we are months later in my my gas tank is pretty well empty on that. You know, we are reading loaf bread and if the kids read a book for the day, then I'm calling that school. So how about you?

spk_1:   0:45
Same thanks. School has kind of fallen apart. I hate to admit that we try to do a little bit every day. I haven't really forced the issue and like like you said, if their reading and I know they're reading every day and we're talking about what they're reading, So I think that's a really important thing, and we're trying to do some writing. I know that you had your kids writing about the pandemic in journals, and you're trying to do a little bit.

spk_0:   1:08
I e loved that. Teoh.

spk_1:   1:10
We're actually rally and are making journals today from old books were taking the covers off of old books and mod podge ng, you know, decorations on the front and making. She wanted to make journals, so I thought that would be a good activity. So speaking of books and speaking of reading and writing and things like that, we thought that this would be a good time to talk about recommendations for reading, listening, watching I love I love it when you do your recommendations for books that you like to read, and I would like to share books. It's one of my favorite things to talk about is what I'm reading, and I get really excited about talking about books with people. I've got lots of friends who were authors, and I guess I'll speak for both of us. We're not going to try to cover everything and everybody in one podcast and what we what we don't get to cover on our list. We can go over to our instagram page and make a post about are recommended reading, watching listening. And But I wanted to tell you because one of the first people on my list is Lee Smith. She was one of my favorite authors. Always has been originally from Grandi. She's got a new book out now called Blue Marlin. Haven't read it yet, but I'm really excited. She has a lot of folklore in her books and growing up here in Central Appalachia. We both grow up with focal or so this morning I got a text from my mom and she said, Oh, my heavens, I'm freaking out. There's a bird in the house. So did you grow up? Learning about what that means for a bird to fly in the house?

spk_0:   2:42
No. So this will be needed to me, Right? Okay. So

spk_1:   2:46
we always heard that a bird in the house means it foretells the death Added. So you've probably had a bird flying the house before of head birds flying the house before. You know, if you have window open or your cleaning or something. I've had cats bring birds in and they're still alive and they fly around. You have to get him out. So it's It's

spk_0:   3:03
kind of funny, but

spk_1:   3:04
kind of not if you grow up with this lower that a bird in the house foretells death. My great grandmother always said that. So I was just curious if you had ever heard anything to that effect at all.

spk_0:   3:15
I have not, but I will never forget that. Now

spk_1:   3:18
it will, and it's kind of a gloomy way to start. But it's, you know, it's when it happens to May. I'll text my mom and say, Oh, no, there's a bird in the house and just like just try not to think about it trying to

spk_0:   3:27
think so well that I think about it that is a new one on me. We had a bird get in our car the other day, but no, I had. I don't know that we've had one in the house in a long dumb, but I will say it's because I guess it's because

spk_1:   3:39
birds are messengers because like red birds are messengers of good, they have good news and us it is it

spk_0:   3:46
a ripper does anything like that, she said. No, it's just a little skinny bird. Eso

spk_1:   3:51
Let's hope you don't sit around and white and let's hope you know that doesn't mean anything, but but I guess the at least Smith is at the top of my list and she alludes a lot of the Cultural Lord. I guess one of my favorite books of hers is Fair and Tender Ladies, one of the best books that I've ever read. So if you're looking for rural literature set in the mountains, Lee Smith is is your woman. She's she's wonderful and she writes in the voice. She writes in the voice that we speak and she writes in her voice place, and that's another reason why I like her.

spk_0:   4:23
I will have to have heard of her before. And I was reading some stuff about her as you were talking about her. If he read Miss Stars, seeing the blue out stranger,

spk_1:   4:31
have a have it on my shelf. Is it a good? And I have everything I think that she's ever done. My other favorite of hers. Well, gosh, I can't pick one. Saving Grace is a favorite and aural history as well. So oral histories. Another one of my favorites.

spk_0:   4:45
What about you? I'm with you on that. I like anything. That is a reference to, you know kind of where we live and how we live. So I have recently gotten kind of hooked on Francine Rivers, and I know I've shared her before on my INSTAGRAM account. I did a Bible study with a few ladies at church a couple of years ago, and our leader recommended the book called Lineage of Grace, And it was by Francine Rivers. And it's about five women in the Bible who are in the lineage of Crossed. And so it's I guess you would say it's it is kind of historical fiction. It is biblical, but it's from a story perspective. So, you know, it's not entirely, you know, quote for quote from the Bible. It's it's very much written is a story, and it really details the laugh of three of five women in the Bible. I'll be honest with you. It it really helps me understand the Bible a lot better after I read the book, because it tells it from a story perspective, and sometimes I could read the Bible. I know this is sounds absolutely horrible, but I can read my Bible and I can read two chapters and then put it down and say what in the world that I just read, you know, a struggle, sometimes making sense with it. And I felt like that this was a great way to kind of put it in a story format. And for me, it's easier to understand when I read it as a story. So that was a really good first book of hers. And then I just finished redeeming love, which is another one that she wrote, Um, and it's set back in the 18 hundreds in like a gold mining town, and it's just tells the story of God's love through ah, relationship, and it's it's really good. It was one that I had a hard time going to sleep because I didn't want put it down. You know, you're you know you're in good pages when you can't you don't go to sleep.

spk_1:   6:29
Yes, and one that did that to May is by Amy Green. It's called Longman and Ah, it's absolutely one of the best novels that I've ever read. It's Longman is the Cherokee word for River, and it's about it's a historical novel is well, it's set in the Depression in East Tennessee, when the T V. A flooded the land in order to generate power when electricity electric, the rural electrification Yeah, and people were displaced. You know, people you know about that part of history. People were forced off their land. So it's about a family that's trying to hold out even as the floodwaters air creeping an and is a little girl, there's a little yet their little girl goes missing, so they're packing up to leave and their little girl goes missing. And so it's sort of a race against time to find her before something happens to her or before the floodwaters come in. So it's a it's a nail biter, but it's also beautifully written. I mean, her command of of language is nothing short of poetic, and it's it's called Longman, and it's just and she has another one called Blood route,

spk_0:   7:35
I'd heard of, but I haven't heard really good the house about a

spk_1:   7:37
beautiful riding wonderful book. Yeah, I can't say enough about it while I'm on, I'm thinking about history, historical fiction. I have so many ideas about that, that one that I'm reading right now. It's a sequel, actually, and it's really a departure from Bible. But it's it's set in history, and because I've visited these places, it makes it. Do you like to read novels when you've been to the places that

spk_0:   8:03
Oh, it's like they're sad and you're a part of it when you do You

spk_1:   8:06
like that? So, a couple of years ago, we did a trip to Boston, Salem and Concord, Massachusetts. Zand. We went to all three of those places, and it was just fascinating. Wasn't the first time we had been to Salem. We also included Conquered in that trip. So, uh, Katherine how h. O. W. E. Is her last name. She wrote a book called The Physic Book of Deliverance Dane. This sort of harkens back to the Salem Witch trials, but it's set in the present day and during the time of the witch trials, it's in a professor or woman who's working on her PhD, and she's researching for her dissertation. But she gets involved in her family history and finds out that she's one of the witches or one of the accused. Witches was an ancestor, and so it's got this wonderful historical element to it, and she inherits the house that Deliverance Dane lived in and the physic book. They called their recipe books that were also used for healing physic books on. And so she finds this physic book. And and so I'm reading the sequel to that, which is the daughters of Temperance Hobbs. And I love the names that these women had back. It's intemperance, and, um, so I'm about to finish that one. Ah, but it's she wrote the 1st 1 in 2009 and Daughters of Temperance Hobbs came out in 2019. But I love it because they're set in the Boston Asylum Concord Marblehead area. That just makes it so much more interesting. But I find that Tom Period fascinating.

spk_0:   9:41
Oh, yeah? What about for kids? Have you found any books for your kids? My

spk_1:   9:46
mom used to be a librarian, and so she has a library at her house. They never have a shortage of books, were transitioning and out years or littler. But we're transitioning now too young and middle grade young adult literature, you know, sort of away from the picture books and things like that. So yeah, they like the Lemony Snicket, Siri's. And they also love that Siris on Netflix. They've loved watching that after reading the books is another author that they like is Judy Blume. They like the Super Fudge books. Riley just finished. Are You there? God, it's me, Margaret. I don't know if you read her to that. Yeah, let's see. The House with a Clock in its Walls by John Blair's is one of my favorite books of all time, and we read that one together. The movie I felt like was disappointing. I the script for the movie that came out last year, the year before, starring Jack Black and I can't remember the actress's name it. They got way far away from the book, and it got kind of crazy at the end. So it's good, the movies funny and it's entertaining. But the book is really the one what I recommend, of course, hunger games. They love the Hunger games. There's a series of books called I Survived, and it's a good way for them to learn about history. It's It's like I survived the sinking of the Titanic or I survived the epidemic of 1918. And so the primary character is a child that's telling that point of history from their point of view, They both really like those books.

spk_0:   11:18
What about yours? Well, we're still, you know, kids books for Ryan and West, my youngest. And then Parker is getting into reading some more. I honestly and I don't know the authoring the I filmed. I kept all of our books from when I was a little kid. I haven't been totes, and I have some local nonfiction books that were set around the times that the Indian, the Indian period around here. And so there's one called Chief Binge on if you've heard of him and she Benji before, Parker is really into a couple of books that we've got about him and he lacks the diary of a wimpy kid and I found something the other day. Amy and I immediately thought about you and I'm gonna check into it. It's caw glitterati. Have you ever heard of it before? That's ringing a bail. It is a book club for kids, and it's supposed to be for ages, you know, birth, I guess, to 12 years old, and it's supposed to be like a subscription box. I guess you could say so each month. They think it's like $10. The mail, you a box and you get to have they've got books in him, and then it's got custom like artwork and small activities. And it's something that I wanted to just kind of check into it be like, especially right now where you know we're kind of in quarantines of understanding is you can kind of customize it to what they like to. So you get this box and it's got this book and it's themed box based on the book. So I'm excited to try that at all. Cheer post about it. But I just thought that might be fun. I think people are all about monthly subscription boxes, but I've never tried one with my kid before, so I thought that would be kind of interesting.

spk_1:   12:49
Well, that's a great idea, especially with Library's closed right now. And I know that they're trying to bundle books for people that want to check them out and have them available. It's another choice. It's another alternative. Yeah, I use a lot of our area a lot so that we don't, you know, accumulate a lot too many books. So a couple more people that I recommend and again thes are mostly books that would be set in the South in particularly in the Mountains South. Ron Rash is right up there with Amy Grantley Smith Love, Ron Rash Probably I Love the Cove, I Love Burning Bright and I Love Serena and again, the movie Serena. They made the movie starring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper, and I love Them. Yeah, it's got mixed reviews, but the book is absolutely wonderful. So I do recommend that I recommend Wiley Cash This Dark Road to mercy. A land More Condon Home. Great Rider. Great stories. Silas House Southernmost is a book that I gave away on Instagram last year, and it's set in Kentucky and Key West, which is one of my favorite places. So I recommend reading Quillin. Weyland is her new novel,

spk_0:   13:56
and we can talk about our area without mentioning Adriana. Um what right? What is the most recent book of hers that you've read?

spk_1:   14:03
I can tell you the one that sticks out in my mind is one of my favorites. Of course, Big Stone Gap is a fly because I live here. But all the stars in the heavens is one of the favorite. It's of mind that she's written because it's it's set in the golden age of Hollywood, and I just love the way that she describes things, and it's based on real people. It's a fictional story, but it's based on real people. So I love Adriana. I love everything she does. She's just a wonderful person. I've never gives back so much to this region to

spk_0:   14:32
Yeah, I've never read that one. So I will put that one on my list for I hope

spk_1:   14:35
I got the title right. I'm looking at my bookshelf, even as I'm saying this, and it's such a jumbled mess that I can't even see the titles of the books. I wanted to say a little bit about a book that you've probably heard of that a lot of people ask me about. I got a question just the other day from a friend in Georgia on Facebook about this book. Hillbilly elegy.

spk_0:   14:54
Yes, I've heard I have not read it. I'm not read it, so I get a

spk_1:   14:57
lot of questions about it, and I wanted to mention it because Ron Howard, the director Opie from The Andy Griffith Show, is making a Netflix movie. I think it was like a $40 million deal or something to make the Netflix movie. It's been widely read, coast to coast. It is very controversial, particularly among Appalachian studies scholars or people who were interested in a blood to studies or people who identify with that Blatche. It's a memoir, but he writes it as if he's speaking for the region. So I think what makes people upset about it is he blames the people of Appalachia for a lot of their problems and everyone who runs a 1,000,000 people who write a meme or have a right to their story. But I think where you can cross the line is where you say we Appalachians. We believe this we Appalachians. We all do this, right? Yeah, and that's simplifying a very complex argument. But that is, that's where people draw the line. It's an entertaining. If you read it, you'll be entertained by it because it's a It's an American bootstrap story. It's Everybody likes a story where people start at the very bottom, you know, rung of society, and they find their way all the way to Yale University and becoming a lawyer. So he's reflecting back on his childhood at Atlanta and riding this as, and what people are arguing is that even though it's entertaining and it's a great story and it's probably gonna make a great movie, people have a problem with the way that Appalachia is

spk_0:   16:33
depicted. That's not very shocking, either, though, You know, I think that's a fine line of portrayal of this area.

spk_1:   16:39
When you make things look so bad and gritty and dark, it's and you don't delve into the complexity of that because of Alleged does have its dark places. It does have its greedy moments. Every place does. But to turn that into entertainment, I think is problematic, and in its cause it's hard, it's complex, and the authors I know who write about Appalachia would say that that it's a very It's a very hard thing to do because you walk a fine line and how you create character and how you have your characters talking. And that's why they spend a lifetime learning that craft and and talking to each other and figuring out the best way to do that. Once Vance left the area, he was away for a long time. So he's reflecting from a childhood perspective. And I tell people, If you do read hillbilly Elegy, a good thing to do is read Appalachian Reckoning, which is the response to hillbilly elegy by a lot of Appalachian authors. It's a collection of essays. Appalachian Reckoning, edited by MEREDITH McCarroll and in many harkens that would give you a good balance or, you know, read allergy and then read the response to Allergy. And you'll have sort of a good balance. Guests of those two. Those two books. What about, Oh, Terror West? Over the book Educated. That's another really good one. It's another bootstrap story. I've

spk_0:   17:58
heard good things about that one. Any nonfiction you would recommend. There's a couple that I have read. I'm a fan of Lisa Ter cursed, and she has one called uninvited, which is pretty good. I think it's Ah, it's a book geared towards women, which talks about, you know, basically, how well how I have felt at some point in my time, feeling uninvited, feeling left out, as as a you know, in friendship and relationships and things like that. And it's a and she is a really fascinating story to tell herself, and she was. It was really good book, so I really enjoyed that when I have yet, though, I'm going to have yet to order a book by Emily Lake called Grace, not perfection. I've heard really great things about that, and, you know, I think that speaks to the season of love. Laugh that I know Amy and I are both in raising raising kids and giving yourself grace while not expecting toe have perfection. Eso those air to that one that I've read, one that I've got on my list to read. Also read the URL washer Face. Did you ever read that? What was your take on that book? Um, it was

spk_1:   19:00
a fun read. I think it was an interesting read out. I like books that that empower you and they have a really funny YouTube show. I think it's on YouTube. I love and Lamont and Lamont is very inspiring. Rider who I don't think she would describe herself. Maybe an inspirational other, but that's what she is. She's She's funny, She's quirky. She's got the first book of hers that I was introduced to, was on the craft of writing and It's called Bird by Bird, and it's really good. But she teaches you the craft of writing from an autobiographical perspective. She talks about her life, and she's so she's got a whole series of books and they're not all about riding, although she is a writer, so she incorporates that into her work. But she just muses on life and the way that she describes things, and she talks about her imperfections, and she sort of makes lot of them. But she also talks about her fears and and what she thinks we can do when when were, you know, down and out. She talks about parenting, so she covers just about everything. And it's It's almost like she writes, is if she's sitting there having lunch with you, and that's what I love about it. I mean, you can you get through one of her books in a matter of two hours? Because they're these thin little books, but they're so good. Her name is Anne Lamont and, of course, Rick Bragg. I love Rick Bragg. He writes about his Southern family. I got to meet him last year, and it was just a bucket list thing. Hey, is such a wonderful person, too, but all over. But the shouting and Avis man are his books about his grandparent's and so beautifully written books. He's a beautiful writer. He has a back page in Southern Living, he writes. He writes for Garden and Gun magazine, too. But but he right. He used to write the back page for Southern and Southern Living, and I don't know if he still does, but that you can find those essays online as well. Yeah, what about TV shows that you recommend? Are you? Do you watch Netflix?

spk_0:   20:56
I'm getting into Netflix more now than I ever have before. It's amazing how much more you can get done in some sins when you are under quarantine. Briar to this. We didn't watch a whole lot of new shows. I guess you could say of hash tag. Laugh on that one. But yeah, we're starting to watch Netflix. We, of course, watched. We had to see what all the fuss was about. So we watched the Tiger King. I'm still scratching my head. Not really. Did you watch it? I did

spk_1:   21:23
watch it. I was afraid of it, and I stopped for a while. But then I had to go back and finish. I was just like, I easy how this ends. You

spk_0:   21:30
know, it was like a very easy. It was like a car wreck that you didn't want to look at. But you couldn't wait. I mean, you just you needed to know what has starving. You did it. And you just needed to know what happened. There was another one a few years ago that I think it's called the making of a murder. Yes, that we got hot sand on. So, Rose, that has been the most recent one. I'm wanting to start the crown. Have you heard of that one before?

spk_1:   21:53
Yes, I recommend the crown. Kind of absolutely.

spk_0:   21:56
Okay, Yes, the one I've got on my list. Next. My number

spk_1:   22:00
one. Brian and I both are obsessed and we can't wait for the new season. Is peaky blunders Now, Don't watch that with kids in the room. Okay? You did You get into it. It is so I love the time period. It's set in the 19 twenties and 19 thirties, just after World War One, and it is set in England. And of course, the you know. I just love that attire. The dress, these air Gangsters, this is this is a family and they're called the peaky blinders because they wear the newsboy caps with the peaks. Even though there's they're sort of bad guys. You like them, you know, you learn their stories, you get sucked into their family. You want them to succeed at whatever it is they're doing, even though you know that they're doing it illegally. How they fi is they so razor blades into their caps. So when they get into fights and when they have to defend themselves, they take their caps off and they swing their caps across the eyes. And so they're called. And the razor blade, of course, does the damage. So they're called the peaky blinders on, and I'm certain that that description is not gonna make you want Oh, a gym. But it's so good, it's the writing is wonderful. The music Brun. If you were sitting here, he would say the music is worth it to, because the soundtrack is fantastic because you worked for the FBI. I think you're gonna like mind. Hunter mind Hunter is based on the very beginnings of a particular branch of the FBI where they were using psychological. It was the very beginnings of using psychology pro to try to catch killers. Profiling, yes, linguistic profiling, all of that stuff. It's It's sort of got its roots in that branch, and it didn't have a lot of credibility within, I guess, the FBI in the beginning. So this guy's trying to sort of prove himself in catching these killers, and the killers are all based on real people. So it's a really fascinating show to watch. The sinner is really good, and I haven't watched Ozark that I hear people just absolutely raving about it, and Brian liked it. So I'm just gonna say that because people keep telling me to watch Ozark. So I think that's gonna be next on my list.

spk_0:   24:09
You got such great recommendations. I was so looking forward to this because if you don't know Amy, let me tell you, she, when it comes to reading and literature and just Amy is, is kind of the person that ah, that's my go to on recommendations. So I was so looking forward to hearing everything that she shared

spk_1:   24:28
well, thank you. I appreciate that I loved. It's one of my things that I would just love to talk about. I don't I don't read as much as I used to. And I'm brought in our bus trying to take more time for reading, because that's important feeds your mind really fades. And,

spk_0:   24:41
you know, again, it's been talking about the tom that we're living in right now. This is showed me the things that I have cut out of my life that I need to put back in. And reading is one of those things that I make excuses for, not having time to do. And then when I sit down and actually get to do it, I'm like, Oh, I really enjoyed this. I need to do this Murano. I didn't guilty whenever you owe me two. I did a thing on my blogged, I guess Back in February, I didn't know Spin Challenge, where I didn't spend any money, and the whole point of it was to recoup after Christmas and just see rain in the bank account a little bit and so ordered books, and I read instead of, you know, scrolling instagram and seeing all the things I thought I needed to behind purchase rate read books, and it was so refreshing. And I had such a great time. We had a

spk_1:   25:29
couple of listeners on our stories. I put I posed a question, you know, give us some recommendations for what you like to read what you like to listen to, and I got a couple of recommendations for books. The Couple Next Door by Shari LaPierre. I hope I'm getting the name right was recommended and anything by Nicholas Sparks. And as faras podcasts go, we got some recommendations for podcasts. Earn your leisure. The money guys show I like revisionist history. Malcolm Gladwell has another good nonfiction author, records that one lore L O. R E is another good one and the office girls. And so, if you want, I don't know if anybody watches the office. That's another thing you could watch on it. Love the office. But it's theater who plays Pam and the actor who plays Angela And there they co host that show when they talk about the episodes and they give you some behind the scenes inside into making this show, and it's really, really funny, and I don't know if you've watched John Kaczynski, who played Jim on the office. I don't know if you've seen his YouTube show yet. Some good news. Yes, I have. It's so funny as I just love him anyway. So I recommend that Teoh of we watched a couple of episodes yesterday and the prom episode was great. You know, the seniors are not getting their prom this year. And so he threw a prominent had Billy I'll ish in the Jonas Brothers and, you know, had people on everything that was great. So I guess we're We're out of time for this book episode, but we'll definitely do another one because this is fun.

spk_0:   27:04
We were talking about this earlier. I think it's sometimes we forget will definitely share these things on Instagram to on our account Southern's Lawn podcasts so that you can also see sometimes it's easier to take a look at some of the things, too, you know, it has some tangible visual to go along with what we're saying so will be excited to share some of those recommendations on the pages. Well,

spk_1:   27:23
well, that does it for today. So Britney, it was really good to talk to you and then looking forward to recording a new episode zone.

spk_0:   27:30
It was so great to catch up. I would I look forward to this and if why Amy and are still practicing our social distancing? We found a way to make this work in our bedrooms with some microphone. So this is such a great time to catch up. Always enjoy talking with her because I feel like we're just sitting together in our office or sitting together on one of our porches and being able to just chat and share with you also way. Look forward at this time and I hope you all do to saying here. But by