The Book Reader: "The New Mind Of The South", "I Want To Show You More"
Bryan Lowder of Slate reports for NY1 on newly released book titles and the world of publishing in "The Book Reader."
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The South is a land steeped in tradition. As the saying goes, "Old times there are not forgotten." But is that necessarily a good thing? Two new books-one reported and one fiction-cross the Mason-Dixon into the so-called "New" South to find out.
Georgia native Tracey Thompson loves her homeland, so she doesn't mind pointing out the stubborn habits holding it back. In "The New Mind of the South", Thompson delivers a psychological profile in the easy drawl of a front porch conversation.
She’s best when treating the South's hobbling addiction to Lost Cause mythology, the idea that slavery was not a major factor in the Civil War. But Thompson’s portrait, published by Simon & Schuster, is more interested in the South of 2013 than of 1865. How will Southerners deal with issues like immigration, suburban sprawl and fundamentalism? Hopefully, by living up to their reputation for adaptability-Thompson expects nothing less from the inhabitants of "God’s country."
God is also on the mind of Jamie Quarto, a skilled new talent whose first collection of short stories is fresh out from Grove. In "I Want To Show You More", Quarto maps a twinkling constellation of modern-day desire, paranoia and grief against an inky background of Southern religious and historical fervor. But the Gothic beauty and bittersweet humor of her style are the real stars of this arresting debut.
Look for my full review of "The New Mind of the South" and many others on the Slate Book Review at slate.com/books.