This content contains affiliate links. Purchases made through these links may earn an affiliate commission.
When I moved from Central Appalachia to the South 14 years ago, I suffered a severe culture shock. When he entered college and first lived in a dorm, he was completely overwhelmed by the culture of the South, which was different from where he grew up. People in the coffee shop started talking to me, seemingly at random. As I was shopping at Target, a total stranger approached me and started asking about my shampoo choices. I looked and found that it was actually some kind of insult.
Eventually, I decided to stay in South Carolina after I graduated and spent years trying to adjust to my new home, but it wasn’t until I started reading Southern literature that I began to truly understand the region.Jesmine Ward Salvage the Bones The Mississippi Delta region comes to life on the page as we watch her characters prepare for Hurricane Katrina. Attica Rocks bluebird, bluebird It took me on a road trip across Texas.And some books have given me a bird’s eye view, like John T. Edge’s potlicker papers, It took me on a tour of many of the South’s cuisines. As I read, each new book emphasized that the South is not monolithic. It’s a complex and diverse region that can’t be truly understood in a lifetime of study. Since my first dive into Southern literature, I’ve always had the pleasure of reading regional books that I can just try and get my hands on.
Reading about the area I lived in made me feel more at home, but after reading dozens of books about the South, it got me thinking about the place in Appalachia where I grew up. Appalachia and the South overlap and both still maintain their own unique cultures and histories.Cyrus House appalachian trilogy It depicts the same Eastern Kentucky family as they travel through the decades of the 20th century. Crystal Wilkinson gorgeous bird It focuses on black women of different generations living within the same community.Short stories by Leah Hampton F*ckface: Other Stories Featuring characters from Southern and Central Appalachia. These and other similar books are a wonderful blend of Southern Appalachian culture.
Heading to the Appalachians of Pennsylvania and Ohio, Brian Bloom’s Punch Me Up To The Gods, Growing up gay black in Appalachia, Ohio, and relocating to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Bloom’s memoirs about her childhood and early adulthood.Ohio author Donald Ray Pollack writes about a small-town family in his collection of short stories Nochemstiff. Disha Filiau The Secret Life of Church Women Explore black women’s thoughts on sexuality and adulthood. Each author writes like they know best about Appalachia, offering a glimpse into different parts of the region. These books contain a universality that everyone can connect and relate to, and readers who call these regions home can finally see themselves on the pages of the book. .
Growing up, I never got the chance to read a book about where I came from. I am always reading about far away major cities and completely different countries. I remember being very excited when I found the name of a nearby town in a book I was reading. But over the past decade, I’ve been making up for lost time. I fell in love with the different stories of Appalachia and the South. Now, when a visitor walks into my living room, they are greeted by a bookshelf covered with all sorts of different genres of Appalachian and Southern literature. is bursting with all-new stories just waiting to pick up and start reading.
Areas like Appalachia and the South contain a wealth of literature waiting for new readers to discover them. It is important to Everyone should have the opportunity to read a book about their hometown and explore parts of the country that they may never visit.