As we inch closer to welcoming in the new year, many of us are thinking about resolutions. These often relate to nutrition and exercise, but we think it’s important to engage the mind, too! So, what better commitment than to read more?
We happen to have a few bibliophiles on our staff, too, so we thought we’d put together a reading list of Savannah-related books for your 2021 to-be-read shelf!
We had to open with this one, because it is a classic any Savannahan should read. In fact, we bet you probably have already, but if not, it’s high time you did. Berendt’s masterpiece, as so many call it, tells the true story of one of Savannah’s most notorious crimes. But it becomes so much more in the process. Hauntingly beautiful to the point of poeticism, it comments on the human condition through a cast of fascinating characters.
A 2013 Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards winner, this novel by Duncan Whitehead (a Savannah local) has received rave reviews from plenty of readers. A mystery/thriller, it follows a dog walking club’s quest to find their neighbor’s killer. This one is not only written by a Savannahan, but set in “a leafy Savannah neighborhood.” It’s no Upper East River, but it sounds quite lovely! 😉
Considered monumental for the memorable narrative it tells in poetry, rather than prose, this volume speaks to the writer’s discovery of self, and rediscovery of family and his hometown of Savannah. It is an exploration for its reader, too, and according to those who have taken the journey, worthy of your reading list.
This collection of acclaimed works is a treasure. Through her short stories, O’Connor illuminates many an aspect of life. Her writing has been called “powerful” and “disturbing” in turn. We happen to agree with both takeaways. O’Connor lived in Savannah, and the Southern city’s influence can often be felt in her words.
For those who want something a little more light-hearted and romantic, we offer up a novel by the much-adored Nora Roberts. Bursting with the author’s usual charm, High Noon follows a single mother and Savannah’s top hostage negotiator as she meets and falls for her apparent soul mate.
Born in Savannah, James Alan McPherson would go on to do big things—like win a Pulitzer Prize and other esteemed honors. Included in those is the Atlantic Prize, which he was awarded for his story “Gold Coast”. That work was also selected by John Updike for inclusion in Best American Short Stories of the Century, and it’s one of many paramount pieces within Hue and Cry. This collection, which offers a look into the mind of one of Savannah’s greatest, is unquestionably a must-read.
Nature lovers know John Muir, but they might not know that the famous journey that started it all took him to Savannah. During his lengthy 1867 walk, the naturalist and author spent a few nights sleeping in Bonaventure Cemetery. He wrote about it in this book, and it’s a stunning novel regardless of the mention. Many would say this should be on every reading list.
Okay so this one doesn’t actually have a Savannah connection, but we Hostess City dwellers appreciate small-town Southern hospitality and homeyness, and Fannie Flagg is the queen of that. The author herself grew up in a larger town and later found herself obsessed with the quainter way of life as a result. Her writing reflects an idyllic and irresistibly charming portrait of it all. If you enjoy all things Savannah, we think you’ll like this too, so we decided to put it on the list!
Now it’s time to head on over to E. Shaver, The Book Lady Bookstore, or Books on Bay (or maybe all three) and take your pick! Once you do, curl up with a cup of coffee, tea, or whiskey, and enjoy your new read.
Oh, and if you decide to share on social, tag us, @uppereastriver! We would love to see what you chose!