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Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another's skin, another's voice, another's soul. --Joyce Carol Oates

Friday, April 27, 2012

Some Dark Holler Project

(cue the appropriate background music here)

I picked up the new Ron Rash, The Cove, from the public library this morning. Last week I ordered Wiley Cash's debut,  A Land More Kind Than Home, which I hope will arrive by the weekend. Earlier this year I bought three Wilkes County-centric books. I am officially kicking off a new reading project, although I am hard-pressed to find the appropriate heading for the thing.

Library of Congress prefers Mountain People and Appalachian Region - Southern  to Hillbilly (music can get away with the hillbilly designation, evidently; not literature). Western North Carolina is also an appropriate subject heading, although not one that's been used on any fiction in the university's library catalog, and one that would exclude books set beyond the state line. The public library here uses Mountain Life - North Carolina - Fiction for Sharyn McCrumb's The Ballad of Tom Dooley, but it's a dead end: clicking on that subject heading won't lead a reader to any additional titles. North Carolina - Fiction takes you to 373 titles at the public library; to 103 at the university, but it isn't a designation that's been used more than haphazardly: Cold Mountain's only in the catalog as United States - History - Civil War, 1861-1865 - Fiction and John Ehle's fiction, shelved in the North Carolina Room at the public library, receives no subject headings at all.

Suggestions? Will it make sense if I just call this my Some Dark Holler Project?

Initial proposed reading list:

Surreal South: An Anthology of Short Fiction and Poetry. Laura Benedict and Pinckney Benedict, eds.
The Astronomer and Other Stories. Doris Betts (okay, so this is kind of a cheat. Only the northwest corner of  Iredell County's the least bit mountainous. Sue me; it's my list) (June 2012)
The Wettest County in the World. Matt Bondurant (Virginia)
A Land More Kind Than Home. Wiley Cash (April 2012)
Ancestors and Others. Fred Chappell
The Landbreakers. John Ehle
Thirteen Moons. Charles Frazier
The Ballad of Tom Dooley. Sharyn McCrumb (Wilkes County)
Rain on the Just. Kathleen Morehouse (Wilkes County)
We Are Taking Only What We Need. Stephanie Powell Watts (Wilkes-by God-County)
The Cove.Ron Rash (April 2012)
Serena. Ron Rash
The Ballad of Trenchmouth Taggart. M. Glenn Taylor (West Virginia) (April 2012)

(Originally posted at pages turned)

Also read for project:
Flora. Gail Godwin (April 2013)

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