As you can probably tell by simply walking outside, it’s officially summertime in Mississippi. Whether you find a nice shade tree or just want to curl up inside the house and enjoy the AC, there are plenty of places to spread out and get your reading on. To help you in terms of what to read this summer, we have put together “Our Mississippi Summer Reading List” below.
Legendary Mississippi Authors
The Magnolia State is lucky to have a number of great writers who call our state home. To get reacquainted with these local literary luminaries, we suggest the following classics: “The Sound and the Fury,” “As I Lay Dying,” and “Absalom! Absalom!” by William Faulkner. “The Optimist’s Daughter,” “A Worn Path,” and “The Ponder Heart” by Eudora Welty. Every Mississippian should also venture into the world of the great playwright Tennessee Williams, who’s best known for “The Glass Menagerie,” “A Streetcar Named Desire,” and “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.”
And don’t even get us started on John Grisham. The lawmaker-turned-literary genius has a grocery list of entertaining books that tend to be quick reads. Our personal favorite is “The Pelican Brief,” but if you’re looking for something to recommend to the youngins in your family, you can always check out the Theodore Boone books. We’ll also be revisiting Grisham’s first big hit, “The Firm,” in anticipation of its upcoming sequel, “The Exchange.”
If you’d like to take a step out of the Magnolia State — at least through what you’re reading — we’ve also got you covered. You can join us in going back in time and re-reading Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” I feel like this is a rite of passage for every summer.
For those that maybe don’t want to get completely out of Mississippi books but maybe just want to inch over the state line, Nancy Crochiere’s “Graceland” follows an overworked single mother whose life is filled with drama from her demanding boss of a pink-haired daughter. When Hope Robinson’s health starts to fail, her daughter asks her to go to Graceland one last time — the only problem is Hope left Memphis 18 years earlier, vowing to never go back and especially never to reveal who her daughter’s father is.
For those looking for a mix of Southern Gothic and magic realism, I recommend Quinn Connor’s “Cicadas Sing of Summer Graves.” In this haunting tale, mysteries from the past arise in the form of an unearthed locked box that contains all the secrets of small-town Prosper, Arkansas. From a yellow fever breakout to an unexpected drowning, this book will keep you on the edge of your seat.
Head to Bayou with Karen White’s “The House of Prytania.” This New Orleans-based novel begins as Nola Trenholm discovers that her recently purchased cottage is also home to a few unexpected spirits. As Nola gets caught up in helping a fellow character find justice in the kidnapping of his sister, this dilemma combined with otherworldly visitors makes for an exciting Crescent City novel.
We’ll leave you with one last recommendation and that’s “I Have Some Questions for You” by Rebecca Makkai. This riveting novel brings a modern-day podcaster back to her alumni in New Hampshire as a teacher. Everything is going well until one of her students starts to dig into the death of her former roommate in this cleverly written escapade.
While this is just a sampling of what you can read this summer, it should at least be enough to get you started. If you have any book suggestions for us or just want to share your thoughts on the above list, please comment on the official Our Mississippi Home Facebook page. Cheers!