Book Interviews

NINA SUBIN / Cover Courtesy of Scribner

Mary Beth Keane’s 2019 novel Ask Again, Yes was an instant New York Times bestseller, and is now out on paperback.

The book follows the families of two New York City police officers who live next door to each other in a suburb north of the city – and a tragedy that divides them and their children over four decades.


Bill Pierce / Cover Courtesy of Algonquin Books

“The Squad” gets a lot of media attention, but they are just one part of the record number of women elected to Congress in 2018. 

 

In fact, it was the most diverse freshman class ever elected: the first Muslim women representatives ever, the first Native women, the first two Latina members from Texas, two black women from New England, and the two youngest members ever elected to the House of Representatives. 

 

 


Melissa Schmidt

Ava King is a newly divorced mother of a teenage son when she moves into her grandmother’s posh New Orleans home. Ava is the descendant of slaves, grandma Martha is about as WASP-y as they come, and their connected pasts are one of the plot twists in The Revisioners, a new novel by National Book Award finalist Margaret Wilkerson Sexton.

There is some magic in The Revisioners, but it’s less fantasy than testament to intergenerational bonds — in this case between Ava and her great-great-great grandmother, born enslaved on a Louisiana plantation.

Margaret Wilkerson Sexton joined On Second Thought to unpack her vision for The Revisioners, and her aim to look deeper at the power passed down through generations of African American families.


Leighton Rowell / GPB

Whether you go yellow or white, sweet or savory, grits are a Southern food staple now popping up on menus all over the country.

Food writer Erin Byers Murray goes deep in Grits: A Cultural and Culinary Journey Through the South, talking with growers, millers and chefs to understand the origins and evolution of grits. Along the way, she examines how race, gender and politics simmer in the significance of grits.


The nights are getting longer, the days getting colder...it's high time to curl up with a book this holiday season. Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera are the authors of "What If It's Us," a young adult novel about two teen boys who fall in love over a summer in New York City. It's a book full of meet-cutes and missed connections, much like Albertalli and Silvera's own relationship.

 

Here are their recommended additions to our "Southern Reading List," our series of authors and readers sharing books that define and reflect the South.