Eduardo Montes-Bradley / Cover Courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

James Madison was the fourth president of the United States, one of the founders of our country and author of the first drafts of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Dr. Bettye Kearse grew up being told that he was her great-great-great-great-grandfather.

“Always remember, you’re a Madison,” her mother often told her.

Tony Pearce / Cover Courtesy of Penguin Random House

Author Sue Monk Kidd was raised in a conventionally Baptist family in Sylvester, Georgia. Her memoir, The Dance of the Dissident Daughter, follows her turn from fundamentalism into sacred feminine traditions.

While best known for The Secret Life of Bees, Sue Monk Kidd has written three bestselling novels. Her newest novel, The Book of Longings, imagines the life of a first century woman named Ana, who becomes the wife of Jesus of Nazareth.

It seemed like winter came early this year with record low temperatures dipping below the 20s. As the cold weather continues, cozy up with a blanket, warm cup of tea and a book.

On Second Thought is joined by three of Georgia’s booksellers, Janet Geddis owner of Avid Bookshop in Athens, Annie Jones owner of The Bookshelf in Thomasville and Charles Robinson co-owner of Eagle Eye Book Shop in Atlanta. They help choose which books to crack open this holiday season.

John Amis / AP

The town of Eatonton, Georgia, will honor one of its own this weekend: prolific poet, Pulitzer prize winning novelist and activist Alice Walker. The Georgia Writers Museum will celebrate Walker's 75th birthday with a now sold-out day of festivities.


One highlight at Saturday's celebration is a conversation with Walker and University of Georgia professor Valerie Boyd. Boyd is the curator and editor of a forthcoming collection of Walker's journals. Boyd spoke with On Second Thought host Virginia Prescott about the life and legacy of Walker. 


In Search Of Flannery O'Connor's Peacocks

Jun 25, 2019
Marianna Bacallao / GPB

Once you turn onto the dirt road leading up to Andalusia, it’s easy to forget that you’re in a college town and not a rural 1950s farmland.

Flannery O’Connor’s historic home appears almost exactly as it did when she lived in Milledgeville, with a notable exception: the writer’s famous aviary, which once housed more than 40 peacocks, has been whittled down to just two of the colorful birds and moved to the opposite end of the backyard.

This month, researchers broke ground on an archaeological dig at Andalusia, hoping to find the exact location of O’Connor’s peacock pens.

The official start of summer is just around the corner. Whether you are headed to the lake or the beach, it’s the perfect time to pick up your next favorite summer read.

On Second Thought asked a group of Georgia independent bookstore owners to recommend their favorite big hits and hidden gems for summer. Jessica Osborne from E Shaver in Savannah, Janet Geddis from Avid Bookshop in Athens and Frank Reiss from A Cappella Books in Atlanta all shared their picks for the season.

Courtesy of Cherry Blossom Festival, Macon

"On Second Thought" kicked off the first day of spring with a preview of events happening around Georgia.

Theater critic and Arts ATL contributor Kelundra Smith shared her picks for seasonal shows, festivals and events. 

Dr. Curtis L. Jones Jr. is the second superintendent from Georgia since 2015 to win the national honor. He spoke with "On Second Thought" about the honor and reflected on how, in a relatively short time, he has rebuilt trust with the community, improved student success and created a positive culture for teachers and staff.

He also shared his priorities for the future of education in Georgia.


Courtesy of Kyla Dunlavey/no. 7 photography

Jessica Kensky and Patrick Downes were newlyweds and spectators at the annual Boston Marathon April 15, 2013. They were at the finish line, cheering on other runners, when the bombs went off. Downes lost his left leg, and Kensky eventually lost both legs.

The blast was followed by several surgeries, rounds of physical therapy and some dark days. That’s when the couple decided to add another member to their family. Rescue is their black labrador rescue dog. He is the subject of Downes and Kensky’s children’s book, “Rescue and Jessica: A Life-Changing Friendship.” Downes and Kensky are among the authors who will participate at the 2019 Savannah Book Festival. They talked to “On Second Thought” host Virginia Prescott about their traumatic experience and the inspiration for their children's book.

Ted Anthony / Associated Press

Frank Reiss and Emmy Carmichael from A Cappella Books in Atlanta stopped by "On Second Thought" to share their recommendations for our "Southern Reading List." It's our series of authors and readers sharing books that define and reflect the South.


Carmichael recommends Caleb Johnson's "Treeborne" and Hannah Pittard's "Visible Empire." Reiss recommends Anne Gisleson's "The Futilitarians: Our Year of Thinking, Drinking, Grieving, and Reading" and Michael Farris Smith's "The Fighter."


Southern Reading List: Kazemde Ajamu

Jan 2, 2019
Kazemde Ajamu/HTTP://

Kazemde Ajamu is owner of Black Dot Cultural Center and Bookstore in Lithonia. He stopped by "On Second Thought" to give his recommendations for our "Southern Reading List" series, in which authors and readers share books that both define and reflect the South.

Ajamu recommends Tierica Berry's "Unpacking The Emotional Suitcase," Chike Akua's "Honoring Our Ancestors Obligations" and Mwalimu Baruti's "Iwa: A Warriors Character"

Rosa Duffy / ForKeepsBooks Instagram

For Keeps, a shop for rare and classic black books, recently opened on Auburn Avenue in Atlanta. Owner Rosa Duffy wants to make the shop a community space to explore the history of black literature and publishing.

"Atlanta already has a sense of appreciation for their blackness. We already have a huge community here," said Duffy. "So I feel very humbled and honored to be on Auburn Avenue, which has such a history behind it."

She stopped by "On Second Thought" to discuss her parents' influence on her reading and the process of opening a used bookstore in the city.

Flickr/Rolf Venema

'Tis the season for giving and figuring out what to give people. May we suggest books? They're personal, easy to wrap and great stocking stuffers.

"On Second Thought" invited a group of Georgia independent bookstore owners to give through their recommendations for a spectrum of readers. 

Jessica Osborne from E Shaver in Savannah, Janet Geddis from Avid Bookshop in Athens and Charles Robinson from Eagle Eye Bookshop in Decatur all joined the conversation.

Courtesy Kennesaw State University

Are you looking to diversify your reading list? Look no further. Anthony Grooms is an author and creative writing professor at Kennesaw State University. He gave "On Second Thought" his recommendations for our "Southern Reading List" series on books that define and reflect the south. Grooms' recommendations include Patrick Phillips' "Blood at the Root" ; Gray Stewart's "Haylow"; and Ernest Gaines' "A Lesson Before Dying." 

Grooms' latest novel, "The Vain Conversation" focuses on the question of redemption from racial crimes. 

It's National Adoption Awareness Month. Georgia's foster care system is in crisis. The number of kids in the state's custody rose 60 percent from 2010-2017. This year alone, 20,000 children have been in the state's foster care system — and there just aren't enough homes to house them.

Today we spoke with Dr. John Degarmo and Samantha Max about Georgia's foster care system and stigmas associated with fostering children. 

The nights are getting longer, the days getting'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.


Alison Law/Twitter

The holidays are just around the corner. As we turn up the heat and the to-do lists grow, we recommend reading.

Alison Law is host of Literary Atlanta, a podcast for readers and writers. 

LaRaven Taylor/GPB

As voters prepare for the November election, political power grabs are in the national news. "Paper Gods: A Novel of Money, Race, and Politics" uncovers a conspiracy that reaches into the heart of Atlanta's political machine. 

Jessica Handler

Jessica Handler is author of "Braving The Fire: A Guide to Writing About Grief and Invisible Sisters: A Memoir." Handler gave her list of favorite southern books. Her forthcoming novel, "Magnetic Girl" will be available in 2019.