by a contributor
- Anything by Lewis “Buddy” Nordan – Nordan recently succumbed to complications from pneumonia and while he was known primarily as a Southern writer, we’ve all lost a great one here. His best known novel is Wolf Whistle based on the lynching of Emmett Till. It’s a heartbreaking, beautiful, profound book. But you can’t go wrong by Nordan. Pick up his memoir, Boy With Loaded Gun, or his novel, Lightning Song, or his selected stories, Sugar Among the Freaks. I was lucky enough to have Buddy as a teacher, and his books take up quite a bit of space on my bookshelf. Going back to them is a pleasure every time.
- Behold Faith or Spooky Action at a Distance by Tom Noyes – Both are quiet, witty, beautiful collections. Like another of my favorite short story writers, Kevin Moffett, the stories benefit from subsequent reads. You’ll find something new every time. They’re simply that well crafted.
- Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich – One of the books that made me want to be a writer. Reading it for the first time was like having the gates opened upon some beautiful world. You couldn’t go back to certain types of books after that. Erdrich’s words made it impossible not to know when you weren’t in the presence of the real thing.
- Stop-Time by Frank Conroy – Brilliantly paced, intelligent, and groundbreaking. Changed the way memoir was written though few get close to being this good.
- Given Ground by Ann Pancake – Winner of the Bakeless Book Prize in 2000. Once you enter these beautiful stories set in Appalachia you’ll see why.
Eugene Cross is the author of Fires of Our Choosing.