The best southern stories of nature and society

Who am I?

As an American Southerner, I know things that can be the most nurturing ever, but there's always a cost—emotional, physical, or other. The landscape and nature are where I can always go when I feel heartbroken. And my heart is renewed. Always. Being in tandem with nature calls me. It might be time to look a little closer. If we don't, we might lose more habitat and humanity. This topic or theme haunts me every day. This won't be all I write about, and I hope to have at least another five decades to see more. How amazing to have a sense of history while looking to the future? That walkabout is such a blessing.


I wrote...

A Delicate Balance: Constructing a Conservation Culture in the South Carolina Lowcountry

By Angela C. Halfacre,

Book cover of A Delicate Balance: Constructing a Conservation Culture in the South Carolina Lowcountry

What is my book about?

A Delicate Balance grapples with the ways in which we love the places we have connections to and how we deal with the constant of life—change. Development and conservation can co-exist. How we might construct our future and those after us? South Carolina has a rich history, and this book tries to extract present day—conservation across all kinds of backgrounds and proclivities. Pulling together recreational fishers, occupational oysterpersons, sweetgrass weavers, multigenerational land owners, elected officials, conservationists, developers, farmers, and all of us that want the most sustainable long term. This is what we might what to ascribe to—holding and reveling the past while keep those sacred places safe. We don't want to lose the best parts. Protection of heritage and making paths forward is what this book hopefully conveys. 

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Where the Crawdads Sing

Angela C. Halfacre Why did I love this book?

A story of resilience that captures and captivates the heart. The descriptions of nature and society are haunting and inspiring. Nature to conserve. Mostly this book captures the power and control of the dynamics of life. How do we decide who will rule and who will be ruled? That is ecology, and we all can benefit from it and the strength of the South in this world. 

By Delia Owens,

Why should I read it?

41 authors picked Where the Crawdads Sing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

OVER 12 MILLION COPIES SOLD WORLDWIDE
NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE
A NUMBER ONE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

For years, rumours of the 'Marsh Girl' have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be…


Book cover of The Prince of Tides

Angela C. Halfacre Why did I love this book?

The grappling with being from the South and the relationships that resonate with others. That Prince is someone who will one you will want to know, and understand his pain and pleasure. Walk those streets of Charleston and New York—similar peninsulas that might help you understand what life is like and has to offer. Go over those bridges with this book. 

By Pat Conroy,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Prince of Tides as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Pat Conroy's inspired masterpiece relates the dark and violent chronicle of an astounding family: the Wingos of Colleton, South Carolina. No reader will forget them. And no reader can remain untouched by their story.

All Wingos share one heritage ... shrimp fishing, poverty and the searing memory of a single terrifying event - the source of Tom Wingo's self-hatred and of his sister Savannah's suicidal despair.

To save himself and Savannah, Tom confronts the past with the help of New York psychologist Susan Lowenstein.

As Tom and Susan unravel the bitter history of his troubled childhood, in episodes of grotesque…


Book cover of Skinny Dip

Angela C. Halfacre Why did I love this book?

The desire to know the truth is inherent in this world and this book. And a wild ride. Try living in this book for a few days when the husband of the main character attempted to murder her, and she survived with nature and herself supporting her. With a little help from a friend. Jump in. 

By Carl Hiaasen,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Skinny Dip as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Joey Perrone is a woman with a mission. She's just been pushed overboard from a cruise liner by Chaz, her scumbag husband, and survived to tell the tale. But rather than reporting him to the police, she decides to stay dead and - with a little help from her friends and a few of Chaz's enemies - instead of getting mad, she's going to get even.

Filled with a host of endearingly offbeat characters, and a narrative that is hilarious, romantic and thought-provoking by turns, Skinny Dip takes us on a journey through the warped politics of Southern Florida and…


Book cover of Light in August

Angela C. Halfacre Why did I love this book?

Dark—ironic with the title—tale of what it means to be authentic while coming to terms with Southern heritage. There is much to understand when you see that light—the American South in its glory and graphic tumble. Christian allegory and gothic narrative drive this book. The characters are iconic and honest—largely marginalized. Written in 1932, this novel set in that time, has several insights for present day and how to tell stories and learn from the South.

By William Faulkner,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Light in August as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A landmark in American fiction, Light in August explores Faulkner's central theme: the nature of evil. Joe Christmas - a man doomed, deracinated and alone - wanders the Deep South in search of an identity, and a place in society. After killing his perverted God-fearing lover, it becomes inevitable that he is pursued by a lynch-hungry mob. Yet after the sacrifice, there is new life, a determined ray of light in Faulkner's complex and tragic world.


Book cover of Serena

Angela C. Halfacre Why did I love this book?

What can pain be when you are trying to be free? Who is safe from that when you are trying to be a compassionate person? This book will quell your questions. A girl with scares and scars. Do not be faint of heart on this one. And especially stay away from wells. Really. But also know there is that light that might free us all. 

By Ron Rash,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Serena as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

George and Serena Pemberton arrive in the wilds of the North Carolina mountains to build a life together in a rural logging town. But Serena Pemberton is unlike any woman this town has ever seen: overseeing crews, hunting rattlesnakes and even saving her husband in the wilderness. So when Serena learns that she will never bear a child, she is determined that her intensely passionate marriage will not unravel. A course of events unfolds that will change the lives of everyone in their rural community and bring this riveting tale of love and revenge to its shocking reckoning.


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The Alchemy Fire Murder: a Mary Wandwalker Mystery

By Susan Rowland,

Book cover of The Alchemy Fire Murder: a Mary Wandwalker Mystery

Susan Rowland Author Of The Alchemy Fire Murder: a Mary Wandwalker Mystery

New book alert!

Who am I?

Author Part-time celt Modern alchemist Myth hunter Jungian

Susan's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

A traditional mystery with a touch of cozy, The Alchemy Fire Murder is for those who like feisty women sleuths, Oxford Colleges, alchemy, strong characters, and real concerns like trafficking, wildfires, racism, and climate change. This book especially works for those fascinated by myth and witches in history. Read for a seventeenth-century alchemist in Connecticut, a lost alchemy scroll stuck in a California Museum, and a blizzard in Los Angeles.

Murder ensues when an intern is attacked after making a momentous discovery with Mary Wandwalker, an inexperienced detective commissioned to recover the treasure vital to the survival of her Oxford college, St Julian’s. When the young man’s brother is falsely accused, Mary has to step in.

The Alchemy Fire Murder: a Mary Wandwalker Mystery

By Susan Rowland,

What is this book about?

Former Archivist Mary Wandwalker hates bringing bad news. Nevertheless, she confirms to her alma mater that their prized medieval alchemy scroll, is, in fact, a seventeenth century copy. She learns that the original vanished to colonial Connecticut with alchemist, Robert Le More. Later the genuine scroll surfaces in Los Angeles. Given that the authentic artifact is needed for her Oxford college to survive, retrieving it is essential.

Mary agrees to get the real scroll back as part of a commission for her three-person Enquiry Agency. However, tragedy strikes in Los Angeles. Before Mary can legally obtain the scroll, a young…


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