The best southern stories of nature and society

Angela C. Halfacre Author Of A Delicate Balance: Constructing a Conservation Culture in the South Carolina Lowcountry
By Angela C. Halfacre

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. 

The books I picked & why

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Where the Crawdads Sing

By Delia Owens,

Book cover of Where the Crawdads Sing

Why 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. 

Where the Crawdads Sing

By Delia Owens,

Why should I read it?

26 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…


The Prince of Tides

By Pat Conroy,

Book cover of The Prince of Tides

Why 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. 

The Prince of Tides

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…


Skinny Dip

By Carl Hiaasen,

Book cover of Skinny Dip

Why 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. 

Skinny Dip

By Carl Hiaasen,

Why should I read it?

4 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…


Light in August

By William Faulkner,

Book cover of Light in August

Why 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.

Light in August

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.


Serena

By Ron Rash,

Book cover of Serena

Why 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. 

Serena

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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