100 books like The Dixie Association

By Donald Hays,

Here are 100 books that The Dixie Association fans have personally recommended if you like The Dixie Association. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Summerland

Daniel Paisner Author Of A Single Happened Thing

From my list on baseball novels.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a writer and a lifelong baseball fan with a weakness for baseball-ish fiction. For a lot of folks, this means reading the usual suspects: Kinsella, Malamud, Coover, Roth, DeLillo... But I especially enjoy stumbling across under-the-radar novels that can’t help but surprise in their own ways. I enjoy this so much, in fact, I went out and wrote one of my own – inspired by the life and career of an all-but-forgotten ballplayer from the 1880s named Fred “Sure Shot” Dunlap, one of the greats of the game in his time. In the stuff of his life there was the stuff of meaning and moment… of the sort you’ll find in the books I’m recommending here.

Daniel's book list on baseball novels

Daniel Paisner Why did Daniel love this book?

It feels a little misleading to suggest that a Michael Chabon book is widely underread, but this one almost never comes up when I talk to writers and readers about their favorite baseball novels.  Perhaps it’s because Chabon, one of our most celebrated writers, imagined Summerland as a book for young readers, and while it is surely that, it is also surely so much more. It’s strange and wonderful and oh so beautifully written. The author’s prose jumps off every page with an exit velocity that demands your attention. Read it with your kids or your grandkids. Read it on your own. Just, read it. 

By Michael Chabon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Summerland as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

From the Pulitzer Prize winning Michael Chabon comes this bestselling novel that blends fantasy and folklore with that most American coming-of-age ritual: baseball—now in a new edition, with an introduction by the author.

Ethan Feld is having a terrible summer: his father has moved them to Clam Island, Washington, where Ethan has quickly established himself as the least gifted baseball player the island has ever seen. Ethan’s luck begins to change, however, when a mysterious baseball scout named Ringfinger Brown and a seven-hundred-and-sixty-five-year-old werefox enter his life, dragging Ethan into another world called the Summerlands. But this beautiful, winter-less place…


Book cover of The Resisters

Daniel Paisner Author Of A Single Happened Thing

From my list on baseball novels.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a writer and a lifelong baseball fan with a weakness for baseball-ish fiction. For a lot of folks, this means reading the usual suspects: Kinsella, Malamud, Coover, Roth, DeLillo... But I especially enjoy stumbling across under-the-radar novels that can’t help but surprise in their own ways. I enjoy this so much, in fact, I went out and wrote one of my own – inspired by the life and career of an all-but-forgotten ballplayer from the 1880s named Fred “Sure Shot” Dunlap, one of the greats of the game in his time. In the stuff of his life there was the stuff of meaning and moment… of the sort you’ll find in the books I’m recommending here.

Daniel's book list on baseball novels

Daniel Paisner Why did Daniel love this book?

I was looking forward to this one and read it as soon as it came out, early on in these pandemic times. It’s not really a baseball novel, except it kinda, sorta is. Mostly, it’s a subversive look at a dystopian future that turns on the redemptive power of baseball. It made a lot of noise on publication, but the focus of most of the reviews leaned away from the baseball bits and into the dystopian bits. Gish Jen writes gloriously about the game – but also about life and love, longing and belonging, hope and hopelessness. 

By Gish Jen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Resisters as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The moving story of one family struggling to maintain their humanity in circumstances that threaten their every value—from the highly acclaimed, award-winning author of Thank You, Mr. Nixon. • “Intricately imagined … [It] grows directly out of the soil of our current political moment.” —The New York Times Book Review

The time: not so long from now. The place: AutoAmerica, a country surveilled by one “Aunt Nettie,” a Big Brother that is part artificial intelligence, part internet, and oddly human—even funny. The people: divided. The “angelfair” Netted have jobs and, what with the country half under water, literally occupy the…


Book cover of Suder

Daniel Paisner Author Of A Single Happened Thing

From my list on baseball novels.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a writer and a lifelong baseball fan with a weakness for baseball-ish fiction. For a lot of folks, this means reading the usual suspects: Kinsella, Malamud, Coover, Roth, DeLillo... But I especially enjoy stumbling across under-the-radar novels that can’t help but surprise in their own ways. I enjoy this so much, in fact, I went out and wrote one of my own – inspired by the life and career of an all-but-forgotten ballplayer from the 1880s named Fred “Sure Shot” Dunlap, one of the greats of the game in his time. In the stuff of his life there was the stuff of meaning and moment… of the sort you’ll find in the books I’m recommending here.

Daniel's book list on baseball novels

Daniel Paisner Why did Daniel love this book?

Any novel that shines a light on the adventures and misadventures of a fictional Seattle Mariners third baseman with a pet elephant that answers to the name Renoir is worthy of your time and attention. I’m late to the party on this but so glad I sparked to it. 

By Percival L. Everett,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Suder as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Craig Suder, third baseman for the Seattle Mariners, is in a terrible slump. He's batting below .200 at the plate, and even worse in bed with his wife; and he secretly fears he's inherited his mother's insanity. Ordered to take a midseason rest, Suder instead takes his record of Charlie Parker's ""Ornithology,"" his record player, and his new saxophone and flees, negotiating his way through madcap adventures and flashbacks to childhood (""If you folks believed more strongly in God, maybe you wouldn't be coloured""). Pursued by a raging dope dealer, saddled with a mishandled elephant and an abused little white…


Book cover of Bucky F*cking Dent

Daniel Paisner Author Of A Single Happened Thing

From my list on baseball novels.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a writer and a lifelong baseball fan with a weakness for baseball-ish fiction. For a lot of folks, this means reading the usual suspects: Kinsella, Malamud, Coover, Roth, DeLillo... But I especially enjoy stumbling across under-the-radar novels that can’t help but surprise in their own ways. I enjoy this so much, in fact, I went out and wrote one of my own – inspired by the life and career of an all-but-forgotten ballplayer from the 1880s named Fred “Sure Shot” Dunlap, one of the greats of the game in his time. In the stuff of his life there was the stuff of meaning and moment… of the sort you’ll find in the books I’m recommending here.

Daniel's book list on baseball novels

Daniel Paisner Why did Daniel love this book?

I loved this book the moment I saw the title. And the cover! I loved it even more when I noticed it shared a publication date with my own baseball novel back in 2016, so it feels to me like we’re related. The title and cover alone should earn this one a spot on your shelf, but there’s tasty goodness inside. Duchovny’s love of the game is apparent – but so too is his Ivy League education. He writes like a lifelong reader, with a keen eye for baseball and its denizens and an ear for poetry. He’s funny af, too.   

By David Duchovny,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bucky F*cking Dent as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ted Fullilove, aka Mr. Peanut, is not like other Ivy League grads. He shares an apartment with Goldberg, his beloved battery operated fish, sleeps on a bed littered with yellow legal pads penned with what he hopes will be the next great American novel, and spends the waning malaise filled days of the Carter administration at Yankee Stadium, waxing poetic while slinging peanuts to pay the rent. When Ted hears the news that his estranged father, Marty, is dying of lung cancer, he immediately moves back into his childhood home, where a whirlwind of revelations ensues. The browbeating absentee father…


Book cover of The Lions of Little Rock

Trudy Krisher Author Of Spite Fences

From my list on historical fiction about the Jim Crow South.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born in Georgia but grew up in Florida during Jim Crow. My earliest memory of racism was when my mother took me downtown to buy new school shoes. I grew thirsty, so I went to drink from the “colored” water fountain. My young mind may have been attracted to water that might have been blue or pink or green. Quickly my mother whisked me to the “white” fountain, and it was then that I first began to question the racism that was part of my Southern heritage. I wrote Spite Fences to explore the historical barriers erected against equal treatment for African-Americans. All of those prohibitions are fences, limiting opportunity, begging to be torn down. 

Trudy's book list on historical fiction about the Jim Crow South

Trudy Krisher Why did Trudy love this book?

I had long been familiar with the events of Little Rock Central High, having read books, articles, and online accounts of the attempt to integrate this Arkansas school. I found The Lions of Little Rock an accurate and compelling novel that provides young adults with a masterful introduction to how attempts to integrate the Jim Crow South impacted its children. Built on the seminal events to integrate Arkansas’s Little Rock High in 1958, the friendship of young Marlee and Liz portrays how segregation damages not just communities, but friendships. Young adults will be pulled in by Levine’s blend of plot, humor, and emotion to make this a memorable work of historical fiction that may inspire young readers to engage in the cause of civil rights. 

By Kristin Levine,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Lions of Little Rock as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

"Satisfying, gratifying, touching, weighty—this authentic piece of work has got soul."—The New York Times Book Review

As twelve-year-old Marlee starts middle school in 1958 Little Rock, it feels like her whole world is falling apart. Until she meets Liz, the new girl at school. Liz is everything Marlee wishes she could be: she's brave, brash and always knows the right thing to say. But when Liz leaves school without even a good-bye, the rumor is that Liz was caught passing for white. Marlee decides that doesn't matter. She just wants her friend back. And to stay friends, Marlee and Liz…


Book cover of Warriors Don't Cry: The Searing Memoir of the Battle to Integrate Little Rock's Central High

Clara Silverstein Author Of White Girl: A Story of School Desegregation

From my list on memoirs from the front lines of standing up to racism.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a white child bused to African American schools in Richmond, Virginia in the 1970s, I unwittingly stepped into a Civil Rights experiment that would shatter social norms and put me on a path to learning history not taught in textbooks. At first, I never expected to look back at this fraught time. Then I had children. The more I tried to tell them about my past, the more I wanted to understand the context. Why did we fall so short of America’s founding ideals? I have been reading and writing about American history ever since, completing a master’s degree and publishing books, essays, and poems.

Clara's book list on memoirs from the front lines of standing up to racism

Clara Silverstein Why did Clara love this book?

One of nine Black students to integrate the high school in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957, Beals faces threats to her life as well as constant cruelty not only from white people but also from members of her own community, who disapprove of her decision. Her book gives us an unflinching account of what it feels like to be inside the maelstrom. Education seems almost beside the point when she needs protection from the National Guard. Most resonant to me, Beals admits that being a warrior for social change is exhausting. “Sometimes,” she writes in her diary, “I just need to be a girl.”

By Melba Pattillo Beals,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Warriors Don't Cry as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

In this essential autobiographical account by one of the Civil Rights Movement’s most powerful figures, Melba Pattillo Beals of the Little Rock Nine explores not only the oppressive force of racism, but the ability of young people to change ideas of race and identity.

In 1957, well before Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, Melba Pattillo Beals and eight other teenagers became iconic symbols for the Civil Rights Movement and the dismantling of Jim Crow in the American South as they integrated Little Rock’s Central High School in the wake of the landmark 1954 Supreme Court ruling, Brown…


Book cover of Sugar

Suzette Harrison Author Of My Name Is Ona Judge

From my list on portraying African-American historical heroines.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a youthful spirit, but an old soul. Perhaps, that’s why I love African American history and gravitated to Black Studies as my undergraduate degree. My reverence for my ancestors sends me time and again to African-American historical fiction in an effort to connect with our past. Growing up, I was that kid who liked being around my elders and eavesdropping on grown-ups' conversations. Now, I listen to my ancestors as they guide my creativity. I’m an award-winning hybrid author writing contemporary and historical novels, and I value each. Still, it’s those historical characters and tales that snatch me by the hand and passionately urge me to do their bidding. 

Suzette's book list on portraying African-American historical heroines

Suzette Harrison Why did Suzette love this book?

Once upon a time, I was the founder and president of a book club, Literary Ladies Alliance. Many moons ago, LLA chose Sugar as our monthly reading selection. I was absolutely floored by this unlikely, unconventional heroine of the same name as the novel set in a small southern town that wasn’t ready for this seductive storm, i.e. Sugar. I found her shockingly bold and beautifully unapologetic despite her disreputable past and “questionable morals.” She hungered for love, endured dangerous risks and scandal; and yet for me, Sugar moved with an air of voluptuous freedom that captivated my church girl imagination and respect. While Dianne McKinney Whetstone is my favorite author, Sugar is undoubtedly my favorite novel! I’ve read the book twice and would readily devour it again for its captivating journey back in time and its uncharacteristic, boldly unforgettable heroine. 

By Bernice L. McFadden,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sugar as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

20th Anniversary Edition—with a New Foreword by Kimberly Elise

A novel by a critically acclaimed voice in contemporary fiction, praised by Ebony for its “unforgettable images, unique characters, and moving story that keeps the pages turning until the end.”

A young prostitute comes to Bigelow, Arkansas, to start over, far from her haunting past. Sugar moves next door to Pearl, who is still grieving for the daughter who was murdered fifteen years before. Over sweet-potato pie, an unlikely friendship begins, transforming both women's lives—and the life of an entire town.

Sugar brings a Southern African-American town vividly to life, with…


Book cover of Melting the Blues

Jill McCroskey Coupe Author Of Beginning with Cannonballs

From my list on interracial friendship.

Why am I passionate about this?

Having grown up in segregated Knoxville, TN, I've often wondered what having a black friend as a child would have been like. My MFA thesis, in the 1980s, was a novella about just such a friendship. A small group of my (white) MFA classmates insisted that I could not, should not write about black characters. Although I believed them to be mistaken, I put my thesis away and haven’t looked at it since. About ten years ago, I decided to try again. I took an early draft of a new novel to a workshop with John Dufresne, who encouraged me to continue. The result was Beginning with Cannonballs, which received positive reviews and won the 2021 IPPY Silver Medal for Multicultural Fiction. 

Jill's book list on interracial friendship

Jill McCroskey Coupe Why did Jill love this book?

I was struck by the beautiful writing in this novel and the way the author, a woman, convincingly depicts male friendship. Augustus Lee Rivers, a black farmer in Arkansas, is happiest when playing his guitar; he has dreams of making it big in Chicago. David Duncan, an enthusiastic fan of Hummin’ Gusty’s music, comes from a wealthy white family. What can happen to a black man’s dreams in rural Arkansas in the 1950s? Trust me, you’ll keep reading to find out. 

By Tracy Chiles McGhee,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Melting the Blues as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Independent Publisher Book Awards Bronze Medal for Regional Fiction  (2017)    Set in Arkansas in 1957,  the complexities of identity, yearnings for love and acceptance, and racial tension are all unmasked in the riveting literary drama, Melting the Blues, by debut author Tracy Chiles McGhee. Augustus Lee Rivers, a farmer and bluesman, has two obsessions:  his relationship with the Duncan family and his desire to leave small town Chinaberry to become a musician in Chicago. When his plans are prevented by a devastating betrayal, Augustus is driven into the belly of the blues where he must reckon with his past if…


Book cover of Strangled Prose

Kirsten Weiss Author Of Big Shot

From my list on funny cozy mysteries.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been addicted to reading and writing mystery novels since I picked up my first Nancy Drew. But in addition to a good puzzle, I also love a good laugh and grew up watching classic screwball comedies. I’ve written a dozen funny cozy mysteries now with more in the works. I hope you enjoy the books on this list as much as I have!

Kirsten's book list on funny cozy mysteries

Kirsten Weiss Why did Kirsten love this book?

As owner of a dusty bookshop and mother of a teen daughter, widow Claire Malloy is hesitant to host a book party for a smutty romance author. But the two women are friends, so she does, and this being a cozy mystery, murder results. Claire’s droll wit, the funny situations, and the sparring between Claire and the handsome detective keep the pages turning in this well-plotted mystery. Strangled Prose is the first book in the Claire Malloy series.

By Joan Hess,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Strangled Prose as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Claire Malloy's friend has written a trashy novel. Claire agrees to host a book party but at the end of the evening her friend is found strangled. She had admittedly offended many people but who could have hated her with such passion?


Book cover of Malice in Maggody

Susie Black Author Of Death by Surfboard

From my list on humorous mysteries in the south by female authors.

Why am I passionate about this?

Prior to my becoming a cozy mystery author, I was a ladies’ apparel sales rep traveling a territory in the deep southern states. During my four-year stint I spent a great deal of time in a variety of southern cities and small towns. I interacted with progressive as well as traditional, conservative people. My experiences gave me a unique perspective with respect to the social mores and hierarchy of Southern society. 

Susie's book list on humorous mysteries in the south by female authors

Susie Black Why did Susie love this book?

In a town the size of Maggody, Arkansas, population 755, nothing much ever happens, so Arly Hanks figures she’s safe as the town’s first female chief of police.

But Arly no sooner pins her badge on, and she’s contending with two manhunts and an EPA problem no one is willing to talk about. 

Give me an irreverent protagonist, dialog dripping sarcasm, and a zany plot that spits in the eye of the absurdness of our society. Malice in Maggody, the first book in The Arly Hanks Mysteries-has them all.

Life-long Arkansan author Joan Hess gleefully makes mincemeat of the hypocrisy of social mores and the foibles of the caste hierarchy often found in small southern towns by reducing them to a parody of themselves. 

By Joan Hess,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Malice in Maggody as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

After a crossbow killing at a cheap roadside motel, Ozarks police chief Arly Hanks finds herself investigating her first murder case.

Her marriage over and career gone bust, Arly Hanks flees Manhattan for her hometown: Maggody, Arkansas. In a town this size, nothing much ever happens, so Arly figures she's safe as the town's first female chief of police-until the husband of one of the local barmaids escapes from state prison and heads for town. And that's not all. An EPA official with ties to polluting the local fishing hole has suddenly vanished off the face of the earth.

As…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Arkansas, baseball, and fables?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Arkansas, baseball, and fables.

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Fables Explore 43 books about fables