Archive for the South Category

Thicket: Alabama Redefined June/July 08 issue

Posted in Gina, Magazine, Non-Fiction, South on June 4, 2008 by Gina

Our household has been getting a free sample subscription of a new Alabama magazine for a few months.   The magazine is called Thicket.   I have enjoyed the two issues that we have gotten.  So much so, I am considering subscribing to it when our household never actually subscribes to ANY magazines.  Sure we get some as gifts.  But we don’t subscribe and haven’t for years.  

The name Thicket is catchy.  It  comes from the Native American origin of Alabama.  al-a-bam-a: from the Choctaw alba (meaning plants) and amo (meaning to cut); to clear the thicket.  It isn’t a huge magazine only about 80 pages.  But it is full of articles about our great state.  I counted nine actual articles.  (Which is far more page per page than the Glamour that the flight attendant passed to me during our flight out of Rhode Island last weekend.) 

There is an excellent article on Patricia Barnes aka Sister Schubert.  If you haven’t had a Sister Schubert roll then you are missing something great. You should go directly to you grocery store to see if they carry them (in the freezer section.)   (I personally like the rolls wrapped around the little sausages best.  Patricia’s favorites are the orange rolls….which I also can attest are awesome.)  In the 1980’s, Patricia had a small side catering business.  She donated eight pans of her rolls to a church fundraiser in 1989.  Two years later, in 1991, the church had preorders for 300 pans.  By 2000, she sold the company, where she and her husband still work, for $40million.  The article was very interesting. I especially enjoyed the part where the mayor of a struggling Luverne, AL wooed her to open her first large bakery in his town.  Also, interesting was the part about how she and her husband have chosen to give back to the world from the wealth they have worked for. 

Thicket also has the staples of these types of magazines.  It has a few book and music recommendations.  It has a calendar of events for the state.  Anyone interested in the 4th Annual Gulf Coast Hot Air Balloon Festival in Foley or The Alabama Blueberry Festival in Brewton or possibly the Hank Williams Festival of Georgiana is more your cup of tea.   The photos in the magazine are beautiful and truly embrace Alabama at its best.

My favorite part of Thicket has to be the human interest mini-articles (some not much more than a paragraph.)  I fell in love with Chris and Gary Wheeler or Locust Fork.  They are a couple who retired from their jobs with the Postal Service and quilt together.  They are pictured with their quilts.  One is hers. One is his.   I love a man who can quilt! 

I love this magazine.  I am an Alabamian.  This magazine just puts the greatness that is Alabama in the forefront of people’s minds. 



To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Posted in Christine, Fiction, Literature, Non-Fiction, South on May 23, 2008 by muerta

With all the great new books out there, sometimes it is nice to curl up with a classic.

After reading Gone with the Wind (my ultimate excuse for attempting to get out of Literature 101; “but look, I am reading Gone with the Wind!  I don’t need this course!”), I asked Lisa if I should read the sequel.  I have seldom seen Lisa passionate about a particular issue but reading the sequel to Gone With The Wind received an resounding “No.”  I assumed that Rhett Butler’s People would lack recommendation as well, but I wanted to continue on a Southern theme.  Hence, I gravitated toward Lee’s Mockingbird (having seen the movie at least twice) and enjoyed every word.

There are few books that I truly savor.  Harper Lee deserved to be slowly enjoyed and digested, like a good winter meal on a particularly cold day.  The images that she creates within your mind are majestic and believable.  While the main theme revolves around racism and Atticus’s defense of Tom Robinson, the subtle subplots constantly move the story forward.  You can not help but to love Calpurnia as she watches Jem and Scout, and admire Atticus for taking on his impossible mission– knowing that he is Don Quixote but willing to take that chance.  The reader witnesses racial separatism from a child’s eye, and realizes the ridiculousness of judging an individual because of skin color rather than quality (or “breeding” as Aunt Alexandra would remind us).  And then there is “Dill,” who is without a literary doubt, Truman Capote and Scout’s best friend beside her brother.  I loved the line that Atticus gives us when Dill shows up at their house one summer, “From rape to riot to runaways, I wonder what the next two hours will bring.”

I could talk about how this was a child’s realization of her perceived father vs. her real one, but Harper Lee tells that story so well that it should be left to the women like Miss Maudie to explain that history.  But instead, I shall just leave the story to stand as it is, a semi-autobiographical book which tells of growing up in a small southern town where one small outspoken girl learns the pain of having to walk in the shoes of other people.  Having been there, done that, I can only say that Harper Lee tells an accurate story.

My friend Kathy (another literary nutcase) tells me that the best southern female writers usually only have one good story to tell.  I tend to agree, with a sarcastic nod.  Harper Lee may have only had one good story, but like a good serving of biscuits and gravy, it is well worth the time to enjoy.

Thanks Lisa.  🙂