Look no farther than Georgia writers for summer reading

Summer reading means different experiences to different people.


Some want a book they can tuck in a tote bag, get greasy with suntan lotion and read with the aim to be swept away like conch shells at high tide.

Others want something hefty and dense that will linger in their minds long after they’ve shaken the sand from their flip-flops.

Whatever your literary tastes, a group of Georgia authors have written a medley of offerings to fill out your summer reading list.

• The Lowcountry conjures up the clam-scented ooze of pluff mud, tangles of tea olive and wild shrimp so fresh they’re practically lolling on the plate. Can’t get to the coast this summer? Atlanta author Karen White, who is best known for her bestselling grit lit fiction, will transport you there in her latest offering, Sound of Glass (NAL).

It tells the story of the widow of a firefighter who inherits an 18th-century ancestral home in Beaufort, S.C., and unearths a generation of family skeletons. Available now.

• Beach too toasty for you? Cool off in the greenery of the North Georgia mountains with Bull Mountain (Putnam). The novel pits a clan of moonshiners and dope dealers against one of their own, a sheriff who rejects his family’s sinister ways.

Brian Panowich, the author of Bull Mountain, once bumped along Southern highways as a member of the touring rock-and-roll band 48 Volt. Now he fights blazes for Columbia County Fire Rescue and is busy collecting accolades for his debut novel, which has been categorized as hillybilly noir.

Author Wiley Cash says, “Panowich stamps words on the page as if they’ve been blasted from the barrel of a shotgun.” Look out for this gem in mid-July.

• A boat trip on the Savannah River from Augusta to the lighthouse on Tybee Island, Ga., might seem like a lazy, late-summer repast, but not in the hands of author Eric Morris. His debut novel, Jacob Jump, is akin to an updated Deliverance in that it pairs hard-drinking men and unhinged, backwoods locals.

Morris, a former Augustan, was propelled into the rarefied air of the Southern literary stratosphere when he inked a book deal with Story River Books, which has Southern author Pat Conroy as editor-at-large. Conroy also wrote the foreword to Jacob Jump. It hits bookstores in August.

• Sometimes a geographic escape isn’t enough. Every now and then, you long to be lifted out of the 21st century to a simpler time, when Southerners sipped cherry phosphates in soda fountains and the smartest phone you could own was a pink princess model that wasn’t part of a party line.

The novel Peach of a Pair (Berkley) is a passport to South Carolina in the ’50s. A young woman, Nettie Gilbert, loses her fiance to her sister, and ends up moving in with two elderly spinsters who teach her the meaning of forgiveness.

The author, Kim Boykin, was born in Augusta and grew up in New Ellenton. She soaked up storytelling from her granddaddy, who held court under a mimosa tree. Peach of a Pair is her fifth novel. Out in August.

All of these authors will be at the Georgia Literary Festival at Georgia Regents University on Nov. 7.