Sunday, September 20, 2015

My Southern Journey by Rick Bragg

In a number of essays in this collection, Rick Bragg refers to magic, usually in relation to food,  particularly in New Orleans. But, I use that term in relation to his writing. His latest collection is poetry, pure magic. My Southern Journey: True Stories from the Heart of the South is quite often humorous, sometimes a little melancholy, but always warm, heart-felt, and written with love.

Bragg's collection includes essays previously published in Southern Living, Bon Appetit, GQ, and even Garden & Gun. I'm guessing that some are original for this book when there's no magazine title listed. He's broken the book into five sections; Home, Table, Place, Craft, and Spirit. However, the articles flow from Bragg's life, his love of his mother, the South, and Southern food. It's a book that wraps the reader in that familiar Southern humidity, and makes anyone crave the fried chicken, fish, and sweet tea. It's a book about holidays (several featuring Bragg's favorite, Thanksgiving), and family and home.

If you read and love Rick Bragg's writing, the book will suck you in on the first page. "It suits me, here. My people tell their stories of vast red fields and bitter turnip greens and harsh white whiskey like they are rocking in some invisible chair, smooth and easy even in the terrible parts, because the past has already done its worst.. The joys of this Southern life, we polish like old silver. We are good at stories." Oh, yes. Rick Bragg has always been good at stories.

If you like Southern storytelling, rocking on the porch stories, stories of family and food and home, My Southern Journey is a comfort read. And, it doesn't get any better than this.

My Southern Journey: True Stories from the Heart of the South by Rick Bragg. Oxmoor House. 2015.  ISBN 9780848746391 (hardcover), 254p.

FTC Full Disclosure - Library book


Jeffrey Meyerson said...

ALL OVER BUT THE SHOUTIN', Bragg's memoir, was terrific. I've also read his SOMEBODY TOLD ME: The Newspaper Stories of Rick Bragg.

Jeff M.

Lesa said...

I think I've read most of his books, Jeff. And, I've met him a couple times, and Jim and I had lunch with him and historian Douglas Brinkley. I love his writing. He was also so kind to everyone who came to get their books signed.

Kaye Barley said...

Okay - got it! Can't wait to read it and I know I'm gonna love it! Thanks, (again!) Lesa

Beth Hoffman said...

Thanks for the heads-up on this collection, Lesa. I just put it on my "to buy" list. Happy Sunday to you and the kitties! (hugs)

Lesa said...

Kaye, I know you're going to love it, too!

Lesa said...

You're welcome, Beth. It's on my "to buy" list as well. I own a couple books of essays that I go back to read - they're my comfort reads. I'm going to add this book to that small selection.

Kaye Barley said...

Essays are my comfort reads also, Lesa. And this one is bringing me a huge amount of comfort. I have gone back and re-read the introduction a half a dozen times already. This man is a weaver of words, isn't he?! Oh my. I took books of essays to the beach with us last week and I'm getting ready to write about the very fact of their comfort (thinking alike AGAIN - imagine that!!) Hugs, Lesa - and thanks again for the heads up on this newest by Rick Bragg.

Lesa said...

Oh, yes, he's an artist when it comes to words. With essays, I can go back and read one or two, absorb them. It isn't a novel in which I already know what happens. I seldom re-read books, but i can re-read essays, and discovery something new in a collection, a piece that hits me differently when I read it. And, Rick Bragg's are from the heart. You're welcome, Kaye.