Already finished binging S-Town? Here’s your Southern Gothic reading list.
Like you, we spent this past weekend binging S-Town and the few days since wishing we still had a few more chapters to go. Since it doesn’t seem like we’ll be hearing more about John B anytime soon, why not check out the “bedtime reading” he assigns to host Brian Reed:
“A Rose for Emily” by William Faulker: “The tale of Miss Emily Grierson, an unmarried middle aged outcast who lives with her father, and after he dies, holes up in her house for years.”
“The Necklace” by Guy de Maupassant: “A story about a woman who longs for a much grander, more spectacular life than the one she has and gets it for a single night, only to have to pay for it dearly.”
“The Renegade” by Shirley Jackson: “About a woman who recently moved from the city to a small country town, whose family dog, Lady, is accused one morning of killing a neighbor’s chickens.”
When you’re done with John B’s list, we have a few more suggestions. Some are pure Southern Gothic — think small towns and dark secrets — some are a bit more redemptive. All of them will hook you and, hopefully, fill the S-Town-shaped hole in your heart:
DEEP SOUTH by Paul Theroux: One of America’s greatest travel writers turns his eye to the rural South.
FIRE SHUT UP IN MY BONES by Charles M. Blow: This memoir begins with Blow’s loving but tumultuous upbringing in a segregated Louisiana town.
A GOOD MAN IS HARD TO FIND by Flannery O’Connor: A classic short story collection by a writer whose apocalyptic worldview is sure to remind you of John B. McLemore’s.
THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER by Carson McCullers: A haunting and unforgettable novel about a group of misfits in a small Georgia town.
NATIVE GUARD by Natasha Threthewey: In her hometown of Gulfport, Mississippi, Trethewey uncovers the hidden story of black soldiers in the Civil War.
THE PATRON SAINT OF LIARS by Ann Patchett: Want something uplifting after that last episode? Try this novel about a home for unwed mothers in rural Kentucky.
VILLAGE PRODIGIES by Rodney Jones: Village Prodigies imagines an Alabama town from 1950 to 2015 as six boys grow up and leave the South.
LAY IT ON MY HEART by Angela Pneuman: Like Woodstock, Alabama, the fictional town of East Winder, Kentucky is full of churches. When Charmaine’s father is committed to an institution for believing himself a prophet, she must come to terms with his mental illness and her loss of faith.