As promised, here’s another quick look at one of Sweetums’ and my collections, although this time not a weird one. We have row after row of shelves in the library of our new home filled with books by Alabama authors. The sight of these books makes me so happy. We have books of all genres, from novels to young adult to children’s, featuring many of Alabama’s biggest and best-known authors.
In addition, many of our editions are autographed. My prized possession, the thing I’d save first in a fire after Sweetums, our kitty cats and my daughter’s baby photos, is a signed copy of “To Kill a Mockingbird.” It was given to me by my best friend, Traci, more than 20 years ago, as a birthday gift. She bought it from her friend Jim Reed at Reed Books and Museum of Fond Memories in Birmingham. Traci is so much more than a friend since middle school: She is Baby Girl’s godmother and rescued us in more ways than one during my 20 years as a single mom.
The majority of books seen in the photo below are by Alabama authors and many are signed. A few others are signed editions by authors from outside of Alabama (such as Wil’s copy of “A Man Called Ove” and my book signed by Dorothea Benton Frank.)
Some are books by lesser-known writers who sent us copies and they, of course, are just as valuable to us as those with big names. The authors include, some of whom we now know personally, are: Harper Lee, Fannie Flagg, Rick Bragg, Charles Ghigna (aka Father Goose), Mark Childress, Winston Groom, Homer Hickam, Rheta Grimsley Johnson (who is not from Alabama but went to Auburn and lived in Monroeville for a time), Kathryn Tucker Windham, Daniel Wallace, Ace Atkins, Richard McCrimmon, John Mantooth (and his alter-ego Hank Early), Nancy Kincaid, Michael McDowell, Watt Key, Tim Hollis, Sonny Brewer, Tobias Wolff, Truman Capote (not born, but raised, in Alabama), Marie Rudisill, Gina Phillips, Anne Rivers Siddons (born in Georgia but attended Auburn) and so many more.
I also own books by Madison Jones, whose name is not as well known popularly, but who was quite a respected author. He wrote “An Exile,” which was made into the 1970 film “I Walk the Line” with Tuesday Weld and Gregory Peck, and about 10 other Southern novels. He was born in Nashville but he later became Writer in Residence at Auburn, where I was lucky enough to study with him in 1985 during his last year before retirement.
These books are so beloved. A few others that are not by Alabama authors or signed include favorites from my childhood: “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn,” “Rebecca,” several Nancy Drews and my mother’s collection of “Anne of Green Gables.” In the lower righthand corner of the photo above, you can see the beginning of oru library’s children’s section, including some Raggedy Ann books. Some young adult books I adore and saved copies of are: “Summer of the Swans,” “Missing May,” “A Little Princess,” and one I had to track down from my childhood called “Magic Elizabeth.”
We also, as many of you may have figured, have a large section of horror and ghost stories.
Below is a photo of the section of books written by Sweetums and/or me (we’ve written two together) and a couple of books we contributed to (such as “Weird U.S. 2”). There are multiple copies of some titles because we have them in hardcover and softcover or use them in our speaking engagements. You can see a list of books here.
Check out past posts about our collections:
Our odd travels collection includes bricks from the 1800s that were part of ‘haunted’ insane asylums