Good Reads

Some book recommendations. Y’all feel free to share your own…

Charles Martin


The NFL has been making headline news as of late, and not at all in a good way. Which is something Matthew “The Rocket” Rising knows all too well. One of the best quarterbacks in the history of college football, Matt’s world comes crashing down one night when he finds himself in handcuffs, being hauled off to prison. This story is full of twists and turns. I dropped in a friend this week who was totally caught up in the story and aggravated in that totally awesome good way that she had to work and couldn’t finish reading the book. Such a good, good story, she says, full of suspense. I agree.




I know garden season is over. But those of you who read Renea’s first book – In the Garden with Billy – will have a hankering for Farming Friends. We all need them. People with the wisdom and know how to help us build lives where things flourish and grow, friendships as well as the maters in our garden. I’ve met Billy and I absolutely adore him. I adore Renea, too. She is plain-spoken and quick-witted and tender-hearted. Y’all gonna wanna read this one.




I’ve been telling you all for months now that this is one of my favorites of the year. Maybe it’s because I’m married to a man who is a CASA volunteer. Maybe it’s because of the work I did as a reporter. Or perhaps because of the work I did on the Karly Sheehan story. But something about this story continues to haunt me. I love the sisterhood that Cash develops here. It’s out in  paperback now for all you book clubs. Go get you a copy.



I have known for years that Rick Bragg was at work on this story with Jerry Lee Lewis. I heard the tales of Bragg’s visits with Lewis. I wasn’t sure I envied him. I have a sense that interviewing Lewis would be like trying to heard pigs out of the slop bin. Everybody is going to get messy. But Bragg, oh, Bragg, he makes the words sing on a page. Nobody can tell a story like Rick Bragg. If you read his All Over But the Shouting, you know exactly what I mean. I love Rick Bragg the writer and Rick Bragg the man. Such a big heart, that fellow. How fortunate Lewis is to have Bragg to tell his story. Y’all order this book now.




Raymond Atkins is one of the most underrated writers I know. He is funny. He is smart-alecky. He is a fine, fine storyteller. Raymond is the guy who tells the best story around the campfire, every single time.  Sweetwater Blues is the Cantebury Tales for rednecks and convicts. If you’ve ever had a family member in prison, and especially if that person is your sibling, you need to read this story of an unlikely cast of characters and the adventures they take. Breaking Bad has nothing over Raymond Atkins. Be prepared for much laughter.







I’m headed out on a trip today. Flying off to Atlanta. The book I downloaded to read is Lois Breedlove’s Pledge of Allegiance. Lois and I attended Oregon State University together. She worked on the college newspaper and went on to a career in journalism that took her to Texas – don’t you know that was a shock for this Oregon-bred girl? – then to Alaska. Lois finally wound her way back to Oregon then Washington. She’s writing books now and this is her most recent. A story about a black football player who puts up a protest over the team’s confederate flag. A protest that results in his hanging from the end zone goal post. Lois does not shy away from conflict. For all you ebook readers, this is one worth checking out.




When most people think of the Civil War and women, they think of that other book written by that other southern woman, about the woman named Scarlett. Author Karen Abbott gives us an entirely different story, however. A story about the women who served undercover in the Civil War. I’ve been hearing great things about this book. Abbott knows how to tell a story. All you Civil War history buffs, all you women out there, this one’s for you.


What are you reading?

Karen Spears Zacharias

Author/Journalist/Educator. Gold Star Daughter.

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