Books were seemingly made for wintertime, all but designed to be enjoyed by the fire or underneath a blanket. But with the cozy weather also comes the holidays, that time of year that unlocks another bookish joy — the book as a gift. Whether treating a lifelong Mobilian living right down the road or an expatriate living across the country, you can’t go wrong with this local selection of fiction, nonfiction and children’s books when adding a little Bay flavor to someone’s bookshelf.
Support local authors and local bookstores while warming the heart of a loved one? Sounds like a win-win-win to us.
“The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop” by Fannie Flagg
Partially set in the same Southern town as her beloved novel “Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café,” Fannie Flagg’s latest book is the heartfelt tale of Bud Threadgoode. Returning to his nearly abandoned hometown of Whistle Stop, Alabama, where his mother and aunt once ran the famous Whistle Stop Café, Bud stumbles upon forgotten memories and familiar (and beloved) Flagg characters. As noted on the book jacket, “He sets off a series of events, both touching and inspiring, which change his life and the lives of his daughter and many others. Could these events all be just coincidences? Or something else? And can you go home again?”
“Where I Come From: Stories from the Deep South” by Rick Bragg
When it comes to Southern truisms, Rick Bragg has a knack for hitting the nail on the head. In this latest collection from the author of “All Over but the Shoutin’,” Bragg entertains and delights with his most-talked-about columns from Southern Living and Garden & Gun. “From his love of Tupperware to the decline of country music, from the legacy of Harper Lee to the metamorphosis of the pickup truck, the best way to kill fire ants, the unbridled excess of Fat Tuesday, and why any self-respecting Southern man worth his salt should carry a good knife, ‘Where I Come From’ is an ode to the stories and the history of the Deep South, written with tenderness, wit, and deep affection — a book that will be treasured by fans old and new.”
“Saving America’s Amazon” by Ben Raines
Few better understand the treasures contained in Alabama’s river systems — and the threats to this priceless resource — than journalist, filmmaker and aquatic explorer Ben Raines. In this stunningly illustrated tribute to the state’s natural heritage, Raines celebrates the “most diverse forests and aquatic systems in the nation,” pointing out that Alabama has more species per square mile than any other state. The flip side of this reality, however, is that Alabama also claims the nation’s most aquatic extinctions. With this book, suitable for the coffee table and the bedside table, Raines brings his award-winning style of environmental journalism to the issues in our own backyard, imploring Alabamians to save its natural heritage before it’s too late.
“Just Jones” by Andy Andrews
The Orange Beach-based novelist, public speaker and team-building consultant Andy Andrews catches readers up on the mysterious adventures of his popular character Jones, the Noticer. “Just Jones” is the third book in “The Noticer” series, each work a standalone fictional tale following the character of Jones, “a mysteriously elderly man with endless wisdom who always appears to show up exactly when he’s needed most.” Touching and hilarious, this new book from the New York Times bestselling author reminds readers why millions have been comforted and guided by the adventures of Jones and his guiding belief that the impossible can come true.
“The Patriots” by Winston Groom
The improbable tale of the United States, told through the lives and philosophies of Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams.
“Goodnight Mobile” by Abby Kennedy
Send your little one to bed with colorful visions of the Azalea City, thanks to this adorable children’s book for Mobile tots.
“The Summer House” by Lauren Denton
Following a devastating divorce, Lily Bishop stumbles into an unlikely job and friendship in the latest novel by the bestselling author of “The Hideaway.”
“The Story of Alabama in Fourteen Foods” by Emily Blejwas
From banana pudding to gumbo, explore the story of our state and city through the lens of the food we hold near and dear.
“One Peculiar Summer” by Margaret P. Cunningham
The fictional coming-of-age story of Franny Primm and the mystery spun during one Alabama summer.
“A History of Mobile in 22 Objects” by various contributors
Released in conjunction with the History Museum of Mobile exhibit, this photo-heavy compendium delves into the city’s history through the analysis of 22 artifacts by Mobile’s leading researchers.
“Bay Appetit” by Mobile Bay Magazine
This book of recipes from the pages of Mobile Bay Magazine is a must for the local foodie on your list.
“Exploding Hushpuppies” by Leslie Anne Tarabella
This second collection from the favorite local columnist is an uplifting look at raising children, Southern manners and why cars stop for funerals.
“USS Alabama” by Karyn Tunks
This illustrated story of the “Mighty A” offers young readers a glimpse into the history and significance of Mobile’s distinctive battleship. Also, don’t miss Tunks’s latest book, “JUBILEE!”
“The Gulf of Mexico: A Maritime History” by John Sledge
The maritime historian and MB contributor entertains and educates with this in-depth narrative of the Gulf of Mexico.