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February 26, 2013
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Southern Bound

A Gulf Coast Journalist on Books, Writers, and Literary Pilgrimages of the Heart

Southern Bound represents a running conversation on books, writers, and literary travel written for the Mobile Press-Register Books page from 1995 to 2011 by John S. Sledge. The collection includes more than one hundred of the best pieces culled from Sledge's total output of approximately seven hundred columns. Numerous classic authors are celebrated in these pages, including Homer, Plato, Gibbon, Melville, Proust, Conrad, Cather, and Steinbeck as well as modern writers such as Walter Edgar, Tom Franklin, and Eugene Walter.

While some of the essays are relatively straightforward book reviews, others present meditative and deeply personal perspectives on the author's literary experiences such as serving on the jury in the play version To Kill a Mockingbird; spending the night alone in a Jesuit college library's venerable stacks; rambling through funky New Orleans bookshops; talking to Square Books owner Richard Howorth while overlooking the Oxford, Mississippi courthouse; rereading Treasure Island on the shores of Mobile Bay; and remembering a beloved father's favorite books. Engaging and spirited, Southern Bound represents the critical art at its most accessible and will prove entertaining fare for anyone who loves the written word.


"John Sledge loves books, and in Southern Bound that feeling rolls along page after page, reminding us why we love them, too. He takes us through a career of writing about good books and great books, in great writing of his own, from Charles Portis in the great True Grit to the writer across Mobile Bay. But more than that, we see the great value in Sledge and writers like him, writers who take on the closed minds and the book burners. I cannot imagine a world without books, or without people like John Sledge, who help me find and appreciate the best of them, and in them."—Rick Bragg

"John Sledge's wonderful collection of essays is a literary labor of love by a man who loves and understands literature. A treasure to buy and a pleasure to keep for many years to come."—Winston Groom

"Southern Bound is a reader's and writer's delight, John Sledge's collection is a marvel of shrewd book commentary not to be missed. Spanning subjects from Mobile favorites to internationally recognized hotshots, Sledge is incredibly generous, always explaining how a book or author affected him. Because of this singular tone, the whole book has a feeling of freedom and exploration about it. Read!"—Helen Scully

"From the books we deign to cherish, we require several hours' entertainment, an enlightening discourse on subjects heretofore unknown, exposure to a pleasing turn of language, and at the heart of every encounter, unexpected insights on more perplexing mysteries we attempt to fathom every day. Southern Bound meets all these expectations in spades, and belongs in the library of every southern book lover."—Jim Fraiser, Alabama Writers' Forum

"Sledge strikes a fine balance between academic and approachable, while managing to be passionate but not treacle.—"—B. David Zarley, "The Sun News," May 2013.

9781611172362 : southern-bound-john-s-sledge
Electronic book text
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