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Book lovers naturally are going to appreciate any type of book as long as the story is good. Many people will reread classics over and over again for entertainment, but also to spend time with the favorite characters in a novel. Southern stories are a perfect example of a genre that everyone should at least read one book. Here are some of the best classic reads of Southern tales.

The Complete Stories by Flannery O’Connor is essential for anybody that has a library in their home. This book is the perfect combination of Southern Gothic stories by a Georgia born master.  This book is a wonderful contribution to American fiction that contains 31 stories, including 12 that do not appear in the only other two story collections that this amazing author put together during her short lifetime. O’Connor published her first story in 1946 called “The Geranium” while she was working on her Master’s degree at the University of Iowa. Interestingly enough, this collection has her last story called “Judgement Day” that was sent to her publisher right before her death. It was a rewritten version of “The Geranium.” These stories together show off her impeccable talent and also give some of the most disturbing fiction of the 20th century.

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Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward is another book that is definitely recommended for reading. This book was a 2011 national award-winning novel set in Bois Sauvage, Mississippi. This book shows a poverty-stricken area with a hurricane brewing. One of the characters named Esch is 14 and pregnant. Her father is a hard drinker that is absent most of the time, therefore she is trying to stock food for the hurricane that is building over the Gulf of Mexico. In 12 days, this family goes through sacrifice without a mother trying to pull together against all odds. This is a highly recommended book that has amazing poetry and realness.

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A Streetcar Named Desire is a novel written by Tennessee Williams. This story is about Blanche DuBois being pushed over the edge by her sexy, but yet brutal brother-in-law. This is a 20th-century American play that still has the same power and impact from when it first appeared 57 years ago after its Broadway premiere. This play has an interesting dialogue with sensitive characters, and the violence is dramatic and raw.

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The Poisonwood Bible : A Novel is a story that is told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price. He is an evangelical Baptist that takes his family on a mission to Belgian Congo in 1959. They began carrying everything with them that they believe will be needed from home, but soon find out that seeds to Scripture can be transformed on African soil. This is a suspenseful story that shows one family’s tragic but yet remarkable reconstruction over the next three decades in postcolonial Africa.

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Hosting the Perfect Southern Party

Besides the fact that hosting a Southern party can be really fun, you also can have it be the perfect time to share stories and other interesting facts. To be the perfect Southern hostess for your party, there are a few things that you should always be prepared for. Naturally, any time that you are having a party – guests arrive hungry and ready to eat.

  • If you do hear the words from any of your guests that they are fine, they are simply being polite. You can let your guests graze around your home by setting out appetizers. Deviled eggs are always a hit, so are chips and salsa, also, you can do different types of dips with crackers. The point is to be on top of things and have food readily available for all of your guests.
  • You need to be ready with drinks as well.  It is a good idea to have cold bottled water as a number one option, but you can also have different types of soda, and you also can have a signature punch. If you have a party that is going to involve alcohol – you need to determine if it is going to be a BYOB or if you plan on having an open bar. Beware, though, an open bar means you are going to spend a great deal of money because guests hearing free alcohol means you are going to have some drinkers ready to party.
  • Always make sure there is plenty of seating. The perfect Southern hostess is going to have more than enough options for everyone to sit down. You don’t need to have everyone sit in the same area, but if you have seating at the dining room table, living room, kitchen, and even outside – that is going to be plenty of space.
  • Using actual dinnerware instead of plastic plates is also recommended. Now, you can use plastic plates and stemware for dessert, but it is classier to use your normal everyday plate where. If you have sterling silver dinnerware or China, you need to keep that stored away until Thanksgiving or Christmas.
  • The fun part about having a Southern party is the fact that you get to call your favorite florist and have some lovely floral arrangements delivered to your home. Even if you do not have time to call a florist, you can use your own flowers from your garden, or you can go to Walmart to see if they have any floral decorations ready to go. A simple ice bucket or a base with the flowers of your choice can really make a Southern party welcoming.
  • No matter what – at a Southern party, always serve cake! You can do a simple coffeecake or maybe even a cheesecake, but having a table with desserts can be very pleasing to your guests. You can do all sorts of different finger desserts with disposable plates and forks.

The last part of being the perfect Southern hostess is by thanking each of your guests for coming, but making a handwritten note to each guest is a really nice gesture expressing gratitude.

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