Monday, November 8, 2010

Joshilyn Jackson: The Sacred Shelves

All the books on the pictured shelves below have three things in common.

1) I greatly admire the writing.

2) I have met authors of these books, and they all turned out to be kind and smart and warm, instead of only brilliant.

3) This particular book has been signed and personalized.

This month, we are writing about the authors who have influenced us, and these shelves hold the books of my heroes. These are the writers I admire (and in some cases, love) both personally and professionally. Some of my greatest literary loves do not appear *coughHavenKimmelcough* simply because I have never met them, or if I have, I didn’t have a copy of one of their books handy, and may I just say, *foul language redacted* about that, and hope that I may be better prepared next time.

The only writer on these shelves I never have met in the flesh is Vonda N. McIntyre. But I wrote her a rabid, weepy fangrrrrrl letter when I was about ten years old, telling her all my little dreams and scrubby feelings and ridiculous hopes about someday being JUST LIKE HER. And she wrote me back a really for true note in blue ink, by hand. MAD props to her. I ordered signed, personalized books off her website, and she is on that shelf forever.

I don’t read the books on this shelf; I have reading copies of most of them on the big shelves in the basement. I pick them up sometimes, on low days, and read the inscriptions. Here are some of the things they say. I’ll skop the nice stuff and go for the weird, and so I better not tell you who said what or what the context was, lest I lose friends. *grin*

“For Joshilyn, with whom I’ve argued the Jesus and the etc.”

“Never eat anything bigger than your head”

“Oh my dear! Oh Joshilyn! Oh Tulip! We must quite soon get drunk as little goats together!”

“Watch out for the cannibalistic shadow people”

“I would never admit it, nor would I put it in writing, but you may be my favorite person in all of Georgia, including Jimmy Carter.”

“Thank you for being my wallpaper.”

“While I write this, your own son is talk talk talking to me...”

“I do so enjoy our little rendevouses”

“Saint Flannery!!!!!”

“Dear Joshilyn with a silent H, I am sorry for all the cuss words in this book”

“I’m so glad you didn’t throw up on me....”

“*unreadable garble of letters* (That was illegible, wasn’t it? The last word is GEM)”

Who is on your shelf, be it real or imaginary? Who would you most like to have there?

New York Times Bestselling novelist Joshilyn Jackson lives in Georgia with her husband, their two children, and way too many feckless animals. Her debut, gods in Alabama, won SIBA's 2005 Novel of the year Award and was a #1 BookSense pick. Jackson won Georgia Author of the Year for her second novel, Between, Georgia, which also a #1 BookSense pick, making Jackson the first author in BookSense history to receive #1 status in back to back years. Her third novel, The Girl Who Stopped Swimming, was a Break Out book at Target and has been shortlisted for the Townsend Prize for Fiction. All three books were chosen for the Books-A-Million Book Club.
Her latest, Backseat Saints (June, 2010), tells the story of Rose Mae Lolley, a fierce, tiny ball of war wounds who was a minor character in gods in Alabama. Her life changes dramatically when she meets an airport gypsy who shares her past and knows her future. The gypsy's dire prediction: Ro's handsome, violent husband is going to kill her - unless she kills him first...


Kathy L. Patrick said...

Woo, so glad that post posted and the big share of books! You are just so clever, it tickles me everytime I read your posts. You always surprise me and I thought nothing could surprise me anymore as much as I read. And last book cover really caught my eye, you know, being a hairdreser and all. Powerful cover to say the least!!!!

River Jordan said...

I send folks to your bloggiest blog all the time. Just received the Collected Letters of Saint Flannery in the mail yesterday. And was just thinking today of my favorite top shelf books of all time. We seem to always be swimming in the same waters. Yes, all that crazy good sloppy stuff.

Thanks for keeping it real always.


Susan Cushman said...

As usual, terrific, entertaining post! Can't believe you've never met Haven Kimmel! You're the one who "introduced" me to her and I've devoured all her books and was thrilled to meet her at Square Books in Oxford a couple of years ago. She's on my shelves (the ones reserved, as you said, for authors I've read and met and received autographed books from) along with YOU, Mary Karr, Cassandra King Conroy, Pat Conroy, River Jordan, Neil White, Scott Morris, David McGee, Jere Hoar, Lee Gutkind, Dinty Moore, Nicole Seitz, Kim Michelle Richardson, Eudora Welty, Sonny Brewer, Rick Bragg, Beth Ann Fennelly, Tom Franklin, Elizabeth Berg, and more, including some of the authors here at A Good Blog. (I am blessed to travel to author's readings frequently.) Who would I like to add? Authors I've read and admire but haven't met in person: Harper Lee (like that's going to happen), Anne Lamott, Joan Didion. I'm sure there are more, especially in the South where we have such a rich literary heritage!

dubuas said...

I suddenly feel a little like the 10-year-old you who wrote the gushing fan letter. I just bought all of your books(unfortunately, none of them signed, a situation that I hope to someday remedy)and plan to begin reading this afternoon. I'm beginning my first semester MFA at VCFA next month, and I received an email that you are on the faculty this semester. Just when I think I can't possibly be more blessed!! I found your blog via Susan Cushman's, with whom I've become acquainted because I'd planned to attend the CNF Conference that she is cohosting in Oxford, MS, this week. I'm unable to attend, but I'm continuing to correspond and reading her blog, and here I am. Is it really coincidence? I doubt it.

Augusta Scattergood said...

Now that I've put my eyes out trying to read the titles, I'll hope a few commenters keep popping in to let me know what ALL those books are.
Thanks for this!