The holidays are upon us. The Christmas spirit comes to life as the beautiful decorations adorn Seaside, shops prepare their holiday display windows and “Deck the Halls” plays on the radio.
Seaside’s famous bookstore, Sundog Books, is an ideal place for putting the happy in your holidays. We asked the staff at Sundog to recommend their favorite books of the season. Here are their picks:
“The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea” by Jack E. Davis
Seaside’s Escape to Create artist-residency program alumnus Jack E. Davis reminds us that amidst the ruin, beauty awaits its return, as the Gulf is, and has always been, an ongoing story. Sensitive to the imminent effects of climate change, and to the difficult task of rectifying grievous assaults of recent centuries, “The Gulf” suggests how a penetrating examination of a single region’s history can inform the country’s path ahead.
Davis is also the author of the award-winning “An Everglades Providence: Marjory Stoneman Douglas and the American Environmental Century,” a dual biography of America’s premier wetlands and the woman who led the movement to save it.
“Led Zeppelin” by Led Zeppelin
A great gift book, “Led Zeppelin” is the first and only official illustrated book ever to be produced in full collaboration with the members of the band. Celebrating 50 years since their formation, this definitive 400-page volume charts the group’s unparalleled musical career from the very first performance in a tiny club, to their performance at London’s O2 Arena, when 20 million fans broke the world record for highest demand for tickets for a single concert.
The book features more than 300 photographs—many seen here for the first time — of Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and John Bonham from photographers around the world, and photographs from the band members’ personal collections. The band is seen on and off stage, in candid moments and in the recording studio. Accompanying the photographs is rare and unseen artwork from the Led Zeppelin archives, and fascinating documents and images from the Atlantic Records vaults.
“Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens
For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life —until the unthinkable happens.
Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Karen Russell, “Where the Crawdads Sing” is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.
“South Toward Home: Adventures and Misadventures in My Native Land” by Julia Reed
In considering the pleasures and absurdities of her native culture, Julia Reed quotes another Southern writer, Willie Morris, who said, “It’s the juxtapositions that get you down here.” These juxtapositions are, for Julia, the soul of the South, and in her warmhearted and funny new book, “South Toward Home,” she chronicles her adventures through the highs and the lows of Southern life — taking us everywhere from dive bars and the Delta Hot Tamale Festival to an impromptu shindig on a Mississippi River sandbar and a coveted seat on a Mardi Gras float. She writes about the region’s music and food, its pesky critters and prodigious drinking habits, its inhabitants’ penchant for making their own fun — and, crucially, their gift for laughing at themselves.
With her distinctive voice and knowing eye, Reed also provides her take on the South’s more embarrassing characteristics from the politics of lust and the persistence of dry counties to the “seemingly bottomless propensity for committing a whole lot of craziness in the name of the Lord.” No matter what, she writes, “My fellow Southerners have brought me the greatest joy — on the page, over the airwaves, around the dinner table, at the bar or, hell, in the checkout line.” “South Toward Home,” with a foreword by Jon Meacham, is Julia Reed’s valentine to the place she knows and loves best.
“Whiskey in a Teacup: What Growing Up in the South Taught Me About Life, Love and Baking Biscuits” by Reese Witherspoon
Academy Award–winning actress, producer and entrepreneur Reese Witherspoon invites you into her world, where she infuses the Southern style, parties and traditions she loves with contemporary flair and charm.
Witherspoon’s grandmother Dorothea always said that a combination of beauty and strength made Southern women “whiskey in a teacup.” We may be delicate and ornamental on the outside, she said, but inside we’re strong and fiery.
Witherspoon’s Southern heritage informs her whole life, and she loves sharing the joys of Southern living with practically everyone she meets. She takes the South wherever she goes with bluegrass, big holiday parties, and plenty of Dorothea’s fried chicken. It’s reflected in how she entertains, decorates her home, and makes holidays special for her kids — not to mention how she talks, dances and does her hair (in these pages, you will learn Witherspoon’s fail-proof, only slightly insane hot-roller technique). Reese loves sharing Dorothea’s most delicious recipes as well as her favorite Southern traditions, from midnight barn parties to backyard bridal showers, magical Christmas mornings to rollicking honky-tonks.
It’s easy to bring a little bit of Reese’s world into your home, no
matter where you live. After all, there’s a Southern side to every place
in the world, right?
To browse our catalog, or let us help you find that special book. Visit our website at sundogbooks.com.