29. Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby –  Not my favorite Hornby, but still full of his signature quirk. Hornby leaves behind his usual 20- or 30-something boys in the city for an aging reclusive rock star, his biggest fan, and his biggest fan’s frustrated girlfriend. While parts of it frustrated me (the obnoxious fan character is, well, obnoxious), I enjoyed the story.

30. South of Broad by Pat Conroy – Apparently this was lesser books by good writers month. I loved Prince of Tides and several of Conroy’s other earlier works, but his past couple just haven’t been as good. I actually picked this book up, read the first two pages, and sat it down for a week because I was drowning in the saccharine ode to Charleston. Conroy’s one of those who sells enough books by being over the top that his editors will never rein him in. (Or perhaps they DO rein him in and he’s actually even MORE excessive? ::gasp::) He weaves in many of his usual elements (Charleston as central character, lead male with woman issues, dangerous figure that haunts the good guys…), and I suppose he’s successful at it. Just… ehh… When an author writes the same thing over and over again, eventually you stop reading even if you loved that thing the first few times.

31. Dixie Lullaby by Mark Kemp – This is a must read for fans of southern rock, but it’s also more. Kemp digs into his complex feelings about the South and its messy past (and present), making this as much a history of the author and southern society as of the music.  Yes, I know I’ve knocked other books for being unsure of their identity, but in my opinion Kemp balanced it well.   I’ve already waxed poetic a bit about this one when I wrote about my trip home because Kemp stirred up my own issues with my southern heritage.

(My June reading list is short, but just wait until you see July… I more than made up for it once I went on my unemployment vacation!)

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