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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Titular Gold in Southern Fiction

Today's Top Ten Tuesday is all about trends in book titles.  Remember the recent feminist uproar over popular mystery/thriller books using the term "girl" instead of "woman"?  That's what I'm talking about.  Titles are important and it's interesting to see how the trends change from year to year and vary from genre to genre.  The topic du jour, then, is Top Ten Most Frequently Used Words In [Insert Genre/Age Group] Titles

Before we get to my list, though, I encourage you to join in the fun.  Top Ten Tuesday really is the best time!  It's easy to participate—just hop on over to That Artsy Reader Girl, read a few guidelines, make your own list, then click around the book blogosphere and enjoy reading other people's lists.  It's a fantastic way to find new book blogs, give old favorites some love, and just enjoy chatting about our favorite subject.

Since I read so many mystery/thrillers, I started brainstorming a list for that genre.  With words like death, secrets, lies, kill, dark, etc. piling up, it quickly got too depressing!  So, I turned to a genre whose lighter nature is reflected in softer, more reflective titles that evoke memories of home, family, and summering by the seaside.  Without further ado, here's my list of Top Ten Most Frequently Used Words in Southern Fiction Titles:  

1.  Home/House—Southern novels are often about the draw of the land and how, in the end, it always lures its children home.  Think Falling Home and The House on Tradd Street, both by Karen White; Look Homeward, Angel by Thomas Wolfe; A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash; Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler; etc.

2.  Sweet—Must be something in that most iconic of Southern beverages ... Think Sweet Tea Tuesdays by Ashley Farley; Sweetwater Creek by Anne Rivers Siddons; Secrets Over Sweet Tea by Denise Hildreth Jones; Sweet Unrest by Lisa Maxwell; The Sweetness of Honey by Alison Kent; etc.

3.  Girl—Think Welcome to the World, Baby Girl by Fannie Flagg; The Summer Girls by Mary Alice Monroe; The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen; The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion by Fannie Flagg; etc.

4.  Glory—Southern pride being what it is, this one makes perfect sense.  Think The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder by Rebecca Wells; Glory Be by Augusta Scattergood; No Grits, No Glory by Elaine Calloway; etc. 

5.  Sister(s)—Think Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells; The Almost Sisters by Joshilyn Jackson; The Hurricane Sisters by Dorothea Benton Frank; Her Sister's Shoes by Ashley Farley; etc. 

6.  Beach/Tide/Island/Ocean/Sea—It's all about the sand and surf in the South, apparently!  Think The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy; Sea Change by Karen White; Folly Beach by Dorothea Benton Frank; The Beach House by Mary Alice Monroe; Up Island and Low Country by Anne Rivers Siddons; Beach Music by Pat Conroy; etc.

7.  Tree—I'm not sure what it is about trees in the South, but they appear to be titular gold.  Think Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns; The Beach Trees by Karen White; Peachtree Road by Anne Rivers Siddons; The Sweet Gum Tree by Katherine Allred; A Sound Among the Trees by Susan Meissner; etc.

8.  Garden—Think Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt; Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen; The Ladies of Garrison Gardens by Louise Shaffer; etc.

9.  Café—Everyone loves a warm, quirky café.  Think Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café by Fannie Flagg; The Ballad of the Sad Café and Other Stories by Carson McCullers; The Second Chance Café by Alison Kent; The Calamity Café by Gayle Leeson; etc.

10.  South/Southern—Naturally.  Think South of Broad by Pat Conroy; The Widow of the South by Robert Hicks; Southern Comfort by Fern Michaels; Bound South by Susan Rebecca White; Five Miles South of Peculiar by Angela Hunt; etc.

I'm sure I've missed tons of great Southern novels.  Do you have any to add to my list?  What genre did you pick for today's list?  I'd love to know.  Leave me a comment and I will gladly return the favor.

Happy TTT!


  1. I love your list! The softer side is much appreciated! :)

    Happy reading! 😊

    1. Right? I need more Southern fiction in my life, especially the light, funny ones.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. These lists really are fun and I like this week's a lot. Every post I've seen has found the word "girl" in a lot of our titles. Hmmmmmm

    1. Right? I really don't think it's meant to be offensive -- I think "girl" is just short, punchy, and easy to pair with other words for a catchy, alliterative title.

  3. Southern books, what a fun twist! I never thought of doing a regional theme!

    1. I adore Southern fiction, even though I've spent very little in-real-life time there. There's just something about this genre that speaks to me.

      Thanks for coming by!

  4. I love your take on the topic! I never would have thought of doing a regional theme. I've read a couple books set in the south and your list is perfect.

    1. I considered a few different genres, then decided Southern fiction would be unique and fun.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  5. This is such a fun topic. I love Southern fiction -- especially Karen White! It was nice to see one of her books featured here.

    1. Me, too! I've read several of White's books and have enjoyed them all.

      Thanks for coming by!

  6. This is such a lovely list, and it makes me want to read more Southern Fiction. Happy TTT!

    1. Right? I love Southern fiction for so many reasons!

      Thanks for stopping by, Julie!

  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  8. This might be the only TTT post this week about this genre and I love it! And these words really reflect Southern Fiction

    - Adri@LittleFox&Reads

    1. Thank you! I wanted to do something different and no, I haven't seen any other posts using the same genre. I'm glad you enjoyed the topic!

  9. Such an interesting and specific genre! I don’t read books like this myself but I see a lot of them around and I definitely agree with all of these!

    1. Don't you? You should! There's a lot to love about the genre. Some of the books are really light and frothy, others are more Gothic and creepy, and still others are family sagas that deal with real issues. Might be worth trying out!

  10. Oh, I adore your choice! Especially such a niche genre ... I love that the words alone are evocative of that Southern vibe! Great picks :)

    1. I know! Isn't it interesting how just the word choice reflects the themes/flavor of the genre?

      Thanks for stopping by!

  11. These are all so true and I'd never even thought about them! I don't think I even want to know how many books I have with these words in the title on my shelves!

    1. Ha ha. Right? Southern fiction for the win!

  12. I love so many of these titles!!! Ya Ya, Cold Sassy Tree, and South of Broad are 3 of my all time favorites! :)


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