Saturday, July 17, 2010

Books, and other means of transportation

Some people find it strange that The Clouds Roll Away is dedicated to Richmond. 
Yes, the city.

But the book is my Valentine.

It's a love letter to the city that opened its arms to a stranger, and nurtured a writer with its lyrical, complicated and wonderful people.

In Richmond, I fell in love with the South.

This is why I never miss an issue of the Southeastern Literary Tourism Initiative, or SELTI.

Conceived by Patrick Miller (more on him in the next blog post), SELTI features Southern books and their places. The book's setting, or where the author lives. A recent feature on Monroeville, Alabama -- home of Harper Lee, author of To Kill A Mockingbird -- felt as if I was walking its streets. 

This month, SELTI features Richmond and The Clouds Roll Away. If you've wanted to know more about the Capital of the Confederacy, particularly the plantations along the James River, do not miss this dynamite travelogue. Patrick also included excerpts from the novel -- along with a very nice review -- tying the location to the fiction.  

And, in some further undeserved bout of blessings, the photos are by my all-time favorite photographer Dean Hoffmeyer. Dean and I worked together at the Richmond Times-Dispatch, where I begged him to take pictures for my feature stories. Begged, groveled, showered him with chocolate. Whatever it took. Dean's photos continue to hang in my office, like windows to the human soul. 

One last thing: Be sure to subscribe to the SELTI blog.  

It's the next best thing to living in the South.