Books by Mississippi Writers 1996-2010



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Nonfiction by Willie Morris, Photographs by David Rae Morris University Press of Mississippi (Hardcover, $40.00, ISBN: 1578061938, 11/2000) The distinguished Mississippi writer Willie Morris (who died last year) was editor-in-chief of Harper's magazine in the 1960s, a period he wrote about in his fascinating memoir New York Days (1993). He was also the author, more recently, of a pair of sensitive pet books, My Dog Skip (1995) and Spit McGee (1999). Regardless of the time Morris spent away from Mississippi, it was a place that always remained in his heart. His last book, written in his characteristically limpid, lyrical prose, offers a heartfelt appreciation of his home state, a place often dismissed as poor and backward by "outlanders," Morris' term for non-Mississippians. This is not a defensive recitation of Mississippi's virtues nor is it a whitewash of its less-than-attractive features. First, Morris wants the reader to understand the state's beauty―"physically beautiful in the most fundamental and indwelling way, [in that] it never leaves you." Then, with both pride and understanding, he brings into sharp focus Mississippi's peculiar tensions and ambivalence and also its passions―"we are a singular people," he says of his native folk. The second half of the book is an album of full-color photographs taken by Morris' son, a professional photojournalist. These shots informally capture ordinary moments in the lives of Mississippians, from a young couple standing next to their truck with their new baby in their arms to a group of local citizens hanging out in front of the main store in a small town. Together, the text and the photographs showcase Mississippians doing what they do best―being themselves completely without artifice. ―Brad Hooper. Booklist. Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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