Enjoying books about Alabama

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 30, 2006

My friend and former co-worker Bob Morgan sent me a copy of his recently published book this week.

Titled, “The No,” the book is a horror/suspense tale about a kudzu monster.

That’s right – a kudzu monster – and where else can the book be set but in Alabama?

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It’s a real page-turner, and I plan to write a review.

But reading Bob’s book got me thinking about other books about or set in Alabama.

The first one that comes to my mind is the one everyone probably first considers, “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

The book, by Harper Lee, is set in the fictional Alabama town of Maycomb.

“The Bad Seed,” a thriller by William March, is about a child serial killer. Published in 1954, the book – like “To Kill a Mockingbird” – was made into a film.

Another popular book set in our state is “Forrest Gump” by Winston Groom. The movie starring Tom Hanks made “Forrest Gump” and Bubba Gump Shrimp household names.

Groom set his book in a town called Greenbow, Ala., and the character of Bubba Blue was from Bayou La Batre.

There’s actually been quite a few books about Alabama that have been turned into movies.

“Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe” by Fannie Flagg was another, this one set in Whistle Stop, Ala.

Then there’s “Crazy in Alabama” by Mark Childress, which became a movie starring Melanie Griffith and directed by her husband Antonio Banderas.

“Crazy in Alabama,” set in Pigeon Creek, Ala., was a nutty book, to be sure.

But my favorite book by Mark Childress didn’t get made into a movie. It’s called “V for Victor,” and is set along the Mobile Bay during World War II.

In the book, 16-year-old Victor wants to follow his brother’s footsteps and join the Navy, but instead he must watch after an elderly relative who lives on an island in the Mobile Bay. Victor ends up having an adventure of his own as a Nazi submarine ends up making its way into his territory.

“Big Fish” by Daniel Wallace is probably the most recently published book about Alabama that was made into a movie.

Set in Ashland, Ala., “Big Fish” follows the adventures of Edward Bloom, whose life is the stuff legends are made of.

(Wallace’s newest book, “Watermelon King,” is also set in Ashland.)

As for Bob’s book, it’s the only one I know of about a kudzu monster. For that matter, there doesn’t really seem to be a lot of books set in Alabama that are in the horror/monster genre.

An exception, I suppose, could be Kathryn Tucker Windham’s books about Alabama ghosts, which include

“13 Alabama Ghosts and Jeffrey.

I’m sure I left someone’s favorite off the list, and will probably think of others later that I wish I’d included.

All in all, Alabama literature is well represented at the movies, and Alabama is well represented on the written page.

Tammy Leytham is the editor of The Selma Times-Journal.