The state of Alabama has had an unusual run of successful native writers and books about Alabama.

Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird”

Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood”

Helen Kellers’s “The Story of My Life”

Winston Groom’s “Forrest Gump”

Rick Bragg’s down-home Alabama stories, too many to list

Mark Childress’s “Crazy in Alabama”

Kathryn Tucker Windham’s ghost stories

Wayne Flynt’s Alabama history

Jimmy Buffett’s seagoing novels

Sean Dietrich, “Sean of the South.” Fiction and non-fiction.

As you plan your reading for 2024 (I'm confident you will intentionally plan yours after reading this), here are some suggestions of new books and not-yet-well-known books, all of them either about Alabama or by Alabama writers:

Non-fiction:

"What Would Momma Do?: Growing Up an 'Almost' Orphan in Fairhope" by Lila Ryals. Find it here.

Brian Kilmeade's "Teddy and Booker T." More info here.

Dr. Karl Stegall's "An Amazing Alabama." More info here. 

George Wallace, Jr.'s "George Wallace: From Segregation to Salvation." More info here.

Rev. Mike Ray's "Christ Without a Bride." Find it here.

Andalusia grandmother and Christian columnist, Jan White's "Everyday Faith for Daily Life." Find it here. 

"A Roaring 20's Flapper Who Broke Glass Ceilings." Winnie Wright in the early boomtown years of Opp, Alabama. Find it here.

"Manhunt: The Search for Vicky and Casey White" by retired Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton. Find it here.

Troy University dean Allen Mendenhall's 10 books. Full list here.

Opelika’s Lisa Ditchkoff. "The Girl with the Caterpillar Eyebrow: Survival, Resilience, Triumph." Find it here.

Richard Scrushy's "It Should Not Happen in America." Find it here

John Ed Mathison's "Why Am I Here?" Find it here.

To be published in 2024: A biography of long-time State Sen. Jabo Waggoner by political commentator Steve Flowers. Look out for news of release at a later date.

Fiction:

Robert Bailey's "The Professor" and eight other novels. I have deemed Huntsville attorney Robert Bailey "The John Grisham of Alabama." More info here.

Kelly Kimmer's "The German Wife," based on the life of Dr. Wernher von Braun and other German scientists who were moved to Huntsville's early space program after escaping from Hitler's V-2 rocket program. Find it here.

Mobile's Watt Key. "Alabama Moon" and nine other books so far. More info here,

Look for additions to this Alabama reading list at 1819 News. You can help expand the list of Alabama authors and books by e-mailing your suggestions here.

Jim Zeigler is a former Alabama Public Service Commissioner and State Auditor. You can reach him for comments at [email protected].

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