Or, rather, it's usually my favorite time of year. This year, it's not. Because instead of cavorting through the streets of New Orleans--where it's sunny and 65 degrees--I'm here in Illinois trying to keep from crying homesick tears out of fear that they will literally freeze as they run down my cheeks.
Basically, all of my friends and family are going out in public looking like this:
|C & D getting ready for Krewe Delusion|
|My front yard: a colorless landscape of frozen horror|
My Mardi Gras-heightened homesickness has led me to reread a lot of my favorite books from and about Southern Louisiana. I've fallen in a whole new type of love with books from my childhood like Mike Artell's Petit Rouge: A Cajun Red Riding Hood (which you can read--and hear read--on YouTube) as well as Gumbo Ya-Ya: A Collection of Louisiana Folk Tales by Robert Tallant and Lyle Saxon. I've reread some of my favorite histories of the city (The World That Made New Orleans: From Spanish Silver to Congo Square by Ned Sublette and Frenchmen, Desire, Good Children: ... and Other Streets of New Orleans! by John Chase) and of the Carnival season (Lords of Misrule: Mardi Gras and the Politics of Race in New Orleans by James Gill). I've also gained a new appreciation for classics like The Grandissimes: A Story of Creole Life by George Washington Cable (available as a free Ebook thanks to Project Gutenberg!) and Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire as well as all things Kate Chopin.
Mona Lisa Saloy's Red Beans and Ricely Yours. Walker Percy's The Moviegoer. John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces. These are the books and writers keeping my New Orleanian heart warm through Illinois' winter.
So, I'm wondering: are there any books or authors that mean home for you? Are you a child of the prairie who reads Willa Cather when you find yourself missing Nebraska? Does reading Jamaica Kincaid help when you yearn for your Caribbean childhood? Does Sherman Alexie sate your hunger for Washington State (or, as my Washingtonian peers call it, God's Country)?
What do you read when you're missing Home?