Today is Mardi Gras, also known as Fat Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday, the traditional beginning of Lent. Right now in New Orleans, they are gearing up for the final festivities of the world’s most extravagant bacchanalian event. There are parties, bead necklaces in the traditional colors of purple, green and gold, masks, krewes, parades, toe-tapping Cajun/Zydeco music (I defy anybody to listen to it and NOT get up to dance), king cakes and a whole lot of craziness. Laissez les bon temps rouler! (“Let the good times roll!”)
In celebration of Mardi Gras, one of my favorite occasions, I’m paying tribute to some of my all-time favorite Southern writers. They have different genres, but all are well worth a read.
1. Nora Roberts (Maryland) — Nora Roberts can always be counted on to tell a good story with plenty of witty dialogue and great characters. And since she’s sold a tankerload of books, all of us fans can’t be wrong.
2. L.B. Taylor, Jr. (Virginia) — This man writes the ultimate ghost story and currently has nine volumes of “The Ghosts of Virginia” as well as other ghost story books. I like this author because he recounts true-life incidents and is not judgmental, but he lets you decide what to believe.
3. David Baldacci (Virginia) — My favorite book is The Camel Club, but Stone Cold is a close contender.
4. Barbara Michaels (Maryland) — Many of her mystery novels feature bold characters who are not shy about speaking their minds. Current favorites include Shattered Silk, Stitches in Time, Vanish with the Rose and House of Many Shadows. The perfect books to curl up with on a rainy day or a lazy weekend, along with a refreshing beverage and chocolate.
5. William Faulkner (Mississippi) — Can his short story A Rose for Emily BE any spookier?
Happy Mardi Gras, everybody. Now go out there and eat some king cake or pancakes today! And don’t forget to play this Zydeco Flames music to put you into the mood. (I love the bouncing parasol people in this video. Now that’s audience participation!)