Alabama Bookshelf

Alabama Living Magazine

In this periodic feature, we highlight books either about Alabama people or events, or written by Alabama authors. Summaries are not reviews or endorsements. We also occasionally highlight book-related events. Email submissions to Due to the volume of submissions, we are unable to feature all the books we receive.

Underground Birmingham: Images From Birmingham’s Iron Ore Mines, by Jeff E. Newman and Josh Box, Arcadia Publishing and the History Press, $23.99 (photographic history) The book takes readers on a pictorial journey deep into the cold, dark and long abandoned mining tunnels that are now buried and hiding along the ridge of Birmingham’s Red Mountain. See the rooms and passages where miners of all backgrounds spent their lives, literally carving out a living for their families and to make their city successful.

Shaking the Gates of Hell: A Search for Family and Truth in the Wake of the Civil Rights Revolution, by John Archibald, Knopf, publisher, $26.95 (religion/memoir) Pulitzer Prize winner Archibald grew up watching his Methodist preacher father as a moral authority, a moderate and moderating force amid the racial turbulence of the 1960s. But was that enough? Can a good person remain silent in the face of discrimination and horror, and still be a good person? The columnist writes of this difficult, at times uncomfortable, reckoning with his past. The book will be released March 9, 2021.

Surviving Savannah, by Patti Callahan, Berkley, publisher, $23.40 (historical fiction) This dual timeline novel centers around the sinking of the steamship Pulaski, known as the “Titanic of the South.” Alternating between modern day and 1838 when the ship sank, Callahan weaves an intricate and evocative tale bringing to life two very special parts of Savannah — past and present — and asking questions about survival, sacrifice, loss, legacy, fate, and choice. The author lives part-time in Mountain Brook; the book will be released March 9, 2021.

The Incredible Winston Browne, by Sean Dietrich, Thomas Nelson, publisher, $26.99 (fiction) This latest work from “Sean of the South” reminds readers that sometimes the most extraordinary things in life come from ordinary people. The well-meaning Winston Browne finds romance, family and love in unexpected places. This feel-good book offers a rich and nostalgic tale about community, kindness, and the meaning of the everyday incredible. The book will be released March 2, 2021.

Let’s Eat Snails! By Barbara Barcellona Smith, illustrated by Karen Lewis, NewSouth Books, $18.95 (children) The book celebrates Italian-American culture through a story that introduces kids to its familial and culinary traditions. When Margie visits the Barcellona family home, she isn’t ready for what the Sicilian family is bringing to the table: snails! The book recognizes our differences and shows that what sets us apart also brings us together.

Live As If: A Teacher’s Love Story, by Frye Gaillard, Negative Capability Press, $21.99 (memoir) The author reflects on the life and work of his wife Nancy, who died of leukemia in 2018. Partly the memoir of a vibrant marriage, the book tells the story of Nancy’s work as a public school teacher, principal and professor during a time of education under siege. Gaillard is a journalist and author and is a writer in residence at the University of South Alabama.


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