Though it's been awhile since this blog has leapt into literary reviews (or literary references for that matter), I have just (finally!) completed my reading of "1001 Things Everyone Should Know About the South," published in 1996 by a subsidiary of Doubleday Press. My fellow UNC-Chapel Hill and Di-Phi colleague, John Shelton Reed, and his spouse, Dale Volberg Reed, wrote this very useful reference book some time back and it has remained, due to my own hectic life over the last number of years, partially consumed by me throughout that time. Over the course of the last two months I escaped to pore over 20 or 30 pages at a clip. If you haven't read it, then please give it a chance. My one wish regarding this work is that the authors update it because undoubtedly "the South" has been in the news more than ever over the last 20 years and there are assuredly quite a few additions to make to this encyclopedia.
Included already are listings such as BBQ (all types, if you don't know what I mean then you're not from either North Carolina or the South); Elvis; Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; Mahalia Jackson; Andrew Jackson; Moonpies and RC Cola; Pepsi-Cola and its rival, Coca-Cola; Duncan Hines; the War Between the States; religion; music; geography; grits; kudzu; and hundreds and hundreds more seminal events, people, places, and things that any self-respecting Southerner needs to know and know quite well.
"1001 Things ..." is a very good book, both a history and a reference book simultaneously. I give it a high recommendation.