Though I don't always make time for it, I really do enjoy reading for fun. Mom gave me a Kindle a couple of Christmases ago, and I've been trying to use it faithfully to get more reading done. My most recent book completions have been cemetery related. The first, Love Cemetery: Unburying the Secret History of Slaves by China Galland, is a bit of a documentary type read. It's about a woman (the author) who tries to bring attention to and save African American cemeteries, specifically the cemetery called Love in Harrison County, Texas. It's shameful to admit, but this book sat on my to-read list for about four years!
A line from an official blurb about the book sums it up nicely: "...Galland's subsequent effort to help restore just one of these cemeteries — Love Cemetery — unearths a quintessential American story of prejudice, land theft, and environmental destruction, uncovering racial wounds that are slow to heal..." The author recruits a group of people that encompasses all races to help with the cleanup and getting the cemetery back on the map. It's not easy work, and by the end of the book, you realize there is still even more work to be done.
An interesting note about Love Cemetery is the land was provided by an African American woman, Della Love Walker, not a white plantation owner like one might expect. Della was a niece of the famous cowboy Deadwood Dick.
The second (recommended to me by a sweet facebook friend) is actually first in the "Graveyard Queen" series, entitled The Restorer by Amanda Stevens. This read is a work of fiction about a cemetery restorer that finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation in the well-known southern city of Charleston, South Carolina. There actually are mentions and descriptions of cemetery art and symbolism. The main character also has the fortune / misfortune of seeing ghosts. A good combination of criminal minds, local history (some fictional), and paranormal activity, all set in a southern cemetery, with a little bit of romantic tension thrown in for good measure. What more can you ask for? I enjoyed it and have already started on The Abandoned (currently free for Kindle at time of writing), a short prequal to the series. The second book, The Kingdom, will likely be my next read.
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