Travel Reading List: Novels Set in Georgia and the Carolinas

Prepare for your trip to the Carolinas and Georgia by brushing up on these American literary classics that just so happen to be set in those stalwart southern states.

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

Not exactly fiction but far from completely true, this modern crime classic definitely reads like a novel while remaining one of the unique travelogues of recent times.

Berendt, John. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. New York: Vintage, 1994.


God’s Little Acre

Scandalous in its time for its graphic sexuality, Caldwell’s best-selling 1933 novel chronicles socioeconomic decay in the mill towns of South Carolina and Georgia during the Great Depression.

Caldwell, Erskine. God’s Little Acre. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1995.

Tobacco Road book cover

Tobacco Road

Lurid and sensationalist, this portrayal of a shockingly dysfunctional rural Georgia family during the Depression paved the way for Deliverance.

Caldwell, Erskine. Tobacco Road. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1932.


The Lords of Discipline

For all practical purposes set at the Citadel, this novel takes you behind the scenes of the notoriously insular Charleston military college.

Conroy, Pat. The Lords of Discipline. New York: Bantam, 1985.


The Water Is Wide

Immortal account of Conroy’s time teaching African American children in a two-room schoolhouse on “Yamacraw” (actually Daufuskie) Island.

Conroy, Pat. The Water Is Wide. New York: Bantam, 1987.



Gripping and socially important tale of a North Georgia rafting expedition gone horribly awry.

Dickey, James. Deliverance. New York: Delta, 1970.


The Complete Tales of Uncle Remus

Atlanta folklorist Joel Chandler Harris broke new ground in oral history by compiling these African American folk stories.

Harris, Joel Chandler. The Complete Tales of Uncle Remus. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2002.


Shoeless Joe

Magical realist novel about a man who hears a voice telling him to “build it and they will come” and constructs a baseball diamond in an Iowa cornfield. Later adapted into the hit film Field of Dreams starring Kevin Costner and—with a totally out-of-place New York accent—Ray Liotta as Greenville, South Carolina, native “Shoeless” Joe Jackson.

Kinsella, W. P. Shoeless Joe. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1982.

Gone with the Wind book cover

Gone with the Wind

The Atlanta author’s immortal tale of Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler and one of the most popular books of all time.

Mitchell, Margaret. Gone with the Wind. New York: MacMillan, 1936.


Flannery O’Connor: Collected Works

A must-read volume for anyone wanting to understand the South and the Southern Gothic genre of literature.

O’Connor, Flannery. Flannery O’Connor: Collected Works. New York: Library of America, 1988.


The Gold Bug

Inspired by his stint there with the U.S. Army, the great American author set this classic short story on Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina, near Charleston.

Poe, Edgar Allan. The Gold Bug. London: Hesperus Press, 2007.

Related Travel Guide