Once the holidays arrive and the lists have been double and triple checked and everything is wrapped, most of us can finally take a deep breath, enjoy time with family and friends and set aside time for ourselves. Whether you are traveling or staying at home this season, having a good read is a must for some much needed downtime.

From University of Virginia alum to local authors, our area can be credited with a plethora of writing talent. Here are some fantastic local reads to enjoy this season:

  • Cakewalk by Rita Mae Brown; Fiction
    • Cakewalk, set in Brown’s Runnymede, follows two sisters who are coming of age in the 1920s in a small southern town on the Mason-Dixon line. Brown, who lives in Afton, Virginia, is well known for her animal mystery series—Sneaky Pie Brown and Sister Jane. Learn more.
  • Collected Poems: 1974–2004 by Rita Dove; Poetry
    • This powerful collection of poetry by Poet Laureate, Pulitzer Prize Winner and University of Virginia Professor Rita Dove is a must-read and a must-have for any library. Learn more.
  • Fever by Mary Beth Keane; Historical Fiction
    • This 2013 book written by a UVA alumna explores the life of Mary Mallon, also known as “Typhoid Mary.” This book is set to be adapted for a BBC American and Annapurna Television limited series with Elisabeth Moss playing Mary. Learn more. (Photo courtesy of Simon & Schuster)
  • The Rooster Bar by John Grisham; Fiction
    • This new legal thriller by Charlottesville’s John Grisham follows law students who discover they are caught in a student loan/law school scam. You can find other works by John Grisham, such as Camino Island, Rogue Lawyer and The Whistler in the “Literature Notes” section of the Wine & Country Life books. (Photo courtesy of Doubleday)

Be sure to follow the Culture Notes section in each issue of Wine & Country Life for more great local book recommendations.  ~



Wine & Country celebrates elevated living in Virginia Wine Country. Wine & Country Life, a semi-annual life & style magazine, and Wine & Country Weddings, an annual art book celebrating elegant Virginia weddings, are complemented by the Wine & Country Shop in Ivy, VA—a beautiful lifestyle boutique that brings the pages of the magazines to life. The Shop features over 40 Virginia artisans with everything from tailgating essentials and Dubarry attire to locally made foods and award-winning Virginia wines and craft beverages for your next event. Wine & Country covers the grape-growing foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains from Lynchburg to Leesburg, including points in between like Charlottesville and Middleburg. Ivy Life & Style Media also creates other projects, including CharlottesvilleFamily.com, a collection of local resources including a popular calendar of events, family services guides and features on education, health and family day trips for parents and teachers in Charlottesville, as well as the CharlottesvilleWelcomeBook.com a guide to resources for Charlottesville tourists and newcomers.