Queen of the Turtle Derby and Other Southern Phenomena collects a bevy of wise, witty, often hilarious essays by the inimitably charming, staunchly Southern Julia Reed. In classic Dixie storytelling fashion, Reed wends her way through the South from politics, religion, and women to weather, pestilence, guns, and what she calls drinking and other Southern pursuits with a rare blend of literary elegance and plainspoken humor. To hear Reed tell it, the South is another country. She builds an entertaining and persuasive case, using as examples everything from its unfathomable codes of conduct to its disciplined fashion sense. When a bemused Reed once commented on the cross-dressing get-ups of an upstanding community member, her austere grandfather said, He's been wearing them lately. Now come on. A friend of her aunt's merely said, I wonder where he gets his shoes. I can't ever find good-looking shoes in Nashville. Southern food, of course, is an entire world apart: gumbo, grits, greens, okra, chess pie, Lady Baltimore cake, and Frito chili pie make memorable appearances in Reed's stories, which will amuse, delight, and even explain a thing or two to baffed Yankees everywhere.