'Polite Sex' by James Wilcox
Polite Sex
By James Wilcox

It was hard not to fill this list with books by James Wilcox. He writes about the South I know: the complicated, intelligent, educated, integrated, contemporary South. This novel centers on two friends, Emily and Clara, who leave Louisiana to come to New York. One gives up her dream and settles into a complacent marriage; the other continues to pursue her goals but suffers enormous adversity. They drift apart, then come back together in a way that still gives me goose bumps. One of the best parts of the book is when Emily's husband realizes "the truth is sexual, passionate, messy. It is the very opposite of infallible; it is vulnerable." That is James Wilcox. He is sexy and passionate and messy.