Back in April, my old friend D.B. “Dukie” Kitchens called to inform me that I should soon expect in the mail an invitation to the inaugural Patriot Book Awards ceremony, to be held in Atlanta in late May. “What did I do to deserve this honor?” I asked.
“Nothing,” Dukie replied. “I got your name on the press list. It’s an all-expenses-paid, booze-provided weekend, with gorgeous book-rep babes galore, and your old pal, moi, to guide you through the publishing underworld.”
I protested that I really had no interest in book awards, since nothing I cared to read had won an award for decades. Besides, I said, “Atlanta makes me break out in existential hives.”
But Dukie was insistent. This is not your ordinary book award, he said. “This is a conservative books award.”
“Conservative!” I chortled. “What does that mean? Are the nominations certified by some Tea Party focus group?”
“Not quite,” said he, “but if you’d occasionally pull your Luddite nose out of the Dark Ages, you’d know all about this. FOX News has been pumping it up for weeks.”
The offer began to sound tempting. I hadn’t been out of the Lowcountry for a coon’s age; a bourbon-drenched...