Dr. Jim Kibler’s new book, ‘Faulkner the Southerner & the Continuity of Southern Letters,’ has taken me by storm and is teaching me much about Faulkner, but also about dozens of other Southern writers. Some are familiar, a few are not.
If I’d ever heard the name Havilah Babcock, 1898-1964, I sure don’t recall, but now two of his books have been ordered, read, and grace my shelves with the hope that some of my posterity or friends or strangers will one day read and enjoy them as much as I. He was a writer and poet as well as a sportsman whose main interests were quail-hunting and fishing, and who was born in Virginia, keeping house and property there throughout his life, while living in South Carolina for the years of his career.
The first book of Babcock's that Dr. Kibler mentioned and that I have now read was 'The Education of Pretty Boy,' first published in 1960, with his dedication reading, "This book is dedicated to the Bureau of Internal Revenue, with the hope that it will be of interest to them." Now Babcock was not only a humourous, quail-hunting, fishing man, but he supported his wife and his sporting habits by teaching English courses for almost 40 years at the University of South Carolina, and a doggone great teacher he evidently was from what I've read online.
'The Education of Pretty Boy' has a bit of a sad beginning..."
But it just gets better and better in the short 160 pages, with the heart-warming story taking place in a small town in the 1930s, interesting main characters, touches of whimsy, tales of outdoors Virginia, and a great little book for anybody who quail hunts, hunts fowl of any kind with dogs, grew up in a hunting family, likes to roam fields and woods with their dogs of any breed including mutts, makes their land desirable and inviting for quail and who loves hearing that bob white call in season, ever loved a dog, or just likes to read...this is your book!
I'm not sure whether this book is still in print. My copy of 'Pretty Boy' from Abebooks was a 1985 reprint, and I easily obtained 'The Best of Babcock,’ but I can't recall the source. At any rate, 'The Education of Pretty Boy' has my high recommendation.
Katie O'Neal is a Georgia native living in the Heart of Dixie. She is a Christian, a widow, a mother, and a grandmother. She was a homeschool mama in the 80s and 90s, and is currently a homeschool grandma. She is rabidly in love with her immediate family, her blood kin, and her Southern folk and their history, culture, and future. She has been a reader from childhood. She is an agrarian-minded homemaker, and more…but this’ll do for now.