Abramson, Rudy, and Jean Haskell, eds. Encyclopedia of Appalachia. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2006. From language to food to history, this tome has 2,000 entries that will force readers to expand their conception of just what “Appalachia” is.
Montgomery, Michael, and Joseph Hall. Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2004. Have you ever wanted to know what “cumfluttered” means, or know the term for “a designated person in a mountain community who kept boards in order to construct a coffin at short notice”? This is the reference book for you.
Van West, Carroll, ed. The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture. Nashville: Tennessee Historical Society and Rutledge Hill Press, 1998. Perhaps the most valuable tome on Tennessee, this 1,200-page encyclopedia covers the people, places, events, and movements that defined Tennessee history and the culture of its people. Dip in frequently and you will be all the wiser.