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Current favorites of Southern indie booksellers. [FULL LIST]

Fiction

Signal Fires by Dani Shapiro

The story of family and how lives intersect over time, Signal Fires is a quiet portrait of neighbors who lived near a 500-year-old oak tree during a large chunk of their lives. How those in the two families live and people chose to intersect or not to, choose to acknowledge weakness or tragedy- or do not- as they move through lives stages and across the country are central to this novel.

Signal Fires by Dani Shapiro, (List Price: $28, Knopf, 9780593534724, October 2022)

Reviewed by Kimberly Daniels, The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, North Carolina

Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez

I loved the characters in this book especially Civil Townsend. She was my hero! I remember reading about the true story this book is based on and feeling what a tragedy that something like this could happen. This story brought to life the real-life trauma of the two young girls the story is based on. I loved the way Civil championed their cause, and I felt her pain when things would go sideways. I recommend reading this book to anyone who is interested in justice.

Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez, (List Price: $27.00, Penguin Random House, 9780593337691, April 2022)

Reviewed by Cheryl Lafaye Lee, 44th & 3rd Bookseller in Atlanta, Georgia

The Town of Babylon by Alejandro Varela

A full-hearted homecoming story of reckoning with the past as it hits you hard and fast all while trying to carve a way forward–when for so long it looked like the only way was straight. Bounces around the lives of late 30s queer Latino and his former classmates and family to map out the landscape of the suburbs and the inner lives America so often pushes aside. Astute, enraged, and charming as hell.

The Town of Babylon by Alejandro Varela, (List Price: $27, Astra House, 9781662601033, March 2022)

Reviewed by Luis Correa, Avid Bookshop in Athens, Georgia

Nonfiction

Boldly Go by William Shatner

I love William Shatner but for reasons other than his literary talents. Which he has! This memoir is adorable. He’s got a David Attenborough save the planet kind of vibe, with like, a grandpa who can’t use Zoom twist. You’ll read this in an afternoon. His incredulity and his sense of wonder is infectious, although there’s only so far the reader can go before they hit their head on the Successful Elderly White Man Door. A short, sweet read. He’s just so ridiculous and wonderful.

Boldly Go by William Shatner, Joshua Brandon, (List Price: $28, Atria Books, 9781668007327, October 2022)

Reviewed by Aimee Keeble, Main Street Books in Davidson, North Carolina

Alive at the End of the World by Saeed Jones

Alive at the End of the World might not save my life, but it’s perfect company here between the rock and the hard place. Saeed Jones’ poems mold my daily depressive spiral into a crystalline mobius strip, looping endlessly back around to how we are harmed and do harm as this planet slouches towards Bethlehem. By turns grievous and grieving, this collection is a much-needed snapshot of coping mid-apocalypse.

Alive at the End of the World by Saeed Jones, (List Price: $16.95, Coffee House Press, 9781566896511, October 2022)

Reviewed by Terrance Hudson, Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

All the Women in My Brain by Betty Gilpin

Hilarious and bittersweet, Betty Gilpin’s memoir about her life as an actress is a bit chaotic at times, but in a funny way. She writes as a very successful actress who also struggles with self-doubt and depression. The reader gets to go behind- the -scenes with Gilpin as she stars in various TV shows and movies, describing her work from a feminist perspective and as a veteran of the entertainment industry. Loved it!

All the Women in My Brain by Betty Gilpin, (List Price: $28.99, Flatiron Books, 9781250795786, September 2022)

Reviewed by Lisa Uotinen, Book No Further in Roanoke, Virginia

Children/YA

The Second Death of Edie and Violet Bond by Amanda Glaze

When I say I inhaled this book…Edie and Violet are twins. And mediums like their mother was. When they were forced between being institutionalized in an 1880s asylum and leaving in the dead of the night, they of course chose to run. And they joined a traveling Spiritualist show—a group of women who buck the oppressive treatment of females (which unfortunately we’re feeling again ??) by hiding their real talents (like oration, doctoring, etc) under the pretense of trances where they commune with spirits. The turn-of-the-century Spiritualism movement has always been a fascination of mine and the sister bond between Edie and Violet is wonderful. Sometimes I wanted to shake some sense into Edie when she treats Violet more like a little sister but of course that added to the suspense & tension. The romance between Edie and Laws was perfect. It didn’t take over the story nor read weird with the feminist vibes.

The Second Death of Edie and Violet Bond by Amanda Glaze, (List Price: $18.99, Union Square & Co., 9781454946786, October 2022)

Reviewed by Candice Conner, The Haunted Book Shop in Mobile, Alabama

I am Ruby Bridges by Ruby Bridges

Elementary school. Ruby tells her story, as she experienced it, when she was just six years old. Adapted for the youngest readers, this edition has beautiful illustrations that demonstrate Ruby’s words. There is a glossary to help children learn key terms. For older readers, the author and illustrator have included their own personal notes of what inspired this version. This is an excellent book to help encourage family discussions about America’s history of education. This is a children’s book. It is told from the eyes of a child. It is illustrated showing the world through a child’s eye. It is beautiful! I loved Ruby’s sass, especially when it came to her very old name. I loved her innocence and her spunk. She is, indeed, Ruby Bridges, the First!

I am Ruby Bridges by Ruby Bridges, (List Price: $18.99, Orchard Book, 9781338753882, September 2022)

Reviewed by Nicole McManus, My Sister’s Books in Pawley’s Island, South Carolina

If Your Babysitter Is a Bruja by Ana Siqueira

Super cute story that balances English and Spanish! Perfect for Halloween but really you can read this one year-round — witches are cool! And I’m always a fan of any picture book that requires you to rotate the book to see the words.

If Your Babysitter Is a Bruja by Ana Siqueira, (List Price: $18.99, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Reader, 9781534488748, August 2022)

Reviewed by Kate Storhoff, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

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