The latest reviews and recommendations directly from your favorite Southern indie booksellers
READ THIS NOW!
Current favorites of Southern indie booksellers. [FULL LIST]
While We Were Dreaming sits well on the shelf ‘midst Trainspotting, Stand By Me (er, The Body) and Requiem for a Dream, those disturbing yet nostalgic tales of the rise and fall of childhood chums slumming down life’s yellower brick roads, but what makes this kaleidoscopic coming-of-age collection really stand (by me) out is the punch-in-the-gut pivotal point of turning 13 in East Berlin, 1989. The pre/post Wall stories run out of chronological order, so the cast of characters are at times 8-year-old Pioneer Scout cutups, any-agers getting out of prison for the Nth time, preteens caught on the wrong team’s side of a football riot or stealing their first (of many) case of beer, yet constantly bailing each other out of any messed up situation their messed up situations situate them in. The emotion varietals are all over the map, multifaceted and always well-played.
While We Were Dreaming by Clemens Meyer, (List Price: 20, Fitzcarraldo Editions, 9781804270288, September 2023)
Reviewed by Ian McCord, Avid Bookshop in Athens, Georgia
This collection feels so alive. It’s not just the memorable characters set spinning toward questionable ventures, it’s the sense of play and fun that pervades each story, each line. In never taking any moment too seriously, Vara accomplishes the serious work of truth-telling that actually feels true.
This Is Salvaged by Vauhini Vara, (List Price: $26.95, W. W. Norton & Company, 9780393541731, September 2023)
Reviewed by Kristen Iskandrian, Thank You Books in Birmingham, Alabama
Nathan Hill has done it again! Wellness is so good, I think my heart both broke and grew at the same time, while reading it. Hill’s ability to capture both the beauty and horror of life are astounding. There is so much more I could say about this book, but I don’t want to spoil the magic of it for other readers! "Behind curtains, this, he thinks, is what lovers do-they are alchemists and architects; they invent the world around them." Indeed, this is what lovers do. Thank you for this wonderful book!
Wellness by Nathan Hill, (List Price: 30, Knopf, 9780593536117, September 2023)
Reviewed by Jessica Osborne, E. Shaver Bookseller in Savannah, Georgia
Meg Kissinger begins with an intimate portrayal of a family silently battling mental illness and ends with an exploration of the mental health system that failed them. Her writing is both compassionate and thought provoking. She evokes sympathy for the plight of those with mental illness and anger at the failings of our mental health system.
While You Were Out by Meg Kissinger, (List Price: $30, Celadon Books, 9781250793775, September 2023)
Reviewed by Horton’s Books in Carrollton, Georgia
Beautifully evocative, Stowe’s memoir captures the emotional and physical pull of open waters in a visceral and compelling way. A book that can be read on many levels– memoir, a natural history guide, a call to care–with it’s strength in the intersection of all. If you love oceans, women explorers and artists, or just a book to challenge your mind and soul, this one is for you.
Move Like Water by Hannah Stowe, (List Price: 24.95, Tin House Books, 9781959030102, September 2023)
Reviewed by Jan Blodgett, Main Street Books in Davidson, North Carolina
Essential reading for all humans — insightful, brilliant, and emotive writing from Audre Lorde.
Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde, (List Price: $27, Penguin Classics, 9780143134442, February 2020)
Reviewed by RC Collman, Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina
The moon, as a "work in progress". Love this. A sweet and simple way to teach any young astronomer about the lunar body’s history, relationship to the sun, the earth, and us too. (All ages)
When Moon Became the Moon by Rob Hodgson, (List Price: 18.99, Rise x Penguin Workshop, 9780593523629, August 2023)
Reviewed by Jilleen Moore, Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi
I have loved Alanna since I was a middle schooler. Before I wrote this review, I literally had been pulling out my old dusty copies for my 14 year old goddaughter to read and I’m so thrilled to see that Tamora Pierce is being reprinted once again! Alanna’s story is timeless and portrays healthy relationships as well as bravery and excitement. I cannot wait to welcome a new wave of readers into Tamora Pierce’s world and hope the reprint of the Lioness Quartet is just the beginning!
Alanna by Tamora Pierce, (List Price: $12.99, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 9781665937412, September 2023)
Reviewed by Katlin Kerrison, Story on The Square in McDonough, Georgia
Incredibly earnest, honest account (in graphic novel form!) of a teenage theatre kid navigating the move to public high school from an unschooling/homeschool education in a smallish city in the Pacific NorthWest. I love Phoebe Wahl’s art and children’s books (she illustrates and writes), and I adored her peek into the boy-obsessed, music-loving, art-driven world she creates from her own teenage diaries. I laughed out loud, cringed, cried, and cheered. If you loved Judy Blume’s Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret, you’ll love Phoebe’s Diary.
Phoebe’s Diary by Phoebe Wahl, (List Price: 19.99, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 9780316363563, September 2023)
Reviewed by Adah Fitzgerald, Main Street Books in Davidson, North Carolina
READ THIS NEXT!
This month’s Southern indie bookseller favorites. [FULL LIST]
Read This Now! and Read This Next! powered by indie booksellers and Edelweiss+