Alabama Bookstores

This Is Salvaged by Vauhini Vara

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

The Road to the City by Natalia Ginzburg

Like all of Natalia Ginzburg’s excellent works, The Road to the City feels like something so fresh, tender, and intimate, you can barely breathe until it’s done and can barely believe it could ever be over.

The Road to the City by Natalia Ginzburg, (List Price: 17.95, New Directions, 9780811234757, July 2023)

Reviewed by Emily Tarr, Emily Tarr, Thank You Books in Birmingham, Alabama

Sunshine Nails by Mai Nguyen

Jessica Tran returns home from LA after a bad breakup hoping to get back on her feet, but things are just as crazy at home: her parents’ nail salon is facing competition from an Instagram-worthy gentrified salon across the street. All five Tran family members — Jessica, her workaholic brother, her immigrant parents, and recently-arrived cousin — get POV chapters as they try to figure out what’s next and how to keep Sunshine Nails afloat. With a light tone, stylized characters, and page-turning short chapters that read faster than quick-dry polish can set, Sunshine Nails is a fun read, even if the ending feels a little rushed and smudged.

Sunshine Nails by Mai Nguyen, (List Price: 26.99, Atria Books, 9781668010495, July 2023)

Reviewed by Melanie, The Snail on the Wall in Huntsville, Alabama

Of Women and Salt by Gabriela Garcia

In this story that spans five generations of women in Cuba, Texas and Florida, you come away with a rather complex picture of immigration plights and political and social pressures. The recurring theme is a book—an aptly named book— that unites the women in a beautifully written, heart-wrenching story. It reminds us that every woman is created with multiple layers whether she knows it or not.

Of Women and Salt by Gabriela Garcia (List Price: $26.99, Flatiron Books, 9781250776686, March 2021)

Reviewed by Easty Lambert-Brown, Ernest & Hadley Booksellers in Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Heaven by Mieko Kawakami

How are two Japanese 14-year-olds to deal with continuous bullying by their classmates and still have the presence of mind to genuinely care about others and question their place in their community? This is more than a story about bullying—it delves into the raw and moral relationships that most people don’t experience until they are adults. Beautiful to read, thoughtful in intent, and worthy of remembering.

Heaven by Mieko Kawakami, Sam Bett (Trans.) (List Price: $23.00, Europa Editions, 9781609456214, May 2021)

Reviewed by Easty Lambert-Brown, Ernest & Hadley Booksellers in Savannah, Georgia

Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

I have always been fascinated with the history of the Dust Bowl and the Depression and Hannah brings it all alive. Confronted with the effects of man’s assault on the environment in the Texas Panhandle, the main character, Elsa Martinelli, has to weigh the decision of staying where she was raised and potentially starving or moving to California for a better life. The result is a constant affront on the lives of Elsa and her two children in a world that has little tolerance for outsiders and the afflicted. It is a story “of time and land and the indomitable will a a people.”

The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah (List Price: $28.99, St. Martin’s Press, 9781250178602, February, 2021)

Reviewed by Easty Lambert-Brown, Ernest & Hadley Books in Tuscaloosa, Alabama

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