The Southern Bookseller Review brings you half a dozen great books to add to your already teetering bedside stack.  Recommended by Southern indie booksellers, in the belief that there is a book for every reader.

Newsletter Archive


Looking to the past to understand the present.

Anyone who turned on a television over the last week would have been hard pressed to avoid seeing the news coverage of the riot in the Capitol.

The first question anyone asks after such an event is “how could this happen?” Journalists scrambled to understand and provide some context for the mobs of angry people breaking into the Capitol Building, and one of the historical precedents they found was The Wilmington Race Riot of 1898. Pictures of that event may be familiar they appeared on news stations and news website articles.

1898 Wilmington Race Riot

The Wilmington Race Riot, also known as the Wilmington Massacre and cited as the only successful coup d’etat in the history of the United States, was an armed insurrection by white supremacists that violently overthrew a duly elected government and drove almost a third of the black population of the city out of town. Buildings were burned, and hundreds of people were killed.

As it happens, this week’s Reader Meet Writer event features the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Zucchino, whose book about the 1898 insurrection, Wilmington’s Lie, has just been released in paperback.

Zucchino will be speaking this Thursday at 7 PM, EST. You can register via your local indie bookstore, or, if your store isn’t on the list, you can sign up here.

Here is what Rosemary at Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe in Asheville, NC has to say about Wilmington’s Lie:

Further reading about the 1898 Wilmington Race Riot:

The Marrow of Tradition by Charles Chestnut
Cape Fear Rising by Philip Gerard

In this issue:
Bookseller Buzz: Where the Wild Ladies Are by Aoko Matsuda
Reviews of The Yellow Wife by Sadeqa Johnson, The Beak Book by Robin Page, Better Luck Next Time by Julia Claiborne Johnson, The Friendly Vegan Cookbook by Michelle Cehn & Toni Okamoto, Into the Real by Z Brewer, and The House on Vesper Sands by Paraic O’Donnell

Click here to read more



What to read next.

A feminist Western? A thriller about motherhood? A novel that combines the best of poisons and mudlarking? Every season, southern booksellers choose a generous dozen or so of new and forthcoming books they are especially looking forward to convincing all their customers to read. The Winter 2021 Read This Next! list has just been announced, a selection of winter new releases generating extra excitement from Southern independent booksellers. Each of its fifteen titles will publish between January and March of 2021, and has received multiple high ratings and enthusiastic reviews from southern booksellers, marking them as hand-sell favorites for the forthcoming season. They reflect the wide range of reading tastes of booksellers from across the entire Southeast. Put one of these at the top of your TBR stack, because you will want to read these next!

In this issue: Bookseller Buzz: Spotlight on We Keep the Dead Close by Becky Cooper
Reviews of The Children’s Train by Viola Ardone, The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre by Robin Talley, The Narrowboat Summer by Anne Youngson, Black, White, and The Grey by Mashama Bailey & John O. Morisano, Consent by Annabel Lyon, and Outlawed by Anna North

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Re-envisioning Jane Eyre, and the writer’s dread of the second book.

Some stories take hold of us and refuse to let us go. Not satisfied with having read them, we rewrite them in a hundred variations and permutations, each in its own way a tribute to the original that has lodged itself within our hearts. Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre is such a book. Romance, mystery, Gothic ghost story, feminist morality tale, Jane Eyre is a story we never tire of re-telling.

The latest incarnation of Jane comes to us in Rachel Hawkins’ new novel, The Wife Upstairs. “A modern Jane Eyre set in Alabama? Sign me up!” says Amanda Gawthorpe of Page 158 Books in Wake Forest, North Carolina. “This was a fun read. A gripping, smart, and engaging retelling with enough nods to the original to make you feel smart.”

Jane Eyre fans have a chance to meet Rachel Hawkins online in the next edition of the Reader Meet Writer Author Series.

Also in this edition of SBR, read how Amiee Molloy overcame the dreaded “second book syndrome” that haunts every debut author.

In this issue: Bookseller Buzz:
Spotlight on Goodnight Beautiful by Amiee Molloy

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If you could change the past, would you?

Welcome to our second issue of The Southern Bookseller Review.  It is, oddly enough, the first issue to actually land in anybody’s inbox. (You can read the first issue here).

Oxford Exchange

The inspiration for SBR came from reading the many reviews, shelf talkers, and “staff picks” that booksellers post about their favorite books in their stores and newsletters, and on their websites. Many of these are also sent to the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance — the organization that publishes The Southern Bookseller Review. There are over 500 independent bookstores in the Southeast that are members of SIBA. In 2020 they wrote nearly 6000 reviews and recommendations of books they shared with their customers and colleagues.

SBR highlights reviews from bookstores all across the south– Kentucky to Florida, Louisiana to Virginia and all points between. It also demonstrates the wide range of books they read and love. Yes, Southerners love Southern literature. But they are readers, so they love all kinds of literature. The book in this week’s Bookseller Buzz is a collection of intertwined stories about time travel translated this year from the Japanese, that booksellers called “gorgeous” and “beautiful.”

In this issue: Bookseller Buzz:
Spotlight on Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

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Designed to showcase the beautiful breadth and range of literary and book culture in the South, the heart of SBR is in its book reviews from Southern independent booksellers. Independent booksellers put their reputations on the line when they recommend a book — their customers are not screen names or avatars, but neighbors and friends. Of the hundreds of books on their store shelves, these books are the ones booksellers have chosen to write about, to talk about and to put into the hands of those same neighbors and friends.

Featured Reviews: The Thirty Names of Night by Zeyn Joukhadar, The Good Girls by Claire Eliza Bartlett, Happily Ever Afters by Elise Bryant

Bookseller Buzz: Spotlight on Bryan Washington’s Memorial

Click here for this week’s full newsletter!

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