The books Southern indie booksellers are recommending to readers everywhere!

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Whorephobia by Lizzie Borden

A gorgeously done collection of all things stripping and sex work told by those who know it best. With stories told by 20-some contributors to this essay collection, the lessons and experiences recounted in this span decades. Focused first on the strip clubs that populated New York City in the late 80s and 90s, the switch to more modern accounts is refreshing and makes this a current and fantastically well-done anthology on pro-sex work.

Whorephobia by Lizzie Borden (List Price: $21.95, Seven Stories Press, 9781644212271, December 2022)

Reviewed by Grace Sullivan, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

The Rewind by Allison Winn Scotch

Meet Frankie and Ezra. They’re about to ‘Party Like It’s 1999,’ if they can remember what happened during the last 24 hours. Find out what happens when you mix exes at a wedding, throw in a little college shenanigans, and stir up a decade-old hatred. Filled with ’90s nostalgia (including dial-up, pay phones, the start of Google, and, yes, online dating), you won’t put this down simply because you’ll want to know what exactly Frankie and Ezra did that night. If you’re looking for a light romance to bring in 2023, here it is! (Only thing missing: A curated list of songs mentioned in the book.)

The Rewind by Allison Winn Scotch (List Price: $17, Berkley, 9780593546536, November 2022)

Reviewed by Jenny Gilroy, E. Shaver bookseller in Savannah, Georgia

Animal Life by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir

Olafdottir takes us to Iceland a few days before Christmas where a midwife, Domhildur, has just delivered her 1,922nd baby. She comes from a long line of midwives on her mother’s side and her father’s family work as undertakers. Her family deals with beginnings and endings, life and death, and sunlight and darkness. “I have come to the conclusion that the one who calls himself the master of all creatures is in fact the most vulnerable of all animals…the most fragile of the fragile on the planet.” These words, written by Domhildur’s great-aunt, are discovered in some manuscripts left in a closet after her death. Domhildur reads her great-aunt’s reflections on humans, life, and loves, while a storm is moving into Reykjavik. Will the prediction in these pages come to be reality? Will mankind be “the most short-lived species on earth”?

Animal Life by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir (List Price: $17, Grove Press, Black Cat, 9780802160164, December 2022)

Reviewed by Nancy Pierce, Bookmiser in Marietta, Georgia

How We Say I Love You by Nicole Chen

How We Say I Love You reminds readers there are many ways to show love in your family. The story follows an Asian American girl through a day with her family, who show their love through actions like packing a homemade lunch or doing their best at school. This book is a beautiful way to talk about love and families with even the youngest of readers.

How We Say I Love You by Nicole Chen (List Price: $18.99, Knopf Books for Young Readers, 9780593428399, December 2022)

Reviewed by Beth Seufer Buss, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

The Midwife’s Secret by Emily Gunnis

A wonderfully written book with an original idea. Weaving together 3 main storylines- you get into the intricacies of what an impact made long ago can do to a family, and what it can do to generations of a small town. The mirroring of the disappearances almost 60 years apart really sold me on the story. A great page-turner for those that love small-town hidden secrets set in the UK.

The Midwife’s Secret by Emily Gunnis (List Price: $12.99, Headline, 9781472272058, December 2022)

Reviewed by Olivia Meletes-Morris, Litchfield Books in Pawleys Island , South Carolina

Grocery Shopping with My Mother by Kevin Powell

This will inspire sobbing and a phone call to your mama. Deeply accessible, beautiful work.

Grocery Shopping with My Mother by Kevin Powell (List Price: $24, Soft Skull, 9781593767433, December 2022)

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

Seoulmates by Susan Lee

Seoulmates is a fun young adult romance sprinkled with k-pop and k-drama references. Susan Lee gave me a glimpse into a Korean American home through this tender love story between two childhood friends who have grown up. A friends to enemies to lovers story, I couldn’t put it down..

Seoulmates by Susan Lee (List Price: $18.99, Inkyard Press, 9781335915788, September 2022)

Reviewed by Rayna Nielsen, Blue Cypress Books in New Orleans, Louisiana

Hemlock Hollow by Culley Holderfield

Culley Holderfield writes poetically about the magical mountain hollow where we meet Caroline Mc Alister as she mourns her father and her marriage. A college professor, Caroline has just discovered that her deceased father has bequeathed her the family cabin—the cabin which has always haunted her. While restoring the old cabin she finds a century-old journal written by Carson Quinn and the mystery it reveals about the death of his brother haunts her too. This novel has so many facets: Leprechauns and Emerson and Darwin and Socrates and religion and love and death are all found in its pages. The main character is an archaeoastronomy professor and is studying the Grand Octal! This is the most fascinating novel I have read all year and is perfect for a bookclub discussion. I can’t recommend it highly enough as a page-turner that will stay with and haunt the reader.

Hemlock Hollow by Culley Holderfield (List Price: $18.95, Regal House Publishing, 9781646032860, December 2022)

Reviewed by Nancy Pierce, Bookmiser in Marietta, Georgia

A Pinch of Love by Barry Timms

A Pinch of Love is an adorable picture book about spreading love and overcoming hard times through baking. With diverse characters, an emphasis on community, and a colorful quirky art style that is incredibly appealing, this tender book will be perfect to share with little loved ones with a love of baking (or baked goods)!

A Pinch of Love by Barry Timms (List Price: $18.99, Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, 9780711280199, December 2022)

Reviewed by Julia Lewis, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

Waxing On by Ralph Macchio

Whether you are a fan of the original 1984 Karate Kid or the 2018 Cobra Kai on Netflix, you will be well versed in this pop culture classic. Ralph Macchio takes you behind the scenes of both the original film and the new series in this new book. You will discover the magic of filmography, and dedication of the actors and directors that created some of the most iconic scenes in cinematic history. But the phenomena that is Karate Kid did not stop with the film, Ralph goes on the describe how his experience of the film and the fans that he interacts with have shaped and changed his life over the years, and helped create Cobra Kai. Waxing On is a nostalgic journey into a pop culture phenomenon that is so relevant to the human condition that it has thrived and adapted to the test of time in ways that makes it as relevant today as it did in 1984.

Waxing On by Ralph Macchio (List Price: $28, Dutton, 9780593185834, October 2022)

Reviewed by Gretchen Shuler, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina

The Passenger by Cormac McCarthy

I have never really felt like the target reader for Cormac McCarthy, but this one really spoke to me. Alternating perspectives between two siblings in the past and present, The Passenger is the story of Bobby Western, a deep sea diver overcome with grief by the death of his sister whom he carried romantic feelings for. Many chapters flesh out in a very dialogue-heavy interview style with an eccentric cast of characters, some more likable than others. Experts in quantum mechanics such as Dirac, Einstein, and Oppenheimer (who worked alongside Western’s father) take on roles as symbols, legacies, and even characters unto themselves. All the while, Western gets wrapped up in a conspiracy he doesn’t know the questions to let alone the answers. McCarthy writes beautifully of the alchemic fires of devotion and the beyond, and I suspect this is a novel I will be returning to throughout my life.

The Passenger by Cormac McCarthy (List Price: $30.00, Knopf, 9780307268990, October 2022)

Reviewed by Amanda Depperschmidt, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

A Consuming Fire by Laura E. Weymouth

I will automatically consume anything Laura Weymouth writes after this book, because WOW. Romance, adventure, intrigue, suspense, and a very cute dog: all that and more are found in A Consuming Fire, which showcases Weymouth’s ability to leave you hanging on the edge of your seat for 400 pages.

A Consuming Fire by Laura E. Weymouth (List Price: $19.99, Margaret K. McElderry Books, 9781665902700, November 2022)

Reviewed by Hallie Smith, Main Street Books in Davidson, North Carolina

Hooky Volume 2 by Míriam Bonastre Tur

Love love love this series! I still can’t wait to own all the volumes for my collection. Volume two expands the world even further and keeps up with its solid character development in such an engaging way!

Hooky Volume 2 by Míriam Bonastre Tur (List Price: $14.99, Clarion Books, 9780358693093, September 2022)

Reviewed by Lana Repic, E. Shaver bookseller in Savannah, Georgia

Ice! Poems About Polar Life by Douglas Florian

Brrrrfect poetry for the winter months. The poems contained in Ice! will warm the hearts of young readers with funny frozen antics of penguins, caribou, narwhals and more cold climate critters.

Ice! Poems About Polar Life by Douglas Florian (List Price: $8.99, Holiday House, 9780823452439, December 2022)

Reviewed by Angie Tally, The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, North Carolina

White Horse by Erika T. Wurth

Indigenous woman Kari James loves heavy metal, Stephan King novels, and her local bar. When her cousin unearths a bracelet that belonged to Kari’s mother, Kari is suddenly haunted by both her mother and a horrible entity. In order to rid herself of both spirits, Kari will have to face her past and unearth secrets about her family. This engrossing debut blends horror with mystery with a deft hand, and I look forward to what Wurth does next.

White Horse by Erika T. Wurth (List Price: $27.99, Flatiron Books, 9781250847652, November 2022)

Reviewed by Chelsea Stringfield, Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee

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