The books Southern indie booksellers are recommending to readers everywhere!

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Someday, Maybe by Onyi Nwabineli

This is such a beautifully written story. The characters are so wonderfully honest and real. You are truly immersed in Eve’s world, you feel her pain and confusion. This is the story of one woman’s journey through grief and guilt after her husband takes his own life. Written like a memoir, straight from Eve’s thoughts and feelings, we follow her through every up and down, her highs and her lows. This is a beautiful reminder about the struggles of mental illness and the hidden pain of those around us. This is a must read!

Someday, Maybe by Onyi Nwabineli, (List Price: $27.99, Graydon House, 9781525899805, September 2022)

Reviewed by Makayla Summers, Main Street Reads in Summerville, South Carolina

Ducks by Kate Beaton

As an avid fan of Kate Beaton since her days slinging snarky, hilarious comics in Hark, A Vagrant!, I have been waiting for her graphic memoir for years!! Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands is a stunningly beautiful story of Kate’s time working in the male-dominated Alberta oil industry to pay off her student loans, full of gorgeous, melancholy art and powerful emotions just under the surface. It’s an exceptional book about loneliness, labor, survival in a male-dominated world, and finding your way home.

Ducks by Kate Beaton, (List Price: $39.95, Drawn and Quarterly, 9781770462892, September 2022)

Reviewed by Rebecca Speas, One More Page Books in Arlington, Virginia

God’s Ex-Girlfriend by Gloria Beth Amodeo

I’m always interested in a good memoir about religious experience. God’s Ex-Girlfriend did not disappoint. Amodeo’s time with Cru (Campus Crusade for Christ) was full of revelations about how the movement can trap young people at their most vulnerable time: college and the days beyond. Amodeo seriously adopted the evangelical ideas, but found it wasn’t the support she needed to find her true self. A real eye-opener!

God’s Ex-Girlfriend by Gloria Beth Amodeo, (List Price: $18.95, Ig Publishing, 9781632461476, February 2023)

Reviewed by Linda Hodges, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina

Zig-Zag Boy by Tanya Frank

A harrowing memoir about a mother doing all she can to help her son as he navigates a psychiatric diagnosis. I could feel author Tanya Frank’s desperation and determination to help her child, and I was left feeling her frustration over our flawed mental healthcare system.

Zig-Zag Boy by Tanya Frank, (List Price: $28.95, W. W. Norton & Company, 9780393531886, February 2023)

Reviewed by Jessica Nock, Main Street Books in Davidson, North Carolina

Once Upon a Tome by Oliver Darkshire

I believe that Oliver Darkshire could turn any non-reader into a bibliophile. Darkshire writes a wonderfully hilarious and witty banter about the unique and rather unknown process of selling rare books. I was traveling to London in the spring anyways, but now Sotherean’s is first on the stop all thanks to Oliver.

Once Upon a Tome by Oliver Darkshire, (List Price: $27.95, W. W. Norton & Company, 9781324092070, March 2023)

Reviewed by Lena Malpeli, Oxford Exchange in Tampa, Florida

Fieldwork : A Forager’s Memoir by Iliana Regan

Fieldwork is an exploration into the author’s passion for the natural world and her chosen place in it. She delves into the beginning of her love for food and foraging as a child growing up on a homestead and she expands upon it in the unsteady present as a chef/restaurant owner during a global pandemic. In doing so, she views topics such as her addictions, sexuality, and personal growth through the lens of how her family history and the forests are beautifully intertwined. This memoir is heartfelt, honest, and perfectly written.

Fieldwork : A Forager’s Memoir by Iliana Regan, (List Price: $27.00, Agate Midway, 9781572843189, December 2022)

Reviewed by Stuart McCommon, Novel in Memphis, Tennessee

The End of Drum-Time by Hanna Pylväinen

Fascinating setting and wonderful characters. This place – where Sweden, Finland, and Russia converge – is defined by the intensely cold climate. The church is converting indigenous Sapmi families, the government is imposing its colonizing laws, and this ensemble cast of characters is wrestling with who they are and how they fit in as change slowly sweeps through. Great writing, wonderful characters, and I learned so much about the cultures and some of the politics of this place during this era.

The End of Drum-Time by Hanna Pylväinen, (List Price: $28.99, Henry Holt and Co., 9781250822901, January 2023)

Reviewed by Adah Fitzgerald, Main Street Books in Davidson, North Carolina

World Made of Glass by Ami Polonsky

World Made of Glass has the exact range of emotions tweens need and crave – sorrow, love, laughter, tears, regret – in deep swings. And more importantly, this historical fiction novel tells a story that few really know – I didn’t – about the prejudice, misinformation, and rampant fear surrounding AIDS in 1987 – told through the eyes of twelve-year-old Iris. She’s a character who experiences life-shattering circumstances beyond her control – yet with the help of her family and friends, she rises to the occasion. Our youth should read this book because it will build empathy and acceptance of marginalized groups of people, educate a new generation about the AIDS epidemic and LGBTQIA History – an area sorely under-represented in literature and inspire people of all ages to use their voices to fight for justice in their communities. As a bookseller in an indie bookstore who sees firsthand so many young adults purposefully seeking out books that provide a safe place to explore a range of emotions and tackle challenging, complex subjects, I cannot wait for this novel to do just that and find so many readers. Ami Polonsky will inspire the upcoming generation to use their voices for good!

World Made of Glass by Ami Polonsky, (List Price: $16.99, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 9780316462044, January 2023)

Reviewed by Michelle Uhlfelder, Sundog Books in Seaside, Florida

The Creative Act by Rick Rubin

The Creative Act: A Way of Being is a thoughtful exploration of life, how we live, how we think, how we are influence and obviously, how we create. Organized in very readable small chunks- this book is something to appeal to people wanting to shop in the religious section, personal growth as well as arts and music. Profound insights into how we exist are revealed throughout the book wordsmith into attractively consumable bites. By the end of the book, the reader will be inspired and possibly changed forever. This is a book for all ages but also is a book that will be the absolute best graduation gift of 2023.

The Creative Act by Rick Rubin, (List Price: $32, Penguin Press, 9780593652886, January 2023)

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

Out of Character by Jenna Miller

What a delightful YA debut! Out of Character is pitched as Julie Murphy meets Ashley Poston — a high bar to meet, but this book reaches and even surpasses that bar! I adored Cass Williams, who is nerdy, fat, and queer, and completely comfortable with all but the first point. Her parents are getting divorced, she has her first girlfriend, and she’s not doing well in school, but her online role-playing community is what keeps her going — except no one in her real life knows about her online friends. I loved seeing Cass’s two lives come together and watching her grow. I can’t wait to see what Jenna Miller writes next!

Out of Character by Jenna Miller, (List Price: $17.99, Quill Tree Books, 9780063243323, February 2023)

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

The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O’Farrell

Lucrezia de Medici has been the least favorite child of the powerful Grand Duke of Tuscany since birth and so has been able to grow up almost in the shadows of the royal court in Florence. At thirteen, she is betrothed to the future Duke of Ferrara- in her dead sister’s place. At fifteen, she is married to him and sent away from the only home she has ever known to a troubled court with her new, and older, husband. She has no allies in this new place save one, her handmaid. Day by day, Lucrezia discovers the cruel nature of her husband; the depth of the problems he faces in his new role as Duke; an utter aloneness since she can’t trust anyone and, superseding all else, the immediate need for her to produce an heir to cement the throne of her new family. It is no surprise this is a New York Times best-seller and a Reese’s Book Club pick- it is a wonderful work of historical fiction, and O’Farrell proves once again she is a master at this genre.

The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O’Farrell, (List Price: $28, Knopf, 9780593320624, September 2022)

Reviewed by Jamie Anderson, Downtown Books in Manteo, North Carolina

Bring It On by Kase Wickman

What a fun revisit to a new cinema classic! Wickman covers everything from the creation to the release of this early-aughts star-studded film. I love the behind-the-scenes stories of hijinks on set and how each character came to be. Big nostalgic feels here and I am loving it.

Bring It On by Kase Wickman, (List Price: $29.99, Chicago Review Press, 9781641607087, December 2022)

Reviewed by Andrea Richardson, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

A Ruinous Fate by Kaylie Smith

A Ruinous Fate is an explosion of a beginning of what is sure to be an amazing fantasy series. Calla, cursed with magic she’s terrified of, is now forced to take her friends with her as they try to undo her fate. This has everything a fantasy reader could ever want, authentic-feeling queer characters, found family, love triangles gone awry, charming jerks, and of course, forced proximity abounds! What else could someone need? If you love a good found family story with your fantasy, this is one you won’t want to miss!

A Ruinous Fate by Kaylie Smith, (List Price: $18.99, Disney-Hyperion, 9781368081597, January 2023)

Reviewed by Katlin Kerrison, Story on the Square in McDonough, Georgia

Very Good Hats by Emma Straub

My mom always wears a hat, and has passed that love on to me. Where Very Good Hats goes farther is the creativity of children to make other things hats for objects of the right scale (they missed Bugles for the fingertips, though, sticking to acorn caps). My favorite image by illustrator Bianca Gomez is the accidental soup hat — make sure your hat is empty before you put it on!

Very Good Hats by Emma Straub, (List Price: $18.99, Rocky Pond Books, 9780593529430, January 2023)

Reviewed by Lisa Yee Swope, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

The Witcher: Ronin (Manga) by Rafal Jaki

I had been anticipating The Witcher Ronin for months and pre-ordered it. I was super excited to see Geralt as a ronin and the book didn’t disappoint in that regard. I loved the new Japanese yokai we got to explore in this Manga but with the familiar storyline we all know and love. I was expecting a little more for the book, so that made me a bit sad, but I overall enjoyed what we did get to see in this first installment.

The Witcher: Ronin (Manga) by Rafal Jaki, (List Price: $19.99, Dark Horse Manga, 9781506733500, December 2022)

Reviewed by Cass W, The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, North Carolina

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