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The Southern Bookseller Review 11/22/22

The Southern Bookseller Review Newsletter for the week of November 22, 2022

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The Southern Bookseller Review: A Book for Every Reader

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The week of November 22, 2022

#IndiesFirst. And Often.

I love independent bookstores because to me they are centeres of community. They are places where I get to meet new people and encounter new ideas in the pages. I always walk out with some idea or some fresh perspective that I hadn't found before. —Celeste Ng, author of Our Missing Hearts, and 2022 Indies First Ambassador

Black Friday? What is that? This coming weekend is "Small Business Saturday" and "Indies First" — a national campaign to celebrate and support independent bookstores. Many small businesses have special events and sales on November 26th to thank their customers for their regular support. If you happen to live in the Greater Atlanta area, for example, you can binge on an indie bookshop crawl, including the After party sponsored by the Georgia Center for the Book.

No matter where you are, check in with your local bookshop to see what they’ll be doing. When you venture out this weekend to shop for gifts for friends and family, shop at the local businesses that will know who you are when you walk in the door. Shop indie first, and often.

Read This Now | Read This Next | The Bookseller Directory



Southern Book Prize Finalist!

What’s the best Southern book of the year?

Spine Poems by Annette Dauphin Simon

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Spine Poems by Annette Dauphin Simon
Harper Design / September 2022

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More Reviews from McIntyre’s Books

Southern Book Prize Finalist

I love that the concept of this book seems so simple, but author and creator Annette Dauphin Simon turned it into something complex and spectacular. What fun it is to have these facts and quotes accompany the poems, especially with the beautifully composed photos. Spine Poems is funny, delightful, informative, and even touching at times. I can’t wait to put this book into the hands of every book lover I know!

VOTE FOR THE SOUTHERN BOOK PRIZE

Reviewed by Johanna Albrecht, McIntyre’s Books in Pittsboro, North Carolina


Read This Now!

Recommended by Southern indies…

Ocean's Echo by Everina Maxwell

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Ocean’s Echo by Evelina Maxwell
Tor Books / November 2022


More Reviews from Fiction Addiction

Antenna is a neuromodified ‘reader’ who can read emotions and minds. He’s also a spoiled, rich playboy who’s now been conscripted into the military, forced to sync with neuromodified architect Surit who can control others. But when Surit finds out that Tennal is not there of his own free will, he refuses to execute the illegal sync, and the two determine to fake it until Tennal can manage an escape. Through action-packed missions involving possible traitors, political intrigue, and family secrets uncovered by them both, Tennal and Surit forge a bond that brings them closer to each other than either has been to anyone else — but can it transcend Surit’s principles and Tennal’s desire for freedom? I loved watching both Tennal and Surit’s character growth within Maxwell’s wonderful world building, and the slow burn romance was amazing..

Reviewed by Melissa Oates, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina



Bookseller Buzz

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Spotlight on: Book Lovers by Emily Henry

 

Emily Henry, Photo credit Dervyn Glistal St. Blanc Studios

I set out secretly thinking of this book as my own homage to You’ve Got Mail, and specifically a bit of a hat tip to Parker Posey’s character. But looking back, I’m really amazed how much more of my love of that movie seeped into the book. The publishing industry, the quaint bookstores, the love for New York, the enemies-to-lovers, and the flirting over email.” ―Emily Henry, Interview, She Reads

What booksellers are saying about Book Lovers

Book Lovers by Emily Henry
  • This book was everything I wanted it to be and more. I love the way Emily Henry writes a story. She makes her characters well rounded and adds elements to their story outside of romance. But she writes the romance so well you can’t help but swoon. She makes me laugh, she makes me emotional, and she makes me never want to put her book down.
      ―Emily Bowers from Tombolo Books in St. Petersburg, FL | Buy from Tombolo Books

  • Anything that Emily Henry writes is an automatic buy for me and I know will be popular! Book Lovers was no different. The writing flows, the dialogue is funny, witty, and loaded with emotion. The relationship between the characters is everything you want in a romantic comedy. You’ll find yourself rooting for everyone, including the supporting characters. Absolutely adored Book Lovers!
      ―Emily Lessig from The Violet Fox Bookshop in Virginia Beach, VA | Buy from The Violet Fox

  • Everything I love about the bookstore I own – and the life I get to led – in small town North Carolina is described somewhere in these pages. Most people will laugh out loud while reading. I got teary at the end as I didn’t want to say goodbye to these characters. This book reminded me of Susan Wiggs’ The Lost and Found Bookshop, just sheer delightfulness wrapped between covers consisting of pure love for indie bookstores.
    ―Alissa Redmond from South Main Book Co in Salisbury, NC | Buy from South Main Book Co.

  • Emily Henry has done it again and stolen my heart completely with her two main leads. In this one, a literary agent and a book editor end up stuck together in his tiny hometown, which happens to be the whimsical setting in the bestselling book she agents for– one he gave a scathing rejection to upon their very first meeting. It’s a "we think we’re enemies" but are actually idiots-to-lovers who perfectly fit each other kind of story. Henry is the unquestioned queen of banter, but this is probably her wittiest, most laugh-out-loud funny book to date. I had so much fun reading Book Lovers.
      ―Cristina Russell from Books & Books in Coral Gables, FL | Buy from Books and Books

About Emily Henry

Emily Henry is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of People We Meet on Vacation and Beach Read. She studied creative writing at Hope College, and now spends most of her time in Cincinnati, Ohio, and the part of Kentucky just beneath it. Find her on Instagram @emilyhenrywrites.

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White Horse by Erika T. Wurth

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White Horse by Erika T. Wurth
Flat Iron Books / November 2022


More Reviews from Parnassus Books

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.

Reviewed by Chelsea Stringfield, Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee



Offended Sensibilities by Ganieva Alisa

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Offended Sensibilities by Ganieva Alisa
Deep Vellum Publishing / November 2022


More Reviews from Fountain Bookstore

A novel that takes place in a Russian town where officials are dropping dead after a recent law that stifled forms of expression has been passed, following the real-life events of a Pussy Riot church protest. The neo-noir feel that envelopes this political yet humorous novel fits perfectly and makes this a fantastic and original read. Though this deals with conversations on nationalism, religion, and sexuality among others, the light humor and prose kept this novel more digestible and entertaining.

Reviewed by Grace Sullivan, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

House of Yesterday by Deeba Zargarpur

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House of Yesterday by Deeba Zargarpur
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) / November 2022

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More Reviews from E. Shaver, bookseller

This debut is a compelling family drama about generational trauma and secrets in a large family of Afghan-Uzbeki immigrants. As Sara deals with the impending divorce of her parents and the slow painful loss of her grandmother to dementia, she begins to see ghostly apparitions in a home her family’s construction company is renovating. Sara gets pulled into a web of family secrets and realizes that even though her family has a strong storytelling tradition, the stories she’s been told her whole life aren’t the whole story. At times creepy, but ultimately redemptive, this story is all about confronting literal and figurative ghosts.

Reviewed by Melissa Taylor, E. Shaver bookseller in Savannah, Georgia

Garvey in the Dark by Nikki Grimes

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Garvey in the Dark by Nikki Grimes
Wordsong / October 2022

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More Reviews from Blue Cypress Books

A sad and touching story in verse set during the first half of 2020. This book is both painful and necessary, I can’t stop thinking about what the kids have lived through and knowing they need books exactly like this to help them process. Thank you Ms. Grimes. 

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

The Tryout by Christina Soontornvat

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The Tryout by Christina Soontornvat
G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers / November 2022

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More Reviews from Flyleaf Books

Christina Soontornvat’s graphic memoir depicts the challenges & joys of middle school life as a Thai-American in Texas centering around her dream of making the school’s cheer squad. For fans of Victoria Jamieson’s Roller Girl, Jerry Craft’s New Kid or any of Raina Telgemeier’s many graphic novels.

Reviewed by Elese Stutts, Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Read This Next!

Books on the horizon: Forthcoming favorites from Southern indies…

Tread of Angels by Rebecca Roanhorse

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Tread of Angels by Rebecca Roanhorse
 Saga Press / November 2022


More Reviews from The Little Bookshop

An November 2022 Read This Next! Title

Rebecca Roanhorse is a fantastic world-builder and her skills are razor-sharp in her newest fantasy set in an Old West mining town where angels had battled demons in an ancient war. Main character Celeste attempts to clear her sister from a murder charge but is impeded and manipulated by the Divines — the ruling class who are descendants of angels and dispense justice while wearing white robes and masks. As she searches for clues to free her sister, she stumbles into a bigger mystery that threatens her life and the future of the Fallen, who are the descendants of the demons and are the laborers and miners in the town. A gritty but good read!

Reviewed by Mary Patterson, The Little Bookshop in Midlothian, Virginia

Southern Bestsellers

What’s popular this week with Southern Readers.

We Are the Light Solito Project Hail Mary
Braiding Sweetgrass The Luminaries

[ See the full list ]

Parting Thought

“Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light.”
– Vera Nazarian

Publisher: The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance / siba@sibaweb.com
Editor: Nicki Leone / nicki@sibaweb.com
Advertising: Linda-Marie Barrett / lindamarie@sibaweb.com
The Southern Bookseller Review is a project of the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance, in support of independent bookstores in the South | SIBA | 51 Pleasant Ridge Drive | Asheville, NC 28805

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The Southern Bookseller Review 11/15/22

The Southern Bookseller Review Newsletter for the week of November 15, 2022

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The week of November 15, 2022

Lights! Camera! Fiction!

The 2022 VIndies

The Oscars may be months away, but tonight people who love independent bookstores can tune in to watch the 2022 VIndies Awards at 7:00 PM Eastern. The VIndies are a celebration of "the best in bookstore video" from indie bookstores from New York to Florida, and from West Virginia to Louisiana.

127 videos were nominated for the 2022 VIndies from stores in the SIBA and NAIBA regions. Taken all together the nominations represent the range of bookseller creativity, ingenuity, and occasionally bookseller silliness. Tonight the winners will be selected from 36 finalists in the categories of Animation, Around the Store, Comedy/Musical, Community Work, Drama, Staff Picks, and Trending Sounds,

The VIndies launched in 2021 as a way to honor the indie bookstore community’s perseverance during the ongoing pandemic lock down. Stores may have had to shut their doors, but they found many ways to reach readers, including having a lot of fun creating videos for their regular customers.

The finalist videos for 2022 document bookseller joy in sharing their love of books, their integral roles in their communities, their resilience in the face of challenges and adversity, and their ongoing devotion to JRR Tolkien.

Come join the celebration of your favorite indie booksellers. Unlike the Oscars, you can attend the VIndies in your pajamas, and no one will make you pose on a red carpet.

Register for the VIndies Awards | See all the VIndies finalists


Read This Now | Read This Next | The Bookseller Directory



Southern Book Prize Finalist!

What’s the best Southern book of the year?

The Violin Conspiracy by Brendan Slocumb

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The Violin Conspiracy by Brendan Slocumb
Anchor / February 2022


More Reviews from The Little Bookshop

Southern Book Prize Finalist

There are so many captivating things about this novel…the insight the reader gets as to what it takes to be a classical musician, the background on the history of violins (and one violin in particular) and how they’re made, the main character’s determination in the face of struggle, family dynamics and expectations, racial issues that rear their ugly heads, and a mysterious theft of a priceless instrument…I could go on and on. Put all this together, and you get a beautiful story about a boy who loved his grandmother more than anyone in the world…one who persevered to become a classical violinist and prove to everyone that he could do it. Brendan Slocumb effortlessly keeps his story flowing, leaving the reader rooting for Ray McMillian while trying to put the pieces of the theft together. Such a great read!

VOTE FOR THE SOUTHERN BOOK PRIZE

Reviewed by Mary Patterson from The Little Bookshop in Midlothian, Virginia


Read This Now!

Recommended by Southern indies…

They’re Going to Love You by Meg Howrey

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They’re Going to Love You by Meg Howrey
Doubleday / November 2022


More Reviews from Parnassus Books

I adored They’re Going to Love You so much that a part of me is convinced that Meg Howrey wrote it for me, specifically. This is such a gorgeous novel about being an artist in the modern world, the sacrifices we make and the people we hurt. When I hit the last page, I didn’t want to let these characters go—I adored every word.

Reviewed by Lindsay Lynch, Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee



Bookseller Buzz

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Spotlight on: Better Than Fiction by Alexa Martin

 

Alexa Martin, Photo credit Kristie Chadwick

I know this is so cliché, but honestly, just write. When I sat down to start writing, I had no idea what I was doing. It took me forever. Just actually starting to write and then reaching out and finding a community. I actually found my first writing partner in a mom group. Neither of us had any idea what we were doing. We were just like, ‘You’re so good. You’re so good too.’ That’s all it was — finding support because it can be really lonely. Sitting down and finding one person that you can trust not to just stomp on you is really important.” ―Alexa Martin, Interview, Medium

What booksellers are saying about Better Than Fiction

Better Than Fiction by Alexa Martin
  • Drew isn’t a reader. But she did LOVE her grandma. So when Grandma died and left Drew her bookshop, Drew put aside all her dreams and ran the bookshop. Now, she hasn’t had much luck with men, including her human garbage can of a father, so she’s just put dating out of her mind. But then in walks Jasper Williams: popular romance author and sheer perfection of a human being. She doesn’t stand a chance.
      ― Jennifer Jones from Bookmiser, Inc. in Marietta, GA | Buy from Bookmiser

  • A rom-com that centers around Drew, a woman whose grandmother has just passed and in turn has left her the old bookstore she ran for years. One issue: Drew is not a book lover, and she can’t especially stand romance. And then comes Jasper Williams, the dreamiest romance author, whose mission becomes for Drew to fall in love with reading. It’s fun, steamy, and has a fantastic cast of characters, especially the residential book club The Dirty Birds. I also loved how this portrays grieving, and that adds something so special to this book. Sure to make your heart warm up with just utter joy, this is the cutest!
      ―Grace Sullivan from Fountain Books in Richmond, VA | Buy from Fountain Bookstore

  • An utterly delightful read — how can anyone resist a romance set in an indie bookstore? I loved that Drew Young, new owner of her late grandmother’s beloved Book Nook, is NOT a reader. It was such a fun set-up for Drew’s romance with a romance novelist. It’s catnip for bookstore lovers. I adored that Alexa Martin wrote in so many lovely day trips out of Denver; I felt like an armchair tourist reading this book, and I made a list for the next time I’m in Colorado!!
      ―Kate Storhoff from Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, NC | Buy from Bookmarks

About Alexa Martin

Alexa Martin is a writer and stay at home mom. A Nashville transplant, she’s intent on instilling a deep love and respect for the great Dolly Parton in her four children and husband. The Playbook Series was inspired by the eight years she spent as a NFL wife and her deep love of all things pop culture, sparkles, leggings, and wine. When she’s not repeating herself to her kids, you can find her catching up on whatever Real Housewives franchise is currently airing or filling up her Etsy cart with items she doesn’t need.

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The Sorcerer of Pyongyang by Marcel Theroux

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The Sorcerer of Pyongyang by Marcel Theroux
Atria Books / November 2022


More Reviews from Flyleaf Books

Jun-su, a young boy living through the brutality of the North Korean Famine, comes across a copy of the Dungeons and Dragons Dungeon Master’s Guide and falls deeply in love with the worlds he can now create, enormously different from the life he’s used to under Kim Jong-il. The strange book’s cover and themes land him in a brutal prison camp where he has to fight to stay alive and try to hold on to himself in the face of totalitarianism. A well-researched, well-written and beautifully told portrait of a kid growing up different in 1990s North Korea trying to do more than survive.

Reviewed by Colin Sneed, Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina



Deadly Triangle by Susan Goldenberg

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Deadly Triangle by Susan Goldenberg
Dundurn Press / November 2022


More Reviews from M. Judson

An in-depth look at a true crime story I’d never heard before. Each chapter is a isolated chunk of the narrative- the players histories, the actual crime, the after. While this isolated nature can lead to repeating facts, it makes this book perfect book for people who want to pick up and read a single chapter at a time.

Reviewed by Lauren Kohnle, M Judson booksellers in Greenville, South Carolina

Whiteout by Dhonielle Clayton

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Whiteout by Dhonielle Clayton
Quill Tree Books / November 2022


More Reviews from Fountain Bookstore

This adorable YA romance told in short stories from six of the best authors out there is just as good as you hope it will be. Where the previous compilation from these folks took place over the same day in the same city in slightly-related stories, Whiteout is linked together in a more up-front way. A group of friends and partners in Atlanta are working to help a couple reconcile during a city-wide snowstorm that has them trapped in cars, airports, trains, and buildings around town. Inclusive, sweet, and funny, this has it all.

Reviewed by Andrea Richardson, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

Chirri & Chirra, In the Night by Kaya Doi

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Chirri & Chirra, In the Night by Kaya Doi
Enchanted Lion Books / November 2022


More Reviews from Avid Bookshop

I don’t know how Kaya Doi does it, but even though this is EIGHTH book in the Chirri & Chirra series, it’s still just as magical and enjoyable to read as the first. The formula, rather than being tiresome, is soothing and reassuring—you know from the first "dring-dring!" that you are setting off on a charming adventure with tasty treats and friendly animals. This one, with a full moon festival in the forest, works particularly well for bedtime reading. 

Reviewed by Hannah DeCamp, Avid Bookshop in Athens, Georgia

Coven by Jennifer Dugan

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Coven by Jennifer Dugan
G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers / November 2022


More Reviews from E. Shaver, bookseller

I haven’t read very many Graphic Novels, but I highly enjoyed coven! The story was intriguing and I loved the characters and the representation. I also really enjoyed the illustration style. It was eye-catching and detailed. Coven is a perfect witchy, fall read.

Emma Tara, E. Shaver bookseller in Savannah, Georgia

Read This Next!

Books on the horizon: Forthcoming favorites from Southern indies…

Now Is Not the Time to Panic by Kevin Wilson

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Now Is Not the Time to Panic by Kevin Wilson
 Avon / November 2022


More Reviews Fiction Addiction

An November 2022 Read This Next! Title

Your favorite Gods of the Gates stars are back, this time with Peter and Maria’s story front and center! The two co-stars have a rocky beginning, with Maria leaving Peter after a one-night stand, only to run into each other the next day at the casting call. Then they spend six years together filming on a remote Irish island, forming their own little family with the crew — but not in a romantic relationship. They both have baggage, and they both have to face themselves and each other after filming wraps, but as Olivia Dade’s books always are, readers will willingly go along for the ride. Dade’s characters are so much fun and amazingly 3-dimensional in a way that makes you root for them wholeheartedly. And this book in particular carries a lot of emotion that I think will resonate with readers with their own emotional baggage.

Reviewed by Melissa Oates, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina

Southern Bestsellers

What’s popular this week with Southern Readers.

The Passenger The Novelist as Vocation West With Giraffes
Braiding Sweetgrass The Luminaries

[ See the full list ]

Parting Thought

“Good books don’t give up all their secrets at once.”
– Stephen King

Publisher: The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance / siba@sibaweb.com
Editor: Nicki Leone / nicki@sibaweb.com
Advertising: Linda-Marie Barrett / lindamarie@sibaweb.com
The Southern Bookseller Review is a project of the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance, in support of independent bookstores in the South | SIBA | 51 Pleasant Ridge Drive | Asheville, NC 28805

SIBA | 51 Pleasant Ridge Drive | Asheville, NC 28805
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The Southern Bookseller Review 11/8/22

The Southern Bookseller Review Newsletter for the week of November 8, 2022

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The week of November 8, 2022

Help choose the best Southern books of the year

2023 Southern Book Prize

Southern independent booksellers have selected the finalists for the 2023 Southern Book Prize (SBP), representing bookseller favorites from 2022 that are Southern in nature—either about the South or by a Southern writer.

SBP nominations are submitted by bookseller members of the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) and culled from books that have received enthusiastic reviews from Southern booksellers. These 18 finalists, six in each category, received the highest number of nominations, making them a collection of the most beloved “hand sells” in fiction, nonfiction, and children’s literature of the year.

The finalists make up the 2023 Southern Book Prize ballot at www.southernbookprize.com. Many of the books will be familiar to SBR readers from reviews published in the newsletter. Readers can submit their picks for "Best Southern Book of the Year" through February 1, 2023. Submitted ballots are entered into a raffle to win a set of the finalist titles.

During the voting period, SBR will feature an extra review, spotlighting each of the finalists. The 2023 Southern Book Prize winners will be announced on February 14, 2023, Valentine’s Day — a gift from indie booksellers to readers who love Southern literature!

See the Southern Book Prize Finalists | Vote for your favorites

Read This Now | Read This Next | The Bookseller Directory


Read This Now!

Recommended by Southern indies…

We All Want Impossible Things by Catherine Newman

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We All Want Impossible Things by Catherine Newman
Harper / November 2022


More Reviews from Avid Bookshop

Oh my goodness. I never thought any book would have me weeping more than A Little Life, but Catherine Newman’s We All Want Impossible Things broke that record along the floodgates. This is not to say the novel is a depressing one: in fact, its depictions of life-affirming, forever-friendships veritably burst with love and wit. Newman perfectly captures the confusing contradictions that accompany end-of-life care: the emergencies among the mundanity, the darkly hilarious moments that punctuate the slow-motion, eviscerating heartbreak. Some readers who’ve said goodbye to terminally ill beloveds may find that their wounds are too raw for this novel. I, on the other hand, read it a few months after cancer took a very close friend of mine and I found it to be incredibly cathartic. Many moments were eerily—no, magically!—similar to moments I shared with Becky toward the end. I underlined like mad and scribbled in the margins; more than once I started to make a mental note to share certain excerpts with Becky, knowing she’d recognize herself and our friendship in the words, then remembering she’s not anywhere I can reach her. Five stars. Pairs well with Kathryn Schulz’s Lost & Found and/or Janine Kwoh’s Welcome to the Grief Club.

Reviewed by Janet Geddis, Avid Bookshop in Athens, Georgia



Bookseller Buzz

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Spotlight on: Bloodmarked by Tracy Deonn

 

Tracy Deonn, Photo credit Kathleen Hampton

“Legendborn digs into what it means to be the only in a room. In the United States, we’re still in situations where Black students find themselves in a room and being the only Black person. The book that I wrote is about engaging with, deeply understanding, analyzing, holding on to, [and] reshaping your own Blackness in spaces where it’s being challenged or dismissed by other people.

The other theme that I wanted to really engage with is like the types of stories and the type of people that become legendary. Growing up in North Carolina [and] going to [the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill], [the Confederate monument] Silent Sam was up the entire time I was a student there and was the specter of a certain type of racism. How do these things become memorialized and legendary, and Black American people, whose ancestors were enslaved, get put in a position of absence of knowledge?
” ―Tracy Deonn, Interview, Shondaland

What booksellers are saying about Bloodmarked

Bloodmarked by Tracy Deonn
  • I’ve thought for days about the review I would give this stunning sequel, but accurate words do not come to mind. I was blown away by the rawness and realness of Bloodmarked. Indeed, Tracy Deonn did not shy away from the rampant institutionalized racism built into the foundation of many influential organizations, like the Legendborn Order. Not to mention the Legendborn’s reaction to the revelation of Bree’s true lineage. Their approach to dealing with the ugly truth? Deny, deny, deny. It’s shameful and disgusting and Bree has to shoulder it along with the rising war between her world and the demons set to destroy it. Bree’s growth as a root user, ether user, and as King is stunning to witness. I truly believe this series should be required reading for young readers, not just because of the extraordinary Arthurian fantasy retelling, but because of the way the characters confront their trauma. It’s amazing, everyone needs to get a copy. I cannot stress this enough- READ THIS BOOK!
      ―Laney Sheehan from Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews in Chapel Hill, NC | Buy from Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews

  • Can my review just be me… screaming incoherently? No? Well. Bloodmarked broke me into a million little pieces and left me a changed person in the end who wanted to chunk my arc at the wall but as I also loved it too much to hurt it, I did not do that. I merely shook it very violently and shrieked. Bree and the crew returned for an even more dangerous, action packed adventure with the truth unraveling around them faster than they can even keep up. I’m obsessed with this story, with the characters, and if I could live in it… I would not because I would not survive. Tracy Deonn has crafted an absolutely perfect story and has left me weeping on the floor, waiting for the next installment
      ―Caitlyn Vanorder from Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, NC | Buy from Bookmarks

  • This book absolutely blew me away. Simultaneously a fast-paced fantasy novel and an expertly crafted meditation on Blackness, Bloodmarked had me hooked from page one. I loved the world building outside of UNC, and I cannot wait for the next book- I hope this series goes on forever!
      ―Mary Louise Callaghan from Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, NC | Buy from Bookmarks

About Tracy Deonn

Tracy Deonn is the New York Times bestselling and Coretta Scott King – John Steptoe Award–winning author of Legendborn, and a second-generation fangirl. She grew up in central North Carolina, where she devoured fantasy books and Southern food in equal measure. After earning her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in communication and performance studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Tracy worked in live theater, video game production, and K–12 education. When she’s not writing, Tracy speaks on panels at science fiction and fantasy conventions, reads fanfic, arranges puppy playdates, and keeps an eye out for ginger-flavored everything. She can be found on Twitter at @TracyDeonn and at TracyDeonn.com.

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The Boy and the Dog by Seishu Hase

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The Boy and the Dog by Seishu Hase
Viking / November 2022


More Reviews from Fountain Bookstore

A pastoral fall pick for dog and animal lovers: this quick read throws you into the 5-year journey of Tamon, a German Shepherd, as he wanders in and out of the lives of his many different grief-stricken, down-and-out owners. This is the first translated works of Seishu Hase, a veteran of the Yakuza crime genre, whose teeth are bared in simple but sweet prose with moments of striking intensity. Struggle, plight, and grief are mirrored between human and animal as each character contends for their own survival and place in the world. Bittersweet, but ultimately a story of returning home in both place and spirit.

Reviewed by Amanda Depperschmidt, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia



Con/Artist by Tony Tetro

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Con/Artist by Tony Tetro
Hachette Books / November 2022


More Reviews from The Country Bookshop

"To really make a forgery, you have to make something new that never existed and give it a reason for being born." The behind the scenes details of a front page story come to life as Tony Tetro, wild world traveler and accomplished art forger, combines with journalist and documentary film maker Giampiero Ambrosi to create a window into the man behind far reaching art crimes.

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

The Do-Over by Lynn Painter

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The Do-Over by Lynn Painter
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers / November 2022


More Reviews from Main Street Books

Newsflash: Lynn Painter is The Queen of the YA rom-com! She has grabbed a hold of this reader’s heart and will not let go. The Do-Over brings us Emilie Hornby, an over-achieving people pleasure who is ready for The Perfect Valentines Day. She has her checklist ready to seize her perfectly planned agenda. Things get off to a rocky start when she wrecks her car on the way to school and has to bum a ride with broody Nick Stark, her chemistry partner. Her day goes off the rails when she spots her perfect-on-paper boyfriend kissing another girl. The nerve! The only thing that could make this day worse is to have to re-live it….and the next morning she wakes up to another Valentine’s Day and so it goes. I enjoyed Lynn’s signature witty banter and sweet love story. The Do-Over will be perfect for any YA Rom Com reader and fans of closed-door romances.

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

The Three Billy Goats Gruff by Mac Barnett

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The Three Billy Goats Gruff by Mac Barnett
Orchard Books / November 2022


More Reviews from Page 158 Books

A modern-day retelling of one of my favorite books as a kid. They don’t change the story, which I liked, they just add some modern takes. So much fun and beautiful. You will want this in your collection!

Reviewed by Suzanne Lucey, Page 158 Books in Wake Forest, North Carolina

Enola Holmes: The Graphic Novels by Serena Blasco

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Enola Holmes: The Graphic Novels by Serena Blasco
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers / November 2022


More Reviews from Fiction Addiction

Enola Holmes is BACK! The high-spirited independent sister of the World Famous detective, Sherlock Holmes, is back for more adventure and mystery. Enola Holmes has been able to avoid her brothers Mycroft and Sherlock Holmes so far. At the same time she has solved mysteries, and saved lives. Now she is back for more adventures! Can she continue to evade her brothers, or will she finally have to turn to them for help? Where is her mother? Can she actually be found and reunited with her daughter, or has she truly abandoned her family? The beautiful artwork will draw you in, and the storyline will keep you reading. As with all Enola Holmes stories, at the end of each story are fascinating historical notes, such as the language of fans, cyphers, or how to create invisible ink. The Enola Holmes graphic novels are a perfect read for your younger mystery lovers or your young readers who love graphic novels.

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

Read This Next!

Books on the horizon: Forthcoming favorites from Southern indies…

Now Is Not the Time to Panic by Kevin Wilson

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Now Is Not the Time to Panic by Kevin Wilson
 Ecco / November 2022


More Reviews M. Judson

An November 2022 Read This Next! Title

Now is Not The Time to Panic covers that wry space between childhood and adulthood – how we want to be seen and how others see us. Frankie and Zeke ask the questions about the nature of art both to the maker and the viewer, what does obsession really look like, and how do things spin out of control so smoothly. All against an early 90s world that may as well be a thousand years ago. The questions of consequences, family and what lies in front of us through a 90s era time warp. The writing is amazing. Sentences that stop you in your tracks. I loved everything about the novel!

Reviewed by Susan Williams, M. Judson Booksellers in Greenville, South Carolina

Southern Bestsellers

What’s popular this week with Southern Readers.

Lucy By the Sea Truly, Madly, Deeply Hail Mary
My Body Pauli Murray

[ See the full list ]

Parting Thought

“It wasn’t until I started reading and found books they wouldn’t let us read in school that I discovered you could be insane and happy and have a good life without being like everybody else.”
– John Waters

Publisher: The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance / siba@sibaweb.com
Editor: Nicki Leone / nicki@sibaweb.com
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The Southern Bookseller Review is a project of the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance, in support of independent bookstores in the South | SIBA | 51 Pleasant Ridge Drive | Asheville, NC 28805

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The Southern Bookseller Review 11/1/22

The Southern Bookseller Review Newsletter for the week of November 1, 2022

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The week of November 1, 2022

Honoring traditions

Native American Heritage Month

As the year winds down inexorably from fall to winter, many people are thinking about the upcoming holiday season. It is a time to celebrate family and the traditions that come with it.

Or before it. November is Native American Heritage Month, celebrating the history, traditions, contributions, and living cultures of Native American Peoples.

"We do not need the poisonous “pilgrims and Indians” narrative," writes Sean Sherman, author of The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen, "We do not need that illusion of past unity to actually unite people today. Instead, we can focus simply on values that apply to everybody: togetherness, generosity and gratitude."

Books by indigenous authors on SBR

Read This Now | Read This Next | The Bookseller Directory


Read This Now!

Recommended by Southern indies…

The Islands by Dionne Irving

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The Islands by Dionne Irving
Catapult / November 2022


More Reviews from Underground Books

This powerhouse collection of stories brings to vivid life the experiences of a diverse cast of (mostly) women of (mostly) Jamaican descent around the world, from Florida to France to 1950s London to 1960s Panama and beyond. The very first story, “Florida Lives,” about a Black couple who move from San Francisco to Florida only to suffer from the heat, some bats, and their tacky neighbors, is blazoned on my mind and I don’t think I’m ever going to stop thinking about it (or look at tacky neighbors the same way ever again). These stories movingly explore identity, belonging, and home all through the complexities of the Jamaican diaspora, immigration, assimilation, colonialism, racism, sexism, and class—all through a vivid cast of characters who will remain on your mind long after each story ends. I’m not a big short story reader, but this is truly a must-read collection and highly recommended for fans of The Secret Lives of Church Ladies!

Reviewed by Megan Bell, Underground Books in Carrollton, Georgia



Bookseller Buzz

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Spotlight on: Trespasses by Louise Kennedy

 

Louise Kennedy, Photo credit Louise Kennedy

I do not deliberately drag my identity to the desk every day, but it turns up. I grew up a Catholic in a small, mostly Protestant town on the shores of Belfast Lough in the seventies. My childhood had a lot in common with that of children in the UK and, in a different sense – the rest of Ireland. But it was stressful in a way I did not understand until later; my generation were reared by nervous wrecks. ” ―Louise Kennedy, Interview, Wasafiri

What booksellers are saying about Trespasses

Trespasses by Louise Kennedy
  • I am in awe of everything about this incredible debut. Set in Belfast during the 70s, Trespasses explores the roles of violence and chance through the life of Cushla, a Catholic woman in her 20s who finds herself swept up in a love affair with an older, married Protestant lawyer. The narrative grows with a quiet sense of discomfort until it rushes to a startling conclusion that left me breathless.
      ―Chelsea Stringfield from Parnassus Books in Nashville, TN | Buy from Parnassus Books

  • I am fascinated by the Troubles and all the heartache it caused. Cushla Lavery’s struggles to reconcile her loyalties to community and her love for a man forbidden by that community. The daily drama of living for people caught up in this terrible time seems very real in the characters Kennedy develops. I was mesmerized by this story and couldn’t put it down! A must read!
      ―Stephanie Crowe from Page & Palette in Fairhope, AL | Buy from Page & Palette

  • I am fascinated by the Troubles; it continually boggles my mind that armed occupation of and paramilitary presence in Northern Ireland went on for so long, so recently. So I deeply appreciated the insight into the Troubles that this novel provides, following Cushla, a Catholic schoolteacher living in a small town near Belfast, enamored with an older Protestant barrister who is wrong for her in every way. Louise Kennedy’s story of sectarian violence and tragedy is totally compelling and humanizes this fascinating period of time by focusing on the stories of ordinary people.
      ―Kate Storhoff from Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, NC | Buy from Bookmarks

About Louise Kennedy

Louise Kennedy grew up near Belfast. Trespasses is her first novel. She is also the author of a collection of short stories, The End of the World Is a Cul de Sac. She has written for the Guardian, the Irish Times, and BBC Radio 4. Before becoming a writer, she worked as a chef for almost thirty years. She lives in Sligo, Ireland.

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Meredith, Alone by Claire Alexander

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Meredith, Alone by Claire Alexander
Grand Central Publishing / November 2022


More Reviews from Wordsworth Books

Meredith is a completely lovable and complex character that has faced and survived some unspeakable things. Claire Alexander beautifully creates characters that exude resilience in their own ways. I found myself cheering on Meredith, Fee, Celeste, and Tom…and hoping for their happiness. Meredith, Alone is a quick read that explores the hardships of life and the value of community, family and friendships. While some of the topics are quite heavy, there is also joy and hope and laughter and triumph. I thoroughly loved this book and have already started recommending it to folks who loved Eleanor Oliphant and Where’d You go Bernadette!

Reviewed by Lynne Phillips, Wordsworth Books in Little Rock, Arkansas



The World Record Book of Racist Stories by Amber Ruffin

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The World Record Book of Racist Stories by Amber Ruffin & Lacey Lamar
Grand Central Publishing/ November 2022


More Reviews from Fountain Bookstore

Ruffin and Lamar are back with more hilarious-in-a-terrible-way stories of things that they and their family have dealt with. You’ll laugh and cringe at this book – the sisters write as they speak and their chemistry makes for a perfect read.

Reviewed by Andrea Richardson, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

The Insomniacs by Marit Weisenberg

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The Insomniacs by Marit Weisenberg
Flatiron Books / October 2022


More Reviews from Flyleaf Books

The Insomniacs combines the mystery of amnesia with the thrill of a reignited friendship. Ingrid, the main character, works to figure out what she’s missing and how to solve her sudden insomnia in this twisting story. Vance, her best friend from years ago, reconnects. An intriguing read with an unexpected ending. This book explores the uncertainty and depth of relationships along with trauma. In the setting of a high schooler’s life. Overall, a super interesting read!

Reviewed by Kaylin, Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

The Talk by Alicia D. Williams

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The Talk by Alicia D. Williams
Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books / October 2022


More Reviews from Bookmarks

Charming black kids growing up together, neighborhood friends through the years. But as they grow and age from chubby-cheeked helpers and adventurers into young men and women, still respectful and helpful, just looking more adult, the parents and grandparents sit them down for "the talk". That not everyone will see their fun-loving enthusiasm, or a hoodie or earphones as childhood innocence by default. Briana Mukodiri Uchendu’s pastels show such expressiveness, from hugs of closeness, to silly play and gap-toothed smiles of children, to heartbreaking empathy. Now I know black families and brown families have to know about the talk, but this is a great conversation starter for people who may not need to have the talk to know that not everyone is so fortunate, and maybe that window will help them be better allies.


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

Terry’s Crew by Terry Crews, Cory Thomas (illus.)

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Terry’s Crew by Terry Crews, Cory Thomas (illus.)
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers / November 2022


More Reviews from The Country Bookshop

Terry’s crew at his new school may not look like the typical friend group, but together, they can do any thing they set their minds to! With themes of respect, hard work, school success and commitment to family and friends, this graphic novel from superstar Terry Crews is sure to be a hit.

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

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Books on the horizon: Forthcoming favorites from Southern indies…

We Are the Light by Matthew Quick

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We Are the Light by Matthew Quick
 Avid Reader Press / November 2022


More Reviews Downtown Books

An November 2022 Read This Next! Title

We Are The Light is the book we all need to be reading in 2022. In one headline after another we’ve been reading about mass shootings in our malls, our schools, our small towns, our communities… but what happens to those communities in the weeks, months, years after these tragedies occur- changing so many lives forever? Matthew Quick takes on this subject and explores the question through the eyes of Lucas Goodgame, a Christmas-time movie house shooting survivor who lost his wife, friends and neighbors in a scene that is all too familiar to us now- but shouldn’t be. Worst of all, his Jungian therapist Karl, a tremendous support to him, isn’t seeing patients or responding to Lucas’ frequent calls, letters or visits to his house. So frequent in fact, that the police have had to step in and create some boundaries for him. His wife’s best friend is trying to run the local diner and keep him sane; the shooter’s younger brother, a student Lucas had been helping in his role as the high school guidance counselor, has set up camp in Lucas’ back yard and his dead wife is visiting him every night shedding feathers from her giant wings by the handful. We Are The Light is a book to read slowly, with big inhales, taking in every feeling of every character no matter how painful. It is a book everyone everywhere should be reading – because as we have been reminded all year, what happens in Quick’s book, in the little town of Majestic, PA, can happen anywhere.

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

Southern Bestsellers

What’s popular this week with Southern Readers.

Demon Copperhead I am From Here When Ghosts Come Home
Empire of Pain Foul Lady Fortune

[ See the full list ]

Parting Thought

“I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound or stab us. If the book we’re reading doesn’t wake us up with a blow to the head, what are we reading for?”
– Franz Kafka

Publisher: The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance / siba@sibaweb.com
Editor: Nicki Leone / nicki@sibaweb.com
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The Southern Bookseller Review is a project of the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance, in support of independent bookstores in the South | SIBA | 51 Pleasant Ridge Drive | Asheville, NC 28805

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The Southern Bookseller Review 10/25/22

The Southern Bookseller Review Newsletter for the week of October 25, 2022

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The week of October 25, 2022

Make a bookseller’s day!

James Patterson, Author Photo Credit Stephanie Diani

There are about 70 Southern bookstores whose staff picks and reviews appear in The Southern Bookseller Review. That represents nearly 400 individual booksellers who liked the book they were reading enough to write a recommendation.

SBR is founded on the conviction that independent booksellers are one of the most knowledgeable and trustworthy sources for the avid reader looking for their next great book. SBR reviews are written not by anonymous avatars with cryptic usernames, but by real people who talk face to face with their customers. If you have ever discovered a new writer or a new favorite book with the help of an independent bookseller, you can return the favor nominating them for the James Patterson Holiday Bookstore Bonus Program.

Patterson has pledged a personal contribution of $250,000, to be distributed in amounts of $500, to 500 booksellers from bookstores who are members of the American Booksellers Association. Booksellers can be nominated by bookstore customers, owners, employees, managers, fellow booksellers, publishing professionals, or authors.

Nominations can be made online by completing and submitting a simple nomination form, which asks one easy question: “In 250 words or less, why does this bookseller deserve a holiday bonus?”

The deadline to nominate a bookstore employee for a holiday bonus is November 16, 2022. Show your favorite local bookseller some love. Nominate them for a holiday bonus:

https://www.bookweb.org/james-patterson-2022


Read This Now | Read This Next | The Bookseller Directory


Read This Now!

Recommended by Southern indies…

Case Study by Graeme Macrae Burnet

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Case Study by Graeme Macrae Burnet
Biblioasis / November 2022


More Reviews from Flyleaf Books

Fab. a. suspenseful page-turner; b. hilariously cringey; c. who doesn’t need therapy including your therapist? d. elegantly creepy; e. a novel perfect for these times but set in those times.

Reviewed by Erica Eisdorfer, Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina



Bookseller Buzz

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Spotlight on: Into the Riverlands by Nghi Vo

 

Nghi Vo, Photo credit CJ Foeckler

If the Singing Hills stories have a theme, it’s that they’re stories about stories: how we tell stories and why we tell stories, and where we get it wrong and where we get it right, even when the stories aren’t real or true. When the third volume comes out, I think it will help people see the whole scope of the series, because we’re going back and forth in Chih’s timeline, so back and forth in history. I’m asking people to sit with me for about 100 pages, and just trust me that, whatever I’m telling them, they’re going to have a good time. That’s my hope. ” ―Nghi Vo, Interview, Locus Magazine

What booksellers are saying about Into the Riverlands

Into the Riverlands by Nghi Vo
  • I love The Singing Hills cycle by Nghi Vo. Each novella is so short and yet so mythic, intricate, and immersive. In this third in the series, which can be read in any order, the wandering cleric Chih enters the Riverlands, a place haunted by legendary martial artists. I enjoyed the journey and Chih’s new companions—but I did end the book a little unclear about something! I had a little trouble concentrating this time so might just be me!
      ―Megan Bell from Underground Books in Carrollton, GA | Buy from Underground Books

  • Somehow the Singing Hills Cycle just gets better and better, and Empress set the bar high.  ―Rosie Dauval from One More Page Books in Arlington, VA | Buy from One More Page Books

  • This absolutely delightful novella is the third in Vo’s Singing Hills cycle, though the books read very easily as stand-alones. In a high fantasy setting inspired by imperial China, a cleric roams the world looking for stories to write down. This series reads like its own mythology, full of stories-within-stories that help build a rich and multipartite world, and it brings me immediately back to my childhood love of Greek, Hindu, and Norse myths. The stories are imaginative, and the characters’ reflections on them are thoughtful and striking – this book has an impact well beyond its ~110 pages.  ―Akil Guruparan from Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, VA | Buy from Fountain Bookstore

About Nghi Vo

Nghi Vo is the author of the novels Siren Queen and The Chosen and the Beautiful, as well as the acclaimed novellas When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain and The Empress of Salt and Fortune, a Locus and Ignyte Award finalist and the winner of the Crawford Award and the Hugo Award. Born in Illinois, she now lives on the shores of Lake Michigan. She believes in the ritual of lipstick, the power of stories, and the right to change your mind.

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Foster by Claire Keegan

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Foster by Claire Keegan
Grove Press / November 2022


More Reviews from Avid Bookshop quietly epic works of art. Foster is the story of a lonely child sent to live with relatives one summer, not knowing whether she would return home. The love and compassion shown to her on the Irish farm starkly contrast with the child’s family. Keegan’s prose is gorgeous.

Reviewed by Rachel Watkins, Avid Bookshop in Athens, Georgia



Dickens and Prince by Nick Hornby

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Dickens and Prince by Nick Hornby
Riverhead Books / November 2022


More Reviews from E. Shaver bookseller

This was a quick and fun read about two seemingly incredibly different individuals who actually had much more in common than I knew. Hornby’s writing is engaging and funny as always. I came away with some fantastic trivia knowledge and a greater appreciation for both Charles Dickens and Prince. This will be a hit with the pop culture nerds.

Reviewed by Melissa Taylor, E. Shaver bookseller in Savannah, Georgia

The Luminaries by Susan Dennard

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The Luminaries by Susan Dennard
Tor Teen / November 2022


More Reviews from Main Street Books

This dark, twisty fantasy makes the monsters that roam the forest seem to jump straight off the page! I loved the journeys the characters took and this should immediately be given to anyone looking for a fantasy that is filled with tension, intrigue, a little romance, and just overall creepiness. I will be waiting on the edge of my seat for the second book!

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

A Spark in the Dark by Pam Fong

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A Spark in the Dark by Pam Fong
Greenwillow Books / October 2022


More Reviews from Midtown Reader

This is a lovely book. Beautifully written and illustrated, it talks about darkness and hope in ways both children and adults can appreciate. And yes, I teared up at the end.


Reviewed by Tanya Eakin, Midtown Reader in Tallahassee, Florida

Freestyle: A Graphic Novel by Gale Galligan

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Freestyle: A Graphic Novel by Gale Galligan
Graphix / October 2022


More Reviews from Bookmarks

Gale Galligan is THE BEST! I have been so excited to see her first post-BSC graphic novel and Freestyle surpasses all expectations. It’s quirky, inclusive, inspiring, and so very real. And what a concept! Competitive B-boying yo-yo-ing was fun and interesting to read about and I love the way that Galligan captured motion in her art. This will likely be my favorite kids book of the year!

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

Read This Next!

Books on the horizon: Forthcoming favorites from Southern indies…

Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver

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Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver
 Harper / October 2022


More Reviews from Wordsworth Books

An October 2022 Read This Next! Title

Barbara Kingsolver’s Demon Copperhead is a brilliant retelling of the David Copperfield story from the perspective of the poor son of a teenage mother living in rural Appalachia. From the first sentence, Demon’s voice grabs us and takes us on an unforgettable journey through his early life. This novel about a resilient boy develops empathy for families and children so frequently dismissed in the national discourse. It is a masterful American story.

Reviewed by Lia Lent, Wordsworth Books in Little Rock, Arkansas

Southern Bestsellers

What’s popular this week with Southern Readers.

Lark Ascending Long-Winded Short Stories The Sentence
The Need to Be Whole The Island of Spies

[ See the full list ]

Parting Thought

“No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.”
– Robert Frost

Publisher: The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance / siba@sibaweb.com
Editor: Nicki Leone / nicki@sibaweb.com
Advertising: Linda-Marie Barrett / lindamarie@sibaweb.com
The Southern Bookseller Review is a project of the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance, in support of independent bookstores in the South | SIBA | 51 Pleasant Ridge Drive | Asheville, NC 28805

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The Southern Bookseller Review: Scary Stories

The Southern Bookseller Review Newsletter Special Issue: Scary Stories

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The Southern Bookseller Review: A Book for Every Reader

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October 2022

Wait, did you hear that? Scary stories for every reader.

Scary DoorAs the days grow shorter, the nights cooler, and the moon more crisp and bright in the autumn night sky, we sense the dying of the year, and the long dark winter ahead. Perhaps this is why we especially enjoy scary stories at this time of year.

"I love to be scared," says Clay McLeod Chapman below, "and I love telling spooky stories…I feel like there’s just this great value to spinning yarns."

The special edition of The Southern Bookseller Review celebrates our love of scary stories. The ghostly and the Gothic, the monster-ridden and the horror-driven. There are as many kinds of scary stories as there are things to be afraid of. Read these books at night, and leave the light on just in case.

 

Read This Now | Read This Next | The Bookseller Directory


Read This Now!

Recommended by Southern indies…

It Came from the Closet by Joe Vallese

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It Came from the Closet by Joe Vallese
The Feminist Press at CUNY / October 2022


More Reviews from Avid Bookshop

It’s human nature to look for validation of oneself in the art we consume, and It Came From the Closet is a collection of essays by queer and trans authors on their interpretations and interactions with horror films. Edited by Joe Vallese, these essays are tender and funny, vulnerable and courageous. It Came From the Closet will make you see movies you’ve watched numerous times in a different light and that is a spectacular point of view.

Reviewed by Rachel Watkins, Avid Bookshop in Athens, Georgia


Bookseller Buzz

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Spotlight on: Ghost Eaters by Clay McLeod Chapman

 

Clay McLeod Chapman Photo Credit author

 I love to be scared. And I love telling spooky stories. It’s a book that kind of explores all of these somber topics like addiction, like grief, exploring the kind of outer parameters of death and loss. I love ghost stories, the oral tradition that you find down South. I feel like there’s just this great value to spinning yarns and kind of immersing your, your listener, your reader, your audience in this notion that they are kind of being pulled into a story around the campfire.” ―Clay Chapman, Interview, Virginia Living

What booksellers are saying about Ghost Eaters

The Ghost Eaters by Clay McLeod Chapman
  • This creeping horror novel will down right terrify you. A southern ghost story that won’t let you go even after you’ve turned that last page. All while dealing with the anxiety of love, grief, and addiction. I’ve never read anything like it.
      ―Rayna Nielsen from Blue Cypress Books in New Orleans, LA | Buy from Blue Cypress Books

  • Reminiscent of Boy Parts and Ninth House, this novel is exceptionally dark, anxiety-inducing, relatable, and oh so very addicting. Ghost Eaters is by far my favorite horror read of 2022!  ―Kassie Weeks from Oxford Exchange in Tampa, FL | Buy from Oxford Exchange

  • “Do you want to get Haunted?” Ghost is a drug that haunts a person instead of a place. Lost a loved one? Take Ghost and you can see them again. The problem is that you can’t take just one. This is a story of addiction, revenants, and imagery so grotesque that your skin crawls. This book is INTENSE and I recommend it to all horror fans!  ―Suzanne Carnes from Underground Books in Carrollton, GA | Buy from Underground Books

About Clay McLeod Chapman

Clay McLeod Chapman writes novels, comic books, and children’s books, as well as for film and TV. He is the author of the horror novels The Remaking and Whisper Down the Lane. Visit him at claymcleodchapman.com.

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Leech by Hiron Ennes

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Leech by Hiron Ennes
Tordotcom / September 2022


More Reviews from Underground Books

The narrator of this scalpel-sharp and intoxicatingly gross debut is a parasite who is about to meet its match in the battle for control over the human heart, mind, and body. Fans of Gothic lit, haunted mansions in ill repair, and biological or medical horror, eat your optic nerve—I mean, your heart—out! I generally don’t consider myself a fan of the above actually, but the incredibly unique narrator, the excellent and atmospheric world-building, and the both chillingly creepy and chillingly cold setting really hooked me. Highly recommended for fans of Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Mexican Gothic and T. Kingfisher’s What Moves the Dead!

Reviewed by Megan Bell, Underground Books in Carrollton, Georgia


The Mexican Witch Lifestyle by Valeria Ruelas

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The Mexican Witch Lifestyle by Valeria Ruelas
Simon Element / November 2022


More Reviews from Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews

An absolutely stellar guide to modern brujeria. It’s the perfect addition to any young witch/bruja/brujx’s collection. Valeria Ruelas is such a powerful and authoritative voice in the brujeria world and their guide is all encompassing and inclusive, with careful descriptions of spells, crystals, and terminology as well as cautions against racism and appropriation. In my humble opinion, this is THE guide every one beginning their journey into magic and healing should have on their shelf!

Reviewed by Laney Sheehan, Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews in Chapel Hill, NC

Lucky Girl by M. Rickert

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Lucky Girl by M. Rickert
Tordotcom / September 2022


More Reviews from Fountain Bookstore

Rickert packs a lot of horror in just over 100 pages! Four friends meet up in a diner on Thanksgiving and start a tradition of getting together for Christmas dinner and telling scary stories. Ro, an aspiring writer, learns that sometimes the scariest stories are so terrifying because they stem from fact – and no one is safe!

Reviewed by Andrea Richardson, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

Spirit Week by Ira Marcks

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Spirit Week by Ira Marcks
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers / October 2022


More Reviews from Bookmarks

A charmingly illustrated and just-spooky-enough graphic novel, Spirit Week is sure to delight readers looking for an inventive mystery to unravel. A clever homage to the works of Stephen King and The Shining, Marcks’ middle grade graphic novel follows a group of intrepid kids as they attempt to uncover the secrets of The Underlook Hotel and its reclusive author Jack Axworth. A whole lot of fun!


Reviewed by Caleb Masters, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

The Hollow Kind by Andy Davidson

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The Hollow Kind by Andy Davidson
MCD / October 2022


More Reviews from The Little Bookshop

You want to read this one. Scary, creepy, a page-turner. Very well written. A family curse. Something in the woods. And something in the house. Read it for Halloween. Read it at the beach. Read this anytime, it is so good. And keep the lights on. Two thumbs up.

Reviewed by Mary Patterson, The Little Bookshop in Midlothian, Virginia

The Night Ship by Jess Kidd

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The Night Ship by Jess Kidd
Atria Books / October 2022


More Reviews from Copperfish Books

An enthralling tale of imaginary monsters, human devils, and two children navigating life’s horrors 360 years apart. In turn harrowing, tender, and hopeful, the adventure follows a fearless Dutch girl in 1628 aboard the Batavia, which ultimately wrecks near an island off Australia. In 1989, a sensitive boy goes to live on that same island with his gruff grandfather after his mother’s death. There, he learns how to be himself and discovers a magical connection with the girl from the past.

Reviewed by Suzanne Carnes, Copperfish Books in Punta Gorda, Florida

Motherthing by Ainslie Hogarth

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Motherthing by Ainslie Hogarth
Vintage / October 2022


More Reviews from Underground Books

Someone once told me that laughter is the human response to what makes them uncomfortable. This story is like Shirley Jackson and Christopher Moore had a book baby and Motherthing was the result. Ralph and Abby Lamb move in with his mentally ill mother as caretakers. Abby thinks this is her chance to win over her mother-in-law. She’s wrong. Dead wrong. The story telling in this book is brilliantly funny at times and deeply disturbing at others. Mark Abrams cover art drew me in but Ainslie Hogarth’s ability to make me cringe and laugh at the same time kept me reading.


Reviewed by Suzanne Carnes, Underground Books in Carrollton, Georgia


Parting Thought

“Though they don’t always have to be set in fog, weather is incredibly important in ghost stories. As is suspense: you’ve got to turn the screw very, very slowly.”
– Susan Hill

Publisher: The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance / siba@sibaweb.com
Editor: Nicki Leone / nicki@sibaweb.com
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The Southern Bookseller Review is a project of the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance, in support of independent bookstores in the South | SIBA | 51 Pleasant Ridge Drive | Asheville, NC 28805

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The Southern Bookseller Review 10/18/22

The Southern Bookseller Review Newsletter for the week of October 18, 2022

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The week of October 18, 2022

Buzz. Buzz. Buzz. What’s That Noise?

Bees Flying Illustration credit Vitalii Barida

Have you ever hear someone talking about a book, and then suddenly you are hearing about it everywhere? In house here at SBR, we call that the "plate o’ shrimp" book principle, after the famous quote in the film Repo Man explaining the "cosmic unconsciousness."

The book world, however, operates on something more like "cosmic consciousness." People who love books can’t help but talk about books. People who read books have to share them. Which is why "you’ve got to read this!" is the most exciting thing you can say to a reader. So when you hear about a great book or tell a friend about one, you are really just part of a buzzing network of "cosmic book consciousness." And nobody is tapped into that network like independent booksellers, who live to talk about books–with their customers, their friends, each other, possibly even random people on the street.

SBR’s Book Buzz is our tribute to this irresistible impulse all readers have to share what they are reading. Each one is dedicated to a book that came to our attention, plate o’ shrimp style, because booksellers keep talking about it. This week’s Book Buzz Spotlight, Mr. Wilder and Me by Jonathan Coe, is the 50th Book Buzz published by SBR, marking a year’s worth of stellar reading lighting up the book cosmos.

Read This Now | Read This Next | The Bookseller Directory


Read This Now!

Recommended by Southern indies…

Hester by Laurie Lico Albanese

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Hester by Laurie Lico Albanese
St. Martin’s Press / October 2022

,  
More Reviews from Litchfield Books

Absolutely one of the best books I have read this year. I love the way the author wove Nathaniel Hawthorne’s story of Hester and The Scarlet Letter perfectly into this novel about a woman in the 1800s who embroiders but has synesthesia where she associates certain colors with letters. I love the way she portrayed Isobel as a strong woman- but to men she could be seen as a temptress. A beautifully woven (pun intended) story.

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



Bookseller Buzz

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Spotlight on: Mr. Wilder and Me by Jonathan Coe

 

Jonathan Coe Photo Credit British Council Literature

I suppose it’s typical of me that I zoom in on Billy Wilder in one of the most melancholy moments of his life, just when his star is on the wane and he’s trying to find a gracious way of becoming an elder statesman. I think it is more interesting to approach an artist through one of their flawed films, because a masterpiece speaks for itself. Whereas you watch Fedora and you think: ‘How did this film come to be? It is so peculiar, there must be a story there.” ―Jonathan Coe, Interview, The Guardian

What booksellers are saying about Mr. Wilder and Me

Mr. Wilder and Me by Jonathan Coe
  • Told alongside a young woman’s coming of age as a film worker, this novella is a portrait of late-career Billy Wilder, after he’s made all the films you know and now worries that he’s out of touch – he remains haunted by the Holocaust, while his peers seemingly have moved on and are making movies that explore human pain and suffering instead of trying to alleviate them. It’s a gorgeously written and well-researched book, simultaneously a love letter to film and life’s pleasures and a compassionate warning about the dangers of nostalgia and the moral convictions that come with age.
      ―Akil Guruparan from Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia | Buy from Fountain Bookstore

  • Calista is a young Greek girl hired by Billy Wilder as an interpreter while he is filming the movie Fedora in 1977 Europe. This is a coming of age story along with a tribute to Wilder, his movies, and his screenwriter friend Iz Diamond. I loved the book!  ―Beth Carpenter from The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, North Carolina | Buy from The Country Bookshop

  • Last night, I was listening to an old episode of This American Life, one in which a reporter goes on the road with the then-92-year-old George Burns. Immediately I thought of Mr. Wilder and Me. As in that radio story, the protagonist in Jonathan Coe’s novel is a young woman who has the rare opportunity to spend long stretches of time with an aging entertainment legend who is, more than likely, in the midst of his last big project. Mr. Wilder and Me invites us to examine notions of creativity, relevance, and fame as well as our irresistible tendency to re-examine our lives, wondering what small shifts might have changed everything.  ―Janet Geddis from Avid Bookshop in Athens, Georgia | Buy from Avid Bookshop

About Jonathan Coe

Jonathan Coe was born in 1961 in Lickey, a suburb of south-west Birmingham. His first novel, The Accidental Woman was published in 1987. His best-selling novels include What a Carve Up! and The Rotters’ Club (2001). He is the recipient of many prizes and awards, including both Costa Novel of the Year and Prix du Livre Européen. He won France’s Prix Médicis for The House of Sleep and Italy’s Premio Flaiano and Premio Bauer-Ca’ Foscari.

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Station Eternity by Mur Lafferty

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Station Eternity by Mur Lafferty
Ace / October 2022


More Reviews from The Haunted Book Shop

Mallory is a self-aware mystery magnet, seemingly causing murders that only she can solve to happen spontaneously around her, to the point that she now feels responsible for the murders. To stymie her mysterious power, she escapes to the space station Eternity to be one of three humans among throngs of aliens. This works for months until a shuttle of humans is scheduled to arrive from Earth and the cycle of murders and mysteries starts anew around Mallory. The world-building is impeccable, with multiple alien species bringing their own biology, culture, and politics into the narrative. Lafferty also manages an intricate, compelling mystery by weaving together multiple viewpoints with a web of connections and "coincidences," yet still wrapping up the mystery without dangling loose ends. I look forward to more tales of Mallory’s exploits in this intriguing world Lafferty built.

Reviewed by Kelly McLeod, The Haunted Book Shop in Mobile, Alabama



Breathless by David Quammen

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Breathless by David Quammen
Simon & Schuster / October 2022


More Reviews from Malaprops

David Quammen can make the most complex scientific subjects perfectly understandable and fascinating. We’ve lived through the beginnings of Covid-19, but so much was going on behind the scenes. It’s astounding that vaccines were developed as quickly as they were, and we find out the backstory here. Quammen makes our last two years read like a thriller.

Reviewed by Rosemary Pugliese, Malaprops in Asheville, North Carolina

The Getaway by Lamar Giles

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The Getaway by Lamar Giles
Scholastic Press, / September 2022


More Reviews from Fountain Bookstore

What an incredible book! Giles ratchets up the tension immediately in this story of paradise gone wrong. The staff and families living at Karloff County’s most famous resort are living happily in harmony until people start to vanish without a trace. As the world outside starts to crumble, young Jay and his friends try to find a way to get themselves and their loved ones to safety – whatever that may mean.

Reviewed by Andrea Richardson, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

Brown Is Beautiful by Supriya Kelkar

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Brown Is Beautiful by Supriya Kelkar
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) / October 2022


More Reviews from Bookmarks

I love the beauty of Brown is Beautiful. A young Indian American girl walks through nature with her grandparents, celebrating all the beauty of things that are brown – leaves and bears and canyons. The book transitions to houses and families and babies, all brown and beautiful. This is a story of joy and celebration!


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

The Wolf Suit by Sid Sharp

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The Wolf Suit by Sid Sharp
Annick Press / October 2022


More Reviews from Cavalier House Books

The Wolf Suit is an absolutely charming picture book about anxiety through the eyes of a sheep in wolf’s clothing.

Reviewed by Michelle Cavalier, Cavalier House Books in Denham Springs, Louisiana

Read This Next!

Books on the horizon: Forthcoming favorites from Southern indies…

Mistakes Were Made by Meryl Wilsner

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Mistakes Were Made by Meryl Wilsner
 St. Martin’s Griffin / October 2022


More Reviews from Parnassus Books

An October 2022 Read This Next! Title

There is something that happens when you take an age old trope (age-gap or best friend’s dad) and make it queer that breathes new life into the story. So many chili peppers for this book. Sheesh.

Reviewed by Katie Garaby, Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee

Southern Bestsellers

What’s popular this week with Southern Readers.

Our Missing Hearts The Indigenous Continent The Silent Patient
Carnival of Snackery The Door of No Return

[ See the full list ]

Parting Thought

“But at the same time, I have trouble keeping things out of books, which is why I don’t write short stories because they turn into novels.”
– Jonathan Coe

Publisher: The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance / siba@sibaweb.com
Editor: Nicki Leone / nicki@sibaweb.com
Advertising: Linda-Marie Barrett / lindamarie@sibaweb.com
The Southern Bookseller Review is a project of the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance, in support of independent bookstores in the South | SIBA | 51 Pleasant Ridge Drive | Asheville, NC 28805

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The Southern Bookseller Review 10/11/22

The Southern Bookseller Review Newsletter for the week of October 11, 2022

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The week of October 11, 2022

What to read in October

Read This Next! October 2022 Books Normally, we announce the new Read This Next! list at the beginning of each month, but the crisis caused by Hurricane Ian pre-empted the October announcement. Readers will have one less week to read all the books on this month’s list. But luckily the list includes a children’s book, so that one, at least, is a pretty quick read!

The Southern Bookseller Review website publishes a running collection of posts called "Read This Now," reviews of books that booksellers are, well, reading now.

But then there are the books that have not just one or two enthusiastic reviews from Southern booksellers, but five or six, or more. SBR highlights these books in its Book Buzz section, and each month selects five newly published books that are causing the most excitement among booksellers for special attention: these are the books indie booksellers want people to read next. If these books aren’t yet on your TBR pile, put them there, right at the top:

Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver (Harper)
A brilliant retelling of the David Copperfield story from the perspective of the poor son of a teenage mother living in rural Appalachia. From the first sentence, Demon’s voice grabs us and takes us on an unforgettable journey through his early life. This novel about a resilient boy develops empathy for families and children so frequently dismissed in the national discourse. It is a masterful American story.
–Lia Lent in Wordsworth Books in Little Rock, Arkansas

Mistakes Were Made by Meryl Wilsner (St. Martin’s Griffin)
There is something that happens when you take an age old trope (age-gap or best friend’s dad) and make it queer that breathes new life into the story. So many chili peppers for this book. Sheesh.
– Katie Garaby in Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee

This Story Is Not About a Kitten by Randall de Sève, Carson Ellis (Illus.) (Random House Studio)
Many hands make light work, and many hearts working together can accomplish great things. This is not a story about a kitten, its a story about community, the language of caring, and of the incredible powers of kindness group effort can bring.
–Angie Tally in The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, North Carolina

Our Missing Hearts by Celeste Ng (Penguin Press)
In addition to being an all-too-believable near-future dystopian novel in the tradition of The Handmaid’s Tale, Our Missing Hearts is also a subtle call to action to those of us who recognize how essential stories and art are to freedom. Celeste Ng’s previous books were terrific. This is her most important work yet.
–Frank Reiss in A Cappella Books in Atlanta, Georgia

Which Side Are You On by Ryan Lee Wong (Catapult)
Which Side Are You On is a dialogue-heavy book with prose that is sharp, thought-provoking, and humorous at times. The reader sees the subjects of race, policing, politics, and privilege through the eyes of a young activist as he pries into his parents’ own personal history of activism in their younger days. Filled with interesting anecdotes and hard-learned lessons, this book shows that sometimes personal growth is best attained through deep conversation and self-reflection.
–Stuart McCommon in Novel in Memphis, Tennessee


Read This Now | Read This Next | The Bookseller Directory


Read This Now!

Recommended by Southern indies…

Cradles of the Reich by Jennifer Coburn

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Cradles of the Reich by Jennifer Coburn
Sourcebooks Landmark / October 2022


More Reviews from Copperfish Books

This story of three women shines a light on the existence of Nazi breeding programs during the WW2 era. These maternity homes facilitated the births of thousands of “true German babies” to help repopulate and rebuild the “new Germany.” I had never heard of this! Gundi, Hilde and Irma each had their own reasons for being involved as they were, and for making the risky decisions that would change the path they were on. Engaging, enlightening and well written!

Reviewed by Cathy Graham, Copperfish Books in Punta Gorda, Florida



Bookseller Buzz

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Spotlight on: Shrines of Gaiety by Kate Atkinson

 

Kate Atkinson Photo Credit Euan Myles

People often ask how much of myself is in a book. Generally I say all of me and none of me. It’s dangerous to associate authors with their work. It’s fiction but the more you are engaged with your writing the more the readers are also involved. I think a reader needs the author to be invested wholly in the writing, otherwise it feels a bit like cheating, in a way.

I tend to get emotional towards the end of writing a book, because so much is coming together and the story feels as though it is going to work and do what I wanted it to do. I love endings – beginnings and endings are what I like most in fiction. ” ―Kate Atkinson, Interview, Women’s Prize for Fiction

What booksellers are saying about Shrines of Gaiety

Shrines of Gaiety by Kate Atkinsong
  • Kate Atkinson has a wonderful way with words, combining laugh-out-loud wit with unexpected pathos. I gobbled up Shrines of Gaiety – which features a motley crew of characters in 1920s London, including a nightclub boss, a chief inspector intent on weeding out corruption in the police, a teenage runaway in search of fame, and a former WW1 nurse in search of said missing teenager – in just a couple of days.
      ―Jude Burke-Lewis from Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi | Buy from Square Books

  • Atkinson’s latest novel sparkles with all her brilliance. Featuring deft character studies and a lack of sentimentality, this clever timepiece set in the roaring ’20s has an atmospheric mix of criminal and cop, ingenue and madame. Seedy SoHo has been the playground for the infamous Coker family for many years, and they must now defend their nightclub empire from attack by mysterious forces. Witty & wise, moving but never mawkish, this is Atkinson at the top of her game. 
    ―Maggie Robe from Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina | Buy from Flyleaf Books

  • Ma Coker, queen of London’s night club scene, is released from jail, at the beginning of this novel set against a London full of missing girls, many of whom worked at Coker’s clubs. Told from the point of view of Coker and her endless family members; as well as a librarian who works with a police officer to find the girls; and some of the girls themselves. Kate Atkinson is at her most imaginative in this thriller that’s almost as wild as the roaring 20s themselves. 
    ―Anne Peck from Righton Books in St. Simons Island, Georgia | Buy from Righton Books

About Kate Atkinson

Kate Atkinson won the Whitbread (now Costa) Book of the Year prize with her first novel, Behind the Scenes at the Museum. Her 2013 novel Life After Life was shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction and voted Book of the Year for the independent booksellers associations on both sides of the Atlantic. It also won the Costa Novel Award, as did her subsequent novel, A God in Ruins (2015), and was adapted into a critically acclaimed television series in 2022. Her bestselling novels featuring former detective Jackson Brodie became the BBC television series Case Histories, starring Jason Isaacs. She has written twelve groundbreaking, bestselling books and lives in Edinburgh, Scotland.

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Poster Girl by Veronica Roth

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Poster Girl by Veronica Roth
William Morrow / October 2022


More Reviews from E. Shaver bookseller

Most dystopian stories focus on life during the fall of a society and the plans for the uprising/demise of a new regime. ‘Poster Girl’ tells of the events after the uprising happens, with the added twist of mystery thriller thrown in (because why not). Tempted with the prospect of earning her freedom from life imprisonment, Sonya investigates the whereabouts of a missing girl. During her journey, long-held secrets are uncovered that will have Sonya second-guessing everything she believes.

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



Justice of the Pies by Maya-Camille Broussard

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Justice of the Pies by Maya-Camille Broussard
Clarkson Potter / October 2022


More Reviews from Fountain Bookstore

What a beautiful cookbook! It’s the perfect blend of stunning visuals, original and well-written recipes, dynamite prose in the talky bits, plus a strong social-justice mission. Broussard presents her sweet and savory recipes from the point-of-view of a Black, hearing-impaired, small business owner who has been giving back to her Chicago community through teaching, donating, and empowering others. Between the recipes (and inspiring many) are profiles of people she calls "Stewards": others who strive for equity. If that’s not enough inspiration, how about Salted Caramel Peach Pie, Chicken & Biscuit Pot Pie, Churro Whoopie Pies! Honoring her public defender late father’s memory, this book also makes a great family gift.

Reviewed by Kelly Justice, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

Prince of Song & Sea by Linsey Miller

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Prince of Song & Sea by Linsey Miller
Disney Press / October 2022


More Reviews from Fiction Addiction

We all know the story of the little mermaid who fell in love with a prince, made a deal with a sea witch and needs a kiss so she can remain a human. However, what do we know about the handsome prince? What is his part of this story? In the Prince of Song and Sea, Lindsey Miller shows you the life of Prince Eric. His friends, his adventures, and his curse. If you loved Littler Mermaid, you will be delighted to read Prince of Song and Sea with its familiar storyline, recognizable characters, and a deeper dive into a well-loved story.

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

Counting in Dog Years and Other Sassy Math Poems by Betsy Franco

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Counting in Dog Years and Other Sassy Math Poems by Betsy Franco
Candlewick / October 2022


More Reviews from The Country Bookshop

Multiplying mice, sugary shapes, and family fractions star in this charming collection that practically shouts : Math is FUN!


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

Afro Samurai Vol.1 by Takashi Okazaki

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Afro Samurai Vol.1 by Takashi Okazaki
Titan Manga / November 2022


More Reviews from Oxford Exchange

This was epic. I absolutely can’t wait to get more into this series. Gave me Black Swordsman Arc vibes from Berserk. I hope to see Afro develop more and maybe gain something to care for instead of being purely based on revenge. The setting in the end also gave me Fountainhead Palace vibes from Sekiro.

Reviewed by Ethan Davis, Oxford Exchange in Tampa, Florida

Read This Next!

Books on the horizon: Forthcoming favorites from Southern indies…

Our Missing Hearts by Celeste Ng

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Our Missing Hearts by Celeste Ng
 Penguin Press / October 2022


More Reviews from South Main Book Company

An October 2022 Read This Next! Title

Oh, I hope and pray this is the runaway blockbuster of the year, as it deserves to be. Dystopian, centered around concept the US government can re-home children on the basis of anonymous reports of seditious parental behavior. One woman uses poetry to combat this, and the rampant anti-Asian hate that is taking over society. With hero librarians behind the scenes attempting to keep fractured family ties documented – SO MUCH LOVE FOR THIS. ALL OF THIS. I AM SO HERE FOR IT. Celeste Ng is now officially a literary force. I’m calling Our Missing Hearts my one and only official book recommendation of 2022 – no others will come close.

Reviewed by Alissa Redmond, South Main Book Company in Salisbury, North Carolina

Southern Bestsellers

What’s popular this week with Southern Readers.

Golden Enclaves Faith Hope and Carnage Cloud Cuckoo Land
Children of Ash and Elm Clackity

[ See the full list ]

Parting Thought

“The beginning is the word and the end is silence. And in between are all the stories.”
– Kate Atkinson, Human Croquet: A Novel

Publisher: The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance / siba@sibaweb.com
Editor: Nicki Leone / nicki@sibaweb.com
Advertising: Linda-Marie Barrett / lindamarie@sibaweb.com
The Southern Bookseller Review is a project of the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance, in support of independent bookstores in the South | SIBA | 51 Pleasant Ridge Drive | Asheville, NC 28805

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The Southern Bookseller Review 10/4/22

The Southern Bookseller Review Newsletter for the week of October 4, 2022

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The week of October 4, 2022

Support Florida’s independent bookstores.

Mr. Brady, MacIntosh Books in Sanibel, Florida Photo Credit MacIntosh Books When The Southern Bookseller Review went out last week, Hurricane Ian was just making landfall in Fort Myers, Florida. Now, a week later, the scale of the devastation left by the storm has staggered and horrified the all of us.

The "Southern" in the name of "The Southern Bookseller Review" is not just a word. SBR is very much a "southern" publication, born from and nurtured by the southern literary community. SBR counts many, many Floridians among its readership, and many Florida booksellers and bookstores among its reviewers. There are about fifty Florida independent bookstores listed in The SBR Bookseller Directory, some located right in the path of the hurricane. Over the past week SBR’s parent organization, the Southern Booksellers Alliance, has been reaching out to each of them to make sure their shops and their staff were alright.

"Fortunately, we’re fine." Rona Brinlee of The Bookmark in Neptune Beach reported. "We were very lucky. Seems there was a storm surge in our area, but we had sandbags by the front door–they were soaked and there was a water line 3+ inches up the door. Again, very lucky."

Copperfish Books in Punta Gorda, close to Fort Myers, was able to post to their Facebook page that their store and staff were all okay:

"This storm was life-altering for so many of us. Even if you ‘just’ had some property damage, even if you evacuated and didn’t feel Ian’s brutality, you have been and will continue to be affected. We’re all now connected by this unprecedented experience."

The bookstores on Sanibel Island faced the full force of the storm’s destruction. Owners and staff of evacuated ahead of Ian’s arrival, and still have been unable to return to assess the damage. "Our entire staff are safe and off the island," Gene’s Books posted to their Facebook page, "but we are all reeling from the devastation."

Gene's Books, photo credit Gene's Books

Before they evacuated, they took a picture of their store.

MacIntosh Books + Paper also reported that owners and staff were safely evacuated, including Mr. Brady, the beloved and rather famous store cat. In an emotional post right after she left the island, store owner Rebecca Binkowski admitted that "there may not be anything to go back to," but she went on to say in response to the many, many people who had reached out to her, "I feel so fortunate to have all of you in my life, for the relationships that we’ve built, and to know what MacIntosh means to you. MacIntosh means a lot to me too, and we will continue in some way…we’ll figure it out." Binkowski has created a fundraising campaign to help with what will be either a rebuilding or a relocation of the store.

We often talk about independent bookstores as the "soul" of their communities, and never has that been more evident than in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian. Here is how you can help:

1. Buy books from Florida bookstores. Even if their doors are still closed, their websites are not. Visit the Bookstore directory for a list of Florida bookstores with links to store sites. Orders are still being filled online.

2. Donate to the Book Industry Charitable Foundation (Binc). Binc is the only nonprofit in the country dedicated to assisting booksellers and comic shop employees in need, and provides assistance to employees and shop owners who have a demonstrated financial need arising from severe hardship and/or emergency circumstances.

 

Read This Now | Read This Next | The Bookseller Directory


Read This Now!

Recommended by Southern indies…

Signal Fires by Dani Shapiro

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Signal Fires by Dani Shapiro
Knopf / October 2022


More Reviews from The Country Bookshop

The story of family and how lives intersect over time, Signal Fires is a quiet portrait of neighbors who lived near a 500-year-old oak tree during a large chunk of their lives. How those in the two families live and people chose to intersect or not to, choose to acknowledge weakness or tragedy- or do not- as they move through lives stages and across the country are central to this novel.

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



Bookseller Buzz

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Spotlight on: Which Side Are You On? by Ryan Lee Wong

 

Ryan Lee Wong Photo Credit Beowulf Sheehan

More and more I believe that in the face of a political situation or in the face of an emergency, you have to ask the questions, ‘Which side are you on? Where do I stand in relation to this?’And at the exact same time, ultimately, there are no sides.” ―Ryan Lee Wong, Interview, Los Angeles Times

What booksellers are saying about Which Side Are You On?

Which Side Are You On? by Ryan Lee Wong
  • A son returns home to LA for his grandmother’s last few days, and opens up to learn of his parents’ history as activists. He compares his own experiences with theirs as he struggles to figure out his future as a college student and self-proclaimed radical. Perfect for this moment, when so many of us are studying history to blaze new trails forward. I found this book very thought-provoking, and the family’s story refreshing.
      ―Alissa Redmond from South Main Book Co. in Salisbury, North Carolin | Buy from South Main Book Co.

  • Ryan Lee Wong packed so much into fewer than 200 pages! I loved the story of his family and how everything was revealed to him. I walked away still thinking of how Reed, the protagonist, learned that we have to allow stories to change us, not just to reinforce our own opinions. As someone who also lived in Los Angeles, I could envision exact places the author was describing; this also felt like a love story to his hometown.  ―Amber Taylor from One More Page Books in Arlington, Virginia | Buy from One More Page

  • Ryan Lee Wong’s debut Which Side Are You On is something special. This is a serious book with funny moments that centers around a young college student’s relationship with his mom. Reed is a young Asian American activist working to confront racism in America but he’s been shielded from the roles his parents played in the Korean-Black coalition in L.A. When he comes home from college in a life crisis, Reed’s mother pushes him to truly examine what he is doing to change the world.  ―Rachel Watkins from Avid Bookshop in Athens, Georgia | Buy from Avid Bookshop

About Ryan Lee Wong

Ryan Lee Wong was born and raised in Los Angeles, lived for two years at Ancestral Heart Zen Temple, and currently lives in Brooklyn, where he is the administrative director of Brooklyn Zen Center. Previously, he served as program director for the Asian American Writers’ Workshop and managing director of Kundiman. He has organized exhibitions and written extensively on the Asian American movements of the 1970s. He holds an MFA in fiction from Rutgers University–Newark. Which Side Are You On is his first book.

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Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez

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Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez
Penguin Random House / April 2022


More Reviews from 44th and 3rd Bookseller

I loved the characters in this book especially Civil Townsend. She was my hero! I remember reading about the true story this book is based on and feeling what a tragedy that something like this could happen. This story brought to life the real-life trauma of the two young girls the story is based on. I loved the way Civil championed their cause, and I felt her pain when things would go sideways. I recommend reading this book to anyone who is interested in justice.

Reviewed by Cheryl Lafaye Lee, 44th & 3rd Bookseller in Atlanta, Georgia



Boldly Go by William Shatner, Joshua Brandon

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Boldly Go by William Shatner, Joshua Brandon
Atria Books / October 2022


More Reviews from Main Street Books

I love William Shatner but for reasons other than his literary talents. Which he has! This memoir is adorable. He’s got a David Attenborough save the planet kind of vibe, with like, a grandpa who can’t use Zoom twist. You’ll read this in an afternoon. His incredulity and his sense of wonder is infectious, although there’s only so far the reader can go before they hit their head on the Successful Elderly White Man Door. A short, sweet read. He’s just so ridiculous and wonderful.

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

The Second Death of Edie and Violet Bond by Amanda Glaze

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The Second Death of Edie and Violet Bond by Amanda Glazeaze
Union Square & Co. / October 2022


More Reviews from The Haunted Book Shop

When I say I inhaled this book…Edie and Violet are twins. And mediums like their mother was. When they were forced between being institutionalized in an 1880s asylum and leaving in the dead of the night, they of course chose to run. And they joined a traveling Spiritualist show—a group of women who buck the oppressive treatment of females (which unfortunately we’re feeling again ??) by hiding their real talents (like oration, doctoring, etc) under the pretense of trances where they commune with spirits. The turn-of-the-century Spiritualism movement has always been a fascination of mine and the sister bond between Edie and Violet is wonderful. Sometimes I wanted to shake some sense into Edie when she treats Violet more like a little sister but of course that added to the suspense & tension. The romance between Edie and Laws was perfect. It didn’t take over the story nor read weird with the feminist vibes.

Reviewed by Candice Conner, The Haunted Book Shop in Mobile, Alabama

I am Ruby Bridges by Ruby Bridges

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I am Ruby Bridges by Ruby Bridges
Orchard Books / September 2022


More Reviews from My Sister’s Books

Elementary school. Ruby tells her story, as she experienced it, when she was just six years old. Adapted for the youngest readers, this edition has beautiful illustrations that demonstrate Ruby’s words. There is a glossary to help children learn key terms. For older readers, the author and illustrator have included their own personal notes of what inspired this version. This is an excellent book to help encourage family discussions about America’s history of education. This is a children’s book. It is told from the eyes of a child. It is illustrated showing the world through a child’s eye. It is beautiful! I loved Ruby’s sass, especially when it came to her very old name. I loved her innocence and her spunk. She is, indeed, Ruby Bridges, the First!


Reviewed by Nicole McManus, My Sister’s Books in Pawley’s Island, South Carolina

Issunboshi by Ryan Lang

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Issunboshi by Ryan Lang
Oni Press / October 2022


More Reviews from Fiction Addiction

“You don’t need to be a hero to take a stand against evil and fight for good in this world, that is how you become one.” This quote from the graphic novel embodies this story to perfection. The story is gripping and the art work is drawn to perfection. This graphic novel is perfect for any Japanese Manga or Anime fan. When the world began the gods sent down then heavenly spear to create the world. After the land was created, the gods separated the spear into parts. Three belonged to the earth: the trees, the flowers, and the stone. The fourth part is the spirit of the spear, the essence of life itself, stayed in the air. When a great mountain ogre, the Oni, accidentally discovers one of the three earthly pieces of the spear, he becomes obsessed to gain the power of the spear, and release the world of the dead. The only hope for the world is the spirit of the spear. To save the world and stop the Oni, he comes to earth to a lonely couple beseeching the gods for a son. The only challenge is that he is no bigger than your thumb. How can someone so small defeat a powerful Oni? It will take courage, training, and friends.

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

Read This Next!

Books on the horizon: Forthcoming favorites from Southern indies…

Which Side Are You On by Ryan Lee Wong

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Which Side Are You On by Ryan Lee Wong
 Catapult / October 2022


More Reviews from Novel

An October 2022 Read This Next! Title

Which Side Are You On is a dialogue-heavy book with prose that is sharp, thought-provoking, and humorous at times. The reader sees the subjects of race, policing, politics, & privilege through the eyes of a young activist as he pries into his parents’ own personal history of activism in their younger days. Filled with interesting anecdotes and hard-learned lessons, this book shows that sometimes personal growth is best attained through deep conversation and self-reflection.

Reviewed by Stuart McCommon, Novel. in Memphis, Tennessee

Southern Bestsellers

What’s popular this week with Southern Readers.

Fairy Tale Starry Messenger Sentence
This is Your Mind on Plants The Weight of Blood

[ See the full list ]

Parting Thought

“I do things like get in a taxi and say, "The library, and step on it.”
– David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest

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Editor: Nicki Leone / nicki@sibaweb.com
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The Southern Bookseller Review 9/27/22

The Southern Bookseller Review Newsletter for the week of September 27, 2022

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The week of September 27, 2022

What we talk about when we talk about the National Book Awards.

National Book AwardsOne of the purposes of The Southern Bookseller Review is to showcase independent booksellers as a trustworthy, knowledgeable source for "what to read next" no matter what kind of reader you happen to be, or what kind of books you like. So it is really no surprise as we come into "awards season" for books (National Book Awards, The Nobel), the titles on the lists are already familiar because booksellers had marked them first. Finalists for the National Book Award will be announced next week, but on the Fiction Long List are If I Survive You by Jonathan Escoffery, a September Read This Next! book, and Ramona Emerson’s Shutter, which was a "Book Buzz" feature in SBR.

Here are what southern booksellers have to say about some of the other novels on the long list:

The Town of Babylon by Alejandro Varela

A full-hearted homecoming story of reckoning with the past as it hits you hard and fast all while trying to carve a way forward–when for so long it looked like the only way was straight. — Luis Correa, Avid Bookshop, Athens, Georgia

Nobody Gets Out Alive : Stories by Leigh Newman

This collection of occasionally-interlinking stories simmers with personalities hardened by the harsh wilderness, by the survival