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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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or get the audiobook

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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or get the audiobook

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

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 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 of the everyday and the illusion of escape. –Miranda Sanchez, Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews, Chapel Hill, North Carolina

The Rabbit Hutch by Tessa Gunty

Brought sharply to life by Tess Gunty’s intricate, precise, dishy prose; It’s dark, but funny. It’s tragic, but affirming. And I didn’t want to skim over a single sentence. –Kat Leache, Novel, Memphis, Tennessee

Independent booksellers. When they talk about books, they know what they are talking about.

Read This Now | Read This Next | The Bookseller Directory


Read This Now!

Recommended by Southern indies…

Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult

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Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult
Ballantine Books / September 2022

,, 
More Reviews from Fiction Addiction

A thought-provoking and riveting look at the difference between keeping things secret and keeping things private. Mad Honey is told in alternating voices and timelines by Olivia, the mother of Asher, and Lily, Asher’s new to town girlfriend. Both Olivia and Lily are familiar with starting over. Olivia by leaving an abusive husband and Lily by moving for her last year of high school. When Lily is found dead, all eyes focus on Asher as a likely suspect. The layers of both Lily and Olivia’s lives are revealed as the investigation and trial bring long-held secrets to light. This is a page-turner that will leave you wondering how far you would go to protect yourself and your loved ones.

Reviewed by Mary Jane Michels, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina



Bookseller Buzz

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Spotlight on: Lucy By the Sea by Elizabeth Strout

 

Elizabeth Strout Photo Credit C. Williams

One of the biggest conundrums was to get the sense of time,” Strout said of the grocery-washing era of 2020, when calendars went blank and sinister. “It’s like time just imploded. The sense of a day was strange and the sense of a week was even stranger, because what was a week? I wanted to get that down on the page somehow.” ―Elizabeth Strout, Interview, New York Times

What booksellers are saying about Lucy By the Sea

Lucy By the Sea by Elizabeth Strout
  • This is a story of loss, and coming to terms with it, and realizing that we are all just trying to do the best we can and get through it all. Another fabulous Elizabeth Strout novel!
    ―Beth Carpenter from The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, North Carolina | Buy from this store

  • I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of Lucy Barton! Set in the early days of the COVID pandemic, Elizabeth Strout puts Lucy and her ex-husband (and still close friend) William together in a cabin in Maine. William is “saving Lucy’s life” by getting her out of Manhattan. For her part, Lucy doesn’t know what the big deal is. The two of them navigate this new world, and we are drawn back to that uncertain time when so much was unknown. In Lucy’s singular voice, Strout continues Lucy’s story with a keen eye and sharp prose.
      ―Lynne Phillips from Wordsworth Books in Little Rock, Arkansas | Buy from this store

  • “I could not stop feeling that life as I had known it was gone. Because it was. I knew this was true.” Lucy Barton feels this as the global pandemic took over all our lives… and didn’t we all feel this? Reading Lucy by the Sea leads the reader through the horrors and hopes of this strangest and most horrifying time of our collective lives. The unknown was with us every minute of lockdown and, as all our lives changed, we changed forever.  ―Nancy Pierce from Bookmiser in Marietta, Georgia | Buy from this store

  • Strout explores grief in a new way in this pandemic-era novel. ‘Lucy By the Sea’ centers around the outbreak of COVID and everything that followed during the year after. I instantly fell deeply immersed in this story because I (and we all) lived through that year. I felt emotionally involved with Lucy and her world. I struggled with Lucy while she came to grips of the new reality that was COVID, my heart broke as her relationship with her daughters changed, and I rolled my eyes along with her at William. You are not invisible Lucy, we see you. 
    ―Jenny Gilroy from E. Shaver, bookseller in Savannah, Georgia | Buy from this store

  • Elizabeth Strout brings her character, Lucy, back just as the world is shut down by the pandemic. Lucy finds herself quarantining with her ex-husband William in a small town in Maine and begins to see him from a different point of view. Lucy’s fresh outlook extends to her two daughters and their own life challenges. Told in Lucy’s clear, no-nonsense voice, the lockdown provides the backdrop for how to deal with a world in turmoil without losing hope.  ―Mary Jane Michels from Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina | Buy from this store

About Elizabeth Strout

Elizabeth Strout is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Oh William!Olive, AgainAnything Is Possible, winner of the Story Prize; My Name Is Lucy BartonThe Burgess BoysOlive Kitteridge, winner of the Pulitzer Prize; Abide with Me; and Amy and Isabelle, winner of the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award and the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize. She has also been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize in London. She lives in Maine.

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The Invincible Miss Cust by Penny Haw

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The Invincible Miss Cust by Penny Haw
Sourcebooks Landmark / October 2022


More Reviews from Bookmiser

Aleen Cust was born an English noblewoman in 1868 but developed a love for animals and a strong desire to be educated and become a veterinary surgeon. This ambition was unheard of in a woman, and it resulted in her mother and her siblings shunning her for life. Despite her family’s hatred of her desire to be educated and many societal obstacles, Aleen successfully trained in Scotland but was prohibited from qualifying because of her sex. She persisted in the field working with an Irish vet, Willie Byrne, with whom she developed an intense love relationship. She practiced veterinary science for 22 years before she was granted her diploma. Where would women be today if not for the brave, independent women who paved the path?.

Reviewed by Nancy Pierce, Bookmiser in Marietta, Georgia



Alive at the End of the World by Saeed Jones

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Alive at the End of the World by Saeed Jones
Coffee House Press / October 2022


More Reviews from Epilogue Books

Alive at the End of the World might not save my life, but it’s perfect company here between the rock and the hard place. Saeed Jones’ poems mold my daily depressive spiral into a crystalline mobius strip, looping endlessly back around to how we are harmed and do harm as this planet slouches towards Bethlehem. By turns grievous and grieving, this collection is a much-needed snapshot of coping mid-apocalypse.

Reviewed by Terrance Hudson, Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Night of the Raven, Dawn of the Dove by Rati Mehrotra

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Night of the Raven, Dawn of the Dove by Rati Mehrotra
Wednesday Books / October 2022


More Reviews from Story on the Square

Night of the Raven, Dawn of the Dove is absolutely breathtaking! I had just been complaining to a colleague that I feel like too many books these days have lost a sense of lightness and whimsy in the canon. While this novel would be far from whimsical, there’s a lovely balance of humor and sweetness to the characters that balance out the darkness within the world and the story. Ultimately a story of deciding one’s birth isn’t what’s important, but what you choose to do, I fell in love with all the characters and had to immediately contact everyone I knew as soon as I finished to tell them to put this on their TBR. Katyani is relatable, talented, and has a sense of humor that had me smirking and laughing to myself without even realizing. Don’t miss out on this wonderful Indian inspired fantasy!

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

Still This Love Goes On by Buffy Sainte-Marie

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Still This Love Goes On by Buffy Sainte-Marie
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers / August 2022


More Reviews from Bookmarks

Super cute story that balances English and Spanish! Perfect for Halloween but really you can read this one year-round — witches are cool! And I’m always a fan of any picture book that requires you to rotate the book to see the words.

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

It Took Luke by Mark Bouchard

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It Took Luke by Mark Bouchard
Oni Press / October 2022


More Reviews from Oxford Exchange

If this is going to be a single volume story, then what a ride it was. The art style is great! I love how the only color on the pages are that of blood and gore. Gives the work a bit of uniqueness. Nothing I love more than a main character with a dark past and a giant sword (Berserk Inspiration 100%).

Reviewed by Ethan Davis, Oxford Exchange in Tampa, Florida

Read This Next!

Books on the horizon: Forthcoming favorites from Southern indies…

We Spread by Iain Reid

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We Spread by Iain Reid
 Gallery/Scout Press / September 2022


More Reviews from The Country Bookshop

A September 2022 Read This Next! Title

I adore the way Iain Reid can make you feel so clueless and enthralled at the same time. During most of We Spread I had no idea what was going on and it was completely fine by me. The way he writes, even the most horrifying feeling, is soothing. I found myself trying to read slower as I neared the end because the experience passed too quickly.

Reviewed by Mary Salazar, The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, North Carolina

Southern Bestsellers

What’s popular this week with Southern Readers.

Fairy Tale Solito Love on the Brain
Fox and I Southern Baby

[ See the full list ]

Parting Thought

“A good book is an event in my life.”
– Stendhal

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
You have received this email because you are currently subscribed to receive The Southern Bookseller Review. Please click @@unsubscribe_url@@ if you no longer wish to receive these communications.

 

The Southern Bookseller Review 9/20/22

The Southern Bookseller Review Newsletter for the week of September 20, 2022

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The week of September 20, 2022

This is Banned Books Week.

United Against Book Bans

Usually when there are books in the news, SBR likes to post a reading list along with a a few comments from booksellers about each book and why they liked it. There are, we are sorry to say, plenty of lists to look at this week. The most frequently challenged or banned book in the country last year was Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe, and SBR readers have already heard what many Southern booksellers think of that book.

Usually when confronted with a challenge to a book, the advice is to read it and decide for yourself what you think of it. Or, don’t read it, if you’d rather not. It is up to each person to make up their own mind.

But over the last few years book banning has shifted from localized challenges made mostly by parents against their children’s school and public libraries to wider-scaled tools used in political campaigns. 2021 was a record year for book bans — over 72 attempted bans of 1597 individual books. Sadly, 2022 is likely to exceed that number. From July 2021 to June 2022, PEN America’s Index of School Book Bans lists 2,532 instances of individual books being banned, affecting 1,648 unique book titles.

Yet most people oppose book bans, regardless of their political affiliations. According to a poll by the American Library Association, 70% of voters oppose efforts to remove books from school and public libraries.

So this week, yes, certainly visit your local bookstore and pick up some of these challenged books and read them. Readers can be trusted to decide for themselves what they think about the books they read.

But if you want to do more, visit United Against Book Bans for ideas of how to stand up for your right to read.

Read This Now | Read This Next | The Bookseller Directory


Read This Now!

Recommended by Southern indies…

Jollof Rice and Other Revolutions by Omolola Ijeoma Ogunyemi

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Jollof Rice and Other Revolutions by Omolola Ijeoma Ogunyemi
Amistad / September 2022


More Reviews from Fountain Bookstore

This intertwined collection of short stories is a powerful and engrossing American debut from Omolola Ijeoma Ogunyemi. The stories travel from 1920’s Nigeria to modern day New York and back again, following multiple characters all interconnected by strong women whose choices echo on for generations. Very well paced and structured, each story moves quickly and seamlessly into the next. Romance, power struggles, day-in-the-life: this novel has something for everyone.

Reviewed by Alex Einhorn, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia



Bookseller Buzz

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Spotlight on: Wildoak by C. C. Harrington

 

C. C. Harrington Photo Credit C. Williams

I have always felt comforted and reassured by the presence of old trees and love to spend time walking in woodlands or forests whenever I can. It might sound strange, but I really do feel a kind of connection, or perhaps access, to a different way of being when I’m immersed in the natural world.” ―C. C. Harrington, Interview, Indies Introduce

What booksellers are saying about Wildoak

Wildoak by C. C. Harrington
  • This is the best book about human and animal interaction I’ve read in a long time. Such a sweet and touching story.―Judith Lafitte from Octavia Books in New Orleans, Louisiana
    Buy from Octavia Books

  • This is such a sweet story that does feel like a modern classic. Maggie has a hard time speaking for herself but finds her courage when she needs to speak for others who have no voice. This book packs a punch with disability visibility, conservation, and even PTSD.
      ―Melissa Taylor from E. Shaver, bookseller in Savannah, Georgia
    Buy from E. Shaver, bookseller

  • The perfect book for fans of both The War That Saved My Life and Pax, Wildoak is a lovely debut that is sure to become a new classic and a school reading list staple. Challenged by a stutter that makes it difficult to express herself, lonely Maggie befriends and helps to rehabilitate an abandoned and injured snow leopard lost in the English countryside. When the creature is threatened, Maggie finds her voice in a most powerful way.  ―DM Capriola from Little Shop of Stories in Decatur, Georgia
    Buy from Little Shop of Stories

  • A beautifully written and deeply inspiring story of Maggie, a young girl in 1960’s England who is labeled a behavior problem due to her stutter. When she is sent to stay with her grandfather in Cornwall, she discovers an abandoned snow leopard in the woods. While helping him, she finds solace, strength and healing in nature and discovers her voice and the power it has to help others. Wonderful!!!  ―Mary Patterson from The Little Bookshop in Midlothian, Virginia
    Buy from The Little Bookshop

  • A quietly lovely novel about finding your way and using your voice. Wildoak tells the story of Maggie, Rumpus, and the importance of wild spaces and listening with your heart. Maggie finds her strength and becomes herself but the path is not easy. Fortunately, she finds hope and respite curled up with a fluffy snow leopard It’s everything I love about Middle Grade stories!  ―Susan Williams from M. Judson, Booksellers in Greenville, South Carolina
    Buy from M. Judson, Booksellers

About C. C. Harrington

Christina Harrison grew up in the UK. She spent her summer holidays in Cornwall where she loved to climb trees and run barefoot along pebbly beaches. She loves the natural world and believes that stories, much like the roots of an ancient forest, are capable of connecting readers and listeners in essential ways. Wildoak is her first book. She graduated from Oxford University with a degree in English Literature and has since worked for a newspaper, taught literacy to children with learning differences and studied printmaking. She now lives in Maryland with her family and a dog who loves to eat manuscripts. You can learn more about her work at ccharrington.com

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Shrines of Gaiety by Kate Atkinson

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Shrines of Gaiety by Kate Atkinson
Doubleday / September 2022


More Reviews from Square Books

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. Recommended.

Reviewed by Jude Burke-Lewis, Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi



All the Women in My Brain by Betty Gilpin

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All the Women in My Brain by Betty Gilpin
Flatiron Book / September 2022


More Reviews from Book No Further

Hilarious and bittersweet, Betty Gilpin’s memoir about her life as an actress is a bit chaotic at times, but in a funny way. She writes as a very successful actress who also struggles with self-doubt and depression. The reader gets to go behind- the -scenes with Gilpin as she stars in various TV shows and movies, describing her work from a feminist perspective and as a veteran of the entertainment industry. Loved it!

Reviewed by Lisa Uotinen, Book No Further in Roanoke, Virginia

Fraternity by Andy Mientus

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Fraternity by Andy Mientus
Atheneum Books for Young Readers / August 2022

,
More Reviews from Oxford Exchange

These chaotic passage of events and writing style reminded me a lot of the novel I Love You, Beth Cooper. Plot-wise, as a YA book, it is extremely insightful in regards to the AIDs epidemic, despite the allure of occult fantasy in this queer coming of age story. It was an entertaining read. I appreciate the tribute to notable gay figures within American history, as well as the representation of queer people of color. In all, it was extremely chaotic, and at times cheesy, but I would still read this and would recommend to those who enjoyed the Haunting of Jake Livingston.

Reviewed by Yarah Elshaer, Oxford Exchange in Tampa, Florida

Still This Love Goes On by Buffy Sainte-Marie

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Still This Love Goes On by Buffy Sainte-Marie
Greystone Kids / September 2022


More Reviews from Avid Bookshop

Beautiful and poignant, this stunning ode to Cree life sings with love for the relations that sustain it—between people, with the land, and the communal practices that have endured through generations. Flett’s warm, evocative artwork is, as always, a treasure, imbuing Sainte-Marie’s lyrics with tender resonance.

Reviewed by Hannah DeCamp, Avid Bookshop in Athens, Georgia

Muhammad Najem, War Reporter by Muhammad Najem

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Muhammad Najem, War Reporter by Muhammad Najem
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers / September 2022


More Reviews from Main Street Books

A Syrian kid living through the Syrian civil war decides to interview other kids his age using his phone to document what’s going on. He shares it on social media like YouTube Twitter and Facebook. He felt like he was being targeted by bombs for his news videos. Tense, informative, serious, sad, but also has happy moments. Read it all in one sitting. Hard to put down.

Reviewed by Eliza, Main Street Books in Davidson, North Carolina

Read This Next!

Books on the horizon: Forthcoming favorites from Southern indies…

If I Survive You by Jonathan Escoffery

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If I Survive You by Jonathan Escoffery
 MCD / September 2022


More Reviews from Novel

A September 2022 Read This Next! Title

Jonathan Escoffery’s debut If I Survive You chronicles an American immigration story full of hope, heartbreak, promises broken, and most importantly the constant struggle. Told in interconnected stories, If I Survive You addresses class, race, and economic disparity but is also funny. Mark my words, Escoffery is a rising literary star

Reviewed by Stuart McCommon Sullivan, Novel in Memphis, Tennessee

Southern Bestsellers

What’s popular this week with Southern Readers.

Fairy Tale Dinners with Ruth A Court of Thorns and Roses
Fox and I The Gathering Dark

[ See the full list ]

Parting Thought

“Reading and writing, like everything else, improve with practice. And, of course, if there are no young readers and writers, there will shortly be no older ones. Literacy will be dead, and democracy – which many believe goes hand in hand with it – will be dead as well. ”
– Margaret Atwood

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: Hispanic Heritage Month

The Southern Bookseller Review: A Good Harvest, August, 2022

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September, 2022

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month

Happy Hispanic Heritage Month

This special edition of The Southern Bookseller Review celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month, also sometimes known as Latino or Latinx Heritage Month, September 15 – October 15. This is a time to honor the cultures and contributions of both Hispanic and Latino Americans as we celebrate heritage rooted in all Latin American countries.

In doing so, we also bear in mind the terms Hispanic, Latino, and Latinx are often used interchangeably but actually have different meanings. “Hispanic” denotes people ethnically from Spanish-speaking countries in Latin America and Spain. “Latino,” or the feminine “Latina,” is used to describe people with ancestry from Latin American countries. It can include non-Spanish speaking peoples, such as those from Brazil (Portuguese) or Haiti (French) or those from indigenous cultures in Latin America, which number in the millions. "Latinx" is a more recent term meant to be gender neutral, and is often used by LGBTQ+ communities. 

Which term used often depends on personal choice. "Hispanic" is the most common term used by the US Federal Government for official purposes. But it does not describe the rich pre-Columbian cultures and indigenous traditions of South and Central America, or the African cultures and traditions brought by enslaved peoples.

In the end, perhaps the best way to honor and understand a culture is to listen to its stories. It is the stories of Hispanic, Latino, and Latinx peoples that we honor here.

“Writing is a struggle against silence.” -Carlos Fuentes

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Read This Now!

In praise of the stories that transport us

Witches by Brenda Lozano

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Witches by Brenda Lozano, (Heather Cleary trans.)
Catapult / August 2022


Witches, by Mexican writer Brenda Lozano, features quite possibly the most distinctive voice I’ve come across in fiction this year. Feliciana’s narrative, recounting her life as an indigenous healer – or curandera – is hypnotic, elliptical and utterly absorbing. Her story intertwines with that of Zoe, a journalist from Mexico City sent to report on the death of Paloma, Feliciana’s muxe – or third gender – cousin. Their stories combine to highlight the struggles of women striving to be true to themselves and to find their own voices.

Reviewed by Jude Burke-Lewis, Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi

Brenda Lozano credit Ana Hop

About the Authors:
Brenda Lozano is a fiction writer, essayist, and editor. Her books include: Todo nada (All or Nothing, 2009), followed by Cuaderno ideal (Loop, 2019), and a book of short stories Cómo piensan las piedras (How Stones Think, 2017). In 2015 she was selected by Conaculta, the Hay Festival and the British Council as one of Mexico’s best fiction writers under 40. In 2017 she was added to the Bogota 39 list, a selection of the best fiction writers under 40 from across Latin America. Witches is her most recent novel.

Heather Cleary photo credit Walter Funk

Heather Cleary has translated poetry and prose by writers including Betina González, Mario Bellatin, Sergio Chejfec, and María Ospina; her work has been recognized by the National Book Foundation, the Best Translated Book Award, the National Translation Award, and others.

Solito by Javier Zamora

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Solito by Javier Zamora
Hogarth / September 2022


This is one of the most riveting memoirs I have ever read ― Zamora captures his experience as a child migrant with extraordinary detail and emotion. It feels special to read a memoir that manages to stay true to the confusion of childhood in a very adult scenario and the uncertainty of migration while also not shying away from the kindness he was shown and the gratitude he so clearly feels towards those that helped him.

Reviewed by Cat Bock, Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee

Javier Zamora photo credit Gerardo Del Valle

About the Author:
Javier Zamora was born in El Salvador in 1990. His father fled the country when he was one, and his mother when he was about to turn five. Both parents’ migrations were caused by the U.S.-funded Salvadoran Civil War. When he was nine Javier migrated through Guatemala, Mexico, and the Sonoran Desert. His debut poetry collection, Unaccompanied, explores the impact of the war and immigration on his family. Zamora has been a Stegner Fellow at Stanford and a Radcliffe Fellow at Harvard and holds fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation.

Bookseller Buzz

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Spotlight on: How Not to Drown in a Glass of Water by Angie Cruz

 

Angie Cruz

In this moment of despair, while I was waiting on a crowded subway platform – I saw this woman in her late 50s teaching herself English. She held this kind of handbook and reminded me so much of my tías, my grandmother – all these women in my life who were laid off during the Great Recession in 2007. After working in the same factory for over 25 years, they were supposed to start over again. They had a lot to offer, but to go on a job interview is something they’d never done before. Thinking about this compelled me to go online and look up the most popular interview questions. I downloaded interview questions, and Cara Romero came to life. I heard her say, ‘You want to know something about my life? I’ll tell you about my life. I came to this country because my husband wanted to kill me.‘” ―Angie Cruz, Interview, Dominican Writers


How Not to Drown in a Glass of Water

What booksellers are saying about How Not to Drown in a Glass of Water

  • Cara Romero wants to work. She is drawing unemployment but must check in with a job counselor and at each of her meetings she tells of the issues she had and is having in her life which keep her from getting a job. She is truly a good person and helps her neighbors any time she is needed. Stay with this book and Cara’s stories because the end is worth it!―Beth Carpenter from The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, North Carolina
    Buy from The Country Bookshop

  • Cara Romero wants to work on everything and everyone but herself. She is strident, self-aware, and always always always focused on survival, trusting herself above any other human. She loves hard and takes care of the people she thinks are worse off than herself, often at her own expense. She embodies what it is to live within layers of self-protection, every layer as loving as it is hard, and be confronted with the shortcomings of such an existence. Told in a series of interviews and reproductions of various paperwork (job applications, job openings, aptitude tests, etc), Cruz has created an emotional wringer of a book as unwavering as its protagonist. With an exquisite voice that is hilarious, bleak, and absolutely formidable, How Not to Drown in a Glass of Water is an expertly woven character study so bigger than itself.
      ―Miranda Sanchez from Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews in Chapel Hill, North Carolina
    Buy from Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews

  • I would not have thought Angie Cruz could outdo herself, but I was completely wrong. I loved Dominicana and felt so connected to the protagonist. She’s done it again with a woman in a similar situation but a completely different stage of life. Told through a set of interviews as an aging woman desperately seeks work, this is a story so full of heart you will not be able to walk away unaffected. In parts funny and tragic, this is a gorgeous portrait of life in America.  ―Jamie Southern from Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina
    Buy from Bookmarks

About Angie Cruz

Angie Cruz is the author of the novels Soledad, Let It Rain Coffee, and Dominicana, which was shortlisted for the Women’s Prize and a Good Morning America Book Club pick. She is founder and editor in chief of Aster(ix), a literary and arts journal, and is an associate professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh.

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Our Last Days in Barcelona by Chanel Cleeton

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Our Last Days in Barcelona by Chanel Cleeton
Berkley / May 2022

I didn’t realize this was the fifth book by this author but it was good as a standalone. The family is living in Palm Beach after being forced to leave Cuba because of the revolution.

1964: Isabel is married to Thomas though it is more of a marriage of convenience than one of love. There has been no communication between the family and her sister Beatriz for a few weeks. Beatriz is involved in dangerous spy work with the CIA so Isabel decides to travel to Barcelona to check in on her. When she arrives she finds her sister’s apartment empty and meets Beatriz’s friend Diego. The two of them are concerned for her sister’s safety and start searching for her. Eventually, the two develop a close bond which has Isabel second-guessing her whole life.

1936: Alicia, (Isabel’s mother) travels to Barcelona from Cuba with her young daughter, Isabel, after finding her husband with another woman. While in Spain she reconnects with a man from her past who she once had feelings for. Spain is in the midst of a civil war and violence is erupting. Alicia has to make some quick decisions about her life and her heart.

The author does such a great job in weaving the stories of this family together. There is so much going on that you just don’t want to stop reading!

Reviewed by Trish Peters, Book Bound Bookstore in Blairsville, Georgia

Chanel Cleeton, photo credit Chris Malpass

About the Author:
Originally from Florida, Chanel Cleeton grew up on stories of her family’s exodus from Cuba following the events of the Cuban Revolution. Her passion for politics and history continued during her years spent studying in England, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Richmond, The American International University in London, and a master’s degree in Global Politics from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Chanel also received her Juris Doctor from the University of South Carolina School of Law.

Woman Without Shame by Sandra Cisneros

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Woman Without Shame by Sandra Cisneros
Knopf / September 2022


Woman Without Shame reminds me of Nikki Giovanni’s most recent collection, in that I had a similar feeling while reading each book that these are two poets that get better and better with age. Every bit of Woman Without Shame is saturated in maturity and confidence, right down to the title. When I grow up, I want to be Sandra Cisneros.

Reviewed by Jordan Pulaski, Small Friend Records & Books in Richmond, Virginia

Sandra Cisneros

About the Author:
Sandra Cisneros is a poet, short story writer, novelist, essayist, performer, and artist. Her numerous awards include NEA fellowships in both poetry and fiction, a MacArthur Fellowship, national and international book awards, including the PEN America Literary Award, and the National Medal of Arts. More recently, she received the Ford Foundation’s Art of Change Fellowship, was recognized with the Fuller Award for Lifetime Achievement in Literature, and won the PEN/Nabokov Award for Achievement in International Literature. In addition to her writing, Cisneros has fostered the careers of many aspiring and emerging writers through two nonprofits she founded: Macondo Writers and the Alfredo Cisneros del Moral Foundation. As a single woman she made the choice to have books instead of children. A citizen of both the United States and Mexico, Cisneros currently lives in San Miguel de Allende and makes her living by her pen

Frizzy by Claribel A. Ortega

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Frizzy by Claribel A. Ortega, Rose Bousamra (Illus.) First Second / October 2022


I needed this book so bad when I was younger! From middle school to high school, I hated my curly, frizzy, thick hair. I didn’t know what to do with it other than straightening it to make it look "pretty" and I didn’t have anyone in my life with hair like mine, so my hair always felt like a problem. I loved that Marlene wanted to embrace her curly hair and started that journey for herself without permission. She unapologetically wanted to be herself and it completely warmed my heart. Thank you Claribel A. Ortega for this story! I cannot wait for other kids to read this and learn to love their hair!

Reviewed by Juliana Reyes, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Claribel A. Ortega Photo Credit Claribel A. Ortega

About the Author:
Claribel A. Ortega is a former reporter who writes middle grade and young adult books inspired by her Dominican heritage. Claribel has been featured on Buzzfeed, Good Morning America, and Deadline. Her books include the middle grade novels Ghost Squad and Witchlings, and her debut graphic novel Frizzy. claribelortega.com.

Rose Bousamra

Rose Bousamra is a freelance illustrator and comic creator born and based in Michigan. Frizzy  is their first graphic novel, with their forthcoming solo debut graphic novel Gutless also being published with First Second. When they’re not making or reading comics they love baking sweets and playing fantasy video games. rosemakesart.com.

How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland

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How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers / August 2022


Moon Fuentez is a fascinating character. I liked the exploration of the psychological effects of pitting two children against each other in a family. This is a book about resilience through a lifetime of pain. It’s sex-positive. It’s a really original story. Moon’s humor carries a lot of the story and keeps it from feeling too dark.

Reviewed by Lizzy Nanney, Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, North Carolina

Photo Credit Jordan Gilliland

About the Author:
Raquel Vasquez Gilliland is a Mexican American poet, novelist, and painter. She received an MFA in poetry from the University of Alaska, Anchorage in 2017. She’s most inspired by fog and seeds and the lineages of all things. When not writing, Raquel tells stories to her plants and they tell her stories back. She lives in Tennessee with her beloved family and mountains. Raquel has published two books of poetry. She’s the author of Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything and How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe.

Parting Thought

"My weapon has always been language, and I’ve always used it, but it has changed. Instead of shaping the words like knives now, I think they’re flowers, or bridges."
― Sandra Cisneros

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 9/13/22

The Southern Bookseller Review Newsletter for the week of September 13, 2022

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The week of September 13, 2022

Booksellers of New Orleans.

Tom Lowenburg, proprietor of Octavia Books in New Orleans, LA
Tom Lowenburg, proprietor of Octavia Books in New Orleans, LA

Southern independent booksellers held their annual meeting in New Orleans last week. They meet in the fall to exchange ideas and discuss the issues facing their industry. And of course, to talk about what they are reading:

Baldwin & Co. Favorite Handsell of the Year: Don’t Cry For Me by Daniel Black

Blue Cypress Books: Favorite Handsell of the Year:
Impossible to decide on just one, so here are a few off the top of my head: People from My Neighborhood by Hiromi Kawakami, Crying in H-Mart by Michelle Zauner, Mostly Dead Things by Kristen Arnett, Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata!

Garden District Book Shop is reading The Promise by Damon Galgut (last year’s Booker Prize winner) for their in-store book club.

Octavia Books: Favorite Handsell of the Year: Taylor Brown’s Wingwalkers

Tubby & Coo’s Mid -City Bookshop can’t stop talking about The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy by Megan Banner: "…we have zombies. We have gods. We have parallel universes. We have talking animals. We have everything you want in this book."

Read This Now | Read This Next | The Bookseller Directory


Read This Now!

Recommended by Southern indies…

Sweet, Soft, Plenty Rhythm by Laura Warrell

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Sweet, Soft, Plenty Rhythm by Laura Warrell
Pantheon / September 2022


More Reviews from Main Street Books

Sweet, Soft, Plenty Rhythm reads like smooth jazz music, with a full cast of interlocking characters creating a complex harmony that I could not get enough of. Circus Palmer is our main character, an aging and floundering jazz musician who charms and cheats on the women in his life. Never have I wanted so badly to grab a character by the shoulders and shake some sense into him! The women truly take center stage in this story, loved and abandoned by Circus in turns. The narrative was full of angst, but the ending was sweet and redemptive. Fans of Luster and Red At The Bone will love this one.

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



Bookseller Buzz

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Spotlight on: Lark Ascending by Silas House

 

Silas House Photo Credit C. Williams

I think The Lark Ascending, by Ralph Vaughan Williams, is one of the greatest pieces of music to ever be created. I cannot listen to it without tearing up. I listened to it the entire time I was writing the novel and the book is my interpretation of it. The composition is a journey, sonically. It captures flight, and it is full of both sorrow and joy, grief and hope, so it was the perfect soundtrack for this book that was centering on those themes. To me, it is a transcendent piece of music, and I hope that readers will seek it out while reading the novel. I’ve already created a playlist for the novel, containing all the music that was important to me while I wrote the book. ” ―Silas House, Interview, Still Journal

What booksellers are saying about Lark Ascending

Lark Ascending by Silas House
  • I passed this on to one of good customers who is a huge Silas House fan knowing she would much eloquent than I, and, boy was I right. Here’s what she said "You read other dystopian novels and think, “that could never happen.” You read Lark Ascending and you see that it could. I hope this novel gets the attention it deserves. Lark Ascending could save us ―Pete Mock from McIntyre’s Books in Pittsboro, North Carolina
    Buy from McIntyre’s Books

  • The urgency of the opening chapters is breathtaking, and then the source of it is laid bare: this is the imagined not-so-distant future resulting from the chaos and painful transformational change similar to what we’re going through right now in our world. The young man, the dog and the older woman at the center of the story are trying to survive in a world on fire, one burning to the ground with fire and hatred. Each choice they make – big and small – may cost them their lives, or someone else’s. A haunting story, one that makes you really think about the trajectory of our collective lives. I couldn’t put it down!
      ―Cathy Graham from Copperfish Books in Punta Gorda, Florida
    Buy from Copperfish Books

  • Set in a near future that seems to be closer and closer to becoming a reality, Lark Ascending follows Lark as he survives ordeal after ordeal. As harrowing as Lark’s story is, Silas House manages to imbue it with humanity and hope. This is a story that will stick with you for a long time.  ―Chelsea Bauer from Union Ave Books in Knoxville, Tennessee
    Buy from Union Ave Books

About Silas House

Silas House is the New York Times bestselling author of seven novels, one book of creative nonfiction, and three plays. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Atlantic, the AdvocateTimeGarden & Gun, and other publications. A former commentator for NPR’s All Things Considered, House is the winner of the Nautilus Award, the Storylines Prize from the NAV/New York Public Library, an E. B. White Honor, and many other awards.

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Ithaca by Claire North

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Ithaca by Claire North
Redhook / September 2022


More Reviews from Book No Further

Ithaca takes place in a time while Odysseus is away, and is narrated by Hera, the goddess of women. Many suitors have arrived to try and take the hand of a could-be widow. It’s up to Penelope and her band of women to hold things together, not just for her, but for the sake of the entire kingdom. From unexpected visitors, suspenseful skirmishes, and a lust for power, this is the story of the not so quickly told, unsung protectors of Ithaca. What an amazing, gorgeous take on what was going on while Odysseus has been gone. Spoken from the viewpoint of Hera, this captivating story brings up many people that are usually left by the wayside as far as Greek mythology is concerned.

From traitors of the kingdom, to a coming of manhood for my personal favorite character, Telemachus, the suspense and build up never failed. The marathon of the middle was exactly that for me, but that is North’s beautiful attention to detail, pulp, and background building that I love from her writing. The ending was a shot out of nowhere. Wondering who would come out on top at the end was something I questioned during the entire read. All I know is, like with almost all of her books, the last five or six chapters tie everything together and are somehow always better than the rest of the book, if that’s even possible. All of my questions, answered. All loose ends, tied. Six stars out of five; I suggest everyone grab this book when it comes out if you are a fan of Greek Mythology, fiction, suspense, and all around good writing.

Reviewed by Doloris Vest, Book No Further in Roanoke, Virginia



One Hundred Saturdays by Michael Frank,

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One Hundred Saturdays by Michael Frank
Avid Reader Press / September 2022


More Reviews from The Country Bookshop

Stella Levi is a reluctant narrator. But Saturday after Saturday she allows pieces of her story to begin to form the charming, haunting, lively, tragic, tale of life and loss and art and survival that is One Hundred Saturdays. This is absolutely the best book I’ve read all year, and with the added bonus of Maira Kalman’s brilliant illustrations of life on Rhodes, in Auschwitz, and in New York, it may very well be the best book of the decade.

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

Four for the Road by K. J. Reilly

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Four for the Road by K. J. Reilly
Atheneum Books for Young Readers / August 2022


More Reviews from Square Books

Four for the Road by K.J. Reilly is a gut-punch of a novel. Its portrayal of grief is raw and furious and heartbreaking. Following the death of his mother, Asher Hunting rotates through therapists and bereavement groups, trapped in a cycle of anger and pain. He wants nothing more than to get revenge on the drunk driver who killed his mother, but avoided jail time on a technicality. Along with an unexpected group of friends from the bereavement groups–teens Sloane and Will and 80-year-old Henry– Asher embarks on a road trip from New Jersey to Graceland in hopes of revenge and closure. Four for the Road is a moving examination of the anger that accompanies grief and the earth-shattering reality of loss. For anyone who has ever lost someone, Four for the Road holds a mirror up to the jagged edges that are left behind and validates that being in pieces is okay.

Reviewed by Charlie Williams, Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi

Good Night, Little Bookstore by Amy Cherrix

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Good Night, Little Bookstore by Amy Cherrix
Candlewick / September 2022


More Reviews from Malaprops

There’s so much to love about Good Night, Little Bookstore! A charming, delightful bedtime story and an ode to the little bookstores that nurture big dreams.

Reviewed by Stephanie Jones-Byrne, Malaprops Bookstore/Cafe in Asheville, North Carolina

Maybe An Artist, A Graphic Memoir by Liz Montague

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Maybe An Artist, A Graphic Memoir by Liz Montague
Random House Graphic / October 2022


More Reviews from Bookmarks

This graphic memoir should be put into every middle and high school library in the country! As kids we are often told to do what we love, but there’s so much pressure on kids to succeed before they get a chance to figure out what success may look like for them. In this book Liz Montague documents the stress of trying to become something she wasn’t and how she eventually acknowledged and achieved her dreams of becoming an artist. I loved her illustration style — it is so simple and so effective!

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

Read This Next!

Books on the horizon: Forthcoming favorites from Southern indies…

The Fortunes of Jaded Women by Carolyn Huynh

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The Fortunes of Jaded Women by Carolyn Huynh
 Atria Books / September 2022


More Reviews from Fountain Bookstore

A September 2022 Read This Next! Title

The Duong sisters are cursed. It all started with their ancestor Oanh, who defied tradition and left her husband for true love, and in turn, was cursed that her descendants would all be female, and none of them would ever experience love. Now, living in Orange County’s Little Saigon, the current descendant Mai is desperate for anything to break this curse, so she visits a trusty psychic who flips her world upside down. With many narrators, whip-smart humor, and at the center of it all family healing, this is a perfect Summer read.

Reviewed by Grace Sullivan, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

Southern Bestsellers

What’s popular this week with Southern Readers.

The Marriage Portrait Shy A Court of Thorns and Roses
Year of the Tiger Belladonna

[ See the full list ]

Parting Thought

“I can never read all the books I want; I can never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want. I can never train myself in all the skills I want. And why do I want? I want to live and feel all the shades, tones and variations of mental and physical experience possible in my life. And I am horribly limited. ”
– Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

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 9/6/22

The Southern Bookseller Review Newsletter for the week of September 6, 2022

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The week of September 6, 2022

Read banned books.

Banned Books Shelf by Jane Mount
Banned Books Shelf by Jane Mount

Last week a Virginia Judge dismissed two petitions to have two books, Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe and A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas, declared in violation of the state’s obscenity law. Books are usually challenged by parents who don’t think they should be in a school or public library’s collection. The Virginia ban, however, would have meant private businesses — like bookstores — could be criminally charged for selling books to a minor. If the petition had been successful, it would have meant the books could not be given or sold to children 16 and under, even by their parents. Independent booksellers celebrated the judge’s decision as "a total victory" for freedom of speech.

Gender Queer was the most challenged book in the country last year, was part of what PEN America calls an "alarming spike" in the number of book challenges (over 1500).

You can read what booksellers have to say about it in this week’s "Book Buzz." In the end, the only way to judge a book is to read it and decide for yourself.

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Read This Now!

Recommended by Southern indies…

On the Rooftop by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton

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On the Rooftop by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton
Ecco / September 2022


More Reviews from Copperfish Books

Vivian tries to live her dream of becoming a star through her three daughters, who’ve become a local sensation as a singing trio. She’s spent years training them vigorously on the roof top of her home and booking performances at nearby venues, when one day she gets a promising offer that could change their lives. But the girls have dreams of their own, and one by one each unfolds, threatening the vision Vivian has built for them all. At the same time, and the neighborhood is about to change as developers descend on Vivian’s community to buy up homes and business properties. Set in 1950’s San Francisco, I enjoyed this family drama and each member’s search for individual fulfillment, in the midst of their collective struggle to keep their community together. Intimate, emotional – a pleasure to read!

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



Bookseller Buzz

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Spotlight on: Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe

 

Maia Kobabe Photo Credit Maia Kobabe

I spent a lot of time not knowing what I was, not having a label for how I felt. I can’t tell you how many countless pages of journal entries I wrote asking, “Am I gay, am I bi, am I a lesbian, am I a boy, am I a girl, am I neither, am I half and half” etc. This questioning took up a huge amount of my mental space, and I definitely wanted to hold the readers in that period of uncertainty, in that undefined grey area. ” ―Maia Kobabe, Interview, Geeks Out

What booksellers are saying about Gender Queer

TGender Queer by Maia Kobabe
  • Gender Queer is Maia Kobabe’s autobiography about eir journey to identifying as nonbinary and asexual, and coming out to eir family and society. It’s an essential read for everyone – whether you’re looking for beautiful representation or a path to learn more about our nonbinary and asexual friends. Gender Queer deals with so many issues that every young person goes through in life, no matter how they identify. It is an award-winning book for a reason! ―Emily Lessig from The Violet Fox Bookshop in Virginia Beach, Virginia
    Buy from The Violet Fox Bookshop

  • I think the thing I admired most about this book was the tender honesty with which Kobabe shares eir most intimate and private moments. This book shares with us the story of a brilliantly unique life while also inviting the reader in and bridging the gap between author and reader in the most personal ways. E leaves no detail of eir story unexplored or unexposed. How gracious e is with us, to be so truthful. Excellently done. Highly recommend to anyone curious to understand and learn more about the lived experiences of genderqueer individuals, or to anyone genderqueer themself looking to see themselves in literature.
      ―Juliet Rosner from E. Shaver, bookseller in Savannah, Georgia
    Buy from E. Shaver, bookseller

  • A beautiful memoir of self-discovery and what Maia overcame as a teen/young adult to finally feel at home in eir body, and things e *still* struggles with to this day. Captures the confusing and overwhelming experiences of young LGBTQ persons in a relatable, sometimes humorous(!) way  ―Mallory Sutton from Bards Alley in Vienna, Virginia
    Buy from Bards Alley

About Maia Kobabe

Maia Kobabe is a nonbinary, queer author and illustrator from the Bay Area, California. Eir first full length book, Gender Queer: A Memoir, was published in May 2019. Maia’s short comics have been published by The Nib and in many anthologies including The Secret Loves of Geek, Faster That Light Y’All, Gothic Tales of Haunted Love, Shout Out, Advance Death Saves and Be Gay, Do Comics. Before setting out to work freelance full-time, e worked for over ten years in libraries. Eir work is heavily influenced by fairy tales, homesickness, and the search for identity.

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The Woman Who Killed the Fish by Clarice Lispector

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The Woman Who Killed the Fish by Clarice Lispector
New Directions / September 2022


More Reviews from Square Books

These animal stories are masterpieces of skill in the narratorial voice, shining jewel-like displays of how much characterization can be snuck in the smallest choices in diction. Lispector is like Thurber and Saint-Exupery in that she can write a story as enthralling for children as adults.

Reviewed by Conor Hultman, Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi



I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy,

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I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy
Simon & Schuster / August 2022


More Reviews from Fountain Books

Just wow. I said something a lot more explicit when I finished this one but oh my GOD. From the boldest title I’ve seen in years to a page opener that just makes your jaw drop, Jennette McCurdy is changing what it means to have a "celebrity memoir". I don’t even want to call it that, this isn’t your typical ghost-written light gossipy fluff read, this is a shattering story of a young woman robbed of her childhood and innocence while being 100% transparent about the abuse she suffered throughout her career. Heavy trigger warning of addiction and eating disorders with this one, but please put this one on your TBR. No competition my favorite nonfiction of the year.

Reviewed by Grace Sullivan, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

The Problem with the Other Side by Kwame Ivery

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The Problem with the Other Side by Kwame Ivery
Soho Teen / August 2022


More Reviews from Flyleaf Books

Uly and Sallie don’t let their differing races (or anything, for that matter) get in the way of their relationship. That is, until the school election rolls around and they find themselves working against each other to benefit their siblings’ opposing campaigns, one of which is built of a bigotry capable of tearing Uly and Sallie–and the entire school–apart. Ivery has managed to craft the perfect mix of funny humor and serious social justice in this engaging read. His entertaining writing style brings Uly and Sallie to life in their dual perspectives. If you’re looking for a lighthearted contemporary read which doesn’t fail to highlight the racial and social injustices that continue to plague our nation, look no further than The Problem With the Other Side.

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

Blue Baboon Finds Her Tune by Helen Docherty

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Blue Baboon Finds Her Tune by Helen Docherty
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky / September 2022


More Reviews from Page 158 Books

Love this rhyming, colorful book full of fun! Your child will quickly fall under the spell of Blue Baboon. When you find your place on Earth you can do anything.

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

My Aunt Is a Monster by Reimena Yee

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My Aunt Is a Monster by Reimena Yee
Random House Graphic / September 2022


More Reviews from Foggy Pine Books

Such a wonderful, well-drawn, and well-written graphic novel! A girl learning how to be herself and loving all the oddities of the world, surrounded by supernatural family and daring adventures brings warmth to my heart. I also love that being blind isn’t the focus of this story, that having a disability is not all that she is, that kids who are blind can have just as many wacky adventures as those who are not. Overall, such a heartfelt graphic novel – I can’t wait for the next one (gives me Beetle & the Hollowbones vibes too!)

Reviewed by Grace Quinn, Foggy Pine Books in Boone, North Carolina

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Books on the horizon: Forthcoming favorites from Southern indies…

Artemis Made Me Do It by Trista Mateer

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Artemis Made Me Do It by Trista Mateer
 Central Avenue Publishing / September 2022


More Reviews from Bookmarks

A September 2022 Read This Next! Title

Trista Mateer punched me directly in the chest with this poetry collection. Carved my heart out and served it back to me with a sprig of parsley on top. Every page of this book is chock full of beautiful, enchanting words that dig in deep and tear up the soil to reveal things you might not have thought about in years. Even if a poem doesn’t directly connect with you, it will in fact, ruin you.

Reviewed by Caitlyn Vanorder, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Southern Bestsellers

What’s popular this week with Southern Readers.

Babel Path Lit By Lightning Circe
The Splendid and the Vile Lightlark

[ See the full list ]

Parting Thought

“Of course anyone who truly loves books buys more of them than he or she can hope to read in one fleeting lifetime. A good book, resting unopened in its slot on a shelf, full of majestic potentiality, is the most comforting sort of intellectual wallpaper. ”
– David Quammen

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 8/30/22

The Southern Bookseller Review Newsletter for the week of August 30, 2022

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The week of August 30, 2022

September books to read next.

YA Suspense, Fantasy, and Horror
September 2022 Read This Next! Selections

Southern booksellers have selected their "read this next!" list of September books. Full reviews will be published on September 1st, but here is an early peak of what they have to say:

Artemis Made Me Do It by Trista Mateer
Every page of this book is chock full of beautiful, enchanting words that dig in deep and tear up the soil to reveal things you might not have thought about in years. Even if a poem doesn’t directly connect with you, it will in fact, ruin you.
–Caitlyn Vanorder in Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, NC

The Fortunes of Jaded Women by Carolyn Huynh
The Duong sisters are cursed. It all started with their ancestor Oanh, who defied tradition and left her husband for true love. With many narrators, whip-smart humor, and at the center of it all family healing, this is a perfect Summer read.
– Grace Sullivan in Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, VA

If I Survive You by Jonathan Escoffery
A unique narrative on identity and belonging that effortlessly mixes the past, present, and future together. The writing in this book is superb and Escoffery’s voice is unflinching in his presentation of the characters, highlighting both their strengths as well as their flaws.
–Stuart McCommon in Novel in Memphis, TN

We Spread by Iain Reid
I adore the way Iain Reid can make you feel so clueless and enthralled at the same time. The way he writes, even the most horrifying feeling, is soothing. I found myself trying to read slower as I neared the end because the experience passed too quickly.
–Mary Salazar in The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, NC

When You Take a Step by Bethanie Deeney Murguia
Follow a trail of color through this book as you see where taking a step will lead. Each page follows a child as they explore the world. And even though everyone’s journey will be different, they can all make a difference.
–Jamie Southern in Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, NC

Read This Now | Read This Next | The Bookseller Directory


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Recommended by Southern indies…

Delphi by Clare Pollard

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Delphi by Clare Pollard
Avid Reader Press / August 2022


More Reviews from Quail Ridge Books

Beautiful at the sentence level, Pollard’s Delphi deftly captured the weird, stagnant time of the early covid-19 pandemic through the first year. Her depiction of the strangeness of everyday life is lovely: the fear but especially the monotony. The main character had been researching divination methods of the ancient world prior to the pandemic; various forms of divination, ancient and modern, frame the short chapters. The methods are sometimes directly discussed or even used by the character to gain some semblance of control, but at other times, the chapter header appears only in an oblique nod: a flight of birds, a television unwatched. Taking a wider lens, the story is largely interior and for large stretches very little happens (though in an interesting way). The main character, her husband, and her son tackle isolation and conflict and the pressure to just go along with extended family’s risk assessments (whether stricter or looser); they take risks to connect with friends and coworkers that often turn out fine. There’s a flurry of the high-stakes plot near the end – even foreshadowed, the introduction of the conflict felt rather sudden, and the resolution arrived so abruptly that I turned the page expecting a denouement to find the acknowledgments page instead. But I’m sure I’ll be thinking about this book for a while.

Reviewed by Ginger Kautz, Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, North Carolina



Bookseller Buzz

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Spotlight on: The Book Eaters by Sunyi Dean

 

Sunyi Dean Photo Credit: Richard Wilson of Richard Wilson Photography

I’ve never (yet!) set fire to a large Scottish mansion as Devon does, nor numbered my body count in the dozens as Devon has. (Though hope springs eternal, as they say.) But I did grow up reading fairy tales and believing in false happy endings, as she did, and my life has been irrevocably altered by parenting, single or otherwise, as hers was.

Out of personal apocalypse and a total collapse of hope, good things eventually came about—for me, and for Devon.

The Book Eaters is both a love letter to fairy tales, and a critical examination of their flaws. Above all, it is a story about family love in the midst of ruination: how we define it and defend it, how we find it and fight for it.” –Sunyi Dean, Letter to readers

What booksellers are saying about The Book Eaters

The Book Eaters by Sunyi Dean
  • This has definitely become one of the books that I wish I had written! Sunyi Dean manages to perfectly capture the feeling of wanting to devour a good book, in all of its fantastical glory. Between the morally grey characters, English moor setting, and enviable prose, Dean has written a modern fairy tale for the ages, where the girl saves herself and monsters are not the ones you would expect. A truly stunning debut novel! ―Hallie Smith from Main Street Books in Davidson, North Carolina
    Buy from Main Street Books

  • This dark and at times disturbing debut novel is an exploration of the depths that a mother will go to in order to protect her son. Devon Fairweather is a book eater – a secret race that literally consumes the written word – and has a privileged but strictly controlled life. All that changes when her son is born a mind eater, and she’s forced to rebel against her upbringing to ensure his survival. Perfect for anyone in need of a Gothic fantasy fix.
      ―Jude Burke-Lewis from Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi
    Buy from Square Books

  • A truly dark and fantastical read that is rich with an assortment of literary references and gothic elements. The Book Eaters is a deliciously unique take on vampirism that you’ll really want to sink your teeth into.  ―Kassie Weeks from Oxford Exchange in Tampa, Florida
    Buy from Oxford Exchange

  • A wonderfully fantastic story about a secret line of people who do indeed eat books, and their unfortunate brethren who are doomed to consume minds. I quickly found myself rooting for the main character Devon, who is a book eater princess and mother fighting to help her mind eater son. There are some creepy bits, but not too bad for this non-horror reader. Inventive worldbuilding and compelling read!  ―Serena Wyckoff from Copperfish Books in Punta Gorda, Florida
    Buy from Copperfish Books

About Sunyi Dean

Sunyi Dean is an autistic SFF writer, and mother of two. Originally born in the States and raised in Hong Kong, she now lives in Yorkshire. When not reading, running, falling over in yoga, or rolling d20s, she sometimes escapes the city to wildswim in lonely dales. The Book Eaters is her debut, and you can find her online @Blind_Nycteris.

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The English Understand Wool by Helen DeWitt

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The English Understand Wool by Helen DeWitt
New Directions / August 2022

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More Reviews from Square Books

A tight, Talented Mr. Ripley-esque mini-thriller where the thrill is in the revelation of the narrator’s psyche through her circumstances. And it has a biting critique of the publishing industry! Helen DeWitt runs away with this priceless gem: a literary thriller that is as exciting as it is intelligent and can be read in an afternoon.

Reviewed by Conor Hultman, Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi



Acceptance by Emi Nietfeld,

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Acceptance by Emi Nietfeld
Penguin Press / August 2022


More Reviews from Bookmarks

From the very first chapter in Acceptance you feel Nietfeld’s urgency to change her future and outrun the circumstances of her childhood. A memoir of mental health, foster care and homelessness, abuse, and this book is also the story of the struggle for education, for a way out, and to find one’s true path. Not since Educated have I felt as compelled by a memoir as I did by Acceptance; highly recommended for all readers.

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

These Fleeting Shadows by Kate Alice Marshall

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These Fleeting Shadows by Kate Alice Marshall
Viking Books for Young Readers / August 2022


More Reviews from Story on the Square

I absolutely adore beautifully written horror. There’s something amazing about taking something that should be absolutely terrifying and finding a way to write it so beautifully that it could be poetry. Yet despite the beautiful prose, I was still chilled to my bones. These Fleeting Shadows was dripping with beautiful pain and chills. This is the perfect release to snuggle up with on a dark and foggy night, but only if you’re sure your house is safe from everything that might go bump in the shadows. Helen and her family are well written as well as intriguing.

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

But Why? by Elizabeth Pulsford

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But Why? by Elizabeth Pulsford
Ethicool Books / September 2022


More Reviews from Main Street Books

With gorgeous, dreamy illustrations, But Why? asks the big questions children (and adults alike!) have about themselves and their place in the world. This picture book would be a sweet and tender springboard for meaningful discussions for the children in your life.

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

Talli, Daughter of the Moon Vol. 1 by Sourya

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Talli, Daughter of the Moon Vol. 1 by Sourya
Oni Press / September 2022


More Reviews from Oxford Exchange

I love it when the first volume of a series catches your attention and leaves you wanting more. When I started Talli, I wasn’t sure what to expect. At first, I thought it was going to be a normal run-of-the-mill Shonen-like manga where nothing crazily drastic happens to characters. Boy was I wrong. The second limbs start to fly and characters have intense personal issues/trauma means that what you are reading is going to have some meat to it. Really excited to find out more about the lore and characters!

Reviewed by Ethan Davis, Oxford Exchange in Tampa, Florida

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Books on the horizon: Forthcoming favorites from Southern indies…

Other Birds by Sarah Addison Allen

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Other Birds by Sarah Addison Allen
 St. Martin’s Press / August 2022


More Reviews from Main Street Books

An August 2022 Read This Next! Title

A poignant tale of wounded souls and their accompanying ghosts finding each other. Tinged with magic, interlaced with loss and longing, each character’s story unfolds in layers creating an intricate puzzle that teases and delights. A must read for fans of magical realism!

Reviewed by Jan Blodgett, Main Street Books in Davidson, North Carolina

Southern Bestsellers

What’s popular this week with Southern Readers.

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow Koshersoul EBook Lovers
The Field Guide to Dumb Birds of the Whole Stupid World The Little Golden Book of Dolly Parton

[ See the full list ]

Parting Thought

“Reading is my inhale, and writing is my exhale. ”
– Glennon Doyle

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: The Harvest Issue

The Southern Bookseller Review: A Good Harvest, August, 2022

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August, 2022

A Good Harvest

A book is a banquet

When the food writer and historian Michael W. Twitty recently spoke to independent booksellers about his new book, Koshersoul, he started off by saying, "I am reminded that a big part of this is about how we tell stories…Food sets the table for conversation."

Food and story are inextricably linked. Food is tied up in memory, memory is the fertile ground of story. A recipe is not simply a set of instructions. It is, as Aleksandra Crapanzano says below, one of the things you learned as a child that is still part of you as an adult.

This special edition of The Southern Bookseller Review celebrates the harvest and the table, and all the stories they hold.

“Eating and reading are two pleasures that combine admirably” -C. S. Lewis

Read This Now | Read This Next | The Bookseller Directory


Read This Now!

In praise of the stories that transport us

The Red Truck Bakery Farmhouse Cookbook by Brian Noyes

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The Red Truck Bakery Farmhouse Cookbook by Brian Noyes
Clarkson Potter / August 2022


I have always been interested in cookbooks—the recipes, the notes, the tips, I enjoy them all. To say I enjoyed The Red Truck Bakery Farmhouse Cookbook would be an understatement. I was captured by the forward and could not wait to explore the heart of the book. I’ll address the recipes: I did not see any that were not intriguing. The attention to the ingredients and why they matter is well explained and designed. The heart of the book is the love and energy for cooking and feeding that shines through in Brian Noyes’s words about the particular recipe. How it came to be, the historical twist, who it was created for, and happy accidents (like the chili for the neighbor’s chili cookout). I felt like I was in the room listening to him talk and create, and oh how I wish that were so. Buy this as a gift for someone special, and get an extra copy for yourself to ensure the gift actually makes it out of your hands!

Reviewed by Jackie Willey, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina

Brian Noyes

About the Author:
Brian Noyes is the founder of the Red Truck Bakery in Marshall, Virginia, and the author of the Red Truck Bakery Cookbook. Brian trained at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, New York, at King Arthur Baking in Norwich, Vermont, and at L’Academie de Cuisine near Washington, D.C. While he was the art director at The Washington Post and Smithsonian magazines, Brian baked pies and breads on weekends in his Virginia Piedmont farmhouse and sold them out of an old red truck he bought from designer Tommy Hilfiger. The bakery now has two destination locations in historic buildings, ships thousands of baked goods nationwide, and has earned accolades from Oprah Winfrey, Barack Obama, and many national publications. Brian is an advisor to the Jacques Pépin Foundation and a member of the Southern Foodways Alliance and the James Beard Foundation. He has written for The Washington Post, Smithsonian, Preservation, Taste of the South, The Local Palate, and Garden & Gun.

The Cake Collection by Brian Hart Hoffman

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The Cake Collection by Brian Hart Hoffman
83 Press / August 2022

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Blueberry Muffin Loaf

Blueberry Muffin Loaf
Makes 1 (9×5 inch) cake

This cake represents my blueberry muffin dreams made real. This cake was designed to be so dense with blueberries that it almost falls apart when sliced. One bite into it and you’ll realize that muffin life is the best life.

2 cups (308 grams) small fresh blueberries (see Note)
2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon (15 grams) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (1.5 grams) kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon (1 gram) ground cinnamon
2/3 cup (133 grams) plus 2 tablespoons (24 grams) granulated sugar, divided
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup (73 grams) firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs (100 grams), room temperature
2 teaspoons (4 grams) packed lemon zest
1/2 cup (80 grams) whole buttermilk, room temperature

1. Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Spray a light metal 9×5-inch loaf pan with baking spray with flour. Line pan with parchment paper, letting excess extend over sides of pan.

2. In a small bowl, crush 3/4 cup (120 grams) blueberries, and combine with remaining 1 1/4 cups (188 grams) blueberries.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.

4. In another large bowl, combine 2/3 cup (133 grams) granulated sugar, melted butter, brown sugar, eggs, and lemon zest. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, stirring just until a few streaks of flour remain after each addition. Fold in blueberries. Spoon into prepared pan, spreading into an even layer. Using a knife or offset spatula, draw 3 X’s in top of batter. Sprinkle top with remaining 2 tablespoons (24 grams) sugar.

5. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 hour and 20 minutes, rotating pan after 40 minutes of baking. Let cool in pan for 15 minutes. Using excess parchment as handles, remove from pan, and let cool completely on a wire rack.

Note: This recipe will work wonderfully with any size blueberry. Small blueberries, however, tend to provide the best berry dispersion per slice.

Brian Hart Hoffman

About the Author:
Brian Hart Hoffman, president and chief creative officer of Hoffman Media, oversees the editorial planning and brand direction for all publications and books. Brian has been the driving force behind the launch of The Cottage JournalBake from ScratchSouthern Cast IronSouthern Home magazines. He is the editor of all volumes of Bake from Scratch: Artisan Recipes for the Home Baker as well as The Bread CollectionThe Pie and Tart Collection and The Coupe: Celebrating Craft Cocktails and Vintage Collections. He lives in Birmingham, Alabama.

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Spotlight on: Gateau: The Surprising Simplicity of French Cakes by Aleksandra Crapanzano

 

Aleksandra Crapanzano

My Parisian friends, who are really busy and come home and want to whip up something…they think of baking in much the same way they think of fashion. The reality is, if you own one or two great scarves, and you really know how to tie them well, you can dress up anything.

That is actually really true of their approach to cooking. The recipes the French make, that are learned usually when you are a child, they become part of your comfort zone. And once you have these back pocket recipes, popping a cake into the oven becomes something infused with ease. And I will say, the French really do like to end every meal with something sweet. Dessert is not an option, it is an essential part of dinner.” –Aleksandra Crapanzano, Cooking with Mark and Bruce podcast


Gateau: The Surprising Simplicity of French Cakes

What booksellers are saying about Gateau: The Surprising Simplicity of French Cakes

  • Whimsical illustrations and simple instructions! I loved the stories leading into each recipe. I’m ready to conquer the French cake! ―Jessica Nock from Main Street Books in Davidson, North Carolina
    Buy from Main Street Books

  • I am head over heels for this gorgeous cookbook! The art is scrumptious and the recipes are approachable and delicious. The perfect gift for a loved one or for yourself!.
      ―Mary Louise Callaghan from Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina
    Buy from Bookmarks

  • More than a thorough treatise on the subject of Gallic cake-making, this charming and chatty book captures the lifestyle of the French people who enjoy these delicious baked goods. The recipes are detailed without being fussy, and for the most basic cakes, the author includes dozens of delicious variations.  ―Anne Peck from Righton Books in St. Simons Island, Georgia
    Buy from Righton Books

About Aleksandra Crapanzano

Aleksandra Crapanzano is a James Beard–winning writer and dessert columnist for The Wall Street Journal. She is the author of The London Cookbook and Eat. Cook. LA., and her work has been widely anthologized, most notably in Best American Food Writing. She has been a frequent contributor to Bon AppetitFood & WineFood52SaveurTown & CountryElleThe Daily BeastDeparturesTravel + Leisure, and The New York Times Magazine. She has years of experience in the film world, consults in the food space, and serves on several boards with a focus on sustainability. Aleksandra grew up in New York and Paris, received her BA from Harvard and her MFA from NYU, where she has also taught writing. She is married to the writer John Burnham Schwartz, and they live in New York with their son, Garrick, and Bouvier des Flandres, Griffin.

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Koshersoul by Michael W. Twitty

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Koshersoul by Michael W. Twitty
Amistad / July 2022

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Black Eyed-Peas with Tomatoes, Sephardic Style
6-8 servings (4 cups)

This recipe is adapted from a recipe in Marcie Cohen Ferris’s Matzoh Ball Gumbo included in the Congregation Or Ve Shalom’s sisterhood’s synagogue cookbook, The Sephardic Cooks.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large red onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium fresh tomato, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme or oregano
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper or Kitchen Pepper (see recipe in book)
1 teaspoon ras-al-hanout
1 15-ounce can kosher black-eyed peas
1 1/4 cups low-sodium vegetable stock

In a large, heavy saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 4 minutes. Add the tomato, thyme or oregano, salt, pepper, and ras-al-hanout and cook, stirring often, until the tomato starts to soften, about 2 minutes.

Stir in the black-eyed peas and vegetable stock; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the peas are tender, about 30 minutes. Taste and correct the seasoning, if necessary. Serve the peas hot or warm.

Michael W. Twitty

About the Author:
Michael W. Twitty is the author of The Cooking Gene, winner of the James Beard Foundation Book of the Year Award. He is a highly sought after speaker and consultant at food events (Colonial Williamsburg) and festivals, and a member of two Jewish speaker’s bureaus. He has appeared on programs with Andrew Zimmern (Bizarre Foods America), Henry Louis Gates (Many Rivers to Cross), Padma Lakshmi (Taste the Nation) and most recently on Michelle Obama’s Waffles and Mochi. He is a TED Fellow and was just named as a National Geographic Emerging Explorer. Michael has also filmed his first MasterClass course which is slated to premiere in November 2021. In 2020, Michael was on The Forward‘s 2020 list of influential American Jews. Over the past year he has partnered with Atlas Obscura to teach multiple online seminars and was the first guest on a new web series for their food division, Gastro Obscura. Michael will also be a Consulting Producer on both a new food competition program coming soon from OWN, and Carla Hall’s new Foodways show. His line of personal spice blends with the boutique supplier Spice Tribe regularly sells out. Michael lives in Fredericksburg, Virginia..

Turkey and the Wolf by Mason Hereford

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Turkey and the Wolf by Mason Hereford with JJ Goode
Ten Speed Press / June 2022


Mason Hereford’s fun-loving personality is fully on display in this compilation of very accessible recipes from his New Orleans “sandwich joint.” Inspired by his childhood in rural Virginia as well as his new home in New Orleans, Hereford applies his irreverent attitude as frequently as he uses garnishes from the convenience store.

Reviewed by Anne Peck, Righton Books in St Simons Island, Georgia

Mason Hereford

About the Author:
A native Virginian, Mason Hereford moved to New Orleans in 2008 and opened Turkey and the Wolf in 2016. Bon Appetít named it the best new restaurant in America. Food & Wine and GQ called it one of the most important restaurants of the decade, and Guy Fieri featured it on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.

JJ Goode

JJ Goode has co-written many cookbooks, including the New York Times bestseller Pok Pok with Andy Ricker, the James Beard Award-nominated State Bird Provisions with Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski,andtheJames Beard Award-winning Eat a Little Better with President Obama’s White House chef and senior policy advisor for nutrition policy, Sam Kass.

The Anime Chef Cookbook by Nadine Estero

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The Anime Chef Cookbook by Nadine Estero
Rockpoint / September 2022


For anyone who has ever watched a Studio Ghibli film, and any genre of Anime, you will know that passion for food is one of the essentials of this art. For many of us, the response to the beautifully drawn dishes and the sense of awe and euphoria that over takes the characters is: HOW DO YOU MAKE THIS AMAZING FOOD?!?!?!? Well, thanks to Nadine Estero that question has finally been answered. The Anime Chef Cookbook is filled with delicious recipes that are easy to follow and created delicious dishes. In addition to the details of how to create these dishes, each recipe gives detailed information regarding which show or movie and episode that the recipe was inspired by. I highly recommend the After Practice Nikuman with its savory filling wrapped in the thin steamed dough, and the Ohagai rice balls with the chewy outer layer of glutinous rice and the rich creamy filling of bean paste.

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

Nadine Estero

About the Author:
Nadine Estero (@issagrill) knew at the young age of 6 that anime was life. She dramatically cried and begged her mother to immediately stop her piano lessons  because it interfered with the airtime of her favorite anime—Dragon Ball Z. Today, Nadine is a food recreationist that shows her enthusiasm and process through her social media; she has 98.8k YouTube Subscribers, 130k TikTok Subscribers, and over 4.6M Likes. Her creations are recognized  worldwide in many  large entertainment  websites and publications such as ScreenRant, Dexerto, GaminqDebates, SVG, Kompas, and Speed Maqazine.

Pizza! by Greg Pizzoli

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Pizza! by Greg Pizzoli
Viking Books for Young Readers / August 2022


Okay, here is the non-fiction picture book I’ve been craving… I mean, it’s Pizza! A Slice of History!  I can’t imagine any kid turning this one down for it’s subject matter alone, but topped with the vibrant illustrations of award-winning favorite, Greg Pizzoli? A real treat.

Reviewed by Cristina Russell, Books and Books in Coral Gables, Florida

Greg Pizzoli

About the Author:
Greg Pizzoli is the creator of the Baloney and Friends series as well as a three-time Theodor Seuss Geisel Award recipient for The Watermelon Seed (Medal winner), The Book Hog (Honor book), and Good Night Owl (Honor book). He is also the author-illustrator of the New York Times Best Illustrated Book The Impossible True Story of Tricky Vic: The Man Who Sold the Eiffel Tower. He lives in Philadelphia, where he eats a lot of pizza.

Parting Thought

"We don’t lock up books in this house," Philippe said, "only food, ale, and wine. Reading Herodotus or Aquinas seldom leads to bad behavior."
― Deborah Harkness

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 8/23/22

The Southern Bookseller Review Newsletter for the week of August 23, 2022

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The week of August 23, 2022

Why we love Horror and Fantasy.

After "Romance," the most popular genre at SBR is "Young Adult" specifically, Young Adult Fantasy and Horror the two are often intertwined. Booksellers love stories of young people contending against evil fates, curses, and monsters not all of which are supernatural.

YA Suspense, Fantasy, and Horror
New Voices New Rooms
Young Adult Suspense, Fantasy, and Horror Panel

One of the reviews in this issue is from The Haunted Book Shop, for The Weight of Blood, the newest novel from New York Times bestselling author Tiffany D. Jackson. Jackson herself calls the book "a beautiful homage to Stephen King’s Carrie." She also says, at a recent panel, that that she grew up on scary stories on R.L. Stine and Caroline Cooney and eventually Stephen King and that she still writes for younger readers because she is still writing for that "younger Tiffany," that little girl who loved scary stories from the moment she first learned to read.

Read This Now | Read This Next | The Bookseller Directory


Read This Now!

Recommended by Southern indies…

If Anything Happens I Love You by Will McCormack

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If Anything Happens I Love You by Will McCormack
Andrews McMeel Publishing / September 2022


More Reviews from Fiction Addiction

This book will feel like the longest and shortest book you have ever read. You feel the words and the images with every page. You will laugh, you will cry, and then you will ugly cry! If Anything Happens I love You addresses grief and school violence through they eyes and innocence of a child. A poignant story that will leave you deeply moved.

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



Bookseller Buzz

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Spotlight on: The Wild Hunt by Emma Seckel

 

Emma Seckel

The first part of The Wild Hunt that came to me was the setting; the second was the sluagh. I was living in Scotland at the time and knew I wanted to try to capture the feeling I had there, the landscape and the history and — yes — the weather. I was interested in the way that story, myth and legend shaped communities. I started researching Scottish folklore, and found the myth of the sluagh, creatures that are said to carry the souls of the dead. I started playing with the legend, and the earliest seeds of The Wild Hunt started to grow.” –Emma Seckel, Interview, All Arts

What booksellers are saying about The Wild Hunt

The Wild Hunt by Emma Seckel
  • Spooky, speculative fun…so atmospheric (and full of dread) that I couldn’t pull myself away. Perfect for lovers of The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. ―Maggie Robe from Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina
    Buy from Flyleaf Books

  • An excellent mix of fantasy and historical fiction. The Wild Hunt is a book that grabs you from the beginning and still doesn’t let go at the end. On this small island that Leigh has lived ever since she was born, minus the last few years, they are dealing with the ramifications of World War II along with their own Celtic legend that has always been there. Seckel does an amazing job of telling the story of love and loss, and that through compassion things can change. Just a little compassion goes a long way and sometimes what you give you get back tenfold!
      ―Mandy Harris from Angel Wings Bookstore in Stem, North Carolina
    Buy from Angel Wings Bookstore

  • I am always mesmerized by any tale featuring the mythology and lore of Ireland, Scotland and all points in that direction. The slaugh has arrived in Scotland. According to Celtic legend they are bands of crows known to carry the souls of the dead and they inhabit the island of Kate’s birth. Kate returns from city life back to this isolated island and is faced with disturbing events that she must deal with. Mysterious and provocative, I got lost in this story and couldn’t put it down. Tantalizing tale!  ―Stephanie Crowe from Page & Palette in Fairhope, Alabama
    Buy from Page & Palette

About Emma Seckel

Emma Seckel is an award-winning writer and photographer living in Vancouver, Canada.

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Elizabeth Finch by Julian Barnes

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Elizabeth Finch by Julian Barnes
Knopf / August 2022


More Reviews from Righton Books

My favorite Julian Barnes books feature an unremarkable protagonist who attempts to decode the words and actions of a different, more complicated character; the author thereby offers insight into his own process of character creation, from the outside in. Elizabeth Finch is the apotheosis of this type of Barnes book. A former student tries to understand the life of a recently deceased scholar who was his teacher and then friend. Along the way, we are treated to a lengthy essay about Julian the Apostate, which perhaps is offered as a key for us to encode the life of Julian the Author. I thought of Julian, and how the centuries had interpreted and reinterpreted him, like a man walking across a stage pursued by different-coloured spotlights… Well, getting our history wrong is part of being a person.

Reviewed by Anne Peck, Righton Books in St Simons Island, Georgia



At Home on an Unruly Planet by Madeline Ostrander,

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At Home on an Unruly Planet by Madeline Ostrander
Henry Holt and Co. / August 2022


More Reviews from Main Street Books

It’s no surprise that so many books are coming out addressing climate change or that distinguishing between them can get muddled. Ostrander offers a fine blend of practical and philosophical by following the current fates of towns and communities already deeply affected by flooding, chemical pollution, and land shifting under their feet. She finds no magical solutions while respectfully documenting the energy and resilience of those fighting to save a sense of home and community in the face of continuing change.

Reviewed by Jan Blodgett, Main Street Books in Davidson, North Carolina

Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney

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Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney
Flatiron Books / August 2022


More Reviews from Fountain Bookstore

I love Alice Feeney and a locked-room mystery, so this was perfect for me. Daisy Darker’s family gathers at Daisy’s Nana’s secluded beachside home for one final night. Nana isn’t expecting to live much longer and she has things to say to her descendants – things they won’t like. After announcing Nana’s plans for her estate has the expected results, the family reties for the evening, but the night is just beginning. People start turning up dead and questions start to fly. I had to stay up way past my bedtime to finish this one and I have no regrets!

Reviewed by Andrea Richardson, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

The Weight of Blood by Tiffany D. Jackson

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The Weight of Blood by Tiffany D. Jackson
Katherine Tegen Books / September 2022


More Reviews from The Haunted Book Shop

Tiffany Jackson’s newest novel, The Weight of Blood, is a retelling of the King novel, Carrie. I have not read Carrie, but I have seen the movies, so I had that as a base to go off of when I was reading ‘The Weight of Blood’. I really enjoyed the modern take on how race is still an issue in our communities and schools. I was interested to see how Jackson tied in dumping a bucket of something on Maddy’s head, and I was not disappointed to find out what it was and what it symbolized. The whole scene where Kenny is trying to get the police officers involved and how they react….it was beautifully written and heartbreaking. I also enjoyed the writing style where it would break away from the telling of Maddy’s story and show pieces of interviews from different witnesses of Maddy’s destruction. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. I read the entire book in about 3 days. It isn’t necessarily an original story (being that it is a retelling), but the references to race and police brutality are incredible. It is also just a dang good horror! There are grisly parts that make you want to keep turning the pages and you are drawn in to Maddy’s character.

Reviewed by Kait Layton, The Haunted Book Shop in Mobile, Alabama

Courage Like Kate by Anna Crowley Redding

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Courage Like Kate by Anna Crowley Redding
Random House Studio / August 2022


More Reviews from Bookmarks

I really enjoy biographical picture books, especially when I get to learn about individuals in history I never knew about. Courage Like Kate is the tale of Kate Moore, who was raised on Fayerweather Island, by her father, who was the lighthouse keeper. Calling herself his assistant, she learned under his guidance, not only how to maintain the island and the lighthouse, but also how to rescue people from the choppy seas. Kate spent the majority of her life on the island, officially became the lighthouse keeper after her father’s death; her ambition, courage, and dedication are excellent examples for children!

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

Read This Next!

Books on the horizon: Forthcoming favorites from Southern indies…

My Pet Feet by Josh Funk, Billy Yong (Illus.)

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My Pet Feet by Josh Funk, Billy Yong (Illus.)
 Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers / August 2022


More Reviews from Square Books

An August 2022 Read This Next! Title

Giggle. Tee-hee. Josh Funk and Billy Yong have created a new treasure chock-full of wordsmith fun. Scrabblers, grab a pencil, puzzlers, get your puz-mug on, My Pet Feet is a feat of genius, from our pals Funk & Yong. No doubt, inspired by Letterman, a 1970s PBS educational show called The Electric Company, this book follows a child through the day as the world goes topsy-turvy, letter by letter. Very cool. I have missed this game. Illustrations are top notch. Lots of extra linguistic mysteries and visual treats to unravel. Bravo.

Reviewed by Jilleen Moore, Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi

Southern Bestsellers

What’s popular this week with Southern Readers.

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow I'm Glad My Mom Died EBook Lovers
Educated We Don't Eat Our Classmates

[ See the full list ]

Parting Thought

“In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you. ”
– Mortimer J. Adler

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 8/16/22

The Southern Bookseller Review Newsletter for the week of August 16, 2022

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The week of August 16, 2022

Leading by example.

We Are Here

Late Summer in the South is known for many things. It is the peak of hurricane season — a time everyone prays to be uneventful and unmemorable. It is the start of college football season, which will all hope will be very memorable.

It is also the season of book conferences. Last week, bookstores in the south and along the eastern seaboard met at their annual conference, "New Voices New Rooms." The Keynote event, a children’s authors panel called "We Are Here," featured Tami Charles, Maria Hinojosa, Linda Sarsour, and Ambassador Andrew Young and his daughter, Paula Young Shelton.

Tami Charles says that she wrote her book, We Are Here, for her son, as a way to answer his questions about the injustice and violence he saw in the news. Linda Sarsour, one of the organizers of the Women’s March, created a "young person’s" version of her own memoir as a way to encourage young people to believe in themselves and their own ability to change things. Maria Hinojosa’s book, also a young reader’s version of her own memoir, written to the ten year old girl, and all the children like her, Hinojosa once had to watch be forcibly separated from her parents at the US border.

Paula Young Shelton said about Just Like Jesse Owens, the book she wrote with her father, "This is a story that my father told to us over and over again growing up. It’s about his experience of seeing in his very diverse neighborhood in New Orleans…there were actually Nazi sympathizers living behind his babysitter’s house down the block, and he saw these men "heiling" Hitler. He asked his father what they were doing and his father explained to him that they were racists and he also told my father that racism was a sickness. You can’t get angry with them because they’re sick, but you need to try to help them and one of the ways that you can do that is leading by example."

Read This Now | Read This Next | The Bookseller Directory


Read This Now!

Recommended by Southern indies…

Early Light by Osamu Dazai

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Early Light by Osamu Dazai
New Directions / August 2022


More Reviews from Square Books

These three stories make an important addition to the canon of Dazai translated into English (still too slight!) The title story is classic Dazai autofiction about the effects of Allied firebombing in Imperial Japanese cities. "Villon’s Wife" is an exquisite piece, with all the charm of Japanese folk tales and the perversity of modernity, that echoes Dazai’s classic "No Longer Human." "One Hundred Views of Mount Fuji," however, is the jewel; for readers in English, this may be the first inkling of the author’s sense of humor. Altogether a stunning collection, and a great introduction to one of the masters of 20th century existential literature.

Reviewed by Conor Hultman, Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi



Bookseller Buzz

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Spotlight on: The Many Daughters of Afong Moy by Jamie Ford

 

Jamie Ford

Much of the research regarding epigenetics, the longer version is transgenerational epigenetic inheritance is about traumatic events. It’s about pain. It’s about the things that we were exposed to that were negative. And from a research standpoint, those things are much more easily recognized, whereas things that are more benign or beneficial are perhaps harder to see. I looked at it and thought, we inherit pain and trauma, what else can we inherit?” –Jamie Ford, Interview, Bookweb

What booksellers are saying about The Many Daughters of Afong Moy

The Many Daughters of Afong Moy by Jamie Ford
  • Well this was just fascinating! The Many Daughters of Afong Moy is a beautifully written novel weaving together the stories of seven generations of women – each whom is impacted by a significant loss or tragedy, the effect of which is passed down to their ancestors. Jamie Ford has written a insightful, thought-provoking story that marries history with science, asking us to question the extraordinary ways in which our past shapes our future. ―Anderson McKean from Page & Palette in Fairhope, Alabama
    Buy from Page & Palette

  • Grab a pen, because you might want to take some notes while reading this wild ride tale of the trauma, triumphs, and truths intertwined in 7 generations of Moy family women. This one’s as sure to be dog-eared as it is impossible to put down.
      ―Angie Tally from The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, North Carolina
    Buy from The Country Bookshop

  • This book is an epigenetic exploration of Chinese American womanhood. Ford shows us several generations, starting with the story of Afong Moy, an imported circus "freak" who was the first Chinese American woman, and weaving in the stories of her Chinese American descendants from the 19th century to the 2070’s, all of whom feel the aftereffects of their progenitor’s racial trauma and find themselves, despite their best efforts to be individuals, reliving it. This book provides a really thought-provoking way to think about race, which is somehow at once bleak and optimistic.  ―Akil Guruparan from Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia
    Buy from Fountain Bookstore

  • This is my first by author Jamie Ford, but will not be my last. His exquisite writing is not only beautiful, but also thought provoking and cerebral. Based on Epigenetics, the research that suggests that trauma/fears can be inherited from previous generations, the story takes readers on a journey meeting several descendants of Afong Moy, the first Chinese woman to set foot in America. The book stretched out over 200 years as each chapter reveals the tragedies faced by a descendant of Afong, and how each responds due to her genetic response to fear. A mix of history, science and fantasy, this is one of those books that will stay with readers for a very long time!  ―Sharon Davis from Book Bound Bookstore in Blairsville, Georgia
    Buy from Book Bound Bookstore

About Jamie Ford

Jamie Ford is the great-grandson of Nevada mining pioneer Min Chung, who emigrated from Hoiping, China to San Francisco in 1865, where he adopted the western name Ford, thus confusing countless generations. His debut novel, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, spent two years on the New York Times bestseller list and went on to win the 2010 Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature. His work has been translated into thirty-five languages. Having grown up in Seattle, he now lives in Montana with his wife and a one-eyed pug.

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The Couple at Number 9 by Claire Douglas

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The Couple at Number 9 by Claire Douglas
Harper Paperbacks / August 2022


More Reviews from Fiction Addiction

An idyllic cottage for the couple in number 9 turns out to be anything but idyllic when two bodies are uncovered in the garden during some remodeling. Rose, the original owner of the cottage is now in her late seventies and living in a care home with dementia. Her granddaughter Saffie, who is expecting her first child, and Saffie’s husband Tom were thrilled when given the cottage by Saffie’s mother Lorna. Little did any of them know that their remodeling would uncover and bring to light many unanswered questions from the past. Why didn’t Lorna know her mother owned this cottage? Why did Rose never talk about Lorna’s father other than to say he died before he was born? Who was Rose’s mysterious boarder and what happened to her? Why did Lorna always seem to be running away from something? Who is the man who claims to be a PI and says that Rose has evidence his client wants and will use force if necessary to obtain it? And of course – who were the people buried in the garden and what happened to them? Told from several points of view and several time frames Douglas is an expert at slowly feeding you information while at the same time leaving you with many new questions. All of the information finally comes together in a twisty ending you won’t see coming.

Reviewed by Nancy McFarlane, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina



Yoga by Emmanuel Carrère,

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Yoga by Emmanuel Carrère
Farrar, Straus and Giroux / August 2022


More Reviews from Malaprop’s

The latest journey into the mind of Emmanuel Carrere, Yoga, is just as self-effacing, intelligent, and probing as his previous work. But what begins as a book about yoga and meditation soon turns into a book about personal tragedy, making for a surprisingly bittersweet, tender memoir.

Reviewed by Justin Souther, Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe in Asheville, North Carolina

Bark to the Future by Spencer Quinn

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Bark to the Future by Spencer Quinn
Forge Books / August 2022


More Reviews from Main Street Books

Bernie and Chet stories can seem deceptively simple. Chet’s narration from a dog’s point of view provides humor but insights on how narrow human perspectives can be. Bernie’s ethical code and generosity are lessons in how to be a better human. All this comes into play as the duo seek to help a high school classmate fallen on hard times. Running underneath the mystery is a happy love interest for Bernie and the complications of Trixie for Chet.

Reviewed by Jan Blodgett, Main Street Books in Davidson, North Carolina

This Little Voter by Carol Herring (Illus.), Ann Bonnie

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This Little Voter by Carol Herring (Illus.), Ann Bonnie
little bee books / August 2022


More Reviews from Bookmarks

With the same structure and rhyming pattern as This Little PiggyThis Little Voter celebrates all the things voters can do to participate in the electoral process – register to vote, campaign, vote, and more. This is the perfect addition for the youngest of readers to an Election Day storytime!

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

Berserk Deluxe Volume 11 by Kentaro Miura

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Berserk Deluxe Volume 11 by Kentaro Miura
Dark Horse Manga / July 2022


More Reviews from Oxford Exchange

This is the best series of all time, hands down. Absolutely gorgeous artwork, incredible world-building, and intense developments. Berserk is about trauma and how you can overcome that trauma. There will always be hardships and the only thing you can do is keep moving forward. I will always recommend this series to everyone. Character development is unmatched. Berserk has inspired so many other creative works of art, and it fully deserves recognition. 11 out of 10.

Reviewed by Ethan Davis, Oxford Exchange in Tampa, Florida

Read This Next!

Books on the horizon: Forthcoming favorites from Southern indies…

Love on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood

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Love on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood
 Berkley / August 2022


More Reviews from Underground Books

An August 2022 Read This Next! Title

Badass woman in science, CHECK. STEM setting with real life issues, CHECK. Huge, hot, *secretly pining* fellow scientist with off-the-charts chemistry with said badass woman in science, CHECK. We have all the components of another supremely satisfying steamy STEM romance by Ali Hazelwood. I loved Love on the Brain!

Reviewed by Megan Bell, Underground Books in Carrollton, Georgia

Southern Bestsellers

What’s popular this week with Southern Readers.

The Last White Man The Red Truck Bakery Farmhouse Cookbook Every Summer After
Speckled Beauty Hell Followed with Us

[ See the full list ]

Parting Thought

“When we read a story, we inhabit it. The covers of the book are like a roof and four walls. What is to happen next will take place within the four walls of the story. And this is possible because the story’s voice makes everything its own. ”
– John Berger, Keeping a Rendezvous

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 8/9/22

The Southern Bookseller Review Newsletter for the week of August 9, 2022

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The week of August 9, 2022

What independent bookstores mean to us

Matthew Quick

Recently one of our favorite book blogs, Advance Reading Copy, interviewed Outer Banks author Matthew Quick about his new novel, We Are the Light. At one point in the interview, Quick describes attending an author reading event (not his own) at his local bookstore, Downtown Books on Manteo Island, NC:

"As I watched and listened to authors of all ages proudly read from their novels and picture books and in one case a deceased spouse’s secret poetry stash, I was struck by how captivated the audience was. Everyone was standing—on concrete—for an hour, listening respectfully in 2021 to writers doing nothing more than reading aloud. People applauded generously. They did not seem restless. They were not looking at their phones. They seemed fully present and glad to be listening to local authors read on a Saturday morning. Shortly after the event began, I got a good tingling sensation in my body that reminded me of when I used to be a teacher of literature and my young students were fully participating—when they were supporting each other not for grades, but because they really were starting to believe in the necessary and transformative power of the written word."

Downtown Books

We often talk about the importance of independent bookstores to their communities. Perhaps people think of the role they play as small businesses, the local charities they donate to, the local authors they support. But what they are doing at the most fundamental level, is helping to grow a community of readers. Of people who believe in the transformative power of the written word.

"It’s tempting to focus on the transactional handselling aspect of the above story," Quick goes on to say, "Believe me, we are very grateful for the sales. But that Saturday morning when a small crowd willingly stood on unforgiving concrete for an hour to listen to local writers read—that’s a testament to the true power and beauty of the local bookshop. And I think we need that now more than ever."

Yes we do.

Read the full interview

We Are the Light

What Jamie Anderson of Downtown Books has to say about Matthew Quick’s new novel:

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…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. –Jamie Anderson, Downtown Books | BUY

And just in case you think she’s biases (she is, but in the best kind of way), here are what some other booksellers think:

Written as letters to Lucas’s Jungian analyst, We Are the Light is a moving story of love and hope in the midst of grief and despair, and how much of a difference loving support can make on a journey of healing. — Melissa Oates, Fiction-Addiction in Greenville, SC | BUY

Where do I begin? Matthew Quick’s We Are the Light is an extraordinary story that struck me to the core. This remarkable novel is overflowing with emotion…joy and despair, loneliness and hope — so, so much hope. It is an unforgettable, heartfelt tribute to the many ways in which our communities can lift us up and help us heal. –Anderson McKean, Page & Palette in Fairhope, AL | BUY


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More Reviews from Wordsworth Books

This fast-paced story is told through alternating perspectives of the hunters and the hunted as mercenaries seek a woman for reasons unknown to her, Cork and his wife. At the center of the story a wise and elderly healer helps the hunted survive in the Boundary Waters wilderness. Another great addition to the Cork O’Conner mystery series.

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



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