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The Southern Bookseller Review 6/28/22

The Southern Bookseller Review Newsletter for the week of June 28, 2022

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Editor’s note: This newsletter was accidentally sent with the wrong book cover for the review of Girlhood: A Letter to My Transgender Daughter by Carolyn Hays. The correct cover has been included below.

The week of June 28, 2022

The Freedom to ReadBook Bans

On July 4th this country celebrates its 246th birthday, a time of picnics and fireworks and patriotic feeling. We call it our Independence Day and honor the freedoms we enjoy and that are the founding principles of the nation. In fact, most Americans are more familiar with the First Amendment than they are with the Constitution itself. As a nation, we treasure the freedom of expression guaranteed by the First Amendment; our ability to say what we think, believe what we want. Right now, bookstores in Virginia are facing a legal challenge to their businesses and their freedom of expression. A motion has been filed with the Virginia Beach circuit Court to declare two books "obscene."

The books are Gender Queer, a Memoir, by Maia Kobabe, an autobiographical graphic novel that depicts the author’s experience as a non-binary person; and the fantasy novel A Court of Mist and Fury, by Sarah J. Maas.

If the motion is upheld, it could open anyone distributing the books, such as schools or libraries, and possibly anyone selling them, such as bookstores, to criminal charges. The scope of the petition reaches not only public institutions, but privately-owned businesses. In fact, the petitioners who filed the original complaint have requested an injunction against Barnes and Noble and other bookstores to prevent sales of these books.

Among the bookstores fighting the injunction are The Violet Fox Bookshop Prince Books, Read Books, One More Page Books, and bbgb tales for kids, as well as American Booksellers for Free Expression, Association of American Publishers, Inc., Authors Guild, Inc., American Library Association, Virginia Library Association, and Freedom to Read Foundation.

The American Library Association has noted that 2022 is already a record year for book ban attempts. Book bans are nothing new, of course. But whereas in the past most bans were initiated by individuals (often parents), this year they have become a political tool.

What can you do? The Violet Fox Bookshop has a page with links and resources, including a petition and a place to report censorship. Naturally, you can support Virginia bookstores, and the targeted authors, by buying their books. And even better, by reading them:

The Most Challenged Books of 2021

"Education demands a certain daring, a certain independence of mind. We have to teach young people to think," says James Baldwin in an interview with Studs Terkel, "And in order to teach young people to think you have to teach them to think about everything. There mustn’t be something they cannot think about. If there’s something, if there’s one thing they can’t think about then very shortly they can’t think about anything."

Read This Now | Read This Next | The Bookseller Directory


Read This Now!

Recommended by Southern indies…

Girlhood by Carolyn Hayes

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A Girlhood by Carolyn Hayes
Blair / September 2022


More Reviews from Bookish Atlanta

While I suppose no book is perfect, I think A Girlhood: Letter to My Transgender Daughter is about as perfect as they come.

It’s part memoir, part research project, part confessional. The writing is personal, tender, and fierce. I found so much that resonated about parenting in general, the way we love our kids and try to help them find the most joy possible in this life. And, as the wife of a trans guy, I also found kinship in the experience of watching someone transition and find their true selves. It’s beautiful. Sometimes frightening. And often hard for a host of reasons. But ultimately, joyful.

A Girlhood will be my go-to recommendation for anyone trying to understand gender identity or transness. And for parents of gay kids, trans kids, cis kids, gender non-conforming kids–parents of humans. I cannot think of anyone I wouldn’t recommend it to. As a person in the queer community who didn’t have a stellar coming out experience with my parents, I find narratives about parents who support and champion their LGBTQ kids to be a balm. Because I always believed I deserved better than I got–and seeing other kids get that kind of support is healing and hopeful. Because I was right. We do deserve better. And always have.

Reviewed by Kendra Gayle Lee, Bookish Atlanta in Atlanta, Georgia



Bookseller Buzz

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Spotlight on: Metropolis by B. A. Shapiro

 

B. A. Shapiro

One of the things about writing fiction is that you get to learn a lot about things you don’t know. I had always wanted to write a book about people who are from all different walks of life and then, because of a single event, are thrown together … One day, I opened the newspaper and there was an article about this big storage-unit building that looked like a medieval castle and how people were moving out of it. I said, that’s it.” –B.A. Shapiro, interview, Columbus Dispatch

What booksellers are saying about Metropolis

Metropolis by B. A. Shapiro
  • Shapiro has created six of the most interesting characters I have encountered in quite awhile. Each has a story so intense and intriguing and unique that it is hard to imagine where the novel is going. The magic happens when all six lives intersect at the Metropolis. All of the stories are expertly tied together in one of the best books I have read this year. ―Nancy McFarlane from Fiction Addiction in Greenville, SC
    Buy from Fiction Addiction

  • I can’t remember when I’ve enjoyed a cast of characters more than those whose lives are connected within the walls of the quirky Metropolis. Brilliant, tense, and perfectly paced!   ―Damita Nocton from The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, NC
    Buy from The Country Bookshop

  • I loved the menagerie of characters and the storage-unit setting! Creative, propelling – a pleasure to read!   ―Cathy Graham from Copperfish Books in Punta Gorda, FL
    Buy from Copperfish Books

About B. A. Shapiro

B. A. Shapiro is the author of the award-winning New York Times bestseller The Art Forger, as well as The Muralist, and The Collector’s Apprentice. She has taught sociology at Tufts University and creative writing at Northeastern University and lives in Boston with her husband, Dan.

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Dele Weds Destiny by Tomi Obaro

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Dele Weds Destiny by Tomi Obaro
Knopf / June 2022

,, 
More Reviews from Bookmarks

Three women have shared a bond for decades. When they are reunited for one of their daughter’s weddings, the past comes back in a rush. The story is told in flashbacks and present day in a way that helps them reconcile where they have ended up and where they once dreamed they’d go. A timeless examination of all the dreams you hold for yourself, the dreams your parents and others have for you, and how much you are able to follow your heart.

Reviewed by Jamie Southern, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina



Drunk on All Your Strange New Words by Eddie Robson

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Drunk on All Your Strange New Words by Eddie Robson
Tordotcom / June 2022


More Reviews from Fountain Bookstore

This book features a young woman who is a translator for an alien species that has come to Earth but that doesn’t have a spoken language. She translates their thoughts into English so other humans can understand them. She finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation and she wants to keep her job and stay out of jail. I found this short novel charming and it’s a real love song to the written word and paper books. For lovers of Douglas Adams and John Scalzi.

Reviewed by Kelly Justice, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

TJ Powar Has Something to Prove by Jesmeen Kaur Deo

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TJ Powar Has Something to Prove by Jesmeen Kaur Deo
Viking Books for Young Readers / June 2022


More Reviews from Fiction Addiction

Powerhouse debater and soccer star TJ is considered one of the most beautiful girls at her school. But when a meme starts circulating comparing her flawless beauty to her Sikh cousin’s natural hairiness, TJ decides to ditch her hair-removal routines to show herself and the world that it’s possible to be both hairy and beautiful. The world, though, seems determined to prove her wrong — except her debate rival Charlie, who doesn’t seem to care at all. A fun, flirty story that couches a cutting criticism of societal beauty standards, handled in a way that will win over readers regardless of personal opinions.

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

I Am a Baby by Bob Shea

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I Am a Baby by Bob Shea
Candlewick / June 2022


More Reviews from The Country Bookshop

A June 2022 Read This Next! Title!

If ever a book has gotten new parenthood spot on, its I am a Baby. This one should be a required gift at every baby shower, because when there’s a new baby around, you’ve got to laugh at all the ways the world changes for everyone!

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

Read This Next!

Books on the horizon: Forthcoming favorites from Southern indies…

Lapvona by Ottessa Moshfegh

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Lapvona by Ottessa Moshfegh
Penguin Press / June 2022


More Reviews from Union Ave Books

A June 2022 Read This Next! Selection

Whew, what a ride. If you are an Ottessa Moshfegh fan, you will love this propulsive and constantly shocking story. The inequality of the medieval fiefdom that serves as the setting and the characters that populate this book are both utterly alien and depressingly familiar. In Lapvona, Moshfegh continues to do what she does best: illustrate unvarnished humanity in all its beauty and depravity.

Reviewed by Chelsea Bauer, Union Ave Books in Knoxville, Tennessee

Southern Bestsellers

What’s popular this week with Southern Readers.

Horse CRiver of the Gods The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
The Bomber Mafia Moon

[ See the full list ]

Parting Thought

“Reading brings us unknown friends.”
– Honoré de Balzac

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 6/21/22

The Southern Bookseller Review Newsletter for the week of June 14, 2022

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The week of June 20, 2022

Summer ReadsSummer Reads

Summer solstice is here, and with it the long, lazy, sunny days of summer. Beach blankets, barbecues, and of course…books!

Here are some recent bookseller reviews of summery reads perfect for any beach bag or picnic basket.

Summer Sons by Lee Mandelo
Imagine Fast and Furious as a book, but make it a Southern Gothic, give it a hefty dose of dark academia, and make every character queer. –Faith Parke-Dodge, Page 158 Books in Wake Forest, North Carolina

The Lost Summers of Newport by Beatriz Williams
Three women are connected by one mansion, from a music teacher in the Gilded Age to a present-day home renovation TV host. Their stories of love, money, and coverups intertwine in this fascinating book. –Rae Ann Parker, Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee

One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle
A love story with a side of time-traveling. Serle’s amazing descriptions of the food and landscape of Positano, Italy, made me feel that I was on vacation. –Linda Hodges, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina

The Narrowboat Summer by Anne Youngson
Eve and Sally set off down the canals in their borrowed boat, discovering new friends and learning new skills along the way. This delightful book is the perfect antidote to what was a difficult year for so many.–Kate Storhoff, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, NC

Cool for the Summer by Dahlia Adler
If you’re looking for a light summer read that also manages some heavy emotions in a Grease vibe, look no further! –Jennifer Jones, Bookmiser in Marietta, Georgia

More Summer reads at SBR


Read This Now | Read This Next | The Bookseller Directory


Read This Now!

Recommended by Southern indies…

Girls They Write Songs About by Carlene Bauer

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Girls They Write Songs About by Carlene Bauer
Farrar, Straus and Giroux / June 2022


More Reviews from Novel

It’s so hard to pin down exactly how I feel about this one. Safe to say, though, to start: I loved reading every page, so there is that! I think part of what makes me feel confused is how close to the bone it could have cut given a few of the similarities between me and Rose and Charlotte. But I was never ambitious. Never really tried to make a go of it as a writer. I was never of New York or the region. Girls They Write Songs About is brilliant, deliciously wry, not afraid to proceed to its destination. It pulls zero punches. It’s mature in a way that is hard to describe. It respects its characters and the reader enough to stay the course on its own terms. And that is a little difficult to accept at times, like real life. I loved it and will have no trouble recommending it to customers. But I’m going to spend between now and June refining my elevator pitch.

Reviewed by Kat Leache, Novel in Memphis, Tennessee



Bookseller Buzz

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Spotlight on: One’s Company by Ashley Hutson

 

Ashley Hutson

I guess at the end, I want to break someone’s heart. I want to feel like I’ve made something that is beyond just a story. Like when you wake up from a dream, and you can’t remember the dream, but you know you’ve been somewhere, you’ve seen something, and you know it’s important, but you’re only left with a deep question, and maybe you’ll never know, you’ll never truly understand that feeling. Maybe if you thoroughly express that feeling, it would lose something. It would be ruined. That’s what I hope when I write fiction, that’s what I like to communicate. And that’s what I like to read—I like to read stuff that makes me ask a question or makes me feel disturbed, that upsets me somehow. I like being disturbed.” –Ashley Hutson, interview, Berkley Fiction Review

What booksellers are saying about One’s Company

You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty
  • Where do I even begin with this book? An original and poignant story of obsession, trauma and the desire to escape into another reality as a means of survival. This is one of the most bonkers books I’ve ever read and one of my favorite books of 2022. ―Gaël LeLamer from Books & Books in Coral Gables, FL
    Buy from Books and Books

  • What a fun, unique concept for a book! Hutson brings us Bonnie Lincoln, left adrift after a roller coaster of personal tragedy and a huge lottery win. Fed up with humanity, she sets out to recreate her ideal life – Three’s Company, her favorite TV show. She builds a world that matches the set, down to the tiniest details, then settles in to forget the rest of society. Between interlopers and gawkers, her peaceful world isn’t meant to last and her already fragile mental health takes a beating. This had me on the edge of my seat, dying to find out how she’d end up. You don’t have to know Three’s Company to enjoy this unexpected story!   ―Andrea Richardson from Fountain Books in Richmond, VA
    Buy from Fountain Bookstore

  • On the surface, the premise of this book sounds ridiculous and hilarious. A woman wins the lottery and decides to recreate Three’s Company and live as the characters. And it is ridiculous, but it’s also raw and sad. Bonnie has experienced an armed robbery in which she was raped and beaten, her unrequited crush was killed right in front of her, and the couple see viewed as adoptive parents are also slain. Unable to deal with the trauma, Bonnie withdraws from the world and takes solace in repeated viewings of Three’s Company. What starts as a comfort becomes an obsession. When she wins the lottery, she is able to live out her dream of being in the show she loves. She soon finds that even this isn’t enough to keep her grief and trauma at bay.   ―Melissa Taylor from E. Shaver, bookseller in Savannah, GA
    Buy from E. Shaver, bookseller

About Ashley Hutson

Ashley Hutson is a writer living in rural Maryland. Her work has appeared in GrantaElectric LiteratureCatapultFanzine, and elsewhere. Her honors include the 2018 Small Fictions Award, judged by Aimee Bender, and several Pushcart Prize nominations.

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The Scent of Burnt Flowers by Blitz Bazawule

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The Scent of Burnt Flowers by Blitz Bazawule
Ballantine Books / June 2022


More Reviews from Oxford Exchange

Bazawule swiftly drops you into an immediate and tumultuous love story between Bernadette and Melvin as they escape the States seeking a fantastical refuge in 1960s Ghana. This piece is deeply heartbreaking, yet manages to hold it together through its magical storytelling. “Queen and Slim” fans will love this novel as its deep cinematic influence encourages evocative visuals and sentient understandings of the character’s interiors.

Reviewed by Eden Hakimzadeh, Oxford Exchange in Tampa, Florida



Blood Orange Night by Melissa Bond

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Blood Orange Night by Melissa Bond
Gallery Books / June 2022


More Reviews from Righton Books

The deeply personal story of a journalist and young mother who is given a long-term prescription for drugs (benzodiazepines) that are meant for short time use only. Her descriptions of life as an addict are deeply personal and harrowing.

Reviewed by Anne Peck, Righton Books in Memphis, Tennessee

My Name Is Jason. Mine Too by Jason Reynolds

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My Name Is Jason. Mine Too by Jason Reynolds
Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books / June 2022


More Reviews from Fountain Bookstore

Calling this the coolest most creative young adult book I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading, just wow! Powerhouse Jason Reynolds teams up with longtime best friend and artist Jason Griffin to bring the most interesting memoir I’ve ever read. Originally published in 2009 as Reynolds’s first book, this tiny but mighty memoir follows the two as they chase huge aspirations in New York City. Worlds, collages, and paint splatters cover the pages rather than paragraphs and it works so perfectly. Almost like a zine nonfiction novella, and if that wasn’t a thing it is now and I want more!

Reviewed by Grace Sullivan, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

Brave Every Day by Trudy Ludwig

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Brave Every Day by Trudy Ludwig
Knopf Books for Young Readers / June 2022


More Reviews from Booksmarks

A great reminder that our hearts are bigger than our worries. As adults we sometimes forget how kids struggle with big feelings they don’t always understand. This book is great to start the conversation about emotional awareness and other social emotional skills that are important for kids to be successful in school and life.

Reviewed by Lupe Penn, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Read This Next!

Books on the horizon: Forthcoming favorites from Southern indies…

It All Comes Down to This by Therese Anne Fowler

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It All Comes Down to This by Therese Anne Fowler
St. Martin’s Press / June 2022

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More Reviews from Fiction Addiction

A June 2022 Read This Next! Selection

In the forward Therese writes that the book is for everyone, including herself, who needed some brightness during a dark time. At the beginning I felt like there was anything but brightness in this book. First there was the big secret that Marti Geller had been keeping from her family, then her death and subsequent burden she placed on her three daughters and then the obvious unhappiness that each of her daughters had been experiencing. As usual, Fowler’s writing pulls you right in to the lives of the Geller sisters and gives a very believable look at how each sister has lived their lives because they thought that was what was expected of them and because they didn’t understand what it meant to be true to themselves and what they wanted. I loved the very believable scenes between sisters – the jealousy, the selfishness, the misunderstandings and eventually their forgiveness. It is a story of fate, love, second chances and finally realizing that being true to yourself is the ultimate way to happiness. This book was a well-needed breath of fresh air in my reading.

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

Southern Bestsellers

What’s popular this week with Southern Readers.

One Italian Summer Crying in the H Mart Book Lovers
The Ride of Her Life I Kissed Shara Wheeler

[ See the full list ]

Parting Thought

“Books have a unique way of stopping time in a particular moment and saying: Let’s not forget this.””
– Dave Eggers

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: Happy Pride!

The Southern Bookseller Review: Happy Pride! June, 2022

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June, 2022

Happy Pride!

Happy Pride

This special edition of The Southern Bookseller Review celebrates Pride Month, and joyfully honors the impact and importance that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals have had on history, our culture, our everything.

“Love him and let him love you. Do you think anything else under heaven really matters?” -James Baldwin, Giovanni’s Room

Read This Now | Read This Next | The Bookseller Directory


Read This Now!

Honoring the gay, lesbian, transgender and queer experience…

Home Field Advantage by Dahlia Adler

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Home Field Advantage by Dahlia Adler
Wednesday Books / June 2022


Amazingly talented (and attractive) quarterback who’s new in school + cheerleader destined to be captain of the squad = a story we all know. But what if the quarterback is a girl named Jack, and although she’s wildly talented, she’s also loathed by her new team, as well as everyone on the cheer squad — except for Amber, who falls for the new quarterback almost immediately. Coming out to her team risks jeopardizing her chance at becoming captain, so Amber has to think about what truly matters to her. I adored Amber and Jack and I loved their perfect high school romance.

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

Dahlia Adler

About the Author:
Dahlia Adler is an editor of mathematics by day, the overlord of LGBTQReads by night, and a Young Adult author at every spare moment in between. She is the editor of several anthologies and the author of many novels, including Cool for the Summer and Home Field Advantage. She lives in New York with her family and an obscene number of books.

Happily Ever Island by Crystal Cestari

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Happily Ever Island by Crystal Cestari
Disney-Hyperion / June 2022


Madison is a full-on Disney nerd. When she wins a trip to a new, fully immersive Disney vacation full of cosplay and magical Disney magic, she’s beyond excited. But when her girlfriend breaks up with her, she convinces her best friend to come instead. Lanie is not a Disney fan. She’s not a hater, she just is way less familiar than Madison. But she throws caution to the wind and goes anyway. Hopefully they’ll both get their Happily Ever After. This story was fun and crazy and this Disney nerd enjoyed every minute.

Reviewed by Jennifer Jones, Bookmiser in Marietta, Georgia

Crystal Cestari

About the Author:
Crystal Cestari lives just outside Chicago with her family. Her hobbies include planning her next Disney vacation and wandering the aisles at Target. She holds a master’s degree in mass communication, and writes all her stories longhand. She is also the author of the Windy City Magic series and Super Adjacent. Visit Crystal at http://www.crystalcestari.com and on Instagram @crystalcestari.

Bookseller Buzz

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Spotlight on: Young Mungo by Douglas Stuart

 

Douglas Stuart

I think when you’re talking about queerness at that time and you’re also intersecting it with class or with poverty or social mobility, then the stakes are very different for the characters. You know, they can’t just up and leave and go find a different place where they belong in the world. They really have to face the world outside their door because that’s the only world they know.” –Douglas Stuart, interview, NPR


Young Mungo

What booksellers are saying about Young Mungo

  • Douglas Stuart has done it again with this heartbreaking, breathtaking, and hopeful story of young love between two boys in working-class Glasgow. I will patiently wait for Middle-Aged Mungo and Old Mungo…I want more! ―Gaël LeLamer from Books & Books in Coral Gables, FL
    Buy from Books and Books

  • From Booker Prize winner Douglas Stuart, this often bleak coming-of-age story shares some of the themes of his winning novel Shuggie Bain, including the darkly lyrical descriptions of a working class childhood at the mercy of an alcoholic mother. A heart-breaking story, with vividly drawn characters, dangerous situations, and forbidden love.   ―Anne Peck from Righton Books in St Simons Island, GA
    Buy from Righton Books

  • This is beautiful and hard, a gem hewn from the harshest pressure of Scottish discord and weather. Catholics vs Protestants, children vs adults, adults vs drink, all of them trying to survive under the apathetic Glaswegian skies. Young Mungo drags you down in the mire, and holds your face to the ruin of this community, but also reminds that no matter how dark, there is always love. A brutal, brutal read, but staggeringly empathetic and wonderful. Mungo is our hero, our baby we want to shield, our man we want to see grow up and conquer. He is our queer king whom we want love to keep and to make him greater. I can’t recommend this book enough, I understand know why Stuart won the Booker for Shuggie Bain. This too, deserves the praise it will get, a classic in the making.   ―Aimee Keeble from Main Street Books in Davidson, NC
    Buy from Main Street Books

  • Douglas Stuart novels have a particular ache to them…you cannot help but love and be in pain for his characters. Poor, alcoholic, living in dire, drab straits, isolated in their worlds, their will to live and love takes my breath away. “Young Mungo” is a tough read, but Mungo himself will tear at your heart…along with lovely James, caring Jodie, violent Hamish and selfish Mo-maw. A sad Romeo and Juliet story for modern times. Violent, tough and absolutely beautiful.   ―Andrea Ginsky from Bookstore Number 1 LLC in Sarasota, FL
    Buy from Bookstore 1 Sarasota

About Douglas Stuart

Douglas Stuart is a Scottish-American author. His New York Times-bestselling debut novel Shuggie Bain won the 2020 Booker Prize and the Sue Kaufman Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. It was the winner of two British Book Awards, including Book of the Year, and was a finalist for the National Book Award, PEN/Hemingway Award, National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Prize, Kirkus Prize, as well as several other literary awards. Stuart’s writing has appeared in the New Yorker and Literary Hub.

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Space Story by Fiona Ostby

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Space Story by Fiona Ostby
West Margin Press / June 2022


This graphic novel combines three different storylines, each designated by one of the primary colors. There is a story of love, a story of loneliness, and a story of longing. Ostby’s unique use of color perfectly mirrors the emotions expressed within each storyline, and the manner in which they are intertwined feels like fitting puzzle pieces together.

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

Fiona Ostby

About the Author:
Fiona Ostby is an illustrator and comic artist with a PhD in illustration from Tokyo Zokei University. Their work focuses on atmosphere, feelings, and the experience of growing up LGBTQ+. Space Story is their debut book, a graphic novel that explores those themes. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Fiona currently lives in Tokyo, Japan. Visit her at FionaOstby.com.

Boys and Oil by Taylor Brorby

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Boys and Oil by Taylor Brorby
Liveright / June 2022


A searing meditation on identity and place, Boys and Oil captured my heart and opened my eyes. My husband is from North Dakota, and I thought I understood what it meant to have grown up in that state, but Taylor Brorby’s memoir showed me a different perspective. His writing on place is some of the most evocative I’ve read since Terry Tempest Williams; his love for his home state is evident despite the pain of growing up gay in a community that didn’t understand or welcome him. An important book and a must-read!

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

Taylor Brorby

About the Author:
Taylor Brorby is an essayist and poet. The coeditor of Fracture, his work has appeared in the Huffington Post, Orion, and North American Review, where he is a contributing editor.

Let's Get Back to the Party by Zak Salih

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Let’s Get Back to the Party by Zak Salih
Algonquin Books / February 2022

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It is just weeks after the legalization of gay marriage in the U.S. in the summer of 2015. We meet two men who grew up together in the D.C. suburbs and are at opposite ends of what it means to be a gay man at this time in American history. Both are involved in obsessive cross-generational friendships. Sebastian has a complicated relationship with one of his out and proud high school students. Oscar is spending time with a Stonewall generation novelist on the decline. Sebastian is anxious to settle down and assimilate. Oscar is infuriated by what he sees as the death of gay culture in favor of what he views as colorless banality. I loved everything about this book. It is beautifully written and full of profound insights on what happens when a formerly ostracized segment of society becomes incorporated into the general population and what that means, good and bad, for the individuals that are part of it. Stunning!

Reviewed by Kelly Justice, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

Zach Salih

About the Author:
Zak Salih earned his BA in English and Journalism from James Madison University, and his MA in English from the University of Virginia. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Foglifter, Epiphany, Crazyhorse, The Florida Review, The Chattahoochee Review, The Millions, Apogee Journal, Kenyon Review Online, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and other publications. Let’s Get Back to the Party is his debut novel. He lives in Washington, D.C.

The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle by Matt Cain

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The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle by Matt Cain
Scognamiglio Books / June 2022

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Three cheers for Albert Entwistle! I snuggled into this heartwarming "it’s never too late" coming-out story right away and loved watching this gentle man bloom. Albert is painfully lonely, staying far in the back of the closet and avoiding human connections all his adult life. But forced retirement at age 65 pushes him to completely change his life, and he finds that everyone he knows has been rooting for him all along.

Reviewed by Serena Wyckoff, Copperfish Books in Punta Gorda, Florida

Matt Cain

About the Author:
Matt Cain is an author, a leading commentator on LGBT+ issues, and a former journalist. He was Channel 4’s first Culture Editor, Editor-In-Chief of Attitude magazine, and has judged the Costa Prize, the Polari Prize and the South Bank Sky Arts Awards. He won Diversity in Media’s Journalist Of the Year award in 2017 and is an ambassador for Manchester Pride and the Albert Kennedy Trust, plus a patron of LGBT+ History Month. Born in Bury and brought up in Bolton, he now lives in London and can be found online at MattCainWriter.com.

Parting Thought

"This place was the “ART” that gave form to the feelings of our heartbeats. Here the consciousness of knowing you “belonged” nestled into that warm feeling of finally being HOME. And Home engenders love and loyalty quite naturally. So, we loved the Stonewall"
― New York Public Library, The Stonewall Reader

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 6/14/22

The Southern Bookseller Review Newsletter for the week of June 14, 2022

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The week of June 13, 2022

JuneteenthFree at Last: A Juneteenth Poem

This Sunday we celebrate our newest Federal holiday, honoring an event that should have been cause for national celebration and thankfulness from the day it happened and every single day hence: the end of slavery in the United States.

All who live in bondage here shall from until be free
After 300 years of forced labor;
hands bound, descendants of Africa
picked up their souls – all that they
owned – leaving shackles where they fell
on the ground, headed for the nearest
resting place to be found. "
–Sojourner Kincaid Rolle

Free at Last by Sojourner Kincaid Rolle,
(List Price: $17.99, Union Square Kids, 9781454943747, June 2022)

Such an important message, beautifully told in Free at Last, A Juneteenth Poem. I hope this picture book depicting such an important part of our history is shared widely in homes and schools. –Jessica Nock from Main Street Books in Davidson, NC

Juneteenth reading lists:

19 for June 19th, The Bookmark Bookstore & Oakland Public Library
Juneteenth at Bookshop.org

Read This Now | Read This Next | The Bookseller Directory


Read This Now!

Recommended by Southern indies…

In Every Mirror She’s Black by Lolá Ákínmádé Åkerström

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In Every Mirror She’s Black by Lolá Ákínmádé Åkerström
Sourcebooks Landmark / June 2022


More Reviews from Oxford Exchange

Åkerström invites the reader into the complex and dynamic interior worlds of three Black women, with varying levels of privilege and proximity to whiteness, as they navigate the novel’s locations of America and Sweden. By following each of their unique and dynamic journeys, we learn about how our their intimate relationships reflect back the love and care they have learned to believe they deserve through social cues and cultural reminders. A story that paints landscapes of love and loss invites all readers to consider: if home is a feeling, how will you know you’ve found it? An extraordinary and fast-paced novel that I can not wait to recommend both solo and book club readers!

Reviewed by Eden Hakimzadeh, Oxford Exchange in Tampa, Florida



Bookseller Buzz

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Spotlight on: You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi

 

Akwaeke Emezi

I meant to write just like a fluffy romance that didn’t have any heavier themes. Unfortunately, once I started writing Feyi all this darkness just kept unfolding…It shows all the facets of Feyi as a person—you have the version of her that’s doing rooftop parties and hooking up with people in the bathroom. And she’s still the same person who is an artist that’s working through her grief. I think it’s so important to show a Black woman who is all these things, and that you can be profane and promiscuous and that doesn’t mean that you don’t deserve a happily ever after.” –Akwaeke Emezi, interview, Vogue

What booksellers are saying about You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty

You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty
  • This book is chock-full of lines that will pack a punch. Several times I would put the book down and just say, “wow”, out loud to myself. The tension was so masterfully built and whew! The payoff was very very good. Loved this and love that this genre is new territory for Emezi, but they are certainly not showing any novice tendencies. Such a fantastic read! ―Nyawira Nyota from Page 158 Books in Wake Forest, NC
    Buy from Page 158 Books

  • I absolutely loved this book. A sumptuous, sexy, fierce, and fresh romance that makes you feel like bursting out of your front door to take on life and all it has to offer. Emezi never ceases to amaze!   ―Carroll Gelderman from Garden District Book Shop in New Orleans, LA
    Buy from Garden District Book Shop

  • After reading Emezi’s collection of poems, Content Warning: Everything, I knew I had to join this romantic journey of what love after loss could really look like. This book turned out to be one of my favorite reads of all time. Emezi introduces us to Feyi Adekola so that we can explore how desire and grief just might inform one another. I can’t recommend this novel enough and am excited to continue reading Emezi’s diverse and expansive collection.   ―Eden Hakimzadeh from Oxford Exchange in Tampa, FL
    Buy from Oxford Exchange

  • This book is brutal. It is also stunning and heart wrenching and guttural and oh so tender. The story itself is flecked with gold- the prose is strung tightly across each page, unyielding and effortless, and the relationships forged on each page are both subtle and earth shattering. At once a story of grief, love, and a tribute to life and the time we have on this earth, You Made a Fool of Death With Your Beauty is guaranteed to make you think, cry, laugh, and then want to do it all over again.   ―Mary Louise Callaghan from Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, NC
    Buy from Bookmarks

About Akwaeke Emezi

Akwaeke Emezi (they/them) is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Death of Vivek Oji, which was a finalist for the Dylan Thomas Prize, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the PEN/Jean Stein Award; Pet, a finalist for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, a Walter Honor Book, and a Stonewall Honor Book; Freshwater, which was named a New York Times Notable Book and shortlisted for the PEN/Hemingway Award, the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award, the Lambda Literary Award, and the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize; and most recently, Dear Senthuran: A Black Spirit Memoir, which won the 2022 ALA Stonewall Prize for Best Nonfiction Book. Selected as a 5 Under 35 honoree by the National Book Foundation, they are based in liminal spaces.

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Jobs for Girls with Artistic Flair by June Gervais

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Jobs for Girls with Artistic Flair by June Gervais
Pamela Dorman Books / June 2022


More Reviews from Friendly City Books

This book felt like it was written just for me. As a queer female artist with some basic tattoo experience, I immediately identified with Gina – her initial timidity, her frustration with being talked over and manipulated by men who should have guided and protected her, and especially her love of the weird. The description of her wild flash and her love for drawing gave me goosebumps. The book’s pacing and tension-building are excellent – the stakes kept getting higher and higher for Gina, until I was ready to leap into the pages and go to war for her. That steady turn of the screw kept the story feeling fresh and dynamic, and the characters kept me invested. Gina is relatable, likeable, and has some great emotional growth. Her brother Dominic is endearing and frustrating. Her mom is a heartbreaking mix of maddening and manipulative but still sympathetic. Every character has their own charm and their own faults. They feel real. You want things to work out for them and you ache when they struggle. Everything about their interactions felt natural and believable. I also have to give major props to the author for all the accurate tattooing details – she knows her stuff! Using autoclaves, calibrating machines, fixing errors (yikes!), practicing on pig feet and oranges, the hazing, the environment, the amount of energy and dedication it takes to make tattooing a career – she nailed it all. Dominic’s shop came to life because it was written by someone who KNOWS. That makes me happier than I can say. Basically, read this book. If you’re into stories of young women fighting for their place in the world, you’ll like it. If you want bisexual representation, here you go. If you’re interested in art and/or tattoos, you’ll love it. If you’re anything like me, you’ll feel seen.

Reviewed by Rachel Derise, Friendly City Books in Columbus, Mississippi



Also a Poet by June Gervais

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Also a Poet by June Gervais
 Grove Press Books / June 2022


More Reviews from Fountain Bookstore

Calhoun had a complicated relationship with her famous art critic father Peter Schjeldahl. This book started as an attempt to write a biography of poet Frank O’Hara that her father never finished. Having inherited his obsession with the poet, the author wrestles with creating a narrative with answers when obstacles (time, fire, other people) keep them hidden. I felt the frustration of her and her subjects as it infected me with its incessant whispers of almosts and near misses. Ultimately, the author gifts us with wise lessons of kindness and acceptance. An extraordinary, raw read!

Reviewed by Kelly Justice, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

Breaking Time by Sasha Alsberg

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Breaking Time by Sasha Alsberg
Inkyard Books / June 2022


More Reviews from Snail on the Wall

Perfect for preteens and teens who want to read Outlander but probably shouldn’t. When Klara accidentally hits a mysterious Scotsman with her car, she has no idea the true intensity of the situation. Callum has stepped out of the 1500s to protect Klara, the last Pillar of Time, at all costs. An evil force is murdering the Pillars, greedy for the powers of the gods, and Klara and Callum are the only thing in his way. This was an amazing story that sucked me in. Alsberg uses imagery that truly puts the beauty of Scotland in your mind. She also writes character development extremely well. She does a great job building Callum’s acclimation to the modern world at the right pace, without making it cringey or a joke. Klara also has great development through the story, and you can see her heal and strengthen bonds she left unattended because of her mother’s death. Klara, despite having a man fated to protect her, is also allowed to be strong and fiercely independent. Throughout her relationship with Callum, she grows stronger, not weaker and submissive, like some YA main characters in a protected/protector situation.

Reviewed by Scarlett, The Snail on the Wall in Huntsville, Alabama

Rosie and the Pre-Loved Dress by Leanne Hatch

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Rosie and the Pre-Loved Dress by Leanne Hatch
G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers / June 2022


More Reviews from Books and Books

I love the concept behind this adorable story. We’re big fans of recycling, reusing and giving new life to old things in our household, and I think anyone open to the idea would enjoy having this book in their at-home story time rotation.

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

Read This Next!

Books on the horizon: Forthcoming favorites from Southern indies…

Nora Goes Off Script by Annabel Monaghan

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Nora Goes Off Script by Annabel Monaghan
G.P. Putnam’s Sons / June 2022


More Reviews from Main Street Books

A June 2022 Read This Next! Selection

Five starry-eyed stars for Nora Goes Off Script! Screenwriter Nora makes a living writing Hallmark style romance movies that stick to the formula that all rom com fans know and love. When she goes off script and writes a movie that deals with the harshness of real life, and based on her own heartbreak, she lands a box office movie deal. Next thing she knows, her movie is being filmed on her own property, starring sultry hot throb, Leo. As a recently divorced mother of two, Norah knows she needs to stay focused on her daily life of raising two children alone. This becomes much more difficult when Leo, who needs a mental break from the glare of fame, asks to pay rent to extend his stay after filming ends. My favorite part of Nora Goes Off Script is that I honestly didn’t know how it would end. Pins and needles! I loved the small town setting, Norah’s chance to start over after a bad marriage, and Norah’s children and best friends. Highly recommend!

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

Southern Bestsellers

What’s popular this week with Southern Readers.

Yerba Buena Happy Go Lucky The Love Songs of WEB DuBois
The Splendid and the Vile The Lesbiana's Guide to Catholic School

[ See the full list ]

Parting Thought

“When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.”
– Audre Lorde

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 6/7/22

The Southern Bookseller Review Newsletter for the week of June 7, 2022

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The week of June 6, 2022

Our Dads.Dads

I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren’t trying to teach us. We are formed by little scraps of wisdom.” ―Umberto Eco, Foucault’s Pendulum


In honor of Father’s Day, here are some recent bookseller reviews of books featuring dads and their importance in our lives.

Sankofa by Chibundu Onuzo
"Chibundu Onuzo’s Sankofa is the story of Anna, an African British woman who never knew her father. Anna discovers clues to her African father’s identity only after her mother dies. This is fortuitous. What follows as Anna acknowledges and accepts her father, a man with a vast reputation and many secrets, is the healing and melding of Anna’s two identities and a new beginning" –Rachel Watkins, Avid Bookshop in Athens, Georgia

Razorblade Tears by S. A. Cosby
"Fantastic thriller with a tender narrative running throughout as two ex-convict fathers come to terms with each of their sons’ homosexuality too late." –Laura Taylor, Oxford Exchange in Tampa, Florida

Shaking the Gates of Hell by John Archibald
"This is a deeply personal memoir, and Archibald’s love and respect for his dad is clear. He was a man of moral authority who taught right from wrong, a minister who emphasized grace and compassion, and an engaged dad who encouraged his kids to leave every campsite better than they found it. But, his youngest son wonders, did his father do enough to leave his community better off than he found it? " –Lady Smith, The Snail on the Wall in Huntsville, Alabama

Magic Season by Wade Rouse
"Wade and his rigid engineer father had a contentious relationship for quite awhile. When Ted learns he is dying Wade returns home for one final season of the one thing the men share a passion for-The St Louis Cardinals. This is inspiring and heartwarming and told with Wade’s poignant sense of humor." –Suzanne Lucey, Page 158 Books in Wake Forest, North Carolina

Read This Now | Read This Next | The Bookseller Directory


Read This Now!

Recommended by Southern indies…

Time Shelter by Georgi Gospodinov

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Time Shelter by Georgi Gospodinov
Liveright / May 2022


More Reviews from Avid Bookshop

Nostalgia, memory loss and the European Union walk into a bar… Every section of this book feeds into the next like those nights where you wake up six times and experience the same dream, mutated sixfold. And just like the day after the dream, this book hasn’t ended for me, since I think fondly of it long after completion, sewing the remembered bits together as best I can into my own narrative (it’s minty mental mouthwash and lord knows I need it).

Reviewed by Ian McCord, Avid Bookshop in Athens, Georgia



Bookseller Buzz

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Spotlight on: Forging Silver Into Stars by Brigid Kemmerer

 

Brigid Kemmerer

There are a lot of layers to realistic romance. For me, I always start with an initial attraction. Physical attributes are obvious, and they do play a small role, but what I really mean is something that catches the other person’s attention in a surprising way. Is it an unexpected skill? Their tone of voice? The way they treat animals? All of the above? And then there are the opposites: challenges to overcome. Is someone stubborn? Angsty? Aloof? Are these challenges worth looking past? Just like people are multi-faceted, characters should be, too.” –Brigid Kemmerer, interview, Beyond the Read

What booksellers are saying about Forging Silver Into Stars

Forging Silver into Stars
  • I loved the Cursebreaker trilogy and was so excited to return to the world! It was so much fun getting to know some of the side characters better from the original trilogy, and as always, the world-building was absolutely scrumptious! I stayed up wayyy past my bedtime to finish this and it was so worth it. ―Catherine Edmondson from Main Street Books in Davidson, NC
    Buy from Main Street Books

  • Forging Silver From Stars is Brigid Kemmerer at her best. Addictive, full of intrigue, twists, and tension. Fans of the Cursebreaker series will find this latest installment to the world to be a more than a worthy addition. To reuse a comment I’ve made about Brigid’s earlier books, which applies well to this one, too: think Game of Thrones for the younger set, infused with 100% more feminism.   ―Cristina Russell from Books & Books in Coral Gables, FL
    Buy from Books & Books

  • I hate to sound like a broken record but Brigid Kemmerer has done it again. Forging Silver into Stars is the perfect mix of characters we know and love from her Cursebreakers series and new characters we get to fall in love with for the first time. Brigid’s characters are ones I want to be friends with even on their bad days because she takes the time to let us get to know them in a flawed, honest, and hopeful way. I regretted every time life forced me to put it down. I couldn’t have enjoyed it more.   ―Rayna Nielsen from Blue Cypress Books in New Orleans, LA
    Buy from Blue Cypress Books

About Brigid Kemmerer

Brigid Kemmerer is the author of the New York Times bestseller Defy the Night, the New York Times bestselling Cursebreaker series, which includes A Curse So Dark and Lonely, A Heart So Fierce and Broken, and A Vow So Bold and Deadly, and Forging Silver into Stars. She has also written the contemporary young adult romances Call It What You Want, More Than We Can Tell, and Letters to the Lost, as well as paranormal young adult stories, including the Elemental series and Thicker Than Water. A full-time writer, Brigid lives in the Baltimore area with her family. http://www.brigidkemmerer.com @BrigidKemmere

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Learning Korean by Peter Serpico

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Learning Korean by Peter Serpico
W. W. Norton & Company / May 2022


More Reviews from Righton Books

Born in South Korean, Peter Serpico was adopted by an American family when he was two, and only started to discover the cooking of his native country as an adult. Full of practical home cooking for American families, this cookbook is a great introduction to one of the world’s most wonderful cuisines.

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



Sunday Pancakes by Maya Tatsukawa

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Sunday Pancakes by Maya Tatsukawa
 Dial Books / May 2022


More Reviews from Bookmarks

The thing I love about a great picture book is the way anything can become magical. (Please note: this is not a book about literal magic pancakes. It’s a book about the magic of friendship while making pancakes together!) Cat, Rabbit, and Moonbear spend the day together making pancakes, eating pancakes, and taking a post-pancakes nap. The simplicity of their shared day reminds me of the power of sharing a special tradition with friends, even one as simple as Sunday pancakes.

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

The Cherry Robbers by Sarai Walker

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The Cherry Robbers by Sarai Walker
Harper / May 2022


More Reviews from Bookmiser

Do you believe in ghosts? The Cherry Robbers is about so much more than the haunting that frightens on every page. In 1950 Iris Chapel has five sisters and lives in a Victorian mansion isolated from much of the world. Tragedy after tragedy befalls every sister after they find love as their mother has predicted. But this story is about so much more than the apparitions that live with this family. Through Iris Chapel/Sylvia Wren, the reader will experience sadness and loss surely but find art and love and sexuality as an essential part of this haunting story. My prediction is that the reader will never truly leave the world of the Chapel sisters.

Reviewed by Nancy Pierce, Bookmiser in Marietta, Georgia

Melt With You by Jennifer Dugan

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Melt With You by Jennifer Dugan
G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers / May 2022


More Reviews from Parnassus Books

Fallon would rather forget about her hookup with her BFF Chloe right before Chloe left for college, but her mom’s ice cream truck business has other plans. Fallon is a protagonist who is easy to cheer for, and I was so invested in the rivals-to-lovers, will-they-won’t-they romance. This is a delightful, perfect novel for summer, made even better by the ice cream puns.

Reviewed by Chelsea Stringfield from Parnassus Books in Nashville, TN

Read This Next!

Books on the horizon: Forthcoming favorites from Southern indies…

Woman of Light by Kali Fajardo-Anstine

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Woman of Light by Kali Fajardo-Anstine
One World / June 2022

,  ,  
More Reviews from Square Books

A June 2022 Read This Next! Selection

I haven’t been so taken with a debut novel in some time. The story, the characters, the writing all combine to immerse the reader in a world so vivid that one can experience the smells, colors, and sounds which abound within. It’s a multi-generational tale of an Indigenous Chicano family, artfully told and ultimately centering around young Luz Lopez who lives a hard but full life in Denver in the 1930s while attempting to grasp her gifts as a seer of visions and simultaneously bearing witness to the atrocities that have been brought down upon her people for hundreds of years. Unforgettable, at times heartbreaking yet shot through with love and resilience this is definitely a book not to be missed.

Reviewed by Cody Morrison from Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi

Southern Bestsellers

What’s popular this week with Southern Readers.

This Time Tomorrow Riverman The Book Lovers
GenderQueer I kissed Sara Wheeler

[ See the full list ]

Parting Thought

“I’m a firm believer that language and how we use language determines how we act, and how we act then determines our lives and other people’s lives.”
– Ntozake Shange

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 5/31/22

The Southern Bookseller Review Newsletter for the week of May 24, 2022

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The week of May 31, 2022

June Read This Next! Sneak Peak Pub Quiz!Read This Next!

Tomorrow Southern indie booksellers will post their June Read This Next! list: Five books which have received exceptional and enthusiastic early buzz from booksellers. They are the month’s favorite "handsell" titles, the books at the top of everyone’s "you’ve got to read this list." Here is a sneak peak, can you match the review to the book?

"Crude, downright disturbing at some points and makes you squirm reading certain passages, but at the same time addicting." –Grace Sullivan from Fountain Books in Richmond, VA"

"When there’s a new baby around, you’ve got to laugh at all the ways the world changes for everyone!" –Angie Tally from The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, NC

"There’s a sense of anticipation throughout the novel that, to me, personifies what it means to age." –Jamie Southern from Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, NC

"This breezy, well-written novel found me at a time when I really, really needed a breezy, well-written novel." –Chelsea Bauer from union ave books in Knoxville, TN

"I haven’t been so taken with a debut novel in some time. The story, the characters, the writing all combine to immerse the reader in a world so vivid that one can experience the smells, colors, and sounds which abound within." –Cody Morrison from Square Books in Oxford, MS

Read This Now | Read This Next | The Bookseller Directory


Read This Now!

Recommended by Southern indies…

By Her Own Design by Piper Huguley

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By Her Own Design by Piper Huguley
William Morrow Paperbacks / June 2022


More Reviews from The Country Bookshop

Ann Cole Lowe was a dress designer to Olivia de Haviland, Jacqueline Bouvier and other high society women. But she was born a black woman in Alabama whose mother and grandmother sewed for high society and learned her trade from them. Finding a white benefactress in Tampa, Ann begins her own design career that eventually takes her to NY. What a great novel of a talented black woman who succeeds through hard work.

Reviewed by Beth Carpenter, The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, North Carolina



Bookseller Buzz

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Spotlight on: Horse by Geraldine Brooks

 

Geraldine Brooks

This book was like a gift…it came to me right when I was getting absolutely no work done because my midlife crisis turned out to be not a red mustang but a little black pony. I became a horse-crazy girl in my middle age.” –Geraldine Brooks, interview

What booksellers are saying about Horse

Horse
  • Wow! Brooks knows how to tell a story and this one weaves many characters that all have one thing in common: The horse called Lexington, a great racehorse but also the greatest sire of the late 19th Century. Lexington was a real horse, and this novel contains true facets of his life and real people around him, but also fictional characters that cared for him both during his life and after his death. We have a big equestrian community in our county and they will love this, as will book clubs. ―Beth Carpenter from The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, NC
    Buy from The Country Bookshop

  • Horse by Geraldine Brooks Brooks has woven an extraordinary adventure about Lexington, a Kentucky thoroughbred. His accomplishments were extraordinary. He won all but one of his races but more significantly his legacy as the most successful leading sire in America during the last half of the nineteenth century makes him unparalleled in horse history. Other figures play into this story: Jarrett, the slave boy groom who loved him, Thomas Scott, the painter who captured Lexington on canvas and others whose contributions were significant. A fascinating story! Brooks is a masterful storyteller! I loved it!   ―Stephanie Crowe from Page & Palette in Fairhope, AL
    Buy from Page & Palette

  • A compelling and beautifully-crafted story with a mystery at its giant, horse-sized heart. This is a book about the fragility of life, love, and liberty for people of color in this country, in the past and in the present day.   ―Maggie Robe from Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, NC
    Buy from Flyleaf Books

About Geraldine Brooks

Geraldine Brooks is the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel March and the international bestsellers The Secret Chord, Caleb’s Crossing, People of the Book, and Year of Wonders. She has also written the acclaimed nonfiction works Nine Parts of Desire and Foreign Correspondence. Born and raised in Australia, Brooks lives in Massachusetts.

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The Evening Hero by Marie Myung-Ok Lee

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The Evening Hero by Marie Myung-Ok Lee
William Morrow Paperbacks / June 2022


More Reviews from Snail on the Wall

Dr. Yungman Kwak, a small-town OBGYN, is one of the most endearing characters I’ve come across in a long time, and I was so invested in the future he faces–when modernity and capitalism sweep in to disrupt his entire existence. Partially a story following Dr. Kwak’s new role as a boutique medicine provider under the tutelage of his ambitious son, and partially a story following Yungman’s Korean upbringing, this book was beautiful and heart-wrenching. Marie Myung-Ok Lee will wrap you around her finger with these characters and take you on a journey through time, family, and the future of American healthcare.

Reviewed by Sarah Catherine Richardson, The Snail on the Wall in Huntsville, Alabama



Who Is Wellness For? by Fariha Roisin

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Who Is Wellness For? by Fariha Roisin
 Harper Wave / June 2022


More Reviews from Oxford Exchange

Who is Wellness For? is part-memoir, part well-researched collection of works that earnest endeavor in answering the title’s query. Roisin maps constellations of historical context, spiritual meaning, and community care. A map that is truly a gift for anyone who considers that self-healing work is never really meant to be done alone. Each dot on this map reminds us of the many people and communities before this moment that teach us the dire necessity of prioritizing communal care. This book is a total offering to its readers, both as a starting place or a gentle reminder, meeting them wherever they may be on their healing journey. I look forward to re-reading this book and have added all of her intentional citations to be TBR lists.

Reviewed by Eden Hakimzadeh, Oxford Exchange in Tampa, Florida

Our Crooked Hearts by Melissa Albert

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Our Crooked Hearts by Melissa Albert
Flatiron Books / June 2022


More Reviews from Underground Books

This book had me in its CLUTCHES. I read the last half at break neck speed, bewitched. This deliciously creepy and darkly magical story follows a daughter (now, in the suburbs) and her mother around the same age (the 1990s, in the city) as each encounters an ability that may prove as sinister as it is supernatural. Powerful witchcraft, a (literally) haunting past, and wicked twists will keep your own crooked heart beating as fast as you can flip the final pages.

Reviewed by Megan Bell, Underground Books in Carrollton, Georgia

Chickadee: Criminal Mastermind by Monica Silvie

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Chickadee: Criminal Mastermind by Monica Silvie
Kids Can Press / June 2022


More Reviews from Bookmarks

Calling all bird lovers — you need this picture book! I adored the little chickadee who narrates this story. I could easily imagine my own little backyard chickadees thinking of themselves as criminal masterminds as they steal my blueberries! This picture book will offer plenty of fun for readers of all ages.

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

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Books on the horizon: Forthcoming favorites from Southern indies…

The Problem with Prophecies by Scott Reintgen

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The Problem with Prophecies by Scott Reintgen
Aladdin / May 2022


More Reviews from Little Shop of Stories

A May 2022 Read This Next! Selection

When Celia Cleary “comes of age” in her magical family, she inherits a gift for prophecy–and all the problems that come with it. While The Problem with Prophecies raises questions about fate, free will, and magic, it is at its core a sweet story about family, friendship, and first crushes. Scott Reintgen writes insightfully about the liminal space between childhood and adolescence.

Reviewed by Heather Jeziorowski from Little Shop of Stories in Decatur, Georgia

Southern Bestsellers

What’s popular this week with Southern Readers.

This Time Tomorrow River of the Gods Mary Jane
All About Love Book of Questions

[ See the full list ]

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Parting Thought

“Once you have read a book you care about, some part of it is always with you.”
– Louis L’Amour

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

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The Southern Bookseller Review 5/24/22

The Southern Bookseller Review Newsletter for the week of May 24, 2022

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The week of May 24, 2022

Good storytelling and worst-case scenariosJames Lee Burke

James Lee Burke’s appearance at the Reader Meet Writer Author Series is now available to watch. His conversation with Wiley Cash (When Ghosts Come Home) ranges across many topics, including grief, the precarious lives of working class people, the mysterious source of stories, and what makes a writer a good writer.

"If you want to be a good writer," notes Burke, "you need to be a good listener."

Watch the recording

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Read This Now!

Recommended by Southern indies…

Scary Monsters by Michelle De Kretser

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Scary Monsters by Michelle De Kretser
Catapult / April 2022


More Reviews from Bookmarks

A brilliant, expertly-written novel that is at once horrifyingly real and also hilariously overstated. The two stories are surprising and suspenseful as each South Asian immigrant deals with the multi-layered pieces of their lives in the 80s and in the near future. As an Asian immigrant to Australia, the author captures these characters so thoroughly it is a shock to the system to step back out of their stories. Wonderful study on racism and how immigrants are received and perceived around the world.

Reviewed by Jamie Southern, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina



Bookseller Buzz

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Spotlight on: Hide by Kiersten White

 

Kiersten White

Anxiety is actually why I write. It’s why I started telling stories to myself as a child, because I found if I could feed my anxiety a story then it wouldn’t rip me apart, and so I always had a story going on in the back of my head to tell myself instead of going through worst case scenarios of my own life. Part of what makes a lot of people with high anxiety good storytellers is your brain is constantly coming up with the worst case scenarios and playing through things and replaying them and replaying them and replaying them, and that lends itself well to writing and storytelling. ” —Kiersten White, interview, BookPeople

What booksellers are saying about Hide

Hide
  • Hide is an absolute funhouse of a book about a not-so-harmless game of hide and seek in an eerily abandoned amusement park with an unexpected (but very much appreciated) dash of Greek mythology. White’s adult debut is sure to amuse and haunt. ―Kassie Weeks from Oxford Exchange in Tampa, FL
    Buy from Oxford Exchange

  • Get ready for one horrifying game of hide-and-seek… White’s vivid, razor-sharp, and terrifying story will sink its claws into you, and hold on tight. This book is shocking, heart wrenching, and beautiful, and I am now utterly obsessed with it!   ―Lucile Perkins-Wagel from Copperfish Books in Punta Gorda, FL
    Buy from Copperfish Books

  • Hide is a rollercoaster ride (pun intended) of a story that brings a few delightfully dark twists to the usual aspects of a horror novel. Mack, a young heroine with a terrifying past, is put in the position of fulfilling her destiny in a game of hide-and-seek where the stakes are life & death. White presents a diverse cast of characters and several are irredeemable… but there a few "rough-around-the-edges" outcasts that had me cheering for them the entire time. This is a great October-ish read that’s perfect for any season of the year.   ―Stuart McCommon from Novel in Memphis, TN
    Buy from Novel

  • Kiersten White is incredible, capable of capturing the fantasy of the contemporary world, and how you can build mythology into anything. Including a hide and seek competition at an abandoned theme park in the middle of nowhere. This entire book is the creeping feeling that you’re being watched, and you know who is watching you, and you know they’re going to stab you in the back, the question is just when and where. Hide has the perfect eerie, horrific atmosphere with a good helping of social commentary that fans of Until Dawn and Us will absolutely love.   ―Caitlyn Vanorder from Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, NC
    Buy from Bookmarks

About Holly Black

Kiersten White is the New York Times bestselling, Bram Stoker Award-winning, and critically acclaimed author of many books, including the And I Darken trilogy, the Sinister Summer series, the Camelot Rising trilogy, and her adult debut, Hide. Her books have been published in over twenty territories, and her novel The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein is currently in development with Sony Pictures Television. Kiersten lives with her family in San Diego, where she can regularly be found pressing her hands against the glass of her back door, furtively whispering I love you to her deeply ambivalent tortoise, Kimberly.

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Middlemarch and the Imperfect Life: Bookmarked by Pamela Erens

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Middlemarch and the Imperfect Life: Bookmarked by Pamela Erens
Ig Publishing / April 2022


More Reviews from Malaprop’s

A modern-day writer’s engaging appreciation of George Eliot’s Middlemarch and what she’s gained both as a writer and a woman from reading the iconic 19th-century novel over the years. Pamela Erens argues that Eliot’s sophisticated insights into human nature, her boundless compassion for her characters’ frailties, and her acceptance of their inevitable contradictions make her an especially wise guide to the struggles we face today. Erens is most thoughtful in discussing Eliot’s belief in the central role of community in society and of the responsibilities required of its members, and persuades us of its practicality today.

Reviewed by Clara Boza, Malaprop’s in Asheville, North Carolina



Kings of B’more by R. Eric Thomas

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Kings of B’more by R. Eric Thomas
 Kokilas / May 2022


More Reviews from Parnassus Books

This is truly a novel for both teens and adults. I’m Gen X and saw Ferris Bueller’s Day Off in the theater back in the day and absolutely loved this plot! R. Eric captures the essence of teen friendship – how it really is your whole world once you start getting ready to fly the nest. His characters all have really interesting relationships with both peers and parents – no one is having the same experience yet they are all listening to and supporting one another. R. Eric is the funniest man on earth, and I knew I’d love this book.

Reviewed by Sissy Gardner, Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee

Mustique Island by Sarah McCoy

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Mustique Island by Sarah McCoy
William Morrow / April 2022


More Reviews from Book Bound Bookstore

Fitzgerald’s Tender is the Night meets Fantasy Island in this beautifully written story about family, love, and loss. Set on a private island in the Caribbean during the 1970’s, Willy May Michaels, a wealthy divorcee, moves to the luxurious playground for the rich, engaging in numerous soirées with the likes of Princess Margaret, Colin Tennant, and Mick Jagger. She is later joined by her troubled daughter Hilly, a fashion model whose actions summon Willy May’s oldest daughter, Joanne. Their relationship to date, has been strained, but as the daughters begin to understand their mother and each other, the seemingly glamorous life on Mustique begins to unravel as they face the most difficult storm any of them have ever faced.

This character-driven novel explores many facets of mother-daughter and sibling relationships revealing that it’s never too late to deal with pain of the past. The discoveries that Willy May, Hilly, and Joanne make are precious, and their bond is strengthened through tragedy

Reviewed by Sharon Davis, Book Bound Bookstore in Blairsville, Georgia

Osmo Unknown and the Eightpenny Woods by Catherynne M. Valente

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Osmo Unknown and the Eightpenny Woods by Catherynne M. Valente
Margaret K. McElderry Books / April 2022


More Reviews from Fiction Addiction

Osmo has always dreamed of Somewhere Else, somewhere that he can be himself and fee like he belongs, but his town has rules (very good rules, for very good reasons…probably) that keep everyone where they’re supposed to be and out of the magical woods where the supposedly fearsome Quidnunx live. But then Osmo’s mom kills a Quidnunk, and Osmo has to journey to the land of the dead to make amends. He makes new friends (a rude skadgebat and a lonely pangirlin) and has new experiences, but ultimately his quest is to understand. This book will speak to your feelings and live in your heart like all the best stories do. Fans of Kelly Barnhill will love this, and readers of Valente’s Fairyland books won’t be disappointed.

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

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Books on the horizon: Forthcoming favorites from Southern indies…

You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi

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You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi
Atria Books / May 2022


More Reviews from Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews

A May 2022 Read This Next! Selection

Y’all, oh my GOD. Akwaeke Emezi has done it again and I love it so much. It is hot and messy and hot-messy and addicting. I thrive on drama and this novel delivers! Forget love triangles, this is a love star, five different points criss-crossing into something bright and beautiful and a little bit hard to look at. As fun and exciting as it is, it also touches on trauma and recovery, self-growth, and love. Utterly heart-wrenching and belly-laughter-inducing.

Reviewed by Laney Sheehan from Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Southern Bestsellers

What’s popular this week with Southern Readers.

The Paris Apartment Tiger & Phil Book Lovers
All About Love Lizzy and the Cloud

[ See the full list ]

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Parting Thought

“My library is an archive of longings.”
– Susan Sontag, As Consciousness is Harnessed to Flesh: Journals and Notebooks, 1964-1980

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

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The Southern Bookseller Review 5/17/22

The Southern Bookseller Review Newsletter for the week of May 10, 2022

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The week of May 17, 2022

Growing up in a haunted house

Meet James Lee Burke | May 24, 2022 at 7:00 PM ET
Hosted by Wiley Cash!

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James Lee Burke

The Reader Meet Writer Author Series returns this month for the exclusive launch of James Lee Burke’s new novel, Every Cloak Rolled in Blood, a devastating exploration of the nature of good and evil, and a deeply moving story about the power of love and family. In his most autobiographical novel to date, James Lee Burke continues the epic Holland family saga with a writer grieving the death of his daughter while battling earthly and supernatural outlaws.

James Lee Burke is a New York Times bestselling author, two-time winner of the Edgar Award, and the recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Arts in Fiction. He’ll be in conversation with Reader Meet Writer host and SIBA’s 2022 Southern Book Prize winner, Wiley Cash.

The Reader Meet Writer Author Series is sponsored by Southern independent bookstores.

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Recommended by Southern indies…

Such Big Dreams by Reema Patel

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Such Big Dreams by Reema Patel
Ballantine Books / April 2022


More Reviews from Novel

This book was beautiful. Rakhi was such a carefully crafted character with such a distinct voice. The novel has a sense of place and identity that is wholly it’s own and immensely compelling. The book speaks to poverty and voluntourism and privilege and hypocrisy while maintaining a focus on character and story. It paints upon a setting that unblinkingly presents both the beauty and the injustice of Bombay, and it presents Rakhi as she is—fiery and smart and insightful and honest. This is a perspective that needs to be heard and is so dignifying to its subject. I can’t recommend this book highly enough—I love a book that speaks honestly to the injustices of the world while completely holding its own as a literary work.

Reviewed by Becca Sloan, Novel in Memphis, Tennessee



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Spotlight on: The Book of Night by Holly Black

 

Holly Black

You actually almost grew up in one of your novels, in an old Victorian house that you say was haunted?

Well, I do not say it was haunted but my mom told me that she used to play in the attic with a ghost named Robbie. It was very traumatizing and I believe that if you want to make your kids into writers you just have to scare them continuously through their childhood ” –Holly Black, interview

What booksellers are saying about The Book of Night

The Book of Night
  • The phrase “scared of your own shadow” gains a whole new meaning in this gripping mystery-fantasy from the amazing Holly Black. With a dash of the macabre, a twinge of dark humor, and coffee, lots and lots of coffee, you wont be able to put this one down. ―Angie Tally from The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, NC
    Buy from The Country Bookshop

  • So satisfying! Secrets, murder, shadow magic, con artists, and a surprising amount of romance. I feel like Stefon: This. Book. Has. Everything. Seriously though, a very fun and fast read. I haven’t read Black’s YA fae books, but I’m definitely going to now.   ―Michelle Cavalier from Cavalier House Books in Denham Springs, LA
    Buy from Cavalier House Books

  • Book of Night is Holly Black at her best. It’s got a detailed, brilliantly crafted magic system in a modern day urban setting with the most disagreeable thief and her shadowless boyfriend at its heart. I truly don’t think you can read this one and not end up obsessed. I know I am.   ―Cristina Russell from Books & Books in Coral Gables, FL
    Buy from Books and Books

  • I think that readers who grew up with Holly Black’s will enjoy the fact that Book Of Night most strongly comes across as a book for adults is because it’s about adults. And Charlie is the perfect example of this. I’ve been devouring Holly Black’s books for the last nineteen years, and this one is NO exception. I expect my copy of this will be just as worn and well loved as my collection of Spiderwick Chronicles books from 2003-2004.   ―Elizabeth Hall from M Judson, Booksellers in Greenville, SC
    Buy from M. Judson Booksellers

About Holly Black

Holly Black is the #1 New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of speculative and fantasy novels, short stories, and comics. She has sold over 26 million books worldwide and her work has been translated into over 30 languages and adapted for film. She currently lives in New England with her husband and son in a house with a secret library. Book of Night is her adult fiction debut.

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My America by Kwame Onwuachi

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My America by Kwame Onwuachi
Knopf / May 2022


More Reviews from Bookmarks

Kwame Onwuachi went from Top Chef Kwame to Author Kwame for me with Notes from a Young Black Chef, one of my favorite books of 2019. My America: Recipes from a Young Black Chef blends chef and author to create a rich exploration of the food that influenced Onwuachi and he has been inspired to create. Featuring not just recipes but family history, travel stories, and anecdotal tales, My America is a celebration that deserves in place in everyone’s cookbook collection.

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



Acts of Service by Lillian Fishman

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Acts of Service by Lillian Fishman
 Hanover Square Press / May 2022


More Reviews from Oxford Exchange

I feel so strongly about this book, I truly think this is the best book I have read this year. A piece of art. The author managed to capture so perfectly the thoughts of sexuality, gender norms, and expressionism in a woman in her 20s. I admired her pushing the boundaries to talk about topics that are considered taboo, such as polyamory, infidelity, and manipulation. The writing was so beautiful, the characters were all so addictive, yet so horrible, and I just couldn’t put it down. Majority of the text is thoughts that the main character has, rather than action, so if you don’t like that, this is not the book for you. I feel like I could recommend this to any girl my age that is vocal about sex, feminism, and love. Truly a book I think everyone should read. I never like to re-read books, but this is a book I can definitely see myself re-reading. I am dying for a sequel, or at the very least, another novel by Lillian Fishman.

Reviewed by Yarah Elshaer, Oxford Exchange in Tampa, Florida

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 Novel

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

Ways to Grow Love by Renée Watson

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Ways to Grow Love by Renée Watson
Dutton / April 2022


More Reviews from The Country Bookshop

Ryan Hart is headed to sleepaway camp where she faces some friendship challenges, but even that may be easier than going home to the new baby that’s on its way. Ramona Quimby for a new generation, Ryan Hart is a young, optimistic black girl navigating a changing world with style. This series really has staying power.

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

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Books on the horizon: Forthcoming favorites from Southern indies…

The Hurting Kind by Ada Limón

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The Hurting Kind by Ada Limón
Milkweed Editions / May 2022


More Reviews from Main Street Books

A May 2022 Read This Next! Selection

A eulogy of sorts to things we are always going to lose, and to the things that are taken from us, this is a beautiful body of work that trembles with hurt, but asks also for its due attention- a wounded thing not yet surrendering. Poems of movement, of worry, of a recognized grief and the subsequent small joys that can bloom out of dirt like small flower heads…Limón never, ever disappoints when it comes to understanding the great and terrible spectrum of emotions that is our cross to bear. It’s as if this newest collection is a honed and finely tuned string of metal hewn from her previous work, singing its own loud and new sound, ever reminding us that she belongs alongside Sontag, Lorde, James Welch, Oliver- the heralds of the Word that have come before and whose worlds will remain long after.

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

Southern Bestsellers

What’s popular this week with Southern Readers.

Sister Stardust Taste Book Lovers
The Gates of Europe I Kissed Shara Wheeler

[ See the full list ]

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Parting Thought

“Books are everywhere; and always the same sense of adventure fills us. Second-hand books are wild books, homeless books; they have come together in vast flocks of variegated feather, and have a charm which the domesticated volumes of the library lack.”
– Virginia Woolf, Street Haunting

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: In honor of the mothers

The Southern Bookseller Review: For the Love of Poetry April, 2022

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May, 2022

In honor of the mothers

Motherhood

This special edition of The Southern Bookseller Review celebrates that complex and mysterious state of being we call "motherhood."

“Mama exhorted her children at every opportunity to ‘jump at de sun.’ We might not land on the sun, but at least we would get off the ground.” -Zora Neale Hurston

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Honoring the mothers…

Child by Judy Goldman

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Child by Judy Goldman
University of South Carolina Press / May 2022


In her lovely memoir, Judy Goldman reflects on what it was like to be a young Jewish girl raised by a Black nanny in the 1940s and 50s south. Mattie Culp became a part of the Kurtz family: sleeping in young Judy’s bedroom, using the family bathroom, celebrating holidays with them—things unheard of in the Jim Crow south. Now in her 80s, Goldman reflects on what Mattie had to give up—including her own child—in order to make the Kurtz family’s life so much easier.

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

Judy Goldman

About the Author:
Judy Goldman is the award-winning author of seven books including Together: A Memoir of a Marriage and a Medical Mishap, named one of the best books of 2019 by Real Simple. She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Essential Labor by Angela Garbes

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Essential Labor by Angela Garbes
Harper Wave / May 2022


Essential Labor is incredibly timely, but it opens up a timeless approach to mothering as catalyst for change. Speaking from both her experience as a daughter of Filipino immigrants and as a mother, Garbes explores the small, gentle ways we can nudge the dominant narrative, opening a wider world to our children. The Covid-19 pandemic brought down capitalism’s illusory curtain separating labor and the home, yet little changed in societal terms. Garbes argues that the invisible labor that women, mostly BIPOC women, do in the home is the most essential work there is—and that if we embrace a more communal, interdependent, caring way of living, we can make this work not just pleasurable but revolutionary. This is an essential book—it’s challenging, it’s bold, it’s a call to action.

Reviewed by Hannah DeCamp of Avid Bookshop in Athens, Georgia

Angela Garbes

About the Author:
Angela Garbes is a Seattle-based writer and the author of Like a Mother, which was an NPR Best Book of the Year and a finalist for the Washington State Book Award in Nonfiction. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, New York Magazine, The Cut, and Bon Appétit, and has been featured on NPR’s Fresh Air. She also cohosts The Double Shift, an acclaimed podcast challenging the status quo of motherhood in America.

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Spotlight on: The Year of the Horses by Courtney Maum

 

Courtney Maum

It’s no longer the time for women to be selfless. Whether you’re a woman who has children, or has aging parents to care for, whatever your situation is, we need to put ourselves first. It’s more than self care….We deserve to let people know, and show them what it looks like when we are cracking. To me, it was like an act of sisterhood, this memoir. The best thing I could possibly hope for is that this encourages people—women, men, people of all genders—to start admitting to people around them, “I’m not okay. Actually, I could use some help. I could use some support.” —Courtney Maum, interview, Electric Lit


Love & Saffron

What booksellers are saying about The Year of the Horses

  • A lovely memoir touching on mental health, motherhood, marriage, and more, all contextualized through Courtney Maum’s lifelong love of horses. I so appreciated Maum’s candor. She is aware of the privileges she’s enjoyed throughout her life, but she is honest about the struggles she and her family have faced. ―Kate Storhoff from Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, NC
    Buy from Bookmarks

  • If there’s an empty space in your heart where joy is not present, go out and find that thing- that thing for just you that makes your heart sing. For Courtney Maum, it was horses. This story of family, fortitude and fur will be at the top of all the book club lists for 2022.   ―Angie Tally from The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, NC
    Buy from The Country Bookshop

  • Add Courtney Maum to the talented voices speaking to the power of the natural world to heal trauma. In the vein of Silvia Vasquez-Lavedo’s In the Shadow of the Mountain, this moving memoir details the darkness of depression and a slow struggle not only to face fears but also to find and embrace joy. Evocative, funny, deeply moving, every chapter a lesson worth learning.   ―Jan Blodgett from Main Street Books in Davidson, NC
    Buy from Main Street Books

  • Maum finds herself at 37 disinterested in life, sleepless, and lost. She is loved by her husband, blessed with a healthy child, but still feels adrift. She knows she is depressed, but feels unable to justify it given her success and good fortune. Having not been near a horse in decades, she feels compelled to renew that connection. I rode and trained in my younger years and I have also felt the deep desire to be with horses again. The author explores her emotions with the animals and the people who love them and finds her way back to herself. You do not need to be a horse lover to love this book. Anyone who has felt lost can get something from it. This book is just flawless.   ―Kelly Justice from Fountain Books in Richmond, VA
    Buy from Fountain Bookstore

About Courtney Maum

Courtney Maum is the author of the novels Costalegre; Touch; and I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You; and a guide for writers, Before and After the Book Deal. Her writing and essays have been widely published in such outlets as The New York Times; O, the Oprah Magazine; Interview Magazine; and Modern Loss. She lives in Litchfield County, Connecticut, where she founded the learning collaborative The Cabins.

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Ma and Me by Putsata Reang

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Ma and Me by Putsata Reang
MCD / May 2022

,

Filled with incredible nuance, beautiful writing, and deep sympathy; Putsata Reang’s stunning memoir Ma and Me  is sure to be one of the best books I’ll read this year. Tracing her mother’s story – escaping the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia and surviving an abusive marriage – to her own experience; growing up as a gay Khmer-American pulled between two cultures – Reang’s deeply personal book and explores the depth of a mother/daughter relationship and the weight of expectation placed upon future generations. Both full of light and sadness, Ma and Me is a wonder, holding life’s beauty and heartbreak in tandem. I cannot recommend this memoir highly enough.

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

Putsata Reang

About the Author:
Putsata Reang is an author and a journalist whose writings have appeared in the New York Times, Politico, the Guardian, Ms, and the Seattle Times, among other publications. Born in Cambodia and raised in rural Oregon, Reang has lived and worked in more than a dozen countries, including Cambodia, Afghanistan, and Thailand. She is an alum of residencies at Hedgebrook, Kimmel Harding Nelson, and Mineral School, and she has received fellowships from the Alicia Patterson Foundation and Jack Straw Writers Program. She teaches memoir writing at the University of Washington’s School of Professional & Continuing Education.

Someone Other Than a Mother by Erin S. Lane

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Someone Other Than a Mother by Erin S. Lane
TarcherPerigee / April 2022

, ,

In a society that puts mothers on a pedestal (no greater love than that of a mother!), even if they’re quick to mommy shame them (she lets those kids have too much screen time!), it can be tough and disheartening to navigate the world as a child-free woman. Erin Lane breaks down the Mother Scripts, tackling the origins of what it means to be a mother from biblical times, to the rise of modern motherhood (thanks, Teddy Roosevelt). She interviews women from all backgrounds- women who don’t want kids, can’t have kids, became step-parents, or are raising kids through the foster system. It’s a fascinating insight into the way society perceives women and an important discussion of moving beyond the boundaries of those expectations.

Reviewed by Kate Towery, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

Erin S. Lane

About the Author:
Erin S. Lane is a writer, theologian, and someone other than a mother. She is most recently the author of Lessons in Belonging from a Church-Going Commitment Phobe. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Davidson College and a master’s degree from Duke Divinity School, both with a focus on gender studies. Mentored by Parker J. Palmer and the Center for Courage & Renewal, she works as a vocational retreat facilitator, helping people discern their wildest questions of purpose. She resides in Raleigh, North Carolina, with her improbable kin.

Just Like Mother by Anne Heltzel

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Just Like Mother by Anne Heltzel
Tor Nightfire / May 2022


OMG this book a WILD ride! It is practically a guarantee that I will thoroughly enjoy just about any book that involves cults… but a cult centered out reproduction and motherhood? Holy moly count me in. What really stood out to me about Just Like Mother (and what I believe sets it apart from other reproductive-themed thrillers) was how it features a child-free protagonist and explores the many layers of being a woman who decides to not have children. To a cult of women who deify motherhood as the pinnacle of being, who is a woman that rejects motherhood? A radical, a traitor, and a threat to their entire identity and ethos. The sense of dread and tension that permeates and persists throughout the entire story really is fantastic. Every moment that I was listening to the audiobook, my stomach was turning with the feeling that some horrible, terrible, ever-worsening doom was just around the corner. I definitely recommend this one to fans of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and Joanne Ramos’s The Farm, and to anyone who has been searching for a child-free perspective in the reproductive thriller genre!

Reviewed by Caroline Barbee, Friendly City Books in Columbus, Mississippi

Anne Heltzel

About the Author:
Anne Heltzel is a New York-based novelist and book editor. In addition to writing horror, she has penned several milder titles for children and young adults. Just Like Mother is her adult debut. Find out more at anneheltzel.com.

Parting Thought

"To describe my mother would be to write about a hurricane in its perfect power. Or the climbing, falling colors of a rainbow."
― Maya Angelou

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 5/10/22

The Southern Bookseller Review Newsletter for the week of May 10, 2022

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The week of May 10, 2022

May is Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Celebrate Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month

On May 10, 1869, the final spike was driven, completing the Transcontinental Railroad. "Golden Spike Day," as it came to be known, celebrated American drive and ingenuity, but conveniently ignored the labor of the thousands of Chinese immigrants whose hard labor built the railroad.

It is one of the reasons why Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month is celebrated in May. Here are some reading lists and recent book reviews for readers:

Books tagged Asian American at SBR
Asian American Picture Books
Read Asian American Writers 2022 Releases

The Tiger Mom’s Tale by Lyn Liao Butler
Part mystery, part family drama, with a dash of romance, The Tiger Mom’s Tale is a story of two times. Lexa is grieving the death of her biological father, whom she only met once as a teen in Taiwan. –Beth Seufer Buss, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Swimming Back to Trout River by Linda Rui Feng
Linda Rui Feng pulls you in with the intertwined stories of four individuals starting during China’s Cultural Revolution in the 60’s and ending up in America in the 80’s. You will love these characters and be moved by the storytelling in this engrossing debut. –Karen Hayes, Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee

O Beautiful by Jung Yun
This beautiful character-driven book set in the American Midwest covers many contemporary topics like racism, fracking, sexual harassment, and the immigrant experience. I loved the messy protagonist Elinor Hanson, a Korean American who grew up in South Dakota. Korean American author Jung Yun has written a fantastic novel in O Beautiful that surprised me over and over, especially by book’s end. — Rachel Watkins, Avid Bookshop in Athens, Georgia


Meet James Lee Burke | May 24, 2022 at 7:00 PM ET
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James Lee Burke

The Reader Meet Writer Author Series returns this month for the exclusive launch of James Lee Burke’s new novel, Every Cloak Rolled in Blood, a devastating exploration of the nature of good and evil, and a deeply moving story about the power of love and family.

James Lee Burke is a New York Times bestselling author, two-time winner of the Edgar Award, and the recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Arts in Fiction. He’ll be in conversation with Reader Meet Writer host and SIBA’s 2022 Southern Book Prize winner, Wiley Cash.

The Reader Meet Writer Author Series is sponsored by Southern independent bookstores.

Read This Now | Read This Next | The Bookseller Directory


Read This Now!

Recommended by Southern indies…

Bitter Orange Tree by Jokha Alharthi

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Bitter Orange Tree by Jokha Alharthi
Catapult / May 2022


More Reviews from The Country Bookshop

When Man Booker Prize winner Jokha Alharthi writes, a river of emotions pours from her in the most beautiful way possible. Her latest translated novel features a young Omani student in London attempting to come to terms with the grief and regrets of losing her devoted grandmother by not attending to her when she needed her most. The tale drifts back and forth through time, giving the reader a view into the two strikingly different lives of these women; where both bear the weight of unfulfilled desires. This was an exquisite and haunting read.

Reviewed by Damita Nocton, The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, North Carolina



Bookseller Buzz

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Spotlight on: Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt

 

Shelby Van Pelt

So it was really interesting to write these kind of trapped storylines, whether it’s the octopus or Tova in the town or some of the other characters who are really just trapped by their own misconceptions of themselves, during a time when, you know, we spent a lot of time just looking out the front window, thinking, wow, where do we go from here?” –Shelby Van Pelt, interview, NPR

What booksellers are saying about Remarkably Bright Creatures

Remarkably Bright Creatures
  • A heartwarming story about loneliness and grief, community and connection, and a family mystery that must be solved – and soon. With charming but imperfect characters and a very satisfying warm hug of an ending, this novel hits all the right notes. ―Serena Wyckoff from Copperfish Books in Punta Gorda, FL
    Buy from Copperfish Books

  • This narrative has so much heart, and such a gentle voice. I loved the multiple narratives, weaving their ways towards each other like drawing heart strings together to heal a great hurt. A wonderful, thoughtful novel.   ―Aimee Keeble from Main Street Books in Davidson, NC
    Buy from Main Street Books

  • You’ll fall in love with all the creatures who live in Sowell Bay. Easy to read yet rich with themes of loss & grief, this charming book offers hope for all those feeling trapped & lonely in their lives.   ―Maggie Robe from Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, NC
    Buy from Flyleaf Books

  • A lovely story filled with characters who will warm your heart. Tova is a little bit of Frederik Backman’s Britt Marie and Ove rolled into one unforgettable lady. And Marcellus! Where do I begin…who knew an octopus could be so deviously charming?!?   ―Anderson McKean from Page & Palette in Fairhope, AL
    Buy from Page & Palette

About Shelby Van Pelt

Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Shelby Van Pelt lives in the suburbs of Chicago with her family. This is her first novel.

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Tokyo Dreaming by Emiko Jean

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Tokyo Dreaming by Emiko Jean
Flatiron Books / May 2022


More Reviews from Fiction Addiction

Tokyo Dreaming is a breathtaking story that is so vividly written you will feel like you are walking next to Izumi as she navigates imperial life. Izumi has overcome so many challenges since discovering that her father is the Crown Prince Makotonomiya Toshihito of Japan. The transition from normal small town girl to Imperial princess has been difficult. Now Izumi’s mom has joined her in Japan, and they are living the happy family life that Izumi always dreamed of with her father. When Izumi’s father proposes to her mom, everyone is thrilled for the life that is to come. Everyone, except the Imperial council who has their doubts about the match. Izumi decides she will do whatever it takes to make sure her mom and dad have their happily ever after. But what will it cost her? Her future happiest, her friends, or even the true love of her life. Tokyo Dreaming continues the story that began with Tokyo Ever After. Perfect for fans of Sarah Kuhn’s I love you so Mochi, Katherine McGee’s American Royal, or Meg Cabot’s Princess Diaries.

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



Magic Season by Wade Rouse

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Magic Season by Wade Rouse
 Hanover Square Press / May 2022


More Reviews from Page 158 Books

They say truth is better than fiction and with Magic Season I completely agree. Wade and his rigid engineer father had a contentious relationship for quite awhile. When Ted learns he is dying Wade returns home for one final season of the one thing the men share a passion for-The St Louis Cardinals. This is inspiring and heartwarming and told with Wade’s poignant sense of humor. It gives hope to any one suffering from a desire to have a close relationship with a parent. There is always a chance for your team in baseball and a relationship with your parent.

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

The Golden Swift by Lev Grossman

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The Golden Swift by Lev Grossman
Little Brown and Company / May 2022


More Reviews from Novel

A middle grade fantasy novel with magical trains, a magical submarine, an apartment in the sky, a missing uncle, talking animals, endangered species and rewilding? Yes, please! This series is proof that kids can learn about current day issues in novels. Not that any of us in the industry need convincing of this, but this series does it effortlessly. Brilliant! Can’t wait for more!

Reviewed by Jill Naylor, Novel in Memphis, Tennessee

The Good Left Undone by Adriana Trigiani

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The Good Left Undone by Adriana Trigiani
Dutton / April 2022


More Reviews from Book No Further

Adriana Trigiani’s The Good Left Undone transports you through both time and place, moving effortlessly through four generations of the Cabrelli family and from country to country during one of Europe’s most trying times. It not only impresses the importance of family and the love we share with those we choose, but the importance of the stories and heirlooms that are passed down from one generation to the next.

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

Read This Next!

Books on the horizon: Forthcoming favorites from Southern indies…

Book Lovers by Emily Henry

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Book Lovers by Emily Henry
Berkley / May 2022


More Reviews from Books and Books

A May 2022 Read This Next! Selection

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

Reviewed by Cristina Russell from Books & Books in Coral Gables, Florida

Southern Bestsellers

What’s popular this week with Southern Readers.

Time is a Mother Freezing Order People We Meet on Vacation
All About Love The Girl from the Sea

[ See the full list ]

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Parting Thought

“Literature is the art of discovering something extraordinary about ordinary people, and saying with ordinary words something extraordinary.”
– Boris Pasternak

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 5/3/22

The Southern Bookseller Review Newsletter for the week of May 3, 2022

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The week of May 3, 2022

Reader Meet Writer Returns with James Lee Burke

Reader Meet Writer: James Lee Burke

"The Holland books are acutely more conscious of the heritage of the frontier, and it is one that many people are not aware of. We talk about “conquering the West,” which means conquering nature. Furthermore, the story of “conquering the West” is the story of stealing land." — James Lee Burke, interview in CrimeReads.com

Meet James Lee Burke | May 24, 2022 at 7:00 PM ET

The Reader Meet Writer Author Series returns this month for the exclusive launch of James Lee Burke’s new novel, Every Cloak Rolled in Blood, a devastating exploration of the nature of good and evil, and a deeply moving story about the power of love and family.

In his "most autobiographical novel to date," James Lee Burke continues the epic Holland family saga with a writer grieving the death of his daughter while battling earthly and supernatural outlaws.

James Lee Burke is a New York Times bestselling author, two-time winner of the Edgar Award, and the recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Arts in Fiction. He’ll be in conversation with Reader Meet Writer host and SIBA’s 2022 Southern Book Prize winner, Wiley Cash.

The Reader Meet Writer Author Series is sponsored by Southern independent bookstores.

Read This Now | Read This Next | The Bookseller Directory


Read This Now!

Recommended by Southern indies…

In a Garden Burning Gold by Rory Power

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In a Garden Burning Gold by Rory Power
Del Rey / May 2022


More Reviews from Underground Books

In this Greek-inspired fantasy, the adult debut of Wilder Girls author Rory Power, families rule with the power of saints or gods, and siblings find themselves on opposing sides of a brewing war. The world building was very unique and interesting to me, and I would recommend for fans of court politics in their fantasy.

Reviewed by Megan Bell from Underground Books in Carrollton, Georgia



Bookseller Buzz

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Spotlight on: The Forest of Vanishing Stars by Kristin Harmel

 

Kristin Harmel

Even while writing for People magazine, I gravitated toward the weightier “Heroes Among Us” stories, which were the stories of everyday people doing incredible things.” –Kristin Harmel, interview, Fort Myers News Press

What booksellers are saying about The Forest of Vanishing Stars

The Forest of Vanishing Stars
  • Kristin’s new novel is magical! The isolated, survivalist upbringing of the main character, Yona, provides a rich and intriguing springboard for this story to evolve, an extraordinary story of Jews surviving Nazi terror deep in the forest. Awesome storytelling, terrific writing – our readers will love it! ―Cathy Graham from Copperfish Books in Punta Gorda, FL
    Buy from Copperfish Books

  • Another mesmerizing story from Kristin Harmel. Yona is stolen by an old woman at birth from a German couple in the Berlin and raised in the forest. Her kidnapper prepares her for her destiny, which is to help escape Jews survive the perils of the forest while evading the Nazi soldiers. Yona’s struggle to come to terms with God’s will and her own origins threads through the book. Loved it and cannot wait for wait KH brings us next!   ―Laura Taylor from Oxford Exchange in Tampa, FL
    Buy from Oxford Exchange

  • I love the character of Yona whose knowledge of the forest was essential. Courage, determination and resilience enabled many to hide from the Germans until the end of the war. This is historical fiction at its best and survivors and descendants have contributed to the significant research that went into the making of this book. A powerful story that I couldn’t put down.   ―Stephanie Crowe from Page & Palette in Fairhope, AL
    Buy from Page & Palette

Kristin Harmel

Kristin Harmel is the New York Times bestselling author of over a dozen novels including The Forest of Vanishing Stars, The Book of Lost Names, The Room on Rue Amélie, and The Sweetness of Forgetting. She is published in thirty languages and is the cofounder and cohost of the popular web series, Friends and Fiction. She lives in Orlando, Florida.

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Paradais by Fernanda Melchor

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Paradais by Fernanda Melchor
New Directions / April 2022


More Reviews from Avid Bookshop

A feral parable on the violence of racism, misandry, and class from a preeminent, new voice of contemporary Mexican literature. Melchor’s style in Paradais is writhing and slippery, capturing not only a portrait of desperation but the ugliness of the toxic thread that runs through the underside of our collective psyche.

Reviewed by Luis Correa from Avid Bookshop in Athens, Georgia



Wired for Love by Stephanie Cacioppo

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Wired for Love by Stephanie Cacioppo
 Flatiron Books / April 2022


More Reviews from Novel

Wired For Love is part neuroscience and part memoir… but it is ultimately a love story between the world’s foremost authority on the brain’s response to love/loss and the world’s foremost authority on loneliness. Cacioppo includes a lot of scientific information and hard data pulled from years of her research, but she also guides the reader through her own personal story of falling in love and eventually her grief surrounding her husband’s death. She has a way of getting the reader to thoughtfully reevaluate the “common beliefs” surrounding incredibly complex (but purely human) emotions. This book is fantastic.

Reviewed by Stuart McCommon from Novel in Memphis, Tennessee

Hollow Fires by Samira Ahmed

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Hollow Fires by Samira Ahmed
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers / May 2022


More Reviews from Quail Ridge Books

Ahmed masterfully weaves together so many difficult topics that it’s hard to say what this book is about in any concise way. It’s painful, it’s beautiful, it’s haunting. It shines a light on horrific topics with sensitivity and grace and does so through the lens of two characters that are some of the most realistic I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Safiya didn’t really know Jawad, and she still felt the pain of his loss deeply. Upon finishing this book, I too feel his loss as if I knew him. I cannot remember ever reading a book so impactful, so relevant, and so emotionally gripping. If I had my way, everyone would read this book.

Reviewed by tee arnold, Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, North Carolina

The National Menagerie of Art by Thaïs Vanderheyden

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The National Menagerie of Art by Thaïs Vanderheyden
Prestel Junior / May 2022


More Reviews from The Country Bookshop

Art museums are wonderful places of discovery and this collection of 20 famous pieces is a great way to bring all the world’s great art museums into one spot. This little gem is the perfect introduction to art for novices of a tender age.

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

Read This Next!

Books on the horizon: Forthcoming favorites from Southern indies…

The Book Woman’s Daughter by Kim Michele Richardson

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The Book Woman’s Daughter by Kim Michele Richardson
Sourcebooks Landmark / May 2022


More Reviews from The Little Bookshop

A May 2022 Read This Next! Selection

Kim Michele Richardson has given us another wonderful story about the packhorse librarians of Kentucky. In this book, we move forward sixteen years to the early 1950’s and are introduced to Honey Lovett, daughter of Cussy Mary, who must pick up her mother’s library route when her parents are jailed due to the laws prohibiting their mixed-race marriage. Through Honey’s story, we meet new characters and revisit old friends that help her as she delivers books in and out of the hollers, fights for her independence as a young working woman, and struggles to bring attention to the plight of her parents. Kim Michele Richardson writes beautifully about a landscape and a people that has deep and personal meaning to her and that is one of the reasons she is so successful and so loved by her readers. This book is highly recommended!

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

Southern Bestsellers

What’s popular this week with Southern Readers.

The Good Left Undone Finding Me The Paper Palace
Braiding Sweetgrass The Superpower Sisterhood

[ See the full list ]

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Parting Thought

“But behind all your stories is your mother’s story, for hers is where yours begins.”
– Mitch Albom

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 4/26/22

The Southern Bookseller Review News
The Southern Bookseller Review Newsletter for the week of April 26, 2022

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April 26, 2022

Join The Celebration!

Independent Bookstore Day

Saturday is Independent Bookstore Day!: A one-day national party that takes place at indie bookstores across the country on the last Saturday in April. Every store is unique and independent, and every party is different. But in addition to authors, live music, cupcakes, scavenger hunts, kids events, art tables, readings, barbecues, contests, and other fun stuff, there are exclusive books and literary items that you can only get on that day. Not before. Not after. Nowhere else.

Find a participating bookstore near you

"Indie bookstores are the heart of our industry and we must continue to support them in the same way they support and champion books." –Angie Thomas, author of The Hate U Give, 2022 Independent Bookstore Day Ambassador

Independent Bookstore Day will launch with the keynote event, An Evening with Angie Thomas on April 27, 2022 at 7:00 PM ET on Zoom. Pay-what-you-can tickets benefit We Need Diverse Books.

Read This Now | Read This Next | The Bookseller Directory


Read This Now!

Recommended by Southern indies…

Pit Lullabies by Jessica Traynor

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Pit Lullabies by Jessica Traynor
Bloodaxe Books / June 2022


More Reviews from Foggy Pine Books

Utterly phenomenal. These lullabies are a sordid whirlwind of passion and fury, palpable through every little syllable. Pit Lullabies is brimming with lyrics to keep you up at night, delivered by an oracular voice sure to propel this collection straight into a classic.

Reviewed by Phoenix Tefel, Foggy Pine Books in Boone, North Carolina

Love, Hate & Clickbait by Liz Bowery

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Love, Hate & Clickbait by Liz Bowery
MIRA / April 2022


More Reviews from Wordsworth Books

After their boss makes a homophobic gaffe and a compromising photo of them goes viral, cutthroat political consultant Thom Morgan and down-on-his-luck data analyst Clay Parker pretend to be in a relationship to salvage this presidential campaign that’s barely gotten off the ground. This fun and heartfelt romcom is great for political wonks who want a fast-paced romp and political cynics who have seen the messy underbelly of campaigns. Thom and Clay’s “will they, won’t they” kept me guessing until the wedding bells rang.

Reviewed by Karen Fletcher, Wordsworth Books in Little Rock, Arkansas



Bookseller Buzz

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Spotlight on: Cover Story by Susan Rigetti

 

Susan Rigetti

Rigetti refuses to let her past define her when she has so many other stories to tell and versions of herself to be. She doesn’t buy into the idea that each life has a single narrative or meaning. “The place where it’s interesting is what it takes to get from one stage of your life to another,” she says. “The trick is finding a way to prove to the world that you are capable of doing something new.Interview in Time

What booksellers are saying about Cover Story


Cover Story
  • This book was unputdownable. I raced through it, desperate to discover what Cat was up to and how Lora played a part, and goodness, was I in for a surprise! I thoroughly love the format of diary entries, emails, texts, and memos, which contributes to the compulsive readability of this book. And the cover art, ahhh, it’s perfection! Well done! ―Jill Naylor from Novel in Memphis, TN
    Buy from Novel

  • After a difficult semester, Lori was thrilled to land the internship of her dreams at ELLE magazine; when a celebrity editor befriends her and asks her to ghostwrite her book, it seems too good to be true…and that’s where the long con begins. I loved that Susan Rigetti wove this web of lies together from journal entries, FBI reports, and email, giving the reader a backstage pass to watch the drama unfold! .   ―Beth Seufer Buss from Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, NC
    Buy from Bookmarks

  • Susan Rigetti spins an intriguing tale of suspense and deceit with a surprising and masterful ending..   ―Aubrey from Wordsworth Books in Little Rock, AR
    Buy from Wordsworth Books

Susan Rigetti

Susan Rigetti is an author, screenwriter, and the former technology op-ed editor at the New York Times. She has been named a “Person of the Year” by TIME, The Financial Times, and the Webby Awards, and has appeared on Fortune’s “40 Under 40” list, Vanity Fair’s New Establishment List, Marie Claire’s New Guard list, the Bloomberg 50, the Upstart 50, the Recode 100, and more. She is the author of a book on computer programming that has been implemented by companies across Silicon Valley, and the critically acclaimed memoir, Whistleblower.

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Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher

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Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher
Flatiron Books / April 2022


More Reviews from Haunted Book Shop

A wonderfully bent fairy tale from T. Kingfisher, the princess is not out to marry the prince, instead she’s out to kill him for his sins. This is a darker-than-usual Kingfisher title–the wit and sharp writing is there, but usual laughs she provides aren’t nor should they be. This is not a story where laughter would be right. It’s a story about endurance and necessity in a situation where there’s precious little to laugh about. Highly recommended dark fantasy for the genre-savvy who want their fairy tale with blood and bite to it.

Reviewed by Alex Mcleod, The Haunted Book Shop in Mobile, Alabama



Linea Nigra by Jazmina Barrera

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Linea Nigra by Jazmina Barrera
 Two Lines Press / May 2022


More Reviews from Avid Bookshop

This slim volume navigates Barrera’s pregnancy, birth,