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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.

Read This Now | Read This Next | The Bookseller Directory


Read This Now!

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



Bookseller Buzz

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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

Read This Next!

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

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

Read This Now | Read This Next | The Bookseller Directory


Read This Now!

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.

Bookseller Buzz

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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

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

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

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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, and those first shattering days of early motherhood. In snippets reminiscent of the short breaks in between wakings and feedings, Barrera interweaves her reading life and lived life, creating a poignant primer that will be a kindred comfort and stalwart courage to any reader. Linea Nigra is a rich record of a life steeped in feminist art, revealing intersections in the body and the world; the individual and the collective.

Reviewed by Hannah DeCamp, Avid Bookshop in Athens, Georgia

The Ghosts of Rose Hill by R. M. Romero

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The Ghosts of Rose Hill by R. M. Romero
Peachtree Teen / May 2022


More Reviews from Books & Books

Lovers of history, poetry, and myth will find themselves in awe of R.M. Romero’s young adult debut. The story of Ilana Lopez, a Jewish Latina from Miami sent to stay with her aunt in Prague, is inspired by the author’s very real time spent restoring Jewish cemeteries in Eastern Europe, and rings true because of this even through its layers of story magic. The Ghosts of Rose Hill is by turns glittering, dark, enchanting and haunting.

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

The Prince of Nowhere by Rochelle Hassan

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The Prince of Nowhere by Rochelle Hassan
HarperCollins / May 2022


More Reviews from Story on the Square

I finished this book in three days, and it did NOT feel like it took me that amount of time. It felt like time stood still as I read through the whole book, which I guess in kind of ironic, considering the book’s themes. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The characters were well written and captivating. The world was both mysterious and filled to the brim with lore. And the themes hit hard and were still realistic; I truly believed in every characters motivation and cause. I would happily read a sequel or prequel to this book, or even something entirely unrelated, if it was from this author. The way the world was described and the author’s writing style was both unique and perfectly fitting for this book. A wonderful read, and I would gladly spend my time reading this book again!

Reviewed by Mandolin Moore, Story on the Square in McDonough, Georgia

Read This Next!

Books on the horizon: Forthcoming favorites from Southern indies…

A Duet For Home by Glaser Karina Yan

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A Duet For Home by Karina Yan Glaser
Clarion Books / April 2022


More Reviews from Flyleaf Books

An April 2022 Read This Next! Title

This thoughtful & fast-paced book will open children’s eyes to the plight of homeless families. It also demystifies the appeal of learning to play a musical instrument. Overall, it’s a well-crafted celebration of friendship and how kindness & determination can enact real change.

Reviewed by Maggie Robe, Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Southern Bestsellers

What’s popular this week with Southern Readers.

Time is a Mother Bittersweet Dasiy Jones & the Six
The Gates of Europe Tell Me Three Things

[ See the full list ]

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Parting Thought

“To feel most beautifully alive means to be reading something beautiful, ready always to apprehend in the flow of language the sudden flash of poetry.”
– Gaston Bachelard

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 4/19/22

The Southern Bookseller Review News
The Southern Bookseller Review Newsletter for the week of April 19, 2022

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April 19, 2022

Be Kind to the Planet

Plant a tree. Pick up litter. Recycle something.

April 22 is Earth Day! To celebrate we’ve pulled out a few recent reviews from booksellers of nature-themed books, and linked to some fun Earth Day reading lists from independent bookstores.

 

An Immense World by Ed Young

An Immense World by Ed Young
Random House, June 2022

This is such a beautiful exploration of the world as experienced by other animals—here you will learn that there are so many more senses on Earth (and in humans!) than just the Aristotelian basic five (Nociception! Magnetoreception! Proprioception! And so many more!), and Yong’s conversational, wide-eyed tone wriggles readers free of their human Umwelt, even if just for a moment. This is a transformative book, essential for anyone looking open windows in their mind to a wider, more empathic world. ― Hannah DeCamp from Avid Bookshop in Athens, GA | Pre-order from Avid

 

The Hawk;s Way by Sy Montgomery

The Hawk’s Way by Sy Montgomery
Atria Books, May 2022

I can safely say that Sy Montgomery is one of my favorite nature writers. She spends months with falconer Nancy Cowan and learns in very specific (and sometimes gruesome) ways that hawks are the definition of the term “wild.” The reverence that these ladies have for these birds is romantic and addictive, but never naive due to the fact that hawks will never submit to being pet. ― Stuart McCommon from Novel in Memphis, TN | Buy from Novel

 

To Change a Planet by Christina Soontornvat

To Change a Planet by Christina Soontornvat
Scholastic Press, August 2022

This utterly gorgeous picture book gave me the chills! To Change a Planet is poignant and poetic and just flat out brilliant. It doesn’t help to hide things from kids, so it’s best to show them both that things are rough, but they can get better, and we can do that together, which this little book does perfectly. ― Caitlyn Vanorder from Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, NC | Pre-order from Bookmarks

Fun Earth ay Reading Lists:

Earthday Picks for All Ages from Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews

Earth Day Reading from Fiction Addiction

For the Trees from Magnolia’s Bookstore

Not Your Obvious Earth Day Books from Reusable Media

Read This Now | Read This Next | The Bookseller Directory


Read This Now!

Recommended by Southern indies…

Dear God. Dear Bones. Dear Yellow. by Noor Hindi

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Dear God. Dear Bones. Dear Yellow. by Noor Hindi
Haymarket Books / May 2022


More Reviews from Bookmarks

This little book of poems is going to haunt me until the end of my days. I don’t know how to describe how important every word in this book is, every beat, every heart wrenching sentence. Dear God is meant to be delivered directly to your face, the speaker’s voice barely a hiss. A question that can’t be answered- just heard.

Reviewed by Caitlyn Vanorder from Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, NC

Sister Stardust by Jane Green

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Sister Stardust by Jane Green
Hanover Square Press / April 2022

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More Reviews from Page 158 Books

I inhaled this book in a day! If you loved Daisy Jones and the Six you will adore this book based on Talitha Getty and her husband as they lived the sex, drugs and abundantly hippie lifestyle. Told through the naive eyes of a girl who happened on the scene after being thrown out of her home by her evil step-mother, this takes you behind the scenes to what it was really like. “Close” friendships and love affairs are not what they seem and the lifestyle can only burn out. The ride you are on with this book is incredible. Fun introspective read.

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



Bookseller Buzz

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Spotlight on: Unlikely Animals by Annie Hartnett

 

Annie Hartnett

"In general, the way that I cope with the world is to try to find the humor in things that are uncomfortable and painful. That’s how I was raised. We tell each other jokes in order to get through the hard thing, or insert something silly into an otherwise painful situation. But I’m not the clown in my family, I’m the quietly funny one. " ― Annie Hartnett, interview in Dead Darlings

What booksellers are saying about Unlikely Animals


Unlikely Animals
  • Unlikely Animals was such a joy to read! The combination of plot and characters sounds kooky and dark, but it’s this combination of darkness and absurdity that makes the book special. ―Johanna Albrecht from McIntyre’s Books in Pittsboro, NC
    Buy from McIntyre’s Book

  • This book is as much brilliant fun you can have with unraveling family and a cemetery full of well-intended if prone-to-wisecracks narrators. No summary can do the plot justice – just know all the plot twists, all the lost souls, and all the animals come together in a wonderful read. Don’t miss it.   ―Jan Blodgett from Main Street Books in Davidson, NC
    Buy from Main Street Books

  • I love everything about this book. I love the Maple Street Cemetery residents. I love Moses and Rasputin. I love the messy Starling family and Clive’s pal, Harold. I love the hand-drawn map of Everton and the historical photographs. I love the frankness and the snark and the wisdom of the characters that come from being imperfect humans. Unlikely Animals is utterly original and touching in the most captivating way possible, and I could not love it more.   ― Jill Naylor from Novel in Memphis, TN
    Buy from Novel

  • In Unlikely Animals, Hartnett has done what she does best: create a brilliant cast of messy human beings that you don’t want to leave. With a hand-drawn map, a menagerie of animals (a fox, a dog, a goat), and beautiful prose, this book is perfect.   ― Rachel Watkins from Avid Bookshop in Athens, GA
    Buy from Avid Bookshop

Annie Hartnett

Annie Hartnett is the author of Rabbit Cake, which was listed as one of Kirkus Reviews’s Best Books of 2017 and a finalist for the New England Book Award. She has received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and the Associates of the Boston Public Library. She studied philosophy at Hamilton College, has an MA from Middlebury College, and an MFA from the University of Alabama. When she began writing Unlikely Animals, she was living in the groundskeeper’s house in a cemetery. She now lives in a small town in Massachusetts with her husband, daughter, and darling border collie, Mr. Willie Nelson.

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Four Treasures of the Sky by Jenny Tinghui Zhang

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Four Treasures of the Sky by Jenny Tinghui Zhang
Flatiron Books / April 2022


More Reviews from Parnassus Books

Bold and breathtaking, Four Treasures of the Sky redefines the American Western novel. Jenny Tinghui Zhang’s debut spans from China to Idaho, following the journey of Daiyu, a young Chinese girl kidnapped from her home and sent overseas to America. In Daiyu, Zhang has given us one of the most memorable narrators I’ve ever come across–even as Daiyu endures the racism and brutality of the American West, she speaks with resilience and grace. Daiyu’s story might be set in the nineteenth century, but it resonates so strongly with today’s world. This is the kind of historical fiction that prompts us to reevaluate what we know of this country’s history and leaves us better for having done so. I can’t wait to see what Jenny Tinghui Zhang does next.

Reviewed by Lindsay Lynch from Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee



Unmasked by Paul Holes

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Unmasked by Paul Holes
 Celadon Books / April 2022


More Reviews from Fiction Addiction

I don’t read a lot of “true crime,” and I honestly struggled with this one until I realized that it had completely captured my attention and I was unable to put it down. Paul Holes has lived a life unimaginable to most of us; facing the depths of depravity and the lengths of evil that exist in this world over the course of his lifetime. Clearly it has affected him…he paints himself as a rather unlikable character, single-mindedly focused on his work at the expense of his relationships, his marriage and his family. Imagine obsessing over one single thing (in his case capturing the Golden State Killer) every day of your life for over two decades. It is no wonder his personal life suffered as a result, but so deep was his obsession with this particular cold case, even his professional life was negatively impacted. I almost wonder if he isn’t affected by Autism or some other syndrome that drove his compulsion to pursue this predator for most of his career. This is a fascinating read not just in the steps it takes to catch a killer, but in how it can affect the lives of so many different people in so many different ways. It is disturbing, but compelling and even if it isn’t something you would normally pick up, it was an amazing read.

Reviewed by Brent Bunnell from Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina

She Gets the Girl by Rachael Lippincott

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She Gets the Girl by Rachael Lippincott
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers / April 2022


More Reviews from Bookmiser

Alex and Molly have grown up in two very different worlds, but they have one big thing in common: neither has any friends. But they’re both starting at the same college and both are determined to change, though for very different reasons. Alex’s girlfriend says Alex is afraid to let anyone in and won’t confess her true feelings. Molly has always been a big ball of anxiety, but has had a four year crush on a girl from her high school who just so happens to be going to the same college. Molly and Alex dislike each other, but they need the other to reach their goals. Overall, this was a very fun, sweet story that simultaneously deals with some heavy issues. I loved it!

Reviewed by Jennifer Jones, Bookmiser in Marietta, Georgia

Wild Ride by Keith Calabrese

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Wild Ride by Keith Calabrese
Scholastic Press / April 2022


More Reviews from Fountain Bookstore

My absolute favorite thing about this book is that it pulls no punches towards its antagonist, a thinly-veiled caricature of the star of a certain Bo Burnham song, and it is oh so satisfying to see him get the kind of comeuppance we can only dream about on this side of the page. Besides that, this middle-grade adventure through Chicagoland has an endearing set of characters who all learn something about the world being a little bigger and more complicated than they think it is, but not so big and complicated that they can’t handle. I also loved how much fun all the locations throughout the Chicago area were!

Reviewed by Akil Guruparan, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

Read This Next!

Books on the horizon: Forthcoming favorites from Southern indies…

The Wedding Crasher by Mia Sosa

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The Wedding Crasher by Mia Sosa
Avon / April 2022


More Reviews from Bookmarks

An April 2022 Read This Next! Title

I loved this follow up to Mia Sosa’s wedding-themed contemporary romance series. An overheard conversation just before a couple’s wedding makes Solange unable to hold her peace. Instead, she blurts out to the bride not to go through with it just as the couple is saying their “I do’s”. This leads to a chain of events that neither she, nor the stuffy groom Dean, could have thought possible. For one thing, Solange spells danger to Dean. She is unpredictable, feisty, and doesn’t have her life mapped out every single step of the way like he does…and that terrifies him. But, she could prove to be just what he needs to shake things up and finally find love.

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

Southern Bestsellers

What’s popular this week with Southern Readers.

Time is a Mother Bittersweet Dasiy Jones & the Six
The Gates of Europe Tell Me Three Things

[ See the full list ]

sbr shelf

Parting Thought

“To feel most beautifully alive means to be reading something beautiful, ready always to apprehend in the flow of language the sudden flash of poetry.”
– Gaston Bachelard

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: For the Love of Poetry

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

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April, 2022

For the Love of Poetry

Poetry

The special edition of The Southern Bookseller Review celebrates Southern booksellers’ love of poetry

“A poet’s work … to name the unnameable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world, and stop it from going to sleep.” -Salman Rushdie

Read This Now | Read This Next | The Bookseller Directory


Read This Now!

Poetry beloved by Southern booksellers…

After Beowulf by Nicole Markotic

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After Beowulf by Nicole Markotic
Coach House Books / April 2022


Beowulf has been translated time and time again, whether by scholars just trying to be as accurate as possible, or people thinking outside of the box, or people who literally are just here for a good time like Nicole. After Beowulf is the tale of Beowulf, but it does address why the Geats were so terrified of his death. Nicole just happens to tell it all in the funkiest, funniest way possible. It even had me reading it out loud at one point, trying to do funny voices and keep up with the flow.

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

Nicole Markotić

About the Author:
Nicole Markotić has written four poetry books, three novels, a critical collection of essays on disability in film and literature, and has edited several volumes of critical and creative work. Currently, she is Professor of Creative Writing, Children’s Literature, and Disability Studies at the University of Windsor.

Content Warning: Everything by Akwaeke Emezi

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Content Warning: Everything by Akwaeke Emezi
Copper Canyon Press / April 2022


If Akwaeke Emezi is a “silly little god” then I’m about to become their most zealous devotee. Their debut poetry collection, Content Warning: Everything, lives up to its title, fair warning. This is a HEAVY book. Emezi doesn’t shy away from topics like sexual abuse, suicide, vengeance, and long-term trauma. And they’re absolutely gorgeous. They seem to draw divinity from the baseness of the earth, singing of rivers, eyeteeth, and fucking in fresh graves. Content Warning: Everything rallies against boundaries at every turn, shattering expectation like the trumpets did Jericho’s walls. It careens between heart-smashing and “are you allowed to say that about Jesus?” and yet this collection feels as polished and purposeful as any novel! It’s confusing, frequently concerning, and utterly entrancing. Confessional poet Sylvia Plath once wrote “The Moon is not my mother. She is not sweet like Mary.” Content Warning: Everything goes further, making the Virgin Mary a beloved auntie who “moves in with my mother / they are not so lonely now.” Not content to stop at confessing, Akwaeke Emezi has sculpted a book of poems that christen, excommunicate, and heal.

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

Akwaeke Emezi

About the Author:
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. Their debut poetry collection, Content Warning: Everything, their debut romance novel, You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty, and their next young adult novel, Bitter, are forthcoming in 2022. Selected as a 5 Under 35 honoree by the National Book Foundation, they are based in liminal spaces.

The Necessity of Wildfire by Caitlin Scarano

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The Necessity of Wildfire by Caitlin Scarano
Blair / April 2022


Hungry, clear-eyed, tough, and generous, The Necessity of Wildfire is a book that creates a humming musicality out of the early sorrows and rough stones of life. Cinematic and sound-driven, these are brilliant and honest personal poems that open up to the larger universal truths. These poems are gorgeous and complex.”—Ada Limón, The Carrying and Bright Dead Things

Winner of the Wren Poetry Prize selected by Ada Limón, Caitlin Scarano’s collection wrestles with family violence, escaping home, unraveling relationships, and the complexity of sexuality.

The Necessity of Wildfire begins, “To not harm / each other is not enough. I want to love you / so much that you have no before.” These poems chase a singular, thorny question: how does where and who we came from shape who and how we love? Judge Ada Limón says the resulting collection is “hungry, clear-eyed, tough, and generous.”

Scarano’s imagination is galvanized by the South where she grew up and by the Pacific Northwest where she now resides—floods and wildfires, the Salish Sea and the North Cascades, and the humans and animals whose lives intersect and collide there. In this collection, Scarano reckons with a legacy of violence on both sides of their family, the death of their estranged father, the unraveling of long-term relationships, the complexity of their sexuality, and the decision not to have children. With fierce lyricality, these poems—“stories without monsters, / stories without morals”—resist both redemption and blame, yet call in mercy.

Caitlin Scarano

About the Author:
Originally from Southside Virginia, Caitlin Scarano (she/they) is a writer based in Bellingham, Washington. She holds a PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and an MFA from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. They were selected as a participant in the NSF’s Antarctic Artists & Writers Program and spent November 2018 in McMurdo Station in Antarctica. Her debut collection of poems is Do Not Bring Him Water. Her work has appeared in Granta, Entropy, Carve, and Colorado Review. You can find them at caitlinscarano.com.

Golden Girl by Reem Faruqi

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Golden Girl by Reem Faruqi
HarperCollins / February 2022


I loved this new middle-grade coming-of-age story told in verse. Faruqi is able to capture so much about Aafiyah’s life and what it means to be a preteen in America. She uses careful precision and economy of words to tell us about the Qamar family, their privilege and love for each other, their heritage and sorrows. I love a novel in verse for the author’s ability to express a depth of feeling that is not possible in prose novels. I think this is the perfect form to tell this story and think kids will be affected by the nuance of the writing.

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

Reem Faruqi

About the Author:
Reem Faruqi is the award-winning author of Unsettled and Lailah’s Lunchbox, an ALA Notable Book, as well as Amira’s Picture Day and Let Me Show You the Way. Of Pakistani descent, Reem immigrated to Peachtree City, Georgia, in the United States from the United Arab Emirates when she was thirteen years old. Reem is also a teacher and photographer who loves to doodle. She lives in Atlanta with her husband and three daughters. Like Aafiyah, Reem loves tennis, photography during golden hour, and her father, Abba. Visit her online at www.reemfaruqi.com.

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Spotlight on: Time is a Mother by Ocean Vuong

 

Ocean Vuong

"People get really uneasy when you say, ‘My life is art.’ This. The present tense is worthy of art. I think there’s a great discomfort in the Western gaze, because immediately they want to say, ‘You’re pretentious. There’s museums where things are housed, there’s the stage where you get to speak your art. You can’t speak it here, not in front of me at the grocery store." —Ocean Vuong, Interview in The White Review


Love & Saffron

What booksellers are saying about Time is a Mother

  • Just wow. Vuong’s craft is unmatched regardless of whether he’s writing poetry or prose, and with this, as Vuong returns to his roots in verse, he might have outdone himself. He powerfully writes through his emotions after his mother’s passing and about being a queer Vietnamese American, constantly defined by violence even in moments of happiness for himself and his community. He’s deeply abstract at times but never less than crystal clear about his thoughts and feelings, and the collection is incredibly affecting, particularly now when so many have lost loved ones and senses of self-in-community to an ongoing pandemic. ― Akil Guruparan from Fountain Books in Richmond, VA
    Buy from Fountain Bookstore

  • Once again, Vuong reaches into your chest, pulls out your heart, and holds it gently in his hands. He adds such a beautiful voice to this age. With this collection, Vuong remains planted on frontline of the millennial-led literary renaissance. ―Caroline Bergeron from Garden District Book Shop in New Orleans, LA
    Buy from Garden District Bookshop

  • Poetry that tears my heart into pieces is the best kind of poetry, and Ocean Vuong has written exactly that. This utterly gorgeous and wrenching collection of poems follows a type of grief that most of us never want to experience, but will inevitably, in some way, shape, or form. Vuong’s words strike like an echo of pain that’s already happened, while it’s still happening, almost like you’re being haunted by it. ―Caitlyn Vanorder from Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, NC
    Buy from Bookmarks

About Ocean Vuong

Ocean Vuong is the author of the critically acclaimed poetry collection Night Sky with Exit Wounds and the New York Times bestselling novel On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous. A recipient of the 2019 MacArthur "Genius Grant," he is also the winner of the Whiting Award and the T. S. Eliot Prize. His writings have been featured in The Atlantic, Harper’s Magazine, The Nation, The New Republic, The New Yorker, and The New York Times. Born in Saigon, Vietnam, he currently lives in Northampton, Massachusetts.

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Les Fleurs du Mal (The Flowers of Evil) by Charles Baudelaire

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Les Fleurs du Mal (The Flowers of Evil) by Charles Baudelaire, Richard Howard (trans.)
David R. Godine, Publisher / May 2022


Read the celebrated and reviled poems that Victor Hugo called “un nouveau frisson.” Follow the trail of Symbolism that once led Rimbaud and T.S. Eliot. Witness an unparalleled vision of decadence and disgust, in an as-yet unrivaled translation by Richard Howard. Go back to 1857 to experience a poetic modernité that heralds our future.

Reviewed by Conor Hultman from Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi

Charles Baudelaire

About the Author:
Charles Baudelaire was a French poet whose work explored taboo areas of sensuality and sexuality. His highly original style of prose-poetry influenced a whole generation of poets including Paul Verlaine, Arthur Rimbaud, and Stéphane Mallarmé, among many others. He is credited with coining the term "modernity" (modernité) to designate the fleeting, ephemeral experience of life in an urban metropolis (such as mid-19th century Paris), and the responsibility of artistic expression to capture that experience.

Richard Howard

Richard Howard was one of the most prolific and respected twentieth-century literary critics and translators. He won a Pulitzer Prize, a PEN Translation Prize, a National Book Award (for Les Fleurs Du Mal (The Flowers of Evil)), a Literary Award from the Academy of Arts and Letters, a MacArthur Fellowship, the title of Chevalier from France’s L’Ordre National du Merite, and the position of Poet Laureate of New York.

Parting Thought

"We have to talk about liberating minds as well as liberating society."
― Angela Davis

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 4/12/22

The Southern Bookseller Review Newsletter for the week of March 29, 2022

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April 12, 2022

Have you had your poetry fix this week?

Chouli, Photo credit Burke's Book Store

Burke’s Book Store in Memphis, Tennessee sends out a poem to its subscribers every Monday. And not just during April/Poetry Month, but every week of the year.

Here is what they sent this week:

An Empty Place
by Ted Kooser

There is nothing for Death
in an empty house,
nor left for him in the white dish
broken over the road.

Come and sit down by me
on the sunny stoop,
and let your hear so gently
rock you, rock you.

There is nothing to harm us here.

The poems are selected by the store’s co-owner Corey Mesler. You can read earlier poems here. Burke’s carries new, used, and rare books, and they have a thing for poetry. (And they like dogs!)

Read This Now | Read This Next | The Bookseller Directory


Read This Now!

Recommended by 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 Blue Cypress Books

Reading this collection made me feel like I was standing outside with my bare feet in the grass, scrunching my toes in the soil, feeling the breeze on my face, and pondering the oneness of everything.

Reviewed by LeeAnna Callon, Blue Cypress Books in New Orleans, Louisiana

Like a Sister by Kellye Garrett

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Like a Sister by Kellye Garrett
Mulholland Books / March 2022


More Reviews from Fiction Addiction

Like a Sister is as much a story about today’s social media culture and societal issues especially those of race and class as it is a masterfully written twisty mystery. The story is narrated by the very relatable Lena Scott, half- sister of realty star Desiree Pierce who is found dead of a presumed overdose. Lena uses sarcasm and wit to hide her emotions because as a young Black woman in today’s world Lena believes what her mother has always told her – that she must always show her super-woman side to the world. While Desiree was a known alcoholic and coke user, one of the main reasons the sisters had not spoken in two years, Lena is convinced that Desiree didn’t die from an accidental overdose of heroin. She wouldn’t have been surprised if it were coke but never heroin, as Desiree hated needles and was too vain to ever leave track marks. Lena believes the last favor she can do for her sister is find out the truth behind her death even, as it turns out, at the risk to her own life.

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



Bookseller Buzz

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Spotlight on: Bomb Shelter by Mary Laura Philpott

 

Mary Laura Philpott

"My hope was to do what many other books have done for me, which is to tell one person’s story in a way that makes other people look at their own lives differently or perhaps understand something about themselves better. "–Mary Laura Philpott, interview in Hippocampus

What booksellers are saying about Bomb Shelter


Memphis
  • Mary Laura does what no one else can – muse about mortality and make you laugh. Reading her essays is like sitting down on the porch with her and having a glass of wine. Her worries are OUR worries, only we rarely discuss them aloud (and none of us are as funny as Mary Laura). ―Sissy Gardner from Parnassus Books in Nashville, TN
    Buy from Parnassus Books

  • A memoir in essays, Bomb Shelter tackles some pretty monumental moments in Philpott’s life, starting with a medical emergency for her son to taking care of her family during the pandemic. Although the specifics will be different by readers, most of us have faced pivotal moments in our lives, and we certainly share those same questions – from “how did I get here?” to “should I have known?” Philpott’s candor in writing is refreshing; just as in I Miss You When I Blink, I found myself laughing and crying at the commonality of how we approach life, aging, and the world.   ―Beth Seufer Buss from Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, NC
    Buy from Bookmarks

  • Mary Laura Philpott’s Bomb Shelter reads like a long coffee date with a dear friend. This memoir covers a lot of the emotional nuances of parenting and Philpott is a kindred spirit. Give this book to any parent who needs a virtual hug and assurance that they are indeed doing a good job.   ―Rachel Watkins from Avid Bookshop in Athens, GA
    Buy from Avid Bookshop

Mary Laura Philpott

Mary Laura Philpott, author of the national bestseller I Miss You When I Blink, writes essays that examine the overlap of the absurd and the profound in everyday life. Her writing has been featured frequently by The New York Times and appears in such outlets as The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Real Simple, and more. A former bookseller, she also hosted an interview program on Nashville Public Television for several years. Mary Laura lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with her family.

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Insomnia by Sarah Pinborough

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Insomnia by Sarah Pinborough
St. Martin’s Press / April 2022


More Reviews from The Haunted Book Shop

I watched the Netflix Series Behind Her Eyes and loved the suspense and supernatural themes. So, when I saw that Sarah Pinborough wrote Insomnia I knew that I had to read it! The story itself reminded me of Behind Her Eyes and the movie Hereditary. You have a mother as the main character who is doing everything she can to find out about her estranged mother’s life as she tries to uncover family secrets to protect her family. But, is she protecting her family from the impending danger, or is she the danger her family needs protecting from? The whole story you are in just as much disbelief as the main character…she doesn’t know if she is awake or asleep, if she is sane or going mad like her mother, and as things twist and turn deeper into the story a mind-bending and time-bending twist is added!

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



The Unwritten Book by Samantha Hunt

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The Unwritten Book by Samantha Hunt
 Farrar, Straus and Giroux / April 2022


More Reviews from Avid Bookshop

With a heavy heart and a recently missing cat (wringing out the old year, hearing the ringing of the new through my poorly insulated walls), I started a book that followed me home from work. For years, Samantha Hunt novels, on glancing and flipping, have always looked to be in the “Alley (up my)” or “Wheelhouse (in my)” genres, but this is my first and, by golly, I can’t stop rambling, deleting, rambling, deleting this review. She lets grief, family, empathy, childhood, alcohol, a boy band, authority, loss, parenthood, faith (and much much more) drop, all at once, into the top of the Plinko board, amazingly not jamming the derned thing up. What settles at the bottom is a nice, orderly, call for all to relish the unknown, hold tight to loss, and madlib the half-assed answers to life’s half-asked questions. I, for one, am retooling “rut” and giving a new shine to “stuck in a.” However, as newly-formed fanboy insecurities blossom, the Samantha Hunt in my mind says “well, YOU sure missed the point on the head.” But surely the fact that I got what I wanted out of [the book, which I forgot to mention is a work of nonfiction] was surely the point of it exactly. Or at least that’s what I got out of it. Surely.

Reviewed by Ian McCord, Avid Bookshop in Athens, Georgia

Hotel Magnifique by Emily J. Taylor

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Hotel Magnifique by Emily J. Taylor
Razorbill / April 2022


More Reviews from M. Judson booksellers and storytellers

Dreamy, dark, and mysterious. Danger, desire, and enigmatic. Filled with characters you want to know more of and places you want to be. Hotel Magnifique is oh so delicious!

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

I Color Myself Different by Colin Kaepernick,

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I Color Myself Different by Colin Kaepernick,
Scholastic, Inc. / April 2022


More Reviews from Page 158 Books

What a great way to share with a young child why they are different and why they matter. Colin learns he was chosen and was adopted into a family of loving people. Great colorful illustrations and a wonderful message. For kids and adults

Reviewed by Gina Norris, Page 158 Books in Wake Forest, North Carolina

Read This Next!

Books on the horizon: Forthcoming favorites from Southern indies…

Bomb Shelter by Mary Laura Philpott

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Bomb Shelter by Mary Laura Philpott
Atria Books / April 2022


More Reviews from Snail on the Wall

An April 2022 Read This Next! Title

It’s more tempting than ever to want to build a bomb shelter and retreat from the upheavals of life. But with this memoir, Mary Laura Philpott convinces us that, like Frank the turtle, we have to poke our heads out from time to time, confront the challenges, and keep going. Thank you, MLP, for making all of us worriers feel seen, and for helping us put into words the emotions (so very many emotions) that go along with being not just a parent but a person.

Reviewed by Lady Smith, Snail on the Wall in Huntsville, Alabama

Southern Bestsellers

What’s popular this week with Southern Readers.

Violeta by Isabel Allende South to America Whereabouts
Robert E. Lee and Me Gallant

[ See the full list ]

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Parting Thought

“We have to talk about liberating minds as well as liberating society.”
– Angela Davis

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 4/5/22

The Southern Bookseller Review News
The Southern Bookseller Review Newsletter for the week of March 29, 2022

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April 5, 2022

Make the stories sing.Tara Stringfellow Photo Credit Zara Visuals

The first book spotlighted from the April list of "Read This Next!" titles is a debut novel called Memphis by Tara M. Stringfellow. The term "debut" here deserves an explaination, however, because Tara Stringfellow is a well-established poet who has been writing since she was ten years old, making her a fitting author to feature for the first week of Poetry Month.

Memphis is her first novel. The first time, as she says in her interview with Book Pipeline, that she could think in terms of stanzas instead of chapters, sentences instead of lines. She called it freeing. And daunting.

"I grew up with devastating, grief-laced stories about gorgeous and unknown Black folk," she writes, "All I had as proof were quilts and stories. But I knew, instrinsically, that it would be my lifelong duty like my mother in our kitchen, to make those tales sing."

Poems

Origins: A Prose Poem in Apogee Journal

My Ex-Husband, in Jet Fuel Review

Read This Now | Read This Next | The Bookseller Directory


Read This Now!

Recommended by Southern indies…

Bless the Daughter Raised by a Voice in Her Head by Warsan Shire

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Bless the Daughter Raised by a Voice in Her Head by Warsan Shire
Random House Trade Paperbacks / March 2022


More Reviews from Fountain Bookstore

I cant put into words how much this poetry collection affected me, and how I am completely infatuated with every word on every page. Shire truly left me speechless with her prose and poems centering around being a refugee, maternal relationships, and what it means to be a woman. It’s poetry that’s so full of emotion you feel every word she says, and it’s impeccable.

Reviewed by Grace Sullivan, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

Song for the Missing by Pierre Jarawan

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Song for the Missing by Pierre Jarawan
World Editions / March 2022


More Reviews from Avid Bookshop

I’m still on a globetrotty search for coming-of-age stories set in the 1990s (specifically 92-96) to hold up my bland high school soft-serve experience-machine. This one here is a perfectly paced and passionate ode to Lebanon, family drama and young friendship, served up like a mystery.

Reviewed by Ian McCord, Avid Bookshop in Athens, Georgia



Bookseller Buzz

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Spotlight on: Memphis by Tara M. Stringfellow

 

Tara M. Stringfellow

"With poetry, your entire message, the duende of the poem, the catharsis of the readers all needs to fit in the space of a few lines. I spent years—years—trying to master this and will spend many, many more.

With prose, I felt the freedom of the entire page, of entire chapters to speak my truth. I was no longer confined to the space of a stanza. I found it incredibly liberating and refreshing. But also incredibly daunting. "–Tara M. Stringfellow, interview in Book Pipeline

What booksellers are saying about Memphis


Memphis
  • Tara M. Stringfellow’s Memphis raises the bar for family sagas. Based on her own family’s history, this debut novel explores multiple generations within a Southern Black family. The city itself becomes an identity within this powerful story; Stringfellow traces not only the impact of each generation’s choices and traditions but also the impact of the iconic city’s history on the family. I love nothing more as a reader than a powerful family saga, and Memphis has stayed with me long after finishing it–undoubtedly this will be at the top of my Best of 2022 list! ―Beth Seufer Buss, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, NC
    Buy from Bookmarks

  • Memphis opens with a beautiful poem dedicating the book to Gianna Floyd, saying, “I wrote you a Black fairy tale.” Centering Black joy above all, Stringfellow’s life-affirming debut follows three generations of unforgettable women in a gifted but tested family in the author’s and my hometown. Readers will cry, laugh, and sing along to this book, which focuses on the Black female experience that has always given Memphis its soul. I hope we’ll be reading Stringfellow for a long, long time.   ―Katie Williamson, Square Books in Oxford, MC
    Buy from Square Books

  • A gorgeous take on Memphis over the years. A celebration of Douglass. An ode to black womanhood, to community, to identity, sisterhood, strength.The writing is savory and entrancing, and the characters are true, my highest praise for fictional people. A fantastic debut   ―Becca Sloan, Novel. in Memphis, TN
    Buy from Novel

Tara M. Stringfellow

Poet, former attorney, Northwestern University MFA graduate, and semifinalist for the Fulbright Fellowship, Tara M. Stringfellow has written for Collective Unrest, Minerva Rising, Jet Fuel Review, Women Arts Quarterly Journal, and Apogee Journal, among other publications. After having lived in Okinawa, Ghana, Chicago, Cuba, Spain, Italy, and Washington, D.C., she moved back home to Memphis, where she sits on her porch swing every evening with her hound, Huckleberry, listening to records and chatting with neighbors.

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The Younger Wife by Sally Hepworth

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The Younger Wife by Sally Hepworth
St. Martin’s Press / April 2022


More Reviews from M Judson booksellers and storytellers

The twists, the turns, the traumas! A family tale of suspense that hooks the reader from page one. Hepworth creates a world of privilege and ease where nothing is what it seems including your own perceptions.

Reviewed by Susan Williams, M Judson Booksellers and Storytellers in Greenville, South Carolinaa



The Modern Proper by Holly Erickson

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The Modern Proper by Holly Erickson
 S&S/Simon Element / April 2022


More Reviews from Righton Books

A chapter devoted to dips, spreads, and dressings… and a chapter on meatballs? We were instantly smitten! And we continued to return to this collection of unfussy, from-scratch recipes designed for family meals or entertaining (but definitely scalable down: I’m talking about you, Saucy Grilled Cheese with Asparagus.) The Modern Proper will bring fun, imaginative food into your world.

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

All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir

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All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir
Razorbill / March 2022


More Reviews from Main Street Books

Once you are captured into this story, you cannot help but ache for these characters. This is a beautiful story about two teens who are trying to balance the weight of the world on their shoulders, and Sabaa Tahir delivers their stories with poignance and grace once again. At this point, there is nothing she could write that I would not read. Seemingly able to traverse from fantasy into fiction, Tahir delivers a novel that is at times a stunningly accurate description of teenagers and their grief, while at others touching on relationships and the sway they hold over us. Bravo to her for being able to write such a gorgeous story.

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

Hundred Years of Happiness by Thanhhà Lai,

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Hundred Years of Happiness by Thanhhà Lai,
HarperCollins / March 2022


More Reviews from Bookmarks

Hundred Years of Happiness is a remarkable picture book. Teeming with stunning illustrations and storytelling, this book tugs at the heartstrings. I adored the mixture of family, culture, and food at the center of this story. The inclusion of the recipe at the end of the book was such a fun surprise!


Reviewed by Lauren Kean, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Read This Next!

Books on the horizon: Forthcoming favorites from Southern indies…

The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi

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The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi
Tor Books / March 2022


More Reviews from Wordsworth Books

An April 2022 Read This Next! Title

Memphis is a wonderful, intriguing book about a family of black women in Memphis. Primarily centering on two sisters, both with much tragedy but amazing resilience, and one of their daughters. They carry on the strong tradition of their mother. Skipping around between different years and various characters, it weaves what undoubtedly is the story of so many black women in Memphis. Beautifully written.

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

Southern Bestsellers

What’s popular this week with Southern Readers.

French Braid In Love: A Memoir of Love and Loss The Vanishing Half
Between Two Kingdoms Knight Owl

[ See the full list ]

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Parting Thought

“Poetry is a political act because it involves telling the truth.”
– June Jordan

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 3/29/22

The Southern Bookseller Review Newsletter for the week of March 29, 2022

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March 29, 2022

April is Poetry Month

They shut me up in Prose –
As when a little Girl
They put me in the Closet –
Because they liked me “still” –

–Emily Dickinson

Poetry Month

"Poetry Month" is a favorite among booksellers, many of whom read and love poetry but have few chances to talk about it with readers. April is the one time of year they can get away with foisting poetry on their unsuspecting customers. They can do fun and silly in-store things like give discounts to customers who recite a limerick at the cash register, or create poetry videos with sock puppets, and of course by creating reading lists.

Because poetry is important to booksellers, it is important to SBR. Readers can look forward to extra poetry reviews this coming month, and a special all-poetry edition the week of April 15th.

In the meantime, here is a list of some of the poetry currently reviewed by booksellers:

Make Me Rain: Poems & Prose
by Nikki Giovanni (List price: $24.99, William Morrow, 9780062995285, October 2020), recommended by Beth Seufer Buss, Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC

I would not call myself a poetry reader, but there is something about Nikki Giovanni’s poetry that speaks to me so deeply. Sentimental and comforting, Make Me Rain covers a wide range of topics from quilts and rising bread to the social change we so desperately need in our world. (Buy from Bookmarks)

Sparrow Envy
by J. Drew Lanham (List Price: $16, Hub City Press, 9781938235818, 4/13/2021)
Reviewed by Hannah DeCamp, Avid Bookshop in Athens, Georgia

I found myself underlining something on nearly every page of this slim volume—Lanham’s distinctive voice sings with awe of the natural world and clear-eyed candor of the obstacles a Black man faces in engaging this awe. (Buy from Avid)

Refractive Africa
by Will Alexander, (List Price: $16.95, New Directions, 9780811230278, November 2021) Reviewed by Conor Hultman, Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi

These odes to African intellectuals by Will Alexander are so rich in imagery and sound that every line has something you’ve never read before. I’m not kidding! (Buy from Square Books)

Read more bookseller recommended poetry

Read This Now | Read This Next | The Bookseller Directory


Read This Now!

Recommended by Southern indies…

Scattered All Over the Earth by Yoko Tawada

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Scattered All Over the Earth by Yoko Tawada
New Directions / March 2022


More Reviews from Avid Bookshop

Scattered All Over the Earth is undeniably a classic. A pilgrimage novel with a growing cast of memorable characters embodying a beautiful kaleidoscope of language, loss, identity, and home. Tawada’s vision is, as always, wonderfully unique, often funny and particularly here, where she’s at her most poignant. Thankfully, this is only the promising beginning of what is set to be a masterpiece trilogy of books.

Reviewed by Luis Correa, Avid Bookshop in Athens, Georgia



Bookseller Buzz

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Spotlight on: Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

 

Bonnie Garmus

"With Elizabeth Zott, I wanted to create a character who speaks for anyone who’s been held back, disbelieved, maligned, or underestimated. But I also wanted to create a character who refuses to put up with it. Elizabeth Zott has a disregard for societal limits. She rejects religion, stereotypes, racism, sexism, elitism, and food that comes in cans. "–Bonnie Garmus

What booksellers are saying about Lessons in Chemistry


Lessons in Chemistry
  • Lessons In Chemistry is the kind of book that makes me love reading. While there were moments of sorrow and frustration, the story left me with an overall feeling of joy. I didn’t want it to end – now I’m suffering with a book hangover wondering what to read next after such a fun and refreshing story. ― Melissa Summers from Main Street Books in Davidson, NC
    Buy from Main Street Books

  • What an absolutely charming book! Elizabeth Zott is not your typical woman living in the 1960s. She is a chemist determined to prove that she is as good as any man in her field, which is not so easy to do with so many of the preconceived ideas of what a woman should and should not do at this time. I love her hilarious and straight to the point comebacks to many of the men who try to tell her she can not do something because it isn’t seemly for a woman to do. You will be infuriated by how she is treated and be thankful that women are not still treated that way (most of the time). You will love her delightful child Mad, and Six-thirty who is the best dog anyone could ever own, and you may also learn a little chemistry along the way. ―Nancy McFarlane from Fiction Addiction in Greenville, SC
    Buy from Fiction Addiction

  • This debut was a delight from start to finish. Elizabeth Zott was born just a decade too soon to forge the career in science she was destined for, so when she stumbled into a job as the host of a 1960s TV cooking show, she could not help but bring chemistry into her recipes. This book is filled with fabulous characters and is alternately touching and laugh out loud funny.   ―Karen Hayes from Parnassus Books in Nashville, TN
    Buy from Parnassus Books

  • I want to introduce Elizabeth Zott to everyone I know. Unapologetic, smart and full of zest. Chemist, Elizabeth Zott, breaks boundaries and inspires other women to do the same in this heartbreaking yet uplifting story   ―Lillian Kay from Novel in Memphis, TN
    Buy from Novel

Bonnie Garmus

Bonnie Garmus is a copywriter and creative director who has worked widely in the fields of technology, medicine, and education. She’s an open-water swimmer, a rower, and mother to two pretty amazing daughters. Born in California and most recently from Seattle, she currently lives in London with her husband and her dog, 99.

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This Rebel Heart by Katherine Locke

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This Rebel Heart by Katherine Locke
Knopf Books for Young Readers / April 2022


More Reviews from M Judson booksellers and storytellers

A beautiful and strange novel full of magic, friendships, and hard truths. The search for voice & freedom, the drive to be heard, a reconciliation with past trauma and a future filled with hope weave a story I couldn’t let go of. The city of Budapest and the Danube are integral characters as Csilla discovers her worth. Along with a student revolutionary leader and a kind hearted angel of death, Csilla transforms the world around her into one filled with color.

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



The Sex Lives of African Women by Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah

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The Sex Lives of African Women by Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah
 Astra House / March 2022


More Reviews from Oxford Exchange

One of the most substantial and honest collections of essays about sex and pleasure I’ve ever read. Each author bares it all in order to give the reader permission to tell the truth about their relationship with sex. By centering voices and experiences that typically get left out of anthologies like this, we get to witness a multidimensional sexuality meditation through the lens of discovery, exploration, and joy. What a gift!

Reviewed by Eden Hakimzadeh, Oxford Exchange in Tampa, Florida

The Wedding Veil by Kristy Woodson Harvey

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The Wedding Veil by Kristy Woodson Harvey
Gallery Books / March 2022


More Reviews from E. Shaver, bookseller

This book had me hooked from page 1. Every bookseller has their faults and mine is a certain snobbishness when it comes to “women’s fiction.” Perhaps it is a leftover reaction from male-dominated classrooms or simply a dislike of the marketing surrounding such novels. Either way, I find myself avoiding and dismissing women’s fiction as best I am able. When I was asked to read this novel and review it, I thought “why not? It’ll be a nice fluffy read over Christmas.” I was wrong. This multi-generational saga, written with compelling prose and an arresting tenderness for the female story, grabbed my heart from about the second chapter in. The female struggle of being defined by your usefulness but longing to be your own definition, soaks through every page of this novel and you leave the book asking yourself some very important questions. This one is going in my staff picks when it comes out! I cannot wait to share it with my favorite customers (and my grandmother!!) A resounding thank you to the author for taking me down a few pegs when it comes to my opinion on women’s fiction. I hope this book blows up the market.

Reviewed by Annie Childress, E Shaver, bookseller in Savannah, Georgia

Eggs from Red Hen Farm by Monica Wellington

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Eggs from Red Hen Farm by Monica Wellington
Holiday House / March 2022


More Reviews from Bookmarks

A practical picture book that explains where eggs come from AND teaches young readers how to read a basic map — what fun! I loved maps when I was a kid and this book is a great introduction to the concept of getting on the road to move from one place to the next.


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

Read This Next!

Books on the horizon: Forthcoming favorites from Southern indies…

The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi

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The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi
Tor Books / March 2022


More Reviews from The Haunted Book Shop

A March 2022 Read This Next! Title

This book was exactly what it needed to be. It’s fun, it takes familiar ideas about kaiju and puts a fresh spin on them, and adds in entertaining characters who care about what they do. It’s so very much an antidote and relief from things taking themselves too seriously, but landed the narrative beats when it needed them. Here, Scalzi show the artistry of solid craftsmanship, and I want more.

Reviewed by Alex Mcleod from The Haunted Book Shop in Mobile, AL

Southern Bestsellers

What’s popular this week with Southern Readers.

The Kaiju Preservation Society We Don't Know Ourselves The Lost Apothecary
All That She Carried The Last Cuentista

[ See the full list ]

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Parting Thought

“Happiness. That’s what books smells like. Happiness. That’s why I always wanted to have a book shop. What better life than to trade in happiness? ”
– Saran MacLean

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 3/22/22

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

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March 22, 2022

If you want to understand, ask a bookseller.

Ukraine Flag "As Russia’s war on Ukraine enters its second week," the well-known Miami bookstore Books and Books writes on its website, "we continue to find ways to both combat and understand the events that have led us to this moment in global history. When the world makes little sense, we turn to the journalists, authors and thinkers who help to enlighten us."

Booksellers belong to that group of people who believe books help us make sense of the world. Their first response to almost every major event, almost every news story, every crisis, is to put together a reading list:

Understanding the Ukraine: A Reading List (Flyleaf Books)

We Read to Resist: The War on Ukraine (Books and Books)

Books for Understanding Ukraine (East City Bookshop)

Read This Now | Read This Next | The Bookseller Directory


Read This Now!

Recommended by Southern indies…

When We Were Birds by Ayanna Lloyd Banwo

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When We Were Birds by Ayanna Lloyd Banwo
Doubleday / March 2022


More Reviews from Underground Books

The destinies of a Rastafarian man prohibited from interacting with the dead and a woman destined to care for their spirits collide in a cemetery full of secrets in this magical realist novel set in a Trinidad “with the volume turned all the way up.” I enjoyed the settings and magical realism throughout the novel. I’d especially recommend for fans of Practical Magic.

Reviewed by Megan Bell, Underground Books in Carrollton, Georgia



Bookseller Buzz

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Spotlight on: Yerba Buena by Nina LaCour

 

Nina LaCour

"In Yerba Buena I get to examine adulthood— how the experiences we have when we’re young reverberate through our lives, how we make mistakes and make amends and try to escape the destruction we inherit while also holding onto the good."–Nina LaCour, Author’s letter to bookstores

What booksellers are saying about Yerba Buena


Yerba Buena
  • Though the plot of Yerba Buena seems to meander at first, with dark, desperate characters with twisted pasts and wildly uncertain futures, you’ll want to stick around until the end. And you will want to linger in the middle among the luxurious imagery throughout this story. Nina LaCour shines while writing descriptions of art and making–from crafting cocktails to arranging beautiful bouquets of flowers–with great care and attention that makes these moments feel close to magical. In spite of the convoluted secrets and choices these characters makes, there is seeking, growth, and love, too, in a bittersweet pull on their paths towards healing. ― Julie Jarema from Avid Bookshop in Athens, GA
    Buy from Avid Bookshop

  • At once full of wonder and excruciatingly real, Nina LaCour’s adult debut is truly a thing to behold. A story of love, food, and the achingly beautiful reality of the human condition, Yerba Buena was, without a doubt, one of the most exquisite books I have ever read. ―Mary Louise Callaghan from Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, NC
    Buy from Bookmarks

  • A bittersweet meditation on the lives of two women whose emotional histories so tragically mirror one another that their connection is both painful and undeniable. Sara and Emilie come from different places and different classes, but both of their formative years are marked by grief and dismissal, by losses that keep them unfinished. They’re also, though, both drawn to the beauty of things: in flowers, in food, in design, in each other. In evocative prose and rich settings, LaCour gives us romance in the truest sense: complicated and intentional, lovers choosing each other as the people they are and the ones they are still becoming.   ―Miranda Sanchez from Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews in Chapel Hill, NC
    Buy from Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews

Nina LaCour

Nina LaCour is the award-winning and bestselling author of six novels for young adults, including We Are Okay, a Printz Award winner and national bestseller. She lives in San Francisco with her wife and daughter. Yerba Buena is her first novel for adults.

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What We Harvest by Ann Fraistat

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What We Harvest by Ann Fraistat
Delacorte Press / March 2022


More Reviews from Story on the Square

Wren Warren is one of the four founding families of Hollow’s End that holds one of the mysterious crops that tourists flock to. Everything in her life was perfect until the corruption started seeping into the town. Now they’re all trapped in quarantine trying to fight back the “Blight” with no help from a mysterious government agency. Wren will have to ask her ex Derek for help before it’s too late for her and the farms. This was a delightfully dark and delicious read. Not only do we have a very good doggo named Teddy, we also have real and raw characters that leap off the page into your heart. If you like your horror with a bit of small town gothic, this is for you and it’s perfect for fans of Wilder Girls.

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



Riding with Evil by Ken Croke

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Riding with Evil by Ken Croke
 William Morrow / March 2022


More Reviews from McIntyre’s Books

This glimpse into the brutal world of outlaw bikers is not sugar coated with flowery language. But, despite its “just the facts ma’am” style, it delves into the emotional strain of being an undercover agent in a way that I’ve not really experienced before. So, if you’re a true crime buff and want to read something compelling that isn’t about a serial killer- here it is!

Reviewed by Billy McCormick, McIntyre’s Books in Pittsboro, North Carolina

French Braid by Anne Tyler

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French Braid by Anne Tyler
Knopf / March 2022


More Reviews from Avid Bookshop

Families are messy and imperfect and Anne Tyler has spent a lifetime telling the stories of the most interesting of families. French Braid is no exception and in it we follow the Garretts from the 1950s to the present pandemic. This is a family whose individuals sacrifice and are also selfish, care deeply and chose to ignore. Tyler creates beautifully complex characters that you may not love, but you’ll definitely remember.

Reviewed by Rachel Watkins, Avid Bookshop in Athens, Georgia

Abdul’s Story by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow

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Abdul’s Story by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow
Greenwillow Books / March 2022


More Reviews from Bookmarks

This is a beautifully diverse book about Abdul finding his voice despite his learning challenges. Throughout the story Abdul doesn’t think he is a writer, but he knows he has stories to tell. Once he has a mentor he learns that everyone makes mistakes and the best stories come from what look like messes. In the end Abdul finds his voice and confidence in what once felt like an impossible task.

Reviewed by Josie Greenwald, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Read This Next!

Books on the horizon: Forthcoming favorites from Southern indies…

Isla to Island by Alexis Castellanos

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Isla to Island by Alexis Castellanos
Atlantic Monthly Press / March 2022


More Reviews from Books and Books

A March 2022 Read This Next! Title

This wordless, gorgeous graphic novel is stunning in its delivery of a story that lives so close to my heart: exile and assimilation after leaving 1960s Cuba. On a personal level, this book’s very existence feels like a major triumph but I think it will reach any reader who picks it up. Hand Isla to Island to fans of Victoria Jamieson & Nidhi Chanani. I can’t wait for more work from Alexis Castellanos!

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

Southern Bestsellers

What’s popular this week with Southern Readers.

The Violin Conspiracy The Wok Klara and the Sun
A Most Remarkable Creature All My Rage

[ See the full list ]

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Parting Thought

“Shakespeare wrote about love. I write about love. Shakespeare wrote about gang warfare, family feuds and revenge. I write about all the same things”
– Sister Souljah

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: Celebrating Women’s Voices

The Southern Bookseller Review: Black Voices February, 2022

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March, 2022

Celebrating Women’s Voices

Women

The special edition of The Southern Bookseller Review celebrates the lives and words of women.

“You can waste your lives drawing lines. Or you can live your life crossing them.” -Shonda Rhimes

Read This Now | Read This Next | The Bookseller Directory


Read This Now!

The best of southern publishing…

Under the Golden Sun by Jenny Ashcroft

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Under the Golden Sun by Jenny Ashcroft
St. Martin’s Press / March 2022

 

Quite simply one of the most beautiful books I’ve read all year. Historical fiction with well-drawn heroines and interesting love stories aren’t uncommon. What makes this book absolutely sing is the care and attention given to all the relationships in this book. The mother who has lost her child and the child who has lost his family; women forging deep, meaningful friendships that are treated with the same importance as the romantic entanglements; and perhaps even better, everyone grows. In a field cluttered with WWII era novels this book rises about the field with its unusual setting and lovely relationships, but also with the author’s distinct voice and prose.

Reviewed by Traci Harris, The Book House, Mableton, Georgia

Jenny Ashcroft Photo Credit: David Myers Photography

About the Author:
Jenny Ashcroft is a British author of historical fiction, including Meet Me in Bombay, Beneath a Burning Sky and Island in the East. She lives in East Sussex with her family and is hard at work on her next novel.

The Wonders by Elena Medel

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The Wonders by Elena Medel
Algonquin Books / March 2022


I absolutely loved this English-language debut from Spanish writer Elena Medel. The conceit of jumping between the past and present is sometimes tricky to pull off, but Medel does it so well – letting María and Alicia’s respective timelines waltz gently together, anchored in the captivating central character that is the city of Madrid…until it all comes to a head. Medel’s pacing is thriller-esque, while her prose is sumptuous and elegant, beautifully translated by Lizzie Davis and Thomas Bunstead

Reviewed by Charles Lee, Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe, Asheville, North Carolina

Elena Medel Photo Credit Laura C. Vela

About the Author:
Elena Medel is a Spanish poet and the founder and publisher of La Bella Varsovia, an independent poetry publishing house. Medel was the first woman ever to win the prestigious Francisco Umbral Prize, for her debut novel The Wonders, which was also longlisted for the Finestres Award and has been translated into fifteen languages. She published her prizewinning first collection of poetry, My First Bikini, when she was sixteen years old.

Lizzie Davis is a translator and an editor at Coffee House Press. She has translated Elena Medel’s poetry collection My First Bikini, Juan Cárdenas’s Ornamental (a finalist for the 2021 PEN Translation Prize), and work by Valeria Luiselli, Pilar Fraile Amador, and Aura García-Junco. Her work has appeared in the Paris Review, Granta, and other publications.

Thomas Bunstead is a writer and translator. His recent translations include The Things We’ve Seen by Agustín Fernández Mallo, which was a recipient of a PEN Translation Award, and Water Over Stones, a co-translation with Margaret Jull Costa.

Four Aunties and a Wedding by Jessie Q. Sutanto

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Four Aunties and a Wedding by Jessie Q. Sutanto
Berkley / March 2022


Picking up where Dial A For Aunties leaves off, this is another hilarious romp into the world of weddings and murder. Well, almost murder. Meddie’s life is complicated. But she’s getting married and her aunties won’t let anything or anyone stand in the way of a perfect wedding, even if it means kidnapping and murder.

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

Jessie Q. Sutanto

About the Author:
Jesse Q. Sutanto grew up shuttling back and forth between Indonesia, Singapore, and Oxford, and considers all three places her home. She has a Masters from Oxford University, but she has yet to figure out how to say that without sounding obnoxious. Jesse has forty-two first cousins and thirty aunties and uncles, many of whom live just down the road. When she’s not writing, she’s gaming with her husband (mostly first-person shooter), or making a mess in the kitchen with her two daughters.

Women and Other Monsters by Jess Zimmerman

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Women and Other Monsters by Jess Zimmerman
Algonquin Books / February 2022


What can I say about Women and Other Monsters other than READ THIS NOW!? I picked this book up with full-blown curiosity, ignited by my love of mythology and strong belief in the women’s rights movement. Jess Zimmerman uses her own life experiences, mingled with monsters of ancient myth, to bring light to the ugly truth of what it means to be a woman. We are monsters–for our individuality, determination, free spirits, desires and ambitions, and our less-than-perfect bodies. At least that’s what the world wants us to believe. I found pieces of myself in every chapter, and discovered just how much I wanted that to change. I highly recommend this book to women of all colors and ages, trans women, non-binary gentlefolk, and those looking for insight.

Reviewed by Sophie Giroir, Cavalier House Books in Denham Springs, Louisiana

Jess Zimmerman

About the Author:
Jess Zimmerman is the editor in chief of Electric Literature. Her essays, fiction, opinion pieces, and prose poetry have appeared in publications including Vice, Slate, The Cut, the Washington Post, The Guardian, and the New Republic. She lives in Brooklyn.

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Spotlight on: Love & Saffron by Kim Fay

 

Kim Fay

"A few years ago, when [my friend] Janet had a milestone birthday, a vague idea floated into my head about writing something epistolary to honor that part of our friendship. Life happened, and the idea remained nothing more than that. Then came COVID and the lockdown in Los Angeles. Within days, I found myself writing a gift for Janet and another good friend, the food writer Barbara Hansen — a story told in letters.

I wanted a book that could serve as a balm. I wanted a book that could be read in a single afternoon. "—Kim Fay (via Bookweb)


Love & Saffron

What booksellers are saying about Love & Saffron

  • This whisp of a book transported to a time when real friendship can exist between people who have never met or seen images of each other, gratitude opens doors and a reminder of the beauty that exists in following the curiosity of your taste buds. Tender and honest this book told in three parts, most of it through the letter exchanges of two women, is a reminder that we are never finished growing, changing and loving. It is a reminder of how big our lives can become when we move through them with an open mind and an open heart. ― Kimberly Daniels from The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, NC