The Southern Bookseller Review 1/25/22

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

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January 25, 2022

We could have gone another way. Become something else.

The Southern Book Prize

This is the last week readers can vote for The Southern Book Prize. There are eighteen books on the ballot, representing what Southern Indie booksellers feel are the best Southern fiction, nonfiction, and children’s books of the year.

Now it is up to readers to vote for the best of the best.

Click here to see the full list of books on the ballot, and to cast your vote.

You can also be entered into a drawing for a collection of the Southern Book Prize titles on the ballot.

Coming up on the Reader Meet Writer Author Series:

Perpetual West with Mesha MaronPerpetual West with Mesha Maren
Tue Feb 15th 7:00pm – 8:00pm | REGISTER

The riveting new novel by the critically-acclaimed author of Sugar Run, Perpetual West is a brilliant and evocative story of borders—between countries, between lovers, and between facets of the self.

Read This Now | Read This Next | The Bookseller Directory

Read This Now!

Recommended by Southern indies…

Honor by Thrity Umrigar


Honor by Thrity Umrigar
Algonquin Books / January 2022

More Reviews from Bookmarks

Honor is the kind of book that makes me want to sit for hours and read. Thrity Umrigar transports the reader to India through both the eyes of an Indian American journalist and the subject of her article, a Hindu woman who was the victim of a horrible attack at the hands of her own family. The result is powerful and poignant.

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

Bookseller Buzz


Spotlight on: To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara


Hanya Yanagihara

"It was the sense of possibility, of how easily America could have been something else, how easily it could become something else, that I wanted to explore in all three of these books. Because there have been certain moments in America’s creation, certain turning points where the country could have gone another way. "–Hanya Yanagihara (via The Bookseller)

To Paradise

What booksellers are saying about To Paradise

  • A deeply resonant and astoundingly beautiful novel, Yanagihara’s To Paradise is a book to savor and is sure to satisfy readers who loved A Little Life. Told in three distinct parts that all speak to each other in interesting ways, Yanagihara’s powerful prose once again takes center stage and I loved getting "lost" in her beautiful writing. A gorgeously somber and powerful novel that I can’t wait for readers to get there hands on. Bring tissues! ― Caleb Masters from Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, NC
    Buy from Bookmarks

  • To Paradise is complex, thorny in that specific Yanagihara way, heartbreaking, wonderful. Masterful. The author is definitely reaching for Big Ideas, asking Big Questions. Actually, the Biggest Question: what is the meaning of life?…To Paradise is a celebration of and call for full, expansive humanity and human connection. To Paradise is the best thing I’ve read in…a long time. It’s truly, in my estimation, a great work. ―Matt Nixon from A Cappella Books in Atlanta, GA
    Buy from A Cappella Books

  • The brilliant author of A Little Life creates three novels that echo one another: one that creates alternative 19th century New York City; another set during the 20th century AIDS crisis; and a final dystopian novel that takes place about seventy years in the future. This book is massive in size and scope, and deals with issues of politics, race, sexuality, and global pandemics, but is at its most powerful when describing the everyday lives of people who intend to do good, but don’t always succeed.   ―Anne Peck from Righton Books in St Simons Island, GA
    Buy from Righton Books

About Hanya Yanagihara

Hanya Yanagihara is an American novelist, editor, and travel writer. She grew up in Hawaii and currently lives in New York City.

A Flicker in the Dark by Stacy Willingham


A Flicker in the Dark by Stacy Willingham
Minotaur Books / January 2022

More Reviews from Page 158 Books

A January 2022 Read This Next! Title

“I was twelve years old when those shadows started to form a shape, a face. Started to become less of an apparition and more concrete. More real. When I began to realize that maybe the monsters lived among us.”In the deep South, Chloe Davis is a therapist with a secret. Her father is in jail for the murder of multiple young girls who disappeared from her rural town when she was only a child. But now it is happening again and this time it seems the girls have connections to Chloe herself. But can Chloe find the truth and stop the killer, even if they are someone close to her?Stacy Willingham’s A Flicker in the Dark is a solid debut thriller, full of the thick humidity of Southern summers spent running through the woods. Readers will race to the end to find who is at fault and may discover that no one can be trusted.

Reviewed by Faith Parke-Dodge, Page 158 Books in Wake Forest, North Carolina

MonsterMind: Dealing With Anxiety & Self-Doubt by Alfonso Casas


MonsterMind: Dealing With Anxiety & Self-Doubt by Alfonso Casas
Ablaze / January 2022

More Reviews from Foggy Pine Books

Casas’ most recent graphic novel is a wonderful, poignant dive into living with mental health issues. Creating monsters out of feelings, Casas gives a visual representation of how trauma, anxiety, fear, and other pests affect daily life, especially in the midst of a pandemic. I really appreciated the hopeful but realistic ending of this. It’s a reminder that though these things will always live with us, there are ways to fight them.

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

Hansel and Greta by Jeanette Winterson


Hansel and Greta by Jeanette Winterson
Haymarket Books/ January 2022

More Reviews from Oxford Exchange

This book felt like a fever dream in all the wildest ways. From comedic to angering, this book covered an abundance of feelings and topics that made it whole. A fun and much needed adaptation to a classic fairytale. Will stay with you a long time after reading.

Reviewed by Stephanie Carrion, Oxford Exchange in Tampa, Florida

The Big Reveal by Jen Larsen


The Big Reveal by Jen Larsen
Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) / December 2021

More Reviews from Fountain Bookstore

Addie is a fat dancer, and proud of it–not letting her peers or anybody else allow her to feel shame or inferiority because of her body. She has a group of truly excellent friends, who throughout the book are self-affirming, endlessly supportive, and outright hilarious. I wish I’d had anything close to these friends when I was in high school. Scratch that, I wish I had these friends now. Together, they hatch a plan to financially support Addie’s potential post-graduation job with a dance company in Milan that involves an underground burlesque show, and through it, Addie discovers the self-affirming and body-positive power of burlesque, which she and her friends had previously cast aside as creative stripping. But she also has, and does, stand up to misogyny, slut-shaming, and fatphobia from her peers and superiors, and Larsen is truly excellent at illustrating exactly how internalized bigotry can hurt you even when you think you love who you are, just because we live in a world where anything that isn’t the default is constantly assumed to be aberrant. The best YA I’ve read all year!!

Reviewed by Akil Guruparan, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

Read This Next!

Books on the horizon: Forthcoming favorites from Southern indies…

Lost & Found by Kathryn Schulz


Lost & Found by Kathryn Schulz
Random House / January 2022

More Reviews from Avid Bookshop

A January 2022 Read This Next! Title

An exquisite view into the inextricable relationship among love, grief, and hope, Kathryn Schulz’s Lost & Found is a masterpiece. It’s been a while since I’ve underlined so many sentences and created marginalia—from page one, it felt as if I myself was part of Schulz’s story. Her metaphors are spot-on and stunning; her fondness for research and etymology manage to deepen our relationship to the work instead of distancing us. Five stars. I’ve already created a mile-long list of loved ones who will, like me, treasure this memoir.

Reviewed by Janet Geddis, Avid Bookshop in Athens, Georgia

Southern Bestsellers

What’s popular this week with Southern Readers.

The Maid How Civil Wars Start Circe
Wilmington's Lie Fly

[ See the full list ]

sbr shelf

Parting Thought

“The library is inhabited by spirits that come out of the pages at night.”
– Isabel Allende

Publisher: The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance /
Editor: Nicki Leone /
Advertising: Linda-Marie Barrett /
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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