The Southern Bookseller Review 10/18/22

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

View Online | Unsubscribe | SBR Archive | SUBSCRIBE TO SBR

The Southern Bookseller Review: A Book for Every Reader

facebook  twitter  instagram 

The week of October 18, 2022

Buzz. Buzz. Buzz. What’s That Noise?

Bees Flying Illustration credit Vitalii Barida

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

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

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

Read This Now | Read This Next | The Bookseller Directory

Read This Now!

Recommended by Southern indies…

Hester by Laurie Lico Albanese


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

More Reviews from Litchfield Books

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

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

Bookseller Buzz


Spotlight on: Mr. Wilder and Me by Jonathan Coe


Jonathan Coe Photo Credit British Council Literature

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

What booksellers are saying about Mr. Wilder and Me

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

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

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

About Jonathan Coe

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

Station Eternity by Mur Lafferty


Station Eternity by Mur Lafferty
Ace / October 2022

More Reviews from The Haunted Book Shop

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

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

Breathless by David Quammen


Breathless by David Quammen
Simon & Schuster / October 2022

More Reviews from Malaprops

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

Reviewed by Rosemary Pugliese, Malaprops in Asheville, North Carolina

The Getaway by Lamar Giles


The Getaway by Lamar Giles
Scholastic Press, / September 2022

More Reviews from Fountain Bookstore

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

Reviewed by Andrea Richardson, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

Brown Is Beautiful by Supriya Kelkar


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

More Reviews from Bookmarks

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

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

The Wolf Suit by Sid Sharp


The Wolf Suit by Sid Sharp
Annick Press / October 2022

More Reviews from Cavalier House Books

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

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

Read This Next!

Books on the horizon: Forthcoming favorites from Southern indies…

Mistakes Were Made by Meryl Wilsner


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

More Reviews from Parnassus Books

An October 2022 Read This Next! Title

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

Reviewed by Katie Garaby, Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee

Southern Bestsellers

What’s popular this week with Southern Readers.

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

[ See the full list ]

Parting Thought

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

Publisher: The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance /
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

SIBA | 51 Pleasant Ridge Drive | Asheville, NC 28805
You have received this email because you are currently subscribed to receive The Southern Bookseller Review.
Please click @@unsubscribe_url@@ if you no longer wish to receive these communications.

Scroll to Top