The Southern Bookseller Review 11/16/21

The Southern Bookseller Review Newsletter for the week of November 16, 2021

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November 16, 2021

Taking to the streets, and swimming in the live streams.

The Miami Book Fair

In a sign of changing times, the Miami Book Fair (November 14-21) has both a virtual and an in-person street fair this year. The street fair will take place over the weekend of the November 19-21 but the virtual event is ongoing right now.

There are dozens of events every day, many live-streamed, and many in Spanish. They range from authors discussing their books to panels hosting a conversation around a topic ― sometimes literary, sometimes political, sometimes simply to share stories.

After nearly two years of enforced isolation, canceled events, and closed doors, there is an air of celebration as readers take to the streets again to see their favorite authors in person. But luckily for those who don’t happen to live in a place with a beautiful, vibrant book festival,”virtual” is clearly not going away.

Read This Now | Read This Next | The Bookseller Directory

Read This Now!

Recommended by Southern indies…

The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak


The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak
Bloomsbury Publishing / October 2021

More Reviews from Avid Bookshop

The Island of Missing Trees is a beautiful, sweeping tale of enduring love, grief, and the ways in which we move forward from intergenerational traumas. Split between a cold London winter and the midst of the Cypriot civil war of 1974 and narrated by a fig tree, the story aches with a love for the natural world, giving voice to the voiceless. Its quiet profundity opens a world beyond borders and human conflicts, a world where truths are uncovered and healing is possible.

Reviewed by Hannah DeCamp, Avid Bookshop in Athens, Georgia

Bookseller Buzz


Spotlight on: All of Us Villains by Amanda Foody and Christine Lynn Herman


Amanda Foody and Christine Lynn Herman

Some ideas start small — a feeling, a scene, a whisper that grows into a roar inside an author’s mind. But the idea for All of Us Villains felt capital-B Big from the beginning. ―Amanda Foody & Christine Lynn Herman, (via Whatever)

Amanda Foody and Christine Lynn Herman were already established YA writers and best friends when they had “the big idea” ― to write the novel together they were each afraid to write on their own. “We had a favorite trope in common, the death tournament,” they note in a recent column on John Scalzi’s website, Whatever. “but neither of us were brave enough to tackle a trope so famous and dramatic alone.”

As it turned out, collaborating on a novel was as challenging for the two writers as its plot was for their characters. It’s one thing to share a manuscript but quite another to share a creative process. Disagreements threatened to not only scuttle the book, but damage the friendship.

Instead, Foody and Herman turned the project into something that deepened and strengthened both. “Our differing opinions didn’t mean someone was right and someone was wrong–it meant each of us had something important to say. So instead of pushing back…we listened to each other.”

And they credit the enthusiastic reception All Us Villains has received to the lessons they learned in writing it together: “The final version of All of Us Villains exists on a knife’s edge of such contradictions: heroism and villainy, blame and responsibility, fun and fright, a fantasy story that sometimes feels brutally real. “

Fight Night

What booksellers are saying about All of Us Villains

  • Fans of magic, ambition, and dark fairy tales, All of Us Villains is for all of us. These villains will rip your heart out (and make you want to hug this book). I highly recommend this gruesome, dark, and twisty series-starter for fans of The Hunger Games, A Deadly Education, and The Hazel Wood. ― Megan Bell from Underground Books in Carrollton, GA
    Buy from Underground Books

  • A blurb that claims “a magical Hunger Games” is a lot to live up, but All of Us Villains exceeds all expectations. Devastating and deliciously dark, from the magic system to the characters, every single word is precise in gutting the reader. I was drawn in by every character and devastated by every blow! I have no doubt that this will be a runaway hit when it releases. I went without food and sleep to finish this harrowing tale. ― Katlin Kerrison from Story on the Square in McDonough, GA
    Buy from Story on the Square

  • This Hunger Games-esque has one of the most unique magic systems I’ve read! The twists and turns (reluctant romance! Brooding Byronic characters!) will have you flipping pages faster than a class ten curse. ― Candice Conner from The Haunted Book Shop in Mobile, AL
    Buy from The Haunted Book Shop

  • What a beautiful dark fairy tale of a book! This was an incredible thing to read, full of questionable characters, romance, and full of back-stabbing intrigue. I loved the protagonists and the storyline. This book truly is written in blood.   ― Hallie Smith from Main Street Books in Davidson, NC
    Buy from Main Street Books

About Amanda Foody and Christine Lynn Herman

AMANDA FOODY is the YA and middle grade author of The Shadow Game series, the Wilderlore series, and more. Formerly a tax accountant, Amanda lives in Boston, and you can find her on Twitter and Instagram at @amandafoody

CHRISTINE LYNN HERMAN is the author of YA novels about magic, monsters, and growing up, including The Devouring Gray duology and The Drowning Summer. Writing updates (and cat pictures) can be found on Instagram at @christineexists or at

Bittman Bread by Mark Bittman


Bittman Bread by Mark Bittman
Mariner Books / November 2021

More Reviews from Bookmarks

Last winter I decided I wanted to learn to bake bread…then I learned that Mark Bittman was writing a bread cookbook and decided to wait, which was a fantastic decision. Bittman Bread is everything I need in a bread cookbook—clear instructions, plenty of pictures, and a method that seems almost fail-proof. Bittman and co-author Kerri Conan have crafted the perfect recipe for a no-knead loaf that makes whole grains the star of the show and leaves you with a sourdough starter for your next loaf. Going beyond their basic loaf, the pair explore a variety of bread variations as well as recipes to level up the bread-baking game: focaccia, baguettes, desserts, and more. And excellent guide for beginners or more advanced bakers looking for a proven method of quick baking, Bittman Bread is a must-read cookbook that comes just in time for winter baking and holiday gift giving!

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

Crossroads by Jonathan Franzen


Crossroads by Jonathan Franzen
Farrar, Straus and Giroux / October 2021

More Reviews from novel.

LOVE! It’s no small feat to write a 60-page book so immersive that you can read it in a weekend and still feel extremely depressed when you come to the end, like, “That’s all?” C’mon, book two!!

Reviewed by Kat Leache, novel. in Memphis, Tennessee

The Legend of the Christmas Witch by Dan Murphy,


The Legend of the Christmas Witch by Dan Murphy,
Viking Books for Young Readers / November 2021

More Reviews from Fiction Addiction

The Legend of the Christmas Witch tells the tale of Kris Kringle and his twin sister Kristtorn. Who is the Christmas witch? Is she evil and determined to destroy Christmas, or is she a friend of Christmas who is misunderstood and mistreated. Read the tale, and decide for yourself. The Legend of the Christmas Witch is a wonderfully imaginative tale about Christmas and Yuletide that will delight readers of every age.

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

Starling by Isabel Strychacz


His Name was Death by Rafael Bernal
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers / November 2021

More Reviews from Flyleaf Books

What would YOU do if a boy fell from the sky into the woods of YOUR backyard? Follow Delta Wilding as this exact event turns her already absurd life into something extraordinary–otherworldly, if you will. As an unthinkable romance unfolds, will the boy, the alien, decide to stay on Earth and live a life alongside the humans? Or will he have no choice but to return to the sky for the sake of Delta’s safety–and happiness? Read to find out!

Reviewed by Michelle Kang, Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Read This Next!

Books on the horizon: Forthcoming favorites from Southern indies…

Everybody in the Red Brick Building


Everybody in the Red Brick Building
Balzer + Bray / October 2021

More Reviews from Square Books

A Fall 2021 Read This Next! Title

An enchanting debut by author Anne Wynter with vivid illustrations by the incomparable Oge Mora (Saturday) that fairly leap of the page, Everybody in the Red Brick Building is fabulous! An engaging, story with lyrical language and wonderful sounds to mimic, we will want to live in the red brick building. We won’t get much sleep, but we will have a whole lot of fun! A joy to read for the whole family.

Reviewed by Kathy Neff from Square Books in Oxford, MS

Southern Bestsellers

What’s popular this week with Southern Readers.

Oh William Under Jerusalem Christmas in Peachtree Bluff
EBraiding Sweetgrass Aaron Slater, Illustrator

[ See the full list ]

sbr shelf

Parting Thought

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

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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