The Southern Bookseller Review 12/6/22

The Southern Bookseller Review Newsletter for the week of December 6, 2022

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The Southern Bookseller Review: A Book for Every Reader

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The week of December 6, 2022

The pleasure of bringing a book home.

December Read This Next!

This week’s "Book Buzz" is a deep dive into The Light Pirate, Lily Brooks-Dalton’s mesmerizing new novel set in a near future wracked by catastrophic climate change. A world where the infrastructure we take for granted–like electricity and light–is uncertain or absent. "I’ve always been interested in the dark. Literally and figuratively," Brooks-Dalton admits in a recent interview with Bookselling this Week, "…the literal dark is a vital part of the narrative."

The Light Pirate topped the December Indie Next List chosen by indie bookstores across the country, and it is also at the top of the December Read This Next! — the list selected by indie bookstores in the South, where it’s Florida setting and story of small towns struggling in the face of increasingly catastrophic storms has special significance this year in the wake of Hurricane Ian.

Readers can find the rest of the December Read this Next! List at SBR. The newsletter features a title from the list each week. Each book on the list has enthusiastic recommendations from multiple booksellers. Each one is a book a bookseller wants to share with friends, customers, book clubs, and really anyone who will listen.

"Indie bookstores are the gateway to the story drug for a lot of people, myself included," says Brooks-Dalton. "Bringing a new book home will never stop feeling special."

Read This Now | Read This Next | The Bookseller Directory

Southern Book Prize Finalist!

What’s the best Southern book of the year?

Now Is Not the Time to Panic by Kevin Wilson


Now Is Not the Time to Panic by Kevin Wilson
Ecco / November 2022

More Reviews from M. Judson

Southern Book Prize Finalist

Now is Not The Time to Panic covers that wry space between childhood and adulthood – how we want to be seen and how others see us. Frankie and Zeke ask the questions about the nature of art both to the maker and the viewer, what does obsession really look like, and how do things spin out of control so smoothly. All against an early 90s world that may as well be a thousand years ago. The questions of consequences, family and what lies in front of us through a 90s era time warp. The writing is amazing. Sentences that stop you in your tracks. I loved everything about the novel!


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

Now Is Not the Time to Panic by Kevin Wilson


Nigel and the Moon by Antwan Eady
Katherine Tegen Books / February 2022

More Reviews from Bookmarks

Southern Book Prize Finalist

Nigel and the Moon will make your heart swell in the best way! Sure to be a beloved book, Nigel’s story resonates deeply with those who are scared to share their dreams. When Nigel looks up at the moon, anything is possible; but in school he’s hesitant to share. Career week in school is tricky when you want to be an astronaut, dancer, and a superhero! I loved Nigel and his story, and applaud Antwan Eady on this superb debut!


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

Read This Now!

Recommended by Southern indies…

The Midwife’s Secret by Emily Gunnis


The Midwife’s Secret by Emily Gunnis
Headline / December 2022

More Reviews from Litchfield Books

A wonderfully written book with an original idea. Weaving together 3 main storylines, you get into the intricacies of what an impact made long ago can do to a family, and what it can do to generations of a small town. The mirroring of the disappearances almost 60 years apart really sold me on the story. A great page-turner for those that love small-town hidden secrets set in the UK.

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

Bookseller Buzz


Spotlight on: The Light Pirate by Lily Brooks-Dalton


Lily Brooks-Dalton, Photo credit Alejandra Lopez

I think that re-wilding is an extraordinary thing, desirable perhaps, to see nature reclaiming itself. Southern Florida was and would like to be a swamp, you know? And yet we’ve dredged it and drained it and built on top of that. And so much of city management in a place like Miami is trying to keep that boundary between what the landscape wants to do and what the city wants the land to do – bridge it. And so to me, the idea of softening that boundary and trying to be a little harmonious is a good thing.” ―Lily Brooks-Dalton, Interview, Texas Public Radio

What booksellers are saying about The Light Pirate

The Light Pirate by Lily Brooks-Dalton
  • Wanda is born in the middle of a devastating hurricane that claims two of her family members and frays the edges of a fragile environment. Set in Florida, we see Wanda grow into a young adult while the only place she has ever known as home becomes a victim of climate change. Brooks-Dalton shows us the crumbling of civilization and the strength of one person’s determination to find beauty in the loss. Wanda’s story asks us to see both magic and hope in an uncertain future.
      ―Mary Jane Michels from Fiction Addiction in Greenville, SC | Buy from Fiction Addiction

  • Ethereal and haunting, The Light Pirate tells the story of Wanda, who is born on the day that the hurricane that she was named after rips through Florida, leaving devastation in its wake. A meditation of what’s to become of our landscape and livelihood, and how we survive when everything is stripped away. I can’t wait to recommend The Light Pirate to fans of Emily St John Mandel, Lydia Millet, and Climate Fiction readers.
      ―Jessica Nock from Main Street Books in Davidson, NC | Buy from Main Street Books

  • An essential read, especially for those of us making our home in Florida. Tragic but hopeful and completely enthralling. highly recommends.
      ―Emily Berg from Books & Books in Coral Gables, FL | Buy from Books and Books

  • In a novel that mirrors the latest news about the urgency of our environment, Lily Brooks-Dalton takes the reader to a terrible end place. Kirby Lowe and his heavily pregnant wife and two sons are about to be hit by another hurricane in their small town in Florida. Wanda is born into this weather crisis, and we watch her whole life as weather patterns and rising sea levels take away the life we all have known. Bioluminescence plays a part as large as Phyllis—the survivalist who finds she was right all along. This novel will leave the reader breathless, turning pages while hoping life and love will survive.
      ―Nancy Pierce from Bookmiser, Inc. in Marietta, GA | Buy from Bookmiser

About Lily Brooks-Dalton

Lily Brooks-Dalton’s novel, Good Morning, Midnight (Random House, 2016), has been translated into 17 languages and is the inspiration for the film adaptation, The Midnight Sky. Her memoir, Motorcycles I’ve Loved (Riverhead, 2014), was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

Hemlock Hollow by Culley Holderfield


Hemlock Hollow by Culley Holderfield
Regal House Publishing / December 2022

More Reviews from Bookmiser

Culley Holderfield writes poetically about the magical mountain hollow where we meet Caroline McAllister as she mourns her father and her marriage. A college professor, Caroline has just discovered that her deceased father has bequeathed her the family cabin—the cabin which has always haunted her. While restoring the old cabin she finds a century-old journal written by Carson Quinn and the mystery it reveals about the death of his brother haunts her too. This novel has so many facets: Leprechauns and Emerson and Darwin and Socrates and religion and love and death are all found in its pages. The main character is an archaeoastronomy professor and is studying the Grand Octal! This is the most fascinating novel I have read all year and is perfect for a bookclub discussion. I can’t recommend it highly enough as a page-turner that will stay with and haunt the reader.

Reviewed by Nancy Pierce, Bookmiser in Marietta, Georgia

Grocery Shopping with My Mother by Kevin Powell


Grocery Shopping with My Mother by Kevin Powell
Soft Skull / December 2022

More Reviews from Main Street Books

This will inspire sobbing and a phone call to your mama. Deeply accessible, beautiful work.

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

Seoulmates by Susan Lee


Seoulmates by Susan Lee
Inkyard Press / September 2022

More Reviews from Blue Cypress Books

Seoulmates is a fun young adult romance sprinkled with k-pop and k-drama references. Susan Lee gave me a glimpse into a Korean American home through this tender love story between two childhood friends who have grown up. A friends to enemies to lovers story, I couldn’t put it down.

Reviewed by Rayna Nielsen, Blue Cypress Books in New Orleans, Louisiana

A Pinch of Love by Barry Timms


A Pinch of Love by Barry Timms
Frances Lincoln Children’s Books / December 2022

More Reviews from Fountain Bookstore

A Pinch of Love is an adorable picture book about spreading love and overcoming hard times through baking. With diverse characters, an emphasis on community, and a colorful quirky art style that is incredibly appealing, this tender book will be perfect to share with little loved ones with a love of baking (or baked goods)!

Reviewed by Julia Lewis, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

Read This Next!

Books on the horizon: Forthcoming favorites from Southern indies…

The Light Pirate by Lily Brooks-Dalton


The Light Pirate by Lily Brooks-Dalton
 Grand Central Publishing / December 2022

More Reviews from Sunrise Books

A December 2022 Read This Next! Title

What happens when nature isn’t natural? When in the end, Climate Change is unstoppable? Lily Brooks-Dalton renders a shockingly real depiction of this possibility in the harrowing and beautiful novel The Light Pirate. Florida’s struggle with the aftermath of violent weather has always been a reality, but in this story, the rapidly changing landscape overwhelms the will and stamina of most human beings. Wanda, who was born during, and named after, a particularly vicious hurricane, frequently navigates a new, storm-carved home as the Florida coast shifts and neighborhoods are swallowed by wind, water, and human dereliction. Wanda adapts as nature does, to a strange new world–one dependent not on human infrastructure–but on that which matters most in the end: humility, kindness and bravery. This story is important. This story could happen. This story is happening. A must-read.

Reviewed by Laura Simcox, Sunrise Books in High Point, North Carolina

Southern Bestsellers

What’s popular this week with Southern Readers.

We Are the Light The REvolutionary Book Lovers
The Book of Delights The Christmas Book Flood

[ See the full list ]

Parting Thought

“Picture books are for everybody at any age, not books to be left behind as we grow older. The best ones leave a tantalizing gap between the pictures and the words, a gap that is filled by the reader’s imagination, adding so much to the excitement of reading a book.”
– Anthony Browne

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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