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


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


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.

What We Harvest by Ann Fraistat


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


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


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


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


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 ]

sbr shelf

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 /
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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