The Southern Bookseller Review 3/7/23

The Southern Bookseller Review Newsletter for the week of March 7, 2023

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The Southern Bookseller Review: A Book for Every Reader

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The week of March 7, 2023

Adventure Bound Books and the One Star Review

Adventure Bound Books

Like all small businesses, independent bookstores depend not on large advertising campaigns, but on word of mouth recommendations from happy customers to spread the word about their store. Without a good relationship with the people in their own community, they are unlikely to succeed as a business. So when Adventure Bound Books in Morganton, North Carolina received a one-star review on google, owner Angela Shore quick to address the reviewer’s concerns. Called "The wokest bookstore east of the Mississippi" Shore embraced the unintended compliment and made a donation to the Trevor Project. The store then commissioned "one star review" coffee mugs, proceeds from the sale of which are also donated to the Trevor Project.

Adventure Bound Books opened nearly five years ago in the summer of 2018 and has been on a mission from the beginning. "We aim to disrupt mainstream expectations of retail stores and strive to influence positive social change in our community. We believe in reading and having access to diverse stories; that tolerance is simply not sufficient; that you, reader, are worthy and wonderful."

Since opening their doors, Adventure Bound Books has been actively involved i,n their community, especially in promoting literacy and education. They were advocates for the extension of the federal Child Nutrition Waivers program that reimbursed schools for providing free healthy meals to students. They have spoken in support of students of the local high school, whose artistic work was censored when a grant-funded mural was painted over by school officials. And most recently, the store established the Adventure Bound Scholarship, a cash award given to a high school graduate who plans to enroll in a college or institution of higher education.

The store’s commitment to their community was returned ten-fold when word spread, as it does in a social media-saturated world, about their one-star review. Five star reviews quickly outpaced the low rating. The first batch of one star review mugs quickly sold out. Store customers and local authors voiced their support for the bookstore that had become a beloved institution in the town.

On Friday, March 10 ABB is holding a "Grown Folks Book Fair" to raise money and book donations for local schools. Find out more here. Or check in with your local bookstore and the things they do for your community.

Read This Now | Read This Next | The Bookseller Directory

Read This Now!

Recommended by Southern indies…

The Faraway World by Patricia Engel


The Faraway World by Patricia Engel
Avid Reader Press / January 2023

More Reviews from Main Street Books

Arrow-sharp and unsentimental renderings of some deeply emotional experiences, all centering unique experiences across the Latin American diaspora, but certainly focusing on individuals who have moved to the US. Engel is a brilliant writer. Her stories snap tight with tension, but she’s also deft at stirring up soft spots and infusing her plots with fairy tale-like twists.

Reviewed by Adah Fitzgerald, Main Street Books in Davidson, North Carolina

The Sun Walks Down by Fiona McFarlanen


The Sun Walks Down by Fiona McFarlane
Avid Reader Press / January 2023

More Reviews from Bookmarks

I love nothing more than a place-driven, character-driven novel, so this book was right up my alley. Fiona McFarlane explores colonial Australia through the eyes of many of the inhabitants of a small farm town on the edge of the desert as they react to the disappearance of a young boy. McFarlane does not shy away from exploring the brutal history of European colonialism and the effects it had on this country. Her prose is captivating and her characters are multifaceted. I’m sure Cissy, the headstrong older sister of the missing boy, will be a favorite of many readers. Fans of Michele de Kretser and Maggie Shipstead will enjoy this book.

Reviewed by Kate Storhoff, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Bookseller Buzz


Spotlight on: Go As a River by Shelley Read


Shelley Read, photo credit the author

"The deeper in the wilderness I am, the higher in elevation I am, the happier I am. It is an unforgiving landscape and so deeply humbling. There’s a quote from the Norwegian philosopher Arne Næss that I come back to over and over, and it’s the entire reason I climb big mountains. He says, ‘The smaller we come to feel ourselves compared with the mountain, the nearer we come to participating in its greatness.’" ―Shelley Read, interview, Alta

What booksellers are saying about Go As a River

Go As a River by Shelley Read
  • This book is beautifully written and will stay with you for a very long time. This is the book that you pass on to your mother, your daughter, your best friend and make them promise to read it. I think we will be talking about this book for all of 2023 and after.
      ―Mary Patterson from The Little Bookshop in Midlothian, VA | Buy from The Little Bookshop

  • Phenomenal. As perfect as a homegrown, juicy, sweet peach. I will carry this story with me for many, many, many days to come.
      ―Jill Naylor from Novel in Memphis, TN | Buy from Novel.

  • With lush, atmospheric prose, Go As a River is about seventeen year old Victoria Nash who lives on a peach orchard in 1940’s rural Colorado. The only female at home, she is the one who keeps the household running with daily chores and working her family’s land. Her life changes when she meets the mysterious and gentle Wilson Moon, an indigenous boy passing through town. A love story that starts in innocence is shattered by bigotry. Go As a River is about surviving after loss, our connection to the natural world around us, quiet and enduring friendships, and lasting love. This is my kind of historical fiction, and I can’t wait to share this with readers at Main Street Books!
      ―Jessica Nock from Main Street Books in Davidson, NC | Buy from Main Street Books

About Shelley Read

Shelley Read is a fifth generation Coloradoan who lives with her family in the Elk Mountains of the Western Slope. She was a Senior Lecturer at Western Colorado University for nearly three decades, where she taught writing, literature, environmental studies, and Honors, and was a founder of the Environment & Sustainability major and a support program for first-generation and at-risk students. Shelley holds degrees in writing and literary studies from the University of Denver and Temple University’s Graduate Program in Creative Writing. She is a regular contributor to Crested Butte Magazine and Gunnison Valley Journal, and has written for the Denver Post and a variety of publications.

Start, Stay, or Leave by Trey Gowdy


Start, Stay, or Leave by Trey Gowdy
 Forum Books / January 2023

More Reviews from Fiction Addiction

It’s always fun to get behind-the-scenes insight into famous people and Trey uses his great storytelling ability to not only captivate but to educate — to get the reader to think about the power of decisions and what makes a great life. This book is a great read for the new year or for anytime you are entering a new chapter of your life — whether as a grad, switching careers, becoming a parent, or once your kids leave the nest.

Reviewed by Jill Hendrix, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina

Stolen by Ann-Helén Laestadius


Stolen by Ann-Helén Laestadius
Scribner / January 2023

More Reviews from Novel

Stolen is a thoughtful examination of what it takes for a people to maintain cultural traditions in a modern era that is not always very accommodating. Laestadius has written a coming-of-age tale that takes the reader through the pains (as well as the pride) of the Sami and she does so while also highlighting the need to protect the places/animals that represent the last of the remaining true wilderness areas. This book is very well done.

Reviewed by Stuart McCommon, Novel. in Memphis, Tennessee

Delicious Monsters by Liselle Sambury


Delicious Monsters by Liselle Sambury
Margaret K. McElderry Books / February 2023

More Reviews from Square Books

Liselle Sambury’s Delicious Monsters is a truly harrowing work of horror and suspense. Told in alternating points-of-view set ten years apart, Delicious Monsters follows Daisy, who can see the dead, and Brittney, who runs a successful paranormal investigation series online. In the past, Daisy and her mother inherit a family mansion that is riddled with tragedy and hides a mysterious past. In the present, Brittney’s own experiences with the mansion haunt her and compel her to investigate Daisy’s story. As each girl races to find answers to the mysteries plaguing them, both will be forced to reckon with their own traumas and discover there are things far scarier than ghosts lurking in the halls– and it might just be the person right beside you. Riveting, compulsively readable, and downright terrifying, Delicious Monsters will linger with readers long past the final page. Perfect for fans of Vincent Tirado’s Burn Down, Rise Up and Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House. Prepare to stay up all night reading!

Reviewed by Charlie Williams, Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi

The Way We Say Hello by Andrea Denish


The Way We Say Hello by Andrea Denish
Starry Forest Books / February 2023

More Reviews from Foggy Pine Books

This is a cute kid’s book to introduce new cultures to younger readers! Saying "hello" happens in lots of ways & this book shows many of them with beautiful illustrations and cute text.

Reviewed by Max Ruthless, Foggy Pine Books in Boone, North Carolina

The Moth Keeper by K. O’Neill


The Moth Keeper by K. O’Neill
Random House Graphic / March 2023

More Reviews from Story on the Square

I’ve always been a fan of O’Neill’s beautiful art style ever since I first saw the Tea Dragon Society, so I knew when I received this arc in the mail, it was the top of my list. The Moth Keeper absolutely blew me away in terms of subject and beauty. I went in expecting a sweet fantasy story, but once I started I couldn’t stop. Even as an adult, I connected deeply to Anya, the fledgling Moth Keeper’s struggle, the longing to be important, the vastness of our thoughts and how they can make us sink into the darkness at times. This graphic novel is a balm to any tired and weary soul of any age. Anyone who’s ever felt guilty of being exhausted by something they love or have a passion for will fall in love with The Moth Keeper. Anya and her village along with the sun village she visits has the sweetness and gentleness of a Ghibli movie with just as much impact as one. I would recommend this to anyone who has ever needed a soft and gentle caress of a book that just understands. Because truly, The Moth Keeper does and its here to help you lift your chin up once more.

Reviewed by Katlin Kerrison, Story On the Square in McDonough, Georgia

Read This Next!

Books on the horizon: Forthcoming favorites from Southern indies…

Hello Beautiful by Ann Napolitano


Hello Beautiful by Ann Napolitano
 The Dial Press / March 2023

Adult FictionFamily LifeLiterary FictionSiblingsWomen
More Reviews from South Main Book Company

A March 2023 Read This Next! Title

novel’s four sisters – who isn’t examined nearly enough, in my opinion, despite the fact she is fabulous – anyway, Cecelia is a muralist. She paints strong women’s faces all over blighted buildings in Chicago. And in a pivotal scene of this book, another character sits for hours on a bench and stares at one of Cecelia’s murals in a park as all the threads of their life seem to weave together and I DARE YOU NOT TO CRY FROM THE IMMENSE BEAUTY OF IT ALL.

Reviewed by Alissa Redmond from South Main Book Company in Salisbury, North Carolina

Southern Bestsellers

What’s popular this week with Southern Readers.

A Day of Fallen Night The Creative Act: A Way of Being French Braid
The Beauty of Dusk Immortality

[ See the full list ]

Parting Thought

“Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries.”
– Anne Herbert

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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