The Southern Bookseller Review 3/8/22

The Southern Bookseller Review Newsletter for the week of March 8, 2022

View online. | Unsubscribe | SBR Archive | SUBSCRIBE TO SBR

facebook  twitter  instagram 

sbr logo

March 8, 2022

Night colors and booksellers on the bestsellers.

Bestseller List

The bestseller list included at the end of The Southern Bookseller Review is compiled every week from sales reported by independent bookstores in the South. It is a list of the books people who like to shop at independent bookstores are buying, and therefore presumably reading. Some of the titles are familiar from other lists such as "Read This Next!" which highlights forthcoming books with lots of bookseller buzz, or from store "staff picks" sections and displays. Others are on the list because, well, somebody somewhere is telling readers they are worth reading. Here is what Southern booksellers are saying about some of the books on the Hardcover Fiction list for this week:

#2 The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley, Morrow, $28.99, 9780063003057

Gracious. I have been turned and twisted around in a most delicious “who-dunnit” kind of way. Every point is meant to misdirect; It’s kind of Clue meets Murder on the Orient Express and I changed my guess on who-dunnit about twenty times. Trust me, you don’t know what you think you know. -Laney Sheehan from Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews in Chapel Hill, NC | BUY

#4 Devil House by John Darnielle, MCD, $28, 9780374212230

This is not a horror novel – it’s quiet-voice literary fiction, a story-within-a-story exploration of true crime consumption – how it affects readers, writers, and the families of those directly involved in the subject incident. Prepare to invest some patience and mental energy. The payoff, I think, is a valuable conversation between reader and writer about storytelling, craft, ethics, and empathy. 
– Rachel Derise from Friendly City Books in Columbus, MS | BUY

#6 Moon Witch, Spider King by Marlon James, Riverhead Books, $30, 9780735220201

James takes us once again into his deep, beguiling, brutal, and propulsive story that explores themes of identity and power. A challenging read that deeply rewards the effort, there is nothing quite like James’ excellent Moon Witch, Spider King –Caleb Masters from Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, NC | BUY

#8 House of Sky and Breath by Sarah J. Maas, Bloomsbury Publishing, $28, 9781635574074

Wow….Just wow! Sarah J Maas has done it again and this time I am not sure I survived it. Magnificent world building, amazing characters becoming who they are meant to be, twists and turns that you think you know but you don’t. I am throughly wrecked by this book. –Mandy Harris from Angel Wings Bookstore in Stem, NC | BUY

#10. Mercy Street by Jennifer Haigh, Ecco, $27.99, 9780061763304

Mercy Street is a jarring look at the America of today… a crockpot of the alternating perspectives in our country, combined with phenomenal writing and distinctive character voices. This novel will take you into places many of us have never gone, and unfortunately is the reality for just as many. Regardless of which side of the debate you’re on, this is a read that’ll be on your mind long after it’s been finished.
–Emma June Wood from Main Street Reads in Summerville, SC | BUY

#13 Recitatif: A Story by Toni Morrison, Zadie Smith (Intro.), Knopf, $16, 9780593315033

A short story about two girls, one black, one white, who meet at a group shelter. The story follows them through their life as they meet occasionally. You don’t know what race each girl is, and the story was written as an experiment . I loved it.
— Beth Carpenter from The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, NC | BUY

See the full Southern Indie Bestseller List



Read This Now | Read This Next | The Bookseller Directory

Read This Now!

Recommended by Southern indies…

In Love by Amy Bloom


In Love by Amy Bloom
Random House / March 2022

More Reviews from Square Books

When Amy Bloom’s husband of 15 years is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, he decides to end his life on his own terms – “to die on his feet, not live on his knees”. In Love is an account of how the couple made that happen, as well as a celebration of their love. It’s by turns honest, raw, unsentimental, funny, captivating, powerful and utterly devastating. I devoured it in less than a day – an experience that left me emotionally wrung out, but also very glad to have done so.

Reviewed by Jude Burke-Lewis, Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi

Bookseller Buzz


Spotlight on: Knight Owl by Christopher Denise


Christopher Denise

"The illustrations for Knight Owl posed an interesting challenge. Most of the book takes place at night. How could I make the illustrations using a color pallet varied enough so that each scene could have the right feeling and not feel too dark? I took that challenge as an opportunity to dive deep into my fascination with Japanese woodblock prints, specifically the work of Hiroshi Yoshida (1876-1950) one of the greatest artists of the shin-hanga style. Yoshida’s work, along with a few nods to Rembrandt and Vermeer, defined the palette for the entire project. The range of blue tones in Yoshida’s work is amazing! "–Christopher Denise (via School Library Journal Blog)

Knight Owl

What booksellers are saying about Knight Owl

  • An absolutely delightful picture book bursting with wonderfully playful illustrations. As a kid, I loved knights, dragons, and adventure (still do!) and I would have cherished this wonderful book from Denise and spent hours looking at each page. Celebrating perseverance, cleverness, and friendship; Knight Owl is sure to delight readers! ― Caleb Masters from Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, NC
    Buy from Bookmarks

  • A night Knight owl who proves he can be brave by outwitting a dragon with pizza. And in doing so shows that even the smallest of creatures can be cunning. ―Judith Lafitte from Octavia Books LLC in New Orleans, LA
    Buy from Octavia Books

  • A sweet picture book about a wise owl, perseverance, and finding common ground with others.   ―Rae Ann Parker from Parnassus Books in Nashville, TN
    Buy from Parnassus Books

  • Knight Owl is full of goodness. Who knew dragons and owls made for a good story? And pizza, the great peace maker? Perfect for fans of Gruffalo and Dragons Love Tacos. ―Jilleen Moore from Square Books in Oxford, MS
    Buy from Square Books

About Christopher Denise

Christopher Denise spent much of his childhood in Shannon, Ireland, exploring castles and dreaming of great adventures. He is the illustrator of many critically acclaimed books for young readers, including Anika Aldamuy Denise’s Bunny in the Middle, Alison McGhee’s Firefly Hollow, Rosemary Wells’s Following Grandfather, and Anne Marie Pace’s Groundhug Day, as well as several in Brian Jacques’s award-winning Redwall series. His books have appeared on the Indie Next List and the New York Times bestseller list and in the Society of Illustrators’ Annual Exhibition. Knight Owl marks his author-illustrator debut. Christopher’s current adventures include exploring coastal Rhode Island, where he lives with his family.

Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. Mandel


Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. Mandel
Knopf / April 2022

More Reviews from Sunrise Books

Good grief I loved this book. The Glass Hotel makes more sense now, but I already loved it anyway. Nobody does time “travel” like Emily St. John Mandel. She manages not to lose us in the weaving of the timelines and characters. Despite being set in both the past and the future, the themes are so timely. A pandemic, wealth inequity, the idea of home, the role of art in society, family dynamics–it’s all there, plus there are colonies on the moon and maybe we’re all living in a simulation. It might seem like a stretch, but I think her only peer in speculative fiction is Margaret Atwood herself.

Reviewed by Angela Schroeder, Sunrise Books in High Point, North Carolina

One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle


One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle
 Atria Books / March 2022

More Reviews from Bookmiser

Imagine the tragic cancer death of your mother when she is your best friend—the real love of your life…and then imagine you find her alive again and she is happy and healthy and only thirty years old. This happens when Katy travels to Italy on a trip she and her mother Carol planned. How could this be? Katy is utterly devastated when her mom dies and she doesn’t know how she can go on with life without her. Rebecca Serle’s description of the beauty of Postano’s cliffs and ocean views makes the reader join Katy and taste the amazing food at every Italian meal. The sudden appearance of her mother Carol as a young vibrant woman is shocking. Is it really her mother in her youth? Is Katy so heartbroken that she just imagines it? This unforgettable love story will leave the reader thinking about family bonds and wondering how one would react to such an event. It is a story that will stay with you long after the last page.

Reviewed by Nancy Pierce, Bookmiser in Marietta, Georgia

Blood Scion by Deborah Falaye


Blood Scion by Deborah Falaye
HarperTeen / March 2022

More Reviews from Story on the Square

This #ownvoices novel rips the reader out of their world into the Yoruba-Nigerian world of Sloane. A recently drafted child soldier of the Lucis, who destroyed and still destroy people like her, ones that have powers from the gods, a Scion. Sloane is put through brutal test after brutal test all while trying to find out what happened to her mother who disappeared two years before and survive the bloodbath that is basic training. While this novel isn’t for the weak of heart, it’s perfect for anyone who loved A Song of Wraiths and Shadows and Children of Blood and Bone. The debut novel is nonstop action and punch after punch, perfect for readers who don’t like any slow parts in their reads.

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

Nour’s Secret Library by Wafa’ Tarnowska


Nour’s Secret Library by Wafa’ Tarnowska
Barefoot Books / March 2022

More Reviews from Fountain Bookstore

Nour and her cousin Amir live in Damascus, playing and reading and planning a secret club when the war in Syria comes to their city. Soon they are forced to spend their nights in a basement, and during the day Amir and his friends collect the books left on the streets of Damascus. With the books piling up, Noor and Amir decide to start a secret library- a place for their friends to find hope,adventure, and comfort. The illustrations are lovely and I’m always a sucker for a board book about books!

Reviewed by Kate Towery, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

Read This Next!

Books on the horizon: Forthcoming favorites from Southern indies…

The Ogress and the Orphans by Kelly Barnhill


The Ogress and the Orphans by Kelly Barnhill
Algonquin Young Readers / March 2022

More Reviews from The Country Book Shop

A March 2022 Read This Next! Title

This beautiful tale is cleverly oozling with allegory–but it boils down to a simple message: knowledge, education, and the written word are power, kindness matters, and together we are stronger. Kelly Barnhill has crafted a masterpiece chock full of mistrusting citizens in a ruined village, an ogress with a big heart, orphans who pay attention, crows with a language of their own, a scarily charismatic mayor who isn’t who he seems, and an unnoticed stone at the heart of it all. This reader was thoroughly bedazzled and charmed by its brilliance.

Reviewed by Damita Nocton from The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, NC

Southern Bestsellers

What’s popular this week with Southern Readers.

The Family Chao King This Here Flesh The Lost Apothecary
The Undefeated

[ See the full list ]

sbr shelf

Parting Thought

“The whole world opened to me when I learned to read.”
– Mary McLeod Bethune

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