The Southern Bookseller Review 4/12/22

The Southern Bookseller Review Newsletter for the week of March 29, 2022

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April 12, 2022

Have you had your poetry fix this week?

Chouli, Photo credit Burke's Book Store

Burke’s Book Store in Memphis, Tennessee sends out a poem to its subscribers every Monday. And not just during April/Poetry Month, but every week of the year.

Here is what they sent this week:

An Empty Place
by Ted Kooser

There is nothing for Death
in an empty house,
nor left for him in the white dish
broken over the road.

Come and sit down by me
on the sunny stoop,
and let your hear so gently
rock you, rock you.

There is nothing to harm us here.

The poems are selected by the store’s co-owner Corey Mesler. You can read earlier poems here. Burke’s carries new, used, and rare books, and they have a thing for poetry. (And they like dogs!)

Read This Now | Read This Next | The Bookseller Directory

Read This Now!

Recommended by Southern indies…

The Hurting Kind by Ada Limón


The Hurting Kind by Ada Limón
Milkweed Editions / May 2022

More Reviews from Blue Cypress Books

Reading this collection made me feel like I was standing outside with my bare feet in the grass, scrunching my toes in the soil, feeling the breeze on my face, and pondering the oneness of everything.

Reviewed by LeeAnna Callon, Blue Cypress Books in New Orleans, Louisiana

Like a Sister by Kellye Garrett


Like a Sister by Kellye Garrett
Mulholland Books / March 2022

More Reviews from Fiction Addiction

Like a Sister is as much a story about today’s social media culture and societal issues especially those of race and class as it is a masterfully written twisty mystery. The story is narrated by the very relatable Lena Scott, half- sister of realty star Desiree Pierce who is found dead of a presumed overdose. Lena uses sarcasm and wit to hide her emotions because as a young Black woman in today’s world Lena believes what her mother has always told her – that she must always show her super-woman side to the world. While Desiree was a known alcoholic and coke user, one of the main reasons the sisters had not spoken in two years, Lena is convinced that Desiree didn’t die from an accidental overdose of heroin. She wouldn’t have been surprised if it were coke but never heroin, as Desiree hated needles and was too vain to ever leave track marks. Lena believes the last favor she can do for her sister is find out the truth behind her death even, as it turns out, at the risk to her own life.

Reviewed by Nancy McFarlane, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina

Bookseller Buzz


Spotlight on: Bomb Shelter by Mary Laura Philpott


Mary Laura Philpott

"My hope was to do what many other books have done for me, which is to tell one person’s story in a way that makes other people look at their own lives differently or perhaps understand something about themselves better. "–Mary Laura Philpott, interview in Hippocampus

What booksellers are saying about Bomb Shelter

  • Mary Laura does what no one else can – muse about mortality and make you laugh. Reading her essays is like sitting down on the porch with her and having a glass of wine. Her worries are OUR worries, only we rarely discuss them aloud (and none of us are as funny as Mary Laura). ―Sissy Gardner from Parnassus Books in Nashville, TN
    Buy from Parnassus Books

  • A memoir in essays, Bomb Shelter tackles some pretty monumental moments in Philpott’s life, starting with a medical emergency for her son to taking care of her family during the pandemic. Although the specifics will be different by readers, most of us have faced pivotal moments in our lives, and we certainly share those same questions – from “how did I get here?” to “should I have known?” Philpott’s candor in writing is refreshing; just as in I Miss You When I Blink, I found myself laughing and crying at the commonality of how we approach life, aging, and the world.   ―Beth Seufer Buss from Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, NC
    Buy from Bookmarks

  • Mary Laura Philpott’s Bomb Shelter reads like a long coffee date with a dear friend. This memoir covers a lot of the emotional nuances of parenting and Philpott is a kindred spirit. Give this book to any parent who needs a virtual hug and assurance that they are indeed doing a good job.   ―Rachel Watkins from Avid Bookshop in Athens, GA
    Buy from Avid Bookshop

Mary Laura Philpott

Mary Laura Philpott, author of the national bestseller I Miss You When I Blink, writes essays that examine the overlap of the absurd and the profound in everyday life. Her writing has been featured frequently by The New York Times and appears in such outlets as The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Real Simple, and more. A former bookseller, she also hosted an interview program on Nashville Public Television for several years. Mary Laura lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with her family.

Insomnia by Sarah Pinborough


Insomnia by Sarah Pinborough
St. Martin’s Press / April 2022

More Reviews from The Haunted Book Shop

I watched the Netflix Series Behind Her Eyes and loved the suspense and supernatural themes. So, when I saw that Sarah Pinborough wrote Insomnia I knew that I had to read it! The story itself reminded me of Behind Her Eyes and the movie Hereditary. You have a mother as the main character who is doing everything she can to find out about her estranged mother’s life as she tries to uncover family secrets to protect her family. But, is she protecting her family from the impending danger, or is she the danger her family needs protecting from? The whole story you are in just as much disbelief as the main character…she doesn’t know if she is awake or asleep, if she is sane or going mad like her mother, and as things twist and turn deeper into the story a mind-bending and time-bending twist is added!

Reviewed by Kait Layton, The Haunted Book Shop in Mobile, Alabama

The Unwritten Book by Samantha Hunt


The Unwritten Book by Samantha Hunt
 Farrar, Straus and Giroux / April 2022

More Reviews from Avid Bookshop

With a heavy heart and a recently missing cat (wringing out the old year, hearing the ringing of the new through my poorly insulated walls), I started a book that followed me home from work. For years, Samantha Hunt novels, on glancing and flipping, have always looked to be in the “Alley (up my)” or “Wheelhouse (in my)” genres, but this is my first and, by golly, I can’t stop rambling, deleting, rambling, deleting this review. She lets grief, family, empathy, childhood, alcohol, a boy band, authority, loss, parenthood, faith (and much much more) drop, all at once, into the top of the Plinko board, amazingly not jamming the derned thing up. What settles at the bottom is a nice, orderly, call for all to relish the unknown, hold tight to loss, and madlib the half-assed answers to life’s half-asked questions. I, for one, am retooling “rut” and giving a new shine to “stuck in a.” However, as newly-formed fanboy insecurities blossom, the Samantha Hunt in my mind says “well, YOU sure missed the point on the head.” But surely the fact that I got what I wanted out of [the book, which I forgot to mention is a work of nonfiction] was surely the point of it exactly. Or at least that’s what I got out of it. Surely.

Reviewed by Ian McCord, Avid Bookshop in Athens, Georgia

Hotel Magnifique by Emily J. Taylor


Hotel Magnifique by Emily J. Taylor
Razorbill / April 2022

More Reviews from M. Judson booksellers and storytellers

Dreamy, dark, and mysterious. Danger, desire, and enigmatic. Filled with characters you want to know more of and places you want to be. Hotel Magnifique is oh so delicious!

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

I Color Myself Different by Colin Kaepernick,


I Color Myself Different by Colin Kaepernick,
Scholastic, Inc. / April 2022

More Reviews from Page 158 Books

What a great way to share with a young child why they are different and why they matter. Colin learns he was chosen and was adopted into a family of loving people. Great colorful illustrations and a wonderful message. For kids and adults

Reviewed by Gina Norris, Page 158 Books in Wake Forest, North Carolina

Read This Next!

Books on the horizon: Forthcoming favorites from Southern indies…

Bomb Shelter by Mary Laura Philpott


Bomb Shelter by Mary Laura Philpott
Atria Books / April 2022

More Reviews from Snail on the Wall

An April 2022 Read This Next! Title

It’s more tempting than ever to want to build a bomb shelter and retreat from the upheavals of life. But with this memoir, Mary Laura Philpott convinces us that, like Frank the turtle, we have to poke our heads out from time to time, confront the challenges, and keep going. Thank you, MLP, for making all of us worriers feel seen, and for helping us put into words the emotions (so very many emotions) that go along with being not just a parent but a person.

Reviewed by Lady Smith, Snail on the Wall in Huntsville, Alabama

Southern Bestsellers

What’s popular this week with Southern Readers.

Violeta by Isabel Allende South to America Whereabouts
Robert E. Lee and Me Gallant

[ See the full list ]

sbr shelf

Parting Thought

“We have to talk about liberating minds as well as liberating society.”
– Angela Davis

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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