The Southern Bookseller Review 4/18/23

The Southern Bookseller Review Newsletter for the week of April 18, 2023

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The Southern Bookseller Review: A Book for Every Reader

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The week of April 18, 2023

Looking forward to Independent Bookstore Day

Independent Bookstore Day 2023

Indie Bookstore Day marks its 10th Anniversary on Saturday, April 29th, 2023. Always held the last Saturday in April, IBD is a one-day national party that takes place at indie bookstores across the country. Every store is unique and independent, and every party is different. But in addition to authors, live music, cupcakes, scavenger hunts, kids events, art tables, readings, barbecues, contests, and other fun stuff, there are exclusive books and literary items that you can only get on that day.

In some areas bookstores have come together to celebrate together. "Bookstore Crawls" are being held in Charlotte, Atlanta, New Orleans, and in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Bookstores which sell audiobooks via may also be part of the "Golden Ticket Game" — yes, an actual Golden Ticket a la Willy Wonka which entitles the finder to 12 audiobook credits. The tickets are hidden at indie bookstores across the country.

Other things stores are doing: A Short Story Pizza Party, Make Fairy Crowns and Wizard Hats, Dress up as your favorite book character, Store Gift Cards. Click here to see a map of participating bookstores but if your local bookshop isn’t listed, check with them anyway. Many bookstores have special events planned even though they aren’t participating officially.

Read This Now | Read This Next | The Bookseller Directory

Read This Now!

Recommended by Southern indies…

The Path to Kindness by James Crews


The Path to Kindness by James Crews
Storey Publishing, LLC / April 2023

More Reviews from Fountain Bookstore

While I love poetry, I will admit to being a beginning reader still finding my way and what I like in the genre. Some of my favorite contemporary poets (and pretty much all of the dead ones) are so depressing though. Beautiful and powerful, but depressing. The Path To Kindness was an unexpected discovery! This anthology explores the themes of connection and joy. Uplifting and accessible from diverse voices, I turn to it often and have given many copies to friends.

Reviewed by Kelly Justice, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

Camp Zero by Michelle Min Sterling


Camp Zero by Michelle Min Sterling
Atria Books / April 2023

More Reviews from The Violet Fox Bookshop

Michelle Min Sterling’s debut novel, Camp Zero, imagines the world in the year 2050. Climate change has made much of the world uninhabitable, natural disasters are more prevalent and more dangerous, the wealthy are wealthier, the poor are still poor, and white men are still trying to colonize land belonging to indigenous people with the foolish notion that they can make it better by "civilizing" it. Sounds pretty bleak, right? It is, but there are glimmers of hope and beauty too. While some people in the future are still choosing money and power, others are choosing love and community.

Camp Zero is the kind of dystopian novel that is both terrifying because of how plausible it is and incredibly important because it explores how we might change that future world. It also asks deep questions, like who will survive and what will it take? And will doing what it takes to survive just make us monsters in the end? Amidst the questions, one thing is clear – we must open our eyes. This story is a road sign to our blind spots, whether it be hope blinding us to reality, privilege blinding us to our own malice, or grief and fear blinding us to love. 

Camp Zero is a collection of deeply personal stories set in a world on the verge of collapse. If you’re hungry for the next piece of dystopian literature, Camp Zero will feed that craving. This book will swallow you whole and spit you back out again with a new perspective.

Reviewed by Emily Lessig, The Violet Fox Bookshop in Virginia Beach, Virginia

Bookseller Buzz


Spotlight on: The Wager by David Grann


David Grann, photo credit David Grann

"I came across an 18th-century eyewitness account of the expedition by John Byron, who had been a 16-year-old midshipman on the Wager when the voyage began. Though the account was written in archaic English, and the lettering was faded and hard to decipher, it instantly sparked my curiosity. Here was one of the most extraordinary sagas I had ever heard of: a crew battling typhoons, tidal waves and scurvy; a shipwreck on a desolate island off the Chilean coast of Patagonia, where the castaways slowly descended into a real-life Lord of the Flies, with warring factions, murders, mutiny and cannibalism.

And that was only part of the saga." ―David Grann, Interview, BookPage

What booksellers are saying about The Wager

The Wager by David Grann
  • Grann is a wonderful history storyteller. This little known story of The Wager, a warship in in the late 1700’s, shipwrecked around Cape Horn. This most unusual story of mutiny and survival is mesmerizing. And the surprising twist at the end kept me enthralled. A must read!
      ―Stephanie Crowe from Page & Palette in Fairhope, Alabama | Buy from Page and Palette

  • Few authors are able to write nonfiction history that reads like a page turning adventure novel, but David Grann is one of them. The gripping story of The Wager’s shipwreck and the survivors’ divergent tales of the events that followed kept me on the edge of my seat as I devoured this book. And Martin Scorsese has already acquired the film rights!
      ―Josh Niesse from Underground Books in Carrollton, Georgia | Buy from Underground Books

  • The Wager is a tense historic tale that was forgotten until recently thanks to David Grann. It’s filled with the most questionable aspects of human nature when order breaks down, but it’s also a nod to the strength of spirit as it pertains to survival. Additionally, Grann delves into the casualties of British colonialism and the dangers that come along with ego. This book is dramatic, well-researched, and it is perfect for history buffs looking for nonfiction that reads like fiction.
      ―Stuart McCommon from Novel in Memphis, Tennessee | Buy from Novel
  • When The Wager, a British warship, wrecked off the coast of Chile in 1741, death seemed certain for all on board. But, astonishingly, a small number survived. David Grann’s account of The Wager’s ill-fated voyage and its aftermath – including murder and mutiny – is rich with vivid detail and utterly compelling.
      ―Jude Burke-Lewis from Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi | Buy from Square Books

About David Grann

David Grann is the author of the #1 New York Times bestsellers Killers of the Flower Moon and The Lost City of Z. Killers of the Flower Moon was a finalist for the National Book Award and won an Edgar Allan Poe Award. He is also the author of The White Darkness and the collection The Devil and Sherlock Holmes. Grann’s investigative reporting has garnered several honors, including a George Polk Award. He lives with his wife and children in New York.

The Only Daughter by A.B. Yehoshua


The Only Daughter by A.B. Yehoshua
 HarperVia / April 2023

More Reviews from Flyleaf Books

To me, Rachele’s journey feels as if it has no defined end, and that’s a good thing. It starts as she leaves class for Christmas holidays, but every new interaction feels like a new adventure. Yet, those adventures are all short, ending within our gaze. Combined, they display life as Rachele is experiencing it as a young, well-off, Jewish girl in post-WWII Italy. The journeys that others are on will continue, but not within the understanding of our protagonist. A quick, introspective read that dives into the consciousness of a child in an unfamiliar time and place.

Reviewed by Jamie Kovacs, Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Womb by Leah Hazard


Womb by Leah Hazard
Ecco / April 2023

More Reviews from Bookmarks

This book is FASCINATING — I kept reading things out loud to my husband and saying "DID YOU KNOW THAT??" Despite being packed with information and descriptions of scientific studies, this book is such an easy read. I think part of this is that the author is a podcaster, so she knows how to explain things in a conversational manner. I am continually flabbergasted by how little work we’ve done to study uteruses. What a magical organ!

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

Bianca Torre Is Afraid of Everything by Justine Pucella Winans


Bianca Torre Is Afraid of Everything by Justine Pucella Winans
Clarion Books / April 2023

More Reviews from Parnassus Books

This novel truly has everything: a little romance, a self-discovery journey, and a dash of murder. It’s all delightfully narrated by Bianca, whose voice is funny, endearing, and authentic. I enjoyed every page and missed the characters when I finished.

Reviewed by Chelsea Stringfield, Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee

Always Anjali by Sheetal Sheth


Always Anjali by Sheetal Sheth
Random House Books for Young Readers / April 2023

More Reviews from Fiction Addiction

Any child who has ever been teased will relate to this delightful picture book about a young girl who at first feels embarrassed for being perceived as different and then learns to celebrate her own uniqueness. It also has lovely themes of family and friendship. Interestingly enough, my name Jill inspired a very similar schoolyard rhyme as the one that Anjali experiences in the story.

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

Sunbeams in the Sky, Vol. 1 by Monika Kaname


Sunbeams in the Sky, Vol. 1 by Monika Kaname
Yen Press / April 2023

More Reviews from E. Shaver Bookseller

A cute romance with a slight twist! I like that there’s some light suspense mixed in. The main character’s trauma feels very natural and I wonder how they’ll sort out the incident in later volumes.

Reviewed by Lana Repic, E. Shaver, bookseller in Savannah, Georgia

Read This Next!

Books on the horizon: Forthcoming favorites from Southern indies…

You Could Make This Place Beautiful by Maggie Smith


You Could Make This Place Beautiful by Maggie Smith
 Atria/One Signal Publishers / April 2023

More Reviews from Fiction AddictionSnail on the Wall

An April 2023 Read This Next! Title

Maggie Smith shares with readers an intimate reflection as she goes through a personal heartbreak, or rather a thousand tiny heartbreaks, over the course of her thirteen-year relationship. Not only centered around love and loss, her memoir looks at the complex issues of modern womanhood and patriarchy. Though I have not personally experienced the pain she details in her memoir, I felt as if I have because of the power of her words. You will find someone you know in her story and it will help you understand their pain a little better. Maggie Smith has the ability to take the human feelings and emotions we all have, but sometimes lack the words to describe, and present them through a beautiful metaphor that can make you feel seen and understood. She does not stay in the pain; she evolves, changes, makes herself new, and always finds a way to make life beautiful.

Reviewed by Abby, The Snail On the Wall in Huntsville, Alabama

Southern Bestsellers

What’s popular this week with Southern Readers.

Romantic Comedy A Fever in the Heartland The Last Thing He Told Me
Red Notice Squished

[ See the full list ]

Parting Thought

“Reading is my inhale, and writing is my exhale.”
— Glennon Doyle

Publisher: The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance /
Editor: Nicki Leone /
Advertising: Linda-Marie Barrett /
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