The Southern Bookseller Review 5/10/22

The Southern Bookseller Review Newsletter for the week of May 10, 2022

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The week of May 10, 2022

May is Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Celebrate Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month

On May 10, 1869, the final spike was driven, completing the Transcontinental Railroad. "Golden Spike Day," as it came to be known, celebrated American drive and ingenuity, but conveniently ignored the labor of the thousands of Chinese immigrants whose hard labor built the railroad.

It is one of the reasons why Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month is celebrated in May. Here are some reading lists and recent book reviews for readers:

Books tagged Asian American at SBR
Asian American Picture Books
Read Asian American Writers 2022 Releases

The Tiger Mom’s Tale by Lyn Liao Butler
Part mystery, part family drama, with a dash of romance, The Tiger Mom’s Tale is a story of two times. Lexa is grieving the death of her biological father, whom she only met once as a teen in Taiwan. –Beth Seufer Buss, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Swimming Back to Trout River by Linda Rui Feng
Linda Rui Feng pulls you in with the intertwined stories of four individuals starting during China’s Cultural Revolution in the 60’s and ending up in America in the 80’s. You will love these characters and be moved by the storytelling in this engrossing debut. –Karen Hayes, Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee

O Beautiful by Jung Yun
This beautiful character-driven book set in the American Midwest covers many contemporary topics like racism, fracking, sexual harassment, and the immigrant experience. I loved the messy protagonist Elinor Hanson, a Korean American who grew up in South Dakota. Korean American author Jung Yun has written a fantastic novel in O Beautiful that surprised me over and over, especially by book’s end. — Rachel Watkins, Avid Bookshop in Athens, Georgia

Meet James Lee Burke | May 24, 2022 at 7:00 PM ET

James Lee Burke

The Reader Meet Writer Author Series returns this month for the exclusive launch of James Lee Burke’s new novel, Every Cloak Rolled in Blood, a devastating exploration of the nature of good and evil, and a deeply moving story about the power of love and family.

James Lee Burke is a New York Times bestselling author, two-time winner of the Edgar Award, and the recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Arts in Fiction. He’ll be in conversation with Reader Meet Writer host and SIBA’s 2022 Southern Book Prize winner, Wiley Cash.

The Reader Meet Writer Author Series is sponsored by Southern independent bookstores.

Read This Now | Read This Next | The Bookseller Directory

Read This Now!

Recommended by Southern indies…

Bitter Orange Tree by Jokha Alharthi


Bitter Orange Tree by Jokha Alharthi
Catapult / May 2022

More Reviews from The Country Bookshop

When Man Booker Prize winner Jokha Alharthi writes, a river of emotions pours from her in the most beautiful way possible. Her latest translated novel features a young Omani student in London attempting to come to terms with the grief and regrets of losing her devoted grandmother by not attending to her when she needed her most. The tale drifts back and forth through time, giving the reader a view into the two strikingly different lives of these women; where both bear the weight of unfulfilled desires. This was an exquisite and haunting read.

Reviewed by Damita Nocton, The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, North Carolina

Bookseller Buzz


Spotlight on: Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt


Shelby Van Pelt

So it was really interesting to write these kind of trapped storylines, whether it’s the octopus or Tova in the town or some of the other characters who are really just trapped by their own misconceptions of themselves, during a time when, you know, we spent a lot of time just looking out the front window, thinking, wow, where do we go from here?” –Shelby Van Pelt, interview, NPR

What booksellers are saying about Remarkably Bright Creatures

Remarkably Bright Creatures
  • A heartwarming story about loneliness and grief, community and connection, and a family mystery that must be solved – and soon. With charming but imperfect characters and a very satisfying warm hug of an ending, this novel hits all the right notes. ―Serena Wyckoff from Copperfish Books in Punta Gorda, FL
    Buy from Copperfish Books

  • This narrative has so much heart, and such a gentle voice. I loved the multiple narratives, weaving their ways towards each other like drawing heart strings together to heal a great hurt. A wonderful, thoughtful novel.   ―Aimee Keeble from Main Street Books in Davidson, NC
    Buy from Main Street Books

  • You’ll fall in love with all the creatures who live in Sowell Bay. Easy to read yet rich with themes of loss & grief, this charming book offers hope for all those feeling trapped & lonely in their lives.   ―Maggie Robe from Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, NC
    Buy from Flyleaf Books

  • A lovely story filled with characters who will warm your heart. Tova is a little bit of Frederik Backman’s Britt Marie and Ove rolled into one unforgettable lady. And Marcellus! Where do I begin…who knew an octopus could be so deviously charming?!?   ―Anderson McKean from Page & Palette in Fairhope, AL
    Buy from Page & Palette

About Shelby Van Pelt

Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Shelby Van Pelt lives in the suburbs of Chicago with her family. This is her first novel.

Tokyo Dreaming by Emiko Jean


Tokyo Dreaming by Emiko Jean
Flatiron Books / May 2022

More Reviews from Fiction Addiction

Tokyo Dreaming is a breathtaking story that is so vividly written you will feel like you are walking next to Izumi as she navigates imperial life. Izumi has overcome so many challenges since discovering that her father is the Crown Prince Makotonomiya Toshihito of Japan. The transition from normal small town girl to Imperial princess has been difficult. Now Izumi’s mom has joined her in Japan, and they are living the happy family life that Izumi always dreamed of with her father. When Izumi’s father proposes to her mom, everyone is thrilled for the life that is to come. Everyone, except the Imperial council who has their doubts about the match. Izumi decides she will do whatever it takes to make sure her mom and dad have their happily ever after. But what will it cost her? Her future happiest, her friends, or even the true love of her life. Tokyo Dreaming continues the story that began with Tokyo Ever After. Perfect for fans of Sarah Kuhn’s I love you so Mochi, Katherine McGee’s American Royal, or Meg Cabot’s Princess Diaries.

Reviewed by Gretchen Shuler, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina

Magic Season by Wade Rouse


Magic Season by Wade Rouse
 Hanover Square Press / May 2022

More Reviews from Page 158 Books

They say truth is better than fiction and with Magic Season I completely agree. Wade and his rigid engineer father had a contentious relationship for quite awhile. When Ted learns he is dying Wade returns home for one final season of the one thing the men share a passion for-The St Louis Cardinals. This is inspiring and heartwarming and told with Wade’s poignant sense of humor. It gives hope to any one suffering from a desire to have a close relationship with a parent. There is always a chance for your team in baseball and a relationship with your parent.

Reviewed by Suzanne Lucey, Page 158 Books in Wake Forest, North Carolina

The Golden Swift by Lev Grossman


The Golden Swift by Lev Grossman
Little Brown and Company / May 2022

More Reviews from Novel

A middle grade fantasy novel with magical trains, a magical submarine, an apartment in the sky, a missing uncle, talking animals, endangered species and rewilding? Yes, please! This series is proof that kids can learn about current day issues in novels. Not that any of us in the industry need convincing of this, but this series does it effortlessly. Brilliant! Can’t wait for more!

Reviewed by Jill Naylor, Novel in Memphis, Tennessee

The Good Left Undone by Adriana Trigiani


The Good Left Undone by Adriana Trigiani
Dutton / April 2022

More Reviews from Book No Further

Adriana Trigiani’s The Good Left Undone transports you through both time and place, moving effortlessly through four generations of the Cabrelli family and from country to country during one of Europe’s most trying times. It not only impresses the importance of family and the love we share with those we choose, but the importance of the stories and heirlooms that are passed down from one generation to the next.

Reviewed by Doloris Vest, Book No Further in Roanoke, Virginia

Read This Next!

Books on the horizon: Forthcoming favorites from Southern indies…

Book Lovers by Emily Henry


Book Lovers by Emily Henry
Berkley / May 2022

More Reviews from Books and Books

A May 2022 Read This Next! Selection

Emily Henry has done it again and stolen my heart completely with her two main leads. In this one, a literary agent and a book editor end up stuck together in his tiny hometown, which happens to be the whimsical setting in the bestselling book she agents for– one he gave a scathing rejection to upon their very first meeting. It’s a “we think we’re enemies” but are actually idiots-to-lovers who perfectly fit each other kind of story. Henry is the unquestioned queen of banter, but this is probably her wittiest, most laugh-out-loud funny book to date. I had so much fun reading Book Lovers.

Reviewed by Cristina Russell from Books & Books in Coral Gables, Florida

Southern Bestsellers

What’s popular this week with Southern Readers.

Time is a Mother Freezing Order People We Meet on Vacation
All About Love The Girl from the Sea

[ See the full list ]

sbr shelf

Parting Thought

“Literature is the art of discovering something extraordinary about ordinary people, and saying with ordinary words something extraordinary.”
– Boris Pasternak

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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