The Southern Bookseller Review 5/3/22

The Southern Bookseller Review Newsletter for the week of May 3, 2022

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The week of May 3, 2022

Reader Meet Writer Returns with James Lee Burke

Reader Meet Writer: James Lee Burke

"The Holland books are acutely more conscious of the heritage of the frontier, and it is one that many people are not aware of. We talk about “conquering the West,” which means conquering nature. Furthermore, the story of “conquering the West” is the story of stealing land." — James Lee Burke, interview in

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

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.

In his "most autobiographical novel to date," James Lee Burke continues the epic Holland family saga with a writer grieving the death of his daughter while battling earthly and supernatural outlaws.

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…

In a Garden Burning Gold by Rory Power


In a Garden Burning Gold by Rory Power
Del Rey / May 2022

More Reviews from Underground Books

In this Greek-inspired fantasy, the adult debut of Wilder Girls author Rory Power, families rule with the power of saints or gods, and siblings find themselves on opposing sides of a brewing war. The world building was very unique and interesting to me, and I would recommend for fans of court politics in their fantasy.

Reviewed by Megan Bell from Underground Books in Carrollton, Georgia

Bookseller Buzz


Spotlight on: The Forest of Vanishing Stars by Kristin Harmel


Kristin Harmel

Even while writing for People magazine, I gravitated toward the weightier “Heroes Among Us” stories, which were the stories of everyday people doing incredible things.” –Kristin Harmel, interview, Fort Myers News Press

What booksellers are saying about The Forest of Vanishing Stars

The Forest of Vanishing Stars
  • Kristin’s new novel is magical! The isolated, survivalist upbringing of the main character, Yona, provides a rich and intriguing springboard for this story to evolve, an extraordinary story of Jews surviving Nazi terror deep in the forest. Awesome storytelling, terrific writing – our readers will love it! ―Cathy Graham from Copperfish Books in Punta Gorda, FL
    Buy from Copperfish Books

  • Another mesmerizing story from Kristin Harmel. Yona is stolen by an old woman at birth from a German couple in the Berlin and raised in the forest. Her kidnapper prepares her for her destiny, which is to help escape Jews survive the perils of the forest while evading the Nazi soldiers. Yona’s struggle to come to terms with God’s will and her own origins threads through the book. Loved it and cannot wait for wait KH brings us next!   ―Laura Taylor from Oxford Exchange in Tampa, FL
    Buy from Oxford Exchange

  • I love the character of Yona whose knowledge of the forest was essential. Courage, determination and resilience enabled many to hide from the Germans until the end of the war. This is historical fiction at its best and survivors and descendants have contributed to the significant research that went into the making of this book. A powerful story that I couldn’t put down.   ―Stephanie Crowe from Page & Palette in Fairhope, AL
    Buy from Page & Palette

Kristin Harmel

Kristin Harmel is the New York Times bestselling author of over a dozen novels including The Forest of Vanishing Stars, The Book of Lost Names, The Room on Rue Amélie, and The Sweetness of Forgetting. She is published in thirty languages and is the cofounder and cohost of the popular web series, Friends and Fiction. She lives in Orlando, Florida.

Paradais by Fernanda Melchor


Paradais by Fernanda Melchor
New Directions / April 2022

More Reviews from Avid Bookshop

A feral parable on the violence of racism, misandry, and class from a preeminent, new voice of contemporary Mexican literature. Melchor’s style in Paradais is writhing and slippery, capturing not only a portrait of desperation but the ugliness of the toxic thread that runs through the underside of our collective psyche.

Reviewed by Luis Correa from Avid Bookshop in Athens, Georgia

Wired for Love by Stephanie Cacioppo


Wired for Love by Stephanie Cacioppo
 Flatiron Books / April 2022

More Reviews from Novel

Wired For Love is part neuroscience and part memoir… but it is ultimately a love story between the world’s foremost authority on the brain’s response to love/loss and the world’s foremost authority on loneliness. Cacioppo includes a lot of scientific information and hard data pulled from years of her research, but she also guides the reader through her own personal story of falling in love and eventually her grief surrounding her husband’s death. She has a way of getting the reader to thoughtfully reevaluate the “common beliefs” surrounding incredibly complex (but purely human) emotions. This book is fantastic.

Reviewed by Stuart McCommon from Novel in Memphis, Tennessee

Hollow Fires by Samira Ahmed


Hollow Fires by Samira Ahmed
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers / May 2022

More Reviews from Quail Ridge Books

Ahmed masterfully weaves together so many difficult topics that it’s hard to say what this book is about in any concise way. It’s painful, it’s beautiful, it’s haunting. It shines a light on horrific topics with sensitivity and grace and does so through the lens of two characters that are some of the most realistic I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Safiya didn’t really know Jawad, and she still felt the pain of his loss deeply. Upon finishing this book, I too feel his loss as if I knew him. I cannot remember ever reading a book so impactful, so relevant, and so emotionally gripping. If I had my way, everyone would read this book.

Reviewed by tee arnold, Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, North Carolina

The National Menagerie of Art by Thaïs Vanderheyden


The National Menagerie of Art by Thaïs Vanderheyden
Prestel Junior / May 2022

More Reviews from The Country Bookshop

Art museums are wonderful places of discovery and this collection of 20 famous pieces is a great way to bring all the world’s great art museums into one spot. This little gem is the perfect introduction to art for novices of a tender age.

Reviewed by Angie Tally, The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, North Carolina

Read This Next!

Books on the horizon: Forthcoming favorites from Southern indies…

The Book Woman’s Daughter by Kim Michele Richardson


The Book Woman’s Daughter by Kim Michele Richardson
Sourcebooks Landmark / May 2022

More Reviews from The Little Bookshop

A May 2022 Read This Next! Selection

Kim Michele Richardson has given us another wonderful story about the packhorse librarians of Kentucky. In this book, we move forward sixteen years to the early 1950’s and are introduced to Honey Lovett, daughter of Cussy Mary, who must pick up her mother’s library route when her parents are jailed due to the laws prohibiting their mixed-race marriage. Through Honey’s story, we meet new characters and revisit old friends that help her as she delivers books in and out of the hollers, fights for her independence as a young working woman, and struggles to bring attention to the plight of her parents. Kim Michele Richardson writes beautifully about a landscape and a people that has deep and personal meaning to her and that is one of the reasons she is so successful and so loved by her readers. This book is highly recommended!

Reviewed by Mary Patterson, The Little Bookshop in Midlothian, Virginia

Southern Bestsellers

What’s popular this week with Southern Readers.

The Good Left Undone Finding Me The Paper Palace
Braiding Sweetgrass The Superpower Sisterhood

[ See the full list ]

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Parting Thought

“But behind all your stories is your mother’s story, for hers is where yours begins.”
– Mitch Albom

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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