The Southern Bookseller Review 6/21/22

The Southern Bookseller Review Newsletter for the week of June 14, 2022

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The week of June 20, 2022

Summer ReadsSummer Reads

Summer solstice is here, and with it the long, lazy, sunny days of summer. Beach blankets, barbecues, and of course…books!

Here are some recent bookseller reviews of summery reads perfect for any beach bag or picnic basket.

Summer Sons by Lee Mandelo
Imagine Fast and Furious as a book, but make it a Southern Gothic, give it a hefty dose of dark academia, and make every character queer. –Faith Parke-Dodge, Page 158 Books in Wake Forest, North Carolina

The Lost Summers of Newport by Beatriz Williams
Three women are connected by one mansion, from a music teacher in the Gilded Age to a present-day home renovation TV host. Their stories of love, money, and coverups intertwine in this fascinating book. –Rae Ann Parker, Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee

One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle
A love story with a side of time-traveling. Serle’s amazing descriptions of the food and landscape of Positano, Italy, made me feel that I was on vacation. –Linda Hodges, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina

The Narrowboat Summer by Anne Youngson
Eve and Sally set off down the canals in their borrowed boat, discovering new friends and learning new skills along the way. This delightful book is the perfect antidote to what was a difficult year for so many.–Kate Storhoff, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, NC

Cool for the Summer by Dahlia Adler
If you’re looking for a light summer read that also manages some heavy emotions in a Grease vibe, look no further! –Jennifer Jones, Bookmiser in Marietta, Georgia

More Summer reads at SBR

Read This Now | Read This Next | The Bookseller Directory

Read This Now!

Recommended by Southern indies…

Girls They Write Songs About by Carlene Bauer


Girls They Write Songs About by Carlene Bauer
Farrar, Straus and Giroux / June 2022

More Reviews from Novel

It’s so hard to pin down exactly how I feel about this one. Safe to say, though, to start: I loved reading every page, so there is that! I think part of what makes me feel confused is how close to the bone it could have cut given a few of the similarities between me and Rose and Charlotte. But I was never ambitious. Never really tried to make a go of it as a writer. I was never of New York or the region. Girls They Write Songs About is brilliant, deliciously wry, not afraid to proceed to its destination. It pulls zero punches. It’s mature in a way that is hard to describe. It respects its characters and the reader enough to stay the course on its own terms. And that is a little difficult to accept at times, like real life. I loved it and will have no trouble recommending it to customers. But I’m going to spend between now and June refining my elevator pitch.

Reviewed by Kat Leache, Novel in Memphis, Tennessee

Bookseller Buzz


Spotlight on: One’s Company by Ashley Hutson


Ashley Hutson

I guess at the end, I want to break someone’s heart. I want to feel like I’ve made something that is beyond just a story. Like when you wake up from a dream, and you can’t remember the dream, but you know you’ve been somewhere, you’ve seen something, and you know it’s important, but you’re only left with a deep question, and maybe you’ll never know, you’ll never truly understand that feeling. Maybe if you thoroughly express that feeling, it would lose something. It would be ruined. That’s what I hope when I write fiction, that’s what I like to communicate. And that’s what I like to read—I like to read stuff that makes me ask a question or makes me feel disturbed, that upsets me somehow. I like being disturbed.” –Ashley Hutson, interview, Berkley Fiction Review

What booksellers are saying about One’s Company

You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty
  • Where do I even begin with this book? An original and poignant story of obsession, trauma and the desire to escape into another reality as a means of survival. This is one of the most bonkers books I’ve ever read and one of my favorite books of 2022. ―Gaël LeLamer from Books & Books in Coral Gables, FL
    Buy from Books and Books

  • What a fun, unique concept for a book! Hutson brings us Bonnie Lincoln, left adrift after a roller coaster of personal tragedy and a huge lottery win. Fed up with humanity, she sets out to recreate her ideal life – Three’s Company, her favorite TV show. She builds a world that matches the set, down to the tiniest details, then settles in to forget the rest of society. Between interlopers and gawkers, her peaceful world isn’t meant to last and her already fragile mental health takes a beating. This had me on the edge of my seat, dying to find out how she’d end up. You don’t have to know Three’s Company to enjoy this unexpected story!   ―Andrea Richardson from Fountain Books in Richmond, VA
    Buy from Fountain Bookstore

  • On the surface, the premise of this book sounds ridiculous and hilarious. A woman wins the lottery and decides to recreate Three’s Company and live as the characters. And it is ridiculous, but it’s also raw and sad. Bonnie has experienced an armed robbery in which she was raped and beaten, her unrequited crush was killed right in front of her, and the couple see viewed as adoptive parents are also slain. Unable to deal with the trauma, Bonnie withdraws from the world and takes solace in repeated viewings of Three’s Company. What starts as a comfort becomes an obsession. When she wins the lottery, she is able to live out her dream of being in the show she loves. She soon finds that even this isn’t enough to keep her grief and trauma at bay.   ―Melissa Taylor from E. Shaver, bookseller in Savannah, GA
    Buy from E. Shaver, bookseller

About Ashley Hutson

Ashley Hutson is a writer living in rural Maryland. Her work has appeared in GrantaElectric LiteratureCatapultFanzine, and elsewhere. Her honors include the 2018 Small Fictions Award, judged by Aimee Bender, and several Pushcart Prize nominations.

The Scent of Burnt Flowers by Blitz Bazawule


The Scent of Burnt Flowers by Blitz Bazawule
Ballantine Books / June 2022

More Reviews from Oxford Exchange

Bazawule swiftly drops you into an immediate and tumultuous love story between Bernadette and Melvin as they escape the States seeking a fantastical refuge in 1960s Ghana. This piece is deeply heartbreaking, yet manages to hold it together through its magical storytelling. “Queen and Slim” fans will love this novel as its deep cinematic influence encourages evocative visuals and sentient understandings of the character’s interiors.

Reviewed by Eden Hakimzadeh, Oxford Exchange in Tampa, Florida

Blood Orange Night by Melissa Bond


Blood Orange Night by Melissa Bond
Gallery Books / June 2022

More Reviews from Righton Books

The deeply personal story of a journalist and young mother who is given a long-term prescription for drugs (benzodiazepines) that are meant for short time use only. Her descriptions of life as an addict are deeply personal and harrowing.

Reviewed by Anne Peck, Righton Books in Memphis, Tennessee

My Name Is Jason. Mine Too by Jason Reynolds


My Name Is Jason. Mine Too by Jason Reynolds
Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books / June 2022

More Reviews from Fountain Bookstore

Calling this the coolest most creative young adult book I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading, just wow! Powerhouse Jason Reynolds teams up with longtime best friend and artist Jason Griffin to bring the most interesting memoir I’ve ever read. Originally published in 2009 as Reynolds’s first book, this tiny but mighty memoir follows the two as they chase huge aspirations in New York City. Worlds, collages, and paint splatters cover the pages rather than paragraphs and it works so perfectly. Almost like a zine nonfiction novella, and if that wasn’t a thing it is now and I want more!

Reviewed by Grace Sullivan, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

Brave Every Day by Trudy Ludwig


Brave Every Day by Trudy Ludwig
Knopf Books for Young Readers / June 2022

More Reviews from Booksmarks

A great reminder that our hearts are bigger than our worries. As adults we sometimes forget how kids struggle with big feelings they don’t always understand. This book is great to start the conversation about emotional awareness and other social emotional skills that are important for kids to be successful in school and life.

Reviewed by Lupe Penn, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Read This Next!

Books on the horizon: Forthcoming favorites from Southern indies…

It All Comes Down to This by Therese Anne Fowler


It All Comes Down to This by Therese Anne Fowler
St. Martin’s Press / June 2022

More Reviews from Fiction Addiction

A June 2022 Read This Next! Selection

In the forward Therese writes that the book is for everyone, including herself, who needed some brightness during a dark time. At the beginning I felt like there was anything but brightness in this book. First there was the big secret that Marti Geller had been keeping from her family, then her death and subsequent burden she placed on her three daughters and then the obvious unhappiness that each of her daughters had been experiencing. As usual, Fowler’s writing pulls you right in to the lives of the Geller sisters and gives a very believable look at how each sister has lived their lives because they thought that was what was expected of them and because they didn’t understand what it meant to be true to themselves and what they wanted. I loved the very believable scenes between sisters – the jealousy, the selfishness, the misunderstandings and eventually their forgiveness. It is a story of fate, love, second chances and finally realizing that being true to yourself is the ultimate way to happiness. This book was a well-needed breath of fresh air in my reading.

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

Southern Bestsellers

What’s popular this week with Southern Readers.

One Italian Summer Crying in the H Mart Book Lovers
The Ride of Her Life I Kissed Shara Wheeler

[ See the full list ]

Parting Thought

“Books have a unique way of stopping time in a particular moment and saying: Let’s not forget this.””
– Dave Eggers

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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