The Southern Bookseller Review 6/6/23

The Southern Bookseller Review Newsletter for the week of June 6, 2023

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The Southern Bookseller Review: A Book for Every Reader

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The week of June 6, 2023

The SBR TBR Stack

Read This Next! Books for June

At the beginning of each month SBR highlights a new selection of books, just-released and with lots of bookseller buzz, as the "Read This Next!" picks for the month.

That phrase, "bookseller buzz," isn’t just a vague term for books in the news or books that are popular or on the bestseller list at the moment. "Bookseller Buzz" means books that Southern indie booksellers are talking about — to each other and with their customers.

Booksellers like to talk about what they are reading with each other as much as they do with the people in their shops. They are perennially interested in what other people are reading, and always excited to find a new book to love. So a book with "buzz" on SBR means:

"I read this and I loved it."
"I read this and started thinking of which of my friends I wanted to give it to."
"This book surprised and delighted me."
"This is a book I want other people to love as much as I do."

Those of us in the office of SBR often have a Read This Next title in our "tbr" stack of books we are reading. They are always some of the most interesting books in the pile.

Read This Now | Read This Next | Book Buzz | The Bookseller Directory

Read This Now!

Recommended by Southern indies…

The Wishing Game by Meg Shaffer


The Wishing Game by Meg Shaffer
Ballantine Books / May 2023

More Reviews from Sundog Books

Loved this book! Jack Masterson, the famous author of the Clock Island children’s series has finally written another installment after years as a recluse. He announces a contest where the winner will receive the only copy of the new book. Lucy Hart is a down on her luck teachers aide in California. She wants nothing better than to adopt Christopher a bright 7 year old orphan that she has become attached to. But with her financial instability it looks like that may never happen. Unexpectedly Lucy receives an invitation to come to Clock Island and be a participant in Jack’s contest. Could this be the miracle she and Christopher need? A heartwarming book that has an absolutely gorgeous cover.

Reviewed by Kathy Clemmons, Sundog Books in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida

Bookseller Buzz


Spotlight on: Greenwild by Pari Thomson

Pari Thomson, photo credit Pari Thomson

I’m lucky enough to live near Kew Gardens, a huge botanical garden in London, and I’ve always loved walking through its magnificent glasshouses. Some of the plants there are stranger than fiction – tiny hairy pink bananas, giant lily-pads big enough for a person to lie down on, and poisonous flytraps that sense movement in the air around them. I’ve always thought that plants are a little bit magic, and I wanted to take that idea and run with it. What if plants really WERE magic? What would a magical garden look like? Writing Greenwild was an opportunity for me to explore that world and make it feel real. ― Pari Thomson, Interview, MacKids School & Library

What booksellers are saying about Greenwild

Greenwild by Pari Thomson
  • Greenwild is pure magic in every sense of the word. From the immediate ‘hook’ in the prologue, the story grabs you and never lets go for an instant. The world-building of the Greenwild is reminiscent of Harry Potter (in all the best ways), but the plant magic wielded by the Botanists was refreshingly original and utterly captivating.
      ― Kate Snyder from Plaid Elephant Books in Danville, KY | Buy from Plaid Elephant Books

  • Greenwild is a brilliant magical adventure that gave me the Harry Potter feelings in all the best ways. The characters are lovable and diverse. The magic is novel and timely. The illustrations are gorgeous. My only complaint is that I need the next book stat.
      ―Melissa Taylor from E. Shaver, bookseller in Savannah, GA | Buy from E. Shaver Booksellers

  • There are so many magical middle grade novels out there, but this one felt so unique and so beautiful. Greenwild is a combination of the power of nature, community, and found family. The world building was fast, easy, and addicting. I wanted more and more of Mallowmarsh! It was the type of world that makes you want to jump right in and make it your home as well. Then you have Daisy, who is a main character , in search of her mother and ancestry. Daisy is confident, smart, and someone you want as your best friend. Greenwild was fantastic! Can’t wait for number two! 
      ―Olivia Schaffer from The Bookshelf in Thomasville, GA | Buy from The Bookshelf

  • Go green gets a whole new meaning in this Botanical Fantasy where a stray cat, a missing mother, and a dandelion paperweight are Daisy Thistledown’s ticket into a world of green magic…. even without a grassport. This one is just perfect for fans of Morrigan Crow, Keeper of Lost Cities and The Marvellers.
      ―Angie Tally from The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, NC | Buy from The Country Bookshop

About Pari Thomas

Pari Thomson works as a Senior Commissioning Editor for picture books at Bloomsbury Children’s Books. Half Persian, half English, she lived in many places while she was growing up, including India, Pakistan, the USA, the UK and Belgium. She studied at Oxford University and now lives near the river in London, not far from Kew Gardens. @PariThomson on Twitter.

The Say So by Julia Franks


The Say So by Julia Franks
 Hub City Press / June 2023

Adult FictionComing of AgeLiterary FictionWomen
More Reviews from M. Judson

Read This Next!

A June 2023 Read This Next! Title

This is such a smart novel about the true power of our choices. It made me think about my own mother and daughter, and how the act of motherhood is as fundamental as it is complex. It’s also a sharp picture of transformation in our little corner of the South. What a great book for book club discussion!

Reviewed by Ashley Warlick, M. Judson Booksellers in Greenville, South Carolina

Shakespeare Was a Woman and Other Heresies by Elizabeth Winkler


Shakespeare Was a Woman and Other Heresies by Elizabeth Winkler
Simon & Schuster / May 2023

More Reviews from Oxford Exchange

The myths of Shakespeare are so deeply ingrained that I didn’t realize how many of the things I "know" may not be correct. Winkler makes an excellent case that the Shakespeare we read may not be the Shakespeare of Avon, and she makes it very clear that not every anti-Stratsfordian is a crank. I am not convinced but I am intrigued, and I will keep digging for myself. To me, that makes this book successful–I am hooked and I want to know more.

Reviewed by Tracy Bailey, Oxford Exchange in Tampa, Florida

Starlings by Amanda Linsmeier


Starlings by Amanda Linsmeier
Delacorte Press / June 2023

Girls & WomenMonstersOccult & SupernaturalParanormalYoung Adult
More Reviews from Square Books

After the death of her father, Kit discovers a grandmother she never knew she had. Invited to visit her grandmother in Rosemont, Kit’s father’s hometown, Kit quickly finds herself entangled in a mystery that her family has had a long involvement in. Eerie and engrossing, Starlings is a rosy-tinged gothic where monsters lurk and secrets can’t stay buried.

Reviewed by Charlie Williams, Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi

Salat in Secret by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow


Salat in Secret by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow
Random House Studio / June 2023

More Reviews from Flyleaf Books

"Daddy’s joy is bigger than him. It’s a wide, gap-toothed smile and a deep rumbling laugh that shakes the dinner table kind of joy."How can a book that begins this way not be wonderful? And it is. Muhammad receives a prayer rug for his 7th birthday and is nervous about what others will think of him observing salat at school. Heartwarming and significant, this is picture book perfection.

Reviewed by Elese Stutts, Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Night of the Ghoul by Scott Snyder


Night of the Ghoul by Scott Snyder
Dark Horse Books / June 2023

More Reviews from E. Shaver, bookseller

Wow! This was awesome! The illustrations with the limited color palette really helped tell the story and made for fantastic page compositions. The story was also great and really felt like it paid homage to all the classic horror movies and their monsters – I can absolutely see The Ghoul fitting right in next to them. I also very much enjoyed the split story telling between what was happening ‘in real time’ vs. showing parts of the film. Good stuff.

Reviewed by Olivia Stacey, E. Shaver, Bookseller in Savannah, Georgia

Decide for Yourself

Books that appear on PEN America’s list of challenged books.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer


Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
 Mariner Book Classics / March 2006

More Reviews from Avid Bookshop

Through the eyes of precocious 9-year-old protagonist Oskar Schell, Foer grapples with questions like why do tragedies happen, how to handle loss and grief, and how to keep going. As he asks these impossible questions, he takes you through a kaleidoscope of a quest through points in history and through New York. It’s a tale of loss and searching, but also light and hope.

Reviewed by Julia Jarema, Avid Bookshop in Athens, Georgia

Southern Bestsellers

What’s popular this week with Southern Readers.

The Covenant of Water Look for Me There When Women Were Dragons
TQuietly Hostile When Stars are Scattered

[ See the full list ]

Parting Thought

“Man reading should be man intensely alive. The book should be a ball of light in one’s hand.”
— Ezra Pound

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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