The Southern Bookseller Review 7/11/23

The Southern Bookseller Review Newsletter for the week of July 11, 2023

View Online | Unsubscribe | SBR Archive | SUBSCRIBE TO SBR

The Southern Bookseller Review: A Book for Every Reader

facebook  twitter  instagram 

The week of July 11, 2023

Summer Reading: Novels About Bookstores

Little Bookstore, illustration by Katerina Koniukhova

If you are the kind of reader who can’t walk by a bookstore without going inside, you are probably also the kind of reader that can’t resist a good story with a bookstore setting.

Booksellers have the same kind of attraction to novels about bookstores. Here is what they have to say about several coming out this summer:

Days at the Morisaki Bookshop by Satoshi Yagisawa:
A slender tale of ordinary lives, there is depth and beauty on every page. A Tokyo used book store gently connects of the lives of lost and wandering souls providing a safe place to find the stories that feed and free them. A wonderful exploration of the power of stories and the human need for connection. ― Jan Blodgett from Main Street Books, Davidson, NC | Buy

The Bookshop by the Bay by Pamela M. Kelley:
Jess discovers her husband is cheating on her and realizes she is unhappy in her marriage, so she and her daughter leave their Charleston home for a break and go to Jess’s home in Chatham near Cape Cod. Allison has always had a dream of owning a bookstore and when the woman who owns the one in Chatham wants to sell, she and Jess decide to go in together on it. This was a sweet book! I loved the mother/daughter, best friend & new love themes. I also loved reading about new businesses and the struggles and successes.  ― Jess from A Novel Escape in Franklin, NC | Buy

Diary of a Tuscan Bookshop by Alba Donati:
The daily minutia of this small-town bookshop is such a relaxing, fascinating read. ― Elisa Forshey from Givens Books Little Dickens in Lynchburg, VA | Buy

The Door-to-Door Bookstore by Carsten Henn:
can’t or won’t leave their homes for various reasons. Carl has formed a connection with them, assigning them literary names to align with their personalities, and he considers them friends. Things come to a head when the new owner of the bookstore decides that the service Carl offers is no longer necessary, leaving Carl unmoored. This book so clearly embodies everything I love about bookselling. Carl is so lovely, and Schascha is adorable, and this story brings so much hope for a changing world.  ― Melissa Oates from Fiction Addiction in Greenville, SC | Buy


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

Read This Now!

Recommended by Southern indies…

The Woods are Waiting by Katherine Greene


The Woods are Waiting by Katherine Greene
Crooked Lane Books / July 2023

More Reviews from Fiction Addiction

I really enjoy books about secluded mountain towns and the people who live there. The traditions are so rich, the community and family connections so strong. Like any town, especially one somewhat isolated from the outside your fate and reputation might be established before you are born. Cheyenne was an Ashby and the Ashby’s held a relationship with the forest. Rituals were established to keep children safe from the forest, silver in your pockets and dirt in your shoes. The rituals became more extreme when more children continued to disappear. Cheyenne cannot take the constant stress and leaves home. Called back five years later to care for her Mother by the only man she trusts after another child goes missing. She arrives to a Mother she barely recognizes and the animosity of Natalie and Jackson, her two best friends she left behind. Old friendships are tested and many secrets are uncovered. Sometimes you learn you really can’t rely on those you have trusted forever.

Reviewed by Jackie Willey, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina

Bookseller Buzz


Spotlight on: Banyan Moon by Thao Thai

Thao Thai, photo credit the author

The seed of Banyan Moon was an image of a locked trunk I used to see in my mind, from a Bluebeard-like folk tale my mother used to tell me as a child. I come from a great line of storytellers and we’d often spend evenings listening to the stories of my family’s lives or the tales that’d be handed down to them over the generations. Folklore has always felt to me as less of a practice, and more of a space of the imagination that you can return to. The shared, communal aspect of a folk tale, as well as its oral nature, creates a different sort of narrative magic that can feel larger and more epic than other storytelling modes. One day I’ll tell my daughter the same folk tales I was told as a child, and I imagine it’ll feel like a sort of homecoming. ― Thao Thai, Interview, Indies Introduce

What booksellers are saying about Banyan Moon

Banyan Moon by Thao Thai
  • I loved this beautiful and expansive debut from Thao Thai! Spanning across timelines and continents, Banyan Moon is gorgeous story of mothers and daughters.
      ― Lindsay Lynch from Parnassus Books in Nashville, TN | Buy from Parnassus

  • In Banyan Moon, debut novelist Thao Thai weaves together stories from three generations of Vietnamese Americans into a stunning story about the power of secrets, loss and hope, the unknown and unexplained. The house serves as its own mysterious character, working to reunite and reforge the bonds of family. This will undoubtedly be a favorite of 2023! 
      ― Beth Seufer Buss from Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, NC | Buy from Bookmarks Books

  • Banyan Moon is a beautiful and atmospheric novel that highlights the complexity of mother-daughter relationships while also shining a light on the immigrant experience.
      ― Kandi West from Wordsworth Books in Little Rock, AR | Buy from Wordsworth Books

  • A compelling first novel with a beautiful cover. Three generations of the Tran women have lived in the Banyan House on the Gulf Coast of Florida, each generation hiding their secrets. Ann, the youngest, has moved far away and is living a fairytale life with a perfect boyfriend and beautiful lake house. When her grandmother Minh passes away she is called home to the Banyan house where she is forced to examine her “perfect life” and spend time with her estranged mother. In the end this book is about making your own happy ending despite the trauma you have encountered. .   
      ― Kathy Clemmons from Sundog Books in Santa Rosa Beach, FL | Buy from Sundog Books

About Thao Thai

Thao Thai is a writer living in Ohio with her husband and daughter. Her work engages with tangled family relationships and the intersections of motherhood and identity. She’s been published in Cup of Jo, Eater, Catapult, Sunday Long Read, and more. A recipient of the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, she has also been nominated for multiple Pushcart Prizes and earned fellowships in creative writing. She received her MFA from The Ohio State University and her MA from The University of Chicago. 

Ripe by Sarah Rose Etter


Ripe by Sarah Rose Etter
 Scribner / July 2023

Adult FictionLiterary Fiction
More Reviews from Main Street Books

Read This Next!

A July 2023 Read This Next! Title

A miserable, beautifully written swan song to the happy life- to freedom, to creativity. Our heroine descends into black hole darkness while trying to navigate her increasingly insane amount of responsibilities at her Silicone Valley startup. Be careful, this will refresh your feelings on whether or not you’re prepared to stay at your 9 – 5…

Reviewed by Aimee Keeble, Main Street Books in Davidson, North Carolina

First to the Front by Lorissa Rinehart


First to the Front by Lorissa Rinehart
St. Martin’s Press / July 2023

More Reviews from A Novel Escape

The book is not just a dry recounting of Dickey Chapelle’s story. The writing is moving, engaging, and gripping. The author captures Dickey’s personality and her drive. The reader learns about the many firsts that Dickey accomplished as well as the disturbing “unknown” behind-the-scenes events that the US participated in throughout many wars and conflicts across the globe. Her life spans WWII through the Vietnam war. An amazing life! An amazing story!

Reviewed by Robin, A Novel Escape in Franklin, North Carolina

Stars, Hide Your Fires by Jessica Best


Stars, Hide Your Fires by Jessica Best
Quirk Books / July 2023

More Reviews from Bookmiser

Best’s debut novel brings the action and the intrigue and I am hooked! Cass is barely getting by, running cons on her dusty planet while taking care of her ailing father. But when she finds out about the ball being held to announce the emperor’s heir, she knows it’s her chance to score big and maybe get them off planet to somewhere healthier for her father. But things don’t go as planned when she finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation…as the prime suspect.

Reviewed by Jennifer Jones, Bookmiser in Marietta, Georgia

Bruce and the Legend of Soggy Hollow by Ryan T. Higgins


Bruce and the Legend of Soggy Hollow by Ryan T. Higgins
Disney Hyperion / July 2023

More Reviews from Page 158 Books

I literally jumped up and down when we received this! Bruce’s friends don’t know why he doesn’t want to celebrate Halloween. But they get him to give out candy and have fun in only the way that Grumpy Bears can have. The Bruce books are a favorite. This time for a grumpy, hilarious Halloween picture book that will keep you in stitches. Bruce’s friends don’t know why he doesn’t want to celebrate Halloween. But they get him to give out candy and have fun in only the way that Grumpy Bears can have. The Bruce books are a favorite

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

Frontera by Julio Anta


Frontera by Julio Anta
HarperAlley / July 2023

More Reviews from Bookmarks

Incredibly moving and powerful. Frontera gives emotional insight into deportations, border crossing and the separation of families. Through impactful graphics and storytelling, it showcases the harsh realties of those making a perilous journey across the border in search of a better life or in Mateo’s case the life they once had.

Reviewed by Keeshia Jacklitch, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Decide for Yourself

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

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas


Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas
 Swoon Reads / September 2020

More Reviews from E. Shaver, Booksellers

MY. FAVORITE. BOOK. OF. ALL. TIME!!!!! Aiden Thomas is an incredibly talented author, and this book- from start to finish- had me absolutely captivated. The book centers around the magic and cultural importance of the Mexican holiday, Día de los Muertos. It brings the holiday to life and emphasizes the value and complexities of family. It also both honors and challenges tradition by incorporating a transgender main character. The characters’ journeys of acceptance, identity, friendship, mystery, and romance are profound and impactful. I went from crying on the floor, to begging my sister to spoil the ending before I finished, to crying again, to finishing the book and needing to take a few weeks to fully recover- in the best way. I couldn’t more highly recommend this beautiful masterpiece of a book!!

Reviewed by Finn Fletcher, E. Shaver Bookseller in Savannah, Georgia

Southern Bestsellers

What’s popular this week with Southern Readers.

Lady Tan's Circle of Women Knowing What We Know Summer of Broken Rules
I know Everything About When You Can Swim

[ See the full list ]

Parting Thought

“I cannot remember the books I’ve read any more than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

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

SIBA | 51 Pleasant Ridge Drive | Asheville, NC 28805
You have received this email because you are currently subscribed to receive The Southern Bookseller Review.
Please click @@unsubscribe_url@@ if you no longer wish to receive these communications.

Scroll to Top