The Southern Bookseller Review 7/12/22

The Southern Bookseller Review Newsletter for the week of July 12, 2022

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The week of July 12, 2022

Our new poet laureate.Ada Limon

Ada Limón has been named the 24th U.S. Poet Laureate by the Library of Congress, taking over from Joy Harjo (2019-2022).

"Ada Limón is a poet who connects,” [Librarian of Congress Carla] Hayden said. “Her accessible, engaging poems ground us in where we are and who we share our world with. They speak of intimate truths, of the beauty and heartbreak that is living, in ways that help us move forward.” (via The Library of Congress)

Southern booksellers have been enthusiastic fans of Limón:

The Hurting Kind by Ada Limón
(List Price: $22, Milkweed Editions, 9781639550494,  May 2022)

The Hurting Kind by Ada Limón

Reading this collection made me feel like I was standing outside with my bare feet in the grass, scrunching my toes in the soil, feeling the breeze on my face, and pondering the oneness of everything.

–LeeAnna Callon, Blue Cypress Books in New Orleans, Louisiana | Buy the Book

Read This Now | Read This Next | The Bookseller Directory

Read This Now!

Recommended by Southern indies…

Project Namahana by John Teschner


Project Namahana by John Teschner
Forge Books / June 2022

More Reviews from McIntyre’s Books

This is the best mystery/thriller I’ve read yet set in Hawaii. Instead of concentrating on Honolulu and all the other touristy places Mr. Teschner takes us into the out of the way places, the homesteads and small towns, where the locals live and depend on jobs offered by big corporations who put profit before people everyday. He introduces us to the people, their patois and, most of all, their closeness as they rely on each other, in this case after three boys die swimming in a supposedly clean stream, to do what the authorities won’t.

Reviewed by Pete Mock, McIntyre’s Books in Pittsboro, North Carolina

Bookseller Buzz


Spotlight on: The Poet’s House by Jean Thompson


Jean Thompson

I think there’s a lot of ignorance, or perhaps a mystique, about how writers live their lives. We aren’t in Entertainment Weekly. Nobody is sending out photographers to photograph our messy houses. We don’t have beautiful swimming pools with a guest cottage. We don’t hire interior decorators.” –Jean Thompson, interview, NewcityLit

What booksellers are saying about The Poet’s House

The Poet's House by Jean Thompson
  • We follow a young woman, unsure of who she is and her place in the world, as she observes an older woman who is very much settled and has made peace with her own life. A touching story with poetry as a through-line- how it can be both salve to the soul and a commercial commodity. ―Jamie Fiocco from Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, NC
    Buy from Bookmarks

  • Carla is a beautiful young landscaper who has always felt hindered by her learning disability. She serendipitously falls into a circle of poets led by the charismatic and venerable Viridian. Through their interactions, Carla discovers that poetry has a profound effect on her in ways that words never before had. Set in the dusty, fire-riddled hills of California, this novel is lovely, humorous, and warm tale of self-discovery   ―Damita Nocton from The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, NC
    Buy from The Country Bookshop

  • The Poet’s House is a captivating novel about art and those who create it, following the story of Carla, an aspiring poet trying to find her voice. Jean Thompson masterfully delivers a thought-provoking story that celebrates writers, artists and the power of the written word.   ―Anderson McKean from Page & Palette in Fairhope, AL
    Buy from Page & Palette

About Jean Thompson

Jean Thompson is the author of fourteen books of fiction, including the National Book Award finalist Who Do You Love, the NYT bestseller The Year We Left Home, and the NYT Notable Book Wide Blue Yonder. Her work has been published in the New Yorker, as well as dozens of other magazines, and anthologized in The Best American Short Stories and the Pushcart Prize. She has been the recipient of Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, among other accolades, and has taught creative writing at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Reed College, Northwestern University, and many other colleges and universities.

That’s Not My Name! by Anoosha Syed


That’s Not My Name! by Anoosha Syed
Knopf / July 2022

More Reviews from Books & Books

I love this book!! And I’m so glad it exists. My first grader is having all kinds of big thoughts about her name and how it is spelled or pronounced and the same for all of her friends’ names, too. It’s a great conversation starter for discussing how fun and vibrant it is to embrace our differences and how important it is to ask for and give respect to each other, too.

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

An Immense World by Ed Yong


An Immense World by Ed Yong
Random House / July 2022

More Reviews from Avid Bookshop

Like many readers, I was introduced to Ed Yong’s clear and measured writing during the Covid-19 pandemic, and I was instantly drawn to his deep-thinking approach. An Immense World is (thankfully) not about Covid-19, but it does hold true to Yong’s journalistic method: big questions, acknowledgments of what we don’t know, and a sense of wonder at the complexity of life. This is such a beautiful exploration of the world as experienced by other animals—here you will learn that there are so many more senses on Earth (and in humans!) than just the Aristotelian basic five (Nociception! Magnetoreception! Proprioception! And so many more!), and Yong’s conversational, wide-eyed tone wriggles readers free of their human Umwelt, even if just for a moment. This is a transformative book, essential for anyone looking open windows in their mind to a wider, more empathic world.

Reviewed by Hannah De Camp, Avid Bookshop in Athens, Georgia

The Darkening by Sunya Mara


The Darkening by Surya Mara
Clarion Books / July 2022

More Reviews from The Country Bookshop

Vesper Vale, the daughter of failed revolutionaries, is on her quest to save her father from the storm. Vesper must lie about everything, including her feelings, to get inside the prince’s cold and unfeeling heart. However, when armed with her own choice, will she choose trusting the prince, or the storm? Interesting, heartbreaking, and fast paced, with plot twists you’ll never see coming, this one is a perfect choice for fantasy, action, and romance readers.

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

Life Ceremony by Sayaka Murata


Life Ceremony by Sayaka Murat
Grove Press / July 2022

More Reviews from Square Books

Murat, author of the 2016 indie hit Convenience Store Woman, is back with a collection of weird and weirdly relatable short stories. Cannibalism! Alien bodies! Distant worlds! Getting older, and more alone! These and other strange subjects are blown up to speak about the fundamental problems of living today. I especially loved "Hatching," a story reminiscent of Osama Dazed’s classic "No Longer Human," but with a feminist sensibility. Life Ceremony further cements Say aka Murat as one of the world’s most interesting contemporary writers.

Reviewed by Connor Bultmann, Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi

Slip by Marika Coolant, Aatmaja Pandya (illus.)


Slip by Marika Coolant, Aatmaja Pandya (illus.)
Algonquin Young Readers / July 2022

More Reviews from Fountain Bookstore

I love a good meta genre work, so Slip, a graphic novel about visual art, is right up my alley. Slip’s artwork is emotional and striking in its roughness; it’s very reminiscent This One Summer by the Tatamis (which I love). A particularity of Slip’s art I adored is the agelessness of the human drawings, which makes the narrative’s themes feel universal even as the book focuses on young adults. The book is about defining oneself as an individual, particularly when your friends seem to need you. It’s a difficult and necessary topic, and Cool does really well with it.

Reviewed by Akim Paraguayan, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

Read This Next!

Books on the horizon: Forthcoming favorites from Southern indies…

The Bodyguard by Katherine Center


The Bodyguard by Katherine Center
 St. Martin’s Press / July 2022

More Reviews from Angel Wings Bookstore

A July 2022 Read This Next! Selection

This was the perfect sweet, feel good and easy summer read! I fell in love with Hannah and Jack. Watching Hannah grow as a person was real life. It shows real is so much better than fake. Katherine Center did an amazing job meshing the worlds of security service and Hollywood. One of my favorite quotes in the book was, “Love is something you generate. And loving other people really does turn out, in the end, to be a genuine way of loving yourself.

Reviewed by Mandy Harris, Angel Wings Bookstore in Stem, North Carolina

Southern Bestsellers

What’s popular this week with Southern Readers.

Sparring Partners Rogues Finding the Mother Tree
The Song of Achilles Noodle and the No Bones Day

[ See the full list ]

Parting Thought

“Harriet never minded admitting she didn’t know something. So what, she thought, I could always learn. ”
– Louise Fitzhugh

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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