The Southern Bookseller Review 7/19/22

The Southern Bookseller Review Newsletter for the week of July 19, 2022

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The week of July 19, 2022

SBR goes graphic.Illustration from Crumbs by Danie Stirling

Since its launch a year and a half ago, The Southern Bookseller Review has has followed a regular pattern in the reviews published in each issue: six book reviews and one "book buzz" feature per newsletter. This month, it has increased its reviews to seven: two fiction titles, one nonfiction, young adult, and children’s book, and one spotlight on a "Read This Next!" book (newly published books with exceptionally enthusiastic bookseller support). To that list has been added a new genre: one review of a graphic novel.

Graphic novels are one of the fastest-growing and most innovative literary genres, and publish some of the most creative and well-written storytelling for readers of any age. More to the point from the perspective of SBR, booksellers love them. Reviews of books tagged "Comics & Graphic Novels" have become the fastest rising genre at SBR in 2022.

The week’s graphic novel review is for Crumbs by Danie Stirling (an interior illustration can be seen above), of which Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, NC says "What could be better than first loves, witchy powers, and magical bakeries?"

Read more reviews of Graphic Novels at SBR

Read This Now | Read This Next | The Bookseller Directory

Read This Now!

Recommended by Southern indies…

Calling for a Blanket Dance by Oscar Hokeah


Calling for a Blanket Dance by Oscar Hokeah
Algonquin Books / July 2022

More Reviews from The Country Bookshop

A compelling book about how our family shapes how we are seen and who we become. Touching on themes of generational trauma, poverty, a feeling of belonging and family conflict, this story focuses on the life of Ever, told through generations of his Cherokee, Kiowa and Mexican family members. Honest and powerful, great storytelling.

Reviewed by Jennifer Privitera, The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, North Carolina

Bookseller Buzz


Spotlight on: Fellowship Point by Alice Elliott Dark


Alice Elliott Dark

I love to read in the tub, but I easily fall asleep and end up with a soggy bloated creature rather than a legible book. This works out well for the authors, as I always go buy another copy.” –Alice Elliott Dark, interview, New York Times

What booksellers are saying about Fellowship Point

Fellowship Point by Alice Elliott Dark
  • Oh how I loved Fellowship Point! Alice Elliott Dark has penned an immersive family saga spanning the lifelong friendship of Polly and Agnes, two fascinating women whose lives have taken them on very different paths. When a myriad of buried memories and secrets emerge, their loyalties are tested beyond measure. Filled with lyrical prose that just sinks into your pores, this is a captivating novel to savor and share! ―Anderson McKean from Page & Palette in Fairhope, AL
    Buy from Page and Palette

  • Fellowship Point reads like an Edith Wharton novel set in the 21st century. This beautifully-crafted saga of two old friends discovering new facets of each other, and themselves, is completely absorbing, good for the soul, and as bracing as a coastal breeze in Maine.   ―Maggie Robe from Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, NC
    Buy from Flyleaf Books

  • Agnes and Polly share a decades long friendship even though they each lead very different lives. At the center of the friendship is a love for Fellowship Point, a family camp in Maine. Both women enjoy the escape that the enclave represents and feel a duty to protect both the environment and the secrets that are held there…This is a book that examines the strength of friendship and family and the secrets that are kept by both.  ―Mary Jane Michels from Fiction Addiction in Greenville, SC
    Buy from Fiction Addiction

  • “…your sentences…Many made my heart lurch, and I paused to stand under the waterfall of your words.” Alice Elliot Dark wrote these words as a character is describing an author, but I find them perfectly describing the writing of this gifted author of Fellowship Point. I am sad right now that I have finished these 592 pages as I don’t want to leave this complete world of Agnes, Polly, and Maud.   ―Nancy Pierce from Bookmiser, Inc. in Marietta, GA
    Buy from Bookmiser

About Alice Elliott Dark

Alice Elliott Dark is the author Think of England and two collections of short stories, In the Gloaming and Naked to the Waist. Her work has appeared in The New YorkerHarper’sThe New York Times, Best American Short Stories,and O. Henry: Prize Stories, among othersHer award-winning story “In the Gloaming” was made into two films. Dark is a past recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. She is an Associate Professor at Rutgers-Newark in the MFA program.

Do the Work! by W. Kamau Bell


Do the Work! by W. Kamau Bell
Workman Publishing Company / July 2022

More Reviews from Fountain Bookstore

I’ve been a W. Kamau Bell fan for a while, so seeing that this book was coming was really exciting! It delivers exactly the combination of smart racial commentary and screwball energy that he brings to his comedy, packaged in endearing cartoons, graphics, and even activities like Mad Libs and crosswords. The informational parts of the book are well-cited with great further reading recommendations and benefit greatly from the conversational form between Bell and co-author Kate Schatz, both of whom are very good at maintaining levity while getting their points across crystal clear. This would be an excellent gift!

Reviewed by Akil Guruparan, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

Flash Fire by TJ Klune


Flash Fire by TJ Klune
Tor Teen / July 2022

More Reviews from Fiction Addiction

Nick has gone from writing about an Extraordinary boyfriend to actually having one, and is the best thing ever. Except now more Extraordinaries are showing up in Nova City, and of course it’s up to Nick and his friends (old and new; just wait until you meet Miss Conduct!) to figure out what’s going on and who are good guys and who are bad guys. Not to mention all the family secrets that Nick is uncovering. I love Nick so much, in all his awkward glory, and this book just cements that. If you haven’t read The Extraordinaries yet, do that, then run right out and get Flash Fire, because it is just as good.

Reviewed by Melissa Oates, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina

Hawk Mountain by Conner Habib


Hawk Mountain by Conner Habib
W. W. Norton & Company / July 2022

More Reviews from Novel

Hawk Mountain is a meditation on how toxic masculinity can lead to trauma and how that trauma can manifest itself into violence & horror. Additionally, Habib points to the manner in which consequences of our actions can cycle through generations as well and he does so with propulsive prose that continually ratchets up the tension with every page. This novel is pure psychological horror and it takes gaslighting to a whole new level of craziness that is tough to witness, but impossible to look away from.

Reviewed by Stuart McCommon, Novel. in Memphis, Tennessee

A Spoonful of Frogs by Casey Lyall


Life Ceremony by Say aka Murat
Greenwillow Books / July 2022

More Reviews from Flyleaf Books

One determined witch, several unflappable frogs, and a jar of emergency pickles – who knew this was the recipe for pure picture book brilliance?

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

Crumbs by Danie Stirling


Crumbs by Danie Stirling
Clarion Books / July 2022

More Reviews from Bookmarks

This graphic novel is absolutely adorable! What could be better than first loves, witchy powers, and magical bakeries? Ray is such a sweet and relatable protagonist, and I found myself rooting for her wholeheartedly throughout the book. At its core, Crumbs is a novel about self empowerment and the importance of personal choice– I loved it!

Reviewed by Jessica Baker, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Read This Next!

Books on the horizon: Forthcoming favorites from Southern indies…

Berry Song by Michaela Goade


Berry Song by Michaela Goade
 Little, Brown Books for Young Readers / July 2022

More Reviews from Avid Bookshop

A July 2022 Read This Next! Selection

This beautiful ode to family and land and the indelible connection between them is a delight to read. Rhythmic text and soft, bright illustrations bring the foraging Tlingit family’s love for each other and the land they inhabit to vivid life. Berry Song is full of love, gratitude, and reciprocity, and is an essential book for all ages.

Reviewed by Hannah DeCamp from Avid Bookshop in Athens, Georgia

Southern Bestsellers

What’s popular this week with Southern Readers.

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow Happy Go Lucky Book Lovers
The Bomber Mafia I Kissed Shara Wheeler

[ See the full list ]

Parting Thought

“Maybe this is why we read, and why in moments of darkness we return to books: to find words for what we already know.”
– Alberto Manguel

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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