The Southern Bookseller Review 7/26/22

The Southern Bookseller Review Newsletter for the week of July 26, 2022

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The week of July 26, 2022

What to read in August

Read This Next! for August

A preview of Read This Next!

SBR receives about a hundred reviews from booksellers every week–some about new books, some about rediscovered older books, some about the books everyone is hearing about, and many many about the books booksellers wish everyone was hearing about.

When SBR receives several reviews for the same book, we say the book has "buzz." Books with bookseller buzz have their own category on the website and there is always one highlighted in the weekly newsletter.

When SBR receives many reviews for the same book, it gets added to the Read This Next! list — a monthly list of five books receiving especially enthusiastic and excited buzz from booksellers.

The August Read This Next! will be published August 1st, but here is a sneak peak of what’s on the list. :

Stories from the Tenants Downstairs by Sidik Fofana
A series of connected stories written from the perspectives of the tenants of a residential building in Harlem. Each person tells their story in different, unique ways. This book shines a light on the exhausting, funny, desperate, and hopeful human experience.
–Rachel Watkins at Avid Bookshop in Athens, GA | Buy

Love on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood
Badass woman in science, CHECK. STEM setting with real life issues, CHECK. Huge, hot, *secretly pining* fellow scientist with off-the-charts chemistry with said badass woman in science, CHECK. We have all the components of another supremely satisfying steamy STEM romance by Ali Hazelwood.
–Megan Bell at Underground Books in Carrollton, GA | Buy

My Pet Feet by Josh Funk, Billy Yong (illus.)
Giggle. Tee-hee. Scrabblers, grab a pencil, puzzlers, get your puz-mug on, My Pet Feet is a feat of genius, Inspired by Letterman, a 1970s PBS educational show called The Electric Company, this book follows a child through the day as the world goes topsy-turvy, letter by letter.
–Jilleen Moore in Square Books in Oxford, MS | Buy

Other Birds by Sarah Addison Allen
A poignant tale of wounded souls and their accompanying ghosts finding each other. Tinged with magic, interlaced with loss and longing, each character’s story unfolds in layers creating an intricate puzzle that teases and delights. A must read for fans of magical realism.
–Jan Blodgett in Main Street Books in Davidson, NC | Buy

The Last White Man by Mohsin Hamid
This book is a tiny surprise of literary magic. A kafkaesque yet simple premise: our main man Anders wakes up no longer white, but a deep brown color. His mind is the same but his body is new. Mohsin Hamid knows how to do fiction that creeps up on you and just takes your breath away completely.
– Grace Sullivan in Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, VA | Buy

Read This Now | Read This Next | The Bookseller Directory

Read This Now!

Recommended by Southern indies…

Afterlives by Abdulrazak Gurnah


Afterlives by Abdulrazak Gurnah
Riverhead Books / August 2022

More Reviews from Flyleaf Books

Here’s how you take a great sin–maybe The great sin–and particularize it so that our minds can grasp it. The Germans and the British and the Portuguese and the Dutch (and now, of course, the US and China and ad nauseam)–all of these governments have, at one time or another, wanted to get their hands on Africa–really get in there–all the way in–and do what they want to it. Gurnah and his magical Nobel Prize-winning pen tells us the story of a family battered by the complexities of colonialism and their risings and fallings and re-risings. Deep, satisfying, horrifying, wonderful.

Reviewed by Erica Eisdorfer, Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Bookseller Buzz


Spotlight on: Just Like Home by Sarah Gailey


Sarah Gailey

I spend a lot of time thinking about what makes something scary. I think that there’s a lot to be said for danger, for the unknown, for hostility to life. Crocodiles are scary because they want to eat you. The dark is scary because it wants to hide things from you. Outer space is scary because it wants nothing from you at all, it is not even aware of you, and yet it can take everything from you with less conscious effort than you and I spend on a heartbeat. But the scariest thing, I think, is not a thing but a place; that place isn’t really a place so much as a relationship. The scariest thing is the space under your bed.” –Sarah Gailey, Letter to readers

What booksellers are saying about Just Like Home

Fellowship Point by Alice Elliott Dark
  • Just Like Home is a splendidly twisted story that left me both delighted and disturbed in equal measure. Sarah Gailey checked all of the boxes with this one, and I couldn’t be happier. ―Kassie Weeks from Oxford Exchange in Tampa, Florida
    Buy from Oxford Exchange

  • Sarah Gailey leaned all the way into the truism that haunted house stories are a way to talk about how horrifying domesticity can be. How families can be a confusion of unkindness and violence and complicity. How home isn’t always something safe (that last one is something Gailey especially makes haunting amoeba strips from). Gorgeous; dark, and glistening. Like soul chemotherapy.
      ―Kyra Rathmann from Letters Bookshop in Durham, NC
    Buy from Letters Bookshop

  • Home is not always where the heart is! Gailey terrifies and amazes with the tale of Vera, who has been summoned back to her childhood home to watch her mother fade away from cancer. The old house is full of memories of Vera’s serial killer father and has become a shrine to his crimes, visited by gawkers, crime writers, and artists who want to get into the wicked mindset of a killer. Vera swore never to return but she just can’t escape the pull of home – and all that it contains. This is chilling and impossible to put down!  ―Andrea Richardson from Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia
    Buy from Fountain Bookstore

  • Sarah Gailey’s books are wildly imaginative and addictive. Just Like Home is a deeply twisted horror novel about the Crowder family and the symbiotic relationship they have with their house. The horror of the story lies in facts (Vera knows that her father was a serial killer) and in things too disturbing to be real (is there something living under Vera’s bed?) Where reality and the supernatural meet is the brilliance of this novel.  ―Jamie Southern from Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, South Carolina
    Buy from Bookmarks

About Sarah Gailey

Hugo Award Winner and Bestselling author Sarah Gailey is an internationally published writer of fiction and nonfiction. Their nonfiction has been published by Mashable and the Boston Globe. Their short fiction credits include Vice and The Atlantic. Their debut novella, River of Teeth, was a 2018 Hugo and Nebula award finalist. Their bestselling adult novel debut, Magic For Liars, was published in 2019. Their most recent novel, The Echo Wife, is available now. You can find links to their work at and on social media at @gaileyfrey.

We’re Not Broken by Eric Garcia


We’re Not Broken by Eric Garcia
Harvest / August 2022

More Reviews from Friendly City Books

As a neurotypical person, I learned so much from We’re Not Broken. Given that Eric is a reporter for a living, it shouldn’t be a surprise that this is such a well-researched book. The author is also a friend, and I’m so proud of this fantastic book he’s written — not only for bravely telling his story, but also for, as he writes in the book, bringing as many autistic people along with him as he can.

Reviewed by Emily Liner, Friendly City Books in Columbus, Mississippi

A Strange and Stubborn Endurance by Foz Meadows,


A Strange and Stubborn Endurance by Foz Meadows
Tor Books / July 2022

More Reviews from The Haunted Book Shop

The closeted son of a nobleman has his life completely up-ended in one day. After being informed of his betrothal to a noblewoman of a neighboring country to cement a trade alliance, Val is forcibly outed by his abusive ex-lover in the worst possible way. Fortunately for him, the neighboring country is much more accepting than his own and the ambassador’s response to this new information is to switch Val’s intended marriage partner to the brother of the previous woman. The story from there unfolds on two plot lines: the very sweet romance between Val and his husband-to-be and the very bloody political intrigue that erupts due to objections to the political alliance their marriage represents. Overall excellent and I highly recommend it.

Reviewed by Kelly McLeod, The Haunted Book Shop in Mobile, Alabama

How to Date a Superhero (And Not Die Trying) by Cristina Fernandez


How to Date a Superhero (And Not Die Trying) by Cristina Fernandez
Katherine Tegen Books / August 2022

More Reviews from Quail Ridge Books

This was a fabulous debut! The main character was obnoxious but in an eventually relatable way that you come to love by the end. She’s a strong woman who makes good decisions for herself. The supporting characters were charming. The college campus setting was really inviting. But the greatest thing was the references. SO MANY GOOD REFERENCES! When one of the characters goes to the hospital and is in Room 616 I had to stop reading for a minute because it was just too good.

Reviewed by Lizzy Nanney, Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, North Carolina

Everything in Its Place by Pauline David-Sax


Everything in Its Place by Pauline David-Sax
Doubleday Books for Young Readers / July 2022

More Reviews from Bookmarks

This is a quiet and sweet story that’s perfect for readers of all ages; it truly feels like a picture book for any reader. It perfectly captures the way books can cure loneliness. I loved the combination of collage and colored-pencil illustrations.

Reviewed by Kate Storhoff, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Mimi and the Cutie Catastrophe: A Graphix Chapters Book (Mimi #1) by Shauna J. Grant


Mimi and the Cutie Catastrophe: A Graphix Chapters Book (Mimi #1) by Shauna J. Grant
Doubleday Books for Young Readers / July 2022

More Reviews from Fountain Bookstore

Cuteness explosion! This precious kid’s graphic novel follows gap-toothed, pigtails-wearing Mimi and her magical toy dog Penelope. Mimi is all things cute, yellow rain boots, pink tutus, and bows and hearts and she loves it! Until it starts to get in the way, you can’t be cute and help, you can’t be cute and get messy when you play, and Mimi has had enough of the cute! Her solution? Become a superhero of course! Can Mimi prove everyone wrong and show that you can be cute and also be the best superhero in the universe?

Reviewed by Grace Sullivan, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

Read This Next!

Books on the horizon: Forthcoming favorites from Southern indies…

The Crane Wife by CJ Hauser


The Crane Wife by CJ Hauser
 Doubleday / July 2022

More Reviews from E, Shaver Booksellers

A July 2022 Read This Next! Selection

This book! I loved it! Hauser made me feel less alone in the world, with her wit and frank yet conversational tone, she lets the reader know that life is messy and doesn’t always go as planned, and not only is that ok, it can be wonderful.

Reviewed by Jessica Osborne, E. Shaver bookseller in Savannah, 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

“What a blessing it is to love books as I love them;- to be able to converse with the dead, and to live amidst the unreal!”
– Thomas Babington Macaulay

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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