The Southern Bookseller Review 7/4/23

The Southern Bookseller Review Newsletter for the week of July 4, 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 4, 2023

Celebrating the freedom to read.

Happy Independence Day

This week the Southern Bookseller Review joins the American Library Association, the American Booksellers Association, the Authors Guild, the Association of American Publishers, the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance, and the bookstores and booksellers and many readers of SBR in affirming its commitment to our Freedom to Read:

Now as always in our history, reading is among our greatest freedoms. The freedom to read and write is almost the only means for making generally available ideas or manners of expression that can initially command only a small audience. The written word is the natural medium for the new idea and the untried voice from which come the original contributions to social growth. It is essential to the extended discussion that serious thought requires, and to the accumulation of knowledge and ideas into organized collections.

We believe that free communication is essential to the preservation of a free society and a creative culture. 

from Freedom To Read Statement, 1958

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

Read This Now!

Recommended by Southern indies…

First Position by Melanie Hamrick


First Position by Melanie Hamrick
Berkley / June 2023

Adult FictionPsychologicalThrillers
More Reviews from M. Judson, booksellers

The trope of the lovable anti-hero is beaten out only by that of the detestable anti-hero. Sylvie Carter is inherently unlikable, the hapless victim of every event of the story, including her own poor decisions, the least of which is becoming sexually involved with yet another member of her ballet company, even after the first affair launched her fall from grace. Possibly the most frustrating character since Scarlet O’Hara, her narration is filled with shocking scandal and incredibly loving description of a professional dancer’s lifestyle – and I adored every page.

Reviewed by Elizabeth Graben, M. Judson Booksellers in Greenville, South Carolina

Bookseller Buzz


Spotlight on: Girlfriend on Mars by Deborah Willis

Deborah Willis, photo credit Memotime Photography

One of my friends said (the story) came from anger, which is so interesting. Sometimes we think of anger as negative and not productive. But, for me, the story came from a sense of anger that we were watching our amazing planet suffer to a degree that is just unbelievable. Then we have people talking about moving to Mars and turning Mars into a habitable planet. To me, it seems like such a bizarre mindset. ― Deborah Willis, Interview, Calgary Herald

What booksellers are saying about Girlfriend on Mars

Girlfriend on Mars by Deborah Willis
  • The concept of this book grabbed me right away! Amber is competing to be on a reality show about the first people to colonize Mars – without telling her boyfriend. While she’s filming, Kevin sinks further into depression and a cloud of weed smoke. Added complications are the feelings Amber is having for her co-star and the ulterior motives of the shady millionaire funding the whole ordeal. This is fresh, funny, and contemplative. I haven’t read anything else like it and I love it!
      ― Andrea Richardson from Fountain Books in Richmond, VA | Buy from Fountain Bookstore

  • After Amber gets cast on MarsNow – a satirical take on Elon Musk’s SpaceX by way of The Bachelor – her boyfriend Kevin withdraws into a weed-fueled hibernation at home. Kevin wants to escape his life. Amber wants to escape the whole planet–and maybe also just escape Kevin?? What starts as a punchy, laugh-out-loud romp through the land of reality tv gradually evolves into a stirring hit of climate fiction you’ll feel deep in the pit of your stomach.
      ― Talia Smart from Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, NC | Buy from Flyleaf Books

  • What a fun concept for a novel. I loved how many layers there are to this story. It can be a funny read about a stoner boyfriend and his reality TV star girlfriend, and it can be a deeper contemplation on finding purpose and meaning in life, and how relationships can inhibit and/or promote personal growth.   
      ― Daniel Jordan from Pearl’s Books in Fayetteville, AR | Buy from Pearl’s Books

About Deborah Willis

Deborah Willis is the author of Girlfriend on Mars and two acclaimed collections of short stories, including The Dark and Other Love Stories. Her work has appeared in the Virginia Quarterly Review, the Walrus, and Zoetrope, among other publications. She lives in Calgary, Canada.

The Weaver and the Witch Queen by Genevieve Gornichec


The Weaver and the Witch Queen by Genevieve Gornichec
 Ace / July 2023

More Reviews from Tombolo Books

Genevieve Gornichec is ready to become the historical fantasy queen. This book was everything I wanted and more. Fantasy elements that were easy to follow and that felt so authentic to the story. Romance that made me giddy with relationships that broke my heart. A tale of sisterhood and how our fate can intertwine with others in unexpected ways made for a fantastic read.

Reviewed by Alsace Walentine, Tombolo Books in St Petersburg, Florida

The Art Thief by Michael Finkel


The Art Thief by Michael Finkel
Knopf / July 2023

More Reviews from Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews

Read This Next!

A July 2023 Read This Next! Title

I’ll admit I have a bit of a guilty pleasure approach when it comes to thieves and heists. I’m amazed at the planning, the execution, and most of all, the why. When I saw this book about master art thief Breitweiser and his girlfriend, Anna-Christine, I knew I had to read it. I’m not sure what I was expecting it to be. An over-romanticized account about the wild and daring adventures of this couple that managed to steal billions of dollars right under the noses of the art world and art police alike? Whatever the case, that’s not what I got and I think the novel is all the better for it. It doesn’t read like fiction because it isn’t- everything actually happened! And none of this is to say it was boring or uninteresting. Quite the opposite! I was heavily invested. Rather, the matter-of-fact, understated reporting of the thefts as well as the behind the scenes drama are as true to Breitweiser’s manner of stealing as can be. This was not a man who needed to don all black and plan elaborate, barely made it heists. No, all Brietweiser needed was his pocketknife and girlfriend (with the occasional nail clipper). The detailed retelling of many of the thefts is not only paired with insight into the lives of two of the most successful thieves, but also a thorough psychoanalysis from many a psychiatrist interested in the mind behind the man. Well reported and I’d say authentic, The Art Thief is a must read.

Reviewed by Laney Sheehan, Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Give Me a Sign by Anna Sortino


Give Me a Sign by Anna Sortino
G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers / July 2023

More Reviews from Flyleaf Books

Though she’s hearing-passing (using hearing aids & lip reading), every day feels like an uphill battle to Lilah: struggling through interactions others find easy, guessing at bits and pieces of missed conversations, and pretending like everything’s totally fine. One of the few times she remembers feeling fully accepted and accommodated was at a summer camp for Deaf and blind kids that she attended many years ago. So when she gets the opportunity to return as a junior counselor, Lilah is thrilled…never mind that the camp is running out of money.

Sortino seamlessly blends spoken & signed dialogue, highlights a myriad of systemic issues facing the Deaf community, and showcases community thriving around disability difference. A sweet, summery coming-of-age story (with a hint of romance) that’s equal parts fun and important!

Reviewed by Talia Smart, Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

The Best Bad Day Ever by Marianna Coppo


The Best Bad Day Ever by Marianna Coppo
Frances Lincoln Children’s Books / July 2023

More Reviews from Fountain Bookstore

The Best Bad Day Ever is a precious children’s book about how even on the worst days, things can turn around for the better. For Wolfie, everything is going wrong today: his cookies are short on chocolate chips, his toothpaste tingles his tongue too much, the sky is "full" of clouds, and even his sidekick Pepito is grumpy. No one understands Wolfie, except for a new friend named Penguin who may just turn the day around. Between the tender message and the adorable yet hysterical illustrations, this is truly the definition of a warm and fuzzy read..

Reviewed by Grace Sullivan, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

Gunhild, Volume 1 by Fred Tornager


Gunhild, Volume 1 by Fred Tornager
Rockport Publishers / July 2023

More Reviews from E. Shaver, booksellers

A fresh, creative, and colorful re-imagining of Norse mythology. This story has heart and the motivation Gunhild has to become a God is inspiring! I hope to see much more of this world and these characters!

Reviewed by Lana Repic, E. Shaver, booksellers in Savannah, Georgia

Decide for Yourself

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

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds & Ibram X. Kendi


Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds & Ibram X. Kendi
 Little, Brown Books for Young Readers / March 2020

More Reviews from M. Judson

WOW! Everyone should read this book. No matter what you think you know, you probably don’t know enough. Clear and accessible non-history book with history in it. As a former teacher, I wish more content was available in this well-thought-out and clear package. There isn’t room to get bored or lost for readers. There are built-in moments to breathe, reflect, and even chuckle. a great strategy for tough material. No matter what lens you view America through, this book will have an impact on your focus. It’s not enough to not be racist, be actively anti-racist.

Reviewed by Susan Williams, M. Judson, Booksellers in Greenville, South Carolina

Southern Bestsellers

What’s popular this week with Southern Readers.

I am Homeless if This is Not My Home How to Stay Married Love, Theoretically
Pappyland Hot Dog

[ See the full list ]

Parting Thought

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
— First Amendment, the Constitution of the United States of America

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