The Southern Bookseller Review 7/5/22

The Southern Bookseller Review Newsletter for the week of July 5, 2022

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The week of July 5, 2022

1000 books to read.Book Bans

Around 7:00 o’clock in the evening of Friday, July 1st, The Southern Bookseller Review quietly passed an important milestone, when it published its 1000th book review from a southern bookseller.

That is 1000 suggestions from bookstores across the South for what to read, and why.

SBR’s 1000th book review was submitted by Page 158 Books in Wake Forest, North Carolina:

A Half-Built Garden by Ruthanna Emry

A Half-Built Garden by Ruthanna Emrys

This is a first-contact novel set in the near future when international governments have broken down in the face of climate crisis and local networks built around watersheds (known as the dandelion networks) have grown up to save the world…The ensuing story weaves together elements of science fiction, Jewish storytelling, politics, and family dynamics into a tale that is as contained as it is sweeping. As a mother of young children there was a lot that really resonated with where I am in my own life.

–Faith Parke-Dodge, Page 158 Books in Wake Forest, North Carolina | Buy the Book

SBR was launched eighteen months ago in January, 2021 to showcase Southern independent bookstores as the avid reader’s most-trusted source for recommendations of what to read next. Each week it publishes between 10-20 reviews, always written by an actual bookseller from a Southern indie bookstore, someone who is also handing that book to the people who come into their shop.

With a territory that ranges from Florida to Louisiana to Kentucky to Virginia, southern booksellers speak to the readers of nearly a quarter of the United Stated. Their reading tastes and interests are as diverse and far-ranging as that of their customers. Their enthusiasm for good books is unmatched. Independent booksellers have made a career out of "You’ve got to read this!"

Read This Now | Read This Next | The Bookseller Directory

Read This Now!

Recommended by Southern indies…

Elsewhere by Alexis Schaitkin


Elsewhere by Alexis Schaitkin
Celadon / June 2022

More Reviews from Oxford Exchange

Vera grew up in a picturesque town along the mountains where girls become women who become mothers with the caveat that some will vanish. Desperate to determine who is going to encounter this affliction, gossip consumes the small town of who loves their child too much or too little, who hugs their child too long or short, and much more. Eventually, Vera encounters motherhood and begins to question the affliction and her future. Will she be able to watch her daughter grow up or will she disappear? Throughout this book, I was glued to the pages, desperate to decipher Vera’s future, engrossed in the town gossip, and basking in the setting as if I were there. Alexis Schaitkin does a marvelous job bringing readers into this story and feeling as though the affliction could reach them. A beautiful tribute to motherhood and the trials it bears.

Reviewed by Stephanie Carrion, Oxford Exchange in Tampa, Florida

Bookseller Buzz


Spotlight on: Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin


Gabrielle Zevin

Gaming is really another form of storytelling. When I talk about the first generation of people to game their whole lives, I’m talking about the fact that there are people that have experienced gaming as a primary storytelling experience. I think that the book is just as much about a career in the arts over many many decades as it is about particularly games.”  –Gabrielle Zevin, interview, Bookselling This Week

What booksellers are saying about Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin
  • This is ultimately an unforgettable tale of lives finding love and connection in this high tech age and the collaboration in building the worlds of video games. ―Nancy Pierce from Bookmiser, Inc. in Marietta, GA
    Buy from Bookmiser

  • Sadie and Sam make video games, but this book is not about the games, it is about their friendship and love and working with your best friend through good times and bad. I loved this book   ―Beth Carpenter from The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, NC
    Buy from The Country Bookshop

  • Aaaaaahhhh, this book wrecked me! It is a love letter to gaming, friendship, and collaboration. It’s messy, sad, brilliant, and beautiful. It made me laugh, it made me weep, it really made me want to play Donkey Kong in a pizza place.   ―Melissa Taylor from E. Shaver, bookseller in Savannah, GA
    Buy from E. Shaver, bookseller

  • A sweeping, heart-ache inducing, glorious novel of friendship and creativity. I miss the characters and I miss the games. I will never be over this beautiful novel.   ―Cristina Russell from Books & Books in Coral Gables, FL
    Buy from Books & Books

About Gabrielle Zevin

Gabrielle Zevin is the New York Times and internationally best-selling author of several critically acclaimed novels, including The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, which won the Southern California Independent Booksellers Award and the Japan Booksellers’ Award among other honors, and Young Jane Young, which won the Southern Book Prize. Her novels have been translated into thirty-nine languages. She has also written books for young readers, including the award-winning Elsewhere. She lives in Los Angeles.

The World As We Knew It by Amy Brady


The World As We Knew It by Amy Brady
Knopf / June 2022

More Reviews from Fountain Bookstore

A phenomenal collection of essays from fiction writers reflecting on the existential crisis that is climate change. It’s all excellent writing and full of the attention to the human condition you might expect from these literary powerhouses, but what really strikes me is how in every one of these essays I felt a deep sense of love, curiosity, and excitement about the natural world. These writers do not let their profession stop them from being interested in the natural sciences, and the inspiration they draw from them, even in the face of inevitable doom, is a gift to read.

Reviewed by Akil Guruparan, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

The Star That Always Stays by Anna Rose Johnson


The Star That Always Stays by Anna Rose Johnson
Holiday House / July 2022

More Reviews from The Little Bookshop

One of the best things about reading is when you discover a book that brings back wonderful memories of childhood favorites. The Star That Always Stays made me remember two of my favorite books: Heidi and The Girl of the Limberlost. Norvia, the young heroine of The Star That Always Stays, and the young girls from these older stories long for love, acceptance and a true home. They face adversity and feel despair at times at a lack of control over their lives. Yet their strong faith, persistence in pursuing an education, and kind words from others around them sustain them and help them overcome the hardships in their lives. Norvia’s Ojibwe family and the pre-WWI setting provide a great background to this young woman growing up in 1914 Michigan. This is a new classic in the making and I hope we will have more stories about Norvia and her extended family.

Reviewed by Mary Patterson, The Little Bookshop in Midlothian, Virginia

Blood and Moonlight by Erin Beaty


Blood and Moonlight by Erin Beaty
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) / June 2022

More Reviews from M. Judson Booksellers

A standalone epic mystical murder mystery fantasy novel. Blood and Moonlight kept me on my toes the entire time, all the way to the bittersweet ending. Catrin, our protagonist, has a very unique gift: a type of sight where she can spot flaws in architecture. Perfect for someone who is tasked with watching over this spired city. This book is unlike anything I’ve ever read and it was fantastic. It can be gruesome at times, so fantasy fans and true crime fans find a perfect blend here, but be a little wary if you’re sensitive to gore.

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

Acts of Violet by Margarita Montimore


Acts of Violet by Margarita Montimore
Flatiron Books / July 2022

More Reviews from Bookmiser

Subatomic super particles, string theory, parallel worlds, metaphysical, OBE—out-of-body-experience and different dimensions…. not many authors take their readers on such a tale as this paranormal story of a magician disappearing during a performance. Violet Volk disappeared a decade ago right in front of her audience and hasn’t been seen since. Her sister Sasha and Violet’s followers are still looking for answers. Is she alive? Was she really a psychic spy for the CIA? Does she exist in another dimension? Readers will not be able to put down this book as they read about the family situations and the magic that entwines this story.

Reviewed by Nancy Pierce, Bookmiser in Marietta, Georgia

Wash Day Diaries by Jamila Rowser


Wash Day Diaries by Jamila Rowser
Chronicle Books / July 2022

More Reviews from Blue Cypress Books

A beautifully-detailed graphic novel full of love, friendship, and Black Girl Magic.

Reviewed by LeeAnna Callon, Blue Cypress Books in New Orleans, Louisiana

Read This Next!

Books on the horizon: Forthcoming favorites from Southern indies…

A Prayer for the Crown-Shy by Becky Chambers


A Prayer for the Crown-Shy by Becky Chambers
Tordotcom / July 2022

More Reviews from Bookmarks

A July 2022 Read This Next! Selection

A Psalm for the Wild-Built was a perfect book. So much so that I put off reading A Prayer for the Crown-Shy because I couldn’t imagine a world where it could live up to the flawless beauty and meaning the first novella held for me. But once again, Becky Chambers has crafted a book that is just as philosophically resonant and wonderfully generous as its predecessor. Dex and Mosscap have become two of my favorite characters in all literature and I will love them till my dying day. No matter who you are, A Prayer for the Crown-Shy will speak to you in some way and remind you that the world is indeed full of wonder and that you are okay.

Reviewed by Caleb Masters, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Southern Bestsellers

What’s popular this week with Southern Readers.

Lapvona An Immense World Book Lovers
Noise Hello Lighthouse

[ See the full list ]

Parting Thought

“We don’t need a list of rights and wrongs, tables of dos and don’ts: We need books, time, and silence. ‘Thou shalt not’ is soon forgotten, but ‘Once upon a time’ lasts forever.”
– Philip Pullman

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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