The Southern Bookseller Review 8/2/22

The Southern Bookseller Review Newsletter for the week of August 2, 2022

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The week of August 2, 2022

The Summer Reading List

Barack Obama's Summer Reading List

Last week former President Barack Obama let people know what books were on his summer reading list. It always makes booksellers happy to see it, because it is always an interesting list and usually includes some of the books they have also been reading and giving to their customers. Here is what southern booksellers have to say about some of the books on this year’s list:

A Little Devil in America : In Praise of Black Performance by Hanif Abdurraqib
Anything new by Hanif Abdurraqib is something to celebrate. He’s quickly become one of my favorite writers. This one made me laugh, it made me angry, it made me think, and it made me look up old clips from Soul Train on YouTube.
–Chelsea Bauer at union ave books in Knoxville, Tennessee | Buy

The School for Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan
I cannot stop thinking about it. A dystopian reality that is just close enough to the way our society judges mothers makes this novel even more of a mind bender.  In a society where women only exist in relation to their children, what happens when their children are taken away? The School for Good Mothers evoked a strong emotional response, as the best novels do, and would be a perfect book club pick!
–Jessica Nock at Main Street Books in Davidson, North Carolina | Buy

The Family Chao : A Novel by Lan Samantha Chang
I really enjoyed this! It had a sort of a Corrections kind of feel to it with the whole dysfunctional family thing going on except here it’s more of a cultural mis-assimilation as much as anything else and it really yanks at the heart strings. So well written, so smooth construct, this will be a good one to help cure the winter time blues.
–Pete Mock in McIntyre’s Books in Pittsboro, North Carolina | Buy

The Candy House : A Novel by Jennifer Egan
I loved this novel. As soon as I finished reading Jennifer Egan‘s The Candy House, I went back to page one to see how she pulled off this intricate magic trick. Five stars.
–Janet Geddis in Avid Bookshop in Athens, Georgia | Buy

Mouth to Mouth by Antoine Wilson
What a fun read! Framed as a conversation, this is a riveting tale of a person’s life, and how a single decision can change everything. It made me feel tense, introspective, and annoyed at the main character (at times). Very well crafted, and had a really wonderful last sentence that changed the book’s meaning.
– Daniel Jordan in Pearl’s Books in Fayetteville, Arkansas | Buy

Read This Now | Read This Next | The Bookseller Directory

Read This Now!

Recommended by Southern indies…

Die Around Sundown by Mark Pryor


Die Around Sundown by Mark Pryor
Riverhead Books / August 2022

More Reviews from Copperfish Books

I became a fan of Mark Pryor after reading The Bookseller (and subsequent books) and meeting his protagonist, Hugo Marston. So, what a surprise to be introduced to a new protagonist, Inspector Henri Lefort. Occupied Paris in 1940 was a Nazi nightmare, but even worse, the murder of an SS officer could not be tolerated by "the enemy." The storyline bends and twists while the Inspector has been given 5 days to solve the murder…"or else." The Inspector, with his dry sense of humor, along with the characters (including Pablo Picasso) introduced as the story unfolds, help to create an intriguing mystery. Truly enjoyed the book!

Reviewed by Karen Solar, Copperfish Books in Punta Gorda, Florida

Bookseller Buzz


Spotlight on: The Daughter of Doctor Moreau by Silvia Moreno-Garcia


Silvia Moreno-Garcia

I love genre fiction, and I love horror. Poor horror gets treated like the cousin we don’t talk about. He doesn’t get invited to dinner. On the one hand, I joke that the industry that gave us  Crabs: The Human Sacrifice—please look up the 1988 cover of that book—can’t be taken very seriously after going there. And the horror boom of the ’80s produced plenty of dreck. But between possessed children and sewer mutants, there’s sometimes a space to touch on something special and no less poignant than a realistic drama. It’s the space of shadows on the wall that we stared at before we went to sleep when we were children and the frightful darkness around a campfire.” –Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Interview, Pen America

What booksellers are saying about The Daughter of Doctor Moreau

The Daughter of Doctor Moreau by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
  • Carlota loves her life in Yaxaktun, nestled in the jungles of Yucatan. She is a devoted daughter, even though her God-complex having mad scientist father is raising animal-human hybrids to work the lands of the Hacienda. Unfortunately, Carlota soon finds out that she is on borrowed time and borrowed land. Carlota must wrestle with being a good daughter and doing what she knows is right. Also, the author did her research! Moreno-Garcia weaves the history of the Caste War of Yucatan as well Yucatec Mayan language and myths into a beautiful story. ―Kate Smith from Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews in Chapel Hill, NC
    Buy from Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews

  • I don’t even know what to compare this book to, it’s just so incredibly unique and wonderful. Yes, it is a reimagining of a classic, but it’s by a WoC about a WoC, where the villain is now white men impeding in Native spaces, and the horror that always follows, inflicted upon the native people and the land. Silvia’s words are sweeping and yet calculated, crafting a dreamy affair where so-called monsters are more human than the actual humans are. Readers who were obsessed with Gods of Jade and Shadow will devour this book!
      ―Caitlyn Vanorder from Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, NC
    Buy from Bookmarks

  • Drawing inspiration from the famous HG Wells novel, Moreno-Garcia has penned a novel that defies genre, mixing elements of historical fiction and sci-fi with a dash of romance. The heroine’s character development from obedient daughter to independent badass was particularly enrapturing, as was the role of the hybrids. I early await Moreno-Garcia’s next project.  ―Chelsea Stringfield from Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee
    Buy from Parnassus Books

About Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Silvia Moreno-Garcia is the author of the novels Velvet Was the NightMexican GothicGods of Jade and Shadow, and a bunch of other books. She has also edited several anthologies, including the World Fantasy Award–winning She Walks in Shadows (a.k.a. Cthulhu’s Daughters). She has been nominated for the Locus Award for her work as an editor and has won the British Fantasy Award and the Locus Award for her work as a novelist.

Accomplished by Amanda Quain


Accomplished by Amanda Quain
Wednesday Books / July 2022

More Reviews from Fiction Addiction

We all know about Lizzie Bennet and Darcy — but what about Darcy’s sister, Georgiana, and her sordid history with Wickham? If you’re a Pride and Prejudice fan, you’ll recognize several characters in this contemporary spin, but Georgiana Darcy gets the main character treatment. She has to deal with what Wickham did last year that almost got her expelled from prestigious boarding school Pemberley, a brother who’s both more and less absent than he should be, and everyone in school hating her for various reasons. Her one saving grace is her band friend Avery, who is the only one who doesn’t treat her as an outcast and so might be able to help her with her mission to get her life back on track. A fun take on Pride and Prejudice that is familiar enough to be enticing but new enough to keep your attention.

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

Rooster Fighter, Vol. 1 by Shu Sakuratani,


Rooster Fighter, Vol. 1 by Shu Sakuratani
VIZ Media LLC / August 2022

More Reviews from The Haunted Book Shop

Rooster Fighter is a mad little manga about a rooster who kills demons. This inherently silly premise is played straight and hilariously so–the art and the fights are often epic and without gags: The gag is the premise itself. It’s a wonderful manga for people who don’t take things too seriously. Or keep chickens..

Reviewed by Alex Mcleod, The Haunted Book Shop in Mobile, Alabama

This Story Will Change by Elizabeth Crane


This Story Will Change by Elizabeth Crane
Counterpoint / August 2022

More Reviews from Bookmiser

“I thought we were going to grow old together, take care of each other.” The author Elizabeth Crane has been married for fifteen years and one day her husband tells her he isn’t happy. We ride with her on this winding story to see every turn in their lives and how it ended with this terrible pain. Truth is in every word of this memoir. Who doesn’t plan and hope for a happy ending when beginning a marriage? Elizabeth Crane reveals the honest painful truth that can be at the end of a relationship. Never has an ending of a marriage been told with more honest and heartbreaking TRUTH. She gets a new tattoo with just the word love. and writes “I still believe in it. sometimes like Santa. but I do.” Everyone who either hopes for a marriage or been in love and lost or longs for a partner could feel much of the truth in this too painfully unforgettable wise tale.

Reviewed by Nancy Pierce, Bookmiser, Inc. in Marietta, Georgia

Over My Dead Body by Sweeney Boo


Over My Dead Body by Sweeney Boo
HarperAlley / August 2022

More Reviews from Story on the Square

I love dark academia. My love for it started with Harry Potter as a child and has only grown since then. I was delighted to dive into a school of witches and warlocks that’s brimming diversity opposed to the same old tired tropes. When her friend Noreen goes missing in the cursed forest, Abigail will stop at nothing to unwrap the truth and save her mentee. The art is beautiful. This is going to be the perfect recommendation for Halloween and beyond!

Reviewed by Katlin Kerrison, Story on the Square in McDonough, Georgia

J.R. Silver Writes Her World by Melissa Dassori


J.R. Silver Writes Her World by Melissa Dassori
Christy Ottaviano Books / July 2022

More Reviews from E. Shaver, Bookseller

Take a Mary Poppins-esque teacher who definitely knows more than she’s letting on, her inherited collection of seemingly magical New Yorker covers that are supposed to inspire creative writing projects, and a pair of best friends whose friendship is changing as they start middle school and you’ve got J.R. Silver Writes Her World. I loved all the little nods in here to “From the Mixed-Up Files” and the Met.

Reviewed by Melissa Taylor, E. Shaver, Bookseller in Savannah, Georgia

Read This Next!

Books on the horizon: Forthcoming favorites from Southern indies…

The Last White Man by Mohsin Hamid


The Last White Man by Mohsin Hamid
 Riverhead Books / August 2022

More Reviews from Fountain Bookstore

An August 2022 Read This Next! Title

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, and he’s not the only one whos gone through this change. I knew going in that race would be the main theme in this, but the way it’s handled is so perfect and timely. Along with that are themes of death/grief and family, which I was not expecting but added perfect and honest touches to this almost surreal book. Mohsin Hamid knows how to do fiction that creeps up on you and just takes your breath away completely, and im here for it.

Reviewed by Grace Sullivan, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

Southern Bestsellers

What’s popular this week with Southern Readers.

The Daughter of Doctor Moreau An Immense World Book Lovers
The Bomber Mafia The Moon

[ See the full list ]

Parting Thought

“We read in bed because reading is halfway between life and dreaming, our own consciousness in someone else’s mind.”
– Anna Quindlen

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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