The Southern Bookseller Review 8/30/22

The Southern Bookseller Review Newsletter for the week of August 30, 2022

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The week of August 30, 2022

September books to read next.

YA Suspense, Fantasy, and Horror
September 2022 Read This Next! Selections

Southern booksellers have selected their "read this next!" list of September books. Full reviews will be published on September 1st, but here is an early peak of what they have to say:

Artemis Made Me Do It by Trista Mateer
Every page of this book is chock full of beautiful, enchanting words that dig in deep and tear up the soil to reveal things you might not have thought about in years. Even if a poem doesn’t directly connect with you, it will in fact, ruin you.
–Caitlyn Vanorder in Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, NC

The Fortunes of Jaded Women by Carolyn Huynh
The Duong sisters are cursed. It all started with their ancestor Oanh, who defied tradition and left her husband for true love. With many narrators, whip-smart humor, and at the center of it all family healing, this is a perfect Summer read.
– Grace Sullivan in Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, VA

If I Survive You by Jonathan Escoffery
A unique narrative on identity and belonging that effortlessly mixes the past, present, and future together. The writing in this book is superb and Escoffery’s voice is unflinching in his presentation of the characters, highlighting both their strengths as well as their flaws.
–Stuart McCommon in Novel in Memphis, TN

We Spread by Iain Reid
I adore the way Iain Reid can make you feel so clueless and enthralled at the same time. The way he writes, even the most horrifying feeling, is soothing. I found myself trying to read slower as I neared the end because the experience passed too quickly.
–Mary Salazar in The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, NC

When You Take a Step by Bethanie Deeney Murguia
Follow a trail of color through this book as you see where taking a step will lead. Each page follows a child as they explore the world. And even though everyone’s journey will be different, they can all make a difference.
–Jamie Southern in Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, NC

Read This Now | Read This Next | The Bookseller Directory

Read This Now!

Recommended by Southern indies…

Delphi by Clare Pollard


Delphi by Clare Pollard
Avid Reader Press / August 2022

More Reviews from Quail Ridge Books

Beautiful at the sentence level, Pollard’s Delphi deftly captured the weird, stagnant time of the early covid-19 pandemic through the first year. Her depiction of the strangeness of everyday life is lovely: the fear but especially the monotony. The main character had been researching divination methods of the ancient world prior to the pandemic; various forms of divination, ancient and modern, frame the short chapters. The methods are sometimes directly discussed or even used by the character to gain some semblance of control, but at other times, the chapter header appears only in an oblique nod: a flight of birds, a television unwatched. Taking a wider lens, the story is largely interior and for large stretches very little happens (though in an interesting way). The main character, her husband, and her son tackle isolation and conflict and the pressure to just go along with extended family’s risk assessments (whether stricter or looser); they take risks to connect with friends and coworkers that often turn out fine. There’s a flurry of the high-stakes plot near the end – even foreshadowed, the introduction of the conflict felt rather sudden, and the resolution arrived so abruptly that I turned the page expecting a denouement to find the acknowledgments page instead. But I’m sure I’ll be thinking about this book for a while.

Reviewed by Ginger Kautz, Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, North Carolina

Bookseller Buzz


Spotlight on: The Book Eaters by Sunyi Dean


Sunyi Dean Photo Credit: Richard Wilson of Richard Wilson Photography

I’ve never (yet!) set fire to a large Scottish mansion as Devon does, nor numbered my body count in the dozens as Devon has. (Though hope springs eternal, as they say.) But I did grow up reading fairy tales and believing in false happy endings, as she did, and my life has been irrevocably altered by parenting, single or otherwise, as hers was.

Out of personal apocalypse and a total collapse of hope, good things eventually came about—for me, and for Devon.

The Book Eaters is both a love letter to fairy tales, and a critical examination of their flaws. Above all, it is a story about family love in the midst of ruination: how we define it and defend it, how we find it and fight for it.” –Sunyi Dean, Letter to readers

What booksellers are saying about The Book Eaters

The Book Eaters by Sunyi Dean
  • This has definitely become one of the books that I wish I had written! Sunyi Dean manages to perfectly capture the feeling of wanting to devour a good book, in all of its fantastical glory. Between the morally grey characters, English moor setting, and enviable prose, Dean has written a modern fairy tale for the ages, where the girl saves herself and monsters are not the ones you would expect. A truly stunning debut novel! ―Hallie Smith from Main Street Books in Davidson, North Carolina
    Buy from Main Street Books

  • This dark and at times disturbing debut novel is an exploration of the depths that a mother will go to in order to protect her son. Devon Fairweather is a book eater – a secret race that literally consumes the written word – and has a privileged but strictly controlled life. All that changes when her son is born a mind eater, and she’s forced to rebel against her upbringing to ensure his survival. Perfect for anyone in need of a Gothic fantasy fix.
      ―Jude Burke-Lewis from Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi
    Buy from Square Books

  • A truly dark and fantastical read that is rich with an assortment of literary references and gothic elements. The Book Eaters is a deliciously unique take on vampirism that you’ll really want to sink your teeth into.  ―Kassie Weeks from Oxford Exchange in Tampa, Florida
    Buy from Oxford Exchange

  • A wonderfully fantastic story about a secret line of people who do indeed eat books, and their unfortunate brethren who are doomed to consume minds. I quickly found myself rooting for the main character Devon, who is a book eater princess and mother fighting to help her mind eater son. There are some creepy bits, but not too bad for this non-horror reader. Inventive worldbuilding and compelling read!  ―Serena Wyckoff from Copperfish Books in Punta Gorda, Florida
    Buy from Copperfish Books

About Sunyi Dean

Sunyi Dean is an autistic SFF writer, and mother of two. Originally born in the States and raised in Hong Kong, she now lives in Yorkshire. When not reading, running, falling over in yoga, or rolling d20s, she sometimes escapes the city to wildswim in lonely dales. The Book Eaters is her debut, and you can find her online @Blind_Nycteris.

The English Understand Wool by Helen DeWitt


The English Understand Wool by Helen DeWitt
New Directions / August 2022

More Reviews from Square Books

A tight, Talented Mr. Ripley-esque mini-thriller where the thrill is in the revelation of the narrator’s psyche through her circumstances. And it has a biting critique of the publishing industry! Helen DeWitt runs away with this priceless gem: a literary thriller that is as exciting as it is intelligent and can be read in an afternoon.

Reviewed by Conor Hultman, Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi

Acceptance by Emi Nietfeld,


Acceptance by Emi Nietfeld
Penguin Press / August 2022

More Reviews from Bookmarks

From the very first chapter in Acceptance you feel Nietfeld’s urgency to change her future and outrun the circumstances of her childhood. A memoir of mental health, foster care and homelessness, abuse, and this book is also the story of the struggle for education, for a way out, and to find one’s true path. Not since Educated have I felt as compelled by a memoir as I did by Acceptance; highly recommended for all readers.

Reviewed by Beth Seufer Buss, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

These Fleeting Shadows by Kate Alice Marshall


These Fleeting Shadows by Kate Alice Marshall
Viking Books for Young Readers / August 2022

More Reviews from Story on the Square

I absolutely adore beautifully written horror. There’s something amazing about taking something that should be absolutely terrifying and finding a way to write it so beautifully that it could be poetry. Yet despite the beautiful prose, I was still chilled to my bones. These Fleeting Shadows was dripping with beautiful pain and chills. This is the perfect release to snuggle up with on a dark and foggy night, but only if you’re sure your house is safe from everything that might go bump in the shadows. Helen and her family are well written as well as intriguing.

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

But Why? by Elizabeth Pulsford


But Why? by Elizabeth Pulsford
Ethicool Books / September 2022

More Reviews from Main Street Books

With gorgeous, dreamy illustrations, But Why? asks the big questions children (and adults alike!) have about themselves and their place in the world. This picture book would be a sweet and tender springboard for meaningful discussions for the children in your life.

Reviewed by Jessica Nock, Main Street Books in Davidson, North Carolina

Talli, Daughter of the Moon Vol. 1 by Sourya


Talli, Daughter of the Moon Vol. 1 by Sourya
Oni Press / September 2022

More Reviews from Oxford Exchange

I love it when the first volume of a series catches your attention and leaves you wanting more. When I started Talli, I wasn’t sure what to expect. At first, I thought it was going to be a normal run-of-the-mill Shonen-like manga where nothing crazily drastic happens to characters. Boy was I wrong. The second limbs start to fly and characters have intense personal issues/trauma means that what you are reading is going to have some meat to it. Really excited to find out more about the lore and characters!

Reviewed by Ethan Davis, Oxford Exchange in Tampa, Florida

Read This Next!

Books on the horizon: Forthcoming favorites from Southern indies…

Other Birds by Sarah Addison Allen


Other Birds by Sarah Addison Allen
 St. Martin’s Press / August 2022

More Reviews from Main Street Books

An August 2022 Read This Next! Title

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!

Reviewed by Jan Blodgett, Main Street Books in Davidson, North Carolina

Southern Bestsellers

What’s popular this week with Southern Readers.

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow Koshersoul EBook Lovers
The Field Guide to Dumb Birds of the Whole Stupid World The Little Golden Book of Dolly Parton

[ See the full list ]

Parting Thought

“Reading is my inhale, and writing is my exhale. ”
– Glennon Doyle

Publisher: The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance /
Editor: Nicki Leone /
Advertising: Linda-Marie Barrett /
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