The Southern Bookseller Review 9/19/23

The Southern Bookseller Review Newsletter for the week of September 19, 2023

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The Southern Bookseller Review: A Book for Every Reader

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The week of September 19, 2023

A well that will never run dry.

National Hispanic Heritage Month

September 15 through October 15 we celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month, honoring the cultures and contributions of Hispanic and Latine Americans. In the world of books and literature those contributions are a full and deep well that will never run dry: The list of Hispanic and Latin American writers who have influenced our literary landscape and become beloved storytellers is never-ending. Later this week SBR will publish September’s special monthly edition dedicated to Latine writers. That will only be a few of the many, many Hispanic and Latine writers and books that Southern booksellers have loved.

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

Read This Now!

Recommended by Southern indies…

This Is Salvaged by Vauhini Vara


This Is Salvaged by Vauhini Vara
W. W. Norton & Company / September 2023

More Reviews from Thank You Books

This collection feels so alive. It’s not just the memorable characters set spinning toward questionable ventures, it’s the sense of play and fun that pervades each story, each line. In never taking any moment too seriously, Vara accomplishes the serious work of truth-telling that actually feels true.

Reviewed by Kristen Iskandrian, Thank You Books in Birmingham, Alabama

Bookseller Buzz


Spotlight on: A Study in Drowning by Ava Reid

Ava Reid, photo credit the author

“I am always very interested in the deconstruction of fairy tales, the relationship between folklore and nationalism, and the role of stories in shaping identity on both the personal and political level. If The Wolf and the Woodsman is about the pain of being excluded from the narrative, and Juniper & Thorn is about the pain of being forced into a narrative against your will, then A Study in Drowning is about crafting an intricate, epic narrative of your own, in order to protect yourself from the pain of life’s daily, banal cruelties.” ― Ava Reid, Interview, Books Forward

What booksellers are saying about A Study in Drowning

A Study in Drowning by Ava Reid
  • What’s more dangerous—a sinking mansion full of secrets, a vicious and enthralling Fairy King, or the forces that have historically silenced and subjugated young women in academia? Fans of Mexican Gothic and The Hazel Wood, this Welsh folklore-infused dark academia fantasy will sweep you under and leave you drowning in all its lush and eerie, mysterious and romantic, utterly immersive, gothic splendor.
      ― Megan Bell, Underground Books in Carrollton, Georgia | Buy from Underground Books

  • Ava Reid’s YA debut will surely be one of my favorite reads of 2023. Reid’s work is steeped in literary and folkloric reference, worth countless re-reads and further dissection. Their prose is unmatched; dark, delicious, and dreamy all at once. Reid is a remarkable talent—I will read anything they write.
      ― Reviewed by Isabel Agajanian, Oxford Exchange in Tampa, Florida | Buy from Oxford Exchange

  • A haunting story full of magic and heart. I was hooked from the very beginning. I loved falling so completely into the world Ava Reid created.
      ― Rayna Nielsen, Blue Cypress Books in New Orleans, Louisiana | Buy from Blue Cypress Books

About Ava Reid

Ava Reid was born in Manhattan and raised right across the Hudson River in Hoboken but currently lives in Palo Alto. She has a degree in political science from Barnard College, focusing on religion and ethnonationalism.

Rouge by Mona Awad


Rouge by Mona Awad
 S&S/ Marysue Rucci Books / September 2023

Adult FictionLiterary Fiction
More Reviews from Pearl’s Books

Read This Next!

A September 2023 Read This Next Book!

Reading this book felt a lot like moving through a dream. The surreal horror and red-soaked imagery stuck with me long after finishing the book. Mona Awad does an excellent job making commentary on beauty standards and the beauty industry in a very unique way. Plus, Tom Cruise!

Reviewed by Hallee Israel, Pearl’s Books in Fayetteville, Arkansas

The Six by Loren Grush


The Six by Loren Grush
Scribner / September 2023

More Reviews from Bookmarks

Read This Next!

A September 2023 Read This Next Book!

I dressed up as Sally Ride in the fourth grade after visiting the Johnson Space Center, and I’ve been a fan ever since! I have spent hours reading books and watching documentaries about all things NASA for years of my life, but I still learned so many new things reading this book. The new insight that Grush brings to this era of NASA history is fascinating; by telling the story though the perspectives of the first six women astronauts she situates the space shuttle in a way I have not seen before. She also has a knack for explaining complicated engineering or scientific concepts in very clear, short paragraphs, which I really appreciated! This will be a great addition to any space fan’s library.

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

Alanna by Tamora Pierce


Alanna by Tamora Pierce
Atheneum Books for Young Readers / September 2023

More Reviews from Story on the Square

I have loved Alanna since I was a middle schooler. Before I wrote this review, I literally had been pulling out my old dusty copies for my 14 year old goddaughter to read and I’m so thrilled to see that Tamora Pierce is being reprinted once again! Alanna’s story is timeless and portrays healthy relationships as well as bravery and excitement. I cannot wait to welcome a new wave of readers into Tamora Pierce’s world and hope the reprint of the Lioness Quartet is just the beginning!

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

When Moon Became the Moon by Rob Hodgson


When Moon Became the Moon by Rob Hodgson
Rise x Penguin Workshop / August 2023

More Reviews from Square Books

The moon, as a “work in progress”. Love this. A sweet and simple way to teach any young astronomer about the lunar body’s history, relationship to the sun, the earth, and us too. (All ages)

Reviewed by Jilleen Moore, Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi

I Escaped a Chinese Internment Camp by Anthony Del Col


I Escaped a Chinese Internment Camp by Anthony Del Col
Lev Gleason / September 2023

More Reviews from E. Shaver, bookseller

This book shows the very ugly truth that is a reality for many people. This woman survived unimaginable conditions and lived to tell the tale. I have nothing but the utmost respect for her being able to share her truth, and feel this book really opened my eyes to the treatment of the Uyghur people of China.

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

Decide for Yourself

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

Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore


Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore
Kathy Dawson Books / September 2017

More Reviews from Fountain Bookstore

It’s impossible to say enough about this book! This is definitely being added to my top reads of 2020. There’s magic, art heists, ghosts in the house, space pirates, talking dogs, and so, so much more! It’s part Clue, part Sliding Doors, part Knives Out (before Knives Out existed though), and pure genius on Cashore’s part! It has a Choose Your Own Adventure feel to it, with lots of quirk and heart and just overall fabulousness!

Reviewed by Kate Towery, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

Southern Bestsellers

What’s popular this week with Southern Readers.

Holly The Deadline Mad Honey
Killers of the Flower Moon Foxglove

[ See the full list ]

Parting Thought

“It’s so important for me, finding the precise word that will create a feeling or describe a situation. I’m very picky about that because it’s the only material we have: words. But they are free. No matter how many syllables they have: free! You can use as many as you want, forever.”
— Isabel Allende

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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