The Southern Bookseller Review 9/20/22

The Southern Bookseller Review Newsletter for the week of September 20, 2022

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The week of September 20, 2022

This is Banned Books Week.

United Against Book Bans

Usually when there are books in the news, SBR likes to post a reading list along with a a few comments from booksellers about each book and why they liked it. There are, we are sorry to say, plenty of lists to look at this week. The most frequently challenged or banned book in the country last year was Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe, and SBR readers have already heard what many Southern booksellers think of that book.

Usually when confronted with a challenge to a book, the advice is to read it and decide for yourself what you think of it. Or, don’t read it, if you’d rather not. It is up to each person to make up their own mind.

But over the last few years book banning has shifted from localized challenges made mostly by parents against their children’s school and public libraries to wider-scaled tools used in political campaigns. 2021 was a record year for book bans — over 72 attempted bans of 1597 individual books. Sadly, 2022 is likely to exceed that number. From July 2021 to June 2022, PEN America’s Index of School Book Bans lists 2,532 instances of individual books being banned, affecting 1,648 unique book titles.

Yet most people oppose book bans, regardless of their political affiliations. According to a poll by the American Library Association, 70% of voters oppose efforts to remove books from school and public libraries.

So this week, yes, certainly visit your local bookstore and pick up some of these challenged books and read them. Readers can be trusted to decide for themselves what they think about the books they read.

But if you want to do more, visit United Against Book Bans for ideas of how to stand up for your right to read.

Read This Now | Read This Next | The Bookseller Directory


Read This Now!

Recommended by Southern indies…

Jollof Rice and Other Revolutions by Omolola Ijeoma Ogunyemi

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Jollof Rice and Other Revolutions by Omolola Ijeoma Ogunyemi
Amistad / September 2022


More Reviews from Fountain Bookstore

This intertwined collection of short stories is a powerful and engrossing American debut from Omolola Ijeoma Ogunyemi. The stories travel from 1920’s Nigeria to modern day New York and back again, following multiple characters all interconnected by strong women whose choices echo on for generations. Very well paced and structured, each story moves quickly and seamlessly into the next. Romance, power struggles, day-in-the-life: this novel has something for everyone.

Reviewed by Alex Einhorn, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia



Bookseller Buzz

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Spotlight on: Wildoak by C. C. Harrington

 

C. C. Harrington Photo Credit C. Williams

I have always felt comforted and reassured by the presence of old trees and love to spend time walking in woodlands or forests whenever I can. It might sound strange, but I really do feel a kind of connection, or perhaps access, to a different way of being when I’m immersed in the natural world.” ―C. C. Harrington, Interview, Indies Introduce

What booksellers are saying about Wildoak

Wildoak by C. C. Harrington
  • This is the best book about human and animal interaction I’ve read in a long time. Such a sweet and touching story.―Judith Lafitte from Octavia Books in New Orleans, Louisiana
    Buy from Octavia Books

  • This is such a sweet story that does feel like a modern classic. Maggie has a hard time speaking for herself but finds her courage when she needs to speak for others who have no voice. This book packs a punch with disability visibility, conservation, and even PTSD.
      ―Melissa Taylor from E. Shaver, bookseller in Savannah, Georgia
    Buy from E. Shaver, bookseller

  • The perfect book for fans of both The War That Saved My Life and Pax, Wildoak is a lovely debut that is sure to become a new classic and a school reading list staple. Challenged by a stutter that makes it difficult to express herself, lonely Maggie befriends and helps to rehabilitate an abandoned and injured snow leopard lost in the English countryside. When the creature is threatened, Maggie finds her voice in a most powerful way.  ―DM Capriola from Little Shop of Stories in Decatur, Georgia
    Buy from Little Shop of Stories

  • A beautifully written and deeply inspiring story of Maggie, a young girl in 1960’s England who is labeled a behavior problem due to her stutter. When she is sent to stay with her grandfather in Cornwall, she discovers an abandoned snow leopard in the woods. While helping him, she finds solace, strength and healing in nature and discovers her voice and the power it has to help others. Wonderful!!!  ―Mary Patterson from The Little Bookshop in Midlothian, Virginia
    Buy from The Little Bookshop

  • A quietly lovely novel about finding your way and using your voice. Wildoak tells the story of Maggie, Rumpus, and the importance of wild spaces and listening with your heart. Maggie finds her strength and becomes herself but the path is not easy. Fortunately, she finds hope and respite curled up with a fluffy snow leopard It’s everything I love about Middle Grade stories!  ―Susan Williams from M. Judson, Booksellers in Greenville, South Carolina
    Buy from M. Judson, Booksellers

About C. C. Harrington

Christina Harrison grew up in the UK. She spent her summer holidays in Cornwall where she loved to climb trees and run barefoot along pebbly beaches. She loves the natural world and believes that stories, much like the roots of an ancient forest, are capable of connecting readers and listeners in essential ways. Wildoak is her first book. She graduated from Oxford University with a degree in English Literature and has since worked for a newspaper, taught literacy to children with learning differences and studied printmaking. She now lives in Maryland with her family and a dog who loves to eat manuscripts. You can learn more about her work at ccharrington.com

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Shrines of Gaiety by Kate Atkinson

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Shrines of Gaiety by Kate Atkinson
Doubleday / September 2022


More Reviews from Square Books

Kate Atkinson has a wonderful way with words, combining laugh-out-loud wit with unexpected pathos. I gobbled up Shrines of Gaiety – which features a motley crew of characters in 1920s London, including a nightclub boss, a chief inspector intent on weeding out corruption in the police, a teenage runaway in search of fame, and a former WW1 nurse in search of said missing teenager – in just a couple of days. Recommended.

Reviewed by Jude Burke-Lewis, Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi



All the Women in My Brain by Betty Gilpin

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All the Women in My Brain by Betty Gilpin
Flatiron Book / September 2022


More Reviews from Book No Further

Hilarious and bittersweet, Betty Gilpin’s memoir about her life as an actress is a bit chaotic at times, but in a funny way. She writes as a very successful actress who also struggles with self-doubt and depression. The reader gets to go behind- the -scenes with Gilpin as she stars in various TV shows and movies, describing her work from a feminist perspective and as a veteran of the entertainment industry. Loved it!

Reviewed by Lisa Uotinen, Book No Further in Roanoke, Virginia

Fraternity by Andy Mientus

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Fraternity by Andy Mientus
Atheneum Books for Young Readers / August 2022

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More Reviews from Oxford Exchange

These chaotic passage of events and writing style reminded me a lot of the novel I Love You, Beth Cooper. Plot-wise, as a YA book, it is extremely insightful in regards to the AIDs epidemic, despite the allure of occult fantasy in this queer coming of age story. It was an entertaining read. I appreciate the tribute to notable gay figures within American history, as well as the representation of queer people of color. In all, it was extremely chaotic, and at times cheesy, but I would still read this and would recommend to those who enjoyed the Haunting of Jake Livingston.

Reviewed by Yarah Elshaer, Oxford Exchange in Tampa, Florida

Still This Love Goes On by Buffy Sainte-Marie

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Still This Love Goes On by Buffy Sainte-Marie
Greystone Kids / September 2022


More Reviews from Avid Bookshop

Beautiful and poignant, this stunning ode to Cree life sings with love for the relations that sustain it—between people, with the land, and the communal practices that have endured through generations. Flett’s warm, evocative artwork is, as always, a treasure, imbuing Sainte-Marie’s lyrics with tender resonance.

Reviewed by Hannah DeCamp, Avid Bookshop in Athens, Georgia

Muhammad Najem, War Reporter by Muhammad Najem

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Muhammad Najem, War Reporter by Muhammad Najem
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers / September 2022


More Reviews from Main Street Books

A Syrian kid living through the Syrian civil war decides to interview other kids his age using his phone to document what’s going on. He shares it on social media like YouTube Twitter and Facebook. He felt like he was being targeted by bombs for his news videos. Tense, informative, serious, sad, but also has happy moments. Read it all in one sitting. Hard to put down.

Reviewed by Eliza, Main Street Books in Davidson, North Carolina

Read This Next!

Books on the horizon: Forthcoming favorites from Southern indies…

If I Survive You by Jonathan Escoffery

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If I Survive You by Jonathan Escoffery
 MCD / September 2022


More Reviews from Novel

A September 2022 Read This Next! Title

Jonathan Escoffery’s debut If I Survive You chronicles an American immigration story full of hope, heartbreak, promises broken, and most importantly the constant struggle. Told in interconnected stories, If I Survive You addresses class, race, and economic disparity but is also funny. Mark my words, Escoffery is a rising literary star

Reviewed by Stuart McCommon Sullivan, Novel in Memphis, Tennessee

Southern Bestsellers

What’s popular this week with Southern Readers.

Fairy Tale Dinners with Ruth A Court of Thorns and Roses
Fox and I The Gathering Dark

[ See the full list ]

Parting Thought

“Reading and writing, like everything else, improve with practice. And, of course, if there are no young readers and writers, there will shortly be no older ones. Literacy will be dead, and democracy – which many believe goes hand in hand with it – will be dead as well. ”
– Margaret Atwood

Publisher: The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance / siba@sibaweb.com
Editor: Nicki Leone / nicki@sibaweb.com
Advertising: Linda-Marie Barrett / lindamarie@sibaweb.com
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