The Southern Bookseller Review: Summer Reading

The Southern Bookseller Review: Summer Reading, July, 2022

View this email online. | unsubscribe | SBR Archive | SUBSCRIBE TO SBR

facebook  twitter  instagram 
sbr logo

July, 2022

Summer Reading

Summer Reading, books to take you away

This special edition of The Southern Bookseller Review celebrates the joys of summer reading; the books we stuff in our beach bags, read in our hammocks, squirrel away in our packs to have ready whenever we need to be transported to someplace wonderful.

“Let us read, and let us dance; these two amusements will never do any harm to the world. ” -Voltaire

Read This Now | Read This Next | The Bookseller Directory

Read This Now!

In praise of the stories that transport us

Back to the Prairie by Melissa Gilbert


Back to the Prairie by Melissa Gilbert, Timothy Busfield (foreword)
Gallery Books / May 2022

“There is no better pillow than one filled with hope and dreams.” writes Melissa Gilbert (the Little House on the Prairie Laura Ingalls Wilder) as she relates the latest years of her story of living through the COVID-19 pandemic. The reader will travel with Melissa as she transitions from dyed red hair and designer wear to granny gray hair and comfortable clothes. We meet her family and her husband Timothy Busfield as they decide on buying and living in a Catskills area ramshackle cabin/cottage (cabbage) and the struggles and work that go into their new home. We experience her pain and surgeries and her happiness with nature, her chickens, her cooking, and her new life. We all relive the lockdown fears and worries with the pandemic with the day-to-day reality of our situation and celebrate the vaccines and the freedom after our shots. Back to the Prairie will inspire all readers to evolve into our true selves and the happiness and comfort in finding who we are naturally meant to be.

Reviewed by Nancy Pierce, Bookmiser in Marietta, Georgia

Melissa Gilbert

About the Author:
Melissa Gilbert starred as Laura Ingalls Wilder on the hit NBC television show Little House on the Prairie. She has starred in numerous movies and plays and served two terms as president of the Screen Actors Guild. She is the author of Prairie Tale, Daisy and Josephine, My Prairie Cookbook, and Back to the Prairie. She resides in the Catskills and New York City with her husband, Timothy Busfield.

The Book of Susan by Melanie K. Hutsell


The Book of Susan by Melanie K. Hutsell
Paraclete Press / July 2022

“Profound and compulsively readable, The Book of Susan complexifies typical notions of Appalachia and offers us an unforgettable character in lyrical and accessible prose. Hutsell is a literary stylist who knows how to keep the reader in her grip.” —Silas House, author of Southernmost

Her mind has never failed her—until an ill-fated dinner party.

Meet Dr. Susan Huffman: wife to chancery court judge Samuel Ellison, mother to adorable Ian, and college professor on track for tenure. She’s a woman who has always lived by her mind, with a plan and a purpose. But then new-in-town Lorraine Davis accepts an invitation to Susan and Samuel’s home, and the mysterious visions begin. Is God warning Susan about this newcomer? And if so, how can she protect her circle of friends, her family, and her life as she knows it?

The Book of Susan is the spare and sympathetic recounting of a journey—from derailment, to diagnosis, to the discovery of a lifetime. Melanie K. Hutsell

About the Author:
A native of east Tennessee, poet and novelist Melanie K. Hutsell has been learning to live with bipolar disorder for more than fifteen years. She holds a BA in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, an MA in English from Indiana University at Bloomington, and an MBA from East Tennessee State University. A lay member of the United Methodist Church, an avid reader, and music lover, she currently resides in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

Bookseller Buzz


Spotlight on: The Kingdoms of Savannah by George Dawes Green


George Dawes Green

There are many worlds in this small city: the redoubts of the old guard, the Black neighborhoods, the 39 homeless camps that encircle the city, the tourist district. As my protagonist Morgana Musgrove says: “Savannah’s not just one realm, it’s a great many realms—but they work together to keep us in thrall.”” –George Dawes Green, interview, Celadon Books

The Kingdoms of Savannah

What booksellers are saying about The Kingdoms of Savannah

  • I loved The Kingdoms of Savannah. It read like a dark, gothic Conroy novel, concerned as much with the grit of the city as the moonlight and magnolias. The Musgrove family are some rare birds. I really hope Mr. Green is planning to bring them back for more. ―Ashley Warlick from M Judson, Booksellers in Greenville, SC
    Buy from M. Judson, Booksellers

  • George Dawes Green with poetic language describes the beauty and underbelly of historic Savannah while entangling the reader with questions about the Stone Kings Treasure and what the mystery has to do with the death of Luke Kitchens and the disappearance of Stony. Morgana’s granddaughter Jaq courageously uncovers the mysteries the reader will long remember.   ―Nancy Pierce from Bookmiser, Inc. in Marietta, GA
    Buy from Bookmiser

  • This lushly written thriller takes the reader inside Savannah…the good, the bad, and the unseen ugly. George Dawes Green introduces us to an extensive cast of eclectic, eccentric and in some cases downright scary characters that paint a picture of a Savannah that the casual tourist will never see. This is a compelling and intriguing story that will keep the reader up all night as you untangle the twists and turns to the very end. If you have been intrigued by the culture and history of the deep south, you owe it to yourself to experience this unique look at an all too possible fictional story with a strong dose of history intertwined.   ―Brent Bunnell from Fiction Addiction in Greenville, SC
    Buy from Fiction Addiction

  • I’m a bit of a dummy with the attention span of a gnat hopped up on skittles & too much coffee, I need my history lessons in the form of fiction tinged with truth. HOLY COW does this deliver! Looking forward to putting this novel in peoples hands and heads.   ―Berkley McDaniel from Reclaimed Bookstore DBA Chop Suey Books in Richmond, VA
    Buy from Chop Suey Books

About George Dawes Green

George Dawes Green, founder of The Moth, is an internationally celebrated author. His first novel, The Caveman’s Valentine, won the Edgar Award and became a motion picture starring Samuel L. Jackson. The Juror was an international bestseller in more than twenty languages and was the basis for the movie starring Demi Moore and Alec Baldwin. Ravens  was chosen as one of the best books of 2009 by the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Daily Mail of London, and many other publications. George Green grew up in Georgia and now lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Summer Song by Kevin Henkes


Summer Song by Kevin Henkes, Laura Dronzek (illus.)
Greenwillow Books / May 2022

The song of summer is loud sprinklers and lawn mowers and thunder, and also quiet dragonflies and lightning bugs and foggy mornings. The song of summer is long long days until summer is bored and ready for a new song. The latest in the wonderful season series by Kevin Henkes, Summer Song will still have young readers running through sprinklers in their minds long after the orange oak leaves begin to fall.

Reviewed by Angie Tally from The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, North Carolina

Kevine Henkes

About the Authors:
Kevin Henkes is the author and illustrator of more than fifty critically acclaimed and award-winning picture books, beginning readers, and novels. He received the Caldecott Medal for Kitten’s First Full Moon in 2005; and Waiting won a Caldecott Honor and Geisel Honor in 2016. Kevin Henkes is also the creator of a number of picture books featuring his mouse characters, including the #1 New York Times bestsellers Lilly’s Big Day and Wemberly Worried, the Caldecott Honor Book Owen, and the beloved Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse. His most recent mouse character, Penny, was introduced in Penny and Her Song. Kevin Henkes received two Newbery Honors for novels—one for The Year of Billy Miller, and the other for Olive’s Ocean. Also among his fiction for older readers are the novels JunoniaBird Lake MoonThe Birthday Room, and Sun & Spoon. Most recently, he is the author of Sun Flower Lion, Billy Miller Makes a Wish, A House, and Little Houses. He lives with his family in Madison, Wisconsin.

Laura Dronzek

Laura Dronzek is a painter whose work has been exhibited nationally. Her picture books include the acclaimed When Spring Comes, by Kevin Henkes; In the Middle of Fall, by Kevin Henkes; Winter Is Here, by Kevin Henkes; Summer Song, by Kevin Henkes; Birds, by Kevin Henkes; Oh!, by Kevin Henkes; White Is for Blueberry, by George Shannon; Tippy-Toe Chick, Go!, by George Shannon; Moonlight, by Helen V. Griffith; and It Is Night, by Phyllis Rowand. She lives with her family in Madison, Wisconsin.

By the Book by Jasmine Guillory


By the Book by Jasmine Guillory
Hyperion Avenue / May 2022

I absolutely loved this romance, which is a fresh take on Beauty and the Beast. Set in the publishing world, Isabelle is stagnated by her job, and has lost her writing mojo. She jumps at the opportunity to talk to famous bad boy, Beau, about his very overdue memoir that he owes her publishing house. He’s everything she thought he’d be- spoiled, rude, and privileged. He surprises her by asking for her help, and although the pair butt heads there’s also a spark between them- and it’s a tale as old as time, if you’ll allow me to make the obvious joke.

Reviewed by Kate Towery, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

Jasmine Guillory photo credit Andrea Scher

About the Author:
Jasmine Guillory is a New York Times bestselling author of novels including The Wedding Date, the Reese’s Book Club selection The Proposal, and While We Were Dating. Her work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Cosmopolitan, Bon Appétit, and Time, and she is a frequent book contributor on The Today Show. She lives in Oakland, California

The Summer of June by Jamie Summer


The Summer of June by Jamie Summer
Atheneum Books for Young Readers / May 2022


June Delancey starts her summer by shaving her head, hoping to leave anxiety behind and be fierce. She spends her days in the library where she meets a new friend, battles the head librarian, and starts a secret project. The Summer of June is full of heart and hope.

Reviewed by Rae Ann Parker, Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee

Jamie Summer

About the Author:
Jamie Sumner is the author of Roll with ItTime to Roll, Tune It OutOne Kid’s Trash, and The Summer of June. Her work has appeared in The New York TimesThe Washington Post, and other publications. She loves stories that celebrate the grit and beauty in all kids. She is also the mother of a son with cerebral palsy and has written extensively about parenting a child with special needs. She and her family live in Nashville, Tennessee. Visit her at

Every Summer After by Carley Fortune


Every Summer After by Carley Fortune
Berkley / May 2022


Percy spent the summers of her teenage years at her family’s lakefront cottage, falling in love with the boy next door. She and Sam always seemed inevitable — until Percy made the worst mistake of her life and broke Sam’s heart. Twelve years later, Percy hasn’t talked to Sam since their last time at the cottage, but she still hasn’t gotten over him. She’s forced to confront her past, though, when tragedy has her running back to Barry’s Bay and Sam, and Percy has to figure out if she can forgive herself enough to ask for Sam’s forgiveness. A tender coming-of-age story of first love alongside a a grown-up story of forgiveness and second chances that will satisfy any romance reader.

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

Carley Fortune

About the Author:
Carley Fortune is an award-winning Canadian journalist who’s worked as an editor for Refinery29, The Globe and MailChatelaine, and Toronto Life. She lives in Toronto with her husband and two sons. Every Summer After is her first novel.

Parting Thought

"I’ve always thought that a good book should be either the entry point inward, to learn about yourself, or a door outward, to open you up to new worlds."
― Taylor Jenkins Reid

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

SIBA | 51 Pleasant Ridge Drive | Asheville, NC 28805
You have received this email because you are currently subscribed to receive The Southern Bookseller Review. Please click @@unsubscribe_url@@ if you no longer wish to receive these communications.


Scroll to Top