The books Southern indie booksellers are recommending to readers everywhere!

American

Faithful and Virtuous Night by Louise Glück

I don’t even know where to start with this one. Louise Gluck is just a master, and I kind of feel like that’s all there is to say about it. The technical precision and emotional brilliance she has in this collection is astounding. A poet truly deserving of the Nobel Prize in Literature. I recommend this book to anyone who is willing to put in the work required to appreciate it.

Faithful and Virtuous Night by Louise Glück, (List Price: $16, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 9780374535773,  September 2015)

Reviewed by Juliet Rosner from E. Shaver, bookseller in Savannah, Georgia

Felicity by Mary Oliver

I think this collection would make a great introduction to poetry for anybody. The work is simple and very readable but Mary Oliver does not sacrifice intellectual depth or technique for the sake of accessibility.

Felicity by Mary Oliver, (List Price: $17.95, Penguin Books, 9780143128762,  October 2017)

Reviewed by Juliet Rosner from E. Shaver, bookseller in Savannah, Georgia

Time Is a Mother by Ocean Vuong

An April Read This Next! Book

Nothing short of beautiful. Fresh feeling poems populated with violence, the roadside, love, and what endures. Where war and tragedy and trauma persists, so do the bold spirit in each of these poems, unafraid to look back be tender. What I found most compelling in Time Is a Mother was the rhythm, dilating and breathing one moment, rapid and pulsing the next, capturing the flow of relative time the way only a voice like Vuong’s can.

Time Is a Mother by Ocean Vuong, (List Price: $24, Penguin Press, 9780593300237,  April 2022)

Reviewed by Luis Correa, Avid Bookshop in Athens, Georgia

DEAR GOD. DEAR BONES. DEAR YELLOW. by Noor Hindi

This little book of poems is going to haunt me until the end of my days. I don’t know how to describe how important every word in this book is, every beat, every heart wrenching sentence. Dear God is meant to be delivered directly to your face, the speaker’s voice barely a hiss. A question that can’t be answered- just heard.

Dear God. Dear Bones. Dear Yellow. by Noor Hindi, (List Price: $17, Haymarket Books, 9781642596960,  May 2022)

Reviewed by Caitlyn Vanorder from Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, NC

American Christmas Stories by Connie Willis

So grateful for this collection of 70 diverse and extraordinary stories from our friends at Library of America and editor Connie Willis. This collection features voices from across the American experience an centuries and contains stories of mystery, horror, western, inspirational, fantasy, humor, and more! This would make a great gift and is long overdue. Shirley Jackson and Jack London, Amy Tan and Ray Bradbury, Mark Twain and Nalo Hopkinson. Very excited to put this into the hands of those who celebrate.

American Christmas Stories by Connie Willis, (List Price: 29.95, Library of America, 9781598537062, October 2021)

Reviewed by Kelly Justice, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia


Refractive Africa by Will Alexander

These odes to African intellectuals by Will Alexander are so rich in imagery and sound that every line has something you’ve never read before. I’m not kidding! Refractive Africa is of the highest caliber of poetry on offer in these times.

Refractive Africa by Will Alexander, (List Price: $16.95, New Directions, 9780811230278, November 2021)

Reviewed by Conor Hultman, Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi

Field Study by Chet’la Sebree

I love anything that blurs genre lines, so I loved the way this book is an experiment of blending poetry and prose, memoir and fiction. There’s a dash of collective storytelling here, too, in the way the author brings in the words of Black feminist poets and writers. A beautiful and earnest exploration of relationships, love, and desire.

Field Study by Chet’la Sebree, (List Price: 16, FSG Originals, 9780374539023, June 2021)

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

Other People’s Comfort Keeps Me Up At Night by Morgan Parker

I loved Morgan Parker’s collections There are More Beautiful Things Than Beyonce and Magical Negro so I was excited to go back and read her debut collection in its new re-released form. It comes with a lovely foreword by Danez Smith, whose observations enhanced my reading experience. From her other two collections, I knew I loved the way Parker combines poetry and music; I loved seeing in this collection how she brings the visual arts into her world, too.

Other People’s Comfort Keeps Me Up At Night by Morgan Parker, (List Price: 16.95, Tin House Books, 9781951142568, July, 2021)

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

Other People’s Comfort Keeps Me Up At Night by Morgan Parker

I loved Morgan Parker’s collections THERE ARE MORE BEAUTIFUL THINGS THAN BEYONCE and MAGICAL NEGRO so I was excited to go back and read her debut collection in its new re-released form. It comes with a lovely foreword by Danez Smith, whose observations enhanced my reading experience. From her other two collections, I knew I loved the way Parker combines poetry and music; I loved seeing in this collection how she brings the visual arts into her world, too.

Other People’s Comfort Keeps Me Up At Night by Morgan Parker, (List Price: 16.95, Tin House Books, 9781951142568, July 2021)

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

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