The books Southern indie booksellers are recommending to readers everywhere!

Biography & Autobiography

Spotlight on: The Year of the Horses by Courtney Maum

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Courtney Maum

It’s no longer the time for women to be selfless. Whether you’re a woman who has children, or has aging parents to care for, whatever your situation is, we need to put ourselves first. It’s more than self care….We deserve to let people know, and show them what it looks like when we are cracking. To me, it was like an act of sisterhood, this memoir. The best thing I could possibly hope for is that this encourages people—women, men, people of all genders—to start admitting to people around them, “I’m not okay. Actually, I could use some help. I could use some support.” ”Courtney Maum, interview, Electric Lit

 

 

The Year of the Horses

What booksellers are saying about The Year of the Horses

  • A lovely memoir touching on mental health, motherhood, marriage, and more, all contextualized through Courtney Maum’s lifelong love of horses. I so appreciated Maum’s candor. She is aware of the privileges she’s enjoyed throughout her life, but she is honest about the struggles she and her family have faced. ―Kate Storhoff from Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, NC
    Buy from Bookmarks

  • If there’s an empty space in your heart where joy is not present. Go out and find that thing- that thing for just you that makes your heart sing. For Courtney Maum, it was horses. This story of family, fortitude and fur will be at the top of all the book club lists for 2022.   ―Angie Tally from The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, NC
    Buy from The Country Bookshop

  • Add Courtney Maum to the talented voices speaking to the power of the natural world to heal trauma. In the vein of Silvia Vasquez-Lavedo’s In the Shadow of the Mountain, this moving memoir details the darkness of depression and a slow struggle not only to face fears but also to find and embrace joy. Evocative, funny, deeply moving, every chapter a lesson worth learning.   ―Jan Blodgett from Main Street Books in Davidson, NC
    Buy from Main Street Books

  • Maum finds herself at 37 disinterested in life, sleepless, and lost. She is loved by her husband, blessed with a healthy child, but still feels adrift. She knows she is depressed, but feels unable to justify it given her success and good fortune. Having not been near a horse in decades, she feels compelled to renew that connection. I rode and trained in my younger years and I have also felt the deep desire to be with horses again. The author explores her emotions with the animals and the people who love them and finds her way back to herself. You do not need to be a horse lover to love this book. Anyone who has felt lost can get something from it. This book is just flawless.   ―Kelly Justice from Fountain Books in Richmond, VA
    Buy from Fountain Bookstore

About Courtney Maum

Courtney Maum is the author of the novels Costalegre; Touch; and I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You; and a guide for writers, Before and After the Book Deal. Her writing and essays have been widely published in such outlets as The New York Times; O, the Oprah Magazine; Interview Magazine; and Modern Loss. She lives in Litchfield County, Connecticut, where she founded the learning collaborative The Cabins.

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Child by Judy Goldman

In her lovely memoir, Judy Goldman reflects on what it was like to be a young Jewish girl raised by a Black nanny in the 1940s and 50s south. Mattie Culp became a part of the Kurtz family: sleeping in young Judy’s bedroom, using the family bathroom, celebrating holidays with them—things unheard of in the Jim Crow south. Now in her 80s, Goldman reflects on what Mattie had to give up—including her own child—in order to make the Kurtz family’s life so much easier.

Child by Judy Goldman, (List Price: $28, University of South Carolina Press, 9781643362830, May 2022)

Reviewed by Linda Hodges of Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina

Ma and Me by Putsata Reang

Filled with incredible nuance, beautiful writing, and deep sympathy; Putsata Reang’s stunning memoir Ma and Me is sure to be one of the best books I’ll read this year. Tracing her mother’s story – escaping the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia and surviving an abusive marriage – to her own experience; growing up as a gay Khmer-American pulled between to cultures – Reang’s deeply personal book and explores the depth of a mother/daughter relationship and the weight of expectation placed upon future generations. Both full of light and sadness, Ma and Me is a wonder; holding life’s beauty and heartbreak in tandem. I cannot recommend this memoir highly enough

Ma and Me by Putsata Reang, (List Price: $28, MCD, 9780374279264, May 2022)

Reviewed by Caleb Masters, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Magic Season by Wade Rouse

They say truth is better than fiction and with Magic Season I completely agree. Wade and his rigid engineer father had a contentious relationship for quite awhile. When Ted learns he is dying Wade returns home for one final season of the one thing the men share a passion for-The St Louis Cardinals. This is inspiring and heartwarming and told with Wade’s poignant sense of humor. It gives hope to any one suffering from a desire to have a close relationship with a parent. There is always a chance for your team in baseball and a relationship with your parent.

Magic Season by Wade Rouse, (List Price: $27.99, Hanover Square Press, 9781335475176, May 2022)

Reviewed by Suzanne Lucey, Page 158 Books in Wake Forest, North Carolina

Wired for Love by Stephanie Cacioppo

Wired For Love is part neuroscience and part memoir… but it is ultimately a love story between the world’s foremost authority on the brain’s response to love/loss and the world’s foremost authority on loneliness. Cacioppo includes a lot of scientific information and hard data pulled from years of her research, but she also guides the reader through her own personal story of falling in love and eventually her grief surrounding her husband’s death. She has a way of getting the reader to thoughtfully reevaluate the “common beliefs” surrounding incredibly complex (but purely human) emotions. This book is fantastic.

Wired for Love by Stephanie Cacioppo, (List Price: $28.99, Flatiron Bookss, 9781250790606, April 2022)

Reviewed by Stuart McCommon from Novel in Memphis, Tennessee

Bomb Shelter by Mary Laura Philpott

An April Read This Next! Book

It’s more tempting than ever to want to build a bomb shelter and retreat from the upheavals of life. But with this memoir, Mary Laura Philpott convinces us that, like Frank the turtle, we have to poke our heads out from time to time, confront the challenges, and keep going. Thank you, MLP, for making all of us worriers feel seen, and for helping us put into words the emotions (so very many emotions) that go along with being not just a parent but a person.

Bomb Shelter by Mary Laura Philpott, (List Price: $27, Atria Books, 9781982160784,  April 2022)

Reviewed by Lady Smith, Snail on the Wall in Huntsville, Alabama

Linea Nigra by Jazmina Barrera

This slim volume navigates Barrera’s pregnancy, birth, and those first shattering days of early motherhood. In snippets reminiscent of the short breaks in between wakings and feedings, Barrera interweaves her reading life and lived life, creating a poignant primer that will be a kindred comfort and stalwart courage to any reader. Linea Nigra is a rich record of a life steeped in feminist art, revealing intersections in the body and the world; the individual and the collective.

Linea Nigra by Jazmina Barrera, (List Price: $21.95, Two Lines Press, 9781949641301,  May 2022)

Reviewed by Hannah DeCamp, Avid Bookshop in Athens, Georgia

In Love by Amy Bloom

When Amy Bloom’s husband of 15 years is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, he decides to end his life on his own terms – “to die on his feet, not live on his knees”. In Love is an account of how the couple made that happen, as well as a celebration of their love. It’s by turns honest, raw, unsentimental, funny, captivating, powerful and utterly devastating. I devoured it in less than a day – an experience that left me emotionally wrung out, but also very glad to have done so.


In Love by Amy Bloom, (List Price: $27.00, Random House, 9780593243947,  March 2022)

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

Bird Brother by Rodney Stotts

Bird Brother is the fascinating journey of Rodney Stotts from growing up in the projects of Southeast DC to becoming a conservationist. inner-city youth mentor, and one of the few Black master falconers in the U.S. The book is written in a conversational style, and though reading his history can be emotional/difficult at times, it’s easy to see that his love for nature is the reason that he’s alive today. He’s also very honest about his mistakes, his perseverance in avian education/rehabilitation, and the obstacles that he overcame with the help of his friends & family. Most importantly, he champions the responsibility that we humans have as caretakers of the nature/wildlife around us… and in his own words, to serve something bigger than ourselves.

Bird Brother by Rodney Stotts, (List Price: $26.00, Island Press, 9781642831740, February 2022)

Reviewed by Stuart McCommon, Novel. in Memphis, Tennessee


Funny Farm by Laurie Zaleski

Once you open this book, this story will never leave your heart. Laurie Zalenski tells of her mother’s love as the family escapes an abusive husband and father and attempts life with zero money. As the family scrapes by, they adopt and care for others including neglected animals. The love of people and animals shine on every page as the tale leads to the Funny Farm and the 600 abused and neglected animals that thrive on the New Jersey farm. You will fall in love with Laurie, the many animals, and the book as you plan your trip to see for yourself the Funny Farm.

Funny Farm by Laurie Zaleski, (List Price: $27.99, St. Martin’s Press, 97812502728366, February 2022)

Reviewed by Nancy Pierce from Bookmiser, Inc. in Marietta, Georgia


Manifesto by Bernardine Evaristo

To many people – myself included – Bernardine Evaristo’s 2019 Booker Prize win for Girl, Woman, Other appeared to come out of the blue. But, as Manifesto reveals, her apparent overnight success was actually 40 years in the making. Recounting her life and career with the characteristic humor and insight that made Girl, Woman, Other such a success, Manifesto is a passionate paean to the power of persistence.

Manifesto by Bernardine Evaristo, (List Price: $27.00, 9780802158901, January 2022)

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

She Persisted: Helen Keller by Courtney Sheinmel

The story of Helen Keller is one that will inspire everyone. She Persisted: Helen Keller is perfect for the young reader who is interested in historical figures, or people with disabilities. This book will encourage your young readers to strive to overcome challenges that might arise, and introduce them to challenges other people live with.

She Persisted: Helen Keller by Courtney Sheinmel, (List Price: $5.99, 9780593115695, December 2021)

Reviewed by Gretchen Shuler, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina

Admissions by Kendra James

I’ve loved books about boarding schools since I was a child who romanticized the idea of living away from home with a school full of friends, but as I’ve grown older I’ve become much more interested in what’s hiding beneath the polished surface image of boarding schools. Kendra James was the first Black American legacy student at Taft, a private boarding school in Connecticut, so her perspective on privilege (including her own) was totally fascinating in its layers. I so appreciated the thoughtful and deeply candid telling of her experience at Taft.

Admissions by Kendra James, (List Price: $29.00, Grand Central Publishing, 9781538753484, January 2022)

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

Lost & Found by Kathryn Schulz

An exquisite view into the inextricable relationship among love, grief, and hope, Kathryn Schulz’s Lost & Found is a masterpiece. It’s been a while since I’ve underlined so many sentences and created marginalia—from page one, it felt as if I myself was part of Schulz’s story. Her metaphors are spot-on and stunning; her fondness for research and etymology manage to deepen our relationship to the work instead of distancing us. Five stars. I’ve already created a mile-long list of loved ones who will, like me, treasure this memoir.

Lost & Found by Kathryn Schulz, (List Price: 27, Random House, 9780525512462, January 2022)

Reviewed by Janet Geddis, Avid Bookshop in Athens, Georgia


The Last Nomad by Shugri Said Salh

Reading The Last Nomad is like sitting with the author at a table with a cup a tea as she tells the story of her remarkable upbringing in Somalia. In candid, compelling prose, she shares her life as a nomad with her clan in the Somali desert, as a town dweller with her polygamous family and as a refugee from the civil war which tore her country apart. The lives of Somali women are the centerpieces of this engaging memoir, inviting us to understand their resilience and strength as they navigate their traditional and shifting roles in Africa and North America.

The Last Nomad by Shugri Said Salh, (List Price: $26.95, Algonquin Books, 9781643750675, August 2021)

Reviewed by Lia Lent, Wordsworth Books in Little Rock, Arkansas

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