The books Southern indie booksellers are recommending to readers everywhere!

Cultural Heritage

Our Last Days in Barcelona by Chanel Cleeton

I didn’t realize this was the 5th book by this author but it was good as a standalone. The family is living in Palm Beach after being forced to leave Cuba because of the revolution. 1964: Isabel is married to Thomas though it is more of a marriage of convenience than one of love. There has been no communication between the family and her sister Beatriz for a few weeks. Beatriz is involved in dangerous spy work with the CIA so Isabel decides to travel to Barcelona to check in on her. When she arrives she finds her sister’s apartment empty and meets Beatriz’s friend Diego. The two of them are concerned for her sister’s safety and start searching for her. Eventually, the two develop a close bond which has Isabel second-guessing her whole life.

1936: Alicia, (Isabel’s mother) travels to Barcelona from Cuba with her young daughter, Isabel, after finding her husband with another woman. While in Spain she reconnects with a man from her past who she once had feelings for. Spain is in the midst of a civil war and violence is erupting. Alicia has to make some quick decisions about her life and her heart. The author does such a great job in weaving the stories of this family together. There is so much going on that you just don’t want to stop reading!

Our Last Days in Barcelona by Chanel Cleeton, (List Price: $17, Berkley, 9780593197820, May 2022)

Reviewed by Trish Peters, Book Bound Bookstore in Blairsville, Georgia

Honor by Thrity Umrigar

Honor is the kind of book that makes me want to sit for hours and read. Thrity Umrigar transports the reader to India through both the eyes of an Indian American journalist and the subject of her article, a Hindu woman who was the victim of a horrible attack at the hands of her own family. The result is powerful and poignant.

Honor by Thrity Umrigar, (List Price: $26.95, Algonquin Books, 9781616209957, January 2022)

Reviewed by Beth Seufer Buss, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

A Little Devil in America by Hanif Abdurraqib

Hanif Abdurraqib’s exploration of Black performance in America is a cultural keystone that is chillingly relevant. Whether discussing the fact that a knowing look or advice on a route from a cashier is a form of a living Green Book that still exists because there are places Black people are not safe, to the origin of the card game spades or the difference between showing out or showing off, at the heart A Little Devil in America circles back to the fact that Black Americans have been forced to survive in places they were not welcome. The section on Black funerals pierced my heart. This book needs to be read, taught, underlined and discussed.

A Little Devil in America by Hanif Abdurraqib (List Price: $27, Random House, 9781984801197, 3/30/2021)

Reviewed by Rachel Watkins, Avid Bookshop in Athens, Georgia

How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House by Cherie Jones

A debut novel set in a tropical paradise, this story looks at race, class, gender, and privilege from many viewpoints. I look forward to reading what comes next from Cherie Jones.

How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House by Cherie Jones (List Price: $27, Little, Brown and Company, 9780316536981, 2/2/2021)

Reviewed by Jamie Southern, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

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