The books Southern indie booksellers are recommending to readers everywhere!

Feminist

Bitter Orange Tree by Jokha Alharthi

When Man Booker Prize winner Jokha Alharthi writes, a river of emotions pours from her in the most beautiful way possible. Her latest translated novel features a young Omani student in London attempting to come to terms with the grief and regrets of losing her devoted grandmother by not attending to her when she needed her most. The tale drifts back and forth through time, giving the reader a view into the two strikingly different lives of these women; where both bear the weight of unfulfilled desires. This was an exquisite and haunting read.

Bitter Orange Tree by Jokha Alharthi, (List Price: $26, Catapult, 9781646220038, May 2022)

Reviewed by Damita Nocton, The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, North Carolina

Spotlight on: Memphis by Tara M. Stringfellow

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Tara M.Stringfellow

"With poetry, your entire message, the duende of the poem, the catharsis of the readers all needs to fit in the space of a few lines. I spent years—years—trying to master this and will spend many, many more.

With prose, I felt the freedom of the entire page, of entire chapters to speak my truth. I was no longer confined to the space of a stanza. I found it incredibly liberating and refreshing. But also incredibly daunting. "–Tara M. Stringfellow, interview in Book Pipeline

 

 

Memphis

What booksellers are saying about Memphis

  • Tara M. Stringfellow’s Memphis raises the bar for family sagas. Based on her own family’s history, this debut novel explores multiple generations within a Southern Black family. The city itself becomes an identity within this powerful story; Stringfellow traces not only the impact of each generation’s choices and traditions but also the impact of the iconic city’s history on the family. I love nothing more as a reader than a powerful family saga, and MEMPHIS has stayed with me long after finishing it–undoubtedly this will be at the top of my Best of 2022 list! ―Beth Seufer Buss, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, NC
    Buy from Bookmarks

  • Memphis opens with a beautiful poem dedicating the book to Gianna Floyd, saying, “I wrote you a Black fairy tale.” Centering Black joy above all, Stringfellow’s life-affirming debut follows three generations of unforgettable women in a gifted but tested family in the author’s and my hometown. Readers will cry, laugh, and sing along to this book, which focuses on the Black female experience that has always given Memphis its soul. I hope we’ll be reading Stringfellow for a long, long time.   ―Katie Williamson, Square Books in Oxford, MC
    Buy from Square Books

  • A gorgeous take on Memphis over the years. A celebration of Douglass. An ode to black womanhood, to community, to identity, sisterhood, strength. The writing is savory and entrancing, and the characters are true, my highest praise for fictional people. A fantastic debut   ―Becca Sloan, Novel. in Memphis, TN
    Buy from Novel

About Tara M. Stringfellow

Poet, former attorney, Northwestern University MFA graduate, and semifinalist for the Fulbright Fellowship, Tara M. Stringfellow has written for Collective Unrest, Minerva Rising, Jet Fuel Review, Women Arts Quarterly Journal, and Apogee Journal, among other publications. After having lived in Okinawa, Ghana, Chicago, Cuba, Spain, Italy, and Washington, D.C., she moved back home to Memphis, where she sits on her porch swing every evening with her hound, Huckleberry, listening to records and chatting with neighbors.

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Spotlight on: Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

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Bonnie Garmus

"With Elizabeth Zott, I wanted to create a character who speaks for anyone who’s been held back, disbelieved, maligned, or underestimated. But I also wanted to create a character who refuses to put up with it. Elizabeth Zott has a disregard for societal limits. She reects religion, stereotpes, racism, sexism, elitism, and food that comes in cans. "–Bonnie Garmus

 

 

Yerba Buena

What booksellers are saying about Lessons in Chemistry

  • Lessons In Chemistry is the kind of book that makes me love reading. While there were moments of sorrow and frustration, the story left me with an overall feeling of joy. I didn’t want it to end – now I’m suffering with a book hangover wondering what to read next after such a fun and refreshing story. ― Melissa Summers from Main Street Books in Davidson, NC
    Buy from Main Street Books

  • What an absolutely charming book! Elizabeth Zott is not your typical woman living in the 1960s. She is a chemist determined to prove that she is as good as any man in her field, which is not so easy to do with so many of the preconceived ideas of what a woman should and should not do at this time. I love her hilarious and straight to the point comebacks to many of the men who try to tell her she can not do something because it isn’t seemly for a woman to do. You will be infuriated by how she is treated and be thankful that women are not still treated that way (most of the time). You will love her delightful child Mad, and Six-thirty who is the best dog anyone could ever own, and you may also learn a little chemistry along the way. ―Nancy McFarlane from Fiction Addiction in Greenville, SC
    Buy from Fiction Addiction

  • This debut was a delight from start to finish. Elizabeth Zott was born just a decade too soon to forge the career in science she was destined for, so when she stumbled into a job as the host of a 1960s TV cooking show, she could not help but bring chemistry into her recipes. This book is filled with fabulous characters and is alternately touching and laugh out loud funny.   ―Karen Hayes from Parnassus Books in Nashville, TN
    Buy from Parnassus Books

  • I want to introduce Elizabeth Zott to everyone I know. Unapologetic, smart and full of zest. Chemist, Elizabeth Zott, breaks boundaries and inspires other women to do the same in this heartbreaking yet uplifting story   ―Lillian Kay from Novel in Memphis, TN
    Buy from Novel

About Bonnie Garmus

Bonnie Garmus is a copywriter and creative director who has worked widely in the fields of technology, medicine, and education. She’s an open-water swimmer, a rower, and mother to two pretty amazing daughters. Born in California and most recently from Seattle, she currently lives in London with her husband and her dog, 99.

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Libertie by Kaitlyn Greenidge

Readers will be stunned by the force of Kaitlyn Greenidge’s latest novel. Set in Brooklyn during the Civil War era and the turbulent times after, the voice of Libertie Sampson describes her unique childhood as the freeborn daughter of a Black, widowed female doctor. Libertie’s mother has aspirations for her daughter to follow her path and join her in her practice. Two things prevent Libertie from choosing this course: her darker skin tone lessens her level of acceptance in the community and she doesn’t have the aptitude for medicine. Rather than face her mother’s disappointment, she marries a Haitian doctor and leaves the country with him. She finds herself lonelier than ever in this tumultuous island country.This is a highly immersive and unforgettable literary accomplishment.

Libertie by Kaitlyn Greenidge, (List Price: $16.95, Algonquin Books, 9781643752587, February 2022)

Reviewed by Damita Nocton, The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, North Carolina



The Hare by Melanie Finn

The Hare hits all the notes for a great novel you will read obsessively. Melanie Finn has written the breathtaking story of the life of Rose Monroe whose entire trajectory was determined at age eighteen by a chance (?) meeting with an older man at MOMA. However, Bennett isn’t who he claims to be. Because of this, despite this, Rose grows into a powerful woman who isn’t diminished by her dire circumstances. She is a survivor. This brilliant book contains a subtext involving dark, abhorrent behavior.

The Hare by Melanie Finn (List Price: $16.99, Two Dollar Radio, 9781937512972, 1/26/2021)

Reviewed by Rachel Watkins, Avid Bookshop in Athens, Georgia

The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner

With modern and 18th century London as the setting for this book, a conflicted woman who finds a mysterious bottle becomes obsessed with discovering its origins, leading her to a 1700s female apothecary who helps other women of the dark time “dispense” of bad men. Incredibly atmospheric, I didn’t want to climb out of this one. A dark yet hopeful portrait of female fears and female empowerment both then and now.

The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner (List Price: $27.99, Park Row, 9780778311010, March 2021)

Reviewed by Shari Stauch, Main Street Reads, in Summerville, South Carolina

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