The books Southern indie booksellers are recommending to readers everywhere!

Lesbian

Spotlight on: Into the Riverlands by Nghi Vo

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If the Singing Hills stories have a theme, it’s that they’re stories about stories: how we tell stories and why we tell stories, and where we get it wrong and where we get it right, even when the stories aren’t real or true. When the third volume comes out, I think it will help people see the whole scope of the series, because we’re going back and forth in Chih’s timeline, so back and forth in history. I’m asking people to sit with me for about 100 pages, and just trust me that, whatever I’m telling them, they’re going to have a good time. That’s my hope. ” ―Nghi Vo, Interview, Locus Magazine

 

Into the Riverlands by Nghi Vo

What booksellers are saying about Into the Riverlands

  • I love The Singing Hills cycle by Nghi Vo. Each novella is so short and yet so mythic, intricate, and immersive. In this third in the series, which can be read in any order, the wandering cleric Chih enters the Riverlands, a place haunted by legendary martial artists. I enjoyed the journey and Chih’s new companions—but I did end the book a little unclear about something! I had a little trouble concentrating this time so might just be me!
      ―Megan Bell from Underground Books in Carrollton, GA | Buy from Underground Books

  • Somehow the Singing Hills Cycle just gets better and better, and Empress set the bar high.  ―Rosie Dauval from One More Page Books in Arlington, VA | Buy from One More Page Books

  • This absolutely delightful novella is the third in Vo’s Singing Hills cycle, though the books read very easily as stand-alones. In a high fantasy setting inspired by imperial China, a cleric roams the world looking for stories to write down. This series reads like its own mythology, full of stories-within-stories that help build a rich and multipartite world, and it brings me immediately back to my childhood love of Greek, Hindu, and Norse myths. The stories are imaginative, and the characters’ reflections on them are thoughtful and striking – this book has an impact well beyond its ~110 pages.  ―Akil Guruparan from Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, VA | Buy from Fountain Bookstore

About Nghi Vo

Nghi Vo is the author of the novels Siren Queen and The Chosen and the Beautiful, as well as the acclaimed novellas When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain and The Empress of Salt and Fortune, a Locus and Ignyte Award finalist and the winner of the Crawford Award and the Hugo Award. Born in Illinois, she now lives on the shores of Lake Michigan. She believes in the ritual of lipstick, the power of stories, and the right to change your mind.

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Mistakes Were Made by Meryl Wilsner

An October 2022 Read This Next! Title

There is something that happens when you take an age old trope (age-gap or best friend’s dad) and make it queer that breathes new life into the story. So many chili peppers for this book. Sheesh.

Mistakes Were Made by Meryl Wilsner, (List Price: $16.99, St. Martin’s Griffin, 9781250841001, October 2022)

Reviewed by Katie Garaby, Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee

Jobs for Girls with Artistic Flair by June Gervais

This book felt like it was written just for me. As a queer female artist with some basic tattoo experience, I immediately identified with Gina – her initial timidity, her frustration with being talked over and manipulated by men who should have guided and protected her, and especially her love of the weird. The description of her wild flash and her love for drawing gave me goosebumps. The book’s pacing and tension-building are excellent – the stakes kept getting higher and higher for Gina, until I was ready to leap into the pages and go to war for her. That steady turn of the screw kept the story feeling fresh and dynamic, and the characters kept me invested. Gina is relatable, likeable, and has some great emotional growth. Her brother Dominic is endearing and frustrating. Her mom is a heartbreaking mix of maddening and manipulative but still sympathetic. Every character has their own charm and their own faults. They feel real. You want things to work out for them and you ache when they struggle. Everything about their interactions felt natural and believable. I also have to give major props to the author for all the accurate tattooing details – she knows her stuff! Using autoclaves, calibrating machines, fixing errors (yikes!), practicing on pig feet and oranges, the hazing, the environment, the amount of energy and dedication it takes to make tattooing a career – she nailed it all. Dominic’s shop came to life because it was written by someone who KNOWS. That makes me happier than I can say. Basically, read this book. If you’re into stories of young women fighting for their place in the world, you’ll like it. If you want bisexual representation, here you go. If you’re interested in art and/or tattoos, you’ll love it. If you’re anything like me, you’ll feel seen.

Jobs for Girls with Artistic Flair by June Gervais, (List Price: $26, Pamela Dorman Books, 9780593298794, June 2022)

Rachel Derise, Friendly City Books in Columbus, Mississippi

Spotlight on: Yerba Buena by Nina LaCour

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Nina LaCour

"In Yerba Buena I get to examine adulthood— how the experiences we have when we’re young reverberate through our lives, how we make mistakes and make amends and try to escape the destruction we inherit while also holding onto the good."–Nina LaCour, Author’s letter to bookstores

 

 

Yerba Buena

What booksellers are saying about Yerba Buena

  • Though the plot of Yerba Buena seems to meander at first, with dark, desperate characters with twisted pasts and wildly uncertain futures, you’ll want to stick around until the end. And you will want to linger in the middle among the luxurious imagery throughout this story. Nina LaCour shines while writing descriptions of art and making–from crafting cocktails to arranging beautiful bouquets of flowers–with great care and attention that makes these moments feel close to magical. In spite of the convoluted secrets and choices these characters makes, there is seeking, growth, and love, too, in a bittersweet pull on their paths towards healing. ― Julie Jarema from Avid Bookshop in Athens, GA
    Buy from Avid Bookshop

  • At once full of wonder and excruciatingly real, Nina LaCour’s adult debut is truly a thing to behold. A story of love, food, and the achingly beautiful reality of the human condition, Yerba Buena was, without a doubt, one of the most exquisite books I have ever read. ―Mary Louise Callaghan from Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, NC
    Buy from Bookmarks

  • A bittersweet meditation on the lives of two women whose emotional histories so tragically mirror one another that their connection is both painful and undeniable. Sara and Emilie come from different places and different classes, but both of their formative years are marked by grief and dismissal, by losses that keep them unfinished. They’re also, though, both drawn to the beauty of things: in flowers, in food, in design, in each other. In evocative prose and rich settings, LaCour gives us romance in the truest sense: complicated and intentional, lovers choosing each other as the people they are and the ones they are still becoming.   ―Miranda Sanchez from Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews in Chapel Hill, NC
    Buy from Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews

About Nina LaCour

Nina LaCour is the award-winning and bestselling author of six novels for young adults, including We Are Okay, a Printz Award winner and national bestseller. She lives in San Francisco with her wife and daughter. Yerba Buena is her first novel for adults.

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Radiant Fugitives by Nawaaz Ahmed

Radiant Fugitives covers some big topics – LGBTQ politics, same-sex marriage, religion, Islamophobia, and the Obama campaign, to name just a few! – but it is at its heart an intimate novel, focusing on the ties that both bind families together and drive them apart. Seema, originally from India, has been estranged from her parents and younger sister for over 20 years, after she came out to her father. But the imminent arrival of her baby and her mother’s unspecified terminal illness brings together the three women of the family together for an opportunity for reconciliation. What follows is both tender and utterly heartbreaking – with an ending that will stay with you long after you’ve finished reading.

Radiant Fugitives by Nawaaz Ahmed, (List Price: 27, Counterpoint, 9781640094048, August 2021)

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

With Teeth by Kristen Arnett

Sometimes it’s the mundane that’s the most fascinating. Kristen Arnett’s novel With Teeth takes the everyday marriage challenges of staying in love, being faithful, having patience with an unknowable child, and figuring out what to make for supper, tosses that with a dose of bizarre behavior which gives us what becomes to one queer family’s happily ever after. Arnett’s characters are infuriating and I think you’ll puzzle over Sammie, Monika, and Samson well after you finish the last page.

With Teeth by Kristen Arnett (List Price: $27, Riverhead Books, 9780593191507, 6/1/2021)

Reviewed by Rachel Watkins, Avid Bookshop in Athens, Georgia

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