The books Southern indie booksellers are recommending to readers everywhere!

Personal Memoirs

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

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

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


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

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

Going There by Katie Couric

Katie Couric—her name brings to mind that fabulous smile and the many times we have all viewed her on CBS Evening News, 60 Minutes, Good Morning America, and the Today Show as well as her own show Katie. What we all knew about her skills and intelligence on air, we knew little of her personal life before this revealing book. Yes, we knew about her husband Jay and his tragic passing from cancer and her successful efforts in cancer awareness. What’s revealing in Going There is the behind-the-scenes Katie—her childhood, her eating disorders, her love life, her daughters, her wishes of what she could have done better and her accomplishments. We also relive the past forty years of news stories with her takes on history. This book is our story of the past forty years through Katie Couric’s knowledgeable view. And after reading this book, we have all spent time with a friend we may never meet personally.

Going There by Katie Couric, (List Price: $30.00, Little, Brown and Company, 9780316535861, October 2021)

Reviewed by Nancy Pierce, Bookmiser in Marietta, Georgia

Like Crazy by Dan Mathews

I don’t know whether to call this an ‘end of life’ story…or a memoir…or a roomie rom-com…or a family saga.. but I do know I couldn’t wait to see what happened next in Perry & Dan’s Great Adventure/Social Experiment. Such wide ranging appeal I’m not sure if it will go in our non-fiction section…or our Pride shelves.. or the memoir table…humor…maybe all of them!! Zaniest, craziest true story of a boy and his momma…and yes, it will bring you to tears—of laughter, joy and a wee bit of sadness.

Like Crazy by Dan Mathews, (List Price: $27.00, Atria Books, 9781501199981, August 2020)

Reviewed by Jamie Anderson, Downtown Books in Manteo, North Carolina

Dear William by David Magee

David Magee’s profoundly personal memoir grabbed my attention from the first page and wouldn’t let go. Dear William is part Southern story, part family story, and it opened my eyes to a crisis I didn’t know enough about. My heart broke into a million pieces while reading it, but I’m so glad I did.

Dear William by David Magee, (List Price: $28.00, Matt Holt, 9781953295682, November 2021)

Reviewed by Annie Jones, The Bookshelf in Thomasville, Georgia

The Way She Feels by Courtney Cook

Cook shares her journey with Borderline Personality Disorder and how it affects her life in a funny and heartbreaking graphic novel memoir. She talks about the symptoms and diagnosis in a way that feels so sincere and touching, I had to find and follow her on social media. You will feel for her and root for her, while learning about a disorder that most people “grow out of” as they get into adulthood. This is a beautiful read to understand people that aren’t exatly like ourselves.

The Way She Feels by Courtney Cook, (List Price: 18.95, Tin House Books, 9781951142599, 2021-06-29)

Reviewed by Andrea Richardson, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

Smile by Sarah Ruhl

When she is struck with Bell’s palsy after giving birth to twins and suffers from complete paralysis of the left side of her face, Sarah Ruhl realizes the importance of a smile…and the struggle to convey emotions without one. Being a playwright, she recounts her 10-year experience with this mysterious condition through beautiful words, drawing on art and literature to help make sense of her condition. Through unflagging support from her husband and many years of trying a myriad of therapies/treatments, she perseveres through this oftentimes depressing and frustrating condition and offers her readers a raw, emotional look into her story.

Smile by Sarah Ruhl, (List Price: $27, Simon & Schuster, 9781982150945, October, 2021)

Reviewed by Mary Patterson, The Little Bookshop in Midlothian, Virginia

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