The books Southern indie booksellers are recommending to readers everywhere!

Political

Offended Sensibilities by Ganieva Alisa

A novel that takes place in a Russian town where officials are dropping dead after a recent law that stifled forms of expression has been passed, following the real-life events of a Pussy Riot church protest. The neo-noir feel that envelopes this political yet humorous novel fits perfectly and makes this a fantastic and original read. Though this deals with conversations on nationalism, religion, and sexuality among others, the light humor and prose kept this novel more digestible and entertaining.

Offended Sensibilities by Ganieva Alisa (List Price: $16.95, Deep Vellum Publishing, 9781646052233, November 2022)

Reviewed by Grace Sullivan, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

Spotlight on: Which Side Are You On? by Ryan Lee Wong

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More and more I believe that in the face of a political situation or in the face of an emergency, you have to ask the questions, ‘Which side are you on? Where do I stand in relation to this?’And at the exact same time, ultimately, there are no sides.” ―Ryan Lee Wong, Interview, Los Angeles Times

 

Which Side Are You On? by Ryan Lee Wong

What booksellers are saying about Which Side Are You On?

  • A son returns home to LA for his grandmother’s last few days, and opens up to learn of his parents’ history as activists. He compares his own experiences with theirs as he struggles to figure out his future as a college student and self-proclaimed radical. Perfect for this moment, when so many of us are studying history to blaze new trails forward. I found this book very thought-provoking, and the family’s story refreshing.
      ―Alissa Redmond from South Main Book Co. in Salisbury, North Carolin | Buy from South Main Book Co.

  • Ryan Lee Wong packed so much into fewer than 200 pages! I loved the story of his family and how everything was revealed to him. I walked away still thinking of how Reed, the protagonist, learned that we have to allow stories to change us, not just to reinforce our own opinions. As someone who also lived in Los Angeles, I could envision exact places the author was describing; this also felt like a love story to his hometown.  ―Amber Taylor from One More Page Books in Arlington, Virginia | Buy from One More Page

  • Ryan Lee Wong’s debut Which Side Are You On is something special. This is a serious book with funny moments that centers around a young college student’s relationship with his mom. Reed is a young Asian American activist working to confront racism in America but he’s been shielded from the roles his parents played in the Korean-Black coalition in L.A. When he comes home from college in a life crisis, Reed’s mother pushes him to truly examine what he is doing to change the world.  ―Rachel Watkins from Avid Bookshop in Athens, Georgia | Buy from Avid Bookshop

About Ryan Lee Wong

Ryan Lee Wong was born and raised in Los Angeles, lived for two years at Ancestral Heart Zen Temple, and currently lives in Brooklyn, where he is the administrative director of Brooklyn Zen Center. Previously, he served as program director for the Asian American Writers’ Workshop and managing director of Kundiman. He has organized exhibitions and written extensively on the Asian American movements of the 1970s. He holds an MFA in fiction from Rutgers University–Newark. Which Side Are You On is his first book.

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Which Side Are You On by Ryan Lee Wong

An October 2022 Read This Next! Title

Which Side Are You On is a dialogue-heavy book with prose that is sharp, thought-provoking, and humorous at times. The reader sees the subjects of race, policing, politics, & privilege through the eyes of a young activist as he pries into his parents’ own personal history of activism in their younger days. Filled with interesting anecdotes and hard-learned lessons, this book shows that sometimes personal growth is best attained through deep conversation and self-reflection.

Which Side Are You On by Ryan Lee Wong, (List Price: $24, Catapult, 9781646221486, October 2022)

Reviewed by Stuart McCommon, Novel. in Memphis, Tennessee

The Last White Man by Mohsin Hamid

An August 2022 Read This Next! Title

This book is a tiny surprise of literary magic. A kafkaesque yet simple premise: our main man Anders wakes up no longer white, but a deep brown color. His mind is the same but his body is new, and he’s not the only one whos gone through this change. I knew going in that race would be the main theme in this, but the way it’s handled is so perfect and timely. Along with that are themes of death/grief and family, which I was not expecting but added perfect and honest touches to this almost surreal book. Mohsin Hamid knows how to do fiction that creeps up on you and just takes your breath away completely, and im here for it.

The Last White Man by Mohsin Hamid, (List Price: $26.00, Riverhead Books, 9780593538814, August 2022)

Reviewed by Grace Sullivan, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

Let’s Not Do That Again by Grant Ginder

A behind-the-scenes look into politics and what goes into keeping secrets even for a good politician. This book is filled with current event topics and the story of a family discovering themselves. Funny and poignant in parts. This is one to read for pure pleasure.

Let’s Not Do That Again by Grant Ginder, (List Price: $27.99, Henry Holt and Co., 9781250243775,  April 2022)

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

Let’s Not Do That Again by Grant Ginder

A woman running for the US senate, a son who’s floundering in academia and in his love life, and a daughter who’s off protesting in France and beginning a relationship with a dangerous right-winger–what could possibly go wrong?! It’s safe to say that no one writes family dysfunction quite like Grant Ginder. Hilarious, shocking, and astoundingly entertaining, you’ll read this book in one sitting and be devastated when it’s over.

Let’s Not Do That Again by Grant Ginder, (List Price: $27.99, Henry Holt and Co., 9781250243775,  April 2022)

Reviewed by Jen Minor, Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

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