The books Southern indie booksellers are recommending to readers everywhere!

Southern Book Prize Finalist

Spine Poems by Annette Dauphin Simon

I love that the concept of this book seems so simple, but author and creator Annette Dauphin Simon turned it into something complex and spectacular. What fun it is to have these facts and quotes accompany the poems, especially with the beautifully composed photos. Spine Poems is funny, delightful, informative, and even touching at times. I can’t wait to put this book into the hands of every book lover I know!

Spine Poems by Annette Dauphin Simon (List Price: $27.99, Harper Design, 9780063208223, September 2022)

Reviewed by Johanna Albrecht, McIntyre’s Books in Pittsboro, North Carolina

Now Is Not the Time to Panic by Kevin Wilson

Now is Not The Time to Panic covers that wry space between childhood and adulthood – how we want to be seen and how others see us. Frankie and Zeke ask the questions about the nature of art both to the maker and the viewer, what does obsession really look like, and how do things spin out of control so smoothly. All against an early 90s world that may as well be a thousand years ago. The questions of consequences, family and what lies in front of us through a 90s era time warp. The writing is amazing. Sentences that stop you in your tracks. I loved everything about the novel!

Now Is Not the Time to Panic by Kevin Wilson, (List Price: $27.99, Ecco, 9780062913500, November 2022)

Reviewed by Susan Williams, M. Judson Booksellers in Greenville, South Carolina

Spotlight on: Lark Ascending by Silas House

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Silas House Photo Credit C. Williams

I think The Lark Ascending, by Ralph Vaughan Williams, is one of the greatest pieces of music to ever be created. I cannot listen to it without tearing up. I listened to it the entire time I was writing the novel and the book is my interpretation of it. The composition is a journey, sonically. It captures flight, and it is full of both sorrow and joy, grief and hope, so it was the perfect soundtrack for this book that was centering on those themes. To me, it is a transcendent piece of music, and I hope that readers will seek it out while reading the novel. I’ve already created a playlist for the novel, containing all the music that was important to me while I wrote the book. ” ―Silas House, Interview, Still Journal

 

Lark Ascending by Silas House

What booksellers are saying about Lark Ascending

  • I passed this on to one of good customers who is a huge Silas House fan knowing she would much eloquent than I, and, boy was I right. Here’s what she said “You read other dystopian novels and think, “that could never happen.” You read Lark Ascending and you see that it could. I hope this novel gets the attention it deserves. Lark Ascending could save us ―Pete Mock from McIntyre’s Books in Pittsboro, North Carolina
    Buy from McIntyre’s Books

  • The urgency of the opening chapters is breathtaking, and then the source of it is laid bare: this is the imagined not-so-distant future resulting from the chaos and painful transformational change similar to what we’re going through right now in our world. The young man, the dog and the older woman at the center of the story are trying to survive in a world on fire, one burning to the ground with fire and hatred. Each choice they make – big and small – may cost them their lives, or someone else’s. A haunting story, one that makes you really think about the trajectory of our collective lives. I couldn’t put it down!
      ―Cathy Graham from Copperfish Books in Punta Gorda, Florida
    Buy from Copperfish Books

  • Set in a near future that seems to be closer and closer to becoming a reality, Lark Ascending follows Lark as he survives ordeal after ordeal. As harrowing as Lark’s story is, Silas House manages to imbue it with humanity and hope. This is a story that will stick with you for a long time.  ―Chelsea Bauer from Union Ave Books in Knoxville, Tennesse
    Buy from Union Ave Books

About Silas House

Silas House is the New York Times bestselling author of seven novels, one book of creative nonfiction, and three plays. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Atlantic, the AdvocateTimeGarden & Gun, and other publications. A former commentator for NPR’s All Things Considered, House is the winner of the Nautilus Award, the Storylines Prize from the NAV/New York Public Library, an E. B. White Honor, and many other awards.

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Beatrice Likes the Dark by April Genevieve Tucholke

Far and away one of my favorite picture books of the year! Beatrice Likes the Dark is a beautifully illustrated, sweet story of sisterhood. Each page is full of heart and whimsical detail. Your inner baby goth or any year-round halloween lovers in your life will need to own this one!

Beatrice Likes the Dark by April Genevieve Tucholke (List Price: $18.95, Algonquin Young Readers, 9781643751573, September 2022)

Reviewed by Cristina Russell, Books & Books in Coral Gables, Florida

If I Survive You by Jonathan Escoffery

A September 2022 Read This Next! Title

Jonathan Escoffery’s debut If I Survive You chronicles an American immigration story full of hope, heartbreak, promises broken, and most importantly the constant struggle. Told in interconnected stories, If I Survive You addresses class, race, and economic disparity but is also funny. Mark my words, Escoffery is a rising literary star.

If I Survive You by Jonathan Escoffery, (List Price: $27.00, MCD, 9780374605988, September 2022)

Reviewed by Rachel Watkins, Avid Bookshop in Athens, Georgia

A Mirror Mended by Alix E. Harrow

I was enthralled with the impeccable voice of Zinnia in the follow-up to A Spindle Splintered. Harrow’s incredible knowledge of fairy tales really shines through in this installment, without removing the reader from the narrative. I’m happy to put my hands on anything Harrow writes — she is a new favorite!

A Mirror Mended by Alix E. Harrow (List Price: $18.99, Tordotcom, 9781250766649, June 2022)

Reviewed by Amber Brown, Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, North Carolina

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

The Problem with Prophecies by Scott Reintgen

A May 2022 Read This Next! Selection

When Celia Cleary “comes of age” in her magical family, she inherits a gift for prophecy–and all the problems that come with it. While The Problem with Prophecies raises questions about fate, free will, and magic, it is at its core a sweet story about family, friendship, and first crushes. Scott Reintgen writes insightfully about the liminal space between childhood and adolescence.

The Problem with Prophecies by Scott Reintgen, (List Price: $17.99, Aladdin, 9781665903578, May 2022)

Reviewed by Heather Jeziorowski from Little Shop of Stories in Decatur, Georgia

The Hurting Kind by Ada Limón

A May 2022 Read This Next! Selection

A eulogy of sorts to things we are always going to lose, and to the things that are taken from us, this is a beautiful body of work that trembles with hurt, but asks also for its due attention- a wounded thing not yet surrendering. Poems of movement, of worry, of a recognized grief and the subsequent small joys that can bloom out of dirt like small flower heads…Limón never, ever disappoints when it comes to understanding the great and terrible spectrum of emotions that is our cross to bear. It’s as if this newest collection is a honed and finely tuned string of metal hewn from her previous work, singing its own loud and new sound, ever reminding us that she belongs alongside Sontag, Lorde, James Welch, Oliver- the heralds of the Word that have come before and whose worlds will remain long after.

The Hurting Kind by Ada Limón, (List Price: $22, Milkweed Editions, 9781639550494, May 2022)

Reviewed by Aimee Keeble from Main Street Books in Davidson, North Carolina

Book Lovers by Emily Henry

A May 2022 Read This Next! Selection

Emily Henry has done it again and stolen my heart completely with her two main leads. In this one, a literary agent and a book editor end up stuck together in his tiny hometown, which happens to be the whimsical setting in the bestselling book she agents for– one he gave a scathing rejection to upon their very first meeting. It’s a “we think we’re enemies” but are actually idiots-to-lovers who perfectly fit each other kind of story. Henry is the unquestioned queen of banter, but this is probably her wittiest, most laugh-out-loud funny book to date. I had so much fun reading BOOK LOVERS.

Book Lovers by Emily Henry, (List Price: $17, Berkley, 9780593334836, May 2022)

Reviewed by Cristina Russell from Books & Books in Coral Gables, Florida

Spotlight on: Bomb Shelter by Mary Laura Philpott

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Mary Laura Philpott

"My hope was to do what many other books have done for me, which is to tell one person’s story in a way that makes other people look at their own lives differently or perhaps understand something about themselves better. "–Mary Laura Philpott, interview in Hippocampus

 

 

Bomb Shelter

What booksellers are saying about Bomb Shelter

  • Mary Laura does what no one else can – muse about mortality and make you laugh. Reading her essays is like sitting down on the porch with her and having a glass of wine. Her worries are OUR worries, only we rarely discuss them aloud (and none of us are as funny as Mary Laura). ―Sissy Gardner from Parnassus Books in Nashville, TN
    Buy from Parnassus Books

  • A memoir in essays, BOMB SHELTER tackles some pretty monumental moments in Philpott’s life, starting with a medical emergency for her son to taking care of her family during the pandemic. Although the specifics will be different by readers, most of us have faced pivotal moments in our lives, and we certainly share those same questions – from “how did I get here?” to “should I have known?” Philpott’s candor in writing is refreshing; just as in I MISS YOU WHEN I BLINK, I found myself laughing and crying at the commonality of how we approach life, aging, and the world.   ―Beth Seufer Buss from Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, NC
    Buy from Bookmarks

  • Mary Laura Philpott’s Bomb Shelter reads like a long coffee date with a dear friend. This memoir covers a lot of the emotional nuances of parenting and Philpott is a kindred spirit. Give this book to any parent who needs a virtual hug and assurance that they are indeed doing a good job.   ―Rachel Watkins from Avid Bookshop in Athens, GA
    Buy from Avid Bookshop

About Mary Laura Philpott

Mary Laura Philpott, author of the national bestseller I Miss You When I Blink, writes essays that examine the overlap of the absurd and the profound in everyday life. Her writing has been featured frequently by The New York Times and appears in such outlets as The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Real Simple, and more. A former bookseller, she also hosted an interview program on Nashville Public Television for several years. Mary Laura lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with her family.

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The Hurting Kind by Ada Limón

Reading this collection made me feel like I was standing outside with my bare feet in the grass, scrunching my toes in the soil, feeling the breeze on my face, and pondering the oneness of everything.

The Hurting Kind by Ada Limón, (List Price: $22, Milkweed Editions, 9781639550494,  May 2022)

Reviewed by LeeAnna Callon, Blue Cypress Books in New Orleans, Louisiana

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

I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston

THIS. IS. A. WILD. RIDE! Everyone is obsessed with Shara Wheeler. Everyone except Chloe Green. Okay, maybe Chloe Green is obsessed with her too, but totally not in the way that you think. What starts out as a fun adventure to find the missing golden girl turns into a neurotic hunt with a healthy dose of discovering queer identities and finding supportive friendships in the unlikeliest of places. Come for the intrigue, stay for the flourishing community of misfits.

I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston (List Price: $19.99, Wednesday Books, 9781250244451, May 2022)

Reviewed by Tee Arnold, Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, North Carolina

Beyond Innocence by Phoebe Zerwick

Once upon a time, a man was unjustly imprisoned. DNA and dogged work freed him after 19 years. He lived happily ever after. Sorry, that last part didn’t happen. Even with DNA evidence, he almost didn’t get exonerated. Beyond Innocence: The Life Sentence of Darryl Hunt details Hunt’s journey from teen to convicted killer, innocent freed man, and activist with many twists. But the saddest part is what happened to him after freedom, and how it illustrates the plight of most of the exonerated. That is not as exclusive a club as you might think. According to author Phoebe Zerwick, “As of May 2021, 2,783 men and women in America have been exonerated since 1989…The National Registry of Exonerations calculate the combined years they lost at 24,915.”

Zerwick wrote about Hunt in the Winston-Salem Journal and has spent years on his case. Hunt was not just railroaded. Police falsified evidence; a judge unbelievably ruled DNA evidence was insufficient to warrant a new trial. A faithful cadre of supporters and the author’s newspaper series resulted in deliberately overlooked evidence being reexamined and finding the true killer. Only then was Hunt released. But Hunt’s case shows how the system continues to fail. Hunt briefly had a foundation to aid released prisoners. Years of prison life and post-release limitations lead to PTSD, depression, and often recidivism. Hunt’s friends realized too late he was leading a double life – calm outside, but in agony inside. They couldn’t stop him from taking his life. But if enough people pay attention to his story, perhaps others can be helped.

Beyond Innocence : The Life Sentence of Darryl Hunt by Phoebe Zerwick, (List Price: $27, Atlantic Monthly Press, 9780802159373,  March 2022)

Reviewed by Rosemary Pugliese from Malaprop’s in Asheville, NC

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