The books Southern indie booksellers are recommending to readers everywhere!
Caroll Simpson and her husband David totally fell in love with a remote fly-in/boat-in fishing lodge named Ookpik Wilderness Lodge on Babine Lake in British Columbia and decided to buy it. With unbelievable beauty and natural wildlife, some of their life was a magical dream. They lived totally off-grid for two years until tragedy struck and David died. Would Caroll be able to live and maintain the lodge solo? She had amazing parents—her father, “a strong and powerful force in my life,” and her mother, “was the current that moved the river.” Besides having to fight off grizzlies and vicious pine martens, this awe-inspiring woman had to deal with logging issues and shattering deforestation in her watershed. She spent years battling loggers and proposed mining operations. This is a love story—a love of the wilderness and the astonishing natural beauty and the love of her dogs and being able to survive alone with only her own grit and determination. What an astonishing woman and what an amazing book! Unforgettable.
Alone in the Great Unknown by Caroll Simpson, (List Price: 22.95, Harbour Publishing, 9781550179941, April 2023)
Reviewed by Nancy Pierce, Bookmiser, Inc. in Marietta, Georgia
I am a football fan who happens to adore the New York Giants and the Manning QBs. I have always appreciated Tom Coughlin as a coach and as a person. How can you not admire a man who got frostbite coaching a game and had no idea? Clearly, the book was a must-read for me, and it did not disappoint. The dissection of his first Giants Super Bowl win I believe is a diary any football fan will relish. The little things that every coach will emphasize are explained in meticulous detail. His path to coaching and his stops along the way are well documented, his emotions are poured out onto the page, and he does not spare himself. What shines through on every page is his love for his family, his faith, and the players he coached. They may not have been friends, but they were his football family. The book is a quick read, you feel like you are sitting in the room with a friend talking about their life and career. One of the most engaging football biographies I have read.
A Giant Win by Tom Coughlin (List Price: $30, Grand Central Publishing, 9781538724644, December 2022)
Reviewed by Jackie Willey, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina
Christina Soontornvat’s graphic memoir depicts the challenges & joys of middle school life as a Thai-American in Texas centering around her dream of making the school’s cheer squad. For fans of Victoria Jamieson’s Roller Girl, Jerry Craft’s New Kid or any of Raina Telgemeier’s many graphic novels.
The Tryout by Christina Soontornvat (List Price: $24.99, Graphix,, 9781338741308, November 2022)
Reviewed by Elese Stutts, Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Surya Bonaly is an amazing Olympic ice skater who astounded the world with her abilities on ice. Fearless Heart tells her story with beautiful illustrations that shows Surya’s life, her challenges, and her triumph. Fearless Heart will inspire the reader to work hard to follow their dreams, and stand up for what they believe in.
Fearless Heart by Frank Murphy, (List Price: $17.95, Triumph Books, 9781629379340, January 2022)
Reviewed by Gretchen Shuler, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina
Dave Zirin pulls off a masterful piece of journalism in this book, always letting these courageous young men and women’s stories, words, and calls to action take center stage without judgment or editorialism. Throughout these expertly collected testimonials, Zirin educates the reader on the intertwined histories of sports activism and US structural racism. The accounts of young athletes following the lead of Colin Kaepernick’s famous national anthem protest range from harrowing and angering to heartwarming, but are always inspiring and educational. For anybody with even a passing interest in the world of sport and how it’s been changing in the wake of renewed Black Lives Matter activism, this is a must-read!
The Kaepernick Effect by Dave Zirin, (List Price: 25.99, The New Press, 9781620976753, September 2021)
Reviewed by Akil Guruparan, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia
A love poem to water and the many things one can do with it, this fun title screams of summer and sun and fun but also of Self-confidence and empowerment. This picture book from “Lemonade War” author Davies is an absolute must for summer reading.
Bubbles . . . Up! by Jacqueline Davies, Sonia Sánchez (Illus.) (List Price: $17.99, Katherine Tegen Books, 9780062836618, 5/4/2021)
Reviewed by Angie Tally, The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, North Carolina