Southern Indie Bestsellers

HARDCOVER FICTION

1. The Black Widow
Daniel Silva, Harper, $27.99, 9780062320223
2. The Girls
Emma Cline, Random House, $27, 9780812998603
3. The Nightingale
Kristin Hannah, St. Martin's, $27.99, 9780312577223
4. Before the Fall
Noah Hawley, Grand Central, $26, 9781455561780
5. The Nest
Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney, Ecco, $26.99, 9780062414212
6. All the Light We Cannot See
Anthony Doerr, Scribner, $27, 9781476746586
okra7. Underground Airlines
Ben Winters, Mulholland, $26, 9780316261241
8. Belgravia
Julian Fellowes, Grand Central, $27, 9781455541164
9. Sweetbitter
Stephanie Danler, Knopf, $25, 9781101875940
10. Vinegar Girl
Anne Tyler, Hogarth, $25, 9780804141260
11. The Weekenders
Mary Kay Andrews, St. Martin's, $27.99, 9781250065940
12. Here's to Us
Elin Hilderbrand, Little Brown, $28, 9780316375146
13. Barkskins
Annie Proulx, Scribner, $32, 9780743288781
14. End of Watch
Stephen King, Scribner, $30, 9781501129742
okra15. The Heavenly Table
Donald Ray Pollock, Doubleday, $27.95, 9780385541299

HARDCOVER NONFICTION

1. Between the World and Me
Ta-Nehisi Coates, Spiegel & Grau, $24, 9780812993547
2. White Trash
Nancy Isenberg, Viking, $28, 9780670785971
3. When Breath Becomes Air
Paul Kalanithi, Random House, $25, 9780812988406
4. Crisis of Character
Gary J. Byrne, Center Street, $27, 9781455568871
5. Grit
Angela Duckworth, Scribner, $28, 9781501111105
6. Bill O'Reilly's Legends and Lies: The Patriots
David Fisher, Holt, $35, 9781627797894
7. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
Marie Kondo, Ten Speed Press, $16.99, 9781607747307
8. Hamilton: The Revolution
Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jeremy McCarter, Grand Central, $45, 9781455539741
9. The View From the Cheap Seats
Neil Gaiman, Morrow, $26.99, 9780062262264
10. The Gene
Siddhartha Mukherjee, Scribner, $32, 9781476733500
11. But What If We're Wrong?
Chuck Klosterman, Blue Rider, $26, 9780399184123
12. Tribe
Sebastian Junger, Twelve, $22, 9781455566389
13. Bobby Kennedy
Larry Tye, Random House, $32, 9780812993349
14. Wake Up America
Eric Bolling, St. Martin's, $25.99, 9781250112507
15. Shoe Dog
Phil Knight, Scribner, $29, 9781501135910

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Treat yourself to a riveting and real life royal war time thriller! 

Was American born and twice divorced Wallis Simpson truly in love and trying to win the heart of King Edward VIII, who was then demoted to a mere Duke as penance for loving her in return?

Author Andrew Morton provides sizzling and shocking details to provide some compelling answers to this key question, while raising many other questions along the way.

17 Carnations: The Royals, the Nazis, and the Biggest Cover-Up in History by Andrew Morton (Grand Central Publishing) Recommended by Diane at Fiction Addiction Greenville SC

Taking you through an hour in Opportunity High School, during which a shooter comes in and changes everyone's lives, this book will also take you on an emotional roller coaster.

Told from multiple points of view, you get an idea of what the shooter is like, what has happened in his life that might have brought him to this point, and how he's affected the people close to him.

A heartbreaking novel that draws you into a small-town tragedy and somehow manages to not give up hope.

This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp (Sourcebooks Fire) Recommended by Melissa at Fiction Addiction Greenville SC


Set in Mississippi at the close of WW2, The Secret of Magic is the story of the tragic treatment of a returning black GI, which draws in noted civil rights attorney Thurgood Marshall. But it also a story about the power of books and stories, especially those we encounter as children, to affect lives.

I loved this book and will be recommending it to fans of The Help and Mudbound.

The Secret of Magic by Deborah Johnson (Berkley) Recommended by Jill at Fiction Addiction Greenville SC 

Okra Picks

From “quite possibly America’s best living writer of short stories” (NPR), Ninety-Nine Stories of God finds Joy Williams reeling between the sublime and the surreal, knocking down the barriers between the workaday and the divine.

Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award finalist Joy Williams has a one-of-a-kind gift for capturing both the absurdity and the darkness of everyday life. In Ninety-Nine Stories of God, she takes on one of mankind’s most confounding preoccupations: the Supreme Being.

This series of short, fictional vignettes explores our day-to-day interactions with an ever-elusive and arbitrary God. It’s the Book of Common Prayer as seen through a looking glass—a powerfully vivid collection of seemingly random life moments. The figures that haunt these stories range from Kafka (talking to a fish) to the Aztecs, Tolstoy to Abraham and Sarah, O. J. Simpson to a pack of wolves. Most of Williams’s characters, however, are like the rest of us: anonymous strivers and bumblers who brush up against God in the least expected places or go searching for Him when He’s standing right there. The Lord shows up at a hot-dog-eating contest, a demolition derby, a formal gala, and a drugstore, where he’s in line to get a shingles vaccination. At turns comic and yearning, lyric and aphoristic, Ninety-Nine Stories of God serves as a pure distillation of one of our great artists.

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When new evidence arises in a cold case, can Professor Hopkins refrain from delving into a newfound world of corruption, vice, and danger?

Stanley Hopkins cannot resist the invitation from a honey-voiced US attorney asking him to track down the source of photographs of a young dance major abducted five years earlier from her apartment in Clarkeston, Georgia. A journalist has stumbled across newly posted pictures of Diana Cavendish on the Internet, apparently taken just days before she disappeared with her boyfriend.

While Stanley deals with vexing personal problems and scrambles to identify the owner of the website that acquired the photos, small-town journalist James Murphy and federal prosecutor Melanie Wilkerson uncover new evidence of the crime—and the cover-up—that ranges far beyond the confines of the victim’s quaint Georgia college town.

This second installment of the Clarkeston Chronicles presents new challenges for Hopkins that take him far from the California base he established in Death in Eden and introduces him to a fascinating group of collaborators who will anchor him in small-town Georgia.

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The 2016 Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize Winners

Above the Waterfall
by Ron Rash 
Ecco Press, Hardcover, 9780062349316, 272pp.

In this poetic and haunting tale set in contemporary Appalachia, New York Times bestselling author Ron Rash illuminates lives shaped by violence and a powerful connection to the land.

Les, a long-time sheriff just three-weeks from retirement, contends with the ravages of crystal meth and his own duplicity in his small Appalachian town.

Becky, a park ranger with a harrowing past, finds solace amid the lyrical beauty of this patch of North Carolina.

Enduring the mistakes and tragedies that have indelibly marked them, they are drawn together by a reverence for the natural world. When an irascible elderly local is accused of poisoning a trout stream, Les and Becky are plunged into deep and dangerous waters, forced to navigate currents of disillusionment and betrayal that will force them to question themselves and test their tentative bond - and threaten to carry them over the edge.

Echoing the heartbreaking beauty of William Faulkner and the spiritual isolation of Carson McCullers, Above the Waterfall demonstrates once again the prodigious talent of "a gorgeous, brutal writer" (Richard Price) hailed as "one of the great American authors at work today" (Janet Maslin, New York Times).

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 alt= Dispatches from Pluto: Lost and Found in the Mississippi Delta
by Richard Grant; Richard Grant 
Simon & Schuster, Paperback, 9781476709642, 320pp.

Mississippi's #1 Bestseller of 2015 (The Clarion-Ledger) and a Southern Indie Bestseller. Adventure writer Richard Grant takes on "the most American place on Earth" - the enigmatic, beautiful, often derided Mississippi Delta.

Richard Grant and his girlfriend were living in a shoebox apartment in New York City when they decided on a whim to buy an old plantation house in the Mississippi Delta. Dispatches from Pluto is their journey of discovery into this strange and wonderful American place. Imagine A Year In Provence with alligators and assassins, or Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil with hunting scenes and swamp-to-table dining.

On a remote, isolated strip of land, three miles beyond the tiny community of Pluto, Richard and his girlfriend, Mariah, embark on a new life. They learn to hunt, grow their own food, and fend off alligators, snakes, and varmints galore. They befriend an array of unforgettable local characters - blues legend T-Model Ford, cookbook maven Martha Foose, catfish farmers, eccentric millionaires, and the actor Morgan Freeman. Grant brings an adept, empathetic eye to the fascinating people he meets, capturing the rich, extraordinary culture of the Delta, while tracking its utterly bizarre and criminal extremes. Reporting from all angles as only an outsider can, Grant also delves deeply into the Delta's lingering racial tensions. He finds that de facto segregation continues. Yet even as he observes major structural problems, he encounters many close, loving, and interdependent relationships between black and white families - and good reasons for hope.

Dispatches from Pluto is a book as unique as the Delta itself. It's lively, entertaining, and funny, containing a travel writer's flair for in-depth reporting alongside insightful reflections on poverty, community, and race. It's also a love story, as the nomadic Grant learns to settle down. He falls not just for his girlfriend but for the beguiling place they now call home. Mississippi, Grant concludes, is the best-kept secret in America.

BUY FROM AN INDIE

The Latest from Lady Banks

Lady BanksIn which Ms. Bell Hooks explains what matters, Ms. Betsy Teter thinks bookstores are "a survival thing," Ms. Emoke B'Racz believes books are good medicine, and Mr. Mike Orenduff thinks they are the most important invention of the human race. He is correct.

Lady Banks' Commonplace Book

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Turn the Page with Southern Writers

Tales of Edgar Allan PoeBetty Crocker CookbookThe Thorn Birds

We had three books at home when I was growing up: The Tales of Edgar Allan PoeBetty Crocker Cookbook and The Thorn Birds.  Not exactly great options for a curious kid.  Luckily, Mom took my sister and me to the public library, where she allowed us to choose our own books.

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If Truvvy Jones of Steel Magnolias had hooked up with boxing promoter Don King their love child would likely have been Kathy Patrick. For the past eight years, this darling of Jefferson, Texas has channeled her passion for good books and great hair into the nation’s only book and beauty salon.

That store – Beauty and the Book (beautyandthebook.com) – is home base for the Pulpwood Queens, billed as the largest “meeting and discussing” book club in the world. Their mission is to promote literacy and to look good doing it. Before embarking on tour to promote The Pulpwood Queen’s Tiara Wearing Book Sharing Guide to Life, debut author Kathy Patrick visited with Karen Spears Zacharias.

Q: At long last your very own book -- The Pulpwood Queen's Tiara Wearing, Book Sharing Guide to Life -- is on the shelves of stores all across America. As you embark on your first book tour as a certified author, how are you feeling about all this? Have you come down with a bad case of the nerves yet?

A: All I can say is it is about time. I worked six years on this book project and I am not nervous a bit. I am just so happy that we finally are going to be able to get the word out about how my book club, The Pulpwood Queens, are on a mission to promote literacy and have some big time fun while we are at it!

Q: You are beloved among authors nationwide for the work you have done in promoting their work. How difficult has it been to transition from being the promoter to being the author?

A: That has been the hardest thing for me personally but I may not show it. I am first a reader and love to promote other's authors works. I have written my whole life for myself but that is very different that entering into the realms of published author. I feel like the hat does not quite fit yet.

I have put authors up on pedestals for so long. The only way I can describe my strange dilemma is when I was a kid I loved Greek mythology. I kind of see myself as this mere mortal trying to enter into the land of the gods, as unattainable. But I have found so far that my author friends are not only lifting me up, they are truly supporting my literacy venture of writing my book in a big way.

I have to also say that this book would never have been written without the support of The Pulpwood Queens and all my author friends. To have all of those as my "peeps" is helping me tremendously putting on the good front that I am a confident writer. Seriously, I am proud of my book but know that I am a work in progress and I do believe that I can do even better as a writer next time.

The important thing to note is that this book was written to get the word out in a big way that reading is fun. I may have been raised a small town Kansas girl and told a simple story of my life in books and how they saved me, but I think you'll understand the passion I have for books when you read it. It's told as if I was talking just to you, my voice for better or worse, with all my colorful and sometimes made up language, but my voice.

My book may not be a modern literary classic but some of my authors’ books listed in the many book lists given in my book could fall into that category. My book is a springboard to get everybody reading. I encourage everybody to dive right in (that's my former life talking as I was a high school and college lifeguard, ha ha!) I was saved by books and I am not kidding here. Consider books a lifesaver and I am tossing that life line to you!

Q: What was it like to hold that book in your hand for the very first time? Who's the first person you shared it with?


A: It was a little bit anti-climatic. I had received a bound manuscript first. Then, I received the bound galley that was something. The day I received my first copy of my book I read it again and I cried. You see my baby was born that day and what joy! WHAT JOY! But as the cases arrived this week and I put them on the shelf, I looked at what I perceived as six years work of my life, blood, sweat, and many tears, many tears.

All of that in those little books. I then think of who all might pick up my book and want to buy it and read it and I get excited all over again. I am sure every author feels the same as I do but for me this was my life story, too. (At least the highlights as it would take tome after tome to chronicle all I have done in my life.) Fifty-one years of making some really huge mistakes. Only now I call them discoveries because doesn't that sound way better? All I ask is everybody treat my baby with care and pay it forward.

Q: Which author first seduced your as an itty-bitty girl and set your heart aflame for a lifetime of stolen moments, reading?

A: The first book to turn me on to reading was Honestly, Katie John by Mary
Calhoun
. I was just like the Katie John character in that book and the minute I read it, I knew I was not alone. Before I had felt like I never fit in, I was different than everybody else. In some ways, I still feel that way but in a good way, unlike when I was a child.

I was extremely shy and turned very inward. Through books I have found myself, gained confidence to know that we all are searching for, the answers. Reading books helping me answer all the questions that burned silently in my mind. I owe everything to authors and books.

Q: I live in rural farming community that has ten beauty salons and not one single bookstore. How ever did you come up with the idea to combine a beauty salon/bookstore? You'd gotten out of the business of being a book rep because of cutbacks. Weren't you worried about going belly-up?

A: I can assure you this was not a brilliant business plan. Opening my Hair Salon/Book Store was a pure survival tactic. I lost my beloved job as a book rep. My sister suggested I go back to doing hair and opening back up my hair salon. When I told her I would be bored silly after doing hair all these years, she suggested I do the book thing too. So I did!

And yes, I was worried about going belly up but I have found that if you work hard enough at something you love, God does provide. He did for me with much prayer and faith. I am getting ready to celebrate my 7th anniversary of Beauty and the Book! I do believe we are going to make it!

Q: So many of our beloved Independent bookstores have suffered fatal hemorrhages as reading consumption declines and Wall Street bullies build blockbuster bookstores. Any sage advice for the corner bookstore owner trying to keep the front doors open?

A: My first advice, is keep it small. I started out thinking I could carry every
book that I loved. Big mistake! What I found out through the years is that I do sell local and regional favorites, my Pulpwood Queen Book Club Selections and a few gift books now and then. I may not carry very many titles but those that sell well, I carry deep and, of course, my shelves are packed right now with this little hot pink and leopard number that practically jumps off the shelves into my clients hands. My book is selling like hotcatkes!

Q: Which literary character do you most identify with and why?

A: Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird, or Bird from Before Women Had Wings or
Siddalee Walker from Little Altars Everywhere. In fact, if it was an early Oprah Book Club Selection, I could relate to any of those characters.

Q: You've hosted over 100 authors – some very big celebrities, too – at your Pulpwood Girlfriend Weekend held every January in East Texas. Who were the first authors you roped into coming to town and what bait did you use to persuade them to come?

A: Every author that graces my doors is a surprise. Let's face it, Jefferson, Texas is a tad off the beaten path, but guess what? There are readers behind the "pine curtain", in reference to reading here in the piney woods. Adamant readers who love a good story flock every month to my book store/hair salon from all over the Ark. La.Tex.

All of the authors who have come have been incredible. But the ones that everybody went completely ga-ga for were Linda Bloodworth-Thomason of Designing Women fame, Kinky Friedman who just happened at the time to be running for Governor, Rue McClanahan, star of stage, film, and television, and Jeannette Walls of The Glass Castle.

Personal favorites were the wonderful genius, Doug Marlette, Cassandra King, Michael Morris, oh I could go on and on and on. Everybody is pretty much gone berserk to know we have supermodel Paulina Porizkova and Adrienne Barbeau coming to our Girlfriend Weekend, January 17 - 29, 2008! Oh and if the Honeymoon with my Brother author, Franz Wisner and his brother Kurt ever come back they will be mobbed, ha ha!

Q: Literacy has long been your mission. If you could put together a magician's box for every parent, every teacher and every librarian across this nation to ensure that future generations love reading, what would that box hold?

A: That box would hold the key to unlock a child's heart to the love of reading. Each
child is different, unique, and their box would hold that one book that would turn them on to reading. While my book was Honestly, Katie John, their book might be Hatchet by Gary Paulsen or as in my daughter’s cases, Ludwig Bemelmen's Madeline books.

What that box would hold for parents, teachers, and librarians is a key to read aloud to children. We need to incorporate story-time back into a daily schedule for all schools. All my school teachers read to us students for a half-an-hour after lunch. We cried when Laura Ingalls Wilder’s dog Jack died, laughed at the antics of Mr. Popper's Penguins. We were scared and fascinated about being stranded on a desert island like in Island of the Blue Dolphins. Because of their stern but kind discipline, and love of reading, we knew how to behave in school. Punishment was loss of story-time and no one wanted that ever to happen.

My childhood librarian encouraged reading at the local Eureka Carnegie Library back in Kansas. They are our true heroes and often spend more time with our children in a day than we do. Parents need to know that if you want your children to succeed in school and life, read. Reading aloud is the magic – a good story is a good story.

Q: I'm sure there have been dozens of such moments, but could you share with us one moment when you knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are doing exactly the very thing that you were born to do?

A: When author/poet, Ron Rash was reading to my book club, I knew I was hearing something so pure and beautiful I never wanted that reading of One Foot in Eden to stop -- neither did my book club. When Pulitzer prize-winning political cartoonist, Doug Marlette told my book club that he was raised by a band of roving debutantes and wolves, as everyone howled in laughter, I knew that I was changing the way people thought about reading. There are so many times tears have filled my eyes with such joy from hearing author's words that I knew that my calling was to promote literacy. I do believe that with my whole heart.

Then finally when I attended a beauty pageant for my daughter’s best friend, I understood that I had a big responsibility on my shoulders for promoting reading. As Kaitlyn walked the runway the announcer read off her little bio:

"Kaitlyn's favorite movie is "Josie and the Pussycats".

Kaitlyn's favorite food is macaroni and cheese.

And the woman Kaitlyn most admires is Kathy Patrick.

My eyes instantly filled with tears as I looked over at her mother, one of my best friends. Mary whispered, “It’s true Kathy. Kaitlyn really looks us to you and she is top reader in her class because of you.”

All I have got to say is it’s time to get really busy and continue my mission of
promoting literacy.



Free Book Stimulus Plan

Increase your karmic footprint.

Free BookWe understand that you can buy books anywhere.  You understand that while loving independent bookstores is a wonderful thing, loving them with your shopping dollars is even more wonderful! 
These Southern Indie Booksellers want to entice you to shop with them.  Buy online or in store from any of these shops, then complete the form below and mail it in with your receipt and get a free book.  
What kind of book? you ask.  Answer:  A Free One.  Read more

Southern Indie Lit Crossword Puzzle Book

The Southern Indie Lit Crossword Puzzle Book

How well do you know your Southern lit?

We dare you to use a pen on these crossword puzzles, each inspired by one of the winning titles of the SIBA Book Award, honoring ten years of the very best in Southern literature as chosen by the people who would know...Southern Independent Booksellers! A great gift for your book club, for puzzle-lovers, and anyone who loves Southern literature. $9.95 paperback. Available at Southern Indie Bookstores.

Play a sample puzzle online! | See the answers