Southern Indie Bestsellers

 

HARDCOVER FICTION

1. The Nest
Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney, Ecco, $26.99, 9780062414212
2. The Last Mile
David Baldacci, Grand Central, $29, 9781455586455
3. The Nightingale
Kristin Hannah, St. Martin's, $27.99, 9780312577223
4. All the Light We Cannot See
Anthony Doerr, Scribner, $27, 9781476746586
5. The Girl on the Train
Paula Hawkins, Riverhead, $26.95, 9781594633669
6. Eligible
Curtis Sittenfeld, Random House, $28, 9781400068326
7. Fool Me Once
Harlan Coben, Dutton, $28, 9780525955092
8. The Summer Before the War
Helen Simonson, Random House, $28, 9780812993103
9. The Swans of Fifth Avenue
Melanie Benjamin, Delacorte, $28, 9780345528698
10. Miller's Valley
Anna Quindlen, Random House, $28, 9780812996081

HARDCOVER NONFICTION

1. The Rainbow Comes and Goes
Anderson Cooper, Gloria Vanderbilt, Harper, $27.99, 9780062454942
2. When Breath Becomes Air
Paul Kalanithi, Random House, $25, 9780812988406
3. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
Marie Kondo, Ten Speed Press, $16.99, 9781607747307
okra4. Dimestore: A Writer's Life
Lee Smith, Algonquin, $24.95, 9781616205027

5. Being Mortal
Atul Gawande, Metropolitan, $26, 9780805095159
6. Lab Girl
Hope Jahren, Knopf, $26.95, 9781101874936
7. Between the World and Me
Ta-Nehisi Coates, Spiegel & Grau, $24, 9780812993547
8. Quench Your Own Thirst: Business Lessons Learned Over a Beer or Two
Jim Koch, Flatiron, $27.99, 9781250070500
9. The Third Wave
Steve Case, S&S, $26.95, 9781501132582
10. First Women: The Grace and Power of America's Modern First Ladies
Kate Andersen Brower, Harper, $28.99, 9780062439659

 CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL LIST 

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Brian Freeman’s first Cab Bolton thriller was supposed to be a stand alone.

I am sure glad he changed his mind so we could read more about Cab Bolton. A Season of Fear brings Cab back to Florida and finds him involved, thanks to his always interfering mother, with the players in the upcoming FL gubernatorial race.

A powerful tropical storm collides with the culmination of a 10 year-old murder investigation that has lain inactive for many years, resulting in a shocking ending. It is a masterfully written, carefully plotted political thriller… fast paced and suspenseful.

Season of Fear by Brian Freeman (Quercus) Recommended by Nancy at Fiction Addiction Greenville SC

America is a bad land for gods.

This is a fantastic novel about the nature of worship and belief, and what that means for the ideas people leave behind on their way to the next thing.


American Gods by Neil Gaiman (HarperTorch) Recommended by Melanie at Octavia Books New Orleans LA

The Second World War is about to begin.

Hitler is rallying his forces and preparing to conquer the world. Yet, for Ada Smith, a different war is about to begin.

Ada was born with a clubfoot. She cannot walk, and she is forced to stay in her families one-room apartment at all times. Ada doesn’t know
what the world looks like outside of her little apartment. Life for Ada seems very bleak, until the mandatory evacuation of all London’s children is announced.

Suddenly, Ada and her little brother Jamie are sent to the country with thousands of other Londoner children. When they arrive in Kent, Ada expects life to remain as it has always been, but instead Ada will discover a world she never knew existed.

Ada will discover that she is not as broken as she seems, and with time and a lot of love she might be able to change the way the world sees her. A poignant tale set in war-time England of a little girl’s triumph over her disability and the life that she has always known.

The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley (Dial Books for Younger Readers) Recommended by Gretchen at Fiction Addiction Greenville SC


On a Greyhound bus headed from Jackson, MS (aka Mosquitoland) back to Cleveland, Ohio, 16-year-old Mim knows that if she can get to her sick mother by Labor Day, then all the confusion of the divorce, her new stepmom, and the recent move will no longer matter.

Mim's voice in this amazing amalgam of a love story, a road trip novel, and a coming-of-age story, will stay with you long after you finish Mosquitoland.
 
Mosquitoland by David Arnold (Viking) Recommended by Jill at Fiction Addiction Greenville SC


Okra Picks

The author of THE POCKET WIFE explores the dark side of love, marriage, and infidelity in this sizzling novel of psychological suspense.

Everybody’s luck runs out. This time it could be theirs...

It isn’t safe. That’s what Joe tells her when he ends their affair—moments before their car skids off an icy road in a blinding snowstorm and hits a tree. Desperate to keep her life intact—her job, her husband, and her precious daughter, Lily—Dorrie will do everything she can to protect herself, even if it means walking away from the wreckage. Dorrie has always been a good actress, pretending to be someone else: the dutiful daughter, the satisfied wife, the woman who can handle anything. Now she’s going to put on the most challenging performance of her life. But details about the accident leave her feeling uneasy and afraid. Why didn’t Joe’s airbag work? Why was his car door open before the EMTs arrived? And now suddenly someone is calling her from her dead lover’s burner phone. . . .

Joe’s death has left his wife in free fall as well. Karen knew Joe was cheating—she found some suspicious e-mails. Trying to cope with grief is devastating enough without the constant fear that has overtaken her—this feeling she can’t shake that someone is watching her. And with Joe gone and the kids grown, she’s vulnerable . . . and on her own.

Insurance investigator Maggie Devlin is suspicious of the latest claim that’s landed on her desk—a man dying on an icy road shortly after buying a lucrative life insurance policy. Maggie doesn’t believe in coincidences. The former cop knows that things—and people—are never what they seem to be.

As the fates of these three women become more tightly entwined, layers of lies and deception begin to peel away, pushing them dangerously to the edge...closer to each other...to a terrifying truth...to a shocking end.

BUY FROM AN INDIE

Over 2 million copies of his books in print. The first and only author to win back-to-back Edgars for Best Novel. Every book a New York Times bestseller. After five years, John Hart is back.

Since his debut bestseller, The King of Lies, reviewers across the country have heaped praise on John Hart, comparing his writing to that of Pat Conroy, Cormac McCarthy and Scott Turow. Each novel has taken Hart higher on the New York Times Bestseller list as his masterful writing and assured evocation of place have won readers around the world and earned history's only consecutive Edgar Awards for Best Novel with DOWN RIVER and THE LAST CHILD. Now, Hart delivers his most powerful story yet. 

Imagine:

A boy with a gun waits for the man who killed his mother.

A troubled detective confronts her past in the aftermath of a brutal shooting.

After thirteen years in prison, a good cop walks free as deep in the forest, on the altar of an abandoned church, a body cools in pale linen…

This is a town on the brink.

This is Redemption Road.

Brimming with tension, secrets, and betrayal, REDEMPTION ROAD proves again that John Hart is a master of the literary thriller.

BUY FROM AN INDIE

The 2016 Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize [Short List]

 alt= Leaving Orbit: Notes from the Last Days of American Spaceflight
by Margaret Lazarus Dean 
Graywolf Press, Paperback, 9781555977092, 240pp.

Winner of the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize, a breathtaking elegy to the waning days of human spaceflight as we have known it

In the 1960s, humans took their first steps away from Earth, and for a time our possibilities in space seemed endless. But in a time of austerity and in the wake of high-profile disasters like Challenger, that dream has ended. In early 2011, Margaret Lazarus Dean traveled to Cape Canaveral for NASA's last three space shuttle launches in order to bear witness to the end of an era. With Dean as our guide to Florida's Space Coast and to the history of NASA, Leaving Orbit takes the measure of what American spaceflight has achieved while reckoning with its earlier witnesses, such as Norman Mailer, Tom Wolfe, and Oriana Fallaci. Along the way, Dean meets NASA workers, astronauts, and space fans, gathering possible answers to the question: What does it mean that a spacefaring nation won't be going to space anymore?

BUY FROM AN INDIE

Yard War
by Taylor Kitchings 
Wendy Lamb Books, Hardcover, 9780553507539, 224pp.

"Taylor Kitching's rousing debut puts you right on the fifty-yard line of a vital historical moment." - Chris Grabenstein, New York Times bestselling author of Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library

Perfect for readers of Christopher Paul Curtis's Bud, Not Buddy and Vince Vawter's Paperboy, Yard War explores race relations during the Civil Rights Movement from the perspective of a boy who accidentally sets off a "yard war" when he invites his maid's son to play football on his front lawn. 

Trip Westbrook has spent his first twelve years far from the struggle for civil rights going on in Mississippi. The one black person he knows well is Willie Jane, the family maid, who has been a second mother to him. When Trip invites her son, Dee, to play football in the yard, he discovers the ugly side of his smiling neighbors. Trip's old pals stop coming by. He is bullied, his house is defaced, and his family is threatened. The Westbrooks will be forced to choose between doing the right thing or losing the only home Trip has ever known. Who knew that playing football in the yard could have such consequences? This engaging, honest, and hopeful novel is full of memorable characters, and brings the civil rights-era South alive for young readers.

"Trip is a fine character. 1964 Mississippi leaps to life in this book." - Gennifer Choldenko, Newbery Honor winning author of Al Capone Does My Shirts

"A captivating story about standing up for your friends. I loved seeing Trip learn how hard it can be to do the right thing." - Kristin Levine, author of The Lions of Little Rock and The Paper Cowboy

"Trip's journey is a sensitive account about how one person can slowly make a difference." - Booklist

"A challenging but worthwhile portrait of a very difficult period in American history." - SLJ

BUY FROM AN INDIE

The Latest from Lady Banks

Lady BanksIn which Mr. Lenard Moore explains how Green Eggs and Ham was instrumental in his decision to become a poet, Mr. Pat Conroy worries about his future fame, and her ladyship, the editor, attempts to make strawberry jam, with dubious success.

Lady Banks' Commonplace Book

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Author News & Interviews

History. Community. Family. Place. Memory. The thousand other fragile threads connecting us all.

Each is a strand woven throughout Lexington, Kentucky writer Crystal Wilkinson's work--both as a writer and as an independent bookstore owner. The striking cover of her latest book, The Birds of Opulence, published by the University Press of Kentucky in March 2016, features an image of the sankofa symbol. In the Twi language of Ghana, "sankofa" translates to "go back and get it." The Asante Adinkra sankofa symbol of a bird with its head turned to take an egg from its back carries the same meaning, and is often associated with a proverb translated to mean "It is not wrong to go back for that which you have forgotten." Designed and created by the artist Ron Davis (also Wilkinson's life and business partner) the sankofa bird on the novel's cover is an apt symbol for Wilkinson's creative and connected work as a writer and business owner.

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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