Southern Indie Bestsellers

HARDCOVER FICTION

1. The Girls
Emma Cline, Random House, $27, 9780812998603
2. A Hero of France
Alan Furst, Random House, $27, 9780812996494
3. End of Watch
Stephen King, Scribner, $30, 9781501129742
4. Before the Fall
Noah Hawley, Grand Central, $26, 9781455561780
5. All the Light We Cannot See
Anthony Doerr, Scribner, $27, 9781476746586
6. Sweetbitter
Stephanie Danler, Knopf, $25, 9781101875940
7. All Summer Long
Dorothea Benton Frank, Morrow, $26.99, 9780062390752
8. Barkskins
Annie Proulx, Scribner, $32, 9780743288781
9. The Nest
Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney, Ecco, $26.99, 9780062414212
10. The Girl on the Train
Paula Hawkins, Riverhead, $26.95, 9781594633669
11. The Nightingale
Kristin Hannah, St. Martin's, $27.99, 9780312577223
12. The Last Mile
David Baldacci, Grand Central, $29, 9781455586455
13. Everybody's Fool
Richard Russo, Knopf, $27.95, 9780307270641
14. After You
Jojo Moyes, Pamela Dorman Books, $26.95, 9780525426592
15. Everyone Brave Is Forgiven
Chris Cleave, S&S, $26.99, 9781501124372

HARDCOVER NONFICTION

1. Bill O'Reilly's Legends and Lies: The Patriots
David Fisher, Holt, $35, 9781627797894
2. When Breath Becomes Air
Paul Kalanithi, Random House, $25, 9780812988406
3. The View From the Cheap Seats
Neil Gaiman, Morrow, $26.99, 9780062262264
4. The Gene
Siddhartha Mukherjee, Scribner, $32, 9781476733500
5. Valiant Ambition
Nathaniel Philbrick, Viking, $30, 9780525426783
6. Seven Brief Lessons on Physics
Carlo Rovelli, Riverhead, $18, 9780399184413
7. But What If We're Wrong?
Chuck Klosterman, Blue Rider, $26, 9780399184123
8. The Rainbow Comes and Goes
Anderson Cooper, Gloria Vanderbilt, Harper, $27.99, 9780062454942
9. Grit
Angela Duckworth, Scribner, $28, 9781501111105
10. Being Mortal
Atul Gawande, Metropolitan, $26, 9780805095159
11. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
Marie Kondo, Ten Speed Press, $16.99, 9781607747307
siba book award finalist12. My Southern Journey: True Stories from the Heart of the South
Rick Bragg, Oxmoor House, $27.95, 9780848746391
13. Tribe
Sebastian Junger, Twelve, $22, 9781455566389
14. Grunt
Mary Roach, Norton, $26.95, 9780393245448
15. Between the World and Me
Ta-Nehisi Coates, Spiegel & Grau, $24, 9780812993547

CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL LIST 

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A seven year old child has been kidnapped and Det. Cooper Devereaux, just returned from one of his many suspensions, is given the case.

Though Devereaux doesn’t often play well with others, and isn’t a stickler for the rules he is a great detective and his boss – one of his only supporters – knows if anyone can find this child he can.

I really liked Devereaux even before his back story was slowly revealed. And by the end of the book he was truly a hero – flawed and vulnerable but full of the right stuff. As Devereaux dug farther and farther into things his intuition told him were connected to the kidnapping he discovered many truths about himself and others in his life -- truths about mass murderers, bloodlines, mental illness and obsession.

This twisty, totally unpredictable page turner is the beginning, I hope, of a long line of Det. Cooper Devereaux stories.

False Positive by Andrew Grant (Ballantine Books) Recommended by Nancy M. at Fiction Addiction Greenville SC

Change has always followed Ben Coffin.

He was a foster kid for most of his life, until his mom adopted him two years ago. That's the closest thing he's ever had to a family, to permanence. Then he finds a scruffy little dog, Flip, and feels a little bit closer to normalcy. And when he meets the librarian's daughter, Halley, on one of his many trips to the library, he makes a friend for maybe the first time in his life.

But Ben has to learn that even the good things can't stay around forever...but they're what make life good.

A truly touching story of family and friendship that just might help you see the magic in your own life.

When Friendship Followed Me Home by Paul Griffin (The Dial Press) Recommended by Melissa at Fiction Addiction Greenville SC

J.T. Ellison’s newest novel, which has been compared to Gillian Flynn, Paula Hawkins, and Liane Moriarty, releases today. While the book is a departure from Ellison’s other books (this one is a stand-alone and, rather than having a protagonist who is either in law enforcement or is closely connected to someone who is, this lead character is distrustful of the police), regular readers will recognize her suspenseful pacing and quick dialogue.

Aubrey’s husband disappeared five years ago, when he failed to meet up with friends at the Opryland Hotel, and has now been declared legally dead. Aubrey has been through a hellacious five years. First, her husband went missing and then she had to endure a trial, as she was the prime suspect for his murder. Her mother-in-law testified against her and is now poised to start a legal battle over the life insurance money due to Aubrey. On this day of finality, the day she receives the official declaration of Josh’s death, Aubrey meets a man who reminds her of her husband. Chase’s mannerisms, his posture, and his intonation all match Josh’s…but Josh is dead, right?

What follows is a suspenseful, page-turning story as Aubrey searches for answers, sure to suck you in until you’ve finished. Adding to the book’s appeal, readers familiar with Nashville will recognize several locations, such as Dragon Park and the Tin Angel restaurant. If you loved The Husband’s Secret, Gone Girl, or The Girl on the Train, you owe it to yourself to read No One Knows.

No One Knows by J.T. Ellison (Gallery Books) Recommended by Laura at Reading Rock Books Dixon TN

Okra Picks

Teen and adult fans of All the Bright Places, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, and Everything, Everything will adore this quirky story of coming-of-age, coming out, friendship, love…and agoraphobia.

Sixteen-year-old Solomon is agoraphobic. He hasn’t left the house in three years, which is fine by him.

Ambitious Lisa desperately wants to get into the second-best psychology program for college (she’s being realistic). But how can she prove she deserves a spot there? 

Solomon is the answer.

Determined to “fix” Sol, Lisa thrusts herself into his life, introducing him to her charming boyfriend Clark and confiding her fears in him. Soon, all three teens are far closer than they thought they’d be, and when their facades fall down, their friendships threaten to collapse, as well.  

A hilarious and heartwarming coming-of-age perfect for readers of Matthew Quick and Rainbow Rowell, HIGHLY ILLOGICAL BEHAVIOR showcases the different ways in which we hide ourselves from the world—and the ways in which love, tragedy, and the need for connection may be the only things to bring us back into the light.

BUY FROM AN INDIE

A tragicomic tour de force about one man's redemption through love and art.

"You have lost everything, yes?"

Everything? Henry thought; he considered the word. Had he lost everything?

Fleeing New Orleans as Hurricane Katrina approaches, Henry Garrett is haunted by the ruins of his marriage, a squandered inheritance, and the teaching job he inexplicably quit. He pulls into a small Virginia town after three days on the road, hoping to silence the ceaseless clamor in his head. But this quest for peace and quiet as the only guest at a roadside motel is destroyed when Henry finds himself at the center of a bizarre and violent tragedy. As a result, Henry winds up stranded at the ramshackle motel just outside the small town of Marimore, but it’s there that he is pulled into the lives of those around him: Latangi, the motel’s recently widowed proprietor who seems to have a plan for Henry; Marge, a local secretary who marshals the collective energy of her women’s church group; and the family of an old man, a prisoner, who dies in a desperate effort to provide for his infirm wife.

For his previous novels John Gregory Brown has been lauded for his "compassionate vision of human destiny" as well as his "melodic, haunting and rhythmic prose." With A THOUSAND MILES FROM NOWHERE, he assumes his place in the tradition of such masterful storytellers as Flannery O’Conner and Walker Percy, offering to readers a tragicomic tour de force about the power of art and compassion and one man’s search for faith, love, and redemption.

READ A CHAPTER | BUY FROM AN INDIE

The 2016 Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize [Short List]

Lowcountry Boneyard
by Susan M. Boyer 
Henery Press, Paperback, 9781941962473, 300pp.

Where is Kent Heyward?

The twenty-three-year-old heiress from one of Charleston's oldest families vanished a month ago. When her father hires private investigator Liz Talbot, Liz suspects the most difficult part of her job will be convincing the patriarch his daughter tired of his overbearing nature and left town. That's what the Charleston Police Department believes.

But behind the garden walls South of Broad, family secrets pop up like weeds in the azaleas. The neighbors recollect violent arguments between Kent and her parents. Eccentric twin uncles and a gaggle of cousins covet the family fortune. And the lingering spirit of a Civil-War-era debutante may know something if Colleen, Liz's dead best friend, can get her to talk.

Liz juggles her case, the partner she's in love with, and the family she adores. But the closer she gets to what has become of Kent, the closer Liz dances to her own grave.

Related subjects include: women sleuths, private investigator mystery series, cozy mysteries, murder mysteries, whodunit mysteries (whodunnit), book club recommendations, Southern fiction, Southern humor, Southern living.

BUY FROM AN INDIE

 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

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Lady BanksIn which her ladyship, the editor, receives a request that cannot be ignored, Mr. Mark Childress comes back to Alabama, Ms. Natasha Deon remembers sleeping on the side of the road when her family moved to California, and Mr. David Joy doesn't write books about Appalachia, he writes books about desperation.

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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