Southern Indie Bestsellers 8/21/16

HARDCOVER FICTION

1. The Underground Railroad
Colson Whitehead, Doubleday, $26.95, 9780385542364
2. Truly Madly Guilty
Liane Moriarty, Flatiron, $26.99, 9781250069795
3. The Woman in Cabin 10
Ruth Ware, Gallery/Scout Press, $26, 9781501132933
4. The Girls
Emma Cline, Random House, $27, 9780812998603
5. The Last Days of Night
Graham Moore, Random House, $28, 9780812988901
6. The Black Widow
Daniel Silva, Harper, $27.99, 9780062320223
7. The Nightingale
Kristin Hannah, St. Martin's, $27.99, 9780312577223
8. All the Light We Cannot See
Anthony Doerr, Scribner, $27, 9781476746586
9. Bright, Precious Days
Jay McInerney, Knopf, $27.95, 9781101948002
10. Three Sisters, Three Queens
Philippa Gregory, Touchstone, $27.99, 9781476758572
11. First Comes Love
Emily Giffin, Ballantine, $28, 9780345546920
12. Before the Fall
Noah Hawley, Grand Central, $26, 9781455561780
13. Smooth Operator
Stuart Woods, Parnell Hall, Putnam, $28, 9780399185267
14. Behind Closed Doors
B.A. Paris, St. Martin's, $25.99, 9781250121004
15. The Nest
Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney, Ecco, $26.99, 9780062414212

HARDCOVER NONFICTION

1. Hillbilly Elegy
J.D. Vance, Harper, $27.99, 9780062300546
2. The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo
Amy Schumer, Gallery, $28, 9781501139888
3. When Breath Becomes Air
Paul Kalanithi, Random House, $25, 9780812988406
4. Armageddon
Dick Morris, Eileen McGann, Humanix, $24.99, 9781630060589
5. The View From the Cheap Seats
Neil Gaiman, Morrow, $26.99, 9780062262264
6. American Heiress
Jeffrey Toobin, Doubleday, $28.95, 9780385536714
7. White Trash
Nancy Isenberg, Viking, $28, 9780670785971
8. Hamilton: The Revolution
Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jeremy McCarter, Grand Central, $45, 9781455539741
9. How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything
Rosa Brooks, S&S, $29.95, 9781476777863
10. Bill O'Reilly's Legends and Lies: The Patriots
David Fisher, Holt, $35, 9781627797894
11. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
Marie Kondo, Ten Speed Press, $16.99, 9781607747307
12. Between the World and Me
Ta-Nehisi Coates, Spiegel & Grau, $24, 9780812993547
13. Grit
Angela Duckworth, Scribner, $28, 9781501111105
14. Being Mortal
Atul Gawande, Metropolitan, $26, 9780805095159
15. The Rainbow Comes and Goes
Anderson Cooper, Gloria Vanderbilt, Harper, $27.99, 9780062454942

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I can’t account for the historical accuracy of the story, but The Danish Girl is based on the true story of a young transgender woman (Lili) in the 1920s/30s.

Born a male, Einar struggles with the secret of wanting to be a woman. His wife Greta encourages his transition and Einar becomes Lili. Lili was the first person to undergo sex reassignment surgery in the 1930s. 

It’s a beautifully written story about love, trust and self-discovery.
 
The Danish Girl by David Ebershoff (Penguin) Recommended by Christina at Blue Ridge Books Waynesville, NC

Fans of The Hunger Games will love this dystopian remake of Sleeping Beauty.

In Stung by Bethany Wiggins, Fiona wakes up from a coma to find a strange tattoo on her wrist. The world has changed while she was unconscious, her house is
deserted and her family has disappeared, except for her brother, who immediately tries to kill her.

She flees and discovers that since the honey bees’ extinction, the privileged few fight the marked humans who’ve turned into savage beasts. Hunted by both sides, Fiona fights to make sense of what has happened to her before she turns, too.

This page turning-thriller will keep readers guessing until the very end.Ages 14 and up

Stung by Bethany Wiggins (MacMillan) Recommended by Ellen at Hooray For Books Alexandria VA

A kids' book that the world needs to read, Ms. Bixby's Last Day is an affirmation of the immeasurable difference that the Good Ones can make in a life.

Told in alternating chapters by Steve, Brand, and Topher, it is a story about friendship, the power of a teacher, and the challenge of facing grief with strength and hope.

With touches of humor, each boy reveals elements of himself and Ms. Bixby's imprint, as the trio responds to her illness. A perfect choice for fans of Rob Buyea's Because of Mr. Terupt, this book will spur you to profess and practice the doing of good things and to leave your footprint on the paths of those with whom you are making the journey of life.

For readers age 11 and up.

Ms. Bixby's Last Day by John David Anderson (Walden Pond) Recommended by Cindy at Quail Ridge Books Raleigh NC

 

I love to be scared--big Stephen King fan for decades. In Hex, author Thomas Olde Heuvelt outcreeps the King, and I mean that in the nicest way possible.

I'm also from the Hudson Valley area (where the American version of Hex is set). Heuvelt nails it, getting the feel of a region where you sense something very old can still exist not too far away from your modern world.

Social media versus a centuries-old curse--it sounds as though it'll be a lark, but you'll be keeping the lights on long before you finish Hex.

Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt (Tor). Recommended by Rosemary at Quail Ridge Books Raleigh NC

 

Okra Picks

National Book Award–winner Jesmyn Ward takes James Baldwin’s 1963 examination of race in America, The Fire Next Time, as a jumping off point for this groundbreaking collection of essays and poems about race from the most important voices of her generation and our time.

In light of recent tragedies and widespread protests across the nation, The Progressive magazine republished one of its most famous pieces: James Baldwin’s 1962 “Letter to My Nephew,” which was later published in his landmark book, The Fire Next Time. Addressing his fifteen-year-old namesake on the one hundredth anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, Baldwin wrote: “You know and I know, that the country is celebrating one hundred years of freedom one hundred years too soon.”

Award-winning author Jesmyn Ward knows that Baldwin’s words ring as true as ever today. In response, she has gathered short essays, memoir, and a few essential poems to engage the question of race in the United States. And she has turned to some of her generation’s most original thinkers and writers to give voice to their concerns.

The Fire This Time is divided into three parts that shine a light on the darkest corners of our history, wrestle with our current predicament, and envision a better future. Of the eighteen pieces, ten were written specifically for this volume.

In the fifty-odd years since Baldwin’s essay was published, entire generations have dared everything and made significant progress. But the idea that we are living in the post-Civil Rights era, that we are a “post-racial” society is an inaccurate and harmful reflection of a truth the country must confront. Baldwin’s “fire next time” is now upon us, and it needs to be talked about.

Contributors include Carol Anderson, Jericho Brown, Garnette Cadogan, Edwidge Danticat, Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah, Mitchell S. Jackson, Honoree Jeffers, Kima Jones, Kiese Laymon, Daniel Jose Older, Emily Raboteau, Claudia Rankine, Clint Smith, Natasha Trethewey, Wendy S. Walters, Isabel Wilkerson, and Kevin Young.

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New York Times bestselling author Ron Rash demonstrates his superb narrative skills in this suspenseful and evocative tale of two brothers whose lives are altered irrevocably by the events of one long-ago summer—and one bewitching young woman—and the secrets that could destroy their lives.

While swimming in a secluded creek on a hot Sunday in 1969, sixteen-year-old Eugene and his older brother, Bill, meet the entrancing Ligeia. A sexy, free-spirited redhead from Daytona Beach banished to their small North Carolina town until the fall, Ligeia will not only bewitch the two brothers, but lure them into a struggle that reveals the hidden differences in their natures.

Drawn in by her raw sensuality and rebellious attitude, Eugene falls deeper under her spell. Ligeia introduces him to the thrills and pleasures of the counterculture movement, then in its headiest moment. But just as the movement’s youthful optimism turns dark elsewhere in the country that summer, so does Eugene and Ligeia’s brief romance. Eugene moves farther and farther away from his brother, the cautious and dutiful Bill, and when Ligeia vanishes as suddenly as she appeared, the growing rift between the two brothers becomes immutable.

Decades later, their relationship is still turbulent, and the once close brothers now lead completely different lives. Bill is a gifted and successful surgeon, a paragon of the community, while Eugene, the town reprobate, is a failed writer and determined alcoholic.

When a shocking reminder of the past unexpectedly surfaces, Eugene is plunged back into that fateful summer, and the girl he cannot forget. The deeper he delves into his memories, the closer he comes to finding the truth. But can Eugene’s recollections be trusted? And will the truth set him free and...or destroy his damaged life and everyone he loves?

BUY FROM AN INDIE | READ THE FIRST CHAPTER

The 2016 Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize Winners

Mosquitoland
by David Arnold 
Viking Books for Young Readers, Hardcover, 9780451470775, 352pp

After the sudden collapse of her family, Mim Malone is dragged from her home in northern Ohio to the "wastelands" of Mississippi, where she lives in a medicated milieu with her dad and new stepmom. Before the dust has a chance to settle, she learns her mother is sick back in Cleveland.

So she ditches her new life and hops aboard a northbound Greyhound bus to her real home and her real mother, meeting a quirky cast of fellow travelers along the way. But when her thousand-mile journey takes a few turns she could never see coming, Mim must confront her own demons, redefining her notions of love, loyalty, and what it means to be sane.

Told in an unforgettable, kaleidoscopic voice, "Mosquitoland" is a modern American odyssey, as hilarious as it is heartbreaking.

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Soul Food Love: Healthy Recipes Inspired by One Hundred Years of Cooking in a Black Family
by Alice Randall; Caroline Randall Williams 
Clarkson Potter Publishers, Hardcover, 9780804137935, 224pp.

A mother-daughter duo reclaims and redefines soul food by mining the traditions of four generations of black women and creating 80 healthy recipes to help everyone live longer and stronger.


In May 2012, bestselling author Alice Randall penned an op-ed in the New York Times titled "Black Women and Fat," chronicling her quest to be "the last fat black woman" in her family. She turned to her daughter, Caroline Randall Williams, for help. Together they overhauled the way they cook and eat, translating recipes and traditions handed down by generations of black women into easy, affordable, and healthful - yet still indulgent - dishes, such as Peanut Chicken Stew, Red Bean and Brown Rice Creole Salad, Fiery Green Beans, and Sinless Sweet Potato Pie. Soul Food Love relates the authors' fascinating family history (which mirrors that of much of black America in the twentieth century), explores the often fraught relationship African-American women have had with food, and forges a powerful new way forward that honors their cultural and culinary heritage. This is what the strong black kitchen looks like in the twenty-first century.

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The Latest from Lady Banks

Lady BanksIn which Mr. Pat Conroy never says anything in less than 200 pages, a bookseller suggests books perfect for our bewildering times, a bookshop in Montgomery, Alabama is looking for someone hungering to own a little bookstore, and a little boy in Ms. Barbara O'Connor's class says his grandmother loved soccer, ballet and fighting.

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Turn the Page with Southern Writers

Barbara O'Connor & Monika Schroeder

Children’s authors Monika Schröder and Barbara O’Connor have been friends for years, brought together when they shared the same editor, Frances Foster at FSG. After communicating by email for a year or so, they finally met in person at a librarians’ conference in Washington, DC. But their bond grew closer when Barbara moved from Boston to Asheville, North Carolina, a short distance from Monika. Now they enjoy chatting all things book related while walking their dogs once a week in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. Making the bond even more special is the fact that they each have new children’s novels being published just days apart.

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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