Southern Indie Bestsellers 9/11/16

HARDCOVER FICTION

1. Commonwealth
Ann Patchett, Harper, $27.99, 9780062491794
2. Razor Girl
Carl Hiaasen, Knopf, $27.95, 9780385349741
3. The Underground Railroad
Colson Whitehead, Doubleday, $26.95, 9780385542364
4. Nutshell
Ian McEwan, Nan A. Talese, $24.95, 9780385542074
5. A Great Reckoning
Louise Penny, Minotaur, $28.99, 9781250022134
6. A Gentleman in Moscow
Amor Towles, Viking, $27, 9780670026197
7. Here I Am
Jonathan Safran Foer, FSG, $28, 9780374280024
okra8. The Risen
Ron Rash, Ecco, $25.99, 9780062436313
9. The Nix
Nathan Hill, Knopf, $27.95, 9781101946619
10. The Woman in Cabin 10
Ruth Ware, Gallery/Scout Press, $26, 9781501132933
11. The Nightingale
Kristin Hannah, St. Martin's, $27.99, 9780312577223
12. The Jealous Kind
James Lee Burke, S&S, $27.99, 9781501107207
13. All the Light We Cannot See
Anthony Doerr, Scribner, $27, 9781476746586
14. Truly Madly Guilty
Liane Moriarty, Flatiron, $26.99, 9781250069795
15. Three Sisters, Three Queens
Philippa Gregory, Touchstone, $27.99, 9781476758572

HARDCOVER NONFICTION

1. Hillbilly Elegy
J.D. Vance, Harper, $27.99, 9780062300546
2. Killing the Rising Sun: How America Vanquished World War II Japan
Bill O'Reilly, Martin Dugard, Holt, $30, 9781627790628
3. The Upside of Inequality: How Good Intentions Undermine the Middle Class
Edward Conard, Portfolio, $29, 9781595231239
4. Hustle: The Power to Charge Your Life with Money, Meaning, and Momentum
Neil Patel, et al., Rodale, $26.99, 9781623367169
5. Best. State. Ever.: A Florida Man Defends His Homeland
Dave Barry, Putnam, $27, 9781101982600
6. Love Warrior
Glennon Doyle Melton, Flatiron, $25.99, 9781250075727
7. A Perfect Score: The Art, Soul, and Business of a 21st-Century Winery
Kathryn Hall, Craig Hall, Center Street, $26, 9781455535767
8. Between the World and Me
Ta-Nehisi Coates, Spiegel & Grau, $25, 9780812993547
9. The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo
Amy Schumer, Gallery, $28, 9781501139888
10. The Hidden Life of Trees
Peter Wohlleben, Greystone Books, $24.95, 9781771642484
11. Between Breaths: A Memoir of Panic and Addiction
Elizabeth Vargas, Grand Central, $27, 9781455559633
12. Being Mortal
Atul Gawande, Metropolitan, $26, 9780805095159
13. When Breath Becomes Air
Paul Kalanithi, Random House, $25, 9780812988406
14. The Year of Voting Dangerously: The Derangement of American Politics
Maureen Dowd, Twelve, $30, 9781455539260
15. Forward: A Memoir
Abby Wambach, Dey Street, $26.99, 9780062466983

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There seems to be a new Bowie book out about once every two months these days and I am such a big fan that I have read just about every one. But there is a law of diminishing returns and even I feel that at this point there is very little left to say. Luckily this biography takes a refreshing new tack. It concentrates on the two years that Bowie lived inside his greatest creation, the fictitious and otherworldly Ziggy Stardust. About half the book is gone before you get to Ziggy's rise and it's all context and subtext. Just like Stanley Crouch's book on Charlie Parker Kansas City Lightning it really helps you understand the time, the place and the preceding history and therefore get a better understanding of the work itself. It puts you dead center in the insane whirlwind that burgeoning stardom can bring and the leaves you with a half broken Bowie saying, "Who can I be now?"

Ziggyology: A Brief History of Ziggy Stardust by Simon Goddard (Ebury Press) Recommended by Chris at Acappella Books Atlanta GA

All the intimacy and power that Anne Frank's war diary gave us--the real breath and thoughts and fears of a human living under inhumane circumstances--are aged and magnified in Saif's account of war in Gaza.

For 51 days he and his fellow Gazans live--and die--with the knowledge that life and death are a game of luck, controlled at the hands of an Israeli drone operator. Peace is not permitted for the people of Gaza, restricted by birth to a nation of contested land and continued acts of terror, violence, and grief. This was sixty years of life savings!- a man screams atop the rubble of his home. Ambulances screech all day long, gathering body parts of children and families that moments ago were survivors of the war, and now are its casualties.

Saif and his friends flip a coin on the street--heads, the truce ends, tails, the truce continues. The children fight to plug in their iPads when the electricity comes on, while the adults watch the news to hear which of their friends has been obliterated in their homes this week.

This is the fourth war Saif has lived through, and he knows that it is only by luck that he has lived, and that this war will not be the last--that one day his luck may run out. This is an essential read for those in search of peace in the midst of modern-day warfare, and even more essential for those who aren't sure which side they stand on.

The Drone Eats with Me by Atef Abu Saif (Beacon Press) Recommended by Clara at Acappella Books Atlanta GA

What the hell is wrong with white people?

Seriously, what is going on in the white community that white folks all over the nation express; one, a sense of surprise by the uprisings in Ferguson and Baltimore; and two, complete ignorance of their role in the continued devaluation of black and brown life?

What level of denial must one operate to miss the connection between their neo-liberal, fascist, white supremacist policies and the continued killing of black and brown bodies all over this country and beyond? How can a people and its government founded on the principles of chattel slavery privatize prisons (and fill them disproportionately with black and brown bodies), de-fund then close mostly black and brown schools, and concentrate wealth among a small number of white males while pretending it has achieved a "post-racial" society?

Carol Anderson's newest book examines the latest iterations of white rage, and uncovers the deep layers of white denial that continues to fuel racial violence in this country.

White Rage by Carol Anderson (Bloomsbury) Recommended by Manny at Acappella Books Atlanta GA

Okra Picks: Curent Crop

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

Nine Island is a crackling incantation, brittle and brilliant and hot and sad and full of sideways humor that devastates and illuminates all at once.”--Lauren Groff, author of Fates and Furies

Nine Island is an intimate autobiographical novel, told by J, a woman who lives in a glass tower on one of Miami Beach’s lush Venetian Islands. After decades of disaster with men, she is trying to decide whether to withdraw forever from romantic love. Having just returned to Miami from a monthlong reunion with an old flame, “Sir Gold,” and a visit to her fragile mother, J begins translating Ovid’s magical stories about the transformations caused by Eros. “A woman who wants, a man who wants nothing. These two have stalked the world for thousands of years,” she thinks.

When not ruminating over her sexual past and current fantasies, in the company of only her aging cat, J observes the comic, sometimes steamy goings-on among her faded-glamour condo neighbors. One of them, a caring nurse, befriends her, eventually offering the opinion that “if you retire from love . . . then you retire from life.”

BUY FROM AN INDIE

The 2016 Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize Winners

Bull Mountain
by Brian Panowich 
G.P. Putnam's Sons, Hardcover, 9780399173967, 304pp.

Clayton Burroughs comes from a long line of outlaws. For generations, the Burroughs clan has made its home on Bull Mountain in North Georgia, running shine, pot, and meth over six state lines, virtually untouched by the rule of law. To distance himself from his family's criminal empire, Clayton took the job of sheriff in a neighboring community to keep what peace he can. But when a federal agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms shows up at Clayton's office with a plan to shut down the mountain, his hidden agenda will pit brother against brother, test loyalties, and could lead Clayton down a path to self-destruction.

In a sweeping narrative spanning decades and told from alternating points of view, the novel brilliantly evokes the atmosphere of the mountain and its inhabitants: forbidding, loyal, gritty, and ruthless. A story of family the lengths men will go to protect it, honor it, or in some cases destroy it "Bull Mountain" is an incredibly assured debut that heralds a major new talent in fiction.

BUY FROM AN INDIE

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.

BUY FROM AN INDIE

The Latest from Lady Banks

Lady BanksIn which her ladyship, the editor, has a new apron, Ms Deshanta Hairston thought something was missing in her community so she did something about it, and Mr. Ron Rash wrote a book because he kept dreaming that he'd killed somebody. 

Lady Banks' Commonplace Book

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Turn the Page with Southern Writers

Barbara O'Connor & Monika SchroederChildren’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.



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We 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.  

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Southern Indie Lit Crossword Puzzle Book

Do you know your Southern lit?

The Southern Indie Lit Crossword Puzzle Book

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.