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. All the Light We Cannot See
Anthony Doerr, Scribner, $27, 9781476746586
5. Before the Fall
Noah Hawley, Grand Central, $26, 9781455561780
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. Everybody's Fool
Richard Russo, Knopf, $27.95, 9780307270641
13. Modern Lovers
Emma Straub, Riverhead, $26, 9781594634673
14. Everyone Brave Is Forgiven
Chris Cleave, S&S, $26.99, 9781501124372
15. The Weekenders
Mary Kay Andrews, St. Martin's, $27.99, 9781250065940

HARDCOVER NONFICTION

1. The View From the Cheap Seats
Neil Gaiman, Morrow, $26.99, 9780062262264
2. Bill O'Reilly's Legends and Lies: The Patriots
David Fisher, Holt, $35, 9781627797894
3. When Breath Becomes Air
Paul Kalanithi, Random House, $25, 9780812988406
4. The Gene
Siddhartha Mukherjee, Scribner, $32, 9781476733500
5. Valiant Ambition
Nathaniel Philbrick, Viking, $30, 9780525426783
6. Grit
Angela Duckworth, Scribner, $28, 9781501111105
7. Seven Brief Lessons on Physics
Carlo Rovelli, Riverhead, $18, 9780399184413
8. But What If We're Wrong?
Chuck Klosterman, Blue Rider, $26, 9780399184123
9. The Rainbow Comes and Goes
Anderson Cooper, Gloria Vanderbilt, Harper, $27.99, 9780062454942
10. Tribe
Sebastian Junger, Twelve, $22, 9781455566389
siba book award finalist11. My Southern Journey: True Stories from the Heart of the South
Rick Bragg, Oxmoor House, $27.95, 9780848746391
12. Between the World and Me
Ta-Nehisi Coates, Spiegel & Grau, $24, 9780812993547
13. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
Marie Kondo, Ten Speed Press, $16.99, 9781607747307
14. Being Mortal
Atul Gawande, Metropolitan, $26, 9780805095159
15. Five Presidents
Clint Hill, Lisa McCubbin, Gallery, $28, 9781476794136

CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL LIST 

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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

A subtle, yet powerful portrait of an extraordinary character, Miss Jane thrills with some of the most gorgeous prose I have ever encountered. 

Jane Chisholm is born with a genital defect that, in rural Mississippi in the early 20th century, somewhat limits her prospects for a “normal” life. Populated with lovingly wrought characters, sly humor, and keen observations of the human heart, Watson's novel is a beautiful and rare bird indeed.

Miss Jane by Brad Watson (W. W. Norton & Company) Recommended by Tony at Quail Ridge Books Raleigh NC

Okra Picks

"Before he went to sleep in the clean bed in the room downstairs, Jonah asked himself whether he should continue running . . . It was impossible to know how safe he was. But Jonah was worn out from running, and he didn’t want to go on . . . He’d stop here for a few days or weeks and see what happened. If he was caught, he would be caught. He just didn’t feel like running any more."

In his latest historical novel, bestselling author Robert Morgan brings to full and vivid life the story of Jonah Williams, who, in 1850, on his eighteenth birthday, flees the South Carolina plantation on which he was born a slave. He takes with him only a few stolen coins, a knife, and the clothes on his back—no shoes, no map, no clear idea of where to head, except north, following a star that he prays will be his guide.

Hiding during the day and running through the night, Jonah must elude the men sent to capture him and the bounty hunters out to claim the reward on his head. There is one person, however, who, once on his trail, never lets him fully out of sight: Angel, herself a slave, yet with a remarkably free spirit.

In Jonah, she sees her own way to freedom, and so sets out to follow him.

Bristling with breathtaking adventure, CHASING THE NORTH STAR is deftly grounded in historical fact yet always gripping and poignant as the story follows Jonah and Angel through the close calls and narrow escapes of a fearsome world. It is a celebration of the power of the human spirit to persevere in the face of great adversity. And it is Robert Morgan at his considerable best.

BUY FROM AN INDIE

Award-winning author Donna Gephart crafts a compelling dual narrative about two remarkable young people: Lily, a transgender girl, and Dunkin, a boy dealing with bipolar disorder. Their powerful story will shred your heart, then stitch it back together with kindness, humor, bravery, and love.

"LILY AND DUNKIN is a delight. Here’s a book for anyone who’s ever struggled with being different--or anyone who’s ever loved someone who bears the burden of difference.  Donna Gephart’s book is about trans children, and bipolar children, and their parents, of course, but what it’s really about is friendship, and the redeeming power of love.  Crucial, heart-breaking, and inspiring.” —Jennifer Finney Boylan, author of She’s Not There, and Stuck in the Middle with You. 

Lily Jo McGrother, born Timothy McGrother, is a girl. But being a girl is not so easy when you look like a boy. Especially when you’re in the eighth grade. 

Dunkin Dorfman, birth name Norbert Dorfman, is dealing with bipolar disorder and has just moved from the New Jersey town he’s called home for the past thirteen years. This would be hard enough, but the fact that he is also hiding from a painful secret makes it even worse. 

 One summer morning, Lily Jo McGrother meets Dunkin Dorfman, and their lives forever change.  

A JLG Selection! 

"Gephart clearly has a lot of heart, and she tells their stories with compassion."--Kirkus 

"A thoughtfully and sensitively written work of character-driven fiction that dramatically addresses two important subjects that deserve more widespread attention."--Booklist, starred

BUY FROM AN INDIE

The 2016 Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize [Short List]

The Jemima Code: Two Centuries of African American Cookbooks
by Toni Tipton-Martin 
University of Texas Press, Hardcover, 9780292745483, 264pp.

Women of African descent have contributed to America's food culture for centuries, but their rich and varied involvement is still overshadowed by the demeaning stereotype of an illiterate "Aunt Jemima" who cooked mostly by natural instinct. To discover the true role of black women in the creation of American, and especially southern, cuisine, Toni Tipton-Martin has spent years amassing one of the world's largest private collections of cookbooks published by African American authors, looking for evidence of their impact on American food, families, and communities and for ways we might use that knowledge to inspire community wellness of every kind.

The Jemima Code presents more than 150 black cookbooks that range from a rare 1827 house servant's manual, the first book published by an African American in the trade, to modern classics by authors such as Edna Lewis and Vertamae Grosvenor. The books are arranged chronologically and illustrated with photos of their covers; many also display selected interior pages, including recipes. Tipton-Martin provides notes on the authors and their contributions and the significance of each book, while her chapter introductions summarize the cultural history reflected in the books that follow. These cookbooks offer firsthand evidence that African Americans cooked creative masterpieces from meager provisions, educated young chefs, operated food businesses, and nourished the African American community through the long struggle for human rights. The Jemima Code transforms America's most maligned kitchen servant into an inspirational and powerful model of culinary wisdom and cultural authority.

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The Bone Tree
by Greg Iles 
William Morrow & Company, Hardcover, 9780062311115, 816pp.

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Greg Iles comes the second novel in his Natchez Burning trilogy which also includes Natchez Burning and the upcoming Mississippi Blood an epic trilogy of blood and race, family and justice, featuring Southern lawyer Penn Cage.

Former prosecutor Penn Cage and his fiancee, reporter and publisher Caitlin Masters, have barely escaped with their lives after being attacked by wealthy businessman Brody Royal and his Double Eagles, a KKK sect with ties to some of Mississippi's most powerful men. But the real danger has only begun as FBI Special Agent John Kaiser warns Penn that Brody wasn t the true leader of the Double Eagles. The puppeteer who actually controls the terrorist group is a man far more fearsome: the chief of the state police's Criminal Investigations Bureau, Forrest Knox.

The only way Penn can save his father, Dr. Tom Cage who is fleeing a murder charge as well as corrupt cops bent on killing him is either to make a devil's bargain with Knox or destroy him. While Penn desperately pursues both options, Caitlin uncovers the real story behind a series of unsolved civil rights murders that may hold the key to the Double Eagles downfall. The trail leads her deep into the past, into the black backwaters of the Mississippi River, to a secret killing ground used by slave owners and the Klan for over two hundred years...a place of terrifying evil known only as the bone tree.

The Bone Tree is an explosive, action-packed thriller full of twisting intrigue and deadly secrets, a tale that explores the conflicts and casualties that result when the darkest truths of American history come to light. It puts us inside the skin of a noble man who has always fought for justice now finally pushed beyond his limits.

Just how far will Penn Cage, the hero we thought we knew, go to protect those he loves?

BUY FROM AN INDIE

The Latest from Lady Banks

Lady BanksIn which some things about the past are best left to the past, such as the need to darn one's own socks, someone attempts to break Mr. Joel Chandler Harris out of the briar patch, and Ms. Marjorie Wentworth falls over, but picks herself back up again and gets to work.

Lady Banks' Commonplace Book

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Turn the Page with Southern Writers

Tales of Edgar Allan PoeBetty Crocker CookbookThe Thorn Birds

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

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Ron Rash
Ron Rash
When Ron Rash visited Portland, Oregon in April, 2006, he sat down in the stately Benson Hotel for an Author-2-Author interview with author Karen Spears Zacharias. Rash and Zacharias share a common Appalachian ancestry. His people come from Western North Carolina. Her people hail from East Tennessee.

 

 

Rash’s latest novel, THE WORLD MADE STRAIGHT, follows Travis Shelton, a high school dropout, as he gets caught, literally in a bear trap, while stealing marijuana plants from Carlton Toomey, a menacing tobacco-farmer-turned-drug dealer.
Disgusted by his son’s waywardness, Travis’s father kicks him out and Travis takes up residence with Leonard Schuler, a half-assed drug dealer and former schoolteacher. Leonard and the boy bond over books and a shared fascination over a local Civil War incident – the Laurel Shelton massacre – that divided their town
.

                                                                              

World Made Straight

 

 

ZACHARIAS: Do you think storytelling is something you’re born to or can just anyone cultivate the craft?

 

RASH: I think some people have a gift for it. That’s been my experience, but obviously, you can get better. But I think the intuitive sense of drama and how to move a story along is a natural thing.

 

ZACHARIAS: When did you discover you wanted to be a storyteller?

 

RASH: As a kid, I spent a lot of time by myself in the woods, daydreaming. I would make up narratives, telling stories to myself. It was either storytelling or a kind of madness. (laughing).

 

ZACHARIAS: Why did you spend so much time alone?

 

RASH: I spent a lot of time with my grandmother, a widow woman. She lived on a marvelous place, in many ways beyond technology. No car or truck.

I spent my time out in the woods, and with my older relatives, who were all great storytellers. I grew up hearing an Appalachian dialect that you don’t often hear today.

 

ZACHARIAS: Your previous novels, SAINTS AT THE RIVER and ONE FOOT IN EDEN, especially, capture the old-timey language of mountain people. Do you grieve the loss of that talk?

 

RASH: There’s a part of me that grieves. A part of what art does, I believe, is keep alive what is disappearing. So I’m trying to capture the language I heard as a boy and preserve it as art. To create a portrait of the beauty of it. It’s a beautiful language..

 

ZACHARIAS: When I visited Vietnam in 2003, I was struck by how much the Central Highlands reminded me of East Tennessee and my father’s people. The mountains. The subsistence way of life.

 

RASH: Something interesting happened to me while I was reading at a community college in western North Carolina. A number of Hmongs came out to hear me. They were very responsive to the reading and approached me afterwards. They said that they understood the part of the world I was writing about. I was fascinated by that.

 

ZACHARIAS: I guess mountain people are mountain people, no matter where they’re from.

 

RASH: A lot of my new novel, THE WORLD MADE STRAIGHT, deals with landscape as destiny. How where you were born affects how you see the world and how you see yourself. I think because of that people born in the mountains respond to the world in a different way.

ZACHARIAS: Your writings carry a message about our connectedness to and stewardship of the earth. Do you consider yourself an environmental champion? 

 

RASH:  It’s an important issue to me. We are inextricably linked to the natural world. If it dies, we die with it. I think it is stupid and shortsighted not to recognize this fact.

.

ZACHARIAS: What about the writing life appeals to you?

RASH: The difficult joy of writing. Doing something that you feel compelled to do. Of the actual writing, for me the best thing is when I feel the story or poem start to come together. There’s a joy in having the characters and place come alive.

      I enjoy meeting other writers. Writers are the most interesting people I know to talk to. It’s kind of like being a member of a cult.

 

ZACHARIAS: So much of a writer’s life is internalized. Do you fret over being too self-absorbed?

 

RASH: That’s why we have families and children. (chuckles). They won’t allow us to do that, at least too much. But there’s always that danger that you’ll get too self-absorbed.

 

ZACHARIAS: Where does the title of your latest novel, THE WORLD MADE STRAIGHT, originate?

 

RASH:  It comes from Handel’s Messiah. There’s a line about the crookedness of the world made straight. It’s about having this injustice – the Shelton Laurel Massacre, a civil war massacre –  and trying to set it right. Leonard is trying to help Travis become a man. They are both trying to do something redemptive.


ZACHARIAS: There’s none of the young Ron Rash in Travis is there?

RASH: I think we write about the lives we might have had, if they had gone another way. Most males experience a certain amount of recklessness when they go through adolescence, I think.

Travis is a smart kid. He just doesn’t have a lot of possibilities. He’s never encouraged. I was a poor student in high school. Very poor. I liked the forestry and shop classes. (laughs). I wasn’t taking any advanced placement courses. I barely got out of high school.

Travis is a reader. He just doesn’t want to read what’s being assigned in class. I was like that. The kid sitting in the back of class, reading CRIME & PUNISHMENT, and failing French.

 

ZACHARIAS: Do all the boys and girls growing up in North Carolina learn about the Shelton Laurel Massacre? How did you learn of it?

 

RASH: It’s not taught as much. It was so traumatic and the feelings so deep, people tended not to talk about it for fear of bringing up those old feelings and old hatreds. I didn’t even know my own connection to it – I had ancestors on both sides of it. I never heard much about it until I was 12.
In the past, bragging about such things could get a fellow killed in Western North Carolina. I think that’s the reason why a lot of people kept silent.

 

ZACHARIAS: Then why did you pick the massacre to focus on?

RASH: I think it’s a meditation on violence. I’ve always been horrified and fascinated over people, who live in close proximity to each other, turning on one another. During Pol Pot’s reign in Cambodia. In  Bosnia. Rwanda. It’s unsettling to see people fall back into a tribal mentality.  To me it’s horrifying and one of the most depressing things humans can do to each other. The hope is that there will always be people who fight against it. People like Bonheoffer in Germany.

 

 

ZACHARIAS: What truths have you learned about yourself from writing?

 

RASH: I’ve learned to follow my obsessions. I’ve certainly done that. I’m obsessed with history and landscape. A quote about my work that pleased me was when a critic said landscape was a major character in my novels.

 

ZACHARIAS: That is a great compliment.

 

RASH: Nature is our most universal language. If you live in Rwanda, you know what a river looks like, and you certainly know what it smells like. No matter where you go, a waterfall is a waterfall. When you use the natural world in your writing, you’re using the most universal references there are. We are all surrounded by nature. Even if you live in the city, you can get to nature pretty quick.

 

ZACHARIAS: What’s next for you?

RASH: I’ve got a collection of short stories coming out April 2007 with Picador and I’m working on a new novel about timber barons in the North Carolina mountains, set in 1930s.

 


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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.  
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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