Southern Indie Bestsellers

HARDCOVER FICTION

1. The Black Widow
Daniel Silva, Harper, $27.99, 9780062320223
2. The Girls
Emma Cline, Random House, $27, 9780812998603
3. First Comes Love
Emily Giffin, Ballantine, $28, 9780345546920
4. The Nightingale
Kristin Hannah, St. Martin's, $27.99, 9780312577223
okra5. Underground Airlines
Ben Winters, Mulholland, $26, 9780316261241
6. Sweetbitter
Stephanie Danler, Knopf, $25, 9781101875940
7. The Woman in Cabin 10
Ruth Ware, Gallery/Scout Press, $26, 9781501132933
8. Before the Fall
Noah Hawley, Grand Central, $26, 9781455561780
9. Vinegar Girl
Anne Tyler, Hogarth, $25, 9780804141260
10. All the Light We Cannot See
Anthony Doerr, Scribner, $27, 9781476746586
11. End of Watch
Stephen King, Scribner, $30, 9781501129742
12. Belgravia
Julian Fellowes, Grand Central, $27, 9781455541164
13. Homegoing
Yaa Gyasi, Knopf, $26.95, 9781101947135
14. The Nest
Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney, Ecco, $26.99, 9780062414212
15. All Summer Long
Dorothea Benton Frank, Morrow, $26.99, 9780062390752

HARDCOVER NONFICTION

1. White Trash
Nancy Isenberg, Viking, $28, 9780670785971
2. Crisis of Character
Gary J. Byrne, Center Street, $27, 9781455568871
3. When Breath Becomes Air
Paul Kalanithi, Random House, $25, 9780812988406
4. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
Marie Kondo, Ten Speed Press, $16.99, 9781607747307
5. Hamilton: The Revolution
Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jeremy McCarter, Grand Central, $45, 9781455539741
6. Tribe
Sebastian Junger, Twelve, $22, 9781455566389
7. Between the World and Me
Ta-Nehisi Coates, Spiegel & Grau, $24, 9780812993547
8. But What If We're Wrong?
Chuck Klosterman, Blue Rider, $26, 9780399184123
9. Grit
Angela Duckworth, Scribner, $28, 9781501111105
10. Bill O'Reilly's Legends and Lies: The Patriots
David Fisher, Holt, $35, 9781627797894
11. Valiant Ambition
Nathaniel Philbrick, Viking, $30, 9780525426783
okra12. Julia Reed's South: Spirited Entertaining and High-Style Fun All Year Long
Julia Reed, Rizzoli, $50, 9780847848287
13. Seven Brief Lessons on Physics
Carlo Rovelli, Riverhead, $18, 9780399184413
14. Oh, Florida!: How America's Weirdest State Influences the Rest of the Country
Craig Pittman, St. Martin's, $26.99, 9781250071200
15. Bobby Kennedy
Larry Tye, Random House, $32, 9780812993349

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Reprint of the first Enchanted Files!

Meet ANGUS and ALEX! Angus is a brownie—a MAGICAL creature that secretly loves to do chores for humans. Alex is an ORDINARY kid. Angus has a TEMPER problem. Alex has the world’s MESSIEST room.

For better or worse (and things are going to get a whole lot worse!), the two are about to be thrown together by a centuries-old curse.

Can they work together to find a way to break it? Featuring diary entries, newspaper clippings, police transcripts, grumpy cats, annoying older brothers, terrible poetry, daring rescues, ancient magic, the occasional fit of temper, and more, Bruce Coville brings fantasy, adventure, and humor together in this one-of-a-kind tale of family and friendship.

The Enchanted Files #1  Cursed (Yearling Books)Recommended by Bookstore1Sarasota Sarasota FL

On page one of Ball's new novel, 16-year-old Lucia Stanton gets kicked out of school for stabbing the star basketball player in the neck with a pencil.

Lucia is a delinquent, a philosopher, a shard of glass. She's also an aspiring arsonist and an iconoclast, who is vibrant, alive, and charming in a misanthropic way.

Ball's prose is precise and deceptively spare, his message dynamic in what he doesn't write. Enlightenment thinkers used the symbol of the flame to represent the power and transmission of knowledge.It's in this tradition that How to Set a Fire and Why becomes Ball's pyrotechnic masterpiece.

How to Set a Fire and Why by Jesse Ball (Pantheon) Recommended by Matt at The Booksellers at Laurelwood Memphis TN

Treat yourself to a riveting and real life royal war time thriller! 

Was American born and twice divorced Wallis Simpson truly in love and trying to win the heart of King Edward VIII, who was then demoted to a mere Duke as penance for loving her in return?

Author Andrew Morton provides sizzling and shocking details to provide some compelling answers to this key question, while raising many other questions along the way.

17 Carnations: The Royals, the Nazis, and the Biggest Cover-Up in History by Andrew Morton (Grand Central Publishing) Recommended by Diane at Fiction Addiction Greenville SC

Okra Picks

From “quite possibly America’s best living writer of short stories” (NPR), Ninety-Nine Stories of God finds Joy Williams reeling between the sublime and the surreal, knocking down the barriers between the workaday and the divine.

Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award finalist Joy Williams has a one-of-a-kind gift for capturing both the absurdity and the darkness of everyday life. In Ninety-Nine Stories of God, she takes on one of mankind’s most confounding preoccupations: the Supreme Being.

This series of short, fictional vignettes explores our day-to-day interactions with an ever-elusive and arbitrary God. It’s the Book of Common Prayer as seen through a looking glass—a powerfully vivid collection of seemingly random life moments. The figures that haunt these stories range from Kafka (talking to a fish) to the Aztecs, Tolstoy to Abraham and Sarah, O. J. Simpson to a pack of wolves. Most of Williams’s characters, however, are like the rest of us: anonymous strivers and bumblers who brush up against God in the least expected places or go searching for Him when He’s standing right there. The Lord shows up at a hot-dog-eating contest, a demolition derby, a formal gala, and a drugstore, where he’s in line to get a shingles vaccination. At turns comic and yearning, lyric and aphoristic, Ninety-Nine Stories of God serves as a pure distillation of one of our great artists.

BUY FROM AN INDIE

When new evidence arises in a cold case, can Professor Hopkins refrain from delving into a newfound world of corruption, vice, and danger?

Stanley Hopkins cannot resist the invitation from a honey-voiced US attorney asking him to track down the source of photographs of a young dance major abducted five years earlier from her apartment in Clarkeston, Georgia. A journalist has stumbled across newly posted pictures of Diana Cavendish on the Internet, apparently taken just days before she disappeared with her boyfriend.

While Stanley deals with vexing personal problems and scrambles to identify the owner of the website that acquired the photos, small-town journalist James Murphy and federal prosecutor Melanie Wilkerson uncover new evidence of the crime—and the cover-up—that ranges far beyond the confines of the victim’s quaint Georgia college town.

This second installment of the Clarkeston Chronicles presents new challenges for Hopkins that take him far from the California base he established in Death in Eden and introduces him to a fascinating group of collaborators who will anchor him in small-town Georgia.

BUY FROM AN INDIE

The 2016 Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize Winners

My Sunshine Away
by M. O. Walsh
G.P. Putnam's Sons, Hardcover, 9780399169526, 320pp.

Named A Book of the Year by NPR, The Dallas Morning News, Kirkus Reviews, and Booklist. 

Instant New York Times Bestseller

An Entertainment Weekly "Must List" Pick

I really loved this book... I can't praise it enough. ~Anne Rice

It was the summer everything changed.

My Sunshine Away unfolds in a Baton Rouge neighborhood best known for cookouts on sweltering summer afternoons, cauldrons of spicy crawfish, and passionate football fandom. But in the summer of 1989, when fifteen-year-old Lindy Simpson free spirit, track star, and belle of the block experiences a horrible crime late one evening near her home, it becomes apparent that this idyllic stretch of Southern suburbia has a dark side, too.

In My Sunshine Away, M.O. Walsh brilliantly juxtaposes the enchantment of a charmed childhood with the gripping story of a violent crime, unraveling families, and consuming adolescent love. Acutely wise and deeply honest, it is an astonishing and page-turning debut about the meaning of family, the power of memory, and our ability to forgive.

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 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 Ms. Karin Wilson asks a question, Mr. Steven Sherrill sings a song, Ms. Margaret Bauer tells a story, and her ladyship doesn't mind a little flirting.

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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