Southern Indie Bestsellers

 

HARDCOVER FICTION

1. The Nest
Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney, Ecco, $26.99, 9780062414212
2. Miller's Valley
Anna Quindlen, Random House, $28, 9780812996081
3. All the Light We Cannot See
Anthony Doerr, Scribner, $27, 9781476746586
4. The Nightingale
Kristin Hannah, St. Martin's, $27.99, 9780312577223
5. The Swans of Fifth Avenue
Melanie Benjamin, Delacorte, $28, 9780345528698
6. Journey to Munich
Jacqueline Winspear, Harper, $26.99, 9780062220608
7. The Summer Before the War
Helen Simonson, Random House, $28, 9780812993103
8. Miss Julia Inherits a Mess
Ann B. Ross, Viking, $27, 9780525427124
9. Fool Me Once
Harlan Coben, Dutton, $28, 9780525955092
10. My Name Is Lucy Barton
Elizabeth Strout, Random House, $26, 9781400067695

HARDCOVER NONFICTION

1. The Rainbow Comes and Goes
Anderson Cooper, Gloria Vanderbilt, Harper, $27.99, 9780062454942
okra2. Dimestore: A Writer's Life
Lee Smith, Algonquin Books, $24.95, 9781616205027

3. When Breath Becomes Air
Paul Kalanithi, Random House, $25, 9780812988406
4. The Third Wave
Steve Case, S&S, $26.95, 9781501132582
5. Hamilton: The Revolution
Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jeremy McCarter, Grand Central, $40, 9781455539741
6. The Legends Club: Dean Smith, Mike Krzyzewski, Jim Valvano, and an Epic College Basketball Rivalry
John Feinstein, Doubleday, $27.95, 9780385539418
7. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
Marie Kondo, Ten Speed Press, $16.99, 9781607747307
8. Most Blessed of the Patriarchs: Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of the Imagination
Annette Gordon-Reed, Peter S. Onuf, Liveright, $27.95, 9780871404428
9. Between the World and Me
Ta-Nehisi Coates, Spiegel & Grau, $24, 9780812993547
10. The Road to Little Dribbling
Bill Bryson, Doubleday, $28.95, 9780385539289

 CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL LIST 

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What an adventurous life it was! Louisa married John Quincy Adams when she was 21, and followed him to diplomatic posts in Germany, Prussia, St. Petersburg and eventually the United States. 

You share her struggles through multiple miscarriages, the deaths of two babies and years of separation from her children. You're there at the high points, such as her presentation to the court of the tzar. In Washington her parties and balls became legendary. 

Full of first person accounts, from Louisa's memoirs to John Quincy's diary...Louisa makes you feel as if you know this woman. Fabulous history!

Louisa: The Extraordinary Life of Mrs. Adams by Louisa Thomas (Penguin Press) Recommended by Helen at Quail Ridge Books Raleigh NC

Amani is a desert girl who doesn't feel comfortable unless she has a gun in her hand, and who wants nothing more than to leave her dead-end life in a family and town that have no use for her.

When she meets Jin, a fellow fighter, it seems like she might have met her salvation. If she can convince him to take her with him when he leaves. And if they can manage to escape capture alive. And if Jin's secrets don't tear them apart.

A fantastically imagined story that will keep you turning the pages until the end. I hope there's more coming.

Rebel of the Sands by Arwyn Hamilton (Viking) Recommended by Melissa O. at Fiction Addiction Greenville SC

A coming of age novel reminiscent of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.

Mimi is a precocious young girl who struggles to survive under emotionally difficult family circumstances. Mimi wonders if she will ever achieve her dream of leaving Miller's Valley and making something of her life.

Beautifully written!

Miller's Valley by Anna Quindlen (Random House) Recommended by Linda at Fiction Addiction Greenville SC

Sean Serrat thinks the horrible event that occurred when he was only 14 is buried so deeply that it will never see the light of day. But, just as Sean, a prominent Supreme Court lawyer, learns he is on the short list for nomination to the highest court in the land, his life becomes a living nightmare and his past comes back to haunt him.

His daughter, a talented law student, is found murdered and Sean begins to suspect the police have arrested the wrong person for her murder. As he tries to find out the truth others will do anything to prevent the truth from ever being known.

The Advocate's Daughter is a powerful story of loss and revenge set against the background of the Supreme Court.

The Advocate's Daughter by Anthony Franze (Minotaur) Recommended by Nancy M. at Fiction Addiction Greenville SC

Okra Picks

With FIELD OF GRAVES, New York Times bestselling author J.T. Ellison goes back to where it all began. All of Nashville is on edge with a serial killer on the loose. A madman is trying to create his own end-of-days apocalypse and the cops trying to catch him are almost as damaged as the killer. Field of Graves reveals the origins of some of J.T. Ellison's most famous creations: the haunted Lieutenant Taylor Jackson; her blunt, exceptional best friend, medical examiner Dr. Samantha Owens; and troubled FBI profiler Dr. John Baldwin. Together, they race the clock and their own demons to find the killer before he claims yet another victim. This dark, thrilling and utterly compelling novel will have readers on the edge of their seats, and Ellison's fans will be delighted with the revelations about their favorite characters.

Buy from an indie.

READ A CHAPTER | BUY FROM AN INDIE

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

"You have lost everything, yes?"

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

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

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

READ A CHAPTER | BUY FROM AN INDIE

The 2016 Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize [Short List]

Don't Go Home: Death on Demand Mysteries
by Carolyn Hart 
Berkley Books, Hardcover, 9780425276549, 272pp.

Annie Darling, owner of the Death on Demand mystery bookstore, is hosting a party to celebrate successful Southern literary icon and former Broward's Rock resident Alex Griffith and his bestselling new novel, "Don t Go Home." But after the local paper announces that Griffith aims to reveal the real-life inspirations behind his characters, perhaps the author should take his own advice. Not everyone in town is ready to give him a glowing review. 

As Annie attempts damage control, her friend Marian Kenyon gets in a heated argument with Griffith. It's a fight Annie won t soon forget especially after the author turns up dead. 

Despite an array of suspects to match Griffith's cast of characters and a promise to her husband, Max, to steer clear of sleuthing Annie's not about to let the police throw the book at her friend when the real killer remains at large.

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 alt= Barefoot to Avalon: A Brother's Story
by David Payne
Atlantic Monthly Press, Hardcover, 9780802123541, 304pp.

In 2000, while moving his household from Vermont to North Carolina, David Payne watched from his rearview mirror as his younger brother, George A., driving behind him in a two-man convoy of rental trucks, lost control of his vehicle, fishtailed, flipped over in the road, and died instantly. Soon thereafter, David's life hit a downward spiral. His career came to a standstill, his marriage disintegrated, and his drinking went from a cocktail-hour indulgence to a full-blown addiction. He found himself haunted not only by George A.'s death, but also by his brother's manic depression, a hereditary illness that overlaid a dark family history whose roots now gripped David.

Barefoot to Avalon is Payne's earnest and unflinching account of George A. and their boyhood footrace that lasted long into their adulthood, defining their relationship and their lives. As universal as it is intimate, this is an exceptional memoir of brotherhood, of sibling rivalries and sibling love, and of the torments a family can hold silent and carry across generations.

BUY FROM AN INDIE

The Latest from Lady Banks

In which Ms. Toni Tipton-Martin admits she puts sugar on her grits, Ms. Lee Smith explains the proper way to display dolls in a shop, and her ladyship is possessed by the spirit of Mistress Quickly.

Lady Banks' Commonplace Book

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Author News & Interviews

Linda Lee Peterson 

When I think about war in all its bravado and all its wreckage, I think about the forest floor. I’m a native Californian, now an Oregonian, and we Far West children grow up being vigilant about forest fire. We are always and forever on a first-name basis with Smokey the Bear.

But here’s the deeper story about forest fires — sometimes they’re good, even essential. From the wreckage grows renewal. Terrible as a forest fire can be, new growth emerges — often with spectacular speed and beauty. Consider the aspens or green rabbit brush or squirreltail — from different geographies, but all early symbols of a recovering forest.

Read more ...

 

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