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. The Nightingale
Kristin Hannah, St. Martin's, $27.99, 9780312577223
4. Before the Fall
Noah Hawley, Grand Central, $26, 9781455561780
5. The Nest
Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney, Ecco, $26.99, 9780062414212
6. All the Light We Cannot See
Anthony Doerr, Scribner, $27, 9781476746586
okra7. Underground Airlines
Ben Winters, Mulholland, $26, 9780316261241
8. Belgravia
Julian Fellowes, Grand Central, $27, 9781455541164
9. Sweetbitter
Stephanie Danler, Knopf, $25, 9781101875940
10. Vinegar Girl
Anne Tyler, Hogarth, $25, 9780804141260
11. The Weekenders
Mary Kay Andrews, St. Martin's, $27.99, 9781250065940
12. Here's to Us
Elin Hilderbrand, Little Brown, $28, 9780316375146
13. Barkskins
Annie Proulx, Scribner, $32, 9780743288781
14. End of Watch
Stephen King, Scribner, $30, 9781501129742
okra15. The Heavenly Table
Donald Ray Pollock, Doubleday, $27.95, 9780385541299

HARDCOVER NONFICTION

1. Between the World and Me
Ta-Nehisi Coates, Spiegel & Grau, $24, 9780812993547
2. White Trash
Nancy Isenberg, Viking, $28, 9780670785971
3. When Breath Becomes Air
Paul Kalanithi, Random House, $25, 9780812988406
4. Crisis of Character
Gary J. Byrne, Center Street, $27, 9781455568871
5. Grit
Angela Duckworth, Scribner, $28, 9781501111105
6. Bill O'Reilly's Legends and Lies: The Patriots
David Fisher, Holt, $35, 9781627797894
7. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
Marie Kondo, Ten Speed Press, $16.99, 9781607747307
8. Hamilton: The Revolution
Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jeremy McCarter, Grand Central, $45, 9781455539741
9. The View From the Cheap Seats
Neil Gaiman, Morrow, $26.99, 9780062262264
10. The Gene
Siddhartha Mukherjee, Scribner, $32, 9781476733500
11. But What If We're Wrong?
Chuck Klosterman, Blue Rider, $26, 9780399184123
12. Tribe
Sebastian Junger, Twelve, $22, 9781455566389
13. Bobby Kennedy
Larry Tye, Random House, $32, 9780812993349
14. Wake Up America
Eric Bolling, St. Martin's, $25.99, 9781250112507
15. Shoe Dog
Phil Knight, Scribner, $29, 9781501135910

VIEW THE FULL LIST

Read this!

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

Taking you through an hour in Opportunity High School, during which a shooter comes in and changes everyone's lives, this book will also take you on an emotional roller coaster.

Told from multiple points of view, you get an idea of what the shooter is like, what has happened in his life that might have brought him to this point, and how he's affected the people close to him.

A heartbreaking novel that draws you into a small-town tragedy and somehow manages to not give up hope.

This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp (Sourcebooks Fire) Recommended by Melissa at Fiction Addiction Greenville SC


Set in Mississippi at the close of WW2, The Secret of Magic is the story of the tragic treatment of a returning black GI, which draws in noted civil rights attorney Thurgood Marshall. But it also a story about the power of books and stories, especially those we encounter as children, to affect lives.

I loved this book and will be recommending it to fans of The Help and Mudbound.

The Secret of Magic by Deborah Johnson (Berkley) Recommended by Jill at Fiction Addiction Greenville SC 

Okra Picks

Meet New Orleans beat cop Maureen Coughlin

The Edgar Award winner Megan Abbott calls Coughlin “a hero with whom we will go anywhere.” She’s complicated―tough and naive, street-smart and vulnerable―and, way too often, reckless. As Let the Devil Out opens, she’s in rough shape. Just a rookie, she’s already been suspended from the force. And things are about to get worse.

The FBI is in town on the trail of a ruthless anti-government militia group, the Watchmen Brigade. Nobody in the NOPD wants any part of working with them. Guess which suspended rookie is told she doesn’t have a choice.

With the FBI and a white supremacist militia on the loose in New Orleans, the city is one big powder keg. Find out what happens when a brilliant but impulsive young cop lights a match.

The rising crime fiction star Bill Loehfelm knows New Orleans. The streets, the people. Where the power lies, and how it gets used―and abused. With Let the Devil Out, Loehfelm raises the bar for sharp, compelling crime fiction. As The New York Times says of the fascinating Maureen Coughlin, "She finds herself wrestling with ethical issues that fictional cops, especially fictional female ones, rarely talk about, leaving that stuff to real-life cops--and smart guys like Bill Loehfelm."

BUY FROM AN INDIE

The summer of 1972 was the most pivotal of Matt Plumley’s childhood. While his beloved Pirates battle for back-to-back World Series titles, Matt’s family moves from Pittsburgh to Dogwood, West Virginia, where his father steps into the pulpit of a church under the thumb of town leader Basil Blackwood. A fish out of water, Matt is relieved to forge a fast bond with two unlikely friends: Dickie Darrel Lee Hancock, a mixed-race boy, and Jesse Woods, a tough-as-nails girl with a sister on her hip and no dad in sight.

As the trio traipses the hills and hollers, Matt begins to fall for Jesse, and their promises to each other draw him deeper into her terrifying reality. One night, the wrath of the Blackwoods and the secrets of Jesse’s family collide, and Matt joins Jesse in a rescue that saves one life and ends another . . . and severs the bond of their friendship.

Years later, Matt is pulled back to Dogwood and to memories of that momentous summer by news of Jesse’s upcoming wedding. He could never shake the feeling that there was more to the story of that fateful night, and he's determined to learn the truth behind the only promise Jesse Woods ever broke.

BUY FROM AN INDIE | READ THE FIRST CHAPTER

The 2016 Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize Winners

Serafina and the Black Cloak
by Robert Beatty 
Disney-Hyperion, Hardcover, 9781484709016, 304pp.

An exciting new mystery-thriller about an unusual girl who lives secretly in the basement of the grand Biltmore Estate and must solve a dark and dangerous mystery. This Disney Hyperion novel became a New York Times Bestseller in the first week of its release, and has been a smash hit ever since.

"Never go into the forest, for there are many dangers there, and they will ensnare your soul."

Serafina has never had a reason to disobey her pa and venture beyond the grounds of Biltmore Estate. There's plenty to explore in Mr. and Mrs. Vanderbilt's vast and oppulent home, but she must take care to never be seen. None of the rich folk upstairs know that Serafina exists; she and her pa, the estate's maintenance man, have lived in the basement for as long as Serafina can remember. She has learned to prowl through the darkened corridors at night, to sneak and hide, using the mansion's hidden doors and secret passageways.

But when children at the estate start disappearing, only Serafina knows the clues to follow. A terrifying man in a black cloak stalks Biltmore's corridors at night. Following her own harrowing escape, Serafina risks everything by joining forces with Braeden Vanderbilt, the young nephew of Biltmore's owners. Braeden and Serafina must uncover the Man in the Black Cloak's true identity before all of the children vanish one by one.

Serafina's hunt leads her into the very forest that she has been taught to fear, where she discovers a forgotten legacy of magic. In order to save the children of Biltmore, Serafina must not only face her darkest enemy, but delve into the strange mystery of her own identity.

BUY FROM AN INDIE

 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

The Latest from Lady Banks

Lady BanksIn which Ms. Bell Hooks explains what matters, Ms. Betsy Teter thinks bookstores are "a survival thing," Ms. Emoke B'Racz believes books are good medicine, and Mr. Mike Orenduff thinks they are the most important invention of the human race. He is correct.

Lady Banks' Commonplace Book

Click Here to Subscribe

Parapalooza!

Parapalooza

paragraphs worth spreading

Visit the Parapalooza! Gallery

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.

 READ MORE... 

Waving her white bra in defense of men, nationally syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker claims in her latest book, Save the Males, that maleness and fatherhood are under siege in America. But, as we soon learn, this provocative, sassy, and laugh-out-loud book is, at least in part, a loving tribute to Parker’s own father.

Listen in as Kathleen Parker discusses Save the Males with Karen Spears Zacharias, author of the forthcoming Where’s Your JesusNow? 

Kathleen Parker

Q: When we think of voiceless victims, the male gender doesn't usually come to mind, unless he's under the age of 8. Why would an accomplished, articulate woman like yourself want to write a book defending males? 

A: First of all, thank you for that generous description. It’s very simple. I was raised by my single father after my mother died and I’ve helped raise three boys. That experience caused me to see things from the male perspective and it’s not looking so good out there. Save the Males is an attempt to shine a light on a constellation of dots, which, once connected, reveal a cultural mosaic that is anti-male. If trends continue on their present trajectory, it seems to me that the American family – the rock upon which this nation was built – will be irreparably damaged. I agree with the great journalist Midge Decter, who once said that families don't make you happy; they make you human. They are necessary, not only for raising children with character and purpose, but also for the continued strength of our country. A nation of fractured families is nation in trouble, vulnerable not only to external forces but also to increased government control as family autonomy is surrendered incrementally to “helpful” agents of the state.

Q:You speak of a new feminism. What do you mean by that? What's wrong with the old one?

A: We’re now in the third wave of feminism. Distilled, the first wave gave us the vote; the second gave us divorce and jobs; the third is helping us become porn stars. Look, I’m a feminist; you’re a feminist. But the feminism we grew up with that aimed to make the world a more female-friendly place has morphed in a movement that is decidedly hostile toward males and manhood. It’s time for a fourth wave that recognizes the important work feminism still has to do in the larger world where women have no rights, but also acknowledges the contributions men have made toward our own freedoms. Women do have enemies in the world, but they are not men of the West.

Q: What do you think are the three greatest misconceptions about males that we liberated woman are passing along to our daughters?

A:        1. That men are to blame for all that’s wrong with the world;
            2. That men are essentially violent, dumb and irresponsible;
            3. That we can live without them.
 
Q:  Didn't you grow up in that generation of southern women that were reading Marabella Morgan's The Total Woman? You're not suggesting we ought to meet our men at the door wrapped in cellophane are you?

A: Ha, now there’s a scary thought. I did grow up in the olden days when women were attentive to men in traditional ways. They didn’t have their own stripper pole in the living room, but they might have had dinner ready in the kitchen. I witnessed multiple variations on the domestic front as my father was a serial husband  - married four times after my mother died at age 31. What can I say? He was a dazzler – nectar to women – but also a gentleman. Apparently, he thought you had to marry a woman with whom you were familiar. I’m making some assumptions here.

But here’s the thing. Despite all those marriages, only two of which took place while I was officially a child, my father mostly raised me and he groomed me to be a feminist. That is, independent and self-sufficient – and in no way subservient to a man. My only conclusion about how women ought to treat men is with respect and the occasional unsolicited kindness. Here’s what I’ve discovered living mostly among men my entire life: Men are human. They like to be appreciated, loved, and greeted not necessarily in cellophane, but with a smile. How hard is that? For some reason, women have come to believe that if they fix a man a sandwich or sew on a button, they’ve surrendered a piece of their autonomy. For whatever reason, Southern women seem not to mind as much.

Q: Tell us about your father and the way in which he's shaped your attitude toward men.

A. Let me answer by painting you a picture with a little more texture. As I hinted before, my father was handsome, brilliant and hilarious. This isn’t just an adoring daughter talking. There’s a pretty significant consensus on those points. That also doesn’t mean he was perfect - five wives suggests some flaws – but he was a splendid father whose sacrifices I didn’t begin to appreciate until I became a parent.

He became a single parent at age 31, ten years after his marriage to my mother on his 21st birthday while he was a pilot in the Army Air Corps. She died of heart failure as a consequence of having had rheumatic fever before the discovery of Penicillin – and left  him with a three-year-old girl and a six-year-old boy. In a devastating instant, this young man became both mother and father. I forgave him all his marital mistakes because it comforted me to think that he simply couldn’t replace my mother. A motherless girl needs to believe that.

From the time I was 12 until I left for college, it was just us two except for a brief, one-year marriage. Each day after school, I joined him at his law office where I did my homework until he finished up. Once home, we convened in the kitchen where he cooked while I perched on a wooden stool peeling potatoes. We talked.

In that ritualized communion, I learned many useful lessons about the opposite sex. I learned that men like to talk while doing something else. I learned that good men do hard things without asking for anything return. I learned that men have big hearts that are often hurt and broken. That they’re smart and wise and can even understand the pressing concerns of teenaged girls. I learned that fathers adore their children and will sacrifice anything to help them succeed. I learned that fathers will lay their lives down for their children. I learned that men are capable of honor, valor, compassion and courage and that they are essential to instilling those virtues in their sons and daughters. 
 
Q: Can men become overly domesticated? If so, in what ways do you see that happening?

A: The current culture essentially wants to make men more like women, while pushing women to be more like men. I can’t really figure out why this is desirable, though apparently the drive toward these ends is attached to radical feminism’s idea of equality. The thinking seems to be that if we can get enough men wearing aprons – and enough women in combat – then equality will have been accomplished. What we fail to take into account is that human nature is only so malleable. These experiments ultimately will fail, but we may have to sit through a few generations of absurdity. This is good for columnists, but bad for kids.

Q:  I just read a book that's on the NYT Bestseller list that portrays God as a woman. I really like that notion, that God is beyond gender, but there were several references in that book suggesting that if women ran the world, we'd all be a lot better off. What does an egalitarian society look like to you?

A: I guess it looks like my home, where my husband and I are co-god and –goddess, equal partners in every respect. That doesn’t mean we each perform equal portions of a given “chore” because that’s never going to happen. We’re different. We have different gifts and talents. I leave the money to him because he’s got a business mind. (He’s a finance/banking attorney who helps businesses get started.) I do the cooking because I’m good at it and enjoy it. This is not a plot to keep women in the kitchen and men in charge of the purse strings. It’s about doing what makes sense. I guess we’re implementarians. When it comes to who wins and who loses, we generally skip the argument and let the one who cares most take the day. Of course, we’ve been practicing marriage for a long time (20 years). You learn to pick your battles.

In the larger world, an egalitarian society would recognize – and celebrate – the differences between the sexes and not reduce all transactions to a zero sum game. Equal opportunity and equal protection under the law, but no assumption of interchangeability.

Q: In defense of fathers, you challenge the family court system. Do you think the courts are archaic in their belief that children are almost always better off with mothers?

A: I challenge the family court notion that children don’t need fathers more than 50 days a year, which is the average number of days the child of divorced parents sees his/her non-custodial parent, usually the father. That’s insane. How is it that a man and woman who loved each other enough to marry and have children should now hate each other enough to deny a child half of his/her identity?

I’ve been divorced, have first-hand experience with single parenthood, and have been a stepparent, so I’m not casting aspersions here. I know how hard all of this is. But to me, the most compelling issue - more important than adult feelings - is that children know they’re loved by both of their parents and that they have equal access to both, assuming there are no compelling reasons for them not to.

That said, I also think that parents need to work these things out between themselves, if possible. Clearly, a baby needs to be close to Mom in the tender years, not to the exclusion of Dad but within sensible boundaries. We know this absolutely when we’re all under the same roof. Needs don’t change with address labels. At other ages, little boys need more time with Dad than with Mom. You can’t create absolute formulas that will work for every child and every couple, which is why courts can’t ever solve this problem. Parents have to be grown-ups and do the right thing for the kids they both love. I have ultimate faith in reasonable people behaving reasonably, but we may have to eliminate lawyers and judges from the equation.

I was talking to a friend who lives near her ex-husband so that their children can easily go from one house to the other. Their shared parenting isn’t the result of a court decree or a cultural manifesto; it’s common sense based on a shared, if separated, love. This arrangement also isn’t the adults’ fondest dream come true, you can be sure. But as my friend said, whenever she puts the children’s interests first, she always makes the right decision.

Q:  Quoting WalkerPercy, you've said that we need to repent from labels. What do you mean by that?

A: I mean that when we label each other and ourselves – we’re either liberal or conservative, feminist or whatever – we tend to get locked into prescribed ways of thinking and responding. Real communication breaks down. I’d rather we ditch our –isms and –ologies and focus on our humanness.

Q: You've taken a lot of heat for coming to the defense of males, haven't you? Why do you think there is so much anger toward men in America?

A: Taking heat is part of the job description when you’re a columnist. I’ve been defending the male of our species ever since I gave birth to a boy. Until then, I had been a fire-breathing feminist and bought everything I had been taught and told. God has an eye for certitude and turned the kliegs on mine. Becoming mother to a boy was a revelation of sorts and I began to see the world through guy eyes. It never looked the same after that and I couldn’t countenance a world that was so hostile toward my boy. It’s pretty easy to take heat when your righteousness is based in ancient wisdom and fueled by love for another.

Q: What’s the source of so much anger toward men?  

A: Two things: history and our tendency to universalize our own experience. Men have ruled the world since the dawn of time and women are ticked off about some of man’s less admirable accomplishments. On balance, I think we can see that the good outweighs the bad. On a less global scale, women who have been hurt in bad marriages find company among others who share their belief that their experience is a microcosm of the larger human experiment. One man isn’t bad; all men are. Soon the specific is generalized and a movement grows around shared anger.
The anger is understandable in some cases, but the globalization of that anger is mostly fashionable. The culture applauds both the anger and the hostility it breeds to the detriment of the next generation of boys, who, like my own, were born innocent - and the girls who in their true hearts really do like boys.

Q:  You're married, right? Did he give you any input on the book? Did you take his advice?

A: My husband is a prince, totally supportive of everything I do and patient with my sometimes tightly wound personality. He is my absolute best friend, the guy I never tire of talking to, and the grown up I know I can count on. As I tell our boys, I always know he’ll do the right thing. That’s the definition of manliness in my book. He mostly influenced the book by constantly reinforcing my firm belief that men are essentially good.


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