Southern Indie Bestsellers

HARDCOVER FICTION

1. All the Light We Cannot See 
Anthony Doerr, Scribner, $27, 9781476746586 
2. End of Watch 
Stephen King, Scribner, $30, 9781501129742 
3. The Weekenders 
Mary Kay Andrews, St. Martin's, $27.99, 9781250065940 
4. All Summer Long 
Dorothea Benton Frank, Morrow, $26.99, 9780062390752 
5. The After Party 
Anton DiSclafani, Riverhead, $26, 9781594633164 
6. Homegoing 
Yaa Gyasi, Knopf, $26.95, 9781101947135 
7. A Hero of France 
Alan Furst, Random House, $27, 9780812996494 
8. The Nest 
Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney, Ecco, $26.99, 9780062414212 
9. After You 
Jojo Moyes, Pamela Dorman Books, $26.95, 9780525426592 
10. The Nightingale 
Kristin Hannah, St. Martin's, $27.99, 9780312577223 
11. Everybody's Fool 
Richard Russo, Knopf, $27.95, 9780307270641 
12. The Girl on the Train 
Paula Hawkins, Riverhead, $26.95, 9781594633669 
13. Eligible 
Curtis Sittenfeld, Random House, $28, 9781400068326 
14. LaRose 
Louise Erdrich, Harper, $27.99, 9780062277022 
15. The Last Mile 
David Baldacci, Grand Central, $29, 9781455586455

HARDCOVER NONFICTION

1. The View From the Cheap Seats 
Neil Gaiman, Morrow, $26.99, 9780062262264 
2. When Breath Becomes Air 
Paul Kalanithi, Random House, $25, 9780812988406 
3. The Gene 
Siddhartha Mukherjee, Scribner, $32, 9781476733500 
4. Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War 
Mary Roach, Norton, $26.95, 9780393245448 
5. But What If We're Wrong?: Thinking About the Present as If It Were the Past 
Chuck Klosterman, Blue Rider, $26, 9780399184123 
6. Shoe Dog 
Phil Knight, Scribner, $29, 9781501135910 
7. Bill O'Reilly's Legends and Lies: The Patriots 
David Fisher, Holt, $35, 9781627797894 
8. Hamilton: The Revolution 
Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jeremy McCarter, Grand Central, $40, 9781455539741 
9. The Rainbow Comes and Goes 
Anderson Cooper, Gloria Vanderbilt, Harper, $27.99, 9780062454942 
10. Lab Girl 
Hope Jahren, Knopf, $26.95, 9781101874936 
okra11. Dimestore 
Lee Smith, Algonquin, $24.95, 9781616205027 
12. Seven Brief Lessons on Physics 
Carlo Rovelli, Riverhead, $18, 9780399184413 
13. Tribe 
Sebastian Junger, Twelve, $22, 9781455566389 
siba book award finalist14. My Southern Journey 
Rick Bragg, Oxmoor House, $27.95, 9780848746391 
15. Between the World and Me 
Ta-Nehisi Coates, Spiegel & Grau, $24, 9780812993547

CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL LIST 

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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

If you’ve ever been interested in what your dog or your cat really thinks about your tuxedo t-shirt (or whether they think at all), then Frans de Waal’s new book is a must-read for you.

De Waal is the renowned primatologist and writer of The Bonobo and the Atheist, as well as other essays on morality and intelligence in the animal kingdom. And in this book de Waal argues that certain animal intelligence–though different—is not inferior or superior to others (including us human folk).

De Waal makes it clear that we should examine animals in relation to their own specific traits and capabilities in order to understand their true intelligence, rather than comparing them to the things that we humans excel it.

By trying to get us to embody a point of view outside of our own species', this book will forever change the way we look at animal intelligence and consciousness.

Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? by Frans de Waal, F. B. M. De Waal (W. W. Norton) Recommended by Donovan at Inkwood Books Tampa FL

Okra Picks

No one embodies the decadent spirit of throwing a great Southern party more than Julia Reed, the consummate hostess and go-to food and lifestyle expert. Thrown everywhere from lush gardens and gracious interior spaces to a Mississippi River sandbar, Julia Reed’s parties capture the celebratory nature of entertaining in her native South. Here, her informative and down-to-earth guide to giving an unforgettable party includes secrets she has collected over a lifetime of entertaining.

For this book, she offers up a feast of options for holiday cocktails, spring lunches, formal dinners, and even a hunt breakfast. Twelve seasonal events feature delicious, easy-to-prepare recipes, ranging from fried chicken to Charlotte Russe and signature cocktails or wine pairings—she introduces her talented friends (rum makers, potters, fabric designers, bakers) along the way. Each occasion includes gorgeous photographs showing her inspiring approach to everything from invitations and setting a table to arranging flowers and creating the mood. A handbook section provides practical considerations and sources. This irresistible book is the ultimate primer for every party-giver.

BUY FROM AN INDIE

Teen and adult fans of All the Bright Places, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, and Everything, Everything will adore this quirky story of coming-of-age, coming out, friendship, love…and agoraphobia.

Sixteen-year-old Solomon is agoraphobic. He hasn’t left the house in three years, which is fine by him.

Ambitious Lisa desperately wants to get into the second-best psychology program for college (she’s being realistic). But how can she prove she deserves a spot there? 

Solomon is the answer.

Determined to “fix” Sol, Lisa thrusts herself into his life, introducing him to her charming boyfriend Clark and confiding her fears in him. Soon, all three teens are far closer than they thought they’d be, and when their facades fall down, their friendships threaten to collapse, as well.  

A hilarious and heartwarming coming-of-age perfect for readers of Matthew Quick and Rainbow Rowell, HIGHLY ILLOGICAL BEHAVIOR showcases the different ways in which we hide ourselves from the world—and the ways in which love, tragedy, and the need for connection may be the only things to bring us back into the light.

BUY FROM AN INDIE

The 2016 Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize [Short List]

 alt= Leaving Orbit: Notes from the Last Days of American Spaceflight
by Margaret Lazarus Dean 
Graywolf Press, Paperback, 9781555977092, 240pp.

Winner of the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize, a breathtaking elegy to the waning days of human spaceflight as we have known it

In the 1960s, humans took their first steps away from Earth, and for a time our possibilities in space seemed endless. But in a time of austerity and in the wake of high-profile disasters like Challenger, that dream has ended. In early 2011, Margaret Lazarus Dean traveled to Cape Canaveral for NASA's last three space shuttle launches in order to bear witness to the end of an era. With Dean as our guide to Florida's Space Coast and to the history of NASA, Leaving Orbit takes the measure of what American spaceflight has achieved while reckoning with its earlier witnesses, such as Norman Mailer, Tom Wolfe, and Oriana Fallaci. Along the way, Dean meets NASA workers, astronauts, and space fans, gathering possible answers to the question: What does it mean that a spacefaring nation won't be going to space anymore?

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 alt= Our Only World: Ten Essays
by Wendell Berry 
Counterpoint LLC, Hardcover, 9781619024885, 196pp.

Since the Second World War ended, America has performed like a gyroscope losing its balance, wobbling this way and that, unable to settle into itself and its own great promise. Wendell Berry has been a voice for that promise, a voice for reason and hope and urgent concern.

As the United States prepares to leave its long war in Afghanistan, it now must contemplate the necessity of sending troops back to Iraq, recalling General Colin Powell's advice to President Bush: "If you break it, you own it," as the world's hot spots threaten to spread over the globe with the ferocity of a war of holy terror and desperation.

The planet's environmental problems respect no national boundaries. From soil erosion and population displacement to climate change and failed energy policies, American governing classes are paid by corporations to pretend that debate is the only democratic necessity and that solutions are capable of withstanding endless delay. Late Capitalism goes about its business of finishing off the planet. And we citizens are left with a shell of what was once proudly described as The American Dream.

In this new collection of eleven essays, Berry confronts head-on the necessity of clear thinking and direct action. Never one to ignore the present challenge, he understands that only clearly stated questions support the understanding their answers require. For more than fifty years we've had no better spokesman and no more eloquent advocate for the planet, for our families, and for the future of our children and ourselves.

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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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.


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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.  
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