Southern Indie Bestsellers

  

HARDCOVER FICTION

1. Everybody's Fool
Richard Russo, Knopf, $27.95, 9780307270641
2. The Weekenders
Mary Kay Andrews, St. Martin's, $27.99, 9781250065940
3. The Fireman
Joe Hill, Morrow, $28.99, 9780062200631
4. The Nest
Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney, Ecco, $26.99, 9780062414212
5. The Nightingale
Kristin Hannah, St. Martin's, $27.99, 9780312577223
6. All the Light We Cannot See
Anthony Doerr, Scribner, $27, 9781476746586
okra7. Redemption Road
John Hart, Thomas Dunne Books, $27.99, 9780312380366
8. The Last Mile
David Baldacci, Grand Central, $29, 9781455586455
9. LaRose
Louise Erdrich, Harper, $27.99, 9780062277022
10. Everyone Brave Is Forgiven
Chris Cleave, S&S, $26.99, 9781501124372
11. Zero K
Don DeLillo, Scribner, $27, 9781501135392
12. The Swans of Fifth Avenue
Melanie Benjamin, Delacorte, $28, 9780345528698
13. My Name Is Lucy Barton
Elizabeth Strout, Random House, $26, 9781400067695
14. The After Party
Anton DiSclafani, Riverhead, $26, 9781594633164
15. Lilac Girls
Martha Hall Kelly, Ballantine, $26, 9781101883075

HARDCOVER NONFICTION

1. The Rainbow Comes and Goes
Anderson Cooper, Gloria Vanderbilt, Harper, $27.99, 9780062454942
2. Seven Brief Lessons on Physics
Carlo Rovelli, Riverhead, $18, 9780399184413
3. The Gene: An Intimate History
Siddhartha Mukherjee, Scribner, $32, 9781476733500
4. When Breath Becomes Air
Paul Kalanithi, Random House, $25, 9780812988406
5. Valiant Ambition
Nathaniel Philbrick, Viking, $30, 9780525426783
okra6. Dimestore: A Writer's Life
Lee Smith, Algonquin, $24.95, 9781616205027
7. The Mathews Men: Seven Brothers and the War Against Hitler's U-Boats
William Geroux, Viking, $28, 9780525428152
8. Being Mortal
Atul Gawande, Metropolitan, $26, 9780805095159
9. Lab Girl
Hope Jahren, Knopf, $26.95, 9781101874936
10. Pit Bull: The Battle Over an American Icon
Bronwen Dickey, Knopf, $26.95, 9780307961761
11. The Abundance
Annie Dillard, Ecco, $25.99, 9780062432971
12. The Bridge Ladies: A Memoir
Betsy Lerner, Harper Wave, $25.99, 9780062354464
13. Shoe Dog
Phil Knight, Scribner, $29, 9781501135910
14. Between the World and Me
Ta-Nehisi Coates, Spiegel & Grau, $24, 9780812993547
15. Hold Still
Sally Mann, Little Brown, $32, 9780316247764

CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL LIST 

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Do not be fooled by the length of this book, it is short but powerful. 

It brought me right into the world of a young African-American girl and her friends in language that is both compact and lyrical. Publishers Weekly gave Another Brooklyn a well-deserved star review and said: Woodson…combines grit and beauty in a series of stunning vignettes, painting a vivid mural of what it was like to grow up African-American in Brooklyn during the 1970s…Woodson draws on all the senses to trace the milestones in a woman’s life and how her early experiences shaped her identity.

It is a book that will stay with me for a long time.

Another Brooklyn by Jaqueline Woodson (Amistad Press) Recommended by Rene at Quail Ridge Books Raleigh NC

 

In this fascinating history, big personalities emerge. 

Benedict Arnold, charismatic, arrogant, and reckless, verges on madness in battle.  George Washington, indecisive at first, evolves into a strategic military leader and eventually figures out how to win. 

You realize that things like the direction of the wind or when a river freezes or who gets promoted determine victory or defeat.

This book includes 100 pages of notes and sources, lots of maps, many portraits, and Benedict Arnold's treasonous coded letter!

Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution by Nathaniel Philbrick (Viking) Recommended by Helen at Quail Ridge Books Raleigh NC

 

Written with surprising clarity and insight, this novel gives a heartbreaking account of life in England before the US joined in World War II.

Mary North comes from an aristocratic family who detests her involvement teaching the children who have no way of escaping the violence in the city. Mary learns about love and trust through her time as a teacher and later as an ambulance driver helping victims of the relentless bombing of the city. Her boyfriend, Tom, and his roommate, Alistair, learn that doing your part in the war effort often becomes the greatest sacrifice.

This novel will stay with you for a long time!

Everyone Brave Is Forgiven by Chris Cleave (Simon & Schuster) Recommended by Linda at Fiction Addiction Greenville SC

 

Okra Picks

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.

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Over 2 million copies of his books in print. The first and only author to win back-to-back Edgars for Best Novel. Every book a New York Times bestseller. After five years, John Hart is back.

Since his debut bestseller, The King of Lies, reviewers across the country have heaped praise on John Hart, comparing his writing to that of Pat Conroy, Cormac McCarthy and Scott Turow. Each novel has taken Hart higher on the New York Times Bestseller list as his masterful writing and assured evocation of place have won readers around the world and earned history's only consecutive Edgar Awards for Best Novel with DOWN RIVER and THE LAST CHILD. Now, Hart delivers his most powerful story yet. 

Imagine:

A boy with a gun waits for the man who killed his mother.

A troubled detective confronts her past in the aftermath of a brutal shooting.

After thirteen years in prison, a good cop walks free as deep in the forest, on the altar of an abandoned church, a body cools in pale linen…

This is a town on the brink.

This is Redemption Road.

Brimming with tension, secrets, and betrayal, REDEMPTION ROAD proves again that John Hart is a master of the literary thriller.

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The 2016 Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize [Short List]

Where All Light Tends to Go
by David Joy 
G.P. Putnam's Sons, Hardcover, 9780399172779, 272pp.

A Finalist for the Edgar Award for Best First Novel 

Remarkable...This isn t your ordinary coming-of-age novel, but with his bone-cutting insights into these men and the region that bred them, Joy makes it an extraordinarily intimate experience. Marilyn Stasio, "The New York Times Book Review" 

"Lyrical, propulsive, dark and compelling. Joy knows well the grit and gravel of his world, the soul and blemishes of the place."--Daniel Woodrell 

In the country-noir tradition of "Winter's Bone" meets 'Breaking Bad, ' a savage and beautiful story of a young man seeking redemption. 

The area surrounding Cashiers, North Carolina, is home to people of all kinds, but the world that Jacob McNeely lives in is crueler than most. His father runs a methodically organized meth ring, with local authorities on the dime to turn a blind eye to his dealings. Having dropped out of high school and cut himself off from his peers, Jacob has been working for this father for years, all on the promise that his payday will come eventually. The only joy he finds comes from reuniting with Maggie, his first love, and a girl clearly bound for bigger and better things than their hardscrabble town. 

Jacob has always been resigned to play the cards that were dealt him, but when a fatal mistake changes everything, he's faced with a choice: stay and appease his father, or leave the mountains with the girl he loves. In a place where blood is thicker than water and hope takes a back seat to fate, Jacob wonders if he can muster the strength to rise above the only life he's ever known.

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Welcome to Braggsville
by T. Geronimo Johnson 
William Morrow & Company, Hardcover, 9780062302120, 384pp.

From the PEN/Faulkner finalist and critically acclaimed author of Hold It 'Til It Hurts comes a dark and socially provocative Southern-fried comedy about four UC Berkeley students who stage a dramatic protest during a Civil War reenactment - a fierce, funny, tragic work from a bold new writer.

Welcome to Braggsville. The City that Love Built in the Heart of Georgia. Population 712

Born and raised in the heart of old Dixie, D'aron Davenport finds himself in unfamiliar territory his freshman year at UC Berkeley. Two thousand miles and a world away from his childhood, he is a small-town fish floundering in the depths of a large, hyper-liberal pond. Caught between the prosaic values of his rural hometown and the intellectualized multicultural cosmopolitanism of Berzerkeley, the nineteen-year-old white kid is uncertain about his place until one disastrous party brings him three idiosyncratic best friends: Louis, a "kung-fu comedian" from California; Candice, an earnest do-gooder claiming Native roots from Iowa; and Charlie, an introspective inner-city black teen from Chicago. They dub themselves the "4 Little Indians."

But everything changes in the group's alternative history class, when D'aron lets slip that his hometown hosts an annual Civil War reenactment, recently rebranded "Patriot Days." His announcement is met with righteous indignation, and inspires Candice to suggest a "performative intervention" to protest the reenactment. Armed with youthful self-importance, makeshift slave costumes, righteous zeal, and their own misguided ideas about the South, the 4 Little Indians descend on Braggsville. Their journey through backwoods churches, backroom politics, Waffle Houses, and drunken family barbecues is uproarious to start, but will have devastating consequences.

With the keen wit of Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk and the deft argot of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, T. Geronimo Johnson has written an astonishing, razor-sharp satire. Using a panoply of styles and tones, from tragicomic to Southern Gothic, he skewers issues of class, race, intellectual and political chauvinism, Obamaism, social media, and much more.

A literary coming-of-age novel for a new generation, written with tremendous social insight and a unique, generous heart, Welcome to Braggsville reminds us of the promise and perils of youthful exuberance, while painting an indelible portrait of contemporary America.

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The Latest from Lady Banks

Lady BanksIn which Ms. Julia Reed teaches Beltway denizens about the joys of the pimento cheese sandwich, Ms. Lee Smith looks into her mother's recipe box, Mr. Harry Crews explains the nature of a Mazola party, and her ladyship wakes up early enough to see the sunrise.

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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.  
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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