GREAT READS HANDPICKED BY GREAT SOUTHERN BOOKSELLERS...

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  • Almost Famous Women: Stories by Meghan Mayhew Bergman

    Meghan Mayhew Bergman has done it again. 

    I loved her story collection, Birds of a Lesser Paradise, and am equally impressed with her brilliant new collection, Almost Famous Women.  Bergman takes obscure women from the past and creates a fictional world within the context of their real histories.

    Siamese twins, Lord Byron’s illegitimate daughter, and Oscar Wilde’s niece Dolly are among her chosen subjects. Bergman is a young writer on the rise, and this book, due out in January, will set the new year's bar high for people who love short stories as I do.

    Almost Famous Women: Stories by Megan Mayhew Bergman ($25, Scribner), recommended by Mamie at Quail Ridge Books Raleigh NC

  • Always Happy Hour: Stories by Mary Miller

    Miller's writing is stripped down and carefully refined, packing a whole vision of the world into as few eye-widening details as possible. The stories in this collection explore the realities of women living between two worlds, with one foot in the future their meant to be striving toward and the other firmly rooted in their usually grim and booze-filled present. Though the stories can verge on the harsh, they always evoke a world that is immediately recognizable and palpably real. A great new collection by a writer who never seems to disappoint.

    Always Happy Hour ($24.95, Liveright Publishing Corporation), recommended by Donovan, Inkwood Books, Tampa, FL.

  • Brown Girl Dreaming by Jaqueline Woodson

    Brown Girl DreamingEvery now and then, a book comes along that you love and know that you MUST share. Jacquline Woodson's Brown Girl Dreaming is one of those. We here at the Booksellers know that books have the power to change lives. We also believe that sharing books like this one fosters empathy, while empowering readers young and old to tell their stories, and listen to -- and learn from -- each other. We invite you to read Brown Girl Dreaming with us this October, and hope that this book moves you same way it has moved us.

    Brown Girl Dreaming by Jaqueline Woodson ($17.99, Nancy Paulsen Books), recommended by The Booksellers at Laurelwood, Memphis TN.

  • Capital Dames by Cokie Roberts

    In Capital Dames, Cokie Roberts introduces us to the fascinating women from the north and south living in Washington DC. As you read you find the Civil War not only changed Washington DC but also changed the lives of women living in America.

    As the city evolved into a sprawling union Army camp many of the southern belles fled to confederate territory while some became nurses and spies. At the same time many other women moved to the capitol to fill positions previously held by men who were now fighting the war.

    The details of the lives of these women and their contribution to history before, during, and after the war help you understand just how important they were to America.

    Capital Dames by Cokie Roberts (Harper) Recommended by Vickie at Litchfield Books Pawley's Island SC 

  • Clementine: The Life of Mrs. Winston Churchill by Sonia Purnell

    Clementine and Winston Churchill, both from aristocratic families, had the wedding of the year. 

    Photos in the papers, people lining the route to the church, and reports of a six hour wedding dress alteration session.  Because Clementine and Winston exchanged over 1,700 letters, we get a fascinating, up close look at their relationship through the years. 

    Winston was impulsive, defensive and rash.  Clementine was thoughtful, strong and strategic.  During World War I, she organized canteens for munition workers.  During World War II, she volunteered as a fire watcher, sitting on rooftops and calling in fires during air raids.  She and Winston went out in the dark after the bombing stopped and toured the bomb sites with flashlights. 

    Clementine is an extraordinary love story against the backdrop of tumultuous history.  I loved it!

    Clementine: The Life of Mrs. Winston Churchill by Sonia Purnell (Viking) Recommended by Helen at Quail Ridge Books Raleigh NC

  • Difficult Women by Roxane Gay

    Difficult Women by Roxane Gay

    Let me be clear: I love short story collections. When done well, short stories can hold great literary (and personal) value to me. Most collections have a few stories that aren't on par with the rest and one or two stellar stories. Difficult Women is not like this. Each story feels real, often magical, but always tangible. Some are allegories, some are simply insightful, while others are brimming with emotion--and they are all excellent. Read more at Foggy Pine Books’ blog…

    Difficult Women by Roxane Gay ($25.00, Grove Press), recommended by Mary, Foggy Pine Books, Boone, NC.

  • Her Stories: African American Folktales, Fairy Tales, and True Tales by Virginia Hamilton, Leo Dillon, Diane Dillon

    In the tradition of Hamilton's The People Could Fly and In the Beginning, a dramatic new collection of 25 compelling tales from the female African American storytelling tradition.

    Each story focuses on the role of women--both real and fantastic--and their particular strengths, joys and sorrows. Full-color illustrations.

    Her Stories: African American Folktales, Fairy Tales, and True Tales by Virginia Hamilton, Leo Dillon, Diane Dillon (Blue Sky Press) Recommended by Fiona at Charis Books Decatur GA

  • I Will Find You: A Reporter Investigates the Life of the Man Who Raped Her by Joanna Connors

    I Will Find You is not light reading, but it is necessary reading for a culture that seems unable to talk reasonably and openly about sexual violence. This nonfiction account of her own rape is filled with unrelenting honesty about sexual violence, race in America, and the realities of incarceration and poverty.

    I Will Find You: A Reporter Investigates the Life of the Man Who Raped Her by Joanna Connors (Atlantic Monthly Press, $25), recommended by Brian at Scuppernong Books, Greensboro, NC.

  • Louisa: The Extraordinary Life of Mrs. Adams by Louisa Thomas

    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

  • Mothers, Tell Your Daughters by Bonnie Jo Campbell

    In her latest collection, Bonnie Jo Campbell taps into the lives of working class women to reveal truths that are raw and inspiring.

    The women in these stories are victims, survivors, fighters, dreamers, providers and drifters. All of them vulnerable but incredibly tough, they navigate the complex and often baffling territory of relationships with men and with one another.

    Touching but never sentimental, these stories are Campbell at her best.

    Mothers, Tell Your Daughters by Bonnie Jo Campbell (W. W. Norton & Company) Recommended by CF at Square Books Oxford MS

  • My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem

    In her first time writing entirely about the road, Steinem encourages us to free ourselves from the either/or binary thinking that proliferates the imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy and instead embrace the AND rooted in inclusion and balance. Yet as Steinem says, "On campuses, I saw young men wearing t-shirts that said TOO BAD O.J. DIDN'T MARRY HILLARY." All the wearers I saw were white.

    Clearly, folks--especially white males--are far from unlearning the imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchal fantasies that permeate our entire culture.

    This book illustrates key insights to aid this work. My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem (Random House) Recommended by Manny at Acappella Books Atlanta GA

  • Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham

    Upon finding success as a writer, director, and actress, Dunham releases her autobiography as an exciting look into the events that shaped her.

    She offers an unedited look at her life through a series of personal essays, some humorous and others quite painful, in hopes that her stories will keep readers from repeating her mistakes. With brutal honesty, she gives detailed accounts of her hardships in love and work, without shame or apology.

    Her ability to share without excuse shows the strength that makes her such a relatable artist and celebrity.

    Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She's Learned by Lena Dunham (Random House) Recommended by Emily Catherine at Quail Ridge Books Raleigh NC

     

  • Seam by Tarfia Faizullah

    In this powerful book of poems, which centers around women in Bangladesh known as the birangona (survivors of war atrocities during the Liberation War in 1971), Faizullah explores what's been forgotten or silenced about these women's experiences, as well as her own assumptions, related to her experience as a Bangladeshi American woman living in a cultural space of both/and/or.

    Reading the poems in Seam, I respect the level of mastery displayed in their vivid imagery and fresh approach to form. But what lingers is the poet's ability to refute the impersonal language of the state in the face of the complex realities of war, to answer it with the personal, private vocabulary that makes up the best poetry, the poetry that haunts us, makes us question, to see, as Faizullah writes, how thin the seam / between the world and the world.

    Seam by Tarfia Faizullah (Southern Illinois University Press) Recommended by Heather at Quail Ridge Books Raleigh NC

  • Strong is the New Pretty by Kate T. Parker

    This beautiful book should be in every doctor's office, every waiting room, every home. With brilliant images of girls in their natural habitat, this book celebrates strong girls with great gusto.

    Strong is the New Pretty by Kate T. Parker ($30, Workman Publishing), recommended by Rachel, Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA.

  • The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion by Fannie Flagg

    I love the quirky, eccentric characters in Fannie Flagg’s books, and this one is full of them. At 59 (or is she 60?), Sookie finds she is not who she thought she was and her subsequent search for answers takes her away from small-town Alabama life to Poland, Wisconsin, Texas and California and back in time to the World War II era and a little known group of independent and brave women who gave their all to the war effort as pilots. Comical situations as well as zany, off-beat personalities give heart and warmth to Sookie’s emotional conundrum. It is a tribute to family, friendship and the strength of the human spirit. A heart-warming feel-good read.

    The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion By Fannie Flagg ($27, Random House), recommended by Pat, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.

  • The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict

    This is great historical fiction about the first wife of Albert Einstein, Mitza Maric, who was a brilliant physicist in her own right. Her relationship with Albert and their marriage reveal the difficulty for women during the early 20th century to have a career. Her own contributions to the field of developing science helped promote Albert’s career but as his career began to rise, she was diminished and her scientific endeavors stifled. Benedict reveals Mitza’s struggles and disappointments with sensitivity and insight. A must read about a fascinating woman.

    The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict ($25.99, Sourcebooks Landmark(, recommended by Stephanie, Page & Palette, Fairhope, AL.

  • The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See

    The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa SeeLisa See is finally back with a wonderful new novel about the healing powers of tea, on the body, heart, and spirit.

    In The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane (Scribner $27), explore a minority culture within China, the Akha people, and learn about the tea they grow. It tells the tale of a woman and her daughter separated after birth, and their mutual yearning to find each other again. They search for and find answers in the tea that has shaped their lives.

    The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See ($27.00, Scribner Book Company), recommended by Amber, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.

  • There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé by Morgan Parker

    It takes a deft hand and a skilled writer to combine pop culture references with painfully accurate explorations of racism and sexuality. These eloquent and purposeful poems are something to savor--alternately beautiful and biting. Morgan Parker's voice is powerful and memorable. Every accolade she has received from writers and critics like Roxane Gay and Eileen Myles are wholly deserved, with more surely to follow.

    There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé by Morgan Parker ($14.95, Tin House Books), recommended by Johanna, Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC.

  • Trainwreck: The Women We Love to Hate, Mock, and Fear...and Why by Sady Doyle

    At its best, pop culture criticism forces us to reconsider a familiar product by placing it in a new context and, in doing so, imbuing it with new meaning. Trainwreck is just that. Doyle effectively and entertainingly litigates her case: that Western culture's fascination with 'fallen' female starlets—AKA trainwrecks--is simply a modern form of the patriarchal silencing and marginalization of women that has been going for centuries. With sly humor and lively prose, Doyle systematically punches through all the familiar straw-man arguments and convincingly illustrates that the 'harmless fun' of Internet clickbait and TMZ gossip are merely modern forms of public shaming. A must-read.

    Trainwreck: The Women We Love to Hate, Mock, and Fear... and Why by Sady Doyle (Melville House, $25.99), recommended by Matt at The Booksellers at Laurelwood, Memphis, TN.

  • Women Explorers: Perils, Pistols and Petticoats by Julie Cummins, Cheryl Harness

    This children’s book tells the story of 10 women explorers, all of whom were born in the 1800s.

    The women in this book explored the Artic, the Outback, the wilderness areas of Canada, the US and Mexico, the Amazon jungle, islands in the South Pacific, the desert in the Middle East and led African safaris. These women made important contributions to science, geography and cultural understanding, but history books have hardly mentioned their stories.

    This book is perfect to read to younger elementary studies or for older students to explore on their own.

    Women Explorers by Julie Cummins, illustrated by Cheryl Harness (Puffin Books) Recommended by Christina at Blue Ridge Books Waynesville, NC

  • Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World by Rachel Ignotofsky

    A recent U.S. Department of Education survey found that high school girls take the same number of math and science classes as boys and earn slightly higher grades, but only 15 percent of U.S. collegiate women major in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.

    Encouraging young women and girls to pursue STEM career tracks has never been more important. Women in Science highlights notable women's contributions to various scientific fields. A fascinating collection full of striking, singular art, the book features 50 profiles and illustrated portraits of women in STEM from the ancient to the modern world, and also contains infographics about interesting and relevant topics such as lab equipment and rates of women currently working in STEM fields.

    Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World by Rachel Ignotofsky (Ten Speed Press) Recommended by Bookstore1Sarasota Sarasota FL