Southern Indie Bestsellers 9/11/16

HARDCOVER FICTION

1. Commonwealth
Ann Patchett, Harper, $27.99, 9780062491794
2. Razor Girl
Carl Hiaasen, Knopf, $27.95, 9780385349741
3. The Underground Railroad
Colson Whitehead, Doubleday, $26.95, 9780385542364
4. Nutshell
Ian McEwan, Nan A. Talese, $24.95, 9780385542074
5. A Great Reckoning
Louise Penny, Minotaur, $28.99, 9781250022134
6. A Gentleman in Moscow
Amor Towles, Viking, $27, 9780670026197
7. Here I Am
Jonathan Safran Foer, FSG, $28, 9780374280024
okra8. The Risen
Ron Rash, Ecco, $25.99, 9780062436313
9. The Nix
Nathan Hill, Knopf, $27.95, 9781101946619
10. The Woman in Cabin 10
Ruth Ware, Gallery/Scout Press, $26, 9781501132933
11. The Nightingale
Kristin Hannah, St. Martin's, $27.99, 9780312577223
12. The Jealous Kind
James Lee Burke, S&S, $27.99, 9781501107207
13. All the Light We Cannot See
Anthony Doerr, Scribner, $27, 9781476746586
14. Truly Madly Guilty
Liane Moriarty, Flatiron, $26.99, 9781250069795
15. Three Sisters, Three Queens
Philippa Gregory, Touchstone, $27.99, 9781476758572

HARDCOVER NONFICTION

1. Hillbilly Elegy
J.D. Vance, Harper, $27.99, 9780062300546
2. Killing the Rising Sun: How America Vanquished World War II Japan
Bill O'Reilly, Martin Dugard, Holt, $30, 9781627790628
3. The Upside of Inequality: How Good Intentions Undermine the Middle Class
Edward Conard, Portfolio, $29, 9781595231239
4. Hustle: The Power to Charge Your Life with Money, Meaning, and Momentum
Neil Patel, et al., Rodale, $26.99, 9781623367169
5. Best. State. Ever.: A Florida Man Defends His Homeland
Dave Barry, Putnam, $27, 9781101982600
6. Love Warrior
Glennon Doyle Melton, Flatiron, $25.99, 9781250075727
7. A Perfect Score: The Art, Soul, and Business of a 21st-Century Winery
Kathryn Hall, Craig Hall, Center Street, $26, 9781455535767
8. Between the World and Me
Ta-Nehisi Coates, Spiegel & Grau, $25, 9780812993547
9. The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo
Amy Schumer, Gallery, $28, 9781501139888
10. The Hidden Life of Trees
Peter Wohlleben, Greystone Books, $24.95, 9781771642484
11. Between Breaths: A Memoir of Panic and Addiction
Elizabeth Vargas, Grand Central, $27, 9781455559633
12. Being Mortal
Atul Gawande, Metropolitan, $26, 9780805095159
13. When Breath Becomes Air
Paul Kalanithi, Random House, $25, 9780812988406
14. The Year of Voting Dangerously: The Derangement of American Politics
Maureen Dowd, Twelve, $30, 9781455539260
15. Forward: A Memoir
Abby Wambach, Dey Street, $26.99, 9780062466983

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There seems to be a new Bowie book out about once every two months these days and I am such a big fan that I have read just about every one. But there is a law of diminishing returns and even I feel that at this point there is very little left to say. Luckily this biography takes a refreshing new tack. It concentrates on the two years that Bowie lived inside his greatest creation, the fictitious and otherworldly Ziggy Stardust. About half the book is gone before you get to Ziggy's rise and it's all context and subtext. Just like Stanley Crouch's book on Charlie Parker Kansas City Lightning it really helps you understand the time, the place and the preceding history and therefore get a better understanding of the work itself. It puts you dead center in the insane whirlwind that burgeoning stardom can bring and the leaves you with a half broken Bowie saying, "Who can I be now?"

Ziggyology: A Brief History of Ziggy Stardust by Simon Goddard (Ebury Press) Recommended by Chris at Acappella Books Atlanta GA

All the intimacy and power that Anne Frank's war diary gave us--the real breath and thoughts and fears of a human living under inhumane circumstances--are aged and magnified in Saif's account of war in Gaza.

For 51 days he and his fellow Gazans live--and die--with the knowledge that life and death are a game of luck, controlled at the hands of an Israeli drone operator. Peace is not permitted for the people of Gaza, restricted by birth to a nation of contested land and continued acts of terror, violence, and grief. This was sixty years of life savings!- a man screams atop the rubble of his home. Ambulances screech all day long, gathering body parts of children and families that moments ago were survivors of the war, and now are its casualties.

Saif and his friends flip a coin on the street--heads, the truce ends, tails, the truce continues. The children fight to plug in their iPads when the electricity comes on, while the adults watch the news to hear which of their friends has been obliterated in their homes this week.

This is the fourth war Saif has lived through, and he knows that it is only by luck that he has lived, and that this war will not be the last--that one day his luck may run out. This is an essential read for those in search of peace in the midst of modern-day warfare, and even more essential for those who aren't sure which side they stand on.

The Drone Eats with Me by Atef Abu Saif (Beacon Press) Recommended by Clara at Acappella Books Atlanta GA

What the hell is wrong with white people?

Seriously, what is going on in the white community that white folks all over the nation express; one, a sense of surprise by the uprisings in Ferguson and Baltimore; and two, complete ignorance of their role in the continued devaluation of black and brown life?

What level of denial must one operate to miss the connection between their neo-liberal, fascist, white supremacist policies and the continued killing of black and brown bodies all over this country and beyond? How can a people and its government founded on the principles of chattel slavery privatize prisons (and fill them disproportionately with black and brown bodies), de-fund then close mostly black and brown schools, and concentrate wealth among a small number of white males while pretending it has achieved a "post-racial" society?

Carol Anderson's newest book examines the latest iterations of white rage, and uncovers the deep layers of white denial that continues to fuel racial violence in this country.

White Rage by Carol Anderson (Bloomsbury) Recommended by Manny at Acappella Books Atlanta GA

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

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

Too many people are staying silent about a ten-year-old murder case and it's time for reporter Branigan Powers to investigate.
She knows a good story when she sees one, and the case of wealthy Alberta Grambling Resnick's murder definitely makes the cut. Resnick was stabbed in her home after she let it slip that she was planning to change her will. There are plenty of suspects in the death of the matriarch of the town's founding family, but the killer has never been caught.

Now Branigan must do some serious digging to get her story. She knows the town's homeless community might have seen something; she also knows that the local cops wouldn't have thought of questioning these often invisible people. There's a big problem, though: as Branigan starts digging, the homeless start dying. When her twin brother, a longtime addict, gets involved, the consequences of her investigation may hit a little too close to home.

Set in the fictional small town of Grambling, Georgia, The Cantaloupe Thief is the first in a new mystery series by Deb Richardson-Moore. The author is herself a former journalist and works extensively with the homeless, lending weight to the portrayal of a believable and engaging whodunnit.

BUY FROM AN INDIE | READ THE FIRST CHAPTER

The 2016 Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize Winners

The Bone Tree
by Greg Iles 
William Morrow & Company, Hardcover, 9780062311115, 816pp.

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Greg Iles comes the second novel in his Natchez Burning trilogy which also includes Natchez Burning and the upcoming Mississippi Blood an epic trilogy of blood and race, family and justice, featuring Southern lawyer Penn Cage.

Former prosecutor Penn Cage and his fiancee, reporter and publisher Caitlin Masters, have barely escaped with their lives after being attacked by wealthy businessman Brody Royal and his Double Eagles, a KKK sect with ties to some of Mississippi's most powerful men. But the real danger has only begun as FBI Special Agent John Kaiser warns Penn that Brody wasn t the true leader of the Double Eagles. The puppeteer who actually controls the terrorist group is a man far more fearsome: the chief of the state police's Criminal Investigations Bureau, Forrest Knox.

The only way Penn can save his father, Dr. Tom Cage who is fleeing a murder charge as well as corrupt cops bent on killing him is either to make a devil's bargain with Knox or destroy him. While Penn desperately pursues both options, Caitlin uncovers the real story behind a series of unsolved civil rights murders that may hold the key to the Double Eagles downfall. The trail leads her deep into the past, into the black backwaters of the Mississippi River, to a secret killing ground used by slave owners and the Klan for over two hundred years...a place of terrifying evil known only as the bone tree.

The Bone Tree is an explosive, action-packed thriller full of twisting intrigue and deadly secrets, a tale that explores the conflicts and casualties that result when the darkest truths of American history come to light. It puts us inside the skin of a noble man who has always fought for justice now finally pushed beyond his limits.

Just how far will Penn Cage, the hero we thought we knew, go to protect those he loves?

BUY FROM AN INDIE

Above the Waterfall
by Ron Rash 
Ecco Press, Hardcover, 9780062349316, 272pp.

In this poetic and haunting tale set in contemporary Appalachia, New York Times bestselling author Ron Rash illuminates lives shaped by violence and a powerful connection to the land.

Les, a long-time sheriff just three-weeks from retirement, contends with the ravages of crystal meth and his own duplicity in his small Appalachian town.

Becky, a park ranger with a harrowing past, finds solace amid the lyrical beauty of this patch of North Carolina.

Enduring the mistakes and tragedies that have indelibly marked them, they are drawn together by a reverence for the natural world. When an irascible elderly local is accused of poisoning a trout stream, Les and Becky are plunged into deep and dangerous waters, forced to navigate currents of disillusionment and betrayal that will force them to question themselves and test their tentative bond - and threaten to carry them over the edge.

Echoing the heartbreaking beauty of William Faulkner and the spiritual isolation of Carson McCullers, Above the Waterfall demonstrates once again the prodigious talent of "a gorgeous, brutal writer" (Richard Price) hailed as "one of the great American authors at work today" (Janet Maslin, New York Times).

BUY FROM AN INDIE

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Lady BanksIn which her ladyship, the editor, has a new apron, Ms Deshanta Hairston thought something was missing in her community so she did something about it, and Mr. Ron Rash wrote a book because he kept dreaming that he'd killed somebody. 

Lady Banks' Commonplace Book

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Turn the Page with Southern Writers

Barbara O'Connor & Monika SchroederChildren’s authors Monika Schröder and Barbara O’Connor have been friends for years, brought together when they shared the same editor, Frances Foster at FSG. After communicating by email for a year or so, they finally met in person at a librarians’ conference in Washington, DC. But their bond grew closer when Barbara moved from Boston to Asheville, North Carolina, a short distance from Monika. Now they enjoy chatting all things book related while walking their dogs once a week in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. Making the bond even more special is the fact that they each have new children’s novels being published just days apart.

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Southern Indie Lit Crossword Puzzle Book

Do you know your Southern lit?

The Southern Indie Lit Crossword Puzzle Book

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.