{ On the difference between red hat ladies and sweet potato queens}

In which Ms. Hester Bass aspires to appear in The Hobbit, it is explained why Light in August is William Faulkner’s Great American Novel, Ms. Eudora Welty is devastating in a letter, Ms Jill Connor Browne explains the difference between a red hat lady and a sweet potato queen, and her ladyship, the editor gets a new puppy.

August 20, 2012

In This Issue

Special to the Southern List

(Books that appear on the Southern list, but not the national list)  Click on a book to purchase from a great indie bookstore!

Creole Belle The Dog Stars Calico Joe Where We Belong City of Women The Presidents Club Goodnight iPad The Rise of Rome Wheat Belly StandUp That Mountain The Cornbread Mafia The Best of Me A Discovery of Witches Bared to You The Keeper of Lost Causes Summer Rental How to Read Literature Like a Professor Steal Like an Artist The Untethered Soul The Glass Castle 1491 Outliers Destiny of the Republic I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Zero Day Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy ButtonsChomp Hatchet Number the Stars The Candymakers The Giver

Author Readings

Martin Amis will be appearing at Books & Books Inc, 08/26/2012 (12438)

Janisse Ray will be appearing at Avid Bookshop, 08/26/2012 (12451)

Avid Bookshop is hosting the event How to Find Prince(ess) Charming & Stop Kissing Frogs on 08/26/2012 (12452)

Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe is hosting the event RELEASE PARTY FOR POETRY ANTHOLOGY, PUBLISHED BY MALAPROP'S: REMEMBER ME AS A TIME OF DAY on 08/26/2012 (12494)

Gregory E. Pence, author of How to Build a Better Human, will be appearing at Alabama Booksmith, 08/27/2012 (12320)

Courtney Miller Santo, author of Roots Of The Olive Tree, will be appearing at That Bookstore in Blytheville, 08/27/2012 (12106)

Quail Ridge Books & Music is hosting the event Storytime Snoozapalooza Pajama Party on 08/27/2012 (12406)

Quail Ridge Books & Music is hosting the event Fall Bookclub Bash on 08/27/2012 (12407)

Charis Books & More is hosting the event Writing With Intent on 08/27/2012 (12419)

Nightbird Books is hosting the event Science Fiction Book Club on 08/27/2012 (12468)

Nightbird Books is hosting the event Literary Fiction Book Club on 08/28/2012 (12469)

Robert Leleux, author of , will be appearing at Fiction Addiction, 08/29/2012 (12360)

Barabra Claypool White, author of The Unfinished Garden, will be appearing at Flyleaf Books, 08/29/2012 (12398)

Alberto Ambard, author of High Treason, will be appearing at Books & Books Inc, 08/29/2012 (12439)

Union Avenue Books is hosting the event Bookaholics Anonymous discuss A Good Hard Look: A Novel of Flannery O'Connor by Ann Napolitano on 08/29/2012 (12476)

Lydia Netzer, author of Shine Shine Shine, will be appearing at Fountain Bookstore, 08/29/2012 (12480)

Deborah Boles Waterman, author of Before (I Die, During (the Process) and After (You?re Gone), will be appearing at Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe, 08/29/2012 (12495)

Ted Obamanu, author of Drive to Passion, will be appearing at Flyleaf Books, 08/30/2012 (12399)

Quail Ridge Books & Music is hosting the event Captain Underpants and the Terrifying Return of Tippy Tinkletrousers! on 08/30/2012 (12408)

Carol Henderson will be appearing at Quail Ridge Books & Music, 08/30/2012 (12409)

Kristen-Paige Madonia, author of Fingerprints of You, will be appearing at Charis Books & More, 08/30/2012 (12420)

Fiction Addiction is hosting the event Children's Story Time on 08/30/2012 (12182)

Books & Books Inc is hosting the event Guava Rugelach Festival -- Susana Behar on 08/30/2012 (12440)

Avid Bookshop is hosting the event Meet a Neighbor, Make a Friend! on 08/30/2012 (12453)

Barbara Claypole White, author of The Unfinished Garden, will be appearing at Regulator Bookshop, 08/30/2012 (12461)

Patricia Harman  will be appearing at Fountain Bookstore, 08/30/2012 (12481)

Peter Brown will be appearing at FoxTale Book Shoppe, 08/30/2012 (12483)

Charis Books & More is hosting the event Introducing Queer B.O.I.S.! on 08/31/2012 (12421)

Books & Books Inc is hosting the event FIU/UM Back to School Poetry Reading on 08/31/2012 (12441)

H. Byron Ballard, author of Staubs and Ditchwater: A Friendly and Useful Introduction to Hillfolks? Hoodoo, will be appearing at City Lights Bookstore, 08/31/2012 (12446)

The Fountainhead Bookstore is hosting the event Fiction Contest on 09/01/2012 (12432)

Spellbound Children's Bookshop is hosting the event ROYAL Book Club September: Paper Covers Rock on 09/02/2012 (12496)

Cavalier House Books is hosting the event Book Club Meeting - Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic on 09/04/2012 (12380)

Peter Ubel, author of Critical Decisions: How You and Your Doctor Can Make the Right Medical Choices Together, will be appearing at Flyleaf Books, 09/04/2012 (12497)

Louise Penny, author of The Beautiful Mystery, will be appearing at FoxTale Book Shoppe, 09/05/2012 (12326)

Randy Wayne White, author of Gone, will be appearing at Inkwood Books, 09/05/2012 (12424)

Laura Florland, author of The Chocolate Thief, will be appearing at Regulator Bookshop, 09/05/2012 (12498)

Kristyn Lewis, author of How Lucky Are You, will be appearing at Regulator Bookshop, 09/06/2012 (12499)

Ruth Hawkins, author of Unbelievable Happiness and Final Sorrow: The Hemingway-Pfeiffer Marriage, will be appearing at That Bookstore in Blytheville, 09/09/2012 (12226)

Blue Ridge Books & News is hosting the event Mountain Writers Group on 09/11/2012 (12488)

Barbara Claypole White, author of The Unfinished Garden, will be appearing at Country Bookshop Inc, 09/12/2012 (12489)

Holli Rovenger, author of The Simple & Sassy Guide to Financial Empowerment, will be appearing at Fiction Addiction, 09/13/2012 (12362)

Cavalier House Books is hosting the event YA Book Club Meeting - The Perks of Being a Wallflower on 09/13/2012 (12473)

Michael Morris, author of Man in the Blue Moon, will be appearing at Alabama Booksmith, 09/13/2012 (12277)

Jane Hankins, author of Madge's Mobile Home Park, will be appearing at That Bookstore in Blytheville, 09/14/2012 (12288)

The Fountainhead Bookstore is hosting the event Bookapalooza Fall 2012 on 09/14/2012 (12429)

Sean Chercover, author of The Trinity Game, will be appearing at Peerless Book Store, 09/14/2012 (12491)

Tasia Malakasis, author of Tasia's Table: Cooking With the Artisan Cheesemaker at Belle Chevre, will be appearing at Alabama Booksmith, 09/18/2012 (12278)

Terry Roberts, author of Short Time to Stay Here, will be appearing at The Fountainhead Bookstore, 09/20/2012 (12430)

Carolyn Guinzio, author of Spoke & Dark, will be appearing at Nightbird Books, 09/21/2012 (12146)

Yawn's Books & More is hosting the event Book Club on 09/27/2012 (12485)

Joseph Bathanti, author of This Metal, will be appearing at The Fountainhead Bookstore, 10/03/2012 (12431)

Fred Thompson, author of Fred Thompson's Southern Sides: 250 Dishes That Really Make the Plate, will be appearing at Alabama Booksmith, 10/12/2012 (12280)

Kim O' Donnel, author of The Meat Lover's Meatless Celebrations, will be appearing at Nightbird Books, 10/21/2012 (12247)

Kevin Gillespie, author of Fire in My Belly, will be appearing at Alabama Booksmith, 11/06/2012 (11562)

Sheila Ingle , author of COURAGEOUS KATE, A DAUGHTER OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION and FEARLESS MARTHA, will be appearing at Old Salem Museums & Gardens, 11/10/2012 (12201)

Authors Round the South

Dearest readers,

Once upon a time there was an old woman who was very sad because her beloved pet dog, her companion for many years, had at last passed away and gone to dog heaven, where there were always squirrels to chase. But the old woman, left behind, felt tired and sad, and just sat in her rocking chair, and stared out her window.
Her friends became very worried and tried to cheer her up. They brought her plants with flowers to brighten her room, bowls of pretty swimming fish,  a tabby cat. But none of these seemed to make her feel better. She watered the plants and fed the fish and put milk out for the cat, and then went back to her rocking chair, sad and silent.

Then one day a friend brought her  a new dog. But not just any dog. This was a terrible, bad-mannered dog that chewed on furniture and got into the trash and chased the cat. Other people said he was a very bad friend, to give the woman such a troublesome dog. But then something  amazing happened. The woman could no longer sit all afternoon in her chair. She had to shoo the dog away from the trash, and give it chew toys so it would leave the furniture alone, and play with it and take it on walks so it would not chase the cat. And slowly she found herself feeling happier, because she had less time to sit at be sad.  And slowly, the little dog—-who had only been very lonely—became better behaved as well, although she still could not resist chasing the cat.

Woman reading with dog

This is a story that her ladyship heard a very long time ago, and although she no longer remembers where she heard it, or what it was called, or who wrote it (or even if it was a little old lady or a little old man) it has been much in her mind lately as her ladyship has become the owner of a very similar dog. Sometimes, animals transform us in the most unexpected of ways. Her Lucy is very affectionate but somewhat inclined to get into trouble, which her ladyship is forever trying to get her out of.  She is, however, somewhat endearingly inclined to climb into her ladyship’s lap to fall asleep when her ladyship has settled down to read a book.

Unfortunately, since Lucy weighs over forty-five pounds, this is somewhat of a hardship for her ladyship, who often finds that, if she gets caught up in her book and reads to the end,  her feet go to sleep under the weight of a contented puppy.

Happy Reading!

her ladyship, the editor

Southern Indie Bestsellers

For the week ending July 29, 2012

Columbia, SC -August 8, 2012 - The Southern Indie Bestseller List, as brought to you by IndieBound.org and SIBA, for the week ended Sunday, July 29, 2012. Based on reporting from the independent booksellers of the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance and IndieBound.org.

STARS - A STARS Author | Okra Pick! - A SIBA Okra Pick 
Titles in red are SIBA Book Award winners and finalists!
Printable versions: Hardcover | Paperback | Children.

Hardcover Fiction

1. Gone Girl
Gillian Flynn, Crown, $25, 9780307588364
2. The Fallen Angel
Daniel Silva, Harper, $27.99, 9780062073129
3. Broken Harbor
Tana French, Viking, $27.95, 9780670023653
okra4. Creole Belle
James Lee Burke, S&S, $27.99, 9781451648133

5. Shadow of Night
Deborah Harkness, Viking, $28.95, 9780670023486
6. The Sandcastle Girls
Chris Bohjalian, Doubleday, $25.95, 9780385534796
7. Where We Belong
Emily Giffin, St. Martin's, $27.99, 9780312554194
8. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
Rachel Joyce, Random House, $25, 9780812993295
9. A Land More Kind Than Home
Wiley Cash, Morrow, $24.99, 9780062088147
10. Calico Joe
John Grisham, Doubleday, $24.95, 9780385536073
11. A Dance With Dragons
George R.R. Martin, Bantam, $35, 9780553801477
12. Mission to Paris
Alan Furst, Random House, $27, 9781400069484
13. The Light Between Oceans
M.L. Stedman, Scribner, $25, 9781451681734
14. City of Women
David R. Gillham, Amy Einhorn Books, $25.95, 9780399157769
15. Beautiful Ruins
Jess Walter, Harper, $25.99, 9780061928123

Hardcover Nonfiction

1. Wild
Cheryl Strayed, Knopf, $25.95, 9780307592736
2. Unbroken
Laura Hillenbrand, Random House, $27, 9781400064168
3. Double Cross
Ben Macintyre, Crown, $26, 9780307888754
4. The Amateur
Edward Klein, Regnery, $27.95, 9781596987852
5. Jesus Calling
Sarah Young, Integrity, $15.99, 9781591451884
6. Darth Vader and Son
Jeffrey Brown, Chronicle, $14.95, 9781452106557
7. Dearie
Bob Spitz, Knopf, $29.95, 9780307272225
8. Let's Pretend This Never Happened
Jenny Lawson, Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam, $25.95, 9780399159015
9. Killing Lincoln
Bill O'Reilly, Martin Dugard, Holt, $28, 9780805093070
10. The Presidents Club
Nancy Gibbs, Michael Duffy, S&S, $32.5, 9781439127704
11. An American Son
Marco Rubio, Sentinel, $26.95, 9781595230942
12. Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake
Anna Quindlen, Random House, $26, 9781400069347
13. Stand Up That Mountain
Jay Erskine Leutze, Scribner, $27, 9781451679007
14. Wheat Belly
William Davis, Rodale, $25.99, 9781609611545
15. The Power of Habit
Charles Duhigg, Random House, $28, 9781400069286

Trade Paperback Fiction

1. Fifty Shades of Grey
E.L. James, Vintage, $15.95, 9780345803481
2. Fifty Shades Darker
E.L. James, Vintage, $15.95, 9780345803498
3. Fifty Shades Freed
E.L. James, Vintage, $15.95, 9780345803504
4. Rules of Civility
Amor Towles, Penguin, $16, 9780143121169
5. The Night Circus
Erin Morgenstern, Anchor, $15, 9780307744432
6. State of Wonder
Ann Patchett, Harper Perennial, $15.99, 9780062049810
7. A Discovery of Witches
Deborah Harkness, Penguin, $16, 9780143119685
8. The Best of Me
Nicholas Sparks, Grand Central, $14.99, 9780446547642
9. Caleb's Crossing
Geraldine Brooks, Penguin, $16, 9780143121077
10. The Great Gatsby
F.Scott Fitzgerald, Scribner, $15, 9780743273565
11. Maine
J.Courtney Sullivan, Vintage, $15.95, 9780307742216
12. Bared to You
Sylvia Day, Berkley, $15, 9780425263907
13. Sea Change
Karen White, NAL, $15, 9780451236760
14. The Keeper of Lost Causes
Jussi Adler-Olsen, Plume, $16, 9780452297906
15. The Language of Flowers
Vanessa Diffenbaugh, Ballantine, $15, 9780345525550

Trade Paperback Nonfiction

1. In the Garden of Beasts
Erik Larson, Broadway, $16, 9780307408853
2. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Rebecca Skloot, Broadway, $16, 9781400052189
3. Bossypants
Tina Fey, Reagan Arthur Books, $15.99, 9780316056878
4. Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness
Alexandra Fuller, Penguin, $15, 9780143121343
5. Into the Wild
Jon Krakauer, Anchor, $14.95, 9780307387172
6. Destiny of the Republic
Candice Millard, Anchor, $16, 9780767929714
7. 1493
Charles C. Mann, Vintage, $16.95, 9780307278241
8. Tiny Beautiful Things
Cheryl Strayed, Vintage, $14.95, 9780307949332
9. The Greater Journey
David McCullough, S&S, $20, 9781416571773
10. The Eighty-Dollar Champion
Elizabeth Letts, Ballantine, $16, 9780345521095
11. I Remember Nothing
Nora Ephron, Vintage, $14, 9780307742803
12. To Heaven and Back
Mary C. Neal, Waterbrook, $14.99, 9780307731715
13. Hemingway's Boat
Paul Hendrickson, Vintage, $16.95, 9781400075355
14. How to Read Literature Like a Professor
Thomas C. Foster, Harper, $14.99, 9780060009427
15. Heaven Is for Real
Todd Burpo, Thomas Nelson, $16.99, 9780849946158

Mass Market

1. A Clash of Kings
George R.R. Martin, Bantam, $8.99, 9780345535429
2. A Game of Thrones
George R.R. Martin, Bantam, $8.99, 9780553593716
3. A Storm of Swords
George R.R. Martin, Bantam, $8.99, 9780553573428
4. The Catcher in the Rye
J.D. Salinger, Warner, $6.99, 9780316769488
5. To Kill a Mockingbird
Harper Lee, Warner, $7.99, 9780446310789
6. 1984
George Orwell, Signet, $9.99, 9780451524935
7. A Feast for Crows
George R.R. Martin, Bantam, $8.99, 9780553582024
8. Lord of the Flies
William Golding, Berkley, $9.99, 9780399501487
9. Ender's Game
Orson Scott Card, Tor, $6.99, 9780812550702
10. Animal Farm
George Orwell, Signet, $9.99, 9780451526342

Children's Illustrated

1. Pete the Cat: Rocking in my School Shoes
Eric Litwin, James Dean (Illus.), Harper, $16.99, 9780061910241
2. Goodnight Moon
Margaret Wise Brown, Clement Hurd (Illus.), Harper, $8.99, 9780694003617
3. Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes
Eric Litwin, James Dean (Illus.), Harper, $16.99, 9780061906220
4. The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
William Joyce, Atheneum, $17.99, 9781442457027
5. Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons
Eric Litwin, James Dean (Illus.), Harper, $16.99, 9780062110589
6. Rocket Writes a Story
Tad Hills, Schwartz & Wade, $17.99, 9780375870866
7. Dragons Love Tacos
Adam Rubin, Daniel Salmieri (Illus.), Dial, $16.99, 9780803736801
8. The Duckling Gets a Cookie!?
Mo Willems, Hyperion, $15.99, 9781423151289
9. The Night Before Kindergarten
Natasha Wing, Julie Durrell (Illus.), Grosset & Dunlap, $3.99, 9780448425009
10. Ladybug Girl at the Beach
David Soman, Jacky Davis, Dial, $16.99, 9780803734166

Children's Interest

1. The Book Thief
Markus Zusak, Knopf, $12.99, 9780375842207
2. Chomp
Carl Hiaasen, Knopf, $16.99, 9780375868429
3. The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell
Chris Colfer, Little Brown, $17.99, 9780316201575
4. The Wimpy Kid Do-It-Yourself Book
Jeff Kinney, Amulet, $12.95, 9780810989955
5. The Fault in Our Stars
John Green, Dutton, $17.99, 9780525478812
6. Thirteen Reasons Why
Jay Asher, Razorbill, $10.99, 9781595141880
7. Nancy Clancy, Super Sleuth
Jane O'Connor, Robin Preiss Glasser (Illus.), Harper, $9.99, 9780062082930
8. The Wimpy Kid Movie Diary
Jeff Kinney, Amulet, $15.95, 9781419706424
9. Three Times Lucky
Sheila Turnage, Dial, $16.99, 9780803736702
10. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing
Judy Blume, Puffin, $5.99, 9780142408810

Children's Fiction Series Titles

1. Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, #2)
Suzanne Collins, Scholastic, $17.99, 9780439023498
2. Nevermore: The Final Maximum Ride Adventure
James Patterson, Little Brown and Company, $17.99, 9780316101844
3. Mockingjay (The Final Book of the Hunger Games)
Suzanne Collins, Scholastic, $17.99, 9780439023511
4. The Hunger Games
Suzanne Collins, Scholastic, $12.99, 9780545425117
5. The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee (Origami Yoda Series, #3)
Tom Angleberger, Amulet, $12.95, 9781419703928
6. Divergent
Veronica Roth, Katherine Tegen Books, $9.99, 9780062024039
7. A Perfect Time for Pandas (Magic Tree House, #48)
Mary Pope Osborne, Sal Murdocca (Illus.), Random House, $12.99, 9780375868269
8. The Serpents Shadow (The Kane Chronicles, Book Three)
Rick Riordan, Hyperion, $19.99, 9781423140573
9. Insurgent (Divergent Series, #2)
Veronica Roth, Katherine Tegen Books, $17.99, 9780062024046
10. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever
Jeff Kinney, Amulet, $13.95, 9781419702235

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Lady Banks' Commonplace Book

Noteworthy poetry and prose from her ladyship's bedside reading stack.

Echoes Across the Blue RidgeCorn Dance

The girls line up around the sacred square.
They form a circle holding baskets for
se lu.  They wear their tears and rags in hair,
white aprons tied around each waist for more
of golden bounty. Partners stand beside
with moccasin-clad fet and ribbon shirts.
Boys crouch and gather corn to lay inside
the baskets. Circles of color and eart.
Se lu brins grain to feed her clan. She kneads
her womb and corn flows forth. Birth unto death.
Se lu leaves us the golden grain to feed
our clan. her body seven circles’ breath.

Ho-we-nu-ye  Hi-go-we-nu-ye
Ho-we-nu-ye  Hi-go-we-nu-ye

Debora Kinsland Foerst, in Echoes Across the Blue Ridge: Stories, Essays, and Poems by Writers Living In and Inspired by the Southern Appalachian Mountains. Edited by Nancy Simpson, Winding Path Press, 2010 9781450701525

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Book Gossip

Literary News & Gossip passed along from the readers, the writers, the reviewers, the resellers, the riff raff, and dutifully repeated here by her ladyship (who falls into the last category).

Little Free Library

DBF’s Little Free Library: More Photos of our Little Free Library. Hand drawn by Pulitzer Prize winner Mike Luckovich, you can bid for it at DBFauction.com or at the festival. Currently, it's on display at Charis Books in Little Five Points.
See all the Little Free Libraries on auction

Bily Graham Nearing HomeLight in August is the story of Joe Christmas, a man of indeterminate race who believes himself to be black despite appearing white. Because the exact details of his birth are lost to history and retold vaguely through unreliable narrators, we know only slightly more than Christmas does: he might be part black, he might be Mexican, he might be white. This unknowing, this lack of definition, forms the central irony of the book and mirrors perfectly the central irony of the American experience: we are a nation built upon, devoted to, and defined by constructed racial categories that do not—scientifically speaking—exist. Why Light in August is Faulkner’s Great American Novel

The gathering, Marc Smirnoff said, was intended as a morale-boosting retreat for his staff at The Oxford American magazine, a July 4 overnight party at a mountain cabin that would fuel the creative intellect. But things quickly went awry.  Oxford Magazine editor fired following harassment accusation

Jane Gentry Vance, Karen Salyer McElmurray and Silas House are judges for the New Southerner 2012 Literary Contest.

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Author Gossip

Hester BassFeatured: Hester Bass
Author of The Secret World of Walter Anderson

Hester Bass is a dream believer, goal achiever, and story weaver. As a child, she made a list of things she wanted to do and places she wanted to go. (Her life has been all about checking things off that list.)
Hester Bass grew up in rural Georgia, close enough to Atlanta to experience the jewels of city life yet still raise tadpoles on the porch. She was shaped by her mother's love of language, her father's love of family, and books by favorite authors such as Beatrix Potter and A.A. Milne. Her first story was about a green-eyed cat. Her first job was at a wild animal park. (Read books, write stories, have a job that's fun.)

The Secret World of Walter AndersonHer most recent book is The Secret World of Walter Anderson, a picture book biography of the remarkable Mississippi artist, Walter Inglis Anderson, published in 2009 by Candlewick Press and illustrated by E. B. Lewis. It received a starred review in Kirkus and was named one of the best books of the year, winning the SIBA Book Award and the NCTE Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children.

Hester is forever adding to her list of things to do and places to go. Recent entries include "Be in a Movie (preferably The Hobbit),” "Be a contestant on JEOPARDY! (currently in their contestant pool)," "Meet Alan Rickman (that voice! sigh)," "Meet Christopher Nolan (genius!)," and “Visit New Zealand.”

Request Hester Bass for a book club or school

More gossip:

Fat is the New 30Q: For the uninitiated, distinguish the “Sweet Potato Queens” and the Red Hat ladies. A: I like to say that we have a pulse and a libido. They’re having a big time, and good for them, but everything is more fun with sparkles on it. An interview with the Sweet Potato Queen

Harper Lee, photo by Truman Capote, 1960 (used on the back of the first edition of To Kill a Mockingbird) here

Mark Twain filmed by Thomas Edison

In this short silent film, the only known footage of Mark Twain in the world, we get to catch a glimpse of the legendary author doing the things that we have always dreamed about him doing — ambling about his estate in his signature white suit, smoking his cigar, having tea with his daughters, and looking amiably crotchety all the while — as captured by Thomas Edison (!) in 1909.  Mark Twain footage.

Ron Rash’s Top Ten List: It was a warm summer evening and my grandfather, still dressed in his work clothes, was smoking a Camel cigarette as he lingered at the kitchen table after a hard day’s work. When I handed my grandfather the red and blue book (“The Cat and the Hat”) and asked him to read to me, he did not offer any excuse, not even the most obvious one. Instead, he laid the open book on the table before us, peering over my shoulder as he turned the pages with his work-and-nicotine-stained fingers, and I heard the story of a talking cat and his high, blue-striped hat.“What he had done was make up a story to fit the pictures that lay on the pages before us. Not surprisingly, I quickly realized that the story he was reading was very different from the one my mother had read from the same book. Ron Rash's Top Ten Favorite Books

“The meaning of a story should go on expanding for the reader the more he thinks about it, but meaning cannot be captured in an interpretation. If teachers are in the habit of approaching a story as if it were a research problem for which any answer is believable so long as it is not obvious, then I think students will never learn to enjoy fiction. Too much interpretation is certainly worse than too little, and where feeling for a story is absent, theory will not supply it.  My tone is not meant to be obnoxious. I am in a state of shock.”  Flannery O’Connor in a letter to an English professor

STARSSTARS Authors on tour:

What are "STARS" authors? These are authors listing in the Southern Traveling Authors Registration Service--a directory of authors who live in, or are traveling in the South and are interested in meeting with book clubs, civic groups, classrooms, and readers of all kinds. The STARS directory is brought to you by Southern Indie Booksellers, who want to connect readers with their favorite writers.

see the full list online here and find the authors touring in your area here

Kala Ambrose  ,
Cary, NC 09/27/2012 - 09/27/2012
New Orleans, LA 10/13/2012 - 10/13/2012

Hester Bass  ,
Greenville, SC 09/14/2012 - 09/16/2012
Spartanburg, SC 09/17/2012 - 09/18/2012
Richmond, VA 09/19/2012 - 09/20/2012
Staunton, VA 09/29/2012 - 09/29/2012
Birmingham, AL 10/19/2012 - 10/21/2012

Kimberly Brock  ,
Dahlonega, GA 11/09/2012 - 11/11/2012

M.M. LeBlanc  ,
Naples, FL 09/08/2012 - 09/09/2012
Pensacola, FL 09/14/2012 - 09/14/2012
Lafayette, LA 10/14/2012 - 10/14/2012
Baton Rouge, LA 10/26/2012 - 10/27/2012
Miami, FL 11/16/2012 - 11/18/2012

Pamela Bauer Mueller  ,
Jekyll Island, GA 11/9/2012 - 11/11/2012

Nancy Naigle  ,
Naples, FL 9/7/2012 - 9/9/2012
Lynchburg, VA 09/28/2012 - 09/30/2012
Rocky Mount, NC 10/01/2012 - 10/31/2012
Richmond, VA 10/19/2012 - 10/21/2012

David Taylor  ,
Baton Rouge, LA 10/26/2012 - 10/27/2012

Renea Winchester  ,
Decatur, GA 09/02/2012 - 09/02/2012

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Bookstore Gossip

Literary News & Gossip passed along from the readers, the writers, the reviewers, the resellers, the riff raff, and dutifully repeated here by her ladyship (who falls into the last category).

Page and Palette

Page and Palette
Fairhope, Alabama

This third-generation family-owned bookstore has been a Fairhope landmark for over 40 years. Proudly seated in the heart of the downtown community, they host to a range of author events from local, up-and-coming names to block-busting celebrities. In addition to new (and used) books and art supplies, they also carry greeting cards, journals, and a variety of merchandise. All of this over a cup of locally roasted coffee in Latte Da–their very own coffee shop.
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More bookstore gossip:

When BHK Kafe announced its move from inside Nightbird Books to the Fayetteville square earlier this summer, bookstore owner Lisa Sharp decided against finding a replacement coffee shop to fill the vacant restaurant space.  Instead, after watching BHK (and Hammontree’s before them) outgrow the bookstore, Sharp decided it was time to enter the coffee business herself. “This is kind of the grand vision I originally had of what I wanted Nightbird to be,” she said. “We had Jon Allen of Anonymous Coffee come by and set us up with some equipment. Later that day, we were selling coffee.” Nightbird Books open coffee shop

Inkwood Books, "the fiercely independent bookstore in a cozy old Hyde Park bungalow" in Tampa, Fla., is for sale, but co-owner Carla Jimenez said "there's more to the story, a deeper read, and hope... that the spirit of Inkwood will persevere," the Tampa Bay Times reported.  She and business partner Leslie Reiner insisted this news "is not an obituary" for the 20-year-old bookshop, the Times wrote. Jimenez has been contemplating retirement for some time, and Reiner does not want to be the sole owner. "I could do it, but it wouldn't be as much fun," she said. Inkwood Books is for sale, attracts 4 potential buyers

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Lady Banks' {Book} Trailer Park

Man in the Blue Moon

Man in the Blue Moon

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Read This! Okra Picks and Unchained Choices from Inkwood Books

Okra Picks: Man in the Blue Moon by Michael Morris

Michael Morris
A good independent bookstore is invaluable to an author from beginning to end. Here’s how it all went down for me:
Page and Palette has been a huge supporter of my career. When I was driving around the southeast trying to get people to read A Place Called Wiregrass, my first book, they were so nice. Literally, I walked into the store and handed the novel to the sales clerk. A few weeks later she emailed to say that she loved it and was recommending it to every book club the store had. To this day, I have participated in more book club discussions in Fairhope than in any other city! I can’t wait to visit again with Man in the Blue Moon!

Man in the MoonWhen I finished Man in the Blue Moon, my current novel, I turned to my key friends and supporters and asked them to take a look at it. Many SIBA booksellers were extremely supportive and offered pre-publication quotes for the book: Mary Gay Shipley, Tom Warner, Jake Reiss, Sally Brewster of Park Road Books and Kathy Patrick. Karin Wilson was also among that number but eventually went above and beyond! Karin told me that she loved Man in the Blue Moon so much that she ended up giving it to the Tyndale representative who walked into the store right after she finished reading it.

My experiences with Page and Palette and Karen Wilson represent what independent booksellers are all about – they will take a chance on a writer and know how to connect a book with just the right reader. It is a service that no one else can offer aspiring writers and eager readers.

--Michael Morris

Full set of Okra Picks here

Inkwood Books’ Unchained Choices:

BattlebornBATTLEBORN by CLAIRE VAYE WATKINS –“Possibly the best collection of short stories I have ever read. The stories are all centered around Watkins’ home state of Nevada, and the characters are as gritty as the Mojave Desert, as full of hope as a man at a slot machine in Vegas and as enduring as an adobe house. That being said, these stories are not heartwarming, but the characters in them are strong, survivors - battleborn. If you appreciate the art of the short story, Battleborn will not disappoint. This is Watkins’ first published collection, and I can’t wait to see what she does with a novel.” Lindsay. 9781594488252

The Care and Handling of Roses with ThornsTHE CARE AND HANDLING OF ROSES WITH THORNS by MARGARET DILLOWAY - “Thirty six year-old Galilee ‘Gal’ Garner is as prickly as the thorns on the Hulthemia roses that she breeds and enters in major rose competitions. A lifelong struggle with kidney disease and a regimen of dialysis every other day, coupled with her need for a third kidney transplant, has necessitated her leading a highly structured life. Described by the students that she teaches as ‘difficult and obstinate’, she is forced to make some changes when her fifteen year-old niece, Riley, shows up unexpectedly one day, needing a home and guardian. Filled with fascinating details about rose breeding and competing, this book was hard to put down.” Avery. 9780399157752

City of WomenCITY OF WOMEN by DAVID GILLHAM--"Set in 1943 Berlin, City of Women tells the story of several remarkable women forced to make difficult choices during Hitler's reign in Germany. What makes this book so fascinating is how it shows ordinary German women (so many men were at the front) who may have never considered themselves brave or political or religious, suddenly (occasionally reluctantly) making life-changing and life-threatening choices in order to help someone else. Gillham writes beautifully, and the drudgery and terror of wartime Berlin, the loneliness and desire for connection, the numbing horror of war and battle are made all too real. This is a literary page-turner, an illuminating historical novel, and a fabulous story of women during wartime. I can't wait to recommend this book. (I also would love to see it as a PBS mini-series...!)” Leslie. 9780399157769

Creole BelleCREOLE BELLE by JAMES LEE BURKE –“The good news is that Burke’s Louisiana detective Dave Robicheaux survived being shot at the end of The Glass Rainbow. The bad news is that not only is his long sobriety challenged, but the trauma and the morphine trigger his Vietnam PTSD. Yes, it’s a dark tale, with cruelty, corruption, greed and grief. But you’ll care enough for Robicheaux, his sidekick Clete, both their daughters, and the real or hallucinated missing blues singer Tee Jolie, that you won’t be able to put it down. Burke is known for his ‘bayou noir’, and the BP oil spill and the business-as-usual corruption bring some political to this very personal story.” Carla. 9781451648133

The Devil All the TimeTHE DEVIL ALL THE TIME by DONALD RAY POLLOCK ­–“The Devil All the Time reads like the lovechild of McCarthy and O’Connor, set in a county fit for Faulkner; it is a disturbingly beautiful first novel. Pollock compiles a band of the lowest lowlifes - a serial killer and his twisted wife, a godless preacher, a corrupt sheriff, an attorney - throws them all into the rural town Knockemstiff, Ohio, and lets the brutality unfold. Stringing the narratives of each nefarious character together is Arvin Eugene Russell. As a boy, Arvin witnesses his mother waste away from cancer, resulting in his father’s fervor for animal sacrifice. Despite his gruesome upbringing, Arvin grows into an honorable young man (doling out justice with his fists) proving redemption for those of Knockemstiff is indeed possible. This book is violent, the characters are (for the most part) despicable, and I loved every page of it.” Lindsay 9780307744869

How to Be a WomanHOW TO BE A WOMAN by CAITLIN MORAN –“This cheeky, geeky, funny London Times columnist has penned a brilliant memoir/manifesto for women and girls everywhere, whether or not they call themselves feminists. Laugh out loud on one page, revisit the angst of adolescence on the next, then marvel at her intelligent and thoughtful analysis on the next. Caution: Her language is not for everyone but if you’re not freaked out by swearing, I urge you to rad this book.” Carla. 9780062124296

The Keeper of Lost CausesTHE KEEPER OF LOST CAUSES by JUSSI-ADLER-OLSEN - "Best-selling Danish author Adler-Olsen introduces his very deeply flawed chief detective Carl Morck in the first a series of thrillers. Morck, once one of Copenhagen's best detectives, has been struggling since he was wounded in a shoot-out that killed one partner and left the other crippled. Put in charge of cold cases in the hope it would force him to retire, Morck finds himself caught in a crime in the past, and confronting the case that almost took his life. Morck joins a long list of morose, tortured detectives I can't seem to get enough of." Leslie 9780452297906

A Million HeavensA MILLION HEAVENS by JOHN BRANDON -“It’s difficult to describe exactly what this book is about, because it’s about so many things, among them faith, music, love, grief, freedom, and reconciliation. What I can say for sure is that A Million Heavens contains some of the most beautiful, lyrical prose I’ve ever read, and that the characters you meet are real enough to step right from the pages, fully formed. Brandon has created something truly magical, and you’ll love every moment spent in his world.” Amanda. 9781936365739

My Dear I Wanted to Tell YouMY DEAR I WANTED TO TELL YOU by LOUISA YOUNG - “Somehow this novel slipped past me in hardcover, but I am so glad I discovered it. A stunning epic tale and love story centered on WWI, My Dear I Meant to Tell You follows two quite different couples and chronicles the devastating effects of the war on their lives. Grounded in historical accuracy, the novel’s descriptions of the medical and surgical treatments of the day, and the beginnings of plastic surgery are chilling as well as fascinating.” Leslie. 9780061997150

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