{Read, read, read. Read everything.}

In which voices are heard from the past, Ms. Nancy Pearl recommends some Southern fiction and does not completely miss the mark, Mr. Bass sneaks into his neighbors' gardens in order to plant tulips, and Mr. William Faulkner exhorts us to read, read, read. Read everything.

September 23, 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!

Severe Clear Gone Yellow Birds Zoo Man in the Blue Moon Shadow of Night Weird Things Customers Say in BookstoresWheat Belly Woody Durham A Wilderness of Error Man in the Blue Moon The Shoemaker's Wife The Great Gatsby Wolf Hall Art of Racing the Rain Unleash Call the Midwife The Untethered Soul Midnight Rising Zero Day
Kill Shot
Hamlet Creepy Carrots My Brave Year of Firsts The Care and Keeping of You Dragons Love Tacos The OutsidersThe Giver Number the Stars


Author Readings

Charis Books & More is hosting the event Amy Andrews Feminist Bookstore Concert Tour to Benefit Charis Circle! on 09/28/2012 (12849)

David Menconi will be appearing at Flyleaf Books, 09/28/2012 (12666)

Emily Colin , author of The Memory Thief, will be appearing at Fiction Addiction, 09/28/2012 (12681)

Kyle Willaims, author of The Stranger in the Room, will be appearing at Eagle Eye Book Shop, 09/28/2012 (12688)

John Shelton Reed will be appearing at Octavia Books, 09/28/2012 (12728)

Kristen Iversen, author of GROWING UP IN THE NUCLEAR SHADOW OF ROCKY FLATS, will be appearing at Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe, 09/28/2012 (12747)

Wyclef Jean, author of Purpose , will be appearing at Books & Books Inc, 09/28/2012 (12794)

Paul Leonard, author of Where is Church, will be appearing at Park Road Books, 09/29/2012 (12814)

Judy Hogan, author of Killer Frost, will be appearing at Flyleaf Books, 09/29/2012 (12667)

Rick Veal, author of The Master of Whitehall, will be appearing at Fiction Addiction, 09/29/2012 (12682)

Carmen Deedy will be appearing at Eagle Eye Book Shop, 09/29/2012 (12689)

Terry Roberts, author of A Short Time to Stay Here, will be appearing at Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe, 09/29/2012 (12748)

Parnassus Books is hosting the event Saturday Storytime on 09/29/2012 (12759)

Kat Zhang, author of What's Left of Me, will be appearing at Parnassus Books, 09/29/2012 (12760)

Deon Davis, author of Beanie and the Bully, will be appearing at Books & Books Inc, 09/29/2012 (12795)

Charis Books & More is hosting the event Weyward Macbeth: Intersections of Race and Performance on 09/30/2012 (12850)

Stella Subeman, author of The GI Bill Boys, will be appearing at Flyleaf Books, 09/30/2012 (12668)

Angela Halfacre, author of A Delicate Balance: Constructing a Conservation Culture in the South Carolina Lowcountry , will be appearing at Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe, 09/30/2012 (12749)

Emma Straub, author of Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures, will be appearing at Flyleaf Books, 10/01/2012 (12824)

Charis Books & More is hosting the event T&F Transitionz: A Project of Feminist Outlawz on 10/01/2012 (12851)

Colin Meloy, author of Under Wildwood, will be appearing at Parnassus Books, 10/01/2012 (12761)

Paul Tough, author of , will be appearing at Avid Bookshop, 10/01/2012 (12788)

Dr. Brian Weiss, author of Miracles Happen: The Transformational Healing Power of Past-Life Memories , will be appearing at Books & Books Inc, 10/01/2012 (12796)

Flyleaf Books is hosting the event ArtsCenter Stage's 44 Plays for 44 Presidents on 10/02/2012 (12825)

Ray Glier, author of How the SEC Became Goliath, will be appearing at Eagle Eye Book Shop, 10/02/2012 (12844)

Cavalier House Books is hosting the event Book Club Meeting - Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic on 10/02/2012 (12614)

Parnassus Books is hosting the event Let's Talk Books with Donna Nicely and Judy Turner on 10/02/2012 (12762)

Michael Chabon will be appearing at Parnassus Books, 10/02/2012 (12763)

Dr. Brian Weiss, author of Miracles Happen: The Transformational Healing Power of Past-Life Memories , will be appearing at Books & Books Inc, 10/02/2012 (12797)

Jonathan Kozol, author of Fire in the Ashes, will be appearing at Books & Books Inc, 10/02/2012 (12798)

Martin Llorens will be appearing at Books & Books Inc, 10/02/2012 (12799)

Joel Nickels, author of The Poetry of the Possible, will be appearing at Books & Books Inc, 10/03/2012 (12800)

Flyleaf Books is hosting the event Sacrificial Poets Touchstone Open Mic on 10/03/2012 (12826)

Fred Thompson, author of Fred Thompson's Southern Sides: 250 Dishes That Really Make the Plate, will be appearing at Regulator Bookshop, 10/03/2012 (12859)

Kresley Cole, author of Poison Princess, will be appearing at Garden District Book Shop, 10/03/2012 (12868)

John Krontiras, author of Beloved Family Recipes, will be appearing at Alabama Booksmith, 10/03/2012 (12624)

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

Harvey Simon, author of The Madman Theory , will be appearing at Books & Books Inc, 10/04/2012 (12801)

Verlyn Klinkenborg, author of Short Sentences About Writing , will be appearing at Books & Books Inc, 10/04/2012 (12802)

Julia Scatliff O'Grady, author of Good Busy, will be appearing at Flyleaf Books, 10/04/2012 (12827)

Flyleaf Books is hosting the event Pre-School story time & activity on 10/04/2012 (12828)

Nightbird Books is hosting the event First Thursday After-Party with Rival Colors Photography on 10/04/2012 (12839)

Jamala Rogers, author of The Best of , will be appearing at Charis Books & More, 10/04/2012 (12852)

David Menconi, author of Ryan Adams: Losering, A Story of Whiskeytown, will be appearing at Regulator Bookshop, 10/04/2012 (12860)

William J. Cooper, author of We Have The War Upon Us: The Onset of the Civil War, November 1860-April 1861, will be appearing at Garden District Book Shop, 10/04/2012 (12869)

Parnassus Books is hosting the event After School Story Time on 10/04/2012 (12764)

Bill Ivey will be appearing at Parnassus Books, 10/04/2012 (12765)

Avid Bookshop is hosting the event Read for the Record: LadyBug Girl and the Bug Squad ~ Special Story Time on 10/04/2012 (12789)

Naomi Duguid, author of Burma, will be appearing at Books & Books Inc, 10/05/2012 (12803)

Tara Fuller, author of Inbetween, will be appearing at Park Road Books, 10/05/2012 (12815)

Pam Durban, author of The Tree of Forgetfulness, will be appearing at Flyleaf Books, 10/05/2012 (12829)

Nightbird Books is hosting the event Bayard Godsave & George McCormick on 10/05/2012 (12840)

David Cecelski, author of The Fire of Freedom: Abraham Galloway and the Slave?s Civil War, will be appearing at Regulator Bookshop, 10/05/2012 (12861)

Literary BookPost is hosting the event LBP's Reading Betweens the Wines Book Club on 10/05/2012 (12669)

Page & Palette is hosting the event Grand Festival of Arts & Books on 10/05/2012 (12772)

Watt Key will be appearing at Page & Palette, 10/05/2012 (12774)

Dan Rosenburg, author of The Crushing Organ, will be appearing at Avid Bookshop, 10/05/2012 (12790)

Books & Books Inc is hosting the event Meet & Greet Signing: Zane -- Z-Rated: Chocolate Flava 3 on 10/06/2012 (12804)

Books & Books Inc is hosting the event Zane -- Z-Rated: Chocolate Flava 3 on 10/06/2012 (12805)

Mary Netreba, author of Rosemary for Remembrance, will be appearing at Park Road Books, 10/06/2012 (12816)

Nathan Kotecki, author of The Suburban Strange, will be appearing at Flyleaf Books, 10/06/2012 (12830)

Flyleaf Books is hosting the event Saturday Morning Story Time on 10/06/2012 (12831)

Nightbird Books is hosting the event Poetry Reading by Adam Clay, Johnathon Williams, Keith Newton, and Jessica Baran on 10/06/2012 (12841)

Phil Sandusky, author of New Orleans: Impressionist Cityscapes, will be appearing at Garden District Book Shop, 10/06/2012 (12870)

Catherine Hollan, author of Virginia Silversmiths, Jewelers, Clock and Watchmakers, 1607-1860, Their Lives and Marks, will be appearing at Old Salem Museums & Gardens, 10/06/2012 (12632)

Christa Hedrick, author of We Were Army Wives, will be appearing at That Bookstore in Blytheville, 10/06/2012 (12691)

Parnassus Books is hosting the event Saturday Storytime on 10/06/2012 (12766)

Page & Palette is hosting the event Grand Festival of Arts & Books on 10/06/2012 (12773)

Rick Riordan will be appearing at Page & Palette, 10/06/2012 (12775)

Avid Bookshop is hosting the event Banned Books Bash! on 10/06/2012 (12791)

Books & Books Inc is hosting the event Rick Riordan -- The Mark of Athena on 10/07/2012 (12806)

Hedy Goldsmith, author of Baking Out Loud, will be appearing at Books & Books Inc, 10/07/2012 (12807)

Pam Cable, author of Televenge, will be appearing at Park Road Books, 10/07/2012 (12817)

Erika Marks , author of The Mermaid Collector, will be appearing at The Fountainhead Bookstore, 10/07/2012 (12821)

Avid Bookshop is hosting the event Snoozapalooza Pajama Party on 10/07/2012 (12792)

Avid Bookshop is hosting the event Kids' Book Club: The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, Book 1, The Mysterious Howling on 10/07/2012 (12793)

Stacy London, author of The Truth About Style, will be appearing at Books & Books Inc, 10/08/2012 (12808)

Claire and Mia Fontaine, author of Have Mother, Will Travel, will be appearing at Books & Books Inc, 10/08/2012 (12809)

Chris Cleave, author of Have Mother, Will Travel, will be appearing at Books & Books Inc, 10/08/2012 (12810)

Charis Books & More is hosting the event Writing With Intent on 10/08/2012 (12853)

Pam Durban, author of The Tree of Forgetfulness, will be appearing at Regulator Bookshop, 10/08/2012 (12862)

Slade Rushing, author of Southern Comfort: A New Take on the Recipes We Grew Up With, will be appearing at Garden District Book Shop, 10/08/2012 (12871)

Carlos Andres Gomez Gomez, author of Man Up: Cracking the Code of Modern Manhood, will be appearing at Books & Books Inc, 10/09/2012 (12811)

Michael Morris will be appearing at Park Road Books, 10/09/2012 (12818)

Susan Snowden, author of Southern Fried Lies, will be appearing at The Fountainhead Bookstore, 10/09/2012 (12822)

Flyleaf Books is hosting the event UNC Humanities Spotlight on Scholars: Plants, Animals, and Climate Change: Who Wins? Who Loses? on 10/09/2012 (12832)

Julie Williams, author of A Rare Titanic Family, will be appearing at FoxTale Book Shoppe, 10/09/2012 (12847)

Regulator Bookshop is hosting the event 2nd Annual Great Durham Pun Championship on 10/09/2012 (12863)

Judy Goldman, author of Losing My Sister, will be appearing at Regulator Bookshop, 10/09/2012 (12864)

Blue Ridge Books & News is hosting the event Mountain Writers Group on 10/09/2012 (12612)

Michele Gillespie, author of Katharine and R. J. Reynolds Partners of Fortune in the Making of the New South, will be appearing at Old Salem Museums & Gardens, 10/09/2012 (12631)

John McCusker, author of Creole Trombone: Kid Ory and the Early Years of Jazz, will be appearing at Octavia Books, 10/09/2012 (12729)

Caroline Kennedy, author of Listening In: The Secret White House Recordings of JFK, will be appearing at Parnassus Books, 10/09/2012 (12767)

Louise Erdrich, author of The Round House, will be appearing at Parnassus Books, 10/09/2012 (12768)

Patti Rose, author of Cultural Competency for Health Administration and Public Health, will be appearing at Books & Books Inc, 10/10/2012 (12812)

Kathleen Flinn, author of The Kitchen Counter Cooking School, will be appearing at Books & Books Inc, 10/10/2012 (12813)

Marion Ellis, author of An Independent Profession: A Centennial History of The Mecklenburg County Bar, will be appearing at Park Road Books, 10/10/2012 (12819)

Judy Goldman, author of Losing My Sister, will be appearing at Flyleaf Books, 10/10/2012 (12833)

Flyleaf Books is hosting the event UNC Humanities in Action (ticketed): The World is Fat: Current Patterns, Trends, and Controversies on 10/10/2012 (12834)

Nightbird Books is hosting the event Poetry Book Club: The Best American Poetry of 2012 on 10/10/2012 (12842)

Rosie Pope, author of Mommy IQ , will be appearing at FoxTale Book Shoppe, 10/10/2012 (12848)

Janet McAdams, author of Red Weather, will be appearing at Charis Books & More, 10/10/2012 (12854)

Island Bookstore is hosting the event Star Wars Reads Day on 10/10/2012 (12618)

Parnassus Books is hosting the event Nashville Reads Book Discussion: The Handmaid's Tale on 10/10/2012 (12769)

Jim and Joyce Lavene, author of Treacherous Toys, will be appearing at Park Road Books, 10/11/2012 (12820)

Flyleaf Books is hosting the event Pre-School story time & activity on 10/11/2012 (12835)

Flyleaf Books is hosting the event Flyleaf Poetry Series Halloween Party & Contest Winners readings & Open Mic on 10/11/2012 (12836)

Avid Bookshop is hosting the event Free Thursday Story Time on 10/11/2012 (12845)

Charis Books & More is hosting the event God Carlos by Anthony C. Winkler at Auburn Ave Research Library on 10/11/2012 (12855)

Tony Reevy, author of Steam Trains!, will be appearing at Regulator Bookshop, 10/11/2012 (12865)

Stephen Pastis, author of Pearls Freaks the #*%# Out: A Pearls Before Swine Treasury, will be appearing at Garden District Book Shop, 10/11/2012 (12872)

Parnassus Books is hosting the event After School Story Time on 10/11/2012 (12770)

Margaret Cunningham, author of Always Charlie, will be appearing at Page & Palette, 10/11/2012 (12776)

E.O. Wilson will be appearing at Page & Palette, 10/11/2012 (12777)

Enid Shomer, author of The Twelve Rooms of the Nile, will be appearing at Inkwood Books, 10/11/2012 (12780)

Susan Boyer, author of Low Country Boil, will be appearing at Literary BookPost, 10/12/2012 (12670)

Jan Brett will be appearing at Inkwood Books, 10/12/2012 (12781)

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)

Flyleaf Books is hosting the event Prompt Writing Class with Nancy Peacock on 10/13/2012 (12837)

Calvin White, author of The Rise to Respectability, will be appearing at Nightbird Books, 10/13/2012 (12843)

Carol Bland Dolson, author of Hattie and the Higgledy-Piggledy Hedge, will be appearing at Avid Bookshop, 10/13/2012 (12846)

William Chafe, author of Bill and Hillary, will be appearing at Regulator Bookshop, 10/13/2012 (12866)

Adrienne Palma, author of Roza Sanchez, will be appearing at Island Bookstore, 10/13/2012 (12619)

Parnassus Books is hosting the event Saturday Storytime on 10/13/2012 (12771)

Jan Brett, author of Mossy, will be appearing at Page & Palette, 10/13/2012 (12778)

Octavia Books is hosting the event Octavia Books Science Fiction Book Club on 10/13/2012 (12783)

Dianne de Las Casas will be appearing at Octavia Books, 10/13/2012 (12784)

Fred Thompson, author of Fred Thompson's Southern Sides: 250 Dishes That Really Make the Plate, will be appearing at Garden District Book Shop, 10/14/2012 (12873)

That Bookstore in Blytheville is hosting the event George Singleton Book Signing on 10/15/2012 (12838)

Bill Finch will be appearing at Alabama Booksmith, 10/15/2012 (12625)

Laurie Bakke, author of Laurie Bakke's Cookbook, will be appearing at The Fountainhead Bookstore, 10/16/2012 (12823)

JOhn Batchelor, author of Chefs of the Mountains, will be appearing at Regulator Bookshop, 10/16/2012 (12867)

Page & Palette is hosting the event J.K. Rowling Live Webcast on 10/16/2012 (12779)

Octavia Books is hosting the event Brain Quest Challenge! on 10/17/2012 (12785)

Inkwood Books is hosting the event BOOK GROUP NIGHT on 10/18/2012 (12782)

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,

In 1965, the year before her ladyship was born, Mr. Robert Penn Warren published Who Speaks for the Negro? — a collection of conversations with people in the Civil Rights Robert Penn WarrenMovement, along with Mr. Warren’s own reflections on the people and the times. In his research for the book, the author and first United States Poet Laureate traveled throughout the country, toting a massive reel-to-reel tape recorder which he used to record the conversations he had with both leaders in the movement--people like Malcolm X and Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.-- and also people in the “trenches,” such as Ms. Clarie Collins Harvey, a woman from Louisa, Mississippi who helped organize a series of safe houses for civil rights workers and worked to register black voters.

This summer Vanderbuilt University has made the digitized recordings of Mr. Warren’s interviews available in an online archive:  http://whospeaks.library.vanderbilt.edu/

Her ladyship lost an entire day listening to these tapes. It is both eerie and humbling to hear these voices out of a past that should not be thought “distant.” “I’ve never heard him just talk. You only hear (recordings of) King preach or give a speech,” comments Mona Frederick, executive director of the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities at Vanderbilt.  

Who Speaks for the Negro?There is a sense of immediacy listening to these people “just talk” to Mr. Warren.  Listing to Ms. Septima Poinsette Clarke as she remembers her struggle to establish literacy programs in Tennessee (work that caused her to be arrested and put on trial), or to the group of students at Tougaloo College as they discuss the trial of Byron de la Beckwith (the man accused of murdering Medgar Evers), which had just ended in a hung jury.  Mr. Warren asks the students if they believe the trial was rigged. The students are uncertain, disillusioned, and skeptical about the kind of “progress” that would be evidenced by the fact that the state of Mississippi would take the trouble to rig a trial that a few years earlier might not even have made it to court.

The book Who Speaks for the Negro? is out of print. But the words of the people Mr. Warren took the trouble to talk to—they ring in our ears even now.

Happy Reading!

her ladyship, the editor

Southern Indie Bestsellers

For the week ending September 23, 2012

Columbia, SC -September 27, 2012 - The Southern Indie Bestseller List, as brought to you by IndieBound.org and SIBA, for the week ended Sunday, September 23, 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. Winter of the World
Ken Follett, Dutton, $36, 9780525952923
2. Gone Girl
Gillian Flynn, Crown, $25, 9780307588364
3. Telegraph Avenue
Michael Chabon, Harper, $27.99, 9780061493348
4. A Wanted Man
Lee Child, Delacorte, $28, 9780385344333
5. This Is How You Lose Her
Junot Díaz, Riverhead, $26.95, 9781594487361
6. The Time Keeper
Mitch Albom, Hyperion, $24.99, 9781401322786
7. Severe Clear
Stuart Woods, Putnam Adult, $26.95, 9780399159848
okra8. Gone
Randy Wayne White, Putnam Adult, $25.95, 9780399158490

9. The Light Between Oceans
M.L. Stedman, Scribner, $25, 9781451681734
10. The Yellow Birds
Kevin Powers, Little Brown, $24.99, 9780316219365
11. Zoo
James Patterson, Michael Ledwidge, Little Brown, $27.99, 9780316097444
12. A Dance With Dragons
George R.R. Martin, Bantam, $35, 9780553801477
okra13. Man in the Blue Moon
Michael Morris, Tyndale House, $19.99, 9781414373300

14. The Beautiful Mystery
Louise Penny, Minotaur, $25.99, 9780312655464
15. Shadow of Night
Deborah Harkness, Viking, $28.95, 9780670023486

Hardcover Nonfiction

1. No Easy Day
Mark Owen, Dutton, $26.95, 9780525953722
2. The Price of Politics
Bob Woodward, S&S, $30, 9781451651102
3. Joseph Anton: A Memoir
Salman Rushdie, Random House, $30, 9780812992786
4. Mortality
Christopher Hitchens, Twelve, $22.99, 9781455502752
5. Wild
Cheryl Strayed, Knopf, $25.95, 9780307592736
6. The Oath
Jeffrey Toobin, Doubleday, $28.95, 9780385527200
7. Weird Things Customers Say in Bookstores
Jen Campbell, Overlook, $15, 9781468301281
8. Unbroken
Laura Hillenbrand, Random House, $27, 9781400064168
9. Wheat Belly
William Davis, Rodale, $25.99, 9781609611545
10. How Music Works
David Byrne, McSweeney's, $32, 9781936365531
11. Woody Durham: A Tar Heel Voice
Woody Durham, John F. Blair Publisher, $26.95, 9780895875778
12. I Could Pee on This
Francesco Marciuliano, Chronicle, $12.95, 9781452110585
13. A Wilderness of Error
Errol Morris, Penguin Press, $29.95, 9781594203435
14. I'm Your Man
Sylvie Simmons, Ecco, $27.99, 9780061994982
15. Killing Lincoln
Bill O'Reilly, Martin Dugard, Holt, $28, 9780805093070

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. The Sense of an Ending
Julian Barnes, Vintage, $14.95, 9780307947727
5. The Marriage Plot
Jeffrey Eugenides, Picador, $16, 9781250014764
6. The Night Circus
Erin Morgenstern, Anchor, $15, 9780307744432
7. Rules of Civility
Amor Towles, Penguin, $16, 9780143121169
8. Cloud Atlas
David Mitchell, Random House, $15, 9780375507250
9. State of Wonder
Ann Patchett, Harper Perennial, $15.99, 9780062049810
okra10. Man in the Blue Moon
Michael Morris, Tyndale House, $13.99, 9781414368429

11. The Shoemaker's Wife
Adriana Trigiani, Harper, $15.99, 9780061257100
12. The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Stephen Chbosky, MTV Books, $14, 9781451696196
13. The Great Gatsby
F.Scott Fitzgerald, Scribner, $15, 9780743273565
14. Wolf Hall
Hilary Mantel, Picador, $16, 9780312429980
15. The Art of Racing in the Rain
Garth Stein, Harper, $14.99, 9780061537967

Trade Paperback Nonfiction

1. Bossypants
Tina Fey, Reagan Arthur Books, $15.99, 9780316056878
2. In the Garden of Beasts
Erik Larson, Broadway, $16, 9780307408853
3. Catherine the Great
Robert K. Massie, Random House, $20, 9780345408778
4. The Swerve
Stephen J. Greenblatt, Norton, $16.95, 9780393343403
5. Unleash!
Perry Noble, Tyndale House, $15.99, 9781414366791
6. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Rebecca Skloot, Broadway, $16, 9781400052189
7. Eat to Live
Joel Fuhrman, Little Brown, $15.99, 9780316120913
8. Call the Midwife
Jennifer Worth, Penguin, $16, 9780143123255
9. F for Effort!
Richard Benson, Chronicle, $9.95, 9781452113227
10. The Old Farmer's Almanac 2013
Old Farmer's Almanac, $6.95, 9781571985736
11. The Untethered Soul
Michael A. Singer, New Harbinger, $16.95, 9781572245372
12. Boomerang
Michael Lewis, Norton, $16.95, 9780393343441
13. 1493
Charles C. Mann, Vintage, $16.95, 9780307278241
14. Midnight Rising
Tony Horwitz, Picador, $18, 9780312429263
15. Tiny Beautiful Things
Cheryl Strayed, Vintage, $14.95, 9780307949332

Mass Market

1. A Feast for Crows
George R.R. Martin, Bantam, $8.99, 9780553582024
2. A Storm of Swords
George R.R. Martin, Bantam, $8.99, 9780553573428
3. A Game of Thrones
George R.R. Martin, Bantam, $8.99, 9780553593716
4. A Clash of Kings
George R.R. Martin, Bantam, $8.99, 9780345535429
5. To Kill a Mockingbird
Harper Lee, Warner, $7.99, 9780446310789
6. Fall of Giants
Ken Follett, Signet, $9.99, 9780451232854
7. The Hobbit
J.R.R. Tolkien, Ballantine, $8.99, 9780345339683
8. Zero Day
David Baldacci, Vision, $9.99, 9780446573023
9. Kill Shot
Vince Flynn, Atria, $9.99, 9781416595229
10. Hamlet
William Shakespeare, Washington Square Press, $5.99, 9780743477123

Children's Illustrated

1. Olivia and the Fairy Princesses
Ian Falconer, Atheneum, $17.99, 9781442450271
2. Llama Llama Time to Share
Anna Dewdney, Viking, $17.99, 9780670012336
3. Goodnight Moon
Margaret Wise Brown, Clement Hurd (Illus.), Harper, $8.99, 9780694003617
4. Creepy Carrots!
Aaron Reynolds, Peter Brown (Illus.), S&S, $16.99, 9781442402973
5. Room on the Broom Board Book
Julia Donaldson, Axel Sheffler (Illus.), Dial, $6.99, 9780803738416
6. Mossy
Jan Brett, Putnam, $17.99, 9780399257827
7. My Brave Year of Firsts
Jamie Lee Curtis, Laura Cornell (Illus.), Harper, $16.99, 9780061441554
8. The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Eric Carle, Putnam, $10.99, 9780399226908
9. The Care & Keeping of You
Valorie Lee Schaefer, Norm Bendell (Illus.), Pleasant Company, $9.95, 9781562476663
10. Dragons Love Tacos
Adam Rubin, Daniel Salmieri (Illus.), Dial, $16.99, 9780803736801

Children's Interest

1. The Diviners
Libba Bray, Little Brown, $19.99, 9780316126113
2. The Fault in Our Stars
John Green, Dutton, $17.99, 9780525478812
3. The Giver
Lois Lowry, Laurel-Leaf, $6.99, 9780440237686
4. The Outsiders
S.E. Hinton, Puffin, $9.99, 9780140385724
5. Out of My Mind
Sharon M. Draper, Atheneum, $6.99, 9781416971719
6. Star Wars Origami
Chris Alexander, Workman, $16.95, 9780761169437
7. Wonder
R.J. Palacio, Knopf, $15.99, 9780375869020
8. Number the Stars
Lois Lowry, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $6.99, 9780547577098
9. The Wimpy Kid Do-It-Yourself Book
Jeff Kinney, Amulet, $12.95, 9780810989955
10. Liar & Spy
Rebecca Stead, Wendy Lamb Books, $15.99, 9780385737432

Children's Fiction Series Titles

1. Mockingjay (The Final Book of the Hunger Games)
Suzanne Collins, Scholastic, $17.99, 9780439023511
2. Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, #2)
Suzanne Collins, Scholastic, $17.99, 9780439023498
3. The Hunger Games
Suzanne Collins, Scholastic, $12.99, 9780545425117
4. Captain Underpants and the Terrifying Return of Tippy Tinkletrousers
Dav Pilkey, Scholastic, $9.99, 9780545175340
5. The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee (Origami Yoda, #3)
Tom Angleberger, Amulet, $12.95, 9781419703928
6. Ivy and Bean (Ivy & Bean, #1)
Annie Barrows, Sophie Blackall, Chronicle, $5.99, 9780811849098
7. Diary of a Wimpy Kid
Jeff Kinney, Amulet, $13.95, 9780810993136
8. Stormbreaker (Alex Rider Adventures, #1)
Anthony Horowitz, Puffin, $8.99, 9780142406113
9. When Fairies Go Bad (Dragonbreath Series, #7)
Ursula Vernon, Dial, $12.99, 9780803736788
10. Bad Kitty Meets the Baby
Nick Bruel, Square Fish, $6.99, 9780312641214


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Lady Banks' Commonplace Book

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

Lanterns on the LeveeMr. Bass, the school teacher

Although a school-teacher from his youth, Mr. Bass, I believe, hated teaching and learning by textbook. He would sit on the edge of his chair as though about to leap up, and flop his knees together very fast as if a grasshopper’s sound-box ought to be between them, and you knew he wanted to dart off somewhere and you knew going with him would be much more interesting than staying anywhere. Further, you had a definite hunch where he longed to be going—to his garden. It was the worst-looking garden I ever saw, with no design, no order, really no sense, a hodge-podge of flowers and vegetables. But everything grew there and throve and bloomed as it did nowhere else. He had no preferences: a carrot was as dear as a peony, a black-eyed Susan as a rose; it only mattered that they were living things mysteriously standing in the earth and reaching for the sun. The mystery was everything to him. I never knew a heart so capable of wonder, though of an earthy unmaudlin sort. When soaked with sweat and dabbed with dirt from digging, his ugliness rather resembled Pan’s—not the maligned Pan of the nymphs, but that gaunt mysterious god of flocks and herds, of crops and weathers that rustics worshipped. The rustic Pan in him made his garden for use, not looks. Any morning, if you were an early riser, you could catch a glimpse of him hatless, dirty, untidy, a basket bulging with green things under his arm, and on the run. He dropped into people’s front yards unbeknownst and planted unpredictable things—iris and tulips of course, but just as likely salvia against a brick wall. Even more secretive were his vegetable errands. Before anyone was out or up, he’s leave heaps of them—tomatoes, corn, okra, and the like—on the back steps of his friends or preferably of the unknown and sensitive poor. Many a family he half supported whose name he never knew.

William Alexander Percy, Lanterns on the Levee (Louisiana State University Press, 9780807100721)

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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).

"The appointment of Roger Hodge as editor of The Oxford American will begin an exciting new era for the magazine," said Warwick Sabin, publisher of The Oxford American. "He brings impeccable literary credentials as well as a rigorous experience editing Harper's Magazine. Roger is a son of the South, having been born in Texas and educated at Sewanee. Roger has an intuitive understanding of the unique spirit and character of The Oxford American, and he is the perfect person to shepherd it in a rapidly evolving publishing landscape." Roger Hodge appointed editor of Oxford American Magazine

Nancy Pearl, the well known NPR librarian reviewer developed a list called Books to Read Before You Die. These are 12 good reads set below the Mason Dixon line. Nancy Pearl’s Southern Fried Fiction List

The ninth chapter of the Louisiana Book Festival will open Oct. 27 on the grounds of the State Capitol and nearby buildings, Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne said this week. More than 125 authors have been invited to sign their books and participate in panel discussions, Dardenne said. The event also will include music, food booths and activities for children. The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is free. Louisiana Book Festival

Tom Kealey and Jacquelin Gorman are this year's winners of the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction

The Fire of FreedomIn his beautifully crafted, exhaustively researched and well-argued “The Fire of Freedom,” Durham’s David S. Cecelski underscores the central role that people of color played in overthrowing slavery and assisting Union armies in suppressing the rebellion. Focusing on Abraham H. Galloway (1837-70), Cecelski provides a clear window into the emancipation process. “Galloway’s Civil War,” he writes, “was a slave insurgency, a war of liberation that was the culmination of generations of perseverance and faith. It was ultimately the slaves’ Civil War.” How a former slave helped build the road to freedom

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Author Gossip

MM LeBlancFeatured: M.M. LeBlanc
Author of Evangeline: Paradise Stolen

Award-winning author, screenwriter, and filmmaker M. M. Le Blanc grew up in Louisiana Cajun Country and the French Quarter of New Orleans and has lived all over the world including the USA, France, Monte Carlo, Canada, Russia, New Zealand and more! Ms. Le BLANC now lives in Northwest Florida and travels extensively for book signings, readings, and events. 7 unique facts to know about M. M. Le Blanc: 1. Won 2012 BEST BOOK IN LOUISIANA and 2012 INDEPENDENT PUBLISHER BOOK AWARD for EVANGELINE: PARADISE STOLEN, her 560-page historical fiction inspired by her Cajun and French ancestors and true events of the Deportation of the Acadians in 1755. 2. Won prestigious Writing Fellowship with the La Napoule Art Foundation of France and lived in a medieval château on the French Riviera. 3. Holds J.D. and M.B.A. graduate degrees. 4. Makes a picante (Hot!) Cajun jambalaya! 5. Not tall enough to be a prima ballerina, she high-kicked with the LSU Tiger Golden Girls instead. 6. Speaks 7 languages - fluent English and French, some Spanish, less Italian, a little German, a smattering of Russian and two words in Mandarin Chinese. 7. Formerly living in Hollywood, she won awards for screenplays as well as for writing, directing and producing an award-winning PBS network documentary film on her renowned Acadian historian-author grandfather who inspired her with their family oral histories and genealogy to write EVANGELINE: PARADISE STOLEN.ce! sigh)," "Meet Christopher Nolan (genius!)," and “Visit New Zealand.”

Request M.M. LeBlancfor a book club or school

More gossip:

“Read, read, read. Read everything —trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it is good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out the window.” – Statement at the University of Mississippi, 1947 Best Life advice from William Faulkner

River to Pickle BeachOne reason we write, said William Faulkner, is to “say no to death.” On afternoons and evenings decades and centuries hence, readers will hold in their hands books with the name Betts on the spine, and they will find, when they reach the last six words of Souls Raised from the Dead, their hearts in their throats, and they will gasp as we did at the state trooper's heartbreaking courage and endurance. They will follow Violet, The Ugliest Pilgrim, on her unusual journey of hope; and they will travel back to the year 1968, to a place called Pickle Beach, and then and there fall in love with one of fiction's finest femmes, the vivacious Bebe Sellars. Bland Simpson on the legacy of Doris Betts

Robert Penn Warren and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. met on March 18, 1964, in King’s Atlanta office. They chatted warmly about King’s father, desegregation and the future of the movement King was leading. Through the work of archivists at Vanderbilt University, their conversation and many others Warren recorded with leading civil rights figures are now preserved in a digital exhibit available online. “I’ve never heard him just talk. You only hear (recordings of) King preach or give a speech,” said Mona Frederick, executive director of the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities at Vanderbilt. “It’s pre-YouTube and social media.” Vanderbilt University posts historic Robert Penn Warren tapes

Who Speaks for the Negro

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  ,
Birmingham, AL 10/19/2012 - 10/21/2012
Tuscaloosa, AL 10/31/2012 - 11/03/2012
Brandon, MS 01/16/2013 - 01/19/2013

Carole Bellacera  ,
Russell Springs, KY 10/16/2012 - 10/19/2012
destin , FL 12/24/2012 - 12/26/2012

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

Mark Jarman  ,
Nashville, TN 10/12/2012 - 10/12/2012

M.M. LeBlanc  ,
Lafayette, LA 10/14/2012 - 10/14/2012
Pensacola, FL 10/19/2012 - 10/19/2012
Baton Rouge, LA 10/26/2012 - 10/27/2012
Key West, FL 11/14/2012 - 11/15/2012
Miami, FL 11/16/2012 - 11/18/2012

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

Nancy Naigle  ,
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

Elena Passarello  ,
Atlanta, GA 10/18/2012 - 10/19/2012
Durham, NC 10/20/2012 - 10/20/2012
Charlotte, NC 10/22/2012 - 10/22/2012

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

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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).

Octavia Books

Octavia Books
New Orleans, Louisiana

Why New Orleans MattersI recall this now in an attempt to explain just what it felt like to walk through the door of Octavia Books on a Saturday evening in November 2005, just shy of three months after the frightful storm and the criminal levee collapse that we call “Katrina.” Octavia was the first bookstore in New Orleans to reopen, and on this night there were hundreds of people crowded into a small, rectangular, shelflined room. The occasion was a reading for Why New Orleans Matters, a book-length treatise that was written in a white heat by my friend Tom Piazza. My Bookstore, Octavia Books

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The Little bookstore of Big Stone Gap

Take a tour of The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap

A new bookstore on the second floor of Brevard Court is open, adding another independent bookstore to Charlotte, months after one of uptown’s stalwarts closed.  Poor Richard’s Book Shoppe opened in August, moving from Gastonia. Co-owner Bryan Borges said he plans to expand into the adjacent space and add a wine and beer bar. Poor Richard’s Book Shoppe opens in Charlotte

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Lady Banks' {Book} Trailer Park

Come August, Come Freedom

Come August, Come Freedom

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Karen Zacharias talks to Michael Morris


Michael Morris

So who does Pat Conroy read when he’s in the mood for a good story?  Michael Morris, whom Conroy calls one of his favorite Southern writers.  Man in the Blue Moon, Morris’s latest, “is reason for great celebration –a  beautifully wrought portrayal of small-town Southern life,” says Conroy. Publishers Weekly praises Man in the Blue Moon as the perfect book club read.

It was Morris’s grandfather who first told the young boy about a man being shipped to town inside of a box. Listen in as author Karen Spears Zacharias chats with Michael Morris about his grandfather and the stories that birth writers.

Michael MorrisKAREN: The genesis for Man in the Blue Moon was a story your grandfather told you. Tell us about your grandfather.

MICHAEL: My grandfather was a character and of course everybody in the south knows what that means. He was absolutely the best storyteller I’ve known. In fact, he was so good at it that you might have to get him to tell the story two or three times to discern fact from fiction. When any discrepancies were brought to his attention he would shrug and say, “well, I was just trying to dress it up a little bit.”

One story that he always told was of a man who was shipped in a crate to his family in Florida. The man was a distant cousin and his in-laws were out to kill him. They blamed him for the death of his wife and her lover. Even though the man had been exonerated of the crime, his former in-laws were powerful people and were seeking their own form of justice. My grandfather said that their father told them not to ask any questions. The man stayed on the property for about three months and then one day vanished. Years later my grandfather discovered that the man had moved to Vero Beach and made a new life for himself. 

As a child, I was always fascinated by that story and then as an adult, I knew I had to write it. I started outlining the novel on my grandfather’s 99th birthday. I am glad that he lived long enough to see the manuscript completed. Man in the Blue Moon is dedicated to his memory. 

KAREN: The man in the box, Lanier, is said to possess the gift of healing. Who has played the part of the healer in your own life?

MICHAEL: The portrayal of Lanier’s healing ability can be attributed back to my grandfather too. He had the Foxfire series that chronicles the people of the North Georgia Mountains. In one of the books there is a section about those from Appalachia who are believed to have the ability to cure certain ailments like thrush or even the ability to pull fire out of someone who has been burned. Reading Foxfire helped me to develop the character of Lanier.

While I have not had physical healing, I have certainly had emotional healing. My mom and I fled an abusive household and lived in a trailer steps behind my grandparent’s home. While my mom went to vocational school to learn a trade to support us, my grandmother went to work on me. Every afternoon after lunch she would have me list out all the people in my life who loved me. If I forgot a cousin or great-aunt, she would remind me and have me to include them the next day. She helped to heal the scars to my soul. She had an eighth grade education but she remains the wisest person I’ve known. She died twenty-six years ago and there is not a day that goes by that I don’t think of her.

KAREN: Ruby is one of my favorite characters in the entire story. Something about her vulnerability makes my heart soar and lament at the same time. When did Ruby first present herself to you?

MICHAEL: Ruby was a fun character to write. She came about as a result of a conversation I had with a woman at a book festival. Like me, the woman had grown up in a small town in North Florida. Somehow we started talking about the interesting, eccentric characters in small towns – not the eccentrics of today who blend in with the community but those who stood out and held court. The woman at the festival shared that there was a young girl in her hometown who would prance down Main Street once a week, twirling a baton and leading an imaginary parade. Cars would pull over and wait for her to complete her journey. The vision of this girl, who many in the town probably discounted even though she had this power over them, captivated my imagination. I could not get her and her parade out of my head. The idea for Ruby then came into being.

KAREN: Do you sketch out the plot or the characters in advance? And if so, which do you do first?

MICHAEL: Typically I will sketch out the characters first. I have a list of questions I answer about each character – everything from their favorite color to what is the darkest secret they are keeping. Of course, not all of the information will make it into the novel but it helps me to know the characters inside and out and to hopefully make them come alive on paper. Then I scratch out an outline of the story. I write one or two sentences about different scenes and places where I see the story turning. I tell people that for me the outline is like a map. When I’m writing a novel I will go back and look at the outline but that doesn’t mean I don’t take side trips and venture into other areas I hadn’t planned.

KAREN: Brother Mabry is such a low-down dirty-dog greedy scoundrel but I know you are a man of deep faith. So why did you make the preacher the bad guy?

MICHAEL: When I was researching the novel I uncovered something that took me on one of those side journeys with plotting that I just mentioned. In the early 1940s there was a preacher who tried to make the claim that the part of Florida I am writing about in Man in the Blue Moon was the original Garden of Eden. Of course, his claim never took off but I couldn’t resist using that whole idea as an element to the story. During 1918 when Man in the Blue Moon is set, there were spas centered around springs that were thought to provide medicinal healing.

Brother Mabry is a nationally known radio evangelist from New York and he sets his sights on developing a similar retreat on Ella’s property. He plays a crucial role in the battle Ella is fighting to keep her property. To me Brother Mabry is a P.T. Barnum type of character who might have started out with good intentions but got swept up in greed. And of course, we still have those types of evangelists in our culture today. However, the community minister, Reverend Simpson, becomes the one who finally stops the persecution Lanier faces when Brother Mabry tries to exploit Lanier’s ability to heal. I wanted to present a balance in the story – the good and the bad in society, even in religion.

KAREN: One of my favorite scenes in the book is when Bonaparte and the neighbor men come across Ella’s field with their rusty saws in hand, to help cut the cypress. Their actions really speak to what community ought to look like, what it means to be a neighbor to one another. It reminded me of the way the folks in Cullman, Alabama pulled together following the devastating tornado in 2011 that cut a swath through town.  What’s your thoughts about the way we do community nowadays?

MICHAEL: For some reason there is a common theme woven in all of my novels that family is more than blood kin, it’s also the people in the community who stand up and help us when we are going through difficulties. I certainly experienced that in the town I grew up in – a town not unlike Dead Lakes where Ella lives in Man in the Blue Moon.

It’s interesting that you bring up the way the people in Alabama came together when the tornados tore apart the state last year. I was talking to a man the other day about it and he pointed out that sometimes we might wave to our neighbors as we pass by their homes but when there is devastation that is when we really get to know them. A friend recently made the comment that Facebook is the new “front porch” where folks would gather in the afternoons to escape the heat and visit with their neighbors. I see people chatting back and forth on Facebook and they only live a couple of miles from one another. It keeps a dialogue going about the latest news in the town. I just hope it never replaces that face to face companionship that is so needed when tragedy, sickness or death show up at someone’s doorstep.

KAREN: You and I have both grown up with strong mothers, women whom others have viewed as vulnerable because they didn’t have husbands in their lives taking care of them, or helping them care for children. Like our own mothers, Ella has to battle against the notion that a woman is incapable of handling her own affairs successfully. And yet Neva Clarkson looks at Ella and sees a survivor. When did you come to recognize your own mother as a survivor?

MICHAEL: Ella grows as a character and I purposefully put the woman’s suffrage movement as a backdrop in the novel. While Ella is changing, the world around her is changing too. At the beginning at the novel when she received the foreclosure notice for her property, she feels that she can barely stand. She has always deepened on someone else to protect her and now she must protect herself and her sons. Although Ella’s battle to keep her land makes her realize that she is stronger than she believes, those around her see the transformation long before she does. Her friend, Neva Clarkson, is the first person to point it out.

I grew up around strong women. My mother, grandmother, and great-aunt were all strong women in different ways. After my mom and I fled my abusive father, she took a low paying job as a typist and still managed to save twenty dollars a week for my education. She was determined that I would be the first in our family to graduate college. My wife says that she cannot picture my mother being hit by a man, thinking that the woman she knows today would take down any man who assaulted her. But like Ella, my mom evolved. And like Ella, she didn’t give up. She fought to make a better way for us.

KAREN: When did you know that you would write Man in the Blue Moon?

MICHAEL: As a boy I was always captivated by the story of the man in the box that my grandfather used to tell. I would ask question after question. In fact, my grandfather said that his father told the children not to ask any questions about the man’s arrival in a box. I don’t think I would have fared to well in that time period!

After writing A Place Called Wiregrass and Slow Way Home I would visit bookstores and book festivals and the question I most often got was “did you always want to be a writer?” I really wish that I could say yes, but I didn’t consider writing until I was 32 and working in the pharmaceutical industry. After pondering the question, I came to realize that while I was not a reader or around readers, I was around storytellers. My grandfather chief among them. I then came to understand that my grandparents had led me to become a writer. All of those stories I heard as a child and pictured in my head were stories to be mined and written. I felt that I just had to explore the story and see where it led. 

KAREN: Once you knew that you wanted to tell this story, how did you go about getting it down? Did you research first or just start writing?

MICHAEL: I started out by interviewing my grandfather, not only about all the details surrounding the man who was shipped in a crate, but day to day life for them living in a crossroads community in the Panhandle of Florida. I asked him what their town celebrations were like and about their trips to Panama City or Apalachicola. He talked about the way that they used to raft timber to market. All of these elements made the time and place come to life for me. Man in the Blue Moon is truly a novel based on oral history.

I also did a great deal of research reading about the time period: World War I, the woman’s suffrage movement and the 1918 flu epidemic. I sought out books about Apalachicola’s history and the South’s role in the war and the suffrage movement. Documentaries about these topics were helpful, particularly a PBS documentary on the flu that included survivor stories.

I’ll tell you how great libraries are. I was all set to travel to the University of Florida to spend time reading the 1918 Apalachicola, Florida newspapers. The Birmingham Library was able to arrange a loan with the university and the newspapers were sent on microfiche to Birmingham. I spent a couple of weeks combing through every issue. That was a big turning point for me in feeling that I was completely in the environment I was writing about. Through the newspaper searches, I was able to discover a claim that the area was considered by a few to be the original Garden of Eden and that the state was encouraging folks around Apalachicola to grow rice. Both of these elements became important parts of the story. 

KAREN: What do you enjoy most about being a writer?

MICHAEL: I love how writing will transport me to another time and place. I love the days when it is going so well that my fingers feel like they can barely type fast enough to record the images and dialogue I am imagining. I also love it when a reader will tell me that she thought about the story or the characters long after the last page was finished. When I hear those words, I feel that I have done my job.

KAREN: What did writing Man in the Blue Moon teach you?

MICHAEL: Man in the Blue Moon taught me to appreciate my Florida Cracker heritage. It’s funny because those of us from North Florida will often hear people tell us that we can’t possibly have this thick of an accent and still be from Florida. In fact, one reviewer said until he read the novel he had never even thought of Florida as a Southern state. So I’m proud that I was able to capture a part of my family’s story and to show a part of Old Florida that was hardscrabble – the part of Florida that my family helped to pioneer.  

The novel also taught me the importance of tolerance and what a big issue that is still today. Lanier’s ability to heal becomes a dividing force within the community and Brother Mabry uses it as a way to push his own agenda. There are a lot of topics in the novel that we are grappling with today – economic downturn, foreclosure, addiction and certainly tolerance of those we might not understand and those we disagree with.

KAREN: What’s next?

MICHAEL: I’m really excited to hit the road and visit my SIBA friends with Man in the Blue Moon. We are going from town to town for about two months. SIBA really got behind my first novel, A Place Called Wiregrass, and I am so grateful for all of the support they have given me through the years.

I am also looking forward to my next novel, The King of Florabama, which is about the longest serving sheriff in Alabama who at 80 loses his license, his office and then has to come to terms with a hidden 40 year old murder that has divided his family. 


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Read This! Okra Picks and Unchained Choices from Inkwood Books

Come August, Come FreedomOkra Picks: Come August, Come Freedom

An 1800 insurrection planned by a literate slave known as "Prosser's Gabriel" inspires a historical novel following one extraordinary man's life. 

In a time of post-Revolutionary fervor in Richmond, Virginia, an imposing twenty-four-year-old slave named Gabriel, known for his courage and intellect, plotted a rebellion involving thousands of African- American freedom seekers armed with refashioned pitchforks and other implements of Gabriel's blacksmith trade. The revolt would be thwarted by a confluence of fierce weather and human betrayal, but Gabriel retained his dignity to the end. History knows little of Gabriel's early life. But here, author Gigi Amateau imagines a childhood shaped by a mother's devotion, a father's passion for liberation, and a friendship with a white master's son who later proved cowardly and cruel. She gives vibrant life to Gabriel's love for his wife-to-be, Nanny, a slave woman whose freedom he worked tirelessly, and futilely, to buy. Interwoven with original documents, this poignant, illuminating novel gives a personal face to a remarkable moment in history.

Read the first chapter

Full set of Okra Picks here

Telegraph AvenueTelegraph Avenue: A Novel, by Michael Chabon
(Harper, $27.99, 9780061493348)
“On the surface, Telegraph Avenue is the story of Archy and Nat — longtime proprietors of Brokeland Records, a community staple in the variegated neighborhoods of Oakland, California — who face an invasion of Walmart proportions. But intertwined with their struggle is an exploration of so much more: love, in all its forms; race; gentrification; modern medicine; blaxploitation films; vinyl records; and the absolute greatness of jazz and funk. I don’t think there’s a writer alive who can structure a sentence the way Chabon does, and he’s given us yet another masterful, unsparing novel whose vivid characters will inhabit your heart long after the final page.” — Amanda Hurley, Inkwood Books, Tampa, FL

The the People InLet the People In: The Life and Times of Ann Richards, by Jan Reid
(University of Texas Press, $27, 9780292719644)
“Let the People In is a rich, engaging look at one of the most exciting political figures of the last 40 years. Reid’s biography captures the way Ann Richards thrilled, frustrated, and surprised people across the country again and again. In addition to divulging some of the inner workings of politics in Texas and Washington, Reid provides an in-depth look at Austin in its most formative decades. A great history, a great story, and a great read.” — Sam Ramos, The Book Cellar, Knoxville, TN

Those We Love the MOstThose We Love Most: A Novel, by Lee Woodruff
(Voice, $26.99, 9781401341787)
“Woodruff tackles a tough subject in Those We Love Most. The marriage of Maura and Pete was rocky before the tragic death of one of their children. Maura can’t get past her grief and guilt from the accident and is struggling to be a mother to her remaining children and a wife to Pete. Her parents, Roger and Margaret, are the epitome of a strong marriage, or so it seems. Can Roger’s compassion and Margaret’s level head steer this family out of grief? Can a marriage survive such a loss? A delicate subject is treated with poise and dignity.” —Kerri Childs, Kerri’s Korner Bookstore, Fairmont, WV

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