{On not boring everyone to death.}

In which President Obama hugs a bookseller, Ms. Janis Owens explains one good way to sell bait minnows, Mr. David Baldacci tries not to bore everyone to death, and Ms. Tara Conklin tells us why she decided not to be a writer.

February 10, 2012



Dearest readers,

Thomas Jefferson: The Art of PowerWinter days, her ladyship has decided, exist solely for the purpose of being able to curl up in one’s favorite chair with a hot cup of coffee and a very good book.  That is how her ladyship spent this last weekend, the two days of the year that actually saw snow and thus qualified, in her Yankee mind, as “winter.”  She marked the occasion by putting on a sweater and laying a blanket across her lap before she settled in to read Mr. Jon Meacham’s recent biography of Thomas Jefferson. (Which was excellent, by the way.)

But twelve hours later, the snow has gone, and her ladyship is watching the weather, waiting for the warm spring days when she can put away the blanket, and take her book out to her back porch.


her ladyship, the editor


Southern Indie Bestsellers

For the week ending February 10, 2013

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. Tenth of December
George Saunders, Random House, $26, 9780812993806
2. Gone Girl
Gillian Flynn, Crown, $25, 9780307588364
3. Flight Behavior
Barbara Kingsolver, Harper, $28.99, 9780062124265
4. Insane City
Dave Barry, Putnam Adult, $26.95, 9780399158681
5. The Racketeer
John Grisham, Doubleday, $28.95, 9780385535144
6. Suspect
Robert Crais, Putnam Adult, $27.95, 9780399161483
7. The Aviator's Wife
Melanie Benjamin, Delacorte, $26, 9780345528674
8. House of Earth: A Novel
Woody Guthrie, Harper, $25.99, 9780062248398
9. The Art Forger
B.A. Shapiro, Algonquin, $23.95, 9781616201326
10. Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker
Jennifer Chiaverini, Dutton, $26.95, 9780525953616
11. Speaking From Among the Bones
Alan Bradley, Delacorte, $24, 9780385344036
12. A Memory of Light
Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson, Tor, $34.99, 9780765325952
13. Cover of Snow
Jenny Milchman, Ballantine, $26, 9780345534217
14. My Brother's Book
Maurice Sendak, Harper, $18.95, 9780062234896
15. The Round House
Louise Erdrich, Harper, $27.99, 9780062065247

 

Hardcover Nonfiction

1. My Beloved World
Sonia Sotomayor, Knopf, $27.95, 9780307594884
2. The Future
Al Gore, Random House, $30, 9780812992946
3. Help, Thanks, Wow
Anne Lamott, Riverhead, $17.95, 9781594631290
4. I Could Pee on This
Francesco Marciuliano, Chronicle, $12.95, 9781452110585
5. A Higher Call
Adam Makos, Larry Alexander, Berkley, $26.95, 9780425252864
6. Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power
Jon Meacham, Random House, $35, 9781400067664
7. Going Clear
Lawrence Wright, Knopf, $28.95, 9780307700667
8. The World Until Yesterday
Jared M. Diamond, Viking, $36, 9780670024810
9. True Love: 24 Surprising Stories of Animal Affection
Rachel Buchholz, National Geographic Society, $9.95, 9781426210365
10. Barefoot Contessa Foolproof
Ina Garten, Clarkson Potter, $35, 9780307464873
11. Killing Kennedy
Bill O'Reilly, Martin Dugard, Holt, $28, 9780805096668
12. Unbroken
Laura Hillenbrand, Random House, $27, 9781400064168
13. The Genius of Dogs: How Dogs Are Smarter Than You Think
Brian Hare, Vanessa Woods, Dutton, $27.95, 9780525953197
14. Jesus Calling
Sarah Young, Integrity, $15.99, 9781591451884
15. 7 Years Younger
Good Housekeeping Magazine, Filpacchi Art, $25.95, 9781936297634

 

Trade Paperback Fiction

1. The Paris Wife
Paula McLain, Ballantine, $15, 9780345521316
2. A Land More Kind Than Home
Wiley Cash, Morrow, $14.99, 9780062088239
3. Rules of Civility
Amor Towles, Penguin, $16, 9780143121169
4. Death Comes to Pemberley
P.D. James, Vintage, $15, 9780307950659
5. Fifty Shades of Grey
E.L. James, Vintage, $15.95, 9780345803481
6. The Sense of an Ending
Julian Barnes, Vintage, $14.95, 9780307947727
7. A Good American
Alex George, Berkley, $16, 9780425253175
8. Wolf Hall
Hilary Mantel, Picador, $16, 9780312429980
9. Canada
Richard Ford, Ecco Press, $15.99, 9780061692031
10. The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Stephen Chbosky, MTV Books, $14, 9781451696196
11. The Expats
Chris Pavone, Broadway, $15, 9780770435721
12. The Great Gatsby
F.Scott Fitzgerald, Scribner, $15, 9780743273565
13. The Night Circus
Erin Morgenstern, Anchor, $15, 9780307744432
14. The Marriage Plot
Jeffrey Eugenides, Picador, $16, 9781250014764
15. The Language of Flowers
Vanessa Diffenbaugh, Ballantine, $15, 9780345525550

 

Trade Paperback Nonfiction

1. Proof of Heaven
Eben Alexander, M.D., S&S, $15.99, 9781451695199
2. Quiet
Susan Cain, Broadway, $16, 9780307352156
3. ObamaCare Survival Guide
Nick J. Tate, Humanix, $19.95, 9780893348625
4. Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey
The Countess of Carnarvon, Broadway, $15.99, 9780770435622
5. Team of Rivals
Doris Kearns Goodwin, S&S, $21, 9781451688092
6. Bossypants
Tina Fey, Reagan Arthur Books, $15.99, 9780316056878
7. The Swerve
Stephen J. Greenblatt, Norton, $16.95, 9780393343403
8. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Rebecca Skloot, Broadway, $16, 9781400052189
9. How to Tell If Your Cat Is Plotting to Kill You
Matthew Inman, Andrews McMeel, $14.99, 9781449410247
10. The Warmth of Other Suns
Isabel Wilkerson, Vintage, $16.95, 9780679763888
11. The Happiness Project
Gretchen Rubin, Harper, $14.99, 9780061583261
12. In the Garden of Beasts
Erik Larson, Broadway, $16, 9780307408853
13. Wreck This Journal
Keri Smith, Perigee, $13.95, 9780399533464
14. The Hare With Amber Eyes
Edmund de Waal, Picador, $16, 9780312569372
15. Unlikely Friendships
Jennifer S. Holland, Workman, $13.95, 9780761159131

 

Mass Market

1. American Sniper
Chris Kyle, Harper, $9.99, 9780062238863
2. To Kill a Mockingbird
Harper Lee, Warner, $7.99, 9780446310789
3. A Game of Thrones
George R.R. Martin, Bantam, $8.99, 9780553593716
4. Fall of Giants
Ken Follett, Signet, $9.99, 9780451232854
5. Lord of the Flies
William Golding, Berkley, $9.99, 9780399501487
6. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Mark Twain, Bantam Classics, $5.95, 9780553210798
7. Taken
Robert Crais, Berkley, $9.99, 9780425250594
8. A Feast for Crows
George R.R. Martin, Bantam, $8.99, 9780553582024
9. To Brie or Not to Brie
Avery Aames, Berkley, $7.99, 9780425255544
10. The Catcher in the Rye
J.D. Salinger, Warner, $6.99, 9780316769488

Children's Illustrated

1. Goodnight Moon
Margaret Wise Brown, Clement Hurd (Illus.), Harper, $8.99, 9780694003617
2. This Is Not My Hat
Jon Klassen, Candlewick, $15.99, 9780763655990
3. The Very Fairy Princess Follows Her Heart
Julie Andrews, Emma Walton Hamilton, Little Brown, $16.99, 9780316185592
4. Emeraldalicious
Victoria Kann, Harper, $17.99, 9780061781261
5. On the Night You Were Born
Nancy Tillman, Feiwel & Friends, $7.99, 9780312601553
6. Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site
Sherri Duskey Rinker, Tom Lichtenheld (Illus.), Chronicle, $16.99, 9780811877824
7. Safari: A Photicular Book
Dan Kainen, Carol Kaufmann, Workman, $24.95, 9780761163800
8. Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes
Eric Litwin, James Dean (Illus.), Harper, $16.99, 9780061906220
9. Splat the Cat: Funny Valentine
Rob Scotton, HarperFestival, $6.99, 9780061978623
10. Fancy Nancy: Heart to Heart
Jane O'Connor, Robin Preiss Glasser (Illus.), HarperFestival, $4.99, 9780061235962

 

Children's Interest

1. The Fault in Our Stars
John Green, Dutton, $17.99, 9780525478812
2. Wonder
R.J. Palacio, Knopf, $15.99, 9780375869020
3. The One and Only Ivan
Katherine Applegate, Patricia Castelao (Illus.), Harper, $16.99, 9780061992254
4. The Madman's Daughter
Megan Shepherd, Balzer & Bray, $17.99, 9780062128027
5. Paper Towns
John Green, Speak, $9.99, 9780142414934
6. Looking for Alaska
John Green, Speak, $9.99, 9780142402511
7. The Wimpy Kid Do-It-Yourself Book
Jeff Kinney, Amulet, $12.95, 9780810989955
8. The Book Thief
Markus Zusak, Knopf, $12.99, 9780375842207
9. Bud, Not Buddy
Christopher Paul Curtis, Yearling, $5.99, 9780440413288
10. Will Grayson, Will Grayson
John Green, David Levithan, Speak, $9.99, 9780142418475

 

Children's Fiction Series Titles

1. Diary of a Wimpy Kid:The Third Wheel
Jeff Kinney, Amulet, $13.95, 9781419705847
2. Big Nate Flips Out
Lincoln Peirce, Harper, $13.99, 9780061996634
3. Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles)
Marissa Meyer, Feiwel & Friends, $17.99, 9780312642969
4. Juliet the Valentine Fairy (Rainbow Magic Fairies)
Daisy Meadows, Little Apple, $6.99, 9780545148863
5. Captain Underpants and the Revolting Revenge of the Radioactive Robo-Boxers
Dav Pilkey, Scholastic, $9.99, 9780545175364
6. The Hunger Games
Suzanne Collins, Scholastic, $12.99, 9780545425117
7. The Mark of Athena (The Heroes of Olympus, Book Three)
Rick Riordan, Hyperion, $19.99, 9781423140603
8. Prodigy (A Legend Novel)
Marie Lu, Putnam, $17.99, 9780399256769
9. Beautiful Creatures
Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl, Little Brown, $9.99, 9780316077033
10. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days
Jeff Kinney, Amulet, $13.95, 9780810983915

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Lady Banks' Commonplace Book


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

American GhostHow to sell live crickets and bait minnows
Lena had caused a stir the moment she set foot in town, for reasons of her personality, which was effervescent, and her looks, which were extraordinary. She was northern Italian on her mother’s side and had inherited all the attendant excitability a Milanese DNA might imply, along with copper-blond hair, olive skin, and charming, pointed-chin smile. If made for a potent package, and added to the general astonishment of her beauty was the small matter of her dress. Her father’s last berth had been at Homestead Air Force Base outside Miami, where Lena had adopted a casual, seminaked personal style: bikini string tops and frayed  jean shorts; pink toenails and well-worn flip-flops.

To say that it was a compelling combination would be a great understatement: when she went to work for her father at the counter of the concession stand at fifteen, she’d inadvertently caused a countywide run on live crickets and bait minnows. Jolie’s brother, Carl, was among the stampede of local men wanting to make her acquaintance. Being an unrepentant skirt chaser and a fine sampler of local female flesh, he made it his business to hard-sell Lena on salvation and bring her to his father’s church, El Bethel Assembly. Ostensibly this was to save her soul, though Jolie surmised that he was really looking for a place to keep her in semi-virginal storage while he finished sowing his wild oats.

--Janis Owens, American Ghost (Scribner, 2012) 9781451674637

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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).

Out of the Easy"My mother's a prostitute," observes 17-year-old Josie Moraine. "Not the filthy, streetwalking kind. She's actually quite pretty, fairly well spoken, and has lovely clothes. But she sleeps with men for money or gifts, and according to the dictionary, that makes her a prostitute." Thus begins Out of the Easy, the new young-adult novel from Nashville author Ruta Sepetys, whose first novel, Between Shades of Gray, was a best-selling blockbuster that earned critical raves and more than one international literary prize.  Her new novel will remind readers of classic coming-of-age stories like Betty Smith's A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Out of the Easy

“Typically, a writer’s talk goes on and on and bores everyone to death,” Baldacci says. “I tell funny stories from the road and interesting things that happened along the way.” David Baldacci at SBF

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Author Gossip

Calling Me HomeWhen I was growing up, my grandmother always seemed bitter and unhappy to me compared with my great aunts—her sisters. Several years ago, I learned that she had fallen in love with a black boy as a teenager in 1920s Kentucky. I believe he must have been her one true love. Things didn't go well for them. Julie Kibler: Life’s not fair, so what?

I can tell you exactly when, where and why I decided not to be a writer.  It was half-way through college, standing on the marble steps of Linsly-Chittenden Hall, scanning the list of students accepted into the fiction writing seminar that I was desperate to take.   My name, for the fourth time, was not there. Tara Conklin: Keep Writing

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.

Authors traveling right now:

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

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Bookstore Gossip

Following his talk, Diane thanked the president for his well publicized support of independent bookstores. President Obama asked Diane if we have been selling his books. Assured that we were, the president gave Diane a hug. President Obama hugs Little Shop!

“We’re a great store. We’ve been here 21 years, we specialize in finding the best book for the person,” said employee Amanda Hurley. “We love nothing more than to put the right book in your hands. We all read like crazy so we know the store really well.” That may be what distinguishes Inkwood from the diminishing big box bookstores. Drop by a few times, and share your interests, and the staff at Inkwood is likely to remember your preferences and look out for reads you’ll appreciate. Remembering what you like to read

Another bookstore chain is closing in southeast Charlotte, as Books-A-Million said Friday the company will close its Cotswold Village store. An email sent to customers Friday said the Cotswold Village store is liquidating its inventory, with a 20 to 50 percent off sale that began on Friday. The store likely will close in mid-March. read more

Three buyers are in the running to be the new owners of a popular independent bookstore in Raleigh. Mark Kaufman of Paz & Associates, the consultant assisting longtime Quail Ridge Books & Music owner Nancy Olson sell her west Raleigh store, said all three potential buyers are local. Confidentiality agreements prevented him from providing more details. Quail Ridge Books

This bookstore is a charming place to find paperbacks and audiobooks. It is located in Pawleys Island, South Carolina. Bess Long and Fran Clarkson are sisters, who opened this store for fellow book lovers ten years ago. Ariesgrl Book Reviews and My Sisters Books

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Lady Banks' {Book} Trailer Park: The Mountains-to-Sea Trail across North Carolina


The Mountains-to-Sea Trail

The Mountains-to-Sea Trail“I've been hiking since my early twenties...and that's a long time ago.”

The Mountains-to-Sea Trail shows off the most spectacular, historic and quirky elements of the North Carolina landscape. Stretching one thousand miles from Clingmans Dome in the Smokies to Jockey's Ridge State Park in the Outer Banks, the route takes in Fraser fir trees and pelicans, old grist and textile mills, working cotton and tobacco farms, Revolutionary War sites and two British cemeteries complete with Union Jacks. The trail is half on footpaths and half on back roads, offering experiences not only in nature but also in small towns, at historic monuments, in family cemeteries and in local shops. Author Danny Bernstein has taken it all in and shares her knowledge for those who might follow in her footsteps.

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Read This! Okra Picks and the bestselling young reader books of 2012 at Park Road Books, Charlotte, NC


The House GirlThe House Girl by Tara Conklin

Two remarkable women, separated by more than a century, whose lives unexpectedly intertwine . . .

2004: Lina Sparrow is an ambitious young lawyer working on a historic class-action lawsuit seeking reparations for the descendants of American slaves. 1852: Josephine is a seventeen-year-old house slave who tends to the mistress of a Virginia tobacco farm--an aspiring artist named Lu Anne Bell.

It is through her father, renowned artist Oscar Sparrow, that Lina discovers a controversy rocking the art world: art historians now suspect that the revered paintings of Lu Anne Bell, an antebellum artist known for her humanizing portraits of the slaves who worked her Virginia tobacco farm, were actually the work of her house slave, Josephine.

The House GirlA descendant of Josephine's would be the per-fect face for the lawsuit--if Lina can find one. But nothing is known about Josephine's fate following Lu Anne Bell's death in 1852. In piecing together Josephine's story, Lina embarks on a journey that will lead her to question her own life, including the full story of her mother's mysterious death twenty years before.

Alternating between antebellum Virginia and modern-day New York, this searing tale of art and history, love and secrets explores what it means to repair a wrong, and asks whether truth can be more important than justice.

Full set of Okra Picks here


Recommended Reading from Southern Booksellers

A Nose for JusticeA Nose for Justice is the first in this new series. It stars a wirehaired Dachshund named Baxter and a German Shepherd named King. King’s person is an 85 year old delightful lady called Jeep by her friends, who had served as a WASP flying planes during WWII. Jeep’s niece, Mags is Baxter’s person. (The dogs can understand the people but the people can’t speak dog.) They live on Jeep’s ranch in the Nevada high desert. The dogs and their people and animal friends help the Sheriff’s Office in their small town solve crimes. Someone is blowing up water pumping stations and people are getting killed. "A Nose for Justice" covers the subject of water rights and the ability to sell or rent water rights. Being from SC, I have never considered that another person could own the rights to the water under my property. Great Characters, Great Mystery, Great Read! Fran at The Booklover’s Bookstore

Grumpy GoatGrumpy Goat by Brett Helquist (HarperCollins, $17.99, 9780061139536) “The only bad thing about Sunny Acres farm — the friendliest farm in the country — is the great big Grumpy Goat. Ignoring the other animals, tearing down fences, and being irritable in general, Grumpy Goat finds himself face-to-face with a dandelion. Suddenly, Grumpy Goat is reminded to enjoy the beauty around him, and before long he is as happy as all the other animals at Sunny Acres. Delightful!”-- Meaghan Beasley, Island Bookstore, Duck, NC


altThe first of its kind--a comprehensive collection of the best of the villanelle, a delightful poetic form whose popularity ranks only behind that of the sonnet and the haiku.

With its intricate rhyme scheme and dance-like pattern of repeating lines, its marriage of recurrence and surprise, the villanelle is a form that has fascinated poets since its introduction almost two centuries ago. Many well-known poets in the past have tried their hands at the villanelle, and the form is enjoying a revival among poets writing today. The poems collected here range from the classic villanelles of the nineteenth century to such famous and memorable examples as Dylan Thomas's "Do not go gentle into that good night," Elizabeth Bishop's "One Art," and Sylvia Plath's "Mad Girl's Love Song." Here too are the cutting-edge works of contemporary poets, including Sherman Alexie, Lorna Dee Cervantes, Rita Dove, Seamus Heaney, Paul Muldoon, and many others whose poems demonstrate the dazzling variety that can be found within the parameters of a single, strict form.

Villanelles By Annie Finch, Marie-Elizabeth Mali (Everyman's Library) Recommended by Richard at Union Avenue Books Knoxville TN


altPulitzer Prize-winner Junot Díaz’s first book, Drown, established him as a major new writer with the dispassionate eye of a journalist and the tongue of a poet (Newsweek). His first novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, was named #1 Fiction Book of the Year” by Time magazine and spent more than 100 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, establishing itself – with more than a million copies in print – as a modern classic. In addition to the Pulitzer, Díaz has won a host of major awards and prizes, including the National Book Critic’s Circle Award, the PEN/Malamud Award, the PEN/O. Henry Prize, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and the Anisfield-Wolf Award.
Now Díaz turns his remarkable talent to the haunting, impossible power of love – obsessive love, illicit love, fading love, maternal love.

On a beach in the Dominican Republic, a doomed relationship flounders. In the heat of a hospital laundry room in New Jersey, a woman does her lover’s washing and thinks about his wife. In Boston, a man buys his love child, his only son, a first baseball bat and glove. At the heart of these stories is the irrepressible, irresistible Yunior, a young hardhead whose longing for love is equaled only by his recklessness--and by the extraordinary women he loves and loses: artistic Alma; the aging Miss Lora; Magdalena, who thinks all Dominican men are cheaters; and the love of his life, whose heartbreak ultimately becomes his own. In prose that is endlessly energetic, inventive, tender, and funny, the stories in the New York Times-Bestselling This Is How You Lose Her lay bare the infinite longing and inevitable weakness of the human heart. They remind us that passion always triumphs over experience, and that the half-life of love is forever.

This Is How You Lose Her  By Junot Diaz  (Riverhead) Recommended by Amanda at Inkwood Books Tampa FL

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Author 2 Author: Holly Goddard Jones & Leah Stewart

A Conversation with Holly Goddard Jones (The Next Time You See Me, a SIBA Okra Pick) and Leah Stewart (The History of Us)

Holly Goddard Jones Leah Stewart

LS: All of my books are set in different places, but you’ve created a fictional small town—Roma, Kentucky—and explored it in both your stories and your novel. Why did you create a town rather than choosing an actual one? What went into the creation of Roma, and what compels you about the place and places like it?

The Next Time You See MeHGJ: By the time I’d reached the end of the promotion cycle for my first book, Girl Trouble, and had worn myself out on talking about my regionalism, I’d reached what felt like an epiphany: which was that I write about Kentucky precisely because setting is not my foremost interest. I mean, don’t get me wrong: I’d be disingenuous if I claimed to have no interest in where I’m from, in representing where I’m from for a reader. But—well, here’s the best comparison I can make. I’d rather hang out with people I already know than go to a party and meet new people. New people tire me. And in my writing, I’d rather just take the setting for granted. I like to travel, but I could never be a travel writer, probably.

I made up a fictional town, Roma, because I wanted to write about a small Kentucky town without writing about a specific small Kentucky town. I wanted to be able to make stuff up when it was convenient to do so, and I couldn’t imagine calling it Russellville, which is my hometown, and then saying that the barbecue restaurant is anything but Roy’s and the drugstore on the square anything but Riley-White. It was probably also a fear of being taken literally, and I’ve had plenty of reasons over the last few years to feel justified in that fear. People are hungry to see the truth in a work of fiction, and when you borrow a few true details, you give readers just enough to hang their hats on.

LS: I’m also curious to hear what you’d say about the relationship between Roma and the characters who live there. Is your work in some way also about location and identity? Many of these characters are certainly profoundly shaped by having grown up in Roma.

HGJ: I suppose it has to be. I think all the time about what it means that I’m from where I’m from. I’d venture to guess that the majority of southern writers (whether or not they write about the South) are driven to a certain extent by a combination of defensiveness and self-loathing, and that’s one of the compelling tensions in the region’s literature. It’s not a tension that my characters are aware of—they tend, so far, to not worry much about how the world outside of Roma views them—but I think it’s there in how I struggle to narrate some of the contradictions I struggle with. Like how a man can be a wonderful father to a daughter but an old-fashioned, sexist husband, or how your fiercely smart, strong, no-nonsense grandmother is perhaps also a racist.

LS: To stay with character for a minute, you tackle an impressive range of people in the novel: different personalities, of course, but also different ages, classes, races, genders, and professions. What motivates you to explore such diverse points of view? Were there particular characters who were more challenging to inhabit than others?

HGJ: It’s just one of the sources of fun for me, one of the reasons I write. It’s the magic of the creation process, figuring out how I can come to know the seemingly unknowable, whether that unknowable person is a murderer or a cocaine user or a person outside of my race or a mother, since I’m not a mother.

With this book, the character that was most obviously a challenge was Tony, because I’d never written a black point of view character before. I’ve wondered over the years whether or not I have the right to do so. Intellectually or hypothetically, I’ve believed all along that I do—of course I do—but practically, there’s a lot at stake. A lot to lose if I can’t be convincing, and what does that even mean, to be convincing? It’s all very loaded. But it has bothered me for a long time that I was writing about a small Kentucky town and not ever writing about race. It seemed cowardly and false. It would have been another kind of cowardly and false to put Tony in the story but never grant him the perspective I grant other significant characters. So I went for it, and I used baseball as the point of entry. One of his lines—“You don’t understand the life of an athlete”—is something a man said to me many years ago (to immense anger on my part, I might add), and I thought, let’s see if I can try. This was an interesting case of the two alien things—Tony’s race, his obsessive athleticism—making each thing less alien to me.

LS: The story you sent me that’s set in Sewanee is the first thing I’ve read by you that doesn’t take place in Roma. Have you been working with other settings lately? How does that feel different to you? Do you think you’ll keep writing about Roma? Have you set anything in Greensboro, NC, where you now live?

HGJ: Yeah. Since finishing The Next Time You See Me, it’s all been outside of Roma and even Kentucky. There are two stories set in Sewanee-like places, though I’m not calling it Sewanee. I’m chickening out again. This one story, which is unfinished, has a backstory in it about a 19th century serial killer, and I don’t see how I can call it Sewanee and claim that the town had a serial killer in the late 1800s. But man, you put Sewanee and 19th century serial killer together, and it just makes sense, doesn’t it?

I haven’t set anything in Greensboro. It’s not something I’ve thought consciously about; it just hasn’t happened. I seem, even in this new incarnation of my writing life, to be drawn to more claustrophobic settings: a small town, an island beach house, a college campus, a car on a lonely stretch of highway. Greensboro is such a medium-sized city. It’s such an easy place to live, and you don’t have to think about it too much. And that’s probably why I’m not itching to write about it.

LS: Except for your time in the MFA program at OSU, you’ve mostly lived in the south, and all of your work is set there. Do you think of yourself as a southern writer? What does that term, or the idea of southern fiction, mean to you?

HGJ: I guess I must be a southern writer—I’m certainly willing to claim that mantle when it benefits me—but it’s something I end up having to think about a whole lot more on the publishing end than the writing end of what I do. Same thing with being a “woman writer.”

There’s an image of the southern writer—one you see in places like Sewanee, when people are drinking whiskey and listening to a makeshift band of writers on guitar, and someone starts telling a story about the time Barry Hannah pulled out a gun in a creative writing workshop—that I enjoy being an audience to but feel outside of. That way of life is as foreign to how I grew up as having a pint in a London pub, or eating dim sum in New York. I experience it like a tourist.

LS: As a first-time novelist, how would you describe the challenges of transitioning from short stories? What have you learned that might serve you on the next book?

HGJ: Writing The Next Time You See Me was when I finally started to learn the art of the cut. Before, when I heard people talk about cutting manuscripts by 20 percent or whatever it is, or killing darlings, I nodded along but really saw it as an act of conspicuous self-deprivation, like loudly declaring you’re going gluten-free or lecturing to people at a cocktail party about how good you feel now that you don’t drink anymore. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I thought. Can I just get a refill? The way I’ve unstuck myself during the composition process has always been to go into lyrical passages of exposition, and if that was the drug I needed to get the job done, so be it. So I ended up with two thirds of a really flabby novel that read a bit like a story cycle. Each chapter had a tidy narrative arc, usually set off with some kind of narrative frame, and that meant that the book’s momentum kept flagging. Shaping this book into what it eventually became involved a lot of reordering and ultimately about 40 pages of cuts. They were hard at first, and then I was pretty gleeful about them. And let me say, in case it sounds like I’m the converted preaching to the heathens—and I don’t remember anyone explaining it to me this way—that these gleeful cuts had ample and immediate payoff. I started to see how an extraction could immediately heighten the tension and create a stronger transition. And I’ve been taking these lessons more intuitively into the new project, so I anticipate that the revision process won’t require 40 pages of discarded material.

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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!
The Racketeer
The Art Forger
Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker
Cover of Snow
Ten Years Later: Six People Who Faced Adversity and Transformed Their Lives
True Love: 24 Surprising Stories of Animal Affection
Killing Kennedy
The Genius of Dogs: How Dogs Are Smarter Than You Think
7 Years Younger
A Land More Kind Than Home
A Good American
The Expats
The Marriage Plot
The Warmth of Other Suns
The Hare With Amber Eyes
Lord of the Flies
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Taken
To Brie or Not to Brie
Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes
TFancy Nancy: Heart to Heart
The Madman's Daughter
Bud, Not Buddy
Will Grayson, Will Grayson


Author Readings



Okra Pick!Ruta Sepetys -- Out of the Easy  (author appearance)
Ruta Sepetys
02/20/2013, 07:00 pm
Books & Books Inc
Coral Gables, FL

Jamaica Kincaid -- See Now Then  (author appearance)
Jamaica Kincaid
02/20/2013, 08:00 pm
Books & Books Inc
Coral Gables, FL

Brandon Sanderson and Harriet McDougal  (author appearance)
Brandon Sanderson
02/20/2013, 07:30 pm
Quail Ridge Books & Music
Raleigh, NC

Laura Cayouette: Know Small Parts: An Actor’s Guide to Turning Minutes into Moments and Moments into a Career  (author appearance)
Laura Cayouette
02/20/2013, 05:30 pm
Garden District Book Shop
New Orleans, LA

Okra Pick!Ron Rash reads from his new collection Nothing Gold Can Stay  (author appearance)
Rash, Ron
02/20/2013, 07:00 pm
Flyleaf Books
Chapel Hill, NC

Cory Doctorow - HOMELAND  (author appearance)
Doctorow, Cory
02/20/2013, 06:00 pm
Octavia Books
New Orleans, LA

Reading with Margot Berwin  (author appearance)
Margo Berwin
02/20/2013, 01:00 pm
Page & Palette
Fairhope, AL

Okra Pick!Margaret Wrinkle  (author appearance)
Wrinkle, Margaret
02/20/2013, 07:00 pm
Regulator Bookshop
durham, NC

Margot Berwin  (author appearance)
Margot Berwin
02/20/2013, 01:00 pm
Page and Pallette


REIKI MASTER BONNIE WILLOW DISCUSSION & SIGNING  (author appearance)
Bonnie Willow
02/20/2013, 07:00 pm
Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe
Asheville, NC

UM READING: Justin Torres -- We the Animals  (author appearance)
Justin Torres
02/21/2013, 08:00 pm
Books & Books Inc
Coral Gables, FL

Margot Berwin - Scent of Darkness  (author appearance)
Margot Berwin
02/21/2013, 05:30 pm
Garden District Book Shop
New Orleans, LA

Coffee with the Poet Featuring Caleb Beissert  (author appearance)
Beissert, Caleb
02/21/2013, 10:30 am
City Lights Bookstore
Sylva, NC

Okra Pick!Ron Rash reads from his new collection Nothing Gold Can Stay  (author appearance)
Ron Rash
02/21/2013, 07:30 pm
Quail Ridge Books & Music
Raleigh, NC

Author event with Michael Dahlie  (author appearance)
Michael Dahlie
02/21/2013, 06:30 pm
Parnassus Books
Nashville, TN

Brandon Sanderson signs A Memory of Light: A Wheel of Time Novel  (author appearance)
Brandon Sanderson
02/21/2013, 07:15 pm
Eagle Eye Book Shop
Atlanta, GA

KRISTEN SIMMONS, BREAKING POINT  (author appearance)
KRISTEN SIMMONS
02/21/2013, 07:00 pm
Inkwood Books
Tampa, FL

Ernest Freeberg author of The Age of Edison  (author appearance)
Ernest Freeberg
02/21/2013, 06:00 pm
Union Avenue Books
Knoxville, TN

DIELLE CIESCO PRESENTS THE UNKNOWN MOTHER  (author appearance)
Dielle Ciesco
02/21/2013, 07:00 pm
Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe
Asheville, NC

Al Roker -- Never Going Back   (author appearance)
Al Roker
02/22/2013, 06:30 pm
Books & Books Inc
Coral Gables, FL

Cristóbal Díaz Ayala -- Oh, Cuba Hermosa  (author appearance)
Cristóbal Díaz Ayala
02/22/2013, 08:00 pm
Books & Books Inc
Coral Gables, FL

Okra Pick!Ron Rash - Nothing Gold Can Stay  (author appearance)
Ron Rash
02/22/2013, 04:00 pm
Alabama Booksmith
Birmingham, AL

Sharisse Coulter: Rock My World and Lee Coulter: Mr. Positivity  (author appearance)
Sharisse Coulter
02/22/2013, 06:00 pm
Garden District Book Shop
New Orleans, LA

Okra Pick!Ron Rash - Nothing Gold Can Stay  (author appearance)
Ron Rash
02/22/2013, 4pm
Alabama Booksmith
Birmingham, AL

Okra Pick!Holly Goddard Jones  (author appearance)
Holly Goddard Jones
02/22/2013, 07:00 pm
Regulator Bookshop
durham, NC

Deb Perelman  (author appearance)
Deb Perelman
02/22/2013, 07:30 pm
Quail Ridge Books & Music
Raleigh, NC

Avid Poetry Series: Cynthia Arrieu-King, Kate Greenstreet, and Lily Brown  (author appearance)
Cynthia Arrieu-King
02/22/2013, 08:30 pm
Avid Bookshop
Athens, GA

Andrei Codrescu - SO RECENTLY RENT A WORLD  (author appearance)
Andrei Codrescu
02/22/2013, 06:00 pm
Octavia Books
New Orleans, LA

YOUTH FOOD ADVOCATE AND AUTHOR BIRKE BAEHR  (author appearance)
Birke Baehr
02/22/2013, 07:00 pm
Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe
Asheville, NC

Joint Poetry Reading -- Victoria Redel & Elizabeth Jacobson  (author appearance)
Victoria Redel
02/23/2013, 07:00 pm
Books & Books Inc
Coral Gables, FL

Christal Presley: Thirty Days with My Father: Finding Peace from Wartime PTSD  (author appearance)
Presley, Christal
02/23/2013, 02:00 pm
Flyleaf Books
Chapel Hill, NC

Reading with Skip Tucker  (author appearance)
Skip Tucker
02/23/2013, 01:00 pm
Page & Palette
Fairhope, AL

Painting Classic Portraits: Great Faces Step by Step   (author appearance)
Luana Luconi Winner
02/23/2013, 03:00 pm
Quail Ridge Books & Music
Raleigh, NC

Author event with Yuval Taylor and Jake Austen  (author appearance)
Yuval Taylor
02/23/2013, 02:00 pm
Parnassus Books
Nashville, TN

Skip Tucker  (author appearance)
Skip Tucker
02/23/2013, 01:00 pm
Page & Palette
Fairhope, AL

WENONAH HAUTER, FOODOPOLY: THE BATTLE OVER THE FUTURE OF FOOD AND FARMING IN AMERICA  (author appearance)
WENONAH HAUTER
02/23/2013, 02:00 pm
Inkwood Books
Tampa, FL

Garrett White- A Boy's Best Friend  (author appearance)
Garrett White
02/23/2013, 12:00 pm
Literary BookPost
Salisbury, NC

A Threesome with Kat Williams, Fiona Zedde, and Sheree L. Greer: Getting Your Book into the Marketplace  (author appearance)
Fiona Zedde
02/23/2013, 07:30 pm
Charis Books & More
Atlanta, GA

Kat Robinson - Arkansas Pie  (author appearance)
Kat Robinson
02/23/2013, 07:00 pm
Nightbird Books
Fayetteville, AR

Barnacle Bill Bedlam - Tales of Barnacle Bill  (author appearance)
Barnacle Bill Bedlam
02/23/2013, 02:00 pm
Park Road Books
Charlotte, NC

JAMIE MASON PRESENTS THREE GRAVES FULL  (author appearance)
Jamie Mason
02/23/2013, 07:00 pm
Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe
Asheville, NC

Poetry Reading with Clifford Brooks III  (author appearance)
Clifford Brooks III
02/23/2013, 08:00 pm
Bound To Be Read Books
Atlanta, GA

William Deane -- Smooth Criminal  (author appearance)
William Deane
02/24/2013, 04:00 pm
Books & Books Inc
Coral Gables, FL

Marjorie Heins -- Priests of Our Democracy  (author appearance)
Marjorie Heins
02/24/2013, 06:00 pm
Books & Books Inc
Coral Gables, FL

Judy Conner - Southern Fried Divorce: The After Party  (author appearance)
Judy Conner
02/24/2013, 03:00 pm
Garden District Book Shop
New Orleans, LA

Remembering Medgar Evers: Writing the Long Civil Rights Movement  (author appearance)
Minrose Gwin
02/24/2013, 03:00 pm
Quail Ridge Books & Music
Raleigh, NC

Sarah Crosland - Food Lovers' Guide to Charlotte  (author appearance)
Sarah Crosland
02/24/2013, 02:00 pm
Park Road Books
Charlotte, NC

Okra Pick!RON RASH PRESENTS NEW SHORT STORY COLLECTION *ticketed*  (author appearance)
Ron Rash
02/24/2013, 05:00 pm
Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe
Asheville, NC

Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business  (author appearance)
John Mackey
02/25/2013, 12:30 pm
Quail Ridge Books & Music
Raleigh, NC

Mark Statman, translator - BLACK TULIPS: The Selected Poems of Jos? Mar?a Hinojosa  (author appearance)
Mark Statman
02/25/2013, 6pm
Octavia Books
New Orleans, LA

Gary Small. M.D., The Alzheimer's Prevention Program   (author appearance)
Gary Small. M.D.
02/25/2013, 07:00 pm
The Book Mark


Don Blackwell -- Dear Ashley  (author appearance)
Don Blackwell
02/26/2013, 06:30 pm
Books & Books Inc
Coral Gables, FL

Bernard Diederich -- The Seeds of Fiction  (author appearance)
Bernard Diederich
02/26/2013, 08:00 pm
Books & Books Inc
Coral Gables, FL

Elsa Hahne: The Gravy: In the Kitchen with New Orleans Musicians  (author appearance)
Elsa Hahne
02/26/2013, 05:30 pm
Garden District Book Shop
New Orleans, LA

Ariel Djankian reads from her science fiction novel The Office of Mercy  (author appearance)
Djankian, Ariel
02/26/2013, 07:00 pm
Flyleaf Books
Chapel Hill, NC

Sarah Azaransky  (author appearance)
Sarah Azaransky
02/26/2013, 07:00 pm
Regulator Bookshop
durham, NC

Mark! My Words (How to Discover the Joy of Music, the Delight of Language, and the Pride of Achievement in the Age of Trash Talk  (author appearance)
Mark Evans
02/26/2013, 05:00 pm
The Country Bookshop
Southern Pines, NC

Author event with Charles Scott  (author appearance)
Charles Scott
02/26/2013, 06:30 pm
Parnassus Books
Nashville, TN

Michael Shuman - LOCAL DOLLARS, LOCAL SENSE  (author appearance)
Michael Shuman
02/26/2013, 06:00 pm
Octavia Books
New Orleans, LA

Book Your Lunch with Jessica Maria   (author appearance)
Jessica Maria Tuccelli
02/26/2013, 12:00 pm
Fiction Addiction
Greenville, SC

Author Talk - Tom Cappiello  (author appearance)
Tom Cappiello
02/26/2013, 05:30 pm
Copperfish Books, LLC
Punta Gorda, FL

Ellen Kanner -- Feeding the Hungry Ghost  (author appearance)
Ellen Kanner
02/27/2013, 08:00 pm
Books & Books Inc
Coral Gables, FL

Book Your Lunch with Jean Hunt  (author appearance)
Hunt, Jean
02/27/2013, 12:00 pm
The Lazy Goat


Chimamanda Adichie  (author appearance)
Chimamanda Adichie
02/27/2013, 05:15 pm
Regulator Bookshop
durham, NC

Jack Abramoff-Capitol Punishment talk and signing  (author appearance)
Jack Abramoff
02/27/2013, 02:15 pm
Eagle Eye Book Shop
Atlanta, GA

Dennis Kimbro signs, The Wealth Choice  (author appearance)
Dennis Kimbro
02/27/2013, 07:00 pm
Eagle Eye Book Shop
Atlanta, GA

James Dodson: American Triumvirate: Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan, and the Modern Age of Golf  (author appearance)
James Dodson
02/27/2013, 07:00 pm
Flyleaf Books
Chapel Hill, NC

Book Your Lunch with Jean Hunt  (author appearance)
Jean Hunt
02/27/2013, 12:00 pm
Fiction Addiction
Greenville, SC

Jenny Milchman - Cover of Snow  (author appearance)
Jenny Milchman
02/27/2013, 04:00 pm
Nightbird Books
Fayetteville, AR

Ellen Kanner -- Feeding the Hungry Ghost  (author appearance)
Ellen Kanner
02/28/2013, 06:00 pm
Books & Books Inc
Coral Gables, FL

Dr. Neal Barnard -- Power Foods for the Brain  (author appearance)
Dr. Neal Barnard
02/28/2013, 08:00 pm
Books & Books Inc
Coral Gables, FL

Meet Lauretta Hannon, Author of The Cracker Queen – A Memoir of a Jagged, Joyful Life  (author appearance)
Lauretta Hannon
02/28/2013, 10:30 am
G.J. Ford Bookshop
St. Simons Island, GA

Lynn Povich - The Good Girls Revolt  (author appearance)
Lynn Povich
02/28/2013, 03:30 pm
Alabama Booksmith
Birmingham, AL

Gordon Mantler  (author appearance)
Gordon Mantler
02/28/2013, 07:00 pm
Regulator Bookshop
durham, NC

Author event with Evan Thomas  (author appearance)
Evan Thomas
02/28/2013, 06:30 pm
Parnassus Books
Nashville, TN

Sophia Nash & Jennifer McQuiston Talk and Signing  (author appearance)
Sophia Nash
02/28/2013, 07:00 pm
Eagle Eye Book Shop
Atlanta, GA

Daniel Brook - A HISTORY OF FUTURE CITIES  (author appearance)
Daniel Brook
02/28/2013, 06:00 pm
Octavia Books
New Orleans, LA

Middlebrow Queer: Christopher Isherwood in America--An evening with Jaime Harker  (author appearance)
Jaime Harker
02/28/2013, 07:30 pm
Charis Books & More
Atlanta, GA

Author Talk - Jan Edwards  (author appearance)
Jan Edwards
02/28/2013, 05:30 pm
Copperfish Books, LLC
Punta Gorda, FL

Okra Pick!HOLLY GODDARD JONES READING & BOOKSIGNING  (author appearance)
Holly Goddard Jones
02/28/2013, 07:00 pm
Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe
Asheville, NC

Lilly Ledbetter and Lanier Isom - Grace and Grit: My Fight for Equal Pay and Fairness at Goodyear and Beyond  (author appearance)
Lilly Ledbetter
03/02/2013, 02:00 pm
Alabama Booksmith
Birmingham, AL

Moveable Feast in Surf City  (author appearance)
Emily Colin
03/02/2013, 12:00 pm
Quarter Moon Bookstore
Topsail Beach, NC

Key West author Michael Haskins will discuss and sign Car Wash Blues  (author appearance)
Michael Haskins
03/02/2013, 01:00 pm
Hooked On Books
Islamorada, FL

Stacey Cordery, Girl Scout Leadership Luncheon  (author appearance)
Stacey Cordery
03/05/2013, 11:30 am
Bookstore1Sarasota
Sarasota, FL

Book Signing Event With Randy Wayne White!  (author appearance)
White, Randy Wayne
03/06/2013, 06:30 pm
Sanibel Island Bookshop
Sanibel, FL

Author Jessica Maria Tuccelli Glows  (author appearance)
Jessica Maria Tuccelli
03/07/2013, 06:30 pm
Avid Bookshop
Athens, GA

Special eBook event  (author appearance)
Ora Mendels
03/07/2013, 7:00 pm
Bookstore1Sarasota
Sarasota, FL

Book signing with Joanna Fluke  (author appearance)
Joanne Fluke
03/07/2013, 02:30 pm
Classic Bookshop of the Palm Beaches Inc.
Palm Beach, FL

AUTHOR: Joanne Fluke  (author appearance)
Fluke, Joanne
03/07/2013, 02:30 pm
Classic Bookshop of the Palm Beaches Inc.
Palm Beach, FL

A Novel Music Tour: Acoustic concert by Lee Coulter & book signing with Sharisse Coulter  (author appearance)
Sharisse Coulter
03/08/2013, 06:30 pm
Avid Bookshop
Athens, GA

Red Velvet Cupcake Murders  (author appearance)
Joanne Fluke
03/09/2013, 08:00 pm
Books & Books Inc
Coral Gables, FL

Barbara-Ann Wheeler Book Signing  (author appearance)
Barbara-Ann Wheeler
03/09/2013, 01:00 pm
That Bookstore in Blytheville
Blytheville, AR

Robert Macomber thriller author signing  (author appearance)
Robert Macomber
03/10/2013, 2:00 pm
Bookstore1Sarasota
Sarasota, FL

Guest Author Joshilyn Jackson  (author appearance)
Jackson, Joshilyn
03/11/2013, 06:00 pm
Book Exchange
Marietta, GA

Joanne Fluke Reading and Book Signing  (author appearance)
Joanne Fluke
03/13/2013, 07:00 pm
Park Road Books
Charlotte, NC

Reading with Joanne Fluke  (author appearance)
Joanne Fluke
03/14/2013, 02:00 pm
Quail Ridge Books & Music
Raleigh, NC

Joanne Fluke Reading and Book Signing  (author appearance)
Joanne Fluke
03/14/2013, 07:00 pm
Regulator Bookshop
durham, NC

Joanne Fluke  (author appearance)
Fluke, Joanne
03/15/2013, 07:30 pm
Quail Ridge Books & Music
Raleigh, NC

Reading with Loren Long  (author appearance)
Loren Long
03/15/2013, 04:00 pm
Page & Palette
Fairhope, AL

Reading with Joanne Fluke  (author appearance)
Joanne Fluke
03/19/2013, 06:30 pm
Fountain Bookstore
Richmond, VA

Manatee Library Foundation Luncheon with Adriana Trigiani  (author appearance)
Adriana Trigiani
03/22/2013, 11:00 am
Bookstore1Sarasota
Sarasota, FL

An Evening with Garrison Keillor  (other event)

03/25/2013, 7pm
Alabama Booksmith
Birmingham, AL

Okra Pick!Jill McCorkle - Life after Life  (author appearance)
Jill McCorkle
04/08/2013, 4pm
Alabama Booksmith
Birmingham, AL

The official launch of Miss Julia Stirs Up Trouble!  (author appearance)
Ann B. Ross
04/09/2013, 5pm
The Fountainhead Bookstore
Hendersonville, NC

Read It & Eat with William Kent Krueger  (author appearance)
William Kent Krueger
04/11/2013, 12:00 pm
Page & Palette
Fairhope, AL

Okra Pick!Jill McCorkle Book Signing!  (author appearance)
Jill McCorkle
04/15/2013, 5pm
That Bookstore in Blytheville
Blytheville, AR


Authors Round the South
www.authorsroundthesouth.com