Lady Banks' Commonplace Book is a newsletter for people interested in Southern literature, sponsored by booksellers who are members of the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) and featuring an overview of the literary news and events found on Authors 'Round the South.


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{White calla lilies mean forgiveness.}

In which Mr. Rick Bragg parks his butt at his mamma's kitchen table; her ladyship, the editor ruthlessly weeds out her bookshelves, Ms. Bailey White writes to be anybody she wants to be, and a wise woman explains that gardens, like life, are about balance.

August 8, 2016

In This Issue

Lady Banks' Commonplace Book | Read This! | Okra Picks | The List | Event Calendar | Southern Indie Bestsellers | Book and Author Gossip | Book Trailer Park | STARS



Dearest Readers,

book pileDo you know how some people will say that they are weeding out their book cases, getting rid of books that they no longer want or won't read again? Her ladyship, the editor, almost never did this. Books would continue to be shelved, or stacked, or piled, or crammed, into all available spaces. Only rarely did she release any back into the world, and then often only because she had found herself a better copy. A nice hardcover, to replace a worn paperback. A special edition, to replace an old remainder. A signed copy, to replace an unsigned one.

No doubt there is such a thing as a "critical mass" of books and it is possible her ladyship is in danger of reaching it. When one begins to resent the space the refrigerator is taking up that could be used for bookshelves, one has perhaps passed some critical point of no return.

Therefore her ladyship, the editor, has steeled herself and begun to make an effort to weed out the overloaded shelves in her library. Always one to be logical, she began first with the books she has in multiple copies. Because really, how many sets of the works of Samuel R. Delany does any one person need? Surely not three or four. Surely two sets are sufficient. 

Books that she pulls, and then weeps quietly over, are destined to go to her Little Free Library at the end of her driveway. There, they may or may not be picked up by one of its regular visitors (the gentleman who collects her ladyship's trash every Monday morning, she has discovered, is an avid reader of American history). 

After a lifetime in the book business, her ladyship's library is quite extensive, so this project of weeding out is about as daunting as the weeding that needs to be done in her actual garden. But she has diligently persevered, and already six or seven of her 8000+ books have been pulled to put in the library at the end of the drive.

Her ladyship is quite proud of herself. She is going to a bookstore later today to reward herself.

Read independently. And shop local.

her ladyship, the editor

Read Savannah Liane MoriartyTruly, Madly, Guilty

#ReadSavannah! with Liane Moriarty

#ReadSavannah is a ticketed event open to the public, a Readers' Afternoon Delight that will include lunch with authors, panels and other programs to allow readers to meet and mingle with presenting authors.

The Hilton DeSoto Savannah | September 18, 2016 | 12 noon - 5 PM

Register Here

Lady Banks' Pick of the Week

Lady Banks' Commonplace Book

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

True Stories at the Smoky ViewWhite calla lilies meant forgiveness. That was what Emma Jennings had read somewhere in a a magazine. Well, if there ever came a time when she needed to show someone she forgave them, she had plenty of flowers for the occasion. From just three bulbs, they had multiplied to spread around her gardenias and now threatened to invade her bed of lantanas. The creamy whiteness of the lilies with their deep golden throats blended nicely with the sunshine-yellow lantanas, at least in this particular place. Balance. That was the secret to good gardening. There had to be the right balance of colors, textures, shapes, sizes, and fragrances. Otherwise, a garden could get out of whack as badly as the rest of the world.

--Sandra E. Johnson, Flowers for the Living (Texas Review Press, 2016)

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Lady Banks' {Book} Trailer Park

Bailey White

"Writing is very private and I think it is a good job for a shy person, somebody who is not comfortable in the public eye, because you can go into a room and write anything you want, and you can be anybody you want." --Bailey White

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Read This!

Recommended reading from Southern Indie Booksellers


Miss JaneMiss Jane by Brad Watson

At first I worried for Miss Jane, then I rooted for her, but by the end of her story I simply admired her. Brad Watson's writing flows beautifully as he tells the tale of a life lived fully by someone who had reason to be ungrateful and unhappy. A believable and interesting cast of supporting characters rounds out a really satisfying read.. -- Jamie, Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC 

The Master and Margarita
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

Since it's Cursed Child week, I'll try to sell you on this classic Russian novel through the lens of Harry Potter. Okay: remember the uncomprehending and indignant way that the Dursleys reacted to magic? In The Master and Margarita, we see the Devil himself messing with the elites of 1930s Soviet Russia as they try their best to explain away the presence of the supernatural in their lives. There's a tomcat that does card tricks, a witch that rides a giant hog, and a writer who knows the real story of Pontius Pilate. And at the heart of the book, there is love story that's one of the most moving I've ever read. --Travis, Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC 

More bookseller recommendations

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Okra Picks: The Heavenly Table

The Heavenly TableFrom Donald Ray Pollock, author of the highly acclaimed The Devil All the Time and Knockemstiff, comes a dark, gritty, electrifying (and, disturbingly, weirdly funny) new novel that will solidify his place among the best contemporary American authors.

It is 1917, in that sliver of border land that divides Georgia from Alabama. Dispossessed farmer Pearl Jewett ekes out a hardscrabble existence with his three young sons: Cane (the eldest; handsome; intelligent); Cob (short; heavy set; a bit slow); and Chimney (the youngest; thin; ill-tempered). Several hundred miles away in southern Ohio, a farmer by the name of Ellsworth Fiddler lives with his son, Eddie, and his wife, Eula. After Ellsworth is swindled out of his family's entire fortune, his life is put on a surprising, unforgettable, and violent trajectory that will directly lead him to cross paths with the Jewetts. No good can come of it. Or can it?

In the gothic tradition of Flannery O'Connor and Cormac McCarthy with a healthy dose of cinematic violence reminiscent of Sam Peckinpah, Quentin Tarantino and the Coen Brothers, the Jewetts and the Fiddlers will find their lives colliding in increasingly dark and horrific ways, placing Donald Ray Pollock firmly in the company of the genre's literary masters.


Okra Picks

The List: Summer Reading from Sarah at Quail Ridge Books


Circling the Sun Underground Airlines Chasing the North Star Vinegar Girl The Story of Land and Sea Wright Brothers Just Mercy

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Book & Author Gossip


Tender Hooks “I want to teach (children) they don’t have to be scared of poetry”

Beth Ann Fennelly is Mississippi's new Poet Laureate


My Southern Journey“She’s got a lifetime of cooking the best food on earth and she’s never written down a recipe”

Rick Bragg is inducted into the UA Communication Hall of Fame, and is pretty busy sitting at his mama's kitchen table


". . .as excited and happy as I am about this next chapter of my life, I also feel bittersweet about leaving"

The Book Exchange in Marietta is under new ownership.

The Light in the PiazzaHow does love make us safe?

Revisiting Elizabeth Spencer's classic novel, The Light in the Piazza.

"I operate with a system of very involved spreadsheets"

Managing the 150 authors at the Mississippi Book Festival

Quite a Year for PlumsIt seems Bailey White simply vanished into obscurity.

In search of Baily White

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Meet Martha Cinader

Martha CinedarMartha Cinader is a writer and recording artist. She is the author of several published and unpublished books of poetry and short stories, and a performance artist crossing boundaries between print, music, poetry and storytelling. Creator of the long running performance series Listen & Be Heard that got started in New York City, she brought it along when she moved to California in 1999. There she met her husband and together they opened L&BH Poetry Café and published the award winning L&BH Arts Weekly. She continues to publish the web version of L&BH Arts News where she invites people to post there arts related announcements and reviews. Currently living in Greenville SC, with her husband and three sons, she blogs about being a virgin homesteader, among other things at Her forthcoming novel, Marvelina, is a fairytale for grown women.



DreamscapeDid You Know? Einstein was a high school dropout. Josephine Baker was a secret agent for the French Resistance during World War Two. Sacajawea was the only woman who traveled with Lewis and Clark’s expedition, and carried her baby the whole way. The Supreme Court decided in 1962 that Nicola Tesla was the real inventor of the radio. Philipp Reis invented the first telephone. The medical symbol of the python dates back to the brave ancient African Queen Mella. (Listen to the story of Mella for free.) These fascinating facts and more are contained in Dreamscape: Real Dreams Really Make a Difference. A collection of biographical stories and poems about fascinating people in history whose real dreams made a real difference. Developed in performance, these stories bring old tales to life for contemporary readers in a way that is both entertaining and informative.

Request a visit from Martha Cinader via your local bookstore!

Okra Picks


Southern Indie Bestsellers

For the week ending July 31. Books on the Southern Indie Bestseller List that are southern in nature or have been recently recommended by southern indie booksellers.

- The Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize | Okra Pick! - A SIBA Okra Pick 
See the full list here
Printable versions: Hardcover | Paperback | Children.


1. The Girls
Emma Cline, Random House, $27, 9780812998603
2. Truly Madly Guilty
Liane Moriarty, Flatiron, $26.99, 9781250069795
3. The Black Widow
Daniel Silva, Harper, $27.99, 9780062320223
4. First Comes Love
Emily Giffin, Ballantine, $28, 9780345546920
5. The Woman in Cabin 10
Ruth Ware, Gallery/Scout Press, $26, 9781501132933


1. White Trash
Nancy Isenberg, Viking, $28, 9780670785971
2. Hamilton: The Revolution
Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jeremy McCarter, Grand Central, $45, 9781455539741
3. When Breath Becomes Air
Paul Kalanithi, Random House, $25, 9780812988406
4. Crisis of Character
Gary J. Byrne, Center Street, $27, 9781455568871
5. Grit
Angela Duckworth, Scribner, $28, 9781501111105

Also of note:

okra9. Underground Airlines
Ben Winters, Mulholland, $26, 9780316261241
okra9. Dimestore: A Writer's Life
Lee Smith, Algonquin, $24.95, 9781616205027
siba book award finalist11. Go Set a Watchman
Harper Lee, Harper Perennial, $15.99, 9780062409867

Special to the Southern List
Hillbilly ElegyWeird Things Customers Say In BookstoresDog Medicine

Click on a book to purchase from a great indie bookstore! See the full Southern Indie Bestseller list and the books that are Special to the Southern List here.

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Events at Southern Indie Bookstores

See the full calendar | Find a Southern Indie Bookstore near you

Brenda Spalding - Honey Tree Farm  (author appearance)
Brenda Spalding | 08/11/2016, 11:00 am | Bookstore 1 Sarasota | Sarasota, FL

Laura McHugh with ARROWOOD  (author appearance)
Laura McHugh | 08/12/2016, 05:00 pm | Square Books | Oxford, MS

Angela Pisel - With Love from the Inside  (author appearance)
Angela Pisel | 08/12/2016, 05:00 pm | The Country Bookshop | Southern Pines, NC

Curtis J. James, Author of High Hand  (author appearance)
Curtis J. James | 08/12/2016, 11:00 am | Litchfield Books | Pawleys Island, SC

Author event with Mary Reaves Uhles illustrator of Kooky Crumbs  (author appearance)
Mary Reaves Uhles | 08/12/2016, 06:30 pm | Parnassus Books | Nashville, TN

Local Author Book Launch: AND WIND WILL WASH AWAY by Jordan Rothacker  (author appearance)
Jordan Rothacker | 08/13/2016, 08:00 pm | Avid Bookshop | Athens, GA

Meet Atlanta Author Terra Elan McVoy: THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT, CASSIE PARKER  (author appearance)
Terra Elan McVoy | 08/13/2016, 06:30 pm | Avid Bookshop | Athens, GA

Local Author Book Launch: Jordan Rothacker: And Wind Will Wash Away  (author appearance)
Jordan Rothacker | 08/13/2016, 05:00 pm | Avid Bookshop | Athens, GA

Okra Pick!Susan Crawford - The Other Widow  (author appearance)
Susan Crawford | 08/13/2016, 01:00 pm | FoxTale Book Shoppe | Woodstock, GA

Leaving Oxford by Janet W. Ferguson  (author appearance)
Janet W. Ferguson | 08/13/2016, 01:00 pm | Lemuria Books | Jackson, MS

Stephen Crimi Book Signing  (author appearance)
Stephen Crimi | 08/13/2016, 03:00 pm | City Lights Bookstore | Sylva, NC

The Last Cherry Blossom Book Launch Party  (author appearance)
Kathleen Burkinshaw | 08/13/2016, 01:00 pm | Main Street Books | Davidson, NC

Okra Pick!JOY CALLAWAY, ERIKA MARKS & KIM WRIGHT  (author appearance)
Joy Callaway | 08/13/2016, 07:00 pm | Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe | Asheville, NC

Superhero Party and Book Signing with Kristy Dempsey  (author appearance)
Kristy Dempsey | 08/13/2016, 12:00 pm | Fiction Addiction | Greenville, SC

Jessica Leake Launch Party  (author appearance)
Jessica Leake | 08/13/2016, 02:30 pm | Fiction Addiction | Greenville, SC

Author event with Cindy Dorminy author of Tuned Into You  (author appearance)
Cindy Dorminy | 08/13/2016, 02:00 pm | Parnassus Books | Nashville, TN

Jennifer Prince  (author appearance)
Jennifer Prince | 08/14/2016, 07:00 pm | Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe | Asheville, NC

Author Cassie Beasley: CIRCUS MIRANDUS  (author appearance)
Cassie Beasley | 08/16/2016, 06:30 pm | Avid Bookshop | Athens, GA

The Psychic Hold of Slavery: Legacies in American Expressive Culture  (author appearance)
Robert J. | 08/16/2016, 07:30 pm | Charis Books & More | Atlanta, GA

Benjamin Rybeck - THE SADNESS  (author appearance)
Benjamin Rybeck | 08/16/2016, 06:00 pm | Octavia Books | New Orleans, LA

ADAM O'FALLON PRICE presents THE GRAND TOUR  (author appearance)
Adam O'Fallon Price | 08/16/2016, 07:00 pm | Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe | Asheville, NC

Roland Kays - Candid Creatures  (author appearance)
Roland Kays | 08/16/2016, 07:00 pm | Quail Ridge Books & Music | Raleigh, NC

Okra Pick!Kim Wright, Author of Last Ride to Graceland  (author appearance)
Kim Wright | 08/16/2016, 11:00 am | Litchfield Books | Pawleys Island, SC

Joy Callaway, Author of Fifth Avenue Artists Society  (author appearance)
Joy Callaway | 08/16/2016, 11:00 am | Litchfield Books | Pawleys Island, SC

The Psychic Hold of Slavery: Legacies in American Expressive Culture  (author appearance)
Aida Levy-Hussen | 08/17/2016, 07:00 pm | Charis Books & More | Atlanta, GA

Dudgeons and Daggers by Troy M. Carnes  (author appearance)
Troy M. Carnes | 08/17/2016, 05:00 pm | Lemuria Books | Jackson, MS

Lee Annis with BIG JIM EASTLAND  (author appearance)
Lee Annis | 08/17/2016, 05:00 pm | Square Books | Oxford, MS

Danny Johnson - The Last Road Home  (author appearance)
Danny Johnson | 08/17/2016, 07:00 pm | Park Road Books | Charlotte, NC

Okra Pick!Robert Olen Butler - Perfume River  (author appearance)
Robert Olen Butler | 08/18/2016, 05:00 pm | Alabama Booksmith | Birmingham, AL

Okra Pick!Kate DiCamillo  (author appearance)
Kate DiCamillo | 08/18/2016, 04:30 pm | Page & Palette | Fairhope, AL

Coloring with Elsie & Tony and Magical Jungle by Johanna Basford  (author appearance)
Johanna Basford | 08/18/2016, 11:00 am | Bookstore 1 Sarasota | Sarasota, FL

Cliterati Featuring THE QUEER HEARTACHE TOUR (kit yan & jess x chen)  (author appearance)
Kit Yan | 08/18/2016, 07:30 pm | Charis Books & More | Atlanta, GA

Jay McInerny with BRIGHT PRECIOUS DAYS  (author appearance)
Jay McInerny | 08/18/2016, 05:00 pm | Square Books | Oxford, MS

Authors Round the South


Lady Banks is sponsored by the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance, in support of independent bookstores in the South.
SIBA | 3806 Yale Dr. | Columbia, SC 28409