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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{On family recipes, fan mail and foster cats.}

In which Ms. Shellie Rushing Tomlinson rides a bike (precariously), Ms. Kathy Izard discovers that no one makes casseroles for crazy people, The Downtown Bookstore creates a foster program for abandoned cats, Ms. Cassandra King insists her husband got more fan mail than Brad Pitt, and Ms. Rhonda Rich writes a fan letter (but not to Pat Conroy).

October 30, 2016

In This Issue

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


Dearest Readers

carrot cake"I voted early. Now I will only watch Downton Abbey on the TV." This was the solution to election stress that a friend confided to her ladyship, the editor over lunch last week. Her ladyship usually votes on Election Day, but she follows a similar program to alleviate the stress of an Election year. The television stays off. The books, stay open. 

And carrot cake. Carrot cake with white cream cheese frosting stays in good supply.

Read Independently. And shop local.

her ladyship, the editor

Lady Banks' Pick of the Week

Lady Banks' Receipt Book

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

Hungry is a Mighty Fine SauceThis is not your classic pasta, red sauce, and cheese version of lasagna, but I call it lasagna because of the way it's layered! Yeah, it's one of those recipes I invented from what I had on hand. I do that a lot.

1 pound ground beef, cooked and drained
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cumin
Dash hot sauce
12 (six inch) corn tortillas
1 can diced green chilies
1 (2.25 ounce) can  diced black olives
1 (10 ounce) can enchilada sauce
1 (15 ounce) can pinto beans
1 (10 ounce) can Ro-Tel tomatoes
8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, grated
Fresh lettuce
Green onions, chopped
Fresh cilantro
Black pepper to taste

Season browned ground beef with minced garlic, cumin, and hot sauce. Now layer ingredients lasagna style: Place six tortillas on bottom of casserole dish sprayed with cooking spray. Across them spread half of the meat, chilies, olives, enchilada sauce, pinto beans, tomatoes, and cheese. Repeat with six more tortillas and what remains of the previously halved ingredients.

Bat at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. I served this dish in squares atop a bed of lettuce and sprinkled with green onions, and fresh cilantro. Have mercy! That's my Mexican Lasagna and it's good eating, from the All Things Southern kitchen to yours. 

--Shellie Rushing Tomlinson, Hungry is a Mighty Fine Sauce (Barbour, 2016)

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Read This!

Recommended reading from Southern Indie Booksellers

All Things Cease to Appear by Elizabeth Brundage

In a town of extreme wealth and poverty with little in between, George Clare comes home one afternoon to find his three year old daughter alone and his wife murdered, without a clue by whom. Immediately, of course, George becomes the chief suspect. Set over the course of a generation in a community where local farms are dying out and other unsolved crimes evolve, Brundage creates a community of mystery. Move over, The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl.

All Things Cease to Appear by Elizabeth Brundage (Knopf) Recommended by Richard at Square Books Oxford MS



Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple

Eleanor Flood, once a rising star as an artist and cartoonist now lives in Seattle. She still writes some, but primarily lives her life as a wife and mother. In one day of inopportune revelations and odd adventures, Eleanor comes to reckon with her complicated and dissatisfying family life. From the bestselling author of Where'd You Go Bernadette? comes another disarmingly funny story executed with a conversational tone that almost belies the seriousness of the plot. I especially love the full-color interior section of Eleanor's graphic novel Flood Girls, illustrated by Eric Chase Anderson.

Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple (Little, Brown & Co.), recommended by Johanna at Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC.

Lucy by Randy Cecil

This new book from Cecil has all the charm and energy of an early black-and-white movie. Organized into four acts, the main actors are Lucy, a little street dog; Eleanor, the girl who feeds her scraps each morning; and Eleanor's father, Sam, who must overcome his stage fright to succeed as a juggler on the vaudeville stage. Precise repetition of actions and reactions give the story clear beats, and readers will enjoy finding tiny changes in Cecil's camera-lens illustrations. An excellent choice for fans of dogs, juggling, and dreams coming true.

Lucy by Randy Cecil (Candlewick), recommended by Cecilia at Hooray for Books, Arlington, VA.


Smoke by Dan Vyleta

Imagine a world where it is impossible to lie.

Imagine a world where every lustful though is immediately self evident. Then turn your mind to how a crooked ruling class, who somehow have the antidote, could exploit this. Dan Vyleta's SMOKE is not just a brilliant alternate world, it's possibly a whole new genre. Smoke Punk anyone?

Smoke by Dan Vyleta (Doubleday) Recommended by Chris at A Cappella Books Atlanta GA.



More bookseller recommendations

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{Book} Trailer Park

Hungry is a Mighty Fine Sauce

Okra Picks: Hungry is a Mighty Fine Sauce

Hungry is a Mighty Fine Sauce"You don't need a silver fork to eat good food." - Paul Prudhomme

Shellie Rushing Tomlinson, the Belle of All Things Southern, is serving up down-home southern dishes with a healthy side of laugh-out-loud entertainment in Hungry Is a Mighty Fine Sauce. Featuring dozens of tried-and-true recipes complemented by entertaining stories, your hunger--and your craving for humor--are sure to be satisfied! Uncomplicated, delicious recipes including Bodacious Black Bean Salad and Spicy Sausage and Crawfish Spread (125 recipes, to be exact!) fall into categories including Feeding the Funny Farm, Carnivores Are Us, Holidays in Dixie, and Watching the Curves. Eye-catching photos, guaranteed to make your mouth water, are included throughout...sure to be a much-appreciated gift or centerpiece on your very own kitchen countertop.


Okra Picks

The List: Feminism is for Everybody

Charis Books' list of best feminist books

Customers often ask us which is the "best ever" feminist book or which book about feminism they should give someone new to feminism or which book they should read if they are just beginning their feminist journey. We think, as bell hooks says, "feminism is for everybody," but not every feminist book is for every person. Below is a list of our ever-evolving Charis feminist canon.

Feminism is for Everybody This Bridge Called My Back Borderlands/La Frontiera Home Girls Sister Outsider The Feminine Mystique Men Explain Things to Me Full Frontal Feminism On Lies, Secrets and Silence Yell-Oh Girls When Chickenheads Come HOme to Roost Whipping Girl The Guy's Guide to Feminism


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Feeding the Funny Farm

Hungry is a Mighty Fine SauceMy family has an all-for-one-and-one-for-all policy when it comes to  visiting one another in the hospital. We've been known to take over a waiting room at a moment's notice and hold the fort for the duration of a loved one's stay. This can't be easy on the other folks forced to share the waiting area with us, but in our defense, we aren't at all exclusive. Should you find yourself in the vicinity, you're welcome to our snacks, and you're free to join the conversation, but good luck getting the floor. Do you remember jumping rope in grade school and how tricky it was to learn how to time your entrance when someone else was swinging the rope without getting clotheslined? Excellent.  You'll need to draw on that skill should you decide to enter the conversational fray.

One of our last big get-togethers was held on Mama's behalf. She, so is affectionately known in this family as the Queen of Us All, drew quite the impressive gathering for her latest back surgery, and boy did we swap some stories that day! One of my author friends, Karen Spears Zacharias, had recently written a perfectly hilarious piece about childbirth and cod liver oil on her blog, and I took great delight in sharing it with the assembled females. That's another one of our family idiosyncrasies: we women seriously enjoy telling our childbirth stories. By now we know one another's experiences by heart, but somehow or another they always get better in the retelling. I know that I personally spare no details with mine.

I like to say medical books will tell you the human female's gestation period is forty weeks, but they will not tell you that once the human female passes that date, she will become open to all manner of suggestions as to how to get that baby out. Midway through my first pregnancy, my doctor told me to quit riding my bike let it send me into labor.  A nine months and two weeks, I took him up on that promise. He lied. All I got for my trouble was curious stares from the neighborhood kids, and I couldn't blame'em. can you picture a circus elephant balancing on a ball? Good. That will give you some idea of what those poor things were forced to witness. 

The women in my family told me castor oil would do the trick. They lied, too. That stuff did a lot of things to my body all right. Nasty things. Everything in me turned loose--except that sweet baby.

But about the Queen. Before her surgery was over that day, we had enjoyed something between a family feud and a family reunion. As alluded to earlier, the only thing harder than getting the floor to share a story in my southern family is keeping it until you're through. Breathe and you'll forfeit your turn till the next round -- unless you're willing to use force to retain your audience. Most of us are. 

--Shellie Rushing Tomlinson (reprinted with permission from Shiloh Books)

Okra Picks


Book & Author 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 Hundred Story HomeIt struck young Kathy during those years how her church’s congregation would endlessly help the families of those dealing with cancer or other disease. But “there are no casseroles for crazy,” Izard found.

The Hundred Story Home

Wake up, book lovers

Miami Book Fair tickets are now on sale

DimestoreAs best I can recall – and I’ve been thinking hard about this – I have only written one fan letter in my life.

Ronda Rich on Dimestore


Wash"Segregation is a word full of meaning for every person on earth - Lillian Smith"

Margaret Wrinkle in Conversation with Marti Paschal | The Museum of the African Diaspora 


When Jamie Hope Anderson bought Downtown Books in Manteo, NC, the resident cat did not come with bookstore.

The Downtown Books Foster Cat program

A Lowcountry HeartI doubt Brad Pitt got as much fan mail.

Cassandra King on Pat Conroy and his readers


RisenAll is tinged with blood — revenge, anger, desperation.

Ron Rash's Risen has no joy in a return to the past




Truevine“You stick together, or you might get snatched up like Eko and Iko.”

Beth Macy's Truevine is a complex tale of racial exploitation and dogged reporting.



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Southern Indie Bestsellers

For the week ending October 23. 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. Small Great Things
Jodi Picoult, Ballantine, $28.99, 9780345544957
2. Commonwealth
Ann Patchett, Harper, $27.99, 9780062491794
3. Razor Girl
Carl Hiaasen, Knopf, $27.95, 9780385349741
4. The Underground Railroad
Colson Whitehead, Doubleday, $26.95, 9780385542364
5. All the Light We Cannot See
Anthony Doerr, Scribner, $27, 9781476746586
6. The Trespasser
Tana French, Viking, $27, 9780670026333


1. Hillbilly Elegy
J.D. Vance, Harper, $27.99, 9780062300546
2. Killing the Rising Sun
Bill O'Reilly, Martin Dugard, Holt, $30, 9781627790628
3. Upstream
Mary Oliver, Penguin Press, $26, 9781594206702
4. Born to Run
Bruce Springsteen, S&S, $32.50, 9781501141515
5. Deep Run Roots: Stories and Recipes from My Corner of the South
Vivian Howard, Little Brown, $40, 9780316381109

Also of note:

7. Two by Two
Nicholas Sparks, Grand Central, $27, 9781455520695
15. The Risen
Ron Rash, Ecco, $25.99, 9780062436313
11. Dispatches from Pluto: Lost and Found in the Mississippi Delta
Richard Grant, S&S, $16, 9781476709642 
5. Raymie Nightingale
Kate DiCamillo, Candlewick, $16.99, 9780763681173
6. Gertie's Leap to Greatness
Kate Beasley, Jillian Tamaki (Illus.), FSG, $16.99, 9780374302610
9. Serafina and the Black Cloak
Robert Beatty, Disney/Hyperion, $7.99, 9781484711873

Special to the Southern List
RisenArnold PalmerShepherd's LifeGertie's Leap to Greatness

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

Uva de Aragón - El mundo y mi Cuba en el Diario - Gables  (author appearance)
Uva de Aragón | 11/02/2016, 07:00 pm | Books & Books Inc | Coral Gables, FL

Hank Phillippi Ryan Booksigning  (author appearance)
Hank Phillippi Ryan | 11/02/2016, 07:00 pm | Murder on the Beach Mystery Bookstore | Delray Beach, FL

Award Winning Poet, Michelle Boisseau, presents Among The Gorgons  (author appearance)
Michelle Boisseau | 11/02/2016, 06:00 pm | Vero Beach Book Center | Vero Beach, FL

Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Front Lines  (author appearance)
Stacey-Marie Piotrowski | 11/02/2016, 06:30 pm | Avid Bookshop | Athens, GA

Pat Spears: It's Not Like I Knew Her  (author appearance)
Pat Spears | 11/02/2016, 07:30 pm | Charis Books & More | Atlanta, GA

Jonathan Rabb, AMONG THE LIVING  (author appearance)
Jonathan Rabb | 11/02/2016, 07:00 pm | Octavia Books | New Orleans, LA

Jonathan Safran Foer with HERE I AM  (author appearance)
Jonathan Safran Foer | 11/02/2016, 05:00 pm | Square Books | Oxford, MS

Lunch & Learn with Ron Robinson  (author appearance)
Ron Robinson | 11/02/2016, 12:00 pm | City Lights Bookstore | Sylva, NC

Author Event: Cynthia Graubart - Chicken: Savor the South  (author appearance)
Cynthia Graubart | 11/02/2016, 07:00 pm | Park Road Books | Charlotte, NC

Vivian Howard - 'Deep Run Roots' (SOLD OUT at Whole Foods event)  (author appearance)
Vivian Howard | 11/02/2016, 05:00 pm | Quail Ridge Books & Music | Raleigh, NC

Author Clare Beams - We Show What We Have Learned  (author appearance)
Clare Beams | 11/02/2016, 07:00 pm | Scuppernong Books | Greensboro, NC

Author event with Jacqueline Frist author of Blueview Island  (author appearance)
Jacqueline Frist | 11/02/2016, 06:30 pm | Parnassus Books | Nashville, TN

David A. Kelly  (author appearance)
David A. Kelly | 11/02/2016, 06:00 pm | Hooray For Books | Alexandria, VA

Joe Jackson - Black Elk: The Life of an American Visionary   (author appearance)
Joe Jackson | 11/02/2016 | Prince Books | Norfolk, VA

Alexander Maksik - Shelter in Place - Gables  (author appearance)
Alexander Maksik | 11/03/2016, 08:00 pm | Books & Books Inc | Coral Gables, FL

Author Diane Gilbert Madsen presents Cracking the Code of the Canon: How Sherlock Holmes Made his Decisions  (author appearance)
Diane Gilbert Madsen | 11/03/2016, 06:00 pm | Copperfish Books, LLC | Punta Gorda, FL

Hank Phillippi Ryan presents Say No More - A Jane Ryland Novel  (author appearance)
Hank Phillippi Ryan | 11/03/2016, 06:00 pm | Vero Beach Book Center | Vero Beach, FL

Gray Stewart & Frank Reddy Book Signing  (author appearance)
Gray Stewart | 11/03/2016, 07:00 pm | A Cappella Books | Atlanta, GA

Ferrante Fever Party  (author appearance)
Elena Ferrante | 11/03/2016, 06:00 pm | Avid Bookshop | Athens, GA

Author Elizabeth Cox: A QUESTION OF MERCY  (author appearance)
Elizabeth Cox | 11/03/2016, 06:30 pm | Avid Bookshop | Athens, GA

Mike Curato - LITTLE ELLIOT, BIG FUN (Meet and Greet!)  (author appearance)
Mike Curato | 11/03/2016, 03:30 pm | Octavia Books | New Orleans, LA

Cassandra King with A LOWCOUNTRY HEART (by Pat Conroy)  (other event)
11/03/2016, 06:00 pm | Square Books | Oxford, MS

George Plasketes with WARREN ZEVON  (author appearance)
George Plasketes | 11/03/2016, 06:00 pm | Square Books | Oxford, MS

Alan Shapiro discusses his book of poems Life Pig and his essay collection That Self-Forgetful Perfectly Useless Concentration  (author appearance)
Alan Shapiro | 11/03/2016, 07:00 pm | Flyleaf Books | Chapel Hill, NC

Clare Beams, We Show What We Have Learned  (author appearance)
Clare Beams | 11/03/2016, 06:00 pm | Main Street Books | Davidson, NC

BISCUIT HEAD COOK BOOK LAUNCH  (author appearance)
Jason and Carolyn Roy | 11/03/2016, 07:00 pm | Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe | Asheville, NC

Lee Pace - Football in a Forest: The Life and Times of Kenan Memorial Stadium  (author appearance)
Lee Pace | 11/03/2016, 07:00 pm | Quail Ridge Books & Music | Raleigh, NC

SOLD OUT! Vivian Howard, "Deep Run Roots" & Food Truck! - Ticketed Event  (author appearance)
Vivian Howard | 11/03/2016, 06:00 pm | Scuppernong Books | Greensboro, NC

Annie Hallinan - The Sweetest Christmas Eve  (author appearance)
Annie Hallinan | 11/03/2016, 05:00 pm | The Country Bookshop | Southern Pines, NC

Bill Segars signs Churches Burned During the American Revolution  (author appearance)
Bill Segars | 11/03/2016, 04:00 pm | Books on Broad | Camden, SC

Author event with Danielle Walker author of Danielle Walker's Against All Grain  (author appearance)
Danielle Walker | 11/03/2016, 06:30 pm | Parnassus Books | Nashville, TN

Coral Gables Gallery Night Opening: Curt Richter: Thousand Words - Gables  (author appearance)
Curt Richter | 11/04/2016, 07:00 pm | Books & Books Inc | Coral Gables, FL

Bill Ayers - DEMAND THE IMPOSSIBLE!: A Radical Manifesto  (author appearance)
Bill Ayers | 11/04/2016 | Octavia Books | New Orleans, LA

Newton Smith Poetry Reading  (author appearance)
Newton Smith | 11/04/2016, 06:30 pm | City Lights Bookstore | Sylva, NC

Mario Batali Big American Cookbook signing and block party   (author appearance)
Mario Batali | 11/04/2016, 02:00 pm | Flyleaf Books | Chapel Hill, NC

Richard Peck - The Best Man   (author appearance)
Richard Peck | 11/04/2016, 07:00 pm | Quail Ridge Books & Music | Raleigh, NC

Karin Lorene Zipf: BAD GIRLS AT SAMARCAND   (author appearance)
Karin Lorene Zipf | 11/04/2016, 05:00 pm | The Country Bookshop | Southern Pines, NC

Book Signing with Pat Spears & Glenda Bailey-Mershon  (author appearance)
Pat Spears | 11/04/2016, 06:30 pm | Joe's Place | Greenville, SC

Donna Everhart Author of The Education of Dixie Dupree  (author appearance)
Donna Everhart | 11/04/2016, 02:00 pm | Litchfield Books | Pawleys Island, SC

Author event with Lawrence Simmons author of Tree of Liberty  (author appearance)
Lawrence Simmons | 11/04/2016, 06:30 pm | Parnassus Books | Nashville, TN

Mary Quattlebaum and Gilbert Ford  (author appearance)
Gilbert Ford | 11/04/2016, 06:00 pm | Hooray For Books | Alexandria, VA

Discussion and Interview with D.J. Niko and Nina Romano.  (author appearance)
Nina Romano | 11/05/2016, 05:00 pm | Murder on the Beach Mystery Bookstore | Delray Beach, FL

Hometown Book Launch - Local Author Bain Mattox: THE DAY THE WORLD FLIPPED OVER  (author appearance)
Bain Mattox | 11/05/2016, 06:30 pm | Avid Bookshop | Athens, GA

Awesomely Luvvie's Luvvie Ajayi Celebrates Charis' 42nd Birthday!  (author appearance)
Luvvie Ajayi | 11/05/2016, 11:00 am | Charis Books & More | Atlanta, GA

Danny Johnson - The Last Road Home  (author appearance)
Danny Johnson | 11/05/2016, 01:00 pm | FoxTale Book Shoppe | Woodstock, GA

Cynthia Graubart – Chicken: A Savor the South Cookbook   (author appearance)
Cynthia Graubart | 11/05/2016 | McIntyre's Fine Books | Pittsboro, NC

Author Event: Dick Elam - Anne Bonny's Wake  (author appearance)
Dick Elam | 11/05/2016, 02:00 pm | Park Road Books | Charlotte, NC

Katie Button - 'Cúrate: Authentic Spanish Food from an American Kitchen  (author appearance)
Katie Button | 11/05/2016 | Quail Ridge Books & Music | Raleigh, NC

Triad VegFest: Charlie Engel, author of Running Man: A Memoir  (author appearance)
Charlie Engel | 11/05/2016, 10:00 pm | Scuppernong Books | Greensboro, NC

Performance and Book Signing with Michael Buffalo Smith  (author appearance)
Michael Buffalo Smith | 11/05/2016, 05:00 pm | Joe's Place | Greenville, SC

Author event with McKel Hill author of Nutrition Stripped  (author appearance)
McKel Hill | 11/05/2016, 02:00 pm | Parnassus Books | Nashville, TN

Story Time with author Erica S. Perl  (author appearance)
Erica S. Perl | 11/05/2016, 10:30 am | Hooray For Books | Alexandria, VA

Dr. Richard Hansen - El Mirador - Gables  (author appearance)
Dr. Richard Hansen | 11/06/2016, 04:00 pm | Books & Books Inc | Coral Gables, FL

Poetry LocalMic Featuring Albert, Altman and Blinn  (other event)
11/06/2016, 02:00 pm | Bookstore 1 Sarasota | Sarasota, FL

Launch Party for Travis Smith's chapbook in cards, Zodiac B  (author appearance)
Travis Smith | 11/06/2016, 05:00 pm | Flyleaf Books | Chapel Hill, NC

Cooks & Books: Hors D’Oeuvres with Katie Button   (author appearance)
Katie Button | 11/06/2016, 04:00 pm | McIntyre's Fine Books | Pittsboro, NC

Food Truck Tour with Vivian Howard  (author appearance)
Vivian Howard | 11/06/2016, 01:00 pm | Park Road Books | Charlotte, NC

Richard Snow  (author appearance)
Richard Snow | 11/06/2016, 02:00 pm | Quail Ridge Books & Music | Raleigh, NC

Sarah Sweeney, Tell Me If You're Lying  (author appearance)
Sarah Sweeney | 11/06/2016, 03:00 pm | Scuppernong Books | Greensboro, NC

Launch Party for Bittersweet by Tyffani Clark Kemp   (author appearance)
Tyffani Clark Kemp | 11/06/2016, 04:00 pm | M. Judson, booksellers and storytellers | Simpsonville, SC

Author event with Andy Hardin, Jim Bradford and HK Derryberry  (author appearance)
Jim Bradford | 11/06/2016, 02:00 pm | Parnassus Books | Nashville, TN

Sarah Bakewell - At the Existentialist Cafe - Gables  (author appearance)
Sarah Bakewell | 11/07/2016, 08:00 pm | Books & Books Inc | Coral Gables, FL

Chef Vivian Howard, Food Truck & Book Signing - TICKETED EVENT  (author appearance)
Vivian Howard | 11/07/2016, 05:30 pm | Main Street Books | Davidson, NC

Author event with Erin Duvall author of Country Music Hair  (author appearance)
Erin Duvall | 11/07/2016, 06:30 pm | Parnassus Books | Nashville, TN

Multimedia Event with Poet John Alspaugh   (author appearance)
John Alspaugh | 11/07/2016, 06:30 pm | Fountain Bookstore | Richmond, VA

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

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