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{Why do you live here?}

In which Ms. Karin Wilson asks a question, Mr. Steven Sherrill sings a song, Ms. Margaret Bauer tells a story, and her ladyship doesn't mind a little flirting.

July 24, 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,

One of the sections that sometimes shows up in this newsletter is the Lady Banks' Book Trailer -- usually videos designed to entice the viewer into reading some new (Southern) story. Book trailers are short, flirty, a visual tease into a story. Her ladyship never minds being flirted with. 

minotaur takes his own sweet timeBut this week's "trailer" is something a little different. A few days ago, Mr. Steven Sherrill dropped her ladyship a line to say "I've released an album based on my book!" The book, in this case, is The Minotaur Takes His Own Sweet Time, the long-awaited follow up to the debut novel that made such a splash with Southern readers, The Minotaur Takes the Cigarette Break.  "M" is now up in Pennsylvania, doing a stint as a Civil War re-enactor. The album, "Cluck Old Bull" is available to download. It is kind of a soundtrack to the novel, and her ladyship believes that M has a few vocals on some of the tracks.

Perhaps what surprised her ladyship, the editor, the most about this sudden and serendipitous discovery of the Minotaur a la music is how unsurprised she was at the notion. The truth is, writing and music are close, even kissing, cousins, especially here in the South. Every song is a story, after all, and every storyteller knows what it means to sing for their supper. "Story" is the common element behind every great novel, every great song, every great film, every great photograph or work of art. And the way we can recognize a story all these different mediums -- her ladyship thinks that is a little bit magic.

TrioCelebrating that magic is part of what is behind Trio -- the traveling exhibit of literature, music and art that has been making its way around the South this year. For each book in the exhibit, a musician read it and wrote a song, and artist read it and got to creatin'.  The story -- the one in the book, in the music, and in the art comes together in "Trio."  It's a unique and amazing way to experience story.

crooked letter crooked letterRight now Trio can be found at Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi. There will be a whole new Trio exhibit starting in September, so Square Books is one of the last places you'll be able to see the first set of books/music/art. And her ladyship, the editor, assures her readers, you might think you've read Tom Franklin's novel Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter, but Beth Nielsen Chapman's song "Truth" inspired by the story, will make you want to read it again.A condition of freedom Joe Formichella's novel A Condition of Freedom takes on color after seeing Amos Kennedy's print

After seeing the exhibit, its hard to pick up a book without wondering if there is a song in the story, a work of art waiting in its pages, waiting for someone to tease it out, tell the story in another way.

Read independently. (And sing, if you are inspired to)

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.

"My head know they were gone, but my eight-year-old heart didn't yet."

BelongingMaybe it wasn't true. "Come on, Junebug, it's all right, don't be afraid." Grandma took mu hand. Inside the house, a late-afternoon shadow stretched like a long rectangular arm across the living room carpet. The Coke bottle Daddy used for an ashtray was stuffed with cigarette butts and sat on the coffee table. Momma's rocking chair waited for her; I pushed on the painted wooden arm to hear it squeak.

To applejacks left over from Friday sat in a plate on the kitchen stove; this time of day the house should smell like fresh-made sweet tea and supper cooking. I looked on the back porch, but nobody was there either. In the bathroom, I touched the last pencil line where Momma marked my height every year on my birthday. In their bedroom, I lay on the pillow to smell her. My head know they were gone, but my eight-year-old heart didn't yet. 

--Danny Johnson, The Last Road Home (Kensington, 2016) 9781496702494

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Lady Banks' {Book} Trailer Park

Cluck Old Bull

Minotaur Takes His Own Sweet TimeA collaboration between Steven Sherrill and musician Harold Taddy renders the Bull’s narrative through sound and song.

Sixteen years have passed since Steven Sherrill first introduced us to "M," the selfsame Minotaur from Greek mythology, transplanted to the modern American South, in the critically acclaimed The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break. M has moved north now, from a life of kitchens and trailer parks, to that of Civil War re-enactor at a run-down living history park in the dying blue-collar rustbelt of central Pennsylvania.

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Read This!

Recommended reading from Southern Indie Booksellers

Vinegar GirlVinegar Girl by Anne Tyler

Nobody does quirky, contemporary family dynamics full of eccentric characters like Anne Tyler. When you combine that with the plot of Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew, you are in for a wonderful treat. Hogarth Press has commissioned some of today's finest writers to re-imagine Shakespeare's works in modern settings. Vinegar Girl is the very funny, completely absorbing tale of Kate Battista, a caustic, self-centered preschool teacher, her one-track biologist father, boy-crazy younger sister and the unlikely suitor, a Russian researcher in need of a green card. Dare I say that Tyler's ending is better than Shakespeare's? Indeed I do. And in a starred review, Booklist says, “Deeply and pleasurably inspired by her source, Tyler is marvelously nimble and effervescent in this charming, hilarious, and wickedly shrewd tale of reversal and revelation." -- Sarah, at Quail Ridge Books & Music, Raleigh, NC 

Backyard Birdsong GuideI love to listen to the birds as they start their day. My husband and I also like to visit places like Lake Mattamuskeet and Goose Creek on the North Carolina coast to see the migrating waterfowl. I was thrilled to find two bird guides which include a Push and Listen feature where the reader can hear the call of each of the birds in the book. Published by The Cornell Lab of Ornithology and compiled by author Donald Kroodsma and illustrators Larry McQueen and Jon Janosik, The Backyard Birdsong Guide Western North America and The Backyard Birdsong Guide Eastern and Central North America ($34.95 each) are the birder’s best friend. I bought one of them for my young grandson, who will hopefully learn through his love of books with buttons that you push! These make great gifts for the nature lover old and young. -- Mamie, at Quail Ridge Books & Music, Raleigh, NC 

All In Not ForgottenAll Is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker

"This powerful and intense psychological thriller explores the memory of trauma and how it affects our very being. When 16-year-old Jenny Kramer is brutally raped and then given a controversial drug to erase her memory of the event, her parents think it will allow them all to return to their normal, idyllic life in an affluent small town in Connecticut. But that is far from the truth. What ensues is a fascinating look at psychiatric treatment and the lies people tell themselves and others in order to feel whole. Secrets are revealed and integrity is tested as, indeed, all is not forgotten." --Nancy McFarlane, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC

BarkskinsBarkskins by Annie Proulx

"This multigenerational saga follows the fortunes of the Sel and Duke families from early Colonial days to the present, spanning centuries and continents as they make their living not only from the bounty of the land but also from the ravaging and destruction of it. As always, Proulx is brilliant at creating a story that flows impeccably, and her nature writing is some of the most beautiful and evocative to be found in modern literature. This novel is an epic work, a fictional Silent Spring that will linger with readers long after completion." --Bill Cusumano, Square Books, Oxford, MS

More bookseller recommendations

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Okra Picks: Let the Devil Out

Let the Devil OutMeet New Orleans beat cop Maureen Coughlin

The Edgar Award winner Megan Abbott calls Coughlin “a hero with whom we will go anywhere.” She’s complicated―tough and naive, street-smart and vulnerable―and, way too often, reckless. As Let the Devil Out opens, she’s in rough shape. Just a rookie, she’s already been suspended from the force. And things are about to get worse.

The FBI is in town on the trail of a ruthless anti-government militia group, the Watchmen Brigade. Nobody in the NOPD wants any part of working with them. Guess which suspended rookie is told she doesn’t have a choice.

With the FBI and a white supremacist militia on the loose in New Orleans, the city is one big powder keg. Find out what happens when a brilliant but impulsive young cop lights a match.

The rising crime fiction star Bill Loehfelm knows New Orleans. The streets, the people. Where the power lies, and how it gets used―and abused. With Let the Devil Out, Loehfelm raises the bar for sharp, compelling crime fiction. As The New York Times says of the fascinating Maureen Coughlin, "She finds herself wrestling with ethical issues that fictional cops, especially fictional female ones, rarely talk about, leaving that stuff to real-life cops--and smart guys like Bill Loehfelm."


Okra Picks

The List: Summer Reading from Linda at Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe


H is for Hawk The Summer Book Americanah Max Perkins Where'd You Go Bernadette Grief is the Thing with Feathers Station Eleven Still Life Life After Life This Charming Man Garden Spells

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Book & Author Gossip

"The main thing I want people to think about – why do you live here? " 

Bookseller Karin Wilson, owner of Page & Palette Bookstore in Fairhope, Alabama is running for mayor.


Jackson, 1964 “Not every reader gets a summer vacation"

We might all have the fantasy of having an entire week to sit engrossed in a good book. Having the opportunity is a whole other thing. The Bitter Southerner's Indie Bookstore Summer Reading List


“It's a gathering place for the community to forge unity and progress.

The Cultivator is opening in Murfreesboro, North Carolina. It's more than just a bookstore.


"One common thread I see among authors is their generosity with each other’s work"

North Carolina Literary Review editor Margaret Bauer on stories told and shared.


Rogue Lawyer"The bookstore goal is a definite"

John Grisham will close out this year's Bookmarks Festival, as part of a fund raiser for the planned Bookmarks Bookstore in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

"Independent bookstores are more than the sum of their books."

Betsy Burton explains why independent bookstores are also safe havens. It's the quality of empathy.


ZeldaShe was "a restless spirit in the song."

Ten things to know about Zelda Fitzgerald, including the fact she was the inspiration for the Eagles song "Witchy Woman."

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Meet Danny Johnson

Danny JohnsonDanny Johnson is a fiction writer who's characters tend to reflect the most disenfranchised in our society. His influences have been Ron Rash, William Gay, Rick Bragg, and Harry Crews, among others. He lives in Durham, NC with his wife of 46yrs. Sandra.


Last Road Home 

The Last Road HomeFrom Pushcart Prize nominee Danny Johnson comes a powerful, lyrical debut novel that explores race relations, first love and coming-of-age in North Carolina in the 1950s and ‘60s.

Request a visit from Danny Johnson via your local bookstore!

Okra Picks


Southern Indie Bestsellers

For the week ending July 17. 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. All the Light We Cannot See
Anthony Doerr, Scribner, $27, 9781476746586
3. Sweetbitter
Stephanie Danler, Knopf, $25, 9781101875940
4. First Comes Love
Emily Giffin, Ballantine, $28, 9780345546920
5. The Nest
Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney, Ecco, $26.99, 9780062414212


1. White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America
Nancy Isenberg, Viking, $28, 9780670785971
2. Hamilton: The Revolution
Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jeremy McCarter, Grand Central, $45, 9781455539741
3. Between the World and Me
Ta-Nehisi Coates, Spiegel & Grau, $24, 9780812993547
4. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
Marie Kondo, Ten Speed Press, $16.99, 9781607747307
5. Tribe
Sebastian Junger, Twelve, $22, 9781455566389

Also of note:

okra9. Dimestore: A Writer's Life
Lee Smith, Algonquin, $24.95, 9781616205027
siba book award finalist10. Go Set a Watchman
Harper Lee, Harper Perennial, $15.99, 9780062409867
okra8. Raymie Nightingale
Kate DiCamillo, Candlewick, $16.99, 9780763681173

Special to the Southern List

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

Jeanie Thompson  (author appearance)
Jeanie Thompson | 07/28/2016, 06:00 pm | Page & Palette | Fairhope, AL

Shawn Stevenson Book Signing  (author appearance)
Shawn Stevenson | 07/28/2016, 07:00 pm | A Cappella Books | Atlanta, GA

Jeff VanderMeer and Thomas Olde Heuvelt  (author appearance)
Jeff Vandermeer | 07/28/2016, 05:00 pm | Hub City Bookshop | Spartanburg, SC

Odie Lindsey signs We Come to Our Senses  (author appearance)
Odie Lindsey | 07/28/2016, 06:30 pm | Booksellers at Laurelwood | Memphis, TN

What's Going On In YA These Days? With Five Authors In Discussion!   (author appearance)
Megan Shepherd | 07/28/2016, 06:30 pm | Fountain Bookstore | Richmond, VA

Edgar Harrell Special Event  (author appearance)
Edgar Harrell | 07/29/2016, 06:00 pm | Page & Palette | Fairhope, AL

Byron Motley Book Signing  (author appearance)
Byron Motley | 07/29/2016, 07:00 pm | A Cappella Books | Atlanta, GA

West Fraser Author of Painting the Southern Coast  (author appearance)
West Fraser | 07/29/2016, 11:00 am | Litchfield Books | Pawleys Island, SC

Bob Mustin Presents New Short Story Collection  (author appearance)
Bob Mustin | 07/30/2016, 03:00 pm | City Lights Bookstore | Sylva, NC

SHARED WORLDS reading & signing  (author appearance)
Nathan Ballingrud | 07/30/2016, 05:00 pm | Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe | Asheville, NC

Ron Tanner – Missile Paradise  (author appearance)
Ron Tanner | 07/30/2016, 11:00 am | McIntyre's Fine Books | Pittsboro, NC

Author Event: Catherine Pike Plough - The Blu Phenomenon  (author appearance)
Catherine Pike Plough | 07/30/2016, 11:00 am | Park Road Books | Charlotte, NC

Kyle T. Webster, Please Say Please!  (author appearance)
Kyle T. | 07/30/2016, 11:00 am | Scuppernong Books | Greensboro, NC

Liz Starin  (author appearance)
Liz Starin | 07/30/2016, 02:00 pm | Hooray For Books | Alexandria, VA

Penny Parsons - Foggy Mountain Troubadour with live music  (author appearance)
Penny Parsons | 07/31/2016, 02:00 pm | Quail Ridge Books & Music | Raleigh, NC

Odie Lindsey with WE COME TO OUR SENSES  (author appearance)
Odie Lindsey | 08/01/2016, 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

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