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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{Bacon. And chicken.}

In which her ladyship, the editor, packs for a trip, a lady wears a polka-dot bikini and contemplates give up on love, Mr. Fred Thompson teaches us what we need to know about cooking bacon, Ms. Cynthia Graubart teaches us what we need to know about cooking chicken, and The Lady Chablis has left the stage.

September 11, 2016

In This Issue

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


Dearest Readers,

This week finds her ladyship, the editor, preparing for her trip to the SIBA Discovery Show in Savannah, Georgia -- the annual book trade show hosted by the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance. It is a weekend spent with a gathering of some 700 people in the book industry: publishers, booksellers, and about 150 different authors whose new books will be in everyone's hands in the upcoming months. Her ladyship always comes home from this event with several boxes of books that she believes will be of interest to her readers. Or simply of interest to herself.

So naturally, the big dilemma that faces her ladyship at the moment is....what books shall she pack to read? 

One can't pack for a trip without taking at least a couple books. It is like packing an extra change of clothes or tucking away an emergency twenty dollar bill in one's wallet -- there just in case. Emergency reading for unexpected layovers or to gratify a sudden impulse. Her ladyship has always carried emergency books with her, even when she was a little girl. She is physically incapable of going anywhere, even to the supermarket, without having a few of books to hand -- indeed, the propect of being without something to read tends to make her feel anxious.

So some of the precious space in her ladyship's suitcase is taken up by two or three books she thinks she may want to read, or has been trying to find the time to read, or were simply at the top of her teetering to-be-read stack. This time these are the books that are coming along with her to Savannah:

The Home Place Our Lady of Birth Control Among the Living

She may even luck into an "emergency" that allows her the time to read them.

On a side note, although the Discovery Show itself is for members of the book industry, there is a part that is open to the public: #ReadSavannah -- featuring keynote speaker Liane Moriarty. So if you have some free time on Sunday, the 18th, why not spend it with other book lovers and writers? 

Read independently. And shop local.

her ladyship, the editor

Liane MoriartyTruly, Madly, Guilty

Read Savannah#ReadSavannah! with Liane Moriarty, author of Truly Madly Guilty

#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. Including:


Thomas Mullen

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.

Nine IslandAfter thirty years of disaster with men and fresh from a spanking-new heartbreak, I’m back in Miami, back in my dilapidated condo in paradise, to decide if it’s time to retire from love.

Even my mother thinks I should. When I called to tell her of the latest disaster, she sighed and said, Maybe, darling, you should give up on all that. Maybe it’s just time.

Okay, I’ve got other loves, after all. My broken-down mother. My blind old cat. A love poet who’s been dead two thousand years whose words I’m being paid to translate. A friend or two via text.

Who needs more?

Every morning I arise full of vim, crawl around wiping up Buster’s puddles, slip thyroid and seizure pills into his food, and re-diaper his skinny black haunches. Then I put on my faded polka-dot bikini and ride the elevator down twenty-one floors to swim twenty laps in the hourglass pool, ride back up, translate thirty lines of Latin, ride back down to walk three miles, then drink a solo toast or two to chalk up another day done.

Living in paradise: That’s me!

--Jane Alison, Nine Island (Catapult, 2016)

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Read This!

Recommended reading from Southern Indie Booksellers

Over the Plain HousesI started reading Julia Franks’ debut novel, Over the Plain Houses (Hub City $26), after devouring three books by award-winning authors. I was delighted to find that Franks can compete with the best of our contemporary writers. The novel is set in the North Carolina mountains in the late 1930s, and contains many of the themes of our best Southern literature: religious fervor, longing for a better life, trying to make a living and a life in a sometimes unforgiving climate. But Franks writes so beautifully--I found myself rereading passages--and has such particularly drawn characters that the story seems new. I loved the wife, Irenie, who is trying to find some identity and independence while her husband, Brodis, heaps suspicion and threats on her. Yet even the husband, for all his erratic behavior, comes across as a fully realized character. A great beginning from an author I feel certain I’ll be reading again in the near future. -- Mamie, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC

A Great ReckoningJust out is Louise Penny's new Chief Inspector Gamache mystery, A Great Reckoning (Minotaur $28.99). Penny is not only one of my favorite authors, but my real estate agent. I want a home in Three Pines. This may be the most personal Armand Gamache novel to date, as we learn more about the Chief's family history--and even more about his character. In Reckoning, old characters and new combine in Gamache's new endeavor as head of the Sûreté's training academy. Along with a deeply satisfying 'whodunit', it's always a pleasure to return to these villagers. -- Rosemary, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC


This Must Be the PlaceThis Must Be the Place: A Novel by Maggie O'Farrell (Knopf $26.95). A linguist happens upon a once famous actress, thought to be dead, but is actually a recluse--so starts the story of Daniel and Claudette. Theirs is a story of loss--whether it be loss of love, freedom, family or the life they create. They are always looking for the place where they should be. Through twists and turns of time and place, Maggie O’Farrell tells this story most skillfully with her lyrical and graceful words. -- Sandra, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC

Bad Kitty Scaredy-CatBad Kitty Scaredy-Cat by Nick Bruel (Roaring Brook $16.99). Bad Kitty returns in a fabulous 'throwback' to the original Bad Kitty picture book--with four fun, wild, imaginative tours through the alphabet. The setting may be Halloween, but this Bad Kitty can be enjoyed anytime. No type of monster, no kind of candy escapes her notice. Great fun, as always, for ages 4+. And yes, Puppy just may get the last laugh. -- Rosemary, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC 



The RisenThe Risen by Ron Rash: A really satisfying read of young men coming of age in 1969 far from the urban areas that usually define that time. Of course, Rash's great way with language paints a vivid picture of the small NC mountain town Sylva, and the inner workings of a complicated brotherly relationship complicated further by a visit from an exotic girl their age.  -- Jamie, Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC

The HikeThe Hike by Drew Magary: Fun. Well-paced. Imaginative. Unusual. In a modern-day Odyssey, Drew Magary writes what is essentially a hilarious horror tale. Ben (our protagonist) finds himself everywhere he is not supposed to be, battling monsters and barely surviving. The brilliance of this novel is the two-fold aspect of its horror. Battling monsters is one thing, but being separated from one's family, and deprived even of the faces of one's children is an entirely different (and arguably worse) fate. The journey and growth of Ben on the path is superbly paced and yet lacking nothing. It's a difficult balance that Magary pulls of deftly. -- Banshion, Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC

More bookseller recommendations

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Okra Picks: Nine Island

Nine IslandNine Island is a crackling incantation, brittle and brilliant and hot and sad and full of sideways humor that devastates and illuminates all at once.”--Lauren Groff, author of Fates and Furies

Nine Island is an intimate autobiographical novel, told by J, a woman who lives in a glass tower on one of Miami Beach’s lush Venetian Islands. After decades of disaster with men, she is trying to decide whether to withdraw forever from romantic love. Having just returned to Miami from a monthlong reunion with an old flame, “Sir Gold,” and a visit to her fragile mother, J begins translating Ovid’s magical stories about the transformations caused by Eros. “A woman who wants, a man who wants nothing. These two have stalked the world for thousands of years,” she thinks.

When not ruminating over her sexual past and current fantasies, in the company of only her aging cat, J observes the comic, sometimes steamy goings-on among her faded-glamour condo neighbors. One of them, a caring nurse, befriends her, eventually offering the opinion that “if you retire from love . . . then you retire from life.”


Okra Picks

The List: Southern books on the September Indie Next List

See the full list here

Commonwealth Darktown The Risen Razor Girl 

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Book & Author Gossip


Hiding My Candy'If I'm not cast as myself in that movie, there won't be a movie.'

The Lady Chablis has left the stage 


We aim for our bookstores to be third places in the community where you can meet someone casually and have an intellectual discussion, or even take someone on a date.

Hills & Hamlets Bookshop opening in Chattahoochee Hills, Georgia


Hidden FiguresIt all started, as many things do in the South, with church.
Margot Lee Shetterly on the Southern women behind the space race.



You should probably have a pan of bacon cooking on the stove while you read this book

Bacon: It seasons our life


It will give the literary arts in Winston-Salem a home

Bookmarks Festival finds location for new downtown bookstore


We also enjoyed this opportunity to promote the First Amendment and to remind people of its importance

Square Books declares "First Amendment Sales Tax Holiday in response to MS "Second Amendment Holiday" for firearms and hunting supplies


"Five more minutes and the whole place could have gone up"

Nashville Husk Restaurant forced to close indefinitely after fire.


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Meet Cynthia Graubart

Cynthia GraubartCynthia Graubart is a food writer, James Beard Award winning cookbook author, speaker, former cooking show television producer, and most-recently the co-author with Nathalie Dupree of Mastering the Art of Southern Vegetables (Gibbs-Smith 2015), as well as the best-selling (and James Beard Award winning) Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking (Gibbs-Smith 2012). Her seventh cookbook, Chicken: A Savor the South™ cookbook (UNC Press) debuts September 1, 2016 and is a treatise containing essential information for the home cook, humorous anecdotes, and 53 wonderful recipes for both southern and international chicken dishes.

Chicken: A Savor the South Cookbook

Chicken"While fried chicken may be the South’s iconic dish, when it comes to southern foodways, there are a lot of ways to love America’s most popular fowl. Preparations range from Country Captain to Carolina Chicken Bog to Chicken and Parslied Dumplings and more. Here, Cynthia Graubart celebrates the bird in all its glory, southern style and beyond. This little cookbook packs all the know-how that cooks need to make irresistible chicken dishes for everyday and special occasions, from shopping and selecting to cutting up, frying, braising, roasting, and much more. Ranging in style from traditional southern to contemporary to international, fifty-three recipes are organized to help easily match the cut of chicken to the perfect recipe. Be assured that Graubart includes instructions for making the best fried chicken ever--seven different ways.

Request a visit from Cynthia Graubart via your local bookstore!

Okra Picks


Southern Indie Bestsellers

For the week ending September 4. 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 Underground Railroad
Colson Whitehead, Doubleday, $26.95, 9780385542364
2. A Great Reckoning
Louise Penny, Minotaur, $28.99, 9781250022134
3. The Nix
Nathan Hill, Knopf, $27.95, 9781101946619
4. The Last Days of Night
Graham Moore, Random House, $28, 9780812988901
5. The Jealous Kind
James Lee Burke, S&S, $27.99, 9781501107207


1. Hillbilly Elegy
J.D. Vance, Harper, $27.99, 9780062300546
2. The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo
Amy Schumer, Gallery, $28, 9781501139888
3. When Breath Becomes Air
Paul Kalanithi, Random House, $25, 9780812988406
4. White Trash
Nancy Isenberg, Viking, $28, 9780670785971
5. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
Marie Kondo, Ten Speed Press, $16.99, 9781607747307

Also of note - finalist and winners of the 2016 Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize:

15. Rogue Lawyer
John Grisham, Bantam, $17, 9781101967669
11. Dispatches from Pluto: Lost and Found in the Mississippi Delta
Richard Grant, S&S, $16, 9781476709642
5. Rogue Lawyer
John Grisham, Dell, $9.99, 9780553393484

Special to the Southern List
The Jealous KindThe RomanovsThings Fall ApartDispatches from Pluto

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

D.P. Lyle  (author appearance)
D.P. Lyle | 09/13/2016, 05:00 pm | Page & Palette | Fairhope, AL

A Prologue to the 25th Edition of the Book Festival of the MJCCA presents Joby Warrick  (author appearance)
Joby Warrick | 09/13/2016, 07:30 pm | A Cappella Books | Atlanta, GA

Launch Party for THE CREEPY CASE FILES OF MARGO MALOO by Drew Weing  (author appearance)
Drew Weing | 09/13/2016, 06:30 pm | Avid Bookshop | Athens, GA

Celebrate Avie's Dreams: An Afro-Futurist Feminist Coloring Book by Makeda Lewis  (author appearance)
Makeda Lewis | 09/13/2016, 07:30 pm | Charis Books & More | Atlanta, GA

Rosalind Wiseman -- Queen Bees and Wannabes  (author appearance)
Rosalind Wiseman | 09/13/2016, 07:00 pm | Eagle Eye Book Shop | Atlanta, GA

Rosemary Wells Workshop  (author appearance)
Rosemary Wells | 09/13/2016, 07:00 pm | Eagle Eye Book Shop | Atlanta, GA

John Currence with BIG BAD BREAKFAST - EVENT AT BBB  (author appearance)
John Currence | 09/13/2016, 12:00 pm | Square Books | Oxford, MS

Okra Pick!ROBERT OLEN BUTLER presents PERFUME RIVER  (author appearance)
Robert Olen Butler | 09/13/2016, 07:00 pm | Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe | Asheville, NC

Alan Schwarz - ADHD Nation  (author appearance)
Alan Schwarz | 09/13/2016, 07:00 pm | Quail Ridge Books & Music | Raleigh, NC

Eddie Huffman, John Prine: In Spite of Himself, (with music by Molly McGinn)  (author appearance)
Eddie Huffman | 09/13/2016, 07:00 pm | Scuppernong Books | Greensboro, NC

Sara First signs Memphis Boo!  (author appearance)
Sara First | 09/13/2016, 06:30 pm | Booksellers at Laurelwood | Memphis, TN

Author event with Amor Towles author of A Gentleman in Moscow  (author appearance)
Amor Towles | 09/13/2016, 06:30 pm | Parnassus Books | Nashville, TN

What's Up With YA These Days? With Meg Medina, Hannah Barnaby, and Kristen-Paige Madonia  (author appearance)
Meg Medina | 09/13/2016, 06:30 pm | Fountain Bookstore | Richmond, VA

DJ Niko at The Womens National Book Association monthly meeting  (author appearance)
DJ Niko | 09/14/2016, 06:30 pm | Murder on the Beach Mystery Bookstore | Delray Beach, FL

Joseph Lelyveld Book Signing  (author appearance)
Joseph Lelyveld | 09/14/2016, 07:00 pm | A Cappella Books | Atlanta, GA

Renowned Author-Illustrator Rosemary Wells: Hand in Hand  (author appearance)
Rosemary Wells | 09/14/2016, 06:30 pm | Avid Bookshop | Athens, GA

Brendan Jones - THE ALASKAN LAUNDRY  (author appearance)
Brendan Jones | 09/14/2016, 06:00 pm | Octavia Books | New Orleans, LA

Author Event: F.Y. Drum - A Gardner's Devotion Book  (author appearance)
F.Y. Drum | 09/14/2016, 07:00 pm | Park Road Books | Charlotte, NC

Okra Pick!ROBERT OLEN BUTLER - Perfume River  (author appearance)
Robert Olen Butler | 09/14/2016, 07:00 pm | Regulator Bookshop | Durham, NC

Leah Tinari: The Magical Fantastical Fridge  (author appearance)
Leah Tinari | 09/14/2016, 04:00 pm | The Country Bookshop | Southern Pines, NC

Marcia Mabee Shares Her Memoir Naked Mountain  (author appearance)
Marcia Mabee | 09/14/2016, 04:00 pm | Fountain Bookstore | Richmond, VA

Okra Pick!Ron Rash - The Risen  (author appearance)
Ron Rash | 09/15/2016, 05:00 pm | Alabama Booksmith | Birmingham, AL

Sonny Seals and George S. Hart Book Signing  (author appearance)
Sonny Seals | 09/15/2016, 07:00 pm | A Cappella Books | Atlanta, GA

John Currence with BIG BAD BREAKFAST  (author appearance)
John Currence | 09/15/2016, 06:00 pm | Square Books | Oxford, MS

Coffee with the Poet with Richard VanderVeen  (author appearance)
Richard VanderVeen | 09/15/2016, 10:30 am | City Lights Bookstore | Sylva, NC

Author Event: Jennifer Brule - Learn to Cook 25 Southern Classics 3 Ways  (author appearance)
Jennifer Brule | 09/15/2016, 07:00 pm | Park Road Books | Charlotte, NC

Okra Pick!Robert Olen Butler - Perfume River  (author appearance)
Robert Olen Butler | 09/15/2016, 07:00 pm | Quail Ridge Books & Music | Raleigh, NC

William Ferris - The South in Color: A Visual Journal  (author appearance)
William Ferris | 09/15/2016, 07:00 pm | Regulator Bookshop | Durham, NC

Backstreets magazine editor Chris Phillips (with music by Nicholas Rich), Talk About A Dream: The Essential Interviews of Bruce Springsteen  (author appearance)
Chris Phillips | 09/15/2016, 07:00 pm | Scuppernong Books | Greensboro, NC

Sylvie Jordan - The Year That Was: Immersed in Poetry - Gables  (author appearance)
Sylvie Jordan | 09/16/2016, 06:30 pm | Books & Books Inc | Coral Gables, FL

Craig Johnson - An Obvious Fact: A Longmire Novel  (author appearance)
Craig Johnson | 09/16/2016, 07:00 pm | Quail Ridge Books & Music | Raleigh, NC

Okra Pick!Susan Boyer, Author of Lowcountry Book Club  (author appearance)
Susan M. Boyer | 09/16/2016, 11:00 am | Litchfield Books | Pawleys Island, SC

Jennifer Weiner signs The Littlest Bigfoot  (author appearance)
Jennifer Weiner | 09/16/2016, 04:00 pm | Booksellers at Laurelwood | Memphis, TN

Author Event with Caroline Duckworth and Bryan Lane  (author appearance)
Caroline Duckworth | 09/17/2016, 03:00 pm | Blue Ridge Books

IMarie Núñez - La viuda virgen - Gables   (author appearance)
IMarie Núñez | 09/17/2016, 06:30 pm | Books & Books Inc | Coral Gables, FL

Book Launch Rebirth for MY SWEET VIDALIA by Deborah Mantella  (author appearance)
Deborah Mantella | 09/17/2016, 01:00 pm | FoxTale Book Shoppe | Woodstock, GA

Joint Poetry Reading  (author appearance)
Linda Parsons | 09/17/2016, 03:00 pm | City Lights Bookstore | Sylva, NC

Author Event: Jack Hemphill - The Ridge Walker  (author appearance)
Jack Hemphill | 09/17/2016, 11:00 am | Park Road Books | Charlotte, NC

Katie Kath - Seussian Launch for Come Over to My House (with The Cat in the Hat)  (author appearance)
Katie Kath | 09/17/2016, 02:00 pm | Quail Ridge Books & Music | Raleigh, NC

Children's author Carole Boston Weatherford, Becoming Billie Holiday  (author appearance)
Carole Boston Weatherford | 09/17/2016, 11:00 am | Scuppernong Books | Greensboro, NC

Emily Edwards (with Musician Friends), Bars, Blues and Booze: Stories from the Drink House (American Made Music)  (author appearance)
Emily Edwards | 09/17/2016, 07:00 pm | Scuppernong Books | Greensboro, NC

Craig Johnson – An Obvious Fact  (author appearance)
Craig Johnson | 09/17/2017, 11:00 am | McIntyre's Fine Books | Pittsboro, NC

Carl Hiaasen presents Razor Girl  (author appearance)
Carl Hiaasen | 09/18/2016, 03:00 pm | Vero Beach Book Center | Vero Beach, FL

Luther H. Hodges, Jr. – Bank Notes   (author appearance)
Luther H. | 09/18/2016, 02:00 pm | McIntyre's Fine Books | Pittsboro, NC

Jennifer Chiaverini - Fates and Traitors  (author appearance)
Jennifer Chiaverini | 09/18/2016, 02:00 pm | Quail Ridge Books & Music | Raleigh, NC

Book signing and reading with Melanie K. Hutsell  (author appearance)
Melanie K. | 09/18/2016, 02:00 pm | Union Avenue Books | Knoxville, TN

Robert Hicks Book Signing  (author appearance)
Robert Hicks | 09/19/2016, 07:00 pm | A Cappella Books | Atlanta, GA

Katie Kath - On Updating Children's Books (View from Tuesday)  (author appearance)
Katie Kath | 09/19/2016, 07:00 pm | Quail Ridge Books & Music | Raleigh, NC

Wendy Simmons signs My Holiday in North Korea  (author appearance)
Wendy Simmons | 09/19/2016, 06:30 pm | Booksellers at Laurelwood | Memphis, TN

Sara Blaedel  (author appearance)
Sara Blaedel | 09/20/2016, 06:00 pm | Page & Palette | Fairhope, AL

Terry McDonell with THE ACCIDENTAL LIFE  (author appearance)
Terry McDonell | 09/20/2016, 05:00 pm | Square Books | Oxford, MS

Authors Out of Carolina Panel Discussion  (author appearance)
Kim Wright | 09/20/2016, 05:30 pm | Main Street Books | Davidson, NC

Dinner Event: Scott Ellsworth: The Secret Game  (author appearance)
Scott Ellsworth | 09/20/2016, 05:00 pm | The Country Bookshop | Southern Pines, NC

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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