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.


Click Here to Subscribe



click here to view in your browser

{Family, animals, community, grief, forgiveness, and spaceships.}

In which Ms. Kim Church recommends a book you may not have heard of, Ms. Emily of Square Books recommends one you have heard of, but may have forgotten about, and her ladyship can barely bestir herself in this heat to do more than turn the pages of the book she currently has.

July 31, 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,

The garden beds in her ladyship, the editor's garden are overgrown with bindweed because it has been too hot to weed them. The yard resembles a field rather than a lawn because it has been too hot to mow. The oven stays shut and unused, whilst her ladyship subsists on sandwiches and salads, because it is too how to cook. And the house has gathered a heavier layer of dust than usual because it is frankly far too hot to do grimy housework.

Laundry Day

You know what it isn't too hot to do? Read. This time of year, with the heat index in the triple digits, the humidity causing thunderclouds to boil up every afternoon and the beating down so fiercely that the clothes on the line dry within fifteen minutes, the dogs do nothing but lay out panting in front of the air vents. The cats do nothing but retreat to the darkest, coolest corners of the house. And her ladyship, left to her own devices, would do nothing but curl up in a chair, in front of her old noisy oscillating fan, drinking iced tea and reading book after book. 

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.

True Stories at the Smoky ViewCassie was so eager to leap out of the car that Vrai had difficulty grabbing the leash. Once she had a good grip, she pulled the dog toward the rear of the house, past a gray Dodge sporting a "Clinton-Gore 92" bumper sticker.

In back of Vrai's parents' old house was a creek, and beyond the creek was a railroad track. Behind the Howards' house was a brick patio, with steps leading down to a tennis court.

A tennis court now in ruins, the red Tennessee clay cracked and uneven, the white chalk lines a distant memory. A roller sat rusting in one corner. The drooping net had gaping holes in it. Vrai remembered the feeling of running on a surface like orange velvet, so soft and smooth that each footprint seems a pale orange shadow.

As Cassi squatted in the grass beside the chain-link fence, Vrai studies the house next door. Formerly a beautifully proportioned Spanish colonial, a lovely white stucco, Laramie and Lloyd's childhood home had been transformed by its new owners into a mustard-colored monstrosity. It was impossible to locate the window through which Vrai had first seen two teenagers named Skip and Lloyd.

--Jill McCroskey Coupe, from True Stories at the Smoky View (She Writes Press, 2016) 978163152058

top | share this fb tw

Lady Banks' {Book} Trailer Park

Last Road Home Trailer


top | share this fb tw

Read This!

Recommended reading from Southern Indie Booksellers

Yonahlossee Riding Camp for GirlsThe Yohahlossee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton DiSclafani

"An engrossing and atmospheric literary novel about a young girl's sexual awakening that will leave you feeling spellbound." --Alissa, Square Books, Oxford, MS

Even Cowgirls Get the BluesEven Cowgirls Get the Blues by Tom Robbins

"If you're psyched about the release of Emma Cline's debut novel, The Girls, then check out Even Cowgirls Get the Blues. It's the perfect wine pairing for Cline's practically edible novel." -- Emily, Square Books, Oxford, MS


The Lost City of ZThe Lost City of Z by David Grann

"In 1925 Percy Fawcett, his son, and his son's best friend walked into the Amazon rainforest in search of an ancient lost city. They never returned. Grann retraces their steps to discover what happened to Fawcett and his lost expedition in a fascinating look at explorer culture and obsession." -- Andrew, Square Books, Oxford, MS

In PatagoniaIn Patagonia by Bruce Chatwin

"Bruce Chatwin's fascination with Patagonia began as a child, with a hairy piece of prehistoric animal skin that his grandmother kept in a curio cabinet. In Patagonia chronicles his adventure, 30 years later, to Argentina and Chile and to the 'furthest place to which man walked from his place of origins.' In a series of vignettes that changed travel writing forever, Chatwin maps his interior landscape while covering the people and places that make up the desolate wonder of Patagonia and the southernmost parts of the peopled world."--Kelly Estep, Carmichael's Bookstore, Louisville, KY

New Jim Crow
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

"Using heartrending stories, incendiary court cases, clever parallels, and perfect metaphors, Alexander brings complex issues home for the reader in a way that is impossible to forget. The phrase 'required reading' is in danger of being overused, but the truths offered in The New Jim Crow are so revelatory that nothing else will do. This is a book that will forever change readers' perspectives, and, hopefully, those readers will help change the world."--Aaron Curtis, Books & Books, Coral Gables, FL

More bookseller recommendations

top | share this fb tw


Okra Picks: Ninety-Nine Stories of God

Ninety-nine stories of God I'm amazed that such a small book can be so many things -- sly, wise, and luminous; timeless, yet very much of our time. -Travis, Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC

From “quite possibly America’s best living writer of short stories” (NPR), Ninety-Nine Stories of God finds Joy Williams reeling between the sublime and the surreal, knocking down the barriers between the workaday and the divine.

Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award finalist Joy Williams has a one-of-a-kind gift for capturing both the absurdity and the darkness of everyday life. In Ninety-Nine Stories of God, she takes on one of mankind’s most confounding preoccupations: the Supreme Being.

This series of short, fictional vignettes explores our day-to-day interactions with an ever-elusive and arbitrary God. It’s the Book of Common Prayer as seen through a looking glass—a powerfully vivid collection of seemingly random life moments. The figures that haunt these stories range from Kafka (talking to a fish) to the Aztecs, Tolstoy to Abraham and Sarah, O. J. Simpson to a pack of wolves. Most of Williams’s characters, however, are like the rest of us: anonymous strivers and bumblers who brush up against God in the least expected places or go searching for Him when He’s standing right there. The Lord shows up at a hot-dog-eating contest, a demolition derby, a formal gala, and a drugstore, where he’s in line to get a shingles vaccination. At turns comic and yearning, lyric and aphoristic, Ninety-Nine Stories of God serves as a pure distillation of one of our great artists.

"Sitting at the intersection of parable, poem, and flash fiction, Joy Williams's 99 Stories of God give us glimpses into the weirdness of being alive. At first you'll be tempted to read these stories as allegories, but they're too particular and too odd to be easily reduced. I'm amazed that such a small book can be so many things -- sly, wise, and luminous; timeless, yet very much of our time."
- -Travis, Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, NC


Okra Picks

The List: Summer Reading from Erica at Flyleaf Books


Dodgers Homecomng Wanderlust Max PerkinsSpill Simmer Falter Wither The Road to Little Dribbling Hero of France Spain in Our Hearts

top | share this fb tw

Book & Author Gossip


Chasing the North Star "Chasing the North Star" is part Jack London, part Mark Twain.

Is Robert Morgan's new novel an instant classic?


The Call"I’ve never read a more moving story of family, animals, community, grief, forgiveness, and spaceships.

Kim Church on books recommended and books beloved and books in between.



Serafina and the Black Cloak"reading literary fiction can help build our capacity for empathy"

Does reading make you a better person?

Maritime Magistery"Behind that record, however, lay a dark secret."

It took Lucy Daniels forty years to write her second book, but she is on a roll now.


top | share this fb tw


Meet Danny Bernstein

Danny BernsteinI’m a hiker, hike leader, and outdoor writer. I’ve been a committed hiker for over 40 years, having completed the Appalachian Trail, all the trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the South beyond 6000, and the Mountains-to-Sea Trail across North Carolina.

I’ve written two hiking guides for the Southern Appalachians, and a travel narrative on hiking the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. My book Forests, Alligators, Battlefields: My Journey through the National Parks of the South will come out in 2016, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service.


Forests, Alligators, Battlefields: My Journey Through the National Parks of the South 

Forests, Alligators, BattlefieldsDanny Bernstein has traversed seventy-one national parks in the American South to discover that these protected lands are not just places for tree-huggers and avid hikers, but where the country’s history is rooted on the trail. Danny takes you into the stories of the people— the rangers, volunteers, and visitors— and goes beyond the sites shown on the map. Raised as a Yankee, Danny set out to become a Southerner, one national park at a time. Forests, Alligators, Battlefields: My Journey through the National Parks of the South is a personal and passionate tale of national and self- discovery.

Request a visit from Danny Bernstein via your local bookstore!

Okra Picks


Southern Indie Bestsellers

For the week ending July 24. 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 Black Widow
Daniel Silva, Harper, $27.99, 9780062320223
2. The Girls
Emma Cline, Random House, $27, 9780812998603
3. First Comes Love
Emily Giffin, Ballantine, $28, 9780345546920
4. The Nightingale
Kristin Hannah, St. Martin's, $27.99, 9780312577223
okra5. Underground Airlines
Ben Winters, Mulholland, $26, 9780316261241


1. White Trash
Nancy Isenberg, Viking, $28, 9780670785971
2. Crisis of Character
Gary J. Byrne, Center Street, $27, 9781455568871
3. When Breath Becomes Air
Paul Kalanithi, Random House, $25, 9780812988406
4. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
Marie Kondo, Ten Speed Press, $16.99, 9781607747307
5. Hamilton: The Revolution
Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jeremy McCarter, Grand Central, $45, 9781455539741

Also of note:

okra12. Julia Reed's South: Spirited Entertaining and High-Style Fun All Year Long
Julia Reed, Rizzoli, $50, 9780847848287
siba book award finalist10. Go Set a Watchman
Harper Lee, Harper Perennial, $15.99, 9780062409867
siba book award finalist5. Serafina and the Black Cloak
Robert Beatty, Disney/Hyperion, $7.99, 9781484711873

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.

top | share this fb tw


Events at Southern Indie Bookstores

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

Lou Aguilar - Jake for Mayor - Gables  (author appearance)
Lou Aguilar | 08/02/2016, 08:00 pm | Books & Books Inc | Coral Gables, FL

Emily Giffin- First Comes Love  (author appearance)
Emily Giffin | 08/02/2016, 07:00 pm | FoxTale Book Shoppe | Woodstock, GA

Drew Magary discusses his new novel The Hike  (author appearance)
Drew Magary | 08/02/2016, 07:00 pm | Flyleaf Books | Chapel Hill, NC

JULIE BARTON presents DOG MEDICINE  (author appearance)
Julie Barton | 08/02/2016, 07:00 pm | Flyleaf Books | Chapel Hill, NC

Barbara J. Taylor Book Signing  (author appearance)
Barbara J. Taylor | 08/02/2016, 06:30 pm | Fiction Addiction | Greenville, SC

Okra Pick!Jesmyn Ward Book Signing: Featuring Carol Anderson, Jericho Brown, and Kevin Young  (author appearance)
Jesmyn Ward | 08/03/2016, 07:00 pm | A Cappella Books | Atlanta, GA

We Come to Our Senses by Odie Lindsey  (author appearance)
Odie Lindsey | 08/03/2016, 05:00 pm | Lemuria Books | Jackson, MS

Ben Fortson- A Nutshell History of North Carolina  (author appearance)
Ben Fortson | 08/03/2016, 11:00 am | Island Bookstore - Duck | Duck, NC

Randy Johnson - Grandfather Mountain  (author appearance)
Randy Johnson | 08/03/2016, 07:00 pm | Quail Ridge Books & Music | Raleigh, NC

Brad Watson with MISS JANE  (author appearance)
Brad Watson | 08/03/2016, 07:00 pm | Hub City Bookshop | Spartanburg, SC

BOB KEALING BOOK SIGNING - Life of the Party  (author appearance)
Bob Kealing | 08/04/2016, 07:00 pm | Writer's Block Bookstore | Winter Park, FL

Tommy Franklin et al with MISSISSIPPI NOIR  (author appearance)
Tom Franklin | 08/04/2016, 05:00 pm | Square Books | Oxford, MS

Megan Abbott with YOU WILL KNOW ME  (author appearance)
Megan Abbott | 08/04/2016, 05:00 pm | Square Books | Oxford, MS

Danny Johnson -The Last Road Home  (author appearance)
Danny Johnson | 08/04/2016, 07:00 pm | Regulator Bookshop | Durham, NC

Author event with Terry Roberts author of That Bright Land  (author appearance)
Terry Roberts | 08/04/2016, 06:30 pm | Parnassus Books | Nashville, TN

Meet the Author: Michael Baughan  (author appearance)
Michael Baughan | 08/05/2016, 05:00 am | Page After Page Bookstore | Elizabeth City

Dan Zak  (author appearance)
Dan Zak | 08/05/2016, 06:00 pm | Page & Palette | Fairhope, AL

Christine Brae - In This Life - Gables  (author appearance)
Christine Brae | 08/05/2016, 08:00 pm | Books & Books Inc | Coral Gables, FL

Elaine Viets Booksigning  (author appearance)
Elaine Viets | 08/05/2016, 07:00 pm | Murder on the Beach Mystery Bookstore | Delray Beach, FL

Little Lobster's First Play Date  (author appearance)
Sarah Coleman | 08/05/2016, 10:00 am | Sundog Books | Santa Rosa Beach, FL

Jill Conner Browne aka THE Sweet Potato Queen  (author appearance)
Jill Conner Browne | 08/05/2016, 11:30 am | Sundog Books | Santa Rosa Beach, FL

John Broven - RHYTHM AND BLUES IN NEW ORLEANS (New edition!)  (author appearance)
John Broven | 08/05/2016, 06:00 pm | Octavia Books | New Orleans, LA

JOSEPH TERRELL SIGNING!  (author appearance)
Joseph Terrell | 08/05/2016, 09:30 am | Duck's Cottage | Manteo, NC

Meet the Author: Michael Baughan  (author appearance)
Michael Baughan | 08/06/2016, 10:00 am | Page After Page Bookstore | Elizabeth City

Sweet Potato Queens rule the porch!  (author appearance)
Jill Connor | 08/06/2016, 10:00 am | Sundog Books | Santa Rosa Beach, FL

MJ Pullen - Baggage Check  (author appearance)
MJ Pullen | 08/06/2016, 01:00 pm | FoxTale Book Shoppe | Woodstock, GA

Amy Ammons Garza to Present Her Memoir  (author appearance)
Amy Ammons Garza | 08/06/2016, 03:00 pm | City Lights Bookstore | Sylva, NC

Teresa Howell - That Church Life  (author appearance)
Teresa Howell | 08/06/2016, 02:00 pm | Park Road Books | Charlotte, NC

Author Caroline Tung Richmond  (author appearance)
Caroline Tung | 08/06/2016, 07:00 pm | Hooray For Books | Alexandria, VA

Book Signing with Michelle Hartman!  (author appearance)
Michelle Hartman | 08/07/2016, 03:00 pm | Inkwood Books | Tampa, FL

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

You are receiving this email at @@email@@. If you wish to stop receiving email from us, you can simply remove yourself by replying with "unsubscribe" in the subject or by visiting: @@unsubscribe_url@@