In which a girl goes blackberry-picking, Mr. Bret Lott remembers when he sold RC Cola, Mr. Greg Iles is called "William Faulkner for the Breaking Bad generation" (whatever generation that might be), and Ms. Melissa Cookson proves that women know their way around a barbecue grill.
May 11, 2014
Let us take a moment to praise of the books we intended to read!
Yesterday the SIBA Book Award finalists were announced...the "short list" of booksellers' favorite southern books of the year. How many have you read?
No doubt, at least a few. But no doubt there are also more than a few that you have not read...that you took note of, but for one reason or another did not pick up, and the moment was lost to the next new book to catch your eye, the next enthusiastic recommendation from one of your thousand-plus friends on facebook, the next enticing little little volume you snatched off the dollar shelf at the library sale.
Well, now is the time to revisit all those books you intended to read. The finalists for the SIBA Book Award -- twenty-two books in five different categories -- cover everything from whiskey to whistling, from the earth to the moon (and more).
Guests on Earth by Lee Smith (Shannon Ravenel Books) Life After Life by Jill McCorkle (Shannon Ravenel Books) Sycamore Row by John Grisham (Doubleday Books) The Tilted World by Tom Franklin & Beth Ann Fennelly (William Morrow & Company) Whistling Past the Graveyard by Susan Crandall (Gallery Books)
The Death of Santiniby Pat Conroy (Nan A. Talese) Five Days at Memorial by Sheri Fink (Crown Publishing Group) The Girls of Atomic City by Denise Kiernan (Touchstone Books) Let's Explore Diabetes With Owlsby David Sedaris (Little, Brown and Company)
A Passion for Breadby Lionel Vatinet (Little, Brown and Company) The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen by Matt & Ted Lee (Clarkson Potter) Pickles, Pigs & Whiskey by John Currence (Andrews McMeel)
The Book of Goodbyes by Jillian Weise ( BOA Editions Ltd.) Collected Poems of Cathy Smith Bowers by Cathy Bowers (Press 53) Concertina by Joseph Bathanti (Mercer University Press) Voodoo for the Other Womanby Angela Kelly (Hub City Press)
The Girl from Felony Bay by J. E. Thompson (Walden Pond Press) The Mischieviansby William Joyce (Atheneum Books for Young Readers) Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglassesby James Dean (HarperCollins)
The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd (Balzer + Bray) The Moon and Moreby Sarah Dessen (Viking Children’s Books) Theodore Boone: The Activist by John Grisham (Dutton Books)
Which deserve to go to the top of your TBR stack?
Read independently...and shop local!
her ladyship, the editor
Lady Banks' Pick of the Week
Lady Banks' Commonplace Book
Noteworthy poetry and prose from her ladyship's bedside reading stack.
We headed west into the Tohachee River Gorge, but cut north on that same winding road I'd seen Eli go up when we'd gone pumpkin huntin' before Halloween. the trees that looked like Fruity Pebbles last fall were now covered in leaves of a million shades of green. The longer we drove, the more lush it became. Piran and I gaped out the windows at the Georgia pines that towered above us with their deep green needles and spiky gray trunks. Light fell across the road, playing tricks on our eyes as we sped through the mottled pattern of calm blue shadows and blinding sun.
"Where we goin'?" I asked.
"To a new blackberry patch your Aunt Livvy told me about--up in a place called Devil's Den, or at least that's what it used to be called."
My ears perked up. Why did that sound familiar?
-- Elizabeth O. Dulemba, A Bird on Water Street (Little Pickle Press, 2014) 9781939775054
Greg Iles embraces his identity as a Southern writer. On his website, the featured quote about his new book, "Natchez Burning," says: "This is William Faulkner for the 'Breaking Bad' generation." A comment by Stephen King on the book jacket asserts that: "Only a southern man could have written this book, and thank God Greg Iles was there to do the job."
Traditionally, barbecue has been considered a man's game. While the women stay in the kitchen and cook, the men gather 'round the barbecue and, with much fanfare and fire, cook the meat for dinner. It's a little primal and a little sexist, but we let it slide cause it's tradition. Melissa Cookston won't stand for that, though. The two-time Memphis in May Grand Champion and three-time winner of the World Hog Championship has been putting her barbecue brethren to shame for years as co-owner of the Memphis Barbecue Company. As pitmaster, Cookston is proud to represent not only women in the restaurant industry, but also women in barbecue. 9781449441982
Spartanburg’s Hub City Press has initiated a T-shirt campaign, Writers Speaking Out Loud, for which writers take pictures of themselves wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the message: “I’m Speaking Out! Support Academic Freedom. Fight Government Censorship.” Those who sent in selfies range from the nationally acclaimed (Pulitzer Prize winner Junot Diaz, Ann Patchett, Emma Donoghue, Dorothy Allison) to those with local or regional ties (Marjory Wentworth, George Singleton, Kwame Dawes). The pictures are posted on a Tumblr blog, outloudsc.com, which is updated daily. The book controversy began in March, when the S.C. House of Representatives voted to penalize two state colleges for their choice of books for freshman reading programs.
The Girls of Atomic City is the incredible true story of young women recruited from all across the East Coast and the South who moved to a secret city named Oak Ridge, Tennessee, to help the war effort and, without knowing it, helped to build the world’s first atomic bomb. My grandmother was one of these women. 9781451617535
Southern Kentucky Book Fest partners announced Holly Goddard Jones as the winner of this year’s Kentucky Literary Award for her book The Next Time You See Me.First awarded in 2003 and reintroduced in 2012 after a brief hiatus, the Kentucky Literary Award is given to an author from Kentucky or one whose book has a strong Kentucky theme. Fiction and non-fiction books are recognized in alternating years. 9781451683370
As a child I loved Jekyll Island. It was a playground for Northern robber barons, but after World War II it was largely abandoned. So there were all of these beautiful, deserted, shingled mansions, which were oddly enough called cottages. It was a mysterious place for a child to explore. 9780307885913
Lott was born in California and grew up on the West Coast, but he said his family carried Southern traditions — sentences dappled with “sirs” and “ma’ams,” breakfasts with pork chops and grits and sweet tea. His college education strung across four majors and a stint as an RC Cola salesman. 9781433537837
There are a lot of things that are great about Salvage. Ava is easy to relate to and a very strong narrator. Her voice felt real and authentic, and even when the world around her was unfamiliar, she helped make it an easy transition for me as a reader. Part of that is Duncan's fantastic world-building, as I thought the setting was unique and there was an unusual twist with the male-dominated ship. Salvage was definitely a book with strong female characters! Both Ava and that component reminded me a bit of Birthmarkedby Caragh M. O'Brien, which I loved, and I think fans of that series would also likely enjoy this one. 9780062220141
“I realized I did want friends and I did want to be liked and I did want to be accepted and while I didn’t have a clear cut definition of popularity, I knew that it wasn’t what I was. More than anything, I didn’t have anything to lose, so I said, ‘You know what? I’ll try it for a month.”’ 9780525426813
What are "STARS" authors? These are authors listing in the Southern Traveling Authors Registration Service--a directory of authors who live in, or are traveling in the South and are interested in meeting with book clubs, civic groups, classrooms, and readers of all kinds. The STARS directory is brought to you by Southern Indie Booksellers, who want to connect readers with their favorite writers.
Meet Elizabeth O. Dulemba
Since Elizabeth is also the author of this week's featured Okra Pick, we wanted to make sure you knew she is touring and available to speak to schools, book clubs, and library programs.
Elizabeth O. Dulemba is an award-winning children's book author/illustrator with two dozen titles to her credit. She gives back to the community that supports her as Illustrator Coordinator for the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Southern Breeze region (Alabama, Georgia, Florida panhandle) and as a board member for the Georgia Center for the Book. She is a Visiting Associate Professor at Hollins University in the MFA in Children's Book Writing and Illustrating program. She also teaches writing and illustration at other venues and speaks regularly at schools, festivals, and events. Her latest picture books are LULA'S BREW (Xist Publishing) and THE 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS IN GEORGIA (Sterling). Her debut historical fiction mid-grade, A BIRD ON WATER STREET, will come out Spring 2014 (Little Pickle Press), for which she's lining up speaking engagements now (visit http://ABirdOnWaterStreet.com for details). Her "Coloring Page Tuesday" images (free to parents, teachers and librarians) garner around a million hits to her website annually with over 3,000 subscribers to her newsletter. Learn more at http://dulemba.com.
Elizabeth's Touring Schedule:
Tennessee, Copperhill | 05/16/2014 to 05/17/2014
North Carolina, Brasstown | 05/17/2014 to 05/19/2014
A Bird on Water Street is a coming of age story about Jack, the son of a miner growing up in a Southern Appalachian town environmentally devastated by a century of poor copper-mining practices. After a tragic accident and a massive company layoff, the miners go on strike. When nature begins to flourish as a result, Jack fights to protect it, but the cost could be the ruin of everything he loves
See the full list of authors in the STARS Program online here and find the authors touring in your area here
When Tess Tremaine starts a new life in the colorful town of Goose Pimple Junction, she thinks she's moved to a quiet little burg. Curiosity leads her to look into a seventy-five-year-old murder, and suddenly she's learning the foreign language of southern speak, resisting her attraction to local celebrity Jackson Wright, and dealing with more mayhem than she can handle.
Visiting your favorite bookstore after a long absence is probably the best thing in the entire world. Better than cupcakes or ice cream, better even than my mother’s world famous spaghetti (OK, fine, it isn’t world famous, but that is only because the world hasn’t had a chance to try it yet). Walking through Flyleaf Book’s familiar rooms, now filled with different books, lets you really know you’re home again, and it always helps when you’re favorite bookstore just happens to be the prettiest darn store ever made. Just look at the oranges and greens, the soft lighting, the wooden floor of the event space, the tables with all their books propped up, the shelves filled with all those books I need, that sly little dragonfly out front. Oh, I missed my store.
Read This! Okra Picks & Recommended Reading from Southern Booksellers
From the Okra Picks
A Bird on Water Street by Elizabeth O. Dulemba 9781939775054 | Little Pickle Press | 05/07/2014
"A Bird on Water Street" is a coming of age story about Jack, a boy growing up in a Southern Appalachian town environmentally devastated by a century of poor copper-mining practices and pollution. Jack is opposed to the mine where so many of his relatives have died, but how can he tell that to his Dad who wants him to follow in the family trade? Jack just wants his dad safe and the land returned to its pre-mining glory with trees, birds, frogs, and nature--like he's learning about in school. After Jack's uncle is killed in a mining accident and the Company implements a massive layoff, the union organizes and the miners go on strike. It seems Jack's wish is coming true. But the cost may be the ruin of his home and everything he loves.
1. The Goldfinch Donna Tartt, Little Brown, $30, 9780316055437 2. Natchez Burning Greg Iles, Morrow, $27.99, 9780062311078 3. The Invention of Wings Sue Monk Kidd, Viking, $27.95, 9780670024780 4. The Target David Baldacci, Grand Central, $28, 9781455521203 5. The Serpent of Venice Christopher Moore, Morrow, $26.99, 9780061779763 6. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry Gabrielle Zevin, Algonquin, $24.95, 9781616203214 7. Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932 Francine Prose, Harper, $26.99, 9780061713781 8. The Husband's Secret Liane Moriarty, Amy Einhorn Books, $25.95, 9780399159343 9. In Paradise Peter Matthiessen, Riverhead, $27.95, 9781594633171 10. Chestnut Street Maeve Binchy, Knopf, $26.95, 9780385351850 11. Be Careful What You Wish for Jeffrey Archer, St. Martin's, $27.99, 9781250034489 12. Miss Julia's Marvelous Makeover Ann B. Ross, Viking, $26.95, 9780670026111 13. Carnal Curiosity Stuart Woods, Putnam Adult, $26.95, 9780399164163 14. This Dark Road to Mercy Wiley Cash, Morrow, $25.99, 9780062088253 15. Missing You Harlan Coben, Dutton, $27.95, 9780525953494
1. Flash Boys Michael Lewis, Norton, $27.95, 9780393244663 2. A Fighting Chance Elizabeth Warren, Metropolitan, $28, 9781627790529 3. Everything I Need to Know I Learned From a Little Golden Book Diane Muldrow, Golden Books, $9.99, 9780307977618 4. Under Magnolia Frances Mayes, Crown, $26, 9780307885913 5. Learning to Walk in the Dark Barbara Brown Taylor, HarperOne, $24.99, 9780062024350 6. Capital in the Twenty-First Century Thomas Piketty, Belknap Press, $39.95, 9780674430006 7. Everybody's Got Something Robin Roberts, Veronica Chambers, Grand Central, $27, 9781455578450 8. Congratulations, by the Way George Saunders, Random House, $14, 9780812996272 9. Angel Investing David S. Rose, Wiley, $35, 9781118858257 10. The Southerner's Handbook Garden & Gun Magazine, HarperWave, $27.99, 9780062242389 11. 10% Happier Dan Harris, It Books, $25.99, 9780062265425 12. Thrive Arianna Huffington, Harmony, $26, 9780804140843 13. The Boys in the Boat Daniel James Brown, Viking, $28.95, 9780670025817 14. Unbroken Laura Hillenbrand, Random House, $28, 9781400064168 15. Players First John Calipari, Michael Sokolove, Penguin Press, $28.95, 9781594205736
TRADE PAPERBACK FICTION
1. Gone Girl Gillian Flynn, Broadway, $15, 9780307588371 2. Orphan Train Christina Baker Kline, Morrow, $14.99, 9780061950728 3. Me Before You Jojo Moyes, Penguin, $16, 9780143124542 4. Where'd You Go, Bernadette Maria Semple, Back Bay, $14.99, 9780316204262 5. The Circle Dave Eggers, Vintage, $15.95, 9780345807298 6. Guests on Earth Lee Smith, Shannon Ravenel Books, $14.95, 9781616203801 7. Beautiful Ruins Jess Walter, Harper Perennial, $15.99, 9780061928178 8. A Hundred Summers Beatriz Williams, Berkley, $16, 9780425270035 9. Life After Life Kate Atkinson, Back Bay, $18, 9780316176491 10. Paris Edward Rutherfurd, Ballantine, $18, 9780345530769 11. The Last Original Wife Dorothea Benton Frank, Morrow, $14.99, 9780062132475 12. The Burgess Boys Elizabeth Strout, Random House, $15, 9780812979510 13. A Tale for the Time Being Ruth Ozeki, Penguin, $16, 9780143124870 14. The Aviator's Wife Melanie Benjamin, Bantam, $15, 9780345528681 15. Ladies' Night Mary Kay Andrews, St. Martin's Griffin, $15.99, 9781250019660
TRADE PAPERBACK NONFICTION
1. Heaven Is for Real Todd Burpo, Thomas Nelson, $16.99, 9780849922077 2. Behind the Beautiful Forevers Katherine Boo, Random House, $16, 9780812979329 3. Cooked Michael Pollan, Penguin, $17, 9780143125334 4. Wild Cheryl Strayed, Vintage, $15.95, 9780307476074 5. The Girls of Atomic City Denise Kiernan, Touchstone, $16, 9781451617535 6. What to Expect When You're Expecting Heidi Murkoff, Sharon Mazel, Workman, $14.95, 9780761148579 7. Gulp Mary Roach, Norton, $15.95, 9780393348743 8. Assholes: A Theory Aaron James, Anchor, $14.95, 9780804171359 9. Proof of Heaven Eben Alexander, M.D., S&S, $15.99, 9781451695199 10. It Always Seems Impossible Until It's Done Kathryn Petras, Ross Petras, Workman, $9.95, 9780761179887 11. Empty Mansions Bill Dedman, Paul Clark Newell, Jr., Ballantine, $17, 9780345534538 12. The Snow Leopard Peter Matthiessen, Penguin, $17, 9780143105510 13. Brain on Fire Susannah Cahalan, S&S, $16, 9781451621389 14. The Devil in the White City Erik Larson, Vintage, $16, 9780375725609 15. Gift From the Sea Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Pantheon, $9.95, 9780679732419
1. A Game of Thrones George R.R. Martin, Bantam, $9.99, 9780553593716 2. A Clash of Kings George R.R. Martin, Bantam, $9.99, 9780345535429 3. A Dance With Dragons George R.R. Martin, Bantam, $9.99, 9780553582017 4. To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee, Grand Central, $7.99, 9780446310789 5. The Quiet Game Greg Iles, Signet, $9.99, 9780451180421 6. The Diary of a Young Girl Anne Frank, Bantam, $7.99, 9780553577129 7. Ender's Game Orson Scott Card, Tor, $7.99, 9780765370624 8. Never Go Back Lee Child, Dell, $9.99, 9780440246329 9. 1984 George Orwell, Signet, $9.99, 9780451524935 10. The Catcher in the Rye J.D. Salinger, Little Brown, $6.99, 9780316769488
1. Oh, the Places You'll Go! Dr. Seuss, Random House, $17.99, 9780679805274 2. Goodnight Moon Margaret Wise Brown, Clement Hurd (Illus.), Harper, $8.99, 9780694003617 3. The Pigeon Needs a Bath! Mo Willems, Disney Press, $16.99, 9781423190875 4. Duck & Goose Go to the Beach Tad Hills, Schwartz & Wade, $17.99, 9780385372350 5. Frozen (Little Golden Book) Victoria Saxon, Grace Lee (Illus.), Random House/Disney, $3.99, 9780736430517 6. On the Night You Were Born Nancy Tillman, Feiwel & Friends, $7.99, 9780312601553 7. How to Babysit a Grandma Jean Reagan, Lee Wildish (Illus.), Knopf Books for Young Readers, $16.99, 9780385753845 8. Pat the Bunny Dorothy Kunhardt, Golden, $9.99, 9780307120007 9. The Very Hungry Caterpillar Eric Carle, Putnam, $10.99, 9780399226908 10. Frozen (Big Golden Book) Bill Scollon, Disney Storybook Artists (Illus.), Random House/Disney, $9.99, 9780736430654
1. The Fault in Our Stars John Green, Speak, $12.99, 9780142424179 2. The Book Thief Markus Zusak, Knopf, $12.99, 9780385754729 3. Looking for Alaska John Green, Speak, $9.99, 9780142402511 4. Paper Towns John Green, Speak, $9.99, 9780142414934 5. Minecraft: Essential Handbook Scholastic, Scholastic, $7.99, 9780545669931 6. Dorothy Must Die Danielle Paige, Harper, $17.99, 9780062280671 7. Wonder R.J. Palacio, Knopf, $15.99, 9780375869020 8. Minecraft: Redstone Handbook Scholastic, Scholastic, $7.99, 9780545685153 9. Three Times Lucky Sheila Turnage, Puffin, $7.99, 9780142426050 10. The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing Sheila Turnage, Kathy Dawson Books, $16.99, 9780803736719
CHILDREN'S FICTION SERIES TITLES
1. Divergent Veronica Roth, Katherine Tegen Books, $9.99, 9780062289858 2. Insurgent (Divergent, #2) Veronica Roth, Katherine Tegen Books, $17.99, 9780062024046 3. Allegiant (Divergent, #3) Veronica Roth, Katherine Tegen Books, $19.99, 9780062024060 4. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children Ransom Riggs, Quirk, $10.99, 9781594746031 5. The Maze Runner James Dashner, Delacorte, $9.99, 9780385737951 6. Frozen: Big Snowman, Little Snowman (Step Into Reading Series) Tish Rabe, Disney Storybook Artists (Illus.), Random House/Disney, $3.99, 9780736431194 7. The Mark of Athena (The Heroes of Olympus, Book 3) Rick Riordan, Hyperion, $9.99, 9781423142003 8. The Scorch Trials (The Maze Runner, Book 2) James Dashner, Ember, $9.99, 9780385738767 9. Catching Fire (The Second Book of the Hunger Games) Suzanne Collins, Scholastic, $12.99, 9780545586177 10. Pirates Past Noon (Magic Tree House #4) Mary Pope Osborne, Sal Murdocca (Illus.), Random House, $4.99, 9780679824251