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 reading every book in the history section.}

In which there's a man in a bookshop that has probably read every book on the shelf, .Parnassus Books teams up with Killer Nashville to create a killer book convention, and her ladyship offers a gentle warning for the forthcoming election season: poets are never silent, and what they say tends to be remembered far longer than a campaign speech.

August 14, 2016

In This Issue

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



Dearest Readers,

Last week her ladyship, the editor, recounted how she was in the midst of weeding out her bookshelves of material unwanted and unneeded. To date, the count of books she has banished from her shelves remains in a numerical range that can be tallied upon a person's fingers without having to rely upon the addition of a couple of toes. 

But there is silver lining to such a doubtful and doomed project; indeed, more than a lining, a great broad cloth of shimming material. In the act of individually taking down and contemplating the intrinsic necessity of each book on her shelves, she has "rediscovered," so to speak, many an writer and many a work that she had long since put at the back of her failing memory. 

And thus this weekend she found herself with a battered copy of a book of poetry from Frank X. Walker in her hands: Buffalo Dance: The Journey of York.

The book is over ten years old now, and her ladyship still remember her excitement when she first read it back in 2003, in the years before, in fact, she became "her ladyship, the editor." A cycle of poems that recreates the voice of York -- William Clark's slave and manservant who traveled with Lewis and Clark for their entire length of their famous expedition. There is some evidence that York, at the end of the journey, simply refused to return to a life of slavery, and disappeared into the west.

Walker's book gives a fierce and present voice to the man who was part of history, but erased from it. But one of her ladyship's favorite poems in the book is near the end, when York, who had rarely seen his wife while he was a slave because she was owned by another man, and had no choice but to leave her when his master set out on his grand endeavor, returns to her after the journey is done:

Buffalo Dance, the Journey of YorkA Love Supreme

On that first night back
me an her move like turtles
unwrapping the old, the news
an each other.

We outlast the candle an the moon
laughing an talking an crying
then pretends we are earth an sky
hunger an fruit, a black mountain
ana all-skiin-quilt a snow.

Salty and sticky an wet
we knows all we have
is this here,
so we unshackle us clothes
become one with the night
an be free.


In the serendipitous way that the universe sometimes decides to deliver its messages, no sooner had her ladyship sat down to revisit the journey of York than the name of his poet floated across her  news wires: "Affrilachian Poets reject Bevin arts award" suddenly appeared in headlines, posts and twitter feeds. The group, founded by Walker and the poet Nikki Finney to highlight the work -- the existence -- of African American writers and in what the rest of the country thinks of as "Appalachia" apparently has serious objections to the current Kentucky governor's policies and did not hesitate to make them known.

A lesson to every politician in this election season -- the poet is never silent. And the poet's words will outlast your campaign speeches, your promises, and most probably your tenure in office. In fact the poet's words, like Walker's words for York, may still be read and ringing in our ears long after even the memory of you fades from the halls of government you wanted so badly to walk.

It never does to underestimate the poet. Especially in the South. 

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:


Robert Beatty

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.

CottonGhosts 2013

James Murphy made a deal with himself, and it worked for a while. During the increasingly long periods of time when his wife rebuffed his attempts at intimacy, he permitted himself to peruse lingerie shows on YouTube or surf through the PG-13 submissions on, just so long as he did not dip his toe into the cesspool of hardcore porn. He rigorously kept this promise, but as a volunteer deacon in the First Baptist Church of Clarkeston, Georgia, he was not supposed to indulge lustful impulses under any circumstances, so each click to a teasing bikini girlfriend came with a tug of guilt. Nonetheless, he carried on, regret never quite managing to divert his eyes from the computer monitor nor his hand from his manipulable mouse.

James sat in his study on a quiet Sunday afternoon, ignoring that morning's sermon on the tenth commandment and working his way through the week''s newest swimsuit posts. Sondra was out shopping, and he clicked idly for almost a half hour before an unexpected image froze his restless finger and his hand fell to his side. He shook his head slowly and murmured an obscenity, unable to take his eyes from the familiar face smiling from the high-definition screen. He had never met her, but their relationship was truly intimate. Her eyes called out to him and his whole body went limp, initial shock giving way to failure and impotence. He had let her down, and now she was back and he was shaking.

--Paul Heald, Cotton (Yucca, 2016)

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Read This!

Recommended reading from Southern Indie Booksellers

The QuickTHE QUICK by Lauren Owen

"Victorian. London. Supernatural. Great juxtaposition to the beach, which is where I sucked the life out of this book like Dracula." -- Adam at Square Books, Oxford, MS

SupremacistSUPREMACIST by David Shapiro

"The tale of an obsessed young man who visits every worldwide storefront of the emblematic street clothing brand Supreme. What the hell is Supreme and why would anybody do such a thing? Read on and find out. Sharp and witty." -- Sam, at Square Books, Oxford, MS


MorteMORT(E) by Robert Repino

"Repino asks what the world would be like if your house cat turned into a warrior and the his answer is surprising." -- Al, , at Square Books, Oxford, MS




The InnocentsThe Innocents by Ace Atkins

I wasn't much of a mystery reader until I read Ace Atkins! Quinn Colson is a such a great character-- equal parts John Wayne, Elvis, and Clint Eastwood-- but it's the supporting cast that really brings his books to life. Gritty and violent, but also charming, the Quinn Colson books are must-reads for fans of the genre.  -- Colin, at Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC


Everything Begins and Ends at the Kentucky ClubEverything Begins & Ends at the Kentucky Club by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

 Benjamin Alire Sáenz's stories are of the knock-you-over-powerful variety. These seven stories-- set in the border towns of Juárez and El Paso, with many of them touching on the wave of violence that engulfed Juárez in the '90s-- all have a connection to the Kentucky Club, a venerable Juárezinstitution. Winner of the PEN/Faulkner award and a Lambda Literary award, this book deserves a wider audience. -- Elese, at Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC

More bookseller recommendations

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Okra Picks: Cotton

CottonWhen new evidence arises in a cold case, can Professor Hopkins refrain from delving into a newfound world of corruption, vice, and danger?

Stanley Hopkins cannot resist the invitation from a honey-voiced US attorney asking him to track down the source of photographs of a young dance major abducted five years earlier from her apartment in Clarkeston, Georgia. A journalist has stumbled across newly posted pictures of Diana Cavendish on the Internet, apparently taken just days before she disappeared with her boyfriend.

While Stanley deals with vexing personal problems and scrambles to identify the owner of the website that acquired the photos, small-town journalist James Murphy and federal prosecutor Melanie Wilkerson uncover new evidence of the crime—and the cover-up—that ranges far beyond the confines of the victim’s quaint Georgia college town.

This second installment of the Clarkeston Chronicles presents new challenges for Hopkins that take him far from the California base he established in Death in Eden and introduces him to a fascinating group of collaborators who will anchor him in small-town Georgia.


Okra Picks

The List: Summer Reading from Steve Mitchell at Scuppernong Books


White Rage Get in Trouble Allegheny Front Demons The Neapolitan Novels Homegoing Secondhand Time Senselessness The Musical Brain

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Book & Author Gossip


Their Eyes Were Watching God “I ran into Zora Huston, walking intently down the street”

Tailing Langston Hughes and Zora Neal Hurston across the South


Affrilachia“Occasionally someone does something that is exceptional and exemplifies real courage and integrity.”

Affrilachian Poets refuse Governor's award


"Has he read every book in the history section? Don’t bet against it."

The Country Bookshop is one of North Carolina's best-kept secrets

Highly Illogical Behavior"I don't think there's another one on the planet."

The unique business plan of Alabama Booksmith

"Everyone at my school knew who I was. I knew who everyone was, and I always hated that"

John Corey Whaley remembers leaving home to go to college -- an hour away.


Above the Waterfall"Ron Rash is known as a writer’s writer but don’t let that put you off"

Reading Above the Waterfall, a short book "that takes a surprisingly long time to read."

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Meet Clay Stafford

Clay StaffordAs a writer, Clay has written articles, poetry, essays, novel adaptations, TV series, feature films, nonfiction books, live theater, book & film reviews, and newspaper articles. He sold his first short story when he was ten for a whopping $15. Since then, his retellings of American children’s classics released through Dalmatian Press have sold over 1.5 million copies in the United States alone. His films and literary works have been released in over 14 languages. He has written for PBS, NBC, CBS, ABC, and Esquire Magazine, among others. His latest deal was with Sony Pictures for a new nighttime TV drama. He is currently working on several literary projects, including a screenplay based upon Pork Pie Hat by bestselling horror / mystery author Peter Straub. As an editor, he has edited several PBS companion books that accompanied national series and is currently editing a mystery/thriller anthology with new stories from bestselling authors such as Jeffery Deaver, Jefferson Bass, Donald Bain, Heywood Gould, and Robert Dugoni. A voracious reader, he reviews an average of one book per day for Killer Nashville’s Featured Book of the Day series. Because of all his activities, Publishers Weekly named Clay as one of the top 10 Nashville literary leaders playing “an essential role in defining which books become bestsellers” not only in middle-Tennessee, but also extending “beyond the city limits and into the nation’s book culture.” (Source: Publishers Weekly, June 10, 2013) Though he has made money from writing his whole life, he has had a double profession as an actor before becoming a producer / director and still retains a certain amount of residual celebrity status from his appearances on such shows as the daytime soap Days of Our Lives and TV specials such as Clue: Movies, Murder, and Mystery with Martin Mull.

Killer Nashville Con!
August 18-21, Franklin TN
An Interview with Ginger McNalley at Parnassus Books

Clay Stafford and Killer Nashville has developed a close working relationship with their neighborhood bookshop, Parnassus Books. The store has been an integral partner of the Noir Literary and Writers' Conference, Killer Nashville.

How did your partnership with Killer Nashville come to be?

Ginger: We have done several events with Clay Stafford for his Killer Nashville compilation.  Clay sat down with us after one of these events to see if we could work on a partnership for Killer Nashville.  We have several conference type events that we do regularly - SCWBI, Southern Festival of Books, and The Nashville Food and Wine Festival, so it just makes sense for us to be a part of this too.

Is this the first year you’ve worked with Killer Nashville?

Ginger: Yes it is

You're working with Killer Nashville to host some first-ever lunch and dinner events with bestselling authors Janet Evanovich, Anne Perry, Kevin O'Brien, Robert Randisi and more during the Killer Nashville Writers Conference. How did the ideas for these events develop?

Ginger: The people behind Killer Nashville had these ideas in place when we came on board.

Do you see this partnership extending into the future?

Ginger: We do.  It is exciting to see where it leads.

Killer Nashville Noir: Cold Blooded

Cold BloodedBestselling authors Jeffery Deaver and Anne Perry join rising stars like Dana Chamblee Carpenter and Paula Gail Benson in a collection that proves Music City is a deadly place to be when your song gets called. Featuring stories by: Donald Bain, Robert Dugoni, Jefferson Bass, Mary Burton, Jonathan Stone, Steven James, Maggie Toussaint, Clay Stafford, Heywood Gould, Jaden Terrell, and more… Every year, some of the biggest names in the thriller world converge in Tennessee for the Killer Nashville conference, an event where stars of the genre rub elbows with their most devoted fans, where the bestsellers of tomorrow pick up tricks of the trade, and where some of the best writers of today swap dark tales of good deals gone bad, rights made wrong, and murder in all shades... This collection of new stories features some of the biggest names in suspense, from bestsellers to ferociously talented newcomers. Grouped around the classic theme of murder, KILLER NASHVILLE NOIR: COLD-BLOODED is a first-class collection and a must-have for fans of the genre.

Request a visit from Clay Stafford via your local bookstore!

Okra Picks


Southern Indie Bestsellers

For the week ending August 7. 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 Underground Railroad
Colson Whitehead, Doubleday, $26.95, 9780385542364
3. All the Light We Cannot See
Anthony Doerr, Scribner, $27, 9781476746586
4. The Nightingale
Kristin Hannah, St. Martin's, $27.99, 9780312577223
5. Truly Madly Guilty
Liane Moriarty, Flatiron, $26.99, 9781250069795


1. Spartan Fit!: 30 Days. Transform Your Mind. Transform Your Body. Commit to Grit.
Joe De Sena, John Durant, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $24, 9780544439603
2. White Trash
Nancy Isenberg, Viking, $28, 9780670785971
3. American Heiress: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes and Trial of Patty Hearst
Jeffrey Toobin, Doubleday, $28.95, 9780385536714
4. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
Marie Kondo, Ten Speed Press, $16.99, 9781607747307
5. Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis
J.D. Vance, Harper, $27.99, 9780062300546

Also of note:

okra13. Above the Waterfall
Ron Rash, Ecco, $15.99, 9780062349323
okra7. Raymie Nightingale
Kate DiCamillo, Candlewick, $16.99, 9780763681173

Special to the Southern List
Hillbilly ElegyAbove the WaterfallImmortal Life of  Henrietta Lacks

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

The Psychic Hold of Slavery: Legacies in American Expressive Culture  (author appearance)
Aida Levy-Hussen | 08/17/2016, 07:00 pm | Charis Books & More | Atlanta, GA

Dudgeons and Daggers by Troy M. Carnes  (author appearance)
Troy M. Carnes | 08/17/2016, 05:00 pm | Lemuria Books | Jackson, MS

Lee Annis with BIG JIM EASTLAND  (author appearance)
Lee Annis | 08/17/2016, 05:00 pm | Square Books | Oxford, MS

Danny Johnson - The Last Road Home  (author appearance)
Danny Johnson | 08/17/2016, 07:00 pm | Park Road Books | Charlotte, NC

Adam O' Fallon Price  (author appearance)
Adam O' Fallon | 08/17/2016, 06:00 pm | Union Avenue Books | Knoxville, TN

Robert Olen Butler - Perfume River  (author appearance)
Robert Olen Butler | 08/18/2016, 05:00 pm | Alabama Booksmith | Birmingham, AL

Okra Pick!Kate DiCamillo  (author appearance)
Kate DiCamillo | 08/18/2016, 04:30 pm | Page & Palette | Fairhope, AL

Coloring with Elsie & Tony and Magical Jungle by Johanna Basford  (author appearance)
Johanna Basford | 08/18/2016, 11:00 am | Bookstore 1 Sarasota | Sarasota, FL

Cliterati Featuring THE QUEER HEARTACHE TOUR (kit yan & jess x chen)  (author appearance)
Kit Yan | 08/18/2016, 07:30 pm | Charis Books & More | Atlanta, GA

Jay McInerny with BRIGHT PRECIOUS DAYS  (author appearance)
Jay McInerny | 08/18/2016, 05:00 pm | Square Books | Oxford, MS

McIntyre's Books Author Events Cooks & Books: Myron Mixon & Kelly Alexander  (author appearance)
Myron Mixon | 08/18/2016, 06:30 pm | McIntyre's Fine Books | Pittsboro, NC

Summer Romance Reads: Double Author Event  (author appearance)
Sara Humphreys | 08/18/2016, 07:00 pm | Park Road Books | Charlotte, NC

Nancy Stancill - Winning Texas  (author appearance)
Nancy Stancill | 08/18/2016, 07:00 pm | Quail Ridge Books & Music | Raleigh, NC

Author event with Kathryn Ormsbee author of Lucky Few  (author appearance)
Kathryn Ormsbee | 08/18/2016, 06:30 pm | Parnassus Books | Nashville, TN

Anne Perry's Shine n Wine Shindig  (author appearance)
Anne Perry | 08/18/2016, 06:00 pm | Parnassus Books | Nashville, TN

Local Author Launch Party For Melisa Cahnmann-Taylor: IMPERFECT TENSE  (author appearance)
Melisa Cahnmann-Taylor | 08/19/2016, 06:30 pm | Avid Bookshop | Athens, GA

Jacqueline Woodson with ANOTHER BROOKLYN  (author appearance)
Jacqueline Woodson | 08/19/2016, 05:00 pm | Square Books | Oxford, MS

John Lane Presents His New Book  (author appearance)
John Lane | 08/19/2016, 06:30 pm | City Lights Bookstore | Sylva, NC

Road Tripping with Romance Author Panel Book Talk & Signing  (author appearance)
Samantha Chase | 08/19/2016, 05:30 pm | Fiction Addiction | Greenville, SC

Carla Damron, Author of Stone Necklace  (author appearance)
Carla Damron | 08/19/2016, 11:00 am | Litchfield Books | Pawleys Island, SC

Author event with Cara Mangini author of The Vegetable Butcher  (author appearance)
Cara Mangini | 08/19/2016, 12:30 pm | Parnassus Books | Nashville, TN

Kevin O'Brien's Live Long Lunch  (author appearance)
Kevin O'Brien | 08/19/2016, 12:30 pm | Parnassus Books | Nashville, TN

Medea Benjamin | 08/20/2016, 01:00 pm | Book Swap of Carrollwood | Tampa, FL

Luz María Doria - La mujer de mis sueños - Gables  (author appearance)
08/20/2016, 06:30 pm | Books & Books Inc | Coral Gables, FL

Special Pajama Story Time with Author Dori Kleber: MORE-IGAMI  (author appearance)
Dori Kleber | 08/20/2016, 06:30 pm | Avid Bookshop | Athens, GA

Robert Lee Kendrick Poetry Reading  (author appearance)
Robert Lee | 08/20/2016, 03:00 pm | City Lights Bookstore | Sylva, NC

KYLE T. WEBSTER presents PLEASE SAY PLEASE  (author appearance)
Kyle T. Webster | 08/20/2016, 03:00 pm | Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe | Asheville, NC

Mignon Ballard - Author of the Miss Dimple Mysteries  (author appearance)
Mignon Ballard | 08/20/2016, 02:00 pm | Park Road Books | Charlotte, NC

Okra Pick!Julia Franks Author of Over The Plain Houses  (author appearance)
Julia Franks | 08/20/2016, 04:00 pm | The Country Bookshop | Southern Pines, NC

Robert Randisi's Booksellin' Breakfast   (author appearance)
Robert Randisi | 08/20/2016, 07:00 pm | Parnassus Books | Nashville, TN

Janet Evanovich's Plum Stuff'd Lunch  (author appearance)
Janet Evanovich | 08/20/2016, 12:30 pm | Parnassus Books | Nashville, TN

Killer Nashville's Guest of Honor & Awards Dinner   (author appearance)
Anne Perry | 08/20/2016, 07:00 pm | Parnassus Books | Nashville, TN

Okra Pick!Kate DiCamillo with RAYMIE NIGHTENGALE - @ The Powerhouse  (author appearance)
Kate DiCamillo | 08/21/2016, 01:00 pm | Square Books | Oxford, MS

Michael Copperman with TEACHER  (author appearance)
Michael Copperman | 08/23/2016, 05:00 pm | Square Books | Oxford, MS

Author event with Stephen Phillips author of Opryland USA  (author appearance)
Stephen Phillips | 08/23/2016, 06:30 pm | Parnassus Books | Nashville, TN

Reveille United Methodist Church Book Review Presents Elizabeth Thalhimer Smartt  (author appearance)
Elizabeth Thalhimer Smartt | 08/24/2016, 10:30 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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