Southern Indie Bestsellers

HARDCOVER FICTION

1. All the Light We Cannot See 
Anthony Doerr, Scribner, $27, 9781476746586 
2. End of Watch 
Stephen King, Scribner, $30, 9781501129742 
3. The Weekenders 
Mary Kay Andrews, St. Martin's, $27.99, 9781250065940 
4. All Summer Long 
Dorothea Benton Frank, Morrow, $26.99, 9780062390752 
5. The After Party 
Anton DiSclafani, Riverhead, $26, 9781594633164 
6. Homegoing 
Yaa Gyasi, Knopf, $26.95, 9781101947135 
7. A Hero of France 
Alan Furst, Random House, $27, 9780812996494 
8. The Nest 
Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney, Ecco, $26.99, 9780062414212 
9. After You 
Jojo Moyes, Pamela Dorman Books, $26.95, 9780525426592 
10. The Nightingale 
Kristin Hannah, St. Martin's, $27.99, 9780312577223 
11. Everybody's Fool 
Richard Russo, Knopf, $27.95, 9780307270641 
12. The Girl on the Train 
Paula Hawkins, Riverhead, $26.95, 9781594633669 
13. Eligible 
Curtis Sittenfeld, Random House, $28, 9781400068326 
14. LaRose 
Louise Erdrich, Harper, $27.99, 9780062277022 
15. The Last Mile 
David Baldacci, Grand Central, $29, 9781455586455

HARDCOVER NONFICTION

1. The View From the Cheap Seats 
Neil Gaiman, Morrow, $26.99, 9780062262264 
2. When Breath Becomes Air 
Paul Kalanithi, Random House, $25, 9780812988406 
3. The Gene 
Siddhartha Mukherjee, Scribner, $32, 9781476733500 
4. Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War 
Mary Roach, Norton, $26.95, 9780393245448 
5. But What If We're Wrong?: Thinking About the Present as If It Were the Past 
Chuck Klosterman, Blue Rider, $26, 9780399184123 
6. Shoe Dog 
Phil Knight, Scribner, $29, 9781501135910 
7. Bill O'Reilly's Legends and Lies: The Patriots 
David Fisher, Holt, $35, 9781627797894 
8. Hamilton: The Revolution 
Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jeremy McCarter, Grand Central, $40, 9781455539741 
9. The Rainbow Comes and Goes 
Anderson Cooper, Gloria Vanderbilt, Harper, $27.99, 9780062454942 
10. Lab Girl 
Hope Jahren, Knopf, $26.95, 9781101874936 
okra11. Dimestore 
Lee Smith, Algonquin, $24.95, 9781616205027 
12. Seven Brief Lessons on Physics 
Carlo Rovelli, Riverhead, $18, 9780399184413 
13. Tribe 
Sebastian Junger, Twelve, $22, 9781455566389 
siba book award finalist14. My Southern Journey 
Rick Bragg, Oxmoor House, $27.95, 9780848746391 
15. Between the World and Me 
Ta-Nehisi Coates, Spiegel & Grau, $24, 9780812993547

CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL LIST 

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J.T. Ellison’s newest novel, which has been compared to Gillian Flynn, Paula Hawkins, and Liane Moriarty, releases today. While the book is a departure from Ellison’s other books (this one is a stand-alone and, rather than having a protagonist who is either in law enforcement or is closely connected to someone who is, this lead character is distrustful of the police), regular readers will recognize her suspenseful pacing and quick dialogue.

Aubrey’s husband disappeared five years ago, when he failed to meet up with friends at the Opryland Hotel, and has now been declared legally dead. Aubrey has been through a hellacious five years. First, her husband went missing and then she had to endure a trial, as she was the prime suspect for his murder. Her mother-in-law testified against her and is now poised to start a legal battle over the life insurance money due to Aubrey. On this day of finality, the day she receives the official declaration of Josh’s death, Aubrey meets a man who reminds her of her husband. Chase’s mannerisms, his posture, and his intonation all match Josh’s…but Josh is dead, right?

What follows is a suspenseful, page-turning story as Aubrey searches for answers, sure to suck you in until you’ve finished. Adding to the book’s appeal, readers familiar with Nashville will recognize several locations, such as Dragon Park and the Tin Angel restaurant. If you loved The Husband’s Secret, Gone Girl, or The Girl on the Train, you owe it to yourself to read No One Knows.

No One Knows by J.T. Ellison (Gallery Books) Recommended by Laura at Reading Rock Books Dixon TN

A subtle, yet powerful portrait of an extraordinary character, Miss Jane thrills with some of the most gorgeous prose I have ever encountered. 

Jane Chisholm is born with a genital defect that, in rural Mississippi in the early 20th century, somewhat limits her prospects for a “normal” life. Populated with lovingly wrought characters, sly humor, and keen observations of the human heart, Watson's novel is a beautiful and rare bird indeed.

Miss Jane by Brad Watson (W. W. Norton & Company) Recommended by Tony at Quail Ridge Books Raleigh NC

If you’ve ever been interested in what your dog or your cat really thinks about your tuxedo t-shirt (or whether they think at all), then Frans de Waal’s new book is a must-read for you.

De Waal is the renowned primatologist and writer of The Bonobo and the Atheist, as well as other essays on morality and intelligence in the animal kingdom. And in this book de Waal argues that certain animal intelligence–though different—is not inferior or superior to others (including us human folk).

De Waal makes it clear that we should examine animals in relation to their own specific traits and capabilities in order to understand their true intelligence, rather than comparing them to the things that we humans excel it.

By trying to get us to embody a point of view outside of our own species', this book will forever change the way we look at animal intelligence and consciousness.

Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? by Frans de Waal, F. B. M. De Waal (W. W. Norton) Recommended by Donovan at Inkwood Books Tampa FL

Okra Picks

Lauded for her “astute and engrossing” (People) writing style imbued with “originality galore” (RT Book Reviews), Kim Wright channels the best of Jennifer Weiner and Sarah Pekkanen in this delightful novel of self-discovery on the open road as one woman sets out for Graceland hoping to answer the question: Is Elvis Presley her father?

Blues musician Cory Ainsworth is barely scraping by after her mother’s death when she discovers a priceless piece of rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia hidden away in a shed out back of the family’s coastal South Carolina home: Elvis Presley’s Stutz Blackhawk, its interior a time capsule of the singer’s last day on earth.

A backup singer for the King, Cory’s mother Honey was at Graceland the day Elvis died. She quickly returned home to Beaufort and married her high school sweetheart. Yearning to uncover the secrets of her mother’s past—and possibly her own identity—Cory decides to drive the car back to Memphis and turn it over to Elvis’s estate, retracing the exact route her mother took thirty-seven years earlier. As she winds her way through the sprawling deep south with its quaint towns and long stretches of open road, the burning question in Cory’s mind—who is my father?—takes a backseat to the truth she learns about her complicated mother, the minister's daughter who spent a lifetime struggling to conceal the consequences of a single year of rebellion.

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No one embodies the decadent spirit of throwing a great Southern party more than Julia Reed, the consummate hostess and go-to food and lifestyle expert. Thrown everywhere from lush gardens and gracious interior spaces to a Mississippi River sandbar, Julia Reed’s parties capture the celebratory nature of entertaining in her native South. Here, her informative and down-to-earth guide to giving an unforgettable party includes secrets she has collected over a lifetime of entertaining.

For this book, she offers up a feast of options for holiday cocktails, spring lunches, formal dinners, and even a hunt breakfast. Twelve seasonal events feature delicious, easy-to-prepare recipes, ranging from fried chicken to Charlotte Russe and signature cocktails or wine pairings—she introduces her talented friends (rum makers, potters, fabric designers, bakers) along the way. Each occasion includes gorgeous photographs showing her inspiring approach to everything from invitations and setting a table to arranging flowers and creating the mood. A handbook section provides practical considerations and sources. This irresistible book is the ultimate primer for every party-giver.

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The 2016 Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize [Short List]

Bull Mountain
by Brian Panowich 
G.P. Putnam's Sons, Hardcover, 9780399173967, 304pp.

Clayton Burroughs comes from a long line of outlaws. For generations, the Burroughs clan has made its home on Bull Mountain in North Georgia, running shine, pot, and meth over six state lines, virtually untouched by the rule of law. To distance himself from his family's criminal empire, Clayton took the job of sheriff in a neighboring community to keep what peace he can. But when a federal agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms shows up at Clayton's office with a plan to shut down the mountain, his hidden agenda will pit brother against brother, test loyalties, and could lead Clayton down a path to self-destruction.

In a sweeping narrative spanning decades and told from alternating points of view, the novel brilliantly evokes the atmosphere of the mountain and its inhabitants: forbidding, loyal, gritty, and ruthless. A story of family the lengths men will go to protect it, honor it, or in some cases destroy it "Bull Mountain" is an incredibly assured debut that heralds a major new talent in fiction.

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Welcome to Braggsville
by T. Geronimo Johnson 
William Morrow & Company, Hardcover, 9780062302120, 384pp.

From the PEN/Faulkner finalist and critically acclaimed author of Hold It 'Til It Hurts comes a dark and socially provocative Southern-fried comedy about four UC Berkeley students who stage a dramatic protest during a Civil War reenactment - a fierce, funny, tragic work from a bold new writer.

Welcome to Braggsville. The City that Love Built in the Heart of Georgia. Population 712

Born and raised in the heart of old Dixie, D'aron Davenport finds himself in unfamiliar territory his freshman year at UC Berkeley. Two thousand miles and a world away from his childhood, he is a small-town fish floundering in the depths of a large, hyper-liberal pond. Caught between the prosaic values of his rural hometown and the intellectualized multicultural cosmopolitanism of Berzerkeley, the nineteen-year-old white kid is uncertain about his place until one disastrous party brings him three idiosyncratic best friends: Louis, a "kung-fu comedian" from California; Candice, an earnest do-gooder claiming Native roots from Iowa; and Charlie, an introspective inner-city black teen from Chicago. They dub themselves the "4 Little Indians."

But everything changes in the group's alternative history class, when D'aron lets slip that his hometown hosts an annual Civil War reenactment, recently rebranded "Patriot Days." His announcement is met with righteous indignation, and inspires Candice to suggest a "performative intervention" to protest the reenactment. Armed with youthful self-importance, makeshift slave costumes, righteous zeal, and their own misguided ideas about the South, the 4 Little Indians descend on Braggsville. Their journey through backwoods churches, backroom politics, Waffle Houses, and drunken family barbecues is uproarious to start, but will have devastating consequences.

With the keen wit of Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk and the deft argot of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, T. Geronimo Johnson has written an astonishing, razor-sharp satire. Using a panoply of styles and tones, from tragicomic to Southern Gothic, he skewers issues of class, race, intellectual and political chauvinism, Obamaism, social media, and much more.

A literary coming-of-age novel for a new generation, written with tremendous social insight and a unique, generous heart, Welcome to Braggsville reminds us of the promise and perils of youthful exuberance, while painting an indelible portrait of contemporary America.

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The Latest from Lady Banks

Lady BanksIn which some things about the past are best left to the past, such as the need to darn one's own socks, someone attempts to break Mr. Joel Chandler Harris out of the briar patch, and Ms. Marjorie Wentworth falls over, but picks herself back up again and gets to work.

Lady Banks' Commonplace Book

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Turn the Page with Southern Writers

Tales of Edgar Allan PoeBetty Crocker CookbookThe Thorn Birds

We had three books at home when I was growing up: The Tales of Edgar Allan PoeBetty Crocker Cookbook and The Thorn Birds.  Not exactly great options for a curious kid.  Luckily, Mom took my sister and me to the public library, where she allowed us to choose our own books.

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Downtown Knoxville has another reason to celebrate, as the Grand Opening of UNION AVE BOOKS is slated for June 18, 2011. This new Independent Bookstore specializes in new and used books, plus decorative arts and gifts, and looks to be a gathering place for downtown shoppers and dwellers and the business community, as well as the faithful of the former Carpe Librum Bookstore which closed at the end of 2010.

The bookstore, located at 517 Union Avenue in Knoxville will carry a diverse inventory of local and regional titles, as well as fiction and non-fiction bestsellers, and feature a special Kids' Corner. In addition, UNION AVE BOOKS will host book signings, special holiday events, and Saturday activities for children. The store will also be available to Knoxville's numerous book clubs for meetings and after-hours events.

"Downtown Knoxville has exploded in the best possible way over the last few years," said Melinda Meador, one of the new owners and an attorney at the downtown law firm Winchester, Sellers, Foster & Steele, P.C.  "We want to be a part of this exciting time for our city, and selling books - especially given Knoxville's rich literary tradition - is a great way to do it."

Meador has teamed with former Carpe Librum owner Flossie McNabb, who brings to UNION AVE BOOKS an unparalleled expertise in bookselling. McNabb said the new store is a "fresh start" for her and her daughter Bunnie Presswood, who will be the store's business manager.  Rounding out this collaborative family business is Meador's son, Jake Knanishu, a junior at Washington University in St. Louis, who will serve as content and marketing consultant as well as bookseller during holiday seasons. "We want to be a home away from home for booklovers," said McNabb.



Free Book Stimulus Plan

Increase your karmic footprint.

Free BookWe understand that you can buy books anywhere.  You understand that while loving independent bookstores is a wonderful thing, loving them with your shopping dollars is even more wonderful! 
These Southern Indie Booksellers want to entice you to shop with them.  Buy online or in store from any of these shops, then complete the form below and mail it in with your receipt and get a free book.  
What kind of book? you ask.  Answer:  A Free One.  Read more

Southern Indie Lit Crossword Puzzle Book

The Southern Indie Lit Crossword Puzzle Book

How well do you know your Southern lit?

We dare you to use a pen on these crossword puzzles, each inspired by one of the winning titles of the SIBA Book Award, honoring ten years of the very best in Southern literature as chosen by the people who would know...Southern Independent Booksellers! A great gift for your book club, for puzzle-lovers, and anyone who loves Southern literature. $9.95 paperback. Available at Southern Indie Bookstores.

Play a sample puzzle online! | See the answers