Southern Indie Bestsellers

 

HARDCOVER FICTION

1. The Nest
Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney, Ecco, $26.99, 9780062414212
2. The Last Mile
David Baldacci, Grand Central, $29, 9781455586455
3. The Nightingale
Kristin Hannah, St. Martin's, $27.99, 9780312577223
4. All the Light We Cannot See
Anthony Doerr, Scribner, $27, 9781476746586
5. The Girl on the Train
Paula Hawkins, Riverhead, $26.95, 9781594633669
6. Eligible
Curtis Sittenfeld, Random House, $28, 9781400068326
7. Fool Me Once
Harlan Coben, Dutton, $28, 9780525955092
8. The Summer Before the War
Helen Simonson, Random House, $28, 9780812993103
9. The Swans of Fifth Avenue
Melanie Benjamin, Delacorte, $28, 9780345528698
10. Miller's Valley
Anna Quindlen, Random House, $28, 9780812996081

HARDCOVER NONFICTION

1. The Rainbow Comes and Goes
Anderson Cooper, Gloria Vanderbilt, Harper, $27.99, 9780062454942
2. When Breath Becomes Air
Paul Kalanithi, Random House, $25, 9780812988406
3. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
Marie Kondo, Ten Speed Press, $16.99, 9781607747307
okra4. Dimestore: A Writer's Life
Lee Smith, Algonquin, $24.95, 9781616205027

5. Being Mortal
Atul Gawande, Metropolitan, $26, 9780805095159
6. Lab Girl
Hope Jahren, Knopf, $26.95, 9781101874936
7. Between the World and Me
Ta-Nehisi Coates, Spiegel & Grau, $24, 9780812993547
8. Quench Your Own Thirst: Business Lessons Learned Over a Beer or Two
Jim Koch, Flatiron, $27.99, 9781250070500
9. The Third Wave
Steve Case, S&S, $26.95, 9781501132582
10. First Women: The Grace and Power of America's Modern First Ladies
Kate Andersen Brower, Harper, $28.99, 9780062439659

 CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL LIST 

Read this!

America is a bad land for gods.

This is a fantastic novel about the nature of worship and belief, and what that means for the ideas people leave behind on their way to the next thing.


American Gods by Neil Gaiman (HarperTorch) Recommended by Melanie at Octavia Books New Orleans LA

The Second World War is about to begin.

Hitler is rallying his forces and preparing to conquer the world. Yet, for Ada Smith, a different war is about to begin.

Ada was born with a clubfoot. She cannot walk, and she is forced to stay in her families one-room apartment at all times. Ada doesn’t know
what the world looks like outside of her little apartment. Life for Ada seems very bleak, until the mandatory evacuation of all London’s children is announced.

Suddenly, Ada and her little brother Jamie are sent to the country with thousands of other Londoner children. When they arrive in Kent, Ada expects life to remain as it has always been, but instead Ada will discover a world she never knew existed.

Ada will discover that she is not as broken as she seems, and with time and a lot of love she might be able to change the way the world sees her. A poignant tale set in war-time England of a little girl’s triumph over her disability and the life that she has always known.

The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley (Dial Books for Younger Readers) Recommended by Gretchen at Fiction Addiction Greenville SC


On a Greyhound bus headed from Jackson, MS (aka Mosquitoland) back to Cleveland, Ohio, 16-year-old Mim knows that if she can get to her sick mother by Labor Day, then all the confusion of the divorce, her new stepmom, and the recent move will no longer matter.

Mim's voice in this amazing amalgam of a love story, a road trip novel, and a coming-of-age story, will stay with you long after you finish Mosquitoland.
 
Mosquitoland by David Arnold (Viking) Recommended by Jill at Fiction Addiction Greenville SC


What an adventurous life it was! Louisa married John Quincy Adams when she was 21, and followed him to diplomatic posts in Germany, Prussia, St. Petersburg and eventually the United States. 

You share her struggles through multiple miscarriages, the deaths of two babies and years of separation from her children. You're there at the high points, such as her presentation to the court of the tzar. In Washington her parties and balls became legendary. 

Full of first person accounts, from Louisa's memoirs to John Quincy's diary...Louisa makes you feel as if you know this woman. Fabulous history!

Louisa: The Extraordinary Life of Mrs. Adams by Louisa Thomas (Penguin Press) Recommended by Helen at Quail Ridge Books Raleigh NC

Okra Picks

Raymie Clarke has come to realize that everything, absolutely everything, depends on her. And she has a plan. If Raymie can win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition, then her father, who left town two days ago with a dental hygienist, will see Raymie's picture in the paper and (maybe) come home. To win, not only does Raymie have to do good deeds and learn how to twirl a baton; she also has to contend with the wispy, frequently fainting Louisiana Elefante, who has a show-business background, and the fiery, stubborn Beverly Tapinski, who’s determined to sabotage the contest. But as the competition approaches, loneliness, loss, and unanswerable questions draw the three girls into an unlikely friendship — and challenge each of them to come to the rescue in unexpected ways.

Two-time Newbery Medalist Kate DiCamillo returns to her roots with a moving, masterful story of an unforgettable summer friendship.

BUY FROM AN INDIE

It’s 1939, and the federal government has sent USDA agent Virginia Furman into the North Carolina mountains to instruct families on modernizing their homes and farms. There she meets farm wife Irenie Lambey, who is immediately drawn to the lady agent’s self-possession. Already, cracks are emerging in Irenie’s fragile marriage to Brodis, an ex-logger turned fundamentalist preacher: She has taken to night ramblings through the woods to escape her husband’s bed, storing strange keepsakes in a mountain cavern. To Brodis, these are all the signs that Irenie—tiptoeing through the dark in her billowing white nightshirt—is practicing black magic.

When Irenie slips back into bed with a kind of supernatural stealth, Brodis senses that a certain evil has entered his life, linked to the lady agent, or perhaps to other, more sinister forces.

Working in the stylistic terrain of Amy Greene and Bonnie Jo Campbell, this mesmerizing debut by Julia Franks is the story of a woman intrigued by the possibility of change, escape, and reproductive choice—stalked by a Bible-haunted man who fears his government and stakes his integrity upon an older way of life. As Brodis chases his demons, he brings about a final act of violence that shakes the entire valley. In this spellbinding Southern story, Franks bares the myths and mysteries that modernity can’t quite dispel.

BUY FROM AN INDIE

The 2016 Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize [Short List]

The Southerner's Cookbook: Recipes, Wisdom, and Stories
by Garden & Gun (Editor) 
Harper Wave, Hardcover, 9780062242419, 320pp.

From Garden & Gun - the magazine that features the best of Southern cooking, dining, cocktails, and customs - comes an heirloom-quality guide to the traditions and innovations that define today's Southern food culture, with more than 100 recipes and 4-color photography throughout.

From well-loved classics like biscuits and fried chicken to uniquely regional dishes such as sonker (Piedmont, North Carolina's take on cobbler) or Minorcan chowder (Florida's version of clam chowder), each recipe in The Southerner's Cookbook tells a story about Southern food and its origins. With contributions from some of the South's finest chefs, a glossary of cooking terms, and essays from many of the magazine's most beloved writers, The Southerner's Cookbook is much more than simply a collection of recipes: it is a true reflection of the South's culinary past, present, and future.

BUY FROM AN INDIE

The Scribe
by Matthew Guinn 
W. W. Norton & Company, Hardcover, 9780393239294, 304pp.

After leaving Atlanta in disgrace three years before, detective Thomas Canby is called back to the city on the eve of Atlanta's 1881 International Cotton Exposition to partner with Atlanta's first African American police officer, Cyrus Underwood. The case they're assigned is chilling: a serial murderer who seems to be violently targeting Atlanta's wealthiest black entrepreneurs. The killer's method is both strange and unusually gruesome. On each victim's mutilated body is inscribed a letter of the alphabet, beginning with "M." The oligarchy of Atlanta's most prominent white businessmen: the same men who ran Canby out of town, known more openly before Reconstruction as "the Ring" is anxious to solve the murders before they lose the money they've invested in both the exposition and the city's industrialization, even if resolution comes at the expense of justice.

After Canby's arrival the murders become increasingly disturbing and unpredictable, and his interference threatens to send the investigation spinning off in the wrong direction. As the toll of innocent victims rises, Canby must face down enduring racism, and his own prejudices, to see clearly the source of these bloody crimes. Meanwhile, if he can restore his reputation, he might win back the woman he loves.

With scrupulous attention to historical detail, Edgar Award finalist Matthew Guinn draws readers into a vortex of tense, atmospheric storytelling, confronting the sins and fears of both old South and new.

BUY FROM AN INDIE

The Latest from Lady Banks

Lady BanksIn which Mr. Lenard Moore explains how Green Eggs and Ham was instrumental in his decision to become a poet, Mr. Pat Conroy worries about his future fame, and her ladyship, the editor, attempts to make strawberry jam, with dubious success.

Lady Banks' Commonplace Book

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Perhaps the books that have really changed my life are children’s books, mostly because I read them at a more impressionable age. The one that comes to mind is Scott O’Dell’s Island of the Blue Dolphins. It’s based upon the true story of a Kodiak girl accidentally left behind on an island by her tribe. Because she’s alone, she must learn every role in the tribe: hunter, gather, warrior, healer. And what she realizes is that the only thing that was keeping her from these roles before was tradition. Now that she has to learn these skills, she can and she does. She figures out how to not just to hunt, but to make her own weapons, to cure her own meat. That made a big impression on me as a kid. But that novel is also a story of great loneliness. This girl grew into a woman and was self-sufficient for decades, alone on her beautiful island. She was brave and skilled, but wouldn’t it have been better if she could have been that way in a community, with other people? And could she have been that way in her community, with other people?

More recently, I have loved Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go. It’s sort of the opposite kind of story: how not to live. In fact, it’s kind Sartre’s No Exit redux. Both Ishiguro and Sartre repeat the same themes, of characters living the same tiny trapped lives, mainly out of fear.

But if I had to pick one writer, it would be Walt Whitman. The books I love most are ones that enlarge and expand. I’m attracted to boldness in its various forms, but especially in language. I can’t resist those expansive Whitmanesque strokes, his wide open syntax. Likewise I love writers who treat language as a big lush banquet: Toni Morrison and Karen Russell and Junot Diaz and Marquez and McCarthy. The list goes on.

I just read Paul Harding’s Tinkers, and the minute I finished it, I started it again. It’s funny, the title and subject matter of that book suggest minutiae, but he uses language in big and exciting ways.


Julia Franks has roots in the Appalachian Mountains and has spent years kayaking the rivers and creeks of Tennessee, North Carolina, and West Virginia. She lives in Atlanta, where she teaches literature and runs loosecanon.com, a web service that fosters free-choice reading in the classroom. Her novel, Among the Plain Houses (Hub City Press) was released in May, 2016 and is a SIBA Spring Okra Pick.

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Ann PatchettLiterary novelist Ann Patchett's fight to save independent bookshops, which has seen her open her own shop in Tennessee and champion the importance of bookselling on American television, has led to her nomination as one of Time magazine's most influential people in the world.



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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