Recommended Reading from Southern Indie Booksellers, culled from their websites, newsletters, emails, facebook and twitter posts, and from the moments when they stop us in the street to push a book in our hands sayings "You've got to read this!"

An incredible story of a 14-year-old boy whose African village is devastated by drought.

Reading in the little village library and scavenging for parts he accomplishes the impossible. I loved this book when it first came out in 2009, and now a young readers edition has just been released in paperback.

Truly inspirational, the author demonstrates that anything is possible with education and determination.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba, Bryan Mealer, Elizabeth Zunon (Harper Perennial) Recommended by Andy Brennan at Parnassus Books Nashville TN

Ten-year-old Manami’s family is forced to relocate to a camp for Japanese Americans during WWII.

She tries to sneak her dog, Yujin, into the camp, but is caught by the soldiers. Manami doesn’t speak in the prison village.She writes paper wishes that she hopes will sail through the air to her dog.

This is a beautifully written story about family and survival, perfect for young readers interested in WWII history.

Paper Wishes by Lois Sepahban (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) Recommended by Rae Ann Parker at Parnassus Books Nashville TN

Simon Winchester takes on the Pacific Ocean in his latest popular history.

To tackle a topic that is too big to adequately cover in a one volume, Winchester instead tells 10 different stories that all have the Pacific as a common thread. From nuclear testing on Bikini Island to the transfer of Hong Kong from Britian to China, Winchester illustrates the wide and varied impact the Pacific has had and continues to have on our planet.

Whereas the Mediterranean was the focus of the ancient world and the Atlantic the center of current times, the author convincingly argues that the Pacific will be the most important ocean in our future.

Pacific: Silicon Chips and Surfboards, Coral Reefs and Atom Bombs, Brutal Dictators, Fading Empires, and the Coming Collision by Simon Winchester (Harper) Recommended by Andy Brennan at Parnassus Books Nashville TN


Everyone else can stop writing sentences and paragraphs and even books now, because it’s impossible to beat these. Compared to this perfectly distilled little novel, bigger books seem waterlogged. If you’re a human with a family, read it. 

My Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout (Random House) Recommended by Mary Laura Philpott at Parnassus Books Nashville TN

Hedgehogs are all the rage in 2016. Even in picture books! 

In this adorable story, hedgehogs Horace and Hattie are BFFs. But they can’t hug because they’re too spiky.

Will they find a way to overcome their spikiness?


Hedgehugs by Steve Wilson, Lucy Tapper (Henry Holt & Company) Recommended by Rae Ann Parker at Parnassus Books Nashville TN

Remember The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls? If you liked that, you might like this harrowing true story that likewise never tips into maudlin territory.

Ruth Wariner shows amazing sentimental restraint in recounting her years as a poor, hungry, confused, and often terrified child growing up in a fundamentalist (and polygamous) religious colony in rural Mexico.

Amazing.

The Sound of Gravel: A Memoir by Ruth Wariner (Flatiron Books) Recommended by Mary Laura Philpott at Parnassus Books Nashville TN