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!"

Let's be clear, Christopher Moore is not for the faint of heart.

But if you love wild imagination, hysterically funny and profane dialogue, multiple plot lines that weave together but allow lots of humorous and (did I mention) profane tangents – he's your guy.

Secondhand Souls is a sequel to A Dirty Job. I read SS without having read A Dirty Job with no confusion. But SS does give a few necessary spoilers from the earlier book. So if you have the leisure, do them in order.  

Secondhand Souls by Christopher Moore (William Morrow & Company) Recommended by Rosemary at Quail Ridge Books Raleigh NC

 

In an age when the once romantic American Southwest is beginning to fall victim to the same capitalization as the rest of the country, young and starry-eyed Billy Boyd embarks on a quest of Greek proportions across the unclaimed landscape.

The Crossing is the second book in McCarthy's Border Trilogy stands on its own beautifully, but rises to an entirely more transcendent level
when read with the other two books (All the Pretty Horses and Cities of the Plain).

With his beautiful imagery, deeply sympathetic characters, and haunting social commentary, Cormac McCarthy shines as one of the greatest writers of all time.

But this book is not for the faint of heart—it will literally change your life. 

The Crossing by Cormac McCarthy (Vintage) Recommended by Kate at Quail Ridge Books Raleigh NC

 

This book-length poem invites us to look and look again at the world we inhabit and the people we often choose not to see.

The Descent of Alette reinvents the epic through its use of quotation marks to create a new poetic “foot,” inviting the reader to linger over each phrase or read through the divisions, drawing attention to similar choices in our daily lives.

A compelling narrative unfolds within this dynamic form of a woman moving through an underground world to confront a Tyrant who rules from a daylight realm.

The voices of the wounded, the homeless, the forgotten, those who blur the stark lines of light and shadow, all are present in this journey of transformation.
The Descent of Alette by Alice Notley (Penguin) Recommended by Heather at Quail Ridge Books Raleigh NC


I found Michel Faber's The Book of Strange New Things both strange and compulsively readable. 

Michel Faber turns the science fiction premise of planetary colonization on its head. Peter, a Christian evangelist, leaves his wife Bea, and beloved cat, Joshua, at home in England while he serves as replacement missionary to an alien race on the planet Oasis. As Peter and Bea correspond (not easy!) it becomes apparent that Bea is the one having the harder time as life in England deteriorates, while Peter finds his new flock peculiar and exotic, but surprisingly devoted to their faith and the Bible, which they call The Book of Strange New Things.

Faber, best known for his Victorian novel The Crimson Petal and the White, weaves a compelling story of love, faith, corporate culture, damaged lives, and resilience.


The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber (Hogarth) Recommended by Sarah at Quail Ridge Books Raleigh NC

 

Damon Tweedy brings us a very personal view of the role race has played for him as a student, a doctor, and even as a patient.

He starts with his time as one of only a handful of black students attending Duke University Medical School, where one of his professors asks if he is there to fix the lights.

Through his internship and on to psychiatric training and practice, he sheds a light on how easy it is for us to see each other through the lens of race instead of as individuals, and how that leads to bad outcomes for everyone, but especially for black patients.

Tweedy has written a thoughtful, provocative, and very readable account, full of engaging stories of real people whose well-being, and even survival, are affected by racial perceptions.

Black Man in a White Coat: A Doctor's Reflections on Race and Medicine by Damon Tweedy (Picador) Recommended by Sarah at Quail Ridge Books Raleigh NC

 

 

 

Edgar, aka Eggert Furst, aka Comrade Parts, is one of the most intriguing and pathetic villains I've come across.

Okasanen's latest novel, like her international best-seller Purge, delves into the political tumult of little-known Estonia, where the overly ambitious Edgar adopts a new identity, while selling out his friends and colleagues, with each regime swing between the Red Army and the Nazis.

His total lack of conscience and increasing paranoia of exposure by the two people who know him – his alcoholic estranged wife and his freedom-fighting cousin Roland – add just the right hint of dark comedy.

When the Doves Disappeared by Sofi Oksanen (Knopf Publishing Group) Recommended by Vicki at Quail Ridge Books Raleigh NC