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!"

A strange, beautiful book about science, art, identity, war, and storytelling itself, I am Radar stretches its tendrils across continents and generations, and into some pretty ambitious narrative territory.

When Radar is born with black skin to his pale white parents, a chain of events begins that entangles the particles of the universe from New Jersey to Norway, from Cambodia to the Congo. What happens when a radical Norwegian puppet collective meets the Colonel Kurtz of library books? Mr. Larsen's wild ride of a novel is mind expanding indeed!

I Am Radar By Reif Larsen (Penguin Press) Recommended by Tony at Quail Ridge Books Raleigh NC

Fans of magical realism and international literature will love Cristina Garcia's Dreaming In Cuban. 

Following the lives of three generations of women, her story shows how culture, family, and spirituality shape who we are and the place we choose to call home.  Garcia pulls from Santeria, using the religion's relationship with color to create vivid imagery that mirrors the characters' lives.  This book is truly entertaining and readers of all ages are sure to find a heroine.  

Dreaming in Cuban by Cristina Garcia (Ballantine Books) Recommended by Emily Catherine at Quail Ridge Books Raleigh NC

 

For two weeks while reading Epitaph, I lived in 1880s Arizona and came to know the people who lived there.

Russell is a master at putting her meticulous research into creating a vivid picture of time and place, and brilliantly bringing into life her characters. This book continues with the story started in Doc, focusing here on Wyatt Earp. There is so much more to this man than we have seen in movies. If you are a fan of westerns you will love this book and if you are a fan of books that completely absorb, Epitaph will more than reward.

Epitaph: A Novel of the O.K. Corral by Mary Doria Russell (Ecco Press) Recommended by Rene at Quail Ridge Books Raleigh NC

I like a certain amount of surprise in my life, but when it comes to getting older I've found I'd like to have fair warning about what to expect.

Donald Hall, a former Poet Laureate and National Medal of the Art winner, has written a beautiful collection of essays from the vantage point of 86 years old.

They are funnier than I imagined they would be, as well as inspiring and heartening, and the prose is pitch perfect.


Essays After Eighty by Donald Hall (Houghton Mifflin) Recommended by Amanda at Inkwood Books Tampa FL 
9780544287044

Very short (flash) fiction in graphic novel format. 

Carre has really done something special here, creating intricate stories that last only a few frames. The artwork is lovely, the tales melancholic and slightly gothic.

It goes by quickly, but you'll want to keep revisiting the individual stories to pick out each and every nuance.


Heads or Tails by Lilli Carre, LILLI Carr (Fantagraphics Books) Recommended by Amanda at Inkwood Books Tampa FL 

 

In 2006 when Elizabeth McCracken and her husband were living in France, she gave birth to a stillborn son.

An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination is an intimate look at the tragedy.  McCracken is very clear about the things that helped and the things that made healing more difficult.  She tells without holding back about delivering the infant after learning he had died, and about her second pregnancy and the ways it was influenced by the first. 

I gained great insight from this book into what grieving people need, and although I know all of us grieve differently, McCracken’s book will help me support those in my life who suffer from the death of a loved one. In one of my favorite quotes from the book, McCracken says, -The dead don’t need anything.  The rest of us could use some company. -

An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination by  Elizabeth McCracken (Back Bay Books) Recommended by Mamie at Quail Ridge Books Raleigh NC