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THE LATEST RECOMMENDATIONS FROM GREAT SOUTHERN INDIES...

Ziggyology: A Brief History of Ziggy Stardust

There seems to be a new Bowie book out about once every two months these days and I am such a big fan that I have read just about every one. But there is a law of diminishing returns and even I feel that at this point there is very little left to say. Luckily this biography takes a refreshing new tack. It concentrates on the two years that Bowie lived inside his greatest creation, the fictitious and otherworldly Ziggy Stardust. About half the book is gone before you get to Ziggy's rise and it's all context and subtext. Just like Stanley Crouch's book on Charlie Parker Kansas City Lightning it really helps you understand the time, the place and the preceding history and therefore get a better understanding of the work itself. It puts you dead center in the insane whirlwind that burgeoning stardom can bring and the leaves you with a half broken Bowie saying, "Who can I be now?"

Ziggyology: A Brief History of Ziggy Stardust by Simon Goddard (Ebury Press) Recommended by Chris at Acappella Books Atlanta GA

The Drone Eats with Me

All the intimacy and power that Anne Frank's war diary gave us--the real breath and thoughts and fears of a human living under inhumane circumstances--are aged and magnified in Saif's account of war in Gaza.

For 51 days he and his fellow Gazans live--and die--with the knowledge that life and death are a game of luck, controlled at the hands of an Israeli drone operator. Peace is not permitted for the people of Gaza, restricted by birth to a nation of contested land and continued acts of terror, violence, and grief. This was sixty years of life savings!- a man screams atop the rubble of his home. Ambulances screech all day long, gathering body parts of children and families that moments ago were survivors of the war, and now are its casualties.

Saif and his friends flip a coin on the street--heads, the truce ends, tails, the truce continues. The children fight to plug in their iPads when the electricity comes on, while the adults watch the news to hear which of their friends has been obliterated in their homes this week.

This is the fourth war Saif has lived through, and he knows that it is only by luck that he has lived, and that this war will not be the last--that one day his luck may run out. This is an essential read for those in search of peace in the midst of modern-day warfare, and even more essential for those who aren't sure which side they stand on.

The Drone Eats with Me by Atef Abu Saif (Beacon Press) Recommended by Clara at Acappella Books Atlanta GA

White Rage

What the hell is wrong with white people?

Seriously, what is going on in the white community that white folks all over the nation express; one, a sense of surprise by the uprisings in Ferguson and Baltimore; and two, complete ignorance of their role in the continued devaluation of black and brown life?

What level of denial must one operate to miss the connection between their neo-liberal, fascist, white supremacist policies and the continued killing of black and brown bodies all over this country and beyond? How can a people and its government founded on the principles of chattel slavery privatize prisons (and fill them disproportionately with black and brown bodies), de-fund then close mostly black and brown schools, and concentrate wealth among a small number of white males while pretending it has achieved a "post-racial" society?

Carol Anderson's newest book examines the latest iterations of white rage, and uncovers the deep layers of white denial that continues to fuel racial violence in this country.

White Rage by Carol Anderson (Bloomsbury) Recommended by Manny at Acappella Books Atlanta GA

My Life on the Road

In her first time writing entirely about the road, Steinem encourages us to free ourselves from the either/or binary thinking that proliferates the imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy and instead embrace the AND rooted in inclusion and balance. Yet as Steinem says, "On campuses, I saw young men wearing t-shirts that said TOO BAD O.J. DIDN'T MARRY HILLARY." All the wearers I saw were white.

Clearly, folks--especially white males--are far from unlearning the imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchal fantasies that permeate our entire culture.

This book illustrates key insights to aid this work. My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem (Random House) Recommended by Manny at Acappella Books Atlanta GA

The Girl Who Drank the Moon

If stories are magic, then Kelly Barnhill must be ever so powerful, because this story is the best kind of magic.

Witches and monsters and dragons, sorrow and hope and love, especially love, all wound together in a fairy tale so perfect I want to
read it again and again and again.

This is definitely on my list of favorites.

The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill (Algonquin) Recommended by Melissa at Fiction Addiction Greenville SC

Treyf: My Life as an Unorthodox Outlaw

Treyf: My Life as an Unorthodox Outlaw is a universal love letter to a childhood spent in a religiously observant and unorthodox household.

It’s a joyous, and sometimes heartbreaking, look at family, love, the food that keeps us together and the traditions that can tear us apart.

Author Elissa Altman sets a beautifully written table.

Treyf: My Life as an Unorthodox Outlaw by Elissa Altman (New American Library) Recommended by Beth at Quail Ridge Books Raleigh NC

Women Explorers: Perils, Pistols and Petticoats

This children’s book tells the story of 10 women explorers, all of whom were born in the 1800s.

The women in this book explored the Artic, the Outback, the wilderness areas of Canada, the US and Mexico, the Amazon jungle, islands in the South Pacific, the desert in the Middle East and led African safaris. These women made important contributions to science, geography and cultural understanding, but history books have hardly mentioned their stories.

This book is perfect to read to younger elementary studies or for older students to explore on their own.

Women Explorers by Julie Cumins, illustrated by Cheryl Harness (Puffin Books) Recommended by Christina at Blue Ridge Books Waynesville, NC

The Danish Girl

I can’t account for the historical accuracy of the story, but The Danish Girl is based on the true story of a young transgender woman (Lili) in the 1920s/30s.

Born a male, Einar struggles with the secret of wanting to be a woman. His wife Greta encourages his transition and Einar becomes Lili. Lili was the first person to undergo sex reassignment surgery in the 1930s. 

It’s a beautifully written story about love, trust and self-discovery.
 
The Danish Girl by David Ebershoff (Penguin) Recommended by Christina at Blue Ridge Books Waynesville, NC

Stung

Fans of The Hunger Games will love this dystopian remake of Sleeping Beauty.

In Stung by Bethany Wiggins, Fiona wakes up from a coma to find a strange tattoo on her wrist. The world has changed while she was unconscious, her house is deserted and her family has disappeared, except for her brother, who immediately tries to kill her.

She flees and discovers that since the honey bees’ extinction, the privileged few fight the marked humans who’ve turned into savage beasts. Hunted by both sides, Fiona fights to make sense of what has happened to her before she turns, too.

This page turning-thriller will keep readers guessing until the very end.Ages 14 and up

Stung by Bethany Wiggins (MacMillan) Recommended by Ellen at Hooray For Books Alexandria VA