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!"

Ian the Goldfish - narrator of this unique novel - is about to take a plunge from his watery prison on the 27th floor balcony of an apartment complex.

The Seville on Roxy houses a cross section of humanity that includes a pregnant lady on bed rest fantasizing about ice cream sandwiches, a home-schooled boy who thinks he’s a time traveler and a shut in with a penchant for quiche and dirty talk.

If you loved Garth Stein's Art of Racing in the Rain you will fall in love with Ian. He's able to move unobtrusively through his neighbor’s apartments telling their stories and ultimately helping them take risks beyond their wildest dreams.

Do not be fooled by the cover (looks a little like a kids' book) or my inability to express how a goldfish can tell a GREAT story. TWO FINS WAY UP!

Fishbowl by Bradley Somer (St. Martin's Press) Recommended by Stefani at Inkwood Books Tampa FL

Villa America is a beautifully crafted, thoroughly entertaining work of historical fiction about Sara and Gerald Murphy, part of the so-called Lost Generation of the 1920s.

As ex pats living in the south of France, the Murphys strove to create an idyllic world for themselves and their circle of friends that included Hemingway, Picasso and Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. This carefully researched book tells a story of the charmed, extravagant lives of these people who, despite their efforts to escape, found themselves vulnerable to the realities of misfortune and tragedy.

Klaussmann is a gifted writer with the ability to give voice to the most fundamental truths of humanity. There were passages I read again and again, marveling at their beauty and insight.

Villa America by Liza Klaussmann (Little Brown and Company) Recommended by Samantha at Quail Ridge Books Raleigh NC


Quite simply, this collection reminds you just how jaw-droppingly awesome the short story form can be.

From realism to hyper-realism to post-modernism to post-post-modernism to so-far-after-modernism-that-we-don’t-even-know-what-to-call-it-anymore-modernism.

Everything in this anthology is pulsing and alive, and there’s not a story in here that won’t stick with you in the days to follow despite your best attempts to shake it off. Marcus does a phenomenal job finding the very best and stylistically diverse writers working today, and if you’re at all interested in where fiction’s going and just what amazing, weird, crazy awesome things it’s doing right now, then you have to read this book.

New American Stories by Ben Marcus (Vintage) Recommended by Donovan at Inkwood Books Tampa FL

This should be required reading in any US history class for any age.

Steve Sheinkin is a master at taking the most complex historical events and issues and rendering them personal and accessible. He not only makes the scope of this long, long war manageable, but personifies it in the evolution of Ellsberg from deeply patriotic analyst into an equally patriotic anti-war activist.

If you are too young to have lived during the Vietnam War era, you will soon appreciate what it did to this country. If you lived then and think you knew what was going on, you will be surprised by the revelations Sheinkin has unearthed.

Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War by Steve Sheinkin (Roaring Brook Press) Recommended by Rosemary at Quail Ridge Books Raleigh NC


Rarely do we get a triple recommendation so quickly. There must be something to this!

Donovan: This novel is sometimes spicy and sometimes sweet, but always well-done. Requisite food pun aside, Stradal crafts an array of characters that are vividly real and human and petty and just flat-out fun to read more and more about as the pages blow by...This is one of the most natural and fluid and evocative narratives I’ve read in a long time, and it far surpasses any simple plot summarization. This book is for anyone that enjoys the power of good writing and great story-telling...

Amanda: Stradal’s debut shines like a beacon of warm-hearted hope. Kitchens is the tale of Eva Thorvald, a young woman with a prodigious talent and otherwordly palate. We watch Eva grow from a girl who cultivates chocolate habanero peppers in her closet to the architect of the most exclusive pop-up dining experience in the world. A different character and a different dish narrate each chapter, and we are left with a beautiful image of food, culture, and family. Kitchens of the Great Midwest is the book I’ve been looking for.

Stefani: What Donavan and Amanda said. I just make the peanut butter bars…..and they are FREAKIN’ AWESOME!!!

Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal (Pamela Dorman Books) Recommended by Donovan, Amanda, and Stefani at Inkwood Books Tampa FL

Hersh has given us a meditational romp through the ups and downs of her friendship with the late singer and songwriter Vic Chesnutt.

Talented and tormented Chesnutt and Hersh toured together extensively for a decade or so, and the two broken souls seemed to find an odd, uneasy companionship that Hersh astutely and creatively explains.

Heartbreak and loneliness abound, yet Hersh’s playful, poignant and often hilarious style manages to bring a remarkable balance to the despair -an amazing achievement.

Don't Suck, Don't Die: Giving Up Vic Chesnutt by Kristin Hersh (University of Texas Press) Recommended by SL at Square Books Oxford MS