TIRED OF AN  ALGORITHM  TELLING YOU WHAT TO  READ ?

Find hundreds of great books--from the hottest new releases and bestsellers to tried and true classics to rare gems--each hand-picked and hand-curated from Southern indie booksellers' websites, newsletters, emails, facebook and twitter posts and from the moments when they stop us in the street, push a book in our hands and say..."YOU'VE GOT TO READ THIS!"
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THIS WEEK'S RECOMMENDATIONS FROM SOUTHERN INDIES...

Grief Cottage by Gail GodwinFrom Sarah: Gail Godwin takes on the voice of a bereaved 11 year old boy in this, a gentle ghost story with understated humor and appealingly unorthodox characters, set on a South Carolina barrier island. The precocious Marcus has recently lost his mother and has his hands full with his artist great aunt who relies on a steady diet of red wine to cope with her own ghosts. Godwin does a beautiful job of exploring the unlikely pairing, the natural elements of the coast, and Marcus's growing obsession with the run down "grief cottage" and the boy who disappeared there in a hurricane 50 years earlier.

From Belinda: The analytical Marcus, a fascinating boy with insights and poise that few adults possess, becomes convinced that he feels, and even sees, the boy who went missing from a crumbling beach house dubbed Grief Cottage. I will not soon forget Marcus; his struggle to define his sense of self and belonging leads to a crisis with profound effects to himself and those in his present, and past, life.

Grief Cottage by Gail Godwin ($27.00, Bloomsbury USA), recommended by Sarah and Belinda, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.

A Spring 2017 Okra Pick!

Roar by Cora CormackI just devoured the young adult fantasy debut Roar by Cora Carmack. Those who loved Truthwitch, The Red Queen, and Graceling will have a favorite new author to obsess over. Even the cliffhanger ending (it is the first book in a YA trilogy after all) could not dim my delight in this discovery.

Roar by Cora Cormack ($17.99, Tor Teen), recommended by Jill at Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.

The Man Who Shot Out My Eye Is Dead: Stories by Chanelle BenzChanelle Benz is a shapeshifter, a time traveller, an heir to Flannery O'Connor, a sculptor of language, and a writer to watch. Her debut collection of short stories is wildly imaginative and varied, with contemporary stories, a western, "Adela," a purported found tale from 1829 with scholarly footnotes, and another told by a bookseller and former monk in the sixteenth century. All, like "The Mourners," from which the title comes, are dark but still manage to zap the reader with little electrical jolts of surprise. There are no happy endings and none are truly innocent, but the stories are a sign that the future of American literature is bright.

The Man Who Shot Out My Eye Is Dead: Stories by Chanelle Benz ($24.99, Ecco Press), recommended by Lyn, Square Books, Oxford, MS.

Broken River by J. Robert LennonFrom the onset, it is clear that Broken River is a novel that will have you dreading what lies on the next page but leave you no choice other than to keep reading. A family of three, seeking a fresh start after the father's infidelity, has just moved from the city to a house in upstate New York that's been left dormant for years after its previous tenants were murdered in an unsolved crime. At the expense of their own familial bonds, each member of the family finds their own way of coping with the change in scenery, and both mother and daughter find themselves drawn to the unsolved crime that took the lives of the home's previous occupants. Meanwhile, other individuals who may be linked to the murders are doing some sleuthing of their own. Lennon's characters are among the most believable and terrifying that I've encountered, and an always tangible and at times bordering-on-the-supernatural sense of foreboding casts its shadow over the character's choices and pushes them towards their inevitable convergence.

Broken River by J. Robert Lennon ($16.00, Graywolf Press), recommended by Lane, Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC.

Fingersmith by Sarah WatersForget Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train. Move over Big Little Lies and The Woman in Cabin 10. Because Fingersmith has one of the best jaw dropping, plot twisting, Oh-My-God-Did-That-Just-Happen moments that I've ever read.

Fingersmith by Sarah Waters ($17.99, Riverhead Books), recommended by Katie, Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, VA.

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuireAnother one that you won’t necessarily find in the YA section. This quick, superbly-written fantasy is perfect for anyone who’s ever felt like they don’t quite belong.

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire ($17.99, Tor), recommended by the Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA.

Mad Enchantment: Claude Monet and the Painting of the Water Lilies by Ross KingRoss King, author of the very wonderful Brunelleschi’s Dome, takes on Monet, and the fascinating story behind the creation, in the last decade of his life, of the enormous water lily paintings that reside in the Orangerie in Paris. King brings Monet to life in his old age, living quietly in his paradise at Giverny. Given to bouts of discouragement and rage (he slashed or burned many canvases), his vision obscured by cataracts, Monet worked obsessively until his death at 86. King focuses on life in the French countryside during WWI and on Monet’s relationship with his closest friend, Georges Clemenceau, war hero and Prime Minister of France, who kept Monet buoyed up with frequent lunches, drinking, smoking, and amusing correspondence. Clemenceau was instrumental in Monet’s donation of the water lily panels to the people of France, although their friendship nearly ended when year after year Monet would not, or could not, let go of the paintings. Highly recommended for art and WWI buffs.

Mad Enchantment: Claude Monet and the Painting of the Water Lilies by Ross King ($30.00, Bloomsbury USA), recommended by Lisa, Square Books, Oxford, MS.