Read This! Books with Street Cred...

Jasmine Green Rescues: A Piglet Called Truffle by Helen Peters, Ellie Snowdon (Illustrator)This fun new series will get early readers a chance to love reading. Fun and beautiful while pulling at the strings of your heart for the love of animals. Delightful

Jasmine Green Rescues: A Piglet Called Truffle by Helen Peters, Ellie Snowdon (Illustrator) (List price: $14.99, Walker Books US), recommended by Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC.

The Woman in the Mirror by Rebecca JamesA haunted manor, star crossed lovers, a good guy to save the day – what more could you ask for in a wonderfully creepy gothic thriller set in the 1940s and in modern day? How about a really great surprise ending?

The Woman in the Mirror by Rebecca James (List price: $26.99, Minotaur Books), recommended by Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.

 Current Southern Indie Bestseller List...

Southern Bestsellers

For the week ending 5/24/2020.

HARDCOVER FICTION
HARDCOVER NONFICTION
1. Camino Winds
John Grisham, Doubleday, $28.95, 9780385545938
2. The Book of Longings
Sue Monk Kidd, Viking, $28, 9780525429760
3. Rodham
Curtis Sittenfeld, Random House, $28, 9780399590917
4. The Last Trial
Scott Turow, Grand Central, $29, 9781538748138
5. All Adults Here
Emma Straub, Riverhead Books, $27, 9781594634697
1. The Splendid and the Vile
Erik Larson, Crown, $32, 9780385348713
2. Untamed
Glennon Doyle, The Dial Press, $28, 9781984801258
3. Educated
Tara Westover, Random House, $28, 9780399590504
4. The Bird Way: A New Look at How Birds Talk, Work, Play, Parent, and Think
Jennifer Ackerman, Penguin Press, $28, 9780735223011
5. Becoming
Michelle Obama, Crown, $32.50, 9781524763138

 A SIBA Okra Pick | SIBA Book Award winners and finalists! |  Special to the Southern List |  Reader Meet Writer Author Series

 From the Current Crop of Fresh Okra Picks...

TITLE The Prettiest Star by Carter Sickels
Hub City Press, April, 2020

"Told with empathy and heart, as well as a pitch-perfect sense of time and place, The Prettiest Star is a deeply affecting story about what it means to understand each other and where we come from, even when our lives have taken us light years away."
~ Ashley Warlick, M. Judson Booksellers and Storytellers, Greenville, SC


A stunning novel about the bounds of family and redemption, shines light on an overlooked part of the AIDs epidemic when men returned to their rural communities to die, by Lambda Literary Emerging Writer Award-winning author Carter Sickels.

EW's 50 Most Anticipated Books of 2020

O Magazine's "31 LGBTQ Books That'll Change the Literary Landscape in 2020"

BookRiot's "Most Anticipated Most Anticipated LGBTQ Books of 2020"

Atlanta Journal Constitution's "10 Southern Books We Can't Wait to Read in 2020"

Bitch Media "27 Novels Feminists Should Read in 2020"

Xtra 12 LGBTQ "Books You Won't Want to Miss in 2020"

A stunning novel about the bounds of family and redemption, shines light on an overlooked part of the AIDs epidemic when men returned to their rural communities to die, by Lambda Literary Emerging Writer Award-winning author Carter Sickels.

Small-town Appalachia doesn't have a lot going for it, but it's where Brian is from, where his family is, and where he's chosen to return to die.

Set in 1986, a year after Rock Hudson's death brought the news of AIDS into living rooms and kitchens across America, Lambda Literary award-winning author Carter Sickels's second novel shines light on an overlooked part of the epidemic, those men who returned to the rural communities and families who'd rejected them.

Six short years after Brian Jackson moved to New York City in search of freedom and acceptance, AIDS has claimed his lover, his friends, and his future. With nothing left in New York but memories of death, Brian decides to write his mother a letter asking to come back to the place, and family, he was once so desperate to escape.

The Prettiest Star is told in a chorus of voices: Brian's mother Sharon; his fourteen-year-old sister, Jess, as she grapples with her brother's mysterious return; and the video diaries Brian makes to document his final summer.

This is an urgent story about the politics and fragility of the body, of sex and shame. Above all, Carter Sickels's stunning novel explores the bounds of family and redemption. It is written at the far reaches of love and understanding, centering on the moments where those two forces stretch toward each other and sometimes touch.

 The Latest from Lady Banks' Commonplace Book...

 

Lost Friends

In 2107 Lisa Wingate published Before We Were Yours, a novel based on a true story about a Memphis-based adoption organization that kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families in 2017. One of the people who read the book was Diane Plauche, who found much of the story achingly familiar.

Lost Friends

Plauche is a volunteer with the Historic New Orleans Collection museum. In 2015, she began assisting the museum in creating a database of historical Lost Friends advertisements, through which formerly enslaved people desperately tried to find their lost families in the decades following emancipation. To date, Diane has entered over 2500 unique ads, and tens of thousands of names in the museum's database, preserving the histories of thousands of families. Plauche wrote to Wingate about the project, saying "There is a story in each one of these ads."

Wingate agreed. Her new novel, The Book of Lost Friends, was just released last month.

Lost Friends Lost FriendsLost Friends

On Thursday, May 28 at 7:00 pm the Reader Meet Writer Author Series will host a special online event with Lisa Wingate and Diane Plauche, in conversation with the author Kristy Woodson Harvey. They will be discussion Wingate's new novel, and the little-known facet of American life that inspired it.

Tickets are available at the following bookstores:


The Haunted Book Shop, Mobile, AL
The Snail on the Wall, Huntsville, AL

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Fort Smith, AR

Books and Books @ the Studios, ‎Key West, FL
Copperfish Books, Punta Gorda, FL
Oxford Exchange, Tampa, FL

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Douglasville, GA
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Savannah, GA
Righton Books, St. Simons Island, GA

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., St. Francisville, LA
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., New Orleans, LA
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., New Orleans, LA

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Morganton, NC
The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC
Duck's Cottage, Manteo, NC
Malaprops Bookstore, Asheville, NC
Page 158 Books, Wake Forest, NC
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Elizabeth City, NC
Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Salisbury, NC
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., High Point, NC

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Charleston, SC
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Summerville, SC

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Memphis, TN

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Orange, VA
Read Books, Virginia Beach, VA

 

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 Southern Books | Authors | Literary News...

Books That Made Me Dream Big
Carrie J. Knowles

The Inevitable PastCarrie Jane Knowles

When I was nine, I had a frightening case of mumps. The doctor told my mother that I should not go outside or be exposed to bright lights. So, she confined me to my room, turned off the overhead light and closed the drapes.

Complete darkness, she believed, was the cure that would save me.

In an act of mercy, and a way to keep me in bed, she allowed me to turn on a small bedside lamp and gave me her favorite book: Good Morning, Miss Dove, by Francis Gray Patton.

It was my first real book. No pictures. Just words and a world of everyday people who had a teacher they loved.

By the end, I loved Miss Dove, as well.

Miss Dove Great Expectations The Once and Future KIng Out of Africa
The Log of the Sea of Cortez The Princess Bride

After Miss Dove, my mother gave me Charles Dicken’s Great Expectations. I devoured it, and had fevered dreams of Miss Havisham, sitting in her decaying house, wearing a soiled and tattered wedding dress, angry and determined to exact revenge on all men in the world.

When I recovered from the mumps, my mother took me to the library. With a wink and a nod to the librarian, I was welcomed into the wonder of the adult section.

My world exploded.

What I had loved about Miss Dove was that she was someone I might know. She was a teacher. Everyday. Ordinary. But, extraordinary in how she lived her life.

What I loved about Dickens were his bigger than life, wicked characters who jumped off the page with their wild ideas and dangerous daring.

These two books set the bar for all other books that came in their wake.

Then the librarian introduced me to T.H. White’s The Once and Future King.  There I met the gawky Arthur. A man-child. An ordinary person called on to do extraordinary things. He was magnificent and mortal. But, best of all, he had a man of magic to mentor him.

Oh, Merlin! You lived backwards and knew everything that was going to happen. Why aren’t you here today to prepare us for what’s going to happen next in our very futures?

I reread The Once and Future King every couple of years just to get back to center. It gives me hope. Makes me dream big again. I wore the covers off my hardback copy and eventually had to glue the whole thing back together using a wide strip of handmade lace.

Equally life-enhancing and magical to me are two extraordinary non-fiction books: Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen and John Steinbeck’s masterful retelling of a trip with his best friend, Ed Ricketts, The Log From the Sea of Cortez.

I have read both of these books again and again and given them as gifts.

I never teach a writing workshop without talking about the brilliant opening line of Out of Africa: “I had a farm in Africa.”

That’s the whole book. Right there. Six words. Perfection.

And, then there’s the first book that ever made me laugh out loud, William Goldman’s The Princess Bride…don’t get me started.


Carrie Jane Knowles has published dozens of short stories and hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles, and four novels: Lillian’s Garden (Roundfire Books, 2013), Ashoan’s Rug (Roundfire Books, 2013), A Garden Wall in Provence (Owl Canyon Press, 2017), The Inevitable Past (Owl Canyon Press, 2020), a collection of short fiction, Black Tie Optional: 17 Stories (Owl Canyon Press, 2019) and a writing workbook, A Self-Guided Workbook and Gentle Tour on Learning How to Write Stories from Start-to-Finish (Owl Canyon Press, 2020). Her non-fiction memoir about her family’s struggles with their mother’s Alzheimer’s, The Last Childhood: A Family Story of Alzheimer's, was originally published by Three Rivers Press.



Parapalooza! Paragraphs Worth Spreading

Southern Indie Lit Crossword Puzzle Book

Do you know your Southern lit?

The Southern Indie Lit Crossword Puzzle Book

We dare you to use a pen on these crossword puzzles, each inspired by one of the winning titles of the SIBA Book Award, honoring ten years of the very best in Southern literature as chosen by the people who would know...Southern Independent Booksellers!

A great gift for your book club, for puzzle-lovers, and anyone who loves Southern literature. $9.95 paperback. Available at Southern Indie Bookstores. Need some hints or looking for answers? Pssst.