GREAT READS HANDPICKED BY GREAT SOUTHERN BOOKSELLERS...

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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!"

RECENT RECOMMENDATIONS FROM SOUTHERN INDIES (PDF)


RECENT RECOMMENDATIONS FROM SOUTHERN INDIES...

Salvation Day by Kali Wallace This fun and exciting scifi thriller is a page-turner and the perfect weekend read! What happened to the crew of the spaceship House of Wisdom? No one really knows. All of its crew members died within a 24-hour period. The government states that a lethal virus was intentionally released by a crew member. The ship is under quarantine as it’s not safe to go onboard. But someone is going to try. A small group from one of Earth’s desert cults is planning to board, clear and cleanup the ship and take it for themselves. They have even planned to kidnap the one survivor of the virus, Jas Bhattacharya, the son of the ship’s engineer, who can insure their entrance to the ship. But the government was wrong about what killed the crew.

And the small group boarding the ship is about to find out that what killed the crew is still there on the ship, waiting for another chance.

Salvation Day by Kali Wallace ($26.00*, Berkley), recommended by The Little Bookshop, Midlothian, VA.

Late Migrations by Margaret RenklLate Migrations is a gorgeous, somber treasure of a book. Death and its many forms permeate Margaret Renkl’s meditative work; from the death of her father to the death of a small bird in the road, grief is a constant companion throughout these pages. But the sorrow never becomes overwhelming; in fact, each passage takes on a unique, bittersweet wisdom that can only be gained by experiencing loss. Renkl’s part memoir, part nature writing, and part essay collection is a such a unique reading experience, and one I will remember and recommend for many years to come.

Late Migrations by Margaret Renkl ($24.00*, Milkweed Editions), recommended by Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC.

 A Summer 2019 Okra Pick

The Substitution Order by Martin ClarkMartin Clark's newest novel is a great summer read, fast moving with interesting characters and recognizable settings for those in a particular part of southwestern Virginia. In the book attorney Kevin Moore find himself in squeezed between a shady land-deal set-up and his need to redeem himself for earlier missteps. His already lost his wife, his home, his license and everything else he'd worked for. But he's determined to get as much of that back as he can. And he's willing to use every legal (and a couple of not so legal) tricks to get there.

Clark's characters are funny and familiar without becoming cliches. He faces his complicated legal situation while battling an irrational health insurance company and an overly enthusiastic dog. While watching is wife fade from his life, he's grabbing at budding romance.

Readers will feel sorry for Kevin less from his every more complicated troubles than because he's determined not to feel sorry for himself. You'll laugh out loud at Kevin's problems because they could so easily be our own. And with luck ours will tied up neatly in the end too.

The Substitution Order by Martin Clark ($27.95*, Knopf), recommended by Book No Further, Roanoke, VA.

 A Summer 2019 Okra Pick

The Plus One by Sarah ArcherKelly is a successful robotics engineer who is unlucky in love, much to her family's chagrin. She's proud of her master's degree and her prestigious job but her parents and sister would like nothing more than for her to meet a nice man to bring to her sister's upcoming wedding. Kelly can't take the family pressure and builds Ethan, the perfect man - the only exception is that he's a robot. She grows attached to Ethan fast and as the wedding approaches, she wonders how she'll be able to say goodbye once it's over. Or does she have to?

This is a fun, original romance really caught me up in the story. The idea is a little silly but it's so endearing I couldn't resist but rooting for the characters and hoping for a happy ending for Kelly.

The Plus One by Sarah Archer ($16.00*, G.P. Putnam's Sons), recommended by Fountain Books, Richmond, VA.

Very Nice by Marcy DermanskyCould this possibly get any crazier?!” is a feeling that lingers through every page in this book. Very Nice is the perfect summer read, if I’ve ever known one! It is literary world meets soap opera in a quick-witted and ambitious way. Marcy Dermansky is a resourceful writer with an invaluable voice. She is able to flawlessly navigate these pages with a humor that’s timely and fresh. With that being said, I applaud her triumph in bringing together the lives of these VERY intricate characters. This novel is quirky, electric, intellectual, and impossible to put down.

Very Nice by Marcy Dermansky ($25.95*, Knopf), recommended by Books & Books, Coral Gables, FL.

Botany at the Bar by Selena Ahmed, Ashley Duval, Rachel MeyerA whimsical encyclopedia about the history, creation, and use of bitters in a playful and richly illustrated format. A perfect gift for someone who appreciates scientific method, but also enjoys a great (and interesting) cocktail.

Botany at the Bar by Selena Ahmed, Ashley Duval, Rachel Meyer ($22.95*, Roost Books), recommended by Righton Books, St. Simons Island, GA.

Never Look Back by Alison GaylinQuentin Garrison is working on a true crime podcast about a series of murders from the 1970s, committed by a teenage couple. Quentin thinks April, the female of the murderous couple, is the mother of Robin Diamond, a website columnist. At first Robin thinks this is ridiculous at first. But the more she looks into it, the more she's unsure of her conviction.

This is one of those books where very early on, you're SURE you know what the twist is and you're disappointed. But you keep reading to confirm your suspicions. But then the book throws you a curve and you were totally wrong. Soon you have no idea who really did what and you can't wait to find out.

Never Look Back by Alison Gaylin ($16.99*, William Morrow Paperbacks), recommended by Bookmiser, Roswell, GA.

Gettysburg by Kevin MorrisAn entertainment lawyer in Hollywood going through a mid-life crisis joins a reenactment of the battle of Gettysburg in Southern California and is joined by a former playmate and Miss Universe. Ever thought you'd read all that in a sentence? I didn't either! I swear this book was written just for me. But y'all will love it too. Kevin Morris takes on the entertainment industry, American history and culture in this bizarre and hilarious story while also trying to figure out what "it all means." You will do some soul searching but mostly laughing!

Gettysburg by Kevin Morris ($26.00*, Grove Press), recommended by Fountain Books, Richmond, VA.

The Daughters of Temperance Hobbs by Katherine HoweWitchcraft meets academia in this mystical novel from Katherine Howe. When Connie Goodwin's life takes an unexpected turn, so does her research into witchcraft in colonial America. As she uncovers secret after secret, Connie learns that her past may impact her future much more than expected. Highly recommended for fans of the All Souls trilogy and anything that mixes magic, research and history!

The Daughters of Temperance Hobbs by Katherine Howe ($28.00*, Henry Holt and Co.), recommended by Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC.

Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda HolmesWhen Linda Holmes announced on the Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast that she was writing a book I squealed with delight, made a note, and stalked pre-order and review pages until I could find a copy. Anyone who has spent time reading her work as a contributor to NPR will recognize the way in which one can almost hear her smile in her writing. The story of Evvie is compelling, and the fact that it is a romance novel feels secondary to the story of these characters and how they deal with the losses that have brought them together. I cannot wait to see what Holmes does next.

Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes ($26.00*, Ballantine Books), recommended by Page 158 Books, Wake Forest, NC.

Big Sky by Kate AtkinsonKate Atkinson's beloved and often beleaguered detective, Jackson Brodie, is back in another twisty and darkly comic literary mystery. Jackson is bumming around Yorkshire with his teenage son and a dog while his former partner Julia shoots her TV show. He stumbles into the dark underbelly of the town and helps to mete out some much-needed justice. Part of the joy of reading Kate Atkinson is her ability to fit so much in few words. Brodie's reflections on the state of the world will make you laugh while breaking your heart. I absolutely loved this and cannot recommend it highly enough.

Big Sky by Kate Atkinson ($28.00*, Little, Brown and Company), recommended by Union Ave Books, Knoxville, TN.

Vintage 1954 by Antoine LaurainFor those who have not yet caught on to the magic that is Antoine Laurain, Vintage 1954 is a lovely introduction. His trademark uniqueness is on full display here as he weaves a tale of wine, time-travel, UFOs, and international cooperation that becomes remarkably believable the more you read. Through many celebrity cameos and subtle descriptive flourishes, the world of Paris in 1954 leaps off the page. Grab a good glass of wine and a comfy chair and immerse yourself in the quirky creativity that is Antoine Laurain.

Vintage 1954 by Antoine Laurain ($14.95*, Gallic Books), recommended by Square Books, Oxford, MS.

FKA USA by Reed KingI finished this book weeks ago and am still processing the ride. I think I've finally got it. Imagine The Wizard of Oz through a filter of Anthony Burgess and Hunter S. Thompson. It's an ultraviolent road trip with characters you can empathize with fully. The future is gross and polluted: environmentally, morally, and every other way imaginable. The journey of our hero and his band of merry misfits is classic and heartwarming. This fully realized future is a marvelous adventure. I loved every footnote and sidetrack. This is a big-hearted book for the reader with a strong stomach and a passion for stories of the underdog.

FKA USA by Reed King ($27.99*, Flatiron Books), recommended by Fountain Books, Richmond, VA.

Fleishman Is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-AknerToby Fleishman is in trouble. Rachel Fleishman is in trouble. This is a story about that trouble: their marriage and divorce and life (and sex) after marriage, their kids and their nervous breakdowns. It’s a novel so specific and funny and playful that it at first belies just how big and ambitious it really is. Don’t be fooled. It is big and ambitious and has things to say about marriage and friendship and being a woman and a person in the world. It surprises you over and over again with how smart and insightful and empathetic it is until you are not surprised anymore, just grateful it exists and you get to read it.

Fleishman Is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner ($27.00*, Random House), recommended by Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA.

The Travelers by Regina PorterWatching the events and lives of one family intertwined come together so beautifully in one novel is an absolute treat, and Regina Porter does not disappoint. The Travelers builds and weaves the story of family, strife, love, and frustration and encapsulates what it means to become and to remain a family. This story is absolutely gorgeous as it moves through time and experience and leaves its reader feeling like a part of the family rather than just an observer.

The Travelers by Regina Porter ($27.00*, Hogarth), recommended by Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC.

 A Spring 2019 Okra Pick

Fix Her Up by Tessa BaileyThere are all sorts of things that need to be fixed in Georgie Castle’s life: her stalled business as a birthday clown, her newly purchased but rundown house, and perhaps most important: her family’s inability to see her as anything but the baby of the family. When injured baseball player Travis Ford returns to town with a reputation and career that both need to be fixed, their attraction is immediate, which turns everything in Georgie’s life on end. A fun, sexy summer read that kicks off a new series from romance author Tessa Bailey!

Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey ($14.99*, Avon), recommended by Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC.