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...

The Other Americans by Laila LalamiThe first word I thought as I finished this book was "beautiful." With the precision of a surgeon, Lalami crafts a terrific follow up to The Moor's Account. Told in succinct chapters from many characters perspectives, she doesn't discredit their accounts or create unreliable narrators as much as she simply delves into human nature. As a young woman returns home with the news of her father's sudden death in a hit and run, she finds much more about herself and family secrets than she intends. Each character is wonderfully crafted and important to the story so that most of all I came away with the knowledge that you can never fully know all sides of a story. I have a feeling this will hold up through the year as a favorite.

The Other Americans by Laila Lalami ($25.95*, Pantheon), recommended by Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC.

Queenie by Candice Carty-WilliamsOh, Queenie, you got this! Queenie is a modern woman with all that entails: a job she should pay more attention to, a gaggle of girlfriends who have her back (mostly), an absent father, a mother she can't forgive, and most of all: romance troubles. Candice Carty-Willams's debut is brilliant, funny, modern, timely, and most importantly, entertaining.

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams ($26.00*, Gallery/Scout Press), recommended by Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA.

Girls with Sharp Sticks by Suzanne YoungA fantastic feminist YA novel with shades of  Stepford Wives and Joss Whedon's Dollhouse TV series. I have been a longtime fan of Young's Program series, and this new book blew me away!  A sinister school for exceptional young ladies, a group of young women whose bond is stronger than any classroom programming, and a grasping patriarchy not prepared for the revolution. This book will have you flipping pages and sharpening sticks of your own.

Girls with Sharp Sticks by Suzanne Young ($18.99*, Simon Pulse), recommended by Fountain Books, Richmond, VA.

Beautiful Bad by Annie WardBeautiful Bad opens with a police detective at the scene of a murder, but we have no idea who is murdered. More than a murder mystery it is a compelling story of the complex love between two friends and the hurt that results when their lives change. I loved reading about Maddie and Joanna’s adventures in the dangerous places they lived and played. I liked both characters (at first) and thought I understood why their friendship ended. Hidden desires, dark secrets, much manipulation, and an ultimate murder come painfully together as all lives are torn apart.  Beautiful Bad is a riveting story with a surprise ending…is this a fight for survival, or something much more sinister?

Beautiful Bad by Annie Ward ($26.99*, Park Row), recommended by Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.

American Princess by Stephanie Marie Thornton

American Princess tells the story of Alice Roosevelt, the headstrong daughter of the indomitable Teddy Roosevelt.  This was a fast-paced piece of history that was fun to read!

American Princess by Stephanie Marie Thornton ($16.00*, Berkley), recommended by Bookmarks, Bookmarks, NC.

Holy Envy by Barbara Brown TaylorTaylor, a Christian professor emeritus at Piedmont College, discusses how she brought the world's religions to the doorstep of her classroom in a small Georgia college town. Most students had only been exposed to Christianity, and the field trips to mosques and synagogues as well as speakers from various traditions broadened many minds. Brown's explanation of why we should be open to other religions instead of protective of our own should resonate well with the reader.

Holy Envy by Barbara Brown Taylor ($25.99*, HarperOne), recommended by Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.

Heroine by Mindy McGinnisMickey is a teen athlete and a star on her softball team when she and her best friend get in a car accident that changes their lives. Mickey is able to justify her use of painkillers to mask the pain of her recovering injuries but that use quickly turns to abuse as she uses the drugs for the painful shyness she also deal with. As the prescribed pills get harder to get, she turns to the fast, easy, and dangerous high of the needle. Her old friends drift away and she's surrounded with a new circle who enable her descent into addiction. This story is a powerful illustration of how easy it is to go from proper prescribed use of meds to the dangerous abuse of street drugs. This heartbreaking tale will stick with you long after the book is done.

Heroine by Mindy McGinnis ($17.99*, Katherine Tegen Books), recommended by Fountain Books, Richmond, VA.

See You in the Piazza by Frances MayesThis is not your typical guide book to Italy. Yes, it points you to wonderful, often overlooked gems throughout Italy. But it is the writing itself that makes it unique. It is personal and clearly written with love. It brings you into the feel of the country, not just it's sights which makes it a wonderful read whether you're in Italy or at home.

See You in the Piazza by Frances Mayes ($27.00*, Crown), recommended by Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.

Gingerbread by Helen OyeyemiCalling this a fairytale retelling does not do Gingerbread justice. Oyeyemi twists the story of Hansel and Gretel and the lore surrounding gingerbread in so many ways that you almost feel you have consumed the fabled treat yourself and are reawakening in the world of Druhastrana. The heart of this story is the relationships, between family, friends, and one's idea of self. It's a crazy ride and oh so delicious.

Gingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi ($27.00*, Riverhead Books), recommended by Page 158 Books, Wake Forest, NC.

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor JenkinsHoly smokes, Daisy Jones! This is a 24-hour freight train of a book that I couldn't put down. It's a fictionalized documentary of the rise and fall of the band Daisy Jones and The Six. Docudrama binge reading at its best! Having the story laid out simultaneously by several narrators creates a building tension that continues to grow throughout. I loved it and cannot wait to get this on the shelves!  

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins ($27.00*, Ballantine Books), recommended by The Oxford Exchange, Tampa, FL.

The Women's War by Jenna GlassThrough a great sacrifice, the women in this high fantasy epic novel have been given the unprecedented ability to control their own fertility. Suddenly these women who have been treated little better than brood mares now have the power to control their own bodies.  As you can guess, the men don't take it well.

This is the epic high fantasy feminist story that you didn't know you were looking for...but here it is and it is glorious.

The Women's War by Jenna Glass ($28.00*, Del Rey / Random House Inc), recommended by Bookmiser, Inc., Roswell, GA.

A Friend Is a Gift You Give Yourself by William BoyleYowza, did I just maybe read a future crime fiction classic? Possibly. It has all the right elements. Great characters: two ex-porn stars, a 14-year-old girl, and a psycho with a sledgehammer; dialogue that tickles the ear; and a sense of place so vivid I thought I was reading in 3-D. And the plot! I'm not going to say anything other than $500,000 in a briefcase and a frisky octogenarian are involved. My only regret? I read the book way too fast, just couldn't stop turning the pages. Oh well...there are worse things in life.

A Friend Is a Gift You Give Yourself by William Boyle ($25.95*, Pegasus Books), recommended by McIntyre's Fine Books, Pittsboro, NC.

 A Winter 2019 Okra Pick

The Wall by John Lanchester The Wall is mesmerizing: Lanchester's plain slightly flat, sort of arch style weirdly highlights the deeply disturbing apocryphal apocalyptic and, not to put too fine a point on it, Trumpian (as if you couldn't tell from the title) plot. This is so fun, this book. I read it in one sitting. 

The Wall by John Lanchester ($25.95*, W. W. Norton & Company), recommended by Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC.

We Must Be Brave by Frances LiardetWritten in gorgeous prose, We Must Be Brave is going to be a force this publishing season and for years to come. Many books have been written about the woes of World War II. None have tackled the love between a woman and a child quite like this one. I am always seeking just one more unique novel depicting the angst of war. This is this year's big one!

We Must Be Brave by Frances Liardet ($27.00*, G.P. Putnam's Sons), recommended by Copperfish Books, Punta Gorda, FL.

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha ShannonWhat a fantastic new adventure! I love the world that Samantha Shannon has built and think this will have appeal to adult and young adult readers who enjoy epic fantasies!

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon ($32.00*, Bloomsbury Publishing), recommended by Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC.

What We Buried by Kate A. BoormanI cannot wait until this book is published because I need to discuss it! Loved the complex relationship of siblings Liv and Jory, and their tangled, twisted memories of growing up with less than ideal parents. Child beauty queens, Mask movie references (the Cher and Eric Stoltz movie), disappearances, family feuds, blackout rages, road trips and nightmarish landscapes help to make this one of the most unique Young Adult books I've read in a long time!

What We Buried by Kate A. Boorman ($17.99*, Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)), recommended by Fountain Books, Richmond, VA.