Lady Banks Bookshelf

Lady Banks Pick of the Week


Read This Now: The Index

What if there were an army of indie booksellers enthusiastically reading and reviewing practically every new book coming out in the next year, and what if the books they were the most excited about, the books they couldn't wait to push into their customers' hands with a breathless "You've GOT to read this!" (virtually or otherwise), the ones with all the nine- and ten-star ratings were carefully curated and collected in a handy list? Well, all we can say is...KEEP READING!

Browse the whole list!


What if there were an army of indie booksellers enthusiastically reading and reviewing practically every new book coming out in the next year, and what if the books they were the most excited about, the books they couldn't wait to push into their customers' hands with a breathless "You've GOT to read this!" (virtually or otherwise), the ones with all the nine- and ten-star ratings were carefully curated and collected in a handy list? Well, all we can say is...KEEP READING!

Browse the Read This Now Index!


RECENT RECOMMENDATIONS FROM SOUTHERN INDIES...

Mr. Ellena is the exclusive perfumer for the House of Hermes, the book is a little gem.

While reading the book my mind tricked me into actually smelling orange blossom and bergamot and other lush and exotic scents. For anyone that loves luxury for the sake of luxury this is it.

The Diary of a Nose: A Year in the Life of a Parfumeur by Jean-Claude Ellena ($24.95, Rizzoli Ex Libris), recommended by Linda, Books & Books, Coral Gables, FL.


A little known treasure I discovered, this book is written by a close companion of Chanel and the story tells of her life in her words. The author and Coco spent many years together traveling and entertaining. It’s an insight into the personal life of Chanel, her politics, fears, desires and dreams. The book is beautifully illustrated by Karl Lagerfeld, Head Designer and Creative Director for House of Chanel.

The Allure of Chanel by Paul Morand, Euan Cameron ($29.95, Pushkin Press), recommended by Linda, Books and Books, Coral Gables, FL.

I love the quirky, eccentric characters in Fannie Flagg’s books, and this one is full of them. At 59 (or is she 60?), Sookie finds she is not who she thought she was and her subsequent search for answers takes her away from small-town Alabama life to Poland, Wisconsin, Texas and California and back in time to the World War II era and a little known group of independent and brave women who gave their all to the war effort as pilots. Comical situations as well as zany, off-beat personalities give heart and warmth to Sookie’s emotional conundrum. It is a tribute to family, friendship and the strength of the human spirit. A heart-warming feel-good read.

The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion By Fannie Flagg ($27, Random House), recommended by Pat, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.

Ball’s tell-all book of his family’s entwinement (in every conceivable manner) in antebellum slavery is a thoroughly researched history specific to the Ball family of South Carolina.

It’s well-written and heroically candid. But more than all that, it is a look at contemporary America, forcing us to examine the aftermath (for both races) of slavery and its legacy into the 21st century.

Slaves in the Family By Edward Ball ($17.95, Ballantine Books), recommended by Connie, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.


Rick Bragg reveals the raw bone of southern poverty in which he grew up; a culture of  violence, grinding pain and humiliation – delivered as a blow-by-blow assault his poor- white class endures every day. You can taste the anger and determination that propelled him, through bold honest storytelling, to the Pulitzer Prize in 1996. I didn’t want to like this book. Instead, I fell in love with it – and its author.

All Over but the Shoutin' by Rick Bragg ($16, Vintage Books USA), recommended by Connie, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.

Fall under the spell of the magical Sarah Addison Allen as she weaves a Southern fairytale of a lost lake, a boy who turned himself into an alligator, and a series of second chances for newly-widowed Kate, her daughter Devin, and her eccentric great-aunt Eby.

Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen ($9.99, St. Martin's Press), recommended by Jill, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.

 

Twins Matt and Em are special -- they're Animare, people who can animate their drawings into physical manifestations.

When their powers become unexpectedly strong for such young children, their mom is forced to move them to the protection of their paternal grandfather's estate. Unfortunately, the people who want control of Matt and Em won't be put off so easily, and the twins must find their family secrets in order to be able to protect themselves.

Fans of Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series will be thrilled to discover this action-packed and magical adventure.

Hollow Earth by John Barrowman (Aladdin) Recommended by Melissa at Fiction Addiction, Greenville SC

Judith Finch was held captive for two years before being returned to her hometown, maimed and mute for fear of what she might reveal. To the people of Roswell Station, including her own mother, she's been cursed. The one bright spot in her life is Lucas, the boy she's loved since she was a girl but who doesn't give her a second glance. After Roswell Station is attacked, Judith has to make a decision -- stay silent and let people make their own conclusions, or reveal all the truth that's in her. Berry's poetic language makes this mystery and love story a captivating read that you won't want to put down until you know everything that Judith has to say.

All the Truth That's In Me by Julie Berry ($17.99, Viking Juvenile), recommended by Melissa, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.

This debut novel is a thriller, a love story, a story of courage and the many unknown heroes who made life and death decisions in the face of the horror that was Berlin in 1943.

Gillham's language is stunning and his characters are real, with all their flaws and all their bravery. This is a book that will stay with me for a long, long time.

City of Women By David R. Gillham ($16, Berkley Trade), recommended by Rene, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.

Part historical novel and part fantasy, Boxers & Saints are companion graphic novels re-imagining the Boxer Rebellion. Yang's art style is cartoonishly simple and colorful, in deliberate contrast to the messy, multifaceted events he recounts. Recommended for teen readers and up.

Boxers & Saints Boxed Set By Gene Luen Yang ($34.99, First Second), recommended by Rachel, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.

In Radiance of Tomorrow, Beah turns to fiction to tell the  story of a group of villagers who return home at the end of war to reclaim their lives and culture. This is a book of hope, longing, large corruption and small mercies, from a master storyteller.

Radiance of Tomorrow By Ishmael Beah ($14, Sarah Crichton Books), recommended by Sarah, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.

What an astonishing book! It shines a spotlight on Leitzel and Alfredo, the two most famous stars in circus history. Leitzel, tiny with golden hair, did one hundred flips on Roman rings, and Alfredo did The Triple, three somersaults while flying between trapezes. Queen of the Air recounts their hard beginnings, their star-crossed love, and their tragic ends. You'll feel like you have a seat under the Big Top!

Queen of the Air: A True Story of Love and Tragedy at the Circus  by Dean N. Jensen ($26, Crown), recommended by Helen, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.

I read this my first year of college when I was still trying to decide if I wanted to write.

Chapter 3 is titled SHITTY FIRST DRAFTS.

It's full of good advice and encouragement for the beginning writer and would make a great gift. It's less an instruction book than a series of stories focused on the process. It's informal and funny and I was better for it.

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott (Anchor) Recommended by Dottie at Square Books Oxford MS 

While I'm not entirely pleased that my kittens seem to have taken this up as a manual of behavior. Seriously, I often ask them--AGAIN?!

The specificity and truthfulness of this book of poems -- ostensibly written by cats, although I'm pretty suspicious that a human helped a bit -- makes it my all-time favorite gift for cat people, and one of our best sellers in the store to boot. Whether modern or traditional, with iambs or without, these poems all manage to hit home in a way that's both humorous and wince-inducing.

I Could Pee on This: And Other Poems by Cats by Francesco Marciuliano ($12.95, Chronicle Books), recommended by Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC.

Inspector Harry Hole of the Oslo Crime Squad is dispatched to Sydney to observe a murder case. Harry is free to offer assistance, but he has firm instructions to stay out of trouble.

The victim is a twenty-three year old Norwegian woman who is a minor celebrity back home. Never one to sit on the sidelines, Harry befriends one of the lead detectives, and one of the witnesses, as he is drawn deeper into the case.  Together, they discover that this is only the latest in a string of unsolved murders, and the pattern points toward a psychopath working his way across the country.

The Bat: The First Inspector Harry Hole Novel by Jo Nesbø (Vintage) Recommended by Steve at Fountain Bookstore Richmond VA

On a remote, icy planet, the soldier known as Breq is drawing closer to completing her quest.

Breq is both more than she seems and less than she was. Years ago, she was the Justice of Toren--a colossal starship with an artificial intelligence linking thousands of corpse soldiers in the service of the Radch, the empire that conquered the galaxy.

An act of treachery has ripped it all away, leaving her with only one fragile human body. And only one purpose--to revenge herself on Anaander Mianaai, many-bodied, near-immortal Lord of the Radch.

Ancillary Justice By Ann Leckie (Orbit) Recommended by Steve at Fountain Bookstore Richmond VA