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...

Beginning with early healers, chance discoveries, technological advancement, and wonder drugs, and using panels, timelines, and thematic spreads, Kill or Cure highlights information about human anatomy, surgical instruments, and medical breakthroughs while telling the dramatic tale of medical progress.

Diaries, notebooks, and other first-person accounts tell the fascinating stories from the perspective of people who witnessed medical history firsthand.

Kill or Cure: An Illustrated History of Medicine By Steve Parker (DK Adult) Recommended by Lynn Marie at Fountain Bookstore Richmond VA

This remarkable collection of maps, photographs, engravings and paintings from the early ages to modern day provides a stunning new look at the world as defined by our struggles and alliances with the monsters and supernatural creatures that have defined our existence

Learn how a mechanical man helped write America’s Declaration of Independence. Track the course of the Living Dead virus from Africa to Europe and on to the New World.

Alternate Histories of the World by Matthew Buchholz (Perigee Trade) Recommended by Will at Fountain Bookstore Richmond VA

I cannot recall the last time a book captivated me so completely. It felt fresh, smart, clever, and, perhaps best of all, genuine and sweet in the very best sense. The story line is beautifully original and combines so many fascinating concepts and ideas.

The mix of folklore and science is amazing. Who would have thought that the second law of thermodynamics could be presented in such a fun context! And I'll never look at entropy in quite the same way again.

The Time Fetch by Amy Herrick (Algonquin) Recommended by Laura at Malaprops Asheville NC.

Carver is where I go for stories of the working class.

The subject matter might be hard-edged, but it's also full of a human tenderness that leaves me a few moments where I'm unable to move on to anything else.

This is an essential read in realist short fiction. Fans of Mary Miller or Barry Hannah will like this.

Where I'm Calling From: Selected Stories by Raymond Carver (Vintage) Recommended by Dottie at Square Books Oxford MS.

The second book of the Neapolitan Novels series is a rich portrait of two girls and their friendship.

Beginning in the 1960s when the more academically gifted Lila marries instead of continuing her education, we follow Elena through her success. Psychologically acute, this is a great work of modern fiction, and good news, there will be one more book.

The Story of a New Name By Elena Ferrante (Europa Editions) Recommended by Sandra at Quail Ridge Books Raleigh NC

After the Bible, this is the most important book in Western culture.

Genius, groundbreaking and ultimately astonishing, Darwin's observations set the tone for the last 150 years of biology and natural science. Free of jargon, it's an easy read - little more than a man alone with his thoughts, profound as they may be compatible with religion, in my opinion.

The Origin Of Species: 150th Anniversary Edition (Signet Classics) Recommended by Beckett at Square Books Oxford MS

Physics of the Future

In Physics of the Future, Kaku describes what future technologies might allow the human race to accomplish.

Interestingly (and mind blowing) all of the technologies Kaku explains already exist in some form, including: teleportation, fusion power and time travel. A super exciting read.

Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100 (Anchor) Recommended by Zach at Square Books Oxford MS.

 

The follow-up to The Shining, King's latest novel marks a return to the style of books such as It and Salem's Lot, a world of unrelenting horror, of things that go bump in the night.

Seamlessly weaving supernatural demons with his character's own internal battles, King transcends the traditional horror narrative and presents a novel concerned with the very real tension between good and evil.

Doctor Sleep by Stephen King (Scribner) Recommended by Kaitlyn at Square Books Oxford MS.

I'm not a big fan of absolutes, but I am adding this book to my small list of things I think everyone should experience. The introduction by David Mitchell (Cloud Atlas) evoked tears. Higashida's writing races along the skin, swims in the blood, jumps skyward.

For anyone who has struggled understanding and anyone who has struggled to be understood.

The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism By Naoki Higashida, Translators: Ka Yoshida, David Mitchell (Random House)

The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida ($23.00, Random House), recommended by Lynne Marie at Fountain Bookstore, Richmond VA.

From the critically acclaimed author of Dear American Airlines, a compulsively readable, deeply human novel that charts the course of three intersecting lives—a freegan couple living off the grid in Manhattan, a once prominent linguist struggling with midlife, and a New Jersey debt-collection magnate with a new family and a second chance at getting things right—in a thoroughly contemporary examination of that most basic and unquenchable emotion: want. 

Want Not By Jonathan Miles (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), recommended by Lynne Marie at Fountain Bookstore, Richmond VA.


Australian philosopher Peter Singer has written a book that is short, provocative, and both philosophical and practical.

He tackles the thorny questions of why we should give to charity, to whom we should give, and even how much each of us should give. His ideas on the psychological barriers to giving, and the philosophical reasons for doing so, are especially compelling.

The Life You Can Save: How to Do Your Part to End World Poverty by Peter Singer ($16.00, Random House Trade Paperbacks), recommended by Sarah at Quail Ridge Books Raleigh NC

McNair’s prose begins thin and lapping, then gradually builds like a hurricane crescendo that carries the reader on a whitewater crest toward a conclusion that is as unexpected as it is dreadful.

From the top of that mountainous wave of skillfully drawn landscapes, familiarly detailed characters, and painfully wrought human interactions, we get a glimpse, through Threadgill’s last steps on earth, of what might have been, had Threadgill--had all the Billy Yanks and Johnny Rebs of the world--chosen to throw a barbecue instead of launch a Civil War.

Pickett's Charge by Charles McNair ($18.95, Livingston Press), recommended by Connie, Quail Ridge Books Raleigh NC.


This book is a behind-the-scenes look at one of the great masterpieces of art, Leonardo's painting of The Last Supper.

Leonardo painted this despite war, political and religious turmoil around him and through his research King reveals much about this fascinating period in European history as well as dozens of stories embedded in the painting.

Leonardo and the Last Supper by Ross King (Walker & Company), recommended by The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC.

It was first published in 1989, but this historical novel set in South Africa is as relevant today as then.

A five-year-old English boy is sent to a boarding school and the cruelty against him and the blacks who serve them there is almost unimaginable. The boy learns he must be independent (the power of one), learn to think, and with help from the local librarian, a musician/scientist, a teacher, and others along the way, easily rises to first in his class.

The underlying theme of apartheid's injustices and the dramatic events of a boy's growing up make this a powerful story.

The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay ($16.00, Ballantine Books), recommended by Nancy, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh NC.

Perhaps because of his great failure to predict the 2008 crash, Alan Greenspan, former chair of the Federal Reserve Board, has turned his attention to the history of economic prediction and the future of economic forecasting. Comparing the old models of risk management with the new technologies of economic behavior, Greenspan rewrites the map of prediction.

The Map and the Territory: Risk, Human Nature, and the Future of Forecasting by Alan Greenspan (Penguin Press), recommended by The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines NC.


This collection is the first to present significant conversations in their entirety between JFK and his correspondents, including historical giants like Eleanor Roosevelt, Martin Luther King, Jr., Harry Truman and Nikita Khruschev as well as his school friends, Navy comrades and everyday Americans.

The book includes images from his presidential library and facsimiles of many letters!

The Letter of John F. Kennedy by John F. Kennedy, Martin W. Sandler (editor) ($30.00, Bloomsbury Publishing), recommended by Kimberly, The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines NC.