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!

  • Processed Cheese by Stephen Wright

    Processed CheeseProcessed Cheese is a hilarious trip into what our money driven society looks like from a third person. From adoration of guns and porn to the names of every character, Wright puts a mirror in front of all us and makes us question what we really value.

    Processed Cheese by Stephen Wright (List price: $28.00,Little, Brown and Company), recommended by Story on the Square, McDonough, GA.

  • F*ck Your Diet by Chloé Hilliard

    TITLEI usually don't laugh out loud while reading but this book had me at a whole new level. Hilliard weaves her journalism background with her messy childhood to produce a surprisingly well-researched memoir filled with food and admirable naiveté. I loved getting a glimpse into her hilarious, insightful world.

    F*ck Your Diet by Chloé Hilliard (list price: $27.00, Gallery Books), recommended by Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA.

  • Gettysburg by Kevin Morris

    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.

  • Vintage 1954 by Antoine Laurain

    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.

  • Stay Sexy & Don't Get Murdered by Karen Kilgariff, Georgia Hardstark

    Stay Sexy & Don't Get Murdered by Karen Kilgariff, Georgia HardstarkLook. Listen. This is the best book about people talking about their obsession with true crime and pets. Also, their anxiety, therapy, cults, addictions, feminism, and how an overheard story about murder at a party led to a long, coffee-drenched lunch that then led to the My Favorite Murder Podcast and the Murderino Empire (it's an empire if I say it's an empire). It's not a cult, so no need to call your dad...unless he's interested in true crime. Everything you love about the podcast, although Kilgariff and Hardstark dive deeper and share more than ever.

    Warning: May result in screaming "Stay Sexy and Don't Get Murdered!" to friends, family, and the occasional stranger. But seriously, SSGDM, readers!

    Stay Sexy & Don't Get Murdered by Karen Kilgariff, Georgia Hardstark ($24.99*, Forge Books), recommended by Fountain Books, Richmond, VA.

  • We Cast a Shadow by Maurice Carlos Ruffin

    We Cast a Shadow by Maurice Carlos RuffinMaurice Carlos Ruffin's new novel, We Cast a Shadow, is an earth-shaking and eye-opening story of how a father will stop at nothing to ensure that his son will have a safe and happy life, even if it means completely erasing who his son is. A passionate story that offers controversial topics and themes, one can't help feel for all the characters involved in this tale of race and what one's place means in society. This book raises all of the right points and is absolutely a must-read.

    We Cast a Shadow by Maurice Carlos Ruffin ($27.00*, (PRH) One World), recommended by Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC.

     A Winter 2019 Okra Pick

  • Radiant Shimmering Light by Sarah Selecky

    Radiant Shimmering Light by Sarah SeleckyThis book is so much fun! Artist Lilian Quick's world begins to change when a long lost cousin visits her town on a speaking tour. Her cousin, now known only as Eleven, is the face of a very successful health, spiritual and lifestyle online community with high priced and lucrative courses in real life. Lilian becomes engaged with the community and readers fall in love with her! A beach read for the winter time, this is a fun book. 

    Radiant Shimmering Light by Sarah Selecky ($27.00*, Bloomsbury Publishing), recommended by The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC.

  • Boomer1 by Daniel Torday

    Boomer1 by Daniel TordayBoomer 1 is an intensely written examination of the lives of millennials vs. baby boomers told in three points of view. Mark Brumfield, a millennial, finds himself unemployed, lonely, and with rising debt in NYC. He, like many others, moves back home. From his parent's basement in suburban Baltimore, he begins a series of videos on the Dark Web as Boomer1, ranting against baby boomers who continue to maintain a hold on the job market, as well as  comfortable success. This incites a movement of acts, ultimately violent, on baby boomers and their institutions. Another perspective is that of Cassie Black. Cassie and Mark were band mates and lovers. She would not marry him and they parted ways. Cassie keeps in touch with him, yet she rises to a highly successful career in media and video. She provides a sense of balance and stability in this story. Julia is Mark's mother. The reader is given interesting insight to her youth as a gifted and hip musician in the 1960's music scene. She now lives, ironically, as a reclusive housewife suffering from major hearing loss in a comfortable lifestyle. She is oblivious to Mark's growing involvement in the movement within the confines of her own home. This novel provides so many thought-provoking angles. Torday's writing is driven by his characters. It is wry, humorous, ironic, and, at the same time, empathetic.

    Boomer1 by Daniel Torday ($27.99*, St. Martin's Press), recommended by The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC.

  • Calypso by David Sedaris

    Calypso by David SedarisWhat is there even left to say about a David Sedaris book? This is the first one I've read since moving to North Carolina, so I found it particularly funny to know more about the places he mentions and visits. These stories are so very personal. They touched me deeply and I was moved by his honesty.

    Of course, there are still times that I spit coffee all over myself because I made the mistake of drinking while reading. This new one from Sedaris will not disappoint.

    Calypso by David Sedaris ($28.00*, Little Brown and Company), recommended by Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC.

  • Anatomy of a Miracle by Jonathan Miles

    Anatomy of a Miracle by Jonathan Miles This is an extraordinary tale of a paralyzed veteran who is gifted (or cursed) with a miracle, the storm that surrounds him in the aftermath, and the meaning of faith. This book has ruined me. It was so good I didn’t want to read anything else. I was in a funk for days after finishing it knowing that nothing else would measure up. I laughed until I cried. Then I wept with sorrow until I couldn’t read the pages. I fell in love with every busted up character in this book and the town of Biloxi, Mississippi. This is a loving portrait of present day America: imperfect, ridiculous, dangerous, yet still inspiring. I don’t know what I have to do to get you to read this book, but I ain’t too proud to beg. 

    Anatomy of a Miracle by Jonathan Miles ($27.00*, Hogarth Press), recommended by Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, VA.

  • Theft by Finding: Diaries (1977-2002) by David Sedaris

    Theft by Finding: Diaries (1977-2002) by David SedarisTheft by Finding has all David's humorous and insightful hallmarks and is, at the same time, very different from his previous books, with more sadness and seriousness, at least for the beginning entries. If you grew up in Raleigh you will have a lot of aha! moments being reminded of what a different place it was in 1977. It's really interesting to watch David evolve from the guy with lots of anxiety, no money, and a few addictions, to the celebrated writer he is today, with anxiety intact, of course. The real stars of the book are David's family, who come through as an eccentric bunch, but also a very close and loving one who enjoy one another.

    Theft by Finding: Diaries (1977-2002) by David Sedaris ($28.00, Little Brown), recommended by Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.

  • The One-Eyed Man by Ron Currie

    The novel could be the black comedy I've been waiting for all my life! While employing unique strategies to cope with the recent death of his wife, K. becomes quite literal-minded and loses his bull filter. Through a series of absurd events he becomes the host of a reality TV show in which he confronts people with the truth, with disastrous and hilarious results. Currie walks a tightrope of comedy over a gaping chasm of heartbreak. This is a perfect satire of modern American culture.

    The One-Eyed Man by Ron Currie ($26, Viking), recommended by Tony, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.

  • Stick a Fork in Me by Dan Jenkins

    Fans of Dan Jenkins will be very happy with his latest novel. Jenkins is well-known among sports fans for his satirical, funny tomes set in the world of sports. What he did for football with Semi-Tough and golf with Dead Solid Perfect, he now does for big-time college sports. Good ol' boy Pete Wallace has finally reached the top of the college sports world by becoming the athletic director at Western Ohio University. The story of how Pete handles politically correct campus culture, fragile egos, and colorful characters is laugh out loud funny.

    Stick a Fork in Me by Dan Jenkins (Tyrus $16.99), recommended by Bill, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.

  • The Wangs vs. the World by Jade Chang

    The story is built around a family road-trip full of comic moments, but these aren’t the Griswolds, and they’re not headed to Walley World. Every member of the Wang family is fighting to hang onto his or her own very specific American dream as they journey from California to New York after the loss of the family fortune. Jade Chang’s voice is fresh, her take on the immigrant narrative is new, but her themes are timeless. A really fun read.

    The Wangs vs. the World by Jade Chang (Houghton Mifflin, $26), recommended by Mary Laura at Parnassus Books, Nashville, TN.

  • A Carlin Home Companion: Growing Up with George by Kelly Carlin

    A vivid and compelling insight into the family life of one of the most brilliant and revered comics of the last half century.

    On a purely narrative level, Kelly Carlin's book is wholly engrossing; as a companion to her father's body of work, it's indispensable.

    A Carlin Home Companion: Growing Up with George by Kelly Carlin (St. Martin's Press) Recommended by Ike at Fiction Addiction Greenville SC

  • Will Not Attend: Lively Stories of Detachment and Isolation by Adam Resnick

    Resnick, a former writer for Late Night with David Letterman is anti-social and proud of it.

    These stories explain in hilarious detail the who, what, when and how he came to be the funny man that hates parties and small talk. I read this one out loud to anyone that would listen and laughed myself silly. A memoir without pretense or self-congratulation. Just honest straight-up true stories of the dysfunction that shapes us all. You want a funny book? Read this.

    Will Not Attend: Lively Stories of Detachment and Isolationby Adam Resnick (Plume Books) Recommended by Stefani at Inkwood Books Tampa FL

  • The Happiest People in the World by Brock Clarke

    This wicked little satire features a Danish cartoonist who draws a cartoon about the Muslim reaction to the original Danish cartoon depicting the prophet Muhammad.

    What could possibly go wrong? A comedy of errors ensues when after his house is burned down the cartoonist goes into hiding in the most dysfunctional small town imaginable in upstate New York.

    The Happiest People in the World by Brock Clarke (Algonquin) Recommended by Elizabeth at Quail Ridge Books Raleigh NC

  • Alternate Histories of the World by Matthew Buchholz

    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

  • Rude Bitches Make Me Tired by Celia Rivenbark

    Celia Rivenbark is the bestselling author of We're Just Like You, Only Prettier, and now writes a mildly profane etiquette manual for the modern age.

    She addresses real life quandaries ranging from how to deal with braggy playground moms to correctly grieving the dearly departed. Good Manners have never been so wickedly funny!

    Rude Bitches Make Me Tired by Celia Rivenbark (St. Martin's Griffin), recommended by The Country Bookshop Southern Pines NC.