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Lady Banks Pick of the Week



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Week of May 9, 2019
The Commonplace Book | Read This! | Okra Picks | Southern Indie Bestsellers | Events
{The special sauce of fiction.}
In which a bookseller is like a politician, Mr. Cliff Garstang considers secrets and lies to be the special sauce of fiction, and Mr. Rick Bragg remembers when Mr. Pat Conroy sent his mama flowers.

2019 Conroy Legacy Award 

Dearest Readers

"I didn't know there were people of such heart, and of such power."

--Rick Bragg on Pat Conroy

Her ladyship, the editor, admits that she is not overly fond of YouTube -- a bewildering galaxy of America's Got Talent auditions, tutorials for changing the tires on one's car, and clips of animals doing strange and yet odd cute things. All very endearing, but her ladyship rarely has the time and her own cats provide enough private "youtube moments" to keep her satisfied.

There are exceptions, however. Such as Ms. Virginia Mae Schmitt reciting the first verse of Walt Whitman's "Song of Myself," which her ladyship bookmarked and revisits whenever she feels depressed.

and recently the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance posted a short video of Rick Bragg talking about his memories of Pat Conroy. Last September, the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance selected Rick Bragg as the recipient of the 2019 Conroy Legacy Award. Created in honor of the example set by the beloved Southern author Pat Conroy, the Conroy Legacy Award was established in 2017 to recognize writers who have achieved a lasting impact on their literary community, demonstrating support for independent bookstores, both in their own communities and in general, writing that focuses significantly on their home place, and support of other writers, especially new and emerging authors.

Surely, if there was ever a writer who "achieved a last impact on their literary community," it would be Rick Bragg. His books are simply "great writing," they are great writing that somehow invites the reader in -- a welcome part of the writer's world. Everything Bragg writes is infused with a sense of connection and community -- a quality embodied in Pat Conroy, as anyone who has ever met him has attested.

Including Mr. Rick Bragg:


Rick Bragg

"We were all kind of under his protection when he was alive. And now, he really does, as much as any human I've known, live on in memory." -- Rick Bragg on Pat Conroy


Read independently, and shop local.

her ladyship, the editar
her ladyship, the editor
Lady Banks' Pick of the Week
Lady Banks' Commonplace Book
Excerpted noteworthy poetry and prose from her ladyship's bedside reading stack.


Like Lions

Bull Mountain, Georgia

Annette memorized every board in the floor. It had taken her months to get the pattern right. She knew which slats creaked and moaned when she stepped on them, so she was careful to keep her bare feet only on the few that were nailed down tight. Those particular strips of seasoned oak had become her partners in crime. She'd let them become her friends. She trusted them not to betray her. She couldn't say the same about anyone or anything else. Still, she was cautious, because this was her first attempt to navigate the route in the dark. She counted to ten every time she eased her weight down on each of them, and stepped in a slow-motion zigzag pattern down the main hall of the house.

She passed the room shared by her two oldest boys. Maybe after tonight, the constant bickering between the two of them about who deserved the top bunk would finally stop. That thought was a small attempt at making herself feel better about what she was about to do. She paused at the boys' door and listened to the slightly broken snore brought on by her middle son's deviated septum. She remembered the day he earned that lump of mangled cartilage. His father was none too pleased when the boy spilled a can of paint in the barn. He was four. She leaned on the solid wood of the doorjamb--another tested accomplice in her crime--and allowed her son's nasal breathing to break her heart just enough to steal her own breath, but not enough for her to make any sounds of her own or shed any tears. Her tears had dried up a long time ago. She placed two fingers on her lips and then gently placed the goodbye kiss on the door.


--Brian Panowich, Like Lions, (Doubleday, 2019) 9780385543897

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Read This! Books with Street Ced
Recommended reading from Southern Indie Booksellers

Furious Hours by Casey Cep
I had hoped that reading Casey Cep's Furious Hours would be like listening to some of my favorite true crime podcasts (S-Town, anyone?), and I was not disappointed. The book weaves together the stories of a black reverend suspected of killing off his family members for insurance fraud, the lawyer who defended him in court countless times, and Harper Lee, who had planned to write a book about them. Equal parts biography, history, and reporting, Furious Hours is the rare nonfiction book that actually reads like fiction.

Furious Hours by Casey Cep ($26.95*, Knopf), recommended by New Dominion Bookshop, Charlottesville, VA.

Exhalation by Ted ChiangI almost regret reading this, it was so good. It was so exceptional, it took a solid week for me to be ready to read anything else. I just kept picking it back up and re-reading. I finally had to give it to another bookseller on staff so I could move on.

Chiang's stories are the reason I read. Each one is a perfectly cut gem. It's as if by the act of reading, you become light and pass through the gems and feel yourself reflected, refracted, split apart and turned into someone new. Each story makes your brain all bendy, even the ones that feel like they have existed for hundred of years. You'll find fantastic tales of time travel, meditations on the true nature of consciousness, even thoughts on parenting. Elegant without seams, I highly recommend this collection to fans new and old.

Exhalation by Ted Chiang ($25.95*, Knopf), recommended by Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, VA.

Chumps to Champs: How the Worst Teams in Yankees History Led to the '90s Dynasty by Bill PenningtonA great book to get you through the 162-game season, Bill Pennington's book did what I had previously believed to be impossible: made me care about the Yankees. Chumps To Champs is full of big characters with even larger personalities, from legendary Yankee owner George Steinbrenner to quietly effective--and hugely under-appreciated--Buck Showalter. I will never be a Yankees fan but I am a big fan of this book.

Chumps to Champs: How the Worst Teams in Yankees History Led to the '90s Dynasty by Bill Pennington ($28.00*, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), recommended by Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC.


More bookseller recommendations


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News of a literary nature

The Tarboro Threewith the Wind"In the summer of 1973 in the small town of Tarboro, North Carolina, three young black men offered a ride to a young white woman out walking alone at midnight."

keep reading: The Tarboro Three: Rape, Race and Secrecy in a Small Town


"Sun, sand, surf, and BOOKSTORES!  Why, oh why did I not come here during this winter's polar vortex/snowmaggedon that plagued my fellow midwesterners?"

keep reading: A visit to MacIntosh Books & Paper



The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek"Cussy Mary Carter, is a Book Woman, a proud member of the New Deal-era Pack Horse Library Project by which brave, traveling female librarians brought the transformative gifts of education, communication and inspiration through books to rural populations across treacherous terrain in dangerous times."

keep reading: A Blue Book Woman


"He pushed the closing time back from seven to nine and put in fifteen hours a day. He worked the front like a politician, memorizing the names of the regular customers"

keep reading: Square Books honored by Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letter


Shaman of Turtle Valley"Secrets and lies are the “special sauce” of fiction. Everyone builds a façade meant for public viewing, but behind that façade, there are always darker truths. "

keep reading: The Shaman of Turtle Valley, An Interview with Cliff Garstang


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The Okra Picks: The Spring season


Make a New Year’s Resolution to read more Okra! Southern Independent booksellers have chosen the 2019 Spring Okra Picks – a collection of the best forthcoming Southern books of the season. Add a bit of tasty reading to your literary diet. Serve yourself a helping of Okra Picks.


"Like the writing of David Joy or Taylor Brown? Then you'll want to check out Brian Panowich. Panowich's Southern crime fiction is so very entertaining. Despite being sheriff, Clayton Burroughs is also the last living son of the Bull Mountain crime family which means everyone wants a piece of him. You'll find yourself rooting for the good guys who may actually be bad guys. Don't let Panowich's epilogue sneak up on you in this one. It's mind-blowing."

Like Lions by Brian Panowich ($26.99*, Minotaur Books), recommended by Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA.

Like Lions by Brian Panowich
A powerful follow up to multiple award-winning debut Bull Mountain.

Brian Panowich burst onto the crime fiction scene in 2015, winning awards and accolades from readers and critics alike for his smoldering debut, Bull Mountain. Now with Like Lions, he cements his place as one of the outstanding new voices in crime fiction.

Clayton Burroughs is a small-town Georgia sheriff, a new father, and, improbably, the heir apparent of Bull Mountain's most notorious criminal family.

As he tries to juggle fatherhood, his job and his recovery from being shot in the confrontation that killed his two criminally-inclined brothers last year, he's doing all he can just to survive. Yet after years of carefully toeing the line between his life in law enforcement and his family, he finally has to make a choice.

When a rival organization makes a first foray into Burroughs territory, leaving a trail of bodies and a whiff of fear in its wake, Clayton is pulled back into the life he so desperately wants to leave behind. Revenge is a powerful force, and the vacuum left by his brothers' deaths has left them all vulnerable. With his wife and child in danger, and the way of life in Bull Mountain under siege for everyone, Clayton will need to find a way to bury the bloody legacy of his past once and for all.

Like Lions by Brian Panowich
April 30, 2019 | Minotaur Books | 9781250206947


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Southern Indie Bestsellers

For the week ending May 5. Books on the Southern Indie Bestseller List that are southern in nature or have been recently recommended by southern indie booksellers.


Southern Indie Bestsellers

See the full list here.
The Southern Book Prize | A SIBA Okra Pick
Special to the Southern List | Read This Next!
Printable versions (PDF): Hardcover | Paperback | Children's

1. Where the Crawdads Sing
Delia Owens, Putnam, $26, 9780735219090
2. Normal People
Sally Rooney, Hogarth, $26, 9781984822178
3. Circe
Madeline Miller, Little Brown, $27, 9780316556347
4. Machines Like Me
Ian McEwan, Nan A. Talese, $26.95, 9780385545112
5. The Silent Patient
Alex Michaelides, Celadon Books, $26.99, 9781250301697

1. The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life
David Brooks, Random House, $28, 9780812993264
2. Educated
Tara Westover, Random House, $28, 9780399590504
3. Becoming
Michelle Obama, Crown, $32.50, 9781524763138
4. Save Me the Plums: My Gourmet Memoir
Ruth Reichl, Random House, $27, 9781400069996
5. Trillion Dollar Coach: The Leadership Playbook of Silicon Valley's Bill Campbell
Eric Schmidt, et al., HarperBusiness, $28.99, 9780062839268
Special to the Southern List

Cemetery Road Greg Iles, Morrow, $28.99,  Stony the Road: Reconstruction, White Supremacy, and the Rise of Jim Crow Henry Louis Gates, Penguin Press, $30, The Lost Art of Reading Nature's Signs Tristan Gooley, Experiment, $16.95, Hatchet Gary Paulsen, Drew Willis (Illus.), Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, $9.99, 

FICTION of note

1. Where the Crawdads Sing
Delia Owens, Putnam, $26, 9780735219090
14. Cemetery Road
Greg Iles, Morrow, $28.99, 9780062824615
2. The Overstory
Richard Powers, Norton, $18.95, 9780393356687
8. Varina
Charles Frazier, Ecco, $16.99, 9780062405999
11. An American Marriage
Tayari Jones, Algonquin Books, $16.95, 9781616208684
13. The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek
Kim Michele Richardson, Sourcebooks Landmark, $15.99, 9781492671527
15. When We Left Cuba
Chanel Cleeton, Berkley, $16, 9780451490865


7. Southern Lady Code: Essays
Helen Ellis, Doubleday, $22, 9780385543897
8. Stony the Road: Reconstruction, White Supremacy, and the Rise of Jim Crow
Henry Louis Gates, Penguin Press, $30, 9780525559535
7. The Best Cook in the World: Tales from My Momma's Southern Table
Rick Bragg, Vintage, $17, 9781400032693
11. Just Mercy
Bryan Stevenson, Spiegel & Grau, $16, 9780812984965
12. The Lost Art of Reading Nature's Signs
Tristan Gooley, Experiment, $16.95, 9781615192410
13. The Last Castle
Denise Kiernan, Touchstone, $17, 9781476794051

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What's happening at Southern Indies across the South?
See the full calendar | Find a Southern Indie Bookstore near you.

Afternoon Cocktails with Mary Kay Andrews  (author appearance)
Mary Kay Andrews | 05/11/2019, 02:00 pm | Page & Palette | Fairhope, AL

Coffee & Croissants with Wendy Wax  (author appearance)
Wendy Wax | 05/11/2019, 10:00 am | Downtown Books | Manteo, NC

Book Signing: Michelle Breyer  (author appearance)
Michelle Breyer | 05/11/2019, 10:30 am | Main Street Books | Davidson, NC

Brian Panowich, Like Lions  (author appearance)
Brian Panowich | 05/11/2019, 11:00 am | McIntyre's Books | Pittsboro, NC

Leonard Pitts, The Last Thing You Surrender: A Novel  (author appearance)
Leonard Pitts | 05/11/2019, 02:00 pm | McIntyre's Books | Pittsboro, NC

Author Event: Jodie Lynn Zdrok  (author appearance)
Jodie Lynn Zdrok | 05/11/2019, 03:00 pm | Page 158 Books | Wake Forest, NC

Timothy Reinhardt presents Jesus's Brother James  (author appearance)
Timothy Reinhardt | 05/11/2019, 11:00 am | Park Road Books | Charlotte, NC

Deborah Gold & Wendy Welch Celebrate Foster Care Month  (author appearance)
Wendy Welch | 05/11/2019, 02:00 pm | Park Road Books | Charlotte, NC

Michael Matros - Slipstone Rill: A Gothic Mystery  (author appearance)
Michael Matros | 05/11/2019, 02:00 pm | Quail Ridge Books | Raleigh, NC

YA author event with Stephanie Garber, author of Finale  (author appearance)
Stephanie Garber | 05/11/2019, 02:00 pm | Parnassus Books | Nashville, TN

Mary Kay Andrews Signs Sunset Beach!  (author appearance)
Mary Kay Andrews | 05/12/2019, 01:00 pm | Sundog Books | Santa Rosa Beach, FL

Martha K. Davis  (author appearance)
Martha K. | 05/12/2019, 02:00 pm | Bookstore 1 Sarasota | Sarasota, FL

Vernon Glenn, Friday Calls  (author appearance)
Vernon Glenn | 05/12/2019, 11:00 am | McIntyre's Books | Pittsboro, NC

Casey Cep signs Furious Hours  (author appearance)
Casey Cep | 05/13/2019, 05:00 pm | Lemuria Books | Jackson, MS

Author Event: Theresa Maitland  (author appearance)
Theresa Maitland | 05/13/2019, 02:00 pm | Page 158 Books | Wake Forest, NC

Sarah R Shaber - Louise's Crossing  (author appearance)
Sarah R. Shaber | 05/13/2019, 07:00 pm | Quail Ridge Books | Raleigh, NC

Salon@615 with Katherine Applegate at the Nashville Public Library  (author appearance)
Katherine Applegate | 05/13/2019, 06:15 pm | Parnassus Books | Nashville, TN

Michael Knight  (author appearance)
Michael Knight | 05/14/2019, 06:00 pm | Page & Palette | Fairhope, AL

Richard J. Kerr presents The Dark Side Of Paradise  (author appearance)
Richard J. | 05/14/2019, 04:00 pm | Vero Beach Book Center | Vero Beach, FL

Diane C. McPhaIl: THE ABOLITIONIST'S DAUGHTER  (author appearance)
Diane McPhail | 05/14/2019, 06:30 pm | Avid Bookshop | Athens, GA

Book Launch: WENDY WAX and My Ex-Best Friend's Wedding  (author appearance)
Wendy Wax | 05/14/2019, 06:00 pm | Bookmiser | Marietta, GA

Birth Strike: The Hidden Fight Over Women's Labor  (author appearance)
Jenny Brown | 05/14/2019, 07:30 pm | Charis Books & More | Decatur, GA

Jericho Brown: The Tradition  (author appearance)
Jericho Brown | 05/14/2019, 07:00 pm | Charis Books & More | Decatur, GA

Casy Cep | 05/14/2019, 05:30 pm | Square Books | Oxford, MS

Sage Rountree & Alexandra DeSiato: Teaching Yoga Beyond the Poses  (author appearance)
Sage Rountree | 05/14/2019, 07:00 pm | Flyleaf Books | Chapel Hill, NC

Marybeth Mayhew Whalen in Conversation with Cynthia Lewis  (author appearance)
Marybeth Mayhew | 05/14/2019, 07:00 pm | Main Street Books | Davidson, NC

River Jordan Author of Confessions of a Christian Mystic  (author appearance)
River Jordan | 05/14/2019, 11:00 am | Litchfield Books | Pawleys Island, SC

YA author event with Laure Eve, author of The Curses  (author appearance)
Laure Eve | 05/14/2019, 06:30 pm | Parnassus Books | Nashville, TN

Writers at Work Series feat. Bren McClain and Caitlin Hamilton Summie  (author appearance)
Bren McClain | 05/14/2019, 07:00 pm | Union Avenue Books | Knoxville, TN

Bobbi Dick  (author appearance)
Bobbi Dick | 05/15/2019, 07:00 pm | Books & Books, Inc. | Coral Gables, FL

Longleaf Writers Signing with Rebecca Makkai  (author appearance)
Rebecca Makkai | 05/15/2019, 05:00 pm | Sundog Books | Santa Rosa Beach, FL

George Packer - Our Man  (author appearance)
George Packer | 05/15/2019, 07:00 pm | A Cappella Books | Atlanta, GA

The Book of Help: A Memoir in Remedies by Megan Griswold  (author appearance)
Megan Griswold | 05/15/2019, 07:30 pm | Charis Books & More | Decatur, GA

Michael Knight signs At Briarwood School for Girls  (author appearance)
Michael Knight | 05/15/2019, 05:00 pm | Lemuria Books | Jackson, MS

Michael Knight signs At Briarwood School for Girls  (author appearance)
Michael Knight | 05/15/2019, 05:00 pm | Lemuria Books | Jackson, MS

William Ferris with VOICES OF MISSISSIPPI  (author appearance)
William Ferris | 05/15/2019, 05:30 pm | Square Books | Oxford, MS

Peter Guzzardi discusses Emeralds of Oz: Lessons from Over the Rainbow  (author appearance)
Peter Guzzardi | 05/15/2019, 07:00 pm | Flyleaf Books | Chapel Hill, NC

Steven G. Rogelberg presents The Surprising Science of Meetings  (author appearance)
Steven G. | 05/15/2019, 07:00 pm | Park Road Books | Charlotte, NC

Rob Christensen - The Rise and Fall of the Branchhead Boys   (author appearance)
Rob Christensen | 05/15/2019, 07:00 pm | Quail Ridge Books | Raleigh, NC

In Discussion with Dr. Peter Brewitt: Same River Twice  (author appearance)
Peter Brewitt | 05/15/2019, 06:00 pm | Hub City Books | Spartanburg, SC

Benjamin Gamble  (author appearance)
Benjamin Gamble | 05/15/2019, 05:00 pm | Fiction Addiction | Greenville, SC

John Dersham - My Alabama: John Dersham Photographs A State  (author appearance)
John Dersham | 05/16/2019, 05:00 pm | Alabama Booksmith | Homewood, AL

Writers at the Wrecking Bar Presents Brian Panowich - Like Lions   (author appearance)
Brian Panowich | 05/16/2019, 07:00 pm | A Cappella Books | Atlanta, GA

Jordan Rothacker: GRISTLE: WEIRD TALES  (author appearance)
Jordan Rothacker | 05/16/2019, 06:30 pm | Avid Bookshop | Athens, GA

Louisiana Poets : A Literary Guide Book Signing  (author appearance)
Catharine Savage Brosman | 05/16/2019, 06:00 pm | The Conundrum | St. Francisville, LA

Michael Croley discusses his short story collection Any Other Place  (author appearance)
Michael Croley | 05/16/2019, 07:00 pm | Flyleaf Books | Chapel Hill, NC

Lunch & Lit with Margaret Bradham Thornton  (author appearance)
Margaret Bradham Thornton | 05/16/2019, 12:00 pm | M. Judson Booksellers | Greenville, SC

History Night with William Geroux   (author appearance)
William Geroux | 05/16/2019, 06:30 pm | Fountain Bookstore | Richmond, VA

Jason Allen: The East End  (author appearance)
Jason Allen | 05/17/2019, 07:30 pm | Charis Books & More | Decatur, GA

Author Event: Michael Parker and Louis Bayard  (author appearance)
Michael Parker | 05/17/2019, 07:00 pm | Page 158 Books | Wake Forest, NC

Author Event: Michael Parker and Louis Bayard  (author appearance)
Louis Bayard | 05/17/2019, 07:00 pm | Page 158 Books | Wake Forest, NC

Matt & Ted Lee present The Hot Zone in conversation with Kathy Purvis  (author appearance)
The Lee Brothers | 05/17/2019, 07:00 pm | Park Road Books | Charlotte, NC

Jeffery Deaver - The Never Game  (author appearance)
Jeffery Deaver | 05/17/2019, 07:00 pm | Quail Ridge Books | Raleigh, NC

Chris Perondi - The Big Book of Tricks for the Best Dog Ever  (author appearance)
Chris Perondi | 05/17/2019, 04:00 pm | The Country Bookshop | Southern Pines, NC

Wendy Wax Author of My Ex-Best Friend's Wedding  (author appearance)
Wendy Wax | 05/17/2019, 11:00 am | Litchfield Books | Pawleys Island, SC

Furious Hours by Casey Cep  (author appearance)
Casey Cep | 05/17/2019, 06:30 pm | Union Avenue Books | Knoxville, TN

  (author appearance)
Laura Hunter | 5/11/2019, 10:30:00 AM | Ernest & Hadley Booksellers | Tuscaloosa, AL

Rachel Louise Snyder & NO VISIBLE BRUISES  (author appearance)
Rachel Lou Snyder | 5/14/2019, 7:00:00 PM | Bookmarks | Winston-Salem, NC


Authors Round the South |
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Lady Banks is sponsored by the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance, in support of independent bookstores in the South | SIBA | 51 Pleasant Ridge Dr.| Asheville, NC 28805
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