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Week of July 5, 2019
The Commonplace Book | Read This! | Okra Picks | Southern Indie Bestsellers | Events
{Bookstores against borders.}
In which Kwame Alexander writes a love letter, Ms. VaLinda Miller gives back to Goose Creek, and independent bookstores band together to make a difference.

2019 Conroy Legacy Award 

Dearest Readers

"We have it in our power to begin the world over again." -- Thomas Paine

Bookstores Against Borders

Independent bookstores across the country have come together under the banner of "Bookstores Against Borders" and pledged to donate a percentage of their sales from July 5- 7 to RAICES, the Texas nonprofit organization which provides low-to-no cost legal services to refugees and immigrants currently being held at the US border.

The initiative was launched by the Madison, Wisconsin store A Room of One's Own, whose staff wanted to do something constructive for immigrant children detained in border camps with few, if any, basic necessities. After researching their options the store selected RAICES, the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services as the recipient for their fundraising efforts, calling it "one of the most effective organizations" providing aid immigrants detained at the border.

A Room of One's Own launched the fund raiser with a pledge to donate at least 10% of their sales from July 5-7 and a call to their fellow bookstores to join the effort with their own fundraising campaigns. As of July 5, over over 65 bookstores and publishers have joined the official fund raiser, with countless others supporting the effort in others ways.

In the South, the following stores have active fundraising efforts:


Check with your local bookshop, as many are holding independent fund-raisers:


#bookstoresagainstborders | RAICES


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.

In Which My Grandmother Tells the Story of My Mother's Birth
Lower Alabama, 1931


Late MigrationsWe didn't expect her quite as early as she came. We were at Mother's peeling peaches to can. Daddy had several peach trees, and they had already canned some, and so we were canning for me and Max. And all along as I would peel I was eating, so that night around twelve o'clock I woke up and said, "Max, my stomach is hurting so much I just can't stand it hardly. I must have eaten too many of those peaches."

And so once in a while, you see, it would just get worse; then it would get better.

We didn't wake Mother, but as soon as Max heard her get up, he went in to tell her. And she said, "Oh, Max, go get your daddy right now!" Max's daddy was the doctor for all the folks around here.

While he was gone she fixed the bed for me, put on clean sheets and fixed it for me. Mama Alice came back with him too--Mama Alice and Papa Doc. So they were both with me, my mother on one side and Max's on the other, and they were holding y hands. And Olivia was born around twelve o'clock that day. I don't know the time exactly.


Meet the author:



--Margaret Renkl, Late Migrations: A Natural History of Love and Loss (Milkweed Editions, 2019)

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The Southern Bookstore: The 2019 Summer Okra Picks

Okra Picks(Asheville, NC) –Southern indie booksellers have announced their 2019 Summer Okra Picks, a baker’s dozen of the titles they are most looking forward to telling their customers to try. Taken together, the Okra Picks are not your average summer reading list – each book was chosen because it is Southern in nature and has devoted fans in the Southern indie bookselling community. The Summer Okra Picks release in July, August, and September, and every book on the list has a Southern bookseller ready to put it in the hands of readers with that most exciting phrase in the English language, “You’ve got to read this!
Southern independent bookstores – we grow good books!


Read more


Late MigrationsThe Last List of Miss Judith KrattThe Substitution OrderThe Nickel Boys
Never Have I EverBook CharmerSing a SongStay
The Yellow HouseMy Jasper JuneThe Edge of AmericaRed at the BoneNo Judgments

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

Very Nice by Marcy Dermansky
Could this possibly get any crazier?!” is a feeling that lingers through every page in this book. Very Nice is the perfect summer read, if I’ve ever known one! It is literary world meets soap opera in a quick-witted and ambitious way. Marcy Dermansky is a resourceful writer with an invaluable voice. She is able to flawlessly navigate these pages with a humor that’s timely and fresh. With that being said, I applaud her triumph in bringing together the lives of these VERY intricate characters. This novel is quirky, electric, intellectual, and impossible to put down.

Very Nice by Marcy Dermansky ($25.95*, Knopf), recommended by Books & Books, Coral Gables, FL.

Botany at the Bar by Selena Ahmed, Ashley Duval, Rachel Meyer
A whimsical encyclopedia about the history, creation, and use of bitters in a playful and richly illustrated format. A perfect gift for someone who appreciates scientific method, but also enjoys a great (and interesting) cocktail.

Botany at the Bar by Selena Ahmed, Ashley Duval, Rachel Meyer ($22.95*, Roost Books), recommended by Righton Books, St. Simons Island, GA.

Never Look Back by Alison GaylinQuentin Garrison is working on a true crime podcast about a series of murders from the 1970s, committed by a teenage couple. Quentin thinks April, the female of the murderous couple, is the mother of Robin Diamond, a website columnist. At first Robin thinks this is ridiculous at first. But the more she looks into it, the more she's unsure of her conviction.

This is one of those books where very early on, you're SURE you know what the twist is and you're disappointed. But you keep reading to confirm your suspicions. But then the book throws you a curve and you were totally wrong. Soon you have no idea who really did what and you can't wait to find out.

Never Look Back by Alison Gaylin ($16.99*, William Morrow Paperbacks), recommended by Bookmiser, Roswell, GA.

More bookseller recommendations


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News of a literary nature

The Nickel BoysLady Code"Is there one voice in America? No, there are many voices. And the idea is that we have to recognize, acknowledge, be proud of, pay tribute to all those voices."

keep reading: Kwame Alexander's Love Letter to Black America


Behind the Rifle"a groundbreaking study that discusses women soldiers with a connection to Mississippi—either those who hailed from the Magnolia State or those from elsewhere who fought in Mississippi battles."

keep reading: Behind the Rifle -- Women Soldiers in Civil War Mississippi

"I want to give back to Goose Creek what it gave to me"

keep reading: Turning Page Bookshop opens in Goose Creek, SC

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The Okra Picks: The Summer Season


Make a New Year’s Resolution to read more Okra! Southern Independent booksellers have chosen the 2019 Summer 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.


"LATE MIGRATIONS is a beautiful examination of family, of life, and of nature. I completely identified with so much of this book, from wanting to shelter baby birds in my own yard from predators to the gut-wrenching fear of illness that comes after watching a parent struggle with their own mortality. Even her painful memories are beautiful, and she shares such meaningful memories with readers page after page after page. This is a true gem that I am proud to add to my own personal library." —Beth Seufer Buss, Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC

Late Migrations by Margaret Renkl

From New York Times opinion writer Margaret Renkl comes an unusual, captivating portrait of a family--and of the cycles of joy and grief that inscribe human lives within the natural world.


Growing up in Alabama, Renkl was a devoted reader, an explorer of riverbeds and red-dirt roads, and a fiercely loved daughter. Here, in brief essays, she traces a tender and honest portrait of her complicated parents--her exuberant, creative mother; her steady, supportive father--and of the bittersweet moments that accompany a child's transition to caregiver.

And here, braided into the overall narrative, Renkl offers observations on the world surrounding her suburban Nashville home. Ringing with rapture and heartache, these essays convey the dignity of bluebirds and rat snakes, monarch butterflies and native bees. As these two threads haunt and harmonize with each other, Renkl suggests that there is astonishment to be found in common things: in what seems ordinary, in what we all share. For in both worlds--the natural one and our own--the shadow side of love is always loss, and grief is only love's own twin.

Gorgeously illustrated by the author's brother, Billy Renkl, Late Migrations is an assured and memorable debut.

Milkweed Editions | 9781571313782 | 7/9/2019 | Buy from an Indie


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Southern Indie Bestsellers

For the week ending June 30. 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. City of Girls
Elizabeth Gilbert, Riverhead Books, $28, 9781594634734
3. Summer of '69
Elin Hilderbrand, Little Brown, $28, 9780316420013
4. On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous
Ocean Vuong, Penguin Press, $26, 9780525562023
5. Mrs. Everything
Jennifer Weiner, Atria, $28, 9781501133480

1. Educated
Tara Westover, Random House, $28, 9780399590504
2. The Pioneers
David McCullough, S&S, $30, 9781501168680
3. Becoming
Michelle Obama, Crown, $32.50, 9781524763138
4. Total Rethink: Why Entrepreneurs Should Act Like Revolutionaries
David McCourt, Wiley, $25, 9781119565352
5. Songs of America
Jon Meacham, Tim McGraw, Random House, $30, 9780593132951
Special to the Southern List

Sunset Beach Mary Kay Andrews, St. Martin's, $28.99,  Lessons From Lucy: The Simple Joys of an Old, Happy Dog Dave Barry, S&S, $26, Every Man a Hero: A Memoir of D-Day, the First Wave at Omaha Beach, and a World at War Ray Lambert, Jim DeFelice, Morrow, $26.99, The Summer Wives Beatriz Williams, Morrow, $16.99, 

FICTION of note

1. Where the Crawdads Sing
Delia Owens, Putnam, $26, 9780735219090
8. Queen Bee
Dorothea Benton Frank, Morrow, $27.99, 9780062861214
11. Sunset Beach
Mary Kay Andrews, St. Martin's, $28.99, 9781250126108
13. Searching for Sylvie Lee
Jean Kwok, Morrow, $26.99, 9780062834300
14. The Summer Guests
Mary Alice Monroe, Gallery Books, $26.99, 9781501193620
2. The Overstory
Richard Powers, Norton, $18.95, 9780393356687
4. Before We Were Yours
Lisa Wingate, Ballantine, $17, 9780425284704
9. The Lost Girls of Paris
Pam Jenoff, Park Row, $16.99, 9780778330271
12. The Summer Wives
Beatriz Williams, Morrow, $16.99, 9780062660350
15. Florida
Lauren Groff, Riverhead Books, $16, 9781594634529


14. Make Your Bed
William H. McRaven, Grand Central, $20, 9781455570249

6. Daring Greatly
Brené Brown, Avery, $17, 9781592408412
7. Outliers
Malcolm Gladwell, Back Bay, $16.99, 9780316017930
8. The Secret Token: Myth, Obsession, and the Search for the Lost Colony of Roanoke
Andrew Lawler, Anchor, $17, 9781101974605

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

Abel Sierra Madero en conversación con Carlos Alberto Montaner  (author appearance)
Abel Sierra Madero | 07/06/2019, 05:00 pm | Books & Books, Inc. | Coral Gables, FL

Blu Carraway Mysteries by David Burnsworth  (author appearance)
David Burnsworth | 07/06/2019, 02:00 pm | Union Avenue Books | Knoxville, TN

Lydia Fitzpatrick presents Lights All Night Long  (author appearance)
Lydia Fitzpatrick | 07/08/2019, 06:00 pm | Malaprop's Bookstore & Cafe | Asheville, NC

Author event with Kristen Arnett in conversation with Mary Laura Philpott  (author appearance)
Kristen Arnett | 07/08/2019, 06:30 pm | Parnassus Books | Nashville, TN

Angela Crow - Beyond Yourself,"Quiet Moments  (author appearance)
Angela Crow | 07/09/2019, 06:00 pm | Page & Palette | Fairhope, AL

Sonia Michelle Veliz Alvarado  (author appearance)
Sonia Michelle Veliz Alvarado | 07/09/2019, 08:00 pm | Books & Books, Inc. | Coral Gables, FL

Ace Atkins (in conversation w/ Jack Pendarvis) with THE SHAMELESS  (author appearance)
Ace Atkins | 07/09/2019, 05:30 pm | Square Books | Oxford, MS

Nathan Ballingrud - Wounds: Six Stories from the Border of Hell  (author appearance)
Nathan Ballingrud | 07/09/2019, 07:00 pm | Quail Ridge Books | Raleigh, NC

Dan Schilling - Alone At Dawn  (author appearance)
Dan Schilling | 07/09/2019, 07:00 pm | The Country Bookshop | Southern Pines, NC

Author event with Margaret Renkl author of Late Migrations  (author appearance)
Margaret Renkl | 07/09/2019, 06:30 pm | Parnassus Books | Nashville, TN

Clayton's River Adventures Signing  (author appearance)
Linda Penn | 07/10/2019, 10:00 am | Sundog Books | Santa Rosa Beach, FL

Bud Selig - For the Good of the Game  (author appearance)
Bud Selig | 07/10/2019, 07:30 pm | A Cappella Books | Atlanta, GA

Jonathan Putnam: A HOUSE DIVIDED  (author appearance)
Jonathan Putnam | 07/10/2019, 06:00 pm | Avid Bookshop | Athens, GA

Amanda Little - THE FATE OF FOOD - in conversation with Nathaniel Rich - LOSING EARTH  (author appearance)
Amanda Little | 07/10/2019, 06:00 pm | Octavia Books | New Orleans, LA

Shelby Harriel with BEHIND THE RIFLE  (author appearance)
Shelby Harriel | 07/10/2019, 05:30 pm | Square Books | Oxford, MS

Mirra Price presents Tools to Change the World  (author appearance)
Mirra Price | 07/10/2019, 06:00 pm | Malaprop's Bookstore & Cafe | Asheville, NC

Betty Brown presents Pretty Much  (author appearance)
Betty Brown | 07/10/2019, 07:00 am | Park Road Books | Charlotte, NC

Jason Torchinsky, Robot, Take the Wheel  (author appearance)
Jason Torchinsky | 07/10/2019, 07:00 pm | Scuppernong Books | Greensboro, NC

Martin Clark  (author appearance)
Martin Clark | 07/10/2019, 08:00 pm | New Dominion Bookshop | Virginia, VA

Paul Doiron presents Almost Midnight - A Novel  (author appearance)
Paul Doiron | 07/11/2019, 06:00 pm | Vero Beach Book Center | Vero Beach, FL

Avid Presents: Defending the Public's Enemy  (author appearance)
Lonnie T. Brown | 07/11/2019, 06:30 pm | Avid Bookshop | Athens, GA

Chuck Wendig talk and signing for Wanderers  (author appearance)
Chuck Wendig | 07/11/2019, 07:00 pm | Eagle Eye Book Shop | Decatur, GA

Keon Coates  (author appearance)
07/11/2019, 04:00 pm | The Book Worm Bookstore | Powder Springs, GA

Kami Garcia & Gabriel Picolo Book Signing  (author appearance)
Kami Garcia | 07/11/2019, 06:00 pm | Garden District Book Shop | New Orleans, LA

Kathy Curto - Not for Nothing: Glimpses Into a Jersey Girlhood  (author appearance)
Kathy Curto | 07/11/2019, 06:30 pm | Octavia Books | New Orleans, LA

Jeanne Charters  (author appearance)
Jeanne Charters | 07/11/2019, 06:00 pm | Malaprop's Bookstore & Cafe | Asheville, NC

Sarah Archer presents The Plus One  (author appearance)
Sarah Archer | 07/11/2019, 07:00 pm | Park Road Books | Charlotte, NC

Erica Witsell - Give  (author appearance)
Erica Witsell | 07/11/2019, 05:00 pm | The Country Bookshop | Southern Pines, NC

Summer Reading Series: Beatriz Williams  (author appearance)
Beatriz Williams | 07/11/2019, 12:00 pm | M. Judson Booksellers | Greenville, SC

Author event with Kem Hinton author of Seablets  (author appearance)
Kem Hinton | 07/11/2019, 06:30 pm | Parnassus Books | Nashville, TN

Margaret Renkl in conversation with Jamie Quatro  (author appearance)
Margaret Renkl | 07/11/2019, 06:30 pm | Star Line Books | Chattanooga, TN

Man in the (Rearview) Mirror by LaRue Cook  (author appearance)
LaRue Cook | 07/11/2019, 06:30 pm | Union Avenue Books | Knoxville, TN

Launch Week Event for Martin Clark   (author appearance)
Martin Clark | 07/11/2019, 06:30 pm | Fountain Bookstore | Richmond, VA

Sandra G. Gutierrez  (author appearance)
Sandra G. Gutierrez | 07/12/2019, 06:30 pm | Books & Books, Inc. | Coral Gables, FL

Bruno M. Baltodano  (author appearance)
Bruno M. | 07/12/2019, 08:00 pm | Books & Books, Inc. | Coral Gables, FL

Paul Doiron Booksigning  (author appearance)
Paul Doiron | 07/12/2019, 07:00 pm | Murder on the Beach Mystery Bookstore | Delray Beach, FL

Brent Martin’s Essay Collection  (author appearance)
Brent Martin | 07/12/2019, 06:30 pm | City Lights Bookstore | Sylva, NC

Special Children’s Storytime with Matt Myers, Humm and Swish  (author appearance)
Matt Myers | 07/12/2019, 10:30 am | McIntyre's Books | Pittsboro, NC

Steven Epstein, Murder on Birchleaf Drive: The True Story of the Michelle Young Murder Case  (author appearance)
Steven Epstein | 07/12/2019, 02:00 pm | McIntyre's Books | Pittsboro, NC

Beatriz Williams Author of The Golden Hour  (author appearance)
Beatriz Williams | 07/12/2019, 11:00 am | Litchfield Books | Pawleys Island, SC

Late Migrations by Margaret Renkl  (author appearance)
Margaret Renkl | 07/12/2019, 06:00 pm | Union Avenue Books | Knoxville, TN

Robin Traywick Williams  (author appearance)
Robin Traywick Williams | 07/12/2019, 08:00 pm | New Dominion Bookshop | Virginia, VA

Authors Round the South |
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