Lady Banks Bookshelf

Lady Banks Pick of the Week



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Week of August 12, 2019
The Commonplace Book | Read This! | {Book} Trailer Park | Okra Picks | Southern Indie Bestsellers | Events
{Words that go down hot and strong like a good whiskey}
In which Ms. Erica Witsell takes two nights off a week from changing diapers to learn how to write; the death of independent bookstores in Tampa Bay turns out to be greatly exaggerated; and Ms. Tayari Jones, along with almost everybody else, remembers Toni Morrison.

2019 Conroy Legacy Award 

Dearest Readers

"When I read The Bluest Eye as a teenager and was gobsmacked by the sheer genius of the work, it wasn’t because I had never seen myself in a book. It was because I had never read a book this good. " -- Tayari Jones

Last week saw the passing of Toni Morrison. She is not, perhaps, a "Southern" writer but she is a writer whose influence is felt almost anywhere in this country a person struggles to put pen to paper and tell a deeply true story. "Morrison’s characters live with me," writes Tayari Jones, "the way that biblical figures were always in the back of my grandmother’s mind when she needed to make a point."

In point of fact, if you have never read a book by Toni Morrison, you should stop and do so now, for you have a read a book -- indeed probably many books -- that carries her impact. She may well be this country's greatest novelist: a writer who, as Tayari Jones puts it "writes about ordinary people in such a way that somehow manages to make them mythological without rendering them unrecognizable. . .a master novelist [who] can condense the entire novel into an intense first chapter that goes down hot and strong like a good whiskey."

Have a drink:



Toni Morrison reads from Mercy



BelovedThe Bluest EyeSong of SolomonSula



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.

The Book CharmerDove Pond, NC
July 21, 2001

On the Saturday after her seventh birthday, a book spoke to Sarah May Dove. If she'd been older, she might have been surprised or even shocked, but as she was only seven and still a stubborn and devoted believer in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny, she didn't even blink.

In fact, after a moment's thought, she'd decided that books always spoke inside the quiet of one's head, although usually only while being read. So hearing a book speak didn't faze her in the slightest.

Besides, she was a Dove, and everyone knew the Dove family was special. Every chance her mom got, she proudly pointed out that when the Doves had seven daughters, as they did now, good things happened to their hometown of Dove Pond.


--Karen Hawkins, The Book Charmer (Gallery Books, 2019)

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

I'm Not Dying with You Tonight by Gilly Segal, Kimberly Jones
One of the best YAs I've read in years! I'm Not Dying with You Tonight is the story of two strong women who are polar opposites joining together to survive a night of racially fueled chaos. It's so well written and perfectly-rounded. It sucks you in from the first page and leaves you wondering what's next when you finish. This was a joy to read.

I'm Not Dying with You Tonight by Gilly Segal, Kimberly Jones ($17.99*, Sourcebooks Fire), recommended by Copperfish Books, Punta Gorda, FL.


Semicolon by Cecilia Watson
An interesting take and an in depth look at the punctuation mark that haunts the literary and English speaking world alike. Cecilia Watson has brought us a book designated to those of us who just can't quite figure out how we feel about the semicolon.

Semicolon by Cecilia Watson ($19.99*, Ecco), recommended by Bookmarks, Bookmarks, NC.

More bookseller recommendations


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News of a literary nature

Give"I had already carved out in my mind the space two times a week to do something other than nursing babies and changing diapers. I enrolled in a memoir writing class."

keep reading: Erica Witsell


"A decade ago, people were writing obituaries for independent bookstores. Hit by the one-two punch of chain bookstores and digital bookselling, their numbers were sinking all over the country. If Borders and Barnes & Noble didn’t wipe out the indies, the thinking went, e-books and Amazon would. The reports of their death, as Mark Twain once said about his own premature obit, were greatly exaggerated. "

keep reading: Great Independent Bookstores in Tampa Bay, Florida


Beloved" One of my students drove across the country, passing through the town with which I was so infatuated. I asked her to bring me back a small sample of dirt.”  "

keep reading: Tayari Jones on Toni Morrison


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{Book} Trailer Park



One Big Heart



The Okra Picks: The Summer Season


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.


"I adored this book. It is so charming and the characters are people you wish you met. From the magical Dove family to still recovering foster children the aspects of the story are so vivid you feel you are watching events unfold. Read this book, enjoy every minute and hope for a sequel." —Jackie Willey, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC

The Book Charmer by Karen Hawkins New York Times bestselling author Karen Hawkins crafts an unforgettable story about a sleepy Southern town, two fiercely independent women, and a truly magical friendship.

Sarah Dove is no ordinary bookworm. To her, books have always been more than just objects: they live, they breathe, and sometimes they even speak. When Sarah grows up to become the librarian in her quaint Southern town of Dove Pond, her gift helps place every book in the hands of the perfect reader. Recently, however, the books have been whispering about something out of the ordinary: the arrival of a displaced city girl named Grace Wheeler.

If the books are right, Grace could be the savior that Dove Pond desperately needs. The problem is, Grace wants little to do with the town or its quirky residents—Sarah chief among them. It takes a bit of urging, and the help of an especially wise book, but Grace ultimately embraces the challenge to rescue her charmed new community. In her quest, she discovers the tantalizing promise of new love, the deep strength that comes from having a true friend, and the power of finding just the right book.

Gallery Books | 9781982105549 | 7/30/2019

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Southern Indie Bestsellers

For the week ending August 4. 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. The Nickel Boys
Colson Whitehead, Doubleday, $24.95, 9780385537070
3. Chances Are . . .
Richard Russo, Knopf, $26.95, 9781101947746
4. Lady in the Lake
Laura Lippman, Morrow, $26.99, 9780062390011
5. City of Girls
Elizabeth Gilbert, Riverhead Books, $28, 9781594634734

1. Educated
Tara Westover, Random House, $28, 9780399590504
2. Three Women
Lisa Taddeo, Avid Reader Press/S&S, $27, 9781451642292
3. The Pioneers
David McCullough, S&S, $30, 9781501168680
4. Becoming
Michelle Obama, Crown, $32.50, 9781524763138
5. The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck
Mark Manson, Harper, $24.99, 9780062457714
Special to the Southern List

The Last House Guest Megan Miranda, S&S, $26.99,Beyond Charlottesville: Taking a Stand Against White Nationalism Terry McAuliffe, Thomas Dunne Books, $24.99,Southern Lady Code: Essays Helen Ellis, Doubleday, $22,Grace Will Lead Us Home: The Charleston Church Massacre and the Hard, Inspiring Journey to Forgiveness Jennifer Berry Hawes, St. Martin's, $28.99,Girl, Wash Your Face Rachel Hollis, Thomas Nelson, $24.99,Pachinko Min Jin Lee, Grand Central, $15.99,The Secret Token: Myth, Obsession, and the Search for the Lost Colony of Roanoke Andrew Lawler, Anchor, $17,Man's Search for Meaning Viktor E. Frankl, Beacon Press, $14,Prisoners of Geography Tim Marshall, Scribner, $17,The Last Castle Denise Kiernan, Touchstone, $17,

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

Audrey Murray  (author appearance)
Audrey Murray | 08/13/2019, 08:00 pm | Books & Books, Inc. | Coral Gables, FL

Kristin Harmel's The Winemaker's Wife Release Party!  (author appearance)
Kristin Harmel | 08/13/2019, 06:30 pm | Writers Block Bookstore | Winter Park, FL

Lisa Howorth - Summerlings  (author appearance)
Lisa Howorth | 08/13/2019, 07:00 pm | A Cappella Books | Atlanta, GA

Cara Robertson, The Trial of Lizzie Borden  (author appearance)
Cara Robertson | 08/13/2019, 07:00 pm | Atlanta History Center | Atlanta, GA

Andrew Feldman - ERNESTO  (author appearance)
Andrew Feldman | 08/13/2019, 06:00 pm | Octavia Books | New Orleans, LA

Margerita Jurkovic signs Margerita's Gridiron Adventure  (author appearance)
Margerita Jurkovic | 08/13/2019, 05:00 pm | Lemuria Books | Jackson, MS

Bobbie Pyron launches Stay  (author appearance)
Bobbie Pyron | 08/13/2019, 06:00 pm | Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe | Asheville, NC

Casey Cep presents Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud and the Last Trial of Harper Lee  (author appearance)
Casey Cep | 08/13/2019, 07:00 pm | Park Road Books | Charlotte, NC

Alexandra Fuller - Travel Light, Move Fast  (author appearance)
Alexandra Fuller | 08/13/2019, 07:00 pm | Quail Ridge Books | Raleigh, NC

Author event with Karl Marlantes author of Deep River  (author appearance)
Karl Marlantes | 08/13/2019, 06:30 pm | Parnassus Books | Nashville, TN

Novelist Adam O'Fallon Price   (author appearance)
Adam O'Fallon Price | 08/13/2019, 06:30 pm | Fountain Bookstore | Richmond, VA

Asma Uddin  (author appearance)
Asma Uddin | 08/14/2019, 08:00 pm | Books & Books, Inc. | Coral Gables, FL

Joseph Reid talks about his book False Horizon  (author appearance)
Joseph Reid | 08/14/2019, 07:00 pm | Eagle Eye Book Shop | Decatur, GA

THE ACCIDENT OF COLOR - An Evening with Daniel Brook and Greg Osborn  (author appearance)
Daniel Brook | 08/14/2019, 06:00 pm | Octavia Books | New Orleans, LA

Karl Marlantes signs Deep River  (author appearance)
Karl Marlantes | 08/14/2019, 05:00 pm | Lemuria Books | Jackson, MS

Summerlings author Lisa Howorth in conversation with Grammy Award winner Bill Ferris  (author appearance)
Lisa Howorth | 08/14/2019, 07:00 pm | Flyleaf Books | Chapel Hill, NC

Megan Shepherd launches Midnight Beauties  (author appearance)
Megan Shepherd | 08/14/2019, 06:00 pm | Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe | Asheville, NC

Alexandra Fuller: Travel Light, Move Fast  (author appearance)
Alexandra Fuller | 08/14/2019, 12:00 pm | McIntyre's Books | Pittsboro, NC

William McKeever presents Emperors of the Deep  (author appearance)
William McKeever | 08/14/2019, 07:00 pm | Park Road Books | Charlotte, NC

Brad Schwartz - Scarface and the Untouchable: Al Capone, Eliot Ness, and the Battle for Chicago  (author appearance)
Brad Schwartz | 08/14/2019, 07:00 pm | Quail Ridge Books | Raleigh, NC

Jeffrey Beam, Spectral Pegasus / Dark Movements  (author appearance)
Jeffrey Beam | 08/14/2019, 06:00 pm | Scuppernong Books | Greensboro, NC

Casey Cep - Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee  (author appearance)
Casey Cep | 08/14/2019, 05:00 pm | The Country Bookshop | Southern Pines, NC

Author event with Richard Russo author of Chances Are...  (author appearance)
Richard Russo | 08/14/2019, 06:30 pm | Parnassus Books | Nashville, TN

Steve Cavanagh - Thirteen  (author appearance)
Steve Cavanagh | 08/15/2019, 06:00 pm | Page & Palette | Fairhope, AL

3rd Thursday w/ Judge Jim Spear  (author appearance)
Jim Spear | 08/15/2019, 06:30 pm | Bookish: An Indie Shop for Folks Who Read | Fort Smith, AR

Sister Helen Prejean in conversation with Rev. Laurie Hafner  (author appearance)
Sister Helen Prejean | 08/15/2019, 07:30 pm | Books & Books, Inc. | Coral Gables, FL

Susan Rebecca White - We Are All Good People Here  (author appearance)
Susan Rebecca White | 08/15/2019, 02:00 pm | Tall Tales Atlanta | Atlanta, GA

Cliterati Open Mic: featuring Gregg Shapiro & Collin Kelley  (author appearance)
Gregg Shapiro | 08/15/2019, 07:30 pm | Charis Books and More | Decatur, GA

Book Launch: The Women of Dauphine  (author appearance)
Deb Jannerson | 08/15/2019, 06:00 pm | Blue Cypress Books | New Orleans, LA

Martin Clark signs The Substitution Order  (author appearance)
Martin Clark | 08/15/2019, 05:00 pm | Lemuria Books | Jackson, MS

Karl Marlantes with DEEP RIVER   (author appearance)
Karl Marlantes | 08/15/2019, 05:30 pm | Square Books | Oxford, MS

Casey Cep blends true crime with Southern lit in Furious Hours  (author appearance)
Casey Cep | 08/15/2019, 07:00 pm | Flyleaf Books | Chapel Hill, NC

Andy Parker presents For Alison: The Murder of a Young Journalist and a Father's Fight for Gun Safety  (author appearance)
Andy Parker | 08/15/2019, 06:00 pm | Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe | Asheville, NC

Lisa Howorth, Summerlings  (author appearance)
Lisa Howorth | 08/15/2019, 06:00 pm | McIntyre's Books | Pittsboro, NC

Colin Asher presents Never a Lovely so Real: The Life and Work of Nelson Algren  (author appearance)
Colin Asher | 08/15/2019, 07:00 pm | Park Road Books | Charlotte, NC

William Dameron, The Lie  (author appearance)
William Dameron | 08/15/2019, 07:00 pm | Scuppernong Books | Greensboro, NC

Tupelo Hassman: Reading Between the Wines  (author appearance)
Tupelo Hassman | 08/15/2019, 06:00 pm | Hub City Books | Spartanburg, SC

Democracy in America with Christina Proenza-Coles   (author appearance)
Christina Proenza-Coles | 08/15/2019, 06:30 pm | Fountain Bookstore | Richmond, VA

The Ghosts of Eden Park  (author appearance)
Karen Abbott | 08/16/2019, 05:00 pm | Alabama Booksmith | Homewood, AL

Ray B. Rogers  (author appearance)
Ray B. Rogers | 08/16/2019, 04:00 pm | Tall Tales Atlanta | Atlanta, GA

Martin Clark with THE SUBSTITUTION ORDER   (author appearance)
Martin Clark | 08/16/2019, 05:30 pm | Square Books | Oxford, MS

Special Storytime: Linda Ashman, Take Your Pet to School Day  (author appearance)
Linda Ashman | 08/16/2019, 10:30 am | McIntyre's Books | Pittsboro, NC

William McKeever - Emperors of the Deep: Sharks  (author appearance)
William McKeever | 08/16/2019, 07:00 pm | Quail Ridge Books | Raleigh, NC

Dana Ridenour Author of Below the Radar  (author appearance)
Dana Ridenour | 08/16/2019, 11:00 am | Litchfield Books | Pawleys Island, SC

Ask the Trainer & Book Signing  (author appearance)
Bryan Litchford | 08/17/2019, 02:00 pm | Bookish: An Indie Shop for Folks Who Read | Fort Smith, AR

Radical Responsibility: How to Move Beyond Blame, Fearlessly Live Your Highest Purpose, and Become an Unstoppable Force for Good  (author appearance)
Fleet Maull | 08/17/2019, 07:30 pm | Charis Books and More | Decatur, GA

Nancy Werking Poling Book Signing  (author appearance)
Nancy Werking Poling | 08/17/2019, 03:00 pm | City Lights Bookstore | Sylva, NC

Adam O’Fallon Price, The Hotel Neversink  (author appearance)
Adam O’Fallon Price | 08/17/2019, 11:00 am | McIntyre's Books | Pittsboro, NC

Steve Cavanagh, Thirteen (and perhaps some friends?!?)  (author appearance)
Steve Cavanagh | 08/17/2019, 02:00 pm | McIntyre's Books | Pittsboro, NC

Laurie Ford presents You Are Enough  (author appearance)
Laurie Ford | 08/17/2019, 02:00 pm | Park Road Books | Charlotte, NC

In Conversation: Heather Webb and Kristy Woodson Harvey  (author appearance)
Heather Webb | 08/17/2019, 03:00 pm | Quail Ridge Books | Raleigh, NC

Alice Marie Johnson with After Life: My Journey from Incarceration to Freedom  (author appearance)
Alice Marie | 08/17/2019, 01:00 pm | novel. | Memphis, TN

Boca American Pen Women Author Panel Discussion Moderated by Alexandra Goodwin  (author appearance)
Carol White | 08/18/2019, 04:30 pm | Murder on the Beach Mystery Bookstore | Delray Beach, FL

Andy Lee White  (author appearance)
Andy Lee White | 08/18/2019, 03:00 pm | Tall Tales Atlanta | Atlanta, GA

Michael Dobbs | 08/18/2019, 02:00 pm | Square Books | Oxford, MS

Marla Milling presents North Carolina Day Trips by Theme  (author appearance)
Marla Milling | 08/18/2019, 03:00 pm | Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe | Asheville, NC

Timothy Reinhardt, Jesus’s Brother James  (author appearance)
Timothy Reinhardt | 08/18/2019, 02:00 pm | McIntyre's Books | Pittsboro, NC

Salon@615 with Elaine Weiss author of The Woman's Hour  (author appearance)
Elaine Weiss | 08/18/2019, 03:00 pm | Parnassus Books | Nashville, TN

Minrose Gwin - THE ACCIDENTALS  (author appearance)
Minrose Gwin | 08/19/2019, 06:00 pm | Octavia Books | New Orleans, LA

Joshilyn Jackson presents Never Have I Ever  (author appearance)
Joshilyn Jackson | 08/19/2019, 06:00 pm | Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe | Asheville, NC

Lunch & Lit with Joshilyn Jackson  (author appearance)
Joshilyn Jackson | 08/19/2019, 12:00 pm | M. Judson Booksellers | Greenville, SC

Novel & Libro Present: Lit & Libations with Martin Clark  (author appearance)
Martin Clark | 08/19/2019, 06:00 pm | novel. | Memphis, TN

Lecture Night in Camel City: A Delicious Country  (author appearance)
Scott Huler | 8/17/2019, 7:00 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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