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Week of September 5, 2019
The Commonplace Book | Read This! | {Book} Trailer Park | Okra Picks | Southern Indie Bestsellers | Events
{Grabbing life by the handfuls.}
In which Ms. Cassandra King remembers a friendship, the Fat Boy, and the Dotted One, two people fulfill their dreams of opening bookstores, and the Lowcountry mourns the loss of one of its most beloved voices."

2019 Conroy Legacy Award 

Dearest Readers


"When she loved, she loved fully and she grabbed life by the handfuls!" --Patti Callahan Henry, remembering Dorothea (Dottie) Benton Frank


Dorothea Benton FrankThe Southeast lost one of its favorite voices this week. Dorothea Benton Frank, a native a Sullivan's Island whose best-selling novels celebrated her beloved Lowountry, passed away on Monday after a short illness.


The news has left her many friends and readers shocked and saddened. "Dottie Frank was a South Carolina treasure," said Jill Hendrix of Fiction Addiction in Greenville, SC, "She was as funny as a stand-up comedienne in person, yet her books could move you to tears while transporting you to a magical Carolina landscape."


"Dorothy Benton Frank is a ray of sunshine, and a fabulous party guest. If she were a cocktail, she'd be a fizzy." -- Adriana Trigiani


Queen BeeAlthough she was a "late bloomer" as a writer -- she wrote her first novel, Sullivan's Island, after she turned 40 -- Frank went on to write twenty novels and was a regular on the New York Times bestseller list. More to the point, her books were de rigeur for the beach bags of anyone spending their summer vacation on the Carolina coast.


As this newsletter goes to press, Hurricane Dorian is making its slow way northwards past Charleston, and it is hard not to imagine that it the Lowcountry itself that is grieving and mourning her loss.


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.

My Jasper JuneThe Last Day

The heavy doors of the school swung open, and we all burst out into the heat, scattering across the lawn. It was like something had exploded inside the building and hurled us into summer. Kids shouted and laughed and shoved each other. Kids flooded the sidewalk. Kids spilled into the bright sunlight of late May in Atlanta and squinted. They threw things--wads of paper and hot Cheetos and candy wrappers. Someone screamed. Someone was singing. Someone hopped on a bike and tore off down Emerson. But mostly everyone hung around.

This is the last day of school, I thought to myself.

This is kids having fun on the last day of school.

If you're in a mood to laugh and shut, it's a good time. If you're not, it's really weird to just stand there, in the middle of all that noise, watching and listening.

This is me, on the last day of school.



--Laurel Snyder, My Jasper June (Walden Pond Press, 2019)

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

Who Are You, Calvin Bledsoe? by Brock Clarke
Inspired by Graham Greene’s Travels with my Aunt, Brock Clarke’s new novel is a delightful journey (physically and emotionally) that constantly keeps us guessing at the final destination. This can be said of the narrator, Calvin Bledsoe, as well as the reader. At his mother’s funeral, Calvin meets an aunt he never knew he had, and embarks on an odyssey of self-discovery he didn’t know he needed. A thoughtful coming-of-age story wrapped in a screwball mystery caper, Who Are You, Calvin Bledsoe? may inspire questions of your own. It may inspire you to learn about John Calvin, the pellet stove, or even small animal pornography. It will most certainly make you smile.

Who Are You, Calvin Bledsoe? by Brock Clarke ($26.95*, Algonquin Books), recommended by Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.

The Passengers by John MarrsYikes, y'all. This is a gripping suspenseful tale of what happens when autonomous cars go wrong. Eight people are in transit to various places when their routes get canceled and a strange voice announces that they have a little less than three hours to live. There is a jury of their peers set to choose who lives and who dies (and in what order) and this is just as grisly as you'd expect. As we get to know each passenger, we learn that each has dark secrets and the jury is left to learn their secrets and decide who merits saving. Don't read this if you have somewhere to be. You won't want to put it down!

The Passengers by John Marrs ($26.00*, Berkley), recommended by Fountain Books, Richmond, VA.

The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri
Lefteri has written a powerful story of a family who has suffered mightily during the Syrian war as they watched their city and country being decimated. Their journey to escape the devastation is in itself a harrowing experience. Beautifully written and heartbreaking, Nuri, a beekeeper, and his wife Afra struggle to maintain hope as forces pull them apart. It was difficult to read but so poignant and I couldn’t put it down! This story speaks to the power of love, loss and the strength of family.

The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri ($27.00*, Ballantine Books), recommended by Page & Palette, Fairhope, AL.


More bookseller recommendations


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News of a literary nature

The Queen Bee“She and Pat were so funny together,” King remembered. “She called him Fat Boy and he called her The Dotted One.”

keep reading: Dorothea Benton Frank dies after a short illness


"And when you come in here, I ask you about what you like to read and what book changed your life."

keep reading: Bodacious Bookstore and Cafe opens in Pensacola, FL


"over the years, I’ve always dreamt about having an actual place, a meeting place where people can come and read and drink coffee and gather — and socialize and learn,”"

keep reading: Books and Beans opening in Rocky Mount


Tell Me a Story"Our friendship deepened over that two-year period, and I believe that the strongest attachments grow from friendships. You have to like each other a lot before you want to spend a life together."

keep reading: Cassandra King writes memoir of her marriage to Pat Conroy

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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.


"When you're a kid it's so easy to feel isolated and alone. Especially when your family has suffered a loss like Leah's. Laurel Snyder has written a deeply beautiful book in MY JASPER JUNE that addresses tough topics in genuine and accessible ways. After an isolating school year, Leah finds herself aimlessly drifting through a boring summer in her Atlanta neighborhood. That is, until she meets Jasper. Their friendship changes Leah's life in big ways. Not only does Leah find the courage to address the elephant in the room with her parents, but she learns to stand up for what is right. This is the type of book that could unlock a discussion on some difficult subjects with your young reader. Sometimes you just need an opening." —Rachel Watkins, Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA

My Jasper June by Laurel SnyderLaurel Snyder, author of Orphan Island, returns with another unforgettable story of the moments in which we find out who we are, and the life-altering friendships that show us what we can be.

The school year is over, and it is summer in Atlanta. The sky is blue, the sun is blazing, and the days brim with possibility. But Leah feels...lost. She has been this way since one terrible afternoon a year ago, when everything changed. Since that day, her parents have become distant, her friends have fallen away, and Leah’s been adrift and alone.

Then she meets Jasper, a girl unlike anyone she has ever known. There’s something mysterious about Jasper, almost magical. And Jasper, Leah discovers, is also lost.

Together, the two girls carve out a place for themselves, a hideaway in the overgrown spaces of Atlanta, away from their parents and their hardships, somewhere only they can find.

But as the days of this magical June start to draw to a close, and the darker realities of their lives intrude once more, Leah and Jasper have to decide how real their friendship is, and whether it can be enough to save them both.

Walden Pond Press | 9780062836625 | 9/3/2019


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Southern Indie Bestsellers

For the week ending August 25. 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. The Nickel Boys
Colson Whitehead, Doubleday, $24.95, 9780385537070
2. A Better Man
Louise Penny, Minotaur, $28.99, 9781250066213
3. Where the Crawdads Sing
Delia Owens, Putnam, $26, 9780735219090
4. Inland
Téa Obreht, Random House, $27, 9780812992861
5. Chances Are . . .
Richard Russo, Knopf, $26.95, 9781101947746

1. Educated
Tara Westover, Random House, $28, 9780399590504
2. How to Be an Antiracist
Ibram X. Kendi, One World, $27, 9780525509288
3. The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck
Mark Manson, Harper, $24.99, 9780062457714
4. Furious Hours
Casey Cep, Knopf, $26.95, 9781101947869
5. The Ghosts of Eden Park
Karen Abbott, Crown, $28, 9780451498625
Special to the Southern List
Never Have I Ever Joshilyn Jackson, Morrow, $26.99,Furious Hours Casey Cep, Knopf, $26.95,Searching for Stonewall Jackson: A Quest for Legacy in a Divided America Ben Cleary, Twelve, $30,The Handmaid's Tale Margaret Atwood, Anchor, $15.95,I'll Be Gone in the Dark Michelle McNamara, Harper Perennial, $17.99,Gather at the River: Twenty-Five Authors on Fishing David Joy (Ed.), Hub City Press, $16.95,The Secret Token: Myth, Obsession, and the Search for the Lost Colony of Roanoke Andrew Lawler, Anchor, $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.

Ira Nirenberg - Alabama Whistle  (author appearance)
Ira Nirenberg | 09/06/2019, 06:00 pm | Page & Palette | Fairhope, AL

Elmon Dean Todd  (author appearance)
Elmon Dean Todd | 09/06/2019, 06:00 pm | Page & Palette | Fairhope, AL

Glenn Isaacs - Death and Deceit  (author appearance)
Glenn Isaacs | 09/06/2019, 06:00 pm | Page & Palette | Fairhope, AL

Meagan Lucas: In Conversation with Benjamin Cutler & Andrew K. Clark  (author appearance)
Meagan Lucas | 09/06/2019, 06:30 pm | City Lights Bookstore | Sylva, NC

Special Children’s Storytime with David Shannon, Mr. Nogginbody Gets a Hammer  (author appearance)
David Shannon | 09/06/2019, 10:30 am | McIntyre's Books | Pittsboro, NC

Keith Carter, Fifty Years  (author appearance)
Keith Carter | 09/06/2019, 05:30 pm | Scuppernong Books | Greensboro, NC

Ana Paula Höfling, Staging Brazil: Choreographies of Capoeira  (author appearance)
Ana Paula Höfling | 09/06/2019, 06:00 pm | Scuppernong Books | Greensboro, NC

David Hodges, Author of Sunset Lodge in Georgetown: The Story of a Madam  (author appearance)
David Hodges | 09/06/2019, 11:00 am | Litchfield Books | Pawleys Island, SC

YA author event with Helene Dunbar, author of We Are Lost And Found  (author appearance)
Helene Dunbar | 09/06/2019, 06:30 pm | Parnassus Books | Nashville, TN

Joanne Klepal Signs Natural Healing Techniques  (author appearance)
Joanne Klepal | 09/07/2019, 10:00 am | Sundog Books | Santa Rosa Beach, FL

Soundflower: The Journey To Marry Science and Spirit - Reading, Lecture and Book Signing w/ Mandara Cromwel  (author appearance)
Mandara Cromwell | 09/07/2019, 03:00 pm | Phoenix and Dragon Bookstore | ATLANTA, GA

Weekend Storytime: Caldecott and Geisel Honoree Laura Vaccaro Seeger reads her new book WHY?  (author appearance)
Laura Vaccaro Seeger | 09/07/2019, 11:00 am | Flyleaf Books | Chapel Hill, NC

An Afternoon with Elisa Troutman  (author appearance)
Elisa Troutman | 09/07/2019, 04:00 pm | Main Street Books | Davidson, NC

Wes J. Bryant, Hunting the Caliphate  (author appearance)
Wes J. Bryant | 09/07/2019, 11:00 am | McIntyre's Books | Pittsboro, NC

Sara Johnson, Molten Mud Murder  (author appearance)
Sara Johnson | 09/07/2019, 02:00 pm | McIntyre's Books | Pittsboro, NC

Author Event: Robin Reams  (author appearance)
Robin Reams | 09/07/2019, 02:00 pm | Page 158 Books | Wake Forest, NC

Kimberly Wilson presents Ollie and the Egg-Splosion  (author appearance)
Kimberly Wilson | 09/07/2019, 11:00 am | Park Road Books | Charlotte, NC

Children's Authors Laura Vaccaro Seeger and David Shannon  (author appearance)
Laura Vaccaro Seeger | 09/07/2019, 02:00 pm | Quail Ridge Books | Raleigh, NC

Storytime with author Julia Sypher  (author appearance)
Julia Sypher | 09/07/2019, 11:00 am | Scuppernong Books | Greensboro, NC

YOU in a book!  (author appearance)
Miki Bennett | 09/07/2019, 02:00 pm | Buxton Books | Charleston, SC

YA author event with Cora Carmack, author of Rage, in conversation with Mark Oshiro  (author appearance)
Cora Carmack | 09/07/2019, 02:00 pm | Parnassus Books | Nashville, TN

Southern Writers on a Saturday Night: John W. Bateman, T.K. Lee & Brandy T. Wilson  (author appearance)
T.K. Lee | 09/07/2019, 06:00 pm | novel. | Memphis, TN

Philip Mudd  (author appearance)
Philip Mudd | 09/08/2019, 06:00 pm | Books & Books, Inc. | Coral Gables, FL

Christine Ristaino - All the Silent Spaces  (author appearance)
Christine Ristaino | 09/08/2019, 03:00 pm | A Cappella Books | Atlanta, GA

Jacquelyn Dowd Hall presents Sisters and Rebels  (author appearance)
Jacquelyn Dowd Hall | 09/08/2019, 03:00 pm | Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe | Asheville, NC

Andrew Taylor-Troutman, Gently Between the Words: Essays and Poems  (author appearance)
Andrew Taylor-Troutman | 09/08/2019, 02:00 pm | McIntyre's Books | Pittsboro, NC

Author Event: Jon Sealy  (author appearance)
Jon Sealy | 09/08/2019, 02:00 pm | Page 158 Books | Wake Forest, NC

Jon Thompson - Notebook of Last Things  (author appearance)
Jon Thompson | 09/08/2019, 02:00 pm | Quail Ridge Books | Raleigh, NC

Author event with Victoria "V.E." Schwab, author of Tunnel of Bones  (author appearance)
Victoria Schwab | 09/08/2019, 02:00 pm | Parnassus Books | Nashville, TN

Melissa Davis Baize: The Waters of Crystal Lake  (author appearance)
Melissa Davis | 09/08/2019, 06:00 pm | novel. | Memphis, TN

Matt Lee & Ted Lee - Hotbox: Inside Catering, the Food World's Riskiest Business  (author appearance)
The Lee Brothers | 09/09/2019, 05:30 pm | Alabama Booksmith | Homewood, AL

Rick Ross  (author appearance)
Rick Ross | 09/09/2019, 07:30 pm | Books & Books, Inc. | Coral Gables, FL

David Shannon with MR. NOGGINBODY GETS A HAMMER   (author appearance)
David Shannon | 09/09/2019, 04:00 pm | Square Books | Oxford, MS

BBQ Night: SMOKELORE author Jim Auchmutey in conversation with John Shelton Reed, author of HOLY SMOKE  (author appearance)
Jim Auchmutey | 09/09/2019, 07:00 pm | Flyleaf Books | Chapel Hill, NC

Author event with Dixie Gamble author of Witch Hairs  (author appearance)
Dixie Gamble | 09/09/2019, 06:00 pm | Parnassus Books | Nashville, TN

Book Signing & Talk • Alan Brown  (author appearance)
Alan Brown | 09/10/2019, 04:30 pm | Ernest & Hadley Booksellers | Tuscaloosa, AL

An Evening with Zulema Arroyo Farley  (author appearance)
Zulema Arroyo | 09/10/2019, 08:00 pm | Books & Books, Inc. | Coral Gables, FL

Cynthia Newberry Martin - Tidal Flats   (author appearance)
Cynthia Newberry | 09/10/2019, 07:00 pm | A Cappella Books | Atlanta, GA

Rick Ross - Hurricanes  (author appearance)
Rick Ross | 09/10/2019, 07:00 pm | A Cappella Books | Atlanta, GA

Offsite Event: Peter Guzzardi presents EMERALDS OF OZ at the Chapel Hill Public Library  (author appearance)
Peter Guzzardi | 09/10/2019, 06:30 pm | Flyleaf Books | Chapel Hill, NC

An Evening with Seane Corn, author of Revolution of the Soul  (author appearance)
Seane Corn | 09/10/2019, 06:30 pm | Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe | Asheville, NC

William L. Andrews - Slavery and Class in the American South: A Generation of Slave Narrative Testimony, 1840-1865  (author appearance)
William L. Andrews | 09/10/2019, 07:00 pm | Quail Ridge Books | Raleigh, NC

Cheryl Whitehead and Annie Woodford  (author appearance)
Cheryl Whitehead | 09/10/2019, 07:00 pm | Scuppernong Books | Greensboro, NC

Author Frank Morelli  (author appearance)
Frank Morelli | 09/10/2019, 06:30 pm | Sunrise Books | High Point, NC

Author event with William Kent Krueger author of This Tender Land  (author appearance)
William Kent Krueger | 09/10/2019, 06:30 pm | Parnassus Books | Nashville, TN

Because You're Mine by Rea Frey  (author appearance)
Rea Frey | 09/10/2019, 06:00 pm | Union Avenue Books | Knoxville, TN

Launch Event for Jon Sealy!   (author appearance)
Jon Sealy | 09/10/2019, 06:30 pm | Fountain Bookstore | Richmond, VA

Darren Dochuck - Anointed with Oil   (author appearance)
Darren Dochuck | 09/11/2019, 07:00 pm | A Cappella Books | Atlanta, GA

I’m Telling the Truth, but I’m Lying--An evening with Bassey Ikpi and Denene Millner  (author appearance)
Bassey Ikpi | 09/11/2019, 07:00 pm | Charis Books and More | Decatur, GA

Dale Neal presents Appalachian Book of the Dead  (author appearance)
Dale Neal | 09/11/2019, 06:00 pm | Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe | Asheville, NC

Seane Corn - Revolution of the Soul   (author appearance)
Seane Corn | 09/11/2019, 07:00 pm | Quail Ridge Books | Raleigh, NC

Prioleau Alexander In Store Talk  (author appearance)
Prioleau Alexander | 09/11/2019, 05:30 pm | Buxton Books | Charleston, SC

William Kent Krueger: This Tender Land  (author appearance)
William Kent Krueger | 09/11/2019, 06:00 pm | novel. | Memphis, TN

John Dersham - My Alabama  (author appearance)
John Dersham | 09/12/2019, 06:00 pm | Page & Palette | Fairhope, AL

Vern Yip - Vern Yip's Vacation at Home  (author appearance)
09/12/2019, 07:30 pm | A Cappella Books | Atlanta, GA

Albert Marks  (author appearance)
Albert Marks | 09/12/2019, 07:00 pm | Tall Tales Atlanta | Atlanta, GA

Téa Obreht signs Inland  (author appearance)
Téa Obreht | 09/12/2019, 05:00 pm | Lemuria Books | Jackson, MS

David Hopes presents The Falls of the Wyona  (author appearance)
David Hopes | 09/12/2019, 06:00 pm | Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe | Asheville, NC

J. Dana Trent - Dessert First: Preparing for Death While Savoring Life  (author appearance)
J. Dana Trent | 09/12/2019, 07:00 pm | Quail Ridge Books | Raleigh, NC

Martin Tucker, Vietnam Photographs from North Carolina Veterans  (author appearance)
Martin Tucker | 09/12/2019, 07:00 pm | Scuppernong Books | Greensboro, NC

Author event with Carol Orsborn author of Older, Wiser, Fiercer: The Wisdom Collection  (author appearance)
Carol Orsborn | 09/12/2019, 06:00 pm | Parnassus Books | Nashville, TN

Revolution Of The Soul: Talk & Book Signing with Seane Corn  (author appearance)
Seane Corn | 09/12/2019, 05:30 pm | Prince Books | Norfolk, VA

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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