The Southern Bookseller Review Newsletter for the week of 13 November, 2020

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December 15, 2020

If you could change the past, would you?

The Oxford Exchange

Welcome to our second issue of The Southern Bookseller Review.  It is, oddly enough, the first issue to actually land in anybody's inbox. (You can read the first issue here).

The inspiration for SBR came from reading the many reviews, shelf talkers, and "staff picks" that booksellers post about their favorite books in their stores and newsletters, and on their websites. Many of these are also sent to the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance -- the organization that publishes The Southern Bookseller Review. There are over 500 independent bookstores in the Southeast that are members of SIBA. In 2020 they wrote nearly 6000 reviews and recommendations of books they shared with their customers and colleagues.

SBR highlights reviews from bookstores all across the south-- Kentucky to Florida, Louisiana to Virginia and all points between. It also demonstrates the wide range of books they read and love. Yes, Southerners love Southern literature. But they are readers, so they love all kinds of literature. The book in this week's Bookseller Buzz is a collection of intertwined stories about time travel translated this year from the Japanese, that booksellers called "gorgeous" and "beautiful."

Read even more at the SBR Website:

Read This Now | Read This Next | The Bookseller Directory


Read This Now!

Recommended by Southern indies...

Do Not Disturb


Do Not Disturb by Claire Douglas
Harper / November, 2020

Adult Fiction | Thriller
More Reviews from Fiction Addiction

It’s a new start for this family, after experiencing a near tragedy. They’ve now moved from London to Wales and have remodeled an old rectory, making it into a guesthouse. But the old rectory has secrets, and the village has secrets, and this little family has secrets. And where there are secrets, there are lies. And when a death occurs in the B&B, the police are not satisfied that it’s an accident. Too many suspects crowd this B&B and no one knows who to trust. A captivating, but complex plot, this thriller will grab you on the first page and keep you reading until its last, shocking page. It’s fast-paced, with lots of twists and turns, a bit dark at times, and full of suspense. And, you’ll never expect this surprise ending!

--Nancy Humphreys, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC

Make Me Rain


Make Me Rain: Poems & Prose by Nikki Giovanni
William Morrow / October, 2020

Adult Nonfiction | Poetry | African American
More Reviews from Bookmarks

I would not call myself a poetry reader, but there is something about Nikki Giovanni's poetry that speaks to me so deeply. Sentimental and comforting, Make Me Rain covers a wide range of topics from quilts and rising bread to the social change we so desperately need in our world. Giovanni's wisdom and understanding once again prove why she is such a poetic powerhouse - and leave the reader wanting to explore her past work again, too.

--Beth Seufer Buss, Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC

Make Me Rain


When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain by Nghi Vo
Tordotcom / December, 2020

Adult Fiction | Fantasy
More Reviews from Copperfish Books

This is an impressive sophomore novella that breathes new life into campfire stories and oral history. In a mystical world of tiger shifters and deadly mammoths, one cleric must bargain for their life with a folk tale. When the Tiger Came Down is a story of cultural exchange and a question of who pens history. It's powerful, compelling, and downright enchanting.

--Lizy Coale, Copperfish Books, Punta Gorda, FL

Read This Next!

Books on the horizon: Winter 2021 favorites from Southern indies...

The Wife Upstairs


The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins
St. Martin's Press/ January, 2021

Adult Fiction | Thrillers
More Reviews from Main Street Books

A delightful twisty thriller set in a wealthy neighborhood in the “new” South . Hard to put down and the characters’ secrets are fun to uncover in this re-imagined modern tale of Jane and Mr. Rochester. Jane, a young woman with equal parts sharp wit and naivety navigates her rags to almost-riches happenstance and grapples with her own past and the neighborhood gossip that surrounds the Rochesters. A fun read!

--Melissa Summers, Main Street Books, Davidson, NC

Bookseller Buzz


Spotlight on Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

Toshikazu Kawaguchi

If you could go back in time and change one thing about your life, would you? What would it be?

There are some story premises that are just irresistible to us, and surely "what if..." is at the top of that list. Kawaguchi's debut novel has been a runaway bestseller in Japan, and has been receiving a rising tide of delighted reviews from Southern booksellers now that it is available in English.

Before the Coffee Gets Cold

What booksellers are saying about Before the Coffee Gets Cold

  • This is the perfect book to curl up with a blanket and a warm drink! Toshikazu Kawaguchi's beautiful story and setting is the epitome of cozy. --Karyn Cumming, Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, VA

  • Forget everything you know about time travel. Before the Coffee Gets Cold is less about time travel than it is a tightly woven and gorgeous tale about regret and second chances. It'll have you crying into your latte. --Jenny Luper, Page 158 Books, Wake Forest, NC

  • Time travel? Check. Weird Time Travel rules? Check. Japanese cafe and ghosts? Check. Beautiful vignettes I’d love and loss? Check. I did really love these stories. It made me think about time travel-would I change anything if I could go back in time? Where would I go and who would I want to see and talk to? Would I still go if I could change nothing about the present?. -- Amanda Thomas, Story on the Square, McDonough, GA

  • From tender and sweet to nostalgic and regretful, the stories of those who visit the café explore the conversations that people often wish they could have, but never get the chance to. This is a story of understated whimsy sure to be someone's cup of coffee. --Cat Chapman, Oxford Exchange, Tampa, FL

About Toshikazu Kawaguchi

Toshikazu Kawaguchi was born in Osaka, Japan, in 1971. He has produced, directed and written for the theatrical group Sonic Snail. As a playwright, his most representative works include COUPLE, Sunset Song, and family time. His play Before the Coffee Gets Cold, won the Grand Prize at the Suginami Drama Festival grand prize. This is his debut as an author.


Southern Bestsellers

What's popular this week with Southern Readers.

Ready Player Two A Promised Land The Water Dancer
What Unites Us The Crayons' Christmas

[ See the full list ]

lady banks bookshelf

Parting Thought

Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book. —John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

Publisher: The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance /
Editor: Nicki Leone /
Advertising: Linda-Marie Barrett /
The Southern Bookseller Review is a project of the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance, in support of independent bookstores in the South | SIBA | 51 Pleasant Ridge Drive | Asheville, NC 28805

SIBA | 51 Pleasant Ridge Drive | Asheville, NC 28805
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