The Southern Bookseller Review Newsletter for the week of February 2, 2021

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February 2, 2021

What to read if you are a Bridgerton fanatic.


One of the greatest pleasures of being a book lover is talking to friends about what they are reading, and -- let's be honest -- trying your best to convince them to pick up what you've been reading. But this is a pleasure that is hard to come by in our new socially-distant reality. Yes, emails and impromptu video chats and exchanges on Facebook and Instagram can fill some of those gaps, but lets be honest, sometimes you really want a real conversation.

Thank heavens for book podcasts. Conversational, quirky, spontaneous and often whimsical, book podcasts provide a little more depth, a little more of the excitement we love to hear in the voices of friends who are pushing their latest favorite book in your hands.

Annie Butterworth Jones, the owner of The Bookshelf in Thomasville, Georgia, is a dedicated book podcaster. Thomasville is not a large community, and it is not the kind of place likely to get writers coming through on book tours. So Jones decided to do a podcast to reach her customers, which she calls "From the Front Porch." Listen to her latest episode, which offers a reading list for fans of the Netflix series, Bridgerton:

Episode 305: So You Watched Bridgerton

There is a nice long book list (always a danger to the pocketbook of the book podcast lover!). Here are few of the books mentioned:

To Have and To Hoax by Martha Waters
A Well-Behaved Woman by Therese Anne Fowler
A League of Extraordinary Women series by Evie Dunmore:
Bringing Down the Duke | A Rogue of One’s Own | Portrait of a Scotsman

More bookseller reviews at SBR:

Read This Now | Read This Next | The Bookseller Directory

Coming up on the Reader Meet Writer Author Series:

Code Name HeleneCode Name Hélène with Ariel Lawhon
Tue Feb 9th 7:00pm - 8:00pm | REGISTER

Ariel Lawhon is a critically acclaimed, New York Times bestselling author of historical fiction. Her books have been translated into numerous languages and have been Library Reads, One Book One County, Indie Next, Costco, and Book of the Month Club selections. She lives in the rolling hills outside Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband, four sons, and a deranged cat.

Race Against TimeRace Against Time with Jerry Mitchell
Thu Feb 11th 7:00pm - 8:00pm | REGISTER

Jerry Mitchell has been a reporter in Mississippi since 1986. A winner of more than 30 national awards, Mitchell is the founder of the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting. The nonprofit is continuing his work of exposing injustices and raising up a new generation of investigative reporters.

Read This Now!

Recommended by Southern indies...

The Center of Everything


The Center of Everything by Jamie Harrison
Counterpoint / January 2021

| | | Small Town & Rural
More Reviews from Parnassus Books

Alternating between Montana in 2002 after Polly has banged her head pretty badly and a local girl has disappeared on the Yellowstone River, and the consequential 1968 of Polly’s lush, swirling childhood on Long Island, Harrison shows us how the past and present intertwine and mirror each other. The stories and secrets tucked throughout generations emerge, reminding us how the loyal bonds of family are often inexpressible and revelatory.

--Ben Groner, Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee

Sleep Well, My Lady


Sleep Well, My Lady by Kwei Quartey
Soho Crime / January 2021

| |
More Reviews from Bookmarks

The mysterious death of fashion mogul Lady Araba has stunned the nation of Ghana, and stumped its police force. When justice has not been found after almost a year, the victim’s aunt hires private investigators to get to the bottom of the crime. The investigation that follows is interesting and complex, following a bright new PI, Emma Djan. I can’t wait for follow up stories from Quartey.

-- Jamie Southern, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina



Aftershocks by Nadia Owusu
Simon Schuster / January 2021

More Reviews from Fountain Bookstore

Nadia Owusu was born to a Ghanaian father and an Armenian-American mother who abandoned her when she was two. Growing up in parts of Africa as well as Europe before moving to the United States, she has spent much of her life feeling without a mother, home, nationality or racial identity only to be overwhelmed by the abundance of these things she possesses at other times. Part memoir and part cultural history, Owusu has crafted an incredibly powerful force of a book, one that I have learned more from than any other in a long time.

--Carl Kranz, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

The War Widow


The War Widow by Tara Moss
Dutton / December, 2020

| |
More Reviews from Fiction Addiction

The War Widow was an intriguing mystery, an interesting and informative look at post war Australia in 1946 and an overall totally delightful read. Ms. Billie Walker has returned home after being a war correspondent in Europe to take over the Private Inquiry Agency of her late father. She is a fun, elegant, feisty and determined character who investigates the “old-fashioned” way: no internet, no cell phones, no data bases. The book is filled with intrigue, nasty criminals, beautiful fashions and lots of daring moves by Ms. Walker. I cannot wait to see what kind of trouble Ms. Walker finds herself in next.

--Nancy McFarlane, Fiction Addiction  in Greenville, South Carolina

Bear Island


Bear Island by Matthew Cordell
Felwel & Friends / January 2021

| |
More Reviews from The Country Bookshop

There is no one good way to get through any bad time, but after losing her best dog Charlie, Louise retreats to a tiny island near her home where her days are filled with warm sun, quiet animals and time. Time to think and be and find a path forward. A lovely story of healing after loss from picture book wizard Matt Cordell.

--Angie Tally, The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, North Carolina

Read This Next!

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

The Girl from the Channel Islands


The Girl from the Channel Islands by Jenny Lecoat
Graydon House / February, 2021

| |
More Reviews from E. Shaver, bookseller

This was such an enjoyable novel for me. Ms. Lecoat does an excellent job of blending fact and fiction in her first book. The journey of the two main characters from subjugated and master to equal lovers is one that keeps you on the edge of your seat. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoyed Hannah’s The Nightingale, Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See, and Jenoff’s The Kommandant’s Girl.

– Annie Childress, E. Shaver, bookseller in Savannah, Georgia

Bookseller Buzz


Spotlight on Milk Fed by Melissa Broder

Melissa Broder

"When I think of Judaism, I think of food" says Melissa Broder in an interview about her new novel, Milk Fed. "And when I think of food, and my body stuff, Judaism is just inherently tied in. There’s no way around it."

"Sexy!" is what Southern booksellers are saying about Milk Fed, which was just released today, February 2nd.

Milk Fed

What booksellers are saying about Milk Fed

  • Milk Fed is one of those novels that hit me in just the right way, I honestly feel changed. All of Melissa Broder's novels are fabulous, but what she has done here is magical and downright powerful. --Jen Minor, Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC

  •  Yowza, this was good. A reflection on body image, religion or the lack there of, desire for the things that make us human- food and sex. --Aimee Keble, Main Street Books in Davidson, NC

  • You'll sit on your couch and read it nonstop for 2 days. Broder writes a sexy, insightful love story that ends up feeling like a hug at the end. Bravo!. --Rachel Watkins, Avid Bookshop in Athens, GA

  • It is a testament to Broder's writing and humor that I was able to so eagerly read a novel that dealt with disordered eating and body-image...the story delves into romance, tragedy, and crises of faith before reaching a conclusion that strangely manages to answer all the reader's questions. I thoroughly enjoyed the journey. -- Faith Parke-Dodge, Page 158 Books, Wake Forest, NC

About Melissa Broder

Melissa Broder is the author of the novel The Pisces, the essay collection So Sad Today and four poetry collections, including Last Sext. She has written for The New York Times,, VICE, Vogue Italia, and New York magazine’s “The Cut.” Her poems have appeared in POETRY, The Iowa Review, Tin House, and Guernica, and she is the winner of a Pushcart Prize for poetry. She lives in Los Angeles.


Southern Bestsellers

What's popular this week with Southern Readers.

The Prophets A Swim in a Pond in the Rain The Song of Achilles
Wilmington's Lie Concrete Rose

[ See the full list ]

lady banks bookshelf

Parting Thought

"Salvation is certainly among the reasons I read. Reading and writing have always pulled me out of the darkest experiences in my life. Stories have given me a place in which to lose myself. They have allowed me to remember. They have allowed me to forget. They have allowed me to imagine different endings and better possible worlds. "

--Roxane Gay, Bad Feminist

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

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