The Southern Bookseller Review Newsletter for the week of February 16, 2021

You have received this email because you are currently subscribed to receive The Southern Bookseller Review. Please click @@unsubscribe_url@@ if you no longer wish to receive these communications.
View this email online. | unsubscribe | SBR Archive

facebook  twitter  instagram 
sbr logo

February 16, 2021

The Southern Book Prize

The Southern Book Prize

In what has become an annual Valentine's gift to readers, announced the winners of the 2021 Southern Book Prize on Sunday, February 14th. The Prize, representing southern bookseller favorites from 2020, is awarded to “the best Southern book of the year” as nominated by Southern indie booksellers and voted on by their customers. Winners were chosen by popular vote from a ballot of favorite bookseller “hand sells” in fiction, nonfiction, and children’s literature, making each Southern Book Prize winner a true Southern reader favorite.

I am Every Good ThingMemorial DriveThe Prettiest Star

2021 SBP Children’s Winner:
I Am Every Good Thing, by Derrick Barnes and Gordon C. James (Illus.)
Nancy Paulsen Books, September 2020
“This book is exactly what we need in the world right now. Uplifting black boys that they are beautiful and can be anything they want to be! A wonderful book!” --Deanna Bailey, Story on the Square, McDonough, GA

2021 SBP Fiction Winner: The Prettiest Star by Carter Sickels
Hub City Press, May 2020
“Intimate and, at times, heartbreaking, Sickels has written a powerful novel that turns the wonderful trick of creating unique characters and telling under represented stories to delve into the universal themes of family, of coming home, of what it means to simply be.” --Land Arnold, Letters Bookshop, Durham, NC

2021 SBP Nonfiction Winner: Memorial Drive by Natasha Trethewey
Ecco, July 2020
This is an incredibly personal and obviously painful story but it is also one that is well crafted, beautifully written, and unforgettable. Trethewey demonstrates once again that she is a fierce and fearless writer who is one of the best we have working today.” --Cody Morrison, Square Books, Oxford, MS

The Southern Book Prize, formerly known as the SIBA Book Award, has been awarded annually since 1999.  SIBA launched the public ballot in 2019 to encourage stores to engage their customers in the important question of what books deserve to be called “the best Southern book of the year.”  For more information, visit the Southern Book Prize home at The Southern Bookseller Review

More bookseller reviews at SBR:

Read This Now | Read This Next | The Bookseller Directory

Coming up on the Reader Meet Writer Author Series:

The Fortunate OnesThe Fortunate Ones with Ed Tarkington
Thu Feb 18th 7:00pm - 8:00pm | REGISTER

Ed Tarkington's debut novel Only Love Can Break Your Heart was an ABA Indies Introduce selection, an Indie Next pick, a Book of the Month Club Main Selection, and a Southern Independent Booksellers Association bestseller. A regular contributor to, his articles, essays, and stories have appeared in a variety of publications including the Nashville Scene, Memphis Commercial Appeal, Knoxville News-Sentinel, and Lit Hub. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee.

Economy HallEconomy Hall: The Hidden History of a Free Black Brotherhood by Fatima Shaik
Thu Feb 25th 7:00pm - 8:00pm | REGISTER

FATIMA SHAIK, a former professor and journalist, is a trustee of PEN America and author of six previous short story collections and young adult novels. Economy Hall is her first nonfiction work.

Read This Now!

Recommended by Southern indies...

American Delirium


American Delirium by Betina González, Heather Cleary (Trans.)
Henry Holt and Co. / February 2021

More Reviews from Flyleaf Books

In an average Midwestern town, deer are attacking people. Retirees are training to hunt the animals down. Adults are choosing to abandon society and live in the woods. A local taxidermist finds a strange woman living in his closet. And much of this may be happening due to a mysterious hallucinogen. This story is beyond strange and surreal in the best way possible and I look forward to reading more by Argentine author Betina González in the future.

--Jen Minor, Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Bookseller Buzz


Spotlight on The Survivors by Jane Harper

Jane Harper

When Jane Harper's first novel, The Dry, was released in 2017 it won just about every award it was eligible for. Australian native and former journalist Harper was praised for her compelling plots, her ear for dialogue, and most especially for her ability to vividly evoke a setting: the hardscrabble life of a rural town in the drought-stricken region of Victoria, Australia.

"Setting" is one of the things booksellers mention over and over again about Harper's newest book, The Survivors, set in Tasmania: "I get lost in the landscape," " "full of creeping dread as the tide rises."

"I think it's important that the setting is not just a backdrop, it actually is interwoven throughout," Harper said in an early interview after the release of The Dry, "...I mean the characters are reacting authentically to their surroundings ... And I think it's really important that you sort of try and take that 360 degree view of it."

When people talk about setting as character, Harper's novels are what they mean. "I like it when the setting drives the plot to some extent, so actually it's part of the action and it's pushing that storyline along."

The Survivors

What booksellers are saying about The Survivors

  • This was my first journey into a Jane Harper novel and I really enjoyed it. The setting of the story is just as much of a character in the story as all of the others... Strong on dialogue and very descriptive, this is a great book for mystery lovers. --Stuart McCommon, Novel. in Memphis, TN

  • Jane Harper is an entertaining Australian author. Her mysteries are always engrossing and I get lost in the Australian landscape. There is always a twist in the end that I don't see coming. Great read! --Stephanie Crowe, Page and Palette, Mobile, AL

  • Jane Harper has once again created a beautifully written character driven novel and mystery. And, once again the location is one of the main characters...As much as I loved her previous books, I think this was her best so far – but then I seem to say that about each new book she writes! --Nancy McFarlane, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, SC

  • Jane Harper's THE SURVIVORS is her best yet. As with all of her books, the elements come into play and one has to wonder if the natural world is truly out to get us. Expertly plotted and full of vivid details, readers will find themselves full of creeping dread as the tide rises and the killer draws ever closer. Let's just say I won't be going into caves any time soon.  -- Faith Parke-Dodge, Page 158 Books, Wake Forest, NC

About Jane Harper

Jane Harper is the author of international bestsellers The Dry, Force of Nature and The Lost Man. Her books are published in 40 territories worldwide. Jane has won numerous top awards including the CWA Gold Dagger Award for Best Crime Novel, the British Book Awards Crime and Thriller Book of the Year, the Australian Book Industry Awards Book of the Year and the Australian Indie Awards Book of the Year. The major motion picture adaptation of The Dry, starring Eric Bana as Aaron Falk, has taken more than $17m at the Australian box office since its release on New Year's Day.

inline banner
Trouble is What I Do


Trouble Is What I Do by Walter Mosley
Mulholland Books / January 2021

| | |
More Reviews from Bookmarks

I loved this short but intense detective novel. For me, it doesn’t get better than Leonid McGill for a P.I. protagonist. Morally ambiguous, wily and cunning, he is instantly likable and someone I hope to see in future Mosley books.

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

Good Apple


Good Apple by Elizabeth Passarella
Thomas Nelson / January 2021

| | |
More Reviews from The Snail on the Wall

This warm, wonderful memoir in essays by Southern writer Elizabeth Passarella comes on the scene just when we need it most. In a series of funny, honest, personal stories, she breaks down stereotypes and misconceptions about Southerners, New Yorkers, Christians, Democrats, parents, and more in a way that will appeal to pretty much everyone, whether you fit into one of those groups or not. In reading about her ice maker, her child’s crib in the closet, her belief in thank-you notes, or her memories of her late father, I bet you’ll absolutely relate to Elizabeth Passarella’s stories about what it really means to find a home in the world.

--Lady Smith, The Snail on the Wall in Hunstville, Alabama

The Bright and the Pale


The Bright & the Pale by Jessica Rubinkowski
Quill Tree Books / March, 2021

More Reviews from Story on the Square

Valeria may have not been trapped by the mystical freeze that stole her family and village away but she never really escaped. She realizes this is true when she’s blackmailed into returning with her best friend she thought she’d lost the year before. In order to earn his freedom and her own, she must go back to the cursed village and hope to survive once more. This story was fantastic! Twisty and terrifying, I tore through it at a ridiculously fast pace. I can’t wait for the next installment!

--Katlin Kerrison, Story on the Square  in McDonough, Georgia

Brave As a Mouse


Brave as a Mouse by Nicolo Carlozzi
Random House Studio / Coming in May, 2021

| |
More Reviews from Books and Books

This book is downright wonderful! The illustrations are crisp and timeless, the story clever and fun. Brave as a Mouse feels like an instant classic.

--Cristina Russell, Books and Books in Coral Gables, Florida

Read This Next!

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

Remote Control


Remote Control by Nnedi Okorafor
Tordotcom / January, 2021

| |
More Reviews from Copperfish Books

A Winter 2021 Read This Next! Title

Remote Control is a slow-paced meditation–think The Hobbit meets The Prey of Gods–about a young girl who calls down the supernatural and must come to terms with those consequences. Eye-catching prose weaves with vivid scenes make this a novella a must-read for Afrofuturism shelves. All hail Nnedi Okorafor, queen of the short form.

– Lizy Coale, Copperfish Books in Punta Gorda, Florida

Southern Bestsellers

What's popular this week with Southern Readers.

The Four Winds Four Hundred Souls Deacon King Kong
My Grandmother's Hands Ten Ways to Hear Snow

[ See the full list ]

lady banks bookshelf

Parting Thought

"No black woman writer in this culture can write 'too much.'
Indeed, no woman writer can write 'too much'...No woman has ever written enough." – bell hooks

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
You have received this email because you are currently subscribed to receive The Southern Bookseller Review. Please click @@unsubscribe_url@@ if you no longer wish to receive these communications.