The Southern Bookseller Review Newsletter for the week of May 25, 2021

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June 1, 2021sbr logo

Take pride.

Pride Month

June is Pride Month. In fact, June 2021 is the 51st such celebration. If the 50th anniversary was subsumed by the pandemic, this year the event seems to carry special significance as people everyone open their doors, step outside, and come out into the sun.

"LGBTQ" is a common genre in the reviews published by indie booksellers. It is one of the top ten tags in use at The Southern Bookseller Review. Take pride. Read a book.

Read This Now | Read This Next | The Bookseller Directory

Coming up on the Reader Meet Writer Author Series:

If or When I Call with Will JohnsonIf or When I Call with Will Johnson
Thu Jun 3rd 7:00pm - 8:00pm | REGISTER

Will Johnson is a musician and songwriter who has played in the bands Centro-matic, South San Gabriel, Marie/Lepanto, Overseas, New Multitudes, and Monsters of Folk. He also releases records under his own name, and makes paintings centering on the subject of baseball and its history. His work has appeared in American Short Fiction. He was born in Kennett, Missouri, and currently lives in Austin, Texas. If or When I Call is his first novel.

The Soulmate Equation with Christina LaurenThe Soulmate Equation with Christina Lauren
Tues Jun 8th 7:00pm - 8:00pm | REGISTER

Christina Lauren is the combined pen name of longtime writing partners and best friends Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings, the New York TimesUSA TODAY, and #1 internationally bestselling authors of the Beautiful and Wild Seasons series, Dating You / Hating YouAutoboyographyLove and Other WordsRoomies, Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not DatingMy Favorite Half-Night Stand, and The Unhoneymooners. You can find them online at, @ChristinaLauren on Instagram, or @ChristinaLauren on Twitter.

Read This Now!

Recommended by Southern indies...

The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot by Marianne Cronin


The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot by Marianne Cronin
Harper Perennial / June 2021

More Reviews from Book No Further

“When people say ‘terminal’, I think of the airport. . . . They’ve started to say ‘life-limiting instead now”. Thus, Marianne Cronin initiates her heart-wrenching, wise-cracking, delightful debut novel in which terminally ill, 17-year-old Lenni forges an unbreakable bond with 83-year-old, avant-garde rebel Margot. Even though each is quite ill, both display a joie de vivre, living life to its fullest, acting mischievously, searching for life’s meaning in the May Ward at Glasgow Princess Royal Hospital. With the help of several caring nurses and the hospital chaplain, the protagonists decide to paint their way through their combined ages: 100 years. This legacy will also include Margot’s most life-defining stories, beginning with WWII, written by Lenni who writes more deftly than she paints. Cronin’s book inspires the reader through Lenni’s and Margot’s courageous life-affirming behaviors and escapades. Yes, Lenni’s diagnosis is sad, but she propels the reader into a realistic world of joy and sorrow, constantly questioning everyone to discover as much as she can about life. Margot’s tales delineate her many difficulties but also her accomplishments throughout her lengthy existence and her myriad loves, particularly her love for her son and for her friend and lover Meena. The history of the decades proves fascinating as do the Scottish cultural and social mores of the period. This beautifully written novel is an excellent antidote for present-day travails. Lenni and Margot prevail amidst dire medical circumstances and radiate a beacon of light and hope for all readers. This unusual friendship demonstrates the power of healing across age, nationality, socioeconomics, and health. A rich, inspiring piece of writing!

Reviewed by Beth O’Brochta, Book No Further in Roanoke, Virginia

Bookseller Buzz


Spotlight on:The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris

Zakiya Dalila Harris

Booksellers like books about books, books about writers, and books about publishing. So it isn't surprising they would gravitate towards Harris's new thriller. The Other Black Girl is centered around Nella Rogers, the only Black woman at a publishing house firm. Until one day another another Black woman is hired as an editorial assistant. That should be a good thing, right?

"Being the only one means a lot of things for Nella. The thing that is really hard for her is the fact that she feels like she has to speak for every Black person, every Black opinion. She's expected to speak, but in a certain way, right? She she has to come off in a way that's also appealing to her co-workers. And that can change depending on what's in vogue, what's popular. So she really has to kind of fit herself into the mold that they believe she should be in." --Zakiya Dalila Harris, in an NPR interview

The  Other Black Girl

What booksellers are saying about The Other Black Girl

  • Urgently of-the-moment, THE OTHER BLACK GIRL is the perfect blend of thriller, mystery and contemporary fiction. -- Jessica Nock from Main Street Books in Davidson, NC
    Buy from Main Street Books.

  • This is the tale of two Black women co-workers in the cutthroat publishing industry trying to determine if they are friends or enemies. A literary fiction tale with a side of suspense, this expertly woven critique on society is bound to keep readers on the edge of their seats. --Lady Smith from The Snail on the Wall in Huntsville, AL
    Buy from Snail on the Wall

  • WOW WOW WOW. I cannot wait for the day to put this into people's hands. I think this will be a watershed book and I cannot wait to watch it unfold. --Olivia Gacka from Novel in Memphis, TN
    Buy from Novel

About Zakiya Dalila Harris

Zakiya Dalila Harris spent nearly three years in editorial at Knopf/Doubleday before leaving to write her debut novel The Other Black Girl. Prior to working in publishing, Zakiya received her MFA in creative writing from The New School. Her essays and book reviews have appeared in Guernica and The Rumpus. She lives in Brooklyn.

Like a Dandelion by Huy Voun Lee, Huy Voun Lee (Illus.)


Like a Dandelion by Huy Voun Lee, Huy Voun Lee (Illus.)
Balzer + Bray / May 2021

More Reviews from Bookmarks

Like a Dandelion is a beautiful story of a young girl immigrating to a new country. Based on the author’s personal immigration story, the journey is told in likeness to the life of a dandelion, with the first seeds being planted in unfamiliar soil to the autumn winds that bring new seeds to the neighbor. The bright illustrations bring the story to life! A beautiful book to share with children who have immigrated to a new place and their new friends so they might better understand their new friend’s journey.

Reviewed by Beth Seufer Buss, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

The Sky Above Us by Natalie Lund


The Sky Above Us by Natalie Lund
Philomel Books / April 2021

More Reviews from The Country Bookshop

This fast-moving and well-written book tells the story of three girls, and how they dealt with the three boys in their lives (one’s twin brother, one’s ex-boyfriend, and one’s crush). After the boys die in a freak plane accident where they were the pilots, the girls work together to figure out what really happened. This book also dives into the deeper themes of the pressures put on high school students when it comes to grades and athletics, mental health, and the social image that a student is trying to uphold.

Reviewed by Angie Tally, The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, North Carolina

Finding Freedom by Erin French


Finding Freedom by Erin French
Celadon Books / April 2021

More Reviews from Copperfish Books

Foodies rejoice!!! This sophisticated memoir will have your mouth watering to know more about this amazing author. I love the restaurant. The harder it is to get in the more determined people will be to get a reservation. Determination, grit, and talent take this book well into place as my favorite nonfiction book of the year.

Reviewed by Jean Lewis, Copperfish Books in Punta Gorda, Florida

The Galaxy, and the Ground Within by Becky Chambers


The Galaxy, and the Ground Within by Becky Chambers
Harper Voyager / April 2021

More Reviews from Page 158 Books

Thank you for your patience. We are all in this together.” Becky Chambers’ The Galaxy, and the Ground Within is a delightful ending to her Wayfarer’s series. In it five characters find themselves stuck together at the Five-Hop-One-Stop (a cross between a truck stop and a Bed and Breakfast) when the planet’s satellite system comes crashing down. As they get to know one another the characters must contend with issues of identity, the legacy of colonialism, sexuality, and family, with a few deadly crises along the way. After a year in various levels of lockdown, this book at times felt far too familiar, but with the lightness and comfort only a Becky Chambers novel can bring. I’m sad to see this series end, but it’s nice to be reminded that bureaucracy will lean on unwanted camaraderie no matter where one finds oneself.

Reviewed by Faith Parke-Dodge, Page 158 Books in Wake Forest, North Carolina

Read This Next!

Books on the horizon: Forthcoming favorites from Southern indies...

Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner


Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner
Knopf / May 2021

More Reviews from Parnassus Books

A Spring 2021 Read This Next! Title

Being Korean American and already a fan of Michelle Zauner’s music under the Japanese Breakfast moniker, I was predisposed to love this book. Having read the title essay in the New Yorker I was predisposed to love this book. Even so, I was struck by just how much I loved it. I’m so grateful for this book — for how it walks through grief not as a way to leave it behind, but as a way to remember its exact shape. I’m grateful for its funny, self-deprecating and wise observations, and for its difficult beauty.

– Steve Haruch from Parnassus Books in Nashville, TN

Southern Bestsellers

What's popular this week with Southern Readers.

Klara and the Sun Caste Such a Fun Age
The Bird Way Ambitious Girl

[ See the full list ]

lady banks bookshelf

Parting Thought

"Oh, magic hour, when a child first knows she can read printed words!" – Betty Smith

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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