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

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June 8, 2021sbr logo

Overlooking painful stories is part of the problem.

Chris Offutt

“Quite aside from being one of our finest storytellers, in his first crime novel Chris Offutt reminds us as always of how much we’ve pushed away from us—the natural world, kindness, community—and that the time will come when we reach again and it’s no longer there for the asking.”—James Sallis

Next Thursday, June 17th, Chris Offutt will be joining Reader Meet Writer. His new novel, The Killing Hills, is a "debut" of sorts for the author. He is a beloved and admired novelist and short story writer, a voice for Appalachia and the Ozarks, and a memoirist, essayist, screenwriter...the list goes on for so long that it seems impossible "crime novelist" wasn't on it.

...until now. The Killing Hills is a thriller set in a small Kentucky community where a suspicious death exposes conflicting loyalties, rivalries, and resentments of friends and neighbors.

Offutt is a favorite among Southern indie booksellers:

"This was a blast! Hill country Kentucky noir with characters that both repulse and endear. A tough combo that works well with the plot of familial vengeance that piles up the bodies without understanding the cause that makes the blood boil so hot. Superb." -- Pete Mock, McIntyre's Books, Pittsboro, North Carolina


Read This Now | Read This Next | The Bookseller Directory

Coming up on the Reader Meet Writer Author Series:

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.

We Are Each Other's Harvest with Natalie BaszileWe Are Each Other's Harvest with Natalie Baszile
Thurs Jun 10th 7:00pm - 8:00pm | REGISTER

Natalie Baszile is the author of the novel Queen Sugar, which was a San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of 2014, longlisted for the Crooks Corner Southern Book Prize, nominated for an NAACP Image Award, and adapted for television by writer/director Ava DuVernay and co-produced by Oprah Winfrey for OWN. Baszile holds a M.A. in Afro-American Studies from UCLA and is a graduate of Warren Wilson College’s MFA Program for Writers. She lives in San Francisco.

Read This Now!

Recommended by Southern indies...

There’s No Such Thing as an Easy Job by Kikuko Tsumura


There’s No Such Thing as an Easy Job by Kikuko Tsumura
Bloomsbury Publishing / March 2021

More Reviews from Quail Ridge Books

A young woman who has burned out after 14 years in her chosen career takes on a series of short contract jobs through an employment agency. The jobs are somewhat unusual, but plausible… But as each contract goes on and she becomes more invested in her ‘easy’ job, the stranger each job becomes. Light surreal/confabulist touches plus the occasional meditation on work and meaning tie her various job adventures into an enjoyable read.

Reviewed by Ginger Kautz, Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, North Carolina

Bookseller Buzz


Spotlight on: Animal by Lisa Taddeo

Lisa Taddeo

Lisa Taddeo keeps a unicorn figurine on her writing desk for her daughter. She relies on a set of colored sharpies to bring order to a chaotic universe. And she has an uncanny grasp on how violence can both repel and attract: "[Animal] was born out of hearing from people who were both titillated by the sad stories [in Three Women] but also angry at them and not wanting to explore what their own feelings were. . .Overlooking painful stories is still part of the problem." via Bustle

Animal by Lisa Taddeo

What booksellers are saying about Animal

  • Animal distills the insidious and permeating violence of rape culture into one killer dose of strong medicine that will have you redefining what it means to be a predator, or prey. -- Megan Bell from Underground Books in Carrollton, GA
    Buy from Underground Books.

  • I can't put this book in one genre; it has twists, it has strong emotions that the characters and the reader will feel, and I couldn't get enough of it. --Grace Sullivan from Fountain Books in Richmond, VA
    Buy from Fountain Bookstore

  • I could not put this book down. I simultaneously wanted to throw it across the room out of anger and amazement! --Kate Hults from M. Judson, Booksellers in Greenville, SC
    Buy from M. Judson, booksellers and storytellers

About Lisa Taddeo

Lisa Taddeo is the author of Three Women. She has contributed to The New York Times, New York magazine, Esquire, Elle, Glamour, and many other publications. Her nonfiction has been included in the anthologies Best American Political Writing and Best American Sports Writing, and her short stories have won two Pushcart Prizes. She lives with her husband and daughter in New England.

What Will You Be? by Yamile Saied Méndez, Kate Alizadeh (Illus.)


What Will You Be? by Yamile Saied Méndez, Kate Alizadeh (Illus.)
HarperCollins / May 2021

More Reviews from Bookmarks

What Will You Be? is the story of a young girl who asks her abuela what she will be when she grows up. Told through vibrant illustrations that capture her grandmother’s love for painting, the little girl dreams of all the things she might be. I love when she dreams of different careers, like a builder or a healer, she also recognizes all the good that she could bring to world. A must-read for career storytimes!

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

Stranger Care by Sarah Sentilles


Stranger Care by Sarah Sentilles
Random House / May 2021

More Reviews from Fiction Addiction

As a child advocate for the family court system, I have a pretty good idea of what foster care is like. Sarah Sentilles is spot on in her memoir about her and her husband’s experience training and becoming foster parents. Sentilles accurately portrays the emotions of the parents, foster parents, social workers, and children involved. She uses examples from animals and plants to show techniques of care in the natural world. But even after they accumulate this knowledge, Sarah and her husband underestimate the pull on their heartstrings at the possibility of a child’s loss from their lives.

Reviewed by Linda Hodges, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina

With Teeth by Kristen Arnett


With Teeth by Kristen Arnett
Riverhead Books / June 2021

More Reviews from Avid Bookshop

Sometimes it’s the mundane that’s the most fascinating. Kristen Arnett’s novel With Teeth takes the everyday marriage challenges of staying in love, being faithful, having patience with an unknowable child, and figuring out what to make for supper, tosses that with a dose of bizarre behavior which gives us what becomes to one queer family’s happily ever after. Arnett’s characters are infuriating and I think you’ll puzzle over Sammie, Monika, and Samson well after you finish the last page.

Reviewed by Rachel Watkins, Avid Bookshop in Athens, Georgia

The Marvelous by Claire Kann


The Marvelous by Claire Kann
Swoon Reads / June 2021

More Reviews from Bookmiser

Jewel Van Hanen created a video diary app several years ago called Golden Rule. Since then, she’s held 9 weekend retreats on her estate for a very select few group of users. But a year ago, she dropped out of the public eye. Now she’s back with a new weekend, but this one’s different. It will be a weekend filled with puzzles and games and at the end, two winners will receive a big cash prize. Told through the POV of three of the six competitors, The Marvelous will keep you on your toes with nonstop riddles and action.

Reviewed by Jennifer Jones, Bookmiser, Inc. in Marietta, Georgia

Read This Next!

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

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid


Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Ballantine / June 2021

More Reviews from The Book House

A Spring 2021 Read This Next! Title

How good was this? So good I read it in one night. Taylor Jenkins Reid carefully crafts a multi-generational saga drenched in the sun of 20th century Malibu that made me love, empathize with, and osccasionally want to shake all of the characters. This book almost serves to form a trilogy with Jenkins Reid’s previous novels-Evelyn Hugo and Daisy Jones. I certainly started rereading both after finishing Malibu.

Reviewed by Tracie Harris from The Book House in Mableton, GA

Southern Bestsellers

What's popular this week with Southern Readers.

While Justice Sleeps Crying in the H Mart The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
Animal What the Road Said

[ See the full list ]

lady banks bookshelf

Parting Thought

"Of course anyone who truly loves books buys more of them than he or she can hope to read in one fleeting lifetime. A good book, resting unopened in its slot on a shelf, full of majestic potentiality, is the most comforting sort of intellectual wallpaper." – David Quammen

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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