The Southern Bookseller Review Newsletter for the week of June 29, 2021

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June 29, 2021

Inspiration on the hard hat tour.

Reader Meet Writer

Last week's Reader Meet Writer event with Terry Roberts was rather special because it featured Heather Bell Adams (The Good Luck Stone) as guest interviewer and, it was immediately clear, very good friend of the author.

Roberts' new novel, My Mistress' Eyes Are Raven Black is a noir thriller set in the 1920s on Ellis Island. The discussion ranged far and wide from matters of craft to the haunting feeling of the abandoned buildings not many people see when they visit. "We took the hard hat tour," Roberts tells Adams. "It takes you to the parts of the island that are completely unreconstructed, the primary general hospital and the isolation hospital. They are haunting, haunted places."

It was during that tour that Roberts, already planning his novel, found his setting. Watch the interview.

Read This Now | Read This Next | The Bookseller Directory

Coming up on the Reader Meet Writer Author Series:

Nowhere Girl with Cheryl DiamondNowhere Girl with Cheryl Diamond
Tue Jun 29th 7:00pm - 8:00pm | REGISTER

Cheryl Diamond is now a citizen of Luxembourg and lives between there and Rome. Her behind-the-scenes account of life as a teenage model, Model: A Memoir, was published in 2008. Diamond´s second book, Naked Rome, reveals the Eternal City through the eyes of its most fascinating people.

Living Brave with Shannon DingleLiving Brave with Shannon Dingle
Thu Jul 8th 7:00pm - 8:00pm | REGISTER

Shannon Dingle is a disability activist, freelance writer, sex trafficking survivor, and recovering perfectionist. While she knows the societal rules about which topics to avoid in public settings, she breaks them regularly and teaches her six children to get into "good trouble, necessary trouble," in the words of civil rights icon John Lewis. She has written for USA Today, the Washington Post,and Teen Vogue, and her story has been featured on, NPR, and Good Morning America and in The Atlantic, the Wall Street Journal, Daily Kos, Christianity Today, and Slate. She lives in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Read This Now!

Recommended by Southern indies...

Nightbitch by Rachel Yoder


Nightbitch by Rachel Yoder
Doubleday / June 2021

More Reviews from Itinerant Literate Books

Rachel Yoder’s bark is just as good as her bite with her wholly unique voice and razor-sharp sense of humor. At once weird, darkly funny, moving, relatable and deliciously f*cked up, Nightbitch is a rallying howl to women, and especially mothers, everywhere.

Reviewed by Danielle Raub, Itinerant Literate Books in North Charleston, South Carolina

Bookseller Buzz


Spotlight on: Hola Papi! by John Paul Brammer


John Paul Brammer

Hola Papi was originally the name of an advice column Brammer wrote for Grindr, the gay dating app. He meant for it to be a satire, a la "Dear Abbey." But many of the letters he received--from all over the world-- were heartfelt and sincere, from people who were struggling: Homosexuality is illegal where I live, should I talk to someone I have a crush on? Is there such a thing as being too gay? How do I accept myself?

"Identity," says Brammer, "is defined as much by what you have as it is by what you've lost."

His book, a memoir told as a series of advice columns, chronicles Brammer's own journey through some of these questions as a queer, mixed-race Chicano kid from Oklahoma. "We can't change the events of our lives," he writes, "but the lines we draw to connect those events, the shapes we make and the conclusions we reach, those come from us.” (via PEN America)

Hola Papi : How to Come Out in a Walmart Parking Lot and Other Life Lessons

What booksellers are saying about Hola Papi

  • A charming collection of essays built on questions about love and identity. It invites the reader into the tortilla factory, through the Oklahoma fields, and into mimosa-soaked Brooklyn apartments to find what it means to have a body that wants to love and be loved. -- Luis Correa from Avid Bookshop in Athens, GA
    Buy from Avid Bookshop

  • Brammer is an LGBTQ advice columnist (Substack) and this is a collection of advice to various people with serious questions which he answers with hilarious and heartfelt responses. I laughed and cried reading this outstanding book. So many dog ears. Don’t @ me.. --Kelly Justice from Fountain Books in Richmond, VA
    Buy from Fountain Bookstore

  • Through tears and embarrassingly loud laughter this book was nothing short of relatable, and reassuring to anyone who has struggled to find their identity when they felt they had little to work with. --Cat Chapman from Oxford Exchange in Tampa, FL
    Buy from Oxford Exchange

  • What I really loved about this book is that even though JP and I have vastly different backgrounds, there is something universal about the feelings and experiences he talks about. They transcend race and sexuality, and make you realize that we're not all that different. --Melissa Taylor from E. Shaver, bookseller in Savannah, GA
    Buy from E. Shaver, bookseller

About John Paul Brammer

John Paul Brammer is an author, illustrator, and columnist from rural Oklahoma currently living in Brooklyn. He runs the popular advice column “¡Hola Papi!” on Substack. His work, including essays, short fiction, and illustrations, has appeared in The Washington Post, Food & Wine, Catapult, Business Insider, and many more. This is his first book. He runs a print shop where he puts his artwork and designs at You can keep up with him on Twitter or Instagram @JPBrammer.

Willie Nelson’s Letters to America by Willie Nelson


Willie Nelson’s Letters to America by Willie Nelson
Harper Horizon / June 2021

More Reviews from Bookmiser

I didn’t want these letters to end so I read only a few pages every day. Willie Nelson shares stories of his life and his music but oh, so much more. The world would be a kinder and more loving and sensible place if we could all follow Willie’s advice on how to get through difficult times and take care of each other. Jokes and laughter fill every page and you will find yourself laughing any crying at his sage advice and hilarious life observations.

Reviewed by Nancy Pierce, Bookmiser in Marietta, Georgia

These Hollow Vows by Lexi Ryan


These Hollow Vows by Lexi Ryan
HMH Books for Young Readers / July 2021

More Reviews from Story On the Square

For fans of love triangles and fierce heroines that kick butt, These Hollow Vows is a dark fantasy full of twists and betrayals. I found it a delightful story that I couldn’t help but tear through. The author’s writing is engaging as much as it is enchanting and I have a feeling that Brie is going to charm many readers. I can’t wait for the next installment!

Reviewed by Katlin Kerrison, Story On the Square in McDonough, Georgia

The Book of Accidents by Chuck Wendig


The Book of Accidents by Chuck Wendig
Del Rey / July 2021

More Reviews from McIntyre's Fine Books

This is one freaky book, scary as all get out, and really, really, hard to put down! I was reading late the night (3pm) and the story was cresting on one of the many waves that keep the plot roiling when out of the corner of my eye I saw my bedroom door slowly begin to creak mournfully open. Needless to say I thought I was going to have a heart attack. Turns out it was just my cat stretching out but that incident just shows how immersed I got into this creepy good book.

Reviewed by Pete Mock, McIntyre’s Fine Books in Pittsboro, North Carolina

If the World Were 100 People by Jackie McCann


If the World Were 100 People by Jackie McCann
Crown Books for Young Readers / July 2021

Diversity & Multicultural
More Reviews from Bookmarks

Really large numbers are difficult for us (including adults!) to understand, so I loved the way this book broke down statistics about the world as if it only had 100 people. The global village concept is really neat. Not only is this easier to visualize the differences and inequalities in our world, but it also makes the world seem a little less large, and a little bit more like a village.

Reviewed by Kate Storhoff, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Read This Next!

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

Morningside Heights by Joshua Henkin


Morningside Heights by Joshua Henkin
Pantheon / June 2021

More Reviews from The Country Bookshop

A Spring 2021 Read This Next! Title

Joshua Henkin has issued an invitation to view the timeline of an American marriage. Columbia University professor, Spence Robin, was a young hotshot Shakespearean expert, capable of filling lecture halls with enraptured students. Pru Steiner was one of them. The attraction and love was immediate, the marriage secure and long-lasting. However, while only in his fifties, Spence receives the horrifying diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Their daughter is grown and gone and his son from a previous marriage has always been sporadically estranged; leaving Pru alone as Spence declines and she navigates the changes and loss of a great man. Morningside Heights is poignant, honest, thoughtfully observant, and skillfully wrought.

Reviewed by Damita Nocton from The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, NC

Southern Bestsellers

What's popular this week with Southern Readers.

The Maidens Into the Heights One Last Stop
The Bird Way The Bench

[ See the full list ]

sbr shelf

Parting Thought

“Read a lot. Expect something big, something exalting or deepening from a book. No book is worth reading that isn’t worth re-reading.” – Susan Sontag

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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