Find hundreds of great books--from the hottest new releases and bestsellers to tried and true classics to rare gems--each hand-picked and hand-curated from Southern indie booksellers' websites, newsletters, emails, facebook and twitter posts and from the moments when they stop us in the street, push a book in our hands and say..."YOU'VE GOT TO READ THIS!"


Such Dark Things by Courtney Evan Tate, Courtney Cole This is a dark book about the impact of a traumatic event in childhood and how it can haunt your life in many ways. Corrine and Jude have the perfect relationship. Great home, both physicians with great jobs. The facade is marred by Corrine's past and Jude's inability to communicate his feelings. Jude's twin is a Catholic priest and very close to the couple. A seemingly innocent introduction sends this relationship careening off the rails in manners that are hard to imagine. It is hard to resist skipping ahead to see how it ends.

Such Dark Things by Courtney Evan Tate, Courtney Cole ($15.99*, Mira Books), recommended by Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.

Gods of Howl Mountain by Taylor BrownTo read the work of Taylor Brown is to be given the capacity to enter any world his writing fearlessly creates. He is a wellspring of lyrical beauty.

Gods of Howl Mountain carried me deep into the mountains of NC, post-Korean War, where moonshine ran like it sprang from the earth, where the embryonic seeds for NASCAR were being sown by moonshine runners in souped up cars, and where the people took care of their own, whether by home remedies gifted from the mountains or by brutality and revenge.

The characters are unforgettable and remained with me long after closing the book. They are toughened by life, hopeful, and endearing—survivors all. Brown was able to brilliantly infuse humor and light into this gritty tale. Rory Docherty has returned from the war, leaving a leg in exchange for the horrors he can’t forget. His beautiful mother is a resident at Dorothea Dix Hospital, muted by a heinous act of violence, leaving Rory to be raised the inimitable Granny May. This diminutive force is his maternal grandmother; former prostitute turned healer, drawing from the folk knowledge that the mountains take care of their own. Rory’s livelihood options are limited, so he turns to running moonshine, chased by revenuers, lawmen, competing runners, and his own demons. There are questions from the past to be answered, grudges to bear, and redemption to be found.

I lifted my head from this extraordinary novel in the wee hours of the morning, stunned by the time passed and grateful for the opportunity to read such a literary gift. A vision from the novel that haunts me is that of a lone surviving chestnut tree in front of Granny May’s cabin, branches filled with empty bottles to capture evil spirits and protect the home. The mountains are filled with spirits, good and evil. Gods of Howl Mountain captures those spirits like that lone bottle tree within its pages.

Gods of Howl Mountain by Taylor Brown ($26.99*, St. Martin's Press), recommended by The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC.

 A Winter 2018 Okra Pick

Anatomy of a Miracle by Jonathan Miles This is an extraordinary tale of a paralyzed veteran who is gifted (or cursed) with a miracle, the storm that surrounds him in the aftermath, and the meaning of faith. This book has ruined me. It was so good I didn’t want to read anything else. I was in a funk for days after finishing it knowing that nothing else would measure up. I laughed until I cried. Then I wept with sorrow until I couldn’t read the pages. I fell in love with every busted up character in this book and the town of Biloxi, Mississippi. This is a loving portrait of present day America: imperfect, ridiculous, dangerous, yet still inspiring. I don’t know what I have to do to get you to read this book, but I ain’t too proud to beg. 

Anatomy of a Miracle by Jonathan Miles ($27.00*, Hogarth Press), recommended by Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, VA.

The Sparsholt Affair by Alan HollinghurstThe Sparsholt Affair is a novel about time and memory. As you read each section, you see how time has changed England and these characters. Hollinghurst is so good at moments, I found myself slowing down so I wouldn't miss anything. Somehow, he's attuned to the frequencies of human interaction invisible to most writers. Such a pleasure to read.

The Sparsholt Affair by Alan Hollinghurst ($28.95*, Knopf Publishing Group), recommended by Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA.

I Found My Tribe by Ruth Fitzmaurice Oh my! Such lovely poetic writing that detail such difficult times! Ruth is surviving in a household of chaos and illness and she paints the reality of an extremely painful situation as her husband, Simon, suffers from ALS and is immobile. Although she lives with caregivers who are in her house constantly and 5 children who have had to deal with a Dadda who can’t play with them, she has managed to find meaning and love in her life full of sadness and loss. This she does because she has many friends who love her and children who bring her joy. It is an amazing memoir! I loved her rambling style of writing which is so reflective of her chaotic life but so expressive! That she finds joy in the midst of her suffering makes me grateful for all that I have. A must read!

I Found My Tribe by Ruth Fitzmaurice ($25.00*, Bloomsbury USA), recommended by Page & Palette, Fairhope, AL.

The House of Broken Angels by Luis Alberto UrreaThis book is beautiful in its writing, voice, and sadness. His books continue to get better with each new one. I am excited to hand this over to our customers who are already fans of his and I'm looking forward to creating new fans of Urrea through this book. 

The House of Broken Angels by Luis Alberto Urrea ($27.00*, Little, Brown and Company), recommended by Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC.

Guardian Angels and Other Monsters by Daniel H. WilsonFrom the author or Robopocalypse and A Clockwork Dynasty, a collection of futuristic short stories that would feel at home as episodes of Black Mirror on Netflix. A great balance of stories, there wasn't a single one I didn't like. Full of melancholy, dread, thrilling action, quiet loveliness, emotion, and of course, lots of robots, there's something here for every kind of science fiction fan. Highly recommended!

Guardian Angels and Other Monsters by Daniel H. Wilson ($16.00*, Viking), recommended by Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, VA.