GREAT READS HANDPICKED BY GREAT SOUTHERN BOOKSELLERS...

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  • Above the Waterfall by Ron Rash [Winner]

    Above the Waterfall
    by Ron Rash 
    Ecco Press, Hardcover, 9780062349316, 272pp.

     WHAT BOOKSELLERS ARE SAYING... 
    "Beautiful language, I could not put this book down. Read it in one day." ~ Garden District Bookshop, New Orleans, LA

    In this poetic and haunting tale set in contemporary Appalachia, New York Times bestselling author Ron Rash illuminates lives shaped by violence and a powerful connection to the land.

    Les, a long-time sheriff just three-weeks from retirement, contends with the ravages of crystal meth and his own duplicity in his small Appalachian town.

    Becky, a park ranger with a harrowing past, finds solace amid the lyrical beauty of this patch of North Carolina.

    Enduring the mistakes and tragedies that have indelibly marked them, they are drawn together by a reverence for the natural world. When an irascible elderly local is accused of poisoning a trout stream, Les and Becky are plunged into deep and dangerous waters, forced to navigate currents of disillusionment and betrayal that will force them to question themselves and test their tentative bond - and threaten to carry them over the edge.

    Echoing the heartbreaking beauty of William Faulkner and the spiritual isolation of Carson McCullers, Above the Waterfall demonstrates once again the prodigious talent of "a gorgeous, brutal writer" (Richard Price) hailed as "one of the great American authors at work today" (Janet Maslin, New York Times).

  • Bull Mountain by Brian Panowich [Winner]

    Bull Mountain
    by Brian Panowich 
    G.P. Putnam's Sons, Hardcover, 9780399173967, 304pp.

     WHAT BOOKSELLERS ARE SAYING... 
    "Reads like a twisty, dark TV series you can't help but binge-watch." ~ Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA

    Clayton Burroughs comes from a long line of outlaws. For generations, the Burroughs clan has made its home on Bull Mountain in North Georgia, running shine, pot, and meth over six state lines, virtually untouched by the rule of law. To distance himself from his family's criminal empire, Clayton took the job of sheriff in a neighboring community to keep what peace he can. But when a federal agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms shows up at Clayton's office with a plan to shut down the mountain, his hidden agenda will pit brother against brother, test loyalties, and could lead Clayton down a path to self-destruction.

    In a sweeping narrative spanning decades and told from alternating points of view, the novel brilliantly evokes the atmosphere of the mountain and its inhabitants: forbidding, loyal, gritty, and ruthless. A story of family the lengths men will go to protect it, honor it, or in some cases destroy it Bull Mountain is an incredibly assured debut that heralds a major new talent in fiction.

  • Dispatches from Pluto: Lost and Found in the Mississippi Delta by Richard Grant [Winner]

     alt= Dispatches from Pluto: Lost and Found in the Mississippi Delta
    by Richard Grant
    Simon & Schuster, Paperback, 9781476709642, 320pp.

     WHAT BOOKSELLERS ARE SAYING... 
    "Richard Grant brings clarity, insight, and wit through his outsider's observations of a small and forgotten community in the Mississippi Delta. The situations he writes of and the people he comes to know as friends are brought warmly and enrichingly to life as he settles his family in a rotting and dilapidated plantation home in Pluto, Mississippi." ~ Pass Books, Pass Christian, MS

    Mississippi's #1 Bestseller of 2015 (The Clarion-Ledger) and a Southern Indie Bestseller. Adventure writer Richard Grant takes on "the most American place on Earth" - the enigmatic, beautiful, often derided Mississippi Delta.

    Richard Grant and his girlfriend were living in a shoebox apartment in New York City when they decided on a whim to buy an old plantation house in the Mississippi Delta. Dispatches from Pluto is their journey of discovery into this strange and wonderful American place. Imagine A Year In Provence with alligators and assassins, or Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil with hunting scenes and swamp-to-table dining.

    On a remote, isolated strip of land, three miles beyond the tiny community of Pluto, Richard and his girlfriend, Mariah, embark on a new life. They learn to hunt, grow their own food, and fend off alligators, snakes, and varmints galore. They befriend an array of unforgettable local characters - blues legend T-Model Ford, cookbook maven Martha Foose, catfish farmers, eccentric millionaires, and the actor Morgan Freeman. Grant brings an adept, empathetic eye to the fascinating people he meets, capturing the rich, extraordinary culture of the Delta, while tracking its utterly bizarre and criminal extremes. Reporting from all angles as only an outsider can, Grant also delves deeply into the Delta's lingering racial tensions. He finds that de facto segregation continues. Yet even as he observes major structural problems, he encounters many close, loving, and interdependent relationships between black and white families - and good reasons for hope.

    Dispatches from Pluto is a book as unique as the Delta itself. It's lively, entertaining, and funny, containing a travel writer's flair for in-depth reporting alongside insightful reflections on poverty, community, and race. It's also a love story, as the nomadic Grant learns to settle down. He falls not just for his girlfriend but for the beguiling place they now call home. Mississippi, Grant concludes, is the best-kept secret in America.

  • Jacksonland: President Andrew Jackson, Cherokee Chief John Ross, and a Great American Land Grab by Steve Inskeep [Winner]

     alt=Jacksonland: President Andrew Jackson, Cherokee Chief John Ross, and a Great American Land Grab
    by Steve Inskeep 
    Penguin Press, Hardcover, 9781594205569, 448pps.

     WHAT BOOKSELLERS ARE SAYING... 
    "Great history! Loved the book, very well written." ~ Books Unlimited, Franklin, NC

    Jacksonland is the thrilling narrative history of two men - President Andrew Jackson and Cherokee chief John Ross - who led their respective nations at a crossroads of American history. Five decades after the Revolutionary War, the United States approached a constitutional crisis. At its center stood two former military comrades locked in a struggle that tested the boundaries of our fledgling democracy. Jacksonland is their story. One man we recognize: Andrew Jackson - war hero, populist, and exemplar of the expanding South - whose first major initiative as president instigated the massive expulsion of Native Americans known as the Trail of Tears.

    The other is a half-forgotten figure: John Ross - a mixed-race Cherokee politician and diplomat - who used the United States' own legal system and democratic ideals to oppose Jackson. Representing one of the Five Civilized Tribes who had adopted the ways of white settlers - cultivating farms, publishing a newspaper in their own language, and sending children to school - Ross championed the tribes' cause all the way to the Supreme Court. He gained allies like Senator Henry Clay, Chief Justice John Marshall, and even Davy Crockett. In a fight that seems at once distant and familiar, Ross and his allies made their case in the media, committed civil disobedience, and benefited from the first mass political action by American women. Their struggle contained ominous overtures of later events like the Civil War and set the pattern for modern-day politics. At stake in this struggle was the land of the Five Civilized Tribes. In shocking detail, Jacksonland reveals how Jackson, as a general, extracted immense wealth from his own armies' conquest of native lands. Later, as president, Jackson set in motion the seizure of tens of millions of acres - "Jacksonland" - in today's Deep South.

    Jacksonland is the work of renowned journalist Steve Inskeep, cohost of NPR's Morning Edition, who offers here a heart-stopping narrative masterpiece, a tragedy of American history that feels ripped from the headlines in its immediacy, drama, and relevance to our lives. Harrowing, inspiring, and deeply moving, Inskeep's Jacksonland is the story of America at a moment of transition, when the fate of states and nations was decided by the actions of two heroic yet tragically opposed men.

    CANDICE MILLARD, author of Destiny of the Republic and The River of Doubt: "Inskeep tells this, one of the most tragic and transformative stories in American history, in swift, confident, colorful strokes. So well, and so intimately, does he know his subject that the reader comes away feeling as if Jackson and Ross's epic struggle for the future of their nations took place yesterday rather than nearly two hundred years ago."

  • Mosquitoland by David Arnold [Winner]

    Mosquitoland
    by David Arnold 
    Viking Books for Young Readers, Hardcover, 9780451470775, 352pp

     WHAT BOOKSELLERS ARE SAYING... 
    "Mim's voice in this amazing amalgam of a love story, a road trip novel, and a coming-of-age story, will stay with you long after you finish." ~ Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC

    After the sudden collapse of her family, Mim Malone is dragged from her home in northern Ohio to the "wastelands" of Mississippi, where she lives in a medicated milieu with her dad and new stepmom. Before the dust has a chance to settle, she learns her mother is sick back in Cleveland.

    So she ditches her new life and hops aboard a northbound Greyhound bus to her real home and her real mother, meeting a quirky cast of fellow travelers along the way. But when her thousand-mile journey takes a few turns she could never see coming, Mim must confront her own demons, redefining her notions of love, loyalty, and what it means to be sane.

    Told in an unforgettable, kaleidoscopic voice, "Mosquitoland" is a modern American odyssey, as hilarious as it is heartbreaking.

  • My Sunshine Away by M.O. Walsh [Winner]

    My Sunshine Away
    by M.O. Walsh
    G.P. Putnam's Sons, Hardcover, 9780399169526, 320pp.

    Named A Book of the Year by NPR, The Dallas Morning News, Kirkus Reviews, and Booklist. 

     WHAT BOOKSELLERS ARE SAYING... 
    "This debut author spins a tale that will grab you from the first page and keep you turning pages until the last." ~ Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC

    Instant New York Times Bestseller / An Entertainment Weekly "Must List" Pick / "I really loved this book... I can't praise it enough." ~Anne Rice

    It was the summer everything changed.

    My Sunshine Away unfolds in a Baton Rouge neighborhood best known for cookouts on sweltering summer afternoons, cauldrons of spicy crawfish, and passionate football fandom. But in the summer of 1989, when fifteen-year-old Lindy Simpson free spirit, track star, and belle of the block experiences a horrible crime late one evening near her home, it becomes apparent that this idyllic stretch of Southern suburbia has a dark side, too.

    In My Sunshine Away, M.O. Walsh brilliantly juxtaposes the enchantment of a charmed childhood with the gripping story of a violent crime, unraveling families, and consuming adolescent love. Acutely wise and deeply honest, it is an astonishing and page-turning debut about the meaning of family, the power of memory, and our ability to forgive.

  • Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty [Winner]

    Serafina and the Black Cloak
    by Robert Beatty 
    Disney-Hyperion, Hardcover, 9781484709016, 304pp.

     WHAT BOOKSELLERS ARE SAYING... 
    "A wonderfully thrilling mystery for young readers that is as much a celebration of being 'different' as it is pitch-perfect creepiness." ~ Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA

    An exciting new mystery-thriller about an unusual girl who lives secretly in the basement of the grand Biltmore Estate and must solve a dark and dangerous mystery. This Disney Hyperion novel became a New York Times Bestseller in the first week of its release, and has been a smash hit ever since.

    "Never go into the forest, for there are many dangers there, and they will ensnare your soul."

    Serafina has never had a reason to disobey her pa and venture beyond the grounds of Biltmore Estate. There's plenty to explore in Mr. and Mrs. Vanderbilt's vast and oppulent home, but she must take care to never be seen. None of the rich folk upstairs know that Serafina exists; she and her pa, the estate's maintenance man, have lived in the basement for as long as Serafina can remember. She has learned to prowl through the darkened corridors at night, to sneak and hide, using the mansion's hidden doors and secret passageways.

    But when children at the estate start disappearing, only Serafina knows the clues to follow. A terrifying man in a black cloak stalks Biltmore's corridors at night. Following her own harrowing escape, Serafina risks everything by joining forces with Braeden Vanderbilt, the young nephew of Biltmore's owners. Braeden and Serafina must uncover the Man in the Black Cloak's true identity before all of the children vanish one by one.

    Serafina's hunt leads her into the very forest that she has been taught to fear, where she discovers a forgotten legacy of magic. In order to save the children of Biltmore, Serafina must not only face her darkest enemy, but delve into the strange mystery of her own identity.

  • Soul Food Love: Healthy Recipes Inspired by One Hundred Years of Cooking in a Black Family by Alice Randall; Caroline Randall Williams [Winner]

    Soul Food Love: Healthy Recipes Inspired by One Hundred Years of Cooking in a Black Family
    by Alice Randall; Caroline Randall Williams 
    Clarkson Potter Publishers, Hardcover, 9780804137935, 224pp.

     WHAT BOOKSELLERS ARE SAYING... 
    "I really appreciate the goal of this cookbook - to make Soul food quick, inexpensive, tasty and healthy! The family history part of the cookbook was very interesting and I appreciated the honesty of the authors. I loved the pictures of the family & the finished product of the recipes." ~ Joe’s Place, Greenville, SC

    A mother-daughter duo reclaims and redefines soul food by mining the traditions of four generations of black women and creating 80 healthy recipes to help everyone live longer and stronger.

    In May 2012, bestselling author Alice Randall penned an op-ed in the New York Times titled "Black Women and Fat," chronicling her quest to be "the last fat black woman" in her family. She turned to her daughter, Caroline Randall Williams, for help. Together they overhauled the way they cook and eat, translating recipes and traditions handed down by generations of black women into easy, affordable, and healthful - yet still indulgent - dishes, such as Peanut Chicken Stew, Red Bean and Brown Rice Creole Salad, Fiery Green Beans, and Sinless Sweet Potato Pie. Soul Food Love relates the authors' fascinating family history (which mirrors that of much of black America in the twentieth century), explores the often fraught relationship African-American women have had with food, and forges a powerful new way forward that honors their cultural and culinary heritage. This is what the strong black kitchen looks like in the twenty-first century.

  • The Bone Tree by Greg Iles [Winner]

    The Bone Tree
    by Greg Iles 
    William Morrow & Company, Hardcover, 9780062311115, 816pp.

     WHAT BOOKSELLERS ARE SAYING... 
    "Iles has written an intense, tightly plotted narrative with more than one shocking turn of events that will have readers racing to finish, but then pining away for the third installment of this massive and electrifying trilogy." ~ Square Books, Oxford, MS

    From #1 New York Times bestselling author Greg Iles comes the second novel in his Natchez Burning trilogy which also includes Natchez Burning and the upcoming Mississippi Blood an epic trilogy of blood and race, family and justice, featuring Southern lawyer Penn Cage.

    Former prosecutor Penn Cage and his fiancee, reporter and publisher Caitlin Masters, have barely escaped with their lives after being attacked by wealthy businessman Brody Royal and his Double Eagles, a KKK sect with ties to some of Mississippi's most powerful men. But the real danger has only begun as FBI Special Agent John Kaiser warns Penn that Brody wasn't the true leader of the Double Eagles. The puppeteer who actually controls the terrorist group is a man far more fearsome: the chief of the state police's Criminal Investigations Bureau, Forrest Knox.

    The only way Penn can save his father, Dr. Tom Cage who is fleeing a murder charge as well as corrupt cops bent on killing him is either to make a devil's bargain with Knox or destroy him. While Penn desperately pursues both options, Caitlin uncovers the real story behind a series of unsolved civil rights murders that may hold the key to the Double Eagles downfall. The trail leads her deep into the past, into the black backwaters of the Mississippi River, to a secret killing ground used by slave owners and the Klan for over two hundred years...a place of terrifying evil known only as the bone tree.

    The Bone Tree is an explosive, action-packed thriller full of twisting intrigue and deadly secrets, a tale that explores the conflicts and casualties that result when the darkest truths of American history come to light. It puts us inside the skin of a noble man who has always fought for justice now finally pushed beyond his limits.

    Just how far will Penn Cage, the hero we thought we knew, go to protect those he loves?