Read This! Books with Street Cred...

Jasmine Green Rescues: A Piglet Called Truffle by Helen Peters, Ellie Snowdon (Illustrator)This fun new series will get early readers a chance to love reading. Fun and beautiful while pulling at the strings of your heart for the love of animals. Delightful

Jasmine Green Rescues: A Piglet Called Truffle by Helen Peters, Ellie Snowdon (Illustrator) (List price: $14.99, Walker Books US), recommended by Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC.

The Woman in the Mirror by Rebecca JamesA haunted manor, star crossed lovers, a good guy to save the day – what more could you ask for in a wonderfully creepy gothic thriller set in the 1940s and in modern day? How about a really great surprise ending?

The Woman in the Mirror by Rebecca James (List price: $26.99, Minotaur Books), recommended by Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.

 Current Southern Indie Bestseller List...

Southern Bestsellers

For the week ending 5/24/2020.

HARDCOVER FICTION
HARDCOVER NONFICTION
1. Camino Winds
John Grisham, Doubleday, $28.95, 9780385545938
2. The Book of Longings
Sue Monk Kidd, Viking, $28, 9780525429760
3. Rodham
Curtis Sittenfeld, Random House, $28, 9780399590917
4. The Last Trial
Scott Turow, Grand Central, $29, 9781538748138
5. All Adults Here
Emma Straub, Riverhead Books, $27, 9781594634697
1. The Splendid and the Vile
Erik Larson, Crown, $32, 9780385348713
2. Untamed
Glennon Doyle, The Dial Press, $28, 9781984801258
3. Educated
Tara Westover, Random House, $28, 9780399590504
4. The Bird Way: A New Look at How Birds Talk, Work, Play, Parent, and Think
Jennifer Ackerman, Penguin Press, $28, 9780735223011
5. Becoming
Michelle Obama, Crown, $32.50, 9781524763138

 A SIBA Okra Pick | SIBA Book Award winners and finalists! |  Special to the Southern List |  Reader Meet Writer Author Series

 From the Current Crop of Fresh Okra Picks...

A Taste of SageA Taste of Sage by Yaffa S. Santos
Harper Paperbacks, May, 2020

"When you mix delicious food and hate to love romance in a book, you instantly have me hooked. Julien is a celebrated chef who is known for his good looks but bad attitude. Lumi can't stand Julien, but tastes his cooking because it looks so irresistible and she's overcome with intense emotions and has her wondering if she wants more. If you are looking for something fun, tasty, and will test your senses, you will enjoy this book."
~ Deanna Bailey, Story on the Square, McDonough, GA


From talented new writer, Yaffa S. Santos, comes this unforgettable, heartwarming, and hilarious rom-com about chefs, cooking, love, and self-discovery that is a cross between The Hating Game and Sweetbitter.

Lumi Santana is a chef with the gift of synesthesia—she can perceive a person's emotions just by tasting their cooking. Despite being raised by a single mother who taught her that dreams and true love were silly fairy tales, she decides to take a chance and puts her heart and savings into opening a fusion restaurant in Inwood, Manhattan. The restaurant offers a mix of the Dominican cuisine she grew up with and other world cuisines that have been a source of culinary inspiration to her.

When Lumi's eclectic venture fails, she is forced to take a position as a sous chef at a staid, traditional French restaurant in midtown owned by Julien Dax, a celebrated chef known for his acid tongue as well as his brilliant smile. Lumi and Julien don't get along in the kitchen--to say Lumi is irritated by Julien's smug attitude is an understatement, and she secretly vows never to taste his cooking. Little does she know that her resolve doesn't stand a chance against Julien's culinary prowess.

As Julien produces one delectable dish after another, each one tempting Lumi with its overwhelming aromas and gorgeous presentations, she can no longer resist and samples one of his creations. She isn't prepared for the feelings that follow as she's overcome with intense emotions. She begins to crave his cooking throughout the day, which throws a curveball in her plan to save up enough money and move on as soon as possible. Plus, there's also the matter of Esme, Julien's receptionist who seems to always be near and watching. As the attraction between Lumi and Julien simmers, Lumi experiences a tragedy that not only complicates her professional plans, but her love life as well...

Clever, witty, and romantic, A Taste of Sage is sure to delight and entertain readers until the very last page.

 The Latest from Lady Banks' Commonplace Book...

Like every thinking, feeling person in this country, her ladyship, the editor has spent the last week becoming more and more horrified by the violence that has erupted across the country. "The violence," she writes, as if it were some sort of natural disaster, like a hurricane, when in truth it is OUR violence. The burning cars, destroyed shops, bleeding protesters. These things are not the fault of a virus racing through the population. These are the terrible acts of violence people have committed upon each other. There is no escaping the reality of that.

Her ladyship was left reeling between grief and anger, each so entangled with the other it was sometimes hard to know which emotion she we feeling. It seems to her there should be some other word which encompasses both.

As she has done her entire life when troubled or in turmoil, her ladyship, the editor, revisited the books that have helped her to understand and make sense of a senseless world. This past weekend, she re-read every book she owned by James Baldwin. In particular an interview he had with Studs Terkel in 1961:

"I'm not mad at this country anymore: I am very worried about it. I'm not worried about the Negroes in the country even, so much as I am about the country. The country doesn't know what it has done to Negroes. And the country has no notion whatever--and this is disastrous--of what it has done to itself. North and South have yet to assess the price they pay for keeping the Negro in his place; and, to my point of view, it shows in every single level of our lives, from the most public to the most private."
--James Baldwin to Studs Terkel, 1961

You can listen to the full interview here

Of course in a crisis book people turn to books. Our faith that books can change our lives for the better and build bridges between people remains a core belief. "Books are good. Books help. We believe that." posted Scuppernong Books in Greensboro, SC after their windows were broken. "What's the last book that shifted your worldview?" asked Michelle Cavalier of Cavalier House Books in Denham Springs, Louisiana in the store newsletter this morning. Hers was Born a Crime by Trevor Noah:

Read about our world -- Cavalier House Books, Denham Springs, GA

An Antiracist Reading List -- Ibram X. Kendi

Black Lives Matter -- The Red Balloon Bookshop in St. Paul, MN

Read independently, and shop local now so you can shop local later.

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 Southern Books | Authors | Literary News...

Books That Made Me Dream Big
Carrie J. Knowles

The Inevitable PastCarrie Jane Knowles

When I was nine, I had a frightening case of mumps. The doctor told my mother that I should not go outside or be exposed to bright lights. So, she confined me to my room, turned off the overhead light and closed the drapes.

Complete darkness, she believed, was the cure that would save me.

In an act of mercy, and a way to keep me in bed, she allowed me to turn on a small bedside lamp and gave me her favorite book: Good Morning, Miss Dove, by Francis Gray Patton.

It was my first real book. No pictures. Just words and a world of everyday people who had a teacher they loved.

By the end, I loved Miss Dove, as well.

Miss Dove Great Expectations The Once and Future KIng Out of Africa
The Log of the Sea of Cortez The Princess Bride

After Miss Dove, my mother gave me Charles Dicken’s Great Expectations. I devoured it, and had fevered dreams of Miss Havisham, sitting in her decaying house, wearing a soiled and tattered wedding dress, angry and determined to exact revenge on all men in the world.

When I recovered from the mumps, my mother took me to the library. With a wink and a nod to the librarian, I was welcomed into the wonder of the adult section.

My world exploded.

What I had loved about Miss Dove was that she was someone I might know. She was a teacher. Everyday. Ordinary. But, extraordinary in how she lived her life.

What I loved about Dickens were his bigger than life, wicked characters who jumped off the page with their wild ideas and dangerous daring.

These two books set the bar for all other books that came in their wake.

Then the librarian introduced me to T.H. White’s The Once and Future King.  There I met the gawky Arthur. A man-child. An ordinary person called on to do extraordinary things. He was magnificent and mortal. But, best of all, he had a man of magic to mentor him.

Oh, Merlin! You lived backwards and knew everything that was going to happen. Why aren’t you here today to prepare us for what’s going to happen next in our very futures?

I reread The Once and Future King every couple of years just to get back to center. It gives me hope. Makes me dream big again. I wore the covers off my hardback copy and eventually had to glue the whole thing back together using a wide strip of handmade lace.

Equally life-enhancing and magical to me are two extraordinary non-fiction books: Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen and John Steinbeck’s masterful retelling of a trip with his best friend, Ed Ricketts, The Log From the Sea of Cortez.

I have read both of these books again and again and given them as gifts.

I never teach a writing workshop without talking about the brilliant opening line of Out of Africa: “I had a farm in Africa.”

That’s the whole book. Right there. Six words. Perfection.

And, then there’s the first book that ever made me laugh out loud, William Goldman’s The Princess Bride…don’t get me started.


Carrie Jane Knowles has published dozens of short stories and hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles, and four novels: Lillian’s Garden (Roundfire Books, 2013), Ashoan’s Rug (Roundfire Books, 2013), A Garden Wall in Provence (Owl Canyon Press, 2017), The Inevitable Past (Owl Canyon Press, 2020), a collection of short fiction, Black Tie Optional: 17 Stories (Owl Canyon Press, 2019) and a writing workbook, A Self-Guided Workbook and Gentle Tour on Learning How to Write Stories from Start-to-Finish (Owl Canyon Press, 2020). Her non-fiction memoir about her family’s struggles with their mother’s Alzheimer’s, The Last Childhood: A Family Story of Alzheimer's, was originally published by Three Rivers Press.



Parapalooza! Paragraphs Worth Spreading

Southern Indie Lit Crossword Puzzle Book

Do you know your Southern lit?

The Southern Indie Lit Crossword Puzzle Book

We dare you to use a pen on these crossword puzzles, each inspired by one of the winning titles of the SIBA Book Award, honoring ten years of the very best in Southern literature as chosen by the people who would know...Southern Independent Booksellers!

A great gift for your book club, for puzzle-lovers, and anyone who loves Southern literature. $9.95 paperback. Available at Southern Indie Bookstores. Need some hints or looking for answers? Pssst.