Lady Banks Bookshelf

Lady Banks Pick of the Week


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Week of March 7, 2019
The Commonplace Book | Read This! | Okra Picks | Southern Indie Bestsellers | Events
{A bookstore is like a book church.}
In which a bookstore opens and a community is grateful, Ms. Angie Thomas curses in church, and Mr. Albert Woodfox's mama teaches him the importance of keeping his word. The lesson works.


Dearest Readers

Main Street ReadsLast week, her ladyship the editor wrote about a community's response to the news that their bookstore was closing. It seems only fair to follow this week with the news of bookstores that have opened or kept their doors open.

"Thank you for giving us a bookstore!"

When Main Street Reads threw open its doors for the first time in Summerville, South Carolina, the mood was jubilant. "Thank you for giving us a bookstore" wrote one person after the Grand Opening Weekend party." So happy to have this bookstore here!" said another.


Sassafras on SuttonElsewhere, Sassafras on Sutton, a new bookstore in Black Mountain, North Carolina held a "gentle reopening" last month after it was forced to close down in December when the roof of its historic building failed during the winter snow storms. "My son leapt out, and he was like, "'They're open, they're open!'" said a happy visitor.


In fact, according to the Southern Booksellers Alliance -- the trade organization that represents independent bookstores in the South, this past year has seen over twenty new bookstores added to their membership list, many of which are new stores, soon to open, or stores under new ownership.


It is a common when discussing the importance of successful small businesses to a community's economy, to talk about the many ways they are invested in and give back to their community: they donate to local charities, pay local taxes, hire local people, participate in local politics, raise their families in the local neighborhoods. They host events for local writers and groups, and raise money for schools and libraries and local causes.


Story on the SquareWhen Story on the Square in McDonough, GA recently had their "soft" opening, signaling the official completion of the bookstore/bar after several years of renovation of their historic building, the owner said "I was challenged to come up with a business idea that would benefit my community. I immediately thought of a bookstore with a bar."


"a business that would benefit my community." That is, perhaps, one of the fundamental realities of the small brick-and-mortar business. It is part of its community, by default. A community does well when its local businesses do well.


Oh, and don't forget the books! An independent bookstore may be cherished because of the support it gives local authors, or the storytimes it hosts, or the work it does to promote literacy. But it lives or dies by how many books it sells. And that very much depends on how much the store is trusted by its customers to put the right book in the hands of the right reader. As Julia Kudravetz of New Dominion Bookshop in Charlottesville, Virginia, said in a recent interview, "we can't have all the books but we try to have good books."

New Dominion Bookshop

"We can't have all the books but we try to have good books."


"I think," she goes on to say, "[the shop] is like a book Church...I hope it will always be a place where people can come and read and share stories and find things that you know will change them."




Read independently, and shop local.

her ladyship, the editar
her ladyship, the editor
Lady Banks' Pick of the Week
Lady Banks' Commonplace Book
Excerpted noteworthy poetry and prose from her ladyship's bedside reading stack.


In the Beginning


Solitary by Albert WoodfoxI was born in the “Negro” wing of Charity Hospital in New Orleans, the day after Mardi Gras, February 19, 1947. My mom, Ruby Edwards, was 17. My father was gone. He left her, she told me, because she was from the wrong side of the tracks. We lived in New Orleans until I was five and my mom fell in love with a man named James B. Mable, a chef in the U.S. Navy. He was the first and only man I ever called Daddy. They got married and had four more children, a girl and three boys.


We moved six or seven times to different naval bases during those years. Daddy’s job was to feed the crew of whatever ship he was assigned to. He used to take me onto the ships on weekends when Navy personnel were allowed to bring family. I remember walking to the edge of an aircraft carrier to see the water and he grabbed me by the back of my shirt so I wouldn’t be blown away by strong winds.


I was a rebellious child. When I was seven or eight, I challenged my mom to a wrestling match. “I can beat you,” I told her. “If I win you have to wear a dress all day,” she said. It was the worst punishment I could think of but I agreed. She pinned me in a few seconds. I don’t know where she got the dress but I wore it. At least I was keeping my word, she said. “A man ain’t nothing without his word,” she told me. I heard that my whole childhood.


--Albert Woodfox, Solitary (Grove Press, 2019) 9780802129086

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Read This! Books with Street Ced
Recommended reading from Southern Indie Booksellers

The Wall by John Lanchester
The Wall is mesmerizing: Lanchester's plain slightly flat, sort of arch style weirdly highlights the deeply disturbing apocryphal apocalyptic and, not to put too fine a point on it, Trumpian (as if you couldn't tell from the title) plot. This is so fun, this book. I read it in one sitting. 

The Wall by John Lanchester ($25.95*, W. W. Norton & Company), recommended by Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC.






We Must Be Brave by Frances Liardet
Written in gorgeous prose, We Must Be Brave is going to be a force this publishing season and for years to come. Many books have been written about the woes of World War II. None have tackled the love between a woman and a child quite like this one. I am always seeking just one more unique novel depicting the angst of war. This is this year's big one!

We Must Be Brave by Frances Liardet ($27.00*, G.P. Putnam's Sons), recommended by Copperfish Books, Punta Gorda, FL.





What We Buried by Kate A. Boorman
I cannot wait until this book is published because I need to discuss it! Loved the complex relationship of siblings Liv and Jory, and their tangled, twisted memories of growing up with less than ideal parents. Child beauty queens, Maskmovie references (the Cher and Eric Stoltz movie), disappearances, family feuds, blackout rages, road trips and nightmarish landscapes help to make this one of the most unique Young Adult books I've read in a long time!

What We Buried by Kate A. Boorman ($17.99*, Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)), recommended by Fountain Books, Richmond, VA.

More bookseller recommendations


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News of a literary nature

An American Marriage"After An American Marriage came out, I still had my normal life for a while, living in my apartment in New York at the top of an owner-occupied brownstone. If I fell out of my bed, I’d land in the bathtub."

keep reading: Tayari Jones on Oprah's Book Club



"It's a magical little place--Fannie Flagg"

keep reading: Page & Palette Bookstore and the founding spirit of Fairhope, Alabama


"So you want to own a bookstore..."

keep reading: The Book Worm in Powder Springs, GA, goes Co-op


On the Come Up at Bookmarks


On the Come Up"I was working at a church at the time...I wrote all those curse words working at the church. God forgives me."

keep reading: Angie Thomas on the Come Up



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The Okra Picks: The winter season


Make a New Year’s Resolution to read more Okra! Southern Independent booksellers have chosen the 2019 Winter Okra Picks – a collection of the best forthcoming Southern books of the season. Add a bit of tasty reading to your literary diet. Serve yourself a helping of Okra Picks.


"An inspiring yet infuriating true story of one man's perseverance against all odds in the face of a racist and unjust judicial and prison system."
--Bobby, Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe, Asheville, NC

Solitary by Albert WoodfoxThe extraordinary saga of a man who, despite spending four decades in solitary confinement for a crime of which he was innocent, inspired fellow prisoners, and now all of us, with his humanity.


Solitary is the unforgettable life story of a man who served more than four decades in solitary confinement—in a 6-foot by 9-foot cell, 23 hours a day, in notorious Angola prison in Louisiana—all for a crime he did not commit. That Albert Woodfox survived was, in itself, a feat of extraordinary endurance against the violence and deprivation he faced daily. That he was able to emerge whole from his odyssey within America’s prison and judicial systems is a triumph of the human spirit, and makes his book a clarion call to reform the inhumanity of solitary confinement in the U.S. and around the world.


Arrested often as a teenager in New Orleans, inspired behind bars in his early twenties to join the Black Panther Party because of its social commitment and code of living, Albert was serving a 50-year sentence in Angola for armed robbery when on April 17, 1972, a white guard was killed. Albert and another member of the Panthers were accused of the crime and immediately put in solitary confinement by the warden.


Without a shred of actual evidence against them, their trial was a sham of justice that gave them life sentences in solitary. Decades passed before Albert gained a lawyer of consequence; even so, sixteen more years and multiple appeals were needed before he was finally released in February 2016.


Remarkably self-aware that anger or bitterness would have destroyed him in solitary confinement, sustained by the shared solidarity of two fellow Panthers, Albert turned his anger into activism and resistance. The Angola 3, as they became known, resolved never to be broken by the grinding inhumanity and corruption that effectively held them for decades as political prisoners. He survived to give us Solitary, a chronicle of rare power and humanity that proves the better spirits of our nature can thrive against any odds.


Solitary by Albert Woodfox
March 3, 2019 | Grove | 9780802129086


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Southern Indie Bestsellers

For the week ending March 3. Books on the Southern Indie Bestseller List that are southern in nature or have been recently recommended by southern indie booksellers.


Southern Indie Bestsellers

See the full list here.
The Southern Book Prize | A SIBA Okra Pick
Special to the Southern List | Read This Next!
Printable versions (PDF): Hardcover | Paperback | Children's

1. Where the Crawdads Sing
Delia Owens, Putnam, $26, 9780735219090
2. Black Leopard, Red Wolf
Marlon James, Riverhead, $30, 9780735220171
3. Circe
Madeline Miller, Little Brown, $27, 9780316556347
4. The Silent Patient
Alex Michaelides, Celadon Books, $26.99, 9781250301697
5. The Reckoning
John Grisham, Doubleday, $29.95, 9780385544153

1. Educated
Tara Westover, Random House, $28, 9780399590504
2. Becoming
Michelle Obama, Crown, $32.50, 9781524763138
3. The Threat
Andrew G. McCabe, St. Martin's, $29.99, 9781250207579
4. Dreyer's English
Benjamin Dreyer, Random House, $25, 9780812995701
5. Women Rowing North
Mary Pipher, Bloomsbury, $27, 9781632869609
Special to the Southern List

Sugar Run Mesha Maren, Algonquin Books, $26.95,  The Ruin of Kings Jenn Lyons, Tor, $24.99, Hillbilly Elegy J.D. Vance, Harper, $16.99, Hold Still Nina LaCour, Penguin, $10.99, 

FICTION of note

1. Where the Crawdads Sing
Delia Owens, Putnam, $26, 9780735219090
11. Sugar Run

Mesha Maren, Algonquin Books, $26.95, 9781616206215
13. Becoming Mrs. Lewis

Patti Callahan, Thomas Nelson, $25.99, 9780785224501
14. The Ruin of Kings
Jenn Lyons, Tor, $24.99, 9781250175489
15. The Chef
James Patterson, Max DiLallo, Little Brown, $28, 9780316453301

3. An American Marriage
Tayari Jones, Algonquin Books, $16.95, 9781616208684

3. The Last Castle
Denise Kiernan, Touchstone, $17, 9781476794051
5. Hillbilly Elegy
J.D. Vance, Harper, $16.99, 9780062300553
6. Shoe Dog
Phil Knight, Scribner, $20, 9781501135927
13. When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing
Daniel H. Pink, Riverhead, $17, 9780735210639
14. Men Explain Things to Me
Rebecca Solnit, Haymarket Books, $12.95, 9781608464661
15. They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us
Hanif Abdurraqib, Two Dollar Radio, $16.99, 9781937512651
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What's happening at Southern Indies across the South?
See the full calendar | Find a Southern Indie Bookstore near you.

An Evening with Greg Iles at CBU Theater  (author appearance)
Greg Iles | 3/8/2019, 6:00 PM | novel. | Memphis, TN

Buck Buchanan Booksigning  (author appearance)
Buck Buchanan | 03/08/2019, 07:00 pm | Murder on the Beach Mystery Bookstore | Delray Beach, FL

Darius Daughtry Book Reading and Discussion  (author appearance)
Darius Daughtry | 03/08/2019, 06:00 pm | Poetic Justice Books and Arts | Port St. Lucie, FL

Deborah Rine Returns  (author appearance)
Deborah Rine | 03/08/2019, 09:00 am | Sundog Books | Santa Rosa Beach, FL

Peter Heller signs The River  (author appearance)
Peter Heller | 03/08/2019, 05:00 pm | Lemuria Books | Jackson, MS

Author Event: Tim Johnston  (author appearance)
Tim Johnston | 03/08/2019, 07:00 pm | Page 158 Books | Wake Forest, NC

Nick Bruel - Bad Kitty: Kitten Trouble   (author appearance)
Nick Bruel | 03/08/2019, 07:00 pm | Quail Ridge Books | Raleigh, NC

GREEN DRINKS Stephanie Anderson, One Size Fits None with Lee Zacharias  (author appearance)
Stephanie Anderson | 03/08/2019, 06:00 pm | Scuppernong Books | Greensboro, NC

Alyson Richman  (author appearance)
Alyson Richman | 03/08/2019, 11:00 am | Litchfield Books | Pawleys Island, SC

YA author event with Julie Berry, author of Lovely War  (author appearance)
Julie Berry | 03/08/2019, 06:30 pm | Parnassus Books | Nashville, TN

I See Green Dinosaurs pancake art and book signing with author Kat Pigott and illustrator Mason Sibley   (author appearance)
Kat Pigott | 3/9/2019, 10:30 AM | The Conundrum | St. Francisville, LA

Children's Author David Harrison Returns!  (author appearance)
David Harrison | 03/09/2019, 10:00 am | Sundog Books | Santa Rosa Beach, FL

Circus Legends Extravaganza  (author appearance)
Tony Hernandez | 03/09/2019, 02:00 pm | Bookstore 1 Sarasota | Sarasota, FL

Mac Barnett: CIRCLE  (author appearance)
Mac Barnett | 03/09/2019, 11:00 am | Avid Bookshop | Athens, GA

Sissy: A Coming-of-Gender Story with Jacob Tobia Co-Sponsored by SFQP  (author appearance)
Jacob Tobia | 03/09/2019, 07:30 pm | Charis Books & More | Atlanta, GA

Patsy McClure will present her book, Addie  (author appearance)
Patsy McClure | 03/09/2019, 03:00 pm | City Lights Bookstore | Sylva, NC

Julie Hedgepeth Williams - Three Not-So-Ordinary Joes: A Plantation Newspaperman, a Printer’s Devil, an English Wit, and the Founding of Southern Li  (author appearance)
Julie Hedgepeth Williams | 03/09/2019, 02:00 pm | Quail Ridge Books | Raleigh, NC

Jerry Bledsoe, Do-Good Boy  (author appearance)
Jerry Bledsoe | 03/09/2019, 07:00 pm | Scuppernong Books | Greensboro, NC

Author event with Brian Noyes author of The Red Truck Bakery Cookbook  (author appearance)
Brian Noyes | 03/09/2019, 02:00 pm | Parnassus Books | Nashville, TN

Author Talk - Andy Parker - For Allison  (author appearance)
Andy Parker | 03/09/2019, 01:00 pm | Book No Further | Roanoke, VA

Free Financial Freedom Talk with Millennial Millionaire Grant Sabatier   (author appearance)
Grant Sabatier | 03/09/2019, 11:00 am | Fountain Bookstore | Richmond, VA

Kathleen Fitzgerald and SOLO: A CELEBRATION OF WOMEN ON THEIR OWN  (author appearance)
Kathleen Fitzgerald | 3/10/2019, 3:00 PM | Bookmarks | Winston-Salem, NC

Chef Jeanie Roland - Demo 1  (author appearance)
Jeanie Roland | 03/10/2019, 04:00 pm | Copperfish Books | Punta Gorda, FL

Linda Patterson, What we Do For Love: Cats in the Family  (author appearance)
Linda Patterson | 03/10/2019, 02:00 pm | McIntyre's Books | Pittsboro, NC

Author Event: Grant Sabatier  (author appearance)
Grant Sabatier | 03/10/2019, 01:15 pm | Page 158 Books | Wake Forest, NC

Author event with J Ronald M York author of Nathaniel & the Midnight Movers  (author appearance)
03/10/2019, 02:00 am | Parnassus Books | Nashville, TN

Taylor Jenkins Reid  (author appearance)
Taylor Jenkins Reid | 03/11/2019, 06:30 pm | Oxford Exchange | Tampa, FL

Howard Schultz | From the Ground Up  (author appearance)
Howard Schultz | 03/11/2019, 07:00 pm | A Cappella Books | Atlanta, GA

Ken Wells - GUMBO LIFE: Tales from the Roux Bayou  (author appearance)
Ken Wells | 03/11/2019, 06:00 pm | Octavia Books | New Orleans, LA

Michael Joseph Roberto discusses The Coming of the American Behemoth: The Origins of Fascism in the United  (author appearance)
Michael Roberto | 03/11/2019, 07:00 pm | Flyleaf Books | Chapel Hill, NC

George Singleton Book Talk & Signing  (author appearance)
George Singleton | 03/11/2019, 06:00 pm | Fiction Addiction | Greenville, SC

Salon@615 featuring Greg Iles author of Cemetery Road  (author appearance)
Greg Iles | 03/11/2019, 06:15 pm | Parnassus Books | Nashville, TN

Meet the Author: Kitty Felde  (author appearance)
Kitty Felde | 03/11/2019, 06:30 pm | Hooray For Books | Alexandria, VA

Greg Iles - Cemetery Road  (author appearance)
Greg Iles | 03/12/2019, 05:00 pm | Alabama Booksmith | Homewood, AL

Kris Radish  (author appearance)
Kris Radish | 03/12/2019, 06:00 pm | Copperfish Books | Punta Gorda, FL

Omari Scott Simmons presents Potential on the Periphery: College Access from the Ground Up  (author appearance)
Omari Scott | 03/12/2019, 06:00 pm | Malaprop's Bookstore & Cafe | Asheville, NC

Frances Mayes - See You in the Piazza: New Places to Discover in Italy (Reserved Seating Available)  (author appearance)
Frances Mayes | 03/12/2019, 07:00 pm | Quail Ridge Books | Raleigh, NC

L. Ray Deaton: Jungle Walk  (author appearance)
L. Ray Deaton | 03/12/2019, 05:00 pm | The Country Bookshop | Southern Pines, NC

Lunch & Lit with Mary Adkins   (author appearance)
Mary Adkins | 03/12/2019, 12:00 pm | M. Judson Booksellers | Greenville, SC

Author C H Hooks in Conversation with Adam Latham  (author appearance)
C.H. Hooks | 03/12/2019, 07:00 pm | Star Line Books | Chattanooga, TN

Beth Brickell Signs "In Their Own Voice"  (author appearance)
Beth Brickell | 3/12/2019, 5:00 PM | Wordsworth Bookstore | Little Rock, AR

Book Launch with Jessie Morgan-Owens  (author appearance)
Jessie Morgan-Owens | 3/12/2019, 6:30 PM | Blue Cypress Books | New Orleans, LA

Appalachian Reckoning at the Knoxville Museum of Art  (author appearance)
Meredith McCarroll | 3/12/2019, 7:00 PM | Union Avenue Books | Knoxville, TN

Brad Parks presents The Last Act - A Novel  (author appearance)
Brad Parks | 03/13/2019, 06:00 pm | Vero Beach Book Center | Vero Beach, FL

Ken Wells signs Gumbo Life  (author appearance)
Ken Wells | 03/13/2019, 05:00 pm | Lemuria Books | Jackson, MS

Paid In Spades Book Release  (author appearance)
Richard Helms | 03/13/2019, 05:00 pm | Firestorm Books & Coffee | Asheville, NC

Michael Mewshaw discusses The Lost Prince: A Search for Pat Conoy  (author appearance)
Michael Mewshaw | 03/13/2019, 07:00 pm | Flyleaf Books | Chapel Hill, NC

Jessica Wilkerson presents To Live Here, You Have to Fight, in conversation with Ronni Lundy and Erica Locklear  (author appearance)
Jessica Wilkerson | 03/13/2019, 07:00 pm | Malaprop's Bookstore & Cafe | Asheville, NC

Carla Buckley - The Liar's Child  (author appearance)
Carla Buckley | 03/13/2019, 05:00 pm | The Country Bookshop | Southern Pines, NC

C.H. Hooks at Union Ave Books  (author appearance)
C.H. Hooks | 3/13/2019, 6:00 PM | Union Avenue Books | Knoxville, TN

Robert Macomber  (author appearance)
Robert N. Macomber | 03/14/2019, 06:30 pm | Oxford Exchange | Tampa, FL

Dr. Cathy Rosenbaum  (author appearance)
Cathy Rosenbaum | 03/14/2019, 06:00 pm | Vero Beach Book Center | Vero Beach, FL

Paul Szep - Pulitzer Prize Winning Political Cartoonist  (author appearance)
Paul Szep | 03/14/2019, 02:00 pm | Bookstore 1 Sarasota | Sarasota, FL

Emily Carpenter Book Signing Until The Day I Die  (author appearance)
Emily Carpenter | 03/14/2019, 07:00 pm | Book Exchange | Marietta, GA

Alligator Zoo-Park Magic Author Reading  (author appearance)
C.H. Hooks | 03/14/2019, 06:00 pm | Firestorm Books & Coffee | Asheville, NC

Ohio University Press Omnibus Event  (author appearance)
Jim Minick | 03/14/2019, 07:00 pm | Malaprop's Bookstore & Cafe | Asheville, NC

Cara Robertson - The Trial of Lizzie Borden  (author appearance)
Cara Robertson | 03/14/2019, 07:00 pm | Quail Ridge Books | Raleigh, NC

George Singleton, Staff Picks: Stories  (author appearance)
George Singleton | 03/14/2019, 07:00 pm | Scuppernong Books | Greensboro, NC

Jeremiah Caleb - He Walks With Me  (author appearance)
Jeremiah Caleb | 03/14/2019, 02:00 pm | The Country Bookshop | Southern Pines, NC

In Conversation with William Gravely  (author appearance)
William B. Gravely | 03/14/2019, 07:00 pm | M. Judson Booksellers | Greenville, SC

Author event with Lynne Olson author of Madame Fourcade's Secret War  (author appearance)
Lynne Olson | 03/14/2019, 06:30 pm | Parnassus Books | Nashville, TN

In Conversation with B.A. Shapiro on The Art of Fiction: Portraying the Visual Arts with the Written Word   (author appearance)
B.A. Shapiro | 03/14/2019, 06:30 pm | Fountain Bookstore | Richmond, VA

Caroline Eubanks: This is My South  (author appearance)
Caroline Eubanks | 3/14/2019, 6:00 PM | novel. | Memphis, TN

Novel & Libro: Lit & Libations with Maurice Carlos Ruffin  (author appearance)
Maurice Carlos Ruffin | 3/14/2019, 6:00 PM | novel. | Memphis, TN


Authors Round the South |
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