Print Page   |   Contact Us   |   Sign In   |   Register
SIBA Express
Blog Home All Blogs
Search all posts for:   


View all (29) posts »

A Year of Okra

Posted By Nicki Leone, Wednesday, December 16, 2015

A Year of Okra

Okra PicksIt’s the time of year when people start to look back, assess how the past year has gone, think about the highs and the lows – the goals missed and the goals surpassed. The book industry is no different. Now is the time when “Best of” lists start to proliferate – the Best Books of the past year, the favorite books of the year, the most memorable, most important, most surprising….you get the idea.

SIBA’s own “best of” can be seen in the past year’s set of “Okra Picks” – a list of a dozen books picked for each season, upcoming southern titles booksellers are extra excited about. (“Let’s call them ‘okra picks’ instead of Oprah picks!” said Executive Director Wanda Jewell when she first came up with the idea).

Much like the books on the “Indie Next” list, the idea behind was to highlight the power of independent bookstores to make a book a success, and at the same time bring attention to Southern books that end up “going national” thanks to their initial support from Southern indie bookstores.  Here are the books that Southern indie bookstores chose this past year:

Okra Picks for 2015: Winter | Spring | Summer | Fall

So how did they do? Did any of the 2015 Okra Picks become a “success”? Are any of them likely to be on anyone’s “best of 2015” list?

Well, we can say that for the entire year, every weekly Southern Independent Bestseller list featured at least one, and often two or three Okra Pick titles. Some, like Go Set a Watchman, were to be expected. But others, such as Harrison Scott Key’s debut memoir The World’s Largest Man, were evidence of indie bookstore enthusiasm. Some of the books were happy recognition of some familiar names: Tom Piazza (A Free State), Greg Iles (Natchez Burning), Diane Chamberlain (Pretending to Dance), Homer Hickam (Carrying Albert Home). Others introduced us to the newest members of the Southern Literary pantheon: Leonard Pitts, Jr. (Grant Park), T. Geronimo Johnson (Welcome to Braggsville), Brian Panowich (Bull Mountain), James E. McTeer, III (Minnow).  There have been more than a few movie rights optioned (Bull Mountain, Serafina and the Black Cloak), and more than a few that have begun to appear on the “Best of” lists for the year from other sources: You’ll find Hester Young’s The Gates of Evangeline on the Best of 2015 according to Publisher’s Weekly.

All of which suggests that if you want to have your finger on the literary pulse of the times (or simply want to stock books that you can count on to sell), then you should be following the Okra Picks – the best of the upcoming southern literature, chosen by the people who would know: Southern Indie Booksellers.

Visit to stay current with the Okra Picks.

Tags:  okra picks 

Share |
Permalink | Comments (0)
Community Search
Sign In
Login with LinkedIn


7/17/2018 » 7/23/2018
Circle of Sites: Willa of the Wood

7/24/2018 » 7/30/2018
Circle of Sites: Smack Dab in the Middle of Maybe

B3 Webinar: Creating and Managing a Successful Online Sales Campaign

7/31/2018 » 8/6/2018
Circle of Sites: Chariot on the Mountain