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Week of August 9, 2018


The Commonplace Book | Read This! | The List | Book Trailer | Okra Picks | Michel Stone | Southern Indie Bestsellers | Events

{knuckling down with a taw to shoot an aggie duck.}

In which Ms. Michel Stone seeks the connectedness of human beings, Mr. David Joy points out that both literacy and people with shoes are quite normal where he comes from, thank you very much, and Mr. Tom Poland laments the loss of the ancient dialect of marble-playing.

Dearest readers,

Bad BooksIn her conversation below with Pat Conroy Literary Center Executive Director Jonathan Haupt, the author Michel Stone says, "We all experience birth, mortality, hope, fear and the gamut of human emotion, regardless of our backgrounds, skin color, or nationality. My job as a novelist is to examine the human condition."

Perhaps she had been speaking to the Appalachian writer David Joy, who recently remarked in an interview (also below)that his novel, The Weight of the World, was meant to be "... a human story, it’s not an Appalachian story. I think maybe that’s one of the roles of literature more than anything else is to get that humanity. It’s to illuminate some aspect of the human condition."

If it is the job of the artist to illuminate the human condition, then her ladyship, the editor feels that it her job as a reader to be open to illumination. Ultimately, this is how she decides if a book is "good" or not: it does not, in the words of Mr. Walker Percy, lie about what it means to be human.

Having recently finished both The Border Child and the new novel by David Joy, The Line that Held Us, she can say with confidence that neither Ms. Stone nor Mr. Joy are liars.

Read Independently! And shop local.

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.

Surviving Adam Meade

Water Girl

I should’ve negotiated better.

My shoulders burned beneath the North Carolina sun, the
heat contrasting cold water at my feet. Mud stirred beneath my tennis shoes, soaking the black mesh fabric. I was supposed to be today’s team manager, but I was more like a muck-covered version of Cinderella.

“Claire, we need those!” my dad called.

I lifted my attention and spotted him walking down the
sideline, pointing at a pair of water bottles thrown near the field. Great, now there were two more bottles to fill. Yay. Perfect. Exactly what I hoped.

“Get them in a sec,” I answered, annoyed by the never-ending water bottle shortage.

A whistle blew, stopping all movement on the field. Third water break in an hour. It was like my dad wanted me to be miserable.

--Shannon Klare, Surviving Adam Meade (Swoon Reads, 2018) 9781250154378

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News of a literary nature

South Carolina Country Roads"That mibster knuckled down with a taw and shot an aggie duck. "

keep reading: The lost art of playing marbles




The Line That Held Us"“It was like, ‘Yeah of course they can read, we got shoes, you know?’ " 

keep reading: David Joy on writing and Appalachia



Read This! Books with Street Cred

Recommended reading from Southern Indie Booksellers

The Distance Home by Paula Saunders
The Distance Home is a novel of oppositions. Set in a South Dakota landscape at once stark and beautiful, Paula Saunders introduces a family full of meanness and cruelty, but also crushing, miraculous love. These characters, this story, these sentences transcend the typical family drama, as Saunders shows us a world where hate and love are made of the same stuff, and where home and family are the best and worst things that will ever happen to you. In this novel, it is possible to be dragged down by the world, but also to be lifted up by it. 

The Distance Home by Paula Saunders ($27.00*, Random House), recommended by Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA.


The Dollar Kids by Jennifer Richard Jacobson, Ryan Andrews (Illustrator)
Young cartoon artist Lowen Grover 's best friend, Abe, was killed in a shooting. Lowen carries the grief and the burden of guilt that he was responsible for Abe being in the wrong place. His family stumbles upon an opportunity to buy a rundown house in a dying mill town for exactly one dollar. This is a chance to leave sadness behind and start over. The dollar house project involves bringing in select, diverse families to revitalize the town. Unfortunately, all the citizens aren't on board and the house is proving to be one challenge after another.

The Dollar Kids is also brilliantly interspersed with some of Lowen's cartoons depicting his take on Abe's death as he tackles his grief. Jacobson provides an examination of poverty, pride of place, resolve and determination, while being a sympathetic and engrossing read.

The Dollar Kids by Jennifer Richard Jacobson, Ryan Andrews (Illustrator) ($17.99*, Candlewick Press), recommended by The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC.

The Other Side of Lost by Jessi Kirby
Wild for a younger audience. A wonderful look at grief, social media, and honesty. And a bonus that it could be an introduction or John Muir and Yosemite, as well. 

The Other Side of Lost by Jessi Kirby ($17.99*, Harper Teen), recommended by The Story Shop, Monroe, GA.




The Reservoir Tapes by Jon McGregor
Immersive, nuanced, and exquisitely strange, the interconnected stories within The Reservoir Tapes are a feat of genius. Jon McGregor offers us snippets of an array of lives within a small English town, which come to assemble the blast radius of the recent disappearance of a young teenager. The sheer range of voices within is stunning, as is the tone, which manages to be at once thoughtful, ominous, and humdrum. No event passes without being challenged, complicated, and re-considered from angle-upon-angle, perspective-upon-perspective. I both gloried in the small details and tactile prose—a llama that wasn’t even a llama, the bike grease that refuses to be scrubbed from one’s hands—and furiously flipped pages. This brilliant book is haunted by the specter of normality, which creeps back into the lives of townspeople altered by tragedy. 

The Reservoir Tapes by Jon McGregor ($22.00*, Catapult), recommended by Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA.

More bookseller recommendations

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The List: Hot Reads for Hot Days, Parnassus Books, Knoxville, TN


An Ocean of Minutes Good Luck with That America for Beginners The Madonna of the Mountains 
A Double Life Country Dark The Widow Nash  The Lost Country  

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{Book} Trailer Park

Surviving Adam Meade

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The Okra Pick(s) of the Week

"Perfect for fans of Friday Night Lights and romance! Claire is the coach's daughter, and after rough break up with her football playing first love and a move to a new town, Claire has sworn off dating, especially athletes. Enter Adam Meade, who has a lot more going on than the popular jock image he portrays. Sparks fly between Claire and Adam, and despite her best intentions, Claire can't seem to resist the boy she most wanted to avoid. Cute and sweet, but the MVP award goes to Adam's adorable grandma!" --Kate Towery, Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, VA

Surviving Adam Meade by Shannon KlareSeventeen-year-old Claire Collins has a plan: get into college and leave North Carolina behind. What she doesn't have is an idea for how to get rid of the local football star and womanizer extraordinaire--Adam Meade, who she can't even avoid (despite many efforts), because Claire's dad is the high school football coach.

Seventeen-year-old Adam Meade never fails. He always gets what he wants . . . until he meets Claire, the new girl who leaves him unnerved, pissed off, and confused. But there's something about her that he just can't resist...

With the bite of lemon meringue pie and the sugar of sweet tea, Surviving Adam Meade is a sexy and compelling young adult novel about two strong-willed people who think they know what they want but have no idea what they need.

Surviving Adam Meade by Shannon Klare
Swoon Reads | 9781250154378 | $16.99 | August 14, 2018 | Buy | READ THE FIRST CHAPTER


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The Connectedness of Human Beings: A Conversation with Michel Stone

Jonathan Haupt speaks to Michel Stone about Border Child

Michel StoneJonathan: Border Child introduces readers to Héctor and Lilia Santos, gambling on their dream of a better life by undertaking a harrowing undocumented immigration from southern Mexico to the South Carolina lowcountry. For you as author, those characters owe their origins to conversations you’ve had with Mexican and Central American immigrants in your native lowcountry. Tell us about the spark that lit the fuse for your novel. 

Michel: I grew up on Johns Island and saw migrant workers throughout my childhood. Often times when I was a girl I’d see children in the tomato fields with their parents, and I suspected those children had traveled and seen far more than I ever would. They intrigued me and I wanted to know their stories. I wrote a fictional short story after I befriended a young Mexican family on Edisto Island who confided that they were undocumented. Their story, particularly their border crossing with a baby, haunted me, and I spent the next few years meeting and interviewing immigrants, learning about their experiences. My fiction is informed by real stories.

Jonathan: Has it been flattering, daunting, or a bit of both to have your writing favorably compared to that of John Steinbeck? What parallels do you see between your subjects and styles? 

Border ChildMichel: Steinbeck wrote of displaced people. I, too, am drawn to writing about the push and pull of people from place to place, their motivations, their struggles. I hope my fiction illuminates the everyday conditions of fictional characters who, at first glance, may live lives very different than my readers, but with whom, ultimately, my readers will empathize. I look to find the connectedness among human beings. We all experience birth, mortality, hope, fear and the gamut of human emotion, regardless of our backgrounds, skin color, or nationality. My job as a novelist is to examine the human condition, and I suspect Steinbeck felt the same. And yes, the comparisons flattered and delighted me. The Grapes of Wrath is one of my favorite books.

Jonathan: A great strength of your novels is that they transcend politics to go deeply into the heart of the personal experiences of your characters. What novels have done this for you as a reader? And did any of those influence your own writing? 

Michel: Oh, so many! Certainly John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible, and Tim O'Brien’s The Things They Carried. So many books have influenced my writing: Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian and Suttree; Tayari Jones’ Silver Sparrow; Luis Alberto Urrea’s The Hummingbird’s Daughter; Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See; Sonia Nazario's Enrique’s Journey; Kent Haruf’s Plainsong; Adam Johnson’s Orphan Master’s Son, Robert Ruark’s The Old Man and the Boy. I’m struck by their insight into the human condition, their artful use of language, and their storytelling. Oh, and I must include my childhood favorite: Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea.

Jonathan: How will you follow Border Child? What’s taking shape for your next novel?  

Michel: I’m working on a novel set between downtown Charleston and a gang-infested town in Honduras. It’s a work-in-progress so I won’t say much else just yet except that I am having fun with the research. Writing energizes me, particularly when I’m learning as I go.

reprinted with permission from the Pat Conroy Literary Center


Southern Indie Bestsellers

For the week ending August 5. 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. Clock Dance
Anne Tyler, Knopf, $26.95, 9780525521228
2. The Other Woman
Daniel Silva, Harper, $28.99, 9780062834829
3. The President Is Missing
Bill Clinton, James Patterson, Little Brown, $30, 9780316412698
4. A Gentleman in Moscow
Amor Towles, Viking, $27, 9780670026197
5. Circe
Madeline Miller, Little Brown, $27, 9780316556347


1. Calypso
David Sedaris, Little Brown, $28, 9780316392389
2. The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck
Mark Manson, Harper, $24.99, 9780062457714
3. Barracoon
Zora Neale Hurston, Amistad, $24.99, 9780062748201
4. Educated
Tara Westover, Random House, $28, 9780399590504
5. The Soul of America
Jon Meacham, Random House, $30, 9780399589812

Special to the Southern List

Behind Closed Doors B.A. Paris, St. Martin's Griffin, $16.99, The Gulf Jack E. Davis, Liveright, $17.95, <strong>Willa of the Wood Robert Beatty, Disney/Hyperion, $16.99, A Long Walk to Water Linda Sue Park, HMH Books for Young Readers, $7.99,

FICTION of note

9. Before We Were Yours
Lisa Wingate, Ballantine, $26, 9780425284681
11. My Year of Rest and Relaxation
Ottessa Moshfegh, Penguin Press, $26, 9780525522119
15. The Incendiaries
R.O. Kwon, Riverhead, $26, 9780735213890
7. Sing, Unburied, Sing
Jesmyn Ward, Scribner, $17, 9781501126079
11. Behind Closed Doors
B.A. Paris, St. Martin's Griffin, $16.99, 9781250132369
14. Rules of Civility
Amor Towles, Penguin, $17, 9780143121169
5. Willa of the Wood
Robert Beatty, Disney/Hyperion, $16.99, 9781368005845
10. A Long Walk to Water
Linda Sue Park, HMH Books for Young Readers, $7.99, 9780547577319


8. The Best Cook in the World
Rick Bragg, Knopf, $28.95, 9781400040414
15. The Secret Token

Andrew Lawler, Doubleday, $29.95, 9780385542012
2. Hillbilly Elegy
J.D. Vance, Harper, $16.99, 9780062300553
9. Outliers
Malcolm Gladwell, Back Bay, $16.99, 9780316017930
10. The Gulf
Jack E. Davis, Liveright, $17.95, 9781631494024
11. Just Mercy
Bryan Stevenson, Spiegel & Grau, $16, 9780812984965
8. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens
Sean Covey, Touchstone, $16.99, 9781476764665

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What's happening at Southern Indies across the South?

See the full calendar | Find a Southern Indie Bookstore near you.

Amy Bonnaffons: THE WRONG HEAVEN  (author appearance)
Amy Bonnaffons | 08/10/2018, 06:00 pm | Avid Bookshop | Athens, GA

Kristan Higgins Author of Good Luck With That  (author appearance)
Kristan Higgins | 08/10/2018, 11:00 am | Litchfield Books | Pawleys Island, SC

Author event with Amber Tamblyn author of Any Man  (author appearance)
Amber Tamblyn | 08/10/2018, 06:30 pm | Parnassus Books | Nashville, TN

Lila Quintero Weaver Book Signing and Reading  (author appearance)
Lila Quintero Weaver | 08/11/2018, 10:30 am | Ernest & Hadley Booksellers | Tuscaloosa, AL

Alyssa Maxwell Booksigning  (author appearance)
Alyssa Maxwell | 08/11/2018, 05:00 pm | Murder on the Beach Mystery Bookstore | Delray Beach, FL

Amber Tamblyn - Any Man   (author appearance)
Amber Tamblyn | 08/11/2018, 02:00 pm | A Cappella Books | Atlanta, GA

Anne Gisleson: THE FUTILITARIANS  (author appearance)
Amy Gisleson | 08/11/2018, 06:00 pm | Avid Bookshop | Athens, GA

Kristan Higgins, Good Luck with That  (author appearance)
Kristan Higgins | 08/11/2018, 02:00 pm | FoxTale Book Shoppe | Woodstock, GA

Shelli Johannes with CECE LOVES SCIENCE  (author appearance)
Shelli Johannes | 08/11/2018, 10:00 am | Square Books | Oxford, MS

Glennray Tutor at the Powerhouse  (author appearance)
Glennray Tutor | 08/11/2018, 05:30 pm | Square Books | Oxford, MS

Dwayne Walls Jr. – Backstage at the Lost Colony  (author appearance)
Dwayne Walls | 08/11/2018, 11:00 am | McIntyre's Books | Pittsboro, NC

Author Event: Kyshaa Sand  (author appearance)
Kyshaa Sand | 08/11/2018, 01:00 am | Page 158 Books | Wake Forest, NC

Author Event: Michelle Johnson - Skill in Action  (author appearance)
Michelle Johnson | 08/11/2018, 11:00 am | Park Road Books | Charlotte, NC

Pam Baggett, Wild Horse & Tsitsi Jaji, Beating the Graves  (author appearance)
Pam Baggett | 08/11/2018, 07:00 pm | Scuppernong Books | Greensboro, NC

YA author event with Mary Pearson, Sara Raasch, and Kristen Simmons  (author appearance)
KRISTEN SIMMONS | 08/11/2018, 02:00 pm | Parnassus Books | Nashville, TN

Keri Leigh Merritt - Masterless Men: Poor Whites and Slavery in the Antebellum South  (author appearance)
Keri Leigh Merritt | 08/12/2018, 03:00 pm | A Cappella Books | Atlanta, GA

Idol Talk  (author appearance)
Judy Goldman | 08/12/2018, 02:00 pm | Main Street Books | Davidson, NC

Carley Mattimore presents Sacred Messengers of Shamanic Africa: Teachings from Zep Tepi, the Land of First Time  (author appearance)
Carley Mattimore | 08/12/2018, 03:00 pm | Malaprop's Bookstore & Cafe | Asheville, NC

Sunday Sit-Down Supper with Jamie DeMent and Upcountry Provisions   (author appearance)
Jamie DeMent | 08/12/2018, 07:00 pm | M. Judson | Greenville, SC

Author event with Kristan Higgins author of Good Luck With That  (author appearance)
Kristan Higgins | 08/12/2018, 02:00 pm | Parnassus Books | Nashville, TN

Special event with Kwame Alexander at Lipscomb University  (author appearance)
Kwame Alexander | 08/13/2018, 05:30 pm | Parnassus Books | Nashville, TN

Jane Hearn with A PAST THAT WON'T REST   (author appearance)
Jane Hearn | 08/14/2018, 05:00 pm | Square Books | Oxford, MS

David Joy Book Launch  (author appearance)
David Joy | 08/14/2018, 06:30 pm | City Lights Bookstore | Sylva, NC

Brian Biswas discusses his book A Betrayal and Other Stories  (author appearance)
Brian Biswas | 08/14/2018, 07:00 pm | Flyleaf Books | Chapel Hill, NC

Donna Lucey presents Sargent's Women: Four Lives Behind the Canvas in conversation with Denise Kiernan  (author appearance)
Donna Lucey | 08/14/2018, 06:00 pm | Malaprop's Bookstore & Cafe | Asheville, NC

Our Stories, Our Voices: 21 YA Authors Get Real about Injustice, Empowerment, and Growing Up Female in America   (author appearance)
Amy Reed | 08/14/2018, 07:00 pm | Quail Ridge Books | Raleigh, NC

Bill Leatherman, A Cup of Coffee and More  (author appearance)
Bill Leatherman | 08/14/2018, 07:00 pm | Scuppernong Books | Greensboro, NC

Michel Stone: Book Launch  (author appearance)
Michel Stone | 08/14/2018, 07:00 pm | Hub City Books | Spartanburg, SC

Author event with Inman Majors author of Penelope Lemon Game On!  (author appearance)
Inman Majors | 08/14/2018, 06:00 pm | Parnassus Books | Nashville, TN

Delia Owens - Where the Crawdads Sing  (author appearance)
Delia Owens | 08/15/2018, 07:15 pm | A Cappella Books | Atlanta, GA

Jane Hearn / A Past That Won't Rest: Images of the Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi  (author appearance)
Jane Hearn | 08/15/2018, 05:30 pm | Turnrow Books | Greenwood, MS

Susan Anderson presents Paul's Prayers: A Mother's Account of Raising an Autistic Son  (author appearance)
Susan Anderson | 08/15/2018, 06:00 pm | Malaprop's Bookstore & Cafe | Asheville, NC

David Joy - The Line That Held Us  (author appearance)
David Joy | 08/15/2018, 07:00 pm | Quail Ridge Books | Raleigh, NC

Beth Macy, Dopesick  (author appearance)
Beth Macy | 08/15/2018, 07:00 pm | Scuppernong Books | Greensboro, NC

Habiba Zaman  (author appearance)
Habiba Zaman | 08/16/2018, 04:00 pm | The Book Worm Bookstore | Powder Springs, GA

Johnnie Bernhard  (author appearance)
Johnnie Bernhard | 08/16/2018 | Southern Bound Book Shop | Biloxi, MS

Kent Wascom with THE NEW INHERITORS   (author appearance)
Kent Wascom | 08/16/2018, 05:00 pm | Square Books | Oxford, MS

Brooke McAlary presents Slow: Simple Living for a Frantic World  (author appearance)
Brooke McAlary | 08/16/2018, 06:00 pm | Malaprop's Bookstore & Cafe | Asheville, NC

Author Event: Thomas March - Aftermath  (author appearance)
Thomas March | 08/16/2018, 07:00 pm | Park Road Books | Charlotte, NC

Lee Haney: Talk and Signing  (author appearance)
Lee Haney | 08/16/2018, 07:00 pm | Hub City Books | Spartanburg, SC

Salon@615 with Lisa Scottoline author of Feared  (author appearance)
Lisa Scottoline | 08/16/2018, 06:30 pm | Parnassus Books | Nashville, TN

Inman Major's Penelope Lemon: Game On  (author appearance)
Inman Majors | 08/16/2018, 06:00 pm | novel. | Memphis, TN

Earl Swift at Prince Books  (author appearance)
Earl Swift | 08/16/2018, 06:00 pm | Prince Books | Norfolk, VA

Megan Bryant's Tiny Geniuses Series Launch  (author appearance)
Megan Bryant | 8/11/2018, 3:00 PM | Bookmarks | Winston-Salem, NC

Eat at Five Points Restaurant, Support Bookmarks  (author appearance)
Charlie Lovett | 8/16/2018, 6:00 PM | Bookmarks | Winston-Salem, NC

Authors Round the South |

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