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Lady Banks' Commonplace Book
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Week of December 6, 2018
The Commonplace Book | Read This! | The List | {Book} Trailer Park | Okra Picks | Southern Indie Bestsellers | Events
{Don't turn up your nose at anything except evil.}
In which her ladyship, the editor, boxes up a library, Mr. Richard Powers explains what the f**k is wrong with mankind, Ms. Tayari Jones explains how to be a "book matchmaker" and Ms. Maya Angelou's momma has some good advice.


Dearest Readers

Last week her ladyship, the editor, spent an afternoon helping a friend pack up her books. She was moving, and downsizing, and had made a rule for herself: "If I am not going to read it again, it needs to go."

Quickly, the cardboard boxes in a line on the floor started to fill with books destined to be donated to the local library sale: Novels bought for book club, old coffee table books of countries visited on long ago, now half-forgot vacations, a stack of Michael Connelly thrillers that had done their duty as "beach reads" and had never been opened again.

The process was a smooth one. Oh, there was the occasional pause over an especially admired novel -- a moment taken to consider, do I really want to let this one go? The kind of thing that happens to every reader when they pick up a book they haven't thought about in years and feel the sudden rush of pleasure as they remember how much they enjoyed it. But my friend is a woman of rigorous self-discipline, and she mastered these brief temptations admirably and with far more resolve than her ladyship, the editor, would have shown in her place.

Field GuidesThen we came to the shelves filled with older books-- hardcovers, mostly without jackets, their cloth covers rubbed and frayed, their pages thin and slightly brittle, the edges showing scattered foxing. Books from an era that knew nothing of barcodes or ISBN numbers, or the instantaneous gratification that comes from clicking on an image on a computer screen.

"These were my mother's," said my friend as we stood looking that the shelves of books that had clearly been read many times and passed among many hands.

What to do? The books had come to her when her mother had died, and she had given them their several shelves in a place where they were easy to see -- almost like hanging a picture. They were books "I'm not going to read again" and thus ought to go in the boxes. But they were valued for the memories they evokes of the woman who owned them. They had inscriptions -- her name across the inside cover. Some has specially-designed bookplates. Many had small newspaper clippings folding carefully inside, or miscellaneous things used as bookmarks still holding the place where the book had last been opened, perhaps as long as fifty years ago.

Eventually, even some of these -- the least personal ones, the old school texts clearly kept out of sense of obligation -- made it into the donation box. Others were packed to keep, for their memories if not for their content.

Queen Anne's Lace 

And some, her ladyship took away with her, unwilling to let them languish unwanted in some crate in a library basement. A cheap copy of "The Plants of Shakespeare." A selection of Montaigne's essays, selected by Andre Gide, who was full of opinions about them. A dictionary of "unconventional English" that contained some truly out of date slang. And a handful of old field guides to birds and flowers from the 1930s, their watercolor and ink illustrations somehow infused with a glow from the passing eighty years.

They'll have a few more years to glow on her ladyship's own bookshelves.


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.

Hallelujah! The Welcome Table

Each year after the first frost, men and women wearing heavy clothes and carrying rifles and sawed-off shotguns stalked around inside the store buying peanut patties and candy bars.

Bailey called them the killing crew because they went around the neighborhood killing all the hogs and cows that had been selected for slaughter.

For the next two weeks, or as long as our icebox could keep the meat, we could be sure that Momma was going to cook some exquisite fresh beef and pork dishes.

She told me that she could cook a whole hog and make people love to eat it. "Everything but its hooves." She said when it came to hogs, poor people had to learn how to use everything "from the rooter [its snout] to the tooter [its tail]."

The neighborhood women would bring the hog heads and intestines to the store. They would put the heads on tables that had been set up outside between the wells and the iron pots where we washed out clothes. They would carry the intestines far beyond the outdoor toilet and empty them in a hole in the ground dug for that purpose.

The stench was horrible, but Momma never allowed me to leave the spot and return to the store where there were the aromas of oranges and apples. "You have to know how to do this, Sister. All poor people need to know how to do some of everything, and a poor colored woman even more so. Don't turn up your nose at anything except evil."


--Maya Angelou, Hallelujah! The Welcome Table (Random House Trade, 2007) 9780812974850


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

Radiant Shimmering Light by Sarah Selecky
This book is so much fun! Artist Lilian Quick's world begins to change when a long lost cousin visits her town on a speaking tour. Her cousin, now known only as Eleven, is the face of a very successful health, spiritual and lifestyle online community with high priced and lucrative courses in real life. Lilian becomes engaged with the community and readers fall in love with her! A beach read for the winter time, this is a fun book. 

Radiant Shimmering Light by Sarah Selecky ($27.00*, Bloomsbury Publishing), recommended by The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC.




The Winters by Lisa Gabriele
Raised in the Caymans, the nameless female character is working off a big debt alone and lonely for a boating company when she meets Max Winter, a state senator who has recently been widowed.  A short month after they meet, he proposes and pays off her debt, taking her back to his island estate in New York where she has to contend with her future step daughter, Dani. Dani is difficult, to say the least.

I'm a big fan of the gothic novel, so a modern retelling of du Maurier's Rebecca is RIGHT up my alley.  I very much enjoyed this story and it kept me turning pages long after I should have gone to sleep!

The Winters by Lisa Gabriele ($26.00*, Viking), recommended by Bookmiser, Roswell, GA.

More bookseller recommendations



News of a literary nature

Lancelot"What really interests Walker Percy is how to be an ‘Ex-Suicide.’ That is to say how to live and love in the ruins"

keep reading: Walker Percy's Faith Crisis



 The Overstory"The Overstory investigates moral and scientific issues, this time relating to the destruction of forests and the most pressing question of our time, as one character frames it: “What the Fuck Went Wrong with Mankind.”"

keep reading: The Overstory chosen as the Guardian Reading Group Book for December


Brass"Bringing to mind Mona Simpson’s Anywhere But Here, the book features characters who have plenty of self-deprecating charm. Plus, who can resist a novel that name-drops Scooby Doo and Billy Squier?"

keep reading: 10 Stand-out books with Georgia Ties


An American Marriage""You have to match what you think your friend would like to read, with what you think your friend should read"

keep reading: Tayari Jones, Book Matchmaker


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The List: The Holiday Gift Guide: Cookbooks


There is a book for every kind of reader. Across the South, booksellers are putting up displays and sending out gift catalogs, so for the rest of the year this space will feature highlights from some of the Southern bookstore gift guides. See a full list here.

PieMIssissippi VeganThe New Vegetarian South
Memere's Country Creole CookbookSouthern Snacks
United Tastes of the South


Why give books?

They don't have assembly instructions

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Lady Banks' {Book} Trailer Park: Holiday Shopping


Holiday Shopping at Underground Books 


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The Okra Pick(s) of the Week



Charlie Hernández & the League of Shadows by Ryan Calejo

The Lightning Thief meets the Story Thieves series in this middle grade fantasy inspired by Hispanic folklore, legends, and myths from the Iberian Peninsula and Central and South America.

Charlie Hernández has always been proud of his Latin American heritage. He loves the culture, the art, and especially the myths. Thanks to his abuela’s stories, Charlie possesses an almost encyclopedic knowledge of the monsters and ghouls who have spent the last five hundred years haunting the imaginations of children all across the Iberian Peninsula, as well as Central and South America. And even though his grandmother sometimes hinted that the tales might be more than mere myth, Charlie’s always been a pragmatist. Even barely out of diapers, he knew the stories were just make-believe—nothing more than intricately woven fables meant to keep little kids from misbehaving.

But when Charlie begins to experience freaky bodily manifestations—ones all too similar to those described by his grandma in his favorite legend—he is suddenly swept up in a world where the mythical beings he’s spent his entire life hearing about seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Hispanic folklore and into his life. And even stranger, they seem to know more about him than he knows about himself.

Soon, Charlie finds himself in the middle of an ancient battle between La Liga, a secret society of legendary mythological beings sworn to protect the Land of the Living, and La Mano Negra (a.k.a. the Black Hand), a cabal of evil spirits determined to rule mankind. With only the help of his lifelong crush, Violet Rey, and his grandmother’s stories to guide him, Charlie must navigate a world where monsters and brujas rule and things he couldn’t possibly imagine go bump in the night. That is, if he has any hope of discovering what’s happening to him and saving his missing parents (oh, and maybe even the world).

No pressure, muchacho.

Charlie Hernández & the League of Shadows by Ryan Calejo
Aladdin Paperbacks | 9781534426580 | November 6, 2018
buy from an indie


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Southern Indie Bestsellers

For the week ending December 2. 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. The Reckoning
John Grisham, Doubleday, $29.95, 9780385544153
2. Kingdom of the Blind
Louise Penny, Minotaur, $28.99, 9781250066206
3. Unsheltered
Barbara Kingsolver, Harper, $29.99, 9780062684561
4. Where the Crawdads Sing
Delia Owens, Putnam, $26, 9780735219090
5. Every Breath
Nicholas Sparks, Grand Central, $28, 9781538728529

1. Becoming
Michelle Obama, Crown, $32.50, 9781524763138
2. Leadership: In Turbulent Times
Doris Kearns Goodwin, S&S, $30, 9781476795928
3. Whose Boat Is This Boat?: Comments That Don't Help in the Aftermath of a Hurricane
The Staff of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, S&S, $14.99, 9781982121082
4. Educated
Tara Westover, Random House, $28, 9780399590504
5. Fear: Trump in the White House
Bob Woodward, S&S, $30, 9781501175510
Special to the Southern List

Tony's Wife Adriana Trigiani, Harper, $28.99,  Beastie Boys Book Michael Diamond, Adam Horovitz, Spiegel & Grau, $50, The Music Shop Rachel Joyce, Random House, $17, China Rich Girlfriend Kevin Kwan, Anchor, $16.95, 

FICTION of note

4. Where the Crawdads Sing
Delia Owens, Putnam, $26, 9780735219090
13. Tony's Wife
Adriana Trigiani, Harper, $28.99, 9780062319258
9. The Music Shop
Rachel Joyce, Random House, $17, 9780812986563
10. White Houses
Amy Bloom, Random House, $17, 9780812985696
11. China Rich Girlfriend
Kevin Kwan, Anchor, $16.95, 9780804172066
13. Beneath a Scarlet Sky
Mark Sullivan, Lake Union Publishing, $14.95, 9781503943377
14. Milk and Honey
Rupi Kaur, Andrews McMeel, $14.99, 9781449474256

7. Churchill: Walking with Destiny
Andrew Roberts, Viking, $40, 9781101980996
13. Beastie Boys Book
Michael Diamond, Adam Horovitz, Spiegel & Grau, $50, 9780812995541
15. The Soul of America
Jon Meacham, Random House, $30, 9780399589812
6. Hillbilly Elegy
J.D. Vance, Harper, $16.99, 9780062300553
7. Instantly Southern: 85 Southern Favorites for Your Pressure Cooker, Multicooker, and Instant Pot
Sheri Castle, Clarkson Potter, $16.99, 9781984822475
8. The Boys in the Boat
Daniel James Brown, Penguin, $17, 9780143125471
12. Everybody, Always: Becoming Love in a World Full of Setbacks and Difficult People
Bob Goff, Thomas Nelson, $16.99, 9780718078133
15. The Last Castle
Denise Kiernan, Touchstone, $17, 9781476794051
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What's happening at Southern Indies across the South?
See the full calendar | Find a Southern Indie Bookstore near you.

Cassandra Clare  (author appearance)
Cassandra Clare | 12/07/2018, 07:00 pm | Books & Books, Inc. | Coral Gables, FL

A Reading and Conversation with Kimberly Lojewski   (author appearance)
Kimberly Lojewski | 12/07/2018, 06:00 pm | Midtown Reader | Tallahassee, FL

Andrew Gross Booksigning  (author appearance)
Andrew Gross | 12/07/2018, 07:00 pm | Murder on the Beach Mystery Bookstore | Delray Beach, FL

Play Like a Girl: Girl Empowerment Panel  (author appearance)
Kate T. Parker | 12/07/2018, 06:00 pm | Avid Bookshop | Athens, GA

Peter Brown Author Event!  (author appearance)
Peter Brown | 12/07/2018, 07:00 pm | Little Shop of Stories | Decatur, GA

Jen Sincero - You are a Badass Every Day (Reserved Seating Event)  (author appearance)
Jen Sincero | 12/07/2018, 07:00 pm | Quail Ridge Books | Raleigh, NC

Three Authors and Live Music  (author appearance)
Kate Forrest | 12/07/2018, 06:00 pm | South Main Book Company | Salisbury, NC

Anthony J. Tata, Author of Dark Winter  (author appearance)
Anthony Tata | 12/07/2018, 11:00 am | Litchfield Books | Pawleys Island, SC

Children's Author Jonathan D. Voss at Bookmarks  (author appearance)
Jonathan Voss | 12/7/2018, 4:00 PM | Bookmarks | Winston-Salem, NC

Jedwin Smith book launch party I Am Israel  (author appearance)
Jedwin Smith | 12/08/2018, 02:00 pm | Eagle Eye Book Shop | Decatur, GA

Jedwin Smith  (author appearance)
Jedwin Smith | 12/08/2018, 02:00 pm | Eagle Eye Book Shop | Decatur, GA

Melissa Conroy  (author appearance)
Melissa Conroy | 12/08/2018, 11:00 am | FoxTale Book Shoppe | Woodstock, GA

Carol & Jim Steiner, The Appalachian Trail Day Hikers’ Guide  (author appearance)
Carol and Jim Steiner | 12/08/2018, 02:00 pm | FoxTale Book Shoppe | Woodstock, GA

Poppy Tooker - PASCAL'S MANALE COOKBOOK and Sally Asher - THE MERMAIDS OF NEW ORLEANS  (author appearance)
Poppy Tooker | 12/08/2018, 02:00 pm | Octavia Books | New Orleans, LA

Children's author Debra Frasier as the Queen of Letters  (author appearance)
Debra Frasier | 12/08/2018, 01:00 pm | Malaprop's Bookstore & Cafe | Asheville, NC

Quincy Troupe presents Miles and Me  (author appearance)
Quincy Troupe | 12/08/2018, 07:00 pm | Malaprop's Bookstore & Cafe | Asheville, NC

Holiday Storytime with Llama Llama Red Pajama  (author appearance)
12/08/2018, 11:00 am | McIntyre's Books | Pittsboro, NC

Author Event: Charles Oldham - The Senators Son  (author appearance)
Charles Oldham | 12/08/2018, 11:00 am | Park Road Books | Charlotte, NC

Author Event: Joan Barasovska - Birthing Age  (author appearance)
Joan Barasovska | 12/08/2018, 02:00 pm | Park Road Books | Charlotte, NC

Brian Kilmeade Book Signing  (author appearance)
Brian Kilmeade | 12/08/2018, 02:30 pm | Fiction Addiction | Greenville, SC

Novelist, Editor, Translator of Haruki Murakami  (author appearance)
Jay Rubin | 12/09/2018, 02:00 pm | Bookstore 1 Sarasota | Sarasota, FL

Debbie Moose – Carolina Catch: Cooking North Carolina Fish and Shellfish from Mountains to Coast  (author appearance)
Debbie Moose | 12/09/2018, 02:00 pm | McIntyre's Books | Pittsboro, NC

Mary Reaves Uhles  (author appearance)
Mary Reaves Uhles | 12/09/2018, 03:00 pm | Union Avenue Books | Knoxville, TN

Miki Bennett: My Journey as an Author  (author appearance)
Miki Bennett | 12/9/2018, 3:00 PM | Buxton Books | Charleston, SC

Andrew Simonet  (author appearance)
Andrew Simonet | 12/11/2018, 06:00 pm | Books & Books at the Studios | Key West, FL

Bryan Batt and Katy Danos - PONTCHARTRAIN BEACH: A Family Affair  (author appearance)
Bryan Batt | 12/11/2018, 06:00 pm | Octavia Books | New Orleans, LA

Laura E. Wolfson presents For Single Mothers Working As Train Conductors in conversation with Elizabeth Kostova  (author appearance)
Laura E. Wolfson | 12/11/2018, 06:00 pm | Malaprop's Bookstore & Cafe | Asheville, NC

Elizabeth Berg Author of Night of Miracles  (author appearance)
Elizabeth Berg | 12/11/2018, 11:00 am | Litchfield Books | Pawleys Island, SC

The Lesbian South: Southern Feminists, the Women in Print Movement, and the Queer Literary Cannon  (author appearance)
Jaime Harker | 12/12/2018, 07:30 pm | Charis Books & More | Atlanta, GA

L. C. Matherne - MYSTERY SCHOOL - book launch  (author appearance)
L.C. Matherne | 12/12/2018, 06:00 pm | Octavia Books | New Orleans, LA

Cathy Barrow – Pie Squared: Irresistibly Easy Sweet and Savory Slab Pies  (author appearance)
Cathy Barrow | 12/12/2018, 06:30 pm | McIntyre's Books | Pittsboro, NC

Elizabeth Berg - Night of Miracles   (author appearance)
Elizabeth Berg | 12/12/2018, 07:00 pm | Quail Ridge Books | Raleigh, NC

Beowulf Sheehan  (author appearance)
Beowulf Sheehan | 12/13/2018, 08:00 pm | Books & Books, Inc. | Coral Gables, FL

Tech Thursday: All About Podcasts with Charlie Lovett  (author appearance)
Charlie Lovett | 12/13/2018, 12:00 PM | Bookmarks | Winston-Salem, NC

Tom Corcoran Booksigning  (author appearance)
Tom Corcoran | 12/14/2018, 07:00 pm | Murder on the Beach Mystery Bookstore | Delray Beach, FL

Beth Hermes, The Lightbearers: Mnemonic  (author appearance)
Beth Hermes | 12/14/2018, 06:30 pm | FoxTale Book Shoppe | Woodstock, GA

Minuette Floyd Author of A Place to Worship:African American Camp Meetings in the Carolinas  (author appearance)
Minuette Floyd | 12/14/2018, 11:00 am | Litchfield Books | Pawleys Island, SC

Authors Round the South |
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Lady Banks is sponsored by the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance, in support of independent bookstores in the South | SIBA | 51 Pleasant Ridge Dr.| Asheville, NC 28805
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