Shelf Talkers: What They’re Reading at South Main Book Company
Owner Alissa Redmond Shares Her Favorites
Shelf Talkers is a new series at Lit Hub where booksellers from independent bookstores around the country share their favorite reads of the moment. The titles below are all available at Salisbury’s independent bookstore, South Main Book Company, located at 110 S. Main St. in Salisbury, North Carolina. Alissa Redmond, owner of the store, shares her picks below.
Find more of the store’s staff picks here.
Celeste Ng, Our Missing Hearts
This deserves to be a runaway blockbuster when it releases in October. Its dystopian synopsis: our government can re-home children on an anonymous report of seditious parental behavior. One woman uses poetry to combat these kidnappings, and to fight the rampant anti-Asian hate that is taking over society, as hero librarians behind the scenes attempt to document fractured family ties. If you don’t already know that Celeste Ng is a literary force, this book will illuminate your perspective.
Corban Addison, Wastelands
Corban Addison’s Wastelands has something for everyone as a southern, true-crime, procedural thriller (particularly interesting if you’ve ever driven down Interstate 40 towards coastal NC wondering, “What is that smell?”). A legal dream team fights environmental racism perpetrated by corporate hog farms on their underprivileged neighbors.
Kristy Woodson Harvey, The Wedding Veil
Kristy Woodson Harvey’s ninth novel, and first work of historical fiction, delivers incredible characters who vividly come alive beginning with the prologue. A young Edith Dresser, wearing roller skates in her mother’s boudoir, tries on a wedding veil and is mesmerized by her mother’s tender prognostication for her future wedded bliss. Flashforward a few years, and Edith marries George Vanderbilt, who whisks her off to their new home, the Biltmore Estate in the North Carolina mountains. Contemporary romance readers will thoroughly enjoy the chapters set in the modern day as the mystery of one wedding veil changes multiple life stories.
Jon Krakauer, Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman
Krakauer details Pat Tillman’s post-9/11 struggle as he walked away from his NFL contract to enlist in the US Army, only to return home from Afghanistan in a body bag—with many unanswered questions left behind. This book could shatter your faith in our government’s ability to tell the truth—it’s not heartwarming, but this story will touch you. There was so much more to Pat Tillman than how he died, and Krakauer does a first-rate job giving him a voice from beyond.
Tracy Deonn, Legendborn
(Margaret K. McElderry Books)
If you haven’t read Tracy Deonn’s Legendborn yet, you simply must before its sequel Bloodmarked is released in November. Set on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Deonn infuses the legend of King Arthur with southern Gothic traditions and teenage angst into a riveting Young Adult / Science Fiction novel. Perfect for fans of Cassandra Clare—perhaps with an added affinity for Colson Whitehead?—Deonn’s newly created world has set the literary world abuzz, and she is highly likely to continue breaking down walls and pushing new frontiers in these genres for many years to come.
Lyla Lee, Mindy Kim
Lyla Lee’s Mindy Kim series displays great depth of story for an emerging reader, and with an eighth title coming out this summer, this is the perfect series for your kids to lose themselves in when school ends. I must note a trigger warning here regarding Mindy’s deceased mom, who passed away after extended illness prior to this series’ origin. My daughters (ages 11 and 6) are both obsessed with Mindy’s campaigns to obtain a dog, good friends, and fantastic vacations; I appreciate Mindy’s politeness and kindness, which are not often on display within the pages of early chapter books.
Dave Eggers, ill. by Shawn Harris, Her Right Foot
Her Right Foot begins with the true tale of the Statue of Liberty’s creation in France and rehoming on Ellis Island in New York City. Eggers leaves the reader with much deep questions of what the Statue literally “stands” for—is her leg displaying the intent to move, and does that movement appear bound for the sea? I am continually left with goosebumps towards the conclusion of this story, as we realize Lady Liberty is breaking free of her chains to meet new arrivals to the United States where they are, to accept them as they are, to welcome them to our shores. Sometimes children’s literature can transmit grander statements than works intended for adults; this is one of those rare books.