Great books come from everywhere, but in the United States the south has a rich legacy of turning out some marvelous writers. Writers whose work withstands the test of time, turning out books that become literary icons in homes all over the country. Just think of the names that thought conjures: William Faulkner, Flannery O’Connor, John Steinbeck, Margaret Mitchell, Tennessee Williams, Eudora Welty, Alice Walker, Harper Lee, Truman Capote  … the list goes on and on.

As a bookseller and a southerner, I naturally embrace our southern authors. As an independent bookseller I am proud to be among a group of book lovers/sellers that routinely champion authors that provide us with stories we come to love. Some that may get lost among the shuffle. That is the thing about indie booksellers, we love to find the little gems, bring them out into the light where they can be appreciated, and share them with everyone we know. But even those of us that are constantly mining for those little gems can miss a few.

So, it is with absolute delight that I look forward to the following list:

SIBA 2011 Book of the Year Award (long list)

SIBA ( The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance) is an organization of Independent Booksellers in the southern states. The Book of the Year Award have categories in fiction, non-fiction, young adult, children’s book, etc…, and nominations come directly from SIBA members – bookstores and their customers.

The criteria for nominations are as follows: To be eligible for the SIBA Book Award, nominated books must 1) be southern in nature or by a southern author (preferably both!), 2) have been published the previous year, and 3) have been nominated by a SIBA-member bookstore or one of their customers.

To me, getting this list every year is like being reminded of a treasure chest in your attic that you may have overlooked or forgotten about. So, with that in mind, dear reader, and in the interest of sharing, I direct your attention to the list below and recommend that you run (not walk) to your nearest indie bookstore ( whether online or in person) and grab as many of the titles as you can carry, and check them out. I have my favorites on this list… but I won’t say which just now. I’ll let you find your own treasures. Because sometimes the treasure hunt is as much fun as what you find. Happy reading…

To find an independent bookstore in your area,click on the link below: 

The 2011 SIBA Book Award Long List:


Bloodroot Amy Greene (Random House)
Bone Appetit Carolyn Haines (Minotaur)
Burning Bright Ron Rash (Ecco)
Circle of Lies Alan Douglas (Forge)
Cirtus County John Brandon (McSweeney’s)
Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter Tom Franklin (Morrow)
The Day of Small Things Vicki Lane (Dell)
Delta Blues Carolyn Haines (Perseus)
The Devil Amongst the Lawyers Sharyn McCrumb (St. Martin’s Press)
Diablero Toby Tate (Nightbird Publishing)
The Eden Hunter Skip Horack (PGW)
The First Annual Grand Prairie Rabbit Festival Ken Wheaton (Kensington)
Florida Gothic Stories Vicki Hendricks (Kitsune Books)
I Still Dream About You Fannie Flagg (Random House)
In the Company of Others Jan Karon (Viking Books)
Killer of Crying Deer William Orem (Kitsune Books)
The Lies We Told Diane Chamberlain (Mira)
Love, Charleston Beth Webb Hart (Thomas Nelson)
Magnolia Wednesdays Wendy Wax (Penguin)
The Mailbox Marybeth Whalen (David C. Cook)
Miss Julia Renews Her Vows Ann Ross (Viking)
My Only Sunshine Lou Dischler (Hub City Press)
On Folly Beach Karen White (NAL)
Requiem by Fire Wayne Caldwell (Random House)
Saving CeeCee Honeycutt Beth Hoffman (Penguin)
She-Rain Michael Cogdill (Morgan James)
This Is Just Exactly Like You Drew Perry (Penguin)


Angles of Approach Holly Iglesias (White Pine Press)
Bottle Tree Jennifer Horne (Wordtech)
Checking Out Tim Peeler (Hub City Press)
The Circus Poems Alex Grant (Lorimer Press)
Coffeehouse Meditations Nina Romano (Kitsune Books)
Eliza: The New Orleans Years Dede Wilson (Main Street Rag)
Home Nancy Dillingham (March Street Press)
House of Branches Janisse Ray (Wind Publications)
Living Above the Frost Line Nancy Simpson (Carolina Wren Press)
Multiverse Michael Smith (BlazeVox)
Naming the Constellations John York (Spring Street Editions)
Paper House Jessie Carty (Folded Word Press)
Red Lily, poems Isabel Zuber (Press 53)
Restoring Sacred Art Joseph Bathanti (Star Cloud Press)


27 Views of Hillsborough Michael Malone (Eno Publishing)
As The Scyamore Grows Jennie Helderman (Summers Bridgewater Press)
The Blueberry Years: A Memoir of Farm and Family Jim Minick (Thomas Dunne)
Carry the Rock Jay Jennings (MPS)
Creative Is a Verb Patti Digh (Skirt!)
Death of a Pinehurst Princess Steve Bouser (History Press)
Don’t Quit Your Day Job Sonny Brewer (Perseus)
The Fall of the House of Zeus Curtis Wilkes (Crown)
Honest Eating: How to Love Food,Love Yourself & Love Life Jane McClaren (Chapel Hill Press)
If Trouble Don’t Kill Me Ralph Berrier, Jr (Crown)
In The Garden With Billy: Lessons About Life, Love, & Tomatoes Renea Winchester (Little Creek Books)
Look Up Asheville: an Architectural Journey Laura Hope-Gill (Grateful Steps PublishingHouse and Bookshop)
Mississippi: State of Blues Ken Murphy (Proteus Publications & Ken Murphy Publishing)
Spies of Mississippi Rick Bowers (National Geographic)
They Came to Nashville Marshall Chapman (Vanderbilt)
Thriving After Divorce Tonja Weimer (Simon & Schuster)
Will Jesus Buy Me a Doublewide Karen Zacharias (Zondervan)
Year of Our Lord T.R. Pearson (Mockingbird)


Dave the Potter Laban Carrick Hill (Little, Brown)
Mockingbird Kathryn Erskine (Philomel)
Penny Dreadful Laurel Snyder (Random House)
Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes Eric Litwin (HarperCollins)
The Red Umbrella Christina Gonzalez (Knopf)
The Strange Case of Origami Yoda Tom Angleberger (Amulet)
Turtle in Paradise Jennifer Holm (Random House)
Twelve Days of Christmas in South Carolina Melinda Long (Sterling)

Young Adult

Cookie & Me Mary Jane Ryals (Kitsune Books)
Countdown Deborah Wiles (Scholastic)
Leaving Gees Bend Irene Latham (Penguin)
The Secret Child Marti Healy (Design Group Press)
Somebody Everybody Listens To Suzanne Supplee (Penguin)
Zora and Me Victoria Bond (Candlewick)


Eat Your Yard Nan Chase (Gibb Smith)
The Food, Folklore, and Art of Lowcountry Cooking Joseph Earl Dabney (Cumberland House)

Greek Revival Cooking Patricia Moore-Pastides (USC Press)
Southern My Way Gena Knox (Fire & Flavor)
Too Hot in the Kitchen -Secrets to Sizzle at any Age Holly Clegg (Favorite Recipes Press)
You’re Invited Back The Junior League of Raleigh (Favorite Recipes Press)


About Simple Pleasures Bookgal

Simple Pleasures Books features a wide selection of new and used books, featuring southern authors, our local Virginia authors and specialize in women's interests. We can be contacted by message here, via email @ : via our Facebook page : SP Books & Gifts and you can follow us on Twitter
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One Response to Southern(Book)Comfort

  1. Marti Healy says:

    Thanks for including the SIBA book list – I am thrilled to be on it (in awe of the company it is surrounded by). My book is “The Secret Child” and is positioned as Young Adult — but I am finding that adults are drawn to it too — mostly women, but men have told me how much they have enjoyed it as well. I am very grateful for the attention SIBA (and you) have afforded it.

    Marti Healy

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