Also published on this date: Thursday, August 18, 2022: Maximum Shelf: Hysterical

Shelf Awareness for Thursday, August 18, 2022

Flatiron Books: White Horse by Erika T. Wurth

Holiday House: Owl and Penguin (I Like to Read Comics) by Vikram Madan; Noodleheads Take it Easy by Tedd Arnold, Martha Hamilton, and Mitch Weiss

Blackstone Publishing: Ezra Exposed by Amy E. Feldman

Clavis: Fall Preview

Amulet Books: Marya Khan and the Incredible Henna Party (Marya Khan #1) by Saadia Faruqi, illustrated by Ani Bushry

Charlesbridge Publishing: Abuelita and I Make Flan by Adriana Hernández Bergstrom; Brand-New Bubbe by Sarah Aronson, illustrated by Ariel Landy

Shadow Mountain: To Capture His Heart (Proper Romance Victorian) by Nancy Campbell Allen


Bookstore Sales Down 8.2% in June; First Six Months Up 12.3%

In June, bookstore sales fell 8.2%, to $605 million, compared to June 2021, according to preliminary Census Bureau estimates. By comparison to pre-pandemic times, bookstore sales in June were 0.3% higher than in June 2019. For the first half of the year, sales have risen 12.3%, to $3.9 billion compared to the first half of 2021.

Total retail sales in June rose 9%, to $695.7 million, compared to June 2021. For the year to date, total retail sales have climbed 10.5%, to $3.9 billion.

Note: under Census Bureau definitions, the bookstore category consists of "establishments primarily engaged in retailing new books." The Bureau also added this unusual caution concerning the effect of Covid-19: "The Census Bureau continues to monitor response and data quality and has determined that estimates in this release meet publication standards."

University of California Press: Dictee (Second Edition, Reissue, Restored);  Exilee and Temps Morts: Selected Works (First Edition, Reissue) by Theresa Hak Kyung Cha

Rally and Reading for Salman Rushdie Tomorrow in NYC

Salman Rushdie

At 11 a.m. Eastern tomorrow, a reading of Salman Rushdie's works will be held on the steps of the New York Public Library on Fifth Ave. Called "Stand with Salman: Defend the Freedom to Write," the event has been organized by PEN America (Rushdie is a past president), his publisher Penguin Random House, the NYPL and House of SpeakEasy. It will feature readings by authors who are close to Rushdie, including Paul Auster, Reginald Dwayne Betts, Tina Brown, Kiran Desai, Andrea Elliott, Amanda Foreman, Roya Hakakian, A.M. Homes, Siri Hustvedt, Hari Kunzru, Colum McCann, Andrew Solomon, Gay Talese and others. The event will be livestreamed.

Organizers are encouraging others to host public readings around the globe as well as online with the hashtag #StandWithSalman "to remind Rushdie of both the affection that writers and readers have for him and their solidarity with his unrelenting belief in the right of writers to create without fear of reprisal."

PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel said: "Salman Rushdie is both an author of unmatched distinction, and a relentless champion for free expression, using his voice to support imperiled writers and intellectuals across the globe over decades. We are shaken to the core by this grievous assault, a reminder to us all that our rights and freedoms are more precarious than we wish to acknowledge. The outpouring of support for Salman from leaders, friends, admirers and readers worldwide has the potential to fuel a watershed moment for the freedom to write, a cause that is synonymous with Salman's life and work. We are gathering as friends, associates and admirers to amplify Salman's words and convey our warm wishes, but also to rise in defense of principles that will not be extinguished by violence."

PRH CEO Markus Dohle said: "Salman Rushdie's voice and literary works are inextricably tied to the advancement of freedom of expression, and the attack on him is a horrifying and unconscionable act of violence. As publishers, we have a collective responsibility to support writers whose books and ideas ensure an open and ever-evolving society. It is our honor to publish Salman;s prolific works, and to stand with him and the entire literary community as we remind the world of the power--and necessity--of the written word."

Blair: A Girlhood: Letter to My Transgender Daughter by Carolyn Hays

PEN America: Educational Gag Orders on the Rise

A new report from PEN America, America's Censored Classrooms, has found that the number of educational gag orders--state legislative proposals to restrict the freedom to learn and teach--has increased by 250% compared to last year, and educational gag orders have become law in 19 states, affecting 122 million Americans.

According to the report, 137 gag orders have been filed in 36 states so far in 2022, compared to 54 gag orders in 22 states through all of 2021. Though only a small percentage of those proposals are signed into law, "the sheer volume and unrelenting pace of censorious proposals have cast a powerful chill over the teaching of U.S. history, race, LGBTQ+ identities and other essential topics."

The report goes on to note that gag orders have also become increasingly punitive, with orders filed in 2022 much more likely "to include punishments, and those punishments have frequently been harsher," going as far as threatening fines and even criminal charges against teachers. Gag orders are increasingly targeting higher education as well as grade schools, and while race continues to be a major focus of most gag orders, LGBTQ+ identities "are an increasing focus of educational censorship." Republican legislators continue to be responsible for the vast majority of gag orders, with only one bill out of the 137 filed this year having a Democratic sponsor.

"Our report documents in alarming detail the threats to how young people learn and are taught in American schools," PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel said. "Lawmakers are undermining the role of our public schools as a unifying force above politics and turning them instead into a culture war battleground. By seeking to silence critical perspectives and stifle debate, they are depriving students of the tools they need to navigate a diverse and complex world."

The full report can be read here.

Graphic Mundi - Psu Press: Hakim's Odyssey by Fabien Toulme and Hanna Chute

Cindelle's Bookstore, Plainfield, N.J., Opens Little Library, Eyes Bricks-and-Mortar Location

Cindelle Harris-Blackmon

Cindelle's Bookstore, an online bookstore centered on Black voices and stories, has opened a free Little Library in Plainfield, N.J., where the bookstore is based. Owner Cindelle Harris-Blackmon told Tapinto Plainfield that she wants to open another five Little Libraries in town and eventually find a bricks-and-mortar location for Cindelle's Bookstore.

Harris-Blackmon, an English teacher and composition professor, held a ribbon cutting for the first Little Library, located at 1038 Central Avenue, earlier this week. The next Little Library will be placed by a church in Plainfield, and Cindelle's Bookstore will monitor and maintain the libraries.

In addition to focusing on Black books and literary culture, Cindelle's Bookstore emphasizes independently published millennial writers. The bookstore also has a selection of stationery and gift items available, and has a affiliate page.

Harris-Blackmon explained that growing up, Spanish was her first language, and she learned English through reading books. That love of books has stayed with her.

Her journey to opening an indie bookstore of her own began with an online book club she founded in 2011, which went on to have more than 700 subscribers. Eventually Harris-Blackmon had the idea of directly selling the books she recommended, and in August 2020 started selling books officially.

"And it was cool because at the time during the pandemic so many people wanted to read," she told Tapinto. "And they knew that I came out with a bookstore, an online-based bookstore, and so it kind of projected sales during the worst of times."

And as the online bookstore grows, Harris-Blackmon continues to explore options for a bricks-and-mortar store. "We're trying to figure out what a bookstore owned by a millennial--post-pandemic--looks like."

Ebony Magazine Publishing: Black Hollywood: Reimagining Iconic Movie Moments by Carell Augustus

Obituary Note: Stan Dragland

Stan Dragland

Canadian writer, editor and publisher Stan Dragland, who "co-founded one of Canada's few poetry-based publishers, Brick Books, was also the founding editor of the literary magazine Brick and a writer whose poetry, nonfiction and literary criticism won several awards over his four-decade-plus career," died August 2, CBC News reported. He was 79. 

Brick Books tweeted: "Poet, novelist, essayist, editor extraordinaire, loving critic, munificent reader, gentle friend, splendid human. Stan was the kindest, wisest mentor a person could ask for, and simply a joy to know."

"I hardly know what to say about losing Stan," Newfoundland poet and novelist Michael Crummey told CBC News, adding that Dragland "was such an understated, diffident presence that it is easy to underestimate what an enormous--and enormously positive--force he was in my life, in the province he adopted as his home and in the cultural life of the country." 

A longtime professor of English literature at the University of Western Ontario, Dragland co-founded Brick Books in 1975 with fellow poet Don McKay and served as publisher for many years. He was also the poetry editor for publishing house McClelland & Stewart from 1994 to 1997.

Dragland's books include his debut novel Peckertracks (1979), which was shortlisted for the Books in Canada First Novel Award; Floating Voice: Duncan Campbell Scott and the Literature of Treaty 9 (1994), which won the Gabrielle Roy Prize for Canadian literary criticism; 12 Bars (2002); Apocrypha: Further Journeys (2003); Stormy Weather: Foursomes (2005) and Strangers & Others: Newfoundland Essays (2015). His most recent book, Gerald Squires, won the 2019 Newfoundland and Labrador Book Award for nonfiction. In 2020, Dragland was appointed to the Order of Canada.

Known as one of Canada's leading champions of independent publishing, Dragland "dedicated much of his time to mentoring and encouraging both new and established literary voices, including publishing new work through Brick Books and teaching emerging writers at the Banff Centre and in Chile," CBC News wrote.

"He was endlessly creative and supportive of any creative endeavour that he touched as editor or collaborator or cheerleader. It was all about love and joy for Stan, in his work and in his life," Crummey said.


Image of the Day: Deb Liu at Books Inc.

Books Inc., Mountain View, Calif., hosted Deb Liu, CEO of Ancestry and author of Take Back Your Power (Zondervan Books). Liu was in conversation with author Abigail Wen and signed books for a standing-room-only crowd of nearly 100 people.

'Meet Some of Georgia's Newest Booksellers'

"Independent bookstores are growing in number and diversity," Georgia Public Broadcasting reported in a recent feature headlined "Meet some of Georgia's newest booksellers. They're thriving in spite of challenges."

Noting that "at least 10 new bookstores have opened in the state during the past 18 months," GPB said "their owners come from different backgrounds but face challenges familiar to many businesses today."

Indies showcased on the program included Newnan Book Company, Newnan; Virginia-Highland Books, Atlanta; Birdsong Books, Locust Grove; Early Literacy Development Agency (ELDA), Stonecrest; and Book Love, Senoia.

Personnel Changes at Penguin Young Readers

At Penguin Young Readers:

Elizabeth Montoya Vaughan has joined the company as associate director of publicity. Previously she was head of publishing and brand communications at Guinness World Records.

Jaleesa Davis has joined the company as publicity assistant. Previously she was subrights intern at Hachette Book Group.

Bookseller Moment: Wishing Tree Books

Posted on Facebook by Wishing Tree Books, Spokane, Wash.: "I LOVE when, say, toddlers passionately enjoy the store and then leave with their beloved purchases and I get to spend luxurious minutes returning the store to order. Bookselling is so calming in this way. I never tire of fussing with the books. And I adore seeing wee kiddos love on the books, too."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Kristen Bell on Ellen

Ellen repeat: Kristen Bell, co-author of The World Needs More Purple Schools (Random House Books for Young Readers, $18.99, 9780593434901).

Late Late Show with James Corden repeat: Dustin Nickerson, author of How to Be Married (to Melissa): A Hilarious Guide to a Happier, One-of-a-Kind Marriage (Thomas Nelson, $25.99, 9781400231614).

This Weekend on Book TV: Edwidge Danticat

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 this weekend from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday and focuses on political and historical books as well as the book industry. The following are highlights for this coming weekend. For more information, go to Book TV's website.

Saturday, August 20
8:50 a.m. Mark Clague, author of O Say Can You Hear?: A Cultural Biography of "The Star-Spangled Banner" (Norton, $28.95, 9780393651386). (Re-airs Saturday at 8:50 p.m.)

9:55 a.m. Le'Trice Donaldson, author of Duty beyond the Battlefield: African American Soldiers Fight for Racial Uplift, Citizenship, and Manhood, 1870-1920 (‎Southern Illinois University Press, $29.50, 9780809337590). (Re-airs Saturday at 9:55 p.m.)

6:25 p.m. Olivier Zunz, author of The Man Who Understood Democracy: The Life of Alexis de Tocqueville (Princeton University Press, $35, 9780691173979). (Re-airs Sunday at 6:25 a.m.)

Sunday, August 21
9 a.m. Pete Hegseth, co-author of Battle for the American Mind: Uprooting a Century of Miseducation (Broadside, $28.99, 9780063215047). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m.)

2 p.m. Reshma Saujani, author of Pay Up: The Future of Women and Work (and Why It's Different Than You Think) (‎Atria/One Signal, $27, 9781982191573).

3:05 p.m. James O'Keefe, author of American Muckraker: Rethinking Journalism for the 21st Century (‎Post Hill Press, $28, 9781637580905).

4:40 p.m. Gale Pooley, co-author of Superabundance: The Story of Population Growth, Innovation, and Human Flourishing on an Infinitely Bountiful Planet (‎Cato Institute, $34.95, 9781952223396).

5:10 p.m. Eric Patterson and Robert Joustra, editors of Power Politics and Moral Order: Three Generations of Christian Realism--A Reader (Cascade Books, $37, 9781725278844).

6:10 p.m. Edwidge Danticat, Marc Lamont Hill, Morgan Jerkins and Peniel Joseph discuss the social responsibilities of Black writers at the National Black Writers Conference in New York City.

Books & Authors

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, August 23:

The Ninth Month by James Patterson (Grand Central, $32, 9781538720837) follows a pregnant woman with a stalker.

Babel: Or the Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators' Revolution by R.F. Kuang (Harper Voyager, $27.99, 9780063021426) is an alternate history fantasy about translation and magic in the British empire.

Haven by Emma Donoghue (Little, Brown, $28, 9780316413930) takes place in seventh-century Ireland, where three monks try to found a monastery on an inhospitable island.

Girl, Forgotten: A Novel by Karin Slaughter (Morrow, $28.99, 9780062858115) follows a U.S. Marshal as she investigates a cold case.

Electable: Why America Hasn't Put a Woman in the White House... Yet by Ali Vitali (Dey Street, $28.99, 9780063058637) explores female candidates in the 2020 presidential election.

We've Got to Try: How the Fight for Voting Rights Makes Everything Else Possible by Beto O'Rourke (Flatiron Books, $29.99, 9781250852458) looks at the history and present of civil and voting rights in Texas.

Owning the Future: Power and Property in an Age of Crisis by Mathew Lawrence and Adrienne Buller (Verso, $19.95, 9781839765803) proposes policies for dealing with concentrated wealth.

Creepy Crayon! by Aaron Reynolds, illus. by Peter Brown (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, $18.99, 9781534465886) features Jasper Rabbit--a bunny who has previously dealt with Creepy Carrots! and a Creepy Pair of Underwear!--and a brand new crayon.

Four for the Road by K. J. Reilly (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, $19.99, 9781665902281) is a dark YA comedy in which three teens and an 80-year-old man go on a road trip to Graceland.

Aphrodite and the Duke: A Novel by J.J. McAvoy (Dell, $17, 9780593500040).

The Witches of Moonshyne Manor by Bianca Marais (MIRA, $16.99, 9780778386995).

Be a Plant-Based Woman Warrior: Live Fierce, Stay Bold, Eat Delicious by Jane Esselstyn and Ann Crile Esselstyn (Avery, $30, 9780593328910).

How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need by Bill Gates (Vintage, $18, 9780593081853).

IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:

The Kingdoms of Savannah: A Novel by George Dawes Green (Celadon Books, $27.99, 9781250767448). "Totally immersed myself in the deep south and long-standing family secrets with this delightful read. An engaging story with a wealth of history. Very much looking forward to more of Jaq and Ransom!" --Kappy Kling, HearthFire Books, Evergreen, Colo.

The Last to Vanish: A Novel by Megan Miranda (Scribner/Marysue Rucci Books, $27.99, 9781982147310). "I really enjoyed the mystery and how it unraveled for Abigail and Trey, and how the disappearances are connected. Megan Miranda is a great writer and I am always eager to read her new books--this didn't disappoint!" --Stephanie Rivera, Chapter Two... a Bookstore, Lompoc, Calif.

The Wild Hunt: A Novel by Emma Seckel (Tin House Books, $16.95, 9781953534224). "Moody and atmospheric, the islanders are forced to confront tradition, ancient superstition, and the secrets submerged to preserve their normalcy. A taut tale full of otherworldly activities and the tension of daily existence." --Bill Cusumano, Square Books, Oxford, Miss.

For Ages 4 to 8
Don't Worry, Murray by David Ezra Stein (Balzer + Bray, $17.99, 9780062845245). "Murray worries about thunderstorms, meeting larger dogs, fireworks, and going to bed at night--but each experience makes Murray just a little braver. This story is thoughtful, tender, and quite amusing. A terrific story for any age!" --Joanne Doggart, Where the Sidewalk Ends, Chatham, Mass.

For Ages 10 to 14
The Elephant Girl by James Patterson, Ellen Banda-Aaku and Sophia Krevoy (Jimmy Patterson, $16.99, 9780316316927). "Jama shares her heart with Mbegu, caring for her safety and well-being. She finds solace in her elephant friends when humans let her down, and the relationship that blossoms is one with mutual respect and thoughtfulness at the center." --Honor Ford, The Doylestown & Lahaska Bookshops, Doylestown, Pa.

For Teen Readers
This Wicked Fate (This Poison Heart) by Kalynn Bayron (Bloomsbury YA, $18.99, 9781547609208). "A most wonderful follow-up to This Poison Heart. Fall in love with Bri and Marie as they adventure to reunite all the pieces of the heart. I love the Greek mythology Bayron plays with. I couldn't put it down." --Kristin Saner, Fables Books, Goshen, Ind.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: Marigold and Rose

Marigold and Rose: A Fiction by Louise Glück (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $22 hardcover, 64p., 9780374607586, October 11, 2022)

In her 2020 Nobel Lecture, poet Louise Glück recounts a competition, devised in her childhood, to decide the very best of poetry; William Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience emerged victorious. Written with her characteristic directness, Marigold and Rose springs fully to life in just a few sentences and establishes the tone for her lecture. With this story, her first foray into fiction, Glück makes perhaps another sly reference to Blake, giving readers a distinctive look at both innocence and experience through the eyes (and minds) of infant twins during their first year of life.

Ever the poet, Glück chooses each word carefully and leaves only the necessary and true on the page, so Marigold and Rose is a decidedly slim volume, but it holds a wealth of insight. The narrative opens with "Marigold was absorbed in her book; she had gotten as far as the V," and progresses in an alternating close third-person, bouncing between the twins and their particular personalities. Though the twins are named, Father and Mother remain abstractions, vital but vague and formless. The children, however, are fully formed: Marigold is quiet and observant, already a writer ("That she couldn't read was an impediment. Nevertheless, the book was forming in her head"); Rose "was a social being," eager to please, quick to smile. Both see the other as central to their emerging story.

This short novel is inspired by the author's grandchildren, born during the lockdowns, which meant Glück observed their first year from a distance, via video. Under those circumstances, it would be easy for Marigold and Rose to slip into sentimentality. Instead, the simplicity of the subject matter serves to elevate each moment of brilliance. The babies are bathed, they sleep in separate cribs, they learn to drink from a cup--all ordinary moments that are somehow transfigured. Glück suggests that these moments of deep learning in early childhood are accompanied by equally deep interiority, giving Rose astute observations of her twin: "What an odd little thing she is, Rose thought. All her energy is in her head." Or Marigold ruminating on the transience of things: "Everything will disappear" even as she considers the concrete value of her growing vocabulary. In this way, Marigold and Rose becomes something more than observations of very young children; it is a reflection on life and learning, time and the passing of time, and always--always--the choosing of just the right words. --Sara Beth West, freelance reviewer and librarian

Shelf Talker: Poet Louise Glück's first work of fiction gives voice to the interior life of twin infants, combining depth and humor through the babies' innocent but perceptive observations.

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