Shelf Awareness for Thursday, February 18, 2016

Algonquin Young Readers: the Beautiful Game by Yamile Saied Méndez

Berkley Books: Books that will sweep you off your feet! Enter Giveaway!

Feiwel & Friends: The Flicker by HE Edgmon

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: The Pumpkin Princess and the Forever Night by Steven Banbury

St. Martin's Griffin: Murdle: The School of Mystery: 50 Seriously Sinister Logic Puzzles by GT Karber


ABA: 60 Indie Stores Opened in 2015

Some 60 new independent bookstores opened in 2015 and were welcomed as members by the American Booksellers Association. Of the 60, 16 were branches or satellites of existing stores. In addition, another 16 ABA member stores were successfully sold to new owners in 2015. For a full list of the 76 stores and stories about some of them, see Bookselling This Week here.

Blackstone Publishing: Rogue Community College: A Liberty House Novel by David R Slayton

New Owners at Southampton Books Make Changes provided an update on Southampton Books, the former BookHampton store in Southampton, N.Y., which was purchased last November by Daniel Hirsch and Gregory Harris from longtime owner Charline Spektor.

Greg Harris, Daniel Hirsch and Terrapin (Photo: Dana Shaw/

The pair are starting book clubs and plan to host discussions and roundtables on "bookish topics" and more signings and other events in-store and off-site.

Already the new owners have added new tables and displays and are changing the inventory. "We try to have something for everybody, in the sense that we have the stuff that you'll find in the other bookstores, but there's also an air of mystery," Hirsch said. "You come in here and you're not certain what you might find on the shelf. We like to have that feeling of hidden gems around the store. So there is something for everybody, from the obscure to the mainstream."

Harris, who in 2008 as a sideline started an online business selling rare and collectible books, Restaurant of the Mind Books, has been adding some of that inventory of about 4,000 books to Southampton Books, including first editions and signed copies.

"We want to be a real hub of the community," Hirsch said. "We want people to feel like they have a place where they can come, relax, and find a great book... it's a really good community for a bookstore, and that literary tradition--it's great knowing that it's here for you waiting to come off the street."

In related news, the branch of Bookhampton in East Hampton is still for sale, and owner Charline Spektor said she expects to close on a sale of that store in "just a few weeks."

Paz & Associates Teaching Online, Too

Paz & Associates, which has trained a range of booksellers over the years, is now offering online training for prospective booksellers. These 12 modules use videos, links, spreadsheets and other supplemental material to explain the business side of any potential new bookstore, from understanding the modern retail environment to picking a location and investment requirements versus potential returns.

Donna Paz Kaufman

"People lead busy lives and often are still working in another industry while planning to open a bookstore," said Donna Paz Kaufman, the group's founder. "Learning at your own pace and being able to repeat training segments will make it easier for more prospective booksellers to understand the business of bookselling and what it takes to launch and develop a profitable business."

The training modules are now a prerequisite to Paz & Associates's in-person intensive training sessions, also known as "bookstore boot-camps." ABA members can receive special rates by calling 904-277-2664.

FoxTale Home Fire: A Call for Help

Sad news from FoxTale Book Shoppe, Atlanta, Ga.: the home of Karen Schwettman, one of the store owners, and her husband, Gene, who is also involved with the store, has burned to the ground. Although the Schwettmans escaped without injury, they lost their pets and all their belongings.

Co-owners Jackie Tanase and Ellen Ward are raising money to help the Schwettmans. For more information, click here.

Obituary Note: Judy Sarick

Judy Sarick, founder of the Children's Book Store in Toronto and "a beloved and revered fixture of the early days of Canadian kidlit," died February 15, Quillblog reported. A librarian with the Toronto Public Library and head of school services for the Toronto School Board, Sarick opened the Children's Book Store with her husband, Hy, in 1974. (It closed in 2000.) She "also influenced listeners of CBC's Morningside with Peter Gzowski as a founding member of the Children's Book Panel, served on numerous awards juries, spoke at conferences, and was the recipient of IBBY Canada's Claude Aubry Award for distinguished service within the field of children's literature," Quillblog wrote.

Author and librarian Ken Setterington called Sarick "a huge force in the world of children's books. Not just in Canada but all around the world. The Children's Book Store was a destination for visitors to Toronto."

Kate DiCamillo: Forever Eight

photo: Catherine Smith

Kate DiCamillo won a Newbery Honor for Because of Winn-Dixie (2001) and Newbery Medals for both The Tale of Despereaux (2004) and Flora & Ulysses (2014). She recently ended her two-year term as National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, appointed by the Library of Congress. DiCamillo spent some of Presidents Day morning talking with Shelf Awareness about her upcoming novel, Raymie Nightingale (Candlewick, April 12, 2016), from her home in Minneapolis.

You've said that Raymie Nightingale is your most autobiographical novel to date--"the absolutely true story of my heart." Was that planned, or is that just how the novel unfolded?

I did not plan on that! It started off for me with just the concept of the Little Miss Central Florida Tire Contest, and I thought that was so funny. It was going to be about this inept kid, i.e., Raymie, who couldn't win a Little Miss contest to save her life, i.e., me. I had [Beverly Cleary's] Ramona in mind, not that you could ever aspire to Ramona-ness, but there was that spirit to it.

The story changed and became more and more true for me. It's all made up, but there's this feeling of "You're responsible for your parent leaving, and you are responsible for getting your parent back." And the book became that. Really, the book is probably the result of a PowerPoint presentation. I've stood up in front of so many kids and talked about my childhood, and my father leaving, that I think talking about these things out loud is also part of where Raymie came from.

It's weird to think that since Raymie is set in 1975 Florida, it could be considered historical fiction.

No kidding! It's not only that we're adults and it's not only that we're middle-aged--we're past middle-aged. How did that happen? I still feel like I'm 8, 9, 10. I'm still that kid, I think.

That's why you write like you do, maybe.

I remember in one of the first interviews I did for Because of Winn Dixie, the interviewer said, "Now how do you get into the mind of a 10-year-old child?" And I was just gobsmacked by the question because for me the answer was so obvious: "Because I was one." But maybe I'm stuck back there more than other people. I just remember it so clearly.

Raymie's soul is often expanding and contracting. Tell us about that.

You are so brilliantly, fully alive when you're a kid. Everything is fraught with meaning. Everything is also gorgeous and terrifying. That's so much a part of what's going on with Raymie. And that's very much me. I'm just articulating that hugeness and immediacy of everything. Remember? This is what it's like to be a kid. There's a terror implicit in it. You learn to muffle those feelings as you get older, and you need to, in a way.

You competed in the Little Miss Orange Blossom contest when you were a child in Florida.

The one thing I remember clearly is a feeling of understanding who I was... and that I was in the wrong place. Time has drawn a merciful veil over the rest of the proceedings. I did take baton lessons, and I was a kid who had a hard time telling left from right much less twirling a baton while going left and right. I just remember the baton in the back of my closet, with dents in it. Which makes me think of Beverly Tapinksi who was always using it to beat someone up.

How would you describe Raymie Clarke to someone who hasn't read the book?

I would say, that child is so me. She's interior, she's worried, she's afraid, she's shy, she's hopeful and she's more capable than she knows she is.

You have an unusually clear style of writing--you zero in on the heart of a character. Is this a reflection of you as a person, or is it just how you like to write your stories?

I have a direct style and I zero in on the heart of things? That's so nice. Is that how I am as a person? No. I always think the writing is smarter and better than I am. It's the best part of me. If it is a direct style--and I would love to think that it is--it's from just massive amounts of rewriting and stripping it down. I'm always after that thing that E.B. White does: one of his words does the work of 10 words from somebody else. He put the whole weight of his soul on a word. That's the pie-in-the-sky dream, to try and do it that way.

Repetition--the deliberate kind--is central in your books. In Raymie, the refrain relates to her expanding soul. Any light you can shine on that?

I guess I do do that. And why do I do it? I don't know! I'm always at the end of something before I turn it in. At that point I'm doing nothing but reading out loud as I write, so there's a rhythm that I'm always looking for. Maybe that is part of the repetition. A leitmotif? It's that thing I keep on returning to, to unify, I guess. I truly don't know what I'm doing. I feel like I'm walking down a dark hallway and I can see light underneath the door and I know what direction I'm heading as I get closer and closer to that door, which is the end of the book. I'm instinctually making my way, so it's fascinating to hear what I do because I don't know it.

I loved how Raymie's focus was completely on the baton-twirling contest, and then it slid into the book rescue, then it slid into the cat rescue.

Again back to me and the long dark hallway! Because, in writing it, I thought, what happened? I thought it was going to be about this contest, but increasingly, it's not. It's about trusting people and making friends with people. And so I was worried from a plot perspective that the contest had gone away, but all I could do was follow these girls and their preoccupations.

In Raymie Nightingale, there's the elderly woman in the assisted-living facility who repeatedly screams "Take my hand!" Was there a particular memory that inspired these haunting cries?

We would take field trips as kids in the '70s and that's one of the things we would do--go to the nursing home and sing. We'd be singing "Make new friends and keep the oo-old" and someone would be screaming in the background and that would make me keel over sideways in terror. We had to pretend like screaming wasn't going on. There you were in the middle of it singing "Kumbaya."

Do you feel different after having served as National Ambassador for Young People's Literature for two years?

It made me feel so much more connected. Everybody talks about kids and how they're not reading, and I realize that I'm just seeing a select group but, boy, stories matter to kids. They do read. And they are passionate about stories. Stories matter and talking about stories matters. Reading stories together matters. It was a wonderful experience for me.

Did that role shift your perspective on anything?

For me personally, to accept that role, something so large and so public, was a big thing because there's a part of me that still can't believe what's happened to me. To accept that role also meant that I accepted who I am and what I do, as unbelievable as it is.

You have a 20-city tour coming up for Raymie Nightingale. Are you excited about that?

It's like when you're signing books and you know there's a long line of waiting people there. Don't look at the line. It's just... this face, this child, this face, this child. You think, how could it be that this happened, this kid standing in front of me clutching a book that I wrote, too excited to speak? That's a gift, to go out there on tour... and that's what I remember. Not "20 cities." --Karin Snelson, children's & YA editor, Shelf Awareness

G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!
A Forty Year Kiss
by Nickolas Butler
GLOW: A Forty Year Kiss by Nickolas Butler

A Forty Year Kiss by Nickolas Butler is a passionate, emotionally complex love story that probes tender places within the heart and soul. When 60-somethings Charlie and Vivian--married then divorced in their 20s--reunite after four decades, they are swept up by the very best of what their romantic relationship once offered. "Anyone who has ever thought about what might have been will find this book fascinating," says Shana Drehs, senior editorial director at Sourcebooks Landmark. "The story is a brilliant exploration of a second chance at love, always realistic but never saccharine." As Charlie and Vivian build a bridge from past to present, their enduring love paving over potholes, Butler (Shotgun Lovesongs) raises questions about how life changes people--or does it?--and delivers another heartening, unforgettable novel. --Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines

(Sourcebooks Landmark, $27.99 Hardcover, 9781464221248, 
February 4, 2025)


Shelf vetted, publisher supported


Image of the Day: On the Road for Redemption Road

John Hart is in the midst of a pre-pub tour for Redemption Road (Thomas Dunne Books, May 3, 2016), his first novel in five years and his first with a female protagonist. Hart stopped in Washington, D.C., where he had dinner at 1789 with local booksellers on Tuesday. From l. to r.: Debbie Scheller (A Likely Story), Trish Brown (One More Page), Eileen McGervey (One More Page), Jill Gregory (A Likely Story), Scott Abel (Kramerbooks), John Hart, Mike Cutforth (Macmillan), Mike Kern (Kramerbooks), Mark Laframboise (Politics & Prose) and Jonathan Woolen (Politics & Prose).

Malaprop's Bookstore Helps 'Drive Asheville Vibe'

As the national profile of Asheville, N.C., "rises and more large-scale retail outlets look to stake a claim here, small businesses are taking steps to ensure that this city doesn't become a victim of its own success," Mountain Xpress reported, citing Malaprop's Bookstore/Café as one of several locally owned shops driving the trend.

"We are fortunate to have an incredibly talented staff," said Malaprop's general manager Linda-Marie Barrett. "They make running a small business less of a challenge, because they work hard and understand the importance of our success." She added that the bookstore also "works together with our community of bookstores. We find that through working together, we raise the profile [and] value of what we do in our community."

Barrett also noted the role of the Internet, where the store can "connect more intimately with our customers on various platforms--our e-mail newsletter, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr--bringing what we do and what's available to our customer's attention, which brings them into our store."

Cool Idea of the Day: Rad American Women's History Month

City Lights Booksellers & Publishers, San Francisco, published its first children's book last year: Rad American Women A-Z: Rebels, Trailblazers, and Visionaries who Shaped Our History... and Our Future! by Kate Schatz, illustrated by Miriam Klein Stahl (reviewed here). Now City Lights is helping other bookstores hold kid's events for Women's History Month in March with a guide based on Rad American Women A-Z, which highlights the contributions of female leaders.

Some suggestions for group activities: "Read a profile of one or two of the women featured in the book. Ask kids to either write and/or talk about a rad woman in their life. Share a video from our 'Rad American Women A-Z' series." This video series, available on the City Lights blog, features "contemporary Rad women" reading profiles from the book, including, most recently, two artists reading "G Is for the Grimke Sisters." Another video highlights two members of the Radical Monarchs, a club for young women of color, reading "X Is for the Women Whose Names We Don't Know."

Hachette to Distribute pikids in North America

Effective May 1, Hachette Book Group will provide North American distribution, fulfillment, customer service and billing/collection services to Phoenix International Publications, also known as pikids.

pikids, Lincolnwood, Ill., is a children's publisher specializing in sound books, whose licensing partners include Disney, Nickelodeon, Sesame Workshop, among others. Until 2014, pikids was the children's division of Publications International. It was then bought by Phoenix Publishing & Media Group, the largest publishing company in China, which has a partnership with Hachette Livre.

Book Trailer of the Day: The Nocturnals


The Nocturnals: The Mysterious Abductions by Tracey Hecht, illustrated by Kate Liebman (Fabled Films Press, distributed by Consortium), the first in a 15-book middle-grade series following three animal friends: Dawn, a serious fox; Tobin, a sweet pangolin; and Bismark, the loud-mouthed, pint-sized sugar glider. 

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Ali Wentworth on Wendy Williams

Wendy Williams: Ali Wentworth, author of Happily Ali After: And Other Fairly True Tales (Harper, $25.99, 9780062238498).

BBC Series Propels War and Peace to Bestseller List

"Britain is racing to address the fact that only 4% of Britons have read War and Peace," the Guardian noted in reporting that BBC's "racy adaptation" of Leo Tolstoy's classic work has propelled the novel "into the Bookseller's top 50 for the first time since Nielsen BookScan's records began in 1998.... The strong sales follow YouGov's recent survey, which found that only 4% of Britons have read War and Peace, although 14% wish they had."

"Judging by our recent sales... an awful lot of people have finally crossed this classic off their must-read list. Four different editions of the book have hit our bestseller list, shifting an almost equal number of copies each,” said Waterstones buyer Joseph Knobbs.

Helen Trayler, managing director at Wordsworth Editions, said, "We saw similar sales increases on Dickens thanks to the BBC's Dickensian series; also with Lady Chatterley's Lover a few months ago. We raise our hats to the BBC--and other broadcasters--who bring these incredible classic literary works to the mass market. Although sometimes sniffed at by the academics, these adaptations are encouraging more people to read the classics. And that can only be a good thing."

This Weekend on Book TV: Senator Cory Booker

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, February 20
8 p.m. Julian Borger, author of The Butcher's Trail: How the Search for Balkan War Criminals Became the World's Most Successful Manhunt (Other Press, $23.95, 9781590516058), at Politics & Prose in Washington, D.C. (Re-airs Sunday at 11 p.m.)

9 p.m. Neil J. Young, author of We Gather Together: The Religious Right and the Problem of Interfaith Politics (Oxford University Press, $34.95, 9780199738984). (Re-airs Monday at 7 a.m.)

10 p.m. Senator Cory Booker, author of United: Thoughts on Finding Common Ground and Advancing the Common Good (Ballantine, $27, 9781101965160). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. Ronald L. Feinman, author of Assassinations, Threats, and the American Presidency: From Andrew Jackson to Barack Obama (Rowman & Littlefield, $38, 9781442231214). (Re-airs Sunday at 6 p.m.)

Sunday, February 21
7:30 p.m. David Nexon, co-author of Lion of the Senate: When Ted Kennedy Rallied the Democrats in a GOP Congress (Simon & Schuster, $35, 9781476796154).

10 p.m. Jeffrey A. Lieberman, co-author of Shrinks: The Untold Story of Psychiatry (Back Bay, $16.99, 9780316278980).

Books & Authors

Awards: Trailblazer

Winners of the inaugural Trailblazer Awards, which recognize individuals who "demonstrated innovation and ambition in the book industry," were unveiled this week at an event hosted by the London Book Fair, in partnership with the Society of Young Publishers and BookBrunch. The Trailblazer Awards invited members of the publishing industry to nominate themselves and others to find young publishers "trailblazing through their twenties."

The 2016 winners are George Burgess, entrepreneur and marketing lead at Gojimo; Clio Cornish, executive publisher at HarperCollins; Nick Coveney, head of digital at Kings Road Publishing; as well as Ella Kahn and Bryony Woods, co-founders of DKW Literary Agency.

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new hardcovers appearing next Tuesday, February 23:

Playing to the Edge: American Intelligence in the Age of Terror by Michael V. Hayden (Penguin Press, $30, 9781594206566) is the memoir of the former head of the CIA and the NSA.

American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers by Nancy Jo Sales (Knopf, $26.95, 9780385353922) explores adolescence in the age of social media.

Try Not to Breathe: A Novel by Holly Seddon (Ballantine, $26, 9781101885864) is a psychological thriller about an alcoholic journalist investigating an old assault case.

I'm Glad About You by Theresa Rebeck (Putnam, $27, 9780399172885) follows high school sweethearts whose adult lives drastically diverge.

Wedding Cake Murder by Joanne Fluke (Kensington, $26, 9781617732164) is the 19th Hannah Swensen culinary mystery.

Fast Metabolism Food Rx: 7 Powerful Prescriptions to Feed Your Body Back to Health by Haylie Pomroy (Harmony, $26, 9780804141079) gives diet advice for health problems.

Montalbano's First Case and Other Stories by Andrea Camilleri and Stephen Sartarelli (Penguin Books, $18, 9780143121626).

13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl: Fiction by Mona Awad (Penguin Books, $16, 9780143128489).

Ditch the Wheat: 120 Paleo Recipes for a Gluten-Free Lifestyle by Carol Lovett (Victory Belt Publishing, $34.95, 9781628600636).

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:

Be Frank With Me: A Novel by Julia Claiborne Johnson (Morrow, $25.99, 9780062413710). "When reclusive novelist Mimi Banning loses her fortune and must quickly write a second novel, her publisher sends a young publicist to oversee the efforts and make sure their huge investment is secure. Alice Whitley arrives and is put to work as a caregiver to Mimi's eccentric nine-year-old son, Frank. Frank is a diamond in the rough, and as Alice gets to know him and the mysterious characters in his life, she becomes all-consumed with discovering his paternity. Be Frank With Me is captivating, irresistible, moving, heartbreaking, and utterly unputdownable." --Bess Bleyaert, McLean & Eakin Booksellers, Petoskey, Mich.

The Flood Girls: A Novel by Richard Fifield (Gallery Books, $26, 9781476797380). "Rachel Flood moves back home to a rural anywhere town: Quinn, Montana. In Quinn, dirty bars breed dirty people, and Rachel struggles to find kindness in a place that kindness seems to have abandoned. These are the '90s, and these are the women--crude and unapologetic--who carry Fifield's debut to its shocking, though perhaps necessary, end with the harsh winds that slam across Montana's eastern prairie. Booze, softball, western wildlife, bar fights--and the clothes! The music!" --Lauren Korn, Fact & Fiction, Missoula, Mont.

The Unfinished World: And Other Stories by Amber Sparks (Liveright, $16.95, 9781631490903). "The beautiful stories in Sparks' debut collection have an ephemeral quality that is difficult to categorize. Comparisons can be made to Haruki Murakami or George Saunders, but the writing is honestly unlike anything I have ever read. The otherworldliness of these stories will transport you beyond the minutiae of your everyday life and alter the way you look at the world." --Shawn Donley, Powell's Books, Portland, Ore.

For Ages 4 to 8
Ella and Penguin Stick Together by Megan Maynor, illustrated by Rosalinde Bonnet (HarperCollins, $17.99, 9780062330888). "Ella has a surprise for her friend Penguin--glow-in-the-dark stickers! But to see the stickers glow they have to be in the dark, and Penguin is afraid of the dark. Can Ella help Penguin face his fear? Through a blend of sincerity and humor, Maynor effectively conveys how friends can help each other in the struggle to overcome whatever it is that makes them afraid. Bonnet's soft and colorful illustrations complete this sweet tale of friendship and bravery." --Page Seck, Blue Manatee Children's Bookstore, Cincinnati, Ohio

For Ages 9 to 12
To Catch a Cheat: A Jackson Greene Novel by Varian Johnson (Arthur A. Levine Books, $16.99, 9780545722391). "Jackson Greene is back, reluctantly coming out of retirement again, because he and his crew have been framed for pulling a prank. The objective of this long con? To figure out who is framing them and then get them to turn themselves in. The result? Another winner of a book from Johnson, this one filled with revenge, action, and just a little bit of romance." --Melissa Fox, Watermark Books & Café, Wichita, Kan.

For Teen Readers: An Indies Introduce Title
Underwater by Marisa Reichardt (FSG, $17.99, 9780374368869). "Debut author Reichardt offers a novel about the psychological aftermath of a school shooting that will change your perspective on the issue forever. Morgan has become agoraphobic after surviving a shooting at her school the year before, but a new neighbor helps her to slowly re-enter the world. Thoughtfully handled and thought-provoking, Underwater is a reminder that violence touches us all, but that there is always room for hope." --Erin Barker, Hooray for Books!, Alexandria, Va.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: Don't Let My Baby Do Rodeo

Don't Let My Baby Do Rodeo by Boris Fishman (Harper, $26.99 hardcover, 9780062384362, March 1, 2016)

Leavened with a healthy dose of the history, culture and culinary arts of Eastern European Jewish immigrants in New Jersey, Boris Fishman's second novel (after A Replacement Life) tells the story of Alex and Maya Rubin and their nine-year-old adopted son, Max, whose Montana birth parents handed him over with the admonition: "Don't let my baby do rodeo." This cryptic message bewilders Alex and Maya, for whom rodeo is only a Wikipedia entry and Montana a place on their road atlas, clear on the other side of the United States.

Struggling to overcome the insecurity of separation from her Ukraine family, Maya meets Alex and marries him out of young love (and to get U.S. citizenship). Smothered by Alex's successful Belarus-born busybody parents, she gives up her dream of opening a Ukrainian restaurant for a more practical medical tech job. When they discover they cannot have children, Maya takes charge of adoption over the strong objection of Alex and his parents, who hold that "adopted children were second-class, by definition unwanted... used human being[s]."

A healthy baby, Max develops into a reclusive, almost feral, child who immerses himself in the natural world--sleeping outside in a tent or on the floor of his bedroom, collecting grass specimens and, in a pivotal moment in the story, taking a city bus after school to a rural farm where he sits face down in a river "counting the pebbles." Alex takes this to confirm his reluctance to adopt "because you get genes that belong to somebody else." Maya thinks this makes Max special, and becoming more self-assured, she insists that they drive to Montana to meet the birth parents and see Max's roots for themselves.

Like many "road novels," the journey across their adopted country is one of self-discovery for Alex, Maya and Max--each confronting the unspoken stresses of their family relationship--but especially for Maya, who reflects while caught in a Montana blizzard on their way home that "it would take some doing to get out of this trouble, but the forecast was good, and the world full of wonder, and there was nothing to fear out there at all."

With graceful control and assurance, Fishman turns Don't Let My Baby Do Rodeo into a layered story of identity and the challenges of weaving our many differences into compassionate bonds. Genetics, culture, language, history, geography, personality, sexuality--so many things can drive a family apart. It's a wonder that Alex, Maya and Max (or any of us) can hold it together. Immigration and adoption are not for wimps. Writing well about them is a true art. Fishman is very much up to the task--heartbreak, headaches, happiness and all. --Bruce Jacobs, founding partner, Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, Kan.

Shelf Talker: Boris Fishman's second novel is a nuanced, compassionate portrait of a New Jersey immigrant family confronting the challenges of raising an adopted child born in Montana.

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