Shelf Awareness for Monday, May 21, 2018

Atria Books: The Silence in Her Eyes by Armando Lucas Correa

Labyrinth Road: Plan A by Deb Caletti

Harper Muse: Unsinkable by Jenni L. Walsh

Mariner Books: Everyone on This Train Is a Suspect by Benjamin Stevenson

S&s/ Marysue Rucci Books: The Storm We Made by Vanessa Chan

W by Wattpad Books: Night Shift by Annie Crown

Shadow Mountain: Under the Java Moon: A Novel of World War II by Heather B. Moore

Quotation of the Day

'Selling Learning, Ideas, Escape, Comfort'

"As far as the independent bookstore business, there is to my mind nothing like it. It's very arduous and challenging, but it's so much fun and there are so many great people. And what you're selling is learning and ideas and escape and comfort--and a whole long list of adjectives. It's just a very magical profession, and the people who work in it are all so terrific."

--Dana Brigham in a q&a with the Boston Globe about retiring after 37 years at Brookline Booksmith, Brookline, Mass.

Flatiron Books: Anita de Monte Laughs Last by Xochitl Gonzalez


S.Dak.'s Prairie Pages Bookstore Has New Owners

Neighbors Amanda Bachmann and Amanda Thronson have bought Prairie Pages bookstore in Pierre, S.Dak., which they are reconfiguring and will reopen in June, the Capital Journal reported. Bachmann is an entomologist with SDSU Extension and Thronson teaches English at Stanley County Middle School, jobs they'll continue for the near future.

They bought the store from Peggy Stout and Kathy Villa, owners for 12 years. Stout had decided to retire, and Villa told the Capital Journal, "If Peggy is not going to be here, I don't want to be here!"

Bachmann and Thronson said that one impetus for the purchase was their belief that it would be difficult to start another bookstore in Pierre from scratch. Thronson told the paper, "When we saw what the bookstore meant to the Pierre community, we thought: Why don't we just give it a shot, and see if we can't make it happen and keep the bookstore going here."

Both new owners worked many years ago at Barnes & Noble, and Thronson also worked at the Concordia College bookstore while she was a student. (Her father managed the Augustana University bookstore.)

Tweaks at the store include the addition to the inventory of board games and graphic novels, and reshuffling of sections. The new owners also aim to emphasize gaming group meetings, book club meetings and kids story time.

Britannica Books: Britannica's Encyclopedia Infographica: 1,000s of Facts & Figures--About Earth, Space, Animals, the Body, Technology & More--Revealed in Pictures by Valentina D'Efilippo, Andrew Pettie, and Conrad Quilty-Harper

Indy Indie Bookstore and Record Shop Bought, Merging

Elysia Smith has bought both Bookmamas and Irvington Vinyl in Indianapolis, Ind., and will merge them and reopen as Irvington Vinyl & Books in June, nuvo reported. In March, Bookmamas owner Kathleen Angelone and Irvington Vinyl owner Rick Wilkerson had announced they were closing their stores, which share space.

"My fondest hope when Kathleen and I decided to wind this thing up was that we would find somebody to succeed us," Wilkerson told nuvo. "It didn't look like we were going to, so we went into the liquidation. And then, right at the beginning of the liquidation, Elysia came to talk to us, and I was like, 'Wow. That would be awesome if we could figure something out.' Against all odds, it happened."

Angelone, who opened Bookmamas in 2007, said of Smith: "I'm excited that she's young, and she has energy. She has a vision, and she has passion. She can just move it forward. I had gotten to a point where I was becoming more tired, and I had some health issues. It was just getting to be too much for me. But I think this is just a match made in heaven to have her come in here, take over, and move it in her own direction."

For her part, Smith, who is a writer and community organizer, said, "I have built up a lot of rapport with Rick and Kathleen over this process, and it's been wonderful. I really am spending a lot of time talking to them about what they did in the past and how I can ensure that the community Irvington Vinyl and Bookmamas supported before continues to feel supported, while also bringing in people that will invigorate it, grow it, and make it more dynamic."

GLOW: Carolrhoda Books: Pangu's Shadow by Karen Bao

Houston Booksellers Respond to Latest Mass Shooting

In response to the latest mass shooting in a school--Friday's murders in Santa Fe, Tex.--two bookstores in nearby Houston took action by donating a percentage of in-store and online profit over the weekend to Everytown, an organization dedicated to ending gun violence and building safer communities.

Murder by the Book and Blue Willow Bookshop wrote, in part, "Our hearts are breaking over the tragedy at Santa Fe High School. High school students and teachers are members of our close-knit teams, and a significant part of our mission is to connect young readers in our community with books and authors. We are parents. We are friends, more tightly bound than the most precious book."

Soho Crime: My Favorite Scar by Nicolás Ferraro, translated by Mallory Craig-Kuhn

New Penzler Press to Focus on American Mystery Classics

Otto Penzler, the mystery publisher and bookseller, has founded another company, Penzler Publishers, whose first imprint is American Mystery Classics, which is devoted to publishing print editions of "America's greatest writers of the Golden Age of detective fiction." The first six titles will be published in October in hardcover and trade paperback editions and be distributed by Norton.

Penzler explained: "Reprints of Golden Age classics by British writers have been very successful, so it seems the time has come to recognize the best American authors of traditional detective fiction."

The six initial titles are The Chinese Orange Mystery by Ellery Queen, The So Blue Marble by Dorothy B. Hughes, Death from a Top Hat by Clayton Rawson, The Red Lamp by Mary Roberts Rinehart, Home Sweet Homicide by Craig Rice and The Puzzle of the Happy Hooligan by Stuart Palmer.

Penzler founded the Mysterious Press in 1975 (it's now associated with Grove/Atlantic); the Mysterious Bookshop in New York City in 1979; and Mysterious in 2011. He has won two Edgars (for 1977's The Encyclopedia of Mystery and Detection and 2010's The Lineup), has edited more than 70 anthologies and has written extensively about mystery fiction.

Penzler Publishers staff includes publisher Charles Perry, former managing editor of Penzler's other mystery enterprises. Jane Friedman, former president and CEO of HarperCollins and co-founder of Open Road Integrated Media, who has long worked with Penzler on publishing backlist titles, is consulting on American Mystery Classics.

Obituary Note: Bobbie Louise Hawkins

Bobbie Louise Hawkins, "a prodigious Beat Generation poet and novelist whose work reverberated with her hardscrabble Texas childhood and her belated liberation from an overbearing husband," died May 4, the New York Times reported. She was 87. Hawkins "left her literary imprint on a cultural landscape dominated by men and as a mentor to a generation of female writers."

Hawkins wrote more than 20 books of fiction, nonfiction, poetry and impressionist monologues, including 15 Poems (1974), Back to Texas (1977), Almost Everything (1982), One Small Saga (1984) and My Own Alphabet (1989).

Her volatile 18-year marriage to noted poet Robert Creeley, whom she called "the most interesting man I ever met," ended in divorce in the 1970s. "I think a part of what attracted Bob to me was competences I had within myself, but it was as if once I was within his purview, those competences were only to be used for his needs, in the space where we lived, and not as though they were my own," Hawkins said. "What I was really fighting for wasn't the right to be some kind of brilliant writer. I was fighting for the right to write badly until it got better." The Times noted that once she and Creeley separated around 1975, "she stopped writing surreptitiously."

In 1978, poets Anne Waldman and Allen Ginsberg recruited Hawkins to join the faculty of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at the Naropa Institute (now Naropa University) in Boulder, Colo., where she taught until she retired in 2010.

"Bobbie Louise Hawkins, story teller and monologuist and performer with extraordinary wit and timing, leaves a legacy of written work to be explored, performed and appreciated by a wide audience," Waldman said.


Image of the Day: Christopher Awards

Twelve books for adults and young people, along with nine TV/cable programs and feature films, were celebrated last Thursday at the 69th annual Christopher Awards, which honor writers, producers, directors, authors and illustrators whose work "affirms the highest values of the human spirit." Pictured: (l.-r.) Amy Guglielmo, Pocket Full of Colors; Kate Hennessy, Dorothy Day; Andrew Collins and Jameel McGee, Convicted; Meadow Rue Merrill, Redeeming Ruth; and Jacqueline Tourville, Pocket Full of Colors.


Happy 20th Birthday, the river's end bookstore!

river's edge bookseller alumni party

Congratulations to the river's end bookstore, Oswego, N.Y., which celebrated its 20th anniversary over the weekend, noting on Friday: "20 years ago today we opened the doors to the river's end bookstore... your bookstore. Thanks to our beautiful community, loyal customers, local authors and our incredible staff of knowledgeable booksellers we are celebrating today. Come join the celebration... we would love to thank you in person! (And we will be serving cake from Cakes Galore & More, coffee from the Coffee Connection and great books at a 20% discount all day!)."

On Saturday, owners Bill Reilly and Mindy Ostrow hosted an alumni party (former and current booksellers) and posted on Facebook: "Thanks to everyone who stopped in, gave hugs, bought books, sent well wishes, shared memories and ate cake. It was a beautiful day. We love you all!"

Personnel Changes at Fortier Public Relations

Effective June 4, Lauren Kuhn is joining Fortier Public Relations as assistant director of publicity. She was formerly senior publicity manager at Springer Nature for Scientific American and Nature magazines in the U.S. Before that, she was a senior account executive at Nike Communications and a publicist at the Crown Publishing Group.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Stephen King on CBS This Morning

The View: Mark Salter, co-author of The Restless Wave: Good Times, Just Causes, Great Fights, and Other Appreciations (Simon & Schuster, $30, 9781501178009).

CBS This Morning: Stephen King, author of The Outsider: A Novel (Scribner, $30, 9781501180989).

The View: James R. Clapper, author of Facts and Fears: Hard Truths from a Life in Intelligence (Viking, $30, 9780525558644).

Late Night with Seth Meyers: Jeffrey Morgenthaler, author of Drinking Distilled: A User's Manual (Ten Speed Press, $16.99, 9780399580550).

Movies: Shirley

Elisabeth Moss (The Handmaid's Tale) and Michael Stuhlbarg (The Shape of Water, The Post, Call Me by Your Name) will star in Shirley, adapted from Susan Scarf Merrell's novel about a young couple that moves in with author Shirley Jackson and her Bennington College professor-husband, Stanley Hyman (Stuhlbarg), "in the hopes of starting a new life. Instead, they find themselves fodder for a psycho-drama that inspires Jackson's next major novel," Deadline reported.

Directed by Josephine Decker (Madeline's Madeline) from an adaptation by Sarah Gubbins (I Love Dick), the project is scheduled to begin shooting this summer. Decker said: "No two people write more wildly rich female characters than Shirley Jackson and Sarah Gubbins. It's an honor to bring their female sorcery to life with these incredible partners. I can't wait to witness Elisabeth Moss' visceral inhabitation of Shirley's beautiful tortured spirit and Michael Stuhlbarg's unflinchingly charismatic-while-cruel Stanley.”

Books & Authors

Awards: Nebulas; Elizabeth Longford; Jeanne Córdova

The winners of the 2017 Nebula Awards and other awards presented at the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America's 52nd Annual Nebula Conference, in Pittsburgh, Pa., are:

Novel: The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin (Orbit)
Novella: All Systems Red by Martha Wells ( Publishing)
Novelette: "A Human Stain" by Kelly Robson ( 1/4/17)
Short Story: "Welcome to Your Authentic Indian Experience" by Rebecca Roanhorse (Apex 8/17)

The Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation: Get Out (written by Jordan Peele)

The Andre Norton Award for Outstanding Young Adult Science Fiction or Fantasy Book: The Art of Starving by Sam J. Miller (HarperTeen)

Kate Wilhelm Solstice Awards: Gardner Dozois and Sheila Williams

The 34th Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master honor: Peter S. Beagle


Giles Tremlett won the £5,000 (about $6,735) Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical Biography for his book Isabella of Castile: Europe's First Great Queen (Bloomsbury).

Chair of judges Roy Foster said: "Tremlett creates a panoramic landscape of fifteenth-century Spain, on the brink of its Golden Age, and paints a memorable portrait of the powerful woman who helped bring it about. The stratagems of politics, marriage, war, dynastic calculation and religious oppression are carefully and deftly delineated, as is the tension between Isabella's private and public lives. Above all, the impressive combination of scholarly authority and vivid accessibility establishes this biography firmly in the tradition of this Prize which was founded to celebrate the best in current historical biography."


Melissa Febos has won the inaugural $2,500 Jeanne Córdova Prize for Lesbian/Queer Nonfiction, which honors "a writer committed to nonfiction work that captures the depth and complexity of lesbian/queer life, culture and/or history." Febos will receive the award at the Lambda Literary Awards on June 4 in New York City.

The judges said, "The fearless intimacy of Febos' past writing captures depth and complexity through a lesbian/queer lens. The raw and lyrical work in her upcoming collection of essays Girlhood--about coming of age queer and female in America--illustrates that she continues to be committed to producing groundbreaking lesbian/queer nonfiction."

Febos is the author of the memoir Whip Smart (St. Martin's Press 2010) and the essay collection Abandon Me (Bloomsbury 2017). Her second essay collection, Girlhood (Bloomsbury), will be published in 2019. Her work has appeared in the Kenyon Review, Tin House, Granta, the Believer, the New York Times, the New York Times Book Review, Lenny Letter, the Guardian, Elle, Vogue, and elsewhere. She is an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Monmouth University and is a member of the board of directors of VIDA: Women in Literary Arts.

Book Review

Review: Convenience Store Woman

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata, trans. by Ginny Tapley Takemori (Grove Press, $20 hardcover, 176p., 9780802128256, June 12, 2018)

In the opening pages of Convenience Store Woman, Keiko Furukura is in her element, at work in the Hiiromachi Station Smile Mart. She knows what the displays need, how properly to promote the day's featured item, when the cold drinks need replenishing; she reads her customers expertly: "Instantly I deduce that he will use electronic money." She is a valued employee and good at her job. The mingled beeps, dings, rustles and clacks of the convenience store form a "sound that ceaselessly caresses [her] eardrums."

Few situations in Keiko's life have been so easy. In primary school, she often responded to the world in ways others thought wrong: offering to cook and eat a dead bird on the playground, applying a shovel to the skull of a classmate in order to break up a fight. She wasn't a violent child; these just seemed like practical strategies. She couldn't understand why the teachers at school got upset. Life presented a series of puzzles she could not decipher, until the day she went to work at the Smile Mart. The convenience store offers Keiko a uniform, a series of set lines to be spoken to customers and a manual for staff behavior. She copies her coworkers' choices in clothing and cosmetics, mimics their speech patterns and facial movements, and learns to play the part. She's never felt so successful: no one notices that she's different anymore. "Here in the convenience store we're not men and women. We're all store workers." And so she has been a store worker for 18 years.

Convenience Store Woman, Sayaka Murata's English-language debut, is a compelling novel about conformity in society, and the baffling rules applied in work and life. Murata's protagonist is likable, if a bit baffling herself. Ginny Tapley Takemori's translation feels just right for the slightly off-kilter reality of this thought-provoking story: Keiko's first-person narrative is earnest, if continually challenged, in attempting to decode the world around her.

Keiko is attuned to the ways people act, speak and move; she suspects they are all imitating each other, just as she is imitating them. She studies these behaviors to lower her own profile, but remains honestly unclear why careers, marriage and children are desirable goals. When a new employee comes along who also has trouble fitting in--but who hasn't mastered the act as much as Keiko has--she is intrigued. Tired of everyone questioning her lack of a husband or a "real job," Keiko takes a risk. But it may cost her the carefully constructed mask she's learned to wear.

This brief, brisk novel is an engrossing adventure into an unusual mind. Is it a subversive, satiric criticism of societal norms? Is it a surrealist take on extreme workplace culture? Or simply the perspective of a woman wired a little bit differently? Murata holds the reader rapt, wondering what Keiko will do next. Convenience Store Woman is for all kinds of readers, for anyone who's ever questioned the status quo. --Julia Kastner, librarian and blogger at pagesofjulia

Shelf Talker: A quirky novel about a convenience-store clerk who seems to be the ideal employee.

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