Shelf Awareness for Thursday, January 31, 2019

Random House Studio: Remember by Joy Harjo, illustrated by Michaela Goade

Oxford University Press, USA: Spring Reads

Chronicle Books: Tap! Tap! Tap!: Dance! Dance! Dance! by Hervé Tullet

Minotaur Books: The Golden Gate by Amy Chua

Charlesbridge Publishing: Glitter Everywhere by Chris Barton, illustrated by Chaaya Prabhat

Quotation of the Day

Authors Running for President

"With each passing election cycle, the idea that a serious candidate needs to launch a campaign with a book is more and more cemented. With so many Democrats running this year, we'll see many more in our area as they seek to differentiate themselves and separate themselves from the pack."

--John Kenyon, executive director of Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature, in an Iowa City Press-Citizen story about how the town--and Prairie Lights bookstore--has become the epicenter for appearances by presidential candidates who have published books.

Candlewick Press (MA): Have You Seen My Invisible Dinosaur? by Helen Yoon


Ill.'s Prairie Path Books on the Move

Prairie Path Books, Wheaton, Ill., which had an unusual start five years ago in part of a furniture store, is moving to a new location because the store's building has been sold. The new location is in the outdoor Town Square Mall in Wheaton and the store's first full day of business there will be Valentine's Day, February 14, according to the Daily Herald.

On the store's blog, Sandy Koropp, who owns Prairie Path Books with Jenny Riddle, wrote in part that she was attracted to the space, the former site of the Yankee Candle Company, because "it feels like home to me. For a lot of you too, I've heard. [It] has always appealed because of its great location and size and parking, plus charming layout and look."

At the new location, Prairie Path Books aims to replicate the feel it had in the former model apartment in the Toms-Price Home Furnishings store. Those "nooks and crannies ... made the original store a place where you want to curl up with a book, a blanket and your cat," the Daily Herald wrote.

Koropp told the newspaper: "We were very lucky to get sort of a homelike environment in our first store, and we're going to have to create that in the new space, but it is already the perfect size and very snug and welcoming."

The new space will include "twinkle lights, Toms-Price furniture, handwritten recommendations and homemade baked goods" as well as the cooking demonstrations for which the store--and Koropp--are known.

Zibby Books: Super Bloom by Megan Tady

Once and Again Books, Marietta, Ga., Closing

Once and Again Books, Marietta, Ga., which sells new and used books, is closing by the end of March, according to East Cobb News.

On Facebook, owner Casey Herron wrote in part, "Sad news y'all. After 10.5 years in business (3.5 for us personally), we're calling it quits... We're so thankful for the support through the years and will miss our wonderful customers. Find me on Goodreads or Facebook to stay in touch! And send me job opportunities! 🤪"

GLOW: Avid Reader Press: My Name Is Iris by Brando Skyhorse

Pieter Swinkels New Chief Content Officer at Rakuten Kobo

Pieter Swinkels

Pieter Swinkels has been appointed chief content officer of Rakuten Kobo and will be responsible for the growth of Kobo's content catalog and business relationships with publishers, agents and authors. Additional responsibilities include "expanding the Kobo Writing Life self-publishing platform, expanding the Kobo Plus subscriptions service, and continuing to build out the Kobo Originals program of new and exclusive e-books, audiobooks and podcast content."

Swinkels was formerly Rakuten Kobo's executive v-p of publisher relations and content. Before joining the company in 2011, he worked in international publishing, including as publisher at De Bezige Bij in Amsterdam.

Rakuten Kobo CEO Michael Tamblyn commented: "Pieter knows publishing from the inside out, has tremendous respect for authors and the work that they do and has been able to take that insight to innovate in how we engage with and build new businesses that readers find compelling. Everything we do starts with great books and he has been instrumental in making sure we are always able to put the very best in front of our readers no matter what their interest."

In other changes at the company, Alan MacNevin, formerly chief marketing officer, has been appointed to chief operating officer.

Marianne Hamilton has been appointed chief marketing officer.

Dave Anderson, formerly executive v-p of content sales, has been appointed chief strategy officer.

Sophie Blackall, Winner of the 2019 Caldecott Medal

photo: Matt Carr

Sophie Blackall, an Australian artist and illustrator who has illustrated more than 30 books for children, is the winner of the 2019 Randolph Caldecott Medal, for Hello Lighthouse (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers), announced earlier this week at ALA Midwinter in Seattle, Wash.

Shelf Awareness: Congratulations on your second Caldecott Medal! You're in Myanmar at the moment, correct? What are you doing there?

I have just finished two weeks as an artist-in-residence at the Singapore American School. My father, who traveled in Myanmar (then Burma) in 1962 was retracing his steps and I came over to join him and my step-mother for a glimpse of this complicated, beautiful, joyful and sorrow-filled country.

What is it like to receive this extraordinary honor so far from home?

Traveling can play tricks on the mind. There were long stretches where I didn't think of the youth media awards at all, and others where I thought of them quite a bit. Around the time I figured they were being called, my father, step-mother and I were sitting down to fermented tea-leaf salad and banana flower fritters in a street café. My phone rang and I stepped out onto the street where a local policeman watched me weep and laugh and thank a faraway gathering of wonderful librarians. My father followed me outside and put things together, and he wept and laughed too, and the policeman laughed at us and with us. And we all smiled and nodded at each other and said, "Mingalaba!" over and over, which is the only word I know in Burmese. It means "hello" and "goodbye" and "auspiciousness to you" and is possibly the most useful word on the planet especially at a time like this.

It was so lovely to have this delirious experience with my folks on the other side of the world but I am rather aching to be home with Ed and the kids, to see my studio family, to return to texting my editor Susan Rich 20 times a day. Maybe then it will all start to feel real.

How does it feel to win the Caldecott again? And so soon after the first!

I was just talking to Susan about this. Neither of us can quite believe it. It doesn't seem like anybody ought to be allowed to have this much good fortune more than once in a lifetime... but then I remember what it felt like when my second child was born. How it was completely new and miraculous. My children were also three years apart!

Was there anything about the developing and creation of Hello Lighthouse that felt different or special to you?

Hello Lighthouse had a long gestation, but when it was conceived, all the DNA was in place. I knew it would be tall and narrow; that the spreads would alternate, exterior and interior; that there would be a foggy spread that was barely there; that the lighthouse would be a constant, steadfast form in the same place in every scene, while the weather and seasons and time swirled around it. 

When I began to actually draw it, for the first time in my life, it came out as I imagined it, instead of the usual compromised distortion I see appear on the page.

On an emotional level, I was painting Hello Lighthouse during a rather turbulent time in this country's history. It was a blissful escape, to transport myself to a lighthouse in the ocean, surrounded by waves.

How do you think Hello Lighthouse and Finding Winnie--your other Caldecott Medal-winning title--compare to each other? Do you think they have a common thread in content or in execution that makes them stand out?

With Finding Winnie, I had the privilege of bringing Lindsay Mattick's family story--about the world's most famous bear--to life. The scaffolding was already there. With Hello Lighthouse, we were building from the ground up. And by this time Susan and I were almost able to transmit thoughts through the ether. And we had the whole Little, Brown production team behind us, tinkering with foil-stamping and trim sizes, murmuring encouragement.

What is it you hope readers take from Hello Lighthouse?

I wanted to tell a story about the life of a single family living in a very specific and magical place, with universal experiences of separation and reunion, birth and growth, drama and peril, change and loss, hope and renewal. 

At a school visit recently, the librarian announced a competition for students to write and create something inspired by Hello Lighthouse to win a lunch date with "the author." Usually she receives a dozen or so entries. This time it seemed nearly every kid in the school entered something. We sifted through essays and poems and drawings together, in awe. 

"You have made a book," she said, "that this community didn't know it needed."

Which is one of the nicest things anybody could say.

Thank you so much for chatting with Shelf and congratulations again!

--Siân Gaetano, children's and YA editor, Shelf Awareness

Elizabeth Acevedo, Winner of the 2019 Michael L. Printz Award

photo: Stephanie Ifendu

Elizabeth Acevedo is an Afro-Dominican author and performer who was named the 2019 Michael L. Printz Award winner for The Poet X (HarperCollins), announced earlier this week at ALA Midwinter in Seattle, Wash.

Shelf Awareness: Congratulations! One day, one book, three awards: the Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature, the Pura Belpré Author Award winner and an Odyssey Honor for your performance in The Poet X audiobook! How are you feeling?

I am feeling so many things at once, I'm not entirely sure how to process it all, honestly. I'm thrilled. I'm humbled. I keep wanting to simultaneously fist bump strangers and then weep on their shoulders. To have so many different committees see something special in The Poet X has been a magical feeling.

The Poet X was your first book for young adults. What has it been like to watch your work receive honor after honor and so very much praise?

The Poet X is my first full-length book, and my first novel. So in many ways when I committed to telling this story I had no real sense of who my readers would be or if they would be open to this kind of story. To see so many celebrate my wins alongside me is almost as amazing as the win itself. So many readers cheered for The Poet X even though they've never met me, and it's this wonderous feeling of, "Of course. That whole time I had my head down, and didn't know who would care about Xiomara, and wasn't sure this book would make a ripple, forget a splash, there you all were waiting to embrace this book." The honors feel like they are affirming and praising more than this book and more than I could ever imagine. 

You're a National Poetry Slam Champion. Did The Poet X start as a spoken-word piece or did the writing come first?

The Poet X always began as a novel in verse. A novel that was going to use the conceit of poetry slams and spoken word as a way to show how a young woman who is afraid of her body and her voice uses both to step into her most powerful self. There are certain pieces in the novel that I would read out loud to myself again and again and I knew there was something powerful in the language that made that particular piece of verse want to be heard. And there are pieces in the novel that act as hinges, they are there to move you to the next section, to keep the action moving. It was hard for me to learn the balance, but I think I got close. Performing the audiobook was a lot of fun! Thankfully, by the time we recorded, I had been reading from the novel while at speaking engagements, so several parts of the novel were committed to memory and lived in my body. Then there were parts of the novel I had to teach myself how to read out loud because ultimately this is Xiomara's journal, and not every piece was meant to be heard, it was her scribbling madly to get the most urgent things off her chest. 

Running from that, how does it feel to be recognized like this for both your written and spoken art?

Ah. This is truly wonderful. I'm a baby narrator. I had no idea what I was doing. But my audiobook director, Caitlin Garing, is a rock star and she heard nuance in the text even I missed. Together we made our way through, and it's powerful to me when readers send me pictures of pages they love, and sections they've underlined and when they send me pictures of how far along they've gotten in the audiobook, or tweets telling me they didn't get out of their cars so they could keep listening. It affirms that poetry should be read, and heard, and spoken, and loved, and it should be a part of our daily lives.

On this side of such a big year, what are you most hoping readers take from your work?

That our words matter, and they change the world. As humans we lean into story. So we have to be intentional and empathetic with the stories we tell others and the stories we choose to believe about ourselves.

You have a new novel coming out very soon--how do you feel it relates to The Poet X, if at all?

With the Fire on High [HarperCollins, May 7] is also about a young woman coming into her own, although Emoni Santiago has very different challenges than Xiomara. With Emoni you'll find a teen who wants to be a chef, wants to leave her mark on the world, and wants to be a good mother to her very young child. It's a sweet (and savory) story about the hard decisions young people have to make, but the ways they can be innovative in following their dreams.

Thank you so much for talking to Shelf! And congratulations again!

--Siân Gaetano, children's and YA editor, Shelf Awareness


Image of the Day: Brookline's Grishaverse

Last night, the Brookline Booksmith, Brookline, Mass., held a Grishaverse "fan meet-up" celebrating the launch of Leigh Bardugo's newest book, King of Scars (Macmillan). Pictured: Ashley Rae Tooke (l.) and Adam Schuhose (r.) taking tickets at the front door.

Cool (Freezing) Idea of the Day: Polar Vortex Online Sale

Noting that it was going to be "colder than Siberia in Chicago" yesterday, Open Books, Chicago, Ill., wrote customers to say that although the West Loop store was closed, it's holding a "polar vortex online sale" through Groundhog Day, this Sunday, February 2. Many bookstores across the Midwest were closed yesterday because of historically cold temperatures and wind chills. In Chicago, temps hit -20F (-29C) and the wind chill was -50F (-45C).

Frankfurt Book Fair New York Picks The End of Loneliness

The January Book of the Month of the Frankfurt Book Fair New York is The End of Loneliness by Benedict Wells, translated by Charlotte Collins (Penguin Books, $16, 9780143134008).

The organization described the book this way: "Jules Moreau's childhood is shattered after the sudden death of his parents. Enrolled in boarding school where he and his siblings, Marty and Liz, are forced to live apart, the once vivacious and fearless Jules retreats inward, preferring to live within his memories--until he meets Alva, a kindred soul caught in her own grief. Fifteen years pass and the siblings remain strangers to one another, bound by tragedy and struggling to recover the family they once were. Jules, still adrift, is anchored only by his desires to be a writer and to reunite with Alva, who turned her back on their friendship on the precipice of it becoming more. But, just as it seems they can make amends for time wasted, invisible forces--whether fate or chance--intervene. A kaleidoscopic family saga told through the fractured lives of the three Moreau siblings, alongside a faltering, recovering love story, The End of Loneliness is a stunning meditation on the power of our memories, of what can be lost and what can never be let go. With inimitable compassion and luminous, affecting prose, Benedict Wells contends with what it means to find a way through life, while never giving up hope you will find someone to go with you."

In 2016, The End of Loneliness, Wells's third novel, won the European Prize for Literature.

Collins has been shortlisted for the Man Booker International Fiction Prize 2016 for her translation of Robert Seethaler's A Whole Life.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: David Sanger on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: David Sanger, author of The Perfect Weapon: War, Sabotage, and Fear in the Cyber Age (Crown, $28, 9780451497895).

20/20: Kerri Rawson, author of A Serial Killer's Daughter: My Story of Faith, Love, and Overcoming (Thomas Nelson, $22.99, 9781400201754).

HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher: Jon Meacham, author of The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels (Random House, $30, 9780399589812).

This Weekend on Book TV: The Rancho Mirage Writers Festival

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 2
2 to 7:15 p.m. Coverage of the Rancho Mirage Writers Festival in Rancho Mirage, Calif. (Re-airs Sunday at 12 a.m.) Highlights include:

  • 2 p.m. Antony Beevor, author of The Battle of Arnhem: The Deadliest Airborne Operation of World War II (Viking, $35, 9780525429821).
  • 2:45 p.m. H.W. Brands discusses the U.S. entry into World War II.
  • 3:30 p.m. Rick Atkinson discusses the U.S. Army in World War II.
  • 4:15 p.m. Anne Sebba, author of Les Parisiennes: Resistance, Collaboration, and the Women of Paris Under Nazi Occupation (St. Martin's Griffin, $17.99, 9781250136015).
  • 5:45 p.m. Jon Meacham discusses the relationship between Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill.

7:15 p.m. David Priess, author of How to Get Rid of a President: History's Guide to Removing Unpopular, Unable, or Unfit Chief Executives (PublicAffairs, $28, 9781541788206).

8:30 p.m. Alexandra Natapoff, author of Punishment Without Crime: How Our Massive Misdemeanor System Traps the Innocent and Makes America More Unequal (Basic Books, $30, 9780465093793).

10 p.m. Chris Christie, author of Let Me Finish: Trump, the Kushners, Bannon, New Jersey, and the Power of In-Your-Face Politics (Hachette Books, $28, 9780316421799). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. Joe Strupp, author of Killing Journalism: How Greed, Laziness (and Donald Trump) Are Destroying News and How We Can Save It (Willow Street Press, $19.95, 9780997831665).

Sunday, February 3
12 p.m. Live In-Depth q&a with sports writer Dave Zirin, author most recently of Jim Brown: Last Man Standing (Blue Rider Press, $27, 9780399173448). (Re-airs Monday at 12 a.m.)

3 p.m. Ronen Berman, author of Rise and Kill First: The Secret History of Israel's Targeted Assassinations (Random House, $35, 9781400069712), at the Rancho Mirage Writers Festival.

10 p.m. Joel Simon, author of We Want to Negotiate: The Secret World of Kidnapping, Hostages and Ransom (Columbia Global Reports, $15.99, 9780999745427), at Politics & Prose in Washington, D.C.

Books & Authors

Awards: Kingsley & Kate Tufts Poetry

Finalists have been named for the Claremont Graduate University's $100,000 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, which honors a mid-career poet. The winners will be announced in February. This year's shortlisted poets are:

CAConrad for While Standing in Line for Death (Wave Books)
Terrance Hayes for American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin (Penguin)
Brenda Hillman for Extra Hidden Life, Among the Days (Wesleyan University Press)
Dawn Lundy Martin for Good Stock Strange Blood (Coffee House Press)
Craig Santos Perez for from unincorporated territory [lukao] (Omnidawn Publishing)

This year's finalists for the $10,000 Kate Tufts Discovery Award, which recognizes an emerging poet, are:

Tyree Daye for River Hymns (American Poetry Review Press)
Diana Khoi Nguyen for Ghost Of (Omnidawn Publishing)
Justin Phillip Reed for Indecency (Coffee House Press)
Vanessa Angélica Villarreal for Beast Meridian (Noemi Press)
Javier Zamora for Unaccompanied (Copper Canyon Press)

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, February 5:

Merchants of Truth: The Business of News and the Fight for Facts by Jill Abramson (Simon & Schuster, $30, 9781501123207) chronicles the fight between old and new news media.

Good Riddance by Elinor Lipman (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $25, 9780544808256) is a romantic comedy about one woman's fateful decision to throw away an old yearbook.

Brave, Not Perfect: Fear Less, Fail More, and Live Bolder by Reshma Saujani (Currency, $25, 9781524762339) expands on a TED talk by the founder of Girls Who Code.

How to Be Loved: A Memoir of Lifesaving Friendship by Eva Hagberg Fisher (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $24, 9780544991156) is the memoir of an isolated woman who sought friendship after severe illness.

The Last Romantics: A Novel by Tara Conklin (Morrow, $26.99, 9780062358202) follows four siblings united by a shared trauma.

Break the Bodies, Haunt the Bones by Micah Dean Hicks (John Joseph Adams/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $24, 9781328566454) takes place in a haunted town where pig-people are stealing jobs at the pork factory.

The Girls at 17 Swann Street: A Novel by Yara Zgheib (St. Martin's Press, $27.99, 9781250202444) is about a young woman's battle with anorexia.

Stranger Things: Suspicious Minds by Gwenda Bond (Del Rey, $28, 9781984800886) is a novel based on the Netflix series Stranger Things.

The Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman (Nancy Paulsen Books, $16.99, 9781524738112) features four homeless children making lives for themselves in Chennai, India.

The Waning Age by S.E. Grove (Viking, $18.99, 9780451479853) depicts a world in which people begin to lose all emotion--"waning"--when they reach adolescence.

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin (Putnam, $16, 9780735215092).

The Matchmaker's List by Sonya Lalli (Berkley, $15, 9780451490940).

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:

Ghost Wall: A Novel by Sarah Moss (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $22, 9780374161927). "Sarah Moss writes with a lyricism and an intelligence unlike any other author, and in Ghost Wall she deftly weaves threads of history, power, gender, and obsession into a stunning story that envelops you from the very first page. Lovely and haunting, Ghost Wall is both a powerful glimpse at how humanity interprets its history and a chilling reminder that the lines between past, present, and future are not always as clear as they seem." --Rebecca Speas, One More Page Books, Arlington, Va.

Looker: A Novel by Laura Sims (Scribner, $25, 9781501199110). "Wow, wow, wow! Anyone who has ever appreciated an unreliable narrator will be transfixed by this story of obsession and creeping madness. In the wake of infertility and a looming divorce, our unnamed protagonist becomes more and more preoccupied by the seemingly perfect actress who lives down the block. You'll read Looker in one sitting and want to pass it on to everyone you know--this is a stunner and a fantastic debut." --Emilie Sommer, East City Bookshop, Washington, D.C.

Eternal Life: A Novel by Dara Horn (Norton, $15.95, 9780393356564). "Eternal Life is a stunningly moving and lively investigation of mortality. It is also a story of profound love--young love, eternal love, and the love of parents for their children. Rachel, whose inability to die animates the plot, is a strong, willful, and complex woman. Dara Horn, whom I have long admired, infuses the book with her profound knowledge of Judaism, without ever becoming dull or didactic. This is an ode to the joys, sorrows, and brevity of existence as seen through the improbable lens of eternal life--and it made me cry! Highly recommended." --Lilla Weinberger, Readers' Books, Sonoma, Calif.

For Ages 4 to 8
Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré by Anika Aldamuy Denise, illustrated by Paola Escobar (HarperCollins, $17.99, 9780062748683). "Pura Belpré led a rich life filled with travel, music, and countless stories. Her own inspiring story is beautifully presented in this perfect picture book. Readers will be inspired by this gentle, determined woman who knew it was vital to share the folklore that had been such a big part of her childhood in Puerto Rico. For years, she read enthusiastically to countless children, spoke passionately to crowds of librarians, and retold treasured cultural tales in books. The influence of her work is still felt today, and Planting Stories is a worthy tribute." --Christopher Rose, The Spirit of '76 Bookstore, Marblehead, Mass.

For Ages 9 to 12
Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild (Random House, $16.99, 9780525578611). "While the only cover I will love is the beloved copy I still own 40 years after my grandmother gave it to me, this timeless novel--the best of Noel Streatfeild's famed 'shoe' stories--deserves a new hardcover edition. Pauline, Petrova, and Posy Fossil, along with Gum, Sylvia, and Nana, are wonderful old friends I revisit every year. A jewel of a story that every child should have." --Kathleen Carey, Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany, N.Y.

For Teen Readers
Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix by Julie C. Dao (Philomel, $18.99, 9781524738327). "I LOVED the way folk tales were interwoven with the narrative in this worthy companion to Forest of a Thousand Lanterns. So much of this book is beautifully relevant to our world today. Lovely." --Rebecca Wells, Porter Square Books, Cambridge, Mass.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: When Brooklyn Was Queer

When Brooklyn Was Queer: A History by Hugh Ryan (St. Martin's Press, $29.99 hardcover, 320p., 9781250169914, March 5, 2019)

When Brooklyn Was Queer achieves everything one could want in a history: meticulous research, easy-reading narrative, fascinating small events within significant larger ones, and personal interest. Hugh Ryan, founder of the Pop-Up Museum of Queer History, investigates a very specific slice of history all but erased by prejudice and the passing of time.

The idea of Brooklyn, N.Y., having a significant queer history surprises many present residents, but Ryan cracks open what looks like a blank slate and finds richness there, beginning with the 1855 publication of Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass. Whitman represents an early association with Brooklyn and with white men who have sex with men (people of color and queer women did not appear in the historical record yet). From here, Ryan covers periods of growing visibility through turn-of-the-century newspapers and the theater; the rise in criminalization and persecution of queers in the 1910s; and the quick expansion of both the queer scene and Brooklyn at large in the 1920s.

The Depression, the end of Prohibition and the Hays movie code brought new strictures on a vibrant world of bars and cruising venues. Mobilization for World War II offered great opportunities for queer people, as men joined the armed forces and women went to work in factories and shipyards like the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Following the war, a societal move toward conservatism, the suburbanization of New York City and the shutdown of Brooklyn's waterfront lead to what Ryan calls "the great erasure" of queer community and history.

When Brooklyn Was Queer considers the lives and contributions of well-known artists like Hart Crane, Marianne Moore and Truman Capote, and numerous lesser-known performers, businesspeople and blue-collar workers. Painstaking research and attention to detail highlight the richness and mystery of stories that have been largely hidden until now. Ryan is careful to point out the challenges of this kind of research. During many of the years covered here, homosexuality as a concept was unknown: a man could have sex with men but be "normal," or he could be a "pervert," based solely on appearance or mannerism. Vocabularies for such identities were at first nonexistent and varied over time. And much of the information collected about queer people in history is deeply problematic, recorded by hostile and prejudiced organizations, and presumably with limited cooperation by the people being studied. Finally, Ryan is sensitive to the intersecting limitations faced by women and people of color.

Only in his introduction and epilogue does Ryan share his personal connection to these stories, his own history in Brooklyn and his heartfelt desire for this history to be told. While the rest of his book takes the style of traditional history writings (no "I" pronoun), he reaches out in the final lines: "I look forward to having a future where we can also have a past, and I look forward to creating it with you." Having been engrossed in these pages, his reader feels that same connection and hopefulness. --Julia Kastner, librarian and blogger at pagesofjulia

Shelf Talker: Thorough research, engaging storytelling, fascinating stories and a history of obscurity make this investigation of queer Brooklyn a compelling, essential read.

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