Also published on this date: Monday, February 11, 2019: Maximum Shelf: The Daughters of Temperance Hobbs

Shelf Awareness for Monday, February 11, 2019

Viking: The Bookshop: A History of the American Bookstore by Evan Friss

Pixel+ink: Missy and Mason 1: Missy Wants a Mammoth

Bramble: The Stars Are Dying: Special Edition (Nytefall Trilogy #1) by Chloe C Peñaranda

Blue Box Press: A Soul of Ash and Blood: A Blood and Ash Novel by Jennifer L Armentrout

Charlesbridge Publishing: The Perilous Performance at Milkweed Meadow by Elaine Dimopoulos, Illustrated by Doug Salati

Minotaur Books: The Dark Wives: A Vera Stanhope Novel (Vera Stanhope #11) by Ann Cleeves

Quotation of the Day

Booksellers: 'Shepherds of Vital Stories into the Future'

"The way I see it, whenever someone walks into a bookstore, they are walking into the future of their cultural and intellectual life. A bookseller collaborates with who you are in order to show you a way forward towards more of yourself, a way you might not have known existed for you--but is still entirely your own. Amazon, with its algorithms, can only show you where you've been, can only give you the calcified mirror of your past. In a bookstore, you get a human being who is also a mapmaker of possibility. As booksellers, you are practicing, to my mind, one of our species' oldest arts, the art of fostering, sharing and shepherding our most vital stories into the FUTURE. And I hope you are as proud of yourself as we writers are of you."

--Ocean Vuong, author of the upcoming On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous (Penguin Press), making a toast at a dinner at the Winter Institute in Albuquerque, N.Mex.

BINC: Do Good All Year - Click to Donate!


NYC's McNally Jackson Opening Two More Stores

McNally Jackson is not only definitely staying put in its flagship SoHo store but has plans to open two more stores elsewhere in New York City "as soon as this fall": the long-postponed South Street Seaport location and in City Point in downtown Brooklyn, Vulture reported.

In October, owner Sarah McNally confirmed reports that she was leaving the flagship site on Prince Street because of a rent increase to $850,000 from $350,000 and said she was close to signing on a new nearby location. A month ago, store employees said the store was staying put. Now, Vulture said, McNally has agreed to a new lease for $650,000 "with gradual increases over the next five years." The landlords at the two future bookstores, who sought out McNally Jackson, are offering "affordable rents," McNally added.

A year ago, McNally Jackson opened its first bookstore outside Manhattan, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn; and last August, Hudson and McNally Jackson announced that they would open a store at LaGuardia Airport in the new Terminal B, which is under construction. The South Street Seaport branch was news in 2015 but has been quiet ever since. The downtown Brooklyn location is only just being announced.

The 7,000-square-foot South Street Seaport location will occupy two stories in several buildings and have a view of the water. The City Point store will be about 5,300 square feet and will also occupy two stories.

McNally expressed surprise to Vulture about the prospect of owning four bookstores, saying, "If you had told me when I opened my first store, when I was 29, that I would eventually open four, I would have said no way. I felt like I needed to have a connection with every shelf and every book. But after 15 years, at Prince Street, I don't need to have that connection--because someone there does. There are so many extraordinary booksellers that I'm not afraid anymore. I can just pass the new stores over--it's like a trust fall or something."

GLOW: Milkweed Editions: Becoming Little Shell: Returning Home to the Landless Indians of Montana by Chris La Tray

Washington Post: Amazon 'Reconsidering' NYC Location

When it comes to Amazon news, most of us are transfixed by the Pecker picture problems of founder Jeff Bezos. (For anyone who's been totally off the grid for the last week, try Googling Bezos and David Pecker.) But there is some other hard news involving the company.

According to the Washington Post, owned by Bezos, Amazon is "reconsidering" its plan to set up half of its "HQ2" in New York City. Apparently assuming a smooth entry into Long Island City, the company has been surprised by the vociferous objections of many residents, community leaders and local elected officials who have opposed the deal made by Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio. The objections include the city and state's concessions of up to $3 billion to one of the world's richest businesses; fears that 25,000 new, high-paying jobs will increase gentrification and not be filled by Queens borough residents; and the company's anti-union stance. Anti-Amazon forces won a major victory in the battle last week when a state senator opposed to the deal was appointed to an obscure state board, the Public Authorities Control Board, any of one of whose members might kill the Amazon deal.

Citing "two people familiar with the company's thinking," the Post noted that Amazon has not yet signed any leases or bought property in Long Island City, which could make for a quick and easy withdrawal. And Amazon has contrasted its cold reception in New York with the welcoming embrace of Virginia, where the other half of HQ2 will go--and with Nashville, Tenn., which has rolled out the red carpet for a 5,000-person facility. Both areas have approved incentive packages for Amazon; New York would do so next year at the earliest. Still, Amazon continues to woo the city, hiring lobbyists and a public relations firm in New York, testifying at hearings and proposing workforce training and computer science classes for New York schoolchildren.

Shockingly, considering that the company's founder objects to being blackmailed by the National Enquirer, the Post suggested "it is possible that Amazon would try to use a threat to withdraw to put pressure on New York officials."

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Four Weekends and a Funeral by Ellie Palmer

Update: Sassafras on Sutton's Snow-Damaged Building

Sassafras on Sutton bookstore in Black Mountain, N.C., which was forced to close in early December after suffering substantial damage to its historic building from a major snowstorm, offered an update on the long road back to reopening.

On Instagram Friday, the bookstore posted: "We finally have power back on at the store! We've been closed since December 8th when North Carolina had an epic snow fall and the roof of our old historic building partially collapsed. We were finally allowed back in the space last week and now we are electrified! We are so grateful that our merchandise was undamaged and the building can be restored.

"We hope to be back open to customers sometime next month. Today we start cleaning, reorganizing, restocking and doing a full inventory. We may also be doing a sidewalk pop up shop for Valentine's Day next week. We can't wait to be fully open and see everyone again!"

Building owner Ryan Israel told the Black Mountain News that he would like to make repairs in phases to speed up the process: "Our number one goal is to get the tenants back in business. These are small local businesses and not only are we concerned with getting the proprietors back in business, but each of them have employees who rely on their jobs. There are a lot of people impacted by this and we're working as hard as we can to get the building back together."

Mass.'s Andover Bookstore Takes Claim as Oldest U.S. Indie

Following the decision last year by Moravian College to have Barnes & Noble Education manage the Moravian Book Shop, widely acknowledged as the oldest bookstore in the U.S., the Andover Bookstore, Andover, Mass., is claiming the title of the oldest independent bookstore in the country, the Andover Townsman wrote. The Moravian Book Shop was founded in 1745, and the Andover Bookstore in 1809.

Concerning the store's new distinction, Andover Bookstore owner John Hugo commented to the paper: "Yes, it's true. I think it's good news. We are working on a new strategy to add it to our marketing."

Two years ago, after 50 years in Andover Village Square, the Andover Bookstore moved to a new location across Main Street when the owner of its site decided to demolish the building and build a new one featuring a restaurant.

Andover Bookstore is part of HugoBooks, which also owns the Book Rack in Newburyport, Cabot Street Books & Cards in Beverly, the Spirit of '76 Bookstore & Cardshop in Marblehead, the Campus Collection in Andover and the Phillips Academy Andover E-store.

Sandra Cisneros to Be Honored by PEN America

Sandra Cisneros

Along with PEN America's annual literary awards, the organization also honors "outstanding careers and lifetime contributions to the world of literature and drama of our era, as well as the promise of emerging talents." This year's recipients include Sandra Cisneros, who will receive the PEN/Nabokov Award for Achievement in International Literature, given annually "to a living author whose body of work, either written in or translated into English, represents the highest level of achievement in fiction, nonfiction, poetry and/or drama, and is of enduring originality and consummate craftsmanship."

Jonah Mixon-Webster is being honored with the PEN/Osterweil Award for Poetry, given to "a poet whose distinguished and growing body of work represents a notable and accomplished presence in American literature."

In addition, Jackie MacMullan will receive the PEN/ESPN Lifetime Achievement Award for Literary Sports Writing, recognizing "a living sports writer for their literary merit and dedication to sports writing with keen knowledge, insight, and a literary voice"; Larissa FastHorse the PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award, given to a playwright "working at the highest level of achievement in mid-career"; and Alexandra Watson, editor of Apogee Journal, the PEN/Nora Magid Award for Editing, given to a magazine editor "whose high literary standards and taste have, throughout his or her career, contributed significantly to the excellence of the publication he or she edits."

Honorees will be celebrated at the 2019 PEN America Literary Awards Ceremony on February 26 in New York City, hosted by stand-up comic, actor, filmmaker and podcast host Hari Kondabolu.

Obituary Note: Tomi Ungerer

Renowned French author and illustrator Tomi Ungerer, whose "works ranged from children's books to erotic drawings and political posters" and who was "a lifelong activist who protested against racial segregation, the Vietnam war and the election of U.S. President Donald Trump," died February 9, AFP reported (via France24). He was 87. Ungerer published more than 140 books, which have been translated into 30 languages. He was awarded the Legion of Honor by France in 1990 and was elevated to Commander of the Legion of Honor in 2018.

Robert Walter, his former longtime adviser and a friend for 35 years, described him as "an all-round genius, a man who was talented in everything. He loved literature. He used to say 'I write about what I draw and I draw what I write.' "

Ungerer's "oeuvre ranged from globally celebrated children's books like The Three Robbers and The Moon Man to erotic drawings as well as satirical paintings and political posters. He wrote in three languages: English, French and German," AFP noted.

In 1956, Ungerer left for New York City "with $60 dollars in his pocket and what he later described as a 'trunk full of drawings and manuscripts,' " AFP wrote. The following year, after meeting children's book editor Ursula Nordstrom at Harper & Row, his first children's book, The Mellops Go Flying, "was published and became an immediate success."


Image of the Day: She Persisted in San Diego

Warwick's, La Jolla, Calif., brought Chelsea Clinton to the University of San Diego to read, discuss and sign her newest picture book, She Persisted Around the World (Philomel). Pictured: (back row) Mary Lee Delafield, Emily Vermillion, Adrian Newell, LJ LaFleur, Chelsea Clinton, Julie Slavinsky, Stacey Haerr, Lynn Brennan, John Beaudette. Groundlings: Gustavo Lomas, Amanda Qassar.

Print: A Bookstore 'Brought a Positive Jolt of Energy'

In a piece headlined "Neighborhood on the verge: Portland's East End comes into its own," the Boston Globe explored the Maine city's many attractions, noting that it "always bodes well for a neighborhood's karmic health when an independent bookstore moves in."

Print: A Bookstore "brought a positive jolt of energy when it opened at the end of 2016 in a bright space with big windows facing the street," the Globe wrote. "Children's reading hours bubble with enthusiasm from the young families now populating Munjoy Hill. The shop's wide selection of books by Maine authors and lots of general fiction and nonfiction is augmented by cards for all occasions, including for friends celebrating a gender change."

A Favorite Bookseller Moment: Greedy Reads

Greedy Reads in Baltimore, Md., shared a peaceful moment pic on Facebook last week, noting: "It's Friday, the door is open, we're all full up with new books, and Audie and I are here until 7."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Christie Aschwande on Fresh Air

Live with Kelly and Ryan: Trevor Noah, author of Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood (Spiegel & Grau, $18, 9780399588198).

Fresh Air: Christie Aschwande, author of Good to Go: What the Athlete in All of Us Can Learn from the Strange Science of Recovery (Norton, $27.95, 9780393254334).

CBS This Morning: Lisa Damour, author of Under Pressure: Confronting the Epidemic of Stress and Anxiety in Girls (Ballantine, $27, 9780399180057).

Movies: Last Sons of America; News of the World

Actor Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones), Netflix, writer/director Matt Reeves and Boom! Studios "are teaming up on a feature version of Boom!'s post-apocalyptic graphic novel Last Sons of America by Phillip Kennedy Johnson and Matthew Dow Smith," Deadline reported.

Dinklage is starring in the film, which will be directed and adapted by Josh Mond (James White). The project is being produced by Reeves and Adam Kassan for 6th & Idaho; Dinklage and David Ginsberg for Estuary Films; and Ross Richie and Stephen Christy for Boom!.


Paul Greengrass is in talks to reunite with Tom Hanks on a film adaptation of News of the World, the novel by Paulette Jiles. Variety reported that "the two previously teamed on Captain Phillips, a 2013 thriller that was a major box office success and also scored the pair some of the best reviews of their careers. A deal hasn't closed yet, but negotiations are taking place."

Hanks will play Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd. Luke Davies (Lion) wrote the screenplay. Other casting is expected to take place soon for the Fox 2000 production.

Books & Authors

Awards: Grammy; UNT Rilke for Poetry; BIO Winners

The winner last night of the Grammy Award in the category of spoken word album (including poetry, audiobooks and storytelling) is Faith: A Journey for All by Jimmy Carter (Simon & Schuster Audio).


David Keplinger won the $10,000 University of North Texas Rilke Prize, which "recognizes a book written by a mid-career poet and published in the preceding year that demonstrates exceptional artistry and vision," for his collection, Another City (Milkweed Editions).

The judges also selected three finalists for this year's UNT Rilke Prize: Ada Limon's The Carrying (Milkweed Editions), Kevin Prufer's How He Loved Them (Four Way Books), and Doug Ramspeck's Black Flowers (LSU Press).


James McGrath Morris has won the 10th annual BIO Award, sponsored by Biographers International Organization and recognizing "a colleague who has made a major contribution to the advancement of the art and craft of biography."

A co-founder of BIO, Morris is the author of, among other titles, Jailhouse Journalism: The Fourth Estate Behind Bars; The Rose Man of Sing Sing: A True Tale of Life, Murder, and Redemption in the Age of Yellow Journalism; Pulitzer: A Life in Politics, Print, and Power; Eye on the Struggle: Ethel Payne, The First Lady of the Black Press, which won the 2015 Benjamin Hooks National Book Prize for the best work in civil rights history; and The Ambulance Drivers: Hemingway, Dos Passos, and a Friendship Made and Lost in War. He is currently working on a biography of the late author Tony Hillerman.

Morris will receive the honor on May 18 at the 2019 BIO Conference in New York City, where he will deliver the keynote address.

Book Review

Review: Sissy: A Coming-of-Gender Story

Sissy: A Coming-Of-Gender Story by Jacob Tobia (Putnam, $26 hardcover, 336p., 9780735218826, March 5, 2019)

Activist and writer Jacob Tobia is 27, genderqueer and here to blow up the gender binary with Sissy: A Coming-of-Gender Story. It's a funny, heartbreaking and earnest account of Tobia's early and young adult life, as well as a smart and accessible entry point for readers interested in learning more about transgender experiences.

Tobia, who uses they/their/them pronouns, grew up in a relatively conservative and conventional family in Raleigh, N.C. Assigned male at birth, Tobia was a sensitive, creative and "glitter-obsessed" child who found a kind of freedom with their friend Katie, whose mother let them play dress-up and raid her makeup collection with impunity. Relentlessly bullied for their femininity, Tobia learned to suppress it--and, as a result, became profoundly depressed and even suicidal, which they note is not unusual for a trans child.

"I'm not sharing this with you to be dramatic," Tobia writes of their suicidal ideations. "I'm sharing this with you because I want the world to understand that depriving a child of the ability to express their gender authentically is life-threatening."

While Tobia is candid about difficult experiences like these, Sissy's tone is more entertaining and playful than it is bleak. Aided by plentiful, chatty footnotes, Tobia charts the ongoing evolution of their genderqueer identity with open-hearted vulnerability and a razor-sharp wit. Shaping that evolution is Tobia's complicated relationship with the church, their experiences of tokenization at Duke University and their recent education in navigating the professional world as a gender non-conforming person.

In the earlier passage describing their childhood suicidality, Tobia emphasizes that the most important reason to share this story is because it's true, and "things that are true need to be said." If Sissy has a guiding ethos, that's it: truth-telling. Tobia's story is not representative of some universal transgender experience, but a testament to, and an affirmation of, the diversity of truths that queer stories contain. Still, it pointedly highlights the things that many queer people have in common, such as the experience of familial, political and professional alienation.

Though Tobia has an impressive academic track record and is obviously intellectually ambitious, Sissy is free from the (important, but complex) theory and analysis that can sometimes weigh down conversations about gender identity and expression. While everyone has something to learn from Sissy, readers new to stories and identities like Tobia's will find this memoir an especially welcoming introduction to the quite simple but still revolutionary notion that there are more than two genders. --Hannah Calkins, writer and editor in Washington, D.C.

Shelf Talker: The often painful, frequently funny and always deeply introspective story of how a young writer and activist came to embrace their genderqueer identity.

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