Shelf Awareness for Thursday, February 14, 2019

Random House Worlds: Damsel by Evelyn Skye

St. Martin's Press: The Girls of Summer by Katie Bishop

Soho Crime: The Rope Artist by Fuminori Nakamura, transl. by Sam Bett

Flatiron Books: Once Upon a Prime: The Wondrous Connections Between Mathematics and Literature by Sarah Hart

Grand Central Publishing: Goodbye Earl: A Revenge Novel by Leesa Cross-Smith

Texas Bookman Presents Texas Remainder Expo

Steve Madden Ltd: The Cobbler: How I Disrupted an Industry, Fell from Grace, and Came Back Stronger Than Ever by Steve Madden and Jodi Lipper

St. Martin's Griffin: The Bookshop by the Bay by Pamela M. Kelley


KNV, Germany's Largest Book Wholesaler, Files for Bankruptcy

KNV-Gruppe, Germany's largest book wholesaler, filed for bankruptcy today, according to Börsenblatt. The filing does not involve the subsidiary LKG.

KNV said that a deal to sell the company, which was close to being finalized, suddenly collapsed, and that its creditors were no longer willing to provide necessary financing. It's expected that KNV will continue to operate under court supervision. KNV's customers include 5,600 bookstores in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

The German book trade has had several difficult years. Bookstore membership in the Börsenverein, the German book industry association, fell last year by 3.8%, to a record low of 2,736, according to the Bookseller. And last year, while book sales as a whole were estimated to have risen just 0.1%, sales at indies and chain stores declined 0.6%.

Blackstone Publishing: What Remains by Wendy Walker

BookExpo, ABA Giving Booksellers Travel Grants

BookExpo and the American Booksellers Association have unveiled the first bestsellers grant program, which gives grants of $1,000 to booksellers to cover their travel expenses to BookExpo, which this year is being held May 29-31 at the Javits Center in New York City. The grants, part of a larger effort to reach new audiences and provide support to independent booksellers, are for either new booksellers or booksellers who haven't attended BookExpo in five years and are ABA members. A first round of grants was given in January and another round will be made soon. Altogether some 200 grants will be given.

ABA CEO Oren Teicher commented: "This new initiative from BookExpo of outreach and support to bookstores that have not had a chance to recently attend the event--and experience the new programming--is a clear demonstration of their commitment to the independent bookstore channel. This participation of new bookstores and others can only make BookExpo an even stronger event."

BookExpo event director Jennifer Martin added: "We are always looking for ways to broaden BookExpo's audience and bring in new attendees, so we are excited to work with the ABA this year to offer grants to up-and-coming booksellers who have not been able to attend BookExpo in the past. We look forward to discussing their experiences after the show and using those learnings to improve and grow BookExpo in years to come."

In addition to the bestsellers grant program, new features for BookExpo include a co-location with New York Rights Fair; ABA Editors' Speed Dating; a stage dedicated to independent publishers; and UnBound, the sidelines "show within a show" designed to help booksellers expand non-book offerings.

GLOW: Flatiron Books: Bad Summer People by Emma Rosenblum

Book No Further, Roanoke, Va., Moving, Expanding

Book No Further, the new and used bookstore that opened in Roanoke, Va., in 2017, is moving to a larger location in March. The new 1,200-square-foot location, more than double the size of the current store, will allow Book No Further "to increase inventory, add book- and reading-related merchandise and hold author signings, writing classes and book club meetings in the store," the store said. "An expanded children's area will include space for reading and activities."

Owned by store manager Doloris Vest and CFO Craig Coker, Book No Further is closing its current location at the end of the month and will reopen in the new site on March 5. The store says it's "the only independent bookstore to carry new books in the New River and Roanoke Valleys and features books about Western Virginia and books by area authors."

William Morrow & Company: The God of Good Looks by Breanne Mc Ivor

Love's Sweet Arrow Romance Bookstore Fund-raising

Roseann and Marissa Backlin

Marissa and Roseann Backlin, a mother-and-daughter team who have been avid readers of romance novels for years, hope to open Love's Sweet Arrow, a romance-only bookstore in June. They launched a Kickstarter campaign recently and are exploring several potential retail locations in the Chicagoland area.

"Love's Sweet Arrow is going to be a romance-only bookstore," said Marissa Backlin. "Romance is a genre both of us are passionate about and sadly, it is still the one with the most stigma to it. Because it is a genre that many women read and love, it has the aura of being lesser and less worthy of a quality status. We understand that anyone passionate about romance deserves a place to find it, so we wanted to open a bookstore just for people like us in the Midwest."

She added that Love's Sweet Arrow's goal will be to provide a fun customer experience for their niche audience: "We have lots of plans in the works. We want to have meet and greets with authors, book clubs, and movie nights where we get together and watch new releases and discuss it as we watch. Roseann is crafty so she would love to have craft night with wine a few times a year! And, I am a huge Parks and Recreation fan, so we will absolutely be having Treat Yourself Day and Galentine's Day celebrations. In addition, we are open to lots of other ideas."

Roseann Backlin said they want Love's Sweet Arrow to be "a community venture, so we have plans to give and support the community. We would like to have book drives, to both children and incarcerated women, and we will provide opportunities for our customers and the community to donate books. One thing we already do is collect non-perishables around the holidays with our family and donate it to a charity. Last year, we donated to the Humane Society, and with our bookstore, we are hoping to have multiple drives like this in order expand how we can help and we will be looking for different charities to support all people in need."

G.P. Putnam's Sons: The Celebrants by Steven Rowley

Half Price Books to Close Concord, Calif., Location

Bookstore chain Half Price Books will close its Concord, Calif., location in early May and hopes to reopen in a new space shortly thereafter, the East Bay Times reported.

According to Half Price Books' public relations manager Emily Bruce, the closure came about after the store's landlord informed the company that "given the level of interest in the property," it would not renew the lease. The retailer's development team is searching for a new location and has six letters of intent out for various spaces, though nothing has been signed.

"While we hope to move elsewhere in the area, we will close the current Concord store in early May to give us time to move all items and fixtures in the store by the end of the month when our lease ends," Bruce told the East Bay Times.

Concord residents have not responded well to news of the closure. Since 2011, the area has lost both a Borders Books & Music and a Barnes & Noble, and more recently many long-standing restaurants and retailers have closed due to rent pressure. A local activist group called the Concord Communities Alliance published a Facebook post about the closure that was shared more than 1,000 times and received nearly 300 supportive comments.

Half Price Books started in Texas in 1972 and now has some 120 stores. The Concord location opened in 2001, and there are several other stores in the Bay Area.

City Lights Hosting 100th Birthday Celebration for Lawrence Ferlinghetti

City Lights Booksellers & Publishers in San Francisco, Calif., is hosting an open house on Sunday, March 24, to celebrate co-founder Lawrence Ferlinghetti's 100th birthday, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

From 1 to 5 p.m. on the 24th, City Lights will host a party open to the public. At the same time, three other businesses in San Francisco's North Beach neighborhood--the Canessa Gallery, Cafe Zoetrope and Vesuvio's--will host celebrations in honor of Ferlinghetti, and the city's mayor has officially proclaimed March 24 Lawrence Ferlinghetti Day.

In addition to the events on March 24, there will be a variety of events throughout the month: March 1-28 the Canessa Gallery will show "Ferlinghetti in Photographs," and March 2-April 27 the Rena Bransten Gallery will hold a solo show of Ferlinghetti's work. On March 21, City Lights will host a release party for Ferlinghetti's Little Boy (Doubleday); the Roxie Theater will screen Chris Felver's documentary Ferlinghetti on March 23; and on March 26, City Lights will host another release party, this time for Ronald Collins and David Skover's The People v. Ferlinghetti: The Fight to Publish Allen Ginsberg's HOWL (Rowman & Littlefield).

Ferlinghetti co-founded City Lights in 1953. In 1957, he was put on trial for publishing Allen Ginsberg's poem "Howl." His new book, Little Boy, is an autobiographical novel, and writers Armistead Maupin, Joyce Carol Oates and Andrew Sean Greer are among those expected to attend the launch at City Lights.

Obituary Note: Betty Ballantine

Betty Ballantine, who with her late husband, Ian Ballantine, "helped invent the modern paperback and vastly expand the market for science fiction and other genres through such blockbusters as The Hobbit and Fahrenheit 451," died on Tuesday, the AP reported. She was 99.

In their early 20s, the Ballantines began their publishing career by establishing the U.S. division of Penguin Books, introducing quality paperbacks to the U.S. In 1945, they founded Bantam Books, then part of Grosset & Dunlap. Seven years later, they set up their own publishing house, Ballantine Books. Both legendary imprints are now owned by Penguin Random House.

As the AP recounted, "Charging as little as a quarter, [the Ballantines] published everything from reprints of Mark Twain novels to paperbacks of contemporary bestsellers. They helped established the paperback market for science fiction, Westerns and other genres, releasing original works and reprints by J.R.R. Tolkien, Arthur C. Clarke and H.P. Lovecraft, among others. They made their books available in drugstores, railroad stations and other non-traditional outlets. They issued some paperbacks simultaneously with the hardcover, instead of waiting several months or longer."

Betty Ballantine edited Shirley MacLaine's Out on a Limb and wrote a fantasy novel, The Secret Oceans, published in 1994. The Ballantines were voted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2008.

Wi14: How to be a Highly Effective Bookseller, Manager or Buyer

Cindy Dach, co-owner of Changing Hands Bookstores in Tempe and Phoenix, Ariz., as well as the First Draft book bar, led the Wi14 session "How to be a Highly Effective Bookseller, Manager or Buyer," which was designed to teach booksellers techniques for time management, planning and organizing daily tasks. The session is part of Changing Hands' professional development program.

Dach began by reminding attendees to fill out evaluation forms because past evaluations, including many requests for learning how not to get burned out in the industry, had led to the creation of this session.

Cindy Dach

Conceding that she is not an expert in the field, Dach said she has nevertheless devoted significant time to trying to figure out better time management and planning techniques for herself.

"I started deep diving and doing a lot of research, reading a lot of articles and books, and going to a lot of time management sessions. And the thing that kept nagging at me was I feel that so much of that information out there is so helpful... but so much doesn't address retail," she said. "It doesn't address when you're working on a project and you get that call, which our store does a lot; you get that page that says help to the register and you have to go. And then how do you get back to what you're doing? I really felt that's what was missing in so many sessions I'd gone to and books I read. What I try to do is to develop tools that have made me more successful and have made me more effective."

A key component is allocating time to plan. Citing a statistic that had changed her life--for every minute of planning, you gain 10 minutes a day--she said that while it is hard to find that minute, "when you have the extra time it's absolutely amazing what you can accomplish."

She has also adopted a better strategy for dealing with interruptions. For example, when a staff member interrupts with a question, "I usually say here's what I'm working on right now. I will have a break in 10 minutes or 15 minutes. Can this wait or should I stop and take this question now? Sometimes it is a crisis.... Lots of times the person will say they can wait 15 or 20 minutes or until tomorrow.... But what is interesting is when you let that person know that you're working on something and could they think about it, they tend to come back very organized with their thoughts. So you're actually helping them organize, too."

She conceded, however, that sometimes as she walks around her stores, Dach catches herself asking staff members if she can talk with them about something "right now." Although she has worked on better approaches--What are you in the middle of? Can I talk to you about this?--and most people tend to say they don't mind being interrupted, she still feels guilty and knows "it's a strategy that has to be done on both sides."

Another factor discussed at the session was the "it's easier to do it myself than to train somebody" management theory. "It's not true," Dach said. "For a simple thing or crisis mode, yes, you need to do it yourself, but it's not easier and it's not time saving if you don't train somebody else to do a lot of the work.... And then the other advantage is if I can train somebody how to do some of the projects that I've had, I love having that second brain on that project and they will also bring efficiencies to it because they're learning it for the first time.... My favorite thing that my staff asks me is 'Why do we do it this way?' "

One of the most important steps to becoming more effective is "to be aware of how you spend your time," Dach observed. "Plan how you spend your time. If you're working on a project, plan it and then create and protect that focus time. It's something I know bookstore owners and managers never do. We never protect our own time. Actually, one of the best things we can do for our community and our peers is to protect our own time."

With such a wide range of strategies available, she advised: "You have to find what fits for you." --Robert Gray


Image of the Day: American Advertising Cookbooks

Post-Polar Vortex, Boswell Book Company in Milwaukee, Wis., hosted an event for American Advertising Cookbooks: How Corporations Taught Us to Love Spam, Bananas, and Jell-O (Process Media). More than 120 people braved the cold to hear author Christina Ward, who's also v-p, sales and marketing, at Feral House and Process Media, talk about mayonnaise and try a piece of chocolate sauerkraut cake.

Bookshop Chalkboard Love for Valentine's Day: A Sampler

Valentine's Day 2019 seems has inspired many indie booksellers to devote their creative energies to some wonderful sidewalk chalkboard messages. Here's a sampling:

"Readers make novel lovers." --The Bookloft, Great Barrington, Mass.

"Roses are red, violets wither. Books last forever. Come hither." --City of Asylum Bookstore at Alphabet City, Pittsburgh, Pa.: "@jenkraar is in charge of our sidewalk sign. She isn't subtle."

"Shop in the name of love." --Bliss Books & Bindery, Stillwater, Okla.: "Before you break our hearts."

"The best Valentine's Day gift? A bouquet of flowers books." --Star Line Books, Chattanooga, Tenn.: "Happy Valentine's Day Bookies!"

"Trust us. He wants a book." --Whitelam Books, Reading, Mass.: "Our chalkboard sign is All Knowing. Let us help you with Valentine's Day."

"You had me at... 'Let's go to the bookstore.' " --Curious Iguana, Frederick, Md.: "Love language!"

"What is the most romantic thing you can do for a book lover?" --Joseph-Beth Cincinnati (whiteboards count, too): "We asked our booksellers what the most romantic thing you can do for a reader is, and they delivered. In case you need creative ideas for Valentine's Day (Thursday!!!)--here you go!"

Media and Movies

This Weekend on Book TV: Jill Abramson

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 16
6 p.m. Emily Bernard, author of Black Is the Body: Stories from My Grandmother's Time, My Mother's Time, and Mine (Knopf, $25.95, 9780451493026), at Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tenn. (Re-airs Sunday at 11:05 p.m.)

6:50 p.m. Kathleen Day, author of Broken Bargain: Bankers, Bailouts, and the Struggle to Tame Wall Street (Yale University Press, $35, 9780300223323).

8:20 p.m. Laurence Leamer, author of Mar-a-Lago: Inside the Gates of Power at Donald Trump's Presidential Palace (Flatiron, $27.99, 9781250177513), at Palm Beach Book Store in Palm Beach, Fla.

8:50 p.m. Helen Zia, author of Last Boat Out of Shanghai: The Epic Story of the Chinese Who Fled Mao's Revolution (Ballantine, $28, 9780345522320). (Re-airs Sunday at 5:50 p.m.)

10 p.m. Jill Abramson, author of Merchants of Truth: The Business of News and the Fight for Facts (Simon & Schuster, $30, 9781501123207). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. Howard Schultz, author of From the Ground Up: A Journey to Reimagine the Promise of America (Random House, $28, 9780525509448). (Re-airs Sunday at 7 p.m.)

Sunday, February 17
12 a.m. Tom Hansell, author of After Coal: Stories of Survival in Appalachia and Wales (West Virginia University Press, $27.99, 9781946684554).

8 p.m. Michael Tomasky, author of If We Can Keep It: How the Republic Collapsed and How it Might Be Saved (Liveright, $27.95, 9781631494086).

10 p.m. Geoffrey R. Stone and Lee C. Bollinger, authors of The Free Speech Century (Oxford University Press, $21.95, 9780190841386).

Books & Authors

Awards: Southern Book Prize; London Book Fair Bookstore of the Year

The winners of the 2019 Southern Book Prize, honoring "the best in Southern literature," are:

Fiction: The Line That Held Us by David Joy (Putnam)
Children's: Smack Dab in the Middle of Maybe by Jo Hackl (Random House Books for Young Readers)
Nonfiction and 2019 Conroy Legacy Winner: The Best Cook in the World by Rick Bragg (Knopf)


Among the many categories of the 2019 London Book Fair International Excellence Awards, co-sponsored by the Publishers Association of the U.K., is Bookstore of the Year. The shortlist for that award, sponsored by Gardners, is:

BOA Bookstore, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Fang Suo Commune, Guangzhou, China
Unity Books, Wellington, New Zealand

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, February 19:

The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump by Andrew G. McCabe (St. Martin's Press, $29.99, 9781250207579) is a memoir by the former deputy director of the FBI.

Go High: The Unstoppable Presence and Poise of Michelle Obama by M. Sweeney (Castle Point Books, $19.99, 9781250237392) is a photographic collection featuring former First Lady Michelle Obama.

Hunting LeRoux: The Inside Story of the DEA Takedown of a Criminal Genius and His Empire by Elaine Shannon (Morrow, $27.99, 9780062859136) chronicles the campaign against an innovative international criminal.

Possible Minds: Twenty-Five Ways of Looking at AI edited by John Brockman (Penguin Press, $28, 9780525557999) collects 25 expert opinions on the future of artificial intelligence.

Liquid Rules: The Delightful and Dangerous Substances That Flow Through Our Lives by Mark Miodownik (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26, 9780544850194) flows through all manner of liquid matter.

The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray (Berkley, $26, 9781984802439) follows three sisters divided by legal problems.

Never Tell: A Novel by Lisa Gardner (Dutton, $27, 9781524742089) is the 10th D.D. Warren and Flora Dane mystery.

The Study of Animal Languages: A Novel by Lindsay Stern (Viking, $26, 9780525557432) explores a marriage between two academics with communication problems.

Cherokee America by Margaret Verble (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $27, 9781328494221) follows a family in the Cherokee Nation shortly after the Civil War.

The Whole Wide World and Me by Toni Yuly (Candlewick Press, $15.99, 9780763692636) is a picture book for very young readers about the beauty of the natural world.

This Book Is Spineless by Lindsay Leslie, illustrated Alice Brereton (Page Street Kids, $17.99, 9781624146589) is a picture book that works with the reader to figure out what kind of book--spooky, mysterious, smelly?--it is.

The Life of Captain Marvel by Margaret Stohl and Carlos Pacheco (Marvel, $15.99, 9781302912536).

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:

Golden Child: A Novel by Claire Adam (SJP for Hogarth, $26, 9780525572992). "The country of Trinidad, in all of its lush complexities and sociopolitical intricacies, is the real main character here. As a family struggles with the terrible news that their son has been kidnapped, the reader is treated to a tour of the sights, sounds, and smells of Port of Spain and the outlying countryside, in all of its corruption and glory. This lyrical first novel portends great things to come for Claire Adam." --Emily Crowe, An Unlikely Story, Plainville, Mass.

Hardcover: An Indies Introduce Title
The Falconer: A Novel by Dana Czapnik (Atria, $25, 9781501193224). "Dana Czapnik's debut is a sharp coming-of-age story set in New York City in the mid-1990s with an unforgettable protagonist: Lucy is a street-smart basketball phenom who is secretly in love with Percy, her best friend and fellow baller. Lucy and Percy jump off the page through Czapnik's propulsive, stylish writing. These characters are interesting, warm, and quirky and feel entirely authentic as they struggle to define who they are and want to become. Czapnik's novel has personality and an attitude that infuses the pages and makes it impossible to put down." --Lori Feathers, Interabang Books, Dallas, Tex.

Three Daughters of Eve: A Novel by Elif Shafak (Bloomsbury, $18, 9781632869968). "Elif Shafak's Three Daughters of Eve depicts a sophisticated and compelling story of modern Istanbul. Peri is now a rich and glamorous woman living a comfortable life. While suffering through a tedious dinner party with the international elite, she ponders her days as a student at Oxford, when her life was profoundly impacted by two friends and a charismatic professor. As a young, unformed student, Peri felt lost in her search for faith and self. Looking back on these years from the perspective of adulthood, Peri must confront her past before it collides with the present. Compelling, poignant, and highly relevant, Three Daughters of Eve is a modern exploration of identity in a changing world." --Pamela Klinger-Horn, Excelsior Bay Books, Excelsior, Minn.

For Ages 4 to 8
The Goose Egg by Liz Wong (Knopf, $17.99, 9780553511574). "When Henrietta the Elephant 'adopts' baby Goose, she does her best to raise her as a proper goose despite how noisy baby Goose makes Henrietta's once-quiet home. Henrietta misses the quietness and is anxious for Goose to head off on her own, but when the time comes and Goose is gone, Henrietta misses Goose terribly. Her quiet home is too quiet and she feels so lonely. One day Henrietta hears a goose honk but thinks it's her imagination until she looks outside to find baby Goose is now a Mother Goose and has brought all her goslings! Once again, Henrietta's home is full of noise, happiness, and love. A story that will warm your heart. Absolutely beautiful illustrations!" --Amanda Zirn Hudson, Bethany Beach Books, Bethany Beach, Del.

For Ages 9 to 12
Limitless: 24 Remarkable American Women of Vision, Grit, and Guts by Leah Tinari (Aladdin, $19.99, 9781534418554). "WOW. This intriguing group of American women peer out at the reader through beautiful portraits that give an impression of concentrated, unique strength and character. So empowering! So cool!" --Rebecca Waesch, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Cincinnati, Ohio

For Teen Readers
The Cold Is in Her Bones by Peternelle van Arsdale (Margaret K. McElderry, $18.99, 9781481488440). "Peternelle van Arsdale writes old-fashioned fairy tales for modern girls. With The Cold Is in Her Bones, she takes inspiration from Greek mythology and Eastern European folklore to craft the tale of Milla, a girl who has always tried to be good, even though on the inside she's angry and frustrated. Milla's quest is not to win the hand of her true love, but to rescue her brother and the sister-of-her-heart and, in so doing, rescue all the other cast-off girls and lift the curse that plagues her village. Milla is every girl who chafes against society's expectations, every girl who has ever been told or made to feel that she is not enough, every girl who has been outcast or ridiculed for being different--in short, Milla is Every Girl and her story reminds us that just because others say we can't doesn't oblige us to believe them." --Billie Bloebaum, Third Street Books, McMinnville, Ore.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: Holy Envy: Finding God in the Faith of Others

Holy Envy: Finding God in the Faith of Others by Barbara Brown Taylor (HarperOne, $25.99 hardcover, 256p., 9780062406569, March 12, 2019)

As an Episcopal priest, Barbara Brown Taylor (Leaving Church) spent years delving into the nuances of Western Protestantism. But after parting from parish ministry, she found herself ever more curious about--even jealous of--certain elements of other faiths. She began teaching Religion 101 to undergraduates at Piedmont College in rural Georgia, which gave her and her students the chance to explore. It was permission to learn the basic tenets of five major world religions, as well as to walk forward into the wonder and joy that might await them in a temple, a synagogue or a mosque. In Holy Envy, her 14th nonfiction book, Taylor chronicles two decades of exploration and struggle, as she took her students along on field trips to new places and unfamiliar spiritual terrain.

To her credit, Taylor began with humility, knowing her own ignorance of other faiths matched that of her students. "I was on the first leg of a whole new journey," she writes, and the map changed so many times that she lost track. "I got exactly what I wanted," she adds: "new views of the divine mystery, new wells of meaning, new buckets for lowering into new wells." The problem wasn't the fascinating conversations she had or the joy she found in exploring new traditions; it was "the high cost of seeing the divine mystery through other people's eyes." Inevitably, for Taylor and her students, visiting an Atlanta masjid for Friday prayers or sitting on the floor of a Buddhist meditation center raised questions--not only about the Jewish Sabbath or the multiplicity of Hindu deities, but about the ways American Christians often view those who practice other faiths. As Taylor peeked over the fence to other religious pastures, she had to reckon with the briar patches of her own.

In a time when religious differences are often the subject of polarizing arguments, Taylor offers another way: a gentle, holy curiosity laced with compassion and wonder. She urges her readers to ask questions, to stay open to encountering the divine in whatever form it may appear. Most of all, she encourages keeping a loose grip on certainty: "Once you have given up knowing who is right, it is easy to see neighbors everywhere you look." If this is heresy, it is the most joyful and thoughtful kind: a call to see all people, of all faiths or none, as fully human, and to accept that the divine may show up in the ways we least expect. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

Shelf Talker: Barbara Brown Taylor shares thoughtful, joyful reflections on teaching world religions to undergraduates and learning from religious differences.

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