Shelf Awareness for Monday, March 4, 2019

Del Rey Books: Black Shield Maiden by Willow Smith and Jess Hendel

St. Martin's Press: Lenny Marks Gets Away with Murder by Kerryn Mayne

Hell's Hundred: Blood Like Mine by Stuart Neville

Spiegel & Grau: Tiananmen Square by Lai Wen

Tor Books: The Daughters' War (Blacktongue) by Christopher Buehlman

Tommy Nelson: Just in Case You Ever Feel Alone (Just in Case) by Max Lucado, Illustrated by Eve Tharlet

Bramble: The Spellshop by Sarah Beth Durst


Grand Opening for Main Street Books in Summerville, S.C.

Main Street Reads owner Shari Stauch with Summerville Mayor Wiley Johnson

Main Street Reads hosted its grand opening weekend at 115 S. Main St. in Summerville, S.C., beginning with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday. On the bookshop's blog, owner Shari Stauch wrote: "The doors were ready to open at noon, just one hour before our official 1 p.m. scheduled ribbon cutting. Coffee, tea and champagne were at the ready, along with fruit from Edible Arrangements up the street, and wine from Accent on Wine across the square. Now we just had to hope people would brave the rain.... Wow, did you ever! By the time Summerville Mayor Wiley Johnson arrived to cut the ribbon, Main Street Reads was standing-room only! Make sure to check out all the pics at our Facebook page here."

Stauch expressed her gratitude "to our friends, family, and our extended Summerville and lowcountry family--we wouldn't be here without ya! And our very special thanks to so many folks behind the scenes without whom Summerville's new indie bookstore would not be possible.... If you haven't had a chance to visit yet, we look forward to seeing you soon. Drop by and tell us what you like to read. We take requests and will be ordering lots of books all the time to serve up what you want!"

Harper: Sandwich by Catherine Newman

BU's B&N Debuts in New Location

Boston University's new Barnes & Noble opened last week at 910 Commonwealth Ave. on West Campus just days after its Kenmore Square store closed "in the wake of a 2016 deal BU made to sell its properties at the eastern edge of campus," the Daily Free Press reported. Unlike the Kenmore location, the new B&N does not have a Starbucks.

With two larger floors, rather than the five smaller ones in the old Kenmore location, the new store's first floor features some BU clothing and merchandise for purchase but largely houses textbooks, while the second floor stocks primarily BU merchandise.

Spiegel & Grau: Tiananmen Square by Lai Wen

WH Smith Opens First Dutch Store, Expands in Spain

WH Smith has opened its first store in the Netherlands, at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, and expanded its presence in Spain with two new locations at the Región de Murcia International Airport in Murci, the Bookseller reported.

"We’re very pleased to have opened our first store in Amsterdam Airport Schiphol," said Phil McNally, WH Smith International managing director, adding that this is "a significant contract" for the company "as we expand our presence in a major European airport, recognized for its state of the arts retail proposition." Two more WH Smith stores are scheduled to open at the airport in 2020 and 2021.

McNally added that the "new stores at the international airport in Murcia mark another great contract win for our business in Spain and complements our existing operations in Alicante-Elche, Tenerife Sur and Adolfo Suarez Madrid-Barajas airports."

GLOW: Tundra Books: We Are Definitely Human by X. Fang

Denene Millner Books Moving to S&S

Denene Millner (photo: Lila Chiles)

Author, journalist and founder Denene Millner is moving her Denene Millner Books imprint to Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing from Agate Publishing, where it began two years ago. The imprint will be part of Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers and will publish books for all ages by African American authors and illustrators.

At Agate, Denene Millner Books titles included Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes, illustrated by Gordon C. James, which received a Newbery Honor, a Caldecott Honor, and Coretta Scott King Honors for both author and illustrator.

The inaugural list of the imprint at S&S will launch in spring 2020. Future titles include Just Like a Mama by Alice Faye Duncan, illustrated by Charnelle Pinkney Barlow (granddaughter of children's book illustrator Jerry Pinkney); My Rainy Day Rocket Ship by Markette Sheppard and illustrated by Charly Palmer, winner of the 2018 Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for New Talent; Me and Mama by Cozbi Cabrera; Ya Ya and the Sea by Karen Good-Marable; and If Dominican Were a Color by Sili Recio.

Millner has written or co-written 28 books, including Steve Harvey's Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man and Straight Talk No Chaser, Cookie Johnson's Believing in Magic, and Taraji P. Henson's Around the Way Girl. She is a columnist at Parenting and contributing writer for Essence, Parenting, Women's Health, Ebony and other publications. Millner also is a co-host on the Georgia Public Broadcasting talk show A Seat at the Table.

Millner commented: "From its inception, the mission of Denene Millner Books has been to shine a light on the everyday stories that color the worlds of black children--stories that all children need and deserve to see in books. What an honor to be able to bring these books into the world in partnership with one of the most storied publishers on the planet. I'm absolutely thrilled that, together, Simon & Schuster and Denene Millner Books will not only get these incredible works into the hands of more young readers, but also create the much-needed opportunities for black writers and illustrators to tell those stories."

William Morrow & Company: Lula Dean's Little Library of Banned Books by Kirsten Miller

Obituary Note: Janet Jeppson Asimov

Janet Jeppson Asimov, author, psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, and widow of Isaac Asimov, died on February 25. She was 92. She was also the former director of training at the William Alanson White Institute and a former science columnist for the Los Angeles Times Syndicate.

In her early years, she wrote books under the name J.O. Jeppson and later used Janet Asimov. According to the Encyclopedia for Science Fiction, most of her science fiction was for children. Her books include The Second Experiment, "whose main protagonist--a Robot--traces and deeply impacts upon the long story of the race that created him"; The Last Immortal; Mind Transfer; and The Mysterious Cure, and Other Stories of Pshrinks Anonymous, consisting of "comical tales of psychiatry."

With her husband, she wrote the Norby Chronicles series, tales for young readers starring a robot. She also edited a selection of his letters called It's Been a Good Life: Isaac Asimov.

Harper Celebrate: Why Do We Stay?: How My Toxic Relationship Can Help You Find Freedom by Stephanie Quayle, with Keith W. Campbell


Image of the Day: Celebrating at Chelsea Green

Chelsea Green Publishing had a lot to celebrate last week: its book Eager by Ben Goldfarb won the PEN American Literary Award for Science Writing; the company became 100% employee-owned; and it was also the house's 35th birthday. Above: the Chelsea Green staff in White River Junction, Vt., making a celebratory toast to Goldfarb.

Tokyo Bookstore Charges Admission Fee

Bunkitsu bookstore, which opened last December in Tokyo, "is unusual in that patrons can browse the 90 or so magazines in the reception area for free, but must pay 1,500 yen ($14) to peruse its 30,000 or so titles on the second floor, where there is also a café," Kyodo News reported.

The bookstore features elegant glass doors, a spacious entryway, books displayed like exhibits on tables and captioned information on the walls. "That's what we want people to think--that it's an art gallery where they can encounter books," said public relations officer Hikaru Yoshino. "Bunkitsu is a place for hard-core book lovers and, at the same time, it's a place that invites people to walk in and discover books they never thought of reading."

Store manager Akira Ito noted that the entry fee allows the bookstore to stock an eclectic lineup: "It's like buying a gift at a museum shop. People have paid their entry fee so they feel invested in finding a book.... We believe that customers appreciate our passion for books."

Page & Palette: 'Where Fairhope's Founding Spirit Is Most Alive'

In a travel piece showcasing Fairhope, Ala., and headlined "A Southern Town That's Been Holding on to Its Charm, for More Than a Century," the New York Times reported that the "place where Fairhope's founding spirit is most alive is perhaps Page and Palette, an independent bookstore that has stood near the center of town for over 50 years."

Owner Karin Wilson's grandmother opened Page and Palette as an art supply and bookstore in 1968, and her father eventually spun off a frame shop and gallery next door. Wilson bought the bookshop in 1997, then added a coffee shop and bar/event space. Her twin sister, Kelley Lyons, purchased the frame shop, now Lyons Share Custom Framing and Gallery.

Wilson is also the city's mayor, having "jumped into politics in 2016 with a successful campaign centered around a platform of smart development. Fairhope is now one of Alabama's fastest growing cities, with a 27% growth in population from 2010 to 2017," the Times wrote.

"There's this charm that we don't want to lose," Wilson said. "Owning the store, we meet so many people who say, 'We've always wanted to live in a community like this.' People choose to be here for a very specific reason and they're very motivated about keeping it that way."

Personnel Changes at B&T; Grand Central; Little, Brown

Kristen Steele, director of marketing and publisher relations for Baker & Taylor Publisher Services/Bookmasters, will be leaving the company, effective tomorrow, March 6.


At Grand Central Publishing publicity and marketing:
Jordan Rubinstein has been promoted to publicist.
Danielle Egnozzi has been promoted to marketing designer.  
Estelle Hallick has been promoted to manager, marketing & publicity, Forever.
Monisha Lakhotia has been promoted to assistant marketing manager, Forever.


Katharine McAnarney has been promoted to publicity manager at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. She was previously senior publicist.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Senator Doug Jones on CBS This Morning

Good Morning America: Karamo Brown, author of Karamo: My Story of Embracing Purpose, Healing, and Hope (Gallery, $27, 9781982111977). He will also appear tomorrow on Watch What Happens Live.

CBS This Morning: Senator Doug Jones, author of Bending Toward Justice: The Birmingham Church Bombing that Changed the Course of Civil Rights (All Points Books, $29.99, 9781250201447).

Also on CBS This Morning: Emily Chang, author of Brotopia: Breaking Up the Boys' Club of Silicon Valley (Portfolio, $16, 9780525540175).

Fresh Air: Thomas Boyce, author of The Orchid and the Dandelion: Why Some Children Struggle and How All Can Thrive (Knopf, $27.95, 9781101946565).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Thomas Lennon, author of Ronan Boyle and the Bridge of Riddles (Amulet, $17.99, 9781419734915).

Fresh Air: Alex Kotlowitz, author of An American Summer: Love and Death in Chicago (Nan A. Talese, $27.95, 9780385538800).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Amber Tamblyn, author of Era of Ignition: Coming of Age in a Time of Rage and Revolution (Crown Archetype, $25, 9781984822987).

TV: The Tortilla Curtain

MGM Television will team with Emmy-nominated creator/showrunners Will Scheffer and Mark V. Olsen (HBO's Big Love, Getting On) to adapt T.C. Boyle's The Tortilla Curtain as a premium series, from HertzbergMedia and Nice Media Studios. Deadline reported that the novel "prophetically published in 1995, is about middle-class values, illegal immigration, xenophobia, poverty and environmental destruction." The book won a PEN/Faulkner Award as well as the French Prix Médicis Étranger prize for best foreign novel.

The series will be produced by MGM Television, which is supervising the writing of the pilot in-house. MGM will distribute internationally. "Will & Mark are two of the most talented writers in our business. Their knack for tackling fresh takes on provocative subject matters blew us away when they first sat down with us to talk about their vision for Tortilla Curtain," said Steve Stark, MGM's president of television production & development.

In a joint statement, Scheffer and Olsen said, "This is a dream project for us. The material is beyond timely, the themes are rich and profound, and collaborating with MGM, Sam and Alex has been a joy. We are truly honored to work on such exceptional source material."

Books & Authors

Awards: CWA Diamond Dagger; Women's Fiction Longlist

Robert Goddard has won the 2019 CWA Diamond Dagger, sponsored by the Crime Writers' Association and the highest honor in British crime writing. He will be presented with the award at the Dagger Awards ceremony in London on October 24.

Martin Edwards, chair of the CWA, said: "Robert Goddard has been entertaining crime fiction fans across the world for over 30 years. His books are notable for their breathtaking plot twists, sharp characterisation, and insights into history. It is a genuine pleasure to celebrate his illustrious career with the award of the Diamond Dagger."


The longlist has been revealed for the £30,000 (about $39,700) Women's Prize for Fiction, which celebrates "celebrates excellence, originality and accessibility in women's writing from throughout the world." A shortlist will be announced April 29, and the winner named June 5. The longlisted titles are:

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker
Remembered by Yvonne Battle-Felton
My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
The Pisces by Melissa Broder
Milkman by Anna Burns
Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi
Ordinary People by Diana Evans
Swan Song by Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
Number One Chinese Restaurant by Lillian Li
Bottled Goods by Sophie van Llewyn
Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli
Praise Song for the Butterflies by Bernice L. McFadden
Circe by Madeline Miller
Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss
Normal People by Sally Rooney

Book Review

Review: by Nathan Englander (Knopf, $24.95 hardcover, 224p., 9781524732752, March 26, 2019)

In a review of Nathan Englander's 1999 debut short story collection, For the Relief of Unbearable Urges, the New York Times described him as a writer who "combines a compassionate grasp of the Orthodox Jewish world with the skeptical irreverence of one estranged from yet still oddly defined by it." Englander's fiction, he continued, "is not so much a betrayal of Orthodox Judaism as it is a revelation of the human condition." Now, two decades on in a career that's produced two novels and another volume of short stories, Englander returns to this milieu with the novel, the affecting story of what happens when a one-time secular Jew searches for redemption in a world of religious fundamentalism he's long ago abandoned.

When 30-year-old Brooklyn resident Larry's father dies in Memphis, Tenn., in 1999, he returns to his sister Dina's home for the funeral and the traditional week of mourning known as shiva. As that ritual ends, Larry, a porn-loving marketer who applies his "Zazen-based mindfulness" to help him survive the experience, devastates Dina with the news that he won't recite the Kaddish, the mourning prayer whose repetition at three services each day for 10 months ensures their deceased father a blessed afterlife. Instead, he registers on the titular website, "like a JDate for the dead," where, for a fee, a yeshiva student in Jerusalem will recite the prayer in his place.

Just when it appears Englander will be satirizing the conflict between the seductions of modernity and the demands of Orthodox belief and practice, he upends that expectation and turns right, onto a more serious path. Fast-forward 20 years, and Larry--now Reb Shuli, a married father of two, teaching Talmud to seventh graders at a yeshiva--has abandoned his upscale Brooklyn neighborhood for one in the same borough amid his fellow pious Jews. A troubled 12-year-old student has lost his father, but is too young to have the obligation of reciting the Kaddish imposed on him. This triggers Shuli's urgent need to connect with the devout Jew he believes has been reciting that prayer in his place, in order to reclaim the sacred duty he forsook so casually.'s sensibility seems more rooted in the 19th century than the 21st. For all the role technology plays in its plot, it's more evocative of Isaac Bashevis Singer's characters than of the secular Jewish mourners in Jonathan Tropper's This Is Where I Leave You. But even readers to whom these practices are unfamiliar should have little difficulty connecting with the impulses that drive Shuli to embark on a quest to undo his rash decision to cast off tradition. Englander portrays that frantic quest--one that jeopardizes Shuli's marriage, his job, even his sanity--with curiosity and deep sympathy, evoking a response that transcends the boundaries of any particular faith. --Harvey Freedenberg, freelance reviewer

Shelf Talker: Nathan Englander returns to his roots in Orthodox Judaism for an exploration of how one man seeks to right a seemingly irrevocable wrong.

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