Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Flatiron Books: The Last One at the Wedding by Jason Rekulak

Ace Books: Servant of Earth (The Shards of Magic) by Sarah Hawley

Ace Books: Toto by AJ Hackwith and The Village Library Demon-Hunting Society by CM Waggoner

Webtoon Unscrolled: Age Matters Volume Two by Enjelicious

St. Martin's Press:  How to Think Like Socrates: Ancient Philosophy as a Way of Life in the Modern World  by Donald J Robertson

Hanover Square Press: The Dallergut Dream Department Store (Original) by Miye Lee, Translated by Sandy Joosun Lee

Nosy Crow: Dungeon Runners: Hero Trial by Joe Todd-Stanton and Kieran Larwood

Andrews McMeel Publishing: A Haunted Road Atlas: Next Stop: More Chilling and Gruesome Tales from and That's Why We Drink by Christine Schiefer and Em Schulz

Quotation of the Day

'Boom': Jeopardy! Winner on the Power of Children's Books

"I have a strategy of reading children's books to gain knowledge. I've found that in an adult reference book, if it's not a subject I'm interested in, I just can't get into it.

"I was thinking, what is the place in the library I can go to to get books tailored to make things interesting for uninterested readers? Boom. The children's section."

--James Holzhauer, who has won more than $1.3 million on Jeopardy!--and continues to play--telling the New York Times how he has learned so many facts.

Farrar, Straus and Giroux: Intermezzo by Sally Rooney


Craig Popelars New Publisher of Tin House Books

Craig Popelars

Effective June 1, Craig Popelars is becoming publisher of Tin House Books, the Portland, Ore., publisher of fiction, poetry, memoir and essays. Popelars formerly was associate publisher of Algonquin Books, where he had worked for 25 years.

Win McCormack, current publisher and owner of Tin House Books, called Popelars "a powerhouse in the field. He has exactly the kind of vision, energy, and experience needed to take Tin House Books to the next level."

Popelars added, "I'm honored, excited, and inspired to join a publishing program that I greatly admire. Alongside my colleagues at Tin House, it's my aim to continue building a dynamic program with an adventurous publishing spirit that connects talented writers with engaged and devoted readers."

Tin House Books publishes some 18 books a year, and plans to begin publishing 24 titles a year by 2021. Its authors include Kristen Arnett, Claire Fuller, Charles D'Ambrosio, Morgan Parker, Tommy Pico, and Joy Williams.

During his time at Algonquin, Popelars helped launch and promote many bestselling and critically acclaimed works from authors including Larry Brown, Amy Stewart, Tayari Jones, Julia Alvarez, Lee Smith, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Sara Gruen and Richard Louv.

PM Press: P Is for Palestine: A Palestine Alphabet Book by Golbarg Bashi, Illustrated by Golrokh Nafisi

Lark & Owl Booksellers Opens in Georgetown, Tex.

Lark & Owl Booksellers, a 3,500-sq.-ft. independent bookstore owned and operated by a team of 10 women entrepreneurs, has officially opened for business in Georgetown, Tex. The bookstore carries an inventory of all new, general-interest titles for children, teens and adults, and features a cafe serving coffee, tea, beer and wine along with soups, sandwiches and snacks.

"We've had a great response from the community and we couldn't be more thrilled," said Jane Estes, project manager and leader of the ownership team. Last summer, Estes and her team of co-owners launched a Kickstarter campaign that raised $35,000.

On Saturday, Lark & Owl hosted an opening celebration to coincide with Independent Bookstore Day, with door prizes, live music and window displays devoted to books about "Independent Thinkers." Author, rapper and autism advocate Russell Lehmann kicked off the store's speaker series. Today, Lark & Owl will host author and zoologist Delia Owens.

Fables Bookshop Coming to Goshen, Ind.

The future home of Fables Books

A group of six local businesspeople plan to open Fables Bookshop, a new and used bookstore, in Goshen, Ind., the Goshen News reported.

The shop will reside in the storefront in downtown Goshen that previously housed Better World Books of Mishawaka, which recently closed its physical location to focus on online sales. Shortly after Better World closed, Fables co-owners Brad Weirich and Jenny Frech had the idea of opening a new store. They then brought in four other Goshen residents: Veronica Berkey, Kristin Saner, Mark Saner and Jeremy Friesen.

Fables owners (clockwise from bottom right) Veronica Berkey, Kristin Saner, Jenny Frech, Jeremy Friesen, Mark Saner, Brad Weirich

Several of Fable's co-owners were part of Better World Books. Both Weirich and Berkey helped open and run the original Better World Books store, while Saner was an assistant manager there. Frech, meanwhile, owns and operates the store Soapy Gnome, also in Goshen.

"The new bookshop will focus on high-quality used and new books--especially curated to bring to the community what you're looking for, and what you didn't know to look for," Berkey told Goshen News. "We know that you love to read, and we love to connect you with great stories of all kinds. Plus, we'll stock fun literary gifts, and stationery."

While the ownership group is hoping to purchase Better World Books' fixtures, they will not be purchasing the business, customer list or inventory. To help raise funds for starting the store, the ownership group will be applying for a small business loan and will launch a crowdfunding campaign in late May. Until they have the space up and running, they'll be accepting used book donations at Soapy Gnome.

The co-owners plan to open Fables Bookshop in late summer.

Obituary Note: John L'Heureux

John L'Heureux, a "prolific author and former Jesuit priest whose fiction grappled with matters of morality, redemption and transcendence," died April 22, the New York Times reported. He was 84. L'Heureux was a professor of English at Stanford for 36 years, wrote more than 20 books and numerous short stories and poems.

His novels include The Medici Boy (2014), The Shrine at Altamira (1992), The Handmaid of Desire (1997), A Woman Run Mad (1988), and Tight White Collar (1972). An autobiographical memoir, Picnic in Babylon: A Jesuit Priest's Journal, 1963-67 (1967), "chronicled his religious education, much of which coincided with the Second Vatican Council, a revolutionary period for the church during which it modernized many of its practices," the Times noted.

L'Heureux eventually left the priesthood in and was laicized in 1971. He later told the Stanford Daily: "I left the Jesuits because I wanted to live my own life, make my own decisions and take responsibility for those decisions. With a vow of obedience, you simply cannot do that."

He married Joan Polston, who told the Times that her late husband knew he could not be a writer and a priest at the same time: "If you're a writer, what you want to do with your time is write. But if you're a priest, you must serve other people. And besides, being celibate was not something that looked possible."

"John's stories embody a strong sense of humor about the vagaries of faith and life and the fragility of human convictions," said Deborah Treisman, the New Yorker's fiction editor. "He allowed his characters both their comic foibles and their occasional, unexpected moments of grace."

Author Tobias Wolff, a former student of L'Heureux and later a colleague at Stanford, observed: "In taking on complex spiritual and moral questions, John wrote with distinctive exactitude, humanity, and wit--serious wit--and an adventurous sense of form. His work challenges our self-conceptions and certainties, and often troubles the heart."


Image of the Day: Steinem and Firestone

The 92nd Street Y in New York City hosted Gloria Steinem in conversation with Rabbi Tirzah Firestone, author of Wounds into Wisdom: Healing Intergenerational Jewish Trauma (Monkfish). Pictured: (l.-r.) Steinem, Rabbi Firestone, publicist Meryl Zegarek and Monkfish publisher Paul Cohen.

Road trip: Beat's Guide to Melbourne's Best Bookstores

"The only thing better than a good book is a shop full of them," Beat noted in featuring a guide to the best bookstores in Melbourne, Australia, noting: "There's something so satisfying about curling up with a good book and a cup of tea on a grey Melbourne day. And as summer becomes a distant memory and the weather grows dreary, it's probably about time to bulk up your reading list. When it comes to books, buying from local, independent retailers is the best way to indulge your reading habits--the word 'e-book' is just offensive. So if you're serious about books, there's a particular art to shopping for your next read. Steven King once said that 'books are a uniquely portable magic,' so it makes sense that these bookstores feel utterly bewitching."

Sidewalk Chalkboard of the Day: Book Culture

The sidewalk chalkboard at Book Culture on Columbus Avenue in New York City reads: "With freedom, books, flowers and the moon, who could not be happy? --Oscar Wilde"

Personnel Changes at Llewellyn Worldwide

Jake-Ryan Kent has been promoted to publicist at Llewellyn Worldwide.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Erin Lee Carr on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Erin Lee Carr, author of All That You Leave Behind: A Memoir (Ballantine, $26, 9780399179716).

Here & Now: Mitchell Zuckoff, author of Fall and Rise: The Story of 9/11 (Harper, $29.99, 9780062275646).

CBS This Morning: National Book Award winner Ta-Nehisi Coates.

Wendy Williams: Gizelle Bryant, author of My Word (Brown Girls Publishing, $16.99, 9781944359805).

Daily Show: Chelsea Handler, author of Life Will Be the Death of Me: . . . and you too! (Spiegel & Grau, $27, 9780525511779).

On Stage: My Name Is Lucy Barton

Four-time Tony nominee Laura Linney will return to Broadway in January 2020 in Manhattan Theatre Club's production of My Name Is Lucy Barton, adapted by Rona Munro from the novel by Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout, Playbill reported.

Linney reprises her role in the solo play produced last summer at London's Bridge Theatre. Directed by five-time Olivier Award winner Richard Eyre, who also helmed the acclaimed London run, the production begins previews January 6 at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre ahead of a January 15 opening night.

Last seen on Broadway in the revival of Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes, Linney has Broadway credits that include Time Stands Still, Sight Unseen, The Crucible, Les Liaisons Dangereuses and Uncle Vanya.

Books & Authors

Awards: Faulkner Winner; Women's Prize for Fiction Shortlist

Call Me Zebra by Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) has won the $15,000 2019 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.

The judges commented, in part: "Once in a while a singular, adventurous, and intellectually humorous voice appears that takes us on an inescapable journey. Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi's Call Me Zebra is a library within a library, a Borges-esque labyrinth of references from all cultures and all walks of life. In today's visual Netflix world, Ms. Van der Vliet Oloomi's novel performs at the highest of levels in accomplishing only what the written novel can show us."

Call Me Zebra was longlisted for the PEN Open Book Award. Van der Vliet Oloomi is also the author of Fra Keeler, which received a Whiting Writers' Award. She was a National Book Foundation "5 Under 35" honoree and has received a Fulbright Fellowship and a fellowship from the Institució de les Lletres Catalanes in Barcelona. Van der Vliet Oloomi is an Assistant Professor in the English Department's MFA Program in Creative Writing at the University of Notre Dame.


The shortlist of the 2019 Women's Prize for Fiction consists of:

  • The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker
  • My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
  • Milkman by Anna Burns
  • Ordinary People by Diana Evans
  • An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
  • Circe by Madeline Miller

The organizers pointed out that this year's list features "one debut author (Oyinkan Braithwaite), as well as a previous winner of the Orange Prize for Fiction (Madeline Miller, for The Song of Achilles), a winner of Orange Award for New Writers (Diana Evans, for 26a) and one previously shortlisted author (Anna Burns, for No Bones). The winner will be announced June 5.

Book Review

Review: Correspondents

Correspondents by Tim Murphy (Grove Press, $27 hardcover, 448p., 9780802129376, May 28, 2019)

Rita Khoury has always wanted to be a journalist. Growing up in a sprawling Irish Lebanese family on Boston's North Shore, she longed to be in the thick of the action, reporting on world-changing events. After graduating from Harvard, she worked as a news correspondent in New York and then in Beirut, putting her college Arabic to use. Following September 11, 2001, Rita is sent to Baghdad to cover the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq, and its effects on ordinary citizens. She becomes close to her interpreter, Nabil al-Jumaili, a talented young Iraqi who is keeping secrets from his family and even from himself. Tim Murphy tells the story of Nabil and Rita's relationship, set against the turbulent backdrop of early-2000s Baghdad, in his second novel, Correspondents.

Murphy (Christodora) begins his story with Rita's return to the North Shore for a family event in 2008. He then goes back nearly a century to unfurl the saga of Rita's ancestors: the Coughlins, hardscrabble Irish who worked their way up to the middle class, and the Khourys, forced to emigrate from Lebanon in search of jobs and opportunity. The stories of Rita's grandparents and parents follow: famine and grief, but also children and love, the tempering of ambition with practicality.

Interwoven are fast-paced chapters detailing Rita's and Nabil's experiences in the Middle East. As they grow closer to each other and to a handful of colleagues, including Nabil's brilliant, impatient older cousin Asmaa, tensions outside their heavily guarded compound continue to rise. All of them are accustomed to, even relish, living with a certain amount of danger. But the strain begins to wear on them all, until Rita makes a mistake from which she may not be able to recover, and Nabil is forced to confront the reality that remaining true to his own identity may mean fleeing his homeland.

Murphy draws his characters with warmth and compassion, emphasizing their deep love for family: Nabil's admiration for Asmaa and his love for his grandmother Bibi; Rita's close bond with her sister, Ally, and her more fraught but equally strong love for her parents. The connection between Rita and Nabil grows too, from wariness to professional respect to deep friendship, complicated by their cultural differences and power politics. The geopolitical dramas of the early 2000s and the actions in the Middle East by American leaders make the book even more relevant to present-day realities. But the novel's true strength is its cast of vivid, flawed, deeply human characters, who struggle and make mistakes, and do their best to work for good in uncertain, even dangerous, times. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

Shelf Talker: Tim Murphy's sprawling second novel follows an American journalist and her Iraqi interpreter during the Iraq War.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. The Doctor by E.L. Todd
2. Fortune Furlough (Miss Fortune Mystery Book 14) by Jana DeLeon
3. 30 Minute Seder by Robert Kopman, illustrated by Bil Yanok
4. Moonshine & Mayhem (Moonshine Hollow Book 4) by Kathleen Brooks
5. Forever Mine (Tormentor Mine Book 4) by Anna Zaires and Dima Zales
6. Can't Hurt Me by David Goggins
7. Pulling Profits Out of a Hat by Brad Sugars and Monte Wyatt
8. Best I've Ever Had by Abbi Glines
9. Unexpected Gift by R.S. Lively
10. No Perfect Hero by Nicole Snow

[Many thanks to!]

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