Shelf Awareness for Thursday, June 20, 2019

Bloom Books: Queen of Myth and Monsters (Adrian X Isolde #2) by Scarlett St. Clair

Bloom Books: Queen of Myth and Monsters (Adrian X Isolde #2) by Scarlett St. Clair

Blue Box Press: A Light in the Flame: A Flesh and Fire Novel by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Irh Press: The Unknown Stigma Trilogy by Ryuho Okawa

Other Press (NY): The Rebel and the Thief by Jan-Philipp Sendker, translated by Imogen Taylor

Holiday House: Welcome to Feral (Frights from Feral) by Mark Fearing

Charlesbridge Publishing: Too-Small Tyson (Storytelling Math) by Janay Brown-Wood, illustrated by Anastasia Williams

Berkley Books: Stone Cold Fox by Rachel Koller Croft


Kinokuniya Opening Fourth Store in Texas

Kinokuniya in Austin, Tex.

Kinokuniya Book Stores of America plans to open its fourth store in Texas this fall, in Katy, near Houston. The company's other stores in Texas are in Carrollton and Plano--Dallas suburbs--and Austin. The Katy store will be Kinokuniya's 14th store in the U.S.

The Katy store will have 4,000 square feet of space in the new Katy Grand development, a large outdoor mall that will include a new 46-acre campus of the University of Houston with 10,000 students. Kunokuniya's Shigekazu Watanabe said that the new store will "emphasize literature, children's books and manga." The ratio of English-language to Japanese-language titles will be about two to one.

Watanabe added that after opening the Austin store last year, "we have confidence that people in Texas really love to read and need more bookstores. We aim to connect local people from different backgrounds with each other, and establish new communities."

Founded in 1927 in Tokyo, Kinokuniya is one of the biggest bookstore chains in Japan and has more than 80 stores and 35 sales offices worldwide. It opened its first U.S. bookstore in San Francisco 50 years ago.

Minotaur Books: A World of Curiosities (Chief Inspector Gamache Novel #18) by Louise Penny

Page 1 Books Opens Bricks-and-Mortar Storefront

Page 1's soft opening.

Page 1 Books, an independent bookstore that began as an online subscription service, has opened a physical location in Evanston, Ill. Owner Brandy O'Briant said the 1,500 square-foot store sells new books, along with some remainders, for children, teens and adults, with a special emphasis on literary fiction. The store's non-book inventory includes candles, mugs and soaps.

O'Briant launched the Page 1 Books subscription service in June 2017, while she was still working in advertising. It began as a "side hustle," something started on a whim that she could do in her spare time, and O'Briant described it as Book of the Month meets StitchFix, where everything is personalized to the reader's tastes.

As the subscription service continued to grow, O'Briant and her team began looking for industrial space to expand their fulfillment capabilities. During their search, however, they came across a location that would not only meet their fulfillment needs, with 900 square feet to use in the basement, but also give them a retail space, and they decided to take the plunge.

"The space we took over was a gift shop called Perennials, which had been an Evanston icon for 35 years," O'Briant explained. "The owners decided to retire and we just couldn't pass up taking over a space with such history and goodwill in the neighborhood."

The store's grand opening is set for this Saturday, June 22. "The response has been overwhelmingly supportive," O'Briant reported. "We are thrilled at how excited people are."

GLOW: Sourcebooks Landmark: Clytemnestra by Costanza Casati

Binc, Macmillan Professional Development Scholarship Returns

The Macmillan Booksellers Professional Development Scholarship, which was launched in 2017 by the Book Industry Charitable Foundation and Macmillan to provide professional development opportunities to booksellers from groups traditionally underrepresented in the industry, is returning for another year. Nine scholarships will be awarded to booksellers from underrepresented groups to cover the cost of travel, lodging and meals (up to a maximum of $500) to attend a fall regional booksellers association show. The application period runs from June 15 to July 15.

"We have received such overwhelmingly positive responses from recipients of past years, and are delighted to continue our partnership with Binc," said Macmillan Diversity & Inclusion co-chairs Malati Chavali, v-p, publishing strategy operations, and Angus Killick, v-p, associate publisher, Macmillan Children's Publishing Group. "We believe the program is exposing a new and diverse generation of booksellers to a critical industry forum for exchange of ideas and knowledge, and setting a path for a healthy future for independent bookselling."

Binc executive director Pam French said the foundation "exists to help booksellers thrive. By working with Macmillan Publishers to bring diverse voices to regional trade shows, we're enriching conversations and improving the bookselling industry as a whole."

Julie Jarema of Avid Bookshop, Athens, Ga., who was one of the 2018 recipients, commented: "Thanks to the Binc/Macmillan Booksellers Professional Development Scholarship, I was able to attend my first SIBA Fall Trade show in Tampa. Without the scholarship, I wouldn't have been able to travel to meet other booksellers; listen to an amazing lineup of lectures and panels; and get excited about the upcoming books! It was a great introduction to the larger bookselling community."

Booksellers can find more information here.

Barefoot Books: Save 10%

Joy Harjo Named U.S. Poet Laureate

photo: Shawn Miller/Library of Congress

Joy Harjo has been named the 23nd U.S. poet laureate by Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. An enrolled member of the Muscogee Creek Nation, Harjo is the first Native American poet to serve in the position. She succeeds two-term laureate Tracy K. Smith, and will begin her year-long term with a public reading of her work at the library in September.

Hayden observed that Harjo "has championed the art of poetry--'soul talk' as she calls it--for over four decades. To her, poems are 'carriers of dreams, knowledge and wisdom,' and through them she tells an American story of tradition and loss, reckoning and myth-making. Her work powerfully connects us to the earth and the spiritual world with direct, inventive lyricism that helps us reimagine who we are."

Calling her appointment "a tremendous honor," Harjo said, "I share this honor with ancestors and teachers who inspired in me a love of poetry, who taught that words are powerful and can make change when understanding appears impossible, and how time and timelessness can live together within a poem. I count among these ancestors and teachers my Muscogee Creek people, the librarians who opened so many doors for all of us, and the original poets of the indigenous tribal nations of these lands, who were joined by diverse peoples from nations all over the world to make this country and this country's poetry."

Harjo has published eight books of poetry, including Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings; The Woman Who Fell From the Sky; and In Mad Love and War, which received an American Book Award and the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Award. Her next collection, An American Sunrise, will be published by Norton this fall. Harjo has also written a memoir, Crazy Brave; a children's book, The Good Luck Cat; and a YA work, For a Girl Becoming

Her many literary honors include the PEN Open Book Award, the American Indian Distinguished Achievement in the Arts Award, the New Mexico Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts and the Arrell Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award from the Oklahoma Center for the Book. Recent honors include the Jackson Prize from Poets & Writers, the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize from the Poetry Foundation and the Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets. Earlier this year, she was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

Harjo told the New York Times that during her time as poet laureate she hopes "to remind people that poetry belongs to everyone" and it can draw from a range of human and natural experiences, "sunrise, sunset, eating, enjoying company, births, death, all of it."

As a musician who has released four albums, she also wants to highlight the connections between poetry and music and dance, as well as address current social and political divides: "Just as when I started writing poetry, we're at a very crucial time in American history and in planetary history," Harjo said. "Poetry is a way to bridge, to make bridges from one country to another, one person to another, one time to another."

This brief video features an interview with Harjo in the Poetry Room during her laureate orientation.

Ginger Fox: Free Freight and a Free Book Lovers Mug

Obituary Note: Ifeanyi Menkiti

Ifeanyi Menkiti

Ifeanyi Menkiti, a longtime Wellesley professor and "the man who saved poetry--or at the very least, he rescued one of its most revered institutions in this country by purchasing the Grolier Poetry Book Shop" in 2006, died June 17, the Boston Globe reported. He was 78. 

"I have a strong sense of hope and belief that poetry can help our world," he told the Globe shortly after buying the bookstore in Cambridge, Mass. "The sense of a world together has formed a very important part of my own poetry."

Former U.S. poet laureate Robert Pinsky praised Menkiti as "a nobleman in the best sense of the word," adding that his friend was a significant writer, in addition to his careers in academia and developing real estate. "He was an artist and a man of the community."

Frank Bidart said Menkiti was "the kindest man, emanating benevolence.... His even-handed generosity--not only as a poet, but as an entrepreneur who saved the Grolier Poetry Book Shop for the community of poets and readers--seemed to proceed from a sure knowledge of who he was, of his nature."

"The loss is hard to bear," said poet David Ferry in a statement via the Grolier. "He is a great exemplary figure in the community of poetry here, poets and readers, because of his own eloquent poetry and his magnanimous fostering of the Grolier Book Shop with all its historic standards."

Menkiti was "only the third owner of the Harvard Square shop, which was founded in 1927 by Gordon Cairnie and is the oldest store in the nation devoted solely to poetry," the Globe wrote. Louisa Solano bought the Grolier from Cairnie, and sold it in 2006.

From Menkiti's poem "Before a Common Soil":

And I have called out to you,
Children of an undivided earth,
That you join your hands together
And be of one accord before a common soil--


Image of the Day: The Rest of the Story at An Unlikely Story

Sarah Dessen visited An Unlikely Story in Plainville, Mass., for a reading/signing for her new novel, The Rest of the Story (Balzer + Bray). Pictured: Dessen with store owner/author Jeff Kinney.

Lerner to Distribute Zest Books

Effective June 24, Lerner Publishing Group will take over all processing, warehousing, fulfillment, billing, customer service, and credit and collection for Zest Books's frontlist and backlist titles. Distribution has been handled by the Quarto Group.

Last November, Lerner acquired Zest Books, which publishes young adult nonfiction books on entertainment, history, science, health, fashion, and lifestyle advice.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Allan Lichtman on Real Time with Bill Maher

HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher: Allan Lichtman, author of The Case for Impeachment (Dey Street, $14.99, 9780062696847).

This Weekend on Book TV: David McCullough

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, June 22
1 p.m. Eric Liu, author of Become America: Civic Sermons on Love, Responsibility, and Democracy (Sasquatch Books, $24.95, 9781632172570).

4:30 p.m. Andrew Nagorski, author of 1941: The Year Germany Lost the War (Simon & Schuster, $30, 9781501181115).

7:30 p.m. Brian Lamb, Susan Swain, James Traub and Peter Drummey, contributors to The Presidents: Noted Historians Rank America's Best--and Worst--Chief Executives (PublicAffairs, $32, 9781541774339). (Re-airs Sunday at 1 p.m.)

9 p.m. Roger Stone, author of The Myth of Russian Collusion: The Inside Story of How Donald Trump Really Won (Skyhorse, $18.99, 9781510749368). (Re-airs Sunday at 11:30 a.m.)

9:30 p.m. Steve Scalise, co-author of Back in the Game: One Gunman, Countless Heroes, and the Fight for My Life (Center Street, $27, 9781546076131). (Re-airs Sunday at 5:30 p.m.)

10 p.m. Nada Bakos, co-author of The Targeter: My Life in the CIA, Hunting Terrorists and Challenging the White House (Little, Brown, $29, 9780316260473). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. David McCullough, author of The Pioneers: The Heroic Story of the Settlers Who Brought the American Ideal West (Simon & Schuster, $30, 9781501168680). (Re-airs Sunday at 8:10 p.m.)

11:55 p.m. Brenda Wineapple, author of The Impeachers: The Trial of Andrew Johnson and the Dream of a Just Nation (Random House, $32, 9780812998368). (Re-airs Sunday at 3:25 p.m.)

Sunday, June 23
1 a.m. Ryan Dostie, author of Formation: A Woman's Memoir of Stepping Out of Line (Grand Central, $28, 9781538731536). (Re-airs Sunday at 6 p.m.)

2 a.m. Jared Yates Sexton, author of The Man They Wanted Me to Be: Toxic Masculinity and a Crisis of Our Own Making (Counterpoint, $26, 9781640091818).

9:55 p.m. Harry Stewart, co-author of Soaring to Glory: A Tuskegee Airman's Firsthand Account of World War II (Regnery History, $29.99, 9781621579519).

11 p.m. Alice Marie Johnson, author of After Life: My Journey from Incarceration to Freedom (Harper, $26.99, 9780062936103).

Books & Authors

Awards: Desmond Elliott, Society of Authors Winners

For her debut novel, Golden Child (published in the U.S. by SJP for Hogarth), Claire Adam has won the £10,000 (about $12,630) Desmond Elliott Prize, which honors new fiction.

Chair of judges Alan Hollinghurst said that in Golden Child, Adam "demonstrates masterly control as she details the tragic fracturing of a family, and the beauty and the latent violence of her Trinidadian setting are miraculously vivid. Her novel combines the harsh force of a fable with the unforgettable strangeness of real life and--like all the very best debuts--Golden Child gives a sudden and enlightening view of both a new subject and a new mind."


The Society of Authors distributed £100,000 (about $126,305) to writers at the organization's annual awards ceremony. Among the honorees, James Clarke's The Litten Path took the £10,000 (about $12,630) Betty Trask Prize for a first novel by a writer under 35; and Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott's Swan Song won the £4,000 (about $5,050) Mckitterick Prize for a first novel by a writer over 40. The complete list of SoA winners can be seen here.

Lonely Planet’s Guide to ALA 2019: Micro Trips

For attendees of the American Library Association annual conference and exhibition in Washington, D.C., June 20-25, Lonely Planet offers tips on sites to see nearby as described in
Micro Tips, the guide to hundreds of micro trips from 60 of the world's most visited cities. Each of the cities featured in Micro Trips is presented with a map of the surrounding area, pinpointed with up to 18 of the most exciting, in-the-know things to do within three hours. These pinpoints are color-coded by theme so you can easily find what you're interested in, be that outdoor pursuits, arts and culture, history, festivals and events, film and music, or food and drink. The corresponding entries are ordered by the time it takes to get there from the city center, so whether you've got just a couple of hours or a whole weekend, you can find an adventure, if not on your doorstep, then just a micro trip from it.

Washington, D.C.
One hour from...
This harbour city is rapidly leaving behind its reputation for urban decay, with new arts districts, gallery spaces and quirky hotels and restaurants. The old Bromo Seltzer Tower, with its landmark clock face, has been transformed into artists' studios, open Saturdays. Area 405, a 170-year-old former brewery, is another hotspot for emerging artists. Crash at Hotel Revival, with rooms filled with local masterpieces. 1 hour by car or bus, 30 minutes by train.

Two hours from…
Shenandoah National Park
Less than 90 minutes after escaping the snarl of D.C. traffic, you'll find yourself coasting along the backbone of the Blue Ridge Mountains on Skyline Drive, one of the most glorious roads in America. Running down the center of Shenandoah National Park, it passes meadows of grazing deer, ancient hardwood forests and the craggy peaks of Hawksbill and Old Rag mountains. Hike, picnic, animal-watch, camp, repeat. 1 hour and 20 minutes by car.

Three hours from…
Assateague Island National Seashore
Spanning the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Virginia, this wild stretch of sea, salt mash and maritime forest is most famous for its roving feral horses. Legend has it these "Chincoteague ponies" are descended from survivors of a 16th-century Spanish shipwreck, and though the reality is probably more prosaic, the horses are anything but. Watch them running wild from your kayak, bike, campsite or clam-digging spot. 3 hours by car.

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, June 25:

Lost and Found by Danielle Steel (Delacorte, $28.99, 9780399179471) follows a woman on a roadtrip who reconnects with three former lovers.

Backlash by Brad Thor (Atria/Emily Bestler, $27.99, 9781982104030) is the 19th thriller with Scot Harvath.

Big Sky by Kate Atkinson (Little, Brown, $28, 9780316523097) is the fifth mystery with Jackson Brodie.

The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo (Doubleday, $28.95, 9780385544252) follows a family with four daughters over several decades.

The Man Who Sold America: Trump and the Unraveling of the American Story by Joy-Ann Reid (Morrow, $27.99, 9780062880109) is an MSNBC correspondent's look at the Trump presidency.

Alone at Dawn: Medal of Honor Recipient John Chapman and the Untold Story of the World's Deadliest Special Operations Force by Dan Schilling and Lori Longfritz (Grand Central, $29, 9781538729656) is by a Medal of Honor winner in Afghanistan.

This Is Not a T-Shirt: A Brand, a Culture, a Community--a Life in Streetwear by Bobby Hundreds (MCD, $28, 9780374275792) is the memoir of the clothing line creator.

The Last Leonardo: The Secret Lives of the World's Most Expensive Painting by Ben Lewis (Ballantine, $28, 9781984819253) examines a da Vinci painting of dubious authenticity that sold for $450 million in 2017.

Call It What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer (Bloomsbury, $18.99, 9781681198095) features two teens in bad positions who work together to figure out what is "right."

Puppy Truck by Brian Pinkney (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, $17.99, 9781534426870) is a picture book that shows what can happen when a child is given a toy truck instead of a puppy.

Harry's Trees by Jon Cohen (MIRA, $16.99, 9780778308829).

A Wedding on the Beach by Holly Chamberlin (Kensington, $15.95, 9781496719201).

Say No to the Duke: The Wildes of Lindow Castle by Eloisa James (Avon, $7.99, 9780062877826).

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:

How Not to Die Alone: A Novel by Richard Roper (Putnam, $26, 9780525539889). "Richard Roper's debut is utterly delightful. I was spellbound from the very first page. Andrew's job is a sensitive one: when someone dies at home alone, he is called to literally dig through personal effects--scraps of paper or old holiday cards--and determine if there are any next of kin. Andrew's daily experience with the dearly departed, combined with his model train obsession, dysfunctional office mates, and an estranged sister, result in a compelling read. Funny, smart, and sad, Roper's How Not to Die Alone is just wonderful." --Rachel Watkins, Avid Bookshop, Athens, Ga.

In West Mills: A Novel by De'Shawn Charles Winslow (Bloomsbury, $26, 9781635573404). "In West Mills is a beautiful and cohesive debut. Reminiscent of Janie Crawford in Their Eyes Were Watching God, Winslow has written the character of Knot Centre, a woman who speaks her mind--for better or for worse--and who is passionate, intelligent, and stubborn to a fault. The events of the novel take place from the 1940s to the 1980s, allowing readers to watch as fateful decisions and their consequences play out for the city's citizens. In such a small town, secrets weigh heavy and threaten to tear people apart, but Winslow's writing is exuberant and full of life. His characters are never fully taken under by their sorrows--a rarity in literature today." --Margaret Leonard, Dotters Books, Eau Claire, Wis.

The Unhoneymooners: A Novel by Christina Lauren (Gallery, $16, 9781501128035). "This is a delightful rom-com story with an enemies-to-lovers plotline and the requisite off-the-wall situation that forces the bickering lead characters into close quarters. With its Maui resort setting, charismatic characters, swoon-worthy romance, and sense of humor, this story pulled me in and took me along for a thoroughly enjoyable escape." --Sandy Scott, The Galaxy Bookshop, Hardwick, Vt.

For Ages 4 to 8
Fox and the Box by Yvonne Ivinson (Greenwillow, $17.99, 9780062842879). "This is a delightful story told in very few words. What a perfect book for early readers to enjoy independently! With amazing artistry, the author introduces an adorable fox who decides to set sail in a box. The illustrations allow readers to use their imagination to follow the fox's adventures and fill in the details. For example, by the light of the moon, we see the fox has survived a terrible gale with hail but the page only says, 'Pail. Bail.' Of course, there is a happy ending. I found myself falling in love with the fox and his little mouse friend, and I'm ready to share this gem with a young one just as soon as I can." --Pat Donmoyer, White Rabbit Children's Books and Gifts, Leonardtown, Md.

For Ages 9 to 12
Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga (Balzer + Bray, $16.99, 9780062747808). "Other Words for Home is such an important book and should be required reading for every student at a middle-grade reading level. The character of Jude teaches us empathy as we read what it's like to be a young teenager from Syria trying to fit in in America. She tries to learn the English language while tackling discrimination and classmates unwilling to understand and accept her, including her cousin of the same age. Jasmine Warga has created a story that is both powerful and gentle, big but full of small moments, a happy but sad story that will live in your heart." --Marilyn Robbins, BookBar, Denver, Colo.

For Teen Readers: An Indies Introduce Title
Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens by Tanya Boteju (Simon Pulse, $18.99, 9781534430655). "Nima may be awkward and a little lost in life, but she's funnier than she thinks and so endearing. You can't help but fall for her voice and feel for her situation. While she may think life is boring and want some changes, she doesn't quite bargain for all she gets. Filled with kings, queens, and in-betweens, this is the story of a girl searching for herself through family situations, friendships, and a possible new romance. Such a lovely story that really will captivate you and pull you in." --Candace Robinson, Vintage Books, Vancouver, Wash.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: The Nickel Boys

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead (Doubleday, $24.95 hardcover, 224p., 9780385537070, July 16, 2019)

The Nickel Boys forgoes the fantastical touches of Colson Whitehead's previous book, the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Underground Railroad, for a no-less-harrowing account of a vicious reform school in the Jim Crow-era South.

Whitehead's protagonist is Elwood Curtis, a black boy living in Tallahassee, Fla., in the early 1960s. Elwood is something of an idealist, listening repeatedly to a recording of Martin Luther King Jr.'s speeches and taking to heart his moral vision: "Elwood bent to a code--Dr. King gave that code shape, articulation, and meaning. There are big forces that want to keep the Negro down, like Jim Crow, and there are small forces that want to keep you down, like other people, and in the face of all those things, the big ones and the smaller ones, you have to stand up straight and maintain your sense of who you are." Elwood clings to this code even when it is repaid by cruel trickery and, eventually, an encounter with police that cuts short his promising future and sends him to the Nickel Academy.

The Nickel Academy falls far short of its billing as a "reform school." In reality, the students are underfed, segregated and viciously beaten. Some students fare even worse: the novel occasionally skips forward in time, opening with an ominous prologue where archeology students uncover a secret graveyard on the Nickel campus. The Nickel Academy is fictional, but it was inspired by the true story of the Dozier School for Boys in Marianna, Fla.

While it takes Elwood time to grasp the full scope of the academy's horrors, he soon comes into contact with a student named Turner: "The second thing Elwood noticed was the boy's eerie sense of self.... Over time, Elwood saw that he was always simultaneously at home in whatever scene he found himself and also seemed like he shouldn't have been there; inside and above at the same time; a part and apart." A survivor and a pragmatist, Turner challenges the wisdom of Elwood's principles.

At the heart of The Nickel Boys lies the question of how best to respond to the evils of the world. Whitehead shows how difficult it actually is to put Martin Luther King Jr.'s self-sacrificing ideals into practice, to remain optimistic in the face of bottomless violence and cruelty. For Turner, the problem lies deeper than surface-level inequality: "You can change the law but you can't change people and how they treat each other... the way Turner saw it, wickedness went deeper than skin color.... It was people." Whitehead shows sympathy to both ways of looking at the world--Elwood may be naïve, but his convictions give him strength.

Whitehead occasionally makes forays into life post-Nickel Academy and, in doing so, underlines the legacy of trauma. Long after students leave the reform school, the Nickel Academy's lessons seem almost impossible to unlearn. And another question arises: How do you build a life when you've seen what people are truly capable of? Whitehead doesn't answer these questions so much as make manifest their terrible weight. --Hank Stephenson, bookseller, Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, N.C.

Shelf Talker: The Nickel Boys, Colson Whitehead's follow-up to the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Underground Railroad, is an account of black boys struggling to survive a vicious reform school in the early 1960s. 

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