Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Aladdin Paperbacks: The Islanders by Mary Alice Monroe and Angela May

Tordotcom: The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: Just Pretend by Tori Sharp

Mandala Publishing: Big Panda and Tiny Dragon by James Norbury and Insight Editions

Simon & Schuster Fall Preview: Join us for a virtual panel featuring your favorite authors and their editors!

Tor Books: When the Sparrow Falls by Neil Sharpson

Liveright Publishing Corporation: Mrs. March by Virginia Feito

Zest Books: When Dogs Heal: Powerful Stories of People Living with HIV and the Dogs That Saved Them by Jesse Freidin, Robert Garofalo, Zach Stafford, and Christina Garofalo


B&N Closing Crystal Lake, Ill., Store


Barnes & Noble will close its store in Crystal Lake, Ill., next month. Alex Ortolani, director of corporate communications with B&N, told the Northwest Herald that the location will cease operations August 10. Local officials had previously said it would close at the end of July. The nearest B&N is about 10 miles away, in West Dundee at Spring Hill Mall.

Harper: The Taking of Jemima Boone: The True Story of the Kidnap and Rescue That Shaped America by Matthew Pearl

Ci7: Small Acts for Financial Gain


Four booksellers at Children's Institute 7 last week in Pittsburgh, Pa., discussed how bookstores can save money and help their bottom lines through a variety of small steps. On the panel were Suzanna Hermans, co-owner of Oblong Books & Music in Rhinebeck and Millerton, N.Y.; Katie Orphan, manager of The Last Bookstore in Los Angeles, Calif.; and Ariana Paliobagis, owner of Country Bookshelf in Bozeman, Mont. Adlai Yeomans, co-owner of Pittsburgh's White Whale Bookstore, moderated the discussion.

Cutting Down Store Spending
Hermans recommended that booksellers audit their phone and Internet bill at least every five years, saying that while the process is a "pain in the neck" it can be very helpful. She also suggested doing the same with POS bills, noting that she realized at one point that Wordstock was charging her hardware fees for equipment that was no longer even in her store. Paliobagis reminded booksellers that many things can be negotiated, but you "never know until you ask," and said always to watch out for things like shipping, noting that sometimes an item that is more expensive per unit can actually be a better deal than a less expensive item if the supplier offers incentives like free shipping. Orphan, meanwhile, said the Last Bookstore assessed its frequently used items and saved money by switching the bags the store offers.

Left to right: Adlai Yeomans, Suzanna Hermans, Katie Orphan and Ariana Paliobagis

Orphan explained that journals are the Last Bookstore's single biggest sidelines category and said remainder companies are a great resource for those items. Hermans said booksellers should check ABACUS to see if there's room to increase the prices of their non-book items, and Paliobagis stressed again that there is usually room for negotiation. She suggested, too, that booksellers ask for samples.

Used & Remaindered
Orphan noted that with used books, there is a higher profit percentage but a lower gross sale, and said that with used children's books in particular, the Last Bookstore has had success with early reader, middle grade and YA titles. But with board books, picture books or anything that "children might chew on," the Last Bookstore has not seen much success. Paliobagis said that while she doesn't sell used she does sell a lot of remainders, noting that you can often find remainders that are in perfect condition--in particular, she's used high-quality remainders to fill out her store's art section.

Saving Time
Hermans said that while she was unable to attend this year's Winter Institute, she did take advantage of the taped education sessions and advised any bookseller who cannot travel to such events to do the same. On the subject of the ABA's educational resources, Paliobagis pointed out that booksellers can find plenty of information on BookWeb about things like creating new policies or forms that would otherwise be tedious and time consuming. She suggested also making frequent use of the bookseller "hive mind," and Hermans added that she recently had to rewrite her store's job application, which had been the same for some 30 years. Essentially, she continued, she "cribbed it" from other bookstores' job applications.

Orphan suggested forming relationships with local tourism boards and neighborhood associations, and Paliobagus said the more you make yourself available to local media the more they come to you. Yeomans added that regardless of where a store is located, "these things exist in various sizes," and booksellers should reach out to whatever is around them. The panelists also advised collaborating with other organizations and local businesses to extend the reach of advertising. Discussing social media marketing, Orphan said the Last Bookstore consistently sees the most engagement with Instagram posts and will sometimes pay to boost Facebook posts about events that don't seem to be generating a response. She said: "Sometimes it pays."

Publisher "Tricks"
The panelists discussed a variety of ways to order more efficiently, such as creating book fair accounts and business-to-business accounts and making use of publisher promotions such as book-ticket bundles for ticketed author events. They noted that not all publishers offer these programs or promotions, and booksellers should always make sure they understand all of the different terms and conditions. Orphan and Yeomans also suggested it might be worth asking for call tags for larger events or when publishers are pushing a heavy buy-in, but warned that if you ask your rep for call tags every time, you'll quickly "use up that good will."

Worth the Price
When asked about what things were worth spending a little extra on, Paliobagis said that her price gun, which cost her about $50, has saved a huge amount of time and energy when pricing sidelines and non-book items. She also mentioned her laminator, which is useful for making seasonal signs--she can print "nice, full-color" copies once, laminate them and use them year after year. Orphan, meanwhile, mentioned her shrink-wrap machine. She said she had to "campaign hard" with her store owners to get it and convinced them by saving up "several boxes" worth of books and box sets that she would have had to return if she couldn't rewrap them. Yeomans added that little perks and treats for staff can go a long way, particularly the occasional pizza. --Alex Mutter

Bronzeville Books: Rising and Other Stories by Gale Massey

Obituary Note: Malaika Rose Stanley

Malaika Rose Stanley, a children's writer whose work ranged from picture books to pre-teen fiction, has died, the Bookseller reported. She was 65. Her books include Baby Ruby Bawled, Miss Bubble's Troubles, Spike and Ali Enson and Skin Deep, all published by Tamarind/Random House. She was a mentor for the British Council's Crossing Borders initiative. Before becoming a full-time writer, she was a teacher, working in Zambia, Uganda, Germany and Switzerland as well as the U.K.

"I met Ros many years ago and from our earliest meetings, I learned that she was hugely creative, generous, very reliable and good fun," said Verna Wilkins, Stanley's publisher and founder of Tamarind. "At that time, I was struggling to make a go of Tamarind Publishing. Ros was supportive and very aware of what was needed. She gave us stories which enabled us to publish beautiful picture books for children. Her writing was infused with feeling and great humour and greatly enhanced the list. Ros's work will continue to light up young lives well into the future."

Her agent, Catherine Pellegrino at Marjacq Scripts, said: "Ros was an extraordinary woman and one of the most joyous people I have had the pleasure to meet. Her books have been described as topical, engaging and full of warmth and humour which perfectly reflects the person she was. It was a privilege to have known and worked with Ros and the world is a duller place without her."

KidsBuzz for the Week of 04.19.21

Sidelines Snapshot: Cards, Dot Journals, Puzzles and Lock Picks

From Emily McDowell & Friends

Erika VanDam, owner of RoscoeBooks in Chicago, Ill., reported that greeting cards have done particularly well lately with customers coming in for Father's Day and Graduation cards. Among VanDam's most popular card lines are La Familia Green, made by a local artist named Molly Green, Emily McDowell & Friends, Hello!Lucky and E. Frances. She's also brought in some new card lines lately, including Modern Printed Matter and Pencil Joy, both of which have done very well, she said. Around this time of year, VanDam added, customers often come in to buy gifts for teachers, and this year zipper pouches, such as those made by Out of Print, have proven to be popular.

From MerryMakers

When it comes to children's sidelines, VanDam said she carries a variety of MerryMakers dolls and plush toys. She explained that the plush toy and book sets, such as those made for Narwhal and Jelly and Dragons Love Tacos, typically do best. On the subject of perennial bestsellers, VanDam said in addition to greeting cards, journals do very well, as do most Out of Print products. She noted that many customers have "gone in big" on dot journaling lately, and her store has had success with journals from Baron Fig.

From Onion Hill Designs

Tamara Heupel is the gift buyer for both Bank Square Books in Mystic, Conn., and Savoy Bookshop & Cafe in Westerly, R.I., and she says puzzles and journals are doing especially well this time of year. For puzzles, popular lines include White Mountain Puzzles, Pomegranate and New York Puzzle Company. For journals, Decomposition notebooks are always popular, and Heupel also noted a recent surge in dot journals. On the subject of locally or regionally made sidelines, Heupel pointed to greeting card company Onion Hill Designs; card, guide and poster maker Earth Sky + Water; and Magic Stones, which sells small glass stones engraved with inspirational messages.

When asked about any perennial favorites, Heupel discussed what she liked to call the store's' "workhorse" sidelines. In that category were the aforementioned puzzles and journals, along with chocolates from Equal Exchange, Peepers reading glasses, a variety of socks from Blue Q, Sock It to Me, Rock Flower Paper and Sock It Up, as well as candles. Heupel said the stores "always have some sort of candles," though the lines may change. Lately she's brought in Paddywax candles, and for this holiday season Heupel said she'll bring in a line called Northern Lights.

Ada's Pride pins

According to Danielle Hulton, owner of Ada's Technical Books & Cafe in Seattle, Wash., lockpick sets from SouthOrd have been very popular lately, particularly as gifts for Father's Day, while for Pride, the store's branded Pride and Trans Pride pins are doing very well. Recently Hulton has expanded her store's puzzle offerings with the introduction of several Professor Puzzle items, and those have done well enough to warrant a reorder. Hulton noted that while Ada's doesn't typically carry many local sidelines due to its proximity to two stores that specialize in local gifts, Ada's has begun carrying Excelsior Pens, which are handmade by one of the store's neighbors.

From Creative Crafthouse

On the subject of children's sidelines, Hulton said she and her staff have yet to find the right mix, but currently she carries a few Melissa & Doug toys that do well. As for store favorites, Hulton said that wooden puzzles from Creative Crafthouse have been a hit since the store first opened, and people continue to seek the store out just for those puzzles. Ada's stocks a variety of electronics kits and components from companies like Sparkfun Electronics, Newark, Evil Mad Scientist and Arduino, and she noted that these items, most of which either are imported from China entirely or are made with imported parts, have slowly been increasing in price. Hulton added that she's worried the price of these items will increase dramatically in the near future. --Alex Mutter

If you are interested in having your store appear in a future Sidelines Snapshot article, please e-mail

G.P. Putnam's Sons: The Turnout by Megan Abbott

G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!
The Starless Crown
by James Rollins

GLOW: Tor Books: The Starless Crown by James RollinsJames Rollins, known for his international thrillers, returns to fantasy in The Starless Crown, the lush and captivating first book in a planned series that is already garnering early-reader comparisons to J.R.R. Tolkien. In a realm of secret societies, mystic arts, epic beasts and nations on the verge of war, a young woman's apocalyptic premonition sends her and an unlikely band of companions on a dangerous journey to save the world. "[It has] action and suspense, inventive and deeply informed use of science and history, all driven by masterful plotting and a rich cast of characters drawn together in the face of doom," says Will Hinton, executive editor at Tor Books. "It feels original and classic at the same time, a thriller merged with an epic fantasy." Rollins has created an enthralling and complex new world that readers will delight in exploring. --Jennifer Oleinik, freelance writer and editor

(Tor Books, $27.99 hardcover, 9781250816771, January 4, 2022)


Shelf vetted, publisher supported



Image of the Day: INATS Night Out

Metaphysical publishing representatives and authors met for dinner during the International New Age Trade show in Denver, Colo. Pictured: (clockwise from left) Inner Traditions reps Jessica Arsenault, Dawn Murray, Erica Robinson; Sam McKora (Red Wheel Weiser rep); Peggy Kellar (Schiffer Publishing rep); Debbie Krovitz (Devorss & Co. rep); Kelly Sullivan Walden (Llewellyn author); Kim Corbin (New World Library rep); Melinda Carver (Red Feather author); Justin Demeter (New Harbinger rep); Sue Wilhite (Positively Success owner/author); Llewellyn authors Jason Mankey and Najah Lightfoot; Kat Sanborn (Llewellyn rep).

University of Minnesota Press: Yang Warriors by Kao Kalia Yang, illustrated by Billy Thao

Happy 25th Birthday, the Country Bookseller!


Congratulations to the Country Bookseller, Wolfeboro, N.H., which celebrated its 25th anniversary yesterday. A message posted on the store's website said, "We know without a doubt, we couldn't have done it without you! From midnight Harry Potter releases to moving a whole store across town, you've been with us every step of the way. To our sales reps, our staff, our fellow businesses, and the community that has welcomed us with open arms, THANK YOU!"

In addition, the Country Bookseller shared a staff favorites list, noting: "As hard as it was, we've compiled a list of our top 25 titles over the last 25 years. Stop by the store to chat with us about your favorites or find out more about ours! (Okay, there may be a few more than 25...)."

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Blush by Jamie Brenner

A Favorite Bookseller Moment: Brave + Kind Bookshop


Posted on Facebook by Brave + Kind Bookshop, Decatur, Ga.: "9 months and counting! Pinching myself every day. Look what I get to do! Also, what in the ham sandwich did I get myself in to. Some days are super duper slow and other days y’all are waiting outside for me to open up. Grateful for it all. Pop by and grab a book and a snack. Stay a while too."

S&S to Distribute Timbuktu Labs

Effective immediately, Simon & Schuster is handling sales and distribution to markets in the U.S. and Canada for Timbuktu Labs.

Founded in 2012, Timbuktu Labs is the creator of Rebel Girls, the cultural media engine, and the book series Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls. Last December, Timbuktu published I Am a Rebel Girl Journal and this fall it will publish the first two books in the Rebel Girls Chapter Book Series.

Personnel Changes at Scholastic Trade

At Scholastic Trade:

Lizette Serrano has been promoted to v-p, educational marketing and conventions. She was previously senior director.

Emily Heddleson has been promoted to associate director, educational marketing and conventions. She was previously manager.

Edward Quiceno has been promoted to assistant manager, retail marketing, for Klutz. He was previously marketing coordinator.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Adam Higginbotham on Fresh Air


Fresh Air: Adam Higginbotham, author of Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World's Greatest Nuclear Disaster (Simon & Schuster, $29.95, 9781501134616).

NPR's Here & Now: Trish Hall, author of Writing to Persuade: How to Bring People Over to Your Side (Liveright, $26.95, 9781631493058).

Good Morning America: Ellie Kemper, author of My Squirrel Days: Tales from the Star of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and The Office (Scribner, $17, 9781501163357).

Wendy Williams repeat: Moby, author of Then It Fell Apart (Faber & Faber, $24.95, 9780571348893).

TV: The Flight Attendant

Kaley Cuoco (The Big Bang Theory) "is staying at the studio behind the blockbuster comedy series with an expansive new agreement at Warner Bros. TV Group that includes a series pickup by WarnerMedia's upcoming streaming platform of thriller drama The Flight Attendant," based on the novel by Chris Bohjalian, Deadline reported. Cuoco will star and executive produce, with Greg Berlanti's Berlanti Prods. producing alongside Warner Bros.

Cuoco launched her Yes, Norman Productions company in 2017 with a pod (production overall deal) at WBTV, and the first project under that deal was The Flight Attendant, with Cuoco optioning the rights to the book before it had been published by Doubleday. Steve Yockey (Supernatural) wrote the adaptation. Filming is expected to begin this fall.

Books & Authors

Awards: Locus Winners; Branford Boase Winner

The winners of the 2019 Locus Awards, sponsored by the Locus Science Fiction Foundation, are:

Science Fiction Novel: The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor)
Fantasy Novel: Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik (Del Rey)
Horror Novel: The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay (Morrow)
Young Adult Novel: Dread Nation by Justina Ireland (Balzer + Bray)
First Novel: Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse (Saga)
Novella: Artificial Condition by Martha Wells ( Publishing)
Novelette: The Only Harmless Great Thing by Brooke Bolander ( Publishing)
Short Story: "The Secret Lives of the Nine Negro Teeth of George Washington" by Phenderson Djèlí Clark (Fireside 2/18)
Anthology: The Book of Magic edited by Gardner Dozois (Bantam)
Collection: How Long 'til Black Future Month? by N.K. Jemisin (Orbit US)
Publisher: Tor
Editor: Gardner Dozois
Artist: Charles Vess
Nonfiction: Ursula K. Le Guin: Conversations on Writing by Ursula K. Le Guin and David Naimon (Tin House)
Art Book: The Books of Earthsea: The Complete Illustrated Edition by Ursula K. Le Guin, illustrated by Charles Vess (Saga)
Special Award 2019: Community Outreach & Development: Mary Anne Mohanraj


Muhammad Khan won the 20th anniversary £1,000 (about $1,265) Branford Boase Award, which is given annually to the author and editor of the outstanding debut novel for children, for his YA novel I Am Thunder. He and Lucy Pearse, his editor at Macmillan Children's Books, were each presented with a hand-crafted silver-inlaid box.

"We're delighted that I Am Thunder has won this year," said chair of the judges Julia Eccleshare, children's director of the Hay Festival. "Muhammad Khan is giving voice to those we haven't heard from enough and his story will ring true with readers of any background.... We look forward to reading more by Muhammad, and all the writers on this shortlist, and to 20 more years celebrating the exciting new talent in children's books."

Khan described the news as "a real pinch-yourself moment. The competition was tremendous, each book magnificent in its own right. Lucy Pearse worked tirelessly and with passion to help me polish I Am Thunder so it's especially nice to share this incredible accolade with her."

Pearse noted that "Muhammad deserves this award so much--it is a brave and important book and he has worked enormously hard--and I feel privileged to have been part of its publishing story. Each book on this shortlist is a spectacular achievement and I feel very lucky to be working among such talented authors and editors."

Judge Sanchita Basu de Sarkar of the Children's Bookshop in Muswell Hill in London observed that "Khan's acute portrayal of Muzna captures both the joy and turbulence of being a teenage girl. His dialogue is fresh, and funny, and keeps the story zipping along, even when the characters are filled with uncertainty. The balance of culture, religion, and following one's heart have rarely been depicted with such nuance."

Reading with... Obi Kaufmann

photo: Paul Collins

Growing up in the East Bay as the son of an astrophysicist and a psychologist, Obi Kaufmann spent most of high school practicing calculus and on weekends scrambling around Mount Diablo, mapping its creeks, oak forests and sage mazes. For years, he would regularly travel into the mountains, spending more summer nights without a roof than with one. For Kaufmann, the epic narrative of the California backcountry holds enough art, science, mythology and language for a hundred field atlases to come. When he is not backpacking, you can find the painter-poet at his desk in Oakland. The State of Water: Understanding California's Most Precious Resource is published by Heyday (June 1, 2019).

On your nightstand now:

I just finished my first run through Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge by Edward O. Wilson. Dr. Wilson, arguably the greatest American naturalist, is a core hero in my own private pantheon of thinkers that have shaped how I see the world. His style of building paragraphs, often punctuated by small lists of empirical processes in the natural sciences, circle a main point that he is making, regularly with elegance, approachability and aplomb. His big idea is the unification of the natural sciences with the social sciences and the humanities to form a new worldview that is enlightened and secularized. It is an idea that fuels my inspiration and the scope of my own work.

Favorite book when you were a child:

When I pitched the idea of the California Field Atlas to my now publisher, Heyday, I included the hand-drawn map of Middle Earth found inside the front cover of The Lord of the Rings, drawn by J.R.R. Tolkien. When I realized that I wanted to make California my own Middle Earth--but a real place filled with more adventure, history and beauty than Tolkien's world ever could be--the pieces began to fall into place. Exploring California's backcountry since I was a little boy, I always had a ragged and dogeared copy of Tolkien's masterpiece in my pack.

Your top five authors:

There are certainly seasons of interest and relevance that lead me into the prose of this or that author; seasons that often do not stand the test of time in my own, ever-maturing mind. Although if I were to pick five of my all-time favorites, authors who for one reason or another, have managed to continually spark joy whenever I am present enough to pick up one of their works, I would probably start with Wallace Stegner. I still haven't found an author who can craft a sentence with what is at once deft brevity and yet still able to maintain emotional resonance. For the past few years, I've been obsessed with Diane Ackerman's ability to compose what she calls "Biological Poetry," and her book The Human Age is at once hopeful and scalpel-sharp in its insight. When I read Barry Lopez's Arctic Dreams in the late '80s, I found my calling as an adventurer, and that adventuring was based on reading the land. I will always be grateful for Frank Herbert and his Dune series. Those first six books are really the only genre books that can continually satisfy my adult mind and my childlike heart at the same time. Lastly, I am going to tap Wendell Berry. While his novels don't grip me like Stegner's, his essays changed my life, or I could say, are still changing my life.

Book you're an evangelist for:

The Solace of Open Spaces by Gretel Ehrlich is one of the best books ever written. It is everything I need and everything I want to give. I feel aches in my legs when I consider its quality. This book is a pill, a drug that fills my heart only to break it with sentences that, as I read them, turn before my eyes to autumn leaves that blow away on the page. No one has ever captured the simultaneous loneliness and the steadfast relationship inherently known by wilderness children of the western U.S. Forget Desert Solitaire, get to know this story.

Book that changed your life:

I am a regular practitioner of letting good books change my life, although there was experience that set me straight. Early in my adolescence, I had two, dynamic and potentially competing ethical struggles: 1. I was filled with questions about the nature of the universe, and 2. I wanted to rebel against my parents. Both of my parents are scientists and I grew up with no religion. Because of those two struggles, I became an ardent reader of the Bible. When I was 16, I read The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins and I haven't picked up a Bible since. His clear and careful introduction to the nature of Darwinian thought was reflected in my own observations of nature, and I felt a great relinquishment of a self-imposed, spiritual burden. 

Favorite line from a book:

I could go a million directions of course, largely based on mood more than actual revelation. But for now, I hand it to Wendell Berry, who in his 1988 essay "Economy and Pleasure" (republished in The World-Ending Fire) wrote, "Where is our comfort but in the free, uninvolved, finally mysterious beauty and grace of this world that we did not make, that has no price? Where is our sanity but there? Where is our pleasure but in working and resting kindly in the presence of this world?"

Five books you'll never part with:

I've got heavy books and I've got light books. The heavy books I go to regularly to make my own work, and they are mostly textbooks on oceanography of ecosystems. I can leave those. I think if I had to make a quick dash, it would be a list of five, light books; thin volumes that speak so much with so little:

1. The Living Mountain by Nan Shepherd
2. The Peregrine by J.A. Baker
3. Where the Bluebird Sings to the Lemonade Springs by Wallace Stegner
4. Dancing at the Edge of the World by Ursula K. Le Guin
5. The Practice of the Wild by Gary Snyder

Book you most want to read again for the first time:

The Ecology of Wisdom by Arne Naess was instrumental in shaping my perspective of the world in my early 20s, when I wanted a more holistic explanation to my relationship with the natural world. This seminal work that was largely responsible for the deep-ecology movement of the mid-'90s was a handbook for traversing both the inner and outer landscapes I found myself in. I always mean to pick it up again and I always stop short, not for its quality of content, but because I think I would be looking for something inside of me, maybe something that I am happy to leave in the past--an adventure already taken. When I realize that, it is time to get up and head to the bookstore to see what new works are waiting to take me somewhere I have yet to explore.

Book Review

Review: White Flights: Race, Fiction, and the American Imagination

White Flights: Race, Fiction, and the American Imagination by Jess Row (Graywolf Press, $16 paperback, 320p., 9781555978327, August 6, 2019)

Jess Row (Your Face in Mine) takes on ambitious material with White Flights: Race, Fiction, and the American Imagination. He points out a societal need for reparative writing, examining the role of imagination in real lives, both in "straight" fiction (novels, stories, films, plays) and, in a larger sense, "in which our collective life is a series of overlapping fictions, fantasies, dream states." The first kind "reflects and sustains" the second, so that novels are never "just" novels, but rather serve to uphold institutions and ways of thinking that have consistently and systematically hurt nonwhite Americans. The title refers both to the real estate pattern of movement known as "white flight," and also to flights of fancy, such as imagining that ignoring race and racism means they've gone away.

In seven essays, this book argues that imagination is as much part of the problem as real-world actions and prejudice. Its main concern is whiteness, in and out of fiction; when it examines specific marginalized groups, they tend to be African Americans and Native Americans. Row undertakes close readings of Marilynne Robinson, Don DeLillo, David Foster Wallace, Cormac McCarthy, Annie Dillard, Richard Ford and more: these white writers may be among his own past literary heroes, but they nonetheless come under scrutiny for the whiteness, or sheer emptiness, of the spaces they create. On the other hand, he examines James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Chang-rae Lee, Colson Whitehead, Amiri Baraka and Ta-Nehisi Coates for the examples they offer of more inclusive fictional spaces. Row consults music and films, as well.

In challenging ways of writing--even, for white writers, the choice to write at all--Row is careful to acknowledge that, as a white man, he can merely ask questions and grope for progress, rather than offer a solution. He also mines personal material, including his childhood in the Black Hills of South Dakota, land that by treaty belongs to the Lakota and is illegally occupied by white people (like Row's own family).

This intelligent collection is often deeply engaged in realms of philosophy and literary theory; it approaches an academic writing style. Its subject matter may be discomfiting for white readers and writers, and readers less familiar with Wittgenstein, Derrida or Edward T. Hall's theory of proxemics will likely find this book challenging. There is something for every reader, however, in the message that fiction not only reflects but acts upon real life, and that each of us is obliged to act for justice, in reading and writing as in life. --Julia Kastner, librarian and blogger at pagesofjulia

Shelf Talker: This tough, serious essay collection considers whiteness in American fiction and culture, and the inextricableness of the two, with exhortations for change.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. This Healing Journey by Misty M. Beller
2. The Complete Mia Kazmaroff Mysteries by Susan Kiernan-Lewis
3. Blaze: The K9 Files by Dale Mayer
4. Fighting for You by Layla Hagen
5. Nine: The Tale of Kevin Clearwater by T.M. Frazier
6. Letters to Molly by Devney Perry
7. Hitched to the Alien General by Mina Carter
8. The Wolf and the Sheep by Penelope Sky
9. Till There Was You by Marie Force
10. There Goes My Heart by Bella Andre
[Many thanks to!]

KidsBuzz: FSG BYR: The Adventure Is Now by Jess Redman
Powered by: Xtenit