Shelf Awareness for Thursday, July 25, 2019

Margaret K. McElderry Books: Tender Beasts by Liselle Sambury

Scholastic Press: Heroes: A Novel of Pearl Harbor by Alan Gratz

Flatiron Books: Anita de Monte Laughs Last by Xochitl Gonzalez

Peachtree Publishers: King & Kayla and the Case of the Downstairs Ghost (King & Kayla) by Dori Hillestad Butler, illustrated by Nancy Meyers

Doubleday Books: The Husbands by Holly Gramazio

Quotation of the Day

'We're in a Good Moment Now for Independent Bookstores'

"Yes, I'll be going to some smaller indie stores, some bigger stores, and small stores that are hosting off-site events. My first book was about elevator inspectors, and who is going to support a debut novel by some weird black guy about elevator inspectors? And the answer is independent bookstores. They've always been supportive of my books no matter how oddball they sounded, and so I cherish their early endorsement and support. They have continued to hand-sell my books and be very supportive throughout the last 20 years, so I'm really grateful and glad that we're in a good moment now for independent bookstores. I think they're really thriving and it's lovely to be able to go back to a place I went years ago and to go to new stores that have come up in the last couple years. I'm always glad to hit the road because I get to see a lot of new and familiar faces and people who have been very kind over the years."

--Colson Whitehead, whose novel The Nickel Boys (Doubleday) is the #1 August Indie Next List pick, in a q&a with Bookselling This Week

Holiday House: The Five Impossible Tasks of Eden Smith by Tom Llewellyn; The Selkie's Daughter by Linda Crotta Brennan


Commonplace Reader Coming to Yardley, Pa., Next Month

On August 10, retired businesswoman Elizabeth Young will open a new, general-interest bookstore in Yardley, Pa., called Commonplace Reader. The roughly 1,300-square-foot store will sell books for all ages and across all genres, with an emphasis on mysteries, women's literature and family reading.

The store, which resides in a building originally constructed in 1840 as a home, will feature adult fiction and nonfiction, as well as YA books, on the first floor, while the second floor will have two rooms dedicated to children's books, a "tiny" room for home and garden books and a "mini gift gallery" showing the work of local artists.

Young said she wants her inventory to be a "reflection of the community's interests," and while there will be a focus on books by and about women, the inventory won't be "exclusive of men." Another major focus will be on family reading, which includes not only children's literacy but also working to get families reading together.

With regard to the "mini gift gallery," Young said the Yardley area is home to a "pretty rich local artist community," and she hopes to showcase some of their talents. She intends to focus mainly on gifts and greeting cards at first, with a lighter selection of artwork. The reason she's proceeding a "little cautiously in that area," Young explained, is that a local art gallery is going out of business, which could represent an opportunity--or be a warning.

At opening, Young expects to carry around 4,000 titles, with plans to grow the inventory to around 5,000. In terms of staff, she'll have a handful of part-timers, and she has no plans for any sort of food or drink component. There's a Wawa convenience store across the street, a coffee shop three doors down and plenty of other food and drink options nearby.

For events, Young said her space, which has an unusual configuration, can fit around 15 people very comfortably, but too many more and seating will be tricky. She's already hosted a few book club sessions and plans to keep that going. Much of her programming will focus on supporting family reading time, which will include things like story time sessions for children as well as workshops to help parents and adults read aloud. She's working with local schools to see what kinds of programming they can support, and she added that in Yardley and the surrounding area, there are a lot of people already interested in supporting story hours, many of them retired teachers.

Her grand opening will be held on Saturday, September 14, in conjunction with a local community event series called Second Saturday. There will be food, drinks and an open house, along with visits from some local dignitaries.

Young has wanted to be involved with a bookstore for over 30 years, ever since her children were little, but, for a variety of reasons, it was never the right time. After retiring from her corporate job in September 2018, however, Young realized that now was the time. While doing a little bit of traveling and recuperating, she was already sussing out options for a bookstore in her community, which she described as a town of about 8,000 people across the Delaware River from Trenton, N.J.

In recent years, Yardley's downtown has had "a bit of a makeover," with an area that was made up predominantly of small businesses focused on professional services becoming a mix of those services along with new bakeries, restaurants, microbreweries and retailers. "The changing business landscape is something people are very positive about," Young remarked.

On Saturday, July 13, Young held a pop-up shop on her building's porch that functioned as a preview of the store. Her community's reaction came as a wonderful surprise. "I have never been thanked for doing something so many times," Young recalled. "It was shocking to me. I worked in corporate America for decades--nobody thanks you for doing your job, ever." --Alex Mutter

Amistad Press: The Survivors of the Clotilda: The Lost Stories of the Last Captives of the American Slave Trade by Hannah Durkin

Ripped Bodice Bookstore Launches Romantic Fiction Awards

Bea and Leah Koch, co-owners of the Ripped Bodice bookstore in Los Angeles, have launched the Ripped Bodice Awards for Excellence in Romance Fiction. Bookselling This Week reported that 12 honorees will be selected each year and "the only requirement is that the book must be published in the previous year and be a romance novel, meaning it has a central love story and a happy ending."

The inaugural Ripped Bodice Award winners will be announced on Valentine's Day 2020. Honorees will receive a cash prize of $1,000, as well as a $100 donation in their name to the charity of their choice. The monetary prizes are being furnished by sponsors, including Sony Pictures Television, with which the Kochs signed a first-look deal last year.

"Romance absolutely deserves to have multiple high-caliber awards, just like other genres," said Bea Koch.

The inaugural committee of judges features reviewers, tastemakers, bloggers and others from all over the romance community, BTW wrote, including New York Times romance columnist Jaime Green; tastemaker Ashley C. Ford; and blogger Corey Alexander. See the full list of judges here.

"There are a lot of different models that can be used," Leah Koch said. "We looked at how a bunch of other awards do things and consulted with people across the romance industry." Inspiration also came from the film industry, specifically the New York Film Critics Circle Awards.

She noted that "instead of having judges read specific books, we anticipate that through their regular jobs in the industry, they will read most major works throughout the year. With 17 judges who each read between 100 and 300 books a year, we're guaranteed to have eyeballs on at least 1,000 unique titles."

The Ripped Bodice Awards will not be divided into categories, which "limit your ability to judge the best work," Leah Koch observed. "Perhaps the sixth best historical novel was better than the best paranormal novel. We want to give our committee as much freedom as possible to truly identify the best work of the year."

Bookshop Santa Cruz Introduces Bookshop Caucus

As part of its 2020 Vision program, Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, Calif., is launching Bookshop Caucus, which challenges customers to read books by Democratic presidential candidates "to better inform their decisions during primary season."

Co-sponsored by the Santa Cruz Democratic Women's Club and Santa Cruz Indivisible, Bookshop Caucus has a "ballot" reading list that accompanies a display in the center of the store of all available books written by the Democratic presidential hopefuls. For each book read this summer, a customer will be entered to win prizes, including a $150 Bookshop Santa Cruz gift card, a first edition copy of Rachel Maddow's fall book Blowout and one of the store's Trump Countdown Clocks that counts down the days, hours, minutes and seconds until the end of President Trump's term.

The program will culminate in a political caucus event in the store hosted by Ryan Coonerty, a Santa Cruz County Supervisor and brother of Bookshop Santa Cruz owner Casey Coonerty Protti. Volunteers from the co-sponsoring organizations will give a short pitch about what they learned about candidates from their books. Then attendees will caucus and vote on which candidate's book persuaded them the most. Results will be shared at the event and through the store's social media. In addition, the store will share which books most customers are reading throughout the summer to encourage more participation and engagement. After the vote, Santa Cruz Indivisible will be available to sign people up for 2020 election volunteering efforts and voter registration drives.

Casey Coonerty Protti commented: "I can't think of a better way to get to know these candidates than through the carefully crafted words contained in their books. We hope this will be a fun way to engage and inform our customers in the upcoming political process, one that will have an incredible impact on our community and the country."

2020 Vision includes reading recommendations, author events and community partnerships "to look back on where we have been as a country, shine a light on our current affairs and look ahead to the monumental year of 2020 and beyond," the store said.

Austin's Resistencia Bookstore Seeks New Home

Red Salmon Arts, a grassroots cultural arts organization working with the indigenous neighborhoods of Austin, Tex., is seeking a new home for Resistencia Bookstore. Red Salmon/Resistancia leaders have started a fundraising campaign as they search for a new location.

In a Facebook post, the RSA Collective wrote: "Our rent was recently DOUBLED from one lease to the next, without any warning, and the space is no longer an affordable option for us. While we are in transition, we are asking for financial support of any amount. We understand that many may be experiencing financial difficulties as well, but if you are able to make any contribution, it will go a long way towards protecting this longtime cultural institution."

Andrea Zarate, the bookstore's communications director, told KLRU that the organization had been notified its $1,500 monthly rent was going to be "more than doubled" at its at 4926 East Cesar Chavez Street space, and that it had to vacate by the end of July.

Founded by the late poet and activist Raúl R. Salinas, Resistencia and its companion non-profit cultural organization, Red Salmon Arts, "have been an important part of Austin's literary and cultural activist landscape, supporting writers and artists of Chicano, Latinx and Native American heritage and identity" for nearly four decades, KLRU noted.

Obituary Note: Margaret Fulton

Celebrated food writer Margaret Fulton, who was known as "the woman who taught Australia to cook," died July 24, the Australian reported. She was 94. "Indeed, such was the lifelong drive of the diminutive matriarch of Australian home cookery that she released her 21st book on the cusp of her 85th birthday, back in 2009." Fulton was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in the 1983 Queen's Birthday Honors, and in 1998 her name was added to the National Trust's 100 Australian Living Treasures.

It was her first title, The Margaret Fulton Cookbook (1968), "that planted the little Scot's flag firmly in the soil of Australian domestic history. Fulton gave a conservative and affluent Australian generation of women and men--but mostly women--the wherewithal to tackle coq au vin, boeuf bourguignon and Caesar salad in the safety of their rapidly evolving home kitchens. By the end of the century, few Australian households were without at least one Fulton title," the Australian wrote. The most successful Aussie cookbook ever, The Margaret Fulton Cookbook's 50th anniversary edition was published in 2018.

Her more than 25 books include Margaret Fulton's Encyclopedia of Food and Cookery; Margaret Fulton's Baking Classics; Margaret Fulton: Slow Cooking; and an autobiography, I Sang for My Supper.

Describing it as "a sad day for those of us with an interest in the food history of Australia," food and cookbook writer Stephanie Alexander told the Guardian: "Margaret broadened the horizons of Australian cooks at a time when many had very limited ideas about good food. She was that irresistible mix of practical commonsense with a bit of mischief. Margaret always had a twinkle in her eye. She had little time for humbug and was generous in her support for the next generation of cooks and foodwriters. Many households depended on their copy of The Margaret Fulton Cookbook."

Hardie Grant Books, Fulton's publisher since 2004, paid tribute to her as one of the country's "most commercially successful and critically acclaimed authors." Hardie Grant Group managing director Julie Pinkham said, "It was a rare privilege to work with Margaret. She had very high standards and we were always kept on our toes--she completely understood her audience and knew exactly what they wanted."


Image of the Day: Launching The Lager Queen of Minnesota

Tuesday evening, literary luminaries Sarah Stonich, Beth Dooley, Peter Geye and Lorna Landvik raised a glass at Lake Monster Brewing in St. Paul, Minn., to toast author J. Ryan Stradal (center) as he launched his new novel The Lager Queen of Minnesota (Pamela Dorman Books). More than 250 friends, family and fans attended Literature Lovers' Night Out to celebrate with books, beer and pie! (Photo: Rachael Johnson)

Chalkboard of the Day: Nicola's Books

"It's time for a beach read!" proclaimed one side of the chalkboard in front of Nicola's Books, Ann Arbor, Mich. The creator is bookseller (and resident artist) Jessie Martin, and the bookshop will soon debut new bookmarks featuring five of her favorite previous artworks. The other half of the sidewalk chalkboard offers several answers to the question: "Hmm... why should I shop local?"



Personnel Changes at Graywolf Press

Elizabeth Bryant has joined Graywolf Press as publicity associate.

Book Trailer of the Day: The Future of Another Timeline

The Future of Another Timeline by Annalee Newitz (Tor Books), featuring "What I Like to See," a song by the book's fictional riot grrrl band Grape Ape, with cameos from Newitz and author Charlie Jane Anders.

Media and Movies

Movies: The Last Duel

Ridley Scott has been slated to direct The Last Duel, based on The Last Duel: A True Story of Trial by Combat in Medieval France by Eric Jager. Deadline reported that the plan is "for Matt Damon and Ben Affleck to star in the film. The script is almost done, written by Damon, Affleck and Nicole Holofcener, the Oscar-nominated writer and director. This is happening quickly and would be the first collaboration on a script between Damon and Affleck to get made since their Oscar-winning work on Good Will Hunting."

Deadline added that "the book has been at Fox for some time, and it will be interesting to see if it fits the template of Disney, which controls the script after acquiring Fox. As you will see from the description, this is not for the faint of heart and evidenced by the book's full title, which is The Last Duel: A True Story of Trial by Combat in Medieval France."

If Disney doesn't step up, "every studio in town is waiting in the wings for this one," Deadline wrote.

This Weekend on Book TV: Richard Clarke on The Fifth Domain

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, July 27
4:10 p.m. Tim Alberta, author of American Carnage: On the Front Lines of the Republican Civil War and the Rise of President Trump (Harper, $29.99, 9780062896445), at Politics and Prose in Washington, D.C.

6:20 p.m. Daniel Poneman, author of Double Jeopardy: Combating Nuclear Terror and Climate Change (The MIT Press, $27.95, 9780262037303).

7:15 p.m. Julie Salamon, author of An Innocent Bystander: The Killing of Leon Klinghoffer (Little, Brown, $29, 9780316433105).

8:15 p.m. E. Jean Carroll, author of What Do We Need Men For?: A Modest Proposal (St. Martin's Press, $27.99, 9781250215437). (Re-airs Sunday at 11:20 p.m.)

9 p.m. John Lott, author of The War on Guns: Arming Yourself Against Gun Control Lies (Regnery, $27.99, 9781621575801). (Re-airs Sunday at 1:50 p.m.)

10 p.m. Richard Clarke, co-author of The Fifth Domain: Defending Our Country, Our Companies, and Ourselves in the Age of Cyber Threats (Penguin Press, $30, 9780525561965). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. Anthony McCann, author of Shadowlands: Fear and Freedom at the Oregon Standoff (Bloomsbury, $30, 9781635571202).

Sunday, July 28
5:40 p.m. Steven Waldman, author of Sacred Liberty: America's Long, Bloody, and Ongoing Struggle for Religious Freedom (HarperOne, $28.99, 9780062743145), at Politics and Prose.

6:40 p.m. L.D. Green and Kelechi Ubozoh, editors of We've Been Too Patient: Voices from Radical Mental Health--Stories and Research Challenging the Biomedical Model (North Atlantic Books, $17.95, 9781623173616).

10 p.m. Allen Salkin and Aaron Short, authors of The Method to the Madness: Donald Trump's Ascent as Told by Those Who Were Hired, Fired, Inspired--and Inaugurated (All Points Books, $28.99, 9781250202802).

Books & Authors

Awards: Neustadt International Finalists

World Literature Today announced the finalists for the $50,000 Neustadt International Prize for Literature, which recognizes significant contributions to world literature and has a history as a lead-up to the Nobel Prize in Literature. The winner will be announced on October 16 during the Neustadt Lit Fest at the University of Oklahoma. This year's finalists are:

Emmanuel Carrère (France)
Jorie Graham (U.S.)
Jessica Hagedorn (Philippines/U.S.)
Eduardo Halfón (Guatemala)
Ismail Kadare (Albania)
Sahar Khalifeh (Palestine)
Abdellatif Laâbi (Morocco)
Lee Maracle (Canada)
Hoa Nguyen (Vietnam/U.S.)

The Neustadt Lit Fest will also honor Margarita Engle, laureate of the 2019 NSK Neustadt Prize for Children's Literature.

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, July 30:

Labyrinth by Catherine Coulter (Gallery, $27.99, 9781501193651) is the 23rd thriller with FBI agents Savich and Sherlock.

Someone We Know: A Novel by Shari Lapena (Pamela Dorman, $27, 9780525557654) is a psychological thriller about a teenager who breaks into neighborhood homes.

Beyond Charlottesville: Taking a Stand Against White Nationalism by Terry McAuliffe (Thomas Dunne, $24.99, 9781250245885) is written by the former governor of Virginia with a foreword by Congressman John Lewis.

It Came from Something Awful: How a Toxic Troll Army Accidentally Memed Donald Trump into Office by Dale Beran (All Points Books, $28.99, 9781250189745) gives a history of the message board 4chan.

The Merciful Crow by Margaret Owen (Holt, $18.99, 9781250191922) is a debut fantasy epic in which a young mercy killer agrees to smuggle a prince across the country.

Truly Madly Royally by Debbie Rigaud (Point/Scholastic, $9.99, 9781338332728) features a young woman dedicated to her own education and upward mobility who meets an actual prince at a prestigious summer program.

Monarch Manor by Maureen Leurck (Kensington, $15.95, 9781496719782).

Piranhas, based on the novel The Piranhas: The Boy Bosses of Naples by Roberto Saviano, opens August 2. On the streets of Naples, Italy, armed teenage boys do dirty work for mob bosses. A movie tie-in edition (Picador, $18, 9781250265302) is available.

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:

FKA USA: A Novel by Reed King (Flatiron, $27.99, 9781250108890). "This book is a wild ride through a post-dissolution, post-apocalyptic United States beginning a mere decade from now and continuing to the end of the 21st century. The political, technological, and ecological disasters it envisions seem all too plausibly extrapolated from the headlines of today. Despite the litany of cascading disasters--mass extinctions, warring androids, southern California dropping into the ocean, conflicts between different corporations controlling different sections of the former USA, mind control, goat-human hybrids, and more--Reed King injects a measure of hilarity into his tale. At the same time harrowing and hysterical, this is a great book by a visionary author. Highly recommended." --Edward Newton, The Literate Lizard, Sedona, Ariz.

The Last Book Party: A Novel by Karen Dukess (Holt, $27, 9781250225474). "Oh, to have the wisdom and perspective of age when one is young. In 1987, Eve Rosen joins an elite seaside community as the summer assistant for a prestigious author. As their relationship turns from professional to personal, Eve gains more insight into the publishing world than she ever thought possible. Full of wistful yearning for a time long ago, The Last Book Party is a tribute to youth and its folly, all wrapped up in a gorgeous novel." --Pamela Klinger-Horn, Excelsior Bay Books, Excelsior, Minn.

The Saturday Night Ghost Club: A Novel by Craig Davidson (Penguin Books, $16, 9780143133933). "Good ghost stories are never really about ghosts. They are about memories, lessons learned, unfinished business, broken promises, potential unfulfilled, unthinkable tragedy, and everything that happened before we came on the scene. The Saturday Night Ghost Club is about all of these things and more. A heaping scoop of '80s nostalgia provides a solid and comfortable backdrop for the story of a kid growing up and learning that adults (even familiar loved ones) have complicated lives and histories of their own." --Jen Richter, Inkwood Books, Haddonfield, N.J.

For Ages 4 to 8
The Important Thing About Margaret Wise Brown by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Sarah Jacoby (Balzer + Bray, $17.99, 9780062393449). "Children's writer Mac Barnett makes his first foray into nonfiction with this unconventional, insightful, and poignant book about Goodnight Moon author Margaret Wise Brown. Barnett's prose is full of the same intentionality, playfulness, and deep respect for young readers that were hallmarks of Brown's work, and Jacoby's illustrations are perfectly composed, with visuals that are simply breathtaking." --Stephanie Appell, Parnassus Books, Nashville, Tenn.

For Ages 9 to 12
All the Greys on Greene Street by Laura Tucker (Viking, $17.99, 9780451479532). "Debut novelist Tucker elegantly weaves together a story of a young artist desperately trying to keep her family together while learning that a true support network is not confined to blood ties. This is a deft and delicate probe into the unfortunate yet real situations so many kids have to navigate in childhood. Bravo!" --Jane Knight, Bear Pond Books, Montpelier, Vt.

For Teen Readers
Wild and Crooked by Leah Thomas (Bloomsbury, $18.99, 9781547600021). "This is not a love story, but it is a story full of love. Kalyn's father is in prison for murdering Gus' father decades ago in the rural town of 'Shitsboro.' This small town harbors deep-rooted prejudices, and old disputes run strong. Equal parts laugh-out-loud funny and dead serious. The vibrant Kalyn and warmhearted Gus become friends despite the surrounding conflict between their families, and they aren't afraid of searching for what really happened all those years ago. Leah Thomas' writing is flawless and her story is unpredictable." --Leah Atlee, Changing Hands, Tempe, Ariz.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: Doxology

Doxology by Nell Zink (Ecco, $27.99 hardcover, 416p., 9780062877789, August 27, 2019)

Wrapped in the cloak of a social novel that spans three decades of American life beginning in the 1980s, Nell Zink's Doxology is a tender story about what it means to be a good person and a good parent in trying times. "Doxology" refers to a liturgical formula, but also hints at the practice of "doxing," or exposing a person's private information online.

The protagonists are Daniel and Pam Svoboda, who establish their first marital abode in 1991 in an illegal one-room apartment above a video store on the Lower East Side, where they're joined by a daughter, Flora, the following year. Pam, determined to become a "retro hippie earth mother," has been living in New York City and working as a computer programmer since fleeing the strict discipline of her parents' home and dropping out of high school at age 17. Daniel's an "eighties hipster" who barely moves a rung up the economic ladder--from law firm proofreader to long-term temporary office assistant--over the novel's span. Their lives orbit around an unlikely "rock god," Joe Harris, who doubles as a not entirely reliable part-time caretaker for Flora.

When the terror attacks of 9/11 coincide with a devastating event in the life of the Svoboda family, Pam and Daniel remain in New York but send nine-year-old Flora to live in Washington with her maternal grandparents, whose ideas about parenting have become considerably more flexible. It's an unusual domestic arrangement that allows Zink (Mislaid) to explore parenthood's joys and burdens in a multigenerational setting. Educated at the elite Cathedral School and George Washington University, Flora evolves into an idealistic young woman whose "career goal was to hold global warming to under two degrees Celsius." But as Zink wryly notes, in one of the novel's many witty thrusts, "The appropriate college major for that would have been World Domination."

Through the lives of the Svobodas, readers experience the Great Recession and the election of Donald Trump, an event that brings into conflict the romantic relationships of Flora, a campaign staffer for the Green Party. This forces her to make a fateful personal choice that will determine her role in nurturing the family's next generation. Zink is a sharp observer of current events, whose digressions on subjects that include New York real estate, startups and both the beauty of idealism and its limits are highlights of the novel.

Doxology circles around a coterie of gentle, likable characters who seem to find the task of navigating their tangled personal lives as difficult as confronting the challenges of an increasingly complicated world. As they make their amiable, if sometimes stumbling, way, more than a few readers will see in their story reflections of their own lives. --Harvey Freedenberg, freelance reviewer

Shelf Talker: A small family surfs the world's dramatic changes as the 20th century becomes the 21st.

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