Also published on this date: Wednesday, September 4, 2019: Maximum Shelf: Uncanny Valley

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, September 4, 2019


Artisan Publishers: 1,000 Places to See Before You Die (Deluxe Edition): The World as You've Never Seen It Before by Patricia Schulz

St. Martin's Press: Tombstone: The Earp Brothers, Doc Holliday, and the Vendetta Ride from Hell by Tom Clavin

Chronicle Books: Tartine: A Classic Revisited: 68 All-New Recipes + 55 Updated Favorites (Baking Cookbooks, Pastry Books, Dessert Cookbooks, Gifts for Pastry Chefs) by Elisabeth M Prueitt and Chad Robertson, photographed by Gentl + Hyers, foreword by Alice Waters

Arcadia Publishing - Click Here For Your Kit!

St. Martin's Press: A Hundred Suns by Karin Tanabe

Hamilcar Publications: Jacobs Beach: The Mob, the Garden and the Golden Age of Boxing by Kevin Mitchell

New Harbinger Publications: Be Mighty: A Woman's Guide to Liberation from Anxiety, Worry, and Stress Using Mindfulness and Acceptance by Jill A. Stoddard

News

SIBA Executive Director Wanda Jewell to Retire

Wanda Jewell

Wanda Jewell, executive director of the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance, plans to retire in June 2020. A search committee will be named within the month, and the group will meet this fall to begin the search process.

In a letter to members, Jewell wrote: "Serving as SIBA's executive director for the past 30 years has been the honor of my life. I am so proud of all we have accomplished together. SIBA is seen as forward-looking, innovative, and smart--an organization willing to take risks without being risky. I treasure the reputation we have earned."

Speaking for the board, SIBA president Kimberly Daniels Taws said: "I hope that you join me in thanking Wanda for sharing her exceptional energy and innovative mind with us for three decades. One thing is for certain.... Wanda Jewell has been a central character in Southern booksellers' lives for a long time. In particular; I want to thank Wanda for ushering Southern booksellers into the digital age by working tirelessly to give us the skills and capabilities to thrive. I want to thank her for her innovation and policy governance support and her passionate work to increase the awareness of Southern Independent bookstores importance within our industry and communities. Many of our author friends thank her for giving them a platform."

Noting that SIBA has "ample time for a thorough search and graceful transition process," Taws added that to facilitate this, the board has hired the Nexus Institute principal Nanette Blandin to help begin the search: "Nanette is highly recommended by those who have worked with her at the American Booksellers Association in the past. In 2014; she led the search for the ABA's Chief Financial Officer position and, in 2018, she was the outside consultant to ABA's Governance Review Committee which was tasked with evaluating the effectiveness of ABA's governance and making recommendations for improvement."

In her letter to members, Jewell said, "I love this organization and will miss working with you. However, it is time for me to move on and time for SIBA to find the next executive director who will help y'all move into the future.... I'm so proud of the SIBA team. I am confident I am leaving SIBA in capable hands.... Thanks to all of you for all that you do."

Questions about the search can be directed to Taws at kimberlyddaniels@gmail.com or Blandin at nblandin@thenexusinstitute.com.


6th Annual Sharjah Library Conference - Register Now!


Wine Bar, Membership Program and Rebranding at Vroman's

Coinciding with its 125th anniversary in November, Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena, Calif., is getting a slight rebranding, a new wine bar and a store membership program.

The store's name will officially become Vroman's. The name-change, promotional director Jennifer Ramos explained, is meant to better reflect that the store is filled not only with some 85,000 books but also an extremely broad selection of sidelines, gifts and non-book items.

The new 700-square-foot wine bar will be located on the main store's first floor and serve regional wines, local craft beers and a variety of light snacks. The bar will feature library lamps, a library ladder, chalkboard with literary quotes and plenty of photos of Vroman's throughout its history. A time capsule, set to be opened in 50 years, will be located behind the bar wall, and author event happy hours will take place in the wine bar.

The membership program, meanwhile, will have an annual fee of $125 and include advance notice of ticketed author events; gold status for author signing lines; an invitation to the store's annual private After Hours Party in November; access to an annual Tent Sale shopping event; a free Vroman's tote bag and anniversary mug; and additional special promotions.


New Press: Rap on Trial: Race, Lyrics, and Guilt in America by Erik Nelson and Andrea Dennis, foreword by Killer Mike


Baen Books, RBmedia Form Audio Partnership

Baen Books and RBmedia are publishing more than 170 of Baen's titles as audiobooks over the next three years. Baen is one of the major independent publishers of science fiction and fantasy books while RBmedia specializes in publishing sci-fi and fantasy audiobooks.

The audiobook list will consist of Baen frontlist titles--particularly alternate history and science fiction--and backlist titles that include classics from Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Grand Masters and long-time fan favorites that have not previously been released in audio format. RBmedia will publish Baen Books titles across its family of imprints, including Recorded Books and Tantor.

"Given the soaring demand for audiobooks, especially in the realms of science fiction and fantasy, Baen is thrilled to be entering into this partnership with RBmedia to make sure our rousing tales of adventure are available in all formats," said James Minz, director of subsidiary rights for Baen Books. "With this deal, Baen Books will have licensed as an audiobook virtually every available title on our extensive list."

Brian Sweany, director of acquisitions for Recorded Books, added: "Audiobooks are an ideal format for busy consumers, turning your daily commute, exercise, or that rare free time into a journey to distant galaxies or worlds where dragons still roam. As the world's largest independent publisher of audiobooks, RBmedia's long-time goal has been to grow its presence in the science fiction and fantasy markets. With Baen Books, we've found the perfect partner for this popular segment."


KidsBuzz for the Week of 09.16.19


Obituary Note: Terrance Dicks

Terrance Dicks, children's author and writer of numerous Doctor Who novels and episodes, died August 29. He was 84. The Guardian reported that Dicks "had a long association with the BBC's longest-running sci-fi show," writing episodes from the late 1960s until the early 1980s. He also served as its script editor from 1968 to 1974.

Chris Chibnall, the program's current producer and showrunner, paid tribute to "one of the greatest contributors to Doctor Who's history, on-screen and off... As the most prolific and brilliant adapter of Doctor Who stories into Target novels, he was responsible for a range of books that taught a generation of children, myself included, how pleasurable and accessible and thrilling reading could be. Doctor Who was lucky to have his talents. He will always be a legend of the show."

In the 1970s and 80s Dicks wrote children's fiction, as well as more than 50 Doctor Who spin-off novels between 1974 and 2007, including The Sarah Jane Adventures. His other books include The Pyramid Incident and The Transylvanian Incident from Picadilly Press' The Unexplained series.

Author Jenny Colgan, who writes Doctor Who books under the name J.T. Colgan, said that Dicks's novelizations were "always the best.... Like many children's authors he was wildly undervalued--despite being a key ingredient in a lifelong love of reading, particularly among boys, he received almost no official recognition whatsoever. He claimed to be no stylist but his short chapters, clear sentences and ability to get to the point extremely quickly influenced a generation of writers."

His agent, Hilary Delamere told the Bookseller: "Not only was Terrance Dicks admired and respected by all his Dr. Who fan-base but Brenda Gardner, who published him first at WH Allen and then on her Piccadilly Press list for over 30 years, said he was an editor's dream author--delivering his well-written manuscripts on time, always open to editorial suggestions and felt that the author/editor relationship was always strengthened by alternating who paid for lunch!" 

Albert De Petrillo, publishing director, BBC Books, described him as "a legend, and a major influence not only as script editor for the show, but also as a novelist."

Marcus Gipps, editorial director at Gollancz & SF Gateway, observed that Dicks "genuinely was a hugely influential, formative author for so many of us, and I think he was underappreciated. He was certainly the first author I thought of as 'mine' rather than something chosen for me, and the first I learned to look out for on the library shelves. I know that he was what got me into reading SF, and without his books I wouldn't be where I am now. I also think his direct style is much underrated as it looks so simple, but is so brilliantly done."

Author Neil Gaiman tweeted: "I remember reading his and Malcolm Hulke's book The Making of Doctor Who when I was 11 or 12, and deciding then that I would one day write an episode of Doctor Who, because they had shown me how. RIP Terrance Dicks."


GLOW: Andrews McMeel Publishing: That Can Be Arranged: A Muslim Love Story by Huda Fahmy


Notes

Image of the Day: Prospective Booksellers

During last week's workshop retreat "Owning a Bookstore: The Business Essentials," facilitated by the Bookstore Training Group of Paz & Associates and co-sponsored by the American Booksellers Association, a dozen book industry trainers shared best practices of bookstore retail management with 23 prospective booksellers from across the country.

Nimbus Publishing: The Big Dig by Lisa Harrington


Cool Ideas of the Day: NYC's Strand Bookstore

The Strand in New York City has been involved in an inspiring pair of initiatives this summer. Last week, the bookstore posted on Facebook: "With the president insisting on a border wall even under illegal circumstances, now more than ever it is important that we support immigrant rights in any way we can. We have teamed up with Kids In Need of Defense (@supportkind), an organization that provides legal aid to migrant children, on a book list focusing on immigrant and refugee themes. It's up to us to change this xenophobic climate, and ultimately our children will follow in our footsteps. The entire book list is at the link in bio."

The Strand has also been partnering with the Fresh Air Fund, which noted: "New York City kids break free from day-to-day digital screen time and immerse themselves in new experiences at the Fund's sleepaway camps in New York's Hudson Valley. And now, Fresh Air camps have new libraries where campers can read, wind down and get lost in really good stories.

"Campers at all six Fresh Air camps have enjoyed the new libraries this summer. The libraries--one at each of the six Fresh Air camps at The Fund's Sharpe Reservation and in Harriman State Park in New York--were made possible by a generous gift from Fred Bass, who owned the legendary Strand Book Store in New York City until his death last year."

Strand owner Nancy Bass Wyden said, "It's been my family legacy to get good books in the hands of readers, and this legacy will continue with the Fresh Air Fund. It's an initiative, too, to get kids off of devices. Kids today have too much screen time, so this is a way for them to not have that constant stimulation." She added that her father "was a real proponent of the Fresh Air Fund and the work they do. He thought it was important for kids--to be able to get out of the city.... He would be very proud of the initiative that the Fresh Air Fund has done with his contribution."


Personnel Changes at Counterpoint Press/Catapult/Soft Skull

Carla Bruce-Eddings has joined Counterpoint Press/Catapult/Soft Skull as senior publicist.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Ben Westhoff on Fresh Air

Today:
NPR's Takeaway: Mike Isaac, author of Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber (Norton, $27.95, 9780393652246).

Fresh Air: Ben Westhoff, author of Fentanyl, Inc.: How Rogue Chemists Are Creating the Deadliest Wave of the Opioid Epidemic (Atlantic Monthly Press, $27, 9780802127433).

Tomorrow:
Ellen repeat: Jose Andres, co-author of Vegetables Unleashed: A Cookbook (Anthony Bourdain/Ecco, $39.99, 9780062668387).

Late Night with Seth Meyers: DeRay Mckesson, author of On the Other Side of Freedom: The Case for Hope (Penguin Books, $17, 9780525560579).

Jimmy Kimmel Live: June Diane Raphael, co-author of Represent: The Woman's Guide to Running for Office and Changing the World (Workman, $19.95, 9781523502974).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Graham Norton, author of A Keeper: A Novel (Atria, $27, 9781982117764).


TV: The Perfect Couple; Watchmen

Fox has put in development The Perfect Couple, a one-hour mystery drama based on Elin Hilderbrand's 2018 bestselling novel, Deadline reported. The project is from Fox Entertainment's SideCar Content Accelerator, and a search is underway for a writer to pen the adaptation. Hilderbrand executive produces with SideCar's Gail Berman.

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The clock is ticking. Deadline reported that HBO has unveiled a premiere date for Damon Lindelof's Watchmen series, based on the iconic comic by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. The highly anticipated series will debut October 20 at 9 p.m. ET.

Directed by Nicole Kassell from a script by Lindelof (Leftovers), the project stars Regina King, Jeremy Irons, Don Johnson, Jean Smart, Tim Blake Nelson, Louis Gossett Jr., Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Hong Chau, Andrew Howard, Tom Mison, Frances Fisher, Jacob Ming-Trent, Sara Vickers, Dylan Schombing and James Wolk.



Books & Authors

Awards: CWA Crime/Mystery Publisher of the Year Shortlist

The Crime Writers' Association has announced the shortlist for its inaugural Dagger Award for the Best Crime and Mystery Publisher of the Year. The Bookseller reported that "Faber will go head to head with fellow indies Oldcastle Books imprint No Exit Press, Orenda Books, Pushkin Vertigo and Bloomsbury imprint Raven. HarperCollins scores two nominations with Harper Fiction and HQ both in the running for the award that is the first new Dagger category created in over a decade."

The winner will be named October 24 at the Dagger Awards Dinner in London City. Maxim Jakubowski, honorary vice-chair of the CWA, said: "We're delighted with the high quality nominees for this new Dagger, a category we felt was overdue in our award portfolio. Publishers play a vital role in driving the biggest selling genre and shaping our cultural landscape. The publicists, editors, designers and hard-working teams that support new and existing authors deserve this recognition."


Reading with... Brandon Shimoda

Brandon Shimoda's first book of nonfiction, an ancestral memoir called The Grave on the Wall, was just published by City Lights Books. He is also the author of six books of poetry, most recently The Desert (The Song Cave) and Evening Oracle (Letter Machine Editions), which received the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America. He is writing a book on the ongoing afterlife/ruins of Japanese American incarceration, notes and sketches from which have been published by the Asian American Literary Review, Densho, Hyperallergic, the Margins, the Massachusetts Review and the New Inquiry. He tweets @brandonshimoda.

On your nightstand now:

A sound machine and four books I read to my (11-month-old) daughter every night: Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña and illustrated by Christian Robinson; Peach Boy by Florence Sakade and illustrated by Yoshisuke Kurosaki (her favorite story is "The Magic Teakettle"); Issun Boshi by Icinori; and Hortense and the Shadow by Natalia and Lauren O'Hara.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Penny's computer book. (Penny being Inspector Gadget's niece.) Her computer book was basically a computer disguised as a book, which was mind-blowing, to me, in the 1980s. Penny could look up anything. She could video chat. Hack into other computers. Her computer book had a digital map. Even a laser! She always carried it with her. I wanted it. Or I thought I did. Her computer book eventually manifested in real life in the form of iPhones, iPads, etc., but Penny's computer book possessed a surreptitiousness reality could only diminish. Also: Encyclopedia Britannica (unknown edition, also 1980s). A salesman came to our door. We invited him in. He was old and white, and looked and smelled like he might have written the encyclopedias himself. When my mother told me that my Japanese teacher's husband taught himself English by reading the dictionary cover-to-cover, I decided I was going to read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica cover-to-cover. To teach myself what? I did not get very far. But I did spend much of my childhood opening up the many-volume encyclopedia at random and reading whatever appeared.

Your top five authors:

James Baldwin, Yasunari Kawabata, Etel Adnan, Simone Weil (or maybe Malika Mokeddem), Marguerite Duras (my dream is to write a book about the afterlife of Japanese American incarceration in the style of Duras's The Lover.)

Book you've faked reading:

I became a reader, I think, by faking reading. I don't know when, or if, the transition was made between faking reading and not faking reading.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Every time I see a used copy of Kawabata's Palm-of-the-Hand Stories (translated from the Japanese by Lane Dunlop and J. Martin Holman), I buy it, because I want to be prepared for the moment when someone is visiting and I tell them how much I love it, so that I can pull it, like magic, out of my sleeve.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Most of my favorite books have unremarkable covers. (Most books I read I check out from the university library, and often have no cover at all.) When I was in high school, I bought a book at the Salvation Army for the cover. The book was thin, green, with a contour drawing, on the cover, of a flower, a dandelion or daisy. It took me a minute to realize the book's title was spelled out in the flower's petals: The Double Dream of Spring. It was my first encounter with John Ashbery, and one of my first legitimate encounters with contemporary poetry, which, at the time, I hated, with a hatred that was confirmed by what I found in The Double Dream of Spring, but that transformed, over time, into a problem, then a commitment, then, as it is now: an orientation and a way of perceiving.

Book you hid from your parents:

My parents hid books from me.

Book that changed your life:

There are a few books I read every year, partly to see how, a year later, I have changed, and to affirm that my life has changed. (Although I read them mostly because I love them.) Etel Adnan's Sitt Marie Rose (translated from the French by Georgina Kleege), James Baldwin's No Name in the Street, Dot Devota's And the Girls Worried Terribly and The Division of Labor, Bhanu Kapil's Ban en Banlieue and Schizophrene, Kawabata's Palm-of-the-Hand Stories and Lynn Xu's Debts & Lessons.

Favorite line from a book:

My favorite line is lines: every book I've read has one. And they change. Depending on when I'm reading, or where. The weather, time of day, if I'm reading while walking (outside). These lines, however, from one of my favorite books of poetry--The Division of Labor by Dot Devota--suggest, in part, how the relationship that forms, sometimes fleetingly, between myself and a line or sentence or stanza, is, in its moment, absolutely consuming, and at the expense of everything else:

It wasn't important enough
to make me want to leave my book

Five books you'll never part with:

This question makes me feel like I am being forced to part with everything--in my life--that is not one of these five books, although if I was actually being forced to part with everything in my life, I think I might be able to part with these five books as well, not because I could so easily live without them, but because I cannot, because I do not--even when I am not with them--live without them:

Yasunari Kawabata, Palm-of-the-Hand Stories (tr. Lane Dunlop & J. Martin Holman)

James Baldwin, Collected Essays

Man'yoshu: One Thousand Poems (tr. Nippon Gakujutsu Shinkokai)

Etel Adnan, To look at the sea is to become what one is (Disclaimer: I edited this book with Thom Donovan. Partly what I mean by including this book among my five is: all Etel's books)

The fifth book is a book that exists, in my mind, as a single book, but is comprised of the books written by my closest friends, including books that have not yet been published, are in-progress, or are not even books, including (among many): Dot Devota's MW: A Field Guide to the Midwest, Youna Kwak's The Second Life, Elisabeth Benjamin'sDogs, Molly McDonald'sAt the Moosehorn, Robert Yerachmiel Sniderman's MELEKHMELEKHMELEKHMELEKH: An Assimilation.

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

Most of the books I have read I want to read again. It feels strange to admit that so many of the books I love I will never read again, either because I will forget or I won't live long enough. I have a bad memory for what I have read. Not the books themselves (I keep a list), but their lines, sentences, paragraphs. My memory of what I have read is the same as my memory of what I have experienced: fragmented, fogged, composed of auras, impressions. This makes it possible, when reading a book I have already read, to be reading it as if for the first time.


Book Review

Children's Review: Saturday

Saturday by Oge Mora (Little, Brown, $18.99 hardcover, 40p., ages 4-8, 9780316431279, October 22, 2019)

Fresh off her Caldecott Honor win for Thank You, Omu, Oge Mora crafts a delightful ode to overcoming the bumps in life's road with the help of the ones you love.

Ava's mother works every day of the week except Saturday, which she always carves out as a special day to spend time with her daughter. The bold purple font emphasizing SATURDAY highlights the importance of this weekly ritual--the two always find a way to make their Saturdays extra fun. However, this Saturday, their excursions don't go as planned: storytime is canceled, their hairdos are ruined as soon as they step out of the salon and their quiet day at the park is interrupted by the loud bustle of other park goers. Every time their dreams are dashed, they pause, close their eyes and let out a deep breath. Ava's mother always reassures her little one, "Today will be special. Today will be splendid. Today is Saturday!" When mom forgets the puppet show tickets at home--"I'm sorry, Ava. We looked forward to this all week, and I've messed up everything.... I ruined Saturday."--the tables turn. It's Ava who repeats the refrain to her exasperated mother: "Don't worry, Mommy.... Today was special. Today was splendid. Saturdays are wonderful... because I spend them with you." The seemingly simple exercise is a terrific coping technique that any little ones (and the adults in their lives) would do well to incorporate in response to the disappointments that inevitably come our way. Mother and daughter's special bond wins out in the end as they close their busy day with a puppet show of their own making. 

Kids and their grownups will delight in this energetic and humorous story. The warmth between mother and child is etched in every line and image while the repetitive, tender narrative invites reading aloud, but is also quiet enough that families would be just as satisfied enjoying as a one-on-one experience. Mora's cheery, jewel-tone collage illustrations are a feast of colors that pull in readers and invite them to touch the textured renderings. The character's changing facial expressions are sure to elicit giggles and encourage children to empathize with the protagonists. Additional details, such as intricately composed landscapes, personality-filled background characters and endpapers that include a glimpse at the family's busy schedule, the duo's support system and Ava's "Saturday Wish List" showcase Mora's thoughtfulness and artistry. This glimpse of their monthly calendar along with the knowledge that the mother has only Saturdays off hints at the family's possible socioeconomic status, depicting a type of identity that is a comforting reflection of life for some children. Saturday begs multiple readings, allowing kids to find something new hidden in the illustrations each time. Children and adults alike will appreciate and embrace this gorgeous picture book about enjoying the small moments we share with one another. --Shelley Diaz, supervising librarian, BookOps: New York Public Library & Brooklyn Public Library

Shelf Talker: In this picture book gem from the award-winning Oge Mora, a girl and her mother anticipate Saturdays as their weekly opportunity to go on their own private adventures--big and small.


Deeper Understanding

Audiobooks: Libro.fm List Highlights

Our friends at AudioFile Magazine offer insights into the August audiobook bestseller lists from Libro.fm.

Fiction titles dominate this month's Libro.fm bestseller lists, with Elizabeth Gilbert's City of Girls and Linda Holmes's Evvie Drake Starts Over at the top of the lists. Narrator Julia Whelan--a double-Audie winner in 2019--delivers the lead characters of Evvie Drake Starts Over with bright compassion and makes the most of Holmes's debut novel. As the narrator of City of Girls, actress Blair Brown excels at delivering the idiosyncrasies of the 1940s New York City theater community. (AudioFile talked with Blair Brown about her long career with audiobooks.)

For mystery fans, Ruth Ware's new title The Turn of the Key (Simon & Schuster Audio) gets a warm welcome--fans of The Woman in Cabin 10 or The Lying Game will be glad to know actress Imogen Church, narrator of all of Ware's audiobooks, gives a deliciously creepy performance for Turn of the Key. It's hard to imagine that Colson Whitehead could surpass The Underground Railroad, but The Nickel Boys gets a fine, unvarnished audiobook performance by JD Jackson.

New to Libro.fm's list is Ocean Vuong's On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous. The author-read audiobook gives a direct authenticity that readers will appreciate. (For those who want their recommendations in a podcast format, AudioFile discusses Vuong's novel in a Behind the Mic with AudioFile magazine episode.)

A nonfiction newcomer is Lisa Taddeo's Three Women. The ensemble cast of three actors gives emotional power to the portraits of desire that journalist Taddeo has constructed. Stay Sexy & Don't Get Murdered weaves a memoir of authors Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark with the story of creating their podcast, "My Favorite Murder."

In depth:
City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert, read by Blair Brown (Penguin Audio) Blair Brown delivers a superb narration of Elizabeth Gilbert's novel, which features the recollections of a 95-year-old New York seamstress who came of age during World War II. Brown's straightforward, charming depiction illuminates the vivacious young woman the wistful elderly narrator remembers, and her conversational pacing creates vibrant pictures for the listener. The action is set in 1940, after Vivian dropped out of Vassar and moved to Manhattan to help her aunt run a decrepit theater company. She also created stunning costumes for the company, including a middle-aged British actress memorably rendered by Brown.

Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes, read by Julia Whelan (Random House Audio) This audiobook puts a new twist on an unconventional romance. Evvie Drake is packed and ready to leave her husband when she learns devastating news about him. Dean Tenney's baseball career comes to an abrupt halt when, overcome by the "yips," he loses his ability to pitch. Of course, these two are thrown together by circumstance, and Julia Whelan's performance of both lead characters is lively and bright, filled with appropriate humor and pathos. Holmes's selection of details and Whelan's dexterity with conversational nuance largely keep too much predictability at bay. An ideal summer listen.

On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong, read by Ocean Vuong (Penguin Audio) The author narrates the story of a young Vietnamese immigrant to the U.S. who is completing a letter to his mother, who cannot read. As both author and narrator, Vuong is in the perfect position to narrate the audiobook just as it was intended. His delivery gives even more power to the captivating prose, keeping the listener hooked as the main character, Little Dog, discovers what it means to be young, gay and Vietnamese in a country that is not able fully to understand him. The listener is carried along with Vuong's voice, almost as if listening to a carefully crafted melody.

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead, read by JD Jackson (Random House Audio) Narrator Jackson captures America's buried legacy of racism and violence. Elwood Curtis was headed for college when he was sentenced to Nickel Academy, a segregated reform school. Inspired by the burgeoning Civil Rights movement, Elwood aims to defy the system and survive with his ideals intact. It's clear-eyed Turner, though, who educates him on survival as a young African-American man in Florida. The intricate, compact story is comparatively light on dialogue, and Jackson's deep, gravelly voice remains steady while navigating the often harsh narrative.

Stay Sexy & Don't Get Murdered by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, read by Karen Kilgariff, Georgia Hardstark, Paul Giamatti, et al. (Macmillan Audio) Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark team up to narrate their dual memoir. They are unapologetically vulnerable as they share their stories about depression, addiction, and learning to value their personal safety over being "nice." The story is delightfully peppered with sections in which actor Paul Giamatti offers wise quips, and some parts of the audiobook are performed in front of a live audience, frequently making the listener laugh out loud.

Three Women by Lisa Taddeo, read by Tara Lynne Barr, Marin Ireland, Mena Suvari, Lisa Taddeo (Simon & Schuster Audio) Listeners hear the true stories of three women and their most intimate and very real sexual desires. Narrator Tara Lynne Barr portrays Maggie in youthful tones that embody her inexperience as she navigates a relationship with her high school teacher. Marin Ireland portrays Lina, starting with an even-toned deadpan delivery and gradually diversifying, a perfect reflection of Lina's journey from a passionless marriage to a flaming affair. Mena Suvari portrays Sloan in a breathy neutral tone that exhibits her willingness to fulfill the sexual desires of others while she figures out what she wants for herself.


The Bestsellers

Libro.fm Bestsellers in August

The bestselling Libro.fm audiobooks at independent bookstores during August:

Fiction
1. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (Penguin Random House Audio)
2. City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert (Penguin Random House Audio)
3. The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead (Penguin Random House Audio)
4. Circe by Madeline Miller (Hachette Audio)
5. Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes (Penguin Random House Audio)
6. The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware (Simon & Schuster Audio)
7. Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid (Penguin Random House Audio)
8. Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner (Simon & Schuster Audio)
9. A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles (Penguin Random House Audio)
10. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides (Macmillan Audio)

Nonfiction    
1. Becoming by Michelle Obama (Penguin Random House Audio)
2. On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong (Penguin Random House Audio)
3. Educated by Tara Westover (Penguin Random House Audio)
4. Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino (Penguin Random House Audio)
5. Three Women by Lisa Taddeo (Simon & Schuster Audio)
6. Calypso by David Sedaris (Hachette Audio)
7. How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi (Penguin Random House Audio)
8. Stay Sexy & Don't Get Murdered by Georgia Hardstark and Karen Kilgariff (Macmillan Audio)
9. Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane (Simon & Schuster Audio)
10. The Library Book by Susan Orlean (Simon & Schuster Audio)

KidsBuzz: Roaring Brook Press: Worth a Thousand Words by Brigit Young
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