Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Scholastic Press: Beastly Beauty by Jennifer Donnelly

St. Martin's Essentials: Build Like a Woman: The Blueprint for Creating a Business and Life You Love by Kathleen Griffith

Margaret Ferguson Books: Not a Smiley Guy by Polly Horvath, Illustrated by Boris Kulikov

Bramble: Pen Pal Special Edition by J.T. Geissinger

Sourcebooks Landmark: Long After We Are Gone by Terah Shelton Harris

Soho Crime: Broiler by Eli Cranor

Berkley Books: We Love the Nightlife by Rachel Koller Croft

Editors' Note

Happy Thanksgiving!

For the rest of the week, we're taking a break to give thanks for many things so this is our last issue until Monday, December 2. Enjoy the holidays, and may all booksellers have an excellent Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Indies First celebrations! (Feel free on Sunday to send reports about Indies First, with pictures if possible, to

University of California Press: May Contain Lies: How Stories, Statistics, and Studies Exploit Our Biases--And What We Can Do about It by Alex Edmans


Our 2019 Best Children's & Teen Books of the Year

This year has brought us some truly outstanding children's and teen books! Here are our top titles for 2019; click here to read our reviews of these impressive books. (Shelf Awareness's Best Adult Books of 2019 will be announced December 3.)

Picture Books
Camp Tiger by Susan Choi, illus. by John Rocco (Putnam)
Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story by Kevin Noble Maillard, illus. by Juana Martinez-Neal (Roaring Brook Press)
Small in the City by Sydney Smith (Neal Porter/Holiday House)
Moth by Isabel Thomas, illus. by Daniel Egnéus (Bloomsbury)
The Moose of Ewenki by Gerelchimeg Blackcrane, trans. by Helen Mixter, illus. by Jiu Er (Greystone Kids)
The Fisherman & the Whale by Jessica Lanan (Simon & Schuster)

Middle Grade Books
Stargazing by Jen Wang (First Second/Macmillan)
Infinite Hope: A Black Artist's Journey from World War II to Peace by Ashley Bryan (Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum)
The Line Tender by Kate Allen (Dutton)
New Kid by Jerry Craft (HarperCollins)
Lalani of the Distant Sea by Erin Entrada Kelly (Greenwillow)

Young Adult Books
Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All by Laura Ruby (Balzer + Bray)
Lovely War by Julie Berry (Viking)
Ordinary Hazards: A Memoir by Nikki Grimes (Wordsong/Boyds Mill)
Shout by Laurie Halse Anderson (Viking)
The (Other) F Word: A Celebration of the Fat & Fierce by Angie Manfredi, editor (Amulet Books/Abrams)
On the Come Up by Angie Thomas (Balzer + Bray)
Love from A to Z by S.K. Ali (Salaam Reads/Simon & Schuster)

GLOW: becker&mayer! kids: The Juneteenth Cookbook: Recipes and Activities for Kids and Families to Celebrate by Alliah L. Agostini and Taffy Elrod, illus. by Sawyer Cloud

Miesha Headen Wins Carla Gray Memorial Scholarship

Miesha Headen

Miesha Headen of Loganberry Books, Shaker Heights, Ohio, won the Carla Gray Memorial Scholarship for Emerging Bookseller-Activists, which was created to honor the executive marketing director at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt who passed away suddenly in May 2017. The award is presented by the Friends of Carla Gray Committee and the Book Industry Charitable Foundation. A committee that included representatives from across the book industry selected this year's recipient.

Commenting on the pool of applicants and proposed community projects, Carla Gray committee member Jenna Johnson said, "It was such an honor to consider the applications submitted. With real creativity, thoughtfulness and generosity, they showed booksellers selflessly committing themselves to giving each and every person in their communities access to books. We were moved by Miesha's project aiming to amplify a range of voices and reach across audiences in her community. It means so much to us that this good work will continue, in part, in Carla's name."

Headen will use the grant to support her work organizing Loganberry's People of Color Author Showcase, which is held in collaboration with the Great Lakes African American Writers' Conference and Cleveland Book Week. Among her goals for the program are to increase readership for diverse literature and to provide a platform for diverse authors in the literary community of Cleveland.

"I am proud to be this year's recipient of the Carla Gray Memorial Scholarship for Emerging Bookseller-Activists," she said. "I have a passion for literature that explores a unique place, enriching the understanding of outsiders. I am grateful to Binc for providing me and Loganberry Books the support to continue our community outreach to writers of color in Ohio who deep dive into our midwestern culture. We believe that giving these writers a platform for their literary art will attract existing readers and draw in new ones.”

As part of the scholarship, Headen has also been awarded funds to attend Winter Institute in January and the Heartland Fall Forum.

"The Binc Foundation is honored to commemorate Carla's legacy and her passion for literature with this scholarship," said Binc executive director Pam French. "It is a privilege to participate in continuing Carla's legacy by providing a wonderful opportunity to a bookseller so they can have an even bigger impact on their community and further their own professional development."

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Assassins Anonymous by Rob Hart

Kepler's Literary Foundation to Partner with SAP Academy for Engineering

Kepler's Literary Foundation, the nonprofit, events-focused arm of Kepler's in Menlo Park, Calif., has entered a partnership with software company SAP to bring writers, artists and other speakers to SAP's in-house training program, the SAP Academy for Engineering.

As part of the six-month Academy for Engineering program, SAP brings a cohort of engineers to California for a total of three months. While in the program, the engineers learn coding and business skills and also explore art, culture and the humanities, with the Kepler's Foundation speaker series being an instrumental part of that.

"They're bringing people who are three to five years into their careers and seen as the rising stars at SAP," explained Jean Forstner, executive director of Kepler's Literary Foundation. "These are people they believe will shape the future of SAP or any other company they may go to work for."

According to Forstner, the initial group for this fall consists of 55-60 engineers, and SAP plans to grow future cohorts to include around 100 people. Kepler's has already done two author events for the current cohort, which featured Silicon Valley historian Leslie Berlin and Tamim Ansary, author of The Invention of Yesterday. For each event, a member of the cohort conducts the on-stage interview and SAP buys a copy of the book for everyone in attendance. Kepler's plans to include both touring authors as well as authors local to the area.

Praveen Madan, CEO of Kepler's, explained that as SAP began designing the program, company leadership came to the conclusion that they "really need to reinvigorate the culture of the company," and when they considered what leaders of the future might look like, they realized that "teaching them coding would not be enough." They needed to understand history and philosophy, issues of ethics and morals and art and storytelling.

When asked how the partnership came about, Forstner answered that people from Google, Facebook, SAP and other tech companies often attend the Foundation's events or shop at Kepler's. Ferose V.R., SVP and head of the SAP Academy, knows the store and has attended a number of events, and he approached Kepler's about partnering with the Academy of Engineering.

Madan added that one of the reasons Kepler's is so excited about the partnership is that for a number of years, he and his colleagues have been trying to figure out how to start partnering with these big companies and bring literary events to the "tens of thousands of people on these corporate campuses." He said: "It's a new relationship, a new partnership, a new way of bringing books to people."

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Summer Romance by Annabel Monaghan

Binc Launches Year-End Fundraising Campaign

The Book Industry Charitable Foundation will kick off its annual year-end fundraising campaign November 30 on Small Business Saturday. This year Penguin Random House is partnering with Binc by matching all donations and will give $1 for every social media post on Instagram and Twitter using the hashtag #BookstoresAreHolidays, up to $15,000, doubling the power and impact of individual donations through December 31.

Binc noted that a total of $30,000 raised by the end of the year will help 13 booksellers and their families through economic hardship. The foundation has already assisted nearly 90 booksellers and their families in 2019 and has seen a 38% increase in approved grants compared to 2018. On average, it takes $2,300 to "stabilize a household, relieve huge amounts of stress and worry, and get a bookseller back on their feet so they can continue doing the job they love," according to Binc.

"Our hearts go out to those booksellers whose lives have been upended by local natural disasters or personal illness, so it is a privilege for us to align with the Binc Foundation to raise funds to support our retail partners in need," said Jaci Updike, PRH president, sales. "We urge our colleagues and our community to join together in giving all we can toward making a real impact in the lives of people we care about."

Binc executive director Pamela French commented: "We are incredibly grateful to our supporters, especially Penguin Random House, who are choosing to strengthen the bookselling community this year and every year. The good news is that more booksellers are coming to Binc than ever before, but this also means the foundation needs industry support more than ever before."

A new bookseller support opportunity has been introduced by Binc in the form of the Bibliophiles Society. With an annual gift of $500 (or $42/month), supporters at this giving level receive invitations to Binc's events at Winter Institute and BookExpo, a special supporter ribbon for industry events, a copy of the Annual Gratitude Report, and two updates each year via conference call with French.

Companies interested in supporting Binc can use the donation page or call director of development Kathy Bartson at 734-471-0201. Individuals can donate to Binc's year-end campaign here.

B&N to Manage UE Campus Bookstore

Barnes & Noble College is partnering with the University of Evansville in Evansville, Ind., to manage the university's campus bookstore, NBC14 News reported.

The transition officially began earlier this week, and the new B&N-run store is expected to be fully open on December 6. The renovated store will carry a greater amount of school merchandise, such as apparel and gifts, as well as school supplies and other nonbook items.


Image of the Day: Lidia in Doylestown

More than 350 people attended an event recently hosted by Doylestown Bookshop, Doylestown, Pa., with chef Lidia Bastianich for her book Felidia: Recipes from My Flagship Restaurant (Knopf). The event, at Delaware Valley University, featured Bastianich in conversation with Doylestown Mayor Ron Strouse.

#SmallBusinessSaturday Chalkboard: Turn the Page Westfield

Turn the Page Books & Gifts, Westfield, Ind., shared a photo of its Small Business Saturday-themed sidewalk chalkboard, noting: "Shout out to Andrew!!!! He came last night with his girlfriend to our Sticks and Strings [crafting event] and I put him to work on my chalkboard. Super talented!!!!"

Beck Loves McNally Jackson

To mark the release of Beck's 14th album, Hyperspace, the New York Times checked in with the musician to discover "the 10 things he can't live without." His special list included McNally Jackson Books in New York City.

"I don't really have a church, but if I had a church, it would probably be a bookstore," Beck said. "It's small, but it's so well-curated that you want to read everything in there. To me it represents that kind of independent bookstore that I grew up with, that I would just waste away hours in."

Media and Movies

TV: The Narrow Road to the Deep North; The Perfect Weapon

Australian directing and writing team Justin Kurzel and Shaun Grant (Snowtown, True History of the Kelly Gang) will reunite for a limited TV series adaptation of The Narrow Road to the Deep North, based on the 2014 Booker Prize-winning novel by Richard Flanagan, Variety reported. Fremantle director of scripted entertainment Jo Porter will produce. Other company executives involved include Chris Oliver-Taylor, Amy Noble and Nat Lindwall.

"Richard Flanagan's novel has been hailed as a masterpiece around the world. It had an immensely powerful impact on readers in Australia and was a bestseller globally," said Porter and Oliver-Taylor. "At its core is an achingly powerful insight into the many forms of love, a humanist examination of what links us all, forged through the savagery of war. It a uniquely honest and powerful portrait of a man and the woman he loves."

Flanagan observed that Kurzel "is rightly considered to be one of the most exciting directors in world cinema today, and Shaun Grant is a marvelous writer of equivalent talent who brings to the project a deep personal connection."


HBO is in production on a documentary based on David E. Sanger's bestseller The Perfect Weapon: War, Sabotage and Fear in the Cyber Age. Directed by John Maggio (Panic: The Untold Story of the 2008 Financial Crisis), the film "will feature exclusive interviews with many top military and intelligence officials as well as new on-the-ground reporting from the frontlines of the cyber wars," Deadline reported.

This Weekend on Book TV: Rachel Maddow

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, November 30
7 p.m. Diane Tavenner, author of Prepared: What Kids Need for a Fulfilled Life (Currency, $28, 9781984826060). (Re-airs Monday at 2 a.m.)

8 p.m. Chung Min Lee, author of The Hermit King: The Dangerous Game of Kim Jong Un (All Points Books, $28.99, 9781250202826), at Politics and Prose in Washington, D.C.

8:40 p.m. Senator Sherrod Brown, author of Desk 88: Eight Progressive Senators Who Changed America (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $28, 9780374138219).

10 p.m. Sarah Milov, author of The Cigarette: A Political History (Harvard University Press, $35, 9780674241213). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. Brian Kilmeade, author of Sam Houston and the Alamo Avengers: The Texas Victory That Changed American History (Sentinel, $28, 9780525540533). (Re-airs Sunday at 8:30 a.m. and Monday at 6:30 a.m.)

11:30 p.m. Rachel Maddow, author of Blowout: Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State Russia, and the Richest, Most Destructive Industry on Earth (Crown, $30, 9780525575474), at Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley, Mass. (Re-airs Sunday at 4 p.m.)

Sunday, December 1
12 p.m. Live In-Depth q&a with Jason Riley, author of Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed (Encounter, $15.99, 9781594038419). (Re-airs Sunday at 10 p.m.)

7 p.m. Alan Taylor, author of Thomas Jefferson's Education (Norton, $29.95, 9780393652420), at Politics and Prose.

8 p.m. Mo Rocca, author of Mobituaries: Great Lives Worth Reliving (Simon & Schuster, $29.99, 9781501197628).

Books & Authors

Awards: David Cohen, Eccles Centre & Hay Festival Writer's Winners; Costa Shortlists

Edna O'Brien has won the £40,000 (about $51,530) 2019 David Cohen Prize, which honors a living writer from the U.K. or Ireland for a lifetime's achievement in literature.

Chair of judges Mark Lawson said that O'Brien "has achieved a rare arc of brilliant consistency, her literary skill, courage, and impact as apparent in a novel published as recently as September as in her first book, which appeared 60 years ago.

"Although in some ways overdue to a writer of this quality, the 2019 prize is timely because O'Brien's primary subject has been Ireland, a country that continues to be central to our politics and culture.

"As it is given for lifetime achievement, the David Cohen Prize inevitably honours work of the past, but it is a particular pleasure that it goes this time to an author who is also of such present strength and significance."


Chloe Aridjis and Daniel Saldaña Paris won the Eccles Centre & Hay Festival Writer's Award for their yet-to-be-published novels. The Bookseller reported that both writers receive £20,000 (about $25,660) "and a year's writing residency at the British Library to develop their books and, for the first time, a dedicated platform at Hay Festival events in the U.K. and Latin America."

Aridjis, a Mexican writer based in London, won for her forthcoming English-language novel Reports from the Land of the Bats. Judge Erica Wagner said the author "engages deeply not only with her own personal story but also with the stories threaded through Mexico's histories: indigenous, colonial, political. Aridjis's fascinating application showed her to be a writer truly coming into her own, and we were delighted to recognize her with this award."

Paris, an essayist, poet, and novelist born in Mexico City, received the award for his proposed novel Principio de mediocridad. Judge Catherine Eccles said the winner's "multi-voiced, multi-layered proposed novel set in the Mexican city of Cuenavaca has the ambition and originality we look for in our support of writers researching in the British Library collections. This first Spanish-language winner is the exciting beginning of a collaboration that forges links across nations and languages in a time when this is more urgent than ever."


Shortlists for the 2019 Costa Book Awards, celebrating "the most enjoyable books of the year by writers resident in the U.K. and Ireland," have been chosen. Category winners will be announced January 6, and the £30,000 (about $38,650) Costa Book of the Year will be announced January 28. To see the titles in all five categories, click here.

Reading with... Stefano Bloch

photo: Maria Celis

Stefano Bloch is a cultural and urban geographer, ethnographer and a semiretired graffiti writer from Los Angeles. He is assistant professor in the School of Geography and Development at the University of Arizona. The memoir Going All City: Struggle and Survival in LA's Graffiti Subculture is his first book (just out from the University of Chicago Press).

On your nightstand now:

A book called Thanks, Obama: My Hopey, Changey White House Years by David Litt, which I bought to distract myself from having to read for work but have never actually opened. On top of that is Noam Chomsky's On Anarchism, which I left on the dashboard of my van during a recent family road trip across the U.S., so the glue along the spine dried up and cracked, and now I am afraid to pick it up again because the pages will fall all over the floor.

Favorite book when you were a child:

No one read to me when I was a kid and I didn't start reading on my own until I was about 19 and walked down to Skylight Books in my neighborhood in L.A. I went there to buy one of the books displayed on the inside cover of Rage Against the Machine's Evil Empire album. It was Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo.

Before that, I guess my favorite book from when I was a kid was Where Did I Come From, even though I never actually read it. Those of you who have seen it, or like me, had it laying around in the house when you were a kid in the 1980s, know what I am talking about.

I also had a copy of My Book of Bible Stories that some Jehovah's Witnesses gave to my grandmother. She didn't speak much English and thought it was wonderful how in the U.S. people knocked at your door and handed you free books... gaudy, gold-colored books no less! I loved the pictures in that book: from the bubbling lava and erupting volcanoes on the first page to the lions and deer and children of every race frolicking together on the last pages, with pictures of lepers and unspeakable violence and absurd redemption in between. I thought it was all so beautiful, scary and hilarious. My grandma kept it in her dishwasher, and I would look through it when I went to visit her. I think she thought the dishwasher was a very oddly designed cabinet for free books and junk mail judging by how she used it.

Your top five authors:

Right now, my top five authors are the ones keeping my kids glued to their books and keeping me interested in reading to them when they ask: Rick Riordan, Ursula K. Le Guin, J.K. Rowling, Chris Colfer and Kazu Kibuishi. Calef Brown, too.

But my favorite author, in general, is anyone who has enough confidence and trust in their reader to keep it real without needing to dazzle, overexplain or impress.

Book you've faked reading:

It is not that I faked reading The Jungle by Upton Sinclair, but I never actually finished it. For some reason I stopped when the protagonist, Jurgis Rudkus, is out walking in the countryside outside of the city. For some reason I just can't let it end, so I pretend I finished it. My partner, who did finish it, brings it up in private every so often. I feel ashamed when she does.

Book you're an evangelist for:

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, of course. It used to be Cervantes's Don Quixote, but I don't want to burden anyone.

Book you've bought for the cover:

What Do One Million Ja Tags Signify? by Dumar Novy. I am afraid to damage it, so I haven't even opened it.

Book you hid from your parents:

I didn't grow up with boundaries, or books.

Book that changed your life:

The Fall by Camus felt like it was written for me. I couldn't believe that a book could resonate the way that one did. It was almost scary. That said, I can't remember anything about it other than how I felt while reading it. But it was The Open Veins of Latin America by Eduardo Galeano that changed me, politically. I realized there was so much more laying beneath the surface, literally and metaphorically speaking. Then there was Franz Kafka's The Castle. It left me breathless as I read it, which was pretty life changing--to realize a book can leave you breathless.

But really, every book has changed my life. I mean that sincerely. Reading everything by Milan Kundera, as well as tearing through the The Firm by John Grisham in one sitting, were equally life altering when I was in my early 20s, but for very different reasons.

More recently, the books that have changed my life are the ones that I find useful for teaching or the writing of my own book. It is not that they are personally transformative, but professionally illuminative in some way. For example, Matthew Desmond's Evicted, J.D. Vance's Hillbilly Elegy, Jill Leovy's Ghettoside, and Ta-Nehisi Coates's Between the World and Me all changed my life because they provided examples of how seemingly straightforward and simultaneously engaging a book could be, which helped me in my own writing process.

Favorite line from a book:

"Barrabás came to us by sea...." This is the first line of Isabella Allende's The House of the Spirits. Such a straightforward yet cryptic line. You have no choice but to keep reading. The rest of the book's lines keep you reading!

But in college it was the first line of Albert Camus's The Stranger. My best friend and I talked about and debated the proper translation and meaning for months. Should "Aujourd'hui, maman est morte" be "Mother died today," or should it be "Mama died today"? Would the emotionally detached and existentially minded protagonist have called her his "mama," or use the detached "mother." I was new to reading at the time and those discussions were so exciting for me. Later, I realized it is one of the most debated lines in literary translation. Forgive me for being so cliché!

Five books you'll never part with:

My grandmother's old musty copy of My Book of Bible Stories. I also have a very old copy of Guerilla Warfare by Ché Guevara that I bought from a man selling books from a plastic folding table in Havana in 1999. I was so scared to bring it back into the U.S. via Mexico because the embargo was still firmly in place and I thought that contraband would land me in jail or with a fine.

I also have a copy of bell hooks's Feminist Theory in which she wrote "To Stefano... To Critical Theory!" I will also never part with my first copy of Henri Lefebvre's The Production of Space, with all of its marginalia from when I read it the first time and didn't understand a single word, to when I read it again and understood it as if it was common sense.

A book-related possession that I will never part with is a personally written postcard I received from Joan Didion after she read an article I gave her that I published on the front page of the school newspaper at UC Santa Cruz in 2001. It was about living in Budapest during Y2K and modeled (poorly) after her Slouching Toward Bethlehem.

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

The Grapes of Wrath. I want to feel those emotions for the first time again.

I wish I still had the open and imaginative mind needed to get lost in works by Isabel Allende or in One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez. I think I am much more Clarice Lispector or Raymond Carver-minded now. But I look forward to it changing again.

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, December 3:

The Measure of Our Lives: A Gathering of Wisdom by Toni Morrison (Knopf, $18, 9780525659297) collects quotes from Morrison's body of work.

Virginia Woolf: And the Women Who Shaped Her World by Gillian Gill (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $30, 9781328683953) looks at the female friends and family members around Virginia Woolf.

Genesis by Robin Cook (Putnam, $27, 9780525542155) is a medical thriller involving DNA ancestry databases.

The Mueller Report Illustrated: The Obstruction Investigation by the Washington Post, illustrated by Jan Feindt (Scribner, $20, 9781982149277) highlights the Mueller Report with illustrations.

Free, Melania: The Unauthorized Biography by Kate Bennett (Flatiron, $27.99, 9781250307378) unlocks the current First Lady.

Supreme Ambition: Brett Kavanaugh and the Conservative Takeover by Ruth Marcus (Simon & Schuster, $28, 9781982123864) explores a decades-long plan to capture the Supreme Court.

Cheaters Always Win: The Story of America by J. M. Fenster (Twelve, $28, 9781538728703) is a social history of American dishonesty.

Beating About the Bush by M.C. Beaton (Minotaur, $26.99, 9781250157720) is the 30th Agatha Raisin mystery.

Just Watch Me: A Novel by Jeff Lindsay (Dutton, $26, 9781524743949) follows a heist to steal the Iranian Crown Jewels.

Now You See Them by Elly Griffiths (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26, 9780358240020) is book five in the Magic Men Mysteries series.

Instant Loss: Eat Real, Lose Weight: How I Lost 125 Pounds--Includes 100+ Recipes by Brittany Williams (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $24.99, 9780358121855) is a weight loss cookbook.

Would Like to Meet by Rachel Winters (Putnam, $16, 9780525542315).

Reputation: A Novel by Sara Shepard (Dutton, $16, 9781524742904).

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:

The Accomplice: A Novel by Joseph Kanon (Atria, $28, 9781501121425). "Joseph Kanon has produced his best effort yet, bringing us along on a mission to the Buenos Aires of 1962 to hunt down a reputedly deceased Nazi concentration camp doctor. With the backdrop of the earlier elaborate capture of Eichmann, this one is a homemade operation reluctantly carried out by the nephew of a camp survivor (the eponymous accomplice) and involving the CIA and Mossad. The Accomplice explores the life of a socialite in Buenos Aires, the conflicting emotions of the target's daughter and the reluctant spy, the limits of familial loyalty and of trust, and the danger of playing all sides. Emotional zigs and zags leave the reader spellbound as the cat and mouse game closes in on the capture of a detestable unrepentant Nazi." --Darwin Ellis, Books on the Common, Ridgefield, Conn.

The Great Pretender: The Undercover Mission That Changed Our Understanding of Madness by Susannah Cahalan (Grand Central, $28, 9781538715284). "Susannah Cahalan, the bestselling author of Brain on Fire, is back with another riveting true story of madness and the mental health system. In the 1970s, Dr. David Rosenhan convinced seven sane people to join him in committing themselves to mental hospitals as patients and trying to get out on their own. What begins as an inspiring and daring story of experimentation darkens and twists as Cahalan closes in on a story shrouded in mystery--who were these seven 'pseudopatients' in Rosenhan's groundbreaking study, and what really happened to them? The Great Pretender is not-to-be-missed narrative nonfiction." --Megan Bell, Underground Books, Carrollton, Ga.

The Bromance Book Club: A Novel by Lyssa Kay Adams (Berkley, $16, 9781984806093). "In just a few short years, Gavin and Thea have gone from starry-eyed young lovers to married with twins. Gavin is at the top of his career in baseball, but Thea is feeling like she's lost who she is--there is definitely trouble in paradise, and Thea wants out! But Gavin's teammates invite him to join a book club that just might reignite that spark the couple once had. Can reading romance novels teach Gavin how to win back his wife? I absolutely love the concept of this novel. The writing was fun and light, yet maintained depth and value. I could relate to Thea as a wife and mother and still rooted for Gavin." --Miranda Atkins, A Little Bookish, Ooltewah, Tenn.

For Ages 4 to 8
A Stone Sat Still by Brendan Wenzel (Chronicle Books, $17.99, 9781452173184). "As he did in They All Saw a Cat and Hello, Hello, Brendan Wenzel plays with perspective and place in the world around us in A Stone Sat Still. He looks at a stone, which serves as everything from a home to a maze to a throne, and as we read the book, the stone weathers and its environment shifts. It's a brilliant book, gorgeously illustrated, and perfect for the home or the classroom." --Cathy Berner, Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, Tex.

For Ages 9 to 12: An Indies Introduce Title
Emmy in the Key of Code by Aimee Lucido (Versify, $16.99, 9780358040828). "Resonant verse melds together the world of music and the world of code--two worlds that Emmy is unsure can coexist as she navigates through the ups and downs of starting a new school, finding her passions, and making true friends. This book brought me right back to the emotions of my middle-school years and I'm sure that in the right hands, it will mean the world to someone." --Casey Leidig, Green Apple Books on the Park, San Francisco, Calif.

For Teen Readers
The Good Luck Girls by Charlotte Nicole Davis (Tor Teen, $17.99, 9781250299703). "Aster, Violet, Clementine, Mallow, and Tansy journey across the rough country of Arketta searching for evidence of a legend that will hopefully free them. As they travel, the reader watches them grow as individuals and as friends, as they learn that working together is sometimes the best means for survival. In a bleak landscape and a world that controls women, the five girls are rays of hope for a better tomorrow." --Terri LeBlanc, M and M Bookstore, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Children's Review: Eclipse Chaser

Eclipse Chaser: Science in the Moon's Shadow by Ilima Loomis, Amanda Cowan, photographer (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $18.99 hardcover, 80p., ages 10-12, 9781328770967, December 10, 2019)

Solar physicist Shadia Habbal travels the world to study the sun's corona. When a solar eclipse is going to occur, she and a team of scientists with specialized equipment set out for a previously scouted location that has been determined to be an optimal place for viewing. This is "one of the few times scientists can get a good look" at the corona. With a window of only a few minutes, the team's work is calibrated down to fractions of a second and everyone has a specific role to play. But even if the team is spot on with their responsibilities, the weather and other environmental factors can impede their efforts and ruin months of preparation. In her contribution to the Scientists in the Field series, writer Ilima Loomis uses Habbal's preparation for the 2017 eclipse in the United States to illuminate all the intricacies of the meticulous operation to study the heart of the solar system.

"For six years, Shadia had been helping the country get ready," talking to local governments, first responders, parks, companies and schools. During the final 17 months, she prepared for her own undertaking, the biggest and most expensive of her career to date: "more than twenty-five scientists and engineers from a dozen universities, observatories, private companies, and other institutions... spread... out at several different sites dotted along a one-thousand-mile (1,600km) stretch of the eclipse's path." Eclipse Chaser builds the suspense of this extraordinary project and places readers in a state of anticipation as various factors (like wildfires) threaten to quash the team's ambitious plans. Images of equipment and preparation juxtaposed against serene scientists watching the skies for clouds or smoke drive home the high stakes.

Loomis's descriptions of this complex science are accompanied by special supplemental sections that make the book even more accessible, offering explanations of concepts like solar wind or illustrating the tools the scientists use. Amanda Cowan's photographs bring the reader closer to the action of the eclipse chase. Her pictures vividly capture mood and emotion, adding a truly human element to the adventure: the event is more than data in a textbook, it's hopes and dreams built on a few precious minutes. Readers will surely feel invested in it all, hoping for a successful result. Budding astronomers should find much to enjoy in these pages and the Eclipse Chaser herself is likely to spark a light of interest in others as well. --Jen Forbus, freelancer

Shelf Talker: Over 17 months, a solar physicist prepares for the "Great American Eclipse" hoping to gather important data in only a couple minutes of total eclipse observation.

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