Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Tordotcom: The Saint of Bright Doors by Vajra Chandrasekera

Minotaur Books: Deadlock: A Thriller (Dez Limerick Novel #2) by James Byrne

Ballantine Books: The Second Ending by Michelle Hoffman

Tor Books: One for My Enemy by Olivie Blake

Henry Holt & Company: Warrior Girl Unearthed by Angeline Boulley

Little, Brown Ink: The Princess and the Grilled Cheese Sandwich (a Graphic Novel) by Deya Muniz

Flatiron Books: Once Upon a Prime: The Wondrous Connections Between Mathematics and Literature by Sarah Hart


Pearson Selling Remaining 25% of PRH to Bertelsmann

Pearson, the U.K. publishing company that merged its Penguin subsidiary with Bertelsmann's Random House in 2013 to create Penguin Random House, is selling its remaining 25% of PRH to Bertelsmann, which will become sole owner, the Bookseller reported. The sale is expected to close in the first half of next year. The sale price is about £530 million (approximately $694.2 million).

When the merger of Penguin and Random House took place, Bertelsmann had a 53% share and Pearson had 47%. In 2017, Pearson sold nearly half of its share of PRH to Bertelsmann, giving Bertelsmann a 75% stake and indicated that eventually it wanted to sell the rest of the company, too.

Thomas Rabe, chairman and CEO of Bertelsmann and chairman of the board of directors at PRH, commented: "The increase to 100% is a milestone for Bertelsmann. We will become the sole owner of the world's biggest trade publishing group, which sets standards with its creative diversity, global marketing power, and commercial strength. We will continue to expand Penguin Random House in the coming years, through organic growth and acquisitions. The book business is part of Bertelsmann's identity."

Markus Dohle, CEO of PRH, commented: "The full acquisition of Penguin Random House is a testament to Bertelsmann's belief in the future of books and reading, as well as their trust in our colleagues around the world to be able to grow our company over the next several years. We are extremely well positioned to continue to take advantage of both organic and acquisitive growth opportunities in existing and new markets globally."

Sourcebooks Young Readers: Global: One Fragile World. an Epic Fight for Survival. by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin, illustrated by Giovanni Rigano

N.J.'s Inkwood Books Moving Next Year

Inkwood Books, a general-interest independent bookstore in East Haddonfield, N.J., is moving to a new, larger space early next year, NJ Pen reported.

After her current lease is up in February, store owner Julie Beddingfield will move her nearly five-year-old store just a few hundred feet down the road, from 32 King's Highway East to 106 King's Highway East. In addition to being bigger, the new space is wheelchair accessible, adjacent to a popular coffee shop and will be renovated to feature large display windows at the front of the store.

"We're always balancing the ability to have events in the store versus the ability for people to shop," Beddingfield said of her current space. "We need more storage, the ability to be more efficient with our purchasing, and we need space to do that."

Beddingfield will use the extra space not only to expand her inventory but start hosting more community events, including tabletop gaming for teenagers, writing workshops and book clubs.

Tor Books: One for My Enemy by Olivie Blake

Soft Opening Set for Still North Books & Bar

Still North Books & Bar, Hanover, N.H., will have its soft opening tomorrow, December 19, offering books initially and "adding on the rest of our food and beverage programs as we train our team and finalize our licensing. Can't wait to see you for some celebrating and holiday shopping," the bookstore posted on Facebook recently.

On Sunday, Still North added: "Sometimes after a crazy 'previe' day, you just need to take a minute to read a story aloud with your favorite children's book expert. Our official soft opening is Thursday. In the meantime, we'll be manically arranging and rearranging our inventory--and finding the time for the occasional story time break!"

Located in the former Dartmouth Bookstore space, Still North is owned by Allie Levy, who said earlier this year that she credits her time working as events coordinator at BookBar in Denver, Colo., with inspiring the new venture: "When I was in Hanover in November [2018], I couldn't stop thinking how Hanover needed an independent bookstore. I had seen how BookBar worked in Denver and thought how that idea could really work in Hanover, too."

In a letter to the editor published last month in the Dartmouth, Levy wrote: "Student needs and community needs are not--and should not be--mutually exclusive.... When I was a student, downtown had more student-oriented businesses than it does today (R.I.P. Bagel Basement and Five Olde). However, the town lacked spaces for students to come together with the community­--beyond merely sitting in close proximity at a restaurant. Throughout the planning process, the Still North team has kept this need in mind--making design choices, selecting books, even choosing a name that I hope will appeal to both students and residents."

GLOW: Blackstone Publishing: The Wisdom of Morrie: Living and Aging Creatively and Joyfully by Morrie Schwartz, edited by Rob Schwartz

Flintridge Bookstore & Coffeehouse Signs Lease for New Space

Flintridge will move from this location in February.

Peter and Lenora Wannier, owners of Flintridge Bookstore & Coffeehouse in La Cañada Flintridge, Calif., have signed a lease on a new space, La Cañada Valley Sun reported.

In February, the bookstore will move into a smaller space at 858 Foothill Blvd., less than 400 yards away from its current location. The 2,300-square-foot site was once the home of a Citizens Business Bank and is just over a third of the size of the store's current space. Wannier plans to move the store section by section, so as not to disrupt business during the move, and while the bookstore will no longer have a cafe, there will likely still be some kind of community space.

"My vision of this is not that we'd pack everything into a million boxes," Wannier told the Valley Sun. "If we move a piece at a time there might be a section or two in flux but we're basically open and can make sales."

The Wanniers opened the store in 2007 and put the building on the market in June. In November, they sold the building for $4.9 million to a mortgage lender. The new lease is for five years with a three-year option.

G.P. Putnam's Sons: The Three of Us by Ore Agbaje-Williams

Bravo's Book Nook Opens in Manhattan

Bravo's Book Nook, a bookstore specializing in books on theater, music and dance, has opened in the lobby of the Off-Broadway Player's Theatre in New York City, per NAIBAHood News. 

Located at 115 MacDougal Street in Greenwich Village, the store also carries plays, children's books and books about the history of Greenwich Village. Owners Michael Sgouros and Brenda Bell hope to start using the 200+ seat theater for a variety of book and author events.

Blink: Come Home Safe by Brian G. Buckmire

Carrigan Named New Audible CEO

Bob Carrigan

Bob Carrigan has been named the new CEO of Audible, Inc., effective January 2. reporting to founder Don Katz, who will become executive chairman. Audible is a subsidiary of

Carrigan, who most recently was the executive chairman of data and analytics company Genscape, previously served as chairman and CEO of Dun & Bradstreet, CEO of IDG, and spent four years at America Online as senior v-p of interactive marketing.

"Bob Carrigan is among the most accomplished, creative, intellectually adept and inspirational CEOs I have watched succeed over my 20 years of studying and chronicling businesses and my 24 years leading Audible," Katz said, adding that Carrigan "has lived Audible's People Principles in his own way over three decades. To welcome someone like Bob as CEO is a thrilling leap forward for me, for our talented and committed employees around the world and for our many millions of loyal listeners and the many millions more to come."

Carrigan commented: "Audible's evolution from start-up to global powerhouse is a remarkable business and cultural phenomenon. I could not be more honored and excited to join Don and the talented people who have worked so hard to serve millions of customers and so many of our most gifted professional creators. I'm looking forward to being part of Audible's next chapter as it soars into the future."


Image of the Day: Iraq War Vet's Walk Across the U.S.

There was a full house at Milwaukee's Boswell Book Company for siblings Tom Voss and Rebecca Anne Nguyen, authors of Where War Ends: A Combat Veteran's 2,700-Mile Journey to Heal--Recovering from PTSD and Moral Injury Through Meditation (New World Library). The book tells the story of Voss, an Iraq war veteran, and his on-foot journey across the U.S.

Bookseller's Query Brings Children's Classic Back Into Print

Liza Bernard, co-owner of the Norwich Bookstore, Norwich, Vt., "has an abiding interest in works that deserve to be in print, as does longtime publisher David R. Godine," Valley News reported in recounting the story of how one such work has found new life.

"We have this standing conversation about wonderful little gems that go out of print," Bernard said, though until recently she had never found one to recommend to Godine.

Two years ago, however, Anne Fadiman read at the bookstore from The Wine Lover's Daughter, a memoir about her father, Clifton Fadiman. During the reading, a patron asked why her favorite book by Clifton Fadiman--Wally the Wordworm, published in 1964--wasn't in print.

"The next morning, I zipped David an e-mail and I said, 'OK, I've got a project for you,' " Bernard recalled.

The rest is OP history. Valley News noted that in a typewritten note attached to a copy of the book it subsequently received, Godine wrote: "Liza instructed me to reissue it, and since I always do what she tells me, we... brought Wally back to life.”

"This isn't a book for all children," Anne Fadiman said, "but for a certain kind of nerdy, word-loving child."

Noting that Fadiman has read from the book in only a few places, including in Norwich, Valley News wrote: "If this story says anything about books and reading, it's about how they forge bonds among people who care about writing and literacy, and about the history of those things."

"One of the things that people do when they're working with people is you make connections," Bernard said. "I'm quite proud of this connection."

IPG to Distribute Meredith's TI Inc. Books

Effective January 1, Independent Publishers Group will provide sales representation and distribution services for Meredith Corporation's book publishing division, TI Inc. Books (formerly known as Time Inc. Books).

TI Inc. Books has been publishing lifestyle, cooking, biography, history and entertainment books since 1998 and is best known for brands like PEOPLE, Better Homes & Gardens, InStyle, Southern Living and REAL SIMPLE.

Recent TI Inc. Book bestsellers include What Can I Bring?: Southern Food for Any Occasion Life Serves Up by Elizabeth Heiskell, The Vegan 8: 100 Simple, Delicious Recipes Made with 8 Ingredients or Less by Brandi Doming, Minimalist Kitchen by Melissa Coleman and PEOPLE Celebrity Puzzler Superstars: Word Searches, Crosswords, Second Looks, and More by the Editors of PEOPLE.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: John Kasich on Jimmy Kimmel Live

Wendy Williams: Morris Day, co-author of On Time: A Princely Life in Funk (Da Capo Press, $27, 9780306922213).

Jimmy Kimmel Live: John Kasich, author of It's Up to Us: Ten Little Ways We Can Bring About Big Change (Hanover Square Press, $19.99, 9781335012203).

Late Night with Seth Meyers: John Lithgow, author of Dumpty: The Age of Trump in Verse (Chronicle Prism, $19.95, 9781452182759).

TV: Little Fires Everywhere

Hulu released a combo teaser clip/release date video to announce that Little Fires Everywhere, its upcoming limited series based on Celeste Ng's bestselling book, will premiere March 18, 2020, Deadline reported.

Developed and written by Liz Tigelaar (Life Unexpected, Casual), the project stars Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington, leading a cast that includes Joshua Jackson, Rosemarie DeWitt, Jade Pettyjohn, Jordan Elsass, Gavin Lewis, Megan Stott, Lexi Underwood and Huang Lu.

The series is produced by Witherspoon's Hello Sunshine, Washington's Simpson Street and ABC Signature Studios, a part of Disney Television Studios. Tigelaar will serve as creator, showrunner and executive producer. Executive producers are Witherspoon, Washington, Lauren Levy Neustadter, Pilar Savone and Lynn Shelton. Celeste Ng is also producing.

Books & Authors

Awards: DSC Prize for South Asian Lit Winner; Porchlight Best Business Books

Amitabha Bagchi's novel Half The Night Is Gone won the $25,000 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature. Organizers said the prize "has always encouraged diverse voices that bring alive the layered nuances of South Asian life, and Bagchi's novel, a post-colonial saga that unfolds over three generations, adroitly explores human relationships, and the intertwining of fates and cultures in a thoroughly Indian context. The novel's amazing attention to details, the inventive use of language, and its memorable well-defined characters make it an outstanding read."

The jury commented: "This novel, written in English, feels like a book written in an Indian language, and has the authenticity and the interiority of a work in translation without in fact being a translation. All sub-continental novelists in English since Raja Rao have striven 'to express in a language that is not one's own a sensibility that is one's own,' and this novel evokes the sensibility of not one but three Indian languages: Hindi, Urdu and Sanskrit. It weaves together three parallel stories, interrogating the relationships between men and women, fathers and sons, masters and servants, and the nation and the individual. It is epic in scope, profound in its exploration of class and gender, and elegantly assured in the way it infuses English with Indian wit and wisdom to achieve an unprecedented commingling of different literatures and cultures."


The winners in eight categories of the 2019 Business Book Awards, sponsored by Porchlight Book Co. (formerly known as 800-CEO-READ), have been announced and are all contenders for the Porchlight Business Book of the Year:

The Leadership & Strategy Book of the Year: It's How We Play the Game: Build a Business. Take a Stand. Make a Difference. by Ed Stack (Scribner)

The Management & Workplace Culture Book of the Year: Team Human by Douglas Rushkoff (Norton)

The Marketing & Sales Book of the Year: The Invisible Brand: Marketing in the Age of Automation, Big Data, and Machine Learning by William Ammerman (McGraw-Hill Education)

The Innovation & Creativity Book of the Year: Creative Trespassing: How to Put the Spark and Joy Back into Your Work and Life by Tania Katan (Currency)

The Personal Development & Human Behavior Book of the Year: How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy by Jenny Odell (Melville House)

The Current Events & Public Affairs Book of the Year: Don't Be Evil: How Big Tech Betrayed Its Founding Principles--And All of Us by Rana Foroohar (Currency)

The Narrative & Biography Book of the Year: The Economists' Hour: False Prophets, Free Markets, and the Fracture of Society by Binyamin Appelbaum (Little, Brown)

The Big Ideas & New Perspectives Book of the Year: The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power by Shoshana Zuboff (PublicAffairs)

Porchlight will announce the Business Book of the Year and the Jack Covert Award for Contribution to the Business Book Industry in New York City on January 16.

Reading with... Gillian Gill

photo: Gail Samuelson

Gillian Gill holds a Ph.D. in modern French literature from Cambridge University and has taught at Northeastern, Wellesley, Yale and Harvard. She is the author of the biographies We Two: Victoria and Albert, Nightingales, Agatha Christie and Mary Baker Eddy. Virginia Woolf: And the Women Who Shaped Her World is published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (December 3, 2019). Gill lives in suburban Boston.

On your nightstand now:

All I have on my nightstand is a printout of today's New York Times crossword. Books set my mind racing, and, if the plot is hot, I am awake half the night and a wreck all day. I do my reading on the couch during the afternoon and evening, dipping into a pile of research books on my coffee table and a menu of books on my e-reader. Lately, after a visit to Rome, I dived into ancient Roman history via Mary Beard's SPQR and Robert Graves's I, Claudius. I read so much Latin when I was young and remember none of it. The guardians of female purity were still active back then and managed to keep anything young women might actually have found interesting out of our ken. So I have had fun some digging for the real imperial dirt with Suetonius and tackling Tacitus in Latin with the Loeb Classics parallel texts.

I love memoirs, old and new. I savored Helen Macdonald's H Is for Hawk and, as a lover of Mary Karr and Jeannette Walls, I swallowed Tara Westover's Educated in one single, can-this-really-be-true-in-today's-USA? gulp. Emmanuel Carrère is a new discovery--a racy, elegant mixture of autobiography, history and contemporary critique and, by the way, brilliantly translated into English. Hilary Mantel, Jenny Diski and Jeanette Winterson are old friends from their fiction, so I've loved hearing about their lives.

I read mainly nonfiction and, when I do buy a novel--and I try to buy them out of authorial solidarity--I make no apologies for choosing (with the odd exception like Jeffrey Eugenides and Colson Whitehead) almost all women. There are so many women novelists from so many countries who are so good today, it's impossible to keep up. Jennifer Egan, Zadie Smith, Rachel Cusk, Arundhati Roy, Curtis Sittenfeld, Tessa Hadley, Nadine Gordimer, Jane Gardam, Pat Barker, Ann Patchett are just some of my favorites. I do follow a few male novelists from across the pond, as we Brits say--Ian McEwan, Alan Hollinghurst, Edward St Aubyn, David Mitchell, Colm Tóibín, Philip Pullman--but novels by canonic 20th-century white American male writers seem to bring me out in hives.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Oh dear, more than you want to know about. In my loving, secure and extremely boring childhood world, I lived mainly in and for books. Children's literature is for me an important genre and I try to keep pace with my book-loving youngest granddaughter, who swallowed Harry Potter when she was nine and went on to Lemony Snicket, reading what she is reading.

The very first book I remember, the first I owned, was Flower Fairies of the Wayside. I could barely tell a daisy from a dandelion, but I loved that book and acquired a taste for doggerel.

Your top five authors:

In no particular order; in the 19th century: Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Jane Austen, Henry James, George Eliot, Charlotte Brontë. In the 20th century: Colette, Toni Morrison, A.S. Byatt, Penelope Fitzgerald, Elena Ferrante.

Book you've faked reading:

Large stretches of Proust--and I specialized for a long time in 20th-century French fiction. Also Ulysses, I can never get Bloom past his breakfast in the tower.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Anything by Muriel Spark. She can pack more observation, comedy and comment into a single sentence than most authors in a page. I reject her cosmology but worship her style. ll Gattopardo (The Leopard) by Giovanni di Lampedusa, a revelatory exploration of the privileged life and subtle mind of a patriarch. It deserves a new English translation. Milkman by Anna Burns. The island of Ireland keeps making an outsize contribution to world literature and, though I was fascinated by Sally Rooney's Conversations with Friends and Normal People, I was overwhelmed by Burns's Milkman. It gives James Joyce a run for his money.

Book you hid from your parents:

If you can believe it, The Blue Lagoon, when I was about 14. Later, I took a secret gallop through Lady Chatterley's Lover for the dirty parts which I found a lot less hot than The Blue Lagoon.

Book that changed your life:

Books changed my life. When I learned to read, the sun came out in a rainy, grey world. Nowadays, having almost any book downloadable on a little device or deliverable to my door in days is changing my life again.

Favorite lines from a book:

In the beginning was the word. --John 1:1

The time has come, the Walrus said, to talk of many things, of shoes and ships and sealing wax, of cabbages and kings. --Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll

My heart leaps up when I behold a rainbow in the sky. --"My Heart Leaps Up" by William Wordsworth

Glory be to God for dappled things... all things counter, original, spare, strange. --"Pied Beauty" by Gerard Manley Hopkins

Books you'll never part with:

The copies of the King James Bible and the Golden Treasury I was given as a girl. My compendium of Jane Austen's novels. Villette by Charlotte Brontë. The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot. The Wings of the Dove by Henry James. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf.

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

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

What you think books should do for their readers:

Give pleasure. Explore the world. Illuminate the past. Allow us to enter the minds of other people.

Book Review

Children's Review: King and the Dragonflies

King and the Dragonflies by Kacen Callender (Scholastic, $17.99 hardcover, 272p., ages 8-12, 9781338129335, February 4, 2020)

Kacen Callender, who identifies as queer, trans POC, wrote the Stonewall and Lambda winner Hurricane Child as Kheryn Callender; they debuted their name change in May 2019 with the announcement of the sale of their upcoming transgender YA novel Felix Ever After. Callender's second middle-grade title, King and the Dragonflies, deftly treads familiar, challenging territory--race, sexual identity, death--again in a sensitive and age-appropriate manner.

Kingston Reginald James hates his name. He prefers just King, but thinks people look at him like he's a "fool" when he tells them his full name is King James. His parents' regal choice was deliberate, "so I'd remember who I am, where I came from, that I've got ancestors who used to rule their own empires before they were stolen away." King doesn't feel like royalty, though. These days, he's mostly just scared. Older brother Khalid would say, "No way you can live your life as a coward. If you're always too busy hiding, then you're not really living, are you?" But Khalid is dead at only 16, and the family, perhaps King most of all, is struggling to move on.

Khalid is buried, but King knows he's just swapped his human form for that of a dragonfly. King's too scared to tell anyone--especially his parents--for fear they'll send him off to a therapist. He's also afraid to admit how much he misses his friend Sandy. King severed their relationship after Sandy told King he was gay; Khalid overheard Sandy's confession and warned King to stay away. Being black in small-town Louisiana is provocation enough, Khalid said, "Black people aren't allowed to be gay. We've already got the whole world hating us because of our skin. We can't have them hating us because of something like that also." Besides, even if Sandy is nothing like his family, everyone knows they've got multigenerational connections to the KKK, and his older brother Mikey helped "beat a black man to death." Then Sandy goes missing and King might be the only one who knows where he is or, more importantly, why he ran.

In conflating Sandy's family's hateful background with King's own rejection of homosexuality, Callender is especially effective at exposing the many ways we unfairly dismiss, reject and harm one another. "You think my granddad is bad because he was a racist.... You're doing the same. Exact. Thing," Sandy schools King about his internalized anti-gay fears. Beyond the robust roster of crucial issues (unpunished murder, racist law enforcement, child abuse, runaways), Callender's King and the Dragonflies is ultimately a resonating family story of tragic loss, shattering consequences and finding "a new normal" enabled by unconditional love. --Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon

Shelf Talker: Kacen Callender's second middle-grade novel deftly confronts racism and homophobia as a black teen struggles to find "a new normal" after the sudden death of his brother.

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