Shelf Awareness for Thursday, December 19, 2019

Margaret K. McElderry Books: Spell Bound by F.T. Lukens

Forge: Mr Katō Plays Family by Milena Michiko Flašar, translated by Caroline Froh

Ballantine Books: The Wishing Game by Meg Shaffer

Island Press: The Jewel Box: How Moths Illuminate Nature's Hidden Rules by Tim Blackburn

Berkley Books: Business or Pleasure by Rachel Lynn Solomon

Berkley Books: The First Ladies by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray

Texas Bookman Presents Texas Remainder Expo

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

Quotation of the Day

Author-Publisher-Bookseller Kelly Link on Bookselling

Kelly Link and Gavin Grant

"Independent bookstores can function as third spaces. They connect readers from their local communities with books, writers, and creative and political projects. They reflect the tastes and interests of that community. The Pioneer Valley is already rich in notable bookstores. Gavin and I have an interest in science fiction and fantasy, as well as work in translation, poetry, and children's literature. We'll build up those sections and, along the way, figure out what Easthampton readers want in a bookstore. My personal goal is to handsell as many copies of Molly Gloss's The Hearts of Horses and Robert Jackson Bennett's City of Stairs as possible."

--Author Kelly Link in a q&a with Poets & Writers about Book Moon, the bookstore she and husband Gavin J. Grant (also owners of Small Beer Press) opened this fall in Easthampton, Mass.

William Morrow & Company: Ink Blood Sister Scribe by Emma Törzs


Bertelsmann's German Publishers to Join Penguin Random House

An additional note about the announcement yesterday that Bertelsmann will buy the 25% stake in Penguin Random House still owned by Pearson and thus become full owner of PRH:

Once the deal is approved by regulators and completed, likely in the second quarter of 2020, Bertelsmann's German trade publishing operations, Verlagsgruppe Random House, which was not included in the 2013 merger of Penguin and Random House and remained a fully owned subsidiary of Bertelsmann, will become part of Penguin Random House, Buchreport reported.

Currently PRH has some 275 separate presses and imprints, and Verlagsgruppe Random House has 47, which means that after the merger, PRH will have nearly 325.

William Morrow & Company: A Death in Denmark: The First Gabriel Præst Novel by Amulya Malladi

U.K.'s Book People Files for Bankruptcy; Industry Rallies for Small Publisher

U.K. online bookseller the Book People has gone into administration (similar to filing Chapter 11 in the U.S.) and appointed Toby Underwood and Zelf Hussain from PricewaterhouseCoopers as administrators, the Bookseller reported. Founded by Ted Smart and Seni Glaister in 1988, the company currently employs approximately 400 people and does more than 76% of sales through its online platform, with the balance "via employed and self-employed distributors who deliver mobile book school fairs and buses, and pop-up stores in workplaces."

Noting that the decision was a result of the "difficult trading environment that the business has been experiencing, combined with increasing working capital pressures," PwC said there will be no immediate job losses and Christmas orders already placed will be fulfilled, the Bookseller noted, adding that "publishers, however, will be concerned about unpaid bills on stock already supplied to the firm, or sitting in its warehouse."

Underwood, restructuring partner at PwC, said: "I appreciate the obvious concerns that staff in particular will have as we move towards Christmas. Whilst the administrators have funding to meet the payroll for December, the longer-term prospects for the business, staff, customers and suppliers will clearly be dependent upon whether a sale can be secured."

Galley Beggar Press, publisher of Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann, which won the Goldsmiths Prize and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize, said that the move had put the independent publisher "under threat" because the Book People owes the press more than £40,000 (about $52,640) "and that is make-or-break for a small company like us."

Galley Beggar quickly launched an emergency gofundme campaign yesterday, noting: "One of the painful things about this is that we would never normally take the risk of having someone owe us £40k. We entered into a partnership with the Book People as part of our involvement with the Booker Prize this year and Ducks, Newburyport's shortlisting. The Book People offer hardback versions of the shortlist to their readers, and as soon as we learned that we were longlisted, we were put in touch with the Book People and made to understand that everyone on the shortlist would need to supply an edition. They wanted 8,000 books, and would pay just over £40,000. It was a sizeable undertaking. It's the sort of money that we never normally play with, but it was part of the schedule and the competition and when Ducks, Newburyport made the shortlist, we did it.... [W]e've been on the phone to the Book People this morning. They will not be paying us the money in the immediate future.... It does feel like make or break, and we need the readers who have supported us every step of the way."

The Guardian reported that fellow publishers, authors and booksellers were rallying behind the Norwich-based publisher, with donors including the National Centre for Writing and Arts Council England's literature director Sarah Crown.

"Viewed in isolation, Galley Beggar is an exceptional force in British publishing. Viewed in context, they’re an essential component of a broad and interdependent ecology that is better, richer and brighter because of them. Supporting them benefits all of us," said Crown.

It took less than a day for Galley Beggar to surpass its £40,000 goal. In an update, co-founders Sam Jordison and Eloise Millar wrote: "Thank you--again, again. It's been an incredible day. The generosity we've seen has been overwhelming. And thanks to that generosity, we're saved. So, the important thing we have to say in this update is that our emergency is over. As I write this, we're at a point where we've raised almost as much as we were expecting from the Book People....

"Anyway, we had no idea when we set up this morning in a panic (and didn't really know what we were doing or what would happen) that we'd be secure at the end of the day. It's quite a feeling--and we're safe because of you. Thank you."

AuthorBuzz for the Week of 02.06.23

Winners Named for Inaugural Nancy Olson Bookseller Award

The winners of the inaugural Nancy Olson Bookseller Award, given in honor of the late founder of Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, N.C., to Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance booksellers (but not owners), are Carol Moyer, bookseller and former children's manager at Quail Ridge, and Todd Ketcham, manager of the Book Cellar in Lake Worth, Fla. Each receives $2,000.

The awards were launched last month with an anonymous donation from an author who admired Olson and honors booksellers who embody the spirit of Olson's bookselling legacy of supporting writers--especially new writers--other booksellers, and community outreach.

Carol Moyer

One of the people who nominated Moyer commented: "While Carol's greatest satisfaction at QRB may be experiencing the joy of putting the right book in a child's hands, there's no doubt that her love of children and children's books has profoundly touched the community. Her work fits perfectly with Nancy Olson's own deep commitment to enriching lives."

Moyer called Olson "a shining star in the bookselling world, and she was my inspiration and will always have my endless admiration. That my colleagues selected me for the award this year is very deep praise and I am very grateful. Independent bookstores are a vital piece of the cultural landscape in their communities, as they provide the richness of literature in a setting where folks may gather to explore and share ideas... There is no greater reward for me than putting the right book in the hands of the right child at the right time."

Todd Ketcham

In nominating Ketcham, the owners of the Book Cellar wrote: "He is more than an employee, he is a conduit between business and community, between people and experiences. We could not run this business without him, and his devotion to books and the people around him set a shining example for all the wonderful things possible when someone can work with their passion each and every day."

Ketcham commented: "As many booksellers will tell you, we do not do this with the expectation of financial reward. To share the love of reading with our friends and patrons is reward enough. Winning the Nancy Olson Bookseller Award is both a surprise and a much-needed boon. In an era of increasing isolation, it is amazing to me that bookstores retain the oft-overlooked ability to bring people from disparate walks of life together in common purpose. If bookstores are cultural lighthouses erected in our communities, then booksellers are the lighthouse tenders that keep fanning the flames of knowledge. My only hope is that those flames keep burning bright for many a long year."

The winners were selected by Sarah Goddin from Quail Ridge; SIBA's Linda-Marie Barrett; Nancy Olson's husband, Jim; and the donor of the gifts.

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Killing Me by Michelle Gagnon

The Flying Camel in Hagerstown, Md., Closes

The Flying Camel Literary Cafe and Piano Bar, a jazz club, cafe and bar in downtown Hagerstown, Md., that added a bookstore in its lobby earlier this year, officially closed last Friday, the Herald-Mail reported.

Owner Julie Castillo and her husband opened the cafe in Hagerstown's Arts District in 2018, and for the first several months had a strong run. But as part of the city's Urban Improvement Project, construction began throughout the Arts District, and soon business began to suffer. Castillo told the Herald-Mail that despite having a loyal following, the Flying Camel was simply not doing enough business.

"We were trying to create an inclusive space where everyone felt welcome, where the whole community could come together; a place for writers and musicians and artists and thinkers," said Castillo. "A community space where there would always be something going on where people could come in and relax, have a sandwich, have a nice drink."

Texas Bookman Presents Texas Remainder Expo

Obituary Note: Joe Hammond

British writer and playwright Joe Hammond, "who wrote movingly about his diagnosis with motor neurone disease (MND) and his own mortality," died November 30, the Guardian reported. He was 50. Hammond "became famous in 2018 when he wrote for the Guardian about writing 33 cards for his two young sons, Tom and Jimmy, for the birthdays he would not live to see."

His memoir, A Short History of Falling: Everything I Observed About Love Whilst Dying, was published this year and "was praised widely for its humor and calmness," the Guardian wrote, adding that days before his death, he finished writing an article about the end of his life.

Describing Hammond as a remarkable person, Helen Garnons-Williams, his editor at HarperCollins, said: "His memoir is a lasting legacy: a book of consolation, wisdom, and--most astonishingly--wonder. Above all, it's a celebration of love. Joe was hugely loved, and will be hugely missed."

The Bookseller noted that as a playwright, Hammond "took part in the Royal Court Studio Writers' Group in 2012, having previously been mentored by the theatre and BBC. His debut London production Where the Mangrove Grows played at Theatre503 in 2012 and was later published by Bloomsbury."

Hammond's agent, Will Francis, observed: "Joe's mind only seemed to become sharper as his disease progressed. He finished writing another extraordinary piece--a dispatch from the very end of life--just a few days ago. I hope Gill, Tom and Jimmy will draw comfort from the book he left, which is full of both his wit and his love for them. He was a deeply original writer who used his own mortality as a lens, to see familiar things anew."

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


Image of the Day: Travel Words

Books Kinokuniya in Seattle, Wash., recently hosted the launch for Explore Every Day: 365 Daily Prompts to Refresh Your Life (Lonely Planet). The event featured an interactive activity from the book: everyone wore a name tag on which they wrote their five "travel words." Then, says author Alex Leviton, "they found someone they didn't know who'd written down a similar word, or a word they admired (e.g., adventure and challenge). Then everyone had to suggest to each other a local thing to do based on one of the person's words--the Wing Luke Museum for 'learning' or kayaking on Lake Union for 'adventure.' Everyone stayed late to keep talking, and a nine-year-old girl even did the 'buy a fruit or vegetable you've never eaten' prompt. It warmed my heart."

The Lit. Bar's Noëlle Santos: 'I Want to Build a Brand'

Noëlle Santos, owner of the Lit. Bar, Bronx, N.Y., was featured in "The Pursuit," a Chase for Business series on small business owners. Among our favorite exchanges from the q&a:

You took a big risk, leaving a successful Wall Street career to dive into one of the most notoriously challenging retail industries. What gave you the courage to make that leap?
Up until that point I had measured my success by how far away I could get from the Bronx. Reading was my window outside of my neighborhood, affording me a path towards economic mobility. But I realized that if people like me get an education and leave, we would never make this community better while preserving our culture. The project was so much bigger than me.

I also had the privilege of naiveté. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, how hard this would be, and how many moving pieces were involved. Looking back, thank God I didn't know or I would never have done it!

What else do you to do reach readers?
We shelve our books in a non-traditional way. Our classic section has books that many bookstores don't traditionally consider classics. We have a section called "Hip Hop is Poetry Too," and one called "Dear White People," that discusses race relations.

Our store has become a destination. Bronx educators bring their classes here. We also look to do non-traditional events outside the store. For example, we went to a car show where we blended hip hop and fashion and books. We're reaching unlikely readers in that way.

Do your future plans include expansion?
Yes and no. I don't think I'll take the obvious step of just opening more Lit. Bars. I want to build a brand. We recently won a grant and I'm planning to use it to convert our finished basement into a content studio. When I look at the book industry, I don't see innovation. That's why I'm looking at digital media, and creating experiences around books.

Personnel Changes at Ingram

At Ingram Content Group:

Alison Black has been promoted to director of business operations for Ingram Publisher Services in the La Vergne, Tenn., office.

Tina Elmore, who has been with the company for 32 years, has been promoted to v-p and controller for Ingram in the La Vergne office.

John Hussey has been promoted to senior manager for content acquisitions in the La Vergne office.

Martiza Matos has joined the company as senior manager marketing operations for VitalSource in the New York office and formerly worked in education technology at Wiley.

Tammy Spurlock, who has been with Ingram for 34 years, has been promoted to director of sales operations in the La Vergne office.

Nancy Morgan-Stosik has been promoted to director of customer success for VitalSource in the Raleigh, N.C., office.

Media and Movies

On Stage: To Kill a Mockingbird at Madison Square Garden

On February 26, 2020, the Broadway production of To Kill a Mockingbird will have a one-night-only, free performance at Madison Square Garden for a crowd of 18,000 public school students, marking "the first time a Broadway play [will] perform at the Manhattan arena," Playbill reported. Students of New York City Department of Education public middle and high schools from all five boroughs will be in attendance.

The performance was arranged by producers Scott Rudin and Barry Diller, with New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and schools chancellor Richard A. Carranza. The program is made possible by the support of James L. Dolan, executive chairman and CEO of the Madison Square Garden Company. Best known as the home of the New York Knicks and the New York Rangers, the Garden also hosts many concerts and other productions.

"In New York City, we're making record investments in arts education, and we thank the producers, artists, and everyone at Madison Square Garden for their incredible generosity in bringing the arts to life for our school communities," Carranza said.

The production is directed by Bartlett Sher from Aaron Sorkin's adaptation of Harper Lee's classic novel. The cast includes Ed Harris as Atticus Finch, LisaGay Hamilton as Calpurnia, Nina Grollman as Scout, Nick Robinson as Jem, Taylor Trensch as Dill and Kyle Scatliffe as Tom.

Media Heat: Michael Lewis on Late Night with Seth Meyers

Late Night with Seth Meyers repeat: Michael Lewis, author of The Fifth Risk: Undoing Democracy (Norton, $16.95, 9780393357455).

A Little Late with Lilly Singh repeat: Jenny Slate, author of Little Weirds (Little, Brown, $27, 9780316485340).

This Weekend on Book TV: Gloria Steinem

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, December 21
3 p.m. Kimberly Dark, author of Fat, Pretty, and Soon to be Old: A Makeover for Self and Society (AK Press, $16, 9781849353670).

5 p.m. Pamela Paul, co-author of How to Raise a Reader (Workman Publishing, $19.95, 9781523505302). (Re-airs Sunday at 10 p.m.)

6 p.m. Adam Minter, author of Secondhand: Travels in the New Global Garage Sale (Bloomsbury, $28, 9781635570106), at Politics and Prose in Washington, D.C.

7 p.m. Lew Paper, author of In the Cauldron: Terror, Tension, and the American Ambassador's Struggle to Avoid Pearl Harbor (Regnery, $29.99, 9781621576310). (Re-airs Sunday at 11 p.m.)

8 p.m. Holly Jackson, author of American Radicals: How Nineteenth-Century Protest Shaped the Nation (Crown, $28, 9780525573098), at Porter Square Books in Cambridge, Mass.

8:50 p.m. Yancey Strickler, author of This Could Be Our Future: A Manifesto for a More Generous World (Viking, $25, 9780525560821).

10 p.m. Freeman Hrabowski, author of The Empowered University: Shared Leadership, Culture Change, and Academic Success (Johns Hopkins University Press, $34.95, 9781421432915). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. Alan Dershowitz, author of Guilt by Accusation: The Challenge of Proving Innocence in the Age of #MeToo (Hot Books, $25.99, 9781510757530). (Re-airs Sunday at 2 p.m.)

Sunday, December 22
12 a.m. Gloria Steinem, author of The Truth Will Set You Free, But First It Will Piss You Off!: Thoughts on Life, Love, and Rebellion (Random House, $22, 9780593132685). (Re-airs Sunday at 7:15 p.m.)

1 p.m. Lawrence Lessig, author of They Don't Represent Us: Reclaiming Our Democracy (Dey Street, $26.99, 9780062945716).

5:45 p.m. Peter Mattis and Matthew Brazil, author of Chinese Communist Espionage: An Intelligence Primer (Naval Institute Press, $45, 9781682473030). (Re-airs Monday at 6:30 a.m.)

Books & Authors

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, December 24:

Watchmen Companion by Alan Moore, illustrated by Dave Gibbons (DC Comics, $39.99, 9781779502391) expands on the Watchmen graphic novel with new and previously published material.

I, Cosmo by Carlie Sorosiak (Walker Books US, $16.99, 9781536207699) features a golden retriever narrator trying to keep his family together.

Princess in Black and the Bathtime Battle by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale, illustrated by LeUyen Pham (Candlewick, $14.99, 9781536202212) is the seventh installment in the Princess in Black series.

The Align Method: 5 Movement Principles for a Stronger Body, Sharper Mind, and Stress-Proof Life by Aaron Alexander (Grand Central, $28, 9781538716144) gives ways to improve posture and body alignment.

Spellwork for Self-Care: 40 Spells to Soothe the Spirit by Potter Gift (Clarkson Potter, $12.99, 9781984822895) is a guide to witchcraft.

Anti-Diet: Reclaim Your Time, Money, Well-Being, and Happiness Through Intuitive Eating by Christy Harrison (Little, Brown, $28, 9780316420358) advises against strict dieting.

Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything by BJ Fogg (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28, 9780358003328) is a guide to habit formation via incremental and flexible lifestyle changes. (December 31.)

The Switch: Ignite Your Metabolism with Intermittent Fasting, Protein Cycling, and Keto by James W. Clement (Gallery, $26.99, 9781982115395) provides weight loss tips. (December 31.)

Organic Gardening for Everyone: Homegrown Vegetables Made Easy by CaliKim (Cool Springs Press, $22.99, 9780760365342).

Little Women, based on the novel by Louisa May Alcott, opens December 27. Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Timothée Chalamet, Laura Dern, Meryl Streep and Bob Odenkirk star in the story of four sisters coming of age in the aftermath of the Civil War.

Just Mercy, based on the memoir by Bryan Stevenson, opens December 27. Michael B. Jordan stars as a civil rights defense attorney fighting to free a death row prisoner. A movie tie-in edition (Spiegel & Grau, $17, 9780593133934) is available.

IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:

For this week:

A Madness of Sunshine: A Novel by Nalini Singh (Berkley, $27, 9780593099131). "Singh brings us into the wild side of New Zealand, to a tiny village where the new cop knows everybody by name and really cares about protecting them. Maya has returned to find her old school friends greatly changed--and one may be a serial killer. This thriller is compelling; the characters are fresh and exciting but realistic. The tension builds with every page turned, right up to the finale--wow!" --Karen Bakshoian, Letterpress Books, Portland, Me.

Winter Grave: A Novel by Helene Tursten, translated by Marlaine Delargy (Soho Crime, $26.95, 9781641290760). "Helene Tursten has crafted a fast-paced Swedish police drama that is no-nonsense and utterly delightful. Two children turn up missing in a small town, and when the main suspect, a teenage boy, won't defend himself, the town turns on him. A spree of seemingly unconnected murders flusters the police, while young detective Embla sorts through the mess with panache and grace. The sharp, well-thought-out, complex plotting will keep you up at night. Very enjoyable." --Becky Reed, Skylark Bookshop, Columbia, Mo.

The Paragon Hotel: A Novel by Lyndsay Faye (Putnam, $17, 9780735210776). "Good gracious. I just adore all things written by Lyndsay Faye. Like her glorious Gods of Gotham series, The Paragon Hotel is a clever, fast-paced read with a unique ensemble of characters. Set during the Prohibition era, the novel bounces between the mafia-ridden streets of Harlem and the racially tense community of Portland, Oregon. Steeped in historical detail, The Paragon Hotel is wickedly smart and wholly entertaining. Faye has given readers another deviously delicious story." --Anderson McKean, Page and Palette, Fairhope, Ala.

For Ages 4 to 8
Pluto Gets the Call by Adam Rex, illustrated by Laurie Keller (Beach Lane, $17.99, 9781534414532). "Pluto is happy to meet readers and show them around the neighborhood. When a call comes in from scientists on Earth, Pluto hears that it's no longer considered a planet. This prompts a journey through the solar system, where Pluto shares the sad news. Adam Rex's clever language paired with Laurie Keller's spirited illustrations make for a wonderful collaboration!" --Cathy Berner, Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, Tex.

For Ages 9 to 12
Fearless Felines: 30 True Tales of Courageous Cats by Kimberlie Hamilton (Scholastic, $9.99, 9781338355833). "What a fun and informative book! Not only do we have some great stories about cats, we also learn some superstitions and fun facts. Beautifully illustrated and a must for cat lovers." --Debbie Buck, Vintage Books, Vancouver, Wash.

For Teen Readers
Girls of Storm and Shadow by Natasha Ngan (jimmy patterson, $18.99, 9780316528672). "A stunning sequel to Girls of Paper and Fire! This book is enticing, powerful, and filled with a fierce romance and a hungry struggle for survival. Hunted down and pursued to the ends of the kingdom, Lei and her fellow rebels work to overthrow the cruel king, who narrowly escaped their assassination. Turmoil dominates Lei's thoughts and actions: was their sacrifice in vain if the cruel demon king is replaced with an equal just as power-hungry and domineering? Brilliant and astounding, this book will take your breath away!" --Anna Rose Carleton, The Well-Read Moose, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

For next week:

Anyone: A Novel by Charles Soule (Harper Perennial, $21.99, 9780062890634). "In Anyone, Charles Soule takes what was so fun about his novel The Oracle Year and perfects it. This takes the high-paced adventure of a spy novel or an action film and pairs it with the thoughtfulness that is found in really good science fiction. Soule puts his characters through unimaginable stressors to make us evaluate our views on race, identity, humanity, and the very existence of the self." --Faith Parke-Dodge, Page 158 Books, Wake Forest, N.C.

Labyrinth of Ice: The Triumphant and Tragic Greely Polar Expedition by Buddy Levy (St. Martin's Press, $29.99, 9781250182197). "There are very few narratives of the tribulations and deprivations of polar expedition. Ernest Shackleton's is the most well-known; the Franklin Expedition's is the most horrific, but we have no survivors to recount it for us. The Greely Expedition of 1881, however, remains largely unknown. Here, Buddy Levy has resurrected the forgotten story of the U.S. Army Signal Corps' participation in the First International Polar Year explorations using the recollections and diaries of the participants. That anyone survived is almost incredible; that we have their stories and photographs even more so. Gripping." --Jeff L. Battis, Sausalito Books by the Bay, Sausalito, Calif.

Not the Girl You Marry: A Novel by Andie J. Christopher (Berkley, $16, 9781984802682). "This is a fun and engaging read. Don't let the concept (a role reversal of How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days) or cute cover fool you. There is a lot more depth to this plot than meets the eye; it's about being seen and accepting your true self. Jack and Hannah both try to be what they think others want them to be but, because of their deceptions due to job obligations, are actually their natural selves. I can't wait for book two." --Audrey Huang, Belmont Books, Belmont, Pa.

For Ages 4 to 8
Little Mole's Wish by Sang-Keun Kim (Schwartz & Wade, $17.99, 9780525581345). "Such a sweet story about a lonely mole who takes the idea of making friends quite literally! The illustrations depict Little Mole's imaginative nature as he turns a big ball of snow into a friend, someone with whom he can wait for the bus and keep warm with a new hat. The winter landscape, while soft and comforting, is also stark, allowing us to feel the chill Little Mole feels when he thinks he's lost his new friend. This will be the perfect book to read with loved ones while sipping hot cocoa. Yay to the power of imagination and friendship (and cheers to kind bus drivers and listening grandmas)!" --Sara Wigglesworth, Green Apple Books & Music, San Francisco, Calif.

For Ages 9 to 12
Voyage of the Frostheart by Jamie Littler (Viking, $15.99, 9780451481344). "I love a good, cold read on a hot day. What better way to spend it than with the crew of the Frostheart? When Ash and his new friends set out on a mission to find his family, we get to go along for a wild, chilly adventure in the imaginative landscape Littler has created. Keep sailing, Frostheart." --Rosemary Pugliese, Malaprop's Bookstore/Café, Asheville, N.C.

For Teen Readers
The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White (Delacorte, $18.99, 9780525581673). "Absolutely stunning. This fantastic, original retelling will have you hooked as you journey alongside Arthur and Guinevere to root out the dark magic creeping into Camelot's borders. But reader, beware! Appearances can be deceiving, titles are not always telling, and sometimes you have to be your own knight in shining armor. Kiersten White throws twist upon epic twist into this classic Arthurian legend to create a Camelot all her own. White is a force to be reckoned with." --Kayla Roy, An Unlikely Story, Plainville, Mass.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: A Long Petal of the Sea

A Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allende (Ballantine Books, $28 hardcover, 336p., 9781984820150, January 21, 2020)

In the wake of the Spanish Civil War, thousands of Spaniards fled the victorious dictator's harsh regime, often spending months or years in refugee camps under brutal conditions. Thanks to the intervention of the poet Pablo Neruda, more than 2,000 Spanish refugees emigrated to Chile aboard a French steamer, the Winnipeg, in 1939. Isabel Allende (The House of the Spirits; In the Midst of Winter) traces the lives of a refugee couple, Roser and Victor Dalmau, and their connection to a powerful Chilean family in her sweeping novel A Long Petal of the Sea.

Allende's saga explores the Spain-Chile connection through the lives of Victor, an idealistic medical student, and Roser, a young piano prodigy who comes to Barcelona to study music with Victor's father. She ends up staying at the family's home and falling in love with Victor's brother, Guillem. She is carrying Guillem's child by the time both brothers are caught up in the war--Guillem in the army and Victor as a medic. A series of particularly brutal battles (one of which causes Guillem's death) forces Victor and Roser to flee the country along with Victor's mother, Carme. The three of them are separated for months, but Victor and Roser eventually are reunited and board the Winnipeg with hundreds of other refugees. In Chile, they are taken in by the idealistic son of a wealthy family, and rather grudgingly agree to live as man and wife, caring for the child, Marcel. Allende follows the intertwined fortunes of both families over the next six decades, as Victor and Roser struggle to build a life out of components they would not have chosen. They gradually come to respect, admire and then love one another, but both of them wrestle with the realities of lives shaped powerfully by war and death.

Allende's narrative, which shifts back and forth between Spain and Chile, explores the state of constantly being exiles. Even as Roser and Victor build professional and personal lives in Chile, they long for Spain and worry about loved ones left behind, especially Victor's mother. They pay close attention to international politics, but for them, Spain and Chile are the world's twin poles--a different angle for Allende's U.S. readers. Like many refugees, they deal with complex emotions surrounding both the land of their birth and their adopted homeland, and Allende delves into the swirl of grief, love, pride, guilt and longing. Like their love for Chile, Victor and Roser's relationship is neither conventional nor tidy, but their bond grows deep and strong over many years, and Allende brings them through joys and challenges with grit, grace and stubborn hope. A Long Petal of the Sea is sprawling, sometimes difficult but ultimately satisfying. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

Shelf Talker: Isabel Allende's epic family saga follows the fortunes of a Spanish couple who emigrate to Chile after the Spanish Civil War.

AuthorBuzz: Berkley Books: Lemon Curd Killer (Tea Shop Mystery #25) by Laura Childs
AuthorBuzz: Nonlinear Publishing LLC: Moral Code by Lois and Ross Melbourne
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