Shelf Awareness for Thursday, November 5, 2020


Shambhala: Wait: A Love Letter to Those in Despair by Cuong Lu

Other Press: Nuestra América: My Family in the Vertigo of Translation by Claudio Lomnitz

Scholastic Press: Muted by Tami Charles

Berkley Books: The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba by Chanel Cleeton

News

Community Launches Crowdfunding Campaign for Talking Leaves

Community members, customers and friends of the store have launched a GoFundMe campaign to help support Talking Leaves... Books in Buffalo, N.Y. The campaign began on October 26 with a goal of $300,000, and has so far raised just over $47,000, with all contributions going directly to the store. 

Co-founder Jonathon Welch said the campaign was not a total shock, given the level of support the store has seen from the community over the years, but it was a "very big surprise nonetheless." The campaign itself, as well as the initial response to it, have both been "enormously heartening and gratifying."

Welch noted that even with a huge increase in web and phone orders, the store is down about 50% and struggling. They never received a PPP loan, so Talking Leaves has been operating with a reduced staff for the past seven months. The store hopes the funds generated by the campaign will allow them to catch up on rent and bills, as well as rehire some staff.

The campaign organizers wrote: "Talking Leaves has been providing books, community, and sustenance to Western New York since 1971. It has weathered many challenges in its history, but as book-lovers and Talking Leaves lovers, we don't want to witness its collapse due to this pandemic.

"Please join us in supporting the store. Businesses are disappearing from our community and from communities all over the country. It would be devastating to lose Talking Leaves after its nearly 50 years of providing us a multitude of voices, and so many opportunities for discovery."


Aftershock Comics: Kill a Man by Steve Orlando and Phillip Kennedy Johnson, illustrated by Alec Morgan


Beausoleil Books Opens in Lafayette, La.

With the slogan "Venez nous voir, Lafayette!" (come see us, Lafayette!), Beausoleil Books opened officially two weeks ago in Lafayette, La. The adjoining Whisper Room, "an intimate lounge providing a limited selection of high quality wines, charcuterie and cheese and desserts," should open later this month. The Whisper Room will be accessible from the store and will also have its own entrance.

Developing Lafayette offered a series of photos of the store and commented: "Beausoleil Books features a uniquely curated collection of new bestsellers, perennial favorites, books in French, and books by diverse authors. It also serves as a hub for visiting guests and tourists looking to get the most out of their time spent in Lafayette and the surrounding Acadiana area."

As noted here in August, "owner Bryan Dupree is opening the business with three friends he met during law school at Louisiana State University. The bookstore will carry classics, national bestsellers and titles by local and diverse authors, and the store will have a large children's section. Dupree, who is fluent in French, will be partnering with the Cultural Services of the French Embassy to promote French literature at his store."

Yesterday, Beausoleil announced the first pick for its Book du Mois Club (book of the month club): The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab.


GLOW: Beacon Press: Boyz n the Void: a mixtape to my brother by G'Ra Asim


The Book Nook in Monroe, Mich., to Close

The Book Nook, a 51-year-old new and used independent bookstore in downtown Monroe, Mich., will close permanently at the end of the year, owner Janet Berns announced on the store's Facebook page.

Berns wrote that despite weathering many challenges over the years--including big box stores, Amazon's rise, disagreements with the city and a fire in an adjacent building that closed the store for nearly a year--the store had an "underlying condition that the virus has finished off."

Noting that she cannot "continue to go further into debt," Berns will be closing the bookstore permanently after getting her customers through Christmas. She encouraged community members and friends of the store to dig out their old gift certificates and make an appointment to come in and shop.

"Unfortunately, all the best wishes and moral support, which is very much appreciated, doesn't pay the bills," Berns wrote.


Berkley Books: Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q Sutanto


International Update: English Bookshops Enter New Lockdown

New Covid-19 lockdown regulations started today in England, where "non-essential retail," including bookshops, must close for browsing until December 2, the Bookseller reported. English booksellers now join their colleagues in Ireland, where restrictions that went into force October 21 call for people to stay at home and for non-essential shops to close for six weeks, but will reviewed after four. In Wales, a briefer "firebreak" lockdown is in place until November 9.

At Jaffe & Neale before the latest shutdown.

As booksellers prepared for a second novel coronavirus lockdown, they considered the prospects of having to rely on "click and collect" services, as well as online sales, to sustain their businesses. Patrick Neale, owner of Jaffe & Neale Bookshop & Cafe in Chipping Norton, told the Bookseller that while the shop will offer click and collect, he was concerned about the lack of clarity regarding safety under the new restrictions, and he would be selective about frequency: "It doesn't make economic sense, we're going to have to be more hardnosed about the local delivery, it will have to be very local delivery and maybe not every day."

Sanchita Basu De Sarkar, manager of the Children's Bookshop in Muswell Hill, London, said: "Between our website, which has been a labor of love these past few months, and the new bookshop.org, we're hoping that our customers have plenty of options through which to support us. It's been heartening seeing our locals come in and shop early, and many have expressed interest in our lockdown services."

Louise Ashmore, co-owner of Read, Holmfirth, said, "Our customers know what to do now and have continued to make use of e-mail and phone to order books so it won't be as hard to get the message out this time. We think click and collect is a feasible and safe option and we're carrying on delivering/posting as we have been throughout."

Richard Drake, owner of Drake the Bookshop, Stockton-on-Tees, observed: "The big thing that the publishers can do and authors and newspapers and bloggers and anyone who has an interest in books is, if they can't point people in the direction of a specific shop or website (always the best option) drop the A word link and promote uk.bookshop.org until they are blue in the face. Yes I know that for the publishers Amazon are a customer, but they have had more than their fair share of advertising over the years, now, it's our turn, because it's our hour of need."

---

The American Book Center, the indie English-language bookstore in the Netherlands, with stores in Amsterdam & the Hague, is upping its postal game: "Starting from this week we offer free shipping for orders over €20 [about $24] within the Netherlands. If you want to shop for fun, shop online!"

--- 

In India, Walden, "one of Hyderabad's most loved bookshops," was forced to close at the end of October, after 30 years in business, due to lost revenue from pandemic restrictions, the Hindu reported. The Somajiguda outlet closed in 2019 and the bookshop was operating from its Gachibowli and Banjara Hills branches.

"The competition from online retailers was hurting but the Covid-19 lockdown had a big impact on our business. How can we run a business without being physically present?" said Shobha Prasad, who, along with husband, Ram Prasad, started the shop in Somajiguda in 1990.

Named after Henry David Thoreau's classic work, the bookstore "became a landmark and a benchmark for how books were sold and bought in Hyderabad in the '90s," the Hindu noted, adding that the business "had a greeting cards section and music section beside the stationery one. The festive season between Deepavali and New Year could see the shop draped in fairy lights, Christmas trees and higher decibel levels in the toys section. But this year, there will be an eerie silence."

---

Speaking of the holidays and necessary distractions, Canadian bookseller Munro's Books, Victoria, B.C., posted on Instagram: "Every year in early November, a few Munroids come to work in our grubbiest clothes. Sneakers and yoga pants aren't exactly elf gear, but by the end of our shift, we'll be covered in dust, glitter, and tiny scratches from the branches of an immense artificial tree: battle scars any Christmas elves would be proud to sport. Over the course of one morning, the store will be transformed....

"Traditionally, we wait until after Remembrance Day to get in the Christmas spirit. This year, we thought we could use the distraction a bit sooner. And so, we imagine, could you." --Robert Gray


Obituary Note: Val Warner

Val Warner, a gifted poet, editor, scholar, translator, teacher and occasional short-story writer who "was largely responsible for the rediscovery of the early-20th-century poet Charlotte Mew, whose collected poetry and prose she edited for Carcanet/Virago in 1981," died October 10, the Guardian reported. She was 74.

Warner's book The Centenary Corbière (1975), with her own translations from French of Tristan Corbière's poems and prose writings, was published to great acclaim "and drew attention to a poet whose reputation had waned somewhat in comparison with that of Jules Laforgue, say, or Charles Baudelaire," the Guardian noted.

Her poetry collection Under the Penthouse was released in 1973, while Before Lunch (1986) and Tooting Idyll (1998) followed "at lengthy intervals, and were well received," the Guardian wrote. Alan Brownjohn, writing in the New Statesman, praised Warner's "sharp, unnervingly observant comments on the contemporary scene [which were] full of wit, alertness and surprise." She was much in demand for poetry readings, and contributed individual poems to a range of periodicals. She was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1998.

During the last years of her life, "Warner became increasingly eccentric and reclusive," the Guardian wrote. She "gave up poetry and devoted herself to writing, simultaneously, 10 or so novels, none of which was ever completed. They went through many draft versions and revisions and generated a vast array of notes, which were printed out and dispersed in piles all over the house. She was utterly indifferent to ordinary home comforts or her own well-being.... [Her death] was a tragic end to a life of high principle, endeavor and achievement."


Notes

Napa Bookmine: 'Everyone Drinking Water? Taking Deep Breaths?'

"Everyone drinking water?" Napa Bookmine, Napa, Calif., asked on post-election Wednesday. "Taking deep breaths? Sending love to our Bookmine fam today! We will be open regular hours at all three locations if you need a literary distraction or a friendly face. Scroll through for some things that might help you through the day, week, month, year. All available at our Oxbow shop!"


Chalkboard: Wheatberry Books

Sharing a photo of the shop's chalkboard message ("This Whole Store Is a Shelf-Help Section!"), Wheatberry Books, Chillicothe, Ohio, posted on Facebook: "The votes have been counted and FICTION claimed a runaway victory in yesterday’s poll. Which is completely understandable since real life is, ahem, nerve-wracking to say the least. Read something fun today, friends!"


Personnel Changes at Simon & Schuster

In the Simon & Schuster sales department:

Theresa Pang has been promoted to director, education sales.

Jeffrey Pena has been named telemarketing account manager, education and CBA specialist.

Cara Nesi has been named telemarketing account manager, education and independent specialist.

Nicole Feanny is joining the company as national account manager, Books-A-Million.

Toi Crockett has been promoted to field account manager.

Brandy Bishop has been promoted to telemarketing account manager.

Heather Musika, national account manager, has taken on responsibility for sales to Target and BJ's.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Jack Goldsmith on Fresh Air

Today:
Fresh Air: Jack Goldsmith, co-author of After Trump: Reconstructing the Presidency (Lawfare Institute/Brookings Institution, $15.99).

Tomorrow:
Tamron Hall: Matthew McConaughey, author of Greenlights (Crown, $30, 9780593139134).

Late Night with Seth Meyers repeat: Bryan Washington, author of Memorial: A Novel (Riverhead, $27, 9780593087275).


This Weekend on Book TV: H.W. Brands

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 7
1 p.m. Authors Roxane Gay, Tracy K. Smith, and Mahogany Browne discuss the life and work of author and activist Audre Lorde.

2:05 p.m. Eddie S. Glaude Jr., author of Begin Again: James Baldwin's America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own (Crown, $27, 9780525575320).

6:15 p.m. H.W. Brands, author of The Zealot and the Emancipator: John Brown, Abraham Lincoln, and the Struggle for American Freedom (Doubleday, $30, 9780385544009). (Re-airs Monday at 6:50 a.m.)

7:15 p.m. Pankaj Mishra, author of Bland Fanatics: Liberals, Race, and Empire (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $27, 9780374293314).

8:15 p.m. Nancy Grace, author of Don't Be a Victim: Fighting Back Against America's Crime Wave (Grand Central, $28, 9781538732298). (Re-airs Sunday at 7 p.m.)

9:15 p.m. Isabel Wilkerson, author of Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents (Random House, $32, 9780593230251).

10 p.m. Carlos Lozada, author of What Were We Thinking: A Brief Intellectual History of the Trump Era (Simon & Schuster, $28, 9781982145620). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. Jeffrey Sutton, editor of The Essential Scalia: On the Constitution, the Courts, and the Rule of Law (Crown Forum, $35, 9781984824103). (Re-airs Sunday at 10 p.m.)

Sunday, November 8
12 a.m. Cass R. Sunstein, author of Too Much Information: Understanding What You Don't Want to Know (The MIT Press, $27.95, 9780262044165).

1 p.m. Wanda Lloyd, author of Coming Full Circle: From Jim Crow to Journalism (NewSouth Books, $28.95, 9781588384072).

1:55 p.m. Patrisse Khan-Cullors, co-author of When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir (St. Martin's Griffin, $16.99, 9781250306906).

3:30 p.m. Luke A. Nichter, author of The Last Brahmin: Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. and the Making of the Cold War (Yale University Press, $37.50, 9780300217803). (Re-airs Monday at 4:40 a.m.)

4:55 p.m. Carl Smith, author of Chicago's Great Fire: The Destruction and Resurrection of an Iconic American City (Atlantic Monthly Press, $28, 9780802148100).

5:55 p.m. Helena Andrews-Dyer and R. Eric Thomas, authors of Reclaiming Her Time: The Power of Maxine Waters (Dey Street, $26.99, 9780062992031).

8 p.m. Philip H. Gordon, author of Losing the Long Game: The False Promise of Regime Change in the Middle East (St. Martin's Press, $29.99, 9781250217035).

10:55 p.m. Mark Salter, author of The Luckiest Man: Life with John McCain (Simon & Schuster, $35, 9781982120931).



Books & Authors

Awards: Royal Society Science Book Winner

Dr. Camilla Pang won the £25,000 (about $32,715) Royal Society Science Book Prize, which is intended to "promote the accessibility and joy of popular science books to the public," for Explaining Humans: What Science Can Teach Us about Life, Love and Relationships. The Guardian reported that Pang is both the youngest writer ever and the first writer of color to win the award.

Chair of judges Anne Osbourn called the winning book "an intelligent and charming investigation into how we understand human behavior, drawing on the author's superpower of neurodivergence.... Pang may have written this book as a manual to understand a world that sometimes feels alien to her, but it also allows neurotypicals to see the world from an entirely new perspective."


Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, November 10:

Dearly: New Poems by Margaret Atwood (Ecco, $27.99, 9780063032491) is the author's first poetry collection in more than a decade.

The Ickabog by J.K. Rowling (Scholastic, $26.99, 9781338732870) is an original fairy tale for children.

Marauder by Clive Cussler and Boyd Morrison (Putnam, $29, 9780593087916) is book 15 in the Oregon Files thriller series.

In the Lion's Den by Barbara Taylor Bradford (St. Martin's Press, $28.99, 9781250187420) continues a family saga set in Victorian England.

The Sediments of Time: My Lifelong Search for the Past by Meave Leakey and Samira Leakey (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $30, 9780358206675) is the memoir of the paleoanthropologist.

I Would Leave Me If I Could: A Collection of Poetry by Halsey (Simon & Schuster, $24.99, 9781982135607) is the musician's poetry debut.

Little Cruelties by Liz Nugent (Gallery/Scout Press, $28, 9781501189685) follows three brothers with bitter relationships.

Metropolis: A History of the City, Humankind's Greatest Invention by Ben Wilson (Doubleday, $32.50, 9780385543460) tracks 26 cities across 7,000 years.

First Principles: What America's Founders Learned from the Greeks and Romans and How That Shaped Our Country by Thomas E. Ricks (Harper, $29.99, 9780062997456) explores ancient influences on America's founders.

We Keep the Dead Close: A Murder at Harvard and a Half Century of Silence by Becky Cooper (Grand Central, $29, 9781538746837) investigates the 1969 murder of a Harvard grad student.

7 Ways: Easy Ideas for Every Day of the Week by Jamie Oliver (Flatiron, $35, 9781250787576) includes 120 recipes of no more than eight ingredients each.

No Reading Allowed: The WORST Read-Aloud Book Ever by Raj Haldar and Chris Carpenter, illus. by Bryce Gladfelter (Sourcebooks Explore, $17.99, 9781728206592) is a picture book that compares sentences that sound the same but mean very different things.

Rebel Rose by Emma Theriault (Disney Hyperion, $17.99, 9781368048200) is the first in the YA Queen's Council series which will reimagine the "happily ever afters" of Disney Princesses.

Paperbacks:
Little Threats by Emily Schultz (Putnam, $15.99, 9780593086995).

How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America: Essays by Kiese Laymon (Scribner, $16, 9781982170820).

The Truth About Dukes by Grace Burrowes (Forever, $7.99, 9781538700334).


IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

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

Hardcover
The Talented Miss Farwell: A Novel by Emily Gray Tedrowe (Custom House, $26.99, 9780062897725). "The small town of Pierson, Illinois, is so fortunate to have the bright, hard-working Becky Farwell as town treasurer. She really understands finances and how to get the most out of the town's limited resources. But despite her best efforts, there is never enough to repair the roads, maintain the river walk, or fund the schools. In another world, people wonder what the story is behind the glamorous, high-flying art collector Reba Farwell, who has no visible means of support. Does it matter, as long she has an unfailingly discerning eye and gives great parties? Watch and wonder as the talented Miss Farwell keeps all the plates spinning in this totally absorbing study of obsession and deception." --Ellen Sandmeyer, Sandmeyer's Bookstore, Chicago, Ill.

Confessions on the 7:45: A Novel by Lisa Unger (Park Row, $27.99, 9780778310150). "Lisa Unger is amazing! If you have not found her books yet, now is the time. Each one gets better and better. She is particularly good at female dynamics and relationships, as well as writing a twisted thriller that pretty much could be happening to someone you know. Confessions on the 7:45 may be my favorite one yet!" --Laura Taylor, The Oxford Exchange, Tampa, Fla.

Paperback
Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts: A Novel by Kate Racculia (Mariner, $15.99, 9780358410768). "Tuesday Mooney is smart, intrepid, and just a little bit lost--even 20 years after her best friend disappears without a trace. A prospect researcher by trade, she dives in deep when a strange and reclusive billionaire dies and leaves puzzles throughout the city in an elaborate treasure hunt. While this fun and affecting book could have won me over just by being a romp, there is more here. Tuesday and her compatriots are all forced to confront the traumas that have stunted their lives and find new strength in their relationships. I couldn't have asked for more!" --Anmiryam Budner, Main Point Books, Wayne, Pa.

For Ages 4 to 8
Sometimes People March by Tessa Allen (Balzer + Bray, $17.99, 9780062991188). "The perfect book for this moment in time! Sometimes People March is a thoughtful overview of the ways and reasons people march. It eloquently examines this important aspect of free speech in an accessible way that speaks to the heart of movements." --Jill Burket Ragase, Blue Manatee Literacy Project Bookstore, Cincinnati, Ohio

For Ages 9 to 12
Cinders & Sparrows by Stefan Bachmann (Greenwillow Books, $16.99, 9780062289957). "Witches, ghosts, and beastly creatures, oh my! A spine-tingling adventure ensues when a 12-year-old orphan housemaid is found to be the lost heir of a family dynasty of witches. Add in the creepy Blackbird Castle, a pinch of evil villains, and a dash of spells, mix well, and enjoy a suspenseful mystery of good vs. evil." --Katrina Padilla-Sornoso, San Marino Toy & Book Shoppe, San Marino, Calif.

For Teen Readers: An Indies Introduce Title
The Truth Project by Dante Medema (Quill Tree Books, $17.99, 9780062954404). "The Truth Project is a deep, moving, conversation-starting story written in verse, e-mails, and texts about a girl who learns hard truths about her birth, her identity, and her parents. Her family lessons read flawlessly side by side with her young adult dramas with boys, girls, friends, school, poetry, plans, and a gamut of emotions. If finding identity and searching for belonging in any setting is what you're looking for, read The Truth Project!" --Drew Durham, Books Inc., Palo Alto, Calif.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]


Book Review

Review: Dancing in the Mosque: An Afghan Mother’s Letter to Her Son

Dancing in the Mosque: An Afghan Mother's Letter to Her Son by Homeira Qaderi, trans. by Zaman Stanizai (Harper, $26.99 hardcover, 224p., 9780062970312, December 1, 2020)

During the 985 nights since she was cleaved from her then 19-month-old, still-breastfeeding son, Homeira Qaderi managed to escape her native Afghanistan and eventually settle in California. Her son, now four, has been told his mother is dead. With this haunting memoir, Dancing in the Mosque: An Afghan Mother's Letter to Her Son, Qaderi literally, indelibly writes the proof of her existence into being.

Despite a country, culture, family and husband that each attempted her erasure, Qaderi rebelled at virtually every age. Her grandmother warned her "that one of the most difficult tasks that the Almighty can assign anyone is being a girl in Afghanistan." As a child in Herat, she "didn't want to be girl"; she was "too young and energetic to understand fear," even as Soviet occupiers indiscriminately terrorized citizens. By the time Qaderi reached adolescence, the brutal Taliban replaced the Soviets, who left in 1989. She was denied an education because of her gender, yet refused to stop learning, risking her life to run a secret school not only for girls, but for boys and, eventually, even two young Talib men.

Qaderi's family arranged her wedding at 17, allowing her to escape the fate of most teen girls--to be forcibly, miserably married to Taliban members. Accompanying her husband and family to Tehran proves to be a turning point: "In Afghanistan, a good woman was defined as a good mother. In Iran, a good woman could be an independent and educated woman." Qaderi earns multiple degrees, with her husband's encouragement, including her Ph.D., and finds her voice as a published author and activist. Returning to Kabul, she becomes that "good woman" when she gives birth to Siawash, but the "man's world" that is Afghanistan transforms her husband into a cowardly oppressor who demands a second wife. Her refusal to accept his decrees results in divorce via a single text. Siawash was snatched from her arms as he slept.

Qaderi's debut title is deftly translated by fellow Afghan professor and writer Zaman Stanizai. Her pleas to be heard are a rallying cry for lasting change: "It is my fondest wish, my son, that someday, somehow, this story I have told you about my life will help you and your children and your children's children create and nurture a new Afghanistan." Raw, honest, humble, Qaderi renders her excruciating loss into words and stories that help her live, keep her connected and never lose hope for a miraculous reunion. --Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon

Shelf Talker: Living in exile in California thousands of miles from her only child, an Afghan mother claims her voice with the lasting hope that someday her words and stories will reach her precious son.


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