Shelf Awareness for Thursday, January 21, 2021


Ten Speed Press: Demystifying Disability: What to Know, What to Say, and How to Be an Ally by Emily Ladau - An approachable guide to being a thoughtful, informed ally to disabled people!

Etch/Clarion Books: The Heist Age, 2 (Dinomighty!) by Doug Paleo, illustrated by Aaron Blecha

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: The Hawthorne Legacy (The Inheritance Games #2) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers: Barb the Last Berzerker, 1 by Dan Abdo and Jason Patterson

Red Lightning Books: Centered: Autism, Basketball, and One Athlete's Dreams by Anthony Ianni and Rob Keast

Atheneum Books: Out of My Heart by Sharon M Draper

News

Children's Institute Set to Take Place in Person Aug. 30-Sept. 1

The American Booksellers Association is shifting this year's Children's Institute from its usual June time to late summer and plans to hold it in person. As reported in Bookselling This Week, Ci9, which had been scheduled for June 14-16, will now take place August 30–September 1 and be held at the Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa in Tucson, Ariz., where Ci8 had been scheduled to take place last year. (Ci8 wound up being held virtually last July.)

If Ci9 is held in person, it will be one of the first U.S. book events to take place in person since the pandemic struck in early 2020. It could be a nice bookend: the last major book event to be held in person in the U.S. was the ABA's other highly popular institute, the Winter Institute, which took place a year ago this week in Baltimore, Md.

BTW noted that booksellers who received a scholarship to the 2020 Children's Institute have the right of first refusal to participate as a scholarship recipient at the 2021 event. Scholarships are ultimately awarded to ABA member stores (not individual booksellers), and the attendee must have permission from the store owner or owners to use that scholarship this year.


House of Anansi Press: Speed of Mercy by Christy-Ann Conlin


Indies Celebrate #InaugurationDay

Amanda Gorman reads her poem "The Hill We Climb." Her debut collection of the same name will be published by Viking Books for Young Readers in September.

As the inauguration festivities for President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were being held yesterday in Washington, independent booksellers across the U.S. took to social media to celebrate, with many enthusiastic shout-outs for Inaugural Poet Amanda Gorman. Here's an indie #InaugurationDay sampling:

Third Place Books, Seattle, Wash.: "Just a heads up! All three stores will not be open till 10am tomorrow to give our staff a chance to watch part of the inauguration!"

Once Upon a Time Bookstore, Montrose, Calif.: "Today is a historic day and our democracy continues."

Penguin Bookshop, Sewickley, Pa.: "Happy Day! Celebrate with a new book! Perhaps on American history? Feed your brain (and your heart) today."

pages: a bookstore, Manhattan Beach, Calif.: "This happy camper is here and ready to celebrate and sell you some books."

MahoganyBooks, Washington, D.C.: "Come through young Black woman, Harvard grad and Poet Laureate, Amanda Gorman. We are so proud of you, your poise, your gift and your intention. We will relish your powerful words from the steps of the Capitol where mere days ago chaos ensued. Shine sis!"

Run for Cover Bookstore, San Diego, Calif.: "Once again words save us all. Amanda Gorman’s poem was simply sublime…."

Reads & Company, Phoenixville, Pa.: "WOW! We [love] writers. Well done, Amanda Gorman, National Youth Poet Laureate. Stunning. We look forward to your collection, THE HILL WE CLIMB, and your first children’s book, CHANGE SINGS, both available at Reads & Company in the fall."

Little Shop of Stories, Decatur, Ga.: "We are moved. We are hopeful. We are proud. We watched the voice of a generation step into her light today, and we as a nation are better having heard her powerful words…."

Titcomb's Bookshop, East Sandwich, Mass.: "We were so touched and inspired by Amanda Gorman's poetry today. We had the news on in the office and out in the shop, and we all stopped our work and just watched this young woman in awe."

Uncle Bobbie's Coffee & Books, Philadelphia, Pa.: "Somehow Bernie stole the show today!!! He giving off black grandma vibes all day in this pic."

Grass Roots Books and Music, Corvallis, Ore.: "Happy Inauguration Day, everyone! We'll admit: we've been waiting for this day for a while. Celebrate a new president with us today by checking out some of the below reads."

The Book Nook, Ludlow, Vt.: "From today's inauguration to the sandwich board, a line from Amanda Gorman's awe inspiring poem."

The Book Loft, Solvang, Calif.: "Read more about and from our newly sworn in President and ground breaking Vice President from California!"

Bookstore1Sarasota, Sarasota, Fla.: "Congratulations to President Biden and Vice President Harris. And, cheers to the amazing Amanda Gorman!"

Queen Anne Book Company, Seattle, Wash.: " 'Together we shall write an American story of hope, not fear. Of unity, not division. Of light, not darkness. A story of decency and dignity, love and healing, greatness and goodness.'--President Joseph R. Biden."

Newtonville Books, Newton, Mass.: "YES WE CAN!"

Kramers, Washington, D.C.: "Welcome!"


Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers: Barb the Last Berzerker, 1 by Dan Abdo and Jason Patterson


CALIBA's Mosaic Community to Host First Event of the Year

On January 27, the California Independent Booksellers Alliance and San Francisco's Museum of the African Diaspora will present a Zoom conversation between Julie Lythcott-Haims and Anna Malaika Tubbs, author of The Three Mothers (Flatiron Books, February 2). This first event of 2021 for CALIBA's newly formed Mosaic Community is "produced by booksellers for booksellers, patrons and the general public days before the start of Black History Month," the organizers noted.

"At CALIBA, we're the behind the scenes people," said executive director Calvin Crosby. "We quietly work hard to support booksellers in this increasingly tough climate. The Three Mothers is a special book by a new California writer, so this event is a big hug of support for California booksellers a few days ahead of the national launch."

The Museum's Nia McAllister added: "We are excited to include The Three Mothers in our thriving online bookstore. We're a member of CALIBA's Mosaic community. It's a pleasure to co-host this conversation at the start of Black History Month and as we continue to be a literary platform for Black authors."

Regarding the book, Lythcott-Haims observed: "Yes, it is a biographical sketch of the Black women who erected strong foundations for their would-be famous sons while going largely unrecognized themselves. But it’s also a love letter to these three particular Black women; a scholarly rejection of the trope of Black woman as conquered victim; and a literary declaration that Black women know best how to survive in this broken world while actively mending it for everyone."


Bloomsbury Continuum: Making Nice by Ferdinand Mount


How Bookstores Are Coping: Optimism; 'Ruling the Roost'

Julia Fleischaker, owner of Greedy Reads in Baltimore, Md., reported that sales at her two stores were up during the 2020 holiday season compared to previous years. She noted, however, that this was only the third holiday season for the Fells Point location, and the Remington store opened during the 2019 holiday season, so it's "hard to say how much we were impacted, for good or bad."

Greedy Reads is open for browsing by appointment only, with the vast majority of sales coming from the store's website. Compared to a standard in-person sale, Fleischaker continued, every online sale has "something like four points of contact," and each transaction takes much more work. While she likes to joke that she was still learning how to run a "normal" bookstore before the pandemic hit, that's actually true, and she thanked her booksellers for their invaluable energy and ideas for a more efficient workflow.

With the store open by appointment only, Flesichaker and her team have been hosting sidewalk sales and plan to continue doing them. Over the course of the pandemic the store went from "not having a shoppable website" to doing nearly 85% of total business online. Getting that website up and running was a "scramble," and one of the biggest struggles early on was figuring out how to do contactless pick-up in a small store. She said she thinks "we'll be doing all of these things forever," and she's glad the team has things "mostly figured out."

Greedy Reads, Remington

Shopping habits were very different during the holiday season, as they have been throughout the pandemic. With no real browsing or discovery happening in-store, sales seem much more impacted by media hits than before and "the expected books sell a ton." There are also plenty of orders for more obscure books that can sometimes take quite a long time to track down. The titles that are really hurting are the "quieter titles that catch your eye in the store," which Fleischaker and her team are trying their best to promote.

Looking ahead into 2021, Fleischaker said she's optimistic. Despite January being a generally slow time of the year, the stores are still seeing a good number of online sales. The pandemic is stretching on, despite the end possibly being in sight, and people still need things to keep them busy, such as books and puzzles. She hopes to have customers back in the store some time this year, and she's looking forward to seeing what comes of the "increased sense of community and love for local businesses" that emerged during the pandemic.

---

In Minneapolis, Minn., Wild Rumpus has been completely closed to the public since March, store owner Collette Morgan reported. Morgan and her team have been doing online orders only, with no sales over the phone or via e-mail, and curbside pick-up is available every afternoon. 

There are only two humans working in the store at any given time, and with the store all but empty, the animals living at Wild Rumpus are "ruling the roost and providing front window eye candy." The resident animals--cats, a chicken, a parrot, fish, chinchillas and more--are kept "busy and very well fed" by the store's dedicated animal care coordinator. Morgan said she isn't sure how they'll adjust to the store eventually opening back up to customers and once again being full of toddlers, but that is a problem for the future.

Despite being closed to browsing, the store's sales last holiday season were comparable to those in 2019. Shopping habits were "upended" by the changes, but customers adapted quickly and "came through." They relied much more heavily on things like the staff reviews and recommendation lists posted on the Wild Rumpus website.

The team has been so swamped since March that the store took the entire first week of January off to give everyone a break. Looking ahead into the first few months of 2021, Morgan said she's cautiously optimistic. Wild Rumpus sold a ton of gift cards and they are apparently "burning holes" in readers' pockets. The store is also having success with online school book fairs and author events. It's been "gratifying," she added, to see the support from authors and illustrators willing to attend those virtual events. --Alex Mutter


International Update: EIBF's International Booksellers Forum, Dutch Support Indie Bookshops Campaign

The European and International Booksellers Federation is launching the International Booksellers Forum, a Facebook group that aims to "provide insights into daily lives of booksellers, serve as an open space for raising questions and finding practical answers to challenges faced by the booksellers around the world, and enable sharing of opinions between members." The group is open to booksellers, aspiring booksellers and everyone interested in the profession. "We encourage all members to join, and please share the group further with your members, inviting them to join," EIBF noted.

---

A new digital campaign is underway in the Netherlands that encourages customers to support their local bookshops and booksellers during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown, EIBF News Flash reported. Using the tag #steunjeboekhandel, the campaign "aims to raise awareness of the precarious position booksellers have found themselves in--having to close their doors and not being able to offer click and collect services." The initiative is a joint effort of the Dutch Booksellers Association, Dutch Book Foundation (CPNB) and General Publishers Group (GAU).

Noting that the campaign has gotten off to a good start since its launch last Thursday, CPNB spokesman Job Jan Altena told DutchNews.nl: "We won't have the official figures until Thursday. But it's very clear that consumers have been heeding our call to support their local bookshop. We hope the effect will be a lasting one. A rise in sales is great but a couple of days are not going to make the difference, unfortunately."

Bookseller Arno Koek of Boekhandel Blokker, Heemstede said: "We have had to cut down on staff because of the closure and we had a productive talk with our landlord about the rent. But we have to pay distribution costs as well. We're not out of the woods by a long stretch but this campaign has been a great effort by the CPNB and everyone else involved."

In other news, the Dutch Indie Bookstore Day, which was supposed to take place in April, has been postponed to next fall due to present lockdown restrictions, EIBF News Flash noted.

---

Paris "is losing one of its most celebrated bookshops," the Guardian reported. French chain Gibert Jeune will close its flagship shop in the Latin Quarter in March. With sales down 60% due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the company's "most iconic shop" at 5 Place Saint-Michel will close as part of a restructuring plan, after the owner of the building decided to sell.

"Covid arrived and suddenly there were no more tourists and no more students," said Rodolphe Bazin de Caix, marketing manager of Gibert Jeune. "We're talking about a bookshop whose DNA is 80% textbooks, many of them secondhand. This shop was impacted much more than the others."

De Caix stressed that Gibert Jeune "is not dead, but it's having to reinvent itself. The first Gibert Jeune bookshop, opposite Notre-Dame, is staying put. The company is currently renovating its shop in the 10th arrondissement, after an independent bookstore owner's project to buy it and make it into a 'co-operative of ideas' failed. There are even plans to open at least four smaller Gibert Jeunes, spread out across the city, by April. In any case, the future lies not in the tourist centre, but in residential neighbourhoods, What we learned from the lockdown is that people aren't leaving their areas any more. We realized that the shop, which used to be a destination, no longer serves that purpose. It's our turn to move to where the customer is." --Robert Gray


Notes

Pittsburgh's Tiny Bookstore a 'Source of Knowledge for the Community'

Lea Bickerton

"Bookstores do more than just sell books," said Lea Bickerton, co-owner of The Tiny Bookstore in Pittsburgh, Pa., in a profile in the Pittsburgh City Paper. "The Tiny Bookstore is my way of sharing knowledge with the community. And one of the things I'm passionate about is making the world just and fair."

Bickerton and her husband, Bill Bickerton, both full-time criminal defense attorneys, opened the bookstore in 2018. The pair had been searching for new office space when they came upon a small location measuring less than 300 square feet. It immediately appealed to Lea Bickerton, who had always dreamed of opening a bookstore after retiring. Since the space was so small, she figured she could start simply by selling some of the many books in her own collection. As Bickerton said: "The idea evolved pretty quickly from there."

The Tiny Bookstore now sells new and used books, gifts and toys, and is the only Black-owned bookstore in Pittsburgh, appearing last year on Oprah's list of Black-owned bookstores to support. Bickerton pointed out that the store welcomes everyone. She explained: "Sometimes, people think that a Black-owned business is for Black people only. While I definitely make a point to promote books by people of color that are being overlooked, I truly believe that everyone benefits by reading books by diverse authors."


Bookshop Window Art: An Unlikely Story

An Unlikely Story, Plainville, Mass., shared photos of the bookshop's seasonally appropriate window art on Facebook Tuesday, noting: "While we are closed today through Friday, Jan. 22 we've hired some temporary snowmen to watch over the store…. Looks like they're reading on the job, but we can't really blame them with all of these awesome new titles out today!" 


Personnel Changes at Morrow; Little Bee Books

Kayleigh George has been promoted to senior director, marketing for William Morrow.

---

Evan Oare has been promoted from national account manager to senior manager, national accounts at Little Bee Books.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Daniel Lieberman on Fresh Air

Today:
Fresh Air: Daniel Lieberman, author of Exercised: Why Something We Never Evolved to Do Is Healthy and Rewarding (Pantheon, $29.95, 9781524746988).

Tomorrow:
Good Morning America: Ashley Audrain, author of The Push: A Novel (Pamela Dorman Books, $26, 9781984881663).

Late Late Show with James Corden repeat: Matthew McConaughey, author of Greenlights (Crown, $30, 9780593139134).

HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher: Joe Scarborough, author of Saving Freedom: Truman, the Cold War, and the Fight for Western Civilization (Harper, $29.99, 9780062950499).


This Weekend on Book TV: Michael Ian Black

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, January 23
2:55 p.m. Tim McGrath, author of James Monroe: A Life (Dutton, $40, 9780451477262). (Re-airs Sunday at 7:10 p.m.)

4 p.m. Frank Figliuzzi, author of The FBI Way: Inside the Bureau's Code of Excellence (Custom House, $27.99, 9780062997050), at the Strand Bookstore in New York City. (Re-airs Sunday at 10 p.m.)

5:15 p.m. Dr. Seema Yasmin, author of Viral BS: Medical Myths and Why We Fall for Them (Johns Hopkins University Press, $24.95, 9781421440408). (Re-airs Sunday at 8:20 p.m.)

7 p.m. Matthew Clair, author of Privilege and Punishment: How Race and Class Matter in Criminal Court (Princeton University Press, $29.95, 9780691194332).

8 p.m. Howard Mortman, author of When Rabbis Bless Congress: The Great American Story of Jewish Prayers on Capitol Hill (Cherry Orchard Books, $28, 9781644693445). (Re-airs Sunday at 5:25 p.m.)

8:50 p.m. Frank Leith Jones, author of Sam Nunn: Statesman of the Nuclear Age (University Press of Kansas, $29.95, 9780700630127).

10 p.m. Beau Wise and Tom Sileo, authors of Three Wise Men: A Navy SEAL, a Green Beret, and How Their Marine Brother Became a War's Sole Survivor (St. Martin's Press, $28.99, 9781250253446). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. Kevin Mattson, author of We're Not Here to Entertain: Punk Rock, Ronald Reagan, and the Real Culture War of 1980s America (Oxford University Press, $27.95, 9780190908232).

Sunday, January 24
1 a.m. David Andelman, author of A Red Line in the Sand: Diplomacy, Strategy, and the History of Wars That Might Still Happen (Pegasus Books, $29.95, 9781643136486).

6:05 p.m. Stephanie Schriock, co-author of Run to Win: Lessons in Leadership for Women Changing the World (Dutton, $27, 9781524746803).

11 p.m. Michael Ian Black, author of A Better Man: A (Mostly Serious) Letter to My Son (Algonquin, $24.95, 9781616209117).



Books & Authors

Awards: Rathbones Folio Longlist

The longlist has been released for the £30,000 ($40,680) Rathbones Folio Prize, which is open to all works of fiction and nonfiction originally published in English. The shortlist will be announced February 10. Check out the complete longlist here


Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, January 26:

Let Me Tell You What I Mean by Joan Didion (Knopf, $23, 9780593318485) collects 12 nonfiction pieces written between 1968 and 2000.

The Devil You Know: A Black Power Manifesto by Charles M. Blow (Harper, $26.99, 9780062914668) is a call to action against white supremacy.

American Kompromat: How the KGB Cultivated Donald Trump, and Related Tales of Sex, Greed, Power, and Treachery by Craig Unger (Dutton, $30, 9780593182536) explores the depths of Russian blackmail operations.

The Mask Falling by Samantha Shannon (Bloomsbury, $28, 9781635570328) is book four in the Bone Season fantasy series.

Extraterrestrial: The First Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth by Avi Loeb (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $27, 9780358278146) argues that the interstellar object 'Oumuamua was actually a piece of alien technology.

Chatter: The Voice in Our Head, Why It Matters, and How to Harness It by Ethan Kross (Crown, $28, 9780525575238) discusses the psychology behind self-talk.

Bear Island by Matthew Cordell (Feiwel and Friends, $18.99, 9781250317162) is a picture book about loss and healing by the Caldecott medalist author/illustrator of Wolf in the Snow.

Pizza and Taco: Best Party Ever! by Stephen Shaskan (Random House, $9.99, 9780593123348) is the second book in the young reader graphic novel series.

Paperbacks:
The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon (Berkley, $15.99, 9780593200124).

How to Prepare for Climate Change: A Practical Guide to Surviving the Chaos by David Pogue (Simon & Schuster, $24, 9781982134518).


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
Better Luck Next Time: A Novel by Julia Claiborne Johnson (Custom House, $28.99, 9780062916365). "Johnson's latest novel has all the heart and soul fans of Be Frank with Me enjoyed, coupled with a retro setting at a divorce ranch in Reno during the Great Depression. Funny? Check. Heartwarming? Check. A rollicking, all-round good read? Check! Do yourself a favor and read it. Then share it with someone you love." --Susan Taylor, Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany, N.Y.

Black Buck: A Novel by Mateo Askaripour (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26, 9780358380887). "Perhaps I have a different perspective on this book because I have a younger brother who is a Black, 20-something man in sales, but this book presents an evocative, honest, complex portrait of being a BIPOC person in a white-dominant workplace (albeit one that is high-powered, sales-driven, and New York City-based). This is a book that allows a reader to be seen if this is their experience, but also for a reader to learn about a different reality if this is not their own. Black Buck is a tightly woven, contemporary debut from an author to watch." --BrocheAroe Fabian, River Dog Book Co., Beaver Dam, Wis.

Paperback
Our Darkest Night: A Novel of Italy and the Second World War by Jennifer Robson (Morrow, $17.99, 9780062674975). "This is a love story... until it isn't. This is a war story... until it isn't. This is a story about surviving the worst of humanity then finding humanity. Set in Italy, this is World War II fiction writing at its finest. Prepare it to be pulled into this heart-wrenching saga. So much for book clubs to discuss. So much for readers to enjoy. If you loved the depth of research in The Gown, you will love Our Darkest Night." --Carolyn Roys, Anderson's Bookshops, Naperville, Ill.

For Ages 4 to 8
Over the Shop by Jonaro Lawson, illus. by Qin Leng (Candlewick, $16.99, 9781536201475). "This beautiful picture book without words tells a story of welcoming and acceptance. I love that the absence of text allows the reader to make up any story or dialogue they want, and the pictures provide so much to talk about. It would be easy to become so absorbed in this book that the time just passes by." --Kate Storhoff, Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, N.C.

For Ages 9 to 12
Root Magic by Eden Royce (Walden Pond Press, $16.99, 9780062899576). "Root Magic combines all of the great things about children's books: a vivid setting, adventure, friendship, family love and stability, overcoming hardship, and more than a sprinkling of magic. In Eden Royce's debut novel, we meet Jezebel Turner, an 11-year-old girl of Gullah-Geechee heritage living in the turbulent Jim Crow days of the 1960s in South Carolina. For generations, her family members have been root workers or witch doctors, who harvest cures and powerful medicine from the natural areas around them. When her Uncle Doc decides she and her twin brother, Jay, are old enough to begin learning root work themselves, a series of unforeseen and spooky events challenge them and their family to the core. Royce is a powerful new voice in children's literature!"--Kelly Barth, Raven Book Store, Lawrence, Kan.

For Teen Readers
Be Dazzled by Ryan La Sala (Sourcebooks Fire, $17.99, 9781492682691). "I absolutely loved this book. Ryan La Sala is one of my favorite authors to follow on social media because he is hilarious, and I'm so happy to know that his humor translates amazingly into his books. I loved Raffy and Luca and their story so much. I don't know much about the world of cosplay, but I loved learning about it through this book! I'll definitely be recommending this to people!" --Emily Knosher, Read It Again Books, Suwanee, Ga.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]


Book Review

Review: The Low Desert: Gangster Stories

The Low Desert: Gangster Stories by Tod Goldberg (Counterpoint, $26 hardcover, 304p., 9781640093362, February 2, 2021)

Comparing a work of literary fiction with a television show used to be an insult, but no longer. To liken Tod Goldberg's The Low Desert: Gangster Stories to Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, which share the book's concerns, terrain and wry ruthlessness, is high praise indeed.

Goldberg's (Gangsterland; Gangster Nation) sense of humor and lavish attention to character distinguish The Low Desert from more traditional fiction about the folly of criminals, those who are conscientious or naive enough to try to thwart them, and those operating somewhere in between. "Professor Rainmaker" revolves around William Cooperman, who invented an ecologically sound but ultimately unmarketable product intended to obviate the need for elaborate sprinkler systems; instead, he uses the technology to grow incredibly powerful weed, which he sells. Meanwhile, he grudgingly teaches a summer school course in hydrology and listens to gangsta rap "so that he could figure out what the hell people were saying to him, both in class and on the streets." "Palm Springs" centers on Tania, a middle-aged, unmarried cocktail waitress who works at a casino and is looking for her 18-year-old daughter, Natalya, who has disappeared. Some years back, Tania was able to adopt a child from Russia because she won big one night at Caribbean stud: "Adopting Natalya wasn't something Tania planned. It was the money that did it. Well, the money and loneliness."

Tania and others cycle through The Low Desert's dozen stories. Readers may be surprised, if not always relieved, upon learning that certain characters have lived to tell or inhabit another tale. Many of the stories are set in the past and play out against a landscape of aesthetically dubious hotels, casinos, subdivisions and country clubs built on American postwar optimism and opportunism--"concrete gentrification," Cooperman calls it. When famous figures from the annals of American true crime are name-checked, they become part of the book's cruel topography.

The Low Desert isn't for the faint of heart--children die in these stories--but Goldberg counterbalances the brutality with glimmers of humanity. Several of his characters have soft spots for dogs. Some lawless types dream of bettering themselves through education and more honorable work. In "The Spare," Dark Billy Cupertine, a high-ranking member of a crime family, decides to risk it all so that his son "would never make the same mistakes" Billy has. The kid has a better chance of winning at Caribbean stud. --Nell Beram, author and freelance writer

Shelf Talker: A dozen witty but pitiless stories revolve around lowlifes hell-bent on the high life, their hapless pursuers and those operating somewhere in between.


Powered by: Xtenit