Shelf Awareness for Thursday, February 11, 2021

Workman Publishing: Overthinking about You: Navigating Romantic Relationships When You Have Anxiety, Ocd, And/Or Depression by Allison Raskin

Wednesday Books: Together We Burn by Isabel Ibañez

Harper: Aurora by David Koepp

Gibbs Smith: Life Is Golden: What I've Learned from the World's Most Adventurous Dogs by Andrew Muse

Bloomsbury Publishing: Catch the Sparrow: A Search for a Sister and the Truth of Her Murder by Rachel Rear

Zest Books (Tm): How to Be a Difficult Bitch: Claim Your Power, Ditch the Haters, and Feel Good Doing It by Halley Bondy, Mary C. Fernandez, Sharon Lynn Pruitt-Young, and Zara Hanawalt

Scholastic Press: It's the End of the World and I'm in My Bathing Suit by Justin A. Reynolds


Ruth Dickey Named National Book Foundation Executive Director

Ruth Dickey
(photo: Libby Lewis)

Ruth Dickey, who since 2013 has been executive director of Seattle Arts & Letters, has been named executive director of the National Book Foundation. She succeeds Lisa Lucas, who became senior v-p and publisher of Pantheon and Schocken Books at the beginning of the year and who is a board member of the Foundation.

Dickey will begin in her new position on May 17 to allow for a smooth transition from Seattle Arts & Lectures, whose annual gala is in April. National Book Foundation deputy director Jordan Smith will continue as interim executive director until then.

Before heading Seattle Arts & Lectures, Dickey was executive director of the Clifton Cultural Arts Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, and before that was executive director of New Futures in Burien, Wash., and executive director of Miriam's Kitchen in Washington, D.C. In 2019, Dickey served as a judge for the National Book Award for Fiction. Her first book, Mud Blooms (Harbor Mountain Press), won the MURA Award and a 2019 Silver Nautilus for books that make a better world and was a finalist for the National Poetry Series.

Foundation board chair David Steinberger said that Dickey "brings the ideal combination of expertise and experience to lead the Foundation and advance our unique mission. We were looking for a proven literary leader with a track record of engaging with a broad range of communities from all across our nation, and Ruth brings that and more to this role."

Steinberger also thanked Jordan Smith, "who continues to provide outstanding leadership for the Foundation during this transition, and to the entire staff at the National Book Foundation for all their incredible work."

Dickey commented: "I have greatly admired the National Book Foundation's expanded leadership role as a champion for reading and books, through innovative programs like Book Rich Environments and Literature for Justice. I am honored and thrilled to follow in Lisa Lucas's footsteps, and join the board and staff to lead the Foundation's next chapter of work in support of books and reading, and their critical role in our cultural landscape."

Lucas said, "Ruth Dickey's extraordinary skill set--developed over many years as an exceptional, thoughtful, and dynamic leader in the nonprofit literary space--is precisely what the National Book Foundation needs to charge forward. Her experiences working across the country help to remind us all that this work is for everyone, everywhere. Ruth is uniquely experienced, an effective and inclusive leader, and a great lover and champion of the written word."

Berkley Books: Harlem Sunset (A Harlem Renaissance Mystery) by Nekesa Afia to Pay Indies from Share Pool Monthly UK will soon begin paying booksellers from its share pool on a monthly basis instead of twice a year, the Bookseller reported. Bookshop founder and CEO Andy Hunter confirmed the change with Shelf Awareness, adding that Bookshop intends to introduce the same arrangement in the U.S. "sometime later this spring." He explained: "We believe it will be more helpful to booksellers to be able to access the pool funds when they need them, rather than wait for a bi-annual payout."

The pool consists of a 10% cut on Bookshop sales that are made directly or through an affiliate, with the pool distributed to indie bookstores around the country, even stores that don't use Bookshop. Bookstores that do use Bookshop as their e-commerce site receive a 30% commission on the cover price their book sales, which don't count toward the general pool.

Since its launch in the U.S. a year ago, Bookshop has earned more than $11.5 million for U.S. indie stores, counting both pool and commission money. In the U.K., since its launch in November, Bookshop has earned more than £800,000 (about $1.1 million) for indie bookstores there.

ECW Press: Play It Right: The Remarkable Story of a Gambler Who Beat the Odds on Wall Street by Kamal Gupta

Jodi Weiss Promoted to Chief Sales Officer at Workman

Jodi Weiss
(photo: Erin Costa)

Jodi Weiss has been promoted to chief sales officer at Workman Publishing, a new position that marks the first time in company history that all of Workman sales, including gift, mass merchant, trade, international, rights and special sales, have been "integrated under one umbrella."

Workman CEO Dan Reynolds commented: "Jodi is extremely hardworking and a natural problem solver; she understands the importance of getting to know the book, she collaborates with both the publisher and the editor, she partners with other departments including customer service and IT, and she is immersed in the data that helps guide her. And she is notably relentless about getting our books into very competitive and curated markets. All of this makes Jodi perfectly positioned to help Workman navigate a very mercurial book landscape."

Weiss said, "I believe so much of who I am and what I have is because of the values Peter Workman instilled in me and the generous opportunities he provided. I am grateful to Dan Reynolds and Carolan Workman for this opportunity to work with our incredible sales teams in all sales channels. There are new challenges in this continually changing environment but also an incredible amount of opportunity, and I am eager to forge ahead and get to work."

Weiss joined Workman in 2000 as national account manager, mass merchandise, selling to Target, Levy (now Readerlink), Hastings, Musicland and more. In 2003, she took on the additional responsibility of overseeing Workman's gift sales department and then was promoted to director, gift & mass sales. In 2018, she began selling to the club channel and was promoted to executive director, gift & mass sales.

The daughter of a bookseller, Weiss grew up in the book industry, working in her mother's bookstore, S & S Books (part of a now-closed chain of 13 stores on Long Island in New York), from age nine. Before joining Workman, she was sales manager at Anness Publishing and earlier worked at Simon & Schuster.

University of California Press: When Abortion Was a Crime: Women, Medicine, and Law in the United States, 1867-1973, with a New Preface by Leslie J. Reagan

International Update: BA's New Summer Books Catalogue; Zall Opens Singapore Bookstore

The Booksellers Association of the U.K. & Ireland is launching a Summer Books catalogue, "providing independent booksellers with a bespoke marketing and sales resource for the summer trading season." A joint venture between the BA and Nielsen in partnership with wholesaler Gardners, the initiative, modeled on the format of the popular Christmas Books catalogue, will feature titles chosen by indie booksellers for indie bookshops and their customers. It is set to be in stores by mid-May.

Emma Bradshaw, head of campaigns at the BA, said, "It continues to be a challenging time for the industry, and we hope that this resource will help booksellers to navigate the shifting retail landscape this summer. With bookshops hopefully open and trading, and customers seeking holiday reading, the Summer Catalogue will deliver the best of summer titles to bookshop customers."

Matthew Mansfield, head of business development at Nielsen, added: "On the back of a record-breaking year for the Christmas Catalogue, with 163 indie booksellers participating, we feel it is an ideal time to release a new marketing tool for independent bookshops and publishers. In these testing times, we believe this will drive sales both physical and online, and are confident this will help contribute towards a thriving summer for the book market."


"Amid the flurry of pandemic-driven retail closures," the Zall Bookstore, an outlet for Chinese-language titles, opened this week at Wheelock Place in Singapore, "near where the iconic Borders flagship was located till its closure in 2011," Straits Times reported. The shop is the first overseas branch for Zall, which operates four bookshops in Hubei, China.

Zall Bookstores was founded in 2013 by billionaire Yan Zhi, a writer and poet. His daughter Laura Yan Ge is general manager of the Singapore store. At a media preview last week, she said, "Because of Covid-19, there is a lot of distance between people nowadays. We believe books will help to close this gap. They provide food for thought and people can use them to widen their worlds.... Many small independent bookstores have closed due to the pandemic, and I think that is a great pity. I hope there will continue to be many more physical bookstores in the future."


Julia Marshall

Publisher Julia Marshall was named the 2021 Storylines Margaret Mahy Medal recipient for lifetime achievement and distinguished contribution to New Zealand children's literature. Storylines noted that Marshall has been described as "a truly innovative and fearless publisher [whose] standards of excellence never waver," with a record of being innovative and brave--no more so than when starting Gecko Press in 2005.

"She began by selecting other quality titles previously unpublished in English, and has continued her approach to publishing quality literature for young people over the last 16 years," Storylines said. "More recently, she began publishing titles as te reo Māori editions."

Marshall is also strongly supportive of local writers and the New Zealand children's literature community. Over the past two years she has been president of the Publishers Association of New Zealand, and part of the PANZ/NZSA/CNZLA Copyright Working Group set up to protect the rights of writers and illustrators. --Robert Gray

February Indie Next List E-Newsletter Delivered

Last Thursday, the American Booksellers Association's e-newsletter edition of the Indie Next List for February was delivered to nearly 670,000 of the country's best book readers. The newsletter was sent to customers of 185 independent bookstores, with a combined total of 669,987 subscribers.

The e-newsletter, powered by Shelf Awareness, features all of the month's Indie Next List titles, with bookseller quotes and "buy now" buttons that lead directly to the purchase page for the title on the sending store's website. The newsletter, which is branded with each store's logo, also includes an interview (from Bookselling This Week) with the author whose book was chosen by booksellers as the number-one Indie Next List pick for the month, in this case The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles (Atria).

For a sample of the February newsletter, see this one from the Village Bookseller, Mount Pleasant, S.C.


Image of the Day: Copperfield's Event with Edward Snowden in Moscow

Copperfield's Books in Petaluma, Calif., hosted a global event on Tuesday, with Edward Snowden zooming in from Moscow to talk with author Cory Doctorow and bookseller Patty Norman about the new YA edition of his memoir, Permanent Record (Holt). More than 500 people around the world attended. Snowden and Doctorow spent an hour chatting and then answered questions submitted in advance. "It could've gone on for hours," Norman said. "It was fascinating. I didn't want it to end."

Pennie Picks: Oona Out of Order

Pennie Clark Ianniciello, Costco's book buyer, has selected Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore (Flatiron, $26.99, 9781250236609) as her pick for February. In Costco Connection, which goes to many of the warehouse club's members, she writes:

"Imagine waking up to a new, random year of your life each New Year's Day.

"That's what happens to Oona Lockhart when she faints on the eve of her 19th birthday--which also happens to be New Year's Eve.

"When Oona wakes up, it's 32 years later, as her 51-year-old self, in a house she's told belongs to her.

"As each new year finds her waking up to a new year in her life--taking her from world traveler to club kid to philanthropist and more--the result is a charming story filled with magic and plenty of heart."

Video: 'An Avid Bookseller's Afternoon'

Avid Bookshop, Athens, Ga., posted a video depicting "an Avid bookseller's afternoon: Receive books. Shelve books. Talk about books. Pull books. Mail books. Recommend books. Talk about books. Photograph books. Put books on red pickup carts outside. Alphabetize books. Wrap books. Talk about books some more."

Personnel Changes at Graywolf Press; Phaidon Press

At Graywolf Press:

Caroline Nitz has been promoted to publicity director.

Shaina Robinson has been promoted to marketing and events coordinator.

Mattan Comay has been promoted to sales and operations manager.

Ill Nippashi has joined the press as marketing associate.


At Phaidon Press:

Linda Brennan has retired from the company. She was v-p of global marketing and communications.

Siobhan Bent has been named global director of marketing & publicity, working in New York.

Bav Shah is now head of Digital, working in London.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Larry Loftis on the Today Show

Today Show: Larry Loftis, author of The Princess Spy: The True Story of World War II Spy Aline Griffith, Countess of Romanones (Atria, $28, 9781982143862).

Late Night with Seth Meyers repeat: David Duchovny, author of Truly Like Lightning: A Novel (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $28, 9780374277741).

This Weekend on Book TV: Heather McGhee on The Sum of Us

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, February 13
12 p.m. Brian Gruber and Adam Edwards, authors of Surmountable: How Citizens from Selma to Seoul Changed the World (Surmountable Publishing, $19.95, 9781736118511).

1 p.m. Julia Gillard and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, authors of Women and Leadership: Real Lives, Real Lessons (The MIT Press, $29.95, 9781787634381).

2:10 p.m. Ty Seidule, author of Robert E. Lee and Me: A Southerner's Reckoning with the Myth of the Lost Cause (St. Martin's Press, $27.99, 9781250239266). (Re-airs Sunday at 8 p.m.)

3:10 p.m. Rebecca Carroll, author of Surviving the White Gaze: A Memoir (Simon & Schuster, $26, 9781982116255).

4:05 p.m. Ilya Somin, author of Free to Move: Foot Voting, Migration, and Political Freedom (Oxford University Press, $29.95, 9780190054588). (Re-airs Monday at 6 a.m.)

6:15 p.m. Michael Gerhardt, author of Lincoln's Mentors: The Education of a Leader (Custom House, $32.50, 9780062877192).

7:15 p.m. Chad Sanders, author of Black Magic: What Black Leaders Learned from Trauma and Triumph (Simon & Schuster, $27, 9781982104221). (Re-airs Sunday at 7 a.m.)

8:15 p.m. Peter W. Wood, author of 1620: A Critical Response to the 1619 Project (Encounter, $28.99, 9781641771245). (Re-airs Saturday at 11:15 p.m.)

10 p.m. Heather McGhee, author of The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together (One World, $28, 9780525509561). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

Sunday, February 14
3:45 p.m. Massimo Faggioli, author of Joe Biden and Catholicism in the United States (Bayard, $22.95, 9781627856164).

4:45 p.m. Ian Rosenberg, author of The Fight for Free Speech: Ten Cases That Define Our First Amendment Freedoms (NYU Press, $27.95, 9781479801565).

7 p.m. Edward McClelland, author of Midnight in Vehicle City: General Motors, Flint, and the Strike That Created the Middle Class (Beacon Press, $27.95, 9780807039670), at Literati Bookstore in Ann Arbor, Mich.

10 p.m. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, author of Prey: Immigration, Islam, and the Erosion of Women's Rights (Harper, $28.99, 9780062857873).

11 p.m. Michelle Duster, author of Ida B. the Queen: The Extraordinary Life and Legacy of Ida B. Wells (Atria/One Signal, $27, 9781982129811).

Books & Authors

Awards: Story Prize Spotlight Winner; PEN America Literary, Hayek Finalists

Inheritors by Asako Serizawa (Doubleday) has won the Story Prize Spotlight Award, which honors "a collection of exceptional merit [that] can be promising works by first-time authors, collections in alternative formats, or works that demonstrate an unusual perspective on the writer's craft." The award includes a prize of $1,000.

The Spotlight Award is given in addition to the main Story Prize whose three finalists have been selected and whose winner will be announced March 10.


PEN America announced finalists for the 2021 PEN America Literary Awards, which will confer more than $380,000 to writers and translators across all stages of their careers whose exceptional literary works were published in 2020. The winners will be celebrated at the virtual Literary Awards Ceremony on April 8. Check out the complete list here.


The Manhattan Institute has announced finalists for its 17th annual Hayek Book Prize, which honors "authors whose work best reflects F.A. Hayek's vision of economic and individual liberty." The winner, who will receive a $50,000 award, will be announced in the spring and will deliver the annual Hayek lecture later this year. The finalists are:

Charter Schools and Their Enemies by Thomas Sowell (Basic Books)
Open: The Story of Human Progress by Johan Norberg (Atlantic Books)
The Conservative Sensibility by George Will (Hachette Books)
Margaret Thatcher: The Authorized Biography by Charles Moore (Allen Lane, all three volumes)
Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas that Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries by Safi Bahcall (St. Martin's Press)

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, February 16:

Ticking Clock: Behind the Scenes at 60 Minutes by Ira Rosen (St. Martin's Press, $29.99, 9781250756428) is a producer's insider story of 60 Minutes.

The Ravine: A Family, a Photograph, a Holocaust Massacre Revealed by Wendy Lower (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28, 9780544828698) is a forensic investigation of an especially grim Holocaust photograph.

How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need by Bill Gates (Knopf, $26.95, 9780385546133) outlines a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Let's Get Back to the Party by Zak Salih (Algonquin, $25.95, 9781616209575) follows two men in the aftermath of the 2015 Supreme Court marriage equality ruling.

The Unfinished Land by Greg Bear (John Joseph Adams/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26, 9781328589903) is historical fantasy about a shipwreck survivor in an unknown land.

Dark Horses: A Novel by Susan Mihalic (Gallery/Scout Press, $27, 9781982133849) follows an equestrian prodigy and her oppressive coach father.

Dance Your Dance: 8 Steps to Unleash Your Passion and Live Your Dream by Laurieann Gibson and Mark Dagostino (Thomas Nelson, $24.99, 9780785234302) gives a choreographer's advice on achieving goals.

The Tale of the Mandarin Duck by Bette Midler, photographs by Michiko Kakutani (Random House, $18.99, 9780593176764), is a modern fable inspired by the rainbow-colored Mandarin Duck who caused a stir in 2018 when it appeared in New York City's Central Park.

Reaper of Souls (HarperTeen, $18.99, 9780062870988) is the second novel in Rena Barron's YA fantasy series.

The Downstairs Neighbor by Helen Cooper (Putnam, $17, 9780593190388).

Anti-Racist Ally: An Introduction to Activism and Action by Sophie Williams (Amistad, $15.99, 9780063081352).

Do No Harm by Christina McDonald (Gallery, $16.99, 9781982142612).

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:

Remote Control: A Novella by Nnedi Okorafor (Tor, $19.99, 9781250772800). "I have absolutely loved everything Nnedi Okorafor has ever written, and this latest book from her is no exception! Her amazing ability to blend traditional African stories and themes with hardcore science fiction is spectacular. While Sankofa cannot remember her name, she does remember her past as she travels from town to town. Even as a child, she demands respect from the townspeople she interacts with, for she is the Adopted Child of Death. Or is she? Was it an alien device that changed her when she was just a child? Sankofa knows. But she isn't sharing. This mind-blowing science fiction fantasy novella is absolutely glorious, and I can't wait to give it to everyone I know!" --Annie Carl, The Neverending Bookshop, Edmonds, Wash.

A Crooked Tree: A Novel by Una Mannion (Harper, $27.99, 9780063049840). "A Crooked Tree is the delicately woven story of a single mother's bad decision to kick one of her children out of the car miles from home, and how that decision affects an entire network of friends and neighbors throughout the summer. Gorgeously told and intricately written, this hardly seems the work of a debut novelist; Una Mannion will be one to watch, and A Crooked Tree already has me anticipating her next book!" --Mary O'Malley, Skylark Bookshop, Columbia, Mo.

My Autobiography of Carson McCullers: A Memoir by Jenn Shapland (Tin House Books, $16.95, 9781951142292). "This look into the hidden life of Carson McCullers is a brilliant mix of biography and personal memoir. Shapland depicts the life of one of our most beloved and least-known authors in a search for the ultimate meaning of love. It will make you ask yourself difficult questions and delve into the complexities of your own heart. Looking at Carson, Jenn Shapland makes us all vulnerable, more human, more open." --Pepper Parker, Vintage Books, Vancouver, Wash.

For Ages 4 to 8
The ABCs of Black History by Rio Cortez, illus. by Lauren Semmer (Workman, $14.95, 9781523507498). "This beautiful and bold book should be on every child's shelf. It illustrates Black history through words and images that highlight both the challenges and achievements of Black Americans. The bold colors and simple rhymes will keep kids engaged while covering deep topics. A wonderful introduction for kids." --Kristin Saner, Fables Books, Goshen, Ind.

For Ages 9 to 12
The Mouse Watch by J.J. Gilbert (Disney-Hyperion, $16.99, 9781368052184). "Bernie Skampersky, a small-in-stature mouse, wants nothing more in life but to be part of the Mouse Watch, headquartered in New York City but operating all over the world. This conglomeration of mice perform top-secret adventures to keep the world safe. Will Bernie's lifelong dream come true? Reminiscent of Disney's The Rescuers Down Under, this is a tale filled with adventure that middle readers and Disney fans of all ages will enjoy." --Pat Trotter, Bookends on Main, Menomonie, Wis.

For Teen Readers
Soulswift by Megan Bannen (Balzer + Bray, $17.99, 9780062674180). "This book made me cry. It broke my heart right in two. I know that may not sound like a glowing review, but trust me, it is. The best stories are the ones that make us feel so deeply we drown in them. That is what Soulswift is. A deep, beautiful, and heartbreaking story that will stay with you forever. You'll love it as you read it and you'll be shaking when it's over, but you wouldn't want it any other way." --Marielle Orff, Towne Book Center and Wine Bar, Collegeville, Pa.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: Earth's Wild Music: Celebrating and Defending the Songs of the Natural World

Earth's Wild Music: Celebrating and Defending the Songs of the Natural World by Kathleen Dean Moore (Counterpoint, $26 hardcover, 272p., 9781640093676, February 16, 2021)

Essayist, climate activist and nature philosopher Kathleen Dean Moore has spent three decades celebrating the natural world in her writing. More recently, her vivid, lyrical essays--capturing the sounds and smells of summers in rural Alaska or camping trips near her home in Oregon--have included urgent calls to citizens and governments to slow the impact of climate change. Earth's Wild Music, a collection of essays, renders her love for nature in striking detail, and urgently calls for its protection against fossil fuels, overdevelopment and other ills.

Moore (Wild Comfort; Great Tide Rising) begins by quoting Mary Oliver, who wrote, "My work is loving the world." Moore notes that "loving the world became more complicated, and rejoicing got harder" as she witnessed the destruction of habitats and the disappearance of wildlife. But Moore, like Oliver, keeps on loving the world, and working for its preservation and flourishing. She divides her narrative into four sections: "Tremble," "Weep," "Awaken" and finally "Sing Out." Each section contains essays highlighting what she loves about marsh and lake and mountain, and elegies for those species or places that have faded out or been destroyed. Every essay ends with a sobering nugget of information about a featured species of flora or fauna. Many of them--even those not formally designated "endangered"--are facing serious threats to their habitat and well-being.

Having spent her life hiking, canoeing and otherwise enjoying the natural world, Moore has seen both gradual and sudden changes. She reports on climate change and wildfires, cold nights in sleeping bags, forest walks with her grandsons and years of adventures with her husband, Frank. Many of her essays pick up the theme of music from the book's title: not only birdsong, but ocean waves and glaciers melting and the songs of humpback whales. The titles--"The Tadpole Motet," "Repeat the Sounding Joy," "The Song of the Canyon Wren"--call her readers to become listeners and help preserve the songs of the natural world before they disappear altogether.

Passionate, vivid and thoughtful, Moore's essays transport readers to the particular places she loves and urge them to pay attention to the parts of their own world worth loving and saving. Hers is a thoughtful, insistent, necessary voice in the ongoing conversations about how to treat the natural world. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

Shelf Talker: Climate activist and essayist Kathleen Dean Moore celebrates the natural world and calls urgently for its preservation.

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