Also published on this date: Monday, March 15, 2021: Maximum Shelf: Damnation Spring

Shelf Awareness for Monday, March 15, 2021


Bloomsbury YA: This Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron

Other Press: Barcelona Dreaming by Rupert Thomson

Magination Press: Jacob's School Play: Starring He, She, and They by Ian Hoffman and Sarah Hoffman, illustrated by Chris Case

Simon & Schuster Children's Fall Preview: Join us for a virtual meetup featuring your favorite authors and illustrators!

Tordotcom: The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: Just Pretend by Tori Sharp

Mandala Publishing: Big Panda and Tiny Dragon by James Norbury and Insight Editions

Tor Books: When the Sparrow Falls by Neil Sharpson

Quotation of the Day

'It's About Getting the Word Out to Customers'

"I definitely feel that, in that first part of my career, we were talking amongst ourselves about Amazon and price gouging and monopolies and how to get by. Now I feel like it's about getting the word out to customers. It's not that we're anti-Amazon, but we're pro-bookstores and pro-community. I really just want people to think about where they're spending their money, and why....

"It's really important to us that no matter how big we get, no matter how national or international our customers are, we are always here for Lawrence. I guess that's what's so meaningful to me about indies across the country. They're all doing this wherever they are, and what's happening in Lawrence is different than what's happening everywhere else. It's not like one algorithm deciding what everyone should read, or what authors are important."

--Danny Caine, owner of the Raven Book Store, Lawrence, Kan., in a New Yorker piece headlined "A Kansas Bookshop's Fight with Amazon Is About More Than the Price of Books"

Neal Porter Books: Bright Star by Yuyi Morales


News

Bās Bookshop Opens in Honolulu

Bās Bookshop, which has opened at 1154 Nu'uanu Ave. in Honolulu, Hawaii, specializes in "literary works that are rich in fashion, architectural design, music, photography and other colorful topics that spark vision, imagination and excellence," Honolulu magazine reported, adding that co-owners Aly Ishikuni-Sasaki and Travis Sasaki have a "wholehearted commitment to fill spaces (physically and metaphorically) in the local art community."

"We founded the shop together with the belief that reading is fundamental," said Ishikuni-Sasaki. "For us, bringing back books from our travels is very normal. We get to discover new publishers and writers that inspire and encourage our creativity. We always felt others should have the same opportunity."

Travis Sasaki added: "It was a risk opening during a pandemic, but our block, with Roberta, EP Bar [coming soon] and Hound and Quail, is a getaway for people who want to shop, grab a book and coffee, and just relax."

Describing the space as "a little sunlit haven with natural light highlighting bright covers," Honolulu magazine noted: "The décor alone reads museum-meets-Marie-Kondo. A wooden table centerpiece is anchored by short stacks of books, while quiet side tables and bookshelves hug walls. A couple of chairs sit by the window, offering visitors a place to relax while skimming through new titles. Locally made art pieces and wares from less-exposed brands, upcycled fashion from Cyc the Shop and lifestyle pottery pieces by Big Island ceramicist Claire Seastone, fill in blank spaces."

Plans call for turning the shop into a hub for film screenings, art workshops for keiki, pop-up installations and exhibits from local artists, photographers and fashion designers. The owners are also working on expanding their selection of written works from the Native Hawaiian community.

"Whether you're a culture lover, young design professional, a kid who loves to draw, we hope you can find something here. And, although we do want a big home library, we'll try to leave the books for our customers," said Ishikuni-Sasaki.


Harper: The Taking of Jemima Boone: The True Story of the Kidnap and Rescue That Shaped America by Matthew Pearl


The Bibliophile Opens in Dover, Ohio

The Bibliophile, a new and used independent bookstore, officially opened in downtown Dover, Ohio, on Saturday, the TimesReporter reported.

The approximately 1,000-square-foot store carries between 7,000 and 8,000 titles for all ages, and while most of them are used, shoppers can order and purchase new books from the store's Bookshop.org page. Local authors are featured and there is a children's area with a section devoted to Caldecott and Newbery award winners.

Owners Dave and Sara Jones began selling books back in 2018, out of a single bookcase in a local secondhand shop. Over the past few years they expanded their book collection via estate sales, auctions, donations and more.

"One of our main goals in starting the bookstore is to really promote the love of physical books," Sara Jones told the TimesReporter. "There's something unique and precious about holding a book."

Once pandemic restrictions are lifted, they hope to host a variety of events at their store, including game nights, author talks and story time sessions. Shoppers can sell their used books for cash or store credit, and the owners plan to partner with a variety of other downtown businesses. They celebrated their opening day with cookies and coffee-shop coupons.


Bronzeville Books: Rising and Other Stories by Gale Massey


International Update: Welsh Bookshops to Reopen in April, Basic Bookselling Economics in Hong Kong

Bookshops in Wales are expected to reopen April 12, according to a phased approach to easing lockdown restrictions outlined by First Minister Mark Drakeford, the Bookseller reported. English bookshops are set to reopen the same day.

The decision is contingent upon novel coronavirus cases continuing to fall. The Welsh government, which has also announced it is making an extra £150 million (about $208 million) available to businesses hit by the restrictions, said the step-by-step approach to easing lockdown restrictions "allows us to gradually open up Wales while keeping a close eye on the virus."

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A quick lesson in bookselling economics was offered by Bleak House Books in Hong Kong, which posted on Facebook: "This is our resident bookworms holding copies of Klara and the Sun, the much-anticipated, new novel by Nobel laureate Kazuo Ishiguro. To save everyone the trouble I will tell you how much this book goes for on BookDepository. HK$186.20 [about US$24]. Our price is HK$280 (about US$36]. We have 20 copies of this book. Each book costs us HK$148.50 (about US$19] to source from the publisher. If we were to sell all of them at HK$280 each--and that is a big 'if'--we would be making a total of HK$2,630 [about US$339]. That amount would go towards paying our rent, salary for shop staff, more new and used books, Internet bill, electricity bill, website hosting, and other miscellaneous expenses.

"I write all this as a periodic reminder to others and also to myself that running an independent bookshop isn't easy in this day and age. And every bit of support we receive from the community means a great deal to us. Thanks for taking the time to read this and for supporting your local, independent bookstore."

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Iconic Indian bookseller KitabKhana in Mumbai reopened last week, having survived not only a national Covid-19 lockdown in March 2020 but also a fire in December that damaged almost 45,000 books, Scroll.in reported.

"The wait is finally over," KitabKhana tweeted the day before reopening. "We can't wait to see all of you tomorrow as we reopen our doors, after what seems like an eternity. See you in the morning. In case, you can't make it, tune in to our #instalive as we share a glimpse of your favorite bookstore!" On Instagram, the bookseller featured a video of its lamp lighting ceremony.

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Bookseller horse: Mt. Cloud Bookshop, Baguio City, Philippines posted: "Rain, our horse guest, mascot, local celebrity, and social distance enforcer, arrived home with an escort today! This boy, once a wild horse, has been on vacation since December. He spends most of the time he isn't helping Solana train for the Mongolian Derby, cleaning our garden and reminding people to maintain safe distances...." --Robert Gray


G.P. Putnam's Sons: The Turnout by Megan Abbott


Walter Dean Myers Awards

This past Friday, the ceremony for the sixth annual Walter Dean Myers Awards for​ ​Outstanding​ ​Children's​ ​Literature was preceded by the We Need Diverse Books/Library of Congress symposium "Listening, Learning, Creating Communities," ​moderated​ ​by​ ​Coretta Scott King/Virginia Hamilton Lifetime Achievement Award-winning librarian and educator Deborah D. Taylor. She opened by asking Kacen Callender (King and the Dragonflies, Scholastic) how listening differs from hearing. The difference, they said, is that hearing happens "with your heart." When asked how we could keep old toxic attitudes out of new communities, Callender replied, "I think it's impossible... it's important to acknowledge that [those toxic attitudes] are already there.... It's a part of our foundation." But "we have to figure out how to be aware... and believe in a future where we can dismantle it completely."

Clockwise: Deborah D. Taylor, Robin Ha, Traci Chee, Kacen Callender, Daniel Nayeri

Along with Callender, the panel included the other 2021 Honor recipients: Traci Chee (We Are Not Free, HMH Books for Young Readers), Robin Ha (Almost American Girl, Balzer + Bray), and Daniel Nayeri (Everything Sad Is Untrue (a true story), Levine Querido). Nayeri agreed with Callender that belief helps create the kinds of communities of which we want to be a part. He went on to note that "storytelling is literally the language we use to define ourselves." Taylor pointed out to Chee, a fourth-generation Japanese American, that "it's part of being in America that we erase things people don't want to think about," specifically focusing on the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. Redress and reparations "from the U.S. government were instrumental... in allowing us to even begin healing," Chee responded, noting that advocates have made it so that the internment of Japanese Americans is something that has not been erased. She added, "We have to talk about this. We cannot let these things happen to others. Seeing some of these things happening again now... refuels that fire." Ha, who said that she lived half her life in South Korea before moving to the U.S., added to Chee's point: "Living through a pandemic in America has really opened my eyes--there's a lot more work to do in this country."

A short intermission included a question from Taylor for National Ambassador for Young People's Literature Jason Reynolds: "What would a beloved literary community look like?" Reynolds replied that young people would have access to a wide variety of options and that they would be able to explore and discover on their own. Adults, in his opinion, would be there simply to act as guides.

Author Meg Medina, a member of the WNDB advisory board, introduced the Walter Awards ceremony and the emcee, author Laurie Halse Anderson. A mentee of Myers, Anderson said he taught her that "our first responsibility is to our readers. Every day. All the time." A brief video biography of Walter Dean Myers and the award that bears his name followed Anderson's introduction.

Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed
Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam

The winner of the Walter Award for Younger Readers was When Stars Are Scattered (Dial Books) by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed, color by Iman Geddy. "I always wanted to be a voice for the voiceless," Mohamed said, thanking the committee for the honor. The winner of the Walter Award in the Teen Category was Punching the Air (Balzer + Bray) by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam, illustrated by Omar T. Pasha. Zoboi and Salaam met as students at Hunter College, and Zoboi said the reason she wanted to write this book with Salaam was not because of the role he has played in our society, but because of the role he has played in anti-racist work. "Our ancestors' work continues to live on through our work," Zoboi said, and she expressed how happy she is to receive an honor named after an ancestor. "One of the things that became so powerful in this process is that we became our ancestors," Salaam responded. "I'm so honored to be on this journey.... This is full circle of us being able to realize that this was not for nothing." The book, he said, is a "love offering."

The Walter Awards, which celebrate the legacy of prolific children's author Walter Dean Myers, "recognize diverse authors whose works feature diverse main characters and address diversity in a meaningful way." The prerecorded event was livestreamed and is available on the Library of Congress's website, Facebook and YouTube pages, as well as the WNDB YouTube page. --Siân Gaetano, children's and YA editor, Shelf Awareness


Notes

Pa. Bookseller Mentioned in President Biden's Speech

During President Biden's prime-time address last Thursday, he recalled that last summer, "I was in Philadelphia and I met a small-business owner, a woman. I asked her, I said, 'What do you need most?' Never forget what she said to me. She said, looking me right in the eye and she said, 'I just want the truth. The truth. Just tell me the truth.' "

That small business owner was Kirsten Hess of Let's Play Books, Emmaus, Pa. She told the Philadelphia Inquirer that Biden was describing their interaction at a campaign event in June. "He was directly across the table and he said specifically, 'What are you looking for from your government?' And I believe I said, 'The truth. I want clear consistent language so that business owners and others can make smart decisions.' "

Hess was excited to learn that her words had been cited in the president's speech, even if he didn't use her name. "I'm a little giddy to be honest with you," she said. "The fact that maybe my five minutes or 10 minutes... with him actually resonated makes me feel really proud."

She also recalled that then-President Trump had tweeted an image of her husband and daughter attending a speech Biden gave later in the day, held at a venue with limited capacity due to Covid-19. Trump's mockery of the crowd ("Joe Biden's rally. ZERO enthusiasm!") "used to bother Hess but it feels different now, with Biden in office and Trump suspended from Twitter," the Inquirer noted.

"All I can say is what a difference a year can make," she said. 


Personnel Changes at Tom Doherty Associates

At Tom Doherty Associates:

Stephanie Sirabian is being promoted to senior associate director of advertising and promotion.

Anthony Parisi is being promoted to senior associate director of marketing and school & library.

Jennifer McClelland-Smith is being promoted to senior marketing manager.  

Isa Caban is being promoted to senior marketing manager.

Amanda Melfi is being promoted to digital marketing coordinator.

Andrew King is being promoted to marketing coordinator.

Natassja Haught is being promoted to marketing coordinator.

Ariana Carpentieri is being promoted to marketing coordinator.

Laura Etzkorn is being promoted to senior publicist.

Libby Collins is being promoted to senior publicist.

Giselle Gonzalez is being promoted to assistant publicist.



Media and Movies

Media Heat: Deborah Feldman on Fresh Air

Today:
Drew Barrymore Show: Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin, authors of The Home Edit Life: The No-Guilt Guide to Owning What You Want and Organizing Everything (Clarkson Potter, $28.50, 9780593138304).

The View: Don Lemon, author of This Is the Fire: What I Say to My Friends About Racism (Little, Brown, $28, 9780316257572). He will also appear tonight on the Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer and tomorrow on the Lead with Jake Tapper.

Fresh Air: Deborah Feldman, author of Unorthodox: My Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots (Simon & Schuster, $17, 9781982148201).

Jimmy Kimmel Live: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, author of Keep Sharp: Build a Better Brain at Any Age (Simon & Schuster, $28, 9781501166730).

Tomorrow:
Good Morning America: Harlan Coben, author of Win (Grand Central, $29, 9781538748213). He will also be on the Rachael Ray Show.

Ellen: Michelle Obama, author of Becoming: Adapted for Young Readers (Delacorte, $18.99, 9780593303740). She will also appear on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

Late Night with Seth Meyers: Mark Harris, author of Mike Nichols: A Life (Penguin Press, $35, 9780399562242).


Movies: Killers of the Flower Moon; Writers and Lovers

Apple Studios "has added the Indigenous actresses Tantoo Cardinal, Cara Jade Myers, JaNae Collins and Jillian Dion to its ensemble cast" for the film adaptation of David Grann's book Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, the Hollywood Reporter wrote. They join previously announced cast members Leonardo DiCaprio, Jesse Plemons and Lily Gladstone.

Scorsese is producing and directing the film for Apple Studios and Imperative Entertainment from a screenplay by Eric Roth. Also producing are Imperative's Dan Friedkin and Bradley Thomas, and DiCaprio's Appian Way Productions.

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Actress Toni Collette will make her debut as a film director with an adaptation of Lily King's novel Writers and LoversDeadline reported. The project is set up at Topic Studios with Collette producing under her Vocab Films label, and adapting the screenplay with Nick Payne (The Crown).

"I have been wanting to direct for quite some time but have been a bit busy with my day job," said Collette. "l couldn't be more thrilled to be bringing Lily King's beautiful, funny, moving novel to life. It's an empowering story that speaks to me as a woman and an artist. It's ultimately about coming to know and believe in oneself. This is not always an easy feat, but the most important journey any person can take. It inspires me on so many levels."


Books & Authors

Awards: Grammy Spoken Word Winner; Jhalak Prize Longlists

Among the winners at last night's 2021 Grammy Awards was Rachel Maddow, in the Best Spoken Word Album category (including poetry, audiobooks & storytelling), for her narration of her audiobook Blowout: Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State Russia, and the Richest, Most Destructive Industry on Earth (Random House Audio). It was her first Grammy win and second nomination after Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power in 2012.

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Longlists have been announced for the Jhalak Prize for Book of the Year by a Writer of Color, as well as the inaugural Children’s & YA Prize. The awards celebrate books by British/British resident BAME writers. Each winner receives £1,000 (about $1,390). Shortlists will be released April 13 and the winners named May 25.

Prize director Sunny Singh said: "Despite the pandemic and the grim past year, we received a record number of submissions, nearly a third more than in 2020. There are more books by writers of color being published and more importantly more of these are being published well. Although this is not a moment for complacency, especially since the pandemic has disproportionately impacted communities--and writers--of color, there is much reason to celebrate. And celebrate we must, and shall!”


Book Review

Review: Night Rooms

Night Rooms: Essays by Gina Nutt (Two Dollar Radio, $15.99 paperback, 172p., 9781953387004, March 23, 2021)

Gina Nutt's Night Rooms is a startling collection of 18 essays ruminating on life experiences, cultural tropes and horror films, examining questions of gender, fear and grief. Fragmented in form, but firmly interconnected, these essays refuse to look away. Nutt's prose is lyrical, provocative, intimate and intelligent.

"I used to imagine wanting someone alive would revive them, if caught right after dying." This opening line establishes one of Nutt's main subjects: the deaths of loved ones and how people do (or don't) handle them. She wants to find "a balance between mourning and moving on. How does it look to not be so enamored with the image of the final girl--the one who survives--that we forget, or disavow, our dead (selves)." That final girl of horror movies is objectified: a symbol, a survivor, part of a lineage.

Nutt (Wilderness Champion) is also a poet, and has a way with a simple line in brief scenes and observations: in grief or depression, "time pulls thick, opaque as taffy." "I am making this [darkness] a buoy." Her voice is vulnerable and frank. Repeatedly she describes a cultural artifact rather than naming it, so it is recognizable to most readers, but made unfamiliar: "the cartoon mouse dressed in a red sorcerer's cloak and a pointy violet hat with white stars on it." Quoted sources are named in footnotes, but those only paraphrased are not, so that different readers will find themselves involved to different degrees--as is true with the cultural artifacts themselves.

Haunted houses, horror flicks with sharks in them, ghost stories and slasher films meet beauty pageants, ballet lessons, sexual explorations and home décor to question what it is about the macabre that fascinates. Although subtitled as "essays," Night Rooms feels more like it contains chapters, which make reference to one another as much as within themselves. The deaths that occupy the narrator in the book's beginning are relevant again at its close. Indeed, while these essays are fragmented, cinematic in flashes of image, sound and feeling, they are equally fragments of the whole. Together, these pieces form an experience that is sensory, intellectual and emotional, illuminating difficult and even uncomfortable truths.

Part personal reflection and part cultural study, this unusual collection will haunt readers, in the best ways. --Julia Kastner, librarian and blogger at pagesofjulia

Shelf Talker: These 18 essays about gender, horror, grief and much more are thought-provoking, discomfiting and lovely.


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