Also published on this date: Thursday, May 6 Dedicated Issue: Simon & Schuster Fall Preview

Shelf Awareness for Thursday, May 6, 2021

Graphix: Unico: Awakening (Volume 1): An Original Manga Created by Osamu Tezuka, Written by Samuel Sattin, Illustrated by Gurihiru

Shadow Mountain: A Kingdom to Claim by Sian Ann Bessey

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: Immortal Dark (Deluxe Limited Edition) by Tigest Girma

Bramble: Swordcrossed by Freya Marske

Soho Teen: Only for the Holidays by Abiola Bello

Berkley Books: Hair-raising horror to sink your teeth into!


Kamala Harris Shops at Rhode Island's Books on the Square

Yesterday morning, Vice President Kamala Harris made a surprise visit to Books on the Square in Providence, R.I., while in the state for meetings with local business owners. Books on the Square manager Jennifer Kandarian said, "We found out 30 minutes before that she would be coming in!" Kandarian reported that the VP purchased three novels--Colson Whitehead's The Nickel Boys, Ben Lerner's The Topeka School and Ann Patchett's The Dutch House--along with Julia Turshen's cookbook Simply Julia. Outside the store, Harris showed off her purchases and said, "I've been wanting to read all three of these, and I'm going to find the time to do that."

It was Harris's second visit recently to an independent bookstore: the day before Independent Bookstore Day, she shopped at Gibson's Bookstore in Concord, N.H.

Henry Holt & Company: A Banh Mi for Two by Trinity Nguyen

B&N Relocating Store in Peoria, Ariz. 

B&N at Arrowhead Mall

Barnes & Noble, which closed its store near the Arrowhead Mall in Peoria, Ariz., earlier this year, is relocating to the Arrowhead Palms Shopping Centre, the Glendale Independent reported. An official opening date has not been set, but store officials project a mid-to-late summer launch.

Andy Garbutt, B&N's executive v-p of real estate and group development, said the store will be more compact, at about 10,000 square feet.

"We expect to have a comparable range of books to the old store," he added. "The main difference is that we will not have an in-store café. We decided on this given the proximity of other cafes and wishing to keep a full range toys, games, puzzles and stationery alongside our books."

The move came after nearly 25 years at the former location. Garbutt said the landlord decided to redevelop the unit for a new tenant: "We considered several possibilities for the relocation of our bookstore and chose Arrowhead Palms Shopping Centre."

GLOW: Sourcebooks Landmark: Remember You Will Die by Eden Robins

BAM Store Closing, 2nd & Charles to Open in Hixson, Tenn. 

The Books-A-Million store in Hixson, Tenn., which has operated for more than 25 years, is once again slated to close, but will re-open as one of BAM's 2nd & Charles stores at a new location this fall, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reported. The company had previously announced the store's closure last July, but later said it would stay open after BAM reached a new lease agreement for the site. 

BAM's first 2nd & Charles store in the state will be located in Oak Park Town Center on Highway 153, according to the shopping center's owner, Matthew Chudoba of ShopOne. It is expected to occupy 20,500 square feet of space. "We look forward to the company joining our retail lineup later this year," he said.

An exact closing date hasn't been announced yet, said store manager Moon McCroskey, who added that about 16 employees now work at the current location, which is part of a strip center at 5230 Highway 153. 

International Update: Amazon's Luxembourg Tax Deal, New Norwegian Booksellers Association Director

Amazon's latest corporate filings in Luxembourg revealed that the company collected record sales income of €44 billion (about $53 billion) in Europe last year but did not have to pay any corporation tax to the Grand Duchy. The Guardian reported that accounts for Amazon EU Sarl, "through which it sells products to hundreds of millions of households in the U.K. and across Europe, show that despite collecting record income, the Luxembourg unit made a €1.2 billion [about $1.5 billion] loss and therefore paid no tax." 

"It seems that Amazon's relentless campaign of appalling tax avoidance continues," said Margaret Hodge, a British Labour MP who has long campaigned against tax avoidance. "Amazon's revenues have soared under the pandemic while our high streets struggle, yet it continues to shift its profits to tax havens like Luxembourg to avoid paying its fair share of tax. These big digital companies all rely on our public services, our infrastructure, and our educated and healthy workforce. But unlike smaller businesses and hard-working taxpayers, the tech giants fail to pay fairly into the common pot for the common good."


The London Book Fair, which announced last month that the 2021 event, postponed until June 29-July 1, would go virtual, has outlined a three-week online program. The events, beginning June 7, "offer varied content for different audiences" that will "shine a spotlight on key areas of the Fair, creating the opportunity for a larger global audience than ever before to come together in a flexible way to network, learn, and share ideas."

Panels and conferences will address a range of topics, including rights, educational publishing and scholarly publishing. The LBF International Excellence Awards 2021 will be held June 29, and Matt Haig will be Author of the Fair and the focus of an In Conversation event.


Anne Schiøtz

Anne Schiøtz has been named  director of the Norwegian Booksellers Association (Bokhandlerforeningen), effective August 1, following the departure of Trine Stensen and Elin Øy. Noting that Shiøtz "brings with her a wealth of experience from development and digitization fields" as well as previous experience with the association, the European & International Booksellers NewsFlash wrote that the EIBF co-presidents "congratulate Anne on her new role, and are looking forward to working with her closely in the future. We also wish to thank Trine and Elin for their close collaboration with EIBF over the years."


The Börsenverein (the German book industry association), together with Allianz Kulturstiftung and 20 other partners, launched Freedom of Expression Week, EIBF's NewsFlash reported. Taking place May 3-10, the week "aims to draw attention to the importance of, and the many threats to, the right to freedom of expression. Between the International Press Freedom Day on May 3 and the Day of the Book Burning in Germany on May 10, events, actions and campaigns will take place throughout Germany under the claim #MehrAlsMeineMeinung." 


Poetic Mother's Day chalkboard message from Australian bookseller Farrells Bookshop in Mornington, Vic.: 

Roses are Red
Violets are Blue
For this Mother's Day
Gift a Book from You.

--Robert Gray

Obituary Note: Helen Weaver

Helen Weaver, "who fell in love with Jack Kerouac months before On the Road rocketed him into the literary stratosphere, and who 53 years later made a record of their romance in an enduring book of her own," died April 13, the New York Times reported. She was 89.

Weaver spent nearly 20 years working on her memoir, The Awakener: A Memoir of Kerouac and the Fifties (2009), beginning "the story of her life with the Sunday morning in November 1956 when the doorbell of her Greenwich Village apartment rang; she and her roommate looked out the window and saw a band of Beats, including Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, amid the snow," the Times noted. "Weaver sat on the floor with Kerouac. He showed her his unpublished manuscripts, and they debated the relative merits of Thomas Wolfe and Henry James. Ms. Weaver's windowless living room was 'like a stage set that had finally found its play,' she wrote."

Kerouac eventually moved in with her, but his initial sweetness did not sustain their relationship. Weaver wrote: "I was beginning to feel that his Buddhism was just one big philosophical rationalization for doing whatever he wanted." Kerouac memorialized their affair in his novel Desolation Angels (1965). 

Weaver "wrung all she could out of Greenwich Village," the Times noted. "She cut her hair short, wore dark glasses at night, maintained a list of hip expressions and smoked pot, keeping her stash in the back of her desk drawer at the publisher Farrar, Straus & Giroux, where she worked in production. She counted Ginsberg among her friends and Lenny Bruce among her flings."

Weaver went on to become a translator of French texts and a writer on astrology, settling in Woodstock, N.Y. Her work on Antonin Artaud: Selected Writings (1976) was nominated for the National Book Award for translation. Later in life, she "fell in love with Jack all over again," she wrote. In addition to assisting the Kerouac archives at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, she attended festivals and academic conferences devoted to the Beats.


Mother's Day Message from Harriett's Bookshop

As Mother's Day approaches, Jeannine Cook, owner of Harriett's Bookshop, Philadelphia, Pa., shared her thoughts with CBS Philly about how her bookstore "honors her mother and so many other women in her life that pushed her to stay afloat during the pandemic."

"Growing up, my mother was a librarian. My mother began to lose her vision really severely when I was about 8. And during that time, she was also in school," Cook said. "She was getting her master's and decided to keep going to school. What she would do is have us take turns, my sisters and I, reading to her or writing her thoughts down, typing her thoughts down. That's how she finished. It was like a degree that we did as a family."

Cook added that Harriett's Bookshop "is designed to celebrate women authors, women artists, women activists. I think that mission is what continues to fuel everything else that we do. I think that we do that under the guiding light of Harriet Tubman.”

When Covid-19 struck just weeks after the shop opened last year, Cook said, "It felt like, is something telling me to stop? Is something telling me that I'm being foolish? Is something telling me to fight harder, go harder? I decided to go harder.... We understand that what we're doing is way bigger than us and has a far-reaching impact. I talk about my grandchildren, my great-grandchildren, my great-great-grandchildren, and the hope that what we're doing today will mean that they have a world that they can really respect and enjoy."

Personnel Changes at VIZ Media; HarperCollins Children's Books

Eden Julia Sugay is joining VIZ Media as publishing sales manager, effective May 17. She has been sales & marketing manager at Chronicle Books.


At HarperCollins Children's Books:

Rae Gande has been promoted to senior project manager, marketing operations. Gande was previously project manager.

Vaishali Nayak has been promoted to senior manager, marketing. She was previously manager.

Katie Dutton has been promoted to senior marketing associate, school & library marketing. She was previously marketing associate.

Shaelyn McDaniel has been promoted to assistant manager, digital marketing. She was previously digital marketing associate.

Lena Reilly has been promoted to associate publicist. She was previously publicity assistant.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Bill McWhorter on Real Time with Bill Maher

CBS This Morning: Cindy McCain, author of Stronger: Courage, Hope, and Humor in My Life with John McCain (Crown Forum, $28, 9780593236888).

Today Show: Andria Lo and Valerie Luu, authors of Chinatown Pretty: Fashion and Wisdom from Chinatown's Most Stylish Seniors (Chronicle Books, $24.95, 9781452175805).

Drew Barrymore Show: Iska Lupton and Anastasia Miari, authors of Grand Dishes: Recipes and Stories from Grandmothers of the World (Unbound, $29.95, 9781800180000).

Kelly Clarkson Show: Kristin Hensley, co-author of The Meanest of Meanies: A Book About Love (HarperCollins, $18.99, 9780063040557).

HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher: John McWhorter, author of Nine Nasty Words: English in the Gutter: Then, Now, and Forever (Avery, $24, 9780593188798).

This Weekend on Book TV: Patrick Radden Keefe

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, May 8
11 a.m. Nazita Lajevardi, author of Outsiders at Home: The Politics of American Islamophobia (Cambridge University Press, $24.99, 9781108749503).

1 p.m. Bill McKibben, author of Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out? (Holt, $17, 9781250256850), at the virtual 2021 Annapolis Book Festival.

2:50 p.m. April Falcon Doss, author of Cyber Privacy: Who Has Your Data and Why You Should Care (BenBella, $27.95, 9781948836920), at the Annapolis Book Festival.

5:05 p.m. Morris Pearl and Erica Payne, authors of Tax the Rich!: How Lies, Loopholes, and Lobbyists Make the Rich Even Richer (The New Press, $17.99, 9781620976265).

6 p.m. Jeremy DeSilva, author of First Steps: How Upright Walking Made Us Human (Harper, $27.99, 9780062938497), at Harvard Book Store in Cambridge, Mass.

7 p.m. Peter J. Hotez, author of Preventing the Next Pandemic: Vaccine Diplomacy in a Time of Anti-science (Johns Hopkins University Press, $27.95, 9781421440385).

8 p.m. Lisa Napoli, author of Susan, Linda, Nina, and Cokie: The Extraordinary Story of the Founding Mothers of NPR (Abrams, $28, 9781419750403).

10 p.m. Patrick Radden Keefe, author of Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty (Doubleday, $32.50, 9780385545686). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

Sunday, May 9
1 p.m. Marvin Kalb, author of Assignment Russia: Becoming a Foreign Correspondent in the Crucible of the Cold War (Brookings Institution, $24.99, 9780815738961).

2:05 p.m. Timothy Frye, author of Weak Strongman: The Limits of Power in Putin's Russia (Princeton University Press, $24.95, 9780691212463).

4:30 p.m. Julie Lythcott-Haims, author of Your Turn: How to Be an Adult (Holt, $26.99, 9781250137777).

7 p.m. Serhii Plokhy, author of Nuclear Folly: A History of the Cuban Missile Crisis (Norton, $35, 9780393540819).

10 p.m. George W. Bush, author of Out of Many, One: Portraits of America's Immigrants (Crown, $38, 9780593136966).

10:30 p.m. David Sklansky, author of A Pattern of Violence: How the Law Classifies Crimes and What It Means for Justice (Belknap Press, $29.95, 9780674248908).

Books & Authors

Awards: Four Quartets, Jerusalem Winners

John Murillo has won the 2021 Four Quartets Prize for his poem "A Refusal to Mourn the Deaths, by Gunfire, of Three Men in Brooklyn" from his collection Kontemporary Amerikan Poetry (Four Way Books). Sponsored by the T.S. Eliot Foundation and the Poetry Society of America, the $21,000 prize celebrates "the multi-part poem, and is awarded to a unified and complete sequence of poems published in America in a print or online journal, chapbook, or book in 2020."

Finalists are Don Mee Choi for her book DMZ Colony and Srikanth Reddy for his book Underworld Lit, both published by Wave Books. Each finalist receives an award of $1,000.

Judges said that the winning poem "lights a match and holds us in the flame. In this extraordinary fifteen-sonnet redoublé, the speaker meditates on the recent history of murderous racism in America that makes of Black men targets, and centers in the lyric space Black anger and Black pain. Murillo reminds us that his is a long lineage and each sonnet's epigraph marks the genealogy of resistance Black poets continue to enact. Murillo's anti-elegy demonstrates a lyrical virtuosity, passion, and command of language that makes this work urgent, essential, and enduring."

The Poetry Society of America has videos of the winner and runners up reading from their works: John Murillo, Don Mee Choi and Srikanth Reddy.


Julian Barnes is the recipient of the $10,000 Jerusalem Prize, recognizing a writer whose work best expresses and promotes the idea of "freedom of the individual in society." He accepted the award during the opening session of the Jerusalem International Book Forum (held virtually this year) and expressed his thanks to the prize jury, as well as his hope to travel to Jerusalem for the 2022 Book Forum, to receive the prize in person. 

The jury said, in part, that "Barnes's greatness is to be found in his ability to think and express himself not only in words but in notes and keys, similes and metaphors, ruminations and silences, and to alchemize those elements into strong, glowing literature."

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new hardcovers appearing next Tuesday, May 11:

Amazon Unbound: Jeff Bezos and the Invention of a Global Empire by Brad Stone (Simon & Schuster, $30, 9781982132613) explores Amazon's past decade of exponential growth--by the author of The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon. [Bloomberg Businessweek has published a long excerpt from the book--which is embargoed--focusing on Bezos and his battle with the National Enquirer, "an unrivaled tale of money, sex, and power" in which Bezos "retaliated with the brutal, brilliant efficiency he used to build his business empire."]

The Life She Wished to Live: A Biography of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Author of The Yearling by Ann McCutchan (Norton, $35, 9780393353495) is a biography of the author whose Yearling won the 1938 Pulitzer Prize.

Notes on Grief by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Knopf, $16, 9780593320808) expands on a New Yorker piece about the loss of the author's father.

The Final Twist by Jeffery Deaver (Putnam, $28, 9780525539131) is the third Colter Shaw thriller.

From Little Tokyo, with Love by Sarah Kuhn (Viking, $18.99, 9780593327487) is about a young biracial woman who becomes convinced that "America's reigning rom-com sweetheart" is her mother.

Illusionary by Zoraida Córdova (Little, Brown, $18.99, 9780759556034) is the thrilling YA sequel to Incendiary.

All the Way to the Tigers: A Memoir by Mary Morris (Anchor, $17, 9780593081020).

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:

The Night Always Comes: A Novel by Willy Vlautin (Harper, $26.99, 9780063035089). "The Night Always Comes is urgent. For two days and two nights, Lynette's future rests on a tightly plotted race through the gentrified and changing districts of Portland as she tries to secure what she believes to be a better life for herself and for her mother and brother. Willy Vlautin writes with honesty and generosity about people who are just a step ahead of disaster. He makes us care for lives that are singularly defined by the challenge of earning a living wage while navigating the circumstances of society, family, and self. Vlautin is a necessary writer for our times." --Christine Kelly, Sundance Bookstore, Reno, Nev.

The Good Sister: A Novel by Sally Hepworth (St. Martin's Press, $27.99, 9781250120953). "Having a title like The Good Sister might lead a reader to assume there is also a bad sister. Here we meet twin sisters Rose and Fern, whose mother was a sociopath. That upbringing affected Fern the most, so Rose cared for her sister during most of their childhood. Now adult women, Fern begins to come out of her shell and experience life on her own; she likes the freedom and the adventures. But Rose does not. When Fern makes a huge sacrifice to mollify Rose, the story grows more tense as it becomes clear who the good sister is and how bad the bad sister can be. Readers might change allegiances during the book, but no one will see the end coming! Highly recommended!" --Nancy Simpson-Brice, Book Vault, Oskaloosa, Iowa

Becoming Duchess Goldblatt by Anonymous (Mariner, $15.99, 9780358569831). "After the collapse of her marriage and her whole life, the anonymous author of Becoming Duchess Goldblatt started a Twitter account, speaking in the voice of an imperious, slightly dotty, always caring 81-year-old writer. The Duchess became the focus of intense adoration and eventually helped her creator to reconnect with the 'real world' even as she kept her identity a secret. Becoming Duchess Goldblatt is a glorious memoir, a truly 21st-century tale of life both online and off." --David Enyeart, Next Chapter Booksellers, St. Paul, Minn.

For Ages 4 to 8
Watercress by Andrea Wang, illus. by Jason Chin (Neal Porter Books, $18.99, 9780823446247). "As her family drives along a road in rural Ohio, a girl's parents suddenly stop when they see watercress growing by the side of the road. She's embarrassed when she has to help collect it and refuses to eat it when it's prepared for dinner. This prompts a family discussion of her parents' childhoods in China that helps the girl gain appreciation for her parents and for the watercress. A lovely story about family heritage." --Cathy Berner, Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, Tex.

For Ages 9 to 12
Thornlight by Claire Legrand (Greenwillow Books, $16.99, 9780062696663). "Thornlight is an amazing story of two sisters and their quest to prevent their world from being destroyed by an evil Gulgot. The story is woven throughout with magical creatures, witches, and unicorns. The mission that Thorn and Brier embark on will keep you on the edge of your seat with surprises that would pique any reader's interest." --Judith Lafitte, Octavia Books, New Orleans, La.

For Teen Readers
The Project by Courtney Summers (Wednesday Books, $18.99, 9781250105738). "Courtney Summers is back with another electric gut-punch of a novel, and I couldn't be more thrilled to have found myself a quivering mass of emotion after turning the last page of The Project. Only Summers can perfectly encapsulate the dueling states of fragility and ferocity that exist within young women when they find themselves alone in a world that isn't designed to protect them from harm. I dare you to pick up this brilliant novel about two sisters and a mysterious cult--you won't be able to put it down." --Cristina Russell, Books & Books, Coral Gables, Fla.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: The Thousand Crimes of Ming Tsu

The Thousand Crimes of Ming Tsu by Tom Lin (Little, Brown, $28 hardcover, 288p., 9780316542159, June 1, 2021)

Warning: the number of corpses could actually exceed the page count in Tom Lin's addictively gruesome debut, The Thousand Crimes of Ming Tsu. Set between the Utah Territories and California in the late 1800s, Lin's novel manages to enhance a wild, wild western with Odyssean devotion, magic realism and historical racism, to create quite the unlikely love story gone awry.

Orphan Ming Tsu doesn't remember his immigrant Chinese parents; he was raised instead by a "caretaker" who "treated [him] like a son" but also trained him to be an efficient killer. Ming carries a notebook in which six scribbled names will determine his destiny: a labor recruiter, a gang boss, a sheriff, a judge, two brothers, each of whom helped shatter his life 10 years ago by stealing his wife, Ada, and damning him to railroad chain gang labor. Accompanied by a blind, death-foretelling Chinese "prophet," Ming will methodically wreak revenge.

Drunk one evening, Ming stumbles onto a magic show that promises three miracles: a tattooed shapeshifter, a mute boy who speaks directly into people's minds and a woman impervious to fire. The mysterious ringmaster proposes a deal: $800 to protect the small troop--which also includes a Navajo memory manipulator and a Mexican stagehand--through hostile lands and deliver them safely to Reno. Along the way, Ming will have ample opportunity to kill. While fighting marauding men and unpredictable nature, Ming reluctantly grows attached to his otherworldly charges. No matter how much he longs for Ada, he might even be falling in love. His vengeful plan, however, can't be altered--whatever the consequences.

For all his life, Lin's protagonist has seemingly discarded his Chinese roots--raised by a white man, unable to speak Chinese, repeatedly disowning his "countrymen"--and yet Ming cannot escape his Asian skin, the denigrating labels, his erasure with the lazy moniker "John." His Chinese ancestry cost him his white wife: anti-miscegenation laws gave Ada's father the power to destroy his marriage and sentence him to dehumanizing labor. Ming's story of denial becomes Lin's ingenious assertion of his own Chinese American heritage, his fiction a literal projection of the Chinese American experience onto the page. Lin cleverly reclaims the language as he marks each of the story's three parts with untranslated Chinese characters--they're "hunt," "trip," "life," respectively. With dexterous agility, Lin showcases Ming's multi-faceted identity as a native-born American, a builder of transcontinental railroads, a rebel against racist laws, a killer of injustice--and maybe even a hero who might finally get the girl. --Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon

Shelf Talker: Debut novelist Tom Lin creates a wild, wild west hero who, in the name of true love, embarks on an epic quest for gruesome revenge.

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