Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, June 15, 2021


Harper: Black Girls Must Have It All (Black Girls Must Die Exhausted) by Jayne Allen

Berkley Books: Mrs. Nash's Ashes by Sarah Adler

Berkley Books: Meet Me at the Lake by Carley Fortune

Pantheon Books: Chain Gang All Stars by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

Scholastic Press: The Guardian Test (Legends of Lotus Island #1) by Christina Soontornvat, illustrated by Kevin Hong

News

Blacksburg Books Coming to Blacksburg, Va.

Laurie Kelly, an attorney who has wanted to open a bookstore for years, is planning to launch Blacksburg Books, offering new and used titles, this summer at 401 South Main St. in Blacksburg, Va. The Roanoke Times reported that Kelly was inspired when a friend pointed her to a discussion in a popular Blacksburg Facebook group in which members said the would like to see a bookstore come to town. 

"That sort of gave me the push that I need to see that there really is a desire from the community," said Kelly, who added that she felt strongly about opening the store in the town where she lives and works. She also wanted to be as close to downtown as possible for foot traffic and high visibility.

Though Blacksburg Books will be small, at about 1,200 square feet, Kelly said she wants to have some seating and hopes to partner with other local businesses to offer prepackaged snacks and beverages, the Roanoke Times wrote. 


Arcade Publishing: A Mysterious Country: The Grace and Fragility of American Democracy by Normal Mailer, edited by Michael J. Lennon and John Buffalo Mailer


For Sale: Provincetown Bookshop

(via)

Provincetown Bookshop, located in Provincetown, Mass., on the northern tip of Cape Cod, is up for sale. The bookstore's building has been sold, and the current owners are looking for someone to purchase the 89-year-old bookstore and to relocate it.

Established in 1932, the bookshop carries a wide array of fiction along with cookbooks, biographies and children's books. There are books by local authors as well as an extensive Cape Cod section. For the time being the store will remain open for business while a new owner is sought.

Interested parties can contact Philip Swayze at pswayze@me.com


G.P. Putnam's Sons: The Only Game in Town by Lacie Waldon


Jill Davis Launching Imprint at Astra Publishing House

Jill Davis

Children's book editor Jill Davis is joining Astra Publishing House, where she will launch an as-yet-unnamed imprint dedicated to publishing illustrated books. "My focus at Astra will be developing authors and illustrators from all over and helping them create unforgettable stories with sparkle, soul, and lots of surprises," Davis said. "The majority of my list will be illustrated books for ages 0–12, with an occasional teen title."

Davis was formerly executive editor at HarperCollins Children's Books. She began her career specializing in illustrated nonfiction at Random House (Crown and Knopf) and later at Viking, where she edited Elizabeth Partridge's award-winning biographies for teens. Later at Bloomsbury and HarperCollins, she shifted her focus to unusual illustrated stories for younger readers, working with Beatrice Alemagna, Daniel Bernstrom, Serge Bloch, Babette Cole, Elise Gravel, Constance Lombardo, Kyo Maclear, Julie Morstad, Sabine Timm, Brendan Wenzel and others.

Astra Publishing House COO Ben Schrank said, "All of us at Astra Publishing House are so excited to welcome Jill and to help her start a new imprint here. She has an amazing eye for talent and is known internationally for working with the very best creators. We can't wait to champion everything she publishes with us."


G.P. Putnam's Sons: Love & Other Scams by Philip Ellis


Lucinda Riley Remembered by Current Publisher, Blue Box Press

More about Lucinda Riley, who died on June 11:

Her U.S. publisher, for the past two years, is Blue Box Press, an imprint of Evil Eye, which has published four of her books, most recently The Missing Sister, the seventh book in Riley's wildly popular Seven Sisters series. (The book, published two weeks ago, has just made its debut on several national bestseller lists.)

M.J. Rose, co-founder of Blue Box Press, said, "Lucinda Riley was a giant talent, an amazing storyteller and a dear friend of ours. We treasured our relationship with her and she will be so very much missed by us all. Our hearts are broken by this loss."


Obituary Note: Robert Quackenbush

Robert Quackenbush

Robert Quackenbush, the American author, artist and educator who wrote and illustrated more than 200 books for young readers, died May 17. He was 91. Quackenbush began illustrating children's books in the 1960s, and in 1971 he was nominated for the Caldecott Medal for his illustrations for The Peasant's Pea Patch. During the 1970s he began writing and illustrating his own books. Among his most beloved and classic books are those featuring Detective Mole, the Miss Mallard Mysteries and Pete Pack Rat. 

In a statement, Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing noted that Quackenbush "was, and is, truly extraordinary. He celebrated the gift of life daily and found joy in every single moment. He was also a psychotherapist and his commitment to, and skill for, the arts, literacy and mental health has left a lasting impact on many, many lives."

His editor Karen Nagel, executive editor of Aladdin Books, observed: "Having first met Robert Quackenbush when he was well into his 80s, nothing could have prepared me--or anyone else on our team--for the exuberant force of nature that was Robert. His passion for books was utterly infectious, and his creativity, insight, and grace made him a one-of-a-kind creator and collaborator. Robert was particularly thrilled that his iconic Miss Mallard, Henry the Duck, and Sherlock Chick books (many published more than 30 years ago!), were embraced by a new generation of eager readers." 

Quackenbush's work is in the permanent collection of the Whitney Museum, the Smithsonian, the Department of the Interior, the U.S. Air Force Museum and the Norton Simon Museum. His achievements earned him a Gradiva Award, a gold medal from the Holland Society, and the Edgar Allan Poe Award from the Mystery Writers of America for his Detective Mole series. Quackenbush's Miss Mallard Series was adapted into an animated television series by Cinar that continues to be shown around the world. 

Throughout his career, Quackenbush traveled to speak to and educate school children around the world about his books, art, illustrations and writing. For more than 40 years, he taught children and adults the art of writing and illustrating in his New York City studio. Following 9/11, he worked on forming the Liberty Avenue program, helping children who had lost loved ones in the attacks to express and work through their feelings through art. 


Notes

Registration Open for MPIBA's Bookseller Summer Camp

Registration has opened for the Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association's Bookseller Summer Camp. In its second year, the camp-themed virtual conference will run in two sessions, July 12-16 and July 19-23. 

The schedule includes author events, education sessions, networking opportunities and more. On July 13 authors Ruth Ozeki and Honorée Fanonne Jeffers will kick off the summer's first Campfire Stories. They'll discuss their upcoming novels and appear in conversation with a bookseller moderator.


How Tenn.'s Landmark Bookstore Inspired Author Karen Kingsbury

Karen Kingsbury signing books for Landmark Booksellers in 2020.

Author Karen Kingsbury reflected on her love for Franklin, Tenn., in Southern Lady magazine. She also paid tribute to Landmark Booksellers and owners Joel and Carol Tomlin, who inspired her novel The Bridge, which was adapted into a Hallmark movie.

Kingsbury, who lives in nearby Brentwood, recalled: "In the spring of 2011, I was visiting the Nashville area on a book tour, and my editor at the time, Becky Nesbit, took me to downtown Franklin. 'Prettiest street in America,' she told me. That warm afternoon as we set out, I saw immediately that she was right! Then she took me into Landmark Booksellers--and my life would never be the same! I fell in love with the warmth and light of the place, and I had a wonderful conversation with Joel and Carol Tomlin, the store owners.... Within a week, I came up with a story that wouldn’t leave my heart. The Bridge, I called it. Charlie and Donna Barton became my fictitious store owners, who had lost everything in my imaginary flood. A few years later, it became a two-part hit Hallmark movie series: Karen Kingsbury’s The Bridge."

Kingsbury also noted that Franklin "is the sort of place that represents what life should be like. People care about their neighbors and look out for each other. One example: During the first months of the pandemic, Landmark Booksellers considered closing its doors permanently. This is a store that needs foot traffic, and with all of life shut down, they almost didn't make it. But two things happened: my readers rallied around the store, and local news spread the word. In a matter of weeks, more than 5,000 copies of Someone Like You, my spring 2020 book, sold through Landmark Booksellers. The overwhelming response kept the Landmark doors open. Since the space at Landmark was too small for this undertaking, my family and church friends gathered at my house to help sign, package, address, and stamp each of those packages--very much like what happened in my book, The Bridge."


B&T Publisher Services to Distribute SPCK Group

Baker & Taylor Publisher Services will provide sales and distribution in the U.S and Canada for the SPCK Group, effective July 1.

SPCK Group is a leading Christian publisher, formed following the acquisitions of IVP UK and, more recently, Lion Hudson, by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, a publisher founded in 1698. All three lists will be available from BTPS under this arrangement.

Lion Hudson is a Christian publisher that has an extensive list of award-winning books for adults and children under several imprints, including Lion Books, Monarch Books, Lion Scholar, Lion Fiction, Lion Children's Books, and Candle Books. Its mission is to "see literature that challenges, encourages, and leads people to God, whatever their background," and includes Bible references, history and biographies, leadership resources, children's illustrated Bible stories and Bible reference, and picture books.

Inter-Varsity Press UK is an evangelical Christian publisher with roots in the Christian Union movement in the U.K. Its mission is to publish Christian books that are true to the Bible and that communicate the gospel, develop discipleship and strengthen the church for its mission throughout the world. It emphasizes Bible reference and commentaries, and Christian living titles. IVP UK also publishes academic titles under the Apollos imprint.

SPCK Publishing has been publishing Christian books since the 17th Century and these days is best known for its work with such authors as N.T. Wright, Rowan Williams, and Richard Rohr. SPCK publishes in a range of genres, including theology, biblical studies, Bibles and children's, as well as spiritual fiction titles under the Marylebone House imprint.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: D.L. Hughley on the View

Tomorrow:
The View: D.L. Hughley, co-author of How to Survive America (Custom House, $27.99, 9780063072756).



TV: Catch and Kill: The Podcast Tales

HBO will release a documentary offshoot of Ronan Farrow's Catch and Kill. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Catch and Kill: The Podcast Tales will comprise six half-hour episodes recreating Farrow's "interviews with whistleblowers, journalists, private investigators and other sources as he investigated allegations of sexual misconduct around the now-jailed Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, former Today anchor Matt Lauer and other key media industry figures."

Directed by Emmy winners Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato (HBO's Carrie Fisher: Wishful Drinking), the project will debut on HBO with two back-to-back episodes on July 12. New episodes will air back-to-back on subsequent Mondays. 



Books & Authors

Awards: Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Winner

Anakana Schofield has won the €15,000 (about $18,300) Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year award for Bina, the Irish Times reported. Judge Rachel Cusk called the winning work "fiction of the rarest and darkest kind, a work whose pleasures must be taken measure for measure with its pains."

Schofield said: "This book prize is literally a life saver! For the past six months, I have been working at the local Covid lab to make ends meet, which, while useful for contributing to the pandemic, has made it very difficult to finish my next novel.... Irish literature has always been a diasporic literature, and I appreciate being included, even though writers inevitably feel inadequate every time they pick up a pen. We should be aiming for a diverse literature, and I rejoice that it's no longer only the exclusive domain of snooty blokes in polo necks. It was women journalists in the Irish Times who inspired me as a 20 year old that I might someday write, and now, at age 50, as the most unlikely person to succeed as a writer, I have written three novels." 

In addition, Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin won the €10,000 (about $12,200) Pigott Poetry Prize for her Collected Poems.


Book Review

Review: A Passage North

A Passage North by Anuk Arudpragasam (Hogarth, $27 hardcover, 304p., 9780593230701, July 13, 2021)

A Passage North is a beautifully written follow-up to Anuk Arudpragasam's debut novel, The Story of a Brief Marriage, using protagonist Krishan's trip to northern Sri Lanka as a springboard for searching meditations on love, belonging and the aftermath of the island's brutal 30-year civil war.

When Krishan receives a phone call informing him of the death of his grandmother's caretaker, Rani, in a freak accident, Krishan suspects it was actually suicide. He decides to travel to the northeast to attend her funeral, and in so doing stirs up conflicting emotions about his Tamil heritage and the immense suffering brought about by the war that he sees himself as largely having escaped.

Much of A Passage North is about what it means to experience trauma secondhand: in documentaries about war crimes in the north that Krishan watches obsessively while living in India, in the hours spent "poring through the internet in English and Tamil, going page by page through blogs, forums, and news sites that shared images and videos taken during the last months of fighting," and in his relationship to people like Rani, who lost both her sons to the war. Krishan attempts to make sense of that enormous loss in the context of his own life, one spent searching for purpose and meaning. He contrasts his aimlessness with the intense purposefulness of his great love Anjum, who left him years earlier to pursue her activist goals.

The plot is relatively threadbare, with most of the novel following Krishan's sometimes highly tangential trains of thought as he makes the journey north. Readers spend many pages on his romance with Anjum, on their growing disconnect before she left him, and on the recent e-mail from Anjum that he hopes might promise a renewed relationship. Many more pages are devoted to Buddhist women's poetry, an important Tamil independence advocate and a documentary about young women who fought for an elite wing of the Tamil Tigers. Arudpragasam ties these passages together with ambitious prose--the sentences are lengthy and complex, as fluid and expansive as Krishan's thoughts--so that even the most unlikely tangents feel incorporated into a cohesive whole, a part of Krishan's attempt to organize his knowledge and experiences into something meaningful. A Passage North succeeds remarkably at capturing the turmoil of a young man looking for a way forward amid the ghosts of the past. --Hank Stephenson, manuscript reader, the Sun magazine

Shelf Talker: A Passage North digs deep into the sprawling thoughts, feelings and loves of a young man traveling through a Sri Lanka haunted by war and ties them together into a cohesive whole.


The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by IndieReader.com:

1. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki with Sharon L. Lechter
2. The Rival by Kendall Ryan
3. From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout
4. The Crown of Gilded Bones by Jennifer L. Armentrout
5. Southern Heat by Natasha Madison
6. The Director by Renee Rose
7. Verity by Colleen Hoover
8. Irresistible Revolution by Matthew Lohmeier
9. Ice Planet Barbarians by Ruby Dixon
10. Barbarian Alien by Ruby Dixon

[Many thanks to IndieReader.com!]


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