Shelf Awareness for Thursday, July 15, 2021

Sourcebooks Landmark: Long After We Are Gone by Terah Shelton Harris

Delacorte Press: Last One to Die by Cynthia Murphy

Margaret Ferguson Books: Not a Smiley Guy by Polly Horvath, Illustrated by Boris Kulikov

Indiana University Press: The Grim Reader: A Pharmacist's Guide to Putting Your Characters in Peril by Miffie Seideman

Hell's Hundred: Blood Like Mine by Stuart Neville

Spiegel & Grau: Tiananmen Square by Lai Wen

Tor Books: The Daughters' War (Blacktongue) by Christopher Buehlman


ABA Board, CEO Apologize for 'Racist, Anti-Trans Actions'

In letters to members from the full board and from CEO Allison Hill last night, the American Booksellers Association has apologized profusely for "two equally harmful actions," as the board wrote, in the past two weeks, both of which had led to swift and angry responses on social media.

On July 7, on the indie bestseller list, the wrong cover image was posted for Blackout (Quill Tree/Harper) by Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk and Nicola Yoon (instead the cover of Blackout by Candace Owens, "a right-wing extremist," appeared). Then the July box mailing, which many members received this week, included copies of Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters by Abigail Shrier (Regnery).

Hill said the Blackout switch caused "terrible and racist harm" and the box mailing "traumatized and endangered members of the trans community. We erased Black authors, conflated Black authors, and put the authors in danger through a forced association. We further marginalized communities we want to support."

Allison Hill

The board said it was "angry and horrified" and "there are no apologies and no amount of explanations that are sufficient or satisfactory." The actions, it continued, "harmed booksellers, ABA board members, and ABA staff who identify as LGBTQIA+ and/or BIPOC, as well as the wider community. They also added to a toxic culture overall."

The board said, too, that the actions are "antithetical to the values we are working to promote in our organization under the strong leadership of our CEO, Allison Hill, and COO, Joy Dallanegra-Sanger. This is not acceptable behavior and goes against the bylaws changes instituted last year.

"This is evidence of systemic problems, and we support the staff and will work to do what's necessary to root out institutional failures and biases."

Hill said she is "working with our team to determine the root cause as well as the steps ABA needs to take to be held accountable and to make changes." The association's specific steps, she continued, "will include listening to impacted members; conferring with members of ABA's Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee; institutionalizing more of our diversity, equity, and inclusion work; revising our internal procedures and checks and balances; discussing with our team the impact of this violence on our members and our colleagues; changing the submission, vetting, and distribution process for the box mailing program; automating some of our online content to eliminate unconscious bias; reviewing all of our programs and communication; and more. Though we know the harm these actions caused is obvious to those impacted and many others, we will also share resources that speak to why these acts are violent."

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: Roswell Johnson Saves the World! (Roswell Johnson #1) by Chris Colfer

Brooklyn's Archestratus Books + Foods Expanding

Archestratus Books + Foods, which opened in 2015 in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, N.Y., is "expanding next door to add an entirely new book-browsing area, while the original space at 160 Huron Street will offer an expanded Italian grocery, more café seating, plus beer, wine and cocktails (provided Lipari can upgrade her current liquor license)," New York magazine's Grub Street blog reported. When the new space opens, the two areas will link up under outdoor party lights.

Owner Paige Lipari spoke with Grub Street about the challenge of expanding her small business in the current climate: "Right before coronavirus hit, I was applying for SBA loans and trying to negotiate a lease on Manhattan Avenue. I was going to move around the corner into a much larger space, but something didn't feel right, so I pulled out of the deal. Three weeks later, my employees couldn't come to work because of the stay-at-home order. I felt fortunate I hadn't expanded. But I had still started to feel like we were outgrowing the space. I had things I wanted to do with the bookstore; I wanted more event space, and I wanted to be able to fit as many people as possible for the pop-up chefs."

To fund the expansion, Lipari said she had to be creative: "I've applied to so many different loans. This is not the best time. A lot of banks weren't even entertaining loans for the past year. I haven't been able to get any disaster-relief funding, besides some PPP, because we don't actually qualify. So I invented 'All Domani's Parties,' which are events in the future. We'll have a rainbow-cookie class, and timballo night and Parm nights from the future. And they will happen. All the people who bought dinners for the future honestly funded this project. It's amazing. It was a different way of crowdfunding. I wasn't overtly saying, 'I need $75,000 to expand,' but people just got excited about going to future events. That's what really helped us."

Archestratus is still feeling the effects of the pandemic. "My staff that I've grown in the last year are all lovely and amazing," Lipari said. "I've put out the word that I'm hiring for three months. I'm being very choosy for people with the right energy for this Archestratus expansion. There are way fewer people applying than normal. I'm being more discerning and there are fewer people.

"Everyone is experiencing coronavirus in different ways. Our vendors don't always have what we want. We don't get consistent deliveries. It's improved a lot this year, but nothing is completely back to normal. I've really had to hunker down and be solipsistic. I've focused on our business, making all this work. I'm so excited to open the doors and share everyone else's food and be a cheerleader for other people. I can't wait for that--it's very exciting to me."

Harper: Sandwich by Catherine Newman

Blue House Books, Kenosha, Wis., Moving to Larger Space

Blue House Books is moving to a larger space in Kenosha, Wis., in September, store owner Samantha Jacquest announced

Blue House Books opened a bricks-and-mortar store in Kenosha's Friendship Park neighborhood 10 months ago, after debuting as a pop-up shop in 2017. The new space is in the city's downtown, and Jacquest will keep Blue House Books open in its original location until the new store is ready. She is eyeing a tentative opening date of September 18, which will be the shop's one-year anniversary.

Jacquest is financing the expansion through a Kiva loan, which has a 0% interest rate and is fully funded by private contributions. She described it as "very similar to crowdfunding, except contributors do get paid back."

Spiegel & Grau: Tiananmen Square by Lai Wen

New Managers at 57th Street, Seminary Co-op Bookstores

Sonja Coates

Sonja Coates has been promoted to manager of 57th Street Books in Chicago, Ill. She was formerly operations manager of the Seminary Co-op Bookstores, the not-for-profit that includes 57th Street Books and the Seminary Co-op. In her new role, Coates will oversee the operations, staff development and community partnerships of 57th Street Books.

Coates started as a temporary bookseller at 57th Street Books in February 2019, after opening and managing the bookstore at the Bibliophile cafe. After six months, she was promoted to the then newly established role of operations manager. The store said that her "energy, exceptional leadership, and profound commitment to the mission of the stores and 57th Street Books community will help transform 57th Street Books in this new phase."

Bryce Lucas

At the same time, Bryce Lucas is moving from his current position as 57th Street Books manager and will become Seminary Co-op manager. In his new role, Lucas will oversee operations, staff development and coursebooks for the Seminary Co-op Bookstores, in addition to serving as a store buyer and frequent contributor to the Co-op's relaunched podcast, Open Stacks.

Lucas started as a temporary bookseller at the Co-op in 2016 and returned to the stores in 2017 as the store's first coursebook coordinator. In 2019, he was promoted to 57th Street Books inventory manager and then, shortly later, promoted to 57th Street Books store manager. The store said that "Lucas' calm and patient demeanor, exceptional leadership, and passion for the Seminary Co-op will serve him well in his new role."

Hardie Grant Becomes Fully Independent Company

Hardie Grant, founded in 1997 in Australia by Fiona Hardie and Sandy Grant with an investment from Associated Media Investments (AMI), is changing ownership so that the publisher will be "an independent, Australian-owned business." The company has 200 staff members and revenue of more than A$100 million (about US$74.8 million).

Sandy Grant and Fiona Hardie

Hardie and Grant, along with Hardie Grant Publishing Group managing director Julie Pinkham and publishing veteran Ian Webster, have bought out AMI's interest in the company. As a result, the board has changed composition: chair Bruce Watson, Richard Gerahty and Rob Gamble, all AMI representatives, are leaving. Sandy Grant is now becoming chair, and Fiona Hardie remains a director. New board members include Julie Pinkham, Ian Webster and Nick Hardie-Grant. Andrew Davis remains company secretary and COO.

Grant, a former president of the Australian Publishers Association, commented: "We have seen really exciting growth in Australia, the U.K. and the U.S. in the last few years and are expanding our marketing services and media portfolio steadily. The ownership won't change our trajectory but confirms our long term commitment to our existing strategies."


Chalkboard: Wesleyan RJ Julia Bookstore

Wesleyan RJ Julia Bookstore in Middletown, Conn., shared a photo of the shop's new seaworthy sidewalk chalkboard message: "I wish I was an octopus, so I could read eight books at once."

St. Louis's Novel Neighbor Expands Children's Space

The Novel Neighbor, Webster Groves, Mo., has expanded its children's space dramatically, from about 70 square feet to 330 square feet. The move was made to allow for easier browsing, more middle-grade and early-reader stock, and a greater sense of community.

Owned by Holland Saltsman, the store opened in 2014 and expanded in 2017.

Personnel Changes at Sourcebooks

Madison Nankervis has joined Sourcebooks as a marketing and social media associate for Sourcebooks Fire.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Kate Biberdorf on Wendy Williams

Wendy Williams: Kate Biberdorf, author of Kate the Chemist: The Awesome Book of Edible Experiments for Kids (‎Philomel, $17.99, 9780593116197) and It's Elemental (Park Row; $27.99, 9780778389422).

Fresh Air focuses on the new documentary released today Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain, the late author of Kitchen Confidential, Medium Raw and other titles as well as host of the series Parts Unknown.

This Weekend on Book TV: Stacey Abrams

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, July 17
9:05 a.m. Michael Burlingame, author of An American Marriage: The Untold Story of Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd (‎Pegasus Books, $27.95, 9781643137346). (Re-airs Saturday at 9:05 p.m.)

9:30 a.m. James Banner, author of The Ever-Changing Past: Why All History Is Revisionist History (‎Yale University Press, $28, 9780300238457). (Re-airs Saturday at 9:30 p.m.)

2 p.m. David Eisenhower, author of Going Home to Glory: A Memoir of Life with Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1961-1969 (Simon & Schuster, $28, 9781439190906). (Re-airs Sunday at 2 a.m.)

Sunday, July 18
8 a.m. Stacey Abrams, author of While Justice Sleeps: A Novel (Doubleday, $28, 9780385546577). (Re-airs Sunday at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m.)

9 a.m. Jonathan Levy, author of Ages of American Capitalism: A History of the United States (‎Random House, $40, 9780812995015). (Re-airs Sunday at 12 p.m. and 9 p.m.)

3:15 p.m. Chris Matthews, author of This Country: My Life in Politics and History (‎Simon & Schuster, $28.99, 9781982134846).

4:15 p.m. Yuval Levin, author of A Time to Build: From Family and Community to Congress and the Campus, How Recommitting to Our Institutions Can Revive the American Dream (Basic Books, $28, 9781541699274). (Re-airs Monday at 4:15 a.m.)

4:40 p.m. Tiya Miles, author of All That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley's Sack, a Black Family Keepsake (‎Random House, $28, 9781984854995). (Re-airs Monday at 4:40 a.m.)

5:45 p.m. David Hyman, co-author of Medical Malpractice Litigation: How It Works, Why Tort Reform Hasn't Helped (Cato Institute, $24.95, 9781948647793). (Re-airs Sunday at 5:45 a.m.)

6:45 p.m. Emma Goldberg, author of Life on the Line: Young Doctors Come of Age in a Pandemic (Harper, $27.99, 9780063073388). (Re-airs Monday at 6:45 a.m.)

Books & Authors

Awards: Miles Franklin Winner

The Labyrinth by Amanda Lohrey (Text Publishing) has won the A$60,000 (about US$44,780) 2021 Miles Franklin Literary Award, Australia's most prestigious literature prize and honoring "a novel which is of the highest literary merit and presents Australian life in any of its phases."

Books & Publishing noted, "Lohrey, the second Tasmanian writer to win the Miles Franklin in its 64-year history, has twice been shortlisted for the award, with her shortlisted novel Camille's Bread (Fourth Estate) winning the Australian Literature Society Gold Medal in 1996. Her fourth novel, The Philosopher's Doll (Viking), was longlisted for the Miles Franklin in 2005, and in 2012 Lohrey received the Patrick White Literary Award."

Chair of judges Richard Neville said, "The Labyrinth is an elegiac novel, soaked in sadness. It is a beautifully written reflection on the conflicts between parents and children, men and women, and the value and purpose of creative work."

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, July 20:

The Man with the Silver Saab by Alexander McCall Smith (‎Pantheon, $27, ‎9780593316108) is the third mystery with Detective Ulf Varg.

Closing Costs by Bracken MacLeod (‎Mariner, $25, 9780358334736) is a thriller about a home invasion.

I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J. Trump's Catastrophic Final Year by Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker (‎Penguin Press, $30, 9780593298947) chronicles Trump's many blunders in 2020.

By Water Beneath the Walls: The Rise of the Navy SEALs by Benjamin H. Milligan (‎Bantam, $30, 9780553392197) is a history of the Navy SEALs.

Hardly Haunted by Jessie Sima (Simon & Schuster, $17.99, 9781534441705) features a house that fears she might be haunted.

Cast in Secrets and Shadow by Andrea Robertson (Philomel, $18.99, 9780399164231) is the second book in the YA trilogy that began with Forged in Fire and Stars.

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:

Dream Girl: A Novel by Laura Lippman (Morrow, $28.99, 9780062390073). "Carve out a lot of time for when you start Dream Girl, because you're not going to want to stop! Haunting, atmospheric and often funny--this is one of Lippman's best, which is saying a lot!" --Jason Hafer, Reads & Company, Phoenixville, Pa.

The Woman They Could Not Silence: One Woman, Her Incredible Fight for Freedom, and the Men Who Tried to Make Her Disappear by Kate Moore (Sourcebooks, $27.99, 9781492696728). "As this country waged war against slavery, a quiet heroine fought for the rights of women. A must read for all!" --Fran Ziegler, Titcomb's Bookshop, East Sandwich, Mass.

No Hiding in Boise: A Novel by Kim Hooper (Keylight Books, $17.99, 9781684426232). "Following three women and their connection to a shooting, No Hiding in Boise is an excellent novel for recognizing growth in difficult circumstances and the human connection that lies beyond tragedy. All the feels." --Addy Bowman, Wild Geese Bookshop, Franklin, Ind.

For Ages 5 to 8
Monster Friends by Kaeti Vandorn (Random House Graphic, $12.99, 9781984896827). "This is literally the cutest stinking graphic novel I've read since Bug Boys. It's like Studio Ghibli mixed with My Little Pony and I LOVE IT ALL! Such cute little creatures and a great story about friendship, being honest with yourself and others, and facing your fears." --Lauren Nopenz Fairley, Curious Iguana, Frederick, Md.

For Ages 9 to 12
Chunky by Yehudi Mercado (Katherine Tegen, $12.99, 9780062972781). "Laugh-out-loud from beginning to end. Kids will sympathize with Hudi as he seeks a sport to suit him, finally deciding to stick to comedy. Great pace, engaging visuals, and non-stop jokes make this the next favorite for fans of Shannon Hale, Mac Barnett, and Raina Telgemeier." --Cecilia Cackley, East City Bookshop, Washington, D.C.

For Teen Readers (Indies Introduce)
The Passing Playbook by Isaac Fitzsimons (Dial Books, $17.99, 9781984815408). "This book is so delightful and had me smiling the whole time. THIS is the trans boy joy we all need to read and have in our lives." --Kelsy April, Bank Square Books, Mystic, Conn.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: In the Field

In the Field by Rachel Pastan (Delphinium, $26.95 hardcover, 352p., 9781953002037, August 10, 2021)

"What if Cinderella had asked her mother's tree to give her a microscope instead of a ballgown?" With In the Field, Rachel Pastan (Alena) offers a compassionate, clear-eyed story of self-determination, love and science. The novel begins in 1982, when Dr. Kate Croft receives a phone call from the Nobel committee, then rewinds to 1923, when Kate is a first-year student at Cornell University, to the disapproval of her family, male professors and classmates.

Kate is entranced by biology, if not obsessed: "The cell was an uncharted country, and she was an explorer newly landed on shore... that was part of the joy of it: the promise of richness that lay ahead. The sense she had of undreamed-of discoveries--unimagined systems and structures--waiting there in the dark to be found." Socially challenged and estranged from her family, she grows up with a single-minded devotion to her work, despite the struggles of being a woman in a male-dominated field and her difficulties in love.

An author's note acknowledges that Kate Croft is based on Barbara McClintock, but Pastan makes clear that this is a heavily fictionalized account of the geneticist's personal life, while remaining accurate to the science. Kate is a "corn man," in the parlance of the day, studying maize genes at Cornell's College of Agriculture. Her colleagues accept and respect her to varying degrees: one reports, "People say either you're a genius, or else you're off your rocker." Kate's greatest joy is in carefully tending her corn, her slides and her data. Other scientists profit off her discoveries (she is a gifted researcher) and deny her credit; she has difficulty accepting help. Meanwhile, she wrestles with her secret love affair with a woman, and maintains a lifelong friendship with a fellow corn man.

The curiosity that drives Kate's research fuels her love for humanity, too. "Couldn't people change their natures? Couldn't they change, the way her corn had changed in the middle of the growing season, suddenly producing leaves with different frequencies of streaks? Something switched on, something else switched off, deep inside the cells." These questions of free will are as important as those of heredity or meiosis. In the Field excels in its multifaceted view of a complex woman: scientist, lover, friend, student of life in both biology and philosophy. Readers will be better for time spent with this patient, tender, loving examination of a life devoted to examination of life. Kate is a character who will stay with readers for a long time. --Julia Kastner, librarian and blogger at pagesofjulia

Shelf Talker: A Nobel-winning scientist holds the focus of this lovely, contemplative, completely absorbing novel.

Powered by: Xtenit