Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, September 8, 2021

William Morrow & Company: The Midnight Feast by Lucy Foley

Shadow Mountain: The Witch in the Woods: Volume 1 (Grimmworld) by Michaelbrent Collings

Hell's Hundred: Blood Like Mine by Stuart Neville

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

St. Martin's Press: Lenny Marks Gets Away with Murder by Kerryn Mayne


Seattle's Third Place Books Adding Chuck's Hop Shop 

Chuck's Hop Shop, a "longtime beer lovers' destination from former Barbecue Smith owner Chuck Shin," will open its third location, at Third Place Books in Seward Park in Seattle, Eater News reported, noting that during the past decade, Chuck's has developed a strong following in Greenwood and the Central District and will now take over the space vacated by Raconteur, which had a restaurant, downstairs bar and some outdoor seating.

"We're incredibly pleased to announce that we're opening our 3rd place inside the Seward Park @thirdplacebooks!" Chuck's posted on Instagram. "We are thrilled to partner with them and create a truly unique experience. This location will feature an espresso bar, a TBD restaurant concept, an expansive and well curated tap list, and the same great family focused environment you've come to love! Plus a whole lot more once we get the doors open! We're just in the beginning stages, but we just couldn't keep this secret any longer!"

Third Place Books noted: "We could not be more excited!!! For those of you who don't know Chuck's--it is an amazing place and will be the perfect complement to the bookstore--a true community gathering space. We couldn't have asked for a better partner for our Seward Park location. More updates coming soon!"

Harper: Our Kind of Game by Johanna Copeland

Aurora Booktique Re-opens in New Location, in Fairmont, Minn.

After closing in Spirit Lake, Iowa, because of the pandemic, Aurora Booktique reopened over the weekend in a new location, in Fairmont, Minn., the Fairmont Sentinel reported. Owner Katherine Clymer also owns Aurora Publishing, which publishes mostly children's and nonfiction titles, and Aurora's online store. "When Covid hit we just pulled everything [from the bookstore] into storage," she said. "We kept the publishing going and were able to keep the projects we already started going."

The store stocks a variety of books and gift items, including bestsellers, collectibles and titles by independent authors and local authors. Aurora Booktique is also accepting used books that will be donated to various organizations.

Clymer plans on a series of event this fall, including a writers conference. She also intends to have a mural of a big bookshelf painted on the front of the building.

Chronicle Books: Life Wants You Dead: A Calm, Rational, and Totally Legit Guide to Scaring Yourself Safe by Evan Waite, Illustrated by Paula Searing

International Update: Sally Rooney Day Celebrated Worldwide 

Yesterday was unofficially Sally Rooney Day internationally, marking the release of her latest novel, Beautiful World, Where Are You. The Bookseller reported that dedicated fans lined up to hear her read from and sign copies of the book at a Waterstones Piccadilly event in London Monday night, "with some traveling up to 120 miles just to meet the author." Bea Carvalho, head fiction buyer at Waterstones, said, "It feels like one of the year's most significant cultural moments--it's unusual for books to reach this level of mainstream cultural awareness."

The celebration continued yesterday, with 20 independent bookshops and 30 Waterstones stores in the U.K. opening their doors early "to give readers a chance to get their hands on the new book, plus an exclusive goodie bag and merchandise ," the Bookseller noted. 

"It's been a crazy morning," said Chrissy Ryan, owner of BookBar in Islington. "I arrived at the shop at 7:15 to people already queuing outside. It's been the most buzzy morning--BookBar always has a brilliant buzz to it, but it felt like our opening week again. People were having coffee and drinking the complimentary bucks fizz we offered, and buying books in twos and threes. It was so special to see the same readers who queued outside bookshops at midnight for Harry Potter books do the same 15 years later for Sally Rooney. It was also exactly what BookBar is about: bringing people together through books and building community around reading."

In Castlebar, Ireland, Rooney’s home town, David Brennan of Castle Book Shop told the Journal: "There's a great buzz in the shop. Sally's from Castlebar so there's been a huge local interest in the book and the release. People have been very excited to come in. We opened early this morning so there were people in first doors to collect their copy. We haven't had a book like that in a long time to be honest with you, so it’s great."

Other bookshops around the world checking in on social media for #SallyRooney day included:

Shakespeare and Company, Paris, France: "Getting our window ready for tomorrow. Pick up yours in store from midday."

Unity Books, Wellington, New Zealand: "Where's Sally? We know you're keen but our supply of the new book has been disrupted by that Covid fellow. It will be here sooner rather than later we are assured. Meanwhile here's a short story from Sally to keep you going."

The English Bookshop, Stockholm, Sweden: "TOMORROW Tuesday 7th Sept.--Publication day for Sally Rooney's new novel Beautiful world, where are you! YOUR COPY (and a nice tote bag if you're among the first customers) when we open (at 10 in Uppsala and 10.30 at the Stockholm shop). We also have the limited indie bookshop edition with the yellow cover! (Well, a limited number of copies, it is after all a limited edition...). SEE YOU tomorrow morning!" 

Shakespeare and Sons Bookstore, Berlin, Germany: "And we are live from Berlin! Sally Rooney's third novel Beautiful World, Where Are You is now available in our store and on our website. There's something truly magical about how a book can still cause such an excitement and thrill among the readers worldwide."

Kinokuniya, Takashimaya Shopping Centre, Singapore: "Sally Rooney much awaited Beautiful World, Where Are You is finally here."

Mosaic Books, Kelowna, B.C., Canada: "It's release day for Sally Rooney's newest staff-picked-and-staff-favourited novel Beautiful World, Where Are You. We're expecting to blow through our stock FAST. This is definitely the hottest book of the fall publishing season. A story of friendship and love, a story of growing older and finding oneself. If you loved Normal People, get ready cuz Rooney is BACK baby."

Blossom Book House, Bangalore, India: "New Release."

The Sun Bookshop, Yarraville, Vic., Australia: "It's finally here!! The highly anticipated new novel from the one and only Sally Rooney is finally on our shelves.... It's everything you'd want from Rooney and more. They've been selling like hot cakes, so make sure to grab a copy!"

Come in Librería Inglesa, Barcelona, Spain: "Today is the big day! If you were lucky enough to pre-order it you can come pick it up! At the moment it's sold out, but we're expecting more copies this Friday. We did not expect them to sell out this fast!!" --Robert Gray

GLOW: Tundra Books: We Are Definitely Human by X. Fang

Binc Begins Survey of Industry Needs and Wants


Beginning today and lasting through September 22, the Book Industry Charitable Foundation (Binc) is surveying book industry professionals, bookstore and comic shop employees and owners, book enthusiasts, and their supporters to learn what they want and need from Binc. The survey should take 5-7 minutes to complete and can be done on any computer or mobile device. Click here to take the survey.

Binc is encouraging respondents to share the survey directly and through social media to expand the responses. A summary of the survey results will be shared in January 2022.

Participants will be eligible to win one $200 gift card to an independent bookstore or comic shop of their choice, or one of four $50 American Express gift cards as a thank you for taking the survey.

Binc's first such survey was done in 2014. The findings of that survey revealed the need for new services and led to the creation of matching grants, and the addition of housing stability, and utility shut-off prevention to the list of qualifying events. Financial assistance resulting from feedback from that first survey have helped many booksellers and comic shop employees stabilize their households and move forward knowing there is a safety net in place for them.

Harper: Sandwich by Catherine Newman

Obituary Note: Robert Richardson

Robert Richardson

Journalist and crime novelist Robert Richardson, who won the Crime Writers' Association's John Creasey Memorial Award for his first novel, The Latimer Mercy (1985), has died. He was 80. Describing him as "one of the most popular and respected figures in the CWA over recent decades," the organization noted that Richardson served two terms as chair of the CWA, 1993-1994 and 2006-2007, "and was well-known at conferences and chapter meetings for his warm wit, generosity, and welcoming jocular personality." 

In March 2020, during CWA Northern Chapter's last meeting before the pandemic, Richardson was presented with a Red Herring award in recognition of his distinguished service to the association and its members over the decades.

A journalist by profession, Richardson "moved from writing whodunits featuring an amateur sleuth to novels of psychological suspense," the CWA observed. The Latimer Mercy featured Augustus Maltravers, "an intelligent and likable character who returned in five more novels... The Book of the Dead (1989), set in Cumbria, contains a lengthy--and well-wrought--Sherlockian pastiche. Later novels broke free of the conventions of the traditional whodunit: The Hand of Strange Children (1993) was nominated for the CWA Gold Dagger, and is an example of the 'who-was-dun-in' type of crime novel, where the identities of the murder victims described at the beginning of the book are as uncertain as the identity of their killer. Two further standalone mysteries followed."

The CWA wrote that Richardson, who remained active in the organization after he had stopped writing mystery novels, "was a famous figure at CWA conferences, setting a witty and amusing competition which always caused much hilarity. He was a member of the Midlands Chapter and latterly the Northern Chapter. Robert's welcoming of new members at such gatherings endeared him to many, and for years no CWA conference was complete without him and his lovely wife Sheila. He will be much missed."


Reading Group Choices' Most Popular August Books

The two most popular books in August at Reading Group Choices were She Wouldn't Change a Thing by Sarah Adlakha (Forge Books) and Nightbitch: A Novel by Rachel Yoder.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Sophie Brickman on Good Morning America

Good Morning America: Sophie Brickman, author of Baby, Unplugged: One Mother's Search for Balance, Reason, and Sanity in the Digital Age (HarperOne, $27.99, 9780062966483).

Live with Kelly and Ryan: Padma Lakshmi, author of Tomatoes for Neela (Viking Books for Young Readers, $17.99, 9780593202708).

TV: Olga Dies Dreaming

Jessica Pimentel (Orange Is the New Black) has been cast as a lead opposite Aubrey Plaza, Ramón Rodríguez and Wanda De Jesús in Olga Dies Dreaming, Hulu's one-hour drama pilot based on the novel by Xochitl Gonzalez, Deadline reported. Jesse Williams also stars.

The pilot will be written by Gonzalez and directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, who partnered with the author after reading her novel in manuscript form. He is also executive producer, with Plaza and Rodríguez producing. 20th Television is the studio.

Books & Authors

Awards: Wainwright Nature Writing Winners; Richell Longlist

English Pastoral by James Rebanks won the Wainwright Prize for U.K. Nature Writing, which recognizes a book that "most successfully inspires readers to explore the outdoors and to nurture a respect for the natural world." The Writing on Global Conservation Prize, created to "reflect the growing cry for action to meet climate change targets and halt the destruction of wildlife and natural habitats," went to Entangled Life by Merlin Sheldrake. The £5,000 (about $6,930) cash prize will be shared by the winning authors, who also receive framed trophies.

Julia Bradbury, chair of the Nature Writing judges, commented: "James Rebanks adores his home and job and that's reflected in his writing. His message of respect for the old ways and understanding of the complexities of farming for the future make this a really important book. And it's all couched in beautiful prose. The writing is accessible, heartfelt, and poignant and it conveys a message of achievable change. Rebanks' passion will carry any towny through the joy and hardship of Fell farming. It's seminal work which will still be celebrated in 50 years."

Charlotte Smith, chair of judges for the Global Conservation Prize, said: "It blew us away. Astonishing to find a book which after reading, forced us to think about our world view of conservation every day. It contains extraordinary descriptions of how extraordinary nature is, and the implications around soil carbon and fungi as a plastic replacement are huge. Beautifully polished, it is a very important piece of work. Fungi can provide an awful lot of solutions to the problems the world faces." 

The judging panels also highly commended Thin Places by Kerri ní Dochartaigh in the Nature Prize and Fathoms by Rebecca Giggs in the Conservation category.

Next year's Wainwright Prize will include the launch of a third award for children's writing on nature and conservation


A longlist of 16 writers has been unveiled for the 2021 Richell Prize for Emerging Writers, awarded in memory of Hachette Australia's former CEO Matt Richell, who died in a surfing accident in 2014. The shortlist will be released October 8 and a winner named November 4. 

The winner receives A$10,000 (about US$7,455), along with a 12-month mentorship with one of Hachette Australia's publishers. Hachette Australia will work with the winning writer to develop their manuscript with first option to consider the finished work and shortlisted entries for publication. Check out the longlisted authors here.

Reading with... Qian Julie Wang

photo: Ryan Muir

Qian Julie Wang was born in Shijiazhuang, China. At age seven, she moved to Brooklyn, N.Y., with her parents. She is a graduate of Yale Law School and Swarthmore College. Formerly a commercial litigator, Wang is now managing partner of Gottlieb & Wang LLP, a firm dedicated to advocating for education and civil rights. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times and the Washington Post. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and their two rescue dogs. Her memoir, Beautiful Country (Doubleday, September 7, 2021), follows the years of her undocumented childhood in New York City.

On your nightstand now:

The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead, Somebody's Daughter by Ashley C. Ford and How to Write an Autobiographical Novel by Alexander Chee. I used to only read fiction, and I am now trying to read more broadly across genres while also returning to backlist titles that I missed when they were first released. Further, I am just thrilled to see my fellow BIPOC authors starting to receive much-deserved attention and recognition in the publishing industry.

Favorite book when you were a child:

It's so difficult to narrow it down to just one, so I have to cheat here and say: Charlotte's Web by E.B. White, Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien and the entire Baby-Sitters Club series by Ann M. Martin. I was very into animals--animals and getting a taste of what it was like to be a normal American kid.

Your top five authors:

Again, it's so hard to narrow it down to just five! But this time I'll play by the rules and say Maya Angelou, Margaret Atwood, George Eliot, Kazuo Ishiguro and Edith Wharton.

Book you've faked reading:

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. In college, I juggled four to five part-time jobs every semester, and one of those jobs was being a teaching assistant for an English professor. He required his TAs to read all the books on the syllabus (which made sense), but unfortunately I was working 30+ hours a week while juggling a full honors course load, so I may have skipped a book (or two!) here and there. This was one of them. I have nothing against the book, and have been hoping to read it for years, but I just have not gotten around to it yet.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Minor Feelings by Cathy Park Hong. As I elaborate further below, reading this book changed my life. For AAPI women in particular, it offers rare validation for so many experiences that we've been forced to accept as normal. And for those who are not AAPI, it will give you keen insight into what it might be like to live in our skin.

Book you've bought for the cover:

I've probably purchased just about every reprint of Jane Austen's books because I love collectible sets. My current favorites are probably the colorful Penguin clothbound ones!

Book you hid from your parents:

My own! My parents are supportive of my dreams but they remain terrified that ICE will still come after us, even though we are all on documented status now. It is also very difficult for them to think about those years. In hopes of alleviating their fears, I'm not allowing them to read the whole book until its release--my thinking is that that way, though the fear will still be there, they will be less likely to count down in doom to the day our immigration history becomes public.

Book that changed your life:

I was forever changed by reading Minor Feelings by Cathy Park Hong during the pandemic and the onslaught of anti-Asian hate crimes. For most of my life, I told myself that I was just oversensitive, that I read too much into things--even though "chink" was among the first English words I learned, even though I had never been in a public space in America without fearing for my bodily safety. When I read Minor Feelings, I was shocked to find another Asian American woman, living across the country and years older than me, who had precise insight into all of the things that I thought I was "oversensitive" about. Hong's book awakened and galvanized me. I read and re-read it while editing my book, and it opened my eyes to all of the ways in which growing up under white supremacy shaped how I viewed myself, and how I invalidated the extremely valid feelings that decades of living with racialized misogyny engendered in me. Minor Feelings gave me the permission I didn't know I needed, and it helped me dig up more of my voice, my compassion--not just for myself but also for so many others who do not yet have everything I am now fortunate enough to possess. 

Favorite line from a book:

"..for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs." --George Eliot, Middlemarch

I have recited this quote to myself since discovering Middlemarch in high school, a reminder that as nice as it might be to be widely recognized for a grand deed, it is the undocumented, everyday kindnesses that contribute to the central good of the world. It has become even more of a daily mantra for me in my adult life. I've been lucky to have lived at just about every socioeconomic level; the message keeps me rooted to the belief that I have a responsibility to live up to my privilege and give back to everyone around me--in large and small ways.

Five books you'll never part with:

Middlemarch by George Eliot; Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë; The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton; The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt; All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. I'm a real sucker for coming-of-age stories!

Book you most want to read again for the first time:

Charlotte's Web was my foundation for the concept of friendship, kindness and faith. The book shaped me indelibly even though I'm sure that there were many elements that I was too young to comprehend in my first reading. I often wonder if anything would change, or if I would catch new sparks, if I were able to go back to the third grade and read it for the first time anew.

Book Review

Children's Review: The Me I Choose to Be

The Me I Choose to Be by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley, Regis and Kahran Bethencourt, photographers (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, $17.99 hardcover, 40p., ages 4-8, 9780316461542, October 12, 2021)

Imagination, ingenuity and passion combine on the pages of this inspiring tribute to children of color. The poetic composition from Natasha Anastasia Tarpley (I Love My Hair!; The Harlem Charade) coupled with the ingenious photography of Regis and Kahran Bethencourt (Glory: Magical Visions of Black Beauty) results in an exquisite book that trumpets the magic and unlimited potential of young lives.

The Bethencourts' imagery mirrors the boldness of Tarpley's words. For example, a child with flowing hair adorned with dozens of bright flowers waters a garden alongside the lines "I AM A GARDENER/ planting dreams the world will know!" The photos' use of light and shadow emphasizes Tarpley's tone: in a rainbow-filled spread, a smiling youth stands next to the text "I AM A HOME/ where love lives at the center"; in another spread, a child is surrounded by darkness and fire with the words "I AM A SUPERHERO/ yet unnamed." The models' expressions are natural and authentic, including spirited, open-mouth laughs, mischievous grins and thoughtful countenances. In each image, the eyes hold a world of emotion. These raw portrayals not only exude beauty and confidence, they also invite the audience to linger on the pages and absorb all the fine details present: hair adornments, fabric prints, backgrounds. The focus is always sharp, reinforcing the clarity of each child's individual charm.

Tarplay's ode is playful and candid. She illustrates how opportunity goes beyond the boundaries of the physical world--"I AM A CONJURER/ imagining realms/ that aren't yet there"--offering permission to dream big and dream different. But the poem is also sensitive to doubts: "I don't always know what to say,/ and every so often I go the wrong way." For these, Tarplay offers a new perspective: "I AM A FREE SPIRIT./ I move to the rhythm of my own heartbeat." There is a largeness to the message of The Me I Choose to Be that has the potential to embolden the quietest, reassure the most hesitant and applaud the already courageous.

Taken individually, the photographs and text are exceptional. Blended together, they create an book of outstanding aspiration and inspiration. Young children of color should revel in the beauty of the subjects that bear resemblance to them. And readers of any race can find insight into their own potential and ambitions. The Me I Choose to Be is a striking book with a powerful question for everyone: Who is the me you choose to be? --Jen Forbus, freelancer

Shelf Talker: An author and a husband-and-wife photography duo team up to exhibit the vast beauty and promise in children of color. 

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