Also published on this date: Thursday, November 18, 2021: Maximum Shelf: Ordinary Equality

Shelf Awareness for Thursday, November 18, 2021

Simon & Schuster: Fall Cooking With Simon Element

Tor Nightfire: Devils Kill Devils by Johnny Compton

Shadow Mountain: Highcliffe House (Proper Romance Regency) by Megan Walker

Simon & Schuster: Register for the Simon & Schuster Fall Preview!

Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster: The Ministry of Time Kaliane Bradley


National Book Award Winners

Last night, for the second year in a row, the National Book Awards were held virtually, hosted this year by Phoebe Robinson and livestreamed from Penguin Random House offices in New York City. (Watch the entire presentation here.)

The winners were:

Fiction: Hell of a Book by Jason Mott (Dutton)
Mott said in part that he dedicated the award "to all the other mad kids, to all the other outsiders, the weirdos, the bullied, the ones so strange that they had no choice but to be misunderstood by the world and by those around them, the ones who in spite of this, refused to outgrow their imagination, refused to abandon their dreams, and refused to deny or diminish their identity or their truth or their loves, unlike so many others."

Nonfiction: All That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley's Sack, a Black Family Keepsake by Tiya Miles (Random House)
Miles said, in part, that she was "so proud to be standing beside" all the finalists, and especially those in nonfiction, "as we tried to interpret and translate the pressing issues of our times." She also thanked her family "who make all this possible and who actually attempt to read my books, even if they only get partway through."

Poetry: Floaters by Martín Espada (Norton)
In a very short speech, Espada thanked, among others, his wife, "to whom the book is dedicated and who is present on every single page," and his late father, "who provided both an artistic and ethical example to me throughout my life" and who is "also on every page of Floaters."

Translated Literature: Winter in Sokcho by Elisa Shua Dusapin, translated from the French by Aneesa Abbas Higgins (Open Letter)
In brief remarks in French (translated by Higgins), Dusapin said the "book came from her heart and these are things that are very, very dear to her." Higgins called the award "fantastic for all of us and for all of the people who will now read your book and will get to know more of your work."

Young People's Literature: Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo (Dutton Books for Young Readers)
Lo noted in part that when her first novel came out in 2009, "it was one of 27 young adult books about LGBTQ characters or issues published that year. This year hundreds of LGBTQ YA books have been published. The growth has been incredible, but the opposition to our stories has also grown. This year schools across the country are facing significant right-wing pressure to remove books about people of color, LGBTQ people and especially transgender people from classrooms and libraries. I urge every one of you watching to educate yourselves about your school boards and vote in your local elections. 2022 is coming, and we need your support to keep our stories on the shelves. Don't let them erase us."

BINC: Do Good All Year - Click to Donate!

David Treuer Joins Pantheon as Editor-at-Large

David Treuer

David Treuer, author of seven books, including the National Book Award finalist The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee, has joined Pantheon as editor-at-large.

Treuer, who is Ojibwe from the Leech Lake Reservation in Minnesota, will report to senior vice-president and publisher Lisa Lucas and will acquire and edit both fiction and nonfiction, with a special focus on Indigenous writers and emerging voices.

He has written four novels and three works of nonfiction; in addition to being nominated for the National Book Award and Carnegie Medal, he's won three Minnesota Book Awards, the California Book Award for Nonfiction and the Housatonic Book Award. Treuer attented Princeton University and earned a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Michigan. He is also a professor of English at the University of Southern California.

"I have been writing for a quarter century and have had the great good fortune to teach as well," Treuer said. "I'm proud to become one of the few Native American editors at a major imprint. I couldn't be happier to begin the work of nurturing and supporting a new generation of Native writers with the Pantheon team."

Graphic Universe (Tm): Hotelitor: Luxury-Class Defense and Hospitality Unit by Josh Hicks

Panelists Set for 'Bookselling and Free Expression: A Conversation'

The regional booksellers associations, sponsors of "Bookselling and Free Expression: A Conversation," which will be held next Tuesday, November 23, at noon Eastern, have announced the full list of panelists and breakout moderators for the virtual event.

The organizers have said that they "wanted to create a space for education and dialogue from a wide array of viewpoints. The goal is for everyone to come away with a framework to use when thinking about what free expression means for our stores (and ourselves). After the discussion, there will be an opportunity to talk through what you've heard and learned in smaller breakout groups."

The moderators are Jonathan Friedman, director of education, PEN America, and Summer Lopez, senior director of free expression programs, PEN America.

Panelists are:

Kenny Brechner, owner of DDG Booksellers, Farmington, Maine. He won the 2014 Pannell Award and the 2015 Maine School Board Association Business Friend of Education Award and writes for the Shelf Talker children's book blog for Publishers Weekly. Last month he resigned from the American Booksellers Association board in protest over its change in approach to free expression.

Vicky Titcomb, who for 30 years has run her family's bookstore, Titcomb's Bookshop, in East Sandwich, Mass., on Cape Cod, which was started by her parents in 1969. She is a past co-chair of the New England Children's Booksellers Advisory Council.

Luis Correa, the operations manager for Avid Bookshop in Athens, Ga., and a member of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee of the ABA and a Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance Influencer.

Josh Cook, a bookseller at Porter Square Books in Cambridge, Mass., since 2004 and author of the pamphlet The Least We Can Do: White Supremacy, Free Speech, & Independent Bookstores (Biblioasis).

Kiese Laymon, Ottilie Schillig Professor in English and Creative Writing at the University of Mississippi and author of the novel Long Division, the memoir Heavy, and the essay collection How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America.

Breakout moderators are:

John Cavalier, co-owner and founder of Cavalier House Books in Denham Springs, La., and SIBA board president.

Julia Davis, owner of The Book Worm Bookstore in Powder Springs, Ga., and a SIBA board member.

Nicole Sullivan, owner of BookBar Denver, The Bookies (new owner), BookBar Press and BookGive, as well as a board member and past president of the Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association.

Beth Wagner, general manager of Phoenix Books, Burlington, Essex and Rutland, Vt., and board president of the New England Independent Booksellers Association.

Kelsy April, general manager of Savoy Bookshop, Bank Square Books and Title IX: A Bookstore in Waverly, R.I., and Mystic and New London, Conn., and a NEIBA board director.

GLOW: Workman Publishing: Atlas Obscura: Wild Life: An Explorer's Guide to the World's Living Wonders by Cara Giaimo, Joshua Foer, and Atlas Obscura

First Part of PNBA E-Holiday Catalog Delivered

On Sunday, the first part of the e-newsletter edition of the 2021 Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association holiday catalog was sent to 99,523 bookstore customers of 31 participating stores. The second of the four parts of the catalog will be sent this coming Sunday, November 21.

The e-newsletter, powered by Shelf Awareness, features holiday titles from PNBA, is branded with each participating store's logo, and has "buy now" buttons that lead directly to the purchase page for the title on the sending store's website.

For a sample of the newsletter, see this one from Third Street Books, McMinnville, Ore.

Harpervia: Only Big Bumbum Matters Tomorrow by Damilare Kuku

International Update: U.K. Booksellers Face Supply-chain Disruption, Latvia Reduces VAT Rate

Ongoing supply-chain disruption "is forcing booksellers to stockpile more than usual in the lead up to Christmas with delays of up to two months on some titles," the Bookseller reported, adding that some booksellers in the U.K. and Ireland "are concerned the inconsistent deliveries will see customers seek books from elsewhere online."

Booksellers Association managing director Meryl Halls said: "Reports of booksellers being impacted by supply chain issues are very concerning, particularly in the vital sales period in the months leading up to Christmas. Bookshop Day and Super Thursday have demonstrated in the past weeks the public's enthusiasm for returning to bookshops, and it is key that delays in the supply chain don't restrict booksellers from being able to provide readers with the books they are looking for this festive season."

Sanchita Basu de Sarkar, owner of the Children's Bookshop in London, noted that a number of new titles had arrived late. "On investigating, it looks like they went to Amazon rather than the bookshops, which can prove frustrating--but our reps have been invaluable, really looking after us and ringfencing the stock, so almost everything has been sortable."

Observing that the situation had "definitely taken a turn for the worse" since September, Sue Lake, director of White Rose Bookshop & Cafe in Thirsk, said, "It's a difficult conversation to have with your loyal customers when they have ordered with us as opposed to online. As the public return to physical spaces to shop, there has never been a more important time for us to deliver excellent customer service. If we let them down now, they are likely to revert to online ordering."

Tomás Kenny, owner of Kennys Bookshop in Galway, Ireland, observed: "While the supply-chain problems are frustrating, we have mitigated as best we can by making sure our stock rooms are filled to overflowing so we can restock the shop as quickly as possible. And there are still lots of customers coming in to the shop--so we hope to see Christmas being busy."


In Latvia, the Saeima announced Monday that it has reduced the value-added tax (VAT) rate from the current 12% to 5%, effective January 1, 2022, on books and press in print and in electronic publication formats as well as subscriptions. LSM reported that the "originally reduced 5% VAT rate was to be introduced only for printed books and periodicals, but later the Minister for Culture Nauris Puntulis (National Alliance) submitted a proposal to extend it to electronic books and media."

"This is in line with both the common policy of the European Union and the interests of our country. In our country, it will also contribute to the development of the digital economy and equal conditions will be ensured for the whole sector," said Ritvars Jansons, parliamentary secretary of the Ministry of Culture.


The TV series Bu Huo Zhi Lyu (A Journey to Find the Direction of Life), which is running in China on Zhejiang Satellite TV and multiple streaming sites, was developed to inspire a love for books in the digital era, China Daily reported. The 40-episode drama stars Chen Jianbin and Mei Ting as a publishing house president and a middle-school teacher, respectively.

"In the storyline, the businessman, who faces huge financial stress to keep his bookstore in business, and the teacher, who endures loneliness after being cheated by her boyfriend, find each other and fall in love. In the process, they change the direction of their lives.... The charm of reading is written as a significant element to push the plotline," China Daily noted.

"The drama may make you think for a moment how long it has been since you've stepped into a bookstore or finished reading a book. We hope the drama will arouse the love of reading, which should never fade in any era," said producer Yang Weihua.


"We've made a little Christmas video! British bookseller Maldon Books, Maldon, posted on Facebook. "A very small-scale production, but we wanted to bring you a little bit of bookshop magic. Our tiger and giraffe have been incredibly busy getting the bookshop ready for the festive season, and we can't wait to tell you about all the exciting things we've got planned this year, starting with the Christmas Fayre next week! Enjoy, and keep your eyes peeled for a few more upcoming surprises too! Music by Kai Engel." --Robert Gray


Cool Idea of the Day: New York Sea Grant's Environmental Reading List


Four independent bookstores in upstate New York are partnering with New York Sea Grant, an environmental organization that focuses on issues involving the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River, to feature titles on NYSG's Environ-Time Recommended Reading List.

The reading list features titles for children pre-K to 12th grade meant to foster a sense of environmental stewardship and educate children on topics like the biodiversity of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River as well as diversity in science.

The participating indies are Little Book Store in Clayton, N.Y., Kayleighbug Books in Morristown, N.Y., the river's end bookstore in Oswego, N.Y., and Golden Bee Bookshop in Liverpool, N.Y. 

Rebecca Kinnie, owner of Little Book Store, told InformNY: "The young people of the area are really the ones who are going to be growing up, knowing that it's an important thing to take care of the environment around them."

Personnel Changes at Doubleday

In the Doubleday publicity department:

Elena Hershey has been promoted to associate director. She joined the team as assistant director in January 2020.

Tricia Cave has been promoted to publicity manager. She joined the team as a senior publicist, also in January 2020.

Jillian Briglia has been promoted to associate publicist. He has been an administrative assistant since July 2019.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Anne Applebaum on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Anne Applebaum, author of Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism (Anchor, $16, 9781984899507).

Late Late Show with James Corden repeat: Gabrielle Union, author of You Got Anything Stronger?: Stories (‎Dey Street, $27.99, 9780062979933).

This Weekend on Book TV: The Miami Book Fair

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, November 20
10:10 a.m. Carl Smith, author of Chicago's Great Fire: The Destruction and Resurrection of an Iconic American City (Grove Press, $19, 9780802159120), at Chicago's 2021 Printers Row Lit Fest. (Re-airs Saturday at 10:10 p.m.)

11 a.m. Pamela Nadell, author of America's Jewish Women: A History from Colonial Times to Today (Norton, $17.95, 9780393358308). (Re-airs Saturday at 8 p.m.)

3 p.m. Bret Baier, co-author of To Rescue the Republic: Ulysses S. Grant, the Fragile Union, and the Crisis of 1876 (Custom House, $28.99, 9780063039544). (Re-airs Sunday at 3 a.m.)

4 p.m. Bob Woodward, co-author of Peril (Simon & Schuster, $30, 9781982182915). (Re-airs Sunday at 4 a.m.)

Sunday, November 21
8 a.m. Sean Spicer, author of Radical Nation: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris's Dangerous Plan for America (Humanix Books, $27.99, 9781630061715). (Re-airs Sunday at 8 p.m.)

8:40 a.m. Tarana Burke, author of Unbound: My Story of Liberation and the Birth of the Me Too Movement (Flatiron Books, $28.99, 9781250621733). (Re-airs Sunday at 8:40 p.m.)

9:55 a.m. Michael Shellenberger, author of San Fransicko: Why Progressives Ruin Cities (Harper, $28.99, 9780063093621). (Re-airs Sunday at 9:55 p.m.)

10:55 a.m. Farah Stockman, author of American Made: What Happens to People When Work Disappears (Random House, $28, 9781984801159). (Re-airs Sunday at 10:55 p.m.)

12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Live coverage of the 2021 Miami Book Fair. Highlights include:

  • 12 p.m. Craig Whitlock, co-author of The Afghanistan Papers: A Secret History of the War (Simon & Schuster, $30, 9781982159009).
  • 1 p.m. Linda Greenhouse, author of Justice on the Brink: The Death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Rise of Amy Coney Barrett, and Twelve Months That Transformed the Supreme Court (Random House, $28, 9780593447932).
  • 2 p.m. Evan Osnos, author of Wildland: The Making of America's Fury (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $30, 9780374286675).
  • 3 p.m. H.W. Brands, author of Our First Civil War: Patriots and Loyalists in the American Revolution (Doubleday, $32.50, 9780385546515).
  • 4 p.m. Chris Hedges, author of Our Class: Trauma and Transformation in an American Prison (Simon & Schuster, $26.99, 9781982154431)
  • 5 p.m. Anita Hill, author of Believing: Our Thirty-Year Journey to End Gender Violence (Viking, $30, 9780593298299).
  • 6 p.m. Julie K. Brown, author of Perversion of Justice: The Jeffrey Epstein Story (Dey Street Books, $27.99, 9780063000582).

Books & Authors

Awards: Baillie Gifford Non-Fiction Winner

Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty by Patrick Radden Keefe has won the £50,000 (about $67,280) 2021 Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction. The book was published in the U.S. by Doubleday.

The organizers wrote: "The Sackler name adorns the walls of many storied institutions--Harvard, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Oxford, the Louvre. They are one of the richest families in the world, known for their lavish donations to the arts and the sciences. The source of the family fortune was vague, however, until it emerged that the Sacklers were responsible for making and marketing a blockbuster painkiller that was the catalyst for the opioid crisis.

"Empire of Pain begins with the story of three doctor brothers, Raymond, Mortimer and the incalculably energetic Arthur, who weathered the poverty of the Great Depression and appalling anti-Semitism. Working at a barbaric mental institution, Arthur saw a better way and conducted groundbreaking research into drug treatments. He also had a genius for marketing, especially for pharmaceuticals, and bought a small ad firm.

"Empire of Pain is a masterpiece of narrative reporting and writing, exhaustively documented and ferociously compelling. It is a portrait of the excesses of America's second Gilded Age, a study of impunity among the super elite and a relentless investigation of the naked greed and indifference to human suffering that built one of the world's great fortunes."

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, November 23:

The Becoming by Nora Roberts (‎St. Martin's Press, $28.99, 9781250272706) continues the Dragon Heart Legacy fantasy series.

Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone: A Novel by Diana Gabaldon (Delacorte Press, $36, 9781101885680) is book nine in the historical fantasy Outlander series.

These Precious Days: Essays by Ann Patchett (Harper, $26.99, 9780063092785) contains biographical essays.

Amos McGee Misses the Bus by Philip C. Stead, illus. by Erin E. Stead (Roaring Brook, $18.99, 9781250213228), features A Sick Day for Amos McGee's friendly zookeeper planning a surprise for his animal friends.

Cytonic by Brandon Sanderson (Delacorte, $19.99, 9780399555855) is the third book in the young adult Skyward series.

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 Memoirs of Stockholm Sven: A Novel by Nathaniel Ian Miller (Little, Brown, $28, 9780316592550). "Wow, what a book. The world and the characters grow together. In a bleak, unforgiving landscape, Sven is able to discover found family and grow as a person, while offering hard-won insights about human nature that'll leave you breathless." --Jessica Williams-Sullivan, Politics and Prose Bookstore, Washington, D.C.

Murder at Mallowan Hall: A Phyllida Bright Mystery by Colleen Cambridge (Kensington, $26, 9781496732446). "A delightful murder mystery! Murder at Mallowan Hall felt like a combination of Clue; Upstairs, Downstairs; and of course Agatha Christie. I look forward to seeing what sleuthing Phyllida takes on next!" --Stefanie Lynn, The Kennett Bookhouse, Kennett Square, Pa.

Win Me Something: A Novel by Kyle Lucia Wu (Tin House Books, $16.95, 9781951142735). "Such a thoughtful, gentle, totally immersive debut about a universally fascinating profession: nannying for the super-rich. Willa's yearning to belong and find her footing in a world that frequently misunderstands and typecasts her reads as tender and true." --Kristen Iskandrian, Thank You Books, Birmingham, Ala.

For Ages 4 to 8
Everybody in the Red Brick Building by Anne Wynter, illus. by Oge Mora (Balzer + Bray, $17.99, 9780062865762). "An enchanting debut by author Anne Wynter with vivid illustrations by the incomparable Oge Mora, Everybody in the Red Brick Building is fabulous! A joy to read for the whole family." --Kathy Neff, Square Books, Oxford, Miss.

For Ages 8 to 12
African Icons: Ten People Who Shaped History by Tracey Baptiste, illus. by Hillary D. Wilson (Algonquin, $19.95, 9781616209001). "Tracey Baptiste offers a fascinating look at influential Africans throughout history, shining a much-needed light on the impact that the people of Africa have had not only on their own history, but on that of the world." --Samantha Coons, Cupboard Maker Books, Enola, Pa.

For Teen Readers
The City Beautiful by Aden Polydoros (Inkyard Press, $19.99, 9781335402509). "This story drew me in from line one! Historical fiction with a touch of fantasy and myth; a dark murder mystery combined with a haunting ghost story, with a sizzlingly sweet romance as the cherry on top, The City Beautiful is an unforgettable tale!" --Marielle Orff, Towne Book Center & Café, Collegeville, Pa.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: Tides

Tides by Sara Freeman (Grove Press, $26 hardcover, 256p., 9780802159175, January 16, 2022)

Sara Freeman's Tides is a sparse and unconventional novel of one woman's undoing--and knitting herself back together again in the most unlikely of ways.

The woman herself is unimportant at first. She remains unnamed, until Freeman reveals in a passing dialogue that her name is Mara; she is unmoored, until snippets of her past start to come back to her in memory and in conversation. This is how Mara is defined across the pages of Freeman's staggering debut, not by what she is, but by what she is not: "this is not that," she says time and again. She is not "the other her, the one she left behind," fleeing on a bus to nowhere, determined to make it to the sea. She is instead taking shape in the absence of what she was before: a sister, a daughter, a wife, a mother-to-be, turned runaway, refugee, the other woman, a squatter with ties to no one.

And yet, as Mara tries to remain aloof and alone, she is slowly knit into the fabric of the new community where she has landed, an off-season seaside town that offers her a harsh and unforgiving refuge, and reminded of the fabric of her past. As Mara asks, so does Freeman pose to her readers: Is it possible to isolate one's present from one's past? Or is the past a tide unto itself, ebbing and flowing each day, each season?

Tides unfolds across a series of vignettes, some as short as a sentence or two, some wending across pages. This pace is somewhat disquieting at first, though it eventually settles into a rhythm that feels like time itself: it is one day in early fall, the day is never-ending, the questions are many, then: blink, and it is October, it is Thanksgiving spent alone in a one-room attic apartment, it is Christmas spent in memories and walking and wine, it is a frigid and unwelcoming new year with a harsh wind blowing from the water. The beauty of Freeman's prose lies as much in this unexpected cadence as in the contrast between beauty and harshness tucked into every page; Freeman, like Mara, "can say a few words in the right order and get people to love her for a moment." In its poetic unfolding, Tides reveals itself to be a stunning and revelatory tale of the dissolution of one woman's life, her unexpected ties to the sea, and the many ways present selves are tied to their pasts. --Kerry McHugh, freelance writer

Shelf Talker: In this stunning debut novel, a woman's life unravels, builds and unravels again across a series of sparse and staggering vignettes.

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