Shelf Awareness for Monday, January 24, 2022

Delacorte Press: Six of Sorrow by Amanda Linsmeier

Shadow Mountain: To Love the Brooding Baron (Proper Romance Regency) by Jentry Flint

Soho Crime: Exposure (A Rita Todacheene Novel) by Ramona Emerson

Charlesbridge Publishing: The Perilous Performance at Milkweed Meadow by Elaine Dimopoulos, Illustrated by Doug Salati

Pixel+ink: Missy and Mason 1: Missy Wants a Mammoth

Bramble: The Stars Are Dying: Special Edition (Nytefall Trilogy #1) by Chloe C Peñaranda


Arctic Tern Books Opens in Rockland, Maine

Arctic Tern Books, "a place for discovery," has opened in Rockland, Maine, the Penobscot Bay Pilot reported. The store is named after the migratory bird that travels from pole to pole every year.

Owner Allison Worden told the newspaper, "I've curated this store with the underlying belief that bookstores are a place for discovery. You'll see a lot of books in here about and written by people from other cultures, as well as books that teach and heal. Books have the power to take people wherever they want to go--whether it's somewhere back in time, or into someone else's life, or on a personal journey."

As the bookshop put it, "We believe each individual is on a very specific and personal journey and books are one of life's most enriching pleasures. The right book discovered at a precise moment in time can change the trajectory of a life, bridge an uncomfortable divide, heal a wounded spirit, spark unbridled joy. To aid serendipitous discovery, we offer curated journeys comprised of books from a variety of genres."

Before opening Arctic Tern in November, Worden had spent her entire career in academic publishing, mostly managing scientific journals and books, but had wanted to open a bookstore for some time. She grew up in a remote town in Australia, and "books were my very first love in life... they were how I explored the world."

The Penobscot Bay Pilot described Worden's aesthetic as "intuitive, intimate, and nurturing," which stems from her experience caring for her sister. "In 2013, my only sister was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer," she said. "I become her primary caregiver, and as I walked that journey with her and saw so many people suffering, it opened my eyes to the incredible amount of pain that people are experiencing. During that time, whenever I would go into a place that felt peaceful and restorative, it was such a gift. While I was caring for my sister, I knew I wanted to do that someday for people--just provide that space where peace and something close to hope was available."

BINC: Do Good All Year - Click to Donate!

B&N in Bismarck, N.Dak., Moving to Temporary Location

A Barnes & Noble store on Seventh Street in Bismarck, N.Dak., will close on February 20 and reopen in March at a temporary location in the Kirkwood Mall, the Bismarck Tribune reported.

The store is relocating because its previous landlord is redeveloping the shopping center and did not renew the store's lease; B&N will be open for business in the Kirkwood Mall while it searches for a new, permanent home in Bismarck. The Kirkwood Mall storefront is smaller than the Seventh Street space and will not have a cafe, but the store will retain its staff of 22 full-time and nine part-time employees as it makes the move.

B&N is in negotiations for a permanent space in Bismarck and expects to have one ready in early 2023.

AuthorBuzz for the Week of 04.22.24

ALA's LibLearnX Conference Launches

The American Library Association's new January event, LibLearnX (The Library Learning Experience), began this past weekend; the now-virtual four-day conference originally had been planned to take place in-person in San Antonio, Tex.

The opening session on Saturday featured ALA President Patricia Wong, the first Asian American to serve as president of the ALA, in conversation with Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D., Hawaii), the first Asian American woman and only immigrant serving in the U.S. Senate and the first Senator in history born in Japan. Hirono's memoir, Heart of Fire: An Immigrant Daughter's Story (Viking), "chronicles her life as a woman coming into her own power over the course of five decades in public service."

Patty Wong (l.) and Mazie Hirono

Wong asked Hirono what inspired her to write her memoir. "It was my desire to tell my mother's story," Hirono explained. She spoke of her mother's resilience and "risk-taking": "I knew what courage it took for her to bring us to a new country, to start a new life for us.... My mother's determination is something I always aspire to." Hirono also discussed her roots in literature: "Books are a huge part of my life." Her love of reading, she said, was awakened by an elementary school teacher reading her class Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers. And, she said, she has learned that "reading is one of the ways that one becomes a better writer." Hirono also noted that reading Betty Friedan's Feminine Mystique in college changed her life. "Wait a minute," she thought, "I need to make my own way in life. Why did I think some guy was going to come along and take care of me?" Wong pointed out that "one of our core values in libraries is intellectual freedom," and Hirono agreed that "we have to push back against efforts to limit what we have access to and what we are taught."

Angeline Boulley

The morning "theater speaker," Angeline Boulley, a storyteller who writes about her Ojibwe community in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, discussed her debut YA novel, Firekeeper's Daughter (Holt), about a young Ojibwe woman who goes undercover to help track down a dangerous drug. The novel is a 2021 Kids' Indie Next List pick, a Time Magazine Best YA Book of All Time selection, a Reese's YA Book Club pick and is slated to be adapted by Barack Obama and Michelle Obama's production company, Higher Ground.

Boulley gave the audience a history of Firekeeper's Daughter: when she was a senior in high school, she read, for the first time, "a book that featured a Native American main character." But she felt "unsettled"--the author was not Native and the "representation played into some stereotypes that were inauthentic" to her. "Reading that book made me realize the importance of reading books where we can see ourselves reflected." That same year, she learned from one of her friends who attended a different school that a new student had turned out to be an undercover officer. The story took root.

"As an Indigenous person who has light skin, I was always wondering if I was Native enough," Boulley said, and she watched as her own children went through "identity issues" about "how Native they were." So Firekeeper's Daughter became "a story about identity, claiming your identity as an Indigenous person and finding your place in the world, particularly in your Native community." Finally, after a lot of research--including attending a workshop on methods of making meth and how to identify meth labs--she had a "eureka" moment. She "was thinking about our hero story" (which focuses on a sometimes-trickster figure named Nanabozho) when she noticed that visual representations of the Hero's Journey are laid out in a circle with four quadrants, similar to the Ojibwe Medicine Wheel. She thought, "I can tell the hero's journey from an Indigenous young woman's perspective, using the medical wheel as a... framework for telling the story I want to tell."

Grace Kindle and Charly Palmer

In the afternoon Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe-winning illustrator Charly Palmer discussed his author-illustrator debut, The Legend of Gravity, which came out earlier this month from Farrar, Straus and Giroux. From his personal art studio, he and his editor, Grace Kindle, discussed his tall tale about a neighborhood basketball hero. Palmer highlighted the importance of the reader to all his works--how wonderful it feels to "inspire a young person to do something more than they thought they were capable of." He and Kindle talked about nicknames and their power, and the lesson Palmer set out to teach in The Legend of Gravity: "Do your best. Give all or don't do it at all." The conversation finished with a painting demonstration from Palmer. Before he began work, he said, "I say to young people all the time, find something you enjoy doing and you'll never have to work a day in your life. I sometimes feel guilt [because of] how much fun I have doing what I do." --Siân Gaetano, children's and YA editor, Shelf Awareness

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Four Weekends and a Funeral by Ellie Palmer

Obituary Note: Thich Nhat Hanh

Thich Nhat Hanh

Thich Nhat Hanh, the Vietnamese Buddhist monk "who was one of the world's most influential Zen masters, spreading messages of mindfulness, compassion and nonviolence," died January 22, the New York Times reported. He was 95. "Traveling widely on speaking tours in the United States and Europe (he was fluent in English and French), Thich Nhat Hanh (pronounced tik nyaht hahn) was a major influence on Western practices of Buddhism, urging the embrace of mindfulness, which his website describes as 'the energy of being aware and awake to the present moment.' "

Sharing the news of his passing, Plum Village, the international community of mindfulness practice centers and monasteries founded by Thich Nhat Hanh (referred to by many of his students as Thay, the traditional title for a master in Vietnamese), said, in part: "Thay has been the most extraordinary teacher, whose peace, tender compassion, and bright wisdom has touched the lives of millions. Whether we have encountered him on retreats, at public talks, or through his books and online teachings--or simply through the story of his incredible life--we can see that Thay has been a true bodhisattva, an immense force for peace and healing in the world. Thay has been a revolutionary, a renewer of Buddhism, never diluting and always digging deep into the roots of Buddhism to bring out its authentic radiance." 

A prolific author, poet, teacher and peace activist, Thich Nhat Hanh was exiled from Vietnam after opposing the war in the 1960s and became a leading voice in a movement he called "engaged Buddhism," the Times wrote. His following grew as he established dozens of monasteries and practice centers around the world. The original Plum Village is near Bordeaux in southwest France. In 2018, he returned home to Hue, in central Vietnam, to live out his last days at the Tu Hieu Temple, where he had become a novice as a teenager.

Thich Nhat Hanh published more than 100 books, including The Miracle of Mindfulness; Peace Is Every Step; The Art of Living; The Path of Emancipation; Awakening the Heart; At Home in the World; You Are Here; Making Space; Breathe, You Are Alive; The Blooming of a Lotus; Happiness; No Mud, No Lotus; Touching Peace; and No Death, No Fear.

In a tribute, Shambahla Publications wrote: "All of us... are saddened by the passing of Thich Nhat Hahn. Thay embodied the all-too-rare qualities of truly living in the moment, having his actions match his words, and conveying the wisdom he gained from years of practice to present the teachings of the Buddha in a simple way that anyone, regardless of their background or belief system, could relate to, be inspired by, and make a reality.... Our palms are together to Thay in appreciation for a life of selfless service to all."

Expressing his condolences, the Dalai Lama said: "In his peaceful opposition to the Vietnam war, his support for Martin Luther King and most of all his dedication to sharing with others not only how mindfulness and compassion contribute to inner peace, but also how individuals cultivating peace of mind contributes to genuine world peace, the Venerable lived a truly meaningful life. I have no doubt the best way we can pay tribute to him is to continue his work to promote peace in the world."

Arnie Kotler, founder of Parallax Press with Thich Nhat Hanh and editor of many of his books, including Being Peace, Peace Is Every Step, and The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching, said: "I met Thich Nhat Hanh in June 1982 at the large antinuclear peace march in New York. He walked slowly and fiercely at the same time. The following year he came to teach at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center, and I was his attendant, the beginning a long and fruitful relationship. I remember well our years working together on books and retreats, practicing mindfulness, and touching one another's hearts. Thich Nhat Hanh was an important teacher and man in my life, and I am moved to witness the worldwide impact of his passing."


Valentine's Day Preview: Copper News Book Store, Neighborhood Books

Getting into early Valentine's Day spirit were:

Copper News Book Store, Ajo, Ariz.: "Stet approves of our Valentines Day spread of cards and gifts for your loved one. Stop by, pet Stet and choose your gift!"

Neighborhood Books, Presque Isle, Maine: "Posting a picture of the super cool Valentine's Day paper chain my daughter made before it falls down."

Bookseller Cat: 'The Frank Shop' at Next Page Books

"I'm going to let you in on a little secret," Next Page Books, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, posted on Facebook. "It won't be long now before we open The Frank Shop here inside the store. We'll carve out a little area where Frank will display and sell a few of his favorite things such as books, bookmarks, notecards, coffee mugs, and plush toys, to name a few.

"This is Frank's first go at owning his own shop, but I'll be here to support him every step of the way. And, of course, I'll handle actual sales transactions because Frank still struggles with the register. But he's a quick learner. Pictured are a few of the items that have arrived at the store, but more merchandise is on the way! This is going to be a game changer!"

Personnel Changes at Penguin Random House Audio

At Penguin Random House Audio:

Dakota Cohen joins as marketing manager, Listening Library. She was previously assistant marketing manager at Macmillan Audio.

Kate Smith joins as associate publicist, Listening Library. She was previously sales & marketing assistant at Charlesbridge.

Kistal Gordon joins as marketing associate, focusing on Random House Publishing Group and Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group titles. Gordon was previously a member of the Penguin Random House Conference Services & Travel team.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Dana Stevens on Fresh Air

Good Morning America: Amy Weatherly, author of I'll Be There (But I'll Be Wearing Sweatpants) (Nelson, $18.99, 9781400226757).

Today Show: Marc Brown, author of Believe in Yourself: What We Learned from Arthur (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, $15.99, 9780759554566).

Fresh Air: Dana Stevens, author of Camera Man: Buster Keaton, the Dawn of Cinema, and the Invention of the Twentieth Century (Atria, $29.99, 9781501134197).

Tamron Hall: Ginger Zee, author of A Little Closer to Home: How I Found the Calm After the Storm (Hyperion Avenue, $26, 9781368042000).

Good Morning America: Jay Glazer, author of Unbreakable: How I Turned My Depression and Anxiety into Motivation and You Can Too (‎Dey Street, $27.99, 9780063062856).

Today Show: Justice Sonia Sotomayor, author of Just Help!: How to Build a Better World (Philomel, $17.99, 9780593206263). She will also appear on Live with Kelly and Ryan and Late Night with Seth Meyers.

Drew Barrymore Show: Huma Abedin, author of Both/And: A Life in Many Worlds (Scribner, $30, 9781501194801).

The View: Rachel Lindsay, author of Miss Me with That: Hot Takes, Helpful Tidbits, and a Few Hard Truths (Ballantine, $26, 9780593357071). She will also be on Good Morning America.

Late Night with Seth Meyers: Mike Schur, author of How to Be Perfect: The Correct Answer to Every Moral Question (Simon & Schuster, $28.99, 9781982159313).

TV: Want, Ruse

Will Yun Lee and Mark & Christine Holder's Seoul Street have acquired rights to Cindy Pon's YA sci-fi novels Want and its sequel, Ruse, "in a competitive situation," for development as an international television series, IndieWire reported. The search is underway for a writer, with the partners "focused on finding an Asian American voice to pen the series."

"It's an exciting and touching portrayal of love, war, and friendship encapsulated in this incredibly rich and textured world that Cindy has brilliantly created," said Holder.

Lee added: "Cindy's characters leaped off the page from the moment I opened the book. Her ability to craft such beautifully human characters while narrating the Asian experience lines up so well with what we are striving for at Seoul Street."

"Want is a book of my heart and was such a challenge and delight to write," Pon said. "It is a love letter to Taipei and cyberpunk with Asian leads, and I'm so excited by the prospect of bringing my story to the screen with the team at Seoul Street."

Books & Authors

Awards: Carnegie Medal, Jewish Book Winners

The American Library Association announced the winners of the 2022 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction. The medal winners each receive $5,000; all finalists will be honored in June during the ALA's annual conference. The winners are:

Fiction: The Thousand Crimes of Ming Tsu by Tom Lin (Little, Brown). Judges commented: "In Utah, in 1869, Ming Tsu reckons he has killed some 200 men and is now on his way to killing the five who had beaten him half to death, stolen his wife, and had him sentenced to 10 years of forced labor building the Central Pacific Railroad. Two years later, Ming has escaped and is ready for retribution. Joining him en route to revenge are the Prophet, who guides Ming both physically and spiritually, and three players in a traveling miracle show. Infused with magic realism, Lin's beautifully imagined first novel is a transcendent epic."

Nonfiction: A Little Devil in America: Notes in Praise of Black Performance by Hanif Abdurraqib (Random House). Judges commented: "Blending pop-culture essays, memoir and poetry, Abdurraqib delves into the many iterations of Black artistic expression through an often deeply personal lens. Whether pondering the dynamic life and contributions of Josephine Baker (to whom the book is dedicated) or meditating on his own various performances, the author's ruminations are an invitation to think deeply about Black performance on both cultural and individual levels. Startling, layered and timely, this is an essential, illuminating collection."


The Jewish Book Council has just announced the winners for the 2021 National Jewish Book Awards. See the full list of winners and finalists here. Selected winners include:

To Repair a Broken World: The Life of Henrietta Szold, Founder of Hadassah by Dvora Hacohen (Harvard University Press): the Jewish Book of the Year Award, Everett Family Foundation Award, and Biography Award in Memory of Sara Berenson Stone
The Netanyahus: An Account of a Minor and Ultimately Even Negligible Episode in the History of a Very Famous Family by Joshua Cohen (New York Review Books): the J.J. Greenberg Memorial Award in Fiction
A Play for the End of the World by Jai Chakrabarti (Knopf): Debut Fiction Goldberg Prize
Bene Appetit: The Cuisine of Indian Jews by Esther David (HarperCollins India): Food Writing & Cookbooks Jane and Stuart Weitzman Family Award
The Book of Anna by Joy Ladin (EOAGH Books): Berru Award for Poetry in Memory of Ruth and Bernie Weinflash
People Love Dead Jews: Reports from a Haunted Present by Dara Horn (Norton): Contemporary Jewish Life and Practice Myra H. Kraft Memorial Award

Top Library Recommended Titles for February

LibraryReads, the nationwide library staff-picks list, offers the top 10 February titles public library staff across the country love:

Top Pick
The Paris Apartment: A Novel by Lucy Foley (Morrow, $28.99, ‎ 9780063003057). "Foley hits it out of the ballpark with this solid thriller set in a Paris apartment building. Jess goes looking for her brother, but finds only the smell of bleach and a broken St. Christopher medal lodged in the floorboards. Written in short chapters with multiple points of view and delicious secrets dropped along the way, this gripping, wild ride is impossible to put down. If you like Liane Moriarty or Ruth Ware, pick this one up." --Douglas Beatty, Baltimore County Public Library, Baltimore, Md.

Black Cake: A Novel by Charmaine Wilkerson (Ballantine, $28, 9780593358337). "In this extraordinary debut, two estranged siblings must reunite on the occasion of their mother's death, opening old wounds and exposing long held secrets. The novel is a rich, woven tapestry of cultures, characters, traditions, and social issues, with several 'wow' moments along the way. For fans of The Vanishing Half and Ask Again, Yes." --Ronni Krasnow, New York Public Library, New York, N.Y.

The Christie Affair: A Novel by Nina de Gramont (St. Martin's Press, $27.99, 9781250274618). "An intriguing take on Agatha Christie's famous 11-day disappearance. In a Christie-esque subplot, Nan manipulates Agatha's husband to leave her so that Nan can step in, but her plans go further. Interspersed in the story is Nan's retelling of her own tragic background, and as it unfolds, her true objective comes to light. For fans of The Mystery of Mrs. Christie and The Guest Book." --Maribeth Fisher, Scotch Plains Public Library, Scotch Plains, N.J.

Count Your Lucky Stars: A Novel by Alexandria Bellefleur (Avon, $15.99, 9780063000889). "Two women get a second chance at romance. Margot and Liv shared a bond and one steamy week back in high school, and ten years later they become roommates by chance. This time, they're not letting one another go again. For fans of Honey Girl and Boyfriend Material." --Danielle Hansard, Westland Public Library, Westland, Mich.

Delilah Green Doesn't Care by Ashley Herring Blake (Berkley, $16, 9780593336403). "As a teen, Delilah felt ostracized after her father died. When she reluctantly returns to her hometown for her stepsister's wedding, she meets Claire, one of a group of girls who Mean Girled her in high school. An absolute delight of a queer romance, women's fiction with insta-attraction, forced proximity, family drama, and cute kid moments. For fans of Something to Talk About and Red, White, & Royal Blue." --Laura Eckert, Clermont County Public Library, Milford, Ohio

Finlay Donovan Knocks 'Em Dead: A Mystery by Elle Cosimano (Minotaur, $26.99, 9781250242181). "The second Finlay Donovan installment is just as funny, charming, and over-the-top as the first. Finlay is still a lovable hot mess and her love life hasn't gotten easier. While it's definitely a mystery with some dead bodies, the humor and giant heart of this series prevail. For fans of Janet Evanovich and Sarah Strohmeyer." --Rebecca Swanson, Fitchburg Public Library, Fitchburg, Wis.

Good Girl Complex: An Avalon Bay Novel by Elle Kennedy (St. Martin's Griffin, $16.99, 9781250796738). "Mackenzie decamps to a coastal college to fulfill a promise to attend school, even though she's a successful business owner. Little does she know her boyfriend has already ruffled feathers in town, and local bad boy Cooper plans to break Mac's heart in revenge. A perfect balance between steamy and adorable; give this new adult romance to readers of Anna Todd." --Serita Patel, MCMLS-South Regional Library, The Woodland, Tex.

Not the Witch You Wed by April Asher (St. Martin's Griffin, $16.99, 9781250807991). "Violet is perfectly happy being the triplet without magical powers. However, since reconnecting with high school heartbreaker and wolf shifter Lincoln Thorne, she suddenly has magic and is afraid she'll be forced into an arranged marriage. What's a witch to do but to fake-date a werewolf? A fun and light read for fans of The Ex Hex." --Alicia Ahlvers, Henrico County Public Library, Henrico, Va.

The Verifiers by Jane Pek (Vintage, $17, 9780593313794). "Claudia Lin, a lifelong reader of mystery novels, may be getting in over her head when she decides to investigate a mysterious death connected to the online dating detective agency where she works. Well-developed characters and an engaging locked room plot make this a great pick for those who loved Arsenic and Adobo and Dial A For Aunties." --Mara Bandy Fass, Champaign Public Library, Champaign, Ill.

The Violin Conspiracy by Brendan Slocumb (Anchor, $28, 9780593315415). "The one bright spot in Ray's rough life is his love of playing the violin that once belonged to his great-ancestor, a slave. The instrument turns out to be a Stradivarius, creating all sorts of problems. This first-rate story offers a probing look at the experience of being a Black musician in the classical music world. Great for book clubs that enjoyed Harlem Shuffle and The Queen's Gambit." --Joan Hipp, Florham Park Public Library, Florham Park, N.J.

Book Review

Review: The Verifiers

The Verifiers by Jane Pek (Vintage, $17 paperback, 368p., 9780593313794, February 22, 2022)

Jane Pek's The Verifiers imagines a not-too-distant future in which romance is housed entirely within the world of online matchmaking sites, promising perfect matches in exchange for the inexpensive price of telling big tech companies every little detail about oneself. It's not a system Claudia Lin subscribes to--but her disinterest in matchmaking makes her a perfect verifier, working for a kind of "dating detective agency" that helps clients figure out whether their matches have been completely truthful--which, usually, they have not. "People lie.... This means dating algorithms are predicting compatibility on the basis of faulty data and exposing users to potential deception by their matches. Enter the verifiers."

Claudia fancies herself something of a modern-day spy or 21st-century sleuth, "being paid to investigate romantic mysteries like some latter-day love child of Jane Austen and Sherlock Holmes." But when a client comes to her team with a stranger-than-fiction case, she gets caught up in an increasingly complicated--and potentially dangerous--whodunit of her own.

Claudia's desire to untangle this particular case--and even her work as a verifier in the first place--is tied up in her family's legacy and her desire to reject the model minority role repeatedly placed upon her. Instead of a Chinese boy her mother approves of, or the job her brother secured for her upon college graduation, Claudia wants to build her own life, one in which she can be the heroine of her own story. But she quickly discovers that "a lifetime spent in the company of Holmes, Poirot, Maigret, and Yuan" is not adequate training for figuring out how someone may have gotten herself killed (or preventing the same from happening to her), pushing The Verifiers from slow-burning literary mystery into literary suspense as it progresses.

The Verifiers is as delightful as it is insightful, clipping along at a pace reminiscent of the mystery novels Claudia herself loves so much. As Claudia starts to make sense of the smudges of clues and details in her brain, readers are treated to the same process of figuring it all out--often delivered, it feels, with a wink and a nod from Pek, for those readers keen enough to catch the clues hidden along the way. Within this, Pek poses deep and thoughtful questions about romance, privacy, family, data, corporate greed and big tech--to name just a few. It's a lot for a debut novelist, but Pek delivers, and The Verifiers is sure to leave readers looking for more from this new voice in the genre. --Kerry McHugh, freelance writer

Shelf Talker: This literary mystery asks big questions about tech and privacy, couched in a perfectly paced whodunit, imbued with hints of great mystery novels from the past.

AuthorBuzz: St. Martin's Press: The Rom-Commers by Katherine Center
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