Shelf Awareness for Thursday, February 3, 2022

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


Follett Bought by Private Investors Group

Follett Corporation, Follett Higher Education and Follett ACCESS have been bought by a group of private investors led by Jefferson River Capital, a private investment company controlled by the James family. Tony James is former executive vice-chairman, president and CEO of the Blackstone Group and chairman of Costco.

Todd Litzsinger, CEO and chairman of the board of Follett, said that Follett Higher Education "has championed a crucial role in the collegiate retail experience across 1,100 campuses, supplying course material solutions and branded school spirit merchandise to customers. On behalf of the Follett family and shareholders, I would like to thank all our employees, publishing partners, general merchandise vendors, institution partners and campus communities for the distinct privilege of shaping generations of students and institutions over the years. Our family-owned company has celebrated alongside our customers and is extremely proud of the successes we have achieved together. We are excited to hand off the baton to another group of families who believe as strongly as we do in supporting the post-secondary educational journey extending the Follett Higher Education legacy into the future."

David Wittels, president of Jefferson River Capital, said, "The James family and Jefferson River Capital are honored to be entrusted by the Follett family to continue the stewardship of this company and its important mission in higher education. The cost of higher education has been growing at far too fast a rate in the U.S. and Canada over the past few decades; we are very supportive and appreciative of Follett's role in lowering the cost of course materials and in doing so have widespread impact on the affordability of higher education for students and families."

Follett has been a major company in new and used textbooks, publishing, library services, retail and wholesale bookstore services, K-12 and college bookstore and course materials. In the past year, the company has sold some of its businesses, including Baker & Taylor and Follett School Solutions. It manages more than 1,600 campus bookstores, both bricks-and-mortar and virtual.

Founded in 1873, Follett has been owned by the Follett family throughout its history. Follett traces its beginnings to the founding in 1873 of a used bookstore in Wheaton, Ill., by Charles M. Barnes, who later left the company and moved to New York City and teamed up with G. Clifford Noble to open a store in Manhattan, the first Barnes & Noble.

With the change in ownership, Emmanuel Kolady has been named CEO of Follett and Ryan Petersen has been named president of Follett Higher Education. Kolady previously served as senior v-p, head of stores for the eastern half of CVS Retail.

Kolady said, "The education industry has experienced much disruption over the past few years, and I envision Follett's role to continue to evolve to meet the ever-changing needs of our customers and business partners to ensure academic success. Follett's resilience has clearly proven its value to institutions, faculty and students and our commitment is to continue to innovate as the campus retailer, supporting higher education, online and in-store and meet students where they are."

Petersen was formerly v-p of strategy and development at VitalSource Technologies, which he co-founded. He said, "I've spent my entire professional career addressing the inequality of opportunity and learning outcomes from the cost of course materials, and I am ecstatic for our Follett team to take a quantum leap forward for affordability. Follett serves as the nexus for course materials for the higher education community and we are perfectly positioned to work with publishers, OER foundations, faculty, students, and institutions, to drive affordability, leveraging our digital and rental Follett ACCESS programs."

The company said that the Follett family "will continue to drive education through advocacy with future projects. The next steps for the Follett Family legacy will be to enhance its effects with future family business education and the Follett Educational Foundation."

Harper: Our Kind of Game by Johanna Copeland

Black Pearl Books, Austin, Tex., Finds Permanent Location

Black Pearl Books, an all-ages independent bookstore in Austin, Tex., with a mission to promote diversity, inclusion, equity and cultural awareness, has moved into a permanent home at 7112 Burnet St., KXAN reported.

"When we look at Black History Month, and the history of it and why it exists, it goes back to that fight and that pushing through for African Americans," store owner Katrina Brooks said. "It was important for me to be in a space to be representative."

An "entrepreneur at heart" with a love of books and passion for education, Brooks was inspired to open a bookstore of her own after visiting a Black-owned bookstore in Washington, D.C., while on a road trip with her family. She had already noticed that while there were independent bookstores in Austin, there were none that focused on diversity and inclusion.

Brooks founded the store in November 2019, initially selling books out of her home and at pop-up locations around Austin. Pop-ups went on hold during the early months of the pandemic, and she was doing web orders only in summer 2020. Her business saw an immense surge of orders, sometimes as many as six or seven per minute, as protests swept the country in the wake of the murder of George Floyd.

Prior to securing her own storefront, she was sharing space with another local business. The store officially moved into its new building on February 1.

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

Books Around the Corner in Gresham, Ore., Closing Physical Store

Books Around the Corner in Gresham, Ore., will be closing its physical location on February 26. Owner Stephanie Csaszar opened the new and used independent bookstore in 2018. Last March, the business transitioned to a genre bookshop, focusing primarily on science fiction, fantasy, horror and mystery. In October, Books Around the Corner relocated to a new space

On Monday, Csaszar shared her decision to close the bricks-and-mortar side of the business in a social media post, noting: "When it rains it pours. A few lending opportunities I hoped we'd have obtained did not come through. More importantly due to my health issues mounting and having become chronic and so serious suddenly I can no longer run a physical location. I appreciate your concern but I'd prefer to keep these issues private....

"This means Books Around the Corner will be moving virtual and I am actually excited about it. Books Around the Corner will live on because it's not about the physical location but what we offer the community. We'll offer shipping, preorders, virtual book clubs, other virtual events and do occasional pop up and book events as my health allows. I will also be doing book talks and offering more book recommendations. We'll be celebrating Independent Bookstore Day virtually too."

"I appreciate your support over the past few years and hope you will continue to support Spooky and I as we start this new chapter. We'll see you online at book clubs and other events and you can still support us through buying your books from us."

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

Morehead State University Partnering with B&N

Morehead State University in Morehead, Ky., has chosen Barnes & Noble College to manage all course materials, retail and online operations for its campus bookstore. The bookstore will close on Monday, February 7, and reopen under B&N management a week later, on February 14. The rebranded store will feature an expanded selection of apparel, gifts, school supplies and more, and students and faculty will have access to a variety of online features provided by B&N.

"MSU is pleased to partner with Barnes and Noble to enhance the University Store experience on our campus," said MSU president Dr. Jay Morgan. "We believe that our students, faculty and staff will be pleased."

Harper: Sandwich by Catherine Newman

Barbara Briel First-Ever President of Sourcebooks

Barbara Briel

Barbara Briel has been named president of Sourcebooks, the first person to hold that position. She has been senior v-p and chief operating officer for 10 years and started her career at the publisher as director of administration and finance in 2004.

Sourcebooks founder, publisher and CEO Dominique Raccah said, "Barb has been a leader in building Sourcebooks into a leading and energetically entrepreneurial publisher. Mission-driven, analytical, and entrepreneurial, this promotion to president is our way of recognizing the significant impact Barb has already had on the business and the leadership she will continue to have into this next phase of our company's growth."

Senior v-p and editorial director Todd Stocke added: "Barb is the bridge between operations and our publishing program. She is unique in that she not only seamlessly runs our 'back office'--everything from manufacturing to accounting to customer service to data management--but she also brings a depth of knowledge to our publishing program. Sourcebooks would not be the entrepreneurial success it is today without her leadership."

Obituary Note: Dave Wolverton

Dave Wolverton

Dave Wolverton, a bestselling science fiction and fantasy author, editor, professor and mentor, died January 14. He was 64. Noting that he also wrote fiction as David Farland, the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America reported that Wolverton's first publication, in 1985, was the short story "The Sky Is an Open Highway" in the Leading Edge. He "went on to be known for writing a great many works in science fiction and fantasy, perhaps most notably the Runelords and Ravenspell series." 

Wolverton won the Writers of the Future contest in 1987 with "On My Way to Paradise," later expanded into a novel that received a Philip K. Dick Award honorable mention. He continued working with Writers of the Future throughout his life, editing the annual anthology and serving as coordinating judge of the contest until the present day.

"We're saddened to lose a prolific writer and inspiring teacher in the SFF community," said SFWA president Jeffe Kennedy.

Wolverton approached projects and community with passion, "inspiring a generation of highly impactful writers through his teaching at Brigham Young University and the Apex Writing Group. He worked in books, gaming, television, and movies and wrote six tie-in books for Star Wars including The Courtship of Princess Leia," SFWA noted, adding that he "was known for his kindness and support, sharing and uplifting writers around him and around the world, and he will be missed by many." 

In a tribute to his "writing mentor," author Brandon Sanderson wrote, in part: "Dave was one of those strikingly kind individuals who, in a soft-spoken way, finds out what you need, then gives you that--and much more. So many of us in the local community here wearing coats straight off Dave's back. I'd have assumed he lived his life cold--except for the fact that he had a warmth about him that no chill could extinguish.... 

"To me, this is like losing Robert Jordan or Terry Pratchett, though Dave's work for all of us was a little more quiet, a little more hidden, a little more personal. The world would be a colder place now, save for the fact that Dave's warmth was the kind that spreads in hearts. Regardless, I'll be forever grateful for the coat of his I still wear, taken and given freely by a veteran to a young man facing his first storm. We'll miss you Dave."


Bookselling Renovation Team at Titcomb's Bookshop

"We took this picture yesterday after a long day of work!" Titcomb's Bookshop, East Sandwich, Mass., posted on Facebook Monday. "We had to move over half of our inventory off of the store floor and into storage spaces, offices, and various places in the Titcomb family home attached to the store. Over the past few days, we've hauled out all the bookcases from the downstairs toy department, as well as various displays throughout the store. We have a pretty awesome crew and were smiling and laughing throughout. 

"What are we doing with the renovation? We are re-carpeting the first and second floors. Our carpet is about 30 years old, and it has served us well--but we are very excited about freshening up! We are putting vinyl on the basement floor, which has always been painted concrete. We are replacing all the bookcases of the toy department downstairs with slat wall. This will transform our toy department into a beautiful (and warmer!) space!"

Black Bookstores, Publishers and Distributors Join Campaign to Pardon Marcus Garvey

Marcus Garvey

A group of Black bookstores, publishers and distributors have joined the campaign to petition President Biden for the posthumous pardon of Marcus Garvey, the Jamaican political activist, publisher and speaker who was jailed for wire fraud in the United States from 1925 to 1927.

The campaign, called Justice for Garvey, hopes to reach 100,000 signatures this month. Dr. Julius Garvey, Marcus Garvey's son, is one of the campaign's organizers, and MahoganyBooks and Sankofa in Washington, D.C., along with publisher Just Us Books, are among the bookstores and publishers lending their support. There will be a virtual town hall meeting about the campaign on Sunday, February 6.

Personnel Changes at Likewise; Collective Book Studio

Jodi Rosoff has joined Likewise as director, publishing partnerships. Previously, she was director, marketing & publicity, at Grand Central/Forever.


Annette Hobbs Magier has joined the Collective Book Studio as senior director of marketing and PR. She was formerly v-p of marketing and publicity at Independent Publishers Group.

Bookshop Marriage Proposal: Madison Street Books

"As we head into February love conquers all, even frigid temperatures," Madison Street Books, Chicago, Ill., noted in sharing a photo of a lucky couple whose engagement moment happened at the shop. "She said yes! We had a proposal here at the bookstore this morning! Congratulations to you both, and much love and joy from us at Mad Street."

Media and Movies

This Weekend on Book TV: Rep. Ro Khanna

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, February 5
8 a.m. Bakari Sellers, author of My Vanishing Country: A Memoir (‎Amistad, $26.99, 9780062917454). (Re-airs Saturday 8 p.m.)

9:50 a.m. Jason Steinhauer, author of History, Disrupted: How Social Media and the World Wide Web Have Changed the Past (Palgrave Macmillan, $27.25, 9783030851163). (Re-airs Saturday at 9:50 p.m.)

7 p.m. Richard Norton Smith, author of Extraordinary Circumstances: The Presidency of Gerald R. Ford (University of Texas at Austin, $49.95, 9780976669715). (Re-airs Sunday at 7 a.m.)

Sunday, February 6
8 a.m. Brian Klaas, author of Corruptible: Who Gets Power and How It Changes Us (Scribner, $28, 9781982154097). (Re-airs Sunday at 8 p.m.)

9 a.m. Henry Kissinger and Eric Schmidt, authors of The Age of AI: And Our Human Future (Little, Brown, $30, 9780316273800). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m.)

10 a.m. Rep. Ro Khanna, author of Dignity in a Digital Age: Making Tech Work for All of Us (Simon & Schuster, $28.99, 9781982163341). (Re-airs Sunday at 10 p.m.)

11:15 a.m. Alina Chan and Matt Ridley, author of Viral: The Search for the Origin of COVID-19 (Harper, $29.99, 9780063139121). (Re-airs Sunday at 11 p.m.)

12 p.m. Live In-Depth q&a with Sheryll Cashin, author of White Space, Black Hood: Opportunity Hoarding and Segregation in the Age of Inequality (Beacon Press, $28.95, 9780807000298). (Re-airs Monday at 12 a.m.)

5:25 p.m. Bartow Elmore, author of Seed Money: Monsanto's Past and Our Food Future (Norton, $30, 9781324002048).

6:25 p.m. Tom Roston, author of The Writer's Crusade: Kurt Vonnegut and the Many Lives of Slaughterhouse-Five (Abrams, $26, 9781419744891).

Books & Authors

Awards: Swansea/Dylan Thomas Longlist

The Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize has announced the 2022 longlist, consisting of eight novels, two poetry collections and two short story collections. The prize honors "the best published literary work in the English language, written by an author aged 39 or under" and is aimed at "encouraging raw creative talent worldwide. It celebrates and nurtures international literary excellence." See the full longlist here.

This year, organizers have chosen, they said, "to celebrate voices from around the world that reflect voices from the margins and not just from the mainstream. From Sri Lanka to Trinidad, Texas, and Ireland via the Middle East, this year's longlist features a powerful, international collection of writers who are offering platforms for under-represented voices."

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, February 8:

Abandoned in Death by J.D. Robb (St. Martin's Press, $28.99, 9781250278210) is the 54th mystery with detective Eve Dallas.

City of the Dead: An Alex Delaware Novel by Jonathan Kellerman (Ballantine, $28.99, 9780525618584) features psychologist Alex Delaware and detective Milo Sturgis investigating a grisly double homicide.

Sunny G's Series of Rash Decisions by Navdeep Singh Dhillon (Dial, $17.99, 9780593109977) stars a Sikh teen who resolves to make some impulsive choices.

Out of a Jar by Deborah Marcero (Putnam, $17.99, 9780593326374) is the picture book return of Llewellyn the bunny and his bottled-up feelings.

Sledgehammer: How Breaking with the Past Brought Peace to the Middle East by David Friedman (Broadside Books, $28.99, 9780063098114) is written by Trump's ambassador to Israel.

Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover (Random House, $18.99, 9780399590528).

Homicide and Halo-Halo by Mia P. Manansala (Berkley, $16, 9780593201695).

With Love from London: A Novel by Sarah Jio (Ballantine, $17, 9781101885086).

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 Starless Crown (Moon Fall #1) by James Rollins (Tor, $28.99, 9781250816771). "A captivating page-turner of impressive world-building and layered characters pits religious extremism against science; morally gray heroes against youthful innocence; and a mismatched squad trying to stop the end of their world." --Ashleigh Howland, Wellesley Books, Wellesley, Mass.

Mouth to Mouth: A Novel by Antoine Wilson (Avid Reader Press/Simon & Schuster, $26, 9781982181802). "I loved this suspenseful novel, these mysterious characters. Wilson has created a situation worthy of Hitchcock or Highsmith. Mouth to Mouth asks if we can ever know the truth about those we love, or ourselves." --Adam Possehl, Powell's Books, Portland, Ore.

Paperback: An Indies Introduce Title
High-Risk Homosexual: A Memoir by Edgar Gomez (Soft Skull, $16.95, 9781593767051). "I was shocked at how fast I read this book! It was heartbreaking and inspiring, and it felt brutally honest. One of the best coming out stories I've read. I hope Edgar Gomez keeps writing, because I want to keep reading." --Kerry Mayer, Auntie's Bookstore, Spokane, Wash.

For Ages 4 to 8
I Love You Because I Love You by Muợn Thị Văn, illus. by Jessica Love (Katherine Tegen Books, $17.99, 9780062894595). "This sweet story will make a great baby gift, graduation gift, or everyday read. Perspective from both sides of loving pairs invite children in to the story, different from many books of this type that focus on parent to child love alone." --Hannah Amrollahi, The Bookworm of Omaha, Omaha, Neb.

For Ages 8 to 12
Strangeville School Is Totally Normal by Darcy Miller, illus. by Brett Helquist (Random House, $16.99, 9780593309506). "I loved this book because it's so weird. I really got taken along with all the oddity, until I felt like I may have gone through the supply closet and emerged in a parallel universe." --Clare Doornbos, Mr. Mopps' Books and Toys, Berkeley, Calif.

For Teen Readers
One True Loves by Elise Bryant (Balzer + Bray, $17.99, 9780062982865). "The perfect book to read on vacation, or at home while you dream of vacation. Lenore is honest, relatable, and funny--and that makes her an amazing protagonist. This book is proof that our 'one true love' can find us when we least expect it." --Martha Laramore-Josey, Nicola's Books, Ann Arbor, Mich.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: Disorientation

Disorientation by Elaine Hsieh Chou (Penguin Press, $28 hardcover, 416p., 9780593298350, March 22, 2022)

A Taiwanese American doctoral student uncovers an academic conspiracy of epic proportions against a backdrop of campus unrest in Elaine Hsieh Chou's gleefully dark and incisive first novel, Disorientation.

Ingrid Yang, a student at the "firmly middling institution" Barnes University, wanted to become a professor of modernist literature. She never intended to write her dissertation on Xiao-Wen Chou, the "so-called Chinese Robert Frost" and former Barnes professor, the college's single claim to fame. Her academic adviser Michael Bartholomew, a white professor of East Asian Studies, cajoled her into the topic with the lure of a tenured professorship named after the famous poet. Now 29, with student loan debt rising, and secretly hoping she'll develop ulcers so she can fail her dissertation blamelessly, Ingrid has made almost no progress. She can't find a fresh angle on the widely researched poet.

During another desperate research session, she finds a mysterious, insulting correction on a page of her notes, signed with a fake name. Ingrid becomes obsessed with finding the writer, first hiring a PI and then playing sleuth herself. The truth she uncovers will shake Barnes to its foundation. A second-generation American, Ingrid has actively avoided her Taiwanese heritage since childhood. As the university fractures into protests and counterprotests, she begins to realize she not only can't separate from her roots, she doesn't want to.

Though mainly a traditional third-person narrative, the story occasionally veers into a multiformat approach evocative of Charles Yu's Interior Chinatown, including a dream sequence told through a courtroom transcript in which secondary characters try Ingrid for only dating white men. Chou's examination of the catch-22s faced by Asian Americans, particularly women, straddles the line between satiric and searing. Ingrid's experiences not only lampoon the cynicism and tokenization that often lie beneath the veneer of some diversity work in academia, they also serve to highlight Western stereotypes and the infantilization of Asian women.

The scathing humor particularly shines in the character of Michael, who uses his professorship to stand as gatekeeper for a culture to which he has no claim. He devolves into an increasingly ridiculous caricature as Ingrid chips away at his department's secret. On a more nuanced note, Ingrid must also confront her biased attitudes toward other Asian American women, including her appearance-conscious best friend, Eunice, and their shared nemesis, Vivian, an overachieving social activist. Disorientation is the best combination of entertaining and thought-provoking, and Chou is an exciting new voice in novel-length fiction. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads

Shelf Talker: A struggling Taiwanese American Ph.D. student uncovers a conspiracy at her university in this gleefully incisive satire.

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