Also published on this date: Monday, March 7, 2022: YA Maximum Shelf: Debating Darcy

Shelf Awareness for Monday, March 7, 2022

Hampton Roads Publishing Company: Becoming Baba Yaga: Trickster, Feminist, and Witch of the Woods by Kris Spisak, Foreword by Gennarose Nethercott

Dial Press: Like Mother, Like Mother by Susan Rieger

Severn House: A Messy Murder (Main) (The Decluttering Mysteries #4) by Simon Brett

Forge: My Three Dogs by Bruce W Cameron

Running Press Adult: Scam Goddess: Lessons from a Life of Cons, Grifts, and Schemes by Laci Mosley

Chronicle Books: Taste in Music: Eating on Tour with Indie Musicians by Luke Pyenson and Alex Beeker


Indie Booksellers #StandWithUkraine

The Golden Notebook, Woodstock, N.Y.

As the Russian invasion continues, many independent booksellers worldwide are expressing their support for Ukraine with fundraising initiatives, reading lists, book displays and more. 

Powell's Books, Portland, Ore., donated 20% of all sales from March 4 to CARE's Ukraine Crisis Fund, noting: "Russia's invasion of Ukraine is indefensible. The unprovoked attack has already claimed the lives of hundreds of Ukrainian civilians and displaced hundreds of thousands more. There is an urgent need for humanitarian aid for those who have been forced to leave their homes and for those who have remained in Ukraine fighting for sovereignty." 

Other indies raising funds for Ukraine include:

  • Globe Bookstore and Café, Prague, Czech Republic: "We had a great fundraiser for Ukraine last night and want to thank all of you that came by to support Ukraine during this terrible and difficult time. A special thanks Cyril Malchenko and his band The High Line for playing some great Ukrainian songs for the cause. We raised CZK 40,360 [about $1,770] for Ukraine--that will be transferred today to the official donation page for Ukraine's armed services via the National Bank of Ukraine.... Thank you once again, we plan on doing another one in a few weeks, and will update you on that soon. Slava Ukrainia!"
  • Towne Book Center, Collegeville, Pa.: "We Stand With Ukraine. 20% of the proceeds from the books on this book list will be donated to United Help Ukraine."
  • Mr. B's Emporium of Reading Delights, Bath, England: "And all of our profits today, in store and online, will go straight to @decappeal Ukraine Humanitarian appeal. If you're in Edinburgh the brilliant @PortyBooks are also giving profits to Ukraine today. Slava Ukraini!"
  • McNally Jackson Seaport, New York, N.Y.: Tomorrow, March 8, the bookstore hosts Read for Ukraine: A Literary Dispatch from Kyiv to New York. All proceeds will go to the Direct Relief Ukrainian Fund and Official Health Ministry of Ukraine.
  • The Portobello Bookshop, Edinburgh, Scotland: "We've been feeling a little powerless the last few days watching the tragic events unfold in Ukraine. Tomorrow all of our profits will go to the Disasters Emergency Committee and their partner charities to help people in Ukraine."
  • The Strand bookstore. New York, N.Y.: "We'll be donating 20% of all online sales from February 25-March 6 to the Red Cross to help provide aid to Ukraine."

Mr. B's Emporium of Reading Delights, Bath, England

The Strand has also curated a booklist of "essential reading on Democracy and Freedom under siege." Other booksellers featuring book recommendations include East City Bookshop, Washington D.C., and Madison Street Books, Chicago, Ill., which noted: "We wholeheartedly support Ukraine. Because world politics affects everyone, and with all of the misinformation out there, we encourage you to research the issue and learn about it. As books are a great way to do that (but not the only way!), we made a reading list on our website."

The Little BOHO Bookshop, Bayonne, N.J., offered a "PEACE" print by Peter H. Reynolds, noting that the author and illustrator "created this peace print to help with relief efforts for #Ukrainian refugees. Proceeds from the sale of this 7"x7” print will go to UNICEF USA to support their lifesaving support for children and their families in Ukraine."

Bards Alley Bookshop, Vienna, Va.

Yesterday, Archestratus Books & Foods in New York, N.Y., posted: "We have over 60 talented bakers from the community baking to raise money for #CookforUkraine. We are now CALLING UPON YOU AND YOUR LOVED ONES TO COME BUY UP THESE BAKED GOODS TODAY so we can send as much money as possible to #cookforukraine ASAP. We don't have to tell you how extremely desperate this situation is. Thank you for spreading the word. If you can’t make it today and would still like to make a donation, you can go to @oliahercules linktree where you will find a direct link to the #cookforukraine site. We are FRIGGIN BLESSED to have so many talented contributors. Together we are so much stronger."

Water Street Bookstore, Exeter, N.H.

Book Larder, Seattle, Wash., is supporting #CookforUkraine by ordering "100 copies of my friend @oliahercules wonderful first book Mamushka. All of the purchase price of the book will be donated to UNICEF ($35 per book) in support of their efforts to keep children in Ukraine safe.... In addition, our Culinary Director, @polina.chesnakova is planning a fundraiser cooking class that will happen later this month. Stay tuned for more details. Polina has family in Ukraine, so this cause is especially close to her heart. I do also want to recognize that we stand in solidarity with all people whose families, homes, and cultures are under attack from state-supported violence, both at home and abroad."
Bookseller Sam Klebanov immigrated to the U.S. from Russia when he was six. His family owns Petropol Bookshop in Newton, Mass., which specializes in Russian literature. "We are horrified by what's happening," he told NECN. "We have long been critical of the Putin government, but this is a red line that they've crossed, and it's absolutely devastating." He and his family joined thousands of protesters recently at a rally outside the Massachusetts State House, calling for an end to the conflict, something he said couldn't have been done in Russia without serious risk. "Many people are leaving or facing repression for speaking out against the war."

Will Evans, founder and director of Deep Vellum Bookstore and Publishing, Dallas, Tex., wrote an open letter "about how emotional this horrific war in Ukraine makes me & how proud we are to publish the talented & brave Ukrainian authors @AKurkov & Oleg Sentsov (who's defending on the front lines) in Kyiv & @serhiy_zhadan in Kharkiv."

In the letter, Evans observed, in part: "Despite the horrors happening across Ukraine, reading is still a revolutionary act. Glory to Ukraine, and may the citizens and writers of Ukraine stay safe so that tomorrow we can be together again in a world of understanding and compassion."

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Children's Book Community Supports Ukrainian Refugee Children

Illustration by Sophie Blackall

Jadzia Jędryas, publisher of the Polish children's book publishing house Dwie Siostry (the originating publisher of the Big Picture MAPS series, now an imprint of Candlewick), together with the Polish Reading Promotion Foundation, have begun a campaign to make books available to Ukrainian refugee children sheltering in Poland.

The Polish Reading Foundation--a fund that aims to level the playing field for children via reading (Jędryas's Dwie Siostry is a founding member)--launched the fundraising effort on Friday, February 25. The goal is to buy books from Ukrainian publishers, then transport them to Poland and distribute them to Ukrainian children and their families in Poland. The Foundation has secured both a warehouse and distribution for free; funds raised will go solely to purchase books. The goal is to raise €270,000 (about $292,000)--the cost of a book is roughly €3 ($3.25)--in order to give every refugee child a book.

Jędryas explained that a purchase of books from Ukrainian publishers not only assists children in need but also supports those publishers' ongoing existence at this challenging time. The books will be distributed gratis to each of the already more than 100,000 refugee children sheltering in Poland.

Others are joining in the efforts, including two-time Caldecott Medalist Sophie Blackall, who posted about it on Instagram, with links to donate, as well as many booksellers, librarians, editors and book creators affirming they've already donated. Jędryas has set up a PayPal account for this purpose.

GLOW: Sourcebooks Landmark: A Forty Year Kiss by Nickolas Butler

Lia Ronnen Named Publisher, Editorial Director of Workman Adult Publishing

Lia Ronnen

Lia Ronnen has been named publisher and editorial director of the Workman imprint's adult publishing program, effective May 2. She will continue as publisher and editorial director of Workman's Artisan imprint, a position she has held since 2014.

Workman said that since joining the company in 2011, Ronnen has doubled the size of Artisan's business, conceived and/or acquired more than 100 titles, "created a thriving backlist, and directed all aspects of the imprint's mission to apply its singular visual and editorial lens to subjects ranging from food and design to lifestyle, history, and more." Earlier she spent 10 years at Melcher Media, focusing on cooking, design and pop culture titles; she began her career in publishing at Hyperion Books for Children and then at Abrams.

Senior v-p and Workman Publishing publisher Dan Reynolds commented: "Workman has had only two publishers in its 54-year history--Peter Workman and Suzie Bolotin, who is retiring this spring. Those are big shoes to fill. But after much searching, I realized that the best candidate for the job was literally around the corner from my office. Lia has the Workman DNA of making magic with homegrown ideas and publishing books that the marketplace wants. Combining her skill set with the strengths and opportunities of the Workman imprint and its team puts us on a path of real growth."

Ronnen said, "After my first interview with Peter Workman, I knew that I had found a home that would nurture innovative ways of bookmaking. I'm so grateful to Dan Reynolds for this chance to expand my role in a company I have admired my entire career and to now work alongside the talented Workman editorial team that Suzie Bolotin has led so beautifully."

Amazon Books: 'America's Worst Bookstore Chain Is No More'

Among the many stories and commentaries about last weeks news that Amazon will close its 24 Amazon Books books and electronics stores, were these:

Bradley Graham, co-owner of Politics and Prose, Washington, D.C., and a former reporter and editor at the Washington Post, wrote an opinion piece in the Post, owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, called "I'm a Bookseller. Here's the Difference Between Jeff Bezos and Me."

He said, in part, "In style and concept, Amazon's stores differed markedly from the independent bookstores that dot the D.C. landscape. They conveyed the parent company's homogenized corporate identity rather than the distinctive character of their communities. They lacked the quirky personality and warmth of indies. And their book offerings were based not on the choices of individual buyers familiar with the interests of local customers but on data generated from Amazon's online shoppers. Walk into an Amazon bookstore and you'd see what everyone else was reading, not a thoughtfully curated selection of books worth discovering....

"Amazon's retreat from the physical bookstore business underscores what those of us in it know all too well: It isn't easy. It requires superb customer service, dedicated staff who provide knowledgeable advice about what to read, an inviting environment in which to browse and shop, and literary activities that connect patrons directly to authors through book talks and other programming. Most of all, it demands a deep commitment to the local communities that sustain us."

In its story about the closings, the Phoenix New Times quoted Cindy Dach, co-owner of Changing Hands, Tempe and Phoenix, Ariz.: "Indie bookstores thrive because they learn from the communities that they are within. It is difficult when an online retailer tries to embed itself into a community using online algorithms....

"Their model never looked sustainable. Customers love their online customer service, but that didn't translate into a physical space."

Andy Hunter, founder and CEO of, said, "When Amazon started opening their version of a bookstore, often within blocks of beloved local bookstores, everyone was concerned. But visitors found nothing to fall in love with. The stores, as reported in the New Republic, seemed both 'bizarre' and 'wildly banal,' betraying 'inexperience with retail.' They were built to attempt to mirror an online shopping experience, neglecting the very things that make independent bookstores so valuable--personality, an honest love for books, and heart. It's gratifying to see Amazon give up on their algorithm-curated bookstores. We'll never give up on the human-curated ones."

And in the New Republic (quoted by Hunter), Alex Shepard wrote in part:

"America's worst bookstore chain is no more....

"Amazon Books was always awkwardly situated between the company's pitiless approach to commerce--its all-consuming need to be a 'disruptor' in everything that it does--and the necessities of old-fashioned retailing, particularly bookstores. It was also simultaneously a P.R. stunt--an attempt to put a human face on the grim smiley face that adorns the company's boxes--and a weird experiment, an attempt to use physical retail stores to mine data about how customers shop in person...

"Amazon Books was run by a company that had striven literally to transform the publishing industry to its will. Its ruthlessness was legendary. It squeezed publishers for vast discounts, sold books at a loss to drive out competitors, and treated the publishing industry writ large as a relic worth devouring. Bezos himself once instructed his staff to pursue publishers the way a hungry cheetah pursues a gazelle: 'The cheetah looks for the weak, looks for the sick, looks for the small.' Yes, Jeff loves books, for what sounds suspiciously like dinner....

"If you were interested in anything less than mega-bestselling titles, you were given precious few options. This was a bizarre turn for a company that prided itself on being the 'Everything Store,' and it never quite worked. For all its commercial innovations, Amazon has never quite figured out how to simply recommend books to customers, something that normal bookstores do quite well. Instead, it has achieved its remarkable growth via old-fashioned methods, mainly selling things at much lower prices than its competitors...

"Amazon has never had any particular affection or interest in books or bookselling. Books have only ever been Amazon's foothold for a larger ambition: dominating every face of American retail. In the case of Amazon Books, this led to a failure on many fronts. It was a store that didn't succeed in large part because of how closely it was tied to the company's imperial ambitions. Its failure won't matter much in the long run, but it is certainly briefly satisfying--particularly for independent bookstores within driving distance of these failed experiments."

B&N Opening Store in Woodbridge, Va.

Barnes & Noble is opening a bookstore at Stonebridge at Potomac Town Place, in Woodbridge, Va., today, Monday, March 7. B&N described the location as "a prominent position in the outdoor shopping center, near Wegmans."

The store will officially open this morning with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and signing by local author TJ Klune, author of Under the Whispering Door--B&N's Speculative Fiction Book of 2021--and historical fiction author Margaret Rodenberg, author of Finding Napoleon.

B&N CEO James Daunt noted that this is B&N's first store in Woodbridge, about 20 miles southwest of Washington, D.C., adding, "It is especially fitting that one of our first new stores of 2022 is in a brand-new market for Barnes & Noble. As we evaluated where to open new stores, Woodbridge truly stood out, and we are excited to start this new chapter of bookselling."

B&N said the store, whose manager is Cristina Knighton, has "a fantastic children's section, a robust selection of history titles and a large book room full of mystery & thriller books. Young Adult titles and manga, all of which continue to grow in popularity, have a large footprint in the store, too. New fiction and nonfiction hardcovers, the core strengths of Barnes & Noble, will also be front-and-center."

Obituary Note: Shirley Hughes

Shirley Hughes, an award-winning British author of more than 50 children's books, and illustrator of some 200 more, with worldwide sales of more than 11 million, died February 25, the Guardian reported. "She had an exceptional talent for drawing children. Through her warm-hearted observation, particularly of pre-school children, she created a distinctive and affectionate visual image of childhood that has been instantly recognizable for more than 60 years.

In 1977, she published Dogger, one of her best-loved books and the first to bring her a mass readership. It won her first CILIP Kate Greenaway medal, and 30 years later Dogger was voted the "Greenaway of Greenaways" in a poll of the country's favorite picture books.

Hughes's ability to draw children was spotted by a children's books editor while she was still a student at the Ruskin School of Drawing, Oxford. For a time, she primarily illustrated other people's stories, but moved on to writing and illustrating her own works, beginning with Lucy and Tom's Day (1960) and including Alfie Gets in First (1981), the first of her Alfie series; Up and Up (1979); Chips and Jessie (1985); The Lion and the Unicorn (2000), Hero on a Bicycle (2012) and Whistling in the Dark (2016). In 2012, she published Dixie O'Day: In the Fast Lane!, the first in an illustrated series created with her daughter, Clara Vulliamy. Her last book, Dogger's Christmas, was published in 2020.

Her many honors include the Children's Rights Workshop Other award for Helpers (1975) and a second Kate Greenaway medal, for Ella's Big Chance (2003). She received the Eleanor Farjeon award for services to children's literature in 1984, and was the first winner of the BookTrust lifetime achievement award, in 2015. She was appointed OBE in 1999 and CBE in 2017.

Karen Lotz, president and publisher of Candlewick Press and Walker Books Group managing director, told the Bookseller: "Shirley has been a part of the Walker Books family since almost the very beginning.... She had an instinctive sense of what would appeal to young children, and highlighted the drama and excitement of their everyday lives in her warmhearted stories.... Shirley understood children's capacity to pore over and absorb the details in pictures, and she always gave them the very best. Her draughtsmanship was second to none.... Shirley was one of the most loved and admired writers and illustrators of all time, and she will be sorely missed by us all."

Francesca Dow, managing director of PRH Children's, said Hughes "was an exceptional and wonderfully unshowy picture-book creator: she created vivid unforgettable photos dramas out of the small and quotidian details of domestic life.... Shirley had a story for all these seminal moments in a child's life and her stories are timeless."

Andrea MacDonald, editorial director and Hughes's long-time editor, added: "Shirley's work was just like her: full of warmth and joy. Her eye and her drawing hand were so sharp: full of compassion but never sentimental; always interested in those pivotal dramas which happen in pre-schoolers' lives.... Shirley was an incredible artist, an innovator, an advocate, and also a wonderful and kind person."


'Put a Finger Down Challenge,' Bookseller Edition

"Being a Bookseller isn't always super serious--we love to have fun! We also have some interesting quirks!" Loganberry Books, Shaker Heights, Ohio, noted for an Instagram video in which "booksellers Rachel and Toni tell us about their Bookseller habits; do you do any of these things?" The list:

  • You buy more books than you could possibly read
  • You sniff books when no one is watching
  • Your to be read list grows every time you walk into the store
  • You break spines
  • You can identify books by a vague description
  • You listen to audiobooks
  • You write in your books
  • You carry a book with you everywhere you go
  • You read multiple books at a time
  • You love being a Bookseller

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Dolly Parton and James Patterson on Good Morning America

Good Morning America: Dolly Parton and James Patterson, authors of Run, Rose, Run (Little, Brown, $30, 9780759554344).

Also on Good Morning America: Brad Meltzer, author of The Lightning Rod: A Zig and Nola Novel (Morrow, $28.99, 9780062892409). He will also appear tomorrow on Fox & Friends and Late Night with Seth Meyers.

Today Show: William P. Barr, author of One Damn Thing After Another: Memoirs of an Attorney General (Morrow, $35, 9780063158603).

Rachael Ray Show: Roshini Raj, author of Gut Renovation: Unlock the Age-Defying Power of the Microbiome to Remodel Your Health from the Inside Out (Morrow, $27.99, 9780063144200).

Good Morning America: Alicia Keys, co-author of Girl on Fire (HarperAlley, $19.99, 9780063029569). She will also be on the Tonight Show.

The Good Dish: Missy Robbins, author of Pasta: The Spirit and Craft of Italy's Greatest Food, with Recipes (Ten Speed Press, $35, 9781984857002)

Rachael Ray Show: Sandor Katz, author of Sandor Katz's Fermentation Journeys (Chelsea Green, $35, 9781645020349).

Watch What Happens Live: Danny Pellegrino, author of How Do I Un-Remember This?: Unfortunately True Stories (Sourcebooks, $25.99, 9781728247984).

Movies: Fire Island

Hulu shared a first look at the upcoming Fox Searchlight film Fire Island, "inspired by another (albeit, much longer) miniseries, the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice," which screenwriter Joel Kim Booster "would watch with his mother 'at least once a year,' " IndieWire reported. Fire Island premieres on Hulu on June 3.

Directed by Andrew Ahn (Spa Night), the "gay-centric rom-com centers on a group of friends who embark on a week-long vacation filled with hook-ups, debauchery and friendship make-or-break moments," IndieWire wrote. The cast also includes Booster, Bowen Yang, Zane Phillips, James Scully, Matt Rogers, Tomas Matos, Torian Miller and Margaret Cho. 

"I can't even tell you how many times I've watched Clueless, from a time before I even understood most of the jokes," Booster said. "Jane Austen's observations about the way people are awful to each other without being awful to each other--I was like, 'Oh, my God. This is shade. This is what gay men do all the time.' "

Yang (Saturday Night Live) added, "A Jane Austen narrative meeting an Asian-American narrative meeting a queer narrative: Those three helices come together in a way that's greater than the sum of their parts. And to say that something is greater than a Jane Austen narrative is insane, unhinged of me, to do. But I said it." 

Books & Authors

Awards: Audie Winners

At a virtual gala event on Friday, the Audio Publishers Association celebrated the winners of the 2022 Audie Awards. The audiobook of the year was Project Hail Mary, written by Andy Weir, narrated by Ray Porter (Audible Studios), which also won in the science fiction category. The YA book of the year was Be Dazzled, written by Ryan La Sala, narrated by Pete Cross (Dreamscape Media). See the winners in all 25 categories here.

Book Review

Review: At the Edge of the Woods

At the Edge of the Woods by Masatsugu Ono, trans. by Juliet Winters Carpenter (Two Lines Press, $16.95 paperback, 184p., 9781949641288, April 12, 2022)

At the Edge of the Woods is a haunting fable about the disturbing strangeness of modern life. Masatsugu Ono (Echo on the Bay) avoids names and specifics, which adds to the novel's amorphous unpredictability. The novel, translated from Japanese by Juliet Winters Carpenter, follows a family of three: a father and son in their house at the edge of the woods, the mother embarking on a trip to give birth to her second child. They are each plagued by incomprehensible circumstances and a vague, ever-present sense of looming destruction.

Ono freely mixes fantastical elements into the story. The titular woods are reminiscent of dark fairy tales, supposedly containing imps and a "castle" that once served as the headquarters for an unspecified Resistance. The woods are made unnervingly animate at every turn, as when Ono writes: "the trees on either side, dense with foliage, gave the impression they were falling toward us, one after another. It was the same everywhere, and just the sight of the trees made me queasy." Or when the father complains of an insistent coughing coming from the woods. The grim, almost vengeful atmosphere generated by the woods, combined with the sight of floods and refugees on television, suggests that the novel might operate as an allegory for climate change or other ecological crises. At the Edge of the Woods is too mysterious to be fully pinned down, however.

The novel takes on an episodic feel, created by various characters who wander in and out of the narrative, such as a partially naked old woman whom the boy returns home with, claiming that she is his grandmother. Like many of the characters, the old woman carries dark memories of a time of war and occupation, which she shares before disappearing without warning. The novel also has an odd sense of humor, often presenting an acerbic angle on everyday life. In one passage, Ono compares a shopping center to a castle: "To go shopping at a place so high up, you really had to have a car. What were people who couldn't drive supposed to do? Vassals unable to drive need not apply, eh?" The book's most lasting impression might be the anxious mood that pervades the novel, the sense of the world--including other people--as irrational, unknowable and threatening. Some readers might think At the Edge of the Woods has perfectly captured the mood of the times. --Hank Stephenson, the Sun magazine, manuscript reader 

Shelf Talker: In an eerie, fable-like novel, a family lives beside a forest filled with mysteries and an indefinable, threatening aura.

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