Shelf Awareness for Thursday, March 24, 2022

Little Brown and Company: This Bird Has Flown by Susanna Hoffs

St. Martin's Press: Hello Stranger by Katherine Center

Dundurn Press: Chasing the Black Eagle by Bruce Geddes

W by Wattpad Books: Hazel Fine Sings Along by Katie Wicks

St. Martin's Press: The Girls of Summer by Katie Bishop

Soho Crime: The Rope Artist by Fuminori Nakamura, transl. by Sam Bett

Flatiron Books: Once Upon a Prime: The Wondrous Connections Between Mathematics and Literature by Sarah Hart

Grand Central Publishing: Goodbye Earl: A Revenge Novel by Leesa Cross-Smith

Editors' Note

About Free Speech and the First Amendment

With the designation "The Free Speech/First Amendment Debate," Shelf Awareness is continuing our coverage of the ongoing debate about the American Booksellers Association's change in approach toward free speech and the First Amendment. We are committed to reporting on all sides of the issue, and we welcome contributions to the debate. Please send them here.

Parallax Press: Radical Love: From Separation to Connection with the Earth, Each Other, and Ourselves by Satish Kumar


Ownership Change Coming to Cherry Street Books, Alexandria, Minn.

On May 1, Emily Regnier is buying Cherry Street Books in Alexandria, Minn., from founder Kathleen Pohlig, the Alexandria Echo Press reported.

Pohlig, who opened the store in June 2007 and recently turned 74, said her last day will be April 30, Independent Bookstore Day. She will then officially hand the store over to Regnier and retire. Pohlig told the Echo Press that she plans to stop by the store frequently and is looking forward to spending more time with her family and catching up on vacations that were postponed earlier in the pandemic.

Regnier and her husband are the owners of another business in Alexandria called Ella's Salon. Regnier noted that she had hinted to Pohlig last summer that she would be interested in buying the bookstore, but assumed that would happen much later.

"I am very honored that Kathleen chose me to take over the store. When she asked me late this fall, I was a bit shocked as I thought she had at least five more years until she would retire," Regnier said. "My husband, Paul, knew this was something I was passionate about, so as soon as he said yes, it was a done deal."

Regnier has been spending time in the store, learning the ropes from the current staff, and while she has some minor aesthetic and inventory changes in mind, the name will remain the same. "I have big shoes to fill. Kathleen has done a wonderful job making Cherry Street what it is today. I hope I can make her proud, and I am honored to work alongside her during this purchase."

Pohlig added: "Cherry Street will benefit from a new owner who is younger and who has more energy and new ideas. I am very excited that Emily will be taking over the store as I retire. She has been a friend and bookstore customer for years and is thrilled to begin this new adventure. I know she will bring creativity and energy to the business that will only make it better."

William Morrow & Company: The God of Good Looks by Breanne Mc Ivor

Leopold's Books Bar Caffe, Madison, Wis., Hosts Ukrainian Dinner Nights

Leopold's Books Bar Caffe in Madison, Wis., has started selling traditional Ukrainian meals on Tuesday evenings, with net proceeds from the dinner sales going to the World Central Kitchen, an organization working to feed Ukrainian refugees in western Ukraine and Poland. 

NBC15 reported that store owner Samuel Brown and his team held the first Ukrainian Food Night on March 15 and another on March 22. Meals were served from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and the menu included holubsti, a cabbage roll stuffed with meat and rice in tomato sauce, as well as beet salad and matzo ball soup. While all the meals were pre-packaged for take-out, customers could also eat them in-store.

"We were just looking for another way to give back and another way that we could get people through the door," Brown said. "I know a lot of people want to come up with some way to contribute as they're watching the terrible news come out of Ukraine."

At the same time, Leopold's is also donating net proceeds from sales of books either about Ukraine or by Ukrainian authors to the World Central Kitchen. Brown added that it's been encouraging and touching to see how many people have purchased those books, and he feels a responsibility as a bookseller to do what he can to support Ukrainians and to champion free speech.

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University of Nebraska at Kearney Ends B&N College Partnership

The University of Nebraska at Kearney is ending its partnership with Barnes & Noble College and launching a new online bookstore this summer. The Kearney Hub reported that starting with the fall 2022 term, all textbooks and course materials will be available online through a partnership with Akademos, a provider of online and hybrid bookstore services for colleges and universities. 

"As an institution focused on student support and success, we're always looking for ways to improve affordability and access to higher education," said Michael Christen, director of business services at UNK. "Akademos shares the same goals. We believe this partnership will meet our students' needs today and well into the future."

UNK began exploring options related to bookstore operations in spring 2021 and a request for proposals was issued in December. A committee with faculty, staff and student representation reviewed seven bids before selecting Akademos for the contract.

Although the Antelope Bookstore will no longer sell textbooks directly to students, it will remain open inside the Nebraskan Student Union and have on-campus management to assist students and faculty with their textbook needs and answer questions related to the new partnership with Akademos. UNK apparel, classroom supplies and other merchandise will also be available there.

The Free Speech/First Amendment Debate: The Times and John Waters Weigh In

In the last week, two pieces in the New York Times have explored or touched on the issue of free speech.

Last Friday, a Times editorial entitled "America Has a Free Speech Problem," began, "For all the tolerance and enlightenment that modern society claims, Americans are losing hold of a fundamental right as citizens of a free country: the right to speak their minds and voice their opinions in public without fear of being shamed or shunned."

Calling this dangerous for "a strong and open society," the newspaper wrote: "in large part, it's because the political left and the right are caught in a destructive loop of condemnation and recrimination around cancel culture. Many on the left refuse to acknowledge that cancel culture exists at all, believing that those who complain about it are offering cover for bigots to peddle hate speech. Many on the right, for all their braying about cancel culture, have embraced an even more extreme version of censoriousness as a bulwark against a rapidly changing society, with laws that would ban books, stifle teachers and discourage open discussion in classrooms."

The Times cited its own polling, done with Siena College, and polling by other organizations, including the Pew Research Center and the Knight Foundation, showing that Americans are concerned about a lack of free speech, with 84% in the Times poll saying "it is a 'very serious' or 'somewhat serious' problem that some Americans do not speak freely in everyday situations because of fear of retaliation or harsh criticism."

Before going into the polls' results in detail, the Times wrote: "Freedom of speech is the bedrock of democratic self-government. If people feel free to express their views in their communities, the democratic process can respond to and resolve competing ideas. Ideas that go unchallenged by opposing views risk becoming weak and brittle rather than being strengthened by tough scrutiny. When speech is stifled or when dissenters are shut out of public discourse, a society also loses its ability to resolve conflict, and it faces the risk of political violence."

And Suzanne Nossel, CEO of PEN America, commented: "There's a crisis around the freedom of speech now because many people don't understand it, they weren't taught what it means and why it matters. Safeguards for free speech have been essential to almost all social progress in the country, from the civil rights movement to women's suffrage to the current fights over racial justice and the police."

In some of the most interesting Times polling results, 55% of the respondents said they had "held their tongue over the past year because they were concerned about retaliation or harsh criticism." Those most likely to report this were women, older people, and Republicans.

"At the same time, 22% of adults reported that they had retaliated against or were harshly critical of someone over something he or she said. Adults 18 to 34 years old were far more likely to have done so than older Americans; liberals were more likely to have done so than moderates or conservatives."

The poll highlighted tension between free speech and hate speech. While 66% of respondents affirmed the importance of free speech for a healthy democracy, "30% agreed that 'while I support free speech, sometimes you have shut down speech that is antidemocratic, bigoted or simply untrue.' Those who identified themselves as Democrats and liberals showed a higher level of support for sometimes shutting down such speech."

The Times wrote at length about right-wing attacks on free speech, especially in schools and libraries, but added this about the left: "The progressive movement in America has been a force for good in many ways: for social and racial justice, for pay equity, for a fairer system and society and for calling out hate and hate speech. In the course of their fight for tolerance, many progressives have become intolerant of those who disagree with them or express other opinions and taken on a kind of self-righteousness and censoriousness that the right long displayed and the left long abhorred. It has made people uncertain about the contours of speech: Many know they shouldn't utter racist things, but they don't understand what they can say about race or can say to a person of a different race from theirs. Attacking people in the workplace, on campus, on social media and elsewhere who express unpopular views from a place of good faith is the practice of a closed society."


John Waters

And in a long q&a in the New York Times Magazine, John Waters--the director and nonfiction author whose first novel, Liarmouth: A Feel-Bad Romance, will be published by FSG on May 3--was asked what "in the culture today gives you pause in the way that your work might give other people pause?" His answer:

"The new censorship. I think I should be allowed to yell 'fire' in a crowded theater. I believe in the extremes of free speech. There is horrible pornography; we have to put up with it. The most right-wing--I don't get why they aren't allowed to come to colleges. Where does it stop? People don't like what I say? So what. I'm allowed to say it and I live in the greatest country. I'm a down-low patriotic person. In my old spoken-word show I did an entire thing of what it would be like to have sex with Trump that was rude and graphic, and I didn't get the firing squad. In some countries I would have."

G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!
The Wisdom of Morrie:
Living and Aging Creatively and Joyfully
by Morrie Schwartz, edited by Rob Schwartz
GLOW: Blackstone Publishing: The Wisdom of Morrie: Living and Aging Creatively and Joyfully by Morrie Schwartz, edited by Rob Schwartz

Twenty-five years ago, Mitch Albom immortalized his former college professor in Tuesdays with Morrie, the blockbuster memoir that shared Morrie Schwartz's profound insights about life as he was dying of ALS. In The Wisdom of Morrie, Rob Schwartz, Morrie's son, resurrects his father's voice, sharing Morrie's philosophical wisdom and humor about the aging process--what can be an emboldening period filled with meaning and purpose. "This book is invaluable to anyone interested in improving their quality of life," says Rick Bleiweiss, head of new business development at Blackstone Publishing. "Readers who enjoy[ed] The Last Lecture and When Breath Becomes Air will expand their awareness and find new ideas and insights into living more fully." Schwartz's musings are timeless, and inspirational for readers of all ages. --Kathleen Gerard

(Blackstone Publishing, $25.99 hardcover, 9798200813452,
April 18, 2023)


Shelf vetted, publisher supported


Personnel Changes at Sourcebooks; Random House

Shara Zaval has joined Sourcebooks as associate director of marketing & publicity, children's books. She was previously senior marketing manager at Scholastic.


Maya Fenter is joining Random House as a social media associate, leading content strategy for One World and Del Rey's accounts.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: John Cho on the Drew Barrymore Show

Drew Barrymore Show: John Cho, author of Troublemaker (Little, Brown, $16.99, 9780759554474).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert repeat: Bob Odenkirk, author of Comedy Comedy Comedy Drama: A Memoir (Random House, $28, 9780399180514).

This Weekend on Book TV: Marie Yovanovitch

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, March 26
8:55 a.m. Beau Breslin, author of A Constitution for the Living: Imagining How Five Generations of Americans Would Rewrite the Nation's Fundamental Law (Stanford University Press, $28, ‎ 9780804776707). (Re-airs Saturday at 8:55 p.m.)

10 a.m. Craig Shirley, author of April 1945: The Hinge of History (Thomas Nelson, $28.99, 9781400217083). (Re-airs Saturday at 10 p.m.)

2:45 p.m. Dave Tell, author of Remembering Emmett Till (University of Chicago Press, $19, 9780226559674). (Re-airs Sunday at 2:45 a.m.)

5:30 p.m. Kari Winter, editor of The Blind African Slave: Memoirs of Boyrereau Brinch, Nicknamed Jeffrey Brace (University of Wisconsin Press, $19.95, 9780299201449). (Re-airs Sunday at 5:30 a.m.)

Sunday, March 27
8 a.m. Jacob Mchangama, author of Free Speech: A History from Socrates to Social Media (Basic Books, $32, ‎ 9781541600492). (Re-airs Sunday at 8 p.m.)

9:30 a.m. Tom Nichols, author of Our Own Worst Enemy: The Assault from within on Modern Democracy (Oxford University Press, $24.95, 9780197518878). (Re-airs Sunday at 9:30 p.m.)

10 a.m. Marie Yovanovitch, author of Lessons from the Edge: A Memoir (Mariner Books, $30, 9780358457541). (Re-airs Sunday at 10 p.m.)

2:45 p.m. Three Ukrainian writers and former U.S. ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul discuss Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

5 p.m. Moisés Naím, author of The Revenge of Power: How Autocrats Are Reinventing Politics for the 21st Century (St. Martin's Press, $29.99, 9781250279200).

6 p.m. Amy Webb and Andrew Hessel, authors of The Genesis Machine: Our Quest to Rewrite Life in the Age of Synthetic Biology (PublicAffairs, $29, 9781541797918).

7 p.m. Jimmy Soni, author of The Founders: The Story of Paypal and the Entrepreneurs Who Shaped Silicon Valley (‎Simon & Schuster, $30, 9781501197260).

Books & Authors

Awards: Rathbones Folio, Lukas Winners

Colm Tóibín won the £30,000 (about $39,110) Rathbones Folio Prize, which honors "works of literature in which the subjects being explored achieve their most perfect and thrilling expression," for his novel The Magician

The judges commented: "Choosing one winner from the eight titles shortlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize found us pulled in so many different directions by these extraordinary books, which we lived with and loved and read and read again. We sat around a table for several hours picking out lines and passages, taking in the very different worlds of each book and arguing passionately for every one of them. And then gradually it became clear--and was a surprise to all of us--that we'd each arrived at the same decision. Colm Tóibín's The Magician is such a capacious, generous, ambitious novel, taking in a great sweep of 20th century history, yet rooted in the intimate detail of one man's private life."

After reading 80 books for this prize, judge Rachel Long said that The Magician made her "fall in love with reading all over again."


Winners and finalists for the 2022 J. Anthony Lukas Prize Project Awards, which honor the best in American nonfiction writing and are sponsored by the Columbia Journalism School and the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard, are:

The J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Awards:
Winner: We Were Once a Family: The Hart Murder-Suicide and the System Failing Our Kids by Roxanna Asgarian (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
Winner: The Life: Sex, Work, and Love in America by May Jeong (Atria)

The J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize:
Winner: Invisible Child: Poverty, Survival & Hope in an American City by Andrea Elliott (Random House)
Finalist: Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty by Patrick Radden Keefe (Doubleday)

The Mark Lynton History Prize:
Winner: Surviving Katyń: Stalin's Polish Massacre and the Search for Truth by Jane Rogoyska (Oneworld/Simon & Schuster)
Finalist: The Invention of Miracles: Language, Power, and Alexander Graham Bell's Quest to End Deafness by Katie Booth (Simon & Schuster)

The virtual awards ceremony will take place on May 3 at the Columbia Journalism School in New York City.

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, March 29:

The Secrets We Share by Edwin Hill (Kensington, $26, 9781496735416) is a thriller about two sisters whose father was murdered decades ago.

The Wedding Veil by Kristy Woodson Harvey (Gallery Books, $27, 9781982180713) follows four women connected by a wedding veil across generations.

Who by Fire: Leonard Cohen in the Sinai by Matti Friedman (Spiegel & Grau, $27, 9781954118072) chronicles Leonard Cohen's concert tour during the Yom Kippur War.

Korean American: Food That Tastes Like Home by Eric Kim (Clarkson Potter, $32.50, 9780593233498) is a cookbook by a Korean American chef.

Pillow Talk: What's Wrong with My Sewing? by Craig Conover (Gallery Books, $28.99, 9781982187484) is the memoir of a cast member on Bravo's Southern Charm.

Sammy Hagar's Cocktail Hits: 85 Personal Favorites from the Red Rocker by Sammy Hagar and James O. Fraioli (Skyhorse, $29.99, 9781510769298) gives drink recipes from the frontman of Van Halen.

This Is a School by John Schu, illustrated by Veronica Miller Jamison (Candlewick, $17.99, 9781536204582) is a picture book tribute to schools and the communities they foster.

A Magic Steeped in Poison by Judy I. Lin (Feiwel & Friends, $18.99, 9781250767080) is a debut YA novel about a deadly, magical tea-making competition.

Robert B. Parker's Payback by Mike Lupica (Putnam, $9.99, 9780593087879).

Blind Tiger by Sandra Brown (Grand Central, $17.99, 9781538751978).

Glory in Death by J.D. Robb (Berkley, $12, 9780593545645).

Good Company: A Novel by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney (Ecco, $16.99, 9780062876010).

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:

Seeking Fortune Elsewhere: Stories by Sindya Bhanoo (Catapult, $26, 9781646220878). "In eight remarkable stories, Sindya Bhanoo explores the lives of disconnected families. She writes of bonds that are bent, bruised, and shattered, and uses memory to illuminate. With pain, grief, and love, the memories become our own." --Tony Peltier, Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, N.C.

Never Simple: A Memoir by Liz Scheier (Holt, $26.99, 9781250823137). "Liz Scheier does for memoir what her mother Judith did for dysfunction: excels. As young Liz struggles with her mother's aggressive behavior, she sees that things are not as they should be, and life's never simple. A beautiful tragedy." --Kayleen Rohrer, InkLink Books, East Troy, Wis.

The Verifiers: A Novel by Jane Pek (Vintage, $17, 9780593313794). "Set in the age of internet dating, Claudia Lin investigates the murder of one of her firm's clients. Jane Pek weaves issues of technology, privacy, cultural identity, and a warm family story. Let's hope this is the start of a new series!" --Jane Stiles, Wellesley Books, Wellesley, Mass.

For Ages 4 to 8
Fall Down Seven Times, Stand Up Eight: Patsy Takemoto Mink and the Fight for Title IX
by Jen Bryant, illus. by Toshiki Nakamura (Quill Tree Books, $17.99, 9780062957221). "Wow! What a tremendous telling of a critical American story. Patsy Takemoto Mink's story resonates on such a deep and interconnected level. Told through beautiful prose and illustrations, this is an essential read." --Lauren Kean, Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, N.C.

For Ages 10+: An Indies Introduce Title
The Way I Say It by Nancy Tandon (Charlesbridge, $16.99, 9781623541330). "This incredible debut centers on a character whose speech impediment makes it difficult to pronounce his own name. Drawing on the author's profession, this moving exploration of what it means to hear your name in the world is a must read!" --Meghan Hayden, River Bend Bookshop, Glastonbury, Conn.

For Teen Readers
And They Lived... by Steven Salvatore (Bloomsbury YA, $17.99, 9781547608195). "Salvatore captures those intense feelings from the first semester at college, especially for queer young adults. There's a sense that you can create the life you've dreamed of and find belonging. I loved relating to Chase's journey!" --Sara Wigglesworth, Green Apple Books & Music, San Francisco, Calif.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: Homesickness: Stories

Homesickness by Colin Barrett (Grove Press, $27 hardcover, 224p., 9780802159649, May 3, 2022)

If there is any concern about the health of the short story in the next generation of Irish writers, Colin Barrett's Homesickness: Stories, his second collection, should help put that to rest. Like novelist Sally Rooney, Barrett (Young Skins) is well-attuned to the attitudes and preoccupations of mostly younger Irish men and women, though his subjects are markedly dissimilar to the highly educated, intensely verbal characters in Rooney's work. In these eight stories, three of which have appeared in the New Yorker, Barrett offers glimpses of an assortment of characters for whom it seems life's richest rewards will always remain just out of reach.

All of the stories save one in Homesickness are set in Barrett's birthplace--County Mayo, on Ireland's west coast--a region one character describes as "very presentable from a distance. It's only up close it lets you down." The book begins there with a literal bang in "A Shooting in Rathreedane," as Sergeant Jackie Noonan is dispatched to the scene after a petty criminal has been gravely wounded by a local farmer who claims he acted in self-defense; Noonan must try to save the trespasser's life.

That young miscreant is representative of the stunted lives that reappear in several stories, like the orphaned Munnelly siblings in "The Ways," the eldest of whom--25-year-old Nick--unexpectedly finds himself in the role of family patriarch. Bobby Tallis, the suicide-obsessed pornography artist in "Anhedonia, Here I Come," who "wanted to be a poet but suffered from a day job," is another representative of this type; while Murt, who "had managed to once again step back from the ledge of himself," returns home after another psychiatric hospitalization to a family simultaneously loving and weary of his problems in "Whoever Is There, Come On Through."

"The Alps," one of the collection's strongest entries, is noteworthy for the way Barrett subtly toys with readers' expectations. In it, a rough-hewn trio of brothers--"shortish men with massive arses and brutally capable forearms"--whose nickname provides the story's title, arrive at a local pub for an evening of drinking. From the beginning, the threat of violence looms, but when it appears, it does so in a completely unexpected, and even moving, fashion.

"The 10," Homesickness's final story, focuses on Danny Faulkner, an 18-year-old local soccer star who flirts with the game's elite when he's invited to attend Manchester United's academy. Once there, his play inexplicably regresses, and he finds himself back in his hometown, working in his father's Nissan dealership and trying to resist the locals' urging to join the hometown team. His girlfriend, Shauna Vaughan, is preparing to leave to attend university in Dublin; their relationship balances on a knife's edge. Characters like these may be humble, but there's nothing unimpressive about their portrayal in these thoughtful, well-wrought tales. --Harvey Freedenberg, freelance reviewer

Shelf Talker: Colin Barrett's second short story collection of eight thoughtful, well-wrought tales illuminates the lives of ordinary Irish men and women along the country's west coast.

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