Shelf Awareness for Monday, May 9, 2022

Quirk Books: How to Win the War on Truth: An Illustrated Guide to How Mistruths Are Sold, Why They Stick, and How to Reclaim Reality by Samuel C. Spitale

Oxford University Press, USA: The World According to Proust by Joshua Landy

Chronicle Chroma: Bob Willoughby: A Cinematic Life by Bob Willoughby

Charlesbridge Publishing: Forever Cousins by Laurel Goodluck, illustrated by Jonathan Nelson

Tor Teen: The Luminaries by Susan Dennard

Graphix: The Tryout: A Graphic Novel by Christina Soontornvat, illustrated by Joanna Cacao

Yen on: Dark Souls: Masque of Vindication by Michael Stackpole


Shelf Awareness Launches Shelf for Readers 2.0 to Bookstore Partners

Those of you who subscribe to Shelf Awareness for Readers through an indie bookstore noticed a new look in Friday's issue: the e-mail that lands in your inbox gives a lively taste of the complete issue, which is on a custom landing page that readers can click through to and explore at their leisure, focusing on what's of most interest to them. All the features our readers love are still there--reviews of the best books out this week, Book Candy, Writer's Life and Great Reads--and now there are some new features, too:

  • Starred reviews are featured prominently, at the top.
  • The lead editorial will focus on what is in the issue, and when appropriate, will highlight news items from Shelf Awareness Pro that will be of interest to indie bookstore customers.
  • The new, neutral look allows the art of book covers to take center stage.

After testing the new version to our proprietary list for the past few weeks, we've now rolled it out to our more than 200 partner bookstores, to our total audience of more than 630,000. From now on, Shelf Awareness for Readers will appear once a week. (Don't worry, we'll still be reviewing the same amount of books, approximately 25 a week.)

The bookstore version has some new features:

  • Bookstores are able to customize even more content. We will choose titles to highlight in each issue, but stores are able to override this in a customizable section and choose which books to feature with headings such as Staff Recommendations, Upcoming Events, Local Authors, etc.
  • Through our stats dashboard, partner bookstores are able to log in and see the data about their mailings. This feature is incredibly helpful in helping stores understand what is of interest to their audience, and adjust their stock and titles accordingly.
  • Delivery times can be customized. We will normally send the issue on Fridays, but bookstores can choose a different day or time over the weekend.
  • Otherwise, all the previous options for bookstores remain intact, including events feeds, the ability to write a custom editorial, etc. If you are an indie bookstore and want to sign up for this free service, contact us via e-mail

We've received some wonderful feedback about our new look and functionality, and have made some changes because you've helped us see what we could do better. Keep the ideas coming at

Scribe Us: Our Members Be Unlimited: A Comic about Workers and Their Unions by Sam Wallman

International Update: Canadian Booksellers on Pandemic's Aftereffects; Abu Dhabi International Book Fair Set

The book trade in Canada at all levels has been both helped and hurt by Covid-19, the Canadian News Service (via Yahoo News) reported, adding that the pandemic "was hard on brick-and-mortar stores, which had to contend with weeks or months of forced closures, capacity limits and cancellations of book launches and meet-and-greets," but "creative marketing solutions learned during lockdowns, as well as a pandemic-spurred rise in reading, give them hope for the future of their industry."

Chris Hall, co-owner McNally Robinson Booksellers, with stores in of Winnipeg, Man., and Saskatoon, Sask., said that while 2020 was a "catastrophic" year for many small bookstores, including his own, there are signs of a rebound. CNS noted that "while every store is different, he said his chain 'roared back' in 2021, surpassing its 2019 sales despite pandemic challenges and the near-collapse of the market for book categories such as travel."

Hall, who is also president of the board for the Canadian Independent Booksellers Association, cited Canadians' increasing willingness to support local businesses and to more people who picked up reading as factors: "After a couple of months, there's only so much Netflix you can watch." 

He expressed optimism that the pandemic has been long enough to entrench their reading habits, and hopes independent bookstores will be able to combine improved capability to operate online with the attraction of a physical space for readers to meet. "Amazon doesn't have a place for you to go."

At Montreal's Blue Metropolis International Literary Festival, Sruti Islam, a bookseller at Librairie St-Henri in Montreal and creator of the online literary space Weird Era, took part in a discussion recently on how book promotion has evolved. Islam said the pandemic brought challenges related not only to closures and canceled events but also to supply chains, which led to back-ordered books sometimes taking a long time to arrive. On the other hand, it created an opportunity to host online events, which were well-attended.

She said she has seen rising interest among the public in political and social issues, which leads to "more interaction from our neighborhood clientele wanting to engage more politically with texts and wanting to support local business more than ever."


The International Publishers Association has released the new report A Collective Commitment to a Sustainable, Resilient and Inclusive Future, following its two-year investigation to gauge the effects of Covid-19 on global publishing and "to map pathways to a more resilient, future-ready book sector." The study ends phase one of the International Sustainable Publishing and Industry Resilience (InSPIRe) plan, which is backed by more 60 organizations linked to the publishing industry. 

The report details the findings of a round of consultations, workshops and discussions with publishers, booksellers, authors, educators, bookfairs, international reading and literacy organizations and free expression groups. It lists challenges and opportunities in five priority areas:

  • Strengthening copyright for the digital age
  • Countering rising threats to freedom to publish
  • Addressing sustainability through collective action
  • Mainstreaming diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Mastering technology for innovation and transformation


The Abu Dhabi International Book Fair will be held May 23-29, with Germany returning as the guest of honor with a large physical presence following last year's limited capacity due to the pandemic. Held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, the fair showcases more than 1,000 exhibitors and presents a series of events promoting cross-cultural dialogue across its professional and cultural programs that focus on language, translation, literature and poetry. 

Under the auspices of the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC) at the Department of Culture and Tourism, with the continued collaboration of Frankfurter Buchmesse, the fair will offer more than 450 events aimed at audiences of all ages, highlighting the literary and cultural heritage of the Middle East and strengthening ties between the Arab and international publishing communities. 

"We are pleased to welcome back the international publishing community to the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair for our most ambitious event yet," said HE Dr. Ali bin Tamim, chairman of the ALC. "We are creating an ideal platform for members of the international book industry and literary world, as well as global media and technology brands, to come together and share their knowledge and expertise across cultures, industries, and disciplines. This year, we look forward to presenting the first International Congress of Publishing and Creative Industries--a think tank on the latest trends in publishing and technology. We are proud to host distinguished speakers from the literary, publishing, and arts sectors, and we offer our gratitude to our dedicated partners and stakeholders who have made this industry event possible."


Bookseller Moment: Lovat bookstore in Villorba, Veneto, Italy, advised: "Take Time to Relax. Take Time to Lovat." --Robert Gray

PNBA Holiday Catalog 2022

11th Annual Book Group Speed Dating Event

This coming Friday, May 13, 1-3 p.m. Eastern, will host its 11th annual Book Group Speed Dating Event--virtually. Representatives from 14 publishers of all sizes will share selections via video to give booksellers, librarians and book group leaders an inside look at new and upcoming titles that book groups will want to know about and discuss. E-galleys will be available for selected titles from Edelweiss and/or NetGalley, as well as print galleys. Leave-behinds will be made available in PowerPoint and Excel formats. Advance signup is required and can be done here.

Flyaway Books: The Coat by Séverine Vidal, illustrated by Louis Thomas

Inaugural Texas Remainder Expo Set for This Coming Weekend

The inaugural Texas Remainder Expo, nicknamed T-Rex, will take place this coming Friday, May 13, through Sunday, May 15, in Carrollton, Tex., near Dallas. The sponsor is Texas Bookman, a division of Half Price Books. The event will be held in exposition space at Half Price's new warehouse and showroom facility, located at 1835 Forms Drive. The company welcomes both sellers and buyers.

Half Price Books CEO Sharon Anderson Wright said, "With the lack of in-person trade shows in recent years due to the pandemic, we wanted to bring these wonderful remainder vendors to our home state of Texas. We look forward to the opportunity to showcase a great selection of product and to see our friends across the industry."

Soho Crime: Blown by the Same Wind (Cold Storage Novel) by John Straley


#FreeComicBookDay: 'So Busy and Lots of Fun'

Saturday was Free Comic Book Day, with participating indie comic book specialty shops across North America and around the world giving away free comics and customers cosplaying for the occasion. 

"It's free literature and they're always really fun comic books, but when we're able to give back to the community with the Second Harvest Food Bank donations people have a good time, it's awesome," said Cole Schenley, manager of Books Galore, Erie, Pa.

Many shops shared highlights of their #FCBD celebrations. Here's a sampling:

Bell, Book & Comic, Dayton, Ohio: "#freecomicbookday2022 is in full effect!! Get in here and grab your free books and stock up on all your back issues and new stories!! We have some amazing sales going on today and would love to have you stop by!!"

Comickaze Comics, San Diego, Calif.: "FCBD is about to start!!! And don't forgot to take a photo in front of the Doctor Strange Multiverse of Madness backdrop!!!"

At MaximuM Comics, Las Vegas

MaximuM Comics, Las Vegas, Nev.: "The crowd is getting pumped and we've got plenty of books ready to go for everyone! Happy Free Comic Book Day!!"

Infinite Realities: Comics, Games & More, Tucker, Ga.: "FREE COMIC BOOK DAY is here and what a turnout! So many folks have come to celebrate the absolute awesomeness that is comics! Fans, creators and even bakers agree that FCBD is where it's at!"

Pages Book Emporium, Cranbrook, B.C., Canada: "Thank you for joining us for FCBD 2022! As usual not enough photos were taken but we had a great time and we hope you did too!... Special thanks to the store staff for always jumping in with enthusiasm and hard work on a very busy yet fun day!"

DZ Comics and Gaming, Moore, Okla.: "Free Comic Book Day was a BLAST!!! Free Comic Book Day was amazing. So busy and lots of fun. Check out these pics of just a few of the adventures. We want to thank all of you who have made this a magical day."

Weiser Books: Hearth and Home Witchcraft: Rituals and Recipes to Nourish Home and Spirit by Jennie Blonde

Mother's Day Window Display: Bookends & Beginnings

Yesterday, Bookends & Beginnings, Evanston, Ill., shared a photo of the shop's window display on Instagram, noting: "Happy Mother's Day! We're celebrating your decision to be a mom and others' ability to choose! Thanks to Eugenia Viti for painting our window, signing copies of her Be Pregnant, and submitting seven gorgeous original paintings for sale. Stop in to purchase her work and sign up for her Processing Life Through Comics workshop on the 25th on our website!"

Personnel Changes at S&S Children's Publishing; Chronicle

At Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing:

Mitch Thorpe has been named senior manager of publicity. He was most recently publicity manager at HarperCollins Children's Books.

Thad Whittier has been named publicity assistant.


Samantha Simon has joined Chronicle Books as food & lifestyle marketing manager.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Diane Keaton on Ellen

CBS Mornings: Eric Holder, co-author of Our Unfinished March: The Violent Past and Imperiled Future of the Vote: A History, a Crisis, a Plan (One World, $28, 9780593445747).

Also on CBS Mornings: Mark T. Esper, author of A Sacred Oath: Memoirs of a Secretary of Defense During Extraordinary Times (Morrow, $35, 9780063144316). He will be on tomorrow's Late Show with Stephen Colbert, too.

Good Morning America: Jennifer Weiner, author of The Summer Place (Atria Books, $28.99, 9781501133572).

Live with Kelly and Ryan: Norman Reedus, author of The Ravaged (Blackstone Publishing, $28.99, 9781094166803).

Tamron Hall: Tunde Oyeneyin, author of Speak: Find Your Voice, Trust Your Gut, and Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be (Avid Reader Press, $27, 9781982195441).

Also on Tamron Hall: Nyle DiMarco, author of Deaf Utopia: A Memoir-and a Love Letter to a Way of Life (Morrow, $27.99, 9780063062351).

Kelly Clarkson Show: Minnie Driver, author of Managing Expectations: A Memoir in Essays (HarperOne, $27.99, 9780063115309).

Ellen: Diane Keaton, author of Saved: My Picture World (‎Rizzoli, $55, 9780847871285).

Late Night with Seth Meyers: Bob Odenkirk, author of Comedy Comedy Comedy Drama: A Memoir (Random House, $28, 9780399180514).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Shaquille O'Neal, co-author of Shaq's Family Style: Championship Recipes for Feeding Family and Friends (Ten Speed Press, $29.99, 9781984860064).

Today Show: Jeff Nussbaum, author of Undelivered: The Never-Heard Speeches That Would Have Rewritten History (Flatiron Books, $29.99, 9781250240705).

Good Morning America: Ali Wentworth, author of Ali's Well That Ends Well: Tales of Desperation and a Little Inspiration (Harper, $26.99, 9780062980861).

Live with Kelly and Ryan: Melissa Gilbert, author of Back to the Prairie: A Home Remade, A Life Rediscovered (Gallery Books, $28, 9781982177188). She will also be on Good Morning America.

Tamron Hall: Jennifer Grey, author of Out of the Corner: A Memoir (Ballantine, $30, 9780593356708).

Book to Stage: Yes! Reflections of Molly Bloom; The Butcher Boy

Irish Repertory Theatre in New York City has announced two upcoming shows that are adaptations of novels: a new production of Yes! Reflections of Molly Bloom and the world premiere of the new musical The Butcher Boy, Playbill reported.

Yes! Reflections of Molly Bloom is a stage adaptation of James Joyce's Ulysses by Aedín Moloney and Colum McCann. Directed by John Keating and starring Moloney, the solo show begins previews June 8 on the W. Scott McLucas Studio Stage and officially opens June 15, running through July 17.

Moloney "read Ulysses as a young girl and has developed her interpretation of Joyce's Penelope chapter since then through performances of passages," Playbill noted. "With McCann's encouragement, Moloney worked on the show's development beginning with the audio recording Reflections of Molly Bloom in 2017. Yes! Reflections of Molly Bloom made its world premiere at Irish Rep in 2019 and was produced for Irish Rep Online during the pandemic."

The Butcher Boy, based on Patrick McCabe's novel, will make its world premiere on the Francis J. Greenburger Mainstage. With previews beginning July 21, the show officially opens August 1 and have a limited run through September 11. It is the first original musical to be developed by Irish Rep in eight years. Ciarán O'Reilly will direct the world premiere of the production, for which Asher Muldoon wrote the book, music and lyrics while a high school senior in 2017. 

Books & Authors

Awards: IBPA Benjamin Franklin, Christian Book Winners

The winners of the Benjamin Franklin Awards, sponsored by the Independent Book Publishers Association, have been announced. See the Gold and Silver winners in 57 categories here.


Winners have been announced for the 2022 Christian Book Awards, sponsored by the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association. The Christian Book of the Year, which also won in the Christian Living category, is Prayer in the Night: For Those Who Work or Watch or Weep by Tish Harrison Warren (InterVarsity Press). To see winners in all categories, click here.

Top Library Recommended Titles for May

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

Top Pick
Book of Night by Holly Black (Tor, $27.99, 9781250812193). "Charlie is a hot mess. The more she tries to get on the straight and narrow, the more things fall apart. Due to childhood trauma, she trusts only herself, and maybe her shadow. But in a world where shadows can be altered, stolen, and weaponized, she has to be wary. Lots of atmospheric world building and stage setting, and perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo, Neil Gaiman, and V.E. Schwab." --Emily Plagens, Allen Public Library, Allen, Tex.

The Book Woman's Daughter: A Novel by Kim Michele Richardson (‎Sourcebooks Landmark, $16.99, ‎ 9781728242590). "Cussy Mary's daughter, Honey, defies convention and the law and becomes another Book Woman, riding into the mountains to deliver books in a raw and harsh landscape. Despite the injustice and danger, a sense of homespun coziness and safety prevail, created by the hard work, love, and solidarity of mountain women. For fans of The Giver of Stars and The Last Ballad." --Jill Minor, Washington County Public Library, Abingdon, Va.

Chef's Kiss: A Novel by TJ Alexander (‎Atria/Emily Bestler, $16.99, 9781982189082). "A cute, romantic tale of Simone, a test kitchen chef for an elite magazine. Her stable life is upended by Ray, the charming and friendly new kitchen manager. When Ray comes out as nonbinary, there is pushback from administration. Can Simone and Ray forge a relationship, and survive the fraught environment? For fans of The Charm Offensive and Red, White, and Royal Blue." --Jessica C. Williams, Tiffin-Seneca Public Library, Tiffin, Ohio

The Hacienda by Isabel Cañas (‎Berkley, $27, 9780593436691). "In this slow-burn Gothic novel, Beatriz joins her new rich husband at his family's dilapidating estate, where she dreams of a better life. But the rumors of her husband's first wife's death and unsettling supernatural incidents have Beatriz fearing for her own life. Her only hope of survival is a witchy priest. For fans of Mexican Gothic and the film Crimson Peak." --Kari Bingham-Guiterrez, Olathe Public Library, Olathe, Kan.

Hide by Kiersten White (Del Rey, $27, ‎9780593359235). "The premise: fourteen strangers are invited to compete in a game. The setting: an abandoned theme park. The goal: remain hidden for 7 days. The payoff: $50,000. As the contestants are found by 'seekers,' and the group gets smaller, it becomes a wild, blood-pumping ride. Soon, the line between competition and survival begins to blur. For fans of Survive the Night and The Final Girls Support Group." --Lindsey Colon, Charleston County Public Library, Charleston, S.C.

The Murder of Mr. Wickham by Claudia Gray (Vintage, $17, 9780593313817). "This delightful cozy mystery features characters from Jane Austen and introduces sleuths Jonathan Darcy (son of Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam) and Juliet Tilney (daughter of Catherine and Henry). Jonathan and Juliet are well-matched as amateur investigators and, of course, as potential romantic partners. Perfect for fans of Stephanie Barron and Anna Dean." --Amy Norton, Northbrook Public Library, Northbrook, Ill.

Remarkably Bright Creatures: A Novel by Shelby Van Pelt (Ecco, $27.99, ‎9780063204157). "Cameron arrives in Solo Bay looking for his long-lost parents. Tova, who works at the local aquarium, lost her own son years ago. After Cameron takes over Tova's job, Marcellus the octopus sees that the two are linked. Told in alternating voice (including that of Marcellus), this is a witty read for fans of A Man Called Ove and The Reading List." --Mary Robinson, Vernon Area Public Library, Lincolnshire, Ill.

The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle: An Uplifting and Unforgettable Story of Love and Second Chances by Matt Cain (A John Scognamiglio Book, $15.95,  9781496737755). "This quietly touching novel follows Albert, a closeted gay mail carrier who's lived life as a perpetual outsider. His job provides comfort, but impending retirement leaves him at a crossroads: can he find a way to go on and be accepted for who he really is? Cain takes readers on a moving and hopeful journey. For fans of The Guncle and The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry." --Beth Mills, New Rochelle Public Library, New Rochelle, N.Y.

Siren Queen by Nghi Vo (Tor, $26.99, 9781250788832). "Luli Wei is a rising star in the golden age of Hollywood, when the business is full of literal horrors and she must earn her fame by playing monsters. Vo's weaving of magical elements into an otherwise realistic story is arresting in the best way, and Luli is a strong and determined character. Highly recommended for fans of Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Alix E. Harrow." --Kristine Magers, Metropolitan Library System, Oklahoma City, Okla.

This Time Tomorrow: A Novel by Emma Straub (Riverhead, $28, 9780525539001). "On the day before Alice turns 40, her father is near death. She then wakes the next day to find that it's her 16th birthday and her dad is young and healthy. Is there anything she'd change about the past, now that she has the chance? A poignant look at the paths we choose in life. For fans of Fredrick Backman and Rebecca Serle." --Kimberly McGee, Lake Travis Library, Austin, Tex.

Book Review

Review: Rogues: True Stories of Grifters, Killers, Rebels and Crooks

Rogues: True Stories of Grifters, Killers, Rebels and Crooks by Patrick Radden Keefe (Doubleday, $30 hardcover, 368p., 9780385548519, June 28, 2022)

In Rogues: True Stories of Grifters, Killers, Rebels and Crooks, Patrick Radden Keefe collects a dozen thoroughly investigated and engagingly reported articles on a fascinating assortment of characters--from the merely colorful to the criminal--that he produced for the New Yorker between 2007 and 2018.

Long before the magazine published his first freelance piece, Keefe "came to think that at least where nonfiction was concerned, a big magazine article might be the most glorious form," and he provides strong evidence for that claim here. The breadth of his writing--insider trading in the pharmaceutical industry ("The Empire of Edge"); the dogged search for the last of the plotters who brought down Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988 ("The Avenger"); the byzantine activities of a notorious international arms dealer ("The Prince of Marbella")--reveals the scope of his curiosity and his confidence that he can make these subjects both comprehensible and compelling.

Keefe (Say Nothing; Empire of Pain) isn't a flashy writer, but he's able to summon an arresting phrase at just the right time, as when he describes disembarking from a plane in Conakry, Guinea, a place where "the corruption hits you almost as quickly as the heat." Trusting the intelligence of his readers, he digs deeply into complex and often arcane topics. In "The Jefferson Bottles," for example, he chronicles Koch brother Bill's Ahab-like pursuit of a man who allegedly sold him half a million dollars' worth of counterfeit wine, and in "Buried Secrets," he describes the corrupt machinations of billionaire Israeli diamond merchant Beny Steinmetz in the business of mining iron ore in the impoverished African nation of Guinea.

Rogues also reveals Keefe's affinity for tales of heinous crimes. "A Loaded Gun" recounts the chilling story of Amy Bishop, a neurobiologist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville who murdered three of her colleagues after she was denied tenure, and of how that horrific event triggered a fresh investigation into her involvement in the death of her brother more than two decades earlier. Mexican drug lord Joaquín Guzmán Loera was so enamored of his profile ("The Hunt for El Chapo") that he tried to engage Keefe to ghostwrite his memoir.

Keefe brings the conventional celebrity profile to life in "Winning," the story of reality television pioneer Mark Burnett and the role The Apprentice played in Donald Trump's political rise, and in "Journeyman," a portrait of Anthony Bourdain, published barely a year before the noted chef and TV star's death by suicide. In these and all the other pieces in Rogues, Keefe painstakingly unearths and shares the details that render diverse true stories as engrossing as fiction. --Harvey Freedenberg, freelance reviewer

Shelf Talker: Prize-winning New Yorker staff writer Patrick Radden Keefe collects a dozen of his pieces for the magazine, showcasing a gallery of colorful and dangerous characters.

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