Shelf Awareness for Monday, May 23, 2022

Mariner Books: Everyone This Christmas Has a Secret: A Festive Mystery by Benjamin Stevenson

Grove Press: Brightly Shining by Ingvild Rishøi, Translated Caroline Waight

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

Broadleaf Books: Trespass: Portraits of Unhoused Life, Love, and Understanding by Kim Watson

Nancy Paulsen Books: Sync by Ellen Hopkins

Running Press Adult: Cat People by Hannah Hillam

Beaming Books: Must-Have Autumn Reads for Your Shelf!

Dial Press: Like Mother, Like Mother by Susan Rieger


Cherry Lake Buys Tilbury House

Cherry Lake Publishing Group (CLPG) has bought Tilbury House Publishers from WordSplice Studio. Tilbury House will now become an independent imprint of Cherry Lake and remain in Thomaston, Maine. Jonathan Eaton will continue as publisher, and the press will continue to be distributed by Norton.

Tilbury House specializes in children's books that emphasize cultural diversity, social justice, and the natural world. It was founded in the 1980s as Harpswell Press and originally published literary and New England regional titles. A children's list was added in the 1990s and has become the publisher's primary focus since its 2013 acquisition by WordSplice Studio, headed by Eaton and Tristram Coburn.

Eaton commented: "When looking for a long-term home for our children's list, we were pleased to find that CLPG shares our passion for creating books that can change children's lives. We believe the team at CLPG will be good stewards and will continue our legacy of publishing books that matter. We are excited to be the newest member of the CLPG family."

Cherry Lake CEO Ben Mondloch said, "Cherry Lake Publishing Group respects and admires Tilbury House's mission to change children’s lives through quality books. We are thrilled to be a long-term home for their list of titles, which directly align with our offerings."

With headquarters in Ann Arbor, Mich., Cherry Lake Publishing Group is an educational and children's book publisher with five imprints: Cherry Blossom Press, 45th Parallel Press, Cherry Lake Press, Torch Graphic Press and Sleeping Bear Press.

Peachtree Teen: Compound Fracture by Andrew Joseph White

Buzz Books YA Editors Panel Slated for June 8

Publishers Lunch and the American Booksellers Association are hosting a virtual Buzz Books YA Editors Panel at 12 noon Eastern on June 8.

Authors Mariko Tamaki (Anne of Greenville), Omar Epps and Clarence A. Haynes (Nubia: The Awakening), Lesley Livingston (Queen Among the Dead) and Krystal Marquis (The Davenports) will discuss their upcoming books with their respective editors.

Registration is free, and the first 25 booksellers to register will receive either physical galleys or instant access to e-galley downloads via NetGalley.

Inner Traditions: Expand your collection with these must-have resource books!

Sidelines Snapshot: Cards, Chocolates, Stationery and Vinyl

At Roundabout Books in Bend, Ore., cards are selling very well, reported owner Cassie Clemans and sidelines buyer Jenny Cornutt. Some of the store's bestselling card lines include E. Frances, Masala, Little Pine Artistry, Sacredbee and 1Canoe2, with E. Frances's Little Notes selling quickly this spring. Cornutt added that children's-focused products from Ooly, including erasers, happy packs, scented pens and pencils, are "always a hit."

Recently Roundabout started carrying Felix Doolittle bookplates and cards; they have "quaint images" and have been well received. Cedarwood pencils from Imogen Owen, scented with fragrances like jasmine and peony, are new as well. The store also just received its first shipment of branded mugs from Deneen Pottery, which the team looks forward to selling during tourist season this summer.

From Little Pine Artistry

The store carries a number of products that are made locally, including letterpress cards, bookmarks and pins from Green Bird Press, as well as cards and stickers from Little Pine Artistry. The team also loves Wick Forest soy candles, and chocolates from Euphoria Chocolate Company in Eugene, Ore., are long-standing hits. Expanding on the topic of perennial favorites, Clemans and Cornutt pointed to stickers by Stickerlicious, along with chocolates made by Theo, Mast Brothers and A Priori. As far as cards go, the store's customers have been "buying up SacredBee since the day we opened."

Asked about supply-chain issues, Cornutt and Clemans said nothing major comes to mind, though some items have been delayed or gone out of stock. That said, there is "always something available to bring in."


Kristin Gilbert, co-owner of Exile in Bookville in Chicago, Ill., said the store doesn't carry a lot of nonbook items, which is by choice, but the bookstore does sell a selection of stationery, pens and pencils from JPT, an "awesome Japanese distributor." Gilbert and store co-owner Javier Ramirez "couldn't be happier with their quality," customers love the products, and there are unique offerings like cigarette pencils.

The store's one-year anniversary was on Independent Bookstore Day, and Ramirez and Gilbert brought in new shirts and tote bags to mark that occasion. The shirts were designed by Michael Fusco-Straub, co-owner of Books Are Magic in Brooklyn, N.Y.; the totes featured an illustration from the novel Justine by Forysthn Harmon. Both the totes and shirts were printed locally by Barrel Maker Printing.

The store has also brought in vinyl records, which are sourced from Alliance Entertainment distributors, and customers are "really happy that we have this to offer now." Looking ahead, they also plan on bringing in greeting cards from a local artist in the next month or so. Gilbert noted that the store is housed in the Fine Arts Building in Chicago, and they are "eager to support local artists."

On the subject of supply-chain issues, Gilbert said they've experienced them "big time." With the store's stationery coming from Japan, there have been some major hurdles, but JPT has "made this process as smooth as possible." And with vinyl records, there is a "massive shortage" in material and demand has increased, resulting in "so many albums being backordered right now." In that sense, selling vinyl can be a bit like selling books--when a title is backordered, you simply showcase all the other great titles you have. --Alex Mutter

Obituary Note: Roger Angell

Roger Angell
(photo: Bridget Lacombe/Doubleday)

Roger Angell, the "elegant and thoughtful baseball writer who was widely considered among the best America has produced," died May 20, the New York Times reported. He was 101. Angell's voice "was original because he wrote more like a fan than a sports journalist, loading his articles with inventive imagery." His well-informed and lyrical baseball season wrap-up essays in the New Yorker magazine became a fall tradition, with many of them collected in books like Late Innings (1982) and Once More Around the Park (1991).

"It is foolish and childish, on the face of it, to affiliate ourselves with anything so insignificant and patently contrived and commercially exploitative as a professional sports team," he wrote in Five Seasons (1977). "What is left out of this calculation, it seems to me, is the business of caring--caring deeply and passionately, really caring--which is a capacity or an emotion that has almost gone out of our lives."

The New Yorker was, "to some degree, the family shop" for Angell, the Times wrote, noting that his mother, Katharine Sergeant Angell White, was among the magazine's first editors hired by Harold Ross in 1925, and his stepfather, the essayist E.B. White, was a frequent contributor. 

Angell published his first piece in the magazine, a short story, in 1944 and went to work there in 1956. As a fiction editor, he discovered and nurtured writers like Ann Beattie, Bobbie Ann Mason and Garrison Keillor. He also worked closely with authors like Vladimir Nabokov, John Updike, Donald Barthelme, Ruth Jhabvala and V.S. Pritchett. His annual page-long holiday poem, titled "Greetings, Friends!" was another tradition at the magazine. 

David Remnick, the New Yorker's editor, said: "I'm not sure there's ever been a writer so strong, and an editor so important, all at once, at a magazine since the days of H.L. Mencken running The American Mercury. Roger was a vigorous editor, and an intellect with broad tastes."

Although sometimes referred to as baseball's poet laureate, Angell called himself a reporter: "The only thing different in my writing is that, almost from the beginning, I've been able to write about myself as well." Much of his early writing for the  New Yorker was fiction. A story collection, The Stone Arbor, was published in 1960. Angell wrote well into his 90s. In 2014, he was awarded the J.G. Taylor Spink Award, the Baseball Hall of Fame's honor for writers. In 2015, he published This Old Man, a collection of essays, holiday poems and other writings.

In a New Yorker tribute, Remnick wrote, in part: "No one lives forever, but you'd be forgiven for thinking that Roger had a good shot at it. Like the rest of us, he suffered pain and loss and doubt, but he usually kept the blues at bay, always looking forward; he kept writing, reading, memorizing new poems, forming new relationships.... Roger died on Friday. He was a hundred and one. But longevity was actually quite low on his list of accomplishments. He did as much to distinguish the New Yorker as anyone in the magazine's nearly century-long history. His prose and his editorial judgment left an imprint that's hard to overstate.... He won a place in both the American Academy of Arts and Letters and in the Baseball Hall of Fame--a unique distinction....

"On the page, Roger created--he threw--a voice that was utterly joyful, as buoyant as a lottery winner. He hated the poetical and the hard-bitten. The Roger Angell of the baseball pieces was a man at liberty, delighted to be in the stands on a long-shadowed afternoon, part of a vast community of fans. The sentences were ebullient but never decorous.... His enthusiasm for baseball was so immense that it could not be confined to a singular loyalty. In a given season, he was capable of giving his heart to anyone. He was a Mets fan, a Yankees fan, and a Red Sox fan. In anyone else, this would have been unforgivable."


Image of the Day: CALIBA Gathering

Since April 2020, a group of Southern California reps have been participating in Warwick's (La Jolla, Calif.) weekly Zoom book recommendation program called Tea Time Book Recommendations. At the CALIBA spring meeting, they gathered in person. Pictured: Steve Atinsky (PRH); Tom Benton (PRH); Julie Slavinsky (Warwick's); Joe Murphy (Norton); Gabe Barillas (Harper); Shannon Grant (Simon); and Amanda Barillas (Hachette).

Happy 30th Birthday, Paulina Springs Books!

Congratulations to Paulina Springs Books, Sisters, Ore., which celebrates its 30th anniversary this coming Memorial Day weekend with the return of in-person events, a weekend-long sale, free pizza, free music, giveaways and announcements about the future of the store.

This Friday, May 27, at 6:30 p.m., the store hosts an in-person event featuring Les Joslin, author of Three Sisters Wilderness: A History (The History Press); Saturday, May 28, 12-3 p.m., free Boone Dog pizza will be available until pizza runs out; also on Saturday, 1-3 p.m., there's live music on the lawn by Beth Wood and Dennis McGregor; and both Saturday and Sunday feature 30% off discounts storewide.

The store wrote, "We couldn't be more grateful for the literal decades of support, and we are looking forward to being a part of this community for at least a few decades more!"

Personnel Changes at HarperCollins; Bloomsbury

Sabrina Kenoun has joined HarperCollins Children's Books as associate publicist. Most recently, Kenoun was an associate publicist at Sparkpoint Studio.


Briana Williams has joined Bloomsbury Children's Books as marketing associate.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Emma Straub on Fresh Air

Live with Kelly and Ryan: Seth Meyers, author of I'm Not Scared, You're Scared (Flamingo Books, $18.99, 9780593352373).

Today Show: Dan Abrams and Fred D. Gray, authors of Alabama v. King: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Criminal Trial That Launched the Civil Rights Movement (Hanover Square Press, $28.99, 9781335475190).

Also on Today: Erin Napier, author of The Lantern House (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, $18.99, 9780316379601).

Fresh Air: Emma Straub, author of This Time Tomorrow (Riverhead, $28, 9780525539001).

Live with Kelly and Ryan: Sophie Liard, author of The Folding Lady: Tools and Tricks for Making the Most of Your Space Room by Room (Harper Design, $22.99, 9780063217027).

Today Show: Colton Haynes, author of Miss Memory Lane: A Memoir (Atria, $28, 9781982176174).

The View: Kellyanne Conway, author of Here's the Deal: A Memoir (Threshold Editions, $30, 9781982187347).

Late Night with Seth Meyers: Kwame Onwuachi, co-author of My America: Recipes from a Young Black Chef (Knopf, $35, 9780525659600).

Jimmy Kimmel Live: Van Lathan Jr., author of Fat, Crazy, and Tired: Tales from the Trenches of Transformation (Legacy Lit, $26, 9780306923722).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert: David Sedaris, author of Happy-Go-Lucky (Little, Brown, $29, 9780316392457).

Movies: The Good People

Australian production company Aquarius Films has partnered with Irish production company Port Pictures to produce The Good People, based on the novel by Hannah Kent, who also wrote the adapted screenplay, Variety reported. The film has received development funding from Screen Australia. Kent's first novel, Burial Rites, is currently being prepared for the screen by Sony TriStar. 

"What's not to love about Hannah Kent's brilliant novel?" said producers Angie Fielder and Polly Staniford of Aquarius Films. "A dark tale about three complex women, fairies, witches and changelings. All set against the eerie backdrop of 1800s Ireland."

Books & Authors

Awards: International Arabic Fiction Winner

Bread on Uncle Milad's Table by Mohamed Alnaas (Rashm) has won the 2022 International Prize for Arabic Fiction. Alnaas receives $50,000, and funding will be provided for an English translation of the debut novel.

Chair of judges Shukri Mabkhout said, "The winning novel is written in the form of confessions of personal experience. Its plethora of detail is deftly unified by a gripping narrative. This offers a deep and meticulous critique of prevailing concepts of masculinity and femininity and the division of work between men and women, and the effect of these on both a psychological and social level. It falls into the category of novels which question cultural norms about gender. However, it is embedded in its local Arab context and steers away from any ideological treatment of the issues, as such a treatment would be contrary to the way in which fiction can present multiple points of view."

At 31, Alnaas is the youngest writer to win the International Prize for Arabic Fiction and the first Libyan. His short story collection, Blue Blood, was published in 2020. Bread on Uncle Milad's Table is his first novel, which he wrote in just six months during lockdown and while Tripoli was under bombardment. He says writing the book was his "refuge from insanity" amid Covid and war.

Top Library Recommended Titles for June

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

Top Pick
The Woman in the Library: A Novel by Sulari Gentill (Poisoned Pen Press, $26.99, 9781728261942). "Freddie is at the Boston Public Library when a murder occurs. While waiting for the police, she strikes up a conversation with others at her table. The four become friends, but could one of them be the murderer? Much misdirection and an unreliable narrator make for a tight little thriller that will have you sure you know whodunnit until you don't. For fans of The Body in the Library, Magpie Murders and The Hunting Party." --Kimberly McGee, Lake Travis Community Library, Austin, Tex.

The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston (Berkley, $17, 9780593336489). "What would you do if your editor demands that you deliver a finished romance novel tomorrow, but you think romance is dead? And what if he turns up as a ghost on your doorstep the next day? An unputdownable romance that is also about family and death, reconciliation and creativity, stress and the supernatural. For fans of The Love Hypothesis and Go Hex Yourself." --Rebecca Whalon, Lakeland Public Library, Lakeland, Fla.

Fake It Till You Bake It: A Novel by Jamie Wesley (St. Martin's Griffin, $16.99, 9781250801852). "When fashionable, privileged Jada is cut off by her parents, her NFL-team-owning grandmother suggests that she work at a cupcake shop--one that happens to be owned by player Donovan Dell, the sexy but stuck-up guy Jada insulted previously. Neither of them counted on the sweet and spicy vibes that grow between them. A frothy, fun read perfect for fans of Ten Rules for Faking It and The Dating Plan." --Laura Eckert, Clermont County Public Library, Milford, Ohio

Flying Solo: A Novel by Linda Holmes (Ballantine, $28, 9780525619277). "Laurie faces a crossroads. She has just canceled a seemingly perfect wedding and flown across the country to deal with a beloved aunt's estate. Among her aunt's things, she finds a wooden duck decoy that sends her on a journey to discover its origins, and in the process, herself. A terrific follow up to Evvie Drake Starts Over and great for fans of The Two Lives of Lydia Bird." --Ron Block, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Parma, Ohio

Iona Iverson's Rules for Commuting: A Novel by Clare Pooley (Pamela Dorman, $26, 9781984878649). "Iona is a bold woman of a certain age who navigates life without hesitation. When she breaks one of her rules, and speaks with her fellow train passengers, it leads to all sorts of wonderful connections. Iona strives to fix the lives of others, never suspecting that she might be the one in need of friendship, support, and advice. For fans of Oona Out of Order and Anxious People." --Sharon Layburn, South Huntington Public Library, Huntington Station, N.Y.

The Lies I Tell: A Novel by Julie Clark (Sourcebooks Landmark, $27.99, 9781728247595). "Journalist Kat befriends con artist Meg in hopes of exposing her in revenge for a past wrong. As they get close, the shifting points of view reveal layers of deception between two masterful manipulators. For fans of fast-paced thrillers in the vein of Mary Kubica and Jessica Knoll." --Sonia Reppe, Stickney-Forest View Public Library District, Stickney, Ill.

The Measure: A Novel by Nikki Erlick (Morrow, $28.99, 9780063204201). "Imagine receiving a mysterious string that tells you exactly how long you'll live. Now imagine everyone in the world getting their own string. This is the type of book that changes your thoughts on life and lingers for a long time. Perfect for book clubs who loved The Immortalists and The Age of Miracles." --Karen Troutman, Walton Tipton Township Library, Walton, Ind.

Nora Goes Off Script by Annabel Monaghan (Putnam, $27, 9780593420034). "Nora Hamilton is a TV writer who pens a script based on her disaster of a broken marriage. Next thing she knows, a film crew arrives at her country home with two famous actors in tow. What follows is one of the funniest, heartbreaking-ist and most endearing stories you will read. For fans of Jasmine Guillory and Emily Henry." --Stephanie Piro, Rochester Public Library, Rochester, N.H.

The Perfect Crimes of Marian Hayes: A Novel by Cat Sebastian (Avon, $15.99, 9780063026254). "Marian, Duchess of Clare, just shot her husband. (He deserved it.) The only person who can help her now is highwayman, con artist, and all-around cheerful villain, Rob Brooks. Rob and Marian have madcap escapades and hijinks as they flee London in this Georgian romance that's absolute perfection. For readers of KJ Charles and Evie Dunmore." --Lindsey Bray, Omaha Public Library, Omaha, Neb.

Tracy Flick Can't Win: A Novel by Tom Perrotta (Scribner, $27, 9781501144066). "Tracy Flick is back and better than ever. Or, at least, she WOULD be if she could just nab that job as high school principal. With wry commentary on the education scene and the politics of 'having it all,' this sequel to Election will entrance Gen X readers and a whole new generation, too. For fans of Gary Shteyngart and Curtis Sittenfeld." --Erin Downey Howerton, Wichita Public Library, Wichita, Kan.

Book Review

Review: Life Ceremony

Life Ceremony by Sayaka Murata, trans. by Ginny Tapley Takemori (Grove, $25 hardcover, 256p., 9780802159588, July 5, 2022)

A mirror is supposed to tell the truth, to reflect back to its viewer an accurate representation of the self. A funhouse mirror elongates and shrinks that reflection, allowing the viewer to laugh at the distorted version of self it offers, funny only because it is a lie. With Life Ceremony (translated from the Japanese by Ginny Tapley Takemori), Sayaka Murata (Convenience Store Woman; Earthlings) has created a series of funhouse mirrors, each story in the collection pushing readers to reconsider what is true, distorting the image so completely as to open the viewer to new and unexpected perspectives.

The dozen stories are uniformly strange but delivered in a straightforward cadence that gives lie to the strangeness. They are also wildly readable, each story turning societal norms on their head and leaving readers wondering if maybe it would make sense to honor the passing of a loved one by preparing and sharing a meal from their remains (as is the case in the title story), or reflecting on the ways people will alter and adapt their personalities to fit different situations, as is so deftly explored in the closing story, "Hatchling." Each story displays a fine-boned architecture, a careful curation of details and paring away of the extraneous. The result is remarkable, the lean force of Murata's imagination rippling through each piece.

The opening story, "A First-Rate Material" demonstrates how Murata can unsettle what should feel indisputable. The story begins with a simple scene of several women enjoying afternoon tea, all delicate tarts and apricot jam and pink handkerchiefs, when Yumi turns to Nana and asks, "that sweater... is it human hair?" And when Yumi confirms it is, all the women delight in how luxurious it is and how expensive it must have been. Readers might agree with Nana's fiancé, Naoki, whose abhorrence of clothing and furnishings made from human materials is causing tension in their relationship. As the couple argues, however, Nana's attempts to make Naoki accept the norm may cause readers to wonder if she doesn't have a point, and by the end of the story, the whole idea, while still barbaric and absurd, feels somehow possible, perhaps even reasonable. This, then, is the magic Murata works in Life Ceremony, the impressive way she is able to destabilize a mirrored reflection of humanity, giving back a strange and wonderful truth. --Sara Beth West, freelance reviewer and librarian

Shelf Talker: Unsettling but never unpleasant, Life Ceremony is a brilliant collection of 12 stories that twists and distorts the norms of humanity while somehow returning a strange and wonderful truth.

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