Shelf Awareness for Monday, June 13, 2022


Disney Lucasfilm Press: Star Wars: The High Republic Path of Deceit by Tessa Gratton and Justina Ireland

Ballantine Books: Central Places by Delia Cai

MIT Press: Rethinking Gender: An Illustrated Exploration by Louie Läuger

Holiday House: Owl and Penguin (I Like to Read Comics) by Vikram Madan; Noodleheads Take it Easy by Tedd Arnold, Martha Hamilton, and Mitch Weiss

Blackstone Publishing: Ezra Exposed by Amy E. Feldman

Clavis: Fall Preview

News

International Update: Costa Book Awards End; 'Essential Reads for Men, by Women'

Costa Coffee is ending the popular Costa Book Awards, which celebrate "the most enjoyable books of the year by writers resident in the U.K. and Ireland," after 50 years. Established in 1971, the Costa Book Awards (formerly the Whitbread Book Awards between 1971 and 2005) aimed to share and raise the profile of some of the best books published each year. This year's Costa Book of the Year winner was Hannah Lowe for her book of sonnets, The Kids.

"We are incredibly proud to have played a part in supporting some of the best-selling authors of the last 50 years as well as trailblazing diverse and fresh voices, tackling a broad range of themes and ideas, across fiction, poetry and biography," Costa said in a statement. "And we are honored to have helped both these new and established talents reach a wider audience of readers. We would like to thank all those who have been involved and supported the Costa Book Awards over the last 50 years as we close this chapter." There are currently no plans for the prize to be taken over by another sponsor.

Costa Coffee, which has nearly 4,000 coffee shops, the majority in the U.K., was sold by Whitbread to Coca-Cola in 2019.

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In May, organizers of the Women's Prize for Fiction, which is awarded annually to a novel written in English and published in the U.K., launched a vote to create a list of 10 essential books for men, written by women. The campaign was inspired by statistical research in Mary Ann Sieghart's book The Authority Gap: Why Women Are Still Taken Less Seriously Than Men, and What We Can Do About It, which showed that while women read novels by men and women almost equally, fiction written by women is rarely read by men. Over 10 days, 20,000 votes were cast, narrowing 60 recommended books down to 10. Margaret Atwood's novel The Handmaid's Tale topped the list, which can be seen here.

"Thank you to the hardworking jurors and the readers who voted--I'm honored," Atwood said. "There was no Women's Prize for Fiction at the time I wrote The Handmaid's Tale but it was true then as now that many male readers shied away from books by women (except for murders and fantasies with wizards) and may also have felt excluded from them. It was normal for men to say to me, 'My wife just loves your books,' a double-edged compliment. But The Handmaid's Tale is not about men vs women. It's about a totalitarianism--it is not a paradise for all men, any more than any totalitarianism is. All totalitarianisms control women in specific ways having to do with reproduction. Take note in light of current events in the USA: the state's claim to ownership of women's bodies will also affect men."

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Bricks-and-mortar bookshops continue to rebound in Italy, according to a recent report published by the Association of Italian Publishers (Associazione Italiana Editori). The European & International Booksellers Federation's Newsflash reported that "the growth of online sales in the country seems to have been halted. On the other hand, brick and mortar bookshops continue to regain lost ground: in the first four months of 2022, physical bookshops accounted for 52.4% of all book sales, online sales represented 43%, and large scale distribution sales dropped to 4.6%."

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Posted on Facebook by the Dogears Bookshop, Margão, India: "So @peter.d.griffin (@zigzackly on Twitter) is doing this remarkable job of putting all bookshops on a map. Here's the link: https://bit.ly/bookstores-in-india. If you can help with this effort, and identify a bookshop that's not yet been marked out, do reach out to him on Twitter. He is available on Facebook too. Also, enough with the 'bookshops are dying' bit. You have no excuse not to visit one now." --Robert Gray


Ebony Magazine Publishing: Black Hollywood: Reimagining Iconic Movie Moments by Carell Augustus


Post Hill Press Launches Twin Flame Imprint

Post Hill Press has launched an imprint, Twin Flame, that will feature nonfiction titles in the areas of spirituality, tantra, relationships, and sexuality. Twin Flame aims to guide readers in "creating deep and meaningful connections through tantra and sexuality as they channel the power of energy (prana, chi, eros) for healing, creativity, deeper levels of intimacy, and new dimensions of personal growth. The works will spotlight both newer and classic practices and topics, such as neo-tantra, indigenous wisdom, astrology, Eastern mysticism, and sacred sexuality. Twin Flame will publish one to two dozen books per year in all formats, including hardcover, trade paperbacks, e-books and audiobooks."

Elena Vega, a 30-year veteran of the publishing industry who was formerly an editor at Macmillan and Simon & Schuster as well as a freelance editor for Post Hill Press, will lead the imprint as editorial director.

Vega commented: "Many publishers shy away from titles exploring burgeoning relationship and spiritual practices, leaving the substantial audience eager for high-quality content on these practices greatly underserved. Twin Flame will celebrate these works as being the vanguard for a new movement in human evolution."

Post Hill Press publisher Anthony Ziccardi added, "As Post Hill enters a new phase of growth and diversification, we are excited to be broadening our offerings in the arena of spirituality, relationships, and personal development. Elena Vega is the perfect choice to lead the Twin Flame imprint. She is a consummate professional with decades of experience shaping and editing books. The subject matter of the imprint lies at the core of her passions both professionally and personally. We expect to see the imprint take off and grow rapidly to become a real force in this burgeoning market."


University of California Press: Dictee (Second Edition, Reissue, Restored);  Exilee and Temps Morts: Selected Works (First Edition, Reissue) by Theresa Hak Kyung Cha


Tara Catogge Named COO of Insight Editions

Tara Catogge

Insight Editions has named Tara Catogge to the newly created role of COO, Insight Editions and Weldon Owen, where she will be responsible for all content and product delivery, from title acquisition to manufacturing. Her "primary focus in the role will be to assist our creative and manufacturing teams to both consolidate recent successes and plan and build for future growth," the company said.

Raoul Goff, Insight Editions' founder and president said, "I'm thrilled to welcome Tara to our growing team. Her extensive experience in sales and the needs of customers will help us manage critical areas of the business during a time of unprecedented growth."

Catogge joins Insight after spending the last eight years working for the Quarto Publishing Group, most recently as COO. She also led the North and South American sales teams at Quarto. Prior to that, Catogge worked for Levy Home Entertainment/Readerlink for nine years as senior v-p, inbound supply chain. 


Blair: A Girlhood: Letter to My Transgender Daughter by Carolyn Hays


Obituary Note: Hazel Henderson

Hazel Henderson

Hazel Henderson, an environmental activist and futurist author, died May 22. She was 89. "She built a long career as a gadfly thinker, known for arguing that economic growth had to be balanced with environmental protections and for championing the maxim 'think globally, act locally,' " the Washington Post wrote.

As a young mother in New York City in the 1960s, she fought to make the battle against air pollution a priority in government and the media, helping organize Citizens for Clean Air. Despite a lot of resistance, she achieved some restrictions. "We got what we wanted," she told the Australian Financial Review, "but not before the New York business community branded us as communists. That was my first lesson in how hard entrenched powers resist change."

She then campaigned for social change, publishing a syndicated newspaper column, writing for publications including the Nation and Harvard Business Review, and lecturing around the world. She also wrote nine books, including The Politics of the Solar Age (1981), which aimed to expose "the economics priesthood" that help cause high inflation, unemployment, depleted natural resource and imminent worldwide ecological disaster. In a follow-up book, Building a Win-Win World (1996), she wrote, "My analysis was vilified by economists as wrong-headed and absurd. I learned to interpret this as evidence that I was hitting home."

New York Times reviewer Langdon Winner said that "Henderson writes in a lively, well-informed, deliberately outrageous style about matters important to us all. In her best moments she seems a capable successor to the late E.F. Schumacher. Those weary of threadbare liberal economics and repelled by present-day conservative nostrums will find here a great deal to ponder."


Graphic Mundi - Psu Press: Hakim's Odyssey by Fabien Toulme and Hanna Chute


Notes

Image of the Day: A Talk about Small Marvels

Morgenstern's Books in Bloomington, Ind., hosted Scott Russell Sanders (r.) for a discussion about his new novel-in-stories, Small Marvels (Indiana University Press). He spoke with Mitchell Teplitsky about writing a book over a 35-year span, the necessity of independent bookstores and university presses, and the hope he still holds for humanity. The conversation can be viewed here.


Pride Month Window Display: Carmichael's Bookstore

Carmichael's Bookstore, Louisville, Ky., shared a photo of the shop's front window display, noting: "Happy Pride Month! We have Pride displays up at all our stores with gems to peruse. While we want to showcase these books, know that there are many more LGBTQ+ books on our shelves also worth your time than can fit on a table display. Come in and check them out."


Personnel Changes at Simon & Schuster; Sourcebooks

Chrissy Noh has been promoted to executive director of marketing at Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing. She was most recently senior director of marketing.

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Tracy Nelson has joined Sourcebooks as senior director of sales, national accounts.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Kate DiCamillo on the Today Show

Today:
Good Morning America: Jessica Nabongo, author of The Catch Me If You Can: One Woman's Journey to Every Country in the World (National Geographic, $35, 9781426222269).

The View: David Duchovny, author of The Reservoir (Akashic Books, $19.95, 9781636140445).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Senator Raphael Warnock, author of A Way Out of No Way: A Memoir of Truth, Transformation, and the New American Story (Penguin Press, $28, 9780593491546).

Tomorrow:
Today Show: Kate DiCamillo, author of Raymie Nightingale (Candlewick Press, $7.99, 9780763696917).

Good Morning America: Julien Saunders and Kiersten Saunders, authors of Cashing Out: Win the Wealth Game by Walking Away (Portfolio, $25, 9780593329559).

Kelly Clarkson Show: Danielle Kartes, author of You Were Always There: Notes and Recipes for Living a Life You Love (Sourcebooks, $16.99, 9781728243870).


TV: Disclaimer

Lesley Manville (Phantom Thread) will appear in Alfonso Cuarón's upcoming Apple series Disclaimer, based on the novel by Renee Knight, Variety reported. Manville joins a cast that includes Cate Blanchett, Kevin Kline, Sacha Baron Cohen, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Hoyeon and Louis Partridge.

Cuarón serves as writer, director, and executive producer on Disclaimer via Esperanto Filmoj, which is currently under an overall deal at Apple. Emmanuel Lubezki and Bruno Delbonnel are directors of photography on the project. Esperanto Filmoj's Gabriela Rodriguez executive produces along with Anonymous Content's David Levine, Dawn Olmstead and Steve Golin. Blanchett executive produces and Knight serves as co-executive producer.



Books & Authors

Awards: Australian Booksellers' Winners; Goldsboro Books Glass Bell Longlist

The 2022 Australian Booksellers Association Booksellers' Choice Award winners were announced last night at the ABA gala dinner in Sydney. The winners:

ABA Nielsen Bookdata Adult Fiction Book of the Year: Love & Virtue by Diana Reid (Ultimo Press)
ABA Nielsen Bookdata Adult Non-Fiction Book of the Year: Love Stories by Trent Dalton (4th Estate Australia)
ABA Kids' Reading Guide Book of the Year: Rabbit, Soldier, Angel, Thief by Katrina Nannestad (ABC Books)

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A 12-title longlist has been released for the 2022 Goldsboro Books Glass Bell Award, which celebrates "the best storytelling across contemporary fiction, regardless of genre." The shortlist will be unveiled July 28. The winner, who receives both £2,000 (about $2,505) and a handmade glass bell, will be named September 8. This year's longlisted titles are:

The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris
Tall Bones by Anna Bailey
Mrs. March by Virginia Feito
We Are All Birds of Uganda by Hafsa Zayyan
The Prophets by Robert Jones Jr.
Sisterstong by Lucy Holland 
The Wolf Den by Elodie Harper 
Ariadne by Jennifer Saint
The Book of Form and Emptiness by Ruth Ozeki
Daughters of Night by Laura Shepherd-Robinson 
The Last Thing to Burn by Will Dean 
Threadneedle by Cari Thomas


Book Review

Review: If There Are Any Heavens: A Memoir

If There Are Any Heavens: A Memoir by Nicholas Montemarano (Persea Books, $24 hardcover, 9780892555574, July 19, 2022)

In May 2022, the United States passed a tragic milestone of the coronavirus pandemic: the death of the one millionth American from Covid-19. It takes a writer with the sensitivity and skill of Nicholas Montemarano to transform a statistic, even one as sad and shocking as this one, into a compelling story. If There Are Any Heavens: A Memoir is the heartbreaking account in verse of the death of Montemarano's 79-year-old mother, Catherine, in mid-January 2021, and a profoundly moving portrait of a son's love for his mother.

On January 6, 2021, Montemarano left his home in Lancaster, Pa., where he teaches creative writing at Franklin & Marshall College, and drove 10 hours to the home of his parents in the small town of Nappanee, Ind., their home in retirement. Both his parents had contracted Covid just before Christmas "near the end of the year/ people called the worst." Though his father suffered from an array of what has come to be known in the pandemic era as "co-morbidities," it's his mother who develops double pneumonia, and when her blood oxygen drops to a dangerously low level, she's rushed to the emergency room and then hospitalized.

Montemarano painstakingly documents the final 10 days of his mother's life and of the desperate efforts made to save her. He describes not one, but two "end-of-life" visits, when he is invited to the hospital to spend an hour with his dying mother, but is assured he can "take a little longer if you need/ no rush." Even after the first of these visits, there are moments of hope, when Montemarano and his twin sister, herself a nurse, cling to the belief that if their mother can continue to do her breathing exercises diligently, there is a chance she'll beat the odds and come home to her husband. But in the end, those glimpses of what recovery might look like are extinguished by the disease's relentless course. The mingled feelings of powerlessness and grief Montemarano experiences as the end of his mother's life approaches will be familiar to anyone who has been with a loved one in the final days of an implacable illness.

If There Are Any Heavens is a book whose substance and form match perfectly. Although Montemarano insists that his memoir is "not a poem," his spare, incantatory style is well-suited to his chosen format. He began writing the book a week after his mother's passing, and finished it on the one-month anniversary of her death, and the rawness of his personal grief is palpable. Though his story is specific--a description of only one death among more than a million--his eloquence transports it to the realm of the universal. --Harvey Freedenberg, freelance reviewer

Shelf Talker: Nicholas Montemarano movingly captures the final days of his mother's life as she succumbs to Covid-19 in early 2021.


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