Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Other Press (NY): Playing Under the Piano: From Downton to Darkest Peru by Hugh Bonneville

Shadow Mountain: Delicious Gatherings: Recipes to Celebrate Together by Tara Teaspoon

Berkley Books: The Last Russian Doll by Kristen Loesch

Charlesbridge Publishing: Too-Small Tyson (Storytelling Math) by Janay Brown-Wood, illustrated by Anastasia Williams

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

Spiegel & Grau: Brave Hearted: The Women of the American West by Katie Hickman

Austin Macauley: Lasseter's Truth by John Somerset

St. Martin's Press: Weyward by Emilia Hart


Eso Won Books in L.A. to Close

Eso Won Books in Los Angeles, Calif., one of the preeminent Black-owned bookstores in the U.S., will close its bricks-and-mortar business by the end of the year. The Los Angeles Times reported that James Fugate, co-owner of Eso Won with Tom Hamilton, confirmed that after more than three decades running the bookshop, they have decided to close their doors when the store's lease ends.

Fugate had appeared on the June 7 episode of Tavis Smiley's KBLA podcast, where he shared a summer reading list before fielding Smiley's question about rumors the store might close.

"It's coming to an end at the end of this year," Fugate said, to which Smiley replied: "Oh, James, say it ain't so, man!" 

Fugate continued: "We've been working at it a long time and at some point, I think people reach that point where that daily grind of coming into the store, even though we're open a small amount of time, you want to end that." The online side of the business may continue.

Fugate and Hamilton founded the bookstore in the late 1980s and changed locations several times before settling in historic Leimert Park Village, where the shop has been for more than a decade. The Times noted that Eso Won "has since established itself as a cultural center for L.A.'s Black community; the shop experienced an especially powerful surge of customers during the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests in the wake of George Floyd's murder. With only Fugate and Hamilton running it, Eso Won struggled to keep up with the sudden torrent of customers and online orders. But it was always a place where residents could find books about the Black experience, some of them hard to find anywhere else."

"Eso Won was where I would discover things that I didn't know about," said L.A. poet, scholar and performer Mike Sonksen. "It's a really important stop as a connoisseur of books.... There are places where people find their identities and find their friends, and Eso Won was one of those places."

Author and journalist Lynell George agreed: "James and Tom don't just sell books, they provide a sense of community. They have worked, over all this time, to fill in the gaps especially for Black readers and authors. You'd walk in and you'd just see this bountiful selection and it was exciting to travel through it.... I always feel rejuvenated after a visit with them."

Former South Los Angeles councilmember Jan Perry told LAist she can't imagine another store having the same impact: "Anything about Africa or African Americans or related, that is the go-to place in the city. They were devoted to the cause of educating people, and making sure that people had the broadest selection and choices of information."

CamCat Publishing: The Darker the Skies (Earth United) by Bryan Prosek

The Booktenders Comes to York, Maine

The Booktenders has opened in York, Maine, at 463 US Route 1, Seacoast Online reported. Co-owners Michelle Clarke and her husband, Rick, carry fiction and nonfiction for children, teens and adults, along with cookbooks and a small selection of donated, gently used books.

Michelle Clarke, who worked in publishing for around 20 years, told Seacoast Online that prior to her store opening in May, York did not have a bookstore. She and her husband "really wanted to fill that gap."

A lifelong reader, Clarke said she's wanted to open a bookstore of her own since she was 10 years old. The Covid-19 pandemic and resulting lockdown "helped us look at our priorities. Made us sort of think about what some of our long-term dreams are." And as she and her husband were thinking things over, a building became available on Route 1. Soon they decided the opportunity was too good to pass up.

"There is something about having a book in your hands," she said. "We can provide a connection that you can't get if you're shopping online."

Barefoot Books: Save 10%

Whimsy & Wild Emporium Opens in Bryan, Tex.

Whimsy & Wild Emporium has opened at 214 N Main St. in Bryan, Tex. KBTX reported that the downtown area "just got a little more whimsical" with a shop that "isn't just your average children's bookstore. Owners Maggie Ruiz and Lindsey Terry say that this is a place where kids can actually put themselves in the story they're reading."

"We're interactive in a way that kids get to come in and be immersed in some of their favorite books," said Ruiz.

In addition to books and toys, Whimsy & Wild Emporium features various places for photo opportunities, including a chest that resembles the wardrobe in the Chronicles of Narnia; a display from a scene in Harry Potter; and a party room where kids can choose the theme to Beauty and the Beast, Alice in Wonderland and others.

"Those are just really big, popular names that people know and that they enjoy. You can do a lot of things with that so we needed things that we could put in a story that people can engage with," Ruiz added.

Terry noted that when they were planning the children's bookstore, the co-owners thought downtown Bryan was the perfect place to put it and wanted it to be a spot that people made a point to come and visit. "What we wanted to do is to have something where it was a destination that you had to go to. I think the ultimate goal would be that this would be like a staple to downtown Bryan. That would just be really great that it got to continue and grow that much," Ruiz said.

Whimsy & Wild Emporium will also offer tutoring and music lessons, along with weekly summer camps. 

Candlewick Press (MA): The Real Dada Mother Goose: A Treasury of Complete Nonsense by Jon Scieszka, illustrated by Julia Rothman

International Update: 'Pass on the Magic' Book Drive in U.K.; 'Future Library' Opens in Norway

Several independent booksellers in the England are partnering with the Children's Book Project for this year's "Pass the Magic" campaign, in which bookshops receive donations of "gently used" children's books in an effort to combat book poverty among children. The Bookseller reported that "members of the local community are being encouraged to drop off books at their local participating bookshop. These will be gifted to other children with very few books of their own, and the campaign aims to generate 20,000 books."

The initiative, held in conjunction with Independent Bookshop Week (June 18-25), builds on last year's inaugural campaign, which saw 14 participating bookshops take in more than 6,000 donated books. This year, 37 shops are participating, including Tales on Moon Lane in Herne Hill, South London; and Bags of Books in Lewes, East Sussex. 

The event will take place during IBW and extend until July 9. Most participating bookshops are in London or in the south of England, but the charity hopes to expand its reach in subsequent years.

Children's Book Project founder Liberty Venn said: "Pass on the books your children have loved but grown out of and help us to put stories directly in other children's hands. It's a powerful way to combat book poverty and to give every child the chance to find a book that inspires them."


Last Sunday, the Future Library, a project created by Scottish artist Katie Paterson, was opened to the public in Oslo, Norway. The Guardian reported that after eight years, "manuscripts penned by some of the world's most famous living authors were delivered to 'the silent room' on the top floor of the Deichman library, where they will remain for the next 92 years."

Four of the Future Library's eight authors were on hand to "personally slide their manuscripts into one of the 100 glass drawers in the room constructed from 100 layers of undulating carved wood. Visibly awed and clutching their manuscripts, David Mitchell, Sjón and Tsitsi Dangarembga lined up in stockinged feet--Karl Ove Knausgård was barefoot--to enter the womb-like treehouse and deposit their stories. These works will not be read or published until 2114, when the Future Library will open its drawers to the world," the Guardian wrote.

Margaret Atwood, who was the first author to join the project in 2014 with "Scribbler Moon," had compared the concept with Sleeping Beauty, noting "how strange it is to think of my own voice--silent by then for a long time--suddenly being awakened after 100 years." 

Other writers participating in the Future Library project include Elif Shafak, Han Kang and Ocean Vuong. 

Mitchell said the day in 2114 when the library drawers are reopened "will be like Woodstock in the forest!" Knausgård added: "The magic is to make the future present for us now. The future doesn't exist, it's what we make it." Sjón described "this path here in the forest in Oslo (becoming) a metaphor for how literature works: it is the work of generations; writers are literally working in the footsteps of writers who went before them--and that is the magic of Katie's work: she makes enormous concepts like time and the universe visible and understandable."


In the latest edition of the Canadian Independent Booksellers Association's "Meet Our Member" series, CIBA featured the Whyte Museum Book Shop in Banff, Alb., which "has worked hard to adapt to the emerging needs of its customers--and the changing circumstances of the pandemic." Among the highlights of the q&a with manager Janet Boger:

I've visited many museum gift shops over the years but never a museum book shop! Can you tell us a bit about how the shop came to be?
The Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies, which opened in 1967, is situated along the Bow River in downtown Banff. The Whyte Museum Shop opened in the 1990s thanks to founders Catharine Robb Whyte and Peter Whyte. The original shop format was a traditional museum shop that offered a small selection of books on the area, art prints, local artisan crafts, and souvenirs. Now we are in the process of reinventing the shop into a more comprehensive bookshop to better serve both locals and tourists. We came to the realization that we are the best local source for books on history, culture, and general information about the area. So, we decided to refocus our efforts on improving our book selection. We changed our name to the Whyte Museum Book Shop and joined CIBA....

What do you love most about being an independent bookseller?
The most gratifying thing about selling books is the enrichment it gives to others. Everyone is different and comes out with a unique experience they are keen to share, good or bad, either way. How great is that! I like the challenges presented to me daily to solve – this is what keeps me in retail. It's a dynamic business that forces me to remain curious. I was once told by John Lennox, a very successful retail operator I trained under, 'once a retailer, always a retailer.' He was right." --Robert Gray

Parallax Press: Call Me by My True Names: The Collected Poems by Thich Nhat Hanh

Obituary Note: Lisa Hill

Lisa Hill

Lisa Hill, a long-time sales rep who worked at Random House, Simon & Schuster and Ingram, died June 9 after a short illness. She was 60 years old.

Hill joined Random House as a children's book rep in the late 1980s, before moving to Simon & Schuster in the 1990s after it started its children's sales group. At S&S, she served Southern bookstores and eventually left to join Ingram, where she was a national account manager until her early retirement.

Prior to entering the book business, Hill was a student of music, theater and business. Friends and colleagues remembered her for her keen wit, her left-of-center politics and her soft spots for "animals, birds, her garden and for brooches." She was also fond of a "well-made gin and tonic."

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to Doctors Without Borders, Crossroads, Hospice, Red Cross or St. Joseph's Peace Mission. Condolences and memories can be left for Hill's family  here. A virtual wake is being planned, with details to be announced.

G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!
The Survivalists
by Kashana Cauley
GLOW: Soft Skull: The Survivalists by Kashana Cauley

Aretha is a young Black lawyer whose single-minded dream of corporate success is challenged when she finds herself falling for Aaron, a doomsday prepper and illegal gun-stockpiler. While one dream unravels for her, an entirely new world unfurls--with darkly humorous explorations of race, privilege and friendship. With The Survivalists, Kashana Cauley, a former The Daily Show writer, makes her sparkling literary debut. Mensah Demary, editor-in-chief at Soft Skull, says there was "absolute, full-throated support and excitement from the minute the acquisition was announced internally," because of Cauley's observant, edgy writing and the important questions she raises about how to survive in 21st-century America as a Black woman. With a sharp sense of humor and insightful storytelling, Kashana Cauley has written a bold novel that will entertain and captivate. --Grace Rajendran

(Soft Skull, $27 hardcover, 9781593767273, January 10, 2023)


Shelf vetted, publisher supported


Image of the Day: Tom & Emma

Books Are Magic in Brooklyn, N.Y., hosted Tom Perrotta--his new novel is Tracy Flick Can't Win (Scribner)--in conversation with store owner and author Emma Straub (This Time Tomorrow; Penguin). The event was livestreamed, watch it here.

Cool Idea of the Day: 'Which Gibson's Bookseller Are You?' Quiz

Perhaps you're Gibson the Bookstore Cat?

"Have you ever wondered which Gibson's Bookstore bookseller you're the most similar to?" Gibson's Bookstore, Concord, N.H., asked on Facebook. "Now you can find out! Take our quiz and match with one of our booksellers, then jump over to our website and browse their staff picks to find your next read!" Check out the "Which Gibson's Bookseller Are You?" quiz here.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Candice Millard on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Candice Millard, author of River of the Gods: Genius, Courage, and Betrayal in the Search for the Source of the Nile (Doubleday, $32.50, 9780385543101).

On Stage: The Lady Hamlet

Sarah Schulman's The Lady Hamlet, "a gender-defying comedy about two women, both born to play Hamlet," will make its world premiere June 27-July 21 at the Provincetown Theater in Provincetown, Mass., Playbill reported. Directed by artistic director David Drake, the play's cast features Jennifer Van Dyck, Kate Levy, John Shuman, Anne Stott, Laura Scribner and Brandon Cordeiro.

"I am thrilled beyond measure for The Lady Hamlet to finally reach her audience," said Schulman. "I emerged as a playwright into a world of all-male, all-white seasons selected by mostly male artistic directors when the few women writers who could squeeze through had to confront a wall of all-male critics who knew nothing about women's lives. The new inclusion, fought for by women and people of color in the American theatre, includes lesbian protagonists, women writers over 50, and a reconsideration of serious/funny writers whose works were discarded in the blizzard of male sameness that dominated in repetition. David Drake asked himself the question that all artistic directors must ask, 'Where are the lesbian plays? Who are the women writers who have been overlooked?' The answer gives this fun and funny Lady Hamlet the life she has long deserved."

Movies: Persuasion

Netflix has released a trailer for the latest adaptation of Jane Austen's classic novel Persuasion, starring Dakota Johnson, with theater director Carrie Cracknell making her feature directorial debut, Indiewire reported. The cast also includes Cosmo Jarvis as Frederick Wentworth, along with Harry Golding, Richard E. Grant and Nikki Amuka-Bird.

Persuasion is produced by American Sniper Best Picture nominated producer Andrew Lazar and Christina Weiss Lurie. Executive producers are Elizabeth Cantillon via her untitled MRC Film Romance label, Michael Constable, and David Fliegel. The film premieres on Netflix July 15.

Books & Authors

Awards: James Beard Book Winners

The winners of the 2022 James Beard Foundation Book Awards are:

Baking and Desserts: Mooncakes and Milk Bread: Sweet and Savory Recipes Inspired by Chinese Bakeries by Kristina Cho (Harper Horizon)
Beverage with Recipes: The Way of the Cocktail: Japanese Traditions, Techniques, and Recipes by Julia Momosé with Emma Janzen (Clarkson Potter)
Beverage without Recipes: Girly Drinks: A World History of Women and Alcohol by Mallory O'Meara (Hanover Square Press)
General: Everyone's Table: Global Recipes for Modern Health by Gregory Gourdet with J.J. Goode (Harper Wave)
International: In Bibi's Kitchen: The Recipes and Stories of Grandmothers from the Eight African Countries that Touch the Indian Ocean by Hawa Hassan with Julia Turshen (Ten Speed Press)
Reference, History and Scholarship: Black Smoke: African Americans and the United States of Barbecue by Adrian Miller (University of North Carolina Press)
Restaurant and Professional: Mister Jiu's in Chinatown: Recipes and Stories from the Birthplace of Chinese American Food by Brandon Jew and Tienlon Ho (Ten Speed Press)
Single Subject: The Hog Book: A Chef's Guide to Hunting, Butchering and Cooking Wild Pigs by Jesse Griffiths (Wild Hog Project) 
U.S. Foodways: Mosquito Supper Club: Cajun Recipes from a Disappearing Bayou by Melissa M. Martin (Artisan Books)
Vegetable-Focused Cooking: The Korean Vegan Cookbook: Reflections and Recipes from Omma's Kitchen by Joanne Lee Molinaro (Avery)
Visuals: Take One Fish: The New School of Scale-to-Tail Cooking and Eating by Rob Palmer & Daniel New (Hardie Grant)
Writing: Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America by Marcia Chatelain (Liveright)
Cookbook Hall of Fame: The Zuni Café Cookbook: A Compendium of Recipes and Cooking Lessons from San Francisco's Beloved Restaurant by Judy Rodgers (Norton) (awarded posthumously)
Emerging Voice: Mooncakes and Milk Bread: Sweet and Savory Recipes Inspired by Chinese Bakeries by Kristina Cho (Harper Horizon)

Reading with... Trisha Prabhu

Trisha Prabhu is an anti-hate activist and the inventor of ReThink, an app that aims to stop cyberbullying. She is the author of the children's book ReThink the Internet: How to Make the Digital World a Lot Less Sucky (Philomel Books).

Handsell readers your book in 25 words or less:

GenZ is totally tech savvy... but not so digitally literate. ReThink the Internet is a fun, relatable "survival guide" to our digital world for today's youth.

On your nightstand now:

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling. Mindy's writing, just like her, is funny and witty, but also so deeply relatable. As an incredibly successful, strong South Asian American woman, she is deeply inspiring to me.

Favorite book when you were a child:

My favorite book when I was a child was Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls. Rawls's writing is so moving and personal, and I'll never forget Billy, Little Ann and Old Dan!

Your top five authors:

My top five authors would have to be Jhumpa Lahiri, for making the ordinary extraordinary with her beautiful writing; Khaled Hosseini, who makes worlds and experiences so vivid, they live forever in our minds; Gary D. Schmidt, who navigates the most difficult subjects in the most eye-opening way; Toni Morrison, whose incredible writing and life continue to inspire me; and John Green, who has written close to all of my young adult favorites.

Book you've faked reading:

Ulysses by James Joyce. I have two words: so long. If you have read it, kudos!

Book you're an evangelist for:

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I know I'm definitely not alone in being an evangelist for this timeless book. I read To Kill a Mockingbird as a child, and it sparked my quest to find justice, particularly for the voiceless. It's a mission that continues to drive me today.

Book you've bought for the cover:

I honestly can't remember a time I've done this... and I'm not sure if that's a good or bad thing.

Book you hid from your parents:

Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume. This classic remains a favorite book of mine... but not one that I ever wanted to discuss with my parents.

Book that changed your life:

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. I first read Anne Frank's diary when I was seven years old. Her courage, her wit, her humor and her grace has remained with me and continues to inspire me.

Favorite line from a book:

A little cliché, but I love this line from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling: "It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities."

Five books you'll never part with:

The Great Brain by John D. Fitzgerald is as heartwarming as it humorous; The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien brings every reader into the horror and raw truth of war; Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri is a beautiful collection of stories that capture so many elements of the Indian and Indian American experience; Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman offers tremendous insight into the human mind; and Ruby Holler by Sharon Creech--I will always remember Dallas and Florida!

Book you most want to read again for the first time:

I would most definitely want to read A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini again. There is nothing quite like the emotion I felt getting to know Mariam and Laila, two incredible Afghani women, and reading about their struggles and burdens.

Are books or their movies better?

I can confidently say that the book is almost always better!

Book Review

Children's Review: Nana, Nenek & Nina

Nana, Nenek & Nina by Liza Ferneyhough (Dial, $17.99 hardcover, 32p., ages 4-8, 9780593353943, August 9, 2022)

Liza Ferneyhough makes her author/illustrator debut with the delightfully clever Nana, Nenek & Nina. The picture book opens with a double-page spread introducing a three-person family, with the Golden Gate Bridge visible through their window. Photos hang on either side of the window, two of which are marked with explanatory arrows: on the left is Nenek ("the k is there, and not"), on the right is Nana ("sounds like banana"). On the left page, Mom holds a phone ("brring"), an overflowing suitcase at her feet; on the right, Dad and Nina anticipate a virtual connection ("beep beep") using a screen. Already, Ferneyhough adroitly reveals an impressive melding of minimal text and glorious art.

On the second double-page spread, the left and right sides create a cohesive image, but the gutter divides the illustration into two clearly different locations. The distinct rings from the previous page are matched to faraway locations: "beep beep" is Nana, standing in front of a country cottage; "brring" is Nenek, her tropical home aloft on stilts. "Nina has two grandmothers who live on opposite sides of the world," the text explains. The next bisected spread shows England (Big Ben) and Malaysia (Petronas Twin Towers), with speech bubbles capturing greetings in British English and Malay.

Visits commence: "To see Nana, Nina's family flies toward sunrise. To see Nenek, they fly toward the sunset instead." Ferneyhough keeps Nana on the left page, Nenek on the right, deftly revealing similarities and differences with each spread. Nina peeks out at roses and hedgehogs in Nana's garden; she looks out to monkeys amid palm trees at Nenek's. She needs woolly things and wellies (rainboots) to venture out with Nana, and just a dress and selipars (flip-flops) to enjoy the day with Nenek. Contrasts are artfully plenty, but Ferneyhough brilliantly connects similarities through text that reads across the top of both pages: "Everyone sits together," the left side begins, "at the dinner table to eat," the right side finishes. Details differ, yes, but the familiar routines lovingly bind everyone.

Ferneyhough, like Nina, lives in San Francisco and is part of a worldly brood. She was born in Kuala Lumpur and grew up visiting Nana Irene in her village and Nenek Jariah in her kampung. Those beloved memories clearly inspire her whimsical, heartwarming debut, painted on tea-strained paper with gorgeous watercolors, all dazzlingly enhanced by her ingenious presentation. --Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon

Shelf Talker: This gloriously accomplished picture book debut is inspired by the author/artist's childhood memories of visiting her grandmothers on opposite sides of the world.

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