Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, July 20, 2022


Workman Publishing: The Reverse Coloring Book(tm) Mindful Journeys: Be Calm and Creative: The Book Has the Colors, You Draw the Lines by Kendra Norton

Aladdin Paperbacks: Return of the Dragon Slayers: A Fablehaven Adventure (Dragonwatch #5) by Brandon Mull

Norton Young Readers: Children of Stardust by Edudzi Adodo

Union Square & Co.: Wait for Me by Sara Shepard

Grove Press: Sugar Street by Jonathan Dee

Peachtree Teen: Aces Wild: A Heist by Amanda DeWitt

News

Grand Opening for Femme Fire Books in Jacksonville, Fla.

Vanessa Nicolle

Femme Fire Books hosted its grand opening last weekend at 2766 Park St. Suite 1, Jacksonville, Fla. The Florida Times-Union reported that owner Vanessa Nicolle "is expanding her previously online and pop-up event sales model of books written by women and people of color." When she started her online bookstore, she wanted to build a community for readers who didn't have much representation in the literary world. Two years later, that vision has resulted in the launch of her bricks-and-mortar store.

In April, Nicolle learned that Cultivate Jax, a home goods store that sold books as part of Femme Fire's "blind date with a book" program, had a space for lease opening up. "The opportunity presented itself, and, out of 20 applicants, they decided to punch in on an indie bookstore," she said.

Since signing the lease in May, she has been preparing the storefront to fulfill Femme Fire Books' mission "to celebrate diversity and encourage reading for all... and to raise the voices of women and people of color," the Times-Union wrote.

"I started Femme Fire Books just before the pandemic really started," Nicolle recalled. "I was kind of doing it just for fun because I love to read, and I love to share my books. I thought 'Let me try to send out books, and I'll see where this goes.' " 

Nicolle launched her online bookstore while deployed with the Navy, and said she could not stop thinking about the business. When she got out of active duty last September, she began going to more pop-up events with her books. Calling the community response "overwhelmingly positive," she said: "People were saying, 'This bookstore is so cool,' and 'I feel so seen.' I think the most fun and fulfilled I feel is when I get to interact with my customers that come to my pop-ups who I get to see are so excited [about] a bookstore like mine in Jacksonville."

News4JAX noted that Nicolle "is Filipino-American and made sure to have stories reflecting her heritage on the shelves, like Halo Halo by Filipino author Justine Ramos." 

"Seeing that interaction of people like picking up a book and seeing themselves is just like, you just can't really explain it," she said.


Berkley Books: City Under One Roof by Iris Yamashita


Dana Canedy Stepping Down as S&S Publisher to Focus on Writing Career

Dana Canedy

Dana Canedy, who joined Simon & Schuster in July 2020 as senior v-p and publisher of the S&S trade imprint, is giving up the position in order to concentrate on her writing, in particular the sequel to A Journal for Jordan: A Story of Love and Honor, her 2008 memoir that was adapted into a movie by Denzel Washington and released last year. As a co-producer, she was deeply involved in the making of the movie. A Journal for Jordan is about Canedy's life with her war-hero partner and the journal he left behind for their infant son before he was killed in combat in Iraq.

In announcing the change to staff, S&S president and CEO Jonathan Karp noted that S&S has acquired the book, which it plans to publish in 2024, and called Canedy's choice to step down as publisher "a difficult decision which reflects Dana's professionalism and her understandable belief that it would be hard to excel as both an author and a publisher simultaneously. Although we will miss working day-to-day with Dana, I fully support her decision to devote herself to this project, which I'm sure will ultimately be a great benefit to Simon & Schuster and multitudes of readers."

Canedy succeeded Karp when he was promoted to president and CEO of S&S following the death of Carolyn Reidy in May 2020. Karp is resuming the role of publisher of the S&S imprint "for the foreseeable future." He also emphasized that Canedy "will remain very much a part of the Simon & Schuster family, so no goodbyes are necessary. In fact, Dana will be available to all of us for consultation on any publishing matters, including to see through the publication of books by Eugene Robinson and Mike Pence's memoir, which she was instrumental in acquiring, and Erica Armstrong Dunbar, whom Dana has championed since she arrived at Simon & Schuster."

Canedy commented: "It has been so rewarding to work with the talented, dedicated, and truly collegial staff at Simon & Schuster. I am pleased to continue to be a part of the Simon & Schuster family, collaborating with the team to bring readers books by these important authors. I had not quite expected the profound impact that our movie would have on me. And after the overwhelming response to it, prompting daily requests for a follow-up to my first book, I concluded that the time is right to write the sequel to A Journal for Jordan. Knowing as I do the quality and the pride that Simon & Schuster applies to every book it publishes, I can also think of no better home for my next book."

From 2017 to 2020, Canedy was administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes and before that spent 20 years at the New York Times, writing on a range of topics including business and finance, race and class, terrorism, politics, law enforcement, and crime. She was a lead writer and editor on the series "How Race Is Lived in America," which won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for national reporting. Earlier she was a reporter for the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Palm Beach Post.

Karp added, "Over the past two years, Dana Canedy has improved and bolstered the Simon & Schuster imprint in innumerable ways: by attracting incredibly talented authors and editors; by offering us fresh eyes on our practices through her perspective as an award-winning journalist and bestselling author; and by bringing vitality, voice, and humanity to Simon & Schuster, as I knew she would."


KidsBuzz for the Week of 08.08.22


International Update: Heatwave Bakes U.K. Book Trade; RISE Booksellers Attend French Conference

A selection of cool reads at Grove Bookshop, Ilkley, U.K.

Publishers are encouraging staff to "make their own judgement calls" about where to work during the heatwave, as events are canceled and bookshop customer traffic has been affected by the record heatwave in parts of the U.K., the Bookseller reported. 

"With our flexible working and flexible hours policies, our people have the choice of how and where they want to work over the heatwave," a spokesperson from Bonnier Books UK said. "We'll continue to support them to work in the way that suits them best over this period." 

A Simon & Schuster spokesperson noted: "With the U.K. set to declare its first ever Level 4 national emergency over the next few days, S&S U.K. staff are encouraged to make their own judgement calls about coming into the office."

Waterstones said it is trading "normally but has seen a drop in footfall, and staff have been advised to take "sensible precautions" and stay well hydrated in the hot weather. 

At Afrori Books in Brighton, owner Carolynn Bain reported consistent business, with trade picking up after 3 p.m. "when people are on their way back from the beach [and] the weather is a little bit cooler.... We have a large water cooler near the door and that has enticed people in and the shop is quite airy so it definitely feels cooler than outside, even without any air con." 

Gay's the Word bookshop in London was busy over the weekend. "Loads of people were in town," said manager Jim MacSweeney. "I gave one of my co-workers a day off today so they didn't have to endure the heat of the Tube and I cycled in. Where are the people coming from? They want books. The proper heat is only now kicking in so it may level off. We're all in shorts and it's not air-conditioned."

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As part of the RISE Bookselling initiative, three booksellers from different parts of the world recently accompanied the European & International Booksellers Federation team to Angers in western France for Les Rencontres Nationales (RNL) de la Librairie, a biennial conference dedicated to bookselling and booksellers, organized by the Syndicat de la Librairie Française.

EIBF director Julie Belgrado and EIBF policy assistant Tora Åsling were joined by booksellers Marianne Reiner of La Playa Books in San Diego, Calif.; Olaf Tigchelaar of Kramer & van Doorn in Zeist, the Netherlands; and Oana Dobosi of La Două Bufniţe in Timisoara, Romania.

During a panel on the future of consumption, Reiner--originally from France but now working as a bookseller in the U.S.--shared insights about the daily life of American booksellers and implored her French colleagues to act quickly against the threat that Amazon poses to their market.

Tigchelaar was on a panel featuring booksellers from Quebec, Germany and the Netherlands. They examined three different kinds of distribution systems, with Tigchelaar explaining how the centralized Dutch system allows for 24-hour deliveries.

At the closing panel, "Bookshop, 'I love you, me neither...', Dobosi explained how the love of bookselling led her to become creative during the pandemic with ideas like inventing a new business model and selling "books to go" through her shop window, hosting story times for the young audience via Zoom, and starting a website to keep her business going and connecting with customers.

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In India, Gulshan Books Kashmir posted on Facebook: "Srinagar International Airport gets its first bookstore. For book lovers, nothing is better than  having a new bookstore to explore. Gulshan Books Kashmir begins a new chapter with the launch of their new bookstore at Srinagar International Airport, offering something for everyone." --Robert Gray


Sidelines Snapshot: Stuffed Animals, Puzzles, Journals and Baby Toys

At Bethany Beach Books in Bethany Beach, Del., stickers, stuffed animals, tote bags and puzzles are selling very well, reported manager and event coordinator Zandria Senft. In particular, she said she's been blown away by the stuffed animals the store is selling, particularly those by Merry Makers and Folkmanis. Delaware recently banned plastic bags, Senft continued, so the store has seen a "huge uptick" in sales of tote bags and reusable bags. They're sourced from Out of Print, Gibbs Smith and Chico.

Asked about recent additions, Senft said the store has brought in some new stickers, bookmarks with timers and locally made candles, which the staff is "super excited about." Elaborating on the subject of local sidelines, she pointed to cards and magnets that are very popular. The store is right on the beach, and as such there are plenty of "beach-themed sidelines," and perennial favorites include things like puzzles, bookmarks and candles. Senft added that the store has been "super lucky" and has not seen any supply-chain issues recently.

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Lili Chin print

In Los Angeles, Calif., Skylight Books is seeing strong journal and birthday card sales, said sidelines buyer Frieda Gossett-Clayton. Lately she's been ordering a lot of journals from DesignWorks Ink and Block Block Publishing. For cards, there are "so many" different suppliers, but Gossett-Clayton said she really enjoys Gold Teeth Brooklyn and Carolyn Suzuki Goods, to name just two. Continuing on the subject of journals, she added that she routinely orders from Mal Paper, Moleskine and HIGHTIDE.

Asked about interesting new additions, Gossett-Clayton pointed to Studio Roof wall decorations. The elaborate, "super colorful" decorations are made of cardboard and assembled by slotting the different pieces together. The materials are eco-friendly and she said they're appealing to both children and adults. For locally sourced sidelines, Gossett-Clayton mentioned the designer Lily Chin, who makes posters and prints that are very popular with dog owners. She noted that puzzles have cooled off a bit after being exceptionally popular earlier in the pandemic, but sales of puzzles by Areaware and Piecework Puzzles are still strong.

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Flashcards and cups from Pretty Please Teethers.

Ashley Valentine, owner of Rooted MKE in Milwaukee, Wis., said Allura & Arcia's daily affirmation cards for kids are very popular at the moment, and she's brought in some new baby play and exploration toys recently from a small business called Pretty Please Teethers, which makes teethers, stackable cups, chewable flash cards, rattles and more. She also carries hand-poured soy candles from a local supplier called Blossom Candle Co.

Asked about items that are perennial favorites for the store, Valentine mentioned multi-purpose swaddles made by the Rooted Baby Co. The swaddles are dyed by hand and can be used as swaddles, nursing cloths, scarves and small blankets. On the topic of supply-chain issues, Valentine said she hasn't experienced any, and noted that she generally orders directly from the small businesses that make these items. --Alex Mutter


Obituary Note: Frederick Nolan 

British writer Frederick Nolan, a novelist, historian, publisher and an expert on the wild west gunslinger Billy the Kid, died June 15, the Guardian reported. He was 91. Nolan wrote more than 70 books--thrillers, historical fiction, romance, westerns, mysteries and biographies--in his own name, as well as under the pseudonyms Frederick H. Christian, Daniel Rockfern, Christine McGuire and Benjamin Rabier.

Among his best known works were the wartime thrillers The Oshawa Project (1974, published in the U.S. as The Algonquin Project), which was adapted into the film Brass Target; and The Mittenwald Syndicate (1976). A lover of American musicals, Nolan also wrote The Sound of Their Music: The Story of Rodgers & Hammerstein (1978) and Lorenz Hart: A Poet on Broadway (1994).

His fascination with American old west dated to his childhood, and later focused on Billy the Kid. Nolan's books on the legendary outlaw include The Lincoln County War: A Documentary History (1992); Bad Blood: The Life and Times of the Horrell Brothers (1994); The West of Billy the Kid (1998), and The Billy the Kid Reader (2007).

"Certainly as a Billy the Kid historian and Lincoln County War historian, Fred reigned supreme," Albuquerque author and Billy the Kid historian Chuck Usmar told the Santa Fe New Mexican. "He's the touchstone for scholarship."

While working as a shipping clerk and typewriter salesman in Liverpool during the 1950s, Nolan became a connoisseur of western fiction and in 1954 co-founded of the English Westerners' Society, an offshoot of the U.S. society formed by those interested in the ways of the old west, the Guardian noted. His book The Life and Death of John Henry Tunstall (1965) was published by the University of New Mexico Press, "despite the young Englishman never having set foot in the U.S., let alone Lincoln County," the Guardian reported. 

Michael Legat, managing editor at Corgi Books, invited Nolan to become a reader for the publisher, which led to a staff job in 1960 and eventually to a post as European sales rep. Between 1969 and 1974, when he turned to writing full time, he ran publicity for Penguin, William Collins, Fontana and Granada in London, and Ballantine Books in New York.

"Meanwhile he was churning out western novels, at least 25 in eight years," the Guardian wrote. "For his books in the Sudden series, he named the characters after his publishing work colleagues, and more than one upright book man was surprised to find himself appearing in print as a 'cold-eyed killer.' " 


Notes

Image of the Day: Ware at Parnassus

British author Ruth Ware is in the midst of a two-week, nine-city, in-person U.S. tour for her novel The It Girl (Scout Press/Gallery), which included a sold-out stop at Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tenn., this past weekend. Pictured: Ware (l.) with her editor, v-p & executive editor Alison Callahan.


Reading Group Choices' Most Popular June Books

The two most popular books in June at Reading Group Choices were The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill (Poisoned Pen Press) and The Lies I Tell by Julie Clark (Sourcebooks Landmark).


Personnel Changes at Kaye Publicity

Kaitlyn Kennedy will join Kaye Publicity as publicity director on August 1. She has previously held positions at Berkley, William Morrow, and Sourcebooks, and is currently a senior account executive at Agency H5.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Lindsey Fitzharris on Fresh Air

Today:
Fresh Air: Lindsey Fitzharris, author of The Facemaker: A Visionary Surgeon's Battle to Mend the Disfigured Soldiers of World War I (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $30, 9780374282301).

Tomorrow:
Drew Barrymore Show repeat: Lilly Singh, author of Be a Triangle: How I Went from Being Lost to Getting My Life into Shape (Ballantine, $20, 9780593357811).


Movies: The Graveyard Book

Marc Forster is set to direct the Walt Disney Studios adaptation of Neil Gaiman's 2008 novel The Graveyard Book, Deadline reported. His producing partner, Renée Wolfe, will produce through their 2Dux2 banner along with Gil Netter. Ben Browning is also producing. David Magee is adapting the script.

Disney, Forster and Wolfe previously worked together on the Winnie the Pooh live-action movie, Christopher Robin, which 2Dux2 also produced. Forster is currently in post-production on two films he produced and he directed: White Bird, the sequel to Wonder, written by R.J. Palacio; and A Man Called Otto, based on the novel by Fredrik Backman and written by Magee, who also penned the script for Forster's Finding Neverland.



Books & Authors

Awards: AKP Caine for African Writing Winner

Kenyan writer Idza Luhumyo won the £10,000 (about $11,830) AKO Caine Prize for African Writing for her short story "Five Years Next Sunday," which was published in Disruption: New Short Fiction from Africa and won the Short Story Day Africa Prize. She is the fifth Kenyan writer to win the Caine Prize after Binyavanga Wainaina (2002), Yvonne Owuor (2003), Okwiri Oduor (2014) and Makena Onjerika (2018). 

Chair of judges Okey Ndibe said: "What we liked about the story was the mystical office of the protagonist, who is both ostracized and yet holds the fate of her community in her hair. She is stripped of agency by her immediate family, as well as the Europeans who give the impression of placing her on a pedestal, yet within that seeming absence of agency, and oppressive world, is her stubborn reclamation of herself. The dramatic tension in the story is so powerful and palpable that it's like something you could cut with a knife."


Reading with... Jean Thompson

photo: Justine Bursoni

Jean Thompson is the author of 15 works of fiction, both novels and short story collections, including the National Book Award finalist Who Do You Love and The Year We Left Home. Her newest novel, The Poet's House (Algonquin, July 12, 2022), about a young woman who discovers the insular world of writers, is a wry meditation on art, both as transformative and in the ways in which it can be leveraged as commerce. Thompson lives in Urbana, Ill.

Handsell readers your book in 25 words or less:

A young woman trying to find her way in the world falls in love with poetry and the lives and adventures of the poets themselves.

On your nightstand now:

Dan Chaon's Sleepwalk, Christina Clancy's Shoulder Season, Andrew J. Graff's Raft of Stars, Peter Rock's Passersthrough.

Favorite book when you were a child:

I think it must have been Frances Hodgson Burnett's A Little Princess. A rich, kind and imaginative young girl in Victorian London loses her money and family, is forced to live in reduced circumstances and is cruelly treated by the meanie boarding school headmistress. Yet she perseveres and refuses to be defeated. Need I add that by the end of the book, her money and status have been restored and she triumphs over her adversaries?

Your top five authors:

I never do a very good job at this question. How about narrowing it just to short story writers? Chekhov for modernizing the story; Alice Munro and Raymond Carver for elevating it; Flannery O'Connor for making works of genius out of her obsessions; and Peter Taylor for writing "The Old Forest."

Book you've faked reading:

I don't think I've actually lied about having read Moby-Dick, but I have been happy to stay silent about it and nod and let people assume I have. On the other hand, I actually did read The House of the Seven Gables. How many other people can say that?

Book you're an evangelist for:

James Conrad's Making Love to the Minor Poets of Chicago, a great comic novel about poets misbehaving, as do the poets in my new book. Conrad has them competing for the right to place a poem on the doors of the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Depository. It's all absurd and great fun.

Book you've bought for the cover:

I expect I would have eventually read the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but those Barbara Remington covers made you want to dive right into Middle-earth.

Book you hid from your parents:

I was 11 years old and a precocious reader. I went through stacks and stacks of books, constantly. My mother and a neighbor were laughing about Gone with the Wind and whether I ought to be allowed to read it. Not the last third or so, they agreed. Well, I got my hot little hands on my mother's copy, squirreled it away and spent all night reading it on the bathroom floor. Then I put it back where I'd found it. Of course, my mother and her friend were thinking of the scene where Rhett hauls Scarlett up the stairs and into bed. I can't remember if I found it shocking or titillating or puzzling. But how G-rated it seems now and how much more disturbing the episode where Rhett uses his hands to squeeze Scarlett's head. And as for Scarlett giggling about the whole thing the next morning? What in the world was I learning from this? Maybe none of us should have been allowed to read it.

Book that changed your life:

I know this isn't the way you're meant to answer, but I have to say it was my own first book, The Gasoline Wars. I was 29 years old and I was a writer. It said so right there.

Favorite line from a book:

"Beware; for I am fearless, and therefore powerful." --Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

Five books you'll never part with:

The Complete Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales, Stella Gibbons's Cold Comfort Farm, Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar's The Madwoman in the Attic, James Agee's A Death in the Family, Leo Tolstoy's The Death of Ivan Ilyich and Other Stories.

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

Wally Lamb's She's Come Undone. So much that is sad and uncomfortable, even the humor. But when Dolores comes into her own and reveals her past, I've never laughed out loud so hard.

How you expect readers will respond to your narrator, Carla, and to the poets themselves:

I expect there might be some actual poets who read the book. I hope that they, and others, will recognize different personalities and different types: the flamboyant eccentric, the earnest striver, the beloved elder at the end of their career. And I hope they will forgive my attempts at writing poetry myself. Carla is young, and her faults and mistakes are those of a young person. She can be abrasive and smartass and often seems too sure of herself when she's anything but. I hope the reader will root for her, because Carla is her own severest critic--and some very good things come from her growing pains. Not only does she gain in self-knowledge, but she also ends up helping others.


Book Review

Children's Review: The Door of No Return

The Door of No Return by Kwame Alexander (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, $17.99 hardcover, 432p., ages 10-up, 9780316441865, September 27, 2022)

In this foreboding yet mesmerizing historical novel in verse by Newbery Medalist Kwame Alexander (The Undefeated; The Crossover), Asante villager Kofi Offin comes face to face with the door of no return.

Eleven-year-old Kofi lives with his tight-knit family in a Ghanaian village called Upper Kwanta. He spends his time with friends Ebo and Ama and attending school, where he learns English, European history and Western values. As Kofi develops a crush on Ama, it becomes clear to him that his cousin is also smitten. Kofi decides he will prove that he is the better romantic interest by challenging his cousin to a race in the river Offin, for which he is named.

Meanwhile, Upper Kwanta and a neighboring village, Lower Kwanta, celebrate their annual peace treaty. At the festival, the prince of Lower Kwanta dies during a wrestling match with Kofi's older brother, Kwasi. Reprisal from Lower Kwanta is almost certain, but Kofi focuses on the imminent river challenge with his cousin. The river plays a huge role in Kofi's life. Though it is a place of happiness for him and his friends, villagers gossip that beasts dwell there at night. Kofi questions the gossip until he sees for himself that there truly are monstrous things hiding near the water. Kofi, accompanied by Kwasi, goes to the river to practice for the race. When they arrive, they find traps--snares designed specifically to capture humans. The moment Kofi is caught, he is placed on a path that leads directly to the door of no return.

Alexander's descriptive language, moody tone and sometimes distressing scenes explore and expose Kofi's emotions, allowing readers to empathize and connect with him. The book unfolds predominantly in verse, which carries readers swiftly through this riveting work of historical fiction. Each chapter begins with a prose interlude, headed by an Adinkra symbol, each of which has "representations and meanings... linked to fables" and is "used to bestow wisdom and knowledge." Alexander's use of the symbols both foreshadow Kofi's journey and give further context to Kofi's world. Alexander masterfully displays Asante culture in Kofi's everyday life through games like oware, the cuisine, storytelling and the use of Twi, the native tongue. Copious backmatter includes a Twi glossary, author's note, legend for Adinkra symbols and a list of real locations used in the book. --Kharissa Kenner, children's librarian, Bank Street School for Children

Shelf Talker: An 11-year-old Ghanian boy must fight for his survival in this gut-wrenching historical novel in verse from Newbery Medalist Kwame Alexander.


KidsBuzz: Enemies (Berrybrook Middle School #5) by Svetlana Chmakova
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