Shelf Awareness for Thursday, July 28, 2022

Chronicle Books: Stella & Marigold by Annie Barrows, Illustrated by Sophie Blackall

Poisoned Pen Press: The Boyfriend by Frieda McFadden

St. Martin's Press: Disney High: The Untold Story of the Rise and Fall of Disney Channel's Tween Empire

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

Graphix: 39 Clues: One False Note (39 Clues Graphic Novel #2) by Gordon Korman, Illustrated by Hannah Templer


Employees Unionize at Book Soup and Page 1 Books

Employees at Book Soup in West Hollywood, Calif., and Page 1 Books in Albuquerque, N.Mex., have joined the growing ranks of independent booksellers unionizing since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Per the Los Angeles Times, Book Soup employees announced on May 5 their intent to unionize, and last month, Vroman's in Pasadena, Calif., which owns Book Soup, voluntarily recognized the union. The two sides are currently in bargaining.

Bookstore workers chose to organize primarily over wages and staffing issues, as well as communication, "disability access, fairer distribution of labor, greater transparency from leadership" and more say in workplace decisions.

Audrey Kaufman, senior supervisor at Book Soup and organizing committee member, told the Times that the union was the employees' way of addressing longstanding issues and "setting certain boundaries, which is healthy to do in any relationship." Kaufman added that Book Soup employees were inspired by the other indie booksellers around the country who have unionized in recent months.

Prior to the pandemic, Book Soup "had a roster of about 25 on-call staff, part-time and full-time, to help run the store, with at least six people scheduled to work each day." Many employees were furloughed or laid off when the bookstore had to close in early 2020, and though operations have returned to normal, staffing has not returned to pre-pandemic levels. Book Soup staff members also attribute those hiring difficulties to low pay.

Julia Cowlishaw, CEO of Vroman's and Book Soup, told the Times that the store has been short on personnel due to the pandemic and has been "working to hire consistently since reopening and the payroll hours budgeted for Book Soup are equivalent to 2019." Cowlishaw also noted that even when the store increased pay to help with holiday staffing, they still had trouble bringing in enough people.

"We care about our colleagues at Book Soup and we are optimistic about finding common ground and a path toward a healthy working environment for the long-term viability of Book Soup and the people who make Book Soup the legendary bookstore that it has become," Cowlishaw continued.


According to Source NM, all 10 non-management employees at Page 1 Books in Albuquerque, N.Mex., have signed union authorization cards. The bookstore, which is owned by Steven Stout, has not voluntarily recognized the union.

Tori Cardenas, an employee working in Page 1's receiving area, told Source NM that he and his colleagues decided to organize over staffing issues, low wages and working conditions involving air conditioning, window shades and drinking water.

Bookseller Heather Freeman said employees suffer from understaffing and stagnant wages. They often have to fill multiple roles in the store, and the store's starting wage of $12 per hour, she argued, is not enough to keep up with inflation and the rising cost of living in New Mexico.

Cardenas noted that while the bookstore does have air conditioning, it isn't adequate for extremely hot summer days, and a water fountain was removed from the bookstore roughly a month ago. There is also high staff turnover at the store, he added.

Employees began talking about a union roughly two months ago. They reached out to the Industrial Workers of the World to help; Freeman said they chose IWW because of the independence individual unions have.

"Pretty much everybody has been on board right away, or after a couple of quick conversations," Freeman said.

Peachtree: The Littlest Yak: Home Is Where the Herd Is by Lu Fraser, Illustrated by Kate Hindley

Tenn.'s Nolensville Book Nook Holding Grand Opening This Sunday

Jessica Bates (l.) and Dr. Liz Kiilerich-Bowles, owners of Nolensville Book Nook.

Childhood friends Dr. Liz Kiilerich-Bowles and Jessica Bates have founded the Nolensville Book Nook, a children's bookstore in Nolensville, Tenn., near Nashville, reported the WilliamsonHomePage. The store will hold its grand opening this Sunday, July 31, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at noon, giveaways and food and beverages for customers.

As the news site recounted, Kiilerich-Bowles has been an educator for 15 years, mostly as a first-grade teacher. She took a break when the Covid pandemic started, then decided to return to teaching, at the preschool level, "where the idea for the Nolensville Book Nook began. She said working with preschoolers reminded her of how important literacy is for young children."

Kiilerich-Bowles said, "I realized Nolensville did not have a children's bookstore. So it kind of was this light bulb of--I love taking my kids to the bookstore, and there's lots of families here in Nolensville with young children, and you know, was a gap that was missing for our town."

Last October, she talked about the idea with Bates, who was immediately interested and recalled, "Reading and books and writing were always a big part of my life and a big part of who I am, and so when I had kids, it obviously continued, and I feel a lot of excitement watching them interact with books and all the worlds that books can open for you."

The pair started by selling at pop-up events, then found a space in the front section of Southern Eatery Diner.

The two want to "create a space where not only can you come look at books and see awesome books we've curated, but a space for community and classes and connection," Bates said.

The Book Nook plans classes, activities, book clubs, author events and more. Among them: a music class for preschoolers every other week, a bilingual story time with a Spanish-speaking instructor who will do crafts and activities, and an early literacy class for young children.

Nicola's Books in Ann Arbor, Mich., Renamed Schuler Books

Nicola's Books, Ann Arbor, Mich., has been renamed Schuler Books, like the two other stores owned by Bill and Cecile Fehsenfeld, located in Grand Rapids and Okemos.

Former owner Nicola Rooney purchased the bookstore, originally known as the Little Professor, in 1995 and changed its name to Nicola's Books. In 2014, Rooney sold the store to Schuler Books. Although it was decided during the transition to leave the name Nicola's Books in place, in the ensuing years "the store has been a member of the Schuler Books family in everything but name," the company noted.

The name change will be accompanied by other developments. The company is in the process of annexing the former Old Siam restaurant, which, when completed, will allow for a more spacious children's section, the addition of a used book section, and the ability to increase selection in other areas of the store. 

For the Fehsenfelds, who are both University of Michigan graduates and met while working at Ulrich's Books in Ann Arbor, purchasing Nicola's Books had been "like coming home for them, and they remain invested in the community. They believe that every community needs strong bookstores to grow and remain vital." 

Schuler Books also said that since changing ownership, Nicola's Books "has maintained its unique personality and long-time community partnerships while continuing exceptional customer service, increasing inventory, presenting quality event programming, supporting local authors, and adding several new product lines including educational toys, art supplies and stationery. It successfully weathered the pandemic due to the excellence of its staff and the support of neighboring businesses and loyal customers."

What's next? "Well, construction dust for one!" the bookseller noted. "You'll also see the Schuler Books logo appearing in-store, our website transition to, and our social media migrate to the Schuler Book channels and pages over time. While your in-store experience won’t change, digitally you’ll get to know our other locations a little better and those customers will get to know our Ann Arbor store. We'll be sure to keep you updated here as these changes are implemented. Lastly, our new name will go up on the front of the store, and we'll have a little celebration with you, our valued customer. We look forward to this next chapter as Schuler Books Ann Arbor."

Eileen Kreit Leaving Viking and Philomel

Eileen Kreit

Eileen Kreit is leaving her position as v-p, business development of Viking Books for Young Readers and Philomel Books, after a 35-year career at Penguin Random House. Her last day is this Friday, July 29. As president and publisher Ken Wright wrote in a letter to staff, after "much soul-searching over the last months, Eileen has made the decision that it is time to think about her next adventure."

Kreit began her publishing career in 1990 on the sales team at the Putnam Berkley Publishing Group. In 2000, after the Penguin Putnam merger, she was named director of national accounts. In 2004, she moved to the publishing side of Penguin Young Readers and was named v-p and publisher of Puffin Books, and become president and publisher in 2007. In 2018, she moved to her present position.

Wright noted many of Kreit's publishing successes, including expanding the Penguin Young Readers' paperback publishing program and expanding the publishing program of Roald Dahl in the U.S.; expanding the Corduroy, Madeline and Pippi Longstocking franchises; the 40th anniversary celebration of Mildred Taylor's Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry; continuing sales of The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton; and her involvement in publishing Judy Blume, the Stranded series by Jeff Probst and Chris Tebbetts, Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle and more.

Wright commented: "We all know Eileen as an amazing advocate for our books, our authors, and our readers, and also, to so many of us, she is not just a colleague, but a wise mentor, a dear friend and an encouraging and charismatic partner.... Eileen's infectious spirit, congeniality, and humor have graced the halls at Penguin and PYR for the more than 30 years she has been with the company. She has been a wonderful friend and trusted colleague to so many of us. While we will truly miss her, I'm so pleased with her excitement about the exploration of what is next for her and wish her much happiness in everything that the future brings."

Obituary Note: Diana Kennedy

Diana Kennedy

Diana Kennedy, the British-born food writer "who dedicated her career to promoting the richness and diversity of Mexico's culinary heritage and helped to popularize the national cuisine in the English-speaking world," died July 24, the Guardian reported. She was 99. The Mexican culture ministry confirmed her death at her home in Michoacán and paid tribute to her legacy, saying that she, "like few others," understood that conserving nature and its diversity was crucial to upholding the myriad culinary traditions of Mexico.

During her lifetime, Kennedy was referred to as the "Julia Child of Mexican cuisine," the "Mick Jagger of Mexican cuisine" and even the "Indiana Jones of food"--the latter from renowned chef José Andrés, who wrote: "She loved Mexico, Mexicans and Mexican cooking like no one! Her books open a window into the soul of Mexico! She gave voice to the many Mexican cooks, specially women. She was my teacher and already miss her. Will cook together one day again!"

Kennedy and her husband moved to Mexico in the 1950s and spent years living in Michoacán. "Having fallen in love with the country and its cultures, she worked to preserve native ingredients and traditional recipes under threat from growing urbanization, and spent decades documenting cuisines she found in villages, markets and homes across Mexico in books including The Cuisines of Mexico and The Art of Mexican Cooking," the Guardian wrote. Her other titles include The Tortilla Book; Recipes from the Regional Cooks of Mexico; Nothing Fancy; My Mexico; and From My Mexican Kitchen--Techniques and Ingredients. Her last work, Oaxaca al Gusto, took 14 years to research. 

Arturo Sarukhan, a former Mexican ambassador to the U.S., described the death of the "great" Kennedy as a "huge loss for Mexico, the U.K. and Mexican gastronomy.... She changed the narrative and perceptions of Mexican cuisine from a bland mish-mash of TexMex towards a sophisticated tapestry of regional cuisines." 

Kennedy's many honors include the Mexican Order of the Aztec Eagle, the country's highest award for foreigners. In 2002, Prince Charles visited Kennedy at her home to appoint her an MBE, for "furthering cultural relations between the U.K. and Mexico." 

Kennedy will be remembered "for her forthrightness, and her criticism of faulty ingredients, shortcuts and plagiarism of her work," the Guardian wrote. "But her enthusiasm and fervent insistence on the right way to do things had an immense and beneficial influence, not least on chefs in Mexico and North America who were trying to produce good Mexican food." 

In her later years, Kennedy had said she wanted to slow down, but couldn't, the Associated Press noted. "There are so many more recipes out there, handed down mother to daughter that are going to be lost," she said. "There are seeds and herbs and roots that could disappear. There is absolutely so much more that needs to be done!"


Image of the Day: Celebrating Eulogy at Watchung Booksellers

On Tuesday, Watchung Booksellers, Montclair, N.J., hosted a publication-day signing for Michael Laser's novel Eulogy (Regal House Publishing), which recounts the narrator's discovery after giving a eulogy for his late father that his dad had spent three years in prison, which he and his siblings didn't know. Then, with all the tension and fast pacing of a police procedural, the narrator tries to find out why his dad was in prison, learning about it only in fits and starts in a series of poignant conversations with older friends and relatives of his father, who he comes to appreciate in ways he could never have imagined. Pictured: Laser with bookstore owner Margot Sage-EL.


Cool Idea of the Day: BookPeople's Banned Camp

BookPeople in Austin, Tex., has teamed up with the Austin Public Library to run Banned Camp, a summer event program focused on banned and challenged books. One of the first Banned Camp events was a talk with George M. Johnson, author of All Boys Aren't Blue, held at the Carver Branch of the Austin Public Library on June 16. On June 26, drag queen Miss Kitty read The Return of Thelma the Unicorn by Aaron Blabey at Austin's Pease Park.

The Banned Camp program came about as a response to the ongoing right-wing effort to ban books dealing with sexuality, gender identity and race. Charley Rejsek, BookPeople's CEO, told NBC News: "Our local community members reached out to us to see what we could do, what voice that we had in preventing this from happening in our local schools?”

Personnel Changes at Simon & Schuster; Tom Doherty Associates

Megan Manning has been promoted to telemarketing account manager for the Western region on Simon & Schuster's Independent Sales Team.


Giselle Gonzalez has been promoted to publicist at Tom Doherty Associates. She has worked in publicity at the TDA for nearly three years.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Charles Oakley on Tamron Hall

Tamron Hall repeat: Charles Oakley, author of The Last Enforcer: Outrageous Stories from the Life and Times of One of the NBA's Fiercest Competitors (Gallery, $28.99, 9781982175641).

This Weekend on Book TV: Doris Kearns Goodwin

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 this weekend from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday and focuses on political and historical books as well as the book industry. The following are highlights for this coming weekend. For more information, go to Book TV's website.

Saturday, July 30
10:05 a.m. Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of Leadership: In Turbulent Times (Simon & Schuster, $30, 9781476795928). (Re-airs Saturday at 10:05 p.m.)

2 p.m. Annette Dunlap, author of A Woman of Adventure: The Life and Times of First Lady Lou Henry Hoover (Potomac Books, $32.95, 9781640125155). (Re-airs Sunday at 2 a.m.)

3:20 p.m. Geraldine Hawkins, author of Elliott and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Story of a Father and His Daughter in the Gilded Age (‎Black Dome Press, $21.95, 9781883789848). (Re-airs Sunday at 3:20 a.m.)

Sunday, July 31
8:35 a.m. Mark Follman, author of Trigger Points: Inside the Mission to Stop Mass Shootings in America (Dey Street, $27.99, 9780062973535). (Re-airs Sunday at 8:35 p.m.)

2 p.m. Don Carleton, author of The Governor and the Colonel: A Dual Biography of William P. Hobby and Oveta Culp Hobby (Briscoe Center for American History, $39.95, 9780999731857).

2:47 p.m. Michael Burgess, author of Franklin and Eleanor in New York: The Progressive Agenda for Security and Prosperity That Became the New Deal (Troy Book Makers, $15.95, 9781614686910).

3:25 p.m. Kathryn Smith, author of Baptists & Bootleggers: A Prohibition Expedition Through the South (Consumer Publications, $29.95, 9781929647729).

4:02 p.m. Kathryn Olmsted, author of The Newspaper Axis: Six Press Barons Who Enabled Hitler (Yale University Press, $30, 9780300256420).

4:42 p.m. David McKean, author of Watching Darkness Fall: FDR, His Ambassadors, and the Rise of Adolf Hitler (St. Martin's Press, $29.99, 9781250206961).

6:15 p.m. Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden discusses the role of libraries in the digital age.

Books & Authors

Awards: Sisters in Crime Australia's Davitt Shortlists

Sisters in Crime Australia has released a shortlist for the 22nd Davitt Awards, recognizing the best crime and mystery books by Australian women. The awards are presented in six categories--adult crime novel; YA crime novel; children's crime novel; nonfiction crime book; debut crime book (any category); and Readers' Choice (as voted by the 500 members of Sisters in Crime Australia). The winner will be honored August 27 in Melbourne. Check out the complete shortlists here.

"The Davitt Awards are riding the crest of an enormous wave of popularity for crime writing by Australian women," said judges coordinator Philomena Horsley. "Women like writing it, the publishers like printing it, and we all love reading it.... The quality of the prose and the diversity of the themes and scenes of the crime are on an upwards spiral. The six judges have especially been blown away by the standard of the debut books. The authors demonstrate an impressive expertise in their craft. The caliber of the shortlist reflects the leap taken by crime writing generally in Australia."

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, August 2:

Full House, edited by George R.R. Martin (Tor, $31.99, 9781250167958) is the 20th Wild Cards short story collection.

The Many Daughters of Afong Moy: A Novel by Jamie Ford (Atria, $28, 9781982158217) follows a mentally ill poet connecting with her ancestors' trauma.

Reckoning by Catherine Coulter (Morrow, $28.99, 9780063004139) is the 26th entry in the FBI Thriller series.

Properties of Thirst by Marianne Wiggins (Simon & Schuster, $28, 9781416571261) follows a California rancher struggling to protect his family and water rights during World War II.

Alias Emma: A Novel by Ava Glass (Bantam, $27, 9780593496794) follows a secret agent on a mission to London in which its CCTV cameras are controlled by her enemies.

The Music Never Stops: What Putting on 10,000 Shows Has Taught Me About Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Magic by Peter Shapiro (Hachette Books, $29, 9780306845185) is the memoir of the concert promoter.

Listening Well: Bringing Stories of Hope to Life by Heather Morris (St. Martin's Press, $29.99, 9781250276919) explores the creation of The Tattooist of Auschwitz.

Mothercare: On Obligation, Love, Death, and Ambivalence by Lynne Tillman (Soft Skull, $23, 9781593767174) is a memoir about a novelist's mother's illness.

The Viral Underclass: The Human Toll When Inequality and Disease Collide by Steven W. Thrasher (Celadon, $29.99, 9781250796639) chronicles how public health disasters like covid and HIV expose socioeconomic inequality.

Wild Is the Witch by Rachel Griffin (Sourcebooks Fire, $18.99, 9781728229454) is a YA fantasy that takes place in the same world as the author's debut, The Nature of Witches.

The Baby-Changing Station by Rhett Miller, illus. by Dan Santat (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, $17.99, 9780316459327) is a rhyming picture book about a magical baby changing station that can exchange babies for cool stuff.

Husband Material by Alexis Hall (Sourcebooks Casablanca, $15.99, 9781728250922).

Just Another Love Song by Kerry Winfrey (Berkley, $17, 9780593333433).

The Fixer Upper by Lauren Forsythe (Putnam, $17, 9780593422519).

Bookish People by Susan Coll (Harper Muse, $17.99, 9781400234097).

Shadows Reel by C.J. Box (Putnam, $17, 9780593331286).

Billy Summers by Stephen King (Gallery, $19.99, 9781982173623).

IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:

Florida Woman: A Novel by Deb Rogers (Hanover Square Press, $27.99, 9781335426895). "Jamie is grateful to be able to live out her house arrest term at a monkey sanctuary in the Florida wilderness. The women there seem so spiritual and welcoming... but what's really going on behind closed doors? I couldn't put this down!" --Suzanna Hermans, Oblong Books, Millerton, N.Y.

Life Ceremony: Stories by Sayaka Murata, trans. by Ginny Tapley Takemori (Grove Press, $25, 9780802159588). "Think Kelly Link, Ottessa Moshfegh, and a pinch of surrealism. You'll find surprises in each story, and Murata's voice is unique and so fun to read (if you don't mind dark humor and disturbing themes)! Weird and absolutely delightful!" --Rachel Brewer, Carmichael’s Bookstore, Louisville, Ky.

The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina: A Novel by Zoraida Córdova (Atria, $17, 9781982102555). "This story sparkles and enchants! It's a rich and layered multigeneration saga featuring strong women and a mystery veiled in magical realism that will tease and feed your imagination." --Grace Rajendran, University Book Store, Seattle, Wash.

For Ages 3 to 7
What Feelings Do When No One's Looking by Tina Oziewicz, illus. by Aleksandra Zając, trans. by Jennifer Croft (Elsewhere Editions, $18.95, 9781953861283). "Terribly adorable illustrations show all kinds of emotions as they live their lives within us. A great first exploration into the realm of emotions for young people and a great reminder for the older set!" --Sam Coons, Cupboard Maker Books, Enola, Pa.

For Ages 8 to 12
In the Beautiful Country by Jane Kuo (Quill Tree Books, $16.99, 9780063118980). "Honest and vulnerable, In the Beautiful Country is a unique insight into 'the immigrant experience.' This novel-in-verse told by an 11-year-old girl is a lovely, emotional read! I loved the character growth and Kuo's evocative writing." --Hannah Stewart, The Wandering Jellyfish Bookshop, Niwot, Colo.

For Teen Readers
This Vicious Grace by Emily Thiede (Wednesday Books, $18.99, 9781250794055). "This book is undeniably one we will rave about to our fantasy-loving customers. Thiede has created such a compelling world and characters. The perfect mix of world-building, action, and romance for all ages. A must have for summer reading." --Courtney Ulrich Smith, Underbrush Books, Rogers, Ark.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: Concerning My Daughter

Concerning My Daughter by Kim Hye-Jin, trans. by Jamie Chang (Restless Books, $17 paperback, 176p., 9781632063496, September 27, 2022)

Award-winning Korean novelist Kim Hye-jin's Concerning My Daughter is a clear-eyed character study of the fraught relations among biological and found families alike. When an unnamed, widowed narrator agrees to let her adult daughter, Green, move in with her, she's already wary of how their lives will cohere. And that's before Green reveals that her girlfriend, Lane, will be joining her. While Green's mother resists accepting her daughter's partner, she is simultaneously thrown into chaos at work as her managers at the nursing home conspire to provide a lower quality of life for the patient she feels most intimate with, a once-successful diplomat named Jen, now suffering from dementia. While the narrator struggles with how to articulate the ways in which she cares for Jen, Green becomes involved in a campus protest against her employer's discrimination toward gay colleagues, leading Green's mother to reconsider what "family" might mean in the context of her own heart.

In Jamie Chang's translation from the Korean, Green's mother's voice guides Concerning My Daughter with a no-nonsense approach to seemingly even the most intimate of topics. Kim captures everything from the raw details of cleaning the bodies of dementia patients to the immovable "dark silence" that "flows" between mothers and daughters when communication changes nothing. This unflinching perspective illuminates the extraordinary power of tenderness in such a context, of the sometimes fleeting and impossible moments that make connection possible, of "soft, sweet cake. A satisfied look... a big dollop of cream [on] a piece of strawberry.... Little, ordinary moments everyone has the right to enjoy."

As the narrator reflects on her situation with her daughter through her workplace dilemma with Jen, her practicality leads her to begin to see and despise the underhanded systemic violence at the center of her communities. Kim's keen attention to character reveals the nuance of her narrator's pragmatic brand of empathy. Her disappointment is often not a result of others' actions, but rather a reflection of her disappointment with herself: "My daughter's mistakes are my mistakes." In this way, Concerning My Daughter manages to capture a societal need for both accepting collective complicity and practicing enduring empathy. --Alice Martin, freelance writer and editor

Shelf Talker: A patient and thoughtful meditation on the personal and political stakes of caring for others, Concerning My Daughter is a layered but concise character sketch.  

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