Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Tordotcom: The Saint of Bright Doors by Vajra Chandrasekera

Minotaur Books: Deadlock: A Thriller (Dez Limerick Novel #2) by James Byrne

Ballantine Books: The Second Ending by Michelle Hoffman

Tor Books: One for My Enemy by Olivie Blake

Henry Holt & Company: Warrior Girl Unearthed by Angeline Boulley

Little, Brown Ink: The Princess and the Grilled Cheese Sandwich (a Graphic Novel) by Deya Muniz

Flatiron Books: Once Upon a Prime: The Wondrous Connections Between Mathematics and Literature by Sarah Hart


Milkweed Books Reopens in Minneapolis, Minn.

Milkweed Books, the bookstore owned and operated by independent press Milkweed Editions, has reopened for in-store shopping for the first time since 2020.

The bookstore is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the Milkweed team is hosting a reopening celebration on Saturday, August 27. There will be "special promotions, community connections and of course, excellent books." The store carries titles by Milkweed and other publishers that prioritize "originality, marginalized voices, and books exploring our relationship to place and the more-than-human world."

Milkweed Books first opened in 2016. It resides on the first floor of Open Book, a literary arts center in downtown Minneapolis. Open Book is also home to Milkweed Editions, the Loft Literary Center and the Minnesota Center for Book Arts. There is a literary commons and event space, and a new coffee shop and bistro will open this fall.

Sourcebooks Young Readers: Global: One Fragile World. an Epic Fight for Survival. by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin, illustrated by Giovanni Rigano

Fable Hollow Coffee and Bookshoppe Coming to Knoxville, Tenn.

Fable Hollow's future home.

Fable Hollow Coffee and Bookshoppe will open a bricks-and-mortar location this fall at 2910 Tazewell Pike, in the Fountain City neighborhood of Knoxville, Tenn. WBIR reported that co-owners Alyssa Stewart and Casey Jessen had originally announced plans to open a new bookstore in October 2021. The fantasy-themed bookstore is currently selling books, audiobooks and merchandise online.

In July, Fable Hollow Coffee and Bookshoppe posted on social media: "Hey everyone! We are so excited to get our signage up that we are coming soon to the Fountain City area this fall! This has been a dream of ours for quite some time now, so we are so excited to finally announce our physical home." Recently they noted: "We are now professional movers, painters, graphic designers, accountants, and interior decorators."

Describing Fable Hollow's mission, Stewart and Jessen wrote: "We are storykeepers and caffeine crafters who connect books to readers, host authors and events, and prioritize serving the community."

Tor Books: One for My Enemy by Olivie Blake

International Update: Aotearoa NZ Publishers' Revenue Grew 0.8% in 2021; BA Conference Program Unveiled

Aotearoa New Zealand trade publishers' revenue increased 0.8% last year, according to The Book Industry Market Size Report 2021, a new study from the Publishers Association of NZ/Te Rau o Tākupu (PANZ). Books+Publishing reported that the results show "the overall book market grew 0.7% to NZ$304.3 million [about US$185.3 million] last year, with unit sales down 0.8% to 21.1 million over the same period. Compared to the last pre-pandemic year of 2019, trade sales were up 6.7% and overall book sales were up 3.7%."

Bricks-and-mortar bookstores accounted for 72% of book sales (up 4%), followed by direct sales to schools and libraries (19%, down 3%) and online retailers (8.1%). Print is still the most popular format for reading, accounting for 92.5% of the country's book market value. Te Reo Māori unit sales grew 40% in 2021 to a total of 485,000, following a 24% jump in 2020. Books in te reo now account for 2.2% of total unit sales in New Zealand.

Nielsen BookData New Zealand territory manager Nevena Nikolic said the country's publishing industry "once again proved to be resilient in the face of the many pandemic-related challenges.... On top of which were added, inflationary pressures, paper shortages, and further supply-chain issues. Many of these issues affected publishers globally so were not unique to New Zealand but were exacerbated by our geographic location and further distance from the main supply warehouses based in Australia."


The Booksellers Association of the U.K. & Ireland has released programming details for the annual BA Conference and Gardners Trade Show, to be held September 18-19 in Hinckley, Leicestershire. 

"We are delighted to welcome booksellers and publishers back to the BA Conference and Gardners Trade Show this September," said BA managing director Meryl Halls. "This year's program offers a range of networking and learning opportunities, with bestselling author Graham Norton delivering the author keynote, and James Daunt sharing his unique global bookselling insights. Our popular Skills Labs will also be returning, offering booksellers tailored training opportunities to help propel and equip their bookshops for the current retail landscape. After several challenging years, we hope this year's event offers booksellers the chance to come together to share stories, offer insights, and reconnect as a community."

Nigel Wyman, sales and marketing director at Gardners, added: "The trade show is one of our favorite events in the calendar, we can't wait to get together with both our existing, and new customers once again. We have built a stellar line up of guest authors, and over 50 exhibitors on board, including some non-book suppliers. The Gardlink team will be on hand for all of your stock control and epos needs. We are delighted to be working with the BA on this event once more. We firmly believe the partnership between Gardners and the BA gives booksellers a value packed few days."


Nicholas Pearson is leaving his role as publishing director at Fourth Estate "following a redundancy process," the Bookseller reported. Pearson joined the publisher in 1996 after short stints at Orion and Faber & Faber. For nearly 20 years he has edited and published Booker Prize-winning author Hilary Mantel. He was also Doris Lessing's editor for the last years of her writing life, and has published Jonathan Franzen, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Alan Garner.

"Working for all of these writers, and the many others not mentioned, has been the greatest privilege of my life. I will miss them, and wish them and my colleagues success in the future," Pearson said. 

David Roth-Ey, executive publisher at Fourth Estate and William Collins, commented: "I want to thank Nicholas for his outstanding contribution, over nearly three decades, to Fourth Estate and his authors. We wish him every success for the future." --Robert Gray

GLOW: Blackstone Publishing: The Wisdom of Morrie: Living and Aging Creatively and Joyfully by Morrie Schwartz, edited by Rob Schwartz

New Voices, New Rooms : 'Look Who's in Town'

At the author dinner "Look Who's in Town" on the first day of NAIBA/SIBA's virtual conference, Julia Davis, owner of the Book Worm Bookstore, Powder Springs, Ga., asked penetrating questions of the four authors featured, and Ross Gay's statement summed up the past two years and served as the theme underpinning the panel: "Joy does not exist absent of grief."

Matthew Quick said he wrote his novel We Are the Light (Avid Reader, Nov. 1) following an extended writer's block and a dark time after getting sober. He wanted to celebrate "positive masculinity" versus "toxic masculinity" and demonstrate the power of art to heal us. Davis quoted a character in the book who wrestles with the aftermath of a community torn apart by a mass shooting: "How can we transcend something we can't even face in fiction?" Quick said the quote mirrored his own thoughts about confronting his personal demons: "If I can't put it out there in fiction, how will I face it in real life?" He stressed the importance of "attending to small, often overlooked relationships."

Clockwise from top left: A.M. Homes, Ross Gay, Matthew Quick, Julia Davis, Kristina McMorris.

In response to that idea, Ross Gay said this was one of the things that interests him and also one of his inspirations for his Inciting Joy: Essays (Algonquin, Oct. 25): "That which emanates from the tethers between us as we hold each other through our sorrow." The other theme is "What does joy incite?" Gay said his essay topics include his father, basketball, dance, cover songs, joy and gratitude. "How difficult was it for you to write about your father?" Davis asked. She added that his essay "Through My Tears I Saw (Death: The Second Incitement)," about the loss of his father to liver cancer, was for her difficult to read, after recently losing her own father. "It was difficult to write," he responded. "I'm lucky to have a mother who wants to read what I write, a brother who wants to read what I write, and they could say, 'Oh, I remember that' or 'I wasn't there for that.' All of us hold each other. Joy is connected to our connection."

A.M. Homes said that The Unfolding (Viking, Sept. 6) began quite a few years ago, "when I started getting anxious." McMorris--who grew up in Washington, D.C. and now lives in New York City--explained that the 2008 election, when John McCain lost to Barack Obama, prompted celebration in Manhattan, "yet for those who hold power in this country, it was terrifying." Davis pointed out that "the Big Guy," the powerful, wealthy man at the center of Homes's alternate history novel, is the only one who goes unnamed. "I think there are many Big Guys, and many of us experience them in different ways," Homes said, adding that she enjoyed exploring the obliviousness of the Big Guy, his wake-up call, and the juxtaposition of his private versus public self. "I often pick the least likely people to tell the story."

Kristina McMorris said that The Ways We Hide (Sourcebooks Landmark, Sept. 6) began with the true story of a girl raised in Michigan's Copper Country who, as a result of a childhood trauma, becomes obsessed with escape artists, especially Houdini. Britain's MI9, a highly classified group that invested in illusion and escape techniques during World War II, recruited her. McMorris showed a sample of a silk map that they smuggled into POW camps inside Monopoly games, along with a compass and two files. The silk map could get wet and wouldn't rustle.

These four books focus on characters and people transforming the survival of a trauma into a talent, into healing, into self-reflection, into joy. --Jennifer M. Brown

G.P. Putnam's Sons: The Three of Us by Ore Agbaje-Williams

Obituary Note: Albert Woodfox

Albert Woodfox, the author and activist who spent four decades in solitary confinement for a crime he did not commit, has died in New Orleans, La. He was 75 years old.

On April 17, 1972, Woodfox was in Louisiana's Angola Prison serving a sentence for armed robbery when a white guard was killed. Woodfox and another inmate, both members of the Black Panther Party, were accused of the crime and put in solitary confinement. After a sham trial, they were both sentenced to life in solitary. There Woodfox spent the next 43 years.

Following his release in February 2016, he spoke about the cruelty of solitary confinement to audiences at the Innocence Project, the National Lawyers Guild, Harvard and Yale and other schools, and Amnesty International events in Europe. 

In 2019, Grove Press published his memoir Solitary. The book was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for Nonfiction, and it won the Stowe Prize, the American Book Award and the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities Book of the Year award.

"Albert was the most remarkable and courageous person I have ever met," said George Gibson, editor of Solitary. "We were honored to know him and to publish his powerful book."

Blink: Come Home Safe by Brian G. Buckmire

Notes The Video

In the video " provides an ecommerce edge for independent bookstores," founder and CEO Andy Hunter discusses the rationale and benefits of Bookshop. "I started because I wanted [indie bookstores] to be able to be more competitive and have the migration of consumer habits [to buying more and more books online] not be an existential threat for them," he says. "It's super easy for you to order a book online, get it delivered in three days and have the profit from your sale go to that local bookstore... What if we use the same tools that some might use to disrupt an industry to actually reinforce it?" Endorsers in the video include several New York City booksellers: Emmanuel Abreu, Veronica Liu and Reynaldo Garcia Pantaleon of Word Up Community Bookshop/Librería Comunitaria and Lucy Yu of Yu and Me Books.

Personnel Changes at Scholastic

At Scholastic:

Taylor McBroom has joined the company as marketing manager, picture books, Cartwheel, Acorn & Branches. Previously she was senior marketing associate at Clarion Books.

Emily Sullivan has joined the company as marketing associate, chapter books. Previously she was social media strategist at That Random Agency.

Liz Pollard has joined as marketing assistant. Previously they were an intern at Macmillan.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Paul Holes on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Paul Holes, co-author of Unmasked: My Life Solving America's Cold Cases (Celadon Books, $28.99, 9781250622792).

Today Show: Myka Meier, author of Modern Etiquette Made Easy: A Five-Step Method to Mastering Etiquette (Skyhorse, $16.99, 9781510747777).

Good Morning America: Zachary Levi, author of Radical Love: Learning to Accept Yourself and Others (Harper Horizon, $28.99, 9780785236757).

Tamron Hall repeat: Tyler Henry, author of Here & Hereafter: How Wisdom from the Departed Can Transform Your Life Now (St. Martin's Essentials, $27.99, 9781250796776).

Books & Authors

Reading with... S. Isabelle

photo: Kristine Techavanich

S. Isabelle is a reader, writer and hoarder of books. After earning a master's degree in library science, she took that love of reading to youth librarianship. The Witchery, her debut young adult novel from Scholastic, is "a delightfully dark take on magic and boarding school tropes." When Isabelle isn't "throwing books at teenagers," you can find her binge-watching TV shows, drinking heavily sweetened coffee or stressing over baseball.

On your nightstand now:

I've been on a fantasy kick lately, so I'm reading Son of the Storm by Suyi Davies Okungbowa. I'm also excited to check out Lauren Blackwood's Within These Wicked Walls--Jane Eyre was my favorite required reading title in high school, and I'm here for all of the remixes of classic lit by marginalized authors.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Ellen Raskin's The Westing Game. I loved anything with a mystery at the center of the narrative, and I still do!

Your top five authors:

This changes all the time! But I really love Elizabeth Acevedo, Ibi Zoboi, Holly Black, Toni Morrison and Madeline Miller.

Book you've faked reading:

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I might pick it up someday, we'll see.

Book you're an evangelist for:

R.F. Kuang's the Poppy War series. I've convinced so many co-workers and friends to read it, and then relished in their excitement and pain. I really can't wait to read Kuang's next books.

Book you've bought for the cover:

The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina by Zoraida Córdova, though I'll read anything Zoraida writes, so the gorgeous cover is an added bonus.

Book you hid from your parents:

I distinctly remember going to the library as a kid and ditching my dad so I could ask the librarian for Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison. I knew that title alone would get me a side eye, but I had to read it because a friend was, and it sounded hilarious. And it was!

Book that changed your life:

When I was a kid, my school librarian got me into Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events. They would always hold the new copies for me once they got in, and even let me unwrap them and add the little library stickers. I felt so special! I loved those books, but that experience in itself was instrumental in me becoming a teen librarian. I love now being the person that teens and tweens come to for book recs and getting to see them light up when I put their new favorite book in their hands.

Favorite line from a book:

I have a horrible memory, so this is pretty difficult, but, "Kiss me, Hardy! Kiss me, quick!" from Elizabeth Wein's Code Name Verity gets me every single time. If you know you know.

Five books you'll never part with:

This is appropriate because I've been meaning to un-haul some of my collection out of my little studio apartment. But I'll never let go of Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko; my signed copy of The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo; Circe by Madeline Miller; The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas; and The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner.

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

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. It gets two mentions in this interview because I could go on and on about how brilliantly plotted this book is. I get the itch to re-read it every few years and will never stop thinking about how that moment toward the end took my breath away the first time I read it.

Book that became an unexpected favorite:

I'm pretty picky with books because there are just too many that I want to read and so little time. That said, I wasn't initially sure if I'd like Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir, but I now consider it an all-time favorite. I cannot wait for the entirety of the series to be published. Give me more space necromancers!

Book Review

Children's Review: The Museum of Odd Body Leftovers

The Museum of Odd Body Leftovers: A Tour of Your Useless Parts, Flaws, and Other Weird Bits by Rachel Poliquin, illus. by Clayton Hanmer (Greystone Kids, $17.95 hardcover, 88p., ages 7-11, 9781771647458, September 27, 2022)

"The useless bits. The leftovers. The bad patch jobs." These are the anatomical exhibits in Rachel Poliquin's brilliant museum for budding scientists. A wisdom tooth and a disappearing kidney guide the audience through a series of intriguingly bizarre wings within the human body, each containing some vestigial structure. The talking molar delivers fascinating background through delightfully witty dialogue, and Clayton Hanmer's illustrations ingeniously reinforce the concepts with clever detail and comic appeal. The Museum of Odd Body Leftovers is an enjoyable tour that will educate the whole family.

Poliquin, author of the Superpower Field Guide series, provides easy-to-understand explanations of evolution that accompany each exhibit: reasons people have monkey muscles, a stubby tail (the coccyx) and get goosebumps; hypotheses about hiccups and why 32 teeth no longer fit in the human jaw. As Poliquin explains the parts of the body, she also breaks down the concepts that contribute to their demise with accessible analogies. "Think of DNA as a cake recipe.... But DNA is no ordinary cake recipe. It is a very, very, very, very complicated recipe with more than 20,000 ingredients, called genes." She includes innovative sidebars and footnotes for supplemental information like pronunciations and definitions. At the end of each section, a "Love Your Leftovers" activity entices readers to try some hands-on research, including a test of whether wrinkled or unwrinkled fingers have better grip.

Throughout the tour, a mystery unfolds about the wisdom tooth's assistant kidney. Tooth points out, "You're a kidney. Kidneys are very important. They are not leftovers. You do not belong here." But the kidney insists that it does. It also vanishes periodically during the excursion, leaving nothing but, hilariously, a tiny pair of shoes. Subtle clues lead up to a final reveal of how the organ fits quite appropriately into the museum.

Hanmer (Dog vs. Ultra Dog) perfectly complements Poliquin's humor and enhances the tour with his visual extravaganza. Wonderful small details like cobwebs and ornate picture frames add to the atmosphere; his depiction of the museum gift shop at the end of the tour is so utterly fitting and amusing it almost takes the disappointment out of reaching the conclusion. The only thing missing is the whine of the child begging for a souvenir vestigial keychain.

Young readers will find myriad reasons to love learning science in this innovative presentation of the human body's transformation. And readers of any age are likely to learn a fascinating tidbit or two. The Museum of Odd Body Leftovers is the hottest ticket in town, don't miss it. --Jen Forbus, freelancer

Shelf Talker: A wisdom tooth and a vanishing kidney use astute humor and delightful art to guide young readers through the halls of the human body to teach them about vestigial body parts.

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