Also published on this date: Wednesday, August 31, 2022: Maximum Shelf: The New Life

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Union Square Kids: The Door That Had Never Been Opened Before by Mrs. and Mr. MacLeod

Shadow Mountain: The Queen and the Knave (Proper Romance Victorian) by Sarah M. Eden

Andrews McMeel Publishing: The Wheel of the Year: An Illustrated Guide to Nature's Rhythms by Fiona Cook, illustrated by Jessica Roux

Tor Nightfire: What Feasts at Night (Sworn Soldier #2) by T. Kingfisher

Amulet Books: Nightbane (the Lightlark Saga Book 2) by Alex Aster


'Total Victory': Virginia Book Ban Case Targeting B&N Dismissed

In what defendants called "a total victory," a Virginia Beach Circuit Court judge yesterday dismissed the case brought earlier this year seeking to have Maia Kobabe's Gender Queer: A Memoir (Oni-Lion Forge) and Sarah J. Maas's A Court of Mist and Fury (Bloomsbury) declared obscene and to bar Barnes & Noble from selling the books to minors without parental consent--an expansion in the current efforts to ban books in schools and libraries.

In dismissing the case, judge Pamela S. Baskervill ruled that under Virginia law the court didn't have the authority to declare the books obscene and that applicable Virginia law was unconstitutional because its use of prior restraint violates due process. She also threw out a previous order finding probable cause that the books might be obscene.

The plaintiffs were two Virginia Republicans: Tommy Altman, who lost his bid for Congress in the June primary, and his attorney Tim Anderson, who serves in the Virginia House of Delegates. They had filed a motion for a temporary restraining order against B&N.

Defendants included the authors, publishers and friends of the court, including local booksellers Prince Books in Norfolk and Read Books in Virginia Beach, as well as the American Booksellers for Free Expression, the Association of American Publishers, the Authors Guild, the American Library Association, the Virginia Library Association and the Freedom to Read Foundation.

Flatiron Books: Anita de Monte Laughs Last by Xochitl Gonzalez

Little Professor Opening Second Birmingham, Ala., Location

Little Professor is opening a second location in Birmingham, Ala., this fall, Bham Now reported. Located in the city's Pepper Place entertainment district, the store will sell new books for all ages and feature a cafe.

"We've been searching for another location that has other creative retailers as well as a vibrant streetscape," co-owner Jonathan Robinson said. "We want to try more evening activations with new types of events and just felt Pepper Place was an all-around perfect fit."

Robinson noted that roughly 10,000 people attend the weekly Saturday farmer's market at Pepper Place, which offers the team "an unprecedented opportunity to showcase our welcoming atmosphere and establish a new base of members and customers."

Starting on September 10, Little Professor will host a preview pop-up shop at the Pepper Place farmer's market, with the store's grand opening coming later in the fall.

The bookshop, which was founded in Birmingham in 1973, has a membership program that costs $79 per year and comes with benefits like free coffee, discounts, members-only events and delivery through the Little Professor app.

"We believe there’s a sweet spot for a down-the-street bookshop and café, competing against the big guys by 'going small,' but with a modern range of in-person and digital amenities," Robinson told Bham Now.

Shelf Awareness Job Board: Click Here to Post Your Job

Ingram Webinar Focuses on 'Health of Today's Publishing Industry'

A webinar "The Health of Today's Publishing Industry," part of the Publisher Insights with Ingram series, will be held Wednesday, September 14, at 1 p.m. Eastern and feature American Booksellers Association CEO Allison Hill; Molly Stern, founder and CEO of Zando Publishing; and Phil Ollila, Ingram Content Group's chief commercial and content officer. The panel will be moderated by Amy Cox Williams, Ingram Content Group's v-p, merchandising.

The panel will discuss the book industry's current "challenges and macro-economic conditions, bringing in multiple perspectives and viewpoints on the future of publishing" and attempt to answer a variety of questions: "How can publishers keep up with the near-constant uncertainties? What does a healthy ecosystem in publishing look like, post pandemic? What steps do we have to take to get there?"

For more information and to register, click here.

International Update: Spain's Best Bookstore; EIBF's RISE Booksellers Exchange Program

The Federation of Publishers Guilds of Spain (FGEE) has named Llibreria Ramon Llull in Valencia as this year's winner of the Boixearu Ginesta prize for the country's best bookshop. The Olive Press reported that the bookseller will receive the prize in October at the International Book Fair in Barcelona.  

Raymond Llull's honor recognizes more than just "store stocking and selling a large number of books.... Ramon Llull's popularity is down to hundreds of book workshops, signings and reading clubs each year that attract figures from the world of literature," the Olive Tree noted.

Co-owner Paco Amador said: "We have something going on virtually every day. Normally the type of customer that comes to Ramon Llull and whom we want to attract is a great reader, who usually visits us every month. It's a person who is after a very particular type of literature and writing and an avid reader." He added that the bookshop's focus is on smaller independent publishing houses and that it stocks "very few bestsellers."


RISEBookselling, a three-year program led by the European & International Booksellers Federation that "aims to upscale, reinforce and maximize the capacity and resilience of the bookselling sector," shared a Twitter thread by British bookseller Sophie Pitches (@sophisellsbooks) of the bound bookshop in Whitley Bay. As a RISE Booksellers Exchange Program participant, she recently spent time at LeseZeichen in Germering, Germany.

"Thank you for sharing your experience with us, Sophie!" RISE Bookselling tweeted. "It is a heartwarming read. We're so happy to see that you've had a great time with your foreign colleagues & new friends in LeseZeichen and that the experience has provided all of you with new insights about #bookselling."

In the thread, Sophie tweeted: "That's it for the @risebookselling #booksellerexchange at LeseZeichen Germering! Last week flew by + there's too much to say about the wonderful (wunderbar???) booksellers and whole experience there, so going to try my best to pull it together as a thread...

  1. The kindest--& most patient!--booksellers giving all their knowledge + time to their local community! It brings me much much joy to see this both here in Germering & at home in Whitley Bay--miles away from each other, both doing all they can for their customers.
  2. We talked a lot about Lesemotive--motivations/reasons for reading--in a depth I hadn't before and how this affects the layout at LeseZeichen. Taking this back with me.
  3. 'I'm looking for a book... it had a (insert literally any color here) cover...' is verified now as a universal query.
  4. Bookselling is very much a career. It's not stop-gap work. LeseZeichen will be 30yrs old in 2024 and it's brilliant seeing much of the same team still working together and training new booksellers today. So much knowledge, thank you for sharing some of it with me.
  5. Last of all, I'm leaving knowing that I shall mainly be remembered for my reaction to the stock room being (quote) 'This is where the magic happens.' And this becoming the funniest thing. Literally. They put it in the paper."

In a Börsenblatt story about the exchange, Pitches said she was surprised at the amount of English-language books LeseZeichen stocks and that her proudest moments were "recommending an English-language children's book for a child who wanted to try something new and serving some customers at the cash register in (very simple) German."


Bookseller moment: Posted on Facebook by Soma Nami Books, Nairobi, Kenya: "Sometimes life gets heavy and choosing to live and breathe and still be here, is a selfless act. Bookclub today felt like a group therapy session. We showed up with our hearts open and lay our vulnerabilities on the table as we unpacked Michael's journey in The Selfless Act of Breathing. The book forced us to reflect on our own lives and confront our challenges with mental health. It was heartwarming seeing our members really engage with this book and it's heavy themes and give each other a safe space to share, introspect and question. We explored themes of mental health and depression, masculinity and patriarchy, religion in the context of alternatives for therapy, parent-child relationships and so much more. We left feeling much lighter than how we begun our discussion. Joining our bookclub is as easy as signing up on our website. Entry is free." --Robert Gray

Obituary Note: Dean Young

Dean Young

Dean Young, former Texas poet laureate, William Livingston Chair of Poetry for University of Texas and educator, has died. He was 67. In a tribute, Copper Canyon Press Young noted that he "was known for his linguistic agility and off-kilter humor, and he had an enormous influence on contemporary poetry.... Young's iconic style derived from the New York School of Poetry and from art movements like Surrealism and Dadaism. He was often placed in company with poets such as John Ashbery, Frank O'Hara, Tony Hoagland, and Tomaž Šalamun, though as Charles Simic has noted, Young had 'his own original voice. The language, the invention, the imagination, and the sheer fun of his poems is astounding'.... In 2011, Young underwent a heart transplant, and his work increasingly engaged with profound questions around mortality and the body."

His books include Strike Anywhere (1995), winner of the Colorado Prize for Poetry; Elegy on Toy Piano (2005), finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; Bender: New and Selected Poems (2012); Solar Perplexus (2019) and The Art of Recklessness: Poetry as Assertive Force and Contradiction (2010). He served as the 2014 Texas Poet Laureate and taught for many years at the University of Texas at Austin. 

Michael Wiegers, editor-in-chief at Copper Canyon Press, observed: "Hearing the news this morning of Dean Young's passing, I turned to his poems--where he always lived his fullest self. I gasp and guffaw with each line or subversion of thought--his body of work is astoundingly brilliant, even when at its darkest. Hilarious, irascible, and often irreverent, Young's leaping imagination was always loving, sometimes cantankerous, and fully, unequivocally in amazed, reverential service to Poetry. For much of his life Dean's body was in conflict with itself, and with the body Poetic. From a young age he knew that he would likely die prematurely, and yet, for all his dark humor, and fearless pronouncements, a circus-tent heart transplant allowed him a continuing, stubborn, unbridled love: a love for rocks and toys and friends and pets and sentences and poems.

"Dean Young was a good friend whom I first met right before he learned that his heart was failing and he would need a transplant. There weren't any safe spaces for him. The trauma and ravages of those years of facing his mortality were lightened somewhat when he was gifted the heart of a younger man. The ensuing years brought poems that were magically, incredibly alive and amazed at living--even while he toed the line of the abyss."

Wiegers shared the final lines of Young's latest manuscript:

Ecstasy is willingness.
I dare you to find a river any other way.
I dare you to breathe.
Some cries never reach us
Even though they're our own.
The best endings are abrupt.


Uncool Idea of the Day: Unwanted 'Outside Materials' Stuffed Inside Books

Kepler's Books, Menlo Park, Calif., has created a sign to alert customers about placing "outside materials inside our books or on our shelves."

In an Instagram post, Kepler's wrote that the bookstore "was founded upon principles of peace and love. For the last few months, someone has been placing pamphlets in our books and on our shelves. These harmful materials are inconsistent with our principles of peace and love and are not endorsed by our staff.

"We are doing our best to remove these pamphlets as soon as we find them, but if you find these pamphlets or other outside materials while browsing, please let a staff member know. 

"We want the person(s) responsible to know that their behavior is unacceptable. It is costing many hours of work for our booksellers, causing distress, and damaging our inventory. If we catch you placing these materials on our shelves you will be asked to leave the store and will be banned from returning in the future."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Beth Macy on Here & Now

NPR's Here & Now: Beth Macy, author of Raising Lazarus: Hope, Justice, and the Future of America's Overdose Crisis (Little, Brown, $30, 9780316430227).

Good Morning America: Ryan Holiday, author of Discipline Is Destiny: The Power of Self-Control (Portfolio, $26, 9780593191699).

Today Show: Brad Thor, author of Near Dark: A Thriller (Atria/Emily Bestler, $28.99, 9781982104061).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert repeat: Michael Pollan, author of This Is Your Mind on Plants (Penguin Books, $18, 9780593296929).

TV: A Man in Full

Bill Camp (The Queen's Gambit) "will reunite once again with his American Rust and The Looming Tower co-star Jeff Daniels in A Man in Full, Netflix's six-episode limited series from David E. Kelley and Regina King based on Tom Wolfe's 1998 novel," Deadline reported. 

The cast also includes Diane Lane, William Jackson Harper, Tom Pelphrey, Aml Ameen, Sarah Jones, Jon Michael Hill and Chanté Adams. Kelley serves as writer, executive producer and showrunner, with King directing three episodes and exec producing. Matthew Tinker also executive produces.

Books & Authors

Awards: Fingerprint Shortlists

Shortlists in six categories have been unveiled for the inaugural Fingerprint Awards, which "recognize the best titles in the crime genre and most of which are voted for by readers," the Bookseller reported. The awards are held as part of the Capital Crime Festival, co-organized by Goldsboro Books owner and agent David Headley. Readers vote for their preferred winners, who will be announced September 29. See the complete Fingerprint Award shortlists here.

"My vision for Capital Crime was always to make it a festival for readers and what better way to celebrate the readers who make it all worthwhile than to give them the power to decide the winners of the Fingerprint Awards?" Headley said. "Narrowing down the incredible body of work published last year to six categories of five books [each] was no mean feat but with the well-informed advisory board we've gathered together, I'm confident that these shortlists represent the very best of crime and thriller writing from around the world."

Reading with... Anthony Marra

photo: Paul Duda

Anthony Marra is the author of The Tsar of Love and Techno and A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, winner of the National Book Critics Circle's John Leonard Prize and the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, and longlisted for the National Book Award. His third novel, Mercury Pictures Presents (Hogarth, August 2, 2022), is a historical novel with humor and resilient characters navigating Hollywood in the 1940s.

Handsell readers your book in 25 words or less:

It's a big, transporting novel set in the European exile community that transformed Hollywood--and the country--during the 1940s.

On your nightstand now:

This fall I'm teaching a course on linked-story collections, and my nightstand is filled with some of my favorite examples of the form: The Women of Brewster Place by Gloria Naylor, We the Animals by Justin Torres, Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich, Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips and Dew Breaker by Edwidge Danticat.

Favorite book when you were a child:

As a kid, I was obsessed with Calvin and Hobbes (and still am!). Bill Watterson's titles alone are little works of genius: Homicidal Psycho Jungle Cat, Weirdos from Another Planet!, Attack of the Deranged Mutant Killer Monster Snow Goons, etc. These books beautifully get at the frustrations, absurdities, embarrassments and fleeting joys of childhood. Plus who wouldn't want an urbane talking tiger for a best friend?

Your top five authors:

They change by the day, but on this Wednesday, I'll say Edward P. Jones, Zadie Smith, Jennifer Egan, Jess Walter and Michael Chabon.

Book you've faked reading:

I have too many writer friends to possibly answer this honestly.

Book you're an evangelist for:

I Served the King of England by Bohumil Hrabal is a hilarious, charming, deeply weird picaresque about a Czech bellhop whose fortunes rise and fall over the 20th century. Hrabal began his career as surrealist poet, and I Served the King of England is shot through with ecstatic, unforgettable images on nearly every page. It's easily the single book I've reread the most.

Book you've bought for the cover:

I love the jackets Peter Mendelsund designed for Schocken's Kafka lineup. I bought The Trial purely because the jacket looked so cool (and the book's not half bad either!).

Book you hid from your parents:

A childhood friend had a cache of Stephen King novels that I regularly borrowed. My mom didn't think these were age-appropriate reading material. She was right, of course, which is exactly why I wanted to read them.

Book that changed your life:

Journey to Topaz by Yoshiko Uchida. When I was in third or fourth grade, my class read this classic children's book about a Japanese American girl whose family endures internment during World War II. It was the first book I'd encountered that didn't sanitize U.S. history and it made a huge impact on me.

Favorite line from a book:

"This is an interesting planet. It deserves all the attention you can give it." This line, from Gilead, isn't intended as writing advice, but it's the best writing advice I've ever read.

Five books you'll never part with:

Such a tough question! I'll choose those that were particularly important to me when I was first considering becoming a writer: Bel Canto by Ann Patchett, The War of the End of the World by Mario Vargas Llosa, The Sound of the Mountain by Yasunari Kawabata, Dogeaters by Jessica Hagedorn and Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell.

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

Anything and everything by Agatha Christie.

Book Review

Children's Review: The Sun Is Late and So Is the Farmer

The Sun Is Late and So Is the Farmer by Philip C. Stead, illus. by Erin E. Stead (Neal Porter Books, $18.99 hardcover, 32p., ages 4-8, 9780823444281, November 8, 2022)

Kid lit has picked up another memorable animal trio with The Sun Is Late and So Is the Farmer, which adds to the tally of disarming and dear picture books by frequent collaborators Philip C. Stead and Erin E. Stead (A Sick Day for Amos McGee; Music for Mister Moon). For young readers who know their folktales, the book's central misunderstanding may call to mind Chicken Little's agonized conviction that the sky is falling, although the Steads work in a mercifully mellower key.

One quiet night, three barnyard friends--a mule, a milk cow and a miniature horse--are feeling anxious: "The sun is late," says Mule. "And so is the farmer," says Milk Cow. They decide to consult a wise authority: "Barn Owl will know what to do," says Miniature Horse. They approach the chicken coop, where Barn Owl agrees with their assessment that the sun is worrisomely tardy. Barn Owl's solution: "Travel beyond the field full of sheep,/ over the broken fence,/ through the acre of tall corn,/ past the sleeping giant,/ all the way to the edge of the world." There, Barn Owl assures the trio, they "will find the sun still asleep in her bed." But they must bring Rooster along, insists Barn Owl, as "Rooster will know what to do." So Mule, Milk Cow and Miniature Horse screw up their courage--they've never before left the barnyard--and follow Barn Owl's instructions. As for tagalong Rooster, he ends up justifying his inclusion in the mission in a big (and loud) way.

Caldecott Medalist Erin E. Stead, here working in watercolors, graphite and colored pencils, is faced with a tall order: capturing interactions that occur outdoors in the quasi-darkness. To introduce luminosity to her sunshine-deprived scenes, she slathers nighttime blues with moon- and starlight, their subdued brightness reflecting on the ground below in enchanting yellow flickers.

Young readers of The Sun Is Late and So Is the Farmer will relish being miles ahead of the not-exactly-intrepid animal trio, not to mention Barn Owl, whose imperiousness is undercut by the bird's amusingly convoluted thinking. One illustration demonstrating this has Barn Owl imagining the outsize socked feet of the "sleeping giant"; as the animal friends are passing by, readers will note that the giant is actually a hulking piece of farm equipment. --Nell Beram, freelance writer and YA author

Shelf Talker: Readers of this disarming and dear picture book will relish being miles ahead of the trio at its center: barnyard animals who are convinced that the sun is worrisomely overdue for its entrance.

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