Shelf Awareness for Thursday, September 1, 2022

Legacy Lit: Madness: Race and Insanity in a Jim Crow Asylum by Antonia Hylton

Berkley Books: Daughters of Shandong by Eve J. Chung

Berkley Books: Bergman Brothers series by Chloe Liese

Wednesday Books: Hope Ablaze by Sarah Mughal Rana

Little, Brown Ink: K Is in Trouble (a Graphic Novel) (K Is in Trouble #1) by Gary Clement

Fly Paper Products: Literary Gifts

William Morrow & Company: The Stone Home by Crystal Hana Kim


The King's English Bookshop Launches Brain Food Books Nonprofit

The King's English Bookshop in Salt Lake City, Utah, has launched a nonprofit called Brain Food Books that will distribute children's books to classrooms, schools, pediatric clinics and day care centers throughout Utah. The nonprofit also hopes to fund author appearances at schools in areas of economic hardship and provide each child in attendance with a free book.

"We believe access to books offers a broader perspective, hope, and a safe place for children everywhere," wrote store co-owners Calvin Crosby and Anne Holman. "Access to books has changed our worlds, so we want to offer that same experience to kids. Representation in literature is a fundamental part of our mission."

Crosby noted that this is actually the second iteration of Brain Food Books. The first version was created by local pediatrician Barbara Bean, who worked with the King's English for more than a decade to provide a free book to each of her patients at their wellness appointments.

The original Brain Food Books ended in 2019 with Bean's retirement but, after a conversation with Crosby about their shared desire to get books to kids around the state, Bean offered to restart Brain Food Books and turn it over to the bookstore. The biggest difference between the two versions, Crosby pointed out, is scale, with this version set to have a much wider reach than the original.

The King's English already has partnerships with Eisenhower Middle School in Taylorsville, Utah, as well as Horizonte High School in Salt Lake City and Horizonte's adult education program library. "We are excited to continue our relationship with Eisenhower and Horizonte and have recently added Hawthorne and Rose Park Elementary Schools to our list of partners," Crosby said. "We also look forward to working with the Indigenous populations here in Utah and Tuba City, Ariz."

Atria Books: The Other Valley by Scott Alexander Howard

Green Mountain Book Festival Premiering This Month

The inaugural Green Mountain Book Festival will be held in Burlington, Vt., later this month. 

Beginning with an opening ceremony and cocktail reception on Friday, September 23, the festival will run through Sunday, September 25, with events that include author talks, a banned book open mic and a mobile bookstore run by Burlington indie Phoenix Books.

More than 50 authors will appear at the festival, with novelist and Zen Buddhist priest Ruth Ozeki headlining. She will appear on Saturday afternoon at the Contois Auditorium in Burlington. Events will be open to the public and take place at various locations around downtown Burlington.

"I am thrilled to lead our group of dedicated volunteers in building literary community in Burlington with a brand-new book festival," said Kim MacQueen, president of the festival's board of directors.

"I can't think of a more natural thing than for a bookstore like Phoenix Books to support a book festival in Burlington," added Phoenix Books owner Mike DeSanto.

More details about the festival can be found here.

GLOW: Graphic Universe: Hotelitor: Luxury-Class Defense and Hospitality Unit by Josh Hicks

B&N Opening New Store in Walnut Creek, Calif. 

B&N Walnut Creek in progress

Barnes & Noble is opening a bookstore at 1192 Locust Street in the Plaza Escuela, Walnut Creek, Calif. This marks the return of the bookseller to the city where it closed a store in 2016. Nina LaCour, author of Yerba Buena, will be featured in a ribbon-cutting ceremony and do a book signing on September 7. 

"We are very pleased to bring our bookstore back to Walnut Creek," said B&N CEO James Daunt. "Over the years so many bookstores, including many of our own, were forced to close their doors. It is wonderful now that an appreciation of good bookstores and an enthusiasm for reading is bringing a renaissance in bookselling. This will be a beautiful store, with a fabulous team of booksellers led by Allison Osborn. We thank the Walnut Creek community for the warm welcome with which they have greeted our return."

The opening of the new B&N follows the exit of Amazon Books from Walnut Creek when the online retailer closed all of its bookstores earlier this year. 

Store manager Allison Osborn said: "We're incredibly excited to connect with readers in Walnut Creek and introduce them to this great bookstore we have created. It is to be so well stocked and with a brilliant program of store events, starting with our opening by Nina LaCour. Barnes & Noble will be a lively addition to the existing community events, with street fairs, art festivals and children's activities, all held right on the store's street front. There has been an absolutely overwhelming amount of positive feedback from our future customers who have already taken to social media to show their support!"

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Come and Get It by Kiley Reid

Restructuring at Insight Editions

Following her appointment in June as chief operating officer at Insight Editions, Tara Catogge has restructured the company's editorial, sales and marketing departments. Among the changes:

Vanessa Lopez has been promoted to v-p and co-publisher, in recognition of her contribution to the expansion of the company's licensing and strategic partnerships. In almost a decade with Insight Editions, Lopez has led the company's entertainment, gaming and brand licenses, developing distinctive publishing programs. In her new role, Lopez will manage the licensing program company-wide and oversee in-house divisions each headed by a publishing director. They include:

Insight Gift, Lifestyle, and Entertainment, headed by Jamie Thompson, who has just joined the company. Thompson was previously an executive editor at Chronicle Books, overseeing the gift product lines across all divisions; held executive positions at Knock Knock; and was an executive and producer at Twentieth Century Fox, Castle Rock Entertainment and other production companies.

Insight Games, Sports, and Music, headed by Mike Degler, former v-p and general manager of Penguin Random House's Prima Games. Degler manages content creation from such licenses as Pokémon, Minecraft, Final Fantasy and World of Warcraft.

Insight Film, headed by Chris Prince, an editor of deluxe art books and collectible editions in collaboration with such filmmakers as Guillermo del Toro, James Cameron, Christopher Nolan, Steven Spielberg and Kevin Smith.

Vicki Jaeger has become v-p, group managing editor. Jaeger joined Insight Editions as editorial director in 2021 and was promoted to v-p in April 2022. Previously she was the development editor for Readerlink and worked in licensing at Mattel.

Tara Catogge

Catogge said that the new structure "positions Insight Editions to build on the success we've experienced over the last year," which has included net sales growing 34% for the year to date. She added: "We hold more licenses than any other publisher. Marquee brands from Disney to Warner Bros. to Netflix trust us to be creative, innovative partners with deep knowledge of the fandoms we represent."

At the same time, the sales and marketing departments have been streamlined under Chris Bauerle, who has been promoted to executive v-p, sales & marketing from v-p, North American sales and operation. Bauerle joined Insight Editions earlier this year from Sourcebooks, where he was v-p, director of sales and marketing. He will partner with Rachel Kempster Barry, v-p of marketing, who joined Insight Editions in 2021 from DK, where she was v-p of marketing and publicity.

Bauerle commented: "Our new team structure puts a lightning focus on what matters to us most as publishers: putting books in the hands of readers and fans. Our aspirations for the coming years in business development, publishing, and expansion are massive, and this structure will allow us to scale effectively in response."

Obituary Note: Norah Vincent

Norah Vincent

Norah Vincent, whose 2006 book, Self-Made Man, made her "a media darling" but "cost her psychologically," died July 6, the New York Times reported. She was 53. Her death, which was not reported at the time, was confirmed recently by Justine Hardy, a friend who said it was a voluntary assisted death.

In the winter of 2003, as a 35-year-old journalist, Vincent "began to practice passing as a man.... Then she ventured out to live as a man for 18 months, calling herself Ned, and to chronicle the experience. The resulting book, Self-Made Man, was a nearly instant bestseller and made Vincent "a media darling; she appeared on 20/20 and on The Colbert Report, where she and Stephen Colbert teased each other about football and penis size," the Times wrote. "But the book was no joke. It was a nuanced and thoughtful work.... Vincent was a lesbian. She was not transgender, or gender fluid. She was, however, interested in gender and identity. As a freelance contributor to the Los Angeles Times, the Village Voice and the Advocate, she had written essays on those topics that inflamed some readers."

In her year and a half living as Ned, Vincent put him in a number of stereotypical, hypermasculine situations until, at an Iron John retreat, "Ned began to lose it. Being Ned had worn Ms. Vincent down; she felt alienated and disassociated, and after the retreat she checked herself into a hospital for depression," the Times noted. 

The idea for Vincent's next book, Voluntary Madness: My Year Lost and Found in the Loony Bin (2008), came to her after the Iron John unraveling, when she had committed herself to the hospital as a suicide risk. In another attempt at immersive journalism, she subsequently toured mental institutions and "found herself increasingly mired in depression and juggling a cocktail of medications," the Times wrote.

In 2013, Vincent began a new novel, Adeline, in which she imagined the inner life of Virginia Woolf from the moment Woolf conceived her novel To the Lighthouse to the morning in 1941 when she walked into the river near her home, with pockets full of stones, and drowned. As Vincent was working on the book, she tried to kill herself. Adeline, she wrote later, was "not just a work of fiction, or an act of literary ventriloquism. It was my suicide note."


Image of the Day: Chris Stedman at Subtext

Subtext Books in St. Paul, Minn., hosted the launch event for Chris Stedman's updated edition of IRL: Finding Our Real Selves in a Digital World (Broadleaf Books). Pictured: Stedman (left) in conversation with R. Eric Thomas.

Writer's Block Bookstore Wins 'Best of Orlando' Honors

Writer's Block Bookstore was named Best Independent Bookstore in Orlando Weekly's "Best of Orlando" survey: "With two locations in Winter Park and Winter Garden, your new and used book options abound at Writer's Block Bookstore, an independent venue that also stocks your journaling and gift bag needs. Our readers recommend enjoying a glass of wine while browsing titles during Wine Down Wednesday or Thirsty Thursdays."

Best Comic Shop honors went to Gods & Monsters: "Nestled in the heart of the I-Drive area, this eclectic comic book and collectibles shop gives locals incentive to venture into the tourist zone. Packed to the gills with funnybooks, graphic novels, toys, statues and gaming supplies, Gods & Monsters has it all... including an apocalyptic speakeasy, Vault 5421, accessible only from the rear of the store."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Emiko Jean on Here & Now

NPR's Here & Now: Emiko Jean, author of Mika in Real Life: A Novel (Morrow, $27.99, 9780063215689).

This Weekend on Book TV: The National Book Festival

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, September 3
9:30 a.m. to 6:20 p.m. Live coverage of the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C. Highlights include:

  • 9:30 a.m. An interview with Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden.
  • 10 a.m. David Maraniss, author of Path Lit by Lightning: The Life of Jim Thorpe (Simon & Schuster, $32.50, 9781476748412).
  • 10:45 a.m. Geraldine Brooks, author of Horse: A Novel (Viking, $28, 9780399562969).
  • 11:05 a.m. Tomiko Brown-Nagin, author of Civil Rights Queen: Constance Baker Motley and the Struggle for Equality (Pantheon, $30, 9781524747183), and Kate Clifford Larson, author of Walk with Me: A Biography of Fannie Lou Hamer (‎Oxford University Press, $27.95, 9780190096847).
  • 11:50 a.m. Clint Smith, author of How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America (Little, Brown, $29, 9780316492935).
  • 12:20 p.m. Elizabeth Williamson, author of Sandy Hook: An American Tragedy and the Battle for Truth (Dutton, $28, 9781524746575).
  • 12:45 p.m. Gal Beckerman, author of The Quiet Before: On the Unexpected Origins of Radical Ideas (Crown, $28.99, 9781524759186), and Kathryn Judge, author of Direct: The Rise of the Middleman Economy and the Power of Going to the Source (Harper Business, $29.99, 9780063041974).
  • 1:50 p.m. Brendan McConville, author of The Brethren: A Story of Faith and Conspiracy in Revolutionary America (Harvard University Press, $29.95, 9780674249165), and Elizabeth Williamson.
  • 2:35 p.m. Jack Davis, author of The Bald Eagle: The Improbable Journey of America's Bird (Liveright, $29.95, 9781631495250).
  • 2:55 p.m. Juli Berwald, author of Life on the Rocks: Building a Future for Coral Reefs (Riverhead, $28, 9780593087305), and Edith Widder, author of Below the Edge of Darkness: A Memoir of Exploring Light and Life in the Deep Sea (Virago, $14.99, 9780349011257).
  • 4 p.m. Morten Høi Jensen, Shawn McCreesh and Becca Rothfeld on the role of the modern essay in today's literary environment.
  • 4:45 p.m. Will Bunch, author of After the Ivory Tower Falls: How College Broke the American Dream and Blew Up Our Politics--and How to Fix It (Morrow, $28.99, 9780063076990).
  • 5:05 p.m. David Rubenstein, author of How to Invest: Masters on the Craft (Simon & Schuster, $30, 9781982190309).

Sunday, September 4
8 a.m. David Sokol and Adam Brandon, authors of America in Perspective: Defending the American Dream for the Next Generation (‎Post Hill Press, $18, 9781637587102). (Re-airs Sunday at 8 p.m.)

8:35 a.m. Ken Auletta, author of Hollywood Ending: Harvey Weinstein and the Culture of Silence (Penguin Press, $30, 9781984878373). (Re-airs Sunday at 8:35 p.m.)

9:35 a.m. Eric Metaxas, author of Is Atheism Dead? (Salem Books, $29.99, 9781684511730). (Re-airs Sunday at 9:35 p.m.)

11 a.m. Will Jawando, author of My Seven Black Fathers: A Young Activist's Memoir of Race, Family, and the Mentors Who Made Him Whole (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $28, 9780374604875). (Re-airs Sunday at 11 p.m.)

12 p.m. Live In-Depth q&a with Steven Hayward, author of Patriotism Is Not Enough: Harry Jaffa, Walter Berns, and the Arguments that Redefined American Conservatism (Encounter, $16.99, 9781641770187). (Re-airs Monday at 12 a.m.)

4 p.m. Treva Lindsey, author of America, Goddam: Violence, Black Women, and the Struggle for Justice (University of California Press, $24.95, 9780520384491).

5:10 p.m. Michael R. Gordon, author of Degrade and Destroy: The Inside Story of the War Against the Islamic State, from Barack Obama to Donald Trump (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $30, 9780374279899).

6:25 p.m. Elie Mystal, author of Allow Me to Retort: A Black Guy’s Guide to the Constitution (The New Press, $26.99, 9781620976814).

Books & Authors

Awards: Mark Twain American Voice in Literature Shortlist

The Mark Twain House & Museum unveiled a shortlist for the $25,000 Mark Twain American Voice in Literature Award, which "honors an exemplary work of fiction from the previous calendar year that speaks with an 'American Voice' about American experiences." The winner will be named November 4 at the American Voice Award Banquet. This year's shortlisted titles are:
Damnation Spring by Ash Davidson (Scribner)
The Final Revival of Opal and Nev by Dawnie Walton (37 Ink)
The Five Wounds by Kirsten Valdez Quade (Norton)
Virtue by Hermione Hoby (Riverhead Books)

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, September 6:

The Marriage Portrait: A Novel by Maggie O'Farrell (Knopf, $28, 9780593320624) portrays the marriage of Lucrezia de' Medici in 1550s Florence.

Fairy Tale by Stephen King (Scribner, $32.50, 9781668002179) follows a teenager given access to a parallel world.

The Ways We Hide: A Novel by Kristina McMorris (Sourcebooks Landmark, $27.99, 9781728249797) focuses on an illusionist working for British intelligence during World War II.

The Bad Angel Brothers: A Novel by Paul Theroux (Mariner, $28.99, 9780358716891) tracks a lifelong sibling rivalry potentially culminating in murder.

Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke and Other Misfortunes by Eric LaRocca (Titan Books, $19.95, 9781803361499) collects three horror stories.

Good Mornings: 50 Delicious Recipes to Kick Start Your Day by Deborah Kaloper (Smith Street Books, $19.95, 9781922417916) provides recipes for brunch.

Coffee With Hitler: The Story of the Amateur Spies Who Tried to Civilize the Nazis by Charles Spicer (Pegasus Books, $29.95, 9781639362264) explores the amateur British intelligence agents who tried to make friends with the Nazis.

LeBron: Life Lessons from the King by Brian Boone and Gilang Bogy (Castle Point Books, $19.99, 9781250282156) is an illustrated biography of the basketball star.

The Crayons Trick or Treat by Drew Daywalt, illus. by Oliver Jeffers (Philomel, $9.99, 9780593621028) features the beloved crayons getting ready to trick-or-treat.

I Am Ruby Bridges by Ruby Bridges, illus. by Nikkolas Smith (Orchard, $18.99, 9781338753882) presents the school integration pioneer's story in her own words.

Married in Texas: A Novel by Debbie Macomber (Mira, $9.99, 9780778386513).

Angelika Frankenstein Makes Her Match: A Novel by Sally Thorne (Avon, $17.99, 9780062912831).

Ivan & Friends Box Set: The One and Only Ivan, The One and Only Bob by Katherine Applegate (HarperCollins, $17.99, 9780063278530).

The Sentence by Louise Erdrich (Harper Perennial, $18, 9780062671134).

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:

The Last Karankawas: A Novel by Kimberly Garza (Holt, $26.99, 9781250819857). "Galveston shimmers under the gifted writing of Kimberly Garza. Highly recommended for the richness of her characters--their community, hopes, dreams, and longings. I enjoyed the many voices necessary to create the book's tapestry." --Nancy Scheemaker, Northshire Bookstore, Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

Dead-End Memories: Stories by Banana Yoshimoto, trans. by Asa Yoneda (Counterpoint, $26, 9781640093690). "As far as I'm concerned, Banana Yoshimoto can do no wrong. I don't think there's anyone who can write a sweet love story about a charming oddball the way she can. If you're a fan, you'll find more of what you love; if you're new, jump right in!" --Jordan Pulaski, Small Friend Records & Books, Richmond, Va.

The Reading List: A Novel by Sara Nisha Adams (Morrow, $16.99, 9780063025295). "A beautiful novel about people connected by a local library and an amazing reading list. As the characters' lives are revealed through interweaving storylines, readers will root for them, cry for them, and celebrate their victories." --Lisa Driban, Hockessin Book Shelf, Hockessin, Del.

For Ages 4 to 8
My Pet Feet by Josh Funk, illus. by Billy Yong (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, $18.99, 9781534486003). "My Pet Feet is funny and exciting to read! The wordplay creates many entertaining scenarios and will have kids searching the illustrations for additional cases of the 'missing R.' Families, teachers, and KIDS will love this!" --Joanna Robertson, The Treehouse Reading and Arts Center, New York Mills, N.Y.

For Ages 10+
Agent Most Wanted: The Never-Before-Told Story of the Most Dangerous Spy of World War II by Sonia Purnell (Viking Books for Young Readers, $18.99, 9780593350546). "Moxie. That's what Virginia Hall was made of. I am thankful to Sonia Purnell for this story as I love reading about incredibly brave women and their contributions to our world. In this case, she helped save it from the tyranny of Nazi Germany." --Debbie White, The Well-Read Moose, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

For Teen Readers
Wild Is the Witch by Rachel Griffin (Sourcebooks Fire, $18.99, 9781728229454). "I love this second novel by Rachel Griffin. An emotional story about guilt, regret, and vulnerability with incredible storytelling and rich descriptions! Love the magic and the animals and the cozy feeling--like walking out in the woods." --Jaya Anderson, Red Balloon Bookshop, St. Paul, Minn.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: Dr. No

Dr. No by Percival Everett (Graywolf Press, $16 paperback, 232p., 9781644452080, November 1, 2022)

The phenomenally talented and prolific Percival Everett (So Much Blue; Percival Everett by Virgil Russell) conducts a highwire act in Dr. No, balancing opaque mathematical theory with disarmingly deadpan humor over a daunting crevasse of nothing. Fortunately for readers, the narrator, Wala Kitu (not his given name), is an expert on nothing. But unfortunately for Wala, his expertise attracts the dangerous criminal mastermind John Sill, who wishes to harness the power of nothing for a diabolical plan.

A distinguished professor of mathematics at Brown University, Wala doesn't have a villainous bone in his body. He, like his colleague Eigen Vector, is hopelessly literal and not especially street-smart. He keeps a one-legged bulldog as a companion, whom he calls "Trigo" on account of the three missing limbs, and, curiously, man and animal converse at great length in Wala's dreams, where Trigo serves as an uncouth voice of reason. Nothing, for Wala, resides somewhere between scientific anomaly and philosophical quandary. "The importance of nothing is that it is the measure of that which is not nothing," he says by way of introducing his field of study. "I work very hard and wish I could say that I have nothing to show for it."

Sill, on the other hand, is a suave billionaire who is not afraid of killing anyone who stands in his way. He "aspired to be a Bond villain, the fictitious nature of James Bond notwithstanding." Understanding nothing's potential to be weaponized, Sill charms Wala, Eigen and numerous other eccentrics to participate in his scheme. His sights are set on Fort Knox, where he hopes to obtain a shoebox containing nothing.

Dr. No is riddled with irresistible wordplay, as again and again characters express their fascination with and desire for nothing. Likewise, Everett's referential treatment of his characters borders on the uncanny. "From passage to pastiche was how I might have characterized the last two days, though I wasn't sure why," Wala observes after Father Damien Karras (from William Peter Blatty's The Exorcist) enters the story, highlighting a rather porous boundary between what is real (Karras) and what is fiction (Bond) amid the topsy-turvy stakes at play.

The result is an entertaining caper of philosophical proportions. It is an adventure that can be appreciated on any of the numerous levels that Everett is working on. From the unassuming bumbling of a humble mathematician to the provocative consequences of unmitigated power, nothing is quite as enjoyable as Dr. No. --Dave Wheeler, associate editor, Shelf Awareness

Shelf Talker: An unassuming expert in nothing embarks on a wildly entertaining caper when he contracts with an aspiring supervillain on a quest for nothing.

Powered by: Xtenit