Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Atlantic Monthly Press: Those Opulent Days: A Mystery by Jacquie Pham

Feiwel & Friends: The Flicker by HE Edgmon

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: The Pumpkin Princess and the Forever Night by Steven Banbury

St. Martin's Griffin: Murdle: The School of Mystery: 50 Seriously Sinister Logic Puzzles by GT Karber

Carolrhoda Lab (R): Here Goes Nothing by Emma K Ohland

Allida: Safiyyah's War by Hiba Noor Khan

Ace Books: Servant of Earth (The Shards of Magic) by Sarah Hawley

Quotation of the Day

Indie Customers 'Voting with Their Dollars for the World They Want to Survive'

"And recently, in the wake of more critical coverage of Amazon's business practices, there have been more and more people asking themselves: Can I give up Amazon? Should I boycott Amazon? Sadly, their conclusion often seems to be: No. Amazon is just too big.... What the heck? Amazon will never notice if you stop spending your money with them, so why not just surrender to their market dominance? As with so many overwhelming problems--Climate change! Politics! The economy!--one person just can't make a difference.

"I disagree. I know for a fact that you, personally, can make a difference. While Amazon may not miss the dollars you decide not to spend with them, those same dollars coming to me make all the difference in whether I can survive. So, every time a customer approaches me, phone in hand, to tell me they are ordering their Amazon wish list from me, I can't help but smile. That person hasn't surrendered to the ubiquity of Amazon. That person is voting with their dollars for the world they want to survive."

--Nina Barrett, owner and founder of Bookends & Beginnings, Evanston, Ill., and the lead plaintiff in a class-action suit against Amazon on behalf of booksellers, in a Chicago Tribune commentary 

PM Press: P Is for Palestine: A Palestine Alphabet Book by Golbarg Bashi, Illustrated by Golrokh Nafisi


Chicago's Volumes Bookcafe Reopening in New Wicker Park Location 

Volumes Bookcafe in Chicago, Ill., is reopening in Wicker Park almost a year and a half after the owners closed their original location in the neighborhood. Block Club Chicago reported that co-owner Rebecca George said the bookstore is planning a soft launch this week at 1373 N. Milwaukee Ave., while aiming for an official opening Saturday, depending on when it receives a final certificate from the city. 

The space has been operating as a pop-up store for Volumes, which also runs a location at 900 N. Michigan Ave. in the Gold Coast. George and her sister, Kimberly George, opened Volumes in 2016 at 1474 N. Milwaukee Ave., but after five years in business, the George sisters chose last year not to renew their lease, citing losses during the pandemic and high rent.

The new space is slightly larger and includes a full cafe with literary-themed drinks, baked goods and--eventually--beer and wine. The store has seating and space for live events, which are resuming this week, Block Club Chicago noted. 

"I think we've created kind of what we had before, which is a quieter, more chill space, a welcoming space," Rebecca George said.

Perhaps the biggest change for the George sisters is they now own their storefront. Rebecca George told Block Club Chicago that after closing the original Volumes in 2021, there was an outpouring of community support from neighbors and customers who wondered how they could help get the store back open. This resulted in a group of about 20 people who came together to invest in the business, allowing the Georges to buy the ground floor of their current building. Their mortgage is now less than half of what rent was at the former space, George said.

"Pretty much immediately, the community contacted us about how can we get you back right, like, how do we make this happen? It's a more permanent solution. [The rent] is never going to go up," she said. "I have nothing but unconditional love for this community. Just even thinking about how much they've put in, whether it's money or just continuing to be a customer... all the investment that they've put into keeping us here, they know the value of what we provide for the community. Yeah, it makes me cry, just all the time."

Farrar, Straus and Giroux: Intermezzo by Sally Rooney

U.K.'s Nosy Crow Launching U.S. Company

Nosy Crow, the U.K. children's publisher, is launching a U.S. company, Nosy Crow Inc., that will publish a range of titles that have been Nosy Crow's specialty, from novelty board books for the youngest child to engaging and educational nonfiction for readers up through middle school, all aiming to make children through age 12 lifelong readers. The list will be sold and distributed by Hachette Book Group.

Nosy Crow Inc.'s president is John Mendelson, formerly senior v-p of sales at Candlewick Press, who said, "I am delighted to lead Nosy Crow Inc., building a varied, commercially powerful, creatively distinct and fully Americanized list. Our first year of publishing will showcase 30 amazing books from illustrators and authors that will reach a wide audience across North America. Over the next few years, we'll add chapter books and middle-grade fiction and we'll originate books in North America too, featuring art and words from a diverse group of creators."

John Mendelson

During its 12-year history, Nosy Crow UK has sold North American rights to a range of publishers, and those titles will continue to be sold by those publishers. Many of those titles have been published by Candlewick Press using the Nosy Crow imprint, including a number of Nosy Crow UK's board book series and character-based picture books. Candlewick will continue to publish new titles in these series, but without the Nosy Crow imprint.

Kate Wilson, group CEO of Nosy Crow, who will oversee both the U.K. and U.S. companies, said, "As a publishing company creating books that are published around the world, this feels like such a natural extension of our publishing. We are hugely grateful to the U.S. publishers, particularly our long-time partner, Candlewick Press, who have been such amazing supporters of Nosy Crow's full-colour books in the first decade of our existence. But we feel it's now time to spread our wings and engage directly with the amazing and very different market that is North America. We look forward to bringing our great books, our reputation for sustainability, and our commitment to diversity and inclusivity to this vibrant market with a new company under the leadership of John Mendelson, whose customer focus combined with an intelligent engagement with books, authors and illustrators is unparalleled."

Kate Wilson

The inaugural summer list will launch in May 2023, and includes picture books like Frank and Bert by Chris Naylor Ballesteros, a meditation on friendship; How to Count to One by Caspar Salmon and Matt Hunt, a quirky counting book; and Everything Possible, based on a song that celebrates the range of ways of living and identities that potentially lie ahead of a child, illustrated by Alison Brown. The board book list will include the first books in the Look It's... series by Camilla Reid and Clare Youngs. The nonfiction list will include Welcome to Our Table, a celebration of food from around the world by Moira Butterfield and Harriet Lynas. Nosy Crow Inc. will also bring the Stories Aloud audio program directly to the North American market for the first time: all of Nosy Crow Inc.'s board and picture books will feature free, downloadable audio recordings so children and families can listen to the books wherever and whenever they want.

A major fan of Nosy Crow is James Daunt, CEO of Barnes & Noble and managing director of Waterstones, who said, "Over the years, Nosy Crow has been a phenomenal partner to Waterstones in the U.K. We look forward to more of their magic here in the States and wish them the very best of luck."

Gibbs Smith Now 100% Employee Owned

Gibbs Smith employees have purchased the half of the company they did not already own, making the Layton, Utah, publisher 100% employee owned. The deal was finalized on August 31 between Catherine Gibbs, a co-founder, and the company's employees, who had purchased half the company in 2015.

Organized as a Benefit Corporation (B Corp) and using an ESOP (employee stock ownership plan), Gibbs Smith consists of a Book & Gift division whose books are sold worldwide, and Gibbs Smith Education, which offers textbooks, cross-curricular literacy resources, and professional development books and services. With its own warehouse, Gibbs Smith distributes its titles as well as those of other publishers, including Lil' Libros, F. Ferguson Books and Angel City Press.

Catherine Smith, who founded the company in 1969 with her husband, Gibbs Smith, who died in 2017, said, "It has been 53 years since two humanities majors decided to start a publishing company. We chose a lofty motto: 'to enrich and inspire humankind.' Being a publisher can be a great life, not necessarily for amassing wealth, but in finding and exploring the essential fascination to be found in people, places, and events around us and sharing it. I congratulate the new owners, the remarkable people who have made the company a success."

CEO Brad Farmer, representing the executive management team, said, "We are excited to fulfill Gibbs and Catherine Smith's dream of becoming a fully employee-owned company. Being 100% ESOP owned is a dynamic change in the company's status and is in complete harmony with our triple-bottom-line focus on people, planet, and profits. We are proud, as employee owners, to carry Gibbs and Catherine's legacy into the next generation of ownership and evolution."

Moneka Hewlett, director of proprietary sales and new business development, added: "I am grateful for the stock benefits that come from being a part of an ESOP, but what I notice daily is the sense of team and can-do attitude that is created by our shared ownership. We all have a focus on making the company as successful as possible and we work together to achieve that."

Obituary Note: Diane Noomin

Diane Noomin

Diane Noomin, "who was a pioneer of feminist underground comics in the 1970s and whose comic book Twisted Sisters, a collaboration with her fellow artist Aline Kominsky-Crumb, has been a touchstone for generations of female cartoonists," died September 1, the New York Times reported. She was 75. Noomin's best-known creation "was DiDi Glitz--a curvy, big-haired, leopard-print-loving, fishnet-stocking-and-miniskirt-wearing and hard-drinking single mother. DiDi, whose world was filled with bad sex, sleazy men, cocktails and extravagant decorating, was a sendup of a certain kind of suburban stock character, but she was rendered with both affection and compassion."

"Diane treated her comics as a kind of exorcism," said her husband, cartoonist Bill Griffith (creator of Zippy the Pinhead). "There were things inside her that had to get out. DiDi was an amalgam of all the parents, all the housewives in Canarsie when she was growing up, the person she was afraid she might become, so in order to deal with that she took control.... It became very complex. Not only did she exorcise this character, she also inhabited her. That's why DiDi is such a powerful character. Diane wasn't interested in making fun of her; she wanted to deeply explore who she was."

In the early 1970s, Noomin had been making sculptures and drawings when she arrived in San Francisco. She and Kominsky-Crumb (then Aline Kominsky) met at a party, and when Kominsky-Crumb saw Noomin's sketchbook, she invited her to a meeting of female artists who were putting together the first issue of Wimmen's Comix. The group was a feminist collective trying to make their own comics in the deeply male underground genre, whose stars included Robert Crumb, Art Spiegelman and Griffith. Wimmen's Comix "would go on to be the longest-running female underground comic, publishing 17 issues from 1972 to 1992," the Times noted.

"It was revolutionary, expressive, personal and feminist, and open to a range of experience beyond what you would see in the New Yorker," said comics historian Brian Doherty. "It was a product of its times, and run like a feminist consciousness-raising project, and there were lots of sisterly meetings, which drove Diane and Aline crazy." Noomin and Kominsky-Crumb were also dating the enemy--their already famous future husbands Griffith and Crumb, respectively. 

Twisted Sisters Comics, a 36-page publication released in 1976 and featuring Noomin's DiDi and Kominsky-Crumb's alter ego, "the Bunch," was their retort to what Noomin called the rigid feminism of Wimmen's Comix (though in later decades she would contribute more of her work to that publication and even edit it), the Times noted.

Noomin also edited and contributed to many cartoon collections, including Lemme Outa Here: Growing Up Inside the American Dream (1978). She revived the name Twisted Sisters in 1991 for an anthology of female cartoonists, Twisted Sisters: A Collection of Bad Girl Art.

Although the personal was always political for Noomin, the Times wrote that she "wasn't moved to make overtly political work until the run-up to the 2016 presidential election and the #MeToo movement. For Drawing Power: Women's Stories of Sexual Violence, Harassment, and Survival, she invited more than 60 artists of different races, nationalities, sexuality and ages to contribute. Published in 2019, the book was dedicated to Anita Hill."


Image of the Day: Double the Fun

Books & Books in Miami, Fla., hosted the launch event for two books by Christina Diaz Gonzalez: Invisible (Scholastic/Graphix) and The Bluest Sky (Knopf Books for Young Readers). Pictured: events manager Cristina Nosti, Gonzalez, Books & Books owner Mitchell Kaplan.

Personnel Changes at Scribner

Lauren Dooley has joined Scribner as marketing manager. She previously worked as assistant marketing manager at Bloomsbury.

Zachary Polendo has joined Scribner as a publicist. He was previously an associate publicist at the Hachette Book Group.

Rep & Distribution Change for Popular Book Company (USA)

Effective next Monday, September 19, Popular Book Company (USA) will be represented in the northeastern U.S. by Chesapeake & Hudson; in the South by Southern Territory Associates; in the West by Imprint Group; and in the Midwest by Wybel Marketing Group.

At the same time, order entry and distribution will be handled by Faster Direct in southern Ontario. All Popular Book Company (USA) purchase orders should go to stores' sales reps and to Fraser Direct, attention Joanne Veenstra, Client Services Administrator, 1-905-877-4411 x317 or via e-mail.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Ian McEwan, Nina Totenberg, Chelsea Clinton

Fresh Air: Nina Totenberg, author of Dinners with Ruth: A Memoir on the Power of Friendships (Simon & Schuster, $27.99, 9781982188085).

NPR's Here & Now: Ian McEwan, author of Lessons: A Novel (Knopf, $30, 9780593535202).

Drew Barrymore Show: Chelsea Clinton, author of Welcome to the Big Kids Club: What Every Older Sibling Needs to Know! (Philomel, $18.99, 9780593350737). She will also appear on Late Night with Seth Meyers.

Movies: All Quiet on the Western Front

Netflix released a teaser trailer for All Quiet on the Western Front, Edward Berger's first-ever German-language film adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque's classic World War I novel, the Hollywood Reporter noted. The movie recently premiered at the 2022 Toronto Film Festival.

"From the start, it is clear that this is not your typical war movie," THR wrote. "Images of the fresh-faced soldiers excitedly marching to the front are cross-cut with shots of violence and terror in the trenches. True to its source material, there is no heroism and no grand adventure in the war depicted in All Quiet on the Western Front."

The film, which will be released on Netflix October 28, stars Daniel Brühl, Albrecht Schuch, Sebastian Hülk, Felix Kammerer, Aaron Hilmer, Edin Hasanovic and Devid Striesow. 

Books & Authors

Awards: Northern California Book Winners

Winner of the 41st annual Northern California Book Awards were celebrated on Sunday in San Francisco at an event presented by the Northern California Book Reviewers, Poetry Flash, and San Francisco Public Library, with community partners Mechanics' Institute Library, Women's National Book Association-San Francisco Chapter, and PEN West.

The winners:

Fred Cody Award for Lifetime Achievement & Service: Isabel Allende, the Chilean writer and novelist who lives in the Bay Area
NCBR Groundbreaker Award: Mule Kick Blues: And Last Poems by Michael McClure, edited with an introduction by Garrett Caples (City Lights)
NCBR Recognition Award: ZYZZYVA, a San Francisco Journal of Arts & Letters
Fiction: The Confession of Copeland Cane by Keenan Norris (The Unnamed Press)
Poetry: Yellow Rain by Mai Der Vang (Graywolf Press)
Creative Nonfiction: Model Citizen by Joshua Mohr (MCD/Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
General Nonfiction: American Revolution by David Talbot and Margaret Talbot (Harper)
California Translation: The Blinding Star by Blanca Varela, translated by Lisa Allen Ortiz and Sara Daniele Rivera from the Spanish (Tolsun Books)
Children's Literature, Younger Readers: Out of the Blue: How Animals Evolved from Prehistoric Seas by Elizabeth Shreeve, illustrated by Frann Preston-Gannon (Candlewick)
Children's Literature, Middle Grade: The Samosa Rebellion by Shanthi Sekaran (Katherine Tegen Books)
Children's Literature, Young Adult: The Mirror Season by Anna-Marie McLemore (Feiwel & Friends)

Reading with... Shaunna J. Edwards and Alyson Richman

Born out of the decades-long friendship between a Black woman and Jewish woman, The Thread Collectors (Graydon House, August 30, 2022) is a complex historical novel set during the Civil War and partly inspired by the two authors' family histories.

Shaunna J. Edwards is a former corporate lawyer who now works in diversity, equity and inclusion. She is a native Louisianian, raised in New Orleans, and lives in Harlem with her husband. The Thread Collectors is her debut book.

Alyson Richman is the author of several historical novels, including The Velvet Hours, The Garden of Letters and The Lost Wife, which is in development for a motion picture. She is an accomplished painter, and her novels combine her deep love of art, historical research and travel. She lives on Long Island in New York with her husband and two children.

Handsell readers your book in 25 words or less:

The Thread Collectors: Two women--one Black, another Jewish--whose resourceful sewing during the Civil War leads to dangerous journeys as they fight to bring their beloveds home.

Shaunna J. Edwards
Alyson Richman

On your nightstand now:

Shaunna J. Edwards: Right now, I'm reading Thieves' Dozen, a collection of short stories by Donald E. Westlake. These are comedic capers, filled with colorful characters, sharp dialogue and best-laid plans gone awry. Given all of the darkness in the world right now, I'm determined to spend the summer laughing.

Alyson Richman: Still Life by Sarah Winman. The writing is beautiful and the characters get underneath your skin in the best possible way. I can't wait to read more from Winman. Every sentence is like a brushstroke in a painting!

Favorite book when you were a child:

AR: Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein. I have a strong memory of sitting at my desk as my first-grade teacher, Mrs. Goldberg, read the poem "Sick" aloud to the class. My mom bought me a copy a few days later and I think I tried to memorize half the poems on my own. I always credit this book with being the one that inspired my early love of reading.

SJE: The Shoes Series by Mary Noel Streatfeild (known as Noel Streatfeild), including Ballet Shoes and Circus Shoes. I was captivated by these tales of intrepid children finding their talents and overcoming the challenges of war, poverty and everyday adolescence.

Your top five authors:

SJE: Jane Austen, for making the drama of drawing rooms epic for me as a young reader.

Alex Haley, for displaying the dignity and indomitability of Black people under the most tragic of circumstances.

Raymond Chandler, for making me fall in thrall with imperfect heroes.

Isabel Wilkerson, for illuminating the dark corners of American history in a page-turning fashion.

Alyson Richman, for opening up this new world as a writer for me!

AR: This is such a hard question, but I admire these five authors not just because they're beautiful writers, but also because they're always pushing themselves to do something new: Alice Hoffman, Michael Ondaatje, Jhumpa Lahiri, Ian McEwan, Geraldine Brooks.

Book you've faked reading:

SJE: War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. As an English major it was presumed (and perhaps even assigned) reading. I tried--truly--but between the rampant use of Russian diminutive names and it being too heavy for reading on commutes, I simply never made it through.

AR: The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. I started it just before my son was born. But once he arrived, I just didn't have the time or the concentration needed to finish it.

Book you're an evangelist for:

SJE: The Godfather by Mario Puzo. Even more profound than the movie (which is one of my favorites), the novel brings a deeper dimensionality to the women characters, showing them simultaneously as protagonists and victims in this epic.

AR: The Sweetness of Water by Nathan Harris. This novel has everything that I love in a good book: gorgeous prose, complex characters and a rich historical setting. I couldn't believe it was Harris's debut and I'm so excited for his next book.

Book you've bought for the cover:

SJE: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. With its largely black-and-white cover, it upended my expectations of a circus, telegraphing that it would be an unexpected ride.

AR: The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton. To this day, I think this is the most beautiful cover I've ever seen.

Book you hid from your parents:

SJE: Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews. Even now, I can't believe this was in my middle school library.

AR: Little Birds by Anaïs Nin.

Book that changed your life:

SJE: W. Somerset Maugham's Of Human Bondage. I read it in college and remember late night, self-conscious discussions of what it meant to balance reason and emotion. It was perhaps the first book to make me feel the weight of consequences and choice as a young adult.

AR: Viktor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning. This book had such a deep impact on me and, in some ways, even made me re-evaluate my own life. It reaffirms that not only is love possible in the darkest times, but also that having a sense of purpose in life can save you.

Favorite line from a book:

SJE: "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife." --Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

AR: "Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice." --Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

Five books you'll never part with:

SJE: Pride and Prejudice, Tess of the d'Urbervilles, The Jungle, Roots, Invisible Man.

AR: One Hundred Years of Solitude, Shadow of the Wind, The English Patient, The Marriage of Opposites, Beloved.

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

SJE: Captain Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernières. I bought it after briefly skimming the back: a World War II novel, set in beautiful Mediterranean climes with the promise of a love story--sign me up! I received far more than I bargained for--a lyrical novel juxtaposing the brutality of war and totalitarianism against the pitfalls and pinnacles of many forms of love. I never watched the film because I don't want to disturb the scenery that played in my mind.

AR: The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker. A bookseller at the now-defunct Penn Books recommended it to me and I remember starting it on a train back to Long Island and finishing the last page past midnight. There are certain novels where you can feel the soul of the author written into the novel and this is one of those books.

Book Review

YA Review: Man Made Monsters

Man Made Monsters by Andrea L. Rogers, illus. by Jeff Edwards (Levine Querido, $19.99 hardcover, 320p., ages 12-up, 9781646141791, October 4, 2022)

Cherokee author Andrea L. Rogers follows the harrowing history of one family's encounters with both anthropogenic and preternatural horrors in her intricate, chilling YA story collection, Man Made Monsters. Illustrations by Cherokee artist and language technologist Jeff Edwards bring an additional layer of stark gravity to Rogers's hair-raising episodes.

The opening story, "An Old-Fashioned Girl," picks up in the middle of the Wilson family's flight to Indian Territory in 1839, "chased by human monsters, monsters who lived on blood and sorrow." Their deadly run-in with a mysterious well-dressed man sets the stage for generations of supernatural encounters. A boy in 1866 receives the intervention of fairy-like people reminiscent of the Nunnehi in "An Un-Fairy Story." A news article details a standoff between two Cherokee soldiers and a fearsome beast in "Hell Hound in No Man's Land." A young woman strikes up an unusual romance with a Goat Boy in Texas one summer in the late 1960s. A host of zombies, ghosts, creatures and one wayward alien continue to make contact through the years, with consequences that range from terrifying to beneficial or utterly strange. As time progresses, so too do the faces of genocide and oppression, becoming less blatant but increasingly pernicious. Forced removal, the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women's Crisis and a host of other casual and catastrophic cruelties haunt generations of a family as its members lean on each other and their cultural teachings to survive.

Rogers's roster of monsters draws from a diverse pool of horror genre standards, cryptids and Cherokee stories. Her disarmingly direct prose leaps nimbly between points of view, each protagonist a beautifully realized individual. Recurring character Ama, whose supernaturally long life lets her stay involved with generations of her family, is complex and compelling enough to carry a novel. Characters' lives are embroidered with historical context and cultural knowledge in impressive detail, adding to the sense of interconnectedness between stories. Rogers integrates Cherokee words seamlessly throughout the text, along with Spanish and German where historically appropriate. Edwards's illustrations, white  on black backgrounds, often incorporate the Cherokee syllabary, words running up the throat of a cat with a knowing expression, across the stocks and barrels of World War I rifles and through the workings of a sinuous human heart. Teen and adult readers looking for a taste of the gorgeously gruesome should snap up this dark, engrossing jewel. --Jaclyn Fulwood, youth experience manager, Dayton Metro Library

Shelf Talker: Drawing from genre staple monsters and traditional stories, Cherokee author Andrea Rogers's short story horror collection combines supernatural and manmade atrocities.

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