Shelf Awareness for Thursday, September 29, 2022

Algonquin Young Readers: the Beautiful Game by Yamile Saied Méndez

Berkley Books: Books that will sweep you off your feet! Enter Giveaway!

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


James Patterson Donates $2 Million to PEN America

James Patterson

Author James Patterson has donated $2 million to PEN America to build communications capacity and help the writers' organization speak louder in defense of free expression against evolving threats in the U.S., online and around the world. 

"Patterson's trailblazing gift will help set the pace as PEN America mobilizes its community of writers, editors and publishers to step up their support and equip the organization as force equal to the mounting threats to free speech and open discourse in the 21st century," the organization noted. 

"I've focused the entirety of my career on championing literacy," said Patterson. "And that starts with ensuring that all people have access to all different types of books--books with different viewpoints and that celebrate different ideas. My hope is that this donation to PEN America will help them in their fight for free expression, which will ultimately benefit readers and writers everywhere."

PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel commented: "We are incredibly grateful to James Patterson for this catalytic gift which will help us increase our reach, voice and influence at a pivotal time in the battle for free speech. A master at connecting with audiences and telling compelling stories, Jim's extraordinary generosity will help us build the capacity to reach more writers and readers and to convey the essence of pivotal issues in ways that galvanize our supporters and propel our campaigns to achieve concrete results. Amid a centenary campaign aimed to equip PEN America to lead the free expression fights of the future, Jim's leadership will help pave the way to motivate other writers and members of the literary community to stand with PEN America and make possible our essential work."

Blackstone Publishing: Rogue Community College: A Liberty House Novel by David R Slayton

The Squirrel and Acorn Bookshop Opens in State College, Pa.

The Squirrel and Acorn Bookshop officially opened earlier this month in downtown State College, Pa., reported.

Owner Andrew Aschwanden carries new books for all ages, with an emphasis on imagination and whimsy. There is an ample children's section as well as displays around holidays such as Halloween and Christmas. The shop also features nonbook items including stationery, notebooks and writing utensils, for children as well as adults. His event plans include children's storytime sessions, writing workshops, author readings and book fairs with local schools.

"My goal with the bookstore was not only to provide amazing stories and works that people can enjoy but also provide resources to help them create their own," Aschwandel told StateCollege. "We want to make reading and writing cool."

Aschwanden spent the summer getting the store ready for opening. It's located in a space that used to house a toy store called the Animal Kingdom, which recently merged with its sister store. Renovations included removing older fixtures and an interior wall, along with replacing the shop's lighting and new paint on the windows. He called it not a total makeover, but "some substantial work."

Prior to opening the bookstore, Aschwanden worked as a research technician at Penn State for more than 12 years, and he founded the bookstore with the help of Penn State's Small Business Development Center. He noted that while he enjoyed working at Penn State, he decided it was time to change careers and pursue his love of books.

So far, he said, the community has welcomed his store: "Traffic has been great. People are consistently coming in and checking it out, which is a good sign early on."

River Bend Bookshop Expanding to West Hartford, Conn.

River Bend Bookshop in Glastonbury

Connecticut's River Bend Bookshop will open a second location in West Hartford this November. 

Owner Meghan Hayden, who opened the original location in Glastonbury in 2018, reported that the new store is 1,200 square feet and will sell new books for all ages, along with gifts, stationery, puzzles and games. Event plans for the new shop include author events, storytime sessions and more.

Hayden explained that the new location came about through a partnership with Playhouse on Park, a professional theater in West Hartford. The River Bend team began setting up themed book displays in the theater's lobby in 2019, and "while spending time at Playhouse we fell in love with the Park Road neighborhood. It is a vibrant area filled with incredible restaurants and small businesses."

Bookstore manager Audrey Beatty said: "We really pride ourselves on the relationships we build with customers. Our west-of-the-river friends have expressed to us, loud and clear, that they'd love for us to be closer. This is a fantastic opportunity to broaden our community and meet readers where they're at."

In addition to the Glastonbury store, River Bend operates River Bend Book Truck, which does pop-up sales at festivals and events around Connecticut.

Indigo Bridge, Lincoln, Neb., Eyes Fall Reopening

Indigo Bridge in Lincoln, Neb., will reopen in its new location this fall, the Daily Nebraskan reported.

The bookstore had planned to host a grand opening in the new space at 1624 S. 17th St. earlier this month, but construction delays have slowed things. Aaliyah Samci, Indigo Bridge's director of operations and marketing, told the Nebraskan that when the bookstore reopens a little later this fall, it will once again have a coffee shop with locally sourced ingredients and materials.

Samci added that the store's mission of uplifting underrepresented communities will continue, and every book in the store was written by an author from an underrepresented group. That could mean queer authors, women authors, authors of color or anyone from a group that "isn't society's default."

Putting together lists of community resources is also a big part of Indigo Bridge's mission, with Samci explaining that the team understands "that a lot of people in marginalized groups, especially in Nebraska, do not have the resources that other people in this town have. It's really important to us to be able to communicate with people and spread the information of any resources that anyone could possibly work [with]. We're very community-based here."

Workers Unionize at Louisville, Ky., Half Price Books

Booksellers at the Half Price Books location at Hurstbourne Parkway in Louisville, Ky., voted to unionize last week, WDRB reported. They have organized with UFCW Local 227, and Half Price Books has voluntarily recognized the union.

In a statement, the booksellers explained they chose to unionize over issues including pay and staffing levels. Mary Condon, one of the booksellers, said: "We deserve a seat at the table, and a place for our ideas not only to be heard, but for us to negotiate their implementation."

"Half Price Books will recognize the newly formed union at our Hurstbourne store and will begin the process of working with union representatives," said Half Price Books president Kathy Doyle Thomas.

With headquarters in Dallas, Tex., Half Price Books has more than 120 stores around the country, with two in Louisville. The unionization is another in the ongoing wave of labor organization, both in the bookselling world and retail at large.

G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!
A Forty Year Kiss
by Nickolas Butler
GLOW: A Forty Year Kiss by Nickolas Butler

A Forty Year Kiss by Nickolas Butler is a passionate, emotionally complex love story that probes tender places within the heart and soul. When 60-somethings Charlie and Vivian--married then divorced in their 20s--reunite after four decades, they are swept up by the very best of what their romantic relationship once offered. "Anyone who has ever thought about what might have been will find this book fascinating," says Shana Drehs, senior editorial director at Sourcebooks Landmark. "The story is a brilliant exploration of a second chance at love, always realistic but never saccharine." As Charlie and Vivian build a bridge from past to present, their enduring love paving over potholes, Butler (Shotgun Lovesongs) raises questions about how life changes people--or does it?--and delivers another heartening, unforgettable novel. --Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines

(Sourcebooks Landmark, $27.99 Hardcover, 9781464221248, 
February 4, 2025)


Shelf vetted, publisher supported


Happy Fifth Birthday, Editions Coffee and Bookstore!

Congratulations to Editions Coffee and Bookstore in Kannapolis, N.C., which celebrated its fifth anniversary in August. Store owner Dawn Evans told WCNC that it's been a "wonderful experience" despite some significant challenges during the pandemic.

"Our customers are so fabulous," Evans said, recalling how she and her team had completed a drive-through addition to the bookstore and coffee shop literally days before the pandemic shutdowns began. The drive-through, and a PPP loan, became the store's lifeline during the worst parts of the pandemic.

"They came through the drive-through and they ordered coffee and they ordered books through the drive-through and artwork through the drive-through," she continued. "I mean, it makes me want to cry, just thinking about it."

Five years ago Evans and her husband purchased the Book Trader, which was a used bookstore at the time. Over the ensuing years Evans added new books to the inventory and the coffee shop.

Evans added that she is already looking forward to celebrating the 10th anniversary.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Anderson Cooper on Live with Kelly and Ryan

Live with Kelly and Ryan: Anderson Cooper, co-author of Vanderbilt: The Rise and Fall of an American Dynasty (Harper Paperbacks, $18.99, 9780062964625).

The Tamron Hall Show: Chloe Gong, author of Foul Lady Fortune (S&S/McElderry, $21.99, 9781665905589).

700 Club: Cynt Marshall, author of You've Been Chosen: Thriving Through the Unexpected (Ballantine, $28, 9780593359419).

Shark Tank: Justine Tiu, author of Crochet Amigurumi for Every Occasion (Weldon Owen, $24.99, 9781681888569).

This Weekend on Book TV: Live In-Depth with Dan Abrams

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, October 1
2 p.m. Ken Rutherford, author of America's Buried History: Landmines in the Civil War (‎Savas Beatie, $29.95, 9781611214536). (Re-airs Sunday at 2 a.m.)

3:05 p.m. David J. Silverman, author of This Land Is Their Land: The Wampanoag Indians, Plymouth Colony, and the Troubled History of Thanksgiving (Bloomsbury, $31, 9781632869258). (Re-airs Sunday at 3:05 a.m.)

Sunday, October 2
8 a.m. Henry Kissinger, author of Leadership: Six Studies in World Strategy (Penguin Press, $36, 9780593489444). (Re-airs Sunday at 8 p.m.)

9 a.m. Nicole Hemmer, author of Partisans: The Conservative Revolutionaries Who Remade American Politics in the 1990s (‎Basic Books, $32, 9781541646889). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m.)

10 a.m. Rep. Cori Bush, author of The Forerunner: A Story of Pain and Perseverance in America (‎Knopf, $28, 9780593320587). (Re-airs Sunday at 10 p.m.)

11 a.m. Ellen Jovin, author of Rebel with a Clause: Tales and Tips from a Roving Grammarian (Mariner, $26.99, 9780358278153). (Re-airs Sunday at 11 p.m.)

12 p.m. Live In-Depth q&a with Dan Abrams, author and founder of Abrams Media. (Re-airs Sunday at 12 a.m.)

4 p.m. Gale Pooley, co-author of Superabundance: The Story of Population Growth, Innovation, and Human Flourishing on an Infinitely Bountiful Planet (Cato Institute, $34.95, 9781952223396).

5:30 p.m. Leah Boustan, co-author of Streets of Gold: America's Untold Story of Immigrant Success (PublicAffairs, $29, 9781541797833).

7:30 p.m. Publishers Weekly editorial director Jim Milliot discusses the "upcoming publication of the House January 6th Committee report and how the publishing industry treated other major Congressional Reports."

Books & Authors

Awards: Edna Staebler Creative Fiction Winner

Ann Hui won the C$10,000 (about US$7,540) Edna Staebler Award for Creative Nonfiction for her book Chop Suey Nation: The Legion Cafe and Other Stories from Canada's Chinese Restaurants, Quill & Quire reported. Granted annually by Wilfrid Laurier University, the prize "encourages and recognizes Canadian writers for a first or second work of creative nonfiction that includes a Canadian locale and/or significance." 

Bruce Gillespie, one of the judges, called the winning book "a fantastic example of the kind of high-caliber creative nonfiction that Canadian writers are creating today, and it will appeal to a wide range of readers, as it's part road trip, part food history and part family memoir."

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, October 4:

American Midnight: The Great War, a Violent Peace, and Democracy's Forgotten Crisis by Adam Hochschild (Mariner, $29.99, 9780358455462) explores American history immediately following World War I.

Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America by Maggie Haberman (Penguin Press, $32, 9780593297346) investigates the former president.

Boldly Go: Reflections on a Life of Awe and Wonder by William Shatner (Atria, $28, 9781668007327) is the memoir of the stellar actor.

Our Missing Hearts: A Novel by Celeste Ng (Penguin Press, $29, 9780593492543) takes place in a future America with strict censorship laws.

Mad Honey: A Novel by Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan (Ballantine, $29.99, 9781984818386) follows two New Hampshire transplants and their children.

Daughter of Darkness by Terry Brooks (Del Rey, $28.99, 9780593357415) is the second entry in the Viridian Deep fantasy series.

The Janus File by David Weber and Jacob Holo (Baen, $25, 9781982192150) continues the Gordian Division sci-fi series.

Hester: A Novel by Laurie Lico Albanese (St. Martin's Press, $27.99, 9781250278555) is a reimagining of the woman who inspired Hester Prynne of The Scarlet Letter.

The First to Die at the End by Adam Silvera (Quill Tree, $19.99, 9780063240803), a prequel to They Both Die at the End, is about two young men facing a new technology that alerts people on their death day.

Sisterhood of Sleuths by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman, illus. by Vesper Stamper (Christy Ottaviano Books, $16.99, 9780316331074), is a middle-grade mystery novel homage to Nancy Drew stories.

Yours Cruelly, Elvira: Memoirs of the Mistress of the Dark by Cassandra Peterson (Hachette Books, $17.99, 9780306874383).

Life Is Everywhere: A Novel by Lucy Ives (Graywolf Press, $17.99, 9781644452042).

Project Hail Mary: A Novel by Andy Weir (Ballantine, $20, 9780593135228).

A Carnival of Snackery: Diaries (2003-2020) by David Sedaris (Back Bay, $18.99, 9780316270182).

Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet by Thich Nhat Hanh (HarperOne, $17.99, 9780062954817).

Both/And: A Memoir by Huma Abedin (Scribner, $20, 9781501194818).

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 Fortunes of Jaded Women: A Novel by Carolyn Huynh (Atria, $27, 9781982188733). "A story about the pushes and pulls of first-generation Americans, of grandmothers, mothers, sisters, and daughters. There is love, accomplishment, community, and it's laugh out loud funny. Give yourself the gift of reading this book." --Holly Hendricks, Sunriver Books & Music, Sunriver, Ore.

Didn't Nobody Give a Shit What Happened to Carlotta: A Novel by James Hannaham (Little, Brown, $28, 9780316285278). "Carlotta, a trans woman, is released home to Brooklyn after 22 years in a male prison. As she adjusts to life outside, she faces one injustice after another. Through so many inequities, Carlotta maintains her optimism, humor, and hope." --Mary Kay Burnett, Buttonwood Books and Toys, Cohasset, Mass.

Our Country Friends: A Novel by Gary Shteyngart (Random House, $18.99, 9781984855145). "Extraordinary. I love every word Shteyngart's ever written, and this is his best novel by an upstate country mile. I said I never wanted to read a 2020 pandemic novel, but I was wrong. I needed to read one--this one." --Chris Lee, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, Wis.

For Ages 4 to 8
Beatrice Likes the Dark by April Genevieve Tucholke, illus. by Khoa Le (Algonquin, $18.95, 9781643751573). "One of my favorite picture books of the year! Beatrice Likes the Dark is a beautifully illustrated, sweet story of sisterhood. Each page is full of heart and whimsy. Your inner baby goth or any year-round Halloween lovers will need this one!" --Cristina Russell, Books & Books, Coral Gables, Fla.

For Ages 8 to 12: An Indies Introduce Title
Wildoak by C.C. Harrington (Scholastic, $18.99, 9781338803860). "Such a wonderful book on the magic of nature. I was brought to tears remembering what it was like to struggle in a world that couldn't listen. I can't wait for another generation of readers to fall in love with reading because of this story." --Revati Kilaparti, Old Firehouse Books, Fort Collins, Colo.

For Teen Readers
I'm the Girl by Courtney Summers (Wednesday Books, $18.99, 9781250808363). "Courtney Summers' sharp-edged protagonist makes every 'mistake' young women are taught to avoid, and in a revolutionary move, the narrative refuses to blame her for it. I'm the Girl is not just a powerful feminist thriller, it is a call to action." --Kay Frost, Brookline Booksmith, Brookline, Mass.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: The World Keeps Ending, and the World Goes On

The World Keeps Ending, and the World Goes on by Franny Choi (Ecco, $25.99 hardcover, 144p., 9780063240087, November 1, 2022)

Every poem in Franny Choi's The World Keeps Ending, and the World Goes On, has a line--or a few--where readers realize that, yes, this poem is for them. Her third collection is filled with such moments, lines that sing out, grabbing readers by the throat--or by the hand--and holding them there. Sometimes, it comes at the beginning of the poem, as in "Catastrophe Is Next to Godliness," which opens: "Lord, I confess I want the clarity of catastrophe but not the catastrophe./ Like everyone else, I want a storm I can dance in./ I want an excuse to change my life."

Others arrive at the end of the poem, a gut-punch like the lines that close "Good Morning America," a poem of nine, three-line stanzas: "Come in, last year's wreck, rent./ Grief's a heavy planet, and green./ I know better than to call/ each gravity's daughter to my softest cheek./ I know, and I know./ So what?" Each word clacks and bruises against the next, and the enjambment across stanzas forces both a forward rhythm and a pause. It is musical and discordant; it is a thing of beauty and a thing of pain.

Choi's collection is about endings of all sorts, those that happened in the past and those still to come, those that are always already happening. The poems mingle historical despair with alt-historical hope, and always there is family. Dedicated to the author's parents and grandparents, this collection rings with the memories of ancestors, and Choi (Soft Science) calls on them like muses: "O, my badly loved grandmothers,/ I kin you to me, facelessly." Present here, too, are the voices of community--friends and activists, people joining in protest and in the shared work of world-saving and world-changing, even in the face of uncertainty. Acknowledging the weight of the unknown, she writes in "How to Let Go of the World," "I don't know how to do it: hold their faces in my hands and tell them what's waiting. How to teach any of us to follow this song, into what dark." Those arresting lines fall neither at the beginning nor the end of the poem, but readers can find them and know: this poem has heft and should be shouldered, but carefully.

Lines like these--poems like these--remind readers of what is possible in poetry. --Sara Beth West, freelance reviewer and librarian

Shelf Talker: The World Keeps Ending, and the World Goes On is an often heavy and always beautiful collection about endings of all sorts.

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