Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Random House Worlds: Damsel by Evelyn Skye

St. Martin's Press: The Girls of Summer by Katie Bishop

Soho Crime: The Rope Artist by Fuminori Nakamura, transl. by Sam Bett

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

Grand Central Publishing: Goodbye Earl: A Revenge Novel by Leesa Cross-Smith

Texas Bookman Presents Texas Remainder Expo

Steve Madden Ltd: The Cobbler: How I Disrupted an Industry, Fell from Grace, and Came Back Stronger Than Ever by Steve Madden and Jodi Lipper

St. Martin's Griffin: The Bookshop by the Bay by Pamela M. Kelley


DAP Books Opens in Twin Falls, Idaho

Sequoia Schmidt

Di Angelo Publications has opened a bricks-and-mortar store called DAP Books in downtown Twin Falls, Idaho, Magic Valley reported. The store carries books for all ages published by Di Angelo Publications, with categories including fiction, nonfiction, business and memoir represented.

Owner Sequoia Schmidt founded the publishing company 14 years ago, when she was 17 years old. It now has a catalogue of more than 125 titles and releases about 25 books per year. Schmidt plans to host events with Di Angelo Publications authors at the bookstore and already runs a monthly book club.

"When people walk through the door, especially in a small town, we're able to curate the experience for them," Schmidt told Magic Valley.

Blackstone Publishing: What Remains by Wendy Walker

Thayer Press Adding Bookstore/Café in Manhattan's East Village

Independent press Thayer is opening a bookshop and café this fall at 99 Ave B in New York City, in Manhattan's East Village, selling books, coffee, pastries, toasts, beer & wine. The press publishes a biennial magazine of short fiction, poetry and photography; its debut novel is forthcoming. 

EV Grieve recently featured an early peek at Thayer Coffee HQ, noting that founder Matt Lally, an East Village resident, "plans to have a soft opening early [this] month. The two-level space will feature coffee drinks by Irving Farm New York and pastries by Balthazar. There will be grab-n-go soft drinks too. Beer and wine will be available in the evening. Thayer will host various literary events and offer a curated selection of books and magazines for sale. There will be tables and chairs for drinks and books."

GLOW: Flatiron Books: Bad Summer People by Emma Rosenblum

International Update: BA's Donation to BTBS Cost of Living Appeal; Vanishing Japanese Bookstores

The Booksellers Association of the U.K. & Ireland has donated £40,000 (about $46,460) to the Book Trade Charity's cost of living appeal, which was launched to support workers across the industry. The Bookseller reported that "to coincide with its 185th anniversary, the charity is aiming to raise £185,000 [about $214,885] to assist members of the industry as inflation soars and prices rise, particularly to help with heating homes, electricity bills and putting food on the table."

Vic Perry, CEO of BTBS, said, "This is a remarkable show of support at a time of real need. As a small charity we work hard every day to support colleagues across the trade, many of whom are facing rising costs at home. We are so grateful to The Booksellers Association for its unwavering belief in our work and helping us to support colleagues in need.... Every penny really will make a difference and it is no exaggeration to say that we need everyone in the sector to lean into this appeal."

During the first five months of 2022, the charity distributed grants of more than £114,000 (about $132,415) in response to requests for financial assistance from individuals and families in need, double the usual amount applied for at this time of the year. It has awarded more than £195,000 (about $226,500) in grants this year. 

BA's managing director Meryl Halls commented: "The BA Group is delighted to be able to donate this sum to the Book Trade Charity and help boost its incredibly important campaign to raise £185,000 for its 185th anniversary. The economic dark clouds are already gathering and we remain concerned for the well-being of our members, and for booksellers across the country. 

"We know that the Book Trade Charity will ensure our donation will help provide much-needed support and help for booksellers and other book trade personnel who struggle over the coming months, and we are full of admiration for what the charity has been able to do already, with limited funds."


Japan is facing a decline in bookshopsKyodo News reported that according to one industry estimate, "the number has fallen by almost a third in the last decade, hit by a combination of a falling population and the spread of the Internet. Some voices have been raised in protest, such as by residents of towns arguing that bookstores are needed for a lively urban environment, but customer numbers continue to fall. And that means that to survive, operators need to exercise ingenuity."

The Japan Publishing Organization for Information Infrastructure Development noted there are currently 11,952 bookstores in Japan, down about 30% from 16,722 in 2012. Kyodo News wrote that gross profits of bookstores in the country "are said to be around 20% after paying the remainder of their sales to publishers and distribution agents.... Along with the population fall and fewer book readers in recent years, an increase in convenience stores that carry magazines puts added pressure on bookstores. They have also been negatively affected by the availability of e-books and online shopping."

Kazuyuki Ishii, executive director for the Japan Federation of Bookstores, said, "Due to the decrease in the number of bookstores, there is a strong possibility that the reading population will fall, setting off a vicious cycle. The time has come for the entire publishing industry to join hands and think of countermeasures."


"Ten inventive bookshop interiors designed to enhance the browsing experience" were showcased by Dezeen, which noted: "A second-hand bookstore styled like a greengrocer and an outlet modeled on old libraries are among the projects collected in our latest lookbook, which explores bookshop interior designs. Architects and designers across the globe have created bookstores with striking interiors that offer more than just a place to buy things. From a hall of zigzagged staircases in China to a yellow-hued grotto in east London, here are 10 bookshop interiors that provide immersive and unusual browsing experiences."


Bookish wisdom from Shakespeare & Company, Paris, France: "Thinking you have to read all the unread books on your shelves before buying new ones is like thinking a wine connoisseur should drink everything in their cellar before buying any new bottles. Some books just need a bit of shelf-time before they (/you) are ready." --Robert Gray

William Morrow & Company: The God of Good Looks by Breanne Mc Ivor

Shelf Awareness Delivers Indie Pre-Order E-Blast

This past Wednesday, Shelf Awareness sent our monthly pre-order e-blast to more than 900,000 of the country's best book readers. The e-blast went to 913,802 customers of 208 participating independent bookstores.

The mailing features eight upcoming titles selected by Shelf Awareness editors and a sponsored title. Customers can buy these books via "pre-order" buttons that lead directly to the purchase page for the title on each sending store's website. A key feature is that bookstore partners can easily change title selections to best reflect the tastes of their customers and can customize the mailing with links, images and promotional copy of their own.

The pre-order e-blasts are sent the last Wednesday of each month; the next will go out on Wednesday, November 30. Stores interested in learning more can visit our program registration page or contact our partner program team via e-mail.

For a sample of the October pre-order e-blast, see this one from Gibson's Bookstore, Concord, N.H.

The titles highlighted in the pre-order e-blast:

Stella Maris by Cormac McCarthy (Knopf)
The Light Pirate by Lily Brooks-Dalton (Grand Central)
The Blue Zones American Kitchen: 100 Recipes to Live to 100 by Dan Buettner (National Geographic)
The Last Invitation by Darby Kane (Morrow)
A Dangerous Business by Jane Smiley (Knopf)
Death in Tokyo by Keigo Higashino, translated by Giles Murray (Minotaur)
No One Left to Come Looking for You by Sam Lipsyte (S&S)
Anatomy of 55 More Songs by Marc Myers (Grove)
How Far the Light Reaches: A Life in Ten Sea Creatures by Sabrina Imbler (Little, Brown)
Bad Kitty Drawn to Trouble by Nick Bruel (Roaring Brook)
Stacey's Remarkable Books by Stacey Abrams, illustrated by Kitt Thomas (Balzer + Bray)

G.P. Putnam's Sons: The Celebrants by Steven Rowley

Obituary Note: Thomas Cahill

Thomas Cahill

Thomas Cahill, "a multilingual scholar who wrote a surprise 1995 bestseller demonstrating to the world how a small band of Irish monks collected and protected the jewels of Western civilization after the fall of the Western Roman Empire," died October 18, the New York Times reported. He was 82. Although How the Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland's Heroic Role From the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe was not Cahill's first book, it "immediately established his reputation as one of the country's great writers of popular history."

Five publishers rejected Cahill's proposal before Doubleday editor Nan A. Talese acquired it in 1991. "To many would-be publishers, the title sounded like a bunch of blarney--even in the early 1990s, many people still considered Ireland a conservative backwater and a cultural appendage to Britain," the Times noted, adding that the near-simultaneous appearance of Cahill's book and Frank McCourt's bestselling memoir Angela's Ashes (1996) "was a coincidence, but their immediate and lasting popularity certainly was not."

"That's such a hard thing to do, to bring scholarship alive to the general reader," said historian Terry Golway. "There are people who write popular history and there are people who write academic history, and he was able to do both in ways that were extraordinary."

Intending the book to be the first in a seven-part series--called the "Hinges of History"--about critical moments in Western European civilization, Cahill wrote six of them before his death, including The Gifts of the Jews: How a Tribe of Desert Nomads Changed the Way Everyone Thinks and Feels (1998); Desire of the Everlasting Hills: The World Before and After Jesus (1999); Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea: Why the Greeks Matter (2003); Mysteries of the Middle Ages: And the Beginning of the Modern World (2006); and Heretics and Heroes: How Renaissance Artists and Reformation Priests Created Our World (2013).

Early in his career, Cahill taught at several institutions in the New York area, including Queens College and Seton Hall University. He and his wife, Susan Cahill, opened a mail-order book company, and he worked as the advertising director at the New York Review of Books.

In 1990, he became director of religious publishing at Doubleday. He began pitching the Hinges of History series and How the Irish Saved Civilization around the same time. At a sales conference, he mentioned the idea to Talese, who immediately bought the series. It would occupy the remainder of his career, though Cahill took time off in 2002 to publish a short biography of Pope John XXIII as well as A Saint on Death Row: The Story of Dominique Green (2009). 

"What academic writers forget is that everyone on Earth buys books for diversion, or entertainment," he said in 2006. "Yes, they want to learn things, but they also don't want to be bored to death while they learn those things."


Image of the Day: America's Next Great Author

Executive producer and host Kwame Alexander posed with contestants for the reality show America's Next Great Author, which filmed a pilot episode at the Newark Public Library, Newark, N.J., this week. There were nearly 1,000 entries and 100 finalists, 20 of whom pitched live to judges Jason Reynolds, Victoria Christopher Murray, Marga Gomez and David Henry-Sterry. (photo: Nataki Alexander-Hewling)

Harriett's Bookshop Owner Named One of the '100 Most Influential People in Philadelphia'

Jeannine Cook

Describing her as a "booky battler," Philadelphia magazine named Jeannine Cook, owner of Harriett's Bookshop and Ida's Books, one of the 100 Most Influential People in Philadelphia, noting: "When does she sleep? Where to start? The bookstores--Harriett's and Ida's--might be a good place, but then you're shortchanging the activism. Maybe it's the events with Alice Walker, or Nikole Hannah-Jones? Crusading for Harriet Tubman Day? By the time you read this, she'll likely have identified new causes worth passionately fighting for, too."

Personnel Changes at Soho; Little, Brown

Erica Loberg has been promoted to senior publicist at Soho Press. She was formerly publicist.


Shivani Annirood has been promoted to senior publicist at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. She was most recently publicist.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Ramona Emerson on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Ramona Emerson, author of Shutter (Soho Crime, $25.95, 9781641293334).

Today Show: Christina Tosi, author of All About Cookies: A Milk Bar Baking Book (Clarkson Potter, $35, 9780593231975).

Also on Today: Zosia Mamet, author of My First Popsicle: An Anthology of Food and Feelings (Penguin Books, $26, 9780143137290).

Good Morning America: Chelsey Luger, co-author of The Seven Circles: Indigenous Teachings for Living Well (HarperOne, $29.99, 9780063119208).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Bono, author of Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story (Knopf, $34, 9780525521044).

TV: Interrupting Chicken

Apple TV+ released a trailer for the animated series Interrupting Chicken, based on the 2011 Caldecott Honor-winning book written and illustrated by David Ezra Stein. Premiering November 18, the animated preschool series "introduces children to the joy of creative writing--starting with a young little chicken named Piper who has a habit of interrupting storytime! Every time Piper hears a story, she can't help but jump in, ask questions and let her imagination run wild," Apple noted.

Interrupting Chicken's voice cast includes Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us, Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul) as Papa; Juliet Donenfeld (Pete the Cat) as Piper; Sarah Elizabeth Thompson as "CJ"; Maximus Riegel (Klaus) as Benjamin; Luke Lowe (Big City Greens) as Duckston; Jakari Fraser (Spidey and his Amazing Friends) as Theodore and more.

The project was developed by Emmy Award winner Ron Holsey, who serves as executive producer. In partnership with Mercury Filmworks, the series is also exec produced by Stein, Loris Kramer Lunsford, Clint Eland and Chantal Ling. Dr. Lucy Calkins, founding director of the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project and the Richard Robinson Professor of Children's Literature at Teachers College, Columbia University, serves as reading and writing expert through the Apple TV+ changemaker initiative.  

Books & Authors

Awards: Whiting Creative Nonfiction Winners

The Whiting Foundation has named this year's recipients of the Creative Nonfiction Grant, which is awarded to "writers in the process of completing a book of deeply researched and imaginatively composed nonfiction." The $40,000 grant "encourages original and ambitious projects by giving recipients the additional means to do exacting research and devote time to composition." This year's winners are:

Atossa Araxia Abrahamian for The Hidden Globe (Riverhead)
Emily Dufton for Addiction, Inc. (University of Chicago Press)
Wes Enzinna for Impossible Paradise (Penguin)
Ekow Eshun for The Strangers (Hamish Hamilton)
Patricia Evangelista for Some People Need Killing (Random House)
Brooke Jarvis for Invisible Apocalypse (Crown)
May Jeong for The Life (Atria)
Mathelinda Nabugodi for The Trembling Hand (Knopf)
Alejandra Oliva for Rivermouth (Astra House)

Reading with... Jeanna Kadlec

photo: Meg Jones Wall

Jeanna Kadlec is a writer, astrologer, former lingerie boutique owner and recovering academic. A born-and-bred Midwesterner, she now lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. Her writing has appeared in Elle, Nylon, O magazine, Allure, Catapult, Literary Hub, Autostraddle and more. Her debut memoir, Heretic (October 25, HarperCollins), is about her breaking from the Evangelical church and coming out as queer.

Handsell readers your book in 25 words or less:

Heretic is a story of (queer) rebirth after a loss of self, community and faith, set against the backdrop of white evangelicalism's rise to power.

On your nightstand now:

Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer is quite literally on my nightstand--just a beautiful, poetic before-bed read. I am also making my way through Joe Osmundson's stunning Virology: Essays for the Living, the Dead, and the Small Things in Between. I find myself rushing through a few essays at a time and then needing to sit for a week and process them. How they managed to write a book that is so prescient and timely and yet so timeless and universal--it's what everyone should be reading right now.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Like many other writers, I read voraciously as a child. But the book that I read and cherished the most and that has unquestionably had the largest impact on my life? The Bible. No contest.

My favorite book of the Bible growing up was the Book of Esther--for what should be relatively obvious reasons. (Female protagonist saves her people, etc.) However, in hindsight, the fact that it's the only book of the Bible that does not explicitly mention God by name feels like foreshadowing.

Your top five authors:

Just off the top of my head and sticking to writers who are no longer with us: Mary Wollstonecraft, Virginia Woolf, Audre Lorde, Mary Oliver, Toni Morrison. All of whose work has had just the most extraordinary impact on how I think and feel and process and create and understand the world.

Book you've faked reading:

Ulysses is at the top of my DNF list. I read a good chunk of it while in grad school--the professor made us all teach on different chapters, ensuring that we had to do at least some of it (I got the music one)--but I definitely didn't finish.

If my Ph.D. program taught me anything, it's that absolutely no one has read everything. We all have gaps in time periods or genres. So, normally, I am the first one to admit I haven't read a certain "classic" or bestseller, because who cares? But sometimes I do lie, almost exclusively when cishet men are involved, because I don't want to fight with some tech bro who is going to make it his mission to get me to read The Catcher in the Rye. I'm tired.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Lilly Dancyger's genre-busting memoir, Negative Space. Memoir as detective novel, as interpolated conversation with a dead parent, as dialogue between two artists in one family. Even though I read various pre-publication drafts over the years, I've still read it three or four times since. It's so engrossing, and I learn something new about craft every time. Plus, the imagery of her dad's art printed there next to her words is so moving, so rich.

Also! One of my favorite reads of 2022 that I can't stop raving about is Tajja Isen's brilliant essay collection Some of My Best Friends, which has a lot to do with how structural racism works in places as seemingly disparate as the voice-over industry and law school. So sharp, insightful and also funny. Please read it so we can scream about it together.

Book you've bought for the cover:

So, Ashley Herring Blake's Delilah Green Doesn't Care was recommended to me as a very hot f/f romance, but the fact that the character art on the cover looks, not insignificantly, like me and my girlfriend wasn't not a factor.

Book you hid from your parents:

Jennifer Crusie's romances from the library--Welcome to Temptation, Faking It, Bet Me. (Although, because my mom was the one bringing me to the library, I can't have been that successful.)

Book that changed your life:

One of my more liberal, feminist aunts who married into the family a little later gave me Susan Faludi's Backlash, Elizabeth Wurtzel's Bitch, and Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards's Manifesta when I was in middle school. Those books absolutely blew my mind open. They gave me language for feminism, for the double standards between men and women that already infuriated me, for the abuse I witnessed in my home. Though I initially tried to merge my faith and feminism, rather than leave the church altogether (I didn't do that until I came out years later), those books absolutely, unequivocally changed the direction of my life.

Favorite line from a book:

From Kate Chopin's The Awakening: "Whatever came, she had resolved never again to belong to another than herself." That book is so important to me, and that line feels like a personal North Star. It's (fittingly, I think) the epigraph for Heretic.

Five books you'll never part with:

Any of my friends' books that they've personally inscribed to me. Those are pretty precious.

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

Is there any better feeling than the bittersweetness of reading an exquisite new favorite and feeling that "firstness" of it slip away from you as you finish? I'd love to revisit Melissa Febos's Abandon Me or Lidia Yuknavitch's The Chronology of Water--memoirs that I blew through in one sitting, that I remember reading while texting friends: "this is rewiring my writing brain." So, really, any book that cracked open possibility.

Book Review

Children's Review: Paradise Sands

Paradise Sands: A Story of Enchantment by Levi Pinfold (Candlewick Studio, $18.99 hardcover, 40p., ages 5-9, 9781536212822, December 8, 2022)

A girl passes three days imprisoned in a disquieting, fantastical fortress to protect her brothers in Levi Pinfold's picture book Paradise Sands, a visually gripping, cyclical tale of sacrifice and determination.

This epic journey begins with a cryptic six-line poem that frames a puzzling but prophetic path for the story. In several wordless, sepia pages that follow, an unnamed protagonist and her three brothers set out in a worn sedan across a barren "dry and dusty" landscape to fetch their mother. The girl's suggestion to bring their mother flowers elicits a singing callback to the poem, suggesting the family's intimate familiarity with the verse. She is dismissive: "that nonsense... is nonsense." The group stops to gather white blooms but, parched from the heat and dust, the brothers follow the dirt track to "a silent building" where they "drink deeply from the spring" despite the poem's clear admonitions not to. The brothers are spurred by empty stomachs to go deeper into the foreboding stone "HOTEL" and--having partaken of its food and drink--are trapped. After the girl declines the temptations, she faces the Teller, an enormous lion who governs this seductive paradise. The girl refuses the Teller's offerings and demands her brothers' release. Almost amused at her contrarian stance, the lion strikes a bargain: "Three days without eating or drinking and things will be as they were before you came here." She bides time while the animal residents feast, and ultimately secures her brothers' release, though not without sacrifice. The children then retrieve their mother, and a loaded exchange between mother and daughter makes clear the verse she taught them was a purposeful warning.

Pragmatic text sits in somber contrast to Pinfold's lushly detailed and unsettling mixed media artwork. The meticulous nature of Pinfold's art lures the reader's eye to the tiniest illustrative details, such as the texture of the Teller's mane, dirt-caked fissures in the marble columns and the girl's heartbreaking and resigned facial expressions. Cool blue endpapers stand in stark contrast to the leathery dryness of the sepia palette dominating this stunning and heavily symbolic story. Occasional bursts of color, like that of fruit in the trees and the girl's jumper, are startling amid the bleak stone backgrounds. Pinfold (The Song from Somewhere Else) blends underworld mythology with fairy-tale sensibility to haunting effect.

A devastating and spectacular parable about dedication to family and how promises are binding. --Kit Ballenger, youth librarian, Help Your Shelf

Shelf Talker: A girl bears the burden of her family's temptation in an ominous picture book with otherworldly themes and stunningly detailed sepia illustrations.

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