Shelf Awareness for Monday, November 14, 2022

Mariner Books: Everyone This Christmas Has a Secret: A Festive Mystery by Benjamin Stevenson

Grove Press: Brightly Shining by Ingvild Rishøi, Translated Caroline Waight

Running Press Adult: Scam Goddess: Lessons from a Life of Cons, Grifts, and Schemes by Laci Mosley

Broadleaf Books: Trespass: Portraits of Unhoused Life, Love, and Understanding by Kim Watson

Nancy Paulsen Books: Sync by Ellen Hopkins

Running Press Adult: Cat People by Hannah Hillam

Beaming Books: Must-Have Autumn Reads for Your Shelf!

Dial Press: Like Mother, Like Mother by Susan Rieger


Grand Opening for the Book Bus Depot in Sharonville, Ohio

A ribbon-cutting and grand opening celebration took place on Saturday for the Book Bus Depot at 10936 Reading Rd., Sharonville, Ohio. Owner Melanie Moore, who in 2019 launched the Book Bus (built out of a 1962 VW Transporter truck) now has a bricks-and-mortar location that will serve as "an event space that houses a bookstore featuring both new and used books and more importantly, it will house the Book Bus truck."

In a Facebook post Saturday, Moore noted: "What an outpouring of love and support today! I had folks drive in from Tennessee and Cleveland. Those who couldn't make it had flowers delivered, one sent from California. Many of you brought special notes or gifts. Becca, a beloved customer, gifted me a mint condition copy of Parnassus on Wheels (the inspiration for The Book Bus). And the books bought! I have a big day of ordering on Monday to fill these shelves back up. It was lovely chatting books with everyone inside as we watched the snow fall down outside which was a perfect example of why we need The Depot. I told someone today that if you ever doubt there is love in the world, come talk to me. I can share a hundred stories just about this Book Bus community. There are so many kind, generous people! My heart is full!"

On Friday, Moore shared "before" photos, writing: "Fun Photo Friday! No pretty pics today! I wanted to share pictures of what we started with so when you see The Depot at the grand opening on the 12th, you can truly appreciate how far we've come. We basically started with a shell, no plumbing, no electric, no hvac and boy, was it ugly. I can't wait to share The Depot with you! I hope you love this new space that we've created where we can come as a community and share our love of reading."

Peachtree Teen: Compound Fracture by Andrew Joseph White

#Next UP: University Press Week Starts Today

The 11th annual University Press Week, sponsored by the Association of University Press and with the theme "Next UP," begins today and runs through Friday, November 18. (See a full schedule here and the #NextUP reading list here.) The Week returns to in-person programming with several events at or organized in part by bookstores:

Seminary Co-op Bookstores, Chicago, Ill.: one event features Jonathan Lear, author of Imagining the End: Mourning and Ethical Life (Harvard University Press), and another has Jeremy A. Greene, author of The Doctor Who Wasn't There (University of Chicago Press), and Hannah Zeavin, author of The Distance Cure (MIT Press), in conversation.

The Raven Bookstore, Lawrence, Kan., has organized a panel at which authors Nicole Perry, Kristine Langley Mahler and Jody Keisner will discuss their work.

Book Culture, New York, N.Y., is hosting a poetry reading featuring Cheryl Boyce-Taylor, Ellen Hagan, Brionne Janae and Simone White.

Seminary Co-op Bookstores is also hosting a Zoom panel called Fellowships for the Future: University Presses & Bookstores, with host Noor Shawf (Seminary Co-op Bookstores) and panelists Rachel Cass (Harvard Bookstore), Scott Abel (Solid State Books), Katie Hope (Princeton University Press) and Kimberly Guinta (Rutgers University Press).

AUPresses executive director Peter Berkery commented: "University presses remain devoted to the core mission of introducing new ideas and authors to readers everywhere. Next UP expresses our excitement at what the future may hold, and how our member presses will evolve and improve the ways we are able to deliver books, journals, and more to readers in the years to come."

AUPresses president and University of Michigan Press director Charles Watkinson added: "Part of the joy of University Press Week is celebrating the 'bibliodiversity' of university press publishing, it is exciting to be able to highlight independent bookstores that share our community-centered values. As commercial publishers continue to consolidate, non-profit university presses celebrate the diversity of thought and identity that is so core to democracy and debate."

Inner Traditions: Expand your collection with these must-have resource books!

National Coalition Against Censorship Honors Free Speech, First Amendment Defenders

Tomorrow evening in New York City, the National Coalition Against Censorship is honoring "free speech defenders whose activism has had a profound impact on the protection of First Amendment rights in schools, libraries, and publishing." The honorees include:

Michael Bamberger, a longtime First Amendment lawyer in the U.S., who has appeared in more than 100 First Amendment cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, nine federal courts of appeals, the New York Court of Appeals, federal and state trial courts, and many state supreme courts. Presented by Vans Stevenson of the Motion Picture Association.

Edha Gupta, a 17-year-old student activist in York, Pa., who served as the president of the Panther Anti-Racist Union during the 2021-2022 school year and led fellow students in a successful protest to a school board ban on an anti-racist resource guide. Presented by Gupta's academic advisor, Ben Hodges.

George M. Johnson, author of All Boys Aren't Blue, a target of book banners. Johnson has continued to speak out for understanding, acceptance, and free speech, writing on race, gender, sex and culture for Essence, the Advocate, BuzzFeed News, Teen Vogue and more than 40 other national publications. Presented by TV host Tamron Hall.

Colin Kaepernick, author and NFL quarterback who has sought to bring attention to systemic oppression against people of color. Since 2016, he has founded and helped fund three organizations--Know Your Rights Camp, Ra Vision Media and Kaepernick Publishing--that advance the liberation of Black and Brown people through storytelling and political education. Presented by film director Spike Lee.

In addition, Phil Harvey (1938-2021) will receive the Leanne G. Katz Founder's Award in honor of his lifetime defending free speech. He founded the DKT Liberty Project to protect against government intrusions on personal liberty, focusing on fighting for free speech, criminal justice reform and drug law reform. He also founded an international charity that promotes free access to birth control and HIV AIDS prevention information. He was a longtime member of the NCAC board. Presented by Chris Finan, executive director, NCAC, and accepted by his partner, Harriett Lesser.

High school librarian Martha Hickson receives the 2022 Judith Krug Outstanding Librarian Award. Hickson has successfully fought six attempts to ban books and actively protects students' right to read in her Washington, N.J., school district. She has worked to share freedom to read best practices with school librarians by presenting at conferences and webinars, including the American Association of School Librarians, Future Ready Schools, Freedom to Read Foundation and the New Jersey Association of School Librarians. Presented by author David Levithan.

Aryeh Neier receives the Judy Blume Lifetime Achievement Award for Free Speech. Neier is a human rights activist who has dedicated more than four decades to fighting for those marginalized by society. He is a co-founder of Human Rights Watch, a past leader of the ACLU, and serves as president emeritus of the Open Society. He is the author of more than 300 op-eds and seven books and contributed chapters to more than 20 books. Neier served as an adjunct law professor at New York University and taught at Georgetown University Law School and the University of Siena (Italy). Presented by Anthony Romero, executive director of the ACLU.

NCAC will also honor the winner of NCAC's Youth Free Expression Film Contest, Lipicka Prasath, for her film on censorship, Appetizer. The event is co-chaired by Ellie Berger, president of trade publishing at Scholastic, and Ellen Goldsmith-Vein, founder & CEO of the Gotham Group.

Obituary Note: Doris Grumbach

Doris Grumbach
(Photo by Robert Giard © Jonathan Silin)

Doris Grumbach, who in novels, essays and literary criticism "explored the social and psychic hardships of women trapped in repressive families or disintegrating marriages, and who, as modern feminism came of age in the 1970s and '80s, portrayed lesbian characters and themes in a positive light that was then unusual in mainstream fiction," died November 4, the New York Times reported. She was 104.

Grumbach wrote seven novels, six memoirs, a biography of the writer Mary McCarthy, and book reviews and literary criticism for the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Saturday Review and other publications. She was also the literary editor of the New Republic and a commentator on NPR and The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour on PBS.

A scholar of medieval and modern literature, she had been the wife of a neurophysiologist for 31 years, the mother of four daughters, an officer in the Navy women's branch during World War II, and a professor of literature and creative writing at several colleges and universities. After she divorced in midlife, she and Sybil Pike, a bookseller, were partners for more than four decades.

From 1960 to 1971, Grumbach taught English at the College of St. Rose in Albany, N.Y. She also began her writing career with the novels The Spoil of the Flowers (1962) and The Short Throat, the Tender Mouth (1964), which attracted little notice, though her literary biography of McCarthy, The Company She Kept (1967), "drew wide attention. Much of it, however, was hostile," the Times noted. Later novels include Chamber Music (1979), The Ladies (1984) and The Magician's Girl (1987).  

"Critics disagreed sharply about Ms. Grumbach's strengths and weaknesses as a writer," the Times wrote. "Some said her portraits of lesbian and gay characters and themes were unrealistic, even stereotypical. But others found them lifelike and praised her for unflinching portrayals of women who were engulfed by intolerant social conventions or caught in loveless marriages, and of families unsympathetic to female friendships that ripen into love."

A native New Yorker who had also spent much of her life in Albany and Washington, D.C., she moved in her 70s to Sargentville, a small coastal town in Maine, where she and Pike opened Wayward Books, a used and rare bookshop, and Grumbach "began a new burst of writing, producing her autobiographies and a collection of essays on growing old," the Times noted.

During the 1990s, Grumbach wrote Coming into the End Zone (1991), Extra Innings (1993), Fifty Days of Solitude (1994), Life in a Day (1996), The Presence of Absence: On Prayers and an Epiphany (1998) and The Pleasure of Their Company (2000). 

"The most lamentable loss in the elderly spirit is the erosion of hope," she wrote in an op-ed for the Times in 1998. "Still, despite my dire description, we elderly persist with our canes, in our long-term care and miserable nursing homes and 'rehabilitation' centers, and in our seats confronting the idiocies of the tube. In the short run, so to speak, we are all characters in Waiting for Godot."


LEGO Bookshop of the Day: Burke's Book Store

Corey Mesler, co-owner of Burke's Book Store, Memphis, Tenn., shared photos of a recent creation by his wife, Cheryl Mesler: "I am second to none in my admiration for my uber-talented, uber-clever wife. She has surpassed herself with her latest project. Instead of ordering the insanely expensive Lego bookstore kit she decided she could build a Burke's Book Store on her own. And that she did, complete with Burke's logos, windows, delivery bike, gingko tree, employees, living room bookcases, customers, coffee cups, guest book, Corey's Corner, Moby Dick, parking lot with cars... and John Pritchard! You should see it in person."

Bookseller Moment: Good Neighbor Books

Good Neighbor Books, Lakewood, N.Y., shared a Shawshank Redemption-inspired moment of reflection on TikTok, noting: "I've been a bookseller since 2010. Even with the stress of running a small business and preparing for the holiday season, I don't think I would want to (or could) do anything else."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Misty Copeland on Fresh Air, CBS Mornings

CBS Mornings: Patti Smith, author of A Book of Days (Random House, $28.99, 9780593448540).

Fresh Air: Misty Copeland, author of The Wind at My Back: Resilience, Grace, and Other Gifts from My Mentor, Raven Wilkinson (Grand Central, $29, 9781538753859). She will also be on CBS Mornings.

Tamron Hall: Brian Boxer Wachler, author of Influenced: The Impact of Social Media on Our Perception (Rowman & Littlefield, $27.95, 9781538164198).

Kelly Clarkson Show: Ruby Bridges, author of I Am Ruby Bridges (Orchard Books, $18.99, 9781338753882).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Michelle Obama, author of The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times (Crown, $32.50, 9780593237465).

Good Morning America: Jimmy Johnson, author of Swagger: Super Bowls, Brass Balls, and Footballs--A Memoir (Scribner, $28, 9781668008621).

Also on GMA: Kardea Brown, author of The Way Home: A Celebration of Sea Islands Food and Family with over 100 Recipes (Amistad, $34.99, 9780063085602). [FF]

Late Night with Seth Meyers: Quentin Tarantino, author of Cinema Speculation (Harper, $35, 9780063112582).

TV: Dead Boy Detectives

David Iacono (The Flight Attendant, The Summer I Turned Pretty) will play a key recurring role opposite George Rexstrew, Jayden Revri and Kassius Nelson in Dead Boy Detectives, HBO Max's upcoming series based on the DC Comics characters created by Neil Gaiman. Deadline reported that the eight-part series is "a fresh take on a ghost story that explores loss, grief, and death through the lens of Edwin Payne (Rexstrew) and Charles Rowland (Revri), two dead British teenagers, and their very alive friend, Crystal Palace (Nelson). So, it's a lot like a vintage detective series--only darker and on acid."

Iacono will play David the Demon. Additional series stars include Briana Cuoco as Jenny the Butcher, Ruth Connell as the Night Nurse, Yuyu Kitamura as Niko, and Jenn Lyon as Esther. Michael Beach, Joshua Colley and Lindsey Gort recur. Steve Yockey (The Flight Attendant) wrote the pilot episode and serves as showrunner, with Beth Schwartz as co-showrunner. Lee Toland Krieger directed the pilot.

Books & Authors

Awards: Pacific Northwest Shortlist

The shortlist has been announced for the 2023 Pacific Northwest Book Awards, which is sponsored by the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association. The six winners will be announced in early January. The shortlist:

Gunfight: My Battle Against the Industry that Radicalized America by Ryan Busse (PublicAffairs)
The Many Daughters of Afong Moy by Jamie Ford (Atria Books)
Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century by Kim Fu (Tin House)
Red Paint: The Ancestral Autobiography of a Coast Salish Punk by Sasha LaPointe (Counterpoint)
The Wok: Recipes and Techniques by Kenji López-Alt (Norton)
The Boy with a Bird in His Chest by Emme Lund (Atria Books)
Fat Girls Hiking: An Inclusive Guide to Getting Outdoors at Any Size or Ability by Summer Michaud-Skog (Timber Press)
A Home Under the Stars by Andy Chou Musser (Little Bigfoot)
Ma and Me by Putsata Reang (MCD/Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
The Necessity of Wildfire by Caitlin Scarano (Blair)
How to Not Be Afraid of Everything by Jane Wong (Alice James Books)
Thrust by Lidia Yuknavitch (Riverhead Books)

Book Review

Review: Small World

Small World by Laura Zigman (Ecco, $27.99 hardcover, 304p., 9780063088283, January 10, 2023)

Among the pleasures of Laura Zigman's Small World is its implicit defiance: it's a novel revolving around two middle-aged sisters who have recently been left by their husbands, and yet these women are utterly disinterested in finding new men or in fretting over the ones who discarded them. What preoccupies the sisters Mellishman is their family history--a bramble of secrets, hurts and other mainstays of the all-absorbing kin novel.

Joyce Mellishman, the novel's part-time narrator, is an archivist for a Boston-area company that digitizes photographs. One winter day she's blindsided by news from her older sister Lydia, an artist in California: Lydia is moving back east after 20 years away. "The divorce is final," Lydia tells Joyce. "I'm selling the house. Maybe I'll go back to school or look into teaching. Or maybe it's just time to come home already." Joyce does the sisterly thing and invites Lydia to move temporarily into her Cambridge apartment, where the two share meals, squabble and avoid delicate subjects. Seems like old times.

The plot doesn't really get rolling until the book's second third, when new neighbors move in upstairs and create a regular racket that unhinges Joyce. But the disruption ultimately serves a purpose, indirectly leading the sisters finally to reckon with the Mellishman family's past. Inevitably, it's clouded by the death of middle sister Eleanor, who was born with cerebral palsy and died of the flu at age 10 at a school for kids with disabilities. The past is dramatized in sporadic second-person sections addressed to the young Joyce; it's as if her childhood, spent in a household dedicated to meeting a disabled sibling's needs, is too painful for the adult Joyce to recount.

The impulsive Lydia is a wry and ready counterpoint to the conflict-averse Joyce, who admits to herself that as sisters go, "We're more Bette Davis and Joan Crawford in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? than any of the Little Women." Small World's abundant humor includes light parody of modern progressivism (one of the new neighbors says he works "in tech. And sustainable farming"). Zigman (Animal Husbandry; Separation Anxiety) has a tendency to spell things out, but it's balanced by the intermittent inclusion of prose poems that Joyce creates by inserting line breaks in posts she reads on a neighborhood app. The poems tend to reflect what Joyce is feeling, whether she admits this to herself or not. --Nell Beram, author and freelance writer

Shelf Talker: Revolving around two middle-aged sisters who have recently been left by their husbands, Small World parses a bramble of secrets, hurts and other mainstays of the all-absorbing kin novel.

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