Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, November 30, 2022


Feiwel & Friends: Kisses, Codes, and Conspiracies by Abigail Hing Wen

Watkins Publishing: A Feminist's Guide to ADHD: How Women Can Thrive and Find Focus in a World Built for Men by Janina Maschke

Soho Teen: Only for the Holidays by Abiola Bello

W. W. Norton & Company: Still Life by Katherine Packert Burke

Shadow Mountain: A Kingdom to Claim by Sian Ann Bessey

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: Immortal Dark (Deluxe Limited Edition) by Tigest Girma

Bramble: Swordcrossed by Freya Marske

News

Three Avenues Bookshop Opens in Chicago, Ill.

Three Avenues Bookshop, an 1,800-square-foot bookstore selling new titles for all ages, opened last Saturday in Chicago, Ill., Block Club Chicago reported.

Located at 3009 N. Southport Ave. in Chicago's Southport Corridor, the bookstore has an extensive children's section and carries an assortment of fiction and nonfiction. Owners Tim Wurman and Jordan Felkey, who are married and live close to the store, plan to host book club meetings and author talks along with weekly storytime sessions for children.

"We're really excited to be opening a business within our own community," Felkey told Block Club Chicago. "We're also excited because there's been a lot of growth in this area, which now we get to be a part of."

Felkey added that they want to "create a space for community members to come together," where they can "meet, talk about books, talk about life or just connect with others and share stories."

Prior to opening Three Avenues Bookshop, Wurman worked as a software engineer, but he eventually got tired of working remotely and wanted a job that was active in the community. The idea to open a bookstore specifically came from posting book reviews on Instagram, he explained.

Felkey, meanwhile, was a pediatric speech pathologist. "I’ve got a background helping all kinds of kids and working with teachers on literacy things, so it’s really exciting to think about how Three Avenues can work with schools and families. We're figuring out how this store fits in with our backgrounds and our own goals."


W. W. Norton & Company: Still Life by Katherine Packert Burke


Susan Weinberg to Head Workman Publishing

Susan Weinberg

Susan Weinberg, executive v-p and publisher of Perseus Books, has been named executive v-p and publisher of Workman Publishing, succeeding Dan Reynolds, who is retiring at the end of the year.

Weinberg joined Hachette Book Group in 2016 when Hachette bought Perseus's publishing operations. She had been publisher of PublicAffairs since 2005 and then, since 2014, Perseus group publisher in charge also of Avalon Travel, Basic Books, Da Capo and Running Press. She oversaw Perseus's transition joining Hachette and will have a similar responsibility in her new position helping Workman further integrate into Hachette, which purchased Workman last year.

At the same time, the Perseus Books Group is being reorganized into two book groups:

The Basic Books Group, led by senior v-p and publisher Lara Heimert, comprises Basic Books, Seal Press, PublicAffairs and Bold Type Books. Heimert continues as publisher of Basic and Seal Press, while Clive Priddle, v-p and publisher of PublicAffairs and Bold Type Books, will report to her.

The Running Press Group, led by Kristin Kiser, who is promoted to senior v-p and publisher, comprises Avalon Travel, Black Dog & Leventhal, Running Press, Running Press Minis, Running Press Studio and Running Press Kids. Kiser remains publisher of Running Press and Black Dog & Leventhal, and Bill Newlin, v-p and publisher of Avalon Travel, will report to her.

Heimert, Kiser and Mary Ann Naples, v-p and publisher of Hachette Books, will report to CEO Michael Pietsch and will join Hachette's executive management board.

Pietsch said that Weinberg "is known for her energy, tenacity, and perspicacity, her exceptionally empathetic leadership, and her strategic approach to our business. She has played a central role as HBG's publishing lead in the integration of Workman into HBG's systems, making her familiar to Workman colleagues. Susan admires Workman's books, traditions, and publishing teams enormously and is eager to work with their brilliantly creative publishers. I know she will help the Workman publishing programs take deep root and grow ever stronger as part of HBG."

As for the new publishing groups, he said, "This leadership change also provides exciting room for growth and expansion for the Perseus publishers and their teams. I'm looking forward to working directly with Lara, Kristin, and Mary Ann and delighted to have them join HBG's executive management board."

Weinberg said, "The spirit of independent publishing at Workman is wonderfully familiar to me from my years at Perseus. I'm immensely proud of the contributions of the Perseus publishers and their teams to HBG and am excited and energized as I shift my focus to Workman, to do all I can to help them grow and thrive. I'm looking forward to immersing myself in Workman's books and series, collaborating with their amazing teams, and helping them continue their extraordinary march of inspired, unique, world-leading publishing."

Reynolds added, "It gives me great calm and happiness to know that Susan will lead the Workman Publishing division, building upon all that we've achieved at Workman and continuing the wonderful tradition of Peter Workman. I've been struck by Susan's leadership, passion, and empathy, as well as her deep history with backlist publishing, which is the heart and soul of Workman. I'm looking forward to working closely with Susan to ensure the smoothest possible transition to her leadership."


The Island Bookshop's Owners Buy Collectors Gallery & Framery in Venice, Fla.

Aimee Odette and Michael Rank, owners of the Island Bookshop, Venice, Fla., have purchased nearby Collectors Gallery and Framery from Leah Sherman, the most recent owner of the business, who is retiring. 

Announcing the acquisition in an Instagram post, Odette noted: "Michael and I could not be more honored to continue this over 40 year history of quality framing, art, and community. Pictured between Michael and me are Patti Cross and David Ortins who will continue on with us as designer/sales consultant and framer respectively. In the second photo are the previous owners who have played an integral role in the success of Collectors Gallery and Framery. What a treat for us! We look forward to continuing the tradition and serving you, our community."


#CyberMonday, Indie Style: 'Say Goodbye to the Impersonal, AI-driven Online Suggestions'

Cyber Monday has not traditionally been the most photogenic of bookshop sales days. Social media doesn't fill up with lively photos of booksellers and their customers engaged in online handselling discussions. But after almost three years of pandemic-inspired upgrades to indie booksellers' online game, along with the availability of Bookshop.org and Libro.fm, there has been a noticeable increase in focus on Cyber Monday promotions on indie bookstore social media sites. Here's a sampling from Monday: 

Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, Mass.: "We are finally doing a Cyber Monday special this year! We're offering 15% off and free shipping on orders over $100. The coupon code CYBER is activating at midnight tonight! (And yes, you can absolutely make a web order for pick up with the code.)"

Variation on a theme from Viewpoint Books, Columbus, Ind.

Your Brother's Bookstore, Evansville, Ind.: "CYBER MONDAY IS HERE! Did you know that you can keep supporting local, independent bookstores AND shop online! This holiday season, buy your books online while also supporting local bookstores! All you have to do is go our website!"

Kew and Willow Books, New York, N.Y.: "Our last sale of the year! Choose to #ShopLocal on Cyber Monday, too.... Fun fact: Buying from local, independently-owned businesses creates 4× more local economic activity than Am*z*n."

Gramercy Books, Bexley, Ohio: "If Cyber Monday has you shopping online today, swing by our website and order a few books! Shipping media mail is a flat $3.99 and your purchase supports a small, independent bookstore!"

Bookstore1, Sarasota, Fla.: "It's Cyber Monday, and while we don't have any crazy online specials, we do have a lovely online store. Check out this month's Staff Picks. Each one has a link to purchase the book online and have it shipped or picked up in the store. We're all cyber here!"

The Little BOHO Bookshop, Bayonne, N.J.: "CYBER MONDAY.... We know that as savvy shoppers you are willing to search around for the best prices. We know as a small independent bookstores we cannot offer you the deep discounts that the big box stores and online retailers can. Mainly because they can take the financial hit to their margins; that we simply cannot. So as you scroll around today, be sure to make a stop at any small independent bookstore's website where SHOPPING SMALL makes a BIG DIFFERENCE."

Viewpoint Books, Columbus, Ind.: "Small Business Saturday was a stupendous success and our first Cider Sunday was similarly smashing, so we're going to follow it up with a special deal to start the week! Introducing CYBOOK Monday! We have a new stash of Viewpoint Books gift cards, and we are ready to share.... Say goodbye to the impersonal, AI-driven online suggestions, and come see us for customized recommendations. We can't wait to see you!"

Valley Bookseller, Stillwater, Minn.: "HAPPY CYBER MONDAY! Thank you for supporting our Indie bookstore today and throughout the year! For Cyber Monday we are offering free media mail shipping for all web orders placed on 11/28."

Stillwater Books, Pawtucket, R.I.: "Today happens to be one of the biggest online ordering days of the year. So, if you are unable to visit us here in beautiful downtown Pawtucket, you can browse and buy EVERYTHING in our amazing inventory from our official website... and we'll ship it to you same-day. And if you don't see what you need, you can get thousands of other hot new books through our BookShop affiliate website." 

Provincetown Bookshop, Provincetown, Mass.: "Our Cyber Monday promotion, where we are donating 5% of our sales revenue and 10% of our giftcard revenue to SKIP, is live until midnight tonight. Check out our website (or visit us IRL) to discover your next favorite book today!"


Obituary Note: John Storey

John Storey

John Storey, who founded Storey Publishing with his wife, Martha, in 1983, and whose "passions and entrepreneurial spirit defined the company and became the foundation for today's vibrant and successful publishing program," died November 26, the publisher announced. He was 79. 

In 1983, the Storeys bought the publishing arm of Garden Way, a company known for its rototillers and garden carts. The newly created Storey Communications set up headquarters in Pownal, Vt., and focused on books about gardening, farming, building, cooking, crafts and other topics with the mission of publishing "practical information that encourages personal independence in harmony with the environment." 

Under John Storey's leadership, the company developed the animal-husbandry series Storey's Guide to Raising, now with 14 titles and 2.7 million copies in print. John and Martha Storey also co-authored the reference title Storey Basic Country Skills, with 200,000 copies in print.

In 2000, the Storeys sold the company to Workman Publishing, and Storey eventually expanded to include hands-on learning books for kids. In 2021, as an imprint of Workman Publishing, Storey was sold to the Hachette Book Group. 
 
Dan Reynolds, former CEO of Storey, who is retiring as senior v-p and publisher of Workman at the end of the year, said, "John Storey was a passionate entrepreneur whose fascinating career reflects much of what was going on in the culture in which he lived, including the back to the land movement, the quest to be self-reliant, and the pursuit of an independent homesteading life. The desire for this way of living became a movement in the 70's and has resurfaced in different ways, on an irregular basis, ever since then. The valuable, trusted information contained in the books John published helped the dreamers achieve their goals which further fueled the promise of it all. The books have evolved as this movement has evolved; one feeds the other."


Notes

Image of the Day: Lee & Low Goes Back to School

Earlier this month, the team at Lee & Low volunteered with the nonprofit Start Lighthouse, which advances childhood literacy through a social justice lens, at P.S. 5 Port Morris in the Bronx, N.Y., where they read Marisol McDonald Doesn't Match / Marisol McDonald no combina and Galápagos Girl / Galapagueña with students in grades K-3. Pictured: executive editor Jessica Echeverrria.


Personnel Changes at HarperCollins Children's Books; Sourcebooks

Kelly Haberstroh has joined HarperCollins Children's Books as associate publicist. She was previously a freelance publicist.

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Michelle Lecumberry has joined Sourcebooks as marketing and social media associate for Sourcebooks Fire.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Maria Ressa on Fresh Air

Today:
Fresh Air: Maria Ressa, author of How to Stand Up to a Dictator: The Fight for Our Future (Harper, $29.99, 9780063257511).

Tomorrow:
Drew Barrymore Show: Whoopi Goldberg, co-author of Two Old Broads: Stuff You Need to Know That You Didn't Know You Needed to Know (Harper Horizon, $27.99, 9780785241645).


On Stage: The Hunting Gun

The stage adaptation of Yasushi Inoue's 1949 novel The Hunting Gun will make its U.S. premiere Off-Broadway with a run at Baryshnikov Arts Center, Playbill reported. Performances begin March 16, 2023, and run through April 15. Actor-dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov will star opposite Japanese film star Miki Nakatani (Matsuko). Adapted by Serge Lamothe, the stage version features one actor playing all three female characters in what press notes describe as "a monologue for three voices." François Girard, who previously helmed the Montreal and Japan productions, directs. 

Nakatani "continues with the work after making her stage debut in the piece's 2011 premiere at Danièle de Fontenay in Montreal," Playbill noted. She won the Kinokuniya Theatre Award for Actress of the Year and Yomiuri Theatre Award for Best Actress for her work in the play when she brought it to Japan's Parco Theatre in Tokyo later the same year, with the production taking Best Theatre Production at both. Nakatani has continued to perform the work as recently as 2016, also in Japan.



Books & Authors

Awards: Robin McKinley Named SFWA Grand Master

Robin McKinley
(photo: Open Road Media)

Robin McKinley has been named the 39th Grand Master by the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Association, which lauded her as "one of the leading writers of the modern fairy-tale retelling genre, and indeed, her debut Beauty, a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, could be said to have started the fairy-tale retelling trend. She is also celebrated for her original fantasy novels. Her 1982 book The Blue Sword received the Newbery Honor, and its 1984 prequel The Hero and the Crown was awarded the Newbery Medal.... Her 1985 anthology Imaginary Lands won the World Fantasy Award, and Water, the 2002 collection she co-wrote with Peter Dickinson, was later nominated as well."

McKinley's other works include Sunshine (2003), a dark sensual vampire fairy tale that won the Mythopoeic Award for Adult Literature and was named to NPR's "Top 100 Science-Fiction Fantasy Books" list and Tor.com's list of "Best SFF Novels of the Decade." Spindle's End, McKinley's Sleeping Beauty retelling, was named one of Time Magazine's "100 Best Fantasy Books of All Time" in 2020.

SFWA president Jeffe Kennedy commented: "I read McKinley's Deerskin in my late 20s and it turned my world upside-down. From there I went on to read everything McKinley has written. With every story, each book, she haunts, delights, and enlightens me. Naming an author who's been such a profound influence on me as both a reader and a writer as SFWA's newest Grand Master is one of the greatest privileges of my life."


Reading with... Edward Humes

photo: Michael Goulding

Edward Humes began writing for newspapers while still in college. Ten years later, he won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on the military, then started work on his first book. He blends narrative nonfiction with immersion journalism, and has embedded in such diverse settings as a neonatal intensive care unit (Baby ER), the nation's largest landfill (Garbology), the Dixie Mafia's turf (Mississippi Mud) and the Los Angeles juvenile court for his PEN Award-winning No Matter How Loud I Shout. His 2019 true-crime account, Burned, helped free a woman from life in prison. His nonfiction account of the struggle to maintain genetic privacy, The Forever Witness: How DNA and Genealogy Solved a Cold Case Double Murder, is out now from Dutton. Humes and his family split their time between Seattle, Wash., and Southern California.

Handsell readers your book in 25 words or less:

Heartbreaking true crime with a detective who hugs killers into confessing, battles over genetic privacy, and a former actress/Barbie impersonator who solves cold case murders.

On your nightstand now:

Hell and Back by Craig Johnson. I grew up devouring detective and mystery fiction, and the Longmire series has been one of my favorites for years (right up there with Michael Connelly's Bosch books). Lately I've revisited Walt and Vic's world as audiobooks; the Longmire narrator, George Guidall, is SO good.

The Daughter of Doctor Moreau by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. Science fiction was my other jam since childhood, when I devoured all of the H.G. Wells books. I couldn't resist trying this new-old take on the classic.

Just finished but still on my nightstand: Deborah Blum's The Poisoner's Handbook. Historical nonfiction (set in the Jazz Age, no less) meets true crime meets science and invention history. I'm crazy about books in which genres that fascinate me intersect like this, and I have some serious author envy over this book.

Favorite book when you were a child:

The Runaway Robot by Lester del Rey. I think this is the first YA novel I ever read, about a boy and his best friend, Rex--the title character--who spend the entire book traveling the solar system trying to reunite. I first read it when I was eight, I think, but I reread it multiple times. I connected with the story of a boy growing up in a space-faring future society because, back then, that's what I hoped our society would look like by the time I had kids.

Your top five authors:

I'm interpreting "top" to mean top influences on me. Also, I'm cheating on the count, because five isn't enough:

John Steinbeck. His narrative style and journalist's sensibilities drew me in from the very first reading, and his work continues to inspire me as a writer.

Tracy Kidder and John McPhee, two masters of the narrative nonfiction craft.

Mary Roach. I will read anything she writes, because she makes me smarter and makes me laugh at the same time. Whenever I need a lesson on how to write engagingly about science, I read a little Mary Roach.

Rachel Carson. If you are writing about the environment, nature or humanity's impact on the planet, you are building on the foundation Rachel Carson laid down.

The New Journalists: Truman Capote, Tom Wolfe, Norman Mailer, Joan Didion.

Book you've faked reading:

Ulysses, James Joyce.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Rising Out of Hatred, Eli Saslow. I've assigned it as reading for several narrative nonfiction classes. Great reporting, masterfully written.

Book you've bought for the cover:

That's a fun memory: Dune, the original paperback edition of Frank Herbert's masterpiece, which I bought used when I was 12. The otherworldly image of a desert vista with caped silhouette figures lured me in despite the book's daunting thickness. It remains one of my favorite reads ever.

Book you hid from your parents:

The Harrad Experiment by Robert Rimmer. I snitched it repeatedly from my older sister's hiding place when she wasn't around, then put it back until next time.

Book that changed your life:

Hiroshima by John Hersey. I first checked it out of the library at age 13, after meeting the bombardier from the plane that dropped the atomic bomb on Nagasaki, whose mother happened to share a hospital room with my mom. I was horrified, disturbed and enthralled by the book: I had never read anything like it. My first takeaway was that there is no way to even begin to comprehend an event of such magnitude without the sort of unflinching eyewitness account that Hersey's boots-on-the-ground reporting provided. The second takeaway came upon later readings: that this slim volume was brilliant journalism with a heart, which is narrative nonfiction's great super power.

Favorite line from a book:

This changes all the time. Right now I have to say it's a simple, deep line from Nikole Hannah-Jones's The 1619 Project, nailing the essential problem of these book-banning times: "If we are truly a great nation, the truth cannot destroy us." 

Five books you'll never part with:

My first edition of John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath; my dog-eared 1960s paperback Dune; my equally dog-eared bright-yellow paperback copy of Roget's Thesaurus from my sixth-grade English teacher, Mrs. Weissberg, at Benjamin Franklin Elementary School in Philadelphia; a signed copy of If You Really Loved Me by Ann Rule, who gave me my very first blurb for my first book, Buried Secrets; and my first copy of Buried Secrets. Is there anything quite like the thrill of seeing your first book in print?

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

I'll give you three, because these all surprised, moved and changed my perspective at different stages of my life:

Roots, Alex Haley
Dispatches, Michael Herr
Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut

Book you wished you had thought of first:

Fast Food Nation, because this story was staring us all in the face, on nearly every street corner in America, but no one saw it until Eric Schlosser showed us--and so damn brilliantly!


Book Review

YA Review: We Are All So Good at Smiling

We Are All So Good at Smiling by Amber McBride (Feiwel & Friends, $19.99 hardcover, 304p., ages 13-up, 9781250780386, January 10, 2023)

Amber McBride's debut, Me (Moth), won her the 2022 Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award, and was a finalist for the William C. Morris Award and the National Book Award in Young People's Literature. Her second title, We Are All So Good at Smiling, is as powerful as the first--raw and poignant and promising hope, even when it seems there is no way out.

"This is what I know:/ my name is Whimsy & magic is real." Though "most can't see the energy," the 18-year-old sees it "connecting all things." Whimsy, who has once again been hospitalized for clinical depression, meets Faerry, a "mint-green hair, winged boy," at the facility. "Hoodoo is real," she knows, and so are the Fae. The teens connect through their magic and are surprised to discover that, when they leave the program, Faerry's family has moved to the same street where Whimsy and her parents live. But at the end of the street is "a Forest holding a Garden/ filled with stories & magic/ where memories unweave/ unravel & (sometimes)/ trap us in lies." Whimsy is terrified of the Forest and has not gone beyond its edge in 10 years; Faerry is also scared but believes he might find answers within. When Faerry ventures into the Forest, Whimsy follows him and both teens learn that when you're going through Hell, you must keep going.

Whimsy practices Hoodoo, or Rootwork, working with herbs, leaves and crystals. McBride skillfully paints Whimsy's world of sorrow, magic and fairy tales in lilting, passionate poetry: "I'll cleanse my crystals each full moon, dry my herbs and drink/ healing teas. I'll ground barefoot & wild in the dirt, & I'll still/ hurt at the root of me." Each chapter begins with a definition--a plant or tea leaf arrangement or a fairy tale character--that sets the scene and foreshadows the events.

McBride's use of myth and folk and fairy tales is manifold: they are metaphor, comfort and a starting place for healing. The Garden itself is like the nine levels of Hell in Dante's Inferno, and the farther Whimsy ventures into the Forest to save Faerry, the more characters from folklore (Adze, Anansi, Ursula) she meets. Whimsy and Faerry's journey into the Forest unlocks hidden memories from their childhoods, allowing the teens to remember and recover. --Kharissa Kenner, children's librarian, Bank Street School for Children

Shelf Talker: Award-winning author Amber McBride's second YA book is a raw and poignant novel in verse that promises hope.


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