Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Gallery Books: The Lion Women of Tehran by Marjan Kamali

Other Press (NY): Deliver Me by Malin Persson Giolito, translated by Rachel Willson-Broyles

Two Trees: Among Friends: An Illustrated Oral History of American Book Publishing and Bookselling in the 20th Century edited by Buz Teacher and Janet Bukovinsky Teacher

Atlantic Monthly Press: I Cheerfully Refuse by Leif Enger


Water Damage Closes Carmichael's Kids in Louisville, Ky.

Carmichael's Kids, Louisville, Ky., is closed indefinitely because of water damage, the store posted on social media. "We're doing all we can to get back up and running, but much of that is out of our control and we don't have a clear timeframe," the store continued. "All of us at Carmichael's Kids deeply appreciate the support and well wishes from the community that we are receiving."

WLKY reported that the damage was caused by a broken main sewer line. Crews have begun working on repairing the line.

For customers interested in children's books, Carmichael's suggested visiting the children's section at one of its two general stores, Carmichael's Bookstore on Frankfort Avenue.

Carmichael's was founded in 1978 and opened Carmichael's Kids in 2014. Co-owner Kelly Estep is part of the second generation of her family to run Carmichael's and is co-vice-president and secretary of the American Booksellers Association.

Neal Porter Books: Angela's Glacier by Jordan Scott, illustrated by Diana Sudyka

Dragon Tale Books Opens in Menomonie, Wis.

Dragon Tale Books, which "incorporates fantasy and fun while encompassing a wide range of genres for all to enjoy," has opened in Menomonie, Wis., Volume One reported. Bookends on Main, which had been for sale since last summer, closed December 27 and the new store, located just one space down the street, held a grand opening four days later, on December 31.

Bookends on Main's owner, Susan Schoenbauer Thurin, had been looking for someone to take on the responsibility of a new bookstore so that she could retire, and Ann Vogl, who had been a librarian for 17 years, accepted the challenge of a new venture as bookstore owner.

Vogl is hoping to add online bookselling and audiobooks through and to her offerings. Volume One noted that "talking to independent bookstore owners and receiving constant support helped Vogl prepare for the big switch-off, something she said has been both a little scary and exciting." She also wants to host literature-related events to get the community involved with the store again through weekend book readings, guest speakers and more.

"I really believe in the value of books and reading," Vogl said. 

GLOW: Avid Reader Press: The Ministry of Time by Kaliane Bradley

Counterpoint's Jack Shoemaker Retiring

Jack Shoemaker

Jack Shoemaker, founding editor of Counterpoint Press and a co-founder of North Point Press, is retiring, effective today. He will continue to work on selected projects as Counterpoint's editor-at-large.

Counterpoint publisher Alyson Forbes said, "Jack Shoemaker is a legend who has brought some of our most essential American voices into print. His influence on both California-based publishing and the publishing industry as a whole is incalculable. While we will certainly miss his day-to-day presence, we are excited to continue our relationship with Jack and his iconic authors in a new capacity."

Shoemaker began his career as a bookseller in 1965, managing the Unicorn Bookshop, Serendipity Books and Sand Dollar. In 1979, he co-founded North Point Press, and in 1991, he joined Pantheon, where he served as the West Coast editor of the Knopf Publishing Group. In 1994, he co-founded Counterpoint Press.

He has served as chairman of the National Endowment of the Arts, co-founded The Art of the Wild, and was honored with the Jack D. Rittenhouse Award for lifetime achievement and contributions to the western book community by PubWest.

Shoemaker has published a striking group of writers, including Wendell Berry, Gary Snyder, MFK Fisher, Guy Davenport, James Salter, Ernest Gaines, Gina Berriault, Beryl Markham, Barry Lopez, Anne Lamott, Jane Vandenburgh, Margaret Wilkerson Sexton, Robert Hass, Bill Porter and Banana Yoshimoto.

Wendell Berry commented: "The best thing that's ever happened to me as a writer was my association with Jack."

Soho Crime: Ash Dark as Night (A Harry Ingram Mystery) by Gary Phillips

International Update: French Book Sales Show 'Great Resilience' in 2022; EIBF on Darcos Law

Book publishing in France showed "a great resilience" last year, according to Vincent Montagne, president of the French Publishers Association (Syndicat National de l'Edition). The Bookseller reported that members' sales "may have dropped by some 5% year on year, but they were still about 10% up on the average of 2018 and 2019 before the outbreak of Covid-19."

The picture for the 429 members (400 in France and 29 in Belgium) of the observatory of the French Booksellers Association (Syndicat de la Librairie Française, SLF) was less bright. Anne Martelle, SLF president and co-director at the Martelle family bookshop in Amiens, reported that members' sales fell 2.7% in December and 7.1% for the year as a whole, but were still 7% higher than in 2019. Observatory outlets represent more than half the sales of the approximately 3,000 independent booksellers in France.

SNE plans for this year include work on a long-awaited book-tracking system, which "should become operational early next year, and will be based on the takings of all types of outlet selling books. For the moment it is called Booktracking in the absence of a permanent French name. "The name will definitely be French, and will not follow the current fashion in France, where English names are seen as chic," said SNE director Pierre Dutilleul.


In 2021, the French Parliament voted in favor of adopting the Darcos Law, which sets a minimum delivery fee of €3 (about $3.25) for all online book purchases under €35 (about $37.95). The law is meant to level the playing field with retail giants like Amazon, which have been shipping individual books for as little as €0.01.

Prior to the European Commission's authorization, a consultation has been opened to hear from relevant groups in the French book sector. The European & International Booksellers Federation has responded with a statement fully supporting the position and arguments laid out by its members, the Syndicat de la Librairie Française and the Syndicat des Distributeurs de Loisirs Culturels.

"The Darcos Law is supported in France by all booksellers, from the most important chains to the smallest independent stores," said EIBF co-president Jean-Luc Treutenaere. "We are all united to fight the players who are eager to sell books at a loss in order to gain customers on any other products. This law would lead to fairer competition and is beneficial for the environment. With more than 4,000 bookstores and more than 15,000 points of sales, France offers a dense network, making it possible for every person to either buy a book near their home or to collect it for free through click & collect."

SLF president Anne Martelle added: "The Darcos Law is a very important piece of legislation that will hopefully prevent the damaging practices of the bigger online players. The entire French book chain is a unit on this matter."


London's Al Saqi Books, the largest Middle Eastern specialist bookseller in Europe, had to close last month due to economic challenges, but Mohammad Masoud--who oversaw day-to-day operations at the bookshop for two years--has launched a campaign to revive the location as a new Arabic literary hub named Maqam, the Bookseller reported. The campaign is currently live on JustGiving and Masoud plans to host the first Maqam event in February.

Masoud plans to crowdfund £90,000 (about $109,855) to launch the new space and is currently in talks with the building's owners. The funds would be used to purchase Al Saqi's inventory, secure a storage unit in which to keep them, and pay for rent, operational and staff costs further down the line. He plans to supplement the book stock with his personal library.

Masoud said he is "not trying to save" Al Saqi, noting: "Its legacy is alive and well with the publishing house," which specializes in general-interest and academic books on North Africa and the Middle East.

With Maqam--which loosely translates as "sacred space"--he hopes to develop a new template for Arabic bookshops: "Besides selling books, I'm going to have Arabic lessons, art and calligraphy sessions, workshops where you can improve your writing skills, even learn how to do embroidery," he said, adding that he also hopes to expand people's understanding of Arabic language and culture, while opening the region's literature up to a younger generation of readers. --Robert Gray

Obituary Note: Natalie S. Bober

Biographer and historian Natalie S. Bober died on December 29. She was 92.

Bober focused on the 18th century, writing biographies of Thomas Jefferson, William Wordsworth and Abigail Adams, among other books, and primarily for young readers. Her Abigail Adams: Witness to a Revolution won the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Nonfiction and the Golden Kite Award of the SCBWI. She also wrote Countdown to Independence: A Revolution of Ideas in England and the American Colonies: 1760-1776. Other subjects included Marc Chagall and Robert Frost, including Papa Is a Poet: A Story About Robert Frost and A Restless Spirit: The Story of Robert Frost, which was the 2008 Vermont Reads book of the year.

Bober was also a lecturer and consultant and served as a consultant to and appeared in the 1997 Ken Burns documentary Thomas Jefferson.


Image of the Day: The Deluge at Third Place Books

Fresh off his appearance on Late Night with Seth Meyers, Stephen Markley, author of The Deluge (Simon & Schuster) visited Third Place Books in Seattle, Wash., for a conversation with podcaster David Roberts. Lisa Wells, a longtime friend of Markley and author of Believers (FSG), stopped by the signing line to take a photo.

NFL Playoffs Pre-game Bookseller Moment: Backwater Books

Posted on Instagram by Backwater Books, Ellicott City, Md., in anticipation of the Baltimore Ravens vs. Cincinnati Bengals NFL playoff game Sunday: "Calm your nerves with a good book before the Ravens playoff game tonight." (A good book and the bookshop were better options, as the Ravens lost 24-17.)

Personnel Changes at Open Road Integrated Media; UTA Publishing

Dan Berkowitz has been promoted to executive director, paid marketing at Open Road Integrated Media.


Ariele Fredman has joined UTA Publishing as an agent. She formerly worked in publicity at Atria Books for 12 years, most recently as deputy director of publicity and marketing.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Mary Ziegler on Fresh Air

Good Morning America: Stephen A. Smith, author of Straight Shooter: A Memoir of Second Chances and First Takes (Gallery/13A, $28.99, 9781982189495). He will also appear today on the View.

Also on GMA: Hilary Sheinbaum, author of The Dry Challenge: How to Lose the Booze for Dry January, Sober October, and Any Other Alcohol-Free Month (Harper Design, $19.99, 9780062937704).

Today Show: Kristin Chenoweth, author of I'm No Philosopher, But I Got Thoughts: Mini-Meditations for Saints, Sinners, and the Rest of Us (Harper Celebrate, $22.99, 9781400228492). She will also appear today on Live with Kelly and Ryan.

Fresh Air: Mary Ziegler, author of Roe: The History of a National Obsession (Yale University Press, $27, 9780300266108).

Tamron Hall: Joey Thurman, author of The Minimum Method: The Least You Can Do to Be a Stronger, Healthier, Happier You (BenBella, $26.95, 9781637742297).

The View: Dolly Parton, co-author of Dolly Parton's Billy the Kid Makes It Big (Penguin Workshop, $19.99, 9780593661574).

Drew Barrymore Show: Pinky Cole, author of Eat Plants, B*tch: 91 Vegan Recipes That Will Blow Your Meat-Loving Mind (Gallery/13A, $28.99, 9781982178314).

Books & Authors

Awards: Jane Addams Children's Book; T.S. Eliot Winners

The Jane Addams Peace Association has announced the winning and honor books of the 2023 Jane Addams Children's Book Award, marking its 70th Anniversary this year:

Younger Children Winner:
Choosing Brave: How Mamie Till-Mobley and Emmett Till Sparked the Civil Rights Movement by Angela Joy, illus. by Janelle Washington (Roaring Brook)

Younger Children Honor Books:
Sanctuary: Kip Tiernan and Rosie’s Place, the Nation's First Shelter for Women by Christine McDonell, illus. by Victoria Tentler-Krylov (Candlewick)
Ida B. Wells, Voice of Truth: Educator, Feminist, and Anti-Lynching Civil Rights Leader by Michelle Duster, illus. by Laura Freeman (Godwin Books/Holt)

Older Children Winner:
Undercover Latina by Aya De León (Candlewick)

Older Children Honor Books:
Yonder by Ali Standish (HarperCollins)
Swim Team, written and illustrated by Johnnie Christmas (Harper Alley)

The 2023 Jane Addams Children's Book Awards ceremony will be held on April 25 at the Winter Garden of the Harold Washington Library Center in Chicago, Ill. Details about the award event, and securing winner and honor book seals, are available from the Jane Addams Peace Association via e-mail.


Sonnets for Albert by Anthony Joseph has won the 2022 £25,000 (about $30,540) T.S. Eliot Prize. Chair of judges Jean Sprackland called Sonnets for Albert "a luminous collection which celebrates humanity in all its contradictions and breathes new life into this enduring form."

Joseph is the author of five poetry collections, including Desafinado, Teragaton, Bird Head Son, and Rubber Orchestras, and three novels: The African Origins of UFOs, Kitch: A Fictional Biography of a Calypso Icon, and The Frequency of Magic. He was the Colm Tóibín Fellow in Creative Writing at the University of Liverpool in 2018, was awarded a Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellowship 2019/20 and is a lecturer in creative writing at King's College London. He's also a musician who has released eight albums.

Book Review

Review: The Laughter

The Laughter by Sonora Jha (HarperVia, $27.99 hardcover, 320p., 9780063240254, February 14, 2023)

In her first fictional offering since her 2013 debut novel, Foreign, Sonora Jha (How to Raise a Feminist Son) confronts the inequities inside the Ivory Tower in the astutely provoking, deeply disturbing and unexpectedly delightful The Laughter. Her protagonist, Oliver (Ollie) Edward Harding, is a white, tenured, 56-year-old English professor in Seattle, still working on a literary biography of British writer G.K. Chesterton. His philandering with colleagues and students was egregious enough, but his sexual violation of his wife cemented their divorce. His only child finally breaks their long silence with the announcement that she will not be inviting him to her upcoming nuptials. His best (and only) friend is canine--Edgar, after Poe. Lately, Ollie has fallen in lust with recently hired Ruhaba Khan, a law professor specializing in the incarceration of Black women in the U.S. She's a single, independent Pakistani Muslim who chooses to wear a hijab.

The 2016 election looms. With Hillary Clinton significantly ahead in the polls, Ollie is "drawn in by [Facebook] posts from people [he] knew, in support of Donald Trump's presidency." He admits: "I'd egg the fools on with a 'like' that I'd later go back and remove, to fuck with their heads." Clinton's assumed lead doesn't mitigate the palpable undertow of anti-immigrant, anti-terrorist and particularly anti-Muslim rhetoric. And then Ruhaba's 15-year-old nephew, Adil, arrives from France for an indefinite stay. Ollie befriends "the boy"--Ollie's favored moniker--and employs him to walk Edgar twice a day, expecting to gain regular proximity to Ruhaba. When FBI agents appear at Ruhaba's door to question Adil about his life in Toulouse, where he was born and raised, that hoped-for proximity draws Ollie in, quickly inspiring unsubstantiated conclusions. To then explain why Adil "lies fighting for his life," which is mentioned on the third page, Ollie opens a fresh notebook to "dare reveal the workings of [his] heart in some clumsy assembly of words."

Jha is a extraordinary storyteller, aiming her shrewd erudition directly at elitism, sexism and racism. Her own experience as a journalism professor in Seattle undoubtedly adds an easy comfort in creating her fictional campus, through which she expertly unveils the labyrinthine levels of academia. Her brilliant humor works as both relieving balm (Amazon-produced custom labels self-sewn onto self-knit sweaters to create the illusion of "too exclusive, too elusive") and cringe-inducing exposé (a white professor's Halloween costume in half-blackface). As Ollie insists that he's "not one to trifle with the truth," his unmistakable delusions, especially of (white, male, privileged) grandeur, provide dazzling fodder for a spectacularly illuminating read. --Terry Hong, BookDragon

Shelf Talker: Elitism, sexism, racism--with surprisingly delightful moments of erudite humor--fuel Sonora Jha's marvelous novel that exposes the hallowed halls of academia.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. From WTF to OMG, With a Little LOL by David Corbin and Kerry Jacobson
2. Deserving Henley by Susan Stoker
3. Never Finished by David Goggins
4. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki with Sharon L. Lechter
5. The Perfect Marriage by Jeneva Rose
6. Things We Never Got Over by Lucy Score
7. Ignite by Melanie Harlow
8. Brutal Prince by Sophie Lark
9. One Bossy Date by Nicole Snow
10. Untying the Knot by Meghan Quinn

[Many thanks to!]

Powered by: Xtenit