Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, January 25, 2023

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


Taylor & Co. Books to Open in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Taylor & Co. Books will be opening at 1021 Cortelyou Road in Brooklyn, N.Y. Brownstoner reported that when owner Andrew Colarusso was growing up in Ditmas Park, he used to get his haircut at Christyles barbershop, located in the same building that will house his shop more than 15 years later. Colarusso is aiming for a March 4 launch, and he hopes Taylor & Co. Books will provide "a service, a space for cultural dissemination, for gathering and discourse, for escapism, and early childhood literacy."

"Never would I have truly dared to dream, to allow myself to believe, that I'd open a bookstore in the neighborhood I grew up in," he said. "We millennials have been cursed with chronic itinerancy--post-9/11, post-recession. So the far-flung dream of building in the neighborhood I grew up in seemed an impossibility."

Colarusso has been obsessed with books for as long as he can remember, he said: "Well before I could read or comprehend narrative structure or poetic form, I just loved books. As a form of technology, I was fascinated by cover art, by the random-access memory of the codex and its table of contents, by pages and their weights and their tactile differences."

His family shopped at Mostly Books, which was located on Cortelyou Road from 1978 until the 1990s. Colarusso described it as "an important and magical place (literally) for my family because our visits there coincided with the rise in popularity of Harry Potter books." He hopes Taylor & Co. Books will build on Mostly Books' local legacy.

The bookshop will stock new and used books, as well as other items of interest, including instant cameras, binoculars and bird guides, home goods and toys, Colarusso said, adding that "of course our focus will be on books." He has three goals in mind for the bookshop: to make it practical, comfortable, and aesthetically pleasing. 

Colarusso is running a $20,000 GoFundMe campaign; money raised will go toward covering the $7,500 deposit, first month's rent of $3,500, new inventory, the installation of furniture, "and other necessities like point of sale software and hardware, website development, utilities and maintenance."

"I want Taylor & Co. to feel like a home to anyone who swings by," he said. "And once that feeling is there, I hope not only to maintain goodwill and loyalty among patrons, but also manage a sustainable and growing business."

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

International Update: Harsh Economy Boosts U.K. Paperback Sales; Post-Covid Lockdown 'Revenge Reading' in India

More U.K. customers are switching to paperback editions as their budgets tighten in a challenging economy, according to Indie booksellers in the U.K. The Bookseller reported most agree, however, that hardcovers "will endure due to the opportunities presented by special editions and a 'two bites of the cherry' approach to publishing where a hardback is published first, followed by a paperback, usually a year later."

"Many people who are drawn to question whether we have a particular title in will ultimately say they will wait for the paperback, especially if it's by an untested debut author," said Nick Webb, co-owner of the Rabbit Hole in Brigg. "And in the interim, they will very often pick up a copy cheaply at a charity shop or borrow a copy from a friend. All of these demonstrate lost sales to ourselves, the publisher, and ultimately the author."

Wayne Winstone, owner of Winstone's Books in Sherborne, observed: "The price inflation surrounding hardbacks is a concern. If we want to break new talent and encourage customers to take a chance on a new writer I would urge publishers to rethink against this economic backdrop." 

Alex Call, founder and owner of Bert's Books in Swindon, added: "We may see a decline [in sales] if continue to rise. The rising costs of hardbacks has seen people switch to paperbacks. It's more about perceived value than a cost-of-living thing though as people seem to prefer buying two or three paperbacks versus one hardback, so spending the same, but getting more for it."

Hazel Broadfoot, Booksellers Association president and owner of Village Books in London, said: "We had several customers in December switch to giving all paperbacks, instead of hardbacks, and we have many book groups with a paperback only rule. In general though, we're still selling plenty of hardbacks--every January I'm surprised by how many hardbacks continue to sell and this year is absolutely no different. It's my belief that books represent extremely good value for money in comparison with almost every other form of entertainment and they can be shared, making them a sustainable choice."


Oxford Bookstore in Kolkata

Priti Paul, director of Apeejay Surrendra Group--which owns India's Oxford Bookstores chain--told Outlook magazine she thinks readers emerging from Covid-19 lockdowns are in "revenge mode now," and "revenge reading" is part of that trend. Among the highlights from the q&a:

Tell us what it feels like to own a bookstore with a century's legacy?
People at one point of time had started writing off bookstores, saying that people are reading online, buying online, and that's going to be the future. That myth has been shattered since the normalization of life after the Covid-19 lockdowns were lifted. The footfall has increased significantly and we sold in the first five months what we used to sell in a year in the pre-pandemic time. So, it feels good to run a bookstore and I can happily give my opinion that bookstores are here to stay....

So, the post-lockdown business is better than usual?
I think people spent so much time online during the lockdown period that they are in revenge mode now. Just like there has emerged revenge tourism and revenge festivals, there is revenge reading--to make up for the losses during the lockdown. 

What do you consider the biggest achievement of Oxford Bookstore?
Recently, during my visit to Qatar for the football World Cup, I got an invitation to visit the national library of Qatar. The president of the library had invited me. It's a huge library designed by one of the best architects in the world. When I visited, I realized that what they do at the national library with millions of dollars are all being done in our stores--the range of books, the events around books and the cultural programs--and at a higher frequency than theirs. We are also giving back to society....


The Canadian Independent Booksellers Association highlighted the storefront window art at Epic Books, Hamilton, Ont., calling it "a real vibe. Who doesn't love to hibernate with a pile of good books?" 

Epic Books noted: "We're slowly getting back into the swing of things after our wonderful holiday break. New window done by Joe Ollmann! 'In the winter she curls up around a good book and dreams away the cold.'--Ben Aaronovitch." --Robert Gray

Christian Bookstore Opens in Mesquite, Nev.

Mesquite Blessings Christian Bookstore has opened as a pop-up shop in Mesquite, Nev., the Mesquite Valley Progress reported. The bookstore is located within Exquisite Bloom, a florist shop in Mesquite, and sells Christian books, Bibles and a variety of religious items.

Store owner Harry Wineman has lived in Mesquite since 2014 and was inspired to open the bookstore at the age of 95. He plans to add more Christian books for young people to the store's inventory and hopes eventually to have a bricks-and-mortar space of his own, where "people can sit, have a cup of coffee and read a chapter in a book, to ensure that is the book they want."

Obituary Note: Philip Kogan

Philip Kogan

Philip Kogan, founder of Kogan Page, as well as former chairman of the Independent Publishers Guild and treasurer of the Publishers Association, died December 24, the Bookseller reported. He was 92. Kogan spent 10 years as a physicist in industrial research before entering the publishing world in 1962, first at Sampson Lowe and then Cornmarket.

In 1967 he established Kogan Page with co-founder Terry Page. In 2006, Kogan moved up to chairman of the company and his daughter, Helen Kogan, became managing director. She said: "He never really used the 'r' word, but when we moved to the new offices in 2013 he had pretty well stopped being actively involved, although [was] always interested in the business."

Shortlisted for in 2022 Academic, Educational and Professional Publisher of the Year at the British Book Awards, Kogan Page had previously won the IPG Digital Publishing Award in 2020, as well as the Academic and Professional Publisher of the Year and International Achievement Award in 2019.

"He was one of the U.K.'s most inspiring specialist publishers and steered Kogan Page superbly through decades of changes and challenges--all the while remaining proudly independent," said IPG CEO Bridget Shine. "Beyond that, he was instrumental in making the IPG what it is today. He was an active member for most of our 60 years, serving as chair from 1975 to 1977. He received the IPG Patrons' Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007 and became a patron himself in 2017. He was always excellent company at IPG conferences and book fairs and was a friend and mentor to countless other independent publishers. We will miss him very much."

PA CEO Dan Conway added: The organization is immensely grateful for the time and expertise [Kogan] dedicated to the role. Philip was a hugely well-respected member of the publishing community and all at the PA, both historical and present, would I am sure join me in sending our best wishes to his family and friends at this time."

The Guardian noted that Kogan "was ferociously bright, a critical thinker who interrogated ideas and staff while always listening to people and occasionally going over their heads.... He remained active even after handing over the reins to Helen and spent much time mentoring younger publishers and working tirelessly for the Independent Publishers Guild, of which he was an active member for 60 years."

At his "standing room only" funeral on January 18, academic publisher and former KP board director Stephen White said that Kogan had "contributed enormously" to the book world, adding: "It's hard to think of a better métier for Philip than publishing. It suited his sociability, his warmth, his creativity, his entrepreneurship, and his friendliness. Only a handful of people have contributed as much as Philip [to publishing]. He was a great publisher, and a great man."

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


Image of the Day: NEIBA/NAIBA Book Buyers Summit

The New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association and New England Independent Booksellers Association hosted their annual book buyers summit Monday and yesterday, in Rhinebeck, N.Y. The retreat featured many group discussions as well as meetings with Norton, Penguin Random House, Hachette and HarperCollins.

Personnel Changes at Atria Books/S&S

Alison Hinchliffe has joined Atria as senior publicity manager. She was most recently a publicity manager at Morrow and earlier was a publicity associate at Atria.

Book Trailer of the Day: Firefighter Flo!

Firefighter Flo! by Andrea Zimmerman, illustrated by Dan Yaccarino (Holiday House), the first book in the Big Jobs, Bold Women series.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Jeff Guinn on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Jeff Guinn, author of Waco: David Koresh, the Branch Davidians, and A Legacy of Rage (Simon & Schuster, $29.99, 9781982186104).

Good Morning America: Molly Maloof, author of The Spark Factor: The Secret to Supercharging Energy, Becoming Resilient, and Feeling Better Than Ever (Harper Wave, $32, 9780063207202).

Drew Barrymore Show: Lisa Guerrero, author of Warrior: My Path to Being Brave (Hachette Books, $28, 9780306829499).

The View: Linsey Davis, author of The Smallest Spot of a Dot: The Little Ways We're Different, The Big Ways We're the Same (Zonderkidz, $18.99, 9780310748809).

Late Late Show with James Corden: David Duchovny, co-author of Kepler (Dark Horse, $19.99, 9781506733456).

Bookish Oscar Nominations

All Quiet on the Western Front garnered nine nominations for the 95th Academy Awards, which featured several movies based on books or with book connections. On March 12, the Oscars will be televised live on ABC and worldwide. Bookish standouts among the nominees include:

All Quiet on the Western Front, based on the novel by Erich Maria Remarque: Best picture; international feature film (Germany); cinematography; adapted screenplay; production design; music, original score; makeup & hairstyling; sound; visual effects

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, based on the Marvel Comics character Black Panther: Supporting actress (Angela Bassett); costume design; makeup & hairstyling; music, original song ("Lift Me Up"); visual effects

Women Talking, based on the novel by Miriam Toews: Best picture; adapted screenplay

The Quiet Girl, based on the novella Foster by Claire Keegan: International feature film

Blonde, based on the novel by Joyce Carol Oates: Actress (Ana de Armas)

Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio, loosely based on the 1883 Italian novel The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi, and influenced by Gris Grimly's illustrations for a 2002 edition of the book: Feature film (animated)

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, inspired from the fairy tale by Giovanni Francesco Straparola: Feature film (animated)

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse, based on the novel by Charlie Mackesy: Short film (animated)

Ivalu, based on a graphic novel by Morten Dürr: Short film (animated)

Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris, adapted from adaptation of the 1958 novel Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Paris by Paul Gallico: Costume design

The Batman, based on the DC Comics character: makeup & hairstyling; sound; visual effects

Books & Authors

Awards: Robert A. Heinlein Winner; Drue Heinz Winner; Arabic Fiction Longlist

Novelist John Scalzi won the Robert A. Heinlein Award, which honors "outstanding published works in science fiction and technical writings that inspire the human exploration of space." Organizers cited Scalzi for his "body of work of 16 novels and numerous short stories. A majority of his work features a future in space for humanity including his groundbreaking novels in the Old Man's War series and the Interdependency series."

The award will be presented on May 26, during opening ceremonies for Balticon 57, the 57th Maryland Regional Science Fiction Convention. Balticon and the Robert A. Heinlein Award are both managed and sponsored by the Baltimore Science Fiction Society. 


Small in Real Life, a manuscript by Kelly Sather, has won the 2023 Drue Heinz Literature Prize, which honors a collection of short stories. The prize includes $15,000 and publication by the University of Pittsburgh Press, which will take place on October 3.

Deesha Philyaw, author of The Secret Lives of Church Ladies and judge of the prize, commented: "This compact but mighty collection explores both the heights and depths of the unsavory business of being human. With exquisite, emotionally rich prose, every single story surprises and unsettles. Tenderness co-exists with terror, beauty alongside betrayal. Characters are at turns earnest and terrible as they grapple with longing, lust, grief, regret, and disappointment in these utterly original stories. The heart of this brilliant collection is chaos--the way the universe is chaotic, unpredictable, and simply dazzling."


The longlist for the $50,000 2023 International Prize for Arabic Fiction has been announced and includes 16 writers, eight of whom are women (the highest number in the prize's history), all from nine countries. The shortlist will be released March 1 and the winner announced May 21. To see the longlisted titles, click here.

Reading with...Karen Strong

photo: Vania Stoyanova

Karen Strong is the author of the middle-grade novels Just South of Home, which was selected for several Best of Year lists including Kirkus Reviews Best Books, and Eden’s Everdark, a Junior Library Guild selection and an ABA Kids’ Indie Next Pick. She has also written short fiction for Star Wars. Her speculative fiction appears in the anthology A Phoenix First Must Burn. She is the editor of the young adult anthology Cool. Awkward. Black. (just published by Viking Books for Young Readers).

Handsell readers your book in 25 words or less:

Cool. Awkward. Black. is a multi-genre anthology that centers Black teens who celebrate their nerdy passions of cosplay, manga, STEM, gaming and the arts.

On your nightstand now:

Right now, I'm reading several books, a mix of fiction and nonfiction. I've always read multiple books at the same time because it means I'll always have something that speaks to my mood. I have in my stack Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree because I heard it was a cozy fantasy about an orc opening a coffee shop. So far, it's been lovely. Saturnalia by Stephanie Feldman is speaking to my speculative, dark heart, and I love that it has touches of gothic horror. Novelist as a Vocation by Haruki Murakami, since I always love reading about how other writers approach their work, and I love that it's part memoir and part writing advice. The Milky Way by Moiya McTier is also in my stack of books because the cosmos is an eternal favorite subject, and the author provides a different take by giving us an origin story from the galaxy's point of view.

Favorite book when you were a child:

It may be a toss-up between Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile by Bernard Waber and Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans. I can still remember the images of the cuddly crocodile and the girls in their straight lines. I remember loving these books so much.

Your top five authors:

I read so many books and have too many favorites to narrow it down to just five authors. However, I do love Toni Morrison, Octavia E. Butler, Gloria Naylor, Zora Neale Hurston and the poet Lucille Clifton. Reading the work of these Black women always feels like returning home.

Book you're an evangelist for:

A book that I'm always recommending to everyone is The Memory Theater by Karin Tidbeck. It's a fantasy filled with parallel worlds, folklore and magic. Deliciously dark with deceptively simple but exquisite prose, it's a perfect book for the winter season, which is when I like to re-read it.

Book you've bought for the cover:

One of the most beautiful covers--that actually made me gasp--is Hurricane Child by Kacen Callender. The story is set on the island of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The cover could easily be a piece of art to hang on the wall. The writing is just as haunting and beautiful, too.

Book you hid from your parents:

I lived in a household filled with books, and I was also an accelerated reader, so I didn't need to hide any books from my parents. However, they did think it was strange I devoured books by Stephen King. One of my favorites as a kid was 'Salem's Lot.

Book that changed your life:

A book that had a strong impact on my writing journey was The Friends by Rosa Guy. The author wrote in this book about relationships between Black girls that were complex and messy. It gave a reflection of myself that I hadn't seen before in fiction. I wasn't a teen when I read this novel, but it did change my focus to write for this age category because I'd seen what was possible, and I wanted there to be more of this type of work available for teens--especially for Black girls.

Favorite line from a book:

"In her spare time, she looked to books or the stars for company." --Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

I read so many books and have many favorite lines but this particular one has stayed with me. I truly believe books and stars can be great company.

Five books you'll never part with:

Such a very hard question because I have so many books and don't want to part with any of them! But perhaps I could trick my brain and pretend I'm leaving for a long journey and won't be returning to my library anytime soon. If that were the case, these would be the books I would take with me:

Lirael by Garth Nix
The Source of Self-Regard by Toni Morrison
Drinking Coffee Elsewhere by ZZ Packer
The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen

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

I would love to get book amnesia and read Legendborn by Tracy Deonn for the first time. I love the way she writes about grief, the intersecting worlds of the American South and who gets to be a legend and why.

Book Review

Children's Review: Ancient Night

Ancient Night by David Álvarez , David Bowles (Levine Querido, $18.99 hardcover, 40p., ages 4-8, 9781646142514, March 7, 2023)

Mexican artist David Álvarez draws on Mesoamerican folkloric traditions to spin an epic yet intimate new creation myth in his first English-language picture book, Ancient Night, accompanied by a narrative poem from Mexican American writer David Bowles (They Call Me Güero).

"At the start of things, the elders say,/ the universe was hushed and still./ The moon alone shone bright and round/ in the star-speckled dark of the sky," says the poem's opening, begging to be read aloud in quiet tones. The reader sees Rabbit seated in profile on the glowing jug of the moon, sipping a luminous liquid against a dark, star-dotted sky. The text goes on to reveal that Rabbit keeps the moon alight by journeying down the trunk of the Great Ceiba, the Mayan world tree that connected the heavens and the underworld, to gather the radiant liquid aguamiel from the heart of "the first and holy maguey." Clever Opossum follows Rabbit to learn why the moon brightens and dims, and he decides he should also have a taste of the aguamiel. The reader sees him crack the moon with the tip of his cane and siphon the nectar into a jug waiting in the grass below. Rabbit quickly discovers the theft and points out that Opossum has stolen all the light from the sky. Opossum regrets his choices immediately and sets out on a journey to make amends by finding a new light source readers will soon recognize.

Álvarez, who usually works in black and white, uses color here but still portrays dramatic tones, as seen in Rabbit's dense fur, the stark beauty of the darkened sky and his knack for directing light and shadow. His striking olive, moss and rust palette highlights natural settings stuffed with lush, layered leaves, soft grass and twining tree trunks. Bowles's free verse translates the story into a gently rocking rhythm. While some aspects of the myth may confuse young readers--and one illustrative detail doesn't quite match the accompanying poem--this picture book will nonetheless be a perfect bedtime read aloud. A note from the creators in the backmatter briefly recounts a few of the stories that inspired them and explains the significance of the characters and settings in the original folktales. Levine Querido will publish Ancient Night in English and simultaneously in Spanish, as Noche Antigua (9781646142545, also $18.99). --Jaclyn Fulwood, youth experience manager, Dayton Metro Library

Shelf Talker: This Mesoamerican-inspired fable borrows from old tales for a larger-than-life yet soothingly illustrated picture book.

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