Shelf Awareness for Monday, February 6, 2023

Simon & Schuster: Fall Cooking With Simon Element

Tor Nightfire: Devils Kill Devils by Johnny Compton

Shadow Mountain: Highcliffe House (Proper Romance Regency) by Megan Walker

Simon & Schuster: Register for the Simon & Schuster Fall Preview!

Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster: The Ministry of Time Kaliane Bradley

Quotation of the Day

Buying from Indies 'Like a Tax We Pay to Have a Community'

"I know that if BookTok discovers your book, you can become a bestseller overnight. And there's social media, and all these things. But what I've discovered is that year in and year out, what sells your book are bookstore owners and employees who care. You're way more likely to find those in independent bookstores. If you buy a book from, or an independent bookstore... you're gonna pay more money, but I think of it like a tax we pay to have a community. We pay a couple of bucks extra so that we can have this vital, vital part of our community. 

"During the pandemic, my mom couldn't really leave the house at all. The owner of our independent bookstore--my mom gave her a credit card and every week she'd bring my mom a pile of books, and leave them on the front porch. And she'd look in the window and wave to my mom, and she texted them to let her know she was still alive and okay, and she got a response. Amazon's not going to do that. Those few extra bucks for me are really really worth it. To me, it's a bargain."

--Grady Hendrix, whose novel How to Sell a Haunted House (Berkley Books) is the #1 February Indie Next List pick, in a q&a with Bookselling This Week

BINC: Do Good All Year - Click to Donate!


Midtown Reader, Tallahassee, Fla., Expands with the Piebrary

Midtown Reader bookstore, Tallahassee, Fla., is expanding with the launch of the Piebrary, an in-house café serving coffee, tea and pie. The Tallahassee Democrat reported that the Piebrary "is slated to open February 12 and will occupy space used by Argonaut Coffee, which is relocating after its lease expired last month and the coffee shop outgrew it."

"One of the things we've learned as a bookstore is that we're not just selling books," said owner Sally Bradshaw. "We're providing an experience.... I love the idea of pie by the slice, which is something I don't think we've really seen in Tallahassee so far, at least not at the level we'll be offering it." 

Bradshaw's new venture is a partnership between Midtown Reader and TC Bakery, "another woman-owned business that's making a small but mighty mark in Midtown and beyond," the Democrat noted, adding that two weeks ago, "the Black-owned bakery moved from its Crawfordville Road Highway location to a larger space in Tallahassee to accommodate a growing retail demand."

TC Bakery owner Jennifer Young said Bradshaw reached out to her after residents responded to the bookstore's crowd-sourcing call for bakery suggestions. They met, Young provided a tasting, and Bradshaw said the bakery's sampling was too good to pass up.

"I love women-owned businesses and so a lot of those women I look up to," Young said. "To be able to partner with them, it's really just the icing on the cake."

Bradshaw added: "We're very passionate about being small business owners and bringing something new to Tallahassee, and I think we're going to be a great team."

Graphic Universe (Tm): Hotelitor: Luxury-Class Defense and Hospitality Unit by Josh Hicks

Bel Canto Books, Long Beach, Calif., Opens Second Location

Bel Canto Books in Long Beach, Calif., has opened a second location, in the city's Bixby Knolls neighborhood. 

Owner Jhoanna Belfer and her team held a soft opening for the new location on Wednesday, February 1. The 400-square-foot store is part of KUBO LB, a collaborative community enterprise established to support local Filipinx, LGBTQ and BIPOC-led small businesses, and carries adult fiction and nonfiction, children's books and gifts, all with a focus on BIPOC authors and artists.

Belfer launched a crowdfunding campaign last fall to help the store expand. She noted on the GoFundMe campaign that the new space will allow Bel Canto Books to host a variety of community events, including author talks, book clubs and workshops.

"It really does take a village to pull something off like this, and we couldn't be prouder of all that we've already accomplished," Belfer wrote in an Instagram post Wednesday. "We are so thrilled and humbled to be welcomed so warmly into the neighborhood!"

Belfer founded Bel Canto Books in 2018 after leaving a career as an executive in the hospitality industry. The store's earliest iteration was a monthly book club through which Belfer paired readers with hand-selected books. From there, it became a pop-up shop, making appearances at farmers' markets, street festivals and business conferences. In fall 2019, Belfer opened a bricks-and-mortar space.

GLOW: Workman Publishing: Atlas Obscura: Wild Life: An Explorer's Guide to the World's Living Wonders by Cara Giaimo, Joshua Foer, and Atlas Obscura

Professional Booksellers School Basic Bookselling Course Opens for Registration

Basic Bookselling, the next course in the Professional Booksellers School, is opening for registration today, Monday, February 6. The course is designed to educate first-year booksellers and new store owners on the best practices to improve the customer experience and engagement; honing handselling and book review skills; understanding a bookstore's mission and finances; and crucial insider knowledge of the industry.

Classes will be held Mondays at 7 p.m. Eastern from March 13 through May 15. Class size is limited. The fee is $125.

Registration opens today, Monday, February 6, at 1 p.m. Eastern. For more information and to register, click here.

Harpervia: Only Big Bumbum Matters Tomorrow by Damilare Kuku

CSK Illustrator Award Winner Frank Morrison

Frank Morrison
(photo: Lucas Garzoli)

Frank Morrison was awarded the 2023 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award on Monday at ALA's LibLearnX conference for his illustrations in Standing in the Need of Prayer, written by Carole Boston Weatherford (Crown Books for Young Readers).

Well, you are no stranger to the CSK awards: you received the John Steptoe Award in 2005 and CSK Honors in 2015 and 2019. How does it feel to get yet another win?

Levitating! When I'm painting the artwork for my books, I'm never thinking of an award. I just want to represent the subject matter in the best possible manner.

What was the call like? Were you thinking/hoping you might get one?

I was surprised by the unknown number on a Sunday! I picked up the call and heard the news. I feel so proud and thankful to be a part of this book.

How do you describe Standing in the Need of Prayer to those who have not yet read it?

Fasten your seat belts, the book is full of history dating back to the 1600s. It's full of sad moments and triumphs, a documented history of our evolving world. Progress takes time and the courage to speak up.   

Was this a collaboration between you and Carole Boston Weatherford from the beginning or were you paired through publisher kismet?

Carole and I had worked with Sonali [Fry], the editor, in the past and she saw the chemistry we had and entrusted us with the story. Sonali had the idea when she first heard the song at church.

With all illustrated works, creators want to find a balance between text and art--a space where each enhances the other and there is no redundancy. Considering the nature of this text, how was the story conceived?

I was fortunate enough to work with the great folks at Random House Children's Books and Carole Boston Weatherford. The text was so visual, it was not difficult to find the picture to elevate the story.

How was it decided which events would be referenced and illustrated?

It was left up to me to determine the vision.

What do you hope young readers will take away from this book?

If we forget the past, we will repeat it. The past reminds us of where we came from. We'll continue moving forward with strength and determination.

What was it like illustrating this picture book? What kind of energy did this work require from you?

Not to say I'm numb or to negate progress, but these situations are still with us. I try to bring dignity and honor to the subject matter.

Do you have a personal relationship with "Standing in the Need of Prayer"?

I feel like things came full circle in illustrating such an amazing text. (I didn't stay very long in a choir as a child since I didn't have the voice.)

Are you working on anything now?

I'm working a gallery show that will debut this August in SoHo in New York. I'm also getting ready to work on my next author/illustrator project.

Is there anything else you'd like to tell Shelf Awareness readers?

Follow your talent! --Siân Gaetano, children's and YA editor, Shelf Awareness


Image of the Day: Isabel Allende Helps Launch Literacy by the Bay

Sausalito Books by the Bay, Sausalito, Calif., launched its new nonprofit Literacy by the Bay last week with an assist from legendary local author Isabel Allende (above, left). In a rare live event, Allende spoke to an SRO crowd of more than 200--about her writing, her feminism, and leading a passionate life. Sausalito Books by the Bay owner Cheryl Popp, who was in conversation with Allende, explained that the new nonprofit aims to help children, young adults, people of all ages and backgrounds grow as successful readers, writers, and communicators. "By improving literacy, we enrich and inspire lives, as well as our community," she said. The 501(c)(3) will also help the bookstore remain sustainable, which has been a challenge. (The store opened its doors only three months before the pandemic hit.)

Sub-zero Bookselling: Snow Daze in Wis., IceFest in Pa.

For some indie bookstores, the weekend's sub-zero temperatures were icy festive:

Blue House Books, Kenosha, Wis.: "It was a wonderfully busy Snow Daze celebration! Thank you to everyone who braved the cold to enjoy this wonderful event. If you haven’t seen the ice sculptors yet, they usually last at least a week, so hurry out to Downtown Kenosha!"

Whistlestop Bookshop, Carlisle, Pa.: "Saturday, 2/4 IceFest update: Hodge still stands! Thanks to Phil (Ass't Main Street Manager) and Stacey (Main Street Manager), the Borough of Carlisle Police, and all those who worked creatively to protect the sculptures overnight. Hodge, Mulan, and I are open 10-7 today!"

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Alisha Fernandez Miranda on Good Morning America

Good Morning America: Alisha Fernandez Miranda, author of My What If Year: A Memoir (Zibby Books, $16.99, 9781958506097).

Today Show: Danielle Prescod, author of Token Black Girl: A Memoir (Little A, $14.95, 9781542035156).

Jimmy Kimmel Live repeat: Pamela Anderson, author of Love, Pamela (Dey Street, $30, 9780063226562).

Today Show: Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt, author of Good Night, Sister (Penguin Workshop, $18.99, 9780593385814).

Rachael Ray: Christina Tosi, author of Just the Right Cake (Rocky Pond, $18.99, 9780593110713).

Spoken Word Grammy Winners

Among the winners last night at the 2023 Grammy Awards were some book-related ones, including two Spoken Word categories:

Best Audiobook, Narration & Storytelling: Finding Me: A Memoir by Viola Davis (HarperAudio)
Best Spoken Word Poetry Album: The Poet Who Sat by the Door by J. Ivy (Word & Soul)

Books & Authors

Awards: SCBWI Golden Kite Finalists

The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators has announced the finalists for the Golden Kite Awards and the Sid Fleischmann Humor Award. The Golden Kites, the only children's literary award judged by a jury of peers, are given in seven categories. Category winners, who will be named February 24 live on Zoom, receive $2,500 and $1,000 to donate to a nonprofit of their choice. Each honor book gets $500 and $250 to donate to a nonprofit of their choice. This year's finalists are:

Middle grade
The Civil War of Amos Abernathy by Michael Leali (HarperCollins)
Ellen Outside the Lines by A.J. Sass (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
Iveliz Explains it All by Andrea Beatriz Arango, illustrated by Alyssa Bermudez (Random House Books for Young Readers)
Shine On, Luz Veliz! by Rebecca Balcárcel (Chronicle)
The Tryout by Christina Soontornvat, illustrated by Joanna Cacao (Graphix/Scholastic)

Young adult
Beneath the Wide Silk Sky by Emily Inouye Huey (Scholastic)
Berliners by Vesper Stamper (Knopf Books for Young Readers)
Destination Unknown by Bill Konigsberg (Scholastic)
Katzenjammer by Francesca Zappia (Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins)
The Name She Gave Me by Betty Culley (HarperTeen)

Nonfiction text for younger readers
Because of You, John Lewis by Andrea Davis Pinkney, illustrated by Keith Henry Brown (Scholastic)
The Greatest Song of All: How Isaac Stern United the World to Save Carnegie Hall by Megan Hoyt, illustrated by Katie Hickey (Quill Tree Books/HarperCollins)
H is for Harlem by Dinah Johnson, illustrated by April Harrison (Christy Ottaviano Books/Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
Our Planet! There's No Place Like Earth by Stacy McAnulty, illustrated by David Litchfield (Henry Holt Books for Young Readers)
Washed Ashore by Kelly Crull (Millbrook Press/Lerner)

Nonfiction text for older readers
Absurd Words: A Kid's Fun and Hilarious Vocabulary Builder for Future Word Nerds by Tara Lazar (Sourcebooks)
Glowing Bunnies!?: Why We're Making Hybrids, Chimeras, and Clones by Jeff Campbell (Zest Books/Lerner Publishing Group)
How to Build a Human by Pamela S. Turner, illustrated by John Gurche (Charlesbridge)
Save the People!: Halting Human Extinction by Stacy McAnulty, illustrated by Nicole Miles (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
Superpower?: The Wearable-Tech Revolution by Elaine Katchala, illustrated by Belle Wuthrich (Orca Book Publishers)

Illustrated book for older readers
The Adventures of Team Pom: Squid Happens by Isabel Roxas (Flying Eye Books)
Esme's Birthday Conga Line, illustrated by Marissa Valdez, written by Lourdes Heuer (Tundra Books/PRH Canada)
Lowriders to the Rescue, illustrated by Raúl the Third, written by Cathy Camper (Chronicle)
Demon in the Wood, illustrated by Danielle Pendergast, written by Leigh Bardugo (Roaring Brook Press)
Our Friend Hedgehog: A Place to Call Home by Lauren Castillo (Knopf Books for Young Readers)

Picture book illustration
Baby Squeaks by Anne Hunter (Tundra Books)
Covered in Color: Christo and Jeanne-Claude's Fabrics of Freedom, illustrated by Susanna Chapman by Elisa Boxer (Abrams Books for Young Readers)
Farmhouse by Sophie Blackall (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
Kumo the Bashful Cloud, illustrated by Nathalie Dion, written by Kyo Maclear (Tundra Books)
Standing in the Need of Prayer, illustrated by Frank Morrison, written by Carole Boston Weatherford (Crown Books for Young Readers)

Picture book text
Fly by Brittany J. Thurman, illustrated by Anna Cunha (Caitlyn Dlouhy Books/Atheneum)
Growing an Artist: The Story of A Landscaper and His Son by John Parra (Paula Wiseman Books/S&S)
The Talk by Alicia D. Williams, illustrated by Briana Mukodiri Uchendu (Caitlyn Dlouhy Books/Atheneum)
Twelve Dinging Doorbells by Tameka Fryer Brown, illustrated by Ebony Glenn (Kokila/Penguin Books for Young Readers)
Walter Had a Best Friend by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier (Beach Lane Books/S&S)

Book Review

Review: Flux

Flux by Jinwoo Chong (Melville House, $28.99 hardcover, 352p., 9781685890346, March 21, 2023)

Jinwoo Chong's first novel, Flux, is a fusion of mystery, flare and sci-fi genre accents. Three narrators lead readers on a tangled path through the persistence of grief, the pervasion of pop culture and the complexities of the Asian American experience.

Brandon, a half white, half Asian bisexual man in his 20s, is blindsided when, just days before Christmas, his boss and lover tells him that he's lost his magazine job in a hostile takeover. Brandon falls down an elevator shaft later the same day and sustains a head injury. Things seem to look up when stranger Lev offers him a job at Flux, a startup that is soon to be the manufacturer of a new battery that could solve the energy crisis. The job pays well, though it comes with the caveat that Brandon will allow Flux to scan his brain on occasion, making him wonder, "What were Lev's expectations here? Brain-powered cars? Dildos?" He soon finds himself struggling to remember events in order. Strange recurring clues lead him to suspect his new employers may have discovered something far bigger than an eco-friendly battery. Brandon also follows news about an actor who starred in his favorite show, '80s detective drama Raider, but whose star has fallen under accusations of decades of abuse. As his life and mind continue to fracture, Brandon meditates on the impact the show had on his life with its simultaneous upending and support of Asian American stereotypes.

Brandon's narration is intercut with the stories of two other protagonists, eight-year-old Bo and a man named Blue. Bo's mother has died in a tragedy that devastates his family and causes him to begin drifting from his father and brother. Blue, a former Flux employee, hasn't spoken in years following a workplace catastrophe but receives a cybernetic implant that will allow him to lead a tour of the old Flux offices in a television exposé.

Bo, Brandon and Blue's stories intersect in surprising ways. Readers may sometimes feel in the dark as to where Chong is taking the narrative, but the journey is well worth the suspense. This witty, heartfelt look at celebrity scandals, the indelible imprints pop culture leaves on individuals, and the transformative power of grief packs plenty of thought-provoking twists into a sci-fi thriller with depth. Some elements feel ripped from the headlines, grounding speculative aspects in a familiar reality. This rich debut should attract sci-fi and literary fiction readers. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads

Shelf Talker: In this confident sci-fi thriller, a young man's reality becomes increasingly fractured after he joins a mysterious startup firm.

The Bestsellers Bestsellers in January

The bestselling audiobooks at independent bookstores during January:

1. Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin (Penguin Random House Audio)
2. Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus (Penguin Random House Audio)
3. Hell Bent by Leigh Bardugo (Macmillan Audio)
4. Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver (HarperAudio)
5. Tress of the Emerald Sea by Brandon Sanderson (Dragonsteel Entertainment)
6. Babel by R.F. Kuang (HarperAudio)
7. The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich (HarperAudio)
8. Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt (HarperAudio)
9. The Guest List by Lucy Foley (HarperAudio)
10. Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone by Benjamin Stevenson (HarperAudio)

1. Spare by Prince Harry (Penguin Random House Audio)
2. I'm Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy (Simon & Schuster Audio)
3. You Just Need to Lose Weight by Aubrey Gordon (Beacon Press)
4. The Light We Carry by Michelle Obama (Penguin Random House Audio)
5. I Contain Multitudes by Ed Yong (HarperAudio)
6. Atomic Habits by James Clear (Penguin Random House Audio)
7. Wordslut by Amanda Montell (Harper Wave)
8. Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner (Penguin Random House Audio)
9. Rest Is Resistance by Tricia Hersey (Hachette Audio)
10. Becoming Duchess Goldblatt by Anonymous & Duchess Goldblatt (HarperAudio)

Powered by: Xtenit