Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Little Brown and Company: Learned by Heart by Emma Donoghue

Flatiron Books: Where There Was Fire by John Manuel Arias

Carolrhoda Books (R): A Pocketful of Stars by Aisha Bushby

Minotaur Books: When I'm Dead: A Black Harbor Novel by Hannah Morrissey

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: Phoebe's Diary by Phoebe Wahl

RP Mystic: Celebrate the Summer Solstice with RP Mystic

Shadow Mountain: Along a Breton Shore by Arlem Hawks


Zibby's Bookshop, Santa Monica, Calif., Opening February 18

Zibby's Bookshop, a new bookstore founded by writer, podcast host and publisher Zibby Owens, will open in Santa Monica, Calif., on Saturday, February 18.

Located at 1113 Montana Ave., the 823-square-foot store will carry a highly curated selection of 1,300 titles. There will be books for children, teens and adults, with a focus on diversity and representing voices for all audiences. Titles are grouped in unconventional categories like emotional impact and hobbyist identity, and there are shelves curated by authors such as Kevin Kwan, Lori Gottlieb, Kristin Hannah and others. The store will also sell titles published by Zibby Books, Owens's own publishing company (also launching this month).

"My decision to open a store was informed by all the visits I've made to bookstores since I was a book-loving little girl and now being in the book industry and seeing things through a whole new lens,” said Owens, who created and hosts the podcast Moms Don't Have Time to Read Books.

The Zibby's Bookshop founding team also includesd Sherri Puzey and Diana Tramontano, and Jenny Tarzian will manage the bookshop.

The store's opening weekend will feature two days of festivities and visits from more than 40 authors.

Sourcebooks Landmark: Fair Rosaline by Natasha Solomons

A Likely Story Coming to Midway, Ky.

A Likely Story in progress

Mother-daughter team Ashlee and Anagail Denington are opening A Likely Story, a general-interest bookstore selling new and used titles, in Midway, Ky., this spring, Spectrum News 1 reported.

The pair decided to open an independent bookstore after Anagail (Annie) developed a neurologic disorder and decided that going to college was not the right choice for her. While Annie Denington was thinking about what to do instead of college, Ashlee asked what she loved and what made her happy. When Annie answered "books," Ashlee suggested opening a bookstore.

They founded A Likely Story as a pop-up and online store in 2018, with the goal of eventually opening a bricks-and-mortar store. They continued to work toward that goal after the Covid-19 pandemic began. The pair had always wanted to open a store in Midway, but finding a suitable space there proved so tricky that they were preparing to sign a lease for a space in another town.

"Just days before I was going to sign and do that, somebody here in Midway reached out to us and said, 'we have a building,' " Ashlee Denington recalled.

"As soon as I stepped foot in that building I was like, 'this is my bookstore!' I could see it. I could see everything," Annie Denington added.

They are aiming to open in April, and they hope to create "a welcoming environment for people to read."

Rough Guides: The Rough Guide to Top LGBTQ+ Friendly Places in Europe (Inspirational Rough Guides) by Rough Guides

International Update: OpenBooks Launching in U.K.; Russian Bookseller Labels Tolstoy, Pushkin 'Foreign Agents'

OpenBooks, the new virtual initiative in the U.K. to connect young people with potential careers within the book industry, will launch to the public February 22 and 23. OpenBooks is a series of free, accessible online events targeting 14 to 19-year-olds, especially those from under-represented backgrounds. The collaboration by the Publishers Association, Booksellers Association and the Association of Authors' Agents has public funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

The program will remain online after the initial launch, with events available via free-to-view platforms and supported by social media activity. There will also be transcripts for every panel session. OpenBooks is being promoted via advertising to more than 5,000 U.K. secondary schools and colleges, via local bookshops and more. 

The series of short virtual events, featuring industry speakers, will introduce young people to the book industry, aiming to make connections with their interests, creative skills and passions. Also launching will be short-form video content, including "5 Minutes With" videos offering insights into inspiring career options; and "Come to Work with Me" videos, which provide a behind-the-scenes look at real jobs.

Joseph Coelho, poet, playwright, children's author, Waterstones Children's Laureate 2022-2024, and one of the participating industry speakers, said: "OpenBooks is a vital initiative in ensuring that the future of the books industry is healthy, progressive and more clearly identifiable as an exciting and achievable career option to a diverse range of young people. I hope that showing the wealth of opportunity and creativity across the industry--from publishing, agenting, bookselling and far beyond--will prove inspiring, and I'm delighted to support it."


Last Friday, several Russian writers, including Leo Tolstoy, Alexander Pushkin and Samuil Marshak, were briefly labeled as "foreign agents" on the website of Labyrinth, one of Russia's largest online bookstores, Meduza reported, adding that a Labyrinth employee said the labels were due to a technical error and have since disappeared.

In December, after Russia's new ban on "LGBTQ+ propaganda" and legislation on "foreign agents" first went into effect, some Russian bookstores began applying "foreign agent" labels to books whose authors had not actually been given that designation, Meduza wrote. Bookstores began removing books that they feared might contain illegal "LGBTQ+ propaganda" from circulation.


Bookseller moment: The Canadian Independent Booksellers Association shared a member's storefront photo on Instagram, noting: "A sun-soaked indie bookstore--is there anything better? @shelflifebooks in Calgary, AB has been serving avid readers and the unusually bookish for more than 10 years. It's a place where community members come together to meet, connect, and browse shelves full of compelling and unexpected books."


Posted by Orkney Library & Archive, Kirkwall, Scotland: "Life as a Mobile Library driver in #Orkney can have its ups and downs. Often at the same time. This was #BookyMcBookface our Mobile Library travelling back from Egilsay this afternoon." --Robert Gray

B&N Opening Store in East Cobb, Ga.

Barnes & Noble will open a new store in East Cobb, Ga., by the summer, the East Cobb News reported.

The store will reside in a 15,000-square-foot space previously occupied by a Bed, Bath and Beyond. It will be located in a shopping center called the Avenue, which used to house a Borders store before the chain closed in 2011.

East Cobb News noted that while B&N has other locations in Georgia, it will be the first of their new smaller concept stores to open in the state.

Obituary Note: David Sutherland

Scottish illustrator and comics artist David Sutherland, "cartoonist for the Beano whose artwork encapsulated the mayhem of the Bash Street Kids for more than 60 years," died January 19, the Guardian reported. He was 89. The comic's current editor, John Anderson, described Sutherland as "the single most important illustrator in Beano history." 

Sutherland was the artist behind "some of Beanotown's topmost tearaways, his brush responsible for 30 years of Dennis the Menace and more than 60 years of The Bash Street Kids. An unassuming and gentle man, Sutherland let anarchy reign in his artwork, with Dennis and his spiky hound Gnasher creating chaos for all around them," the Guardian wrote, adding that the Beano's publisher, DC Thomson, "knew that the wilder and more chaotic the characters, the more the readers loved them."

Sutherland's first Bash Street Kids strip, appearing in 1962, was also the first to be published across two color pages. He went on to draw some 3,500 episodes. In 1972, Sutherland added a third major strip, Dennis the Menace, to his weekly output, adopting different styles for each of them. Sutherland also created the Bash Street Pups (1966, later spun off to their own strip, Pup Parade), Cuthbert Cringeworthy (1972) and Olive the School Cook (1981).

Although he officially retired in 1998, Sutherland continued to draw the Bash Street Kids strip. Even in his 80s, "he kept up his weekly schedule, using a tray as a drawing board and working on half a page at a time while sitting in his living room watching TV," the Guardian noted. His final strip carried the byline David Sutherland OBE, to mark his receipt of the award last month.

Comic strip creator, artist and writer Andy Fanton tweeted: "I consider it one of the biggest honours of my life that I got to write the Bash Street scripts for him every week for the past few years. Working in collaboration with the man who had been behind so much I'd enjoyed as a child was mind-blowing, and a complete thrill....

"His work remained as accomplished and as funny as ever, his clear love for it always shone through. He told me once that he was 'amazed' at how the strip came together so well every week, which I think showed a humble side of an artist who had such incredible skill.... I'm glad that he received his OBE and a fresh wave of appreciation this year, and hope he knew precisely how much his work was enjoyed, and the immeasurable delight he brought to so many childhoods."


Image of the Day: Cole Arthur Riley at Midtown Scholar

Midtown Scholar Bookstore in Harrisburg, Pa., hosted Cole Arthur Riley (at right on stage) in conversation with Drew Hart for the paperback launch of Riley's This Here Flesh: Spirituality, Liberation, and the Stories That Make Us (Convergent Books). More than 130 people attended the event.

Marshall's Music and Book Store Has 'Been Through It All'

"We've been able to make it through Jim Crow, World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam," Maati Primm, owner of the 85-year-old bookstore Marshall's Music and Book Store in Jackson, Miss., told WAPT16. Founded by Pastor Louis Wilcher in 1938, it is thought to be the oldest Black-owned bookstore in the country.

"We have been through it all--civil rights movement, Black power movement, Black Lives movement--we've always been here," Primm continued. She is the third-generation owner of the store, and she rejects the idea that Black history is defined by slavery.

She remarked: "Go back past slavery. Go back into Africa. Go back into ancient Africa and see the great side of it, such as the University of Timbuktu."

Primm added that she hopes eventually to open a school, and through education help combat the growth of violent youth crime. "We can move and destroy a system that tells them that they’re not good enough, that they will never amount to anything, and we can exchange that system for one of encouragement and shows them and proves to them that people just like them have done great things."

Warm Idea of the Day: Popular 'Hottie with No Body' at Print: A Bookstore

As "once-in-a-generation" cold came to the Northeast last weekend, on Instagram Print: A Bookstore, Portland, Maine, introduced "our most valued staff member, Sloane! She's a hottie with no body, keeps us toasty warm even on the coldest days, is a hard worker, and we love her dearly." Pictured: (l. to r.) Josh, Sloane, Konner and Rachael.

Personnel Changes at Strand Book Store

Paul Colarusso has been named communications director at Strand Book Store, New York, N.Y. Previously he was communications director at Aperture Foundation and marketing director at Abrams.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Mark Whitaker on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Mark Whitaker, author of Saying It Loud: 1966--The Year Black Power Challenged the Civil Rights Movement (Simon & Schuster, $29.99, 9781982114121).

MSNBC's Alicia Menendez: Alisha Fernandez Miranda, author of My What If Year: A Memoir (Zibby Books, $16.99, 9781958506097).

Kelly Clarkson Show: Stephen A. Smith, author of Straight Shooter: A Memoir of Second Chances and First Takes (Gallery/13A, $28.99, 9781982189495).

On Stage: Room

A first trailer and new poster art have been released for the upcoming Broadway production of Room, developed by Emma Donoghue from her bestselling novel as well as her screenplay for the film adaptation, Broadway World reported. Starring Adrienne Warren (Tina: The Tina Turner Musical), the play features songs and music by Scottish songwriters Kathryn Joseph and Cora Bissett and is directed by Bissett. 

Room will open April 17 on Broadway at the James Earl Jones Theatre, with previews beginning April 3  for the limited engagement running through September 17. Additional casting will be announced in coming weeks. Room comes to Broadway following its critically acclaimed 2017 world premiere at Theatre Royal Stratford East, London, and productions in Ireland, Scotland and Canada.

Books & Authors

Awards: PEN Translates Winners; PEN/Faulkner Fiction Longlist

Books from 14 countries and 10 languages are among the 15 winners of English PEN's translation awards, which are selected "on the basis of outstanding literary quality, the strength of the publishing project, and their contribution to U.K. bibliodiversity." The winners include--for the first time--a title from Mali and the first memoir by a Sudanese woman to be translated from Arabic to English.

"The ambition, originality, and variety of works submitted to this round of PEN Translates both warmed the heart and made reaching a final portfolio near-impossible; that ambition, originality, and variety is reflected in the 15 significant works of literature our panel have ultimately selected," said Will Forrester, translation and international manager at English PEN. "We have a graphic novel from Lebanon, a pioneering work of memoir from Sudan, a series of courageous dissident works written in exile, Hong Kong poetry, crime fiction from Mali and more, on their way into English-language readers' hands. We're delighted to have been able to support these projects, from publishers who are continuing to publish bravely despite our current economic climate."

So Mayer, co-chair of the English PEN translation advisory group, commented: "This PEN Translates round is a brilliant reflection of the breadth of U.K. publishing in translation, showcasing a graphic novel memoir from Lebanon, cosy crime fiction from Mali, feminist activism from Sudan, animal and workers' rights fiction from Spain and Brazil, and feminist cli-fi from Uruguay. Awarding 15 titles across ten languages, it particularly highlights the work of small publishers investing in books in still-underrepresented languages such as Thai, Hungarian and Belarusian. Alongside the award for a book written in a Belarusian prison, there are awards for poetry by Yang Liang that could not be published in China, and for bold novels dealing with themes of gender and sexuality by two acclaimed Russian authors, as PEN continues its charter commitment to writers facing censorship worldwide."


The PEN/Faulkner Foundation released the longlist for the 2023 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. Finalists will be announced in early March and the winner named in April. Awards committee chair Louis Bayard said: "This delightfully diverse list showcases the breadth of American literature, and underscores our ongoing mission to champion fiction that matters." This year's longlisted titles are: 

Does My Body Offend You? by Mayra Cuevas and Marie Marquardt (Knopf)
The Family Izquierdo by Rubén Degollado (Norton)
If I Survive You by Jonathan Escoffery (MCD)
Hawk Mountain by Conner Habib (Norton)
Fruiting Bodies by Kathryn Harlan (Norton)
The Islands by Dionne Irving (Catapult)
Self-Portrait with Ghost by Meng Jin (Mariner)
Invisible Things by Mat Johnson (One World)
The Book of Goose by Yiyun Li (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Sweet, Soft, Plenty Rhythm by Laura Warrell (Pantheon)

Reading with Sarah Ladipo Manyika

British-Nigerian-American author Sarah Ladipo Manyika has written short stories and essays published in Granta, the Guardian, the Washington Post and Transfuge, among others. She is the author of two novels, In Dependence and Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun. Manyika serves as board chair for the women's writing residency Hedgebrook and is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. Her third book, Between Starshine and Clay: Conversations from the African Diaspora (Footnote Press, January 31, 2023), is a collection of interviews with Black thinkers, including Toni Morrison, Claudia Rankine, Wole Soyinka and Michelle Obama, on topics such as race, decolonization, systemic inequalities and the climate crisis.

Handsell readers your book in 25 words or less:

One-of-a-kind conversations with inspiring and diverse figures of our age brought to us by an author whose skill and friendship with each allow us to see the person behind their public profile.

On your nightstand now:

Who's Black and Why? A Hidden Chapter from the Eighteenth-Century Invention of Race, edited by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Andrew S. Curran. This book provides a fascinating window into the origins of racism.

Novelist as a Vocation by Haruki Murakami. I'm really enjoying this book for its simplicity and its upbeat approach to the craft of writing.

What Is Africa to Me: Fragments of a True-to-Life Autobiography by Maryse Condé. It's been many years since I first read Condé's novels so I'm excited to be returning to her work and this time through autobiography.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Any of the Pippi Longstocking books by Astrid Lindgren. What's not to love about a girl who does exactly what she wants when she wants?

Your top five authors:

Toni Morrison, James Baldwin, John Berger, Lucille Clifton and Wole Soyinka.

These are all writers that I admire for their language, for their courage and for the way their works have enriched the literary canon.

Book you've faked reading:

Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel Proust. J'ai lu un tout petit peu en français, just enough to fake having read the whole thing.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Toni Morrison's The Nobel Lecture in Literature, 1993 published by Knopf in a pocket-sized red book. This is such a profound meditation on the complex truths surrounding narrative--its dangers and its power.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Roy DeCarava: A Retrospective. DeCarava was such an incredible photographer of people. I particularly love the tenderness with which he captures people's necks, arms and hands. This book accompanied a 1995 exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, with photos spanning the late 1940s to the 1990s.

Book you hid from your parents:

As a child, I remember reading the Swallows and Amazons series by Arthur Ransome with a flashlight under my bedcovers when I was supposed to be asleep.

Book that changed your life:

Daughters of Africa: An International Anthology of Words and Writings by Women of African Descent from the Ancient Egyptian to the Present. Edited by the great Margaret Busby. This fat, thunking book, bursting at the spine with stories from across centuries, nations and literary genres, was a revelation to me. Prior to reading this book, I didn't know that there had been so many stories written by Black women. This first anthology and the subsequent volume, New Daughters of Africa, in which I'm thrilled to have a piece, are my literary taliswomen.

Favorite line from a book:

"...where blackberries grew, tasting so good and happy that to eat them was like being in church. Just one of the berries and you felt anointed." --Beloved by Toni Morrison

Morrison's word work is, quite simply, sublime.

Five books you'll never part with:

Daughters of Africa: An International Anthology of Words and Writings by Women of African Descent from the Ancient Egyptian to the Present. Edited by Margaret Busby

James Baldwin: Collected Essays. Toni Morrison selected the contents for this volume.

The Art of Simple Food: Notes, Lessons, and Recipes from a Delicious Revolution: A Cookbook by Alice Waters

Lucille Clifton: How to Carry Water, Selected Poems edited with a foreword by Aracelis Girmay

Home by Toni Morrison

These are books that I frequently re-read or reference.

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

Blindness by José Saramago. This is a powerful, ever-timely story about power, greed and courage and how individuals and governments respond to crisis. It is, at its core, about what makes us human.

Five favorite book titles:

Longthroat Memoirs: Soups, Sex and Nigerian Tastebuds by Yemisi Aribisala

What Is the What by Dave Eggers

Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight by Alexandra Fuller

Clash of Civilizations Over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorio by Amara Lakhous

Why Do You Dance When You Walk by Abdourahman A. Waberi

Book Review

YA Review: Different for Boys

Different for Boys by Patrick Ness, illus. by Tea Bendix (Candlewick Press, $18.99 hardcover, 104p., ages 13-up, 9781536228892, March 14, 2023)

Patrick Ness (And the Ocean Was Our Sky) offers a raw yet tender portrayal of the homosexuality and masculinity of several white, cisgender high school boys in the starkly illustrated YA novel Different for Boys.

Ant, who speaks directly to readers in his first-person narration, reunites with his childhood friend group, including effeminate, closeted Jack and blatantly homophobic Charlie. Ant reveals he is in a clandestine intimate relationship with Charlie, but the jock "makes it clear we're just goofing around." Despite Charlie's public macho posturing and his homophobia-fueled verbal and physical attacks on others, Ant continues to defend "the Charlie no one knows but me."

Ant's pain and longing is palpable as he pivots between his desire for a deeper romantic connection with Charlie, wanting but failing to support Jack, and grappling with his own sexuality. Ant admits, "I'd heard there were some gay girls in senior year who were dating each other right out in the open. But not any boys. It's different for boys."

Throughout the story, Ant maintains a private, honest conversation with the reader even as words, phrases and whole sentences are censored with black boxes. "It's that kind of story. Certain words are necessary because this is real life, but you can't actually show 'em because we're too young to read about the stuff we actually do, right?" The boxes serve a dual role: they redact curse words and explicit references as they reflect the metaphorical boxes the boys hide inside, preventing them from being fully honest with themselves and others. Ultimately, "This is the kind of story where we can tell the truth, even if it is behind black boxes."

Debut illustrator Tea Bendix's striking unpolished pencil and digital collage art depicts the characters and setting both realistically and through visual metaphor. Bendix often depicts the young men as being somewhat transparent: a face visible through the hand that is holding it; the lines of a chest showing through a shirt. Grayscale hallways and classrooms, faces in profile layered one on top of the other, figures with half their body erased all echo the brutal honesty and the imperfect realities laid bare in the text.

Ness's forceful storytelling fused with Bendix's rich sketches result in an achingly beautiful reflection of the multiple, messy realities and experiences of young queerness. --Kieran Slattery, freelance reviewer, teacher, co-creator of Gender Inclusive Classrooms

Shelf Talker: High school boys who like other boys explore their own--and each other's--homosexuality and masculinity in this compelling illustrated YA novel.

Powered by: Xtenit