Shelf Awareness for Thursday, March 30, 2023

Chronicle Books: Stella & Marigold by Annie Barrows, Illustrated by Sophie Blackall

Poisoned Pen Press: The Boyfriend by Frieda McFadden

St. Martin's Press: Disney High: The Untold Story of the Rise and Fall of Disney Channel's Tween Empire

Running Press Adult: Scam Goddess: Lessons from a Life of Cons, Grifts, and Schemes by Laci Mosley

Graphix: 39 Clues: One False Note (39 Clues Graphic Novel #2) by Gordon Korman, Illustrated by Hannah Templer


Fulton Street Books, Tulsa, Okla., Opens Airport Store

Fulton Street Books and Coffee in Tulsa, Okla., has opened a second location, in concourse B at Tulsa International Airport, NewsOn6 reported.

Like the original store, which opened in July 2020 and is Tulsa's only Black-owned bricks-and-mortar bookstore, the airport location focuses on diverse titles and uplifting voices from marginalized communities.

Store owner Onikah Asamoa-Caesar noted that given the airport store's smaller footprint, the book selection is more heavily curated and there is no coffee available. There is, however, a plethora of gifts and nonbook items sourced from small businesses in Tulsa. She called Tulsa a "very vibrant community," and said she's excited to be able to "represent a small part of what Tulsa is."

Asamoa-Caesar explained that opening a store in the airport was never part of her strategic plan, but the opportunity came up and she felt she couldn't let it pass. 2023 is set to be a busy year for Fulton Street Books, she added, as the flagship store will relocate in the months ahead.

Peachtree: The Littlest Yak: Home Is Where the Herd Is by Lu Fraser, Illustrated by Kate Hindley

Blush Bookstore to Open in Wichita, Kan.

Blush Bookstore, featuring contemporary, YA, fantasy and dark romance titles, will open this Friday, March 31, at 156 N. Cleveland Ave., Wichita, Kan. The Eagle reported that what "started as a way to pass the time during the pandemic now has prompted Jaclyn Wooten to start another business--her third since 2021. The store is located in the Garages at Cleveland Corner retail incubator space."

Early in the Covid-19 pandemic, Wooten said she "sort of was looking for any and all hobbies to try." After watching a video on engraving on wine glasses, "I started engraving glass," creating Hogwarts Castle from the Harry Potter books and putting it on TikTok. "It kind of blew up unexpectedly. I quickly threw up an Etsy shop." 

From there, Wooten, who has a design background, launched "a bookish merch online store" called House of Jupiter to sell T-shirts, bags and key chains related to books. This led to her next business. As the former event director at the Wichita Business Journal, she realized there aren't a lot of events for readers beyond author signings, so she and some friends dreamed up a weekend celebration of romance books and chose to have it in Baltimore. Bookish in Baltimore sold out immediately with enough participants for a second weekend, the Eagle noted.

"So we kind of knew we were on to something there." They then created Bookish Events and are having their next book weekend in Dallas on the second weekend in April. The customer base for Bookish Events and House of Jupiter is widespread, "which kind of brings me to Blush in a way," Wooten said, noting that locally "no one has any idea... what I'm up to or all these things that I've done." 

Wanting to connect with other readers in the Wichita area was part of the genesis for Blush Bookstore, which will offer books and what she called "cozy essentials for reading." The store also will carry a "curated selection of annotated supplies," such as items readers need to make highlights, notes and tabs in books. 

"I'm really tuned into the special romance reader niche," Wooten said. "I'm so looking forward to being able to bring that to my local community and to connect to other readers here where I live." 

Publishing Triangle Gives First Torchbearer Award to Drag Story Hour NYC

The Publishing Triangle, the association of LGBTQ people in publishing, is giving its first Torchbearer Award to Drag Story Hour NYC, which provides storytelling and creative arts programs for children and teens, presented by local drag artists in libraries, schools and other community spaces in all five boroughs of New York City as well as virtually.

Recognizing organizations or individuals that may not necessarily be directly involved in publishing who strive to awaken, encourage and support a love of reading, or stimulate an interest in and an appreciation of LGBTQ literature, the Torchbearer Award will be presented at the Publishing Triangle's 35th annual Triangle Awards ceremony at the New School in New York City on April 27.

The new award is underwritten by Rob Byrnes, who is the author of several novels, short stories and essays. His 2006 novel When the Stars Come Out won the Lambda Literary Foundation's award for Best Gay Romance. He is a member of the Publishing Triangle board of directors.

At the same time, the Publishing Triangle announced that Lisa Brown and Daniel Handler are providing funding for the Publishing Triangle Award for Trans and Gender-Variant Literature. That award recognizes outstanding work from the gender-nonconforming community. Poetry, fiction (including for children) and nonfiction by trans or gender-variant (T/GV) authors is eligible. Nonfiction authored or co-authored by cis authors that is primarily about the T/GV experience or community is also eligible. The winner receives a prize of $1,000.

Handler is the author of seven novels, including Why We Broke Up, We Are Pirates, All the Dirty Parts and, most recently, Bottle Grove. As Lemony Snicket, he is responsible for numerous books for children, including the 13-volume A Series of Unfortunate Events, the four-volume All the Wrong Questions and The Dark, which won the Charlotte Zolotow Award.

Brown is an illustrator, author and cartoonist. Her most recent picture book is The Hospital Book. Previous work includes many illustrated books, including Goldfish Ghost by Lemony Snicket; The Airport Book; Picture the Dead with Adele Griffin; and Mummy Cat by Marcus Ewert. For adults, Long Story Short is a collection of comic strips about classic novels.

Brown and Handler, who are married to each other, have anonymously funded the prize since it launched in 2016. Handler noted, "It's been a delight to underwrite this prize quietly since it began, but it seems time now, amidst noxious politics and crucial literature, to do it loudly and proudly."

He added, "I came of age in San Francisco in the '80s, and Lisa Brown and I spent our earliest days as artists rejoicing in this city as a sanctuary for artists of endless variety in gender expression and identity."

Obituary Note: Dubravka Ugresic

Dubravka Ugresic, a novelist and essayist who, "after her native Yugoslavia broke apart in the early 1990s, found herself ostracized in the new country of Croatia for refusing to embrace its aggressive nationalism and spent the rest of her life abroad," died March 17, the New York Times reported. She was 73.

"Ugresic's writings, both in fiction and nonfiction, are a unique blend of wittiness and compassion," Petar Milat, her principal editor and publisher in Croatia, said by e-mail. "Her passing has resounded strongly in all countries of the former Yugoslavia, where Ugresic was regarded a chief intellectual voice, equipped by an exemplary ethical rigor."

In the 1980s, Ugresic was hailed as one of Yugoslavia's best emerging novelists, especially with the release of Fording the Stream of Consciousness, which won multiple awards in that country in 1988, but her "triumph was short-lived," the Times noted. Soon Yugoslavia was disintegrating and Franjo Tudjman had come to power in Croatia, Ugresic's home region, which declared independence in 1991. 

In 1991, she took an extended break, going to Amsterdam and then to the U.S. as a lecturer at Wesleyan University. She returned to Zagreb in 1992 but was vilified in the press and ostracized by colleagues at the University of Zagreb. She was harassed and threatened, she found that she couldn't get published, and she and four other writers were labeled "the Croatian witches."

Ugresic left Croatia for good in 1993. Her essay collection, The Culture of Lies (1995), "a blunt dissection of how national and ethnic identities in the region had been manipulated to serve whoever was in power," the Times wrote. 

Ugresic continued to publish fiction and nonfiction, including The Museum of Unconditional Surrender (1999), The Ministry of Pain (2005), The Age of Skin (2020), A Love Story (1978), and Have a Nice Day (1995).

For at least a decade, Ugresic's name came up as a potential Nobel Prize in Literature laureate, but she never won. In 2009, she was on the shortlist for the Man Booker International Prize (won by Alice Munro), and in 2016 she won the prestigious Neustadt International Prize for Literature.

Regarding her decision to abandon Croatia, she told Bomb magazine in 2002: "I deleted my ethnic, national and state identity because there was nothing much to delete there. But I found myself in a very ironic position: In Croatia I am not a Croatian writer anymore, but abroad I am always identified as a Croatian writer. That means that I became what I didn't want to be and what I am not.... Still, what I can't delete as easily is my experience. Even if I could, I would not erase it or exchange it for a less traumatic one. That experience is rich and enriching, as well as pretty unique. Not so many people in the world were born in a country that doesn't exist anymore."


Image of the Day: A Horse Walks into a Bookstore...

At Books & Books in Coral Gables, Fla., Sarah Maslin Nir celebrated the publication of her middle-grade novel The Flying Horse (Cameron Kids). Pictured: children's book buyer Dana Swift; owner Mitchell Kaplan; Nir; events and marketing manager Cristina Nosti; with special guests Chloe and Sunny, miniature therapy horses from Whispering Manes Therapeutic Riding center.

Solving the Legendary Mystery of 'Cain's Jawbone' at Morgenstern Books

"We tried to tell them it was almost impossible," Morgenstern Books, Bloomington, Ind., posted on Instagram. "That only 4 people have solved the mystery of Cain's Jawbone (Edward Pothy Mathers) since its publication in 1934. We tried and tried and yet they still went ahead. And after 6 hours and 20 cups of coffee (15 of those just for Harry) our expected outcome was... failure. Obviously. But the gang had a great time and are excited for the next bestsellers adventure (once they start talking again of course)."

Personnel Changes at Harlequin

Pam Osti has been promoted to senior channel marketing manager at Harlequin Trade Publishing.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Margaret Atwood on Late Night with Seth Meyers

Good Morning America: Leslie Odom, Jr. and Nicolette Robinson, authors of I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know (Feiwel & Friends, $17.99, 9781250265647).

CBS Mornings: Clint Smith, author of Above Ground (Little, Brown, $27, 9780316543033).

Drew Barrymore Show: Tabitha Brown, author of Seen, Loved and Heard: A Guided Journal for Feeding the Soul (Morrow, $19.99, 9780063286092)

Late Night with Seth Meyers repeat: Margaret Atwood, author of Old Babes in the Wood: Stories (Doubleday, $30, 9780385549073).

This Weekend on Book TV: Live In-Depth with Stacy Schiff

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 this weekend from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday and focuses on political and historical books as well as the book industry. The following are highlights for this coming weekend. For more information, go to Book TV's website.

Saturday, April 1
2 p.m. Megan Bever, author of At War with King Alcohol: Debating Drinking and Masculinity in the Civil War (The University of North Carolina Press, $27.95, 9781469669540). (Re-airs Sunday at 2 a.m.)

3:30 p.m. Philip Taubman, author of In the Nation's Service: The Life and Times of George P. Shultz (Stanford University Press, $35, 9781503631120). (Re-airs Sunday at 3:30 a.m.)

6:25 p.m. Benn Steil, author of The Marshall Plan: Dawn of the Cold War (Oxford University Press, $18.95, 9780192843104). (Re-airs Sunday at 6:25 a.m.)

Sunday, April 2
8 a.m. Bruce Caldwell, co-author of Hayek: A Life, 1899-1950 (‎University of Chicago Press, $50, 9780226816821). (Re-airs Sunday at 8 p.m.)

10 a.m. Matthew Desmond, author of Poverty, by America (Crown, $28, 9780593239919). (Re-airs Sunday at 10 p.m.)

11 a.m. Jeanna Smialek, author of Limitless: The Federal Reserve Takes on a New Age of Crisis (Knopf, $30, 9780593320235). (Re-airs Sunday at 11 p.m.)

12 p.m. Live In-Depth q&a with Stacy Schiff, author, most recently, of The Revolutionary: Samuel Adams (‎Little, Brown, $35, 9780316441117). (Re-airs Monday at 12 a.m.)

2 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Coverage from the Rancho Mirage Writers Festival in Rancho Mirage, Calif.

Books & Authors

Joe Durepos on the Magic of Books and Bookstores--and Hugh Prather

Joe Durepos

Joe Durepos, the mostly retired editor, sales rep, bookseller and literary agent, recalls a deep friendship with author Hugh Prather that started serendipitously decades ago in a bookstore line and led him recently to help get Prather's last book published posthumously. The title is Gently Down This Dream: Notes on My Sudden Departure, co-written with Gayle Prather (New World Library, $17.95, 9781608688418).

Bookstores have always been a magical destination for me, ever since as a young boy, my parents would take me every Saturday to the newsstand/bookshop on the air force base in England my father was stationed at during the Vietnam War. While he worked on fighter jets, I dreamed of solving mysteries with Frank and Joe Hardy, swinging through the African jungle with Tarzan, and joining in the adventures of a boy, not so different than me, in Beverly Cleary's wonderful Henry Huggins books.

Books became my traveling companions, constants in the nomadic childhood of a military brat.

By the time my father retired to New Mexico in the 1970s, I was a full-on book nerd. Math was always a challenge, literature was always a passion. I attended college in Santa Fe, N.Mex. One day I went to the local bookstore to buy copies of a title that had become the most important book in my life at that time. It was called Notes to Myself: My Struggle to Become a Person by Hugh Prather.

The bookseller at the register pointed me to the self-help section when I asked about the book. I found two copies, grabbed them, and got in line. I remember this moment for two reasons: I nearly knocked over a young man with an armload of coffee-table and art books, and there was an unusually long line at the bookstore--in August!

I told the bookseller who rang me up that the book had changed my life. She smiled knowingly while putting my purchase in a bag, then conspiratorially suggested I tell the man behind me in line--the one I almost knocked down--because he was the author.

I turned and stuttered something about how much the book had meant to me. He smiled and asked if I would like to have coffee with him. With me almost in shock, we walked to a nearby coffee shop and spent the afternoon talking together. He could not have been kinder or more encouraging.

During those years in college, he went on to become a true mentor to me, and even after I moved out of state with a job as a publishers sales rep with Random House, we stayed in touch. I was saddened to read his 2010 obituary in the New York Times.

During the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, I called Hugh's lovely wife, Gayle. After catching up, she mentioned a manuscript Hugh had finished the day before he died. She had placed it in a drawer and forgot about it for over a decade.

At my urging, she sent me the manuscript for Gently Down This Dream. I read it, and found it inspiring, but more than that, it was a spiritual sequel to Notes to Myself, the book I so loved from the 1970s. But also, it felt fresh, and perfect for the difficult times we've found ourselves in these last few years.

On Gayle Prather's behalf, I sent it to a good friend, an editor at one of my favorite publishers, New World Library. He and his team liked it, and I'm thrilled to say they published it earlier this year.

It's a full-circle moment for me--the magic of books and bookstores that eventually led me to a long career as a bookseller, a publishers sales rep, a literary agent and an acquisitions editor. And now, having the profound joy of helping to bring to readers Hugh's final message of hope and love. Gently Down This Dream is a book as powerful in its quiet way for this moment in time as Notes to Myself was in the 1970s.

Awards: Audie, Republic of Consciousness Winners

Finding Me, written and narrated by Viola Davis (HarperCollins) has won the Audiobook of the Year Award at the 2023 Audie Awards, organized by the Audio Publishers Association and celebrated at a gala event Tuesday night in New York. Finding Me also won in the narration by author category. To see the winners in all 26 categories, click here.


The winner of the inaugural Republic of Consciousness Prize, for small presses in the U.S. and Canada, is God's Children Are Little Broken Things: Stories by Arinze Ifeakandu (A Public Space Books).

Prize director and Interabang Books co-owner Lori Feathers called God's Children Are Little Broken Things "a story collection that impresses readers with its satisfying, emotional depth, immersive depiction of contemporary Nigeria, stylistic grace, and sensually rich writing. It exemplifies the creativity and diverse storytelling that we crave from gifted authors and their exceptional publishers who are committed to introducing unique and enduring literary fiction to curious readers."

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, April 4:

Homecoming: A Novel by Kate Morton (Mariner, $32, 9780063020894) is an intergenerational mystery involving a murder in 1950s South Australia.

George VI and Elizabeth: The Marriage That Saved the Monarchy by Sally Bedell Smith (Random House, $40, 9780525511632) explores the marriage of Queen Elizabeth II's parents.

House of Cotton: A Novel by Monica Brashears (Flatiron, $27.99, 9781250851918) follows an impoverished young woman lured into a lucrative but mysterious modeling job.

The Soulmate: A Novel by Sally Hepworth (St. Martin's Press, $28.99, 9781250229700) focuses on a couple who move to a cliff popular for suicides.

Tress of the Emerald Sea by Brandon Sanderson (Tor, $29.99, 9781250899651) sets a new tale in the Cosmere fantasy universe.

This Bird Has Flown: A Novel by Susanna Hoffs (Little, Brown, $29, 9780316409315) is a romantic comedy about a broke former singer.

A Fever in the Heartland: The Ku Klux Klan's Plot to Take Over America, and the Woman Who Stopped Them by Timothy Egan (Viking, $30, 9780735225268) tracks the downfall of a charlatan who led the KKK's rise in the 1920s.

Follow Me to Hell: McNelly's Texas Rangers and the Rise of Frontier Justice by Tom Clavin (St. Martin's Press, $29.99, 9781250214553) chronicles an especially violent era of Texan history.

Blood Debts by Terry J. Benton-Walker (Tor Teen, $18.99, 9781250825926) is a contemporary fantasy featuring twin 16-year-olds who must work together to solve a murder and save their family.

Once There Was by Kiyash Monsef (Simon & Schuster, $18.99, 9781665928502) is a middle-grade fantasy novel about a girl who discovers her father is a veterinarian for mythical creatures.

The Stable Boy of Auschwitz by Henry Oster and Dexter Ford (Grand Central, $13.99, 9781538741900).

Burst: A Novel by Mary Otis (Zibby Books, $16.99, 9781958506011).

The Insatiable Volt Sisters: A Novel by Rachel Eve Moulton (MCD x FSG Originals, $18, 9780374538323).

Animal Person: Stories by Alexander MacLeod (Picador, $18, 9781250863010).

IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:

Time's Undoing: A Novel by Cheryl A. Head (Dutton, $28, 9780593471821). "Time's Undoing is a first-rate story of racial injustice and redemption. Based on the author's family history, this dual timeline story chronicles a Black man's death in 1929 and his great-granddaughter's efforts to uncover the truth in 2019." --Trish Brown, One More Page Books, Arlington, Va.

The Dig: A Novel by Anne Burt (Counterpoint, $27, 9781640096042). "With a descriptive literary style, Burt keeps you engrossed as this family drama unfolds, based on their immigration history, adolescent awakenings, and social structures that bind them. This would be a great book club pick!" --Tina Greene-Bevington, Bay Books, Suttons Bay, Mich.

The Cat Who Saved Books: A Novel by Sosuke Natsukawa, trans. by Louise Heal Kawai (HarperVia, $18.99, 9780063095731). "The Cat Who Saved Books is a love letter to book lovers, championing the emotional impact that stories have in the hearts and lives of readers. Tiger adds a bonus charming and Ghibli-esque aesthetic to this thoughtful, tender novel." --Andrew King, Secret Garden Bookshop, Seattle, Wash.

For Ages 4+
Ramen for Everyone by Patricia Tanumihardja, illus. by Shiho Pate (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, $18.99, 9781665904353). "My stomach growled with every page as I ate up this delectable book! Hiro teaches us that the sky is the limit when it comes to ramen and cooking! This book will help kids grow kitchen confidence and give them a lesson on the history of ramen." --Rashauna Marie Tunson, Second Star to the Right Children's Books, Denver, Colo.

For Ages 8-12: An Indies Introduce Title
Turtles of the Midnight Moon by María José Fitzgerald (Knopf Books for Young Readers, $17.99, 9780593488706). "A delightful middle grade eco-mystery that brings two girls from different backgrounds together as they try to stop poachers from stealing turtle eggs. I enjoyed the little bit of magical elements interwoven into this story." --Earl Dizon, Green Bean Books, Portland, Ore.

For Teen Readers: An Indies Introduce Title
Hidden Systems: Water, Electricity, the Internet, and the Secrets Behind the Systems We Use Every Day by Dan Nott (Random House Graphic, $23.99, 9780593125366). "Dan Nott takes one of the most innocuous subjects, infrastructure, and demonstrates how fascinating and vital it can be. Subtleties, entrenched inequalities, dis-functions, and outmoded processes are laid bare in an interesting way!" --Justin Colussy-Estes, Little Shop of Stories, Decatur, Ga.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: Silver Alert

Silver Alert by Lee Smith (Algonquin Books, $27 hardcover, 224p., 9781643752419, April 18, 2023)

Nobody mines the bittersweet absurdities of Southern family life and living better than prolific, masterful storyteller Lee Smith. Over decades, she's published a trove of short stories, novels (Guests on Earth) and a memoir of her upbringing in Grundy, Va. (Dimestore). Her oeuvre continually probes the resiliency of the human condition--with lively authenticity and endearing wit--through various stages of life.

Smith returns to the Florida Keys in her sparkling, tender-hearted novel Silver Alert. This briskly paced narrative centers on contemporary Key West residents Herb and Susan Atlas. For 12 years, Herb--gruff, no-nonsense and married several times--has been taking "great care" of his "last wife," Susan--a passionate lover of the arts and an artist herself--who started to exhibit symptoms of early-onset dementia at age 58. With Herb now 83 and suffering health problems of his own, and Susan's condition progressing more rapidly now that she's 70, Herb hires the upbeat and free-spirited Renee (an alias for Deirdre "Dee Dee" June Mullins) to help out.

Renee, a manicurist who lives in a trailer park, is struggling to escape a dark, secret past and reinvent her life. She becomes a friend and companion to Susan, and her lively presence suddenly reinvigorates the emotional well-being of the Atlases. However, when Herb's overbearing and domineering adult children and half-children descend on Key West and stage an intervention to help the burdened couple, things take a dramatic, unexpected turn. "Everybody agrees. Susan ought to be in a facility now"--except Herb. Feeling powerless and boxed in by the limits imposed by his obstinate children, who take over and orchestrate decisions for his life and for Susan's care, Herb ultimately rebels. On a lark, he sets off in his prized Porsche sportscar with Renee. The two go on the lam--a wild, liberating road trip that will change their lives forever.

Smith has crafted a remarkably well-rounded, empathetic, serio-comic story infused with great levity, wit and insight into illness, aging and infirmity--and the complexities of family dynamics. Short, revealing chapters and alternating points of view ratchet up tension and the ultimate poignancy of Silver Alert--a story that takes readers on a deeply meaningful, unforgettable ride brimming with hope. --Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines

Shelf Talker: In this sparkling serio-comic novel, an ailing wife and her elderly husband, their overbearing kids and a manicurist are trying to eke out a new life.

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