Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, May 9, 2023

Atlantic Monthly Press: Those Opulent Days: A Mystery by Jacquie Pham

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

Carolrhoda Lab (R): Here Goes Nothing by Emma K Ohland

Allida: Safiyyah's War by Hiba Noor Khan

Ace Books: Servant of Earth (The Shards of Magic) by Sarah Hawley


2023 Pulitzer Prize Winners Include Kingsolver's Demon Copperhead, Diaz's Trust

Congratulations to the book winners and finalists of the 2023 Pulitzer Prizes:

Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver (Harper): "A masterful recasting of David Copperfield, narrated by an Appalachian boy whose wise, unwavering voice relates his encounters with poverty, addiction, institutional failures and moral collapse--and his efforts to conquer them."

Trust by Hernan Diaz (Riverhead Books): "A riveting novel set in a bygone America that explores family, wealth and ambition through linked narratives rendered in different literary styles, a complex examination of love and power in a country where capitalism is king."

Fiction finalist
The Immortal King Rao by Vauhini Vara (W.W. Norton)

Freedom's Dominion: A Saga of White Resistance to Federal Power by Jefferson Cowie (Basic Books): "A resonant account of an Alabama county in the 19th and 20th centuries shaped by settler colonialism and slavery, a portrait that illustrates the evolution of white supremacy by drawing powerful connections between anti-government and racist ideologies."

History finalists
Seeing Red: Indigenous Land, American Expansion, and the Political Economy of Plunder in North America by Michael John Witgen (Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture/University of North Carolina Press)
Watergate: A New History by Garrett M. Graff (Avid Reader Press/S&S)

G-Man: J. Edgar Hoover and the Making of the American Century by Beverly Gage (Viking): "A deeply researched and nuanced look at one of the most polarizing figures in U.S. history that depicts the longtime FBI director in all his complexity, with monumental achievements and crippling flaws."

Biography finalists
His Name Is George Floyd: One Man's Life and the Struggle for Racial Justice by Robert Samuels and Toluse Olorunnipa (Viking)
Mr. B: George Balanchine's 20th Century by Jennifer Homans (Random House)

Memoir or autobiography
Stay True by Hua Hsu (Doubleday): "An elegant and poignant coming of age account that considers intense, youthful friendships but also random violence that can suddenly and permanently alter the presumed logic of our personal narratives."

Memoir or autobiography finalists
Easy Beauty: A Memoir by Chloé Cooper Jones (Avid Reader Press/S&S)
The Man Who Could Move Clouds: A Memoir by Ingrid Rojas Contreras (Doubleday)

Then the War: And Selected Poems, 2007-2020 by Carl Phillips (Farrar, Straus and Giroux): "A masterful collection that chronicles American culture as the country struggles to make sense of its politics, of life in the wake of a pandemic, and of our place in a changing global community."

Poetry finalists  
Blood Snow by dg nanouk okpik (Wave Books)
Still Life by the late Jay Hopler (McSweeney's)

General nonfiction
His Name Is George Floyd: One Man's Life and the Struggle for Racial Justice by Robert Samuels and Toluse Olorunnipa (Viking): "An intimate, riveting portrait of an ordinary man whose fatal encounter with police officers in 2020 sparked an international movement for social change, but whose humanity and complicated personal story were unknown." (Moved by the board from the Biography category.)

General nonfiction finalists
Kingdom of Characters: The Language Revolution That Made China Modern by Jing Tsu (Riverhead Books)
Sounds Wild and Broken: Sonic Marvels, Evolution's Creativity, and the Crisis of Sensory Extinction by David George Haskell (Viking)
Under the Skin: The Hidden Toll of Racism on American Lives and on the Health of Our Nation by Linda Villarosa (Doubleday)

English by Sanaz Toossi: "A quietly powerful play about four Iranian adults preparing for an English language exam in a storefront school near Tehran, where family separations and travel restrictions drive them to learn a new language that may alter their identities and also represent a new life."

Drama finalists
On Sugarland by Aleshea Harris
The Far Country by Lloyd Suh

PM Press: P Is for Palestine: A Palestine Alphabet Book by Golbarg Bashi, Illustrated by Golrokh Nafisi

Mayor Asks Community to Help Womrath, Bronxville, N.Y.

In a post on MyHometownBronxville, Mary Marvin, the mayor of Bronxville, N.Y., has issued a call for the community to support Womrath Bookshop, which was founded in 1938 and is owned by Barbara and Morin Bishop, who "need our financial assistance to help them out short term so as to get them on a path for long-term improvements and hence survival."

The Bishops bought Womrath in August 2019 and "immediately began making updates; eliminating most of the unwanted magazines, changing card displays, expanding sections for new books and creating a comfortable seating area where customers can read, chat and enjoy an oasis of calm from a busy day," Marvin wrote. "They also launched a successful e-commerce website enabling customers to buy online and invigorated a dormant Instagram account, growing followers to over 13,000 today."

But, Marvin continued, other plans were put on hold when Covid arrived six months after the Bishops purchased the store. "They have been struggling to recover from that blow ever since, only surviving by taking on substantial debt. Today while sales have significantly improved over the same period in 2022, they are still not adequate to cover current expenses and the Bishops were forced to draw on a credit line with unsustainably high interest rates. In order to find a path to reimagine the store and create a new vision in the heart of Bronxville, the Bishops’ goal is to raise $147,000 in the next six months."

That money would be spent in part to create a cafe; make infrastructure upgrades, including removing the drop ceiling to reveal the tin ceiling and skylight; improve lighting and flooring; add more author events, children's activities, and book groups; and launch customer loyalty and subscription service programs.

Calling the bookstore "one of the true cornerstones of our Village," Mayor Marvin recommended supporters send a check "for any amount" to Womrath or contribute via Venmo.

Farrar, Straus and Giroux: Intermezzo by Sally Rooney

Everyone's Books, Brattleboro, Vt., Vandalized Last Week

Everyone's Books in Brattleboro, Vt., as well as the nearby Brooks Memorial Library, were both vandalized on the same night last week, the Brattleboro Reformer reported.

At 2:41 a.m. on Monday, May 1, a large rock shattered a window at Brooks Memorial Library, and around the same time something struck a window at Everyone's Books but did not break it. Library director Starr LaTronica noted that no one appeared to have entered the library after breaking the window.

Nancy Braus, owner of Everyone's Books, told the Reformer that the store's "super-strong glass" was not shattered, and she installed cameras at the store on Wednesday. As of last week, the incidents were still under investigation.

B&N Opening New Store in Portland, Ore.

Barnes & Noble is opening a new store on May 10, in Portland, Ore., at 9963 NE Cascades Parkway in the Cascade Station Shopping Center. Author Aiden Thomas will be cutting the ribbon and signing copies of their books.

This will be the second new store in the area, joining the Hillsboro location that opened last summer. Nora Picucci, a B&N bookseller for 25 years, is the store's manager. 


Personnel Changes at Phaidon

At Phaidon:

Alex Coumbis has been promoted to publicity director, North America.

Sarah Chester has been named director of special markets and retail sales.

Sierra Cortner has been promoted to senior content marketing manager.

Tessa Houstoun has been promoted to marketing manager, North America.

Ruby Modell has been promoted to national sales manager.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Henry Grabar on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Henry Grabar, author of Paved Paradise: How Parking Explains the World (Penguin Press, $30, 9781984881137).

Kelly Clarkson Show: Amy Weinland Daughters, author of Dear Dana: That Time I Went Crazy and Wrote all 580 of My Facebook Friends a Handwritten Letter (She Writes Press, $16.95, 9781647429003).

Good Morning America: Mary Berry, author of Mary Berry's Baking Bible: Revised and Updated: With Over 250 New and Classic Recipes (Clarkson Potter, $40, 9780593578155).

Today Show: Laurence Steinberg, author of You and Your Adult Child: How to Grow Together in Challenging Times (Simon & Schuster, $27.99, 9781668009482).

The View: Andy Cohen, author of The Daddy Diaries: The Year I Grew Up (Holt, $29.99, 9781250890924).

Movies: Scarlet

A U.S. trailer has been released for Scarlet (L'Envol), an adaptation of the novel Scarlet Sails by Alexander Grin, the Film Stage reported. Directed by Pietro Marcello (Martin Eden), the Cannes selection will get a U.S. release from Kino Lorber on June 9. Scarlet stars Juliette Jouan, Raphaël Thierry, Louis Garrel, Noémie Lvovsky, Ernst Umhauer, François Négret, and Yolande Moreau.

Books & Authors

Awards: Little Rebels Shortlist

A shortlist has been released for the £2,000 (about $2,525) Little Rebels Award, which is given for radical fiction aimed at children aged 0-12 by the Alliance of Radical Booksellers and was established in conjunction with Letterbox Library. The winner of the award, which is now administered by Letterbox Library and Housmans Bookshop in London, will be named in July. This year's shortlisted titles are: 

You Need to Chill! by Juno Dawson, illustrated by Laura Hughes 
I Am Nefertiti by Annemarie Anang, illustrated by Natelle Quek 
Ajay and the Mumbai Sun by Varsha Shah 
Mayor Bunny's Chocolate Town by Elys Dolan 
The Secret of Haven Point by Lisette Auton, illustrated by Valentina Toro 
Fight Back by A.M. Dassu 
Needle by Patrice Lawrence 

Book Review

Review: The Woman Inside

The Woman Inside by M.T. Edvardsson (Celadon, $28.99 hardcover, 384p., 9781250204622, June 13, 2023)

Within the mystery genre, crimes are typically committed for nefarious purposes. Swedish novelist M.T. Edvardsson's The Woman Inside challenges this assumption while also considering the value of moral justice. All this ethical slipperiness is part of the fun for readers--not so much for the characters forced to make vital judgment calls in this cagey, multilayered thriller.

The Woman Inside opens with a report from an officer on the scene when the bodies of a married couple are found inside their home in the Swedish college town of Lund. The novel proceeds with the alternating first-person perspectives of three people who are somehow wrapped up in the mess.

Karla Larsson has moved to Lund to escape her hardscrabble past and study law. To make ends meet, she takes a part-time job cleaning the opulent home of Dr. Steven Rytter and his wife, Regina. Karla is under instruction from Steven not to interact with Regina in the odd event that the woman leaves her bedroom: "You see," he tells Karla, "my wife is gravely ill and needs constant rest."

Karla is taking an online criminal law course, and student housing isn't giving her the quiet she needs. When she spots an ad for a lodger on Facebook, she pounces. The ad is placed by single dad Bill Olsson, a widower about a year into his grief and sorely in need of income: he's unemployed, late with his rent, and desperate to stay in Lund.

Working out of her own Lund apartment, 29-year-old Jennica Jungstedt gets by as an adviser for Jennica thinks she has found her dream guy--a doctor she met through Tinder. She wants to parade him around but knows the reaction she'll get from her friends: "Lots of eyebrows would be raised if I introduced a forty-seven-year-old widower as my new boyfriend." His name? Steven Rytter.

There are no angels among the three narrators, whose cumulative secrets and lies could sink a Viking ship. The police try to get to the truth through a series of interrogations reproduced throughout the novel. Stitch by stitch, Edvardsson (A Nearly Normal Family) knits the three narrators' stories together in an impressive feat of structural engineering. While some of the choices the three principals make are snaky, The Woman Inside, like so much Scandi noir, recognizes that social circumstances can tempt otherwise decent people to slither to the dark side. --Nell Beram, author and freelance writer

Shelf Talker: In an impressive feat of structural engineering, M.T. Edvardsson knits together the narratives of three characters wrapped up in a murder in a Swedish college town.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. The Fud Factor by Brendan P. Keegan
2. Letters to Trump by Donald Trump
3. The Worst Wedding Date by Pippa Grant
4. Pucking Around by Emily Rath
5. The Inmate by Freida McFadden
6. King of Pride by Ana Huang
7. Accidental Attachment by Max Monroe
8. Haunting Adeline by H.D. Carlton
9. The Perfect Marriage by Jeneva Rose
10. Right Man, Right Time by Meghan Quinn

[Many thanks to!]

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