Shelf Awareness for Monday, May 15, 2023

William Morrow & Company: The List by Yomi Adegoke

St. Martin's Press: The Last Outlaws: The Desperate Final Days of the Dalton Gang by Tom Clavin

Page Street Kids: Payden's Pronoun Party by Blue Jaryn, illustrated by Xochitl Cornejo

Annick Press: Dragging Mason County by Curtis Campbell

Flatiron Books: Where There Was Fire by John Manuel Arias

Peachtree Publishers: Buddy and Bea series by Jan Carr, illustrated by Kris Mukai

Tor Teen: The Hunting Moon (The Luminaries #2) by Susan Dennard


Smith Discount Books in Virginia Beach Reopens After Car Crash

Smith Discount Books, Virginia Beach, Va., reopened over the weekend for the first time since late December, when a car smashed through the storefront window, injuring two people. A city police spokesperson said a teenager and an adult inside the store had been hurt. The driver was arrested and, after being treated for minor injuries, charged with DUI. Owner Barry Smith had expressed his concern at the time about whether he would be able to reopen the store at all. 

On Saturday, Smith Discount Books posted on Facebook: "WE ARE OPEN!!!!!! We are open after being closed for 19 weeks due to a car driving through our storefront. We missed you. We can't wait to help put books back in your hands.... See you soon!"

In March, Smith told the Princess Anne Independent News that despite the past success of the bookstore he owns with his wife, Patricia, they were concerned about losing their customer base while still waiting for the property manager to begin repairs

"You know, when people come to a place for a while and then it's not open for a long time, they find other places to go. To get them back is really hard," Barry Smith said, adding that he had no plans to retire. "I was considering that until now. I feel like I've been retired for the last two months, and I'm going crazy. I'm gonna get back to work."

Spiderline: An Ordinary Violence by Adriana Chartrand

New Owners for Cornerstone Bookstore, Boone, N.C.

George and Megan Shinn have purchased Cornerstone Bookstore in Boone, N.C., the High Country Press reported.

Shinn, former owner of the Charlotte Hornets NBA team, and his wife jumped at the opportunity to purchase the Christian store, which sells Bibles, books, and gifts, after being loyal customers for years. Located at 1894 Blowing Rock Road, Cornerstone has been in business for more than 40 years.

Looking ahead, the Shinns plan to make changes like partnering with local churches, businesses, and community members, as well as bringing in speakers, musicians, artists, and pastors for a variety of events.

"We want to welcome the entirety of the community--create a place where people can come in fellowship," Megan Shinn told the Press. "We really want to make a beautiful community spirited place."

G.P. Putnam's Sons: The Hike by Lucy Clarke

B&N Closing Lewisville, Tex., Store

Barnes & Noble is closing its Lewisville, Tex., store on May 21, Community Impact reported.

In a message posted on the Lewisville store's Facebook page, the team explained that the store's landlord has chosen not to renew the store's lease after 28 years. The staff will be shifted to other nearby stores; B&N is opening at least three new locations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in the coming months. The Lewisville store will be holding a clearance sale until the final day of business, with everything in store 20%-50% off.

Roxane Gay's Mission: 'To Publish Books I Love'

Roxane Gay
(photo: Reggie Cunningham)

Roxane Gay's talents are wide-ranging and deep. She has published fiction (such as An Untamed State, Black Cat/Grove), nonfiction (Hunger: A Memoir (of My Body), Harper Perennial), essay collections (Bad Feminist, Harper Perennial), has edited collections (The Selected Works of Audre Lorde, W.W. Norton), and also writes opinion pieces and the "Work Friend" column for the New York Times. Next month, she will launch Roxane Gay Books with Grove Atlantic Press. She shared with Shelf Awareness the impetus and hopes for her imprint.

With all that you are already doing, what inspired you to start a publishing imprint? And please say a little about the timing of your launch: Why now?

Many years ago, I ran a micropress called Tiny Hardcore Press. I published these beautiful, small but mighty books, on a shoestring budget. I loved finding interesting work, editing it, and having a hand in bringing it into the world, but I always wondered what it would be like to publish books with more resources and support. Over the years, I wondered if an imprint might be possible, and one day I asked my agent if she thought it was possible. She did, and we approached both of my publishers. Ultimately, Grove Atlantic felt like the perfect home for Roxane Gay Books. In terms of why now: honestly, why not?

Tell us more about your micropress, and what lessons benefited you as you start your imprint at Grove/Atlantic. What might you do differently?

I learned a lot about not only editing books and working with authors, but also the logistics of book distribution. Figuring out the best envelopes for shipping and dealing with the USPS was... humbling. I also learned that many hands really do make light work. It's challenging to have to do nearly everything yourself the way micro-publishers generally have to. With my imprint, I'm excited to collaborate with my longtime fiction editor Amy Hundley, Morgan Entrekin, Judy Hottensen, Deb Seager, my publicist John Mark Boling, and the rest of the Grove team, and learn more about the publishing process at a much larger scale.

Would you say your imprint has a mission?

My only mission is to publish books I love and hope others will, too. 

What kinds of books do you hope to publish? You've said you're looking "for the kind of books I love to read." What does that look like?

I'm primarily interested in fiction and memoir/creative nonfiction. I love immersive stories with flawed protagonists. I love expansive world building. I love a little or a lot of darkness in a story. I am a fairly omnivorous reader, so I can't narrow down what I like beyond work that grabs me by the throat and squeezes, hard.

The first book you'll publish, on June 6, 2023, is And Then He Sang a Lullaby by Ani Kayode Somtochukwu. You've said it was unagented. How did you find it?

I accept both agented and unagented work. Kayode submitted his manuscript himself. The RGB fellow at the time, Sinclair, was the first reader, and they were really enthusiastic about the novel in their report to me, so I dove right in that night, read the book all the way through, and knew I wanted to acquire it. Kayode now has an agent, but it was great to see that accepting unagented work was a good decision. 

Both of your imprint's first books, And Then He Sang a Lullaby and Lush Lives by J. Vanessa Lyon (August 1), are literary love stories with complications. Pure coincidence? Or are you drawn to books that exemplify the way intimate connections sustain us as humans?

It's probably both a coincidence and indicative of the kind of writing I enjoy. Love stories offer so much in terms of the ways we hold on to each other, lose each other, need each other. And in both of these novels, we see these things play out against complicated backdrops. The novels are very satisfying reads.

Amy Hundley has been your editor at Grove since the publication of your novel An Untamed State in 2013. Is she the one you approached about starting this imprint?

My agent Maria approached Amy. I love Amy, who is an outstanding editor and who only makes my writing better. She has a deep knowledge of publishing, has been at Grove for a really long time, and is incredibly supportive of Roxane Gay Books.

How many books do you hope to publish each year? Will you have staff working with you?

I plan on publishing three books a year, maybe more in the future. There is a fellow working with me and also half-time with Grove. Each year, the fellow rotates through the various Grove departments, learning about publishing from the inside out. And they support the work of Roxane Gay Books, reading submissions and writing reader reports, managing author correspondence, and guiding manuscripts through the many steps of the publishing process. They do a little editing because I firmly believe the best way to learn is to do. 

What do you see as books' role in our culture? Do you think other forms of entertainment (streaming movies, social media feeds) threaten to overtake reading in people's lives, or will there always be a place for books?

Books should, as Isaac Bashevis Singer once said, entertain and instruct. I'd also add that they should provoke--thought, conversation, debate. There will always be a place for books. I sure wish people read more, but we will not be the generation to bring an end to something that has existed for millennia.

From your "Work Friend" column in the New York Times, you seem like a natural mentor. Are there writers you've been working with or mentoring that you hope to publish?

I do have writers I mentor and have been doing so for years, though mentorship was not at the forefront of my interest in launching the imprint. 

Are there ways in which you hope your imprint might lead some changes in the publishing industry?

I hope my imprint can demonstrate that you don't need to overpay for books to bring great writing into the world. To be clear, I want writers to be paid well for their creative work, but the size of the advance does not correlate to the quality of the writing, and it would be great if more people in publishing remembered that.

Tell us about some of the books you have scheduled, and the kinds of books you'd like to see come along.

The debut novel for my imprint is And Then He Sang a Lullaby by Ani Kayode Somtochukwu. It's a love story and a coming-of-age story between two young men trying to honor a growing bond between them while navigating a deeply homophobic culture in Nigeria. The summer book is Lush Lives by J. Vanessa Lyon. It is a romance novel about Glory, a woman who has recently inherited her aunt's Harlem brownstone, and Parkie, who works at a successful auction house and is being asked to do something she isn't necessarily on board with, and how they try to satisfy their professional ambitions and an undeniable attraction. At the end of the year, I'm publishing Hot Springs Drive, something of a domestic thriller where you know whodunit, so to speak, from the beginning. It's a steamy, twisty, unputdownable novel by Lindsay Hunter.

Next year, I'm publishing a memoir called Frighten the Horses by a trans writer, Oliver Radclyffe. I'm also publishing the novel Ravishing by Eshani Surya, about a brother and sister; the former works for a beauty company where all is not what it seems, and the latter uses that product without necessarily understanding the consequences of getting what you think you want. I also have some other exciting books we're currently negotiating for and can't wait to talk about them. --Jennifer M. Brown


Image of the Day: Lessons in Chemistry at Books & Books

Books & Books, Coral Gables, Fla., hosted Bonnie Garmus (Lessons in Chemistry) in conversation with Todd Doughty, senior v-p, deputy publisher, Doubleday. Pictured in the bookstore's courtyard cafe before the event: owner Mitchell Kaplan, Garmus, Doughty, and Garmus's editor Lee Boudreaux.


Personnel Changes at Vintage & Anchor

Abby Endler has joined Vintage & Anchor as marketing manager. For more than seven years, she has been a publicist at Knopf.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Gordon Ramsay, Kim Perell on Good Morning America

CBS Mornings: Lisa Damour, author of The Emotional Lives of Teenagers: Raising Connected, Capable, and Compassionate Adolescents (Ballantine, $28, 9780593500019).

Tamron Hall: T.D. Jakes, author of Disruptive Thinking: A Daring Strategy to Change How We Live, Lead, and Love (FaithWords, $27, 9781546004004).

Live with Kelly and Mark: Rainn Wilson, author of Soul Boom: Why We Need a Spiritual Revolution (Hachette Go, $28, 9780306828270).

Good Morning America: Gordon Ramsay, author of Gordon Ramsay's Uncharted: A Culinary Adventure With 60 Recipes From Around the Globe (National Geographic, $35, 9781426222702).

Also on GMA: Kim Perell, author of Jump: Dare to Do What Scares You in Business and Life (HarperCollins, $19.99, 9781400229475).

Rachael Ray: Mary Giuliani, author of How to Lose Friends and Influence No One (Golden Notebook Press, $20, 9780967554136).

TV: Dark Winds Season 2

AMC has released a teaser trailer for the second season of Dark Winds, based on the Leaphorn & Chee series by Tony Hillerman. Deadline reported that in the new season, set to premiere this July on AMC and AMC+, "Lt. Joe Leaphorn (Zahn McClarnon) reunites with Jim Chee (Kiowa Gordon), his former deputy turned private eye when their separate cases bring them together in pursuit of the same suspect." Jessica Matten returns as Sgt. Manuelito. Guest stars include Jeri Ryan (Star Trek: Picard) and Nicholas Logan (Dopesick). 

Dark Winds is created by Graham Roland, with John Wirth serving as showrunner for the season. The series is exec produced by Roland, Wirth, McClarnon, Robert Redford, George R.R. Martin, Anne Hillerman, Chris Eyre, Vince Gerardis and Tina Elmo.

"After putting his son's death to rest, Season 1 ends with Leaphorn parting ways with Chee, but Season 2 brings them back together along with Manuelito to solve a spree of murders on the Navajo Nation," said McClarnon.

Books & Authors

Awards: Colby; Fortnum & Mason Winners

Lost Airmen: The Epic Rescue of WWII U.S. Bomber Crews Stranded Behind Enemy Lines by Charles E. Stanley Jr. (Regnery History) has won the 2023 William E. Colby Military Writers' Award, given to "a first solo work of fiction or nonfiction that has made a major contribution to the understanding of military history, intelligence operations or international affairs." Stanley receives a $5,000 author honorarium provided by the Pritzker Military Foundation on behalf of the Pritzker Military Museum & Library, which will be presented during the Norwich University Military Writers' Symposium, October 10-11.

Organizers wrote: "In Lost Airmen, Stanley unveils the shocking true story of his father, Charles Stanley--and the 18 brave soldiers that he served alongside. Drawing on over 20 years of research, dozens of interviews, and previously unpublished letters, diaries, and memoirs written by the airmen, Stanley recounts the deadly journey across the blizzard-swept Dinaric Alps during the worst winter of the Twentieth Century--and the heroic men who fought impossible odds to keep their brothers in arms alive."

Finalists for this year's Colby Award included The Black Joke: The True Story of One British Ship's Battle Against the Slave Trade by A.E. Rooks (Scribner) and Civil Wars and Reconstructions in the Americas: The United States, Mexico, and Argentina, 1860-1880 by Evan C. Rothera (LSU Press).


The winners of the 2023 Fortnum & Mason Food & Drink Awards have been announced and can be seen here. Book category winners include:

Food Book: Red Sauce Brown Sauce: A British Breakfast Odyssey by Felicity Cloake
Debut Food Book: Breadsong: How Baking Changed Our Lives by Kitty & Al Tait
Cookery Book: West Winds: Recipes, History and Tales from Jamaica by Riaz Philips
Debut Cookery Book: Rambutan: Recipes from Sri Lanka by Cynthia Shanmugalingam
Drink Book: Holy Waters: Searching for the Sacred in a Glass by Tom Morton
Debut Drink Book: Wild Brews by Jaega Wise
Fortnums Special Award: Food for Life: The New Science of Eating Well by Tim Spector
Fortnums Special Award: Cooking: Simply and Well, for One or Many by Jeremy Lee

Book Review

Review: Through the Groves

Through the Groves by Anne Hull (Holt, $26.99 hardcover, 224p., 9780805093377, June 20, 2023)

Anne Hull's vivid memoir, Through the Groves, re-creates a 1960s childhood among Florida's citrus trees. A former Washington Post journalist, Hull shares a Pulitzer Prize for uncovering the poor conditions for wounded Afghanistan and Iraq War soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. She brings the same clear-eyed compassion to her family's story, tracing in loving detail how the nuclear unit broke apart, and she accepted her sexuality.

The Central Florida orange groves where, as a girl, Hull rode along with her father--a fruit buyer for a juice processing company--were magical. "A dirt road took us there" is the memoir's matter-of-fact yet evocative first line. The poetic descriptions appeal to multiple senses: "Slats of raw sunlight bore down through the shade" and "when the orange blossoms opened, it was like God had knocked over a bottle of Ladies of Gardenia." Her father's territory covered "four thousand square miles of rural land and unmarked roads." It was a frontier all theirs to explore--and during a more innocent time, when no one considered the consequences of cigarettes or pesticides.

However, Hull was aware of her parents' unhappiness, especially as her father's alcoholism progressed. After their divorce, her mother took her and her brother to live with her maternal grandmother, "Damie," and then with a new stepfather named Ted. Hull effectively reinhabits her childhood perspective to bring these figures to life. Damie, in particular, is a wonderful character who called everyone "dahling" and shared her granddaughter's love of the Jackson 5. Through the depiction of their Black babysitter, Ceola, Hull also reveals the de facto segregation in the South at that time.

The narrative speeds up through Hull's teen years and ends with her starting a journalism fellowship at Harvard. The time span allows her to track her reconciliation with her father and her sexual identity. Hull had always been a tomboy, but not until her freshman year of college, when she kissed a female colleague from her Christmas-break restaurant job, did she realize she was a lesbian. Hints planted throughout the memoir--a fascination with album covers featuring scantily clad women, an obsession with the scent of the shampoo her fifth-grade teacher, Miss Mallory, used--take on new significance.

Development, including the construction of Disney World, led to the vast orange groves Hull remembers being cut down. Like childhood, they are lost forever, but memory can, fleetingly, bring them to life again. --Rebecca Foster, freelance reviewer, proofreader and blogger at Bookish Beck

Shelf Talker: A fifth-generation Floridian's vivid memoir of growing up among citrus groves brings compassion to a family story of alcoholism and marital breakdown and the author's route to accepting her sexuality.

The Bestsellers

Top Book Club Picks in April

The following were the most popular book club books during April based on votes from book club readers in more than 83,500 book clubs registered at

1. Lessons in Chemistry: A Novel by Bonnie Garmus (Doubleday)
2. Horse: A Novel by Geraldine Brooks (Viking)
3. Mad Honey: A Novel by Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan (Ballantine Books)
4. Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow: A Novel by Gabrielle Zevin (Knopf)
5. Demon Copperhead: A Novel by Barbara Kingsolver (Harper)
6. The Measure: A Novel by Nikki Erlick (Morrow)
7. Remarkably Bright Creatures: A Novel by Shelby Van Pelt (Ecco)
8. Our Missing Hearts: A Novel by Celeste Ng (Penguin Press)
9. The Maid: A Novel by Nita Prose (Ballantine Books)
10. West with Giraffes: A Novel by Lynda Rutledge (Lake Union)

Rising Stars:
Hester: A Novel by Laurie Lico Albanese (St. Martin's Press)
The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah (Griffin)

[Many thanks to!]

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