Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Dutton: Summer Fridays by Suzanne Rindell

Tor Books: The Daughters' War (Blacktongue) by Christopher Buehlman

Tommy Nelson: Just in Case You Ever Feel Alone (Just in Case) by Max Lucado, Illustrated by Eve Tharlet

Bramble: The Spellshop by Sarah Beth Durst

Pixel+ink: The Second Favorite Daughters Club 1: Sister Sabotage by Colleen Oakes

Minotaur Books: The Burning (Kate Burkholder #16) by Linda Castillo


Children's Institute 2023 Begins

Children's Institute 2023 began last night in Milwaukee, Wis., with the now-traditional opening reception and costume party. This year's conference marks the largest Children's Institute yet. Elisa McIntosh of The Bookstore Plus in Lake Placid, N.Y., won the grand prize in the costume contest, which includes a full scholarship to next year's Children's Institute. Author Donna L. Washington was emcee for the contest, while authors Laini Taylor and Jim Di Bartolo, along with ABA CEO Allison Hill, served as judges.

Pictured: (standing l.-r.) Laini Taylor, Jim Di Bartolo, Elisa McIntosh, Angie Tally, Sally Sue Lavigne, Stephanie Strachan, Amanda Olson, Allison Hill; kneeling: Donna L. Washington.

William Morrow & Company: Lula Dean's Little Library of Banned Books by Kirsten Miller

Maze Books, Rockford, Ill., Relocating

Maze Books, Rockford, Ill., will be moving from its 3rd St. location to 406 E. State St. "We've been tightlipped about it, but we are happy to finally make the announcement," Maze Books owner David Pedersen noted in a Facebook post recently, adding that Sarah Reed-McNamara "will be moving her shop SRMprints (aka GEM) a few doors down, and we'll be moving into her former building.... The transition is going to take some time, so we are going to continue to run the shop at the South Third Street location as we always have, without any change, while we prepare the new space.... It has been an amazing year and we are so thankful for our customers and the community. You have turned our dream into a working reality."

Pederson and Reed-McNamara "have often advocated for each other's shops. When he learned she was looking to downsize her space, they found a way to help each other out," Rock River Current reported. 

"Printmakers and booksellers have been collaborating since there's been a printing press," Pedersen said. "When people come to see me at the shop, I would say go see Sarah, and Sarah would say the same thing."

Reed-McNamara plans to open SRM Prints by August 1. Pedersen said Maze could move in as soon as August but no later than October. Both shops will continue to operate in their current locations until the moves are complete.

The larger space is the right fit for Maze Books, "which often holds literature and poetry readings and author signings squeezed between the bookshelves at its Third Street storefront. The open area at GEM will give more space to accommodate those type of events and to expand its collection," Rock River Current noted.

"The business model will definitely change in certain ways, but we're still going to keep that affordability and availability," Pedersen said, adding that the move will also come with a shift to a larger focus on new books.

Harper Celebrate: Why Do We Stay?: How My Toxic Relationship Can Help You Find Freedom by Stephanie Quayle, with Keith W. Campbell

B&T's Paw Prints Publishing Launches New Imprint

Baker & Taylor's Paw Prints Publishing is launching Paw Prints Readers, an imprint for beginning readers. Each title in the publishing program is leveled by Fountas & Pinnell and Lexile Reading leveling systems. As with the all Paw Prints Publishing books, titles in the Paw Prints Readers line will be aligned to early learning and CASEL standards with their pillars in social-emotional learning. Titles will be available in English and Spanish in paperback, hardcover (paper-over-board), and e-book formats.

Paw Prints Publishing released its first list last year, focusing on young readers 3 to 8. "We saw tremendous success for our first batch of early readers last fall, and in both the institutional and consumer markets," B&T president and CEO Amandeep Kochar said. "We're thrilled to now showcase these series under their own beginning reader imprint, Paw Prints Readers, which we are confident will become a go-to brand for librarians, teachers, booksellers, and parents alike looking for quality titles in the early reader category that emphasize diverse voices."

The imprint will launch with seven titles in two new series in Fall 2023, with the already-established series Jeet & Fudge also being folded under the Readers brand:

The Liline & Pepper series by Samanka Dumond, illustrated by Christina Oyebade (level 1-2/ages 4-6) launches September 12 with Best Friends (#1) and A Morning with Grann (#2), introducing early readers to Liline, a Haitian-American kindergartener and her sassy cat Pepper. Haitian-Creole/English bilingual editions will follow in 2024.

The Jeet and Fudge series by B&T president and CEO Amandeep Kochar (level 2/ages 5-7) continues with The Dueling Lemonade Stands (#4), Find Yoga (#5), both on sale September 5, and Dance! Dance! Dance! (#6), on sale November 28. The series features a young Sikh boy named Jeet and his sidekick, chocolate labradoodle Fudge, on their adventures in both volunteerism and play.

The Queens of STEAM series by Mari Bolte (level 4/ages 7-9), which highlights diverse women in the STEAM field, launches with two titles being published September 26, Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett: The Virologist Who Changed the World (#1) and Bertha Parker: The First Indigenous American Woman Archaeologist (#2). In January 2024 two more titles will appear: Dr. Carla Hayden: The First Woman Librarian of Congress (#3) and Mary Oliver: The Art and Life of a Bestselling American Poet (#4).

University of Texas Press: Loose of Earth: A Memoir by Kathleen Dorothy Blackburn

Obituary Note: Mariana Villa-Gilbert 

Mariana Villa-Gilbert, "author of several mid-century novels, including A Jingle-Jangle Song, published in 1968, an important British lesbian work," has died, the Guardian reported. She was 86.

In her obituary, Christopher Adams wrote: "The hermetically sealed world of her novels reflects not only the influence of Virginia Woolf, but also her own intensely oppressive upbringing. Themes of sexual ambiguity and bisexuality are important in her work. When I interviewed Mariana in 2022 as part of a project on the history of lesbian literature, she said: 'I feel I am neither a woman, nor a man. I feel I am only myself.' "

In 1963 Villa-Gilbert's agent sold her novel Mrs. Galbraith's Air to Chatto & Windus. During her first lunch with the publisher Norah Smallwood, she "was so frightened that she barely spoke a word. Nevertheless, Smallwood became her champion at the firm, in a relationship that would last for the next decade," the Guardian noted. Two more novels followed: My Love All Dressed in White (1964) and Mrs. Cantello (1966). 

In A Jingle-Jangle Song, her fourth book, she wrote about the relationship between a young musician and an older woman. "Although the novel was attacked by reviewers for its lesbian content, it nevertheless gained a following and stands as an important contribution to the genre," the Guardian wrote. She followed this with The Others (1970) and Manuela: A Modern Myth (1973). The story collection The Sun in Horus appeared after a long hiatus in 1986.

Shelf Awareness Delivers Indie Pre-Order E-Blast

This past Wednesday, Shelf Awareness sent our monthly pre-order e-blast to nearly 950,000 of the country's best book readers. The e-blast went to 947,640 customers of 230 participating independent bookstores.

The mailing features 11 upcoming titles selected by Shelf Awareness editors and a sponsored title. Customers can buy these books via "pre-order" buttons that lead directly to the purchase page for the title on each sending store's website. A key feature is that bookstore partners can easily change title selections to best reflect the tastes of their customers and can customize the mailing with links, images, and promotional copy of their own.

The pre-order e-blasts are sent the last Wednesday of each month; the next will go out on Wednesday, June 28. Stores interested in learning more can visit our program registration page or contact our partner program team via e-mail.

For a sample of the May pre-order e-blast, see this one from the Big Blue Marble Bookstore, Philadelphia, Pa.

The titles highlighted in the pre-order e-blast were:

Crook Manifesto by Colson Whitehead (Doubleday)
Prom Mom by Laura Lippman (Morrow)
Behold the Monster by Jillian Lauren (Sourcebooks)
Baking Yesteryear by B. Dylan Hollis (Alpha)
Immortal Longings by Chloe Gong (Saga)
The Librarianist by Patrick DeWitt (Ecco)
Silver Nitrate by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Del Rey)
Owner of a Lonely Heart by Beth Nguyen (Scribner)
Hello Stranger by Katherine Center (St. Martin's)
One of Us Is Back by Karen McManus (Delacorte)
Abeni's Song by P. Djèlí Clark (Starscape)

G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!
We Are Definitely Human
by X. Fang
GLOW: Tundra Books: We Are Definitely Human by X. Fang

When Mr. Li investigates a crash outside his house, he finds three strangers with very big eyes and very blue skin, along with their broken, um, "car...." But Mr. Li doesn't worry because his guests affirm they "are DEFINITELY human." X. Fang's out-of-this-world picture book, We Are Definitely Human, features hilariously deadpan text and charming, though (maybe?) clueless, protagonists. Tundra Books v-p and publisher Tara Walker (a "UFO engineer" since childhood) says she's "always looking for books that surprise me as a reader--that make me laugh and have heart as well. And this book delivers on all fronts!" Fang wisely, gracefully, and humorously reminds readers of the importance of offering help where help is needed. --Lynn Becker

(Tundra Books, $18.99 hardcover, ages 4-8, 9781774882023,
August 6, 2024)


Shelf vetted, publisher supported


Image of the Day: Drag Queen Story Hour at Books Inc.

A standing-room-only crowd turned out for drag queen story hour featuring Tori Tia at Books Inc. in Campbell, Calif., to celebrate the start of Pride Month. Anita Levin, marketing manager for Books Inc., noted that while last year's event was disrupted by protestors, this year's was "full of joy and love."

Bookish Marriage Proposal: Búho Books

"SHE SAID YES!!! Massive shoutout to Jacobo @amodestgecko for getting down on his knee last night to pop the question to his--now fiancée--Danelle @danellerein. It warmed my heart that he used a book as a prop, too," Búho Books, Brownsville, Tex., posted on Instagram. "When I first envisioned Búho as a brick-and-mortar, I wanted it to be so cozy and classically decorated, that it would be the type of place where couples would propose to each other. Even as an incomplete work-in-progress, it happened last night, and it happened spectacularly! Búho wishes Jacobo and Danelle the best for the rest of their engagement, and for better things beyond."

Personnel Changes at Chronicle Books

At Chronicle Books:

Genny McAuley has been promoted to director of sales.

Cydel Virtucio has been hired as sales manager for independent specialty sales.

Elina Schenker has been promoted to associate account manager for Amazon.

Emma Hill has been promoted to children's marketing coordinator.

Carlee Boomer has been hired as the distribution sales assistant.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Michael Waldman on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Michael Waldman, author of The Supermajority: How the Supreme Court Divided America (Simon & Schuster, $29.99, 9781668006061).

CBS Mornings: Ibram X. Kendi, author of Stamped from the Beginning: A Graphic History of Racist Ideas in America (Ten Speed Graphic, $29.99, 9781984859433).

The View: Elliot Page, author of Pageboy: A Memoir (Flatiron, $29.99, 9781250878359).

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

TV: The Marlow Murder Club

Robert Thorogood is writing an adaptation of his novel The Marlow Murder Club for PBS Masterpiece and UK network UKTV. Deadline reported that Ghosts producer Monumental Television is behind the project. Thorogood is the creator of the BBC drama Death in Paradise, which airs in the U.S. on PBS and has run for 12 seasons. 

"After over a decade of working on Death in Paradise, I'm thrilled to be creating a brand new murder mystery series for TV," he said. "I can't wait for audiences to join Judith, Becks and Suzie on their adventures as they solve a series of fiendishly puzzling murders."

Books & Authors

Awards: Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Shortlist

The shortlist has been released for the £10,000 (about $12,410) Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize Prize for Best Published Novel, which is "designed to celebrate the best adventure stories of the last year." A winner will be named October 18. This year's shortlisted titles are:

My Name Is Yip by Paddy Crewe 
Going Zero by Anthony McCarten 
Black Butterflies by Priscilla Morris 
The Half Life of Valery K by Natasha Pulley 
No Country for Girls by Emma Styles 
Four Treasures of the Sky by Jenny Tinghui Zhang 

Book Review

Review: Walk the Darkness Down

Walk the Darkness Down by Daniel Magariel (Bloomsbury, $27.99 hardcover, 224p., 9781635578140, August 1, 2023)

In Walk the Darkness Down, Daniel Magariel (One of the Boys) introduces a couple separately torturing themselves through grief and eventually coming together again.

Marlene and Les, who live in a small, troubled town on the Atlantic coast of the United States, lost their young daughter years ago. In suffering, they mistreat each other. Les is a commercial fisherman on an offshore scalloping boat with a crew of other men; punishingly hard physical labor, camaraderie, and violence combine in a cocktail that helps distract him from his loss. Marlene drives the streets at night, mining memory, searching for the deep and searing pain that will help her remember. During his brief stays at their apartment, they repeat a pattern: Marlene breaks the bedroom door and Les fixes it. When Les is offshore, she picks up local sex workers and brings them home to clean them up and feed them. One of these encounters develops into something resembling friendship, just as Les's crew fractures and the dangers of his work increase. Marlene clips newspaper articles about freak natural occurrences: mass deaths of red-winged blackbirds and horseshoe crabs; new migrations of American bullfrogs; wildfires, droughts, and the widening of tornado alley. As their two lives approach new crises, Marlene and Les must chart a course out of self-destruction.

Magariel's prose is as quietly lovely and evocative as his subjects are bleak. "The woman settles into her chair, and Marlene proceeds to lay bare the details of her face. The worry lines of her forehead Marlene excavates with a pass over the brow." His settings showcase realistic detail, and both beauty and damage: fecund coastlines and wetlands, the harsh sea, an old family home, and garishly decorated working-class bars. Marlene and Les treat one another with alternating callousness and tenderness; Les's relationships, especially on the boat (with what Marlene calls his "other family"), reveal a memorable form of rough, ungentle love.

Relationships across great distances--physical and psychic--are a central concern of this novel, which is focused on how its characters handle pain. "You got to abide with your darkness as if it were a scared child that wakes up in the middle of the night and needs to be walked back down to bed," Marlene's newest acquaintance asserts, but each character wrestles with hurt in their own, often-wounding ways.

Stark and tragic, Walk the Darkness Down offers a harrowing view of individual and familial suffering--with empathy and, ultimately, with hope. --Julia Kastner, librarian and blogger at pagesofjulia

Shelf Talker: Grim but with a final upward turn, this novel of loss, grief, and strained bonds investigates human connections and disconnections.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Born to Rise by Kim Fuller
2. Fortune Teller (Miss Fortune Mysteries Book 25) by Jana DeLeon
3. Noble Revenge (Jack Noble Book 15) by L.T. Ryan
4. You'll Forget This Ever Happened by Laura L. Engel
5. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki with Sharon L. Lechter
6. Pucking Around by Emily Rath
7. The Inmate by Freida McFadden
8. Ward D by Freida McFadden
9. Liars Like Us by J.T. Geissinger
10. The Perfect Marriage by Jeneva Rose

[Many thanks to!]

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