Shelf Awareness for Thursday, September 14, 2023

 Kokila: Everything We Never Had by Randy Ribay

Nancy Paulsen Books: Sync by Ellen Hopkins

Running Press Adult: Cat People by Hannah Hillam

Beaming Books: Must-Have Autumn Reads for Your Shelf!

Dial Press: Like Mother, Like Mother by Susan Rieger

Severn House: A Messy Murder (Main) (The Decluttering Mysteries #4) by Simon Brett

Forge: My Three Dogs by Bruce W Cameron

Quotation of the Day

'The Right to Free Expression Is a Basic Human Right'

"Intellectual freedom is the right of every individual to hold and express opinions, and seek, access, receive, and impart information and ideas without restriction. The First Amendment states that 'Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech.' Our right to speak, write, publish, and read are protected by the Constitution. This right is not based on whether or not people in government agree with the ideas being expressed. One of the core beliefs of the NCAC is that free expression, including the freedom to express oneself through arts and through protest, is fundamental to both individuals and society. The right to free expression is a basic human right and essential to human fulfillment and autonomy and it is our right as citizens of the United States."

--Emily J.M. Knox, associate professor, School of Information Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and chair of the board of the National Coalition Against Censorship, in testimony at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on book bannings on September 12

G.P. Putnam's Sons: The Restaurant of Lost Recipes (A Kamogawa Food Detectives Novel) by Hisashi Kashiwai, Translated by Jesse Kirkwood


Executive Changes at HarperCollins: Murphy Leaving; Stehlik, Schwartz Promoted

Among major executive changes at HarperCollins:

Suzanne Murphy
Liate Stehlik

Suzanne Murphy, president and publisher of HarperCollins Children's Books, is leaving the company. Before joining HarperCollins in 2015 as head of children's books, Murphy was v-p, publisher, Disney Publishing Worldwide and earlier worked at Scholastic and Simon & Schuster. She will stay through the end of the month to ensure a smooth transition.

Liate Stehlik has been named president and publisher, Morrow Group and HarperCollins Children's Books, adding the children's division to her purview. She has served as president and publisher of the Morrow Group since 2018, overseeing the publishing operations for William Morrow, Mariner Books, Harvest, Avon, Dey Street, and Harper Voyager. Stehlik led the integration of the HMH Books & Media adult business, creating two new imprints, Harvest and Mariner Books, as well as overseeing the relaunch of IT Books to Dey Street. She joined the company in 2005 as senior v-p/publisher, Avon, and became publisher of Morrow in 2009.

HarperCollins president and CEO Brian Murray said, "Under Suzanne's guidance, the children's division has published many bestsellers, expanded our cherished backlist, integrated HMH's children's programs, and helped expand our children's publishing programs internationally. I am appreciative of all Suzanne has brought to HarperCollins Children's Books and wish her the best in her future endeavors.

"Liate is an outstanding publisher, executive, and colleague, who has excelled as a leader during her almost 20 years with the company. I look forward to working with her in her new role as we continue to evolve and grow our business."

Dan Schwartz

In another change, Dan Schwartz has been promoted to executive v-p, CFO, and head of North American operations. In his new role, he will add oversight of the company's corporate operations, including IT, production, and distribution, to his duties as CFO. Before joining HarperCollins in January, Schwartz had worked for 13 years at Macmillan Publishers where his last position was CFO. Earlier he spent more than a decade in management consulting with a focus on media and entertainment and investment banking.

Murray commented: "In his short tenure with HarperCollins, Dan has proven himself to be a thoughtful leader with keen insights and operational acumen. He has immersed himself in the finance role, and now is the right time to expand his portfolio."

In a broader comment about the changes, Murray noted that "earlier this year, we launched a transformation effort to identify new ways to work smarter and more efficiently across North America and globally. To that end, we are clarifying and consolidating our executive leadership team. This new structure will allow us to implement key publishing, systems, and operational changes to confront current challenges and seize existing opportunities in our rapidly evolving industry."

Harpervia: Only Here, Only Now by Tom Newlands

Grand Opening Set for the Collective Bookstore, Verona, N.J.

The Collective Bookstore, a general-interest bookstore in Verona, N.J., is hosting a grand opening celebration this weekend.

Owners Josh and Lauren Jacobs are planning a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. on Saturday, followed by a day of festivities including prizes and giveaways. Located at 460 Bloomfield Ave. in Verona, the store carries new titles for all ages along with vinyl records and other nonbook items from local businesses.

"We recognize the important role that town bookstores play in a community, and we always wanted to live where people can appreciate books and bookstores as much as we do," the owners said. "Based on the amount of support and excitement from Verona and surrounding residents since our soft opening in July, we knew we made the right choice."

The Jacobses are also the owners of Hearth Realty Group, and the bookstore occupies the same building as their offices. The bookstore donates a percentage of its profits to local charities and education programs, and it offers fundraising opportunities for local organizations in which a percentage of proceeds from sales in a given week will be donated to that organization. Event plans include book clubs, author readings, and more.

Scarlet Rose Books & Vintage Boutique Opens in Ludlow, Ky.

Scarlet Rose Books & Vintage Boutique opened last Saturday in Ludlow, Ky. It sells new books along with jewelry, accessories, clothing, and artwork, and is the successor store to the Tome Bookstore, which operated in Cincinnati, Ohio, from April 2022 until May of this year.

Owners Jeremy and Autumn Spencer have moved the bookstore across the Ohio River to Ludlow, given it a new concept, and renamed it after their daughters. The Spencers aim to bring customers "an enchanting blend of literature, fashion, and timeless treasures," and their event plans include book clubs, workshops, and poetry nights. The store's first book club pick is Mother-Daughter Murder Night by Nina Simon (Morrow), with the discussion to be held on September 28.

Jeremy Spencer, an author under the pen name J.M. Clark, told Local12 last week: "Embrace your story, dress your dreams, own a piece of history."

Kelly's Books in Watsonville, Calif., to Close

Kelly's Books, Watsonville, Calif., will close November 4. Last week, owner Kelly Pleskunas shared her decision in a Facebook post: "Well folks, it's time for Kelly's Books to close for good. My last day will be Saturday, November 4th. I will still be doing special orders until the middle of October. It's been 12 years and unfortunately the store is no longer viable. I'll miss all of my customers who have shopped here and supported the store. I have made some really special friendships. Please continue to support the store as I REALLY need the business. Cheers!"

In 2016, Pleskunas had to close 23-year-old Crossroads Books after hers and seven other businesses were evicted to make way for a Kaiser Permanente complex. She reopened seven months later as Kelly's Books, in the current Watsonville Square shopping center location, and in 2019 launched a crowdfunding campaign to keep the store in operation. 

Obituary Note: Tobias Hill 

Tobias Hill

British author Tobias Hill died August 26. He was 53. The Bookseller reported that in 2003 the Times Literary Supplement named Hill as one the best young writers in Britain and the following year he was selected as one of the country's Next Generation poets and shortlisted for the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year. His collection of stories, Skin, won the PEN/Macmillan Prize for Fiction and was shortlisted for the John Llewellyn Rhys/Mail on Sunday Prize. He also won the Eric Gregory Award in 1995 and the Ian St James Award in 1997. In 2014, shortly before the publication of What Was Promised, he had a stroke, after which he was unable to write poetry and fiction

Hill's other books include Midnight in the City of Clocks; Zoo; Underground; The Love of Stones; The Cryptographer; Nocturne in Chrome & Sunset Yellow; The Lion Who Ate Everything; and The Hidden.

"I had the very great privilege of representing Tobias for 28 years," said his agent, Victoria Hobbs. "The work he leaves behind is exceptional in range and skill, from the poems to the short stories and the novels, always evolving but consistent in the extraordinary descriptive powers on display.... He was a lovely man to work with, absolutely and appropriately aware of his considerable gifts but also modest and unfailingly gentle and courteous in all his dealings. I will miss him and mind very much that we won't see new work from him in the future." 

Paul Baggaley, editor-in-chief at Bloomsbury, told the Bookseller that Hill "was such a talented writer across many forms, and Bloomsbury was very proud to become his publisher of fiction with What Was Promised in 2014. We were also able to acquire his rich backlist and we are committed to ensuring that Tobias's reputation as a unique voice in contemporary writing continues to be recognized.... It is a great sadness that such a remarkable writing career has been cut short so cruelly."

Angus Cargill, publishing director at Faber, commented: "All of us at Faber were so saddened to hear of Tobias' death. I was lucky enough to work on his novels as a junior editor in the early 2000s, and he was such an interesting, talented and positive young voice on the list."

In the Guardian, Kamila Shamsie wrote: "The defining characteristics of his work are not to be found in place but in the lyrical precision of his language and his careful attention to structure. These were both qualities that he saw as tying his fiction to his poetry. Although he was perhaps best known for the novels, he saw himself as a poet first, and said that if he could have earned a living entirely from poetry he would never have written fiction."


Image of the Day: Jane Cooper and Friends

Farmer and author Jane Cooper celebrated the launch of her book The Lost Flock: Rare Wool, Wild Isles, and One Woman's Journey to Save Scotland's Original Sheep (Chelsea Green Publishing) with several events in the U.K.'s Orkney Islands. She gave the keynote at the Orkney International Science Festival (with book sales handled by The Orcadian Bookshop), and visited the Stromness Library, home of Booky McBookface, the famous bookmobile that goes out to the isles. Pictured: Cooper reading to the protagonists of The Lost Flock.

Personnel Changes at Berkley

At Berkley:

Lauren Burnstein has been promoted to assistant publicity director.

Dache' Rogers has been promoted to publicist.

Yazmine Hassan has been promoted to associate publicist

Jessica Plummer has been promoted to senior marketing manager.

Elisha Katz has been promoted to associate marketing manager.

Chalkboard: Posman Books

Posman books, Boston, Mass., recruited a very familiar dog as bookseller for the shop's sidewalk chalkboard message: "Snoopy says get your next bewitching read at posman books."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Franklin Foer on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Franklin Foer, author of The Last Politician: Inside Joe Biden's White House and the Struggle for America's Future (Penguin Press, $30, 9781101981146).

Today Show: Millie Bobby Brown, author of Nineteen Steps (Morrow, $28.99, 9780063335776).

CBS Mornings: Matthew McConaughey, author of Just Because (Viking Books for Young Readers, $19.99, 9780593622032).

This Weekend on Book TV: Barbara Butcher on What the Dead Know

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, September 16
3:10 p.m. Allison Gilbert, co-author of Listen, World!: How the Intrepid Elsie Robinson Became America's Most-Read Woman (‎Seal Press, $30, 9781541674356), and Kate Zernike, author of The Exceptions: Nancy Hopkins, MIT, and the Fight for Women in Science (Scribner, $30, 9781982131838).

4:15 p.m. John Charles Thomas, author of The Poetic Justice: A Memoir (University of Virginia Press, $29.95, 9780813947839).

5:20 p.m. Fred Kaplan, author of His Masterly Pen: A Biography of Jefferson the Writer (‎Harper, $35, 9780062440037).

Sunday, September 17
9 a.m. Elio Morillo, author of The Boy Who Reached for the Stars: A Memoir (‎HarperOne, $28.99, 9780063214316). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m.)

10 a.m. Loren Grush, author of The Six: The Untold Story of America's First Women Astronauts (Scribner, $32.50, 9781982172800). (Re-airs Sunday at 10 p.m.)

2 p.m. M.T. Connolly, author of The Measure of Our Age: Navigating Care, Safety, Money, and Meaning Later in Life (PublicAffairs, $30, 9781541702721).

3 p.m. Barbara Butcher, author of What the Dead Know: Learning About Life as a New York City Death Investigator (Simon & Schuster, $28.99, 9781982179380).

4:05 p.m. Matt Zwolinski, co-author of The Individualists: Radicals, Reactionaries, and the Struggle for the Soul of Libertarianism (‎Princeton University Press, $35, 9780691155548).

4:30 p.m. Karen Pinchin, author of Kings of Their Own Ocean: Tuna, Obsession, and the Future of Our Seas (Dutton, $30, 9780593471470).

5:25 p.m. Brett Crozier, author of Surf When You Can: Lessons in Life, Loyalty, and Leadership from a Maverick Navy Captain (Atria, $28, 9781982191009).

6:30 p.m. Dr. Peter Grinspoon, author of Seeing through the Smoke: A Cannabis Specialist Untangles the Truth about Marijuana (Prometheus, $29.95, 9781633888463).

Books & Authors

National Book Award Longlists: Young People's Literature, Translated Literature

This week the National Book Foundation is releasing longlists for the 2023 National Book Awards. Finalists will be announced October 3, and winners named November 15 at the National Book Awards Ceremony. This year's longlisted titles in the Young People's Literature and Translated Literature categories are:

Young people's literature
Simon Sort of Says by Erin Bow (Disney-Hyperion Books)
Gather by Kenneth M. Cadow (Candlewick Press)
Forget Me Not by Alyson Derrick (S&S Books for Young Readers)
Huda F Cares? by Huda Fahmy (Dial Books for Young Readers)
Big by Vashti Harrison (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
The Lost Year: A Survival Story of the Ukrainian Famine by Katherine Marsh (Roaring Brook Press)
Hidden Systems: Water, Electricity, the Internet, and the Secrets Behind the Systems We Use Every Day by Dan Nott (Random House Graphic)
A First Time for Everything by Dan Santat (First Second/Macmillan)
Parachute Kids by Betty C. Tang (Graphix/Scholastic)
More Than a Dream: The Radical March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom by Yohuru Williams & Michael G. Long (Farrar, Straus and Giroux Books for Young Readers)

Translated literature
The Devil of the Provinces by Juan Cárdenas, translated from the Spanish by Lizzie Davis (Coffee House Press)
Cursed Bunny by Bora Chung, translated from the Korean by Anton Hur (Algonquin Books)
Beyond the Door of No Return by David Diop, translated from the French by Sam Taylor (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
Kairos by Jenny Erpenbeck, translated from the German by Michael Hofmann (New Directions)
The Words That Remain by Stênio Gardel, translated from the Portuguese by Bruna Dantas Lobato (New Vessel Press)
No One Prayed Over Their Graves by Khaled Khalifa, translated from the Arabic by Leri Price (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
This Is Not Miami by Fernanda Melchor, translated from the Spanish by Sophie Hughes (New Directions)
Abyss by Pilar Quintana, translated from the Spanish by Lisa Dillman (World Editions)
On a Woman's Madness by Astrid Roemer, translated from the Dutch by Lucy Scott (Two Lines Press)
The Most Secret Memory of Men by Mohamed Mbougar Sarr, translated from the French by Lara Vergnaud (Other Press)

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, September 19:

Turning Pages: The Adventures and Misadventures of a Publisher by John Sargent (Arcade, $26.99, 9781956763850) is a memoir by the former head of Macmillan.

The Pole: A Novel by J.M. Coetzee (Liveright, $26, 9781324093862) explores the relationship between a Polish pianist and a banker's wife.

The Wolves of Eternity: A Novel by Karl Ove Knausgaard, trans. by Martin Aitken (Penguin Press, $35, 9780593490839) follows the Norwegian and Russian children of an absent biological father.

The Golden Gate: A Novel by Amy Chua (Minotaur, $28, 9781250903600) is a historical thriller about a murder in 1944 Berkeley, California.

Starter Villain by John Scalzi (Tor, $28.99, 9780765389220) follows a substitute teacher who inherits his uncle's supervillain business.

North Woods: A Novel by Daniel Mason (Random House, $28, 9780593597033) follows the occupants of a single rural New England home over several centuries.

The Farmer's Wife: My Life in Days by Helen Rebanks (Harper Horizon, $29.99, 9780785290483) chronicles a day on an English farm.

Of Time and Turtles: Mending the World, Shell by Shattered Shell by Sy Montgomery and Matt Patterson (Mariner, $28.99, 9780358458180) finds deeper meaning in a rehabilitation facility for injured turtles.

Leslie F*cking Jones by Leslie Jones (Grand Central, $30, 9781538706497) is the memoir of the comedic actress.

I Don't Want to Read This Book Aloud by Max Greenfield, illus. by Mike Lowery (Putnam, $18.99, 9780593616581) is the duo's third humorous collaboration about reading written for young readers.

Dogtown by Katherine Applegate and Gennifer Choldenko, illus. by Wallace West (Feiwel and Friends, $17.99, 9781250811608) is an illustrated middle-grade novel about a shelter that takes in both stray dogs and robot dogs.

Murder in the Family: A Novel by Cara Hunter (Morrow, $19.99, 9780063272071).

The Unfortunate Side Effects of Heartbreak and Magic: A Novel by Breanne Randall (Alcove Press, $18.99, 9781639105731).

Never Whistle at Night: An Indigenous Dark Fiction Anthology, edited by Shane Hawk and Theodore C. Van Alst (Vintage, $17, 9780593468463).

Cleat Cute: A Novel by Meryl Wilsner (St. Martin's Griffin, $18, 9781250873309).

River Notes: Drought and the Twilight of the American West--A Natural and Human History of the Colorado by Wade Davis (Greystone Books, $17.95, 9781778401428).

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:

In the Lobby of the Dream Hotel: A Novel by Genevieve Plunkett (Catapult, $28, 9781646220489). "In the Lobby of the Dream Hotel--a place two lovers who can't be together in the real world might meet--is a beautiful meditation on love, madness, motherhood, and art. Plunkett's writing is achingly gorgeous and Portia is a character for the ages." --Stefanie Kiper, Water Street Bookstore, Exeter, N.H.

He Who Drowned the World: A Novel by Shelley Parker-Chan (Tor Books, $28.99, 9781250621825). "The perfect follow up to She Who Became the Sun. Parker-Chan's latest continues to expertly explore themes of power, desire, and gender queerness. An absolutely riveting and intricate sequel. This book will make you feel all the things!" --Julia DeVarti, Books Are Magic, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Secluded Cabin Sleeps Six: A Novel by Lisa Unger (Park Row, $18.99, 9780778334224). "This has family drama, secrets and great characters--so clear your weekend. Every book establishes Lisa Unger as a fantastic thriller writer and storyteller. This will bring even more fans in her camp (or cabin?). She is in her prime!" --Laura Taylor, The Oxford Exchange, Tampa, Fla.

For Ages 4 to 8
Flora's Wish by Fiona Halliday (Dial Books, $18.99, 9780593462454). "A tender story of friendship and grief wrapped in the changing seasons; where comfort comes from being sheltered from harsh winds and cold temperatures. Gorgeous illustrations shape Flora's journey of letting go, but never forgetting." --Amy Lane, Bards Alley, Vienna, Va.

For Ages 8 to 12
Saving Chupie by Amparo Ortiz, illus. by Ronnie Vazquez (HarperAlley, $19.99, 9780062950284). "What would you do if you didn't believe in monsters, then came across a chupacabra? What if that chupacabra was sweet like a puppy? Violeta must save Chupie and show everyone that not all creatures are monstrous in this heartfelt graphic novel." --Jen Steele, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, Wis.

For Teen Readers: An Indies Introduce Title
Their Vicious Games by Joelle Wellington (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, $19.99, 9781665922425). "Squid Game meets Ready or Not in this brutal takedown of racism and classism! From every twist and turn to its satisfying conclusion, I couldn't tear my eyes away from the page." --Brandy Herr, Arts & Letters Bookstore, Granbury, Tex.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: Baumgartner

Baumgartner by Paul Auster (Atlantic Monthly Press, $27 hardcover, 208p., 9780802161444, November 7, 2023)

The subject of lost loved ones and all that follows in the wake of such a loss is hardly unusual in contemporary literature, but Paul Auster's Baumgartner is a worthy addition to the body of fiction that treats the subject. It's a well-drawn portrait of a man wrestling with grief, and a sensitive character study that displays many of the qualities for which Auster's been lauded in a long literary career.

The protagonist in this compact novel is S.T. ("Sy") Baumgartner, a professor of philosophy for more than 30 years at Princeton University, specializing in the field of phenomenology. Some 10 years after his wife Anna Blume's freak drowning during their Cape Cod vacation, he lives alone in the house they once shared. He's so desperate for human contact that he orders books he never intends to read, only for the brief daily encounter they guarantee with the UPS delivery driver, Molly. Even now, Baumgartner "marvels at how little has changed for him since those early months of near insanity" following Anna's death, ones in which he poured her a mug of coffee every morning and hallucinated about conversations with her, even though he's produced two books since her passing and is working on a third.

Baumgartner's story is revealed in episodic fashion and with precise, observant, and sometimes touching detail, including his halting attempt to revive his romantic life with a fellow professor named Judith. As he's done in novels like The Book of Illusions, Auster (Bloodbath Nation; Report from the Interior) embeds stories into the main narrative. In this case, some appear in the form of fragments of memoir written by Anna, a talented translator and poet, a collection of whose poems Baumgartner arranged to publish posthumously.

But it's the news that Beatrix Coen, a graduate student from the University of Michigan, wants to write her Ph.D. thesis on Anna's work that holds out the promise of permanently lifting Baumgartner out of his lingering grief. He imagines Anna and the much younger Beatrix as the "two bookends of his life," and when she accepts his invitation to move into an apartment above his garage that will serve as the base for her research into Anna's papers, the 71-year-old philosopher comes to anticipate her arrival "like a restless little boy counting down the days until school lets out for the summer."

The novel's ambiguous ending may not be satisfying to some, but it's consistent with the themes and tone of what has gone before. S.T. Baumgartner isn't the sort of character most people will encounter in everyday life, but, as Auster has created him, that doesn't detract from his appeal, or make his story any less poignant. --Harvey Freedenberg, freelance reviewer

Shelf Talker: In this poignant 18th novel from Paul Auster, a man wrestles with his grief 10 years after the loss of his beloved wife.

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