Shelf Awareness for Monday, April 8, 2024

Holiday House: Ros Demir Is Not the One by Leyla Brittan

HarperAlley: I Shall Never Fall In Love by Hari Conner

W. W. Norton & Company to Sell and Distribute Yale University Press and Harvard University Press

Clarion Books: The Man Who Didn't Like Animals by Deborah Underwood, Illlustrated by LeUyen Pham

Holiday House: Bye Forever, I Guess by Jodi Meadows and Team Canteen 1: Rocky Road by Amalie Jahn

Wednesday Books: Dust by Alison Stine


Today: Second Annual Right to Read Day

In addition to the solar eclipse in much of the country and Simon & Schuster's celebration of its 100th anniversary this evening, today is the second annual Right to Read Day, sponsored by Unite Against Book Bans, organized by the American Library Association and with hundreds of partners, including American Booksellers for Free Expression, the Association of American Publishers, Binc, many publishers and libraries, and others.

With the motto "Don't let censorship eclipse your freedom to read," the day's program includes a list of suggestions that focus on the waves of censorship taking place in libraries around the country. The suggestions include sending letters to U.S. Representatives and Senators (with a form and/or personal story about the sender's library); contacting state legislators and local library board members and trustees; thanking a librarian; registering to vote; donating to the Merritt Fund (which aids librarians who have been discriminated against or denied employment for a variety of reasons, among them for defending intellectual freedom and freedom of speech); checking out, reading, and asking for a banned book at a local library; getting involved with a local library; and more.

 Treasure Books, Inc.: There's Treasure Inside by Jon Collins-Black

Martin House Books Coming to Westerly, R.I. 

Martin House Books is opening in the former Savoy Bookshop location in Westerly, R.I.

Martin House Books will host a grand opening celebration on April 27, Independent Bookstore Day, at 10 Canal Street in Westerly, R.I., the former home of Savoy Bookshop & Café, which closed last July. The Westerly Sun reported that owner Gretchen Miller, who "grew up in her mother's Massachusetts bookstore," had a soft opening of the new bookshop recently and has been nonstop busy ever since.

"It wasn't planned this way. There's still lots to put together," said Miller, who had been planning for her official opening to coincide with IBD, but after the soft opening and with the help of social media, the word was out.

"Someone put something on Instagram and the next thing you know," Miller added. "But it's awesome.... It's awesome to see so many people so excited about a bookstore. And this is such a wonderful community."

Miller noted that not long after Savoy Bookshop & Café closed, she contacted the owner of the building, the historic Martin House, and expressed her interest in opening another bookstore in the space. She had worked for several years at Savoy, and as a librarian in the Children's Room at the Westerly Library. At Martin House Books, she wants people to feel welcome and plans to work with local schools, libraries, book groups, and other organizations, and to make her space available for private events when it is closed.

"I am thrilled to open the doors and become a part of the vibrant arts community here in Westerly," Miller said. "Our goal is to cultivate a space where the community can discover new stories, connect with fellow book enthusiasts, and immerse themselves in the magic of literature."

With a goal of making her bookstore a "perfect destination for book lovers of all ages," Miller noted: "I really want for this to become a community hub... more than just a place to buy books but a place where readers can gather, connect over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and explore the wonders of literature."

Help a Bookseller, Change a Life: Give today to the Book Industry Charitable Foundation!

B&N Closing Stores in Merced, Calif., and Morrow, Ga.

Barnes & Noble is closing its Merced, Calif., store on May 12, according to the Merced Sun-Star. B&N opened the 21,714-square-feet store in 2004 and nearly shut it in 2013--until the landlord agreed to a reduced lease.

Mayor Matthew Serratto called the impending closing "terrible news. You want to see all businesses thrive in our community, especially a store like that which provides a valuable service."


B&N is also closing its store in Morrow, Ga., on May 7, because the landlord will not renew its lease, the Atlanta Voice reported. B&N has operated the 23,000-square-feet store for 27 years. It's the only B&N in Clayton County, the fifth largest county in Georgia.

Morrow City Manager Jeff Baker told Atlanta Voice that the city is "actively engaged in finding a suitable location for Barnes & Noble to relocate.... We aim to ensure this valuable community resource continues to thrive and serve our residents. The mayor and council are committed to supporting local businesses and maintaining our city's vibrant character."

Obituary Note: Lynne Reid Banks

Lynne Reid Banks

Lynne Reid Banks, a "versatile British author who began her writing career with the bestselling feminist novel The L-Shaped Room but found her biggest success with the popular children's book The Indian in the Cupboard," died April 4, the New York Times reported. She was 94. Banks was "part of a generation of writers that emerged in postwar Britain and whose books explored the struggles of young women seeking personal and financial independence."

In The L-Shaped Room (1960), class, race, sexism, and the danger of illegal abortions are all central to the plot, though Banks did not consider herself a feminist when she wrote the book. She soon changed her mind, however. "What a joke," she told the BBC program Bookclub in 2010. "I mean, I don't believe that anymore. I think women are infinitely the superior sex and that men are probably the most dangerous creatures on the planet."

She did regret the racial tropes used in her portrayal of the Caribbean housemate in The L-Shaped Room, acknowledging that the "prejudices existed, and they came out in this book, and it's shame-making, but there they were," she told the BBC. "They were absolutely part of the atmosphere." The bestselling novel was made into a film starring Leslie Caron, who won an Oscar nomination for best actress.

Banks wrote two sequels--The Backward Shadow (1970) and Two Is Lonely (1974)--as well as two books on the Brontë sisters: Dark Quartet: The Story of the Brontës (1976) and Path to the Silent Country: Charlotte Brontë's Years of Fame (1977).

She began writing books for children and young adults in the 1970s, and wrote more than 45 books for adults and children altogether, as well as 13 plays produced for radio and theater.

The Indian in the Cupboard (1980) was the first in a five-book series. The Times wrote: "Although the purported message to young readers was the importance of tolerance and respect for other cultures, Ms. Banks was later accused of perpetuating stereotypes. (Little Bear speaks in a dialect of broken English, and the cowboy is a laconic man who likes his whiskey.)."

The American Indian Library Association in 1991 listed The Indian in the Cupboard series among the "titles to avoid," and a school board in British Columbia temporarily removed the first book from its libraries in 1992, citing "offensive treatment of native peoples." The series remained popular, however, and The Indian in the Cupboard was adapted into a 1995 film directed by Frank Oz.

The challenge of single motherhood was a theme Banks returned to in 2014 in Uprooted: A Canadian War Story, a YA novel based on the years that she and her mother spent in Canada during the war.

Nick Lake, fiction publisher at HarperCollins Children's Books and Harper Fires, told the Bookseller: "Lynne Reid Banks is one of the greatest and most influential children's authors, and we are so proud to be the publishers of many of her books, including The Indian in the Cupboard, which has long been one of the most beloved titles on our modern classics list--delighting and inspiring generations of children."

James Wills, Banks's agent, commented: "Lynne was a remarkable woman, a terrific writer and a born storyteller. She was a formidable creative force well into her nineties and she told me, indefatigable as ever, how much she was looking forward to the paperback publication of The Red Red Dragon (Walker Books) this summer, which comes out the day after what would have been her 95th birthday, as she was as determined as ever to get out and promote the book and meet her many readers. She never lost her unwavering passion for books and her rich legacy of work has touched millions of readers around the world; she'll be sorely missed."

G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!
Private Rites
by Julia Armfield
GLOW: Flatiron Books: Private Rites by Julia Armfield

In Private Rites, Julia Armfield (Our Wives Under the Sea; salt slow) offers an atmospheric meditation on sisterhood and loss at the end of the world. Living in a bleak, water-inundated city where the rain rarely stops, Isla, Irene, and Agnes are shocked at the abrupt death of their father, who has left his house to only one of them. As they grapple with his last manipulation, they must grapple, too, with what it means to have relationships with each other beyond his reach. As Flatiron Books executive editor Caroline Bleeke notes, Armfield's novel may be about "difficult things," yet it "manages to be so funny, so loving, so brilliant, and so beautifully, singularly written." Private Rites is a testament to the light that can be found in each other, even in the darkest of times. --Alice Martin

(Flatiron, $27.99 Hardcover, 9781250344311, December 3, 2024)


Shelf vetted, publisher supported


Image of the Day: Word Up Celebrates Julia Alvarez

Word Up Community Bookshop in New York City hosted its biggest event since the pandemic: more than 1,000 people came to the United Palace Theater in Washington Heights to celebrate Julia Alvarez’s new novel, The Cemetery of Untold Stories (Algonquin). Alvarez (right) was in conversation with Angie Cruz (left) and Elizabeth Acevedo, two fellow Dominican-American bestselling authors. The store staged the conversation to look like it was happening in a casita in the Dominican Republic, and Alvarez said that it reminded her of the house of her main character in the novel. (photo: Emmanuel Abreu)

Reese's April Book Club Pick: The Most Fun We Ever Had

The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo (Vintage) is the April pick for Reese's Book Club, which described it as "a multigenerational novel in which the four adult daughters of a Chicago couple--still madly in love after forty years--recklessly ignite old rivalries until a long-buried secret threatens to shatter the lives they've built."

On Instagram, Reese Witherspoon said, "This book truly feels like you're a fly on the wall watching a real family interact. SO GOOD!"

Chicago to Distribute Edinumen

The University of Chicago Press and the Chicago Distribution Center will distribute Edinumen in the U.S., effective May 1.

Edinumen is a Spanish-language textbook publisher that has been an international leader in educational publishing for Spanish as a foreign language for more than 30 years.

Chema Ramos, CEO of Editorial Edinumen and Edinumen USA, said, "At Edinumen, we are proud to announce this exciting collaboration with Chicago Distribution Center, which marks a significant milestone in our mission to make quality Spanish language learning accessible and effective worldwide. This agreement not only expands our presence in the U.S. market, but also strengthens our commitment to offering our highest-quality educational resources designed specifically for Higher Ed and K12 in this market, to inspire and empower students and educators through our brand, Edinumen USA."

Personnel Changes at Oni Press; Bloomsbury USA

At Oni Press:

Daniel Crary has joined the press as director of marketing & communications. He was formerly director of community engagement & events for Vault Comics.

Katie Sainz has been promoted to the new role of director of sales, book market. She was formerly director of marketing. Before joining the company in 2019, she worked in the marketing department at Lion Forge Comics.


Katie Vaughn has been promoted to marketing manager in Bloomsbury USA's adult trade division.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Anne Lamott on the Today Show

Watch What Happens Live: Rebel Wilson, author of Rebel Rising: A Memoir (Simon & Schuster, $30, 9781668007204).

Jennifer Hudson Show: Tabitha Brown, author of I Did a New Thing: 30 Days to Living Free (Morrow, $29.99, 9780063286115).

Drew Barrymore Show: Anita Yokota, author of Home Therapy: Interior Design for Increasing Happiness, Boosting Confidence, and Creating Calm (Clarkson Potter, $35, 9780593233238).

CBS Mornings: Sharon Malone, author of Grown Woman Talk: Your Guide to Getting and Staying Healthy (Crown, $30, 9780593593868).

Also on CBS Mornings: Maren Morris and Karina Argow, authors of Addie Ant Goes on an Adventure (Chronicle Chroma, $18.99, 9781797228914).

Good Morning America: Simone Gorrindo, author of The Wives: A Memoir (Gallery/Scout Press, $29.99, 9781982178499).

Today Show: Hilton Carter, author of The Propagation Handbook: A Guide to Propagating Houseplants (CICO Books, $30, 9781800653108).

Also on Today: Anne Lamott, author of Somehow: Thoughts on Love (Riverhead, $22, 9780593714416).

The View: Russ Tamblyn, author of Dancing on the Edge: A Journey of Living, Loving, and Tumbling through Hollywood (Blackstone Publishing, $28.99, 9798212273312).

TV: The Big Door Prize

Apple TV+ has released a trailer for season two of The Big Door Prize, based on M.O. Walsh's novel. From Emmy Award-winning creator David West Read (Schitt's Creek), the 10-episode second season will premiere globally April 24 on Apple TV+ with three episodes, followed by one new episode every Wednesday through June 12.

Chris O'Dowd leads an ensemble cast that includes Gabrielle Dennis, Djouliet Amara, Sammy Fourlas, Josh Segarra, Crystal Fox, Ally Maki, and Damon Gupton. Season two also welcomes new and returning guest stars Justine Lupe, Aaron Roman Weiner, Mary Holland, Patrick Kerr, Cocoa Brown, Carrie Barrett, Elizabeth Hunter, Jim Meskimen, Matt Dellapina, and Melissa Ponzio.

Read serves as showrunner and executive producer, alongside David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, and Matt Thunell for Skydance Television; Miky Lee, Jey-hyun Kim, and Hyun Park for Studio Dragon; and Bill Bost and Sarah Walker. Steven Tsuchida, Heather Jack, Jordan Canning, Satya Bhabha, and Declan Lowney direct the series.

Books & Authors

Awards: European Union Literature Winner

Jordisk (Wordly) by Theis Ørntoft (Gyldendal) of Denmark has won the European Union Prize for Literature, which recognizes "emerging fiction writers from the European Union and beyond." The prize is organized by the Federation of European Publishers and the European & International Booksellers Federation, with the support of the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.

There were also five special mentions:
From Bulgaria: Хагабула by Todor Todorov (Janet 45)
From Germany: Vaters Meer by Deniz Utlu (Suhrkamp)
From Iceland: Sápufuglinn by María Elísabet Bragadóttir (Una útgáfuhús)
From the Netherlands: Ik ken een berg die op me wacht by Sholeh Rezazadeh (Ambo|Anthos)
From Slovenia: Na klancu by Tina Vrščaj (Cankarjeva založba)

Jean Luc Treutenaere, co-president of the EIBF, said: "Congratulations to Theis Ørntoft for winning the 2024 EUPL Prize, along with the five special mentions and all the nominated authors in this edition. Their literary work further consolidates the role of the EUPL as an ambassador for the diversity and richness of European contemporary literature, underpinning a message of tolerance and mutual understanding. I wish their novels find the recognition they deserve in bookshops across Europe and beyond, and that they contribute to creating bonds between different regions and culture."

Book Review

Review: Tehrangeles

Tehrangeles by Porochista Khakpour (Pantheon, $28 hardcover, 320p., 9781524747909, June 11, 2024)

A contemporary whirlwind comedy drama starring the obscenely wealthy Milani family of Los Angeles, Tehrangeles by Porochista Khakpour (The Last Illusion, Sick) is the ultimate parody of a nouveau riche clan of Iranian Americans eager to downplay their immigrant roots. From starring in a reality television show to hosting the pandemic party of the year, the Milanis are determined to capture social media recognition beyond the success of their fast food business.

Thrilled to be mistaken as Italian thanks to his surname, Ali Milani lives with his wife, Homa, in an opulent mansion with their four daughters, a Persian cat named Pari, and live-in staff. Ali fled to the U.S. as a penniless teenager during the Iranian Revolution and hasn't looked back, building a veritable empire after inventing the popular "Pizzabomme." Designer-clad Homa pines for the homeland of her youth and is a passive matriarch who long gave up controlling her husband and daughters' more excessive tendencies.

Aspiring model and eldest child Violet struggles with an addiction to sweets. Fiery second daughter, Instagram queen, and high-schooler Roxanna is the beating heart of Tehrangeles, her ambitious ideas for courting fame propelling much of the story's glittery action. Mina is serious and studious, vastly different from her sisters. Whatever leisure time Haley, the youngest at 14 years old, has is channeled toward her obsession with fitness.

Set in early 2020, the story opens with the Milanis poised to star in their very own reality TV series. Roxanna, of course, will be the main attraction and is counting on the series to catapult her to next-level stardom. Never mind the pesky little secret she's keeping that might ruin everything. Tehran-born writer Khakpour's characters struggle with questions of identity arising from the hostilities between their native country and their adopted home, yet Violet would still prefer to be known by her Iranian name, "Banafsheh." Most intriguing of all is Mina, grappling with matters of sexuality that go beyond geopolitics.

When the global pandemic delays production of the TV series, Roxanna pivots to planning an opulent party, ignoring concerns about hosting a super-spreader event. With speculation heightening on whether the family home will be graced by any of the A-list celebrities invited to the event, what transpires is a spectacular family meltdown that only the Milanis could pull off, with the author clearly enjoying every minute of the action.

A treat for fans of Crazy Rich Asians, Tehrangeles is pure literary entertainment poking good-natured fun at "the world's largest community of Iranians outside Iran." --Shahina Piyarali

Shelf Talker: This contemporary whirlwind comedy drama parodies the wealthy Iranian-American families who call Los Angeles home.

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