Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, April 24, 2024

William Morrow & Company: Death of the Author by Nnedi Okorafor

St. Martin's Press: Disney High: The Untold Story of the Rise and Fall of Disney Channel's Tween Empire

Running Press Adult: Scam Goddess: Lessons from a Life of Cons, Grifts, and Schemes by Laci Mosley

Graphix: 39 Clues: One False Note (39 Clues Graphic Novel #2) by Gordon Korman, Illustrated by Hannah Templer

Running Press: Enter For a Chance to Win a Moonlit Explorer Pack!

Quill Tree Books: The Firelight Apprentice by Bree Paulsen


Page & Flame Opens in Landrum, S.C.

Amanda Edwards's long-time hobby "has blossomed into a new multi-faceted business," Page & Flame, located at 221 East Rutherford St. in downtown Landrum, S.C., the Spartanburg Herald-Journal reported. The indie bookstore and candle shop, which opened April 6, began its journey last July when Edwards started selling her hypoallergenic candle line, Green Creek Candle Company, at the Shops at LAM. 

The book and candle shop, which has now expanded to a storefront inside the antiques mall, has been well received. Edwards estimated that more than 100 people came to the store's opening.

"I love how it's just bringing the community together, and people are saying how happy they are that we have a bookstore again," she said. 

Page & Flame's collection of books is highly curated because of space constraints, Edwards added, but includes books from almost every genre. "And if anyone wants any particular books that I don't have, I will special order it for them." 

She described her stock as a mix of Southern Independent Booksellers Association recommendations, popular reads in the Instagram and TikTok book communities, and indie authors. Edwards is a writer, too, working on a new adult fantasy book.

"I believe that there are stories that need to be told that aren't necessarily picked up by a traditional publisher. Just as a writer myself, I know how hard it is to crack into that industry and I like to support people who want to tell a story," she said. "I am discerning. I do require an author to send it to me so that I can make sure its well edited and... (something) that I think that my local community would enjoy."

Green Creek Candle Company offers more than 80 fragrances, many of them inspired by her favorite books. Her candle Lightning & Dragons is inspired by Rebecca Yarros's Fourth Wing, and the Of Mists & Shadows candle is based on the described scent of the character Rhysand from Sarah J. Maas's A Court of Thorns and Roses series. Many of the candles are placed with their corresponding books inside the shop.

Edwards plans for Page & Flame to be a hub of activity, offering author events, midnight release parties, and two book clubs.

Zest Books: The Gender Binary Is a Big Lie: Infinite Identities around the World by Lee Wind

New Literary Arts HQ in Portland, Ore., to Feature Bookstore

The new headquarters for the Portland, Ore., nonprofit Literary Arts will include a bookstore and cafe run by Literary Arts, the Portland Tribune reported.

Rendering of Literary Arts' new space.

Renovations are underway on a 14,000-square-foot building that will serve as the art organization's new headquarters. In addition to the bookstore and cafe, there will be "a classroom and event space, writing areas, staff offices, and a recording studio," noted the Tribune

The bookstore will reside on the building's first floor and feature movable bookshelves that will allow staff to create ample room for events. Literary Arts executive director Andrew Proctor added that the bookstore "will be designed to be a nice, independent bookstore. We're glad to join the community of booksellers."

Literary Arts previously leased a headquarters at 925 S.W. Washington St.; it owns the new headquarters at 716 S.E. Grand Ave., which happens to be close to several methods of public transportation. Not all of the organization's events will be held at the new headquarters, the Tribune added. The Portland Book Festival will remain in the South Park Blocks and Portland Arts & Lectures will continue to be held at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall.

While Literary Arts has not announced a specific opening date, it expects the new headquarters to be ready in the fall.

GLOW: Flatiron Books: Private Rites by Julia Armfield

Binc Seeks Mentors, Subject Matter Experts for BIPOC Bookstore Incubator 

The Book Industry Charitable Foundation is seeking mentors and subject matter experts (SMEs) to support the 12 aspiring and new bookstore owners from California to Florida in the first cohort of BincTank, Binc's business incubator pilot program to support BIPOC-owned retail bookselling businesses. 

The 12 entrepreneurs will finish Professional Bookselling School in late May and Binc is working to have a pool of mentors and SMEs available by early June. "As people sometimes learn better from those they share affinities with, people of color--and allies--are strongly encouraged to participate," Binc noted. Those interested in being considered can complete the intake form

A mentor will be matched one-on-one with an entrepreneur for a longer-term relationship that provides guidance and support and serves as a source of motivation and inspiration. Mentors and mentees will be matched based on need and skill sets. A subject matter expert is an expert in a specific area or subject and is consulted to help solve a particular problem.

"Mentors and SMEs play different but complementary roles in the development of a small business," said Ken White, BincTank program manager. "Both are valuable resources that can help individuals and businesses achieve their goals." 

White added that a mentor will be matched with each entrepreneur by early June but that the process is ongoing and those who complete the intake form to be considered as a mentor or SME may not be matched initially but could be contacted in the future. 

Alex Baker: Exceptional Design And Creative Services For The Publishing Industry

Obituary Note: Yorick Blumenfeld

Dutch-born British author Yorick Blumenfeld, "a prolific writer and futurologist with more than 25 books and 2,000 articles to his name," died April 8, the Guardian reported. He was 91. In the early 1960s, at the height of the cold war and worried by the risk of nuclear annihilation, Blumenfeld and his wife, Helaine, traveled to the South Pacific with a group of friends and founded Philia, an international community near Nelson, New Zealand.

"I was very concerned... particularly when the Cuban missile crisis took place, about our chances of survival," he said. "That led me to think that I want to go to a place such as New Zealand which I thought might have a good chance of escaping a nuclear attack and fallout around the world."

Although the community did not last, his experiences there inspired the novel Jenny, My Diary (1981), which topped the British bestseller list for eight weeks and was translated into 32 languages.

When the Philia community ended, Blumenfeld worked as a journalist after a chance meeting with Philip Graham, owner of the Washington Post, which also published Newsweek. He started as a cultural correspondent based in Paris, and in 1965 opened the first eastern European bureau for the magazine. See Saw: Cultural Life in Eastern Europe (1968) chronicled his experiences and he shifted his focus toward writing books.

Blumenfeld's later career was marked by his engagement with imagining the future. 2099: A Eutopia (1999) presented a vision of a techno-future shaped by cooperative and non-violent ideals, mediated by mechanical intelligence. Dollars or Democracy (2004) argued for a technology-driven, democratic alternative to capitalism, emphasizing cooperation and ecological sustainability, the Guardian wrote.


Image of the Day: Baldacci and Powers at Story & Song

More than 100 fans enjoyed a lively conversation between bestselling authors David Baldacci (l.) and Kevin Powers at Story and Song Bookstore Bistro in San Fernandina Beach, Fla. Baldacci talked about growing up in Richmond, Va., in the turbulent '60s, where racism was prevalent, and how that influenced the writing of his new legal thriller, A Calamity of Souls (Grand Central). Powers's latest novel, A Line in the Sand (Back Bay), won't be released in paperback until May 21, so people scooped up signed copies of his previous book, The Yellow Birds,winner of the PEN/Hemingway Award.

#WorldBookDay: 'A Good Day to Read a Book!'

Yesterday was UNESCO World Book and Copyright Day, a global celebration "to recognize the scope of books--a link between the past and the future, a bridge between generations and across cultures." Many indie booksellers noted the occasion in social media posts, including:

Willow Bookstore, Perham, Minn. "Today is not only #newreleaseTuesday--it is also #WorldBookDay! What is World Book Day, and why April 23rd? 'April 23 is a symbolic date in world literature. It is the date on which several prominent authors, William Shakespeare, Miguel de Cervantes and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega all died. This date was a natural choice for UNESCO's General Conference, held in Paris in 1995, to pay a world-wide tribute to books and authors on this date, encouraging everyone to access books.' "

At Gramercy Books, Bexley, Ohio

Gramercy Books, Bexley, Ohio: "Celebrating World Book Day with Katie's latest artistic creation! I bet most of us book lovers have a memory of reading Mother Goose stories as a kid!"

The Stacks Bookstore, Savannah, Ga.: "The fact that World Book Day falls on a #NewBookTuesday ahead of Indie Bookstore Day means you deserve a new book! Sorry, we don't make the rules."

Belmont Books, Belmont, Mass.: "Happy World Book Day!!!! It's the perfect day to read a book. But hey, every day at Belmont Books a good day to read a book!"

The Little Bookstore, Katy, Tex.: "¡Día mundial del libro! We're happy to return to Guidepost Montessori Katy to celebrate this special day with the students in Spanish Immersion Children's House and Toddler Communities. We'll bring a big book of Latin rhymes and have fun with Doña Araña."

At lala books, Lowell, Mass.

The Hatter's Bookshop, Princeton, W.Va.: "It's World Book Day! To celebrate we'll be doing a sale for all books in store.... See you guys soon, right?"

Hickory Stick Bookshop, Washington Depot, Conn.: "Happy World Book Day from your Hickory Stick Bookshop team!"

Young Heart Books & Toys, Johnstown, Pa.: "Happy World Book Day! Make sure to take some time to curl up with a new read!"

lala books, Lowell, Mass.: "On this #WorldBookDay consider shopping from our 'Found in Translation' section and enjoy titles from around the world."

Celebrating Plaid Day: Browseabout Books

Posted on Facebook yesterday by Browseabout Books, Rehoboth Beach, Del.: "Day 2 of #IndieBookstoreDay Spirit Week: PLAID DAY! Join us this week for even more fun spirit themes, culminating in Saturday's Indie Bookstore Day celebration!"

Personnel Changes at Candlewick Press, Holiday House, and Peachtree

Jess Brigman has joined Candlewick Press, Holiday House, and Peachtree as retail director of sales. Brigman was most recently senior account manager for the Walt Disney Company and has held sales management positions at Abrams and Macmillan.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Susan Page on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Susan Page, author of The Rulebreaker: The Life and Times of Barbara Walters (Simon & Schuster, $30.99, 9781982197926).

Today Show: Deuki Hong, co-author of Koreaworld: A Cookbook (Clarkson Potter, $35, 9780593235942).

Also on Today: Matthew Hussey, author of Love Life: How to Raise Your Standards, Find Your Person, and Live Happily (No Matter What) (Harper, $28.99, 9780063294387).

The View: Valerie Bertinelli, author of Indulge: Delicious and Decadent Dishes to Enjoy and Share (Harvest, $35, 9780063244726).

Drew Barrymore Show: Arthur C. Brooks, co-author of Build the Life You Want: The Art and Science of Getting Happier (Portfolio, $30, 9780593545409).

Movies: The Thursday Murder Club

Pierce Brosnan, Helen Mirren, and Ben Kingsley will star in The Thursday Murder Club, an adaptation of British TV host and producer Richard Osman's bestselling novel, Deadline reported. Chris Columbus (Home Alone, Mrs. Doubtfire, Harry Potter) is attached to write and direct the project, which is being made by Steven Spielberg's production house, Amblin Entertainment.

Filming will begin in the U.K. at the end of June and run through to September. Deadline noted that the rights to Osman's first novel, which has had several sequels, were acquired by Spielberg in 2020, and work has been ongoing since then.

Books & Authors

Awards: PEN America Literary FInalists & Winners, Ceremony Cancelled

PEN America has released the names of its 2024 award finalists and winners of the 2024 PEN America Literary Awards. The five finalists and a winning title for each award were selected by the judges during their final deliberation, which took place before some authors withdrew from consideration as finalists. Winners who remained under consideration for their respective award will receive their cash prizes, the organization said. There will be no Literary Awards ceremony this year.

The winner of the 2024 PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Novel is Javier Fuentes for Countries of Origin (Pantheon), and the winner of the 2024/PEN Award for Poetry in Translation is Patty Crane for her translation from Swedish of The Blue House: Collected Works of Tomas Tranströmer by Tomas Transtromer (Copper Canyon Press). 

PEN America said that no book award winners will be announced if the selected winning title was no longer under consideration for the award. For the cash prizes that could not be conferred, a decision about how to allocate the funds will be made on a case-by-case basis, according to the specifications of each award contract and the wishes of award underwriters. Of the 61 authors and translators nominated for a book award this cycle, 28 authors chose to withdraw their books from consideration.

PEN America recognized the career achievement winners, including playwright Tony Kushner for the 2024 PEN/Mike Nichols Writing for Performance Award; Suzanne Jill Levine for the 2024 PEN/Ralph Manheim Award for Translation; playwright and screenwriter Guadalís Del Carmen for the 2024 PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award; and a posthumous award to novelist, critic, and playwright Maryse Condé for the 2024 PEN/Nabokov Award for Achievement in International Literature. Condé died on April 2.

Reading with... Nick Medina

photo: Ashley Suttor

Nick Medina was born in Chicago, Ill. and is a member of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana. He appreciates local and Native folklore, which, along with research into the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) epidemic, inspired his debut novel, Sisters of the Lost Nation. His new novel, Indian Burial Ground (Berkley, April 16, 2024), addresses the long-lasting impact of buried trauma, along with other issues that affect many Native and Indigenous communities.

Handsell readers your book in 25 words or less:

Indian Burial Ground is a mythological horror story that forces its characters to address buried trauma that resurfaces years after it left its initial scars.

On your nightstand now:

I never read in bed, so it's technically not on my nightstand, but I'm currently rereading Stephen King's Pet Sematary. In preparation for the release of Indian Burial Ground, I decided to read (or reread) many of the stories that incorporate the Indian burial ground horror trope. Pet Sematary incorporates the trope but puts a twist on it by making it clear that Natives aren't responsible for creating the burial ground through magic, mysticism, or evil spirits. Rather, the burial ground has always been there (and always will be); the Micmacs just happened to occupy the land it's on. I don't scare easily, but this novel consistently gives me the chills. Tough to read at times, it's a horror classic for a reason.

Favorite book when you were a child:

I don't recall having a specific favorite, but when I was really young, I collected the Serendipity books written by Stephen Cosgrove, each about a creature--some ordinary, some fantastical--and which always had a moral to consider. When I got a little older, I was drawn to the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series by Alvin Schwartz, which eventually led me to seek longer horror stories and, lucky for me, the first Goosebumps book by R.L. Stine came out right about then. From then on, I read dozens of Stine's books and still find myself uneasily running my fingers over the raised bumps on the covers whenever I pull them from my shelves.

Your top five authors:

This is tough because it changes almost every time I read something that blows my mind. Since I'm currently rereading Pet Sematary by Stephen King, which has reawakened the awe I experienced the first time I read it, I'll put King at the top. Few authors have been around since before my birth who continue to give us all something new year in and year out. I admire that about him. I'm grateful for it too.

Other authors on my "must read" list are Paul Tremblay (what an honor it was and is to have a blurb from him on the front cover of my debut novel, Sisters of the Lost Nation), Rachel Harrison (I'm not just saying that because there's a blurb from her on the cover of Indian Burial Ground; I've loved everything she's written), Patricia Highsmith (a true master of mystery, thrillers, and suspense), and an up-and-coming writer named Cody Lakin (his first two novels, The Family Condition and The Aching Plane are wholly unique, smart, and haunting).

Book you've faked reading:

Do people really do this? I pick up books that I want to read. Faking it wouldn't do me any good.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt. And now that I think about it, Olde Heuvelt should be on my top five authors list because I've loved everything I've read by him. Hex, about a small town trying to keep a witch under wraps, gave me literal nightmares. That's as good as it gets in my book.

Book you've bought for the cover:

I don't recall ever buying a book just because of its cover, but I recently saw an edition of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein with a very cool and creepy depiction of the monster on the cover. I might have to add that one to my shelves.

Book you hid from your parents:

Unfortunately, I don't remember the title or the author, but I read a book I found at the library that very graphically detailed the killings of several serial killers (crime scene photos included). No question, I was too young to read that book when I did. My mother wouldn't have approved.

Book that changed your life:

I recently had the privilege to read a book that, as I am writing this, has yet to be released called Listen to Your Sister by Neena Viel. It's a horror novel about sibling love and loyalty that addresses issues of racism, abandonment, and poverty. The way Viel writes about the fears and struggles her Black characters endure helped me understand and relate to certain racial issues in a way I never had before. It's a brilliant book.

Favorite line from a book:

Speaking of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, a line immediately comes to mind from that novel. "Beware; for I am fearless, and therefore powerful." It says a lot. Can any of us truly be fearless? Will we ever know such power?

Five books you'll never part with:

I'm of the belief that books should be shared, and I'm usually happy to pass them along once I've read them. There are, however, several that I cling to for one reason or another. Among them are:

A 1977 edition of Stephen King's The Shining with the original book jacket, which I found buried beneath books at a used book sale.
Such Sharp Teeth by Rachel Harrison. Rachel was the first author to send me a signed copy of her book after I got my own book deal. It was a pretty special moment for me.
A signed copy of Rocks: My Life In and Out of Aerosmith written by Joe Perry with David Ritz. Perry is one of my musical heroes, and it was a thrill to have him sign this book in person.
My Roots, an unpublished book written by my great-grandfather that details what he went through as an immigrant coming to this country.
Finally, the first copy I ever held of my very own book, Sisters of the Lost Nation.

Book you most want to read again for the first time:

Perhaps The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Rarely do I have to set a book down because I'm so disturbed. I had to do that with this one. I almost didn't want to know what was going to happen next. For me, it was a challenging and incredible reading experience.

Book Review

Children's Review: Quinnelope and the Mystery of the Missing Moon

Quinnelope and the Mystery of the Missing Moon by HF Brownfield, Kayla Coombs (Oni Press, $14.99 paperback, 272p., ages 8-12, 9781637154397, June 11, 2024)

For the second book in their Quinnelope series, Quinnelope and the Mystery of the Missing Moon, HF Brownfield and Kayla Coombs (Quinnelope and the Cookie King Catastrophe) send their pink blob hero and her pals Star, Bub, and Pish into space in search of their planet's missing moon. They meet a plethora of zany characters and encounter the inconceivable along the way, making their celestial adventure a foray into silliness and fun.

When Quinnelope discovers that Planet Quearth's moon has left its orbit, she alerts her confidants, packs her supplies in her crown, and they all set off in a deluxe space RV. They must find their moon--if they don't, what will happen to "ghost stories and camp fires and beauty sleep?" The voyagers make their way through town and then launch onto space highway Route 77 through an automated car wash. Quinnelope, despite having no driving experience, assures her passengers they are just fine: "I can handle this... because I have a secret weapon... Manners." The team of cosmic sleuths encounter a meteor family, go bowling with farting spikey blokes, ask for directions at the Glitterglorb, and experience "spaghettification" as they squeeze into a black hole. Meanwhile, Star produces an intergalactic radio show that chronicles their extraordinary encounters in the wilds of space.

Brownfield and Coombs's protagonists are whacky and endearing. Star, "the only star in the universe who shoots rainbows out of their gluteus maximus," Bub, a level-headed, "responsible panda butler" who keeps the team stocked with snacks, and Pish, a talking purple goldfish, complement Quinnelope's larger-than-life personality. Some allusions will likely be lost on the target audience (Chapter Five is titled "Fly Me to the Moon"; comets yell "Ice, ice, baby") but the madcap humor should still be a big hit with middle-grade readers.

The graphic novel's colorful comic-style illustrations are bold, striking, and filled with exaggerated cuteness: Star, Bub, and Quinnelope all have massive, adorable eyes and soft, rounded features. Brownfield and Coombs use panels of all shapes and full-page bleeds to keep the visual story dynamic; the dialogue is all black lettering in white speech bubbles, enhancing accessibility. For any budding artists, Brownfield and Combs provide bonus content that includes instructions for drawing the book's characters.

No matter what planet the audience is on, they are likely to find Quinnelope and the Mystery of the Missing Moon packed full of quirky, far-out escapades that make for a humorously enjoyable read. --Jen Forbus, freelancer

Shelf Talker: A team of eccentric sleuths set out to find their missing moon in a wild, cosmic adventure for middle-grade comic fans.

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