Shelf Awareness for Friday, May 17, 2024


University of Texas Press: Grief Is a Sneaky Bitch: An Uncensored Guide to Navigating Loss by Lisa Keefauver

Berkley Books: Hair-raising horror to sink your teeth into!

Berkley Books: The Hitchcock Hotel by Stephanie Wrobel

Queen Mab Media: Get Our Brand Toolkit

Ballantine Books: Gather Me: A Memoir in Praise of the Books That Saved Me by Glory Edim

Ace Books: Rewitched by Lucy Jane Wood

Graywolf Press: We're Alone: Essays by Edwidge Danticat

St. Martin's Press: Runaway Train: Or, the Story of My Life So Far by Erin Roberts with Sam Kashner

News

B&N Opening New Store in South Portland, Maine, Next Week

Barnes & Noble's new South Portland, Maine, store will officially open this coming Wednesday, May 22. The store is less than a mile from a revamped Books-A-Million. (See story below.)

At 10 a.m., children's author Ryan Higgins will cut the ribbon before signing copies of his books Mother Bruce and We Don't Eat Our Classmates (Disney Hyperion), among others. Located in the Maine Crossing shopping center at 200 Running Hill Rd., the new store spans 25,000 square feet and includes a cafe.

B&N CEO James Daunt said, "It is exciting to build a home for books in the retail capital of Maine, but even more to do so in a community that is saturated with students and educators that we are especially looking forward to serving."

The South Portland store is one of six new B&N locations to open this month, with locations set to open in Sandy, Utah, and Chicago, Ill., on May 29. The company plans open more than 50 new stores this year.


BINC: Click to Apply to the Macmillan Booksellers Professional Development Scholarships


Renovated BAM Grand Reopening, Also in South Portland, Maine

Less than a mile away from a new Barnes & Noble (see story above), Books-A-Million has renovated its store at 430 Gorham Road in South Portland, Maine, and is holding a grand reopening party tomorrow, May 18. Activities include a chance to win a $1,000 gift card, complimentary ice cream and coffee, and a 20% discount for Millionaire's Club Members.

"The revamped store is set to welcome book lovers with a fresh new look and enhanced experience," BAM said. "Located near the Maine Mall, the store has undergone a complete transformation to create a beautiful space that showcases Books-A-Million's commitment to providing a haven for readers of all ages."

Besides "an extensive book collection," the store will feature "reading areas, a dedicated children's section, and a curated selection of gifts, stationery, and literary-themed merchandise. Customers can also look forward to special events, author signings, and book clubs, creating opportunities for book lovers to engage with fellow enthusiasts and authors, fostering and further supporting the vibrant literary community within the Portland area."

BAM v-p of marketing Olivia McDaniel said, "This renovation reflects our dedication to offering an unparalleled literary experience to our customers. From the moment you step inside, you'll be immersed in a world of books, comfort, and community. It's a true destination for book lovers to connect, explore, and discover."


Watkins Publishing: Fall Into Folklore! ARCS Available On Request


LA Librería, Los Angeles, Calif., Expanding This Summer

LA Librería's current location.

LA Librería, a Spanish-language children's bookstore in Los Angeles, Calif., is moving to a new, larger space in June, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Owners and co-founders Chiara Arroyo and Clene Navarrete have found a 4,400-square-foot space in L.A.'s Mid-City neighborhood that is double the size of the bookstore's previous location. It will house a storefront, a conference room for community events and workshops, a warehouse/storage area, and offices.

Navarrete and Arroyo founded LA Librería as an online bookstore in 2012. They were motivated to open a store of their own due to frustration at not only the lack of Spanish-language children's books, but also the quality of the few that were available. They recalled seeing books that had been translated to Spanish from English that were full of errors. After that, it "became a necessity," Navarrete told the Times.

The business began in their homes before moving to a warehouse in West Adams, which Arroyo and Navarrete opened as a storefront in 2015. They've held school book fairs and community festivals, and though the Covid-19 pandemic almost put an end to the bookstore, they were able to keep going thanks to grants and an eager audience.

Looking beyond the new space's opening, LA Librería's owners are considering launching a publishing house, growing the bilingual Los Angeles Libros Festival, forming partnerships with other non-English bookstores in the city, and selling more Spanish-language titles for adults.


Firebrand Holding First Publishing Innovation Forum in September

The Firebrand Group, which includes Firebrand Technologies, NetGalley, and Supadu, is launching the Publishing Innovation Forum, formerly known as the Firebrand Group Industry Conference, with the aim of "bringing the entire publishing industry together for conversations related to evolving and adapting to the book industry's many changes," with a focus on sales, rights and permissions, marketing, audiobooks, e-books, printing, distribution, and more. Sessions will encompass three tracks: marketing, technology, and business. The event is planned for September 24-26, in Nashville, Tenn.

The three keynote speakers are Mary McAveney, president and CEO, Abrams; Andy Hunter, founder and CEO, Bookshop.org as well as the co-creator and publisher of Literary Hub, Crime Reads, and BookMarks, and co-founder and chairman of Electric Literature; and Michael Tamblyn, CEO, Kobo, and a senior executive officer of parent company Rakuten. Speakers include Jason Brockwell, president of National Book Network; David Hetherington, v-p, global business development, of Books International; Joe Matthews, CEO of IPG; and Jin Yu, director of marketing, Berkley Publishing Group.

Firebrand Technologies and NetGalley CEO Angela Bole said, "It's important to all of us at the Firebrand Group that the Publishing Innovation Forum is a welcoming community of book industry professionals willing to share their collective knowledge and expertise. We know it's collaborative environments like this that provide the keys to solving common challenges and ensuring our industry remains strong, informed, and ready for the future. As a collection of companies, we're committed to fostering these environments both internally and externally."

For more information and to register, click here.


Notes

Image of the Day: Tor Tour at Third Place Books

On the first stop of their group tour, Tor sci-fi/fantasy authors (right to left) Rebecca Thorne (Can't Spell Treason Without Tea), Andrea Hairston (Archangels of Funk), Veronica Roth (When Among Crows), Nghi Vo (The Brides of High Hill), and special guest TJ Klune (Wolfsong) discussed genre, writing habits, and their new books in front of 250 fans at Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, Wash. (photo: Spencer Ruchti)

Happy 50th Birthday, A Children's Place!

Congratulations to A Children's Place in Portland, Ore., which is celebrating its 50th anniversary tomorrow, May 18.

The all-day celebration will begin at 10:15 a.m. with a storytime and include eight author signings, a scavenger hunt, and selfies with Dog Man. There will also be a special discount, a prize raffle, and refreshments.

A Children's Place was founded in 1974 by Lynn Kelly and Jan Burton. Pam Lewis has owned the store for the past 20 years. In 2015, she relocated the bookstore from its longtime home at 48th and Fremont to its current home at 1423 NE Fremont St.

"There's a legacy here," Lewis told Willamette Week. "It's timeless, in ways. I really, really hope it keeps on going. I've gotten kids where they were babies, and now I've seen them go off to college. It's really nice to have gotten to know families and watch them grow. I've been really lucky, I have to say."


Cool Idea: Date Night at Astoria Bookshop

Astoria Bookshop in Queens, N.Y., is offering a special evening at the bookstore:

"Looking for a special night out with your favorite book lover*? Why not take them on a date to your local bookshop!

"Date night includes an hour and a half of private browsing time after hours, a table & chairs for 2, a $30 gift card to the Astoria Bookshop, and a bookstore scavenger hunt, in case conversation stalls. BYO snacks & drinks, send us a Spotify playlist in advance, and we'll dim the lights and let you and your honey enjoy having the bookstore and patio (weather permitting) all to yourselves...."  *(Are YOU your favorite book lover? Try a solo date night!)"

The first offerings for date night have already been filled. More to come!


Personnel Changes at Berkley

At Berkley:

Kristin Cipolla has been promoted to senior publicist.

Stephanie Felty has been promoted to publicist.


Books & Authors

Awards: Firecracker Finalists; James Tait Black Winners

Finalists have been selected for the 10th annual Firecracker Awards, sponsored by the Community of Literary Magazines & Presses (CLMP) and honoring "the best independently published books of fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry and the best literary magazines in the categories of debut and general excellence." Winners will be announced at a virtual awards ceremony on June 27. To see the finalists in five categories, click here.

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Winners have been selected for the James Tait Black Prizes in fiction and biography, which have been presented by the University of Edinburgh since 1919. This year there were several firsts in the history of the prizes, both in the biography category. For the first time, there were two winners of the biography prize, and also for the first time, an author and translator jointly won a prize.

The winner of the fiction prize is Praiseworthy by Alexis Wright (published in the U.S. by New Directions), which, the organization said, explores "the climate crisis and how it affects the fictional town of Praiseworthy in northern Australia." A member of the Waanyi nation in Australia, Wright has written several award-winning fiction and nonfiction books. Praiseworthy is her fourth novel.

Fiction judge Dr Benjamin Bateman of the University of Edinburgh called Praiseworthy "a kaleidoscopic and brilliantly conceived novel that interweaves matters of climate and Indigenous justice in prose that accomplishes the most difficult of feats--being funny and simultaneously ferociously engaged with some of the most pressing ethical and political questions of our contemporary moment."

The joint winners of the biography prize are Traces of Enayat by Iman Mersal, translated by Robin Moger (Transit Books), and Fassbinder: Thousands of Mirrors by Ian Penman (Semiotext(e)).

Traces of Enayat illuminates the life story of author Enayat al-Zayyat, whose only novel, Love and Silence, was published posthumously following her suicide in her early 20s. First published in Arabic in 2019, Traces of Enayat is a memoir of Mersal's journey through a changing Cairo as she traces her subject's life. Born in Egypt and living now in Canada, Mersel is a poet, writer, academic and translator who has published several works covering topics such as motherhood and parent-child relationships. Robin Moger is an award-winning translator of Arabic literature to English.

Biography judge Dr Simon Cooke of the University of Edinburgh called Traces of Enayat "an absorbing work of recovery and appreciation: formally inventive and reflective in its fusion of biographical approaches into a form all its own, beautifully attentive to the elusive, and deeply moving in its evocation of Enayat al-Zayyat's life. It vividly opens up the cultural world of Cairo--and Enayat's relation to it--in a translation of great tonal and narrative integrity, even as the book traverses different forms and registers."

Fassbinder: Thousands of Mirrors is "an insight into the post-Second World War culture of sex, drugs and rock and roll through the eyes of West German filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder," organizers said. "It presents a portrait of the artist, who created more than 40 films and is regarded one of the major figures of the New German Cinema movement."

A British writer, music journalist and critic, Penman is the author of three books and contributes to a range of magazines and publications, including the London Review of Books.

Biography judge Dr Simon Cooke called Fassbinder: Thousands of Mirrors "an extraordinary, signal achievement in the art of life-writing: poetically luminous at every turn, fascinating and agile in form, and hauntingly moving as a portrait--of Fassbinder, vividly brought to life on the page in all his complexity of the wider culture. A time-bound meditation in fragments, it also has a deep, powerfully affecting tonal integrity and pathos."


Reading with... Zoë Schlanger

photo: Heather Sten

Zoë Schlanger is a staff writer at the Atlantic, where she covers climate change. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, the New York Review of Books, Time, Newsweek, the Nation, and on NPR. She received a 2017 National Association of Science Writers' reporting award and was a finalist for the 2019 Livingston Award. She lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. Her first book, The Light Eaters (Harper, May 7, 2024), is about the world of plant intelligence research and the possibilities of nonhuman minds.

Handsell readers your book:

It's a gallivant through botany labs and forests in search of answers to the question: Are plants intelligent? It will make you see your houseplants as total aliens and regard a patch of woods with some mixture of trepidation and awe, ideally.

On your nightstand now:

I am reading Tove Jansson's The Summer Book. Her prose is spare and wry and weird and evokes the sublimity and cruelty of summer in a way nothing else does. I needed it to get through New York winter. Her book Fair Play is one of my favorites, about two women living on a small island trying to be partners and artists at the same time. I'm also reading Jill Lepore's The Deadline. Her essay "The Shorebird," about Rachel Carson's ocean writing, ran in the New Yorker in 2018 and is one of my favorite essays in the world. I carried a hard copy of that issue around to at least six different residencies while I was writing my book, just so I could reread the lead when I needed to. It drips with marine life, you could taste it. I'm also just cracking into Octavia Butler's Lilith's Brood, at last. Lustrous, biology-heavy sci fi--give it to me.

Favorite books when you were a child:

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle, and The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley. I feel like there's a special kinship with people who loved The Mists of Avalon as kids and read it probably a touch too young. If you know you know.

Your top five authors:

Clarice Lispector, the patron saint of metaphors for the inexpressible mystery of being alive; Octavia Butler, whose Parable of the Sower is always in my head; Ursula K. Le Guin for sci fi that speaks to every current moment, Ann Patchett for so many things but especially her Brazilian scientist epic State of Wonder.

Book you've faked reading:

I haven't done this since college. But back then I got away without ever reading Foucault. I could probably still tell you what he thought about things, because everyone was always talking about him.

Book that changed your life:

Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer. Her meditation on the concept of ecological gifts inserted itself permanently into my brain and changed my day-to-day thought processes.

Book you're an evangelist for:

I would have said The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu, but now everyone knows about that one. I'll have to come up with something else to proselytize about. It was A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki for a long while--it does very good things to the mind--but now I've gotten most of my friends to read it. If I'm honest, it will probably always be Braiding Sweetgrass.

Five books you'll never part with:

Zami by Audre Lorde, which I love more than nearly any other text. Near to the Wild Heart by Clarice Lispector, which I return to when I need to drown for a moment in the enigma of human experience. Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler, which is truth-telling and future-casting at the highest level. Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard for lessons in making the quotidian alien. And Rachel Carson's The Sea Around Us--there is no better example of clear science communication out there.

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

Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke. My friend Lucy gave me my copy when I was maybe 21, 22. I'll never get to feel those lessons on creative work and love and self-regard hit me in the chest for the first time again. They've got to get you while young, I think, but they're very good.



Book Review

Review: The Nude

The Nude by C. Michelle Lindley (Atria, $27.99 hardcover, 272p., 9781668032954, July 23, 2024)

In C. Michelle Lindley's evocative debut, The Nude, a young art historian travels to an island off the coast of Greece for work only to become embroiled in a complex love affair.

In the aftermath of a devastating personal loss, a divorce, and an affair with a colleague, art historian Elizabeth Clarke finds stability in her work, despite the volatility of her boss. His treatment of her teeters precariously between mentorship and sexual harassment. Eager to prove herself worthy of a promotion, Elizabeth arrives in the Greek isles determined to acquire a subversive nude statue. But as Elizabeth gets closer to her handsome translator, his enigmatic wife, Theo, and their friends, her once-professional work trip quickly unravels into a psychological and sexual puzzle box that she can't so easily find her way out of.

Despite The Nude's thoughtful and patient deconstruction of lofty themes, its attention to Elizabeth's ever-constricting mental state gives it the propulsion of a psychological thriller. Lindley alternates between languid, sensual prose and clipped, devastating indictments, producing a brilliantly suffocating outline of Elizabeth's consciousness. While considering a photograph of Theo, for example, Elizabeth at first gets pleasurably lost in noting "a wimpling on her thigh, a prominent vein on her hands, a faint scar running across her belly button, a peek of delicate body hair," only then to be confronted associatively by a memory of "the adhesive, how tightly it melded to [the statue], had made it seem as though the head had been replaced by a new one, or else had never existed at all. What was the line, really, between destruction and invention?... I let [the photograph] bury me." Elizabeth's own process of coming undone by art, ambition, and desire in the context of a stunningly realized Mediterranean milieu recalls a kind of Highsmith-ian suspense that may surprise some readers.

But as in the best thrillers, the seeming urgency of what the narrator focuses on obscures complicity in the real crime. In The Nude, that central crime is most literally cultural theft, and yet Elizabeth's complicity in this system both abstractly and concretely connects this offense to the gendered and geographic power dynamics that underlie it. Elizabeth may be objectified by men in the novel, but her gaze objectifies, too, leaving her wondering to what extent it's possible to "take less." --Alice Martin, freelance writer and editor

Shelf Talker: A penetrating and thrilling portrait of ambition, sexual power dynamics, and cultural theft, C. Michelle Lindley's The Nude doesn't let its readers off the hook easily.


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