Shelf Awareness for Thursday, June 8, 2017

Algonquin Young Readers: the Beautiful Game by Yamile Saied Méndez

Berkley Books: Books that will sweep you off your feet! Enter Giveaway!

Feiwel & Friends: The Flicker by HE Edgmon

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: The Pumpkin Princess and the Forever Night by Steven Banbury

St. Martin's Griffin: Murdle: The School of Mystery: 50 Seriously Sinister Logic Puzzles by GT Karber

Quotation of the Day

Indies vs. Amazon: 'More Books, More Warmth, No Algorithms'

"The description of the new Amazon retail bookstore in Manhattan gives the feel of all the warmth of the website, with a smaller selection. I have run an independent, family-friendly, politically progressive community bookstore for the past 34 years. Our selection depends not on an algorithm at all; it relies on what we judge our readers will like or feel is important.

"Our store invites that cranky toddler, the person who needs a safe space to rant about the latest lies of the Trump administration, the cancer patient who needs to talk and that local teacher who knows our staff can find what she needs.

"I hope that we will continue to serve readers who understand that a monopoly in the book business will not serve a country of independent thinkers."

--Nancy Braus, co-owner of Everyone's Books, Brattleboro, Vt., in a letter to the New York Times today in response to a story "At Amazon's New Bookstore, No Coffee but All the Data You Can Drink."

Blackstone Publishing: Rogue Community College: A Liberty House Novel by David R Slayton


PRH Acquires Literary Merchandise Company Out of Print

Penguin Random House has acquired the literary-themed clothing and accessories company Out of Print. Founded in New York in 2010, Out of Print creates licensed merchandise based on books for children, teens and adults, including T-shirts, socks, mugs, tote bags, matchboxes and more. The company also contributes to literacy programs and book donations for every product sold.

For Penguin Random House, the acquisition is part of an effort to expand its author- and imprint-brand merchandising capabilities. Out of Print will continue to operate independently and remain in its headquarters in Manhattan, while company founders Todd Lawton and Jeff LeBlanc will now report to Alison Rich, v-p, publishing innovation development at PRH.

"Working hand-in-hand with Penguin Random House is a tremendous opportunity for all our partners, and for our fans, globally to express their passion for their favorite reading," said Lawton and LeBlanc in a press release. "We cannot be more excited to start writing the next chapter in the Out of Print story."

"With their forward-thinking entrepreneurship, joyful collaborative spirit, and shared social values, [Out of Print] will be enthusiastically welcomed as new members of the Penguin Random House family," said Nina von Moltke, executive v-p and director of publishing development and author platforms.

"Much in the way that music stars, sports figures and other entertainers have T-shirts and other apparel and collectibles to connect with their fans in a commemorative way, Out of Print has been doing that with books and authors," PRH spokesperson Stuart Applebaum told the Wall Street Journal. "It's a revenue stream for our authors, illustrators and for us. It's also a way to further connect with readers and fans while building additional recognition for our books."

Out of Print offers many products featuring PRH books and authors, including Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale; George Orwell's 1984 and Animal Farm; Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita; Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis; Gabriel García Márquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude; William Golding's Lord of the Flies; Ian Fleming's Casino Royale, Live and Let Die and Moonraker; Louisa May Alcott's Little Women; Ransom Riggs's Miss Peregrine Series; and the recently launched Pelican Shakespeare collection.

N.C.'s Unlimited Books for Kids More Than Doubling in Size

Unlimited Books for Kids, which opened last summer in Franklin, N.C., next to Books Unlimited, is growing, according to Bookselling This Week. The 300-square-foot store is expanding into vacant space at the back of the building, adding 400 square feet, owner Suzanne Harouff announced.

Harouff also owns Books Unlimited, a general-interest bookstore.

Amazon Opening Ninth Warehouse in Florida

Amazon plans to open its ninth warehouse in Florida, in Miami, an 800,000-square-foot facility that will give its 1,000 full-time workers "opportunities to engage with Amazon Robotics in a highly technological workplace." The robots will "assist employees in fulfilling customer orders."

The facility will stock "small items" such as books, electronics and toys and will be located near Opa-locka Executive Airport at the Carrie Meek International Business Park, a public/private partnership involving the Carrie Meek Foundation and Foundry Commercial, which is offering at least some new jobs through training provided by the foundation.

Governor Rick Scott noted "the important role of Enterprise Florida and local economic development agencies" in helping Amazon come to the area. County Commissioner Barbra Jordan thanked "all the characters involved over the past several years that helped make the Amazon deal possible."

Amazon has an estimated 30,000 robots in its warehouses that were developed by Kiva Systems, the robotics company it bought in 2012 and renamed Amazon Robotics in 2015.

New NYC Address for Abrams

Effective Monday, June 26, Abrams's New York offices will be located at 195 Broadway, 9th Floor, New York, N.Y. 10007. The company will accept packages and mail at its current address until Wednesday, June 21.

E-mail addresses and phone numbers will not change.

Obituary Note: John Freely

John Freely, a "historian of science and inveterate traveller who... showed how much modern science and indeed modern thought in the west owes to ideas forged in the eastern past," died April 20, the Guardian reported. He was 90. Although born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Istanbul "was the locus of his life and his work; and John's travel book Strolling Through Istanbul (1973, with Hilary Sumner-Boyd), has established itself as a classic. As a guide to the city, John was peerless; it is doubtful whether any westerner in the late 20th century had a better understanding of it than he," the Guardian wrote.

Freely's other books include Before Galileo, Light from the East, Aladdin's Lamp, The Grand Turk, Storm on Horseback and Jem Sultan. His life in Istanbul during the 1960s, which "was both scholarly and hedonistic," was later dramatized by his daughter Maureen Freely in her novels The Life of the Party and Sailing Through Byzantium

BookExpo 2017: For Authors--Working with Indie Bookstores

"We try to cater each event to that author and treat the event as if it's really, really, super important because it is important," said Susan Hans O'Connor of Penguin Bookshop in Sewickley, Pa., during the education session "For Authors: Working with Indie Bookstores," which also featured Valerie Koehler of Blue Willow Bookshop in Houston, Tex., and Pete Mulvihill of Green Apple Books in San Francisco, Calif.

O'Connor, who worked for a New York publisher before becoming a bookstore owner, noted that "it is all about building relationships. Whether you're an established author, an independently published author, or being published by a big house, it's all about one-on-one relationships with booksellers, bookstore owners, other authors, etc. We always tell authors that when they come to our store, no matter how many people show up, it's worth your time because you've built a relationship with the store."

Koehler, Mulvihill and O'Connor

Although Green Apple offers visiting authors substantial outreach through social media and its e-mail newsletter, Mulvihill said that "we do really rely on authors to help with that effort" before, during and after the event. "We try to reach out beyond the walls of our store to get people in, which is a big reason that we do events at all. We think even if you have an event where only 10 or 12 people come and only sell three or four books, in some ways that's a win. I got 10 people in the door and they have a positive association with this place."

While discussing how authors might contact a bookstore directly about hosting an event, Mulvihill said, "It depends a little bit. If the author does live in our community, and especially in our neighborhood, we love to meet them directly. But if the person who deals with events is unavailable, don't take that as an insult. We all juggle 80 things each day, like everybody else in this world. You could just ask for the person's name and how best to get in touch with him or her."

Koehler cautioned that if authors are "going to approach us directly without some intermediary, like a PR firm or publicist, I would like them to understand what we're all about. So my suggestion is to do some research first. I'm shocked how many people don't do that research before they approach us.... We can't possibly take everything and we would like that fit to be a good fit for our customers."

O'Connor noted that "we do feel that our role is to support our community, which means supporting local authors as well as bringing in different voices. We may not sell a lot of their books on a regular basis, but if it's an opportunity for someone to come in and we feel that they can do excellent outreach and that we can work in a successful partnership, we are pretty much open to any kind of book, within reason."

And sometimes, indie booksellers even approach self-published authors: "We've found some of our best small press books by what we're reading," said Koehler, who recalled noticing a local news item about Goodnight Houston, "which is a little picture book. And they didn't approach us. I called them and said this might be a good fit. So remember that we are looking for something to sell in our store that we think is a good fit and that we are going to make money on." --Robert Gray 

G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!
A Forty Year Kiss
by Nickolas Butler
GLOW: A Forty Year Kiss by Nickolas Butler

A Forty Year Kiss by Nickolas Butler is a passionate, emotionally complex love story that probes tender places within the heart and soul. When 60-somethings Charlie and Vivian--married then divorced in their 20s--reunite after four decades, they are swept up by the very best of what their romantic relationship once offered. "Anyone who has ever thought about what might have been will find this book fascinating," says Shana Drehs, senior editorial director at Sourcebooks Landmark. "The story is a brilliant exploration of a second chance at love, always realistic but never saccharine." As Charlie and Vivian build a bridge from past to present, their enduring love paving over potholes, Butler (Shotgun Lovesongs) raises questions about how life changes people--or does it?--and delivers another heartening, unforgettable novel. --Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines

(Sourcebooks Landmark, $27.99 Hardcover, 9781464221248, 
February 4, 2025)


Shelf vetted, publisher supported


Image of the Day: Movers & Shakers

Finn Murphy hosted a launch party for The Long Haul: A Trucker's Tales of Life on the Road (Norton) at the Dark Horse in Boulder, Colo. Pictured: (l.-r.) author Murphy with fellow movers Francisco Garcia, Nabloby Wurhe, Jake Lucero and Manual Ortiz. Watch the trailer for the book here.

Bookstore Terrace of the Day: Atlantis Books

Posted on Facebook Tuesday by Atlantis Books, located on the Greek island of Santorini and often featured on beautiful-bookstores-of-the-world lists:

"The terrace is just about ready for full joy at this point. First a bit more #tcb : paint for the walls and floor; a few more books on our new #bouquiniste shelves; hammock hung strong but slack. Then we #ltd : we live the dream. #bookstagram #elvis #lisamarie #lisamarieplane #aroomofonesown #woolf #aroomwithaview #roomwithaview #forster."

Pennie Picks Before the Fall

Pennie Clark Ianniciello, Costco's book buyer, has chosen Before the Fall by Noah Hawley (Grand Central, $15.99, 9781455561797) as her pick of the month for June. In Costco Connection, which goes to many of the warehouse club's members, she wrote:

"One of life's great small pleasures is falling in love with a book and then realizing that the author has a backlist you get to explore. That's just what happened after I read this month's book buyer's pick, Noah Hawley's Before the Fall.

"The story begins with the crash of a small private jet off the coast of Martha's Vineyard. Of the 11 passengers, only two survive: a painter and a young boy, who is now heir to a large family fortune. The suspense builds as readers move between the aftermath of the crash and the lives of the passengers before they perished.

"Hawley is so talented; I believe many readers will fall for his writing just as hard as I did."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Manal al-Sharif on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Manal al-Sharif, author of Daring to Drive: A Saudi Woman's Awakening (Simon & Schuster, $26, 9781476793023).

Late Night with Seth Meyers repeat: Jeffrey Tambor, author of Are You Anybody?: A Memoir (Crown Archetype, $27, 9780451496355).

This Weekend on Book TV: The Chicago Tribune Printers Row Lit Fest

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, June 10
11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Live coverage from the 2017 Chicago Tribune Printers Row Lit Fest in Chicago (Re-airs Sunday at 12 a.m.). Highlights include:

  • 11 a.m. Mary Dearborn, author of Ernest Hemingway: A Biography (Knopf, $35, 9780307594679).
  • 12 p.m. Ibram X. Kendi, author of Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America (Nation Books, $32.99, 9781568584638).
  • 1 p.m. Michael Eric Dyson, author of Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America (St. Martin's Press, $24.99, 9781250135995).
  • 2 p.m. Mark Bowden, author of Hue 1968: A Turning Point of the American War in Vietnam (Atlantic Monthly Press, $30, 9780802127006).
  • 3 p.m. David Callahan, author of The Givers: Wealth, Power, and Philanthropy in a New Gilded Age (Knopf, $28.95, 9781101947050).
  • 4 p.m. Sidney Blumenthal, author of Wrestling With His Angel: The Political Life of Abraham Lincoln Vol. II, 1849-1856 (Simon & Schuster, $35, 9781501153785).
  • 5 p.m. Lisa Napoli, author of Ray & Joan: The Man Who Made the McDonald's Fortune and the Woman Who Gave It All Away (Dutton, $27, 9781101984956).

7 p.m. Dan Hampton, author of The Flight: Charles Lindbergh's Daring and Immortal 1927 Transatlantic Crossing (Morrow, $28.99, 9780062464392), at Tattered Cover Bookstore in Denver, Colo.

8 p.m. Susan Burton, author of Becoming Ms. Burton: From Prison to Recovery to Leading the Fight for Incarcerated Women (New Press, $25.95, 9781620972120).

9:15 p.m. Jeffrey Kluger, author of Apollo 8: The Thrilling Story of the First Mission to the Moon (Holt, $30, 9781627798327). (Re-airs Sunday at 8:15 a.m.)

10 p.m. Anne-Marie Slaughter, author of The Chessboard and the Web: Strategies of Connection in a Networked World (Yale University Press, $26, 9780300215649). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m.)

11 p.m. Harold Evans, author of Do I Make Myself Clear?: Why Writing Well Matters (Little, Brown, $27, 9780316277174), at Strand Bookstore in New York City.

Sunday, June 11
11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Day two of live coverage from the Chicago Tribune Printers Row Lit Fest (Re-airs Monday at 1 a.m.). Highlights include:

  • 11 a.m. Heather Ann Thompson, author of Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy (Pantheon, $35, 9780375423222).
  • 12 p.m. Jeremy McCarter, author of Young Radicals: In the War for American Ideals (Random House, $30, 9780812993059).
  • 1 p.m. Daniel Wolff, author of Grown-Up Anger: The Connected Mysteries of Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, and the Calumet Massacre of 1913 (Harper, $26.99, 9780062451699).
  • 2 p.m. Geoffrey Stone, author of Sex and the Constitution: Sex, Religion, and Law from America's Origins to the Twenty-First Century (Liveright, $35, 9780871404695).
  • 3 p.m. Trey Radel, author of Democrazy: A True Story of Weird Politics, Money, Madness, and Finger Food (Blue Rider, $27, 9780735210721).
  • 4 p.m. Thomas Ricks, author of Churchill and Orwell: The Fight for Freedom (Penguin Press, $28, 9781594206139).
  • 5 p.m. John Bohrer, author of The Revolution of Robert Kennedy: From Power to Protest After JFK (Bloomsbury, $30, 9781608199648).

6:15 p.m. Scott Hartley, author of The Fuzzy and the Techie: Why the Liberal Arts Will Rule the Digital World (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28, 9780544944770).

7:30 p.m. Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, author of Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are (Dey Street, $27.99, 9780062390851).

10 p.m. Ali Soufan, author of Anatomy of Terror: From the Death of bin Laden to the Rise of the Islamic State (Norton, $27.95, 9780393241174), at Politics & Prose in Washington, D.C.

11:15 p.m. David Grann, author of Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI (Doubleday, $28.95, 9780385534246).

Books & Authors

Awards: Baileys Women's; IndieReader Discovery; Polari First Book

Naomi Alderman has won the £30,000 (about $38,830) Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction for The Power. Chair of judges Tessa Ross said she and the other judges "debated this wonderful shortlist for many hours but kept returning to Naomi Alderman's brilliantly imagined dystopia--her big ideas and her fantastic imagination." The novel will be published in the U.S. by Little, Brown in October.


The winners of the IndieReader Discovery Awards, sponsored by IndieReader, have been announced. All winners' titles will be considered by literary agents Dystal, Goderich & Bourret for representation consideration. Winners in 18 sub-categories can be seen here. The winners of the fiction and nonfiction categories are:

First place: Darkroom by Mary Maddox
Second place: Mists of the Serengeti by Leylah Attar
Third place: Radar Road by Nath Jones

First place: The Troll Cookbook by Karima Cammell and Clint Marsh
Second place: A Journey with Panic by James Manning and Nicola Ridgeway
Third place: Federal Prisoner Handbook by Christopher Zoukis


A longlist has been announced for the Polari First Book Prize, which celebrates "a writer whose first book explores the LGBT experience, whether in poetry, prose, fiction or nonfiction." The shortlist will be unveiled July 31, with a winner named in October. This year's longlisted titles are:

Guapa by Saleem Haddad
Expecting by Chitra Ramaswamy
Love Both Ways by Martin Patrick
We Go Around in the Night and Are Consumed by Fire by Jules Grant
Straight Jacket by Matthew Todd
Jerusalem Ablaze by Orlando Ortega-Medina
The Chemsex Monologues by Patrick Cash
Letters I Never Sent You by Paula Varjack
A Monster by Violet by Laura Wake
Rufius by Sarah Walton
Threads by Nathan Evans
The Vegetarian Tigers of Paradise by Crystal Jeans 

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, June 13:

The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O.: A Novel by Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland (Morrow, $35, 9780062409164) imagines a world where magic was once real and a modern government institution seeks to resurrect the art.

The Switch by Joseph Finder (Dutton, $28, 9781101985786) is a thriller about a businessman who accidentally receives a senator's laptop full of classified information.

The Pride of the Yankees: Lou Gehrig, Gary Cooper, and the Making of a Classic by Richard Sandomir (Hachette Books, $27, 9780316355056) chronicles the making of the legendary baseball film.

Small Hours by Jennifer Kitses (Grand Central, $26, 9781455598526) is a domestic drama set over the course of a single day.

Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death and Jazz Chickens by Eddie Izzard (Blue Rider Press, $28, 9780399175831) is the memoir of the British comedian and actor.

A Crack in Creation: Gene Editing and the Unthinkable Power to Control Evolution by Jennifer A. Doudna and Samuel H. Sternberg (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28, 9780544716940) explores the promises and dangers of the CRISPR gene-editing technology.

The Dirty Guide to Wine: Following Flavor from Ground to Glass by Alice Feiring and Pascaline Lepeltier (Countryman Press, $24.95, 9781581573848).

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:

The Baker's Secret: A Novel by Stephen P. Kiernan (Morrow, $26.99, 9780062369581). "Emma is an apprentice baker in a small Normandy village during the Nazi occupation whose quiet determination to keep her friends and grandmother alive is heroic and heart-wrenching. Forced to bake ten loaves of bread for the Kommandant each day, Emma stretches her supplies to make extra loaves to help feed the starving villagers. While she refuses to think she is part of the resistance and has lost hope of the Allies arriving, Emma epitomizes the French spirit of survival. Once again, we learn that the bravest among resistance fighters are often little more than children themselves. What a beautiful book to recommend to book groups and customers seeking a well-written story." --Patricia Worth, River Reader Books, Lexington, Mo.

Saints for All Occasions: A Novel by J. Courtney Sullivan (Knopf, $26.95, 9780307959577). "Saints for All Occasions is a riveting story about family and the secrets they keep. Nora Rafferty receives some devastating news that sets in motion a slow reveal of a longstanding secret between Nora and her sister Theresa, who immigrated from a small Irish village to Boston in the 1950s. It is also the story of Nora's relationships with her own adult children and the secrets they hide from their mother and each other. Sullivan's writing is lovely, and she has brought to life characters who are stronger than they think." --Woody Chichester, Buffalo Street Books, Ithaca, N.Y.

Last Things: A Graphic Memoir About Love and Loss by Marissa Moss (Conari Press, $18.95, 9781573246989). "In this achingly raw graphic memoir, Marissa Moss untangles the seven whirlwind months between her husband's ALS diagnosis and his death. Forced to balance Harvey's increasingly complex medical needs and the needs of their three young sons, Moss struggles to maintain a sense of normalcy for her family in the midst of crisis. Absent are movie-perfect declarations of love and reconciliation; Moss lays bare the emotional devastation left in the wake of Harvey's illness with her understated drawings and text. But there are moments of joy, too, reminding us beauty can be found in the darkest of times. Powerful, heartbreaking, and, ultimately, hopeful, Last Things challenges readers with its unflinching look at marriage, family, love, and loss." --Beth Wagner, Phoenix Books, Essex Junction, Vt.

For Ages 4 to 8
This House, Once by Deborah Freedman (Atheneum, $17.99, 9781481442848). "As usual, Freedman's rendering of color, form, and light are just right for her loving, conscientious evaluation of the natural elements that collaboratively become the structure of a house. Emerging from a rich blueprint blue, the clouds become a window into the time before the house, before us. Brick by brick, we begin to understand that we not only coexist with nature, but that home is composed of both ourselves and the adventure of a life observed." --Jilleen Moore, Square Books, Oxford, Miss.

For Ages 9 to 12
Clayton Byrd Goes Underground by Rita Williams-Garcia (Amistad, $16.99, 9780062215918). "A hero isn't always a hero to everybody. When Clayton's beloved, blues-playing grandfather passes away, Clayton and his mother clash over their feelings. His mother wants to sell everything and move on, but Clayton loved Cool Papa Byrd and his music more than anything. So Clayton does the only thing he can think of: he runs away in search of Cool Papa Byrd's band. But the big, bad world isn't a simple place, and love isn't such a simple thing." --Alex Schaffner, Brookline Booksmith, Brookline, Mass.

For Teen Readers
Dear Reader by Mary O'Connell (Flatiron Books, $17.99, 9781250077080). "Dear Reader is a quirky and unique novel about the ways relationships change us. A special teacher can change the way you think or read, a first love can affect the ways we move through adulthood, and fiction can alter how we view the world around us. Mary O'Connell playfully explores the relationships Flannery forms with others, not through action but through unique narrative devices and interior voices. Alternately emotional and lighthearted, Dear Reader will satisfy bookish types and Brontë enthusiasts of all ages!" --Johanna Albrecht, Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, N.C.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: Hum If You Don't Know the Words

Hum If You Don't Know the Words by Bianca Marais (Putnam, $26 hardcover, 432p., 9780399575068, July 11, 2017)

In her breathtaking debut, Bianca Marais explores humanity's potential for compassion and understanding in a world consumed by hate and injustice. Robin Conrad is Marais's white, nine-year-old, female narrator living in 1970s South Africa. Her story alternates with that of Beauty Mbali, an educated, black Xhosa mother.

Robin lives a comfortable life with her parents in Johannesburg, observing the apartheid laws that force her black maid to use separate bathroom facilities, eat from different dishes and carry a passbook to verify her work status. Meanwhile, Beauty, a widowed schoolteacher living in a small, rural village of the Transkei, struggles to raise her three children, the oldest of whom is living with her brother, Andile, and attending school in the suburb of Soweto. The two exist in their disconnected worlds until a tragedy strikes, forcing their spheres to collide.

Andile summons Beauty to Soweto when he writes that her daughter Nomsa is in danger. After two days of travel, Beauty arrives as the Soweto uprising of black students erupts in the streets. She searches desperately among the children but does not find her daughter.

In the middle of the night following the uprising, Robin and the family's maid wake to the pounding of the police on their door. A confused and terrified Robin learns her parents--who had gone out for the night--were murdered.

Robin's only remaining relative is her mother's sister, Edith, an airline hostess who spends more time traveling than home. Beauty needs documented work to stay in the city and search for her daughter. So when a mutual acquaintance covertly brings Edith and Beauty together, their work dilemmas are solved, even if not quite legally.

As Robin and Beauty's relationship grows, the young girl starts to question the belief system that has shaped her first decade of life. And Beauty opens her heart to love the damaged child who's experienced so much loss in such a short time. With humor, warmth and tenderness, Marais pulls her audience into this unlikely but heartwarming bond. The exquisiteness of Robin and Beauty's connection is enhanced by the contrast of apartheid's repulsiveness, both of which are forcefully illustrated by Marais. She details the horrific results of the uprising with vivid descriptions like "a river of blood in the streets and the children are floating in it... they are human debris swept along in a flood of destruction." Furthermore, her depictions of the disdain of whites toward blacks are emotionally painful. But while such portrayals are agonizing, Marais injects hope and light into the darkness of hate with scenes such as Robin's realization that "Almost everyone who mattered most to me was in the same room.... Black, white, homosexual, heterosexual, Christian, Jew, Englishman, Afrikaner, adult, child, man, woman: we were all there together, but somehow that eclectic jumble of labels was overwritten by the one classification that applied to every person there: 'friend.' "

Intense, powerful and moving, Hum If You Don't Know the Words is an exalting anthem of love, family and humanity. --Jen Forbus, freelancer

Shelf Talker: When a young white girl and a widowed black mother are brought together under traumatic circumstances in apartheid-era South Africa, each learns that more than blood can define family.

Powered by: Xtenit