Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Sharjah Book Authority: Publisher's Conference

John Scognamiglio Book: In the Time of Our History by Susanne Pari

Candlewick Press (MA): Better Than We Found It: Conversations to Help Save the World by Frederick Joseph and Porsche Joseph

Parallax Press: How to Live: The Essential Mindfulness Journal (Mindfulness Essentials) by Thich Nhat Hanh, illustrated by Jason Deantonis

Shadow Mountain: Delicious Gatherings: Recipes to Celebrate Together by Tara Teaspoon

Berkley Books: The Last Russian Doll by Kristen Loesch

Charlesbridge Publishing: Too-Small Tyson (Storytelling Math) by Janay Brown-Wood, illustrated by Anastasia Williams

MIT Press: Rethinking Gender: An Illustrated Exploration by Louie Läuger


Bank Street Book Nook Finds Buyer

Bank Street Book Nook, New Milford, Conn., which announced earlier this year that it would close February 11 if a new owner was not found before then, has a buyer. On the bookstore's Facebook page, co-owner Vanessa Gronbach wrote: "I am very happy to announce that the bookstore has been sold! The new owners will be taking some time to get acclimated with the store and will reopen soon. The next post from this page will be from your new Book Nook owners. I hope you continue to support them as much as you did me. It has been a privilege these last four years and I cannot wait to become a customer myself!"

Camcat Books: Armadas in the Mist: Volume 3 (The Empire of the House of Thorns) by Christian Klaver

Regulator Bookshop's New Owners to Take Over March 1

Wander Lorentz de Haas and Elliot Berger, the new owners of the Regulator Bookshop in Durham, N.C., who purchased the store from longtime owners Tom Campbell and John Valentine last November, will officially take over on March 1. Shortly thereafter the pair will begin making some significant renovations, with the shop closed from March 4 to March 6 and work expected to go on throughout the month.

But before all that, a retirement party for Campbell and Valentine is being thrown this Friday, February 23, to celebrate their "forty-year run leading this iconic Durham institution." The RSVP-only event is already full.

The new owners also provided an update on the Regulator Sustainability Fund, which began as an Indiegogo campaign last fall and went on to raise more than $50,000.

"Your support has helped ensure the health and viability of the Regulator for years to come," wrote Lorentz de Haas and Berger. "We were totally overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from the community. We've always believed that the Regulator was a very special place, and it was fantastic to see how many of you agreed!"

She Writes Press: Canaries Among Us: A Mother's Quest to Honor Her Child's Individuality in a Culture Determined to Negate It by Kayla Taylor

Ohio's Raven Books to Close, Will Relocate

Raven Books, a new, used and rare bookstore in Springfield, Ohio, is closing next week, but plans to reopen in a new and larger space to be announced later.

In a video posted on the shop's Facebook page, co-owner Mellissa Clancy announced that she and her husband, Dave, "have made the epic decision to leave the Upper Valley Mall. That doesn't mean we're closing down the store. It just means that we are moving to a new locale, and the location that we have decided to take on is five times larger than what we have now. It's grander, bigger, everything about it is huge, and it's going to be awesome by the time we're done with it. So, keep your fingers crossed for us that everything goes according to plan. We have high hopes for this place."

Clancy told her patrons not to be "alarmed that we're dropping off the face of the world. We're really not. What we're doing is basically hibernating, just for a little while, until everything is greenlights go for our new store." She also assured customers that "when we reopen the store, you can be assured that we're going to throw a good-sized party."

CamCat Publishing: The Darker the Skies (Earth United) by Bryan Prosek

St. James' House Acquires Black Dog Publishing

St. James's House Media Group, "part of a creative media group that delivers 'bespoke solutions,' business and marketing expertise to a global client base including brands, governments and campaigning bodies," has purchased the assets of Black Dog Publishing and sister company Artifice Books, which had recently gone into liquidation, the Bookseller reported.

Joint liquidators Neil Bennett and Alex Cadwallader of Leonard Curtis Business Solutions Group said they had been able to sell the assets of the companies "shortly after being appointed" on January 24 due to Black Dog Publishing and Artifice Books' "solid reputations within the industry." The companies stopped trading and dismissed their 22 employees January 5.

Barefoot Books: Save 10%

Obituary Note: Lerone Bennett Jr.

Historian and journalist Lerone Bennett Jr., "who wrote extensively on race relations and black history and was a top editor at Ebony magazine for decades," died February 14, the New York Times reported. He was 89. Bennett "was both lyrical and outspoken in his writing, arguing that the history of black people in the United States had been ignored or told only through a white filter."

His best-known book was Before the Mayflower, published in 1962, though revised editions were still being released decades later. The work established him "as a leading scholarly voice during the racial ferment of the 1960s," the Times wrote.

Bennett's other titles include Forced into Glory: Abraham Lincoln's White Dream (2000); What Manner of Man: A Biography of Martin Luther King Jr. (1964); Black Power U.S.A.: The Human Side of Reconstruction, 1867-1877 (1967); and The Shaping of Black America (1975).

Candlewick Press (MA): The Real Dada Mother Goose: A Treasury of Complete Nonsense by Jon Scieszka, illustrated by Julia Rothman


Image of the Day: Happy Birthday, UCP!

The University of California Press celebrated the 125th anniversary of its founding last week. Pictured: UCP editorial/production staffers Jack Young, Maeve Cornell-Taylor, Benjy Malings, Elena Bellaart , Bradley Depew, Archna Patel and Sabrina Robleh.

Library Video of the Day: The Temple of Knowledge

The Temple of Knowledge, a video from StoryCorps, animates Ronald Clark's memories of his father, who "was custodian of a branch of the New York Public Library at a time when caretakers, along with their families, lived in the buildings. With his daughter, Jamilah, Ronald remembers literally growing up in a library, creeping down to the stacks in the middle of the night when curiosity gripped him. A story for anyone who's ever dreamt of having unrestricted access to books."

'Adorable Bookstore Dogs to Brighten Your Day'

Mary Todd Lincoln Coffman at Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tenn.

In featuring "14 adorable bookstore dogs to brighten your day," the Chronicle Books blog noted: "Welcome to the year of the (bookstore) dog! While books and cats make an excellent pairing (just check out these cuties for proof), let us not forget about our other furry friends. Some of the dogs below are Official Bookstore Dogs, while others are just dropping by for some solid book sniffs. But we know one thing to be true: they're ALL good dogs."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Charlamagne Tha God on Harry

Harry: Charlamagne Tha God, author of Black Privilege: Opportunity Comes to Those Who Create It (Touchstone, $16, 9781501145315).

Conan repeat: Van Jones, author of Beyond the Messy Truth: How We Came Apart, How We Come Together (Ballantine, $27, 9780399180026).

Movies: Beautiful Boy

Beautiful Boy, the film based on a pair of memoirs by David Sheff (Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction) and Nic Sheff (Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamine), will be released October 12, Deadline reported. Directed by Felix van Groeningen, the project stars Steve Carell, Timothée Chalamet, Maura Tierney, Amy Ryan and Timothy Hutton. Groeningen and Luke Davies (Lion) wrote the screenplay, and Plan B Entertainment's Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner are producing.

Books & Authors

Awards: Tufts Poetry Winners; Jhalak Prize Shortlist

Patricia Smith's Incendiary Art (TriQuarterly/Northwestern University Press) won the $100,000 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, presented by Claremont Graduate University for a single book of poetry by a mid-career poet. She will be honored during a ceremony and reading April 19 at the Huntington Library in San Marino, Calif. The award includes a weeklong residency at CGU in the fall.

In addition, Donika Kelly is the recipient of the $10,000 Kate Tufts Discovery Award, which recognizes a first volume by a poet of promise, for Bestiary (Graywolf Press).


A shortlist has been released for the 2018 Jhalak Prize for Book of the Year by a Writer of Color, which honors "the quality and variety of work by writers of color in contemporary Britain." The winner will be announced March 15. This year's all-woman judging panel includes the prize co-founder and panel chair Sunny Singh, Catherine Johnson, Tanya Byrne, Vera Chok and Noo Saro-Wiwa. The Jhalak Prize shortlisted titles are:

The Golden Legend by Nadeem Aslam
Kumukanda by Kayo Chingonyi
Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
Once Upon a Time in the East by Xiaolu Guo
When I Hit You: Or, A Portrait of the Writer as a Young Wife by Meena Kandasamy
The Island at the End of Everything by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Reading with... Kate Braverman

photo: Chris Felver

Kate Braverman is the author of a memoir, four novels, two story collections and four books of poetry. She is the recipient of the Economist Prize, an Isherwood Fellowship and the O. Henry Award. Her short fiction has appeared in Ben Marcus's New American Short Stories, Tobias Wolff's The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Short Stories, McSweeney's, Best American, Carver, the Paris Review and elsewhere. Braverman lives in the Bay Area, and her new book is A Good Day for Seppuku: Short Stories (City Lights, February 27, 2018)

On your nightstand now:

Neuromancer by William Gibson. Collected T.S. Eliot. Residence on Earth by Neruda.

Favorite book when you were a child:

The Wind in the Willows

Your top five authors:

I tend to like a single book by an author, rather than an entire oeuvre. One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez. The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath. The Catcher in the Rye, Salinger. Slaughterhouse-Five, Vonnegut. The Sheltering Sky, Paul Bowles.

Book you've faked reading:


Book you're an evangelist for:

El Niño by Douglas Anne Munson

Book that changed your life:

Howl by Ginsberg

Favorite line from a book:

"Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." --Anna Karenina by Tolstoy.

Five books you'll never part with:

1984, Orwell. Ariel, Plath. Herzog, Bellow. Brave New World, Huxley. Lolita, Nabokov.

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

The Sound and the Fury, Faulkner.

Your favorite genres:

I have a profound affection for experimentalists and genre bandits. No one assaulted the antiquated, artificial boundaries of genre better than Joan Didion in Slouching Towards Bethlehem and The White Album. Hunter S. Thompson in Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Experimentalists: Vonnegut always. Joyce Carol Oates. Donald Barthelme. Science fiction, an ignored genre fueled by prophetic imagination: James Tiptree Jr., Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke, Chip Delany.

Book Review

Children's Review: Hurricane Child

Hurricane Child by Kheryn Callender (Scholastic Press, $17.99 hardcover, 224p., ages 9-13, 9781338129304, March 27, 2018)

Native Virgin Islander Kheryn Callender's debut novel blends magical realism with a bittersweet tween love story about a girl trying desperately to hold her life and family together after losing the mainstay of both.

Caroline Murphy has always heard that her birth during a hurricane cursed her with bad luck, and in her 12th year of life, the story seems true. At the Catholic school she attends on St. Thomas, in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Caroline has no friends, only bullies. Teacher Missus Wilhelmina loathes Caroline because her skin "is darker than even the paintings of African queens hanging in the tourist shops" and never misses an opportunity to spank Caroline or threaten her with expulsion. Her classmates, led by mean girl Anise, throw stones at her and taunt her about her absent mother. At home on Water Island, a speedboat taxi ride away, Caroline lives with her father and the hole her mother made in their lives when she suddenly left, giving no forwarding address. A constant presence in Caroline's life are the spirits. One, "the woman in black," is particularly disquieting--completely black except for "eyes shining like two full moons in her face"--and Caroline suspects the spirit took her mother. Then she meets Kalinda Francis, a new classmate from Barbados with dreadlocks and a confidence that sends her straight to the head of the pecking order. Caroline is shocked to realize Kalinda can see spirits, too, but even more shocked when the popular girl becomes her close friend. However, Caroline will never feel whole unless she finds her mother, and her growing romantic feelings for Kalinda threaten their bond.

This tender, character-driven exploration of first loss intersecting first love balances sympathetic characters with a rarely seen setting. The smooth integration of island details, including empty, expensive resort condos next door to camouflaged housing projects, grounds the narrative and provides a sobering backdrop for the elements of magical realism. Callender's commitment to remaining within a preteen's scope of understanding preserves the narrative's simplicity and authenticity. For example, she never flinches from acknowledging sexuality but leaves aside labels; Caroline knows only that she loves her friend in a way people around her condemn. The resolution of the Murphy family drama opts out of the finality of the well-known missing mother story Walk Two Moons (Sharon Creech, 1994), but also refuses to shy away from the complexities of repairing a rift in a family. Though readable for grades four through seven, ages 10 through 13 may most appreciate this empathetic and emotionally mature coming-of-age drama. --Jaclyn Fulwood, youth services division manager at Main Branch, Dayton Metro Library

Shelf Talker: Kheryn Callender's sensitive debut stars a preteen girl from the Virgin Islands who searches for her mother and falls in love with a female classmate.

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