Also published on this date: Wednesday, April 24, 2019: Maximum Shelf: The Burning Chambers

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Atlantic Monthly Press: Those Opulent Days: A Mystery by Jacquie Pham

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

Carolrhoda Lab (R): Here Goes Nothing by Emma K Ohland

Allida: Safiyyah's War by Hiba Noor Khan

Ace Books: Servant of Earth (The Shards of Magic) by Sarah Hawley


Cincinnati's Smith & Hannon Bookstore Relocating

Smith & Hannon Bookstore, which specializes in African American literature, is relocating from the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center to a 1,147-square-foot space in Cincinnatti's Over-the-Rhine neighborhood at 1405 Vine Street and will reopen April 27 on Independent Bookstore Day, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.

"I really like the idea of being in Over-the-Rhine. It's a very popular walking community. I feel I might be able to make an impact in the area,"' said owner Joyce Smith, a former Cincinnati schoolteacher. "This store has survived even through the age of the Internet and e-books. People still like to hold a book in their hands."

Smith & Hannon is leasing the new space from Cincinnati Center City Development Corp. The Business Courier reported that 3CDC, "the private nonprofit real estate developer, along with Model Group and Urban Sites along with the African American Chamber of Commerce, the Over-the-Rhine Chamber of Commerce, Mortar and Findlay Market announced an initiative called Represent in October 2018 to increase representation of African Americans in Over-the-Rhine. The goal is to fill most of their commercial spaces with African American-owned businesses."

PM Press: P Is for Palestine: A Palestine Alphabet Book by Golbarg Bashi, Illustrated by Golrokh Nafisi

El-Assad to Head WH Smith's U.S. Expansion Plans

WH Smith has appointed Ziad El-Assad senior v-p of business development, USA, the Bookseller reported. According to the company, El-Assad's principal duties will be to "lead WH Smith’s travel retail expansion within the United States, formulate brand partnerships and establish operating joint ventures." He was previously v-p of business development for airport concessions business NewsLink Group after working as a financial adviser at Morgan Stanley.

The retailer currently operates in 30 countries outside the U.K., and has been developing a plan to enter the U.S. news and gifts travel market since the November 2018 purchase of airport travel retailer InMotion, which "has a concession portfolio of 114 stores across 43 airports in the U.S., with a presence in 22 of the top 25 busiest U.S. airports," the Bookseller wrote. 

Phil McNally, managing director of WH Smith International, said, "I am delighted that Ziad, with his many years of experience in the industry, has decided to join WH Smith at this very exciting time. The appointment of Ziad is a crucial step towards our goal of establishing a meaningful presence for the WH Smith brand in the U.S."

Farrar, Straus and Giroux: Intermezzo by Sally Rooney

Just One More Page Books in Pa. Closing

Just One More Page Books, Tunkhannock, Pa., is closing at the end of the month. The Citizen's Voice reported that it had been owner Laura Wulff's dream "to sell books in her own shop since Chapters, an old Tunkhannock bookstore, closed while she was in high school." The bookshop opened in 2017.

"We did want to stay longer, but for personal reasons, I need to be home more," she said. "We're not busy enough to hire an employee to be here when I can't. Shopping local and foot traffic isn't enough at this point to pay for us to have an employee.... We love the idea of a bookstore. Not just to keep people reading, but it's like a sense of community when you come in."

Saying that she will miss her customers the most, Wulff added that helping patrons, especially young children who say they don't enjoy reading, find books they love has been her favorite aspect of the business: "It's been proven that kids who are read to just cognitively are more advanced in school and struggle a little bit less, so that's so important, but you bond with your children a lot more over reading."

Nancy Parlo, president of the Tunkhannock Business and Professional Association, said, "Each business in town has a unique personality, and I think (Laura) contributed to the overall feel of just being a unique place to visit in Tunkhannock."

Wulff said she hopes people will continue to support other stores in the area: "There's really not anything that you can't find right here in town and if you can't find it, each and every one of the local business owners would bend over backwards to help you find what you're looking for if you just ask."

Skyhorse Launches Crime Fiction Imprint

Skyhorse Publishing is launching a new crime fiction imprint, Arcade CrimeWise, which will publish six to eight titles a year, including mysteries, thrillers, noir, procedurals, and spy novels.

Arcade CrimeWise launches this fall with Bart Paul's See That My Grave Is Kept Clean, the third novel in the Tommy Smith High Mountain Noir series (September), Raymond Benson's The Blues in the Dark, a crime drama set in Hollywood in the 1940s and the present day (October); W.C. Ryan's A House of Ghosts, a finalist for the NBA Irish Book Award set during World War I (October), and the second book in Lisa Preston’s feminist/western/mystery Horseshoer series, Dead Blow (November).

In some cases with its Arcade imprint, founded by Richard and Jeannette Seaver, Skyhorse has published some fiction in this area during the past several years, including His Bloody Project, The Disappearance of Adèle Bedeau and The Accident on the A35, all by Graeme Macrae Burnet; the Darby Holland Crime Novel series by Jeff Johnson; the Tommy Smith High Mountain Noir series by Bart Paul; and The Secrets on Chicory Lane and In the Hush of the Night by Raymond Benson. Books like these will now be branded, marketed, promoted, and sold as Arcade CrimeWise.

Arcade executive editor Cal Barksdale said: "We have successful crime fiction from both noted writers and new voices, introducing new sleuths, amateur or otherwise. CrimeWise will offer these books a new platform and resources that will allow us to bring them to a broader public."

Obituary Note: Tiajuana Anderson Neel

Tiajuana Anderson Neel, executive director of the Pulpwood Queens Book Club Reading Nation, died April 19. She was 65. The Longview News-Journal reported that Neel "loved to read books and became a loyal member of the Pulpwood Queens Bookclubs.... In 2018 she was the recipient of the Doug Marlette Award, which is given to an individual for lifetime of supporting literacy."

Kathy L. Murphy, founder of the Pulpwood Queens Book Club, which has more than 700 chapters internationally, said the response she has "received from authors, like Alice Hoffman, Lisa Wingate, Jamie Ford, River Jordan, Deborah Rodriguez, Missy Buchanan, Patti Callahan Henry and more, and truly Pulpwood Queens everywhere, has been overwhelming. If Tiajuana is listening and I am sure she is, I would tell her, 'Honey, you have gone viral.' She was an extraordinary person that did extraordinary things all in the name of literacy."

In a tribute on Facebook, Jonathan Haupt, executive director at Pat Conroy Literary Center, wrote: "We've lost one of the biggest hearts and most beloved souls in our literary community with the passing of Tiajuana Anderson Neel.... It was an honor and a delight to meet Tiajuana in Jefferson, Texas, in January, to spend time in her welcoming orbit there at a gathering she cherished, and then to host her and Kathy on their pilgrimage to Beaufort thereafter. Tiajuana lived a life of faithful and compassionate service to others, and she leaves a Texas-sized hole in the hearts of everyone in her tribe who loved her so."

Murphy observed: "She was brought into my life because her love of books but I will also tell you she can never be replaced.... So if we take anything away from this I just remember what author Christa Allan told me today. She helped people and never expected anything in return even when she knew that what she did to help people would never be appreciated, she did it anyway."


Image of the Day: Mercy!

BookPeople, Austin, Tex., hosted Kate DiCamillo and Chris Van Dusen (and special guest Mercy Watson) to celebrate the release of their picture book A Piglet Named Mercy (Candlewick).

Happy 30th Birthday, McIntyre's Books!

Congratulations to McIntyre's Books at Fearrington Village, Pittsboro, N.C., which will celebrate its 30th anniversary this Saturday on Independent Bookstore Day with cake, Prosecco, live music, readings and giveaways.

Store manager Keebe Fitch observed that the three decades "have blown by in a flash with this family business. Seems like yesterday that my father, R.B. Fitch, was designing the building that my mother (Jenny Fitch) famously decorated and named for my paternal grandmother. Jane Bradford, librarian from Ohio, and Jean Harper, formerly from the Charles Scribner's Sons, formed our opening team. I have been quite fortunate to have Pete Mock working alongside me for 25 of those years, and Sarah Carr has been here almost 18. We are proud to be so connected to Chatham County schools, and to have helped get so many young readers into books. We host hundreds of events every year--from storytelling times for kids to nationally recognized authors sharing their writing with free readings and book signings. We host special literary luncheons with authors, and throw fun barn events to celebrate cookbook releases. Something fun is always going on, and it has been such a pleasure to continue to flourish after three decades. The middle of a cow pasture might have seemed an odd place to open a bookstore, but it has suited us just fine. It seems as if Chapel Hill and Pittsboro almost merge these days where we are. We love being a part of Chatham County."

Consortium Adds Four Publishers

Consortium has added four new publishers, effective September 1:

Charco Press, Edinburgh, Scotland, publisher "boundary-pushing books" by Latin American authors, translated into English for the first time. One of its first books, Die, My Love by Ariana Harwicz, was longlisted for the 2018 Man Booker International Prize. Key titles this fall include Die, My Love; Resistance by Julian Fuks, translated by Daniel Hahn; and Fish Soup by Margarita Garcia Robayo, translated by Charlotte Coombe.

Founded in 2017, DENPA publishes translated Japanese graphic novels and manga, including titles by Nobuyuki Fukumoto, panpanya, Shuzo Oshimi, and Masakazu Ishiguro. Fall publications include Gambling Apocalypse: KAIJI, Volumes 1-3 by Nobuyuki Fukumoto; Heavenly Delusion, Volumes 1 and 2 by Masakazu Ishiguro; An Invitation from a Crab by panpanya; and many other titles.

Rabsel Editions, a French house founded in 2010 that publishes books marked by "a love for Buddhist spirituality, philosophy, and culture." Fall titles include Boundless Awakening: The Heart of Buddhist Meditation by Shamar Rinpoche; Patterns in Emptiness by Lama Jampa Thaye with a foreword by Thaye Dorje, the 17th Karmapa; and The Handbook of Ordinary Heroes: The Bodhisattvas' Way by Jigme Rinpoche.

Unbound, London, founded in 2011 by three authors. Unbound's books are crowdfunded, and the house has published 305 books. Subjects cover a wide variety, from gaming and popular culture to memoirs, topical anthologies, genre fiction, and poetry. Unbound's fall list includes books such as F*ck Yeah, Video Games: The Life and Extra Lives of a Professional Nerd by Daniel Hardcastle; Another Life by Nick Danziger; and The Sewing Machine by Natalie Fergie.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Anne Harrington on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Anne Harrington, author of Mind Fixers: Psychiatry's Troubled Search for the Biology of Mental Illness (Norton, $27.95, 9780393071221).

Wendy Williams: David Burtka, author of Life Is a Party: Deliciously Doable Recipes to Make Every Day a Celebration (Grand Central, $30, 9781538729892).

Tolkien Estate Disavows Upcoming Film

The family and estate of J.R.R. Tolkien "have fired a broadside" against the upcoming film Tolkien, the Guardian reported. On Tuesday, they issued a statement announcing their "wish to make clear that they did not approve of, authorize or participate in the making of this film," and that "they do not endorse it or its content in any way." A spokesperson for the estate said the statement was intended to make its position clear, rather than herald future legal action.

Directed by Dome Karukoski, the movie stars Nicholas Hoult as the young Tolkien and Lily Collins as his wife, Edith. It explores "the formative years of the renowned author's life as he finds friendship, courage and inspiration among a fellow group of writers and artists at school," and promises to reveal how "their brotherhood strengthens as they grow up... until the outbreak of the first world war which threatens to tear their fellowship apart," all of which would inspire Tolkien to write his Middle-earth novels, according to studio Fox Searchlight. The film will be released next month.

Books & Authors

Awards: Green Earth Book, International Arabic Fiction Winners

Winners have been announced for the 2019 Green Earth Book Awards, sponsored by the Nature Generation to recognize books that "best inspire youth to grow a deeper appreciation, respect, and responsibility for their natural environment." Winning authors and illustrators receive $1,500. This year's winners are:

Picture Book
The Brilliant Deep: Rebuilding the World's Coral Reefs: The Story of Ken Nedimyer and the Coral Restoration Foundation by Kate Messner, illustrated by Matthew Forsythe (Chronicle)
Honors: Counting Birds by Heidi E. Y. Stemple, illustrated by Clover Robin (The Quarto Group/Seagrass Press); and Salamander Sky by Katy Farber, illustrated by Meg Sodano (Green Writers Press)

Children's Fiction
The Flooded Earth by Mardi McConnochie (Pajama Press)
Honors: Ellie's Strand: Exploring the Edge of the Pacific by M.L. Herring and Judith L. Li, illustrated by M.L. Herring (Oregon State University Press)

Children's Nonfiction
Trash Revolution: Breaking the Waste Cycle by Erica Fyvie, illustrated by Bill Slavin (Kids Can Press)
Honors: Bat Citizens by Rob Laidlaw (Pajama Press)

Young Adult Nonfiction
Dry by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman, illustrated by Jay Shaw (S&S Books for Young Readers)
Honors: Orphaned by Eliot Schrefer (Scholastic); and Beyond the Sixth Extinction: A Post-Apocalyptic Pop-Up by Shawn Sheehy, illustrated Jordi Solano (Candlewick)


The Night Mail by Hoda Barakat has won the 2019 International Prize for Arabic Fiction. Barakat, who was born in Lebanon and lives in France, wins $50,000, and a translation into English is being funded for the book to be published next year by Oneworld Publications as The Night Post. She was presented the award at a ceremony held in Abu Dhabi on the eve of the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair. Barakat is only the second woman to win the award.

Organizers described The Night Mail as "the stories of letter writers. The letters are lost, like the people who have penned them, but each is linked to another and their fates are woven together, like those of their owners. The writers are foreigners, either immigrants by choice or forced by circumstance to leave their countries; exiled and homeless, orphans of their countries with fractured destinies. The novel's realm is--like the times we live in--one of deep questioning and ambiguity, where boundaries have been erased, and old places and homes lost forever."

Chair of judges Charafdine Majdouline added: "The Night Mail is a highly accomplished novel that stands out for its condensed economy of language, narrative structure, and capacity to convey the inner workings of human beings. By choosing to use techniques well-known in novel writing, Barakat faced a challenge, but she succeeded in creatively innovating within the tradition to successfully convince the reader."

Barakat has published six novels, two plays, a book of short stories and a book of memoirs. The Tiller of Waters won the Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature in 2000, and The Kingdom of This Earth was on the IPAF longlist in 2013. In 2015, she was a finalist for the Man Booker International Prize.

Reading with... Jenny Odell

photo: Ryan Meyer

Jenny Odell is an artist and writer who teaches at Stanford, has been an artist-in-residence at places like the San Francisco dump, Facebook, the Internet Archive and the San Francisco Planning Department, and has exhibited her art all over the world. She lives in Oakland, Calif. How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy (Melville House, April 9, 2019) is her first book.

On your nightstand now:

I've got something of a weird combo on my nightstand. Next to a Post-It-flagged copy of Edward J. Balleisen's Fraud: An American History from Barnum to Madoff is Robin Wall Kimmerer's Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses. While these may seem unrelated, they're both about paying close attention to devilishly small details. But even if it weren't for that, I've noticed that my mind always knits together the last few things I've encountered; my writing process could be described as "read, sleep, walk." I look forward to seeing what comes of frauds and moss!

Favorite book when you were a child:

I would love to say that my favorite book when I was child was some epic novel or even just a normal book for a child. For instance, I really enjoyed Ray Bradbury's Martian Chronicles and Jostein Gaarder's Sophie's World. But if I were to be totally honest, the book I was obsessed with was a giant tome I found on my parents' shelf: the 1987 edition of the American Medical Association Family Medical Guide. The first section had a bunch of pleasing flowcharts, each starting with different symptoms; I would imaginatively follow them to exciting conclusions like "EMERGENCY!" or "Consult your physician immediately!" The second section had grotesque, full-color photos of skin disorders, and the third section was basically an encyclopedia of everything that can go wrong with the human body. I can't totally account for why I spent so much time poring over this book, but I suspect it was an early interest in cataloguing (which later showed up in my visual art), plus the gross-out factor that kids seem to love.

Your top five authors:

Hannah Arendt, Martin Buber and Walter Benjamin are the thinkers I come back to again and again. For matters ecological and geological, I turn to John McPhee and Aldo Leopold.

Book you've faked reading:

I've only read half of Infinite Jest!

Book you're an evangelist for:

I find that almost weekly, I recommend Robin Wall Kimmerer's Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants to someone. I've never read another book like it, and for me it really shows the importance of transdisciplinary work. As both a professor of environmental science and a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, Kimmerer uses two different perspectives on the natural world to illuminate one another in ways that would not otherwise be possible. Her book is not just about the importance of storytelling; her writing itself demonstrates this importance in how beautifully her stories are rendered and woven together.

Book you've bought for the cover:

I once bought a book (in Spanish!) about the birds of Mexico City, because it had this amazing design of birds' heads spiraling into infinity. This is also how I learned that the Spanish name for night heron--one of my favorite birds--literally translates to "water dog."

Book you hid from your parents:

Once, I think when I was about 11, I ordered a "book" from the back section of some magazine (the section with ads for questionable things like drawing contests, weird products, etc.). The book claimed that it contained the secret for "getting any guy to like you," no matter what. I secretly ordered this book and scurried away with it when it came in the mail. To my disappointment, the book was more of a booklet, with almost no cover design and a title in Arial Bold. Its only advice was to never give up, even if the dude says no. Seems like bad advice! I hid this book more out of embarrassment at getting duped than anything else.

Book that changed your life:

I could answer with almost any of the books I've gotten from the excellent ecology section at my local bookstore, Walden Pond. But if I had to pick one, it would be Jennifer Ackerman's The Genius of Birds. Entirely as a result of reading it, I got way into birding, and I also made friends with my neighborhood crows (who I now know are very smart). I now take birding classes, go on birding trips and am frequently late to things because I saw an interesting bird on the way there.

Favorite line from a book:

"If something is boring after two minutes, try it for four. If still boring, then eight. Then sixteen. Then thirty-two. Eventually one discovers that it is not boring at all." --John Cage, Silence

In this same book, I also love "Lecture on Nothing," not just for its content but for its amazing and confounding layout.

Five books you'll never part with:

Susan Buck Morss, The Dialectics of Seeing (about Walter Benjamin; first encountered it in college and have read it several times since)

David Abram, The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More than Human World

Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition (my most-used book!)

Keith Basso, Wisdom Sits in Places

Lawrence Weschler, Seeing Is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees (ostensibly about the artist Robert Irwin, but really about what it means to make art)

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

That would be Frans de Waal's Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? (Spoiler alert: we aren't.) I suspect that anyone writing about both animal intelligence and human hubris is going to have a good sense of humor, and that is certainly the case with de Waal. I also just love any stories about animal intelligence, so this was a luxurious and delightful read for me.

Book Review

Children's Review: Where Are You From?

Where Are You From? by Yamile Saied Méndez, illus. by Jaime Kim (HarperCollins, $17.99 hardcover, 40p., ages 4-8, 9780062839930, June 4, 2019)

The emphatic "Where are you from?," often aggressively repeated with "Where are you really from?" is an all-too-familiar scenario for many people of color who call the United States "home." On the playground, at ballet class, at a playdate, one little girl attempts to answer simply: "I'm from here, from today, same as everyone else." But the insistence lingers and the bewildered child can't satisfy her interrogators. She turns to her Abuelo "because he knows everything, and like me, he looks like he doesn't belong." Despite her youth, she's already well aware of her--and her family's--other-ness.

Perhaps expecting a geographical pinpoint to her "Where am I from?," the girl observes Abuelo in deep thought, "like he's looking inside his heart for an answer." Hand in hand, Abuelo instead takes her on an extraordinary journey to see the places, people, histories and experiences that make the girl who she is, identifying where she comes from and who her family and community are. "You're from the Pampas," Abuelo begins, "the open, free land." He points out "the brown river that cleanses and feeds the land... that gives us the grain for our bread, the milk from the cows." He leads her high up in the mountains, down into the blue oceans, and tells her about "copper warriors," "island people" and "ancestors [who] built a home for all, even when they were in chains because of the color of their skin." Far and wide they wander, through "hurricanes and dark storms," into "sunshine that lights our path in this world and the rain that washes away our mistakes." And yet, despite all his wondrous explanations, the little girl asks with grave persistence, "But, Abuelo... where am I really from?" With a finger pointed at his heart, he answers, "You're from here, from my love and the love of all those before us."

That intrusive "where are you from" scenario--so often asked of those who aren't white--makes young children especially vulnerable to feeling unwelcome, question their sense of belonging and doubt their very identity. Argentinian-born, Utah-domiciled Yamile Saied Méndez (Blizzard Besties) counters with an enchanted, hand-in-hand odyssey through Abuelo and his granddaughter's richly diverse heritage. Korean-born, North Carolinian artist Jamie Kim (Take Heart, My Child) uses watercolor and digital techniques to create vibrantly hued, double-page-spread landscapes onto which she actively integrates Abuelo and granddaughter sharing the vastness of who they really are. Certain details--pampas grass, the gaucho, Señor Cielo, the May Revolution (25 Mayo 1810) obelisk--point to a South American, likely Argentinian heritage. But the mostly nameless scenes also become an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the many, many backgrounds, roots, histories, of those who live in these United States. From the Southern Cross to the North Star, "You are from all of us," Abuelo explains. And, finally, the little girl, surrounded by family and friends as they return home, responds--and reclaims--"I am." --Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon

Shelf Talker: Questioned too often with the intrusive, "where are you really from?," a young girl turns to her wise, thoughtful grandfather for answers.

Powered by: Xtenit