Shelf Awareness for Monday, February 24, 2020

William Morrow & Company: Polostan: Volume One of Bomb Light by Neal Stephenson

Shadow Mountain: The Legend of the Last Library by Frank L Cole

Atlantic Monthly Press: The Elements of Marie Curie: How the Glow of Radium Lit a Path for Women in Science by Dava Sobel

Ace Books: Dungeon Crawler Carl by Matt Dinniman

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: The Millicent Quibb School of Etiquette for Young Ladies of Mad Science by Kate McKinnon

Annick Press: Bog Myrtle by Sid Sharp

Minotaur Books: Betrayal at Blackthorn Park: A Mystery (Evelyne Redfern #2) by Julia Kelly


Bologna Book Fair Postponed Because of Coronavirus

Because of the spread of the coronavirus to Italy, the Bologna Book Fair is being postponed to May 4-7 from March 30-April 2. Organizers said today on the fair website: "We hereby inform all Exhibitors and Visitors that due to the COVID-19 Coronavirus emergency Bologna Children's Book Fair has been rescheduled for Monday 4-Thursday 7 May 2020. We will be releasing further organisational details in a few hours."

Italy has reported more than 150 cases of the coronavirus, many of which are in Codogno, about 100 miles from Bologna and 40 miles from Milan, the New York Times said today. The Italian government has instituted a series of town lockdowns, school closings, and event cancellations in the Milan and Venice areas.

The Bookseller noted that the coronavirus has also led to the postponement of the Taipei Book Exhibition, which was to have been held February 4-9 but is now scheduled for May 7-12. The London Book Fair, which starts in two weeks, is going ahead as planned, and Reed Exhibitions is "monitoring the situation very closely." The Bookseller wrote that U.K. publishers and agents have said that attendees from China, South Korea and Singapore "had pulled out."

The coronavirus is also directly affecting the U.S. book industry, which prints many books, particularly children's books and art and design titles, in China. Although it's difficult to gauage its extent so far, a range of city and workplace closings and transportation shutdowns is having some effect on book printing.

Running Press Kids: Your Magical Life: A Young Witch's Guide to Becoming Happy, Confident, and Powerful by Amanda Lovelace

Fired Wayne State U. Press Managers to Return

Three Wayne State University Press senior staff members who were fired earlier this month will return to work this week, the Detroit News reported. Attorney Jennifer McManus said that after talks between her and university officials, editor-in-chief Annie Martin, design and production manager Kristin Harpster, and sales and marketing director Emily Nowak were offered their jobs back starting Tuesday.

All three accepted and "are really happy to return," McManus said. "They really believe in the authors they work with and they didn't want to let those people down."

Wayne State spokesperson Matt Lockwood commented: "The university re-hired Kathryn Wildfong as interim director and empowered her to make personnel decisions in the best interest of the press, and we'll support her decisions, but we cannot comment further on specific moves."

McManus told the Detroit News that the university has not apologized or given a reason for the firings, which prompted shock and outrage from many of the press's authors and past employees. An open letter demanding the immediate reinstatement of Martin, Nowak and Harpster drew 60 signatures.

"They're still considering what their options are for what they endured over the last two weeks." she said.

G.P. Putnam's Sons: William by Mason Coile

A Day Away from Closure, Braintree, Mass., B&N Renews Lease

Last Friday, the day before it was to close after 26 years, the Barnes & Noble in Braintree, Mass., and its landlord came to an agreement on a lease renewal, allowing the store to continue at the location for at least another year, the Boston Globe reported.

The B&N had been planning for several weeks to close on Saturday because the bookseller and its landlord hadn't been able to agree on a lease renewal, the Boston Globe had written earlier last week. B&N was looking for a new location in Braintree, which is a suburb south of Boston.

B&N district manager Barbara Marshall had told the paper that the store, like all B&Ns under new owner Elliott Management, was scheduled for a renovation. "We can't put money into redoing the whole location knowing that they want us out very quickly, or even a year later," she said.

Landlord W.P. Carey, a New York City real estate investment trust, had said in a statement last week, "We've had an open dialogue with Barnes & Noble for many months and continue to do so."

The Braintree B&N is located near South Shore Plaza.

Cape Cod's Books by the Sea Victim of Credit Card Scam

Tom Phillips, owner of Books by the Sea, Centerville, Mass., is trying to recover from a textbook buying scam that is threatening the survival of his business. Hyannis News reported that Phillips is "looking down the double barrel of a fund-depleting nightmare." Variations on this scam have plagued booksellers and other retailers for decades.

In early October, Philips received an e-mail from an individual asking if Books by the Sea sold or could pre-order textbooks and if he accepted credit cards. Replying that the bookstore could do this, he cautioned the would-be customer that textbooks are very expensive and payment would have to be made up front. After receiving the list of desired books, Phillips researched the titles, responded with a total price and received the buyer's credit card information. When the books arrived, he ran the credit card, which was accepted, and shipped the books. The customer/scammer subsequently ordered three more times.

In November, however, Phillips said he started receiving chargebacks from the company that handles his credit card transactions, claiming that all of the purchases were fraudulent "and that they would need to freeze my funds until an investigation could be done to determine whether it was I who had committed the fraud or on the other end." Despite going through a complex appeals process, he ultimately "lost and the reason that I lost is that the credit card company did not know when they approved that the credit cards that had been used had been stolen."

Although he explored numerous avenues to attempt to get his money back, Phillips was not able to solve the issue and entered the holiday season under "a real strain financially. I had to use my personal savings to keep the store open over the holidays. I didn't want to lay off my staff. It's a bad time of year to do that. And my store is not well stocked now. I lost thousands of dollars over the holidays because I couldn't promote the store and I couldn't have enough stock. Basically, I'm questioning whether I'll be able to continue, but we're hanging in as best we can.... People know us and hopefully will come and buy books."

A "Save Books by the Sea" gofundme page has been set up "to stand up for Tom and try to make this right. Please donate to help Books By the Sea stay open and make this right!"

Flatiron Books Partners with iHeartMedia to Found New Imprint

Flatiron Books has founded a new imprint, Stuff You Should Read: An iHeartBook, in partnership with iHeartMedia's iHeartPodcast Network. The books will focus on iHeartRadio's curiosity podcasts. Imprint, a part of Macmillan Children's Publishing Group, will publish young readers editions of the books.

Podcasters Josh Clark (l.) and Chuck Bryant

The first book, which will be published September 29, is Stuff You Should Know: An Incomplete Compendium of Mostly Interesting Things by Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant, hosts of the iHeartPodcast Network's Stuff You Should Know. In the book, the authors look at subjects ranging from the origin of Murphy beds to the history of facial hair and the psychology of being lost. The other books will be based on other longrunning iHeartPodcast Network curiosity shows, including Stuff You Missed in History Class, Stuff They Don't Want You to Know and Stuff Mom Never Told You.

The new imprint will be headed by Sarah Murphy, executive editor at Flatiron, and will publish at least one book per year.

Bob Miller, president of Flatiron Books, commented: "Stuff You Should Know is as addictive as Cheese Doodles, full of the kind of fascinating details that book-lovers will love. Who doesn't want to know how water treatment plants work? Or the history of the donut? We're thrilled to be partnering with the SYSK team and iHeartRadio to bring this delightful information to bookstores this fall."

Conal Byrne, president of the iHeartPodcast Network, said, "Podcasting is exploding right now, with some of the best and brightest minds launching shows in this medium. We wanted to take a lot of that creativity and extend it into another amazing medium, serving it up in a whole new way and potentially to a whole new audience--readers. We found the perfect partner in Flatiron to launch our first four titles, with more to come."


Image of the Day: The Third Rainbow Girl at Caprichos

Emma Copley Eisenberg read from her book The Third Rainbow Girl: The Long Life of a Double Murder in Appalachia (Hachette), at Caprichos Books in Bel Air, Md., last week. Eisenberg (l.) is pictured with bookstore owner Liz Decker.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Adam Cohen on Fresh Air

Good Morning America: Rahm Emanuel, author of The Nation City: Why Mayors Are Now Running the World (Knopf, $26.95, 9780525656388). He will also appear today on the View and the Late Show with Stephen Colbert and tomorrow on the Daily Show.

Today Show: John Tesh, author of Relentless: Unleashing a Life of Purpose, Grit, and Faith (Thomas Nelson, $28.99, 9781400208715).

Fresh Air: Adam Cohen, author of Supreme Inequality: The Supreme Court's Fifty-Year Battle for a More Unjust America (Penguin Press, $30, 9780735221505).

CBS This Morning: Mark Hyman, author of Food Fix: How to Save Our Health, Our Economy, Our Communities, and Our Planet--One Bite at a Time (Little, Brown Spark, $28, 9780316453172).

Wendy Williams: Tommy Davidson, co-author of Living in Color: What's Funny About Me (Kensington, $27, 9781496712943).

Late Night with Seth Meyers: Patrick Radden Keefe, author of Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland (Anchor, $16.95, 9780307279286).

Jimmy Kimmel Live: Dan Abrams, co-author of John Adams Under Fire: The Founding Father's Fight for Justice in the Boston Massacre Murder Trial (Hanover Square Press, $28.99, 9781335015921).

TV: The Flight Attendant

Emmy and Tony winner Bebe Neuwirth will have a recurring role opposite Zosia Mamet in HBO Max's thriller drama series The Flight Attendant, starring and executive produced by Kaley Cuoco, Deadline reported. The project is based on the novel by Chris Bohjalian. The cast also includes Sonoya Mizuno, Michiel Huisman, Rosie Perez, Colin Woodell, T.R. Knight, Griffin Matthews, Merle Dandridge and Nolan Funk.

Susanna Fogel will direct and executive produces the first two episodes. Other exec producers include Greg Berlanti, Cuoco, Sarah Schechter, Steve Yockey, Meredith Lavender and Marcie Ulin.

Books & Authors

Awards: Los Angeles Times Book Finalists

Finalists have been named for the 40th annual Los Angeles Times Book Prizes, which will be awarded April 17, on the eve of the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, Stories and Ideas. See the complete list of finalists here.

The Robert Kirsch Award for lifetime achievement, which recognizes a writer whose work focuses on the American West, will be presented to Walter Mosley. L.A. Times book editor Boris Kachka said: "We are pleased to celebrate Walter Mosley's 30-year writing life, which spans mysteries, short stories, science fiction, nonfiction, plays, and works for television and film. Whether through a detective story set in the streets of 1950s Los Angeles or essays about contemporary politics, Mosley reaches a wide range of readers, bringing about a deeper understanding of the world and the people who live in it."

WriteGirl, a mentorship program for young women, and its founder and executive director Keren Taylor have been honored with the Innovator's Award. "For nearly 20 years, they have been doing exceptional work matching professional women mentors with teen girls to promote self-expression and empowerment through writing," said Kenneth Turan, L.A. Times film critic and director of the book prizes.

Emily Bernard, author of Black Is the Body: Stories from My Grandmother's Time, My Mother's Time and Mine, will receive the Christopher Isherwood Prize for autobiographical prose. The panel of judges noted: "With deceptively simple and luminous prose, Emily Bernard invites us to inhabit her life as she poses perilous questions seemingly as simple as 'when is a doll just a doll,' and pushes ever deeper refusing easy solutions. This is a beautiful, important collection of essays."

Top Library Recommended Titles for March

LibraryReads, the nationwide library staff-picks list, offers the top 10 March titles public library staff across the country love:

My Dark Vanessa: A Novel by Kate Elizabeth Russell (Morrow, $27.99, 9780062941503). "A Lolita for the #MeToo era, it's unsettling, but not necessarily for the reasons you might think. The narrative shifts from 2000, when Vanessa gains admission to an elite New England prep school, to 2017, when she tries to come to terms with her experience, her role in it, how it's affecting her present, and the choices she faces to find resolution and move forward. For fans of Notes on a Scandal (Heller), Trust Exercise (Choi), and His Favorites (Walbert)." --Michelle Sampson, York Public Library, York, Me.

Darling Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel (Berkley, $26, 9780593100066). "Terrific psychological suspense based on an actual case where a mother deliberately made her daughter sick for years. The story is told in alternating perspectives from the points of view of Rose Gold and her mother, Patty, complex characters who are masterfully drawn, seeming sympathetic at some points and unsympathetic in others. For readers who liked The Silent Patient and The Execution of Noa P. Singleton." --Alice Kober, Arapahoe Library District, Englewood, Colo.

The Glass Hotel: A Novel by Emily St. John Mandel (Knopf, $26.95, 9780525521143). "A gorgeously written, immersive book about how easy it is to cross lines into questionable moral territory. At its center is Vincent, who loses her mother when she's 13 and as an adult makes her way into the heart of the Country of Money in New York City. Narrated by a number of well-drawn characters in a shifting timeline. For fans of A Visit from the Goon Squad and The Goldfinch." --Diana Armstrong, Multnomah County Library, Portland, Ore.

A Good Neighborhood: A Novel by Therese Anne Fowler (St. Martin's Press, $27.99, 9781250237279). "When a local businessman removes several old trees to build a mini-mansion, he isn't seen favorably by his new neighbor Valerie, an ecology professor. When their teenagers begin to secretly date, you know it's not going to end well. Told from multiple viewpoints (including the neighborhood chorus), this heart-wrenching novel explores class, race, and what it means to be a good neighbor. For those who enjoyed Commonwealth, The Hate U Give, and A Place for Us." --Alissa Williams, Morton Public Library, Morton, Ill.

If I Never Met You: A Novel by Mhairi McFarlane (Morrow, $15.99, 9780062958501). "When Jamie and Laurie become trapped in an elevator, they conjure up a fake relationship in order to get what they want from work and make an ex jealous. They end up falling for each other... but can they trust it? An enjoyable romance with characters you care about. For readers who liked Not the Girl You Marry and The Flatshare." --Melissa Stumpe, Johnson County Public Library, Greenwood, Ind.

In Five Years: A Novel by Rebecca Serle (Atria, $27, 9781982137441). "An ambitious young lawyer disregards a prophetic dream that doesn't fit into her five-year plan until she meets the man of her dreams five years later. Love has a plan of its own. For readers who enjoyed Remember Me by Sophie Kinsella, You Were There Too by Colleen Oakley, and The Wedding Party by Jasmine Guillory." --Kristin Friberg, Princeton Public Library, Princeton, N.J.

A Murderous Relation by Deanna Raybourn (Berkley, $26, 9780451490742). "Veronica Speedwell and her partner, Stoker, find themselves involved in a mystery that coincides with the killing spree of Jack the Ripper. For fans of the Ladies Travelers Guide series and the Amelia Peabody mysteries." --Stacy Tomaszewski, Alameda County Library, San Jose, Calif.

The Return by Rachel Harrison (Berkley, $26, 9780593098660). "The story of a creepy hotel, a mysterious disappearance and reappearance, and the complexities of friendships. For fans of Stephen King and Thomas Harris." --Kate Currie, Hennepin County Library, Hennepin County, Minn.

The Two Lives of Lydia Bird: A Novel by Josie Silver (Ballantine, $26, 9780593135235). "A beautifully written exploration of heartbreak and grief that takes place over the course of 18 months after Lydia loses her fiance Freddie in a tragic accident. For fans of Me Before You by Jojo Moyes and I Almost Forgot About You by Terry McMillan." --Ashley Giangregorgio, Virginia Beach Public Library, Virginia Beach, Va.

Undercover Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams (Berkley, $16, 9781984806116). "Take one romance-reading hero, his bromance book club, and add a wickedly strong heroine. This one strikes the right balance of snark, heart, and humor. For fans of Alexa Martin and Julie James." --Jennifer Asimakopoulos, Indian Prairie Public Library, Darien, Ill.

Book Review

Review: These Ghosts Are Family

These Ghosts Are Family by Maisy Card (Simon & Schuster, $26 hardcover, 288p., 9781982117436, March 3, 2020)

Maisy Card's compelling debut novel, These Ghosts Are Family, takes place in multiple locations, from 1820s Jamaica to Brooklyn, N.Y., in 2020, and follows an extended Jamaican family who struggle to rise above poverty and racism while dealing with the effects of betrayal.

The novel opens in 2005, introducing Stanford Solomon, an elderly Harlem resident; decades earlier, while working in London, he took his dead co-worker's name, Abel Paisley, to escape his family in Jamaica, effectively "killing" himself. His deception is his secret, and Abel decides, as his health fails, to gather his extended double family in order to tell his story, which is also, of course, their story. Abel is told that "you will finally tell them the truth; you are not who you say you are." The speaker goes on to scold him, calling him the thief of Solomon's death. "Where is his soul now...? Isn't it about time you gave him his due?"

With this as background, episodes and people in Abel's life, both dead and alive, unfold in multiple voices and over vast swaths of time. These episodes are presented asynchronously, actively engaging readers in piecing together the puzzle of a family that doesn't know how or if they all fit together. "Perhaps, a life does not exclusively belong to one person," someone says. "Look how easily it can be passed from one person to the next until every bit of it is put to good use."

The stories of Abel's ancestors Florence Paisley, and her daughter, Louise Marie, both enslaved, are told through court documents and journals. Louise Marie ends her confession of murdering white men by saying, "I have no wish to look upon a world that will not let you people sink down, and stay down, like the rest of us." Yet, as Abel comes of age in the 1960s in Jamaica, the country has indeed been "down" for centuries. To provide for his family he leaves his overbearing wife, Vera, and his two children, for London and a better job. "Everybody have more than one person inside them," Vera's friend says, talking about Abel presciently before he abandons her. Years later, after Vera's death, her much-abused yardman and lover, Bernard, who was neglected in her will, realizes that she was deceptive, too: "It was like there were two Veras--who she was in the day and who she became when they were alone at night."

Irene, one of Abel and Vera's children, returns to Jamaica for her mother's funeral, angry because "she had been running away from her mother her whole life, and in the end it was her mother who left her," just as Abel had. Vincent, Irene's brother, wants to avenge a horror inflicted on his mother before her death, and as he punches the man responsible, "every time he heard the word forgive, he quietly said no." Themes of deception and abandonment occur again and again, and Card shows how these acts spread and stain across generations.

Card was born in St. Catherine, Jamaica, and raised in Queens, N.Y. She has spoken of her "big, messy Jamaican family" and that she came to understand how events, even those from generations earlier, could tear a family apart. Her personal understanding affects and authenticates the characters and events in These Ghosts Are Family. Card is a powerful new voice, and readers will eagerly await her next effort. --Cindy Pauldine, bookseller, the river's end bookstore, Oswego, N.Y.

Shelf Talker: This ambitious and assured debut novel about an extended Jamaican family uses multiple voices to show how poverty, racism and deception ripple across generations.

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