Also published on this date: Wednesday, March 4, 2020: Maximum Shelf: Sharks in the Time of Saviors

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, March 4, 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


London Book Fair Canceled

The show will not go on after all. A day after London Book Fair organizers said they were still planning to hold the event next week, Reed Exhibitions announced its cancelation following the escalation of COVID-19 Coronavirus in Europe and the exit of so many publishers, agents and others since last Friday. Just yesterday, most major U.K. publishers said that they weren't attending, which followed cancelations by many from East Asia, Italy, North America and finally many parts of Europe.

At the same time, other book fairs had either canceled this year's edition, such as Livre Paris and the Leipzig Book Fair, or postponed, like the Bologna Book Fair.

In a statement, Reed said: "The effects, actual and projected, of Coronavirus are becoming evident across all aspects of our lives here in the U.K. and across the world, with many of our participants facing travel restrictions. We have been following U.K. government guidelines and working with the rolling advice from the public health authorities and other organizations, and so it is with reluctance that we have taken the decision not to go ahead with this year’s event.

"We recognize that business has to continue. With this in mind, we will of course support and collaborate with exhibitors and visitors to keep our world moving during this difficult period. We thank all those from the U.K. and a multitude of other countries who have prepared over the last year to deliver what promised to be a wonderful book fair showcasing, as ever, the exciting best of the global book industry. The London Book Fair will return, better than ever, in 2021."

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

Nashville Area Book Community Reacts to Deadly Tornadoes

Deadly tornadoes hit Tennessee early yesterday morning, killing more than 20 people in the region and damaging approximately 40 buildings in Nashville alone. Several book industry businesses with connections to the city and surrounding communities responded with updates and concern.

In a statement, Ingram Content Group CEO Shawn Morin said: "Devastating tornadoes passed through Middle Tennessee overnight causing considerable damage to communities across our state. Our heart goes out to all those affected by the storms, especially our associates and their families. While our headquarters and facilities did not sustain damage, this is our hometown and we share the community's devastation over the damage and are committed to doing all we can in the days that follow as Middle Tennessee recovers and rebuilds."

Parnassus Books tweeted yesterday that the store "will be closed today, so that our staff can help family and friends in the aftermath of the tornado. We should be open as usual tomorrow. We hope everyone is safe and sound."

On Facebook, the Bookshop wrote: "A tornado devastated our East Nashville neighborhood last night. The shop appears to have escaped major damage--For that, we are seriously thanking our lucky stars. We'll be closed today (Tuesday) to concentrate on helping our neighbors in the cleanup effort."

In an update last night, the Bookshop posted: "East Nashville has been hit *hard*, y’all. Our home in Lockeland Springs is ok, but we are still without power and one block away is devastation unlike anything I've ever seen. Feeling so lucky and thankful, but also heartsick for our neighbors. A few announcements: (1) the shop will be closed again tomorrow (Wednesday). When we do reopen, we'll definitely be collecting donations for the relief effort. Stay tuned for details on that. (2) We’ve decided to postpone Friday's launch party for The Vinyl Underground by @rob_rufus. We'll announce the new date in a couple of days, after the dust has (literally) settled. (3) See our stories for several ways you can help--with donations or by volunteering. (4) If you're feeling inclined to throw some support our way during this down time, just a reminder that our @bookshop_org online shop is open for business and accessible through our bio link. (5) This sticker (the pic) outside @the5spotnashville caught my eye this evening and made my heart swell. (6) Swipe for a peek at the gorgeous East Nashville sky tonight. Hope you and yours are safe--and thank you to everyone who’s expressed concern for me, the shop, the neighborhood, and the city. Your love is noted and appreciated."

In Cookeville, where another tornado caused extreme damage and loss of lives, Walls of Books posted: "Putnam County and the surrounding areas experienced a devastating night and rough morning. We hope all of you are safe at this point and can begin healing from this tragedy. We know not everyone was lucky last night. To each and every one of you and your families, we are praying for you.

"If any of you need a safe space to take a break or give your kids a distraction, please feel free to stop by. We have chairs and lounge areas, free coffee and tea, outlets to charge your phone, a restroom area, and a nice play area. We will also have a fun Dr. Seuss story time tomorrow at 10:30 that we think the kids will enjoy and snacks. We love you, Cookeville. We are a strong community, and together we will get through this."

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

PEN America Literary Award Winners Honored

Yiyun Li's Where Reasons End (Random House) was honored with the $75,000 PEN/Jean Stein Book Award at Monday night's PEN America Literary Awards ceremony in New York City. The judges called Where Reasons End a "spare, haunting, deeply humane novel.... Li has written a novel unlike anything we have read before, a book that is beautiful and wise, and almost unbearably moving in its portrait of a woman turning to literature as to a last resort, and finding that it might--barely, savingly--suffice." Other award winners named at the event included:

PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Short Story Collection ($25,000): Last of Her Name by Mimi Lok (Kaya Press)
PEN/Open Book Award ($5,000): The Grave on the Wall by Brandon Shimoda (City Lights Books)
PEN Translation Prize ($3,000): The Ten Loves of Nishino by Hiromi Kawakami, translated from the Japanese by Allison Markin Powell (Europa Editions)
PEN Award for Poetry in Translation ($3,000): The Winter Garden Photograph by Reina María Rodríguez, translated from the Spanish by Kristin Dykstra & Nancy Gates Madsen (Ugly Duckling Presse)
PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay ($10,000): Resurrection of the Wild: Meditations on Ohio’s Natural Landscape by Deborah Fleming (Kent State University Press)
PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Prize for Biography ($5,000): Sisters and Rebels: A Struggle for the Soul of America by Jacquelyn Dowd Hall (Norton)
PEN/E.O. Wilson Prize for Literary Science Writing ($10,000): Mama's Last Hug: Animal Emotions and What They Tell Us about Ourselves by Frans de Waal (Norton)
PEN/Edward & Lily Tuck Award for Paraguayan Literature ($3,000): Liz Haedo for Pieles de Papel
PEN/Nabokov Award for Achievement in International Literature ($50,000): M. NourbeSe Philip
PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award: Tanya Barfield
PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry ($5,000): Rigoberto González
PEN/Mike Nichols Writing for Performance Award ($25,000): Tom Stoppard

McNally Jackson Opens in Downtown Brooklyn

photo: Michael Reynolds/Twitter

The new McNally Jackson location in downtown Brooklyn, N.Y., officially opened for business last Friday, Brownstoner reported.

Located in the City Point development off of Albee Square, the store sells mostly new titles with a small selection of rare books. There is also a standalone children's section and a large stationery section on the ground floor.

The downtown Brooklyn location is McNally Jackson's fourth store overall and its second in Brooklyn. Its Williamsburg location opened in 2018.

Read Spotted Newt Opens in Hazard, Ky.

Read Spotted Newt, Hazard, Ky., hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony and its first author reading February 21 to celebrate the store's opening, after a disrupted launch caused by flooding earlier in the month.

Owned by Mandi Fugate Sheffel, the bookshop "offers a wide variety of books including books from local authors, children's books, bestsellers, cookbooks, religious books and various merchandise and arts and crafts, such as handmade jewelry, soaps, candles, pottery and more," the Hazard Herald reported.

The bookstore had originally opened for business January 30 at 901 N. Main St., but a week later "hastily removed books from shelves as the river across the street flowed into the building," WYMT noted.

"I wasn't prepared for that amount of water, but I knew it was a risk being here," said Sheffel after reopening. "As it got closer to the parking lot, I started moving everything up. I actually moved all of the books out Friday. Although the water didn't reach anything, I was afraid of the moisture that was in the building, that the pages would start to wrinkle."

With help from the building owners and the city, she cleared the shelves. Sheffel noted that the teamwork involved is why knows she made the right decision to open where she is: "And again it'll just be keeping an eye on the river. I think that's just going to be part of being part of a business owner down here in the area. I'm willing to take that risk because I'm confident in what's going on downtown. I'm confident in the Main Street renewal so if that's part of it, that's part of it and we'll just deal with it as it comes."

Obituary Note: Ernesto Cardenal

Ernesto Cardenal, "one of Latin America's most admired poets and priests, who defied the Roman Catholic Church in the 1980s by serving in the revolutionary Sandinista government of Nicaragua," died March 1, the New York Times reported. He was 95. Father Cardenal "began writing poetry as a young man, tracing the tormented history of Nicaragua and Latin America as epics in blank verse."

Ernesto Cardenal Martínez was born to an upper-class family in Granada and later studied literature in Managua and at Columbia University in New York City. The Times noted that he "returned to Nicaragua in the 1950s, but after a failed coup against the Somoza family, he fled and joined the Trappist monastery Gethsemani, in Kentucky, where he befriended the American monk and writer Thomas Merton. He was ordained a priest after his subsequent return to Nicaragua."

Father Cardenal was appointed Nicaragua's first minister of culture after the Sandinistas overthrew the dictator General Anastasio Somoza Debayle in 1979, but faced the Vatican's opposition to liberation theology in the 1980s under Pope John Paul II. Although his priestly authority was revoked by Nicaragua's bishops in 1984, Father Cardenal's "suspension was lifted in February 2019, when Pope Francis granted him absolution from 'all canonical censorships.' "

As a poet, Cardenal's work "was intimate: love poems that recalled the longings of his youth, finely wrought images of city lights at dusk or his famous 'Prayer for Marilyn Monroe,' in which he describes how Monroe was found on her deathbed in 1962, 'like someone wounded by gangsters/ stretching out his hand to a disconnected telephone,' " the Times wrote. In the 1980s, he began to incorporate science into his poetry, developing "the theme until the end of his life, marveling at the origins of the universe and the mysteries of DNA--sources of awe that in his vision brought people closer to God."

Cardenal's books include Pluriverse: New and Selected Poems, edited and translated in part by Jonathan Cohen; The Gospel in Solentiname; Cosmic Canticle; Love: A Glimpse of Eternity, translated by Dinah Livingston; Apocalypse, and Other Poems; and The Origin of Species and Other Poems, translated by John Lyons.

From his poem "Stardust":

And the galaxy was taking the shape of a flower
the way it looks now on a starry night.
Our flesh and our bones come from other stars
and perhaps even from other galaxies,
we are universal,
and after death we will help to form other stars
and other galaxies.
          We come from the stars, and to them we shall return.


Image of the Day: Kidlit Authors

Lesa Cline-Ransome and James Ransome stopped by KidLit TV in New York City to talk about their recent books Leaving Lymon and Overground Railroad (both Holiday House).

Chalkboard: Lighthouse Books

Canadian bookseller Lighthouse Books in Brighton, Ont., shared a photo of its store chalkboard on Facebook, noting: "Thanks to one of our younger customers who pitched in to get our blackboard ready for our kids' window. We're displaying lots of activity books and builder kits that are fun and screen free--No batteries or recharging required!"

Personnel Changes at Abrams; Laurence King Publishing

At Abrams:

Monica Shah is promoted to executive director, special markets & national accounts.

Nadine Sferratore is promoted to associate director, special sales.

Wayne Gurreri has been promoted to senior manager, special sales.

Shelby Ozer has been promoted to sales coordinator, special sales.

Kay Makanju has joined the company as trade sales manager, specializing in the educational market.


At Laurence King Publishing:

Alex Coumbis has been promoted to publicity manager, overseeing U.S. publicity campaigns.

Anastasia Scott has been promoted to marketing and publicity manager, overseeing publicity and marketing for the children's list and marketing in the U.S. for the full list.

Book Trailer of the Day: Love Your Body

Love Your Body by Jessica Sanders, illustrated by Carol Rossetti (Frances Lincoln Children's Books/Quarto Group).

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Louise Erdrich on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Louise Erdrich, author of The Night Watchman (Harper, $28.99, 9780062671189).


Tamron Hall repeat: Joseph "Rev Run" Simmons and Justine Simmons, authors of Old School Love: And Why It Works (Dey Street, $26.99, 9780062939722).

Movies: Gracefully Grayson

Yeardley Smith and Ben Cornwell's Paperclip Ltd is developing an adaption of Ami Polonsky's YA novel Gracefully Grayson "with non-binary filmmaker Henry Alberto on board to write the script for the feature," Deadline reported, adding that the book "has become required reading for many schools across the country and the news comes at a time when authentic storytelling and representation are paramount."

"I'm overwhelmed with joy to bring this magical story to life alongside Yeardley and Ben. It's a responsibility I do not take lightly" said Alberto. "Grayson touched my soul in ways I may never be able to explain. My biggest hope is that Grayson will inspire people to embrace and celebrate all of who they are despite what the rest of the world may be telling them. Because, like Grayson and I, it's far scarier not to."

Smith added: "I feel like Grayson's journey from self-discovery to self-acceptance is a universal one that anyone with a heartbeat can relate to. Add to that, with Henry's track record of adapting poignant stories in the YA space, always with wit and flawless candor, they were the perfect choice to adapt the screenplay for Grayson."

Books & Authors

Awards: RBC Taylor for Literary Nonfiction; Women's Fiction Longlist

Mark Bourrie won the C$25,000 (about US$18,755) RBC Taylor Prize for Literary Nonfiction for his biography Bush Runner: The Adventures of Pierre-Esprit Radisson. In April, he will announce the winner of the RBC Taylor Emerging Author award, who will receive C$10,000 (about US$7,560) and the opportunity to be mentored by Bourrie. Each finalist receives C$5,000 (about US$3,780).

This year marks the final awarding of the prize, which recognizes excellence in Canadian literary nonfiction and was established in 1998 to commemorate the life and work of one of Canada's foremost literary nonfiction writers, the late Charles Taylor. Last fall, founder Noreen Taylor said "it became clear last year that we had achieved every goal."


A 16-title longlist has been released for the £30,000 (about $38,875) Women's Prize for Fiction. Chair of the judges, Martha Lane Fox noted that "entries for the prize's 25th year have been spectacular and we reveled in the variety, depth, humanity and joy of the writing--we hope everyone else will too." The shortlist will be announced April 22 and a winner named June 3. This year's longlisted titles are: 

Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line by Deepa Anappara
Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner
Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams
Dominicana by Angie Cruz
Actress by Anne Enright
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
Nightingale Point by Luan Goldie
A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes
How We Disappeared by Jing-Jing Lee
The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo
The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel
Girl by Edna O'Brien
Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell
Weather by Jenny Offill
The Dutch House by Ann Patchett
Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson

Reading with... Rebekah Weatherspoon

photo: Kyle Stryker

After years of meddling in her friends' love lives, Rebekah Weatherspoon turned to writing romance to get her fix. Raised in Southern New Hampshire, Weatherspoon now lives in Southern California. Her BDSM romance At Her Feet won the Golden Crown Literary Award for erotic lesbian fiction. Fit won the Romantic Times Book Reviews Reviewers' Choice Award for Best Erotica Novella, and Soul to Keep won the 2017 Lambda Literary Award for Best LGBTQ Erotica. Her 2018 romantic comedy Rafe: A Buff Male Nanny received praise from both Entertainment Weekly and the New York Times. Her newest books are the romantic comedy Xeni: A Marriage of Inconvenience and a retelling of Sleeping Beauty, A Cowboy to Remember (just published by Kensington).

On your nightstand now:

You Were Born for This by Chani Nicholas. Chani just gets me.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Many Waters by Madeleine L'Engle. I was raised a preacher's kid and this title of Bible fanfiction was right up my alley.

Your top five authors:

Beverly Jenkins, Phyllis Bourne, Alyssa Cole, Helen Hoang and Reese Ryan.

Book you've faked reading:

Nearly everything I was assigned in high school. Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow is one that sticks out. I didn't even bother with the CliffsNotes for that one.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Night Hawk by Beverly Jenkins. Picture Denzel Washington. Now picture him on a horse.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Along for the Ride by Mimi Grace. Illustrated covers are back in romance publishing in a big way. This cover instantly caught my eye. The couple is adorable.

Book you hid from your parents:

I've never hidden a book from my parents. They were just psyched to see me reading.

Book that changed your life:

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins. I was working on a horrible reality show, reading that book in a van in between set ups, and I realized I was extremely unhappy on that project.

Favorite line from a book:

Oh, my memory doesn't work like that. I remember feelings. You've lost me on exact lines though. I do love the banter between characters that Tessa Dare uses in her work.

Five books you'll never part with:

All of my Beverly Jenkins titles. They have their own shelves. And books two and three in Anne Rice's Sleeping Beauty series.

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

If the Dress Fits by Carla de Guzman. I gasped out loud several times and even tossed the book on the floor during a particular scene. I was so shocked with the turn the story had taken, in a good way.

Book Review

Children's Review: The List of Things that Will Not Change

The List of Things That Will Not Change by Rebecca Stead (Wendy Lamb Books/Random House, $16.99 hardcover, 224p., ages 8-12, 9781101938096, April 7, 2020)

Newbery Award-winning author Rebecca Stead has a gift for inhabiting the minds and hearts of young readers. In The List of Things that Will Not Change, she explores the messy feelings that come with parental divorce--even the kindest, gentlest divorce--from the perspective of a daughter who bubbles over with love, rage, anxiety, shame and hopeful anticipation.

Bea is eight and already a bit of a worrier when her parents announce that they're getting a divorce because her dad is gay. They give her a green spiral notebook with the start of a list they call "Things That Will Not Change." Here they make concrete certain unchanging facts: They will always love her. They still love each other, "but in a different way." And she will always have a home with each of them. Although she is reassured by the fixed new routines of the shared custody, Bea's anxiety gets worse, complicated by a developing problem with anger management. Not coincidentally, this is also the year she begins seeing a therapist, who explains that there are often "feelings behind feelings"--fear behind dislike, for example. And, behind fear, worry.

Bea's guileless first-person narration hops around from age 12 to eight to 10 and back again. "Telling a story is harder than I thought it would be," she remarks, "everything is attached in my mind": her cousin falls out of a loft at their lake cabin and narrowly avoids serious injury. Bea's father and his sweet, funny boyfriend, Jesse, make plans for their wedding. Bea meets Jesse's daughter, who does not seem as excited as Bea is to have a new sister almost the exact same age. There's even a "random bat" that flies into her mom's apartment, leading to a course of painful rabies shots. But there are also a couple of secrets that attach themselves insidiously in Bea's mind, until she finds a way to release them to her family. "I had been carrying something for a long time," she thinks, "I needed to put it down."

Stead (When You Reach Me; Goodbye Stranger; Liar & Spy) understands that the kinds of things a young girl worries about can be unexpectedly different from what an older person might fear: after the divorce, for example, Bea wants to know where her cat will stay and whether the rainbow her dad painted over her bed will remain. Bea's narrative, in Stead's hands, is droll, poignant and always realistic, whether she's angst-ridden about the fifth-grade colonial breakfast project (it involves oysters) or trying not to scratch her eczema. Stead masterfully explores the internal life of a child going through both extraordinary and run-of-the-mill trials in a way that tells readers they are not alone in their complicated, contradictory feelings about the world. --Emilie Coulter, freelance writer and editor

Shelf Talker: In this emotionally on-point middle-grade novel, a girl experiences the sometimes wonderful, sometimes fraught ways a family rearranges itself through divorce, remarriage and the blending of children.

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