Shelf Awareness for Thursday, October 22, 2020

University of Texas Press: Grief Is a Sneaky Bitch: An Uncensored Guide to Navigating Loss by Lisa Keefauver

Berkley Books: Hair-raising horror to sink your teeth into!

Berkley Books: The Hitchcock Hotel by Stephanie Wrobel

Queen Mab Media: Get Our Brand Toolkit

Ballantine Books: Gather Me: A Memoir in Praise of the Books That Saved Me by Glory Edim

Ace Books: Rewitched by Lucy Jane Wood

Graywolf Press: We're Alone: Essays by Edwidge Danticat

St. Martin's Press: Runaway Train: Or, the Story of My Life So Far by Erin Roberts with Sam Kashner


Deadtime Stories Comes to Life in Lansing, Mich.

Deadtime Stories is located on the lower level of Thrift Witch.

Deadtime Stories, a new and used true crime-focused bookstore in Lansing, Mich., officially had its grand opening last week, WKFR reported. In addition to true crime, the store carries mystery and horror novels along with a wide selection of books by local crime authors and books about the darker side of Michigan history.

The store is located on the lower level of the Thrift Witch shop in Lansing's Old Town. It is owned by Jenn Carpenter, author of Haunted Lansing and the owner of Scream Queen Productions and Demented Mitten Tours. The shop features a wall devoted to women authors from Michigan and there is a trunk full of used murder mystery novels each priced at $1. The store also accepts donations of used true crime books.

BINC: Click to Apply to the Macmillan Booksellers Professional Development Scholarships

Oregon Books and Games Sold to Three Employees

After 30 years of ownership, Karen and Robert Moore are selling Oregon Books and Games, Grants Pass, Ore., to three employees. The Moores had put the store up for sale more than a year ago, and several interested parties were doing due diligence later in the year--and all agreed to wait until 2020 to continue the process. As the Moores wrote in announcing the sale, "And we all know what happened then."

The three new owners are Chris Nelson, Sarah Wager and Linda Holt. Wager and Nelson will be managing the store, and Holt will continue as the senior buyer, applying 15 years of experience to picking the right books for "our unique market and its special customers." The Moores will continue at the store the next couple of years to make sure the transition goes smoothly.

The Moores said that the new owners "have risen to the challenges of keeping a business going under Covid-19. In March, Robert and Linda were declared 'at risk' and they began working from home, leaving much of the day-to-day operation to Chris and Sarah. Despite these setbacks, the store remained open with restrictions and survived."

Linda Holt joined the store in March 2005, and came with "a love of books, a great personality that everyone loved and some great retail experience, not to mention her years in the U.S. Navy," the Moores wrote. "Linda has been the favorite go-to person for hundreds of our customers and newer employees."

Sarah Wager, a graduate of George Fox University with a major in English literature, began working at the store in July 2018. "Her love of books and writing has driven her over the years to keep working on that great novel (which she keeps hidden). As former co-chair of Southern Oregon's chapter of Willamette Writers, Sarah keeps in touch with many or Oregon's writers and has been the representative of Oregon Books to all the local authors and events manager for the store."

Chris Nelson, a graduate of Grand Canyon University with a major in theology and emphasis on project management, joined the store in January 2019. "With that clean cut young look at over six feet, Chris can reach the top shelves, and has developed a keen sense of purchasing used books, as well as working to expand the store's on-line sales, which have increased substantially with Covid-19. He plans to continue his education in business, working towards an MBA."

Robert and Karen Moore added that they are "excited to see their dream of a community bookstore grow into a new adventure. They look forward to guiding the new ownership and helping the bookstore continue to thrive."

Watkins Publishing: Fall Into Folklore! ARCS Available On Request

New Owners at Macdonald Bookshop in Estes Park, Colo.

Anastacia Galloway Reed and Kevin Reed are the new owners of Macdonald Bookshop, which opened in 1928 and since then has "been a place for locals and visitors alike to browse and find treasures" in downtown Estes Park, Colo., the Trail Gazette reported. The Reeds purchased the bookshop from Paula Steige, granddaughter of the founders, who has been running the business since the early 1970s.

"Until about a year ago, I wasn't ready to sell," Steige said. "But in the summer of 2019, all of a sudden I was totally ready to be out. When you have reached 84 years old, almost 85, it's past time.... Recently, because of our magnificent Estes Valley Library and services like Amazon, we have seen fewer local patrons because they have an alternative.... [Tourists] return just to see what is new. They come back year after year. People who were Cheley campers come back when their children are Cheley campers. That's been the reason I've kept with it. People come in and say such nice things about the longevity of it."

The Reeds also own nearby Inkwell & Brew, and this "is where history comes full circle," the Trail Gazette wrote, noting that Steige had "built and opened Inkwell & Brew, although at the time, it had a different name: Macdonald Papeterie.... Her daughter, Stacia Valley, ran the coffee shop and paper store for 12 years before it changed hands." The Reeds bought that business and opened it as Inkwell & Brew in 2013.

Regarding the new venture, Anastacia Galloway Reed said, "Books have always been an obsession for us. Our house looks like a bookshop. My husband is a writer and he loves to read.... We're a really good team. Kevin has a sense of style. He knows what will sell to a certain demographic. He's the main curator and he knows everything about the coffee. I pay all of the bills.... I love running the businesses. We can really make these businesses sing. They complement each other. Some people come into the bookstore looking for a journal. We send them over to Inkwell & Brew."

Although no major changes are planned for Macdonald Bookshop, Reed wants to make some additions, including a children's reading program, story hours and more author events when the Covid-19 pandemic ends.

ABA's #BoxedOut: 'The Conversation Continues'

Bookselling This Week offered some great statistics about the American Booksellers Association's #BoxedOut campaign, launched a week ago:

  • It's had 112 million views and 2.8 million shares on social media
  • The campaign was mentioned in more than 100 articles in national and local publications
  • National coverage included the New York Times, Forbes, the Boston Globe, and the Washington Post
  • It was discussed on three podcasts and on SiriusXM radio
  • It was featured on CNN
  • It will appear in upcoming ads on BookForum and LitHub, as well as in some TV spots later this week
  • Notable people sharing the message on social media about supporting independent bookstores include Dan Rather, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Salman Rushdie

Booksellers can contact the ABA for social-media assets, DIY book covers, messages for boxes, posters, press releases, talking points and installation photos, as well as help writing an op-ed or reaching out to local media.

'Panel Discussion': New Shelf Awareness Comics Column

Emma Levy

With this issue, Shelf Awareness is pleased to welcome (back) former publishing assistant Emma Levy for her new comics column, "Panel Discussion."

Emma is a recent transplant to New York City via Seattle. Before working at Shelf Awareness, Emma was the fiction editor of the Bellingham Review, an editorial intern at Fantagraphics, a bookseller and a graduate student. She regularly writes for the Seattle Times and has also written for the Seattle Review of Books.

"Panel Discussion" will highlight new, under-the-radar and occasional backlist titles for booksellers and all who care to partake. Emma is drawn to slice-of-life comics, historical comics and comics that experiment with form and materiality. Most of all, she is drawn to a great story. She can be reached via e-mail here and on Twitter here. Check out her publications here.

Obituary Note: Tom Maschler

British publisher Tom Maschler, who became literary director of Jonathan Cape in 1960, a month after Cape's death, and remained chairman of the company until it was acquired by Random House in 1988, died October 15, the Bookseller reported. He was 87. In addition to launching the careers of many literary lights, including Joseph Heller, Philip Roth and Gabriel García Márquez, Maschler was also one of the key figures credited with conceiving the idea of the Booker Prize.

Describing him as "the King of British Publishing," Michal Shavit, publishing director for Jonathan Cape, said Maschler was a "genius, a maverick, a legend, he published some of the greatest writers of the last century. His influence and his brilliance will be felt in British culture for decades if not centuries to come. It's such a sad loss that he has gone, but I am immensely grateful to him for everything he did to make Cape the great imprint it is, and to all the joy he has brought to so many readers around the world through the books and authors he published."

Dan Franklin, former publishing director at Jonathan Cape, said: "Tom was without doubt the most brilliant British literary publisher of his era. He could not only spot great writing, but he knew how to package it and to market it. He was a brilliant salesman. And by inventing the Booker Prize, he created a market for literary fiction that has persisted to this day. Márquez, Pynchon, McEwan, Fowles, Dahl, Amis, Roth, Heller, Chatwin--who else has ever had a list like it?"

Author Julian Barnes observed: "Tom was a whirl of a publisher, fun, noisy, smart, always zealous for books and writers; he loved running the coolest publishing house in London, and it enjoyed it too."

The Guardian noted that Maschler "presided over Cape like a colossus, the list a roll-call of some of the 20th century's great names in fiction, prize-winning heavyweights whose British and Commonwealth contenders would routinely carry off the Booker prize he had created in 1969 to rival the Prix Goncourt. But, in addition to literary fiction and nonfiction, Maschler was a dab hand at commerce.... Still, Maschler was more admired than liked. The publisher Patrick Janson-Smith, who acquired paperback rights to many Cape titles, regarded him as 'a tainted genius with the gift of being a stranger to self doubt--rather like Jeffrey Archer, whom he published.' "

Maschler stepped down as a director of Cape in 1997, "and in 2006 a trip to Zambia gave him the idea for the Book Bus to bring books to children there, working with local teachers and volunteers to increase literacy and get children reading," the Guardian wrote. "By 2020, there were six sponsored buses--including Charlie and Matilda, named after Dahl characters--adorned with [Quentin] Blake's artwork, the operation having expanded to Malawi and Ecuador."


Odyssey Bookstore: 'How to Curbside Correctly'

At Odyssey Bookstore, Ithaca, N.Y., which opened in June, "we've been doing curbside pick up before we were ever open to the public! We think we've gotten pretty good at it and we thought we'd share a few lessons in Odyssey's 'How to Curbside Correctly':

The Socially Distanced Handoff: Wearing a mask, outside and ensuring 6' distance at all times!!
Traditional Curbside: Always includes a car parked in front of the store!--and we at Odyssey prefer the "passenger window hand-off" (see our demonstration). But variations are permitted!!
Pre-paid in Store Pickup: Shop on line or call and limit your in store time!!--of course sneeze guard, masks and sanitized surfaces are a must!!

"Finally, you can shop online for at home delivery and eliminate contact at all!! Though Cordelia will miss you. We may have had a bit of fun today recreating some scenarios for picking up books at Odyssey--BUT we take safely getting you the books you want (need⁉️)--the way you want them--very seriously. With love and laughter, the Odyssey Bookstore team."

Personnel Changes at Europa Editions

At Europa Editions:

Tatiana Radujkovic, who recently completed an internship at the company, has been hired as assistant publicist.

Katie Freeman, formerly executive publicist at Riverhead Books, will be working with the company for select publicity needs in 2021.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Tommy Davidson on The Doctors

Good Morning America: Bobbie Lloyd, author of The Magnolia Bakery Handbook: A Complete Guide for the Home Baker (Harper Design, $35, 9780062887214).

The Doctors: Tommy Davidson, author of Living in Color: What's Funny About Me: Stories from In Living Color, Pop Culture, and the Stand-Up Comedy Scene of the '80s & '90s (Kensington, $27, 9781496712943).

Kelly Clarkson Show: Cleo Wade, author of Heart Talk: The Journal: 52 Weeks of Self-Love, Self-Care, and Self-Discovery (Atria, $17.99, 9781982140793).

This Weekend on Book TV: Al Sharpton

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, October 24
3:05 p.m. David Davis, author of Wheels of Courage: How Paralyzed Veterans from World War II Invented Wheelchair Sports, Fought for Disability Rights, and Inspired a Nation (Center Street, $28, 9781546084648), at Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena, Calif. (Re-airs Sunday at 7:50 a.m.)

4:10 p.m. Michael Paradis, author of Last Mission to Tokyo: The Extraordinary Story of the Doolittle Raiders and Their Final Fight for Justice (Simon & Schuster, $28, 9781501104718).

5:50 p.m. Nicholas Sargen, author of JPMorgan's Fall and Revival: How the Wave of Consolidation Changed America's Premier Bank (Palgrave Macmillan, $39.99, 9783030470579).

6:55 p.m. Adam Cox and Cristina Rodriguez, authors of The President and Immigration Law (Oxford University Press, $34.95, 9780190694364).

7:55 p.m. H.R. McMaster, author of Battlegrounds: The Fight to Defend the Free World (Harper, $35, 9780062899460). (Re-airs Sunday at 10 p.m.)

9 p.m. Connie Mack, author of Citizen Mack: Politics, an Honorable Calling (Brown Books, $27.95, 9781612544366). (Re-airs Sunday at 5:45 p.m.)

10 p.m. Al Sharpton, author of Rise Up: Confronting a Country at the Crossroads (Hanover Square Press, $27.99, 9781335966629). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

Sunday, October 25
12 a.m. Pete Buttigieg, author of Trust: America's Best Chance (Liveright, $23.95, 9781631498770). (Re-airs Sunday at 6:45 p.m.)

1 p.m. Arundhati Roy, author of Azadi: Freedom. Fascism. Fiction. (Haymarket, $22.95, 9781642592603).

4:45 p.m. Jessica Goudeau, author of After the Last Border: Two Families and the Story of Refuge in America (Viking, $27, 9780525559139).

11:05 p.m. R. Ed Freeman, co-author of The Power of And: Responsible Business Without Trade-Offs (Columbia Business School Publishing, $24.95, 9780231188500).

Books & Authors

Awards: T.S. Eliot Shortlist

The T.S. Eliot Foundation had selected the shortlist for the 2020 T.S. Eliot Prize, honoring "the best new collection of poetry published in the U.K. or Ireland." The winning poet receives £25,000 (about $32,555) and the shortlisted poets get £1,500 (about $1,955). This year's shortlisted titles are:

Postcolonial Love Poem by Natalie Diaz
Deformations by Sasha Dugdale                   
Shine, Darling by Ella Frears 
RENDANG by Will Harris 
Love Minus Love by Wayne Holloway Smith
How to Wash a Heart by Bhanu Kapil
Life Without Air by Daisy Lafarge
How the Hell Are You by Glyn Maxwell 
Sometimes I Never Suffered by Shane McCrae
The Martian's Regress by J.O. Morgan

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new hardcover titles appearing next Tuesday, October 27:

Joe Biden: The Life, the Run, and What Matters Now by Evan Osnos (Scribner, $23, 9781982174026) profiles the Democratic presidential candidate.

The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop: A Novel by Fannie Flagg (Random House, $28, 9780593133842) returns to the small town of Whistle Stop and its cafe.

Shakeup by Stuart Woods (Putnam, $28, 9780593188323) is the 55th Stone Barrington mystery.

5 More Sleeps 'til Christmas by Jimmy Fallon, illus. by Rich Deas (Feiwel & Friends, $18.99, 9781250266477) is a rhyming Christmas picture book.

Bye, Penguin! by Seou Lee (Levine Querido, $17.99, 9781646140213) is a wordless picture book featuring a penguin stuck on an ever-shrinking block of ice that is traveling around the world.

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 Bell in the Lake: A Novel by Lars Mytting, trans. by Deborah Dawkin (The Overlook Press, $27, 9781419743184). "Perfect for fans of Kieran Millwood Hargrave's The Mercies, this Norwegian bestseller is an atmosphere-lover's dream. Set in the secluded village of Butangen in 1880, The Bell in the Lake chronicles its residents' lives, all centered around a 700-year-old church and its mystical bells. Mytting effortlessly captures the push and pull between history and modernity, stringing his story with tension and moments of rare beauty. This novel is achingly real, as if one could step into the pages and find themselves looking up at the towering wooden staves." --Laura Graveline, Brazos Bookstore, Houston, Tex.

Down Along With That Devil's Bones: A Reckoning With Monuments, Memory, and the Legacy of White Supremacy by Connor Towne O'Neill (Algonquin, $26.95, 9781616209100). "The past won't go anywhere--especially the racist past endorsed by the contemporary enablers of the Nathan Bedford Forrest mythology. O'Neill's combination of historical research on the 'Southern Cause' and Jim Crow racism, combined with visits to the most contentious monuments to slavery, bring this work to visceral life. Down Along With That Devil's Bones brings to mind Tony Horwitz's Confederates in the Attic, but there's much less to laugh about as O'Neill gives us the endless monumental horror of a country's refusal to shake free from the roots of a long racist history."--Brian Lampkin, Scuppernong Books, Greensboro, N.C.

rough house: a memoir by Tina Ontiveros (Oregon State University Press, $18.95, 9780870710339). "rough house is an intensely moving and vivid story of author Tina Ontiveros' childhood in poverty-stricken small towns and logging camps of the Pacific Northwest during the '70s and '80s. Throughout her story, Ontiveros shares poignant memories of a heartrending and complex relationship with her volatile father as she earnestly tries to come to terms with the impact these experiences have had on who she is and who she is to become. Her loss and grief seem insurmountable at times, but her resolve and hope for a better future shine through. rough house is a gripping and emotional journey that should not be missed."--Jennifer Green, Green Bean Books, Portland, Ore.

For Ages 4 to 8
The Oboe Goes Boom Boom Boom by Colleen AF Venable, illus. by Lian Cho (Greenwillow Books, $17.99, 9780062494375). "A fun, goofy read-aloud highlighting the science behind musical instruments and the sounds they make. Going page by page, instrument by instrument, The Oboe Goes Boom Boom Boom is the perfect way to introduce young children to the instruments in a concert band and to some of the most famous people who played them." --Angie Tally, The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, N.C.

For Ages 9 to 12
Premeditated Myrtle by Elizabeth C. Bunce (Algonquin, $17.95, 9781616209186). "Myrtle can give Sherlock Holmes a run for his money! This audacious and bright young detective will stop at nothing to discover what happened to her neighbor. She's wicked sharp, but that will only take her so far. Luckily, she's assisted by the invincible Miss Judson, governess and mentor. I flew through this exciting mystery." --Miriam Meeks, E. Shaver, Bookseller, Savannah, Ga.

For Teen Readers
The Silvered Serpents by Roshani Chokshi (Wednesday Books, $18.99, 9781250144577). "Roshani Chokshi is back with her amazing characters and gorgeous writing that make it so hard for me to put her books down. The Silvered Serpents is a perfect follow up to The Gilded Wolves. Picking up a few months from where we left off, we join the characters as they're all grieving the death of a friend. We explore each character more fully while they work together to solve the mystery of The Divine Lyrics. But everyone has secrets, and those secrets are creating cracks and fissures within the group. I loved every aching, heartbreaking moment of this book and can't wait for the finale. Chokshi is at the top of her game with this sequel!" --Mary Ruthless, Foggy Pine Books, Boone, N.C.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: A Million Aunties

A Million Aunties by Alecia McKenzie (Akashic Books, $16.95 paperback, 160p., 9781617758928, November 17, 2020)

Jamaican author Alecia McKenzie (Sweetheart) offers her readers delightful characters and thoughtful themes in A Million Aunties.

Chris seems to be running from something when he arrives in the Jamaican village of Port Segovia from New York City. In the opening chapter, "How to Paint Flowers," his grief is gradually revealed: a woman, Lidia, now gone; Chris's dark paintings; the impulse now toward light, as if to make up for what is lost. His friend and agent, Stephen, has sent him to Auntie Della in Port Segovia, promising, "You'll have anything and everything you want. The whole range of tropical beauties: hibiscus, bird of paradise, bougainvillea." Della owns a local nursery.

Just as readers settle into Chris's pain and paintings, McKenzie shifts the focus. Chapter two is told from the point of view of Chris's father, aging in Brooklyn. He worries about his son and their frayed relationship. Other chapters focus on other characters: Chris's agent, Stephen, Jamaican by birth, who lives in New York; their friend Féliciane, a French artist who works with found objects; Uncle Alton, a painter in Kingston; Miss Pretty, Port Segovia's local eccentric, who walks all day long in a fur coat. Chris was born in the United States, to a Black man from Alabama and a Jamaican woman. His father remembers first meeting her, and noting "the arrogance and confidence of growing up as a majority. The shortsightedness of it."

Chris and Della are the heart of this story, but the kaleidoscope of other perspectives enriches it. Chris begins to heal from the loss of Lidia and even reconsider his relationship with his father, with the help of a new auntie and a broadening view of the world. The myriad characters offer a textured background to this central story. From rural Jamaica to New York City, Paris and the Firenzes of Alabama and Italy (Chris: "Firenze was always Firenze, never Florence"), and across generations, they share common threads: art, flowers, love, loss. "Painting flowers is political action," Chris's best-remembered teacher used to say. Now this seems to be all he can do for Lidia, who rearranged her life to devote it to flowers.

Stephen's relationship with Auntie Della offers perhaps the novel's central theme of human connection, built families: "In his most morbid moments, he sometimes thought: lose a mother, gain a million aunties." A Million Aunties is an exquisite novel about beauty and pain, and what binds us together. Through captivating character studies, quiet lovely writing and deceptively simple storytelling, McKenzie illuminates basic commonalities and rethinks what family and home mean. --Julia Kastner, librarian and blogger at pagesofjulia

Shelf Talker: After a great loss, a man returns to his mother's homeland of Jamaica in this stunning novel of love, loss, grief, healing, art, identity, family and home.

Deeper Understanding

Panel Discussion: Comics Take on the Arts

Pollock Confidential: A Graphic Novel by Onofrio Catacchio (Laurence King, $19.99, 9781786276223)
How did a "surly cowboy" with an "incredible talent" become an unwitting tool in the CIA's fight against communism? In Pollock Confidential, Onofrio Catacchio probes the bizarre story of the government's covert funding of Jackson Pollack's art through the eyes of the fictional agent overseeing his CIA file, Dan Adkins.

In Catacchio's imagining, Adkins installs himself in Pollack's life with the same inconspicuousness as Nick Carraway does in The Great Gatsby: as a mostly silent observer, occasional commentator, and keeper of history. Adkins's wistful reflections form the substance of the graphic novel and are the reader's gateway into Pollock's life.

Despite his documented Communist sympathies, it is not difficult to imagine why the CIA might have seen an opportunity in Jackson Pollock's work. "Today painters do not have to go to a subject matter outside themselves. The modern artist, it seems to me, is expressing an inner world--expressing the energy, the motion, and other forces," Pollock contends. A critique of this ethos might point out that his work is ripe for manipulation because it doesn't engage with culture or history, because it is purposely abstract. Even more, the ideology that underpins abstract expressionism--the primacy of expressing the individual identity--does not seem that far removed from the American ethos that the CIA was already evangelizing.

Pollock Confidential does not appraise or comment. Rather, it captures the insidious co-option of an American artist's legacy in a graphic novel that is very difficult to put down.

How to Handsell: Through a mix of fact and fiction, Onofrio Catacchio explores the impact that Jackson's Pollock's biggest patron, the Central Intelligence Agency, had on the public reception of his work.

I Know What I Am: The Life and Times of Artemisia Gentileschi by Gina Siciliano (Fantagraphics, $29.99, 9781683962113)

In a decidedly personal introduction, Seattle artist Gina Siciliano describes her affinity for 17th-century Italian artist Artemisia Gentileschi. When she encountered Gentileschi's Judith Slaying Holofernes in Florence's Uffizi Gallery, she immediately recognized something in the face of the Judith as she worked on slicing the Assyrian general's neck with a sword: "a determined, vengeful rage, a feeling within many survivors, either suppressed or embraced, or both." Despite the great number of years separating these women, they both found a redemptive feminine force in their artistic practices.

Gentileschi was a history painter who worked in the brutal, realist style of Caravaggio. Many of the women depicted in her portraits bore a resemblance to herself; thus, it was natural for someone like Siciliano to plumb Gentileschi's past for connections to her art. Her father, Orazio Gentileschi, was one of Caravaggio's largely forgotten contemporaries. His friends were drunks, street fighters, criminals and creeps who attempted to become part of Artemisia's life despite her own expressed desire to be an "honorable woman" and to focus on her craft.

I Know What I Am is Siciliano's imagining of Artemisia Gentileschi's life and her forgotten legacy through a contemporary feminist framework. Immaculately researched and grounded in historical fact, Siciliano's re-creations of Gentileschi's conversations sometimes play out like documentary reenactments; they seemed primarily designed to convey seminal events rather than represent the day-to-day nuances of her life. The result is a new kind of art history book, a graphic novel that features stunning reproductions of Gentileschi's greatest works and is incredibly readable given the expertise it expresses.

How to Handsell: Gina Siciliano's impressive illustrations and dynamic reimagination of Artemisia Gentileschi's life would appeal to readers who are looking for a new feminist hero or just want to learn about the Baroque period.

Wendy, Master of Art by Walter Scott (Drawn and Quarterly, $24.95, 9781770463998)
In his latest entry into his Wendy series, cartoonist Walter Scott examines the life of a different kind of "Master of Art" than Pollack or Gentileschi. The eponymous Wendy has begun a Masters of Fine Arts program at the University of Hell, where her vague studies are principally concerned with "materiality." Her colleagues, who paint flowers, study the relationship of poetry and fermentation, and explore the "semiotics of pissing," speak exclusively in critical theory jargon and deliver their often-nonsensical viewpoints with an uncompromising humorlessness.

Walter Scott's Wendy, Master of Art captures the ironies of higher education perfectly, as he makes clear that the real interest to many students lies in relationships, partying and similar extracurriculars, while the dedicated study of their given subject often feels like an unbearable chore.

After Wendy enjoys a night of partying, Scott inserts frames of total black between a half-eaten slice of pizza, an alarm clock reading 3:30 a.m., and a passed-out Wendy. In illustrations that might appear slapdash to some, Walter Scott uses the comic medium deftly. He is able to register emotional moments by slight, almost imperceptible changes on a character's face over a series of panels. His visual quips are incredibly well-executed and add an additional layer of meaning to the hilarious dialogue. Scott takes advantage of the many hidden possibilities of the comic medium for a story that could be told no other way.

As these young artists confront their own talent (or lack thereof), they are also dealing with the burdens of early adulthood and independence. Despite their hedonism, sloppiness and self-obsession, Scott's characters are clearly enriched by their experiences of genuine friendship, love and patience.

How to Handsell: Walter Scott's Wendy, Master of Art is a great pick for students, ex-students or anyone who likes to laugh.
--Emma Levy, freelance writer

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