Shelf Awareness for Thursday, November 12, 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


Harvard Book Store Closes Temporarily After Staffer Tests Positive for Covid-19

Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, Mass., temporarily closed yesterday after learning that one staff member tested positive for Covid-19 on Tuesday. That person last worked in the store space on Sunday, November 8, and is "feeling mostly well, and we are hopeful for a speedy recovery," the store announced online and in messages to customers.

The store is being sanitized per CDC guidelines, and staff who worked in the store over the weekend are being tested and monitored for possible symptoms.

"While we don't believe there has been any close contact among the staff per the CDC definitions--given the safety protocols, social distancing procedures, and symptom monitoring we have implemented during this epidemic--we wanted to take these steps to ensure continued health and safety for all," the store continued.

"We will announce a reopening soon. Until that time, we will be remotely processing incoming orders at but curbside pickup and in-store shopping are temporarily suspended. Apologies for the inconvenience and thank you for your understanding."

Harvard Book Store has been holding its "final virtual warehouse sale of 2020," including thousands of remainders, online. The sale runs through next Monday, November 16.

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

ABA's Winter Institute 16 to Be Held Virtually

It's not a surprise, but it's official: the American Booksellers Association's Winter Institute 16 will be held virtually, Bookselling This Week reported. Wi16 will run from Thursday, February 18, through Saturday, February 20. It was originally planned to be held in Cincinnati, Ohio, February 7-10.

For many people in the book world, Winter Institute 15 in Baltimore, Md., in January was the last in-person event attended before the Covid-19 pandemic led to cancellations of most gatherings.

Registration for Wi16 opens January 7. BTW will have more details in the coming weeks.

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

NAIBA Launches Event Management Course

The New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association has opened registration for an Event Management course, which is part of the association's new Professional Bookseller Certification program. Booksellers from around the country are welcome to register, and the cost of the program is $100 per module.

The module's objective is to teach best practices for scheduling, planning and hosting in-store and offsite events, and will cover creating an event management role at a store, training staff to work events, creating a press kit, submitting event requests through Edelweiss, marketing events and more. It will consist of webinars, a live speed-dating event and a store event.

The event management module is the first of six courses in the certification program. It will begin on January 17, 2021, and end in August, with one-hour classes being held on the first and third Sundays of each month (no classes will be held on holidays).

The other modules in the certification program are in development. Courses on inventory Management, Store Operations and Basic Bookselling are expected to launch later in 2021. The final two modules, Staff & Human Resources and Career Fast Track, are planned for 2022. According to NAIBA executive director Eileen Dengler, 14 of the 25 available class seats have been filled for the Event Management course so far.

More information about the course, as well as how to register, can be found here. Interested booksellers can also contact Dengler via e-mail.

Peter Osnos: New Book, New Publishing Venture

Peter Osnos, founder of PublicAffairs, an editor and publisher at Random House and longtime correspondent and editor at the Washington Post, has co-founded a publishing house that will release his memoir, An Especially Good View: Watching History Happen, in May.

The new venture, called Platform Books, is established with his wife, Susan Sherer Osnos. Paul Golob and Lisa Kaufman are the editors for An Especially Good View as part of their freelance portfolios. Sales and distribution is being handled by Ingram's Two Rivers Distribution. Platform Books is considering several other titles, although "it's very early," Osnos said.

Platform Books describes An Especially Good View as a reported memoir that spans Osnos's half century in journalism and publishing, offering personal insights and reflections on a life that began during World War II in India, where he was born. As a journalist, Osnos worked for the legendary I.F. Stone and was a correspondent for the Washington Post covering the war in Vietnam and the Soviet Union in the Cold War era. He was also the Post's foreign and national editor. He then spent 12 years at Random House as an editor and publisher before founding PublicAffairs in 1997.

Osnos writes about working with four presidents--Obama, Trump, Carter and Clinton--as well as scores of celebrated figures in politics, human rights, business, and media. He explores the world of books and the evolution of publishing over his years at Random House and the Perseus Books Group, where PublicAffairs was a partner until it was acquired by Hachette Book Group in 2016.

Among the other authors Osnos has published and/or edited are Rosalynn Carter, Clark Clifford, Paul Farmer, Earvin (Magic) Johnson, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Sam Donaldson, Annette Gordon Reed, Meg Greenfield, Dorothy Height, Don Hewitt, Molly Ivins, Vernon Jordan, Ward Just, Stanley Karnow, Wendy Kopp, Brian Lamb, Jim Lehrer, Scott McClellan, Robert McNamara, Peggy Noonan, William Novak, Roger Mudd, Speaker of the House Thomas P. (Tip) O'Neill, Nancy Reagan, Andy Rooney, Morley Safer, Natan Sharansky, George Soros, Susan Swain, Paul Volcker, Boris Yeltsin, and Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, as well as a range of U.S. journalists and scholars.

How Bookstores Are Coping: Ambitious Projects; Bright Summer

In Durango, Colo., Maria's Bookshop was open for in-store browsing all summer, reported owner Evan Schertz. Customers are required to wear masks, and everyone who enters the store is asked to sanitize their hands before they browse the shelves. Schertz noted that he and his team are "seriously committed" to making the space as safe as possible for both themselves and their customers, and they've been "fairly successful" in that goal so far.

The pressures and challenges of the past several months, Schertz continued, have motivated the team to take on some ambitious sales programs and projects they've "always been too intimidated to tackle." Maria's Bookshop is "finally" launching a book-a-month subscription program and has streamlined many online processes, to name a few. He added that he could not be more proud of the way his staff has met the challenge of managing customer service while being excellent booksellers.

On the subject of the holidays, Schertz said they are anticipating very low sales numbers this year compared to prior years. In most years, he explained, the store's holiday sales are "largely dependent on packing the store to a nearly uncomfortable level from Thanksgiving through Christmas." That's obviously impossible in 2020, so numbers are expected to be low and the store's buying has reflected that. That said, Schertz and his team would love to be pleasantly surprised.

Schertz added that he and his team are "throwing everything we have at shop-early incentives and other programs to generate sales this holiday season." Last month's early shopping promotions included private shopping appointments and a gift-card rebate program, both of which were successful. The store just launched a subscription program, and they are currently in the process of setting up a bookmobile that will be used in front of the store as a curbside pick-up and gift-wrapping location. Customers have been "largely receptive" to the message.


(photo: whitemountainindependents)

White Birch Books in North Conway, N.H., reopened to browsing on Memorial Day, owner Laura Cummings reported. All of the store's regular staff, save for one "very part-timer," returned at that point, and things "basically got back to normal," with the exception that the store no longer opens on Sundays and closes an hour earlier each day.

These adjusted hours, Cummings explained, allowed the staff to all work the same shift. Everyone came in together and left together, and when the store first re-opened, it was "very helpful and great for team building." Now, everyone is used to it, and since it has worked so well, "we are unwilling to change it just yet."

Cummings has essentially moved her "office," which consists of a laptop and printer, down to the sales floor. She did this so she could be available in case there were any problems with customers refusing to wear masks or follow safety guidelines. "I just figured since it was my store and my rules, it was my job to be there."

She noted that there have been very few confrontations with uncooperative shoppers, though she credited that to the store simply having "awesome customers," and not her presence on the sales floor. Masks are required for all, and the store has been offering masks for free to shoppers who do not bring their own. The store won't be able to keep doing that for long, though, as the free supply is almost gone.

One amazing bright spot during the pandemic, Cummings said, is that the store's summer business was on track with 2019 and actually exceeded 2019 at some points. North Conway is a tourist destination, and the region was packed with visitors this summer, many of them coming for the first time. The influx of people was "terrifying to a degree," but the town as a whole reinforced mask wearing and people were wonderful for the most part.

Over the past several months, the store's partnerships with other local businesses have also "intensified and grown." For example, the hand sanitizer the store uses is made locally. White Birch buys a "ton of it" and sends plenty of customers to their store. In return, they cut the bookstore a deal here and there, and tell their customers about Cummings's store. The independent retailers in the area also advertise and market together, especially now.

When asked about holiday buying, Cummings answered that she would love to say she approached it with a "clear, concise plan of action, but that would be a lie." With Covid cases rising in New Hampshire, she really has no idea what the holiday will look like, though she ordered with the expectation that the store would be open and people would be shopping with caution. She added that she knows she missed a lot, but the store "looks good and full and boxes are arriving regularly." --Alex Mutter

Obituary Note: Naomi Long Madgett

Naomi Long Madgett, poet, educator and publisher, as well as Detroit's poet laureate since 2001, died November 4. She was 97. The Free Press reported that in 1972, frustrated by the lack of publishers for Black poets, Madgett founded Lotus Press (now Broadside Lotus Press). She said one of her proudest projects was editing the anthology Adam of Ife: Black Women in Praise of Black Men (1992). She also served as poetry editor for Michigan State University Press in the 1990s.

"It was her joy and passion to selflessly advance Detroit poets," said graphic designer Leisia Duskin, who had worked with Madgett in publishing for the past two decades. "She was especially honored and humbled by her position as poet laureate. She was always about others more so than herself."

Her poems "often mirror the blues-based lyricism of Hughes's work, casting a light on themes of African American spirituality and civil rights," the Free Press noted. Madgett's books include Octavia and Other Poems; Remembrances of Spring: Collected Early Poems; and Exits and Entrances. Her work has been included in anthologies around the world.

"What I have done with my life is only what I was supposed to do," Madgett said during a reading at the Charles Wright Museum of African American History in 2017. "I believe the purpose of my life is to serve, to make a positive difference in someone's life, to redirect someone who is heading in the wrong direction, to be a good role model, to inspire someone to lead a more meaningful life."

As an English teacher for years at Detroit's Northwestern High School, "she pioneered its first courses in African-American literature and creative writing," Detroit News wrote. She also taught at Eastern Michigan University from 1968-1984, and "was a lifelong leader in pushing for fairer representation of African-Americans in school textbooks."

When she was named the Kresge Foundation's 2012 Eminent Artist, president Rip Rapson praised Madgett's "life of creativity while supporting other writers and poets, reaching across generations to spark in young people a love of words and writing, and maintaining a deep and abiding commitment to the Detroit community." Her other honors include the American Book Award for her work as an editor and publisher, the Michigan Artist Award, and the National Council of Teachers of English Black Caucus Award.


A Pumpkin Pie Recipe for the Raven Book Store

A one-of-a-kind pre-holiday tweet from the Raven Book Store, Lawrence, Kan.: "good morning to all of you, but especially the customer who put an entire pumpkin pie recipe in their order comments."

Personnel Changes at Simon & Schuster

Elizabeth Breeden has been promoted to associate director of marketing at Simon & Schuster.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Lenny Kravitz on Live with Kelly and Ryan

Live with Ryan and Kelly: Lenny Kravitz, co-author of Let Love Rule (Holt, $29.99, 9781250113085).

Kelly Clarkson Show: Kimberly Schlapman, author of A Dolly for Christmas: The True Story of a Family's Christmas Miracle (Little, Brown, $18.99, 9780316542968).

This Weekend on Book TV: The Southern Festival of Books

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, November 14
1 p.m. Jordan Ritter Conn, author of The Road from Raqqa: A Story of Brotherhood, Borders, and Belonging (Ballantine, $28, 9781984817181), at the Southern Festival of Books.

1:44 p.m. An author discussion of life in Appalachia with Sarah Smarsh, Thomas Burton, and Wayne Winkler at the Southern Festival of Books.

2:40 p.m. An author discussion of the Jim Crow era with Wanda Lloyd and David Pilgrim at the Southern Festival of Books.

4:30 p.m. Jessica Goudeau, author of After the Last Border: Two Families and the Story of Refuge in America (Viking, $27, 9780525559139).

8:50 p.m. Brian Christian, author of The Alignment Problem: Machine Learning and Human Values (Norton, $28.95, 9780393635829).

10 p.m. John Fabian Witt, author of American Contagions: Epidemics and the Law from Smallpox to COVID-19 (Yale University Press, $20, 9780300257274). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. Pete Cozzens, author of Tecumseh and the Prophet: The Shawnee Brothers Who Defied a Nation (Knopf, $35, 9781524733254), at Abraham Lincoln Book Shop in Chicago, Ill.

Sunday, November 15
12:20 a.m. Ben Macintyre, author of Agent Sonya: Moscow's Most Daring Wartime Spy (Crown, $28, 9780593136300). (Re-airs Sunday at 7:10 p.m.)

1:20 a.m. Phil Harvey and Lisa Conyers, authors of Welfare for the Rich: How Your Tax Dollars End Up in Millionaires' Pockets--And What You Can Do About It (Post Hill Press, $27, 9781642934144).

10 a.m. Mark Salter, author of The Luckiest Man: Life with John McCain (Simon & Schuster, $35, 9781982120931).

1 p.m. Matthew Van Meter, author of Deep Delta Justice: A Black Teen, His Lawyer, and Their Groundbreaking Battle for Civil Rights in the South (Little, Brown, $28, 9780316435031) at the Southern Festival of Books.

1:47 p.m. An author discussion on immigrants, refugees and the American Dream with Stephanie Griest, Sahar Mustafah, and Amra Sabic-El-Rayess at the Southern Festival of Books.

2:50 p.m. An author discussion on investigative journalism with Stephanie Gorton and Chris Hamby at the Southern Festival of Books.

4:35 p.m. Allen Paul and John LeBar, authors of Marching Toward Madness: How to Save the Games You Always Loved (Carolina Academic Press, $24.95, 9781531018566), at Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, N.C.

8:10 p.m. David Eagleman, author of Livewired: The Inside Story of the Ever-Changing Brain (Pantheon, $28.95, 9780307907493), at Politics and Prose in Washington, D.C.

11 p.m. David Reynolds, author of Abe: Abraham Lincoln in His Times (Penguin Press, $45, 9781594206047).

Books & Authors

Remembering Florence Howe and the Growth of Feminist Press

Helene Goldfarb, president of the Feminist Press board, met press founder Florence Howe in 1947, when she was a freshman at Hunter College and Howe was a sophomore. Sadly, Howe died in September at the age of 91. Here Goldfarb reflects on the mission of inclusion behind the establishment of the nonprofit publishing company, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. All are welcome to join a birthday party in the form of a virtual panel and fundraiser next Wednesday, November 18, at 7 p.m. Eastern.

Before Florence Howe founded the Feminist Press, she was teaching English literature at Goucher, a women's college in Maryland. She had spent a large part of her vacation time in the late 1960s teaching at freedom schools in the South, which opened her eyes to equality of all kinds.

One day Florence was speaking of all the writers of importance when her students asked her, "Where are the women writers?" and it made her stop and think. If there were women writers in the curriculum, they were few and far between--Louisa May Alcott and the Brontë sisters were the only ones who came quickly to mind. She thought this lack of women's literature was an issue that publishing houses would be interested in helping rectify. She went to three, but while the editors were interested, the financial men said that books by women would not sell. No market, no publishing.

Florence Howe

At the time the Press was started, there was no "board of directors," but rather a group of interested people who had gotten together in Florence Howe and Paul Lauter's apartment to see what they could do. Elaine Hedges was also one of the three pioneers who worked on this. Because feminism includes people of all genders in its meaning, and because they wanted the Press to be inclusive in its work for equity, the Feminist Press was the logistical name. The Women's Press would have excluded men, and did not fill the needs of the group.

I think that growing up in the '40s and '50s, going to an all-women's college, and being a science major where many of my professors were women, made me slightly oblivious to the needs that Florence saw as she learned about the lack of women writers. Working with her and the Press has opened my eyes. It has made it possible for me to read a wider variety of books (and I try to read all the books we publish). I really enjoy our books and understand even more about how a lack of equality narrows perspectives.

Like our founder, Florence, the Feminist Press never stops searching to make things better. As for the rest of the board, we have all reached the same conclusion that without diversity (including diversity of gender, race, dis/ability, sexuality, age and beyond), there can be no equality. We have operated on this principle from the beginning and continue to strengthen this commitment. Fifty years strong, we publish books that ignite movements and social transformation. Celebrating our legacy, we lift up insurgent and marginalized voices from around the world to build a more just future.

By the time I started working with the Press, we had left Baltimore and moved to SUNY Old Westbury. The Press was small, and all members of the staff did everything, including packing and mailing the books to bookstores around the country. When something was needed, we rushed to fill the space. When we filled the need and others took on publishing the works we had exposed them to, we found a new need. By the mid 1980s, other publishers had also realized the financial and literary value of reprinting books written by women. When that field became more competitive, we focused on finding overlooked "gems" like The Yellow Wallpaper, and expanded our reach to international writing and literature in translation as well.

Sometimes board members were not as happy with the staff and Florence about what we chose to publish, and that could and did cause problems. Despite this, we worked them out and found ways to please as many of us as possible. Almost no one on the board of directors, for example, initially approved of our Women Writing in India collection when Florence first proposed it in the 1980s because of its international focus and the difficulty of securing funding. Today, however, I think all of us would agree that collections like this one have made the Feminist Press a leader in international feminist fiction and writing in translation. I think one of the biggest challenges as a nonprofit press has been getting some corporations and other funders to understand what feminism means. In the past, many corporate funders said that if we changed our name they might be more interested. Due to shifts in culture, this has gotten better over the years. But it is not gone. The lack of understanding of what feminism is and means is a mystery to me.

Being at the Feminist Press was not without its challenges, which came to a head one day when the staff arrived at their office, a lovely house on the Old Westbury campus and a Quonset hut that we used to store and package the books, only to find that it had been set on fire during the night. Much of our work was destroyed. The fire department experts confirmed to us that the fire was a clear case of arson, although they advised us to say instead that it had been caused by "an electrical failure in the kitchen." The arsonist was never found. The only "good" thing, if there is a good thing, was that this was done in the early morning hours when no one was there. It was at that time that Florence began looking for other quarters where she and the staff would be safe. Within a few years, we moved to CUNY.

Having women writers in the curriculum, and including our books and other nonprofit publishers' books in the curriculum, has made education more inclusive. Having Feminist Press books used not only in literature courses but in women's studies courses (which did not exist until the 1970s), history courses and wherever else they fit has been a big change. We have published feminist books focused on art, music, disabilities and other areas where our works are needed. Throughout our history, we would find a niche, fill it, and when the mainstream presses picked up on it, we would move on to another area to develop. This has helped us remain a press of discovery. We define what is missing and help it become more mainstream. We have become the vanguard for books on contemporary feminist issues of equality and gender identity, with authors as various as Anita Hill, Justin Vivian Bond, Juli Delgado Lopera, Brittney Cooper, Michelle Tea, Cristina Rivera Garza, and Ann Jones, among many others.

Awards: Goldsmiths Winner; National Outdoor Book Winners

The Sunken Land Begins to Rise Again by M. John Harrison has won the £10,000 (about $13,200) 2020 Goldsmiths Prize, which rewards "fiction that breaks the mould or extends the possibilities of the novel form."

Chair of judges Frances Wilson said, "M. John Harrison has produced a literary masterpiece that will continue to be read in 100 years time, if the planet survives that long."


The winners of the 2020 National Outdoor Book Awards, sponsored by the National Outdoor Book Awards Foundation, Idaho State University and the Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education, are:

Natural History Literature: The Book of Eels: Our Enduring Fascination with the Most Mysterious Creature in the Natural World by Patrik Svensson (Ecco)

History/Biography (two winners):
The World Beneath Their Feet: Mountaineering Madness and the Deadly Race to Summit the Himalayas by Scott Ellsworth (Little, Brown)
Labyrinth of Ice: The Triumphant and Tragic Greely Polar Expedition by Buddy Levy (St. Martin's Press)

Outdoor Literature: Dragons in the Snow: Avalanche Detectives and the Race to Beat Death in the Mountains by Edward Power (Mountaineers Books)

Classic: The Only Kayak: A Journey Into the Heart of Alaska by Kim Heacox (Lyons Press)

Design and Artistic Merit: Beauty and the Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate Change by Rob Badger and Nita Winter (Winter Badger Press and California Native Plant Society)

Children's: Nature Play Workshop for Families: A Guide to 40+ Outdoor Learning Experiences in All Seasons by Monica Wiedel-Lubinski and Karen Madigan (Quarry Books)

Nature and the Environment (two winners):
Secrets of Snakes: The Science Behind the Myths by David A. Steen (Texas A&M University Press)
America's Great Mountain Trails: 100 Highcountry Hikes of a Lifetime by Tim Palmer (Rizzoli International Publications)

Nature Guidebooks: Foraging Southern California: 118 Nutritious, Tasty and Abundant Foods by Douglas Kent (Adventure Publications)

Instructional: Peak Nutrition: Smart Fuel for Outdoor Adventure by Maria Hines and Mercedes Pollmeier (Mountaineers Books)
Instructional honorable mention: Crack Climbing: The Definitive Guide by Pete Whittaker, illustrations by Alex Poyzer (Mountaineers Books)

Outdoor Adventure Guides (two winners):
Fly Fishing Austin and Central Texas by Aaron Reed (Imbrifex Books)
Hiking Lassen Volcanic National Park: A Guide to the Park's Greatest Hiking Adventures by Tracy Salcedo (Falcon Guides)

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, November 17:

A Promised Land by Barack Obama (Crown, $45, 9781524763169) is the first volume of the former president's presidential memoirs.

Murder of Innocence by James Patterson (Grand Central, $29, 9781538752456) is book five of the ID True Crime series

All That Glitters: A Novel by Danielle Steel (Delacorte, $28.99, 9780399179686) follows the only child of wealthy parents killed in a terrorist attack.

Daylight by David Baldacci (Grand Central, $29, 9781538761694) is the third thriller with FBI Agent Atlee Pine.

Piece of My Heart by Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke (Simon & Schuster, $26.99, 9781982132545) follows a TV producer who must solve the kidnapping of her fiancée's nephew.

Invent and Wander: The Collected Writings of Jeff Bezos by Jeff Bezos (Harvard Business Review Press, $28, 9781647820718) includes an introduction by Walter Isaacson.

No Time Like the Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality by Michael J. Fox (Flatiron, $27.99, 9781250265616) shares personal stories from an actor and Parkinson's disease advocate.

Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics by Dolly Parton and Robert K. Oermann (Chronicle, $50, 9781797205090) uses Parton's lyrics to tell her life story.

This Is Not My Memoir by André Gregory and Todd London (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $27, 9780374298548) is the memoir of the American theater director, writer and actor.

Frontier Follies: Adventures in Marriage and Motherhood in the Middle of Nowhere by Ree Drummond (Morrow, $26.99, 9780062962751) is a memoir by the star of Food Network's The Pioneer Woman.

The Moth and the Mountain: A True Story of Love, War, and Everest by Ed Caesar (Avid Reader Press/Simon & Schuster, $28, 9781501143373) chronicles a World War I veteran's attempt to climb Chomolungma.

Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain by Lisa Feldman Barrett (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $24, 9780358157144) contains essays by a renowned neuroscientist.

Nights When Nothing Happens: A Novel by Simon Han (Riverhead Books, $26, 9780593086056) focuses on the Chengs, a seemingly model immigrant family that eventually has to deal with secrets among them and tensions with the community.

Soulswift by Megan Bannen (HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $17.99, 9780062674180) is a YA fantasy that features a young woman betrayed by her religion.

Bear Meets Bear by Jacob Grant (Bloomsbury, $17.99, 9781547604241) is the third picture book starring Bear and Spider.

Home Body by Rupi Kaur (Andrews McMeel, $16.99, 9781449486808) is Kaur's third collection of poetry and illustrations.

No One Asked for This: Essays by Cazzie David (Mariner, $17.99, 9780358197027) are humorous essays by Larry David's daughter.

Archaeology from Space: How the Future Shapes Our Past by Sarah Parcak (Holt Paperbacks, $16.99, 9781250231345).

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 Midnight Bargain: A Novel by C.L. Polk (Erewhon, $25.95, 9781645660071). "If you had to decide between your magical ability and love, which would you chose? Of course, it's not that simple when your marriage will save your family from bankruptcy, but also take away more freedoms than you know. Sorcery, historical romance, feminism, female friendships, and reproductive rights--this enjoyable novel had everything I needed. Readers of Gail Carriger and Naomi Novik will gobble this up." --Marika McCoola, Porter Square Books, Cambridge, Mass.

Ring Shout: A Novella by P. Djèlí Clark (Tor, $19.99, 9781250767028). "The emotionally charged, wild ride of Ring Shout by P. Djèlí Clark was one I did not want to end. Clark pulled me into the life of Maryse and her band of monster hunters and held me hostage. With beautiful language, deep characters, and a fully immersive world, this story of vengeance and self-forgiveness unfolds. By the end, I was in tears. Ring Shout perfectly takes on a dark, violent history, but also an uncertain, terrifying future. Everyone needs to read Ring Shout."--Sophie Giroir, Cavalier House Books, Denham Springs, La.

Where the Wild Ladies Are: Stories by Aoko Matsuda, trans. by Polly Barton (Soft Skull Press, $16.95, 9781593766900). "Where the Wild Ladies Are is a beautiful and haunting, modern and feminist reimagining of Japanese folklore and ghost stories. While it wears its inspirations on its sleeve, each of these enchanting and offbeat stories feels entirely original. Ethereal, quirky, and charming--I loved it!" --Lane Jacobson, Paulina Springs Books, Sisters, Ore.

For Ages 4 to 8
Arlo & Pips: King of the Birds by Elise Gravel (HarperAlley, $12.99, 9780062982216). "For fans of Narwhal and Jelly comes a new unlikely pair: Arlo the crow, a king among birds, and Pips, the yellow songbird who's curious to know what makes Arlo so special. During their adventures, Arlo shows his new friend tricks and habits that prove just how crafty crows can be! I found myself laughing along with Arlo's antics and learning a thing or two about crows. A perfect graphic novel for early readers." --Tori-Lynn Bell, House of Books, Kent, Conn.

For Ages 9 to 12
A Cat Story by Ursula Murray Husted (Quill Tree Books, $12.99, 9780062932044). "Teachers and parents of middle grade students will want this book so they can capture the animal lovers and travelers in the room. It reminded me of the weird and whimsical cat tale told by T.S. Eliot, though set in beautiful Malta. My favorite part is the incorporation of famous historical artwork into the world of the two cats, who dart in and out of everything from Botticelli to Munch." --Kim Ralph, Lark and Owl Booksellers, Georgetown, Tex.

For Teen Readers
Never Look Back by Lilliam Rivera (Bloomsbury, $18.99, 9781547603732). "In this fresh remix, Lilliam Rivera deftly combines original details with contemporary Afro-Latinx life in the Bronx, from the flirty bounce of bachata to the weight of Hurricane Maria and its impact on island communities and diaspora. I love how this character-driven romance humanizes Pheus and Eury--they are accessible, complex teens distinctly of our time who face an ancient and destructive threat with equal parts assuredness and fearful trepidation. A satisfyingly feminist ending rounds out this myth retextured for our modern moment. Immersive and intense, Never Look Back will make you want Rivera to retell all of your favorite classics." --Niki Marion, Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, Wash.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: The Freezer Door

The Freezer Door by Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore (Semiotext(e), $17.95 paperback, 264p., 9781635901283, November 24, 2020)

Editor and author extraordinaire Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore (Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots?) returns to memoir after her acclaimed 2018 novel Sketchtasy, but The Freezer Door acts less as documentation and more as rumination.

After moving from San Francisco to Seattle, Sycamore continues to grapple with themes of desire and belonging. These have become more elusive in the onslaught of gentrification. "One problem with gentrification is that it always gets worse," she begins, leaving that single statement to its own page. Having taken up residence in Seattle's contemporary gay neighborhood, Capitol Hill, she seeks out activist spaces, pops into bars (even though she's sober), cruises parks for sex and exchanges phone numbers, in hopes of establishing intimate connections in a modern era of superficial connectivity.

"I used to live in a neighborhood where no one belonged and so we all belonged," she writes, remembering a time when oppression fostered solidarity, and tracing an arc of queer identity that becomes popular at the same rate it becomes commodified. By example, she draws on activist and artist David Wojnarowicz, whose rage at the lack of social response to the AIDS crisis fueled his work. Sycamore notes a recent retrospective of his art at the Whitney Museum, relocated from the Upper East Side to the upwardly mobile West Village, where Wojnarowicz once cruised. "Is there a difference between nostalgia and gentrification, or are they two elements of the same process of cultural erasure?" she wonders. The pariahs of yesterday become the icons of today once they can be safely analyzed through glass cases.

Sycamore sharply connects this sense of remove to the skyrocketing cost of living in Seattle, especially Capitol Hill, where the tech boom has increased demand for a bohemian aesthetic to hide a cold corporate sensibility. It reverberates, then, in feeble social interactions that leave her exhausted--for asking her to tone down her politics, intellect, gender or sexuality in favor of more desired elements of her self. "People say it's the Seattle freeze like this is some kind of cute local popsicle flavor, but really it's just the gentrified gaze... the white picket fence in the eyes."

Expanding on her dazzling stream-of-consciousness style, Sycamore has crafted a true marvel in The Freezer Door. Its segments cohere as fractals, crystalizing every observation into its sharpest, pithiest form. Every page teems with aphoristic gems like, "Whenever you think your memory is not as good as it used to be, it's important to remember there used to be less to remember." The result is an invaluable meditation on holistic belonging. --Dave Wheeler, associate editor, Shelf Awareness

Shelf Talker: The acclaimed queer writer connects the social and economic forces that threaten to freeze out the possibility of deep human connection.

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