Shelf Awareness for Monday, January 25, 2021


Union Square Kids: Julia and the Shark by Kiran Millwood Hargrave, illustrated by Tom de Freston

Tor Teen: Into the Light by Mark Oshiro

Peachtree Teen: Junkyard Dogs by Katherine Higgs-Coulthard

Blackstone Publishing: The Wisdom of Morrie: Living and Aging Creatively and Joyfully by Morrie Schwartz and Rob Schwartz

Neal Porter Books: All the Beating Hearts by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Cátia Chien

News

International Update: Planning for World Book Day in U.K., ABA Conference in Australia

World Book Day celebrations are set for March 4 "despite lockdown restrictions, with a range of new measures in place," the Bookseller reported, noting that participants will be able to use their £1 (about $1.35) book tokens in lockdown or save them for when bookshops re-open. WBD will continue to work with schools and nurseries to distribute the tokens. The initiative also includes a new single-use digital version of the £1 token, to be printed at home or shown to booksellers on a phone or tablet screen. WBD's £1 books will be stocked in major supermarkets, as well as bookshop chains and selected independent booksellers.

"The lockdown has presented us with a unique set of challenges for World Book Day this year, but working together with bookshops, retailers, publishers, schools and National Book Tokens, we want to make sure that children across the country still have the opportunity to enjoy their £1 books," said WBD21 CEO Cassie Chadderton. "We're pleased that schools will have another way to engage children with World Book Day, even if they're at home, and that retailers are offering an extended redemption period too."

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In the latest edition of the organization's newsletter, Australian Booksellers Association CEO Robbie Egan wrote that among "the many problems we are trying to solve, the 2021 ABA Annual Conference is the most interesting, and also the most vexing. We simply can't know the situation in June, but we are now planning the three-day event that will be filmed and accessible to members that cannot attend in person. These kinds of hybrid conferences are now commonplace, but for me, the conference experience is like going back to the office--it is so much more interesting and dynamic to engage with a room of people than it is to broadcast from your desk. We are working on a 'roadshow' day of publisher presentations--this will replace the traditional trade show as we can broadcast the event to the benefit of all who want to attend but may be prevented from travel.

"In short, with a hybrid event, we've worked to solve the potential problems of travel and limitations to numbers. We will bring everyone together in one way or another, and despite the uncertainty of living with COVID-19, we are in a position to be cautiously optimistic.... We can learn from the experience of the past year, and I can't think of a better way to share that than to get together in June and consider what could be. We can laugh, commiserate, tease, argue, cajole. I've realized that I don't want this conference, I NEED it. I think to some degree we all do. Take care out there."

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China's first 3D-printed bookstore is under construction at Wisdom Bay innovation park in Shanghai, and is scheduled to open at the end of the month. The Global Times reported that the fiber concrete structure is "an innovative attempt in the architecture field, as the 3D-printed architecture is cheaper than conventional construction techniques and saves time."

"The bookstore was printed on-site in three weeks," said He Yuting of the Tsinghua University School of Architecture in Beijing. He added that the printing work is finished and the bookstore is being decorated.  

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Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders wasn't just making meme history in the U.S. with his Inauguration Day fashion statement. Indie booksellers around the world joined in on the fun, including:

Gutter Bookshop, Dublin, Ireland: "You can huff & puff all you want Bernie, no Click & Collects till the end of lockdown."

Bleak House Books, Hong Kong: "Our building has a new security guard who insists on sitting outside."

Yellow Lighted Bookshop, Nailsworth, England: "Our Nailsworth shop can be a bit chilly, but if you wrap up warm, it's quite the place to be. Looking forward to welcoming folk back in as soon as we can."

The American Book Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands: "One of the best things to come out of this inauguration."

Another Story Bookshop, Toronto, Can.: "Bernie’s all ready to help out with a weekend of curbside pickups at Another Story Bookshop!!... Please wear a mask (like Bernie!)."

The English Bookshop, Kuwait: "Bernie made it to The English Bookshop."

Bookends Keswick, Keswick, England: "Sorry, we are closed just now... but if you phone between 10 and 2 on a weekday one of our lovely staff will be pleased to help you with any book query you may have." --Robert Gray


G.P. Putnam's Sons: Loyalty by Lisa Scottoline


New B&N in Westport, Conn., Opening February 24

More on the move of Barnes & Noble in Westport, Conn.: the bookseller's new location, at 76 Post Road East in downtown, will open on February 24, the Connecticut Post reported. The new store, in a former Restoration Hardware that was built in 1916 as a movie theater, is 10,000 square feet, about half the size of the B&N that closed late last year in the Post Plaza shopping center, several miles away.

"With modern, bespoke shelving and the exceptionally attractive interior of the old Restoration Hardware store with which to work, we expect to have a comparable range of books to the old store," B&N said. "The main difference is that we will not have an in-store café, at least at the outset of opening. We decided on this given the proximity of other cafes and wishing to keep a full range of toys, games, puzzles and stationery alongside our books." About a dozen employees will work at the new store, some of whom worked at the former location.

Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe said, "Westporters are book readers, and they love a good bookstore. I think being located downtown will draw more people into the downtown area. Hopefully they'll not just shop at Barnes & Noble, but will also take the opportunity to shop at some of the other stores downtown and maybe even get a bite to eat at one of the great restaurants in that immediate area."


GLOW: Tordotcom: The Crane Husband by Kelly Barnhill


Gerry Kallman Retiring from Oxford University Press

After four decades with Oxford University Press, Gerry Kallman, long-time sales representative for the mid-Atlantic region, will retire on February 1.

Kallman's career in publishing has spanned 55 years, and, as the press noted, "countless colleagues have benefited from his knowledge, experience, and wisdom--Gerry's unique voice and expertise will be greatly missed. During his time at Oxford, Gerry has sold numerous Pulitzer Prize winning titles and national bestsellers; he is currently working with Oxford on transitioning his accounts to a new sales representative."


Soho Press: Black Dove by Colin McAdam


Obituary Note: Eugene Gollogly

Eugene Gollogly

Eugene Gollogly, longtime publisher of Anthroposophic Press and SteinerBooks, died suddenly of a heart attack on January 7. He was 70.

Gollogly was born and raised in England, and moved to the U.S. as a young man to work for Garber Communications, which included Free Deeds magazine, the Spiritual Science Library and the "original" SteinerBooks. He then worked for several New York publishers, initially with a focus in religious publishing.

While working at Continuum Publishing, he met his future business partner, Martin Rowe, with whom he founded Lantern Books, in 1999. Shortly thereafter he also became president and CEO of the Anthroposophic Press, where he began the annual Spiritual Science Research Seminars at NYU, renewed SteinerBooks, and traveled widely on behalf of publishing, anthroposophy, and the practical work of spiritual science in the world--particularly for anthroposophically-extended medicine and biodynamics.

As J.S. Legg of SteinerBooks remembered: "He was genuinely interested in everything and everybody, right up until the very 'end,' which, as Gene well knew and often spoke of, is not, in fact, the end. Most recently, and perhaps presciently, Gene had taken an interest in the work of 'Sacred Undertaking,' the art and practical skill of caring for the dead holistically and at home, informed by the knowledge of this transition as deepened and clarified by spiritual science. He assisted in a home funeral and carried the coffin of an acquaintance the day before he himself died.

"I'm sure I speak for all of us at SteinerBooks, staff and board, past and present, when I say I will be forever grateful for the time I was privileged to spend with Gene. Our conversations, his advice, freely given, his deep connections to anthroposophy and the work of Rudolf Steiner, and his tireless work and advocacy for a more widespread  knowledge and acceptance of Steiner's work as crucial for the future of humanity remain imbued with the strength and truth of his conviction."

Donations may be made in Gollogly's memory to the Children's Scholarship Fund.


Weiser Books: Mexican Sorcery: A Practical Guide to Brujeria de Rancho by Laura Davila


Notes

Cool Idea of the Day: The Transatlantic Book Club

Michael Barnard of Rakestraw Books in Danville, Calif., and Antonia Squire of the Bookshop in Bridport, Dorset, U.K., have co-founded the Transatlantic Book Club, which "meets monthly to discuss great books and to foster literary community. Both shops invite interested patrons to join this new group. We're going to enjoy some good conversation, read some great books, and meet new friends. In this time of shelter-in-place, we're going to make our world as readers as bit larger. It's going to be such fun!" Two meetings have been scheduled for next month: an introductory session on February 6 and the first book discussion (on The Dutch House by Ann Patchett) on February 20.


NPR's Marketplace on Why Books Have Prices on Them

As part of its "I've Always Wondered" series, NPR's Marketplace offers a detailed answer to the question posed by Charles Robinson, co-owner and manager of Eagle Eye Book Shop, Decatur, Ga.: "Why are books actually marked with a price on them? Music isn't. Movies aren't. Most retail items that I could think of that you would find at resellers aren't in fact."

The short version of the answer is no surprise (and applies to many book world practices): "It turns out the origins of price listing are rather murky--publishers didn't collectively decide to assign print prices on books for one set of reasons. The practice has persisted over the decades in different forms, for different types of books."

Marketplace emphasizes that in the modern book supply chain, having a retail price is important for efficiency. Brian O'Leary, executive director of the Book Industry Study Group, told the program that having a list price is important because the discount that retailers receive is based on that price, and because retailers can return unsold books to publishers for credit at the net price. "Books have many different prices, so sales and credits for returns require both parties to keep track of which book is sold or returned at a given price," he said.

Laura Dawson, CEO of Numerical Gurus, added: "A book barcode gets scanned at many points in its journey from printer to publisher warehouse to distributor warehouse to bookstore. The price gets scanned so that all trading partners in the sale of a book can easily record the value of the book. That 5-digit barcode enables a ton of efficiency in this process. Before standardized pricing barcodes, people would have to manually key in these prices into whatever system they were using for inventory, or sales, or shipping and receiving."

A group of booksellers contacted by Marketplace expressed a range of opinions about prices printed on books, reflecting booksellers' traditional ambivalence on the subject. Some like the ease of having printed prices and not needing to sticker books as well as being able to point to publishers if customers complain about high prices. But others note that printed prices make it impossible to raise prices whether for books in high demand or to meet higher costs of doing business--and printed prices make it easy for Amazon and others to discount books.

Robinson himself said printed prices put his store at a disadvantage: "As an independent business, I cannot afford to offer a discount on essentially the only products that I sell," he told Marketplace. "If we tried to match Amazon's prices--we call Amazon 'Voldemort' here--we would definitely not be able to sustain our brick and mortar business."


'It Happens Here': Inside An Unlikely Story Bookstore

WBZ-TV's "It Happens Here" segment visited Plainville, Mass., to explore "a bookstore with a storied history of its own."

"It's called An Unlikely Story, but we wanted everything about it to tell a story," said owner and bestselling author Jeff Kinney. "I wrote the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, the first book, a few blocks from here."

Noting that the "weathered store was built across the street before oxen dragged it to its current location," WBZ-TV reported that the bookstore "strives to tell the story of its many chapters…. Walking through these storied shelves, you quickly realize that having a town revolve around a bookstore isn't as unlikely of a story as you may think."

"We found the signs, the photos of the signs, and then we recreated the signs. So all the way around the perimeter, in order of existence, are the things this building used to be," Kinney said. "The floors, for example, are from an old horseshoe nail making company in Dorchester, Massachusetts…. I'm really hoping to build up more of the town around the bookstore and to have the bookstore be the jewel of the town."


Personnel Changes at Penguin Random House

Matteo Costa has joined Penguin Random House consumer marketing as v-p, marketing development. He was formerly director of business development for authors platforms and co-ran internal accelerator program InkTank, which focused most recently on amplifying backlist marketing initiatives across the company.

Costa first worked at Penguin Random House in 2015 as a summer intern in the consumer marketing department between his two years of business school. The following year, he joined the Bertelsmann Entrepreneurs Program, during which he spent rotations at BMG and DK before returning to PRH in New York.

In his new position, among other responsibilities, Costa will head strategic priorities for consumer marketing, from building and leading the marketing backlist process in partnership with sales and divisional colleagues, to managing marketing services partnerships with retailers, and identifying ad hoc strategic projects and opportunities. He will serve as the consumer marketing sponsor of InkTank.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: John Colapinto on Fresh Air

Today:
Fresh Air: John Colapinto, author of This Is the Voice (Simon & Schuster, $28, 9781982128746).

The Real: Brie Bella and Nikki Bella, authors of Incomparable (Gallery, $16.99, 9781501191923).

Ellen: Priyanka Chopra Jonas, author of Unfinished: A Memoir (Ballantine, $28, 9781984819215).

Jimmy Kimmel Live: Sal Iacono, author of You Can't Lose Them All: Tales of a Degenerate Gambler and His Ridiculous Friends (Twelve, $28, 9781538735329).

Tomorrow:
Dr. Oz: M. William Phelps, author of We Thought We Knew You: A Terrifying True Story of Secrets, Betrayal, Deception, and Murder (Kensington Books, $26, 9781496728814).

Drew Barrymore Show: Matthew McConaughey, author of Greenlights (Crown, $30, 9780593139134).

Late Night with Seth Meyers: Ann Patchett, author of The Dutch House: A Novel (Harper Perennial, $17, 9780062963680).


TV: Lessons in Chemistry

Brie Larson will star in and executive produce Lessons in Chemistry, based on an upcoming novel by author and science writer Bonnie Garmus. The Hollywood Reporter noted that Apple's TV+ platform "has given a straight-to-series order to the project, which it landed in a highly competitive situation."

Susannah Grant (Erin Brockovich, Netflix's Unbelievable) is adapting the novel and will serve as showrunner. Apple Studios is producing. Grant and Larson will executive produce with Jason Bateman and Michael Costigan of Aggregate Films.



Books & Authors

Awards: Sarton, Gilda Shortlists; NBCC Finalists

The Story Circle Network has announced shortlists for the Sarton Awards and the Gilda Prize. Winners will be announced in in April. Check out the complete shortlists here.

Presented in four categories (memoir, historical fiction, contemporary fiction, nonfiction), the Sarton Awards commemorate author and poet May Sarton, "whose books are distinguished by the compelling ways they honor the lives of women." The Gilda Prize is named in honor of comedian Gilda Radner, whose memoirs "are distinguished by their fresh voices, their honesty, and their authenticity. They make us laugh (even when we want to cry)."

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The finalists in six categories for the 2020 National Book Critics Circle Awards and the John Leonard Prize for First Book have been announced and can be seen here. In addition, the Feminist Press at the City University of New York is receiving the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award and Jo Livingstone has won the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing.

The NBCC said that "for 50 years, the Feminist Press has been at the forefront of activism for women's equality. It started by publishing influential works that had been out of print, including, crucially, Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wall-Paper, now widely considered a classic of American literature. Over the years, they've published books by Anita Hill, Grace Paley, Barbara Ehrenreich, and Pussy Riot. They also publish Women's Studies Quarterly, the influential journal that was established by the press in 1972. They remain on the vanguard of the feminist movement and continue to publish essential works of American and international literature, including recent critically acclaimed books by Emily Hashimoto and Juliana Delgado Lopera, an unearthed classic by Harlem Renaissance writer Dorothy West, and one of this year's finalists in the NBCC's criticism category, Grieving by Cristina Rivera Garza." In yesterday's announcements, committee chair Michael Schaub added that the Feminist Press's "mission statement reads, 'Celebrating our legacy, we lift up insurgent and marginalized voices from around the world to build a more just future,' and that's exactly what they've done. Their literature over the past five decades has made the world a better place for everyone."

Jo Livingstone is culture staff writer at the New Republic and primarily contributes book criticism in addition to film and music coverage. Livingstone's writing has also recently appeared in the New York Times, the Times Literary Supplement, and Bookforum.

Winners of the awards will be announced and celebrated during a virtual ceremony on Thursday, March 25, at 7 p.m. Eastern.


Top Library Recommended Titles for February

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

Top Pick
The Four Winds: A Novel by Kristin Hannah (St. Martin's Press, $28.99, 9781250178602). "Elsa, abandoned by her husband, leaves Texas with her two children to save her young son from dust pneumonia. Beautifully written historical fiction about a mother's love and strength holding a family together as they leave the Dust Bowl and head West to fulfill dreams of green lands, only to find themselves unwelcome and with conditions worse than what they left. For readers who enjoy historical fiction with unforgettable characters, and fans of The Giver of Stars and Cilka's Journey." --Michele Coleman, Iredell County Public Library, Statesville, N.C.

The Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey (Tor, $24.99, 9781250174666). "This book asks questions about identity, morality, and genetics, and resists giving easy answers. The man Evelyn and Martine claim as 'husband' is lying dead. Gailey invites us to consider a world where clone technology is almost perfect, and its creations are regarded as little more than cattle. What happens when a clone rejects her programming? And what happens when a woman can't resist the influence of her upbringing? For fans of Black Mirror and Orphan Black." --Krista Feick, Columbus Metropolitan Library, Columbus, Ohio

Finlay Donovan Is Killing It: A Mystery by Elle Cosimano (Minotaur, $26.99, 9781250241702). "What a fun, enjoyable romp! Finlay Donovan is mistaken for a hit woman, a desperate wife hires her to kill her husband, and it gets crazy from there. An entertaining, hilarious distraction. Perfect for all the Stephanie Plum fans out there." --Rosemarie Borsody, Lee Library Association, Lee, Mass.

Honey Girl: A Novel by Morgan Rogers (Park Row, $16.99, 9780778311027). "One of the best parts of this book is the friendships. These friends listen to, support, and love each other. Grace Porter has just finished her Ph.D. in astronomy and goes to Las Vegas to celebrate. She meets a beautiful woman, Yuki, and by the end of the night, they are drunk and married. When Grace goes to New York to visit Yuki, they fall in love all over again. For fans of Queenie and The Bride Test." --Patti Lang, Pima County Public Library, Tucson, Ariz.

The Kindest Lie: A Novel by Nancy Johnson (Morrow, $27.99, 9780063005631). "This novel begins on the eve of the 2008 election at a watch party hosted by Ruth and Xavier. Ruth must soon confess a secret: she had a child as a teenager, but walked away to begin a new life. When she returns to her hometown, she begins a friendship with a troubled 11-year-old white boy. Their connected paths are brilliantly told and explore themes of race, money, and finding your way back home. For fans of Tayari Jones and Jacqueline Woodson." --Ron Block, Cuyahoga Public Library, Cuyahoga, Ohio

The Kitchen Front: A Novel by Jennifer Ryan (Ballantine, $28, 9780593158807). "World War II era, Great Britain, four women vie for the chance to co-present a BBC radio program helping housewives create tasty meals with their war rations. As these women compete against themselves and each other, the contest threatens to tear the community apart unless they can find common ground and work together for a common good. For readers who enjoyed The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion and The Ship of Brides." --Jennifer Winberry, Hunterdon County Library, Flemington, N.J.

Much Ado About You by Samantha Young (Berkley, $16, 9780593099483). "Feeling overlooked in her career and her personal life, Shakespeare-loving Evie Starling takes a leap of faith and goes to Northern England to run the Much Ado About Books bookshop. There, she meets a very sexy farmer who makes her want to break her one and only rule for her trip: no men. For readers who loved The Tourist Attraction and Natalie Tan's Book of Luck and Fortune." --Laura Collins, Lexington Main Library, Lexington, S.C.

The Paris Library: A Novel by Janet Skeslien Charles (Atria, $28, 9781982134198). "Parallel narratives, one set in World War II Paris and the other in the U.S. in the 1980s, both featuring librarians and bookstore owners. Your patrons will love it. For fans of The Lions of Fifth Avenue (Davis) and Sarah's Key (de Rosnay)." --Jennifer Schultz, Fauquier County Public Library, Warrenton, Va.

The Vineyard at Painted Moon: A Novel by Susan Mallery (HQN, $27.99, 9781335912794). "Mackenzie is abruptly divorced, loses her job as winemaker at a prestigious family winery. She hasn't had to be on her own in years. Now she has all kinds of decisions to make. Great relationship fiction with the bonus of learning the inner workings of the wine industry. For fans of Kristin Hannah." --Gail Christensen, Kitsap Regional Library, Bremerton, Wash.

The Witch's Heart by Genevieve Gornichec (Ace, $26, 9780593099940). "Weaves the rich story of the witch who taught the magic of prophecy to Odin and Freya, married Loki the trickster, and raised the 'monsters' who would help bring down Asgard's mightiest rulers. For fans of Circe and The Mists of Avalon." --Stacy Lienemann, Waseca-Le Sueur Regional Library System, Waseca, Minn.


Book Review

Review: The Removed

The Removed by Brandon Hobson (Ecco, $26.99 hardcover, 288p., 9780062997548, February 2, 2021)

National Book Award finalist Brandon Hobson (Where the Dead Sit Talking) turns again to Oklahoma as his setting for an insightful and compassionate novel of a Cherokee family's trauma and the healing powers of story and tradition.

When a police officer wrongfully shoots and kills 15-year-old Cherokee boy Ray-Ray, grief tears apart the Echota family of Quah, Okla. Fifteen years later, Ray-Ray's mother, Maria, still struggles with depression and to hold her family together. As she tries to organize a memorial bonfire on the anniversary of Ray-Ray's death, her spouse and children seem farther away than ever. Ray-Ray's father, Ernest, now 74 years old, has entered the early stages of Alzheimer's. When Maria agrees to foster Cherokee teen Wyatt, Ernest quickly decides the charismatic teen is Ray-Ray, returned from the Spirit World. As he spends time with Wyatt, Ernest's mental acuity mysteriously improves. Maria wonders if "this was a season for miracles to occur," not knowing her remaining children have both run into trouble.

An overdose sends 21-year-old Edgar Echota to an afterlife dimension called the Darkening Land, portrayed here as a Dantean hellscape of polluted land and air populated by treacherous people. Meanwhile, Sonja Echota, 31, has fixated on a younger man for mysterious reasons, telling the reader only, "This was not love--let me be clear on that." Told primarily in Maria's, Sonja's and Edgar's voices, the narrative also includes short passages in the voice of Tsala, a Cherokee man murdered by soldiers because he would not leave Cherokee land during their forced removal onto the Trail of Tears. 

Hobson, an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, blends everyday life with history and traditional stories in a dark but gorgeous cascade of echoes, linking modern-day racism to the legacy of racist policy and showing the perpetuation of trauma against a minority culture. However, a network of healing also surrounds the Echotas as they go through a crucible that may either restore or destroy. An ordinary family tangled in a terrible loss, they experience the power of the extraordinary as spirits intervene on their behalf and old stories prove themselves true and vital. A raw and hopeful tale of tragedy and grace, The Removed invites multiple re-readings to appreciate fully Hobson's many interconnected threads and to absorb its message of regrowth in the face of unspeakable sorrow. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads

Shelf Talker: National Book Award finalist Hobson follows his debut with an emotional story of a grieving Cherokee family who experience miracles in line with their traditional beliefs.


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