Shelf Awareness for Thursday, August 26, 2021


 Kokila: Everything We Never Had by Randy Ribay

Nancy Paulsen Books: Sync by Ellen Hopkins

Running Press Adult: Cat People by Hannah Hillam

Beaming Books: Must-Have Autumn Reads for Your Shelf!

Dial Press: Like Mother, Like Mother by Susan Rieger

Severn House: A Messy Murder (Main) (The Decluttering Mysteries #4) by Simon Brett

Forge: My Three Dogs by Bruce W Cameron

News

Dog Eared Books on Castro St. Becoming Fabulosa Books

Alvin Orloff, manager at the Dog Eared Books location at 489 Castro St. in San Francisco, Calif., has purchased the store from previous owner Kate Razo and will reopen the bookstore as Fabulosa Books on September 15. 

Orloff will rearrange and reorganize things a bit, but will keep the current staff and will maintain "the same eclectic mix of LGBTQ+ and general interest books" that the store has been known for since its opening in 2016. Orloff added that he and his staff are "very mindful of the fact we're occupying the same space as A Different Light Books, which served queer San Francisco during the difficult years of the 1980s, '90s and early 2000s."

"The store almost went under during the pandemic," Orloff said. "But we were determined to survive because a neighborhood without a bookstore is like a day without sunshine. Thanks to the generosity of GoFundMe donors, PPP loans and some extra hard work from the staff, we pulled through and now business is lurching back to normal."

Fabulosa Books will continue to sell new, used and remaindered titles along with nonbook items like stickers, buttons, posters, cards, notebooks and magazines. The store will still buy used books over the counter and will honor gift certificates and trade slips from the previous version of the store.

With the current surge in Delta variant cases, Fabulosa Books is holding off from resuming in-store events and the opening party "will have to be postponed indefinitely." Orloff and his staff, however, plan to make "every day at Fabulosa feel like a party," at least the "kitchen of a party where all the bookworms congregate."


G.P. Putnam's Sons: The Restaurant of Lost Recipes (A Kamogawa Food Detectives Novel) by Hisashi Kashiwai, Translated by Jesse Kirkwood


Anitra Budd Named Executive Director, Publisher of Coffee House Press

Anitra Budd

Anitra Budd has been named executive director and publisher of Coffee House Press, effective October 1.

Budd is a communications consultant, educator, freelance editor, public speaker and writer whose past clients include Graywolf Press, New Directions and the Midwest Independent Booksellers Association. She was also managing and acquiring editor at Coffee House Press from 2009 to 2014, where she championed the work of T. Geronimo Johnson, Julie Iromuanya, Christopher Merkner and Lincoln Michel, among others. She published Anne Waldman's The Iovis Trilogy, Karen Tei Yamashita's Anime Wong and Ron Padgett's Collected Poems. She has also been an editor and consultant for the Press, working on such books as Aisha Sabatini Sloan's Borealis, Hilary Leichter's Temporary and Mark Haber's Reinhardt's Garden. She has been a board member of Coffee House Press and is the author of several educational books for children, most recently, co-written with Duchess Harris, Blacks in Paris: African American Culture in Europe (Abdo Publishing, 2018).

Carol Mack, president of the Press, said, "I speak for the entire board when I say that Anitra embodies all the skills we are seeking as well as the values we hold most dear. She is exceptionally well-qualified, steeped in the history and mission of the press, yet poised to lead the organization into the future with creativity and passion for independent publishing."

Budd said, "Since my first day as an intern more than 20 years ago, Coffee House has changed the way I think about words, about art, and about what books can do in the world. I'm deeply honored to have a chance to repay those life-changing experiences and to continue to support the press in its next stage."


Harpervia: Only Here, Only Now by Tom Newlands


Bratt and Hubers Found BBH Literary/PR/Editorial Service Agency

David Bratt and Laura Bardolph Hubers have cofounded BBH Literary, LLC, a publicity firm, literary agency, and editorial service.

Hubers has worked at Eerdmans Publishing Company for nine years, most recently as director of marketing and publicity. She has handled publicity campaigns for a range of trade and academic books, including works by N.T. Wright, Fleming Rutledge, Willie Jennings and Randall Balmer. She is the editor of Means of Grace: A Year of Weekly Devotions by Fleming Rutledge.

Bratt will continue a career of more than 20 years in publishing, which he began after earning a Ph.D. in American religion from Yale University. He has developed, edited and helped bring to market more than 100 books, including works by John Fea, Mark Noll, Lamin Sanneh and Angela Gorrell, as well as biographies of Mister Rogers, Billy Graham, Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill.

Hubers said, "It's been a privilege to oversee all the marketing activities at Eerdmans, but I'm thrilled to renew focus on my first love, which is book publicity. When someone has written a good book with important ideas, people should know about it. My passion lies with helping authors spread the word."

Bratt said, "I love helping authors make an impact in the marketplace of ideas. The world is awash in books, so it's never been more important to help authors and publishers communicate what makes their book special. We look forward to helping authors get the attention of publishers, and helping publishers get the attention of the wider world."


International Update: 'Significant Gains' for Book Sales in 2021; Beijing Book Fair Postponed

International book markets "have made significant gains in the first half of 2021, defying the impact of the coronavirus pandemic," according to a survey by GfK Entertainment. The Bookseller reported that the survey showed a "significant increase" in sales both compared to the same period last year and for the first six months of 2019.

Revenues increased in Brazil by 33.4% and in Spain by 38.3%, and even when compared to two years previously the growth was still 16.3% and 12.8%, respectively. Italy experienced 36.8% growth compared to 2020, while France hit 43.4%.

Sales gains for 2021 have been less dramatic in the Netherlands, at 4.3%, but "GfK said this is because many shops were forced to close temporarily, in contrast to the previous year," the Bookseller noted. Germany was up 4.1% on 2020, but down 4.9% compared to 2019. The Swiss book market ended the first six months 11.1% higher than the same period last year, while Portugal and the Flanders and Wallonia regions of Belgium reported increases of 18.9%, 16.8% and 33.8%, respectively.

--- 


The Beijing International Book Fair, originally scheduled to run as a hybrid event August 25-29, was postponed at the last minute due to the spread of Covid-19 in the city, the Bookseller reported. 

Noting that more information regarding a new date will be released "as soon as possible," the organizers cited "strict pandemic prevention and control measures adopted currently" for making the decision, adding: "The organizing committee will closely follow the progress of pandemic prevention and control in Beijing and release the latest information regarding the 28th BIBF as soon as possible."

U.K. publishers who were due to take part in the fair told the Bookseller that the last-minute cancellation was "very difficult to deal with" but stressed the uncertainty around live events at the moment.

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Posted on Facebook by Indian bookseller Pagdandi Bookstore Cafe in Pune: "We turn 8 today! The last 1.5 have been a struggle but 8 signifies infinity, and right now we are in the mood to be around for a long time to come. Feeling deep gratitude for every person that has walked through the doors (and of late through our ordering website). Thank you for bringing us here. To this milestone and to the place we occupy in your heart. Do come over today to the store for a small treat from us...." --Robert Gray


Obituary Note: Jack Hirschman

Jack Hirschman

Jack Hirschman, "former San Francisco poet laureate, activist and famed proponent of the Beat Generation," died August 22, the Chronicle reported. He was 87. Speaking on behalf of the World Poetry Movement, which Hirschman helped found, Ataol Behramoglu observed that the organization learned of Hirschman's death just minutes before he was scheduled to speak in the last of their regular online interviews as the WPM coordinator board, adding that it "is a big shock to us close friends and fellow activists. It has been a great loss to American and world poetry."

City Lights Books tweeted: "Farewell to our poet & friend, Jack Hirschman. Jack made regular visits to our store and publishing office before the pandemic, brightening our day with a joke or a story. His presence in North Beach will be missed so much. He was steadily reading poetry up until today at various virtual events. We love you, Jack."

In a tribute, Chris Mahin, manager of Barbara's Bookstore's State Street location in Chicago, wrote: "The world has lost a great poet. Independent bookselling in the United States has lost a great friend.... Everyone at Barbara's Bookstore would like to extend our deepest sympathies to his family and compatriots. His passing is a huge loss to all book lovers. He was a brilliant poet, scholar, translator, and advocate for the rights of the dispossessed. He visited Chicago many times, often doing readings at some of our finest independent bookstores. No one who ever heard him read forgot his impassioned delivery.... Above all else, Jack Hirschman had a warrior's spirit and a fierce determination to oppose injustice anywhere in the world."

A New York City native, Hirschman worked as a copy editor for the Associated Press "and later taught at UCLA in the 1970s before he was fired for encouraging his students to resist the draft during the Vietnam War," the Chronicle noted. After moving to North Beach, he wrote and published his first volume of poetry, A Correspondence of Americans, "and was deeply involved in the literary scenes at Caffe Trieste and City Lights." His other books include Lyripol, All That's Left, Endless Threshold, The Viet Arcane and Front Lines.

Hirschman was an assistant editor for the journal Left Curve, formed the Union of Left Writers of San Francisco, and translated dozens of international works into English, the Chronicle wrote. He was named San Francisco poet laureate in 2006 and created the San Francisco International Poetry Festival in the same year. He later became the poet in residence at the San Francisco Public Library. 

From Hirschman's poem "All That's Left":

This is not a cynical or pessimist
or nihilist poem. Join death 
to your life and you will live
as if there were no drum to march to.

There is no march at all.

You're done. All will be well for all.


Notes

Chalkboard: Reading Rock Books

In the wake of the recent severe, devastating storms in Tennessee, Reading Rock Books in Dickson shared a photo of the shop's most recent sidewalk chalkboard message ("Not to spoil the ending, but everything's going to be okay!"), noting: "We hope the #dicksonsignwar brought you lots of laughter and joy, but our hearts are overwhelmed with sorrow so we’d like to call a cease fire and turn this war into something more positive. Let’s join together and share some #signsofhope."


Personnel Changes at Simon & Schuster

Hannah Moushabeck is joining the independent sales team at Simon & Schuster in the newly created position of independent channel marketing manager.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Lisa Osteen Comes on Good Morning America

Tomorrow:
Good Morning America: Lisa Osteen Comes, author of It's on the Way: Don't Give Up on Your Dreams and Prayers (FaithWords, $26, 9781546015963).


This Weekend on Book TV: Alexander Vindman

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, August 28
10 a.m. Joseph Ellis, author of American Dialogue: The Founders and Us (Vintage, $17, 9780804172479). (Re-airs Saturday at 10 p.m.)

4 p.m. Douglas Winiarksi, author of Darkness Falls on the Land of Light: Experiencing Religious Awakenings in Eighteenth-Century New England (Omohundro Institute, $29.95, 9781469652276). (Re-airs Sunday at 4 a.m.)

4:55 p.m. James Hessler, co-author of Gettysburg's Peach Orchard: Longstreet, Sickles, and the Bloody Fight for the Commanding Ground Along the Emmitsburg Road (Savas Beatie, $34.95, 9781611214550). (Re-airs Sunday at 4:55 a.m.)

Sunday, August 29
8 a.m. Gary Hoover, author of The Lifetime Learner's Guide to Reading and Learning (Assiduity Publishing House, $16.95, 9780999114940). (Re-airs Sunday at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m.)

8:30 a.m. Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman (ret.), author of Here, Right Matters: An American Story (Harper, $26.99, 9780063079427). (Re-airs Sunday at 8:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m.)

9:35 a.m. Antony Davies, co-author of Cooperation and Coercion: How Busybodies Became Busybullies and What that Means for Economics and Politics (‎Intercollegiate Studies Institute, $18, 9781610171564). (Re-airs Sunday at 9:35 p.m.)

2 p.m. Kerry McDonald, author of Unschooled: Raising Curious, Well-Educated Children Outside the Conventional Classroom (‎Chicago Review Press, $18.99, 9781641600637). (Re-airs Monday at 2 a.m.)

2:15 p.m. Courtney Martin, author of Learning in Public: Lessons for a Racially Divided America from My Daughter's School (Little, Brown, $28, 9780316428262). (Re-airs Monday at 2:15 a.m.)

3:30 p.m. Dr. Leana Wen, author of Lifelines: A Doctor's Journey in the Fight for Public Health (‎Metropolitan Books, $27.99, 9781250186232). (Re-airs Monday at 3:30 a.m.)

4:30 p.m. Dr. Suzanne Koven, author of Letter to a Young Female Physician: Notes from a Medical Life (Norton, $26.95, 9781324007142). (Re-airs Monday at 4:30 a.m.)

5:30 p.m. Benjamin Powell, co-author of Wretched Refuse?: The Political Economy of Immigration and Institutions (Cambridge University Press, $29.99, 9781108702454). (Re-airs Monday at 5:30 a.m.)

5:45 p.m. Carole Hooven, author of T: The Story of Testosterone, the Hormone that Dominates and Divides Us (Holt, $27.99, 9781250236067). (Re-airs Monday at 5:45 a.m.)

6:55 p.m. Ann Hagedorn, author of Sleeper Agent: The Atomic Spy in America Who Got Away (Simon & Schuster, $28, 9781501173943). (Re-airs Monday at 6:55 a.m.)



Books & Authors

Kei Miller: Many Different Writers

Kei Miller commands genres--poetry, fiction, essays--as adroitly as he navigates identities as a Jamaican native son, a British academic, a global award-winning writer and, most recently, a Miami professor. As poet, he's been shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Award. His 2016 novel, Augustown, was a PEN Open Book Award finalist and won the Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature, the Prix Les Afrique, and the Prix Carbet de la Caraïbe et du Tout-Monde. The Institute of Jamaica awarded him the 2010 Silver Musgrave medal for his contributions to Literature; in 2018, he won the Anthony N. Sabga medal for Arts & Letters. His essay collection, Things I Have Withheld (Grove, September 14, 2021), explores and exposes the many ways he has remained silent--by circumstance, necessity, choice--as a Black Caribbean gay man moving around world.

As a peripatetic global citizen, you've become excellent at code-switching. In writing these 14 essays, did you make a conscious choice before you started writing as to what "voice" you might use in each? 

No... definitely not. The voices emerged organically as the subjects changed. The final essay ["And This Is How We Die"] is one that actually terrified me, and still does a little. As you see, it becomes a kind of recounting of deaths in 2020, and it chronologically moves from America to the Caribbean. When it gets to the Caribbean, the form of the essay demands that it becomes much more personal, that I move from recounting the fictional deaths of James Baldwin to my own death. So the voice has to belong to these people, which meant I had to move towards a Trinidadian way of speaking. I've never done that before, and I'm still not sure I have the right to do it, and yet the form demanded it. That was the most scary example, but it happened throughout the whole book, where the subject matter demanded a certain kind of voice and I had to sit with myself, breathe and figure out how to do it respectfully and artfully.

When you've been so vulnerable in your writing, do you need to recover afterwards? 

I don't think immediately, but then that might happen when I give a reading. At that stage I'm suddenly aware of what I wrote, and aware that it is public and that several people have read this now. But in the moment of writing, it's not that I'm unaware of the audience, but in some ways I am, or I don't fully appreciate all that I've revealed. It's been a strange experience: since the book has been out, several reviewers have commented on this, how vulnerable the writing is, and I keep going back to the book thinking, "Sh*t, sh*t! What did I say?"

Do you have an ideal audience? Have you experienced blatant pushback?

That's a hard question--the ideal audience. I think so much of my own duty as a writer: how to be fair, and gentle enough to break down possible defenses, but uncompromising enough with whatever truth I think I'm grappling with. If I encounter pushback (I haven't so much, not yet, at least), my personality is much more likely to read that as a failing on my own part rather than the audience's. It's odd, I'm not like that as a poet. As a poet I can be more arrogant, but as an essayist, I work very hard to have the audience/reader follow me step by step.

I'm struck by this notion of possible failure as an essayist vs. arrogance as a poet--as if you're two different writers.

Oh, it's not just two. It's several. Who I am as a novelist and as a poet and as an essayist are all slightly different. I think I had to learn to do that over time, and that had to do with learning how to "fix" the problems of any given genre that I was writing in at the time. As I hinted earlier, I'm most confident as a poet, but that would spill over into everything else. I would edit my novels as a poet (rather than as a novelist) and my essays as a poet. And that might make the writing beautiful, but it doesn't always fix the problems of the novel or the essay, which are different from the problems of poetry. So I had to teach myself, in those moments of editing, to be that thing, to be the writer of that genre and understand how that was different from being a writer of another genre.

Going back to pushback and responses... your essay "The White Women and the Language of Bees" is included here. I followed the "controversy" after its initial publication in 2018. Your reply, "10 things I learnt from the brouhaha," was published two years later. Any additional thoughts since? 

Ooh, lordy. You know--I wasn't even thinking about that essay and, of course, you're right. I have had pushback--very blatant--before the book came out. Oddly though, with that essay, I did read it over a thousand times because I genuinely couldn't understand the reaction. But no matter how many times I read it, it didn't seem like this underhandedly misogynistic thing some women claimed it to be. It was Black women feminists who came to my rescue and asked if I had never experienced white women's tears before. I hadn't on that scale, even though the essay is all about that.

This is what I think now: when I wrote and published that essay, even though it wasn't so long ago, it still was before the phenomenon of "BBQ Becky" or the woman in Central Park who called the police on a Black man. In two years, the world has seen that script play out again and again, how a white woman has access to a particular kind of privilege--damsel privilege, I'd call it--and she can access that in the way that no other body can. Now when people read my essay ["The White Women and the Language of Bees"], it seems familiar.

But I wrote it just before--trying to talk about this interaction between white women and Black men--the man who has male privilege but not white privilege, the white woman who has white privilege but not male privilege--these two characters one step away from ultimate power, and how they tussle. It's an extraordinary thing. Not many people had written about that particular interaction, and so I think it became controversial then in a way that it wouldn't be controversial now, and certainly the way some white women tried to flex their muscles to shut me up is not something I think could fly now.

Which of these essays was the hardest to reveal?

The essay "The Old Black Woman Who Sat in the Corner" was probably the hardest to write, because it wasn't my own "secrets" I was revealing but my family's. And though I hope I was respectful, I'm still not sure how they're going to take it. The good thing about families is that they know you're a writer but they don't ever read your books. And I hope it stays that way.

Your globetrotting has led you to a new academic home at the University of Miami. Any expectations?

I pretend that I have no expectations. That's part of travel, or the politics of travelling so much for me. I never want to burden a place with expectations because you know that's when we exotify. I'm always looking out for the banality of things. I'm sure I have expectations, but this philosophy has become such a reflex in me that expectations are quickly buried or denied. So I'm looking forward to classes (they will be live) but I'm not sure what to expect.

The thing I am excited about though is just being--you could say, because this is technically true--back in the Caribbean. The one thing I've learnt over these years is that the Caribbean is my center. It's how I make sense of the world. It's where my language lives. And I knew, more than anything else, that it's the space I needed to return to. That's what Miami means for me.

And what might readers expect next? 

I don't know what project is going to take root. At the end of my time in England the novel began to reveal itself more fully to me, but also a poetry project that felt ambitious enough and meaty enough. I tend to write two projects at once until one begins to fly.

But right when I might have settled into the writing, I had to pack up my office and put it on a ship, and I'm still waiting for it to reach here. I need my writing space back and my books around me, and then one of those two projects is going to take off. That's saying much without saying anything. --Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon


Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, August 31:

A Slow Fire Burning: A Novel by Paula Hawkins (Riverhead, $28, 9780735211230) is a thriller about a murdered man and three women who are suspects.

Friends Forever by Shannon Hale, illus. by LeUyen Pham (First Second, $12.99, 9781250317568) is the team's follow-up to Real Friends and Best Friends.

Scary Stories for Young Foxes: The City by Christian McKay Heidicker, illus. by Junyi Wu (Holt, $16.99, 9781250181442), is a companion novel to the Newbery Honored Scary Stories for Young Foxes.

Paperbacks:
The Royals Next Door by Karina Halle (‎Berkley, $16, 9780593334195).

The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang (Berkley, $16, 9780451490841).

The Last Chance Library by Freya Sampson (Berkley, $16, 9780593201381).


IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at IndieBound.org, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:

Hardcover
Clark and Division: A Novel by Naomi Hirahara (Soho Crime, $27.95, 9781641292498). "Clark and Division is a propulsive mystery and a heart-wrenching examination of Japanese internment and relocation in the 1940s. Hirahara beautifully weaves history and injustice into this fascinating and compelling crime novel." --Luisa Smith, Book Passage, Corte Madera, Calif.

Made in China: A Memoir of Love and Labor by Anna Qu (Catapult, $26, 9781646220342). "Made in China is an emotionally wrenching and engrossing memoir about abuse, immigration, and the American dream. Qu's pain is raw and unfinished, but her resiliency and growth are unforgettable." --Marie Cloutier, Greenlight Bookstore, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Paperback
The Union of Synchronized Swimmers: A Novella by Cristina Sandu (Scribe, $15, 9781950354399). "Six girls living behind the Iron Curtain turn their leisurely summer swimming routine into something more. Glimpses into their adult lives join atmospheric vignettes of their journey into synchronized swimming." --Maggie Henriksen, Carmichael's Bookstore, Louisville, Ky.

For Ages 4 to 8
Monster Friends by Kaeti Vandorn (Random House Graphic, $12.99, 9781984896827). "This is literally the cutest stinking graphic novel I've read since Bug Boys. It's like Studio Ghibli mixed with My Little Pony and I LOVE IT ALL! Such cute little creatures and a great story about friendship, being honest with yourself and others, and facing your fears." --Lauren Nopenz Fairley, Curious Iguana, Frederick, Md.

For Ages 8 to 12
A Discovery of Dragons by Lindsay Galvin (Chicken House, $18.99, 9781338714449). "This book is an epic adventure. Pulling history from the voyage of Charles Darwin aboard HMS Beagle, Galvin brings to life the story of Darwin's cabin boy and assistant. Simon is brave and selfless even when it's difficult to be either, and you'll cheer for him at every turn." --Marielle Orff, Towne Book Center and Wine Bar, Collegeville, Pa.

For Teen Readers
The Sea Is Salt and So Am I by Cassandra Hartt (Roaring Brook Press, $18.99, 9781250619242). "Readers will be swept away by the lyrical writing in this fiercely moving tale of three teens facing the storms battering their coastal town and their hearts. Full of passion, grief, and resilience, it's perfect for fans of Jandy Nelson, Julia Drake, and Jennifer Niven." --Alyssa Raymond, Copper Dog Books, Beverly, Mass.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]


Book Review

Review: Things I Have Withheld

Things I Have Withheld by Kei Miller (Grove, $27 hardcover, 224p., 9780802158956, September 14, 2021)

Literary chameleon Kei Miller (The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion) has produced award-winning short stories, novels, poetry and essays. Things I Have Withheld is arguably his most stupendous title to date. These 14 exquisitely vulnerable essays explore his Jamaican heritage, his British residency, his worldwide travels, particularly through African nations. Divulging searing conversations he's self-silenced, Miller--a globe-trotting gay Black man--produces a magnificent examination of race, sexuality and identity. "The moments when I am most in need of words are exactly the moments when I lose faith in them," Miller writes in his introduction. Reading him is an act of empathy: "I suspect it is the same for a great many of us. We keep things to ourselves. We withhold them because of fear."

Miller begins with a call for assistance from James Baldwin--"I do not think much of your poetry, but I think everything of your essays and it is essays that I have been trying to write but have stopped and need your help"--especially regarding confrontations he's repeatedly eschewed about careless racism. In the standout "Mr Brown, Mrs White and Ms Black," three Jamaican neighbors anticipating an upcoming party contemplate experiences based solely on their skin color. Other essays reveal family secrets about ancestry; crimes against Black bodies and women's bodies; presumptions outsiders vocalize to and about Jamaicans; the fine line between homophobia and belonging; white entitlement and appropriation (Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea is unnamed but unmistakably exposed). Miller considers his insider/outsider experience of traveling in Kenya ("return is a much harder thing than I had imagined it to be," he muses in a letter to the late Kenyan author Binyavanga Wainaina), Ethiopia ("You people should be grateful that people like me visit your country!" a white tourist yells) and Ghana ("I am disappointed in the white woman who felt a slave dungeon was a great backdrop for a picture of her wearing her biggest smile"). Miller's closing, "And This Is How We Die," is a stunning eulogy to Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd.

As a gay Black man from a Caribbean island working as "a full-fledged professor" in Britain--a historical center of colonialism--and producing award-winning titles while traveling the world, Miller by necessity has become especially facile in code-switching. His written language effortlessly adapts as he slips from his "own Jamaican patois" to adaptations and mannerisms necessary to deal with various locations, situations, communities. What he produces from such experiences is a wrenching record--gorgeously encapsulated--of what he's had to withhold to survive. Filling the silence proves lifesaving. --Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon

Shelf Talker: Jamaican-born, globetrotting writer/poet Kei Miller produces a stupendous collection of exquisite, revealing essays confronting race, sexuality and identity.


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