Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Margaret K. McElderry Books: Tender Beasts by Liselle Sambury

Scholastic Press: Heroes: A Novel of Pearl Harbor by Alan Gratz

Flatiron Books: Anita de Monte Laughs Last by Xochitl Gonzalez

Peachtree Publishers: King & Kayla and the Case of the Downstairs Ghost (King & Kayla) by Dori Hillestad Butler, illustrated by Nancy Meyers

Doubleday Books: The Husbands by Holly Gramazio


PNBA's Authors on the Map Breakfast


Oregonian novelist Willy Vlautin (The Night Always Comes) introduced 10 emerging Northwest writers at the Authors on the Map breakfast, a new-author spotlight feature of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association trade show for more than 20 years. "We all know the best readers and writers and bookstores all live here in the Northwest," he said, eliciting several prideful whoops from the early morning crowd.

Themes of renewal after loss and preservation of invaluable history emerged swiftly. Portland author Thea Prieto spoke about her debut novel, From the Caves (Red Hen Press), which follows four people banding together against environmental catastrophe in a PNW devastated by wildfires, drought, extreme heat and a toxic ocean. They tell each other stories to survive the "dark sickness," in an oral tradition evolved to describe origins and endings at the same time.

Seattle author Arnée Flores, too, believes in the power of stories and books to give hope for the future. The Firebird Song (Bloomsbury Children's) is her middle-grade fantasy about a kingdom in crisis, and the boy and the princess-in-hiding who set out to save it. Flores gave the analogy of what one chooses to save in a housefire, and how it demonstrates a person's core value. "It's not just an object, it's a symbol of hope."

Laurie Easter is an author living off the grid in the Siskiyou Mountains of southern Oregon, and her non-linear memoir All the Leavings (Oregon State University Press) features essays about her rugged lifestyle, but also about illness, addiction and how one grapples with loss. She observed "how things have shifted, we've left behind this other way of being, now we're trying to find our way through a new way of being."

In Kirkland, Wash., author Leanne Hatch's picture book Unraveled (Margaret Ferguson Books/Random House), a boy's baby blanket is coming undone, forcing him to make a big boy decision. His mama, however, has a more difficult time with this decision, so she comes up with an idea of how to take old things with them in new ways.

Portland author Juhea Kim described her novel, Beasts of a Little Land (Ecco), as an "epic story of love, war and redemption set against the backdrop of early 20th century Korea." It's inspired in part by her maternal grandfather, as well as Korean folktales she heard growing up. The "disparate elements of my own family history and the Korean folktales all came together" as a "fateful encounter between people."

Front row, l. to r.: Lara Kaminoff, Margot Wood, Waka T. Brown, Thea Prieto. Back row, l. to r.: Laurie Easter, Willy Vlautin, Arnée Flores, Leanne Hatch, Juhea Kim, Sasha LaPointe, Michael Herzog

Sasha LaPointe, a Coast Salish writer from the Nooksack and Upper Skagit tribes who lives in Tacoma, also takes inspiration from ancestors in her memoir, Red Paint: The Ancestral Autobiography of a Coast Salish Punk (Counterpoint). She opened with a greeting in her traditional language. "When I meet people, I want the first words they hear from my mouth to be in my ancestor's language." The book is "an active ritual of healing" for her, and a reminder for others "that Coast Salish folks do in fact exist. And we're thriving, and we're telling our stories. We're making films and art, singing in punk bands. This book... is for everyone who hears the word Native and thinks of something in the past."

Portland author Margot Wood recasts anecdotes from her own past, as well as Jane Austen's classic Emma, for her debut YA novel, Fresh (Amulet Books). She wanted to write "something fun and wild and exuberant. Something that would have turned 18-year-old me--that girl that never read anything--into a reader."

And speaking of wild and exuberant, Chaucer's Canterbury Tales have been updated and completed by Gonzaga professor and longtime Chaucer scholar Michael Herzog in Pilgrimage: The Completed Canterbury Tales (Will Dreamly Arts). He translated the Middle English poetry into accessible modern English prose, attempting to make it enjoyable and readable for modern readers while also being faithful to the original.

The wild fun continued as Seattle cartoonist and Elliott Bay Book Co. bookseller Lara Kaminoff presented the audience with How to Pick a Fight (Nobrow), an all-ages graphic novel about a troublemaker named Jimmy Ruckus who wants to make a name for himself in the world. "I have quite a lot in common with Jimmy Ruckus," Kaminoff said. "We both have pretty chaotic, energetic personalities." In promoting the book, she admits to have gotten carried away with herself, having built a prop of Jimmy's head, which she donned before walking offstage.

To close, Portland author Waka T. Brown discussed her second middle-grade book, Dream, Annie, Dream (Quill Tree Books), about a Japanese American girl cast in a middle school production of The King & I during the late 1980s. It was inspired by her own experiences of what it felt like to be one of the only Japanese Americans growing up in Kansas, with media representation being both sparse and problematic, and with the myth of the model minority on the rise. "My hope is that through Annie's experiences... I'm able to represent the breadth of Asian American backgrounds, cultures and dreams, in a hopefully relatable, sometimes funny and heartfelt way." --Dave Wheeler, associate editor, Shelf Awareness

Holiday House: The Five Impossible Tasks of Eden Smith by Tom Llewellyn; The Selkie's Daughter by Linda Crotta Brennan

A Room of One's Own, Madison, Wis., Opens in New Home

Browsing inside the new location

A Room of One's Own in Madison, Wis., opened this weekend in its new home in Madison's Atwood neighborhood, Channel 3000 reported. The opening at 2717 Atwood Ave. marked the first time in well over a year that A Room of One's Own has welcomed shoppers inside, and customers formed a line down the sidewalk before the doors opened.

Co-owner Gretchen Treu told Channel 3000: "Between a very loyal audience and a greater amount of outreach, and finding our voice a little bit more over the last year, it's been great."

The bookstore closed its previous space in downtown Madison on July 25. Its new home in Atwood is smaller--4,500 square feet compared to 6,000--but has skylights, a back garden and wooden ceilings. A Room of One's Own announced the move earlier this year, after real estate developers purchased the bookstore's building with plans to demolish it and replace it with a mixed-use development.

Treu, co-owner Wes Lukes and silent partner Patrick Rothfuss have secured a 20-year lease for the Atwood store. Compared to downtown Madison, Atwood is known for its walkability and has plenty of small businesses and families. The trio has owned the bookstore since 2018. It was originally founded in 1975 as a feminist bookstore and has occupied several locations in Madison.

Amistad Press: The Survivors of the Clotilda: The Lost Stories of the Last Captives of the American Slave Trade by Hannah Durkin

Café at N.H.'s Gibson's Bookstore Reopens

The popular café at Gibson's Bookstore, Concord, N.H., reopened yesterday morning after an 18-month hiatus caused by the pandemic and the permanent closing of True Brew Barista, which had run the café.

In the front of Gibson's building, the café is open 7 a.m.-6 p.m., Monday-Saturday, and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sundays--longer hours than the bookstore. The café is now being managed by Gibson's and headed by Bailey Irving.

Early in the morning, customers began showing up, including two writers who had finished their books in the old café and are working on new ones. (See a video of the opening here.) Owner Michael Herrmann noted, "We've missed having a café in the bookstore, and we're very glad to have reopened."

Powell's Books, Ex Novo Brewing Selling Beer to Support Binc

Powell's Books in Portland, Ore., has partnered with craft brewery Ex Novo Brewing to create the City of Books IPA, with 10% of the proceeds going to the Book Industry Charitable Foundaton

The 6.2% West Coast Style American IPA will be available for purchase at Powell's downtown location on October 16 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., or until supplies last. Purchases are limited to two four-packs per customer. Limited amounts of the City of Books IPA will also be available at Ex Novo's North Portland and Beaverton locations.

"We discussed different options for styles of beer, but when you live in the Pacific Northwest we all know that IPA is king," said Ex Novo brewer Ryan Buxton. "We wanted just a touch lower ABV than your typical IPA to make it easy to drink more than one or to sip on while enjoying a good book."

Rockford University, Rockford Ill., Partnering with Akademos

Rockford University in Rockford, Ill., has partnered with Akademos to move sales of course materials and textbooks to Akademos's digital content platform, which launched this summer in preparation for the fall 2021 term. The university will continue to operate a physical store offering school-branded merchandise and apparel. 

Dr. Michael Perry, Rockford University's provost and vice-president for academic affairs, said: "Increasing the affordability of textbooks and course content represents an essential part of our strategy for reducing costs and developing the knowledge, values and skills that will ensure success in this ever changing global society."


Image of the Day: Warwick's Hosts Anthony Doerr

Warwick's, La Jolla, Calif., in partnership with the University of San Diego's College of Arts and Sciences, hosted Pulitzer Prize-winning author Anthony Doerr last Friday as he discussed his new novel, Cloud Cuckoo Land (Scribner). Pictured (l.-r.): booksellers Emily Vermillion and John Beaudette; children's book buyer Stacey Haerr; Anthony Doerr; events director Julie Slavinsky; head book buyer Adrian Newell; bookseller Lynn Brennan; Shannon Grant of Simon & Schuster.

Changing Hands: 'Best Bookstore in Phoenix'

Congratulations to Changing Hands Bookstore, which Phoenix New Times called the Best Bookstore in its Best of Phoenix issue. The magazine wrote:

"Changing Hands, which has long leaned into the idea of bookstore as community gathering space, takes that concept to the next level. The Phoenix location is home to a bar where you can enjoy drinks and a nosh while you read, and you'll find works by local artists on its walls. There's also a room set up with tables where people gather for casual conversations or attend book signings and poetry readings. The store has a robust lineup of online events for readers with diverse interests, and often reflects the big conversations happening in contemporary culture through its choices of books and happenings. Both locations have charming children's sections, a great selection of magazines you won't find elsewhere, and a wide assortment of gifts that make it fun to just kick around and explore instead of simply popping in for that one book on your must-have list. Here, you encounter a bookstore that feels like home; it's a place you want to return to again and again to experience new and familiar treasures."

Personnel Changes at Simon & Schuster

Jennifer Lipman is joining the special markets department at Simon & Schuster as manager, corporate & premium sales.

Reading Group Choices' Most Popular September Books

The two most popular books in September at Reading Group Choices were In Every Mirror She's Black by Lolá Ákínmádé Åkerström (Sourcebooks Landmark) and This Is Happiness by Niall Williams (Bloomsbury Publishing).

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Stanley Tucci on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Stanley Tucci, author of Taste: My Life Through Food (Gallery, $28, 9781982168018).

Drew Barrymore Show: Danny Seo, author of Naturally, Delicious Dinners (Gibbs Smith, $28, 9781423658269).

Tamron Hall: Steve Pemberton, author of The Lighthouse Effect: How Ordinary People Can Have an Extraordinary Impact in the World (Zondervan, $25.99, 9780310362326).

The Talk: Tabitha Brown, author of Feeding the Soul (Because It's My Business): Finding Our Way to Joy, Love, and Freedom (Morrow, $27.99, 9780063080287).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Bret Baier, co-author of To Rescue the Republic: Ulysses S. Grant, the Fragile Union, and the Crisis of 1876 (Custom House, $28.99, 9780063039544).

Jimmy Kimmel Live: Eric Wareheim, co-author of Foodheim: A Culinary Adventure (Ten Speed Press, $35, 9781984858528).

Movies: School for the Blind

Ed Harris and Amy Madigan will star in School for the Blind, "a $4.5 million budgeted indie that will be produced by Picturehouse, John Boccardo's Blind Faith Productions and Neil Koenigsberg," Deadline reported. Lou Howe is directing from his adaptation of Dennis McFarland's 1995 novel.

"It will be wonderful to see the magic Amy and Ed will bring to School for the Blind," said Bob Berney, CEO of Picturehouse. "It's a terrific gift for Lou to have these two actors portraying an estranged brother and sister in this exciting new drama."

Books & Authors

Awards: Atwood Gibson Writers' Trust Fiction Finalists

The shortlist has been released for the C$60,000 (about US$47,670) Atwood Gibson Writers' Trust Fiction Prize, which recognizes writers of exceptional talent for the best novel or short story collection of the year. The award is named in honor of Writers' Trust of Canada co-founders Margaret Atwood and the late Graeme Gibson, who started the organization in 1976 "with the help of a few fellow writers and an aim to encourage a Canadian literary culture at home." The winner will be announced November 3 at the digital Writers' Trust Awards. This year's finalists, who each receive C$5,000 (US$3,970), are: 

Everyone Knows Your Mother Is a Witch by Rivka Galchen
We Want What We Want by Alix Ohlin
Fight Night by Miriam Toews
August into Winter by Guy Vanderhaeghe
The Strangers by Katherena Vermette

Book Review

Review: All Her Little Secrets

All Her Little Secrets by Wanda M. Morris (Morrow, $16.99 paperback, 384p., 9780063082465, November 2, 2021)

Wanda M. Morris's fast-paced and thrilling debut, the aptly named All Her Little Secrets, reveals the many, many secrets collected over the years of one woman's life--and what happens when they eventually catch up to her.

Ellice Littlejohn shows the world the woman she wants them to see: "Smart. Tempered. Ellice Littlejohn, the consummate professional." What she hides behind that façade, though, is far more complicated--and potentially dangerous: a childhood spent in poverty in Chillicothe, Ga., with an alcoholic mother and abusive cop for a stepfather. An unlikely scholarship to a prestigious boarding school, and a brother left behind on her departure. A misguided affair with her married boss, executive vice-president and general counsel of Houghton Transportation Company, which has only a handful of female employees and even fewer employees of color.

These secrets feel entirely disconnected from Ellice's reality as the only Black employee in the legal department--until she finds her boss, who is also her lover, dead in his office before the crack of dawn one weekday morning. "Blood. Death. This was Chillicothe all over again." She panics, "And I did what I always did. I ran. My earliest memory is of running."

This brutal discovery falls at the very start of All Her Little Secrets, and Ellice continues that fast-paced run from her secrets for as long as she can. "The more I tried to shake it loose, the more intertwined the past became with the present," she realizes. Her desperation to keep that past hidden boxes her and her younger brother into an increasingly impossible corner--one, or both, of them must take the fall for a conspiracy that goes far beyond Ellice, her boss or her employer's shady dealings.

"This entire situation was a complicated knot of moral and ethical issues I wasn't quite sure how to fix," but Ellice's sheer determination to do just that ultimately forms the heart of Morris's suspenseful and compelling novel. As Ellice's secrets threaten to reveal themselves--or be revealed by an all-too-knowledgeable enemy--All Her Little Secrets builds to an exciting conclusion, marking Morris as an electrifying new voice in the genre. Morris's debut will prove perfect for readers looking for thrillers that reveal dark secrets and twisted webs of lies alongside hard truths about the realities of racism and sexism in corporate America. --Kerry McHugh, blogger at Entomology of a Bookworm

Shelf Talker: A tightly paced debut thriller pits the lone Black lawyer in a large corporation against a web of lies and conspiracies that threaten to reveal dangerous secrets from her past.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. The Legacy by Elle Kennedy
2. Nantucket News by Pamela M. Kelley
3. Verity by Colleen Hoover
4. Inmate of the Month (Souls Chapel Revenants MC Book 7) by Lani Lynn Vale
5. Code Name: Aries by Janie Crouch
6. Risky Bargain by Barbara Freethy
7. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki with Sharon L. Lechter
8. Seller Mistakes by Michael Bell
9. MOVE by Sangram Vajre and Bryan Brown
10. The Virgin Replay (Rules of Love Book 3) by Lauren Blakely

[Many thanks to!]

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