Shelf Awareness for Thursday, October 21, 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

Quotation of the Day

'No One Does This Alone'

"When I compare 1991 with 2021, honestly, there are now so many submissions, so many good authors and ideas and not enough time. I've learned that besides family, work and health, what authors trust me with are their sincerest hopes and dreams. It's an honor. I still feel young, but I guess I've become one of the old-timers I used to look at admiringly so many years ago. Which is weird because although new is flashy, it's harder to achieve longevity. Many people consider the 'arts' an alternative field, well, I can think of nothing more alternative than still going after 30 years, that's unique and rare.... I'm incredibly grateful for the support the literary community has shown me all these years. No one does this alone."

--Steve Semken, founder, publisher and editor at Ice Cube Press, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year 

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


News

Downtown Books Finds 'Beautiful' Response in Lexington, Va.

"I've wanted to do this since I was six or seven years old," said Paige Williams, co-owner of Downtown Books in Lexington, Va. She and Jay Williams opened the general-interest bookstore on May 29, after Williams spent years researching the bookselling business.

"As a young child," Williams recalled, "I would set up a bookstore in our family room. I pretended their books were in my store and sold them to family members and imaginary customers. As I got older the desire to have my own shop only grew."

Thanks to her "book obsession," Williams had a business plan already in place when her local indie bookstore closed during the pandemic. She felt very strongly that there should be a "bookstore of this type" in Lexington, which she called a "reading town." At the same time, Covid seemed to be "loosening its hold," and all she needed was the right space. While walking through downtown Lexington one evening, she and Jay Williams "spotted an open storefront with the perfect interior, hardwood floors, tin ceilings and a creaky glass door." Remarkably fast, Williams said, "it all came together."

Paige Williams

In addition to books for children, teens and adults, the approximately 1,000-square-foot store sells a variety of nonbook items like handmade candles, handmade jewelry, locally roasted coffee, textiles and greeting cards. Williams explained that she's tried to source her sidelines from local artisans, very small businesses or "businesses with a purpose." As an example she pointed to blankets from a company that gives 10% of its proceeds to a shelter for abused women. She's also added some seating, and the store offers bottled water and warm cider.

"People know they can come and get away," Williams said. "They can separate from stress."

Since opening, Downtown Books has already hosted one book launch and four book signings. There are plans for a book launch in November, a signing in December and a few for early next year. There is a Downtown Literary Society that meets at the store once per month; Williams noted that it's different from a conventional book club, because all of the members read different things and the "goal is to learn about new authors and genres we might not have considered." When it's safe to host larger groups indoors, Williams will host children's storytime sessions and educational events with professors from the two nearby universities.

Asked how the Lexington community has responded to her store, Williams said they've been "supportive and welcoming." When the store first opened people frequently stopped by to congratulate Williams and tell her how glad they were the store was there. The "town has come out of the woodwork," to say "we want you to succeed." She also guessed that she's met more Lexington residents since the store opened than she would have over the course of a few years.

Customers are going out of their way to support the store, even in the face of supply-chain issues that have in some cases led to books taking six weeks to arrive. All told they've been remarkably patient and understanding. "The people in this town," Williams said, "are of a mindset that they want to support us and they will do what it takes. They're trying to help me and I'm trying to help them. It's really kind of beautiful." --Alex Mutter


GLOW: Tordotcom: The Crane Husband by Kelly Barnhill


Ursula K. Le Guin Prize for Fiction to Launch Next Year

Ursula K. Le Guin
(photo: William Anthony)

The Ursula K. Le Guin Literary Trust has announced the creation of the Ursula K. Le Guin Prize for Fiction, with $25,000 to be awarded annually to a writer for a single work of imaginative fiction. 

The award will be given for the first time on October 21, 2022, (October 21 was Le Guin's birthday) and will honor a writer "whose work reflects the concepts and ideas that were central to Ursula's own work, including but certainly not limited to: hope, equity, and freedom; non-violence and alternatives to conflict; and a holistic view of humanity's place in the natural world."

Nominations for the inaugural prize will open on February 1, 2022. To be eligible for the prize, a book must be "a book-length work of imaginative fiction written by a single author; published in the U.S. in English or in translation to English (in the case of a translated work winning the Prize, the cash prize will be equally divided between author and translator); and published in 2022."

Theo Downes-Le Guin, Le Guin's son and literary executor, said: "Many will appreciate an irony in that Ursula herself was suspicious of literary awards and prizes. At the same time, she recognized their genuine value in honoring a writer and increasing the visibility of good, undervalued writing. She also knew that a bit of money, at the right moment and in the right spirit, can be a turning point in a writer's ability to continue writing. I hope the Prize will provide meaningful help and recognition to writers who might otherwise not receive it."

The award will also give weight to writers whose access to resources may be limited due to race, gender, age, class or other factors; who are working outside of institutional frameworks like MFA programs; who live outside of cultural centers such as New York; and who have not yet been widely recognized for their work.

The Ursula K. Le Guin Literary Trust will create a shortlist from the nominated works, and a panel of five jurors will choose the winner. The inaugural list of jurors includes adrienne maree brown (Grievers), Becky Chambers (the Wayfarers series), Molly Gloss (Unforeseen), David Mitchell (The Bone Clocks) and Luis Alberto Urrea (The House of Broken Angels).


Soho Press: Black Dove by Colin McAdam


International Update: At Frankfurt Free Speech vs. Safety; NZ Government's Controversial Book Grant

The Frankfurt Book Fair officially opened yesterday, drawing a sizable amount of attendees, mostly from Europe, and offering a mix of in-person and online programming. Canada is the focal country.

Jasmina Kunke

The fair was once again not without some controversy. As reported by Börsenblatt, early this week, Jasmina Kuhnke, a Black author who was scheduled to present her debut novel, Schwarzes Herz (Black Heart), on a fair stage, criticized the fair for allowing extreme right-wing publishers to exhibit, a complaint that has been made by others in previous years. She singled out Jungeuropa, whose publisher has called for Kunhke to be deported from Germany. Fearing for her safety, Kuhnke decided not to attend the fair, and other authors supporting her say they won't appear at the fair.

In response, the fair and the Börsenverein (the German book trade association) issued a statement saying they "regret that individual authors have decided not to appear at Frankfurter Buchmesse. Their voices against racism and in support of diversity will be missed at the book fair." But they also reaffirmed their position that "freedom of expression and publication are, for us, paramount. They are the basis for engaging in a free exchange in our democracy and for having a book fair at all. [We] are committed to promoting freedom of speech and freedom of the press worldwide. That is why it is also clear for us that publishers who operate within the law can exhibit at the book fair, even if we do not share their views. In our constitutional democracy, banning publishing houses or their publications is the role of the courts and not individual actors like Frankfurter Buchmesse."

The statement added that "ensuring the safety of participants at the book fair is our top priority" and that it has "a comprehensive security plan that makes it possible for everyone to visit the fair safely."

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The New Zealand book industry is expressing shock in the wake of Friday's announcement that the government's Ministry for Culture and Heritage is giving a NZ$500,000 (about US$360,000) grant to recommendations website Narrative Muse to "help Aotearoa audiences access books." 

The site "presents itself as a matchmaker, a kind of Tinder app that seeks to put together people with the books they'd like to read. It's been floating around since 2016 and is headed by U.S.-born Brough Johnson," ReadingRoom reported, adding that Narrative Muse has been criticized for "its linking of recommended books to Amazon and iTunes" and lack of commitment to New Zealand writing.

"I'm aghast," said author Paula Morris, who sits on numerous boards in New Zealand literature, including the Māori Literature Trust and the New Zealand Book Awards Trust. "I looked at the site, because I'd never heard of it, and it's essentially what Amazon is doing already, which is if you like this you'll like this as well. Why is half a million dollars going into that?"

"I didn't even know the website still existed," said Jenna Todd, a bookseller at Time Out in Auckland and board chair of Booksellers Aotearoa NZ. Although she had written a few reviews for Narrative Muse in 2016, she had no idea her name was still on its website. The site's use of Amazon was why she stepped back from her involvement.

"It was strange to hear of this thing that I hadn't thought of for five years which doesn't even seem to have been in the collective consciousness of books people that I talk to," Todd noted. "It's never been part of the conversation or ever been talked about. So when I heard the news, I was just like, 'Wow.' It was mind boggling." 

In a statement, Booksellers Aotearoa NZ wrote, in part: "Prior to this funding announcement Booksellers Aotearoa had barely even thought about Narrative Muse and did not consider them to be a potential partner when we were drafting our Strategic Plan. Their current business model actually damages our membership....

"Therefore we call on the Ministry of Culture and Heritage to be transparent about the nature of this funding: what is the project, what are the intended results, how does it meet the various criteria outlined in the Te Urungi process (especially the requirement that it 'safeguard mātauranga Māori').

"We also call on Narrative Muse to share their understanding of how their mahi will contribute to the health of the literary, publishing and bookselling sector in Aotearoa. There are still too many unanswered questions.

"We are not averse to innovation or disruption, and welcome new ideas, but nothing we have heard so far gives us confidence that this is what is happening. If we see an opportunity to benefit our members by working with a 'new look' Narrative Muse we welcome the opportunity to do that."

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The International Publishers Association has announced a shortlist for the IPA Prix Voltaire, which recognizes "exemplary courage in upholding the freedom to publish and in providing a platform, through print or digital media, for others to exercise their right to freedom of expression." The winner will be named at an award ceremony during the 35th Feria Internacional del Libro de Guadalajara in Mexico at the end of November. The finalists are: 

Dar Al Jadeed Publishing House/Lokman Slim (Lebanon)
Independent Belarusian Publishers (Belarus)
Mikado Publishing (Turkey)
Samir Mansour Bookshop for Publishing (Palestine)
Raul Figueroa Sarti (Guatemala) 

Kristenn Einarsson, chair of the IPA's freedom to publish committee, said: "The publishers that we recognize with this shortlist deserve our international support and remind us why the freedom to publish is so valuable. These five exceptionally strong candidates have, and continue to, risk their freedom and lives to promote the freedom to publish and we salute them." --Robert Gray


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


Obituary Note: Jerry Pinkney

Jerry Pinkney

Jerry Pinkney, the beloved children's book illustrator whose honors included a Caldecott Medal, five Coretta Scott King Awards and a lifetime achievement award from the Society of Illustrators, died yesterday from a heart attack, NPR reported. He was 81 years old.

Pinkney's first book, The Adventures of Spider: West African Folk Tales, was published in 1964. He went on to illustrate or create covers for more than 100 books over the course of his career. In the 1970s he illustrated The Planet of Junior Brown by Virginia Hamilton, which was a Newbery Honor Book, and he was the cover artist for Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor, which won the 1977 Newbery Medal.

His 2010 picture book, The Lion and the Mouse, was a Caldecott Medal winner, and his Coretta Scott King awards came in 1981, for Count on Your Fingers African Style (Claudia Zaslavsky); in 1990 for The Talking Eggs: A Folktale From the American South (Robert D. San Souci); in 2005 for God Bless the Child (Billie Holiday and Arthur Herzog Jr.); in 2009 for The Moon over Star (Dianna Hutts Aston); and in 2017 for In Plain Sight (Richard Jackson).

He was a frequent collaborator with Julius Lester (John Henry and The Last Tales of Uncle Remus), as well as with his wife, the children's author Gloria Jean Pinkney (Back Home; The Sunday Outing). High school sweethearts, they were together for 64 years, and at the time of his death they were working on a memoir about his childhood struggles with a learning disability and his path to becoming an artist.

"Jerry was a devoted husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather whose impact influenced the creative endeavors of so many in our family," Gloria Jean Pinkney said.

He was a mentor to many artists and illustrators, including James Ransome (recipient of the Coretta Scott King Award for The Creation, written by James Weldon Johnson), and his son Brian Pinkney, who is also a children's book illustrator (winner of the Coretta Scott King Award for In the Time of the Drums, written by Kim L. Siegelson).

"Jerry's indefatigable attention to, and love of his craft was unmatched, and he never stopped asking for work to be pushed and challenged," said Megan Tingley, executive vice-president and publisher of Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. "Everyone he worked with was touched by his infectious delight in the act of creation, which never waned, and his generous spirit of kindness and collaboration."

Andrea Spooner, v-p and editorial director at LBYR, said: "Jerry Pinkney was a true artistic legend of the children’s book industry for more than half a century, and it's fair to say the industry today might look very different without his groundbreaking work. As someone who worked with Jerry for more than 25 years, I can say that every interaction with him was a meaningful one. He brought great joy, excellence, genuine personal connection, and dignity into every aspect of his work and being, and we will all miss him dearly.”

Born in 1939, Pinkney grew up in an era when Black Americans were barred from many places, institutions and opportunities, even in parts of the country that were not segregated by law. In his home city of Philadelphia, Pinkney wrote in an essay for WHYY, "stores did not have any 'whites only' signs posted, but the 'open' sign on the door didn't always mean that my friends and I really could enter and be served. I never knew if that 'welcome' sign included my parents, uncles, aunts, and the black adults who were our neighbors, teachers, and pastors--those very individuals who tried their best to instill a sense of self worth in us."

Pinkney found an escape through art, buying art supplies with money he earned shining shoes, and he attended the Philadelphia College of Art (now named the University of the Arts). He later told the Society of Illustrators that he was a "storyteller at heart. There is something special about knowing that your stories can alter the way people see the world, and their place within it."

In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Dyslexia Foundation or the Teatown Lake Reservation Preserve and Education Center.


Notes

Image of the Day: Binc Board Face-to-Face

The Binc Board of Directors held their first in-person meeting since 2019, with Dominique Raccah, CEO of Sourcebooks Publishing, leading a discussion on long-range planning and strategic thinking.

Pictured (left to right, front row) board president Matthew Gildea; Pam French, Binc executive director; Christie Roehl, treasurer; Sarah Bagby; (second row) Ken A. White; Dominique Raccah; Julia Cowlishaw, secretary; Chuck Robinson; (top row) Annie Philbrick, v-p; Chris Morrow; Kuo-Yu Liang; Sean Murray, Sourcebooks. Not shown, but present via Zoom: board members Calvin Crosby, Eileen Dengler, Rockelle Henderson.

Happy Fifth Birthday, Hills & Hamlets Bookshop!

Congratulations to Hills & Hamlets Bookshop, Chattahoochee Hills, Ga., which is celebrating its fifth birthday this month. Co-owners Josh Niesse and Megan Bell, who met in 2011, just after Niesse opened sister store Underground Books in Carrollton, posted on Facebook: "It's no secret that running an independent bookstore is a challenging prospect in this era of frictionless-one-click-e-commerce. We are so lucky to be in a community with so many people willing to make a conscious choice to support small local businesses. 

"Thank you so much for each and every book you've bought from us, for every event you've attended, and every kind word of support you've shared over the past 5 years! We are proud to be your local indie bookshop today and every day!"

Noting on the store's website that they offer "a tightly curated browsing experience with something to interest readers of all ages," Niesse and Bell wrote: "Hills & Hamlets is a bookshop by book lovers, for book lovers. Whether you're a long time local resident who hasn't been to the shop yet or a visitor enjoying a short stay in our lovely community, we look forward to welcoming you into our lovingly created, quaint little bookshop!"


Personnel Changes at St. Martin's; Sourcebooks

Marissa Sangiacomo has been promoted to associate director, marketing & influencer strategy at the St. Martin's Publishing Group.

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Ashlyn Keil has been promoted to marketing events specialist at Sourcebooks.



Media and Movies

Media Heat: Dave Grohl on the Kelly Clarkson Show

Tomorrow:
Kelly Clarkson Show: Dave Grohl, author of The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music (Dey Street, $29.99, 9780063076099).


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, October 23
10:15 a.m. Giles Milton, author of Checkmate in Berlin: The Cold War Showdown That Shaped the Modern World (Holt, $29.99, 9781250247568). (Re-airs Saturday at 10:15 p.m.)

2 p.m. H.W. Brands, author of The Zealot and the Emancipator: John Brown, Abraham Lincoln, and the Struggle for American Freedom (Doubleday, $30, 9780385544009). (Re-airs Sunday at 2 a.m.)

Sunday, October 24
8 a.m. Nikki Usher, author of News for the Rich, White, and Blue: How Place and Power Distort American Journalism (Columbia University Press, $30, 9780231184670). (Re-airs Sunday at 8 p.m.)

9 a.m. Elbridge Colby, author of The Strategy of Denial: American Defense in an Age of Great Power Conflict (‎Yale University Press, $32.50, 9780300256437). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m.)

10 a.m. Adam Schiff, author of Midnight in Washington: How We Almost Lost Our Democracy and Still Could (Random House, $30, 9780593231524). (Re-airs Sunday at 10 p.m.)

2 p.m. to 6:50 p.m. A virtual Southern Festival of Books. Highlights include:

  • 2 p.m. An author discussion on the judicial system and race with Joshua Rothman, Orville Burton and Armand Derfner.
  • 2:46 p.m. An author discussion on pop culture, race and identity with Brian Broome, Anjali Enjeti and Nichole Perkins.
  • 3:34 p.m. Kristin Du Mez, author of Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation (Liveright, $18.95, 9781631499050).
  • 4:18 p.m. Miguel De La Torre, author of Gonna Trouble the Water: Ecojustice, Water, and Environmental Racism (Pilgrim Press, $24.95, 9780829821697).
  • 5:06 p.m. An author discussion on refugees with Mondiat Dogon and Shugri Said Salh.
  • 5:59 p.m. Bill Haslam, author of Faithful Presence: The Promise and the Peril of Faith in the Public Square (Thomas Nelson, $26.99, 9781400224425).

7:05 p.m. Farah Jasmine Griffin, author of Read Until You Understand: The Profound Wisdom of Black Life and Literature (Norton, $26.95, 9780393651904).


Books & Authors

Awards: Governor General's Literary Finalists

The Canada Council for the Arts has announced finalists in 14 English- and French-language categories for this year's Governor General's Literary Awards. Category winners, who will be named November 17, receive C$25,000 (about US$19,865). The publisher of each winning book receives C$3,000 (about US$2,385) to support promotional activities, and finalists each receive C$1,000 (about US$795). A complete list of finalists is available here.

This is the second prize announcement this year. Due to the pandemic, the 2020 winners had to be named this past June. The Canada Council expects to return to its regular schedule in 2022.


Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, October 26:

Going There by Katie Couric (Little, Brown, $30, 9780316535861) is the memoir of the longtime broadcast personality.

The Lives of Brian by Brian Johnson (Dey Street, $14.99, 9780063046467) is the memoir of a member of AC/DC.

Cravings: All Together: Recipes to Love by Chrissy Teigen and Adeena Sussman (Clarkson Potter, $29.99, 9780593135426) is a cookbook of comfort food.

The Nameless Ones by John Connolly (Atria/Emily Bestler, $28, 9781982176976) is book 19 in the Charlie Parker thriller series.

Gladys the Magic Chicken by Adam Rubin, illus. by Adam Rex (Putnam, $18.99, 9780593325605) features a chicken in "Ancient Times" who may--or may not--be magic.

Room for Everyone by Naaz Khan, illus. by Mercè López (Atheneum, $17.99, 9781534431393) is a rhyming picture book set in Zanzibar.

Paperback:
Donut Fall in Love by Jackie Lau (‎Berkley, $16, 9780593334300).


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
We Are Not Like Them: A Novel by Christine Pride and Jo Piazza (Atria, $27, 9781982181031). "Lifelong friends, one Black and one white, have their relationship tested after the tragic shooting of an unarmed Black teen. A thought-provoking and timely read." --Mary Kay Burnett, Buttonwood Books and Toys, Cohasset, Mass.

Fight Night: A Novel by Miriam Toews (Bloomsbury, $24, 9781635578171). "Told from the perspective of a little girl named Swiv, who lives with her pregnant mother and eccentric grandmother, Fight Night is filled with laugh-out-loud, subtle, and smart observations of family dynamics and the human condition." --Mia Wigmore, DIESEL, A Bookstore, Brentwood, Calif.

Paperback
As You Were: A Novel by Elaine Feeney (Biblioasis, $16.95, 9781771964432). "I challenge you to not get emotionally invested in the rich, raw, and devastating lives of the characters in this debut novel. I will be thinking about the patients in this hospital ward for a long time to come." --Kelly Shrader, Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, Wash.

For Ages 4 to 8
The People Remember by Ibi Zoboi, illus. by Loveis Wise (Balzer + Bray, $19.99, 9780062915641). "Spanning centuries of African American experience and weaving into the story the principles of Kwanzaa, this is a stunning picture book that should become a classic." --Sandy Scott, The Galaxy Bookshop, Hardwick, Vt.

For Ages 8 to 12
A Soft Place to Land by Janae Marks (Katherine Tegen, $16.99, 9780062875877). "Janae Marks offers readers hope in this appealing novel of friendship and second chances. Exploring powerful themes, such as responsibility, loyalty, and forgiveness, A Soft Place to Land is a joy!" --Christopher Rose, Andover Bookstore, Andover, Mass.

For Teen Readers
How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, $19.99, 9781534448667). "Moon Fuentez' story and voice are pure magic. This has the perfect balance of comedy, romance, and serious issues within a relatable exploration of complicated families, social media, and body positivity." --Cori Cusker, Bright Side Bookshop, Flagstaff, Ariz.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]


Book Review

Review: The Defiant Middle: How Women Reclaim Life's In-Betweens to Remake the World

The Defiant Middle: How Women Claim Life's In-Betweens to Remake the World by Kaya Oakes (Broadleaf Books, $26.99 hardcover, 200p., 9781506467689, November 30, 2021)

Women, notes journalist Kaya Oakes, often find themselves caught between opposing expectations: what their families and societies want for them, their own dreams and ambitions, and the limits (and surprises) of their experiences. In The Defiant Middle, her thought-provoking fifth book, Oakes examines the lives of women throughout history, with a focus on the medieval era, who "defied expectations and reinvented themselves, along with their world."

Oakes (The Nones Are Alright) organizes her work into several provocative categories of identity, including "Barren," "Angry," "Crazy," "Butch/Femme/Other" and "Alone." Her subjects are sometimes officially saints: women who are now venerated by the Catholic Church and other religious groups. But all of them are gloriously messy humans who, during their lifetimes, elicited powerful reactions in the (mostly male) people who had control over their lives. She touches on women from the Bible, most notably Mary Magdalene, discussing how women's significance in the text is often limited to their fertility and their purported sexual histories. Oakes also explores the stories of women who express different gender identities or dressed like men for particular purposes, spanning eras and continents, including Joan of Arc and Pauli Murray.

Oakes shares anecdotes and frustrations from her own life (acknowledging her privileged status), and blends them with scholarly research and incisive analysis of what her subjects' stories might mean for women today. After a meditation on Julian of Norwich, she writes about "how to tell the difference between loneliness and its longing for others, and longing for solitude's pitched and heightened awareness." And in a chapter that reimagines "barrenness" as a potentially fertile field of selfhood, she writes, "This is the unexpected second bloom, the surprise spring of water, the stranger appearing, walking on the heat-shimmering road. The woman, emerging, on her own."

While Oakes admits that it probably won't get easier to be a woman even with gradual progress toward gender parity in many areas, she does offer a mix of inspiring role models, food for thought and wry encouragement. Most of all, she urges her readers to see every aspect of their identities--especially the ones labeled deviant, inadequate or "too much" by society--as opportunities for discovery. Both an unusual feminist text and a tribute to trailblazing women, The Defiant Middle offers a lens and a roadmap for women seeking to grow beyond constricting and conflicting expectations. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

Shelf Talker: Journalist Kaya Oakes offers stories of trailblazing women and thought-provoking insights on how to defy society's expectations.


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