Also published on this date: Wednesday, January 5, 2022: Maximum Shelf: Four Treasures of the Sky

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, January 5, 2022

William Morrow & Company: Death of the Author by Nnedi Okorafor

St. Martin's Press: Disney High: The Untold Story of the Rise and Fall of Disney Channel's Tween Empire

Running Press Adult: Scam Goddess: Lessons from a Life of Cons, Grifts, and Schemes by Laci Mosley

Graphix: 39 Clues: One False Note (39 Clues Graphic Novel #2) by Gordon Korman, Illustrated by Hannah Templer

Running Press: Enter For a Chance to Win a Moonlit Explorer Pack!

Quill Tree Books: The Firelight Apprentice by Bree Paulsen


New Owner at Pearl Street Books, La Crosse, Wis.

Bookseller Beth Hartung has taken over Pearl Street Books in La Crosse, Wis., from store founder Jim Auler, the La Crosse Tribune reported. Hartung, who has worked at the store since 2017, purchased the bookstore in September.

Originally founded as Wees-Kon-San bookstore in 1998, the store sells predominantly used books with a small collection of new, collectible and antique books. Nonbook offerings include jewelry, postcards and art, which is sold on consignment. In 2000, Auler moved the store to its current home in a historic building on Pearl Street and renamed the bookstore.

Throughout her time at the store, Hartung has helped expand the bookstore's social media presence and organize more live events. She's working on finding ways to host more book signings while keeping customers covid-safe. Before becoming a bookseller, she had a career in education and in the nonprofit field, but has wanted to own a bookstore since she was a child.

Hartung told the Tribune she hopes to stay true to the store's motto, "Rooted in Community," and wants Pearl Street Books to be a place "where the community can gather, where we're helping to inform the community."

She added: "This is a happy place because you're finding books for people. It's a good business environmentally, because we're trying to keep books out of the landfill and re-using them. And we're helping to expand people's worlds through books."

Zest Books: The Gender Binary Is a Big Lie: Infinite Identities around the World by Lee Wind

Catapult Editor Pat Strachan Retiring in March

Pat Strachan

Pat Strachan, a founding editor of Catapult, is retiring in March. As v-p and executive editor at Catapult since it began in 2014, Strachan's writers have included Jane Alison, Michelle de Kretser, Danielle Dutton, James Kelman, Zachary Lazar, Simeon Marsalis, Peter Orner and Padgett Powell. She commented: "I will be forever grateful to our publisher, Andy Hunter, for asking me to help establish Catapult, which he has since developed into an award-winning publisher of literary fiction and narrative nonfiction. I will dearly miss working with my colleagues and writers there."

Strachan began her career as an editor at Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 1971, where she acquired and edited books by Lydia Davis, Ian Frazier, Jamaica Kincaid, Padgett Powell and Marilynne Robinson, and acquired Seamus Heaney's poetry for the list. She worked at FSG for 17 years and rose to v-p and associate publisher. She was also fiction editor at the New Yorker for four years, then was a senior editor at Little, Brown for 12 years.

Strachan is also winner the PEN/Roger Klein Award for Editing and Poets & Writers' Editor's Award.

GLOW: Flatiron Books: Private Rites by Julia Armfield

International Update: Tsutaya Opening First Malaysian Bookstore, Bookish Order of Canada Recipients

Tsutaya in Tokyo (via)

Tsutaya Books, Japan's largest bookstore chain, will open its first store in Malaysia this spring. Business Today reported that "GOB Oriental Berhad is tying up with Sojitz Corporation and Culture Convenience Club" to launch the store in April on Pavillion Bukit Jalil in Kuala Lumpur. The 31,000-square-foot space will house a bookstore, café, specialized merchandise and activity areas.

Tsutaya distributes books, music, DVDs and games. The company operates about 1,200 stores in Japan and nine in Taiwan and China.

"We look forward to launching our first South-East Asia bookstore at Pavilion Bukit Jalil and we cannot wait for Malaysians to experience the Tsutaya brand for the first time," said Tsutaya Books Malaysia head Hideyuki Uemoto. "In line with our vision to cultivate culture and lifestyle, we hope to create a space for families and children who love books, design, and art to grow, explore and thrive together at Tsutaya Books."


Yann Martel

Canadian author Yann Martel, playwright Tomson Highway and writer/speaker Max Eisen were among the 2021 appointees to the Order of Canada by Governor General Mary Simon, CBC News reported. One of the country's highest civilian honors, the award recognizes people who make "extraordinary contributions to the nation."

Martel was named a companion, the highest of the honor's three levels, for "his contributions to literature and for his philanthropic commitment to the betterment of his region." 

Highway received a promotion within the Order, from member to officer, for "his sustained and distinguished contributions to theatre and Canadian culture as one of our foremost playwrights and novelists."

Eisen was appointed a member of the Order of Canada "for his contributions to Holocaust education, and for his promotion of transformational dialogue on human rights, tolerance and respect."

Murray Sinclair, former senator and chief commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and author of the forthcoming memoir Who We Are, was named as an Order of Canada companion. Also honored as officers to the Order of Canada were writers Neil Devindra Bissoondath and J. Roger Léveillé. 


"Nearly 40 years ago, books saved this village" was the headline for a Washington Post article about Redu, Belgium, a community that had been shrinking fast as farm jobs disappeared and families moved away. "But in the mid-1980s, a band of booksellers moved into the empty barns and transformed the place into a literary lodestone. The village of about 400 became home to more than two dozen bookstores--more shops than cows, its boosters liked to say--and thousands of tourists thronged its charming streets.

"Now, though, more than half the bookstores have closed. Some of the storekeepers died, others left when they could no longer make a living. Many who remain are in their 70s and aren't sure what will happen after they're gone. It's not just the businesses at risk. It's Redu's identity."

With only a dozen or so bookshops remaining in this "village du livre," the less optimistic "say that their trade has fallen out of fashion, and that people, especially young people, are reading fewer books," the Post wrote. Bob Gossens, owner of Bouquinerie Générale, said, "We are like Asterix: The last village fighting everyone. The Internet is breaking everything." 

Anne Laffut, the mayor of Libin, the municipality in which Redu is located, offered a counter-narrative: "Life is changing, but nothing is dying. Everything is evolving.... There is a change of mentalities. The elders think the village is changing because there are fewer bookstores and it is a disappointment. But there is a new generation which is very active in Redu. Many volunteers are teaming up with the same desire for the village to continue to endure." --Robert Gray

Alex Baker: Exceptional Design And Creative Services For The Publishing Industry

Update: Denver's BookGive Surpasses Crowdfunding Goal for 'Free Bookshop'

BookGive, the Denver, Colo., nonprofit launched in 2019 by BookBar owner Nicole Sullivan, successfully concluded a fundraising campaign to create a "free bookshop" at its location in a former service station on Lowell Blvd. The campaign surpassed its $8,150 goal, raising more than $10,000 for BookGive, which distributes new and gently used books to individuals, schools, senior living facilities, homeless shelters, prisons, schools and nonprofits throughout the metro area. 

"Between Colorado Gives Day and additional gifts, we raised the money to start building Denver's first free book shop!" BookGive reported. "We could not be more proud to realize this dream with you--a community who believes in the power of literacy to strengthen us all.... We've already begun the process to obtain our certificate of occupancy, the stamp of approval from the city allowing us to open our doors to the public. Now, we're getting bids from contractors who will get the build out going, starting with the concrete work that will provide mobility access for everyone.... We'll continue dreaming together as the final designs are drawn up."

BookGive also announced an initiative to help people who lost their homes in last week's tragic wildfires north of Denver: "There aren't any magic words to make the loss of a home any easier. The best we can do is help folks cope in the aftermath. As rebuilding efforts take place and the long-awaited moment of moving back in arrives, BookGive is committed to helping every household rebuild their home libraries. To get involved or host a book drive, e-mail"

Publishers Lunch and ABA to Host Buzz Books Editors Panel

On Wednesday, January 26, at 7 p.m. Eastern, Publishers Lunch and the American Booksellers Association will stage a virtual Buzz Books Editors Panel, hosted by Emma Straub, author and owner of Books Are Magic, Brooklyn, N.Y. 

Six "breakout authors" will discuss new titles with their editors. The books include Blood Orange Night by Melissa Bond (Gallery), A Tiny Upward Shove by Melissa Chadburn (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), Brother Alive by Zain Khalid (Grove Press), With Prejudice by Robin Peguero (Grand Central), Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez (Berkley) and Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt (Ecco). 

Obituary Note: Michelle Faulkner

Michelle Faulkner

Michelle Faulkner, who worked for decades at Barnes & Noble and then Quarto, died December 29. She was 55.

In the early 1980s, Faulkner began working in the downtown Barnes & Noble on Washington Street in Boston, known in the company as "Big Boston." While still in her teens, she worked as a salesclerk on the first floor, where her responsibilities included paperback fiction, magazines and the tables of remainders, "hurts" and white sale books. Faulkner continued to take on increasing responsibilities, and then, in 1992, she moved from Boston to New York to take a position in the Barnes & Noble buying office, where she bought various categories and subjects over the years. In 1999, she moved from buying trade books to buying remainder, bargain and white sale books. She then began working on co-editions and custom publishing.

In 2002, Faulkner joined Quarto as the editorial director of its book sales group. She most often worked with diet, health, and mind/ body/spirit titles but handled books on all subjects.

Friends and colleagues remember that Faulkner "worked hard at all things. This included making sure fun was had and everyone was welcome. She always went out of her way to welcome any new staff. Thanks to Michelle, classic events like Bowling Night, the annual Bowling awards lunch, Thanksgiving Pot Luck and a June Gay Pride feast occurred. After a trip to Ireland, she learned Gaelic. She played the accordion. She also never saw a can of Aqua Net that she did not know exactly how to use it all. She truly was beloved by so many, an enormous sense of fun."


Viral TikTok: 'Take Us to the Book You Wanted to Throw Across the Room When You Finished'

"Who can understand the mysterious ways of TikTok? Certainly not us!" Alana Haley, marketing coordinator at Schuler Books in Grand Rapids & Lansing, Mich., told Shelf Awareness recently. "To our delight our pre-holiday post went viral and now sits at 3 million + views. It also gained us 50K+ new followers and pushed us over 1.2M likes. The best part? We're shipping the titles we recommend on TikTok all over the country."

The booksellers' challenge in the video: "Take us to the book you wanted to throw across the room when you finished."

Bookshop Mural: Old Town Books 

"Alexandria [Va.] is a winter wonderland," Old Town Books posted yesterday. "I love seeing our mural through the seasons, this is her first snow! Posting some other mural pics in our stories, including one of @lucky_signs painting it. It's so cool our city supports public art. I was worried it would be so hard to get permission to paint the mural, but it was a streamlined process of art approval and project kick off."

Personnel Changes at Penguin Random House

At Berkley:

Imani Gary has been promoted to manager, digital marketing.

Daniela Riedlova has been promoted to marketing coordinator.


Ray Arjune has been named publicity manager at the Harmony Books & Rodale Books publicity team. Arjune formerly worked at Bloomsbury Publishing USA.


In the Putnam publicity and marketing departments:

Ashley Hewlett is promoted to assistant director of publicity.

Brennin Cummings is promoted to senior marketing manager.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Christopher Mims on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Christopher Mims, author of Arriving Today: From Factory to Front Door--Why Everything Has Changed About How and What We Buy (Harper Business, $29.99, 9780062987952).

Tamron Hall repeat: Huma Abedin, author of Both/And: A Life in Many Worlds (Scribner, $30, 9781501194801).

Wendy Williams Show repeat: Kel Mitchell, author of Blessed Mode: 90 Days to Level Up Your Faith (Thomas Nelson, $22.99, 9781400229185).

The View: Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, authors of Peril (Simon & Schuster, $30, 9781982182915).

TV: The School for Good Mothers

Jessica Chastain (Ava, Scenes from a Marriage) has optioned the TV rights to Jessamine Chan’s debut novel, The School for Good Mothers, through her production company Freckle Films, beating "a number of rivals to the rights," Deadline reported. 

Freckle Films will team up with Finding Ohana director Jude Weng and Endeavor Content to adapt the project. Weng will direct, and is an executive producer on the scripted series with Chan, Chastain and her Freckle Films partner Kelly Carmichael.

Books & Authors

Awards: Costa Book Category, Aussie Prime Minister's Literary Winners 

Winners have been named in the five Costa Book Awards categories, celebrating "the most enjoyable books of the year by writers resident in the U.K. and Ireland." Each author receives £5,000 (about $6,670) and is eligible for the £30,000 (about $40,025) Costa Book of the Year prize, which will be announced February 1. This year's Costa category winners are:

Novel: Unsettled Ground by Claire Fuller 
First novel: Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson
Biography: The Fall by John Preston
Poetry: The Kids by Hannah Lowe
Children's: The Crossing by Manjeet Mann 


Winners were announced for the 2021 Prime Minister's Literary Awards, which recognize the best of Australian literature, history and poetry. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said: "In these testing times literature carries even more importance, connecting us to a range of Australian voices and bringing us closer together. I congratulate this year's winners and thank them for their contribution. They have continued a tradition of excellence and creativity in our writing that is recognized by lovers of books everywhere." The awards are presented in six categories, with a total prize pool of A$600,000 (about US$435,000). This year's winning titles are: 

Fiction: The Labyrinth by Amanda Lohrey
Nonfiction: The Stranger Artist: Life at the Edge of Kimberley Painting by Quentin Sprague
Australian history: People of the River: Lost Worlds of Early Australia by Grace Karskens
Poetry: The Strangest Place, New and Selected Poems by Stephen Edgar
Children's literature: Fly on the Wall by Remy Lai; and How to Make a Bird by Meg McKinlay, illustrated by Matt Ottley
YA literature: Metal Fish, Falling Snow by Cath Moore

Reading with... Thrity Umrigar

photo: Eust Kavouras

Thrity Umrigar is the author of nine novels, including The Secrets Between Us, The Story Hour and Everybody's Son. She is also the author of a memoir and three picture books, including the award-winning Sugar in Milk. A recipient of the Nieman Fellowship to Harvard, Umrigar is a Distinguished University Professor of English at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. Her most recent book, Honor (Algonquin, Jan. 4, 2022), tells the story of two Indian women and the courage they inspire in each other.

On your nightstand now:

Richard Powers's The Overstory. A fascinating and lyrical novel that opens your eyes to the world around you and leaves you humbled and changed. It is a feat of storytelling and humanity.

Jean Hanff Korelitz's The Plot. The trials and tribulations of a midlist novelist made me laugh out loud and nod in rueful recognition many a time. Although I don't read too many mysteries, I really loved this book.

Perestroika in Paris. It's a story about a runaway horse in Paris, who is befriended by a dog and a raven. And it's written by the great Jane Smiley. In other words, it's a glorious romp.

Favorite book when you were a child:

All of Enid Blyton's adventure series--The Secret Seven, The Famous Five etc.

Your top five authors:

This is a tough one. Only five? Well, okay, here's a list--although I might have a different answer an hour from now.

Virginia Woolf
Toni Morrison
Don DeLillo  
Salman Rushdie
Viet Thanh Nguyen

Book you've faked reading:

James Joyce's Finnegans Wake.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Carol Anderson's White Rage. It so convincingly postulates that American history can be understood as a series of racial advancements, followed immediately by racial backlash. It helped me understand and contextualize the historic period we're living through.

Luis Alberto Urrea's masterpiece, The Devil's Highway, the tragic true story about a group of immigrants illegally trying to cross the U.S. border. It is a profound, heartbreaking and important work.

Rebecca Makkai's The Great Believers, a novel about the early days of the AIDS crisis and how it affected a whole generation of gay men. The novel is never weighed down by its heavy subject matter because Makkai's pacing is deft and the storytelling, flawless.

Book you've bought for the cover:

I don't think I ever have. I was taught early on not to judge a book by its cover.

Book that changed your life:

John Steinbeck's East of Eden. I read it in one day when I was maybe 16 and it helped me define myself as a serious reader. From there, it was a short step to identifying as a writer.

Then, when I was 21, a friend gave me a copy of Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children a week before I was leaving India to study in the U.S. Rushdie's book transformed the city of my birth and made it seem magical. I now saw it with new eyes and realized that every nook and cranny was filled with stories.

Favorite line from a book:

"But when that dawn will come, of our emancipation, from the fear of bondage and the bondage of fear, why, that is a secret." --Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton

Five books you'll never part with:

Virginia Woolf's The Waves
Toni Morrison's Beloved
Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children
Jennifer Egan's A Visit From the Goon Squad
Maxim Gorky's Mother

Book you most want to read again for the first time:

Don DeLillo's White Noise.

Book Review

Children's Review: Powwow Day

Powwow Day by Traci Sorell, illus. by Madelyn Goodnight (Charlesbridge, $16.99 hardcover, 32p., ages 4-8, 9781580899482, February 8, 2022)

In the lyrical Powwow Day, readers are welcomed into an uplifting "celebration of dance, song, culture, and community."

River wakes on powwow day full of excitement--until she remembers that, because she's been ill, there will be no dancing and no jingle dress competition for her today. Still, she hopes at least to join in for Grand Entry at the start of the ceremony. She waits with the other girls as warriors enter the arena carrying flags, followed by elders heading up the long line of dancers. But her own feet are still. River watches "through wet eyes" as the dancers move "around the circle, all connected to the drum, Mother Earth, and one another." It seems that River is the only one who "can't feel the drum's heartbeat." An elder prays to the Creator that their "culture and language will stay strong, and that healing will come to those who need it"--like River.

She tries to dance again but isn't able to take part in the intertribal dance, either. The competitions begin and "fancy dancers twirl and ribbons whirl./ Graceful grass dancers sway and weave." Finally, River feels the drum beat inside her. She watches as her sister, cousin and friends step and turn with feathery fans and clinking cones. She sits tall as they "dance for the Creator, the ancestors, their families, and everyone's health... including mine." River, who can "feel the drum fully now," stands and opens her heart--she knows she will dance again at the next powwow.

Traci Sorrell (At the Mountain's Base; We Are Still Here), member of the Cherokee Nation, enhances her graceful text with back matter about powwows. Through River, the author neatly conveys the magic and allure of the dances themselves, along with the all-important sense of community and healing fostered by the celebratory event. Madelyn Goodnight (illustrator of Look Grandma! Ni, Elisi!), member of the Chickasaw Nation, uses dynamic layouts and a variety of viewpoints in her colorful digital illustrations to portray the vibrancy of the powwow. Expressive characters in their detailed dancing dresses are full of life and movement. Readers will likely find it easy to empathize with River's sorrow as well as her hope for strength, for healing and to dance again. --Lynn Becker, reviewer, blogger and children's book author

Shelf Talker: Though River won't be dancing in the powwow, she recognizes the healing power of her community in this lyrical and uplifting story.

The Bestsellers Bestsellers in December

The bestselling audiobooks at independent bookstores during December:

1. The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles (Penguin Random House Audio)
2. Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr (Simon & Schuster Audio)
3. The Sentence by Louise Erdrich (HarperAudio)
4. Firekeeper's Daughter by Angeline Boulley (Macmillan Audio)
5. Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune (Macmillan Audio)
6. Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead (Penguin Random House Audio)
7. The Holiday Swap by Maggie Knox (Penguin Random House Audio)
8. The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune (Macmillan Audio)
9. Dune by Frank Herbert (Macmillan Audio)
10. Matrix by Lauren Groff (Penguin Random House Audio)

1. Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner (Penguin Random House Audio)
2. Taste by Stanley Tucci (Simon & Schuster Audio)
3. The 1619 Project by Caitlin Roper, Ilena Silverman and Jake Silverstein (Penguin Random House Audio)
4. The Dawn of Everything by David Graeber and David Wengrow (Macmillan Audio)
5. Cultish by Amanda Montell (HarperAudio)
6. Will by Will Smith (Penguin Random House Audio)
7. The Storyteller by Dave Grohl (HarperAudio)
8. The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green (Penguin Random House Audio)
9. All About Me! by Mel Brooks (Penguin Random House Audio)
10. These Precious Days by Ann Patchett (HarperAudio)

Powered by: Xtenit