Also published on this date: Tuesday, May 24, 2022: Maximum Shelf: Good Husbands

Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, May 24, 2022


Workman Publishing: Ejaculate Responsibly: A Whole New Way to Think about Abortion by Gabrielle Stanley Blair

Simon & Schuster: Defend Banned Books

Simon & Schuster: Defend Banned Books

Blackstone Publishing: River Woman, River Demon by Jennifer Givhan

Sourcebooks Explore: Black Boy, Black Boy by Ali Kamanda and Jorge Redmond, illustrated by Ken Daley

News

Beacon Hill Books, Boston, Mass., Aiming for August Opening

The future home of Beacon Hill Books

Beacon Hill Books, a bookstore and cafe that has been in the works since late 2019, is on track to open in Boston, Mass., in August, Boston magazine reported.

Located in Boston's Beacon Hill neighborhood, the store will occupy a four-story, 3,000-square-foot building at 71 Charles St. Store owner Melissa Fetter and her team will carry general-interest books for all ages. The building's second and third floors will house adult fiction and nonfiction, along with books about art, architecture and design, and travel literature. The fourth floor will be focused on young readers, covering everything from board books to YA novels. The children's section will feature a children's-sized door and a model train that will "snake in and out of the rooms on the same floor."

The cafe, along with a selection of cookbooks, will reside on the first floor and will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner in addition to snacks. Chef Colleen Suhanosky, who owns Rifrullo Cafe in Brookline, Mass., will run the restaurant. The cafe will also feature space for community events, and the building has a courtyard garden and a salon on the third floor.

The building is "one of the few remaining original Greek Revival buildings on Beacon Hill," and has undergone extensive renovations. Previously it housed a restaurant on the first floor with apartments above.


G.P. Putnam's Sons: All I Want for Christmas by Maggie Knox


'Unburnable' Edition of The Handmaid's Tale to Be Auctioned for Anti-Censorship Fundraiser

To raise awareness about the proliferating book banning and educational gag orders in some U.S. schools, Margaret Atwood and Penguin Random House have partnered to create The Unburnable Book, a fireproof edition of Atwood's prescient--and often banned--novel The Handmaid's Tale, featuring imagery by designer Noma Bar. In the launch video, Atwood can be seen "testing" a prototype with a flamethrower.

The one-of-a-kind edition was created using fireproof materials and will be presented at auction by Sotheby's New York, with proceeds going to PEN America to support the organization's work to counter censorship. The opening date for the Sotheby's exhibition is June 3, and it will close with the auction on June 7.

This single-copy special edition of The Handmaid's Tale was produced by creative agency Rethink and fabricated in Toronto by the graphic arts specialty and bookbinding atelier the Gas Company Inc. The Unburnable Book was manufactured by print-and-bindery master craftsman Jeremy Martin. Fireproof materials and processes were researched and tested by Doug Laxdal. 

PRH CEO Markus Dohle said: "We are at an urgent moment in our history, with ideas and truth--the foundations of our democracy--under attack. Few writers have been as instrumental in the fight for free expression as Margaret Atwood. To see her classic novel about the dangers of oppression reborn in this innovative, unburnable edition is a timely reminder of what's at stake in the battle against censorship, and Penguin Random House is incredibly proud to support Sotheby's auction of this one-of-a-kind book to help fund PEN's crucial work against these forces."

Atwood commented: "I never thought I'd be trying to burn one of my own books... and failing. The Handmaid's Tale has been banned many times--sometimes by whole countries, such as Portugal and Spain in the days of Salazar and the Francoists, sometimes by school boards, sometimes by libraries. Let's hope we don't reach the stage of wholesale book burnings, as in Fahrenheit 451. But if we do, let's hope some books will prove unburnable--that they will travel underground, as prohibited books did in the Soviet Union."

PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel added: "In the face of a determined effort to censor and silence, this unburnable book is an emblem of our collective resolve to protect books, stories and ideas from those who fear and revile them. We are thankful to be able to deploy the proceeds of this auction to fortify this unprecedented fight for books."


Disney-Hyperion: Drizzle, Dreams, and Lovestruck Things by Maya Prasad


Virginia Book Ban Targets B&N

The ongoing wave of book banning has entered new territory with two Virginia Republicans seeking a restraining order against Barnes & Noble over the graphic novel Gender Queer (Oni Press) by Maia Kobabe and the novel A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas (Bloomsbury).

Salon reported that the restraining order would prevent B&N from selling those books to minors without parental consent. Virginia state delegate Timothy Anderson filed the suit on behalf of his client Tommy Altman, a state congressional candidate. They claim that both Gender Queer and A Court of Mist and Fury contain sex acts unsuitable for children, and have also pushed to have the books removed from Virginia Beach City Public School libraries.

For months, conservatives around the country have been targeting books by and about people of color and books by LGBTQ+ authors or about LGBTQ+ experiences for banning. While those previous efforts focused on school libraries, private booksellers may now be in their sights. Anderson wrote in a Facebook post: "We are in a major fight. Suits like this can be filed all over Virginia. There are dozens of books. Hundreds of schools."


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McSweeney's Launches Believer Crowdfunding Campaign

McSweeney's is running a Kickstarter campaign to help restart publication of the magazine the Believer.

Founded by McSweeney's in 2003, the Believer was sold to the University of Las Vegas, Nevada, in 2017 during a financially challenging time. McSweeney's reacquired the magazine, including its archive and assets, earlier this spring thanks to the gifts of three individual donors, and is now looking to raise $275,000 to relaunch publication of the award-winning magazine.

Funds will go toward building staff and operations and covering the first four issues of the relaunch, which is set to begin with a homecoming issue in late November 2022. From there, McSweeney's plans to publish four issues per year. So far the campaign has raised more than $93,000.


Obituary Note: Harris Smithson

Harris Smithson, "one of San Antonio's most prolific bookstore owners, a legacy that started in 1972 with the first L&M textbook store behind San Antonio College and that continues today with the Twig Book Shop at the Pearl," died May 15, the Express-News reported. He was 76. His daughter Shannon Oelrich and son Blake Smithson "recalled growing up surrounded and inspired by their dad's passion for books, from crawling into the L&M shelves as preschoolers to take a nap to running the registers as teenagers to lend a hand. Later, Blake delivered books while Oelrich managed one of her dad's stores."

"I think he felt like he was just keeping the torch burning that places like Rosengren's had started," Oelrich said, referring to one of San Antonio's first independent bookstores, which opened in the 1930s. "I think he wanted to keep that fire burning (also with) community events. He wanted it to be a place for people to gather. Because he loved to gather with people."

Blake Smithson added: "I feel like one the gifts we got from him was just getting to grow up around books all the time. That's what I loved about it, the access to information before the Internet."

Smithson initially pursued a medical degree at the University of Alabama, but a stint working part-time in the university bookstore inspired him to turn in another direction, earning a business degree at West Kentucky University, where Smithson's two half-brothers opened an off-campus textbook store. When they expanded to San Antonio in the early 1970s, Smithson moved to manage the fledgling store and purchased it in 1972.

He soon opened the first Twig store, which grew to three locations in the 1980s. In addition to L&M and the Twig, Smithson also opened the former Red Balloon children's bookstore in the Colonnade and Booksmith's on Alamo Plaza. In 1999, Smithson sold the Twig to businessman John Douglas, who moved the store to the Pearl in 2009. Douglas died in 2014, leaving the Twig to his wife, Frannie.

"You were able to observe his philosophy daily," said Stephanie Richardson, who worked at several of Smithson's bookstores during the 1980s. "And if you were smart, you gleaned from that the cohesiveness, the longevity, the family atmosphere. Those things don't just happen. It takes a special person to consistently create that environment. Not only over and over again, but across the decades."


Notes

Image of the Day: Booktowne's 'Actually Live' Authors

BookTowne in Manasquan, N.J., reported that for its Friends & Fiction series, authors (front row, l.-r.) Kristy Woodson Harvey, Kristen Harmel, Patti Callahan Henry and Mary Kay Andrews "were LIVE... ACTUALLY LIVE... yes, all 4, at an event hosted by BookTowne at the Manasquan High School Jack Nicholson Theatre! All the women went straight to detention after leaving the stage!"


Book Display: Harry's House at Wild Rumpus

In honor of Harry Styles's new album, Wild Rumpus, Minneapolis, Minn., created a Harry's House display of books that "share titles, themes or vibes with the songs."


Personnel Changes at Sourcebooks

At Sourcebooks:

Christina Noriega has joined the company as director of gift sales. She most recently worked at Baker & Taylor Publishing Services as director of gift & special sales.

Raquel Latko has joined the company as national account manager, adult mass market. She previously was senior general merchandise manager at ReaderLink Distribution Services and most recently ran her own digital content & marketing consulting business.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: James Stavridis on Colbert's Late Show

Tomorrow:
CBS Mornings: Kellyanne Conway, author of Here's the Deal: A Memoir (Threshold Editions, $30, 9781982187347).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert: James Stavridis, author of To Risk It All: Nine Conflicts and the Crucible of Decision (Penguin Press, $28, 9780593297742).


TV: Endeavour

Endeavour, the long-running ITV/PBS Masterpiece Inspector Morse prequel series, is ending after nine seasons. Deadline reported that the series, a spinoff of the original adaptation of Colin Dexter's novels, began as a single film in 2012 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Morse and has run for 33 episodes across nine seasons. Shaun Evans plays young Endeavour Morse and Roger Allam is DCI Fred Thursday, Morse's mentor. Season 8 airs in the U.S. on PBS Masterpiece between June 19 and July 3 and will be followed by three more episodes for Season 9.

Damien Timmer, who runs Mammoth Screen and exec produces the series, said, "Endeavour has been a real labor of love for all of us, and we salute Russell Lewis for his extraordinary achievement in chronicling Endeavour Morse's coming of age across 72 hours of TV. Russell always knew where he wanted the series to end, and that Remorseful Day is nearly upon us. We'd like to thank Shaun and Roger and all the other members of the Endeavour family on and off screen, and the show's fans both in the U.K. and abroad. Russell has many surprises up his sleeve for the final three films, with the return of some familiar faces and new challenges for Endeavour and Thursday to face before the final goodbye."

Masterpiece executive producer Susanne Simpson added, "Endeavour has been one of our most beloved Masterpiece series. Though we hate to see it end, we have been so proud to present this wonderful series to our viewers."



Books & Authors

Awards: Miles Franklin Longlist; Klaus Flugge Shortlist

The longlist for the A$60,000 (about US$42,400) 2022 Miles Franklin Award, honoring "novels of the highest literary merit that tell stories about Australian life," has been released and can be seen here. The shortlist will be announced on June 23, the winner on July 20.

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The shortlist was released for the £5,000 (about $6,225) Klaus Flugge Prize, which recognizes "the most promising and exciting newcomer to children's picture book illustration." The winner will be named September 14. This year's shortlisted illustrators are:

Adam Beer for Mammoth by Anna Kemp
Flora Delargy for Rescuing Titanic, written & illustrated by Delargy
Joseph Hollis for Pierre's New Hair, written & illustrated by Hollis
Padmacandra for The Tale of the Whale by Karen Swann
Roozeboos for Choices, written & illustrated by Roozeboos
Ricky Trickartt for Alley Cat Rally, written & illustrated by Trickartt


Book Review

Review: Sirens & Muses

Sirens & Muses by Antonia Angress (Ballantine, $28 hardcover, 368p., 9780593496435, July 12, 2022)

Spoiled rich kids at a New England art college; self-professed anti-establishment types who film themselves eating and call it art; a washed-up artist taking temporary teaching positions and gobbling Xanax to get by--it sounds like the stuff of parody. Make no mistake: Sirens & Muses can be wickedly funny. But it's with a straight face that Antonia Angress has written her exceedingly good debut novel, a shrewd and expertly sustained rumination on what it takes to be a self-supporting artist and whether it's even worth it.

Wrynn College of Art may have a multimillion-dollar endowment in the fall of 2011, but even with student loans and financial aid, sophomore Louisa Arceneaux, who hails from Breaux Bridge, La., is barely scraping by. Also burdensome is the guilt she feels about wanting to create something more borderless than what her mother calls her "Cajun art." Neither pangs of conscience nor money troubles beset Louisa's roommate, New Yorker Karina Piontek, which isn't to say that Karina doesn't have problems. She knows that people are still talking about what happened to her the previous semester and, as the fall semester begins, she learns that her art-collector parents are divorcing.

Karina's sort-of boyfriend, Wrynn senior Preston Utley, is idealistic--"He believed the gallery/museum industrial complex was corrupt and outdated"--but clueless about what to do after graduation. In the meantime, he keeps posting on The Wart, his Photoshopped-image blog, which everyone at Wrynn follows. (A typical post: "Christ the Redeemer standing in a McDonald's PlayPlace ball pit (McMass).") At his Visiting Artist q&a, Robert Berger isn't thrilled when Preston, one of his students, insists that "you guys--the elites, the gatekeepers--are afraid of the Internet." And yet Robert can't deny that there's something familiar about Preston's irreverence; he himself achieved much of his glory-days fame from his painting of a debauched Nancy Reagan.

Sirens & Muses follows each of these four individuals, gradually laying out their damage, finessing the relationships that exist among them, and otherwise rounding out their characters. The novel's plot is gripping--it includes a hoax and a filched Egon Schiele drawing--but equally intriguing are the questions Angress's characters ask themselves: How important is it to resist the art market's capitalist trappings? When does political art become propaganda? How does one know if committing oneself to the creative life is the right choice? Angress, of course, need not wonder. --Nell Beram, author and freelance writer

Shelf Talker: This dazzler of a debut novel tracks four striving and struggling artists--three students and a middle-aged professor--at a renowned New England art college.


Deeper Understanding

The Future of Bookselling: Christina Rosso & Alex Schneider from A Novel Idea in Philadelphia

Just down the road from me in Philadelphia, there's a romantic tale to be told of two bright and lovely people who fell in love, but despaired because their work schedules kept them apart more than it brought them together. Christina Rosso and Alex Schneider solved this problem in a way that makes an incredible amount of sense: they opened a bookshop together on one of the best commercial streets in the city--a thriving store that is small, impressively curated and is already becoming one of the sites of literary taste-making in a city full of excellent bookstores. A Novel Idea is my neighborhood shop, the place I stop into between errands and on weekends, whose displays speak directly to the spirit of discovery and curation at the heart of what I think of when I think of independent bookstores. --Jeff Waxman

How does South Philly shape A Novel Idea? How have you collaborated with other businesses and organizations here?

From the beginning, we wanted the shop to reflect the community around us by stocking the books people wanted. The genres that got us talking and the events that made us cheer. Since our store has existed more during a pandemic than not our collabs have been a bit smaller than our dreams. But during our first year, we had a play performed in the shop that was a reimagining of Alice in Wonderland, live music, and a book brunch--all hosted and performed by community members. We also were able to host an outdoor, socially distant reading for Christina's first book, She Is a Beast, at Le Virtu, one of our favorite restaurants in the neighborhood.

Christina Rosso & Alex Schneider

Alex, your work before this wasn't specifically literary--I remember you mentioning graphic design and Twitch streaming--how did your previous career help inform your work now? How did your passions?

I had the privilege of working across a lot of mediums, from product design and development to print and digital advertising (the list goes on). I worked with a handful of businesses that had everyone wearing multiple hats each day, and owning your own small business is the epitome of that. Multitasking and learning on your feet is the only way you can survive and hopefully thrive.

Christina, what does it mean to you to come to bookselling as an author? What perspectives does it give you as a bookseller?

As an author, I know what it's like to put my work out there and get rejection after rejection. I know what it's like to desperately want people to read and enjoy my books. Getting a book published is not easy! So, as a bookseller, I want to give other authors the chance to have their books spotlighted at A Novel Idea, whether that's through an event or stocking the books at the store.

One of the most striking things about your shop is your commitment to small presses and to genre fiction. It's very purposeful and possibly even political. Tell me about the MANY books you've got that I wouldn't find in a shop dedicated primarily to the Big 5. Tell us about some indie publishers we should know!

Two Dollar Radio is the absolute best! We loved how Night Rooms by Gina Nutt mixed horror films and TV, memoir and the experience of being a woman. The essays were short and presented in an almost disjointed way that worked really well. Madeline Anthes, one of Christina's favorite writers, also reflects what it means to be a woman in such a visceral, truthful way: Madeline makes small moments scream and her prose in Beautiful, Violent Things, published by word west, both haunts and bites.

Vegetarian Alcoholic Press is a really vibrant, fun, experimental press, and last year they published A Love Story by Joanna C. Valente, this haunting and heartfelt poetry collection exploring queerness, identity and the violence often faced by femme-bodied folk. Each story in Christopher Gonzalez's I'm Not Hungry, but I Could Eat oozes with desire, for food, companionship and belonging as Gonzalez explores the lives of bisexual and gay Puerto Rican men navigating the mundane, making life-altering choices, and confronting the perils of dating. We are both so impressed with all the work Santa Fe Writer's Project puts out!

And, even though it's from Scribner, we have to mention Tender Is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica and translated by Sarah Moses. This is one of the most chilling, unsettling books we've ever read and also one of the best. So many reflections and themes on consumption, the control of the government, and humanity's lack of humanity. This book is like a train wreck you just can't stop watching. We love reading books in translation!

The first time we met, you sold this to me! I have since given copies to two friends!

What bookstores served as an inspiration to you at A Novel Idea? What booksellers have aided you on this journey?

The year before we opened A Novel Idea, we visited every bookstore in the Philadelphia area. There are so many great indies in the area (and even more have opened since 2018!), but Big Blue Marble, The Spiral Bookcase and Joseph Fox Bookshop (RIP) were the three that felt the most aligned with what we wanted to do. We also visited some bookstores outside of Pennsylvania that served as wonderful inspiration, like E. Shaver Booksellers in Savannah, Ga, and Northshire Bookstore in Manchester, Vt.

We've received so much support (it's so lovely!) from folks these past three years, but Victoria Mier from The Spiral Bookcase has supported us from the very beginning, with advice and commiseration. We did several happy hour Zoom calls in the past two years to talk through what it was like to be a bookstore owner during a global pandemic. Her friendship has been and continues to be invaluable. We even did a swap with her and worked in each other's stores this winter!

You recently added a couple of staff members; how does having three new booksellers on staff change things? What viewpoints and knowledge are they bringing to the table that excite you?

Having additional team members is really great! We just had our first day off together in six months thanks to them. Being both life partners and small business partners can be really challenging and the personal side of things usually suffers. And as much as we love to read about suffering in books, it's not great for our real lives (cough cough Tender Is the Flesh cough cough).


The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by IndieReader.com:

1. Finding Monica by Susan Stoker
2. Darkly Ever After: An Organized Crime Anthology by Various
3. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki with Sharon L. Lechter
4. Speed of Advance by Marty Groover
5. Midnight Magic by Various
6. The Bodyguard Next Door by Cynthia Eden
7. The Locked Door by Freida McFadden
8. Things We Never Got Over by Lucy Score
9. Shattered Altar by Nicole Fox
10. Ruthless Rival by L.J. Shen

[Many thanks to IndieReader.com!]


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