Shelf Awareness for Thursday, November 3, 2022


Blackstone Publishing: An Honorable Assassin (Nick Mason Novels #3) by Steve Hamilton

Clarion Books: The Man Who Didn't Like Animals by Deborah Underwood, Illlustrated by LeUyen Pham

Holiday House: Bye Forever, I Guess by Jodi Meadows and Team Canteen 1: Rocky Road by Amalie Jahn

Wednesday Books: Dust by Alison Stine

Running Press Kids: The Junior Witch's Handbook, The Junior Astrologer's Handbook, and The Junior Tarot Reader's Handbook by Nikki Van De Car

Scholastic Press: Ruin Road by Lamar Giles

News

Workman's Dan Reynolds Retiring at End of Year

Dan Reynolds

Dan Reynolds, senior v-p and publisher of Workman Publishing, is retiring at the end of the year.

Reynolds has been with Workman essentially since 1995, when he joined Storey Publishing, in time becoming its CEO and playing a key role in the sale of the company to Workman in 2000. In 2014, he was promoted to Workman CEO, working with Carolan Workman after the death of Peter Workman in 2013. After Carolan Workman decided to sell the company, she and Reynolds combined efforts to facilitate the sale last year to Hachette Book Group.

In an announcement, Hachette CEO Michael Pietsch said that Reynolds "has expertly guided Workman through its first year at its new home. I'm deeply grateful to Dan that he stayed with us for this important first year together, and helped everyone at Workman begin evolving from being the biggest independent publisher to being a proud, unique part of HBG and a continued home for inspired, original publishing. I have felt fortunate to get to know Dan, to collaborate with him and learn from him, and to have the benefit of his calm and wisdom as a member of the Executive Management Board. He has prepared Workman extremely well for a brilliant future, including elevating new publishers at several imprints and setting Workman up for long-term success."

Reynolds commented: "I've been blessed to have spent the last 27 years working with the amazing people at Storey, Timber and Workman. We worked hard and had fun, and in the process filled the world with excellent ideas and, yes, books. The team now in place is hard to leave; they inspire me every day. I can't wait to see what they do next, as they stay true to the magic of our past and leverage the strengths that HBG offers."

Pietsch added: "I understand that Dan has not taken a proper vacation in 40 years, so that is on his retirement to-do list, as is spending time with his first grandchild, Miles, born just last month. Dan's retirement will be a profound change for the Workman team, and I'm grateful that he will be here for the next two months to help us all prepare for the transition."


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Rob Arnold New Executive Director of Poets House

Rob Arnold

Rob Arnold has been named executive director of Poets House, effective December 1. He has more than 15 years of management experience in the literary and publishing world and as a consultant to arts and cultural organizations, and was most recently interim executive director of Hugo House in Seattle, Wash. He is also a poet whose work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and supported by organizations such as the Somerville Arts Council, Jack Straw Cultural Center and Artist Trust. His poems have appeared in Ploughshares, Hyphen Magazine, Gettysburg Review, Poetry Northwest, RED INK, Yes Poetry, the Ocean State Review, Peripheries and the Volta.

Poets House board chair Robert Kissane said that Arnold "brings a wealth of leadership and management experience, a vibrant passion for literature and a deep commitment to Poets House's mission and audiences as we embark on our next chapter." The organization also noted that Arnold is Poets House's first Indigenous (Pacific Islander) leader.

Arnold commented: "Poets House offers something precious to the world and to the community of poets--a home for all poets and poetry and a library that makes all the riches of poetry available to everyone. I am thrilled with the opportunity to take on its leadership. I hope to build on the legacy of vision and good work that has made Poets House a beacon to poets across the country."

Cornelius Eady will continue as interim executive director until November 30 and will remain involved with the organization. He will launch and co-host Poets House's new weekly radio show on WBAI, Open House, along with poet, writer and educator Patricia Spears Jones. The program makes its debut this Friday, November 4, at 9 p.m. Eastern.

Eady was made interim executive director after Lee Briccetti, who lead the organization for more than 30 years, retired last fall. Under her leadership, Poets House said, it "evolved into one of the premier literary organizations in the country and one of the great poetry libraries in the world. Briccetti created the Poets House Showcase, established Poetry in the Branches--a national model for poetry in libraries--and led the campaign that established a permanent home for Poets House in Battery Park City."

Board chair Kissane thanked Briccetti for "her inspired and groundbreaking leadership of Poets House. With great compassion, integrity, and vision, Lee opened a warm, welcoming space to a wide-ranging and diverse community of established and emerging poets. The impact of her able stewardship will be felt for generations to come."


Little Professor, Birmingham, Ala., Eyes November Opening for Second Store

The new Little Professor location in Birmingham, Ala., is tentatively slated to open later this month in the city's Pepper Place entertainment district, the Homewood Star reported.

Store owners Jonathan and Meredith Robinson, who purchased the bookstore prior to the pandemic, have been hosting Saturday pop-ups at the new store since late September and plan to be fully open for business sometime in November.

The pop-ups, the Robinsons noted, have offered a smaller scale version of the bookstore experience, with new books for all ages, a coffee bar, cards and gifts available. 

Meredith Robinson told the Star that she and her husband chose to buy the bookstore in the hopes of connecting with a new generation of customers and readers.

"I have three young children, and the biggest thing that we saw was that it just needed new life as far as reengaging young families, which is what so much of Homewood is comprised of," she said.


Obituary Note: Julie Powell

Julie Powell

Julie Powell, the writer whose decision to spend a year cooking every recipe in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking led to a popular food blog, the Julie/Julia Project; a movie starring Meryl Streep; and "a new following for Child in the final years of her life," died on October 26, the New York Times reported. She was 49. 

In 2002, Powell was an aspiring writer, about to turn 30, who was working at an administrative job in Lower Manhattan. To lend structure to her days, she set out to cook all 524 recipes from her mother's well-worn copy of Child's 1961 classic Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume 1. In a blog for Salon.com called the Julie/Julia Project, she "wrote long updates, punctuated by vodka gimlets and filled with entertaining, profane tirades about the difficulties of finding ingredients, the minor disappointments of adult life and the bigger challenges of finding purpose as a member of Generation X," the Times noted.

A few weeks before Powell's self-imposed deadline was up, Amanda Hesser, a founder of the website Food52 who was then a reporter for the Times, wrote about her project, and interest exploded. Hesser told the Times that the Julie/Julia Project had upended food writing: "I'd never read anyone like her. Her writing was so fresh, spirited--sometimes crude!--and so gloriously unmoored to any tradition.... The Internet democratized food writing, and Julie was the new school's first distinctive voice."

Writer Deb Perelman, who started her food blog (now called Smitten Kitchen) in 2003, observed: "She wrote about food in a really human voice that sounded like people I knew. She communicated that you could write about food even without going to culinary school, without much experience, and in a real-life kitchen."

Little, Brown turned the blog into a book, Julie & Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen, which sold more than a million copies, most of them under the paperback edition's title, Julie & Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously. Sales spiked after Nora Ephron's popular 2009 movie Julie & Julia, which starred Amy Adams as Powell, Streep as Child and Stanley Tucci as Child's husband, Paul.

Powell's second book, Cleaving: A Story of Marriage, Meat and Obsession, was published in 2009 and would be her last. Judy Clain, editor in chief of Little, Brown and Powell's editor," said, "She had so much talent and emotional intelligence. I only wish she could have found the next thing."


Notes

Image of the Day: Authors at Astra House

Authors Jamie Marina Lau (Gunk Baby, December 2022) and Tyriek White (We Are a Haunting, April 2023) showed off galleys of their forthcoming books at the Astra House office.




Cool Idea of the Day: 'Giving Tree for Local Children'

During November, White River Books, Carbondale, Colo., is sponsoring a giving tree for local children who either have no books in their home or need help building a home library to help with their literacy skills. 

"These kiddos were identified with the help of local teachers and librarians, and my hope is to gift each of them a package of a several titles before they go home for Winter Break in December," the bookstore noted. "So come by, grab a tag, pick out a few books to donate, and make a real difference for children who need it!!"


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Jonathan Evans on Good Morning America

Tomorrow:
Good Morning America: Jonathan Evans, author of Fighting Your Battles: Every Christian's Playbook for Victory (Harvest House, $17.99, 9780736984041).

Tamron Hall: Billy Porter, author of Unprotected: A Memoir (Abrams, $18, 9781419746208).


This Weekend on Book TV: The Texas Book Festival

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, November 5
9:30 a.m. Erin Mahan, co-author of Averting Doomsday: Arms Control during the Nixon Presidency (University of Virginia Press, $45, 9780813946696). (Re-airs Saturday at 9:30 p.m.)

4:40 p.m. Paul Carrese, author of Democracy in Moderation: Montesquieu, Tocqueville, and Sustainable Liberalism (Cambridge University Press, $28.99, 9781107548367).

Sunday, November 6
8 a.m. Ali Vitali, author of Electable: Why America Hasn't Put a Woman in the White House ... Yet (Dey Street, $28.99, 9780063058637). (Re-airs Sunday at 8 p.m.)

10 a.m. Major Garrett and David Becker, authors of The Big Truth: Upholding Democracy in the Age of 'The Big Lie' (Diversion Books, $29.99, 9781635767841). (Re-airs Sunday at 10 p.m.)

12 p.m. Live In-Depth q&a with Mark K. Updegrove, author of Incomparable Grace: JFK in the Presidency (Dutton, $29, 9781524745745). (Re-airs Monday at 12 a.m.)

2 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. Live coverage of the Texas Book Festival in Austin, Tex. Highlights include:

  • 2 p.m. Douglas Brinkley, author of Silent Spring Revolution: John F. Kennedy, Rachel Carson, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, and the Great Environmental Awakening (Harper, $40, 9780063212916), and Maya K. van Rossum, author of The Green Amendment: The People's Fight for a Clean, Safe, and Healthy Environment (Disruption Books, $19.99, 9781633310643).
  • 3 p.m. Elizabeth Alexander, author of The Trayvon Generation (Grand Central, $22, 9781538737897).
  • 4 p.m. Elizabeth Farfán-Santos, author of Undocumented Motherhood: Conversations on Love, Trauma, and Border Crossing (University of Texas Press, $24.95, 9781477326138).
  • 5 p.m. Nick Seabrook, author of One Person, One Vote: A Surprising History of Gerrymandering in America (Pantheon, $30, 9780593315866), and Jeremi Suri, author of Civil War by Other Means: America's Long and Unfinished Fight for Democracy (PublicAffairs, $30, 9781541758544).

6:55 p.m. Katy Tur, author of Rough Draft: A Memoir (Atria/One Signal, $28, ‎ 9781982118181). (Re-airs Monday at 6:55 a.m.)



Books & Authors

Awards: ARA Historical Novel Winners

Tom Keneally's Corporal Hitler's Pistol won the A$50,000 (about US$31,965) ARA Historical Novel Prize in the adult category, with Katrina Nannestad taking the A$30,000 (about US$19,180) children & YA award for Rabbit, Soldier, Angel, Thief. The two shortlisted authors in both categories receive A$5,000 (about US$3,195) each.

Historical Novel Society Australasia, in partnership with Australia's ARA Group, runs the ARA Historical Novel Prize, which honors Australian and New Zealand historical novels for, among other qualities, "depth of research, widespread reader appeal, with excellence in writing as the deciding factor."

HNSA chair and program director Elisabeth Storrs said the winning novels "demonstrate the irresistible prose, unforgettable characters, meticulous research, and epic storytelling for which historical fiction is known. Both Corporal Hitler's Pistol and Rabbit, Soldier, Angel, Thief demonstrate the power of the historical fiction genre to illuminate unspoken truths and connect the past with the present. This fosters an understanding of the complicated nature of the world today, and humanizes the lives of our predecessors. The prize is a true celebration of historical fiction, and a real opportunity to foster the genre on a grander scale."


Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, November 8:

Desert Star by Michael Connelly (Little, Brown, $29, 9780316485654) is the fifth mystery featuring Harry Bosch and LAPD detective Renée Ballard.

Dawnlands: A Novel by Philippa Gregory (Atria, $28.99, 9781501187216) is book three in the Fairmile series, historical fiction set in 17th-century England.

A Sliver of Darkness: Stories by C.J. Tudor (Ballantine, $27, 9780593500163) collects 11 short horror stories.

Hands Down: A Novel by Felix Francis (Crooked Lane Books, $28.99, 9781639102945) is a mystery set in the world of British horse racing.

Marked for Life: One Man's Fight for Justice from the Inside by Isaac Wright, Jr. and Jon Sternfeld (St. Martin's Press, $29.99, 9781250277480) is the memoir of a man who proved his own innocence after receiving a life sentence.

Hollywood: The Oral History by Jeanine Basinger and Sam Wasson (Harper, $37.50, 9780063056947) is sourced from more than 400 interviews in the American Film Institute's archives.

The Pasta What's for Dessert: Simple Recipes for Dessert People by Claire Saffitz (Clarkson Potter, $37.50, 9781984826985) contains 100 sweet treats.

Queen: A Just Gorgeous Cookbook: 100+ Recipes and Stories by Nadia Caterina Munno and Katie Parla (Gallery Books, $29.99, 9781982195151) shares dishes from an Italian TikTok star.

Cursed by Marissa Meyer (Feiwel and Friends, $17.99, 9781250618917) is the sequel to Gilded, a young adult Rumpelstiltskin retelling.

Whiteout by Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk and Nicola Yoon (Quill Tree, $19.99, 9780063088146) features brand new stories from the authors who wrote Blackout.

Paperbacks:
Legends & Lattes: A Novel of High Fantasy and Low Stakes by Travis Baldree (Tor, $17.99, 9781250886088).

A Sweet Lowcountry Proposal: A Novel by Preslaysa Williams (Avon, $16.99, 9780063236981).

Kingdom of Bones: A Thriller by James Rollins (Morrow, $9.99, 9780062892997).


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: An Indies Introduce Title
Leech by Hiron Ennes (Tor, $27.99, 9781250811189). "This book slowly builds your sense of vertigo by combining body horror and gothic family drama. To find oneself empathizing with a parasite only heightens the sense of dis-ease. I'm still reeling." --Keith Glaeske, East City Bookshop, Washington, D.C.

Hardcover
The Hero of This Book by Elizabeth McCracken (Ecco, $26.99, 9780062971272). "Is this a memoir or a novel? Does it matter? A very well-written story about memoir writing, following a writer who, in the wake of her mother's death, travels to London. A great examination of the grieving process and what it does to art." --Alex Einhorn, Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, Va.

Paperback
Smile: A Memoir by Sarah Ruhl (Scribner/Marysue Rucci Books, $17, 9781982150952). "Sarah Ruhl's memoir about motherhood and illness is wise and true and generous. This is such a beautiful and important book; I know it will be a tremendously helpful and profound reading experience for many." --Keith Mosman, Powell's Books, Portland, Ore.

For Ages 4 to 8
Wombat Said Come In by Carmen Agra Deedy, illus. by Brian Lies (Margaret Quinlin Books, $18.99, 9781682633212). "Wombat shares his underground home and his resources with those fleeing a climate disaster. A beautifully illustrated lesson for kids and their parents about kindness and surviving catastrophes with our souls and hearts intact." --Linda Sherman-Nurick, Cellar Door Books, Riverside, Calif.

For Ages 8 to 12: An Indies Introduce Title
The Search for Sasquatch: A Wild Thing Book by Laura Krantz (Abrams, $19.99, 9781419758188). "Is Sasquatch real? Read this book to find out! Readers will delight in Sasquatch facts, and learn HOW to ask the right questions when searching for the truth. This will inspire a new wave of kids to ask questions about the world around them." --Revati Kilaparti, Old Firehouse Books, Fort Collins, Colo.

For Teen Readers
If You Could See the Sun by Ann Liang (Inkyard Press, $18.99, 9781335915849). "Ann Liang's debut is a poignant coming-of-age novel set against the backdrop of an elite academy in Beijing. This is a story about class, about privilege, about what it means to fall in love with a world and people that are not yours to keep." --Cindy Tran, Porter Square Books, Cambridge, Mass.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]


Book Review

Review: Edmund White's A Boy's Own Story

Edmund White's A Boy's Own Story: The Graphic Novel by Edmund White, Brian Alessandro and Michael Carroll, adaptors, illus. by Igor Karash (Top Shelf Productions, $29.99 hardcover, 264p., 9781603095082, December 13, 2022)

Edmund White, arguably the godfather of gay literature, has published dozens of lauded titles over the last half-century. His autobiographical trilogy of gay identity--A Boy's Own Story (1982), The Beautiful Room Is Empty (1988), and The Farewell Symphony (1997)--remains a classic. With this volume, the first of the trio is made artfully new, transformed into an impressive, dazzling graphic novel. The text, condensed by literary critic Brian Alessandro and White's longtime partner, Michael Carroll, is limited to speech-bubble conversations with few prose sentences on the page. The majority of the storytelling happens through gorgeously illustrated panels created by visual artist Igor Karash.

Karash immediately commands the adaptation with textless spreads. The opening double pages feature a brick building marked the Renaissance Inn, not far from sailboats and piers; readers catch glimpses through the uncovered windows at the lives within. Two women dance, desks and chairs have been abandoned, a man has discarded his trousers, intent on intimacy. Peeking out from a window below--perhaps unsure of all the life going on around him--is a young face, to be revealed in close-up two spreads later, opposite the title page, suggesting this is the titular boy.

With period clothing and the vintage car, Karash affectingly dates the 1950s of White's teen years. The boy's story moves through pivotal relationships with a philandering father, his discarded mother, his savvy older sister, younger friends, older men. Karash's palette is predominantly moody and muted, as if distancing events from decades ago, suggesting memories have faded save for the most vibrant details (a red dress) and colorful scenes (the brightest skies). Karash inserts occasional images of White's older self, witnessing his teenage experiences--a brilliant literal visualization of remembrances of things past.

"Now that this beautiful graphic novel version of the original is available," White writes in his preface, "I'm hoping that it will reach yet another whole audience." His original almost didn't happen--his "regular English publisher" rejected Story for being "disappointingly realistic," White divulges. "I'd made it so believable because I'd thought that gay life was already so exotic that I didn't need to render it even more strange." The late Sonny Mehta presciently realized "the novel filled an empty ecological niche in the literary landscape, a serious, soul-searching book about a gay coming of age." The rest, is (welcome) history. --Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon

Shelf Talker: The first of literary gay icon Edmund White's classic autobiographical trilogy gets a stunning graphic adaptation for a new generation of readers.


The Bestsellers

Libro.fm Bestsellers in October

The bestselling Libro.fm audiobooks at independent bookstores during October:

Fiction
1. The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna (Penguin Random House Audio)
2. Our Missing Hearts by Celeste Ng (Penguin Random House Audio)
3. The Golden Enclaves by Naomi Novik (Penguin Random House Audio)
4. Fairy Tale by Stephen King (Simon & Schuster Audio)
5. The Bullet That Missed by Richard Osman (Penguin Random House Audio)
6. Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin (Penguin Random House Audio)
7. Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver (HarperAudio)
8. Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus (Penguin Random House Audio)
9. Nona the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir (Recorded Books)
10. Babel by R.F. Kuang (HarperAudio)

Nonfiction
1. I'm Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy (Simon & Schuster Audio)
2. Rest Is Resistance by Tricia Hersey (Hachette Audio)
3. Beyond the Wand by Tom Felton (Hachette Audio)
4. Cultish by Amanda Montell (HarperAudio)
5. Confidence Man by Maggie Haberman (Random House Audio)
6. Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer (Tantor Media)
7. Bad Vibes Only by Nora McInerny (Simon & Schuster Audio)
8. Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing by Matthew Perry (Macmillan Audio)
9. Good Inside by Becky Kennedy (HarperAudio)
10. The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk (Penguin Random House Audio)


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