Also published on this date: Monday January 8, 2024: Maximum Shelf: The Ministry of Time

Shelf Awareness for Monday, January 8, 2024

Flatiron Books: The Courting of Bristol Keats: [Limited Stenciled Edge Edition] by Mary E Pearson

Forge: My Three Dogs by Bruce W Cameron

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

Chronicle Books: Taste in Music: Eating on Tour with Indie Musicians by Luke Pyenson and Alex Beeker

Doubleday Books: Death at the Sign of the Rook: A Jackson Brodie Book by Kate Atkinson

Groundwood Books: Who We Are in Real Life by Victoria Koops

Agate Bolden: 54 Miles by Leonard Pitts Jr.


Charlie's Queer Books Opens in Seattle, Wash.

Since its early November opening in Seattle, Wash., Charlie's Queer Books has been selling LGBTQ+ titles and creating an inclusive community space in the city's Fremont neighborhood, the Seattle Times reported.

Located at 465 N. 36th St. in a modified house, the store offers a wide-ranging inventory that includes classic and contemporary queer literature, titles for all ages, and more. Proprietor Charlie Hunts, who co-owns the bookstore with his wife, Madeline Burchard, told the Times that the store is "expansive in our selection and expansive in who we are as intersectional beings."

Alongside books, the store offers stickers, prints, candles, and clothing. The shop's second floor features a comfortable reading nook and a meeting space that can seat 12, which has been used for book clubs and community meetings.

Hunts, who is a trans man, explained that it was the ongoing wave of book banning that compelled him to open a store of his own: "I collected queer literature on my own, and that felt like a way that I could do work that fulfilled and energized me at the same time."

Charlie's Queer Books owners Madeline Burchard and Charlie Hunts.

He began last summer with a "disco book cart" that he brought to Pride events in several Seattle neighborhoods. The cart did so well in Fremont that the neighborhood "absolutely just felt like such a natural fit. We had a wonderful mix of neighborhood folks and tourists, which is a winning combination."

It was also important to Hunts to create a welcoming, queer space "that doesn't center around alcohol or nightlife. You can bring your dog, your kid, however you define your family, and just enjoy it."

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True Leaves Bookshop, Princeton, Ill., Hosts Ribbon Cutting

True Leaves Bookshop in Princeton, Ill., which debuted with a soft opening in October, has officially held a ribbon-cutting ceremony, Shaw Local News Network reported.

Residing at 950 N. Main St., Suite A., in Princeton's North Main Historic District, True Leaves sells new and used titles for all ages along with a variety of nonbook items including cards, stationery, stickers, planners, calendars, and journals.

Applications Open for Binc's Business Incubator Program 

Applications for the first cohort of BincTank, the Book Industry Charitable Foundation's bookstore business incubator program, have opened today, January 8, and will close January 20. The program will support new BIPOC-owned retail bookselling businesses that are physically located in their community. The application is here.

Bookmobiles, pop-up stores, and bricks-and-mortar storefronts are eligible. Stores should either not yet be open or have been open no more than six months prior to the time of application. Businesses interested in moving from one model to another, like a pop-up moving to a bricks-and-mortar location, are also eligible. Online-only stores are not eligible.

The first cohort will support 10-12 entrepreneurs selected anonymously by a panel of reviewers. The entrepreneurs and proposed businesses must be located in the U.S. or a U.S. territory.

BincTank will initially support bookstores and book retail outlets operated by historically underrepresented entrepreneurs in communities impacted by systemic racism. A three-year pilot program, BincTank plans to evaluate results and then determine how to proceed. Binc continues to seek funding for this BIPOC entrepreneur focused program. For more information contact Binc's Pam French or Kathy Bartson.

AdventureKEEN Acquires Shelter Publications

AdventureKEEN has acquired Shelter Publications, Bolinas, Calif., which was founded by Lloyd Kahn 50 years ago and focuses on books about home building, including small houses, campers, road rigs, houseboats, and more, as well as personal fitness. Its bestelling fitness titles include Bob Anderson's Stretching and Galloway's Book on Running by Jeff Galloway.

Shelter Publications' administrative functions will be moved to AdventureKEEN's Birmingham, Ala., headquarters. Kahn will still contribute titles to and promote the Shelter Publications list, which will become AdventureKEEN's seventh imprint. Shelter Publications will continue to be distributed by PGW, which also distributes AdventureKEEN.

Kahn said that the two companies' "goals and aspirations are in sync, and I'm looking forward to this new relationship that will give me time to communicate via Instagram, Substack, and YouTube (and with an occasional book). We also look forward to have AdventureKEEN's expertise and skills in marketing our Shelter Library of Building Books."

Richard Hunt, president of AdventureKEEN, said, "Lloyd's books have always been distinctive and smart. We're pleased that we can continue his legacy of creating first-rate books that inspire and benefit readers around the world."

AdventureKEEN publisher Molly Merkle added, "Lloyd (aka "The King of D.I.Y. Dwellings") has a voice and perspective that continues to resonate with readers. We are thrilled to carry forward his work and influence for future generations."

AdventureKEEN publishes 50 to 60 new titles annually, primarily in the subjects of nature, outdoor recreation, regional interest, and travel. The company has a backlist of more than 1,000 titles. Its imprints include Adventure Publications, Wilderness Press, Menasha Ridge Press, the Unofficial Guides, Clerisy Press, and Nature Study Guides.

Obituary Note: Fred Chappell

Fred Chappell, "one of North Carolina's most celebrated writers," died on January 4 at age 87. He was a poet, novelist, essayist, longtime head of the University of North Carolina Greensboro MFA in creative writing program, and poet laureate of North Carolina from 1997 to 2002.

Altogether Chappell published nearly 30 books. The North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame said that "perhaps his most ambitious accomplishment has been four poetry collections paired with four novels, each based on one of the four elements--earth, air, fire, and water--and all reflecting Chappell's Appalachian roots as he examines the core of human experience: love, community, and mortality."

Chappell received a variety of awards, including the (Yale) Bollingen Prize in Poetry, the T.S. Eliot Prize, the Aiken Taylor Award for Modern American Poetry, the UNC System's O. Max Gardner Award for his literary work and impact on his students, the North Carolina Award for Literature, and (seven times) the Roanoke-Chowan Poetry Prize. His novel Dagon was awarded the Prix de Meilleur des Livres Étrangers.

The UNC Greensboro said that Chappell "inspired a legion of Spartan students, many of whom went on to illustrious careers in the literary arts. He kept in touch with his former students, sending notes when he read a new book or story of theirs. Ruth Dickie '04 MFA, executive director of the National Book Foundation, was one of those students. She introduced him at a Greensboro screening of the film and said, 'In all these years he has not only been doing his own critically important and exquisitely beautiful creative work, but he was also reading, and writing to, dozens if not hundreds of us, telling us that in this camp of storytellers, we all belong, and our stories don't just matter, but are essential.' "

The North Carolina Writers' Network said, "As a professor at the University of North Carolina Greensboro, Chappell has mentored several of our state;s fine poets, including Sarah Lindsay, Pulitzer-prize winner Claudia Emerson, and Kathryn Stripling Byer, who succeeded him as state Poet Laureate."

Terry Kennedy, director of the UNCG MFA in Creative Writing Program, observed, "Fred Chappell always said that his students were his greatest legacy. It's a comment that's easy to dismiss given all of Fred's publications and awards. But, hearing from so many of students today, I am reminded of the beauty of that desire. It's the kind of legacy that keeps giving back to the literary community that Ole Fred loved so much."

Chappell's family has requested that instead of flowers, donations be made to UNCG's Fred Chappell Creative Writing Fellowship Endowment Fund to support future students.


Paul Yamazaki: 'A Legend in the Literary World'

Paul Yamazaki

In " 'A legend in the literary world' keeps S.F.'s City Lights shining," the San Francisco Chronicle offers a portrait of beloved bookseller Paul Yamazaki, who last November was given the National Book Foundation's Literarian Award for lifetime achievement. "I took it as recognition for what we've accomplished at City Lights," he told the Chronicle. "I think as a culture we have a hard time recognizing collective achievement, so we tend to focus on individuals instead of group history."

The article tells the story of Yamazaki, who has been the lead buyer for City Lights more more than 50 years. It also has great news: his Reading the Room: A Bookseller's Tale, a "love letter to the work of bookselling and an engaged life of the mind," will be published April 15 by Ode Books, a partnership of the Seminary Co-op Bookstores, Chicago, Ill., and Matthew Engelke, professor of religion and director of the Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life at Columbia University.

Personnel Changes at Lee & Low Books

At Lee & Low Books:

Jennifer Khawam has been promoted to marketing coordinator. She was previously marketing assistant.

Shaughnessy Miller has been promoted to assistant marketing manager. She was previously marketing associate.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: James Patterson, Vivian Tu, Jenn Drummond on Good Morning America

Good Morning America: James Patterson, co-author of Holmes, Marple & Poe: The Greatest Crime-Solving Team of the Twenty-First Century (Little, Brown, $30, 9780316405195).

Also on GMA: Vivian Tu, author of Rich AF: The Winning Money Mindset That Will Change Your Life (Portfolio, $29, 9780593714911).

CBS Mornings: Damona Hoffman, author of F the Fairy Tale: Rewrite the Dating Myths and Live Your Own Love Story (Seal Press, $29, 9781541602250).

The Sherri Shepherd Show: Michael Todd, author of Damaged but Not Destroyed: From Trauma to Triumph (WaterBrook, $27, 9780593444887).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Barbra Streisand, author of My Name Is Barbra (Viking, $47, 9780525429524).

Good Morning America: Jenn Drummond, author of BreakProof: 7 Strategies to Build Resilience and Achieve Your Life Goals (How to Reach Your Life Goals) (Mango, $29.99, 9781684814350).

Live with Kelly and Mark: Dr. Uma Naidoo, author of Calm Your Mind with Food: A Revolutionary Guide to Controlling Your Anxiety (Little, Brown Spark, $30, 9780316502092).

Bookish Golden Globe Winners

Book-to-film adaptations collected some major hardware at last night's Golden Globe Awards, with Oppenheimer's five awards leading the bookish pack. Golden Globe-winning movies that started as books or have book connections included:

Oppenheimer, based on the biography American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin: Best motion picture--drama; director--motion picture (Christopher Nolan); male actor in a motion picture--drama (Cillian Murphy); male actor in a supporting role in any motion picture (Robert Downey Jr.); original score (Ludwig Göransson)

Poor Things, based on the novel by Alasdair Gray: Best motion picture--musical or comedy; female actor in a motion picture--musical or comedy (Emma Stone)

Killers of the Flower Moon, based on David Grann's book: female actor in a motion picture--drama (Lily Gladstone)

The Boy and the Heron, inspired by Genzaburo Yoshino's 1937 novel How Do You Live?, which appears in the film but is not directly connected to the story: Best motion picture--animated

Books & Authors

Awards: Ludington Winner

Author and bookseller Jeff Kinney will receive the Jeremiah Ludington Memorial Award, sponsored by the Educational Book & Media Association and honoring "an individual who has made a significant contribution to the educational book world." The presentation will be made February 5 during the EBMA's 50th anniversary conference for publishers, educational wholesalers, and sponsors in Colorado Springs, Colo. As part of the award, EBMA will present a $2,000 check to a book-related charity of Kinney's choice.

EBMA president Ben Conn said that Kinney's "words and illustrations, a mix of realistic dialogue and emotions with laugh-out-laugh antics, have been a favorite with middle schoolers around the world. We all hope for more adventures with Greg and Rowley."

Kinney is author of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Awesome Friendly Kid series and owns An Unlikely Story, Plainville, Mass.

Book Review

Review: 36 Ways of Writing a Vietnamese Poem

36 Ways of Writing a Vietnamese Poem by Nam Le (Knopf, $28 hardcover, 80p., 9780593537206, March 5, 2024)

In his fearless first poetry collection, 36 Ways of Writing a Vietnamese Poem, Nam Le, winner of the Dylan Thomas Prize for the short story collection The Boat, prioritizes language and voice to explore inherited wartime trauma and expose anti-Asian racism.

Each poem is titled after a rhetorical strategy or analytical mode. For instance, "[3. Ekphrastic]" includes a photograph of the Vietnamese Australian writer's mother--"She in me in me." (He later reveals mẹ means mother in Vietnamese.) "[2. Invocative / Apostrophic]" also seems to be dedicated to a parent, one who has struggled to assimilate: "Your language your leash,/ My face my pedigree." Le by turns expresses alienation from his heritage--"What's Vietnamese in me/ Could fit in a poem"--and self-definition by it: "Whatever I write is/ Vietnamese."

Language and race are intertwined. "[1. Diasporic]," a bitter tirade against cultural imperialism, is one of several poems that imitate clichés of Asians speaking English to shame aggressors. "You dink I writee Yiknamee?/ Shame on You./ It was Your violence dumbed me./ Smeared me, reaved me--/ Your war I don't remember/ And won't let You forget." Language, too, can wreak or reflect violence. An erasure poem highlights the vulnerability of archives; in "[11. Violence: Anglo-linguistic]," English is portrayed as a killer language. Le contrasts English's strict grammar with Vietnamese's more open system: "Your grammar is violence. Your way is narrow/ Exaction." He also engages in M-led wordplay and compares the various meanings of "ma" and "me" in a tonal language.

This is a prophet's fervent truth-telling. There is no fawning gratitude for white generosity; instead, the speaker in "[24. Violence: Translative]" sarcastically remarks to a translator ignorant of Vietnamese: "So take it all / whatever./ Make your status out of their/ Sincerity." Le also calls attention to the hypersexualization of Asian girls and desexualization of Asian men.

Anaphora is one sonic technique used to emphasize the poet's points: a litany of "They'd rather you be..." reiterates anti-Asian stereotypes ("They'd rather you be inscrutable than difficult./ They'd rather you be impassive than original"), while "When they say..." phrases peel back layers of euphemism to uncover ugly facts: "When they say/ kill ratio they mean death -- our death."

There are actually 37 poems here--the final, sprawling one is full of glacial metaphors, alliteration, and a medley of rhyme types. Its vision of cosmic collapse and renewal is a broadening, perhaps a universalizing, of the personal material. High-concept and unapologetic, this collection pulsates. --Rebecca Foster, freelance reviewer, proofreader and blogger at Bookish Beck

Shelf Talker: Nam Le continues his examination of Vietnamese American history in a bold, intersectional debut poetry collection that traces the aftereffects of the Vietnam War.

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