Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, April 10, 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.

News

Happy 100th, Simon & Schuster!

Under clear skies Tuesday evening at New York City's Chelsea Piers, Simon & Schuster celebrated its centenary with authors, editors, agents, art directors, booksellers, sales reps, publicists, marketing directors, and many other book enthusiasts, along with wonderful food, drinks, and music.

S&S chair Richard Sarnoff

The remarks were brief, following the "Author! Author!" event Monday night at New York's Town Hall, which featured some 30 S&S authors, including surprise guests such as Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and comedian Jerry Seinfeld, as well as rock-star contributors to the S&S list such as Judy Blume, Judith Viorst, and Jason Reynolds.

A crowd that spilled over onto the terrace at Pier 60 on the Hudson gathered around the dance floor to hear the remarks of Richard Sarnoff, chairman of media, entertainment, and education for the Americas at KKR, who serves as chairman of the S&S board (KKR purchased S&S from Paramount Global last fall). 

"This could be a board meeting," Sarnoff said, "since all of the Simon & Schuster employees are now shareholders." Loud cheers erupted from the audience. Sarnoff said he was honored to have known the previous leaders of the publishing house, including Dick Snyder, Jack Romanos, and Carolyn Reidy: "Tonight we remember and honor her," Sarnoff said of Reidy, who died suddenly in 2020.

S&S president and CEO Jonathan Karp

Then Sarnoff introduced S&S president and CEO Jonathan Karp, who welcomed everyone and joked, "We're going to have to sell a lot of books to pay for this party." He spoke of Max Schuster and Richard Simon's first book, The Crossword Puzzle Book, published (of course) in 1924, and their promise to "publish good books and only good books. Books that we have read and about which we are generally enthusiastic."--a credo to which Karp adheres. He then proudly held up a proclamation from Mayor Eric Adams that April 9 was "Simon & Schuster Day." The inaugural song to start the dancing was Carly Simon's "You're So Vain" (she's the daughter of Richard Simon, co-founder of the 100-year-old institution). Many happy returns, S&S! --Jennifer M. Brown


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Grand Reopening in New Space for Page Turner Books, Kent, Wash.

Page Turner Books, the new and used bookstore in Kent, Wash., that was "dealt a devastating blow" in January from burst water pipes, hosted "a wonderful grand (re)opening day" on April 5 in its new location at 215 1st Ave. S.

"I thought we were done when the water started coming out of the ceiling. So, to be here now is just awesome," co-owner Wayne Curran told KING-5, adding that he is settling into the shop's new home. "I don't know too many people who would come to work seven days a week and be happy about it. That's what it means to me. It's my happy place."

The January flooding destroyed more than $8,000 worth of books and products, essentially making the space unusable. Curran said a customer gave his number to a landlord nearby, which led to the relocation. 

The community donated more than $14,000 to the store's online fundraiser, and many customers helped him move to the new location. "They brought their hand trucks, they brought their boxes and they were just amazing, and I didn't realize how many friends we had here in Kent," said Curran. "And I do now."

He added that in the wake of the devastation, he is able to continue the bookshop's story on a positive note: "We just want to have the best bookstore we can."


The Lore Opens Physical Storefront in Norman, Okla.

The Lore, a new and used bookstore that began as mobile shop in 2022, has opened a bricks-and-mortar storefront in Norman, Okla., OU Daily reported.

Store owner Kim Bieda found a space at 220 S. Porter Ave. in Norman, and welcomed customers for the first time during a soft opening on April 6, with a grand opening celebration this coming weekend. The Lore carries a variety of fiction and nonfiction intended to uplift LGBTQ authors, BIPOC authors, and other diverse voices.

"We are making sure that we have stories here that you don't always get to see and meet in life," Bieda told OU Daily. "When we read stories from other cultures, even if they are fictional, we get such an insight into the history and culture that those people come from."

In addition to books, Bieda sells items from local artists and artisans, as well as art supplies, yarn, and other materials for knitters and crocheters. The shop has a large patio, and Bieda hopes it becomes a gathering place where people can read, talk, knit, and play board games.

Bieda was inspired to open a bookstore after attending a bookstore crawl in Oklahoma City. At the time, Norman had no independent bookstores, and a few months after the event, Bieda thought: " 'Why can't I do it?' There is no degree you have to have to own a bookstore. I love books, and I have a lot of hustle."

The Lore made its debut in February 2022, and since then Bieda has formed partnerships with local businesses in Norman like 405 Brewing Co. and Yellow Dog Coffee. Lore operates three monthly book clubs that meet at the former, and Bieda plans to continue doing monthly pop-ups even with the bricks-and-mortar store open.


Binc, BOOM! Studios Announce Matching Gifts Through April 28

The Book Industry Charitable Foundation has announced that through April 28, comic book publisher BOOM! Studios will make a $50 gift on behalf of the first 100 donors to pledge a new monthly commitment or increase an existing monthly commitment to Binc. Any monthly commitment of $5 or more is eligible to be matched.

"The Binc Foundation is an incredible organization that provides vital assistance to comic book stores and bookstores in their greatest hours of need every single week," said Filip Sablik, BOOM! Studios' president, publishing & marketing. "BOOM! Studios has proudly supported Binc for many years through donations, and we're thrilled to invite our amazing fans to join us as part of the Do Good All Year campaign to make an even larger impact."

"We are grateful to BOOM! Studios for their support and generous gift," said Pam French, Binc's executive director. "Our monthly donors currently provide funding to help at least three book or comic sellers every month, all year long. Their consistent support is essential, and increasing the number of donors who make a monthly donation to Binc will allow us to help more booksellers and comic shop employees in their time of need. BOOM! Studios' ongoing commitment to book and comic people is greatly appreciated."


Obituary Note: Daniel Kahneman

Daniel Kahneman

Daniel Kahneman, "who never took an economics course but who pioneered a psychologically based branch of that field that led to a Nobel in economic science in 2002," died March 27, the New York Times reported. He was 90. Kahneman, who was long associated with Princeton University, "employed his training as a psychologist to advance what came to be called behavioral economics. The work, done largely in the 1970s, led to a rethinking of issues as far-flung as medical malpractice, international political negotiations and the evaluation of baseball talent, all of which he analyzed, mostly in collaboration with Amos Tversky, a Stanford cognitive psychologist who did groundbreaking work on human judgment and decision-making." 

Harvard psychologist and author Steven Pinker told the Guardian in 2014: "His central message could not be more important, namely, that human reason left to its own devices is apt to engage in a number of fallacies and systematic errors, so if we want to make better decisions in our personal lives and as a society, we ought to be aware of these biases and seek workarounds. That's a powerful and important discovery."

Kahneman's public reputation was bolstered by his 2011 book, Thinking, Fast and Slow, which appeared on bestseller lists in science and business. He "propagated his findings with an appealing writing style, using illustrative vignettes with which even lay readers could engage," the Times noted. His most recent book was Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgment (2021), written with Cass Sunstein and Olivier Sibony.

Shane Frederick, a professor at the Yale School of Management and a Kahneman protégé, said in 2016 that Kahneman had "helped transform economics into a true behavioral science rather than a mere mathematical exercise in outlining the logical entailments of a set of often wildly untenable assumptions."

He shared his 2002 Nobel Prize in economic science with Vernon L. Smith of George Mason University in Virginia. President Barack Obama presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom to him at the White House in 2013.

"Before Kahneman and Tversky, people who thought about social problems and human behavior tended to assume that we are mostly rational agents," columnist and author David Brooks wrote in 2011. "They assumed that people have control over the most important parts of their own thinking. They assumed that people are basically sensible utility-maximizers, and that when they depart from reason it's because some passion like fear or love has distorted their judgment." But Kahneman and Tversky "yielded a different vision of human nature," Brooks continued. "We are players in a game we don't understand. Most of our own thinking is below awareness." 

In an interview with Kara Swisher on her Times podcast Sway in 2021, Kahneman said, "If I were starting my career now, I would be choosing between artificial intelligence and neuroscience, because those are now particularly exciting ways of looking at human nature."


Notes

Image of the Day: Bertinelli at Books & Greetings

Actress and author Valerie Bertinelli visited Books & Greetings in Northvale, N.J., on her tour for her latest cookbook, Indulge: Delicious and Decadent Dishes to Enjoy and Share (Harvest/HarperCollins). She's pictured here with owner Kenny Sarfin.


Lerner Publisher Services Adds Walker Books Australia, Magination Press

Lerner Publisher Services is adding two distribution clients:

Lerner will be exclusive distributor in the U.S. and Canada for Walker Books Australia, beginning August 1. Lerner will distribute six new Walker Books Australia single titles in hardcover and e-book formats this fall. The inaugural list launches with three picture books, two middle grade novels, and one young adult novel, including Color Makes the World Go Round by Christopher Neilson, Jelly-Boy by Nicole Godwin and illustrated by Christopher Nielsen, The Mailbox Tree by Rebecca Lim and Kate Gordon, and Inkflower by Suzy Zail. Walker Books Australia titles will be available for pre-sale through Lerner starting on May 15.

Lerner Publishing Group executive v-p for sales David Wexler said, "Walker Books Australia is a premier publisher that has been producing exceptional children's and young adult literature for decades, and Lerner Publishing Services is thrilled to bring their top-quality offerings to the North American market. Walker's commitment to working with talented and award-winning authors and illustrators perfectly aligns with Lerner's catalog of expertly crafted books for children of all ages."

Walker Books Australia president Angela Van Den Belt added, "We are very excited about our new partnership with Lerner. It is always important to find partners who understand and share Walker Books Australia values, our relationships with booksellers, and most importantly, our much-loved readers."

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Lerner will be exclusive global distributor for the full backlist and frontlist of the Magination Press imprint of the American Psychological Association, beginning January 1, 2025. The titles will be available for pre-sale through Lerner starting on November 15.

Magination's titles include the What-to-Do Guides for Kids series, the Something Happened series, and the Kid Confident: Middle Grade Shelf Help nonfiction series. Magination's list features one of the most banned characters of the last decade, Jacob, of the forthcoming Jacob's Missing Book, along with This Day in June; and modern bibliotherapeutic picture books for children including Taco Falls Apart, You'll Find Me, My Whirling Twirling Motor, and psychological science books like Psychology for Kids, Big Brain Book, Sensational Animal Senses, and True or False?.

Lerner Publishing Group president and CEO Adam Lerner said, "Partnering with APA presents a tremendous opportunity for Lerner to further our mission of offering literature that celebrates diversity and fosters inclusivity. We are excited to make Magination Press, APA's esteemed children's imprint, available through Lerner's well-established market channels."

Magination Press editorial director Kristine Enderle said, "The important children and teen books that APA publishes will reach new audiences through the incredible reach of Lerner. They will help get our content out to more parents, librarians, teachers, and other caregivers who will in turn help more young readers."


Personnel Changes at Sourcebooks; Little, Brown; Scholastic

At Sourcebooks:

Jess Elliott has been promoted to associate director of sales.

Raquel Latko has been promoted to senior national account manager.

Keri Haddrill has been promoted to assistant sales manager.

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Lauren Roberts has joined Little, Brown's publicity department as senior publicity manager. She was most recently at Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

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Abigail Jordon has been promoted to publicity coordinator at Scholastic.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Rachel Lance on Fresh Air

Today:
Fresh Air: Rachel Lance, author of Chamber Divers: The Untold Story of the D-Day Scientists Who Changed Special Operations Forever (Dutton, $32, 9780593184936).

The View: Lauren Wesley Wilson, author of What Do You Need?: How Women of Color Can Take Ownership of Their Careers to Accelerate Their Path to Success (Hay House, $25.99, 9781401974893).

Tomorrow:
CBS Mornings: Rae Wynn-Grant, author of Wild Life: Finding My Purpose in an Untamed World (Zando, $28, 9781638930402).

Good Morning America: Ali Rosen, author of 15 Minute Meals: Truly Quick Recipes that Don’t Taste like Shortcuts (Mango, $34.99, 9781684812578).

Also on GMA: Alice Randall, author of My Black Country: A Journey Through Country Music's Black Past, Present, and Future (Atria/Black Privilege Publishing, $28.99, 9781668018408).

Drew Barrymore Show: Sara Jane Ho, author of Mind Your Manners: How to Be Your Best Self in Any Situation (Hachette Go, $29.49, 9780306832833).


Movies: Written In the Stars

Fawzia Mirza (The Queen of My Dreams) will direct the Australian film Written in the Stars, based on the bestselling novel The Wedding Season by Su Dharmapala. Deadline reported that the project, written by and starring Menik Gooneratne, is set in and around the Sri Lankan diaspora in Melbourne and centers on a woman (Gooneratne) who, when modern dating attempts fail, turns to Vedic Astrology and horoscope matching in the hopes of finding her true love. 

"Written in the Stars is a love letter to my hometown and community, and I am thrilled to have someone who brings such vibrancy and nuance to their work at the helm. I'm so excited to collaborate with Fawzia and shine a spotlight on the incredible South Asian talent we have here in Australia" Gooneratne said.

The film will be produced by Leanne Tonkes (The Second, My Mistress) of Sense & Centsability, alongside Jake Casey (And Just Like That...) and Danielle Benedict (Hell Is Empty, Aloo) of the Dazey Phase. 



Books & Authors

Awards: International Booker Prize Shortlist; PEN America Literary Longlists

A shortlist has been released for the International Booker Prize, honoring the "best novels and short story collections from around the globe that have been translated into English and published in the U.K. and/or Ireland." The winning book will be named May 21 in London, with the £50,000 (about $63,365) prize money divided equally between the author and translator. In addition, the shortlisted authors and translators each receive £2,500 (about $3,170). This year's shortlisted titles are:

Not a River by Selva Almada, translated by Annie McDermott
Mater 2-10 by Hwang Sok-yong, translated by Sora Kim-Russell & Youngjae Josephine Bae
What I'd Rather Not Think About by Jente Posthuma, translated by Sarah Timmer Harvey
Crooked Plow by Itamar Vieira Junior, translated by Johnny Lorenz
Kairos by Jenny Erpenbeck, translated by Michael Hofmann
The Details by Ia Genberg, translated by Kira Josefsson

Chair of the judges Eleanor Wachtel said: "Our shortlist, while implicitly optimistic, engages with current realities of racism and oppression, global violence and ecological disaster."
 
International Booker Prize administrator Fiammetta Rocco added: "The books cast a forensic eye on divided families and divided societies, revisiting pasts both recent and distant to help make sense of the present."

Six languages (Dutch, German, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, and Swedish), six countries (Argentina, Brazil, Germany, Netherlands, South Korea, and Sweden) and three continents (Asia, Europe, and South America) are represented.

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Longlists have been released for the 2024 PEN America Literary Awards, which honor writers and translators with awards totaling more than $350,000. Including fiction, poetry, translation, and more, "these longlisted books are dynamic, diverse, and thought-provoking examples of literary excellence," PEN America noted. Finalists for all book awards will be revealed before the 2024 Literary Awards ceremony, which will be held April 29. The longlisted titles may be viewed here.


Reading with... Katrina Carrasco

photo: Jennifer Boyle

Katrina Carrasco's debut novel, The Best Bad Things, won a Shamus Award and was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award and Washington State Book Award. Her essays and short stories have appeared in various publications and online, including Witness magazine, Post Road magazine, and Literary Hub. She has received support from the Corporation of Yaddo, Jentel Arts, Artist Trust, and other foundations and residencies. Her second novel, Rough Trade (MCD/Farrar, Straus and Giroux, April 9, 2024), blends deeply researched historical fiction with riveting queer adventure.

Handsell readers your book in 25 words or less:

A band of smugglers and the reporter who's gone undercover to expose them pursue each other through the queer underworld of the 1880s Pacific Northwest.

On your nightstand now:

How Much of These Hills Is Gold (C Pam Zhang); The Jakarta Method (Vincent Bevins); Borderlands/La Frontera (Gloria Anzaldúa). New, just read, and revisiting: I've heard lots of great things about Zhang's book and it's next up on my to-read list; I recently finished Bevins's gripping nonfiction about the CIA's brutal anti-Communist activities overseas; and I've read Anzaldúa's classic text before but am spending time with it again as I work on a new project.

Favorite book when you were a child:

This is a three-way tie between Doomsday Book (Connie Willis), Invitation to the Game (Monica Hughes), and So You Want to Be a Wizard (Diane Duane). I loved the pure escapism of these stories. I was also young enough that I could almost convince myself it was possible to discover a book that would teach me magical powers and/or be transported through space and time!

Your top five authors:

Valeria Luiselli, Elif Batuman, Patrick O'Brian, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Maggie Nelson. These are my current top five authors; I have many more who are dear to me. When I read these authors, I feel so much energy and awe--in a manner particular to each artist, their writing opens my brain to new ways of seeing things.

Book you've faked reading:

I don't think I've done this. If I don't like something, I'll just put it down and be honest about why (if asked).

Book you're an evangelist for:

Master and Commander (Patrick O'Brian) is the first book in the Aubrey/Maturin series, which contains the best portrait of a lifelong friendship I've ever read. I love rereading these books; it feels like visiting old friends. I recommend Master and Commander a lot and have the rest of the books on hand to lend out if someone gets hooked.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Popisho (Leone Ross) has a gorgeous, colorful cover that caught my eye in the bookstore. And I loved the book! The prose is lush and poetic, and the book's magical realism elements are richly imagined.

Book you hid from your parents:

Not so much hid, but hid that I had read it: I found a copy of Eye of the Needle (Ken Follett) in my mom's room, was super embarrassed by the sex scenes, and put it back a few days later without ever saying anything about it.

Book that changed your life:

Shanghaiing Days (Richard H. Dillon) is a collection of nautical anecdotes, history snippets, and tales of sailors and scoundrels in the 1800s, with a focus on the Pacific Seaboard. It captured my imagination and provided seeds of inspiration for two of my novels, one shelved and the other my debut, The Best Bad Things.

Favorite line from a book:

"Ennis, riding against the wind back to the sheep in the treacherous, drunken light, thought he'd never had such a good time, felt he could paw the white out of the moon." --Annie Proulx, Close Range: Wyoming Stories

Five books you'll never part with:

Braiding Sweetgrass (Robin Wall Kimmerer), The Sympathizer (Viet Thanh Nguyen), Cantoras (Carolina de Robertis), Blood Meridian (McCarthy), Woman Hollering Creek (Sandra Cisneros). I have a favorites shelf and each book on it is special for a reason, but these are a small sample: I return to Braiding Sweetgrass for hope in the face of the climate crisis; The Sympathizer truly stunned me with the lyricism and imagery revealed in every line; I read Cantoras while falling in love and it holds the echoes of those feelings; Blood Meridian is vicious and shocking and reminds me that words can be packed with gunpowder; and Woman Hollering Creek first taught me how a short story can make and unmake itself to take any shape and flow between languages.

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

Red, White, & Royal Blue (Casey McQuiston) was so cute and so restorative, a dose of queer happiness just when I desperately needed one. I was delighted by every plot twist and romantic development. Maybe if I pick it up again in 10 years it will feel like the first time again!


Book Review

Children's Review: Red Is Not Angry, Blue Is Not Sad

Red Is Not Angry, Blue Is Not Sad by Alicia Acosta, Luis Amavisca, illus. by Anuska Allepuz (NubeOcho, $17.99 hardcover, 36p., ages 3-7, 9788419253361, June 11, 2024)

Silliness abounds but wisdom prevails in this vibrant picture book about the fallacy of labeling people based on the way they look--or what color sweater they wear.

When Fox shows up in a blue sweater at a forest gathering of his friends, they are immediately concerned: "Oh no! Fox, what's wrong?!" cries Bear. "You poor, poor thing..." Squirrel shakes his head. "Maybe you'll feel better if you talk to us about it," suggests Deer.

Perplexed, Fox soon learns that his friends believe his blue sweater reflects his mood: blue is sad, red is angry, yellow is happy, and so on. They force colorful sweaters on him as he cycles through his moods in response to their insistence on labeling him. When Fox tells his friends they're making him nervous, for example, Squirrel offers him a pile of green clothing: "Green will help you calm down!" Finally, Fox is able to set his friends straight: "Where in the world did you get all these ideas?! I like red apples, but that doesn’t mean I'm angry! And my favorite color is blue, but that doesn't mean I'm sad."

Spanish authors Alicia Acosta and Luis Amavisca, who previously teamed up on I Love My Colorful Nails and Benji's Doll, have returned with the gently instructive Red Is Not Angry, Blue Is Not Sad, endearingly illustrated by Anuska Allepuz (Zebra's Umbrella; The Boy, The Bird and the Coffin Maker), also from Spain. Their message of the importance of resisting assumptions will go down easily with young readers, even as they laugh at the animal friends' goofy notions. Allepuz's satisfyingly textured artwork decorates the spare, grayscale forest imagery around the expressive animals with splotches and smudges of color. Using the simplest lines, Allepuz imbues characters with personality and emotion. The three friends, with dots for eyes and lines for mouths, switch from happy, excited faces to evident alarm when Fox cries out, "ENOUGH!!!" after hearing too many color/mood suggestions.

This charming picture book is likely to inspire thought and conversation about colors, feelings, and preconceived ideas. Once Fox and his pals talk it through, they all understand that everyone should be free to make their own choices and not worry about what others think. After all, green may be the "color of peace and tranquility," as Squirrel says, but so might red or purple or black. --Emilie Coulter, freelance writer and editor

Shelf Talker: The amusing confusion in this delightfully illustrated picture book reminds young readers not to judge others based on how they look--or what color sweater they wear.


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