Also published on this date: Wednesday May 8, 2024: Maximum Shelf: Creation Lake

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, May 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.


Promotions and Structural Changes at Hachette Book Group, Hachette UK

Hachette Book Group and Hachette UK have made promotions and structural changes designed "to meet consumer needs in all formats and fuel Hachette's growth in the U.K., the U.S., and international markets.

Among the changes:

In the U.S., Ben Sevier has been promoted to president and publisher, Grand Central Publishing Group. In addition to his current role overseeing Grand Central and its imprints, he takes on responsibility for Hachette Nashville and its imprints FaithWords, Center Street, and Worthy, as well as Hachette Books and its imprint Hachette Go.

Ben Sevier

Matt Wright, current CEO of Hachette UK Distribution, has become CEO of Hachette UK & Hachette Book Group Distribution, a newly created role. The company's distribution clients include Abrams (U.S.), Chronicle (U.S.), Yen Press (U.S.), Thames & Hudson (U.K.), Quarto (U.S. and U.K.), Elsevier (U.K.), Lonely Planet (U.K. & U.S.), and Bloomsbury (U.K.). Joanne Westbrook, current COO of Hachette UK Distribution, has been promoted to managing director of Hachette UK Distribution

In the U.K., Hachette will be structured into three core areas of publishing: Adult Trade, Children's Trade, and Education. These divisions will be headed up respectively by three CEOs: Katie Espiner, Hilary Murray Hill, and Seshni Jacobs.

Charlie King has been promoted to CEO of Little, Brown Book Group and CEO, HUK International Divisions. His responsibilities are expanding beyond his current Little, Brown managing director role to lead Hachette Australia, Hachette New Zealand, Hachette India, Hachette Ireland, and Laurence King Verlag.

Hachette UK and Hachette Book Group deputy CEO Richard Kitson is becoming chair of HUK International Divisions while continuing to lead the central departments in the U.K. and U.S. and working with Paperblanks, which Hachette UK acquired in 2022.

Nick Davies, currently managing director of John Murray Press, will become managing director of John Murray Press and Quercus.

Hachette Book Group and Hachette UK CEO David Shelley commented: "With these promotions, I believe we will be able to harness the fantastic talent across both Hachette Book Group US and Hachette UK and help make it easy for evermore readers to discover the books we publish on both sides of the Atlantic." He then congratulated the group "on their really well-deserved promotions."

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Jodi Goldstein Named Harvard Coop CEO; Jerry Murphy Retiring

Jodi Goldstein, co-founder of Harvard Innovation Labs, has been named the next CEO of the Harvard Cooperative Society (the "Coop") in Cambridge, Mass., which serves as the campus store and official bookstore for the Harvard and MIT communities, managed by Barnes & Noble College. She succeeds Jerry Murphy, who has led the Coop since 1991 and is retiring effective September 1.

Jerry Murphy and Jodi Goldstein

Reflecting on his tenure, Murphy said, "It has been an honor to serve as CEO of the Harvard Cooperative Society these last 30-plus years. I am proud of what we have accomplished, and I have truly enjoyed working with fantastic colleagues and students along the way. I am confident that Jodi's leadership will propel the Coop to new heights, and I look forward to witnessing its continued success."

In her new role, Goldstein, a 1989 graduate of the University of Vermont and a 1996 graduate of Harvard Business School, plans to build on Murphy's legacy and to continue to focus on the Coop's growth and transformation. She also aims to enhance member services, expand student engagement, refresh the Coop's digital presence, and further activate the Coop's real estate presence.

"I am thrilled and honored to be stepping into the role of CEO at the Harvard Cooperative Society," Goldstein said. "I am deeply grateful to Jerry Murphy for his outstanding leadership and dedicated service to the Coop and its members. I am excited to build on his legacy and continue to drive the growth and transformation of this historic institution. I look forward to working with the Coop's talented team, engaging with our members, and serving the Harvard and MIT communities."

John P. Reardon Jr., chairman of the Coop's board of directors, commented: "Jerry has been a fantastic CEO for over 30 years and has made his mark on the Coop, leaving it in an excellent position. He leaves large shoes to fill, but Jodi's strategic vision and innovative mindset make her the ideal leader for the next chapter. We are thrilled to welcome her aboard, and we are forever grateful to Jerry."

Magpie Books Opens in Longview, Wash.

Magpie Books, an all-ages, general-interest store carrying new and used titles, opened last month in downtown Longview, Wash., the Daily News reported.

Owner Alex Kirby, who opened the store with her husband, Daniel Kirby, carries predominantly used books along with an assortment of new releases. Part of the store remains under construction; Kirby said they still have "400 pounds of books" that have yet to be shelved. So far, she told the Daily News, the store's most popular sections have been history and nonfiction.

In the months ahead, Kirby plans to start hosting storytime sessions, book club meetings, craft meetings, and speaking events.

"We're interested in a lot," she said. "It's how we navigate everything that's currently in the climate of the world, but we also want the community to be looking out for things by reading and learning."

Neighbor Books Coming to McKinney, Tex.

Neighbor Books will open this summer at 208 E Louisiana St. in McKinney, Tex., Community Impact reported that co-owners Joey and Ginny Honescko plan to feature a wide selection of general fiction and nonfiction, a "robust children's section" with weekly story times, as well as book clubs and other local events. Drinks, including tea and coffee, are also on offer.

Neighbor Books owners Ginny and Joey Honescko

"This was one of the few things missing downtown, just a good local bookstore," Joey Honescko said. "Having that will be just another complement to the things that are going on down there. I just can't express enough how excited we are just to be able to offer something to McKinney. We just... love this place so much"

Neighbor Books will be located in the space currently occupied by Carpe Diem Comics. Shelving and seating are going to be added but no significant changes are planned for the space. Honescko noted: "The building is from... the late 1800s, so we don't want to mess with a whole lot there. It's so beautiful as it is."

He described a bookshop as a place that fosters conversations and interactions about literature: "We love the potential of what a bookstore can do. It's this overlap between people and ideas."

The store's name was inspired by the "neighbor mentality," which connects people based on proximity and despite their differences. "There's something lost, at times, in the digital world where we can sort of be removed from this neighbor mentality," Honescko said. "Our hope is that what we'll see through Neighbor [Books is] that there's more that... unites us, even if we are coming from all these differences."

B&N Opening Bookstore in Mooresville, N.C., Today

Barnes & Noble is opening a new store today, May 8, in the Mooresville Crossing mall at 611 River Highway in Mooresville, N.C. The opening celebration features author Megan Miranda cutting the ribbon and signing copies of her books. 

"Bookstores are beacons of community," B&N said. "It's no easy task to create unique experiences that cater to readers' individual interests, as Jason Dill and his team of booksellers have done here in Mooresville. We are very pleased to be expanding our footprint in the Lake Norman region as we continue to grow our list of stunning new bookstores opening this year."


Image of the Day: Carolyn Kuebler Launch at Vermont Book Shop

The Vermont Book Shop, Middlebury, Vt., hosted the launch event for Rain Taxi co-founder Carolyn Kuebler's debut novel, Liquid, Fragile, Perishable (Melville House). Pictured: Kuebler (l.) with owner Becky Dayton.

Oprah's Book Club Pick: Long Island

Oprah Winfrey has chosen Long Island by Irish author Colm Tóibín (Scribner) as the latest Oprah's Book Club Pick, the Associated Press reported, adding that the book, which was released yesterday, is a follow-up to the author's award-winning 2009 novel Brooklyn.

"I had so many mixed emotions reading this novel," Winfrey said. "I was captivated. Tóibín builds the story around a woman whose life changes seemingly overnight with the news of her husband's infidelity. It opens the door to her own secrets, grappling with choices she made long ago, urging her to break free from the silences she built around her life. A wonderful page-turner to start your summer reading."

Tóibín commented: "The voice at the other end of the phone was quiet, but also authoritative. She said: 'This is Oprah Winfrey.' Somehow, it was clear that this was not a joke, not a hoax. I was tempted to say: 'How are you?' But I think I spluttered a bit instead. Eventually, I managed to say that I deeply admire the way in which she connects books to readers. And then I added, as though it was an afterthought, that I was so delighted that she had chosen mine."

Bookseller Wedding Pics: Friendly City Books

"Our bookseller Lauren got married this weekend!!! Congratulations to Olivia and Lauren! We love you both so much and couldn't be happier for y'all," Friendly City Books, Columbus, Miss., reported. "Last weekend, Lauren and Olivia did a mini wedding photoshoot in the bookstore (complete with some of Lauren's favorite books!) and we are obsessed with how cute the pictures turned out. Have fun on your honeymoon! We miss y'all already!"

Personnel Changes at Eerdmans

Will Bergkamp is joining Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company as v-p of sales and marketing, effective June 5. He was mostly recently CEO and publisher for two years at Friendship Press, the publishing arm of the National Council of Churches. Before that, he spent 14 years at Fortress Press in a variety of roles, including editor-in-chief; v-p of business development; v-p and publisher; director of sales, marketing, and business development; and director of sales.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Rainn Wilson on CBS Mornings

CBS Mornings: Rainn Wilson, author of Soul Boom: Why We Need a Spiritual Revolution (Hachette Go, $19.99, 9780306828287).

Tamron Hall: Kandi Wiens, author of Burnout Immunity: How Emotional Intelligence Can Help You Build Resilience and Heal Your Relationship with Work (Harper Business, $32, 9780063323667).

The View: Susan Page, author of The Rulebreaker: The Life and Times of Barbara Walters (Simon & Schuster, $30.99, 9781982197926).

Kelly Clarkson Show: Luis A. Miranda Jr., author of Relentless: My Story of the Latino Spirit That Is Transforming America (Hachette Books, $30, 9780306833229).

Late Night with Seth Meyers: Tiffany Haddish, author of I Curse You with Joy (Diversion Books, $28.99, 9781635769531).

TV: Hearts of Darkness

Universal Television has acquired the rights to Jana Monroe's memoir Hearts of Darkness: Serial Killers, The Behavioral Science Unit, and My Life As a Woman in the FBI. Filmmaker Susanna Fogel (Winner, Booksmart) and Julia Ruchman (The Walking Dead) will both write and executive produce, with Fogel serving as director. Monroe and Rain Productions will also executive produce, Deadline reported.

"I'm excited to be working with UTV, Susanna, and Julia as they bring to life the stories I've lived," said Monroe. "Embarking on this adventure with UTV is like watching my life stories unfold on the screen in an exhilarating fusion of reality and imagination." 

Vivian Cannon, executive v-p of drama development at UTV, noted: "Jana Monroe kicks butt and takes names, all while defying expectations of what an FBI agent should be. Her life story is an incredible thrill ride packed with action, excitement, and rich, complicated characters whom we have never seen before on TV. Susanna and Julia are the ideal team to adapt Jana's memoir and bring her unbelievable true story to life." 

Mike Vanderhei of Rain Productions added: "Susanna and Julia's passion for the material in concert with their comprehensive and compelling take on how to tell these stories made them the perfect choice for the project. We are thrilled to have such an incredible team to build out this series."  

Books & Authors

Awards: Berman Literature Winner

Guatemalan author Eduardo Halfon has won the 2024 Berman Literature Prize, which honors "an author whose works embody the statutes of the Prize, in the spirit of the Jewish tradition and literary works aiming to explore the rich Jewish culture and at the same time exceed times and cultures thereby striving for the universally human." The award is 750,000 Swedish kronor (about $69,000).

Organizers focused on Halfon's novel Canción, published in 2021, in which "an author called Eduardo Halfon is invited to a conference for Lebanese authors in Japan and begins reflecting on his Jewish paternal grandfather's Syrian-Lebanese background and dramatic kidnapping by Guatemalan guerillas in the 1960s."

The jury noted that "with an inimitable sense of style and an impressionistic auto-fictional narrative, [Canción] dissolves every boundary between identity and mask, home and diaspora, past and present."

Jury chairman Daniel Pedersen called the novel "a rich portrayal of how lives are shaped by different layers of identity, how chance and violence affect people, regardless of language or culture. A short novel that manages the feat of uniting the long and broken lines of history."

Halfon was born in Guatemala in 1971 and has lived in the U.S., Spain, France, Germany, and elsewhere. In all his autofictional short novels, including The Polish Boxer (2008), Monastery (2014), Mourning (2017), and Canción (2021), he has explored the multifaceted legacy of the Diaspora and the transformative power of imagination. He lives in Berlin with his family.

Reading with... Stephanie Kuehnert

photo: Emily Olson

Stephanie Kuehnert  got her start as an author writing bad poetry about unrequited love and razor blades in eighth grade. In high school, she discovered punk rock and produced several DIY feminist zines. Her first two YA novels, I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone and Ballads of Suburbia, were published by MTV Books. She was a contributing writer for Rookie magazine for all seven glorious years of its existence. Her YA memoir, Pieces of a Girl, is available now from Dutton Young Readers.

Handsell readers your book in 25 words or less:

Pieces of a Girl is a zine-style memoir about growing up hard, fast, and messy, but surviving thanks to the power of storytelling and community.

On your nightstand now: 

I'm always reading at least two books, one fiction and one nonfiction. Right now, it's Nona the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir (Oh my god, do I love the Locked Tombseries. Lesbian necromancers in outer space? Yes, please!) and Punished for Dreaming: How School Reform Harms Black Children by Bettina L. Love. (Strong public education is key for a healthy multi-racial democracy, but our schools have failed our students of color, particularly Black children. Dr. Love's work provides necessary guidance for change.) Then I have a middle-grade novel on deck for after I finish Nona. When I was recording my audiobook, my book director told me about it: The First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Pérez. I was sold by the title alone, but when she mentioned it was set in Chicago and involves making zines.... It sounds like exactly the book I needed in junior high, so I can't wait to read it.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder. As I write in my memoir, it's problematic. It's settler-colonialist. It's racist. My parents pointed these things out to me when they read it and it got me thinking about those issues at a very early age, but I still really loved Laura. That said, I won't read those books with my kid. We'll be reading Louise Erdrich's Birchbark books instead.

Your top five authors:

Octavia E. Butler: I only discovered her 10 years ago (sinful considering my love for sci-fi and fantasy), but she's been my favorite author ever since. Her work is a survival manual for these times.

Louise Erdrich: I read Love Medicine in college and was hooked. My dad and I both love her, so whenever a new Erdrich book drops, we know what we're getting each other for the holidays.

Francesca Lia Block: when I was a teenager, there wasn't much in the way of YA that I related to. FLB wrote weirdo girls like me and didn't shy away from real issues that teens face. Her books are magic.

Jesmyn Ward: her novels are crushingly beautiful--that prose! That storytelling!--and Men We Reaped is one of the best memoirs I've ever read.

adrienne maree brown: she can do it all. I found her through her nonfiction. Emergent Strategy is basically my framework for life, but her poetry speaks to my witchy soul, and her fiction is a gorgeous meditation on grief and survival.

Book you've faked reading:

Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. It was a book that dudes especially seemed to love when I was in college in the early 2000s. Like how could I be a creative writing major if I hadn't read it? I had it on my shelf until I moved across the country, but yeah, no, literary dudes from my 20s, I did not read it. I was 100% prioritizing the Harry Potter books at the time.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Currently it's There Goes the Neighborhood by Jade Adia. This is the type of contemporary YA that I just devour: real characters facing real stakes that you think about long after you finish it. As someone who lives in a gentrifying neighborhood with a lot of incredible activist youth, it hit me hard.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera--the hardcover with the title shaved into the back of the girl's head? Immediately I thought this is going to be the absolute coolest book, and it was. It's another book I wish I had as a teenager both because of how unapologetically queer it is and how it explores the intersections of identity. I needed that as a white girl. 

Book you hid from your parents:

I grew up in a house where we could read whatever we wanted so I never hid books from my parents. In fact, I was always taking their books, even when I was probably too young for them. I stole my mom's copy of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou; it's still on my shelf along with my dad's copy of Stephen King's The Shining

Book that changed your life:

Girl Power by Hillary Carlip is the book that led me to Riot Grrrl and gave me a voice when I needed it most.

Favorite line from a book:

"All that you touch you change. All that you change changes you. The only lasting truth is change. God is change." --from Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler. These lines have become a mantra and a way of being for me.

Five books you'll never part with:

The aforementioned copy of Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

D'Aulaires Book of Greek Myths by Edgar Parin d'Aulaire and Ingri Parin d'Aulaire. I got it when I was eight and it was formative in so many ways... my child and my two cats all have mythological names.

Ramona Quimby, Age 8 by Beverly Cleary. A couple years ago my mom sent me my copies of the Ramona books so I could read them with my child. This one was always my favorite.

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. My signed copy. I cried when I met her. If I'd had that book when I was a teenager... even reading it as an adult was so healing.

And here is where I'm going to cheat: all four Rookie Yearbooks. Writing for Rookie was a transformational experience for me. The writers, artists, and editors there taught me so much. I love these gorgeous, physical copies of the best of the online magazine.

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

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor. What a world, what a coming-of-age story, and what a gut punch in that first novella. I want to suck in my breath the way I did the first time I read it.

Book you can't wait to share with your kid:

We've read some of my favorites--he loves Charlotte's Web by E.B. White as much as I did--but I can't wait to share Star Child by Ibi Zoboi in a few years as a gateway to Octavia E. Butler!

Book Review

Children's Review: Kindred Spirits

Kindred Spirits: Shilombish Ittibachvffa by Leslie Stall Widener, illus. by Johnson Yazzie (Charlesbridge, $17.99 hardcover, 32p., ages 5-8, 9781623543969, July 9, 2024)

Leslie Stall Widener has numerous works to her credit as an illustrator, including Chukfi Rabbit's Big, Bad Bellyache; she makes her debut as an author with this uplifting picture book about the power of empathy. Throughout this moving work of nonfiction, acts of compassion crisscross the ocean when people recognize their common humanity in each other's struggles. Kindred Spirits is a compelling reminder of people's potential to make a difference, regardless of how much or how little they have. Complementing Widener's text is the enchanting acrylic paint artwork of Navajo painter, bronze sculptor, and illustrator Johnson Yazzie (Yossel's Journey).

Widener here tells a true, pay-it-forward tale through poetry accompanied by sidebars with background details. Starting in Ireland in 1847, she recounts the famine that took the lives of more than a million people: "Farmers can't explain why/ fields of healthy-looking plants/ changed overnight./ It is the beginning of the great hunger/ that changed Ireland." Four thousand miles away, the people of the Choctaw Nation learn of the Irish tragedy: "Wrapped in the warmth of family,/ each Choctaw man, woman, and child listens./ They feel the pain of the Irish people." Despite their own troubles, the Choctaw people donate a substantial sum of money to help the Irish farmers "in honor of the injustice/ suffered by both Nations./ Shilombish ittibachvffa./ Those who feel the same./ Kindred spirits." Widener then brings her readers to the 21st century, as the Covid-19 pandemic ravages the Navajo and Hopi Nations. This time the people of Ireland reach out: "More than twenty-six thousand Irish people/ donate--many citing the Choctaw-Irish connection,/ honoring their ancestors/ and showing how one act of kindness can grow."

A citizen of the Choctaw Nation herself, Widener relates this inspiring saga with reverence and beauty, constructing an accessible history for young readers that highlights the spectacular results of empathy and compassion. Yazzie's art features striking, sometimes near-fluorescent colors and a multitude of textures. His figures are contained within a thick, black line often outlined by another, lighter color--white, orange, yellow--this acts to bring people forward in each illustration, focusing the eye on the humans.

The book offers additional information in the backmatter, including facts about the Trail of Tears and the Irish Potato Famine, as well as a timeline of events. While Kindred Spirits is intended for young readers, it is a gift for audiences of all ages and should be a staple in anyone's library. --Jen Forbus, freelancer

Shelf Talker: A member of the Choctaw Nation and a member of the Navajo Nation join forces in a stunning picture book that shares the uplifting story of how tragedy connected people from across an ocean.

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