Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, May 15, 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

Lykke Books Opens in New Ulm, Minn.

After making its debut as a pop-up store last year, Lykke Books has opened a bricks-and-mortar location in New Ulm, Minn., KEYC reported.

Brie Taralson at Lykke Books

Located at 203 N. Minnesota St. in downtown New Ulm, Lykke Books carries titles for all ages with an emphasis on local authors and poets. The shop also carries the work of local artists and artisans, and a portion of the bookstore's profits are donated to sister organization Lykke Communities, which funds programming for area youth.

Store owner Brie Taralson and her team held a soft opening for the bookstore on May 11; Lykke Books will eventually have a grab-and-go coffee bar, though it is still in the works. A grand opening celebration is scheduled for May 18 that will include a book signing and discussion with three Minnesota authors: Jess Lourey, Kristi Belcamino, and Sarah Stonich.

Taralson decided to open a bookstore of her own in October of last year, and though she quickly found a space, it would not be available for several months. She told KEYC: "We knew we wanted a permanent storefront, but it was going to be many months to open and we didn't want to wait, so we started as the pop-up shop because we wanted to start serving our community."


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Oliver & Friends Bookshop Relocating to Waterville, Maine

Oliver & Friends Bookshop will open in its new home in Waterville, Maine, later this month, the Morning Sentinel reported.

Store owner Renee Cunningham, who founded Oliver & Friends in Belgrade Lakes, Maine, in 2020, is planning for a soft opening in Waterville on May 22. A ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place on May 24, followed by a grand-opening celebration May 25.

The new space is 985 square feet, up from 750 square feet, and is located at 150 Main St. in a building owned by nearby Colby College. Cunningham carries general-interest titles for all ages, along with greeting cards and a variety of gifts.

"I'm loving the vibe of this city," Cunningham told the Sentinel. "I'm absolutely looking forward to opening my doors. Waterville has been so welcoming. The energy is great here on Main St."


Vroman's Closes Hastings Ranch Store

Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena, Calif., permanently closed its Hastings Ranch location on Sunday, Pasadena Now reported.

Vroman's announced the closure in March, explaining that it had been unable to reach agreement on a new, sustainable lease with the property owner. The company also reported that 12 employees would be affected by the closure, and said Vroman's would "do everything we can to support them through continued employment with the company where possible."

The Hastings Ranch store, located at 3729 E. Foothill Blvd., had been in operation for more than 20 years. Vroman's flagship location at 695 E. Colorado Blvd. in downtown Pasadena will continue to operate, as will Book Soup in West Hollywood, which Vroman's also owns.

Vroman's has been owned by the Sheldon family for most of its 130-year history, and in January, Joel Sheldon announced that he was looking to sell the store.


Obituary Note: Alice Munro

Alice Munro

Alice Munro, the Nobel Prize-winning author beloved for her brilliant short stories, died on Monday at age 92.

The New York Times called Munro "a member of the rare breed of writer, like Katherine Anne Porter and Raymond Carver, who made their reputations in the notoriously difficult literary arena of the short story, and did so with great success. Her tales--many of them focused on women at different stages of their lives coping with complex desires--were so eagerly received and gratefully read that she attracted a whole new generation of readers.

"Ms. Munro's stories were widely considered to be without equal, a mixture of ordinary people and extraordinary themes. She portrayed small-town folks, often in rural southwestern Ontario, facing situations that made the fantastic seem an everyday occurrence. Some of her characters were fleshed out so completely through generations and across continents that readers reached a level of intimacy with them that usually comes only with a full-length novel.

"She achieved such compactness through exquisite craftsmanship and a degree of precision that did not waste words. Other writers declared some of her stories to be near-perfect--a heavy burden for a writer of modest personal character who had struggled to overcome a lack of self-confidence at the beginning of her career, when she left the protective embrace of her quiet hometown and ventured into the competitive literary scene."

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wrote on X: "The world has lost one of its greatest storytellers. Alice Munro was captivated with everyday life in small-town Canada. Her many, many readers are, too. She will be dearly missed."

Kristin Cochrane, CEO of her longtime publisher, McClelland & Stewart, said, "Alice Munro is a national treasure--a writer of enormous depth, empathy, and humanity whose work is read, admired, and cherished by readers throughout Canada and around the world. Alice's writing inspired countless writers too, and her work leaves an indelible mark on our literary landscape."

Munro won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2013 and was cited as "master of the contemporary short story" who was able "to accommodate the entire epic complexity of the novel in just a few short pages." In 1986, she won the Governor General Literary Award for her first collection, Dance of the Happy Shades, and went on to win two more Governor General awards. She also won two Giller Prizes as well as the Man Booker International Prize, whose judges called her "practically perfect," adding that "she brings as much depth, wisdom and precision to every story as most novelists bring to a lifetime of novels. To read Alice Munro is to learn something every time that you never thought of before."

Alice Munro at the original Munro's Books
(photo courtesy Munro's Books)

Munro was also a bookseller. She and her first husband, James Munro, opened Munro's Books in Victoria, B.C., in 1963. CBC quoted Munro as saying the store helped her overcome writer's block. "The writing ceased to be this all-important thing that I had to prove myself with. The pressure came off."

Munro's Books said on Facebook: "Today we say goodbye to Alice Munro, a Canadian icon whose legacy lives on within our walls.

"Long before she went on to change the landscape of fiction at large, a young Alice was planting the seeds of literature here in Victoria. In 1951, she married Jim Munro, gaining the surname that would follow her into fame. Twelve years later, Munro's Books opened at its original location on Yates Street. A photo from that period shows a young clerk looking up from a cluttered front desk to chat with an elderly customer. Her smile is warm, her gaze alert despite the trifecta of childcare, writing, and store duties that flooded her daily life. She is Alice in her element: a writer among books.

"Just as she would shape Munro's, so would Munro's shape Alice. Jim enjoyed recounting his wife's urge to write something better than the 'crappy books' that sold alongside the store's more palatable titles. Yet the pleasures of bookselling found their way into Alice's fiction, too; one story even casts a neighbourhood bookshop as 'what a cabin in the woods might be to somebody else--a refuge and a justification.' What greater gift than to see our 'cabin in the woods' thus described by the words of the writer who helped lay its groundwork?

"One morning 50 years after Munro's first opened, staff arrived to find news outlets camped outside. Jim Munro was celebrating his 84th birthday, but reporters were seeking the other Munro: yes, that one. Overnight, Alice had been admitted into the annals of legend, her life's work awarded The Nobel Prize in Literature. At the time, 'Canada's Chekhov' was 82 years old, the thirteenth woman and only citizen of her country to have ever received the honour. Cheerful chaos swirled through the store as customers clamoured for Alice's books and staff scrambled to meet demand. Here was the culmination of a life devoted to writing, celebrated by the readers who had believed in her from the start.

"Over the years, Alice's writing would leave its mark on countless other literary greats, from Margaret Atwood to Julian Barnes to the store's own former bookseller Deborah Willis, whose debut story collection earned a generous endorsement from Alice herself on its cover. Despite the lofty honours bestowed upon her, she never stopped championing the ordinary lives of girls and women--or the undersung form of the short story, whose depths she plumbed again and again to astonishing effect. No matter how many writers we continue to champion in her name, Alice will always hold a special place on our shelves and in our hearts.

"Along with readers around the world, we send our deepest condolences to the Munro family."


Notes

Image of the Day: Sleeping Bear's Tour of the Mitten

The Sleeping Bear Press team recently went on a Tour of the Mitten (aka Michigan) to visit indie bookstores. At Schuler Books in Grand Rapids they stopped to admire the mural by local artist Gijsbert Van Frankenhuyzen, who illustrated many of the press's early titles. Pictured with Ben Mondloch, the CEO of Cherry Lake Publishing Group/Sleeping Bear Press, is Schuler's longtime children's manager, Miss Margaret.


Window Display: Celebrating Spring at Labyrinth Books

This May window display at Labyrinth Books, Princeton, N.J., was designed by and features seasonal titles from Princeton University Press.


PRHPS to Sell and Distribute TOKYOPOP

Penguin Random House Publisher Services will sell and distribute the entire TOKYOPOP frontlist and backlist across all sales channels worldwide, beginning January 1, 2025.

Founded in 1997 by Stu Levy, TOKYOPOP built the market for manga in North America and sells Asian pop culture across the globe. Its many adult and children's titles include Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas: The Battle for Pumpkin King, the LoveLove imprint's FANGS and On or Off, and TOKYOPOP Classics like Dramacon.

TOKYOPOP COO and publisher Marc Visnick commented: "Penguin Random House offers an industry-leading range of proven sales, distribution, and publishing services that will provide the important tools necessary to continue our growth trajectory. With PRHPS as a partner, we will be better situated to take advantage of market opportunities as the manga, graphic novel and comics arenas continue to evolve while also expanding our reach into new markets."

PRHPS executive v-p Rachel Goldstein said, "As long-time admirers of TOKYOPOP's pathfinding publishing, we are thrilled to welcome them to Penguin Random House Publisher Services. Under the astute leadership of Stu Levy, Marc Visnick and their team, they continue to identify the perfect partnerships with which to expand their manga list to untapped opportunities in the marketplace, and we are excited to bring the full range of our sales and distribution experience and relationships to deliver their creators' work to even more readers worldwide."


Personnel Changes at Simon & Schuster

At Simon & Schuster:

Kaiya Muniz is joining the sales team as national account manager for Barnes & Noble, effective May 20. She is transitioning from her position as national account manager on the distribution sales team.

Ric Pychewicz has joined the adult demand planning group as associate demand planning manager. He was previously academic sales data analyst at Bloomsbury.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: LaDarrion Williams on Good Morning America

Tomorrow:
CBS Mornings: Salman Khan, author of Brave New Words: How AI Will Revolutionize Education (and Why That's a Good Thing) (Viking, $30, 9780593656952).

Good Morning America: LaDarrion Williams, author of Blood at the Root (Labyrinth Road, $20.99, 9780593711927).

Live with Kelly and Mark: Jessica Biel, author of A Kids Book About Periods (DK Children, $19.99, 9780593847091).

The View: Helen Rebanks, author of The Farmer's Wife: My Life in Days (Harper Horizon, $29.99, 9780785290483).



Books & Authors

Awards: British Book and Trade Winners

The 2024 British Book Awards, aka the Nibbies, included both book and trade categories.

Book categories:

Overall Book of the Year and Lifestyle & Illustrated Non-Fiction Winner: Murdle by G.T. Karber
Author of the Year: Katherine Rundell
Illustrator of the Year: Jamie Smart
Fiction: Yellowface by Rebecca F. Kuang
Pageturner: Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros
Crime & Thriller: None of This Is True by Lisa Jewell
Début Fiction: In Memoriam by Alice Winn
Narrative Non-Fiction: Politics on the Edge: A Memoir from Within by Rory Stewart
Discover: Lessons From Our Ancestors by Raksha Dave, illustrated by Kimberlie Clinthorne-Wong
Children's Non-Fiction: Brilliant Black British History by Atinuke, illustrated by Kingsley Nebechi
Children's Illustrated: Bunny vs Monkey: Multiverse Mix-Up! by Jamie Smart
Children's Fiction: Impossible Creatures by Katherine Rundell
Non-Fiction Audiobook: Strong Female Character, written and narrated by Fern Brady
Fiction Audiobook: None of This Is True by Lisa Jewell, narrated by Nicola Walker and Louise Brealey

Among the trade winners:

Independent Bookshop of the Year and Wales Winner: Book-ish, Crickhowell, winner for the second time in its 14-year history. "Sales grew again thanks to creative bookselling, a remarkable array of in-store, festival and school events, reading groups and a good online offer. It also opened a second shop in nearby Abergavenny after a successful crowdfunder."
(See the nine regional and country winners here.)

Children's Bookseller of the Year and Book Retailer of the Year: The Children's Bookshop, London, which "celebrates its 50th birthday this year--making it not just the longest-standing children's bookstore in the country, but old enough to be selling books to the grandchildren of its first young customers. Yet it's a shop that never seems to age, with a youthful energy for reading and its community." The Children's Bookshop is only the second independent bookshop to win the book retailer award in the award's 11-year history.

Individual Bookseller of the Year: Amanda Dunne Fulmer of Halfway Up the Stairs, Greystones, County Wicklow, Ireland. "Having joined the children's specialist five years ago after a decade in school libraries, she has worked tirelessly to get all her young customers reading for pleasure, regardless of their abilities and interests. She knows that good bookselling starts with listening, and takes the time to understand needs before recommending suitable books from an encyclopeadic knowledge of children's authors and illustrators."


Reading with... Alicia D. Williams

photo: Jasiatic

Alicia D. Williams is the author of Genesis Begins Again, which received a Newbery Honor, was a William C. Morris finalist, and won the Coretta Scott King-John Steptoe Award for New Talent. Williams, a Master Teaching Artist of arts integration, infuses her love for drama, movement, comedy, and storytelling to inspire students to write their own narratives. Her new book is the novel-in-verse Mid-Air (Atheneum).

Handsell readers your book in 25 words or less: 

After a tragedy, two boys restart a Guinness World Records mission. Will they complete their quest and save their friendship? Or ruin it altogether? 

On your nightstand now:  

Whoa, that's a loaded question. There isn't one book on my nightstand. There are books--with an s--on my nightstand. Always. 

Hear me out. I have one for pleasure, another for Sunday self-care, a few for research, others for mentor texts, and ughh, okay... I'm a Libra. 

On my nightstand sits:  

My journal. It's important to have a safe place to dump my thoughts, worries, lessons, and positive self-talk.  

My notebook of story ideas. I've got one, and the cover has a picture of Wonder Woman. My notepad is full of random plots, pieces of dialogue, and subjects that I hope to live long enough to write.  

Atomic Habits by James Clear. I need to be better at organization and time management. The number of books stacked on my nightstand is an example.   

A Wish in the Dark by Christina Soontornvat. I started this in August of 2023, and I love it so much that I couldn't finish it. I wanted to linger with it longer.

A Vein of Gold by Julia Cameron. Recently my daughter shared that she was reading The Artist's Way, a book she learned about from TikTok. I had Julia's follow up, A Vein of Gold, and because of my daughter's excitement, I moved it from the shelf to my nightstand. 

Favorite book when you were a child: 

I recall enjoying the Choose Your Own Adventure stories. But Judy Blume's Blubber was the first time I ever saw a character that was remotely relatable to me. That book opened the door to other Judy Blume books.  

But Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret was my favorite. The story included friendship, new girl to new clique, body changing and puberty, and--most importantly--uncomfortable conversations parents didn't want to have.  

Your top five authors: 

You know this is an unfair question, don't you?

Virginia Hamilton. The People Could Fly introduced me to folktales. It was not only my introduction, but my daughter's, too. Because of her work, I fell in love with folklore. 

Anne Ursu. I remember the day Anne said, "I want to read your manuscript." My manuscript was a hot mess! It wasn't even finished. But I got it done and sent it off. Anne offered revision notes and got me to query. If she hadn't asked to see my work, I'm not sure I would've gathered my courage to enter the publishing world when I did. 

Laurie Halse Anderson. She offered me true, genuine encouragement before my first novel came out. She didn't know me, but she gave me advice, author to author. That conversation meant so much. 

Renée Watson. She bravely writes inclusive stories and empowers readers to love themselves and defy body expectations. I was an assistant teacher in kindergarten when I first read Watson's Piecing Me Together and it was so helpful. 

Jesmyn Ward. She brings humility, empathy, and compassion to her characters. She writes beautiful, poetic prose. 

Book you've faked reading: 

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I never read it in high school or college. It's incredible how many craft books reference this book, so it feels as if I've read it. 

Book you're an evangelist for:  

Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward is a story I come back to again and again. My copy is marked up with highlights and margin notes. This story holds many parallels that one might miss on the first read. She's a brilliant storyteller.

Book you've bought for the cover: 

Internment by Samira Ahmed. The girl on the cover is fierce, undaunting, and powerful.  

Book you hid from your parents: 

When I was young, I had a little green diary with a gold lock. What I wrote was lackluster. It held no secrets or stories worth hiding. Until I snuck and read my cousin's diary, that is. That's when I realized that my life was messy only because of my parent's lifestyle, and not of my own creation. She, on the other hand, had her first and second kisses. She had secret boyfriends. She had worthwhile secrets. That's when I began to create my own scandalous life. Yes, it was untrue, sure. I was too insecure, too chubby, too shy to even think about a first kiss. But I had crushes. Real crushes. And, boy, was my fraudulent life worth hiding. 

Book that changed your life: 

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou was the one book that spoke to my life. It reflected a Black family like mine. Maya experienced a painful event of abuse, and so had I. Through her story, I learned I wasn't alone and how to manage my guilt and shame, too.  

This book continues to be banned because some parents believe children shouldn't be exposed to such topics. I don't know where I would be, how angry I would've stayed, how low I would've sunk, if I had not read this book. It contains conversations that adults don't want to have. Children hold secrets whether adults want to believe this truth or not. These events are difficult for children to process, trust me, I know. But this story allowed a safe space for little me to do so. 

Favorite line from a book: 

I'm a Libra. You expect me to pull just one line?

From Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston: 

"So they chewed up the back parts of their minds and swallowed with relish. They made burning statements with questions, and killing tools out of laughs."

Five books you'll never part with: 

Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse. Karen creates a memorable historical fiction with grief and determination, forgiveness and deferred dreams.  

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor. I love the balance of the ensemble cast as the reader is carefully led through racially tumultuous events and shown the resilience of a Black family in the South.  

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson is a brave book. It speaks to so many sexual abuse survivors because of the care Laurie takes in handling this topic. It allows readers to feel the character's anxiety and trauma, but with enough buffer to feel safe. 

A Taste of Power by Elaine Brown. I read this in college and could not put it down. Elaine Brown shares her experience in the Black Panther Party and how she navigated hierarchy and patriarchy while fighting to make a difference.  

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. Hurston's writing is like eating gingerbread with buttermilk on her porch. This is a beautiful, empowering story about a woman coming into her own and finally loving on her own terms.  

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

Voodoo Dreams by Jewell Parker Rhodes. The story revolves around voodooiene Marie Laveau. This book is delicious and oh, so haunting! Later, I discovered that Jewell Parker Rhodes was also a kidlit writer too, yet this story was my introduction to her work. 


Book Review

Children's Review: The Imaginoodles

The Imaginoodles by Christopher Eliopoulos (Rocky Pond Books, $19.99 hardcover, 48p., ages 4-8, 9780593698488, July 9, 2024)

A nervous hedgehog meets a rambunctious chipmunk in the inviting, exhilarating, laugh-out-loud Imaginoodles, about the power of imagination to overcome just about anything.

Henry is a hedgehog with a shyness problem. Whenever he is startled or frightened--"FWOOMP!"--he curls into a prickly protective ball. Not surprisingly, he prefers storybook adventures to the real-world kind. So, when he reluctantly meets his exuberant new neighbor, Chester the chipmunk, he is not prepared for the sheer number of antics that await. Chester is a whirlwind of creative energy who "meets" Henry by crashing into him ("FWOOMP"). Barely pausing for Henry to recover, Chester invites him to play. "So, what do you want to do? White water rafting?! Deep-sea diving?! Bobsledding?! Spelunking?! Tightrope walking?! Skydiving?!"

Overwhelmed, Henry listens to Chester wax poetic about the power of imagination, explaining that the ordinary things around them can be transformed into something extraordinary. While the "wizard Chester" brandishes his magical stick against a fantastical, vividly hued background of castles and mountains, Henry's dry commentary, shown in neutrally colored inset panels, provides comic contrast. While Chester sees "the wise and powerful Smartacus," Henry sees a garden gnome. Action figures and twigs become the "Trolls of the Tangerine Forest." When Chester fights the "Giant Air Squid in the Ocean of Forgotten Dreams," Henry narrates: "Blow-up toy in a kiddie pool." Finally, Chester has had enough: "Don't you want to go places and see things you've never seen before?" When Henry admits that he does, but he's scared, his new pal proves that he is a true friend. "Imagination... is about being silly and not caring what anyone else thinks."

Ordinary People Change the World series creator and illustrator Christopher Eliopoulos uses sharp, clean lines and bright colors in this comic-book-style picture book. Eliopoulos cleverly uses panels to distinguish the imagined from the real, to enhance the humor, and to focus the eye on important and emotionally expressive moments. As Henry works to connect with Chester and his own imagination, the panels decrease, and the made-up stories become immersive, double-page spreads. Eliopoulos navigates everyday kid issues, such as shyness and insecurity, with humor and sensitivity. For all the children who think they would rather "read a book... instead" of adventuring, Eliopoulos (and Chester) opens a wonderful world: imagination turned to action. --Emilie Coulter, freelance writer and editor

Shelf Talker: A lively picture book demonstrates the magic that happens with a generous application of imagination on everyday objects and situations, even transforming a shy hedgehog into a fun, heroic friend.


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