Shelf Awareness for Readers for Tuesday, June 4, 2019


Grove Press: Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata

From My Shelf

Workman Publishing: Atlas Obscura, 2nd Edition: An Explorer's Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders (Second Edition, Revised) by Joshua Foer, Ella Morton, Dylan Thuras

Andrews McMeel Publishing: Bloodlust & Bonnets by Emily McGovern

The Beauty of Boredom

Did you ever complain of being bored as a child, simply to be told that "only boring people are bored"? It was a fairly constant refrain in my own childhood, and as frustrating as it was to hear at the time, it turns out there may have been some truth in the old adage, as these authors suggest.

In 2015, Manoush Zomorodi, creator of the popular radio show and podcast Note to Self, led listeners through a weeks-long experiment to unplug from their devices and free up time in their days to just be bored. This experiment forms the backbone of her book, Bored and Brilliant (Picador, $18), which expands on the connection between boredom and creativity. Backed with scientific research and data, Zomorodi's book invites us to step away from Facebook and let one's mind wander--in the name of productivity!

In The Distraction Addiction (Little, Brown, $29), Alex Soojung-Kim Pang offers readers additional suggestions for how to unplug in a digital world. Neither Zomorodi nor Pang are Luddites, arguing for the removal of all phones or connectivity, however; both urge us to find balance between the usefulness of our devices and the need for distraction-free time in order to do our best thinking. Pang expands on this theory about disconnecting in his second book, Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less (Basic Books, $16.99.

Some of these same tips are repeated--and joined by new pieces of advice and suggestions--in Make Time: How to Focus on What Matters Every Day (Currency, $27), in which two tech gurus expound on the ways they have adjusted their own technology use to make technology work for them, rather than as a distraction. Up next on my own reading list in this category is How to Do Nothing (Melville House, $25.99) by Jenny Odell, which promises suggestions for "resisting the attention economy." --Kerry McHugh, blogger at Entomology of a Bookworm


Other Press: Inheritance: A Novel by Evelyn Toynton


Book Candy

A Merriam-Webster Vocabulary Quiz

"How strong is your vocabulary?" Merriam-Webster asked.

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Buzzfeed checked out "21 libraries that will make you say 'damn, that is CLEVER.' "

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CrimeReads revealed "the many mysteries of Oxford," the university town that "inspires a booming crime fiction scene."

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Toshihiko Hosaka's "Full Page Editorial" sand sculpture implored Japan to reduce plastic use, Colossal reported.

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The New York Public Library asked: "How well do you know foodie kidlit?"


Sleeping Bear Press: Snow Globe Wishes by Erin Dealey, illustrated by Claire Shorrock


Great Reads

Rediscover: D-Day: The Battle for Normandy

This coming Thursday, June 6, marks the 75th anniversary of D-Day, when U.S., British and Canadian forces landed in Nazi-occupied France. In the run-up to this milestone, Shelf Awareness has been periodically highlighting some of the best books about D-Day. This is the last in the series.

British military historian Antony Beevor is best known for his two books about the Eastern Front of World War II: Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege, 1942-1943 (1998) and The Fall of Berlin 1945 (2002). Aside from these mega-bestselling titles, Beevor has covered most every aspect of the conflict, from the invasion of Crete (Crete: The Battle and the Resistance, 1991) and the Battle of the Bulge (Ardennes 1944, 2015) to a compendium of the entire war (The Second World War, 2012). His most recent work is The Battle of Arnhem: The Deadliest Airborne Operation of World War II (2018). All of Beevor's books move deftly between large scale operational history and the experiences of individual soldiers. D-Day: The Battle for Normandy (2009) opens the night before the invasion and ends with the liberation of Paris. It tracks American, British, Canadian and German soldiers in command and combat roles while also documenting the terrible cost to French civilians caught in the fighting. D-Day: The Battle for Normandy was last published in 2010 by Penguin Books ($22, 9780143118183). --Tobias Mutter


Lifestyle Entrepreneurs Press: The Offline Dating Method: How to Attract a Great Guy in the Real World by Camille Virginia


The Writer's Life

Ocean Vuong: The Space Between the Fractures

photo: Tom Hines

Ocean Vuong's book of poetry, Night Sky with Exit Wounds (Copper Canyon), was a New York Times Top 10 Book of 2016 and won the T.S. Eliot Prize, a Whiting Award, the Thom Gunn Award and the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. Vuong's debut novel, On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous (Penguin Press), is a coming-of-age story set around Hartford, Conn., where the author grew up after his family immigrated from Vietnam. He's currently an assistant professor at UMass-Amherst.

Night Sky with Exit Wounds struck an amazing chord with readers. Did you ever think poetry would make you a rock star?

No. I was happy to have an ISBN and to have a book to show my family, my mother particularly. But, you know, the first thing I learned as a poet: there's no parade in poetry. I was hoping to please my mentors and my friends. That's kind of all I needed. I was the first to go to college in my family and I just wanted to come back to Hartford and say, hey, this is what I've been doing all these years. I knew my mother was going to put the book in her desk at the nail salon where she works and show her customers. She respects writing. She can't do it. She can't read, but she respects books. She had a hunger for that, but the [Vietnam War] interrupted it for her.

Why do you think poetry has become such a lifeline for young people especially?

I came of age under 9/11. There was this great resurgence, and poetry was everywhere. If you see the photos in the subways after the catastrophe, you see sticky notes that covered the tiles. People were writing and sharing poems. When a society is collectively fractured and the floor falls out from beneath us, we need to communicate that chaos, that trauma.

Our daily speech has crowded out the access of an inner life: How's the weather? How are you? Fine. Language is just space filler so that we can move on. Language actually becomes a wall, and we limit the potentiality of understanding our inner lives. Language can be a bridge. But the way we use it shuts us all out from each other and we end up spending years not knowing the people closest to us.

But if someone opens it up, all of a sudden, we realize we're hungry for it. And I think the collective shattering of a catastrophe throws away that veil and you understand that everybody is going through this thing. We have to look to poetry in order to stop talking about the weather.

A lot of this novel feels like your poetry--lyrical and observational. Why did you decide to write this book in prose?

It was an experiment. I told myself if I pick up the pen and it doesn't surprise me, if I sound redundant or I bore myself, I'll quit and go back to poems. The poetry took off in ways that no poet really imagines. Then people start asking: All right, when's the next one; the sophomore book? And they said, you already wrote about American violence, intergenerational trauma, queerness, so you've got to do something else now.

I was honestly terrified of that endeavor because I thought, 85 pages of poems--did that book really exhaust the possibilities of these questions that I spent most of my life asking? I'll never be done asking these questions. If I take these questions--about how American identity forged from violence can heal--into a different genre, will I discover more things?

And, of course the novel offered new opportunities. In poems, you write a draft--a page, maybe two--and you put it away. And in prose this world doesn't go away. Whether I'm doing dishes, whether I'm going grocery shopping or I'm talking to my friend, the novel never left me. And that was daunting, but also it was a challenge.

A lot of what I couldn't do in the poems was to paint a portrait of people: working-class immigrants that shape New England working-class identity. In my small way, I wanted to salvage that robust and rich and diverse identity.

Are you frequently asked where the line between autobiography and fiction is in your work?

I would like to echo Teju Cole, one of my private heroes. He says for the politicized body--the person of color, the queer person--identity is often co-opted as an agenda or a larger abstracted platform. For the politicized body it's incredibly important to salvage oneself through the personal. I'm also a dog lover, vegan, son, brother, a lover of lavender. That's how we reclaim idiosyncratic life in the midst of a politicized realm. So, I invite the autobiographical knowing.

I go back to an Asian-American American elder, Maxine Hong Kingston. She wanted Woman Warrior to be a great American novel. She wanted to plant her own flag amongst the canon. She wanted to be right up there with Carver and Faulkner. She had this big dream. And the publisher convinced her to just call it a memoir. And I think that happens a lot for writers of color. We are often expected to be merely the conduit of an anthropological truth.

If you were a bookseller who wanted to help readers discover this novel, what kind of shelf talker would you write?

I think it's a story that insists that in between the fractures there's a whole life. I don't know if that sells it, but that's how I would like to present it to the world. You know, you look at a broken vase on the floor and you think, we've got to glue this back together and put this back on the pedestal. But I think hastening to that impulse might be a mistake, particularly when it comes to our history as a country. And this book says, hold on, that space right there between; a whole life can exist there. And if we leave it and honor it, we also have an archive of the breakage and the violence. I haven't been a bookseller so it might be a rookie attempt.

Every time I go to a town, I stop by the local bookstore to re-orient myself. It's my way of knowing who these people are and what's it like here. I've learned that booksellers are the closest thing, in my mind, to educators. As a teacher I'm mapping for my students a reading futurity, or a map forward. They might not know what they could read next based on what they like. You walk into a bookstore and booksellers do the same thing. I learned the phrase handselling and what that meant. It was the most beautiful thing. And I thought, wait a minute, I handsell, too--in the classroom! We're building a future. Those algorithms can only show you where you've been. They can only show your past. You walk into a bookstore and you're walking into the future of your intellectual and cultural life. --Kristianne Huntsberger, writer, storyteller and partnership marketing manager at Shelf Awareness


Weldon Owen: The Official Downton Abbey Cocktail Book: Appropriate Libations for All Occasions by Downton Abbey


Book Review

Fiction

Searching for Sylvie Lee

by Jean Kwok


After a childhood split between the Netherlands and New York City's Chinatown, Sylvie Lee doesn't feel she fits in anywhere. Striking and intelligent, she becomes a hard-driving high achiever, earning top grades at Princeton and building a high-powered consulting career. Her younger sister, Amy, big-hearted but shy, idolizes Sylvie, and Sylvie becomes Amy's champion and protector. But when Sylvie returns to Amsterdam to visit her dying grandmother and then disappears, the younger sister flies across the ocean to find her--or, failing that, to unearth some answers.

In Searching for Sylvie Lee, Jean Kwok returns to some of the themes she has explored in her previous novels, Girl in Translation and Mambo in Chinatown. Both sisters struggle to balance the weight of their elders' history and traditions with their own dreams (and realities) of building lives in the United States. Amy and Sylvie have never been to China, and their mother has never learned English; the sisters feel the pull of their ancestral culture and also resent the ways it marks them as different.

Kwok tells her story in three voices: Sylvie's, Amy's and the voice of their mother, known simply as "Ma." Each woman sees her own relationships and interactions with the others in an entirely different light, making this a compelling story of how the unsaid can powerfully shape families and lives. Sharply observed, with a plot as unpredictable as its moody Dutch landscape, Kwok's novel is a powerful meditation on loss, identity and belonging. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

Discover: Jean Kwok's twisty, atmospheric third novel explores the secrets of a Chinese American family in the Netherlands.

Morrow, $26.99, hardcover, 336p., 9780062834300

Magination Press: Snitchy Witch by Frank J Sileo, illustrated by MacKenzie Haley


City of Girls

by Elizabeth Gilbert


The glittering theater world of 1940s New York is the backdrop for Elizabeth Gilbert's marvelous fourth novel, City of Girls. Gilbert's delightfully witty narrator is Vivian Morris, a woman with a big, bold life story and the determination to be true to herself in pursuit of her personal happiness.

Vivian recounts the adventures of her gloriously misspent youth, beginning when she moves in with her Aunt Peg in Manhattan. Aunt Peg's universe revolves around her down-and-out theater company, the Lily Playhouse, and it is this world of lowbrow entertainment that Vivian gleefully embraces as an antidote to her conservative upbringing. The Lily's star showgirl, Celia, introduces her to wild parties, rampant sex and drunken escapades.

After a night of especially wanton debauchery, Vivian is caught up in a media scandal that forces her to take stock of her life. She realizes there are only two things she is exceedingly good at: sewing and sex. Vivian enjoys sex far too much to commodify it, so she pursues a career as a seamstress, along the way building a life rich in loving friendships, acts of kindness and sexual freedom.

Gilbert (The Signature of All Things; Big Magic) reminds readers that there is no shame in the pursuit of sexual excitement. In fact, a life lived with passion and a good dose of reckless abandon makes people more interesting and probably also happier. Female literary characters are usually slain by their own desires, but not Vivian. This unapologetically sensual woman not only survives but positively thrives in her unconventional life. --Shahina Piyarali, writer and reviewer

Discover: A spirited young woman coming of age in mid-20th-century New York proves that her riotous sexual exploits and joyful promiscuity don't make her a bad person.

Riverhead, $28, hardcover, 480p., 9781594634734

Sterling Children's Books: Momentous Events in the Life of a Cactus (Life of a Cactus #2) by Dusti Bowling


More News Tomorrow

by Susan Richards Shreve


Nearly seven decades after it takes place, the reverberation of a brutal crime in the life of one of its victims is the subject of Susan Richards Shreve's pensive 16th novel, More News Tomorrow. Shreve (Miracle Play) combines elements of a classic mystery novel with a contemporary psychological thriller to create a story whose surface simplicity conceals depths of emotion.

On June 17, 1941, as the sun rises at a remote campsite in the northern Wisconsin woods, the body of Josephine Grove, dead by strangulation, is discovered. Her husband, William, a Lithuanian Jewish immigrant with a Ph.D. in physics, quickly confesses to the murder. In the chaotic aftermath, their four-year-old daughter, Georgianna, is rushed away to Michigan, to be raised by her maternal grandparents.

Decades later, on her 70th birthday, Georgianna receives the first in a series of letters from Roosevelt McCrary, who, as an 11-year-old, was among those at the scene of Josephine's death. Georgianna is spurred by this correspondence to gather her children and grandchildren for a return to the murder site on the 67th anniversary of the killing, where she hopes to find evidence that finally will exonerate her long-dead father.

Shreve writes from the perspectives of Georgianna and her 13-year-old grandson, Thomas, with flashbacks seen through William's eyes. While maintaining maximum suspense until the final pages, she patiently reveals facts that make Josephine's killing, if hardly excusable, at least somehow comprehensible. This is a story whose journey is as rewarding as its destination. --Harvey Freedenberg, freelance reviewer

Discover: An aging woman returns to the scene of her mother's murder, hoping she'll find proof that her father is not the killer.

Norton, $25.95, hardcover, 208p., 9780393292947

Shadow Mountain:  Master of the Phantom Isle (Dragonwatch #3) by Brandon Mull


The Lost Letters of William Woolf

by Helen Cullen


William Woolf had grandiose plans to write a great English novel. When he and his wife, Clare, fell in love in college, they envisioned a future pursuing their passions--literature and art, respectively. But as the years went by, Clare, who has always sought stability, became a lawyer to help pay the bills. And as she's risen in her profession, William has stagnated in his. For more than a decade he's worked at the East London Dead Letters Depot, trying to decipher the mysteries of mail gone awry.

William finds the work fascinating, but Clare resents his lack of ambition. He spends his day sifting through mail, working with oddball characters and casually reading bits of other people's lives. His not-so-lofty goal of reuniting people with their poorly addressed parcels is finally interrupted when his passion is sparked by the discovery of a series of letters addressed simply to "My Great Love." The content of these letters sends William on a journey that will change his and Clare's lives irrevocably.

Gently paced and focused deeply on William and Clare's motivations, The Lost Letters of William Woolf is a story of love lost and found; both the tale of a failing marriage and the finding of romance. Helen Cullen's first novel is sure to appeal to anyone who's ever been curious about a letter gone astray, and readers who have found themselves surprised by the direction their life has taken. --Jessica Howard, bookseller at Bookmans, Tucson, Ariz.

Discover: In this intriguing debut, an employee of the Dead Letters Depot finds his life drastically changed when he discovers a series of letters addressed simply to "My Great Love."

Graydon House, $26.99, hardcover, 336p., 9781525892080

Book Lovers Con 2020 - The Ultimate Reader Experience


All the Lost Things

by Michelle Sacks


In All the Lost Things, Michelle Sacks tells the story of seven-year-old Dolly, who is excited to go on her first real adventure. She and her often-absent father hit the road one day out of the blue, and Dolly is thrilled to have him all to herself. She brings her favorite toy and her imaginary friend, Clemesta, along for the ride. But what starts as a rose-colored trip through rust-belt America becomes a descent into eerie Southern locales and paranoid fears. Dolly grows increasingly tired of their transient lifestyle and wary of her father's mood swings. Meanwhile, Clemesta is urging her to remember something important, something that might unlock the answer to this mysterious adventure and the question of where her mother really is.

As in her debut novel You Were Made for This, Sacks proves herself a master of slow-burn suspense. In All the Lost Things, she trades the quietly sinister voices of two female friends for the high-energy buoyancy of a child in denial. Dolly's perspective seamlessly folds her moment-to-moment observations into her sporadic memories, building a full picture of the life she and her parents led before her father swooped her off the front porch and into his car. The tension in this emotionally nuanced novel comes not from the question of what Dolly's father actually did, which the reader suspects early on, but from where this physical journey and mental unfolding may take them, and what might be lost along the way. --Alice Martin, freelance writer and editor

Discover: Michelle Sacks's All the Lost Things delivers a poignant portrayal of a child in the midst of unthinkable circumstances.

Little, Brown, $27, hardcover, 288p., 9780316475457

Nonfiction

Underland: A Deep Time Journey

by Robert MacFarlane


British nature writer Robert Macfarlane has long been intrigued by mountains, forests and wild places. His fifth book, Underland, is in some ways a literal and metaphorical inversion of his previous work. Instead of climbing up, Macfarlane (Landmarks; The Old Ways) goes down, into underworlds both physical and spiritual. He takes readers along as he visits deep mine shafts (abandoned and working), the maze of catacombs under Paris, cavernous spaces created by underground rock formations and ultra-secure facilities intended for the eons-long storage of nuclear waste. His travels take him to remote places in Norway and Slovenia, and he also delves into the reasons humans hide or bury objects, and the potential implications of such burials.

With a keen eye for detail, Macfarlane describes the underlands he visits and explores their complicated histories, which often include "past pain and present beauty." He is awed, fascinated and sometimes unnerved by these landscapes: ancient cave art painted in red; ice hikes across glaciers; the profoundly unsettling effects of human industry and conflict over centuries. Underland draws together forest, glacier, city and mountain, but it also picks up threads of science, religion, mysticism and anthropology. It is Macfarlane's most ambitious work yet: an examination of what human beings hide and why, what the earth itself keeps secret, and the potentially steep price of ignoring both. At once contemplative and urgent, Underland is an eloquent, eerie and compelling journey into dark and fascinating corners of the world. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

Discover: Nature writer Robert Macfarlane explores "deep time" through his journeys into physical and metaphorical underlands.

Norton, $27.95, hardcover, 496p., 9780393242140

Biography & Memoir

Formation: A Woman's Memoir of Stepping Out of Line

by Ryan Leigh Dostie


It's difficult to find a single quote to quantify the anger that sticks in one's craw while reading Ryan Leigh Dostie's Formation: A Woman's Memoir of Stepping Out of Line. The sheer number, along with Dostie's evocative recounting, renders it impossible. Examples include tried-and-trues such as: "It's your word against his" and "Are you sure you want to ruin this guy's life?"

"Unsubstantiated" was the term used by Dostie's captain to announce to her entire army company the result of an "investigation" into her rape by a fellow soldier. Hesitant to report, Dostie turned to her command, the "father figures" and "abstract constructs of justice and integrity" who were supposed to protect her, only to have them stonily and resoundingly tell her, "No." 

Neither Dostie nor her memoir is defined by her rape, but it viscerally informs them. A Persian-Farsi linguist in military intelligence, Dostie ships off with her unit to Iraq not long after 9/11 (and her rape). As she navigated the testosterone-laden hierarchy as a female soldier and isolated trauma survivor, her sense of self was further eroded. She over-ate to create a shield for her body and began cutting to find relief.

Threading back through Dostie's upbringing in a Christian cult to her life after the army, Formation delves brilliantly into the Venn diagram of trauma, patriarchy, the military and what it means to be a woman at the center. Growing up, Dostie thought she might want to write crime fiction. Instead, life handed her a personal true crime one wishes had been the product of her imagination. --Lauren O'Brien of Malcolm Avenue Review

Discover: Ryan Leigh Dostie joined the army knowing that the testosterone-filled milieu would be a challenge--and it became more so when she was raped by a fellow soldier.

Grand Central, $28, hardcover, 368p., 9781538731536

The Ministry of Truth: The Biography of George Orwell's 1984

by Dorian Lynskey


Dorian Lynskey (33 Revolutions Per Minute) takes a close look at an ubiquitous classic with The Ministry of Truth: The Biography of George Orwell's 1984. The novel was a sensation and a controversy when it was published in 1949; again as the year 1984 approached and passed; again in recent years, and at every time in between. Lynskey sets out to examine its ancestry in utopian and dystopian literatures, in Orwell's experiences during the Spanish Civil War and wartime Great Britain, and the political and cultural responses it's drawn.

This wide-ranging and thorough study requires a careful and patient reader. Even one familiar with both Orwell's work and early communist and socialist histories will need to read closely. Lynskey offers his own appendix: a chapter-by-chapter précis of 1984, which is recommended for everyone. The requisite attention will be well rewarded, as The Ministry of Truth is not only enthralling and research-rich, but often laugh-out-loud funny. When 1984's American publishers wrote to J. Edgar Hoover hoping for a back-cover endorsement, Lynskey writes, "Hoover declined the request and instead opened a file on Orwell." Lynskey's voice is impassioned and self-aware, and he has an eye for the absurd (as any student of Orwell should).

Among Lynskey's conclusions is that 1984 is "a vessel into which anyone could pour their own version of the future." Too often it has been mistaken for a prophecy rather than understood as Orwell intended: to offer a possible future as motivation to work against that possibility. This is part of why 1984 remains as forceful and compelling as ever. The Ministry of Truth is a necessary guide. --Julia Kastner, librarian and blogger at pagesofjulia

Discover: This funny, wise, well-researched study sits at the intersection of biography of Orwell's life, literary criticism of 1984 and social commentary on literature's role in life.

Doubleday, $28.95, hardcover, 368p., 9780385544054

Poetry

The Milk Hours

by John James


The poems of John James are haunted in one way or another; they carefully and soberly take account of what it means to be aware of the natural world, and the inherent cost of that knowledge. It's no wonder "Le Moribund" nods to French songwriter Jacques Brel--both James and Brel write works that are given over to death and the decay that follows it. However, James never treats death as something to be longed for, or as a sick joke. The language he uses to describe the discovery of the bodies of animals and grief over lost parents is sober and considered. This is a writer who has found clarity and delivered it through the poetic form.

Life is here as well, uneasily cohabiting with the dead. The title poem of the collection, "The Milk Hours," grapples with James's new fatherhood in the context of his own long-gone father. Throughout the collection, history frames the present, whether in quotations from Plato or Walter Benjamin, or simply in memory. The inherent tension between these subjects--past and present, life and death--animates his work and breathes life into it. Regardless of theme, however, James is a poet of staggering lyricism, intricate without ever obscuring his intent. Quite simply, The Milk Hours announces the arrival of a great new talent in American poetry. --C.M. Crockford, freelance reviewer

Discover: John James's debut poetry collection, The Milk Hours, is a raw and beautiful meditation on the delicate balance between the natural world and ourselves.

Milkweed Editions, $22, hardcover, 88p., 9781571315083

Children's & Young Adult

The Bone Charmer

by Breeana Shields


Saskia is a third-generation Bone Charmer--her grandmother had First Sight ("the ability to see the past") and her mother has Third Sight ("the ability to see the future"). It's time for Saskia's kenning, a coming-of-age ceremony in which a Bone Charmer reads bones to see the teen's future, then bonds them to one of the many potential paths. Saskia knows she has Second Sight (the ability to see any present moment), but she's terrified of bone magic, so wants to stay home and be matched with her boyfriend, Declan. Unfortunately, her mother is the town Bone Charmer and she is very "concerned with preserving the family legacy."

At Saskia's kenning, her mother pronounces her a Bone Charmer and matches her with Bram, a young man Saskia believes has a shady past. Angry, Saskia breaks one of the bones, accidentally fracturing her future: "instead of possibilities," her mother tells her, "the path this bone represented may have become realities." But, she tells Saskia, only one reality can exist long-term. While Bram and Saskia the Bone Charmer sail off to their apprenticeships, other-path Saskia becomes a tutor and is paired with Declan--which reality will survive?

With chapters alternating between Saskia the Tutor and Saskia the Bone Charmer, Shields builds a world in which bones contain magic, strong emotions tattoo themselves onto people's skin and fortune-tellers are aware that nothing can be truly foretold. While internal consistency sometimes falters, the story itself is so enjoyable and Saskia's journeys so enveloping, readers are likely to sweep right past the irregularities. An exhilarating read in a fascinating world. --Siân Gaetano, children's and YA editor, Shelf Awareness

Discover: Breanna Shields contemplates how fate and free will might interact in The Bone Charmer, an entertaining fantasy for young adults.

Page Street Kids, $17.99, hardcover, 400p., ages 12-up, 9781624147371

The Stonewall Riots: Coming Out in the Streets

by Gayle E. Pitman


"The reality is that no one remembers exactly what happened that night. And because most newspapers didn't cover the events, and most journalists didn't interview people who participated, we have very few documented accounts of the Stonewall raid and rebellion." The night to which Gayle E. Pitman refers is June 28, 1969, one of many evenings the New York City police raided the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village. A small, ramshackle club that got its start as a livery stable, the Stonewall Inn was purchased by mobster Tony Lauria (aka Fat Tony) in 1966. "Fat Tony did a cheap renovation on the property, and a year later he reopened the Stonewall Inn as a gay bar." The June 28 raid ignited a rebellion that is in large part responsible for the modern-day LGBTQ+ movement.

Constructing the book like a museum, Pitman cleverly tells the story of the raid and subsequent riots through a series of objects and mini-biographies. Young readers navigate through the carefully curated pieces of history, which, as Pitman explains, create a different kind of reading experience: "telling a story through objects is like viewing something through a kaleidoscope. Each fragment seems entirely separate, but together they form a colorful, multifaceted image." The fragments of this image include news articles, picket signs and photographs, as well as an arrest record and Dorothy's dress from The Wizard of Oz.

The Stonewall Riots is fascinating, and Pitman's well-informed choices of objects to reconstruct this piece of history are captivating. Additionally, showing Stonewall's ties to current activism offers a close connection for middle-grade audiences. With meaningful content delivered in an innovative format, The Stonewall Riots deserves to be required reading for people of all ages. --Jen Forbus, freelancer

Discover: A gender studies professor creates a middle-grade history of the 1969 Stonewall raid and the riots that followed through the curation of a collection of related objects.

Abrams, $17.99, hardcover, 208p., ages 10-up, 9781419737206

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Write to me at catherine@catherinetaylor.net to win one of five copies!

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www.catherinetaylor.net


Buy this book



Publisher:
The Cameo Press Ltd

Pub Date:
June 26, 2019

ISBN:
9781916093218

List Price:
$19.99

 

Dear Reader,

Any lover of historical fiction who has experienced the throes of young love, endured a long, hot summer of discontent, survived tragedy and learned life lessons along the way will love this poignant story. There is intense action, humor, soul satisfying courage and redemption on a scale that every human being understands. Moon Water promises to stay with you a lifetime. 

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www.pamwebber.com


Buy this book



Publisher:
She Writes Press

Pub Date:
August 20, 2019

ISBN:
9781631526756

List Price:
$16.95

 

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