Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Hampton Roads Publishing Company: Becoming Baba Yaga: Trickster, Feminist, and Witch of the Woods by Kris Spisak, Foreword by Gennarose Nethercott

Dial Press: Like Mother, Like Mother by Susan Rieger

Severn House: A Messy Murder (Main) (The Decluttering Mysteries #4) by Simon Brett

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

Quotation of the Day

Atwood on Breaking the Embargo

"I think anybody putting an embargo in place in the future should attach a dollar amount. They should say if you violate the embargo, this is what it will cost you and that money will go to independent bookstores."

--Margaret Atwood on Amazon's violation of the embargo for her new novel, The Testaments (officially on sale today), in a BBC interview.

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BookExpo 2020 Returns to Two-Day Trade Show Format

In 2020, BookExpo will return to a two-day trade show format--on Thursday and Friday, with educational programming Wednesday-Friday--followed on the weekend by BookCon. This is among changes announced by BookExpo management yesterday that event director Jenny Martin described as a part of a phase of testing and building on new concepts and "honing in on a vision of the future and building something valuable and relevant for the industry."

Introduced last year, the Booksellers Grant Program drew 145 booksellers who were either attending BookExpo for the first time or hadn't been in at least five years. BookExpo plans to again work with the ABA to make grants to help booksellers attend and will improve the program by, among other things, emphasizing education and making sure booksellers meet publishers on the trade show floor. (BookExpo said bookseller and retailer attendance increased 38% last year.)

Also introduced last year, the UnBound section featured exhibitors of sidelines suitable for bookstores who "had a great show," Martin said. Many of the exhibitors were new to the show; BookExpo will again offer the section.

In its debut, the Independent Publishers Stage was "always busy, always packed," Martin said, with publishers using the stage to promote their "unique titles and authors." BookExpo will continue and build on the program, offering ways for indie publishers to participate officially "rather than hope a table's open at Starbucks," Martin said. They will also be able to participate in either BookExpo or BookCon or both.

After a bumpy introduction two years ago, the Editors Speed Dating event had a new, more successful format last year and will be back in 2020. Martin pointed to Editors Speed Dating, which brings together editors and booksellers, as the kind of event BookExpo wants to more of--offering "more and more opportunities for the right groups of people to sit down and have focused conversations with each other."

GLOW: Sourcebooks Landmark: A Forty Year Kiss by Nickolas Butler

ABA's Oren Teicher to Receive National Book Foundation's Literarian Award

Oren Teicher

The National Book Foundation is presenting its 2019 Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community to Oren Teicher, CEO of the American Booksellers Association. Author and bookseller Ann Patchett will present Teicher with the award at the Foundation's National Book Awards Ceremony and Benefit Dinner on November 20 in New York City. Previous recipients have included Maya Angelou, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Terry Gross and Richard Robinson.

National Book Foundation executive director Lisa Lucas commented: "We are lucky enough to be at a moment where, across the nation, books are rising. But this moment of essential recognition for books and booksellers would have looked very different were it not for enormous resilience shown by indies and the teams that support them, navigated steadfastly by Oren Teicher. We are honored to recognize his immense contributions, and we are grateful for where those efforts have taken us--a position from which we can joyfully look toward a continued, rich literary future."

Foundation chairman David Steinberger said: "Booksellers and the publishing world at large could not have hoped for a more passionate and effective advocate than they found in Oren Teicher. For three decades at the ABA, Teicher has been an absolute champion for booksellers, readers, writers, publishers, and independent bookstores across the nation, and the thriving state of bookselling reflects that work."

The Foundation noted that "Teicher has emphasized the importance of the shop local movement, advocated for fair and sustainable tax laws, and worked to put the struggles and successes of independent bookstores into the public consciousness through increased media coverage and broader cultural awareness. Working closely with store owners, booksellers, and the publishing industry, Teicher has encouraged the growth of Winter Institute and Children's Institute, further cultivating a strong and united bookselling community, and has invigorated collaborations between indies and publishers through improved sales terms and innovative marketing incentives. From 2009 to 2019, during the years of Teicher's tenure as CEO of the ABA, the number of independent bookstores jumped from 1,651 to 2,534, with ABA membership as well as store sales increasing in lock step."

Teicher, who is retiring at the end of the year, joined the ABA in 1990 as associate executive director, then was director of government affairs and also was the founding president of the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression. Then, through 2009, he served as COO.

BookPeople CEO to Become G.M. of New Bookstore

Elizabeth Jordan

Elizabeth Jordan is resigning as CEO of BookPeople in Austin, Tex., to become general manager of Nowhere Bookshop, the new bookstore that is being opened by author Jenny Lawson in San Antonio. Jordan had become BookPeople's CEO in June 2018, replacing longtime CEO Steve Bercu, who retired from full-time bookselling. She has been with BookPeople since 2002, working in a variety of positions.

Jordan said, "BookPeople has been like home for me for the past 17 years and saying goodbye to it and to Austin is bittersweet but I am excited for this opportunity to work with Jenny to build a great bookstore and bar for my hometown of San Antonio." Jordan will continue as CEO until BookPeople's board finds a replacement.

Lawson announced her new store only last week and said that since the space needs renovation, it won't open for a while. Lawson, aka The Bloggess, is the author of You Are Here: An Owner's Manual for Dangerous Minds (Flatiron), Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir (Berkley) and Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things (Flatiron).

North Side Chicago B&N Store Gets Reprieve

Chicago developer Newcastle Ltd. has withdrawn its plan for a 39-story, 368-unit building at 1120 to 1130 N. State St., currently the site of a Barnes & Noble store. The Chicago Tribune reported that the decision came at the request of Second Ward Alderman Brian Hopkins, who "heard overwhelming community opposition to Newcastle's plan, regarding the proposed tower's height, design and overall density."

"It's excessively tall for that lot, it's not an attractive structure and it does not fit in with the neighborhood," Hopkins said. "They missed the mark on all counts."

The Tribune had reported in September 2018 that trusts controlled by David Blum and his Lawrence Management Co. were putting the property up for sale as a potential high-rise development site. Jones Lang LaSalle broker Tom Kirschbraun, who is representing the seller in the potential sale, said at the time Barnes & Noble was on a short-term lease that could be canceled to make way for a redevelopment of the site.

Obituary Note: Susan Kamil

Susan Kamil

Susan Kamil, the renowned editor and publisher for more than 40 years and executive v-p and publisher at Random House, died on Sunday at age 69, of complications from lung cancer, the New York Times reported.

In a message to staff yesterday, Random House president and publisher Gina Centrello called the death of "our vibrant, beloved" Kamil "shattering in so many ways. Susan was a brilliant editor, who guided her beloved authors through the creative process with the greatest insight, energy, and care. As a gifted publisher for the Random House lists, her leadership and generosity of spirit has had a profound and far-reaching impact. Above all, she was a deeply committed, endlessly supportive colleague to all of us--our unwavering, passionate champion."

The authors she worked with include Salman Rushdie, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Sophie Kinsella, Elizabeth Strout, Annie Barrows, Ruth Reichl and Gary Shteyngart.

Rushdie said in a statement, "Susan was one of the great editors, and working with her has been the best experience of my writing life. Her clarity and sharpness were invaluable to me and I trusted her instincts always. She was also one of the loveliest human beings I have known, and I grew to love her very much. It's a devastating loss for so many of us."

According to the Bookseller, Kinsella wrote on social media: "We became so close over the many years we worked together--she was a brilliant publisher, editor and friend. I will miss her voice, her laugh, her wisdom and her hugs."

On Facebook, PRH sales manager Michael Kindness wrote in part, "If you're lucky, your workplace has one of those people... someone who is wildly intelligent, fiercely kind, and just makes those around them smile. Susan Kamil played that vital role for Random House.

"She was one of the first editors who knew my name. Whenever we all got together for sales conference, catching up with her was one of the highlights. She once took Ronald Koltnow and I out to breakfast to tell about this great little book (with a weird title) that she'd just acquired. Maybe you've heard of it? The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society."

Early in her career, Kamil worked at Macmillan, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich and Simon & Schuster. When S&S publisher Joni Evans moved to Random House, she founded the Turtle Bay imprint and in 1991 named Kamil executive editor. At Random House, Kamil held a variety of executive and editorial positions, including head of Dial Press and of Bantam Books and was editor-in-chief of the Random House imprint.

September Indie Next List E-Newsletter Delivered


Last Thursday, the American Booksellers Association's e-newsletter edition of the Indie Next List for September was delivered to more than half a million of the country's best book readers. The newsletter was sent to customers of 147 independent bookstores, with a combined total of 556,536 subscribers.

The e-newsletter, powered by Shelf Awareness, features all of the month's Indie Next List titles, with bookseller quotes and "buy now" buttons that lead directly to the purchase page for the title on the sending store's website. The newsletter, which is branded with each store's logo, also includes an interview (from Bookselling This Week) with the author whose book was chosen by booksellers as the number-one Indie Next List pick for the month, in this case This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger (Atria).

For a sample of the September newsletter, see this one from Rediscovered Books, Boise, Idaho.


Image of the Day: Haben Girma at Book Passage


Haben Girma, author of Haben: The Deafblind Woman Who Conquered Harvard Law (Twelve), spoke to an SRO crowd Saturday afternoon at Book Passage in the Ferry Building in San Francisco. Haben, who works as an advocate for people with disabilities, used the text-to-Braille communication she developed to speak with attendees.

The Testaments vs. Hurricane Dorian

Posted yesterday on Facebook by Bookmark II in Halifax, just days after Hurricane Dorian made landfall in Nova Scotia: "Tomorrow!!! The book has braved the hurricane to make it to the store on time. We will have signed copies and as long as we have power we will sell it to you!"

Happy 35th Birthday, Maria's Bookshop!

Congratulations to Maria's Bookshop, Durango, Colo., which is marking its 35th anniversary this week "with a celebration of the rich history of our shop and a commitment to an exciting future. As many of you know by now, Maria's Bookshop will stay in the family. With Evan Schertz as the new owner, the future success of the shop is guided by the 35 years we are celebrating, with innovative thinking about the future of Maria's Bookshop, and the future of bookshops in general."

Dusty Teal, along with manager Mary Ann Griffin, ran the bookstore for almost 15 years before selling it in 1998 and "are credited with building the foundation Maria's stands on today," the Durango Telegraph reported. "Not only did they actually help lay the bricks for the shop's current facade, they gave it a name. Originally called The Bookshop, Teal and Griffin discovered the iconic bird logo created by a famous New Mexican potter named Maria--and the rest is history."

Peter Schertz and Andrea Avantaggio, who purchased the bookshop from Teal in the spring of 1998, spent the next two decades solidifying Maria's as a Durango icon.

As the process of another ownership change continues, Evan Schertz said the community's response to the transition has been enthusiastic: "Just about every day since I came back here, somebody has expressed their gratitude, excitement and relief about the future of Maria's. It's been heartwarming and encouraging."

The plan for the family is to continue to pass the baton over the next six months, and "sometime after the start of next year, Andrea and Peter will step away, and give Evan and the staff some 'thinking room,' as [Avantaggio] puts it," the Telegraph wrote. She added: "I like to think I'm open to new ideas, but I also know I come with a lot of history."

Listening to the community will continue to play a major role, as Peter Schertz observed: "The community has a sense of ownership. This is theirs. All we do is reflect that back to them."

Evan Schertz agreed: "In some ways, it's a daunting task because it's been done so well. But in some ways, it makes it easy too.... My whole life I was steeped in the culture of what Maria's means to both the people who work here and the entire community. I was always really proud to be the kid whose parents owned Maria's Bookshop."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: She Said on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, authors of She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement (Penguin Press, $28, 9780525560340).

CBS This Morning: Rachael Denhollander, author of What Is a Girl Worth?: My Story of Breaking the Silence and Exposing the Truth about Larry Nassar and USA Gymnastics (Tyndale Momentum, $26.99, 9781496441331).

Today Show: Philip Zelikow and Condoleezza Rice, authors of To Build a Better World: Choices to End the Cold War and Create a Global Commonwealth (Twelve, $35, 9781538764671).

WBUR's On Point: Branko Milanovic, author of Capitalism, Alone: The Future of the System That Rules the World (Harvard University Press, $29.95, 9780674987593).

The View: Stephen King, author of The Institute: A Novel (Scribner, $30, 9781982110567). He will also appear on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

Books & Authors

Awards: Sainsburys Childrens Book Winners

My Pet Star by Corrinne Averiss, illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw, won book of the year honors at the Sainsbury's Childrens Book Awards, after earlier capturing the picture book category prize. Other category winners were Nibbles Numbers by Emma Yartlett (baby & toddler), The Umbrella Mouse by Anna Fargher (fiction), and The Awesome Book of Space by Adam Frost (learning a & development).

Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar was named this year's Children's Classic, while Martin Hanford's Where's Wally: Exciting Expeditions won the Favourite Characters prize. The winner in each category receives £1,000 (about US$1,235), and all of the shortlisted titles will be promoted in Sainsbury's stores.

Reading Group Choices' Most Popular August Books

The two most popular books in August at Reading Group Choices were Meet Me at the Museum: A Novel by Anne Youngson (Flatiron Books) and Virgil Wander by Leif Enger (Grove Press).

Book Review

Review: Losing Reality: On Cults, Cultism, and the Mindset of Political and Religious Zealotry

Losing Reality: On Cults, Cultism, and the Mindset of Political and Religious Zealotry by Robert Jay Lifton (The New Press, $23.99 hardcover, 240p., 9781620974995, October 15, 2019)

Preeminent psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton has spent much of his long professional life studying extremes of human behavior. In Losing Reality: On Cults, Cultism, and the Mindset of Political and Religious Zealotry, he revisits that material through an assortment of subjects--among them Chinese thought reform in the era of Mao Zedong, the Japanese terrorist cult Aum Shinrikyō and Nazi doctors--excerpting portions of his earlier work and updating it with fresh commentary on this unfortunately timely topic.

Grouping these manifestations of "ideological totalism and cultlike behavior" under the label "cultism," Lifton (Witness to an Extreme Century) singles out the "particularly dangerous proclivity of the human mind for extremism." Though that tendency manifested itself in different ways in the massive and deadly project that was Mao's Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution of the 1960s, and in the apocalyptic vision of Aum Shinrikyō's leader Shōkō Asahara, who masterminded a deadly sarin nerve gas attack on the Tokyo subway system in 1995, Lifton makes a persuasive case that the underlying impulses of these gurulike leaders and their enraptured followers were frighteningly similar.

Particularly disturbing is the excerpt from Lifton's 1986 book, The Nazi Doctors. In it, he describes, in clinical and yet chilling terms, "the transformation of the physician--of the medical enterprise itself--from healer to killer." Even at a remove of more than seven decades from these horrific events, his account of the way this regime of death moved "from coercive sterilization to direct medical killing to the death camps" loses none of its power to shock.

For all the depravity reflected in these accounts, the most controversial section of Losing Reality may be the brief one on Donald Trump, whose "cultism," Lifton argues, is "inseparable from his solipsistic reality." Though he stops short of characterizing the 45th president as a dangerous classic guru, or attributing directly to him an apocalyptic narrative, he's unsparing in asserting that Trump is "psychologically remarkable in his capacity to manufacture and continuously assert falsehood in the apparent absence of psychosis."

As one would hope from a capable physician, Lifton offers at least a tentative remedy for these most virulent forms of ideological extremism. Drawing on a piece first published in 1993, he points to the need to develop the "protean self," what he calls "a view of the self as always in process; as being many-sided rather than monolithic and resilient rather than fixed." Given the dire consequences of the zealots' ideologies chronicled in his book, it's fair to ask whether there's any other rational choice. --Harvey Freedenberg, freelance reviewer

Shelf Talker: Robert Jay Lifton returns to his classic works on the dangers of extremist cults and updates them with new material.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Nantucket Neighbors by Pamela M. Kelley
2. Black Sheep by Meghan March
3. Instant Gratification by Lauren Blakely
4. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki and Sharon L. Lechter
5. Alien Warrior's Secret (Warriors of the Lathar Book 9) by Mina Carter
6. Maybe: The Complete Series by Ella Miles
7. Already Gone by Kristen Proby and K.L. Grayson
8. The Scandal at Bletchley by Jack Treby
9. Can't Hurt Me by David Goggins
10. Broken Knight by L.J. Shen

[Many thanks to!]

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