Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Workman Publishing: Ejaculate Responsibly: A Whole New Way to Think about Abortion by Gabrielle Stanley Blair

Simon & Schuster: Defend Banned Books

Simon & Schuster: Defend Banned Books

Blackstone Publishing: River Woman, River Demon by Jennifer Givhan

Sourcebooks Explore: Black Boy, Black Boy by Ali Kamanda and Jorge Redmond, illustrated by Ken Daley


Allison Hill New ABA CEO; Joy Dallanegra-Sanger Promoted to COO

Effective March 1, 2020, Allison K. Hill, president and CEO of Vroman's Bookstore, Pasadena, Calif., will become CEO of the American Booksellers Association, succeeding Oren Teicher, who is retiring November 1. At the same time, Joy Dallanegra-Sanger, ABA's senior program officer, will become the association's COO, effective November 1.

During November and December Teicher will be available to help with the transition. Dallanegra-Sanger will lead the ABA from November 1 until Hill begins on March 1.

ABA president Jamie Fiocco, Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, N.C., said, "Allison has a long and successful history within the bookselling and publishing world, and ABA could not be more delighted that she will be taking on this new role."

Allison Hill

Hill added: "I can't think of a better opportunity to exercise my passion for books, bookstores, and changing the world through business than as the CEO of ABA. Bookselling has always been a dream job for me, and now I'm trading one dream job for another: the opportunity to re-energize the conversation for our industry and initiate changes that are necessary for us to create a sustainable model. This is a challenging era for booksellers, one that requires new thinking and new partnerships. It's an exciting time and I am honored and excited to take on this new role."

Joy Dallanegra-Sanger

Dallanegra-Sanger, who has served as senior programming officer since 2011 and led the development of several ABA initiatives, including the Children's Institute, Indies Introduce, and the association's pre-order campaign, said: "I look forward to a strong partnership with Allison and continuing my commitment to strengthening the position of independent bookstores in the retail marketplace."

Fiocco praised Dallanegra-Sanger's "extraordinary leadership in her eight years at ABA, as she has forged essential relationships with our industry partners and developed programs to help booksellers sell more books at greater profit. ABA is most fortunate to have Allison and Joy heading our staff."

Teicher, who announced March 1 that he planned to retire after 30 years with the ABA, the last 10 as CEO, said, "I am thrilled with the appointments of Allison and Joy. They will make a great team and, with their leadership, I have every confidence in the continued growth and success of both ABA and indie bookstores." The ABA will host a farewell to him at the 15th Winter Institute, in Baltimore, Md., on January 21, 2020.

Hill has a most impressive résumé. She began her career in the book industry at Simon & Schuster and Waterstone's Booksellers in Boston, Mass., then became general manager of Book Soup, West Hollywood, Calif., before joining Vroman's in 2004 as general manager. In 2007, she was made v-p and COO of Vroman's, and in 2013 became president and CEO. Hill is a former treasurer and v-p of the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association; a former member of ABA's Booksellers Advisory Council; and v-p of the Independent Booksellers Consortium. She has a BA from Tufts University. This year she earned an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management.

During her tenure at Vroman's, which is celebrating its 125th anniversary in November, she has led an ongoing effort to redefine the store and has created many initiatives, the most recent of which include adding a wine bar, a membership program and a name change (to Vroman's from Vroman's Bookstore, reflecting that besides some 85,000 books, the 32,000-sq.-ft. store offers a broad selection of sidelines, gifts and nonbook items). Vroman's bought Book Soup in 2009 after the death of founder Glenn Goldman; it also has a store at Los Angeles International Airport under the Book Soup name in association with the Hudson Group.

As if she isn't busy enough at Vroman's and studying, Hill is also v-p of Vroman's Real Estate, a freelance writer, editor and business consultant and has contributed to Huffington Post's book section.

We have always found Allison to be smart, cheerful and wonderful to work with. We're very happy for the ABA and booksellers across the country!

And the same holds true for Joy, who has shown passion and dedication to the work the ABA does. Congratulations on the well-deserved promotion!

G.P. Putnam's Sons: All I Want for Christmas by Maggie Knox

Booker Prize Surprise: Two Winners

Bernardine Evaristo and Margaret Atwood (via)

In a striking move, the judges of the 2019 Booker Prize ignored the organization's rules against having more than one winner and awarded this year's prize jointly to Margaret Atwood for The Testaments and Bernardine Evaristo for Girl, Woman, Other. The two will split the £50,000 (about $63,170) award.

For Atwood, this is her second Booker, following The Blind Assassin in 2000. The Handmaid's Tale was shortlisted in 1986. At 79, she is the oldest Booker winner, and Evaristo is the first black woman to win the Booker.

The Booker has been awarded to two authors only twice before, in 1974 and 1992. After 1992, the rules were changed to block having two winners.

According to the BBC, after the prizes were announced in London last night, Atwood and Evaristo "stood arm-in-arm on stage and Atwood joked: 'It would have been quite embarrassing for me... if I had been alone here, so I'm very pleased that you're here too.' "

Evaristo said, "It's so incredible to share this with Margaret Atwood, who's such a legend and so generous. A lot of people say, 'I never thought it would happen to me,' and I will say I am the first black woman to win this prize, and I hope that honour doesn't last too long. I hope other people come forward now."

Chair of judges Peter Florence said that the five judges had deliberated for five hours, and "the more we talked about [the two books], the more we found we loved them both so much we wanted them both to win." After revealing the news to Booker Prize organizers, they were told to pick one winner. "We tried voting, but it didn't work," Florence said. "There's a metaphor for our times. And equally, today of all days, when rebellion is in the air, maybe we were a little moved by that." The judges held firm on having two winners, and after some conversations with the organizers, the split decision was accepted.

The judges said that Girl, Woman, Other "follows the lives and struggles of 12 very different characters. Mostly women, black and British, they tell the stories of their families, friends and lovers, across the country and through the years. Joyfully polyphonic and vibrantly contemporary, this is a gloriously new kind of history, a novel of our times: celebratory, ever-dynamic and utterly irresistible."

Florence said that there is "something utterly magical" about the book's characters. "They give a wonderful spectrum of black British women today. There are stories there of people who haven't been visibly represented in contemporary literature, and in that sense this book is groundbreaking, and I hope encouraging and inspiring to the rest of the publishing industry."

The Testaments, of course, is a sequel to The Handmaid's Tale, and Florence said that the book "does massively more than follow the single story that we had from Offred. This is beautiful in its depth and exploration of the world of Gilead. As [Atwood] has said, it might have looked like science fiction back in the day, although all of the extremities are rooted in fact. Now it looks more politically urgent than ever before."

Disney-Hyperion: Drizzle, Dreams, and Lovestruck Things by Maya Prasad

New Owner at Minn.'s Excelsior Bay Books

Ann Woodbeck

Ann Woodbeck is buying Excelsior Bay Books in Excelsior, Minn., from Anne Nye and Ellie Temple, co-owners of the bookstore for the past 23 years, the Midwest Independent Booksellers Association reported. Nye and Temple had been looking for a buyer for about four months.

The sale is effective January 1, and after some updating to modernize and personalize the business, a grand re-opening will be held.

After joining the store in 2006, Woodbeck "discovered how much she loved bookselling. Sometime last year, she decided to take a break from the store, 'retired,' and committed herself to her own writing projects," MIBA noted, adding that although she had daydreamed of herself as the new owner, her husband inspired the decision to buy Excelsior Bay Books.

"Dale said he never saw me happier than when I was selling books" and offered to be her partner in the venture, Woodbeck said. She aims to draw on his experience running various small businesses.

MIBA noted that under Ann Woodbeck's guidance, "the store will retain its wonderful cozy charm, while also gaining a more contemporary business edge."

Woodbeck observed: "Owning this store is a chance to be a part of a thriving and friendly town and spend time with books and people who love and read them. I want to be an active supporter of the world of literature and the writers who create stories that help us make sense of the world."

Nye is fulfilling her dream of moving to the Southwest, while Temple will remain on the staff as a bookseller, along with all current staff members. Ann Woodbeck can be contacted via e-mail.

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One California Moving Forward

In a letter to members of both associations, the boards of the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association and the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association have officially recommended that moving forward, the (N)CIBA and its staff "immediately take charge" of current business across the entire state of California, while Andrea Vuleta, executive director of SCIBA, will wrap up the past business of that association no later than December 31.

Both boards also reminded members that there are open positions not only on the (N)CIBA board but also on each of its committees and task forces, and encouraged SCIBA members to join the new California association. At the moment, every member in good standing is a member of the new organization, but stores can formally join by paying a pro-rated registration fee of $50 that will be extended until April 1, 2020. 

Over the next three weeks, the (N)CIBA office will be hosting office hours via Zoom to share ideas and solicit feedback about what booksellers want from a united California association. The office hours are scheduled for October 16, October 23 and October 30; interested booksellers can e-mail Calvin Crosby for more information.

Obituary Note: Harold Bloom

Harold Bloom

Harold Bloom, "the prodigious literary critic who championed and defended the Western canon in an outpouring of influential books that appeared not only on college syllabuses but also--unusual for an academic--on bestseller lists," died October 14, the New York Times reported. He was 89.

Bloom "was frequently called the most notorious literary critic in America," the Times wrote. "From a vaunted perch at Yale, he flew in the face of almost every trend in the literary criticism of his day" in his championing of the Western canon "over writers favored by what he called 'the School of Resentment,' by which he meant multiculturalists, feminists, Marxists, neoconservatives and others whom he saw as betraying literature's essential purpose."

Describing himself as "a monster" of reading, Bloom claimed he could read, and absorb, a 400-page book in an hour. He wrote more than 40 books and edited hundreds of volumes. Among his best-known titles are The Anxiety of Influence (1973), The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages (1994), How to Read and Why (2000), The Anatomy of Influence (2011), Genius: A Mosaic of One Hundred Exemplary Creative Minds (2002), Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human (1998) and The Book of J (1990).

The Times noted that Bloom published two books in 2017, two in 2018 and two this year: Macbeth: A Dagger of the Mind and Possessed by Memory: The Inward Light of Criticism. His final book will be released on an unspecified date by Yale University Press.

Bloom "was ultimately both optimistic, in a narrow sense, and pessimistic, in a much broader one, about the durability of great literature. The books he loved would no doubt always find readers, he wrote, though their numbers might dwindle. But his great concern was that the books would no longer be taught, and thus become irrelevant," the Times wrote.

In The Western Canon, he observed: "What are now called 'Departments of English' will be renamed departments of 'Cultural Studies,' where Batman comics, Mormon theme parks, television, movies and rock will replace Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, Wordsworth and Wallace Stevens.... Major, once-elitist universities and colleges will still offer a few courses in Shakespeare, Milton and their peers, but these will be taught by departments of three or four scholars, equivalent to teachers of ancient Greek and Latin."

G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!

How Am I Doing?
40 Conversations to Have with Yourself

by Dr. Corey Yeager

GLOW: Harper Celebrate: How Am I Doing?: 40 Conversations to Have with Yourself by Dr. Corey YeagerWho is the most important person in your life? What determines your joy? What mistakes have you learned from the most? Corey Yeager--a psychotherapist who works with the Detroit Pistons basketball franchise--poses 40 self-reflective questions to facilitate positive personal change. His inviting, empathetic approach came to prominence via the Apple TV series The Me You Can't See, produced by Oprah and Prince Harry. Dr. Yeager draws from his own life story to dispel mental health stigmas and help others gain greater personal clarity. Danielle Peterson, senior acquisition editor at Harper Celebrate, says, "The format of How Am I Doing? makes it a stand-out in the mental health genre--an excellent choice for someone looking for high-density wisdom in small, bite-sized doses." Yeager's winning insights deliver a slam-dunk of empowered inspiration bound to elicit tremendous personal reward. --Kathleen Gerard

(Harper Celebrate, $22.99 hardcover, 9781400236763, 
October 18, 2022)


Shelf vetted, publisher supported



Image of the Day: Grisham at His Local Indie

John Grisham stopped by his local indie, New Dominion Bookshop in Charlottesville, Va., to sign copies of his new legal thriller, The Guardians (Doubleday). Grisham poses with Julia Kudravetz, owner and manager of the shop.

Subterranean Books Wins Indie Playlist Display Contest

Congratulations to Subterranean Books, St. Louis, Mo., which won the June Indie Playlist display contest. Display designer Gena Brady and owner Kelly Von Plonski share the $500 prize, awarded by participating publishers Catapult, Europa Editions, Seven Stories Press, Grove Atlantic and Beacon Press.

Brady commented: "As each indie bookstore has its own singular personality, we let ours shine through the use of puns, humor, and musical references. We love the idea of a playlist and compiled themed book 'playlists' that include descriptions and our staff favorites."

Under the program, the titles involved are offered to indie bookstores at a higher-than-usual discount and stores can compete in the display contest. The themes for the October Indie Playlist, the third Indie Playlist of the year, are Gothic Titles and A Jump on the Holidays.

The Indie Playlist program grew out of a monthly promotion that Seven Stories launched in August of last year, inspired by discussions with New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association executive director Eileen Dengler and with NAIBA's president, about how independent publishers can run promotions that also support indie booksellers.

For more information, contact Eileen Dengler or Seven Stories Press's Dan Simon.

Chalkboard of the Day: Page One Books

Page 1 Books, Evanston, Ill., offered some food for thought on its chalkboard:

Did you know
if you made $500,000 each day since the invention of the printing press in 1439, you would still have less money than Jeff Bezos?
Support Your Indie Bookshop

Casemate Digital to Distribute Imperial War Museums Publishing

Casemate Digital will handle global e-book distribution for Imperial War Museums Publishing, effective immediately.

The publisher formerly had only a small number of its titles available as e-books. Now, partnering with Casemate Digital, it plans "an expansive, global development strategy." The initial focus will be on the Imperial War Museum Wartime Classics fiction series, just launched in paperback to mark the outbreak of World War II, both in the trade and through its museum stores, including the debut by Alexander Baron, From the City, From the Plough.

Personnel Changes at Simon & Schuster

At Simon & Schuster:

Karen Fink has been promoted to field account manager.

Lauren Castner has been promoted to manager, special markets.

Taylor Kwok has been promoted to coordinator, special markets.

Henna Cho has been promoted to sales associate, digital and online sales.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Lupita Nyong'o on GMA, Kelly and Ryan, Tonight

Good Morning America: Mike Rowe, author of The Way I Heard It (Gallery, $28, 9781982130855).

Also on GMA: Adam Rippon, author of Beautiful on the Outside: A Memoir (Grand Central, $28, 9781538732403).

Also on GMA: Lupita Nyong'o, author of Sulwe (Simon & Schuster, $17.99, 9781534425361). She will also appear today on Live with Kelly and Ryan and tomorrow on a repeat of the Tonight Show.

Jimmy Kimmel Live: Elton John, author of Me: Elton John Official Autobiography (Holt, $30, 9781250147608).

Tonight Show repeat: Demi Moore, author of Inside Out: A Memoir (Harper, $27.99, 9780062049537).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert repeat: Paul McCartney, author of Hey Grandude! (Random House, $17.99, 9780525648673).

Daily Show: Cyntoia Brown-Long, author of Free Cyntoia: My Search for Redemption in the American Prison System (Atria, $26, 9781982141103).

Also on the Daily Show: Ali Wong, author of Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets & Advice for Living Your Best Life (Random House, $27, 9780525508830).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert repeat: Whoopi Goldberg, author of The Unqualified Hostess (Rizzoli, $35, 9780847866984).

Also on the Late Show: Ta-Nehisi Coates, author of The Water Dancer: A Novel (One World, $28, 9780399590597).

Late Late Show with James Corden repeat: June Diane Raphael, co-author of Represent: The Woman's Guide to Running for Office and Changing the World (Workman, $19.95, 9781523502974).

Books & Authors

PEN Int'l Writer of Courage Recipient: Befeqadu Hailu

Befeqadu Hailu has been named this year's recipient of the PEN International Writer of Courage award. The award--given to a writer who has been persecuted for speaking out about their beliefs--was announced by PEN Pinter Prize winner Lemn Sissay.

Co-founder of the award-winning Zone 9 Blogging Collective, Hailu created a platform for individuals to speak out against human rights violations taking place in Ethiopia. Zone 9's motto, "We Blog Because We Care," underpins Hailu and his co-founder's aim "to create a space for freedom of expression whereby citizens of Ethiopia are supported to help end impunity in the country." Hailu is also the deputy executive editor of the Addis Maleda newspaper, a columnist for Deutsche Welle Amharic Service, and part-time program coordinator for the Ethiopian Human Rights Project.

"It is because of his passion for writing and belief in freedom of expression for Ethiopians that I have chosen Befeqadu Hailu," Sissay observed. "He is a novelist and a poet and a blogger. He is a man who stands by his word and whose words stood in the face of prison and arose far far above to declaim in the name of humanity. When I was considering him I spoke to many Ethiopians in Ethiopia about him. He is loved by his people and the younger generation: he is a twenty first century hero. It was obvious that the Writer of Courage had to be him. He is my hero."

Hailu said: "I think freedom of writing or freedom of speech is an intermediary path between change and violence. Many writers disdain violence. And yet, they write sour truth and encourage audiences to get out of their comfort zone to configure a better world. No war, no force, no campaign has as much power to change the world without claiming lives as writing."

Book Review

Review: The Book of Lost Saints

The Book of Lost Saints by Daniel José Older (Imprint, $26.99 hardcover, 336p., 9781250185815, November 5, 2019)

Marisol Aragones, the youngest of three sisters, disappeared during the Cuban Revolution, caught up in the violence between warring factions of soldiers and resistance cells. Half a century later, her spirit--never quite able to rest--begins visiting her nephew, Ramón, a shaggy gentle giant who works at a New Jersey hospital by day and spins records at a local club by night. In The Book of Lost Saints, Daniel José Older (Dactyl Hill Squad; Shadowhouse Fall) unfolds Marisol's story through the memories she shares with Ramón.

At first, readers may find Marisol's memories as confusing as Ramón does: half-remembered encounters with neighbors and friends who, like Marisol, end up joining the revolution in various capacities. Marisol followed her older sister, Isabel, and local priest Padre Sebastian into the resistance, and threw herself into her new life while worrying about her parents and her other sister, Nilda. In between trying to make sense of Marisol's memories, Ramón navigates his tricky relationship with Aliceana, a Filipina medical resident at the hospital where he works. Plus, he's dealing with pressure from a local heavy who may have some connection to Marisol and wants to use Ramón's popular DJ shows for his own ends. Eventually, Ramón and Aliceana, along with Ramón's roommate Adina, book a trip to Cuba in search of answers.

Older's otherworldly narrative, told from Marisol's (often irreverent) point of view, jumps around, as dreams tend to do. The action shifts between Marisol's memories, her experience as a not-quite-embodied spirit and Ramón's present-day waking encounters with the other characters. The novel gives a bleak, often heartrending perspective on a complicated revolution that tore Cuba apart, with multiple characters either switching allegiances or betrayed by those who did. Decades later, the effects of choosing sides (whether it be ideological or geographical, a side of the revolution or a side of the Gulf of Mexico) still have consequences today. Marisol, unsure of the end of her own story, pushes Ramón to find answers as it becomes increasingly clear that their fates are bound up together.

Between the grisly scenes of war, prison and heartbreak, the novel gives way to moments of lightness: Adina's dry sense of humor, wisecracks from assorted Cubano relatives, the growing love between Ramón and Aliceana. Infused with the pounding beats of Ramón's nightclub, the colors and sounds of prewar Cuba and the complicated ties of family, The Book of Lost Saints is a gritty, compelling look at love and war and the ways past actions reverberate down through the generations. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

Shelf Talker: Daniel José Older's dreamy novel follows a Cubana revolutionary whose spirit visits her nephew in modern-day New Jersey.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. White Knight by Meghan March
2. The Oracle by Jonathan Cahn
3. Reign of Brayshaw by Meagan Brandy
4. Mr. Mayfair by Louise Bay
5. Never Have I Ever by Lauren Blakely
6. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki and Sharon L. Lechter
7. Whiskey and Gunpowder by Liliana Hart
8. Desperate Play by Barbara Freethy
9. The Play by Karina Halle
10. My Big Fat Fake Wedding by Lauren Landish

[Many thanks to!]

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