Shelf Awareness for Friday, November 1, 2019

Mariner Books: Everyone This Christmas Has a Secret: A Festive Mystery by Benjamin Stevenson

Grove Press: Brightly Shining by Ingvild Rishøi, Translated Caroline Waight

Running Press Adult: Scam Goddess: Lessons from a Life of Cons, Grifts, and Schemes by Laci Mosley

Broadleaf Books: Trespass: Portraits of Unhoused Life, Love, and Understanding by Kim Watson

Nancy Paulsen Books: Sync by Ellen Hopkins

Running Press Adult: Cat People by Hannah Hillam

Beaming Books: Must-Have Autumn Reads for Your Shelf!

Dial Press: Like Mother, Like Mother by Susan Rieger

Quotation of the Day

'Sometimes People Just Need Someone to Talk to'

"Being a bookseller is partly what I imagined it would be, but there is a lot more involved than I realized.... You often meet customers at the highest and lowest points in their lives. It is a wonderful feeling to help people select books of baby names, especially when they introduce you to the new baby later when they come back to pick out their first book.

"It is a lot more difficult to help people trying to find a book to cope with a bereavement or a serious health diagnosis--they are often still in shock and will turn to a book to help them understand what is happening in their lives.

"Sometimes people just need someone to talk to and they feel comfortable enough with booksellers to do this. You also meet weird and wonderful people and you get to know the people in your community."

--Dawn Behan, owner of Woodbine Books in Kilcullen, Ireland (via

Peachtree Teen: Compound Fracture by Andrew Joseph White


Interabang Books Finds New Dallas Location

Interabang will move into the Pavilion at Lovers Lane next month.

Interabang Books, the Dallas, Tex., bookstore that was destroyed by a tornado a week and a half ago, "plans to open a new bookshop on Lovers Lane, between Inwood Road and the Dallas North Tollway," the Morning News reported. Following a bit of interior work "to furnish the place and do it up in Interabang's signature blue and yellow color scheme," the approximately 2,500-square-foot space at 5600 W. Lovers Lane--about three and a half miles from the damaged store--is expected to be open by mid-November.

Despite the new location, Interabang's management has not given up hope on the original Preston Royal shopping center site. They are "waiting on word from the landlord about the space's fate, which will factor into their decision on whether to return there," the Morning News noted, adding that, in "an ironic twist, the groundswell of support that Interabang has received in the aftermath of the store's devastation has served as proof that the two-year-old business, still a relative newcomer to Dallas' local books scene, has become a bona-fide hub of the city's literary community."

"We knew we had become a part of the fabric of the city to certain groups of people, but I think it was deeper and wider than we even realized," said co-owner Nancy Perot, who added that the bookshop has continued to do business through its online store and by supplying books at offsite events. "It's really allowed us to keep our head above water without a real storefront where people can come in and buy the books. And so we are so grateful to everybody who has done that and continues to do that," referring to those who've bought books online, "because it's really kept us from being crippled by this tornado."

Since Interabang has been fulfilling online orders through a distributor, it did not have to be concerned with inventory problems after the tornado. Manager and a co-owner Kyle Hall noted: "We had to go through a fair amount of explanation that we're not trying to sell you a waterlogged, shredded book. We're not asking for donations. We're asking for business."

Inner Traditions: Expand your collection with these must-have resource books!

For Sale: Joe's Place Bookstore in Greenville, S.C.

Joe's Place Bookstore in Greenville, S.C., which features new and used books, coffee, a wine bar, local art and small plates of food, has been put up for sale by owners Alix and Mary Bernard, who opened the business in 2014 and relocated in 2017.

In a letter to customers, the owners wrote: "It's been an amazing five years since we started this dream of owning a business that was more than books. More than coffee. More than even wine. Yes, it's true, more than wine! It was about bringing people together over shared friendships and dreams.

"While it has been a fabulous journey, after much consideration we have decided to close Joe's Place at the end of this year. This decision is mainly driven from a personal perspective since we both turned 60 this year (thus the 120 years old!) and are now focusing on our retirement."

Plans call for the store to operate with "business as usual" through the end of the year, and discounts are being offered effective November 1. The owners are in the process of listing the property for sale, but would also be interested in selling the business and/or the assets. The building is listed by Deanna Hudgens of Signature Commercial Properties LLC. She can be reached at or 864-517-4600.

"Thank you for your patronage over the last five years!" the Bernards wrote. "You are a part of our family and we appreciate you!"

Cincinnati's Booksellers on Fountain Square to Close

The Booksellers on Fountain Square in Cincinnati, Ohio, will close in the near future, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.

Owner Neil Van Uum told the Enquirer that his store has struggled since 2018, when an exodus of neighboring retailers began that left The Booksellers as the only shop in his entire building. Once the downtown Macy's closed, which was the building's centerpiece, the other stores in the building either closed or moved, and Van Uum saw his store's sales drop by some 25%.

"We made a valiant effort, but economics dictate that we can no longer operate the store at a loss," he said. "We will be commencing a clearance sale in the near future."

In recent months, Van Uum has feuded with his new landlords, the nonprofit Cincinnati Center City Development Corp. The nonprofit bought the building earlier this year for $7.5 million with plans to redevelop it. In May, Van Uum said, they threatened to evict him. The bookstore also closed briefly last month after missing a state tax payment.

Van Uum first opened the store in 2013. He was also the owner of the Booksellers at Laurelwood in Memphis, Tenn., which closed in 2017, and prior to that was the long time co-owner of Joseph-Beth Booksellers.

UNESCO Designates 11 New Cities of Literature

UNESCO has added 66 urban settlements, including 11 new Cities of Literature, to its Network of Creative Cities, which now totals 246 members. The network brings together cities that base their development on creativity, whether in music, arts and folk crafts, design, cinema, literature, digital arts or gastronomy. UNESCO creative cities commit to placing culture at the center of their development strategies and to share their best practices.

"All over the world, these cities, each in its way, make culture the pillar, not an accessory, of their strategy," said UNESCO director-general Audrey Azoulay. "This favors political and social innovation and is particularly important for the young generations."

The newly named Cities of Literature are Angoulême (France), Beirut (Lebanon), Exeter (U.K.), Kuhmo (Finland), Lahore (Pakistan), Leeuwarden (Netherlands), Nanjing (China), Odessa (Ukraine), Slemani (Iraq), Wonju (Republic of Korea) and Wrocław (Poland).

Ownership Change for Anthology

Anthology, the bookstore inventory control software company, has announced a transition of ownership to long-time employees David Luick and Thomas Maule. They have a combined work experience of more than 45 years in the bookselling and software industries, as well as holding various managerial positions within Anthology.

"As owners, they will continue to supply the award-winning service that has made Anthology an industry leader," the company said, adding that "in the coming months, Anthology will be working on ways to streamline and improve products and services as we continue to develop better tools with our strategic partners, utilizing the latest technologies to enhance Visual Anthology and future products alike. We are looking forward to continuing our involvement with the bookselling community and to augmenting our talented staff as the company continues to grow."


Image of the Day: Books Change Lives

Sourcebooks celebrated its second annual Books Change Lives event at the American Writers Museum in Chicago last week. Pictured (from l.): Roberta Rubin, former owner of the Book Stall at Chestnut Court in Winnetka, Ill., and immediate past chair of the American Writers Museum; and Dominique Raccah, Sourcebooks CEO and publisher and an American Writers Museum trustee.

Happy 20th Birthday to Canio's Books' Owners!

Congratulations to Maryann Calendrille and Kathryn Szoka, who will be celebrating their 20th anniversary as owners of  Canio's Books, Sag Harbor, N.Y., tomorrow with a literary costume party, fun, food, games and prizes. The store was opened by Canio Pavone in 1980.

The Express reported that it was "a moment of wild inspiration and derring-do, an upcoming leap of faith, that stopped Maryann Calendrille and Kathryn Szoka in their tracks on a late night in 1999, standing across the street from Canio's Books in Sag Harbor. They considered the dark blue door and the threshold they had crossed so many times. The gray floorboards that creak with familiarity every few steps. The musky scent of paper that lingers in the air, and the rows upon rows of bookshelves that command attention and tower above all else." Soon they would be the new owners of the 900-square-foot bookshop.

"I'm very grateful," said Calendrille, "It's been a tremendous opportunity and really a privilege to be able to move the shop forward."

Szoka added: "Looking now back on it, it came at a crossroads moment for all of our lives, including Canio's. It was something that couldn't have been predicted, but now, looking back on it, couldn't have happened any other way. It's been, as we often say, like our own higher education experience.... It's continued education, or, as Melville would say, the ship is his university. The store, the shop, is our university, and we have grown in many ways over those 20 years."

Ultimately, it was their "shared love of community that led them to take over the store, and a desire to continue the serendipity, growth and magic they felt there during their earliest days in the village--and continue to feel today," the Express wrote.

"Our interest in the shop, in the community, in cultural preservation, in the literary heritage of the bookshop all fueled our audacity to go sit with Canio about taking over, and he couldn't have been more encouraging and helpful and supportive," Calendrille said.

Noname Talks Book Club on The Daily Show

Chicago rapper Noname, who launched Noname's Book Club in July, was on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah Tuesday night to discuss the origins of her book club as well as Afrocentric Bookstore, the independent bookstore her mother owned in Chicago for 20 years. She also encouraged readers to shop at locally owned businesses and businesses owned by people of color.

"One thing that we're trying to do is incentive people to shop locally," Noname told Noah. "So yes you can participate in the book club online but we really encourage our readers to shop at these POC-owned bookstores that we have in our directory. It's a little bit of a f--k you to Amazon and kind of a f--k you to like, the FBI a little bit."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Guy Snodgrass on State of the Union

CNN's State of the Union: Guy Snodgrass, author of Holding the Line: Inside Trump's Pentagon with Secretary Mattis (Sentinel, $27, 9780593084373).

TV: House of the Dragon; Nancy Drew

"As one Game of Thrones prequel dies, another rises from the ashes," Entertainment Weekly noted in reporting that HBO has given a full series order for 10 episodes to House of the Dragon, a GoT prequel project about the Targaryen civil war. This development came just hours after news broke that the network's first GoT prequel project, from showrunner Jane Goldman and starring Naomi Watts, was not moving forward.

Emmy-winning GoT director Miguel Sapochnik will serve as co-showrunner and direct the pilot for House of the Dragon, which is based on George R.R. Martin's 2018 book Fire & Blood. He had previously directed acclaimed GoT episodes such as "Battle of the Bastards," "Hardhome" and "The Long Night." The new prequel was co-created by Martin and Ryan Condal (Colony), who will also be a showrunner on the series.

"The Game of Thrones universe is so rich with stories," said Casey Bloys, president, HBO programming. "We look forward to exploring the origins of House Targaryen and the earlier days of Westeros along with Miguel, Ryan and George."


Miles Gaston Villanueva (Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders) has been cast in a recurring role opposite Kennedy McMann and Riley Smith on the CW's Nancy Drew, from CBS TV Studios and Fake Empire, Deadline reported.

Directed by Larry Teng and written by Noga Landau, Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, the project "centers on 18-year-old Nancy Drew (McMann) and is set in the summer after her high school graduation. She thought she'd be leaving her hometown for college, but when a socialite is murdered, Nancy finds herself a prime suspect in the crime, along with a group of other teens present at the scene," Deadline wrote.

Books & Authors

Awards: Nayef Al-Rodhan for Global Cultural Understanding

The British Academy announced that Toby Green has won the £25,000 (about $32,475) Nayef Al-Rodhan Prize for Global Cultural Understanding for A Fistful of Shells: West Africa from the Rise of the Slave Trade to the Age of Revolution. The prize celebrates "the best works of nonfiction that demonstrate rigor and originality, have contributed to global cultural understanding and illuminate the interconnections and divisions that shape cultural identity worldwide."

Speaking on behalf of the jury, Ash Amin said: "A Fistful of Shells is a treasure trove of a book. Truly ground-breaking, it draws on years of work to tell another story of pre-colonial West Africa, a continually ignored continent. It changed the way in which the jury thought about Africa and helped us to better understand not just Africa but the way in which the world is changing right now. Finally, a detailed history that few westerners know but all ought to. Quite simply, an eye-opener."

Reading with... Jonathan Blum

photo: Shelby Demory

Jonathan Blum is the author of two books of fiction, both published by Rescue Press: the story collection The Usual Uncertainties (November 1, 2019) and Last Word, a novella, which was named one of the best books of the year by Iowa Public Radio and was featured on KCRW's Bookworm with host Michael Silverblatt. Blum grew up in Miami and graduated from UCLA and the Iowa Writers' Workshop. He lives in Los Angeles.

On your nightstand now:

Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik's Halakhic Man, Rachel Cusk's Outline, Yu Hua's To Live, Sabrina Orah Mark's Wild Milk and The WPA Oklahoma Slave Narratives. With this last one, workers went around in the 1930s interviewing people who had been born into slavery and had memories of it. Some of the narratives--like the one in which a girl's parents are given to a young white couple as a wedding gift--are treasures of history, language and storytelling and reminders that slavery is not very far behind us. 

Favorite book when you were a child:

When I was a child, my grandmother recited poems to me before I went to sleep. Most of them she knew by heart. My favorites were Longfellow's "Evangeline" and "Paul Revere's Ride"; Poe's "The Bells"; Frost's "Mending Wall," "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" and "The Road Not Taken"; Coleridge's "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner"; and Whitman's "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd" and "O Captain! My Captain!" 

Your top five authors:

Raymond Carver, John Cheever, J.M. Coetzee, Philip Roth, James Baldwin. 

Book you're an evangelist for:

Some books I have recommended many times: Heschel's The Sabbath, Michelle Latiolais's Widow. But the book I have recommended more than any other and that I believe everyone should read is The Center Cannot Hold by Elyn Saks, a nonfictional account of the author's high-functioning life with schizophrenia. Saks's struggles with achieving basic sanity will bring you to tears. Her honesty and efforts will move you. I urge this book upon anyone who suffers with mental illness as well as those that are looking for insight into it. 

Book you hid from your parents:

I don't remember ever hiding a book from my parents. Maybe I should have hidden more from them.

Book that changed your life:

Raymond Carver's What We Talk About When We Talk About Love. I read it at 19, for a postwar American lit class, and I immediately knew that I was going to write stories for the rest of my life. 

Favorite line from a book:

In A Room of One's Own, which I recently re-read with much pleasure, Virginia Woolf offers this advisory notice for attention-seeking writers: "Literature is strewn with the wreckage of men who have minded beyond reason the opinions of others." 

Five books you'll never part with:

Here are five books I plan to get old with: Flaubert's Bouvard and Pécuchet, Marilynne Robinson's Gilead, Yehuda Amichai's Open Closed Open, Wislawa Szymborska's Map: Collected and Last Poems, John Berger's Here Is Where We Meet.

Book you want to read again for the first time:

I read Don Quixote when I was 22, and I have never enjoyed reading a book more. Love! Madness! Friendship! Books! I could not possibly enjoy a book that much today. Of course, what could I read that would be the equal of Don Quixote?

Book Review

Review: 1973: Rock at the Crossroads

1973: Rock at the Crossroads by Andrew Grant Jackson (Thomas Dunne Books, $29.99 hardcover, 448p., 9781250299987, December 3, 2019)

In the thorough 1973: Rock at the Crossroads, Andrew Grant Jackson examines the music of the year that he says is responsible for more songs played on classic rock radio than any other.

The author of four previous titles about rock, Jackson (1965: The Most Revolutionary Year in Music) breaks 1973 into sections named for the seasons, and takes readers through themed chapters on the year's major musical events. Two chapters focus on singer-songwriter upstarts Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young. Jackson devotes individual chapters to Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon, Led Zeppelin's Houses of the Holy, Joni Mitchell's Court and Spark and other now-canonized albums recorded or released in 1973. Throughout his analysis, Jackson makes room for the odd Spinal Tap-ian detail. For one: while discussing the making of Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, Jackson notes that during his downtime, Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi liked to listen to the Carpenters and Peter, Paul and Mary.

Jackson admits that he leaned on unscholarly online sources like Wikipedia for his research, but chapter notes make clear that he also turned to print, and lots of it, especially the featured artists' memoirs. (Most seem to have written one.) His detective work yields insights into the Bowie-Jagger rivalry-friendship as well as the Bowie-Elton John rivalry (just rivalry, no friendship). Jackson taps into the political and social climates that made way for flag-planting hits like Helen Reddy's feminist anthem "I Am Woman" and Lou Reed's tribute to androgyny, "Walk on the Wild Side," but he also loops in the present day to make a point. He submits that the anger heaped on James Brown for supporting President Richard Nixon was "far more intense than what Kanye West received for supporting President Trump."

While 1973 is an invaluable reference work, complete with black-and-white photo insert, reading it like a novel provides one of that literary form's great payoffs: empathy with a story's characters. What's more, skipping around in 1973 could mean missing one of Jackson's debatable declarations ("The album would have a better reputation today if it opened with..."). For rock purists, these may be fightin' words, and Jackson should watch his back: upon finishing 1973, some readers may reach for their turntables, needles blazing. --Nell Beram, author and freelance writer

Shelf Talker: This chronicle of what was arguably the biggest year in rock contextualizes its musical markers and considers the artists behind them.

Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: 'Without You, Stories Wouldn't Exist'

You can't travel along the autumn regional booksellers trade show circuit and not think about story because stories run through our collective veins. They define us, personally and professionally.

Danny Caine of the Raven Book Store accepts Midwest Bookseller of the Year award from MIBA executive director Carrie Obry

During my regionals pilgrimage this year, one of the first people I heard address the importance of story was Danny Caine, owner of the Raven Book Store, Lawrence, Kan. Accepting his Midwest Bookseller of the Year Award at the Heartland Fall Forum in Cleveland, he said, "We do great things. Everyone in here knows this already. But what about the people who aren't in here? Don't forget that you who trade in stories have a story that people want to hear. That story is something our scary competition can't take away. In this way I don't actually think our books are our most valuable commodity. I think it's our story."

Authors had their own stories to tell, often about their books, sometimes about booksellers. Isaac Fitzgerald (How to Be a Pirate, Bloomsbury Children's Books, March), who emceed the HFF awards celebration, observed: "A story can change your attitude; it can change your outlook. A story is the most important thing and I'm a deep believer in the power of story.... The most important thing to me about being here is that I'm here as a fan of all of you.... Without you, stories wouldn't exist."

Ruta Sepetys

In her marquee author keynote, Ruta Sepetys (The Fountains of Silence, Philomel) reflected on the role of story in engaging with the world: "I think that my pull to these stories of adversity comes from my parents' stories because they always taught me that we can't choose our hardships, but we can choose how we face our hardships. And we find those stories of hardship in historical fiction...." Although people may feel forgotten, "we haven't forgotten them. We just don't know their stories.... I have the honor of giving these hidden stories to these very important readers and knowing that they will carry them carefully in their hands into the future.... You put the books in their hands. You put the books in the hands of the teachers and the parents, so you are carrying these important stories into the future, too."

HFF Children's Author Breakfast speakers Pam Muñoz Ryan, Gabby Rivera & Sharon Robinson

And Pam Muñoz Ryan (Mañanaland, Scholastic, March) told the HFF Children's Author Breakfast audience that in her new book, "I did not ground the story in a particular year, and I set the story in an obscure place that could be any number of countries, villages or even your own backyard. Because this story happened decades ago, this story is happening now, all over the world, this story is sadly likely to continue in the tomorrows to come.... That is the power of what we do. If readers fill up on a myriad of stories and they discover a myriad of differences among cultures and consider societal issues other than their own, and they see various paths through life, then we have given the reader different ways of being."

Andre Perry (r.) with Tasting Notes Dinner authors Lily King, Jacquira Diaz, Peter Geye & Kate Elizabeth Russell

At the HFF Author Dinner, Andre Perry (Some of Us Are Very Hungry Now, Two Dollar Radio, November 12) shared a personal story of "the moment when, at one of our festivals, Danez Smith--the week their seminal poetry collection, Don't Call Us Dead, was released--took the stage, again at the theater where I work, and held us, the whole room--adults, students, kids--like they were our dream band, Grizzly Bear, Deaf Punk, Yo-Yo Ma at the Los Angeles Symphony, Chance the Rapper all rolled into one. In those 42 minutes that Danez Smith held the stage with words, stories, impeccable rhythm, there was more gospel, more rapture, more love, more catharsis, more paradigm shifting, more actual learning than had happened all semester long in the classrooms of the University of Iowa."

I also think about something Colum McCann (Apeirogon, Random House, February) said to booksellers at MPIBA FallCon's Gala Author Dinner Party in Denver: "What you do is that you bring out stories into the world. I think that you increase the lungs of the world in certain ways. And you bring stories that meet another story, that meet another story, that meet another story again. Which leads me to the idea of my title, which is Apeirogon. An Apeirogon is a shape with a countably infinite number of sides. And I think it's a beautiful word; a word that may be hard to grasp, but hard also to forget in the sense that you are actually reaching out and creating, with stories and storytelling, with books, an Apeirogonal world."

Which brings me back to Danny Caine in Cleveland, celebrating his award with an inspiring litany of stories about booksellers, including "the story about the little store in Kansas that set its all-time sales record the day a Borders opened across the street. The story about the group of stuck-up anti-war grad students starting a tiny St. Louis shop that's about to celebrate its 50th anniversary. The story about the bookstore with 32 rooms and one Satanic Twitter account. The story about the bookstore that doesn't want to be a landmark. The story about the bookseller who's on city council. The story about the bookseller who's an author. The story about how we're all still here, even though the e-book, the Internet, the mall, the chain, the mass market paperback, Amazon and so much else were all supposed to eliminate us.... The story we do not know yet because we're waiting for you to tell us." 

--Robert Gray, contributing editor

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