Also published on this date: Tuesday, January 14 Dedicated Issue: University of Toronto Press

Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Flatiron Books: The Courting of Bristol Keats: [Limited Stenciled Edge Edition] by Mary E Pearson

Forge: My Three Dogs by Bruce W Cameron

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

Chronicle Books: Taste in Music: Eating on Tour with Indie Musicians by Luke Pyenson and Alex Beeker

Doubleday Books: Death at the Sign of the Rook: A Jackson Brodie Book by Kate Atkinson

Groundwood Books: Who We Are in Real Life by Victoria Koops

Agate Bolden: 54 Miles by Leonard Pitts Jr.


B&N CEO James Daunt to Give Keynote at BISG Annual Meeting

In what may be his first public talk in the U.S. since being appointed CEO of Barnes & Noble last August, James Daunt will deliver the closing keynote at the 2020 annual meeting of the Book Industry Study Group. The event will take place on Friday, April 24, at the Harvard Club in New York City.

James Daunt

In addition to being CEO of B&N, which has 627 stores, Daunt is managing director of Waterstones, which has 293 locations in the U.K., Ireland, the Netherlands and Belgium, and owns Foyles. He is also the founder of Daunt Books, which has nine shops, most of which are in London.

Brian O'Leary, executive director of BISG, said, "Barnes & Noble has played a leading role in shaping the industry and its use of standards. Since [James Daunt] took the helm last summer, people throughout the industry have been interested in what B&N will do next. We're honored to host one of his first talks on this side of the Atlantic."

The theme of this year's annual meeting will be "Building a Smarter Supply Chain." Daunt's presentation will be preceded by a series of panels and discussions designed to consider and explore ways the industry can work together to improve operations and adapt to take advantage of new opportunities.

The full agenda and roster of speakers will be announced soon. For more information, click here.

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HMH's Hannah Harlow Buying Book Shop of Beverly Farms

Hannah Harlow, executive director of marketing of general interest books at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and her brother Sam Pfeifle are buying the Book Shop of Beverly Farms, Beverly, Mass., becoming just the fourth set of owners of the bookstore, which celebrates its 52nd anniversary next month. Harlow is leaving HMH effective January 24--the day the purchase closes--and will manage the store day-to-day. Pfeifle, founding owner of West Gray Creative, will help with marketing and digital initiatives.

The siblings, who have a long history in books and literature, are purchasing the Book Shop of Beverly Farms from Pamela Price and Lee Simonds Brown, who have owned and operated the store for 23 years and worked there more than 30 years. They had put the store up for sale last September, saying that they wanted to retire.

"We are so glad that this beautiful bookstore, which has provided an oasis for book lovers for five decades, will carry on for the next generation of readers," Price said. "With their deep book knowledge and love of reading, Hannah and Sam are the perfect team to carry on this tradition of bookselling in Beverly Farms. We look forward to buying lots of books from them, and we know that our community will give them a warm welcome."

The store will be closed for a week while the new owners update some of the systems. A soft opening is tentatively scheduled for February 3, with a grand opening celebration to follow in March.

Hannah Harlow

"I'm moving from one dream job to another," said Harlow, who has worked in book publishing for 20 years. Owning a bookstore has been "a longtime dream," she continued, and she had been tinkering with a business plan for a few years but felt overwhelmed at the prospect of opening a store from scratch, and began to think of it as something to do "in retirement." But, as she recalled, she saw that the Book Shop of Beverly Farms, several towns from where she lives, was for sale. "It seemed too good to be true. It's very close to where I live, it's the exact size I'd written down years ago in my business plan as ideal, and since it has such a great history and is in such a great neighborhood it reduces the risk a little. All the amazing work Pam, Lee, and their dedicated staff have put in over the years, establishing such good will and being such a resource in the community, made the decision even easier."

She brought up the idea with her brother last Thanksgiving, and it grew on him. From there, "things have moved pretty fast." Acknowledging some risk in bookselling, she said, "We feel we have the experience and enthusiasm to really make it work."

Pfeifle, who has overseen publications in the security, privacy and workboat industries and lives in Maine, added, "As soon as we came to visit Beverly Farms, we just fell in love with the town and this little bookstore. It's so exciting to be able to keep this place up and running."

Among some changes, the new owners plan to host more author events and book groups in the store, story hours, school fairs, literary-themed dinner nights, and eventually a book mobile. On the store's website, they're adding a calendar of events, online book ordering and new store merchandise. At first, the store's online ordering will be available only for in-store pickup, but after things get up and running, the new owners aim to expand that to include shipping.

Harlow added that after 17 years of "sitting at a desk in front of a computer every day," she's looking forward to the different requirements of her new job, "being on my feet, unpacking and packing books, shelving, talking to customers. It's going to be a very different schedule. As much as I try to prepare myself for the mental changes, I have a hard time grasping what the reality will be. I imagine it's going to be a very different sort of stress, but it's my stress, and no matter what happens, I'm proud of us for taking on these new challenges and making a go of it."

Flagship Horizon Books in Traverse City, Mich., to Close

Horizon Books in Traverse City, Mich., will close after 58 years in business. The Record Eagle reported that Horizon was founded in 1961, "and over the years the company has operated bookstores in Traverse City, Petoskey, Beulah and Cadillac. The Beulah store closed in the 1980s, the Petoskey store closed in 2017 and for the time being, the Cadillac store will remain open." The owners posted an announcement on Facebook yesterday.

"For all that time we've tried to do one thing. And that's be the best bookstore we could possibly be. This was a very hard decision, but it's time," said Amy Reynolds, co-owner with her husband, Vic Herman. "This was my first job out of college. This sounds funny in these 'Me Too' times, but I fell in love with my boss. And we've been married for 28 years." She added that they are not in a hurry to close, but plan to be out of the book business sometime in 2020.

Retirement will give them the opportunity to spend more time together and do more traveling, said Herman, who stepped back from daily management of the store several years ago. "Book people are just so enjoyable to be around. And I'm very saddened to have to quit doing this. I never got into it for the money, I got into it because I loved it. Our sales are down, but we could survive financially. We're just getting to a point in our lives where we want to do some other things."

The Traverse City flagship store has been on Front Street for most of its five decades, moving to the current 22,000-square-foot, three-level location in 1993.

Reynolds told the Traverse Ticker: "When we moved here, we weren't the only big bookstore in the country. There were a lot of them, like Borders. It was the golden age of bookstores. That model is still healthy, and there are a lot of stores opening, but the new stores now are more like 2,000 square feet. We're at 22,000 square feet."

She has experienced "a lot of hugs and tears" since word of the closure spread. Reynolds and Herman are now focused on finding the right buyer for the property, with a preference not to sell to a retail store or restaurant, but instead to see the space used culturally. "We're in some verbal talks for the building," she noted. "Nothing's been put on paper yet, but we hope to come out with an announcement in a month or so."

Selling Horizon Books itself is not an option. The Ticker wrote that the owners "have essentially been floating the bookstore as property landlords, charging below-market rent to the business to keep it sustainable."

"We haven't really had income from the business other than we've collected rent," she said. "It's not a business model (that's transferable)... you'd have to triple or quadruple the rent. There's also a certain pride of ownership; it'd be very hard to let go of." Once the right buyer is secured, the store will likely host a community party to commemorate its closing, Reynolds noted, adding: "We feel a responsibility to downtown. We've been here for 58 years. We've seen good times and bad times, and we feel a responsibility to the community for what it will become."

Jason Reynolds New National Ambassador for Young People's Literature

Jason Reynolds

Jason Reynolds has been named the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature. Yesterday morning, Librarian of Congress Dr. Carla Hayden appeared with Reynolds on CBS This Morning with Gayle King to make the announcement. The Library of Congress, the Children's Book Council and Every Child a Reader established the program in 2008 to "emphasize the importance of young people's literature." Reynolds, the seventh ambassador, succeeds Jacqueline Woodson, who served from 2018 to 2019.

Reynolds is the author of the National Book Award finalist Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks, the Newbery and Printz-honored Long Way Down and nine other titles for middle-grade and teen readers. During his two-year term, he hopes to use his platform, "GRAB THE MIC: Tell Your Story," to "redirect his focus... by listening and empowering students to embrace and share their own personal stories." As he tours the country, he will partner with the nonprofit organization StoryCorps, which "celebrates the stories of everyday Americans," to record interviews with students and "create a true story archive of America's children."

"I can't even begin to describe how excited I am to embark on this opportunity as ambassador," Reynolds said. "I don't expect it to be easy, but I'm certain it will be fruitful. My mission is to take a different approach: instead of explicitly encouraging young people to read, my goal is to get them to see the value in their own narratives--that they, too, have a story, and that there's power not just in telling it, but in the opportunity to do so."

Reynolds served as spokesperson for Indies First for two years, in 2018 and 2019. At BookExpo, he received the Indie Champion Award, presented by independent booksellers.

An inauguration ceremony will be held on Thursday, January 16, at 10:30 a.m. at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. --Siân Gaetano, children's and YA editor, Shelf Awareness

Obituary Note: Johanna Lindsey

Bestselling romance novelist Johanna Lindsey, whose debut title, Captive Pride, "was released in 1977 and she went on to publish around 55 novels, selling at least 60 million copies worldwide," died October 27, though her family made the news public recently, the Bookseller reported. She was 67. Her last novel, Temptation's Darling, was released in July.

Liz Perl, chief marketing officer of Simon & Schuster, said Lindsey was a very private person: "On several occasions, her mother would accompany her, which was really sweet. Her mother was quite outgoing, so Johanna would sign the books, and her mom would stand next to her and tell fans anecdotes about Johanna when she was young. When she turned her books in, she wouldn't celebrate by buying a car or going to Paris, but by buying a video game and playing it for 12 hours before starting her next book."

After her first novel was released, Lindsey "followed it over the next four years with A Pirate's Love, Brave the Wild Wind, Fires of Winter and Paradise Wild," the New York Times wrote, adding that by 1990 "she was writing two books a year; each of her 19 had then sold at least 700,000 copies. Avon rewarded her regular presence on bestseller lists with a 10-book contract."

"That means I'll have a super leader twice a year for the next five years," Carolyn Reidy, Avon's president at the time (and now president and CEO of Simon & Schuster), told the Times in 1990. Lindsey left Avon for S&S in 2001, after writing 37 bestsellers.

"Johanna Lindsey was one of the most powerful voices of the romance genre, and at a critically important time," author Sarah MacLean told Entertainment Weekly. "As the women's movement revolutionized homes and workplaces in the late '80s and early '90s, Johanna's strong, feminist heroines were revolutionaries in their own right--fighting for partnership, respect, and happily ever after. These were heroines who captained their own fate... they lived fearlessly, fought passionately, and loved with abandon... and they inspired millions of us to do the same."


Image of the Day: This Book Is Anti-Racist Launch

Booklink Booksellers in Northampton, Mass., hosted the launch of Tiffany Jewell's debut, This Book Is Anti-Racist: 20 Lessons on How to Wake up, Take Action, and Do the Work (Frances Lincoln Children's Books/Quarto). It was standing room only for the event, which featured Jewell in conversation with Mellissa Giraud, co-founder of Embrace Race, a nonprofit organization that supports racial and anti-bias education for children. A poetry reading and q&a session followed the conversation.

Bookseller Moment: The Little BOHO Bookshop

Posted on Facebook by the Little BOHO Bookshop, Bayonne, N.J.: "WE ARE SMALL, YES!! ...but we do small well! Stop by and see for yourself, we’d love to meet you! Good Morning World, Happy Monday!"

Cool Idea of the Day: Bookstore & Chocolate Crawl

Here's an event description that is as irresistible as the consumables involved: "Bookstore & Chocolate Crawl. Support Bay Area bookstores, eat chocolate, and hang out with other cool bibliophiles."

This tasty event is free, "and all readers and chocolate lovers are welcome. Intended to be an easy walk (as much as San Francisco geography allows), the routes include stops at some of the Bay Area's best bookstores, from familiar favorites to hidden gems, with frequent stops for chocolaty confections. Bookstores along the route are also invited to support their favorite non-profits by making books available to purchase for donation."

On Sunday, January 26, the Bookstore & Chocolate Crawl will start at East Bay Booksellers in Oakland, Calif., with stops at Pegasus Books, Smitten Ice Cream, See's Candies, the Escapist Comic Book Store and Dark Carnival before ending at Afikomen Judaica in Berkeley.

Chalkboard of the Day: Blue Cypress Books

The sidewalk chalkboard outside Blue Cypress Books, New Orleans, La., offered very specific options for a bad weather day. On Facebook, the store posted: "It may be gross out there, but it's still ~*magical*~ in here! We’ll be here til 5 pm for those in need of a rainy day read. Come on by!"

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Joe Palazzolo and Michael Rothfeld on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Joe Palazzolo and Michael Rothfeld, authors of The Fixers: The Bottom-Feeders, Crooked Lawyers, Gossipmongers, and Porn Stars Who Created the 45th President (Random House, $28, 9780593132395).

Oscar Nominations by the Book

The nominees for the 92nd Academy Awards have been revealed, and several movies based on books or with book connections made a strong showing. The Oscars will be presented February 9. Major bookish standouts include:

Joker, based on D.C. Comics characters: Best motion picture; director (Todd Phillips); actor (Joaquin Phoenix); cinematography (Lawrence Sher); adapted screenplay (Todd Phillips & Scott Silver); editing (Jeff Grot) and five other nominations

The Irishman, based on the book I Heard You Paint Houses by Charles Brandt: Best motion picture; director (Martin Scorsese); supporting actor (Al Pacino, Joe Pesci); cinematography (Rodrigo Prieto); adapted screenplay (Steven Zaillian); editing (Thelma Schoonmaker) and four other nominations

Little Women, adapted from Louisa May Alcott's classic novel: Best motion picture; actress (Saoirse Ronan); supporting actress (Florence Pugh); adapted screenplay (Greta Gerwig) and two other nominations

Jojo Rabbit, based on Christine Leunens's novel Caging Skies: Best motion picture; supporting actress (Scarlett Johansson); adapted screenplay (Taika Waititi); editing (Tom Eagles) and two other nominations

The Two Popes, adapted from Anthony McCarten's play The Pope: actor (Jonathan Pryce); supporting actor (Anthony Hopkins); adapted screenplay (Anthony McCarten)

Judy, adapted from the play End of the Rainbow by Peter Quilter: actress (Renée Zellweger) and one other nomination

Richard Jewell, based in part on the book The Suspect: An Olympic Bombing, the FBI, the Media, and Richard Jewell, the Man Caught in the Middle by Kent Alexander & Kevin Salwen: supporting actress (Kathy Bates)

Breakthrough, based on The Impossible: The Miraculous Story of a Mother's Faith and Her Child's Resurrection by Joyce Smith with Ginger Kolbaba: Original song ("I'm Standing With You")

Avengers: Endgame, based on the Marvel Comics characters: Visual effects

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, loosely based on the book series by Cressida Cowell: Animated feature film

Hair Love, which was also released as a children's book by director Matthew A. Cherry, illustrated by Vashti Harrison: Animated short film

Books & Authors

Awards: T.S. Eliot, Olof Palme Winners

Roger Robinson has won the £25,000 (about $32,460) 2019 T.S. Eliot Prize for A Portable Paradise (Peepal Tree Press). Chair of judges John Burnside said that the collection "finds in the bitterness of everyday experience continuing evidence of 'sweet, sweet life.' "


John le Carré has been awarded the $100,000 Olof Palme Prize, which honors "outstanding achievement in the spirit of assassinated Swedish politician Olof Palme," the Bookseller reported. The organizers praised le Carré (a pseudonym for David Cornwell) for his "engaging and humanistic opinion making in literary form regarding the freedom of the individual and the fundamental issues of mankind." Previous winners of the prize have included Kofi Annan, Hans Blix and Amnesty International.

In a statement, the Olof Palme Memorial Fund said of the winner: "Attracting world-wide attention, he is constantly urging us to discuss the cynical power games of the major powers, the greed of global corporations, the irresponsible play of corrupt politicians with our health and welfare, the growing spread of international crime, the tension in the Middle East, and the alarming rise of fascism and xenophobia in Europe and the United States of America. In the spirit of Olof Palme, David Cornwell thus gives an extraordinary contribution to the necessary fight for freedom, democracy and social justice."

Le Carré said he will donate the prize money to Médecins Sans Frontières.

Reading Group Choices' Most Popular December Books

The two most popular books in December at Reading Group Choices were The Glittering Hour by Iona Grey (Thomas Dunne Books) and This Is Happiness by Niall Williams (Bloomsbury).

Book Review

Review: The Mercies

The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave (Little, Brown, $27 hardcover, 352p., 9780316529259, February 11, 2020)

The Mercies is a dread-soaked retelling of real events that sets itself apart with an unusual premise and setting. Kiran Millwood Hargrave, an acclaimed children's book author in the U.K. (The Girl of Ink and Stars), makes her adult debut with a historical novel based on calamitous events at the far-flung town of Vardø in northern Norway. In 1617, a storm surprises 40 fishermen at sea, killing the majority of the town's male population. The women are left to fend for themselves, the harshness of their situation demanding that they put aside their grief and fulfill roles typically reserved for men if they want to survive. Besides its basis in history, the premise opens up fascinating questions about how women respond when the patriarchal structures they were born into collapse around them. The Mercies demonstrates faith in women's toughness and adaptability, but takes a clear-eyed view of how the old ways violently reassert themselves.

One protagonist is Maren, a young woman who loses as much as anyone else in the storm: a brother, father and her husband-to-be. When the town divides after the storm, she finds herself drawn toward Kirsten, who confidently flouts gender norms, and away from the more conservative women. Hargrave portrays Vardø as a town on the edge of everything, where rigid Christian strictures have not yet been fully enforced. The town's remoteness has offered a degree of freedom to the women there, a freedom that will soon be challenged by the arrival of commissioner--and witch-hunter--Absalom Cornet. His arrival represents an assertion of state and church authority over what Absalom sees as a wild, devilish place.

Absalom brings his new wife, Ursa, who is far from prepared for the harshness of Vardø. The Mercies is, in part, about how repression and power imbalances function at different levels. Ursa's experience of marriage is a painful one, and her fear of her husband only deepens as the book goes on. She finds small pockets of freedom where she can, including in an increasingly intimate relationship with Maren. The indigenous Sámi people are caught in the wave of repression, and Maren's widowed sister-in-law, an unapologetic Sámi woman, becomes a target of suspicion. The Mercies shows the worst side of state formation: conformity crushing a formerly individualistic, even somewhat pluralistic, society. Hargrave does not provide a simplistic feminist parable: prejudice, suspicion and petty grievances set the women against each other almost immediately after the men die. When Cornet arrives, he accelerates these conflicts toward a violent end.

For all the novel's outer grimness, it finds a warm heart in the relationship between Maren and Ursa. What starts out as an awkward, transactional arrangement between the two--Ursa pays Maren to help her learn necessary household duties--quickly develops into something more. They find refuge in each other, especially as tensions escalate in Vardø. As the promise of a matriarchal society fades and survival once again becomes preeminent, the bond between the two women strengthens. By the novel's bloody end, they are the only spark of hope left. --Hank Stephenson, manuscript reader, the Sun magazine

Shelf Talker: The Mercies draws from an extraordinary incident in 1617, when almost the entire male population of a tiny Norwegian town was killed, to meditate on patriarchy, oppression and love.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki with Sharon L. Lechter
2. Power Play by Toni Aleo
3. Can't Hurt Me by David Goggins
4. Delay, Don't Deny by Gin Stephens
5. River Run (The Forensic Geology Series Book 5) by Toni Dwiggins
6. Devious Lies by Parker S. Huntington
7. Rough Love by Lauren Landish
8. Accidental Shield by Nicole Snow
9. Enemies by Tijan
10. The Stories She Tells by L.K. Chapman

[Many thanks to!]

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