Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, February 10, 2021

St. Martin's Press: The Treeline: The Last Forest and the Future of Life on Earth by Ben Rawlence

Berkley Books: This Might Hurt by Stephanie Wrobel

Candlewick Press: The Heartbreak Bakery by A R Capetta

Other Press: Home Reading Service by Fabio Morábito, translated by Curtis Bauer

HarperCollins Publishers: Click to register for the William Morrow & Custom House Winter 2022 Fiction Showcase!

St. Martin's Press: See, Solve, Scale: How Anyone Can Turn an Unsolved Problem Into a Breakthrough Success by Danny Warshay


Clara Villarosa Launching Hue-Man Experience at Tattered Cover

Clara Villarosa

Clara Villarosa, founder of the Hue-Man Experience Bookstore in Denver, Colo., and Hue-Man Bookstore & Cafe in New York City, is teaming with Tattered Cover Book Store "to reimagine the beloved Hue-Man brand." Under Villarosa's guidance, Hue-Man Experience at Tattered Cover "will serve as a curatorial expert for individuals as well as educational institutions, corporations and nonprofits, providing thoughtful guidance on book selections that encourage diversity, equity and inclusion," according to the partners.

"I've always had a real affinity for Tattered Cover, beginning with its previous owner, Joyce Meskis, graciously acting as my mentor when I opened my first bookstore," said Villarosa. "At this point in my life, reviving the Hue-Man brand wasn't something I had previously imagined. However, in light of recent events, the need for this sort of inclusive curation and focus on diversity in literature is as evident as ever. My goal for this partnership with Tattered Cover is to build awareness around important issues, while giving a voice to Black authors."

Tattered Cover CEO Kwame Spearman commented: "With more than 37 years of experience selling Black literature, Clara has the expertise to lead us forward in a way that will make Denver proud. I have countless fond memories of visiting her store as a child and it is an honor to give a new home to the Hue-Man Experience, which has meant so much to me and to many others."

The goal of Hue-Man Experience at Tattered Cover is to help individuals, organizations and businesses that want to learn more about underrepresented titles and authors have a trustworthy brand to source relevant material. Hue-Man Experience will recommend material from all major and independent publishers, as well as seek local talent.

"When a school seeks to expand its curriculum to be reflective of a more diverse world, the Hue-Man Experience at Tattered Cover will help them select and acquire those titles," said Spearman. "When a large organization needs resources for staff development and conversations around issues of race, we are their partners." Within Tattered Cover, Hue-Man Experience will focus on identifying, curating and recommending diverse authors, writers and artists, to ensure thoughtful representation from Black, Indigenous and People of Color throughout its stores. Additionally, the program has a community outreach arm to help connect with diverse local artists and authors.

To help launch the partnership and in celebration of Black History Month, Villarosa has put together a list of recommended books that will be highlighted on Tattered Cover's blog and newsletters (sign up for the newsletter here). Organizations interested in partnering with Hue-Man Experience at Tattered Cover may contact Villarosa's team at

Villarosa opened the Hue-Man Experience, Denver's first Black-owned bookstore, in 1984. She sold the store 16 years later and moved to New York City, where she launched the Hue-Man Bookstore & Café in Harlem. Villarosa is also the author of Down to Business: The First 10 Steps to Entrepreneurship for Women, and was nominated for the NAACP Image Award in 2009. She was a longtime board member of the American Booksellers Association.

Sharjah Book Authority: Publishers Conference, October 31st - November 2nd, 2021

Words Unite Opens Community Store in Texas

Words Unite Bookstore & Events has opened a store, its third location, in Harker Heights, Tex., the Harker Heights Herald reported.

Owned by Ashley Marie Knight and Qiana Cannon, described by the newspaper as "two strong, black female military veterans... both of whom have a background in education and who are published authors themselves," Words Unite has a kiosk in the main exchange at Fort Hood and a mobile bookstore that travels to Air Force and Army bases around the nation.

The Harker Heights store is a community store connected with the Tap Tap Art School. Knight called this a "great partnership [that] will enhance a love of art and music and literature (in children). It's a great fit to mesh that together."

The store showcases "local and other independent, self-published authors (from all over the nation and as far away as Canada)," the Herald noted. The selection includes a variety of titles, all signed, representing authors of "different styles, genres, ages (one as young as 6 years old), races, and cultures." A common thread is that the books have "a positive message." Knight commented: "Staying in a positive lane is how I would describe our books." Words Unite also carries artwork, T-shirts, masks and more.

The newspaper said Knight and Cannon met "for the first time about a year and a half ago on a trip to Washington, D.C., for women veterans. Knight said they were both authors and book lovers, and she had been wanting to open a bookstore that would create that educational environment." Not long afterward, she pitched the idea, which was something Cannon wanted to do, too, and Words Unite was born.

Peachtree Publishing Company: Hey! a Colorful Mystery by Kate Read

New S&S Lifestyle Imprint to Be Headed by Richard Rhorer

Richard Rhorer

Simon & Schuster is forming a new nonfiction lifestyle imprint that will be headed by Richard Rhorer, currently deputy publisher of the Simon & Schuster trade imprint.

In an announcement about the new imprint, which has not been named yet, S&S president and CEO Jonathan Karp said, "If the pandemic has shown anything, it's that the marketplace for bestselling and enduring works of practical nonfiction is as vibrant as it has ever been, if not more so. Leading our new imprint, Richard and his team will publish books that address topics foundational to how we live--from the meals we prepare, the relationships we nurture, and the households we manage, to the personal and professional goals we set and strive to achieve. Its titles will provide information, advice, and inspiration in visually dynamic books from authorities with original ideas and deep expertise."

Rhorer joined S&S in 2011 and has been involved in what Karp called the imprint's "most successful practical nonfiction titles, such as Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by Samin Nosrat, Think Like a Monk by Jay Shetty, and Contagious by Jonah Berger. He will leave the S&S trade imprint March 14.

Karp added: "In bringing our books to market, Richard sees the whole field and considers how every facet of a publication can be optimized for success. He has been an influential voice in helping us acquire, position, and sell our books. Richard's extensive experience in our industry includes positions in sales, marketing, digital media, and backlist publishing, giving him the well-rounded knowledge, know-how, and publishing judgment that will help us deepen and expand our commitment to authors."

KidsBuzz for the Week of 09.27.21

How Bookstores Are Coping: A Tale of Two Stores; 'Extraordinary Effort'

Josh Niesse and Megan Bell, owners of Underground Books in Carrollton, Ga., and Hills & Hamlets Bookshop in Chattahoochee Hills, Ga., reported that things are very different at their two stores. 

Underground Books is open for browsing by appointment only, and while Carrollton is a small college town, it is in a deeply conservative area. Mask resistance is so high, Niesse explained, that if you walked around downtown Carrollton and saw how few places required masks and how few shoppers wore them, "you'd think it was 2019."

Operating by appointment only, he continued, was the only way he and Bell could open the store to customers and still feel safe. The doors are kept locked because people try to enter the store without reading signage or wearing masks, and sometimes people get angry when they're not allowed in. The situation "does not feel normal" and can be stressful a lot of the time, but the private appointments themselves are "nearly universally wonderful." The store's regular customers understand and appreciate what they're trying to do.

Hills & Hamlets, meanwhile, is located in a progressive planned community near Atlanta called Serenbe, where mask use is much more widespread. That store is open for limited walk-in browsing  Friday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. At Hills & Hamlets, things feel "fairly normal," aside from the occasional trouble of telling folks to keep their noses covered, and sales there have been strong.

When asked how the stores fared during 2020, Niesse said the financial picture is a little complicated and Covid has had some "less linear impacts on our business." Total revenue was down by about 25%, but starting in April last year they pivoted to giving their online used and antiquarian business "90% of our attention," while at the same time encouraging their regular new book customers to buy through their Bookshop page.

So while total sales were down, the store was close to 2019 in terms of profitability, mainly because the margins on used, out-of-print, rare and antiquarian books sold online "are so much better than new books margins." As things gradually return to normal, one challenge for them will be not allowing the time-intensive buying and selling of new books to take up all their time at the expense of those higher-margin sales.

Looking ahead, Niesse said he and Bell are "generally optimistic" about both the near-term and long-term future of the business. A big lesson from the pandemic has been that when they are able to "really consciously manage our time and direct our attention with intention," they are more profitable and have the headspace to work on new creative projects. One example, Niesse added, was creating and launching their own line of book-themed candles during the holidays when their normal candle supplier stopped wholesaling due to supply chain issues.


In Concord, Mass., Concord Bookshop has settled into a new normal, with slightly reduced hours, capacity restrictions and a variety of safety precautions, owner Dawn Rennert reported. All customer seating and the kids' activity table has been removed, high-touch surfaces are sanitized throughout the day, there are plexiglass partitions at the registers and the team has installed air purification machines. Rennert added that her store has not encountered any mask resistance.

Looking back on 2020, Rennert said the store was down compared to 2019 by less than 5%, which is "remarkable" given that the store was closed to the public for nearly three months last year. Online sales have grown immensely and now consistently make up about 15% of overall sales compared to 1% historically. She praised the "extraordinary effort" on the part of bookstore staff and management to "meet customers where they were," and she pointed out that the store also benefited from things like national awareness campaigns about the importance of shopping local, as well as local efforts to drive traffic to independent businesses during the summer and through the holiday season.

The slower pace of the first few months of the year, Rennert continued, will give the team an opportunity to review its policies and procedures and prepare for the time when they can start to reintroduce in-store events and their community window partnerships. --Alex Mutter

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Love & Saffron: A Novel of Friendship, Food, and Love by Kim Fay

B&N College to Run East Carolina University Stores

East Carolina University has chosen Barnes & Noble College to manage and operate the Dowdy Student Stores "following a competitive bid process," WNCT reported, noting that with revenue losses "due to Covid-19 and declining textbook sales as the market moves toward more digital content, the university administration felt an obligation to assess outsourcing options. B&N College proposed an attractive financial package and comprehensive plan that are expected to increase university revenues significantly for scholarships and other priorities. The proposal would also position the bookstores for future success using enhanced branding and technology."

"The name remains Dowdy Student Stores, but this agreement will add course materials and merchandise variety, a network of expertise and integrated technology from a national leader in college and university bookstore operations and management," said Stephanie Coleman, interim vice chancellor for administration and finance. "The university gains organizational stability and increased funds for scholarships and other needs. Students gain greater access and cost savings, and faculty are provided easy access to a wider variety of course materials."

B&N College operates more than 770 stores nationwide, including other UNC System campuses such as UNC Wilmington, UNC Greensboro, UNC Charlotte and UNC-Chapel Hill.

Obituary Note: Mary Wilson

Mary Wilson at BookExpo in 2019

Mary Wilson, a founding member of the Supremes, "the trailblazing group from the 1960s that spun up a dozen No. 1 singles on the musical charts and was key to Motown’s legendary sound," died February 8, the New York Times reported. She was 76.

Wilson was also the author of Supreme Glamour, as well as Dreamgirl: My Life As a Supreme and Supreme Faith: Someday We'll Be Together, later republished together as Dreamgirl & Supreme Faith: My Life as a Supreme.

In several interviews, she credited the inspiration to become a writer to her 12th grade English teacher, Mr. Boone. In a Wall Street Journal interview last summer, Wilson recalled that Boone had said "if I wanted to graduate and sing with 'that little group,' I'd better pass his class. For my senior essay, I wrote a heartfelt paper about my life up to that point. Mr. Boone asked to speak with me privately. I was convinced he was going to fail me. Instead, he said he was moved by my writing and that the paper was fabulous. He gave me an A with plus signs all over the page."


Foggy Pine Books Owner: Colbert's Ad 'Like Hitting the Lottery'

On Monday night's The Late Show, host Stephen Colbert offered an update on the indie bookstore commercial featuring Foggy Pine Books in Boone, N.C., that ran on his special post-Super Bowl program. Colbert noted that owner Mary Ruthless had been told to watch the show, but wasn't informed about what exactly would happen. A camera was set up to catch Ruthless's reaction.

"Look how excited they are!" Colbert said. "It's right on Mary's face. You can read it like a book. A book you can purchase at Foggy Pine Books in Boone, N.C."

Ruthless told WBTV: "It was kind of like winning the lottery... Colbert wanted to feature a small business that had been hit hard by Covid and do what they could to promote them. I don’t know exactly what it was that caught their eye, I'm sure part of it was our drive-thru, which they really liked."

The ad boosted business and interest as soon as it aired, with more than 500 book orders waiting when Ruthless arrived at work on Monday. "Three weeks ago we were wondering how we were going to make it through winter and now I'm having to hire a couple of extra people to process all the extra orders," Ruthless said. "Just shock, shock, is how I felt last night and just excitement and gratefulness too."

Personnel Changes at Knopf and Pantheon

In the publicity department at Knopf and Pantheon:

Erinn Hartman has been named v-p, senior director of publicity.

Kathy Zuckerman has been named a director of publicity at Knopf.

Emily Reardon has been promoted to publicist.

Rose Cronin-Jackman has been promoted to publicist.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Nicole Perlroth on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Nicole Perlroth, author of This Is How They Tell Me the World Ends: The Cyber Weapons Arms Race (Bloomsbury, $30, 9781635576054).

Drew Barrymore Show: Priyanka Chopra Jonas, author of Unfinished: A Memoir (Ballantine, $28, 9781984819215). She will also appear on the Kelly Clarkson Show.

Movies: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz; Free Radicals

Nicole Kassell (Watchmen) will direct New Line's film adaptation of L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Deadline reported, noting that this is "a major priority project for the studio and a big star-making opportunity for Kassell.... Her selection follows an extensive director search by New Line to find a visionary filmmaker to re-imagine The Wonderful Wizard of Oz." Temple Hill partners Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey are producing with Marc Platt. Isaac Klausner will be executive producer.

"I am incredibly honored to join Temple Hill and New Line in bringing this beloved classic to the screen," Kassell said. "While the 1939 musical is part of my DNA, I am exhilarated and humbled by the responsibility of re-imagining such a legendary tale. The opportunity to examine the original themes--the quest for courage, love, wisdom and home--feels more timely and urgent than ever. These are profoundly iconic shoes to fill, and I am eager to dance alongside these heroes of my childhood as we pave a newly minted yellow brick road."


Miramax has optioned Alice Munro's short story "Free Radicals," which will be adapted by writer-director Xia Magnus and producer Alyssa Polk, with Magnus also attached to direct, Deadline reported. Free Radicals will be produced by Jon Shestack, who brought the package to Miramax.

"The story, like so much of Alice Munro's work, is dark and intelligent," Shestack said. "The encounter between the main characters is so unexpected and intense, it feels like it was conceived for the screen."

Books & Authors

Awards: AJL Jewish Fiction Winner

Max Gross won the Association of Jewish Libraries Jewish Fiction Award for his novel The Lost Shtetl (HarperVia). The prize includes a $1,000 cash award and support to attend the 57th Annual AJL Conference in June. Chair of the award committee Laura Schutzman commented: "An impressive debut novel, The Lost Shtetl is a thoroughly enjoyable story, with lots of humor, but also incredibly sophisticated, clever, poignant and thought provoking."

Two honor books were also recognized: To Be a Man: Stories by Nicole Krauss (Harper), of which award committee member Rachel Kamin said: "Each is impactful and memorable with fully developed characters, often wrestling with their Jewish identity, who stay with you long after the reading experience is over." And Apeirogon by Colum McCann (Random House), which award committee member Paula Breger said "evokes a mosaic with an infinitely countable number of pieces that have been assembled into a beautifully written, emotionally charged, and exceedingly relevant work of fiction."

Reading with... Angie Thomas

photo: Imani Khayyam

Angie Thomas is the award-winning author of The Hate U Give and On the Come Up. A former teen rapper who holds a BFA in creative writing, Thomas was born, raised and still resides in Mississippi. Thomas's third book for young adult readers, Concrete Rose, is a prequel to The Hate U Give and is available now from Balzer + Bray.

On your nightstand now:

From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks. A brilliant middle-grade novel.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor. It was the first time I ever read a book I could identify with. The main character, Cassie, is a Black girl who lives in Mississippi--I was a Black girl who lived in Mississippi. The book had such a profound impact on me. In fact, I decided to name Starr's dad Maverick after reading a line in Roll of Thunder where Cassie described her mom as a "disrupting maverick."

Your top five authors:

Nikki Giovanni, Toni Morrison, Jacqueline Woodson, Jesmyn Ward, James Baldwin

Book you've faked reading:

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee; Shakespeare's Hamlet; The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald... basically, most books I was assigned to read in high school. I wasn't a reluctant reader--there's no such thing. I was an uninterested reader. Once I was given books I actually connected with, I loved to read.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Anything that Rick Riordan writes, basically.

Book you've bought for the cover:

When I Was the Greatest by Jason Reynolds. This was before I knew Jason and it was the first book I ever read by him. It was a wise decision.

Book you hid from your parents:

Hmm... not sure I ever hid a book from my mom. She's was always big on letting me read whatever I wanted to read, just as long as I was reading. 

Book that changed your life:

Tyrell by Coe Booth. It gave me the courage to write as authentically as possible and to tell the stories of the young people I see every day.

Favorite line from a book:

"But I figure if the world were really right, humans would live life backward and do the first part last. They'd be all knowing in the beginning and innocent in the end." --The First Part Last by Angela Johnson

Five books you'll never part with:

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
Native Son by Richard Wright
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Book you most want to read again for the first time:

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling.

Book Review

YA Review: The Night Marchers

The Night Marchers and Other Oceanian Tales by Kate Ashwin, Sloane Leong and Kel McDonald, editors (Iron Circus Comics, $15 paperback, 272p., ages 8-12, 9781945820793, April 20, 2021)

The Night Marchers and Other Oceanian Tales is the fourth installment in Iron Circus Comics' geographically specific Cautionary Fables & Fairytales series: African tales in The Girl Who Married a Skull, Asian stories in Tamamo the Fox Maiden and European fare in The Nixie of the Mill-Pond. Volume four turns to the Pacific Islands of the Philippines, Hawaii and Fiji to lure, warn, frighten and entertain middle-grade readers. Kate Ashwin and Kel McDonald, who edited the previous three titles, are joined here by cartoonist/author Sloane Leong.

As can happen with any collection, the narrative and graphic quality varies through the compilation's 16 tales. Among the most artistically satisfying is "The Ibalon Epic: A Retelling of Baltog" by Mark Gould, about a renowned warrior who dreams of being a peaceful farmer despite being known as "Baltog the brave... Baltog the strong... Baltog the unrelenting." Gould's exquisitely detailed panels are presented in various sizes and shapes and, as they overlap and overflow, they mirror his character's determination to break through his physical and theoretical borders. Particularly resonant is "The Legend of Apolaki and Mayari," which, like "Ibalon," is a Filipino myth. Kim Miranda's adaptation teaches a contemporary sister and brother (loosely sketched in motion-filled lines) the importance of sharing through a story of dueling ancient siblings (drawn with thick, black outlines). Haunting defines the titular "The Night Marchers," an atmospheric Hawaiian tale in which a girl disobeys her mother to risk a final glance at her dead father. Artist Jonah Cabudol-Chalker affectingly manifests the defiance in Kate Ashwin's writing with irregular panels, words beyond borders and images spilling off the page. Laughter softens the moral chiding of "The Story of Benito," in which a young man hired by the king proves himself far worthier than any royal of the love of a feisty, clever princess. Nicole Mannino transforms the Filipino original into a cartoon caper-esque homage to female ingenuity.

Despite the uneven presentation, this majority #OwnVoices offering is an intriguing portal to folklore, ferrying readers beyond more familiar Western myths and tales. These diverse adaptations and imaginative reinterpretations present spirit interactions, unexpected bonds, timeless life lessons and somber reminders of mortality. While the intended audience is middle-grade, older teens (and even adults) will discover potent storytelling here. --Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon

Shelf Talker: Sixteen myths and tales originating from primarily #OwnVoices creators from the Philippines, Hawaii and Fiji entice young readers with explorations of faraway folklore.

KidsBuzz: HarperCollins: Rubylicious by Victoria Kann
KidsBuzz: DK Children: Verity Fairy and Cinderella by Caroline Wakeman
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