Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, February 16, 2021


Disney-Hyperion: 10 Truths and a Dare by Ashley Elston

Disney-Hyperion: Willa of Dark Hollow by Robert Beatty

Quirk Books: The Wild World Handbook: Habitats by Andrea Debbink, illustrated by Asia Orlando

Bloomsbury Publishing: Girlhood by Melissa Febos

Roaring Brook Press: The Sea Is Salt and So Am I by Cassandra Hartt

Firefly Books: Hemingway: A Life in Pictures by Boris Vejdovsky and Mariel Hemingway

Mira Books: The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi

Shadow Mountain: Raised in the Kitchen: Making Memories from Scratch One Recipe at a Time by Carrian Cheney

Quotation of the Day

Bookstores 'More Needed than Ever'

"The twin pillars of independent bookstores are browsing and community.... Bookstores--places that nurture learning and discussion, champion diverse voices and ideas, celebrate language, treasure knowledge and connect the past with our chaotic present to show us how we might go forward--are more needed than ever. We must do everything we can to support them now, before it is too late because they are hubs of building what Martin Luther King Jr. called the Beloved Community, centered on justice, equality and love."

--Adam Stern, bookseller at the Seminary Co-op, Chicago, Ill., in an op-ed published by the Chicago Tribune

Sterling Children's Books: Aven Green Sleuthing Machine, Volume 1 by Dusti Bowling


News

Madison, Wis.'s Room of One's Own Finds New Location

Future home for A Room of One's Own

A Room of One's Own, Madison, Wis., has found a new location, according to Isthmus. The store's downtown building is being sold to a developer who is proposing a new project that would require tearing down the building.

Co-owner Gretchen Treu described the new location, at 2717 Atwood Ave., in the Atwood area, as having "a beautiful wood barrel ceiling, wonderful natural light, skylights, a garden in the back."

After the current tenant, Threshold, a co-working and event space, closes at the end of March, A Room of One's Own will begin preparing the space in April and start moving in May, according to the Capital Times. By sometime in June, they hope to be operating only in the new space.

At 4,300 square feet, the new site is 1,200 square feet smaller than the current location. As a result, Treu said, "We're already reducing how many extra copies of books we have and changing up the percentage mix of used books to new books. There will be more new books and fewer used books that just sit there for years and don't sell."

The 20-year lease on the new space means the store won't have to move again for a long time, and it's much more affordable, with the same amount of space downtown probably costing three times as much. The new location needs some work and will not have a café, but there is one across the street and restaurants nearby, too.

Treu added that after being downtown for 46 years, A Room of One's Own can be "a great neighborhood bookstore. We have a strong personality, we have a strong social justice mission, and we'll bring all of that with us. But the shop can also be a destination for nearby residents to walk to with their families and enjoy."

Still, Treu expressed some sadness about the move, calling the current space "something special," adding, "We're going to miss it a lot. I've had a few months to grieve."


Red Lightning Books: A Guide to Sky Monsters: Thunderbirds, the Jersey Devil, Mothman, and Other Flying Cryptids by T S Mart and Mel Cabre


A Little Bookish, Ooltewah, Tenn., Turns Mobile

A Little Bookish in Ooltewah, Tenn., has transitioned to a mobile business model, the Lee Clarion reported. Store owners Miranda and Chris Atkins debuted the bookmobile on January 27, outside of the Cleveland Coffee and Market and Terra Running Company in Cleveland, Tenn., and they plan to set up the bookmobile at a new location in Bradley or Hamilton County each week.

The bookmobile sells general interest titles for all ages, with puzzles, toys and other "knickknacks" available as well. The owners have renovated a truck to include French doors, bookshelves, hardwood floors and crystal light fixtures.

Miranda and Chris Atkins have closed the store's bricks-and-mortar location, which first opened in a shopping plaza in November 2018. They told the Clarion that it was "very well received by the community" and "very loved," and its book clubs were very popular.

After closing to the public in March 2020, the book clubs began meeting over Zoom and Miranda Atkins starting doing local deliveries to customers near the store. While those deliveries weren't cost-effective, they were loved by both the store's customers and Atkins herself. As the pandemic continued, Atkins started brainstorming more cost effective and flexible business models.

"I thought, 'okay, people loved it when we were delivering books, so what if we got rid of the store and just went mobile?' " Atkins explained. W"e got the idea to go mobile, and it just really started hitting us that this was gonna fix a lot of the issues that we've been having with our location."

Since the bookmobile's debut last month, Atkins added, she's already been approached by other businesses that would like to host a visit from A Little Bookish, and customers have messaged her asking for the bookmobile to come to their neighborhoods.


Bloomsbury Publishing: Girlhood by Melissa Febos


The Word Planning #MarginsBookstores Month

The Word for Diversity, a nonprofit organization working to build an inclusive publishing community, is planning a #MarginsBookstores Month that will highlight independent bookstores owned and operated by people identifying as BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, disabled or neurodiverse. 

The first part of the #MarginsBookstores Month program will be an online map customers can use to find these indie bookstores. The Word is also working with Chronicle Books to create the map along with a physical journal featuring the map and a list of all participating bookstores, which will go on sale in October. A portion of the proceeds from sales of the journal will go to support #MarginsBookstores Month, while another portion will be distributed directly to the participating bookstores.

Participation is free to bookstores, and any bookstore looking to get involved needs only to fill out a form with their contact information and a few questions on The Word's website. To be included in the map and journal for this year, bookstores must respond by February 27.

The Word has developed this program with the help of a community planning group that includes Angela Maria Spring, owner of Duende District Bookstores in Washington, D.C., and Albuquerque, N.Mex., and Kathy Burnette, owner of Brain Lair Books in South Bend, Ind. Bookstores looking to become part of that planning group can e-mail Aida Lilly of The Word at social@thewordfordiversity.org for more information.

Last year, The Word partnered with Duende District to launch the inaugural Duende-Word BIPOC Bookseller award.


Grand Central Publishing: Seven Days in June by Tia Wiliiams


International Update: Portuguese Booksellers Call for 'Essential' Status, British Bookshops Might Reopen by April

Portuguese booksellers and publishers are calling on the government to lift Covid-related restrictions on bookstores or entities that sell only books now that "commercial establishments that were already open to the public will be able to sell books and school supplies again, after these were banned," Portugal Resident reported.

Describing the recent decision as a "little bit of good news" for the sector, Pedro Sobral, v-p of the Portuguese Association of Editors and Booksellers, told Lusa news agency: "What this now allows is the lifting of restrictions on the sale of books in establishments that were authorized. We are talking about multi-product retail, such as FNAC and El Corte Inglés, but also stationery shops and tobacconists. Most bookstores in Portugal are also tobacconists. They were open, but they couldn't sell books. Now they can sell books again."

The ruling does not apply, however, to book chains like Bertrand, Ler Devagar, Almedina and all the other independent bookstores. "For us, the book has to be considered an essential good and bookstores have to open," Sobral said.

José Pinho, spokesperson for the Network of Independent Bookshops (RELI), an association founded during the pandemic, agreed: "The book is an essential asset, so it has to be sold in bookstores."

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"Non-essential" retailers in England, including bookshops, "could reopen as early as the end of March as part of an easing of lockdown restrictions," provided Covid-19 infections continue to fall, the Bookseller reported, citing briefings to national newspapers over the weekend that suggested Prime Minister Boris Johnson will start to lift restrictions in a phased approach beginning next month.

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Quill & Quire spoke with Catherine Ellsmere, co-founder (with Nicki Breuer) of Odin Books in Vancouver, B.C., Canada, about how the "mental-health bookstore" is helping people cope during Covid-19 pandemic.

"Often what I find is people will see the sign [of an issue] and come in and it may be their first step toward recognizing that they can use some support," said Ellsmere. "They may not have seen a counsellor or had a diagnosis, but they start looking through some of the material and start recognizing something. It may be a precursor to seeking professional help.... What we want people to understand is that if there is a bookstore full of books, you are obviously not the only one [who struggles with your mental health]. A lot of people are coming in and seeking a better understanding of what PTSD is, because [the pandemic] is the kind of thing that triggers that, even if you've buried it. Anxiety and depression get activated."

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Winter rush in the time of Covid: The Bookshop in Wigtown, Scotland, shared a photo on Twitter , noting: "Snow blowing into the shop. That means that since Christmas there has been--by volume--more snow than customers in the shop." --Robert Gray


Soho Crime: The Bombay Prince (Perveen Mistry Novel #3) by Sujata Massey


Angus Yuen-Killick Founds Red Comet Press

Angus Yuen-Killick, whose children's book publishing career includes key positions with Macmillan Children's Publishing Group, Penguin Young Readers Group, Disney Publishing, and DK, is creating his own children's publishing company, Red Comet Press.

Red Comet Press's first list will be published this fall and include three pictures books--Before We Sleep by Giorgio Volpe and Paolo Proietti; Mister Fairy by Morgane de Cadier, illustrated by Florian Pigé; and Cat & Dog: A Tale of Opposites by Tullio Corda--and one illustrated novel for older readers, The Secret of the Magic Pearl by Elisa Sabantinelli and Iacopo Bruno. Red Comet Press is being distributed by Publishers Group West.

Yuen-Killick said, "I have been fortunate to work with some of the best in the business, and have many long-standing relationships across the industry. Red Comet Press provides the opportunity to use my experience and skills in creating great storytelling that resonates with children. Being involved in every aspect of the publishing process--from acquisitions and editorial, through to design, sales, and marketing takes me back to why I came to publishing in the first place. I can't think of anything more thrilling than launching little comets into the publishing world and guiding them into the hands of readers everywhere."

Future Red Comet Press projects include two picture books by children's book author and illustrator Rosemary Wells, which will be published in 2022 and 2023. Wells commented: "I've worked with Angus Yuen-Killick for over 20 years at three major publishers. Angus is one of the brightest stars in our sky."


Notes

Pace Publishing Program's 1,000th Graduate

Brian Han

After more than 35 years of educating publishing professionals, in December Pace University's MS in Publishing program marked a major milestone: its 1,000th student graduated. That student is Brian (Byungjoo) Han, who is currently living in South Korea and working as a health educator in the U.S. Army. He also writes for Pulse magazine.

The other December graduates are Pauline Lafosse, an editorial intern at Valiant who is interested in book production whose thesis focused on paper fiber sourcing and exploring environmentally conscious options; ByankaJane Romero, who interned at Jean Naggar Literary Agency and is now focused on a career in editorial; Min Choi, a creative writer based in South Korea, who is working toward publishing her third book; Jenna Capuano, who was a publicity intern at Rizzoli; Amber Topping, who is focused on writing with her twin sister and running her entertainment website, the Silver Petticoat Review, and her international book club, the Silver Petticoat Book Club; Brenna Nelson, currently director of social media marketing at Global Institute of Mental and Brain Health Investment; and Francesca Leparik, who was a graduate assistant for Pace University Press.

Led by director Manuela Soares, the program is located at Pace University's Downtown Campus at 156 William Street in Manhattan. Since 1985, the program has worked with students who want to acquire the skills, experience, and industry contacts that can help them build a career in publishing and interactive media industries. It provides hands-on training in every aspect of book and magazine publishing and digital media: content creation and editing, marketing strategies, book and magazine production, financial applications, and all aspects of digital publishing. The curriculum reflects current industry trends, allowing students to explore publishing in a variety of formats, including print, e-books, apps, mobile platforms, and developing and writing for blogs and websites.


Video: Celebrating Galentine's Day at Turning Page Books

VaLinda Miller, owner of Turning Page Books, Goose Creek, S.C., and store manager Arrylee Satterfield were among three sets of best friends featured recently in a Today show segment celebrating Galentine's Day. They appear around the 1:40 mark. In addition to sharing "the beautiful stories behind their close friendships," the three sets of friends received a "special surprise" from Today’s Donna Farizan.

"Two friends who stand back-to-back have a better chance of fighting the battles together with a lot of faith," Miller said.



Media and Movies

Media Heat: Bette Midler on Jimmy Kimmel Live

Today:
Jimmy Kimmel Live: Bette Midler, author of The Tale of the Mandarin Duck: A Modern Fable (Random House, $18.99, 9780593176764).


Movies: Redwall

A new rights deal between Netflix and Penguin Random House Children will result in the Redwall books by Brian Jacques being adapted into a film and TV series. Variety reported that the deal "marks the first time that the film rights to the entire book series have been held by the same company and the first time a feature film of any of Jacques's works will be made."

Patrick McHale, creator of Cartoon Network's Over the Garden Wall, will write the film, based on Jacques's first book in the series, Redwall. Netflix is also developing an event series based on the character Martin the Warrior.

Ben Horslen, fiction publisher, Penguin Random House Children's, said, "These perennially popular stories have been etched onto the hearts of millions of readers, and we are thrilled to partner with Netflix to bring those beloved characters on screen for families worldwide to enjoy."


Books & Authors

Awards: Southern Book, Ripped Bodice Winners

The winners of the 2021 Southern Book Prize, sponsored by the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance and nominated by Southern indie booksellers and voted on by their customers, are:

Fiction: The Prettiest Star by Carter Sickels (Hub City Press)
Nonfiction: Memorial Drive by Natasha Trethewey (Ecco)
Children's: I Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes, illustrated by Gordon C. James (Nancy Paulsen Books).

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The winners of the 2020 Ripped Bodice Awards for Excellence in Romantic Fiction, sponsored by the Ripped Bodice Bookstore and honoring "the best books of the year in the bestselling romance genre," are:

Go Deep by Rilzy Adams
Harbor by Rebekah Weatherspoon
Spoiler Alert by Olivia Dade
Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert
The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows by Olivia Waite
The Duke Who Didn't by Courtney Milan
The Rakess by Scarlett Peckham
The Roommate by Rosie Danan
The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa
You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria
You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson
Written in the Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur



Book Review

Review: In the Company of Men

In the Company of Men by Véronique Tadjo (Other Press, $14.99 paperback, 160p., 9781635420951, February 23, 2021)

Véronique Tadjo (Far from My Father) could not have known how prescient her novel, originally published in France in 2017, would be just a few years later when it was translated for English readers. In the Company of Men gives polyphonic voice to those affected by the 2014-2016 West African Ebola outbreak that ravaged populations in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. According to Tadjo's ending timeline note, the final toll for those three countries included 28,646 infected, of which 11,323 people died. The pandemic then--albeit with exponentially higher fatality rates--carries eerie resonance for coronavirus-constricted readers worldwide.

In an unnamed village, a girl is sent away to the city with her father's ominous warning, "Don't ever come back here," which proves to be both a death sentence and the chance to be her family's sole survivor. Just a month before, "two mischievous young boys"--her brothers--went hunting, shot and roasted their prey, not realizing the consequences of eating bats infected with an insatiable virus. Disease spreads, and the whispering tree--the "Baobab, the first tree, the everlasting tree, the totem tree"--observes as it has done for centuries, bearing witness to humans' history of need and joy, celebration and rage, greed and kindness, birth and death. As Ebola rages, the tree watches the horrific devastation, with the promise, "I want to tell their stories."

Those stories, divided into 10 urgent voices, become "Fight with All Your Might Fight Some More," the densest of Tadjo's chapters. From a doctor at the forefront of treating victims who is taking all the possible precautions to stay alive to the "Congolese researcher who discovered the Ebola virus right here in my home country," Tadjo hightlights healers, the sickened, parents, orphans, pariahs. Most die, but some survive; in these most desperate situations, some retain their humanity, others do not. Beyond "the company of men," Tadjo allows even the virus itself, the contagion-carrying bats and, once more, the whispering tree to speak.

From Côte d'Ivoire, Tadjo writes with a stark simplicity, interweaving history, myth and poetry with real life-inspired testimony. While her novel might be light in page count, its lingering significance highlights the human(e) reactions in the face of impossible, fatal situations. How to save one's own life, to save the lives of loved ones, to save strangers, how to live on alone--the questions and challenges haunt long after book's end. --Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon

Shelf Talker: Véronique Tadjo's stark novel exposing the Ebola crisis in West Africa has resonating significance amidst the worldwide pandemic.


The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by IndieReader.com:

1. Still Standing by Kristen Ashley
2. If It's Only Love by Lexi Ryan
3. Ten Commandments of Investing by San Eng, Tim Eng and Oia Eng
4. The Invitation by Vi Keeland
5. Little Girl Lost by Cheryl Bradshaw
6. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki with Sharon L. Lechter
7. Drop Dead Gorgeous by Lauren Landish
8. The Wedding Game by Meghan Quinn
9. Darkest Moon by Linsey Hall
10. Fortune Funhouse (Miss Fortune Mysteries Book 19) by Jana DeLeon

[Many thanks to IndieReader.com!]


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