Also published on this date: Tuesday, February 23, 2021: Maximum Shelf: Secrets of Happiness

Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, February 23, 2021


Grand Central Publishing: Dava Shastri's Last Day by Kirthana Ramisetti

Minotaur Books: Hello, Transcriber by Hannah Morrissey

Bloomsbury Publishing: This Is Happiness by Niall Williams

Mineditionus: The Longest Storm by Dan Yaccarino

Atheneum Books: Out of My Heart by Sharon M Draper

Bloomsbury Publishing: Piranesi by Susanna Clarke

Blackstone Publishing: I Am Not Who You Think I Am by Eric Rickstad

Scholastic Press: Room to Dream (a Front Desk Novel) by Kelly Yang

News

San Marino Toy & Book Shoppe Finds New Owner

San Marino Toy & Book Shoppe in San Marino, Calif., will reopen under new ownership on March 1. New owner Christine Johnson has launched a GoFundMe campaign to help defray some of her start-up costs and is looking to raise $5,000. All money from the campaign will go toward things like capital for inventory, taxes and utilities and some Covid-related physical improvements to the store such as acrylic barriers.

In January, the owners--who had purchased the store in 2019--announced they would be closing, largely due to Covid. Within 10 minutes of hearing about the planned closure, Johnson was on the phone with the owner, and within 24 hours Johnson said she was interested in taking over the store.

Johnson has prior experience in bookselling, and though she stepped away from her last store, the importance of brick-and-mortar retail and providing resources for children to learn and play was "never far" from her mind. "We must let kids be kids, and we must continue to bring joy to our communities. Never has that mission been more vital than now as we tackle Covid."


G.P. Putnam's Sons: Just Haven't Met You Yet by Sophie Cousens


Ark.'s Dog Ear Books Moves to New Location

Dog Ear Books, the Russellville, Ark., bookstore owned by  mother/daughter duo Pat and Emily Young, recently moved less than a block into new quarters at 110 N. Commerce Ave. The location is next door to Retro Roasts, a coffee shop that the Youngs also own. Many factors went into the decision to move, Emily Young said, including "building structure issues, increasing rent, maintaining inventory" and, especially, the pandemic.

At 2,400 square feet, the new spot is substantially smaller than its former 4,500-sq.-ft. space at 301 W. Main St., but that has helped Dog Ear Books scale down "so we can focus on exactly what the community wants, and it lets us keep a better curated selection," Young continued. "The only section we lost was used books, but we moved them to Retro Roasts." The store also doesn't have in-store event space comparable to its old location's, "but luckily the coffee shop side is perfectly suited to host the events (when we can safely resume them)."

Young added that during the move, "we got to bond more with our employees, who helped every step of the way, and we collaborated with them on how to set the new store up. Their feedback and ideas are invaluable and we couldn't have done it without them. We have a small team so it really is like a li'l family."

Founded in 2016, Dog Ear Books sells new and used books, related gifts and plushes for the little ones. Retro Roasts serves locally roasted coffee and offers a weekly subscription service, delivering jars of beans.

Russellville is home to Arkansas Tech University and is about 60 miles northwest of Little Rock.


Annick Press: Living with Viola by Rosena Fung


Duende District Partners with Letras Latinas for Curated Conversation(s)

Duende District Bookstore, which operates pop-up bookshops in Albuquerque, N.Mex., and Washington, D.C., has partnered with Letras Latinas and The Writer's Center to create Curated Conversation(s): a Latinx Poetry Show, a year-long event series beginning tonight.

The initiative pairs poets and interviewers of their choosing for in-depth discussion of the poets' first books. Each conversation will be recorded on Zoom and posted on the website of The Writer's Center on the final Tuesday of each month. At the same time, Duende District Bookstores will distribute books for book club discussions pertaining to each poetry collection featured in Curated Conversation(s).

Anthony Cody and Keith S. Wilson

The first part of Curated Conversation(s) will debut tonight at 8 p.m. Eastern. National Book Award finalist Anthony Cody and award-winning poet Keith S. Wilson will discuss Cody's debut, Borderland Apocrypha (published by Omnidawn).

Episodes two through six will feature Jacqueline Balderrama's Now in Color (Perugia Press); Benjamin Garica's Throw in the Throat (Milkweed Editions); Grisel Y. Acosta's Things to Pack on the Way to Everywhere (Get Fresh Books); Michael Torres's An Incomplete List of Names (Beacon Press); and Caridad Moro-Gronlier's Tortillera (Texas Review Press).

Letras Latinas is a literary initiative from the University of Notre Dame's Institute for Latino Studies. Francisco Aragón, the director of Letras Latinas, envisioned the Curated Conversation(s) series as a way to help poets promote their debuts during the pandemic.


Bloomsbury Continuum: Making Nice by Ferdinand Mount


Wi16 Keynote: Brené Brown on 'What Now!?'

"What Now!?" was the apt title of Winter Institute 16's Saturday keynote, which featured Dr. Brené Brown, bestselling author (most recently Dare to Lead), podcaster and research professor, in conversation with Janet Geddis, owner of Avid Bookshop, Athens, Ga., on the complexities of leadership, formal and informal, during this most challenging time.

"I don't think I've been on a call in the last nine months with CEOs and C-Suite people where at least half the them were not in tears," Brown said. "So I think the most important thing we can do to start with is to normalize that everybody is in struggle, everyone's weary, everyone's anxious, everyone's having a very difficult time.... You're not alone. I think that's the big start. No one's got this figured out."

She also observed that leaders "who went into the pandemic and the racial reckoning working from a very humanized perspective have done much better. Relational leaders are doing much better and their organizations are faring better than transactional leaders."

One of the systems her organization has instituted is the "two-word check in." At every meeting the first thing they do is ask everyone to express, in two words, where they are today. "It's a way to say I see your humanity before I ask you to start working," Brown said.

Geddis agreed, noting that Avid Bookshop, which has been closed for browsing since last March, has "been meeting on Zoom as a staff and we do our mental health check-in at the start."

A challenge for businesses like Avid now is that "hard conversations are hard on Zoom," Brown said. "One of the fastest ways we build trust is we listen more than we talk. We ask what's getting in the way and we try to figure out our part in things. What are we doing that's undermining trust and safety in our teams? That's really where we have to start."

She uses the "rumble" technique as an intention setter "to indicate, hey, we need to have a conversation. It could be uncomfortable, but we're going to stay in it until we resolve it." Time awareness is also key: "I have never once in my career, nor have I spoken to anyone, who has ever regretted taking time in a hard conversation."

Geddis pointed out that when she was starting her business, she was often stymied by the problem of "why isn't everybody able to read my mind and just do all the things that I know are right to do. One thing that has been really surprising to me--and I've talked to other bookstore owners about it--is this factor of 'you made this.' For a lot of people who own bookstores, this is their dream. It's scary not only to let other people into it, but to then open your mind enough to start accepting their ideas, accepting some feedback that can be really tough to hear about how you might be as a manager or the way you're running things. It can be really hard."

Brown suggested owners ask themselves: "Do you only want this to be as good as what you can do alone?"

For the past decade, her organization has used a filtering tool called the Five Cs--color, context, connective tissue (how it connects to other initiatives or projects they're doing), cost, consequence--for evaluating questions and suggestions.

"One thing we're doing is we're slowing down and helping people understand the Five Cs of everything we ask them to do so that they can see the bigger picture," she noted. "So not only do people understand why they're doing it and feel more connected to the future and mission of what we're trying to do, but they can do it better.... I think sharing more detail with the people around us so they can be part of the visioning really changes engagement and investment levels and makes us better."

Regarding the future, Brown said, "I think there will not be a new normal, which is great because the pandemic revealed in the old normal cracks and fissures and inequity galore. I think we're going to live in constant disruption moving forward, and that will affect bookshops as well."

So what do we do? "Right now, the most important thing we have is each other--human beings, our teams, our people," she observed. "And it's very necessary as a leader to make sure people are seen." --Robert Gray


GLOW: Top Shelf Productions: Ballad for Sophie by Filipe Melo, illus. by Juan Cavia, trans. by Gabriela Soares


International Update: Independent Bookshop of the Year Shortlists, More Small Indies in S. Korea

The British Book Awards announced shortlists for the 2021 Independent Bookshop of the Year Award, featuring 48 bookshops from nine regional/country categories. The regional winners will be named March 17, and advance to the Nibbies virtual ceremony on May 13, when the overall winner will be crowned.  

"Last year was difficult for the entire books trade but indie booksellers were perhaps at very sharpest end of the pandemic," said Tom Tivnan, the Bookseller's managing editor. "Yet, as we can see by 48 entries on the Independent Bookshop of the Year shortlists, indies tackled the coronavirus restrictions with vigor, creativity and innovation.

"These shops serve vastly different communities and have their own specialties, but if there is a through-line, it is all used the challenges of 2020 to increase stock ranges, expand retail channels and broaden customer bases through social media. The bottom line is clear: indie bookshops will continue to thrive, no matter what is thrown at them."

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Despite falling book sales in South Korea, the number of small bookshops has had a six-fold increase in recent years. The Korea Times reported that in 2015, there were 97 small bookstores in the country, but the total has now jumped to around 600, according to Dongneseojeom (www.bookshopmap.com).

"Nowadays, small bookstores are the only place where people in the neighborhood can meet and mingle with each other face to face," said Nam Chang-woo, CEO of Dongneseojeom. "The pandemic also played a definite role in cementing the notion that bookshops are more than just places to sell or purchase books. As buzzwords about the joy of small things show, I think people are interested in meaningful things that can give us happiness or satisfaction."

He added that, ironically, falling book sales may have played a part in increasing the number of small indie bookstores, which serve various purposes. In addition to buying books, patrons can meet people with shared interests.

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Australian bookseller Avid Reader in Brisbane will be transformed into a major landmark public artwork by the flagship creation of Chrysalis Projects 4101. The Australian Booksellers Association reported that the project, by internationally renowned Aboriginal artist Vernon Ah Kee, "will celebrate a curated list of Brisbane authors, whose names will fill square tiles in bold black and white text. This mosaic of word play will be overlaid by dark surfboard shields, which will feature the names of Brisbane Aboriginal authors in Vernon's own handwriting."

"We are thrilled and honored that Vernon has created an extraordinary concept which celebrates writers and in a sense reclaims Boundary Street with the names of so many amazing authors," said Fiona Stager, the bookshop's co-owner and former president of the Australian Booksellers Association.

To date, Avid Reader has raised A$30,000 (about US$23,280) from customers and requires another A$20,000 by the end of February to see the project come to fruition. The ABA noted: "We are hoping that people in the publishing industry will support this wonderful community artwork by making a tax deductible donation to the Australian Cultural Fund."

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Bookseller Moment: Portuguese bookseller Livraria Lello, Porto, posted on Facebook: "Reading turns on small lights inside us, of magic, courage, knowledge or hope. Livraria Lello is, and always will be, a gleam, ready to illuminate the world (even from a distance)."


G.P. Putnam's Sons: Still Life by Sarah Winman


Notes

Cool Idea of the Day: 'Curated Grab Bags of Books'

Capitol Hill Books, Washington, D.C., "has become flexible with a changing business model to get by" during the pandemic, and among the shop's survival strategies has been offering curated grab bags of books, ABC7 reported.  

"We have a simple form where readers can tell us what kinds of books they enjoy, and how much they want to spend," said co-owner Kyle Burk. "Then, based on the books they've liked in the past, we put together a stack of books for them, send them a photo of what we've selected, and ship them out or get them ready for curbside pickup. It's turned into a really fun process for both readers and our employees, who get to suggest titles that they think our customers would love."

He added: "It's hard times all around, and I don't know that we're qualified to tell other businesses what to do.... What's worked for us is staying flexible, being open to doing things we've never tried before, and working really, really hard."


Parallax Press: How to Live When a Loved One Dies: Healing Meditations for Grief and Loss by Thich Nhat Hanh


Bookshop Cat: Mulan at Whistlestop Bookshop

Whistlestop Bookshop, Carlisle, Pa., shared a moment with "Mulan, my associate, my counselor, my taskmistress, my co-worker, my pal and companion. Ready to be at it on this snowy Monday in the last week of February--or actually to have me at it. This year marks the 10th anniversary of when she walked in the open back door and declared herself at home. We have seen a lot together, and I can assure you she has never lowered her standards. I am grateful and blessed."


American Booksellers Association: ABA Children's Institute, August 30 - September 1! Register today!


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Jonathan Cohn on Fresh Air

Today:
Fresh Air: Jonathan Cohn, author of The Ten Year War: Obamacare and the Unfinished Crusade for Universal Coverage (St. Martin's Press, $29.99, 9781250270931).

Tomorrow:
Ellen: Jamie Kern Lima, author of Believe IT: How to Go from Underestimated to Unstoppable (Gallery, $27, 9781982157807).

Jimmy Kimmel Live: Kevin Garnett, author of KG: A to Z: An Uncensored Encyclopedia of Life, Basketball, and Everything in Between (Simon & Schuster, $28, 9781982170325).


TV: Gold Diggers

Mindy Kaling's Kaling International is developing Gold Diggers by Sanjena Sathian for TV, Deadline reported, adding that the novel "sold to Penguin Press after a seven-way auction and will publish on April 6, 2021."

Sathian will co-write the adaptation, with Kaling set to executive produce. A search for potential showrunners and co-writers is underway. Deadline noted that the project comes under Kaling's overall production deal with Warner Bros. Television. Howard Klein of 3 Arts will also executive produce. Sathian and Kaling International's Jessica Kumai Scott will serve as co-executive producers.



Books & Authors

Awards: Golden Kite Winners; Jane Grigson Trust Shortlist

Winners of the 2021 Golden Kite Awards, presented to children's book authors and artists by their peers and sponsored by the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, have been named. Golden Kite recipients receive a cash prize of $2,500 plus $1,000 to be donated in their name to a nonprofit of their choice. Golden Kite Honor recipients receive $500 plus $250 to be donated in their name to a nonprofit of their choice. This year's winning titles are:

Golden Kite Award Winners

Illustrated Book for Older Readers: Chance: Escape from the Holocaust: Memories of a Refugee Childhood by Uri Shulevitz (Farrar, Straus and Giroux Books for Young Readers)
Middle Grade/Young Readers Fiction: Ways to Make Sunshine by Renée Watson (Bloomsbury Children's Books)
Picture Book Text: All Because You Matter by Tami Charles (Orchard Books)
Nonfiction Text for Younger Readers: William Still and His Freedom Stories by Don Tate (Peachtree)
Picture Book Illustration: The Bear and the Moon by Catia Chien (Chronicle Books)
Nonfiction Text for Older Readers: All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys' Soccer Team by Christina Soontornvat (Candlewick Press)
Young Adult Fiction: The Blossom and the Firefly by Sherri L. Smith (G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers)
Sid Fleischman Humor Award: Lupe Wong Won't Dance by Donna Barba Higuera (Levine Querido)

Golden Kite Honor Books

Illustrated Book for Older Readers: Flamer by Mike Curato (Henry Holt Books for Young Readers)
Middle Grade/Young Readers Fiction: Fighting Words by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley (Dial Books for Young Readers)
Picture Book Text: We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom (Roaring Brook Press)
Nonfiction Text for Younger Readers: Winged Wonders: Solving the Monarch Migration Mystery by Meeg Pincus (Sleeping Bear Press)
Picture Book Illustration: Outside In by Cindy Derby (Abrams Books for Young Readers)
Nonfiction Text for Older Readers: Alphamaniacs: Builders of 26 Wonders of the Word by Paul Fleischman (Candlewick Studio)
Young Adult Fiction: Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger (Levine Querido)
Sid Fleischman Humor Award: Zeus, Dog of Chaos by Kristin O'Donnell Tubb (Katherine Tegen Books)

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A shortlist has been unveiled for the £2,000 (about $2,770) Jane Grigson Trust Award, created in memory of the British food writer to recognize "a first-time writer of a book about food or drink, from any nonfiction genre, which has been commissioned but has not yet been published," the Bookseller reported. The winner will be announced March 22 in London. This year's shortlisted titles are:

Breadsong: How Bread Changed our Lives by Kitty and Alex Tait 
Hungry Heart: A Story of Food and Love by Claire Finney 
Mother Tongue: Flavours of a Second Generation by Gurdeep Loyal


Book Review

Review: Come Fly the World: The Jet-Age Story of the Women of Pan Am

Come Fly the World: The Jet-Age Story of the Women of Pan Am by Julia Cooke (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28 hardcover, 288p., 9780358251408, March 2, 2021)

In the golden age of air travel, Pan Am stewardesses were a symbol of independence, glamour and sexual empowerment. They were beautiful, college-educated, skilled in diplomacy and crowd control (as well as navigating tight spaces, turbulence and even war zones). But they were also real women, with varied backgrounds and experiences both on the ground and in the air. In her second nonfiction book, Come Fly the World, journalist Julia Cooke explores the rise and fall of Pan Am against the backdrop of the Vietnam War and rapidly changing--if often inconsistent--attitudes toward women in the workplace.

Cooke (The Other Side of Paradise) conducted extensive interviews with former stewardesses, and she devotes large chunks of her narrative to their perspectives. A small-town girl from upstate New York, a young Norwegian woman who would eventually make her home in California, a woman who became one of Pan Am's first Black stewardesses--all of them came to the airline seeking adventure and a chance to make their own way. They went through rigorous training and dealt with sexism (covert and overt) in every area, from their uniforms' fit to the smiles they were expected to give passengers. More importantly, they learned valuable skills and embraced international adventures: swimming in multiple oceans, visiting cities they'd only dreamed about, even handling hijackings and other tense situations on board.

As the Vietnam War dragged on, many stewardesses helped ferry American GIs to or from combat zones. The experience affected them deeply and gave them a new perspective on both anti-war protests and hawkish government attitude back in the States. When President Gerald Ford ordered the evacuation of nearly 3,000 war "orphans" from Vietnam in 1975, Pan Am stewardesses were an integral part of what became known as Operation Babylift. They were simply doing their jobs, but they became a part of history by showing up to work.

Cooke's narrative examines the shifts in attitudes and regulations relating to women in the workplace, as well as the balancing act of standing up to sexism while keeping a job. She traces the careers of a few women who refused to quit flying when they got married, pursued managerial positions, or both. She also explores the decline of luxury air travel, the effects of various political events on the industry, and the enduring stereotypes surrounding flight attendants and their work.

Thoughtful, well-researched and utterly engaging, Come Fly the World is smart escapist journalism and a tribute to hundreds of women who were much more than just a crew of pretty faces. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

Shelf Talker: Journalist Julia Cooke paints a riveting, complex portrait of the adventurous lives of Pan Am stewardesses during aviation's golden age.


The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

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

1. Blackout After Dark by Marie Force
2. Fortune Funhouse (Miss Fortune Mysteries Book 19) by Jana DeLeon
3. Nate by Tijan
4. It All Falls Down (Rose Gardner Investigations #7) by Denise Grover Swank
5. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki with Sharon L. Lechter
6. If It's Only Love by Lexi Ryan
7. Straight Up Love by Lexi Ryan
8. The Pit of Success by Dave Jennings and Amy Leishman
9. A SEAL's Triumph by Cora Seton
10. The Invitation by Vi Keeland

[Many thanks to IndieReader.com!]


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