Shelf Awareness for Friday, October 22, 2021

 Kokila: Everything We Never Had by Randy Ribay

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

Severn House: A Messy Murder (Main) (The Decluttering Mysteries #4) by Simon Brett

Forge: My Three Dogs by Bruce W Cameron


Adrienne Vaughan New President of Bloomsbury Publishing USA

Adrienne Vaughan

Adrienne Vaughan has been promoted to president of Bloomsbury Publishing USA. She was formerly executive director and chief operations officer and joined the company in September 2020. In her 20-year career in publishing, she has held senior financial, operations, planning and analysis positions at Trustbridge, Oxford University Press, Scholastic and Disney.

The company said that over the past year Vaughan "has focused on strengthening and growing Bloomsbury's presence in the U.S. She has shown strong leadership during the challenging time of the pandemic. Bloomsbury USA now accounts for 29% of the worldwide Bloomsbury Group's overall sales. Highlights for this year include the performance of Sarah J. Maas, with both of her new titles reaching number one on the New York Times and USA Today bestsellers lists. Together with Bloomsbury's talented and resilient staff, she will focus on the next chapter, a business in America with a strong future and significant publishing impact."

G.P. Putnam's Sons: The Restaurant of Lost Recipes (A Kamogawa Food Detectives Novel) by Hisashi Kashiwai, Translated by Jesse Kirkwood

Former Book Revue Manager Planning to Open Bookstore

Mallory Braun, a former manager of the recently closed bookstore Book Revue in Huntington, N.Y., on Long Island, announced this week that a new bookshop is currently in the planning stages. In an update posted on Facebook, Braun wrote: "We've been working out of this warehouse (in Huntington village) for about a month now, accruing books, records (of the vinyl sort), furniture, office supplies and the other not-so-tangible things you need to start up a bookstore."

Noting that her goal is November 1 to reveal more about a location, bookshop name, specific plans for the business and to begin fundraising, Braun wrote: "I am not wealthy. I have been working in independent bookshops (the other one by which I am currently employed is Syosset's J & J Lubrano Music Antiquarians) for much of my working life. And, Huntington village--for this bookstore will be in Huntington village--is not cheap.

"In the meantime, I want to thank you for your enthusiastic support, and hope for our future. I met many of you in the final weeks of Book Revue and you made it clear to Rich and me that this community valued the store highly. And I think it has been made clear to us all that independent bookstores have much to battle against. Fine, then. They are vital."

Some of Book Revue's former booksellers are joining Theodore's Books, an indie bookstore that former congressman and author Steve Israel is opening next month in nearby Oyster Bay, N.Y.

Harpervia: Only Here, Only Now by Tom Newlands

Marianne Reiner Joins La Playa Books, San Diego, Calif.

Marianne Reiner

Marianne Reiner, former owner of Run for Cover Bookstore, has joined the staff at La Playa Books in San Diego, Calif., SDNews reported.

Reiner opened Run for Cover in 2018 in San Diego's Ocean Beach neighborhood, and ultimately decided to close the store in July 2020. La Playa Books, meanwhile, has been in business since the early 1990s and is celebrating its fifth anniversary in its current location. It sells new and used books across all genres, and is known for its children's section and its rare and antiquarian titles.

Amy Hesselink, owner of La Playa Books, said Reiner "has the entrepreneurial spirit," and has forged a lot of relationships in the community through both her store and her activism. "We're excited to connect OB and Point Loma, and be the bookstore for both sides of the hill." She added that Reiner, who has two kids and knows children's books very well, will be a big help for that section.

In a letter to customers and community members, Reiner called Run for Cover "a crazy adventure that changed my life for the better. I got to meet and know so many of you through our shared love of books and stories. When I had to make the gut-wrenching decision of closing the bricks-and-mortar store during the first year of the pandemic, I was amazed at the amount of love and support I received. I do hope you will choose to continue placing your trust in local booksellers and bring your patronage to La Playa Books, where we will be so happy to continue to help pair you with the right books.”

Both Hesselink and Reiner agreed that they never saw themselves as competitors but as "colleagues and friends with the same goal."

International Update: Post-Lockdown Sales Bump in Australia, Publishers Association's 125th Anniversary

The Book Shop, Umina Beach, welcomed customers back with a video tour.

Australian book buyers returned enthusiastically to New South Wales bookshops last week following more than 100 days of government-mandated lockdowns, the Australian Booksellers Association reported, citing Nielsen BookScan Australia numbers that showed customers nationwide purchased more than 1.2 million books, at a value of A$24 million (about US$17.5 million), the week of reopening.

The results made this the second-biggest week of 2021 in terms of unit sales and fourth by value, while also breaking the average BookScan weekly sales record for this time of year over the last decade, with pent-up demand resulting in an additional A$6 million (about US$4.4 million) in book sales for the week.


The Publishers Association celebrated its 125th anniversary at Hachette's headquarters in London this week, with PA CEO Stephen Lotinga and Hachette UK CEO David Shelley "praising the industry's history of working together to tackle issues ranging from world wars to pandemics," the Bookseller reported.

"The Publishers Association was formed at the end of the Victorian age, which was a period of extraordinary intellectual progress, an age that changed the way human life was perceived," said Lotinga. "And this industry helped society make sense of the profound change.... I don't think it's hyperbole to say that we are entering a similar period where the rate of change is almost impossible to comprehend. But I remain convinced that this industry has a central role in helping the world understand and respond to it." 

Shelley, who is also the PA's president, added: "We need to make sure the writers we publish are fully reflective of the readers we serve. We need to share a greater diversity of stories to reflect the diverse world that we live in. And we need to be clear about how we can work more sustainably. Although we're fierce competitors, sometimes very fierce competitors, as businesses, when it comes to things that matter to us as an industry, when it comes to telling the world why we matter, our collective voice is a very powerful one." 


Meanwhile in Parliament: The Booksellers Association tweeted Wednesday: "Fantastic to see @elliereeves & @RachelReevesMP highlighting the importance of independent shops, including the wonderful @KirkdaleBooks, on our high streets. They are the lifeblood of our communities and we need to do everything we can to support them." --Robert Gray

B&N to Manage Va.'s Hampden-Sydney College Store

Starting November 1, Barnes & Noble College will manage all course materials, retail and online operations for the Hampden-Sydney College bookstore in Hampden Sydney, Va., the Farmville Herald reported. Under B&N management, the Hampden-Sydney College Store will have an expanded selection of school-branded merchandise, and beginning in fall 2022, the store will offer Barnes & Noble College's First Day Complete delivery model.

"Barnes & Noble is a proven partner of many small liberal arts colleges, and we are thrilled about this opportunity," Ken Copeland, v-p for business affairs and finance at Hampden-Sydney College, said. "In addition to continuing our tradition of a friendly retail atmosphere, this partnership will enable us to offer expanded store hours and an enhanced web presence that will improve the online shopping experience for our community and friends."

Obituary Note: Dr. Eric Cassell 

Dr. Eric Cassell, a medical ethicist and author "who urged his fellow doctors to shift priorities beyond curing their patients' diseases to caring for their overall well-being," died on September 24, the New York Times reported. He was 93.

"Eric was, in my mind, the intellectual father of palliative care," said Dr. Susan Block, a professor of psychiatry and medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Cassell, who lectured widely, was a founding fellow of the Hastings Center on bioethics in Garrison, N.Y., where he and his colleagues concluded in the early 1970s that most people do not dread death as much as they do suffering.

Mildred Z. Solomon, president of the Hastings Center, said that "his insights have been foundational for many developments in medicine, including the origins of the palliative care movement, patient-centered care, and even disability rights."

In his book The Nature of Healing: The Modern Practice of Medicine (2013), Dr. Cassell defined a sick person as one "who cannot achieve his or her purposes and goals because of impairments of functions that are believed to be in the domain of medicine." Such a person, he maintained, must be clearly distinguished from those who are well. His 11 books also include The Healer's Art: A New Perspective on the Doctor-Patient Relationship (1976; revised in 1985) and The Nature of Suffering (1991).

Dr. Cassell said listening to patients and determining how they define their own well-being is vital, and "the spoken language is the most important tool in medicine."


Harriett's Bookshop: 'How It Started vs. How It’s Going'

Posted on Facebook by Harriett's Bookshop, Philadelphia, Pa.: "How it started vs How it's going w/ @wendellholland at @harrietts_bookshop. Like really who hung that sad plant on that busted wall on the left? Really? We are open at 12 p.m. Take some 'you time' in our backyard book oasis."

Bookseller Moment: Afterwords Books

Posted on Instagram by Afterwords Books, Edwardsville, Ill.: "Who dis? Your little local indie bookstore had a mini makeover and were showing off with Wednesday Shelfies! In addition to our Blind Date with a Book & Tea, we're offering Blind Date with a Spooky Book & Halloween-themed vinyl sticker packs (while they last!) for just $15 each!"

Princeton University Press to Distribute Princeton University Art Museum

Princeton University Press is becoming the exclusive distributor of the Princeton University Art Museum's frontlist and backlist and will co-publish a selection of its titles. The Press will support the Museum's list through marketing, publicity, global sales and distribution, with the Museum continuing to oversee scholarly content development, editorial, design, and production. The partnership is effective February 1, 2022.

The first Princeton University Art Museum title supported by Princeton University Press distribution is Picture Ecology: Art and Ecocriticism in Planetary Perspective, edited by Karl Kusserow, the John Wilmerding Curator of American Art at the Princeton University Art Museum.

Press director Christie Henry said, "This new partnership is an inspiration to the PUP team, and one fortified by the commitment we share with Princeton University to create vibrant intellectual exchange that makes an impact in the world. For us, that exchange is in the pages of books."

Michelle Komie, the press's publisher for art and architecture, said, "With shared missions and commitments to art and the humanities, we are thrilled to formalize this new partnership with our colleagues at the Princeton University Art Museum. The Museum's globe-spanning collections and exceptional publications program offer a wide array of titles for scholars and general readers alike, and we look forward to helping to bring their books to the widest possible readerships around the world."

Museum director James Steward said, "We at the Art Museum look forward to a dynamic partnership with Princeton University Press through which we pool our talents and resources on a wide range of publications that align around our shared commitments to scholarly excellence united with broad accessibility and intellectual inclusion."

Personnel Changes at S&S; HarperCollins; Sourcebooks

Erin Kanar has been promoted to director, digital operations, at Simon & Schuster.


Theresa Dooley has been promoted to senior manager, publicity, at HarperCollins.


Jiayun Yang has joined Sourcebooks as international sales & rights coordinator.

Book Trailer of the Day: One Day

One Day by Lee Juck, illustrated by Kim Seung-youn, translated from the Korean by Asuka Minamoto, Lee Juck, and Dianne Chung (Enchanted Lion Books).

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Lenny Kravitz on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Lenny Kravitz, co-author of Let Love Rule (Picador, $18, 9781250813886).

On HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher:

Saru Jayaraman, author of One Fair Wage: Ending Subminimum Pay in America (The New Press, $24.99, 9781620975336).

Andrew Yang, author of Forward: Notes on the Future of Our Democracy (Crown, $28, 9780593238653).

John McWhorter, author of Woke Racism: How a New Religion Has Betrayed Black America (Portfolio, $28, 9780593423066).

TV: The Henna Artist

Netflix will develop The Henna Artist, a series based on Alka Joshi's debut novel from Miramax TV. Freida Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire), who will star and executive produce, told Deadline last year: "The Henna Artist has tremendous potential to become that bingeable, high-quality, multilayered television show that honours the glory and beauty of India, its culture and its people."

The project will be written and executive produced by Sri Rao as part of a first-look deal Rao has signed with Netflix. Deadline noted that under the pact, "he will create and develop scripted and unscripted series for Netflix through his Sri & Company. Mirsada Abdool Raman will continue as Head of Development for Sri & Company, a role she has held since October 2020. The company's mission is to tell stories that center on South Asian characters and artists, with a particular focus on women and the LGBT community."

Rao commented: "For the longest time, no one in Hollywood was interested in my experiences as an Indian-American person. I often found myself creating worlds that were filled entirely of white characters. But I held on long enough to get to this point where the industry is slowly changing. Our mission at Sri & Company is to find the most talented South Asian writers, actors, authors, and other artists from around the world and create compelling content that's entertaining for all audiences, regardless of the color of their skin."

Books & Authors

Awards: Cundill History Finalists

Finalists have been announced for the 2021 Cundill History Prize, which honors "the best history writing in English" and is administered by McGill University in Montreal. The winner receives US$75,000 and the two runners up US$10,000. The winner will be announced December 2. The finalists are:

Rebecca Clifford, for Survivors: Children's Lives After the Holocaust (Yale University Press)
Marie Favereau, for The Horde: How the Mongols Changed the World (Belknap Press of Harvard University Press)
Marjoleine Kars, for Blood on the River: A Chronicle of Mutiny and Freedom on the Wild Coast (The New Press)

Reading with... Jane Igharo

photo: Borada Photography

Jane Abieyuwa Igharo was born in Nigeria and immigrated to Canada at the age of 12. She has a journalism degree from the University of Toronto and works as a communications specialist in Ontario. She writes about strong, audacious, beautifully flawed Nigerian women much like the ones in her life. Ties That Tether was her debut; her second novel, The Sweetest Remedy (Berkley, September 28), tells the story of a woman who travels to Nigeria to attend the funeral of the father she never met and discovers a family she didn't know she had--plus an exciting new romance.

On your nightstand now:

My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing. It's a thriller about a serial killer couple, and the twist is jaw-dropping and somewhat hilarious.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Some Nerve by Jane Heller.

When I was in elementary school, I picked up this book from the library. What I loved most about it was the main character's growth. It was a love story, but it was also a story about a woman picking up the pieces and facing her fears. I was obsessed with this novel.

Your top five authors:

Laini Taylor
Lola Shoneyin
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Sylvain Reynard
Nicola Yoon

Book you've faked reading:

Everything by Jane Austen. Though I do have a copy of Emma on my bookshelf that I hope to get to sometime this year.

Book you're an evangelist for:

The Secret Lives of the Four Wives by Lola Shoneyin.

This is an exceptional book. It's captivating, heart-breaking, thought-provoking, beautifully written, and somehow, regardless of all the sadness, it's incredibly funny.

Book you've bought for the cover:

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. This book has such a stunning cover and an equally stunning story.

Book you hid from your parents:

White Tigress by Jade Lee.

Book that changed your life:

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

This is such a brilliant book. You can't read it once because there's so much to unpack.

Favorite line from a book:

"We have this problem in our culture. We take art that appeals to women--film, books, music--and we undervalue it. We assume that it can't be high art. Especially if it's not dark and tortured and wailing." --The Idea of You by Robinne Lee

Five books you'll never part with:

The Secret Lives of the Four Wives by Lola Shoneyin
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
The Raven by Sylvain Reynard
Some Nerve by Jane Heller

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

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite.

This was such a peculiar and captivating book. I would love to relive the experience of reading it for the first time.

Favorite quote:

"A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world." --Oscar Wilde

Book Review

Review: Hello, Transcriber

Hello, Transcriber by Hannah Morrissey (Minotaur, $27.99 hardcover, 304p., 9781250795953, November 30, 2021)

Hazel Greenlee likes to throw stuff off Forge Bridge; the objects range from a cheap bracelet to what readers of Hello, Transcriber will come to learn are items of greater significance. Hannah Morrissey's debut is a well-crafted thriller that splits its time between Hazel's professional and personal lives until they converge, a physical point of confluence being what she thinks of as the suicide bridge.

Narrator Hazel, who aspires to be a writer, and her husband, Tommy, an aquatic ecologist, hunter and gun nut, live in Black Harbor, a crime-blighted city outside Milwaukee in which suicide is almost as prevalent as the oxycodone use that so often accompanies it. After Hazel lands a job as the Black Harbor Police Department's new transcriber, one of the first reports that she types up concerns the death of a nine-year-old boy whose mouth exhibits the white foam associated with a drug overdose. The murder was brought to the police's attention by William "Sam" Samson, who confessed that, with the help of drug dealer Tyler Krejarek, he hid the body in a dumpster behind the apartment building in which the kid and Tyler both resided.

Hazel keeps mum about the fact that the other half of the duplex that she and Tommy live in is occupied by Sam: she fears that this amounts to a conflict of interest, and the last thing she wants is to be taken off the case. She's haunted by the boy's death and distracted by her blooming crush on investigator Nikolai Kole, who's handling the case, having just returned from a six-month suspension for a reason that no one is disclosing. Naturally, Hazel jumps at the chance to join Nik in snooping around the temporarily incarcerated Tyler's apartment--they don't have a search warrant--in pursuit of solid evidence against the creep.

Hello, Transcriber is wonderfully attuned to the particulars of Hazel's job, with its foam earbuds and transcription pedal and the reliable sound of static that precedes an officer's narrative. Although it's not clear why Hazel would put up with the beyond caddish Tommy ("At least he's nicer when he's drunk," she thinks at one point), Morrissey is a psychologically attentive writer who captures the bristly tension between longtime locals and newcomers. Without showing any sign of affection, a couple of colleagues call Hazel "Fargo"--a reference to her origins up north. Of course, when Nik calls Hazel "Podunk," things get swoony. --Nell Beram, author and freelance writer

Shelf Talker: Hannah Morrissey's debut is an earthy thriller-romance hybrid centered on a married police department transcriber who becomes fixated on a case and on the detective covering it.

Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: Irish Book Week--'Good Luck to Us All'

Irish Book Week, a hybrid celebration organized by Bookselling Ireland and Publishing Ireland, runs through Saturday. Among the many highlights this year was a conversation between Irish Book Week author ambassador Liz Nugent and Bob Johnston, owner of the Gutter Bookshop, Dublin, which had tweeted: "So grab a little coffee & join us for a little bit of book chat."

And so I did. If you love books, the talk will do you good. At one point, while discussing how much she had missed being inside bookshops during pandemic lockdowns, Nugent praised booksellers for quickly adapting with online sales, curbside pickup and deliveries: "I want to thank the booksellers of Ireland for doing that because it was so important, heroic the way that most of you pivoted to taking orders over the phone or online... and that you all turned that around so quickly, so we weren't deprived of our books."

Earlier in the week, Meryl Halls, managing director of the Booksellers Association of the U.K. & Ireland, shared a few highlights from her own brief bookshop tour to celebrate Irish Book Week, tweeting: "Having a lovely few days in Ireland after the @BooksellingI Conference last week, but ICYMI, please note that it is of course #IrishBookWeek this week--after a tough year and a half, Irish bookshops are back and flying the flag with gusto."

Meryl Halls with John Byrne at Maynooth Bookshop

Halls also noted: "Perfect day of contrasts in Ireland, en route to see the legendary, incredibly inspiring @KennysBookshop in Galway and get the tour from the peerless @Tomasbooks--thanks again!"

She also chronicled her "last bookshop visit this trip to @MUBookshop and @MaynoothBooks with the stellar John Byrne in full tour-guide flow. Brilliant to see both shops in real life, finally, specially during #IrishBookWeek." Maynooth University Bookshop agreed: "Wonderful to host Meryl Halls, MD of @BAbooksellers today. It is as close as we will get to royalty."

All week Bookselling Ireland has been encouraging people to join the conversation on social media, using hashtags #IrishBookADay and #IrishBookWeek. Among the bookshop highlights:

Raven Books, Dublin: "Happy #IrishBookWeek, running from today until the 23. Come see our display (we have bunting!). Or just come in and say hello (we have bookmarks for you!)."

Charlie Byrne's Books, Galway: "It's Irish Book Week this week and to celebrate we have put together a beautiful window celebrating Irish books and we are also running a draw to win a €250 voucher if you pay us a  a visit in the shop!"

Kennys Bookshop, Galway: "We are very lucky in Ireland to have some of the best there is in terms of writers, publishers and bookshops. #IrishBookWeek is about celebrating and encouraging support of them all--it really makes such a difference!"

Bookstór, Kinsale: "Here is our #IrishBookWeek display! A fabulous week celebrating why everyone should #SupportLocal and #SupportIrish Bookselling Ireland"

Books at One, Letterfrack: "It's Irish Book Week! Come into us for a coffee, a cake, and a book!"

The Athlone Bookshop, Athlone: "In celebration of Irish Book Week, we shop local and we shop Irish. Here are some, but not all, of our favorite Irish authors and books for you to shop from.... Hint hint, Nudge nudge."

The Clifden Bookshop, Clifden: "As members of Bookselling Ireland we are celebrating Irish Book Week this week. We will post new Irish books and interesting titles every day this week and make sure to get in touch for any advice, recommendations or enquiries & we will be most happy to help!"

Artist Chris Judge with his Gutter Bookshop window

Earlier this week, I noted that Children's Books Ireland, funded by the Arts Council, had chosen 10 Irish children's illustrators and paired them with their local bookshops to design and paint a bookshop window in their own style.

On Monday, the Gutter Bookshop teased: "Wow, look at those huge empty (clean!) bookshop windows! Wouldn't it be amazing if a talented Irish illustrator popped in & drew all over them for #IrishBookWeek?" Yesterday, the bookseller shared the creative process ("Let the fun begin! #BooksAreMagic is our theme for our special #IrishBookWeek @KidsBooksIrel window by @chrisjudge @artscouncil_ie").

And Dublin's Books Upstairs tweeted: "Things are getting spooky in our windows! Stop by D'Olier St today to watch @UnawoodsUna work her magic and bring her characters to life." Children's Books Ireland provided an update later on.

Halfway up the Stairs, Greystones, "asked our customers what they would like to see P.J. Lynch Illustrator paint in our window to celebrate #IrishBookWeek. The resounding winner was A Haunted Bookshop... and look what PJ has created!! It's just amazing! Thank you P.J., Children's Books Ireland, Arts Council Ireland."

Finally, in a little late-breaking Irish Book Week news, finalists were announced in 20 categories for the An Post Irish Book Awards, including the longlist for the first An Post Bookshop of the Year, recognizing the significant role of booksellers, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic.

"We are thrilled to be on the longlist!" Tertulia Books, Westport tweeted. "Good luck to us all." 

On reflection, this strikes me as the perfect sentiment for the strange moment we're living through, combining as it does the celebratory nature of Irish Book Week with the many challenges the book trade faces, as reflected in Liz Nugent's comments earlier about how indie booksellers have adapted to the unexpected at every turn. Good luck to us all indeed. 

--Robert Gray, contributing editor

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