Shelf Awareness for Thursday, October 28, 2021

Hampton Roads Publishing Company: Becoming Baba Yaga: Trickster, Feminist, and Witch of the Woods by Kris Spisak, Foreword by Gennarose Nethercott

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

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

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


MPIBA Annual Meeting: Celebrating 'Resilience,' 40 New Stores

The Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association's 2021 annual meeting yesterday celebrated the membership's "resilence" during the pandemic, the striking number of new stores and new branches of existing stores, the association's financial health and more programs aimed to help booksellers.

In her remarks, executive director Heather Duncan said, "I continue to be just so impressed by the resilience of our member bookstores. It has been inspiring to watch how everyone has not just survived during this pandemic but in so many cases has really thrived."

MPIBA currently has 186 member stores, and strikingly 40 member stores opened in the last two years, and at least another three are opening early next year. Duncan commented: "For me, seeing some of these stores that joined our association during the pandemic or right when they were talking about planning to open a store, and then seeing them open a store and having it all come to fruition over a year or a year and a half has been so thrilling to see."

The association has been collecting demographic information about its membership. According to store reporting so far, MPIBA has some 16 BIPOC-owned stores, two AAPI-owned stores, 10 LGBTQ+-owned stores, as well as 78 stores owned by women. Eight member stores have been open more than 50 years, and two have been open more than 90 years: Macdonald Book Shop, Estes Park, Colo., and Weller Book Works, Salt Lake City, Utah. The "vast majority" of stores have one to five employees.

Heather Duncan

MPIBA treasurer Brian Contine, of Penguin Random House, called the association's financial position "very very healthy and sustainable." While the budget for the fiscal year ended June 30 projected a $41,000 loss, the association actually had net income of $100,000. This was in part because, as Duncan explained, the association budgeted "very conservatively" for income because "we had to create a budget for a 100% unknown type of experience." But the association "did better than we thought we would."

Among various programs and campaigns, MPIBA held its second annual bookseller summer camp this year, with 10 sessions over three weeks, including five author events and five education and networking sessions.

FallCon 2021 "beat expectations," Duncan said, with about two-thirds of the usual attendance at pre-pandemic conferences. She noted that "covid precautions went well. No one had issues with them." All attendees were vaccinated. The association has recordings of many FallCon events for those who were unable to attend.

SpringCon dates have been finalized. One will be held April 6-8 at the Origin Hotel, Golden, Colo., and the other April 20-22 in San Antonio, Texas, at the Courtyard San Antonio Riverwalk.

The association welcomed four new board directors; two replaced outgoing directors, and two added when the board was expanded to nine from seven members. The new directors are E. Jean Pemberton Jones, Enda's BOOKtique, Duncanville, Tex.; Margaret Brennan Neville, The King's English Bookshop, Salt Lake City, Utah; Rob Pine, Ingram Content Group; and Consuelo Wilder, BookPeople, Austin, Tex. President Christopher Green, the Bookworm of Edwards, Edwards, Colo., thanked the two outgoing directors, Nicole Sullivan, BookBar, Denver, Colo., who served two terms, and Michelle Malonzo, Changing Hands, Tempe and Phoenix, Ariz., who has joined the ABA board.

BINC: We want your feedback. Take the survey!

Pairing Books and Wine, Drink Books Coming to Seattle

Kim Kent

Drink Books, which pairs unusual reads and natural wine, will be opening a physical store in Seattle, Wash., at 5817 Phinney Ave. N., next month. The Post-Intelligencer reported that Kim Kent "found a unique way to combine the two things she loves: on November 5, she and business partner Emily Schikora plan to open the doors to their Phinney Ridge natural wine and bookstore."

Each of the approximately 40 titles in the shop comes paired with a bottle of wine. The co-owners plan to increase that collection over time, continuing from Kent's previous business, Book Cru, which she ran through Molly's Bottle Shop and through which she met Schikora, who owns the nearby business Editor Consignment.

Kent selects the books, with a focus on titles by women-identifying and nonbinary writers, works in translation and books from smaller presses, with a bent toward the strange, unconventional and linguistically driven. She then pairs each book with a wine she considers someone would want to drink while reading it. 

"What's the mood of the book, the atmosphere of the book, the sensation of the book? This book is dark and brooding, so I want it with a dark and brooding wine," Kent observed.

Schikora and Kent are also planning to open for pop-ups, art shows "and when they feel safe doing so, readings," the Post-Intelligencer noted, adding that in two years the building Drink Books occupies "is slated for demolition, and the pair plan to make the most of their ephemeral space while they can."

As the Drink Books website explains: "Great books have the power to elicit an emotional response. They get to the core of who we are; they expand our awareness; they challenge us; they can make us feel seen. Books, and how we feel about them, can change over the course of our reading; they can defy our expectations and ability to say what it is and what it's doing. Natural wine often works this way too. It changes from sip to sip. It speaks. It doesn't include chemical alterations, or commercial yeasts that mask its true qualities. Wine making and writing are both processes of transformation--there are grapes and there are words and then, if we're lucky, skilled, and possess a small amount of magic, there will be wine and there will be a story."

GLOW: Sourcebooks Landmark: A Forty Year Kiss by Nickolas Butler

Little Bus Books Arriving in Lakeland, Fla., This Weekend

Little Bus Books, a family-owned bookmobile selling new and used titles, will make its debut at the Buena Market block party in Lakeland, Fla., this Saturday, LKLDNow reported.

While owners Lynsey and Michael Pippen, along with their sons Luke and Nolan, have been selling books at pop-ups since May, Saturday will mark the first time that their bookmobile, a renovated 1953 Va-Ka-Shun-ette trailer, is ready for action. The bookmobile currently stocks around 100 titles for teens and adults, both fiction and nonfiction.

There are Spanish-language titles, along with books discussing race, religion, disabilities and LGBTQ topics, as well as an ample selection of books by local authors. The Pippens make a point of collaborating with those authors directly, and local authors JG Petrichor and Holly Hungerford will be signing books at the block party on Saturday.

"Our mission started with the realization that we needed to broaden our own cultural perspectives," Lynsey Pippen, who holds a doctorate in special education, told LKLDNow. "Books provide a simple, unobtrusive way for individuals to gain knowledge and experience a variety of cultures."

The Pippens' sons both help with the bookmobile, with Nolan working as a cashier and Luke doing the "heavy lifting." Both have a diagnosis of high-functioning autism, and part of the Pippens' goal with the store is to teach them "the responsibilities of work and how they can be productive citizens of the community in which they live, despite the challenges that come along with their disability."

The inspiration for the bookmobile came on a family trip to Kansas in 2020. They realized that a "bookshop stop is not something that is likely to happen during our daily routines at home because of the time it takes to find 'just the right book' in a bookstore." That was when they started thinking of a book bus, and Michael Pippen suggested starting "small and mobile."

The Pippens plan to partner with nonprofits in Polk County and eventually start a nonprofit of their own that would "provide a free mobile bookshop to people who do not have access to libraries and bookstores."

International Update: Bonnier UK Launching Footnote Press, Dutch Government Offers Funds to Indie Bookshops

Bonnier Books UK is launching Footnote Press, a "mission-oriented start-up" publisher, in a "pioneering partnership" with founders Vidisha Biswas and Sujoy Roy. The new press will be an "independently run, disruptive publisher of literary fiction and narrative nonfiction, focusing on migration, identity and marginalized knowledge and experience."

Vidisha Biswas

Biswas will lead Footnote Press as managing director. Recruitment for an editorial director will begin immediately. The press is launching in early 2022 and plans to begin with 10 to 15 titles a year. It is "committed to spotlighting other, previously excluded ways of thinking, being and organizing through its ambitious publishing program," the company noted.

Most recently co-owner and business development director at the radical publishing collective Zed Books, Biswas led the company's digital transformation strategy, which included strong sales growth before it was acquired by Bloomsbury in 2020.

"Footnote Press will combine the best of both worlds--the agility and focus of a smaller independent, with the expertise and reach of an established, world-leading publisher," Biswas said. "This pioneering partnership gives Footnote the strongest possible launch pad, which means we can carry forward our mission to disrupt multiple status quos and drive narrative change ever more effectively."  

As marketing director, Roy, who is a video games and e-sports industry veteran and innovator, will be using his digital skills to drive customer conversion and retention and exploring new ways of "aiding discoverability through gamification."

Bonnier Books UK CEO Perminder Mann said: "I was blown away by Vidisha and Sujoy's vision for Footnote Press, their dynamic approach and deep expertise. Footnote aligns perfectly with our long-term strategy for growth and will help us to further broaden and diversify our publishing portfolio."


A fund of almost €15 million (about $17.4 million) has been opened in the Netherlands as part of the Dutch government's package of support for the physical bookstores. The European & International Booksellers Federation's NewsFlash, which noted that all bookshops in the country can apply for extra credit until November 30, reported that the initiative, "championed by the Dutch Booksellers Association, allows bookshops to extend their credit limit by a maximum of 40% for the period of up to one year, without any interest."


Jessica Mosher has been named president, publisher and CEO of University of Toronto Press, effective November 1. She succeeds John Yates, who is retiring after 17 years at the helm of UTP. Mosher brings three decades of experience in educational publishing to her new position, most recently as executive v-p and managing director at Nelson.

"I am thrilled to be taking the helm of such a well-respected press," she said, "and to have the opportunity to work with colleagues who do extraordinary work publishing and promoting exemplary scholarship. The reputation of the press is already so strong, and I believe UTP is uniquely positioned to further enhance the experience and reputation of Canadian scholarship and the University of Toronto on a global scale."

Speaking on behalf of the UTP board, Scott Mabury, the university's v-p, operations and real estate partnerships, said he was "very pleased to announce the appointment" of Mosher to her new position, and thanked Yates "for his excellent leadership and dedication to the press."

Australian bookseller moment: "A beautiful day at the Produce Market today... remember the full market with arts and crafts included will be back on November 3," Farrells Bookshop. Mornington, Vic., posted on Facebook. --Robert Gray

Shelf Awareness Delivers Indie Pre-Order E-Blast

Yesterday, Shelf Awareness sent our monthly pre-order e-blast to more than 865,000 of the country's best book readers. The e-blast went to 866,243 customers of 185 participating independent bookstores.

The mailing features eight upcoming titles selected by Shelf Awareness editors and a sponsored title. Customers can buy these books via "pre-order" buttons that lead directly to the purchase page for the title on each sending store's website. A key feature is that bookstore partners can easily change title selections to best reflect the tastes of their customers and can customize the mailing with links, images and promotional copy of their own.

The pre-order e-blasts are sent the last Wednesday of each month; the next will go out on Wednesday, November 24. Stores interested in learning more can visit our program registration page or contact our partner program team via e-mail.

For a sample of October pre-order e-blast, see this one from the Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, Mass.


Image of the Day: 'Surrounded by Love Stories'

Last weekend, Analog Books in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, hosted the wedding of Lindsey and Trey, two of the store's biggest supporters. Co-owner Scott Warris said, "Lindsey, a local schoolteacher, approached us last spring asking if we would be open to helping her fulfill her dream to be married amongst the books she loves so much: 'What better place to get married than in a room surrounded by love stories?' "  

Warris added, "It was a wonderful night, everyone followed Covid restrictions and we were so pleased to see an actual in-person event for the first time since opening last November."

'Become a Better Human. Be Brave + Kind'

Bunnie Hilliard, owner of Brave + Kind Bookshop in Decatur, Ga., spoke with the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance's Southern Booksellers Review about celebrating her third year as a bookseller after a career in corporate banking and becoming a mother. Among the highlights from the q&a: 

Bunnie Hilliard

Best part about being a bookseller?
Helping readers find and share books that make them feel seen, feel included and feel like magic.

Best thing you did this year at your store

Favorite memory: Helping to launch the newest Bedtime Stories for Rebel Girls, 100 Stories of Black Girl Magic (a favorite series) on our 3rd birthday! It felt (Black girl) magical and full circle. It was our first on site event since the pandemic, we held it on the grassy knoll out back of the store. 

What are some ways you work with your community?

Helping to build intentionally inclusive school (and program) libraries. People connect with us because their values align with our values and mission. We consult, build lists, and fulfill.

Do you have passions that carry over into your bookselling life? 

As a woman of color (and parent of school aged children) I know the plight and struggle of building inclusive home libraries and helping my own kids to see themselves on the shelves. I bring that passion into the store every day. 

Top priority for 2022
1. More community impact.

2. Focus on learning more nuts and bolts of the bookselling industry for myself and for the team I am building at Brave.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Tamron Hall on Rachael Ray

Good Morning America: Parker Curry and Jessica Curry, authors of Parker Shines On: Another Extraordinary Moment (S&S/Aldaddin, $17.99, 9781534454743).

CBS This Morning: Bryant Terry, editor of Black Food: Stories, Art, and Recipes from Across the African Diaspora (4 Color Books, $40, 9781984859723).

Rachael Ray: Tamron Hall, author of As the Wicked Watch: The First Jordan Manning Novel (Morrow, $27.99, 9780063037038). She will also appear on MSNBC's the Reid Out.

Wendy Williams: Chrissy Teigen, author of Cravings: All Together: Recipes to Love (Clarkson Potter, $29.99, 9780593135426).

Late Night with Seth Meyers repeat: Ron Howard and Clint Howard, authors of The Boys: A Memoir of Hollywood and Family (Morrow, $28.99, 9780063065246).

This Weekend on Book TV: Anderson Cooper

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 this weekend from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday and focuses on political and historical books as well as the book industry. The following are highlights for this coming weekend. For more information, go to Book TV's website.

Saturday, October 30
2 p.m. Rawn James, author of The Truman Court: Law and the Limits of Loyalty (University of Missouri, $36.95, 9780826222299). (Re-airs Sunday at 2 a.m.)

3:50 p.m. Kate Clifford Larson, author of Walk with Me: A Biography of Fannie Lou Hamer (Oxford University Press, $27.95, 9780190096847). (Re-airs Sunday at 3:50 a.m.)

5 p.m. David Levering Lewis, author of The Improbable Wendell Willkie: The Businessman Who Saved the Republican Party and His Country, and Conceived a New World Order (Liveright, $28.95, 9780871404572). (Re-airs Sunday at 5 a.m.)

5:50 p.m. John Roy Price, author of The Last Liberal Republican: An Insider's Perspective on Nixon's Surprising Social Policy (University Press of Kansas, $39.95, 9780700632053). (Re-airs Sunday at 5:50 a.m.)

Sunday, October 31
8 a.m. Anderson Cooper, co-author of Vanderbilt: The Rise and Fall of an American Dynasty (‎Harper, $30, 9780062964618). (Re-airs Sunday at 8 p.m.)

9:05 a.m. Thomas Wright, co-author of Aftershocks: Pandemic Politics and the End of the Old International Order (St. Martin's Press, $29.99, 9781250275745). (Re-airs Sunday at 9:05 p.m.)

10 a.m. Vivek Ramaswamy, author of Woke, Inc.: Inside Corporate America's Social Justice Scam (Center Street, $28, 9781546090786). (Re-airs Sunday at 10 p.m.)

3:45 p.m. Fiona Hill, author of There Is Nothing for You Here: Finding Opportunity in the Twenty-First Century (Mariner, $30, 9780358574316).

4:45 p.m. Michael Malone, author of The Big Score: The Billion Dollar Story of Silicon Valley (Stripe Press, $24, 9781953953162).

6 p.m. Rob Reich, Mehran Sahami and Jeremy M. Weinstein, authors of System Error: Where Big Tech Went Wrong and How We Can Reboot (Harper, $27.99, 9780063064881).

Books & Authors

Awards: BIO Editorial Excellence Winner

Bob Bender will receive the 2021 Editorial Excellence Award, presented by the Biographers International Organization to "an outstanding editor of biography." Bender will be honored on Thursday, November 18, at an online event featuring three of his authors: David W. Blight, Scott Eyman, and Jeff Guinn.

Bender is v-p and executive editor of Simon & Schuster, where he has worked since 1981. He acquires a range of nonfiction, including biography and autobiography, history, current events, popular science, popular culture (primarily film and music), and narrative nonfiction with a distinctive voice. Authors that he has published also include Muhammad Ali, Marie Arana, Miles Davis, Jonathan Eig, David Hackett Fischer, Linda Greenhouse, John Kerry, Naomi Klein, Pauline Maier, David McCullough, Gilda Radner, James Shapiro, and Jean Edward Smith.

Kai Bird, chair of BIO's Award Committee, praised Bender for his "cultivation and support for so many illustrious biographers over many decades."

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, November 2:

The Stranger in the Lifeboat: A Novel by Mitch Albom (Harper, $23.99, 9780062888341) follows shipwrecked passengers who pull a mysterious man from the sea.

1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows by Ai Weiwei, trans. by Allan H. Barr (Crown, $32, 9780553419467) is the memoir of the Chinese artist and political dissident.

Immune: A Journey into the Mysterious System That Keeps You Alive by Philipp Dettmer (Random House, $35, 9780593241318) is an illustrated guide to the immune system.

Both/And: A Life in Many Worlds by Huma Abedin (Scribner, $30, 9781501194801) is the memoir of a longtime Hillary Clinton aide.

The Age of AI: And Our Human Future by Henry Kissinger, Eric Schmidt and Daniel Huttenlocher (Little, Brown, $30, 9780316273800) explores the coming era of artificial intelligence.

Carry the Dog by Stephanie Gangi (Algonquin, $26.95, 9781643751276) follows the daughter of a famous photographer who was the subject of controversial work as a child.

Black Ballerinas by Misty Copeland, illus. by Salena Barnes (Aladdin, $19.99, 9781534474246), is an illustrated nonfiction middle-grade collection about dancers of color.

Gilded by Marissa Meyer (Feiwel and Friends, $19.99, 9781250618849) is a young adult retelling of the story of Rumpelstiltskin.

The Pilot's Daughter: A Novel by Meredith Jaeger (Dutton, $17, 9780593185896).

The God of Lost Words by A.J. Hackwith (Ace, $17, 9781984806413).

A Certain Appeal by Vanessa King (Putnam, $16, 9780593330715).

IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:

Hardcover: An Indies Introduce Title
My Monticello: Fiction by Jocelyn Nicole Johnson (Holt, $26.99, 9781250807151). "What Johnson does here is pure genius, allowing the reader to view the story through a lens of past, present, and uncertain future, giving the reader pause for reflection and a sliver of hope." --Javier Ramirez, Exile in Bookville, Chicago, Ill.

What Storm, What Thunder: A Novel by Myriam J.A. Chancy (Tin House Books, $27.95, 9781951142766). "The 2010 Haitian earthquake and its aftermath is revealed to us through the stories of 10 intertwining lives, some who survive and others who perish. Stunning in its beauty, horror, and heartbreak." --Alana Haley, Schuler Books, Grand Rapids, Mich.

The Cold Millions: A Novel by Jess Walter (Harper Perennial, $17, 9780062868091). "Jess Walter takes events from history to illuminate our present while keeping them rooted in their own time, from the labor movement to class, race, and gender equality and civil rights issues, to protests and freedom of speech." --Ariana Paliobagis, Country Bookshelf, Bozeman, Mont.

For Ages 4 to 8
Read Island: The Picture Book by Nicole Magistro, illus. by Alice Feagan (Read Island, $18.99, 9781736523308). "A perfect read-aloud picture book that will delight all booklovers and create a generation of new ones! An instant classic that reminds us all that 'From out to in, from here to there, books can take you anywhere.' " --Wendy Hudson, Nantucket Bookworks, Nantucket, Mass.

For Ages 8 to 12
Playing the Cards You're Dealt by Varian Johnson (Scholastic, $16.99, 9781338348538). "Definitely lives up to The Parker Inheritance. Nicely rounded characters facing believable issues in a supportive, but not always perfect, community setting. This fills a good need--early middle grade books with smart boys learning how to be great men." --Rosie Lee-Parks, Readers' Books, Sonoma, Calif.

For Teen Readers
Black Birds in the Sky: The Story and Legacy of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre by Brandy Colbert (Balzer + Bray, $19.99, 9780063056664). "A captivating book that not only teaches readers about the Tulsa Race Massacre but also looks at the bigger picture of what is the United States. Filled with history centered around different racial communities, the book does justice to those who did not learn certain history lessons in traditional educational institutions." --Melissa Silvester, Boogie Down Books, Bronx, N.Y.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: Profit and Punishment: How America Criminalizes the Poor in the Name of Justice

Profit and Punishment: How America Criminalizes the Poor in the Name of Justice by Tony Messenger (St. Martin's Press, $28.99 hardcover, 272p., 9781250274649, December 7, 2021)

Tony Messenger spent years traveling across Missouri, uncovering the stories of people affected by court fees and fines--work that he calls "the most important work I have ever produced as a journalist." That work, which earned him the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary, ultimately resulted in Profit and Punishment: How America Criminalizes the Poor in the Name of Justice, a timely and important revelation of "a national crisis hidden in plain sight."

Messenger's work lies at the "intersection of poverty and criminal justice," drawing deeply on the experiences of three single mothers--and a multitude of other individual stories in passing--to illustrate how the 21st-century justice system has evolved to become a money-making scheme, often "shouldered by the most vulnerable among us." Through court fees and fines, as well as pay-to-stay bills ("board bills") charged in many states for time spent in jail, the system generates income to support itself, "money earmarked by lawmakers as a backdoor tax" and funneled into municipal budgets, sheriff retirement funds, judge and clerk salaries and more. Messenger posits that more than 80% of the cases that go through the court system are for misdemeanor charges, not violent crimes that put the public at risk. And as the vast majority of those paying into the system are living below the federal poverty line, "this debt becomes an accelerant, and the inability to pay means more jail time and additional contact with the criminal justice system that feels more like purgatory than an institution defined by fairness and the rule of law."

Like any good journalist, Messenger grounds relevant data and theory of a broken system in the experiences of those who interact with it, individuals he has met and stayed close to over years and years of their justice troubles--like Brooke Bergen, arrested for the alleged theft of an $8 tube of mascara, which ultimately resulted in a court bill of some $15,000. With each case like Bergen's, Messenger drives home the point: this is the criminalization of poverty in action, creating modern-day debtors' prisons that run counter to the principles of the U.S. Constitution and repeatedly lock up individuals for their inability to pay the self-perpetuating debts that courts place upon them. It's "an American epidemic... [a] tragic cycle of profit and abuse" that should enrage anyone who comes to understand it--and Profit and Punishment is the perfect place to start that understanding. --Kerry McHugh, freelance writer

Shelf Talker: Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Tony Messenger explores how poverty is criminalized in the United States, grounding data and facts in the stories of those most affected by these policies.

Powered by: Xtenit