Shelf Awareness for Thursday, November 4, 2021

Workman Publishing: Paint by Sticker: Plants and Flowers: Create 12 Stunning Images One Sticker at a Time! by Workman Publishing

Sourcebooks Landmark: The Ways We Hide by Kristina McMorris

Simon & Schuster: Recording for the Simon & Schuster and Simon Kids Fall Preview 2022

Soho Crime: Lady Joker, Volume 2 by Kaoru Takamura, translated by Allison Markin Powell and Marie Iida

Berkley Books: Once Upon a December by Amy E. Reichert; Lucy on the Wild Side by Kerry Rea; Where We End & Begin by Jane Igharo

Kensington Publishing Corporation: The Lost Girls of Willowbrook by Ellen Marie Wiseman

St. Martin's Press: Wild: The Life of Peter Beard: Photographer, Adventurer, Lover by Graham Boynton


ABA's Allison Hill on ABFE Changes; DEI Review; DOJ Suit

Allison Hill

In a letter to members in Bookselling This Week, American Booksellers Association CEO Allison Hill wrote in part about the shift in role of ABFE (American Booksellers for Free Expression), which has caused concern among some members and led to the resignation of board member Kenny Brechner.

Hill wrote: "I'm grateful to the ABA Board for their in-depth, thoughtful conversations this past year on behalf of the membership about ABA's value of freedom of expression; ABA's commitment to equity, access, antiracism, and representation; and how the two relate. (I also appreciate ABA members and ABA staff who shared their thoughts about these topics with me.) The board's recent changes to the ends policies ('Core members have the resources in support of their right to freedom of expression' and 'Legal and regulatory policies reflect the interests of independent bookstores...') create a space for ABA to move forward committed to both values in new ways that best serve our membership, allowing us to focus on our priority of helping bookstores and booksellers prepare for the future and thrive.

"ABFE will continue to support members around freedom of expression in many of the ways that it always has: organizing and promoting Banned Books Week; providing resources such as freedom of expression and privacy statement templates, and information about preparing for controversial author events; hosting a hotline for stores presented with freedom of expression or privacy emergencies (for example, event protesters or a subpoena for customer records); and supporting advocacy work through our coalition partners (co-signing amicus briefs that are directly related to bookstores' needs, for example, and connecting bookstores whose free expression concerns are outside of ABFE's focus with coalition partners best suited to address their needs).

"With the ABA board's ends policies changes, ABFE's work will now be fully focused on freedom of expression issues directly related to bookstores rather than focusing on broader free expression efforts. ABFE's coalition partners include organizations focused on those broader free expression efforts. ABFE will work closely with these partners on issues related to bookstores and will refer bookstores to the coalition partners on issues outside of ABFE's new focus. As we move forward with ABFE's clarified mission, we will keep the membership informed via Bookselling This Week as well as via the ABFE page on BookWeb, which has recently been updated to reflect changes and provide transparency."

Hill also gave an update on the ABA's DEI efforts, saying, "We have completed 99% of the in-house audit of all ABA systems and programs, reviewing everything through a DEI lens, and we implemented new checks and balances. The Bi-Monthly Boxed Mailing, Advance Access, and Net Galley titles are now screened for hate speech per the U.N.'s definition. Programs with titles provided by booksellers--Indie Bestseller List, Indie Next List, and Kids Next List--are not screened. In both cases we leave it to booksellers to decide for themselves what they buy, read, promote, and sell. This program information has also been updated on BookWeb for more transparency. We're excited to announce that our new DEIA Membership Manager will be starting in a couple of weeks! And we are making an offer to a new copy editor this week. The Beta Advance Access program (a galley-on-demand program) for marginalized voices is in development with an expected launch date in January. The first LGBTQIA2S+ forum between members and ABA staff for booksellers took place last week. The ABA staff training/discussion on Queer history and activism took place a few weeks ago. And we continue to prioritize our commitment to antiracism, access, equity, and representation, and look for ways to advance this work for ABA, its members, and for the book industry. Thank you to the DEIC members and others who help support and inform this work."

Hill also commented on the Justice Department's suit seeking to block Penguin Random House's acquisition of Simon & Schuster, writing in part, "PRH is a valued partner of independent bookstores in many ways, but the continued consolidation of publishing power that this sale could represent threatens to undermine competition in the book industry, harming the interests of American consumers and putting bookstores and authors at risk. ABA appreciates the Justice Department's due diligence in investigating this deal, and we appreciate the Biden Administration's support of competition in the marketplace and of small businesses. We hope the DOJ's support continues and that they prioritize our concerns about Amazon outlined in ABA's position paper sent to state attorneys general last November. A top priority for ABA continues to be lobbying against Amazon's monopoly power."

Vintage: Morningside Heights by Joshua Henkin

ABA Hosting Roxane Gay Virtual Event November 18

The American Booksellers Association will host a virtual event with 2021 Indies First Spokesperson Roxane Gay on Thursday, November 18. Gay will be in conversation with Amy Hundley, executive editor at Grove Atlantic, to discuss "uplifting diverse voices, the value of independence and the importance of community."

Scheduled to start at 7 p.m. Eastern time on November 18, the event is free, with an option to make a donation to Hope for Haiti. The organization works to improve education, healthcare, infrastructure, access to clean water and economic opportunity in rural Haiti by working with community leaders in those areas.

Booksellers can share the Eventbrite registration link with their customers (as well as encouraging them to purchase Gay's titles); promotional assets, including images for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, are available on BookWeb.

Indies First is scheduled for Saturday, November 27.

Beaming Books: Sarah Rising by Ty Chapman, illustrated by Deann Wiley

NBCC Launching Gregg Barrios Book in Translation Prize

The National Book Critics Circle is launching the Gregg Barrios Book in Translation Prize, which "recognizes books for their excellence and artistry and is open to translations of books authored by living or deceased writers." The new award was ratified by the NBCC board at its June meeting.

Beginning with the 2022 publishing year, the Gregg Barrios Book in Translation Prize will honor the best book of any genre translated into English and published in the U.S., with both new translations of previously translated books considered. The NBCC board and regular members are serving as judges. The winning author and translator will be announced during the NBCC ceremony in March, along with other prize recipients. 

The prize is named after board member Gregg Barrios, a Latino poet, playwright and book critic who died in August. Barrios joined the NBCC board in 2010 with a desire to give greater representation to those in the "vast heartlands" of the U.S., and to reach the Latinx community. He funded the Balakian Prize for book critics with a cash prize of $1,000 beginning in 2012, after selling the film rights to his play Rancho Pancho. Barrios also chaired the John Leonard Prize committee and served as the organization's first v-p of diversity and inclusion. He believed that the NBCC should have a prize for literature in translation.

"There have been talks within the NBCC about adding a prize for translated literature for years, and I am so pleased we have found a way to make it work," said NBCC president David Varno. "This will not only ensure that the NBCC will honor the best work in translation each year, but it will offer a new opportunity for all dues-paying members of the organization to nominate books and participate in prize deliberations." 

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Sourcebooks Acquires B.E.S. Publishing

Sourcebooks has purchased B.E.S. Publishing from Peterson's Publishing, acquiring more than 800 titles across the categories of children's fiction and nonfiction and adult nonfiction. The deal, which closed October 31, is Sourcebooks' largest acquisition to date.

"The addition of B.E.S. adds breadth, variety, and depth to our rapidly expanding children's and adult nonfiction catalog," said Dominique Raccah, Sourcebooks CEO and publisher. "We are excited to give these titles a new home."

Among the children's books that Sourcebooks acquired are picture books, holiday books and middle-grade graphic novels, including the Goodnight series. The adult books, meanwhile, include lifestyle titles, pet care, crafting and activity books.

Kay Birkner, assistant publisher and associate director of publishing strategy for Sourcebooks Jabberwocky and Young Readers, noted that Sourecebooks' children's book business now accounts for more than half of its annual sales. "We have largely done so without many partnerships in the co-edition universe, so we're eager to open our publishing and acquisition pipeline to that opportunity."

Anna Michels, editorial director for Sourcebooks Trade and Poisoned Pen Press, said: "This acquisition adds new and in-demand categories to our adult nonfiction list."

Until the end of the year, accounts should continue to order B.E.S. titles through Ingram Content Group.

Florida Bookseller Elected Mayor

Crissy Stile

Crissy Stile, owner of Barrel of Books & Games, Mount Dora, Fla., celebrated the store's 10th anniversary in an unusual way: Tuesday she was elected mayor, winning 59% of the 3,689 votes cast in the race, unseating the incumbent mayor, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

Stile campaigned against "a proposal to allow taller buildings in the city known for its festivals and quaint downtown," the newspaper wrote. "She led a petition drive hoping to let voters decide how high buildings could rise in the city's downtown."

"I never made it the biggest issue for my campaign," Stile said. "It just goes to show there’s a lot of concerns in the city of Mount Dora."

Barrel of Books & Games in downtown Mount Dora sells new and used books for all ages as well as board games, collectibles and puzzles. Stile founded the store in September 2011; it has been in its current site, once the city's police and fire station, since 2013.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Michael Imperioli, Steve Schirripa on the Kelly Clarkson Show

Drew Barrymore Show: Billy Porter, author of Unprotected: A Memoir (Abrams, $28, 9781419746192).

Also on Drew Barrymore: Missy Robbins, co-author of Pasta: The Spirit and Craft of Italy's Greatest Food, with Recipes (Ten Speed Press, $40, 9781984857002).

Kelly Clarkson Show: Michael Imperioli and Steve Schirripa, authors of Woke Up This Morning: The Definitive Oral History of The Sopranos (Morrow, $30, 9780063090026).

The Talk: Kal Penn, author of You Can't Be Serious (Gallery, $28, 9781982171384).

This Weekend on Book TV: Hillary Clinton and Louise Penny

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, November 6
9:15 a.m. Matthew Rozell, author of A Train Near Magdeburg: A Teacher's Journey into the Holocaust (Matthew A. Rozell, $24.99, 9780996480024). (Re-airs Saturday at 9:15 p.m.)

2 p.m. Andrew Natsios and Andrew Card, editors of Transforming Our World: President George H.W. Bush and American Foreign Policy (Rowman & Littlefield, $38, 9781538143445).

3:05 p.m. Caroline Janney, author of Ends of War: The Unfinished Fight of Lee's Army after Appomattox (The University of North Carolina Press, $30, 9781469663371).

4:10 p.m. Allen Guelzo, author of Robert E. Lee: A Life (‎Knopf, $35, 9781101946220).

5:30 p.m. Matthew Stanley, author of Einstein's War: How Relativity Triumphed Amid the Vicious Nationalism of World War I (Dutton, $28, 9781524745417).

Sunday, November 7
8 a.m. Edward Glaeser and David Cutler, authors of Survival of the City: Living and Thriving in an Age of Isolation (‎Penguin Press, $30, 9780593297681). (Re-airs Sunday at 8 p.m.)

9 a.m. Parag Khanna, author of Move: The Forces Uprooting Us (Scribner, $30, 9781982168971). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m.)

10 a.m. Andrew Yang, author of Forward: Notes on the Future of Our Democracy (Crown, $28, 9780593238653). (Re-airs Sunday at 10 p.m.)

10:30 a.m. Michael Dell, co-author of Play Nice But Win: A CEO's Journey from Founder to Leader (Portfolio, $28, 9780593087749). (Re-airs Sunday at 10:35 p.m.)

11:15 a.m. Lauren Jackson, author of White Negroes: When Cornrows Were in Vogue ... and Other Thoughts on Cultural Appropriation (Beacon Press, $25.95, 9780807011805). (Re-airs Sunday at 11:15 p.m.)

12 p.m. Live In-Depth q&a with Ross Douthat, author of The Deep Places: A Memoir of Illness and Discovery (Convergent Books, $26, 9780593237366). (Re-airs Monday at 12 a.m.)

4 p.m. Jill Busby, author of Unfollow Me: Essays on Complicity (Bloomsbury, $26, 9781635577112).

5:10 p.m. Victor Davis Hanson, author of The Dying Citizen: How Progressive Elites, Tribalism, and Globalization Are Destroying the Idea of America (Basic Books, $30, 9781541647534).

6 p.m. Hillary Clinton and Louise Penny, authors of State of Terror: A Novel (‎Simon & Schuster, $30, 9781982173678).

Books & Authors

Awards: Booker Winner

The Promise by Damon Galgut has won the £50,000 (about $68,300) 2021 Booker Prize. Organizers said that The Promise, published in the U.S. by Europa Editions, "is set in South Africa during the country's transition out of apartheid, explores the interconnected relationships between the members of a diminishing white family through the sequential lens of four funerals.

"The narrator's eye shifts and blinks, deliciously lethal in its observation of the crash and burn of a white South African family. On their farm outside Pretoria, the Swarts are gathering for Ma's funeral. The younger generation detests everything the family stands for, not least the failed promise to the Black woman who has worked for them her whole life. After years of service, Salome was promised her own house, her own land, yet somehow, as each decade passes, that promise remains unfulfilled."

Chair of judges Maya Jasanoff said: "The Promise astonished us from the outset as a penetrating and incredibly well-constructed account of a white South African family navigating the end of apartheid and its aftermath. On each reading we felt that the book grew. With an almost deceptive narrative economy, it offers moving insights into generational divides; meditates on what makes a fulfilling life--and how to process death; and explores the capacious metaphorical implications of 'promise' in relation to modern South Africa."

Galgut, who lives in South Africa, was shortlisted for the Booker in 2003 for The Good Doctor and 2010 for In a Strange Room. The Promise is his ninth novel. Galgut is the third South African to win the Booker Prize, following Nadine Gordimer in 1974 and J.M. Coetzee in 1983 and 1999.

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, November 9:

The Dark Hours by Michael Connelly (Little, Brown, $29, 9780316485647) is the fourth thriller with LAPD detectives Renée Ballard and Harry Bosch.

Never: A Novel by Ken Follett (Viking, $36, 9780593300015) is a global geopolitical thriller set in the modern day.

My Body by Emily Ratajkowski (Metropolitan, $26, 9781250817860) is the memoir of the model and actress.

Aurora's End by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (Knopf, $18.99, 9781524720889) is the final installment of the young adult science fiction Aurora Cycle series.

Out of My Heart by Sharon M. Draper (Atheneum, $18.99, 9781665902168) is the sequel to the author's 2010 middle-grade novel, Out of My Mind.

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:

Once Upon a Wardrobe: A Novel by Patti Callahan (Harper Muse, $24.99, 9780785251729). "About the transformative power of books, with touches of fairy tale magic, Once Upon a Wardrobe is for everyone who ever loved The Chronicles of Narnia and wants to make a return trip back into C.S. Lewis' world." --Taylor Owens, Wilson Book Gallery, Wilson, Wyo.

Smile: The Story of a Face by Sarah Ruhl (Simon & Schuster, $27, 9781982150945). "Sarah Ruhl's memoir about motherhood and illness is wise and true and generous. This is such a beautiful and important book; I know it will be a tremendously helpful and profound reading experience for many." --Keith Mosman, Powell’s Books, Portland, Ore.

Jacket Weather: A Novel by Mike DeCapite (Soft Skull, $16.95, 9781593766931). "This book celebrates the comforts in life: nostalgia, food, art, and new love. Reading Jacket Weather is a beautiful, tense journey through the anxiety of losing what we think makes us complete." --Laura Lowry, Mind Chimes Bookshop, Three Lakes, Wisc.

For Ages 4 to 8
A Hundred Thousand Welcomes by Mary Lee Donovan, illus. by Lian Cho (Greenwillow, $18.99, 9780062877727). " A Hundred Thousand Welcomes is a beautiful look at how we welcome others into our lives and celebrate other people. The illustrations are brilliant, adding another layer to all the possibilities for conversations with children as you read this book." --Beth Seufer Buss, Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, N.C.

For Ages 10+
Cold-Blooded Myrtle by Elizabeth C. Bunce (Algonquin, $17.95, 9781616209209). "With an intelligent, witty main character, Bunce brings fun and light to the mystery genre for middle schoolers! I absolutely love Myrtle! Her passion, drive, and courage are aspirational; her humor and knowledge make me want to go on more adventures with her!" --Alysha Welliver, Best of Books, Edmond, Ok.

For Teen Readers
The City Beautiful by Aden Polydoros (Inkyard Press, $19.99, 9781335402509). "This story drew me in from line one! Historical fiction with a touch of fantasy and myth; a dark murder mystery combined with a haunting ghost story, with a sizzlingly sweet romance as the cherry on top, The City Beautiful is an unforgettable tale!" --Marielle Orff, Towne Book Center & Café, Collegeville, Penn.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: The Cat Who Saved Books

The Cat Who Saved Books by Sosuke Natsukawa, trans. by Louise Heal Kawai (HarperVia, $24.99 hardcover, 208p., 9780063095724, December 7, 2021)

Cats have long appeared in Japanese fiction, especially popularized in I Am a Cat (1906) by the father of modern Japanese literature, Natsume Sōseki. Joining recent 21st-century mega-successes--The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa, If Cats Disappeared from the World by Genki Kawamura, for example--is the delightful The Cat Who Saved Books by Sosuke Natsukawa, a Japanese doctor who also writes global bestsellers. Louise Heal Kawai, who was born in the U.K. and lives in Japan, smoothly translates Natsukawa's English-language debut.

"The tale that follows is pretty outrageous," the second sentence promises. Indeed, high school student Rintaro Natsuki, already an orphan, has now lost his beloved grandfather. Rintaro is a hikikomori--a shut-in, only comfortable in grandpa's secondhand bookstore--unable even to go to school. He's supposed to be packing up in preparation for living with an aunt he barely knows. But over the 10 days before the moving van is scheduled to arrive, Rintaro will prove to himself that he is stronger than he ever thought, thanks to a talking ginger tabby cat named Tiger.

"I need your help," Tiger repeatedly insists to Rintaro. Presented with three labyrinthine challenges to solve, Rintaro must set free a career reader's neglected books (57,622 finished thus far) imprisoned in locked cabinets, convince the director of the Institute of Reading Research to stop cutting and summarizing books, and persuade the president of the world's number-one publishing company that maximizing sales should not be the World's Best Books' only goal. Every (unsuspecting) hero needs a sidekick, and Rintaro is reluctantly, albeit happily, surprised to get assistance from class president Sayo Yuzuki, "a strong, no-nonsense type" who's been delivering Rintaro's schoolwork as his absence continues. When Tiger returns an unexpected fourth time seeking aid, Sayo will be the reason Rintaro must confront "the gap between idealism and reality" and restore order--literally.

Natsukawa's empowering Bildungsroman enhanced as a fantasy adventure manages to be both whimsical and wise, revealing Rintaro's superpower is imbedded in his love of books. What might at first seem like simple entertainment exposes a multi-layered analysis (with plenty of condemnation) of contemporary reading habits manipulated by a soulless publishing industry. Natsukawa's one shortcoming here might be the glorification of the Western canon--only a single Dazai Osamu short story is mentioned--which seems ironic given that the world's arguably first novel, The Tale of Genji, originated in Japan in the 11th century, significantly before 17th-century Don Quixote. Nevertheless, what lingers longest for readers will be the everlasting resonance of great books. --Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon

Shelf Talker: In Sosuke Natsukawa's charming English-language debut, a talking tabby shows a shut-in teen that his love of books is his superpower, as they undertake labyrinthine literary adventures.

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