Shelf Awareness for Friday, November 19, 2021

Graphix: Unico: Awakening (Volume 1): An Original Manga Created by Osamu Tezuka, Written by Samuel Sattin, Illustrated by Gurihiru

Shadow Mountain: A Kingdom to Claim by Sian Ann Bessey

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: Immortal Dark (Deluxe Limited Edition) by Tigest Girma

Bramble: Swordcrossed by Freya Marske

Soho Teen: Only for the Holidays by Abiola Bello

Berkley Books: Hair-raising horror to sink your teeth into!


GLIBA Annual Meeting: A 'Ridiculously Good Year' for New Membership

During the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association annual meeting Thursday afternoon, member booksellers reflected on the past year, welcomed new member bookstores and looked ahead to 2022. 

Larry Law, GLIBA's executive director, noted that in some ways, 2021 has been "more difficult than last year" for booksellers. Though the pandemic continues, the U.S. seems to have "one foot in and one foot out," which means booksellers still have to ship orders and handle curbside pick-up while also doing everything they did before the pandemic. If last year showed how resilient booksellers are, Law continued, "this year has shown how dedicated everyone's been."

Larry Law

All told, GLIBA had a "ridiculously good year" in terms of membership, adding a "pretty astounding" 51 new bookstores. That is more than double the number of stores that the association added the previous year, and brings GLIBA's total to 205 stores, which does not include stores with multiple locations. That figure, 205, Law added, is the highest membership has been in many years.

GLIBA's holiday catalog, which is its "number one revenue generator," had a good year as well, reaching nearly "pre-pandemic levels of profit." There were, however, delays with print catalogs, but by now nearly all of those have been delivered. This year's catalog was also GLIBA's most diverse ever in terms of authors and titles represented, which reflects the association's commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

Trade show revenue was also positive this year, with the recently concluded Heartland Fall Forum continuing a "very good year of events." New for GLIBA this year was a direct-to-consumer e-mail marketing program begun over the summer, which saw positive results. The association is looking into ways it can "evolve" the program for 2022.

Law reported that GLIBA's spring forum will be held in April in Kalamazoo, Mich. While some logistics are still being worked out, such as whether they'll have to limit capacity, the event is locked for April. And in the fall, the 10th annual Heartland Fall Forum will be held in St. Louis, Mo.

Continuing on the subject of future events, Two Dollar Radio publisher Eric Obenauf hopped on the call to mention that GLIBA will be sponsoring buses for a bookstore tour of Columbus, Ohio, scheduled for the Saturday before Winter Institute, with more details to be announced.

Allison Hill

While stopping by to discuss the American Booksellers Association's antitrust efforts and other priorities in 2021 and 2022, ABA CEO Allison Hill said there were more than 2,000 nominations for James Patterson's holiday bonuses--"more than double what we've had in the past." An announcement of the recipients should come soon.

The meeting concluded with members ratifying the motion to elect Gary Lovely, publisher of Harpoon Books in Columbus, Ohio, and bookseller at Prologue Bookshop in Columbus, and Chris Conti, trade sales manager at Independent Publishers Group, to the board of directors. --Alex Mutter

Henry Holt & Company: A Banh Mi for Two by Trinity Nguyen

The Little Book Store Opening Second Location in N.Y. State

The Little Book Store in Clayton, N.Y., is expanding. ABC50 Now reported that the bookshop will open a second location, in the Washington Street Plaza in Watertown, on Black Friday, November 26.

Owner Rebecca Kinnie, who opened the Clayton store in 2020, said that although the original bookshop has received positive feedback from the community, the new space will aim to reach more readers in Jefferson County.

"The community has just embraced us and I've gotten to meet so many wonderful authors, so many wonderful readers," she said. "But we're realizing that we're a little far away from a lot of people in Jefferson county who still haven't had a bookstore."

The Clayton location currently is open only three seasons a year, usually closing on New Year's Eve for the winter, but the Watertown store will serve the community year round.

"The reason we opened in the first place is that there wasn't a bookstore in Jefferson County, New York, and we felt that very keenly," Kinnie shared. "So we opened up the store and I want to just be able to bring this over to people who haven't been here."

GLOW: Sourcebooks Landmark: Remember You Will Die by Eden Robins

Philadelphia's The Head & The Hand Bookstore to Relocate

Linda Gallant Moore and Claire Lorraine outside the new location.

The Head & The Hand bookstore, which was opened in 2019 by the nonprofit, independent craft publishing company and writers' workshop in Philadelphia, will be relocating from its original space within Fireball Printing's facility on the Frankford Avenue corridor in Kensington.

In a Facebook post, editorial director Linda Gallant Moore and creative director Claire Lorraine noted: "We've got news we've been dying to share with you! After a long journey, we have signed a multi-year lease at 2230 Frankford Avenue and we are moving our bookstore in spring 2022!!! This move is a critical step in the evolution and expansion of our business and mission. We would like to thank Penn Treaty SSD for the generous grant that made this move possible. We would also like to thank our all star realtor, friend, and beloved community denizen Jeff Carpineta and our friends at Fireball Printing for being our lovely landlords these last 2.5 years. More to come as we take you along this wild ride, but we are so excited to continue serving you at our new digs."

Truck Smashes into Denver Bookstore 

A truck smashed into Capitol Hill Books, a used and rare bookseller located on Colfax Avenue in Denver, Colo., on Wednesday evening. The bookshop posted a photo of the extensive damage on Instagram, noting: "Needless to say, we will not be open today.... It may take several days for clean-up and reconstruction before we can open up again, after a truck drove through our storefront last night. We will keep you updated."

Last night, Capitol Hill Books posted: "Here is an update for the store. We are already starting to look better. We hope to be open this Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., so come support our little injured store. We'd love to see all your smiling faces after such a scary week."

B&N's Book of the Year: The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present

Barnes & Noble booksellers have chosen Paul McCartney's The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present (Two-Volume Set) (Liveright Publishing) as the 2021 Book of the Year. 

B&N called the winning title "an unprecedented view into the creative process of one of the greatest songwriters of all time. In this extraordinary book, with unparalleled candor, Paul McCartney recounts his life and art through the prism of 154 songs from all stages of his career--from his earliest boyhood compositions through the legendary decade of the Beatles, through Wings and his solo career to the present. The Lyrics is the closest to a memoir we can expect to see from Paul McCartney and the definitive gift not only for every Beatles fan this year, but for bibliophiles and everyone interested in the culture of the last 65 years."

B&N CEO James Daunt commented: "The Lyrics is an extraordinary book. It is stunningly beautiful and a masterpiece of book design. Paul McCartney has fashioned, through the explorations of his songs with the poet Paul Muldoon, a fascinating insight into his life and creative genius. No wonder the booksellers of Barnes & Noble have hailed this magnificent and deeply original book."

McCartney said he was "beyond honored to receive this recognition. My team and I are extremely proud of The Lyrics and it means so much to us that you all like it as much as we do. Thank you to all the amazing team at Barnes & Noble in helping to launch the book."

Robert Weil, editor-in-chief and publishing director of Liveright Publishing, noted: "We are ecstatic and extremely honored that The Lyrics has been selected as the 2021 Barnes & Noble Book of the Year. It's a magical match of a legendary songwriter, who has cherished the written word his entire life, and a great bookseller that is devoted to serving America's thriving book culture."

In addition, T.J. Klune's Under the Whispering Door (Tor Books) is B&N's Speculative Fiction Book of the Year. Shannon Devito, B&N director of books, said: "We are this year also naming a Speculative Fiction Book of the Year, in celebration of the massive bookseller and customer enthusiasm for the category and especially this year for T.J. Klune's Under the Whispering Door. Championed passionately by our booksellers since its September publication, Under the Whispering Door is a charming, big-hearted book with a little comfort and a lot of hope making it the must-read book this year. We find ourselves in the wonderful position of honoring them both."

Obituary Note: Lee Maracle 

Lee Maracle

Author Lee Maracle, "who chronicled the effect of Canadian settlement on the land's Indigenous people and the persistence of discrimination, only to find herself in recent years championed by the very cultural and political establishment that she had spent her career attacking," died November 11, the New York Times reported. She was 71. "She tried to capture, in writing, the oral traditions of the Sto:lo, Squamish and Métis people she descended from, while at the same time describing how a history of brutality had shaped her emotional life and outlook."

Before Bobbi Lee: Indian Rebel, an autobiographical novel, was published in 1975, publishers had rejected an earlier manuscript by Maracle, telling her, "Indians can't read." The Times noted that after writing Bobbi Lee, she "collected signatures from 3,500 Indigenous people who said they would buy the book--she had heard that 3,500 sales constituted a bestseller in Canada. A small press agreed to print it." 

After the Vancouver Writers Festival declined her request to launch I Am Woman at the event during the late 1980s, Maracle jumped onstage and began reading anyway. "The festival officials were horrified," she said in a 2019 profile in the Globe and Mail. But, she added, "leadership changed, and Indigenous writers began getting invitations to the festival." Her other books include Celia's Song; Ravensong; I Am Woman; and Bent Box.

Noting that in recent years the Canadian government has finally begun to institute some changes across the country, the Times wrote that an official investigation into missing or murdered Indigenous women has been launched. The government has also created a Truth and Reconciliation Commission focused on the estimated 150,000 Indigenous children who were separated from their families to attend assimilationist residential schools, the last of which closed in the late 1990s.

Maracle "was before the reckoning," Daniel Justice, a professor of Indigenous literature at the University of British Columbia, said. "She was one of the voices that helped herald the reckoning and was ceaseless in her commitment to that."

Waubgeshig Rice, an Anishinaabe Canadian journalist and author who co-hosts a podcast about Indigenous writing, said Maracle was among the first writers about Indigenous life he had ever read, and that the experience had made a lasting impact: "She carried stories of her people very responsibly and very effectively and proudly, and it inspired me to explore that way to tell stories. I can't think of anybody who hasn't been influenced by her in some way."

By the end of her life, Maracle "no longer needed to whip up a petition or jump onstage to get attention," the Times noted. In 2017, she was awarded the Order of Canada for being "one of the most influential Indigenous voices in Canada's literary landscape." In a subsequent interview with North Shore News, she reflected that "to accept something from Canada for the work that I do with decolonization struck me as a bit odd."


Personnel Changes at Knopf

At Knopf:

Gabrielle Brooks has been promoted to v-p, executive publicity director, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group & special projects. Brooks has been with Knopf for 26 years.

Jessica Purcell has been promoted to director of publicity.

Emily Reardon has been promoted to publicity manager.

Abby Endler has been promoted to senior publicist.

Sarah New has been promoted to senior publicist.

Amy Hagedorn has been promoted to associate publicist.

Demetri Papadimitropoulos has been promoted to associate publicist.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Chris Christie on Real Time with Bill Maher

Dr. Oz Show: Amy Robach and Andrew Shue, authors of Better Together! (Flamingo Books, $17.99, 9780593205693).

HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher: Chris Christie, author of Republican Rescue: Saving the Party from Truth Deniers, Conspiracy Theorists, and the Dangerous Policies of Joe Biden (Threshold Editions, $28, 9781982187514).

TV: Legend

Bound Entertainment (AppleTV+'s Dr. Brain) is teaming with YA author Marie Lu to develop a series adaptation of Legend, the first novel in her dystopian fantasy series, Deadline reported. Lu will develop the project and write the pilot in collaboration with Lindsay Sturman (Supergirl, Nightflyers, Teen Wolf), who will also serve as executive producer. Bound Entertainment's Samuel Yeunju Ha and Jamie Lai are also exec producing.

"Lu and Sturman's creative vision, talent, and ambition for the project aligns with our mission to foster and push forward stories featuring and from diverse creators. Bound Entertainment is excited to work with the pair to realize the massive potential within Legend and bring this long-awaited story to its fans and viewers around the world," said Ha, founder and CEO of Bound. 
Lu commented: "From the moment I first spoke to Lindsay and to Samuel and Jamie at Bound Entertainment, I knew Legend was going to be in good hands. I'm deeply honored to be working with a team that not only understands the core of the Legend world, but have brought me into the process of its adaptation. I can't wait to show everyone what we're making."

Books & Authors

Awards: Governor General's Literary Winners; Porchlight Business Book Longlist

The Canada Council for the Arts revealed the 2021 winners of the Governor General's Literary Awards. Each winner receives C$25,000 (about US$19,905), with the publisher receiving C$3,000 (about US$2,390) to promote the winning book; and finalists getting C$1,000 (about US$800) each. This year's winning titles are:

Fiction: Tainna: The Unseen Ones by Norma Dunning 
Poetry: The Junta of Happenstance by Tolu Oloruntoba 
Drama: Sexual Misconduct of the Middle Classes by Hannah Moscovitch 
Nonfiction:alfabet/alphabet: a memoir of a first language by Sadiqa de Meijer
Young people's literature/text: Firefly by Philippa Dowding 
Young people's literature/illustrated books: On the Trapline by David A. Robertson & Julie Flett 
Translation (from French to English): This Radiant Life, translated by Erín Moure from La vie radieuse by Chantal Neveu

Fiction: Faire les sucres by Fanny Britt 
Poetry: Pendant que Perceval tombait by Tania Langlais 
Drama: Copeaux by Mishka Lavigne 
Nonfiction: Du diesel dans les veines by Serge Bouchard & Mark Fortier 
Young people's literature/text: Les avenues by Jean-François Sénéchal 
Young people's literature/illustrated books: À qui appartiennent les nuages? by Mario Brassard & Gérard DuBois 
Translation (from English to French): Poèmes 1938-1984, translated by Marie Frankland from The Collected Poems by Elizabeth Smart


Forty books in eight categories have been longlisted for the Porchlight Business Book Awards and can be seen here. The shortlist will be announced December 16 and the Business Book of the Year and Jack Covert Award will be announced January 13, 2022.

Reading with... Andrea Gibson

photo: Riley Cowing

Andrea Gibson is a poet, author and spoken-word artist whose poems center on LGBTQ issues, gender, feminism and mental health, as well as gun reform and the dismantling of oppressive social systems. Their sixth collection of poetry is You Better Be Lightning, just published by Button Poetry.

On your nightstand now:

We the Animals by Justin Torres. My partner is a poet working on a memoir and she recommended this to me. While she was reading it, she kept saying it was full of "perfect sentences" and described it as poetry in novel form. I'm excited to dive in. I've heard only beautiful things. 

Favorite book when you were a child:

Charlotte's Web by E.B White. This book was the first piece of art I recall both wrecking me and putting me back together. It welcomed every single feeling, which wasn't something I was encountering from other books at the time. I still get weepy thinking about sweet Wilbur and Charlotte. 

Your top five authors:

Toni Morrison, Jonathan Safran Foer, Cheryl Strayed, John Steinbeck, Octavia Butler.

Book you've faked reading:

The Bible. I grew up in the Baptist church and was told it was a holy endeavor to take on the task of reading the entire Bible, but as soon as I dove in there was just too much war for me to keep reading. That said, though I'm not a Christian, there's a lot of passages I still find tons of light and inspiration in.

Book you're an evangelist for:

City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert. I know this is an unlikely book to be an evangelist for, but I can't stop singing its praises as it was promoted as a bit of a "beach read," and I found it to be a masterful dive into the depths of our collective humanity. I've walked through the world differently since reading it, accessing more compassion for myself and for everyone I encounter.

Book you've bought for the cover:

I honestly don't recall buying a book for its cover, though I'm sure I must have at some point. What I do remember is buying lots of books for their titles. In my teens and 20s, I was a magnet pulled to the saddest book titles in the world. These days I tend to be more of a sucker for joy. 

Book you hid from your parents:

There's one book I remember hiding from not just my parents but from everyone in the world: Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinberg. I'd hide it in the book jackets of other books even while sitting in the queerest of coffee shops. I was still so afraid of who I was. It feels wonderful to now be at a place in my life where I wouldn't just read the book in public--I'd have to share my favorite lines with every stranger willing to listen.

Book that changed your life:

The Jungle by Upton Sinclair. I read this book in high school, and it was the first novel that woke me up to how much I didn't know about our world. After reading it, I suddenly had so many questions, and each of those questions became a door to uncovering my own ever-evolving purpose in this world. 

Favorite line from a book:

"I wish I'd a knowed more people. I would of loved 'em all. If I'd a knowed more, I would a loved more." --Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison 

Five books you'll never part with:

Song of Solomon, Toni Morrison
Stone Butch Blues, Leslie Feinberg
Parable of the Sower, Octavia Butler
The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck
Dream Work, Mary Oliver

Each of these books significantly changed how I see the world. Each softened me in a way that was vital to my becoming as both an artist and human.

If you could read any book for the first time again:

I'm inclined to say A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara even though on another day I might say it's a book I'd never want to read again. The novel absolutely devastated me. Its plot, however, had me turning the pages faster than I ever had in my life.

Book Review

Review: Trapped in the Present Tense: Meditations on American Memory

Trapped in the Present Tense: Meditations on American Memory by Colette Brooks (Counterpoint, $26 hardcover, 240p., 9781640093324, January 18, 2022)

Before apps like Pinterest, there were scrapbooks--physical collections of photographs, objects and words carefully curated to preserve the memory of some event or time. That's the format that comes to mind when considering the blend of political and social commentary and memoir that is Colette Brooks's idiosyncratic and evocative Trapped in the Present Tense: Meditations on American Memory.

Whether it's gun violence, nuclear war or government incursions on Americans' privacy, Brooks's concerns are broad and vital. She recognizes, "as oblivion approaches," that "it may be time to go old school, to tell stories that slow the acceleration down, to practice acts of true attention," and in so doing, perhaps "keep alive one of the only old questions that still matters: How did this happen?" Recognizing that the "hard and fast divisions of the old days" between "number people" and "story people" are "no longer useful," she brings to bear both techniques in her attempt to illuminate some of the darker corners of American life.

In addressing the first of these issues, for example, alongside a passing reference to the fact that Americans possessed a total of 393 million guns in 2019, Brooks unearths the story of Charles Whitman, perpetrator of what she calls the "first modern mass shooting," who slaughtered 16 people and wounded 33 more from a bell tower on the University of Texas at Austin campus on August 1, 1966. A numerical glimpse of the landscape of contemporary American gun violence (almost 2,000 mass shootings from 2014 to 2019) is followed by the story of Nancy Lanza, mother of Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza, and his first victim on December 14, 2012.

Brooks (In the City: Random Acts of Awareness) applies this complementary technique to reflections on other pressing subjects: What she calls our "casual habituation to conflict" that "has helped to create a vicarious warrior culture in which most of us just watch from afar," is illustrated by the account of an errant Apache helicopter attack in Baghdad in July 2007, a story that sits adjacent to the recollections of a man named Jimmy Nelson about his service in the Navy in occupied Japan after atomic bombs devastated Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The significance of Nelson's account becomes clear only at the end of the book, in a section that pairs a series of arresting snapshots with Brooks's penetrating and poignant commentary.

In both content and format, Trapped in the Present Tense is a book that's well suited to this age of short and fragmented attention spans. Readers receptive to Colette Brooks's preoccupations will find much that's informative and moving here. --Harvey Freedenberg, freelance reviewer

Shelf Talker: Colette Brooks cogently assesses an array of modern American problems through the lens of history and recollection.

Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: The Best Legacy of Borders Is Binc

On October 1, writer Addison Del Mastro tweeted the following question: "If you had a Borders bookstore near you, can you tell me what town it is/was and what the status of the building is today?" Three weeks later, he published an article in the Bulwark, headlined: "A Decade After Borders Shut Down, Here’s What’s in Its Former Locations."

"Vacating roughly 500 locations throughout 2011, the erstwhile king of brick-and-mortar book retailing left behind a massive real-estate footprint, millions in unused gift cards, and a lot of memories," he wrote, adding: "Borders lives on in the form of its vacated real estate, the afterlife of which is still unfolding. Storefronts in the category-killer segment have proven difficult to fill in recent years--many of the category killers who would otherwise lease them are themselves struggling or defunct, and the spaces tend to be too small for discount department stores and too large for most others."

In addition to the nearly 100 responses he had received to his question on Twitter, Del Mastro used Google Maps and its Street View to explore former Borders sites. "Of the sizable sample I looked at, only a few have been demolished," he noted. "About 10% have been subdivided into two or more spaces. A small number have become other bookstores--the Books-A-Million chain, for example, took over several Borders locations." 

As would be expected, many of the vacant spaces attracted businesses like medium-sized retailers (Home Goods, Ross, etc.), non-retailers (Planet Fitness, medical and urgent care facilities, etc.), and 20% were taken over by grocery chains (Aldi, Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Fresh Market). About 12% of the sites are currently vacant. 

When I moved to Saratoga Springs, N.Y., in 2010, there was a Borders store downtown. It closed in 2011, and within a year the prime Broadway location had been leased by a marketing company called Fingerpaint, which then purchased the building in 2018. All was not lost, however, because in 2013 the Northshire Bookstore opened its second location (the flagship store is in Manchester Center, Vt.) across the street from the former Borders.

Del Mastro's original tweet ("If you had a Borders bookstore near you, can you tell me what town it is/was and what the status of the building is today?") did not make me think nostalgically about Borders and the past. Instead, it prompted me to consider a legacy of the bookstore chain that continues to thrive and to serve booksellers nationwide. 

Last Friday, the Book Industry Charitable Foundation issued its Gratitude Report, noting: "Your generous and quick action brought much needed peace of mind to more than 2,200 bookstore and comic shop owners, employees, and their families. You provided nearly $3 million dollars in emergency financial assistance during the global pandemic. And it is thanks to you that everyone with a qualifying need who called for help received assistance. Together, we did remarkable work under stressful circumstances with the best possible results: helping real people and small businesses."

On Monday, I received an e-mail from the Binc foundation. That's not news. I've been a supporter for years, so Binc e-mails are a regular visitor to my inbox. This one said that any gift would "have double the impact. Penguin Random House will match your contribution dollar for dollar. (Penguin Random House will match all gifts up to $15,000)." That's good news. 

Binc's 25th anniversary was celebrated recently. A special edition of Shelf Awareness was published to mark the occasion and noted that the organization "was founded in 1996 as the Borders Group Foundation, with funding from company executives, staff payroll contributions, publishers and vendors. During that period, Borders employees donated an average of $4.17 per paycheck. From the beginning, the foundation's aim was to help booksellers in need and to provide scholarships. The foundation was built 'by book people for book people,' [executive director] Pamela French says.

"When Borders went out of business in 2011, the foundation could have closed, too. But the board of directors decided instead to continue--and expand its purview to help other bricks-and-mortar booksellers as well as, eventually, comic shop staff. Reborn a decade ago as the Book Industry Charitable Foundation, Binc has continued to grow, fundraise and help those in need, spreading the word with help from the American Booksellers Association, regional booksellers associations and companies and organizations in the comic world. Amazingly, over its existence, Binc has provided more than $10 million in financial assistance and scholarships to more than 9,000 families."

Now that is a living legacy. And Borders? In Del Mastro's Twitter thread, one reply stood out because of its "how soon they forget" retail poignancy: "Uptown Chicago. It's a rock climbing gym. No one I've talked to seems to remember what it was, but if you look at the grey painted walls with just the right lighting, you can still read the famous quote over the elevator by Groucho Marx about dogs and books.... Oh, at least I think it was a Borders? Maybe it was a barns and noble." When I recall Borders then, I think of Binc now. 

--Robert Gray, contributing editor

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