Also published on this date: Wednesday, December 1 Dedicated Issue: Astra House Fall '21 and Spring '22 Titles

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Holiday House: Ros Demir Is Not the One by Leyla Brittan

HarperAlley: I Shall Never Fall In Love by Hari Conner

W. W. Norton & Company to Sell and Distribute Yale University Press and Harvard University Press

Clarion Books: The Man Who Didn't Like Animals by Deborah Underwood, Illlustrated by LeUyen Pham

Holiday House: Bye Forever, I Guess by Jodi Meadows and Team Canteen 1: Rocky Road by Amalie Jahn

Wednesday Books: Dust by Alison Stine


Reads by the River Books and Gifts Opens in Waterford, Wis.

Reads by the River Books and Gifts has opened in downtown Waterford, Wis., and offers books for all ages, along with games, puzzles, teas and other gift items.

For owner Kelly Klein, Reads by the River represents the realization of a lifelong dream. As a child, she liked to "play bookstore," arranging books at home and inviting friends to pick out favorites. Opening the store is "a dream come true, literally," she told the Journal Times. "I absolutely love it."

For several decades Klein did not act on her dream, working as a special-education teacher and operating her own photography business. But then, the Journal Times wrote, "Her husband, Steve Klein, an engineer, encouraged her to consider a bookstore as something for retirement, so she could enjoy it as more of a hobby than a business."

When they found the site, Steve helped transform the space into the bookstore, which includes Kids' Cottage, a children's room, and a coffee bar overlooking the Fox River. The store currently stocks some 4,000 titles, and Kelly Klein plans to host author visits, book signings and maybe a book club.

Already she's enjoying helping customers find old favorites or discover new books. "That's what the vision was--to share my love of books," she said. "It turned out exactly like that."

 Treasure Books, Inc.: There's Treasure Inside by Jon Collins-Black

Hudson Valley Books for Humanity Opens in Ossining, N.Y.

Amy Hall

Hudson Valley Books for Humanity, a new and used bookstore residing in an historic opera house in Ossining, N.Y., opened for business last Friday. Owners Amy Hall and her husband Rob Lowenthal told that they went ahead with the opening even though the building's heat was off. Despite that, Hall reported, "the response from the community has been tremendous. So much excitement!"

While the store's used book inventory spans all genres, Hudson Valley Books for Humanity's new inventory emphasizes books written by women, BIPOC authors and authors from other historically underrepresented backgrounds. There is a selection of books in Spanish, along with a variety of products from local artisans and craftspeople.

Hall added that the bookstore is still a work in progress, and likely will be for a few more weeks, but the heat issue should be resolved quickly. Once everything is up and running, they plan to start hosting community events.

Over the summer Hall and Lowenthal ran a crowdfunding campaign to help open the store, raising more than $20,000.

Help a Bookseller, Change a Life: Give today to the Book Industry Charitable Foundation!

New Bookstore in the Works for Elk Rapids, Mich.

Karen Simpson, a business owner in Elk Rapids, Mich., has purchased the building that previously housed the Harbor Café with plans to turn it into a bookstore, the Traverse Ticker reported.

Plans are in the works to turn this cafe into a bookstore. (photo: Google Maps)

Simpson bought the property at 129 River Street for $239,900, per, from cafe owner Kay Clark, who was looking to retire. While Simpson has yet to decide on a name for the store, she is eyeing a spring 2022 opening and plans for it to be a general-interest store with an emphasis on "kids and teen books, coffee table books and food books." It will sell tea and coffee and be a "cozy place for people to come and read."

The space will be renovated over the winter, with Simpson explaining that "we're basically ripping everything out, except we will keep a small kitchen area for the future." The space will be expanded by several feet and "completely redone." Simpson envisions a mural on the ceiling and a "cozy window seat area."

She told the Ticker that opening a bookstore has been a "dream of mine for a long time, and a lot of people have said we need a bookshop in town."

International Update: Face Mask Mandate in England, Austrian Booksellers Face Lockdown Measures

Face masks are now compulsory in shops and on public transport in England in response to the new Covid-19 variant Omicron, the Bookseller reported, adding that in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, face coverings were already mandatory on public transport and in many indoor areas. U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the new measures are "temporary and precautionary," and would be reviewed in three weeks.

Booksellers Association managing director Meryl Halls told the Bookseller that most bookshops welcomed the tightening of restrictions and staff "will be pretty comfortable with the new regulations from the government.... Bookshop owners' first priority is always to keep staff and customers safe and to create a welcoming, safe environment. The BA will be updating the downloadable point-of-sale materials around mask wearing and sending it out to our English members, together with links to the regulations, so that they can firm up their approach if they need to."

Leanne Fridd, owner of Bookbugs & Dragon Tales in Norwich, commented: "We have always encouraged customers to wear masks where possible as being a small independent, we struggle to cover staff illness and the customers have all been fully on board with this. I would say that we have had about 70%–80% of customers wearing masks and I'm sure that they will be fully supportive when it becomes mandatory. The new variant is a worrying development but I think that the bookselling community is a resilient one and, as ever, will continue to innovate to help our customers feel safe when shopping."

Ross Bradshaw, owner of Five Leaves Bookshop in Nottingham, said: "As well as asking, we offered free masks to those who arrived without and since 1st September we have given out over 800. We have had a lot of positive feedback from our customers about this. So, in a sense, it will be business as usual from Tuesday onwards though we expect some of our customers returning to mail order rather than visiting in person, so fewer impulse buys."

Jim MacSweeny, manager at London's Gay's the Word, has also been handing out masks to the few customers who forget. He said: "Almost all of our customers have been wearing masks and we ask them to hand sanitize when they come in so we don't think it'll make any difference to us. Our till point is near the door and we wear masks. Anytime someone comes in, we look up and say hello and if they're not wearing a mask, they generally try and find one in their bag to put on. We also keep a supply of masks with us."


Booksellers in Austria will be impacted by the government's new national lockdown, closing all non-essential stores and asking people to work from home where possible. The European & International Booksellers Federation's NewsFlash reported that restaurants, bars, hairdressers, theaters, bookshops and other non-essential shops will stay closed until December 12, "although officials said the restrictions will be reassessed after 10 days. For the book trade, this is a difficult time. In a joint open letter with national authors association, the Austrian Publishers and Booksellers Association highlighted that pre-Christmas period amounts to 40% of the annual book sales in the country."


EIBF's NewsFlash also reported that French independent booksellers saw book sales decline in October "by 14% compared with last year. In October 2020, book sales were up by almost 5%, compared with the same period in 2019. This sharp drop in activity compared to 2019 (-9%) is linked to the drop in invoiced sales, which amounts to a decrease of almost 20%. On the other hand, cash sales are developing positively, and stand at +13% over the period." 


The Australian Booksellers Association highlighted the novel way Squishy Minnie Bookstore in Kyneton, Vic., checks vaccine certificates at the front door by making the process a special occasion, with two gold bollards and a black rope that has colored ribbons hanging from it. Next to the bollards is a sign that reads "please wait here until we can check your vaccination status."

The bookshop posted on Facebook: "Here we go, our gold bollards with velvet rope and added ribbon for extra pizzazz! We figured if we had to check vaccinations we'd do it with as much fanciness we could muster. Thank you so much to everyone who has been readily willing to show their vaccination status at our little gold bollard entry--each day it's getting easier and easier for us to check." --Robert Gray

Shelf Awareness Delivers Indie Pre-Order E-Blast

Last Wednesday, Shelf Awareness sent our monthly pre-order e-blast to nearly 900,000 of the country's best book readers. The e-blast went to 896,782 customers of 187 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, December 29. Stores interested in learning more can visit our program registration page or contact our partner program team via e-mail.

For a sample of November pre-order e-blast, see this one from Horton's Books & Gifts, Carrollton, Ga., "Georgia's oldest bookstore."

G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!
Private Rites
by Julia Armfield
GLOW: Flatiron Books: Private Rites by Julia Armfield

In Private Rites, Julia Armfield (Our Wives Under the Sea; salt slow) offers an atmospheric meditation on sisterhood and loss at the end of the world. Living in a bleak, water-inundated city where the rain rarely stops, Isla, Irene, and Agnes are shocked at the abrupt death of their father, who has left his house to only one of them. As they grapple with his last manipulation, they must grapple, too, with what it means to have relationships with each other beyond his reach. As Flatiron Books executive editor Caroline Bleeke notes, Armfield's novel may be about "difficult things," yet it "manages to be so funny, so loving, so brilliant, and so beautifully, singularly written." Private Rites is a testament to the light that can be found in each other, even in the darkest of times. --Alice Martin

(Flatiron, $27.99 Hardcover, 9781250344311, December 3, 2024)


Shelf vetted, publisher supported


Image of the Day: We Are Meant to Rise Launch at Next Chapter

On Monday, Next Chapter Booksellers in St. Paul, Minn., hosted the launch for We Are Meant to Rise: Voices from Minneapolis to the World (Univ. of Minnesota Press), edited by Carolyn Holbrook and David Mura. In the book, Indigenous writers and writers of color, in essays and poems, bear witness to 2020, one of the most unsettling years in U.S. history. Speaking to a hybrid event crowd of more than 100 people, contributors Kao Kalia Yang, Douglas Kearney, Melissa Olson and Said Shaiye gave powerful readings from the book, followed by a q&a led by Holbrook and Mura.

Pictured: (l.-r.) Carolyn Holbrook, Melissa Olson, Kao Kalia Yang, Douglas Kearney, Said Shaiye and David Mura. Photo: Heather Skinner.

Sign of the Times: Prairie Fox Books

"Holiday shopping truly kicked off last night. That being said, I was inspired to make this sign this morning. Happy holidays!" Prairie Fox Books, Ottawa, Ill., noted in sharing a photo of the notice posted in the shop's window: "WARNING! Due to a shortage of competent robots, some of our staff are HUMANS and may act unpredictably when abused. Thank you for your kindness."

'I Just Miss Talking to People'

Matt Keliher, manager and book buyer at SubText Books, St. Paul, Minn., spoke with the Star Tribune for its Eye on St. Paul q&a series. Among the highlights: 

What does SubText offer that people can't find at Amazon? And what is the trick to surviving as a small bookstore?
We try to focus on books from small, independent presses. Mostly, we sell the same product that Amazon does but we offer a largely different experience. It's the way in which we can connect with people in our community and create an environment that is welcoming is unique. It's what brings value to the neighborhood and I think people recognize that and respond to that.

How have you survived?
[Points to a stack of books waiting to be shipped--The 1619 Project--that went on sale the day of our interview] We have about 45 pre-orders for this book, which means that people ordered it some months ago. We never would have had a 40-book pre-order before this. Some of that is the website being more efficient and easier to operate. Some of it is the [book]. But it's a huge piece of the pie for us. In 2019, book orders probably comprised 5% of our business. Last year, it probably comprised 35%. This year, it's maybe 60% of our sales. A lot of that is permanent. Personally, I would like to see it get back to more in-person. I just miss talking to people.

Personnel Changes at Abrams Children's Books

Savannah Breckenridge has joined Abrams Children's Books as marketing associate. Previously she was marketing coordinator at Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: James Andrew Miller on the Today Show

Today Show: James Andrew Miller, author of Tinderbox: HBO's Ruthless Pursuit of New Frontiers (Holt, $50, 9781250624017).

The Late Late Show with James Corden: Max Greenfield, author of I Don't Want to Read This Book (Putnam Books for Young Readers, $17.99, 9780593326060).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Jason Reynolds, author of Stuntboy, in the Meantime (Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy, $13.99, 9781534418165).

TV: Dunk & Egg; Reopening Night

Steve Conrad (Patriot, Perpetual Grace, LTD) will write and executive produce the Dunk & Egg prequel series to Game of Thrones, which has been in the works at HBO. Deadline reported that Dunk & Egg (aka Tales of Dunk & Egg), based on George R.R. Martin's series of fantasy novellas, "is one of several new live-action GoT prequel projects that HBO has earmarked for development over the past year, along with a couple of animated ideas that are being considered for sibling HBO Max. Neither of them have been confirmed by the network or streamer."

Martin has published three Dunk & Egg novellas to date--The Hedge Knight (1998), The Sworn Sword (2003), and The Mystery Knight (2010). The first GoT prequel to go to series, House of the Dragon, is expected to make its debut on HBO next year.


A trailer has been released for the HBO documentary Reopening Night, which chronicles post-shutdown return of New York City's cherished Shakespeare in the Park. Deadline reported that the staging of Merry Wives "last summer was a first sign of the city's slow and long-in-coming reopening," and the documentary highlights "the entire, difficult 12-week journey to the stage."

Directed by Rudy Valdez (The Sentence), the doc "follows the cast, crew and staff of the Public Theater production as they ready their return to the open-air Delacorte Theater in Central Park. Among the obstacles: Covid, of course, along with the rainiest July on New York City's records. All this as the theater industry reckoned with issues of racism both within its own history and society at large following the police murder of George Floyd," Deadline wrote.

Adapted by playwright Jocelyn Bioh from Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor, the production featured an all-Black cast led by Jacob Ming-Trent in a modern retelling of the play set in South Harlem's community of West African immigrants. Reopening Night debuts December 20 on HBO and will be available to stream on HBO Max.

Books & Authors

Awards: Scotland's National Book Winners

Ely Percy's Duck Feet was named Book of the Year by Scotland's National Book Awards 2021. It also took the fiction category honors. The judges called the winning work "a rare thing in contemporary literature; a novel with heart and humor which is also a feat of language and style. A micro landscape of  teenagehood painted masterfully in Scots, it  nonetheless  speaks  to the universal. It enchanted the judging panel and we have no doubt it will enchant the world."

This year's category winners also included Bleak: the mundane comedy by Roddy Murray (first book), A Tomb with a View by Peter Ross (nonfiction), Life Without Air by Daisy Lafarge (poetry), Monarchy, Dress and the Scottish Male Elite by Stuart Style (history), and more. Publisher of the year honors went to Canongate Books.

Reading with... Cynthia B. Dillard

photo: Tiffany Stubbs

Cynthia B. Dillard (Nana Mansa II of Mpeasem, Ghana, West Africa) has been appointed dean of Seattle University's College of Education. Dillard currently serves as the Mary Frances Early Professor in Teacher Education at the University of Georgia. Two of her books, On Spiritual Strivings: Transforming an African American Woman's Academic Life and Learning to (Re)Member the Things We've Learned to Forget: Endarkened Feminisms, Spirituality and the Sacred Nature of Research, were selected as Critics' Choice Book Award winners by the American Educational Studies Association. Her latest book is The Spirit of Our Work: Black Women Teachers (Re)Member (Beacon Press, November 16, 2021), an exploration of how engaging identity and cultural heritage can transform teaching and learning for Black women educators in the name of justice and freedom in the classroom.

On your nightstand now:

Brittany Cooper, Chanel Craft Tanner and Susana Morris's Feminist AF: A Guide to Crushing Girlhood. This book is a whole bridge for embracing Black feminism and Black girlhood together. I also have We Do This 'Til We Free Us: Abolitionist Organizing and Transforming Justice by Mariame Kaba, a brilliant guide to the deeper meanings and principles of our carceral systems, abolition and freedom that many of us are fighting for in the U.S. and around the world and needed language to describe our work. Finally, there's William Barry and Robert Doherty's Contemplatives in Action: The Jesuit Way. I am finding so much resonance with Jesuit teachings and my spirituality as a Black women, especially as I prepare to take up the position of dean of the College of Education at Seattle University. Definitely reading to get ready!

Favorite book when you were a child:

Surprisingly, I didn't really like reading very much as a child and have very few memories of books that I liked. That might be a common theme for my generation of Black people who grew up in the era of the Sally, Dick and Jane. But now as a teacher educator, I have access to all of the incredibly culturally diverse children's literature and use it to teach future teachers how to teach through the cultures, identities and spirits of their students. A few of my favs: I Saw Your Face by Tom Feelings, Skin Again by bell hooks, and Kofi and His Magic by Dr. Maya Angelou.

Your top five authors:

I have been influenced by so many authors! So the criteria for my top five authors is an extension of the books that I am an evangelist for! The clarity of Audre Lorde has taught me that my silence does not protect me and that speaking is necessary to live. Octavia Butler teaches me over and over that past is prologue and that Black women are magic. Ghanaian author Ayi Kwei Armah (re)minds me that African people have ways of knowing and being that existed long before encounters with Europeans and that those ways are still in our memories and our DNA: They are our inheritance. My brilliant sister Bettina Love gives me vivid examples of Black life and love that I may not have not lived but that have always lived within me. And every word in breathtaking prose that nayyirah waheed writes of Black experience gives me wisdom and beauty that are a praisesong to the ancestors. These authors give me wings as an author!

Books you faked reading:

All of the European classics that we were required to read in high school!

Books you are an evangelist for:

The Sovereignty of Quiet by Kevin Quashie. This book changed my entire world! Quashie (re)claims the powerful ways that Black life holds space for our vocal public struggles against oppression and also embodies equally powerful acts of quiet within that struggle that are sacred, spiritual and critical to a full reading of Black liberation and freedom. I have recommended this book SO often to my students and others engaged in educational (re)search that is about addressing Black life in its wholeness. Quashie's analysis is brilliant and my own writing about the nature of spirituality in teaching and learning has been transformed deeply by this book.

Books you've bought for the cover:

Not to brag, but my book, The Spirit of Our Work: Black Women Teachers (Re)member is one of the most beautiful covers I have ever seen. I sometimes just gaze at the cover and smile: it captures the spirit of the book in a way that makes me breathe more deeply.

Books that changed your life:

Among so many, there are two books that transformed me from the inside out. The first was This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Women of Color Feminists. This book was written by Cherrie Moraga and Gloria Anzaldúa and was the primer for my own emerging consciousness as a Black woman. This was the first collection of writings that articulated feminism as cultural and intersectional praxis and struggle for women of color. I pulled up a chair, sat down at that table, and to this day, have never left.

The other book that changed my life was Paule Marshall's Praisesong for the Widow, a stunning story of the ways that memories and (re)membering who we were as Black people can heal our minds, bodies and spirits in places that we didn't even know were broken: The main character speaks to the important distinction between nostalgia and memory: the former is sweet but keeps us stuck in time, while the latter can be useful because it always makes a demand on the present.

Favorite line from a book:

From Toni Cade Bambara's The Salt Eaters:

"Are you sure, sweetheart, that you want to be well?... Just so's you're sure, sweetheart, and ready to be healed, cause wholeness is no trifling matter. A lot of weight when you're well."

Five books you will never part with:

Every book listed above (!), along with Maya Angelou's All God's Children Need Traveling Shoes. This brilliantly personal autobiography of Dr. Angelou's time and work in Ghana in the late 1950s explores what it means to be an African American and the ways that her experiences in Ghana allowed a longer, deeper identity both connected to and distinct from Africans on the continent.

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

Every book I have ever read! For me, reading is a sacred act, a kind of prayer. Each time I (re)turn to a book, I am a different person, body, mind and spirit. So I always see, hear, feel and experience something new between me and the words on the page. That is the true gift of (re)turning to a book: That act allows you the beautiful opportunity to (re)member.

Book Review

Children's Review: The Daily Bark: The Puppy Problem

The Daily Bark: The Puppy Problem by Laura James, illus. by Charlie Alder (Bloomsbury, $16.99 hardcover, 128p., ages 7-10, 9781547608812, January 11, 2022)

Read all about it! Edge-of-the-seat drama, a scintillating secret, a heartwarming resolution--it's all here in Laura James and Charlie Alder's The Daily Bark: The Puppy Problem, the first offering in a new chapter book series that, if its inaugural title is any indication, will feature all the canine cuteness that's fit to print.

As The Daily Bark begins, city dachshund Gizmo is forced to move to the village of Puddle after his human, Granny, decides that country living will be more conducive to her memoir writing. Once Gizmo has made the move, he befriends Jilly, his Irish wolfhound neighbor, who has four "Awww..."-inspiring pups. The next day, Jilly has a grim report for Gizmo: "My owners are planning to sell the puppies by the end of the week. They're going to be sent far away from Puddle and I'm never going to get to see them again." Jilly has an idea: she and Gizmo can trawl the village and ask the other dogs if they know of local homes for the pups. Gizmo racks up some new dog friends as he and Jilly make the rounds, but they get nowhere with their mission. Now Gizmo has an idea: using Granny's typewriter, he creates a newspaper bulletin (the headline: "Keep Jilly's Puppies in Puddle!") urging its readers to "encourage humans with dog-friendly homes to come to Pine Tree Close tomorrow. Find the puppies a home!" The success of his plan affirms for Gizmo his talent as a writer, and The Daily Bark, with its all-Puddle-dog staff, is born.

James (the Adventures of Pug series) delivers a giddy entertainment harboring a couple of serious concerns: in addition to Jilly's anxiety about being separated from her pups, there's her shame about her inability to read, about which she comes clean toward book's end. As a pup protagonist, Gizmo is a winner, his appeal only enhanced by his athletic limitations ("I'm not very good at sports," he admits. "I mostly like napping"), which he demonstrates with a series of pratfalls. Alder (illustrator of the Doggo and Pupper series) runs with The Daily Bark's slapstick and beguiling aspects, using firm lines filled with solid colors to show Gizmo's klutziness and adorableness to full advantage. Also on parade is Alder's fine detail work--note newly minted newspaperdog Gizmo's green eyeshade visor and the titles of the books in Granny's office, which include "To the Doghouse by Virginia Woof" and "Mansfield Bark by Jane Pawsten." --Nell Beram, freelance writer and YA author

Shelf Talker: This darlingly amusing first title in a chapter book series finds a city dog and his human moving to the country, where the pooch makes new friends--and finds his professional calling.

The Bestsellers Bestsellers in November

The bestselling audiobooks at independent bookstores during November:

1. Dune by Frank Herbert (Macmillan Audio)
2. The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles (Penguin Random House Audio)
3. The Sentence by Louise Erdrich (HarperAudio)
4. Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty (Macmillan Audio)
5. Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr (Simon & Schuster Audio)
6. Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett (HarperAudio)
7. Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune (Macmillan Audio)
8. Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone by Diana Gabaldon (Recorded Books)
9. The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave (Simon & Schuster Audio)
10. State of Terror by Louise Penny and Hillary Rodham Clinton (Simon & Schuster/St. Martin's Press)

1. Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer (Tantor Media)
2. Will by Will Smith (Penguin Random House Audio)
3. The Dawn of Everything by David Graeber and David Wengrow (Macmillan Audio)
4. Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner (Penguin Random House Audio)
5. The 1619 Project by Caitlin Roper, Ilena Silverman and Jake Silverstein (Penguin Random House Audio)
6. Taste by Stanley Tucci (Simon & Schuster Audio)
7. The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green (Penguin Random House Audio)
8. The Storyteller by Dave Grohl (HarperAudio)
9. Cultish by Amanda Montell (HarperAudio)
10. You Can't Be Serious by Kal Penn (Simon & Schuster Audio)

Powered by: Xtenit