Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, January 11, 2022

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


New Tattered Cover Location Opening in Westminster, Colo.

Rendering of the new Origin Hotel/Tattered Cover coming to Westminster, Colo.

A new Tattered Cover Book Store location will open in Westminster, Colo., a suburb northwest of Denver, this week, the Denver Gazette reported.

The new store has been in the works since 2019 and resides in the same building as the Origin Hotel. It features the Best Sellers Bar, which serves beer, wine and cocktails, and continues a busy stretch of expansion for Tattered Cover. Last year the 51-year-old bookstore opened a store in Denver's McGregor Square, next to Coors Field, and a children's store in Aurora, Colo. And in May, another store is slated to open in Colorado Springs.

"Communities are more micro than they've been in a really, really long time," Kwame Spearman, Tattered Cover's CEO, told the Gazette, which "presents an opportunity for a Tattered Cover-type institution" to continue to proliferate. He called the addition of a bar to Tattered Cover "a no-brainer."

Spearman and Tattered Cover chairman David Back, along with an investor group including former Macmillan CEO John Sargent, former American Booksellers Association CEO Oren Teicher and Colorado Rockies chairman and CEO Dick Monfort, purchased Tattered Cover in 2020 from previous owners Len Vlahos and Kristen Gilligan.

The building that now houses both the new Tattered Cover and the Origin Hotel was once the Westminster Mall. Despite once being one of the state's most popular malls, it "languished and eventually closed," before the city of Westminster purchased the land in 2012 and became its master developer. An Alamo Drafthouse theater is across the street, and the Westminster Alley food hall is coming soon.

Spearman added that Tattered Cover is "going to keep growing. Each additional store we open can spit out that sort of margin that helps the financial viability of the business.... It's all about the experience."

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Revolutions Bookshop in Portland, Ore., Expands

Revolutions Bookshop, a used and new bookstore in the St. Johns neighborhood of Portland, Ore., "now has twice as much space to devote to what owners Peggy and Brian Manning have described as its 'academia meets punk rock' aesthetic," the Oregonian reported. 

Revolutions first opened in November 2019, and the shop packed its books and vinyl records into a 650-square-foot space. When neighbor Angel's Donuts closed, the Mannings decided to expand into that storefront as well. Last November, they tore down the intervening wall.

"We basically doubled our size," Brian Manning said.

"We're really surprised at how natural it looks. It feels like it's always been this space," Peggy Manning noted, adding that they had been wanting to expand their business and were considering other locations when the opportunity to take over the adjacent storefront happened.

Brian Manning said they had originally opened the type of bookstore they wanted in their neighborhood, emphasizing titles about identity as well as radical politics and history. 

"We've been meeting a lot of people lately that are really focused on mutual aid," Peggy Manning said. "These are people that see a better future for everyone.... I feel like that's mainly our Revolutions customers, people that come in here looking for answers to share with others... not sitting around and waiting for somebody else to fix it for them."

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

Books-A-Million Closes Store Near Birmingham, Ala.

Books-A-Million in Brook Highland, Ala., southeast of Birmingham, closed on Sunday after being in business for 27 years. According to Bham Now, it is the second Books-A-Million location to close in the Birmingham area since the pandemic began. The closure reportedly caught shoppers and community members by surprise, as there were no clearance or going-out-of-business sales.

Three Books-A-Million stores remain in the greater Birmingham area, in Trussville, Fultondale and Alabaster. Books-A-Million's headquarters are in Birmingham.

B&N's Sterling Publishing Rebrands as Union Square & Co.

Sterling Publishing, Barnes & Noble's publishing arm, is rebranding itself and will now consist chiefly of Union Square & Co., a subsidiary that will focus on "talent-driven publishing for adults and children," and encompass books, calendars, stationery and games. Union Square's first titles will appear this spring and a full list in the fall. The company has headquarters in the Barnes & Noble flagship store on Union Square in New York City.

The imprints include Union Square & Co., focused on adult titles; Union Square Kids; Sterling Ethos, highlighting mind, body and spirit titles; Puzzlewright Press, focused on all kinds of puzzles; Flash Kids, which publishes workbooks and flash cards; and Hearst Books, using brand names of Hearst magazines.

Among Union Square's first adult titles are Wolf Den, the first book in Elodie Harper's historical fiction trilogy of the same name; an empowerment journal from Peloton head instructor Robin Arzon; a cookbook by Dan Pelosi; and a decorating book by HGTV Design Star's Carmeon Hamilton.

Union Square Kids fall titles include Graveyard Girls, a five-book middle-grade series by Lisi Harrison and Daniel Kraus; Wait for Me by Sara Shepard; Nothing Interesting Ever Happens to Ethan Fairmont by Nick Brooks; and the debut picture book, How to Eat a Book by Mrs. & Mr. MacLeod.

Emily Meehan, who joined the company a year ago as chief creative officer and publisher, said, "Behind each Union Square & Co. title is a focus on quality, curation, entertainment, distinction and change, as well as the collaborative spirit to help authors realize their visions. Our goal is to create beautiful books with a point of view."

Obituary Note: E.O. Wilson

E.O. Wilson

Edward O. Wilson, a biologist and author who conducted pioneering work on biodiversity, insects and human nature--and won two Pulitzer Prizes--died December 26, the New York Times reported. He was 92.

"Ed's holy grail was the sheer delight of the pursuit of knowledge," said Paula J. Ehrlich, CEO and president of the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation. "A relentless synthesizer of ideas, his courageous scientific focus and poetic voice transformed our way of understanding ourselves and our planet."

When Wilson began his career in evolutionary biology in the 1950s, "the study of animals and plants seemed to many scientists like a quaint, obsolete hobby," the Times wrote. "Molecular biologists were getting their first glimpses of DNA, proteins and other invisible foundations of life. Wilson made it his life's work to put evolution on an equal footing....

"As an expert on insects, Wilson studied the evolution of behavior, exploring how natural selection and other forces could produce something as extraordinarily complex as an ant colony. He then championed this kind of research as a way of making sense of all behavior--including our own." He also became a pioneer in the study of biological diversity.

Wilson wrote more than 30 books that influenced his fellow scientists while also often gaining a general readership. On Human Nature won the Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction in 1979, and The Ants, which Wilson wrote with his longtime colleague Bert Hölldobler, won him his second Pulitzer in 1991. Wilson's other books include The Theory of Island Biogeography (with Robert MacArthur); The Insect Societies; Sociobiology: The New Synthesis; The Social Conquest of Earth; A Window on EternityHalf-Earth: Our Planet's Fight for Life; and Naturalist.

In the 1980s, he "began the third great project of his career, as a champion of the world's wild places," the Times noted. "By then, his earlier work on island biogeography was taking on a terrifying new importance. As humankind reduced rainforests and other habitats to fragments, countless species were being pushed toward extinction. Wilson took up the dangers of extinction in his 1992 bestselling book, The Diversity of Life."

After retiring from Harvard University in 2002, Wilson published more than a dozen books, including a digital biology textbook for the iPad. In retirement, he "continued to use his fame to draw attention to biodiversity. In 2008, he unveiled the Encyclopedia of Life, a website that will eventually house information about every known species."


Bookish Winter Flowers: Deadtime Stories

"Um... EXCUSE ME! Look at these adorable flowers our pal Annie gifted us today," Deadtime Stories, Lansing, Mich., posted on Instagram. "They're not made from just any ol' book, either. They're made from pages of my FAVORITE book, The Stranger Beside Me. You can't have these ones because they're mine and I love them, but we will have killer flowers available for purchase here in the near future!"

Personnel Changes at Sourcebooks

Caitlin Lawler has been promoted to marketing specialist at Sourcebooks.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Sidney Poitier on Fresh Air

Good Morning America: Jason Reynolds, author of Ain't Burned All the Bright (Atheneum, $19.99, 9781534439467).

NPR's the Takeaway: Rep. Adam Schiff, author of Midnight in Washington: How We Almost Lost Our Democracy and Still Could (Random House, $30, 9780593231524).

Fresh Air: the late Sidney Poitier in a 2000 interview about his autobiography The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography (HarperSanFrancisco, $16.99, 9780061357909).

Tamron Hall: Monica Aldama, author of Full Out: Lessons in Life and Leadership from America's Favorite Coach (Gallery, $28, 9781982165918).

Also on Tamron Hall: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, author of Keep Sharp: Build a Better Brain at Any Age (Simon & Schuster, $17, 9781501166747).

The View: Alyssa Milano, author of Sorry Not Sorry (Dutton, $28, 9780593183298).

Late Late Show with James Corden repeat: Katie Couric, author of Going There (Little, Brown, $30, 9780316535861).

TV: All the Light We Cannot See

Mark Ruffalo and Hugh Laurie have joined the cast of Netflix's limited series All the Light We Cannot See, based on Anthony Doerr's Pulitzer Prize-winning book. Variety reported that Ruffalo and Laurie "will star in the bestselling novel's four-part TV adaptation alongside newcomer Aria Mia Loberti, a blind actress who was previously announced as the leading role of Marie-Laure.... Ruffalo will play Marie-Laure's father, Daniel LeBlanc, the principal locksmith at the Museum of Natural History in Paris.... Laurie has been cast as Etienne LeBlanc, an eccentric and reclusive World War I hero suffering from PTSD."

The project is written by Steven Knight (Peaky Blinders) and directed by Shawn Levy (Stranger Things, Free Guy, Shadow and Bone). Levy and Knight executive produce alongside Dan Levine and Josh Barry of Levy's 21 Laps Entertainment. Joe Strechay (See, The OA) serves as associate producer, blindness and accessibility consultant.

Books & Authors

Awards: T.S. Eliot Winner

Joelle Taylor won the £25,000 (about $33,820) T.S. Eliot Prize for poetry, run by the T.S. Eliot Foundation, "for her look at butch lesbian counterculture in the 1990s," C+nto & Othered Poems, the Guardian reported. 

Chair of judges Glyn Maxwell said: "Every book on the shortlist had a strong claim on the award. We found it extremely hard to choose between 10 superb collections. The arguments towards the end were passionate and thoughtful, but the choice of the judging panel is Joelle Taylor's C+nto and Othered Poems, a blazing book of rage and light, a grand opera of liberation from the shadows of indifference and oppression." 

Taylor is a former U.K. slam champion, who founded the U.K.'s youth slam championships, SLAMbassadors, in 2001. "Joelle originates in performance," Maxwell added. "This collection proves that at the top level, there's very little difference between that, and what's on the page."

Book Review

Review: Pure Colour

Pure Colour by Sheila Heti (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $26 hardcover, 224p., 9780374603946, February 15, 2022)

A philosophical novel that tackles questions including the mystery of creation and the demands of art and life after death might sound ponderous, but in Pure Colour, Canadian writer Sheila Heti (How Should a Person Be?; Motherhood) approaches these weighty topics with an inquisitive yet playful touch that invites her readers to reflect on them with new eyes.

In the surrealistic frame of a story that elevates its ideas over a conventional plot, "the earth is heating up in advance of its destruction by God, who has decided that the first draft of existence contained too many flaws." Instead, the much improved "second draft" of creation "will be like a mature love: long-lasting, decent, steady and right. It will not be like a first love: short-lived, painful, directionless and all wrong."

One of the inhabitants of this flawed world is Heti's protagonist Mira, a young woman enrolled at one of the "international satellite schools" of the American Academy of American Critics, whose students "knew they had to develop a style of writing and thinking that could survive down through the ages, and at the same time penetrate their own generation so incisively." There she meets and becomes infatuated with Annie, a woman she was sure "would change her life."

But Mira's life is truly upended when her father dies after a protracted illness. Despite her love for him, she finds herself reflecting on the distance that replaced the closeness of her childhood, a time in which he promised to buy her "pure colour--not something that was coloured, but colour itself!"

And yet, when he dies, even as she realizes "she hadn't been the daughter he'd wanted her to be; because art had meant more to her than any human being," she experiences the feeling of his spirit entering her. After a time, there's a transition to union with him, joining them in the form of a leaf--an example of some of the novel's lovely poetic imagery--a state from which Annie ultimately rescues her.

Heti is more interested in posing questions than in providing definitive answers, and her style is fragmentary and at times elliptical. For all its musings on theology, cosmology and art ("the act of infusing matter with the breath of God," in one of her appealing turns of phrase), Pure Colour is at heart a story about love and the precious quality of our human connections. It's a challenging novel that beckons brave readers to follow it along its winding trail. --Harvey Freedenberg, freelance reviewer

Shelf Talker: Sheila Heti ponders some of the mysteries of existence in a story that considers life, death and art.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki with Sharon L. Lechter
2. Inappropriate by Vi Keeland
3. From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout
4. The Baker's Creek Brothers Collection (Book 1-3) by Claudia Burgoa
5. A Shadow in the Ember by Jennifer L. Armentrout
6. A Cold Wynter's Knight by Kathryn Le Veque
7. The Sweetest Oblivion by Danielle Lori
8. A Not So Meet Cute by Meghan Quinn
9. The Girl in the Mist by Kristen Ashley
10. Zodiac Academy: The Awakening by Caroline Peckham and Susanne Valenti

[Many thanks to!]

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