Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, February 8, 2022


Basic Books: What We Owe the Future by William Macaskill

Blackstone Publishing: River Woman, River Demon by Jennifer Givhan

Sourcebooks Explore: Black Boy, Black Boy by Ali Kamanda and Jorge Redmond, illustrated by Ken Daley

Berkley Books: Pride and Protest by Nikki Payne; A Dash of Salt and Pepper by Kosoko Jackson; Astrid Parker Doesn't Fail by Ashley Herring Blake

Soho Crime: Cruz by Nicolás Ferraro, translated by Mallory N. Craig-Kuhn

Ace Books: Station Eternity (The Midsolar Murders) by Mur Lafferty

News

Waterstones in 'Exclusive' Talks to Buy Blackwell's

Waterstones is in "exclusive" talks to buy Blackwell's, the small, iconic bookstore chain that was put up for sale last week for the first time in its 143-year history, the Bookseller reported.

Waterstones is owned by Elliott Advisors, which also owns Barnes & Noble and Foyles. Elliott bought Waterstones and Foyles in 2018 and B&N in 2019. James Daunt, who had been managing director of Waterstones when Elliott bought it, continued in that role and became CEO of B&N.

The Bookseller added that Enders Analysis had predicted Elliott would likely buy Blackwell's "given the book retail firms it has bought in recent years." It also estimated that the price would be between £6 million (about $8.1 million) and £20 million ($27 million).

Blackwell's operates 18 stores--as well as online--including its flagship bookshop in Oxford, where the company is based, and also trades under the name Heffers at a store in Cambridge, as well as in London and Edinburgh.


Disney-Hyperion: Drizzle, Dreams, and Lovestruck Things by Maya Prasad


Busboys and Poets in Washington, D.C., Robbed Sunday Night

The Busboys and Poets store in the Mount Vernon Triangle neighborhood of Washington, D.C., was robbed at gunpoint Sunday night, NBC4 Washington reported. No employees were harmed during the robbery and the search is ongoing for the three men responsible.

Per D.C. police, the three suspects entered the restaurant and bookstore around 9:30 p.m. on Sunday, and one approached the manager to ask about a food order. When she went to go check on a possible order, the man brandished a gun, asked where the money was and told the manager to get on the ground. She then "threw the store's keys onto the floor, got on the ground and told the robber the money was in the back."

Employees told police that the two other suspects had long guns and exited through the back of the store, while the man who first approached the manager exited out of the front door. They left with the store keys and were last seen getting into a black Volvo sedan.

"Luckily, everyone was physically safe," Andy Shallal, owner of Busboys and Poets, told NBC4. "Of course, very traumatized during this horrific ordeal."

He added that he feels the robbery was part of a "pandemic of violence" that has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic and is affecting D.C. and much of the U.S. "We need to figure out what is going on. You need opportunities. And when opportunities are taken away from them, and when they see the world is really crumbling before them, they see no hope and they revert to stupid things like this."


GLOW: Drawn & Quarterly: Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands by Kate Beaton


The Bluestocking Bookshop in Holland, Mich., Expanding

"BIG NEWS!!! The bookshop is getting a BIG makeover!" The Bluestocking Bookshop in Holland, Mich., posted on Facebook, sharing a link to the store's announcement that "February is all about 'the L Word' this year--romantic love, love of books, love of our bookshop and love of our community!"
 
The Bluestocking Bookshop, which opened in 2019, will be expanding "earlier than we originally planned! We're still at 501 Butternut Drive in Holland, but this time with the WHOLE of Suite 3 to play in!"

The larger space will feature more room for meetings and classes; additional seating areas for multiple book clubs; new and bigger space for book drop-offs; coffee and tea available for a donation; a new Bargain Corner "and obviously more space for books!"
 
"Until the expansion is complete, though, we may have some construction noise happening while you browse," the bookshop added, "a bit of chaos as we get ready to grow, and your favorite sections might shift to a new area of the store. Feel free to ask questions and thanks so much for your patience while we work!" The bookshop will be closed February 16-23.


Blackstone Publishing: Beasts of the Earth by James Wade


Elisa Thomas Is ABA's New DEIA Manager

Elisa Thomas

The American Booksellers Association has hired Elisa Thomas as its DEIA member relations manager, who will be responsible for outreach to and support of "historically and systemically marginalized and excluded members" as well as serving ABA member bookstores in the western U.S., Bookselling This Week reported. She is also working on an ABA project focused on better serving bilingual and Spanish-language stores and has joined ABA's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. The association said Thomas's position was created to support the ABA's "commitment to anti-white supremacy, antiracism, representation, equity, and dignity for all people."

Thomas had worked for nine years at Cellar Door Bookstore in Riverside, Calif., where she coordinated events, assisted with backlist and frontlist buying, helped with social media, and helped to troubleshoot technical difficulties. (She continues to run the speculative fiction book club at Cellar Door.) She also served on the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association board, the Bookseller Advisory Committee, and participated in the Bookselling Without Borders program.

Thomas said, "Cellar Door was and will always be a second home to me. One of my favorite memories at the store will always be getting Linda (the store's owner) to start our Drag Queen Story Hour. I have quite a number of friends in the drag community, so I had the opportunity to bring in all local queens that have built an incredible relationship with customers of all ages at the store."

A fan of musical theater, Thomas has performed in three professional regional musical productions: Legally Blonde, In the Heights, and Ragtime.


Obituary Note: Ashley Bryan

Ashley Bryan

Ashley Bryan, celebrated children's book author and illustrator, died February 4. He was 98. Bryan created more than 70 children's books (all published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers) across six decades. Simon & Schuster noted that as "an early, quiet and potent force in bringing children of color and issues of racial diversity into the canon of children's literature, he was committed to opening the eyes of children of all backgrounds to a wide range of themes through poetry, folktales, spirituals and biblical narratives."

He received Coretta Scott King Awards for multiple books, including Beat the Story-Drum, Pum-Pum and Beautiful Blackbird; as well as a Coretta Scott King honor and a Newbery Honor for Freedom over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life. His other books include Sail Away and What a Wonderful World. Bryan also received the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award and the Virginia Hamilton Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2008, he was named a Literary Lion by the New York Public Library. 

"The gifts Ashley gave us through his art, his poetry, his books, his endless encouragement to relish the moment, are forever bright lights in our world," said Bryan's longtime editor, Caitlyn Dlouhy, v-p and publisher at Atheneum's Caitlyn Dlouhy Books. "But his innate unwavering belief in the beauty of everything, the value of everything, that he instilled in us all is truly immeasurable."

Born in Harlem, Bryan began pursuing art as a teenager and was encouraged by his teachers to apply to art school. Although rebuffed by art schools in the city because of his race, he was accepted at Cooper Union, with its blind admissions process, and became the only African American student at that time. In 1943, he was drafted out of art school to fight in World War II, a harrowing experience he eventually chronicled in his most recent work, Infinite Hope: A Black Artist's Journey from World War II to Peace. After the war, he attended universities around the world to complete his art studies.

Bryan called Islesford--or Little Cranberry Island--in Maine his home for six decades. There, in addition to his painting, linoleum block prints in emulation of medieval woodcuts, and collage work, he created hand puppets for his storytelling out of found objects salvaged from the island and sea, and stained-glass windows he fashioned from scavenged sea glass and papier-mâché. 

The Ashley Bryan Center was founded in 2013 in Islesford, with the mission "to preserve, celebrate, and share broadly artist Ashley Bryan's work and his joy of discovery, invention, learning, and community." The center has donated a bulk of Bryan's archives to the Kislak Center for Special Collections at the University of Pennsylvania and is also in the process of distributing paintings to Maine institutions and beyond. 

"I am deeply saddened to learn of Ashley's passing," said Maine Governor Janet Mills, who in 2020 proclaimed July 13 Ashley Frederick Bryan Day for his lifetime contributions to the state. "He was a wonderful, happy man with a deep, rich history, a great imagination, and a beautiful, childlike soul. I am so thankful I was able to spend time with him last year. Over our lunch, he spontaneously recited Langston Hughes, Shakespeare's love sonnets and other wonderful verses."

Tributes poured in from colleagues and fans, including Jason Reynolds, who tweeted: "The one thing I selfishly wanted for Ashley, was for him to receive a Kennedy Center Honor or a Medal of Freedom. Probably wouldn't have mattered to him because he was so loved by his people. But we throw 'National Treasure' around so cavalierly that when you get to know one, you realize how rare they are, and you want the world to dance jubilee in their honor. He deserved it. My god, Ashley, have you earned your rest."


Notes

Image of the Day: Parton and Patterson at Parnassus

On Facebook, Parnassus Books, Nashville, Tenn., admitted:

"Okay, so maybe we weren't closed for inventory on Thursday.... We were beyond honored to host Dolly Parton, James Patterson, and the crew from CBS Sunday Morning in honor of James and Dolly's upcoming book, Run, Rose, Run! [Little, Brown, March 7] Stream the companion album on March 4, watch for Parnassus' cameo on CBS Sunday Morning on March 6, and pre-order the book today!"


Cool Idea of the Day: A 'Record-Setting' Pre-order Campaign for How to Be Perfect

photo: Roger Doeren

Rainy Day Books in Fairway, Kan., partnered with television writer and producer Michael Schur on a pre-order campaign for his new book How to Be Perfect (Simon & Schuster) that saw him sign and personalize 2,700 copies of the book over 17 hours. Geoffrey Jennings, son of store founder and co-owner Vivien Jennings, reported that by the end of the signing Schur had so worn down the skin on his index finger he couldn't unlock his MacBook with his fingerprint.

The campaign and signing also "broke every record" the 47-year-old store had for events and signings, including number of books signed overall, number of books signed at once (surpassing previous record holder Jimmy Carter), length of time spent signing (surpassing David Sedaris's record by six hours) and number of pens used up. Rainy Day has long had an extensive events and signings program, making the new records all the more impressive.

Jennings explained that the personalized signing idea came about because Schur wanted to be able to connect directly with people in a way that was still Covid-safe. The store took pre-orders up until January 24, and Schur agreed to write whatever fans asked for, within reason. The bookstore has shipped copies of How to Be Perfect all over the U.S. and Canada and to locations as far afield as Bulgaria and Singapore.

"It was a lot of very hard work over a six-week period, and we're still going," said Jennings. "Ultimately the idea of making a whole lot of people happy, by encouraging them to read a book about making yourself and others happy, it was something where we just had to try to do the best we could. And we did."


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Charles Oakley on Tamron Hall

Tomorrow:
Live with Kelly and Ryan: Adrienne Cheatham, co-author of Sunday Best: Cooking Up the Weekend Spirit Every Day (Clarkson Potter, $35, 9780593233122).

Tamron Hall: Charles Oakley, author of The Last Enforcer: Outrageous Stories from the Life and Times of One of the NBA's Fiercest Competitors (Gallery, $28.99, 9781982175641).

Kelly Clarkson Show: Simu Liu, author of We Were Dreamers: An Immigrant Superhero Origin Story (Morrow, $27.99, 9780063046498).


TV: Fake Accounts; Flowers in the Attic: The Origin

High Maintenance co-creator Ben Sinclair and Tales of the City writer Jen Silverman are adapting Lauren Oyler's novel Fake Accounts as a series, Deadline reported, adding that they are teaming with Ozark star Julia Garner, who will produce through her new Alma Margo production banner, and Anonymous Content's AC Studios to develop the project.

Playwright Silverman (Witch, The Roommate) will write and exec produce the series with Sinclair, who co-created, starred in and directed HBO High Maintenance, directing the pilot episode and exec producing.

"We inhaled Lauren Oyler's debut novel and found it chock-full of searing, hilarious, ultimately brilliant observations about the devil's bargain we've all made living our lives online," said Anonymous Content CCO David Levine. "She has captured the zeitgeist of our recent past in the pages of this book, deploying her unmatched critical eye and talent for putting words around what we're all feeling but can't name."

--- 

Lifetime announced it is developing V.C. Andrews' five-part Cutler series (Dawn, Secrets of the Morning, Twilight's Child, Midnight Whispers, Darkest Hour) and shared an update for its upcoming limited series Flowers in the Attic: The Origin, based on the prequel novel Garden of Shadows by Andrew Neiderman. 

The prequel series, which stars Jemima Rooper, Max Irons, Kelsey Grammer, Harry Hamlin and more, will make its debut in the summer. The cast also includes Paul Wesley, Katie Mulgrew, Alana Boden, Hannah Dodd, T'Shan Williams and Callum Kerry.

Executive producer Paul Sciarrotta said: "We came into this knowing there's a massive following and didn't want to disappoint. We know that not many readers were familiar with the prequel, Garden of Shadows, so we had the opportunity to provide insight to some big fans of the story. There'll be little easter eggs throughout that hopefully the hardcore fans will notice little things... we tried to lay in some little hints to make it special for the big fans."



Books & Authors

Awards: Story Prize Finalists

The three finalists for the $20,000 Story Prize are:

Five Tuesdays in Winter by Lily King (Grove Press)
Let Me Think by J. Robert Lennon (Graywolf Press)
Filthy Animals by Brandon Taylor (Riverhead Books)

The winner of the prize will be announced the evening of Wednesday, April 13, at a private event that will be livestreamed. The event will feature readings by and interviews with the three finalists, followed by the announcement of the winner and acceptance of the $20,000 top prize and an engraved silver bowl. The runners-up each receive $5,000.


Book Review

Review: Sister Stardust

Sister Stardust by Jane Green (Hanover Square Press, $26.99 hardcover, 304p., 9781335425782, April 5, 2022)

Sister Stardust is the captivating coming-of-age story of a shop girl from Dorset swept into 1960s Marrakech among the rich and famous. Jane Green (Summer Secrets; The Sunshine Sisters) dazzles readers with the brilliant adventures of Claire, who leaves behind a little Dorset village and a troubled relationship with her stepmother to journey to London. From there she is astonished to achieve a few girlhood dreams: losing baby fat, working in progressively hipper clothing stores and buying cooler clothes, finally meeting real, live rock stars and setting off on a spur-of-the-moment trip that will change her life forever. But even as she embarks on drugs, sex and cultural discoveries, Claire--by now calling herself Cece--finds that fabulous celebrities have their problems, too, and a tabloid-picture-perfect lifestyle is no guarantee of happiness.

This story takes the form of an extended flashback, as an elderly, widowed Claire goes through boxes in the attic and finally tells her daughter, Tally, what the colorful Moroccan artifacts were meant to remind her of. Still in her teens, Claire had jumped into a silver Bentley and been flown away to Marrakech, where she became the houseguest of 1960s icons Paul and Talitha Getty (true historical figures), running with a large group of famous musicians (of the fictional hit band the Wide-Eyed Boys) and an enigmatic chauffeur/bodyguard named Jimmy. The newly minted Cece experiments with hashish, opium, Quaaludes and orgies; she develops a passionate bond with Talitha, "this mysterious woman who lived in a palace and had managed to seduce the son of the richest man in the world," and a close friendship with Paul, who introduces her to poetry, opera and more. However, a tragedy will change Cece's course once again.

As a girl, Claire naively imagines that becoming skinny and flat-ironing her hair will be the answer to all her problems, as she dreams about pop stars and beautiful dresses. "Of course, I would have settled for Paul McCartney, but Dave Boland was my number one." As a grandmother, telling these stories to her daughter, she draws different conclusions: the value of friendship, of self-actualization, of seizing the day. This dreamy narrative emphasizes life lessons and revels in the glitter and dazzle of 1960s free love and sex in more or less equal measure. Sister Stardust gathers momentum and achieves the kind of propulsive prose that brings immediacy to its joys and sorrows. Female friendships, the arts and the sensory joys of Morocco combine for a sparkling coming-of-age story of simple adventure and profound experiences. --Julia Kastner, librarian and blogger at pagesofjulia

Shelf Talker: In this captivating coming-of-age novel, a teenager from the English countryside throws herself into life in 1960s Marrakech in a grand adventure that will color the rest of her life.


The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by IndieReader.com:

1. Munro by Kresley Cole
2. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki with Sharon L. Lechter
3. Take a Chance With Me by Kristen Proby
4. The Summer Proposal by Vi Keeland
5. Once Upon a Friendship by Various
6. Always Someone's Monster by Lani Lynn Vale
7. The Siege: Book One by Kris Michaels
8. Maximum Impact Potential by Alok Appadurai
9. Can't Hurt Me by David Goggins
10. Do You Follow? by J.C. Bidonde

[Many thanks to IndieReader.com!]


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