Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Little Brown and Company: Wolf at the Table by Adam Rapp

Tor Nightfire: Ghost Station by S.A. Barnes

Severn River Publishing: Covert Action (Command and Control #5) by J.R. Olson and David Bruns

Scholastic Press: Heroes: A Novel of Pearl Harbor by Alan Gratz

Flatiron Books: Anita de Monte Laughs Last by Xochitl Gonzalez

Peachtree Publishers: King & Kayla and the Case of the Downstairs Ghost (King & Kayla) by Dori Hillestad Butler, illustrated by Nancy Meyers


Argo Books Opens in Buckhannon, W.Va.

Argo Books, an all-ages independent bookstore with a focus on encouraging creativity, had its grand opening last week in Buckhannon, W.Va. My Buckhannon reported that the festivities included 3D printing demonstrations, an origami station and free cookies and drinks. The first 24 customers also received a custom tote bag with a selection of giveaways.

Owners Abigail and Jon Benjamin carry fiction and nonfiction for children and adults, along with local and regional titles, art and design books and manga and graphic novels. The bookstore also hosts a variety of clubs and community groups, including a writer's group, a game design group and a Dungeons & Dragons group. 

The couple's children also help out in the store, providing book selections and tech help. Maria Benjamin, their 14-year-old daughter, has started her own side business selling Japanese stickers, snacks and plushes. "Argo Books is an artistic space aiming to create community and support creativity," she told My Buckhannon.

University of California Press: The Accidental Ecosystem: People and Wildlife in American Cities by Peter S. Alagona

Clevo Books Opens Bookstore in Cleveland, Ohio

Independent publisher Clevo Books has opened a bricks-and-mortar bookstore of the same name in downtown Cleveland, Ohio. Owner Cathryn Siegal-Bergman told Cleveland magazine that the store carries titles from Clevo Books alongside titles from other publishers, with a focus on women authors in translation and German authors in particular.

The bookstore held its grand opening on March 31. There are new and used books spanning fiction and nonfiction, and going forward Siegal-Bergman plans to carry a variety of accessories, apparel and gift items sourced from women creatives. She's hired Marc Lansley, a native German speaker, as her sales manager. Their event plans include book clubs, author talks and board game nights, and some of those events will likely be held entirely in German.

Siegal-Bergman founded the publishing house in 2015, particularly to bring the work of German writers into English. In 2018, she was inspired by the Women in Translation movement to focus on women writers and translators. Siegal-Bergman is also a DJ, and prior to starting Clevo Books owned Capsule, a nightclub in Lakewood.

"I think of myself as kind of a connector," she said. "As a DJ, I was curating music and trying to pair people with the music they might like. And I did the same thing at Capsule with the drinks."

Gayatri Patnaik Named Beacon Press Director

Gayatri Patnaik

Gayatri Patnaik has been named director of Beacon Press, effective July 30, after longtime director Helene Atwan retires.

Patnaik has worked at Beacon, a department of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), for 20 years, as editorial director and most recently publisher. She earlier held editorial positions at Rob Weisbach Books/William Morrow, Routledge and Palgrave. She joined Beacon because, she said, "I wanted a publishing home where I could grow intellectually and bring my full self as a Brown, queer immigrant. I wanted to publish books I felt connected to and be part of a movement bigger than myself. I found all that and more at Beacon, through our books and through the richness of the community--our visionary authors, generations of talented Beacon staff and the UUA. I am grateful for Helene's support and incredibly honored to lead this historic press."

Patnaik has expanded and diversified Beacon's list by acquiring 200 books, and publishing authors from BIPOC, queer and immigrant communities, including Imani Perry, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Cornel West, Kate Bornstein, Jeanne Theoharis and Marcus Rediker. She has developed books in the King Legacy series by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and has created and launched three series including Queer Action/Queer Ideas and ReVisioning History. Patnaik was awarded the Editorial Excellence Award by the Biographers International Organization in 2020.

UUA president Susan Frederick-Gray and executive v-p Carey McDonald said, "The hiring process has only affirmed our high level of confidence in Gayatri's leadership. We believe unequivocally that she is the right choice for Beacon's next director."

Helene Atwan, who has led the Press for 26 years, added, "Hiring Gayatri was the best decision I ever made. I am just thrilled to have her taking over. The press simply could not be in better hands."

International Update: Blackwell's CEO Steps Down; Indigo Partners with Good Earth Coffeehouse

Blackwell's CEO David Prescott is leaving the company effective April 7, and sales and marketing director Phil Henderson is stepping down April 6, the Bookseller reported, noting that the announcement "follows on from the acquisition of Blackwell's by Waterstones in February."

Prescott, who joined Blackwell's in 1996 as a bookseller in Nottingham and occupied many different roles at the company before being appointed CEO in 2013, commented: "Having spent over 26 years at Blackwell's, including the last 10 as CEO, I'm sure it will feel somewhat strange not to be steering the ship anymore. However, I'm delighted to leave knowing the long-term future of the company is secured with James [Daunt] and his team of booksellers coming in to support ours. Everyone in bookselling knows that Blackwell's is a special company, but it's the people who make it what it is. It's been a privilege to work alongside and to lead so many brilliant people for so long. I wish each and every one of them, past and present, the very best."

Waterstones CEO James Daunt said that Prescott "has led Blackwell's with distinction for the past 10 years, guiding the business through turbulent times. He is a bookseller of great reputation and everyone who has worked with him directly, as well as those others of us in the wider world of bookselling, owe him a great debt of gratitude. I am sure not to be alone in hoping to draw on his experience in the years ahead."

Henderson, who was appointed sales and marketing director in May 2019, joined from Asda, where he headed book buying. He said, "It's been a privilege to be part of Blackwell's, even for a relatively short time. The heritage, wonderful bookshops and online growth have all been fantastic to experience, but the most important element of Blackwell's is the people. The enthusiasm, passion and commitment of the team across the whole business to serve customers has been inspiring. I know that the fantastic bookselling skills within the business allied to that passion will mean the business continues to go from strength to strength under new ownership and I wish the team all success for the next phase of Blackwell's history."


Canadian book retailer Indigo is partnering with Good Earth Cafes Ltd. to bring the Coffeehouse experience to select bookstores across Canada. Indigo said the partnership marks the start of the company's intention "to reimagine and convert its available café spaces, with a market by market, and sometimes store by store approach, offering customers regional relevance and supporting local businesses." Stores will remain open throughout the renovations to the café spaces. 

"We're excited to partner with Good Earth Coffeehouse to bring their elevated experience to our customers," said Indigo president Peter Ruis. "With aligned core values of quality, a commitment to sustainable practices, and bringing people together, it could not be a more natural fit. Good Earth prides itself in being a community coffeehouse with good food, and we're thrilled to be able to offer our customers an opportunity to enjoy the space and connect with one another while they shop with us." 

Nan Eskenazi, who opened the first Good Earth Coffeehouse in 1991 in Calgary, Alb., and now operates more than 40 locations in six Canadian provinces, commented: "We are so pleased to partner with a like-minded brand, one which values community and connectedness.  We believe the social interaction that takes place in our coffeehouses is valuable--as valuable as the exceptional, ethically sourced coffee and fresh food we serve." 

Indigo noted that Good Earth Coffeehouse "attracts customers who want to better align their social and environmental values with a business. Both companies were founded in Canada by women, are committed to sustainability initiatives, and embrace community building and collaborating through a variety of programs, including charitable giving."


Christian Allaire

Ojibway author and Vogue fashion writer Christian Allaire won Canada Reads 2022. CBC reported that "in an emotional finale, the book he championed, the novel Five Little Indians by Michelle Good, survived the final vote." Allaire successfully presented his case for why the book, "a story about five survivors of Canada's residential school system who are struggling to heal from their trauma and rebuild their lives as adults," best fits the Canada Reads 2022 theme as the "One Book to Connect Us."

"I am happy that everyone even had the willingness to read this book. I think that's been the main struggle as this history and this experience hasn't been taught. And so to hear all your debates and to approach them with such care... it's a very, very difficult subject, especially for me to talk about," Allaire said during the Canada Reads 2022 finale. 

Good, a member of Red Pheasant Cree Nation in Saskatchewan, observed: "I didn't write this book primarily as an artistic endeavor. I wrote this book to expose the truth of intergenerational trauma, and how there is so little support in Canada for survivors to truly be able to heal, both on an individual level and at a community level."

Good described Allaire as "a superstar," noting: "That young man's future is in the stratosphere. He was just brilliant. And he looked so fine too in his wonderful clothes." --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 895,445 customers of 194 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, April 27. Stores interested in learning more can visit our program registration page or contact our partner program team via e-mail.

For a sample of the January pre-order e-blast, see this one from Laguna Beach Books, Laguna Beach, Calif.

The titles highlighted in the pre-order e-blast were:

This Time Tomorrow by Emma Straub (Riverhead)
You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi (Atria)
Sparring Partners: Short Stories by John Grisham (Doubleday)
I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston (Wednesday Books)
Speak: Find Your Voice, Trust Your Gut, and Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be by Tunde Oyeneyin (Avid Reader)
Book of Night by Holly Black (Tor)
Happy-Go-Lucky by David Sedaris (Little, Brown)
His Name Is George Floyd: One Man's Life and the Struggle for Racial Justice by Robert Samuels and Toluse Olorunnipa (Viking)
Metropolis by B.A. Shapiro (Algonquin)
Jackie and Me by Louis Bayard (Algonquin)
Thin Places: A Natural History of Healing and Home by Kerri Ní Dochartaigh (Milkweed)
A Family Affair by Robyn Carr (Mira)


S&S to Distribute Mad Cave Studios

Simon & Schuster will handle sales and distribution worldwide for Mad Cave Studios, effective August 1.

Founded in 2014, Mad Cave Studios, Miami, Fla., publishes comics and graphic novels in the horror, sci-fi, action-adventure, crime, noir, and fantasy categories. Mad Cave works with international creators to develop masterfully illustrated art with a focus on character-driven storytelling. In 2021, Mad Cave launched Maverick, its YA imprint, with titles that range from slice-of-life stories to urban fantasy and horror.

"We are beyond excited to be working with Simon and Schuster in the book market," said Chris Fernandez, publisher of Mad Cave Studios. "This means a lot for Mad Cave currently, and even more for our future together. We truly believe in providing purpose-driven stories for all types of readers, and this relationship will help solidify Mad Cave's philosophy."

Personnel Changes at Random House; Chronicle Books

At Random House publicity:

Maria Braeckel, v-p, director of publicity, Random House, The Dial Press, and Modern Library, will add Hogarth to her purview.

Michelle Jasmine has been promoted to deputy director, Dial Press, working on Dial and titles across the Random House imprints.

Carrie Neill has been promoted to deputy director, Hogarth, working on Hogarth imprint and titles across the Random House imprints.

Allyson Lord has been promoted to publicity manager.


At Chronicle Books:

Eve Brodsly has been promoted to associate manager, sales & marketing enablement.

Elke Olson has been promoted to associate director, sales & marketing enablement.

Elina Schenker has become project coordinator, sales & marketing enablement.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Ocean Vuong on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Ocean Vuong, author of Time Is a Mother (Penguin Press, $24, 9780593300237).

The View: Lilly Singh, author of Be a Triangle: How I Went from Being Lost to Getting My Life into Shape (Ballantine, $20, 9780593357811).

Watch What Happens Live: Amy Schumer, co-editor of Arrival Stories: Women Share Their Experiences of Becoming Mothers (The Dial Press, $28, 9780593230282).

TV: Mailer

John Buffalo Mailer, son of the late author Norman Mailer, has teamed up with Ad Astra writer/director James Gray on the TV series Mailer, which "will tell the story of the rebel-intellectual, who documented the journey America took from World War II to WiFi and engaged in one of the most publicly controversial lives--of violent confrontations with literary lions like Truman Capote and Gore Vidal, political icons, sports legends, six wives and numerous mistresses," Deadline reported. The project is based on J. Michael Lennon's biography Norman Mailer: A Double Life.

Mailer is produced by Mailer Tuchman Media, run by John Buffalo Mailer, who has acted in films including Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps and Blind. Rudy Langlais, who produced the Denzel Washington film The Hurricane, exec produces alongside Mailer, Martin Tuchman and Jennifer Gelfer. 

Gray said: "It's hard to come up with another individual whose voice meant more in his time than Norman Mailer's. He chronicled humanity in all its outrageous and ugly glory through a lens that was uniquely his own. I look forward to the exciting challenge of examining his wild legacy through this series."

Langlais added that Mailer "loomed--and still looms--large over American culture, every part of it--and as much lived an epically large and complex life--of exquisite writing, violent confrontations, drunken lifestyle, volatile marriages, brilliant ideas, clashes with fellow writers, feminists, cops, politicians--the whole gamut of America in a life lived not on the margins but in the center of the tumult--much of which he created himself so he could be the star of it. I worked with Mailer for 20 years. You couldn't make him up, couldn't find a better subject for a dramatic series."

John Buffalo Mailer commented: "This series is going to be a no-holds-barred, pull-no-punches, intimate chronicle of my father's life, as well as his role in shaping the American dialogue for over half a century. As we examine this unique cultural moment we are experiencing today in America, looking back on how we got here through one of the most fascinating, prophetic, and controversial lenses of the 20th century will be an extraordinary tool in terms of understanding how far we have come, and how far we still have yet to go. I cannot imagine a better visionary voice to bring this journey to life today than James Gray. We are honored that it will be in his hands."

Books & Authors

Awards: Anisfield-Wolf Book Winners

The winners of the 2022 Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards, sponsored by the Cleveland Foundation and honoring "literature that confronts racism and explores diversity," are:

Fiction: The Trees by Percival Everett
Poetry: The Renunciations by Donika Kelly
Nonfiction (co-winners): 
Of Fear and Strangers: A History of Xenophobia by George Makari
All That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley's Sack, a Black Family Keepsake by Tiya Miles,
Lifetime Achievement: Ishmael Reed

"This round of Anisfield-Wolf winners brings us important insights on race and diversity," said Henry Louis Gates Jr., who chairs the jury. "This year, we honor a satiric novel about lynching disguised as a detective story, a poetry collection that remakes the meanings of childhood abuse, an innovative look at the idea of xenophobia, and a story of recovered history based on an embroidered sack. All is capped by the lifetime achievement of Ishmael Reed, a genre-bending and genre-transcending colossus of literature."

Karen R. Long, manager of the book awards at the Cleveland Foundation, noted the prescience of philanthropist Edith Anisfield Wolf in founding the prize in 1935. "Her notion that literature can enhance justice is on point nearly 90 years later, and we are honored to add the 2022 winners to the canon," Long said. "We are proud the newest books tackle the toughest topics, and hint at possible ways forward."

The Anisfield-Wolf winners will be honored September 15 at the KeyBank State Theatre, marking the first in-person ceremony since 2019. The awards will be part of the seventh annual Cleveland Book Week.

Book Review

Review: Meet Me by the Fountain: An Inside History of the Mall

Meet Me by the Fountain: An Inside History of the Mall by Alexandra Lange (Bloomsbury, $28 hardcover, 320p., 9781635576023, June 14, 2022)

Design critic Alexandra Lange (The Design of Childhood) turns a nostalgic but clear eye on the shopping mall as an icon of consumerism intimately linked with the American Dream in Meet Me by the Fountain: An Inside History of the Mall. This thorough, culturally aware history will surprise and inspire audiences who may feel they already know the story of the shopping megaplex and provides a tour not of malls themselves, but of what they have meant to the people who gather in them.

Lange begins the retrospective with the birth of malls in the 1950s, when suburban planning overlooked the need for gathering places. Architect Victor Gruen, inspired by a 10-story department store in downtown Detroit, created the first malls with the idea of making every day a perfect shopping day for a demographic largely composed of white, stay-at-home mothers. His name would become synonymous with the alchemy of a visit to the mall fading from a shopping task into an intrinsic pleasure: the Gruen transfer. Lange traces the roots of mall components like atriums, indoor cafes and seating back to such diverse beginnings as Roman architecture, downtown shopping districts and the Futurama exhibit of the 1939 World's Fair. Constantly reinvented and the inspiration behind films, fiction and music, malls went "from simple strip center to big gray box, from carousel to roller coaster, from afterthought to cultural icon," surviving forecasts of their collective demise time and again.

Lange's design analysis of iconic malls such as NorthPark Center in Dallas, Tex., and the Minneapolis tourist destination Mall of America will engross architecture buffs, but she fully hits her stride when boiling down the synergy between spatial design elements and the evolution of U.S. culture. Not only did shifting economic tides affect malls, the mass entrance of women into the workforce left malls dealing with record numbers of unattended teenagers. A seeming haven for youth getting their first taste of independence, yet in many cases welcoming only white youth from the desired economic class. Despite malls' sometimes problematic past, Lange envisions an inspiring, community-oriented repurposing of these monuments to consumerism. As she illuminates all that malls have been and can yet be, her hope and optimism for more diverse and sustainable mall uses will inspire readers to see these behemoth structures as a vital and versatile resource for the future. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads

Shelf Talker: Design critic Alexandra Lange takes a nuanced and often inspiring look at the history and future of shopping malls as architectural and cultural icons.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Here, There and Everywhere by Marie Force
2. Crazy, Wicked Love by Melissa Foster
3. Win Your Breakup by Natasha Adamo
4. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki with Sharon L. Lechter
5. The War of Two Queens by Jennifer L. Armentrout
6. The Secret by Kristen Proby
7. Relentless by Natasha Miller
8. The Perks of Being a Parker (Moonbeam Bay Book 6) by Kay Correll
9. Shut Up and Kiss Me by Lauren Blakely
10. Rogue Intelligence (Noah Wolf Book 20) by David Archer

[Many thanks to!]

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