Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, May 3, 2022


Simon & Schuster: A Death at the Party by Amy Stuart

Scholastic Press: The Guardian Test (Legends of Lotus Island #1) by Christina Soontornvat, illustrated by Kevin Hong

Tor Books: The First Bright Thing by J.R. Dawson

Island Press: The Good Garden: How to Nurture Pollinators, Soil, Native Wildlife, and Healthy Food--All in Your Own Backyard by Chris McLaughlin

Holiday House: For Lamb by Lesa Cline-Ransome

News

Kansas's Rainy Day Books for Sale

Rainy Day Books, Fairway, Kan., is for sale.

"It is time for transition, so that new owners can build on our reputation and legacy of literacy," owners Vivien Jennings and Roger Doeren wrote in a letter to customers. They called the last two years "very challenging for us. We endured with support from the community and beyond. In addition, we reinvested and reinvented our business. Today, Rainy Day Books is thriving thanks to a solid core of customers who believe in the power of books, and a growing staff of people who value our customers as much as they value books.

"As the world begins to open back up, the pace and hospitality of the author events we produce requires greater stamina than we have at ages 77 and 70. It is time for someone new to be the face and voice of Rainy Day Books."

They also noted two important recent births: on March 21, their first great-grandchild, Ella, was born, and the past Sunday their grandson Max was born. "With these new blessings, we plan to retire and return to where it all began: reading to babies."

Jennings's son, Geoffrey Jennings, who can be reached via e-mail, will handle inquiries from interested parties through June 30. Potential candidates are asked to complete an initial screening questionnaire that the owners will review with advisers. In early July, they will begin to contact potential buyers who they believe are the best fit. All inquiries will be confidential.

Vivien Jennings founded the store in 1975, and it eventually became well known for its extensive events program, which includes more than 300 author events annually, most of which are held at large off-site locations. Rainy Day has been a leader among bookstores in online bookselling, developing a knowledgeable staff, offering excellent customer service, and having a deep commitment to the Kansas City community.


G.P. Putnam's Sons: Love & Other Scams by Philip Ellis


Beyond Barcodes Moves to Indianapolis, Ind.

After relocating from Kokomo, Ind., Beyond Barcodes Bookstore has reopened in a new space in Indianapolis, Ind., WRTV reported. Owner DeAndra Beard-Ingram held an opening celebration on Saturday in the new storefront at 3139 E. 10th St.

Beard-Ingram opened Beyond Barcodes as the bookstore component of Beyond Borders, which included a cafe as well as a language learning center. The new location, she told WRTV, is more focused on books. While there isn't a dedicated cafe, Beard-Ingram does have a food truck called the Ubunto Food Bus that she will operate at the store on specific days.

Her event plans include author talks and writing clubs for children, and she'll host pop-ups with local cafes, entrepreneurs and the Arts Hub, which is located next door.

"The fact that there's already this existing ecosystem of artists that are right here who are connected to this building--it made so much sense," she remarked.

Early in the Covid-19 pandemic, the owners of Beard-Ingram's building in Kokomo decided to sell the property. Although Beard-Ingram was eventually able to raise $38,000 with the help of her community, the landlord sold the building before she could buy it herself. With the $38,000, Beard-Ingram paid the money she still owed the property owner and purchased the vehicle that would become the Ubunto Food Bus.

Beard-Ingram added that she plans to continue doing community work in Kokomo, which is about 50 miles north of Indianapolis. "I'm called to Kokomo. I'm not done there."


G.P. Putnam's Sons: Stars in an Italian Sky by Jill Santopolo


Anthony Goff New President of Blackstone Publishing

Anthony Goff

Anthony Goff, former senior v-p and audio publisher at Hachette, has joined Blackstone Publishing as president, reporting to CEO Josh Stanton. Goff will be the third president in Blackstone's 35-year history.

Goff started his career at Dow Jones working for the Wall Street Journal and Barron's, before entering book publishing at St. Martin's Press, Penguin and Simon & Schuster. After joining Hachette in 2003, he rose to head the company's audio division. During his tenure, Hachette Audio productions have won eight Grammy awards and four Audiobook of the Year distinctions. He has served on the Audio Publishers Association board of directors for many years in roles as treasurer, vice-president and president.

Josh Stanton said that Goff's "passion, genuine care for his co-workers, and proven track record of success makes for a very exciting addition to the company. I believe Anthony's seasoned leadership combined with our amazing team and storytellers puts the company in a perfect position to soar to greater heights."

Goff said, "I've greatly admired Blackstone Publishing through the years as they're a dynamic, fast-moving, tech savvy boutique shop that's grown exponentially and has massive potential to continue that course, and more. We've long operated in parallel philosophies, putting people first to inspire a team-oriented atmosphere, which inevitably leads to growth and success for our staff, clients, and authors. I could not be more exhilarated to take over as president of Blackstone, and thank Josh Stanton, Craig and Michelle Black, and the remarkable team they have built for this amazing opportunity to evolve as cutting-edge publishers who serve this and future generations of readers and listeners."


Buzz Books Editors Panel Slated for May 18

Publishers Lunch and the American Booksellers Association are hosting a virtual Buzz Books Editors Panel at 7 p.m. on May 18. 

Authors Jonathan Escoffery (If I Survive You), Onyi Nwabineli (Someday, Maybe), Deepti Kapoor (Age of Vice), Jamila Minnicks (Moonrise Over New Jessup), Erika Bolstad (Windfall) and Rafael Frumkin (Confidence) will discuss their upcoming books with their respective editors, and author and podcaster Bobby Finger will host the event.

Registration is free, and the first 50 booksellers to register will receive either physical galleys or instant access to e-galley downloads via NetGalley.


International Update: Books Create Australia's Election Agenda; Sharjah's Booksellers Conference

In anticipation of upcoming elections, Books Create Australia, the joint book industry platform of authors, librarians, booksellers and publishers, has prepared an agenda of outcomes and policy changes that will benefit the country's writers, publishers, booksellers, libraries and readers. 

"The most important outcome is that Australia remains a nation of readers," BCA noted. "Reading is a habit that pays personal, educational, civic, and economic dividends to both the individual reader and the country--and our leaders play a vital role in growing and supporting a reading nation.... We need a national plan, a pipeline for new Australian stories, sustainable careers for our writers. We need to take Australian stories to the world through a modern Australian book industry, and we believe that Australian content in schools is vital."

Books Create Australia partners are focusing on seven recommendations for government:

  1. Develop a national plan for books and reading.
  2. Fund an ongoing national reading campaign.
  3. Increase grant funds for new writing, new talent and First Nations' stories. 
  4. Reform Lending Rights, including boosting funding.
  5. Fund a whole-of-industry digitized supply chain and data solution.
  6. Help take Australian voices to the world and support the development of global markets.
  7. Mandate Australian content in schools and provide more support for school libraries.

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More than 200 booksellers, distributors and publishers from the Middle East, the South Asian subcontinent and African countries will gather in the UAE city of Sharjah for the inaugural Booksellers Conference. Organized by the Sharjah Book Authority, the conference will be held May 15-16, alongside the Sharjah Children's Reading Festival, at the Sharjah Publishing City Free Zone. 

Highlighting the historical role of booksellers in fostering a culture of reading in their communities, among other key topics, the conference has been designed "to encourage best practice sharing, and enable an in-depth analysis of current trends across several domains that impact bookselling, namely, digital strategies, stakeholder relationships, stock curation and presentation, customer engagement and new business models," organizers said. 

"It is a matter of pride for Sharjah and SBA to be hosting the first-ever booksellers conference in the world," said HE Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, chairman of SBA. "I'm delighted to see that our collaborative efforts have successfully created an exclusive platform for booksellers from the region and around the world to network, exchange ideas and expertise and explore new business opportunities.... Joining our existing offerings of professional programs for publishers and librarians, this event will also allow booksellers from across the region to seek new books for their stores and communities." 

Mansour Al Hassani, head of the sales department at SBA, noted: "Sharjah's leading cultural project turns a new leaf with the debut of the Booksellers Conference. The role played by booksellers is vital to the sustainability and future growth of the publishing industry, and with fast-changing consumer needs, booksellers need to continue updating their skills. This event is poised to provide actionable information useful for both new and experienced stores. We are confident that the conference will offer everything the regional and global bookselling community has come to expect."  

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RISE Bookselling's Booksellers Exchange Program has opened the first application round, which runs from May 2-29. All interested booksellers can apply by downloading and completing the application form and returning to info@risebookselling.eu.

Launched last month by the European and International Booksellers Federation, RISE Bookselling is a training and network initiative for booksellers and the wider bookselling industry. This a network program, open to all members of the EIBF, including the American Booksellers Association and U.S. booksellers.

The Booksellers Exchange Program's goal is to connect booksellers with colleagues and industry experts around the world, enabling them to share experiences and explore new initiatives within the industry. All selected participants will be granted a three-day stay in a bookshop abroad, working at a foreign colleague's shop and learn the practicalities of the book trade in the host country. In 2022, the first round exchanges take place this summer, while second round applications will open August 20, with exchanges taking place in the autumn. --Robert Gray


Obituary Note: Ron Pitkin

Ron Pitkin, founder of Cumberland House, died on April 6 at age 79.

Pitkin co-founded Rutledge Hill Press, the Nashville, Tenn., publisher whose bestselling books included Life's Little Instruction Book and Aunt Bee's Mayberry Cookbook. He then went on to found Cumberland House, also in Nashville, known for its history, cooking, fiction, and inspirational titles, including the James Beard Award-winning Smokehouse Ham, Spoon Bread, and Scuppernong Wine by Joseph E. Dabney and Gregory E. Lang's series led by Why a Daughter Needs a Dad, a project Pitkin envisioned and championed.

Todd Stocke, senior v-p and editorial director at Sourcebooks, which acquired Cumberland House in 2008, said "Ron was sort of a quiet legend with a very big heart in the publishing business. Simultaneously creative and deeply soulful, Ron could position books like few others. He truly had the every-person's touch. We are proud to carry on his legacy, and we share our best wishes with his family and all those who loved him."

Chris Bauerle, who worked at both Cumberland House and Sourcebooks and is now v-p of North American sales and operations at Insight Editions, said, "Ron Pitkin was a creative genius, and one of the most caring men in our industry. Though reserved and out of the spotlight, he was a man who faithfully poured through piles of unagented submissions for his entire publishing career in order to bring to life those stories that deserved the love and attention of a master of positioning and editorial craftsmanship."

In lieu of flowers, his family requests donations to a library or literacy charity of your choice.


Notes

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns on Fresh Air

Today:
Fresh Air: Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns, authors of This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden, and the Battle for America's Future (Simon & Schuster, $29.99, 9781982172480).

Tomorrow:
The View: Minnie Driver, author of Managing Expectations: A Memoir in Essays (HarperOne, $27.99, 9780063115309).

Late Night with Seth Meyers: Jennifer Grey, author of Out of the Corner: A Memoir (Ballantine, $30, 9780593356708).


TV: Fleishman Is in Trouble

Christian Slater (Dr. Death, Dirty John) has joined the cast of FX's limited series Fleishman Is in Trouble, based on Taffy Brodesser-Akner's debut novel, Deadline reported. He will star opposite Jesse Eisenberg, Lizzy Caplan and Claire Danes. The cast also includes Adam Brody, Joy Supruno, Ralph Adriel Johnson, Brian Miskell, Michael Gaston, Maxim Jasper Swinton and Meara Mahoney Gross.

Brodesser-Akner serves as a writer of the limited series and executive produces along with Sarah Timberman, Carl Beverly, Susannah Grant as well as Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris who will also direct the first block of the series. Fleishman Is in Trouble is produced by ABC Signature.



Books & Authors

Awards: Jackson Poetry Winner

Sonia Sanchez is the recipient of the 2022 Jackson Poetry Prize, awarded annually by Poets & Writers to recognize an American poet of exceptional talent. Endowed by John and Susan Jackson, this year's prize carries an award of $80,000. Sanchez is the author of more than 20 books and is a poet, professor, and international lecturer on Black culture and literature, women's liberation, peace, and racial justice.

In their citation, the judges said: "Over her seven-decade career, Sonia Sanchez has distinguished herself as a major figure in American letters. A founding member of the Black Arts Movement, she has taught generations of poets--creating essential spaces for Black Studies where none previously existed.... Her vast and commanding oeuvre of published poetry invokes the power and revolutionary properties of language itself--intoning the struggles and joys of entire communities while reinvigorating traditional forms.... Sonia Sanchez is a national treasure." 

Upon learning she is this year's winner, Sanchez quoted a line from her book Morning Haiku (Beacon Press): "Let me wear the day/ Well so when it reaches you/ You will enjoy it." She added: "I promise to continue to wear my days well as I move in the light that is your organization of dedicated supporters and lovers of poetry." 


Book Review

Review: The Dead Romantics

The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston (Berkley, $17 paperback, 368p., 9780593336489, June 28, 2022)

Ashley Poston's fun, lighthearted novels for young adults (Geekerella; Heart of Iron) offer a blend of the fantastical infused with wit and romance.

The Dead Romantics, Poston's first book for adults, is a romantic comedy about Florence Minerva Day, a smart, snarky millennial who is nursing a broken heart and suffering from writer's block. Florence is emotionally on the skids; after publishing a romance novel that received a less-than-stellar reception, downcast Florence became an assistant-turned-ghostwriter for Ann Nichols, one of "romance's greats." Nichols is a well-established, popular author who hasn't left her home in Maine for the five years that Florence has been the secret source behind her writing success. But Florence is floundering, too depressed and turned off by love to write about it and meet a looming deadline--already extended three times--to finish and deliver Nichols's next book to the new editor at her publishing house, Benji Andor. The hottie is cold and no-nonsense. He totally unnerves Florence by threatening legal action if the new Nichols book isn't turned in asap.

She's intent on finishing the manuscript, but then Florence runs into her ex, who stole the story of Florence's life--personal secrets she shared with him about her family and their funeral home business and how Florence interacts with ghosts--and turned it into a book that sold at auction for $1 million. Weary after seeing her successful, user-ex again and faced with the impending writing deadline, Florence's life further tailspins when she is summoned from her home in Hoboken, N.J., back to Mairmont, S.C., to deal with the devastating sudden death of a family member. Being back in a place she longed to escape suddenly resurrects the past and elicits the presence of a handsome ghost who wrenches Florence from her rut and upends her beliefs about love.

Romance, chaos and complications are central components in Poston's refreshingly fun, spirited rom-coms, and The Dead Romantics is no exception. The beauty and charm of Poston's storytelling continues to make miraculous happy endings out of the messes in which ordinary people often find themselves entangled. --Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines

Shelf Talker: A refreshingly fun, energetic novel about a romantically disillusioned, creatively blocked romance writer whose beliefs about love are transformed by a handsome ghost.


The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

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

1. Just One Dare by Carly Phillips
2. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki with Sharon L. Lechter
3. Rattle Some Cages (Battle Crows MC Book 3) by Lani Lynn Vale
4. Unleashed by Amber Swenor
5. BYOB by Brian Scudamore and Roy H. Williams
6. Second Shot with #76 (Hockey Hotties Book 5) by Piper Rayne
7. Dessert at the Beach House Hotel by Judith Keim
8. The Dark One (Vicious Lost Boys Book 2) by Nikki St. Crowe
9. The Locked Door by Freida McFadden
10. Things We Never Got Over by Lucy Score

[Many thanks to IndieReader.com!]


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