Shelf Awareness for Friday, May 6, 2022

Little Brown and Company: A Line in the Sand by Kevin Powers

Berkley Books: Business or Pleasure by Rachel Lynn Solomon

Berkley Books: The First Ladies by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray

Texas Bookman Presents Texas Remainder Expo

Minotaur Books: Deadlock: A Thriller (Dez Limerick Novel #2) by James Byrne

Ballantine Books: The Second Ending by Michelle Hoffman

Tor Books: One for My Enemy by Olivie Blake

Henry Holt & Company: Warrior Girl Unearthed by Angeline Boulley

Quotation of the Day

Indie Booksellers 'a Major Load-bearing Column of My Career'

"As a writer, I think that indies, specifically indie booksellers, have been a major load-bearing column of my career. When my first book came out, it was a pretty limited printing. There weren't huge trumpets and fireworks, fanfare marketing rollout. It was mostly word of mouth. And a lot of that word of mouth was coming from booksellers just handselling it. I feel like I owe so much to indie booksellers because they just embrace the book so completely. And they've done the same for One Last Stop. And now for Shara, it feels like a big hug and it's very nice. I think every single time now that I'm traveling, I go out of my way to find the indies. I see them as so incredibly special now as an adult."

--Casey McQuiston, whose novel I Kissed Shara Wheeler (Wednesday Books) is the #1 pick for the May/June Kids' Indie Next List, in a q&a with Bookselling This Week.

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Killing Me by Michelle Gagnon


Carole Horne to Retire from Harvard Book Store 

Carole Horne

Carole Horne has retired from Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, Mass., after 47 years with the store. During her career, Horne has held a variety of positions with the bookstore, including store manager, head buyer and general manager. Most recently, she has served as senior adviser to the management team, "playing a crucial role in helping the store navigate its way through the incredible challenges posed by the pandemic," Harvard Book Store said.

In addition to her roles at the bookstore, Horne has been a leader in the book industry, serving as president of the New England Booksellers Association (now NEIBA) and as a member of the board of the American Booksellers Association. She "influenced several generations of booksellers both in her leadership roles at Harvard Book Store and the book industry, and as a teacher," the store noted. In the late 1980s, she was on the faculty of the ABA's Booksellers School, and also taught in Eastern Europe after the fall of the Soviet Union, presenting seminars on "Bookselling in a Market Economy."

"I started at Harvard Book Store, intending only to work for the summer," Horne recalled. "I had been a book lover from my childhood in a small Texas town and thought that a bookstore would be a fun short-term job. It turned into a 47-year career. I was lucky to have landed at Harvard Book Store. It was a perfect fit for me."

Co-owner Jeff Mayersohn commented: "This is a bittersweet moment for me, my wife, and the entire staff and management of our bookstore. We are sad to see Carole go, but happy that she will finally have more time to pursue her many interests, including voracious reading, of course. I cannot describe what an honor and joy it has been to work with Carole. Her intelligence, wisdom, humor, and knowledge of books and our industry have been critical to the store's success through the years. There is not a single important decision throughout my wife's and my tenure as co-owners where our first thought wasn't, 'Let's get Carole's opinion on this.' "

Horne joined Harvard Book Store in 1974, after completing an M.A. in English Literature at Boston University. She began as a bookseller and rose to assistant manager within a year. Shortly after that, she became the first woman to serve as the company's store manager. She was promoted to book buyer in 1978 and held that position for 30 years. In 2007, then-owner Frank Kramer appointed her general manager, and in 2018 she became senior adviser on a part-time basis.

Texas Bookman Presents Texas Remainder Expo

Beans and Bookmarks Opens in Spartanburg, S.C.

Beans and Bookmarks, a bookstore with a coffee shop serving literary-themed drinks, opened on April 16 in Spartanburg, S.C., the Charleston Post Courier reported. The store is owned and operated by the Yarbrough family, which includes 19-year-old Callie and her parents, Carrie and Dereck.

The store sells new and used books for all ages across a variety of genres, with Callie Yarbrough noting that she's particularly fond of romance novels and fantasy books. At the moment the store is accepting donations of used books, and eventually they will allow customers to sell books in exchange for store credit.

The coffee shop offers a variety of hot and cold beverages, and all the drinks are named after book characters. The Claire Fraser, for example, is chamomile tea, and the Prince Caspian is a coconut latte.

"I've always wanted to do this," Callie Yarbrough told the Post Courier. "I've always told people if it was my dream, if I could do something that was totally a dream, instead of something that was practical, I'd open up my own bookstore.”

Beans and Bookmarks is located at 2811 Reidville Road, Suite 21, in a space that used to be a hair salon. The Yarbroughs worked together on the renovation, which included new floors, a new paint job, an expanded bathroom and more. While the Yarbroughs all have other day jobs, they are rotating time at the bookstore to make sure it can be open for business Monday through Saturday.

Sourcebooks Young Readers: Global: One Fragile World. an Epic Fight for Survival. by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin, illustrated by Giovanni Rigano

NYC's P&T Knitwear to Open Memorial Day Weekend


P&T Knitwear Bookstore in progress.

P&T Knitwear Bookstore, New York City, will open Memorial Day weekend, according to Bowery Boogie. The store had a pop-up galley giveaway outside the store's site on the Lower East Side on Independent Bookstore Day.

The 3,000-square-foot store will sell all new titles across all genres with an emphasis on fiction and nonfiction about New York City. The store will include event space, a podcast studio and a café. The owner is Bradley Tusk, the venture capitalist and philanthropist who founded the Gotham Book Prize last year. The store's name is a reference to a knitwear company co-founded by Tusk's grandfather in the early 1950s that was near the bookstore's site.

The general manager and buyer is Julie Wernersbach, a bookseller with some 15 years' experience.

Tor Books: One for My Enemy by Olivie Blake

Shelf Awareness Delivers Indie Pre-Order E-Blast

Last week, 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 893,977 customers of 198 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, May 25. 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 April pre-order e-blast, see this one from Kismet Books, Verona, Wis.

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

Tracy Flick Can't Win by Tom Perrotta (Scribner)
Under the Skin: The Hidden Toll of Racism on American Lives and the Health of Our Nation by Linda Villarosa (Doubleday)
The Hotel Nantucket by Elin Hilderbrand (Little, Brown)
How Are You, Really? by Jenny Kutcher (Dey Street)
Horse by Geraldine Brooks (Viking)
Just by Looking at Him by Ryan O'Connell (Atria)
Woman of Light by Kali Fajardo-Anstine (OneWorld)
Noodle and the No Bones Day by Jonathan Graziano, illus. by Dan Travi (McElderry Books)
Bad Actors by Mick Herron (Soho Crime)
Three by Valerie Perrin (Europa Editions)
Bad Girls by Camila Sosa Villada (Other Press)
Living Untethered by Michael inger (New Harbinger)

G.P. Putnam's Sons: The Three of Us by Ore Agbaje-Williams

Obituary Note: Rolando Hinojosa-Smith

Rolando Hinojosa-Smith, "a charismatic, award-winning writer who created a fictional version of the lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas, where he was raised by Anglo and Hispanic parents, as the backdrop for 15 novels," died April 19, the New York Times reported. He was 93. "A major figure in Chicano literature along with Tomás Rivera, Sandra Cisneros, Rudolfo Anaya and others, Dr. Hinojosa-Smith wrote stories in Spanish and English about race, power, class, money and war in Belken County, creating a vivid world that mirrored his own life."

The National Book Critics Circle presented him with the Ivan Landrof award for lifetime achievement in 2014, calling him the "dean of Chicano authors."

A professor of literature at the University of Texas at Austin for 35 years, Hinojosa-Smith began his Klail City Death Trip series in 1972 with Estampas del Valle y Otras Obras (published in English in 1983 as The Valley), which won the Premio Quinto Sol in 1973 for the best work of fiction by a Chicano writer. Three years later, he earned the prestigious Casa de las Américas Prize, which honors Latin American writers, for the novel Klail City y Sus Alrededores, which would be titled Klail City when it was published years later in English.

"He captured people in realistic ways that reflected their humanity," said Jaime Mejia, a professor of Chicano literature at Texas State University in San Marcos. "He could convey their humor and tragedy whether they were working class, middle class, petty, loyal, honest or pretentious."

In an appreciation in Texas Monthly, novelist Richard Z. Santos wrote, "Hinojosa-Smith left behind a body of work that stands apart from anything else produced in American letters, both in terms of output and his ability to shine a light on a corner of the country--the Hispanic, Anglo, and mixed inhabitants of Texas's Rio Grande Valley--ignored by most readers, most Americans, and probably most Texans as well."

The Times also noted that Hinojosa-Smith was a prolific essayist and wrote police procedurals, published by small presses like Arte Público, whose director, Nicolás Kanellos, described him as "a surveyor of the human scene, always keen to recognize the humor, irony and just plain outrageousness of people, especially as political animals."


Harriett's Bookshop Owner Leads 'Harriet Tubman Day' Push

Jeannine Cook

Jeannine Cook, owner of Harriett's Bookshop in Philadelphia, Pa., and its sister store, Ida's Bookshop in Collingswood, N.J., has started a petition and letter-writing campaign to make Harriet Tubman Day (March 10) a federal holiday. 

So far the petition has garnered more than 7,800 signatures, per NBC News, and Pennsylvania Representative Brendan Boyle introduced a bill to the House in March to make it a federal holiday, the first named for a woman. The bill (HR 7013) now needs cosponsors, which is where the letter writing campaign comes in.

Cook has given out blank postcards at her bookstore and has asked readers to send pictures of their letters via Twitter, so that the bookshop can eventually publish those letters as a book. She has also spoken to several members of Congress local to Philadelphia.

She told NBC News: "It's the multifacetedness of Harriet that I find so extraordinary. There were so many ways she, I believe, exemplifies how to take the worst of what society has offered and to transmutate that into an immense amount of power--not for yourself, but for the people around you."

The Silver Unicorn Bookstore's Retailer of the Year Award 

"Every once in awhile, we clean up nice," the Silver Unicorn Bookstore, Acton, Mass., posted on Facebook. "Tonight, we were very humbled to accept the Retailer of the Year Award from the Middlesex West Chamber of Commerce. It was originally an award from 2020, one of the many things postponed by the pandemic, but certainly worth the wait! Thanks again to the Chamber for the award and the wonderful evening."

Happy 10th Birthday, Face in a Book!

Tina Ferguson

Congratulations to Face in a Book in El Dorado Hills, Calif., which celebrated its 10th anniversary on Independent Bookstore Day last Saturday. Owner Tina Ferguson opened the bookshop in the spring of 2012 and "received a warm welcome in this Sacramento-area community. We've weathered competition and a pandemic, and look forward to many more years serving our wonderful customers."

On Sunday, Face in a Book tweeted a "big thank-you to everyone who joined us for our 10th anniversary yesterday! And another to all of you, for supporting our little bookstore for these last happy years."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: David Gergen on CBS Sunday Morning

CBS Sunday Morning: David Gergen, author of Hearts Touched With Fire: How Great Leaders Are Made (Simon & Schuster, $29, 9781982170578).

TV: The Prince of Tides

Director Tate Taylor (The Help, The Girl on the Train) is developing a TV adaptation for Apple of Pat Conroy's novel The Prince of Tides, which was previously adapted into the 1991 film that was directed by Barbra Streisand, co-written by Conroy and Becky Johnston, and starred Streisand and Nick Nolte. Deadline reported that "the project is believed to be in the very early stages of development."

The series project comes from Sony Pictures Television, whose sister movie arm Columbia Pictures released the film, with Taylor writing and exec producing, Deadline noted, adding that it "is Taylor's latest project for Apple; he is exec producing Mrs. American Pie, which stars Kristen Wiig and Allison Janney, for the streamer."

Books & Authors

Awards: RBC Bronwen Wallace Finalists

The Writers' Trust of Canada has named six finalists for the 2022 RBC Bronwen Wallace Awards for Emerging Writers, which is presented to a Canadian citizen or permanent resident who has been published in an independently edited literary magazine or anthology, but is unpublished in book form and without a book contract. 

Winners in two categories, poetry and short fiction, will each receive C$10,000 (about US$7,830) at an in-person event on June 2. Finalists get C$2,500 (about US$1,955) and a mentorship opportunity with an established editor. The annual awards are open to Canadian writers who are unpublished in book form. This year's finalists can be found here

Reading with... Shen Fuyu

Shen Fuyu was born in rural Shen Village in southeast China, and grew up in a family of farmers. At the age of 18, he left home and drifted around the country, working at a variety of jobs--porter, clerk and schoolteacher--and began his writing career. He graduated from Nanjing University in 1996 and has been working as a journalist for 20 years, and has published more than a dozen books. He now lives in Paris. The Artisans: A Vanishing Chinese Village, translated by Jeremy Tiang, was recently published in English by Astra House. It is a collection of interlinked stories about 15 artisans in his home village.

Handsell readers your book in 25 words or less:

The Artisans is about a disappearing Chinese village, a painting of characters spanning over a century.

On your nightstand now:

Proust's In Search of Lost Time. The more reality makes people anxious, the more it will make them feel the slow pace and beauty of time.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Shi Nai'An's Water Margin. For a young boy from the countryside, like myself, this book opened up a vast, legendary and heart-pounding world.

Your top five authors:

Plato's Republic. It gave me an insight into the origins of Western culture.

Chateaubriand's Mémoires d'Outre-Tombe (Memoirs from Beyond the Grave). Elegant writing and historical depth, like a beautiful cathedral.

Gabriel García Márquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude. This is a forceful epic, full of magic. It is full of temptations.

Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time. It makes one feel what a beautiful thing it is to be a human being.

Solzhenitsyn's The Gulag Archipelago. He shows us the extent to which mankind can create darkness and cruelty.

Book you've faked reading:

Tolstoy's War and Peace. The lengthy and detailed descriptions, the slow-paced dialogues: I never felt I could finish it.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Aldo Leopold's A Sand County Almanac. This is a masterpiece of environmental ethics. In a poetic voice, it tells us how the earth is filled with a deep awareness of life and a richness of feelings.

Book you've bought for the cover:

I only buy books that attract me for their content. If two books are the same inside, I might choose the one with the prettier cover.

Book you hid from your parents:

When I was a child, I had to hide almost all of the novels I read from my parents. They did not want me to read anything besides textbooks. They thought it would slow down my studying, that it was not the proper thing to do. Any books they found would be confiscated.

Book that changed your life:

Sima Qian's Records of the Grand Historian. This book made me understand how to truly live with meaning. It made me keep hope through the toughest times.

Favorite line from a book:

"Study Heaven and Mankind, through the prism of time, understand changes of past and present, become your school of thought." --from Sima Qian's Records of the Grand Historian

The meaning here, I believe, is focused on personal development and the forming of one's own opinions and thoughts. It really emphasizes how--through exploring nature, society and history--one comes up with unique points of view and can reach a meaningful life.  

Five books you'll never part with:

Sima Qian's Records of the Grand Historian  
Zhuang Zhou's Zhuangzi  
Plato's Republic
Proust's In Search of Lost Time
Ralph Waldo Emerson's collected essays

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

Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio. This was the first collection of short stories by a non-Chinese writer I ever read. After finishing it, I felt that each story had another layer of meaning. The seemingly independent characters are inextricably linked in multiple ways, and they give an ordinary small town some extraordinary charm. I read it again and again. Later, my own writing would be greatly influenced by this book.

Book Review

Review: Endless Forms: The Secret World of Wasps

Endless Forms: The Secret World of Wasps by Seirian Sumner (Harper, $28.99 hardcover, 400p., 9780063029927, July 12, 2022)

In Endless Forms: The Secret World of Wasps, the celebrated British entomologist and modern-day wasp whisperer Seirian Sumner invites readers on a revelatory, as well as highly entertaining, journey to discover the beauty, vast diversity and critical functions of the "most enigmatic of insects." Throughout history, wasps have been misunderstood and compared unfavorably to their cuter cousins, bees. Alert to society's cultural fear of wasps and general lack of understanding of their ecological contributions, Sumner's debut sets out to rehabilitate these ancient insects to their rightful place as admired and valuable members of the insect kingdom.

Sumner is an esteemed Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society and a behavioral ecologist at University College London. She has spent more than two decades studying wasps across the globe. Blending scientific knowledge and passion for her subject with a captivating storytelling style, the author highlights the significance of wasps as the ancestral forebears of bees and ants, shares her enchantment with their complex social lives and builds a compelling case for their ecological importance as nature's essential pest controllers and pollinators. Even the wasp's dreaded sting, referred to by the 19th-century naturalist Jean-Henri Fabre as "mother's stiletto," offers promising value to medical researchers who are experimenting with wasp venom as a possible cancer treatment tool.

In chapters highlighting distinct wasp species, Sumner draws readers into the individual dramas of solitary wasps, including Emerald jewel wasps that can transform cockroaches into zombies; potter wasps that lay eggs in intricately made clay pots; and the specialist wasps that pollinate fig trees and orchids. Observing the sophisticated societies of social wasps is like watching "The Hunger Games and Game of Thrones rolled into one," says Sumner, their soap opera lives curiously mimicking our own and providing hours of theatrical entertainment in pursuit of scientific research.

Aristotle, the first published entomologist, was famously obsessed with honeybees but also fascinated with wasps such as yellowjackets and hornets. In a marvelously crafted chapter titled "Dinner with Aristotle," the author hosts an imaginary dinner party for the 2,400-year-old philosopher, sharing a variety of ancient Greek dishes with him as they discuss the progress made in the scientific understanding of wasps during the last two millennia. 

Endless Forms is a labor of love, designed to alter fundamentally the narrative surrounding wasps, presenting budding naturalists and amateur entomologists with a transformative lens through which to appreciate the "gangsters of the insect world." --Shahina Piyarali, reviewer

Shelf Talker: A British entomologist and modern-day wasp whisperer offers a fascinating account of the many ecological contributions of wasps.

Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: Book-to-Film to Book Sales

As the unofficial movie/TV news correspondent at Shelf Awareness, I spend an unhealthy amount of time scanning "the trades" (Variety, the Hollywood Reporter, Entertainment Weekly, Deadline, etc.) for bookish showbiz tidbits. This may explain why I'm abnormally attuned to the life cycle of book-to-screen adaptations, and why a headline like "Must-watch, must-read: Book adaptations on the big screen" is always irresistible. 

In the latest installment of its "blog mini-series," BookNet Canada shared insights into the sales impact a select group of movies had on their source material. Although both sales and library circulation numbers were studied, I'll focus on the former because that's where I live, in BookSalesLand. Library circulation stats can be found through the same link.  

Using SalesData, BookNet Canada gathered statistics on sales for titles related to the top 30 films adapted from books in both 2020 and 2021, with the proviso that "if a film was related to a series of books, all titles in the series were considered together." 

It's an interesting list. For someone who considers himself a movie fan and perhaps even more so a book-to-screen fan, I saw fewer of them than I might have thought: Dune, Nomadland, The White Tiger, The Lost Daughter, The Tragedy of Macbeth, Passing, and I'm Thinking of Ending Things. With some of the others, I read the book, skipped the film.

BookNet Canada's first question was: "Will Canadian readers read a book if they've seen the movie first? For the titles adapted into the 60 films under consideration, the answer was a resounding yes." The study found that book sales from 12 weeks pre-release to 12 weeks post-release of the respective films only appeared to increase by 20% overall, but there was an exponential 307% increase in sales from 12 weeks pre-release to the first week post-release, with a 90% spike in sales between one week pre- and post-release. After the first week, sales steadily decreased by 70%.

The Covid-19 pandemic played its own role, of course. During the past two years, closures and restrictions affected in-store shopping as well as movie theater attendance. What impact did this have on the sales of titles adapted into films? In 2020, sales reached their peak in the first week after the release of a film, with a 52% increase in sales between the first weeks pre- and post-release. In 2021, the trend was more dramatic, with sales also reaching their peak during the first week after release--up 127%--after which sales steadily decreased. BookNet Canada suggested that the difference might be due to pandemic restrictions for bookstores in 2020.

Of the 60 book-to-film adaptations studied, 42% were fiction titles, 32% juvenile/ YA and 27% nonfiction. Among these, fiction titles had the most sales--up 589% at their peak during the first week post-release of a movie, while juvenile/YA titles increased by 155% during that period. The nonfiction category, on the other hand, had its biggest increase in the third week post-release after a steady increase of 283%.

In the study, 73% of films were adapted from individual titles and 27% were from book series. Despite this, sales of series titles outperformed individual titles, peaking at the first week post-release--up 131% between the first week pre- and post-release. For individual titles, sales only peak in the first week after the film's release, up 99% between the second week pre-release and the first week post-release. 

So, who was going to movie theaters during a pandemic? "With movie theatre restrictions due to the pandemic and the rise of streaming platforms, not all of our 60 book to film adaptations had a full theatrical release--42% did, but 58% had a streaming-exclusive or streaming-focused release (with a very limited theatrical release)," BookNet Canada noted.

Despite pandemic-induced obstacles, book sales still favored films that had a full theatrical release, peaking in the second week post-release--up 109% from the first week pre-release. For titles adapted into films that had a streaming-dominant release, sales peaked at the first week post-release, up 73%.

As might be expected, the fourth quarter was the most productive in terms of book sales. Although the release dates of the 60 adaptations studied were relatively balanced--32% in the first quarter, 20% in the second quarter, 22% in the third quarter and 27% in the fourth quarter--sales for these titles heavily favored films released during the fourth quarter. This seems logical, given the number of big-budget movies hitting screens throughout the holiday season. Films released in the fourth quarter saw the greatest move, up 113% between the first weeks pre- to post-release.

Ultimately, what fascinates me about this study is the limited window of opportunity for so many of these books to ride the sales wave of a film's release. I keep thinking about all those book-to-screen bookshop displays I've seen--and even built myself--over the years. There's a kind of scripted-in poignancy inherent in the optimistic "Soon to be a major motion picture!" book cover medallions and the movie tie-in special editions, which all-too-quickly become "Used to be a major motion picture!" residue. 

Picture this: a movie tie-in paperback, for a film released 10 years ago, still clinging desperately to its perch on a bookstore shelf in the fiction section, whispering the bookish equivalent of "All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up." 

--Robert Gray, contributing editor

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