Also published on this date: Thursday, June 16, 2022: YA Maximum Shelf: Monsters Born and Made

Shelf Awareness for Thursday, June 16, 2022

Disney Lucasfilm Press: Star Wars: The High Republic Path of Deceit by Tessa Gratton and Justina Ireland

Ballantine Books: Central Places by Delia Cai

MIT Press: Rethinking Gender: An Illustrated Exploration by Louie Läuger

Holiday House: Owl and Penguin (I Like to Read Comics) by Vikram Madan; Noodleheads Take it Easy by Tedd Arnold, Martha Hamilton, and Mitch Weiss

Blackstone Publishing: Ezra Exposed by Amy E. Feldman

Clavis: Fall Preview


Bookstore Sales Up 31.6% in April; Up 19.4% for Year to Date

In April, bookstore sales jumped 31.6%, to $633 million, compared to April 2021, according to preliminary Census Bureau estimates. By comparison to pre-pandemic times, bookstore sales in April dropped 0.9% in relation to April 2019. For the year so far, sales have risen 19.4%, to $2.6 billion, compared to the first quarter of 2021.

Total retail sales in April rose 8.3%, to $681.6 billion, compared to April 2021. For the year to date, total retail sales have climbed 11.2%, to $2.53 billion.

Note: under Census Bureau definitions, the bookstore category consists of "establishments primarily engaged in retailing new books." The Bureau also added this unusual caution concerning the effect of Covid-19: "The Census Bureau continues to monitor response and data quality and has determined that estimates in this release meet publication standards."

Ebony Magazine Publishing: Black Hollywood: Reimagining Iconic Movie Moments by Carell Augustus

Seven and One Books Coming to Abilene, Tex.

Seven and One Books, a 2,000-square-foot bookstore with titles for all ages, will open later this summer in downtown, Abilene, Tex. Owner Arlene Kasselman told the Abilene Reporter News that she'll have a wide-ranging inventory with plenty of genres represented and an emphasis on diversity and representation.

"One of my big pushes is I wanted a place where people could walk in and find a book cover that looks like them, that was representative of them," she said. She added: "Representation really matters to me, and inclusion--all of those things. That's been one of my goals is that people can come in and feel included and represented."

Kasselman noted that her store is located very close to Texas Star Trading Co., which features a robust selection of books by local and regional authors, so she won't emphasize local authors too heavily. At the same time, the National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature bookstore is around the corner; she plans to carry children's books that are not stocked in the NCCIL store.

While the store won't sell food or drinks, there will be a kettle, tea bags and cups, and shoppers will be "welcome to put the kettle on and make themselves a cup of tea," Kasselman said.

Kester Smith, previously a bookseller at BookPeople in Austin, Tex., is helping Kasselman launch the store. They are still renovating the space, which was previously a photography studio, and the idea is to have a "living room feel" in a store that is "warm and comfortable."

Seven and One made its debut as an online store around Thanksgiving 2021, and since then Kasselman has made pop-up appearances at various events, including the Children's Art & Literacy Festival and Abilene's ArtWalk.

Kasselman reported that she was inspired to open a bookstore of her own after visiting her son in New York City while he was doing a summer internship. She went with him to McNally Jackson, and when she mentioned that she liked the store's environment and wanted to be a bookseller herself, he asked her why she didn't do it.

She recalled saying, "because I don't know what I'm doing. And he said, 'Learn. Come on.' That was my motivation."

University of California Press: Dictee (Second Edition, Reissue, Restored);  Exilee and Temps Morts: Selected Works (First Edition, Reissue) by Theresa Hak Kyung Cha

Hidden Gems Literary Emporium Planning Second Free Book Tour

Raymond Sykes and Kaila Boulware-Sykes, with their son, Truth.

Kaila Boulware Sykes and Raymond Sykes, co-founders of the donation-based bookstore Hidden Gems Literary Emporium in New Brunswick, N.J., are looking to embark on their second bookmobile tour of the East Coast next month, Fox News reported.

Last summer, the couple traveled from New Jersey to Florida, delivering 1,000 free books and educational resources along the way. For that trip they traveled in their Chevy minivan, which has since broken down. They are currently trying to raise funds for a new bookmobile so they can distribute another 1,000 books to children and families this summer.

They've launched a GoFundMe campaign for the bookmobile, which will be built out of a converted Class A RV. The Free Mobile Library will include an indoor and outdoor bookstore, furniture, television and computers for literacy classes, a kitchen for free drinks and refreshments, a sound system for performances and more.

On opening day in June 2021, Hidden Gems had around 10,000 books in stock. Customers were welcome to pay by donation or simply take as many books as needed. Since then, Boulware Sykes told Fox, "people have donated over 40,000 books." They've also distributed more than 7,000 books in total, some of them going as far as Ghana.

When not operating the bookstore, the couple hosts free book festivals at schools and other locations throughout New Jersey.

Blair: A Girlhood: Letter to My Transgender Daughter by Carolyn Hays

Zando and Crooked Media Form Crooked Media Reads Imprint

Zando, the publisher founded by Molly Stern in 2020, and Crooked Media, the company founded by Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett and Tommy Vietor--three former Obama administration officials--are creating Crooked Media Reads, a book imprint that reflects Crooked Media's mission "to inform, entertain, and inspire action to a new platform, elevating new and diverse voices sharing stories and sparking debates we need to have right now." The imprint will publish nonfiction and fiction as well as books for children and young readers.

Crooked Media produces podcasts, including Pod Save America, Lovett or Leave It, Keep It, What a Day, Pod Save the People, Pod Save the World and Wind of Change; publishes newsletters; operates a merchandise business; and launched Vote Save America, which registered 180,000 new voters in 2020 and has raised more than $54 million for candidates, grassroots organizations, voter registration and protection efforts since 2018. The company also produces video content, including short-form series for Crooked's YouTube channel and social platforms, HBO specials and Hulu's forthcoming adaptation of its podcast Wind of Change.

Crooked Media Founders Jon Lovett, Jon Favreau and Tommy Vietor.

With Zando's support, Crooked Media will be deeply involved in the publishing process, from initial acquisition to a book's release. It will support Crooked Media Reads authors and titles through podcast interviews, video content, social media engagement, live events, celebrations, announcements, and more.

Crooked Media joins Zando's growing number of publishing partners, which includes Sarah Jessica Parker, Lena Waithe, John Legend, Gillian Flynn and the Atlantic.

The new imprint's first book acquisition, which will be published in August 2023, is Mobility by Lydia Kiesling, her second novel. The publisher described Mobility as "a domestic coming-of-age novel set against a geopolitical backdrop about class, power, politics, and desire told through the life of one young woman, Elizabeth 'Bunny' Glenn, that deftly explores the modern varieties of complicity and inertia, from the local to the global, the personal to the political. Mobility follows Bunny from adolescence to middle age--from Azerbaijan to America--as the entwined idols of capitalism and ambition lead her to a career in the oil industry, and eventually back to the scene of her youth, where familiar figures reappear in an era of political and climate breakdown."

Kiesling's first novel was The Golden State, published by MCD/FSG in 2018. Kielsing writes for publications such as the New York Times, the New York Times Magazine, the New Yorker online and the Cut, and is a contributing editor at the Millions and Zyzzyva.

Zando founder and CEO Molly Stern said, "The progressive, brilliant brain-child of three very smart founders, Crooked Media has built a forum so engaging, entertaining and culturally influential that legions of fans like me and the rest of Zando have realized we don't just like what Jon, Jon, and Tommy and the other hosts and shows have been saying, or how they are saying it, we need it. And now, as a publisher, Crooked will champion authors whose missions, ideas, and stories will spark discussion, debate, and much needed change."

Graphic Mundi - Psu Press: Hakim's Odyssey by Fabien Toulme and Hanna Chute

Obituary Note: George Lamming

Novelist and essayist George Lamming, who did much to shape Caribbean literary culture, died June 4. He was 94. The Guardian reported that Lamming "also contributed to it as an educator and activist intellectual, mentoring a host of young writers and scholars in the Caribbean and beyond."

His first and best known novel, In the Castle of My Skin (1953), drew on his upbringing in Barbados and was published in Britain after he had gone there from Trinidad in 1950. The book's reception "put him at the center of Black intellectual and cultural life in postwar Europe," the Guardian noted. Three more novels soon followed: The Emigrants (1954), Of Age and Innocence (1958) and Season of Adventure (1960); as well as a pioneering collection of personal essays on cultural politics and intellectual history, The Pleasures of Exile (1960).

Lamming worked for the BBC's overseas radio service, broadcasting on its program Caribbean Voices, and in 1955 traveled to the U.S. on a Guggenheim scholarship, and then on to West Africa and the Caribbean. He was a participant in the first international congress of Black writers and artists in Paris in 1956. In 1957, he received the Somerset Maugham award for In the Castle of My Skin, and numerous honors and awards followed. His last two novels were Water With Berries (1971) and Natives of My Person (1972). 

In 1980, he returned to Barbados and established a permanent residence at the Atlantis hotel in Bathsheba, where he "received occasional visitors and had time for reading, reflection and writing," the Guardian wrote. "On the public platform however, his voice remained strong and vigorous and politically challenging. He could be harsh in his assessments of Caribbean societies, but never surrendered his certainty about the creative potential of the region, and experimented with new fictional forms for themes that had always fascinated him."

Lamming edited anthologies of Caribbean writing and committed himself anew to political activism. This phase of his intellectual life is recorded in the essay collections Conversations (1992), Coming, Coming, Coming Home: Conversations II (1995) and The Sovereignty of the Imagination (2004), and in his edited volumes of Caribbean literary and cultural history, Enterprise of the Indies Vols I & II (1999). Many of his major works were republished in the U.S. in the 1990s.


Image of the Day: Candice Millard at Flint Hills Books

Flint Hills Books in Council Grove, Kan., which opened last year, recently hosted its second event: a signing by Candice Millard, author of River of the Gods: Genius, Courage, and Betrayal in the Search for the Source of the Nile (Doubleday), which took place at the Symphony in the Flint Hills Art Gallery, with some 150 people in attendance.

Pictured: (l.-r.) volunteer Harley Hamilton (who will be opening Red Fern Booksellers in Salina, Kan., this fall); Candice Millard; Flint Hills Books owner Jennifer M. Kassebaum; Flint Hills Books employee Ella Kirk; volunteer Guy Walker.

Chalkboard: WORD Brooklyn

For new-release Tuesday, WORD bookstore, Brooklyn, N.Y., shared a photo of a tempting book stack and the shop's sidewalk chalkboard message ("Love that book for you"): "A serious haul of new books have hit the shelves today! We're particularly excited about...."

Personnel Changes at Scrawl Books Bookstore

Leah Grover has joined Scrawl Books, Reston, Va., as communication & events manager. She has been a bookseller in Northern Virginia for four years.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Justice Sonia Sotomayor on Tamron Hall

Tamron Hall: Justice Sonia Sotomayor, author of Just Help!: How to Build a Better World (Philomel, $17.99, 9780593206263).

Late Night with Seth Meyers repeat: James Patterson, author of James Patterson: The Stories of My Life (Little, Brown, $29, 9780316397537).

This Weekend on Book TV: Christine Emba on Rethinking Sex

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 this weekend from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday and focuses on political and historical books as well as the book industry. The following are highlights for this coming weekend. For more information, go to Book TV's website.

Saturday, June 18
9 a.m. Jill Wine-Banks, author of The Watergate Girl: My Fight for Truth and Justice Against a Criminal President (‎Griffin, $17.99, 9781250782205). (Re-airs Saturday at 9 p.m.)

10:05 a.m. Michael Kimmage, author of The Abandonment of the West: The History of an Idea in American Foreign Policy (Basic Books, $32, 9780465055906). (Re-airs Saturday at 10:05 p.m.)

2 p.m. Mark Updegrove, author of Incomparable Grace: JFK in the Presidency (Dutton, $29, 9781524745745). (Re-airs Sunday at 2 a.m.)

3 p.m. Harold Holzer, author of Monument Man: The Life and Art of Daniel Chester French (‎Princeton Architectural Press, $35, 9781616897536). (Re-airs Sunday at 3 a.m.)

6 p.m. Tara Nurin, co-author of A Woman's Place Is in the Brewhouse: A Forgotten History of Alewives, Brewsters, Witches, and CEOs (Chicago Review Press, $19.99, ‎9781641603423). (Re-airs Sunday at 6 a.m.)

7 p.m. Andrew O'Shaughnessy, author of The Illimitable Freedom of the Human Mind: Thomas Jefferson's Idea of a University (‎University of Virginia Press, $34.95, 9780813946481). (Re-airs Sunday at 7 a.m.)

Sunday, June 19
8:55 a.m. Lisa Miller, co-author of Take Up Space: The Unprecedented AOC (Avid Reader Press, $28, 9781501166976). (Re-airs Sunday at 8:55 p.m.)

10 a.m. Christine Emba, author of Rethinking Sex: A Provocation (Sentinel, $27, 9780593087565). (Re-airs Sunday at 10 p.m.)

2 p.m. Nury Turkel, author of No Escape: The True Story of China's Genocide of the Uyghurs (‎Hanover Square Press, $28.99, 9781335469564).

3 p.m. Tony Pecinovsky, author of The Cancer of Colonialism (‎International Publishers Co., $19.99, 9780717808816).

4 p.m. Gary Gerstle, author of The Rise and Fall of the Neoliberal Order: America and the World in the Free Market Era (Oxford University Press, $27.95, 9780197519646).

6:40 p.m. Paul Kennedy, author of Victory at Sea: Naval Power and the Transformation of the Global Order in World War II (‎Yale University Press, $37.50, 9780300219173).

Books & Authors

Awards: Women's Prize for Fiction Winner

Ruth Ozeki has won the £30,000 (about $36,360) 2022 Women's Prize for Fiction for her fourth novel, The Book of Form and Emptiness (published in the U.S. by Viking).

Organizers said the winning title "blends memorable characters, a riveting plot and a vibrant engagement with a variety of themes, including grief and loss, growing up, neurodiversity, climate change, jazz and our attachment to material possessions. Asked about her inspiration for writing the novel, Ruth Ozeki said: 'As a child, I related to objects as though they were semi-sentient, and even now I think about the stories that things could tell if only they could speak. Do things (trees, pebbles, toaster ovens, nuclear reactors, etc.) speak? Can they teach us about life? About reality? Obviously, the answer is yes, if we could only learn to listen.' "

Chair of judges Mary Ann Sieghart said: "In an extraordinary year for fiction written by women, and from an incredibly strong shortlist, we were thrilled to choose Ruth Ozeki's The Book of Form and Emptiness, which stood out for its sparkling writing, warmth, intelligence, humour and poignancy. A celebration of the power of books and reading, it tackles big issues of life and death, and is a complete joy to read. Ruth Ozeki is a truly original and masterful storyteller."

IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:

The Shore: A Novel by Katie Runde (Scribner, $26.99, 9781982180171). "Katie Runde's debut novel played my heartstrings like a harpsichord. I was yanked from my life to this beachside town and this kindhearted family's experiences with love, loss, and resilience! I am anxiously awaiting her next release." --Katy Herbold, Sidekick Coffee & Books, University Heights, Iowa

Rainbow Rainbow: Stories by Lydia Conklin (Catapult, $26, 9781646221011). "Rainbow Rainbow is queer, bold, and beautiful. Conklin's characters and memorable stories offer unique perspective on modern relationships with pitch-perfect tone. This will be one of the best collections by the end of the year." --Adam Vitcavage, Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, Colo.

The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle: A Novel by Matt Cain (A John Scognamiglio Book, $15.95, 9781496737755). "A heartfelt tale of a shy 64-year-old English postman on the verge of retirement and on the verge of coming out. Albert's obstacles are significant, which make his efforts to surmount them, and to find new friends, all the more joyous." --Mike Hare, Northshire Bookstore, Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

For Ages 4 to 8
Pineapple Princess by Sabina Hahn (Roaring Brook Press, $18.99, 9781250798367). "A hilarious picture book that will keep both parents and children entertained, while also opening the door for discussions of why wanting something doesn't mean it's always the best idea." --Jill Hendrix, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, S.C.

For Ages 8 to 12
Cress Watercress by Gregory Maguire, illus. by David Litchfield (Candlewick, $19.99, 9781536211009). "Cress Watercress shows us how to meet new challenges head-on, with plenty of witty humor, determination, whimsical adventure, and friendship. With timeless woodland charm, this book is sure to be a friend to many and a comfort to all." --Allison Cruse, Narrow Gauge Book Cooperative, Alamosa, Colo.

For Teen Readers: An Indies Introduce Title
Love Radio by Ebony LaDelle (Simon & Schuster, $19.99, 9781665908153). "Can DJ Love, a teenage expert on love with his own radio show, take his own advice and build a relationship with the girl of his dreams? Detroit and R&B classics mix with characters you'll fall in love with. A romcom with depth and so much fun!" --Susan Williams, M. Judson Booksellers & Storytellers, Greenville, S.C.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: This Story Will Change: After the Happily Ever After

This Story Will Change: After the Happily Ever After by Elizabeth Crane (Counterpoint, $26 hardcover, 272p., 9781640094789, August 9, 2022)

Novelist Elizabeth Crane (The History of Great Things; We Only Know So Much) had a good marriage--or thought she did--until her husband admitted he wasn't happy. In her wry, vulnerable memoir, This Story Will Change, Crane traces the dissolution of their marriage (and her own internal examination of it) in brief, episodic chapters. As she finds herself sharing a Manhattan apartment with an old friend and his teenage daughter, she explores the contours of a life that is changing shape daily, and begins to consider who she might become if--and after--her marriage truly ends.

"I need you to know that I loved him," Crane writes, in one of the rare chapters when she veers into first-person narration. "I need me to know why I loved him.... I need to do the math of my marriage and I need for it to add up to something that makes sense." Her narrative tackles some of that relationship math, from the quotidian (choosing curtains, thanking each other for daily tasks, negotiating how to care for the dog) to the existential (conflict about sex and expectations, sexual expectations, conflicting expectations). She examines the ways her marriage changed shape over 15 years, wondering if there were clues she missed, or if some of their struggles were simply the result of being in a long-term relationship. She also deals with the private and public experience of a marriage falling apart: "What do you tell people when they ask you what happened? What is the truth to you? Are you so sure you know?"

Eventually, Crane moves back to the city, staying at a friend's apartment with another old friend. They become "housebuds," taking walks and getting takeout and watching bad television. Crane finds healing and connection and even humor in this new, temporary family, all while dealing--as honestly as she can--with her grief over her marriage and other, older wounds that she has carried for years. She speaks often of the old stories she carries in her head, which may or may not be true but which have had a shaping effect on her marriage and her life.

Ultimately, Crane, like most people, finds a way forward: back upstate, with the dog, still in touch with her housebud friend, more in touch with herself. But her feelings about herself and her marriage don't wrap up neatly; perhaps they never will. "I don't want to regret having married him but sometimes I do," she admits. This Story Will Change captures the long arc of a marriage and its messy, human ending: ambivalence, heartbreak, deep grief and unexpected flashes of hope and joy. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

Shelf Talker: Elizabeth Crane's wry, vulnerable memoir chronicles the dissolution of her marriage in sharp, intimate detail.

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