Shelf Awareness for Monday, June 20, 2022

Hanover Square Press: Before the Coffee Gets Cold series by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

Del Rey Books: The Book of Elsewhere by Keeanu Reeves and China Miéville

St. Martin's Press: You'll Never Believe Me: A Life of Lies, Second Tries, and Other Stuff I Should Only Tell My Therapist by St. Martin's Press

Watkins Publishing: A Feminist's Guide to ADHD: How Women Can Thrive and Find Focus in a World Built for Men by Janina Maschke

Soho Teen: Only for the Holidays by Abiola Bello

W. W. Norton & Company: Still Life by Katherine Packert Burke

Shadow Mountain: A Kingdom to Claim by Sian Ann Bessey


B&N Relocating Store in Pikesville, Md.

Barnes & Noble will be moving its store in Pikesville, Md., "around the corner--and dramatically downsizing," WMAR reported. The new space will be in the Festival at Woodholme shopping center. The current freestanding store will shut down this fall after 19 years in business. 

In a statement, B&N said the company "has truly enjoyed serving this community and appreciates the loyalty and support of their customers.... The new bookstore will showcase an updated design and layout that has been rolled out, to much success, in its more recent new store openings. The newly designed store features a warm environment that encourages browsing, along with a locally tailored selection of books curated by their expert team of Pikesville booksellers."

The new location "appears to be far smaller, at 8,683 square feet. The current location is listed as more than 24,000 square feet," WMAR noted.

B&N, which closed its Towson location in 2017 and Baltimore Inner Harbor store in 2020, still has stores in White Marsh, Bel Air, Ellicott City and Annapolis.

W. W. Norton & Company: Still Life by Katherine Packert Burke

Rowman & Littlefield Acquires North Country Books

The Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group has acquired North Country Books, Utica, N.Y., which was founded in 1965 and has a focus on the Adirondacks and Upstate New York histories, folklore, biographies, children's, photography and mysteries. It has published more than 200 titles and also distributes books and related products in New York State and northern New England.

Rowman & Littlefield's National Book Network is beginning distribution of the books published by North Country Books. The Adirondack titles will also be available through Blue Line Book Exchange, Lake Placid, N.Y., which took on much of the distribution side of North Country Books last year. Jake Bonar, acquisitions editor at Rowman & Littlefield's Prometheus imprint, will now also oversee the program for North Country Books.

Rob Igoe, Jr. has fully owned North Country Books since 2005 and is successor to his father, Rob Igoe, Sr., who bought an ownership share in 1977. Igoe said he was happy about the sale, adding, "Rowman & Littlefield will continue to publish new titles and reprint older titles under the North Country Books name. They will look to expand their offering of quality books about Upstate New York State."

Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group president and CEO Jed Lyons said: "We are delighted to build on the extraordinary history of the North Country Books list. Rowman & Littlefield's Globe Pequot division is the largest independent publisher of regional books in the country. With this acquisition, we look forward to publishing more books for and about the Adirondacks and the Upstate New York region."

GLOW: Sourcebooks Landmark: Remember You Will Die by Eden Robins

Paz & Associates' Bookstore Training: Online and In-Person Offerings

Donna Paz Kaufman and Mark Kaufman

Paz & Associates' Bookstore Training Group is continuing to offer both online and in-person training designed to give prospective bookstore owners what they need to develop a business plan (including projections) with detailed steps, instructions and contacts for opening.

The Paz Group is holding an in-person, two-day program for people interested in opening a bookstore August 24-26 at their hybrid bookstore concept Story & Song Bookstore Bistro on Amelia Island, Florida. There's an option to stay an extra half day to learn about cafe operations.

Paz's online training for prospective store owners includes the printed publication Owning a Bookstore: The Essential Planning Guide as well as training videos.

"When owning a bookstore is a heartfelt dream for many, it's easy to underestimate all that is involved in launching a new bookstore and not be aware of the business skills needed for daily operations once the store is opened," said Donna Paz Kaufman, founder of the Bookstore Training Group.

Paz Associates has worked with the American Booksellers Association to ensure that the newest members of the book industry acquire the skills required for a career as bookstore owners and has worked with more than a thousand existing and prospective booksellers worldwide. For details, visit or call 904-277-2664.

Obituary Note: John Merriman

John Merriman

John Merriman, a professor of history at Yale University "who plumbed dozens of French governmental archives for the information that invigorated his fast-paced books about anarchists, terrorists, leftists and ordinary people in France," died May 22, the New York Times reported. He was 75. Merriman spent nearly all his teaching career at Yale, "a rumpled figure who used his storytelling gifts to animate his lectures on French and European history."

"It was a kind of wonderful, managed chaos," said Judith Coffin, a professor of history at the University of Texas, Austin, who was among Merriman's first graduate students. "He'd walk in with a few crumpled pieces of paper, walk back and forth, jump from one subject to another, and after two or three hours you'd really gotten somewhere."

Author Ta-Nehisi Coates, who watched some of Merriman's recorded lectures online, described him in the Atlantic in 2013 as a "kind of freestyle rapper" who riffed off his material--anecdotes, quotes and observations--and "had this weird ability to inhabit the history."

Merriman "approached the research and writing of his books with a similar goal: to avoid approaching 19th- and 20th-century French social and political history dryly," the Times noted. His books include The Dynamite Club: How a Bombing in Fin-de-Siècle Paris Ignited the Age of Modern Terror (2009); Massacre: The Life and Death of the Paris Commune (2014); Ballad of the Anarchist Bandits: The Crime Spree That Gripped Belle Époque Paris (2017); and The Agony of the Republic: The Repression of the Left in Revolutionary France, 1848-1851 (1978). He also wrote the textbook A History of Modern Europe From the Renaissance to the Present (1996).

In 2017, Merriman received the American Historical Association's lifetime award for scholarly distinction.

Merriman lived in North Haven, Conn., but France was his second home. In 1987, he and his wife, who died in 2017, bought a house in the medieval village of Balazuc, above the Ardèche River. He wrote a book about the village's history, The Stones of Balazuc: A French Village in Time (2002).

"I think that was the book that mattered the most to him," said David Bell, a history professor at Princeton, whom Professor Merriman hired and mentored at Yale. "The minute the Yale semester was over, he headed there, sat around in cafes and talked to people into the small hours."


Image of the Day: Independent Celebration

At a party in New York City last week celebrating Helene Atwan, who is retiring in July as director of Beacon Press, she was joined by several other illustrious independent publishers: (from l. to r.) Ellen Adler of the New Press; Michael Reynolds of Europa Editions; Atwan; and Dan Simon of Seven Stories Press.

Bookseller Moment: MahoganyBooks

It was a celebratory weekend for Derrick and Ramunda Young, co-owners of MahoganyBooks, Washington, D.C., and National Harbor, Md., which they chronicled in a series of Instagram posts:

"It's almost time y'all!! We can't wait to be in community with you on our special day during Juneteenth weekend as we honor 20 years of marriage and those before us who were denied the ability to do so....

"20 years married. 15 years in business. A multitude of blessings. Thank you. What joy to celebrate this milestone on the doorsteps of our bookstore with community, family and friends by our side. We'll be posting official pics of our vow renewal soon, but for now these phone pics will do. This is us. Derrick, Ramunda and our Mahogany.... A peek into our Juneteenth event (post vow renewal)."

Personnel Changes at Atria

Dayna Johnson has joined Atria Books as marketing manager. Previously, she spent 10 years in theater marketing for Broadway and off-Broadway productions in New York City. 

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Werner Herzog on Colbert's Late Show

Good Morning America: Kristen Bell, co-author of The World Needs More Purple Schools (Random House Books for Young Readers, $18.99, 9780593434901). She will also appear tonight on the Tonight Show as well as tomorrow on CBS Mornings and the View.

Drew Barrymore Show repeat: Phoebe Robinson, author of Please Don't Sit on My Bed in Your Outside Clothes: Essays (Tiny Reparations Books, $27, 9780593184905).

Tamron Hall repeat: Gabrielle Union, author of You Got Anything Stronger?: Stories (‎Dey Street, $27.99, 9780062979933).

Kelly Clarkson Show: Anjelah Johnson-Reyes, author of Who Do I Think I Am?: Stories of Chola Wishes and Caviar Dreams (Worthy Books, $27, 9781546000433).

The View: Ben Crump, author of Open Season: Legalized Genocide of Colored People (Amistad, $17.99, 9780062375100).

Good Morning America: Briana Scurry, co-author of My Greatest Save: The Brave, Barrier-Breaking Journey of a World Champion Goalkeeper (Abrams Press, $26, 9781419757679).

Tamron Hall repeat: Cassandra Peterson, author of Yours Cruelly, Elvira: Memoirs of the Mistress of the Dark (Hachette Books, $29, 9780306874352).

The Talk: David Duchovny, author of The Reservoir (Akashic Books, $19.95, 9781636140445).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Werner Herzog, author of The Twilight World (Penguin Press, $25, 9780593490266).

Movies: The Spanish Love Deception

Peter Hutchings (The Hating Game) has been hired to adapt The Spanish Love Deception by Elena Armas for the big screen. Deadline reported that BCDF Pictures acquired film rights to the novel, which has been published in more than 25 languages. A sequel, The American Roommate Experiment, will be released in September. Claude Dal Farra and Brian Keady are producing for BCDF Pictures.

"I am thrilled to have BCDF Pictures working on the adaptation of The Spanish Love Deception and I have no doubt they will do an amazing job bringing Aaron and Catalina to life," said Armas. "Believe me when I say that I am obsessed with the script and Peter Hutchings's vision of these characters and Spanish setting I keep so close to my heart. The Spanish Love Deception readers are not ready for the Martín family!"

Books & Authors

Awards: Walter Scott, Griffin Poetry Winners

News of the Dead by James Robertson has won the £25,000 (about $30,600) 2022 Walter Scott Prize, honoring the best historical novel published in the U.K., Ireland or Commonwealth. 

The judges said, "After twelve winners set outside the homeland of our prize's namesake, Sir Walter Scott--from Malaysia and China to the USA, continental Europe, Ireland and England--it felt something of a homecoming to choose a book set in Scotland as our winner. In James Robertson's masterful News of the Dead, the fictional glen in which the novel is set frames lives through three different centuries exploring what is true, what we believe to be true and what we'd like to be true.

"The novel fulfils in abundance the prize's key criteria of ambition, originality, innovation, enduring appeal and quality of writing and we hope readers will enjoy not just the glen itself with all its 'dangers and gifts, its capabilities and limitations,' but the cast of characters the author assembles, always with a twinkle in his eye."


Douglas Kearney's Sho and Tolu Oloruntoba's The Junta of Happenstance were the international and Canadian category winners respectively of the 2022 Griffin Poetry Prize, which is designed to "raise the profile of poets and poetry in Canada, and internationally, for works written in, or translated into, English." Each winner receives C$65,000 (about US$51,765), with the other finalists awarded C$10,000 (about US$7,965).

Book Review

Review: Cat Brushing

Cat Brushing by Jane Campbell (Grove Press, $26 hardcover, 256p., 9780802160027, August 9, 2022)

Octogenarian Jane Campbell may be "new" to the publishing industry, but her first book, Cat Brushing, is refreshingly accomplished. The 13 exquisitely drawn short stories in the collection are woven with wit and bold enlightenment. Each meticulously crafted gem focuses on the lives of aging women who grapple with their shrinking places in the world while coming to terms with feelings and failings, choices and losses.

In "Susan and Miffy," longing, need and sensuality surprise a woman who "never put a foot over the line" and now lives out her days in a care facility. Having grown distant from her self-interested adult children, the woman, Susan, experiences an unexpected awakening at the gentle touch of her attentive manicurist, Miffy.

A similar theme infuses "On Being Alone," the tender story of one writerly woman's life and a sense of loneliness that persists throughout marriages, affairs and motherhood. She settles alone in a small village; when it's ravaged by a violent storm, she takes in a neighbor whose house is destroyed. The two disparate souls form a bond deeper than either could have imagined.

Reflective pleasures abound in the title story, where a woman "judged too old to live alone," moves in with her son and his younger wife. Feeling "dispossessed... of control and elegance," the woman and her Siamese cat become fellow inmates. The cat arouses charms and wiles the woman once had in abundance--maybe all is not lost?

Many stories deal with women forced to give up rights, respect and desires. In "The Question," an older woman takes a fall, setting in motion a series of events that drag her back to the past and a questionable issue of adoption. A simple lunch in "The Kiskadee" resurrects a memory of parental love that suddenly transforms, through the prism of retrospect, into control. A chance meeting on a train depicts the effect of consequential choices in "183 Minutes." And in "Kindness," revenge tastes sweet when an unassuming neighbor privy to a long-suffering, powerless wife and her ogre husband cleverly settles a score.

Aspects of regret, mourning, fantasies and lost love infuse these eloquently rendered, skillfully plotted stories that pack a wallop. "Ageing is often represented as an accumulation, of disease, of discomforts, of wrinkles," says the narrator of the title story. However, in Campbell's wholly original, late-in-life stories, the limitations compelled by age become surprising sources of wisdom and empowered liberation. --Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines

Shelf Talker: Deeply resonant, eloquently rendered short stories consider women who change and grow with enlightenment in the twilight of their lives.

Powered by: Xtenit