Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, November 8, 2022

William Morrow & Company: Death of the Author by Nnedi Okorafor

St. Martin's Press: Disney High: The Untold Story of the Rise and Fall of Disney Channel's Tween Empire

Running Press Adult: Scam Goddess: Lessons from a Life of Cons, Grifts, and Schemes by Laci Mosley

Graphix: 39 Clues: One False Note (39 Clues Graphic Novel #2) by Gordon Korman, Illustrated by Hannah Templer

Running Press: Enter For a Chance to Win a Moonlit Explorer Pack!

Quill Tree Books: The Firelight Apprentice by Bree Paulsen


Hidden Nook Booksellers Opens in Grayling, Mich.

Hidden Nook Booksellers, a general-interest bookstore with about 800 square feet of selling space, has opened for business in Grayling, Mich. Owners Rae and Liam Gosling opened their doors on Saturday, October 29, and carry new titles for children, teens and adults.

Rae Gosling reported that her "wheelhouse is nonfiction," particularly history and memoirs, while Liam Gosling "very much loves science fiction and historical fiction" along with horror. There is also an ample selection of children's books, with Gosling adding that her husband loves to read to kids and hosted the store's first storytime session on November 5. She noted that they expect the inventory to change with time, and "we're looking forward to our community telling us what their favorites are."

The bookstore's sideline offerings include literary-inspired gifts, bookmarks, book lights and totes, as well as "handcrafted treats" like chocolates and lollipops. Hidden Nook Booksellers also carries board games, which Rae Gosling described as their "other passion" aside from books. Customers won't find Monopoly or Clue but rather some modern classics like Ticket to Ride and other European-style games, sourced from companies such as Asmodee and "not usually found in Target."

Their first event was a storytime session on Saturday morning, and they plan to do those every weekend. The Goslings look forward to hosting local authors for readings and signings as well, and Rae Gosling remarked that they're "very fortunate" to already have relationships with some local authors in the region. Eventually they'll start hosting board game nights, so customers can have a chance to try out new games; Gosling pointed out that she and her husband own a copy of every game the store carries.

Rae and Liam Gosling with the custom counter they built.

Gosling said they are particularly proud of a custom checkout counter they built for the store. The body is made of old hardcover books that they stacked and glued together with a countertop above. The books were donated by community members, and the Goslings received far more than were needed for the counter. They've started making book art out of the extras, including "flying books" that they've hung from the ceiling with fishing line.

Prior to opening the bookstore, Rae Gosling worked in community economic development, helping small communities and small businesses promote themselves and make the most of their resources. While she's always wanted to own a bookstore, she imagined it would be something she did later in life, possibly after retirement.

The Goslings started thinking of it much more seriously about a year ago, when Saturn Booksellers in Gaylord, Mich., went up for sale. They looked into buying the bookstore but ultimately felt they couldn't make it work, as the Goslings have two children in middle school and Gaylord is around 35 minutes away. Given how important it is for small businesses to be active in their communities, they felt it would be a bit too taxing of a commute.

They decided they would "wait for a time to do something closer to home," and then in August they had an opportunity to purchase a building in downtown Grayling. Now, seven weeks later, "here we are," Gosling said.

Their original plan, she continued, was to open in mid-November, but the community was so eager for them to open that they "fast tracked" the process and opened their doors two weeks earlier than expected. "It's been a really great welcome," Gosling commented. People have been "so kind and generous," and "everyone who walks in is super stoked about it." --Alex Mutter

Zest Books: The Gender Binary Is a Big Lie: Infinite Identities around the World by Lee Wind

Iliad Bookshop, Los Angeles, Calif., Damaged by Arsonist

Iliad Bookshop in Los Angeles, Calif., has launched a GoFundMe campaign following an arson attack last week that caused heavy damage to the bookstore's main entrance, CBS News reported.

At about 11:30 p.m. last Thursday, someone stacked Iliad's free books against the doors and lit them on fire. Luckily, one of the bookstore's neighbors saw the fire and flagged down a passing fire truck. Owner Daniel Weinstein noted that if the firefighters had arrived any later, "the entire store would probably have gone up."

The front doors were damaged and need to be replaced or repaired, and Iliad Bookshop "lost lighting fixtures, signage and wood framing; we also suffered damage to the mural on the right side of the doors." And although smoke filled the inside of the store, they were able to rescue the bookstore cats Zeus and Apollo, and Weinstein and his team are hopeful there was little damage to the inventory and fixtures.

The person who set the fire also taped flyers to the bookstore's walls. Weinstein explained that despite being rambling and incoherent, they led him to believe that antisemitism was a possible motive for the attack.

"It could have been, I mean I'm Jewish, so maybe the antisemitism movement that's happening," Weinstein told CBS. "Maybe I'm a victim of that. Maybe somebody just didn't like our customer service here."

Money raised by the GoFundMe will go toward repair costs and paying a mural artist. The campaign has already raised more than $27,000.

GLOW: Flatiron Books: Private Rites by Julia Armfield

EIBF Conference: Bookselling: A World Tour

Moderator Hazel Broadfoot, Village Books, Dulwich, England, and president of the BA; Katerina Malakate, Booktalks, Athens, Greece; Aidai Maksatbekova, IQ Bookstore, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan; João Varella, Sala Tatuí and Banca Tatuí, São Paulo, Brazil.

During the European & International Booksellers Federation conference at the Frankfurt Book Fair last month, three booksellers from around the globe discussed their stores, trends, challenges and more. The roundtable Bookselling: A World Tour was moderated by Hazel Broadbent, owner of Village Books, Dulwich, England, and president of the Booksellers Association of the U.K. and Ireland.

In 2019, Aidai Maksatbekova founded IQ Bookstore, the only English-language bookstore in Kyrgyzstan, the former Soviet Republic in Central Asia. The store, located in the capital of Bishkek, began online, after Maksatbekova found it almost impossible to find English-language and other foreign language books in Kyrgyzstan, a country of seven million people whose official languages are Kyrgyz and Russian.

Aidai Maksatbekova

The bookselling challenges are striking. Only about 0.2% of the population is fluent in English (60,000-70,000 people), and the country's GDP per capita is just $1,200, making books for $15 "a luxury." There is also "a lack of reader culture" in the country, Maksatbekova said. "When the Soviet Union collapsed," she explained, "people stopped reading in order to feed themselves."

In addition, because Kyrgyzstan is landlocked, the supply chain is "very expensive." As in many places, prices for many kinds of goods have risen, and all paper is imported from Russia, which, not surprisingly has been a problem this year, resulting in paper prices increasing by 40%. There also are few translators in Kyrgyzstan in part because the government hasn't supported translators or publishers, but "the tables are turning," and people are starting to read more, and some books in English are being translated into Kyrgyz.

At first, IQ Bookstore was an online-only shop, which Maksatbekova promoted heavily on social media. The store become popular "in a short time because it's unusual." Also, "many people from TikTok" were drawn to it. Early this year, Maksatbekova opened a bricks-and-mortar location and offers more than 5,000 books.

Maksatbekova's main mission, she said, is "to make English and other foreign languages available in Kyrgyzstan and increase the number of people who speak foreign languages." She called this "very important for my country."


João Varella

João Varella is a bookseller, publisher, book fair organizer, author and journalist who founded the Brazilian publishing house Lote 42 and the bookstores Sala Tatuí and Banca Tatuí, both in São Paulo.

Varella started Lote 42 10 years ago and publishes a variety of genres, including fiction, nonfiction, comics/graphic novels and poetry, all of which have striking graphic design elements, drawing on Varella's background in visual arts and literature. (As an example, he showed a copy of Queria Ter Ficado Mais, which features chapters by 12 authors about different cities in the world. Each chapter is in the form of a letter in an envelope that must be pulled out and opened to be read.) Varella emphasized that the house is part of the independent publishing scene in Brazil that is creating a "different kind of reading experience."

To expand on that experience, Varella realized, he said, that he needed "a physical space where people could discover and buy these kinds of publications" on a regular basis, not just at book fairs. Because rent is expensive in São Paulo, he started by transforming a newsstand into a bookstore and now has two stores. One has some 600 books and zines by a range of independent publishers and the other is a space for courses and bookselling by appointment.

Varella noted that he plans to start a small print shop and do small print runs. He recalled that there's a long tradition of booksellers, publishers and printers "all being the same person." He suggested the book world "look backward to that," calling it "the future of bookselling."

Brazil shares the common current problems of inflation and problems involving paper, he continued. Brazil manufactures and exports paper, but paper prices in the country have increased a lot. Recently many bookstore chains in Brazil have gone bankrupt and "turned the market upside down." Most of the bestselling titles in Brazil are translations from abroad, and Varella said that if there were more "Brazilian voices," it would help a book ecosystem grow in the country. This is another reason that he focuses on selling books from independent Brazilian publishers.

He also noted that shipping books abroad is difficult for Brazilian publishers and booksellers because of Brazilian customs, so much so that whenever he travels abroad, he brings books in his luggage: "That's how we deliver."


Katerina Malakate

Katerina Malakate opened Booktalks, a bookstore and cafe, in Athens, Greece, 10 years ago. An author, book blogger and vice president of PEN Greece, Malakate wanted to boost book culture in the country and has emphasized creating deep, loyal relationships with customers. The store offers many literary events, two workshops focused on creative writing and reading, and two book clubs that are free if participants buy the books. The clubs are conducted in person and via Zoom because they attract many Greek emigres. She emphasized that the store doesn't just sell books, "we curate books, we recommend books."

During the pandemic, sales boomed at Booktalks because of the store's strong social media presence, allowing even more communication with customers, and because the store was able to supply books in one to two days while competitors weren't able to. "It was an opportunity, and we took it." As a result, sales for the store are now 50/50 in person and online. She observed that there are "two faces" in e-commerce: customers who are "anonymous" want titles immediately while others who chat are "a different story."

She noted that Greece has a population of "only nine million" while the store has some 130,000 Facebook followers, who "create content," talking about books and recommending books. Malakate herself has blogged about books since 2009, reading about 120 a year, which has translated well into social media as blogging has become less popular. Events, workshops and book clubs are always busy because Booktalks customers "want to read and want to write, which is why they're in a bookstore."

This all resonates because, Malakate said, Greece has "no reading culture," in part because there are "no libraries." Although most books published in Greece are of high quality--and few paperbacks appear--Greek publishing is limited to one edition since average sales are 3,000 copies per book. Imported titles are usually paperbacks, which by comparison are "like the small children of our books." About 80%-90% of the books are translations, and the author community is very small. "We have to open up the Greek book community," she said. "We have to have more original titles in Greek. We need more Greek authors."

Like other countries, Greece has been affected by the Russian attack against Ukraine. "We had imported all paper from Russia," Malakate said. "Now we have to go elsewhere." Book prices have risen a euro or two recently (about a dollar or two), but since the economic crisis in Greece 10 years ago, book prices had gone down and stayed down for a long time.

Still, Malakate is optimistic about the future, she said, in large part because of the shift in sales online and the growth of social media, which has expanded her customer base, making the store a hybrid model. Printed books are still key. "It's the best technology to read," she said. "If it weren't, I wouldn't be here." --John Mutter

Alex Baker: Exceptional Design And Creative Services For The Publishing Industry

B&N College Operating Santa Fe Community College Bookstore

Barnes & Noble College has taken over operations of the Santa Fe Community College bookstore this semester, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported. B&N College has managed the college's online bookstore since the 2021-2022 school year, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic the physical store was shuttered until the beginning of this semester.

B&N College and SFCC have a contract that will last through July 2026. Prior to partnering with B&N College, SFCC had always operated its own bookstore. Nick Telles, SFCC's vice-president of finance and CFO, told the New Mexican that pandemic-related difficulties and disruptions led to the college partnering with B&N College.

Obituary Note: Rebecca Godfrey

Rebecca Godfrey

Rebecca Godfrey, "who mapped the complex landscape of teenage transgression with exquisite detail and precise language in a novel, The Torn Skirt, and later in a nonfiction book, Under the Bridge, about a murder that became a cause célèbre in Canada," died October 3, the New York Times reported. She was 54.

In 1997, Godfrey was researching a novel in her hometown, Victoria, B.C., Canada, when she caught a glimpse of the teenagers, called "The Shoreline Six," who had been charged with the murder of 14-year-old Reena Virk. She became captivated by the case, deciding it would be the subject of her next book. Over time, Godfrey gained the trust of those involved. 

Nearly a decade in the making, Under the Bridge "was published in 2005 and drew comparisons to Truman Capote's In Cold Blood," the Times noted. It was reissued in 2019 with an introduction by author Mary Gaitskill, who called the book "a remarkable piece of investigative journalism," adding that Godfrey "allows us to almost see what is essentially unseeable."

"Rebecca was like a deeply rooted plant that moved with the water; it seems fragile but just try pulling it up," Gaitskill told the Times. "She was delicate but strong and deep."

Godfrey's first novel, The Torn Skirt, was "about a 16-year-old misfit and rebel named Sara who goes looking for trouble and, terrifyingly, finds it," eerily foreshadowing the world in which the author would immerse herself for Under the Bridge.

At her death, Godfrey had nearly completed a new novel, Peggy, based on the early life of Peggy Guggenheim, "including an affair she had with Samuel Beckett in Paris in the late 1930s," the Times wrote. Editor David Ebershoff said Godfrey left copious notes about how she wanted to finish the manuscript, which is scheduled to be published by Random House next summer.

Hulu will begin production next month on a limited series based on Under the Bridge. Writer and director Quinn Shephard collaborated with Godfrey for two and a half years to adapt the story for TV and both are credited as executive producers.

Although the book was written largely from the points of view of each of the people involved with the case, Shephard reworked Under the Bridge to make Godfrey the show's heroine. "Rebecca allowed me to embrace the rebellious, sensitive and mischievous spirit she had at the age when she wrote this," Shephard said. "I wonder if at the time, when she was in it, it was hard to see how special the story of her writing this truly was. She would often say that looking back, she wondered how she was able to do it, withstand all of that darkness for so many years."


Image of the Day: Paretsky Award Goes to Tracy Clark

Tracy Clark, author of the Chicago Mystery Series and the upcoming Harriet Foster Detective Series, received the Paretsky Award honoring mysteries set in the Midwest. The award was presented at the Midwest Mystery Conference on November 5 by conference co-chairs mystery author Lori Rader-Day (center) and Dana Kaye (Kaye Publicity; r.).

Book Display: Re-Writing the West

The King's English Bookshop in Salt Lake City, Utah, has launched an initiative called Re-Writing the West, which highlights books and authors that "respect the land, its resources and its native people," co-owner Calvin Crosby explained. Many of the featured authors are voices from the BIPOC community, particularly the indigenous community, and the queer community, "representing the fabric of the western states and who we are now."

Personnel Changes at Scholastic

Redina Demushi has been named associate global marketing manager for the global brands marketing & publicity team at Scholastic. Previously she worked in the company's international and export group as the senior international operations & marketing associate.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Kevin Wilson on Today

Today Show: Kevin Wilson, author of Now Is Not the Time to Panic: A Novel (Ecco, $27.99, 9780062913500).

CBS Mornings: Angie Thomas and Dhonielle Clayton, co-authors of Whiteout: A Novel (Quill Tree Books, $19.99, 9780063088146).

Also on CBS Mornings: Terry Crews, co-author of Terry's Crew (Little, Brown, $24.99, 9780316499965).

Rachael Ray: Zosia Mamet, author of My First Popsicle: An Anthology of Food and Feelings (Penguin Books, $26, 9780143137290).

Jennifer Hudson Show: Corey Yeager, author of How Am I Doing? 40 Conversations to Have with Yourself (Harper Celebrate, $22.99, 9781400236763).

Drew Barrymore Show: Nina West, author of The You Kind of Kind (Princeton Architectural Press, $18.95, 9781616899943).

Movies: Clicquot

Haley Bennett (The Rules Don't Apply, The Girl on the Train) will star in Clicquot, based on the 2008 book The Widow Clicquot: The Story of a Champagne Empire and the Woman Who Ruled It  by Tilar J. Mazzeo, Deadline reported. Production began in the French regions of Chablis and Reims on October 24.

Directed by Thomas Napper (Jawbone) from a screenplay by writers Erin Dignam (Land, Submergence) and Christopher Monger (Temple Grandin), the film's cast also includes Tom Sturridge (The Sandman, Irma Vep), Sam Riley (upcoming Firebrand, Maleficent), Leo Suter (Vikings: Valhalla), and Anson Boon (Pistol, 1917). Christina Weiss Lurie (Persuasion) will produce alongside Bennett, with Joe Wright and John Bernard as EPs. 

Books & Authors

Awards: Prix Goncourt Winner

Brigitte Giraud won the 2022 Prix Goncourt for her book Vivre Vite (Live Fast). France 24 reported that she is "the first female author to win the most prestigious French-language literary prize since Leïla Slimani's Chanson douce in 2016, and the 13th woman to win since the Goncourt was created 120 years ago." 

The award, which "guarantees hundreds of thousands of sales for the winning book," also comes with a €10 [about $9.72) check, "which the recipients prefer to frame rather than deposit in the bank," France 24 wrote.

This year's Prix Goncourt jury voted 14 times before a winner was chosen, the Guardian noted, adding that "after a final vote ended in stalemate, the president of the Goncourt Academy cast a deciding vote, choosing Giraud over her closest rival, Giuliano da Empoli."

Book Review

Review: The Lipstick Bureau

The Lipstick Bureau by Michelle Gable (Graydon House, $16.99 paperback, 464p., 9781525811470, December 27, 2022)

As World War II drags on, Czech American lawyer and journalist Nikola "Niki" Novotná is recruited to the Office of Strategic Services. Disappointed at first by her new assignment, Niki nonetheless comes to relish her role in Morale Operations. Michelle Gable (The Bookseller's Secret; The Book of Summer) follows Niki's twisting journey to create anti-Nazi propaganda and discover her family's fate.

Gable opens The Lipstick Bureau, her gripping sixth novel, in 1989, as Niki and her grown daughter, Andrea, attend a dinner in honor of "The Ladies of the O.S.S." Though Andrea knows vaguely that her mother worked in intelligence during the war, the evening prompts Niki to reveal more of her wartime story--including some shocking family secrets.

Most of Niki's work, and the novel's action, takes place in occupied Rome, flooded with soldiers from various Allied forces and Italians barely scraping by. Niki and her ragtag band of M.O. (Morale Operations) colleagues, which eventually includes her American sister-in-law, spend their days devising and printing material to destroy Nazi morale. Secretly, Niki is determined to visit her home city of Brnö, in the former Czechoslovakia, to discover the fate of her parents and her younger brother, Pasha, all of whom stayed behind when she left for the U.S.

Gable creates engaging characters, each with their own motivations for working in a backwater branch of intelligence: all of them, Niki included, are escaping difficulties in their prewar lives. Niki eventually comes up with a brilliant (if morally complex) scheme to use German POWs to drop their propaganda behind enemy lines. Practical and hardheaded, she forges ahead despite resistance and threats from her superiors, convinced that her plan will help hamstring the Nazi forces as the war wanes.

With Niki and her machinations at the center, Gable draws a detailed portrait of day-to-day intelligence work in wartime: its odd mix of creativity, camaraderie and bureaucracy, coupled with the ever-present threat of enemy attacks. Through Niki's activities and connections, including local prostitute Paloma, Gable captures the desperation and resourcefulness of women in wartime, the gnawing uncertainty of life in an occupied city, and the stubborn optimism of Allied agents with limited resources. 

Inspired by real-life figures such as Barbara Lauwers and New Yorker cartoonist Saul Steinberg, The Lipstick Bureau is a cracking good story, and a tribute to the courage and ingenuity of intelligence agents whose work has remained secret for so long. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

Shelf Talker: Michelle Gable's gripping sixth novel explores espionage, propaganda and friendship in occupied Rome during World War II.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Christmas Wishes and Cowboy Kisses by Various
2. Things We Never Got Over by Lucy Score
3. Coral Weddings (Summer Beach: Coral Cottage Book 4) by Jan Moran
4. Fractured Sky (The Tattered & Torn Series Book 5) by Catherine Cowles
5. Zeke (Hollister Book 2) by Kris Michaels
6. Billionaire Lumberjack by Gwyn McNamee
7. Luminary Leadership by Various
8. The Leader's Playlist by Susan Drumm
9. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki with Sharon L. Lechter
10. In Good Time by Tricia O'Malley

[Many thanks to!]

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