Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Margaret K. McElderry Books: Bonesmith (House of the Dead Duology) by Nicki Pau Preto

Flatiron Books: Where There Was Fire by John Manuel Arias

Peachtree Publishers: Buddy and Bea series by Jan Carr, illustrated by Kris Mukai

Tor Teen: The Hunting Moon (The Luminaries #2) by Susan Dennard

Atria Books: The River We Remember by William Kent Krueger


Grand Opening for Twelve Points Book Company, Terre Haute, Ind.

Twelve Points Book Company hosted its grand opening at 1279 Lafayette Avenue, Terre Haute, Ind., last Friday. It was the first official day that owner John Cannaday could "serve alcoholic beverages from his partners--beers from Afterburner, the Terre Haute Brewing Company and People's Brewing Company out of Lafayette, as well as Chardonnay, a dry red and two roses from WaterTower Estates," the Tribune-Star reported. 

"Thank you to everyone who came out last night to celebrate the grand opening!" Cannaday posted on Facebook the next day. "You created an incredibly special environment and I cannot wait to have more nights like that! We're open again today from 11 to 9! Come on out and start your New Years celebrations by picking out a book and having a glass of your favorite local brews! Thank you thank you thank you!"

Twelve Points Book Company made its debut as a weekly pop-up earlier last year. Cannaday told the Tribune-Star he has been encouraged by sales during the first month of business: "Small Business Saturday was huge, and I can't anticipate having days like that until next Small Business Saturday, but the Wednesday before Christmas was my second best day of the year."

Inclusiveness is a key goal at Twelve Points Book Company. "People of all ages are still welcome despite the alcohol," Cannaday said. In addition to books, drinks and comfortable sofas, the store offers jigsaw puzzles and study spaces. "I want it to be a community living room."

G.P. Putnam's Sons: The Hike by Lucy Clarke

POTUS44's Reading List: Obama's Favorite Books of 2022

Former President Barack Obama shared a list of his favorite books from this year, noting: "I always look forward to sharing my lists of favorite books, movies, and music with all of you. First up, here are some of the books I read and enjoyed this year. Let me know which books I should check out in 2023." Obama's favorite reads were:

The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times by Michelle Obama ("I'm a bit biased on this one.")
Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel
Trust by Hernan Diaz
The Revolutionary: Samuel Adams by Stacy Schiff
The Furrows by Namwali Serpell
South to America: A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation by Imani Perry
The School for Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan
Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands by Kate Beaton
Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson
An Immense World: How Animal Senses Reveal the Hidden Realms Around Us by Ed Yong
Liberation Day by George Saunders
The Candy House by Jennifer Egan
Afterlives by Abdulrazak Gurnah

GLOW: Pajama Press: The Imaginary Alphabet by Sylvie Daigneault

Winners of Nancy Olson Bookseller Award

Cat Bock
Kristin Kehl
Mary Salazar

The recipients of the 2022 Nancy Olson Bookseller Award, honoring the memory of legendary bookseller and founder of Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, N.C., and recognizing booksellers who are not store owners for "bringing books to readers," are Cat Bock of Parnassus Books, Nashville, Tenn.; Kristin Kehl of Midtown Reader in Tallahassee, Fla.; and Mary Salazar of the Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, N.C. This marks the first year that the awards have been given to three booksellers instead of the usual two. Each winner receives $2,000, funded by an anonymous donor.

Linda-Marie Barrett, executive director of the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance, which sponsors the award, said that the award "reminds us each year of the great Nancy Olson's legacy, and of the incredible dedication and passion among SIBA booksellers to connect readers with books, and authors with new audiences."

Jim Olson, husband of Nancy Olson and a member of the jury that selects the recipients, said, "With so many high quality nominations, it was extremely difficult to select the top ones. Nancy would approve of those chosen. She loved selecting and selling books and our choices show this same attitude."

Sarah Goddin, another jury member and former longtime Quail Ridge bookseller, said, "Every year I'm humbled and gratified to read the nominations submitted by the colleagues, customers, and friends of my fellow booksellers and realize how many bookselling stars are out there connecting people to books every day."

For more about the winning booksellers, click here.

Obituary Note: Joyce Meskis

Joyce Meskis

Joyce Meskis, who built the Tattered Cover, Denver, Colo., into one of the premier independent bookstores in the world, was an inspiration to several generations of independent booksellers, and was a champion of free speech and the First Amendment, died on December 22. She was 80.

In 1974, Meskis bought the Tattered Cover, then a small bookstore of 950 square feet. The bookstore steadily expanded, and for a time, occupied the 40,000-square-foot space of a former department store in Cherry Creek, with four floors and a full-service restaurant on the top floor, making it one of the largest bookstores, chain or independent, in the country.

Tattered Cover pioneered or perfected many staples of independent bookselling, including having cafes, encouraging customers to sit and read, offering an extensive range of author events and other programming, and seeking to make the stores community centers. She also emphasized staff training, sent employees to booksellers schools, encouraged them to be involved in book world organizations and treated staff with respect and openness.

Under Meskis's leadership, in the 1990s, Tattered Cover opened in the Lower Downtown district, which helped rejuvenate the area after a period of decline. It also opened branches in and around Denver and now has eight stores, as well as several outlets at the Denver International Airport that are managed by Hudson News. She sold the Tattered Cover in 2015 to Len Vlahos and Kristen Gilligan. A group led by Kwame Spearman bought the store in 2020.

Meskis was deeply involved in bookselling organizations. She was president of the American Booksellers Association, taught regularly at the old ABA booksellers schools and was executive director of the Denver Publishing Institute for seven years. She was also instrumental in the founding and growth of what is now called the Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association. As Heather Duncan, executive director of MPIBA, noted: "The association began as the Denver Booksellers Association in 1956, became the Colorado Booksellers Association in the early '70s, and was incorporated as MPBA in January 1980. Joyce (then Joyce Knauer) acted as chairman of the organizational meeting of the newly formed board of directors and was elected the first president of the board at that meeting."

Meskis's was a lifelong supporter of free speech and the First Amendment and engaged in several important legal cases that the store ultimately won in the Colorado supreme court. One fought a 1984 law that criminalized the sale and display of sexually oriented material to minors. Another, decided in 2002, limited drug enforcement agents from accessing store records of a suspect's book purchases.

Meskis founded the Colorado Freedom of Expression Foundation and won the Jean Otto Friend of Freedom Award from the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition and the William J. Brennan, Jr. Award from the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression. She also won the Gordon Saul Memorial Award for Bookseller of the Year in 1997 from MPIBA and was the recipient of an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the University of Denver as well as the Distinguished Service Award for Outstanding Achievement and Exceptional Service to the Denver Metropolitan Area from the University of Colorado.

Joyce Meskis Remembered

Joyce Meskis

A range of former Tattered Cover staff members and friends in the book world remember Joyce Meskis, who died on December 22, 2022, at the age of 80:

The Tattered Cover wrote that after Meskis bought the business in 1974, "the store grew as Denver did, eventually becoming one of the largest and most revered bookstores in America. During Meskis's tenure, Tattered Cover was also a bastion of the First Amendment, earning Joyce many awards for her activism.

"Joyce is the reason why we are all able to call Tattered Cover home. Joyce was a literary lioness that evolved our industry in a way that few others had done before her. She was also a friend and mentor to so many at Tattered Cover and around the globe.

"We are currently coming up with ways to honor Joyce and her global legacy and will keep you apprised of any new information. For now, please hug your colleagues, family, and friends. Life is too short."

Oren Teicher, former CEO of the American Booksellers Association: "Joyce was one of the first people I met in the book business, back in the late '80s. She had a profound influence on everything I did for the next 35-plus years. All of us who had the privilege of working and knowing her are better off as a result.

"Not only did she invent the modern indie bookstore, but she framed the debate over free speech in a way no one else ever did. Her courageous stands were legendary. Long before it was fashionable, Joyce also led the way in treating all employees with dignity and respect. She set a standard for integrity that was unmatched.

"Anyone who knew Joyce also knew that she was a fiercely private person and would shun off any and all accolades that came her way, but no one deserves to be praised more than she. The Tattered Cover, the larger Denver community and the entire book industry have lost a giant."

Kristen Gilligan, Len Vlahos, Cathy Langer, Joyce Meskis and Oren Teicher at Tattered Cover in 2016. (via)

Len Vlahos, former co-owner of Tattered Cover with his wife, Kristen Gilligan: "For all of the truly great things Joyce accomplished, she remained both humble and grounded. I saw firsthand how she valued the opinion of every colleague and took the time to see any and all challenges from every angle. Kristen and I learned so much from Joyce during our first couple of years at Tattered Cover, and we will forever be in her debt. She was a remarkable woman whose impact in Denver and the book community will be felt for generations to come."

Cathy Langer, retired longtime Tattered Cover staff member and director of buying: "One of the many words of wisdom I learned from Joyce when I started working at the Tattered Cover was 'leave your ego at the door.' Initially it was a gentle reminder to new booksellers that we didn't know everything (!), but it was also a mantra that impacted how we came to think about our work, customers, friends and family. We learned how to listen, carefully and respectfully. We learned how to be open to new ideas and differing opinions. We learned how to do hard things and that mistakes were okay. No one is perfect.

"Joyce was the embodiment of that mantra. This amazing, brilliant, kind visionary would deflect attention and accolades, of which there were many, and thank and sing the praises of those who wanted to celebrate her. In our grief and appreciation of the impact she made on our world, recounting all the good things she accomplished and the good fights she fought, we know what she'd say in response. She would say thank you all for all you do. I say: Thank you Joyce, for changing so many lives and for making the world a better place."

Mitchell Kaplan, owner of Books & Books in southern Florida: "In her quiet, steady way, Joyce influenced an entire generation of booksellers. Her fierce advocacy for the right to read and First Amendment protections became a North Star guiding so many of us as we faced challenges in our own communities. Little did I know when I was a student at the University of Colorado in Boulder during the mid-1970s making my way to the early iterations of the Tattered Cover that I would have the pleasure to serve with her on the board of the ABA and in the process develop a better understanding of the profound and sacred responsibilities of independent bookselling."

Chuck Robinson, co-founder and former owner of Village Books, Bellingham and Lynden, Wash.: "I was so fortunate to have Joyce as a friend and mentor. We joined the ABA board at the same time and I later became her vice-president. We spent a lot of time together over the course of my nine years on the board.

"Those who knew her well know how she was often very private with personal information. One of my favorite memories was of a time that we were at meetings in New York City and staying in the same hotel. After an evening event, we sat in the bar drinking wine and discussing the book business. As the bar closed, we took our glasses to a bench in the lobby.  I then asked Joyce how her life was, aside from the book business.  She beamed, then went on to tell me about Jed. I don't think I'd ever seen her so happy.

"The book business has lost a great person and the fiercest champion for the First Amendment that I've ever met, and I've met quite a few."

Suzy Staubach, former general books division manager at the old UConn Coop Bookstore, Storrs, Conn.: "Joyce was the North Star for so many of us in bookselling. Wise. Strong. Passionate yet calm. Her advocacy for the Freedom to Read set the bar for the rest of us. Even though she was a leader, she always acted if you were her equal. I had the honor of working with her on various bookselling committees, task forces and boards, and always came away learning from her and admiring her. And loving her. Even competitors learned from her. After all, it was the green rugs and comfy seating in her stores that Barnes & Noble copied."

Kent Watson, executive director, Small Press Distribution: "Joyce Meskis was an absolute book industry champion who created one of the most iconic bookstores in the world. A bookstore that openly trusted and respected staff and customers. A solace to any reader. An oasis that defended First Amendment rights allowing everyone to find what they wanted to read. A store where customer service was paramount.

"Joyce's vision of allowing people to shop and enjoy books in a comfortable environment with overstuffed chairs, warm wood tones, and inviting green carpet created a relaxed atmosphere. No detail was overlooked, even the computers were painted dark brown to try and conceal them.

"In November of 1990, I was lucky enough to be hired by the Tattered Cover. I had no idea how my temporary holiday work would impact my life. Over the course of three-and-a-half years, I worked at the store and become the newsstand buyer. Through what I learned from Joyce and the Tattered Cover, I went on to work in other facets of the book/publishing industry. I have lifelong friends that I met at Tattered Cover, friends who not only help each other but continue to shape the book industry.

"I use the book industry skills and customer service I learned at the Tattered Cover each day. In fact, I use an '8 at 8' store meeting structure in each meeting that I hold. The '8 at 8' was a monthly meeting held the eighth day of each month at 8 a.m. The meeting was open to all staff, had no agenda, and offered any staff member the opportunity talk through anything. No subject was off limits. The meeting created an open environment of trust, compassion, and understanding for everyone."

Kalen Landow, sales director at Microcosm Publishing: "I have never met a person more consistent in their values than Joyce. She was unwavering in her commitment to the First Amendment and reader privacy.

"I was at Tattered Cover when The Satanic Verses was released. Her commitment to free expression was inspiring and we all knew we were part of something important in her (and our) commitment to continue selling the book. I hold that as a proud time in my career.

"I learned my customer service ethic from her. Again, she was consistent and always empowered employees to make the best decision possible in the moment--nearly any situation could be unraveled/reconciled on the back end and should disrupt things for the customer as little as possible.

"Funny, I still bristle when a bookseller or a grocery clerk comments on a purchase. She believed that what we buy is deeply personal. The novel I'm buying right now might not be at all sensitive, but the person in line behind me might be buying a book they are uncomfortable buying, something on a sensitive topic. You wouldn't want them to overhear that conversation for fear they might decide not to make their purchase because the cashier might take note of what they're buying. Or worse, comment on it. And that might be the book that will save their life."


Books Are Magic Recognizes Those Who Delivered


Posted on Instagram by Books Are Magic, Brooklyn, N.Y.: "With the year coming to a close, there are two amazing people we would be absolutely remiss not to thank. Brandon and Karl are our primary UPS and USPS pals and they are truly the best in the biz! We don’t know how we got so lucky as to work with these guys, but we definitely couldn’t do it without them. Let’s hear it for Brandon, Karl, and all of the delivery workers who have trekked through rain, snow, and all nature of extreme weather to get books in your hands this year!"

'Special Thanks to the Crew of Booksellers'

The holiday season is the perfect time to share family photos, and several indie booksellers used the moment to post staff pics on social media, including:

At Third Place Books

Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, Wash.: "HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM THIRD PLACE BOOKS!!! We want to thank all our customers who came into our stores and made Third Place Books their holiday shopping destination! We are so grateful to all of you. Special thanks to the crew of booksellers and gift wrappers. We did it!!... As always, happy reading everyone."

Carmichael's Bookstore, Louisville, Ky.: "Happy Christmas Eve from the closing crews at our Bardstown Road and Frankfort Avenue locations."

At Cavalier House

Cavalier House Books, Denham Springs, La.: "Happy Christmas and merriest of holiday wishes to one and all! We've had an amazing year and a lovely holiday season! Wishing everyone the very best in the coming year!"

Vintage Bookstore & Wine Bar, Austin, Tex.: "From our little family to yours, Happy Holidays! Wishing you all a wonderful season of celebrations!"

Chalkboards: 'New Year, Same Ole' Amazing You!'

Indie booksellers were celebrating the new year in many ways, including updated sidewalk chalkboard messages. Here's a sampling: 

Cibilo Chicks Bookstore, Selma, Tex.: "Sounds like some great resolutions!! The store is open from 11-5 Sunday and Monday so stop by and work on that resolution!!"

The Open Book, Warrenton, Va.: "New Year, same ole' amazing you! We're grateful for each of you, the best customers this little shop could ask for.... Let's do this 2023!!"

Interabang Books, Dallas, Tex.: "Happy New Year! What is your reading goal for 2023?"

The Bookworm, Bernardsville, N.J.: "Sneak peek at our staff's New Year's resolutions."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Robert Gottlieb on Fresh Air

Good Morning America: Marjorie Ingall, co-author of Sorry, Sorry, Sorry: The Case for Good Apologies (Gallery, $28.99, 9781982163495).

Today Show: Robert Waldinger, co-author of The Good Life: Lessons from the World's Longest Scientific Study of Happiness (Simon & Schuster, $28.99, 9781982166694).

Fresh Air: Robert Gottlieb, whose 50-year relationship editing Robert Caro is the subject of Turn Every Page, the new documentary directed by his daughter, Lizzie Gottlieb.

Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Michelle Obama, author of The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times (Crown, $32.50, 9780593237465).

CBS Mornings: Ian Bremmer, author of The Power of Crisis: How Three Threats--and Our Response--Will Change the World (Simon & Schuster, $28, 9781982167509).

Today Show: Melissa Clark, author of Dinner in One: Exceptional & Easy One-Pan Meals: A Cookbook (Clarkson Potter, $29.99, 9780593233252).

Live with Kelly and Ryan: Gregory Scott Brown, author of The Self-Healing Mind: An Essential Five-Step Practice for Overcoming Anxiety and Depression, and Revitalizing Your Life (Harper Wave, $27.99, 9780063094475).

Late Late Show with James Corden repeat: Kal Penn, author of You Can't Be Serious (Gallery, $28, 9781982171384).

TV: Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story

Netflix has offered a sneak peek at the upcoming series Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story, based on a novel co-written by Shonda Rhimes and Julia Quinn, author of the historical-romance books adapted into the hit Bridgerton TV series. IndieWire reported that the prequel "focuses on the rise of the titular royal, played by India Amarteifio. Actress Golda Rosheuvel portrays the queen in Bridgerton."

The new sneak peek at Queen Charlotte introduces Arsema Thomas as a young Lady Danbury. Adjoa Andoh plays Danbury in Bridgerton. Cyril Nri is set to play then-Lord Danbury opposite Thomas. Michelle Fairley, Richard Cunningham, Connie Jenkens-Grieg, Sam Clemmett, Corey Mylchreest, Kate Brayben, and Keir Charles round out the cast.

The official logline for the eight-episode prequel series reads: "Centered on Queen Charlotte's rise to prominence and power, this Bridgerton-verse prequel tells the story of how the young Queen's marriage to King George sparked both a great love story and a societal shift, creating the world of the Ton inherited by the characters in Bridgerton."

 "Queen Charlotte has been such a moving character to write and now having the opportunity to work with Julia to adapt this story into a book is such an exciting opportunity," said Rhimes, who also serves as an executive producer alongside Betsy Beers and Tom Verica. "I can't wait for fans of this universe to read the story of a character that has resonated so deeply with our audience."

Books & Authors

Awards: King Charles III's New Year's Honors List

Authors Hermione Lee, Catherine Belton, Francesca Simon and Dara McAnulty were among those recognized in King Charles III's first New Year's Honors list, the Bookseller reported. 

Lee was awarded a Knights Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire, the highest OBE honor possible, for services to English Literature. British Library CEO Roly Keating received a knighthood for services to literature, alongside artist Grayson Perry, author of The Descent of Man and Playing to the Gallery. Vernon Bogdanor, author and professor of government at King's College, London, was given a knighthood for services to political science. 

CBEs went to Neil Mendoza, commissioner for Cultural Recovery and Renewal, the task force set up to advise on how U.K. culture could recover after Covid-19, and to Claire Whitaker, a member of the cultural recovery board, for services to arts and culture.

Awarded OBEs were author Kimberley Griffith Reynolds for services to literature and David Sutherland for services to illustration. 

Catherine Belton, author of Putin's People: How the KGB Took Back Russia and Then Took on the West, received an MBE for services to journalism while the Horrid Henry series author Francesca Simon got an MBE for services to literature. Also awarded an MBE was historian and editor Helena Whitbread for services to history and to literature, along with Stephen John Bleakley for services to libraries and to the community in Fermanagh, Omagh and Fivemiletown; Dr. Edson Burton for services to the arts and to the community in Bristol; and Susan Anne Crowley for services to public libraries. 

A separate overseas honors list compiled to recognize "extraordinary people" for their service to the U.K. overseas and abroad included Lesley Lokko, founder and director of Africa Futures Institute in Accra, Ghana (OBE for services to architecture and education), and author Dara McAnulty (British Empire Medal for services to the environment and to people with autism spectrum disorder). Also receiving OBEs were librarians Zoey Dixon, Alan Garnsworthy and Sylvia Knights.

British Empire Medals went to authors Jessie Smith for services to the Scottish Traveller community; Molly Watts for services to literature during Covid 19; and Reverend Jason Young for services to cultural heritage and public awareness of Black British history through the creative arts.

Book Review

Review: Western Lane

Western Lane by Chetna Maroo (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $25 hardcover, 160p., 9780374607494, February 7, 2023)

A slender yet potent family drama set in an unnamed English town, Chetna Maroo's Western Lane is the story of a girl driven to become an accomplished squash player by her father, who channels his grief over his wife's death into athletic ambitions for his daughters. Maroo's debut is a poignant illustration of the power of sports to help a family deal with grief--and each other--as they gradually make their way out of the darkness. The novel opens at the onset of a mild autumn, the unpredictable moods of classic British weather serving as an atmospheric backdrop for the young narrator as she emerges from the shadows of her family and finds herself occupying its pulsating center.

Eleven-year-old Gopi has recently lost her mother. Her teenage sisters, Mona and Khush, are as bereft as Gopi, but the three girls are relatively okay compared to their devastated father. Pa is a self-employed electrician who, in his despair, has lost sight of his children's needs. The only time he truly communicates with Gopi and her sisters is when they discuss squash techniques or practice drills at the local sports center, Western Lane, a decrepit place with peeling paint, a bar and a couple of barely used glass-backed squash courts. As the sisters become increasingly unmoored from their emotionally unavailable father, squash serves as the family's only common language. The game becomes, for Gopi, a form of deliverance from her family's bewildered state of loss. Playing on the squash court instantly transports her to a state of energized bliss where she feels in control and, most importantly, experiences the longed-for warmth of her father's love and attention.

British Indian author Maroo, the winner of the 2022 Plimpton Prize for Fiction from the Paris Review, is a marvelous and restrained storyteller and draws readers into Gopi's world with flashbacks from happier times and powerful undertones of a broken family slowly trying to heal. As Gopi and a fellow squash player develop a budding friendship and practice together for their first tournament, it becomes clear to the sisters that one of them will soon be sent 400 miles away to Edinburgh, to live with their aunt and uncle, a childless couple eager to informally adopt one of the girls.

The hypnotic gloom of Western Lane is undercut with subtle humor and an innocence that radiates from Gopi as she tries with heartbreaking sincerity to embrace the future her father has chosen for her. --Shahina Piyarali, reviewer

Shelf Talker: A haunting British debut about a young motherless athlete and her relationship to an intense racket sport that offers liberation from the grief and confusion of losing a parent.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. The Perfect Marriage by Jeneva Rose
2. Things We Never Got Over by Lucy Score
3. Tangled in Tinsel by Trilina Pucci
4. Tis the Season for Revenge by Morgan Elizabeth
5. Ignite by Melanie Harlow
6. Let It Snow by Beth Moran
7. Untying the Knot by Meghan Quinn
8. One Bossy Date by Nicole Snow
9. The Intern by Marni Mann
10. Offside by Avery Keelan

[Many thanks to!]

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