Shelf Awareness for Monday, April 3, 2023

University of Texas Press: Grief Is a Sneaky Bitch: An Uncensored Guide to Navigating Loss by Lisa Keefauver

Berkley Books: Hair-raising horror to sink your teeth into!

Berkley Books: The Hitchcock Hotel by Stephanie Wrobel

Queen Mab Media: Get Our Brand Toolkit

Ballantine Books: Gather Me: A Memoir in Praise of the Books That Saved Me by Glory Edim

Ace Books: Rewitched by Lucy Jane Wood

Graywolf Press: We're Alone: Essays by Edwidge Danticat

St. Martin's Press: Runaway Train: Or, the Story of My Life So Far by Erin Roberts with Sam Kashner

Quotation of the Day

'They Have to Be Able to Read, to Question'

"I came through the '80s when book banning was really at its height. And it was terrible. And then libraries and schools began to get policies in place and we saw a falling off of the desire to censor books.... Now it is back, it is back much worse--this is in America, it is back so much worse than it was in the '80s. Because it's become political.... I mean, that's crazy, that is so crazy. And it is so frightening that I think the only answer is for us to speak out and really keep speaking out, or we are going to lose our way....

"There's a group of mothers now going around saying that they want to protect their children. Protect them from what? You know, protect them from talking about things? Protect them from knowing about things? Because even if they don't let them read books, their bodies are still going to change and their feelings about their bodies are going to change. And you can't control that. They have to be able to read, to question."

--Author and bookseller Judy Blume, in an interview with BBC Radio4 Sunday's Laura Kuenssberg

BINC: Click to Apply to the Macmillan Booksellers Professional Development Scholarships


Calif.'s Cellar Door Bookstore Finds New Location

Cellar Door's current store.

Cellar Door Books, Riverside, Calif., will mark its last day at the Canyon Crest Towne Centre on May 6 and reopen sometime thereafter in its new location in the Mission Village Shopping Center, several miles to the south.

The new spot is "a really good location," owner Linda Sherman-Nurick told the Press-Enterprise. "We're excited to be there with all the great food places and a whole sense of belonging."

The new location has 1,617 square feet of space and is slightly smaller than the current store. The rent is also higher, but Sherman-Nurick noted that the old location's lease was negotiated a decade ago.

For Cellar Door, Independent Bookstore Day will also be a farewell party for the Canyon Crest Towne Centre site, where it has been located since its opening in 2012.

Cellar Door lost its lease suddenly earlier this year and was initially given only five weeks to find a new location and move.

Watkins Publishing: Fall Into Folklore! ARCS Available On Request

NYC's McNally Jackson Flagship Store Reopens in New Location

McNally Jackson's original, flagship store in New York City has completed its move "six blocks west to 134 Prince St." and is now open. "Farewell Nolita! Hello SoHo!" the bookstore declared in an e-mail to customers.

Owner Sarah McNally opened the Prince Street store in 2004 as McNally Robinson, part of the Canadian chain that her parents founded. In 2008, the store became independent and was renamed McNally Jackson. In 2019, McNally came close to moving the store after a substantial rent increase.

Over the years, McNally Jackson has added branches in Rockefeller Center, the Seaport, Williamsburg, and downtown Brooklyn. It also has a shop at LaGuardia Airport with Hudson Group, as well as two Goods for the Study writing and stationery stores in the West Village and Nolita, and McNally Jackson at the Shed (545 W. 30th St.), which features books related to the Shed's arts programming.

ABA and Bookshop Partner on E-Book Purchase Link

In the latest development involving bookstore partnerships for e-books and downloadable audiobooks, the American Booksellers Association is investing $200,000 in a feature that will allow indie bookstore customers "to click a link on an indie bookstore's e-commerce site to connect with Bookshop and make an e-book purchase," according to Bookselling This Week.

This feature is expected to launch in 2024 and is "similar to the way works for indie bookstores who offer audiobooks." Under the ABA/Bookshop model, bookstores will earn 30% of the retail price, similar to what stores earn on e-book purchases when customers buy from Bookshop through store partners. Last month, the ABA changed all buy buttons on IndieBound--its consumer-facing marketing platform--and affiliated sites to link with Bookshop.

The ABA was involved in the founding of Bookshop and owns 3.5% of the organization. Bookshop's seven-member board of directors always includes three indie booksellers, and Bookshop has an advisory board of 19 indie booksellers.

The move follows announcements a month ago that plans to add audiobooks and e-books to its offerings in the U.K. as well as develop a mobile app for customers, allowing U.K. indie booksellers to offer those products for the first time. The organization is planning to launch a private beta version of the service in late 2023, followed by a full launch in 2024. More than 550 independent booksellers in the U.K. use Bookshop.

In addition, announced plans to launch in the U.K., Australia and New Zealand in July, beginning with an invitation to booksellers in those countries to register as well as join its Audiobook Listening Copy (ALC) program. The ALC program gives booksellers upcoming and new audiobooks to listen to for free on in advance of the international launch. More than 80% of partner bookstore revenue comes from monthly memberships, though customers can also purchase individual audiobooks.

In the U.S., Bookshop partners with to offer audiobooks.

Obituary Note: Peter Usborne

Peter Usborne

Peter Usborne, founder of children's publisher Usborne, died March 30. He was 85. Announcing the passing of "our much-loved founder and chairman," the publisher said: "Peter was, in the truest sense of the word, a genius--his brilliance was matched only by his determination to make books accessible to all children. This determination was fueled by his passion for 'doing things better' than any other children's book publisher, matched with a child-like energy and curiosity that made him light up every room he stepped into. He was an exceptional publisher, an inspirational leader and a very kind, generous man who will be sorely missed by everyone who was lucky enough to know him."

In a statement, Nicola Usborne, his daughter and the company's managing director, observed: "We will miss him more than I can say. He was a brilliant, ever curious, ever enthusiastic man--who was also very kind, very generous and honorable and principled to his core.... We take some solace in the fact that he had such a very full life right up until the end.  He was so proud to pick up his CBE recently at Windsor Castle; he loved every minute of the Bologna Children's Book Fair and Usborne's 50th anniversary party with so many long-standing customers; he was thrilled at a recent fiction buy. 

"He spent his very last day yesterday in the office in a whole day meeting with HarperCollins US talking about the U.S. trade channel expansion that he was so excited by. He had traveled into his beloved office by tube--as he always did. He was living his life as he always wanted to. He never ever understood why anyone would want to retire, and he would have been so pleased that he never, even remotely, did."

"My dad was incredibly proud of everyone who works at Usborne, which includes many long-standing members of staff. He made clear that any award he was given was owed to all at Usborne and he read every book cover to cover. Dad was also immensely proud of the charity he co-founded, the Usborne Foundation. Giving back was enormously important to him.

"The company and all the staff meant so much to him. Irrespective of length of service my dad was a huge influence on Usborne and we're all feeling his loss hugely. I feel very lucky to have had a number of years learning from my dad about how he felt Usborne should be run. I will do my absolute best to keep his remarkable legacy alive as we take Usborne forward. My dad left very clear, indelible tracks for us to follow. It was his greatest wish that Usborne would keep on pushing forward, even ultimately without him."

Co-founder of the satirical magazine Private Eye, Usborne "founded his publishing house in 1973 when he found out he was going to become a parent," the Bookseller noted. Last month, he received a CBE from King Charles III, which followed an MBE in 2011 for services to the publishing industry and in 2015 he received the London Book Fair Lifetime Achievement Award. 

"I first met Peter when I took over HarperCollins in 2013--I took him for lunch at the Caprice," HarperCollins UK CEO Charlie Redmayne recalled. "He was there when I arrived--always punctual--I walked to the table and introduced myself--'Now I'm not going to sell you my company', he said. 'I haven't asked to buy your company', I replied. 'You will--they all do', he said with a knowing smile. He was of course right--what a wonderful man and a wonderful company he built. The word great is often used too freely--but Peter was one of the greats of publishing--and an exceptionally nice man with it."

The Independent Publishers Guild said in a statement: "We are so sad to hear of Peter's passing. He was one of the greatest ever independent publishers and a hero and inspiration to so many. We send our condolences to Peter's family, everyone at Usborne and his countless friends across publishing."

G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!
Remember You Will Die
by Eden Robins
GLOW: Sourcebooks Landmark: Remember You Will Die by Eden Robins

Despite the title, Eden Robins's Remember You Will Die is a joyously enlivening masterpiece. Only dead people inhabit the pages of this novel, their stories revealed predominantly through obituaries ranging from deeply soulful to hilariously delightful. As Christa Désir, editorial director for Bloom Books at Sourcebooks, promises, it's "a book about life and art and loss and being human and messy." By 2102, the singularity has long happened, and an AI called Peregrine learns that her 17-year-old daughter, Poppy, is dead. Unraveling this requires a three-century excavation of relationships, cultures, science, history, and brilliantly sourced etymology. Désir predicts "a cult classic" that readers will want to "immediately pick back up... to find more Easter eggs and clues." Eden Robins could have the singular bestseller of the year. --Terry Hong

(Sourcebooks Landmark, $16.99 paperback, 9781728256030, 
October 22, 2024)


Shelf vetted, publisher supported


Booksellers' #AprilFoolsDay: Indies Merge as GPCMMNEASBA

Many indie booksellers embraced Saturday's #AprilFoolsDay spirit on social media, especially the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association: "HUGE ANNOUNCEMENT!!! In an unprecedented merger within the bookselling industry, we are thrilled to announce The Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association has acquired its fellow eight regional trade associations. 'Consolidation is the future of our industry and we just cut to the end.' " --Co-Co-Co-Co-Co-Co-Co-Co-Co Executive Director Larry Law

"GLIBA will be rebranding as The Great Pacific California Midwest Mountain New England Atlantic Southern Booksellers Association. GPCMMNEASBA for short. One regional bookselling trade organization to rule them all, one regional bookselling trade organization to find them, One regional bookselling trade organization to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them; like a book." --Co-Co-Co-Co-Co-Co-Co-Co President, Tim Smith, Schuler Books 

Check out our new merch!"

At Green Apple Books in San Francisco, all the staff favorite shelf talkers now say succinctly: "good book."

Other indies having fun:

Brick & Mortar Books, Redmond, Wash.: "Please heed the following announcement! Rather than refer to our staff members as 'booksellers,' we have updated our titles.... If you choose not to abide by these titles, we shall be very cross with you! Happy April 1st."

Strand Bookstore, New York, N.Y.: "It's monstrous. It's gargantuan. You could take it camping. You could slide it across the floor after a bank job. Meet our new ludicrously capacious 18 mile tote bag. Finally a tote that can hold all of our 18 miles of books!"

Firestorm Books & Coffee, Asheville, N.C.: "After nearly 15 years as a worker-owned project, we've made the difficult decision to move away from the collective model. There were simply too many meetings, too many needs and opinions to balance.... Without further ado, let me introduce you to Firestorm's new CEO and beloved monarch, Mx. Julius Caesar Salad!"

Thank You Books, Birmingham, Ala.: "Omg omg omg omg. We are still recovering after a surprise visit from @RealChalamet this morning!!!!! A few signed copies of DUNE available but going fast!!!!!"

Left Bank Books, St. Louis, Mo.: "Adopt your fave bookstore cat!! After receiving lots of complaints from our booksellers, we have made the difficult decision to place Orleans up for adoption. His presence is no longer conducive to a productive work environment and has negatively affected the culture of the store, as outlined in the complaints below.... As you can imagine, this is a very tough time for (some of) us. Please only call with serious requests. The number to reach us is 1-800-APR-ILF-OOLS."

Good Neighbor Bookstore, Lakewood, N.Y.: "BREAKING: Good Neighbor Bookstore Under New Ownership. After years of destroying small businesses and local economies through price manipulation, tax avoidance, harvesting and selling customer data, exploiting workers, and flying into space in a questionably shaped rocket--Jeff Bezos has decided to give up his billionaire lifestyle and has given Bob Lingle an offer he couldn't refuse."

Analog Books, Lethbridge, Alb., Canada: "Due to unprecedented demand and constant requests, we are proud to announce the grand opening today of: 'HUGO'S MEWS and BREWS CAT CAFÉ.' A café just for cats serving Catnip Cappuccinos, Warm Milk Lattes and Mouse Tail Muffins. Located in the former Analog Books Location." Update: "Thank you to everyone who supported Hugo's Mews and Brews Cat Cafe. Unfortunately, we had an a little issue with health regulations. Perhaps we'll be back next year."

And in case you missed it, Shelf Awareness made a few announcements as well.

Image of the Day: Thunder Road Books Presents Jeannette Walls

Thunder Road Books in Spring Lake, N.J., hosted an appearance by Jeannette Walls for her new novel, Hang the Moon (Scribner), at the Spring Lake Theatre. Walls was in conversation with Kate Czyzewski, manager of Thunder Road Books. Pictured: Walls (second from left) with Thunder Road staff Karen Titus, Czyzewski, Kelsey Lynch and Caroline Giblin.

Chalkboard: The Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza

The Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany, N.Y., shared a photo of the shop's Poetry Month-themed sidewalk chalkboard, "with chalk artist Kira's poetic artistry." The message: 

April Celebrates 
National Poetry Month
This is a Haiku.

(go ahead, count it)

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Bart D. Ehrman on Fresh Air

Good Morning America: Deepak Chopra, co-author of Living in the Light: Yoga for Self-Realization (Harmony, $24, 9780593235423).

Also on GMA: Kem, author of Share My Life: A Journey of Love, Faith and Redemption (Simon & Schuster, $27.99, 9781982191245).

Today Show: Leslie Odom, Jr. and Nicolette Robinson, authors of I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know (Feiwel & Friends, $17.99, 9781250265647).

CBS Mornings: Mo Willems, author of Be the Bus: The Lost & Profound Wisdom of The Pigeon (Union Square, $15.99, 9781454948193). He will also appear on the Tonight Show.

Fresh Air: Bart D. Ehrman, author of Armageddon: What the Bible Really Says about the End (Simon & Schuster, $27.99, 9781982147990).

Jennifer Hudson Show: Kevin Nealon, author of I Exaggerate: My Brushes with Fame (Abrams, $35, 9781419761980).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Stephen A. Smith, author of Straight Shooter: A Memoir of Second Chances and First Takes (Gallery/13A, $28.99, 9781982189495).

Good Morning America: Tracey Baptiste, author of Mermaid and Pirate (Algonquin Young Readers, $18.99, 9781643750774).

Also on GMA: Dr. Ian K. Smith, author of The Met Flex Diet: Burn Better Fuel, Burn More Fat (Harvest, $29.99, 9780063289826).

Late Night with Seth Meyers: Judd Winick, author of Hilo Book 9: Gina and the Last City on Earth (Random House Graphic, $13.99, 9780593488096).

TV: Man on Fire

Netflix has ordered Man on Fire, an eight-episode series based on A.J. Quinnell's novels Man on Fire and The Perfect Kill, the first two books in a five-book series. Deadline reported that the project is from writer/executive producer Kyle Killen (Fear Street: Part One--1994, Halo), New Regency Productions--producer of Tony Scott's 2004 film version of Man on Fire, starring Denzel Washington and Scott Glenn--and Chernin Entertainment.

Books & Authors

Awards: Stella Shortlist

A shortlist has been released for the A$60,000 (about US$40,130) Stella Prize, which "features two works of nonfiction, a graphic memoir, one book of poetry, and two novels, and celebrates established and debut Australian women writers." Each of the finalists receives A$4,000 (about US$2,675). The winner will be named April 27 at a ceremony in Sydney. This year's finalists are:

We Come With This Place by Debra Dank 
big beautiful female theory by Eloise Grills
The Jaguar by Sarah Holland-Batt 
Hydra by Adriane Howell 
Indelible City by Louisa Lim 
Bad Art Mother by Edwina Preston 

Book Review

Review: Chita

Chita: A Memoir by Chita Rivera (HarperOne, $29.99 hardcover, 320p., 9780063226791, April 25, 2023)

In most showbiz memoirs written when the star is in, shall we say, her third act, the early- and mid-career highlights tend to dominate. Not so with Chita, a showstopping retrospective by musical theater legend Chita Rivera, written with Patrick Pacheco: the 10-time Tony Award nominee and possessor of multiple theater trophies was being courted by awards into her 80s. Steady work across the decades has brought Rivera so many places that, as she writes, she can't relate to Broadway's survivor anthem "I'm Still Here": "It's brilliant, like all of Steve Sondheim's work. But where was 'here'? Not any place I'd been. So how could I still be 'here'?"

Rivera didn't start out much of anywhere. Born Dolores Conchita Figueroa del Rivero in 1933, Rivera grew up in a bustling Catholic household in Washington, D.C., the daughter of a Scottish-Irish mother (or so Rivera thought; the truth is more complicated) and a Puerto Rico-born musician father, who died when she was seven. In hopes of redirecting her tomboy daughter's thrill-seeking energies, Rivera's mother signed her up for ballet lessons. Scouts spotted Rivera as a teenager and lured her to New York's School of American Ballet with a scholarship. Several years of dues-paying later, Rivera found herself originating the role of Anita in the 1957 Broadway production of West Side Story. Suddenly, being "shorter, darker, and more Puerto Rican" than her dancing peers was a career asset.

Chita is awash in stories about Rivera's encounters with leading lights of Old Broadway, among them Elaine Stritch, Liza Minnelli and Sammy Davis Jr. ("a friend and one-time lover"). There's an indispensable chapter devoted to her experience originating the role of Velma Kelly in 1975's Chicago, which involved collaboration with her dancer friend Gwen Verdon and Verdon's husband, the director, choreographer and incurable womanizer Bob Fosse. ("He never tried anything with me, and I'm not sure I'm not a little upset by that.")

Chita is notable for its spirit of unflagging fellowship in a famously competitive and backstabby business. Rivera has no time for the press's manufactured rivalries (Rivera versus Verdon; Rivera versus Rita Moreno, the first West Side Story movie's Anita), although she allows her alter ego, Dolores, the odd diva moment ("What's up with all these actresses winning Oscars for playing roles I created?"). How fabulous for readers that Rivera is still here--and that they now have her knockout memoir. --Nell Beram, author and freelance writer

Shelf Talker: This showstopping memoir by musical theater legend Chita Rivera is notable for its spirit of unflagging fellowship in a famously competitive and backstabby business.

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