Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Hampton Roads Publishing Company: Becoming Baba Yaga: Trickster, Feminist, and Witch of the Woods by Kris Spisak, Foreword by Gennarose Nethercott

Dial Press: Like Mother, Like Mother by Susan Rieger

Severn House: A Messy Murder (Main) (The Decluttering Mysteries #4) by Simon Brett

Forge: My Three Dogs by Bruce W Cameron

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

Chronicle Books: Taste in Music: Eating on Tour with Indie Musicians by Luke Pyenson and Alex Beeker


The Press Bookstore and Coffee Shop Opens in Valparaiso, Ind.

The Press Bookstore and Coffee Shop has opened in downtown Valparaiso, Ind., NWI Times reported.

Co-owners John and Dia Montgomery sell a wide range of new titles and in designing the shop have embraced  "the nostalgia of the physical ink-on-paper experience." There are books for children, teens, and adults, with genres such as fiction, nonfiction, travel, and cooking represented. Montgomery, who is originally from Kansas, has a background in newspaper publishing, and the shop's decor features vintage typewriters and press cameras.

The coffee shop, meanwhile, features locally roasted coffee, tea, and a light food menu with baked goods. There is ample seating, with space inside to sit 25 and an outdoor patio that can host 12.

Once the Montgomerys obtain a liquor license, which they expect to happen either later this month or in early June, a Valparaiso winery called LambStone Cellars will start serving wine at Press on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturday nights. Press will be open later on those evenings, with the owners planning to host live music and other events.

"The concept is a book press, a coffee press, and a wine press," Montgomery told NWI. "It's a common theme that goes through all the elements."

The bookstore and coffee shop is near Valparaiso University, and the space was designed to be inviting to students and other community members. "We want to be a bookstore where people can hang out in comfortable chairs," Montgomery continued. "People can come to have a coffee, look at books, study and socialize. We envision book clubs meeting here. Valparaiso University has expressed interest in the space for functions."

Dia and John's son Ben Montgomery attended Valparaiso University and founded a coffee roasting company after graduating. He, in fact, was the one who convinced his parents to relocate to the area, and the Montgomerys soon saw there was a niche they could fill for a bookstore selling new books and coffee.

So far, John Montgomery said, "people have been responding really positively," and "business has been great, exceeding all our expectations."

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Cincinnati's Tome Bookstore to Close, Relaunch in the Coming Months

The Tome Bookstore in Cincinnati, Ohio, will close its bricks-and-mortar store on July 1, City Beat reported. The store opened in April 2022.

Though the store is shutting down its operations in the city's Mount Washington neighborhood, owners Jeremy Spencer (an author who writes under the pen name J.M. Clark) and his wife, Autumn Spencer, are already working on relaunching Tome in a "newly imagined way" and in a new location.

They are evaluating prospective locations and have started a GoFundMe campaign to help with the bookstore's relaunch. They have also alluded to an exciting twist for the new shop, with details to be announced soon. "Picture a blend of whimsy, discovery, and literary delight," they wrote. "It will be a unique experience that will transport you to a world of imagination and wonder, all within the walls of our beloved bookstore."

Writing on Facebook, the Spencers noted that all of the store's scheduled events will go on as planned before the closure, and they thanked customers and community members for "embracing us and being part of our journey. Your enthusiasm and love for books have been the driving force behind our passion. We are immensely grateful for the connections we've made, the conversations we've had, and the memories we've shared within these walls."

GLOW: Sourcebooks Landmark: A Forty Year Kiss by Nickolas Butler

Pa.'s Midtown Scholar Bookstore of the Year; Emily Bates Is Rep of the Year

Publishers Weekly announced the winners of the Bookstore of the Year and Rep of the Year awards yesterday as part of the U.S. Book Show.

Midtown Scholar Bookstore, Harrisburg, Pa., has won the Bookstore of the Year Award. Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, Midtown Scholar has grown from a 750 square feet walkup to a 15,000 square feet location with 50 employees. Owners and founders Catherine Lawrence and Eric Papenfuse celebrated with staff, who cheered them on.

Just two indications of how connected with the community Midtown Scholar is: in 2009, Lawrence and Papenfuse founded the Harrisburg Book Festival, which draws 10,000 attendees each year, and Papenfuse was mayor of Harrisburg from 2014 to 2022.

Among others, Lawrence thanked the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association for "helping us grow and transition from being a small, walk-up used bookstore and online e-commerce site to a massive, new bookstore and used bookstore." She also gave a shout-out to staff, which consists of "folks who have been with us for seven days, folks who have been working for us for seven years, and a couple folks who have worked for us for 20 years."

Papenhouse noted that the store's 20-year journey began with "a pile of books in our dining room" and resulted in the store's current space, a renovated movie theater.

Emily Bates

Emily Bates, senior manager of in-house sales of adult titles at Penguin Random House, has won the Rep of the Year Award. She has been at PRH since 2009 and earlier worked at Waldenbooks and Borders.

Bates thanked many people, among them independent booksellers, saying, "You all do an amazing job supporting authors, finding just the right books for your customers, being the center of your community, and a safe space for people just looking for understanding. You're so key to your community."

International Update: TikTok Book Award Launches for U.K., Ireland; Indonesian Bookstore Chain Closing

In response to the wave of interest generated by the #BookTok hashtag, which has grown more than 160%, to over 138 billion views in the past year, TikTok is launching the TikTok Book Awards for the U.K. and Ireland. The prize "will recognize the community's favorite authors, books and creators, through categories inspired by the BookTok ecosystem," according to the company.

A longlist of nominees in nine categories will be assembled based on BookTok data as well as publisher contributions. It will then be reviewed by a panel of experts, and the winners decided by the TikTok community in the U.K. and Ireland, through an in-app vote that will go live in July. Winners will be announced in August.

"Every day billions of people come to TikTok to share recommendations, discover new reads and connect through their love of literature," said James Stafford, general manager, operations & marketing, TikTok U.K. & Nordics. "We have seen the #BookTok community impact book sales and even bring new customers to local book shops, so we thought it was about time they got a vote too! The TikTok Book Awards is not just about the 'best new books,' but also celebrating the unapologetic love of reading that we see shared on TikTok; from the content makers to the rediscovered classics."


The  Gunung Agung bookstore chain in Indonesia will close all of its remaining outlets by the end of 2023. Coconuts Jakarta reported that parent company PT Gunung Agung Tiga Belas said the chain had been scaling down its operations throughout Indonesia since 2013, due to increasing operational losses and declining demand for books.

"The annual revenue hasn't been worthwhile, and things were exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic since early 2020," said the company in a statement.

In 2020, Gunung Agung began closing numerous stores in major cities like Jakarta, Surabaya, Semarang, Bogor, and Bekasi. Now, only a handful of Gunung Agung stores remain in the Jakarta area.

Founded in 1953 by Tjio Wie Tay (aka Haji Masagung), Gunung Agung is one of the oldest and most iconic bookstores in Indonesia. Coconuts noted that the bookstore "grew rapidly and became a pioneer in publishing and distributing books in Indonesia. It also opened branches in various cities and regions across the country, becoming second only to Gramedia in terms of presence."


The fourth round of applications is now open for the RISE Booksellers Exchange Program, which is organized by RISE Bookselling, the EU co-funded network program coordinated by the European & International Booksellers Federation. Selected applicants will be granted a three-day stay to work in a bookshop abroad and learn the practicalities of the book trade in the host country. 

The deadline for applications is June 16, with all exchanges expected to take place by January 2024. Interested booksellers can apply by sending a filled-in application form to


Almost half of Swedes read a book or listen to an audiobook on a daily basis, according to the Swedish Media Barometer 2022. EIBF's Newsflash reported that the survey "also revealed significant differences in book consumption between genders, as well as between people of different ages and places of residence." 

More women (57%) than men (37%) read a book on a daily basis. Swedes aged between 65 and 85 are among the largest book consumers in Sweden, with 51 % of them reading daily. People living in big cities read more than those in rural areas. However, in listening to audiobooks, place of residence had less importance. --Robert Gray


Image of the Day: Buddha Was a Cowboy at Old Firehouse Books

Author Junior Burke (left) was in conversation with Kika Dorsey (right) about the writing of his new campus novel Buddha Was a Cowboy (Gibson House Press), hosted by Andrea ​Day (center), events manager at Old Firehouse Books in Fort Collins, Colo.

Personnel Changes at Spiegel & Grau

Jess Bonet has joined Spiegel & Grau as marketing director. She started her career in the Random House Publishing Group, where she worked on marketing campaigns for Ballantine, Del Rey, Random House, and Spiegel & Grau. In 2020, she joined Book of the Month, where she managed an in-house events series and the podcast Virtual Book Tour. She has also created content campaigns for brands under the EssilorLuxottica umbrella.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Kenny Smith on Jimmy Kimmel Live

Good Morning America: Vanessa Walters, author of The Nigerwife: A Novel (Atria, $27.99, 9781668011089).

Today Show: Laurence Steinberg, author of You and Your Adult Child: How to Grow Together in Challenging Times (Simon & Schuster, $27.99, 9781668009482).

Tonight Show repeat: Michelle Obama, author of The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times (Crown, $32.50, 9780593237465).

Jimmy Kimmel Live: Kenny Smith, author of Talk of Champions: Stories of the People Who Made Me (Doubleday, $29, 9780385548052).

Movies: Bonjour Tristesse

Chloë Sevigny (Boys Don't Cry), Claes Bang (The Square), Lily McInerny and Nailia Harzoune (Gone for Good) are leading an English-language contemporary adaptation of French author Françoise Sagan's classic novel Bonjour Tristesse, which was previously adapted into the 1958 Otto Preminger movie, Deadline reported. The project will be written and directed by Durga Chew-Bose, whose collection of essays, Too Much and Not the Mood, was published in 2017 by Farrar, Straus & Giroux.

"I feel very fortunate to be adapting Sagan's beloved story with a group of passionate, perceptive artists and to be building this world with the support of a team who too are emboldened by the kind of magic that comes with uncertainty and trusting one's intuition," Chew-Bose said. "I've always loved summer movies--their consideration of darkness, or women seeking shade, or women in hats, and how necessary it becomes to stay cool (even with one's feelings)... all of that is the stuff of movies. After all, the best place to be on a hot summer day is at the movies."

Books & Authors

Awards: Donner Winner

Ryan Manucha won the C$60,000 (about US$44,435) Donner Prize, which recognizes "excellence and innovation in Canadian public policy thinking, writing, and research," for his book Booze, Cigarettes, and Constitutional Dust-Ups: Canada’s Quest for Interprovincial Free Trade. The other shortlisted titles each receive C$7,500 (about US$5,555).

The jury praised the winning work for "making internal free trade lively with clear explanations and relevant anecdotes, an excellent review of the development of internal trade policy, as well as guidance on future policy developments in the years to come. And, as importantly, a compelling and enjoyable read."

Book Review

Review: The Exhibitionist

The Exhibitionist by Charlotte Mendelson (St. Martin's Press, $29 hardcover, 304p., 9781250286932, July 4, 2023)

Ray Hanrahan, a 60-something washed-up art star, refers to Anna Karenina's famous opener--"All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way"--when he launches Charlotte Mendelson's The Exhibitionist like so: "Tolstoy was an idiot." Ray should know from idiots. His gleeful misanthropy blinds him to the glorious center of his life, who is also the center of this bitterly funny novel: Ray's brilliant, beyond-put-upon sculptor wife, Lucia.

The Exhibitionist covers a three-day stretch in 2010, during which Ray intends to make a comeback: there's Friday's celebratory inner-circle dinner at the ramshackle London home of the rambling, shambolic Hanrahan family, followed on Saturday by a show of Ray's work. It's to be "the most important weekend of my tragic life," he says with a face as straight as readers' eyes are dry. Ray has an explanation for why Lucia has artistic representation and he doesn't: "We just have to accept... that, when we met, I was the star, gave you endless leg-ups and now, thanks to me, your time has come."

Lucia, whose deference to her husband makes her seem like the woman whom feminism forgot, is so busy preparing for Ray's relaunch that when her gallerist phones (again) on Friday, she doesn't take the call: "keeping [Ray] confident, unfurious, has been her life's work.... A phone call from the gallery will only bring upset, because she'll have to tell him all about it." Lucia managed to balance family and art-making during her long marriage until three years earlier when she was treated for cancer; she couldn't bring herself to work for a year. Hindering her recovery were Ray's usual confidence-eroding quips plus a fresh method of cruelty: his poorly concealed affair with his osteopath. 

The Exhibitionist is keenly observed (someone is "talking to a woman with lady-novelist hair and what Ray calls menopause jewelry"), and its roving point of view yields insights from all key players, including Lucia's and Ray's three adult children, for whose shortcomings Ray unblinkingly blames Lucia. Food has a big presence in The Exhibitionist, and with the novel's first half, Mendelson (When We Were Bad; Almost English) seems to be putting together a mise en place; at around the novel's midpoint, she brings her plot to a boil. (Things get steamy--especially for Lucia.) Perhaps even more than an unhappy-family novel, The Exhibitionist is a comeuppance novel to savor. --Nell Beram, author and freelance writer

Shelf Talker: This bitterly funny romp--centered on the brilliant, beyond-put-upon sculptor wife of a misanthropic washed-up art star hoping for a comeback--is a comeuppance novel to savor.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Atlas by Lucinda Riley and Harry Whittaker
2. A Just Transition by NJ Ayuk
3. Your Time With the Baton by Steve Braverman
4. Fastrope by L.T. Ryan and Fiona Ryan
5. Ward D by Freida McFadden
6. The Inmate by Freida McFadden
7. The Worst Wedding Date by Pippa Grant
8. Pucking Around by Emily Rath
9. Haunting Adeline by H.D. Carlton
10. Things We Never Got Over by Lucy Score

[Many thanks to!]

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