Shelf Awareness for Thursday, June 8, 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


Ci2023: Ruby Bridges and Nikkolas Smith: Inspiring Youth for Change Through Books

Ci2023 closed with a keynote conversation featuring activist and civil rights champion Ruby Bridges and author, illustrator, and artivist Nikkolas Smith, collaborators on I Am Ruby Bridges (Scholastic). Britt Camacho, ABA's DEIA and communications senior copy editor, asked the creators a series of probing questions that led to excellent discussions about the power of art to inspire.

Camacho noted that both Bridges and Smith have "iconic images in art that have gone on to represent major moments in civil rights," and asked them to speak to those images and their afterlives. "I guess I should start by talking about the Norman Rockwell painting," Bridges said. The Problem We All Live With is a Rockwell oil on canvas that depicts six-year-old Bridges, surrounded by U.S. marshals, as she walks into William Franz Elementary School in New Orleans on November 14, 1960. Bridges said, "I first saw that painting when I was 17. Until that very moment, I thought the incident just happened in my community." By the time she entered second grade, "it" was all over. Seeing the Norman Rockwell painting made her realize "this was something that was really important." Smith, too, felt a connection with the "iconic image": "That Norman Rockwell piece was hanging on my wall growing up... so you've kind of been with me my whole life. It's beautiful that we got to make [I Am Ruby Bridges] together."

Ruby Bridges, Britt Camacho, Nikkolas Smith

Smith, illustrator of The 1619 Project: Born on the Water and the upcoming The Artivist (September 5, Kokila), spoke about a piece he created 10 years ago depicting Martin Luther King, Jr., in a hoodie. "It went viral, and I ended up on CNN talking about it. That kicked everything off for me in terms of my artivist journey. It really opened my eyes to how you can use one image to change a narrative and get people talking about important things through art."

Bridges and Smith spoke about centering young peoples' perspectives in their books, helping children make sense of contemporary issues, and the power inherent in sharing stories. "These stories that are so needed are being suppressed and stifled," Camacho said. How do you keep doing the work when your projects are challenged or banned? First, Bridges said, we need to point out that "we're speaking to the choir. I want to thank each and every one of you for staying in the game and continuing to do what you do." When Bridges first had a book challenged, she ignored it. "And then it kept happening and people kept calling me and I told them I didn't want to talk about it." Eventually, someone asked her about the challenge at an event and she answered somewhat by accident. "If my books are being banned because they actually make kids feel bad about themselves," she responded, "that is never something I want to do. But if my books are being banned because they're too truthful, then what about the books our kids are being made to study from, to learn from that omit the truth?" If we're going to take my books off the shelf, she said, "let's have a conversation about all the books that are lying."

After a few audience questions and comments, Bridges returned to the topic of the Rockwell painting. Her second time seeing it may have been even more impactful than the first. The Problem We All Live With was leaving the country for the first time for a D-Day commemoration. "I was invited to open the exhibit in this museum in France." She drove through towns and cities, places she'd never been before, when the car turned a corner and she saw an advertisement for the exhibit. "I happened to look up, and there she was in another country." To Bridges, it felt like "my life grew outside of me"--the girl in the white dress is in "places where I am not, waiting for me. It makes me feel like there's so much more work to do." Ultimately, the painting of the girl makes Bridges feel like she's "still trying to catch up to my life. It started without me. And that's why I feel like there's so much more for me to do--and I would not be able to do that without people like you. Thank you for believing in our work." --Siân Gaetano, children's and YA editor, Shelf Awareness

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Ci2023: The Last Day in Pictures

The final day of Children's Institute 2023 was filled with memorable moments, from moving keynotes to educational sessions to fun celebrations. Next year's show will be in New Orleans, June 10-12, 2024. See you there!

On Wednesday morning, Nicole Brinkley, general manager of Oblong Books (Rhinebeck, N.Y.), moderated a panel about averting the adult gaze in YA literature. The panelists shared research and engaged in passionate discussion about recent shifts in YA, what teens actually want, making connections with young people in your community, and ways to de-center adults in YA. Pictured: (l.-r.) Eric Smith, PS Literary (Philadelphia, Pa.), Nicole Brinkley, Cathy Berner, Blue Willow Bookshop (Houston, Tex.), and Stephanie Appell, previously of BookPage (Grosse Pointe, Mich.)

Before Tuesday evening's closing keynote, Binc played its popular Heads or Tails fund-raising game. First-time attendee Kris Olson (l.) of Fair Isle Books (Washington Island, Wis.) snagged the $500 prize after a heated battle with Ashley Valentine (r.), founder of Rooted MKE (Milwaukee, Wis.).

Ci2023 ended on Wednesday evening with drag karaoke, emceed by drag queen Mrs. Yuka Layme (l.) from Drag Story Hour, pictured with bookseller Clare Doornbos of Mr. Mopps' Children's Books and Toys (Berkeley, Calif.), who was preparing to knock off every sock in the house.

At Drag Story Hour karaoke, Clare Doornbos of Mr. Mopps' Children's Books and Toys (Berkeley, Calif.) belted Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots are Made for Walkin' " with backup dancers Patty Norman (left) of Copperfield's Books (Northern California) and Judy Brunsek (right), director of sales and marketing at Owlkids.

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

International Update: Reisman Stepping Down, Major Board Shakeup at Indigo Books & Music

Heather Reisman

Indigo Books & Music founder Heather Reisman, who was replaced as CEO last fall, will be retiring and stepping down as executive chair and as a director of the company in August. In addition, four members of Canadian bookstore chain's board of directors have resigned, effective immediately. 

"The time has come for me to retire from an active role at Indigo," said Reisman. "Deciding when it is time to move on is one of the toughest decisions a founder must make, but I know this is the right moment for me. I firmly believe the Indigo family, spanning from coast to coast, is the best in the business, and the company has a bright future. Building Indigo over the past 25 years has been the adventure of a lifetime. As I embark on this new chapter, I will be rooting for the company every step of the way."

Board members Frank Clegg, Howard Grosfield, Anne Marie O'Donovan, and Dr. Chika Stacy Oriuwa have all stepped down. In a statement, the company noted that Dr. Oriuwa had indicated she was resigning as a director "because of her loss of confidence in board leadership and because of mistreatment," adding: "Indigo wishes the departing directors well and thanks each of them for their contributions during their tenure on the board."


U.K. booksellers "have reported feeling the pinch recently due to a combination of shifting spending habits and several bank holidays," indicating a sluggish start to 2023, the Bookseller reported, citing its analysis that total volume for the first 21 weeks of the year is down 3.5% compared to 2022, with fiction down 1.3%, trade nonfiction down 4.5%, and children's books down 3.8%. Despite the drop in volume, value is up, with 71.5 million books sold for £631.7 million (about $786 million) thus far this year. Fiction is up 4.7% and trade nonfiction up 3.6% in value.

Noting that the "month-on-month figures don't make for great reading," Tom Rowley, owner of Backstory in London, said: "May's takings were pretty much as poor as February's. I had expected to take a drubbing after Christmas, but May has shocked me.... Three bank holidays didn't help as locals headed out of London or abroad."

Sanchita Basu De Sarkar, owner of London's Children's Bookshop, observed that the store was "a little bit quieter than the previous year, but we're finding it's particularly because of the unusual combination of multiple bank holidays and teacher strikes, which leads to a lot of our families leaving town for a few days at a go, and has meant many of our primary schools have been unable to host book events over May, which also has an overall knock-on effect."

Sarah Dennis, owner of Mostly Books in Abingdon, noted that while sales are down 10% compared to same period last year, "sales earlier in the year were stronger, so it's not particularly consistent."


The best bookshop relocation announcement ever was posted on Facebook this week by Alma Libre Bookstore, Puerto Morelos, Mexico: "Greetings my dear free spirited book lovers. Be ye near or far from these ever delightful Caribbean shores, we wish you well. The ratty tat and natty nat nature of the pic you see here is pretty significant. You see, after 25 plus years of wielding the word at our current location, Alma Libre is soon to be on the move. The winds of change have huffed, they have puffed, and they have quiet literally blowed us! Rather than folding up and flitting away, we have chosen instead to bold it, to big it, and to renovate a new and delightful bookish lair.  

"We have twice the floor space, some big ol' future plans involving events, classes, live performance, and cultural goodies, and of course, our stubborn optimism remains. Our belief in the essential nature of bookstores and what they mean to a community, rages on! At the end of the week, we shall be closing our doors for a time and beginning the task of packing up and rejigging our giggity gig. Our hope is that in a few short weeks, we shall be back to standard shenanigans in our fancy new locale, just around the corner, by the OXXO, on the road to Chedraui. For all the local peeps who visit us on the regular, fret not, it shall be fantastic, and won't be long. For those of you currently far far away, we are soooo very stoked to have a new and vibrant venue to host you upon return. Here is to next chapters, new stories, and the magic of it all." --Robert Gray

AAP Sales: Up 6.6% in March, Trade Up 0.2%

Total net book sales in March in the U.S. rose 6.6%, to $883.5 million, compared to March 2022, representing sales of 1,239 publishers and distributed clients as reported to the Association of American Publishers. For the first quarter, total net book sales rose 3.2%, to $3.15 billion.

During March, trade sales inched up 0.2%, to $710.9 million. Hardcover sales slipped 1%, to $243.1 million. Paperbacks were up 0.3%, to $268.2 million. Mass market dropped 9.5%, to $13 million. Special bindings jumped 21.9%, to $18.9 million. E-book sales rose 12.2%, to $88.1 million. Digital audio jumped 14.1%, to $66.2 million. Physical audio dropped 43.4%, to $700,00.

Sales by category in March 2023 compared to March 2022:

Obituary Note: William E. Glassley

William E. Glassley

William E. Glassley, author of the award-winning book A Wilder Time, died March 19. He was 75. Glassley's early love of surfing "inspired his lifelong love of the natural world. His subsequent careers as a geologist, educator and natural history writer drew energy from his belief that a fundamental essence of our humanity resides in the wilderness," his obituary noted.

"We at Bellevue Literary Press are saddened by the news of Bill Glassley's death while traveling to his beloved Greenland to continue his research there," said Erika Goldman, publisher and editorial director. "A geologist whose commitment to wilderness preservation informed his lyrical writing and profound humanism, he was always thoughtful, cheerful, and considerate of all of us who worked with him on his prizewinning book, A Wilder Time: Notes from a Geologist at the Edge of the Greenland Ice. We feel honored to have known him and will miss him terribly."

Glassley collaborated for more than 30 years with Danish colleagues researching the geologic history of Greenland. The expeditions he took inspired him to write A Wilder Time, which won the 2019 Burroughs Medal for Distinguished Natural History Writing and the New Mexico-Arizona Book Award, and was shortlisted for the William Saroyan International Prize. 

He also wrote the textbook Geothermal Energy: Renewable Energy and the Environment, which is in its second edition and continues to be an important text for the renewable energy world. At the time of his death, he had just completed his third book, a collection of essays.


Image of the Day: Karger and Cooper at The Strand

Award-winning screenwriter Sidney Karger (r.) discussed his debut novel, Best Men (Berkley), with journalist Anderson Cooper at the Strand Bookstore, New York City, as part of the store's Pride Month events.

Cool Idea for a Smoky Day: Books Are Magic

With smoke from Canadian wildfires enveloping New York City, Books Are Magic in Brooklyn posted one solution on Facebook: "When it's too smoggy to beach, bring the beach inside! Wherever you find yourself relaxing, we've got you covered with the perfect beach read for every reader. Whether you're looking for a swoon romance, an epic fantasy with a page-turning plot, or a book that will make you laugh out loud, check out our latest blog post to find your next great summer read!"

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Frances Haugen on Here & Now

Here & Now: Frances Haugen, author of The Power of One: How I Found the Strength to Tell the Truth and Why I Blew the Whistle on Facebook (Little, Brown, $30, 9780316475228).

Rachael Ray: William W. Li, author of Eat to Beat Your Diet: Burn Fat, Heal Your Metabolism, and Live Longer (Balance, $30, 9781538753903).

This Weekend on Book TV: James Comey

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 this weekend from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday and focuses on political and historical books as well as the book industry. The following are highlights for this coming weekend. For more information, go to Book TV's website.

Saturday, June 10
9:30 a.m. William Inboden, author of The Peacemaker: Ronald Reagan, the Cold War, and the World on the Brink‎ (Dutton, $35, 9781524745899). (Re-airs Saturday at 9:30 p.m)

Sunday, June 11
8 a.m. Thomas Baker, author of The Fall of the FBI: How a Once Great Agency Became a Threat to Democracy (Bombardier Books, $30, ‎ 9781637586242). (Re-airs Sunday at 8 p.m.)

9:05 a.m. Nathan Masters, author of Crooked: The Roaring '20s Tale of a Corrupt Attorney General, a Crusading Senator, and the Birth of the American Political Scandal (Hachette Books, $30, 9780306826139). (Re-airs Sunday at 9:05 p.m.)

10 a.m. David Bernhardt, author of You Report to Me: Accountability for the Failing Administrative State (Encounter Books, $29.99, ‎ 9781641773300). (Re-airs Sunday at 10 p.m.)

2 p.m. Coverage of the 43rd annual Los Angeles Times Book Prizes at the University of Southern California campus.

4:20 p.m. Peter Fiekowksy, co-author of Climate Restoration: The Only Future That Will Sustain the Human Race (‎Rivertowns Books, $19.95, 9781953943101).

5:20 p.m. Cal Thomas, author of A Watchman in the Night: What I've Seen Over 50 Years Reporting on America (Humanix Books, $29.99, 9781630062378).

6:15 p.m. Rebecca Solnit and Thelma Young Lutunatabua, editors of Not Too Late: Changing the Climate Story from Despair to Possibility (Haymarket Books, $55, 9781642599442).

7:30 p.m James Comey, author of Central Park West: A Crime Novel (Mysterious Press, $30, 9781613164037).

Books & Authors

Awards: RBC Bronwen Wallace Winner

The Writers' Trust of Canada announced that Cooper Skjeie (poetry) and Zak Jones (short fiction) are winners of this year's RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers, which was established in memory of poet and short story writer Bronwen Wallace and "has a track record of identifying future Canadian writing stars." Each winning author receives C$10,000 (about US$7,445).

Skjeie won for his poetry collection Scattered Oblation, which, the jury said, "paints an exquisite landscape. The poems are simultaneously soft and gritty, inviting introspection, exposing dark truths, and demanding imperative answers. Wonder and rage coexist in this collection, producing a scintillating narrative that is both personal and universal, seemingly expanding the bounds of time and space while remaining firmly rooted in the fundamental urgency of Indigenous land sovereignty."

Jones won for his short story collection So Much More to Say, in which, according to the jury, he "digs his shovel into narrative terrain perpetually at the risk of breaking apart, much like the flooding South Carolina cemetery where his story is set. We are invited into the world of a young gravedigger who has the Sisyphean task of reburying the bloated bodies that come loose after rains free them from the red mud in which they have been encased. Navigating race relations and human dignity, the impeccable drawl of the author's first-person narrator turns potential horrors into profundities, and cautionary tales into wisdoms."

The other finalists for the poetry prize were diasporic dissonance by Kyo Lee and Notes on the Non-Place by Dore Prieto. The other short fiction prize finalists were Mama's Lullabies by Vincent Anioke and Triggered by Zilla Jones. Each writer receives C$2,500 (about US$1,860).

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, June 13:

Private Moscow by James Patterson and Adam Hamdy (Grand Central, $32, 9781538752647) continues the Private thriller series.

The Five-Star Weekend by Elin Hilderbrand (Little, Brown, $30, 9780316258777) follows a widowed food blogger and her four friends during a weekend on Nantucket.

Be Mine by Richard Ford (Ecco, $30, 9780061692086) is the fifth and final novel with Frank Bascombe.

Beyond This Harbor: Adventurous Tales of the Heart by Rose Styron (Knopf, $32, 9780525659020) is a memoir by the wife of the late William Styron.

Better Living Through Birding: Notes from a Black Man in the Natural World by Christian Cooper (Random House, $28, 9780593242384) tells the story of a Black birdwatcher whose encounter with a racist lady in Central Park became a viral video in 2020.

100 Places to See After You Die: A Travel Guide to the Afterlife by Ken Jennings (Scribner, $27.99, 9781501131585) is a humorous travel guide to afterlives as envisioned through millennia of mythology and literature.

Love, Theoretically by Ali Hazelwood (Berkley, $28, 9780593638859) is a romantic comedy starring a theoretical physicist who moonlights as a fake girlfriend.

The In-Between: Unforgettable Encounters During Life's Final Moments by Hadley Vlahos (Ballantine, $27, 9780593499931) is the memoir of a hospice nurse.

Fatima Tate Takes the Cake by Khadijah VanBrakle (Holiday House, $18.99, 9780823454853) features a Muslim teen who aspires to be a baker, despite the wishes of her conservative parents.

Penny & Pip by Candace Fleming, illus. by Eric Rohmann (Atheneum, $18.99, 9781665913317) is a charming picture book about a lost baby dinosaur from an award-winning duo.

How to Survive History: How to Outrun a Tyrannosaurus, Escape Pompeii, Get Off the Titanic, and Survive the Rest of History's Deadliest Catastrophes by Cody Cassidy (Penguin Books, $18, 9780143136408).

Hothouse Flower by Krista Ritchie and Becca Ritchie (Berkley, $17, 9780593639634).

The Last Lifeboat by Hazel Gaynor (Berkley, $17, 9780593440315).

A Love Catastrophe by Helena Hunting (Forever, $16.99, 9781538720066).

IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:

If We're Being Honest: A Novel by Cat Shook (Celadon, $28, 9781250847546). "Shock, awe, and hilarity at a funeral start off this highly original novel. Serious topics are treated with a light enough hand to entertain, and strong characters, surprises, and intriguing family dynamics make this a great choice." --Patience Allan-Glick, Hills & Hamlets Bookshop, Chattahoochee Hills, Ga.

Mastering the Art of French Murder by Colleen Cambridge (Kensington, $27, 9781496739599). "Murder most foul in Paris, the city of Julia Child and her new neighbor, Tabitha Knight. While Tabitha learns to cook from Julia, she finds herself in the middle of a murder, and the weapon is one of Julia's prized knives!" --Tina Greene-Bevington, Bay Books, Suttons Bay, Mich.

Paperback: An Indies Introduce Title
To Shape a Dragon's Breath: The First Book of Nampeshiweisit by Moniquill Blackgoose (Del Rey, $18, 9780593498286). "To Shape a Dragon's Breath is all the things a good fantasy series opener should be--immersive, thoughtful, and captivating. This alternate history of New England and its colonization will be a hit for fans of Babel and House of the Dragon!" --Julia DeVarti, Books Are Magic, Brooklyn, N.Y.

For Ages 4 to 8
Snake's Big Mistake by Sarah Kurpiel (Greenwillow, $19.99, 9780063093218). "This story shows how to make things right when we've done something wrong. Snake takes credit for Turtle's art project, but doesn't feel good about it. So, Snake repairs the damaged project and the damaged friendship with Turtle. Beautiful!" --Amy Lane, Bards Alley, Vienna, Va.

For Ages 8 to 12: An Indies Introduce Title
Jude Saves the World by Ronnie Riley (Scholastic, $18.99, 9781338855876). "This is a beautiful book with brave characters who fiercely guard friendship as a safe space filled with unconditional love--and set about to make the world that way. Jude Saves the World cracked my heart open and poured joy right in." --Justin Colussy-Estes, Little Shop of Stories, Decatur, Ga.

For Teen Readers
Blood Debts by Terry J. Benton-Walker (Tor Teen, $18.99, 9781250825926). "This book is absolutely phenomenal. Soaked in magic, history, trauma, and joy, this will keep you on the edge of your seat. Terry J. Benton-Walker's must-read mystery is full of tension and plenty of heart. I already need book #2!" --Cassandra Schulz, Brazos Bookstore, Houston, Tex.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: Abbey Road: The Inside Story of the World's Most Famous Recording Studio

Abbey Road: The Inside Story of the World's Most Famous Recording Studio by David Hepworth (Pegasus, $29.95 hardcover, 400p., 9781639364312, August 1, 2023)

In Abbey Road: The Inside Story of the World's Most Famous Recording Studio, David Hepworth writes this about producer George Martin's work on two novelty songs by a comic actor: "he went to more trouble than anybody had previously considered it worth going to for a mere pop record." This sentence also describes the approach that Martin and his fellow Abbey Road producers and engineers took to their work with the Beatles, Pink Floyd, the Hollies, the Zombies, Procol Harum, and other classic rock acts. Hepworth's fulsome biography of Abbey Road documents the fabled studio's artistic achievements well beyond the Fab Four and the Floyd.

Though it's been argued that Martin was the fifth Beatle, Abbey Road indicates that there was a sixth and maybe even a seventh Beatle--studio wizards whose input improved the Beatles' output, especially on the landmark 1967 album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Abbey Road was also behind Pink Floyd's zeitgeist-capturing The Dark Side of the Moon from 1973. But when it opened in 1931 at London's No. 3 Abbey Road, EMI Recording Studios (as it was then known) was largely devoted to capturing the classical sounds that would make up much of EMI's record sales. Hepworth takes readers from Abbey Road's origins through the industry changes and taste fluctuations that have affected the studio's fortunes, including advances in recording technology, the recorded music market's wobbliness in the late 1970s, and the revitalizing introduction of the compact disc. Abbey Road Studios (as it came to be called) changed with the times and, despite the existential threat posed by record-at-home software like Pro Tools, seems destined to reach its centennial and beyond.

Abbey Road is flush with photographs and reproductions of ephemera that will have classic rock fans aquiver, including a page out of the studio's 1967 bookings diary and producer Norman Smith's shame-faced letter of apology to his boss regarding the destruction of several microphones during an especially exuberant Pink Floyd recording session. Hepworth (Never a Dull Moment: 1971--The Year that Rock Exploded) is funnier than the author of a history book such as this is required to be, especially on the evergreen topic of rock star excess. He writes that the Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger learned over the years that "the first priority was to lessen the distance between the bed Keith Richards slept in and the studio where he was expected to report the following morning." --Nell Beram, author and freelance writer

Shelf Talker: This fulsome biography of Abbey Road Studios documents the fabled recording space's artistic achievements well beyond classic albums by the Beatles and Pink Floyd.

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