Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, August 23, 2023

 Kokila: Everything We Never Had by Randy Ribay

Nancy Paulsen Books: Sync by Ellen Hopkins

Running Press Adult: Cat People by Hannah Hillam

Beaming Books: Must-Have Autumn Reads for Your Shelf!

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


AAP Sales: Down 1.3% in June; Up 1.2% in First Half of Year

Total net book sales in June in the U.S. slipped 1.3%, to $890 million, compared to June 2022, representing sales of 1,238 publishers and distributed clients as reported to the Association of American Publishers. For the first half of the year, total net book sales are up 1.2%, to $5.6 billion.

In June, trade sales overall slipped 0.9%, to $633.5 million. Trade hardcover sales rose 5.8%, to $191.2 million; paperbacks fell 3%, to $246 million; mass market tumbled 39.1%, to $13 million; and special bindings for 2.5%, to $11.1 million.

Adult hardcover led all categories in sales, with a gain of 20.4%, to $121.8 million, and adult paperbacks also rose, 4.1%, to $157.4 million. By contrast, children's/YA hardcover sales fell 17.2%, to $44.4 million, and children's/YA paperback were down 14.6%, to $78.6 million. Audiobooks sales were strong, both in digital format--up 15.3%, to $74.1 million--and in physical format, up 9.5%, to $1.1 million. E-book revenues overall dropped 3.9%, to $79.9 million.

Sales by category in June 2023 compared to June 2022:

G.P. Putnam's Sons: The Restaurant of Lost Recipes (A Kamogawa Food Detectives Novel) by Hisashi Kashiwai, Translated by Jesse Kirkwood

B&N Opening Store in Brandon, Fla.

Barnes & Noble is opening a new location in Brandon, Fla., near Tampa, today, August 23.

Located at 2428 W. Brandon Blvd. in Regency Square, the store features B&N's new design and will be the first B&N to open in that area since 2008. The store will open to the public at 10 a.m.; author Lincoln Child will be there to cut the ribbon and sign copies of his novel Dead Mountain (Grand Central), part of the Nora Kelly series written with Douglas Preston.

Harpervia: Only Here, Only Now by Tom Newlands

Baltimore Read Aloud Launching Mobile Bookstore

Nicole A. Johnson

Baltimore Read Aloud, a pop-up store specializing in diverse children's titles, will launch a mobile bookstore early next year.

Owner and founder Nicole A. Johnson is converting a high-top cargo van into a bookstore on wheels and hopes to have it on the road in winter 2024. Ignite Capital, a subsidiary of Innovation Works, is helping to finance the mobile bookstore. Once the store is up and running, Johnson will bring a rotating selection of diverse children's books to readers throughout Baltimore, Md., and surrounding counties.

Johnson said she was grateful for the support from Ignite Capital, adding that with the mobile bookstore, she "can travel around the city to schools and community events reaching families who can't wait to get their hands on these books."

Johnson founded Baltimore Read Aloud in 2018 after struggling to find books for her two children that reflected their identity. She carries books that reflect a diverse group of identities, including race, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, gender, disability, and neurodiversity.

From 2020 to 2022, Baltimore Read Aloud was on hiatus. Last year, the store returned with pop-up appearances at the shopping mall Towson Town Center in Towson, Md., and an ongoing partnership with the Banneker-Douglas Museum in Annapolis, Md. There have also been visits to area street fairs and festivals.

"At every pop-up, I meet a parent who is excited to finally see their child's identity on the cover or pages of a book," Johnson said. "With some curation, I can tell these families, 'I have a book for you.' "

I Know You Like a Book in Peoria Heights, Ill., to Close

I Know You Like a Book, Peoria Heights, Ill., will close at the end of August. Owner Mary Beth Nebel died July 6, but the store had been shuttered for most of the past two months. On June 20, Nebel had posted on Facebook about her medical issues

The bookstore is holding sales events for the remaining books and merchandise. Shelving, furniture, and accessories are priced in the store.

The most recent Facebook post noted: "On behalf of Mary Beth Nebel, owner, thank you to everyone who sustained this space over the past 18 years through patronage, projects, and conversation. A special thank you to bookseller and curator, Cindy Baker. And to all customers--thank you for shopping small and shopping local. Thank you for reading. We hope you liked a book."


Image of the Day: Debut Authors at Bryant Park

The Reading Room at Midtown Manhattan's Bryant Park presented a panel of four debut authors. Pictured: (from left) Eddie Ndopu (Sipping Dom Pérignon Through a Straw: Success as a Disabled Achiever); host Kathy Curto (Not for Nothing: Glimpse into a Jersey Girlhood); Joshunda Sanders (Women of the Post); John, a bookseller at Kinokuniya Books; Javier Fuentes (Countries of Origin); and Christy Cashman (The Truth About Horses).

Bear Pond Books: 'It's Starting to Look Like a Bookstore Again!'

Bear Pond Books, Montpelier, Vt., showed off the progress in repairing the store following catastrophic flooding in the region last month.

Personnel Changes at Scholastic

Mandy Earles, formerly publicist at VIZ Media, has joined Scholastic as trade publicist.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Justin Tinsley on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Justin Tinsley, author of It Was All a Dream: Biggie and the World That Made Him (Abrams, $17, 9781419750328).

Good Morning America: Jennifer Wallace, author of Never Enough: When Achievement Culture Becomes Toxic--and What We Can Do About It (Portfolio, $29, 9780593191866).

Jennifer Hudson Show repeat: Chrissy Metz, co-author of When I Talk to God, I Talk About You (Flamingo Books, $18.99, 9780593525241).

Dr. Phil: Jason Van Tatenhove, author of The Perils of Extremism: How I Left the Oath Keepers and Why We Should Be Concerned about a Future Civil War (Skyhorse, $26.99, 9781510774421).

Books & Authors

Reading with... Joe R. Lansdale

Joe R. Lansdale is the author of 60 novels and a plethora of short stories, articles, essays, and film and television scripts. He has won numerous awards in horror, crime, and historical fiction. He was an executive producer on the TV series Hap and Leonard and has written for animation. Lansdale lives in Nacogdoches, Tex., with his wife, Karen, and his pit bull, Rudy, aka RooRoo. Things Get Ugly: The Best Crime Fiction of Joe R. Lansdale (Tachyon) presents 19 of Lansdale's crime stories.

Handsell readers your book in 25 words or less:

Things Get Ugly, a collision of shadow and mystery, rubber ducks, and trouble-making bears, is an outstanding crime collection bonded with blood and gristle.

On your nightstand now:

The Five-Day Nightmare by Fredric Brown, and Eleven Kinds of Loneliness by Richard Yates.

Favorite book when you were a child:

A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Kipling's The Jungle Book was a close second.

Your top five authors:

Mark Twain, Flannery O'Connor, Raymond Chandler, Ray Bradbury, Ernest Hemingway.

If I can cheat, my favorite novel is To Kill a Mockingbird, but my favorite writers are different, due to Harper Lee having produced so little. Edgar Rice Burroughs is my sentimental favorite author.

Book you've faked reading:

No fakes. What would be the point in that? I read for the love of reading. I have tried more than once on certain books, because I could sense there was something there and, once I was involved, I got it. But mostly if it doesn't catch me quick, it won't catch me. I have a kind of radar for what I like.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. I think it's a book, like To Kill a Mockingbird, that changed my life. It opened my eyes to racism, which was an everyday accepted thing when I was growing up in East Texas. I don't think I understood what it was until I read those books. They made me see what was right in front of me, but not something others felt were out of place. My mother also contributed to this--and the general air of civil rights that was growing.

Book you've bought for the cover:

A lot of Ace Double science fiction books. There's no single book I've bought for the cover, but many. But the Ace Doubles were great. You got two books for the price of one, short books, and these really outstanding covers that were sometimes better than the contents. I remember one book I bought because of a giant lizard man approaching a human. They were both on a netting in the trees--and I think they were armed--and from there I filled in the story. When I actually read the book, it was nowhere as good as in my imagination. But there were many that fulfilled my expectations. Philip José Farmer was one.

Book you hid from your parents:

Never hid any. They were glad I was reading. My father couldn't read or write, so he was glad I could read and never discouraged me. He did think I needed to get my nose out of a book a little and learn practical things as well. And he was right. I learned to live life, not just read about lives.

Book that changed your life:

To Kill a Mockingbird. As a Southern child, it opened my eyes to the prejudice around me. But the same could be said of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Favorite line from a book:

From The Big Sleep: "It was about eleven o'clock in the morning, mid October, with the sun not shining and a look of hard wet rain in the clearness of the foothills."

Some days, the opening to A Farewell to Arms by Hemingway is my favorite.

Five books you'll never part with:

Seems like most of them. I have a lot of books, and that includes books I don't love. Some I keep for the covers, and there are others that I cherish and often take down and reread or read sections from them. I reread a lot of short stories. Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Flannery O'Connor, Ray Bradbury. And certain novelists, like Raymond Chandler, William Goldman, Hemingway, Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby from time to time, and a few I read and enjoyed but I'd never read again. The Sound and the Fury by Faulkner, for one. I prefer his short stories. Carson McCullers is so good. She wrote one of my all-time favorite novellas, The Ballad of the Sad Café. Ellen Gilchrist is tremendous, the short stories being my main meat. Certain short stories by Kafka. "In the Penal Colony" is my favorite.

Book you most want to read again for the first time:

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald; Wise Blood by Flannery O'Connor; Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler; Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. I know. I cheated. I mentioned a lot of this already, but my loves overlap.

Do you love writing or do you prefer having written?

Many writers say they hate writing but love having written. I like the process and having written. It's a great joy in my life. I wanted to write since the age of four, trying to draw and write comics. I found I was a better storyteller, and it was more satisfying for me. By age nine, I had finished a poem and then a short story and a play, and I started trying to write science fiction novels but could never finish. When I was 21, I sold an article with my mother under her name, O'Reta Wood Lansdale (or she may have only used "Wood" as a kind of pen name). We sold it and won a prize for it. That set the course. I started selling articles regularly and then fiction, my main love, and by 29 years old I was a full-time writer, thanks to my wife, Karen. Later, she went to work for me, and we did even better. She was a great manager, and I was successful enough that, since then, I've done nothing else for a living.

Book Review

Children's Review: Bean the Stretchy Dragon

Bean the Stretchy Dragon by Ari Stocrate (Andrews McMeel, $11.99 hardcover, 96p., ages 7-10, 9781524881016, September 19, 2023)

Playful, visually punny Bean the Stretchy Dragon is an energetic debut graphic novel for young readers from popular French comic artist Ari Stocrate.

Every day is "an adventure" for cheery Bean, a tiny black dragon with a tan belly and big orange eyes who lives with his witch caretaker, Sally, in the swamp. Today, Bean wakes up with a good, long stretch, takes in the "nice view," and tumbles (literally) downstairs. She performs her "morning routine" of nail trimming (scratching the couch) and tooth sharpening, then enjoys a "light jog" (intense tail chasing) before grooming herself. Next, it's time for her favorite breakfast--beans (cans and cans of them)--followed by an "after-meal snack" of zombie tibia. Bean then heads through the swamp and into the forest to bury the bone in a pit with the rest of her treasures. When "something more interesting comes along," Bean is off in pursuit of a baby jackelope... until its much-larger mom puts an end to Bean's fun.

Bean continues wandering and encounters a multiplier dragon ("anything they eat... they poop out three times!") and picnicking fairies, as well as bouncing mushrooms and crying mandrakes. Sally shows up just in time to save Bean from a swamp monster, but not before the dragon is thoroughly covered in swamp slime--it's time for a bath, after which Sally uses a towel to turn her into "a bean burrito." The pair spend the rest of the day enjoying various other misadventures; in the evening, the little dragon and her witch curl up together by the fire to sleep "until tomorrow comes."

Stocrate's winsome graphic novel is adapted from her popular web comic, "Sally & Bean." Endearing, childlike main character Bean (inspired by the artist's own pets, a cat and two lizards) can usually be found digging, racing, chasing, or swooshing, and spends the entire book getting into amusing and messy trouble. Page turns sustain the action, and the dawn to dusk narrative is interspersed with entertaining illustrations of the "truly magical" beings who inhabit the neighborhood, such as the fur-bearing trout and the abbagoochie ("a mix between an owl, a fox, and a deer"). Throughout this nimble, kid-friendly offering, Stocrate's storytelling makes the most of the visual nature of her format, and this--along with an ever-present sense of humor--allows her to deliver a dynamic and accessible early graphic novel. --Lynn Becker, reviewer, blogger, and children's book author

Shelf Talker: Ari Stocrate's playful, visually punny debut graphic novel for young readers is adapted from her popular web comic, "Sally & Bean."

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