Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, August 29, 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


Sacramento's Beers Books Has Soft Opening in New Location

The new Beers Books in progress.

Beers Books, Sacramento, Calif., had a soft opening last weekend in its new location. As the store posted on Facebook, "After many delays, we have finally brought the staff back and plan to open at 712 R St on Saturday, August 26th. We're planning a more 'grand' opening in September, but the renovation is basically done, so we are finally ready to get books on the shelves and do what we do best! Not everything will be perfect right away, but Beers has always been a work-in-progress sort of place/vibe. So please come see us, tag a friend, and keep the mind-rot at bay with a good book (or ten)."

In March, the store had moved out of its former site several blocks away, on S St., a building that is being demolished and replaced with a new apartment building. The Sacramento Bee reported that the new building is "slightly bigger than its previous location."

Beers Books, founded in 1936, had been in its S St. location since 2004. Jim Naify has owned the store since 1985. For many years, Beers Books sold mostly new books and some used books until the expansion of Borders and Barnes & Noble superstores in the 1990s, when it began to focus on used books. It currently sells about 10% new books and 90% used books and movies. It also sells via

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Linda Letra Bilingual Books Opens Store in Portland, Ore.

Linda Letra Bilingual Books, a children's bookstore focusing on titles in Spanish and English, opened in Portland, Ore., on August 26, Montavilla News reported.

Located in a 1,000-square-foot space at 7101 NE Glisan St., the shop carries books for children up to the age of 12 that are written either entirely in Spanish or feature both Spanish and English. There are books from large publishers as well as independents, and the store carries a small selection of books in French.

Owner Rachel Kimbrow, who has more than 20 years of experience as an educator, started Linda Letra as an online store primarily catering to the education market. There were many publishers, she noted, that had at least a few Spanish or bilingual titles, but they were never all in one place. She started putting together curated collections of those titles and selling them either to schools or through book fairs. Kimbrow will continue that business while also running the bricks-and-mortar Linda Letra store.

"My focus and passion has always been towards language learning and promoting bilingualism for kids and families," Kimbrow told Montavilla News.

At present, the bookstore is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. On September 16, Kimbrow will host a grand opening celebration featuring local authors Gerardo Calderon and Cathy Camper.

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

International Update: Venezuelan Book Trade Struggling; BA Relaunches Shopfloor Publishers Initiative

Bookstores and publishers in Venezuela are trying to survive the country's long economic crisis and high inflation (reaching 398% year-on-year in July) by selling used texts and a handful of new books from Venezuelan writers. Reuters reported that a "drastic reduction in the number of publishers, imprints and bookstores began more than decade ago, as the government put in place currency controls, rules about the distribution of school textbooks and import restrictions."

"What little money people have goes to food. The crux is there is no money," said Julio Mazparrote, president of the country's bookseller and publisher guild, which has dwindled from 110 members to 25 over the past decade. Mazparrote runs a small textbook publisher out of a two-story house in western Caracas. 

In 2011, the education ministry limited the use of textbooks from private publishers in public schools, which had represented some 80% of their business. The government has not printed textbooks since 2018. Reuters noted that the migration of more than seven million Venezuelans has helped alleviate the shortage of books, as those emigrating look to give away or sell texts. 

"The exodus of people who have left the country... means books are on offer," said Romulo Castellanos, who runs bookstore Gran Pulpería de Libros Venezolanos in Caracas. Though sales have fallen, "thank God we've been able to survive and surf the wave," he added.

Francisco Suarez, who runs a small shop in central Caracas and often leaves books in his local sports center, at plazas nearby, and on the bus, commented: "If I need to give it away, that's no problem. If someone says they don't have the money, I'll give it to them. Books are magic."


The Booksellers Association of the U.K. & Ireland is relaunching its Shopfloor Publishers initiative to run year-round. The Bookseller reported that "following the success of previous versions of the project, which invites publishers to spend a day working in a bookshop, the initiative is now being rolled out across the year, with the first publishers being invited to work in bookshops during September."

"Offering senior publishers an invaluable opportunity to experience bookselling first-hand, the scheme aims to further increase collaboration between bookshops and publishers," the BA noted. 

BA managing director Meryl Halls said, "Having run our Shopfloor Publishers scheme a couple of times in the past, we're excited to be rolling it out as a year-round offering to our member bookshops and to publishers across the book industry. The feedback from booksellers and publishers who have taken part in the scheme previously has been overwhelmingly positive, with the initiative leading to greater understanding on both sides, and opportunities for collaboration. We look forward to hearing from any publisher that would like to take part." 

Hazel Broadfoot, BA president and owner of Village Books in Dulwich, London, added: "Following the pandemic, and the changes wrought on the industry by it, and by the current cost of living crisis, it feels like the time is right to relaunch this collaboration project, and bring booksellers and publishers together. For publishers, working in a bookshop for a day can be an eye-opening experience: it is a chance to appreciate what booksellers do, while witnessing consumer behaviour up close. We've been delighted that a number of bookshops have been reciprocally invited into publishing houses and we hope to see that happen again this time round; booksellers will be equally enlightened by seeing the inside workings of publishing." 


In Italy, a new Electa bookstore at Rome's Colosseum "adapts to the original architecture, with curved layouts following the Colosseum's structure and windows framing the ancient ruins. The system can be adapted to each space and responds to every display need," Wallpaper* reported.

Design studio Migliore+Servetto noted that "beyond its function as a sales space, the bookshop thus becomes a narrative landscape. It's a place of discovery... stimulating cultural growth, through a valorization of the wise offer of contents and a constant dialogue with the extraordinary architectural context that contains them." --Robert Gray

Court Street Books Coming to Florence, Ala.

An all-ages bookstore called Court Street Books is coming to Florence, Ala., in late November, the Flor-Ala reported.

Located at 610 S. Court St., the bookstore will have a general-interest inventory, complete with a children's corner, an events center, and a coffee shop. Owners Karmen Somers and Charles Wayne Melvin, who is also a practicing physician, plan to host author signings and other events.

"We want a place of community," Somers told Flor-Ala. "We want a place where everyone is welcome."

Melvin and Somers are both book lovers, and the former has experience selling rare books. After the couple bought a suite for Melvin's medical practice, they decided to make use of the extra space by opening a bookstore--something about which they'd dreamed.

Somers noted that she and Melvin have "always promoted reading. Every kid under six gets a new book at their check up. We love the written word. Words are powerful."


Image of the Day: Many Things Considered

As part of Virginia PBS station WVTF/Radio IQ's 50th anniversary celebration, All Things Considered host Mary Louise Kelly (right; It.Goes.So.Fast) interviewed Roanoke author Beth Macy (Raising Lazarus, Dopesick) at the Jefferson Center. They discussed the current state of journalism and the challenges women and mothers face in pursuing careers in communication. Book No Further, Roanoke, was the bookseller for the event. (photo courtesy of Doloris Vest, Book No Further)

Ingram Adds POD to Chambersburg, Pa., DC

Ingram Content Group has added print-on-demand to its Chambersburg, Pa., distribution center, which has been the company's hub for East Coast distribution. Ingram also has, it said, invested in large-scale automation at Chambersburg.

Shawn Everson, Ingram's chief logistics officer, said, "Our long-term strategic vision of co-locating fast print-on-demand services with state-of-the-art, automated, book distribution is coming true. We are proud of our Chambersburg team for bringing this vision to completion."

Ingram's global print distribution network includes integrated operations in the U.K. and Australia, joint ventures for print distribution in France and the UAE, and a global network of distribution from its Global Connect relationships.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Jason Reynolds on the View

Jennifer Hudson Show repeat: Lewis Howes, author of The Greatness Mindset: Unlock the Power of Your Mind and Live Your Best Life Today (Hay House, $26.99, 9781401971908).

The View repeat: Jason Reynolds, author of Stuntboy, In-Between Time (Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy, $14.99, 9781534418226).

Movies: Radical Wolfe

A trailer has been released for Radical Wolfe, a new documentary from director Richard Dewey that "offers a comprehensive look at the late literary provocateur" Tom Wolfe, IndieWire reported. The film features interviews with Michael Lewis (whose Vanity Fair article inspired the documentary) and Jon Hamm reading excerpts of Wolfe's prose. Kino Lorber will release Radical Wolfe in theaters on September 15.

The doc "follows Wolfe's life from his years as a Yale Ph.D. student and reporter disillusioned with formality to his breakout with The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test and Radical Chic to his mainstream stardom in the 1980s and his curmudgeonly final years embracing the George W. Bush administration," IndieWire noted. 

Books & Authors

Awards: YA Book Prize Winner

When Our Worlds Collided by Danielle Jawando won the £2,000 (about $2,515) YA Book Prize, which is run by the Bookseller, in association with the Edinburgh International Book Festival, "to celebrate great books for teenagers and young adults from the U.K. and Ireland." 

"Though this is only Danielle Jawando's second novel, she has already proven herself to be a powerful author of deeply affecting and authentic stories and a rising star of YA," said prize chair Caroline Carpenter.

Judge Gary Deane, Waterstones' national children's events co-ordinator, praised the winning title as a "raw, powerful, and thought-provoking coming of age story that is tender, compassionate, and full of hope. Danielle Jawando is a hugely gifted writer and a highly deserving winner of the YA Book Prize 2023--I can't wait to see what she does next!" 

Judge Rachel Fox, EIBFs children's and schools program director, commented: "When Our Worlds Collided completely blew me away.... I can't wait for more readers to meet Chantelle, Jackson, and Marc and enjoy this accomplished novel." 

Book Review

Review: The Comfort of Crows: A Backyard Year

The Comfort of Crows: A Backyard Year by Margaret Renkl (Spiegel & Grau, $32 hardcover, 288p., 9781954118461, October 24, 2023)

In her luminous third book, The Comfort of Crows, Margaret Renkl (Graceland, at Last; Late Migrations) takes readers through the details of a year in her Nashville neighborhood. Elegant, lucid essays follow the changing seasons, Renkl musing on the migratory and nesting patterns of birds, the encroaching effects of climate change, her own evolving family structure, and the incremental shifts of flora, fauna, and light. "Here is the world I need," Renkl writes, "a world that exists far beyond the impulse to scroll and scroll." The Comfort of Crows, lavishly illustrated with mixed-media collages by her brother, Billy Renkl, invites readers to explore the details of nesting bluebirds, maple trees, garden grubs, sunsets, and Renkl's affection for the birds of the book's title. Though she acknowledges crows' association with death, she also insists that they are "smart and brave and loyal." As she enters a new year, Renkl "cling[s] to the crow's promise of metamorphosis."

Beginning in winter, when many plants are dormant, Renkl nonetheless proves that her nearby landscape is very much alive. Ailing foxes, hungry birds, sunbathing turtles, and her own dog's "Marvelous Nose" remind Renkl and her readers to pay attention to winter's denizens. As the calendar turns toward spring, Renkl records various birdsongs, the shifting light and weather, and her own impatience with waiting for warmer days. She sprinkles brief "Praise Songs" in between her longer essays, highlighting small glimpses of everyday nature: "Praise Song for the Maple Tree's First Green"; "Mole Hands in Coyote Scat"; "Sleeping Bees," "Dead Leaves"; and even "a Spring I Was Not Alive to See." She weaves in family anecdotes and imagined stories; moments from when her sons were young and when they moved back home during the Covid-19 pandemic; and trips with her husband to a friend's nearby cabin on the Cumberland Plateau, where trout lilies bloom in the woods. Nature, she reminds us, is in unspoiled wild places, but it is also in cities and suburbs, even as humans continue to encroach on forests and fields.

"The natural world's perfect indifference has always been the best cure for my own anxieties," Renkl writes, noting that nature adapts and endures, no matter how humans behave (or don't). The Comfort of Crows celebrates the beauty and durability of nature's age-old cycles and the habits of wild creatures, and it urges human beings to care for these same creatures--before some of them disappear altogether. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

Shelf Talker: Margaret Renkl's elegant, lucid third book of essays takes readers through the cycle of a year in the wild places surrounding her Nashville home.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Twisted Love by Ana Huang
2. Haunting Adeline by H.D. Carlton
3. Twisted Games by Ana Huang
4. Don't Let Them Bury My Story by Viola Ford Fletcher and Ike Howard
5. Hooked by Emily McIntire
6. Pestilence by Laura Thalassa
7. Twisted Lies by Ana Huang
8. Twisted Hate by Ana Huang
9. The Perfect Marriage by Jeneva Rose
10. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki with Sharon L. Lechter

[Many thanks to!]

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