Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Chronicle Books: Poetry Comics by Grant Snider

Berkley Books: We Love the Nightlife by Rachel Koller Croft

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: Waiting in the Wings by Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton, Illustrated by Eg Keller

Webtoon Unscrolled: Boyfriends. Volume Two: A Webtoon Unscrolled Graphic Novel by Refrainbow

Shadow Mountain: The Witch in the Woods: Volume 1 (Grimmworld) by Michaelbrent Collings

Hell's Hundred: Blood Like Mine by Stuart Neville

Delacorte Press: Last One to Die by Cynthia Murphy


Frankfurt 2023: Sustainability for Small- and Medium-Sized Publishers

At the Frankfurt Book Fair last week, a panel discussion on ways small and medium-sized publishers can approach sustainability began with Sherri Aldis, director of the United Nations Regional Information Centre for Central Europe, giving a sobering update on the Sustainable Development Goals set by the UN in 2015--17 interconnected goals that all 193 UN member states have committed to reaching by 2030.

Joining Aldis in the discussion was Rachel Martin, global director of sustainability at Elsevier, with Porter Anderson, editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives, serving as moderator.

The goals, Aldis said, are "not on track at all," with only 15% of targets reached and many of the goals actually in decline. While the Covid-19 pandemic and the outbreak of armed conflicts around the world have played a significant role in slowing progress, "the crux of it, sadly, is money."

The problem is intricately tied to global inequality, with 40% of developing countries spending more on financing debt than on education, Aldis explained. The international financing system, which includes institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, "needs to be reformed" in order to "allow developing countries in particular to be able to finance sustainable transitions."

Acknowledging the current state of the SDG as grim, Aldis remarked that in "sports language," the world is "only at halftime," and any game is "won or lost in the second half." The goals are clear, and the road map is there: "We know what we have to do."

Martin noted that although "a lot of this is really high-level," there are immediate steps publishers of any size can make toward sustainability. The most obvious starting point is assessing one's own footprint, things that are "all within your direct control," like "looking at your lights, looking at your cards," and examining employee travel.

However, most publishers' carbon emissions are "going to happen in what's called your supply chain," Martin continued, areas where they typically have little to no influence. Given that small and medium publishers lack the buying power to "ring up a supplier" and request they go carbon neutral, it's important to start thinking about things "a bit more widely."

"If you're thinking about a new book, you're thinking about the type of paper, whether it's hardback, whether you put plastic on it, where you're going to send it, how you're going to deliver it," said Martin, and all of these choices have their own carbon impacts.

To help publishers navigate these decisions, the International Publishers Association is creating a tool for calculating the carbon cost of their books that is entering a pilot testing phase. It relies on information that publishers readily have on hand, including the book's weight, number of pages, and the location of the printer. By plugging in that information, publishers can get a sense of "where that carbon might be," and they might find out, for example, that it is concentrated in one particular part of the supply chain.

Touching on the calculator's methodology, which is available to read on the IPG Sustainable Development Goals climate dashboard, Martin said it incorporates five main areas: content creation, paper production, printing, distribution, and retail. (The calculator is a part of the IPA's Publishing 2030 Accelerator, which Martin and her Elsevier colleague Jeremy Brackpool discussed at the International Supply Chain Seminar, sponsored by EDItEUR and held on the eve of the fair. The accelerator has three areas of focus: calculating the carbon footprint of an individual book; distributed printing; and reimagining the accounting of revenues.)

While industry-wide standards are still probably a long ways away, publishers will soon get to a point where they can self-report. Remarked Martin: "No one gets to net-zero by themselves."

During the panel's q&a portion, Martin returned to the observation that money is the crux of the issue. Currently, everything publishers are doing for sustainability--saving energy, traveling less--is "good for the bottom line." Yet there is "no line in that P&L that accounts for sustainability" and, ultimately, Martin said, "we'd want a P&L line that says the sustainability cost or the carbon cost of this is 'x.' " The people who are "not in the room" for these discussions are finance directors and CFOs, and that will be "where the rubber hits the road." --Alex Mutter

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Summer Romance by Annabel Monaghan

Bonsai Books Opens in Cheyenne, Wyo.

Bonsai Books has opened at 126 Quincy Road in Cheyenne, Wyo. Sarah John, co-owner with her husband, Jason John, inherited the space from her father and decided to fulfill her dream of owning a bookstore. The building had served as her father's office for two decades, and "there are still aesthetic remnants of a doctor's office inside the space--a wrap-around granite counter at the entrance, polished wood floors and a functioning kitchen space toward the rear of the house," the Wyoming Tribune Eagle reported. John had worked as a nurse in her father's clinic for the past 14 years.

Sarah John observed that there are three bookstores in Laramie, not counting colleges stores, saying, "I have always wanted to have a bookstore. And so my husband's like, 'Well, let's do it.' "

Near the center of the room is a small table, two plush blue chairs facing off across a wooden chessboard, with lots of natural light. There are two small bar spaces at each end of the main room, as the Johns intend to sell coffee and tea from the small cafe area. Home-built shelves line the walls, a design choice that "creates an open place that allows customers to browse without having to shuffle past other shoppers in the aisles. More importantly, it's a foundation for what John hopes can become a community space, where, aside from book clubs and author signings, people will feel comfortable hanging around," the Tribune Eagle noted.

"The point of this is for people to have a space where they feel welcome and they can come and talk to us," John said. "Sometimes people just need to get out and have a conversation."

For now, the Johns plan to operate the store on their own, but will eventually seek additional employees, especially if business becomes too much to handle. They plan on carrying a diverse range of books.

"I'm someone that's 100% open to everything," John said. "There's no reason why we should just listen to one person, one train of thought. Even though some people have their favorite authors, it's always good to branch out and read somebody else because it just improves your life by hearing other people."

University of Texas Press: Loose of Earth: A Memoir by Kathleen Dorothy Blackburn

The Magic of Books Bookstore Launches Fundraiser

The Magic of Books Bookstore, which sells used and new books in Seymour, Ind., has launched a $1,500 GoFundMe campaign to offset unexpected expenses connected to a move to a new space. 

Owner Jenna Martinez, who opened the bookshop in 2020 and moved last year, wrote on the crowdfunding page: "We moved locations. When we moved, our electric company hit us with an EXTREMELY high deposit. They had been allowing us to split it into payments. They are no longer allowing us to split it and is demanding to be paid in full. We still owe over $1,000. If we don't have this paid by November 17th, they will turn our power off. With us being a used bookstore and the holidays fast approaching I just don't know how we can get that completed. We have been open over 3 years and I don't want to close my doors over something as ridiculous of us being charged the previous occupant's last 3 largest bills as a deposit for our account. I just don't see how that's fair for the electric company to ask for that. I'm grateful they have worked with us up to this point. We are asking our community for help. If you have anything to spare, please help."

Harper: Our Kind of Game by Johanna Copeland

Gibbs Smith, F. Ferguson Books in Co-Publishing Agreement

Gibbs Smith and F. Ferguson Books have begun a co-publishing agreement under which F. Ferguson Books will publish books as a Gibbs Smith imprint. Gibbs Smith has distributed F. Ferguson Books since April 2022. The agreement covers all past and future F. Ferguson Books titles.

Founded by Fabian Ferguson, F. Ferguson Books, Newark, N.J., specializes in children's books featuring Black lead characters.

Ferguson commented: "I'm truly pumped about the huge potential this new chapter with Gibbs Smith holds. Our past as distribution partners was fantastic, so you can bet this co-publishing journey is going to be something special. It's a win-win: I get to pour all my energy into creating those beloved stories, and together, we'll make sure they reach even more young book lovers out there."

Gibbs Smith publisher and CCO Suzanne Taylor said, "We are thrilled to further mesh Fabian and his work into the Gibbs Smith family, furthering our long-term goals of growing and diversifying our children's list. We have loved working with F. Ferguson Books as a distribution client, but now we get to put even more creative efforts behind these truly fabulous books."

Chronicle Books: Life Wants You Dead: A Calm, Rational, and Totally Legit Guide to Scaring Yourself Safe by Evan Waite, Illustrated by Paula Searing


Owner of Bridgeside Books, Waterbury, Vt., Named '2023 Rising Star'

Katya d'Angelo

Vermont Business magazine has named Katya d'Angelo, owner of Bridgeside Books in Waterbury, a 2023 Rising Star. The annual list features 40 winners under the age of 40, honored for their commitment to business growth, professional excellence, and involvement in their communities.

VermontBiz publisher John Boutin said, "The five judges had a difficult time picking the top 40. These young professionals have chosen to make Vermont home. These honorees over the years have stepped up as leaders, not only at their place of employment but also in their communities." 

VermontBiz will honor this year's Rising Stars on November 2. They will also be featured in the November issue of the magazine.

Consortium Adds Three Publishers

Ingram's Consortium Books Sales & Distribution is adding three new publishers, effective January 3, beginning with the spring 2024 season:

Neem Tree Press, London, England, which publishes books from all over the world, including children's and YA titles, that aim to showcase global cultures and diverse protagonists. Key titles this spring include Clytemnestra's Bind by Susan C. Wilson and Belly Woman: Birth, Blood & Ebola: The Untold Story by Benjamin Black.

Portage & Main Press (PMP), Winnipeg, Manitoba, publishes a range of educational resources that prioritize Indigenous and marginalized voices to inspire child-centered, inclusive learning. Their imprint, HighWater Press, publishes stories by emerging and established Indigenous writers. These books are a rich mix of nonfiction, novels, graphic novels, and children's literature that honor and support Indigenous resurgence. Key titles this spring include We Need Everyone by Michael Redhead Champagne and The Kodiaks by David A. Robertson.

Willsow, Leicester, England, are the first ever plantable children's books, produced in the U.K. with special handmade paper embedded with real vegetable and herb seeds. Willsow aims to educate children and adults alike about sustainability. Key titles for spring include The Carrot Who Was Too Big for His Bed and The Lettuce Who Wanted a New Look by Tom Lines and illustrated by Tom Ward.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Scott Eyman on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Scott Eyman, author of Charlie Chaplin vs. America: When Art, Sex, and Politics Collided (Simon & Schuster, $29.99, 9781982176358).

Today Show: Adam Grant, author of Hidden Potential: The Science of Achieving Greater Things (Viking, $32, 9780593653142).

Also on Today: Safiya Sinclair, author of How to Say Babylon: A Memoir (37 Ink, $28.99, 9781982132330).

Sherri Shepherd Show: Jana Kramer, author of The Next Chapter: Making Peace with Hard Memories, Finding Hope All Around Me, and Clearing Space for Good Things to Come (HarperOne, $28.99, 9780063288690).

Drew Barrymore Show: Cara Natterson and Vanessa Kroll Bennett, authors of This Is So Awkward: Modern Puberty Explained (Rodale, $28, 9780593580950).

Also on Drew Barrymore: Reggie Watts, author of Great Falls, MT: Fast Times, Post-Punk Weirdos, and a Tale of Coming Home Again (Tiny Reparations Books, $29, 9780593472460).

Access Daily: Geri Halliwell-Horner, author of Rosie Frost and the Falcon Queen (Philomel, $18.99, 9780593623343).

Movies: Eileen; This Time Next Year

A trailer has been released for Eileen, director William Oldroyd's adaptation of Ottessa Moshfegh's 2015 novel. IndieWire reported that the "1960s-set noir, which played out of competition way back in January at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival, stars Anne Hathaway and Thomasin McKenzie in career-topping turns." Neon will open the film in limited release on December 1 before a general release on December 8. 


Deadline featured an official first look at This Time Next Year, a film adaptation of Sophie Cousens's novel. Directed by Nick Moore (editor of Love Actually, Notting Hill, and The Full Monty, among others) from a screenplay by Cousens, the project stars Sophie Cookson (Kingsman: The Golden Circle) and Lucien Laviscount (Emily in Paris). The cast also includes Golda Rosheuvel (Bridgerton, Dune), John Hannah (Four Weddings and a Funeral, The Mummy), Monica Dolan (Black Mirror, Cyrano), and Mandip Gill (Doctor Who).

Books & Authors

Awards: Edna Staebler Creative Nonfiction Winner

Jillian Horton won the C$10,000 (about US$7,290) 2022 Edna Staebler Award for Creative Nonfiction for her book We Are All Perfectly Fine: A Memoir of Love, Medicine and Healing. Granted annually by Wilfrid Laurier University, the prize recognizes Canadian writers for a first or second work of creative nonfiction that includes a Canadian locale and/or significance.

Prize judge Bruce Gillespie said: "This is a book that offers rich insight into the high-stress lives of physicians even before the pandemic. It really stood apart from the other submissions, not only for its timeliness but for its humility, grace, and humor."

"Dr. Horton's book makes a strong case for the powerful role that the arts can play in our lives," said Gavin Brockett, vice-dean of the faculty of arts. "Her memoir draws back the curtain on the pressures physicians face during their training and then in field, something few patients may ever see or fully appreciate. But it also demonstrates how we may understand ourselves better and find healing through storytelling and personal writing."

An award ceremony and reception to honor Horton will be held on November 9 on Laurier's Waterloo campus. Nominees for the 2023 award will be announced this winter. The 2022 award was delayed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Book Review

Review: Airplane Mode: An Irreverent History of Travel

Airplane Mode: An Irreverent History of Travel by Shahnaz Habib (Catapult, $27 hardcover, 288p., 9781646220151, December 5, 2023)

Shahnaz Habib, a Brooklyn transplant with a serious case of wanderlust, offers a refreshing lens on the art of being a tourist, and ponders the journeys of adventurers, past and present, in her debut, Airplane Mode: An Irreverent History of Travel. Part social manifesto on the perils of having the wrong-colored passport, Habib's entertaining book includes reflections on citizenship, colonial history, and the transformative journey of motherhood.

Habib, a writing instructor at Bay Path University and the New School, is an award-winning translator of fiction from Malayalam, her South Indian mother tongue, into English. Though her hometown of Kerala is "a tourist paradise, a land of vacations," she grew up on the sidelines of the tourism industry and was raised on mythological stories that served as travel portals into faraway lands. She is especially captivated by the enigmatic Queen of Sheba, and her long and perilous journey to visit the kingdom of Solomon in Jerusalem. In her travels, the Queen was driven by the same innate curiosity that fuels the author's own desire to visit new places. Unlike the Queen of Sheba, though, Habib was severely limited by the "stigma" of her Third World citizenship, with travel often precluded by expensive, convoluted visa application processes. Eventually, she became a naturalized U.S. citizen, and shares with readers the complicated emotions involved in officially renouncing her Indian citizenship.

In a brilliant chapter on the history of passports, the author offers brazen examples of how these relatively recent forms of documentation were adopted by colonizers not to offer greater mobility but to prevent the wrong sort of people--that is, the colonized--from gaining entry. The aspirational experience of travel, she observes, depends on your identity. "To be a minority is to constantly orient yourself against the world," she writes, and it's an experience vastly different from traveling while armed with the "reflected glow of my husband's white American privilege."

Habib's evolution from a shy tourist tethered to guidebooks into a confident traveler is itself the transformation of a young immigrant unsure of her place in the world to a lifelong wanderer who knows she is entitled to go where she pleases. Entering the "foreign land called motherhood," she discovers anew her Brooklyn neighborhood, a joyful adventure full of the wonderment and spirit of mind-expanding travel.

Airplane Mode, brimming with curious travel facts filtered through Habib's witty, conversational style, is an insightful literary companion for explorers of all stripes. --Shahina Piyarali, reviewer

Shelf Talker: A Brooklyn writer shares entertaining travel facts, the colonial history of passports, and profound personal reflections on becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Hunting Adeline by H.D. Carlton
2. Twisted Love by Ana Huang
3. Things We Left Behind by Lucy Score
4. Twisted Games by Ana Huang
5. On Purpose by Yvette R. Simpson
6. Adventures of a Disease Detective by Mark White
7. Hooked by Emily McIntire
8. Things We Never Got Over by Lucy Score
9. Things We Hide from the Light by Lucy Score
10. A Thousand Boy Kisses by Tillie Cole

[Many thanks to!]

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