Shelf Awareness for Thursday, November 2, 2023


Crown Publishing Group (NY): Here One Moment Liane Moriarty

Minotaur Books: Betrayal at Blackthorn Park: A Mystery (Evelyne Redfern #2) by Julia Kelly

Tor Books: Blood of the Old Kings by Sung-Il Kim, Translated by Anton Hur

Del Rey Books: The Book of Elsewhere by Keeanu Reeves and China Miéville

St. Martin's Press: You'll Never Believe Me: A Life of Lies, Second Tries, and Other Stuff I Should Only Tell My Therapist by St. Martin's Press

Watkins Publishing: A Feminist's Guide to ADHD: How Women Can Thrive and Find Focus in a World Built for Men by Janina Maschke

News

New Owners, Name for Ferguson Books & More, Grand Forks, N.Dak.

Ferguson Books & More in Grand Forks, N.Dak., is closing after 13 years in business, and longtime employees and mother-and-son team Patricia and Sterling Reed will carry the torch by opening Silver Dawn Books in Grand Forks this month, the Grand Forks Herald reported.

Dane Ferguson, owner of Ferguson Books & More, will be selling the store's inventory, fixtures, and customer list to the Reeds. Other Ferguson Books locations, in West Fargo and Bismarck, will remain in operation under Ferguson's ownership.

The Reeds, meanwhile, have found a new, smaller space for Silver Dawn Books inside of the Grand Cities Mall. The store will sell new and used titles, and while the product mix will be similar to that of Ferguson Books, Sterling Reed plans to expand certain sections, such as horror. He told the Dakota Student: "I'm most excited to implement my own stock ideas that I couldn't do before."

"They will have a little bit of reduced footprint, a lot less storage and a lot less overhead," Dane Ferguson told the Herald. "I just feel good about the decision because I know who's taking over. We're sad to leave Grand Forks, but we're happy with how we are doing it."

"Working with books is what I do best," Sterling Reed said. "When Dane brought up the idea of buying the store, I jumped at it. I've always wanted to open my own store."

"Sterling's very equipped and knowledgeable about the day-to-day operation of a bookstore," Patricia Reed added. "There is not going to be any problem with transition."


G.P. Putnam's Sons: Shame on You: How to Be a Woman in the Age of Mortification by Melissa Petro


Words to Live By Coming to Moorhead, Minn.

Words to Live By, a general-interest bookstore with a selection of music and movies, is opening in Moorhead, Minn., this month, Inforum reported.

Owner Jill Johnson and her husband, Kris, plan to have a soft opening for the store in early November followed by a grand opening on November 15. The bookstore, which is located at 819 Center Ave. in downtown Moorhead, will carry predominantly used books with a curated selection of new titles, along with some CDs and DVDs.

Prior to deciding to open Words to Live By, Johnson was selling books from a booth inside of an antique store in the Moorhead Center Mall. After learning that the mall would soon undergo some major changes, Johnson began considering starting a business of her own.

"So, I started looking and this beautiful space came to be and we decided this was the path we needed to go," Johnson recalled.

Johnson noted that while she has a personal preference for mysteries, the shop will have something for everyone. She hopes to bring in plenty of local authors and host book signings and meet and greets.


Harpervia: The Alaska Sanders Affair by Joël Dicker, Translated by Robert Bononno


ALA Report: Gen Z & Millennials Love Libraries, Print Books

Gen Z and millennials are using public libraries, both in person and digitally, at higher rates compared to older generations, according to a new report released today by the American Library Association. Gen Z and Millennials: How They Use Public Libraries and Identify Through Media Use draws on a nationally representative survey to reveal the attitudes and behaviors young Americans have regarding library use and media consumption.  

Written by Kathi Inman Berens, Ph.D., and Rachel Noorda, Ph.D., both of Portland State University, the report and survey data show that 54% of Gen Z and millennials visited a physical library within the previous 12 months. Of the 2,075 Gen Z and millennials surveyed in 2022, more than half who self-reported visiting a physical library said they also borrow from a library's digital collection. The data also revealed younger Americans' distinct preference for physical versions of books: survey respondents read and bought on average twice as many print books per month as any other category.  

"Great news: Younger generations of people are reading books, buying books, and visiting libraries," said Noorda. "Not only are Gen Z and millennials engaging with books, but they are also engaging with other forms of media. They are gamers, readers, writers, and fans who are comfortable with malleability between media categories and forms." 

In addition, more than half of the 43% of Gen Z and millennials who don't self-identify as readers have been to their local library during the past 12 months. ALA president Emily Drabinski said, "These digitally-immersed generations make clear that libraries are about more than books. Programming relevant to teens and their parents--coding clubs, job application help, gaming--draws even non-readers to the library, as does the physical space to connect and collaborate." 

Additional key findings in the ALA survey:  

  • Younger library users view the library as a place to "sample" materials, supplementing and informing their purchases and paid subscriptions of books, information, and media.
  • Members of the survey cohorts who also identify as Black, Indigenous, or people of color are more affected by wait times for digital materials; more Black and Latinx Gen Z and millennials report using digital collections than the general survey population.  
  • 75% of Gen Z and millennial physical library patrons believe a library wait of one week or less is "long." 

Obituary Note: Anthony Holden

Anthony Holden, "a polymathic and prolific British author, journalist and poker player who found accidental fame as a royal biographer and critic of the monarchy, but who was happier writing books about Shakespeare, Laurence Olivier and Lorenzo Da Ponte, Mozart's librettist," died October 7, the New York Times reported. He was 76.

Holden was writing the "Atticus" diary column for the Sunday Times in London when, in 1977, he was sent to cover Prince Charles's visit to Canada to open the Calgary Stampede rodeo. The column led to a book deal to write a biography of Charles. When Prince Charles: A Biography was published in 1979, "it was mostly charitably reviewed, even by its subject. Prince Charles told Mr. Holden that he liked the fact that the book depicted a life that 'was not all wine and roses,' " the Times noted.

He continued to receive royalty-themed book deals for works like Their Royal Highnesses: The Prince & Princess of Wales (1981), A Week in the Life of the Royal Family (1983), and Anthony Holden's Royal Quiz (1983). In the late 1980s, his publisher asked him to write a second biography of the prince, which became Charles (1988), a "chilly picture" of the marriage of Charles and Diana.

Recalling the equally chilly reception to the book in his memoir Based on a True Story: A Writer's Life (2021), Holden wrote that the Daily Mail ran a piece declaring he had left his first wife, a "classy pianist," for a "blond American bimbo"; was living the high life in a mansion on the Thames; and had slandered the prince to pay off his gambling debts. What wasn't reported, Holden noted, was that his house and car were ransacked more than once, and that his research material about Prince Charles was stolen.

Holden wrote more than 30 books, including William Shakespeare: The Man Behind the Genius (2000); Laurence Olivier (1988); The Wit in the Dungeon: The Life of Leigh Hunt (2005); Behind the Oscars: The Secret History of the Academy Awards (1993); Big Deal: One Year as a Professional Poker Player (1990); and The Tarnished Crown (1993).

"Tony was a real scholar," said Tina Brown, the author and magazine editor, who was a longtime friend. "He was immensely talented, but he did it with such a light touch. He could write the best gossip column. He was the person you turned to to do the elegant, smart take--very fast." She called him "the classic Grub Street reporter," adding that the "royal stuff was almost a pass-through situation, but he did it brilliantly."

A serious stroke in 2017 "barely slowed him down as he typed every day with his one good right hand and gave lunches where doctors' advice was ignored and bottles were opened." His final book was Based on a True Story: A Writer's Life (2021)," the Guardian reported, adding: "In a trade where schadenfreude is often the norm, Tony was the loyalist of loyal friends, which is why he had so many all his life."


Notes

Image of the Day: A Night at the Movies

RJ Julia Booksellers, Madison, Conn., hosted an event for author/actress Illeana Douglas and her new book, Connecticut in the Movies: From Dream Houses to Dark Suburbia (Lyons Press). The conversation took place at the Madison Cinemas, and was moderated by local Fox61 anchor Matt Scott. Pictured: Julie Gordon (RJ Julia), Mary Mellows (RJ Julia), Illeana Douglas, Maria Weinberger (RJ Julia), Pem McNerney (RJ Julia), and Shana Capozza, director, marketing & publicity, Globe Pequot.


Reese's November Book Club Pick: Maybe Next Time

The November pick for Reese's Book Club is Maybe Next Time by Cesca Major (Morrow), which Reese Witherspoon described this way: "This fascinating story follows overworked & overwhelmed London literary agent Emma, who finds herself trapped in a time loop. No matter what Emma does, she keeps living the same day over and over--all while trying to stop something terrible from happening to her family."

The book is slated for a film adaptation by Apple Studios, with Witherspoon's Hello Sunshine producing.


Former Bookstore Becomes Bookish Hotel

The former Kennett Bookhouse in Kennett Square, Pa., is now the Bookhouse Hotel, which held a grand opening celebration on October 22. Per the Chester County Press, the Kennett Bookhouse left behind some 5,000 books, which are now filling the shelves of the hotel's guest rooms. Guests are welcome to borrow books during their stay, and if they're unable to finish before leaving, the books have QR codes linking to Bookshop.org. Currently, the rooms are not themed by genre or titles.

Owners Stephanie and Matt Olenik are also planning a Hotel Book Club, with details to be announced.


Personnel Changes at Scholastic

At Scholastic:

Amanda Trautmann has been promoted to trade publicity coordinator.

Ezra Aronowitz has been promoted to associate marketing manager at Scholastic Klutz.


Media and Movies

This Weekend on Book TV: The Boston Book Festival

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, November 4
9:30 a.m. C.W. Goodyear, author of President Garfield: From Radical to Unifier (‎Simon & Schuster, $35, 9781982146917). (Re-airs Saturday at 9:30 p.m.)

3 p.m. Jean Pfaelzer, author of California, a Slave State (‎Yale University Press, $35, 9780300211641).

4:15 p.m. H.W. Brands, author of Founding Partisans: Hamilton, Madison, Jefferson, Adams and the Brawling Birth of American Politics (Doubleday, $32.50, 9780385549240).

5:50 p.m. Samuel Freedman, author of Into the Bright Sunshine: Young Hubert Humphrey and the Fight for Civil Rights (Oxford University Press, $33.44, 9780197535196).

6:55 p.m. Luke Nichter, author of The Year That Broke Politics: Collusion and Chaos in the Presidential Election of 1968 (Yale University Press, $37.50, 9780300254396).

Sunday, November 5
9:05 a.m. Mike Rothschild, author of Jewish Space Lasers: The Rothschilds and 200 Years of Conspiracy Theories (Melville House, $32.50, 9781685890643). (Re-airs Sunday at 9:05 p.m.)

10 a.m. Ruth J. Simmons, author of Up Home: One Girl's Journey (Random House, $27, 9780593446003). (Re-airs Sunday at 10 p.m.)

12 p.m. Live In-Depth q&a with author and former ACLU president Nadine Strossen.

4 to 8 p.m. Coverage of the 2023 Boston Book Festival. Highlights include:

  • 4 p.m. A discussion on memoirs with Drew Gilpin Faust and Rose Styron.
  • 4:55 p.m. A discussion on human learning and knowledge with Adam Gopnik and Simon Winchester.
  • 5:51 p.m. A discussion on wildlife preservation with Terry Tempest Williams, Allen Crawford, Matt Patterson, and Sy Montgomery.
  • 6:50 A discussion on book banning with Suzanne Nossel, Jocelyn Chadwick, and Linda Johnson.


Books & Authors

Awards: World Fantasy Winners; SIBA Southern Book Finalists

The winners of the World Fantasy Awards were announced at the 2023 World Fantasy Convention, held last weekend in Kansas City, Mo. The winners:

Best Novel: Saint Death's Daughter by C.S.E. Cooney
Best Novella: Pomegranates by Priya Sharma
Best Short Fiction: "Incident at Bear Creek Lodge" by Tananarive Due (Other Terrors: An Inclusive Anthology)
Best Anthology: Africa Risen: A New Era of Speculative Fiction, edited by Sheree Renée Thomas, Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki, Zelda Knight
Best Collection: All Nightmare Long by Tim Lebbon (PS)
Best Artist: Kinuko Y. Craft
Special Award--Professional: Matt Ottley, for The Tree of Ecstasy and Unbearable Sadness
Special Award--Non-Professional: Michael Kelly, for Undertow Publications

The Life Achievement Awards, honoring individuals who have demonstrated outstanding service to the fantasy field, went to Peter Crowther and John Douglas.

---

The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance has unveiled finalists for the 2024 Southern Book Prize, representing "bookseller favorites from 2023 that are Southern in nature--either about the South or by a Southern writer." Voting by the public has begun at SouthernBookPrize.com and will run through February 1. Winners in each category will be named February 14. The finalists are:

Fiction
All the Sinners Bleed by S.A. Cosby (Flatiron Books)
How to Sell a Haunted House by Grady Hendrix (Berkley)
Let Us Descend by Jesmyn Ward (Scribner)
Starling House by Alix E. Harrow (Tor Books)
Tom Lake by Ann Patchett (Harper)
The Vaster Wilds by Lauren Groff (Riverhead Books)

Nonfiction
Above Ground by Clint Smith (Little, Brown)
The Comfort of Crows by Margaret Renkl (Spiegel & Grau)
Happily by Sabrina Orah Mark (Random House)
Kiss Me in the Coral Lounge by Helen Ellis (Doubleday)
This Isn't Going to End Well by Daniel Wallace (Algonquin Books)
We Are Too Many by Hannah Pittard (Holt)

Children's & YA
Begin Again by Emma Lord (Wednesday Books)
Blood Debts by Terry J. Benton-Walker (Tor Teen)
Chaos Theory by Nic Stone (Crown Books for Young Readers)
Okra Stew by Natalie Daise (Holt Books for Young Readers))
When Sea Becomes Sky by Gillian McDunn (Bloomsbury Children's Books)
Where Are the Aliens by Stacy McAnulty, illustrated by Nicole Miles (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)


Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, November 7:

Baumgartner by Paul Auster (Atlantic Monthly Press, $27, 9780802161444) follows a widower reminiscing about his life.

My Name Is Barbra by Barbra Streisand (Viking, $47, 9780525429524) is the entertainer's memoir.

The Core of an Onion: Peeling the Rarest Common Food--Featuring More Than 100 Historical Recipes by Mark Kurlansky (Bloomsbury, $27.49, 9781635575934) is a historical and culinary survey of an ubiquitous ingredient.

Resurrection Walk by Michael Connelly (Little, Brown, $30, 9780316563765) is book seven in the Lincoln Lawyer legal thriller series.

Class: A Memoir of Motherhood, Hunger, and Higher Education by Stephanie Land (Atria/One Signal, $28, 9781982151393) is from the author of Maid.

Clive Cussler The Corsican Shadow by Dirk Cussler (Putnam, $29.95, 9780593544174) is the 27th adventure with Dirk Pitt.

Slay by Laurell K. Hamilton (Berkley, $28, 9780593637845) is book 30 in the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series.

The Olympian Affair by Jim Butcher (Ace, $30, 9780451466822) continues the Cinder Spires fantasy series.

Encounters: Experiences with Nonhuman Intelligences by D.W. Pasulka (St. Martin's Essentials, $27, 9781250879561) explores attempts to make contact with aliens, interdimensional beings, A.I., and more.

Check & Mate by Ali Hazelwood (Putnam, $14, 9780593619919) is the adult romance author's young adult romance debut.

The Way I Am Now by Amber Smith (Margaret K. McElderry, $21.99, 9781665947107) is the author's fourth YA novel and the sequel to The Way I Used to Be.

Paperbacks:
The Wizard of the Kremlin: A Novel by Giuliano da Empoli, trans. by Willard Wood (Other Press, $16.99, 9781635423952).

Girls of the World: 250 Portraits of Awesome by Mihaela Noroc (Andrews McMeel, $19.99, 9781524880521).

Bookshops & Bonedust by Travis Baldree (Tor Trade, $17.99, 9781250886101).

Harmony by Whitney Hanson (Penguin Life, $18, 9780143138013).

Check & Mate by Ali Hazelwood (Putnam, $14, 9780593619919).


IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

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

Hardcover
One Woman Show: A Novel by Christine Coulson (Avid Reader Press/S&S, $25, 9781668027783). "This journey through a museum exhibit via wall tags provides insightful commentary on the way women are often sidelined as ornamental accessories, even in the story of their own lives. A wholly unique masterclass on economy in language." --David Vogel, Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor, Mich.

Straw Dogs of the Universe: A Novel by Ye Chun (Catapult, $27, 9781646220625). "In this book, young Chinese villagers flee flood and famine for a 'better life' in California, and lurch through bitter hardship, unspeakable racism, and repeated brutality. They fight, love, and struggle to survive with their souls intact." --Reiko Redmonde, Revolution Books, Berkeley, Calif.

Paperback
People Person: A Novel by Candice Carty-Williams (Gallery/Scout Press, $17.99, 9781501196058). "Meet the Penningtons: Five siblings from four mothers, raised in London with no support from their father and with vastly different backgrounds. Somehow, they mesh. People Person makes their growing bond a hilarious triumph of family." --Myles Mickle, Village Square Booksellers, Bellows Falls, Vt.

For Ages 0 to 8
Granny Rex by Kurtis Scaletta, illus. by Nik Henderson (Abrams, $18.99, 9781951836665). "A tiny chickadee complains about being small, which opens a big conversation about bird ancestors. Extremely good read-aloud potential here, both for the silly jokes and the dino and bird noises. I can't wait to share this with kids." --Clare Doornbos, Mr. Mopps' Children's Books, Berkeley, Calif.

For Ages 10+
Two Tribes by Emily Bowen Cohen (Heartdrum, $15.99, 9780062983589). "Mia's feeling of not fitting in is intensified by her descent from not one, but two marginalized communities. Her journey into her Muscogee heritage means taking risks and learning from her mistakes. A brilliant coming-of-age story." --Keith Glaeske, East City Bookshop, Washington, D.C.

For Teen Readers
Bittersweet in the Hollow by Kate Pearsall (Putnam, $18.99, 9780593531020). "I was hooked on the premise of a murder mystery linked to Mothman. I didn't expect how quickly I'd fall in love with the language that just drips with magic, the cast of amazing witchy women on every page, and the intricately woven story." --Jacey Anderson, Rediscovered Books, Boise, Idaho

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]


Book Review

Review: My Friends

My Friends by Hisham Matar (Random House, $28.99 hardcover, 416p., 9780812994841, January 9, 2024)

The unassuming title of Hisham Matar's third novel conceals a sophisticated work that skillfully explores themes of human connection, exile, and return at the scale of both intimate relationships and world-altering historical events. Matar, born in New York City to Libyan parents, and winner of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for his memoir, The Return, has written a quiet novel that examines how the bonds of friendship are forged and fray over a lifetime.

My Friends focuses on the relationship among three Libyan men whose lives intersect over more than three decades, from the mid-1980s through the aftermath of the 2011 revolution that deposed Muammar Qaddafi after 42 years. Most of the novel is narrated by Khaled Abd al Hady, looking back on that time span as a middle-aged man in London, where he's lived since 1984, after leaving his native Benghazi to study English literature at the University of Edinburgh. He's inspired to pursue those studies by an enigmatic short story authored by Hosam Zowa, a Libyan writer who vanished from the literary world after publishing a single story collection.

In carefree fashion, Khaled travels to London with his friend and fellow Libyan Mustafa al Touny to attend a demonstration sparked by the arrest of several students in their shared homeland. Matar places his fictional pair at the scene of an actual protest that occurred on April 17, 1984, that resulted in the wounding of 11 demonstrators and the killing of an English police officer when they were fired on from inside the Libyan Embassy. Khaled and Mustafa are both wounded in the attack and spend weeks recovering in a London hospital.

That shattering event thrusts the two men into an enforced exile from their country of birth. Khaled builds a respectable life as a teacher in his adopted city. During a visit to Paris he meets his literary idol Hosam, and they form a strong friendship. When the revolt that eventually topples Qaddafi erupts in February 2011, Khaled, Mustafa, and Hosam must decide what they will risk to liberate their native land.

Matar's characters operate in a world of moral ambiguity, and he scrupulously avoids putting his thumb on the scale of judgment when weighing their choices and actions. Describing his friend Hosam, Khaled observes that "we ask of writers what we ask of our closest friends: to help us mediate and interpret the world." Matar has ably realized that aspiration in this mature novel. Readers who appreciate the fiction of writers with roots in the Arab world like Mohsin Hamid and Ayad Akhtar will find a similar affecting sensibility in Matar's work. --Harvey Freedenberg, freelance reviewer

Shelf Talker: This thoughtful novel views the subject of friendship through the prism of recent Libyan history.


The Bestsellers

Libro.fm Bestsellers in October

The bestselling Libro.fm audiobooks at independent bookstores during October:

Fiction
1. Tom Lake by Ann Patchett (HarperAudio)
2. The Sunlit Man by Brandon Sanderson (Dragonsteel)
3. Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus (Penguin Random House Audio)
4. Starling House by Alix E. Harrow (Macmillan Audio)
5. Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros (Recorded Books)
6. The Lost Bookshop by Evie Woods (HarperCollins)
7. The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna (Penguin Random House Audio)
8. The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store by James McBride (Penguin Random House Audio)
9. The Last Devil to Die by Richard Osman (Penguin Random House Audio)
10. Iron Flame by Rebecca Yarros (Recorded Books)

Nonfiction
1. The Woman in Me by Britney Spears (Simon & Schuster Audio)
2. Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann (Penguin Random House Audio)
3. Making It So by Patrick Stewart (Simon & Schuster Audio)
4. It Came from the Closet edited by Joe Vallese (Blackstone Publishing)
5. The Hundred Years' War on Palestine by Rashid Khalidi (Macmillan Audio)
6. Democracy Awakening by Heather Cox Richardson (Penguin Random House Audio)
7. Thicker than Water by Kerry Washington (Hachette Audio)
8. I'm Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy (Simon & Schuster Audio)
9. I Hate the Ivy League by Malcolm Gladwell (Pushkin Industries)
10. Prequel by Rachel Maddow (Penguin Random House Audio)


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