Also published on this date: November 9, 2023 Dedicated Issue: Bloomsbury's 25th Anniversary

Shelf Awareness for Thursday, November 9, 2023


Flatiron Books: The Last One at the Wedding by Jason Rekulak

Ace Books: Servant of Earth (The Shards of Magic) by Sarah Hawley

Ace Books: Toto by AJ Hackwith and The Village Library Demon-Hunting Society by CM Waggoner

Webtoon Unscrolled: Age Matters Volume Two by Enjelicious

St. Martin's Press:  How to Think Like Socrates: Ancient Philosophy as a Way of Life in the Modern World  by Donald J Robertson

Hanover Square Press: The Dallergut Dream Department Store (Original) by Miye Lee, Translated by Sandy Joosun Lee

Nosy Crow: Dungeon Runners: Hero Trial by Joe Todd-Stanton and Kieran Larwood

Andrews McMeel Publishing: A Haunted Road Atlas: Next Stop: More Chilling and Gruesome Tales from and That's Why We Drink by Christine Schiefer and Em Schulz

News

All She Wrote Books, Somerville, Mass., Reopening Tomorrow in New Home

(via)

After a successful crowdfunding campaign that brought in more than $60,000, queer and inclusive bookstore All She Wrote Books will reopen tomorrow in its new home in Somerville, Mass., MassLive reported.

At 800 square feet., the new space is a little over half the size of its original home in Somerville's Assembly Row. Owner Christina Pascucci-Ciampa will curate "the same types of books, the same types of topics, the same types of genres" in the new space at 75 Washington St., but with a more selective touch.

Pascucci-Ciampa founded the bookstore as a pop-up shop in 2019 before opening a bricks-and-mortar location in Assembly Row in 2020. Following a 130% rent increase over two years, as well as significant expenditures on HVAC issues and flooding repairs, staying in that location became untenable, and in September Pascucci-Ciampa launched a crowdfunding campaign to help her bookstore move to a new home.

"East Somerville spoke to us in a way that was like, this is a new chapter," Pascucci-Ciampa told MassLive. "This is a new opportunity that would allow for us to grow and flourish in the way that we need."

The campaign raised just shy of $61,000, and on October 15 Pascucci-Ciampa began moving the bookstore into the new space. Raised funds have so far gone toward moving expenses, paying bookstore staff, and buying new furniture; Pascucci-Ciampa plans to use remaining funds for hosting free community events, hiring more staff, and creating an emergency fund.

Pascucci-Ciampa places a major emphasis on community involvement. The store donates book bundles and gift cards to two organizations working to ending domestic abuse, sponsors a free library in East Somerville, collaborates with the Somerville Public Library on a variety of events, and has a program called "Gay It Forward" that allows customers to sponsor a free book for someone who otherwise could not afford one.

"We exist because of that human connection and the ability to connect with people, but also for people to feel heard and seen," Pascucci-Ciampa added. "You can't beat that. You can't get that in the form of shopping on Amazon. You just don't."


Farrar, Straus and Giroux: Intermezzo by Sally Rooney


Indigo 2nd Quarter Sales Down 12.4%; Net Loss Increases

 

Sales at Indigo Books & Music in the second quarter ended September 30 fell 12.4%, to C$206.9 million (about US$150 million), and the net loss was C$22.4 million (US$16.2 million) compared to a net loss of C$15.9 million (US$11.5 million) in the same quarter a year earlier.

The company noted that the sales comparison was difficult because in the second quarter last year it had "its highest ever merchandise sales in a second fiscal quarter." In addition, however, Indigo said that "sales in both the retail and online channels in the current year were negatively impacted by the downward pressures of a challenging macro-economic environment. This has reduced overall consumer demand and customers continue to show price sensitivity, noted by lifts in sales during key promotional events, which put pressure on sales margins. This was compounded by temporary disruptions from the launch of the company's modernized website. The new platform has provided improved functionality and agility, and an overall superior customer experience, however online revenue was impacted during the launch period. By the end of the quarter, most critical disruptions had been resolved, leading to improvements in online conversion."

CEO Heather Reisman, who in September returned to her position after a brief retirement and after much turmoil in the executive suite at Indigo, said: "I am delighted to be back as CEO. I look forward to working with our team to re-energize our connection to our customers who have long considered Indigo their 'happy place.' We have a clear road map and are committed to returning Indigo to profitability and growth. I am also pleased to share that this month we opened a new store at the Well, in downtown Toronto. It fully reflects our mission to inspire reading and enrich the lives of our customers and from the moment we opened our doors has been embraced by the local community."


PM Press: P Is for Palestine: A Palestine Alphabet Book by Golbarg Bashi, Illustrated by Golrokh Nafisi


New Owner for Everyone's Books, Brattleboro, Vt.

Nancy Braus, founder of Everyone's Books, Brattleboro, Vt., has sold her downtown store to Red Durkin. VTDigger reported that when Braus launched the store in 1984, she "wanted to offer something different: a counterculture option that shouted yes to progressive politics, social justice and environmental awareness. And so she stocked a side-street storefront with paperbacks, periodicals and posters and opened the business as Everyone's Books."

Four decades later, Braus "is as surprised as anyone that her alternative bookstore now stands as the sole survivor of the town's once-heady literary heyday. To ensure the locally owned independent continues in an Amazon world, the soon-to-be 70-year-old is passing it on to a new generation," VTDigger noted.

"I thought, 'I've been doing this a long time. Maybe I'll be able to transition, but only if I find exactly the right person,' " she said.

Durkin, a 40-year-old California resident with a résumé as a bookseller in small and large stores on both coasts, was visiting friends in Brattleboro when she heard Braus was interested in retiring.

"I was looking for a small, close-knit community where I could put down roots and have a purpose," Durkin said.

"Our staff is totally quirky. Finding someone that fits in is not an easy task," noted Braus, who quickly sensed that Durkin was "one of us," and sold the business to her in October.

Durkin joked: "If I know one thing about New Englanders, it's that they love it when people from California come in with new ways of doing things. The store has been working just fine as it is. I want to keep the same staff. I want to keep the same inventory. My vision is to continue as it has been and grow in ways that might improve it. I know it's a treasured part of the community."


Obituary Note: Clyde Rose 

Clyde Rose

Clyde Rose, co-founder and longtime president of Canadian publisher Breakwater Books, died October 25. He was 86. In a tribute, Breakwater Books posted: "Clyde was well-known in publishing circles around the world, but his name was virtually synonymous with literature in Newfoundland and Atlantic Canada.... Fifty years later, Breakwater is a cultural powerhouse recognized widely for playing a major role in what many consider the dawn of a cultural renaissance in our province."

Jack Illingworth, executive director of the Association of Canadian Publishers, observed that Rose "was a remarkable force in the movement to establish, and bring a broad readership to, the literature of Newfoundland and Labrador. His energy and determination brought the province's writers to the rest of Canada, and the world--I have childhood memories of finding Breakwater titles on my parents' shelves in rural northern Ontario, and also recall seeing Clyde working the halls of the Frankfurt Book Fair in support of his authors. His legacy is today's incarnation of Breakwater Books, a 50-year-old company with a varied and progressive list that showcases the diversity of Newfoundland and Labrador's remarkable literary and artistic communities."

Rose founded the press, with headquarters in St. John's, in 1973 with four of his university-professor colleagues and friends: Tom Dawe, Al Pittman, Pat Byrne, and Richard Buehler. Quill & Quire reported that the group "was motivated in part by their shared frustration with the lack of published works by Newfoundland and Labrador authors, and sought to publish and promote the work of writers living in the province."

After his partners stepped away from publishing, Rose ran Breakwater for more than 30 years, expanding the house with the acquisition in the 1990s of Ontario's Summerhill Press and Newfoundland's Jesperson Press in 2002. The publisher celebrated its 50th anniversary this year.

"Clyde was a dynamic and inspiring publisher," longtime colleague and fellow publisher James Lorimer said. "A pioneer in demanding room within CanLit for Newfoundland writers and poets--and proving that they merited audiences across Canada. He had charisma galore, and used it to bring Canadian writing and books to the attention of many of the world's publishers."

Rose served as president of the Association of Canadian Publishers in 1988 and 1989 and was an active member of the Literary Press Group of Canada. He was awarded the inaugural Pioneer Award from the Atlantic Book Awards Society. Rose retired in 2009, when his daughter, Rebecca Rose, took over as publisher and president of the company.

Breakwater also noted in its tribute that "while Clyde's heart for Breakwater's editorial was distinctly centered on Newfoundland and Labrador, his eye was wider reaching, and he fostered connections with publishing houses, agents, and writers all over the world. Clyde ensured that Breakwater was one of the first houses in Canada to attend the Frankfurt Book Fair, now standard practice for many publishers. It was here and through his connections abroad that he sold the stories of our province into other languages and brought foreign tales to our shores in translation. Like many of the great creatives and raconteurs of the time, Clyde was a truly international thinker, with an eye for not only what made a good story, but how to sell it."


Notes

Image of the Day: Patterson and Lupica at Fla. B&N Opening

Barnes & Noble opened a new store in Delray Beach, Fla., yesterday. Located in a former Pier 1, the 10,000-square-foot store features the chain's new design elements and layout. Mike Lupica and James Patterson cut the ribbon to celebrate, and then signed copies of their third collaboration, 12 Months to Live (Little, Brown), and chatted with fans who had lined up around the block. Pictured: Patterson, Lupica and store manager Richard Tyrrell.


Reading Group Choices' Most Popular October Books

The two most popular titles in October at Reading Group Choices were Midnight Is the Darkest Hour: A Novel by Ashley Winstead (Sourcebooks Landmark) and A Brilliant Life: My Mother's Inspiring True Story of Surviving the Holocaust by Rachelle Unreich (Harper Paperbacks).


Personnel Changes at Sourcebooks

At Sourcebooks:

Kavita Wright has been promoted to executive director of online marketing.

Alexandra Derdall has been promoted to assistant digital marketing manager, special projects.

Bonnie Svoboda has been promoted to associate director of customer experience. 

Margaret Kelly has been promoted to senior manager of customer experience.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Isabel Kershner on Fresh Air

Today:
Fresh Air: Isabel Kershner, author of The Land of Hope and Fear: Israel's Battle for Its Inner Soul (Knopf, $30, 9781101946763).

Tomorrow:
Good Morning America: Lauren Simmons, author of Make Money Move: A Guide to Financial Wellness (Amistad, $25, 9780063246539).


This Weekend on Book TV: The Texas 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 11
9:20 a.m. Rachel Maddow, author of Prequel: An American Fight Against Fascism (Crown, $32, 9780593444511), at Politics and Prose in Washington, D.C. (Re-airs Saturday at 9:20 p.m.)

10:40 a.m. Sung-Yoon Lee, author of The Sister: North Korea's Kim Yo Jong, the Most Dangerous Woman in the World (PublicAffairs, $30, 9781541704121). (Re-airs Saturday at 10:40 p.m.)

12:15 p.m. to 6 p.m. Live coverage of the 2023 Texas Book Festival in Austin, Tex. (Re-airs Sunday at 12:15 a.m.)

6 p.m. Avi Loeb, author of Interstellar: The Search for Extraterrestrial Life and Our Future in the Stars (Mariner, $28.99, 9780063250871). (Re-airs Sunday at 6 a.m.)

Sunday, November 12
8 a.m. McKay Coppins, author of Romney: A Reckoning (Scribner, $32.50, 9781982196202). (Re-airs Sunday at 8 p.m.)

10 a.m. Greg Lukianoff, author of Greg Lukianoff: The Canceling of the American Mind (Simon & Schuster, $29.99, 9781668019146). (Re-airs Sunday at 10 p.m.)

11 a.m. to 6:15 p.m. Continuing live coverage of the Texas Book Festival. (Re-airs Sunday at 11 p.m.)

6:15 p.m. Jag Singh, author of Future Care: Sensors, Artificial Intelligence, and the Reinvention of Medicine (‎Mayo Clinic Press, $27.99, 9781945564253).

7:30 p.m. Stephen Friot, author of Containing History: How Cold War History Explains U.S.-Russia Relations (‎University of Oklahoma Press, $34.95, 9780806191904).



Books & Authors

Awards: Prix Goncourt, Cundill, Walcott Poetry Winners

The Prix Goncourt, France's most prestigious literary prize, has been awarded to Jean-Baptiste Andréa for Veiller sur Elle (Watching Over Her), published by L'Iconoclaste. The prize is given by the Académie Goncourt to the author of "the best and most imaginative prose work of the year."

The winning title was described by the New York Times as "a sprawling fresco and star-crossed love story that follows Michelangelo 'Mimo' Vitaliani, a dwarf and skilled sculptor who at the end of his life is said to be 'watching over' his masterpiece, a mysteriously powerful sculpture.

"Andrea, 52, a former screenwriter and film director, sets the nearly 600-page novel across several tumultuous decades in 20th-century Italy, including the years of fascism's rise, when Mimo, young and poor, forges an intense bond with Viola Orsini, the adventurous and ambitious daughter of an aristocratic family."

The prize carries an honorary award of €10 (about $10.50), but sales because of the prize can run in the millions.

---

Red Memory: Living, Remembering and Forgetting China's Cultural Revolution by Tania Branigan (W.W. Norton) has won the 2023 $75,000 Cundill History Prize, administered by McGill University and recognizing the book that most "embodies historical scholarship, originality, literary quality and broad appeal."

Chair of the jury Philippa Levine said, "Haunting and memorable, Tania Branigan's sensitive study of the impact of the Cultural Revolution on the lives and psyches of an entire generation in China affected every juror, as it will every reader. All of us found ourselves unable to stop thinking about this extraordinary book. All of us were deeply moved by the trauma she so vividly describes and by the skills on which she drew in doing so. This is a must-read."

---

Mosab Abu Toha has won the $2,000 2023 Derek Walcott Prize for Poetry from Arrowsmith Press for his debut poetry collection, Things You May Find Hidden in My Ear: Poems from Gaza (City Lights Publishers). The award honors a book of poems by a poet who is not a U.S. citizen.

Walcott Prize judge Canisia Lubrin said: "Here is a book which revels at an impossible pitch, the potent will to live heart-first in confrontation with life under brutal siege. Things You May Find Hidden in My Ear is a supertonic glossary of sorrows so extreme it bends the brace of language into fortifying, never-naïve, elegy. Toha's meticulous, and often brief, lines thread his own breathing witness into a poetry of mighty resolve, insisting poetry itself be worthy of a Palestinian lament. Toha insists on these songs, holding each by their own powerful weight and bond, into this rippling of a future out beyond the page. This is a work of great restraint and abundant attention presented as always waiting in the routine arrangements of the day-to-day. Such grace and understanding, daring because necessary, necessary because how powerful it is to hear a voice cut so sharply through today. So haunting, so searing, and above all, so lit by Mosab Abu Toha's vibrant--what else to call it?--love."


Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, November 14:

The Honor of Your Presence by Dave Eggers (McSweeney's, $16, 9781952119903) is a novella about uninvited partygoers.

The Edge by David Baldacci (Grand Central, $30, 9781538719916) is book two in the 6:20 Man thriller series.

The Little Liar: A Novel by Mitch Albom (Harper, $26.99, 9780062406651) follows a Greek boy during World War II.

The Bill Gates Problem: Reckoning with the Myth of the Good Billionaire by Tim Schwab (Metropolitan Books, $33.99, 9781250850096) explores the many dangers and failures of the Gates Foundation and other billionaire political projects.

Ghosts of Honolulu: A Japanese Spy, A Japanese American Spy Hunter, and the Untold Story of Pearl Harbor by Mark Harmon and Leon Carroll (Harper Select, $29.99, 9781400337019) chronicles espionage activities leading up to Pearl Harbor.

Blood on Their Hands: Murder, Corruption, and the Fall of the Murdaugh Dynasty by Mandy Matney (Morrow, $28.99, 9780063269217) investigates the South Carolina lawyer who killed members of his family to cover up financial crimes.

Tired of Winning: Donald Trump and the End of the Grand Old Party by Jonathan Karl (Dutton, $32, 9780593473986) traces the tailspin of the modern Republican party.

System Collapse by Martha Wells (Tor, $21.99, 9781250826978) is the seventh Murderbot Diaries sci-fi book.

The Narrow Road Between Desires by Patrick Rothfuss (DAW, $26, 9780756419172) is a novella set in the Kingkiller Chronicle fantasy universe.

Above the Trenches by Nathan Hale (Amulet Books, $14.99, 9781419749520) features the flying aces of World War I and is the 12th title in the Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales series.

Rising Above: The Wataru "Wat" Misaka Story by Hayley Diep, illus. by Naomi Giddings (Triumph Books, $18.95, 9781637274774), is a nonfiction picture book biography of the first non-white athlete to play in the NBA.

Paperbacks:
The Twist of a Knife: A Novel by Anthony Horowitz (Harper Perennial, $19.99, 9780062938190).

Kinfolk by Sean Dietrich (Harper Muse, $18.99, 9781400235636).

Why Flying Is Miserable: And How to Fix It by Ganesh Sitaraman (Columbia Global Reports, $17, 9798987053584).

I Heard a Fly Buzz When I Died: An Emily Dickinson Mystery by Amanda Flower (Berkley, $16.99, 9780593336960).


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
The Premonition: A Novel by Banana Yoshimoto, trans. by Asa Yoneda (Counterpoint, $24, 9781640093713). "Have you ever felt haunted by something from your childhood? A vague memory on the edge of remembrance? Yoshimoto unravels hidden grief, loneliness, and family secrets in The Premonition. Originally published in the '80s, this is timeless." --Jenny Gilroy, E. Shaver, Bookseller, Savannah, Ga.

Family Meal: A Novel by Bryan Washington (Riverhead, $28, 9780593421093). "Family Meal is a heartbreaking story of love, loss, and grief. Cam returns to Houston after the love of his life, Kai, dies. He and his estranged best friend, TJ, try to work through their grief and past hurts. A painful, gorgeous read." --Kristen Beverly, Half Price Books, Dallas, Tex.

Paperback
The Hero of This Book: A Novel by Elizabeth McCracken (Ecco, $18.99, 9780062971296). "Is this a memoir or a novel? Does it matter? A very well-written story about memoir writing, following a writer who, in the wake of her mother's death, travels to London. A great examination of the grieving process and what it does to art." --Alex Einhorn, Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, Va.

For Ages 4 to 8
Unflappable by Matthew Ward, illus. by Scott Magoon (Clarion, $19.99, 9780358400059). "We are birds--we do not give up! is a slogan that needs to go on a T-shirt. This is the kind of funny, empowering message I want out of my picture book literature. Unflappable is as charming as it gets. Highly recommend!" --Rebecca Waesch, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Cincinnati, Ohio

For Ages 8 to 12
Galaxy Jones and the Space Pirates by Briana McDonald (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, $17.99, 9781534498297). "Pirates: in space! This action-packed adventure is about finding yourself and being true to you, despite how others perceive you. When Galaxy Jones' interstellar nemesis becomes her partner in crime, will he also be a friend? A fun read!" --Katrina Bright-Yerges, Books & Company, Oconomowoc, Wis.

For Teen Readers
Wrath Becomes Her by Aden Polydoros (Inkyard Press, $19.99, 9781335458032). "I like books with teeth and sharp edges. This is a sharp book, made even sharper by its moments of sweetness. It is a bold, original, fascinating reworking of more familiar folklore and stories. This will be one to talk about for a long time." --Ari Ray Agnew, Book Passage, Corte Madera, Calif.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]


Book Review

Review: Ilium

Ilium by Lea Carpenter (Knopf, $27 hardcover, 240p., 9780593536605, January 16, 2024)

Lea Carpenter's third novel, Ilium, is a spy story, a romance, a coming-of-age record, and a tale of lost innocence told in an elegiac tone, with something for every reader to get lost in. Its opening chapter introduces a young woman boarding a bus in Central London, watched by a man from "a world far away." The rest is told from the point of view of the young woman. "There was a private garden near the house where my mother worked," she begins, describing a childhood of unfulfilled desires. She has grown up dreaming of this locked garden, of having access to exalted spaces, of being someone she is not. "What the garden taught me was that the allocation of keys in life isn't fair, that luck and happiness are not prone to reason or will." At age 20, she meets the garden's new owner, a man 33 years her senior, successful, charismatic, entirely independent, who sweeps her off her feet; they are soon married in Mallorca, and then he asks her for a favor. "All you have to do is listen," he says.

Carpenter's narrator (who remains unnamed, a nod to the clean absence of self that is part of what makes her attractive to her new handlers) is coached in her role. She is flown by helicopter to a lavish, elaborately casual estate on the French coast, where she is installed as the guest of a wealthy family at leisure. She poses as an aspiring art dealer; the fine art world does not serve as backdrop to a major plot point, but does provide some lovely details: "The oligarchs' relationship to Russia's various intelligence agencies is like the color blocks in a Rothko, a carefully calibrated blur." The mysterious and charming patriarch of her host family, Edouard, prizes his commissioned series of paintings based on Homer's Iliad, another of the plot's minor but rich threads. "You never want an operation to be personal but so many are, ask Achilles." The young narrator, now a spy, starts off almost laughably naïve, but her observations along the way, related in hindsight, are astute. The qualities that make her valuable to her shadowy new employer--loneliness, emptiness, openness, optimism, a tendency to romance--make her vulnerable to finding friendship where perhaps she should see danger.

Carpenter (Eleven Days; Red, White, Blue) assigns her narrator a winsome voice: innocence wearied by experience, but always clever, and sympathetic to all the players in a complex operation begun long before her birth. Ilium is an espionage thriller in its richly wrought and detailed plot; but its spotlight falls centrally on the narrator herself, whose yearning for a role to play earns her a bigger one than she could have imagined. The dreamy tone of this sparkling, riveting story sets up a memorable counterpoint to its intrigue. --Julia Kastner, librarian and blogger at pagesofjulia

Shelf Talker: A lonely young woman falls in love and finds herself at the center of a spy mission in this mesmerizing, moving story about different kinds of seduction.


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