Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, December 12, 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


Holiday Hum: Sales Building; Supply Chain Manageable

Calvin Crosby, co-owner at the King's English Bookshop in Salt Lake City, Utah, reported that things picked up a bit "just before Thanksgiving weekend" and have "been up since." Compared to the start of last holiday season, the store has been very lucky with the weather, but he said his and store co-owner Anne Holman's "pending panic" is a college football bowl game scheduled for December 23 featuring the University of Utah. Worried that it may throw off a lot of late shoppers, they are considering a social media campaign encouraging customers to "pregame" their Christmas shopping.

Asked about standout titles so far, Crosby said the store has started to get recognized as a space for Indigenous titles, with volumes I & II of The Memoirs of Miss Chief Eagle Testickle by Kent Monkman and Gisèle Gordon the "surprise hit of the season." And The Missing Morningstar by Stacie Shannon Denetsosie is "moving out in droves."

In general, Crosby continued, it seems like customer interest is "broader than it has been for years," and it appears to be more influenced by readers' choices than by publishers' decisions. It "feels like the equation has shifted," and Crosby noted that readers are coming in "open for suggestions" rather than arriving with a long list of books.

This year, the King's English is hosting events much later into the season than the store normally would. This Wednesday, 13 local authors will be on hand for an after-hours event exploring the different eras of the bookshop's history. Each room in the store will have a different focus, from romantic comedies to graphic novels to historical fiction, and readers will be able to mingle with the featured authors and get books signed.

On the subject of supply-chain issues, Crosby said that although things have been "fairly good so far," it does seem like "disruptions are just normalized now." Barring any severe weather, things should hopefully remain manageable.


At Third Place Books in Lake Forest, Ravenna, and Seward Park, Wash., things "kicked into gear right away on Black Friday," reported managing partner Robert Sindelar, and it's been a "steady build ever since." 

All three locations are up not only compared to last holiday season but for the year. Sindelar noted that the early shopping message seems to have sunk in, with people already coming up to the register with stacks of books. Asked about any supply-chain issues, Sindelar said there was "nothing new" on that front. At this point, the Third Place Books team is "pretty used to books that go out of stock at the publisher and take a while to come back." Now, when things start to move, the team tries to "stock up quickly before they are gone."


In St. Petersburg, Fla., holiday sales at Tombolo Books "started a bit slowly," said owner Alsace Walentine, but have now surpassed last season's sales, even with one of the store's two pin pads breaking and a major plumbing issue occurring last week.

Some of the big books of the season have included The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store by James McBride, Democracy Awakening by Heather Cox Richardson, Tom Lake by Ann Patchett, and The Creative Act by Rick Rubin. A few Florida-centric titles have proved popular, such as Gator Country by Rebecca Renner and Through the Grove by Anne Hull, and the team has been "delighted" to fulfill many orders for Owen Davies's Art of the Grimoire: An Illustrated History of Magic Books and Spells.

Walentine noted that she and the team have been "conditioned to fear supply-chain issues," so they order extra books early in the season to stay ahead of things. That said, Tombolo had not anticipated just how many people would want to read Liz Cheney's Oath and Honor. --Alex Mutter

If you are interested in having your store appear in a subsequent Holiday Hum article, please e-mail

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

Grand Opening for Three Bells Books, Mason City, Iowa

Three Bells Books, Mason City, Iowa, hosted its grand opening celebration last Sunday at 14 S. Commercial Alley, in the Bergo's Mini Mall.

"After an absolutely awesome grand opening day yesterday, we are feeling thrilled by the support of our community. We are so happy and grateful to be here," the bookshop posted on Facebook Monday.

Owned by Molly Angstman and Jake Rajewsky of Fat Hill Brewing, "the cozy bookstore has over 4,000 books in stock. Each section of shelves has something to offer, including unexpected gifts.... At the back of the store is kids' nook packed with vibrantly illustrated stories and young-adult novels," the Globe Gazette reported. A bar-top counter offers seating as well, with beer, wine, and juice available.

"We are so excited," said Angstman. "We can't thank our little community enough for supporting us through this. We hope people like it."

She is looking forward to finding her feet this holiday season and starting book clubs at the beginning of the year. "We'll have a general book club, of course. I'm excited about new and notable books, too. I'm also really into the idea of having genre clubs. Horror for some people, romance for others," she said. "I want a lovely place where people feel welcome and comfortable. It's neat to share a little dream place."

Angstman and Rajewsky "have created the space not only for picking out your next literary thrill, but also for socializing and simply enjoying your downtime," the Globe Gazette noted.

"We've had a great response from everyone who's come in," Rajewsky said.

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

Winners of the Nancy Olson Bookseller Award

The recipients of the 2022 Nancy Olson Bookseller Award, honoring the memory of legendary bookseller and founder of Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, N.C., and recognizing booksellers who are not store owners for "bringing books to readers," are Es Davis of Golden Fig Books in Durham, N.C., and Alex McLeod of the Haunted Book Shop in Mobile, Ala. Each winner receives $2,500, funded by an anonymous donor.

Es Davis

SIBA said that Davis started as Golden Fig Books' first employee two years ago and "now manages Golden Fig's original store. They have worked in bookselling and libraries for almost a decade, with a particular focus on kids' and YA books that amplify marginalized voices."

McLeod told SIBA in part: "I love my job and can't think of anything else I'd rather do. I get to introduce people to books. I get to talk about stories and ideas with people. The real joy is when I get to show someone something they never knew they wanted, and they come back to let me know they stayed up all night to finish a book or they've been binging a series. Growing that connection and community of book lovers is what makes this job so rewarding and vital to me."

Alex McLeod

Linda-Marie Barrett, executive director of the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance, which sponsors the award, said, "It was heartwarming to read the nominations submitted for booksellers across SIBA territory. Our communities are much richer for their presence and constant hard work connecting readers with books, and those in need with resources like housing, meals, medical assistance, counseling, and more. Thank you to our anonymous donor for an award that honors the great Nancy Olson, and truly makes a difference in a bookseller’s life. Congratulations to our winners, Es Davis and Alex McLeod!"

Jim Olson, husband of Nancy Olson and a member of the jury that selected the winners, said, "Nancy would be thrilled with our selections as both Es Davis and Alex McLeod exemplify her love of bookselling and putting the right book in the hands of a customer."

Sarah Goddin, another jury member and former longtime Quail Ridge bookseller, said, "I never realized how excruciatingly painful [the selection process] might be! We had such a difficult choice because there are too many amazing booksellers in the SIBA territory. I also have to hand it to those writing the nominations, who were exceptionally eloquent."

Judy Clain Leaving Little, Brown to Revive Summit Books at S&S

Judy Clain (photo: Nina Subin)

Judy Clain is leaving her position as editor-in-chief of Little, Brown, and moving to Simon & Schuster. She will be senior v-p and publisher of Summit Books, which she will be in charge of reviving and refocusing, and will "take on a leadership role" in S&S's international publishing operations. She joins S&S January 16.

From 1976 to 1991, Summit Books published what S&S called "an extraordinary list of authors of international stature such as Elie Wiesel, Marilyn French, James Baldwin, and Oliver Sacks, and the new Summit will build on that legacy for a 21st century audience."

Clain began her career in the rights department at Farrar, Straus and Giroux and then spent a decade in the movie business, first as an agent at Triad Artists, selling film rights of books, and then as a production executive at Sony/Mandalay Entertainment. In 1998, she joined Little, Brown as executive editor and became editor-in-chief in 2011.

Among titles she has edited and published are Room by Emma Donoghue, I Am Malala by Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai, Homeland Elegies by Pulitzer Prize winner Ayad Akhtar, Going There by Katie Couric, Julie and Julia by Julie Powell, Chaos by Tom O'Neill, When a Crocodile Eats the Sun by Peter Godwin, and Left on Tenth by Delia Ephron.

S&S president and CEO Jonathan Karp called Clain "one of the most highly esteemed and successful editorial leaders at work today. Having worked alongside Judy in the past, I know what a great colleague she is and how much we will benefit from her perspective, experience, spirit, and creativity. Summit Books has a distinguished history, and there is no better person than Judy to lead this revival of such a storied publishing brand. I look forward to working directly with Judy on this exciting relaunch."

Clain said, "I am thrilled to be joining Simon & Schuster as publisher of Summit Books. I've long admired Jon Karp as he has led Simon & Schuster to spectacular success.

"It's very exciting to start a new chapter of my career with the reinvention of the Summit Books imprint. I love the ambition and spirit it promised. Its illustrious literary history embodies a diversity and broadminded thinking that aligns with the books I'd like to publish in the future. The new Summit has limitless potential to publish bold and international fiction and nonfiction. I hope to build a platform that will give readers an expansive view of the world.

"I will cherish my 25 years at Little, Brown and the many close relationships I've enjoyed with beloved colleagues and authors. I will be forever grateful to Michael Pietsch, Hachette and the entire Little, Brown team."

Little, Brown senior v-p and publisher Bruce Nichols called Clain's tenure at the company "extraordinary," adding, "We will miss Judy's warmth, vitality, and brilliance enormously, and we wish her enormous success in this new endeavor."

Obituary Note: Bev Shaw

Bev Shaw

Bev Shaw, owner of Canadian bookstore Talewind Books, Sechelt, B.C., died November 27. Her family shared the news "with profound sadness" on the store's Facebook page, noting: "Bev was a cherished figure within our community and the literary world, having devoted over 35 years to fostering the love of literature through Talewind Books. Her impact on our lives was immeasurable, and her warmth and generosity touched the hearts of all who had the privilege of knowing her. We have every intention of keeping the store open and try to achieve Bev’s high standards."

Shaw "will be remembered for her kindness, generosity, and unwavering commitment to the written word. She leaves behind a community that is richer for having known her, a bookstore that stands as a testament to her enduring legacy, and a loving family," her obituary in the Coast Reporter noted.

As the longtime owner of Talewind Books, "her warm smile and welcoming presence made the bookstore not just a place to buy books, but a hub for the exchange of stories and experiences. As a business owner, Bev went above and beyond. She recognized the importance of creativity and community and enriched our lives through supporting a number of events including the Sunshine Coast Writers Festival for many years," the obituary continued.

"It's rare that a person achieves her level of penetration into people's lives across such a wide community," said Howard White, owner of Douglas & McIntyre and Harbour Publishing. When he shared the news of her death online, the responses came quickly: "Some of the people talk about the bookstore and the amazing cultural role it played. Most of them wrote about how they felt about Bev and how deeply her loss is felt. With her witty, sardonic commentary, she was such a part of all our lives, and I'm lucky I got to engage with such an original, wonderful person."

In lieu of flowers, the family requested that donations be made to the Bev Shaw Literacy Fund at the Sunshine Coast Foundation, adding: "May her love for literature, her zest for life, and her impact on our lives continue to inspire us."


Image of the Day: Makaziwe Mandela at Princeton

Global activist Dr. Makaziwe Mandela (back row, fifth from the left), chairman and co-founder of House of Mandela, and the oldest living child of Nelson and Evelyn Mandela, discussed her book Mandela: In Honor of an Extraordinary Life (Rizzoli New York), published to coincide with the 10th anniversary of Nelson Mandela's death. The conversation was moderated by Travis Tucker, Jr. (back row, far left), assistant dean of Diversity and Inclusion, and director of the Carl A. Fields Center for Equality & Cultural Understanding, Princeton University, which hosted the event. Mandela is pictured with students from the Princeton African Students Association. (photo: Sameer Khan/Fotobuddy)

Bookish Marriage Proposal: Búho

Búho bookstore, Brownsville, Tex., shared photos of a recent special moment at the shop, Posting: "SHE SAID YES!!! During a scavenger hunt across Brownsville, Alessandra figured out Jose's clues, taking her to Búho as her final destination. Here, she found roses made from recycled book pages which led her to our curio cabinet. There she found a book-shaped ring box, before he dropped to one knee to pop the question. Congratulations once again to Jose and Alessandra for having their proposal right here in Búho! We wish the happy couple all the best."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Corook and Olivia Barton on CBS Mornings

CBS Mornings: Corook and Olivia Barton, authors of If I Were a Fish (Feiwel & Friends, $18.99, 9781250351722).

On Stage: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

The North American tour of the Tony-winning Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a play by Jack Thorne, based on an original story written by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Thorne, will launch September 10, 2024, at Chicago's James M. Nederlander Theatre, Playbill reported. Opening night is scheduled for September 26, and the 21-week engagement will continue through February 1, 2025. Additional tour dates and casting will be announced for the first touring production based on the Broadway staging.

"Chicago is ready to welcome an extended engagement of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child," Mayor Brandon Johnson said. "We are thrilled that Chicagoans will experience this magical production as the first stop of the North American tour. Chicago is ready to embrace this show as only we know how."

Producers Sonia Friedman and Colin Callender added, "Developing a first-class touring production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child has long been an ambition of ours. We are delighted that our wonderful and deeply gifted creative team have found a way to make it possible to bring the magic, spectacle, and thrills of our astonishing show to audiences across North America, and we can't wait for audiences to see it."

Directed by Tiffany, the production is "currently running in London, New York, Hamburg, and Tokyo, and has completed runs in Melbourne, Toronto, and San Francisco, Playbill noted. The original two-part production in London's West End recently celebrated its seventh anniversary, while the reimagined Broadway production celebrated its fifth anniversary. The Broadway production won six 2018 Tony Awards, including Best New Play.

Books & Authors

Awards: Scotland's National Book Winners

The Saltire Society has announced the winners of 2023 Scotland's National Book Awards, with Leah Hazard receiving the Saltire Society Scottish Book of the Year Award for Womb: The Inside Story of Where We All Began.  

Winner of the nonfiction category prize before going on to claim overall honors, Hazard's book was described by the judges as "a searingly compassionate, transformational, and aspirational piece of work that is inclusive of all the different experiences of everyone who has a womb. Womb: The Inside Story of Where We All Began combines lived experience and deep human compassion with exacting research and persuasive argumentation." 

The other category winners were Martin MacInnes for In Ascension (fiction), Victoria MacKenzie for Thy Great Pain Have Mercy on my Little Pain (first book), Taylor Strickland for Dastram/Delirium (poetry), Hugh Miller's The Old Red Sandstone or New Walks in an Old Field, edited by Michael A. Taylor & Ralph O'Connor (research book), and David Taylor for "The People Are Not There": The Transformation of Badenoch 1800-1863 (history). Check out the publishing industry award winners here.

Liz Lochhead, poet, playwright and former Scots Makar, was presented the 2023 Saltire Society Lifetime Achievement Award for her contribution to Scottish literature.

Book Review

Review: The Warm Hands of Ghosts

The Warm Hands of Ghosts by Katherine Arden (Del Rey, $28.99 hardcover, 336p., 9780593128251, February 13, 2024)

A young nurse braves the combat zones of World War I to search for the truth about her lost brother in this eldritch, exquisite dark fantasy from Katherine Arden, author of the Winternight trilogy (The Girl in the Tower; The Bear and the Nightingale).

Laura Iven's return to her hometown of Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 1917 after three years' service as a combat nurse in the Canadian army should mark the end of the war for her. She served with enough distinction to earn a Croix de Guerre from France, but a leg injury from a mortar shell ended her enlistment. Her homecoming brought her face to face with more tragedy when the explosion of a cargo ship in the harbor devastated the town "as if God had raised a giant burning boot and stamped," killing both of Laura's parents. Now a box containing the blood-stained personal effects of Freddie, Laura's younger brother and an army private, has arrived at the home where Laura is staying. Laura knows he must have died, but a mysterious postcard sewn into his jacket raises enough doubt that she reenlists, determined to go back to the front and find any clue to his fate.

Two months earlier, Freddie was on the run with a German soldier named Hans Winter after they became trapped in the same buried pillbox and helped each other escape. Winter is injured, and Freddie is desperate to keep him alive, even if it means treason. "If Freddie believed in one thing in this strange world, he believed in Laura," so he sets off for her previous post, unaware she has already returned to Canada.

The Iven siblings search for each other but, instead, find a mysterious fiddler whose music is rumored to capture its hearers and leave them mad, "always pining for" the music. His magic can erase the pain of war for a time--and for a price. In a world run mad with ghosts and death, the Ivens must help each other remember what is worth fighting for.

Readers will find Arden in top form. The setting has little in common with her Winternight series, and her main character's mount is a motorcycle rather than a magic horse, but her clear vision of a spectral otherworld overlaying this one and her down-to-earth, steel-spined heroine bring a similar spirit. This harrowing yet beautiful plunge into the horrors of war and the power of abiding love soars. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads

Shelf Talker: In this haunting, exquisite wartime fairy tale, a Canadian combat nurse reenlists to search for her lost brother in the trenches of World War I.

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. Mountains Made of Glass by Scarlett St. Clair
4. King of Wrath by Ana Huang
5. Binding 13 by Chloe Walsh
6. He's Not My Type by Meghan Quinn
7. The Christmas Fix by Lucy Score
8. Resting Scrooge Face by Meghan Quinn
9. Forged by Malice by Elizabeth Helen
10. Trick Shot by Kayla Grosse

[Many thanks to!]

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