Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, January 16, 2024


Pan Macmillan: The Hidden Girl by Lucinda Riley and Harry Whittaker

Pixel+ink: Even Yetis Get Colds by Carlianne Topsey

Other Press: Gaza Faces History by Enzo Traverso, Translated by Willard Wood

Minotaur Books: Trouble Island by Sharon Short

HarperCollins: The Verts by Ann Patchett, Illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser

Quotation of the Day

'Indie Bookstores Have Shown Up for Me So Consistently'

"I honestly do not think that I would have the career I do without indie bookstores. Indie bookstores have shown up for me so consistently. From the beginning, they were always behind me. My favorite part of every book launch is working with my local indie bookstore, Kepler's, to run a signed pre-order campaign. It's just given me this community that I otherwise wouldn't have had. There's something really magical about Kepler's kind of giving me access to readers that I wouldn't otherwise have--like getting their comments in the books that I'm going to sign. But also just hanging out for a couple hours with people who are just really cool and lovely. It's also just great to walk into the store. Every time I think I'm going to pop in and out for just one book. Inevitably I leave with a mountain [of them]. I can only hope to support indie bookstores as much as they've supported me."

--Allison Saft, whose novel A Fragile Enchantment (Wednesday Books) is the #1 January/February Kids' Indie Next List pick, in a q&a with Bookselling This Week

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Homeseeking by Karissa Chen


News

The Neverending Story Opens in Babylon, N.Y.

The Neverending Story, a 1,000-square-foot bookstore with titles for all ages, opened earlier this month in Babylon, N.Y., Newsday reported.

Located at 9 W. Main St., Neverending Story stocks a wide-ranging general-interest inventory, along with vinyl albums, vintage bookends, and an assortment of other gifts. Store owner Colleen Kinneary first welcomed customers on Saturday, January 6.

"I want to make it really accessible and have price points that are affordable," Kinneary told Newsday. "I am very cognizant of the fact that when people come into small shops like this, they can feel intimidated or overwhelmed, especially if they don't know exactly what they are looking for. My job is to make them feel comfortable."

Going forward, Kinneary plans to expand the bookstore's selection while also starting an events program. Before opening Neverending Story, she worked as a book buyer for a number of museums and eventually thought: "Why not do it for myself?"


B&N Opening New Locations in Kalispell, Mont., Conroe, Tex., Estero, Fla.

Barnes & Noble will open a new store in Conroe, Tex., this spring, the Houston Chronicle reported.

The new location will span nearly 25,000 square feet and will feature B&N's new store design as well as a cafe. It will reside in a space in the Conroe Marketplace shopping center that previously housed a Bed, Bath and Beyond store. The company is aiming for an early May opening.

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Per the Daily Inter Lake, B&N will open a new store in Kalispell, Mont., later this month. It will span about 10,000 sq. ft. and reside in a space that once belonged to a Pier 1. Its first day of business is scheduled for January 31.

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B&N is also opening a store tomorrow, January 17, in Coconut Point in Estero, Fla., highlighted by a ribbon cutting and signing event with Trish Doller, author most recently of Off the Map (St. Martin's Griffin). B&N had had a store in Coconut Point from 2006 until last year.

Store manager Shelia Berth, who has been a B&N bookseller for 20 years, said, "We couldn't be more excited to be back in service here in Coconut Point. Our booksellers have a real passion for what they do, and have been enthusiastic about setting up a bookstore with our local readers in mind. We can't wait to welcome you into your new Coconut Point Barnes & Noble."


International Update: BA's Christmas Trading Survey Results; Indigo Layoffs

The Booksellers Association of the U.K. & Ireland released the results of its annual Christmas Trading Survey, with respondents continuing to report strong sales overall and a notable improvement in supply chains, but a decline in high street foot traffic.

Among the key findings of the BA's survey:

  • 50% of respondents reported an increase in sales compared with Christmas 2022, but 30% experienced a decrease in sales
  • Equal numbers of respondents--35%--noted that footfall had risen and declined in their bookshop during the Christmas period
  • 44% reported that overall foot traffic on the high street was down in 2023, with only 18% observing an increase
  • 49% of bookshops said individual transaction values increased, but 22% also reported a decrease in transaction values
  • Around 60% of respondents reported an increase in turnover for the whole year 2023 vs 2022

Asked what their biggest concerns were in 2024, the most common responses from indie bookshops were:

  • Cost of living and consumer confidence
  • The U.K. economy
  • Increasing recommended retail prices and wholesale prices
  • Energy/utility bills
  • Staff costs

"As we continue to recover from the pandemic and navigate the cost-of-living crisis, we are pleased to see that there continues to be an upwards trend for Christmas book trading, and that supply chains have greatly improved since 2022," said BA managing director Meryl Halls. "However, while bookshops are generally performing better in comparison to other high street retailers, the current environment of high business costs, the increased cost of living and the precarious state of the U.K. economy, bookshops still face significant challenges... the BA will continue to provide support and advice to navigate the increasingly complex high street landscape."

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Indigo Books & Music has laid off an unspecified number of staff as part of the retailer's ongoing efforts to streamline its operations, the Canadian Press reported, noting that company spokeswoman Melissa Perri said the cuts stem from the Indigo's strategic plan meant to return the business to profitability. 

Indigo has had several quarters of losses, including C$22.4 million (about US$16.6 million) in the second quarter, ended September 30. In addition, founder and CEO Heather Reisman returned from retirement after the abrupt resignation in September of her successor as CEO, Peter Ruis.

Perri added: "While it is a difficult decision to part ways with valued and talented employees, it is the right decision for our company and all those we serve." 

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Booksellers Aotearoa NZ's first featured member of 2024 was Ry, manager of Reverie Booksellers in Ōtautahi (Christchurch), who said, in part: "Our little shop was established in 1977 by my grandfather Thady. The shop was nestled in between an old cinema and post office on Edgeware Road, before moving across the street in the late 1980s to what was the St. Alban's Medical Centre. My mother Debs took over from Thady for the following 35 years, and in that time the shop was known as Edgeware Paperback Centre.

"Two and a half years ago (in the middle of lockdowns), my partner Angela and I took over from Debs who retired, the family business is now in its third generation. Ang is a 'booklover' and an avid reader.... We gave the shop a new name, as well as a full renovation as the shelving was all the original from 1980s when trade paperbacks weren't common. We then went online with a dedicated website and online shop. We are happy to be able to assist customers from all over the country." --Robert Gray


Obituary Note: Terry Bisson

Terry Bisson

Terry Bisson, author, editor, and activist, died on January 10. He was 81.

Bisson began his career in the 1960s "scripting comics and saucer tales for tabloids and serving as editor of Web of Horror and True Intimate Confessions," as recounted by Locus. From 1976 to 1985, he was an editor and copy chief at Berkley and Ace, and then became a full-time writer. He also was a consultant to HarperCollins and Avon in the 1990s, taught in the writing program at the New School in New York City and at Clarion and Odyssey.

His novels included Wyrldmaker (1981), World Fantasy finalist Talking Man (1986), Fire on the Mountain (1988), Voyage to the Red Planet (1990), Pirates of the Universe (1990), The Pickup Artist (2001), and Any Day Now (2012). He completed the late Walter M. Miller, Jr.'s Saint Leibowitz and the Wild Horse Woman (1997), co-wrote YA novels with Stephanie Spinner, wrote children's books about NASCAR racing as T.B. Calhoun, produced numerous film and TV novelizations and media tie-ins, and wrote nonfiction titles, notably On a Move: The Story of Mumia Abu-Jamal (2001).

Bisson's short stories included "Bears Discover Fire" (1990), which won Hugo, Sturgeon, Locus, and Nebula awards, as well as many finalists and nominees for the same awards. Novellas included Dear Abbey (2003) and Planet of Mystery (2008), and his short fiction has been collected in Bears Discover Fire (1993), In the Upper Room and Other Likely Stories (2000), Numbers Don't Lie (2003), Greetings & Other Stories (2005), Billy's Book (2009), and TVA Baby (2011). The Left Left Behind (2009) includes the title story, a play, and an interview and autobiography. Bisson also wrote the “This Month in History” micro-fiction series that has run in Locus for more than 20 years.

Locus added: "We will deeply miss his creativity, wry humor, and friendship. The field is lesser without him."

PM Press lauded Bisson, noting that he was "a crucial part of our radical publishing project, having a hand in dozens of PM books including David Gilbert's Love and Struggle, Robert Hillary King's From the Bottom of the Heap, a range of fiction and nonfiction books, his own published works, and as editor of the Outspoken Authors Series.

"Terry also touched our lives with his generosity and inspired our work with his dedication to justice. He stood with humanity and showed up where it mattered most," PM Press wrote.

On Saturday, March 30, in San Francisco, PM Press, City Lights, and others are hosting An Outspoken Authors celebration of the life and work of Terry Bisson.


Notes

Bookish Winter Weather Advisory: It's Cold Outside!

There are a lot of literally chill booksellers across the U.S. this week, thanks to a few days of storms and freezing temps. Many of them took to social media to share the news that winter is back with a frostbite, including:

Powell's Books, Portland, Ore.: "If you're braving the cold, please bundle accordingly and wear shoes with good traction! We'll be here with cozy reading suggestions to warm you up."

Interabang Books, Dallas, Tex.: "It's a snow day! We're closed Monday, and tonight's author event with Darwin Payne has been cancelled. Keep an eye on our social media accounts for updates on store hours and upcoming events."

Snowbound Books, Marquette, Mich.: "FINALLY! Hell yes we are OPEN. We are channeling our polar explorer vibes; two months of pent up shoveling energy are ready to be used. Come and hang out, maybe pick up one of these adventure titles to cozy up with! We sure hope this snow is here to stay."

The Bookworm & BW Gifts, East Aurora, N.Y.: "It's a BEAUTIFUL day here in East Aurora! We will be open regular hours 10-6. If you're not shoveling stop in!!"

Book Bin, Northbrook, Ill.: "Well, friends, it's too snowy for us to safely get to the bookstore today. Hopefully your TBR pile (To Be Read pile) has some good stuff in it! Don't worry, Murray! We'll most likely be open tomorrow."

Landmark Booksellers, Franklin, Tenn.: "Ditto to what the sign says ['Rain, sleet or snow; open till 4 p.m.].... If it is safe and you are able to, bundle up & come grab a book for this perfect snow day. Snow days are made for reading!"

Storybook Cove, Hanover, Mass.: "That New England wind howling outside our doors--the heavy duty magnets holding our sign in place were just no match! So for now we have taken out of retirement our old sign and put it in the window. A 'little' wind is no match for a fiercely independent bookstore! Once the winds end, the regular sign will return. As always, plenty of good books and advice inside our warm and inviting store."

Wild Geese Bookshop, Franklin, Ind.: "Bundle up out there! Thank you @franklinheritage and Torrance & Sons for getting our heat back on. It sounds like they are super busy today. We are still planning to be open from 11-6pm, but things might change if the heat doesn't last. Come see us sooner than later if you need something."

Fitz Books and Waffles, Buffalo, N.Y.: "We're (mostly) shoveled out and (entirely) open today, 10-6 PM. If life takes you our way, we have hot items like coffee, tea and the new cinnamon chocolate waffle on offer."

Hidden Nook Booksellers, Grayling, Mich.: "Rae made it! So, we're open, for now."

Copper Bell Bookshop, Ridgefield, Wash.: "We made the hard decision to close today, Sunday 1/14/24. We want to keep everyone safe! We will be open as usual Tuesday 1/16/24."

At Snowbound Books, Marquette, Mich.

Dickson Street Bookshop, Fayetteville, Ark.: "It's very cold and snowy out there, but it's toasty in here! Come say hey if you're getting out in the snow today!"

Excelsior Bay Books, Excelsior, Minn.: "Nell knows the bitter cold is good for a cozy chair and a great read."

Inkwell Books & Threads, Rockton, Ill.: "COLD?! Buy a book! You'll still be cold but you'll have a book!"

Bookstore on the Square, Fort Collins, Colo.: "Hi Readers! We are keeping the bookstore closed one more day due to the extreme cold and possibility of more snow tomorrow! Have a wonderful MLK Jr. Day and we’ll see you Tuesday."

Parnassus Books, Nashville, Tenn.: "We will be CLOSED today, Monday 1/15. No better day to cozy up with a good book! Stay safe and warm out there, y'all!"

Swamp Fox Bookstore, Marion, Iowa: "Just a reminder that we ARE OPEN tonight from 4 pm to 7 pm. The roads are clear and it's not too cold out. Come check out this week's new releases."

Blacksburg Books, Blacksburg, Va.: "We're open regular hours today--with covered parking around back and all the cozy vibes you can handle."


'Nessun Dorma' in Berlin Bookshop

Via Classic FM, watch Chilean American tenor Jonathan Tetelman sing Puccini's "Nessun Dorma" in Dussmann KulturKaufhaus in central Berlin. The flashmob moment includes members of the Saxon Wind Philharmonic, who were scattered around the store.

Dussmann KulturKaufhaus is a five-story superstore that carries books, audiobooks, music, sheet music, film, stationery, and more. It also includes a substantial selection of English-language titles.


Personnel Changes at Random House

At the Random House Publishing Group:

David Moench has been promoted to v-p, senior director of publicity and marketing, Random House Worlds.

Ashleigh Heaton has been promoted to deputy director, Random House Worlds.

Tori Henson has been promoted to marketing manager, Del Rey.

Sabrina Shen has been promoted to associate marketer, Del Rey.

Steph Hocutt has joined the Inklore marketing team as marketing manager.

Tiffani Ren is being promoted to associate marketing manager for One World and Roc Lit 101.



Media and Movies

Media Heat: Benjamin Breen, Kyle Chayka on Fresh Air

Today:
Good Morning America: Alex Michaelides, author of The Fury (Celadon Books, $28.99, 9781250758989).

CBS Mornings: Michele Norris, author of Our Hidden Conversations: What Americans Really Think About Race and Identity (Simon & Schuster, $35, 9781982154394).

Today Show: Jamie Lee Curtis, author of Just One More Sleep: All Good Things Come to Those Who Wait... and Wait... and Wait (Philomel Books, $18.99, 9780593527047).

Also on Today: Allison Holker Boss, co-author of Keep Dancing Through: A Boss Family Groove (Disney Hyperion, $18.99, 9781368092197).

The View: Jonathan Karl, author of Tired of Winning: Donald Trump and the End of the Grand Old Party (Dutton, $32, 9780593473986).

Fresh Air: Benjamin Breen, author of Tripping on Utopia: Margaret Mead, the Cold War, and the Troubled Birth of Psychedelic Science (Grand Central, $30, 9781538722374).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Jeff Tweedy, author of World Within a Song: Music That Changed My Life and Life That Changed My Music (Dutton, $26, 9780593472521).

Tomorrow:
CBS Mornings: Maggie Nichols, co-author of Unstoppable!: My Journey from World Champion to Athlete A to 8-Time NCAA National Gymnastics Champion and Beyond (Roaring Brook Press, $19.99, 9781250860224).

Fresh Air: Kyle Chayka, author of Filterworld: How Algorithms Flattened Culture (Doubleday, $28, 9780385548281).

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

Tamron Hall: Mike Sorrentino, co-author of Reality Check: Making the Best of The Situation--How I Overcame Addiction, Loss, and Prison (Ballast Books, $29.99, 9781955026918).


Primetime Emmy Awards: Not a Bookish Night

The 75th Emmy Awards ceremony, previously scheduled for last September but postponed due to the actors and writers strikes, was held last night. It was not, however, a big celebration for book-to-screen adaptions.

The only book-related project to take home major hardware was Black Bird, with Paul Walter Hauser winning and Emmy for supporting actor, limited or anthology series or movie. Developed by Dennis Lehane, Black Bird is based on the 2010 autobiographical novel In with the Devil: a Fallen Hero, a Serial Killer, and a Dangerous Bargain for Redemption by James Keene with Hillel Levin. 


Books & Authors

Awards: Inaugural Eleanor Roosevelt Winners

The inaugural Eleanor Roosevelt Awards for Bravery in Literature are being given to five authors whose works are focused on racial justice, LGBTQ+ rights, and gender equality. They are Laurie Halse Anderson for SHOUT, Mike Curato for Flamer, Alex Gino for Melissa (previously published as George), George M. Johnson for All Boys Aren't Blue, Jelani Memory for A Kids Book About Racism, and Maia Kobabe for Gender Queer. In addition, Eleanor Roosevelt Lifetime Achievement Award for Bravery in Literature is going to Judy Blume.

The awards will be presented at the inaugural Eleanor Roosevelt Banned Book Awards ceremony on February 17 at the Fisher Center in Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y. Blume will engage in a virtual conversation, and Kobabe is sending a taped acceptance speech. The other authors will be joined by Emily Drabinski, president of the American Library Association, and Matt Nosanchuck, Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education.

Sponsored by the Eleanor Roosevelt Center and the Fisher Center at Bard College, the award honors authors and books that "advance human rights in the face of an alarming rise in book banning and censorship."

Collaborating in the awards presentation are Oblong Books, Penguin Random House, the National Coalition Against Censorship, the Freedom to Read Foundation, Mid-Hudson Library System, and the Hudson Valley LGBTQ+ Community Center.


Book Review

Review: The Divorcées

The Divorcées by Rowan Beaird (Flatiron, $28.99 hardcover, 272p., 9781250896582, March 19, 2024)

Rowan Beaird's first novel, The Divorcées, draws readers into a singular historical time and place: the so-called "divorce ranches" surrounding Reno, Nev., in the 1950s. State laws allowed for quick and painless divorce--an exception at the time--for Nevada residents of just six weeks. In Beaird's lushly imagined, compassionate novel, Lois has chosen to leave a loveless marriage. She travels, funded grudgingly by her unloving father, from Chicago to Reno, where she is installed at the Golden Yarrow with a handful of women like her, putting in their six weeks before being able to divorce: young to middle-aged, with some financial security but limited options, choosing to leave husbands who have been unfaithful, abusive, or simply disappointing. Among these women, Lois has the unprecedented experience of making friends.

Pressed into the back seat of a ranch vehicle traveling to a local bar or casino, swimming laps in the ranch pool, and over cocktails, she begins to form bonds, eventually with one woman in particular. Greer Lang is beautiful, forceful, magnetic, and she seems to think Lois is special, too. Under the spell of this connection, Lois blossoms into a new version of herself, empowered and titillated. But what will happen when her six weeks are up? Will she retain her new self and her new friend? At what cost?

Lois is more comfortable with life in the films she loves, having excelled at "[s]tories as currency" since she was a child. She lies to make her way through a world that does not value an independent, solitary woman, especially one not drawn to marriage or motherhood. Nights out at cowboy bars and casinos offer a thrilling, glittery freedom she's never had before. At the Golden Yarrow, though this is not the ranch's purpose, Lois sees that there just might be another way. "She feels like a tree unknotting itself in the soil and also someone tending to it, trying to buckle its roots and train its branches to grow upward in clean, graceful lines."

Beaird's writing is lovely, noting "the unwashed windows and marigolds, this tender detritus of curling magazines and loose powder" in the women's rooms, the casinos "coated with cigarette ash and slivers of orange peel, stained with spit and spilled gin." Her protagonist is perceptive: "Perhaps [young girls will] learn something none of the ranch's guests had until after they were wed, and be better for it." She sees "the marks of men" on abused women and imagines other possibilities, paths at the ranch "cracking open to her like different branches of a tree." The Divorcées is tender and compassionate, wise and incisive, and gorgeously rendered, even in heart-rending moments. Lois's journey of growth and exploration forms a masterful and unforgettable debut. --Julia Kastner, librarian and blogger at pagesofjulia

Shelf Talker: In this sparkling, lushly imagined first novel set on a "divorce ranch" outside 1950s Reno, Nev., women yearning for simple freedoms forge bonds that offer new hope and new dangers.


The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by IndieReader.com:

1. Haunting Adeline by H.D. Carlton
2. Twisted Love by Ana Huang
3. Twisted Games by Ana Huang
4. King of Wrath by Ana Huang
5. Butcher & Blackbird by Brynne Weaver
6. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki with Sharon L. Lechter
7. Twisted Hate by Ana Huang
8. The Ritual by Shantel Tessier
9. Hunting Adeline by H.D. Carlton
10. Twisted Lies by Ana Huang

[Many thanks to IndieReader.com!]


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