Shelf Awareness for Thursday, May 26, 2022


Simon & Schuster: Boynton Bookworks

St. Martin's Press: Newsroom Confidential: Lessons (and Worries) from an Ink-Stained Life by Margaret Sullivan

St. Martin's Press: Althea: The Life of Tennis Champion Althea Gibson by Sally H. Jacobs

Del Rey Books: Luda by Grant Morrison

Berkley Books: Better Than Fiction by Alexa Martin

Feiwel & Friends: A Venom Dark and Sweet (Book of Tea #2) by Judy I. Lin

Wednesday Books: Night of the Raven, Dawn of the Dove by Rati Mehrota

News

ABA Postpones Today's Annual Meeting and Town Hall

In a last-minute switch, the American Booksellers Association has postponed its annual meeting and town hall that were scheduled for this afternoon to Thursday, July 14, Bookselling This Week reported. The association gave no reason for the move.

The annual meeting and town hall will be held from 2 to 3:30 p.m. on July 14, the day after the virtual Children's Institute. People who had registered to attend today's annual meeting and town hall do not need to register again for the new date.


Atria Books: Fox Creek: A Novel, volume 19 (Cork O'Connor Mystery) by William Kent Krueger


Diesel Bookstore in San Diego for Sale

Alison Reid and John Evans, owners of Diesel bookstores, are putting their San Diego, Calif., location up for sale. They also have a store in Brentwood, in Los Angeles, which is not for sale.

Since 1989, Reid and Evans have opened five bookstores, all in California. (In 2017, they sold the Oakland store to longtime manager Brad Johnson; it's now called East Bay Booksellers.) In a letter to customers yesterday, Evans and Reid wrote, in part, "We've been through fires (too many fires), epidemics, a pandemic, recessions, the rise and fall of large chain bookstores, Amazon, wars (too many wars), and all the things we humans have to face in our lives. We've decided it is time to scale back a bit and pass along our recent bookstore in San Diego to a new, excited, bookseller to keep the spirit alive, and the tradition going. We've thought about it for a very long time, and have decided to live in one place, be in one place, and have one bookstore, our store in L.A. We are excited to pass on our beautiful bookstore in Carmel Valley and put it in the hands of someone who will carry the store, and whose energy and vision will take it beyond what we have created."

The pair opened the San Diego store in 2019, in the Del Mar Highlands Town Center, which used to have a Barnes & Noble, whose closing led to protests by local readers against the landlord. "Some wanted any bookstore, while most wanted an excellent independent community bookstore," they wrote. "The landlord searched for the best one and asked us. Always loving north San Diego and North County, we discussed it and decided to open a bookstore there. The landlord was extremely supportive, finally answering the community's requests. We are glad and proud to have opened such a beautiful store, and to have readers throughout the area come and appreciate it, support it, sustain it. We have done a lot to build up the store's offerings, events, and inventory. There is much more that can be done. But that is up to someone else to do, now. We are fortunate to have a knowledgeable, dedicated staff that have diverse reading interests, specialties, sensibilities, and histories."

They added that with their first store, they wanted it "to be fun, smart, helpful, engaging, accessible to everyone, discerning, and delightful. At the time, we were different than many other stores in the area--we were a bit more playful; our selection was a bit deeper than other general bookstores our size; and we were intensely reader-focused, providing excellent customer service, because we cared. We still do--about books, about people, about culture, and about our society. We brought our distinct, and distinctive, styles, knowledge, and sensibilities to it all. And people liked it. We still do all of that, and still have wonderful booksellers who believe in that."

Reid and Evans hope to close the sale by January 2023. Interested parties should check the buyers guide and/or write to sale@dieselbookstore.com.


Del Rey Books: Luda by Grant Morrison


NYC's Lower East Side Pride Book Crawl Returns in June

The Lower East Side Pride Book Crawl will return to New York City June 11, amNY reported, noting that last year "five book stores on the Lower East Side held the first LES Book Crawl. Led by Bluestockings Cooperative, a queer, trans and women-owned feminist bookstore that has been in the LES community for over 20 years, the crawl aims to celebrate the diversity and resilience of the neighborhood's indie bookshops by offering discounts, free drinks and special giveaways."

Coinciding with Pride Month, the book crawl stores will highlight titles by and about the LBGTQ+ community, offering queer New Yorkers and book lovers alike a chance to participate in an all-ages activity. Participating bookshops include Bluestockings Cooperative Bookstore, Book Club Bar, Sweet Pickle Books, Yu & Me Books, McNally Jackson and Pillow-Cat Books. For more information about the LES Book Crawl, contact 917-409-0440 or Katile@bluestockings.com.


G.P. Putnam's Sons: The Old Place by Bobby Finger


U.S. Book Show: Curation Through Partnerships with University Presses

"In prepping for this conversation I was doing just a mental inventory of what the spaces are in which we work with university presses and I couldn't think of one aspect of our work that isn't touched by our relationship with the UPs," Clancey D'Isa, director of strategy and development, Seminary Co-op Bookstores, Chicago, Ill., said at Tuesday's U.S. Book Show session exploring curation through partnerships with university presses.

Joining D'Isa on the panel were Alyson Turner, co-owner, Source Booksellers, Detroit, Mich.; Gianna LaMorte, assistant director, sales and marketing manager for University of Texas Press; Catherine E. Hobbs, Columbia University Press Consortium sales manager; and Levi Stahl, marketing director, University of Chicago Press. 

Clockwise from top left: Gianna LaMorte, Alyson Turner, Levi Stahl, Catherine E. Hobbs, Clancey D'Isa

Discussing some of the myths surrounding university presses, Stahl noted that, as a former bookseller himself, he understood UP books can seem peripheral to some booksellers. Other misconceptions may include pricing, discounting and fulfillment, but "functionally, a good university press is like a trade house in how you interact with the portions of your list that make sense for your store. I think that's the key."

"I field a lot of questions from bookstore buyers who don't have good relationships with our reps yet," Hobbs said. "We're actually easy to work with. There's value in getting to know your university press rep because we can help you find the right books for your store, for your categories and help you get the best terms."

LaMorte agreed: "We've come a long way. We've heard booksellers for years say 'your books are out of reach.' We've heard you. We've made lots of adjustments, especially for regional books."

Discussing how commission reps can connect with booksellers, Turner said: "We've been getting e-mails to let us become aware of the new lists from some of our university press reps. That's really helpful because we're not going to a big show and we can't see your table, can't see all the books." 

D'Isa observed that the panel itself was a good start, along with "working to connect with interested bookstores and reminding bookstores that myths about university presses are not the actual experiences so many people who do collaborate with university presses experience.... Every one of our UP reps takes the time to think about not just curation and not just reaching out to our stores but asking: What would support the work here?... That is the work, a kind of shared value that we actually are doing fundamentally the same type of work."

University presses care about booksellers, Hobbs said. "We're invested in sustaining both of our spaces. Of course the urgency is having these books on the shelf and having them physically available because that's what we do as shepherds of and stewards of bookstores.... There's a serendipity that our books bring to the browsing experience in your stores."

Turner highlighted the fact that university press author events can be very successful, particularly when the title has regional relevance. She cited a recent virtual event for Dr. Charles Bell's book Suspended: Punishment, Violence, and the Failure of School Safety (Johns Hopkins U. Press), noting that "interest in the book keeps growing and growing and growing.... University press books are wonderful event books."

When asked what university presses can do to make life easier for booksellers, D'Isa said, "One of the things that has been most successful is seeing UPs in the same channels where we see trade books. And being able to download on Edelweiss; having ARCs available.... We talk a lot about ways in which independent presses are supported by a similar kind of mechanism. That's a really good parallel. As booksellers, we should think of UPs in the same vein.... The world of UPs is incredibly diverse and engaging."

Turner advised the reps to "keep doing what you're doing. Every time I e-mail a rep I get a response.... It does help sometimes if there's a book the rep thinks will really work in our area, in our store, if we can just get an ARC so we can make sure we handsell it and really put our best foot forward for that book."

"I feel like in a way we're all booksellers," LaMorte observed. "Like booksellers, university presses have just the right amount of competitiveness, but we are more colleagues than anything else and are very helpful to each other."

D'Isa agreed: "For any bookstores that don't have relations with UP reps, you're missing something. You're missing collegiality; you're missing your colleagues out there, so go find them, make connections, know they're probably trying to find you, too." --Robert Gray


Blackstone Publishing: Imposter by Bradeigh Godfrey


ABA, Candlewick, GM Partner in 'STEM Reads' Giveaway

The American Booksellers Association, Candlewick Press and General Motors are partners in the "STEM Reads" book giveaway, under which young readers are encouraged to explore interests in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics through reading science fiction and fantasy. As part of the program, up to 20,000 copies of a special paperback edition of Christina Soontornvat's The Last Mapmaker (Candlewick), a "resolute, high-seas adventure set in a Thai-inspired fantasy world," are available to distribute to readers between the ages of 8 and 12 in underserved communities.

Under the program, independent booksellers can sign up to receive a free box of copies of The Last Mapmaker to distribute this fall and to purchase additional cartons at cost for the giveaway. Stores that participate in this giveaway will receive a marketing stipend and will be invited to enter to win an in-person or virtual visit from Soontornvat. The deadline to receive free books is May 31. Booksellers with questions about the program can contact project manager Sydney Jarrard via e-mail. And they can register here.

Soontornvat is the author of more than a dozen books for children of all ages, including Newbery Honor books A Wish in the Dark and All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys' Soccer Team. She is passionate about STEM and STEAM and holds a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering and a master's degree in science education.

ABA CEO Allison Hill said, "Independent bookstores and the American Booksellers Association have witnessed first-hand how books can change lives. ABA is proud to participate with General Motors and Candlewick to support indies as they inspire future readers, scientists, tech explorers, engineers, and mathematicians."

ABA Children's Group senior manager Gen de Botton added: "Science fiction and fantasy can open doors for future exploration and catalyze a young person's interest in studying science. ABA sees reading as the gateway for untapped inventors to discover the possibilities, whether that's advances in string theory, intergalactic space travel, the biomechanics of dragons and other mythological creatures, or even a future with flying cars."

Candlewick executive director of independent retail and Canada sales Elise Supovitz said, "We're immensely grateful to all the indie booksellers coast to coast who will make this literacy mission possible, and to the incomparable Christina Soontornvat, who is the perfect ambassador for this program."

Underwritten by General Motors, the program is part of the company's Future Fiction Collective, focused on diversifying science fiction and STEM literature and heightening representation of underserved communities.


Obituary Note: Mort Janklow

Mort Janklow, the lawyer who became a high-powered literary agent and chairman and co-founder of Janklow & Nesbit, died yesterday at age 91. As the New York Times put it, he was "the storied New York literary agent who struck megadeals with publishers for bestselling authors, ghostwritten celebrities, several presidents and a pope, and who influenced international book lists and the reading habits of millions for decades."

Among his clients were Jackie Collins, John Glenn, Al Gore, Thomas Harris, Judith Krantz, David McCullough, Michael Moore, Pope John Paul II, Sidney Poitier, Nancy Reagan, Ronald Reagan, Pat Riley, Carl Sagan, Sidney Sheldon, Danielle Steel, Ted Turner, Robert Wagner and Barbara Walters.

As the Times noted, Janklow regularly secured multimillion-dollar deals for his clients and took "commissions of 15% when most agents got 10%. But his clients received abundant rewards. The Janklovian clout often won signing bonuses and subsidiary rights for television and movie spinoffs, as well as book club and world publishing deals. He also won rights rarely given to authors: a say in advertising and promotional campaigns, even in the details of a book's cover and jacket copy."

Janklow began his career as a lawyer in 1960 and founded the firm of Janklow & Traum in 1967. His agenting career began in 1972 when, as the firm recalled, "his friend and client, William Safire, asked him to handle a book he was writing about Richard Nixon. Janklow, who knew little about the publishing industry at the time, quickly schooled himself in it. He agreed to represent Safire, securing a book contract for him almost immediately. When the Watergate scandal broke and the book's publisher, William Morrow, tried to back out of the contract, Janklow sued, ushering in a new era of authors' rights; he later sold the book to Doubleday. 'We took the publisher out of the captain's seat and put the author in it,' Janklow said. 'The publisher is replaceable; the author is not.' "

Janklow established his own literary agency in 1977. In 1989, he co-founded Janklow & Nesbit with Lynn Nesbit, who said yesterday, "Mort was a beacon of positivity and hope in an uncertain world. He radiated optimism and his clients, family, and friends were always leaning on and learning from him as a result. He was a bright light in the publishing world, devoted to his writers and passionate about our business. We will all miss him."

Janklow was a strong supporter of the arts and education. At Columbia Law School, he founded the Morton L. Janklow Program for Advocacy in the Arts and endowed the Morton L. Janklow Chair in Literary and Artistic Property Law. At Syracuse University, he served on the College of Arts and Sciences Board of Visitors and founded the Janklow Arts Leadership Program. He was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations for more than four decades. He also served on many advisory boards for philanthropic institutions, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the New York Public Library and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.

Plans for a memorial will be announced.


Notes

Image of the Day: MIBA Road Trip

The final event of the Midwest Independent Booksellers (MIBA) two-day spring meeting was a closing reception at Apostle Islands Booksellers in Bayfield, Wis. Coincidentally, PW's Bookstore of the Year was announced at the same time; click here to see a video of the booksellers cheering for Danny Caine of Raven Books in Lawrence, Kans. And another coincidence: author Louise Erdrich, owner of Birchbark Books in Minneapolis, Minn., was in the store shopping at the same time. (photo: Darcy Schwerin)


Consortium Adds Three Publishers

Ingram's Consortium Book Sales & Distribution is handling sales and distribution for three new publishers, all effective on Saturday, May 28:

Helvetiq, Basel, Switzerland, a book and game publisher founded in 2008 that publishes nonfiction for young and adult readers in English, French, and German. The books aim to encourage exploration, creativity, and play. Its children's titles emphasize nature, society, and history. Adult titles include cookbooks, travel guides and the Beer Hiking series, which has guided hiking enthusiasts to microbreweries around the world. Key fall titles include Citizen She! by Caroline Stevan, illustrated by Elina Braslina and translated by Michelle Bailat-Jones, and Beer Hiking New England by Carey Kish.

River Horse Books, St. Paul, Minn., a children's book publisher dedicated to "making books that make readers" by inspiring, entertaining and empowering children. Select fall titles include The Garden Next Door by Collin Pine, illustrated by Tiffany Everett, and Be Good, Peanut Butter! by Nicole Helget, illustrated by Erin McClean.

Rosarium Publishing, Greenbelt, Md., founded in 2013 and dedicated to publishing fresh, innovative, and often challenging comics and speculative fiction, all with a multicultural flair. Its first title was the anthology Mothership: Tales from Afrofuturism and Beyond. Key fall titles include Box of Bones: Book Two by Ayize Jama-Everett and John Jennings, Mother Christmas by Valya Dudycz Lupescu and Victória Terra, and Where Rivers Go to Die by Ugandan futurist Dilman Dila.


Personnel Changes at Simon & Schuster; Scholastic

Michael Perlman has been promoted to senior v-p, Simon & Schuster Publisher Services.

Caitlin Sweeny has been promoted to senior director of marketing for the Aladdin, Little Simon, Simon Spotlight and Margaret K. McElderry imprints at Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing.

---

Elizabeth Whiting is being promoted to v-p, trade sales at Scholastic Trade Publishing, effective June 1. She succeeds Alan Smagler, who will consult as a strategic business advisor to Ellie Berger, executive v-p, president, Scholastic Trade Publishing.

Whiting began her publishing career at Client Distribution Services and joined Scholastic as national account manager in 2006. Smagler started in children's publishing at Random House's juvenile division, then held executive positions at Simon & Schuster's children's publishing division and Houghton Mifflin's children's book group. He joined Scholastic as v-p, trade sales in 2006.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Taylor Calmus on Tamron Hall

Tomorrow:
Tamron Hall: Taylor Calmus, author of A Dude's Guide to Baby Size: What to Expect and How to Prep for Dads-to-Be (WaterBrook, $22, 9780593194416).

Kelly Clarkson Show: Chrishell Stause, author of Under Construction: Because Living My Best Life Took a Little Work (Gallery, $28.99, 9781982186258).

The View repeat: Marcela Valladolid, author of Cocinando on Cook Street: A Collection of Mi Familia's Recipes (Lil' Libros, $19.99, 9781948066198).


This Weekend on Book TV: Don Lemon

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, May 28
10 a.m. Andie Tucher, author of Not Exactly Lying: Fake News and Fake Journalism in American History (Columbia University Press, $28, 9780231186353). (Re-airs Saturday at 10 p.m.)

5:30 p.m. Kirstin Downey, author of The Woman Behind the New Deal: The Life of Frances Perkins, FDR'S Secretary of Labor and His Moral Conscience (Anchor, $18, 9781400078561). (Re-airs Sunday at 5:30 a.m.)

Sunday, May 29
8 a.m. Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns, authors of This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden, and the Battle for America's Future (Simon & Schuster, $29.99, 9781982172480). (Re-airs Sunday at 8 p.m.)

2 p.m. Jonathan Greenblatt, author of It Could Happen Here: Why America Is Tipping from Hate to the Unthinkable--And How We Can Stop It (Mariner, $25, 9780358617280).

3:05 p.m. Michael Dine, author of This Way to the Universe: A Theoretical Physicist's Journey to the Edge of Reality (Dutton, $28, 9780593184646).

4:10 p.m. Don Lemon, author of This Is the Fire: What I Say to My Friends About Racism (Back Bay, $17.99, 9780316257671).

6:25 p.m. Richard Hasen, author of Cheap Speech: How Disinformation Poisons Our Politics--and How to Cure It (Yale University Press, $27.50, 9780300259377).



Books & Authors

Awards: Shaughnessy Cohen Political Writing Winner

Joanna Chiu's China Unbound: A New World Disorder (House of Anansi Press) won the C$25,000 (about US$19,475) Writers Trust of Canada Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing, which recognizes "an exceptional book of literary nonfiction that captures a political subject of relevance to Canadian readers."

In their citation, the jury said: "The rise of China is the geopolitical story of the twentieth-first century, and Joanna Chiu has expertly charted the country's efforts to extend its power around the globe. From meeting displaced Uyghurs in Istanbul and China-curious entrepreneurs in Sicily, to witnessing street protests in Hong Kong and Xi Jinping's wooing of Vladimir Putin in Beijing, Chiu does on-the-ground reporting and adds brisk, smart analysis of China's creeping influence in Canada and around the world. The result: China Unbound is a sweeping portrait of a rising superpower that is essential reading for any follower of Canadian politics."


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
All the Lovers in the Night: A Novel by Mieko Kawakami, trans. by Sam Bett and David Boyd (Europa Editions, $28, 9781609456993). "I remain in awe of Mieko Kawakami's ability to take life's quietest moments and give them weight and vibrancy. The emotional depth of the characters feels tangible and familiar. Her work continues to be nothing short of excellence!" --Kelsey Jagneaux, Tombolo Books, St. Petersburg, Fla.

Love Marriage: A Novel by Monica Ali (Scribner, $27.99, 9781982181475). "A modern-day, page-turning family saga. Beautifully written with deeply intelligent emotional reflections on the complexity within each of us, this is for anyone invested in the ways of the heart--what it wants, and if it can be trusted." --Page Berger, Barrett Bookstore, Darien, Conn.

Paperback
Poguemahone: A Novel by Patrick McCabe (Biblioasis, $21.95, 9781771964739). "Poguemahone celebrates the rowdy lives of siblings. It's impossible not to get caught up in these exuberant stories, and amidst the hijinks are losses, doubts, and human frailties. A big novel as generous, funny, and sad as life itself." --Lori Feathers, Interabang Books, Dallas, Tex.

For Ages 4 to 8
Francis Discovers Possible by Ashlee Latimer, illus. by Shahrzad Maydani (Abrams Books for Young Readers, $17.99, 9781419749100). "As kids, words that give you power can be turned into weapons of self-doubt in an instant. This is a beautiful fat-positive book that really resonated with me. I love Francis!" --Suzanna Hermans, Oblong Books & Music, Millerton, N.Y.

For Ages 10 to 14
Wildseed Witch by Marti Dumas (Amulet Books, $18.99, 9781419755613). "Wildseed Witch is a captivating coming-of-age story filled with magic, technology, and the unexpected. Hasani's struggles to fit in and use magic for good are real and relatable. I loved the characters, and I hope this becomes a series!" --Lorilee Sugden, Linden Tree Children's Books, Los Altos, Calif.

For Teen Readers
The Ghosts of Rose Hill by R.M. Romero (Peachtree Teen, $18.99, 9781682633380). "This is a stunning read! The Ghosts of Rose Hill is the moving story of a teenage girl sent to live with her aunt in Prague, and the magic, romance, and dangers encountered there. Romero has composed a heartbreaking tale in elegant verse." --John Lynn, The Kennett Bookhouse, Kennett Square, Pa.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]


Book Review

Review: The Year of Miracles: Recipes About Love + Grief + Growing Things

The Year of Miracles: Recipes about Love + Grief + Growing Things by Ella Risbridger (Bloomsbury, $30 hardcover, 288p., 9781526622631, July 26, 2022)

After losing her beloved partner, Jim, writer and home cook Ella Risbridger (who chronicled some of their relationship in Midnight Chicken) found herself in a tailspin. Soon after she moved into a new flat with her friend Jo, the Covid-19 pandemic sent London and the world into lockdown. In her second memoir-cum-cookbook, The Year of Miracles, Risbridger recounts a year of cooking and community, and how both provided healing in a time of great internal and external strain.

In these essays and recipes, Risbridger rambles in slightly sideways and usually charming fashion. The narrative begins in winter, with a chicken carcass (being picked over at 4 a.m., naturally), then takeaway and "Leftovers Pie." As Jo and Ella settle into their new flat, Ella shares glimpses of (and sometimes recipes for) their more robust favorites, such as cardamom buns from the café she loves; eggs half a dozen ways (Turkish, Welsh, an omelet involving salt and vinegar crisps); and various soups both nourishing and comforting. Readers meet Mitski, the next-door cat who isn't theirs but comes over for scraps; various other friends in and out of London who help Jo and Ella stay sane; and Jim, often conspicuous by his absence but a presence just the same.

Watercolor illustrations bring the recipes to life, contributing to the book's slightly dreamy feel. Risbridger's recipes, both in form and content, swing between simple and fiddly, though all are within reach of dedicated home cooks. While metric measurements may confuse American readers, Risbridger gives plenty of hints and helpful tips, making the narrative sound even more like standing in a kitchen with a chatty friend. As the days grow longer, she and Jo spend more time in their garden, and the recipes--including multiple ways to use up so much zucchini--reflect summer's bounty and fall's heartier flavors. Ella's friends contribute recipes, too, including a bean fennel bake and decadent peanut butter brownies.

Risbridger writes sensitively about grief: how it hits at odd times, like going to the new corner shop or deciding to make a favorite recipe, or, conversely, making (or ordering) food that Jim would have hated. She navigates her loss honestly, relying on community in every form: long walks, phone calls while she prepares dinner, feasts in the garden, leftovers with Jo around their table. The book is a tribute, as Risbridger says, to "cooking, and the people who love you: the two greatest and most practical miracles of all." --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

Shelf Talker: Ella Risbridger chronicles a year of cooking and community amid grief and the first Covid-19 lockdown in London.


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