Shelf Awareness for Monday, November 26, 2018

Scholastic Press: Future Hero by Remi Blackwood

Sourcebooks Explore: Black Boy, Black Boy by Ali Kamanda and Jorge Redmond, illustrated by Ken Daley

Berkley Books: Pride and Protest by Nikki Payne; A Dash of Salt and Pepper by Kosoko Jackson; Astrid Parker Doesn't Fail by Ashley Herring Blake

Soho Crime: Cruz by Nicolás Ferraro, translated by Mallory N. Craig-Kuhn

Ace Books: Station Eternity (The Midsolar Murders) by Mur Lafferty

St. Martin's Press: Maame by Jessica George

Quotation of the Day

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand: 'Bookshops Are Such Important Places'

"One of my favorite things to do with my boys is to take them to local bookstores to find their next adventures, and Market Block Books in Troy is particularly special to me. Bookshops are such important places in our communities where new and diverse ideas can be shared with loved ones and neighbors to help us better understand one another, empathize with those different from us and even inspire future generations with stories of those who never backed down in the fight for what's right.

"I hope you get the chance this #SmallBusinessSaturday to get out to your own local bookshop or favorite small business. And if you have a moment, I'd love for you to share your plans to support your neighbors and community today."

--Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D.-N.Y.) in a post Saturday on her Facebook page

Disney-Hyperion: Drizzle, Dreams, and Lovestruck Things by Maya Prasad


Indies First/Small Business Saturday: Celebrating Indies and Shopping Local

What a day! On Saturday, independent bookstores across the country celebrated Indies First and Small Business Saturday with a range of events that drew crowds of eager customers. Authors worked for a few hours as booksellers--a staple of Indies First since its founding six years ago--and bookstores variously had sales, offered food and beverages, held author signings, promoted passport-style programs (rewarding shoppers for visiting participating indie stores), celebrated anniversaries--and in a few cases, their own grand openings. Throughout the day, as part of Small Business Saturday, they touted the value of shopping local, which supports hometown businesses, creates jobs and enhances local areas.

Reports from booksellers were enthusiastic. For example, at Unabridged Bookstore, Chicago, Ill., owners Ed Devereux and Patrick Garnett said that Saturday was the best Small Business Saturday the store had ever had, and it was "the third busiest day in 38 years!" The two were busy beforehand: on Saturday, Unabridged featured seven kinds of homemade cookies from four recent cookbooks, all baked by Devereux and Garnett.

SIBA's Linda-Marie Barrett volunteered at Avid Bookshop, Athens, Ga., Above: Barrett (r.) with owner Janet Geddis.

At Innisfree Bookshop, Meredith, N.H., where there was a steady stream of customers during the day, celebrations included raffles for bags of books for people who spent more than $100 and the store promoted, which had more than 100 audiobooks on sale for Indies First.

Marcia Lawrence, owner of Ellen Plumb's City Bookstore, Emporia, Kan., told KVOE-AM that while some people predicted soft holiday sales, but hasn't seen that because consumers are supporting local businesses. She nicely summed up the attraction of indie bookstores, saying, "I can offer [customers] the opportunity to look in the book and read part of the book and to sit down and have a cup of hot cider and maybe chat with friends. So I think the total experience of shopping local almost always trumps the big box or online experience."

At Readers' Books, Sonoma, Calif., owners Lilla and Andy Weinberger celebrated the store's 27th birthday.

Author Jason Reynolds was the official Indies First spokesperson for the second year in a row. This year, Reynolds and the American Booksellers Association, with help from American Express and Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, helped booksellers distribute some 20,000 special-edition copies of his novel Ghost to children in under-served communities through the Indie Bookstores Give Back on Small Business Saturday campaign (#IndiesGiveBack).

Reynolds kicked off the Indies Give Back campaign a week ago at the Miami Book Fair in Miami, Fla., where he took part in public talks, book signings and school presentations, and helped distribute some 600 copies of Ghost.

The Open Door Bookstore in Schenectady, N.Y., was "bustling" on Small Business Saturday, reported the Daily Gazette. Among the store's "small business touches" was a Staff and Bookstore Choices aisle featuring staff-written notes about each book on display.

Gibson's Bookstore, Concord, N.H., also celebrated its 120th birthday. Pictured: owner Michael Herrmann with events coordinator Elisabeth Jewell. Herrmann said, "It was a fantastic day. Our numbers were way up!"

"The community always comes out in full force in support of us and other small businesses," Open Door Bookstore assistant manager Lillian Bertalan told the Daily Gazette. "We have a varied collection of items here, but books are doing very well today. People still enjoy having a book in hand."

Susan Comenzo, a shopper browsing at Open Door on Small Business Saturday, also told the Gazette that for her, every day could be Small Business Saturday, because she preferred the hands-on service that independents provide. She explained: "I like that they have a very knowledgeable staff. If you don't know what you want or you're looking for something they can help you find it."

"Our favorite part-time staffer welcomed guests to Book Passage Ferry Building [San Francisco] by offering treats made by the Baking Booksellers."

Skylight Books in Los Angeles, Calif., welcomed four authors as guest booksellers, including YA author Lilliam Rivera, novelist and essayist Glen David Gold, writer and illustrator Ezra Claytan Daniels, and poet Yesika Salgado. Chips, salsa, mimosas and a variety of other complimentary refreshments were available throughout the day, and a selection of gift books were 15% off for SBS. Customers also received a free Skylight Books tote bag with purchases over $100.

The celebration of indies continues. Today some stores are hosting Cider Monday events, aimed to contrast with the cold commercialism of Cyber Monday. Participating stores offer free drinks of hot cider--and a cozy, warm spot to be. Cider Monday has an international reach: La Librairie Canadienne de Paris/The Abbey Bookshop (Europe) in Paris is joining in for the second year in a row.

AuthorBuzz for the Week of 06.27.22

Indies First/SBS: Good Cheer Across the Country

Indies First and Small Business Saturday celebrations included author events, giveaways, raffles--and booksellers eager to assist customers.

At Red Balloon Bookshop in St. Paul, Minn., booksellers Lily and Angela stand ready to help.

Shoppers crowded Curious Iguana in Frederick, Md.

At Vroman's, Pasadena, Calif., Jenifer Lewis talked about her memoir, The Mother of Black Hollywood.

"Go on a blind date with a book, take a Small Business Selfie, and send a postcard to a friend or family member who couldn't join you! It’s all part of shopping small at Left Bank Books!"

Kids showed off their copies of Jason Reynolds's Ghost (and other favorites) at Word Up Bookstore in New York City. Early in the day, Lin-Manuel Miranda tweeted about the store as one of "my favorite spots uptown to #ShopSmall."

"End of the day and the store is still rockin'--thank you, community! On our way to breaking last year's record!" --Penguin Bookshop, Sewickley, Pa.

Blackstone Publishing: Beasts of the Earth by James Wade

Indies First/SBS on Social Media

As might be expected on such a lively day, social media was buzzing with Indies First/Small Business Saturday posts from booksellers. Here's a sampling:

Off the Beaten Path Bookstore, Steamboat Springs, Colo.: "It's Small Business Saturday, and what could be cozier on this snowy day than our little bookshop? Come après-ski for a boozy latte warm-up and browse our newly reorganized clearance closet for specials... You never know what you'll find in our used book loft!"

Mrs. Dalloway's, Berkeley, Calif.: "Our fearless leaders and the Saturday morning crew are ready for #IndiesFirst and #SmallBusinessSaturday! Hope you'll shop local and indie today, wherever you are."

the river's end bookstore, Oswego, N.Y.: "It is a beautiful morning to head downtown and visit your favorite indie businesses! Come join the celebration of Indies First on Small Business Saturday. Stop in for hot mulled cider from Ontario Orchards, coffee from our friends at the Coffee Connection and yes, Mindy's home made craisin pumpkin bread!"

Partying at Kona Stories.

Kona Stories, Kailua-Kona, Haw.: "Welcome to the start of #shopsmall! Jump in for your free glass of Sangria... fresh fruit from our Keauhou Farmer's Market.--with Brenda Lea McConnell and Joy Vogelgesang."

Papercuts J.P., Boston, Mass.: "Get a start on your holiday shopping by supporting local stores this Small Business Saturday. Your friendly neighborhood booksellers at Papercuts would be happy to help you find books, holiday cards & more for all the people on your shopping list! Pop into the store today!"

Booksmith, San Francisco, Calif.: "Cookies, donuts & lemonade. #SmallBusinessSaturday"

The Spiral Bookcase, Philadelphia, Pa.: "Small Business Saturday is here! Giveaways, raffles, treats and local author appearances--could it get any better? We'll be here until 8 pm slinging bookish fun, holiday cheer and gift recommendations!"

Burke's Book Store, Memphis, Tenn.: "It's a gorgeous day in Cooper-Young! Come celebrate Small Business Saturday with deals and discounts, prizes and giveaways, live music and more."

Foggy Pine Books, Boone, N.C.: "This is the first time we haven't been busy today so we took an opportunity to snap a picture of Boone's finest #indiebookstore. We appreciate all our amazing customers & look forward to helping you pick out holiday gifts this year.... So many great things going on today! Stop by to browse or get a recommendation from our booksellers!"

Brazos Bookstore, Houston, Tex.: "Ben got his portrait done by today's guest artist @kategavino! Yay!!"

Village Books, Bellingham, Wash.: "A deceptively quiet photo of a busy lovely day."

Face-painting at Run for Cover

Run for Cover Bookstore and Café, San Diego, Calif.: "We are having so much fun! Come join us. The Typewriter Troubadour poet will be here from 2-4! Don't miss out. And we have books, gifts, coffee and treats for all of our wonderful Small Business Saturday shoppers."

Nicola's Books, Ann Arbor, Mich.: "Our chair has been has revealed! It has a beautiful coat of new paint and has already welcomed people of all ages to sit and enjoy a book. Thank you to everyone who supported us this small business Saturday and all the other days of the year."

Bookseller Amanda Quain's prize-winning pie at One More Page.

One More Page Books, Arlington Va.: "The Great Bookseller Bake-off is underway! We appreciate how seriously you all took your voting responsibility and tasted ALL 6 entries (and didn't let yourselves be influenced by our booksellers). Stay tuned for results." And: "The joy of victory! @quainiac won The Great Bookseller Bake-off. She's been refining the recipe for her Nutella Cream Pie and as you can tell by the empty dish, it was a big success!"

Carmichael's Bookstore, Louisville, Ky.: "Bookseller Jonathan's fab sign is featured in this collage! If we didn't see you today for Small Business Saturday we hope to see you soon."

Milkweed Editions, Minneapolis., Minn.: "Here til 7 p.m. tonight folks, there are still plenty (too many?) books on these shelves!"

The Town Book Store, Westfield, N.J.: "We had another successful Small Business Saturday thanks to all of you who came out to show your support!"

Bogan Books, Fort Kent, Maine: "I just wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who came out this weekend to support me and my little bookshop. It means the world to me to see so many familiar and new faces walk through my door. I am going to take tomorrow and Monday with my family, but if you were unable to join us, I will be open on Tuesday. All raffle winners have been notified. Thank you!!!!"

Dotters Books, Eau Claire, Wis.: "Our first #smallbusinesssaturday in our little shop has us feeling so thankful. Thank you to everyone that stopped in today and spent some time with us. Thank you to all of the fellow small business owners who have encouraged and supported us as we work toward this dream. This is an incredible community and we're so honored to be a part of it...."

The Little Bookshop, Midlothian, Va.: "Thanks so much to all who came out to support us today for Small Business Saturday!! We saw so many familiar faces and made some new friends as well. It is our fantastic customers that keep us going!"

Newtonville Books, Newton, Mass.: "Thank you, friends and neighbors, for stopping by to celebrate #smallbusinesssaturday with us. I meant to take photos of the store bustling with shoppers but I was too busy so you'll have to just imagine it. Thank you, thank you all for keeping us so busy."

The Bookworm Omaha, Omaha, Neb.: "What a day, and we have to thank YOU for making it all possible! Whether you shopped with us today, tell your friends about your Bookworm visits, order Rainbow Rowell signed copies from across the country, stop in when you're back in town, or a host of other ways we feel the love, we have to say we've felt it! From Beth & Phil, and everyone else at The Bookworm, thank you for your continued support."

Penn State University Press: The Seven Democratic Virtues: What You Can Do to Overcome Tribalism and Save Our Democracy by Christopher Beem

Amazon: Protests in Europe; Guardian's 'Amazon Diaries'

On the same weekend that indie bookstores and indie businesses were celebrated across the country, many Amazon workers across Europe protested what they called "unsafe working conditions and low pay" by walking off the job at many Amazon warehouses in the U.K., Germany, Italy and Spain.

Hundreds of workers at five Amazon warehouses in the U.K. protested, the Telegraph said, citing GMB, a general trade union in the U.K. with more than 600,000 members. Tim Roache, general secretary of GMB, said, "The conditions our members at Amazon are working under are frankly inhuman. They are breaking bones, being knocked unconscious and being taken away in ambulances." GMB tweeted, using the hashtag #AmazonWeAreNotRobots, that "this #BlackFriday Amazon workers around the world have come together with one message for billionaire Jeff Bezos. We are not robots, treat us with dignity and respect."

The Washington Post--owned by Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos--noted that 600 workers in two warehouses in Germany went on strike, and in Spain, the slowdown on Black Friday was aimed for "one of the days that Amazon has the most sales," according to the AP, which added that labor groups representing Amazon workers in Spain said 90% of the staff at an Amazon logistics depot near Madrid joined a walkout on Friday.

In Germany, the Verdi union said workers had walked off the job at two Amazon warehouses. Reuters reported that Amazon itself said some 620 workers were participating in the strike, but that the majority of workers had stayed on the job.

According to the Post, Amazon said: "Our European Fulfillment Network is fully operational. And we continue to focus on delivering for our customers and reports to the contrary are simply wrong."

The company added: "Amazon has invested over €27 billion and created over 75,000 permanent jobs across Europe since 2010. These are good jobs with highly competitive pay, full benefits, and innovative training programs like Career Choice that pre-pays 95% of tuition for associates. We provide safe and positive working conditions, and encourage anyone to come see for themselves by taking a tour at one of our fulfillment centers."

Reuters said that Amazon workers in Germany "earn a starting salary of €10.78 ($12.23) per hour and earn on average a monthly wage of €2,397 ($2,719) after two years." In the U.S., the company announced recently that it will begin paying a minimum of $15 an hour to warehouse workers.


In what makes for fascinating reading, on Wednesday, the Guardian published the first of a regular column written by an anonymous worker in an Amazon warehouse in the U.K. called "The Amazon Diaries." The initial installment, called "They Treat Us As Disposable," describes the author's first day on the job. He or she writes, in part:

"It's important to take a step back and realize what an Amazon fulfillment center really is. Prior to Amazon, the sale of stuff largely took place through physical stores. Enter a store and there can be dozens of employees, stocking shelves, managing the check-out counter, controlling inventory. The pace and rhythm of the day, at least compared to fulfillment centers, can be relatively relaxed.

"At Amazon, by contrast, we are not retail workers. We are factory workers.

"A single fulfillment center can contain 1,500-2,000 full-time workers, stowing, picking, packing, unloading, sorting, palletizing and delivering hundreds of thousands of items every day. Centers are filled with the whirl, grind, and moan of conveyor belts, the incessant drone of a forest of Kivabots moving shelves.

"We work hard, and diligently, to make Amazon run. While our collective efforts produce astounding results, we are supervised ever more intensively. Through the use of digital trackers and indicators, our workday is managed down to the second, with each task timed based on a 'rate' set by managers who push us ever faster. Work is often organized to keep workers from talking or even taking breaks, with this time considered 'off-task.' Like factory workers on the assembly line, we are essentially extensions of the machine."

Meg Smith Leaving ABA

Meg Smith

After nearly 20 years at the American Booksellers Association, membership and marketing officer Meg Smith has decided to stop working full-time, according to Bookselling This Week. The change is effective at the end of the 2019 Winter Institute in January in Albuquerque, N.Mex.

ABA CEO Oren Teicher said: "Meg has become a friend to all of us, and her unstinting support of the independent bookstore community is legendary. It will be hard to imagine ABA without her. All of us want to join in wishing Meg the very best and to express our heartfelt thanks and appreciation for all she has done.

"In all her work, from the beginnings of to the launch of IndieBound to the total redesign of and a gazillion things in between, Meg has distinguished her work with skill, effectiveness, and humor. Her contributions to the success of ABA's efforts are myriad, and her mark is on so much of what we do."

Obituary Note: James H. Billington

James H. Billington

James H. Billington, "an eminent American scholar of Russian culture who reigned for three decades as Librarian of Congress, propelling the expansion of the world's largest library but struggling to lead it through the challenges of the digital age," died November 20, the Washington Post reported. Billington retired in 2015 and was succeeded by Carla Hayden, the first African American and first woman to hold the position.

Appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1987, Billington "led the library through a period of breathless change, when computers and the Internet came to compete with book stacks and microfilm as storehouses of knowledge. At times, the librarian himself resembled a storehouse of knowledge: He was by all accounts a man of ferocious intellect, with a self-confessed penchant for delivering impromptu professorial lectures," the Post wrote.

He had said his vision for the library was that it might be an "active catalyst for civilization," as opposed to a "passive mausoleum" for dusty volumes. Under his leadership, the collections grew from 85.5 million items to 160 million by the time he announced his departure.

Billington's books include The Icon and the Axe (1966), which secured his reputation in academia; Mikhailovsky and Russian Populism (1958); Fire in the Minds of Men: Origins of the Revolutionary Faith (1980); and Russia Transformed: Breakthrough to Hope (1992).

"We treasure books because they are the individual's portable, affordable link with the memory, mind and imagination of the rest of humanity," he once said in a speech, "a moral antidote, if you like, to the creeping passivity, parochialism and shortened attention spans of our video culture."

In a statement, Hayden observed: "Our hearts are heavy as we learn of the passing of Dr. James Billington, the 13th Librarian of Congress. Dr. Billington has left an indelible legacy on the institution he led passionately for 28 years. With his vigor for philanthropy and tireless efforts to expand the reach and impact of the Library, he achieved so much to advance the Library of Congress as an enduring place for scholars and learners. He will be remembered as a visionary leader, distinguished academic and, most of all, a great American. On behalf of the Library of Congress staff and its many users, we salute this great public servant. My prayers and thoughts are with his wife Marjorie and his family. We offer our heartfelt condolences and support especially on this Thanksgiving holiday."


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Sean Hayes on the View, GMA

The Talk: Taye Diggs, author of I Love You More Than... (Feiwel & Friends, $17.99, 9781250135346).

The View: Senator Bernie Sanders, author of Where We Go from Here: Two Years in the Resistance (Thomas Dunne, $27.99, 9781250163264).

Also on the View: Sean Hayes, co-author of Plum (Simon & Schuster, $17.99, 9781534404045). He will also appear today on Watch What Happens Live and Good Morning America.

Jimmy Kimmel Live repeat: Michelle Obama, author of Becoming (Crown, $32.50, 9781524763138).

Tonight Show: Phoebe Robinson, author of Everything's Trash, But It's Okay (Plume, $26, 9780525534143).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Neil deGrasse Tyson, author of Accessory to War: The Unspoken Alliance Between Astrophysics and the Military (Norton, $30, 9780393064445).

Also on the Late Show: Charlamagne Tha God, author of Shook One: Anxiety Playing Tricks on Me (Touchstone, $26, 9781501193255).

Movies: After

The new teaser trailer for After, based on the YA novel by Anna Todd, "is filled with making out... lots of making out. And based on the tagline: 'After your first, life will never be the same' the movie probably goes beyond making out," Deadline reported.

Directed by Jenny Gage from a script by Susan McMartin, the movie stars Josephine Langford, Fiennes Tiffin, Selma Blair, Jennifer Beals, Peter Gallagher, Shane Paul McGhie, Shane Paul McGhie, and Khadijha Red Thunder. Producers are Courtney Solomon, Mark Canton, Jennifer Gibgot, Anna Todd, Aron Levitz, Meadow Williams and Dennis Pelino. After opens in theaters April 12, 2019.

Books & Authors

Awards: Costa Shortlists; Dublin Literary Longlist

The shortlists in the 2018 Costa Awards' five categories have been announced and can be seen here. The winners in each category will be unveiled January 7; the overall Book of the Year will be celebrated on January 29. The awards honor "some of the most outstanding books of the year written by authors based in the U.K. and Ireland."


The longlist for the 2019 Dublin Literary Award has been announced and can be seen here. The shortlist will appear on April 4 and the winner on June 12.

Books are nominated for the award by invited public libraries around the world based on "high literary merit." The prize of €100,000 (about $113,425) goes to the winning author; if the book is a translation, however, €75,000 ($85,070) is awarded to the author and €25,000 ($28,360) to the translator.

Book Review

Review: The Gown

The Gown: A Novel of the Royal Wedding by Jennifer Robson (Morrow, $16.99 trade paper, 400p., 9780062674951, December 31, 2018)

It's more than a year after the Allies declared victory, and the people of Great Britain are still facing the lingering privations of wartime: rationing and shortages, combined with an unusually harsh winter and the losses of loved ones. Princess Elizabeth's engagement to Prince Philip of Greece gives England's citizenry a celebration to look forward to. For the coterie of seamstresses working under London designer Norman Hartnell, it means something else: a once-in-a-lifetime chance to work on Elizabeth's wedding gown.

Novelist Jennifer Robson (Moonlight over Paris, Goodnight from London) stitches together the story of The Gown through the narratives of two seamstresses: the young Englishwoman Ann Hughes and Miriam Dassin, a French refugee who becomes Ann's colleague and friend. Woven throughout is the story of Heather Mackenzie, Ann's Canadian granddaughter, who inherits a box of elaborate embroidered flowers after her grandmother's death. Puzzled and intrigued by the flowers, which bear a striking resemblance to those on Queen Elizabeth's wedding gown, Heather hops a plane to London to trace the mystery of her grandmother's life and career.

Robson constructs her narrative with the skill and precision displayed by Ann and Miriam as they work on the gown. All three protagonists are dealing with loss and heartbreak. Ann is still mourning her brother and her parents, who died during the war. Miriam carries the trauma of her family's deaths and her own experiences at Ravensbrück. Heather's grief over losing Ann is compounded by being laid off from her magazine job, and her gradual realization that her beloved "Nan" had an entire life in England that she never shared. The plot shifts among the three characters' perspectives, tying together the postwar timeline with Heather's present-day quest to uncover Ann's history.

A historian by training, Robson embroiders the novel with the finer points about fabric, beads and other materials used to create the gown, as well as the tight veil of secrecy drawn around its design process. She richly draws the struggles of wartime characters, especially the two seamstresses and a big-hearted journalist who becomes important to Miriam. Heather's story feels less vivid at times, but her journey to London helps illuminate the connections between Ann, Miriam, the box of fabric flowers and Miriam's later career as a textile artist. Like the gown itself and the tapestries Miriam creates, Robson's novel stitches together disparate components into an elegant whole. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

Shelf Talker: Jennifer Robson's fifth historical novel unfurls the story of Queen Elizabeth's wedding gown and the women who made it.

AuthorBuzz: St. Martin's Press: Corinne by Rebecca Morrow
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