Also published on this date: Monday, November 1, 2021: Kids' Maximum Shelf: I Am Golden

Shelf Awareness for Monday, November 1, 2021

Margaret K. McElderry Books: Tender Beasts by Liselle Sambury

Scholastic Press: Heroes: A Novel of Pearl Harbor by Alan Gratz

Flatiron Books: Anita de Monte Laughs Last by Xochitl Gonzalez

Peachtree Publishers: King & Kayla and the Case of the Downstairs Ghost (King & Kayla) by Dori Hillestad Butler, illustrated by Nancy Meyers

Doubleday Books: The Husbands by Holly Gramazio


Rebecca Fitting Resigns as NAIBA President; Hannah Oliver Depp Is New President

Following the sale of her interest in Greenlight Bookstores, Brooklyn, N.Y., to co-founder Jessica Stockton-Bagnulo, Rebecca Fitting has resigned as president of the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association and from the board. The new president of NAIBA is Hannah Oliver Depp, formerly NAIBA's vice-president and owner of Loyalty Bookstores, Washington, D.C., and Silver Spring, Md.

In other board changes, Erin Matthews, The Last Word Bookstore, Glenwood, Md., who has been treasurer, is becoming vice-president; board member Michael Triebwasser, Politics & Prose, Washington, D.C., is becoming treasurer. Amanda Zirn Hudson, Bethany Beach Books, Bethany Beach, Del., continues as secretary, and Bill Reilly, the river's end bookstore, Oswego, N.Y., continues as past president.

Hannah Oliver Depp

In an announcement to members of the changes, Depp said in part, "I'm saddened to not work with Rebecca Fitting as board president, but I am honored to be part of her intentional transition to what is next for her and her family and excited to become your board president as the culmination of a long held goal on my part.

"I attended my first NAIBA conference in 2012. A lot has changed since then in the industry; including and especially the fact that I am no longer sure of walking into a room of 200+ people and being only 1 of maybe 2-4 people of color present, thankfully. Because of conversations with other booksellers at that conference I decided I would be on the NAIBA board and one day its president. I wanted to stay committed to this industry as long as it was committed to its own growth and I felt a shift coming in our industry and wanted to be a part of our future. In this last incredibly tough year, working with Rebecca Fitting as our president has strengthened my deep respect for her and my resolve to be open to change and continue to push for growth in our industry from within NAIBA itself.

"Becoming the NAIBA president is an honor because being a NAIBA bookseller is essential to my bookstore, my understanding of our industry, and it puts me in company with some of the best independent booksellers in the world. What is next for us will not necessarily be easy, but it is necessary. I cannot wait to dig in and get to work with more transparency. We will continue increasing our educational tools for booksellers and to push for sustainable business models for our stores and for our employees. We will advocate to publishers and partners for a functional future and share tools developed over the years to advocate for yourself at a local level for rent and taxes that make your business viable. This pandemic has shown the inequities in their harshest reality, but also that they were made and therefore are solvable. Let's solve them together and keep what is great about independent bookselling, our connections to the words and our community, growing into the next generation. I know that at every NAIBA conference or meet-up a bookseller finds the compatriots that will form their career trajectory for years to come and will work to make sure that continues."

Rebecca Fitting

Fitting said she was resigning "with mixed emotions," adding in part, "NAIBA has been an incredible community and resource for Greenlight Bookstore and for me personally. When I agreed to become a board member, I took it seriously and saw it as an opportunity to give back, and it has been a rewarding experience. I am not someone who tends to walk away from my commitments, but truly, none of us could have predicted the past few years and the havoc they'd wreak on us as small business owners, and on those of us who are parents. Life is taking me in unexpected directions as a result.

"But with change comes opportunity, and I'm very excited that my exit opens the door for Hannah Oliver Depp to step into the position of NAIBA board president. Hannah's vision, drive, creativity, and energy, along with Eileen [Dengler]'s capable leadership as our executive director, and a strong board, NAIBA is poised to carry our region forward."

Holiday House: The Five Impossible Tasks of Eden Smith by Tom Llewellyn; The Selkie's Daughter by Linda Crotta Brennan

Transom Bookshop Opens in Tarrytown, N.Y.

"Anyone who has loved more than one book has thought, 'Boy, I would like to run a bookstore,' " said Chris Steib, owner of Transom Bookshop in Tarrytown, N.Y., which opened its doors for the first time on October 22.

The 525-square-foot bookstore sells predominantly fiction, with the entire eastern wall of the store devoted to it. There are strong sci-fi and fantasy sections as well; Steib explained that fiction and literature are his background. For the store's poetry and nonfiction sections, Steib turned to outside help, working with the editor of a poetry magazine to curate that section, and he selected books about self-care and health with the help of a licensed clinical social worker.

Chris Steib

Asked about children's books, Steib noted that his store is across the street from a toy store, and he's working with that store's owner to make sure their inventories don't overlap. To that end he carries middle grade and YA books, while leaving picture books and early reader titles to his neighbor. In addition to books, Steib carries some custom store-branded products like stickers and other "nerdy things for book lovers" from suppliers like Out of Print.

With Tarrytown next door to Sleepy Hollow, Halloween is an exceptionally busy time of the year. Steib noted that the town is full of tourists and the store's first week was so busy he "couldn't take a breath." As such Steib has yet to host any events, and likely won't until after Halloween and the holiday shopping season are behind him. There are lots of photographers and writers in the Hudson Valley region, and he'd like to get them involved in future event plans.

Steib moved to Tarrytown a few years ago and immediately "fell in love with the town," which he said has a "beautiful main street" and "wonderful community." He heard over and over again, however, that there was one thing missing: an independent bookstore. "I couldn't believe this place didn't have one."

Steib, who was a literature major in college, has had a lot of experience in the book world. He worked through college at a variety of stores, including independent bookstores and at Barnes & Noble, and later managed events for several B&N locations in New Jersey. He ran a literary magazine, through which he "made a lot of great writer friends and publishing contacts," and created the app Transom, which is a note-taking app designed for writers. For most of the last decade or so, he's been a consultant for start-ups.

He'd always wanted to open a store of his own, but it felt like a "someday kind of thing," contingent on retiring or getting rich or "something magical happening." That was until he talked to the owner of a shop on Tarrytown's main street. She discussed running her business, and that conversation "made it real" for Steib. Given the tourist traffic that Tarrytown gets, especially around Halloween, it "seemed like a thing that could happen." He found the perfect "tiny sliver of a shop," which used to be an antique shop complete with restoration workshop in the back, and decided he was going to take the plunge.

"I realized you didn't need to be a superhero," he remarked. "You just had to do it."

The Tarrytown community's response to his bookstore has been great, Steib reported, and the bookshop had a sizable following even before its doors opened. People frequently stop by the store to say congratulations, or approach Steib and his wife to say so at the park or the farmers market. Going forward, he plans to grow the store's inventory and plan events based on what customers want. He added: "It's been very positive and very validating." --Alex Mutter

Amistad Press: The Survivors of the Clotilda: The Lost Stories of the Last Captives of the American Slave Trade by Hannah Durkin

International Update: Dublin's Chapters Bookstore Closing, Covid's Effect on Canadian Libraries

Chapters Bookstore in Dublin city center, Ireland's largest indie, will close early next year after almost 40 years in business. Announcing the decision on Twitter Friday, owner William Kinsella noted: "Incredible to see such support already. A sincere thank you to you all for your custom over 40 years in business. We are truly grateful."

The business has operated from various locations around the city over the years including Wicklow Street, St Stephen's Green and Abbey Street. It moved to Parnell Street in 2006. The Irish Times reported that the "development in which the bookshop is located, the Ivy Exchange, is currently the subject of High Court disputes between the developers, who are members of the Cosgrave building family, and a management company over alleged defects in the buildings."

Kinsella told Newstalk's The Hard Shoulder: "Since the pandemic--if you go back earlier to when the first crash happened--we never had a year where we didn't grow our turnover. And then when the pandemic hit, it accelerated the move--for a lot of people--to online. And one of the areas where online excelled was books. We just didn't have the numbers, there was no tourists, people were working from home.... It's lovely to see some smaller shops in the suburbs do well--but we suffered and we just had to make the difficult decision."

After news of the closing broke, long queues began forming outside the bookshop to pay respect and take advantage of a clearance sale. "Thank you all for your support, kind words, and custom after today's announcement," Chapters tweeted. "It has been a pleasantly overwhelming day and we look forward to chatting with so many of you over the coming months.... I want to say a special thank you to our incredible staff who really carried us today. A wonderful team who make Chapters what it is."

Writing in the Currency, Ireland's Minister of Finance Paschal Donohoe observed: "The news that Chapters bookshops is closing will sadden anyone who loves books and as someone who shopped there regularly since the 1990s, it makes me particularly reflective.... Culture and our city need to work hand in hand to imagine a new future. But the responsibility goes beyond our city planners. It goes beyond those who set up and run bookshops. It goes beyond those who want to run theaters.

"We all have to play our role. If you value bookshops, if you value cultural landmarks then the best way of ensuring their existence is to support them and use them. But that may not be enough on its own. As we make further progress in emerging from the pandemic, city planners and the government are going to have engage in what is the future for our city centers."


BookNet Canada shared insights regarding the impact of Covid-19 on book borrowing, using statistics culled from the Canadian Book Consumer survey fielded primarily in May and July 2021. In the first half of the year, 40% of Canadians said that Covid impacted their book borrowing, slightly more than for book buying (36%). 

The survey noted that 82% of Canadians believe that it is important for society to have public libraries for people to visit, and 82% also said they have a public library branch located near them. About three out of 10 Canadians visited a library at least once in the first half of 2021--18% visited in person and 17% online. In 2020, 41% of Canadians visited a library at least once, and most of them did so one to four times. 

Respondents who visited the library at least once in the past month checked out an average of 2.9 book per month in the first half of 2021--1.8 print books, 0.7 e-books and 0.3 audiobooks. By comparison, in 2020, the average checkout per month was five books--2.8 print books, 1.5 e-books and 0.7 audiobooks. 


China News Service featured a photo gallery exploring a bookstore by the Xinglong lake in Chengdu, Southwest China's Sichuan Province, noting: "Located in Tianfu New District, the 'underwater bookstore' has a glass curtain wall that extends into the water on one side of the bookstore, allowing readers to see water plants and fish in the lake." --Robert Gray

C-SPAN and Book TV Launching About Books Podcast

C-SPAN and Book TV are launching a half-hour biweekly podcast called About Books that will focus on nonfiction publishing and also air on C-SPAN2's Book TV. About Books will consist of "insider interviews with publishing experts, authors, bookstore owners and more" and will be hosted by Peter Slen, senior executive producer of Book TV.

Slen said, "Books continue to play a critical role in our national discussion of vital issues, and for many years C-SPAN and Book TV have offered a platform for those conversations. Even in the age of digital media, books are not dead. We look forward to growing our relationship with the publishing community and expanding our program offerings for literary lovers and enthusiasts."

The first program, which aired yesterday, featured Marji Ross, publishing consultant and former longtime publisher of Regnery Books. New episodes of About Books will air every other Thursday evening.

About Books is available online and via the free C-SPAN Now video app.


Image of the Day: Celebrating Tattered Cover

Tattered Cover, Denver, Colo., welcomed historian (and former employee) Mark A. Barnhouse to celebrate 50 years of Tattered Cover and the launch of his book, Tattered Cover Book Store: A Storied History (History Press). The event included a panel discussion about the history of the store with Matt Miller, Cathy Langer and Margaret Maupin. Dozens of customers and former Tattered Cover employees joined in to reminisce and highlight memorable moments from the bookstore's past 50 years. Pictured: bookstore owners Alan Frosch, David Back and Kwame Spearman, with Barnhouse (third from l.).

#IndieBookstoreHalloween: 'Comfy Spooky Vibes & Good Reads!'

This year's Halloween festivities in bookstores were a bit more active than last year's Covid-restricted holiday. Here are a few highlights from booksellers' social media posts yesterday:

Litchfield Books, Pawleys Island, S.C.: "Happy Halloween from Litchfield Books! Our owner Olivia is Belle, how fitting as she always has her nose in a book.... If you are dressing up tonight or if you have in the past--who is/was your favorite character to dress up as? Feel free to comment pictures of your favorite past Halloween costumes below!"

Green Apple Books and Music, San Francisco, Calif.: "Happy Halloween!! Here we got Green Appler Eileen in her amazing book costume posing with some of our Goosebumps copies!! Come by the store for comfy spooky vibes and good reads!"

Commonplace Reader, Yardley, Pa.: "A Jack-o-lantern that has a great message! Picture courtesy of Cindy Fatsis @cinloufa @experience_yardley Carve-O-Thon--fun in Yardley!!"

The Literary, Champaign, Ill.: "@illinimagicsociety is at The Literary this afternoon putting the "trick" in trick-or-treat! Stop by soon!"

Cafe con Libros, Brooklyn, N.Y.: "@bookishgoth brought her A game! @dahlante_ml and I are already cooking up next year's costume!"

Charis Books and More, Decatur, Ga.: "It's time to trick or treat! Stop by @charisbooksandmore @charisasc this afternoon for treat bags and a selection of spooky faves for folks of all ages! Bookseller Brittany is here to help you!"

A Great Good Place for Books, Oakland, Calif.: "Come and get candy from Genevieve at GGP!" 

Rediscovered Bookshop, Boise, Idaho: "Double bubble, toil and trouble, and a happy #halloween to you!"

Page 1 Bookstore, Albuquerque, N.Mex.: "On a quiet Halloween afternoon, where will you find Hermione, Crookshanks, and Carmen Sandiego hanging out? Page 1 Books today!"

The Dock Bookshop, Fort Worth, Tex.: "King Tut is at The Dock Bookshop & Dock Community for Boo! Books & Treats today 2-4p. Bring the kids for treats, storytime and more!"

Content Bookstore, Northfield, Minn.: "Attention, Trick-or-Treaters of Northfield! Stop by Content before 5 p.m. today for a fabulous, fancy lollipop, FREE to those in costume or with a purchase of $30 or more! While supplies last."

Roundabout Books, Bend, Ore.: "We love all of the creative and fun costumes! Stop by for free hot apple cider, cookies, and more!"

Hicklebee's Bookstore, San Jose, Calif.: "When you work at Hicklebee's on Halloween, you come in costume! What's your costume this year? Any bookish costumes out there?"

Cool Idea of the Day: Posman Books' Lyrics Auction

Posman Books, with stores in New York City, Boston, Mass., and Atlanta, Ga., and a store on the way in Pittsburgh, Pa., is one of the indie stores that received copies of the 175 limited-edition signed copies of The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present by Paul McCartney. The limited edition has a suggested retail price of $2,083 (£1,500); the regular edition, which Liveright is publishing tomorrow, retails for $100.

Posman is auctioning its two copies (numbers 17 and 18), with proceeds going to the National Coalition Against Censorship and ACLU Georgia.

In Posman's auctions, one taking place in New York, the other in Atlanta, the starting bid is $2,000. Bids must be made via e-mail (the New York store and the Atlanta store). Each Tuesday an update will go to all bidders with the highest bid. The auction ends December 14. Winners will have to come to the store to purchase and claim the book.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Huma Abedin on Today, the View, Colbert's Late Show

Today Show: Huma Abedin, author of Both/And: A Life in Many Worlds (Scribner, $30, 9781501194801). She will also appear on the View and the Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

Dr. Oz: Tamron Hall, author of As the Wicked Watch: The First Jordan Manning Novel (Morrow, $27.99, 9780063037038).

Drew Barrymore Show: Anderson Cooper, co-author of Vanderbilt: The Rise and Fall of an American Dynasty (‎Harper, $30, 9780062964618).

Late Late Show with James Corden: Dr. Anthony Fauci, author of Fauci: Expect the Unexpected: Ten Lessons on Truth, Service, and the Way Forward (National Geographic, $18, 9781426222450).

Good Morning America: Misty Copeland, author of Black Ballerinas: My Journey to Our Legacy (Aladdin, $19.99, 9781534474246).

Also on GMA: Steven V. Roberts, author of Cokie: A Life Well Lived (Harper, $27.99, 9780062851475).

Drew Barrymore Show: Pilar Valdes, co-author of Rebel Homemaker: Food, Family, Life (Dutton, $30, 9780593184103).

Kelly Clarkson Show: Phoebe Robinson, author of Please Don't Sit on My Bed in Your Outside Clothes: Essays (Tiny Reparations Books, $27, 9780593184905).

Tamron Hall: Mena Suvari, author of The Great Peace: A Memoir (Hachette Books, $28, 9780306874529).

Live with Kelly and Ryan: Andy Cohen, author of Glitter Every Day: 365 Quotes from Women I Love (Holt, $24, 9781250832399). He will also appear on the View.

Late Night with Seth Meyers: Michael Imperioli and Steve Schirripa, authors of Woke Up This Morning: The Definitive Oral History of The Sopranos (Morrow, $30, 9780063090026).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Michael Eric Dyson, author of Entertaining Race: Performing Blackness in America (‎St. Martin's Press, $32.50, 9781250135971).

TV: What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding

Freeform has given a formal pilot order to What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding, a one-hour comedy based on Kristin Newman's (Only Murders in the Building) memoir, Deadline reported. Chelsea Frei (Dollface) stars in the pilot, along with Catherine Cohen (What We Do in the Shadows), Alice Hunter (Another Period) and Kosha Patel (Girlboss). 

The pilot will be written by Newman and directed by Becca Gleason (Summer '03). Newman executive produces with Susanna Fogel (The Flight Attendant) and Blair Breard (Scenes from a Marriage).

Books & Authors

Awards: Polari Winners

The winners of the £2,000 (about $2,740) Polari Prize and the £1,000 (about $1,370) Polari First Book Prize, recognizing works by writers born or based in the U.K. and Ireland that explore the LGBTQ+ experience, are:

Polari Prize: No Modernism Without Lesbians by Diana Souhami
Polari First Book Prize: A Dutiful Boy by Mohsin Zaidi

Book Review

Review: 41-Love: A Memoir

41-Love: A Memoir by Scarlett Thomas (Counterpoint, $27 hardcover, 384p., 9781640094765, December 7, 2021)

British writer Scarlett Thomas was accomplished and successful. A professor of creative writing and contemporary fiction at the University of Kent, she had published several popular novels (Oligarchy; Our Tragic Universe) and even a book on the craft of writing (Monkeys with Typewriters). However, by 2013--41 years old--she felt something was missing. She re-evaluated her life and choices made as a headstrong, rebellious youth who attended boarding school. She also mined the influences of a demeaning, paternal grandmother and a "devoted lefty," multi-married mother who provided Thomas with three fathers. In gazing back at the past, Thomas revived her competitive athletic spirit and a yearning to strive toward an unfulfilled dream. With the support of her encouraging partner, Rod, she set off on a quest to reclaim a hidden desire abandoned when she was 14 years old: to compete professionally in tennis and become a world-ranked player.

Intensity marks Thomas's beautiful memoir, which is a meticulously detailed, often darkly funny account of her hot pursuit of a dream deferred. Her mental toughness grows as she rails against emotional doubts, phobias, confidence problems and demons from the past, en route to ascending the ranks of the professional, over-40, "senior" tennis circuit. Along the journey, she faces opposition in the form of quirky hitting partners and coaches, naysayers and court competitors who psych her out. Other complications also figure in: glitches in setting up matches; traveling and training; meditation and dieting woes; and an aging body often besieged by the exhausting demands imposed by the rigors of keeping fit amid chronic competition. Through it all, Thomas's grit, determination to win and defiant spirit battle through some nail-biting doubles and singles matches. The wins and losses, recorded on her way to the finals of Seniors' Wimbledon at the legendary All England Club, add up to a smart, clever and very suspenseful point-by-point re-enactment. Readers--especially the competitively inclined--will root for Thomas to go the distance and emerge a victor both on and off the court.

Thomas's body of writing consistently features sharp, likable and captivating heroines who often riff incisively on the perils and glories of contemporary living and modernity with sarcastic wit and self-deprecation. With Thomas serving as narrator for the multi-layered, no-holds-barred odyssey of her ascent into middle age, she emerges as a top seed and the very best of them all. --Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines

Shelf Talker: A middle-aged writer serves an intense memoir about rekindling her passion for professional tennis, and growing up in the process.

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