Also published on this date: Tuesday, December 14, 2021: Maximum Shelf: How to Be Perfect

Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Yen Press: The God of Nishi-Yuigahama Station by Takeshi Murase, Translated by Guiseppe Di Martino

Peachtree Publishers: Erno Rubik and His Magic Cube by Kerry Aradhya, Illustrated by Kara Kramer

Beacon Press: Kindred by Octavia Butler

Inkshares: Mr. and Mrs. American Pie by Juliet McDaniel

Tundra Books: On a Mushroom Day by Chris Baker, Illustrated by Alexandria Finkeldey

Simon & Schuster: Register for the Simon & Schuster Fall Preview!

St. Martin's Press: Sacrificial Animals by Kailee Pedersen

Quotation of the Day

Social Media Sales Boosts: 'Reliable Only in Their Unreliability'

B&N, Palm Desert, Calif.

"The only reliable part about it is that it's unreliable."

--Shannon DeVito, director of books at Barnes & Noble, in a New York Times article about how having a large social media following is no guarantee an author's book will sell well.


BINC: Do Good All Year - Click to Donate!


The Next Chapter, Huntington, N.Y., Reaches Fundraising Goal

The Next Chapter, an independent bookstore that intends to "reincarnate" the spirit of the recently closed Book Revue in Huntington, N.Y., reached its crowdfunding goal over the weekend, Newsday reported.

Mallory Braun, former Book Revue manager and founder of The Next Chapter, successfully raised more than $250,000 in 45 days. She hopes to open the bookstore next year, and while she hasn't finalized a space just yet, she is looking at a spot in Huntington Village not far from where Book Revue was located.

"It feels fabulous," Braun told Newsday. "I really knew this was going to be successful from the beginning, so it’s nice to have proof of that."

Braun has amassed a collection of donated books and remainders, which will make up the majority of the store's inventory when it opens some time next year. As time goes on and the store finds its footing, Braun plans gradually to increase the selection of new books. Her event plans include author readings and book signings, as well as classes and workshops.

Book Revue, which was a Long Island staple for nearly 45 years, closed at the end of September after owner Richard Klein and the store's landlord could not agree on a new lease or plans to pay back rent. Klein is now acting as a consultant for Braun.

"I think independent bookstores are really important," said Braun. "I hope that it will in some way fill the shoes of Book Revue--fill the void that Book Revue left."

GLOW: Torrey House Press: Life After Dead Pool: Lake Powell's Last Days and the Rebirth of the Colorado River by Zak Podmore

Kramers in Washington, D.C., Adds Bar

Kramers, the 45-year-old bookstore and cafe in Washington, D.C., has expanded, adding a 26-seat bar serving beer, wine and cocktails. The 970-square-foot bar, the Washingtonian reported, offers 18 craft beers on tap, natural and small producer wines and its own food menu, with "chicken and waffle sliders, French onion dip and a spicy carrot chickpea tartine."

The addition of the bar was made possible by Kramers expanding into an adjacent storefront at 1521 Connecticut Ave., NW. The bar resides in what used to be the travel and children's books sections, which have been relocated. The area has "special lighting better suited for reading books," and the bar will be used for tastings and other events.

The expansion comes about a year and a half after Kramers owner Steve Salis announced that the store would be leaving Dupont Circle due to a legal dispute with one of his landlords. That move, however, could be anywhere from three to six years off.

Salis, who took over the store from original owners Bill Kramer and David Tenney in 2017, has made several significant changes to the Dupont Circle institution. He's added barber and flower shops, revamped the cafe and rebranded the store from Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe to Kramers.

Harpervia: Only Big Bumbum Matters Tomorrow by Damilare Kuku

Wis.'s Redemption Bookstore Closing

The Redemption Bookstore in Onalaska, Wis., is closing January 15, the La Crosse Tribune reported. Opened in 2016, the Christian bookstore, a branch of Redemption Ministries, sells Bibles and other books, gifts, artwork, jewelry, coffee mugs, greeting cards and music--altogether some 40,000 "Christian and inspirational items."

Manager Bonice Sipley attributed the closing to her own impending retirement, the effect of the pandemic on sales and the expiration of the store's lease on January 31. Earlier, Sipley spent 18 years working at and managing Shepherd's Voice Christian Bookstore and Living Word Christian Bookstore locations in the area.

"It's an asset to the community, and its closing will be a loss," Sipley added. She did add that she is open to someone taking over the store.

International Update: Vivendi Confirms Lagardère Takeover Bid, 'The Year that Was' in U.K.

French media conglomerate Vivendi, which owns Editis publishing group, has confirmed it would buy Amber Capital's 17.5% stake in the Lagardère group, owner of Hachette Livre, "in the coming days," bringing its share to 45.1%, and would launch an immediate takeover bid for the group. The Bookseller reported that the move "has come a year earlier than expected, after an initial announcement was made in September. The idea had been to wait until the French and European competition, financial and media regulators had approved the deal. But Vivendi explained that 'recent analyses' showed the company could go ahead now without infringing merger control rules. It added it would not exercise its voting rights until it obtained the necessary regulatory authorizations next year."

Before the latest move, other French publishers were already concerned about the implications, the Bookseller wrote, noting that Antoine Gallimard, head of Gallimard's parent company, Madrigall, said in an interview on BFM Business television last month that the transaction "does not seem possible, both for respecting competition rules and avoiding an abuse of dominance.... I expect a lot" from the European Commission's competition directorate, "which is looking at this affair."


In "The year that was," a recent blog post for the Bookseller, Meryl Halls, managing director of the Booksellers Association of the U.K. & Ireland, wrote, in part: "With the year drawing to a close, the crucial pre-Christmas period is now under way for booksellers, who are hoping for a return to a more traditional sales window than we experienced in 2020. Despite the hectic nature of the coming weeks, it feels important to take a moment to reflect on the extraordinary obstacles that have been faced by bookshops in 2021 and consider, with cautious optimism, the coming year....

"The Booksellers Association has been by the side of bookshops throughout the year, working with members to provide support, be that creating recovery funds for those most impacted by the pandemic, providing lockdown guidance, lobbying the government for clarity and greater support, or as part of campaigns such as Shop Kind. We are proud to have been able to assist bookshops during this time, but it is the individual booksellers who have done the remarkable job of adapting to unprecedented challenges in order to continue doing important work in their communities. Despite these phenomenal efforts, the sector is not out of the woods as yet....

"As we look ahead to 2022 and hope for more certainty and stability for bookshops, the Booksellers Association will continue to support booksellers as they rebuild, providing them with the resources and assistance they need to connect with readers and champion new books. We will be picking up, with our members, the crucial work on sustainability and on representation and inclusion in bookselling, creating a professional development platform for our members, as well as continuing our investment in trade infrastructure with Batch and Batchline [stock management systems]. As ever, we will continue to encourage the public to choose bookshops, and urge the publishing industry to keep booksellers in the front of their mind as they plan for the coming year. Bookshops have proven throughout the pandemic that they are an essential aspect of the publishing ecosystem, able to get titles in front of readers even during a global catastrophe, and we all need to support their work if we want to see them thrive in the years to come."


Staff at historic St. Petersburg bookstore Podpisnye izdaniya (Subscription Publications) "came up with a brilliant way to get people interested in books--they cosplay the book covers, and it looks fantastic!" Russia Beyond reported. "Every day this St. Petersburg bookstore's Instagram page posts its very own cosplay for book covers, delighting about 200,000 followers."

They began posting pictures on Instagram in 2013 as a joke, but since then the joke has become part of their style. "The only thing that hasn't changed is that we are creating photos on our own," said Arina Gromyko, the store's PR director. "We don't have any guest photographers or models. Our instagram is our face. When customers come to our store, it's the same people as in our posts, and they give advice for the books."

Staff member Lina Libo is the style and concept author. "She takes photos for our Instagram, and she has led an aesthetic revolution on our page," Gromyko noted. --Robert Gray


Cerebral Kingdom Honored in Rochester, N.Y.

Cerebral Kingdom, a Black-owned bookstore in Rochester, N.Y., has received a New York State Senate Proclamation celebrating its first year in business. Per Rochester First, New York State Senator Jeremy Cooney presented the proclamation to bookstore owners Anthony King and Zakiya McAdams-King on December 11.

Cooney praised Cerebral Kingdom's "mission driven approach" to improving access to the work of Black writers and aritsts while simultaneously supporting local creators. "If we have learned anything over the past 21-plus months it is that we need spaces like Cerebral Kingdom and neighborhood minded entrepreneurs to help us feel whole as we look to recover."

King and McAdams-King opened the bookstore in August 2020. The store carries books for all ages that highlight Black history, culture and literature, and there is a selection of local and African art. It is the only Black-owned bookstore in Rochester.

Personnel Changes at Macmillan Children's Publishing

At the Macmillan Children's Publishing Group:

Tatiana Merced-Zarou has joined as associate publicist.

Sara Elroubi has joined as publicity assistant.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Grace M. Cho on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Grace M. Cho, author of Tastes Like War: A Memoir (The Feminist Press at CUNY, $17.95, 9781952177941).

Live with Kelly and Ryan: Matthew McConaughey, author of Greenlights: Your Journal, Your Journey (Clarkson Potter, $20, 9780593235478). He will also appear on Late Night with Seth Meyers.

Drew Barrymore Show: Amanda Gorman, author of Call Us What We Carry: Poems (Viking, $24.99, 9780593465066).

The View: Amy Robach, co-author of Better Together! (Flamingo Books, $17.99, 9780593205693).

TV: Nameless

Henry Golding (Crazy Rich Asians) will star in a TV series adaptation of Dean Koontz's Nameless stories. Deadline reported that Golding is teaming with SK Global to develop the project after striking a first-look film and TV deal earlier this year. Koontz's series of 12 short thrillers were first published in 2019 as Amazon Original Stories.

SK Global will produce the potential series in partnership with the Mazur Kaplan Company and Golding's Long House Productions. Nameless will be executive produced by Sidney Kimmel, John Penotti, Charlie Corwin and Marcy Ross for SK Global, Golding via Long House, and Paula Mazur and Mitchell Kaplan (owner of Books & Books stores in south Florida) for Mazur Kaplan.

"I've long been fascinated by the idea of telling a mystery thriller in an episodic format. But to work with the master of suspense thrillers--Dean Koontz's Nameless is beyond my expectations," Golding said. "To bring this exceptional series to the screen with my partners SK Global and Mazur Kaplan will be an exhilarating journey as we look to bring a fresh and unique take on Dean's characters."

Koontz added: "I'm delighted to have my material in the hands of such dedicated and accomplished producers, and when I heard the name Henry Golding, I shouted, 'Yes!' Mr. Golding will be perfect and unforgettable as Nameless."

Books & Authors

Awards: David Cohen Literature Prize, Center for Fiction Winners

Colm Tóibín has won the £40,000 (about $52,900) 2021 David Cohen Prize for Literature, which is awarded every other year and recognizes "a lifetime's achievement in literature" by a writer from the U.K. or Ireland.

Colm Tóibín is the author of 10 novels, including Brooklyn, The Master and The Magician (published in the U.S. in September by Scribner), and two collections of stories. He is Irene and Sidney B. Silverman Professor of the Humanities at Columbia University and Chancellor of the University of Liverpool. He is a vice-president of the Royal Society of Literature.

Tóibín commented: "When I attended the inaugural reception for the David Cohen Prize in London in 1993, I did not imagine for a moment that my own writing would ever be honoured in this way. Those who have won the Prize in the past are artists whose work I revere. I am proud to be among them."

Quoted in the Bookseller, chair of judges Hermione Lee described Tóibín as the judges' "unanimous choice," adding, "I think of him as a Renaissance man who can do almost everything with equal brilliance: he's a novelist, short story writer, playwright, essayist, travel-writer, critic, teacher, journalist and activist for gay rights."


Kirstin Valdez Quade won the $15,000 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize for The Five Wounds (Norton). Each of the shortlisted authors receives $1,000. 

The Center for Fiction On Screen Award, which honors groundbreaking original works of film and television that mirror the complexity and vision of great novels, was presented to series creator and director Barry Jenkins, author Colson Whitehead, and Jennifer Salke, Head of Amazon Studios/Prime Video, for the adaptation of Whitehead's The Underground Railroad.

Mitzi Angel, incoming president and publisher of benefit corporate sponsor Farrar, Straus and Giroux, was honored in celebration of FSG's 75th anniversary.

Board Member Jacqueline Woodson introduced the Center for Fiction Medal for Editorial Excellence, the first ever to have been awarded to an editor of young people's literature. Children's book author and illustrator Grace Lin presented the award to Alvina Ling, v-p and editor-in-chief at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.

Book Review

Review: How High We Go in the Dark

How High We Go in the Dark by Sequoia Nagamatsu (Morrow, $27.99 hardcover, 304p., 9780063072640, January 18, 2022)

Sequoia Nagamatsu (Where We Go When All We Were Is Gone) boldly imagines the human cost and cultural revisions brought about by a deadly plague in How High We Go in the Dark, an intimate, inventive sci-fi novel-in-stories.

In the opening story, "30,000 Years Beneath a Eulogy," a grieving father arrives in Siberia to finish environmental research started by his daughter, whose fatal fall into a hidden cavern led her coworkers to discover the 30,000-year-old corpse of a girl whose genes look like a cross between Neanderthal, human and something like a starfish. The body also carries an ancient virus that causes organ failure, and when this "Arctic plague" escapes into the general population, it changes the face of human society. As the timeline marches into a future shaped by the pandemic, Nagamatsu explores this bleak new world through the eyes of loosely connected characters. In "City of Laughter," a failed standup comedian keeps infected children smiling at an amusement park where the final ride is designed to kill them humanely before the virus can. A doctor whose son died of the virus finds himself desperate to protect a childlike pig who was born to provide organ transplants but learns to speak, in "Pig Son." Mourning becomes a central focus of life as the legions of dead leave behind loved ones who "didn't really get to say goodbye. Cryogenic suspension companies proliferated, death hotels, services that preserved and posed your loved ones in fun positions." Even in this future of climate disaster, rampant disease and global mourning, though, hope returns when a scientist makes "a tear in the fabric of space-time" that could give humanity an escape route from the faltering Earth.

This grim vision of the future is sewn together from previously published stories and new ones. Though some scenes feel reminiscent of recent history, Nagamatsu wrote much of the material prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. Characters often are related, but the first-person narrators of each chapter speak with a sense of isolation. This future is a lonely place, where love turns morbid in the face of frequent death, and lost souls struggle to stay whole. These voices in the dark are also a monument to the desire for connection, survival and innovation as "humans [crawl] toward the precipice of possibility." This beautiful collection of sorrows and foretellings should appeal to both literary fiction and sci-fi readers. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads

Shelf Talker: Nagamatsu's beautiful, melancholy sci-fi novel-in-stories imagines a future in which human lives and cultures are completely changed by a devastating pandemic.

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