Also published on this date: Wednesday, January 12, 2022: Maximum Shelf: Woman Last Seen

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Hachette: Public Affairs 25th Anniversary

St. Martin's Griffin: The Lost Witch by Paige Crutcher

Tordotcom: Leech by Hiron Ennes

Harper: The Mosquito Bowl: A Game of Life and Death in World War II by Buzz Bissinger

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


Left Bank Books in Belfast, Maine, Changes Hands

Lindsay McGuire and Barbara Klausmeyer, co-owners of Left Bank Books in Belfast, Maine, have sold the 17-year-old independent bookstore to longtime employees Julia Clapp and Tiffany Howard.

In a message to customers announcing the ownership change, McGuire noted that there won't be any major changes to the shop and the entire staff will stay on. She and Klausmeyer will become mentors to Clapp and Howard as they take over the store.

"Barb and I are thrilled to pass the baton to these beloved and trusted employees, both of whom are steeped in the culture of our shop, understand its je ne sais quoi and strive to cultivate its mission," wrote McGuire. 

Originally founded in Searsport, Maine, in 2004, Left Bank Books moved to its current location inside the historic Opera House in downtown Belfast in 2012.

"Since those early days, it has always been our intention to make sure that this precious entity we created--with the invaluable assistance of Marsha and Jerry Kaplan--would continue for many, many years," McGuire continued. "We have also hoped that, when the time came to pass our shop on, we could find someone who understood the Left Bank Books zeitgeist and who valued it as much as we do. That time has now come."

University of Notre Dame Press: An Inconvenient Apocalypse: Environmental Collapse, Climate Crisis, and the Fate of Humanity by Wes Jackson and Robert Jensen

Under the Umbrella Opens Physical Store in Salt Lake City

Under the Umbrella, a "queer little bookstore" that debuted as a pop-up bookshop last year, opened a physical storefront in Salt Lake City, Utah, in November, the Daily Utah Chronicle reported. The store specializes in books by queer authors and featuring queer characters, and owner Kaitlyn Mahoney opened the bookstore with the help of an Indiegogo campaign that raised more than $57,000.

In addition to new and used books, Under the Umbrella carries pins, paintings, candles and art prints, much of it sourced from queer artists and creators both in the Salt Lake City area and beyond. It also is a source of community resources like naloxone kits and fentanyl test strips, a free closet of gender-affirming clothes and a Little Free Library. The store also runs a penpal program with incarcerated people.

"I decided to create a space that, when I was younger, how wonderful it would have been to have access to this," Mahoney told the Chronicle. "My hope is that a space like this can help people feel comfortable with where they are currently and where they're going."

Mahoney has tried to emphasize mutual aid within the bookstore and started a "Give and Take" wall, where anyone "can pledge something for a specific identity," like a "book for a Latinx person or a sticker for a caffeinated bisexual." A person who identifies with that pledge can then claim it for free.

Mahoney explained that the bookstore grew out of a desire to see more books by queer authors and with queer representation. "I should be able to find these stories all the time--not have to wait for the pride displays or the two shelves at Barnes & Noble. I kept thinking, 'Somebody is gonna do this. Then I started thinking, 'I'm gonna do it.' "

University of Minnesota Press: The Ski Jumpers by Peter Geye

International Update: 2021 Book Sales 'Defied the Pandemic' in France, U.K., Ireland

Noting that the Covid-19 pandemic "has generated a silver lining for the French book business," the Bookseller reported that 2021 sales by the 405 members of the observatory of the French Booksellers Association (Syndicat de la Librairie Française) rose by 20.4% over 2020, and by 24.3% compared to 2019. Observatory outlets represent more than half of the approximately 3,000 independent booksellers' sales in France, according to Anne Martelle, SLF president and co-director at the Martelle family bookshop in Amiens.

December sales in 2021 were down 14.6% compared to a year earlier, but up 21% against 2019. Martelle noted that sales figures had been abnormally high at the end of 2020 after the second Covid-19 lockdown, when there was "an explosion" of demand.

The French Publishers Association (Syndicat National de l'Edition) does not have final figures for 2021 yet, but director Pierre Dutilleul said that publishers' sales for December were down in 2021 from 2020, and were about the same in 2019. Full-year sales in 2021, however, "rose by some 20% from 2020 and 18% to 19% from 2019," he noted. "We have never seen such a huge increase since the beginning of the century." 

One surprising development during the pandemic has been the revival of French people's enthusiasm for reading and books as objects. "This has been a revelation, and is continuing," said Martelle. "Customers' pleasure in looking at and touching books is still more intense than it was before the pandemic began. I never expected this to happen."


Nielsen reported an estimated 5% increase in units sold and 3% gain in value for 2021 in the U.K., "with the year the first on record to surpass £1.8 billion [about $2 billion], and the market's highest volume sales since 2011," the Bookseller reported, adding: "While this marked the second year that Books & Consumer Survey data was used to fill in lockdown gaps, Nielsen were clear that 2021 showed 'books are not a pandemic fad,' estimating 212.6 million books sold for £1.8 billion across the year as a whole. Comparing 2021's available 42 weeks to the same period in 2019, the fiction and nonfiction categories hit 10-year highs, with children's books setting a new all-time record."

Fiction sales increased by 20% compared to 2019, with 26 of the 46 available weeks up by more than £1 million (about $1.3 million). Crime & thriller titles sold 2.6 million more books and brought in £16 million (about $18 million) more than two years ago. The graphic novels: manga category more than doubled its sales against 2019 and graphic novels recorded a lifetime high. Nonfiction categories mind, body & spirit and personal development hit record highs, and leisure & lifestyle's 2021 sales were second only to the year of the adult coloring book in 2015. 


The Irish book market "defied the pandemic in 2021 to chalk up its highest-ever revenue since accurate records began," the Bookseller reported. Sales last year hit €165.9 million (about $187 million) through Nielsen BookScan's Irish Consumer Market, an increase of €400,000 (about $451,520) over the previous record in 2008 and an increase of 3% on 2020. In addition, 13.3 million units sold, the third-best return after 2008 and 2010.  


Winter got you down? Posted by the Booksellers Aotearoa New Zealand on Facebook: "We love a good window display. The Dorothy Butler Children's Bookshop is looking as blue as the summer skies!" The Auckland bookseller had noted earlier: "Cosmo the Octopus looks out at the world from the window at 1 Jervois Rd as he strums his uke and welcomes you all back to the #dorothybutlerbookshop  for another year of good books!" --Robert Gray

GLOW: Union Square & Co.: The Second Death of Edie and Violet Bond by Amanda Glaze

Chicago's Loyola Press Moves to New Quarters

Loyola Press has moved from its longtime location in Chicago--where it had offices for nearly 100 years--to new headquarters that includes a state-of-the-art recording studio and an environment "conducive to collaboration and cross-department interaction." Near O'Hare International Airport, the new spot makes it easier to host partners, customers and guests.

Loyola Press president and publisher Joellyn Cicciarelli, commented: "While it is certainly hard to say goodbye to the vibrant and wonderful Wrigleyville/Lakeview neighborhood that Loyola Press has called home, we are thrilled to be relocating our corporate headquarters to a modern facility that matches our generous and forward-thinking employee benefits and better serves our talented and flexible team. As a recurring winner of the Chicago Tribune's top workplaces award, we recognize the importance of location, amenities, and environment."

An apostolate of the USA Midwest Province of the Society of Jesus, Loyola Press has the Jesuit mission of "helping people find God in all things." Loyola Press specializes in pre-K through grade 12 curriculum in language arts, social-emotional learning and Catholic faith formation, as well as offers a variety of titles for adults and children, including Dear Pope Francis: The Pope Answers Questions from Children Around the World. The Netflix series Stories of a Generation with Pope Francis, which premiered December 25, is based on the Loyola Press title Sharing the Wisdom of Time.

The new location for Loyola Press is 8770 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., Suite 1125, Chicago, Ill. 60631.

Del Rey Books: Luda by Grant Morrison

Obituary Note: Libby Manthey

Libby Manthey

Libby Manthey, owner and founder of Riverwalk Books, Chelan, Wash., and former president of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association, died on January 7 after a long battle with cancer.

Her family wrote in part, "Libby passed away at home peacefully surrounded by family. We know that Libby has impacted many lives in the Lake Chelan Valley, and she felt so supported by the community during her health struggles. She passed feeling very loved by all. As a family, we too are thankful for the love we have felt from our community. It has helped us through this hard time."

The family noted that Riverwalk Books "will continue being run by our family with the support of our great employees. In the future, we hope to pass it into good hands."

Manthey grew up in San Francisco, loving reading and both the public library and her school libraries. In 1994, she moved to Chelan with her family and founded Riverwalk Books, where she was happily "surrounded by books and booklovers." She enjoyed handselling "each and every book--making sure that the book fits the reader."

A celebration of Manthey's life will be held in the spring, and donations can be made to First Book as an expression of sympathy instead of flowers. Friends are welcome to "share your memories or thoughts with us, cards can be dropped off at or sent to Riverwalk Books."

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


Maya Angelou Featured on New U.S. Quarter

The U.S. Mint has begun shipping a new quarter featuring writer, poet, performer, social activist, and teacher Maya Angelou, who becomes the first Black woman to be featured on the quarter. Coins featuring additional honorees will begin shipping later this year and through 2025. The quarters are part of the American Women Quarters Program, with reverse (tails) designs emblematic of the accomplishments and contributions of trailblazing American women.

"It is my honor to present our Nation's first circulating coins dedicated to celebrating American women and their contributions to American history," said Mint deputy director Ventris C. Gibson. "Each 2022 quarter is designed to reflect the breadth and depth of accomplishments being celebrated throughout this historic coin program. Maya Angelou, featured on the reverse of this first coin in the series, used words to inspire and uplift."

The reverse side, designed by United States Mint Artistic Infusion Program artist Emily Damstra and sculpted by United States Mint medallic artist Craig A. Campbell, depicts Angelou with her arms uplifted. Behind her are a bird in flight and a rising sun, "images inspired by her poetry and symbolic of the way she lived, the U.S. Mint said. The obverse (heads) depicts a portrait of George Washington originally composed and sculpted by Laura Gardin Fraser to mark Washington's 200th birthday.  

Chris Pine Visits Skylight Books, Again


Actor Chris Pine stopped by Skylight Books in Los Angeles, Calif., last weekend and, per Esquire, picked up a stack of books including Caroline Desroche's photography book Los Angeles Standards, Kaoru Takamura's thriller Lady Joker, Jon Kalman Steffanson's literary novel Summer Light Then Comes the Night and Agustina Bazzterica's dystopian novel Tender Is the Flesh.

Pine has been seen at Skylight Books several times in the past; in 2020 he was photographed leaving the store with a bag of books.

Costco Picks: Something to Hide

Alex Kanenwisher, book buyer at Costco, has selected Something to Hide by Elizabeth George (‎Viking, $29, 9780593296844) as the pick for January. In Costco Connection, which goes to many of the warehouse club's members, Kanenwisher writes:

"There's nothing like a good British mystery. Even when it's written by an American author.

"In Something to Hide, Elizabeth George's Detective Inspector Lynley and Detective Sergeant Havers investigate the murder of a fellow detective. Not only did said detective indeed have something to hide, the title also refers to a pseudo-medical practice that is still going on in the shadows.

"The tale is equally riveting and eye-opening."

Personnel Changes at Dutton

At Dutton:

Emily Canders is promoted to assistant director of publicity.

Hannah Poole is promoted to associate publicist.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Maggy Krell on Morning Edition

NPR's Here & Now: Echo Brown, author of The Chosen One: A First-Generation Ivy League Odyssey (Christy Ottaviano Books, $17.99, 9780316310666).

NPR's Morning Edition: Maggy Krell, author of Taking Down Backpage: Fighting the World's Largest Sex Trafficker (New York University Press, $22.95, 9781479803040).

The View: Cecily Strong, author of This Will All Be Over Soon: A Memoir (‎Simon & Schuster, $28, ‎9781982168315).

Live with Kelly and Ryan: Joanne Molinaro, author of The Korean Vegan Cookbook: Reflections and Recipes from Omma's Kitchen (Avery, $35, 9780593084274).

TV: Kindred

FX has given a series order to Kindred, an adaptation of Octavia E. Butler's novel. Deadline reported that the project, starring Mallori Johnson, "hails from writer Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (Watchmen), Courtney Lee-Mitchell (The Reluctant Fundamentalist), Darren Aronofsky and his Protozoa Pictures (Black Swan, The Wrestler), Joe Weisberg (The Americans) and Joel Fields (Fosse/Verdon). The eight-episode series will be produced by FX Productions."

The cast also includes Micah Stock, Ryan Kwanten, Gayle Rankin, Austin Smith, Antoinette Crowe-Legacy and David Alexander Kaplan. Jacobs-Jenkins also serves as showrunner and executive produces with Lee-Mitchell, Aronofsky, Ari Handel, Weisberg, Fields, Ernestine Walker and Merrilee Heifetz. The pilot is directed and executive produced by Zola director and co-writer Janicza Bravo.

"Branden Jacobs-Jenkins has done a phenomenal job of adapting Kindred for FX and honoring the legacy and timeless value of Octavia Butler's groundbreaking novel," said Nick Grad, president, original programming FX. "The pilot directed by Janicza Bravo is brilliant and we can't wait to resume production with this incredibly talented and dedicated cast."

Books & Authors

Reading with... Rebecca Kim Wells

photo: Carter Hasegaw

Rebecca Kim Wells's debut novel, Shatter the Sky, was a New England Book Award finalist, a Bisexual Book Award winner, an ALA Rainbow Book List title, an Indies Introduce title and a Kids' Indie Next pick. Her latest novel, Briar Girls, a standalone dark queer fairy tale reimagining, was recently published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.

On your nightstand now:

I'm in the middle of Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe--I've had this one on my shelf for a while and picked it up now because Maggie Tokuda-Hall recommended it at an event we did together. I'm rereading Jade City by Fonda Lee now that the trilogy is complete. And I received early copies of Book of Night by Holly Black and Fire Becomes Her by Rosiee Thor and am vibrating with excitement about them.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech, which still makes me cry every time I pick it up. I got to meet Sharon in person several years ago and cried in front of her about it. (She was extremely gracious and hopefully does not remember this.)

Your top five authors:

N.K. Jemisin is the best writer working in speculative fiction today. I'm in awe of the worlds Kate Elliott creates and the questions she poses (and answers). I utterly adore the Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells (no relation) and have read the series at least five times. Holly Black's creative mind astounds me. Anna-Marie McLemore's prose is exquisite, and their work makes my heart hurt.

Book you've faked reading:

I've never faked having read a book... but I've been about a third of the way through Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow since 2015. Someday I'll get back to it.

Book you're an evangelist for:

The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall was one of my favorite young adult fantasy novels of 2020. This is the bookseller blurb I wrote for it: "This sweeping fantasy adventure delves deeply into questions of identity, sacrifice, and freedom. So queer, so artful, so delicate, so exceptional. I love this book fiercely, and you will too."

Book you've bought for the cover:

The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo. Tordotcom is killing the cover game right now and Empress is no exception. The book is even better than the cover--queerness! feminism! covert palace intrigue!--and there's a sequel!

Book you hid from your parents:

I started reading mass market romance novels in high school (I read Mary Balogh's Bedwyn Saga series multiple times) and was definitely embarrassed to be caught with them. Thankfully I've since gotten over that bit of internalized misogyny.

Book that changed your life:

Far from You by Tess Sharpe rocked my world. Meeting furious, bisexual, hurting and haunted Sophie felt like looking in a mirror and discovering an entirely new world of creative possibility.

Favorite line from a book:

"He would have told her--he would have said, it matters not if you are here, or there, for I see you before me every moment. I see you in the light on the water, in the swaying of the young trees in the spring wind. I see you in the shadows of the great oaks, I hear your voice in the cry of the owl at night. You are the blood in my veins, and the beating of my heart. You are my first waking thought, and my last sigh before sleeping. You are--you are bone of my bone, and breath of my breath." --Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier

Melodramatic? I don't care. Daughter of the Forest is a gorgeous adult retelling of "The Six Swans," and this quote turned teenage me into a romantic. It is imprinted on my soul.

Five books you'll never part with:

I recommend How to Write an Autobiographical Novel by Alexander Chee to all humans, which of course includes myself--especially as another queer biracial Korean American. It's about writing and creativity but really, it's about being a human. I was blown away by The Beautiful Death by A.R. Capetta, which is a perfect book. I have the sequel but I'm afraid to pick it up because I'm certain I will be utterly undone. I get to keep all three books in N.K. Jemisin's the Inheritance Trilogy because there is a bind-up edition and it's one book now. (I'm still very full of myself for reading The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms back in the day and knowing with complete clarity how big of a deal she was going to be.) What Rachel Hartman did in Tess of the Road made me put down the book and stare off into the distance and think, wait, you can just do that? Tess is a fantasy quest story about rape culture and misogyny and addiction and recovery and faith and hard questions and difficult answers. And I will never ever let go of Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones, which is the epitome of the fantastical whimsy and wonder I've loved all my life.

Book you most want to read again for the first time:

I would give a lot to be able to read White Cat by Holly Black again without knowing the tricks and twists. Everything Black writes is mindboggling, but I still think about this trilogy and wonder how in the world she pulled it off.

Up next on your TBR:

Way too much. I bought far too many books this year and am trying to read down my pile at least a little before I add to it. I'm really looking forward to picking up Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust, The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri, The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson, The Hollow Heart by Marie Rutkoski and Black Water Sister by Zen Cho.

Book Review

YA Review: Ophelia After All

Ophelia After All by Racquel Marie (Feiwel & Friends, $17.99 hardcover, 352p., ages 13-up, 9781250797308, February 8, 2022)

In Ophelia After All, debut author Racquel Marie serves up a humorous and compelling slice of high-school life that's lovingly populated by characters with varied sexual orientations and racial and ethnic backgrounds, all intent on finding their way through a year of tumultuous romantic ups and downs.

Senior prom is quickly approaching, and Ophelia Rojas is indulging in many a "swoonworthy" fantasy involving the perfect date. She wants "the pretty poster, the bouquet of flowers, the silly social media post with the punny caption about saying yes to the promposal." Ophelia has always been known for "drooling" over cute guys, and her friends and family assume that she's on the alert for new crush-worthy male specimens to romanticize.

Sometimes, though, when Ophelia lets her mind wander, "someone stands out against the collection of boys" she dreams about, and this one "shouldn't--doesn't--belong there." Ophelia is becoming increasingly fascinated with Talia Sanchez, a classmate Ophelia knows "once kissed a girl and liked it." And, when one of Ophelia's literature professor mom's students launches into a homophobic monologue regarding a performance casting Hamlet as a lesbian, Ophelia surprises herself by dumping a drink on his head. Ophelia is worried because admitting she may be questioning her sexuality goes against everything everybody knows about her, including her Cuban American father and white mother with whom she has always happily shared her emotions. In anger and frustration over her inability to share her newfound feelings, she manages to alienate almost everyone she cares about. How can Ophelia be sure her loved ones will like this new version of her?

Marie's story of questioning and coming out in high school is a multilayered look at high school romance and the benefits, as well as the confining aspects, of long-held group friendships. Her fully realized characters believably love, fight, banter and support one another during this momentous last year of high school. Ophelia is the ultimate romantic, and the story paints a compelling picture of a young woman coming to terms with what exactly that word means for her. Whether accepting who she is will get her more dates than before remains to be seen, but readers will hope she "[w]on't miss being straight. Not one bit." --Lynn Becker, reviewer, blogger, and children's book author

Shelf Talker: In this funny-yet-fraught young adult novel, boy-crazy high school senior Ophelia's world is upended when she finds herself crushing on a girl.

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