Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, May 25, 2022


Workman Publishing: Ejaculate Responsibly: A Whole New Way to Think about Abortion by Gabrielle Stanley Blair

Simon & Schuster: Defend Banned Books

Simon & Schuster: Defend Banned Books

Blackstone Publishing: River Woman, River Demon by Jennifer Givhan

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

News

New Owner for Cloud & Leaf Bookstore in Manzanita, Ore.

Cloud & Leaf Bookstore, Manzanita, Ore., will soon have a new owner. Author Deborah Reed, who purchased the shop in 2019 from founder Jody Swanson, announced that her friend Holly Lorincz will be taking over the business, effective June 1, the Oregonian reported. 

A literary agent and writer, Lorincz recalled that when Reed said she was thinking about selling the bookshop and asked whether Lorincz knew anyone who'd be willing to maintain the store's curation and ambiance, she said: "Literally in that very second I was like, me, yes, I would like to buy the bookstore." 

Lorincz plans to keep the store as is. "I'm not coming in trying to make big changes," she said. "I'm buying it because I love what it is now."

Reed observed: "It's a special place, and when I announced that I was leaving I received so many beautiful messages from people telling me what the store means to them." 

Noting that she was sharing news of the sale "with a mix of heavy heart and hopeful anticipation," Reed posted on the store's Instagram page: "I will hang around for a little while to help behind the scenes with curating for as long as she would like. I am certain that the store will continue to thrive under Holly's loving care. Not a day goes by where someone doesn't tell me how deeply they love Cloud & Leaf Bookstore. I love it, too, and it hurts my heart to say goodbye to the close ties that I have found there. Jody Swanson... created this haven in 2004, and I am so grateful to her for entrusting me with its ownership for the past three years. It has changed my life in immeasurable ways for the better. It has been an honor to play a role in the life of this gem."

Reed added that it was "time for me to return to the quiet life of writing, and to split my time between Manzanita and Berlin, where I am currently helping to house Ukrainian refugees. I have become deeply involved in their welfare, and in the situation at large.... Thank you all so much for everything. You have helped make these years of my life not only tolerable through its darkest days, but also beautiful in ways that I can never fully express or repay."


G.P. Putnam's Sons: All I Want for Christmas by Maggie Knox


The Raven Book Store Named Bookstore of the Year

Congratulations to the Raven Book Store, Lawrence, Kan., which was named PW's Bookstore of the Year; and to Seattle-based commission rep Kurtis Lowe, head of group for Book Travelers West, who was named PW's Rep of the Year at the U.S. Book Show yesterday.

"This is a team win. Everything we've accomplished is 100% thanks to the truly wonderful Raven team," said the Raven's co-owner Danny Caine, adding that "the best way to ensure that bookstores have a seat at the table is to foster a new generation of talented and enthusiastic booksellers. The best way to do that is to make sure that bookstores are welcoming and equitable places to do dignified work. Places where people can earn a living wage and build a career if they want to."

Kurtis Lowe

In addition to colleagues in the book trade, Lowe thanked "all the booksellers who commit an act of courage every day by opening their doors to show us that we all belong to universe of ideas, stories and experiences that entertain and challenge us."


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


U.S. Book Show: The Health of the Publishing Industry

On the second day of the U.S. Book Show, Astra House senior editor Daniel Vazquez led a panel discussion on the current health of the U.S. publishing industry and its future outlook. The panelists were  Donya Craddock, co-owner of the Dock Bookshop in Fort Worth, Tex.; Morgan Entrekin, CEO and publisher of Grove Atlantic; Joe Matthews, CEO of Independent Publishers Group; and Mary Rasenberger, CEO of the Authors Guild and the Authors Guild Foundation.

The speakers were in agreement that at present, publishing is not a healthy industry. Matthews argued that publishers saw something of an "artificial lift" earlier in the pandemic that is likely coming to an end, as consumer behavior continues to move closer to a pre-pandemic normal, severe supply-chain issues persist and is inflation increasing. Noting that his forecast was a "little gloomy," Matthews said the industry could be down as much as 10% this year.

One of the silver linings amid it all has been the opening up of conversations, he said, that have possibly been lingering for a long time and are now "being taken seriously." The ongoing supply-chain problems might convince the industry to build a "resilient supply chain" rather than a "just-in-time supply chain," and with inflation rising, publishers may reconsider printing prices on books. The transition to digital catalogs also affords the industry the opportunity potentially to streamline and standardize certain processes.

Rasenberger reported that the bump that publishers saw in 2020 and 2021 "did not translate to writers." Overall, writers did not fare well in the pandemic, especially those whose books were published early in 2020. Almost universally, those books "sunk without a trace," due to physical bookstores shutting down, Amazon de-prioritizing books and in-person events being canceled.

She brought up the experience of an established author who released a book on March 15, 2020, just as 26 states entered lockdown and Amazon suspended book sales. The author's book tour (which included international stops) was canceled, and to date they have never signed a copy of that book "face to face with a reader." Essentially the only income the author made on that book came from the advance, and it was "as if the book was never written." Rasenberger added that the Authors Guild has heard that "over and over" from authors, and that a recent survey of Authors Guild members found that 60% of authors lost on average half of their writing income during the pandemic.

Craddock mentioned that as an independent bookstore owner, the continuing consolidation among major publishers is a cause for concern. There is a fear that more authors will start "going back to chain bookstores," and she said there is going to have to be a "significant industry adjustment" when a company that big is acquired. She did say, however, that independent publishers have given her reason to hope.

Her number-one issue, she continued, is staffing. There is a "lot of staff turnover," and while there is demand for higher wages, costs have risen and the margins on books have not changed. The advent of virtual events, and the likelihood of many future events being hybrid events, has also required booksellers to have a wider skill set. She went on to express frustration with how often booksellers find themselves having to educate shoppers on why they should support independent bookstores and explaining to self-published authors that if they are published on Amazon, it is a non-starter.

Entrekin, meanwhile, said that right now one of the greatest challenges is the supply chain. He currently spends "hours a week" on the problem when he used to "not have to think about it" very much, and on a similar note he used to book press time only a few months out from book launches. This week he booked press time for August 2023. He also pointed to widespread burnout among publishing employees as a major problem. Publishers have to make sure they're flexible, give people time off and "try not to intrude on time off."

As a literary publisher, Entrekin is concerned with the "diminishing critical discourse" about books in the U.S. It is harder to get serious books "talked about and written about" than it used to be, and now all of the attention seems to go to a handful of titles. He brought up too the "record levels of profit" being reported by large corporate publishers, saying there should be "some examination" of how exactly these revenues are being distributed throughout the industry, including to employees, to authors and to booksellers. --Alex Mutter


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International Update: 'In-Person' British Book Awards Celebrated; Book Subscription Services Hold Pandemic Gains

Bookshop of the Year winner

Congratulations to this year's winners of the British Book Awards, who were named Monday night at the first Nibbies in-person celebration since 2019. Check out the complete list of BBA Trade and Book of the Year winners here.

More than 1,200 guests were in attendance with many more tuning in online as a part of satellite events. Marie Moser, owner of the Edinburgh Bookshop, told the Bookseller: "I am very grateful to be back in person and so proud of how well the industry has coped during the pandemic. As an industry we came out of it strong."

Hachette UK CEO David Shelley said it felt "really special" to be back with everyone in person after three years, and that "there seemed to be an extra buzz about the ceremony. It felt like a warm and inclusive evening, and properly celebratory of all the things and people that make our industry so special."

The Bookery in Crediton was honored as Independent Bookshop of the Year as well as Children's Bookseller of the Year. The shop, which has been owned by the Crediton community since 2013 and run as a not-for-profit social enterprise, increased its children's book sales by more than 50% in 2021. The judges said: "The Bookery could inspire any other bookshop that wants to be led by the community and go beyond the usual base of customers. It knows the power of books to change children's lives, and absolutely nails everything it does."

The Book Retailer of the Year award went to Bookshop.org, which the judges praised as "the perfect solution for the times" as well as a "lifeline for independents." Waterstones retail manager Kerry Gilmartin, who is responsible for stores around north-west England, was named Individual Bookseller of the Year.

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Book subscriptions are showing few signs of slowing down after booming during the pandemic lockdowns, despite a spike in the cost of living. The Bookseller reported that publishers and booksellers "saw dramatic increases in the numbers of people signing up to digital and physical subscription models as readers stayed at home during lockdown, with the rate of demand increasing tenfold for some booksellers."

At Mainstreet Trading Co., Vivian packs titles for the Year of Books subscription.

Indie bookshops are "retaining their subscribers through a mix of highly curated titles, competitive pricing and tapping into their loyal customer base," the Bookseller continued. Ros de la Hey, owner of the Mainstreet Trading Company on the Scottish Borders, said subscriptions are "holding up well," with subscriber numbers currently "well above expectation.... It's been especially heartening to see how many of those who were gifted a subscription going on to buy [one] for friends and family, which must mean we're doing something right."

The book subscription service at Mr. B's Emporium in Bath is 12 years old, and even though growth has "tailed off" this year, bookseller Tom Harris is confident demand will remain: "We had seen a lot of growth in the past two years, but understandably that has tailed off a little bit. We have seen it slow down, but we are still seeing lots of new subscribers, so we're really optimistic. This is another unprecedented time, and though we [are being] cautious, there's definitely cause for optimism. It's going to be tough for everyone, but hopefully everyone will bounce back."

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As translated Korean literary works continue to gain international recognition and sales, their domestic sales are increasing as well, according to Yes24, one of Korea's leading online bookstores. The Korea Times reported that "total sales of Korean literary works that have been translated into English and published in Korea's domestic market have shown a steady increase since 2020. In fact, this year's figure is 1.57 times higher than that of 2019."

Cited as examples were Lee Suzy, who recently became the first Korean illustrator to win the Hans Christian Andersen Award for her lifelong contributions to literature for children. Her latest picture book, Summer, also earned special mentions in the fiction category at this year's Bologna Ragazzi Awards. 

In addition, just weeks later, Chung Bora's short story anthology Cursed Bunny was shortlisted for this year's International Booker Prize and Sohn Won-pyung's Counterattack at Thirty won the annual Japan Booksellers' Award in the translation category.

"With more domestic titles gaining recognition in the international literary scene, the number of translated pieces being published in Korea, as well as readers' demand for them, are increasing,"Yes24 said. --Robert Gray


B&N College to Manage College of Saint Rose Bookstore

Barnes & Noble College will manage the campus bookstore of the College of Saint Rose, Albany, N.Y. The store will close on June 16 to allow Barnes & Noble College to refresh the space and will reopen by June 28.

College of Saint Rose president Marcia White said, "The academic success of our students is paramount. It was critical for the College to select a bookstore vendor who would be sensitive to price point, ensuring access to course materials for all students. We also appreciate the wide variety of affordable Saint Rose apparel and other items BNC will bring to campus, so that our students, families, employees, and alumni can show their Saint Rose pride in style. We look forward to welcoming BNC as our new partner this fall."


G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!

How Am I Doing?
40 Conversations to Have with Yourself

by Dr. Corey Yeager

GLOW: Harper Celebrate: How Am I Doing?: 40 Conversations to Have with Yourself by Dr. Corey YeagerWho is the most important person in your life? What determines your joy? What mistakes have you learned from the most? Corey Yeager--a psychotherapist who works with the Detroit Pistons basketball franchise--poses 40 self-reflective questions to facilitate positive personal change. His inviting, empathetic approach came to prominence via the Apple TV series The Me You Can't See, produced by Oprah and Prince Harry. Dr. Yeager draws from his own life story to dispel mental health stigmas and help others gain greater personal clarity. Danielle Peterson, senior acquisition editor at Harper Celebrate, says, "The format of How Am I Doing? makes it a stand-out in the mental health genre--an excellent choice for someone looking for high-density wisdom in small, bite-sized doses." Yeager's winning insights deliver a slam-dunk of empowered inspiration bound to elicit tremendous personal reward. --Kathleen Gerard

(Harper Celebrate, $22.99 hardcover, 9781400236763, 
October 18, 2022)

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Shelf vetted, publisher supported

 


Notes

Image of the Day: Team W Visits Newport

Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig and Karen White, aka Team W, launched their novel The Lost Summers of Newport (Morrow) at Rough Point, the historic Newport, R.I., mansion turned museum that was the Newport home of heiress, collector and philanthropist Doris Duke (1912-1993). Team W hosted a sold-out talk and signing at the museum in partnership with local independent bookstore Charter Books.


Video: Booksellers Take 'Tiny Tattoos' Field Trip

The booksellers at Print: A Bookstore in Portland, Maine, took a staff field trip Monday to get tattoos together and shared highlights of the adventure on TikTok. "Our operations manager, Konner Wilson, did a really fabulous job editing all of the footage we took together," noted Rachael Conrad, the bookstore's event coordinator and social media manager, adding that the video "has been blowing up across social media."


Personnel Changes at Graywolf Press; Little Bee Books

Claire Laine has joined Graywolf Press as publicity director. Laine was previously senior publicist at Milkweed Editions.

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Maggie Salko has joined Little Bee Books as marketing coordinator. She is working on a Master's of Science in Publishing at Pace University and has marketing and social media experience at Village Alliance and New York Moves magazine.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Diana Goetsch on Fresh Air

Today:
Fresh Air: Diana Goetsch, author of This Body I Wore: A Memoir (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $28, 9780374115098).

Tomorrow:
Good Morning America: Andy Baraghani, author of The Cook You Want to Be: Everyday Recipes to Impress (A Cookbook) (Lorena Jones Books, $35, 9781984858566).

Tamron Hall: Namina Forna, author of The Merciless Ones (Delacorte Press, $17.99, 9781984848727).


TV: History of a Pleasure Seeker

Lesley-Ann Brandt (Netflix's Lucifer) is joining Hulu's musical pilot History of a Pleasure Seeker, based on Richard Mason's 2012 novel, Deadline reported. She joins a cast that includes Carla Woodcock, Callum Kerr, Olumide Olorunfemi and Bebe Bettencourt.

ABC Signature is producing the pilot in association with Fremantle and Hat Trick Productions. Mason executive produces with Julie Robinson, who will direct, along with Christopher Read, who is composing the music.



Books & Authors

Awards: Commonwealth Short Story Regional Winners; Schaffner Winners

Commonwealth Writers announced regional winners of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize, awarded annually for the best piece of unpublished short fiction from the Commonwealth. The overall winner will be named June 21 in an online ceremony. This year's regional honorees:

Africa: "and the earth drank deep" by Ntsika Kota (Eswatini)
Asia: "The Last Diver on Earth" by Sofia Mariah Ma(Singapore)
Canada & Europe: "A Hat for Lemer" by Cecil Browne (U.K./St. Vincent & the Grenadines)
Caribbean: "Bridge Over the Yallahs River" by Diana McCaulay (Jamaica)
Pacific: "The Nightwatch" by Mary Rokonadravu (Fiji)

Chair of judges Fred D’Aguiar said: "This year’s regional winners offer a cornucopia of riches for readers globally from sources located around the world. These stories testify to the varied tones of fiction, from the oblique to the direct reference, with moments of character illumination to those associated with an imperiled planet. If a reader harbored any doubt about whether fiction is relevant to today’s world these stories answer with a riposte that resonates beyond a resounding 'yes.' These stories fulfill a higher function as exemplars of the short story form: vibrant, memorable and indispensable."

The five regional winning stories will be published online by the literary magazine Granta in the run-up to the announcement of the overall winner. They will also be published in a special print edition by Paper + Ink, available online and in bookshops beginning June 21.

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Jasmin Attia is the winner of the 2022 Nicholas Schaffner Award for Music in Literature for her novel, provisionally titled The Oud Player of Old Cairo, which Schaffner Press will publish on August 1, 2023. The award honors Nicholas Schaffner, a poet, musician, biographer, and music critic, and brother of Schaffner Press publisher Timothy Schaffner.

Schaffner said about the winner, "Set in Egypt from the period after World War II through the 1960s, this beautifully-written historical novel is a compelling portrayal of that country's shifting cultural and political landscape, while at the same time a portrait of a young woman who breaks from the traditional mores of the colonial world of her parents to forge a new life through music and song."

The Oud Player of Old Cairo is Jasmin Attia's first book, which she worked on for 10 years. She has an MFA from Bennington College and lives in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

This year's runners-up are Kenneth Parsons for his novel Joyriding Through Tunesville, Adeeba Shahid Talukder for her poetry collection Water & Clay, and Bill Smoot for his story collection Not So Long Ago.


Reading with... Steven Salvatore

Steven Salvatore is a gay, genderqueer author, college writing professor, Mariah Carey lamb and Star Wars fanatic. They are the author of Can't Take That Away and the recently published And They Lived... (both from Bloomsbury). They are also the co-founder of Pride Book Fest. Salvatore lives in Peekskill, N.Y.

Tell us about your book:

I have been trying to write And They Lived... over and over again since 2006, and the main character Chase is a version of me. I gave myself the ending I wish 19-year-old me had. I'll always carry this story--and the published book--with me wherever I go.

On your nightstand now:

All of the books. Seriously, my nightstand TBR pile is so high I'm officially overwhelmed and I might never read again.

I recently finished F.T. Lukens's So This Is Ever After and I am obsessed. It was the humorous post-fairy tale rom-com of my gay dreams. In terms of what I plan to read next? Ideally, TJ Klune's Under the Whispering Door, Winter's Orbit by Everina Maxwell, The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall or Legendborn by Tracy Deonn.

Favorite book when you were a child:

During my Dr. Seuss days, I was obsessed with Because a Little Bug Went Ka-choo! If you want a lesson in the ripple effect, misplaced blame and how one small action can trigger outrage, that's the book. Also, Bruce Coville's Space Brat series, which I cannot find in any bookstores, and I have no idea if it holds up, but I remember being obsessed. I also lived for the Boxcar Children mysteries by Gertrude Chandler Warner. But if I were to pinpoint my all-time favorite childhood book, it would, without a doubt, be From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg. Iconic.

Your top five authors:

This changes all the time, and it's really hard for me to nail down, so I'll just list authors who have inspired me: James Baldwin, David Levithan, David Sedaris, Elizabeth Acevedo, Jason June, Kacen Callender, Laurie Halse Anderson and TJ Klune. I know that's eight and not five but I'm not great at following directions; I was that kid at the ice cream parlor who took an hour to decide on a flavor because the choices were too great.

Book you've faked reading:

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. I mean, everyone has read that book, right? (Spoiler: Not me.)

Book you're an evangelist for:

There are way too many, but I will die on the altar of Casey McQuiston's Red, White & Royal Blue. It's the only book in the past five years that I've reread a few times.

Book you've bought for the cover:

I have a rule never to buy a book based on the cover. That said, I did avoid Red, White & Royal Blue for the longest time because of the cutesy cover--I thought it would be too fluffy, which is not really the kind of stuff I enjoy reading. Obviously, I broke down and got it because I was instructed that I needed to read it ASAP.

Book you hid from your parents:

A book of erotic short stories. There was one gay story in there, and I thought I would burst into flames every time I read it, but it made me feel so alive. Among other things.

Book that changed your life:

David Levithan's Boy Meets Boy. That was the first young adult book I'd ever read that I knew was marketed as young adult, and it's a bite-sized queer utopia. Without that book, I don't know that I would have ever been brave enough to write my own queer YA--or queer stories in general.

Favorite line from a book:

In David Levithan and Rachel Cohn's Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, there's a fairly long passage about The Beatles' "I Want to Hold Your Hand" that has stayed with me ever since I read it a billion years ago.

Five books you'll never part with:

Nicolas DiDomizio's Burn It All Down because he's one of my closest friends and I got to watch this brilliant, wickedly funny gay mother-son buddy comedy/thriller grow into the incredible book it is. I'm so proud of him--it's truly a fantastic book! Red, White & Royal Blue for obvious reasons. The Meaning of Mariah Carey by my queen Mariah Carey because, hello, it's Mariah. The audiobook is the best audiobook hands down. The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune because it ignited the magic I felt reading as a kid in a very adult way. I can't explain it, but I loved that feeling.

And to be honest, I will never part with my own book, And They Lived...! I probably sound like an egomaniac, but I'm so proud of this book, and it's such a massive part of my heart and soul,

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

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. That was the first book I read that felt like it spoke directly to teen readers. I read it over summer break when I was in high school, and I was blown away by her craft and the compelling, heart-wrenching story. I've read it over and over in the last 20 years and it's still a master class in the power of storytelling.

The last book to make you cry:

Due to the pandemic, I've been a robot, unable to cry from books. UNTIL I read Jason June's Out of the Blue. It's not a sad book by any stretch of the imagination--it's a gorgeous queer fake-dating mermaid-human rom-com and JJ's exploration of gender was so exquisite. But the love story between the two main characters and the very adult realizations they come to just hit me square in the chest. As a gay adult who is just now understanding the depths and colors and strands of love, it's a book I'll cherish because it felt like a balm to my soul.


Book Review

YA Review: Boys I Know

Boys I Know by Anna Gracia (Peachtree Teen, $17.99 hardcover, 352p., ages 12-up, 9781682633717, July 5, 2022)

A Taiwanese American teen stumbles through the confusions of choosing a college, interpreting sexual interest from young men and asserting her desires in this refreshingly sex-positive coming-of-age YA.

Eighteen-year-old June Chu doesn't get to choose: her parents decided she would play violin, certain colleges are off limits and her unofficial boyfriend, Rhys, must be kept a secret. Her mom would rather June focus on being like Wendy, her older sister. "Wendy was never like this.... Wendy was Valedictorian. Wendy had ten full-ride offers for violin." But June is focused on Rhys. When a friend claims "Rhys only wants his girlfriend tight where it counts," June feels pressured to initiate sex; Rhys rebuffs then ghosts her inexplicably. Next, June meets Brad, who flirts openly with a "glint in his eye." Brad becomes her "first official boyfriend," and June's tumultuous experience with intimacy begins.

Boys I Know by Anna Gracia is a frank story about the hypocritical and sexist expectations placed on teen girls. It recognizes that teens are sexually active even though open discussion of teen sexual life is not normalized; June first has sex (with a young man who asks, "You sure you're ready for this, China?") hidden in a playground tunnel. Gracia also shows how hard it can feel to withdraw consent: June considers asking a partner to stop when sex hurts but reminds herself, "I asked for this. It was my decision." As more young men pay attention to June, she slowly begins to figure out that there is a difference between being attracted to someone and liking that they are attracted to you.

June's cultural backdrop is poignantly prominent. Violin, which June must practice three hours per day, is never intended as her permanent pursuit; "it was just something Asian parents did." The Chinese proverbs regularly recited by June's mother are a constant reminder to June of their "entrenched roles: her [mother] as the wise teacher, [June] as the ignorant student." Microaggressions and the questioning of Asian Americans' authenticity (June is told she's not "Chinese Chinese") are also tactfully incorporated.

Throughout, June's drive to pick a college for herself--not for a boy or her parents--serves as an accessible framework around which this bold debut takes place and touts the difficulty and importance of self-reflection. --Samantha Zaboski, freelance editor and reviewer

Shelf Talker: This candid and complex coming-of-age YA follows a Taiwanese American high school senior trying to figure out what she wants from young men, family and college life.


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