Shelf Awareness for Monday, August 1, 2022

Holiday House: Ros Demir Is Not the One by Leyla Brittan

HarperAlley: I Shall Never Fall In Love by Hari Conner

W. W. Norton & Company to Sell and Distribute Yale University Press and Harvard University Press

Clarion Books: The Man Who Didn't Like Animals by Deborah Underwood, Illlustrated by LeUyen Pham

Holiday House: Bye Forever, I Guess by Jodi Meadows and Team Canteen 1: Rocky Road by Amalie Jahn

Wednesday Books: Dust by Alison Stine


Rachel Reiss Joins Shelf Awareness

Rachel Reiss

John Mutter and Jenn Risko, the founders of Shelf Awareness, are very pleased to announce that Rachel Reiss (née Bressler) has joined Shelf Awareness as director of marketing.

Rachel began her career as a bookseller at Barnes & Noble in Paramus, N.J. After serving as a store manager in multiple locations, she became co-op manager at B&N headquarters. She then joined HarperCollins, where she worked in marketing and sales, eventually becoming associate publisher of Ecco. Later, she was editorial director at Plume and most recently was v-p, associate publisher for Harlequin Trade Publishers.

Jenn Risko said, "We have worked with Rachel since the Shelf started, and she has always been one of the savviest, highly productive, authentic and successful marketers I've had the pleasure to work with. We are incredibly lucky to have her in charge of growing our audiences and we already know she'll be super fun to work with."

Rachel Reiss said, "I've watched Jenn and John work their magic since the Shelf's inception. I've done a lot of business with Shelf Awareness over the years, and I'm thrilled to be joining this fun and energetic team of book lovers to grow our readership, expand the Shelf Awareness brand, and make a lot of new friends along the way. No matter what job title I've held, I've always considered myself a bookseller first. To be joining this company of passionate booksellers who work so hard to produce our publications each day is an absolute honor."

Readers can reach out to Rachel with congratulations, marketing partnership ideas, and what would be the coolest Shelf swag ever via e-mail.

 Treasure Books, Inc.: There's Treasure Inside by Jon Collins-Black

Page 1 Books Union Recognized

The worker union at Page 1 Books in Albuquerque, N.Mex., has been voluntarily recognized by store owner Steven Stout. The two sides have now begun the process of negotiating the union contract.

Bookstore employees began talking about forming a union roughly two months ago and in early July received their union authorization cards. The union includes all 10 non-management employees at the store, and they've joined the Industrial Workers of the World. 

They decided to unionize over issues like stagnant wages and staff shortages, writing that through unionization they hope to ensure "Page 1 is a place where workers no longer suffer from burnout and economic uncertainty but can focus on being passionate, skilled booksellers who love their jobs."

Help a Bookseller, Change a Life: Give today to the Book Industry Charitable Foundation!

Portland, Ore.'s New Renaissance Bookshop to Close

Because its block of Victorian houses has been sold to a development company that will tear it down, the lease for New Renaissance Bookshop, Portland, Ore., will end in January. Rather than seek a new site, the store plans to close.

As the store explained in an e-mail to customers, "With this shocking news, we explored many options. The main ideas being moving the store, or trying to find a broker to locate a new owner who would then move the store. After much reflection, we came to the conclusion that we don't wish to move the store ourselves. For us, it is time to start a new chapter. Amrita (Darlene) is ready to retire and pursue new projects and Claire, her daughter, is also ready to explore new possibilities. We connected with brokers, but soon realized that they are not interested in representing us since we don't have a dependable location. We would exclusively be selling our brand, our website, our new IBID computer system, our vendor relationships, our display fixtures, and possibly our remaining inventory."

Besides books, the New Age store offers a range of products and services, including candles, crystals, puzzles, games, cards, clothing, jewelry, wind chimes, reader and practitioner consultations and more. The store was founded in 1988.

The store suggested that anyone interesting in "carrying on the legacy of New Renaissance should contact it via e-mail.

The store closed its sad announcement with this sentiment: "The vital spark that this shop has sent into the world will not diminish, but be kept alive in every heart who seeks to understand itself and others with compassion and love."

The Haunted Book Shop in Mobile, Ala., Relocating

The Haunted Book Shop's new store in progress.

The Haunted Book Shop, Mobile, Ala., which carries new, used & rare books, is on the move. FOX10 News reported that Angela Trigg, owner of "Mobile's funkiest bookstore," said the store needed a more accessible location and is relocating from Dauphin Street to the corner of Joachim and Conti streets, across from the Saenger Theatre. During the transition, the staff has been working out of the new store as well as the current location.

Saying that she can't wait for the grand opening, Trigg said, "It's sort of a soft opening right now.... We love to hyper organize and we aren't there yet. We're still unpacking and organizing but our official grand opening is going to be Artwalk of August."

The Haunted Book Shop, which has been chronicling the progress of renovations in the new space for the past few months on its social media sites, tweeted Saturday: "We're moved into a new place! It's exciting!"

B&N Planning New Store for Riverhead, N.Y.

Barnes & Noble plans to open a new store on Long Island this fall, in Riverhead, N.Y., the Suffolk Times reported. Jefferson Murphree, the town's building and planning administrator, said B&N was issued a building permit last week.

The company has posted signs at the former Pier 1 Imports store on Route 58 in Riverhead saying "Barnes & Noble. Coming Fall 2022," and advising customers to "follow us on social media at @bnriverheadny for updates." The Pier 1 Imports store at Riverhead Centre closed two years ago. The Suffolk Times noted that the new B&N store is planned in the same shopping area as the former Borders Books, which closed more than a decade ago. 


Image of the Day: Busy Day at East End Books

East End Books in Provincetown, Mass., shared this photo on social media: "A very busy day at East End Books Ptown today, including a visit by John Waters Liarmouth: A Feel Bad Romance and Jamie Kirchick Secret City! Signed copies of both books are available."

Cool Idea of the Day: Little Shop of Stories' Wedding Book Bar

Little Shop of Stories, Decatur, Ga., posted photos of the store's recent wedding book bar at the Fernbank Museum, noting: "Here's a great idea--invite Little Shop to your wedding (or bar or bat mitzvah or Sweet 16 or quinceañera) for a 'Book Bar!' Last night, booksellers Heather and Nora attended the wedding reception of Maddie and Bosh who wanted all of their guests to take home a favorite book of theirs as a wedding favor. Congratulations to the happy couple and thanks to you both for letting us share in your day!"

Personnel Changes at Ingram; Sourcebooks

Caitlin Kleinschmidt has joined Ingram Content Group as a senior key accounts sales manager for Lightning Source. She formerly was associate director of national accounts at Workman and worked at Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster and Macmillan.


At Sourcebooks:

Alexis Banyon has been promoted to senior director content development, custom & proprietary sales

Teresa Devanzo has joined the company as national accounts manager.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Kirk Wallace Johnson on Fresh Air

Good Morning America: Maya Gabeira, author of Maya and the Beast (Abrams, $18.99, 9781419760006). She will also appear on CBS Mornings.

Fresh Air: Kirk Wallace Johnson, author of The Fishermen and the Dragon: Fear, Greed, and a Fight for Justice on the Gulf Coast (Viking, $28, 9781984880123). [Editor's note: see the item below about a TV adaptation of Johnson's The Feather Thief.]

The View: Kal Penn, author of You Can't Be Serious (Gallery, $17.99, 9781982171391). He will also appear tomorrow on Good Morning America.

Good Morning America: Marianne Wiggins, author of Properties of Thirst (Simon & Schuster, $28, 9781416571261).

Live with Kelly and Ryan: Laurie Gelman, author of Smells Like Tween Spirit: A Novel (Holt, $26.99, 9781250777591).

The View: Bob Odenkirk, author of Comedy Comedy Comedy Drama: A Memoir (Random House, $28, 9780399180514).

Late Night with Seth Meyers repeat: James Patterson, author of James Patterson: The Stories of My Life (Little, Brown, $29, 9780316397537).

TV: The Feather Thief

A TV adaptation is in the works of Kirk Wallace Johnson's The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century. Deadline reported that Jenna Bush Hager and Universal International Studios have teamed with the author to develop the project. The Feather Thief marks Bush Hager's first project in development under her first-look deal at Universal Studio Group. Johnson will pen the series adaptation. Ben Spector will executive produce on behalf of Bush Hager's production company.

"The Feather Thief has been a favorite book of mine since its release in 2018," said Bush Hager. "Kirk Wallace Johnson is a talented storyteller, and to work with him to adapt this wildly brilliant book for the screen is a dream."

"This book--like the birds, rogues, and adventurers at the heart of it--has had an astonishing life, and, thanks to exuberant readers, continues to find a wide audience," said Johnson. "I'm honored for the opportunity to helm the adaptation with such a great team--their passion for this project was so overwhelming that it made me feel as though I was discovering the story for the first time."

"This why-dunnit thriller is a must-read and will make an absolute must-watch," said Beatrice Springborn, president, Universal International Studios. "It tackles people's desire to control and own nature, the price of obsession and dives into the mind of a teenage flute prodigy who pulled off a massive heist of rare bird feathers and skins. It is a wholly unique experience that, with Kirk adapting, we know will unfold in all its wild, colorful and incredible splendor."

Books & Authors

Awards: Sonny Mehta Fellowships, Scholarships

Sonny Mehta

The first annual Sonny Mehta Fellowships and Sonny Mehta Scholarships are being awarded to four international students at the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop and the University of East Anglia. At the Iowa Writers' Workshop, Bader Al-Awadi has been named Poetry Fellow and Waseem Rashid has been named Fiction Fellow. At the University of East Anglia, Zui Kumar-Reddy has been awarded a Scholarship in Creative Writing (Prose Fiction) and Perla Kantarjian has been awarded a Scholarship in Creative Writing (Poetry).

Founded in honor of longtime Knopf publisher Sonny Mehta, who died in 2019, the awards are funded by an endowment from Gita Mehta, novelist, documentary filmmaker, and Mehta's widow. The awards give preference to applicants from underrepresented countries, particularly the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East and North Africa. Gita Mehta commented: "These endowments align with Sonny's conviction as a publisher. Giving writers the freedom and time and support they need to carry forward with their work."

A 'Q&A' with Larry Dorfman About His New Noir Series

Editor's note: It's only appropriate. In one of our more unusual ways of delving into a new book series, we offer this transcription of a purported podcast q&a from one of the funniest and snarkiest authors--and publishers--around:

Host: Good morning, and welcome to Buried Treasure, the podcast that finds books from the murky morass of publishing and salvages them for our listeners. Or readers... maybe.

Today's guest is Leonard Dorfman, author of the Snark Handbook series and now the writer of Elm City Blues, a noir that takes place in New Haven, Conn. Leonard, welcome.

LD: It's Lawrence... or Larry. Not Leonard.

Host: Really? Thought it was Leonard. Anyway, let's dive in. What made you write this new book?

LD: Well, I've been in the book business for more than 40 years, with stints at Penguin, S&S, Abrams, Avon and Globe. Over the years, I've read many, many books, but the ones I truly loved were the hard-boiled crime novels. I'd had some moderate success with a series of humor books, the Snark Handbook series, but really wanted to try my hand at one of those. Like those by people like Lawrence Block, James Crumley, Robert Parker and the classics like Elmore Leonard and Raymond Chandler.

Host: Huh. Can’t say that I've heard of them. Anyway, how did you come to write this book... what's it called again?

LD: Elm City Blues. I won a trip to Costa Rica while working for Capstone. I knew I wanted to set the book in New Haven and Connecticut, where I live. So while sitting with my wife in the tropical breezes on the cabana's veranda, I started writing. It flowed out. Wrote most of it on my phone and finished it when I got home. It surprised me how good it was.

Host: Gee, humble much? Anyway, then what?

LD: One book led to another and then another, until I had five. Found an agent, who sold them to the Rough Edges Press. The books are basically mysteries but they also include restaurants, bars, special locations and the history of New Haven. They're fun, with pithy dialogue. I envisioned someone taking a walking tour of New Haven based on the books. Also perfect for an HBO or Netflix series. I love Bosch and Reacher, too. With the right casting, Tommy Shore (the hero) could be an indelible character.

Host: You might be getting ahead of yourself. So, where can people get these books?

LD: They’re distributed by Ingram so any store can order... or on the usual platforms, like The first one is out now and the next two follow in August. All with these great, noir-ish covers. Rough Edges, my publisher, made great packages. They'll fit right in with the books by the folks I mentioned, Crumley and Ross MacDonald and Donald Westlake.

Host: Can't say as I've heard of those people. I mostly read Twitter on my phone.

LD: Then why are you doing a book podcast?

Host: Because no one wanted one on botany, my real love. Anyway, that's it with Leonard... uh, Lawrence Dorfman, author of Elm City Blues. Goodnight.

LD: That was terrible!

Host: I know... but there're so many podcasts out there. Who's actually listening?

LD: Great.

Book Review

Review: The Undercurrents: A Story of Berlin

The Undercurrents: A Story of Berlin by Kirsty Bell (Other Press, $18.99 paperback, 400p., 9781635423440, September 6, 2022)

In The Undercurrents: A Story of Berlin, British American writer and art critic Kirsty Bell delivers an elegantly constructed hybrid of memoir and close-up portrait of her adopted city as inspired by a very personal vantage point: the view from her kitchen window overlooking a picturesque, tree-lined canal.

Bell (The Artist's House) immigrated to Germany's capital in 2001 and married a Berliner. With their two children, the couple moved into a stately 19th-century building situated on the banks of the Landwehr Canal, a tributary of Berlin's River Spree. At the same time that her home began to spring alarming water leaks across various rooms, irreparable cracks in her marriage left Bell a newly single mother and the sole owner of the third-floor apartment where her family set down its roots.

Enchanted by the history of the apartment house and animated by the literary traditions of writers such as Theodor Fontane and his character-rich novels, Bell started researching her building's former inhabitants and the effect of Berlin's traumatic history on their lives. Her compelling discoveries form the narrative of this captivating book, while the constant presence of the canal, her apartment's temperamental plumbing and the swampy, soggy foundation of Berlin itself cast watery shadows on the anecdotes she shares with readers.

As she uncovers the stories of the families who lived in her building, sharing maps and illustrations to show the ever-evolving landscape of her neighborhood, Bell is also documenting the city's effect on her and her transformation from an outsider to someone fully immersed in its daily life. Bell writes about the three generations of the Salas dynasty who bought the apartment building in 1907 and ran a printing press from one of its floors, while also admitting to being under an "entangling spell," her fascination with the Salas women translating into a deeply engrossing drama.

The chapters in The Undercurrents unfold with thoughtful reflections on marriage and motherhood, offering a feminine lens through which to observe a city whose struggles have been documented mostly by men, including a past scarred by the savage realities of war, the Berlin Wall, the aftershocks of reunification and disastrous urban planning failures.

Bell is an eloquent, persuasive writer. With The Undercurrents, she has succeeded in crafting an unforgettable panorama of Berlin, offering readers an unusually intimate lens through which to experience the "city of extremes and interrupted histories." --Shahina Piyarali, reviewer

Shelf Talker: A British-American art critic raising her family in Berlin investigates the city's past while reconciling with the dissolution of her marriage.

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