Also published on this date: Wednesday, August 3, 2022: Maximum Shelf: Killers of a Certain Age

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Harper Voyager: Dragon Rider (Soulbound Saga #1) by Taran Matharu

Albatros Media: Words about Where: Let's Learn Prepositions by Magda Gargulakova, illustrated by Marie Urbankova

Blackstone Publishing: Ordinary Bear by C.B. Bernard

St. Martin's Griffin: One Last Shot by Betty Cayouette

Flatiron Books: Anita de Monte Laughs Last by Xochitl Gonzalez

Page Street YA: The Final Curse of Ophelia Cray by Christine Calella


Stephen King Testifies: 'Consolidation Is Bad for Competition'

In the second day of trial in the Justice Department suit seeking to block Penguin Random House's purchase of Simon & Schuster, a highlight was the testimony of Stephen King in support of the Justice Department. He testified for less than an hour, and PRH lead attorney Dan Petrocelli declined to question him.

According to reports in the New York Times, AP and Deadline, King introduced himself by saying, "I'm Stephen King. I'm a freelance writer." Explaining his decision to testify, he said, "I came because I think that consolidation is bad for competition."

Stephen King

While acknowledging he has had unusually generous publishing arrangements that most other authors can only dream of, he recounted the difficult years early in his career, and said the experiences of many authors nowadays are even more difficult. "It becomes tougher and tougher for writers to find money to live on," he said.

Concerning PRH's promise to allow S&S to bid against PRH imprints, King commented, "You might as well say you are going to have a husband and wife bidding against each other for a house. It's a little bit ridiculous."

HarperOne: Be a Revolution: How Everyday People Are Fighting Oppression and Changing the World--And How You Can, Too by Ijeoma Oluo

Ind.'s Second Flight Books to Buy Main Street Books

Second Flight Books in Lafayette, Ind., is in the process of purchasing downtown indie Main Street Books. In a Facebook post Monday, Second Flight wrote that co-owners Laura and Justin Kendall "will be taking over Main Street Books later this month. Tamzin Malone, the late owner of the store, was the best kind of friendly competition, and we enjoyed being part of the book world with her. She was a passionate community advocate and believed that every downtown should have a bookshop. We're hoping to keep her mission going with the purchase of the shop later this month.

"We'll have the same great location, but we'll be changing some things up a bit! We hope to have a wider variety of new books at the downtown location, and we're hoping to curate a larger selection of gift items as well! We don't currently have plans to make any major changes here at Second Flight Books. We hope to see you soon at Main Street Books, and please be patient with us all during this transition!"

The purchase comes about a year after Malone, who opened Main Street Books in 2015, died of cancer. The Kendalls launched Second Flight Books in 2016, and moved the shop to 2122 Scott St., its current location, a few years later.

Also sharing "the exciting news" of the ownership change, Main Street Books posted: "Our late owner and founder Tamzin Malone was a passionate community advocate and believed that every downtown should have a bookshop. She is sorely missed in the downtown community, but Laura and Justin hope to keep her dream and mission alive. We will continue to do business under the name Main Street Books in our same great downtown location, but Laura and Justin hope to curate a wider variety of new books and gifts at the downtown location! We will be hosting a public reception at Main Street Books on Friday, August 12 at 5 p.m. to say farewell to current owner Ted Malone and welcome our new owners to the downtown community. Please remember that change takes time and we could use your patience with us all during this transition. We hope to see you at Main Street Books!"

Harpervia: Behind You Is the Sea by Susan Muaddi Darraj

St. Louis Flooding: 'The Good News Is, We Will Recover'

Some indie booksellers in the St. Louis, Mo., metro area are still in recovery mode in the wake of flooding from the torrential rains that hit the city last week.

Book House manager Dave Simmons and his wife, Kate, being rescued from the floodwaters

The Book House in Maplewood reported that the store had "weathered the storm okay, but our Manager Dave (The tall Yorkshire bloke) He and his wife Kate lost their house and their car in the flood last week. They are currently in a hotel with their two cats. You can donate thru gofundme here or come by the shop. Thanks."

At Left Bank Books, post-flood clean-up efforts continue. The store has set up a flood recovery donation page, noting: "The booksellers you know and love have worked tirelessly to salvage and clean and move things to safety. Obviously we have taken a loss, though I can't say yet how bad. We've lost books, fixtures, carpet, supplies, and critical revenue. It will take a while to know how much and we are still waiting for the flood remediation folks to show up and dry out that scary carpet. We have insurance but it won't cover payroll or lost revenue, which increases the longer we are closed.

Clean-up continues at Left Bank Books.

"The good news is, we will recover. The good news is, we can sell books to you online and over the phone. We've done that pivot. If Covid was good for anything at all, it was that we discovered how resilient and smart we are when it comes to solving problems. Please be patient with us and try to flow with the pivot and its quirks. As of this writing, our all important server computer has finished the dehumidification process so we can be fully functional online. This will allow us to process your orders, take your calls, and to communicate with our warehouses and publishers. 

"We sincerely hope you have fared well during this time. We know this is a challenging time. Remember that now more than ever, supporting locally owned businesses is critically important to the health of our St. Louis economy. The roads, the first responders, and all that urban infrastructure we depend on, depends on our tax dollars."

International Update: Vivendi Would Sell Editis in Lagardère Takeover; NZ Bookshop of the Year

Describing the development as "a full about-turn," the Bookseller reported that Vivendi said it will try to sell off France's second-largest publisher, Editis, when it takes over the Lagardère group, which owns Hachette Livre. Vivendi's plan "would involve a distribution of the group's shares to its shareholders and a listing on the Euronext stock exchange in Paris. Vivendi now holds 57% of Lagardère, but pending approval of the merger, just under 23% of voting rights."

Vincent Bolloré, Vivendi's main shareholder, had previously said the aim was to merge the groups in order to create a powerful, world-scale publisher. Protests against the prospect of a merger have come from other publishers, including Gallimard; booksellers, led by the association Syndicat de la Librairie Française (SLF); and authors. The Bookseller noted that a sale of Editis "would avoid a probable drawn-out wrangle with the competition authorities at the European Commission in Brussels." 

Martine Prosper, general secretary of the CFDT book and publishing union, said, "It is clear that Monsieur Bolloré has realized a merger is not possible, which is what we have been saying all along. We have always said it would be dangerous for the book industry.... Editis has been passed from hand to hand several times in recent years. It needs stability, and preferably a main shareholder that is a book professional. That means a European publisher, but which one?"


New Zealand bookseller Unity Books in Wellington was named winner of the Nielsen BookData Bookshop of the Year Award at the Aotearoa Book Trade Industry Awards in Auckland. Books + Publishing reported that Unity Books, founded in 1967, was cited for its customer engagement. Judge Ben Brown said, "Investing time, knowledge and professionalism across [the] relationships that make the business buzz, with an endless curiosity and willingness to explore whatever circumstance might further the aim of uniting the right books with the right people is what consistently sets this bookseller apart as exemplar to the trade."

David and Jenny Hedley from Hedley's Books in Masterton were recognized with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Hedley's Books is the country's oldest family-owned independent bookstore and was founded by David's grandfather in 1907. Since then, 19 Hedley family members have worked in the business.

"Together they have worked tirelessly not just on the shop floor, handselling the joy of reading to whoever walks in, but also setting up innumerable festivals, countless book launches, large and small--and their warm-hearted family welcome is the highlight of any author's tour, from George Harrison to Tom Sainsbury,"' said David and Jenny's son Alex, who presented them with the award. 

The Emerging NZ Bookseller of the Year award went to Lisa Adler, manager of Vic Books in Pipitea, which noted that she had "started bookselling three and a half years ago after leaving a career in palliative care nursing and pursuing a degree in English Literature." Check out the complete list of winners here.


Indie booksellers were among the thousands (perhaps millions) of football fans celebrating England's dramatic 2-1 Women's Euro 2022 final win against Germany at London's Wembley Stadium on Sunday. Among the British bookshop celebrants: 

Red Lion Books, Colchester: "No, you're crying! To celebrate, we are offering 20% off of any sport books on Monday 1st August." And later: "Still smiling from yesterday. Thanks to Colchester's Mayor Tim Young for making the lion link and our designer Lee Thomas for tinkering with our logo #Lionessess."

Bert's Books, Swindon: "Well done Lionesses! 'Though she be but little, she be fierce.' --Shakespeare."

Rossiter Books, Ross on Wye, Monmouth, Leominster & Cheltenham: "If your girls are inspired to start playing the beautiful game, they might enjoy some of these books too. And for the boys who already love life on the pitch, there is plenty for them as well."

Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham: "Good morning! Happy Monday, happy August etc, etc.... How was your weekend?"


In Belgium, Luddites Books & Wine in Antwerp featured a video portraying the difference between the fantasy and reality of working in a bookstore. --Robert Gray

Shelf Awareness Delivers Indie Pre-Order E-Blast

This past Wednesday, Shelf Awareness sent our monthly pre-order e-blast to nearly 900,000 of the country's best book readers. The e-blast went to 878,683 customers of 200 participating independent bookstores.

The mailing features eight upcoming titles selected by Shelf Awareness editors and a sponsored title. Customers can buy these books via "pre-order" buttons that lead directly to the purchase page for the title on each sending store's website. A key feature is that bookstore partners can easily change title selections to best reflect the tastes of their customers and can customize the mailing with links, images and promotional copy of their own.

The pre-order e-blasts are sent the last Wednesday of each month; the next will go out on Wednesday, August 31. Stores interested in learning more can visit our program registration page or contact our partner program team via e-mail.

For a sample of the July pre-order e-blast, see this one from Travelin' Storyseller, River Falls, Wis.

The titles highlighted in the pre-order e-blast were:

The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O'Farrell (Knopf)
The Two Lives of Sara by Catherine Adel West (Park Row)
Fairy Tale by Stephen King (Scribner)
The Mediterranean Dish by Suzy Karadsheh (Clarkson Potter)
Smart Brevity: The Power of Saying More with Less by Jim VandeHei, Mike Allen, Roy Schwartz (Workman)
Starry Messenger: Cosmic Perspectives on Civilization by Neil deGrasse Tyson (Holt)
Shrines of Gaiety by Kate Atkinson (Doubleday)
Door of No Return by Kwame Alexander (Little, Brown)
Less Is Lost by Andrew Sean Greer (Little, Brown)
Lost in Time by A.G. Riddle (Head of Zeus/IPG)
What We Owe the Future by William MacAskill (Basic Books)
Poster Girl by Veronica Roth (William Morrow)

Obituary Note: Joe W. Bratcher III

Joe W. Bratcher III

Bookseller and publisher Joe W. Bratcher III, owner and founder of Malvern Books, Austin, Tex., died July 28. Announcing his passing "with heavy hearts," the bookstore posted on Facebook: "We are all devastated by the loss of our dear friend, and we can't believe he is gone. There is so much more to write about our beloved Joe, but for now we'll say that we miss him beyond words and our hearts go out to his family."

An Austin native and graduate of UT Austin, Bratcher (and his wife, Elzbieta Szoka) co-founded and then relocated to Manhattan the company Host Publications and its signature publication, literary journal The Dirty Goat. The Austin Chronicle reported that Bratcher "had relocated to New York to become an educator, first at City College of New York and then at Marymount Manhattan College. However, Austin, and its formative effect on his approach to literature and creativity, remained a constant in his life."

"I moved away from Austin in 1995," Bratcher had said in a 2008 Chronicle interview. "When I go back, Austin has changed a lot, but I'm holding on to this ideal Austin that I grew up in, in the 1960s, when it was a small town and you could do intellectually interesting things there and there would be people who would just be curious about what was going on and what you were doing."

The publishing house retained an Austin presence with a fulfillment office and Bratcher was also a part of the indie film scene, executive-producing 2009's Welcome to Academia after the Texas-set-and-shot Screen Door Jesus in 2003 (adapted from the short story anthology of the same name, written by Christopher Cook and published by Host).

In 2010, Bratcher "worked to inspire that same Austin-born culture of interest without borders in new readers when he moved back to Texas and opened Malvern Books," the Chronicle wrote. "Located just north of the UT campus, its emphasis on readings, poetry, translations, and experimental literature earned it a particular place in Austin's literary scene, all under the watchful eye of Bratcher."

In lieu of flowers, the family is asking that donations be made to Adam's Music House, a space dedicated to the teaching and appreciation of classical piano music founded by Bratcher.


Image of the Day: The Church of Baseball at Flyleaf Books

Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, N.C., hosted Ron Shelton, film director and author of The Church of Baseball: The Making of Bull Durham: Home Runs, Bad Calls, Crazy Fights, Big Swings, and a Hit (Knopf), for a reading and talk to fans. Later, Shelton threw out the ceremonial first pitch at a Bulls game at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.

Brookings Institution Press and Rowman & Littlefield in Co-Publishing Partnership

The Brookings Institution Press and Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group are launching a co-publishing partnership under which Brookings will continue to oversee acquisitions and editorial review, while Rowman & Littlefield will produce, distribute, sell, and market Brookings Institution Press titles.

Rowman & Littlefield has begun to collaborate with the Press on production, publicity, marketing, and related functions, and will start distribution and sales in November when the Press's current distribution relationships end.

The first titles to be published under the new partnership will be Power Politics: Trump and the Assault on American Democracy by Darrell M. West; Divided We Fall by Alice M. Rivlin, Sheri Rivlin, and Allan Rivlin; The Party Leads All: The Evolving Role of the Chinese Communist Party edited by Jacques deLisle and Guobin Yang; and Hyperlocal: Place Governance in a Fragmented World edited by Jennifer S. Vey and Nate Storring.

Brookings interim president Amy Liu said, "Brookings Institution Press authors are known worldwide as a source for authoritative and innovative research and analysis on the most pressing public policy challenges facing society. By partnering with Rowman & Littlefield, the Brookings Institution Press and its authors will benefit from the scale, resources, and expertise of a publishing industry leader to build on its history and expand its impact in an evolving publishing landscape. We're looking forward to working with a local publisher who is well versed in policy scholarship with a vision for a responsive and collaborative relationship."

Rowman & Littlefield CEO Jed Lyons said, "We are thrilled to be entering into a long-term co-publishing collaboration with one of the oldest and most respected public policy and research organizations in our hometown of Washington, D.C."

Personnel Changes at S&S; Scholastic

Keith Parent has been promoted to v-p of Simon & Schuster Publisher Services.


At Scholastic:

Shannon Pender has been promoted to marketing manager, young adult. Previously she was associate marketing manager.

Katie Dutton has joined the company as associate marketing manager, middle grade. Previously she was senior associate, school and library marketing, at HarperCollins.

Avery Silverberg has joined the company as marketing assistant. Previously she was social media manager at the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Will Bunch on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Will Bunch, author of After the Ivory Tower Falls: How College Broke the American Dream and Blew Up Our Politics--and How to Fix It (Morrow, $28.99, 9780063076990).

CBS Mornings: Andrew Young and Paula Young Shelton, authors of Just Like Jesse Owens (Scholastic, $17.99, 9780545554657).

Live with Kelly and Ryan: Tamron Hall, author of As the Wicked Watch (Morrow, $16.99, 9780063037045).

TV: A Man In Full

Additional cast members have been named for A Man in Full, Netflix's six-episode limited series from David E. Kelley and Regina King based on Tom Wolfe's 1998 novel, Deadline reported. 

Joining previously announced stars Jeff Daniels and Diane Lane are William Jackson Harper (Love Life), Tom Pelphrey (Ozark), Aml Ameen (Boxing Day), Sarah Jones (For All Mankind), Jon Michael Hill (Widows) and Chanté Adams (A League of Their Own).

Kelley serves as writer, executive producer and showrunner, with King directing three episodes and exec producing as part of her first-look deal with Netflix via her Royal Ties production company. Matthew Tinker also executive produces.

Books & Authors

Awards: Goldsboro Books Glass Bell Shortlist

A shortlist has been released for the 2022 Goldsboro Books Glass Bell Award, which celebrates storytelling in all genres and is presented to awarded annually to "a compelling novel with brilliant characterization and a distinct voice that is confidently written and assuredly realized." The winner, who receives both £2,000 (about $2,365) and a handmade glass bell, will be named September 8. This year's shortlisted titles are:

We Are All Birds of Uganda by Hafsa Zayyan
Sistersong by Lucy Holland
Ariadne by Jennifer Saint
Mrs. March by Virginia Feito.
The Wolf Den by Elodie Harper, 
Daughters of the Night by Laura Shepherd-Robinson

"We've always been keen to celebrate all genres with the Glass Bell, and these novels all push at the boundaries of historical, literary and crime fiction," David Headley, Goldsboro Books co-founder and managing director, and founder of the Glass Bell. "These incredible books all take the past as a starting point--from feminist and LGBTQ+ retellings of myths and legends, to a murder mystery set in Georgian London and stories of family and madness set in mid-century Uganda and New York. But most importantly of all, they are all enthralling stories."

Reading with... CJ Hauser

photo: Beowulf Sheehan

CJ Hauserteaches creative writing at Colgate University and is the author of two novels, Family of Origin and The From-Aways. In 2019, she published "The Crane Wife" in the Paris Review. Her nonfiction debut, The Crane Wife: A Memoir in Essays (Doubleday, July 12, 2022), is a collection that tells the story of a late-30-something woman's lifelong search for her true romantic and sexual self.

Handsell readers your book in 25 words or less:

Imagine we've gone to the bar together, it's almost midnight, and we're laughing so hard we're crying about the real shit going on in our lives.

On your nightstand now:

Imbolo Mbue's How Beautiful We Were. She's coming in the fall to visit us at Colgate, where I teach, and we are so, so lucky.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh, The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster and Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren. Smart, imaginative kids who get up to adventure and trouble in books that are less about teaching the reader a lesson and more about exploring what it feels like to be a messy, funny, adventuresome explorer of this world.

Your top five authors:

An impossible question! Here are some I've read and loved lately--and would read more from any day: Katie Kitamura's Intimacies, Torrey Peters's Detransition, Baby, Maggie Shipstead's Great Circle, Jane Pek's The Verifiers, Chloé Cooper Jones's Easy Beauty, Isaac Fitzgerald's Dirtbag, Massachusetts. These writers all have such unique voices and obsessions, and I would follow them anywhere.

Book you've faked reading:

I am too nosy to do this. If someone knows about a book I haven't read, I demand they tell me all about it. Preferably over drinks. I love listening to people talk about books they love.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Melissa Febos's Abandon Me, which is brilliant in style and in story. I should basically keep extra copies in my office to give away.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Ramona Ausubel's No One Is Here Except All of Us--those gorgeous, graphic birch trees!--but damn, I love the inside of that book too. The heartbreak and hilarity of it. The very idea of "deciding" to start the world over again.

Book you hid from your parents:

My parents were of the opinion that anything I could understand I was old enough to read, so I never had to hide books from them (only Sublime CDs). But I did read a lot of tragic romantic books for teens with cover images of, like, lusting girls in prairie dresses in front of their soddy houses. I'd wrap the covers in brown paper bag covers so that no one at school would know that's what I was into.

Book(s) that changed your life:

Louise Erdrich's Love Medicine, Percival Everett's Erasure, Elisa Albert's After Birth, Amanda Davis's Wonder When You'll Miss Me.

Favorite line from a book:

"We are, all four of us, blood relatives, and we speak a kind of esoteric, family language, a sort of semantic geometry in which the shortest distance between any two points is a fullish circle." --Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger

I mean, relatable content.

Five books you'll never part with:

James Baldwin's Another Country, Carson McCullers's The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, Saul Bellow's Henderson the Rain King, Mary Gaitskill's Two Girls, Fat and Thin, Alan Moore's Swamp Thing saga.

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

Jenny Slate's Little Weirds. Getting to know her voice on the page, the brilliance and warmth and generosity of it. The surprises in each little song of a chapter.

Favorite audio book:

Bram Stoker's Dracula, the production voiced by, among others, Alan Cumming and Tim Curry. It's too much fun.

Book Review

Children's Review: The Flamingo

The Flamingo by Guojing (Random House Studio, $18.99 hardcover, 144p., ages 5-8, 9780593127315, September 20, 2022)

Few books deserve the "perfect" designation, but The Flamingo by Guojing arguably earns that appellation. The celebrated author of The Only Child and Stormy presents another remarkable, near-wordless story for young readers that gloriously commemorates bonds between humans and animals, enhanced here with the heartwarming relationship between a child and her grandmother.

Part one opens with "A Trip to Visit Lao Lao All on My Own." A girl in a red hat, wearing a red backpack and pulling a red suitcase, arrives at the sepia-toned airport and is claimed by her maternal grandmother, also dressed in matching red. At her grandmother's home (with a red door), the girl is fascinated by a flamingo-shaped mug in which sits a single feather with a reddish tip. In the first of a mere eight panels that contain text, the girl asks, "Can you tell me about the feather?"

Lao Lao's story turns the pages vivid as she shares a memory of a childhood bike ride with her pup along the beach and finding a lone egg washed up on shore. During granddaughter and Lao Lao's idyllic visit, in between delicious meals, flying kites, exploring and cuddling, Lao Lao reveals how the egg hatches into a fluffy flamingo friend... who eventually must fly away.

Part two echoes that bittersweet parting--"My Turn to Fly Home"--but not before Lao Lao entrusts the precious feather to her granddaughter's open hands. Back at home, the girl, who seems alone despite a city filled with people, devises a brilliant, gorgeous, creative way to summon the cherished flamingo and reconnect with her beloved grandmother.

Guojing, who was born in China and lives in Canada, is familiar with the joys of multi-generational homecoming and the challenges of eventual, often necessary, parting. Her touching dedication poignantly encapsulates her own growing up-and-away experience: to her mother "who said I'm her flamingo," to her son "who arrived when I completed this book" and to her "grandma in heaven, who gave me the happiest childhood." Guojing exquisitely adapts that cycle of belonging-parting-reuniting by highlighting the bendable but unbreakable attachments between devoted beings, human and not. Exceptionally noteworthy are her characters' expressions, especially those of delight, discovery and love. Every page of Guojing's art is a splendid visual feast--including her whimsical insertions of flamingo motifs (even the steamed buns!) throughout--ensuring readers a soaring, spectacular flight of fancy and imagination. --Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon

Shelf Talker: Guojing's brilliant, near-wordless picture book is a visual feast celebrating family and unlikely friends.

The Bestsellers Bestsellers in July

The bestselling audiobooks at independent bookstores during July:

1. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (Penguin Random House Audio)
2. Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin (Penguin Random House Audio)
3. Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus (Penguin Random House Audio)
4. The Chronicles of Narnia Complete Audio Collection by C.S. Lewis (HarperCollins)
5. Book Lovers by Emily Henry (Penguin Random House Audio)
6. The It Girl by Ruth Ware (Simon & Schuster Audio)
7. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid (Simon & Schuster Audio)
8. A Prayer for the Crown-Shy by Becky Chambers (Macmillan Audio)
9. Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt (HarperAudio)
10. Meet Me in the Margins by Melissa Ferguson (Thomas Nelson)

1. Happy-Go-Lucky by David Sedaris (Hachette Audio)
2. How to Keep House While Drowning by KC Davis (Simon & Schuster Audio)
3. Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner (Penguin Random House Audio)
4. An Immense World by Ed Yong (Penguin Random House Audio)
5. The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green (Penguin Random House Audio)
6. Rogues by Patrick Radden Keefe (Penguin Random House Audio)
7. Atlas of the Heart by Brené Brown (Penguin Random House Audio)
8. Wordslut by Amanda Montell (Harper Wave)
9. Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer (Tantor Media)
10. Taste by Stanley Tucci (Simon & Schuster Audio)

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