Shelf Awareness for Monday, November 7, 2022

Blackstone Publishing: An Honorable Assassin (Nick Mason Novels #3) by Steve Hamilton

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

Running Press Kids: The Junior Witch's Handbook, The Junior Astrologer's Handbook, and The Junior Tarot Reader's Handbook by Nikki Van De Car

Scholastic Press: Ruin Road by Lamar Giles


Two B&N Alumnae Buy Book Ends, Winchester, Mass.

Book Ends, Winchester, Mass., has been sold by longtime owner Judy Manzo to Lauren Tiedemann and Jillian Hartline, both seasoned booksellers and friends, who met at a Barnes & Noble managers' meeting at the Harvard Coop in Cambridge.

Manzo said, "I couldn't be more thrilled to hand over the reins--and the keys--to these two talented and experienced booksellers. They have the boundless energy and enthusiasm I had back in 1992, and they are exactly the kind of folks I was hoping to find when we began the search for new ownership."

During her tenure, Manzo expanded Book Ends to 2,700 square feet from 800, and says she is looking forward to shopping at the store in retirement.

New owners Jillian Hartline (l.) and Lauren Tiedemann flank retiring owner Judy Manzo.

Tiedemann started working for Barnes & Noble in 2006, and except for a brief stint as an event planner and fundraiser for Columbia Business School, she has spent her bookselling career there and was most recently the assistant store manager of the MIT Coop.

Hartline started with Barnes & Noble College in 2006, managing and buying for almost 10 years. For the last five, Hartline has been the store manager at J. August in Harvard Square in Cambridge and has, she said, keenly missed bookselling.

Tiedemann said, "The two of us love books, and nothing brings us more joy than sharing our passion with the local community and helping customers find their next perfect read--especially if they come back and discuss it with us! We know we have big shoes to fill, but we are so excited to be part of Book Ends' next chapter."

Hartline added, "We've been working at Book Ends leading up to the closing, and Judy's been introducing us to the regulars. Folks have been so welcoming, and we are really looking forward to continuing the tradition of community-based bookselling that makes Book Ends so special."

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

Lit. on Fire Books in Peoria, Ill. Expanding

With the help of grant funding from the city of Peoria, Ill., Lit. on Fire Books is expanding into the building next door to create more space for work and customers. WMDB reported that the bookstore is a recent recipient of a RISE (recovery, income, start-up, and expansion) grant, funded by the federal American Rescue Plan. The grant program aims to help Peoria businesses and start-ups affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

"I started with nothing in a 256-square-foot studio space, and ever since I have sacrificed pretty much any pay and put every single penny back into growing and making Lit better for everyone in the community," said owner Jessica Stephenson. "This grant money makes it possible for me to do this with style." The bookstore has been closed during recent weeks for renovations, and Stephenson hopes to hold a soft re-opening soon.

In Facebook post sharing the WMDB piece, Stephenson wrote that "sometimes good things happen to people who are used to mostly bad things and nobody is going to rain on my parade because this is one of the best things that has ever happened to me and I am honored that someone somewhere thought it was worth celebrating as well."

Lit. on Fire Books is also partnering with its neighbor, My Writing Shed, which is expected to hold a soft launch this month. My Writing Shed "will be a space for local writers to create, and share their experiences and work with others. A pay-what-you-can membership will begin in December," WMDB noted.

The Book Shop Coming to Boston, Mass., Next Year

Bing Broderick
Porsha Olayiwola

A new bookstore called the Book Shop is coming to Boston, Mass., in 2023. Per the Dorchester Reporter, the Book Shop will reside in a 1,300-square-foot space in a building in the Fields Corner area of Boston's Dorchester neighborhood that is under construction.

Called the Dot Crossing Apartments, the five-story building will be located at 1463 Dorchester Ave. and has been financed by more than 80 community investors. Those investors, as well as the wider community, chose to put a bookstore in the building. Bing Broderick, previously the executive director of the nonprofit Haley House, and Boston Poet Laureate Porsha Olayiwola, are leading the bookstore team.

"As residents of Dorchester, we look forward to opening our doors and providing a space for hospitality, creativity, collaboration and possibility," they wrote. "We look forward to working with the Fields Corner business community and the broader Dorchester community to build a thriving space for the future."

"We have these 80-plus investors and told them at the outset they would be part of any decisions on the building," said Miriam Gee, co-founder of CoEverything, a consulting firm that helps cooperative projects come to fruition. "One we anticipated them making was the retail decision.... This is totally new and no one has ever done this before as far as we know. We had to figure out the parameters and the process. We're kind of creating the model we're working on together."

In addition to the bookstore, the Dot Crossing Apartments will include 29 affordable housing units and is expected to open by June 2023. The Book Shop is tentatively slated to open in September 2023.

Hurricane Ian Update: Annette's Book Nook

Annette Stillson in the wreckage of her store.

Almost a month after Hurricane Ian ravaged southwestern Florida on September 28, Annette's Book Nook in Fort Myers Beach shared a video on social media documenting the extensive damage to the store and noting: "No works to describe!"

More recently, owner Annette Stillson posted on November 1: "On the road to recovery... my first donation of book for when I can reopen. Thank You Patricia." And on November 5: "Not much could be salvaged from store but did take this little blue bookshelf that was made by my husband and friend when I first opened. It will have a special place when I reopen!"

Obituary Note: Drusilla Park Jones

Drusilla Park Jones

Drusilla Park Jones, who owned Drusilla's Books, a used and rare children's bookshop in downtown Baltimore, Md., that she called a "perpetual treasure hunt," died October 20, the Sun reported. She was 82.

"Drusilla's bookshop was unique in Baltimore. It filled a void. It catered to collectors, to those seeking a favorite long-gone childhood book and to people looking for a very special gift. I never regretted what I bought there--only what I did not buy," said Linda Lapides, a customer, collector and former Enoch Pratt Free Library librarian. "Drusilla always looked as charming as many of the books she sold. She had a pleasant demeanor and was generous about sharing information. She understood the mindset of her customers."

Jones earned a degree in German at Goucher College, where she met her husband, Earl Penuel "Pen" Jones Jr., on a double date. They married in 1962 and settled in Lutherville in the late 1960s. In the 1970s, she began working with Towson bookseller Shirley Balser, where she learned the bookselling trade.

Jones told the Sun in a 2000 interview that while buying books for her own three children, she began collecting for herself as well. This led eventually to selling hard-to-find titles to the public, starting in 1977. "I remember poring over my mother's childhood books before I could read, and nagging my mother to take me to the library," she said.

Jones also noted that the decision to go into business and remove many books from her home "saved her marriage," and gave her family extra room. In 1985, she opened Drusilla's Books along a section of Howard Street known as Antique Row. She began with three rented rooms and later expanded to her own shop, selling primarily out-of-print children's books and stocked series books.

"People walk in with that hopeless expression asking for something they used to have, and then they're so stunned I have it they buy it," Jones said. "Sometimes, they come back again and again.... It's a perpetual treasure hunt. That's the fun of it. You can't know everything that's out there.... This job is part treasure hunt, part detective work."


Image of the Day: P&T Knitwear Hosts Tracy Brown

P&T Knitwear in New York City hosted author Tracy Brown in conversation with Nick Cannon, for the launch of her novel Hold You Down (St. Martin's Griffin) last week.

Reading Group Choices' Most Popular November Books

The two most popular books in November at Reading Group Choices were The Banned Bookshop of Maggie Banks by Shauna Robinson (Sourcebooks Landmark) and Lavender House: A Novel by Lev AC Rosen (Forge Books).

Personnel Changes at Bloomsbury; Candlewick

Phoebe Dyer has been promoted to social media manager from assistant social media manager at Bloomsbury US.


Salma Shawa joined Candlewick Press as social media manager. She was previously at the Education Development Center.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Matthew F. Delmont on Fresh Air

Today Show: Rabia Chaudry, author of Fatty Fatty Boom Boom: A Memoir of Food, Fat, and Family (Algonquin, $29, 9781643750385).

Fresh Air: Matthew F. Delmont, author of Half American: The Epic Story of African Americans Fighting World War II at Home and Abroad (Viking, $30, 9781984880390).

Today Show: Joanna Gaines, author of The Stories We Tell: Every Piece of Your Story Matters (Harper Select, $31.99, 9781400333875).

Also on Today: Nadia Caterina Munno, co-author of The Pasta Queen: A Just Gorgeous Cookbook: 100+ Recipes and Stories (Gallery Books, $29.99, 9781982195151).

Good Morning America: Claire Saffitz, author of What's for Dessert: Simple Recipes for Dessert People: A Baking Book (Clarkson Potter, $37.50, 9781984826985).

Also on GMA: Omar Epps, co-author of Nubia: The Awakening (Delacorte Press, $19.99, 9780593428641).

Kelly Clarkson Show: Brandon Kyle Goodman, author of You Gotta Be You: How to Embrace This Messy Life and Step into Who You Really Are (Legacy Lit, $29, 9780306826191).

Movies: Fear the Invisible Man

A "raft of key deals" have been signed by 101 Films International for Fear the Invisible Man, a film remake of the H.G. Wells classic novel The Invisible Man that is directed by Paul Dudbridge (Horizon) and written by Philip Daay (Crystal's Shadow), Deadline reported.

Developed by producer Monika Gergelova (Checkmate), the movie has been acquired for North America (Screen Media), France (Factoris Films), Germany (Dolphin) and India (Superfine films), with 101 Films retaining the U.K. rights.

Shot in South West England, Fear the Invisible Man is set in the late 1890s and "follows Adeline, a young British woman who provides shelter to an old medical school colleague, a man who has somehow turned himself invisible. As his isolation grows and his sanity frays, he schemes to create a reign of wanton murder and terror across the city--and Adeline's the only one who knows he even exists," Deadline wrote.

Books & Authors

Awards: Richell Emerging Writers Winner; Diagram Oddest Title Shortlist

Susannah Begbie won the 2022 Richell Prize for Emerging Writers, which aims "to unearth, support and nurture new Australian writing talent," for her fiction manuscript When Trees Fall Without Warning. Founded in honor of the late Hachette Australia CEO Matt Richell, the award is sponsored by Hachette Australia and the Richell family, in partnership with the Emerging Writers' Festival and Pedestrian TV. Begbie receives A$10,000 (about US$6,410), along with a 12-month mentorship with Hachette Australia. 

Fiona Hazard, Hachette Australia Group publishing director, noted that the writers on the shortlist "were all of a very high standard and this compelled the judges to award a Highly Commended" to The Little Ones by Anne Myers. "We hope that this recognition will encourage Anne to continue her writing journey."

Noting that this year's winner "is a deserving recipient," Hazard said Begbie "impressed the judges with her work of fiction, When Trees Fall Without Warning. This narrative is such a clever twist on exploring the lengths people will go when it comes to money, and the family dynamics that propel the story left all the judges wanting to read more. We're thrilled that we can now mentor Susannah and hope that winning the prize will give her the time and space to finish writing the book so it can be shared with readers."


A six-book shortlist has been released for the Bookseller Diagram Prize for the Oddest Book Title of the Year. The award was conceived in 1978 by Trevor Bounford and Bruce Robertson, co-founders of publishing solutions firm the Diagram Group, as a way to avoid boredom at the Frankfurt Book Fair. The winning title will be chosen by members of the public via an online vote, and a winner announced December 2. This year's shortlisted titles are:

Frankenstein Was a Vegetarian: Essays on Food Choice, Identity and Symbolism by Michael Owen Jones
The Many Lives of Scary Clowns: Essays on Pennywise, Twisty, the Joker, Krusty and More by Ron Riekki
Jane Austen and the Buddha: Teachers of Enlightenment by Kathryn Duncan
RuPedagogies of Realness: Essays on Teaching and Learning With RuPaul's Drag Race by Lindsay Bryde & Tommy Mayberry
Smuggling Jesus Back into the Church by Andrew Fellows
What Nudism Exposes: An Unconventional History of Postwar Canada by Mary-Ann Shantz

There is no prize for the winning author or publisher, but traditionally a "passable bottle of claret" is given to the nominator of the winning entry. 

Book Review

Review: How Far the Light Reaches: A Life in Ten Sea Creatures

How Far the Light Reaches: A Life in Ten Sea Creatures by Sabrina Imbler (Little, Brown, $27 hardcover, 272p., 9780316540537, December 6, 2022)

In the opening pages of the stunning and thoughtful essay collection How Far the Light Reaches: A Life in Ten Sea Creatures, science journalist Sabrina Imbler recalls the first time they wrote about an octopus and how it made them think of their mother: "I discovered unexpected, surprising resonances that cracked open what I knew about the ocean and myself." Expanding on that first essay (included in this collection as "My Mother and the Starving Octopus"), How Far the Light Reaches continues that tradition, weaving together the oceanic and the human in thought-provoking reflections on queerness, race, family, love and identity along the way.

Recalling their senior thesis on whales in "How to Draw a Sperm Whale," Imbler notes the many ways "we shoehorn distinctions between ourselves and other animals, often harming both of us." Through the lens of Imbler's life and experiences, each essay in this collection serves to collapse the distance implied by those distinctions. They compare their grandmother's flight from the Japanese occupation of Shanghai to the nearly impossible 1,900-mile upstream journey sturgeon make from the sea to fresh-water breeding grounds in "My Grandmother and the Sturgeon." In "Us Everlasting," Imbler considers the role of trauma in the regeneration of immortal jellyfish--and in human identities. Imbler draws life lessons from salps in "We Swarm," noting that these transparent marine mammals move at different paces but reach a collective destination only when working together.

This balance of science and memoir blends seamlessly across each essay in Imbler's collection. Little-known bits of trivia about sea creatures (Did you know that a mother octopus does not eat while protecting her eggs, slowly dying as they grow? Or that cuttlefish can not only change color but texture as part of their self-protection mechanism?) sit aside startlingly clear reflections on what it is to be Imbler, to be one's own self, to be human ("I do not want to feel resolved about myself.... I want to imagine how I am continuing to live"). Tender and candid, How Far the Light Reaches is a poignant invitation into the depths of ocean life and a call to consider what nature can reveal about the human condition from a brilliant and poetic writer. --Kerry McHugh, freelance reviewer

Shelf Talker: This tender and thoughtful essay collection draws parallels between oceanic life and what it means to be human as it explores queerness, race, family, love and identity.

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