Also published on this date: Wednesday, May 10, 2023: Maximum Shelf: My Name Is Iris

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, May 10, 2023

S&S / Marysue Rucci Books: The Night We Lost Him by Laura Dave

Wednesday Books: When Haru Was Here by Dustin Thao

Tommy Nelson: Up Toward the Light by Granger Smith, Illustrated by Laura Watkins

Tor Nightfire: Devils Kill Devils by Johnny Compton

Shadow Mountain: Highcliffe House (Proper Romance Regency) by Megan Walker

Quotation of the Day

'I'm Always Sending My Characters to a Bookstore'

"I've always been a big reader. When you love books, you end up loving everything about them: I love stories and I love writing, I love the way that words work together and the magic of all that, but also I love holding a book. I love feeling the paper in my hands. I love the smell of a bookstore or the smell of a library. It's so easy to feel the magic and possibility of that. It just makes sense that I'm always sending my characters to a bookstore. That is also a really important part of vacation to me.

"Anytime you're in a new town, you want to see what their local bookstore is like because they're all a bit different, but at the same time there's something really familiar. It's a little home-away-from-home. If you're a book person, you're always going to feel pretty cozy in a bookstore. Their role in my life is a huge piece of my career; just having the support of booksellers is why I am where I am now. There's no doubt about that. Even if I weren't writing or publishing now, I would still feel the same about bookstores. There's this feeling of possibility that I don't quite feel anywhere else."

--Emily Henry, whose novel Happy Place (Berkley) is the #1 May Indie Next List pick, in a q&a with Bookselling This Week

BINC: Do Good All Year - Click to Donate!


Joyride Bookshop Partners with the New San Diego Children's Museum

Joyride Bookshop, a children's bookstore that debuted as a mobile pop-up in summer 2021, has opened a physical location inside the New San Diego Children's Museum in the city's downtown, the San Diego Business Journal reported.

Bookstore co-owners Katie Turner and Susie Horn have taken over a 350-square-foot space on the museum's main level. The shop, called Joyride Bookshop @ NCM, will be open six days a week and sell diverse and inclusive children's books as well as a variety of gift items.

The bookstore first partnered with the museum last summer during its Mass Creativity Day, and after several more partnerships over the following months, museum CEO and executive director Elizabeth Yang-Hellewell approached Horn and Turner about taking over the museum's gift shop.

"It's a partnership that makes so much sense given our shared commitment to good storytelling," Horn told the SDBJ.

Though Turner and Horn have known each other since 2012, it wasn't until late 2019 that they first discussed opening a bookstore together. At a holiday party that year, Turner "made an offhand comment about how wonderful it would be to own a children's bookstore someday," she recalled. "Susie's eyes opened wide and she said it was her dream too."

Though they initially intended to open a bricks-and-mortar bookstore, the pair quickly realized that a mobile bookstore would better help them fulfill their mission. They took virtual classes and workshops with both the American Booksellers Association and the San Diego and Imperial Valley Women's Business Association, and eventually made their debut in 2021.

Since then, they've partnered with the nonprofits Caffè Caritàzza and Reading Legacies, as well as the Mingei International Museum. Last November, they began subleasing a space from Reading Legacies in Liberty Station.

Yang-Hellewell added that it was her five-year-old son who initially suggested bringing Joyride into the museum. She remarked: "Kids have the best ideas."

GLOW: Workman Publishing: Atlas Obscura: Wild Life: An Explorer's Guide to the World's Living Wonders by Cara Giaimo, Joshua Foer, and Atlas Obscura

Sourcebooks and PRH Buy Callisto Media Publishing Assets

Sourcebooks and Penguin Random House have purchased the publishing assets of Callisto Media, publisher of nonfiction adult and children's books. PRH, which bought 45% of Sourcebooks in 2019 and now has a majority stake in the company, funded the acquisition. Sourcebooks led the purchase and will manage the Callisto Media titles. Callisto's titles will continue to be distributed by Simon & Schuster Distribution Services.

Founded in 2011 by CEO Benjamin Wayne, Callisto has, said the companies, "taken a data-driven approach to publishing and grown into a top-15 publisher based on sales in the U.S. market. Callisto's proprietary algorithms leverage consumer data to determine the content consumers demand and where that demand is not currently met. Callisto's expansive nonfiction publishing list includes workbooks, cooking, health & wellness, relationships & personal growth."

Sourcebooks CEO Dominique Raccah said, "This acquisition brings together two of the most data-driven publishers in the industry to create a consumer-led organization that brings readers books that will change their lives in so many ways. This partnership also allows for an even greater level of innovation that will make an impactful difference for authors. We see data as an enormous creative power."

Callisto CEO Benjamin Wayne commented: "Callisto has been one of the fastest growing publishing companies in history and has reached over 50 million customers. The idea that we could determine through data what customers are really looking for and let them drive the books we create has served us incredibly well the past 10 years. I'm excited for Callisto to take the next step in its evolution as part of Sourcebooks and Penguin Random House, to continue delivering the kind of content that serves the underserved and helps them transform their lives."

PRH CEO Nihar Malaviya said, "Sourcebooks and Callisto have been two of the fastest growing publishers in the U.S., driven by their data-informed understanding of readers and their market-oriented publishing. Penguin Random House is thrilled to support in bringing these two dynamic publishers together under Dominique Raccah's exceptional leadership. Sourcebooks is known for their innovation and agility, and with this step, we look forward to furthering our unique and successful partnership with them."

Weldon Owen: The Gay Icon's Guide to Life by Michael Joosten, Illustrated by Peter Emerich

12th Annual Book Group Speed Dating Event

This coming Friday, May 12, 1-2:15 p.m. Eastern, will host its 12th annual Book Group Speed Dating Event--virtually. Representatives from 10 large, medium-sized, and small publishers will share selections from their publishing houses via video to give booksellers, librarians, and book group leaders an inside look at new and upcoming titles that book groups will want to know about and discuss. E-galleys will be available upon request for selected titles from Edelweiss and/or NetGalley, as well as print galleys. Leave-behinds will be made available in PowerPoint and Excel formats. Advance signup is required and can be done here.

Graphic Universe (Tm): Hotelitor: Luxury-Class Defense and Hospitality Unit by Josh Hicks

Binc Offers Scholarships to Diamond Summit in Dallas

The Book Industry Charitable Foundation is offering two $750 scholarships to comic book store owners and their employees to attend the Diamond Summit in Dallas, Tex., which will be held June 7-9. The funds may be used for travel, replacement wages, lodging, and meals. 

"We are thrilled that Binc sees such value in our programming and the summit's networking opportunities that they are supporting retailers who could otherwise not attend," said Kathy Govier, chief marketing & communications officer at Diamond. "Their continued support of the comic industry and our retail partners is unmatched."

Binc executive director Pam French commented: "We are proud to offer this professional development scholarship to comic retailers and the for a second year. Through this scholarship, even more retailers will have the opportunity to attend the Summit, gaining valuable learning and networking opportunities." 

To apply for a scholarship to the Summit, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • The applicant's store must be in the U.S. and either be a retail bricks-and-mortar store owned by an entity, a substantial portion of whose revenue is derived from the bricks-and-mortar sale of books/comics; or a mobile or pop-up store with an ongoing overhead investment that is open to the general public and maintains an annual average of 30 hours per week with an employee present.
  • The applicant must be a regular part-time or full-time employee or owner of a comic shop.
  • Applicants must be currently employed and have 90 days of continuous employment with the comic shop.

Applications are now open. The deadline to apply is May 22 by 5 p.m. Eastern. Comic store owners and their employees can apply for a scholarship here

International Update: Chapters in Dublin Adds Garden Center; Promotions at Waterstones

Describing the development as "another chapter in the story of one of the most acclaimed garden centers in Ireland," the Irish Times reported that Arboretum Urban Green has opened an expansive urban garden center in the Chapters bookshop on Parnell Street in Dublin. Arboretum's co-owners Barry Doyle and Fergal Doyle "hope the union of books and plants proves a match made in heaven and are confident they will be able to entice many urban dwellers through the doors with the promise of food and coffee as well as a wide array of indoor plants, furniture and all manner of accoutrements for a city center apartment balcony."

Arboretum Urban Green occupies some 14,000 square feet on the first floor of Chapters, which reopened last year under new owners after closing briefly to great public dismay. It will also offer an all-day dining menu at its 60-seat cafe.

Chapters CEO Mick Finucane said the bookshop was "about what is important in life and how to make living worthwhile and joyful," and he could be "flippant and joke about books, plants and cake, but what they all represent--looking after our minds and having nature present in our physical environment, stopping for a coffee to just sit and savor the moment--these are the small things that make life worthwhile."


Waterstones has announced three promotions. The Bookseller reported that Bea Carvalho, who was appointed general fiction buyer at the company in 2018, has been promoted to head of books; Tom Patterson will become head of buying; and, after many years as head of children's, Florentyna Martin will be head of e-commerce commercial.

Waterstones COO Kate Skipper said the promotions will "create a more cohesive approach, bringing together support across all teams to generate aligned and successful key title campaigns."


In China, Jiang Libo spent 800,000 yuan (about $116,000) to build Milestone Bookstore, which is located in a remote village on top of a mountain in a rural area of Zhejiang province in eastern China. The bookshop has captivated mainland social media after a video of the store was posted online, South China Morning Post reported. The bookstore is built in the shape of the number seven and has a collection of 7,000 mostly literary books.

Despite the remote location, people still come out of curiosity and a love of reading. Jiang "is a self-styled poet who spent his money building the store over the past three years. He hopes to offer the local villagers, especially children, improved book access," the Morning Post wrote. 

"Before my bookshop was built, the closest bookshop or library to this village was in a town about 30 km [18.6 miles] away," Jiang said. "I found fewer and fewer people read books, and bookstores generally are struggling. However, I acted in contravention of this by opening a bookstore in a place with very few readers. My thought is: when villagers are idle, or kids are on holiday, they can come to read books. Isn't that wonderful?"


South African bookstore Soweto Book Café in Johannesburg was showcased by 2Summers. The bookshop was founded by Thami Mazibuko in 2018, "a couple of years after he moved back to Zondi from downtown Joburg and realized he and his neighbors desperately needed a place to access books. Books are expensive and hard to come by in South Africa, as are libraries and locally owned bookstores (or any bookstores)--especially in townships." --Robert Gray


Cool Idea of the Day: Book Themed Yarn

McLean & Eakin Booksellers, Petoskey, Mich., checked in to share "a very cool tie-in that our store is doing to promote pre-orders for James Islington's new book The Will of the Many [Gallery/Saga Press]. We're calling it the Yarn for the Many. We worked with a customer who dyes her own book-themed yarn and one of our booksellers--all to go along with the book/book cover.... We're super excited to start sharing this out with our customers."


Bookseller Dog: RIP Ody at Serendipity Books

"We are deeply saddened to announce Ody's passing over the weekend," Serendipity Books, Chelsea, Mich., posted on Facebook. "Although his retirement was brief, he spent it sunning himself on our porch and snuggling with our cats. He very much enjoyed being the bookstore greeter, waiting at our front door, tail-wagging for his brief walk to work every day. Ody was such a sweet and friendly dog, beloved by all who knew him. He passed away gently as an old dog--98 in doggy years--after enjoying a long and well-loved life filled with adventures. Everyone at Serendipity Books will deeply miss his joyful presence, but we hope you will join us in celebrating his life. We all miss you so much already, Ody.--Michelle & Beatrice."

Personnel Changes at Scribner

Kassandra Rhoads has joined Scribner as a publicist. She was formerly associate publicist at the Simon & Schuster imprint.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: James C. Jackson on Fresh Air

Here & Now: Fae Myenne Ng, author of Orphan Bachelors: A Memoir (Grove Press, $28, 9780802162212).

Fresh Air: James C. Jackson, author of Clearing the Fog: From Surviving to Thriving with Long Covid--A Practical Guide (Little, Brown Spark, $29, 9780316530095).

CBS Mornings: Evelyn Rusli, co-author of First Bites: A Science-Based Guide to Nutrition for Baby's First 1,000 Days (Countryman Press, $30, 9781682687338).

Good Morning America: Miranda Lambert, author of Y'all Eat Yet?: Welcome to the Pretty B*tchin' Kitchen (Dey Street, $35, 9780063087781).

Live with Kelly and Mark: Bear Grylls, author of You Vs the World: The Bear Grylls Guide to Never Giving Up (DK Children, $16.99, 9780744070675).

Movies: Two Stephen King Adaptations

A pair of film projects based on Stephen King short stories are in development. 

Theo James (The White Lotus) will star in an adaptation of King's tale The Monkey. Deadline reported that the "team behind the buzzy project includes genre supremo James Wan, creator of The Conjuring universe and co-creator of the Saw and Insidious franchises."

Wan is producing with Atomic Monster Productions partner Michael Clear (M3GAN), C2 Motion Picture Group's Jason Cloth (Joker), and Dave Caplan (Babylon). The supernatural story has been adapted for the screen by genre specialist Osgood Perkins (Longlegs), who also will direct.

"Stephen King is the godfather of the horror genre," said Wan. "He had a huge influence on me as a child and throughout my career, and it's always been a dream to help bring one of his stories to life. The Monkey is a personal favorite, with its simple, iconic and incredibly marketable conceit. And I can't imagine anyone better than a visionary and lifelong genre fan like Osgood to bring this to life."

Cloth and Caplan added: "We couldn't be more excited to partner with Osgood, James, Brian and our friends at Black Bear International to present Stephen King's The Monkey. It perfectly checks the box of what is working in the marketplace right now and will be a hot property. We can't wait for audiences to see Theo James in this role--he is really going to knock it out the park with an amazing performance."


Tom Hiddleston (Thor franchise) and Mark Hamill (Star Wars) are set to star in The Life Of Chuck, based on a story from King's 2020 anthology If It Bleeds. Mike Flanagan (Doctor Sleep, The Haunting of Hill House) is directing, scripting and producing for Intrepid Pictures alongside fellow producer Trevor Macy, Deadline reported

The script, which was adapted prior to the WGA strike, "has been in the works for several months with Hiddleston set to play the title character and Hamill joining for the role of Albie," Deadline noted.

Books & Authors

Awards: Trillium Finalists

Ontario Creates announced the finalists for the 2023 Trillium Book Awards, which honor "excellence in literature by investing in Ontario-based writers." The winners will be named June 20. Winning French-language and English-language book authors each receive C$20,000 (about US$14,960) and their publishers C$2,500 (US$1,870) for promotion of the titles. Check out the English- and French-language finalists here.

Reading with... Terry Virts

(Jack Robert Photography)

Terry Virts is a former USAF F-16 pilot and NASA astronaut who has spent more than seven months living in space, including as the pilot of the Space Shuttle Endeavour, and commander of the International Space Station. He is the author of How to Astronaut (Workman, 2020), View from Above (National Geographic, 2017), and Apollo 11: To the Moon and Back (Book Arts, 2019). The Astronaut's Guide to Leaving the Planet: Everything You Need to Know, from Training to Re-Entry (Workman, $14.99) is Virts's first children's book and answers many of the questions young readers may have about what it's like to prepare for space travel and experience life in space.

Handsell readers your book in 25 words or less:

The Astronaut's Guide to Leaving the Planet is the perfect book to inspire and inform any kid interested in space, with cool illustrations and activities to do at home.

On your nightstand now:

Billion Dollar Whale by Tom Wright and Bradley Hope, the crazy real-world tale of Malaysia's 1MDB sovereign wealth fund and the insanely brazen and corrupt people who stole hundreds of millions of dollars and took down the top of the Malaysian government as well as Goldman Sachs. It's impressive. The antagonist is a guy named Jho Low, and he thinks big, to say the least.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Rendezvous with Rama, an Arthur C. Clarke science fiction novel about an alien spaceship that flies through the solar system. I was captivated by the book as a teenager and was captivated again last year when I reread it. When the interstellar asteroid Oumuamua came zipping through our solar system in 2019, I immediately thought of Rendezvous with Rama because it was a giant cylinder that came here, then accelerated away, never to be heard from again. Too bad we didn't have the tech to go visit that strange rock. I would love to make this story into a movie one day!

Your top five authors:

James A. Michener (great epics like Poland and Chesapeake, where I am from, and which I read last year), Arthur C. Clarke (maybe the best sci-fi writer ever), 2001: A Space Odyssey was an incredibly visionary book--and film--on so many levels), David McCullough (if you, like me, love historical fiction, he's the best), Tom Clancy (The Hunt for Red October and Red Storm Rising are must-reads), Ian Fleming (Bond. James Bond).

Book you've faked reading:

A collection of short stories by Jack London. I love To Build a Fire, but the rest of the stories just weren't great. I also had to speed read through Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. I was so excited to read it--but it just didn't do it for me. My OCD makes me feel like I need to read every word, which often makes me spend six months trying to plod through a book I don't like. Life is too short, and books are supposed to be fun, so go ahead and put it down and move on if you don't love the book you're reading.

Book you're an evangelist for:

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King. I'm probably the very rare person who hasn't read any of his novels, but a friend recommended this to me when I decided to become an author, and it's full of great advice. Cut cut cut! Fancy adverbs? No way! Anybody who wants to write should read this.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Atlas Obscura by Dylan Thuras, Ella Morton, and Joshua Foer, an amazing (and bestselling) book about traveling to, well, obscure places. It has a simple but perfect cover.

Book you hid from your parents:

Probably many--whatever I was reading at the time, I'd have to read under the covers with a flashlight so they thought I was asleep.

Book that changed your life:

The Bible. An oldie but a goodie. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" is pretty good advice, we'd all be a lot better off if we lived by that golden rule.

Favorite line from a book:

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." --A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. I love the opening line and closing line of a book, I think an author should spend a lot of time on that, and Dickens came up with a classic here.

Five books you'll never part with:

1984 (George Orwell), The Right Stuff (Tom Wolfe), Odd Man Out: A Year on the Mound with a Minor League Misfit (Matt McCarthy), I Had a Hammer (Hank Aaron and Lonnie Wheeler), The Unknown Soldier (Väinö Linna)

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

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer. I read that when I was applying to Test Pilot School back in the '90s and loved it. It's an incredible adventure story and cautionary tale. My daughter recently gave me another copy for Christmas, so it's next on my list.

Did you always want to be an author?

No! I was probably "least likely to be an author" in high school; I was a terrible English student who got Cs and never read the books we were assigned (thank God for Cliffs Notes). But as I got older, I realized that communication was so important, I had an ability to write in a pretty clear and straightforward style, and I had so many stories to tell about my time in space, so I went for it. I wrote my first book, View from Above (40,000 words), in two weeks--the words just flowed. With a few nonfiction titles under my belt, I'd like to try my luck at fiction next.

Book Review

Children's Review: Don't Trust the Cat

Don't Trust the Cat by Kristen Tracy, illus. by Celia Krampien (Chronicle, $16.99 hardcover, 336p., ages 10-14, 9781797215068, July 25, 2023)

Kristen Tracy, author of books for teens and tweens, and poetry for adults (Half-Hazard: Poems), dishes up plenty of frisky fun in Don't Trust the Cat, in which a "scaredy-cat" fifth-grader and her pet feline trade places. Mischief and drama ensue!

Eleven-year-old Poppy McBean and her "friendship clump," consisting of Heni, Rosario, and Kit, want to be dancing ponies in the school play. Poppy, who isn't very coordinated, is certain her "power dance move" will ensure the clump gets their desired roles. So, she brings her "double kick, cross stomp, swisher arms, shuffle jump" to practice. When she accidentally trips over the school "puke bucket" mid-move, her "best and only friends in the whole world" leave her in a heap. Poppy agonizes about the betrayal and, at home with her cat, Mitten Man, blurts out that she wishes she had Mitten Man's "easy life." In a "tornado of fur," Poppy and Mitten Man switch places!

Somehow, Mitten Man--now Big Poppy--convinces the real Poppy to let Big Poppy use her feline grace and flexibility at play tryouts before they switch back. But Big Poppy can't manage to be a "normal" fifth-grader. She screams at the sound of the morning bell, sniffs random backpacks and puffy stickers, and ditches the clump to try out for the part of Runaway Clown. Worse, Big Poppy refuses to accept Heni's apology for leaving the real Poppy on the floor.

Meanwhile, Aunt Blanche comes to visit. Since Aunt Blanche believes cats belong outdoors, she ejects Poppy from the house, right into the waiting claws of Death Tiger, a stray about whom Big Poppy warned Poppy. Yet Death Tiger, "a dusk dweller and total beast," seems to think he and Poppy are friends. Before Poppy can even think of switching back to her real body, the two cats are off on a rescue mission, evading weasels and bullies as they search for "genius" turtle Raul. While roaming the "wilds" as a cat, Poppy learns to have confidence in herself; likewise, navigating the "emotional needs of eleven-year-olds" teaches Big Poppy/Mitten Man the value of life as a beloved indoor house cat.

Humor and plenty of misadventure make this an enjoyable read, with the Poppy-Mitten Man transformation allowing for plenty of fish-out-of-water hijinks. Spot illustrations in the chapter headings and upper-right page corners by Celia Krampien (My Family Four Floors Up) help readers identify which character is narrating each chapter. Humans and cats alike demonstrate, through comedy and angst, that worthwhile relationships aren't necessarily easy. By novel's end, Poppy, Big Poppy, and even Aunt Blanche have learned some very valuable lessons. --Lynn Becker, reviewer, blogger, and children's book author

Shelf Talker: The amusing antics of Don't Trust the Cat offer plenty of humorous misadventure as a "scaredy-cat" fifth-grader and her pet feline trade places.

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