Shelf Awareness for Thursday, January 4, 2024

Flatiron Books: The Courting of Bristol Keats: [Limited Stenciled Edge Edition] by Mary E Pearson

Forge: My Three Dogs by Bruce W Cameron

Running Press Adult: Scam Goddess: Lessons from a Life of Cons, Grifts, and Schemes by Laci Mosley

Chronicle Books: Taste in Music: Eating on Tour with Indie Musicians by Luke Pyenson and Alex Beeker

Doubleday Books: Death at the Sign of the Rook: A Jackson Brodie Book by Kate Atkinson

Groundwood Books: Who We Are in Real Life by Victoria Koops

Agate Bolden: 54 Miles by Leonard Pitts Jr.


Kepler's Praveen Madan Named CEO, Publisher of Berrett-Koehler

Praveen Madan

Praveen Madan, CEO of Kepler's Books, Menlo Park, Calif., since 2012 and one of the most innovative booksellers in the country, has been named CEO and publisher of Berrett-Koehler, the mission-driven Oakland, Calif., publisher. He succeeds David Marshall, who is retiring after 17 years at the company. Madan will continue as CEO of Kepler's and board member of the nonprofit Kepler's Literary Foundation, shifting some of his operational responsibilities to Kepler's team, which has been preparing for the change.

Berrett-Koehler founder and senior editor Steve Piersanti said that Madan "brings the best of both outsider and insider experience through his business consulting career, followed by his dynamic independent bookselling leadership, combined with serving from 2009 to 2020 on the BK board of directors, including two years as board chair. Praveen brings intimate knowledge of BK's business and culture along with fresh, innovative outsider perspectives."

Berrett-Koehler author and board chair Joyce Roché said, "I have always believed that the right person shows up at the right time and that is the case with our selection of Praveen as Berrett-Koehler's new CEO and publisher. Praveen has the brainpower, book industry experience, and passion for Berrett-Koehler that are needed at this challenging time in the company's history."

Noting that it has been facing "financial difficulties over the past year due to several factors, including the lingering effects of the pandemic and market pressures within BK's areas of publishing," the company added that Madan "envisions a new publishing model for BK that continues to deepen its roots as an author-friendly, mission-based book publisher and expands innovation and collaboration with partners."

Madan added: "One of the reasons why I am accepting this challenge is the urgent necessity to reimagine the relationship between book publishers and bookstores. I would also love to see more publishers, bookstores, and authors adopt the human-first approach that Berrett-Koehler has pioneered. Our collective future is at stake."

After a period as a business consultant in the tech world while at Kearney, Madan entered bookselling in 2007, when he and his wife, Christin Evans, bought the Booksmith in San Francisco. In 2012, Evans and Madan took over Kepler's, and as CEO he pioneered the hybrid model of a for-profit bookstore and nonprofit producing cultural and literary programs, an approach adopted by other stores.

At Kepler's, Madan has aimed to institute a philosophy of stewardship (which incidentally comes from Stewardship: Choosing Service over Self-Interest, a Berrett-Koehler book by Peter Block), meaning that all staff, including Madan, focus on serving Kepler's mission and looking after all stakeholders. At Kepler's, the drive has been to deepen Kepler's social impact, raise wages for the team, and implement the stewardship approach.

In 2021, Madan was the main organizer of Reimagining Bookstores, the national, ongoing effort to reimagine and transform U.S. bookstores into next-generation community stores, to help literary entrepreneurs open new bookstores in book deserts, and to help bookstores strengthen their place in the hearts of their communities as thriving centers for ideas and conversations.

Among other book-related activities, Madan has been co-founder of Berkeley Arts & Letters, the author event series; co-founder of, an early online literary community; CEO of GiftLit, the book-giving service; and a board member of Heyday Books.

Madan holds an engineering degree from the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi and an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin.

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Tropes & Trifles Bookstore in Minneapolis, Minn., Expanding

Tropes & Trifles romance bookstore, Minneapolis, Minn., which operated as a pop-up for the last seven weeks of 2023, was so successful that it is temporarily closing for a remodel and expansion, with plans to reopen in March at the same location, 2709 E. 38th St., the Star Tribune reported. 

"It's not just boy-falls-in-love-with-girl," said co-owner Lauren Richards of the shop's selections, adding that titles featuring LGBTQ or neurodivergent characters (and authors) of color are among her favorites. "Sometimes, people want to read stories about people who look like them and share similar experiences and sometimes they want to read stories about people who are different from them."

The store's footprint will remain 1,000 square feet, but co-owner Caitlin O'Neil said one of the lessons of the pop-up was that "we need a lot more room and a lot more shelves in order to fit a lot more books, in order to meet demand."

Part of the expansion plan is to reconfigure the store, which now has 500 square feet of shelving, to 700-800 square feet of sales space. This will allow Tropes & Trifles to triple the 1,500 titles stocked in the pop-up. Although the store will be closed until construction is completed, Tropes and Trifles will feature pop-ups at other Twin Cities locations during the pause.

In an Instagram post announcing the expansion, the bookstore noted: "Huge thanks to everyone who's visited, chatted books, shared us with your friends and family, and left us lovely Google reviews. We [love] you all! SEE YOU BIGGER & BETTER IN SPRING 2024!"

Santa Fe, N.Mex. Bookstore 'for Sale' (for Free) Finds 'Buyer'

Book Mountain, Santa Fe, N.Mex., which was put up "for sale" (for free) last year by owner Peggy Frank, has found a "buyer." According to KRQE, Nathan Center is the new owner of the bookstore, which sells used and new books.

When Frank, who co-founded the store in 1980, announced in July that she would give away the store, she cited her age and health as reasons for the decision, saying, "My health is not going to get any better. At age 83, we don't really get better."

Some 300 people expressed interest in taking over the store. Center, who visited the store soon after Frank's announcement, stood out. "This guy walks in and he looks around and says what can I do for you, and it wasn't about him," Frank said. "It was about me and the bookstore." KRQE said she liked "his sense of humor, and his care for customers and books are what ultimately landed him the spot." She added, "This is what he wants to do and he's not terribly old but he's not really young either, so he has some maturity behind him."

Center is making one quick change: Book Mountain will now accept credit cards. "Peggy has refused to do business with credit cards and banks for a very long time but there's so few people using cash nowadays it's time to get with the times," Center explained. He also wants to begin selling books online.

Binc Offering Two ComicsPro Industry Meeting Scholarships

The Book Industry Charitable Foundation is offering two $750 scholarships to comic book store owners and their employees to attend the ComicsPro Industry Meeting in Pittsburgh, Pa., scheduled for February 22-24. The funds may be used for travel, replacement wages, lodging and meals. Scholarship guidelines and the application form are available here. The deadline to apply is January 17 at 5 p.m. Eastern.

"It's so wonderful that Binc is providing two scholarships for the comic industry meeting," said Marco Davanzo, executive director of ComicsPRO. "The scholarships will help those who wouldn't have been able to go to the meeting due to financial concerns. Binc is always there to help employees and owners of comic book stores with unseen emergencies. Retailers are extremely grateful for their work."

Binc executive director Pam French commented: "We are proud to continue our support for comic retailers with this professional development scholarship, which will allow more comic people to gain valuable networking and education opportunities. We look forward to seeing everyone in Pittsburgh."

Obituary Note: K.M. Peyton 

British author Kathleen Peyton, a prolific writer for children under the pseudonym K.M. Peyton, died December 19. She was 94. Peyton was best known for the highly regarded and popular Flambards series, which was adapted for television in 1978, the Guardian reported.

In writing Flambards (1967), The Edge of the Cloud (1969), Flambards in Summer (1969) and Flambards Divided (1981), Peyton "drew on the farming countryside around her home in Essex and her love of horses and particularly of hunting. Set at the beginning of the first world war, in the farmhouse where a once-wealthy family live a fractured and angry life, the Flambards series captured the profound social changes brought by the war," the Guardian noted.

The Flambards series made her reputation as a significant writer for teenagers, even though she had originally intended the books to be for adults. Despite criticism from mothers of teenage girls who were outraged by their sexual undertones, the books were an international success. She won the 1969 Carnegie medal for Flambards and the 1970 Guardian Children's Book award for The Edge of the Cloud.

Peyton "showed the same confidence in writing about teenagers in a contemporary, school-set series about the complicated life of Pennington, a gifted but troubled young pianist," the Guardian wrote. Pennington's Seventeenth Summer (1970), The Beethoven Medal (1970) and Pennington's Heir (1973) "were fueled by the same delightful naive romanticism of Flambards."

She wrote her first book, Sabre, the Horse from the Sea (1948), when she was 15, and it was published while she was still a teenager. Many of her works were about horses and riding, including Who, Sir? Me, Sir? (1983), but her 70 books also included thrillers like Prove Yourself a Hero (1977) and Midsummer Night's Death (1978), as well as stories about conservation and ghosts. She spent 20 years researching Dear Fred (1981), based on the life of the jockey Fred Archer. Peyton was appointed MBE in 2014.


Cool Idea of the Day: Date Night at the Bookshop

"Who's ready for a Date Night at the Bookshop?!" the Dog-Eared Page, Danville, Va., asked while sharing details of a fun promotion to help customers get 2024 off to a nice, bookishly romantic start: "For $50, we will stay open one hour later so you and someone special can have the shop to yourselves. During your time at the shop you will receive a charcuterie board for two, some sparkling cider, and a bookshop scavenger hunt! We will be offering these date nights through February, so reach out to schedule your date!"

B&N's January Book Club Pick: Mercury

Barnes & Noble has chosen Mercury by Amy Jo Burns (Celadon Books) as its January national book club selection. In a live virtual event on Tuesday, February 3, at 3 p.m. Eastern, Burns will be in conversation with Lexie Smyth, category manager for fiction at B&N, and Miwa Messer, executive producer of B&N's Poured Over podcast.

Smyth commented: "Mercury is a rich portrait of a deeply flawed family. A layered, multigenerational story, this is a book about the roles we play in our families, how those roles shape us as well as those around us, and what it actually takes to do right by the people you love. I can't wait for our book club readers to become fully immersed in the world of the Joseph family, and I know they will be as fascinated as I was by Marley and Elise, the women at the core of this story. Amy Jo Burns has written an absolute triumph of a novel--this is the kind of book you just have to talk about as soon as you finish it. I am thrilled to put this forward as our January Book Club pick."

For more information, click here.

Personnel Changes at Blackstone Publishing

Mike Heuer has joined Blackstone Publishing as national sales manager, independent bookstores. He will head the indie sales force at Blackstone in addition to maintaining his own region of direct accounts. He previously worked at Hachette Book Group as executive director, national field sales force, independent bookstores.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Neil deGrasse Tyson on Live with Kelly and Mark'

Tamron Hall: Dr. Nigma Talib, author of Younger Skin Starts in the Gut: 4-Week Program to Identify and Eliminate Your Skin-Aging Triggers--Gluten, Wine, Dairy, and Sugar (Ulysses Press, $15.95, 9781612435602).

Drew Barrymore Show repeat: Kerry Washington, author of Thicker than Water: A Memoir (Little, Brown Spark, $30, 9780316497398).

Jennifer Hudson Show: Joshua Weissman, author of Joshua Weissman: Texture Over Taste (DK, $35, 9780744063509).

Sherri Shepherd Show repeat: Kenan Thompson, author of When I Was Your Age: Life Lessons, Funny Stories & Questionable Parenting Advice from a Professional Clown (Harper, $30, 9780063348066).

Live with Kelly and Mark: Neil deGrasse Tyson, co-author of To Infinity and Beyond: A Journey of Cosmic Discovery (National Geographic, $30, 9781426223303).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert repeat: Adam Kinzinger, author of Renegade: Defending Democracy and Liberty in Our Divided Country (The Open Field, $30, 9780593654163).

This Weekend on Book TV: Former Macmillan CEO John Sargent on Turning Pages

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 this weekend from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday and focuses on political and historical books as well as the book industry. The following are highlights for this coming weekend. For more information, go to Book TV's website.

Saturday, January 6
3:10 p.m. Michael Schoeppner, author of Moral Contagion: Black Atlantic Sailors, Citizenship, and Diplomacy in Antebellum America (Cambridge University Press, $64.99, 9781108469999). (Re-airs Sunday at 3:10 a.m.)

7:18 p.m. Gordon H. "Nick" Mueller, co-author of Building The National WWII Museum (LSU Press, $29.95, 9780807179512). (Re-airs Sunday at 7:18 a.m.)

Sunday, January 7
8 a.m. Jessica Wilson, Zena Hitz, and Jonathan Tran, co-editor of and contributors to The Liberating Arts: Why We Need Liberal Arts Education (Plough Publishing House, $19.95, 9781636080673). (Re-airs Sunday at 8 p.m.)

10 a.m. Peter Biskind, author of Pandora's Box: How Guts, Guile, and Greed Upended TV (Morrow, $32.50, ‎9780062991669). (Re-airs Sunday at 10 p.m.)

11 a.m. Marcelo Gleiser, author of The Dawn of a Mindful Universe: A Manifesto for Humanity's Future (HarperOne, $29.99, 9780063056879), at Harvard Book Store in Cambridge, Mass. (Re-airs Sunday at 11 p.m.)

12 p.m. Amy S.F. Lutz, author of Chasing the Intact Mind: How the Severely Autistic and Intellectually Disabled Were Excluded from the Debates That Affect Them Most (Oxford University Press, $34.95, 9780197683842). (Re-airs Monday at 12 a.m.)

2 p.m. to 3:50 p.m. Coverage of the Association of the U.S. Army Authors' Forum in Washington, D.C. Highlights include:

  • 2 p.m. Gregg F. Martin, author of Bipolar General: My Forever War with Mental Illness, William Stuart Nance, author of Commanding Professionalism: Simpson, Moore, and the Ninth US Army, and Daniel S. Morgan, co-author of Black Hearts and Painted Guns: A Battalion's Journey into Iraq's Triangle of Death.
  • 2:52 p.m. Eric Setzekorn, author of Arming East Asia: Deterring China in the Early Cold War, L. Scott Lingamfelter, author of Yanks in Blue Berets: American UN Peacekeepers in the Middle East, and James Lechner, author of With My Shield: An Army Ranger in Somalia.

3:50 p.m. Katie J. Wells and Kafui Attoh, co-authors of Disrupting D.C.: The Rise of Uber and the Fall of the City (Princeton University Press, $27.95, 9780691249759), at Politics & Prose Bookstore in Washington, D.C.

5 p.m. Yascha Mounk, author of The Identity Trap: A Story of Ideas and Power in Our Time (Penguin Press, $32, 9780593493182).

6:30 p.m. Jonathan Karl, author of Tired of Winning: Donald Trump and the End of the Grand Old Party (Dutton, $32, 9780593473986).

7:30 p.m. Former Macmillan CEO John Sargent, author of Turning Pages: The Adventures and Misadventures of a Publisher (Arcade, $26.99, 9781956763850).

Books & Authors

Awards: Order of Canada

Several writers and book-related individuals were honored recently with appointments to the Order of Canada, which recognizes people across all sectors of society who have made extraordinary and sustained contributions to the nation.

This year's recipients included poet Joséphine Bacon, who was named an Officer of the Order of Canada (O.C.) "for her significant contributions to Indigenous literature and culture in Canada."

Among the Members of the Order of Canada (M.C.) inductees were Kim Thúy Ly Thanh "for amplifying the voices and experiences of migrants and refugees as an acclaimed novelist on Canada's literary scene," André Pierre Picard "for his dedication to advancing public health understanding and practices in Canada as a leading health journalist and bestselling author," Patrick Gordon Crean "for championing Canadian writers, publications and readership as a leading publisher, editor and consultant," and Bronwyn D.A. Drainie "for her long-standing contributions to Canadian arts and culture, notably as a prominent radio host and editor-in-chief of the Literary Review of Canada." 

Bryan Earl Prince and Shannon Beth Prince received M.C.s for their "commitment to the documentation, preservation and celebration of Black Canadian history, particularly the Underground Railroad in southwestern Ontario."

Governor General of Canada Mary Simon said: "I greatly value the opportunity to celebrate individuals whose perseverance, ingenuity and community spirit have benefited Canadians throughout the country. As governor general, I have seen first-hand that our communities are rich in both excellence and diversity, which we need to do our utmost to recognize. I encourage each of us to become catalysts for the change we want to see in the Canadian Honors System by nominating individuals whose exceptional accomplishments may have gone unrecognized through the years."

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, January 9:

Holmes, Marple & Poe by James Patterson and Brian Sitts (Little, Brown, $30, 9780316405195) begins a new thriller series about a team of three private investigators using secret literary identities. (January 8.)

Goodbye Girl: A Jack Swyteck Novel by James Grippando (Harper, $30, 9780063223844) is the 18th thriller with Miami criminal defense lawyer Jack Swyteck.

Rental Person Who Does Nothing: A Memoir by Shoji Morimoto (Hanover Square Press, $21.99, 9781335017536) is by a Japanese man who rents his presence.

The Heiress: A Novel by Rachel Hawkins (St. Martin's Press, $29, 9781250280039) follows the adopted son of a mysterious late heiress.

Sanctuary of the Shadow by Aurora Ascher (Entangled, $29.99, 9781649374110) begins the Elemental Emergence romantic fantasy series.

Argylle: A Novel by Elly Conway (Bantam, $28.99, 9780593600016) is an espionage thriller that will be adapted into a film this February.

The Atlas Complex by Olivie Blake (Tor, $28.99, 9781250855138) concludes the fantasy trilogy that began with The Atlas Six.

Heal Your Nervous System: The 5–Stage Plan to Reverse Nervous System Dysregulation by Dr. Linnea Passaler (Fair Winds Press, $28, 9780760385654) is a roadmap to balancing the nervous system.

Not the End of the World: How We Can Be the First Generation to Build a Sustainable Planet by Hannah Ritchie (Little, Brown Spark, $30, 9780316536752) is a hopeful guide to tackling climate change.

Get the F*ck Out Your Own Way: A Guide to Letting Go of the Sh*t that's Holding You Back by Malcolm "MJ" Harris (Legacy Lit, $30, 9780306829222) gives a variety of self-improvement advice.

Slow Down: The Degrowth Manifesto by Kohei Saito, trans. by Brian Bergstrom (Astra House, $27, 9781662602368) advocates the deliberate slowing of economic activity to fight climate change.

Mislaid in Parts Half-Known by Seanan McGuire (Tor, $22.99, 9781250848505) is book nine in the Wayward Children fantasy series.

Extraordinary Magic: The Storytelling Life of Virginia Hamilton by Nina Crews (Ottaviano/Little, $18.99 9780316383592) is a picture book biography about the first Black person to win the Newbery Medal.

Shut Up, This Is Serious by Carolina Ixta (Quill Tree, $19.99, 9780063287860) is a YA coming-of-age debut that takes place in East Oakland, Calif.

Living the Artist's Way: An Intuitive Path to Greater Creativity by Julia Cameron (St. Martin's Essentials, $20, 9781250897589).

The Vagus Nerve Reset: Train Your Body to Heal Stress, Trauma, and Anxiety by Anna Ferguson (Zeitgeist, $17.99, 9780593689905).

Don't Want You Like a Best Friend: A Novel by Emma R. Alban (Avon, $18.99, 9780063312005).

Dungeons and Drama by Kristy Boyce (Delacorte, $11.99, 9780593647011).

Book Review

Review: Listen for the Lie

Listen for the Lie by Amy Tintera (Celadon Books, $26.99 hardcover, 352p., 9781250880314, March 5, 2024)

With Listen for the Lie, Amy Tintera (Reboot; The Q) offers a sexy, compelling mystery as her adult debut. Entertaining characters act out the intrigues of murder and of small-town life, with dark humor, propulsive pacing, and a properly confounding whodunit.

Lucy Chase has been living a not-particularly-successful life in Los Angeles. When the novel opens, she has just been outed by a true-crime podcast as the overwhelmingly favored suspect in the murder of her best friend five years earlier, in the small Texas town where they both grew up. Now that she's been fired from her job and her boyfriend is trying to break up with her, she lets her grandmother (her last friend and defender in the world, it seems) talk her into coming home for a visit. Back in Plumpton, Tex., she immediately runs into Ben Owens, the true-crime podcaster who's on his way to ruining her life. He is obnoxiously sexy, and perhaps less out to get her than she'd originally thought, but Lucy's hometown offers her no comforts.

One morning, after they left a party together, Savvy was discovered dead in the woods, and Lucy was found nearby, walking down a back road, covered in Savvy's blood, her skin under Savvy's nails, and her fingermarks bruised into Savvy's flesh. Lucy had a head injury; she's never remembered anything about that night. Her then-husband and her parents, along with the rest of the town, were quick to assume her guilt, but there was insufficient evidence to charge her with Savvy's murder. Lucy decided to move far away, to L.A., and try to start a new life. Not that it was going well, but being back in Plumpton, with everyone staring her down, sure of her guilt, is worse. Lucy is spirited, witty, and bold; if "innocent people don't make sarcastic comments," she's guilty as can be.

Strangely, Ben, the annoyingly attractive podcaster, is the only one to question why everyone in this town (including Lucy herself) was so quick to assume Lucy's guilt. The circumstantial evidence is damning, but Ben is able, with amateur detective work, to expose enough secrets to complicate the case considerably. Lucy is as surprised as anyone.

The murder suspect's amnesia throws a wrench in readers' ability to guess at Tintera's plot twists. Even as Lucy wrestles with trauma, balancing guardedness with rare vulnerabilities, she and Savvy reveal a real sense of fun. Plumpton is a thoroughly realized setting, complete with neighborhood personalities and an authentic small-town dynamic. Listen for the Lie is quite sexy, compulsively readable, and laugh-out-loud funny, and Tintera has left herself healthy room for a sequel. --Julia Kastner, librarian and blogger at pagesofjulia

Shelf Talker: Small-town dramas, sharp humor, strong characters, and a touch of romance spice up a genuinely fun mystery.

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