Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, January 9, 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.


Bookhound Haven Opens in Texarkana, Tex.

Bookhound Haven, a bookshop featuring mystery, thriller, romance, fantasy, and romantasy titles, opened late last year at 320 W. Broad Street in Texarkana, Tex. The Gazette reported that for co-owner Sierra Metz, a kindergarten teacher for the Texarkana Independent School District, this has been her dream for a long time.

Describing Bookhound Haven as a themed bookstore, she said she wanted to bring back a time when people would gather to read and discuss books: "Reading books on iPads and Kindles can be cool, but there's nothing like physically turning a page, smelling the pages, or having to dog-ear pages."

The bookshop originally started as a pop-up at local events and festivals until customers kept asking about a physical location, the Gazette noted. Metz and her husband, Keegan Metz, are in the process of building private reading rooms with the extra 1,500 square feet of space they have while also expanding the bookstore.

"There will be two themed reading rooms. One will be cottage-core vibes and the other dark romance vibes," Metz said, adding that her goal was to open a space for people to come and enjoy their books or for those who want to bring their laptops in to work while being surrounded by books.

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BAM Closing Lafayette, La., Store, Opening 2nd & Charles Nearby

Books-A-Million will close its bookstore at 4419 Ambassador Caffery Parkway in Lafayette, La., ahead of opening a 2nd & Charles nearby, the Acadiana Advocate reported. 

The 2nd & Charles store, the sister store of Books-A-Million, will open in the former Sears Home & Life store at 4405 Ambassador Caffery Parkway in the River Marketplace shopping center by mid-year, company officials said.

Specializing in new and used books, music, games, toys, collectibles, decor, accessories, and pop culture merchandise, 2nd & Charles operates about 40 stores in 18 states. 

Chris Bauerle Joins Highlights as V-P, General Manager, Books & Consumer Products

Chris Bauerle

Chris Bauerle has joined Highlights in the newly created position of v-p, general manager, books and consumer products. As part of the company's aim to expand its presence in retail, Bauerle will oversee the Highlights book publishing business and will lead market strategies for the company's expansion into consumer products.

Bauerle was most recently executive v-p of sales and marketing at Insights Editions and earlier was v-p of sales and marketing at Sourcebooks, where he worked more than 10 years.

Mary-Alice Moore, executive v-p, business strategy and product development at Highlights, called Bauerle "a changemaker with an impressive track record of driving sales and growing businesses. His passion for kids' publishing, combined with his data-driven approach to decision-making, is perfect for the Highlights brand, which reaches millions of kids across multiple products, experiences, and touchpoints."

Bauerle said, "I absolutely love kids' books, kids publishing, and the amazing customers, buyers, authors, illustrators, booksellers, librarians, and media that make the magic happen for children and families. I'm thrilled to join Highlights where 'children are the world's most important people,' and a team that is dedicated to creating publications and experiences that foster curiosity, creativity, caring, and confidence."

Obituary Note: Antonio Negri

Italian philosopher Antonio Negri, "whose essays and activism calling for a new workers' revolution landed him in prison in 1979, and who two decades later became a global intellectual celebrity for writing Empire, a book hailed as the new Communist Manifesto," died December 16, the New York Times reported. He was 90.

As a leading figure of the Potere Operaio (Workers' Power) movement of the 1960s and '70s, Negri inspired followers with his forceful essays as well as his willingness to go out to the streets and factories of northern Italian cities, organizing workers and calling for revolution, the Times noted.

Empire (2000), co-authored with Michael Hardt, "did something similar for a new generation of the left, offering what many found a compelling Marxist interpretation of globalization after the Cold War," the Times observed. "Though it was written in dense academic prose and clocked in at nearly 500 pages, it was an immediate hit." Translated into a dozen languages, the book made bestseller lists "and secured Mr. Negri a permanent slot among the global progressive intelligentsia, alongside figures like Noam Chomsky and Slavoj Zizek."

"What Hardt and Negri offer is nothing less than a rewriting of The Communist Manifesto for our time," Zizek wrote in a blurb for the book.

Negri and Hardt went on to write two sequels--Multitude: War and Democracy in the Age of Empire (2004) and Commonwealth (2009), both of which attempted to outline means of resistance against globalized capital.

Despite criticism that Negri and Hardt had "underestimated the continuing relevance of the nation-state--for example in the Russia-Ukraine war or trade tensions between the United States and China," the Times noted that Negri's supporters claim "his work can also be seen as part of an evolving understanding of the complexities of 21st-century society, in which both corporations and governments have the power to shift geopolitics, while global grass-roots movements can emerge seemingly overnight and change the world."

"Empire was written at a juncture that was completely different than you find today," Sandro Mezzadra, a professor of political theory at the University of Bologna, said. "But there are many ideas in Empire that remain inspiring and challenge us to adapt them to the new conditions of globalization."


Image of the Day: P&P's New Store at the Wharf

Politics and Prose has relocated its branch at the Wharf in Washington, D.C., into a larger space (about 2,800 square feet) next to a coffee house and restaurant and in the same building as the Atlantic magazine.

Bookseller Moment: Interabang Books

Interabang Books, Dallas, Tex., expressed gratitude to the shop's customers in the most bookish way possible, noting on Instagram: "Thank you! With the help of our customers this holiday season, we raised over $9,000 for @unitedtolearn. Every single dollar is spent on new books we've curated from our shelves and will be passed along to over 50 @dallasisd schools and libraries. We are so grateful that our customers continue to show up for their community in big ways. Visit to find out more about the great cause, and see how far your dollar goes!"

Personnel Changes at BookScan; Berkley

Jonathan Stolper is leaving Circana and BookScan, which he has headed for 13 years. He was hired to run Nielsen's U.S. BookScan business in 2010. Five years later, he became the global managing director for Nielsen Book Services. In 2017, he led the sale and transition of the Nielsen U.S. Book business to the NPD Group, which was renamed to Circana in 2021.

Effective February 1, longtime client development executive director David Walter will lead the U.S. Books business under Circana's Entertainment Sector.


In the Berkley publicity and marketing departments:

Danielle Keir has been promoted to assistant director of publicity.

Kim Salina-I has been promoted to marketing associate.

Alicia Ross has been promoted to digital marketing associate.

Hillary Tacuri has been promoted to marketing associate.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Annie Liontas on Fresh Air

Here & Now: Sam Daley-Harris, author of Reclaiming Our Democracy: Every Citizen's Guide to Transformational Advocacy, 2024 Edition (Rivertowns Books, $32.95, 9781953943347).

Fresh Air: Annie Liontas, author of Sex with a Brain Injury: On Concussion and Recovery (Scribner, $28, 9781668015544).

The View: Liz Cheney, author of Oath and Honor: A Memoir and a Warning (Little, Brown, $32.50, 9780316572064).

Jennifer Hudson Show: Rich Paul, author of Lucky Me: A Memoir of Changing the Odds (Roc Lit 101, $28, 9780593448472).

Thornton Wilder Estate Gets New Literary Executor

Jeremy McCarter has been named literary executor of the Wilder Family LLC., Deadline reported, assuming the role this month from Thornton Wilder's nephew, Tappan Wilder, who has held the post since 1995. McCarter, a former New York magazine drama critic and co-author with Lin-Manuel Miranda of the bestselling book Hamilton: The Revolution, is the first non-family literary executor in 28 years to oversee all of the estate's intellectual properties.

In a statement, Tappan Wilder, the managing member of the Wilder Family LLC, said the appointment will allow McCarter "to make decisions regarding Thornton Wilder's intellectual properties and the estate's ongoing relationships with its agents and institutional partner." He added that the estate has tasked McCarter "to devote special time and energy to the adaptation possibilities in [Thornton] Wilder's full range of works."

The Wilder library encompasses an extensive bibliography, including plays such as Our Town and The Skin of Our Teeth, as well as opera libretti and nonfiction works. Wilder was the author of seven novels, including The Bridge of San Luis Rey, The Ides of March, The Eighth Day, and Theophius North. During Tappan Wilder's nearly 30 years as literary executor, all of his uncle's works have returned to print, including a major re-issue of the novels and his most significant plays, published by HarperCollins, Deadline wrote.

"Thornton Wilder is my favorite writer," said McCarter, "a restless innovator, an enviable stylist, a genius with an uncanny ability to see the cosmos and our tiny-but-enormous place in it. I'm honored and deeply grateful to the Wilder Family for a chance to be a steward of his work--to help more readers and viewers and listeners to discover it, and find ways for artists to go on being inspired by it, as it has always inspired me."

Books & Authors

Awards: Pacific Northwest Book Winners; Story Prize Finalists

Winners have been announced for the 2024 Pacific Northwest Book Awards, sponsored by the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association and chosen by independent booksellers. The winners:

Weird Rules to Follow by Kim Spencer (Orca Book Publishers)
The Lost Journals of Sacajewea by Debra Magpie Earling (Milkweed Editions)
Cascadia Field Guide, edited by Derek Sheffield and CMarie Furman in conjunction with Elizabeth Bradfield (Mountaineers Books)
Meet Me Tonight in Atlantic City by Jane Wong (Tin House)
You Just Need to Lose Weight by Aubrey Gordon (Beacon Press)
Doppleganger by Naomi Klein (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)


Three finalists have been chosen for the Story Prize, which is marking its 20th anniversary and honors the best short story collection of the year. The winner will be announced on Tuesday, March 26, at a private event that the Story Prize will livestream. The event will feature readings by and interviews with finalists, culminating in the announcement of the winner and acceptance of the $20,000 top prize and an engraved silver bowl. The runners-up will each receive $5,000. The finalists:

Wednesday's Child by Yiyun Li (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Other Minds and Other Stories by Bennett Sims (Two Dollar Radio)
The Hive and the Honey by Paul Yoon (Marysue Rucci Books)

Book Review

Reviews: Ours

Ours by Phillip B. Williams (Viking, $32 hardcover, 592p., 9780593654828, February 20, 2024)

Esteemed poet Phillip B. Williams (Thief in the Interior; Mutiny) offers a vast and rapturous feat of fabulism in his first novel, Ours. This is a 19th-century historical epic created with both a vivacious enthusiasm for folkloric traditions and a deep contemplation of what it means to be freed from the violent machine of slavery in the U.S.

Adopting the cadence of an oral historian, the narrator unlocks the robust enchantments that surround and protect a town called Ours, where freed men and women could build lives insulated from white supremacy. Ours springs from the audacity of a mysterious woman called Saint, who aims to "kill" slavery outright. After claiming a plot of land in Missouri, she raids Southern plantations, ushering the owners unto death while giving safe passage to Ours for "the newly freed." Through bewitched stone carvings, she makes this town inaccessible to the outside world.

"Freedom didn't mean safety," however. "And if there's anything more shockingly unpredictable than freedom, it's love." This idea is the truly marvelous fulcrum around which Ours pivots. As the novel sprawls across time, with the narrative occasionally bending back onto itself through a dreamy sort of chronology, the newly liberated face the dilemma of fashioning freedom from scratch, as best they can, on their own or with each other.

Moreover, their children must contend with the flawed examples of freedom laid out by the older generation. "How we supposed to learn from them when they never been free long enough to tell us how to do it?" the young man Luther-Philip asks his friend, confidant, and lover, Justice, who replies: "No right way to be free. That's why it's called free. You make all the right and wrong with it as you want. Just be mindful how much of each."

Williams has a voice that soars across each page, breathing life into his dazzling array of characters--the lovers and the malcontents, the queer and the mystical, the brazen and the cautious. While the novel coalesces around Saint and those most affected by her charms, as well as her treacheries, the bond between Luther-Philip and Justice gives one illustration for how expansive the author's ambitions are in crafting a mythos that is as generous as it is uncanny.

"Luther-Philip wanted freedom, so offered freedom in return. Justice wanted loyalty, so offered his entire self to another. But they were unevolved in love, so with clumsy steps they toed the thin line between generosity and selfishness, selfishness and resentfulness."

At an incredible 600 pages long, Ours is nevertheless a novel worth savoring. --Dave Wheeler, senior editor, Shelf Awareness

Shelf Talker: In a rapturous and dazzling historical epic, poet Phillip B. Williams contemplates the vast dilemma of a freedom conjured out of thin air.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Twisted Love by Ana Huang
2. Haunting Adeline by H.D. Carlton
3. Twisted Games by Ana Huang
4. King of Wrath by Ana Huang
5. The Ritual by Shantel Tessier
6. Twisted Hate by Ana Huang
7. Twisted Lies by Ana Huang
8. Keeping 13 by Chloe Walsh
9. Hunting Adeline by H.D. Carlton
10. Hooked by Emily McIntire

[Many thanks to!]

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