Also published on this date: February 12, 2024 Dedicated Issue: Sourcebooks Celebrates Women's Stories

Shelf Awareness for Monday, February 12, 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.

Editors' Note

Visit Us at Winter Institute

We hope to see many of you over the next three days at the ABA's Winter Institute!

We have a table at the Vendor Showcase, where we'll be on hand to talk with current bookstore partners about your mailings, to walk through your data dashboard, or show you how to use your custom features. If you're not a partner yet, we can help answer questions about the free, customized marketing e-mails we offer indie bookstores that encourage customers to buy more books directly from your store.

And come pick up our special limited-edition pin!

Stop by, or set up a time to talk via e-mail.

BINC: We want your feedback. Take the survey!


Winter Institute Opens in Cincinnati

The American Booksellers Association's 19th Winter Institute opened yesterday in Cincinnati, Ohio, with a variety of programs, tours, workshops, dinners--and some impromptu Super Bowl watching parties. Today's full day of programming includes the breakfast keynote with James Rhee, author of red helicopter, and lunch keynote with William Ury, author of Possible: How We Survive (and Thrive) in an Age of Conflict.

Following a day of bookstore tours and workshops, booksellers gathered for the opening reception, which featured dragon dancers and drummers to celebrate Lunar New Year.

Mostly from Florida: (from l.) booksellers Alyssa Exposito, Books & Books, Coral Gables, Fla.; Emma Straub, Books Are Magic, Brooklyn, N.Y. (who claims she's "Floridian by marriage"); Lauren Groff, owner of the soon-to-open The Lynx, Gainesville, Fla.; Gaël LeLamer and Cristina Nosti, Books & Books.

Lanora Jennings, who's at Winter Institute collecting the experiences, insights, and perspectives of current and former booksellers for the Bookseller Oral History Project, with Alyson Turner and Janet Jones, Source Booksellers, Detroit, Mich., and Kris Kleindienst, Left Bank Books, St. Louis, Mo.

Poet, essayist, and cultural critic Hanif Abdurraqib gave the keynote at the Independent Publishers Caucus's Indie Press Summit Sunday, describing how being published by indie presses--including Button Poetry, Two Dollar Radio, the University of Texas Press, and Tin House--helped him develop as a writer. Working with independent publishers, he said, "I learned how to make my books and make them look the way I want to and have the work inside I want to have. I learned how to take risks and have those risks reflected in the texts."

Lovebound Library Opens in Salt Lake City

Romance-focused bookstore Lovebound Library has opened in Salt Lake City, Utah, the Salt Lake Tribune reported. The store is located at 145 E. 900 South.

Owner Courtney Stookey

Owner Courtney Stookey stocks a variety of romance sub-genres, including LGBTQIA+ romance, historical romance, and fantasy romance. In addition to books, Stookey carries sidelines like tote bags, candles, journals, pens, and bookmarks, with nonbook products sourced primarily from women-owned businesses.

Stookey told the Tribune that she was inspired not only by the success of other romance-focused bookstores around the country, but also by the success of genre and speciality bookstores in Salt Lake City, including the Legendarium, which focuses on science fiction and fantasy, and the queer bookstore Under the Umbrella.

She noted that she's always been a big genre reader, but did not start reading romance until the Covid-19 pandemic. Discovering the genre was a "breath of fresh air." In creating Lovebound Library, she wanted romance readers to feel the same excitement she felt when she first visited the Legendarium. She also wanted to make sure that everyone feels welcome.

"I know there is kind of the whole stigma of 'romance is only for women,' but it's really not," Stookey added. "I want people to feel empowered to come in, whoever you are... and just feel empowered and not judged. This is a very safe space and that's what I really wanted to create."

Turning Page Bookshop, Goose Creek, S.C., Launches Crowdfunding Campaign

VaLinda Miller, owner of Turning Page Bookshop in Goose Creek, S.C., has launched a GoFundMe campaign to help keep her bookstore open.

She is looking to raise $30,000, with the funds intended to pay back rent, purchase new carpet, acquire new fixtures and inventory, and create a bookmobile.

VaLinda Miller

"Turning Page Bookshop offers a welcoming space for literary and community gatherings, with a carefully curated selection of books suitable for all ages," Miller wrote on the campaign's webpage. "The shop is known for promoting local interest and diversity, and offers programming such as book clubs, author events, and children's storytime. The shop's environment is perfect for visitors to relax, chat with other book nerds, and enjoy the aroma of coffee and tea in the air."

Miller said she has had a lifelong passion for reading that was inspired by her grandmother introducing her to the library. She has worked and volunteered at bookstores and libraries around the country, and "it has and I think it will always be my purpose in life to give books to whoever wants or needs them."

Iris Books Coming to Greeneville, Tenn.

Iris Books will open next summer at 702 W. Main St. in Greeneville, Tenn. The Greeneville Sun reported that owner Americo Rodrigues plans to launch the new shop, which will also have a small coffee bar with pastries for sale, in a building that is currently being remodeled. Construction began last August after Rodrigues purchased the location.

The bookstore will feature a general-interest inventory, along with some sections geared toward homeschoolers, as well as children's books and used books. 

Rodrigues, who expects current construction and remodeling of the building to be completed by the end of March, added that he and his wife lived in Florida "pretty much all our lives," but wanted to move to this area in search of "a simpler way of life" without excessive heat or humidity. He named Iris Books after Tennessee's state flower.

Sales & Marketing Changes at Candlewick Press, Holiday House, Peachtree, Pixel + Ink

Mary Marotta

Candlewick Press, Holiday House, Peachtree, and Pixel + Ink--all owned by Trustbridge Global Media--are combining their sales and marketing effort under the leadership of Mary Marotta, who has been promoted to senior v-p of sales, marketing, and business development for the four publishers in the U.S. and Canada. Marotta was previously senior v-p of sales for Candlewick Press.

In addition, Derek Stordahl, who has been general manager of Holiday House, Peachtree, and Pixel + Ink, is taking on the newly created role of senior v-p, global integration and planning, for the group. He will continue to oversee editorial acquisitions of Holiday House, Peachtree, and Pixel + Ink while leading collaboration of the four North American companies and their sister companies Walker Books UK and Walker Books Australia, with a focus on global export and rights markets.

Beginning with the spring 2025 list, current Candlewick Press sales staff will sell all four houses' books. Penguin Random House will continue to warehouse and distribute all four houses' books in North America and continue to sell and market the lists for special markets in the U.S. and for all accounts in Canada.

Marotta said, "This is an exciting opportunity for our sister companies to integrate more meaningfully in the U.S., benefit from greater scale, and work together to grow opportunities for our creators. Our sales team is unmatched in its ambition and depth of experience, and working with an even larger portfolio of award-winning and beloved titles will enable them to further expand their reach. Given these extraordinary combined lists, we're also looking to add exceptional people to the sales team in key areas."


Image of the Day: Forged Launch at Moon Palace

Moon Palace Books in Minneapolis, Minn., hosted the launch of Forged (Broadleaf Books) by debut author, minister, and youth advocate T.C. Moore, pictured with Angela Schwesnedi, co-owner of Moon Palace.

Happy 20th Birthday, Third Street Books!

Congratulations to Third Street Books, McMinnville, Ore., which celebrates its 20th anniversary this coming weekend, starting on Friday, February 16, 6-7 p.m., with a sparkling toast and community cheers. Then over the weekend, the store will feature:

  • A Gratitude Jar, with slips that will have a different note including discounts on certain items, a chance to pick a free book from the book cart, a tote bag filled with fun items from publishing friends, and more!
  • A limited number of locally made, hand-wrapped caramels from Vadnay Chocolate Company.
  • A raffle to benefit SMART, an Oregon children's literacy nonprofit. Win some gear and support a great organization at the same time! With $5 tickets, prizes are a store tote with a store cozy sweatshirt, a book-themed mug, store sticker and journal, and a $30 gift certificate. Drawing will take place Monday morning.
  • Blind Date with a Book, a customer favorite that's being brought back for the weekend.
  • Celebrity Storytime at 1:30 p.m., a new series held the third Saturday of each month. The first celebrity is McMinnville mayor Remy Drabkin. Attendees will also receive a small bag of goodies.
  • All week long there will be a display of the store's bestselling books over the years. They and staff picks will all be 20% off. The store noted that one of its all-time bestsellers is Birds of the Willamette Valley.

B&N's February Book Club Pick: Good Material

Barnes & Noble has chosen Good Material by Dolly Alderton (Knopf) as its February national book club selection. In a live virtual event on Tuesday, March 5, at 3 p.m. Eastern, Alderton will be in conversation with Lexie Smyth, category manager for fiction at B&N, and Jenna Seery, associate producer of B&N's Poured Over podcast.

Seery said, "With Good Material, Dolly Alderton once again proves that no one else writes about love the way she does. The story of a break-up from two perspectives, it reads like Nora Ephron meets Nick Hornby. Populated by an unforgettable cast of characters, Alderton has crafted a story I wanted to climb inside of and live in. Laugh-out-loud funny, tender, and full of her signature insights about matters of the heart, our Book Club readers will find so much to discuss about Jen and Andy's break up. I am so jealous of everyone who gets to read this for the first time, and I'm so pleased to share this as our February Book Club pick."

For more information, click here.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Elizabeth Comen on Good Morning America

Good Morning America: Elizabeth Comen, author of All in Her Head: The Truth and Lies Early Medicine Taught Us About Women's Bodies and Why It Matters Today (Harper Wave, $32, 9780063293014).

Tamron Hall: Rachel DeAlto, author of Relatable: How to Connect with Anyone, Anywhere (Even If It Scares You) (Simon Element, $16.99, 9781982171100).

Good Morning America: Joe Wicks, author of Lean in 15: 15-Minute Meals and Workouts to Keep You Lean and Healthy (Morrow, $24.99, 9780062493668).

Today Show: Toya Boudy, author of Cooking for the Culture: Recipes and Stories from the New Orleans Streets to the Table (Countryman Press, $32.50, 9781682687451).

The View: Billy Dee Williams, author of What Have We Here?: Portraits of a Life (Knopf, $32, 9780593318607).

Movies: Klara and the Sun

Mia Tharia and Aran Murphy have been added to the cast of Klara and the Sun, Taika Waititi's film adaptation of the 2021 novel by Kazuo Ishiguro for Sony's 3000 Pictures. They join previously announced cast members Jenna Ortega and Amy Adams.

Adapted by screenwriter Dahvi Waller, the film is produced by Heyday Films' David Heyman, Garrett Basch, and Waititi. Ishiguro is serving as an executive producer. Elizabeth Gabler and Aislinn Dunster are overseeing for 3000 Pictures.

Books & Authors

Awards: Lionel Gelber Nonfiction Shortlist

A five-book shortlist has been released for the C$50,000 (about US$37,150) Lionel Gelber Prize, which recognizes "the world's best book on international affairs published in English." The winner will be named March 6, and take part in a hybrid event hosted by the University of Toronto's Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy on March 25. This year's Lionel Gelber finalists are:

Power and Progress: Our 1000-year Struggle Over Technology and Prosperity by Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson (PublicAffairs)
Underground Empire: How America Weaponized the World Economy by Henry Farrell & Abraham Newman (Holt)
Homelands: A Personal History of Europe by Timothy Garton Ash (Yale University Press)
Seven Crashes: The Economic Crises that Shaped Globalization by Harold James (Yale University Press)
We, The Data: Human Rights in the Digital Age by Wendy H. Wong (MIT Press)

Book Review

Review: A Revolver to Carry at Night

A Revolver to Carry at Night by Monika Zgustova, trans. by Julie Jones (Other Press, $15.99 paperback, 160p., 9781635423808, April 9, 2024)

With A Revolver to Carry at Night, Monika Zgustova (Dressed for a Dance in the Snow) examines the life of a fictionalized Véra Nabokov, necessarily in relation to the famous husband whose career she helped shape. Zgustova offers snippets of the lives of Véra and Vladimir, including both mundane and life-changing moments, alongside their son, Dmitri; Vladimir's one-time lover Irina Guadanini; and the Nabokovs' friend Filippa Rolf. Translated from the Spanish by Julie Jones, this brief but absorbing novel is both terse and expressive.

The novel contains four parts, set in 1977 Montreux; 1937 Cannes; 1964 Boston and New York; and finally Montreux in 1990, following Vladimir Nabokov's death. These nonchronological sections allow for various perspectives on the same events, like the couple's first meeting. In Zgustova's telling, Véra orchestrated the relationship and the marriage from the start. Planning to meet the author at a dance, "[s]he thought that she could only attract a special man like him by doing something original. That's why she had chosen to wear not a delicate, feminine mask but the head of a wolf." The image of the wolf that would indeed intrigue him that night will be evoked again later to describe Véra. A Revolver to Carry at Night is told in a close third-person narrative, shifting perspective among Véra, Vladimir, and others, allowing readers to become engrossed in the various characters' thoughts and feelings.

"She knew that in Russian circles, people said that Véra had coerced Vladimir into marrying her. They may have been right, but... so what? We all create our own lives. If she hadn't organized it, he wouldn't have married her, and with a different wife, he would never have become a famous writer." Véra is "that crazy, marvelous sleepwalker," "a fragile and vulnerable woman," ambitious, complex, controlling, and not necessarily likable. "She knew she didn't have any artistic talent and lacked creative genius... so she decided to realize the work of her life by creating someone whom she could help by fusing with him and becoming part of his creation...." In the absence of her own creative career, she privately takes credit for her contributions to Vladimir's. "She was proud to leave her own mark, although it was small and anonymous, on world literature." The titular revolver is a literal object Véra carries as well as a symbol of her insecurity and tough exterior; it is observed that "Véra would always make sure it was loaded."

Based on events from the Nabokovs' real lives, A Revolver to Carry at Night offers insight as well as imagination into the life of a strong woman who fought for what she wanted. It is not always flattering, but its subject would appreciate the hard-nosed lack of sentimentality. --Julia Kastner, librarian and blogger at pagesofjulia

Shelf Talker: This slim, immersive novel cleverly examines the interior experiences of Véra Nabokov as she supports her famous husband's literary career.

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