Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, April 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.


#SolarEclipse2024: 'We're Prepped and Ready for a Reading Break'

At Gibson's Bookstore, Concord, N.H.

Yesterday's solar eclipse was a major event, whether or not you were in the "path of totality." Many indie booksellers joined in the fun, including:

BookPeople, Austin, Tex.: "As you may have heard, weather conditions are looking cloudy and possibly rainy during the total solar eclipse on Monday. That said, we are still unwavering in our excitement for our watch party, Picnic in the Parking Lot! Even with limited visibility, the eclipse should still be a historic experience that we can't wait to share with you!"

Copperfish Books, Punta Gorda, Fla.: "The crew here at Copperfish want to give you a gentle reminder not to let the eclipse overshadow your reading!"

Fitz Books & Waffles, Buffalo, N.Y.: "Thank you @itinerantprinter for the stellar, as always, Total Eclipse commemorative print! Welcoming seekers from all parts to our region and celebrating this Big Moment with our beloved Buffalo community."

The Understudy, Chicago, Ill.: "Are you guys ready for the eclipse? We're rehearsing."

Split Rock Books, Cold Spring, N.Y.: "Today's the day!... We have one copy of each of these books left--purchase either one to get a free pair of eclipse glasses with them! With thanks to our friends at @bookmoonbooks for having the perfect shirt for the occasion."

Bear Pond Books, Montpelier, Vt.: "Really exciting stuff this week in Montpelier, VT: a total solar eclipse and a tortoise wearing glasses! Which one is cooler? It's really hard to say!"

At Mrs. Dalloway's Bookstore, Berkeley, Calif., owners Eric and Jessica Green

Wild Geese Bookshop, Franklin, Ind.: "Eclipse party people: we are ready! Our 100 year old house plumbing may not be though so we have these friends with us for the weekend."

The Stacks Bookstore, Savannah, Ga.: "Happy Eclipse Day! Unfortunately we don't have eclipse glasses, but we do have books, which can make great sun-blockers in a pinch."

The Book & Cover, Chattanooga, Tenn.: "The eclipse may be partially viewed but this drink special designed by our very own Celestial Cafe Empress Jewel is totally delicious."

M. Judson Booksellers, Greenville, S.C.: "We're prepped and ready for a reading break this afternoon."

Revolution Books, New York, N.Y.: "Experience Monday's TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE outside Revolution Books together with people looking forward to this rare occurrence with awe and wonder, people thinking about the science behind what is happening and why, people who want to be with others fighting for a different world, one where future generations survive to watch future eclipses in a revolutionary society fit for human beings! If any of these are you, come on over."

Books & Brews, Indianapolis, Ind.: "Now that we've all been amazed, come to b&b for dinner and $3.99 Mug Fills for Mug Club members."

Carmichael's Bookstore, Louisville, Ky.: "We enjoyed stepping outside with our friends from Just Creations to watch the eclipse!"

Turn the Page Bookstore Cafe, Boonsboro, Md.: "Having fun at TTP with today's eclipse! We even had a customer visiting from Alaska that joined in on the fun!"

Analog Books, Lethbridge, Alb., Canada: "The eclipse and Analog welcomed the teachers of Nicholas Sheran School for a private PD Day event at the bookstore. Everyone enjoyed the view, browsing and visiting. Thank you Mr. Fitchet for arranging the event."

Caprichos Books, Ocean Pines, Md.: "We will be collecting Eclipse glasses after Monday so we can ship them in bulk to this organization [which is sending them to children in South America to use during an August eclipse]! Please bring them in next weekend!! Thank you."

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Bookish Opens in Modesto, Calif.

Bookish, a new and used bookstore with a general-interest inventory, has opened in Modesto, Calif., the Modesto Bee reported.

Store owners Paula Treick Deboard and Will DeBoard carry titles for all ages. There is an emphasis on local authors, and the broader selection includes a variety of fiction and nonfiction genres. There is a "Little Bookish" children's area, complete with activity tables, and alongside books customers can find artwork and merchandise made by craftspeople and artisans in California's Central Valley. In addition, the DeBoards have a coffee cart featuring hot beverages and snack items.

The DeBoards celebrated the store's grand opening on Thursday morning with a ribbon-cutting that included a visit from Modesto mayor Sue Zwahlen. Festivities continued on Friday and Saturday, with a visit from a local musician and prize drawings.

The owners' event plans include author readings, book club meetings, live music, art workshops, and more. On April 11, the store will start accepting customers' used books in exchange for store credit.

The DeBoards were inspired to open an independent bookstore of their own after Modesto indie Yesterday's Books closed in 2022. They knew Modesto needed a bookstore, and eventually they decided they would be the ones to do it. The married couple ran a crowdfunding campaign to help them launch the bookstore, and now the names of those who donated are incorporated in designs in the children's area.

Grand Opening for Queer Haven Books, Columbia, S.C.

Queer Haven Books hosted a grand opening celebration last Sunday in the Arcade Mall at 1332 Main St., Columbia, S.C. WLTX reported that the bookstore aims to be "a welcoming space for the LGBTQ community and its allies.... It's a store that owner Baker Rogers hopes will pave a way for queer establishments in the state of South Carolina."

"We wanted it to also be a place of gathering, not just a place to shop," said Rogers, who had dreamed of opening a space dedicated to acceptance and community. "I really wanted to open a gay bar," they added. After earning a PhD in sociology they decided a bookstore might be a better idea: "My research is all in gender and sexuality in the Southeast. I also know that LGBT people have higher incidences of substance abuse and things because of the pressures and stigmas." 

The bookstore is meant to be a space without those pressures and stigmas. "We build these communities at events and stuff, we talk to people and have some interaction online, but being able to sit down and share space with people," they said.

The Columbia community has for the most part been supportive. "We've had a little pushback when we publish ads on Facebook, but those are just trolls on the Internet," Rogers said. "We haven't had anyone say anything to us in person and we have had complete support from the community."

As the bookshop develops, they plan to "make it more local and more queer, and we are going to get in some queer artists work on the walls for sale, and probably do a couple art shows and things like that. It's such a niche store... we will see how it goes."  

After the grand opening, Queer Haven Books posted on Facebook: "Wow!!! The word incredible is not adequate to describe today! We met so many beautiful people and felt so much love! Thank you to everyone who came out to see us! We can't wait to see you again!"

Obituary Note: Carolyn Caughey

Carolyn Caughey, former publishing director at Hodder & Stoughton, died March 11. A Canadian, Caughey lived in England for most of her life, the Bookseller reported, adding that the acquisition of New English Library in 1981 brought her to Hodder & Stoughton, where she published a wide range of authors, particularly in the fields of crime and science fiction. 

Caughey was closely connected with the work of Dorothy L. Sayers and the Dorothy L. Sayers Society. She worked with Jill Paton Walsh on Thrones, Dominations--the unfinished Sayers novel that Paton Walsh completed--and three more Lord Peter Wimsey novels.

Hodder Publisher Nick Sayers remembered Caughey as "absolutely the best editor of a text. She could always be relied upon to put together the most complicated project and her careful attention to detail went down to the smallest question of punctuation or--in historical fiction--social etiquette. Carolyn was always good company and a generous mentor to younger editors. She will be much missed."

Caughey left Hodder in the early 2000s but continued to work with several authors on a freelance basis, most notably novelist Anthony Riches, who said: "Having worked with Carolyn since 2008, and produced 17 books in that time, I was deeply saddened by the news of her passing. Our relationship was perfectly balanced between the tensions of editorial oversight and author creativity, and not once in all that time did we fail to resolve a question in anything other than a harmonious and collaborative manner. I never failed to smile at her e-mails, which launched straight into business without any of the reflexive 'hi' we're all supposed to use, or a signature for that matter, typical of her no-nonsense approach to communication, and I mourn the fact that I'll never receive another one. She will be sadly missed."


Image of the Day: Celebrating Simon & Schuster's 100th Anniversary

Last night, at Town Hall in New York City, where authors celebrated Simon & Schuster's 100th birthday and raised money for Binc: (from l.) Jonah Zimiles of [words] Bookstore, Maplewood, N.J.; Sarah Bagby of Watermark Books & Café, Wichita, Kans.; Binc v-p Annie Philbrick of Bank Square Books, Mystic, Conn.; Pam French, Binc executive director; and Binc president Chris Morrow, formerly of Northshire Bookstore, Manchester Center, Vt., and Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

Consortium Adds Six Publishers

Ingram's Consortium Book Sales & Distribution has added six publishers for the fall 2024 season. Radius Books began to be sold and distributed by Consortium on April 1; the other five begin on June 1.

Assembly Press is a new boutique publisher of literary fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, founded by three Canadian publishing veterans. The debut list includes collections from established writers, debut works, and more. Titles on the fall list include The Lodgers, Scandal at the Alphorn Factory, and Story Is a State of Mind.

Bitmap Books works with writers, designers, and gaming experts to create video game books that bring classic gaming memories to life. Notable releases this fall include The Art of the Box and A Guide to Japanese Role-Playing Games.

Concord Theatricals consists of the catalogs of R&H Theatricals, Samuel French, Tams-Witmark, the Andrew Lloyd Webber Collection, and others. It provides services to the creators and producers of plays and musicals, including theatrical licensing, music publishing, script publishing, cast recording, and first-class production. Notable recent releases include Hadestown and A Doll's House.

Lanternfish Press, founded in Philadelphia, Pa., in 2013, publishes literature of the rare and strange, including literary and speculative fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and the illustrated Clockwork Editions series. Key titles coming this fall include Sundown in San Ojuela and My Therapist Says This Grief Journal Is a Good Idea.

Radius Books, Santa Fe, N.Mex, is a nonprofit publisher with a focus on contemporary art and photography titles. Since its founding in 2007, Radius has given more than 75,000 books to libraries, schools, and arts programs in the U.S. Titles releasing this fall include Ruth Duckworth, Victoria Sambunaris: Taxonomy of a Landscape II, and Howard Smith.

Sacred Bones Records, Brooklyn, N.Y., is a 15-year-old record label and publishing company that aims to produce forward-thinking music, books, and culture. Its publishing department has released monographs by some of contemporary art's creators from the subversive underground. This fall it will publish Your Dream Home Book from HBO star and filmmaker John Wilson.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Amanda Montell on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Amanda Montell, author of The Age of Magical Overthinking: Notes on Modern Irrationality (Atria/One Signal, $28.99, 9781668007976).

CBS Mornings: Hanif Abdurraqib, author of There's Always This Year: On Basketball and Ascension (Random House, $32, 9780593448793).

Good Morning America: Leigh Bardugo, author of The Familiar: A Novel (Flatiron, $29.99, 9781250884251).

Live with Kelly and Mark: Neil deGrasse Tyson, author of Starry Messenger: Cosmic Perspectives on Civilization (Holt, $18.99, 9781250861511).

TV: The Baztan Trilogy

Pure Fiction Television is developing a returning, premium international TV series based on Dolores Redondo's Baztan Trilogy and the prequel, La Cara Norte del Corazón (The North Face of the Heart). Variety reported that the independent production company, headed by Tom Winchester (Shogun, Clickbait, The Capture), has secured the rights to the books, which have been translated into 39 languages.

Pure Fiction is developing the project with screenwriter and playwright Lydia Adetunji (His Dark Materials, Noughts & Crosses, The Last Kingdom). The adaptation will be in Spanish and English.

"When I first read The North Face of the Heart, I couldn't put it down," Winchester said. "It's a unique mix of supernatural crime drama, psychological thriller and epic disaster movie. All of the Baztan novels are real page-turners, featuring an intelligent and emotionally intuitive female lead in Amaia. Dolores already has a global fanbase and in Lydia Adetunji we have found a world-class screenwriter who will bring Amaia to life for a whole new audience via this premium adaptation.

"We want to keep true to Dolores's visceral Spanish sensibility and intend to work with European partners to bring an epic and authentic feel to the series, something Pure Fiction is hugely passionate about; developing big, bold returning series that subvert expectation and have something to say about the world in which we live."

Books & Authors

Awards: Carol Shields Fiction Shortlist; Plutarch Shortlist

The shortlist has been selected for the Carol Shields Prize for Fiction, which aims "to celebrate and amplify exceptional writing from women and non-binary authors from the United States and Canada." The winner receives $150,000 and a residency with Fogo Island Inn; each runner-up receives $12,500.

The shortlist:
Birnam Wood: A Novel by Eleanor Catton (McClelland & Stewart)
Daughter: A Novel by Claudia Dey (Doubleday Canada)
Coleman Hill by Kim Coleman Foote (SJP Lit)
Brotherless Night by V.V. Ganeshananthan (Random House)
A History of Burning: A Novel by Janika Oza (McClelland & Stewart)


The shortlist has been selected for the 2024 Plutarch Award, sponsored by the Biographers International Organization and honoring the best biography of the year.

The shortlist:
King: A Life by Jonathan Eig (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
To Anyone Who Ever Asks: The Life, Music, and Mystery of Connie Converse by Howard Fishman (Dutton)
The Hungry Season: A Journey of War, Love, and Survival by Lisa M. Hamilton (Little, Brown)
The Slip: The New York City Street That Changed American Art Forever by Prudence Peiffer (Harper)
Anansi's Gold: The Man Who Looted the West, Outfoxed Washington, and Swindled the World by Yepoka Yeebo (Bloomsbury)

Book Review

Review: Mouth

Mouth: Stories by Puloma Ghosh (Astra House, $26 hardcover, 224p., 9781662602474, June 11, 2024)

Mouth, Puloma Ghosh's debut, is a collection of 11 sometimes surreal, sometimes horrifying, always startling short stories. Grappling with themes of female bodily autonomy, the connection between sexuality and death, and the haunting influence of grief, these stories will unsettle and fascinate in equal measure.

In "Desiccation," a teen girl develops a sexual fantasy about the only other Indian girl at her local ice rink, Pritha, whom she thinks is a vampire. Linked notions of grief and sexuality persist in "In the Winter," a flash piece about a woman's raw sexual encounters in college. Meanwhile, "Nip" is told from the perspective of a woman's favorite perfume, already aching from the loss of her lover's skin, and "Natalya" chillingly unspools the truth behind one woman's death through the perspective of her ex-lover's systematic autopsy of her corpse.

In these stories, Ghosh's visceral descriptions make the abstractions of desire and rage elusive, slippery as scent or blood between fingers. For example, as the lonely protagonist of "Leaving Things" performs a C-section on a wolf to deliver the boy-creature who will become her lover, she watches as "small limbs kick and tear out of the wolf's womb, teeth gnashing through her skin.... Dazed, with my mouth and nose full of coin-edged blood scent, I stuck my hands into the shredded flesh." Like K-Ming Chang's carnal prose, Ghosh's delights in even the grotesque sides of sex and rebirth.

But while her stories often include substantial violence, their climaxes focus more on transcendent, existential questions. At the end of "In the Winter," the narrator wonders, "Was I the creature, or was he?... we took the room and tipped it into another world where it was never supposed to be, left a double of it behind so nobody would know." This uncanny sense of some parallel, negative space, waiting to entrap someone or swallow them whole arises in "Lemon Boy," too. A girl who already feels alienated from her post-college life meets an enigmatic boy who awakens her awareness to black holes that follow him "like some kind of all-invasive flora" and constantly threaten to consume him. Like the story the Lemon Boy tells, Ghosh's stories awaken readers to the gaping presence of their own insatiable hungers. --Alice Martin, freelance writer and editor

Shelf Talker: A collection of creepy and surreal stories, Mouth introduces readers to Puloma Ghosh's unmatched ability to probe the visceral depths of female pain, desire, and grief.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Twisted Love by Ana Huang
2. The Teacher by Freida McFadden
3. How Does It Feel? by Jeneane O'Riley
4. From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout
5. Gild by Raven Kennedy
6. A Touch of Darkness by Scarlett St. Clair
7. Where's Molly by H.D. Carlton
8. A Touch of Chaos by Scarlett St. Clair
9. Hunting Adeline by H.D. Carlton
10. The Ritual: A Dark College Romance by Shantel Tessier

[Many thanks to!]

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