Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, May 14, 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.


Beyond Text Comes to Los Gatos, Calif.

Beyond Text, an all-ages, general-interest bookstore, opened on May 4 in Los Gatos, Calif., the Mercury News reported.

In building her store's inventory, owner Tanya Sedneva has emphasized illustrated and special editions that highlight the value and desirability of physical books. "I wanted to inspire the visitors to linger and immerse themselves in a world of books," she told the News.

Alongside books, she carries gifts, board games, and a variety of home decor. Her event plans include author signings, book club discussions, and more. On Thursday, Beyond Text will host a mafia game night, and there are author events coming in early June.

A lifelong reader, Sedneva chose to open a bookstore of her own after being laid off from a job in the tech industry last year. She explained that the store's name is a reference to the heightened experience that physical books provide compared to e-readers.

Her store is located at 318 North Santa Cruz Ave. in downtown Los Gatos.

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The Willow Bookstore, Perham, Minn., Changes Name to Big Pine Books

As of May 1, the Willow Bookstore in Perham, Minn., is officially Big Pine Books, the Perham Focus reported.

Owner Greta Guck, who purchased the store in 2023, has a ribbon cutting planned for the renamed store today followed by a grand opening celebration on May 18. The festivities will include food, giveaways, and a drawing for a $200 gift card.

In addition to changing the name, Guck has added a sizable selection of used books to the back of the store, which now has its own entrance as well as new seating. She has also started a buying program for used books that offers store credit. Guck told the Focus she seeks "to offer a wide variety of books, at every price point."

Guck will continue to host the store's book club, and she has a handful of author events scheduled for the summer. She hopes to host more in the fall.

Prior to buying the store last year, Guck had been a librarian for 11 years. She took provisional ownership of the store in May 2023 and closed in June. Guck grew up on Perham's Big Pine Lake and changed the store's name to honor it.

S&S's Adam Rothberg to Retire

Adam Rothberg, longtime head of corporate communications at Simon & Schuster, is retiring at the end of July.

Adam Rothberg

He began his publishing career in 1985 in the publicity department of Pocket Books. From 1994 to 1999, he was director of publicity at Villard Books/Random House, but then returned to S&S to work in corporate communications for the past 25 years, with the current title of senior v-p, corporate communications. He has also overseen the company's philanthropic activities and conducted publicity campaigns for quite a few books, including Into Thin Air and Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer, The Unlikely Spy by Daniel Silva, The Proud Highway by Hunter S. Thompson, By George by George Foreman, and Rage to Survive by Etta James.

In an announcement to staff, S&S president and CEO Jonathan Karp praised Rothberg for having "long personified the voice and spirit of Simon & Schuster." For Karp--and previous CEOs Jack Romanos and Carolyn Reidy--Rothberg "has been the one to make our public comments more graceful and gracious and our written remarks more thoughtful and memorable," Karp continued. "Adam's empathetic and strategic approach to his work has informed our policies and helped make Simon & Schuster's leadership more connected to the concerns of our employees and authors. These qualities have been especially critical over the past few years as we navigated the sale process, our transition to new ownership, and the establishment of Simon & Schuster as an independent, standalone publishing company.

"On numerous occasions, Adam has correctly anticipated the questions we might hear--internally or externally--and framed constructive responses. Some people in Adam's line of work are good at putting out fires, but Adam is so attuned to the subtleties of the publishing business that he's often on the scene before there's even a puff of smoke."

Karp also called Rothberg "a superb wordsmith and communicator. During one of the many political book controversies of 2020 and 2021, it was Adam who wrote, 'We come to work each day to publish, not cancel.' It has always bothered me that I got credit for that artful phrasing; it was Adam's."

We at Shelf Awareness have enjoyed working with Adam these many years. He's always been straightforward, communicative, personable, and informative. We wish him well in retirement!

Obituary Note: Bernard Pivot

Bernard Pivot

Bernard Pivot, whose weekly TV show Apostrophes deeply influenced what the French public read between 1975 and 1990, died on May 6. He was 89.

"The country watched him cajole, needle and flatter novelists, memoirists, politicians and actors, and the next day went out to bookstores looking for the tables marked Apostrophes," the New York Times wrote. "In a French universe where serious writers and intellectuals jostle ferociously for the public's attention to become superstars, Mr. Pivot never competed with his guests. He achieved a kind of elevated chitchat that flattered his audience without taxing his invitees."

He was responsible for an estimated third of all book sales in France for 15 years. In 1982, "one of President François Mitterrand's advisers, the leftist intellectual Régis Debray, vowed to get rid of the power of 'a single person who has real dictatorial power over the book market.' But the president stepped in to stanch the resulting outcry, reaffirming Mr. Pivot's power."

Current President Emmanuel Macron wrote on social media that Pivot was "a transmitter, popular and demanding, dear to the heart of the French." And Le Parisien's headline about Pivot's death was "The Man Who Made Us Love Books."

Pivot interviewed such French literary giants as Marguerite Duras, Patrick Modiano, Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio, Marguerite Yourcenar, and Georges Simenon. Americans who appeared on the show included William Styron, Susan Sontag, Henry Kissinger, Norman Mailer, Mary McCarthy, Charles Bukowski, and Paul Auster.

Altogether 723 episodes of Apostrophes ran. In 2001, he began hosting Bouillon de Culture, which ran for 10 years. In 2014, he became president of the Goncourt Academy, a position he held for five years.

He also wrote some 20 books, "principally about reading, and several dictionaries."


Iowa's Swamp Fox Bookstore Celebrates Its Move

With a week of events, Swamp Fox Bookstore, Marion, Iowa, celebrated Independent Bookstore Day and the grand reopening of its new location at 1375 7th Ave., a larger space than its previous one. At the ribbon-cutting: Marion Chamber and Uptown District representatives (in red blazers), flanking store co-owners Terri LeBlanc (in black shirt) and Amanda Zhorne. (Photo: Swamp Fox Bookstore)

Personnel Changes at Summit Books

Anna Skrabacz has joined Summit Books as associate director of marketing. She most recently worked in marketing and publicity at Pushkin and earlier worked at Thames & Hudson and W.W. Norton.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Whoopi Goldberg on CBS Mornings, Sherri Shepherd

CBS Mornings: Whoopi Goldberg, author of Bits and Pieces: My Mother, My Brother, and Me (Blackstone, $28.99, 9798200920235). She will also appear on the Sherri Shepherd Show.

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert: George Stephanopoulos, author of The Situation Room: The Inside Story of Presidents in Crisis (Grand Central, $35, 9781538740767).

Books & Authors

Awards: Carol Shields Fiction Winner

V.V. Ganeshananthan has been named the winner of the 2024 Carol Shields Prize for Fiction for her novel Brotherless Night (Random House). Managed by the Carol Shields Foundation and with an award of $150,000, the prize celebrates "creativity and excellence in fiction by women and non-binary writers in Canada and the U.S."

The jury commented: "An ambitious and beautifully written novel, Brotherless Night explores how ordinary people can be swept up in political violence and, despite their best efforts, eventually be swallowed by it. Through her sensitively crafted characters, V.V. Ganeshananthan asks us to consider how history is told, whom it serves, and the many truths it leaves out. A magnificent book."

Ganeshananthan is also the author of Love Marriage, which was longlisted for the Women's Prize. Her work has appeared in Granta, the New York Times, and The Best American Nonrequired Reading, among others. She teaches in the MFA program at the University of Minnesota and co-hosts the Fiction/Non/Fiction podcast on Literary Hub.

Book Review

Review: The Deading

The Deading by Nicholas Belardes (Erewhon Books, $28 hardcover, 304p., 9781645661290, July 23, 2024)

Nicholas Belardes's debut novel The Deading is an uncannily realized dystopian horror story that follows one small, seaside town's dissolution in the face of a mysterious environmental contagion.

The first sign of trouble for the residents of Baywood is a strange snail infestation at the local oyster farm. Soon, most of Baywood--including introverted birdwatcher Blas's mother and brother--are infected with a terrifying contagion. Its victims seize and become prone, a phenomenon the local youth call "deading" after a former Internet trend. When the government quarantines the once peaceful community, it quickly unravels. Blas distances himself from his classmates as they start a dangerous cult, called the Risers, who turn deading into a sacrificial religion. But escape isn't so easy in a world turned fanatical from environmental disaster.

But even before the contagion arrives on Baywood's shores, the "deading" Internet trend signaled unrest among the local high schoolers. Belardes transforms this more recognizable sense of existential angst into a terrifyingly tangible extremist cult in The Deading, one that uses the collective first-person plural "we" to enforce a feeling of inevitability: "Our manifesto feels like family, a contract, a reality. We need it more than ever because we instantly feel something has changed.... We feel something burning at the shoreline, getting into eyes, throats, and minds." The Risers' haunted "we" reminds readers of the intimate relationship between nature and society, the environment and humankind's collective psyches.

Belardes infuses The Deading with a healthy dose of grotesquerie, including the "slithering mass" of snails that "latched to [people's] burning skin with their sticky primordial glue," and the victims of deading who are compelled to staple gun their own cheeks. Belardes crafts a disturbing landscape of complicity and self-mutilation, of inescapable cycles of domination. But for as much brutality as exists in this dystopic Baywood, it goes hand in hand with wonder too, often in the form of the relationship Blas has with birding, which is framed in awe. Even at the height of the novel's horror, Blas is struck momentarily still by "the collective hum of wingbeats that follow one another in what has turned to a fiery pink-and-orange dusk and rapidly descending night," and a "continuing dark spiral of wings." In this eclipse of wings, perhaps the novel's most breathless moment, Belardes finds beauty. --Alice Martin, freelance writer and editor

Shelf Talker: At once grim and gripping, horrifying and revelatory, Nicholas Belardes's eco-horror, dystopian novel The Deading conjures a world that exists as a dark mirror to the reader's own.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. King of Sloth by Ana Huang
2. Haunting Adeline by H.D. Carlton
3. Twisted Love by Ana Huang
4. Wild Love by Elsie Silver
5. The Teacher by Freida McFadden
6. King of Wrath by Ana Huang
7. The Ritual: A Dark College Romance by Shantel Tessier
8. Vicious by L.J. Shen
9. Glint by Raven Kennedy
10. The Inmate by Freida McFadden

[Many thanks to!]

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