The two dozen booksellers TP recently asked about holiday sales expectations for a strong season even before, late last month, Penguin Random House announced the Nov. 15 release of The light we carry. Michelle Obama’s timely follow-up to Becomeabout staying positive despite life’s challenges, will have a circulation of 2.75 million copies.
“This is great news,” says David Enyeart, director of Next Chapter Booksellers in St. Paul, Minn. of the year, that books are a valuable and desirable gift option. We will be ordering large quantities, because I absolutely do not want to run out of this book. The big issue here will be where to keep all those books until we can start selling them.
Luisa Smith, purchasing manager for Book Passage in Corte Madera and San Francisco, is also ordering big. “Our greatest hope,” Smith says, “is that customers who buy his book will come to our stores and linger, discover a few more books to buy, and also increase the season for other authors.”
Declaring that The light we carry is “definitely at the top of my list, for adults,” Ramunda Lark Young, co-owner of MahoganyBooks in Washington, D.C., and National Harbor, Md., says she’s also “really excited” about April Ryan’s Black Women Will Save the World: An Anthem, which intertwines the journalist’s personal story with profiles of black women leaders.
Noting that celebrity memoirs are perfect for gift givers who are “nervous to pull the trigger on a novel,” Emily Berg, managing director of Books & Books in Key West, Fla., is enthusiastic about Paul Newman . The extraordinary life of an ordinary man and that of Steve Martin Step number one: my life in the Movies and other entertainmentwith designs by Harry Bliss.
Top picks from Colleen Kammer and Cary Loren, co-owners of suburban Detroit Book Beat, are Patti Smith’s memoir in photographs inspired by her Instagram, A book of days; by Bob Dylan The Philosophy of Modern Song, his first book since receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature; and Eye Dreaming: Photographs by Anthony Barboza, by Barboza, Aaron Bryant and Mazie M. Harris. “Many of our clients are artists, writers, poets and musicians,” says Loren. “We tend to look for books that are interesting, even a little edgy. And we haven’t seen one of Barboza’s books in years. He’s one of my favorite photographers. »
Alie Hess, senior buyer at Brookline Booksmith in Brookline, Mass., is stocking up on cookbooks, which are selling very well in her store. She is particularly enthusiastic about Ina Garten Unmissable dinners and Deb Perelman Kitchen keepers banged. Among the non-fiction books she dubs a “Brookline book” is the sequel to Randall Munroe’s bestseller What if?simply titled What Whether? 2.
Andrea Griffith, owner of Browsers Bookshop in Olympia, Washington, curates Ross Gay’s new collection of essays, Encourage joy. His previous collection, The book of delights, is one of his favorites, and Griffith says the cover of his new book is even better. As for Carrie Koepke, manager of Skylark Bookshop in Columbia, Mo., her response to Encourage joyit is potential as a holiday sale is, “Yes. Yes, simply.
Booksellers are also buzzing with fiction, especially two first novels, Louise Kennedy’s Offenses and that of Joanna Quinn The Whale Bone Theateras well as Morgan Talty’s collection of stories, Living Ground Night.
“I heard Talty speak in April and was blown away,” said Ellen Richmond, owner of Book Cellar in Waterville, Maine. “He spoke incredibly well about the Aboriginal experience. The book is set in New England, it’s nice to have that voice.
Many booksellers are eager to sell Cormac McCarthy’s two related releases scheduled a month apart: The passenger and Stella Maris. “Two books by the same author, and it’s Cormac McCarthy,” says Brookline’s Hess. “He hasn’t had a book for so long. It wouldn’t surprise me if people bought two or three of each to give to friends.
Other fiction titles by well-known writers that booksellers are excited about include Barbara Kingsolver demon copper headby Ian McEwan Courseby Celeste Ng Our missing heartsand Maggie O’Farrell The wedding portrait.
Chris Weber, co-owner of the library in Cincinnati, singles out Matthew Quick’s we are the light. “It took me to places I didn’t want to go,” he says. “But I’m glad that Lucas [the book’s protagonist] showed me the way. This is one of the most powerful stories I’ve read in years.
Hot picks for kids
On the children’s side, booksellers predict picture books by beloved authors and illustrators will fly off the shelves, including The three gruff goats by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen, Green is for Christmas by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers, and Meanwhile back on Earth by Oliver Jeffers. Enyeart of Next Chapter is also pleased to sell a bilingual edition of question book by Pablo Neruda and Paloma Valdivia, which he describes as “both magnificent and poetic”.
Average-quality fiction with historical backdrops tops many booksellers’ lists. Amy Brabenec, Brookline Booksmith’s children’s buyer and assistant operations manager, is blown away by Kwame Alexander The door of no return. “Hearing that this is not a book about slavery but rather a coming of age story that also touches on that story makes me think this will be one of those books that adults choose for children but with which children fall in love,” she says.
Shirley Mullin, owner of Kids Ink children’s bookstore in Indianapolis, is intrigued by Michael Leali’s “fascinating” dive into LGBTQ history, Amos Abernathy’s Civil War.
Series also dominates this fall’s mid-level and YA picks. Jill Yeomans, co-owner of White Whale Bookstore in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is “obsessed” with The biggest in the world!, the first book in Ben Clanton’s new graphic novel series, Tater Tales. She also says she “fell in love” with the art and humor in S’more Magic by Sophie Escabasse, the third volume in the Witches of Brooklyn graphic novel series. His top YA pick is bloodiedthe second book in Tracy Deonn’s Legendborn Cycle.
Bookseller Andrew King of the Secret Garden Bookshop in Seattle says his top YA pick is Jas Hammonds’ standalone book We deserve monuments. “It absolutely delivered and is so well thought out and perfectly interwoven,” he adds. “None of us could believe it was a start.”
As for non-fiction for children, recommendations from booksellers testify to the importance of books well beyond the holiday season. MahoganyBooks’ Young is an evangelist of the memoirs of Olympic gold medalist Tommie Smith, Victory. Support! Raise my fist for Justicee, co-authored by Derrick Barnes and Dawud Anyabwile. She calls it “a beautiful bridge to history that is also current.”
Jessica Hahl, events coordinator at Country Bookshelf in Bozeman, Mont., is also passionate about the YA edition of Robin Wall Kimmerer’s bestseller. Sweet grass braiding, adapted by Monique Gray Smith. “I’m trying to get it into as many hands as possible,” Hahl says, “I think it can save the world.”
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A version of this article originally appeared in the 08/29/2022 issue of Weekly editors under the title: Big Holiday Books