Also published on this date: Monday, July 8, 2019: YA Maximum Shelf: Angel Mage

Shelf Awareness for Monday, July 8, 2019

Chronicle Books: Stella & Marigold by Annie Barrows, Illustrated by Sophie Blackall

Poisoned Pen Press: The Boyfriend by Frieda McFadden

St. Martin's Press: Disney High: The Untold Story of the Rise and Fall of Disney Channel's Tween Empire

Running Press Adult: Scam Goddess: Lessons from a Life of Cons, Grifts, and Schemes by Laci Mosley

Graphix: 39 Clues: One False Note (39 Clues Graphic Novel #2) by Gordon Korman, Illustrated by Hannah Templer


#BookstoresAgainstBorders Raises $30K

At Books Are Magic, Brooklyn, N.Y.

During the long July Fourth weekend, #BookstoresAgainstBorders raised nearly $30,000 (as of yesterday) for RAICES (Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, which helps provide legal aid to immigrants detained at the U.S.-Mexico border).

Organized by A Room of One's Own bookstore, Madison, Wis., #BookstoresAgainstBorders urged bookstores, publishers and others to donate 5%-20% of their sales from Thursday through yesterday to RAICES.

Window display at Yellowdog Bookshop, Columbia, Mo.

Among others, Next Chapter Booksellers, St. Paul, Minn., donated 10% of its proceeds to RAICES. Besides promoting the donations and suggesting direct donations to RAICES, the store wrote: "The next best thing you can do to help is to learn more and educate yourself about the situation and experiences of those affected at the border. Our booksellers are armed with recommendations to help start the learning process."

Subterranean Books, St. Louis, Mo., committed to donating 5% of its sales to RAICES. Yesterday it reported that "sales this weekend have been off the charts! Thank you for showing up, St. Louis."

Prairie Lights, Iowa City, Iowa, raised more than $1,500, according to KCRG.

For a full list of participating bookstores, publishers and others--who number about 150--click here.

Peachtree: The Littlest Yak: Home Is Where the Herd Is by Lu Fraser, Illustrated by Kate Hindley

Booksellers NZ Names Wi15 Scholarship Winners

Renee Rowland of the Twizel Bookshop in Twizel and Surinam Reddy of Time Out Bookstore in Auckland are Booksellers New Zealand's 2020 Winter Institute Scholarship winners. They will attend Wi15 in Baltimore, Md., next January 21-25. Flights and accommodation are covered by Booksellers NZ.

Renee Rowland

Rowland, who opened Twizel Bookshop two years ago, said, "This scholarship means the absolute world to me! To go from my tiny bookshop in the wop wops to the bright lights, big city of Baltimore and the heart of the American book industry will be amazing. I look forward to learning from the very best in the U.S., and to bringing back ideas, knowledge, and perspectives to share with the bookselling whanau in New Zealand so that we can all adapt and endure and keep doing what we love in a changing world."

Surinam Reddy

Reddy, who has been working at Time Out for more than four years and is currently assistant manager, said, "Winning a scholarship to this year's Winter Institute is an honor. I am so lucky to work and be recognized in an industry full of passionate, knowledgeable and community-focused peers. I look forward to learning innovations of the trade and the ways in which small, independent bookstores have continued to thrive and become cornerstones of communities in an era of online giants, and sharing this with New Zealand booksellers."

The panel selecting this year's recipients, which included Gareth Ward (Wardini Books), Juliet Blyth (Vic Books) and Stella Chrysostomou (VOLUME), commented: "All applicants for this year's scholarship had excellent written applications, with aspirational goals in regards to the Winter Institute Scholarship. The successful applicants articulated these goals and gave precise responses to questions about perceived outcomes."

Obituary Note: Marie Ponsot

Award-winning poet Marie Ponsot, who published seven volumes of poetry and translated dozens of books, died June 5. She was 98. The New York Times reported that after a promising start as a published poet in the 1950s, Ponsot "put her career aside. She was a single mother in New York City, with seven children to raise. But she did not stop writing. She filled notebooks with her poems--and then stashed much of her work in a drawer, showing it strictly to friends. It would be almost a quarter-century before her poetry began to re-emerge, and when it did, she found wide acclaim."

Ponsot's first book, True Minds, was published in the 1950s as the fifth title in Lawrence Ferlinghetti's City Lights Pocket Poets series. It would be her only book for nearly 25 years until she resumed publishing in 1981 with Admit Impediment. The collection "had come together with the help of a friend and professor, Marilyn Hacker, who took the manuscript in a battered interoffice envelope to the Knopf offices in Manhattan, where it found its way to the poetry editor Alice Quinn. She immediately accepted it for publication."

Her other books include The Green Dark (1988), NBCC award winner The Bird Catcher (1998), Easy (2009) and Collected Poems (2016). She also translated more than 30 books into English from French. Ponsot was honored with the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize in 2013, from the Poetry Foundation, and served as a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets from 2010 to 2014. 

When Knopf editor Deborah Garrison began planning a collected works in the late 1990s, she was overwhelmed by Ponsot's unpublished poems. "They'd been in a drawer, but were sparklingly fresh," Garrison said.

From her poem "Among Women":

She warned me, "Have nothing to lose."

She looked fragile but had
High blood, runner's ankles,
Could endure, endure.
She loved her rooted garden, her
Grand children, her once
Wild once young man.
Women wander
As best they can.

July Indie Next List E-Newsletter Delivered

Last Thursday, the American Booksellers Association's e-newsletter edition of the Indie Next List for July was delivered to more than half a million of the country's best book readers. The newsletter was sent to customers of 142 independent bookstores, with a combined total of 546,055 subscribers.

The e-newsletter, powered by Shelf Awareness, features all of the month's Indie Next List titles, with bookseller quotes and "buy now" buttons that lead directly to the purchase page for the title on the sending store's website. The newsletter, which is branded with each store's logo, also includes an interview (from Bookselling This Week) with the author whose book was chosen by booksellers as the number-one Indie Next List pick for the month, in this case Three Women by Lisa Taddeo (Avid Reader Press/Simon & Schuster).

For a sample of the July newsletter, see this one from City Lights Books, Sylva, N.C.

G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!
Seriously HAPPY:
10 life-changing philosophy lessons from Stoicism to Zen to supercharge your mindset
by Ben Aldridge
illus. by Michelle Brackenborough
GLOW: Holler: Seriously HAPPY: 10 Life-Changing Philosophy Lessons from Stoicism to Zen to Supercharge Your Mindset by Ben Aldridge

Mental health matters are unpacked through philosophy and quirky challenges in Ben Aldridge's uplifting first YA title, Seriously HAPPY, which mixes personal stories and synopses of teachings from OG philosophers. Alongside Aristotle and Socrates, Aldridge includes insights from lesser-known great minds like Bao Gu, a female Chinese Taoist physician, and Nigerian philosopher Orunmila, to show readers how to be confident, decisive, and resilient. Aldridge personally "employed Stoicism and other philosophies as key strategies in overcoming severe and debilitating anxiety and panic attacks as a young man," says Holler publisher Debbie Foy, adding that Aldridge's conversational tone makes the subject matter accessible and inviting to a young adult audience. "He is clear that everyone deserves happiness in their lives but what constitutes 'happiness' is different for all of us." --Rachel Werner

(Holler, $12.99 Hardcover, ages 12-up, 9780711297807, 
September 3, 2024)


Shelf vetted, publisher supported


Image of the Day: Wendig Wanders

Let's Play Books, Emmaus, Pa., hosted authors (from left) Paul Acampora, Chuck Wendig and Kate Racculian for a pre-launch event for Wendig's new novel Wanderers (Del Rey). The event, at the Bethlehem Area Public Library, featured Wendig's Walker whiskey cocktails and other book-themed food and drink. More than 100 people attended the event.

'10 Must-Visit Independent Austin Bookstores'

Noting that "the best way to learn about a new place is to find out what the people there are reading," the Chronicle recommended "10 must-visit independent Austin bookstores," writing: "Diverse, weird, and fiercely independent, Austin's bookstores reflect the attitude of the city itself. From Lamar to North Loop, Burnet to Cesar Chavez, the following list collects booksellers of all kinds, all of which are unique to our town."

Author Thank You Trailer of the Day: William Kent Krueger


A thank you to booksellers from William Kent Krueger, whose next book, This Tender Land, will be published this fall by Atria.

Personnel Changes at Macmillan Children's Publishing

At the Macmillan Children's Publishing Group:

Molly Ellis has been promoted to executive director of publicity. Previously she was director of publicity.

Mariel Dawson has been promoted to executive director of advertising and promotion.  Previously she was director of advertising and promotion.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Travis Rieder on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Travis Rieder, author of In Pain: A Bioethicist's Personal Struggle with Opioids (Harper, $27.99, 9780062854643).

The View: Vivica A. Fox, author of Every Day I'm Hustling (St. Martin's Griffin, $17.99, 9781250306920).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert repeat: Howard Stern, author of Howard Stern Comes Again (Simon & Schuster, $35, 9781501194290).

TV: Lovejoy

The Lovejoy series of novels by Jonathan Gash (John Grant's pseudonym) have been acquired by Blue Sky Pictures for adaptation more than 30 years after the U.K. TV show starring Ian McShane (American Gods, Deadwood) was broadcast, the Bookseller reported. The original BBC series included 71 episodes between 1986 and 1994.

Nick Witkowski, director of Blue Sky Pictures, said Lovejoy "was one of the most successful and popular long running series in British television history. We plan to update it for the 21st century for both the millions who followed the original and a whole new generation of viewers."

The show, which aired on A&E in the U.S., "has been the subject of a number of attempted remakes," Deadline noted.

Books & Authors

Awards: George Washington Finalists

Finalists have been named for the $50,000 2019 George Washington Prize, which recognizes the "best written works on the nation's founding era, especially those that have the potential to advance broad public understanding of early American history." Co-sponsors are the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, George Washington's Mount Vernon, and Washington College. The finalists are:

Colin Calloway for The Indian World of George Washington: The First President, the First Americans, and the Birth of the Nation (Oxford University Press)
Stephen Fried for Rush: Revolution, Madness, and Benjamin Rush, the Visionary Doctor Who Became a Founding Father (Crown)
Catherine Kerrison for Jefferson's Daughters: Three Sisters, White and Black, in a Young America (Ballantine Books)
Joyce Lee Malcom for The Tragedy of Benedict Arnold: An American Life (Pegasus Books)
Nathaniel Philbrick for Into the Hurricane's Eye: The Genius of George Washington and the Victory at Yorktown (Viking)
Russell Shorto for Revolution Song: A Story of American Freedom (Norton)
Peter Stark for Young Washington: How Wilderness and War Forged America's Founding Father (HarperCollins)

Book Review

Review: Ellie and the Harpmaker

Ellie and the Harpmaker by Hazel Prior (Berkley, $26 hardcover, 336p., 9781984803788, August 6, 2019)

Ellie and the Harpmaker is a lyrically written, delightfully charming story about two strangers--lost souls--drifting through their lives, until a harp brings them together.

Ellie Jacobs is a lonely housewife living in Exmoor, England. She is married to Clive, a pragmatic, domineering man who goes to work every day, is obsessed with football and finance, and shows little interest in--or understanding about--Ellie's flowery poetic pursuits and search for meaning in life. One day, on a walk through the West English countryside, while reflecting upon the first anniversary of her beloved father's death, Ellie stumbles upon a place she's never seen before: the Harp Barn. There, she meets Dan Hollis, the "Exmoor Harpmaker," an unusually gentle and deeply sensitive 33-year-old who spends most of his time alone, crafting exquisite Celtic-style, traditional wooden harps. Dan takes utmost pride in his work. He also feels the experiences of life very deeply, but exhibits a limited range of expression. Simple pleasures in life--as well as an appreciation for the beauty of nature and the inhabitants therein--grant him a sense of purpose and enrichment. But is that truly enough?

When Ellie shares the special significance of the day with Dan--and how learning to play the harp is actually on her things to accomplish "before-forty list"--Dan kindly offers Ellie a gift: a harp beautifully carved out of red-gold cherrywood. Ellie is overwhelmed and thrilled by Dan's generosity, but her joy is dashed when she returns home and Clive demands she return the harp. Dan, however, refuses to take back the gift. He tells Ellie that the harp is hers and "always would be," and that she can visit the Harp Barn any time she chooses and play the instrument. He also gives her the name of his ex-girlfriend--a glamorously beautiful professional harp player--who will give Ellie harp lessons, if she'd like. Knowing Clive as she does, Ellie chooses not to tell her husband about this arrangement with Dan.

Keeping this secret forges an uncharacteristic sense of independence in Ellie, yet ultimately leads to conflict and escalating complications. Clive's will and Dan's will ultimately pull Ellie in opposite directions. This calls into question her beliefs about herself and her marriage, while also raising inquiries into the many mysteries of Dan's life. By doing so, she and Dan are both forced to retune their friendship, as well as those with quirky, lovable family and friends who serve as sounding boards and devil's advocates for both protagonists in their quests toward achieving fulfillment and peace.

By telling the story from two intimate points of view, debut novelist Hazel Prior allows readers simultaneously to discover startling truths right along with her well-drawn characters. This approach heightens the narrative tension and allows this beautiful, tender story about the harmonious meaning of true friendship and love to reverberate with many unexpected surprises. --Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines.

Shelf Talker: A harp causes two lonely Brits, stalled by fate and the choices they've made in life, to forge a deep, life-changing friendship.

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