Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Tordotcom: The Saint of Bright Doors by Vajra Chandrasekera

Minotaur Books: Deadlock: A Thriller (Dez Limerick Novel #2) by James Byrne

Ballantine Books: The Second Ending by Michelle Hoffman

Tor Books: One for My Enemy by Olivie Blake

Henry Holt & Company: Warrior Girl Unearthed by Angeline Boulley

Little, Brown Ink: The Princess and the Grilled Cheese Sandwich (a Graphic Novel) by Deya Muniz

Flatiron Books: Once Upon a Prime: The Wondrous Connections Between Mathematics and Literature by Sarah Hart


Author/Blogger Jenny Lawson to Open Bookstore/Bar in San Antonio

Author and blogger Jenny Lawson has signed a lease for a combination bookstore and bar in San Antonio, Tex., that will be called Nowhere Bookshop, reported SA Current.

Lawson, aka The Bloggess, is the author of You Are Here: An Owner's Manual for Dangerous Minds (Flatiron), Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir (Berkley) and Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things (Flatiron). She tweeted on Saturday, "Big, terrifying news. Today I'm signing the lease for my bookstore bar. I want to vomit and cry all at the same time. Get ready for @NowhereBookshop, San Antonio."

Lawton added that the space needs work, including a new floor, so Nowhere Bookshop won't open for a while.

Sourcebooks Young Readers: Global: One Fragile World. an Epic Fight for Survival. by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin, illustrated by Giovanni Rigano

Author Etaf Rum Bringing Cafe & Bookstore to Rocky Mount, N.C.

Etaf Rum, whose debut novel, A Woman Is No Man, was published by Harper in March, is opening a café and bookstore in Rocky Mount, N.C., in October, the Rocky Mount Telegram reported.

Called Books and Beans and located in Rocky Mount Mills, a redeveloped mill complex that now has restaurants, lofts, offices and more, the business will focus on coffee, breakfast and lunch. As for books, Rum told the paper that she wants to have a selection of about 10 books a month, on a rotating basis, for sale. She and several partners have experience in food service, and they've also just bought a pizzeria, which is in Rocky Mount Mills, too.

Rum said that Books and Beans was inspired by an Instagram page she launched when she was teaching literature at Nash Community College, on which she recommended books to read. "I would bring coffee with me to class--and we'd talk about books over coffee," she said. "And so over the years, I've always dreamt about having an actual place, a meeting place where people can come and read and drink coffee and gather--and socialize and learn."

Tor Books: One for My Enemy by Olivie Blake

Denver's City Stacks Books & Coffee Closes


City Stacks Books & Coffee, Denver, Colo., has closed, Westword reported. On Facebook the store, which opened in the LoDo district in late 2015, said it made "the difficult decision" when it needed to renew its lease.

Co-owner Kevin Gillies told Westword: "We've thoroughly enjoyed our time there, the people we've met and the friends we've made. It's really the business climate and the requirement to extend for another five-year lease that led us to this decision."

He cited what Westword called "difficulties in LoDo's business dynamic along with the constant difficulties in book buying and selling as two major reasons for the decision to close."

He added that City Stacks had expected singles and married couples with no children in the area to be the main market, but children's books became a popular section. "Families who do live in the area are really dedicated to education and reading," Gillies said. "They want to have the experience of buying a book with their kids."

Gillies founded the store with his wife, Nancy Banks; his son, Benjamin Gillies; and Benjamin Gillies's longtime partner, Emily Scholl. In 2016, Benjamin Gillies died after a long illness and the three continued to run the business.

GLOW: Blackstone Publishing: The Wisdom of Morrie: Living and Aging Creatively and Joyfully by Morrie Schwartz, edited by Rob Schwartz

Applications Open for Carla Gray Memorial Scholarship


Applications are open for the second annual Carla Gray Memorial Scholarship for Emerging Bookseller-Activists, which was created in honor of the executive marketing director at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt who passed away suddenly in May 2017. The award is presented by the Friends of Carla Gray Committee and the Book Industry Charitable Foundation, and applications will be accepted through October 21. The winning bookseller will be given a year-long scholarship for professional development, which includes travel and hotel for attendance to Winter Institute; travel and hotel for attendance to their regional trade show; and a stipend to fund a community outreach project. Criteria and eligibility requirements can be seen online.

"We are so heartened to see the continuing support for this scholarship program and are excited to help new booksellers imagine ever more ways to engage and inspire their communities," said Jenna Johnson of the Friends of Carla Gray Committee. "We are looking forward to the new round of applications and to watching Carla's enthusiasm and can-do spirit live on through these emerging leaders."

Pam French, Binc's executive director, commented: "The Binc Foundation is honored to commemorate Carla's legacy by offering this scholarship as a way to honor Carla for the beloved friend and book lover that she was to all who knew her. We look forward to learning about the winner's community project and meeting them in person at next year's Winter Institute."

G.P. Putnam's Sons: The Three of Us by Ore Agbaje-Williams

Obituary Note: Barbara Probst Solomon

Barbara Probst Solomon, an American memoirist and essayist "known for documenting life in Spain during and after the regime of General Francisco Franco," died September 1, the New York Times reported. She was 90. Solomon was renowned in particular for her 1972 memoir, Arriving Where We Started, "which chronicled her youthful involvement with the anti-Franco resistance movement, including her naïvely brazen rescue of two resistance members from a Spanish labor camp."

At 19, Barbara Probst persuaded her mother to escort her to Paris and let her live there on her own. During the voyage over, they met the mother and sister of a would-be writer, Norman Mailer, who was in Paris working on his first novel, which would become The Naked and the Dead. He became a friend, as did his sister, also named Barbara.

In Arriving Where We Started, Solomon wrote: "Norman approached his sister Barbara and me, and in a somewhat offhand, slightly conspiratorial tone asked the two of us how we would like to uh, sort of, spring a few people from a Franco jail in Spain.... Neither Barbara nor I had any true sense of what we were getting into. As for danger or consequences, life was to be led like a book; in books good people lived dangerously." The Times noted: "Against all odds, the scheme worked."

A novelist and a translator from the Spanish, Solomon was also a widely-published essayist. Her other books include two novels, The Beat of Life (1960) and Smart Hearts in the City (1992); a second memoir, Short Flights (1983), and the essay collection Horse-Trading and Ecstasy (1989).

Solomon taught at Sarah Lawrence College and elsewhere. She was a founder and the editor in chief of The Reading Room, a literary journal. For many years, she was the U.S. cultural correspondent for the Spanish newspaper El País. In 2008, she was awarded the Francisco Cerecedo Prize by the Association of European Journalists in Spain, the first North American to be so honored. In an interview after she won the prize, Solomon "sought to play down the significance of her laurels in the context of the historical struggles about which she wrote," the Times noted.

"You don't plan these things, you know," she said. "One thing I learned was that the butcher, baker and candlestick maker who're thrown in jail don't enter history--they're not writers. But writers can become known. History's not fair."

Blink: Come Home Safe by Brian G. Buckmire


Image of the Day: Reynolds and Alexander Abroad

Authors Kwame Alexander (l.) and Jason Reynolds take a break following a TV interview with BBC Scotland during the Edinburgh International Book Festival. At the festival, they participated in a panel with Sarah Crossan called "Writing Rhythm," during which they discussed the growing popularity of verse novels and how to tell diverse, dynamic stories.

Bookseller Moment: Story & Song Bookstore Bistro

Posted on Facebook yesterday afternoon by Story & Song Bookstore Bistro, Fernandina Beach, Fla.: "Story & Song is all buttoned up, ready for Hurricane Dorian to come and go. Know as soon as the sun is back out and the storm heads elsewhere, we'll be open! Here's the last glimpse of the store... copies of Let's Hope for the Best, gods with a little g and Chances Are... seem perfect books for the moment. Stay safe and well."

Happy 50th Birthday, Small World Books!

Congratulations to Small World Books, Venice, Calif., which is turning 50 this month, making it, the store says, "the oldest general bookstore in Los Angeles." On Thursday, September 12, from 6-9 p.m., Small World Books will have live music and food and drinks to honor "all the past employees and customers who helped us thrive and to all the future ones who will help us stay around for another 50!"

Small World Books opened in what was then referred to as Boys' Market Center in Marina del Rey on Labor Day 1969 and made the short move to the Venice Beach Boardwalk on Labor Day 1976. From the beginning, Small World Books "has been doling out sincere recommendations to both locals and tourists from around the world for every one of those 50 years! But Small World Books has also been an artistic hub for both emerging and established authors, from signings with Anne Rice (the line went down the boardwalk as far as the eye could see!) and Walter Mosley (his first book signing was with us and his mother made sure to invite all her friends), among countless other authors both big and small; to art openings, live music and innumerable stories (some more appropriate than others) that have shaped who we are and what we think makes us one of the most unique bookstores in the country."

Personnel Changes at B&T Publisher Services; Viking/Penguin

At Baker & Taylor Publisher Services:

Andi Richman has been named director of national accounts. She has more than 25 years of book sales experience and has held national account positions at Guilford Press, Hay House, Harlequin and Dorling Kindersley.

Matt Warner has been named director of marketing. He has 25 years of experience in the book industry, most recently in senior positions at Barnes & and NOOK Digital in their New York and California offices, respectively.


Sara DeLozier has joined Viking/Penguin as a publicist. She was most recently publicity coordinator at Picador and has also worked as an editorial and permission contractor at FSG and as an editorial assistant at Simon & Schuster.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Sonia Sotomayor on Late Night with Seth Meyers

CBS This Morning: Pamela Paul, author of How to Raise a Reader (Workman, $19.95, 9781523505302).

Late Night with Seth Meyers: Sonia Sotomayor, author of Just Ask!: Be Different, Be Brave, Be You (Philomel, $17.99, 9780525514121).

Also on Seth Meyers: Tatiana Schlossberg, author of Inconspicuous Consumption: The Environmental Impact You Don't Know You Have (Grand Central, $28, 9781538747087).

Movies: The Laundromat

Netflix has released a trailer for Steven Soderbergh's The Laundromat, based on Secrecy World, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jake Bernstein's nonfiction account of the Panama Papers story, Variety reported. Picador will publish an official tie-in edition, titled The Laundromat, this fall.

With a script by Scott Z. Burns, the film stars Meryl Streep, Gary Oldman, Antonio Banderas and Matthias Schoenaerts. The Laundromat will have its world premiere this week at the Venice Film Festival, then go on to the Toronto International Film Festival. It will also have a theatrical run before playing on Netflix, "and it's already stirring up awards buzz," Variety noted.

Books & Authors

Awards: Booker Shortlist

The shortlist has been announced for the £50,000 (about $59,945) Booker Prize, which is supported by the charitable foundation Crankstart. The winner will be named October 14. The shortlisted authors each receive £2,500 (about $3,000) and a specially bound edition of their book. This year's shortlisted titles are:

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood
Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
An Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozie Obioma
Quichotte by Salman Rushdie
10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World by Elif Shafak

Book Review

Review: Unfollow: A Memoir of Loving and Leaving the Westboro Baptist Church

Unfollow: A Memoir of Loving and Leaving the Westboro Baptist Church by Megan Phelps-Roper (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $27 hardcover, 304p., 9780374275839, October 8, 2019)

Megan Phelps-Roper grew up as a cherished daughter of Topeka's Westboro Baptist Church, notorious for its inflammatory rhetoric and protest signs (most notably "God Hates Fags"). The third of 11 children, she joined her first picket line at age five, and spent her childhood and adolescence fervently spreading--and believing in the rightness of--Westboro's message. But in her 20s, her engagement with Westboro's critics on social media made her wonder if the church had a monopoly on rightness.

Her memoir, Unfollow, chronicles her upbringing in her family and the church (which comprised many of the same people), the years she spent working for the church alongside her mother and her gradual disillusionment with, and detachment from, her former community. Now an activist and speaker who encourages thoughtful dialogue among those who disagree, Phelps-Roper paints a nuanced portrait of Westboro as a group of human beings capable of both spreading hate-filled messages and living out their deep love for one another.

Phelps-Roper gives an affectionate account of her childhood in the Westboro community (founded by Fred Phelps, her grandfather). She mentions her older brother, Josh, who left the church when he was 19 and Megan was 18, and his condemnation by her family. (Several of Megan's uncles and siblings have also left Westboro.) Her portrayal of the Westboro faith paradigm, which leaves no room for doubt or (even worse) disobedience, is full of compassion, but it clearly shows the church's rigidity and hostility toward outsiders. When Megan started talking to strangers on Twitter, defending Westboro's actions and theology, the thoughtful, curious responses she received made her wonder if the church's way was really the only way to live and believe. Unfollow takes readers on Megan's agonizing journey to decide what she truly believed and, ultimately, her decision (undertaken with her sister Grace) to leave Westboro for good.

In a time of polarizing rhetoric, Phelps-Roper is a gentle, powerful voice speaking for compassion and thoughtful conversation. She explores the contradictions in Westboro's thinking, and is candid about her own ability (and later her increasing struggle) to gloss over the cognitive dissonance required to remain "faithful." By leaving Westboro and wrestling through several dark, lonely seasons, Phelps-Roper has found her way to a different understanding of the world: one filled with humility and hope instead of hatred. Unfollow is a fascinating insider's account of life at Westboro and an urgent, timely call for dialogue and understanding. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

Shelf Talker: Megan Phelps-Roper's first book gives a thoughtful perspective on her former community, the Westboro Baptist Church.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Securing Piper by Susan Stoker
2. The Lake of Learning by Steve Berry and M.J. Rose
3. The Day He Came Back by Penelope Ward
4. Forever Ventured by Kathleen Brooks
5. The Lone Wolf by Penelope Sky
6. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki and Sharon L. Lechter
7. A Journey Through Care of Magical Creatures by J.K. Rowling
8. Sweetest Obsessions by Various
9. Death of Darkness (Immortal Guardians Book 9) by Dianne Duvall
10. Can't Hurt Me by David Goggins

[Many thanks to!]

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