Also published on this date: Thursday, February 13, 2020: Maximum Shelf: Hollywood Park: A Memoir

Shelf Awareness for Thursday, February 13, 2020

Holiday House: Ros Demir Is Not the One by Leyla Brittan

HarperAlley: I Shall Never Fall In Love by Hari Conner

W. W. Norton & Company to Sell and Distribute Yale University Press and Harvard University Press

Clarion Books: The Man Who Didn't Like Animals by Deborah Underwood, Illlustrated by LeUyen Pham

Holiday House: Bye Forever, I Guess by Jodi Meadows and Team Canteen 1: Rocky Road by Amalie Jahn

Wednesday Books: Dust by Alison Stine


RWA Board Resigns, Sets New Election


The remaining members of the board of directors of the Romance Writers of America resigned yesterday, but in one of their last acts, they set a special election for a new board to serve out their terms, the RWA announced. Voting will begin on March 13 and close on March 20.

In a joint statement, the six board members explained: "We believe that stepping down to allow for new leadership chosen by the membership is in the best interests of the association. The Board has always wanted what is best for Romance Writers of America, and we still do. This desire has been the driving force behind every decision we have made to try to navigate RWA during this difficult time. We have tried hard to keep the best interests of RWA front and center as we have confronted the challenges of the last eight weeks.

"We believe that the board must have the trust of the membership and that this is the best way forward to achieve that. We believe RWA can and will be a place of inclusion and respect. We tender our resignations in support of the organization and its mission."

The board added: "Our decision to resign will not affect the ongoing independent audit being conducted by Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP, or the Board's commitment to share the audit report with the membership in unedited, non-redacted form."

The association has been in turmoil for the past several months, a period that has included mass member resignations and the cancelling of the RITA Awards this year. The controversy began when the association punished one member--a former board member and head of its ethics committee--for tweeting that another member's 1999 novel was racist.

 Treasure Books, Inc.: There's Treasure Inside by Jon Collins-Black

Wild Fig Books in Lexington, Ky., Closing

Wild Fig Books and Coffee, a cooperative-owned bookstore in Lexington, Ky., will close at the end of the month after no longer being able to afford its rent, WKYT reported. The store is the only Black-owned bookstore in Kentucky.

According to cooperative member Sarah Williams, the building's owners have been unwilling to extend their lease and the rent of $1,100 per month is too high for the store to be able to stay in business. There had been discussions about creating a rent-to-own plan through which the bookstore could buy the building, but that never materialized.

"We no longer want to give further community effort into a space we can no longer be present in," Williams told WKYT. "We would rather take that time, energy and effort into finding a space that we can be long-term present in."

Griffin Vanmeter, one of the building's owners, told WKYT that he's sorry Wild Fig is closing, and that he believes the store provides a valuable service to the community, but the rent-to-own option was something proposed by cooperative-members that they were unable to make work. There was no mechanism in place, he added, for them to be able to purchase the building.

Williams described the store as being a victim of gentrification. Last August, Wild Fig co-op members raised community support to help stave off closure and look for a new, larger space where the co-op could reside long-term.

Wild Fig will host a community meeting this Sunday to form a plan about the bookstore's next chapter.

Help a Bookseller, Change a Life: Give today to the Book Industry Charitable Foundation!

Tim Stookesberry New SUNY Press Director

Tim Stookesberry

Tim Stookesberry has been named director of SUNY Press. He was formerly senior v-p and general manager at John Wiley & Sons, where he was responsible for the higher education business, including developing and executing plans that helped Wiley transform its digital product portfolio with a variety of e-books, online collections and digital courseware. Before joining Wiley in 2010, he held editorial, marketing and sales positions in higher education at McGraw-Hill and Pearson.

State University of New York Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor Tod Laursen said that Stookesberry is charged with "shaping SUNY Press's developing role in the publishing landscape of the 21st century--advancing the commitments made by SUNY and New York State to open access and open educational resources, and leveraging SUNY Press's home in what is the country's largest public university system to support scholars and collaborators from across SUNY and around the world...

"Tim's broad publishing experience--grounded in a respect for scholars and scholarship, and enhanced by strong leadership skills, marketing and business savvy--positions him well to build on existing strengths at SUNY Press and identify new initiatives and strategies for success."

Stookesberry said: "This is a tremendous opportunity that comes at a pivotal moment in publishing and academic presses generally, and also at an exciting time at SUNY--with recent advancements in online learning, micro-credentials, open resources, celebrations of faculty excellence in research and librarianship, even the designation of another SUNY faculty member as a Nobel Prize winner. I am confident that SUNY Press can help shape the future of academic publishing, providing innovative support for all types of scholarship and serving as a model for advancing the priorities of its scholar partners, host System, and state."

Obituary Note: Ron McLarty

Ron McLarty, the character actor who became a published author thanks to a rave review by Stephen King of the audio version of one of his unpublished books, died February 8, the Hollywood Reporter wrote. He was 72.

McLarty had regular roles on TV's Spenser for Hire, Cop Rock and Law & Order as well as appeared in a series of movies. He was also a major audiobook narrator with more than 100 credits for titles by King, Danielle Steel, David Baldacci, Anne Rice, Richard Russo, Elmore Leonard, Ed McBain, Scott Turow and George W. Bush.

In 2001, Recorded Books produced McLarty's novel The Memory of Running as an audiobook even though it had not been published in print. As the Hollywood Reporter recounted: "King heard it and loved the story--about a 43-year-old man who, after his parents die, takes a cross-country road trip on an old Raleigh bicycle to find his sister's body--and in 2003 devoted one of his 'The Pop of King' columns in Entertainment Weekly to it, calling Memory 'the best book you can't read.' "

As a result of King's endorsement, there was a bidding war for The Memory of Running, which was published in print in 2004 by Viking Press. McLarty later published three other books, Traveler, Art in America and The Dropper.

Sidelines Snapshot: Vinyl Stickers, Candles, Pins and Planting Kits

Turtle's Soup sticker

Ever Reynolds, gift buyer at Napa Bookmine in Napa, Calif., reported a boon in vinyl stickers at the moment. The store has been ordering cute/punny stickers from a variety of small indie brands, including Tiny Bee Cards and Turtle's Soup, and Reynolds pointed to a sticker featuring a glass of whiskey with the phrase "you're neat!" as the sort of thing Napa customers are looking for. She noted that "swearing is very in," saying that across a wide selection of brands, from Blue Q socks and oven mitts to Meriwether mugs, if an item has something like "I Love My A**hole Kids" or "I'm a Ray of F***ing Sunshine" on it, it won't stay on shelves for long. Astrology-related gifts are also having a surge, she added, with Zodiac Pencil sets from Sapling Press flying off the shelves. 

From PapaLlama
Recently Reynolds has brought in candles from Anecdote Candles, and the store carries a selection of locally and regionally made sidelines, including T-shirts, pins and stickers from local artist Porous Walker; vinyl stickers from watercolor artist Jessica Park; California-themed onesies from PapaLlama; and sunglasses made from recycled wine barrels by Olive & Poppy. On the subject of children's sidelines, Reynolds pointed to Out of Print clothing, socks from Solmate Socks and toys and games from Schylling and Klutz, along with plush from Douglas and JellyCat.

Gibbs Smith socks

According to Melissa Posten, children's buyer and event coordinator at The Novel Neighbor in St. Louis, Mo., socks are ever-popular, with the store carrying Out of Print, BlueQ, Socksmith and the new socks from Gibbs Smith. Over the past year, stickers have been huge for the store, and Posten orders from a variety of small vendors at, such as Zenspire Designs and Little Hiker Bird, and Etsy, such as LuckySardine and CjStickerShop. Recently Novel Neighbor brought in Pinch Me Therapy Dough, which has proven extremely popular, and shoelaces from Whiskers have also been a huge success. Over the holidays the store brought in magnetic play sets and sticker scenes from Petit Collage, which Posten said she loves, and the store is also selling a lot of Swedish dishcloths lately from suppliers like Three Bluebirds and Boldfaced Goods.

The Novel Neighbor sources many of its sidelines from local suppliers, including candle companies Webster Wax, JD & Kate Industries and Fame Candle Co. and card vendors Maginating, Curly Girl Design and Stripy Arms, as well as onesies from Old Barn Rescue Company and tea from Big Heart Tea Company that are  locally made. On the subject of children's sidelines, Posten said the store carries many, including the "usuals" like Mudpuppy and Klutz, plush from Jellycat and Ganz and games from Peaceable Kingdom, Amigo, Thinkfun and more. She added that in addition to socks, some perennial favorites include greeting cards, tea towels and candles. And Dissent Pins, meanwhile, "just keep going and going."

And at Trident Booksellers & Cafe in Boston, Mass., vinyl stickers are also seeing a surge in popularity. According to manager Courtney Flynn, her store's bestselling vinyl stickers are the "Read a F*cking Book" stickers from Steel Petal Press; other go-to suppliers include Seltzer Goods and Near Modern Distaster. The store is doing well with Can + Plant growing kits from Noted, and Flynn reported that she and her staff have been growing the store's self-care lines. Some relatively new additions include sheet face masks from NPW Gifts, hair towels from DM Merchandising and essential oils from Paddywax.

From Ecoffeecup

Reusable/sustainable products are another growing cateogry for the store, and Trident carries products like Bee's Wrap food wrap, Kikkerland steel straws and reusable coffee cups from Ecoffee Cup. The store is also building its inventory of children's sidelines, and some popular items include wooden toys from Wild and Wolf and plush from Gund. On the subject of locally and regionally made sidelines, Flynn said she brings in cards by Fred Popper, an artist in Concord, and Boston enamel pins from Brandy Bingham. Asked about perennial favorites, Flynn said sock and oven mitts from Blue Q continue to sell well, as do puzzles from Chronicle and New York Puzzle Company. --Alex Mutter

If you are interested in having your store appear in a future Sidelines Snapshot article, please e-mail


Image of the Day: Tyll at McNally Jackson Seaport

Pantheon Books editorial director Dan Frank (r.) and author Daniel Kehlmann (left) greet guests at the launch party for Kehlmann's novel Tyll. Sarah McNally hosted the event at the new McNally Jackson South Street Seaport store in lower Manhattan, and guests included Jeffrey Eugenides, Hari Kunzru and Salman Rushdie.

Nathan Halter Joins Batch for Books

Nathan Halter

Nathan Halter has joined Batch for Books, the electronic invoicing system that can be used for payments, stock returns and more, as U.S. customer service representative, Bookselling This Week reported. He was formerly manager of the Lahaska Bookshop, Lahaska, Pa., and earlier was senior member relationship and database manager at the American Booksellers Association. Before that, he worked at the Doylestown Bookshop, Doylestown, Pa., which founded the Lahaska Bookshop.

At Batch, Halter will be responsible for developing and maintaining relationships with bookstores and book vendors; acting as a primary support for user inquiries; setting up new bookstore and book vendor accounts; liaising with book vendors on behalf of bookstore customers; helping develop content for user education; and supporting communication to users.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Amazon Empire Director on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: James Jacoby, director of the two-hour PBS Frontline documentary Amazon Empire: The Rise and Reign of Jeff Bezos, which airs next Tuesday, February 18.

Movies: The French Dispatch Trailer

Searchlight Pictures has released the first trailer for Wes Anderson's highly anticipated film The French Dispatch, which will hit theaters July 24, Indiewire reported. Photos, the movie poster and other details were featured in yesterday's edition of Shelf Awareness.

Pushkin Press is publishing a companion book, An Editor's Burial: Journals and Journalism from the New Yorker and Other Magazines (June 30), to coincide with the film. Created by Anderson and edited by David Brendel, An Editor's Burial features essays on the expatriate experience in Paris by some of the 20th century's finest writers, including James Baldwin, Sam Behrman, Lillian Ross, Mavis Gallant, Janet Flanner and A.J. Liebling. For the introduction, New Yorker editor Susan Morrison interviews Anderson about the story behind the movie and the book.

This Weekend on Book TV: The Savannah Book Festival

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 this weekend from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday and focuses on political and historical books as well as the book industry. The following are highlights for this coming weekend. For more information, go to Book TV's website.

Saturday, February 15
9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Coverage of the 2020 Savannah Book Festival in Savannah, Ga. (Re-airs Sunday at 12 a.m.) Highlights include:
  • 9 a.m. Robert Wilson, author of Barnum: An American Life (Simon & Schuster, $28, 9781501118623).
  • 10:15 a.m. Amy Shira Teitel, author of Fighting for Space: Two Pilots and Their Historic Battle for Female Spaceflight (Grand Central, $30, 9781538716045).
  • 11:30 a.m. Robert Bilott, author of Exposure: Poisoned Water, Corporate Greed, and One Lawyer's Twenty-Year Battle against DuPont (Atria, $28, 9781501172816).
  • 12:45 p.m. Ken Garrett and Jeanne Ellsworth, authors of The Last Negroes at Harvard: The Class of 1963 and the 18 Young Men Who Changed Harvard Forever (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $27, 9781328879974).
  • 2 p.m. Edward J. Larson, author of Franklin & Washington: The Founding Partnership (Morrow, $29.99, 9780062880154).
  • 3:15 p.m. Jaquira Díaz, author of Ordinary Girls: A Memoir (Algonquin, $26.95, 9781616209131).
  • 4:30 p.m. Michele Sullivan, author of Looking Up: How a Different Perspective Turns Obstacles into Advantages (HarperCollins, $27.99, 9781400214310).
7:30 p.m. Peter Andreas, author of Killer High: A History of War in Six Drugs (Oxford University Press, $29.95, 9780190463014).

8:50 p.m. Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig, authors of A Very Stable Genius: Donald J. Trump's Testing of America (Penguin Press, $30, 9781984877499).

10 p.m. Sally C. Pipes, author of False Premise, False Promise: The Disastrous Reality of Medicare for All (Encounter Books, $17.99, 9781641770729). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

11 a.m. Susan Hennessey and Benjamin Wittes, authors of Unmaking the Presidency: Donald Trump's War on the World's Most Powerful Office (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $28, 9780374175368).

Sunday, February 16
1 p.m. James Fallows, author of Our Towns: A 100,000-Mile Journey into the Heart of America (Vintage, $16.95, 9780525432449), at the Rancho Mirage Writers Festival.

1:45 p.m. Tim McGraw and Jon Meacham, authors of Songs of America: Patriotism, Protest, and the Music That Made a Nation (Random House, $30, 9780593132951), at the Rancho Mirage Writers Festival.

2:30 p.m. Bud Selig, author of For the Good of the Game: The Inside Story of the Surprising and Dramatic Transformation of Major League Baseball (Morrow, $28.99, 9780062905956), at the Rancho Mirage Writers Festival.

7:40 p.m. Diane Rehm, author of When My Time Comes: Conversations About Whether Those Who Are Dying Should Have the Right to Determine When Life Should End (Knopf, $25.95, 9780525654759).

10 p.m. Jane Kleeb, author of Harvest the Vote: How Democrats Can Win Again in Rural America (Ecco, $26.99, 9780062960900).

11 p.m. Dennis Baron, author of What's Your Pronoun?: Beyond He and She (Liveright, $25.95, 9781631496042).

Books & Authors

Awards: PEN/Faulkner Longlist

To honor the 40th anniversary of the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the PEN/Faulkner Foundation has unveiled a longlist of 10 titles instead of the usual five finalists, who will be announced next month. The winner will be named in April and receive $15,000, while the finalists each get $5,000. The longlisted titles are:

Sea Monsters by Chloe Aridjis (Catapult)
Patsy by Nicole Dennis-Benn (Liveright)
Sing to It: New Stories by Amy Hempel (Scribner)
The Topeka School by Ben Lerner (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Where Reasons End by Yiyun Li (Random House)
The Night Swimmers by Peter Rock (Soho Press)
We Cast a Shadow by Maurice Carlos Ruffin (One World)
A People's History of Heaven by Mathangi Subramanian (Algonquin Books)
On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong (Penguin Press)
The Bird King by G. Willow Wilson (Grove Press)

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, February 18:

The Opposite of Fate by Alison McGhee (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26, 9781328518439) follows the comatose victim of a violent rape and the decisions surrounding her pregnancy.

One Minute Out by Mark Greaney (Berkley, $28, 9780593098912) is book nine in the Gray Man thriller series.

The Boston Massacre: A Family History by Serena Zabin (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $30, 9780544911154) explores the personal lives of the British soldiers and victims involved in the Boston Massacre.

The Hope of Glory: Reflections on the Last Words of Jesus from the Cross by Jon Meacham (Convergent, $22, 9780593236666) delves into the last seven sayings of Jesus in the Bible.

Until the End of Time: Mind, Matter, and Our Search for Meaning in an Evolving Universe by Brian Greene (Knopf, $30, 9781524731670) chronicles the past and future of the universe and how humans seek to understand it.

The Blossom and the Firefly by Sherri L. Smith (Putnam, $17.99, 9781524737900) is a World War II young adult love story.

I'm Gonna Push Through by Jasmyn Wright, illus. by Shannon Wright (Atheneum, $17.99, 9781534439658) is a picture book inspired by the Push Through movement which encourages resilience in children.

Emma, based on the classic novel by Jane Austen, opens February 21 and is directed by Autumn de Wilde and stars Anya Taylor-Joy, Johnny Flynn and Bill Nighy.

The Call of the Wild, based on the novel by Jack London, opens February 21. Harrison Ford stars in the story of a sled dog struggling to survive in the Yukon wilderness.

IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:

The Seep: A Novel by Chana Porter (Soho Press, $25, 9781641290869). "The Seep describes a sort of utopia set in a near future devoid of capitalism, violence, and the general evils of the world. Here, everyone and everything (humans! trees! buildings!) is connected through an alien entity called The Seep, and pain of any kind is easily mended. This is an entirely surreal reading experience that explores identity--queer and racial, self and inherited--in an organic and necessary manner. A must-read for everyone." --Avery Peregrine, Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, Wash.

The Third Rainbow Girl: The Long Life of a Double Murder in Appalachia by Emma Copley Eisenberg (Hachette Books, $27, 9780316449236). "In this thoughtful and immersive chronicle of the 1980 murders that thrust West Virginia's Pocahontas County into the national spotlight, Eisenberg seeks to better understand not only the crimes and their aftermath, but also the lasting impact the region (which she came to know independent of her inquiry) had on her. A complex and captivating read, The Third Rainbow Girl weaves true crime with memoir to stunning effect." --Tove Holmberg, Powell's Books, Portland, Ore.

To Keep the Sun Alive: A Novel by Rabeah Ghaffari (Catapult, $16.95, 9781948226769). "Set during the Iranian Revolution, To Keep the Sun Alive is a beautifully written family epic that will completely wrap you up. It's a sweeping novel about identity and tradition, and it's full of characters you won't soon forget. Ghaffari masterfully blends the historical with the imagined, and her writing is wise and precise. An excellent novel!" --Sarah Cassavant, SubText Books, St. Paul, Minn.

For Ages 4 to 8
Cherry Blossom and Paper Planes by Jef Aerts, illus. by Sanne te Loo (Floris Books, $17.95, 9781782505617). "A lovely story of friendship near and far. The illustrations are breathtaking and enhance the story immensely. Subtle nods to differences in race and class--and how they can mean little to children but have greater implications--will make good discussion points for older readers, but anyone who has ever moved or had a friend move away will appreciate this story. Incredibly captivating." --Tildy Banker-Johnson, Belmont Books, Belmont, Mass.

For Ages 9 to 12
That's What Friends Do by Cathleen Barnhart (HarperCollins, $16.99, 9780062888938). "It's been a while since I read a middle-grade book, but this bittersweet tale of adolescent friendship was certainly worth making an exception for. The relationships are messy and complicated, and while parents and peers 'just don't understand,' the novel doesn't try to paint miscommunication as an insurmountable part of growing up, but rather a problem to be rectified. This is a tale of self-discovery and shame, of realizing your parents aren't perfect and you aren't either, and an important book for anyone who has ever lost a friend or wondered why things can't stay the same forever. If you're looking for catharsis, That's What Friends Do will deliver."--Reid Wilson, Prairie Pages Bookseller, Pierre, S.D.

For Teen Readers
Tweet Cute by Emma Lord (Wednesday Books, $17.99, 9781250237323). "This is an adorable debut from new young adult romance author Emma Lord that follows Pepper and Jack as they navigate high school, parents, New York City, and a life-or-death Twitter war. When her mom asks her to respond to a tweet claiming the family restaurant empire stole a recipe from a small local diner, Pepper counts it as just another frustrating thing on her to-do list; Jack is just defending his family's small business and grandmother's recipe when he takes on the Twitter war. The two learn more about themselves and each other as they tweet in defense of their families. An unputdownable first novel for anyone craving a delicious morsel!" --Annie Carl, The Neverending Bookshop, Edmonds, Wash.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: Docile

Docile by K.M. Szpara (Tor, $27.99 hardcover, 496p., 9781250216151, March 3, 2020)

In K.M. Szpara's first novel, Docile, debt passes to the next-of-kin upon the bearer's death, which has far-reaching effects on family structure and personal freedom. The book is deeply disturbing, intentionally so. Elisha signs a contract to sell his family's debt in exchange for which he will become a Docile, serving Alex, new Bishop Labs CEO and grandson of the woman who invented Dociline--a drug that renders a person pliant, unaware and incapable of making their own decisions. Invoking one of the Seven Rights given to Dociles, Elisha refuses the medication and without it, Alex trains Elisha in obedience with a variety of punishments and praise.

It's immediately clear why nearly all Dociles choose to take Dociline. To be a Docile is to cease to be a person, with or without the soothing effect of the drug. Patrons in Alex's circle share, humiliate and rape their Dociles at social functions and relegate them to the background at all other times. After all, Dociles consent when they sign their contracts.

As the only Docile aware of what's going on around him, Elisha has a front-row seat to the dehumanization of a huge swath of the population. In his point-of-view chapters, Alex struggles to control Elisha through behavior modification in order to keep his position in his family and business. Elisha's thoughts change as he bends and breaks under Alex's power, turning from suppressed anger to something far more sinister--eager compliance.

"That sounds right. I have changed, but how could I not have? I'm surviving. If I'm honest with myself, life's easier, lately. Alex is warmer, time faster--which is good. Alex just said I've been very good. And his opinion is the only one that matters."

Eventually, Alex starts to fall in love with this person he's created. But love can't exist without consent. "I've turned Elisha from a person who could return those words--those feelings--into a Docile who is incapable of doing so. The truth is moot. The words don't even matter."

While the first half of the book is dedicated to the brainwashing of Elisha and the horrors of the Docile system, the second is about breaking systems. Freed from his contract, Elisha must re-learn agency and consent--and how to function without Alex. Angry about the contract, Alex's father sues Elisha and an aid group takes up his case in order to advance their agenda. Once again, Elisha is being used.

As powerful as it is plausible, Docile is a parable about consent, twisted love and challenging systemic abuse. --Suzanne Krohn, editor, Love in Panels

Shelf Talker: K.M. Szpara's Docile explores a future in which the selling of debt has effectively eliminated consent, told through a twisted gay love story and a complicated battle for human dignity.

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