Shelf Awareness for Thursday, March 5, 2020

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


ViacomCBS Puts Simon & Schuster Up for Sale

Simon & Schuster is for sale.

The announcement came at a Morgan Stanley investment conference, when ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish characterized S&S as "not a core asset" and said that ViacomCBS is seeking cash to spend on its video-streaming business, adding that the company has received "multiple, unsolicited inbound calls" about S&S. According to the Wall Street Journal, sources have said ViacomCBS is asking at least $1.2 billion for S&S and anticipates selling it to another large publisher. Among possible suitors, according to the Journal, are Hachette and HarperCollins, which, like the Journal is owned by News Corp.

In a memo to staff, S&S president and CEO Carolyn K. Reidy wrote in part: "Whatever the outcome, this process does not change what we know to be true of Simon & Schuster: we are a great publishing house and one of the world's best known publishing brands, with an incredible legacy and bright future. We have a tremendous track record of producing best sellers in every category and format, and for readers of every age. We have a history of strong and long lasting relationships with our authors, and we will continue to bring important voices to readers around the world, both with our current publishing and our rich backlist of perennially favorite titles."

She added: "This process will surely be an adventure for all of us, but we are a company that has always risen to the challenges we face. It is your professionalism and expertise that makes Simon & Schuster great, and I thank you in advance for your hard work and commitment during this coming period of transition."

S&S was founded in 1924 by Richard L. Simon and M. Lincoln Schuster and initially thrived selling crossword puzzle books. Of course, the company expanded rapidly, and since 1994 has been owned by either Viacom or CBS or both. Sales in 2019 were $814 million.

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

BookExpo, Ci8 Proceeding as Planned

The day that the London Book Fair was cancelled for 2020, BookExpo and Reed Exhibitions said that BookExpo and BookCon will proceed as planned May 27-31 in New York City, and the American Booksellers Association similarly said that the Children's Institute will be held as planned June 22-24 in Tucson, Ariz.

Reed Exhibitions and BookExpo stressed that they are "monitoring the COVID-19 virus situation daily. We are collaborating closely with the Javits Center and following guidelines and precautions suggested by the U.S Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and other federal, state and local government agencies, including the New York City Department of Health which provides live, daily updates."

Aiming to be "proactive and transparent," BookExpo said, too, that it "will continue to monitor the status and guidelines closely. Should anything change we will, of course, promptly keep our customers informed of the action to be taken."

BookExpo added that for now, "we do not anticipate any changes or delays to our event. Our mission is to serve our customers as best we can, and we plan to provide a place for you to conduct business in these difficult times. The publishing industry is based on personal connections--and many rely on the important business relationships made during BookExpo. We will continue to be take necessary precautions to facilitate an environment for the entire community to unite, make meaningful new connections, and discover new titles."

Bookselling This Week highlighted online sites that offer recommendations and resources about the coronavirus in general and for retailers in particular. It also noted that Binc can potentially help booksellers with lost wages or store income in connection with the coronavirus, particularly if a public emergency is declared, booksellers are quarantined, a store has to close, etc.

Nashville Tornado Update

Deadly tornadoes ravaged the Nashville, Tenn., region early Tuesday morning and yesterday Shelf Awareness reported on how some of the area's book-related businesses responded. Another indie bookstore has checked in since then.

Michelle Grambos of Fairytales Bookstore and More, posted on Facebook that the store "will be closed until further notice. The Five Points area was hit hard by the tornado and our hearts go out to all our neighboring homes and businesses that were so badly damaged. We live in this neighborhood, too, and I'm so deeply moved by the outpouring of love and help from neighbors. Thank you to our whole community for everything you are doing to help others. We and our families are all safe and we hope your families are, too. We love you, East Nashville.

"Want to help? Volunteer through Hands On Nashville or donate money through Community Foundation Mid Tn. If you need help, the Community Foundation can connect you. If you need childcare help, I can connect you with our neighborhood MOMS Club and a church that is offering childcare. Thank you all!"

The Bookstore Opening Soon in Haines, Alaska

The Bookstore in Haines, Alaska, will open this week, during the city's monthly First Friday event, KHNS reported.

Located on Main Street, the store will sell new and used books for all ages, and it resides in the same storefront that has housed a variety of indie bookstores over the years, including The Babbling Book, The Babbling Book and Dragon's Nook and, most recently, The Moosterious Emporium.

Since taking over the space earlier this winter, owner Amy Kane has renovated the store and built her inventory. She's put in new floors, opened the space up with wall-to-wall bookshelves, brought in military furniture dating back to World War II and added a mural to the store's back wall.

While Kane has no prior experience in bookselling, she did work at the Denver Public Library for a few years and more recently owned and operated a cafe in Sitka, Alaska, for seven years. The cafe frequently hosted musicians, and Kane hopes to continue that tradition with The Bookstore.

Carsten Coesfeld New DK CEO

Carsten Coesfeld

Effective March 9, Carsten Coesfeld is becoming CEO of DK. For the past seven years, he has worked at the Bertelsmann division Arvato, most recently as president of telecommunications in its supply chain solutions group. He had joined Bertelsmann in 2011 as the management associate for the CEO and worked with Penguin Random House in New York on the corporate marketing team during the merger integration.

In an announcement about the appointment, Markus Dohle, CEO of PRH, to whom Coesfeld will report, said that at Arvato, "Carsten delivered double-digit growth by transforming the business and establishing strategic alliances with the world's leading tech companies, including many of DK's current retailers and partners... Carsten has a proven track record in optimizing operational and supply-chain processes--both of which are essential to the efficiencies and profitability of the DK business. At the same time, he has also demonstrated his skill at identifying and creating new channels and opportunities for business development in companies similarly sized and positioned to DK."

As CEO of DK, Coesfeld will be a member of PRH's Global Executive Committee and will be based in London.

Ian Hudson

Coesfeld is replacing Ian Hudson, who has been CEO of DK for the past three years and aims "to recharge his batteries before embarking on the next stage of his career," Dohle said. "Already a non-executive director of Which? Limited, Ian plans to consider more non-executive roles and expand his plural work portfolio across media and cultural industries generally." He will help in the transition as needed until the end of April.

Hudson joined Random House in 1992 and has held a variety of positions with the company, helping in the Penguin Random House merger negotiations, and serving as PRH's CEO for the company's international English-language business before joining DK. He was also president of the Publishers Association of the U.K. in 2008-2009.

Dohle praised Hudson for his years of service, saying that his long tenure "has been defined by his delivery of business growth, profit improvement, operational excellence, and consumer orientation."

Obituary Note: Fiona MacCarthy

Biographer and journalist Fiona MacCarthy, who "believed fervently, like her adored William Morris, that design was about the power of choice--not just what to buy and use, but what to do, how to live; that actively choosing was the core of life," died February 29, the Guardian reported. She was 80. MacCarthy was appointed OBE in 2009 for services to literature, and was a fellow of the Royal College of Art and the Royal Society of Literature.

Writing "mighty biographies" about outsider creators and their difficult choices, MacCarthy's "work most likely to last" is William Morris: A Life for Our Time (1994), for which she "tramped Morris's landscapes ('things dawn on you just being in the place'), made pilgrimage to his minor works, and understood the contradictions of his politics," the Guardian wrote. The biography "both recreates his period peculiarity, and is a manifesto for his perpetual modernity; MacCarthy, like Morris, wanted to find out the proper occupation for humans in a mechanical age. She knew purposelessness makes people unhappy."

The Guardian recruited her in 1963 as a design correspondent, "but she defined her job as 'swinging '60s correspondent,' and extended her interviewees to include David Hockney, John Lennon and the feminist Betty Friedan." She left the Guardian in 1969, and was briefly women's editor of the London Evening Standard.

MacCarthy's other books include The Last Pre-Raphaelite: Edward Burne-Jones and the Victorian Imagination; Walter Gropius: Visionary Founder of the Bauhaus; Eric Gill; Stanley Spencer: An English Vision; Byron: Life and Legend; The Simple Life; and Last Curtsey: The End of the Debutantes.


Image of the Day: Patchett, [words], HarperCollins Support Binc

[words] Bookstore in Maplewood, N.J., partnered with Ann Patchett and HarperCollins to raise more than $5,000 for the Book Industry Charitable Foundation. [words] hosted a VIP reception for authors, journalists and publishing industry friends at the bookstore, followed by a sold-out ticketed presentation focused on Patchett's new novel, The Dutch House (Harper), for 400 fans. [words] donated all of its profits from the event to Binc, and HarperCollins matched the donation. Above: owners Ellen and Jonah Zimiles listen to Patchett speak. (photo: Jamie Meier)

Cool Wolf Hall Idea: 'Saturday Silent Book Disco'

Last weekend, in anticipation of Hilary Mantel's triumphant conclusion to the award-winning Thomas Cromwell series, British bookseller Forum Books in Corbridge posted on Facebook that "we're celebrating with a special Saturday Silent Book Disco! Playing all day today, with a The Mirror and the Light themed playlist ranging from Tudor inspired pop-rock to 80s New Wave classics, we've a little something for everyone...."

Personnel Changes at Philomel; Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Jill Santopolo has been promoted to v-p, associate publisher, Philomel Books. She was formerly associate publisher, Philomel Books.


Katharine McAnarney has been promoted to senior publicity manager from publicity manager at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Mark Kurlansky on On Point

NPR's On Point: Mark Kurlansky, author of Salmon: A Fish, the Earth, and the History of Their Common Fate (Patagonia, $30, 9781938340864).

HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher: Ross Douthat, author of The Decadent Society: How We Became the Victims of Our Own Success (Avid Reader Press/Simon & Schuster, $27, 9781476785240).

American Dirt Episode of Oprah's Book Club Airs Tomorrow

The American Dirt episode of Oprah's Book Club will premiere as a two-part interview on Apple TV+ tomorrow, March 6.

In the first part of the interview, Oprah Winfrey and American Dirt author Jeanine Cummins will be joined by authors Reyna Grande, Julissa Arce and Esther Cepeda, as well as other members of the Latinx community, to talk about the book and real-life migrant experiences. In the second part, Winfrey will talk to various Latinx people who saw themselves reflected in the book and who will share their insights on the migrant experience.

"If you read the book there is no doubt you heard about the controversy around it," said Winfrey. "I heard and understand the concerns and wanted to bring together many voices to lean into this conversation, because for 25 years on The Oprah Show I learned that is the only way I think we can actually gain a better understanding of one another."

This Weekend on Book TV: Rahm Emanuel

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, March 7
3 p.m. Edward J. Larson, author of Franklin & Washington: The Founding Partnership (Morrow, $29.99, 9780062880154).

6:30 p.m. Gretchen Sorin, author of Driving While Black: African American Travel and the Road to Civil Rights (Liveright, $28.95, 9781631495694). (Re-airs Monday at 6 a.m.)

7:15 p.m. E.J. Dionne, author of Code Red: How Progressives and Moderates Can Unite to Save Our Country (St. Martin's Press, $27.99, 9781250256478).

8:30 p.m. Colin Dueck, author of Age of Iron: On Conservative Nationalism (Oxford University Press, $29.95, 9780190079369). (Re-airs Sunday at 3 p.m.)

10 p.m. Lee Drutman, author of Breaking the Two-Party Doom Loop: The Case for Multiparty Democracy in America (Oxford University Press, $27.95, 9780190913854). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. Rahm Emanuel, author of The Nation City: Why Mayors Are Now Running the World (Knopf, $26.95, 9780525656388). (Re-airs Monday at 6:45 p.m.)

Sunday, March 8
12 a.m. The Audio Publishers Association's 2020 Audie Awards, "recognizing distinction in audiobooks and spoken-word entertainment." (Re-airs Sunday at 1 p.m.)

2:15 p.m. Tony Pecinovsky, author of Let Them Tremble (International Publishers, $19.95, 9780717807697), at Left Bank Books in Hanover, N.H.

7:50 p.m. Jill Wine-Banks, author of The Watergate Girl: My Fight for Truth and Justice Against a Criminal President (Holt, $27.99, 9781250244321), at the Strand in New York City.

10 p.m. Ross Douthat, author of The Decadent Society: How We Became the Victims of Our Own Success (Avid Reader Press/Simon & Schuster, $27, 9781476785240).

11:20 p.m. Jennifer S. Hirsch, co-author of Sexual Citizens: A Landmark Study of Sex, Power, and Assault on Campus (Norton, $27.95, 9781324001706).

Books & Authors

Awards: Ezra Jack Keats, RNA Winners

The Ezra Jack Keats Awards, which recognize a writer and illustrator "early in their careers for having created an extraordinary children's book that reflects the diverse nature of our culture," have gone to:

New Writer: Sydney Smith for Small in the City (Neal Porter Books/Holiday House)
New Illustrator: Ashleigh Corrin for Layla's Happiness, written by Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie (Enchanted Lion Books)

The winners receive a bronze medallion and an honorarium of $3,000. The awards are presented by the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation, in partnership with the de Grummond Children's Literature Collection at the University of Southern Mississippi. The 2020 award ceremony will be held April 2 during the Fay B. Kaigler Children's Book Festival at the university in Hattiesburg.

Writer Honor
Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie for Layla's Happiness, illustrated by Ashleigh Corrin (Enchanted Lion Books)
Matthew Farina for Lawrence in the Fall, illustrated by Doug Salati (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
Illustrator Honor
Doug Salati for Lawrence in the Fall, written by Matthew Farina (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
Zeke Peña for My Papi Has a Motorcycle, written by Isabel Quintero (Kokila/PRH)
Kate Read for One Fox: A Counting Book Thriller, written by Kate Read (Peachtree Publishing)


The Romantic Novelists' Association recently presented its 2020 Romantic Novel Awards in London, with RNA chair Alison May observing: "The quality of the shortlists for the awards this year was breathtaking, and the winning novels demonstrate the breadth and strength of romantic fiction." This year's RNA category winners are:

Katie Fforde Debut Romantic Novel: The Forgotten Village by Lorna Cook
Libertà Books Shorter Romantic Novel: Miss Amelia's Mistletoe Marquess by Jenni Fletcher
Romantic Saga: The Street of Broken Dreams by Tania Crosse
Romantic Comedy Novel: A Question of Us by Mary Jayne Baker
Jackie Collins Romantic Thriller: Knowing You by Samantha Tonge
Fantasy Romantic Novel: Queenie Malone's Paradise Hotel by Ruth Hogan
Goldsboro Books Contemporary Romantic Novel: A Summer to Remember by Sue Moorcroft
Goldsboro Books Historical Romantic Novel: The French Photographer by Natasha Lester
Sapere Books Popular Romantic Fiction: The Truths and Triumphs of Grace Atherton by Anstey Harris
Outstanding Achievement: Milly Johnson

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, March 10:

The Mirror & the Light by Hilary Mantel (Holt, $30, 9780805096606) concludes the Wolf Hall trilogy.

Journey of the Pharaohs by Clive Cussler and Graham Brown (Putnam, $29, 9780593083086) is book 15 in the NUMA Files adventure series.

MBS: The Rise to Power of Mohammed bin Salman by Ben Hubbard (Tim Duggan Books, $28, 9781984823823) investigates the crown prince of Saudi Arabia.

The Gift of Forgiveness: Inspiring Stories from Those Who Have Overcome the Unforgivable by Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt (Pamela Dorman Books, $20, 9781984878250) collects stories of those who have forgiven others and themselves.

The Lady of Sing Sing: An American Countess, an Italian Immigrant, and Their Epic Battle for Justice in New York's Gilded Age by Idanna Pucci (Tiller Press, $26.99, 9781982139315) chronicles an early campaign against the death penalty in 1895 New York.

Brave Enough by Jessie Diggins and Todd Smith (University of Minnesota Press, $24.95, 9781517908195) is the memoir of an Olympic skier.

Harley in the Sky by Akemi Dawn Bowman (Simon Pulse, $19.99, 9781534437128) features a young woman from a circus family who joins a rival circus after a fight with her parents.

Bloom by Kenneth Oppel (Knopf, $16.99, 9781524773007) is a middle-grade novel in which an alien invasion takes the form of blooming plants--that eat humans.

Schrödinger's Dog: A Novel by Martin Dumont, translated by John Cullen (Other Press, $14.99, 9781635429985).

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:

Run Me to Earth: A Novel by Paul Yoon (Simon & Schuster, $26, 9781501154041). "This is Paul Yoon's best work yet. While this is also his most chaotic book, the power of his writing can still be found in the quiet moments, in gestures toward reconciliation, forgiveness, or at least resolution. This novel is stunning in its rendering of our capacity for both savagery and tenderness. Yoon is one of our great masters, and Run Me to Earth is a masterwork." --Joseph Nieves, Changing Hands, Tempe, Ariz.

The Resisters: A Novel by Gish Jen (Knopf, $26.95, 9780525657217). "I finished The Resisters in a day. I don't know how a book can be so devastating yet so miraculously wonderful at the same time. I was completely captivated by the family whose story Jen tells. The world she creates--set in near-future AutoAmerica--is so believable an outcome of what we see around us today that it feels as much prescient as imagined. A sort of cautionary tale, The Resisters is not only a book to love, it's a book that's important. I'm in awe." --Carole Horne, Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, Mass.

The Stationery Shop: A Novel by Marjan Kamali (Gallery, $16, 9781982107499). "The Stationery Shop is one of the most beautifully written novels I have read in a long time. The masterful plot brings us to a lost time and culture, but also transcends time and country. In a story set against the upheaval of 1953 Tehran, we discover how events change the destiny of two teenagers who meet in a book and stationery shop and fall in love. This novel of political dreams, family loyalty, lingering memories, love, and fate will haunt you long after the story ends." --Janet Hutchison, The Open Door Bookstore, Schenectady, N.Y.

For Ages 4 to 8
Bad Dog by Mike Boldt (Doubleday, $17.99, 9781984847973). "Rocky is a very bad dog; she doesn't do tricks or listen to her human's orders. She's very good at catlike things, though, like clawing things up and sleeping. Bad Dog has adorable seeping out of every page as Rocky's human tells readers all about her! Every cat owner will find their own fluffy friends in these accurate illustrations of feline mischief and love." --Andrew King, University Book Store, Seattle, Wash.

For Ages 9 to 12
Race to the Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse (Rick Riordan Presents, $16.99, 9781368024662). "Nizhoni Begay is a heroine you won't soon forget! Roanhorse delves into Native American mythology with glee as Nizhoni learns about her heritage and what it takes to become a hero. With a colorful cast of characters--Mr. Yazzie the horned toad being a personal favorite--it's a race to the sun god for mythical weapons so Nizhoni and company can free her father from a tyrannical monster (who also happens to be an oil baron)." --Sami Thomason, Square Books, Oxford, Miss.

For Teen Readers
Three Things I Know Are True by Betty Culley (HarperTeen, $18.99, 9780062908025). "Topical, deeply honest, and important, this book has an edge that is painful and sharp but softened with the cadence of verse. The ripple effect of Jonah's foolish actions pulses violently outward and crashes into friends, family, and the larger community. Three things I know are true: this book captures the subject matter seriously and accurately, it starts a necessary dialogue, and it might change some lives." --Nichole Cousins, Still North Books & Bar, Hanover, N.H.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: Wine Girl: The Obstacles, Humiliations, and Triumphs of America's Youngest Sommelier

Wine Girl: The Obstacles, Humiliations, and Triumphs of America's Youngest Sommelier by Victoria James (Ecco, $26.99 hardcover, 336p., 9780062961679, March 24, 2020)

Victoria James (Drink Pink: A Celebration of Rosé) retraces the rocky road she traveled to become an award-winning wine expert who, at the age of 21, was the youngest sommelier to lead a Michelin-starred restaurant.

She divides her story into seven sections, mapping her life from age seven to 28. The prologue perfectly embodies the theme and tone of the memoir: James, a newbie sommelier at an upscale restaurant, must deliver a $650 bottle of chardonnay from Burgundy, France, to an elite, grossly chauvinistic customer. James quells her nervousness and uncorks the bottle, following protocol with "calculated precision." She tastes and approves the wine, which she describes as "like slipping into a bed made up with silk sheets." After the patron takes his own sip, he verbally demeans James--her youth and inexperience--and orders her to take the bottle back and uncork another. What ensues is an apt metaphor for James's life as she takes on the patron and her own fears, managing to appease the customer and her bosses, while also endearing herself to readers who will eagerly empathize with and root for her.  

How she deals with challenges and conflicts--and proves to be a tenacious problem-solver, undaunted overcomer and go-getter--are what make James and her underdog story so appealing. Her childhood was "low-income" and often nomadic. James--a responsible, protective and nurturing second child of four--was raised by temperamental, eccentric parents: a demanding, alcoholic father and a largely absent mother who battled depression. Frequent spells in the company and care of attentive, encouraging relatives taught James that "social class did not define one's character" and sparked her interest in food and drink.

While living with her father in New Jersey, 13-year-old James finagled a job at a nearby diner that unknowingly sealed her culinary aspirations. There, she first experienced the grueling underbelly of restaurant work and began an ascendant career rife with chronic misogyny, sexual advances, assault and even a rape. But amid some very bad apples, good eggs also emerged, offering new insights and opportunities.

Whip-smart James comprehends and absorbs her varied experiences and interactions, cleverly forging a path from waitress to New York City bartender; wine enthusiast student to grape harvester; premiere female sommelier--in a male-dominated industry--to successful restaurateur. James's flowing narrative defines and explains many terms used to describe wine and its aficionados. One word, however, sums up James's utterly engrossing coming-of-age and success story--Wonderful! --Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines

Shelf Talker: The captivating story of a resourceful young female sommelier who overcame countless obstacles to become an award-winning wine expert and restaurateur.

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