Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Mariner Books: Everyone This Christmas Has a Secret: A Festive Mystery by Benjamin Stevenson

Grove Press: Brightly Shining by Ingvild Rishøi, Translated Caroline Waight

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

Broadleaf Books: Trespass: Portraits of Unhoused Life, Love, and Understanding by Kim Watson

Nancy Paulsen Books: Sync by Ellen Hopkins

Running Press Adult: Cat People by Hannah Hillam

Beaming Books: Must-Have Autumn Reads for Your Shelf!

Dial Press: Like Mother, Like Mother by Susan Rieger


Judge Rules for Mary L. Trump in Suit over Her Family Memoir

In a largely symbolic move for a book whose pub date is today, yesterday a New York State judge threw out the suit by President Trump's brother Robert S. Trump against Mary L. Trump, trying to block publication of her memoir Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man.

Two weeks ago, another judge had lifted a temporary restraining order keeping Simon & Schuster from publishing the book but had left open the question of whether the author had broken a confidentiality agreement she signed in connection with the settlement in 2001 of a bitter Trump family lawsuit. The suit concerned the will of Fred Trump, the president's father and Mary L. Trump's grandfather, who died in 1999 and left only a small cash bequest to Mary L. Trump and her brother, Fred Trump III.

According to the New York Times, yesterday Judge Hal B. Greenwald "dismissed the argument by the Trump family that a 2001 confidentiality agreement applied to the book... because the secrecy provision was narrowly tailored to the disagreements about the will, not about any subject related to the Trumps."

Judge Greenwald wrote: "Why would a 2001 settlement of two estate matters and a local Supreme Court case contain a clause prohibiting the parties to these actions to ever speak again about their relationships?"

S&S commented: "We are delighted that the Court has denied the plaintiff's request for preliminary injunction, and vacated the Temporary Restraining Order against our author, Mary L. Trump. The unfettered right to publish is a sacred American freedom and a founding principle of our republic, and we applaud the Court for affirming well-established precedents against prior restraint and pre-publication injunctions. Too Much and Never Enough is a work of great significance, with very real implications for our national discourse, and we look forward to bringing it to a public that is clearly eager to read it."

A spokesperson for Mary L. Trump said, "Now that the unconstitutional gag order has finally been lifted, we are sure the White House and America are looking forward to finally hearing what Mary has to say."

Peachtree Teen: Compound Fracture by Andrew Joseph White

AAP Sales: Down 12.1% in May

Reflecting another full month when much of the country was under stay-at-home orders because of the Covid-19 pandemic, total net book sales in May in the U.S. fell 12.1%, to $1.05 billion, compared to May 2019, representing sales of 1,360 publishers and distributed clients as reported to the Association of American Publishers. For the year to date, total net book sales were down 4.5%, to $4.34 billion.

Overall trade sales fell 7.9%, to $635.8 million in May, and were down 1.5%, to $2.8 billion, in the first five months of the year.

Not surprisingly, given the closing of many bricks-and-mortar stores, sales of printed trade books were down in May, with hardcovers off 18.5%, paperbacks off 16.9%, and mass markets off 0.6%.

By contrast, in May, e-book sales overall rose 39.2%, to $113 million, and downloaded audio sales rose 22%, to $54.2 million, led by a gain in children's/YA downloaded audio of 69.4%, to $5.4 million.

Sales by category in May 2020 compared to May 2019:

Inner Traditions: Expand your collection with these must-have resource books!

After Construction and Pandemic Delays, Read Queen Bookstore and Café Opens

The Read Queen Bookstore and Café has officially opened in Lafayette, Colo., after a four-month delay because of the coronavirus pandemic and construction, Colorado Hometown Weekly reported.

Owners Barbra Huntting and Deirdre Appelhans last year bought the inventory and naming rights to the Book Cellar in Louisville, Colo., which had closed in 2019. They then changed the name and moved it to Old Town Lafayette to a site they renovated.

"We wanted to start with a soft opening so we could work out the kinks," Huntting told the paper. "We had hoped to open in February, and just as the day was about to approach, there were a couple minor construction things with the building."

Those items were more time consuming than expected, and then the pandemic hit. "And we couldn't have more than one or two workers in the building," she continued. "It just extended everything."

The store offers new and used books, a café and has an indoor patio and front porch. During the time it was closed, it sold some books online via as well as allowed customers to pick up some books at the store. "It's saved them on the shipping and has become a big part of our business," Appelhans added.

'Feel-good Real Estate News': Point Reyes Books' Building Sold

The block-long, historic Emporium building in downtown Point Reyes Station was sold recently in a $2.3 million deal to four West Marin residents who hope to keep rents affordable for the longstanding businesses housed there, the Point Reyes Light reported.

One of those tenants, Point Reyes Books, was enthusiastic about the change, posting on Facebook: "We're delighted and grateful to share the news that our building, the Point Reyes Emporium, has been sold to a collective of locals who will preserve its historic nature and role as a center of the community. It's not every day you get to share feel-good real estate news!"

The investors are helping Leslie Kruth--whose parents, Jean and Larry Marks, bought the building in 1991--and her husband, Hal, buy out the other heirs. The new owners intend to keep all the same tenants. Point Reyes Light reported that the "rent has been kept below market value for years and will remain that way for the foreseeable future, though increases will be phased in over the next five years in part to fund needed upgrades. (All tenants were consulted... and indicated they could survive the hikes.)"

"We'd like to keep this building in the community," said Dick Lemon, one of the investors. "This isn't a real estate investment by itself. There's a double bottom line: it's also an investment in the health of the community."

How Bookstores Are Coping: Distancing In-Store; New Role of 'Door Greeter'

On Bainbridge Island, Wash., Eagle Harbor Book Co. reopened for browsing on June 1, reported store owner Jane Danielson. All staff members are wearing masks and all customers over the age of five must wear masks. The store provides disposable masks to customers who don't have their own, and hand sanitizer is available at both store entrances and at all POS areas. 

Danielson said the store is also providing disposable gloves for customers who want to handle books when they shop. For those who decide not to put on gloves, Danielson and her team ask that they put any handled books on a "quarantine cart." Those books are then quarantined off of the sales floor for a minimum of three days before being re-shelved. The staff routinely performs customer counts to make sure the store is no higher than 25% capacity. She added that so far, they have not had to keep anyone out because of capacity.

There are plexiglass dividers at all sales counters, Danielson continued, and plenty of signage illustrating proper spacing. Booksellers are required to take their temperature on arrival each day, and mark a log sheet showing that they took their temperature, what the temperature was, and whether they have any unusual symptoms. Staff also have to follow strict handwashing and cleaning schedules, and the bathroom has been closed to customers (which Danielson noted has not been a popular decision).

To make sure booksellers can work safely, they are on staggered schedules and the store has closed two sales stations at the front of the store. Other operations have also been spaced out. Things that used to be done behind the sales counter, such as answering the phone and e-mailing customers, are now done elsewhere in the store to reduce crowding. Whenever possible, staff can work from home, especially on marketing and community outreach projects. And with all author events canceled for the year, the store's events team is now focused on community outreach.

Danielson said customers are generally compliant with the store's social-distancing measures. Washington's governor recently issued a mask-wearing mandate, which has made enforcing the store's restrictions easier. And while they have had to remind some shoppers to put on masks, so far no one has refused to wear one.

On the subject of the protests against systemic racism and police brutality that began in late May, Danielson said her town had two marches in early June. The store is supportive of the movement and many booksellers have taken part in protests. In response to the protest movement, the store also revised its summer reading program to focus on increasing reading diversity for both kids and adults. For each summer reading form that is submitted, the store will be donating $5 to a local nonprofit fighting for racial equality, and there are displays of #ownvoices titles that have proven very popular.

Only one customer, Danielson added, has complained about the store's support of Black Lives Matter, saying that she would not shop in the store as long as they continued to display a Black Lives Matter sign. Otherwise, she said, there has been no negative feedback to the store's decision to speak out.

All told, the store's sales numbers are down significantly over last year's numbers. At this time of year, Danielson noted, there would normally be plenty of tourists visiting Bainbridge Island, but there are far fewer customers in store.


Cindy Dach, co-owner of Changing Hands Bookstores in Tempe and Phoenix, Ariz., reported that the stores reopened on June 23. Both stores are operating on limited hours based on staff availability, and they've created a new role that Dach called the "door greeter." It's the door greeter, Dach explained, who makes sure guests are wearing masks and sanitizing their hands when they enter.

Hand sanitizer is available at the door and throughout the store, and plexiglass barriers have been installed around the registers and information counters. All staff members, whether working on the floor or in the offices, have to wear masks, and all guests are required to wear them as well. For those unable to wear masks, curbside pick-up is still available. Store capacity has been reduced and, to create more browsing space, some fixtures have been moved and some displays taken down. There are signs throughout the stores, Dach added, that read "Kindness = 6 feet of social distancing."

For the most part, Dach continued, the community is on board with wearing masks and following social distancing guidelines. The mayors of Tempe and Phoenix have mandated masks, and that helps a great deal. Still, Changing Hands has had to put up signage about how to wear masks properly.

When it comes to the nightly protests in Phoenix, Dach said her stores are not in the "footprint of the protest," but there are lots of community businesses that are and many community members are participating. Dach added that Changing Hands has given financial support to certain organizations, used the store's social media platform to show support and is working on a One Book Phoenix Antiracist reading program.

Obituary Note: Brad Watson

Brad Watson, an award-winning author and director of the University of Wyoming's creative writing program, died July 8. He was 64. Watson published four books, including his 2010 short story collection, Aliens in the Prime of Their Lives, which was nominated for a PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction; The Heaven of Mercury (2002), a National Book Award finalist; Last Days of the Dog-Men: Stories (1996), which won the Academy of Arts and Letters award for first fiction; and Miss Jane: A Novel (2016), longlisted for the National Book Award.

Author David Gessner observed that Watson "will be remembered by family and friends for his sense of humor, his keen intelligence, his honesty, his empathy, his sheer authenticity, and his smile, which was often sly as if he were up to something. For his friends, the only thing better than reading Brad's stories was listening to them: tales that gradually wound their way through many twists and turns, and were delivered in a gravely but gentle voice tinged with a Mississippi accent, one that he claimed to have lost when he headed to Hollywood as a young man to become an actor."

In a tribute on Lit Hub, Norton executive editor and v-p Alane Salierno Mason wrote: "He was my first Norton author. I had fallen for his short story, 'Seeing Eye' as a consulting editor at the old Story Magazine, while a young editor at the old Harcourt Brace, and begged to see more of Brad Watson's work. When the collection came, and made my hair stand on end (with that proverbial prickle at the back of the neck that we editors are supposed to feel encountering realness on the page), I was about to accept a new job at Norton. I asked him to wait for me, and he did.... All four of his books were with Norton, a relationship that lasted 26 years. I was lucky to be in a place that made that possible.... Everything the guy published was prize-worthy. He wrote like a composer, every note held for just the right amount of time to make music."

Author Tim Parrish told the Tuscaloosa News that Watson was "an astonishingly talented writer.... I believe that most narratives create a story line that narrows into a finite, inexorable number of endings that make sense, but Brad's work often went to unexpected places that were more profound than anything remotely predictable, and yet still logical. He was tapped into the deeply human and visionary.... He had his demons, for sure, and I don't know if some were to be reckoned with, but out of the attempt to reckon came some of the best American writing of our period."


Miniature Bookshop at Main Point Books

"Some people’s COVID-19 projects are more intricate than others. Thanks Jerome Kessel! Come by and check it out...," Main Point Books, Wayne, Pa., posted on Facebook along with a photo of Kessel's miniature bookshop creation.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Colin Jost on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Colin Jost, author of A Very Punchable Face: A Memoir (Crown, $27, 9781101906323). He is also on the Today Show today.

The View: Jacob Soboroff, author of Separated: Inside an American Tragedy (Custom House, $29.99, 9780062992192).

Tamron Hall repeat: Marlo Thomas and Phil Donahue, authors of What Makes a Marriage Last: 40 Celebrated Couples Share with Us the Secrets to a Happy Life (HarperOne, $29.99, 9780062982582).

Tonight Show: Stacey Abrams, author of Our Time Is Now: Power, Purpose, and the Fight for a Fair America (Holt, $27.99, 9781250257703).

TV: The Red Lotus

Chris Bohjalian's novel The Red Lotus will be adapted into a TV series, with Kate Brooke (A Discovery of Witches, Bancroft) attached to write the adaptation and serve as the showrunner, Deadline reported.

Sherry Marsh (Pose, Vikings) and Julie Gardner of Bad Wolf America (I Hate Suzie, A Discovery of Witches), along with global content company Anton (The Night House, Greenland), have optioned the rights to The Red Lotus and are teaming for the project.

"Part mystery, part thriller, the book has a unique and unusual heroine at its heart," said Brooke. "Alexis is an ER doctor who's seen it all, but when her boyfriend disappears, she is forced to ask herself--do you ever know the people you love, and work alongside?"

Marsh said, "I was inexplicably drawn to this global thriller-rich with carefully drawn characters and a fast-paced narrative that holds your attention until the very end."

Deadline noted that the adaptation is joining another Bohjalian novel "on the path to the small screen. A TV iteration of his darkly comedic novel The Flight Attendant is headed to HBO Max with Kaley Cuoco starring and executive producing."

Books & Authors

Awards: Sunburst Shortlists

The Sunburst Award Committee has announced the shortlists for the 2020 Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic. Winners receive a medallion that incorporates the Sunburst logo. In addition, winners of the Adult and YA categories also receive a cash prize of C$1,000 (about US$735), while the Short Story Award winner gets C$500 (about US$370). Check out the complete list of shortlisted titles here.

Book Review

Review: Bear Necessity

Bear Necessity by James Gould-Bourn (Scribner, $26 hardcover, 320p., 9781982128296, August 4, 2020)

British-born author James Gould-Bourn bursts onto the U.S. literary scene with a charming, deeply comforting story about a father and son entrenched in grief.

Londoner Danny Malooley "learned the hardest way imaginable that all it took to dim the stars, stop the clocks, and bring the earth to a shuddering halt was one small, invisible sliver of ice on a country road." The impact of that event, a car accident that claimed the life of Liz, Danny's beloved wife--and mother to their son, Will--changes everything. For 14 months, father and son grapple with their loss, trying to shore up their shattered world. Matters hit rock bottom when Danny suddenly loses his construction job and cannot pay the bills. A threatening landlord and his brutish henchman even come knocking. Things are bad. But worst of all is the fact that 11-year-old Will has refused to speak to anyone--including his dad--since his mother's death. Will was a passenger in the vehicle at the time of the fatal crash.

Depressed, destitute and desperate, Danny ambles through a park one day and spots street performers entertaining passersby and raking in money. This proves a moment of enlightenment as he decides, on a lark, to join their ranks. Barreling through a host of amusing complications, he secures an old panda bear suit and sets off to earn some money covertly.

With Danny learning the ropes of his secret new job, Will struggles with his lingering silence and being taunted by older kids at school. A gentle, caring and very astute substitute teacher familiar with "selective mutism" reaches out to Will. He shares a similar story from his own youth, relaying how he took solace in confiding in a stuffed animal toy. This exchange is recalled when Will finds himself bullied in the park and is unexpectedly rescued by--and ultimately makes friends with--a goofy-looking, dancing panda performer.

Heartfelt themes and wit further elevate charming plot twists and a well-tuned cast of quirky, supporting characters who prove that the spirit of friendship can build bridges to greater understanding and brighter days. Gould-Bourn is a beautiful, perceptive writer who has crafted a moving, sensitive story that is also very funny. Bear Necessity is a perfect literary antidote to anxious, troubled times. --Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines

Shelf Talker: In this delightful story, a grieving British father and his young son who refuses to speak learn to communicate with each other through a dancing panda bear.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki and Sharon L. Lechter
2. Game Changer by Rob Angel
3. Hard to Handle by K. Bromberg
4. The Restaurant by Pamela M. Kelley
5. Code Name: Ghost (Jameson Force Security Book 5) by Sawyer Bennett
6. The Breeding Experiment (Veslor Mates Book 3) by Laurann Dohner
7. The Dark Files: The Complete Collection by Kim Richardson
8. When It's Over by Barbara Ridley
9. Zero's Heart by Mina Carter
10. Eden (Angelview Academy Book 3) by E.M. Snow

[Many thanks to!]

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