Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, July 28, 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


Powell's Books Closes Airport Store Permanently

Powell's Books has closed its store and kiosk at Portland International Airport permanently. Owner Emily Powell said, "Closing the airport store is a sad necessity as we face the months ahead. The privilege of welcoming book lovers to Portland, and sending Portlanders off on their travels with a good book in hand, has been a true gift. It's hard for me to imagine our future without the airport, and without the airport's seasoned team of booksellers. We hope to return one day."

Powell's Books opened at the airport in the late 1980s, when the airport welcomed local businesses, and several years ago celebrated its 30th anniversary in business at PDX. The Powell's Oregon Marketplace and Concourse C kiosk have been closed since mid-March because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Oregonian noted that passenger traffic at the airport in June was down 83% compared to June 2019, according to the Port of Portland, which runs the airport.

Powell's has four other locations, in Portland and Beaverton, including its flagship City of Books.

Peachtree Teen: Compound Fracture by Andrew Joseph White

New Black Bookstore on Wheels in Milwaukee, Wis.

Cetonia Weston-Roy is selling Black books and books featuring Black characters in Milwaukee, Wis., from her bookstore on wheels, a large tricycle, called Niche Book Bar, Fox6Now reported.

"I love how you can transport into a lot of different situations," she commented. "I saw a guy selling ice cream on a bike, so I was like, we can probably do that with a bookstore."

She added: "What I’m trying to do with Niche Book Bar is to bring varied Black literature into the forefront. Kids' books that are just about Black kids being kids."

Weston-Roy usually plans on being at Sherman Phoenix, a community and cultural center that houses many small businesses, on Saturday mornings and at Carver Park on Tuesday evenings. Other times she rides through neighborhoods "so people can see me." She hopes eventually to open a bricks-and-mortar store that in addition to books will sell coffee, tea, baked goods and wine.

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

The Book Escape Finds New Home

The Book Escape in Baltimore, Md., will be moving from its home of 17 years to a new space later this year, SouthBmore reported. The new and used bookstore is moving just a few blocks away and will remain in Baltimore's Federal Hill neighborhood.

The new space is 1,200 sq. ft. and previously housed a craft store called SCRAP B-More. In a message announcing the move, Book Escape's owners called the new space charming, cozy and quirky, noting that there are a few different rooms and an interesting configuration.

The new space will be accessible to wheelchairs and strollers, and one room will be dedicated entirely to children's books. The owners added that they have a long lease on the new storefront and a landlord "who understands the current situation that the country is going through."

Prior to the move, The Book Escape will have a moving sale at its current location.

How Bookstores Are Coping: Patio Bookselling; Focused Customers

Nicole Sullivan, owner of BookBar in Denver, Colo., reported that her store has been doing curbside pick-up for online orders since mid-May and last month added to-go service for bar and food items. Sullivan explained that she and the BookBar team reduced the amount of food items on the menu but have expanded the cocktail list. She noted that the store has a "big accordion window" at the front, which lends itself well to doing pick-up and to-go orders.

At the same time, Sullivan and her team have started reducing BookBar's in-store book inventory. This past week they held a large book sale on the store's patio, with BookBar VIP members and teachers receiving 50% off. This week they'll open up the sale to the rest of the community as they reopen the patio for eating, drinking and shopping. The patio, she added, has been reconfigured to allow for social distancing.

Sullivan has no plans to reopen the interior of the store in the immediate future. She anticipates another shutdown in the fall, and said it "just feels too risky when we have great alternatives, such as our patio and our to-go window."

BookBar's patio book sale.

Once the patio reopens, Sullivan added, masks will be mandatory. While she has not experienced it herself, some nearby businesses have complained about customers pushing back against wearing facemasks. A few weeks ago, however, Colorado's governor issued a mask-wearing mandate and that has helped with general adherence.

On the subject of the protests against police brutality and systemic racism that began in late May, Sullivan said her neighborhood was the site of a peaceful Black Lives Matter march that passed right by the store. BookBar participated, as did some local politicians and district police. The store donated 10% of all its sales during the first week of June to Navajo Nation Covid-19 relief, and 10% of its sales during the second week of June to Black Lives Matter.

Around the same time, BookGive (BookBar's non-profit wing) hosted an antiracist book giveaway at BookBar. Sullivan reported that they gave away around 200 copies of titles like The Hate U Give, The New Jim Crow, So You Want to Talk About Race and Stamped from the Beginning. BookGive is also providing complimentary books for attendees of its Well-Read Black Girl book club, in the hopes of making these books as accessible as possible.

Generally speaking, Sullivan continued, BookBar's business model is moving toward greater integration with BookGive. As of June 15, the store is donating 10% of all book sales to BookGive in order to get more books into the community, and over the last few months BookGive has donated nearly 10,000 books to various nonprofits in the metro Denver area. Bookbar is transitioning its bed & breakfast space to a Writers-in-Residence Program in partnership with a local writers' organization and also starting a publishing program.

"So we are becoming much more of a community service-based organization with less of a focus and reliance on retail," said Sullivan.


In Indianapolis, Ind., Kids Ink Children's Bookstore closed to browsing in March and reopened to walk-ins on June 11 at 50% capacity, said owner Shirley Mullin. From mid-March until June 11, Mullin continued, the store was "pleasantly busy" with website, phone and, surprisingly, social media orders. The store signed up for as well as Bookshop, and put its spring bookfairs on the latter platform.

In late April one of Mullin's booksellers loaded the store's front windows with a variety of books, toys and puzzles and invited customers, via the store's social media accounts, to come and browse the front windows. The idea was a success, and people were outside off and on throughout the day pointing at things they wanted. During that period, all transactions were done over the phone, and the store also offered curbside pick-up and deliveries within 10 miles.

Mullin and her team rearranged the store before reopening for browsing. By removing some displays, they've created two wide aisles that allow for social distancing, and they rearranged some of the bookcases near the cash wrap to create some barriers between customers and staff. They've also removed a Brio train table, which Mullin said they hated to do but ultimately deemed necessary. One interesting change in shopping behavior, she noted, is that customers seem much more focused when browsing and are generally buying more per visit.

Indiana finally issued a mask-wearing mandate last week, but masks have been mandatory since the store reopened. Mullin said they've only had one "tussle" to date, with a woman who stormed out after refusing to put on a mask that was given to her for free. "It worries me daily that one of my staff will get the virus," Mullin said. "I'm not going to risk it for some silly person who doesn't believe in science."

Leah Johnson at Kids Ink.

Mullin reported that her store saw an uptick in sales of books by and about people of color after nationwide protests began in late May and early June. Several of her staff members attended protests, she added, and in the midst of this the store was doing pre-sales for Leah Johnson's YA novel You Should See Me in a Crown. The store had planned  to host her launch party, but that turned into a virtual signing instead. It was a very successful event, with the store selling more than 200 copies of the book. "Leah is a force and there couldn't be a better author to speak about Black Lives Matter," Mullin said. --Alex Mutter

Kids' Next List E-Newsletter Delivered

Last Thursday, the second part of the American Booksellers Association's Summer 2020 Kids' Next List was delivered to more than half a million of the country's best book readers, going to 601,148 customers of 167 participating bookstores.

The e-newsletter, powered by Shelf Awareness, features summer Kids' 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 Kids' Next List pick, in this case Tobly McSmith, author of Stay Gold (HarperTeen).

For a sample of the newsletter, see this one from Cellar Door Bookstore, Riverside, Calif.


Image of the Day: Cinderella Author Virtually and in Person at BookPeople

Kalynn Bayron, author of the indie bestseller Cinderella Is Dead (Bloomsbury YA), did a virtual event with BookPeople, Austin, Tex., on Thursday, July 23, and then stopped by the store on Saturday to sign copies of her debut YA novel.

Bookshop Marriage Proposal: Greedy Reads

Greedy Reads, Baltimore, Md., shared photos of a lovely, bookish marriage proposal in the store recently, noting: "Everything seems terrible these days, but you know what's not terrible? LOVE!!! Thank you LaMarr and Stephanie for including us in such a special day! We wish you laughter and happiness and the most beautiful life together."

Video: Instructional Guide to Trading-In Books During a Plague

Eagle Eye Book Shop, Decatur, Ga., has created a video titled Book Trade-In Program: An Instructional Guide to Trading-In Books During a Plague. Marketing and event coordinator Jamille Christman noted: "Since we started to trade books in we had to make rules and quarantine the books. Our customers aren't used to the new rules so I made a handy 1950s style instructional video so they can see how we trade books in. Everyone played the role as Cindy."

IPG Adds Five Publishers

Independent Publishers Group has added five publisher clients to its general and Trafalgar Square distribution programs:

The Collective Book Studio, founded by former staffer members at Chronicle Books to create their own hybrid program with a focus on professional packaging and design, while selecting authors with notable platforms. They will be publishing a variety of titles intended for the parenting, educational, gift, and children's markets. Distribution fully effective in September.

Trafalgar Square has begun distributing Redback Publishing, Sydney, Australia, which publishes nonfiction books for children, compiled and presented to enable children to use them easily for research or just for the fun of learning something new.

Trafalgar Square is distributing Open Publishing, an offshoot of publisher Totally Entwined, with offices in England and New York, also distributed by Trafalgar Square. Open Publishing will focus on romance, erotica, and GLBTQI.

Trafalgar Square will distribute Larrikin House, effective August 1. This new Australian children's publisher focuses on books for young readers, with several dozen already in print or production.

Trafalgar Square will distribute Sandorf Passage, effective January 1, 2021. Sandorf Passage is a new transcontinental collaboration between Zagreb, Croatia, publisher, translator, and writer Ivan Srsen and Maine editor and writer Buzz Poole. Sandorf Passage will launch in Spring 2021 and over the next three years publish novels by internationally acclaimed authors, including Bekim Sejranović, Vesna Maric, and Josip Novakovich (2013 finalist for Man Booker International Prize).

Personnel Changes at Scholastic

Alex Kelleher-Nagorski has joined Scholastic as associate director of publicity. He was previously publicity manager at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Natasha Trethewey on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Natasha Trethewey, author of Memorial Drive: A Daughter's Memoir (Ecco, $27.99, 9780062248572).

TV: The Shining Girls

Apple "has ordered a metaphysical thriller," based on Lauren Beukes's novel The Shining Girls, with Elisabeth Moss in a starring role and Leonardo DiCaprio's Appian Way as executive producer, IndieWire reported. The eight-episode Apple TV+ limited series does not have a release date yet, and "additional casting details are still under wraps."

Silka Luisa (Strange Angel) will serve as showrunner and executive producer on the series. Moss will also executive produce through Love & Squalor Pictures, alongside Lindsey McManus. Jennifer Davidson will executive produce alongside DiCaprio for Appian Way. Beukes and Alan Page Arriaga will also serve as executive producers on the project.

Books & Authors

Awards: Booker Longlist; Eisner Comic Winners

Thirteen books have been longlisted for the £50,000 (about $64,365) 2020 Booker Prize. Nominees include Hilary Mantel for an unprecedented third time and a range of debut novelists. A shortlist of six books will be unveiled on September 15, and the winner will be announced in November.


The 2020 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards include multiple winning awards for Laura Dean Is Breaking Up with Me by Mariko Tamaki and Rosemary Valero-O'Connell, the Invisible Kingdom series, Making Comics by Lynda Barry and Guts by Raina Telgelemier. The winners of the Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award were The Hero Initiative, Creators4Comics, and Comicbook United Fund.

To see the full list of Eisner winners, click here.

Book Review

Review: The Queen of Tuesday: A Lucille Ball Story

The Queen of Tuesday: A Lucille Ball Story by Darin Strauss (Random House, $27 hardcover, 336p., 9780812992762, August 18, 2020)

The Queen of Tuesday: A Lucille Ball Story is Darin Strauss's richly imagined riff on the I Love Lucy star's love life. While there's much to recommend the novel, devoted fans of the beloved television icon who prefer to think of Ball as sexually indifferent should really consider skipping it.

In Strauss's telling, a pre-fame Lucille indulges a kiss with a man at a party on the beach at Coney Island in 1949. (In one of the novel's several inspired cameos, the party's host is Fred Trump, the real estate developer and father of the future president.) The man Lucille kisses is Isidore Strauss, a married property developer from Long Island; to her he resembles "a Jew Gregory Peck." This is Lucille's first indiscretion in almost 10 years of marriage to Desi Arnaz, but it's nothing up against Arnaz's numberless extramarital dalliances.

A year later, CBS has doubts that America will buy a sitcom centered on the marriage of a white woman and a Cuban man, so Lucille and Desi traipse around the country doing a vaudeville-style revue to prove that audiences will accept them as a couple. Isidore takes his wife to see the show and tells her afterward that he's going to the restroom. Instead he looks for Lucille backstage. What they do in her dressing room may move some Ball fans to change the channel. (They should keep the remote handy, as Lucille and Isidore will meet again.)

As Lucille's star rises, she continues to think about Isidore ("Had she forced CBS to do the show in LA partly to get far away from the temptation of that guy?"). Likewise, she is on Isidore's mind during his professional ascent, which he's having trouble enjoying ("Had Technicolor love screened its Hollywood footage for him just long enough to keep day-to-day life from ever again seeming tolerable?").

Strauss, the author of three previous novels and the memoir Half a Life, balances Lucille's and Isidore's points of view, but inevitably, The Queen of Tuesday seems to revert to black-and-white whenever it toggles away from her. Still, the narrative, inflected with aspects of Strauss's own family history, is canny, and the writing, while at times overcooked, is neverendingly fresh. The Queen of Tuesday is a capsule of postwar American optimism: there's a sense of possibility around every corner for characters willing to trample the social norms in their path. --Nell Beram, author and freelance writer

Shelf Talker: This fictional portrait of Lucille Ball's love life, which imagines her having an affair with a Long Island property developer, is heady, inventive and occasionally obscene.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. The Rivals by Vi Keeland
2. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki and Sharon L. Lechter
3. Join the Club (SWAT Generation 2.0 Book 7) by Lani Lynn Vale
4. Engagement and Espionage by Penny Reid
5. Panic! Germs and the Truth Inside American Mouths by Aimee Tariq, Gladys Mcgarey and Nick Meyer
6. The Obsessions of Lord Godfrey Cavanaugh by Stephanie Laurens
7. The Plan Commences (The Rising Book 2) by Kristen Ashley
8. One More Night by Melody Grace
9. This Love Hurts by Willow Winters
10. The Dare by Lauren Landish

[Many thanks to!]

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