Also published on this date: Wednesday, September 9, 2020: Maximum Shelf: Float Plan

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Flatiron Books: The Last One at the Wedding by Jason Rekulak

Ace Books: Servant of Earth (The Shards of Magic) by Sarah Hawley

Ace Books: Toto by AJ Hackwith and The Village Library Demon-Hunting Society by CM Waggoner

Webtoon Unscrolled: Age Matters Volume Two by Enjelicious

St. Martin's Press:  How to Think Like Socrates: Ancient Philosophy as a Way of Life in the Modern World  by Donald J Robertson

Hanover Square Press: The Dallergut Dream Department Store (Original) by Miye Lee, Translated by Sandy Joosun Lee

Nosy Crow: Dungeon Runners: Hero Trial by Joe Todd-Stanton and Kieran Larwood

Andrews McMeel Publishing: A Haunted Road Atlas: Next Stop: More Chilling and Gruesome Tales from and That's Why We Drink by Christine Schiefer and Em Schulz

Quotation of the Day

Indie Bookshops 'Have to Make Tough Buying Decisions'

"I feel for bookshops, because they have to make tough buying decisions. This is not a year when indie bookshops are blessed with lots of working capital that they can throw into buying lots of stock. It wouldn't surprise me if they were being very cautious, getting as many titles in as they think they can sell, but not going super high, going step by step to look after the business. The range works well for indies though, and that's what we thrive on."

--Nic Bottomley, owner of Mr. B's Emporium in Bath, England, quoted in the Bookseller's report on last week's "Super Thursday," when more than 600 new titles debuted in the U.K.

Farrar, Straus and Giroux: Intermezzo by Sally Rooney


International Update: Frankfurt Book Fair Nixes Physical Exhibitors, Covid-19 Bookselling in Canada, India

Frankfurt Book Fair organizers have canceled plans for a slimmed-down exhibition because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Fair announced yesterday. With the prospect of few attendees from outside Europe, the Fair had already scaled back its physical presence and begun adding a large virtual component, which will continue. But even many European publishers were wary of attending in person. So except for some live events around Frankfurt and in the Festhalle at the fairgrounds, the exhibition plans have been scrapped. The Fair cited "current travel restrictions [that] would prevent numerous country stands from being realized as planned. In addition, the quarantine requirements that will be enforced on 1 October 2020 make it nearly impossible for European exhibitors and trade visitors to participate."

Noting that the annual fair "thrives on international exchange," Juergen Boos, director of the Frankfurt Book Fair, said, "We would like to thank all exhibitors for their confidence and willingness to help realize a physical version of Frankfurter Buchmesse 2020. Now the focus will be on our digital offerings. We have expanded our numerous existing services in recent months into a detailed offer of digital services and online events. That means international publishing professionals will be able to use known and new digital venues to drive their business forward, even in times of corona. And the reading public will have the opportunity to express its enthusiasm for books in two ways: online and at events in Frankfurt."

Karin Schmidt-Friderichs, chairwoman of the Börsenverein, the German book industry association, commented: "Frankfurter Buchmesse is not only the world's largest book fair, it is also a constantly evolving enterprise. Lively, agile and adaptable. Given the current situation, this means a fair without an on-site exhibition in 2020 because of the more stringent corona restrictions being imposed once again. However, events in Frankfurt am Main and other cities will allow people to experience the thrill books can provide--live in Frankfurt, as well as through live streams and recordings accessible at the viewer's convenience."


Brian Webber, co-owner of Fireside Books, Parksville, B.C., was the latest bookseller to be interviewed for BookNet Canada's "Weathering the Covid-19 storm" series. Among our favorite exchanges in the q&a:

How have you adapted your business in response to Covid-19? Are there particular initiatives that you'd like to share?
At the start of the pandemic, we initially shortened our hours and days of operation and unfortunately had to lay off our employees (this was the hardest part). Shortly after as more information and restrictions came out, we shut down briefly and started doing orders by phone and on Facebook messenger. While we had a website, it was strictly an information page, not set up for shopping. Within a few days, we came up with an idea that would work within our local/provincial guidelines/regulations. We started booking private half-hour appointments for our customers. We pushed heavily through social media to get the word out. This allowed our customers to still access our store, but in a manner that was safe for them and for us. We also offered free delivery and pay & pick up options. This kept us busy enough to pay the bills and keep the lights on. Mid May we were able to start bringing our staff back. When our Province (BC) entered into Phase 3, we were able to switch from private appointments to being open to walk-in traffic. As our store has many twists and turns we made wearing a mask mandatory and limited to six customers in the store at a time. We equipped ourselves and our staff with face shields, installed plexiglass at the register, and of course maintained all the cleaning procedures. During these last few months, we took the opportunity to renovate inside the store and we started up with Bookmanager and are currently scanning and labeling our estimated 100,000 books into the Bookmanager system. We're just a week or two away from launching our new, shoppable website. Exciting times!

What is your biggest takeaway from working as a bookseller while physical-distancing measures have been in place?
You need to be nimble and adaptable to stay in business. Always keep your customers informed of what you're doing. Don't compromise safety for sales. Make a safe environment and your customers will support you.


Priyanka Mehan chronicled the challenges faced this year by Indian booksellers Ritu Vaishnav and Amit Sarin, co-founders of Kool Skool, "a highly curated bookstore for children" in Gurgaon, Haryana.

"Towards the end of 2019, when my youngest child turned three, I found myself with some time on my hands," Mehan wrote. "On one of our visits, Amit and Ritu shared their plans for the expansion of the store. They wanted to double the space with a mezzanine to boot. As a parent and a voracious reader, the possibility of a large children's bookstore with a healthy event calendar seemed very exciting. I began suggesting ideas on different aspects of the store and, soon, we were discussing how I could be a more active part of this project.

"It took months of hard work to finalize the new layout and the accompanying details of the store. We decided how the new space would look, the primary colors, designed a new logo and all the little collaterals. We had hoped the expansion would give us the space to showcase more books.... The new layout and wider area would also allow us to host more events and workshops for children.

"We were about to hand over the project to the contractor when the pandemic struck. Everything came to a grinding halt. Conversations about books and store design turned into discussions on new kinds of fear. Fear of the contagion. Fear of stepping out of the home. Fear of touching any surface. Fear of how the virus could wreak havoc on our lives and livelihoods."

This year has turned out to be an entirely different experience than any of them could have envisioned, but Mehan observed: "Although the Covid-19 pandemic shook our roots, it also brought with it opportunities to look beyond the 'normal.' And so, we march on knowing that our books, our skills of curation, and our services are appreciated across the country, giving us hope that we will be able to survive the pandemic." --Robert Gray

PM Press: P Is for Palestine: A Palestine Alphabet Book by Golbarg Bashi, Illustrated by Golrokh Nafisi

National Book Foundation Honoring the Late Carolyn Reidy

Carolyn Reidy, the late president and CEO of Simon & Schuster, will be honored for her industry-leading career in publishing with the 2020 Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community, given by the National Book Foundation to honor a "lifetime of achievement in expanding the audience for books and reading."

The NBF said Reidy, who died May 12, "was unparalleled in her devotion to literature, and throughout her career at Simon & Schuster and beyond, Reidy was a tireless advocate for readers, writers, booksellers and all booklovers across the country." In addition to her role as CEO and president, Reidy "gave unreservedly of her time both mentoring those rising through the ranks, and more formally guiding industry and charitable organizations," serving for many years on the boards of the Association of American Publishers and Literacy Partners as well as the NBF.

David Steinberger, NBF chairman of the board, said: "Books and readers around the world have benefitted deeply from having Carolyn Reidy at the helm of the publishing industry for four decades. On top of her responsibilities at Simon & Schuster, Carolyn Reidy served on our board and as the chair of the foundation's program committee. In her almost two decades of generous service, she instilled energy, creativity, and insight into all of the National Book Foundation's programming. Though the National Book Foundation has not presented the Literarian Award posthumously before, the foundation's board was unanimous that we should recognize Carolyn and her legacy of service to literature."

NBF executive director Lisa Lucas observed that Reidy "was a singular force in the world of books, and we are forever grateful for her passion and advocacy not just for the foundation, but also for authors and readers everywhere. It was an honor to work alongside her and see firsthand how she always brought her keen vision, business acumen, and relentless compassion to everything she did; it is with great pride that we recognize her innumerable contributions in service to literature and her undeniable impact on the literary community at large."

Reidy will be honored November 18 at the 71st National Book Awards Ceremony, during which the Literarian Award will be presented to Reidy in a video montage of authors and others she worked with during her career. Her husband, Stephen Reidy, will accept the award on her behalf, along with the $10,000 prize, which he is donating to Carolyn Reidy's favorite charity, Worldreader, a nonprofit that believes readers build a better world.

Main Street Books in Mansfield, Ohio, to Close

Main Street Books in Mansfield, Ohio, will close at the end of the month, announced manager Llalan Fowler. Store owner John Fernyak has decided to close the store, which originally opened in 1997, and the store's official last day will be Saturday, September 26.

"I wanted to take this opportunity to thank all of you for being such lovely and loyal customers and friends," wrote Fowler, who has worked at the store for the past nine and a half years. "I feel that I will be disappointing a lot of people in sharing this news, but I hope all the good times we had at the bookstore will make up for that."

Fowler also encouraged her customers to continue to support independent bookstores in other ways, including using for new physical books and audiobooks, and Powell's for used books.

"I've often described being The Bookstore Lady as a kind of dream job, and I wasn't exaggerating," Fowler continued. "Thank you for contributing to the best job a bookworm could wish for. I hope those of you in town will come visit me one last time."

Obituary Note: Myesha Jenkins

Myesha Jenkins, the "pioneering poet and activist," who moved from Los Angeles, Calif., to South Africa in 1993, died in Johannesburg on September 5, the Johannesburg Review of Books reported. She was 72.

Jenkins was an anti-apartheid activist for years before moving to South Africa. She was a founding member of the Feela Sistah! Spoken Word Collective, which she formed in 2003 alongside poets Napo Masheane, Lebogang Mashile and Ntsiki Mazqai. From 2011 to 2016, she produced the radio series Poetry in the Air and more recently curated a podcast series called Myesha's Memoirs--Living with Jazz and Poetry.

She published two poetry collections, Breaking the Surface in 2005 and Dreams of Flight in 2011, and her work was anthologized in a number of other collections. In 2017, she edited the collection To Breathe into Another Voice: A South African Anthology of Jazz Poetry. In 2013, she was received the Mbokodo Award for Women in the Arts in the Poetry category.


Cool Idea: Helping Customers Register to Vote & Cast Absentee Ballots

Main Street Books, Minot, N.Dak., is helping residents register to vote and cast absentee ballots, KFYR-TV reported.

Staff at the bookstore help fill out the online application, then print it out and fax it to the town auditor. Owner Val Stadick told the station that as of late last week a dozen people had used the service. "I'm sure we will be helping a lot more," she said. "We just think it's important that everyone vote."

Denver's Second Star to the Right Books Featured in Google Ads

Google recently featured Second Star to the Right Books, Denver, Colo., in print ads appearing in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and New Yorker magazine, along with national commercials interviewing owner Dea Lavoie, her husband, Marc, and staff members.

"Google had approached us to provide information as to how small businesses were adapting to the Covid pandemic, and what tools we were using to successfully make the transition from in-person events to doing virtual ones," Dea Lavoie said. "We were excited to get this exposure to reach an audience we would not ordinarily be able to reach."

She added that because Second Star had relied on weekly in-person events, the bookstore switched to using Google Meet for meetings, interviews and local--as well as national--events and story times. "Although business has definitely slowed down, we're finding new ways to reach the community and beyond," she noted. "Booksellers are so creative and we can gain so much insight from each other. I'm proud to let everyone know how adaptable and resilient Indies are."

Indie Booksellers Ready for Autumn in D.C., Chicago

Autumn may officially be a couple weeks away, but some booksellers are ready to keep 2020 moving ahead.

Kramerbooks & Afterwords Café, Washington, D.C., shared a photo of the store's front window on Facebook, noting: "Wooo summer flew by! Looking forward to fall weather, flavors, & books."

And the Barbara's Bookstore location in Vernon Hills, Ill., posted a photo anticipating the seasonal shift: "FALL IS HERE. An Autumn window at Barbara's @ Hawthorn Mall in Vernon Hills means we have a new selection of books for adults and kids for the season. Stop in!"

Japanese Used Book Store Begs Customers to Sell Their Books

A recent advertisement for Book Off, a popular used bookstore chain in Japan, features Book Off staff pleading with customers to sell them their used books so that the booksellers can replenish depleted stock. According to Japan Today, the employees "stand solemnly in two lines along a near-empty Book Off aisle with hands clasped in front of them. Each one says a phrase in which they plead with the viewers to sell them books. It starts off with a line from one of their previous commercials featuring child actor Kokoro Terada, which goes, 'Book Off nanoni hon nee jan!' or 'This Book Off doesn't have any books!' "

Staff go on "to list off the kinds of books customers might have in their home that they could sell, shouting together 'Hon!,' or 'Books!,' with each description.

"The types of books start off ordinary, like, 'Books you've read already' or 'Books that won't fit on the book shelf.' But as more and more types of books are listed off, they get funnier and funnier. 'Books left behind by the girlfriend you forgot about!' 'Books you thought would make you look cool!' 'Books someone could not stop talking about but didn't interest you at all!' 'Books you still didn’t read even though you were stuck at home!' "

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Yaa Gyasi on Fresh Air

Today Show: Maia and Alex Shibutani, authors of Kudo Kids: The Mystery of the Masked Medalist (Razorbill, $16.99, 9780593113738).

Fresh Air: Yaa Gyasi, author of Transcendent Kingdom (Knopf, $27.95, 9780525658184).

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

Also on Today: Brené Brown, author of The Gifts of Imperfection: 10th Anniversary Edition (Random House, $25, 9780593133583).

The View: Jane Fonda, author of What Can I Do?: My Path from Climate Despair to Action (Penguin Press, $30, 9780593296226).

Late Night with Seth Meyers: Michael Cohen, author of Disloyal: A Memoir: The True Story of the Former Personal Attorney to President Donald J. Trump (Skyhorse, $32.50, 9781510764699).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert repeat: Susan Rice, author of Tough Love: My Story of the Things Worth Fighting For (Simon & Schuster, $20, 9781501189982).

Movies: Rebecca Trailer

Netflix has released the first trailer for Rebecca, based on Daphne du Maurier's classic novel, which was previously adapted by Alfred Hitchcock in 1940, Deadline reported. Directed by Ben Wheatley, the film stars Lily James and Armie Hammer, leading a cast that also includes Kristin Scott Thomas, Keeley Hawes, Ann Dowd, Sam Riley, Tom Goodman-Hill, Mark Lewis Jones, John Hollingworth and Bill Paterson.

The screenplay is by Jane Goldman and Joe Shrapnel & Anna Waterhouse. Rebecca is produced by Working Title Films (Emma, Darkest Hour) and is set for release on October 21 on Netflix.

Books & Authors

Awards: RNA's Joan Hessayon Winner

Melissa Oliver won the £1,000 (about $1,340) Romantic Novelists' Association's Joan Hessayon Award for new writers for her debut novel, The Rebel Heiress and the Knight. The judges were unanimous in their decision, praising the novel's "very real characters" and noting that they enjoyed how "the history was beautifully woven into the story," calling it "an excellent example of its genre" and "a very strong debut."

RNA chair Alison May called the book "a fantastic debut, combining action, intrigue and engaging emotion. In an incredibly strong year for the Joan Hessayon Award, with an unprecedented number of contenders, choosing a winner was a real challenge, but Melissa Oliver's debut blew us away with the quality of the writing and the emotional depth of the romance depicted."

Reading with... Peace Adzo Medie

photo: Sylvernus Darku

Peace Adzo Medie is senior lecturer in Gender and International Politics at the University of Bristol and author of Global Norms and Location Action: The Campaigns to End Violence Against Women in Africa. She holds a Ph.D. in Public and International Affairs. Her debut novel, His Only Wife, was published on September 1, 2020, by Algonquin Books

On your nightstand now:

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee; The Dragon, the Giant, the Women: A Memoir by Wayétu Moore; Voyage of the Sable Venus by Robin Coste Lewis; The Palm-Wine Drinkard by Amos Tutuola.

Favorite book when you were a child:

It's hard to pick a favorite because I loved so many books as a child. But I remember being slightly obsessed with the Sweet Valley series, both Sweet Valley Twins and Sweet Valley High. They were very popular among us tweens, and I remember anxiously rushing to the library after school in hopes that there would be a new book in the series that I could borrow.

Your top five authors:

Gabriel García Márquez, Tsitsi Dangarembga, Toni Morrison, James Baldwin, Isabel Allende.

Book you've faked reading:

I began Anna Karenina but didn't make it far. I might return to it one day. But more than books that I've faked read, there are many books that I feel bad about not having read and keep reminding myself to read. One of them is Ayi Kwei Armah's The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born. I just bought a copy so I will soon have one less thing to feel bad about.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga. It is a widely read novel, but I still can't stop telling everyone about it. The protagonist, Tambudzai, has a way of grabbing the reader and not letting go. She is brilliant and funny, and you can't help but root for her, even long after you've read the last sentence. Years after first reading the novel, I still think about Tambu.

Book you've bought for the cover:

The Lesser Bohemians by Eimear McBride. It's such a pretty cover.

Book you hid from your parents:

Most of the historical romance novels I read as a teenager. The ones with shirtless or nearly shirtless men on the cover. Shirtless men holding women whose bodices look like they were on the verge of coming apart. I also hid them from the teachers and nuns in school by wrapping the covers in newspaper.

Book that changed your life:

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez. I was in my early teens when I first read it, and I remember feeling like I needed a seatbelt so that the book wouldn't carry me away. I haven't felt that way since. I think one of the reasons for my reaction to the book was that I believed that Márquez was describing things that had actually happened far in the past, events that had been passed down to him in stories. I grew up in a society where accounts of people flying and vanishing were not unusual, so an insomnia plague that erased childhood memories, spread in Macondo through candy, seemed within the realm of possibility, albeit an ancient realm. I would later learn about magical realism, which would then lead me to be in awe of Márquez's imagination and to begin to think more seriously and critically about what could be conveyed and achieved through fiction.

Favorite line from a book:

It's from Nervous Conditions: "Consequently, she was a much bolder woman than my mother, and my father, who no longer felt threatened by a woman's boldness because he had proved his mettle by dispiriting my mother, was excited by the thought of possessing a woman like Lucia, like possessing a thunderstorm to make it crackle and thunder and lightning at your command." This sentence illustrates Dangarembga's wit and humor and tells us so much about masculinity.

Five books you'll never part with:

The only book I've refused to part with is my signed copy of Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I waited in line at an author event in Boston for it to be signed. It is still the only autographed novel that I own, so I of course have refused to part with it. But I've had to reluctantly part with many treasured books because I've moved a lot over the years. I've lived in seven cities across three continents in the last 10 years, first for school and then work, and I've learnt to travel light. It means that I sometimes own multiple copies of a book because the original was in storage somewhere and I wanted to read it again. Or I simply forgot that I already owned a copy that was sitting in a box on another continent and bought a new one.

Book you most want to read again for the first time:

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez!

Book Review

Children's Review: Julián at the Wedding

Julián at the Wedding by Jessica Love (Candlewick, $16.99 hardcover, 40p., ages 4-8, 9781536212389, October 6, 2020)

Introduced in author/illustrator Jessica Love's 2018 Julián Is a Mermaid, self-expressive Julián returns for a command performance in Julián at the Wedding, this time with a fabulous partner-in-play, Marisol. Repeating her memorably affecting formula of minimal text/maximum art, Love again offers another sparkling gift to young (and young-at-heart) audiences.

Julián and his grandmother are back, making a stupendous entrance on the opening endpapers, which showcase the pair parading down a sidewalk side-by-side. Sartorially magnificent--Julián's lilac suit with tuxedo-esque tails and fuscia shoes; Abuela with her cloud-like bouffant, golden earrings cresting her shoulders, dramatic dress and glowing wrap--the resplendent duo are clearly heading to a special event. They arrive at their destination on the title page, cleverly revealing the titular wedding as Julián and Abuela break the fourth wall to share their excited anticipation with the reader. They're greeted by Marisol in a peach, fluffy gown (jauntily accessorized with a backwards periwinkle baseball cap) and her own grandmother in geometric finery and strappy high heels. Let the party begin.

Julián is bedecked with a magenta corsage and Marisol's hat has been replaced with a crown of red anemones. Coming face-to-face, Marisol wants to shake hands, Julián offers two left fingers. When they meet the gorgeous brides (both in blue suede shoes!), Marisol is handed a basket of petals and Julián is given the cerulean-ribbon leash of the lovebirds' dog, Gloria. The trio complete the wedding party, tucked under the canopy of a bridal veil, bearing witness to a storybook kiss of joyous commitment.

While the older guests enjoy the splendid reception that follows, Julián and Marisol have other plans. Hiding under a lace-bedecked table, Marisol quickly presents Julián with her anemones before whispering "Let's go." Under watchful grandmotherly gazes that miss little, the pair dash off to "a fairy house" of willow trees, where adventures abound. Wardrobe malfunctions prove inevitable for Marisol, whose rambunctious energy matches Gloria's in--"uh-oh"--muddy lawns that dirty frocks. Julián, however, "has an idea," as he inventively mixes-and-matches better fitting attire.

Spread after spread, Love's watercolor, gouache and ink illustrations feature explosive color and flowing lines. The art is enhanced by Love's exacting details--high heels in hands after feet tire, lamplight glowing to denote time passing, the sweeping branches of the willow tree--which add breathtaking drama to the lively, inviting scenes. Once more, her near-wordless art adroitly and delightfully captures the transformative power of being seen: just as Abuela confirmed Julián's singular selfhood in Julián Is a Mermaid, Marisol gets her own affirmation here--with Julián's brilliant assistance--from her own grandmother. Love achieves another perfect union. --Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon

Shelf Talker: Just as Abuela enabled Julián's fabulosity in Julián Is a Mermaid, his friend Marisol receives her own grandmotherly affirmation in Julián at the Wedding.

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