Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Algonquin Young Readers: the Beautiful Game by Yamile Saied Méndez

Berkley Books: Books that will sweep you off your feet! Enter Giveaway!

Feiwel & Friends: The Flicker by HE Edgmon

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: The Pumpkin Princess and the Forever Night by Steven Banbury

St. Martin's Griffin: Murdle: The School of Mystery: 50 Seriously Sinister Logic Puzzles by GT Karber


CALIBA's First Annual Meeting; Golden Poppy Winners

Like so many events in the pandemic era, yesterday's first annual meeting and town hall of the California Independent Booksellers Alliance following the merger early this year of the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association and the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association took place in a very different form from what was anticipated nine months ago.

Still, the mood was positive. As president Melinda Powers of Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, said at the virtual meeting, "This is not exactly how I thought One California would be, but I do think we are and still have a lot of amazing stuff ahead of us. We are stronger together."

Some of the CALIBA annual meeting participants.

She thanked the board and staff for all their work, which included connecting with its 353 member stores, organizing a range of programming and education, and hosting the Fall Discovery Lab, being held this week.

CALIBA has waived membership dues and has rising expenses but is managing costs. Treasurer Bridget Schinnerer of Vroman's, Pasadena, said that despite lower income this year, the association is "financially on good footing."

The board is forming a "futures task force" that will "explore and evaluate the best ways for CALIBA to move forward," Powers said, adding that for a long time after the pandemic hit, she thought eventually "we'd go back, but there's no back there anymore." And so the task force will consider what the association can do for membership and how to go about it.

CALIBA is also putting together a task force to help its ongoing anti-racist work. "In the meantime," Powers said, "our actions continue, as can be seen in the makeup of our Discovery Lab programming, the authors we have as guests and our holiday catalogue program with our title selection."

As part of the town meeting, the winners of CALIBA's Golden Poppy Awards were announced:

Martin Cruz Smith Award for Diversity and Inclusion: How Much of These Hills Is Gold by C Pam Zhang (Riverhead)
Fiction: The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennet (Riverhead)
Non-Fiction: Home Baked: My Mom, Marijuana, and the Stoning of San Francisco by Alia Volz (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
T. Jefferson Parker Award (Mystery, Suspense and Thriller): Heaven, My Home by Attica Locke (Mullholland)
Glen Goldman (Non Narrative): Lost Venice by Sarah Hadley (Damiani)
Romance: The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai (Avon)
Poetry: Wicked Enchantment by Wanda Coleman (Black Sparrow)
Cooking and Food Writing: Oaxaca by Bricia Lopez & Javier Cabral (Abrams)

Mirrors and Windows Honoree for Picture Books: Hike by Pete Oswald (Candlewick)
Mirrors and Windows Honorees for Young Adult/Middle Grade (tie):
Black Brother, Black Brother by Jewell Parker Rhodes (Little, Brown)
The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall (Candlewick)
Picture Books: You Matter by Christian Robinson (Antheneum BYFR)
Middle Grade (tie):
Mañanaland by Pam Muñoz Ryan (Scholastic)
Efrén Divided by Ernesto Cisneros (Quill Tree Books)
Young Adult: Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko (Amulet)

Blackstone Publishing: Rogue Community College: A Liberty House Novel by David R Slayton

International Update: Gardners Reopens Former Bertrams Warehouse, Covid-challenged 'Bouquinistes'

Gardners has reopened the Norwich warehouse acquired by parent company the Little Group when it purchased the assets of the shuttered book supplier Bertrams in July, the Bookseller reported. Stock will now be supplied from facilities in Eastbourne and Norwich.

"You may notice that some of your deliveries from @Gardners have two invoices," Nigel Wyman, Gardners sales and marketing director, tweeted. "This is because we are now using our Norwich facility as well as our Eastbourne [one] to make sure we have continuity of supply over the coming quarter and beyond."


In Paris, the legendary "bouquinistes," who sell secondhand books and engravings along a stretch of the Seine from Notre-Dame cathedral to the Louvre as part of "a tradition going back centuries," are now under threat due to the impact of Covid-19 on the tourist trade, Reuters reported.

"I sold a book for €16 [about $18.60] today, I've got another customer who's going to owe me the money later, and that's a great day for me," said bookseller Jerome Callais, who is campaigning to add the bouquinistes to UNESCO's world heritage list. "We're totally dependent on tourism.... We (also) suffered a lot with competition from Internet... companies which sell books but which aren't booksellers. They're machines to make cash. There's no poetry in them."

Although the French government has provided some aid for the tourist sector, "as booksellers, the bouquinistes were not eligible," Reuters noted, adding that "books have been sold on the banks of the Seine since the 16th century."


Writer Shakira Sison has issued an appeal on behalf of her father, owner of Booksale, the budget bookstore chain with more than 91 stores in the Philippines, to help keep business going and employees afloat amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Interaksyon reported.

"Yes it's true that BookSale is online, and my dear father is asking for your support to help keep his employees afloat, most of whom have been with him for decades. They are struggling like everyone else," Sison tweeted. "The nature of the store's inventory means there's no database across all stores, but the sales staff are very knowledgeable if you are looking for a particular author or title, they can hunt it down and bring it to where you can pick it up or it can be delivered to you."

A few days after her original post, Sison noted: "This tweet blew up! So did Booksale's online queries. Papa says thanks for the deluge of customers and for the support. Please be patient as they transition their purely analog inventory to offer some titles online." 


New Zealand indie bookseller Wardini Books, Havelock North, is getting in the Christmas spirit early, posting on Facebook: "Yes, this is Amy. No, it's not nearly Christmas yet (or is it?). BUT, we're having a pre-Christmas Christmas late night shopping thing on Wednesday 14th October, 5.30pm until 7pm where you get recommendations, book chats, Christmas wrapping (maybe rapping, who knows?), get sorted to post things away good and early and quite possibly bubbles. Do come. It'll be ever so jolly." --Robert Gray

Schiffer Acquires Thrums Books

Schiffer Publishing has acquired Thrums Books, which specializes in illustrated books focused on Indigenous craft traditions around the world. Its two dozen titles have featured artisans in Peru, Guatemala, Mexico, Morocco, Afghanistan, China and more.

Thrums Books was founded in 2007 by Linda Ligon, founder of Interweave Press. This year Thrums Books released two new books: How to Weave a Navajo Rug and Other Lessons from Spider Woman and a revised edition of True Colors: World Masters of Natural Dyes and Pigments.

Schiffer commented: "With the shared commitment to inspire communities through expert knowledge, and the mutual long history of publishing titles in textile arts, the joining of Thrums is a natural fit within the Schiffer family of imprints. We are thrilled to align with these excellent Thrums Books and continue to support the titles and their authors."

Mary Wowk Retiring from Abrams

Mary Wowk, senior v-p of international sales and rights at Abrams, is retiring, effective December 31. Wowk joined Abrams in March 2007 as v-p of sales, overseeing the sales group, and has been an integral part of the company's growth over the past dozen years, Abrams said. She was promoted to her current position last year and helped guide the company's foreign and subsidiary rights teams and international export sales growth. She earlier worked in sales at Houghton Mifflin, Little, Brown, Simon & Schuster, Anness Publishing, and Black Dog and Leventhal.

Obituary Note: Bill Savran

Bill Savran

Bookseller Bill Savran, whose Savran's Paperback Shop "was the place to be in Minneapolis" at the height of the countercultural movement, died September 20, the Star Tribune reported. He was 84. The bookstore opened in 1965 and was decorated to suit the owner's "eccentric style, installing vintage cash registers, hanging rice paper lamps from the ceiling and designing his own window displays. The book selection was just as eclectic.... Over time, Savran's became a hub for the intellectual and cultural community in Minneapolis."

For more than 20 years, the bookstore "was nestled in the corner of a building on Cedar Avenue and opened in the 1960s as the West Bank was becoming the hip off-campus neighborhood in the city. College students, hippies, beatniks, writers and scholars would walk to Savran's to pick up a book, listen to a reading or simply chat," the Star Tribune wrote.

Noting that Bill Savran and Bob Dylan were part of the same fraternity at the University of Minnesota, Laurie Savran, his first wife, added that in the army he served in the same platoon as Elvis Presley and that his bookstore was visited by cultural icons like Patti Smith and Annie Leibovitz.

"The bookstore ran like a family. People came through the door and were treated like family. And that couldn't have happened without Bill," said Marly Rusoff, the literary agent who began her career as a Savran's employee. "I was struggling to find out what I could do in life, and by giving me a job in a bookstore, it was a great clarifying moment. What could I do that was better than this?"

Russoff and Savran later opened another bookshop in Dinkytown, where she "and her writer friends would host readings, events and parties in the apartment above that store, a literary community that later incorporated as the Loft," the Star Tribune noted. When Savran's Paperback Shop closed in 1987, he "started a handyman business, A Real Mensch Repairs, and worked at Magers & Quinn Booksellers in Uptown. He wrote short stories, anecdotes about the people he met, and little poems about the sights and sounds around him. He read constantly."

October Indie Next List E-Newsletter Delivered

Last Thursday, the American Booksellers Association's e-newsletter edition of the Indie Next List for October was delivered to nearly 700,000 of the country's best book readers. The newsletter was sent to customers of 179 independent bookstores, with a combined total of 682,967 subscribers.

The e-newsletter, powered by Shelf Awareness, features all of the month's Indie 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 Indie Next List pick for the month, in this case The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab (Tor).

For a sample of the October newsletter, see this one from the Avid Reader, Davis, Calif.

G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!
A Forty Year Kiss
by Nickolas Butler
GLOW: A Forty Year Kiss by Nickolas Butler

A Forty Year Kiss by Nickolas Butler is a passionate, emotionally complex love story that probes tender places within the heart and soul. When 60-somethings Charlie and Vivian--married then divorced in their 20s--reunite after four decades, they are swept up by the very best of what their romantic relationship once offered. "Anyone who has ever thought about what might have been will find this book fascinating," says Shana Drehs, senior editorial director at Sourcebooks Landmark. "The story is a brilliant exploration of a second chance at love, always realistic but never saccharine." As Charlie and Vivian build a bridge from past to present, their enduring love paving over potholes, Butler (Shotgun Lovesongs) raises questions about how life changes people--or does it?--and delivers another heartening, unforgettable novel. --Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines

(Sourcebooks Landmark, $27.99 Hardcover, 9781464221248, 
February 4, 2025)


Shelf vetted, publisher supported


'Sometimes Booksellers Become Book Editors'

Posted on Facebook by Penguin Bookshop, Sewickley, Pa.: "Sometimes booksellers become book editors (and sometimes editors become bookstore owners). Claire was a Penguin bookseller who is now an Associate Editor @bloomsburyya--She stopped by and was thrilled to see her author’s book on our shelves! Congrats, Claire and Lilliam! @lilliamr NEVER LOOK BACK."

Pennie Picks: The Stationery Shop

Pennie Clark Ianniciello, Costco's book buyer, has chosen The Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali (Gallery, $16, 9781982107499) as her pick of the month for October. In Costco Connection, which goes to many of the warehouse club's members, she wrote:

"When this month's book buyer's pick, The Stationery Shop, by Marjan Kamali, was published in 2019, it was met with no small amount of praise. There's a good reason: It's one one of the most powerful novels I've read this year.

"In Iran in 1953, stationery shop owner Mr. Fakhri introduces two of his customers to each other, and soon Roya and Bahman are engaged. When violence breaks out on the eve of their wedding, Bahman disappears. Roya moves on with her life, until--60 years later--she's able to get some answers from Bahman."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Lenny Kravitz on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Lenny Kravitz, co-author of Let Love Rule (Holt, $29.99, 9781250113085).

Good Morning America: Fareed Zakaria, author of Ten Lessons for a Post-Pandemic World (Norton, $26.95, 9780393542134).

Wendy Williams: Alyssa Milano, co-author of Project Class President (Scholastic, $14.99, 9781338329421).

Late Night with Seth Meyers: Ina Garten, author of Modern Comfort Food: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook (Clarkson Potter, $35, 9780804187060).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Pete Buttigieg, author of Trust: America's Best Chance (Liveright, $23.95, 9781631498770).

TV: Priest of Bones

Heyday Television is adapting Peter McLean's 2018 fantasy crime novel Priest of Bones for television. Deadline reported that the production company optioned the rights to the book, which is the first book in McLean's War for the Rose Throne series, and is working with its joint venture partner NBCUniversal International Studios on the project. Heyday's Tom Winchester and Jillian Share will oversee the development, and the pair is looking for a writer.

Books & Authors

Awards: Scotiabank Giller Shortlist; South African Book Winner

A shortlist has been released for the C$100,000 (about US$74,770) Scotiabank Giller Prize, which recognizes excellence in Canadian fiction. The winner will be named November 9. This year's shortlisted titles are:

Ridgerunner by Gil Adamson
Here the Dark by David Bergen
Polar Vortex by Shani Mootoo
The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel
How to Pronounce Knife by Souvankham Thammavongsa,


Trevor Noah won the overall prize at this year's SA Book Awards, recognizing books written and published in South Africa, as voted for by South African booksellers. It's Trevor Noah: Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood (Adapted for Young Readers) also took the children's title (fiction or nonfiction) category.

"This book was my blood, sweat and tears. It was my family's story and my country's story," Noah said. "Writing a book was a very scary experience but turning the book into a book specifically for kids was even more scary because children have a very short attention span if your book is boring!"

Other category winners were Pieter du Toit for The Stellenbosch Mafia (adult nonfiction) and Jackie Phamotse for Bare: The Cradle of the Hockey Club (adult fiction).

Book Review

Review: White Ivy

White Ivy by Susie Yang (Simon & Schuster, $26 hardcover, 368p., 9781982100599, November 3, 2020)

Susie Yang's electrifying debut novel, White Ivy, has well earned its spot on the longlist for the Center for Fiction's 2020 First Novel Prize. Part immigrant story, part elitist takedown, part contemporary novel of wicked manners, White Ivy is an unpredictable spectacle.

At two, Ivy Lin was left with her maternal grandmother in China until she turned five, when her parents finally had the resources to reunite the family "in a wonderful state in America... called Ma-sa-zhu-sai." Reinventing herself as American proves arduous, with abusive parents, a thieving grandmother, that sudden move to New Jersey during high school, no friends. To survive, Ivy learns early the power of manipulation. Her first chance to escape her suffocating family is college in Boston, after which she begins working as an elementary schoolteacher. A chance re-encounter grants her reentry into the Speyer family's seemingly halcyon circle--the (now-former) U.S. senator, his doyenne wife, enviously bohemian daughter Sylvia and, most importantly, perfect son Gideon, who was the idealized object of Ivy's middle-school idolatry.

Of course, things happen. But when Ivy is certain Gideon is about to desert her, he proposes. She's privy to all the privilege she's ever longed for--the gorgeous rugosas in the garden of the Speyers' Nantucket summer cottage, the tony island destination wedding of friends, the matching cashmere-and-khakis-with-pearls ensemble mimicking her patrician mother-in-law-to-be. In just a few months, Ivy will grasp that happily-ever-after she's been relentlessly maneuvering to achieve. But now that she's at the edge of acceptance into society's inner circle, the alluring pull of self-sabotage grows stronger.

Living in Cambridge, England, peripatetic Yang was herself a child immigrant to the U.S. from China. Her uncommon career path to authorship includes earning a Rutgers doctorate in pharmacy and founding a San Francisco tech start-up teaching 20,000 people to code. That widespread, far-flung experience clearly influences her sprawling narrative, which she unfurls with astonishingly deft control. Her cast might be heavy with unlikable characters--scheming Ivy, pretentious Sylvia, bland Gideon and unrepentantly roué Roux (no spoilers!)--but the story they populate is delectably addictive and frightfully perceptive, as one surprise begets another shocking turn, leading readers far off expected paths. May the deceptions never end. --Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon

Shelf Talker: Ivy Lin proves to be the antihero readers will love to hate in debut novelist Susie Yang's assured, deft, biting novel of (manipulative) manners.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Securing Kalee by Susan Stoker
2. The Harbinger II: The Return by Jonathan Cahn
3. When You Kiss Me by Bella Andre
4. Summer Beach: Seabreeze Inn by Jan Moran
5. Lies and Lullabies by Sarina Bowen
6. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki and Sharon L. Lechter
7. Master Your Mindpower by Stéphane Schafeitel and Shalee Schafeitel
8. My Heart's True Delight by Grace Burrowes
9. Stories of September by Various
10. The Duke Who Didn't by Courtney Milan

[Many thanks to!]

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