Also published on this date: Wednesday, January 20, 2021: Kids' Maximum Shelf: Amber & Clay

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, January 20, 2021

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


For Sale: Quarter Moon Books & Gifts in Topsail Beach, N.C.

Lori Fisher, owner of Quarter Moon Books & Gifts in Topsail Beach, N.C., has put the store up for sale, Star News Online reported. Fisher, who has owned the bookstore for 25 years, officially put the store on the market in December, with an asking price of $975,000.

"It's not going away," Fisher told Star News. "I'm giving someone young and full of energy an opportunity, you know, to take over my legacy."

Fisher bought the store in November 1995. She was looking for a job after moving to Topsail Beach with her family and saw a for-sale ad in a local newspaper. She decided, after her first visit to the store, that she would buy it. She's made many changes over the years, including adding more children's books, opening a coffee bar and significantly expanding its sidelines offerings. In 1999, she moved Quarter Moon to its current location, and not long afterward hired manager and bookseller Claire Braxton, who has worked there ever since.

In 2018 Hurricane Florence hit Topsail Island, and though the bookstore was not severely damaged, it had to close for months as the island rebuilt. During that time the store launched a GoFundMe campaign that brought in more than $29,000. Fisher noted that the store was "hanging on" during 2019 and had big plans for 2020 before Covid-19 hit.

Fisher added that her favorite memories of the store involve connecting with both locals and visitors who return year after year. Braxton, meanwhile, hopes to stay at Quarter Moon through the ownership transition.

Farrar, Straus and Giroux: Intermezzo by Sally Rooney

Md.'s Books with a Past Moving, Expanding

Books with a Past's new location in Mt. Airy.

Later this spring, Books with a Past in Glenwood, Md., will move to a new, larger space about 15 minutes away, in Mount Airy, Md., store owner Erin Matthews announced. She plans to close the Glenwood store at the end of February and reopen in Mt. Airy before the end of March. Books with a Past also has a store in Savage, Md.

The new store is about 500 square feet larger than the current location; the additional space will allow Matthews to make some changes. In the short term she will be able to bring back seating for customers, and other plans include adding more gifts and stationery items and expanding the store's new book inventory.

She added that there is a "90% chance we'll be changing our name and rebranding a bit" to reflect those changes, but she emphasized that the store will always carry used books. All store credit and gift certificates will remain valid, no matter where the store is located or what it's called.

"We have loved being a part of this community for the last quarter century, and we don't see why that has to stop," Matthews wrote. "As Biblo Baggins would say, 'I think I'm quite ready for another adventure.' "

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

Norton's Julia Reidhead Joins National Book Foundation Board

Julia Reidhead

Julia A. Reidhead, chairman and president of W.W. Norton & Company, has joined the board of directors of the National Book Foundation. At the same time, attorney and longtime board member P.D. Villarreal has been elected treasurer and will continue to serve on the Foundation's executive committee.

The moves follow the retirement of W. Drake McFeely, Norton's former president and chairman, who served as the Foundation's treasurer and had been a member of the board of directors for 13 years.

Reidhead commented: "The Foundation is responsible for not only honoring authors through the Awards, but also bringing reading and books to people everywhere through its many programs. I'm eager to support that mission and to continue W.W. Norton's place in this talented group of individuals."

P.D. Villarreal

Villarreal said, "Being part of the National Book Foundation's board of directors for almost 15 years has been a truly rewarding experience. I'm honored to support the organization's mission, and I look forward to the expansion of my involvement in this new role as treasurer, and continuing to uplift the many facets of the Foundation."

Foundation chair David Steinberger thanked McFeely for "his years of outstanding service to the Foundation," adding, "We are gratified to welcome Julia A. Reidhead, continuing W.W. Norton & Company's presence on the board, and we thank our board colleague P.D. Villarreal for taking on the added responsibility of succeeding Drake as treasurer."

Foundation interim executive director Jordan Smith said, "Having these esteemed individuals serving on the board of directors, working to amplify the Foundation's work of celebrating the best literature in America and expanding its audience, makes us a stronger organization."

Sourcebooks Donates $200,000 in Honor of RBG

Sourcebooks has donated a total of $200,000 to six organizations supporting causes championed by the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The one-time donations came from profits on sales of 2021 The Legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg Wall Calendar: Her Words of Hope, Equality, and Inspiration.

"Justice Ginsburg was an inspiration to women and girls across the country and the world," said Dominique Raccah, publisher and CEO of Sourcebooks. "Justice Ginsburg once said, 'Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.' We are thrilled to be able to honor her life and legacy by continuing to support worthy causes that were near and dear to her heart."

The six organizations that received donations are the Malala Fund, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the National Organization for Women Foundation, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Washington Concert Opera and the American Bar Foundation.

Sourcebooks employees came up with and created the tribute calendar in less than a week after Ginsburg's death September 18 last year. The calendar features art by 13 female artists paired with quotes from Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Obituary Note: Helga Weyhe

Helga Weyhe

Helga Weyhe, Germany's oldest bookseller, died earlier this month "above the bookstore... where she had worked since the waning months of World War II," the New York Times reported. She was 98. The H. Weyhe Bookstore was founded in 1840, and her grandfather, Heinrich Weyhe, purchased it 31 years later. Helga Weyhe took over the store from her father in 1965, four years after East Germany built the Berlin Wall, and guided it through Communist rule and unification with West Germany.

Ute Lemm, a grandniece, said Weyhe locked up for the last time in December, and her body was found in her home. "With her life, she closed a circle. She died where she was born." 

Weyhe "became an anchor in Salzwedel, about 110 miles west of Berlin," the Times wrote. "The town was in the former East Germany, and during Communist rule she stocked religious books that were unavailable in state-run bookstores, frowned on as they were by the regime. It was a boon to the faithful, and for her a quiet act of defiance.... She traveled far and wide after East Germans were generally allowed to leave for tourism, bringing back her infectious enthusiasm for the outside world."

"She brought a little bit of the world to Salzwedel," Lemm observed.

When the Iron Curtain fell and those who had fled to the West returned to Salzwedel, they gathered at her store for readings. Town archivist Steffen Langusch said, "They had bought their school books at the Weyhes' when they were kids, and now, when they came back to the city, they were senior citizens."

In 2012, Weyhe was the first resident after reunification to be formally honored by the town, the equivalent of receiving a key to the city, and in 2017 she received a special national prize for her bookstore. She never married and has no immediate survivors. Her extended family is hoping to find a new manager for the bookstore.

"She wasn't just an honorary citizen," Mayor Sabine Blümel said. "She was an institution."


Covid-19 Memorial: Inkwood Books

As President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris honored the 400,000 people in the U.S. who have lost their lives to the pandemic with a national Covid-19 memorial last night, Inkwood Books, Haddonfield, N.J., posted on Facebook: "Our lights are on tonight to remember and honor the six customers we lost to Covid-19, our Inkwood friends who lost loved ones, and all those around the world who are mourning."

Happy 10th Birthday, One More Page Books (Plus Bonus Sea Shanty)!

Congratulations to One More Page Books, Arlington, Va., and owner Eileen McGervey, who marked the bookshop's 10th anniversary virtually this week.

In addition to a Facebook Live celebration and offering colorful shirts commemorating the achievement, the staff at One More Page Books joined the recent TikTok sea shanty craze by writing and recording their own "casual sea shanty to celebrate your fave indie bookstore."

Chalkboard: Open Book Bookstore

In the spirit of an inaugural week like no other, Open Book Bookstore, Elkins Park, Pa., shared a photo of its sidewalk chalkboard, noting: "Let's celebrate democracy this week at Open Book Bookstore." The chalkboard's message: "While supplies (or his administration) last(s). Final day. Take 40% off books about '45.' "

Macmillan to Distribute Page Two Books

Macmillan Publishers is handling sales and distribution in the U.S. and internationally (excluding Canada) for all physical and audio titles from Page Two Books, effective July 1.

Page Two Books, Vancouver, B.C.,  Canada, focuses on the work of "thought leaders and subject matter experts in the categories of business and leadership, self-help, big ideas and practical non-fiction." Its authors include Michael Bungay Stanier (The Coaching Habit), Jennifer Louden (Why Bother), Allan Dib (The 1-Page Marketing Plan), Phil Jones (Exactly What to Say), Eric Siu (founder of SingleGrain and author of Leveling Up), Liane Davey (The Good Fight) and Komal Singh (Ara the Star Engineer and Ara the Dream Innovator).

Jesse Finkelstein, co-founder of Page Two, said of Macmillan: "The size and profile of our list has grown significantly over the last couple of years, and we feel they are the right partner for us at this stage in our growth."

Page Two co-founder Trena White added: "We're looking forward to the energy that they will bring to our books, as well as their excellent market reach."

Macmillan's v-p, publisher services and distribution Liz Tzetzo said of Page Two Books: "We admire their creative and collaborative approach to publishing and their impressive list of entrepreneurial authors. We look forward to bringing their books to an even larger audience in the United States and international markets."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Candace Cameron Bure on Good Morning America

Good Morning America: Candace Cameron Bure, author of Candace's Playful Puppy (Zonderkidz, $18.99, 9780310769026).

Netflix Developing Projects for Three Ibram X. Kendi Books

Netflix is partnering with author and scholar Ibram X. Kendi to produce three new projects based on his books Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in AmericaStamped: Racism, Antiracism and You; and Antiracist Baby. Kendi will executive produce all three projects, Entertainment Weekly reported.

Oscar winner Roger Ross Williams (Music by Prudence; Life, Animated) is directing Stamped from the Beginning, described as "a hybrid documentary/scripted feature." Williams also helms a companion documentary for younger viewers based on Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and YouAntiracist Baby will become a series of musical animated vignettes aimed at preschoolers, with Chris Nee, creator of Disney Junior's Doc McStuffins, producing.

"I'm elated these projects landed at Netflix. What a wonderful partner," Kendi said. "I'm elated to work with Roger Ross Williams, Mara Brock Akil, and Chris Nee. They are such ambitious, innovative, and passionate creators who are committed to racial justice. But I'm really elated for the viewers, for the adults and children who will be captivated, informed, and transformed by these projects." 

Williams observed: "Dr. Ibram X. Kendi's Stamped from the Beginning and Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You are powerful and essential pieces of literature that clearly outline how deeply rooted racist ideas are in the United States. I hope these films crystallize Dr. Kendi's message that 'the only thing wrong with Black people is that they think something is wrong with Black people' and encourage everyone to fight for a more equitable society. I am thrilled to be partnering with Netflix to bring Dr. Kendi's incredible work and crucial insights to a broader audience."

Nee added: "I feel deeply honored to have a chance to help deepen the impact of Dr. Kendi's work. We are living in tumultuous times and it is incumbent on all of us to use our platforms to make the world a better place."

Books & Authors

Melinda Gates Donates $250,000 to the Carol Shields Prize for Fiction

Melinda Gates is donating $250,000 to help underwrite the Carol Shields Prize for Fiction, which was launched last February and named in honor of the late, renowned Canadian author, O, The Oprah Magazine reported. The C$150,000 (about US$118,300) award celebrates excellence in fiction by women writers in the U.S. or Canada. The first winner and four nominees will be announced in 2023. Gates made the donation through her investment and incubation company, Pivotal Ventures.

"Throughout history, women have been writing profound groundbreaking books," Gates said. "Yet often they earn less, are reviewed less frequently, and are overlooked for awards. The Carol Shields Prize is an exciting step toward a future where books by women get the attention and prestige they deserve."

Susan Swan, co-founder of the Carol Shields Prize, noted: "We are creating an activist foundation where women writers empower other women writers. Our mentorship programs for emerging women writers from all backgrounds and gender identities are critical to shifting cultural attitudes. Emerging women writers are the young trees in the forest and older writers like myself are here in part to help them grow."

Gates added: "Through all my travels around the world, whether in a Northern Indian village or a remote part of Tanzania, women tell me, 'Nobody's ever asked me my story before, they've never asked me about my life.' By listening to their stories, and saying their names we were telling them: your lives are important. That's why what the Carol Shields Prize will be doing is essential."

Awards: Gotham Book Finalists

Finalists have been unveiled for the first annual $50,000 Gotham Book Prize, which was created last July by Bradley Tusk and Howard Wolfson "to support New York City and its arts community by recognizing what makes the city so special as it enters a challenging recovery from Covid-19." The prize honors the best book (fiction or nonfiction) that either is about New York City or takes place there. The jury will now vote for a winner, to be announced in March. The 10 finalists are:

Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam
The Index of Self-Destructive Acts by Christopher Beha
Kings County by David Goodwillie
You Again by Debra Jo Immergut
The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin
The Hard Hat Riot: Nixon, New York City, & the Dawn of the White Working-Class Revolution by David Paul Kuhn
Luster by Raven Leilani
Deacon King Kong by James McBride
Musical Chairs by Amy Poeppel
Is This Anything? by Jerry Seinfeld

Reading with... Greta Kelly

(Holen Photography)

Greta K. Kelly is (probably) not a witch, death or otherwise, but she can still be summoned with offerings of too-beautiful-to-use journals and Butterfingers candy. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband EJ, daughter Lorelei and a cat who may, or may not, control the weather. Her debut novel is The Frozen Crown (Harper Voyager, January 12, 2021).

On your nightstand now:

The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson, Ruthless Gods by Emily Duncan and A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik.

Favorite book when you were a child:

This is a tough one for me because as a dyslexic kid, I really struggled with reading. I didn't discover a love for books until middle school. It was probably in sixth grade that I tumbled into the Alanna books by Tamora Pierce, and I fell in love. As a tomboyish kind of girl, I deeply identified with Alanna.

Your top five authors:

Garth Nix, Ray Bradbury, Jane Austen, J.R.R. Tolkien, Guy Gavriel Kay.

Book you've faked reading:

I never did get through the Grapes of Wrath in high school. There was something utterly miserable about that story, and I always struggle with books and TV shows/movies where it feels like there is no hope whatsoever. Thankfully, my friend Rachael didn't have that problem, and I was able to use her notes, lol!

Book you're an evangelist for:

I always find myself recommending the Chronicles of Elantra books by Michelle Sagara. It is a long-running series with something like 15 books (I'm such a sucker for a long series). What makes these books so unique is that they're almost like a fantasy Law & Order. Each book has its own central mystery which somehow weaves into the greater arc of the series. I have no idea how Sagara keeps track of her world and all of her characters, but it is truly awe-inspiring.

Book you've bought for the cover:

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon. Seriously, go check out that cover. It is absolutely beautiful and evocative, and you just know going in that you are about to enter a whole new world.

Book you hid from your parents:

There was a semester in high school where I had to hide the Harry Potter books under my bed. Not because my parents objected to the content, but because I was reading instead of doing homework!

Book that changed your life:

Sabriel by Garth Nix. I first read that book in high school and it was unlike any other story I'd ever read. Sabriel is such an intense adventure of a story, and more than that it had a female protagonist! That was the book that made me want to write my own stories--and here we are now.

Favorite line from a book:

"She left the web, she left the loom/ She made three paces thro' the room/ She saw the water-flower bloom,/ She saw the helmet and the plume,/ She look'd down to Camelot./ Out flew the web and floated wide;/ The mirror crack'd from side to side;/ 'The curse is come upon me,' cried/ The Lady of Shalott."

This stanza from Tennyson's The Lady of Shalott is so wonderfully imbued with raw emotion, and breathless panic. It perfectly juxtaposes the dreamy quality of the poem to this point--simply wonderful.

Five books you'll never part with:

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, The Summer Tree by Guy Gavriel Kay, Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, Sabriel by Garth Nix, The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss.

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

Green Rider by Kristen Britain. The feeling of falling head over heels into a different, yet beautifully drawn world is utterly enchanting--and I fell particularly hard for this book!

Character you most identified with:

Lucy Pevensie from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I am also the youngest of four children, with two older brothers and an older sister. Needless to say, I very much identified with how overlooked and pushed-aside Lucy often felt in that book.

Book Review

Children's Review: The Great Peach Experiment

The Great Peach Experiment 1: When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Peach Pie by Erin Soderberg Downing (Pixel + Ink/Holiday House, $17.99 hardcover, 256p., ages 8-12, 9781645950349, April 6, 2021)

Fans of the Penderwicks, the Melendys and the Vanderbeekers, welcome a new family to the party: the Peaches! Like its literary forerunners, When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Peach Pie is populated by quirky children, a distracted but loving parent and enough adventures and crises to pack more than one middle-grade book. Luckily, this is only Book 1 of the Great Peach Experiment series.

Two years after the death of her mother, 12-year-old Lucy has settled into a new normal. Lucy is the "fixer," tending to her younger brothers, Freddy and Herb, and managing their expectations of their father, who never quite follows through with his promises. So when Dad announces that they've unexpectedly come into $1 million--thanks to the success of an invention their mother was working on before she died--and that he has purchased a food truck so that they can travel the country, Peach family feelings are... mixed. Be that as it may, in a matter of days, the Minnesota family hits the road with a plan to sell Great Aunt Lucinda's peach pie out of their big orange truck--and to win first prize at the Delaware, Ohio, Food Truck Festival.

Their dad is eager to make this four-week pie-peddling jaunt an epic family experiment in togetherness, but he and the rest of the Peaches are unprepared for how difficult this plan might be to accomplish. And yet, as they toss burned crusts, dry out leaky tents and pay fines for selling pies without a license, something begins to  happen: each Peach individually figures out that the ultimate prize of the trip might not be winning the festival. Turns out, the forced togetherness may have the desired results, even if it doesn't look the way any of them imagined.

Erin Soderberg Downing (Moon Shadow; The Quirk series) is exquisitely tuned in to her middle-grade readers. In addition to her sometimes poignant, often comical scenes, she includes Freddy's drawings and commentary, Lucy's droll letters to Great-Aunt Lucinda, an excellent seventh-grade book list and maps of the Peach family's progress through the Midwest. In When Life Gives You Lemons, Downing gently but honestly takes on the diverse ways a family grieves, allowing Lucy and the others to come to a bittersweet conclusion: "The time had come to let go of what was, and accept what is." And don't fret: a certain kind of reader (as in, most middle-graders) will be satisfied to know that yes, someone does eventually get a pie in the face. --Emilie Coulter, freelance writer and editor

Shelf Talker: In an enjoyable and accessible middle-grade novel, a grieving family travels the Midwest in a food truck--though they have zero experience--on a journey back to wholeness.

Powered by: Xtenit