Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, April 20, 2021

William Morrow & Company: The Midnight Feast by Lucy Foley

Shadow Mountain: The Witch in the Woods: Volume 1 (Grimmworld) by Michaelbrent Collings

Hell's Hundred: Blood Like Mine by Stuart Neville

Delacorte Press: Last One to Die by Cynthia Murphy

Margaret Ferguson Books: Not a Smiley Guy by Polly Horvath, Illustrated by Boris Kulikov

Indiana University Press: The Grim Reader: A Pharmacist's Guide to Putting Your Characters in Peril by Miffie Seideman

St. Martin's Press: Lenny Marks Gets Away with Murder by Kerryn Mayne


Jamie Rogers Southern Named Bookmarks Executive Director

Jamie Rogers Southern

Jamie Rogers Southern has been named executive director of Bookmarks, the literary arts nonprofit and independent bookstore in Winston-Salem, N.C. She had been interim executive director for the past six months and before that, was operations director for nine years. She started with Bookmarks as a volunteer at the 2009 Festival of Books & Authors.

Rogers Southern has also been an education coordinator with the American Booksellers Association, worked at the Alabama Booksmith, Birmingham, Ala., and ran her own events company.

Rogers Southern said that her main focus in coming months will be an all-ages and communitywide anti-racism initiative, which is part of Bookmarks' Books with Purpose programming. "Everyone deserves the chance to see themselves in books and to know that books exist for them to be inspired, entertained and educated," she said. "As an organization, we must continue and extend our outreach, getting books into the hands of children and adults, and connecting to people through the life-changing power of story."

The Book with Purpose anti-racism initiative will begin in mid-May and continue through the organization's 16th Annual Festival of Books & Authors, which is scheduled for September 25 and will feature a mix of in-person and virtual events. The festival was cancelled in 2020 because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Harper: Our Kind of Game by Johanna Copeland

At Tom Doherty Associates, Foy Retires, Pillai New President & Publisher

Devi Pillai

Fritz Foy is retiring as president and publisher of Tom Doherty Associates, and is being succeeded by Devi Pillai, effective immediately.

Pillai joined Macmillan in 2016 as associate publisher, Tor/Forge Books. She was promoted to publisher, v-p, Tor/Forge Books in 2018, and assumed responsibility for the Tor Teen and Starscape imprints in 2020. At Tom Doherty Associates, she has edited authors including Brandon Sanderson, Christopher Paolini, Jenn Lyons and Arkady Martine. She started her career at Harper Business/HarperVoyager, and later moved to Warner Books and Orbit at Hachette Book Group, where she rose to the position of editorial director. At Orbit, she worked with such authors as Joe Abercrombie, Brent Weeks, Gail Carriger, Kate Elliott, Lilith Saintcrow and N.K. Jemisin.

Pillai said, "Tom Doherty Associates has seen year-on-year growth, and we have a record breaking number of awards and nominations. I am excited for the chance to lead TDA as we continue to ascend to new heights and become more diverse and inclusive both on the shelf and behind the scenes."

Jon Yaged, president of Macmillan Publishers US (Trade), called Pillai "incisive, passionate, and decisive--perfect qualities to lead TDA into the future and sustain its status as the preeminent science fiction and fantasy publisher."

Fritz Foy

Foy joined Macmillan from Simon & Schuster in 1997 as chief technology officer, a time when, Macmillan Publishers CEO Don Weisberg recalled, "there was a one-person IT 'department,' all data was outsourced, and no one had e-mail. Fritz helped create the myriad systems we use every day, including the royalty system, the data warehouse, and sales reporting. He put systems in place in our offices in Germany, the U.K., and at Macmillan Learning as well, and did all of this on a shoestring budget."

Foy also "helped build from a website into the powerhouse it is today," Weisberg continued. "When Macmillan Learning's new platform had a meltdown, Fritz dropped his day job in Trade and fixed it. He started both the central/digital marketing and supply chain departments. When the digital transformation in publishing arrived, Fritz played a key role in developing the AAP relationship with Google, shaping the future of copyright."

Weisberg thanked Foy for his "contributions throughout the last 25 years, not only to TDA but to Macmillan as a whole."

Chronicle Books: Life Wants You Dead: A Calm, Rational, and Totally Legit Guide to Scaring Yourself Safe by Evan Waite, Illustrated by Paula Searing

Detroit's Pages Bookshop Damaged by Gunfire

"First things first: we are okay," Pages Bookshop, Detroit, Mich., posted on its Facebook page yesterday. "Early this morning the store was damaged by gunfire. We are grateful that no staff or customers were in the shop at the time, and no injuries were reported related to the incident. Pip was later found hiding behind a bookcase, very shaken up, so she'll be getting loved on a whole bunch in the days to come. The store will be closed tomorrow, Tuesday, April 20th, while we clean up, calm down, and ready ourselves to carry on. We may need more time, so please check back on social media for updated hours of operation."

GLOW: Tundra Books: We Are Definitely Human by X. Fang

Flooding Update: Harper's Books in Lebanon, Tenn. 

Packing up at Harper Books

James Kamer, owner of Harper's Books in Lebanon, Tenn., which was forced to shut down temporarily due to flooding in the store from heavy rainfall last month, posted an update on Facebook regarding the shop's progress toward reopening:

  1. All product and fixtures have been removed and placed in storage.
  2. We have began the process of tearing out the ruined flooring.
  3. Thanks to all of you amazing people supporting our GoFundMe page, I was able to write a check for new shelving this week. The new shelves are from Franklin Fixtures, a company out of Cookeville. They are even donating a few shelving fixtures to the store.  
  4. As of right now, I do not have a solid date for when we can reopen fully. I will keep everyone updated as we get closer. 
  5. I can't access my in-store inventory right now, but for any new books you want to order, you can support the store by ordering from our Bookshop link.

"Thanks to everyone out there," Kamer added. "I am blown away every day at how much you all have helped me out when I'm down. I love and appreciate every single one of you."

Harper: Sandwich by Catherine Newman

Deep Overstock: Helping Booksellers Shelve Their Own Work

Last month, when Fictional Film Club by Mark Savage was named as a finalist for the 2021 Oregon Book Awards, it marked a major milestone for Deep Overstock, a small press launched in 2018 by booksellers dedicated to publishing the work of booksellers, librarians and other "champions of the book."

"Booksellers are a creative bunch," said editors-in-chief Robert Eversman and Michael Collins, who first met while working as shelvers at Powell's Books in Portland, Ore. Just about everyone at Powell's, where they worked alongside consulting editor and author Jonathan van Belle, was writing, illustrating or creating something of their own. With so many booksellers "dreaming up" original stories while shelving books published by big authors and publishers, they wanted to help give their colleagues a push toward publishing their own writing.

The press's name comes from the bookstore term for those "high shelves you need the staff-only ladder to reach," which could be anything from a hundred extra copies of Harry Potter to classic titles so obscure only collectors ever ask for them. Whether the titles published by the press turn out to be mega hits or cult classics, Eversman and Collins noted, it's about pulling those books down from "deep overstock" and getting them out into the world.

"Deep Overstock wants to give booksellers the opportunity to shelve their own work for a change," explained Collins.

Deep Overstock has so far published poetry collections, novels and, most recently, creative nonfiction. Their focus is not on any single genre or subject but on creative work that crosses genres and excites them. As booksellers, they noted, they spend a lot of time reading and they "know what's out there." Their hope is to publish innovative work from booksellers and others in the industry who also know "what is missing from the shelves."

The press's first title was Midnight Mistress Muse, a poetry collection by the late Bryony Blaze, who founded Portland's Queer Poetry Takeover (now Queer PDXpression). Andy Anderson, a Portland poet and a fellow bookseller, approached them about publishing Blaze's unpublished work after Blaze's death. That year Deep Overstock published Fictional Film Club, and in 2020 released the illustrated science fiction novel Hypnotize: The Birth of Hypno by Jason Squamata and the poetry collection Light Sleeper by Coleman Stevenson. On Valentine's Day this year, Deep Overstock published Zenithism by Jonathan van Belle, the press's first nonfiction title.

Eversman, Collins and the Deep Overstock team also publish four journal issues per year. They "cycle through the themes" as if they were spending a day in Powell's, with each issue based on a room at the bookstore. The first journal's theme was Space Exploration, from the Pearl Room at Powell's, and the most recent was Mysteries, from the Coffee Room. The team is accepting submissions for the next journal, Future, which takes its theme from the Red Room (submissions are open until May 31).

When Deep Overstock heard that Fictional Film Club was a finalist for the 2021 Oregon Book Awards, Eversman said, the team "felt a great sense of pride, but really for Mark's sake." At the same time, there was perhaps a "little bit of relief," as the announcement helped serve as an indicator that they're doing something right. "We've been around for three years, and with each issue and title we're growing, but with an award finalist it feels like we're legitimate." --Alex Mutter

International Update: BA Supports #ShopKind Campaign, 'Essential' Books in India

The Booksellers Association "has joined U.K. retailers and the Home Office in supporting a campaign launched by the Crimestoppers charity, urging customers to treat shop workers with respect," the Bookseller reported. The #ShopKind campaign encourages shoppers to be mindful of the essential role played by shop staff during the pandemic, following research indicating that two-thirds of retailers reported Covid-related threats, "often related to reminders of government restrictions such as wearing face masks, social distancing and queueing."

"The Booksellers Association is really pleased to see the ShopKind campaign getting off the ground," said BA managing director Meryl Halls. "It's a sad sign of the times that retailers have been suffering increased abuse through the pandemic, when retailers are on the front line and providing a key service to consumers and citizens. We need to make sure that consumers know that there is zero tolerance of abuse of retail workers and, moreover, that we all need to embrace kindness more in our everyday interactions, as we all face the same challenges and difficulties. Booksellers across the country are looking forward to welcoming customers back into their shops, and will be very appreciative of the messages around #ShopKind, keeping their staff and themselves safe at work, while they bring books back to a hungry reading public.”

The BA has also entered a submission on bookshops to the government inquiry into violence against shop workers, the Bookseller noted.


In India, the Bombay Booksellers' and Publishers' Association has written to the Prime Minister and the chief minister urging that the government include educational books in the category of essential commodities as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to ravage the country, Mid-Day Gujarati reported, adding the letter cited "the example of Kerala, where textbooks are considered essential items, to seek concession."

"We already have social distancing measures adopted at the shops," said association president Narendra Nandu. "If required, we can be allowed to open only on selected days in a week and with time restrictions. But we cannot be closed, especially now when promotion is announced for most classes, students and parents are already looking for books to begin with online learning for next classes.... The industry is already bleeding. Last year, the business was only 15% of what it usually is. Government has to learn from Kerala. Educational books are the source of knowledge and it shall continue supply as teaching and learning has continued amid pandemic."



For more than a year, Irish bookseller Louisa Cameron, owner of Raven Books in Blackrock, "has become a familiar sight over the pandemic, whizzing through coastal south county Dublin on her bike, its basket stacked high with parcels, and three or four bags on each handlebar.... She is fitter than she has ever been, but she is not doing it for health," the Irish Times reported. 

"I started out from a very practical perspective--just to get books out to people," she said. "I wanted to keep the business going, that's a given. But I also wanted to do something practical to support my community. I saw the difference that having a 90-second conversation from the garden gate could make to people."

She noted the irony that a shop selling newspapers and books has reopened in a shopping center nearby, while Tesco and Supervalu are selling books, and branches of Eason are open as well. "Not to start complaining, but that is the challenge of the uneven playing field. Why would you pay €6 [about $7.20] to ship a book when you can walk into a shop and just buy it?" Cameron asked. --Robert Gray


Chalkboard: Anticipating IBD at Bookish

Bookish, Fort Smith, Ark., shared a photo of its latest sidewalk chalkboard message: "This coming Saturday is INDEPENDENT BOOKSTORE DAY! What is IBD? I’m so glad you asked! IBD is a one-day national party that takes place at indie bookstores across the country. It’s the one day a year that indies have exclusive merchandise that you can’t find anywhere else.... Stay tuned to our socials and website and we will keep you posted on the events leading up to the big day. We appreciate your support Every. Single. Day! Happy Reading!"

Personnel Changes at Hachette; Simon & Schuster

Maritza Lumpris is joining Hachette Book Group as v-p, sales, international, Canada and special markets, effective May 3. She was most recently business director of Kelsen Portfolio U.S. & Canada, a division of the Campbell Soup Company, where she worked for 13 years. Before that, she worked for PepsiCo for 11 years.

Hachette said Lumpris "has deep experience in selling to and partnering with some of the same national and global retailers we work with in publishing. She has extensive experience in leading sales teams, account management, budgeting, supply chain collaboration and strategic planning."


At Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing:

Lauren Carr has been promoted to senior publicist from publicist.

Milena Giunco has been promoted to senior publicist from publicist.

ACC Art Books New York Adds teNeues Books, Stationery

ACC Art Books New York will handle sales and distribution of teNeues books and stationery in all channels in North America, effective July 1. The companies also have a new sales and distribution relationship worldwide, excluding Germany, Switzerland, Austria, the Netherlands and Belgium.

teNeues Verlag, with headquarters in Germany, publishes titles on photography, travel, nature, architecture, design, lifestyle, culture and art. It has more than 300 illustrated volumes in print in German, English, French, Spanish, Italian, Russian and Chinese and has been a part of the Weltbild Group since October 2020. The teNeues calendar division was sold to the Neumann-Wolf Group in 2014.

Uwe Kießling, managing director of teNeues Verlag, said: "We are delighted to have ACC Art Books as an international sales partner. ACC has been selling and marketing beautiful, illustrated books around the world for 50 years. Following the realignment of our German sales with GeoCenter, this is a further step to provide our photographers, artists and authors with appropriate visibility on the global stage."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Lauren Hough on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Lauren Hough, author of Leaving Isn't the Hardest Thing: Essays (Vintage, $16.95, 9780593080764).

Today Show: Eric Ripert, author of Vegetable Simple: A Cookbook (Random House, $35, 9780593132487).

Kelly Clarkson Show: Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt, author of The Gift of Forgiveness: Inspiring Stories from Those Who Have Overcome the Unforgivable (Penguin Life, $14, 9781984878274).

Wendy Williams: Margaret Josephs, author of Caviar Dreams, Tuna Fish Budget: How to Survive in Business and Life (Gallery, $28, 9781982172411).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Susan Page, author of Madam Speaker: Nancy Pelosi and the Lessons of Power (Twelve, $32.50, 9781538750698).

Daily Show repeat: Michelle Obama, author of Becoming: Adapted for Young Readers (Delacorte, $18.99, 9780593303740).

Jimmy Kimmel Live: George W. Bush, author of Out of Many, One: Portraits of America's Immigrants (Crown, $38, 9780593136966).

Movies: When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit

When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, a film adaptation of Judith Kerr's novel based on her childhood memories, will open May 21 in the U.S. Directed by Caroline Link (Nowhere in Africa, Beyond Silence) from a screenplay by Link and Anna Brüggemann, the film stars Riva Krymalowski, Oliver Masucci, Carla Juri and Marinus Hohmann. It is produced by Jochen Laube and Fabian Maubach. 

Kerr's novel was an ALA Notable Book, a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year, a Kirkus Choice Book, a Horn Book Fanfare Title and a Library of Congress Best Children's Book. Originally written in English, When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit won the German Children's Literature Award in 1974 and has been read in German and English schools for more than 40 years. 

Books & Authors

Awards: Desmond Elliott Longlist

The National Centre for Writing has released a 10-title longlist for the £10,000 (about $13,985) Desmond Elliott Prize, honoring "the most outstanding first novel of the past 12 months." The shortlist will be announced June 1 and a winner named July 1. This year's longlisted titles are:

A Ghost in the Throat by Doireann Ní Ghríofa
Castles From Cobwebs by J.A. Mensah
Crow Court by Andy Charman
Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan
How We Are Translated by Jessica Gaitán Johannesson
little scratch by Rebecca Watson
Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson
Rainbow Milk by Paul Mendez
The Liar's Dictionary by Eley Williams
The Manningtree Witches by A.K. Blakemore

Book Review

Review: Mary Jane

Mary Jane by Jessica Anya Blau (Custom House, $27.99 hardcover, 320p., 9780063052291, May 11, 2021)

"I had just turned fourteen, it was 1975, and my ideas about home, furniture, and cleanliness ran straight into me like an umbilical cord from my mother." In the upper-crust Baltimore neighborhood of Roland Park, Mary Jane's emotionally distant father thanks God every night at the dinner table for giving him an obedient child. Her world is exceedingly neat and regimented, until she begins working as a summer nanny for the Cone family down the street. This is the summer that will change everything for the protagonist of Jessica Anya Blau's Mary Jane.

Mary Jane's first-person narration and extremely limited experience of the world make this story both poignant and tremendously funny. While her own family oozes Stepford-style 1950s values, the Cones are consistently barefoot and scantily clad, and their home is a shock. "I'd never before been in a house where every space was crammed with things to look at or think about (could it be that all messes weren't evil and didn't need to be banished with such efficiency?)." Mary Jane's charge, Izzy Cone, is a completely delightful five-year-old girl with untamed curls, copious energy and few boundaries. And then Dr. Cone (a psychiatrist) moves a patient and his wife into the guest quarters. They turn out to be a heroin-addicted rock star and a movie star, respectively--even Mary Jane has heard of them. She finds herself newly enfolded in boundless affection, acceptance, good humor and nonstop (mostly harmless) shenanigans. How will she reconcile this wild, disruptive, noisy new world with the life she's known?

Mary Jane is unendingly charming and fun. The lovable Izzy; the messy but endearing details of the Cones' home life; the surprisingly kind, down-to-earth pair of stars; and Mary Jane's own earnest, bewildered narration combine for a romping good time. Music is an important thread: Mary Jane enjoys Broadway show tunes (from the shows her mother finds appropriate) and singing in the church choir. Her new "family" at the Cones' teaches her about rock, soul and blues, encouraging her to sing along, and takes her to visit "Night Train Music: The Greatest Record Store in America." There is of course a lesson to be learned in this coming-of-age story: "that adults weren't always right and could be just as confused and make just as many mistakes as kids," among other things. But Blau's appealingly naïve narrator is at her best when she leaves such conclusions to speak for themselves and simply wonders at the colorful world just emerging, in this enchanting novel about personal growth and changing times. --Julia Kastner, librarian and blogger at pagesofjulia

Shelf Talker: In this heartwarming, hilarious novel, a dutiful child from a conservative household becomes nanny to a family of riotous hippies, and her world beautifully explodes.

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 with Sharon L. Lechter
2. Jailbait (Souls Chapel Revenants MC Book 3) by Lani Lynn Vale
3. From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout
4. Quitless by Various
5. K-9 Mystery Series: Books 1-2 by Bev Pettersen
6. Wyoming Rebels Boxed Set by Stephanie Rowe
7. Headhunter by Kristen Proby
8. Say You're Mine by Layla Hagen
9. The Siren Saves the Billionaire by Kristen Painter
10. Southern Heart (The Southern Series Book 5) by Natasha Madison

[Many thanks to!]

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