Shelf Awareness for Thursday, May 20, 2021

Simon & Schuster: Launch a Reading Star With Ready to Read Campaign

Bramble: Pen Pal Special Edition by J.T. Geissinger

Sourcebooks Landmark: Long After We Are Gone by Terah Shelton Harris

Soho Crime: Broiler by Eli Cranor

Berkley Books: We Love the Nightlife by Rachel Koller Croft

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: Waiting in the Wings by Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton, Illustrated by Eg Keller

Webtoon Unscrolled: Boyfriends. Volume Two: A Webtoon Unscrolled Graphic Novel by Refrainbow

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


New York City's Drama Book Shop to Open in June

Rendering of the new Drama Book Shop

The Drama Book Shop, "a quirky 104-year-old Manhattan specialty store that has long been a haven for aspiring artists as well as a purveyor of scripts," will reopen June 10 at 266 West 39th Street "with a new location, a new look, and a new team of starry owners," the New York Times reported. 

Those new owners--Hamilton's creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, director Thomas Kail, lead producer Jeffrey Seller and theater owner James L. Nederlander--purchased the Drama Book Shop, most recently located on West 40th Street, in early 2019 "after years in which the store had struggled to survive the challenges of Manhattan real estate, e-commerce, and even a damaging flood," the Times noted. They had initially hoped to reopen in the new space by late 2019, and then early 2020, but "the project was delayed, first by the vicissitudes of construction, and then by the pandemic." The store is encouraging visitors to make reservations online; capacity will be limited.

The Drama Book Shop's new home, designed by Hamilton scenic designer David Korins and his team, "pays homage to 20th century European cafes and reading rooms," Playbill reported.  

"It is impossible for me to separate my early New York City life and career from the Drama Book Shop," said Kail. "My theatre company was housed there for nearly five years starting when the DBS opened in December of 2001 on 40th Street. It was my home base in every way. The plays, books and musicals contained there fueled so many of us. It is my hope that the return of the shop will be a burst of inspiration for our community--I cannot wait for the world to come visit."

Miranda added: "For me, the Drama Book Shop has always been the heart and soul of the New York City theatre community. I sat and read plays there in high school. I discovered incredible artists and new works through staff recommendations. I wrote so many songs from In the Heights in the basement there. I'm excited for the next generation of storytellers and theatre lovers to come in, explore and be inspired."

The film version of Miranda's stage musical In the Heights will be released in theaters and on HBO Max June 11, and on June 15 more than 50 bookstores across the U.S. will be hosting a virtual book launch to celebrate publication of Miranda's memoir, In the Heights: Finding Home (Random House). 

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Assassins Anonymous by Rob Hart

Employees at Skylight Books in Los Angeles Unionize

Employees of Skylight Books in Los Angeles, Calif., have unionized, forming the Skylight Booksellers Union in affiliation with the Communications Workers of America Local 9003. General manager Mary Williams voluntarily recognized the union on Tuesday evening and the two sides have entered into bargaining.

Skylight Books employees presented Williams, store manager Steven Salardino and buyer Charles Hauther (who all have ownership shares) with a list of concerns that includes regular staff meetings, guaranteed annual raises, post-pandemic job security and creating emergency preparedness and safety training for staff.

"We appreciate that our management elected to recognize our union voluntarily, and we hope they can serve as an example for managers of other workers who wish to exercise their right to organize," the union said in a statement. "We are committed to making Skylight a more equitable workplace and look forward to working in collaboration with management to have our group demands met."

"This past year has been the most challenging in the store's history," Williams said. She praised the way Skylight's booksellers responded to these challenges and how the store was able to reevaluate and refine nearly all of the bookstore's procedures, while salvaging as many sales as possible.

"That said," she continued, "things moved so fast over the last year that it's obvious there is room for further reflection and improvement. I welcome the chance to continue our collaboration and address areas where we can improve the workplace and the store, as we build toward a new post-pandemic reality."

Florida Bookstore for Sale: Email

Fordyce Stepping Down as Hudson Group CEO 

Roger Fordyce

Roger Fordyce is stepping down from his position as CEO of Hudson Group, effective June 30, after more than 30 with the company. He will be succeeded by Jordi Martin-Consuegra, who is currently executive v-p, chief administrative officer, and deputy CEO. Fordyce will continue to work with Hudson in an advisory capacity.  

Owned by Dufry, the international travel and airport retailer, Hudson operates more than 1,000 stores in airports, commuter hubs, landmarks and tourist destinations in North America. The company's divisions include Hudson Booksellers, Hudson News and ink. by Hudson.

Julián Díaz, CEO of Dufry, expressed gratitude to Fordyce for his "longstanding leadership and his commitment to delivering strong short-term and long-term performance results across the company.... We look forward to continuing to benefit from Roger's valuable support in his advisory role."

Martin-Consuegra has been with Hudson and Dufry for 15 years, and is currently a member of Hudson's executive committee. He was directly involved in leading business integrations of several newly acquired companies for Dufry, including the acquisition of Hudson in 2008, in partnership with Fordyce and the Hudson management team, the company said.

When Martin-Consuegra becomes CEO on July 1, Brian Quinn, currently executive v-p and COO, responsible for the operational performance of Hudson's stores in North America, will become deputy CEO.

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Summer Romance by Annabel Monaghan

Paul Kelly Named President, DK US

Paul Kelly

Paul Kelly has been named president, DK US, and will continue as DK's CFO and strategy director.

Carsten Coesfeld, who was appointed DK CEO in March 2020, said, "Our U.S. business is our biggest opportunity for growth and already we have seen a strong Q1 performance. Having worked closely with our talented team over the past few months, I am convinced that there is so much more we can achieve together. During the last year we have seen increased demand for our inspiring books and what we do is more relevant than ever because people need trusted sources to help them understand the world.

"Paul's wealth of experience, collaborative leadership and entrepreneurial spirit delivers results, and his position on the DK Board will ensure the U.S. is central to our future success."

Kelly said: "I am very excited to take up this new opportunity and work closer with our talented U.S. team. The U.S. market presents huge potential for DK and I am looking forward to accelerating our strategic plans to grow our sales and reach more readers."

Harper: Our Kind of Game by Johanna Copeland

International Update: More Physical Bookstores in China, Beijing International Book Fair Goes Hybrid

Physical bookstores in China "are putting up a fight as authorities roll out multiple initiatives to encourage reading," CGTN reported, noting that 4,061 bricks-and-mortar bookshops opened in 2020, according to a report released by the Books and Periodicals Distribution Association of China. Beijing topped the list with 649 stores. The Covid-19 pandemic took a toll, however, with 1,573 bookstores closing last year.

One bookstore chain, Wenxuan Books, opened a new three-story location in Chengdu last May. "We hope we can set a good example for physical bookstores and boost the confidence of the whole industry," said manager Chen Yong.

Noting that the city has more than 3,600 bookstores and reading facilities, CGTN wrote: "Behind this is the local government's strong support for the development of this cultural sector. A special fund was set up in the provincial capital of Sichuan in 2016 to support physical bookstores, allocating seven million yuan (about $1.08 million) each year."

"A new store can get a maximum subsidy of 500,000 yuan (about $77,700). We also encourage bookstores to create innovative projects, which will also be rewarded," said Zhong Hongsong, chief of the publishing, printing and distribution division under the Publicity Department of Chengdu Municipal Party Committee. Zhong added that many newly established bookstores have also been exempted from rent, among other preferential policies.


This year's Beijing International Book Fair, to be held August 25-29, will be a hybrid of digital and physical, with Chinese assistants available to represent international publishers' titles through a service called SMART!Assistant. The Bookseller reported that "the physical event is expected to be limited to Chinese and China-based publishing houses owing to travel restrictions, with forums, seminars, face-to-face meetings, and other events."

"At the physical event we hope to welcome publishers from across China and locally-based representatives from around the world," said fair director Liying Lin. "Our digital platform will enable us to welcome thousands of publishers from around the globe. While we know digital cannot replace face-to-face communication, we hope that services such as our new SMART!Assistant can open up opportunities for people who may not have been able to attend traditional book fairs at all in the past. I think this is an exciting opportunity to reimagine what global book fairs look like and I'm delighted BIBF is at the forefront of this initiative."


Located in Seoul's Hongdae neighborhood, Powerplant "is a bookstore by day, and a melting pot for lively political discussions by night," the Korea Herald reported. "How can you not be romantic about politics?" reads a pink neon sign at the entrance, referring to a line from the 2011 film Moneyball ("How can you not be romantic about baseball?").

Powerplant focuses exclusively on books about politics and foreign affairs. After 6 p.m., "the place is transformed into a lively agora, where poets, politicians, professors, graduate students, social activists and journalists take part in lively debates on controversial political issues of the day," the Herald wrote. 

"Visiting libraries and bookstores, craving books that fit my taste, I noticed that major cities such as London and Tokyo had bookstores that specialize in politics," said Cho Seong-ju, head of Powerplant. "Powerplant is open to anyone willing to talk about political matters. These days, we are particularly interested in topics surrounding comparative politics. Participants across borders are more than welcome to discuss the issues in depth." --Robert Gray

Obituary Note: Cate Haste

Cate Haste

Cate Haste, the historian, author and filmmaker who wrote eight books over the course of her career and directed many documentary series, has died at age 75, the Guardian reported. The cause of death was lung cancer.

Her career in television began with the six-part documentary series The Day Before Yesterday, which aired from 1969 to 1970. The six-part series delved into British history from 1945 to 1959, and for it Haste served as a researcher and associate producer.

Haste's first book was Keep the Home Fires Burning, which was published in 1977 and discussed British propaganda in World War I. She made her directorial debut that same year with The Secret War, about scientific and engineering advances during World War II.

She wrote Rules of Desire, about the history of sex post-World War I, in 1992. Sex was a subject to which she often returned--Haste directed six documentaries about sexual freedom in Britain throughout her career.

In 1998, she directed five episodes of the 24-part series Cold War, a BBC Two/CNN co-production that spanned 1945 to 1991. She filmed in the United States and in Prague, and both George H.W. Bush and Václav Havel contributed to her episodes.

She went on to co-write The Goldfish Bowl with Cherie Booth, the wife of Tony Blair, which discussed the role that the prime minister's spouse has played since the 1950s. In 2007, she helped Clarissa Eden, Winston Churchill's niece and wife of prime minister Anthony Eden, edit Clarissa Eden: A Memoir--Churchill to Eden.

Her last book was Passionate Spirit: The Life of Alma Mahler. Published in 2019, it chronicled the life of the composer, author and socialite Alma Mahler, who fled Austria in 1938 with her husband, Franz Werfel, before settling in the United States, and whose earlier husbands were composer Gustav Mahler and architect Walter Gropius. While many books had been published about Mahler in German, Haste's was the first written for an English-language audience.


Update: N.C.'s Foggy Pine Books Still Celebrating Colbert Bump

Foggy Pine Books, Boone, N.C., which was featured last February in a commercial on a special post-Super Bowl edition of the Late Show with Stephen Colbert, provided an update on Facebook yesterday.

"We have so much to share with you today!" the bookshop posted. "You may remember that we were featured on @colbertlateshow back in February. Since then, we've processed over a thousand orders, shipped books all over the country, and are finally preparing to reopen to the public this week (tomorrow, in fact!). They were kind enough to send us a plaque to recognize our feature & to support another small business who got the Colbert Bump, @lazerladies! You can see a close up photo of this awesome plaque in our story today. We are so so grateful for the support we received from the Late Show with Colbert & viewers--it truly kept us afloat during a really difficult time this year. Because of y'all, we're able to celebrate our five year anniversary next week! Thank you so much y'all! I can't tell you how much it means to us." 

Media and Movies

Movies: The Goldsboro Broken Arrow; Persuasion

Military veteran and filmmaker Robert Edwards (King's Gambit, Blackwater) will write the screenplay for an adaptation of Joel Dobson's The Goldsboro Broken Arrow, about the crash in 1961 in North Carolina of a B-52 carrying nuclear weapons. Deadline reported that Stan Spry and Eric Woods of production company the Cartel are teaming with David Permut (Hacksaw Ridge, Face/Off) to acquire the film rights.

"It's scary to think that the incident that happened in Goldsboro so many years ago could still very well happen today," said Permut. "It was only until very recently that the truth about this event was uncovered, leaving me to wonder how many other secrets the government is still keeping from us, today."

Spry added: "We're thrilled to partner with David who has a knack for finding inspirational, compelling stories and bringing them to life on screen. Robert is a creative and talented writer and having him attached to the project will bring authenticity through his real-life military experience."


Cosmo Jarvis (Lady Macbeth), Suki Waterhouse (The Divergent Series: Insurgent), Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?) and Nikki Amuka-Bird (NW) are among those joining Dakota Johnson and Henry Golding in Netflix and MRC's adaptation of Jane Austen's novel Persuasion, Deadline reported. The cast also includes Ben Bailey Smith, Izuka Hoyle, Mia McKenna-Bruce and Nia Towle.

Carrie Cracknell, who directed Sea Wall/A Life on Broadway, will make her feature directorial debut withthe project. The adaptation comes from Ron Bass and Alice Victoria Winslow. A separate production of Persuasion, starring Sarah Snook (Succession), is currently in the works at Searchlight Pictures. 

This Weekend on Book TV: Amy Klobuchar

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 this weekend from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday and focuses on political and historical books as well as the book industry. The following are highlights for this coming weekend. For more information, go to Book TV's website.

Saturday, May 22
12 p.m. Richard Thaler, co-author of Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness (Penguin Books, $18, 9780143115267).

3:05 p.m. Nancy Altman and Eric Kingson, authors of Social Security Works For Everyone!: Protecting and Expanding America's Most Popular Social Program (The New Press, $17.99, 9781620976227), at Politics and Prose in Washington, D.C.

5 p.m. Gabriel Winant, author of The Next Shift: The Fall of Industry and the Rise of Health Care in Rust Belt America (Harvard University Press, $35, 9780674238091). (Re-airs Monday at 6 a.m.)

6 p.m. Louis Menand, author of The Free World: Art and Thought in the Cold War (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $35, 9780374158453), at Harvard Book Store in Cambridge, Mass.

7 p.m. The 2021 J. Anthony Lukas Prize, given by Columbia University Journalism School and the Neiman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University for the best American nonfiction writing. (Re-airs Sunday at 10 a.m.)

8 p.m. Nicholas Schmidle, author of Test Gods: Virgin Galactic and the Making of a Modern Astronaut (Holt, $29.99, 9781250229755), at Vroman's in Pasadena, Calif.

9 p.m. Senator Mazie K. Hirono, author of Heart of Fire: An Immigrant Daughter's Story (Viking, $28, 9781984881601).

10 p.m. Brad Stone, author of Amazon Unbound: Jeff Bezos and the Invention of a Global Empire (Simon & Schuster, $30, 9781982132613). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

Sunday, May 23
4 p.m. Chuck Collins, author of The Wealth Hoarders: How Billionaires Pay Millions to Hide Trillions (Polity, $22.95, 9781509543496).

6:05 p.m. Jon Grinspan, author of The Age of Acrimony: How Americans Fought to Fix Their Democracy, 1865-1915 (Bloomsbury, $30, 9781635574623).

7 p.m. Susan Page, author of Madam Speaker: Nancy Pelosi and the Lessons of Power (Twelve, $32.50, 9781538750698).

10 p.m. Senator Amy Klobuchar, author of Antitrust: Taking on Monopoly Power from the Gilded Age to the Digital Age (Knopf, $32.50, 9780525654896).

11 p.m. Niall Ferguson, author of Doom: The Politics of Catastrophe (Penguin Press, $30, 9780593297377).

Books & Authors

Awards: Klaus Flugge Shortlist, Commonwealth Short Story Regional Winners

The shortlist was released for the £5,000 (about $6,945) Klaus Flugge Prize, which recognizes "the most promising and exciting newcomer to children's picture book illustration." The winner will be named September 15. This year's shortlisted illustrators are: 

Charlotte Ager for Child of Galaxies by Blake Nuto
John Broadley for While You're Sleeping by Mick Jackson
Flavia Z. Drago for Gustavo the Shy Ghost, written & illustrated by Drago 
Steve Small for I'm Sticking with You by Smriti Halls 
Rachel Stubbs for My Red Hat, written & illustrated by Stubbs


Commonwealth Writers announced regional winners of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize, each of whom receives £2,500 (about $3,470). The overall winner, who gets £5,000 (about $6,945), will be named June 30. Regional honorees:

Africa: "Granddaughter of the Octopus" by Rémy Ngamije (Namibia)
Asia: "I Cleaned the--" by Kanya D'Almeida (Sri Lanka)
Canada & Europe: "Turnstones" by Carol Farrelly (U.K.)
Caribbean: "The Disappearance of Mumma Del" by Roland Watson-Grant (Jamaica)
Pacific: "Fertile Soil" by Katerina Gibson (Australia)

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, May 25:

The Saboteurs by Clive Cussler and Jack Du Brul (Putnam, $29, 9780593191224) is the 12th adventure with detective Isaac Bell.

Legacy: A Novel by Nora Roberts (St. Martin's Press, $28.99, 9781250272935) follows a successful mother and daughter threatened by their husband/father.

X Troop: The Secret Jewish Commandos of World War II by Leah Garrett (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28, 9780358172031) explores German-Jewish commandos who fought for the British.

Battle for the Soul: Inside the Democrats' Campaigns to Defeat Trump by Edward-Isaac Dovere (Viking, $30, 9781984878076) chronicles the 2020 Democratic presidential campaigns.

The Housewives: The Real Story Behind the Real Housewives by Brian Moylan (Flatiron, $27.99, 9781250807601) looks at the long running reality TV franchise.

Misfit in Love by S.K. Ali (Simon & Schuster, $19.99, 9781534442757) is the YA sequel to Saints and Misfits.

Spells Trouble by P.C. and Kristin Cast (Wednesday Books, $18.99, 9781250765635) is the beginning of a brand new witchy YA trilogy.

Playing the Palace by Paul Rudnick (Berkley, $16, 9780593099414).

Beth and Amy by Virginia Kantra (Berkley, $16, 9780593100363).

Heart and Seoul by Jen Frederick (Berkley, $16, 9780593100141).

IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:

Mirrorland: A Novel by Carole Johnstone (Scribner, $27, 9781982136352). "You will tie yourself in knots trying to figure out what's happening in Mirrorland, the story of two sisters growing up with different stories attached to the games they play, stories that take on a life of their own years later as buried memories come to the fore." --Pete Mock, McIntyre's Fine Books, Pittsboro, N.C.

Meet Me in Another Life: A Novel by Catriona Silvey (Morrow, $26.99, 9780063020207). "An absolutely incredible concept brought to life by a stunning new voice in literature. We get to know the two protagonists so completely as they live their lives. This novel has time travel, mystery, self-exploration, and at its heart true love. Just the best kind of storytelling." --Becky Doherty, Northshire Bookstore, Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

The Last Flight: A Novel by Julie Clark (Sourcebooks Landmark, $16.99, 9781728234229). "Two women, each with a good reason for wanting to escape her current life, switch plane tickets and identities. When one flight crashes, the action begins. This is a unique thriller that draws you in and has you turning the pages until the unexpected but perfect ending." --Terry Gilman, Creating Conversations, Redondo Beach, Calif.

For Ages 4 to 8
The Little Library by Margaret McNamara, illus. by G. Brian Karas (Schwartz & Wade, $17.99, 9780525578338). "I love this book with the fire of a thousand suns--I, too, was a slow reader when I was a kid, and it's really nice to see this represented in a picture book in a positive way! Blending reading with woodworking is also a brilliant combination." --Kelsy April, Bank Square Books, Mystic, Conn.

For Ages 9 to 12
The House That Wasn't There by Elana K. Arnold (Walden Pond Press, $16.99, 9780062937063). "Charming, magical, and sweetly philosophical, The House That Wasn't There is Elana K. Arnold at the top of her game. When Oak Carter's family moves in next door to Alder Madigan and his mom, the first thing they do is cut down Alder's beloved walnut tree. So, becoming best friends with Oak is the last thing Alder plans on doing. But the universe has other plans and so do a pair of adopted kittens, a mystical opossum, and possibly even Faith the school bus driver. The House That Wasn't There is a story of connections and mystery, love and loss, family and friendship. I fell in love with this tender, kind, and wonderful book from page one." --Joy Preble, Brazos Bookstore, Houston, Tex.

For Teen Readers
Slingshot by Mercedes Helnwein (Wednesday Books, $18.99, 9781250253002). "Irreverent and rip-off-the-bandage honest, this book is the coming-of-age story of the moment. It's uncomfortable, messy, and everything a book about two teenagers falling in love for the first time should be. And it's all that while being a beautifully singular reminder of how letting people into your life can heal you, break you, but also reveal you. This book made me frustrated, swoony, nostalgic, and reflective. I'll have Grace Welles in my head for a lifetime." --Claire Phelan, Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, Wash.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: The Year of Our Love

The Year of Our Love by Caterina Bonvicini, trans. by Antony Shugaar (Other Press, $17.99 paperback, 400p., 9781635420623, June 22, 2021)

Acclaimed Italian author Caterina Bonvicini delivers a big, bold, all-encompassing novel in The Year of Our Love, a deeply engrossing 40-year love story influenced by historical events that occurred in Italy over decades.

In 1975, two sensitive five-year-olds share a kiss in Bologna, Italy. Olivia is the granddaughter and heir of the Morganti family, who have made their fortune as industrialists. Valerio is the son of the gardener and housekeeper of the estate. They all live on the Morganti property. The kiss between Olivia and Valerio is innocent, yet it seals their fate. Though they don't know it at the time, their lives are forever changed, their hearts entwined, inseparable, though their class and socio-economic backgrounds set them drastically apart.

Through short, perfectly selected and astutely crafted scenes, Bonvicini depicts episodes from the lives of Olivia and Valerio over the next four decades in an Italy where corruption--in both personal lives and the society at large--is endemic. Under Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Italy endures a period of scandalous, widespread exploitation that includes bombings, thefts and racketeering; decadent affairs and pedophilia; and rampant shady business dealings.

As the years progress through 2013, Olivia and Valerio grow up and go their separate ways. Yet their paths, somehow, keep crossing. Each reunion affirms and deepens their connection as friends, confidantes and passionate lovers. The short-term oasis of each rendezvous forges them into kindred spirits and soul mates. However, the differences in their social class continue to drive a wedge between them. Olivia sashays into high society. Lured by the refined enlightenment of culture, she marries someone else. Meanwhile, Valerio works hard to ascend to a career as a magistrate, only to become waylaid, trapped by choices that lead to a different life that suddenly pits him against the Morgantis.

High drama and moments of great wisdom flesh out themes centered on the perils of upward mobility, appearances for appearance's sake and allegiance to marriage and family. Chilling, stark realities force some characters--including a very strong, vividly rendered supporting cast--to become victims of the dark era in which they live. In stunning prose, translated by Antony Shugaar, Bonvicini renders an intricately plotted contemporary Italian epic where the fate of her star-crossed lovers is magnified by the crushing influence of familial and societal forces. --Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines

Shelf Talker: This exquisitely written epic love story traverses 40 years of dark Italian history, depicting the effects of socio-economic class division.

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