Shelf Awareness for Thursday, June 3, 2021

Mariner Books: Everyone This Christmas Has a Secret: A Festive Mystery by Benjamin Stevenson

Grove Press: Brightly Shining by Ingvild Rishøi, Translated Caroline Waight

Running Press Adult: Scam Goddess: Lessons from a Life of Cons, Grifts, and Schemes by Laci Mosley

Broadleaf Books: Trespass: Portraits of Unhoused Life, Love, and Understanding by Kim Watson

Nancy Paulsen Books: Sync by Ellen Hopkins

Running Press Adult: Cat People by Hannah Hillam

Beaming Books: Must-Have Autumn Reads for Your Shelf!

Dial Press: Like Mother, Like Mother by Susan Rieger

Quotation of the Day

'You Want to Be Around People Who Know About Books'

"I buy all my books from indie bookstores. You want to be around people who know about books, to whom it's not just widgets they're selling. My father, when he was alive, stocked his coursebooks at the independent bookstore in Morningside Heights, and my brother worked at an independent bookstore for years, so it's in the blood. When I was an MFA student, I probably spent more time at the local independent bookstore in downtown Ann Arbor than I did in fiction workshop. I seemed to think that if I placed myself in proximity to books I'd write one by osmosis. It was only when I realized that I actually had to write the book that I convinced myself to go home."

--Joshua Henkin, whose novel Morningside Heights (Pantheon) is the #1 June Indie Next List pick, in a q&a with Bookselling This Week

Peachtree Teen: Compound Fracture by Andrew Joseph White


Grand Opening for Atlanta's 44th & 3rd Bookseller in New Space

44th & 3rd Bookseller, Atlanta, Ga., hosted a grand opening celebration Tuesday at its new location, 451 Lee Street SW, in the Entra West End development, adjacent to the Morehouse School of Medicine. The store was previously located in the Little Five Points area. 

"We are excited to contribute to a rich, Black literary experience in Atlanta's historic West End," said co-owner Cheryl Lee.

Co-founders Warren, Cheryl and Allyce Lee established their business in 2017 as a family-owned book and culture brand headquartered in the heart of the city, with the mission "to be a source of unbiased literature that is true to the rich culture of excellence experienced and expressed in the Black community worldwide." 

The Lees added that they have "committed to making 44th & 3rd Bookseller a world class destination for visitors to the Atlanta University Center. In addition to featuring unique books, 44th & 3rd will also hold curated events, author readings, and creating strong relationships with members of the local West End community."

Inner Traditions: Expand your collection with these must-have resource books!

Pittsburgh's White Whale Expanding

White Whale Bookstore, Pittsburgh, Pa., is expanding into a second storefront in its building on Liberty Avenue in the Bloomfield area and hopes to open the new space this fall, the Tribune-Review reported.

Jill Yeomans, who owns the store with her husband, Adlai, said, "We had been thinking about expanding for a couple years." The two bought the East End Book Exchange in 2016 and relaunched it as White Whale Bookstore later that year.

White Whale had been talking with the developer of The Terminal in the Strip District, a mixed retail development that opened earlier this year, and thought it had a deal to open a branch there: the Yeomanses said McCaffery Interests had signed a letter of intent with them. But the developer announced a month ago that Posman Books, which has stores in New York City, Atlanta, Ga., and Boston, Mass., would open a store there instead.

"Our landlord, who didn't even at that point know about the Strip Terminal, reached out to us less than 24 hours after we found out we weren't going to be moving into that space in the Strip," Jill Yeomans told the Tribune-Review. The landlord had planned to expand his business into the storefront, but wound up scaling it back because of the pandemic.

The new space will connect with the current store through a hallway in the middle of the shop. Among other changes, White Whale is adding custom shelving and seating, which it didn't have before. It will expand its book offerings, sell more cards and merchandise, and be "a full-offering bookstore."

The Yeomanses also plan to expand staff, adding an events coordinator and one or two booksellers.

International Update: LBF International Excellence Awards Winners, Boekenweek in the Netherlands

Winners of the London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards have been announced. They will be celebrated June 29 at the Online Book Fair in a series of "In Conversation With..." events, during which they will be speaking about their work and the pressing issues within their area of publishing. This year's International Excellence winners are:

Audiobook Publisher of the Year: Findaway Voices (U.S.) 
Bookstore of the Year: Cărturești (Bucharest, Romania)
Educational Learning Resources: Karadi Path Education Company (India)
Library of the Year: Ghana Library Authority (Ghana)
Literary Translation Initiative: Editora Trinta Zero Nove (Mozambique)
Rights Professional: Nora Mercurio, Suhrkamp Verlag (Germany)
Inclusivity in Publishing (supported by the Publishers Association): Hachette UK

LBF director Andy Ventris said: "After a year which has impacted every corner of the book world, it is more important than ever that we celebrate the innovation and creativity being shown by the global publishing community in the face of unprecedented challenges. All of the winners of this year's International Excellence Awards demonstrate the ingenuity and talent to be found in the industry today, and we are delighted to recognise their work bringing books and learning to readers around the globe.”

Stephen Lotinga, CEO of the U.K. Publishers Association, added: "Congratulations to the hugely deserving winners of this year's International Excellence Awards. It's inspiring to see the great work happening in the books industry around the world--especially in such challenging circumstances."



In the Netherlands, the 86th edition of Boekenweek, the bookstore and library festival, is underway through June 6. The European & International Booksellers Federation's NewsFlash reported that despite the "ongoing Coronavirus restrictions preventing main gatherings, booksellers across the country are happy the festival is back again." 

Eveline Aendekerk, director of CPNB (Collectieve Propaganda van het Nederlandse Boek), said the theme has become topical due to the pandemic: "After a year and a half of Corona measures, the beginning of the end seems in sight and that is very important for bookstores, libraries, writers and publishers. But it is so nice and valuable for all those readers that they can really go to the bookstore and library again. Finally we can celebrate the Boekenweek together."

Dutch bookseller Broese in Utrecht posted on Facebook: "It's Book Week! From Saturday 29 May to 6 June Broese has prepared a wonderful Book Week program with authors who come to sign, present their book or are interviewed about their novel. You are all very welcome!"

In other news, a recent study from researchers at Utrecht University explored how the Coronavirus pandemic affected the book sector in the Netherlands. EIBF's NewsFlash noted that the findings "highlight that the sector is being hit hard by the crisis: 'Although there has been no economic disaster so far, relatively weak players such as authors and smaller booksellers are clearly suffering from the situation. The balance of power has been strongly in favor of online booksellers in the past year.' " 


Author, Inspired Kids publisher and endurance sports enthusiast Dreydon Sobanja is planning the "Inspirational Kiwis Roadshow," a nationwide tour with the goal of visiting more than 100 bookshops in Aotearoa New Zealand between July and December. Booksellers NZ reported that Sobanja will hit the road in a fully branded motorhome, to promote his new book, The Kiwi Runners' Family Tree, Volume Two: 2000-2020. --Robert Gray

How Bookstores Are Coping: Nearly Normal; Important Partnerships

Amanda Hudson, manager and buyer at Bethany Beach Books in Bethany Beach, Del., reported that the store had its busiest Memorial Day weekend ever, and sales have been so high recently that it is hard to keep up. While customers no longer have to wear masks in store, they are asked to use hand sanitizer before browsing and staff members are still wearing masks. 

Once the CDC issued its mandate saying that fully vaccinated people no longer have to wear masks, Hudson continued, it felt like "everybody went back to normal." Bethany Beach, which is a major summer tourist destination, seems just as busy or even busier than it was for Memorial Day weekend in pre-pandemic years. "People are just so ready to not be living a pandemic lifestyle."

The store recently announced that it will resume hosting children's storytime sessions at the end of June. They will be held weekly with limited occupancy and social-distancing measures in place. Hudson said that the store is planning quite a few outdoor author events throughout the summer. Elin Hilderbrand will visit on June 12, and Hudson expects very strong turnout.

Reflecting on 2020, Hudson said the store "survived it better than we thought we would." The team was very creative when it came to adapting to constantly changing situations, and she noted that the store picked up a lot of new online customers last year. Bethany Beach Books had already been working with online preorders prior to the pandemic, but they "skyrocketed" after the pandemic hit, as did subscriptions for the Book Drop, the store's monthly subscription service. The trick now, she remarked, is keeping all of those new online customers and Book Drop subscribers.

In normal years, winter and early spring is a very slow time for the store, but the beginning of 2021 was up significantly. Hudson attributed that to many people staying in their vacation homes for much longer than usual. With "no one renting," people who would previously vacation for a only week or two at a time were in Bethany Beach instead of renting out their properties.


In Riverside, Calif., Cellar Door Books is keeping with the operating hours that owner Linda Sherman-Nurick and her team established not long after reopening from last year's "total lockdown." Current hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and while the front door remains locked, people with masks can knock and be admitted for browsing.

Sherman-Nurick noted that the volume of online orders remains high, and she expects that to continue. She also doesn't expect to change the store's mask requirement anytime soon, "despite what the CDC said." She has no way of knowing who is actually vaccinated, and she is "not interesting in being anymore of a policeman than I already am."

On the subject of resuming author events and in-person book clubs, Sherman-Nurick said it would be nice, but she is "waiting to hear from some trusted people in health care to make that determination."

So far in 2021, store sales have actually been higher than they were pre-pandemic. Sherman-Nurick attributed that increase to the "really important partnerships" that the store formed during the pandemic with nearby schools and the City of Riverside. Covid-19 "brought home the concern people have about losing their independently owned community stores," she added. "We've been really lucky to have incredible support." --Alex Mutter


A Toast to Samantha Schoech

In 2012, Samantha Schoech and Pete Mulvihill came to the board of the (then) Northern California Independent Booksellers Association with a very cool idea--to create a California Bookstore Day modeled on the very popular Independent Record Store Day. Booksellers up and down California would throw their own special parties and festivities, and publishers would be invited to create unique literary items to be sold on that day--and not online!

Samantha Schoech and Pete Mulvihill at the first Bookstore Day, in 2014

The board embraced that idea and asked Samantha to lead the charge. She did so with passion and faith! Even that first year, participating bookstores saw a gratifying jump in sales and press attention, and the next year we decided to take the idea to booksellers across the country, for the first annual Independent Bookstore Day.

Part of the fun of the event was seeing how booksellers took the concept and each made it uniquely their own. The mantra was "do what you do every day, only make a big deal about it!" Stores scheduled special readings, held drawings and trivia contests and many, many in-store activities for book lovers of all ages. In my stores one year, we created a week of events to celebrate our 45th store birthday, culminating in IBD. And every year, sales were amazing on that day, even in those years when our celebration was more modest. It was truly an idea whose time had come.

Though the years, Samantha has kept the energy up brilliantly, each year bringing ever more booksellers and publishers to the party.

The primary benchmark of the success of the venture was sales. We wanted to bring people to all of our stores, and many stores banded together to support each other with bookstore tours, "passports" for book lovers, and mutually beneficial marketing. And every year, booksellers large and small reported wonderful, heartening, and exciting sales on that day.

This was Samantha's last year with IBD, and as she continues her bookish, literary career, and ABA takes over the logistics of the celebration, I want to lead our community in a toast to her beautiful and successful efforts to support and promote all of our different stores. Sam (and Pete!)--thank you from Pegasus Books for adding both tens of thousands of dollars to our bottom line during these years, and a happy, bright and purely fun event to our calendar.

Cheers all!

--Amy Thomas, owner of Pegasus Books, Berkeley and Oakland, Calif.

Bookshop Marriage Proposal: Country Bookshelf

"We love a bookstore proposal!" Country Bookshelf, Bozeman, Mont., posted on Facebook along with pics of the happy couple. "We are so honored to provide a cozy setting for them to begin a new adventure in life. We love love and watching that grow in our community!!! So excited and happy for this couple."

Personnel Changes at Penguin Press

 Shina Patel has been promoted to assistant marketing manager at Penguin Press.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Sinéad O'Connor on the View

The View: Sinéad O'Connor, author of Rememberings (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28, 9780358423881).

HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher: Chris Matthews, author of This Country: My Life in Politics and History (Simon & Schuster, $28.99, 9781982134846).

This Weekend on Book TV: In-Depth with Max Hastings

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, June 5
12:30 p.m. Tamika Mallory, author of State of Emergency: How We Win in the Country We Built (Atria/Black Privilege, $26, 9781982173463). (Re-airs Sunday at 6:45 p.m.)

2 p.m. John Mueller, author of The Stupidity of War: American Foreign Policy and the Case for Complacency (Cambridge University Press, $27.95, 9781108843836).

3:45 p.m. Larry Krasner, author of For the People: A Story of Justice and Power (One World, $28, 9780593132920).

5:55 p.m. Eric Berkowitz, author of Dangerous Ideas: A Brief History of Censorship in the West, from the Ancients to Fake News (Beacon Press, $29.95, 9780807036242).

6:55 p.m. Akhil Reed Amar, author of The Words That Made Us: America's Constitutional Conversation, 1760-1840 (Basic Books, $40, 9780465096350).

8 p.m. Heather Dichter, author of Soccer Diplomacy: International Relations and Football since 1914 (University Press of Kentucky, $60, 9780813179513).

9 p.m. Steven Rogers, author of A Letter to My White Friends and Colleagues: What You Can Do Right Now to Help the Black Community (Wiley, $25, 9781119794776).

10 p.m. Jane Harman, author of Insanity Defense: Why Our Failure to Confront Hard National Security Problems Makes Us Less Safe (St. Martin's Press, $27.99, 9781250758774). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

Sunday, June 6
12 p.m. Live In-Depth q&a with military historian Max Hastings, author of Operation Pedestal: The Fleet That Battled to Malta, 1942 (Harper, $35, 9780062980151). (Re-airs Monday at 1 a.m.)

4 p.m. Danielle Dreilinger, author of The Secret History of Home Economics: How Trailblazing Women Harnessed the Power of Home and Changed the Way We Live (Norton, $27.95, 9781324004493).

5:05 p.m. Jeff Guinn, author of War on the Border: Villa, Pershing, the Texas Rangers, and an American Invasion (Simon & Schuster, $28, 9781982128869).

5:45 p.m. Robert Tombs, author of This Sovereign Isle: Britain In and Out of Europe (Allen Lane, $32.95, 9780241480380).

8:10 p.m. James Tooley, author of Really Good Schools: Global Lessons for High-Caliber, Low-Cost Education (Independent Institute, $29.95, 9781598133387).

Books & Authors

Awards: International Booker, Lambda Literary Winners

At Night All Blood Is Black by David Diop, translated from French by Anna Moschovakis (Farrar, Straus & Giroux) won the 2021 International Booker Prize, which "aims to encourage more publishing and reading of quality fiction from all over the world and to promote the work of translators." The £50,000 (about $70,970) award is split between author and translator. 

Chair of the judges Lucy Hughes-Hallett said: "This story of warfare and love and madness has a terrifying power. The protagonist is accused of sorcery, and there is something uncanny about the way the narrative works on the reader. We judges agreed that its incantatory prose and dark, brilliant vision had jangled our emotions and blown our minds. That it had cast a spell on us."


The winners of the 33rd annual Lambda Literary Awards, which celebrate "powerful, necessary writing that centers the LGBTQ experience," were announced virtually this week. See the Lammy winners in 24 categories on Lambda Literary's website.

In addition to the winners, four special honors were awarded: Ana-Maurine Lara received the Randall Kenan Prize for Black LGBTQ Fiction; the Jim Duggins, PhD Outstanding Mid-Career Novelist Prize went to Sarah Gerard and Brontez Purnell; Nancy Agabian received the Jeanne Córdova Prize for Lesbian/Queer Nonfiction; and the Judith A. Markowitz Award for Emerging LGBTQ Writers was awarded to Taylor Johnson and T Kira Madden.

"This year's ceremony was a true celebration for us after what has been an unimaginably difficult year for so many," said Sue Landers, executive director of Lambda Literary. "While we couldn't be together in person again this year, we are so excited to be back honoring LGBTQ literature and all of the wonderful writers who make up our community. Congratulations to all of this year's winners."

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, June 8:

The President's Daughter by James Patterson and Bill Clinton (Little, Brown, $30, 9780316540711) is the pair's second collaborative thriller. (June 7)

The Plague Year: America in the Time of Covid by Lawrence Wright (Knopf, $28, 9780593320723) chronicles last year.

The Burning Blue: The Untold Story of Christa McAuliffe and NASA's Challenger Disaster by Kevin Cook (Holt, $27.99, 9781250755551) explores the 1986 Challenger explosion.

The Appalachian Trail: A Biography by Philip D'Anieri (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26, 9780358171997) treks the 2,000-mile-long trail from Georgia to Maine.

The Great Dissenter: The Story of John Marshall Harlan, America's Judicial Hero by Peter S. Canellos (Simon & Schuster, $32.50, 9781501188206) is the biography of the Gilded Age Supreme Court justice.

Animal: A Novel by Lisa Taddeo (Avid Reader Press/Simon & Schuster, $27.99, 9781982122126) follows a woman fleeing an act of violence.

Rabbits: A Novel by Terry Miles (Del Rey, $28, 9781984819659) is based on a podcast about a mysterious underground game.

The Stone Loves the World: A Novel by Brian Hall (Viking, $28, 9780593297223) follows two families united by a missing daughter.

In: A Graphic Novel by Will McPhail (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28, 9780358345541) is a semi-autobiographical graphic novel about a millennial illustrator.

The Extended Mind: The Power of Thinking Outside the Brain by Annie Murphy Paul (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28, 9780544947665) looks at human intelligence beyond the brain.

Heartbreakers and Fakers by Cameron Lund (Razorbill, $18.99, 9780593114940) is a summertime YA romance.

Of Princes and Promises by Sandhya Menon (Simon & Schuster, $19.99, 9781534417571) is the sequel to Of Curses and Kisses, the author's new YA fairytale-based series.

The Last Goodbye: A Novel by Fiona Lucas (Morrow, $16.99, 9780063036383).

Sisters of the Resistance by Christine Wells (Morrow, $16.99, 9780063055445).

Pack Up the Moon by Kristan Higgins (Berkley, $16, 9780451489487).

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:

Secrets of Happiness: A Novel by Joan Silber (Counterpoint, $27, 9781640094451). "No one is better than Joan Silber at revealing the hidden links that connect people. The small, human details in Secrets of Happiness feel at first like ripples in a pond, but they prove in the end to be mighty waves in an ocean the size of the world." --James Crossley, Madison Books, Seattle, Wash.

Seed to Dust: Life, Nature, and a Country Garden by Marc Hamer (Greystone Books, $26.95, 9781771647687). "This book has the kind of calm coziness that will leave your mind abuzz with wonder and reflection about the natural world, gardens, and our place in them. Gardener or not, this book has lessons for us all on the kind of patience, quiet, and listening we could use a bit more of in this world." --Jacob Rogers, McNally Jackson Books, New York, N.Y.

Utopia Avenue: A Novel by David Mitchell (Random House, $18, 9780812987218). "Another delightfully addictive novel from this masterful storyteller. We get in on the ground floor witnessing the formation and rise of a rock band in London just as the British Invasion is taking off. This is a wonderful book and perfect summer reading." --Cody Morrison, Square Books, Oxford, Miss.

For Ages 4 to 8
Wishes by Muon Thi Van, illus. by Victo Ngai (Orchard Books, $18.99, 9781338305890). "Wishes turns a heart-wrenching tale into a beautiful story of hope and perseverance. In his signature lyrical style, Muon Thi Van narrates a Vietnamese family's immigration story as they search for a new home. Add Victo Ngai's gorgeous artwork and this tale becomes a treasure for the home and library." --Laura Graveline, Brazos Bookstore, Houston, Tex.

For Ages 9 to 12
Healer of the Water Monster by Brian Young (Heartdrum, $16.99, 9780062990402). "Healer of the Water Monster is such beautiful story, partly because the character is so sweet and complex, and partly because the issues he has to deal with cross so many borders, from alcoholism and family dysfunction to trying to navigate the spirit world to save a water monster." --Chris Abouzeid, Belmont Books, Belmont, Mass.

For Teen Readers
Cool for the Summer by Dahlia Adler (Wednesday Books, $18.99, 9781250765826). "Cool for the Summer is fun, fresh, messy, and utterly real. With a setting that'll make you want to drive to the Outer Banks and characters you'll want to be friends with in real life, this one will have you craving those high school summer nights. I felt like I already knew all of these characters." --Amanda Quain, One More Page Books, Arlington, Va.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: Razorblade Tears

Razorblade Tears by S.A. Cosby (Flatiron, $26.99 hardcover, 336p., 9781250252708, July 6, 2021)

Ike Randolph, who is at the center of S.A. Cosby's brutal and beautiful Razorblade Tears, has no illusions about his mission to avenge the death of his son: "Folks like to talk about revenge like it's a righteous thing but it's just hate in a nicer suit." That hate finds company when Ike, who is Black, and Buddy Lee Jenkins, an alcoholic self-described redneck, form an unlikely avenging alliance. Their nice suits will stay at home.

Ike has been out of prison for 15 years and is making good money running Randolph Lawn Care and Landscaping when his only child, Isiah, is fatally shot, as is Isiah's husband, Derek, while they're in front of a wine store in Richmond, Va. At the funeral, Ike meets Derek's father, trailer-dwelling ex-con Buddy Lee, with whom he has more in common than a suddenly parentless three-year-old granddaughter: neither man could say that his behavior toward his gay son was supportive, which ratchets up the grief.

The murder case stalls out, in no small part, a detective says, because people who knew Isiah, a reporter, and Derek, a chef, won't talk to the cops, so in a private moment Buddy Lee proposes to Ike that they take charge: "Folks are liable to tell a couple of grieving fathers shit they wouldn't tell the police." Ike is reluctant at first, but not for the reason Buddy Lee suspects: "He wasn't afraid to spill blood. He was afraid he wouldn't be able to stop."

Buckets of blood are spilled in Razorblade Tears, but in a volume that's proportional to the amount of soul-searching going on and the number of jokes being cracked. That Ike is no sufferer of fools and Buddy Lee is an unfiltered wild card sets up an odd-couple dynamic that Cosby works like a master comic, and his specialization in insults (someone calls Buddy Lee a "discount Sam Elliott") is on display throughout the novel. The humor abets the surprise-strewn story, much of it unfolding in the Red Hill County, Va., of Blacktop Wasteland, Cosby's previous novel. (Razorblade Tears also shares its predecessor's occasionally discombobulating point-of-view shifts.) If Blacktop Wasteland confronted fans of noir with a setting that's miles outside the white urban stronghold typically home to the genre, Razorblade Tears ups the ante by introducing characters forced to grapple with their thoughts on homosexuality and interracial love while Confederate flags fly around them. --Nell Beram, author and freelance writer

Shelf Talker: S.A. Cosby's terrific follow-up to Blacktop Wasteland is another rustic noir centered on a Black man with a checkered past who feels forced to jeopardize his straight-arrow status.

Powered by: Xtenit