Also published on this date: Monday, June 14, 2021: YA Maximum Shelf: On the Hook

Shelf Awareness for Monday, June 14, 2021

Margaret K. McElderry Books: Spell Bound by F.T. Lukens

Forge: Mr Katō Plays Family by Milena Michiko Flašar, translated by Caroline Froh

Ballantine Books: The Wishing Game by Meg Shaffer

Island Press: The Jewel Box: How Moths Illuminate Nature's Hidden Rules by Tim Blackburn

Berkley Books: Business or Pleasure by Rachel Lynn Solomon

Berkley Books: The First Ladies by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray

Texas Bookman Presents Texas Remainder Expo

Minotaur Books: Deadlock: A Thriller (Dez Limerick Novel #2) by James Byrne


Fable Books Opens in Venice, Fla.

Fable Books, a children's bookstore in downtown Venice, Fla., held its grand opening celebration this weekend, the Venice Gondolier reported.

Owner Robyn Lee carries books for infants, children and young adults, with the inventory organized predominantly by age group. There are also small sections for graphic novels and classics, as well as books by local authors. 

The interior of the bookstore has a forest theme, replete with stuffed animals and leaves running along the ceiling. The store already has a mascot, a raccoon named Fable, and Lee hopes to one day create picture books featuring Fable.

Fable Books originally opened its doors on June 3, and Lee will hold her first family storytime event on July 3. She plans eventually to host book signings and readings with local children's authors. Her goal, she told the Gondolier, is to make the store a "hot spot" for children and families.

"I have some plans up my sleeve of creating a place where people want to bring their family when they come to visit or the grandparents want to bring their kids," she said. "I wanted to create that environment where people are like, 'oh, we got to go to the children's bookstore.' "

William Morrow & Company: Ink Blood Sister Scribe by Emma Törzs

Bipartisan House Bills Aim to Rein in Amazon & Other Big Tech Companies

On Friday, a bipartisan group of lawmakers in the House of Representatives introduced five bills that aim to rein in Big Tech companies--Amazon, Google, Facebook and Apple. The moves parallel efforts by the European Union to regulate Big Tech more, and seem to be one of the few areas where Congressional Democrats and Republicans have found common ground. Still, the bills could take a while to pass, especially in the Senate, with some Republicans wary about changing antitrust law, and once passed could take longer to implement.

"The proposals would make it easier to break up businesses that used their dominance in one area to get a stronghold in another, would create new hurdles for acquisitions of nascent rivals and would empower regulators with more funds to police companies," the New York Times observed.

One of the bills, the Ending Platform Monopolies Act, would make it unlawful for an online platform to own a business that uses "the covered platform for the sale or provision of products or services" or that sells services as a condition for access to the platform, the Wall Street Journal wrote. The platform company also couldn't own businesses that create conflicts of interest, such as by creating the "incentive and ability" for the platform to advantage its own products over competitors. The act could require Amazon to split into several companies.

The Journal added: "If the Ending Platform Monopolies bill were to be passed, Amazon could have to split its business into two separate websites, one for its third-party marketplace and one for first-party, or divest or shut down the sale of its own products. Amazon's private-label division has dozens of brands with 158,000 products. It is also a market leader on devices such as Kindle eReaders, Amazon Echos, Fire TV streaming devices and Ring doorbells."

Another bill bars platforms from giving preference to "the covered platform operator's own products, services, or lines of business over those of another business user," or that excludes or disadvantages other businesses. This, too, could deeply affect Amazon.

Another bill seeks to limit mergers, "making it unlawful for a large platform to acquire rivals or potential rivals," the Journal wrote. Still, "the bill would have prevented only 'a small percentage of all technology sector deals' over the past decade, the summary said."

Yet another bill would raise filing fees for mergers valued more than $1 billion and lower them for transactions under $500,000, which would raise an estimated $135 million for antitrust enforcement in its first year, the Journal noted.

Rep. David Cicilline (D., R.I.), chair of the House Antitrust Subcommittee, said, "Unregulated tech monopolies have too much power over our economy. They are in a unique position to pick winners and losers, destroy small businesses, raise prices on consumers, and put folks out of work. Our agenda will level the playing field and ensure the wealthiest, most powerful tech monopolies play by the same rules as the rest of us."

Rep. Ken Buck (R., Colo.), the ranking Republican on the Subcommittee, said, "This legislation breaks up Big Tech's monopoly power to control what Americans see and say online, and fosters an online market that encourages innovation and provides American small businesses with a fair playing field. Doing nothing is not an option. We just act now."

William Morrow & Company: A Death in Denmark: The First Gabriel Præst Novel by Amulya Malladi

2021 Pulitzer Prize Winners


Congratulations to the book winners of the 2021 Pulitzer Prizes:

Fiction: The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich (Harper). "A majestic, polyphonic novel about a community's efforts to halt the proposed displacement and elimination of several Native American tribes in the 1950s, rendered with dexterity and imagination."

Fiction finalists: A Registry of My Passage Upon the Earth by Daniel Mason (Little, Brown) and Telephone by Percival Everett (Graywolf Press)

History: Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America by Marcia Chatelain (Liveright/Norton). "A nuanced account of the complicated role the fast-food industry plays in African-American communities, a portrait of race and capitalism that masterfully illustrates how the fight for civil rights has been intertwined with the fate of Black businesses."

History finalists: The Deviant's War: The Homosexual vs. the United States of America by Eric Cervini (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) and The Three-Cornered War: The Union, the Confederacy, and Native Peoples in the Fight for the West by Megan Kate Nelson (Scribner)

Biography: The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X by the late Les Payne and Tamara Payne (Liveright/Norton). "A powerful and revelatory account of the civil rights activist, built from dozens of interviews, offering insight into his character, beliefs and the forces that shaped him."

Biography finalists: Red Comet: The Short Life and Blazing Art of Sylvia Plath by Heather Clark (Knopf) and Stranger in the Shogun's City: A Japanese Woman and Her World by Amy Stanley (Scribner)

Poetry: Postcolonial Love Poem by Natalie Diaz (Graywolf Press). "A collection of tender, heart-wrenching and defiant poems that explore what it means to love and be loved in an America beset by conflict."

Poetry finalists: A Treatise on Stars by Mei-mei Berssenbrugge (New Directions) and In the Lateness of the World by Carolyn Forché (Penguin Press)

General Nonfiction: Wilmington's Lie: The Murderous Coup of 1898 and the Rise of White Supremacy by David Zucchino (Atlantic Monthly Press). "A gripping account of the overthrow of the elected government of a Black-majority North Carolina city after Reconstruction that untangles a complicated set of power dynamics cutting across race, class and gender."

General Nonfiction finalists: Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning by Cathy Park Hong (One World/Random House) and Yellow Bird: Oil, Murder, and a Woman's Search for Justice in Indian Country by Sierra Crane Murdoch (Random House)

AuthorBuzz for the Week of 02.06.23

International Update: Frankfurt Book Fair's 'Positive Uncertainty,' Bookish Queen's Birthday Honors List

Organizers of the Frankfurt Book Fair, scheduled for October 20-24, said 95% of the European national stands have committed to attend and the event is anticipating in-person visitors to be at about 50% of the levels of the last pre-pandemic fair. 

"I have been a little surprised at the support and I think we are in a time of positive uncertainty about this year's fair," said Fair director Juergen Boos. "We are budgeting for physical exhibitors at about 50% of 2019 levels, but my prediction is that it will be a lot higher as many will make the decisions to come more at the last minute and I think it's possible to perhaps get up to 70% of where we were two years ago."

The Fair is moving ahead with plans for a hybrid event, with its online program to be announced mid-July and shaped "by the learnings we had from last year's virtual fair," Boos said.    


This year's Queen's Birthday Honors list included several people from the book trade, including publisher Margaret Busby, co-founder of Allison & Busby, who was awarded a CBE for services to publishing; and Faber executive chair Stephen Page, who received an OBE for services to publishing. 

Author Philippa Gregory was awarded a CBE for services to literature and charity in the U.K. and the Gambia. Lemn Sissay, official poet of the 2012 London Olympics, received an OBE for services to literacy and charity. Author and illustrator Lauren Child was given a CBE for services to children's literature, while author David Almond was awarded an OBE for services to literature. Writer and potter Edmund de Waal received a CBE for services to the arts, while author Patrice Lawrence received an MBE for services to literature. 

Honors also went to author Irenosen Okojie (MBE for services to literature), Claire Malcolm, founder of the charity New Writing North (MBE for services to literature), author Kevin Maxwell (MBE for services to diversity through literature) and librarian Eleanor McKay (MBE for services to local studies and the community).


"Meet our customer Per--a true City Hero!" Swedish bookseller the English Bookshop in Uppsala posted on its Facebook page. "We have noticed during the pandemic that you wonderful people have taken a stand for local shopping and we are truly happy and grateful for this. It seems that the focus has shifted to socially responsible shopping.... Per is such a customer and today we wanted to give him a little something to let him know that we see that. 

"Uppsala City has just launched a marvelous campaign to raise awareness and create more Cityhjältar (city heroes) and they have given us some cloth bags to hand out to OUR city heroes. And you are ALL city heroes. So stop by and claim your bag while we have them. And carry it with pride--like Per--and spread the word and create even more Cityhjältar! THANK YOU!!!!" --Robert Gray

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Killing Me by Michelle Gagnon

Obituary Note: Lucinda Riley

Lucinda Riley

Lucinda Riley, the Irish author best known for the Seven Sisters series, died on June 11 after a four-year battle with cancer. She was 56.

In announcing Riley's death, her family noted that in her last four years, she wrote five novels, "and this week, The Missing Sister is Number 1 in book charts across the world." The Missing Sister is the seventh book in the Seven Sisters series.

The family continued: "Lucinda touched the lives of all those she met, and those who turned the pages of her stories. She radiated love and kindness in everything she did, and will continue to inspire us all forever. Above all, Lucinda loved life, and lived every moment to the full.

"In her own words: 'Through the pain and the joy of the journey, I have learnt the most important lesson life can offer, and I am glad of it. The moment is all we have.' "

Riley's books have sold more than 30 million copies and have been particularly popular in the Netherlands, South Africa, New Zealand, Sweden, Norway and Germany. Besides the Seven Sisters series, she wrote the Guardian Angels series for children in collaboration with her eldest son, Harry Whittaker; the first of these, Grace and the Christmas Angel, will be published in October. The proudest moment of her life was when, after 27 years as a published author, in the fall of 2019, The Butterfly Room topped the London Sunday Times bestseller list for the first time.

In North America, Atria Books has been Riley's publisher since 2012, beginning with The Orchid House, which Shelf Awareness called "a sweeping, poignant saga that will enthrall fans of The House at Riverton, Rebecca and Downton Abbey," followed by Girl on the Cliff, Lavender Garden, Midnight Rose and The Royal Secret. Atria most recently published The Sun Sister, the sixth book in the Seven Sisters series.

Kaitlin Olson, Riley's editor at Atria, said, "Lucinda's work was beloved by millions of readers, and it was easy to see why--her sweeping, epic novels allowed everyone to travel the world. We extend our deepest condolences to Lucinda's family and the readers who will miss her stories."

Jeremy Trevathan, managing director of Pan Macmillan's Adult Publishing Division, commented: "It's been an immense and very rare privilege to work with Lucinda. Popular fiction is often looked down on but when authors like Lucinda break through and strike an emotional chord with their readers that really is the joy of publishing. Lucinda had an enormous capacity for fun, friendship and love, and I was honoured to call her a friend. I, and the whole team at Pan Mac, are so thankful to have been given the opportunity to go on this journey with her. I am going to miss her terribly and I know many of my colleagues here and around the world will do so too."

Texas Bookman Presents Texas Remainder Expo


Wanted: Vintage Typewriters

Even old typewriters are in short supply.

RiverRun Bookstore, Portsmouth, N.H., which has long sold vintage typewriters as a sideline, said recently that it needs more typewriters to sell: "We are all out!" RiverRun is seeking manual typewriters (no electrics).

RiverRun has sold manual typewriters for about eight years, and owner Tom Holbrook, who does repairs himself, has said that while they account for a small percentage of sales, the display draws people inside.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Hakeem Oluseyi on Morning Edition, GMA, ABC News Live

CBS This Morning: Amanda Kloots, co-author of Live Your Life: My Story of Loving and Losing Nick Cordero (Harper, $27.99, 9780063078253). She is also on the Talk today.

CBS This Morning: Andy Slavitt, author of Preventable: The Inside Story of How Leadership Failures, Politics, and Selfishness Doomed the U.S. Coronavirus Response (St. Martin's Press, $28.99, 9781250770165). He is also on the View today.

NPR's Morning Edition: Hakeem Oluseyi, co-author of A Quantum Life: My Unlikely Journey from the Street to the Stars (Ballantine, $28, 9781984819093). He will also appear tomorrow on Good Morning America and ABC News Live.

Tonight Show: Ethan Hawke, author of A Bright Ray of Darkness: A Novel (Knopf, $27.95, 9780385352383).

Good Morning America: Cameron Hamilton, co-author of Leap of Faith: Finding Love the Modern Way (Gallery, $28, 9781982167134).

Tamron Hall: Stacey Abrams, author of While Justice Sleeps: A Novel (Doubleday, $28, 9780385546577).

Watch What Happens Live: Ryan Serhant, author of Big Money Energy: How to Rule at Work, Dominate at Life, and Make Millions (Hachette Go, $28, 9780306923104).

Movies: The Pale Blue Eye

Harry Melling (Queen's Gambit, Harry Potter franchise) will play a young Edgar Allan Poe in the Netflix and Scott Cooper murder mystery The Pale Blue Eye, based on the novel by Louis Bayard. Deadline reported that the film "is a passion project of Cooper, who has tried making it for more than a decade." The movie also stars Christian Bale.

Cooper will direct and adapt the screenplay. Bale will produce with Cooper, John Lesher and Tyler Thompson of Cross Creek Pictures. Bale and Cooper previously worked together on Out of the Furnace and Hostiles.

Books & Authors

Awards: Women's Prize Discoveries Winner

Emma van Straaten's novel-in-progress Heartstring won the inaugural Women's Prize Trust Discoveries writing award, which was launched this year in collaboration with NatWest and Curtis Brown with the goal of finding "untapped female writing talent from across the U.K. and Ireland," the Bookseller reported. The book has been signed by Lucy Morris at Curtis Brown. Van Straaten receives £5,000 (about $7,100) and a desk to write at in her local NatWest Accelerator Hub.

Judging panel chair Kate Mosse said: "We were looking for potential, imagination and a distinctive voice and have found all of these things in Emma van Straaten. Her brilliantly written submission, Heartstring, is suspenseful, disquieting, brave and eloquent."

The runner-up to the 2021 Discoveries program was Lucy Keefe, whose urban fantasy story Pantheon Lucy won a place on Curtis Brown's flagship three-month Writing Your Novel course, worth £1,800 (about $2,555).

Book Review

Review: The Rules of Arrangement

The Rules of Arrangement by Anisha Bhatia (Alcove Press, $16.99 paperback, 320p., 9781643856926, July 13, 2021)

A boisterous family drama set in Mumbai, India, The Rules of Arrangement by Anisha Bhatia takes satirical aim at marriage-obsessed cultural norms in well-to-do communities that emphasize a woman's looks and fashion sense over her education and intelligence. It is the story of witty and ambitious Zoya, a 26-year-old advertising associate at a multinational company with a promising career trajectory and a family eager to find her a husband. Leading the charge is the formidable and well-coiffed Sheila Bua, a lovingly rendered version of the stereotypical matchmaking aunty.

Bhatia's colorful debut follows its heroine as she is introduced to prospective grooms, all the while distracted with a project at work she hopes will land her a transfer to the New York office. "The trick with our traditions is to not argue," she explains, going along with her family but with no intention of letting marriage sideline her dreams. While Zoya's enigmatic male boss comes into clearer, rosier focus and her aunt's hard work finally yields a suitable marriage candidate, Zoya begins noticing cracks in Sheila Bua's merry façade, and odd, secretive behavior that prompt further investigation. What Zoya discovers as she digs deeper into Sheila Bua's past, and the implications it has for her own future, will shake the foundations of her world.

Populated with lively relatives, girlfriends and eligible bachelors, The Rules of Arrangement embraces the happy chaos of large families and celebrates Zoya's courage in resisting tradition and family expectations. She won't compromise her self-esteem either, proudly rejecting conventional standards of beauty to make peace with her weight and darker complexion. Bhatia opens the door to uncomfortable, but much needed, conversations about how society judges women, focusing on superficial attributes at the expense of character and intelligence. She also humanizes the faceless laborers who shore up Mumbai's workplace ecosystem, paying tribute to them through the character of Chotu, a spirited boy working at the office canteen. Zoya is fond of Chotu and encourages his compulsive reading habit, her dreams for his future as important to her as her own.

Energetically narrated by Zoya, The Rules of Arrangement features memorable scenes from a wedding, where aunties jostle for space on the dance floor; awkward but hilarious meetings between Zoya and potential husbands; and workplace drama documenting the journey of a talented young woman making her way in the world--rewriting the rules along the way. --Shahina Piyarali, reviewer

Shelf Talker: An action-packed comedy drama about love, family and ambition in which a modern Indian woman in her 20s and her old-fashioned matchmaking aunt realize they share very similar dreams.

AuthorBuzz: Berkley Books: Lemon Curd Killer (Tea Shop Mystery #25) by Laura Childs
AuthorBuzz: Nonlinear Publishing LLC: Moral Code by Lois and Ross Melbourne
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