Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Chronicle Books: Stella & Marigold by Annie Barrows, Illustrated by Sophie Blackall

Poisoned Pen Press: The Boyfriend by Frieda McFadden

St. Martin's Press: Disney High: The Untold Story of the Rise and Fall of Disney Channel's Tween Empire

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

Graphix: 39 Clues: One False Note (39 Clues Graphic Novel #2) by Gordon Korman, Illustrated by Hannah Templer


Binc's Survive to Thrive Donating $1.1 Million to 115 Bookstores, Comic Shops

At a time when its services are more needed than ever, the Book Industry Charitable Foundation has risen to the challenge yet again.

With major help from Ingram, publishers, authors and others, Binc's Survive to Thrive, the special, one-time grant initiative, is making grants to 115 independent bookstores and comic shops totalling $1.1 million. Some 99 stores will receive grants of $10,000 and 16 will receive $7,500. The grant recipients were determined by a juried application process with the goal of assisting stores that were poised to make a strong recovery from the pandemic. The grants will be distributed in early July.

"Bookstores and comic shops are vital to the cultural and economic fabric of their communities, and by helping to retain these community anchors, we are helping to preserve the literacy, economic and social benefits bookstores and comic shops provide," said Pamela French, Binc's executive director. "Every bookstore and comic shop is important to their community, and we are delighted to help as many as we can. Thank you to everyone who donated to Survive to Thrive. Every gift made a difference in helping these stores recover, survive and thrive."

The Survive to Thrive initiative began in March with a leading gift of $500,000 jointly from Ingram Charities and Ingram Content Group. Survive to Thrive received strong support from the book world with other major gifts from, Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Random House, and Simon & Schuster. In addition, 12 authors and creators led by Garth Stein and Amor Towles made a combined $40,000 matching gift, which helped raise an additional $55,000. And An Unlikely Story bookstore in Plainville, Mass., held a benefit auction.

"Our goal is to do well by helping others do well," said John Ingram, chairman of Ingram Industries and Ingram Content Group. "Supporting local bookstores and comic shops is an excellent way to support communities as we continue to move beyond the pandemic crisis. Above all else, I am happy to have been a catalyst for helping a group of stores recover from the pandemic. Thank you to my friends and colleagues in publishing and all those who joined together to make the Survive to Thrive initiative successful."

The grant recipients represent 45% of the 255 stores who applied. The stores will use the funds to continue implementing innovations and improvements begun as a response to the pressures of the pandemic. Grants are based on ranking criteria that considered economic harm due to the pandemic and each store's plans to use the money to solidify their operations for long-term success. Every application was reviewed and ranked anonymously by all five of the reviewers.

The review panel consisted of Fletcher Chu-Fong, Nicole Magistro, Erica Rodriguez Merrell, Michael Tucker and Lori Tucker-Sullivan. Judey Kalchik managed the Survive to Thrive grant project.

Peachtree: The Littlest Yak: Home Is Where the Herd Is by Lu Fraser, Illustrated by Kate Hindley

Rohi's Readery Opens in West Palm Beach, Fla.

Rohi's Readery, a children's bookstore focused on diversity and inclusion, officially opened last weekend, the Palm Beach Post reported.

Owner Pranati Kumar Skomra, who moved to the U.S. from India as a child, named the store after her seven-month-old daughter. Growing up, she had trouble finding books in which she could see characters like herself, and she has opened Rohi's Readery so that her own daughter and other children won't have the same problem.

The approximately 1,500 titles carried at Rohi's Readery feature characters from diverse backgrounds as well as characters who are LGBTQ and characters with disabilities. The bookstore itself is 1,000 square feet, and is located in the Rosemary Square development. Related Companies, which built Rosemary Square, is donating the space to Skomra for at least six months to help develop "vibrant neighborhood platforms that lead with inclusivity and diversity."

Rohi's Readery held its first two events last weekend. The first was a Juneteenth Revolutionary Storytime, held on Saturday afternoon, and the other was a Fatherly Love book reading held Sunday afternoon.

"My hope is that, in this bookstore, there's accessibility," Skomra told the Post. "This space is about uplifting marginalized communities."

Getting Word Raising Funds for Black Literary and Arts Organizations

From Juneteenth until Independence Day, Getting Word: Black Literature for Black Liberation is running a collective fundraiser to benefit a group of Black literary and arts organizations. 

All contributions to the fundraiser will be split equally among the five participating organizations: the Cave Canem Foundation, Brooklyn, N.Y.; the Furious Flower Poetry Center in Harrisonburg, Va.; the Hurston/Wright Foundation in Washington, D.C.; Obsidian Lit, Normal, Ill.; and the Watering Hole in Columbia, S.C.

In its inaugural year, Getting Word was inspired by the calls to support Black arts and literary organizations that began in June 2020. Donating to and spreading the word about the fundraiser will support the discovery, cultivation and promotion of Black writers. The organizations involved have helped support the careers of writers such as Jericho Brown, Claudia Rankine, Brit Bennett, Ross Gay and Tayari Jones, among others.

Donations can be made to Getting Word's GoFundMe campaign.

A Look at Regional Plans, Part 1

While full schedules have yet to be released, the dates and venues for this year's regional trade shows have been finalized, with some set to meet virtually for another year and others set to convene in person for the first time since the pandemic began. Below is a brief look at what's in store for three of the fall shows; more plans will be featured tomorrow.

Heartland Fall Forum
For this year's Heartland Fall Forum, the collaborative conference hosted by the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association and the Midwest Independent Booksellers Association, virtual events will take place throughout the months of August, September and October.

Registration is already open, and this year there is no need for booksellers to register for specific events--one registration will provide access to everything. The events schedule will be solidified as events are produced, and authors are being placed on a rolling basis (the last day to pitch authors will be July 9). Things like rep picks and the virtual book room will also be altered to make them more flexible and accessible.

Next year the Heartland Fall Forum will be held in person once again, and is scheduled to take place from October 12-14, 2022, in St. Louis, Mo.

The NEIBA Fall Conference
The New England Independent Booksellers Association's Fall Conference will run from September 21-23 this year. 

Like 2020's program, it will be all virtual, and while specifics about times and speakers have yet to be announced, there is a schedule of keynote presentations, rep picks, education sessions, virtual show floor hours and buzz receptions. NEIBA's annual meeting and town hall is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, September 23.

Registration is not yet open; additional information will be announced at a later date.

New Voices, New Rooms
The New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association and the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance are teaming up for the second year in a row for the virtual New Voices, New Rooms conference. 

The conference will run from September 27 to October 1, with "programming morning, noon and night that you can join live or view later." With everything being digital, there will be no barriers to participation, and the plan is to invite authors from far and wide.

Registration is open now, and a complete schedule is still to come.

Summer Reading Campaign Newsletter Sent

On Sunday, the first of two Summer Reading campaigns newsletters went to 304,968 customers of 85 participating store members of the Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association, the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association and the California Independent Booksellers Alliance.

Powered by Shelf Awareness, the Summer Reading newsletters, a collaborative effort of the three regional associations, feature 20 summer reading titles. See these examples:

Paulina Springs Books Presents Summer Reading, from Paulina Springs Books, Sisters, Ore.
Brace Book & More Presents Summer Reading, from Brace Books & More, Ponca City, Okla.
Books on B Presents Summer Reading, from Books on B, Hayward, Calif.

The second (and final) issue of the Summer Reading campaign will be published Sunday, July 11.

G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!
Seriously HAPPY:
10 life-changing philosophy lessons from Stoicism to Zen to supercharge your mindset
by Ben Aldridge
illus. by Michelle Brackenborough
GLOW: Holler: Seriously HAPPY: 10 Life-Changing Philosophy Lessons from Stoicism to Zen to Supercharge Your Mindset by Ben Aldridge

Mental health matters are unpacked through philosophy and quirky challenges in Ben Aldridge's uplifting first YA title, Seriously HAPPY, which mixes personal stories and synopses of teachings from OG philosophers. Alongside Aristotle and Socrates, Aldridge includes insights from lesser-known great minds like Bao Gu, a female Chinese Taoist physician, and Nigerian philosopher Orunmila, to show readers how to be confident, decisive, and resilient. Aldridge personally "employed Stoicism and other philosophies as key strategies in overcoming severe and debilitating anxiety and panic attacks as a young man," says Holler publisher Debbie Foy, adding that Aldridge's conversational tone makes the subject matter accessible and inviting to a young adult audience. "He is clear that everyone deserves happiness in their lives but what constitutes 'happiness' is different for all of us." --Rachel Werner

(Holler, $12.99 Hardcover, ages 12-up, 9780711297807, 
September 3, 2024)


Shelf vetted, publisher supported


PRHPS to Distribute Victory Belt Publishing

Penguin Random House Publisher Services will sell and distribute the entire frontlist and backlist of Victory Belt Publishing through all sales channels worldwide, effective January 1, 2022.

Founded in 2006 by author Erich Krauss, Victory Belt focuses on nutrition, fitness, general health, and personal development titles, including Simply Keto by Suzanne Ryan, Rebuilding Milo by Dr. Aaron Horschig, and bestsellers by Dr. Kelly Starrett, Maria Emmerich, and Ben Greenfield.

Jeff Abraham, president of PRHPS, said, "The small but mighty team at Victory Belt has led the way in so many health and wellness subjects, pioneering categories and then publishing into them incredibly well. By matching that creative spark in company culture with our renowned supply chain and our wide-ranging sales experience and customer affinities, we can't wait to bring Victory Belt's books to even more consumers throughout the world."

Personnel Changes at Scholastic

Kelsey Albertson has joined Scholastic as associate manager, special markets. She was previously national accounts representative, special markets, at Abrams.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Dr. Jen Gunter on the Today Show

Today Show: Dr. Jen Gunter, author of The Menopause Manifesto: Own Your Health with Facts and Feminism (Kensington Books, $18.95, 9780806540665).

Movies: The HusbandsBlind Willow, Sleeping Woman

Kristen Wiig will star in a film version of Chandler Baker's novel The Husbands, which will be published by Flatiron August 3, Deadline reported. MGM acquired the rights to the book, which will be adapted by Baker, marking her feature screenwriting debut. Wiig is producing along with Plan B Entertainment. 


At the Annecy Film Festival, director Pierre Földes, producers Tanguy Olivier and Emmanuel-Alain Raynal, and artists from France's Miyu Productions premiered work in progress footage from Földes's Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman, "a 2D animated adaptation of a handful of Haruki Murakami stories that looks to translate the Japanese author's idiosyncratic style as no feature has to date," Variety reported. 

While living in Budapest, "I succeeded in contacting Murakami, who really liked my approach and my idea to adapt several of his short stories into an interconnected feature," said Földes regarding the genesis of the project.

The technique, according to Variety: "After filming live-action references for each and every shot, the animators would swap the actors' heads for a 3D model of the character's face, then trace over the outline in pencil and reanimate the facial expressions, coloring in the outline at the very end."

"The animators had to unlearn everything they learned in school," said Olivier. "By making them leave their comfort zones, by having them use tools they weren't used to using in such a way, we were able to meet Pierre's style, which is to subvert some of these animation tools."

Raynal told Variety the film should be finished for next spring, and mentioned, regarding Cannes, "This is Pierre's feature debut, so every selection would be open to us."

Books & Authors

Awards: German Peace Prize

Tsitsi Dangarembga

Zimbabwean author, activist and filmmaker Tsitsi Dangarembga has won the 2021 Peace Prize of the German book trade, Börsenblatt reported. The prize honors "an important contribution to peace, humanity, and understanding among peoples."

Best known for her trilogy comprised of Nervous Conditions, The Book of Not and This Mournable Body, Dangarembga recently won the PEN Pinter Prize and the PEN International Award for Freedom of Expression. Last year, This Mournable Body was shortlisted for the Booker Prize for Fiction.

Dangarembga will receive the €25,000 ($29,770) prize on October 24, during the Frankfurt Book Fair.

The Börsenverein, the German book industry association, commented: "In her artistic work, the writer and filmmaker from Zimbabwe combines a distinct story telling with a universal view, and she's therefore not only one of the most important artists of her country, but also a major voice for Africa in contemporary literature. In her fiction trilogy, Tsitsi Dangarembga tells the story of a woman's struggle for the right to a full human life and female self-determination in Zimbabwe. Throughout she highlights social and moral conflicts that exist far beyond the regional setting and touches on questions of justice globally. In her films, she focuses on problems that happen when tradition and modernity collide. Her messages have been conveyed successfully to a wide audience in Zimbabwe as well as in neighboring countries. In addition to her creative work, she has been engaged for years in promoting culture in her country--and especially for women. At the same time, she is fighting for freedom and political changes in Zimbabwe. At the moment, the government is harassing her peaceful protest against corruption [and arrested her for a short while last year]. 'If you want to stop your suffering, you have to act,' she has said. 'Action comes from hope. This is the principle of faith and action.' "

Fred Engh on His Education in Black & White

Fred Engh

Fred Engh has been involved in youth sports for more than 30 years as a coach, athletic director and sports educator. Engh is the author, with Jann Seal, of the memoir Matchsticks: An Education in Black & White (Square One Publishers), about his years as a white student at all-Black Maryland State College. He recently answered some questions about his book and experiences.

Why would someone who is white choose to write a book on racism at this time?

While I knew that my experience going to Maryland State College was a little unusual--it was, after all, still a segregated college in the early '60s when I was there--my initial story as I began to write was simply going to center on my friendship with Bob Taylor, a talented Black athlete, and our time together on the school's golf team. The more I thought back on those days, though, the more I realized that my story went far beyond the tale of a college friendship.

I don't feel that the lessons I learned in my youth, both inside and outside the classrooms of that school, are any less valuable just because I am white. I was focused first and foremost in those days on getting an education, like everyone else in the school. As I soon learned, however, I was not subjected to the frequent abuses that my fellow students had to endure simply because of their skin color. That was a crucial situation for me to witness and learn about, and it certainly helped to shape and enrich my world view. While I don't think anyone of color has to be told about prejudice, I do believe there are enough people out there who may enjoy reading about how I came to play college golf in the all-Black league of Maryland--and what I took away from the experience, other than a shared championship team trophy.

What was your motivation for going to an all-Black college in 1961?

At that time, my wife and I were living in a trailer camp with our two young children--with a third child on the way. I was doing what I could, but we were struggling financially. During a family dinner visit with my parents, my mother told me in no uncertain terms that I would always be a failure unless I did something more with my life. A few days later, I happened to hear a local college sports coach talking on the radio about his school's programs. That same week, I decided to earn a teaching degree in Physical Education from that coach's school, which happened to be Maryland State College. The campus was the one closest to my home, so I decided to go. It didn't matter to me that it was an all-Black school--getting that degree was something I needed to do for my family, and for myself.

How did you feel as the only white student at the college?

Initially, I was definitely nervous. There was no question that I was an unintentional standout among the student body. That changed, though--the more that I met people on campus and in my classes, the more I gladly realized that I was being accepted as just another student. I'm sure that my being Bob Taylor's friend--who was without question that school's "BMOC" (Big Man On Campus) helped, but there was never any moment that I saw or felt any hostility.

What did you gain out of that experience?

I had been raised in a segregated state. While I saw what was going on as I grew up, I chose not to say anything. I witnessed many incidents of blatant racism around me, but I would keep quiet. I never thought of myself as being prejudiced, but it wasn't until I went to Maryland State College that I came to learn one important lesson. Staying silent about a racist act is no better than being an overt racist yourself. It was something that I still carry with me every day.

Why did you choose to put in timelines throughout the book?

While my book is primarily a memoir about my life and experiences during the 1960s, the benefits of hindsight and my own present-day perspective about what the Black community has encountered--past and present--led to my decision to include timelines that mark significant moments in the ongoing story of racism here in America. By seeing these historical events presented on the page in this way, my hope is that my readers will better understand the history that was unfolding in years past--and, as we still see in the news every day, continues to unfold.

How did that experience affect your life?

It embedded in me a deep need to help those undermined by their upbringing--no matter the culture or background. I was driven, after receiving my college degree, to create programs that would help young people to enjoy the many psychological, emotional, and physical benefits that the world of sports can provide. In so doing, I am proud to say that those several millions of adults throughout America who serve as youth sports coaches and administrators have received their training from the nonprofit organization that I founded, the National Alliance for Youth Sports (NAYS). In addition, NAYS' international divisions have helped introduce kids to the joys and challenges of youth sports by providing equipment and training within 16 developing countries. None of this would have happened for me without the life-changing experiences--and friendships--that came my way while attending Maryland State College.

Book Review

Review: A Woman of Intelligence

A Woman of Intelligence by Karin Tanabe (St. Martin's Press, $27.99 hardcover, 384p., 9781250231505, July 20, 2021)

Karin Tanabe (The Diplomat's Daughter; A Hundred Suns) takes readers deep into the inner life of a society housewife turned FBI informant in her sixth novel, A Woman of Intelligence. The daughter of Swiss immigrants, Katharina Edgeworth speaks four languages, has a graduate degree from Columbia and is bored stiff spending her days caring for her two young boys in 1950s Manhattan. As the postwar fear of Communism sweeps across the U.S., Rina is recruited by FBI agents to collect information about a former lover suspected of Communist activities. Desperate to find a purpose beyond wiping noses and breaking up her boys' arguments (or schmoozing at gala events with her doctor husband), Rina agrees, barely pausing to debate the ethics of spying on someone she once trusted. Before long, she realizes what her handlers already know: she might be in way over her head.

Tanabe's narrative is full of rich period details, from the gilded world of Rina's Upper East Side apartment and wealthy in-laws to her memories of her former work at the fledgling United Nations. Rina herself is a complicated character. Smart and introspective, she married for love and reluctantly gave up her career when she got pregnant, but finds herself bored and frustrated by the constraints of her current life. As she slips into both passivity and self-harm, the opportunity to do something for her country--and be seen simply as a woman again--proves irresistible. Before long, Rina is taking cabs to clandestine meetings all over the city (at all hours); befriending Ava Newman, a country-club Connecticut girl turned passionate Communist agent; and wrestling with her growing feelings for her Black FBI handler, Turner Wells.

Convinced she's having an affair, Rina's husband threatens her with psychiatric treatment or even divorce, while Rina struggles to manage the increasing responsibilities of her new job--which must remain a secret. Tanabe sensitively explores the frustrations of a woman caught between the consequences of her past choices and the dangers of her present ones, as well as highlighting the sexism (and, to a lesser extent, racism) prevalent in the McCarthy era. Rina's adventures as an informant and courier provide a few plot twists, but the more compelling journey is her inner one: When shown a number of possibilities, what kind of woman will she choose to be?

Taut and thoughtful, A Woman of Intelligence vividly portrays a particular moment in American history while capturing a woman's timeless struggle to create her own life. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

Shelf Talker: Karin Tanabe's compelling sixth novel follows a society housewife turned FBI informant in 1950s Manhattan.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. The Hotel by Pamela M. Kelley
2. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki with Sharon L. Lechter
3. The Lies She Told by Denise Grover Swank
4. The Wicked Aftermath by Melissa Foster
5. Falling for the Delta by Susan Stoker and Riley Edwards
6. Verity by Colleen Hoover
7. Miss Delectable by Grace Burrowes
8. Irresistible Revolution by Matthew Lohmeier
9. The Virgin Game Plan by Lauren Blakely
10. From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout

[Many thanks to!]

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