Also published on this date: Wednesday, July 7 Dedicated Issue: Binc's 25th Anniversary

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Algonquin Young Readers: the Beautiful Game by Yamile Saied Méndez

Berkley Books: Books that will sweep you off your feet! Enter Giveaway!

Feiwel & Friends: The Flicker by HE Edgmon

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: The Pumpkin Princess and the Forever Night by Steven Banbury

St. Martin's Griffin: Murdle: The School of Mystery: 50 Seriously Sinister Logic Puzzles by GT Karber


Caprichos Books Buys the Story House Book Trolley

New and used bookstore Caprichos Books, which had a bricks-and-mortar store in Bel Air, Md., before switching to a pop-up model last year, has purchased the Book Trolley from The Story House Bookstore on Wheels.

Caprichos owner Liz Decker announced the purchase on Facebook, saying she hopes to "give it an amazing continued life" as a bookstore on wheels "all around the eastern shore." Her goal is to use the Book Trolley to support as many communities, schools and businesses as possible through pop-up events and book fairs.

Deborah Cohen, owner of The Story House, who originally converted the Book Trolley from a tourist trolley into a bookmobile, called it a "bittersweet day." Due to Covid restrictions, she was unable to use the Book Trolley for most of 2020 and much of 2021, and in the meantime she has moved on to other projects. She is, however, "thrilled that it will continue to bring the joy of reading and books out into the world." Cohen will continue sell books online and maintain a pop-up at Dawson's Market in Rockville, Md.

"I am looking forward to visiting all different kinds of towns with different celebrations," said Decker. She is currently asking community members where she should take the Book Trolley.

Blackstone Publishing: Rogue Community College: A Liberty House Novel by David R Slayton

International Update: Booksellers NZ Celebrates Centenary, New Indie Bookstore in Ontario

Congratulations to Booksellers Aotearoa New Zealand, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this week, noting: "In a time when things have been extremely challenging for any business, the books industry has seen positive spin-offs. The demand for books has increased and there has been a growth in bookshops around the country, with new stores in Wellington, Timaru and Wanaka."

CEO Dan Slevin commented: "We are thrilled to be celebrating our centenary and are so very proud of all our members and our achievements. The centenary has been a time for reflecting on the past as well as looking to the future. Booksellers Aotearoa New Zealand is focused on the changing world of books and is committed to the continued success of bookselling in New Zealand."

Booksellers Aotearoa New Zealand said the association is "committed to a vision for the next 100 years and are committed to supporting members and growing book sales across all channels. We want everyone to sell more books and we advocate for members in every way possible. We have been enhancing collaboration throughout the sector, including working closely with the other international bookseller associations. So there has been lots of advice and help between us all."

The organization also noted that the centenary "marks an important milestone for us in the industry. We are so very proud to look back on our accomplishments and the people we have helped over the years. We are proud to be part of the books industry and would like to thank everyone who has supported us in reaching 100 years of success."


Firefly & Fox Books recently hosted a grand opening celebration at 13 Norfolk St. N., Simcoe, Ont., Canada. A general-interest bookstore that specializes in children's and Canadian literature as well as local authors, Firefly & Fox also offers online shopping and orders can be placed by phone. Curbside pickup and delivery in Norfolk are available, too, as is Canada-wide shipping.

Owner Catherine Wiebe told the Sentinel-Review that the idea for the shop's name came to her when she was with her family: "It was about a year ago and we had heard the Coles was closing. We wanted to open a bookstore of our own and we were sitting in the backyard trying to come up with a name. So, we're sitting there watching the fireflies. It was gorgeous night and it just sort of came to me--Firefly and Fox. Fireflies are points of light in the dark and that's what books can be--points of light in a world that is sometimes dark and that's what we want to do with our store."

She added: "Every community needs a bookstore. We're the only new bookstore in Haldimand-Norfolk and, before we opened, residents would have to head out of town to Paris or Brantford. They don't have to do that anymore. They can visit us instead.... We want to make this a place where people can visit and make connections to other worlds through books."


In India, Saji Cherian, minister for Cultural Affairs in Kerala, has inaugurated the "Vattiyurkavil Vijnjana Yathra" program, organized by the Vattiyurkavu Youth Brigade as part of the Reading Week celebrations and to provide aid to students who cannot access online classes," the Hindu reported. 

The VYB, led by V.K. Prasanth, will "take the traveling book store to all the wards in the constituency. The book store is being run in association with the State Institute of Languages, State Institute of Children's Literature, D.C. Books, Mathrubhumi Books and Chintha Publishers," the Hindu wrote. Proceeds from selling the books will be used to buy mobile phones and tablets for students struggling to access online classes. 


British masking update: "We will be sticking to our drill in the bookshop from the 19th of July, despite what Boris says. We all feel safer this way staff and customers," Little Toller Books, Beaminster, tweeted, as well as sharing a photo of the store's chalkboard, which offers further ("You know the drill!") clarification. --Robert Gray

Sourcebooks Launches Indie Booksellers Discount Program


Sourcebooks is launching the Booksellers Change Lives promotion, a loyalty program designed to support indie bookstores through the rest of the year. The initiative, which starts for the fall season, runs from July 7, 2021, through February 28, 2022, and "features additional discounts and dating to help Indies overcome the challenges presented by the pandemic," the publisher noted.

"Indie booksellers continued to be incredible partners to us last year, even amid the crisis that Covid-19 created," said Valerie Pierce, director of retail marketing and creative services. "We know everyone is still recovering, and we wanted to find a way to support our indie bookseller friends."

The Booksellers Change Lives promotion offers 53% off backlist purchases of 15 or more units, free freight and 90-day terms. To participate in the program, stores will be required to:

  • Order directly from Sourcebooks
  • Agree to one phone conversation with a Sourcebooks sales or marketing director
  • Agree to include Sourcebooks titles in at least three promotions. Examples of promotions include in-store displays, social media posts with reviews, newsletter reviews, author event (virtual or in-person) and reorder campaign. 

"We have been reaching out to booksellers and having extensive conversations about the current marketplace and what we could do as a publisher to help stores. Hearing repeatedly from booksellers that an extra discount would be a game changer, we are thrilled to be able to offer an additional discount on our backlist--those beloved titles that have seen a tremendous sales increase during Covid and are an important source of revenue for stores," said Margaret Coffee, director of sales for schools, libraries and independent bookstores.

For more information, contact Coffee via e-mail.

Shelf Awareness Review Submission Guidelines

Shelf Awareness is once again accepting print galleys for review consideration, starting with October 2021 publications for adult review copies. We ask that publishers resume sending printed review copies to our Seattle address below, in addition to electronic galleys by e-mail.

Mailing address for ARCs:

Shelf Awareness
811 1st Avenue, Suite 315
Seattle, WA 98104

If print galleys are not available for a title, please submit a digital galley as you have been doing. (Full submission guidelines can be found here.)

Children's/YA review copies should continue to be submitted as digital copies to Siân Gaetano via e-mail.

We do accept finished children's board books at the above mailing address (811 1st Ave., Suite 315, Seattle, WA 98104).

Obituary Note: Bettina Bailey

Tina Bailey

Bettina (Tina) Bailey, co-owner and proprietor of the Book Stop, "a well-known used bookstore" in Tucson, Ariz., died June 19, reported. She was 74. The Book Stop was founded in 1967, and when the owner put it up for sale in the early 1990s, Bailey and Claire Fellows purchased the business. In 2007, the bookshop moved to its present location at 214 N. Fourth Ave.

Bailey was a "true bibliophile," said Fellows. "She was devoted and dedicated to the Book Stop. She had many, many friends. They are going to miss her, and I am certainly going to miss her presence.... If I didn't have answers about books, she did. She knew who wrote them and what they were about." Fellows added that clients respected Bailey's knowledge and gravitated toward her in the shop.

The Book Stop posted on Facebook: "We remain completely dismayed and stunned by this loss.... Tina, or as close family knew her, Teeny, was beloved by so many. She was foundational to maintaining a true Tucson gem, the Bookstop, for close to 50 years, during which she cultivated a staggering and eccentric knowledge of all things books. Long before mutual aid had become part of the mainstream vernacular, Teeny was materially supporting people experiencing homelessness in our community, allowing her store to be a safe haven and sharing whatever she possibly could, never expecting credit for doing so. There was never an animal in need that she could turn away.... She will be sorely missed."


Cool Idea of the Day: The Blacktongue Thief-Off

Two booksellers at McLean & Eakin Booksellers in Petoskey, Mich., have entered into a friendly competition regarding Christopher Buehlman's new fantasy novel, The Blacktongue Thief. Booksellers Katie and Zach both adore the book, and both think they can sell more copies of it than the other.

To help decide the contest, customers can "vote" for Katie or Zach by mentioning one of their names in the comment section when they order the book. They can also read the glowing reviews of The Blacktongue Thief that Katie and Zach have posted on the bookstore's website and vote for their favorite.

Browsing Booksellers' Bookshelves

"Is there any better way to get to know people than browsing their bookshelves?" asked Books & Company, Oconomowoc, Wis., on Facebook. "We're going to give you a sneak peak of our bookseller's home shelves! First up is our newest Bookseller Sarah! See any titles you love?"

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Allen on Ellen

Kelly Clarkson Show: Ryan Kaji, author of More Ryan's World of Science (‎Simon Spotlight, $4.99, 9781534485310).

Ellen: Jimmie Allen, author of My Voice Is a Trumpet (Flamingo Books, $17.99, 9780593352182).

The View repeat: Neil deGrasse Tyson, co-author of Cosmic Queries: StarTalk's Guide to Who We Are, How We Got Here, and Where We're Going (National Geographic Society, $30, 9781426221774).

Late Night with Seth Meyers repeat: Graham Norton, author of Home Stretch: A Novel (HarperVia, $26.99, 9780063112094).

On Stage: Persuasion

Bedlam (Sense and Sensibility, The Crucible) is returning Off-Broadway this fall with Persuasion, a new play by Sarah Rose Kearns adapted from Jane Austen's novel, Playbill reported. Directed by Eric Tucker, the production will begin September 11 at the Connelly Theater ahead of a September 21 opening.

"We feel extremely lucky to have come through the pandemic as a company and fortunate to be able to return to the stage," said Tucker. "I'm also happy to announce Bedlam is launching a new pipeline initiatives program to make our shows available to anyone in New York who may have been prevented from attending due to the cost of a ticket, to encourage audience development and community engagement."

Books & Authors

Awards: French Voices Grand Prizes; Toronto Book Longlist

The winner of the 2020 French Voices Grand Prizes, sponsored by the Cultural Services division of the French Embassy in the U.S. and recognizing "the quality of both the original work and the translation" and epitomizing "the many facets of a vibrant French literary scene," have been announced. Both grand prize winners receive $10,000.

The winner of the 2020 Grand Prize in Fiction is The Mediterranean Wall by Louis Philippe Dalembert, translated by Marjolijn de Jager (published in the U.S. by Schaffner Press). Organizers commented: "Dalembert (The Other Side of the Sea) has provided a Tolstoyan narrative of the contemporary immigrants' exodus from war, famine, poverty, criminality and injustice to a better life across the Mediterranean Sea. Following in intimate detail the lives of three women from disparate religions and cultures, and nations--Nigeria, Eritrea, and Syria--Dalembert compassionately depicts these three women and the bond they form together in their mutual struggle to escape to Europe via an overcrowded, dilapidated boat across the sea, the metaphorical wall between their former lives and the future. Certain to appeal to readers of literature of migration and such recent fiction as Behold the Dreamers and The Lost Children Archive."

The winner of the 2020 Grand Prize in Nonfiction is Affluence and Freedom: An Environmental History of Political Ideas by Pierre Charbonnier, translated by Andrew Brown (to be published in the U.S. by Polity Press in September).

Organizers wrote, "In this pathbreaking book, Pierre Charbonnier opens up a new intellectual terrain: an environmental history of political ideas. His aim is not to locate the seeds of ecological thought in the history of political ideas as others have done, but rather to show that all political ideas, whether or not they endorse ecological ideals, are informed by a certain conception of our relationship to the Earth and to our environment."


A longlist has been released for the 2021 Toronto Book Awards, which honor "books of literary merit that are inspired by the city." The shortlist will be announced in August. The winner receives C$10,000 (about US$8,130) and each shortlisted author gets C$1,000 (about US$815). This year's longlisted titles are:

Missing From the Village by Justin Ling 
Saga Boy: My Life of Blackness and Becoming by Antonio Michael Downing 
Crosshairs by Catherine Hernandez 
Æther: An Out-of-Body Lyric by Catherine Graham 
Swimmers in Winter by Faye Guenther
On Property by Rinaldo Walcott 
Speak, Silence by Kim Echlin 
Hana Khan Carries On by Uzma Jalaluddin 
The Good Fight by Ted Staunton, illustrated by Josh Rosen 
Unravel by Sharon Jennings 

Reading with... Fabian Nicieza

photo: Cyndi Shattuck

Fabian Nicieza is a writer and editor who is best known for his comic book work and as the co-creator of Marvel's Deadpool. He has written more than a thousand comics, including X-Men, X-Force, New Warriors, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Robin. He has edited diverse comics, from Ren & Stimpy to Barbie, and provided story-world development on Hollywood franchises, including Pirates of the Caribbean, James Cameron's Avatar, Transformers and Halo, among many others. Suburban Dicks (Putnam, June 22, 2021), a murder mystery full of skewering social commentary, is his debut novel.

On your nightstand now:

Still Life by Louise Penny
Marvel Masterworks: The Fantastic Four, Vol. 22 by John Byrne

Favorite book when you were a child:

In elementary school it was all about the Hardy Boys. Any of the books in the series, but the one that always stands out for me was While the Clock Ticked. I barely remember the contents of the book, so maybe it was the cover. Frank and Joe tied up and in peril; a grandfather clock pulled from the wall revealing a secret passage and, best of all, an actual old man hiding in his best Scooby Doo, "if it wasn't for you meddling kids" fashion.

By middle school, I entered a ridiculously obsessive Doc Savage phase, reading nearly the entire run of the old '30s pulp series in the Bantam editions that were coming out at the time with glorious covers by James Bama.

But through that all, from before there were even books, there were comic books. They have been a part of my life since I was six years old, helped me learn how to read and write English when I came to the U.S. from Argentina, shaped my thoughts on right and wrong and morality and ethics in ways little else has.

Your top five authors:

In no particular order of preference:

James Ellroy
Stephen King
Tom Wolfe
David McCullough
Larry McMurtry

I had been on a Michael Connelly binge and, based on my wife's recommendation, just starting a Louise Penny binge. Over the last 20 years I've read more nonfiction, but I'd sprinkle "fun" series books in there as well, like Janet Evanovich, Sue Grafton and Lisa Gardner.

Book you've faked reading:

Wow, there may be more on this list than I'd care to admit!

Definitely Moby-Dick. I'd already seen the movie when I was a kid so by the time I had to read it in high school, it felt as interminable as being adrift at sea for several years.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Since I find evangelism a bit tacky, let's say these are books I am very enthusiastic about! The Right Stuff, Lonesome Dove and The Stand are probably my three favorite books, and they couldn't be any more different from each other. The one thing they all have in common is an exploration of the "Great American myth."

Book you've bought for the cover:

Every single Doc Savage book when I was a kid! James Bama was my book cover god. And I don't really have a more recent answer. I tend to read novels based on familiarity with the author or strong word of mouth.

Book you hid from your parents:

None that I recall, ever. They never discouraged me or my siblings from reading even if they weren't always thrilled with my choices: comic books, pulp, fantasy, SF.

Book that changed your life:

Some snooty types might take offense to this, but, honestly, to hell with them... it was a comic book that changed my life more than a book and made me realize the power of storytelling and its ability to affect people on an emotional level.

It was The Amazing Spider-Man #90 by Stan Lee, Gil Kane and John Romita. It came out a month before my ninth birthday and in the story, Captain George Stacy, a longtime supporting character, a police captain and the father of Peter Parker's girlfriend, Gwen, was killed while saving a child. Spider-Man was unable to stop what happened, and before dying, Stacy revealed that he knew Spider-Man was Peter Parker.

All of that packed into 20 pages. It was more than my little boy brain could process, but I remember from the day I read that book moving forward, I always wanted to tell stories. Comic books, books, short stories, scripts, didn't matter. I wanted the chance for my words to affect someone as strongly as that had affected me.

And, as a final note, getting to work several times in my life with Stan Lee, and directly on a day-to-day basis with John Romita at Marvel, made me appreciate the gift they gave to me even more.

Favorite line from a book:

I had to look it up because I couldn't recall it from memory, but there was a line from L.A. Confidential by James Ellroy that summarized my worldview about good guys and bad guys and the gray world we all live in.

Captain Dudley Smith says, "Don't start tryin' to do the right thing, boyo. You haven't the practice for it."

It made me think of all the aspirational but conflicted heroes I'd read about growing up and the ceiling of reality they always butted their heads against. It helped solidify the view I have about both my writing and the world: "Don't try to be a good guy, just be a good guy."

And yes, I fall short in that sometimes, but not for lack of trying....

Five books you'll never part with:

This might sound sacrilegious to some, but as I have gotten older, I have become less attached to material things.

Over five years ago, we moved to a new house and I got rid of half of my very large comic book collection. Having purged that, I am prepared to soon get rid of the other half!

I'll probably hang on to some of the paperbacks I bought in the '70s--The Stand, Lonesome Dove, etc.--but I have no idea yet what hardcovers would withstand the purge!

Book you most want to read again for the first time:

I tend to move forward and read new things, but I did recently re-read The Stand. I'd been so disappointed in the new CBS series that I wanted to see the story "the right way" again. The book was longer than I remembered! And I like the idea of re-reading L.A. Confidential; maybe soon.

What was it like having William Shatner give you the Heimlich maneuver in front of 3,000 people:

Well, first of all, it was a pretend Heimlich maneuver, because I was just helping Bill out while he was telling a story during a panel we were doing at San Diego Comic Con.

But I did say immediately afterwards, "Now I know why all the alien ladies loved Captain Kirk...."

So, you know, I got that going for me.

Book Review

Children's Review: Pax, Journey Home

Pax, Journey Home by Sara Pennypacker, illus. by Jon Klassen (Balzer + Bray, $17.99 hardcover, 256p., ages 8-12, 9780062930347, September 7, 2021)

Peter returns to the woods on a journey of longing and forgiveness that brings closure to both the boy and his beloved fox friend in Sara Pennypacker and Jon Klassen's earnest and wrenching companion novel Pax, Journey Home.

In the aftermath of the acclaimed Pax, Peter is nearly 14. He is both scarred by the conflict that killed his father and heavy with shame after releasing his pet fox into the wilderness. Peter has lost all he can bear and builds emotional barriers hewn as tightly as the boards of wood he laid for his new cabin, a home with no cracks to allow in light, much less love or comfort. Peter builds it, then abandons his plans to inhabit it. Pax, meanwhile, has settled at Deserted Farm with packmates Bristle and Runt, where he holds close memories of his time with Peter, the human he trusted. The foxes welcome three feisty pups that need food and safety--which can only be found a trip of several days away in the Broad Valley. Peter and Pax each set out on individual missions of penance and purpose, one fueled by loss and the other by yearning. When their paths intersect, each makes critical decisions that prove to be the salvation of the other.

By again alternating chapters between her protagonists, Pennypacker's (Pax; the Clementine series) lyrical, deliberate language weaves a powerful sense of place. The river's "rolling furrow of current" cuts a maimed path for Peter and Pax to follow through the ravaged valley, where poisoned pools of stagnant, silent and scentless water dot the forest and farms. Pennypacker's short chapters and Whitmanesque tone are descriptive but never florid. Without quotation marks or anthropomorphization, Pennypacker uses clipped speech and italics to convey the foxes' thoughts. Caldecott winner Klassen's (The Rock from the Sky) illustrations appear every few chapters, a mix of spot art and full-page sketches to offer visual context. Klassen's sketches are smoky and dappled snapshots in time, and the artwork's gray scale and saturated blacks lend additional texture to the story.

Some war wounds have healed in Pax, Journey Home, but aching loss persists for both the land and its inhabitants. This tender story of love and reconciliation, and of families made and chosen, promises comfort after unfathomable hurt. --Kit Ballenger, youth librarian, Help Your Shelf

Shelf Talker: In this profound sequel to the acclaimed Pax, a boy and a fox find forgiveness during healing journeys that reunite them after a year of unfathomable loss.

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