Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Little Brown and Company: This Bird Has Flown by Susanna Hoffs

St. Martin's Press: Hello Stranger by Katherine Center

Dundurn Press: Chasing the Black Eagle by Bruce Geddes

W by Wattpad Books: Hazel Fine Sings Along by Katie Wicks

St. Martin's Press: The Girls of Summer by Katie Bishop

Soho Crime: The Rope Artist by Fuminori Nakamura, transl. by Sam Bett

Flatiron Books: Once Upon a Prime: The Wondrous Connections Between Mathematics and Literature by Sarah Hart

Grand Central Publishing: Goodbye Earl: A Revenge Novel by Leesa Cross-Smith


Frenchtown Bookshop Opens in Frenchtown, N.J.

Barbara deWilde and Scott Sheldon opened Frenchtown Bookshop, a general-interest bookstore selling titles for all ages, in Frenchtown, N.J., last weekend. In addition to books, the store carries gifts, nonbook items and a selection of tea and coffee through a partnership with Loose Leaf Tea Shop.

The 1,200-square-foot bookstore resides in a Victorian house dating back to the 1860s that was previously home to the Book Garden, a much-loved indie in Frenchtown. The building has undergone some significant renovations, including the removal of a central staircase and a few walls, resulting in a much more open space. The Loose Leaf Tea Shop is located in what was originally the house's kitchen, and deWilde and Sheldon have added a workshop in the basement that will be used for events, classes and making sideline products.

While deWilde has no experience in bookselling, she does have a background in the book world as a designer. She was most recently a digital product designer for the New York Times and prior to that worked at Knopf for many years as a book jacket designer.

Frenchtown Bookshop's inventory reflects that background, with a focus on literary fiction and titles that feature well-designed covers and interiors. Graphic novels for all ages will have a strong presence, and there will be robust poetry and children's sections as well. Noting that a lot of writers have lived in Frenchtown and the surroundining area, deWilde added that she hopes to tap into Frenchtown's "literary roots."

Sheldon, whose background is in concert planning, is running the events side of the business. Along with traditional readings and author signings there will be plenty of music events, and the bookshop will be working with outside consultants and other partners on poetry readings, workshops and developmental play and reading programs for children. 

They plan to partner with a local arts organization called the Artyard to host off-site and outdoor events, and as far as workshops go, deWilde hopes to have local artisans and craftspeople lead classes. "Skill sharing is going to be a big part of our programming."

Prior to the pandemic, deWilde and Sheldon spent most of their time in New York City but had a house in Bucks County, Pa., across the Delaware River from Frenchtown. They often talked about living in Bucks County full time, though that never seemed entirely possible. They did, however, start a conversation with the owner of the Book Garden about buying the bookstore.

Then the pandemic hit, and while it allowed them to live and work in Bucks County full time, they reconsidered their plans to buy the bookstore. The Book Garden's owner eventually decided to close the store down rather than reopen amid the pandemic as a primarily online store. In September 2021, about three months after the Book Garden closed and after deWilde and Sheldon had scured the permits to renovate the building, they decided to open a bookstore of their own.

The community's enthusiasm, deWilde reported, has been "so nice to see." She started sharing details about the building's renovations early on in the process on Instagram and Facebook, and community members have been "watching as we've taken walls down, carted off debris, sanded floors" and built the space back up. She shared posts featuring the local craftsmen that she and her husband hired, as well as their UPS driver. Community members responded so well to the sharing that deWilde and Sheldon decided to share even more. "Their enthusiasm was infectious." --Alex Mutter

Parallax Press: Radical Love: From Separation to Connection with the Earth, Each Other, and Ourselves by Satish Kumar

Monica Lerch New General Manager of Calif.'s {pages} a bookstore

Monica Lerch

Monica Lerch has been named general manager of {pages} a bookstore, Manhattan Beach, Calif. She succeeds Kristin Rasmussen, who last week was named co-executive director of the California Independent Booksellers Alliance.

Lerch was most recently a bookseller and events manager at Buxton Books in Charleston, S.C., and before that was events manager at Kramerbooks in Washington, D.C. Before joining the book industry, she was sales manager at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., for five years. She received a B.A. in Tourism & Events Management with a minor in Art History from George Mason University. She has, the store said, "a life-long love of all things literary, especially independent bookstores," and is moving to the Manhattan Beach area from South Carolina with her husband, Erik, and yellow lab, Scout.

Linda McLoughlin Figel, co-owner of {pages}, said, "We are very pleased to add someone with Monica's experience to the {pages} team. We will dearly miss Kristin at {pages} but could not be happier for her to pursue her next adventure at CALIBA. California booklovers and booksellers are lucky to have these two devoting their many talents to the book industry in our corner of the book world."

William Morrow & Company: The God of Good Looks by Breanne Mc Ivor

International Update: Five Arrested in Hong Kong over Children's Books, Hay Festival Director Resigns

Five members of a Hong Kong union "behind a series of children's books about sheep trying to hold back wolves from their village have been arrested for sedition," AFP (via the Guardian) reported. The arrests were made by the new national security police unit, which is spearheading a sweeping crackdown on dissent.

Hong Kong police officer displays one of the allegedly seditious books.

Police said in a statement that the two men and three women, aged between 25 and 28, had "conspired to publish, distribute, exhibit or copy seditious publications" in an attempt to stir up "the public's--and especially young children's--hatred towards Hong Kong's government and judiciary and to incite violence and illegal acts." 

They are members of the General Union of Hong Kong Speech Therapists, the Guardian wrote, noting that in recent months the union had published three illustrated books--Guardians of Sheep Village, Janitors of Sheep Village and The 12 Braves of Sheep Village--that "try to explain Hong Kong's democracy movement to children. Democracy supporters are portrayed as sheep living in a village surrounded by wolves."


Peter Florence

Hay Festival director Peter Florence has resigned from his position after the organization's board unanimously endorsed an investigation upholding an allegation of bullying made against him. The Bookseller reported that Florence, "who co-founded the festival in 1988 with his parents, was suspended last October while the panel reviewed the complaint by a member of staff. Florence has been signed off sick ever since."

In a statement, Hay said: "This decision followed a thorough and extensive process, which considered substantial supporting evidence. As the board gathered to conclude the internal process, Mr. Florence resigned with immediate effect. The board will now be seeking new leadership for the world-renowned non-profit organization."

Since Florence's suspension, finance director and interim CEO Tania Hudson has led the team, delivering its digital events in December and May. Hay Festival International director Cristina Fuentes continues to run global events.


In South Africa, Cape Town Etc. invited readers to "step into a world of magic and explore" the city's finest bookshops: "While online shopping has made life simple and convenient, it just doesn't compare to the feeling of stepping into a bookshop and physically browsing for the best buys. There are always rare gems to be found while rummaging through a huge pile of books and this makes the adventure so much more exciting!"

Featured booksellers included Bikini Beach Books ("once you enter through the doors, you're bound to be blown away and mesmerized"), the Bookworm ("this bookshop blends nature with literature to give you the ultimate experience"), and the Book Lounge ("an independent bookshop for hungry minds, just waiting to dig into any and every genre"). 


Congratulations to Canadian bookseller Russell Books, Victoria, B.C., which celebrated its 60th anniversary last weekend. "We've come a long way from the original Russell Books, founded by Reg Russell in Montreal in 1961 (pictured)," the bookshop posted on Facebook. "Now in our third generation as a family-owned book store, we have grown and evolved in so many ways thanks to our thriving community of book-loving customers in Victoria and worldwide. We have lots of fun events planned today, so come down to the store and help us celebrate (see details on our earlier post). We are so grateful for the support of our amazing, community of dedicated readers! We couldn't have done it without you!" --Robert Gray

Shelf Awareness Job Board: Click Here to Post Your Job

Kensington Launches Cozy Imprint Kensington Cozies

Kensington Publishing is launching Kensington Cozies, an imprint dedicated to the cozy mystery genre, which usually have "little-to-no violence, profanity, or sex; likeable amateur sleuths; tight-knit communities; and series arcs that allow the protagonists to grow in their professions and relationships." The first titles go on sale December 28. Over time, backlist titles that fit the cozy criteria will be folded into the imprint. Historical mysteries will remain under the Kensington Books imprint.

Kensington president and CEO Steven Zacharius commented: "Kensington has long been a leader in the genre, and it's time the roughly 60 contemporary cozy mysteries we publish each year had their own imprint."

All Kensington editors will acquire for the imprint, which includes hardcover, trade paperback, and mass market max releases from established authors like Joanne Fluke, Carlene O'Connor, Ellery Adams, Leslie Meier, and Lee Hollis, as well as new voices such as Emmeline Duncan, Frank Anthony Polito, Gabby Allan and Christin Brecher. Digital first cozies will remain in Kensington's e-original imprint, Lyrical Underground.

Kensington Cozies will be overseen by communications manager Larissa Ackerman, who, Kensington said, "has spearheaded many of the company's major initiatives to expand the visibility of the genre as a whole in recent years. She said, "We're excited to continue building awareness of everything cozy mysteries have to offer, growing their presence on readers' and retailers' bookshelves, and bringing more diversity to the genre--both in the authors whose stories we publish and the readers who love them."

Ackerman conceived and developed the Cozy Club Card, a loyalty card program available through participating libraries and bookstores that allows readers to earn free cozy mystery ARCs. She oversees partnerships such as "The Cozy Corner" with Tea Time Magazine, and she will continue to build programs such as Kensington's Cozy Cons, a series of annual, multi-author reader parties that have taken place in rotating bookstores and cities in the U.S. since 2018.

G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!
The Wisdom of Morrie:
Living and Aging Creatively and Joyfully
by Morrie Schwartz, edited by Rob Schwartz
GLOW: Blackstone Publishing: The Wisdom of Morrie: Living and Aging Creatively and Joyfully by Morrie Schwartz, edited by Rob Schwartz

Twenty-five years ago, Mitch Albom immortalized his former college professor in Tuesdays with Morrie, the blockbuster memoir that shared Morrie Schwartz's profound insights about life as he was dying of ALS. In The Wisdom of Morrie, Rob Schwartz, Morrie's son, resurrects his father's voice, sharing Morrie's philosophical wisdom and humor about the aging process--what can be an emboldening period filled with meaning and purpose. "This book is invaluable to anyone interested in improving their quality of life," says Rick Bleiweiss, head of new business development at Blackstone Publishing. "Readers who enjoy[ed] The Last Lecture and When Breath Becomes Air will expand their awareness and find new ideas and insights into living more fully." Schwartz's musings are timeless, and inspirational for readers of all ages. --Kathleen Gerard

(Blackstone Publishing, $25.99 hardcover, 9798200813452,
April 18, 2023)


Shelf vetted, publisher supported


Image of the Day: Celebrating Holly Frakes at Schuler Books

Schuler Books in Grand Rapids and Okemos, Mich., recently celebrated a milestone: children's buyer Holly Frakes retired 30 years (to the day!) after starting to work at Schuler Books.

Frakes began as the children's section manager at the Okemos store, then served as children's buyer for all the stores for the last 10 years. Marketing coordinator Alana Haley wrote, "If you've loved shopping our children's section over the years, it's due to her hand in shaping it. To say we’ll miss her is an understatement. We're so lucky to have had so much time with her."

Pictured with Holly Frakes are owners Bill and Cecile Fehsenfeld.

Masking Up: 'Our Booksellers Are Back to Doing Their Part'

Posted on Facebook by Novel Bay Booksellers, Sturgeon Bay, Wis.: "Happy Sunday readers!!! You will notice some changes upon entering our doors beginning today. Our booksellers are back to doing their part in stopping the spread and masking up. We are currently NOT requiring masks for our guests, we are watching and waiting. You will also see our lovely friend hand sanitizer back out front! Please grab a squirt when you enter, it's much easier to buy books when you can touch them. 

"Be kind to each other out there--we are trying to do our part to keep our doors open and everyone healthy and safe. Mask up, sanitize and social distance. It’s good for everyone...."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: James Lapine on Fresh Air

Good Morning America: Stephen King, author of Billy Summers (Scribner, $30, 9781982173616).

Also on GMA: Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, author of Her Heart for a Compass: A Novel (Morrow, $28.99, 9780062976529).

Fresh Air: James Lapine, author of Putting It Together: How Stephen Sondheim and I Created 'Sunday in the Park with George' (FSG, $40, 9780374200091).

The View: Alexander Vindman, author of Here, Right Matters: An American Story (Harper, $26.99, 9780063079427).

TV: If You Lived with Me You’d Be Home by Now

HBO has put in development If You Lived with Me You'd Be Home by Now, a half-hour series inspired by Annabelle Gurwitch's Los Angeles Times article and corresponding chapter of her recently released book, You're Leaving When? Adventures in Downward Mobility, Deadline reported. The project is from Gurwitch, Bill Maher (Real Time with Bill Maher) and Naomi Despres and Robert Salerno's Artina Films (I'm Thinking of Ending Things, Nocturnal Animals, Kill the Messenger).

HBO optioned rights to Gurwitch's book, which was published by Counterpoint in March. Deadline noted that the pilot script, written by the author, "is based on a chapter in her book about her participation as the seventh household in Los Angeles to host an at-risk young couple experiencing homelessness."

Books & Authors

Awards: NEIBA Finalists

Finalists for the 2021 New England Book Awards appear below. Winners in each category will be announced at the NEIBA Masked Ball on October 21 in Providence, R.I.

Hour of the Witch by Chris Bohjalian (Doubleday)
A Master of Djinn by P. Djèlí Clark (Tordotcom)
Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M. Danforth (Morrow)
The Hare by Melanie Finn (Two Dollar Radio)
Libertie by Kaitlyn Greenidge (Algonquin Books)

Mill Town by Kerri Arsenault (St. Martin's Press)
The Secret to Superhuman Strength by Alison Bechdel (Mariner Books)
We Keep the Dead Close by Becky Cooper (Grand Central)
The Gatherings by Shirley N. Hager and Mawopiyane (Aevo UTP)
The Disordered Cosmos by Chanda Prescod-Weinstein (Bold Type Books)

Owed by Joshua Bennett (Penguin Books)
Even Shorn by Isabel Duarte-Gray (Sarabande Books)
Red Kite, Blue Sky by Madeleine Kunin (Green Writers Press)
American Wake by Kerrin McCadden (Black Sparrow Press)
Just Us by Claudia Rankine (Graywolf Press)

Your Place in the Universe by Jason Chin (Neal Porter Books/Holiday House)
Bubbles... Up! by Jacqueline Davies, illustrated by Sonia Sánchez (Katherine Tegen Books)
Becoming a Good Creature by Sy Montgomery, illustrated by Rebecca Green (Clarion Books)
Imagine a Wolf by Lucky Platt (Page Street Kids)
Watercress by Andrea Wang, illustrated by Jason Chin (Neal Porter Books/Holiday House)

Middle Grade:
Twig and Turtle 1: Big Move to a Tiny House by Jennifer Richard Jacobson (Pixel+Ink)
Red, White, and Whole by Rajani LaRocca (Quill Tree Books)
Of a Feather by Dayna Lorentz (Clarion Books)
Middletown by Sarah Moon (Levine Querido)
Unsolved Case Files: Escape at 10,000 Feet by Tom Sullivan (Balzer + Bray)

Young Adult:
This Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron (Bloomsbury YA)
Flamer by Mike Curato (Holt Books for Young Readers)
Your Corner Dark by Desmond Hall (Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books)
Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo (Dutton Books for Young Readers)
Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado (Holiday House)

Book Review

Review: Presumed Guilty: How the Supreme Court Empowered the Police and Subverted Civil Rights

Presumed Guilty: How the Supreme Court Empowered the Police and Subverted Civil Rights by Erwin Chemerinsky (Liveright, $27.95 hardcover, 384p., 9781631496516, August 24, 2021)

Following the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer on May 25, 2020, millions of Americans took to the streets to demand both accountability and reform to prevent similar acts of police brutality. But as Erwin Chemerinsky, constitutional scholar and dean of the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, persuasively argues in Presumed Guilty: How the Supreme Court Empowered the Police and Subverted Civil Rights, those efforts may be stymied by a body of constitutional law that has erected a formidable bulwark against such efforts.

Chemerinsky (We the People: A Progressive Reading of the Constitution for the Twenty-First Century) sets out with the goal of telling the "story of the Supreme Court's failure to enforce salient parts of the Constitution and to limit police misconduct." He undertakes a comprehensive but readable survey of more than half a century of Supreme Court jurisprudence and explains how the court has "consistently empowered police and legitimated the racialized policing that especially harms people of color." Even the Warren court, which broadened protections against unreasonable searches and recognized the right to counsel in non-capital cases, among other expansions of constitutional protections in the 1960s (the last time the court had a liberal majority) decided a case in 1968 that still serves as the justification for stop-and-frisk policies that Chemerinsky says "contributed significantly to race-based policing."

The Supreme Court's pro-police tilt has grown only more pronounced under the leadership of Earl Warren's successors as chief justice--Warren Burger, William Rehnquist and John Roberts. Decisions that allowed chokeholds like the one that killed George Floyd, narrowed the circumstances in which the Court will find an illegal search, sanctioned questionable lineup procedures and weakened the privilege against self-incrimination: all these "empowered and encouraged police to violate the Constitution," in Chemerinsky's view. Perhaps worst of all, he argues, the Court has restricted substantially the remedies for police misconduct, rendering the exclusionary rule--which bars the use of illegally obtained evidence--virtually toothless, and transforming qualified immunity into nearly absolute immunity in suits for damages against misbehaving officers.

With the Supreme Court's conservative majority likely to remain intact for some time, Chemerinsky finds it "hard to imagine the Supreme Court changing course with regard to policing." Though he's clear-eyed about the obstacles such efforts face, he offers a package of legislative reforms, and he suggests that litigating under state constitutions, thereby circumventing Supreme Court review, may turn out to be a more fruitful legal strategy. In either case, it appears the road to meaningful reform will be a long and difficult one. --Harvey Freedenberg, freelance reviewer

Shelf Talker: Erwin Chemerinsky offers a clear-eyed survey of Supreme Court decisions that create formidable obstacles to deterring police misconduct and racially biased law enforcement in the United States.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Love, Laughter and Happily Ever After by Various
2. Verity by Colleen Hoover
3. Totally Folked by Penny Reid
4. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki with Sharon L. Lechter
5. The Rookie by Kendall Ryan
6. Jett by Sawyer Bennett
7. Navigating B2B by Steve Ferreira
8. From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout
9. Waylaid by Sarina Bowen
10. The Spark by Vi Keeland

[Many thanks to!]

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