Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, August 31, 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

Quotation of the Day

PRH's Dohle: 'Focus on Growth and a Healthy Book Ecosystem'

"We remain laser focused on continuing to drive growth in an ever-expanding global book market by incorporating our learnings from the marketplace into new behaviors and practices across content and reach areas. We are taking actions to encourage a healthy book ecosystem, including support for booksellers' financial recovery from the pandemic and using data-informed consumer-marketing research to foster reader engagement. The more we embrace a growth mindset, marked by experimentation and learning, the more we can and will be a voice of optimism for our company and industry."

--Markus Dohle, CEO of Penguin Random House, in a letter to worldwide staff in connection with the announcement by parent company Bertelsmann, which includes RTL broadcasting and the BMG music group, that revenue in the six-month period ended June 30 rose 10.7% to €8.69 billion (about $10.27 billion) and the net profit rose to €1.05 billion ($1.24 billion) from €386 million ($456 million).

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


Louisiana Indies Assess Damage in Ida's Wake

As Hurricane Ida moves north through Mississippi, independent booksellers in southeast Louisiana are left to assess the damage caused by the storm, which made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane Sunday afternoon. Around one million customers are without power, including hundreds of thousands in New Orleans, and the city of New Orleans has advised evacuees to not return.

Elizabeth Barry Alquist, owner of Blue Cypress Books, posted on Facebook Monday morning that all of the bookstore's staff, as well as store cat Kitty Meow, are safe, but the store had sustained damage. One of the store's large, street-facing windows was shattered and the store's sign destroyed; Blue Cypress had moved into this new location earlier this month.

Later in the day, Blue Cypress posted an update and a link to a new GoFundMe campaign asking for $5,000 to help the store make repairs, pay its insurance premiums, cover clean-up costs and pay rent while the store is closed due to lack of power. In less than 24 hours the campaign has raised nearly $2,800.

"We love New Orleans, and we want to be here on the other side of this. We will do everything we can to make that happen, and we appreciate any help you can provide us either by donating through this GoFundMe or sharing it to your friends and family," Blue Cypress wrote.

Vera Warren, owner of Community Book Center, reported that she and her family evacuated to Atlanta, Ga., ahead of the storm, though some of her staff and their families remained. They, like the vast majority of those who remained in New Orleans, have no power, and it could be weeks until it is restored. Warren noted that the lack of power will obviously interrupt business, and she has been unable to learn yet whether the store itself has sustained any physical damage.

Candice Huber, owner of Tubby & Coo's Mid-City Bookshop, said on Twitter yesterday morning: "We are physically safe & evacuated. We haven't been able to get in touch with anyone yet to check on the store due to cell service & power being out, but we're hoping for the best." In the meantime, they said, customers can continue to support the store through Tubby & Coo's Bookshop and affiliate pages.

Huber later added: "We have heard from some sources that the bookstore building does not seem to have much damage. We'll check inside when we're able to get back to the city, but we're relieved that it seems OK!" She also advised customers that all orders will be delayed for the time being, as she is unsure when she'll be able to return to the store and when it will have power again. The current estimate is "2-3 weeks without power."

Tom Lowenburg, co-owner of Octavia Books, reported that "we are fine" and "the store is intact," though some staff members experienced "some damages to property." There is "no power expected for weeks" as a result of a transmission tower "toppling into the Mississippi River."

In Denham Springs, La., not far from Baton Rouge, Cavalier House Books and its warehouse are "100% fine," according to co-owner John Cavalier, though the power has gone out. He noted that he's managed to confirm that all but one of his staff members are safe, but he expects the current "very bad cell coverage" to be responsible for that.

Cavalier said he has "no clue when we'll have power," but from past experience power usually comes back on at the store before it comes back on at his home. The plan now is to just clean up and help neighbors whenever possible, and "we'll sweat all day and take cold showers at night." He hopes "all the pieces go back together easily," but the storm was "very slow-moving and the extent of all the damage is still unclear."

Booksellers affected by Hurricane Ida can turn to the Book Industry Charitable Foundation for emergency financial assistance; those looking to support booksellers can make donations to Binc.

For Sale: Alley Cat Books in San Francisco, Calif.

Alley Cat Bookstore and Art Gallery in San Francisco, Calif., is up for sale. Founded in 2011, Alley Cat is located "smack dab in the center of the Calle 24 Latino Cultural District" and sells new, used and remaindered titles "with a Latinx flavor." There is also a robust selection of vinyl.

Owner Kate Razo said the store has been a healthy and involved member of its community for a decade, and Alley Cat's gallery and event space is "known for a wide variety of literary-themed events and world-class Latinx artwork." Razo called it a "marvelous opportunity to keep a most-valued community asset up and running."

Interested parties can reach out to Razo at

Oregon's Browsers' Bookstore Closing in February

Browsers' Bookstore in Corvallis, Ore.

Browsers' Bookstore, which has two locations, in Corvallis and Albany, Ore., is closing in February, owner Scott Givens said in an e-mail to customers. He emphasized that the business, which sells primarily used books and some new titles, "makes a consistent profit," but "there are personal reasons which eclipse the financial benefits, and so I've made the difficult decision to close both stores."

He added: "When Browsers' started 20 years ago, I did not assume success. By the end of the second year, I could see the way to sustained profitability. It's something of a miracle that a small used bookstore could be a source of dependable income for raising the two best daughters in the world--in a few weeks, the youngest heads off to college. Thank you all so much for making this tiny piece of the American dream come true."

Givens said he believes there's "a slim possibility that someone will want to buy Browsers' and continue to run it. It wouldn't be cheap, but if you have money to invest in 200,000 books and 20 years of community involvement, I'm open to serious inquiries by email."

In the meantime, he encouraged customers to use their credits now, order new books for the holidays and tip the staff. About the staff, he said, "They all have credit accounts, and they all have books that they would like to take home. These guys have worked hard and faithfully over the many years they've been at Browsers', and they've had to put up with me as a boss, which fact alone should earn them some kind of medal. They've worked in ergonomically ridiculous working conditions which may or may not have met Fire Marshall, OSHA, or other such standards, and often had to work long hours or days by themselves."

For now, the store will continue to buy used books and be picky and all titles will be regularly priced for several months. But then the store will stop buying used books and will have "large broad-discount sales, as well as flash sales and limited-time specials."

Brooklyn's Greenlight Bookstore Reorganizes Buying Department

At Greenlight Bookstore, Brooklyn, N.Y., the buying department is being reorganized.

Co-owner Rebecca Fitting is stepping away from buying, and Matt Stowe has been promoted to head of the department, with the new title of buying manager. He will carry out all day-to-day, frontlist, backlist, seasonal inventory management and curational needs for both books and non-book merchandise. Stowe will oversee the team of buyers, who consist of Casey Morrissey and Danni Green.

Obituary Note: Caroline Todd

Caroline Todd

Caroline Todd, who wrote several bestselling series with her son Charles under the pen name Charles Todd, died on August 28.

One series starred a detective--Inspector Ian Rutledge--who had to make his own decisions and live with his own conscience, and the other featured a battlefield nurse--Bess Crawford--who would be considered brave and independent in any era.

Todd and her son published the first book in the Ian Rutledge series, A Test of Wills, in 1996. The book won the Barry Award from Deadly Pleasures mystery magazine and was nominated for the John Creasey Award in the U.K., the Edgar Award, and the Anthony Award. The Independent Mystery Booksellers Association named A Test of Wills one of the 100 favorite mysteries of the 20th Century, and it was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year.

The team published more than 30 titles, including two stand-alone novels, an anthology of short stories and more than 20 short stories. Their works have received the Mary Higgins Clark, Agatha, and Barry awards along with nominations for the Anthony, Edgar, and Dagger awards. The next Ian Rutledge novel, A Game of Fear, and the next Bess Crawford novel were completed before Todd's death and will be published by Morrow next year.

Emily Krump, Todd's editor at William Morrow, said, "It was a privilege and honor to work with Caroline Todd. Her knowledge of World War I Britain was encyclopedic. Her understanding of story and tension was masterful. But it was her deep empathy for her characters that brought Ian Rutledge and Bess Crawford to life over so many books. Caroline was classy, funny, and kind, and I will miss her as much as her readers will."

She traveled extensively in Britain exploring the history of the small villages, visiting battlefields, clambering over period tanks and even flew in a World War I type aircraft. When she wasn't writing, she was traveling the world, gardening or painting in oils. She also had a deep love of animals and supported pet adoptions and dogs for veterans.

A memorial service will be held at a later date. The family has designated Faithful Friends for memorial contributions. 


Cool Idea of the Day: Ci9's Virtual Reception

The first day of Children's Institute 9 concluded last night with a virtual reception held on the online platform Kumospace. After choosing one of several virtual rooms, attendees could meet and mingle by navigating their icons around the 2D digital space. Voice and video chat would be enabled when icons were within a certain distance of each other, and attendees could pick up virtual refreshments from drink carts around the room. Ci9's closing author reception, scheduled for later this week, will also be held in Kumospace.

Personnel Changes at Smith Publicity

Janet Shapiro has been named v-p of publicity at Smith Publicity. She has been with the agency for 12 years, most recently as director of publicity services.

Book Trailer of the Day: Friends Forever

Friends Forever by Shannon Hale, illustrated by LeUyen Pham (First Second), the finale of the Friends graphic memoir series.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: James Patterson and Bill Clinton on Live with Kelly and Ryan

Tamron Hall repeat: André Leon Talley, author of The Chiffon Trenches: A Memoir (Ballantine, $28, 9780593129258).

Live with Kelly and Ryan: James Patterson and Bill Clinton, authors of The President's Daughter: A Thriller (Little, Brown, $30, 9780316540711).

Late Night with Seth Meyers repeat: Ethan Hawke, co-author of Meadowlark: A Coming-of-Age Crime Story (Grand Central, $26, 9781538714577).

Books & Authors

Awards: French Order of Arts and Letters

Author Tatiana de Rosnay will be awarded the insignia of Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters (Ordre des Arts et des Lettres) by France's Ministry of Culture in Paris on September 28. This award is in recognition of her contributions to the field of literature in France and the U.S.

Tatiana de Rosnay is the author of more than 10 novels, including Sarah's Key, published here by St. Martin's Press, which has sold more than nine million copies worldwide and was made into a feature film in 2010.

The Order of Arts and Letters was established in 1957 by the French Government to recognize eminent artists and writers, as well as people who have contributed significantly furthering the arts in France and throughout the world. American recipients of the award include Paul Auster, Ornette Coleman, Agnes Gund, Marilyn Horne, Jim Jarmusch, Richard Meier, Robert Paxton, Robert Redford, Meryl Streep, Uma Thurman, and Danielle Steel.

Book Review

Review: A Calling for Charlie Barnes

A Calling for Charlie Barnes by Joshua Ferris (Little, Brown, $28 hardcover, 352p., 9780316333535, September 28, 2021)

Joshua Ferris (Then We Came to the End; The Unnamed; To Rise Again at a Decent Hour) specializes in comic but soulful novels about everymen up against dehumanizing forces: the workplace, illness, technology. In the ceaselessly funny-wistful A Calling for Charlie Barnes, the eponymous protagonist's formidable adversary turns out to be none other than himself.

Charlie Barnes, age 68, is a Chicago-area financial planner whose big ideas have always fizzled. He's not a bad guy--"His heart [was] divided between the chamber of commerce and the March of Dimes"--but he's a lifelong cutter of corners with a checkered employment history, a trail of ex-wives and a complicated relationship with the truth. Case in point: as the novel begins, Charlie has just told his family and friends that he has pancreatic cancer--he's so sure!--but when the test results come back negative, he feels sheepish about sharing the good news and wonders if maybe he doesn't have to.

As Charlie sets out to try to realize one last great idea, Ferris, a faultless crafter of sentences, imbues him with archetypically American never-say-uncle ambition in the face of grim odds: "Charlie's solution to this was to tinker, with headlamp and toolbox, in the workshop of the American dream, and to emerge sometime later with a diamond-cut hope that might make him a killing and redeem his lost time." Readers disinclined to view the mercenary Charlie as worthy of their ringing support will find themselves up against a hard sell from the novel's narrator, who initially comes across as a disembodied Charlie Barnes apologist/booster determined to rehabilitate the man's character ("Let me tell you something about this man: he had heart"). But as readers will eventually learn, the narrator is actually someone who has known Charlie for a long time--long enough to be able to present a thoroughgoing and entertaining tour of the man's often confounding past ("When, and how, had he so pivoted that, by 1973, he was out of the corporate game and earning a living doing social work?").

A Calling for Charlie Barnes is a riotous bildungsroman for the squinty-eyed, its delivery system a hilariously unreliable narrator who has a vested interest in Charlie's fights, for success and for life. By the time the narrator says, "This book is about Charlie.... It's a testament to Charlie and my love for him," readers will long have had an eyebrow raised. --Nell Beram, author and freelance writer

Shelf Talker: In Joshua Ferris's plangently funny fourth novel, a man in pursuit of the American dream keeps running into the same roadblock: himself.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Verity by Colleen Hoover
2. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki with Sharon L. Lechter
3. Flirt With Me by Kristen Proby
4. Alien Embrace by Various
5. Just Friends (Blue Beech Book 6) by Charity Ferrell
6. The Haunted Homecoming (Southern Ghost Hunter Mysteries Book 10) by Angie Fox
7. Wild Dogs by Christos Kalogirou
8. My Gift to the World by Kaloyan Danchev
9. From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout
10. Punk 57 by Penelope Douglas

[Many thanks to!]

Powered by: Xtenit