Also published on this date: Thursday, September 9, 2021: Maximum Shelf: Anthem

Shelf Awareness for Thursday, September 9, 2021

William Morrow & Company: The List by Yomi Adegoke

St. Martin's Press: The Last Outlaws: The Desperate Final Days of the Dalton Gang by Tom Clavin

Page Street Kids: Payden's Pronoun Party by Blue Jaryn, illustrated by Xochitl Cornejo

Annick Press: Dragging Mason County by Curtis Campbell

Flatiron Books: Where There Was Fire by John Manuel Arias

Peachtree Publishers: Buddy and Bea series by Jan Carr, illustrated by Kris Mukai

Tor Teen: The Hunting Moon (The Luminaries #2) by Susan Dennard


Book Nook in Monroe, Mich., Closes

Book Nook in Monroe, Mich., closed last weekend after more than 50 years in operation. Owner Janet Berns told WTOL that the bookstore had previously been in danger of closing, but the loss of business due to a pandemic proved to be an insurmountable hurdle. She will continue to sell books online.

In addition to increased online competition, the shop has faced other challenges, including a roof issue in 2003. "They were pardoned only when loyal customers gathered to save the store," WTOL noted, adding that in 2016 a fire broke out at a nearby store, causing damage from water and smoke that closed the bookstore for 10 months. Covid-19 delivered the knockout blow, however.

Book Nook discounted its used book inventory earlier this summer and has been discounting new books for the past few weeks.

On Facebook Saturday, Berns posted: "So... it's our last day.... After a cry in the shower this morning (what? it's efficient) and, well good grief don't picture that it'll burn your eyes... anyway, I put on my Book Nook shirt, slapped on a mask and have girded myself for the last day's battle... (a little melodramatic?)

"We still have lots of books in here. I fear there has been some 'reproducing' (a euphemism) going on in here after hours, lights on / lights off doesn't matter. I am surrounded by hundreds of millions of words but I struggle with what to say right now. Well, you know, you'll always think of something brilliant to say after the fact.... Don't worry about the books left over--I have a plan.

"The building belongs to me (I blew up my retirement fund to pay off the loans). I will still be here but selling books on-line only. There is a a teeny glimmer of a sliver of light through a tiny crack in the door that I will do a little something at a later date here. You know that scene in the movie You've Got Mail about the closing of bookstore and Meg Ryan looks around and locks up for the last time (makes me cry every time I watch it)--well, that's what it feels like today. So have a little patience please. See ya later."

Spiderline: An Ordinary Violence by Adriana Chartrand

Iowa's Books and Bakery Launches Fundraiser to Open Storefront

Books and Bakery's future home

Books and Bakery, the online and pop-up bookstore in Carroll, Iowa, has launched an IndieGoGo campaign to raise $12,000 to open a bricks-and-mortar location. The money raised will "allow us to update and install new flooring, purchase new shelves and fixtures, update lighting, get our signs, help us with the first month's rent, and of course it'll allow us to have the best selection of book and book related inventory we can find," owner McKenzie Crawford wrote.

Books and Bakery sells new and used books, notebooks, journals, literary candles, book-related shirts, mugs, literary pens and more.

Crawford's younger brother, Alex, who is autistic and nonverbal and graduated from high school this year, has worked closely with Crawford, making "this one-woman operation turned into a lovely family business. Alex works hard to ensure our new business is always accommodating for those who need extra supports and assistance. With that, his goals and dreams had also warped, changed, and grew."

Crawford recounted her path to bookselling: "When I was a little girl, I often dreamt of one day running a bookstore. As I grew, that dream expanded, warped, and altered. As a teenager, I went vegan and my bookstore dream turned into wanting to run a bookstore and café or bakery combination. I was often told to get my head out of the clouds, as that dream is too far fetched. However, here we are. Making my dreams a reality and bringing bookstore magic to Carroll areas and beyond. Our online store has been busy and shipping orders all around the United States. We are ready for our next adventure as a new bookstore (one day bakery as well) in downtown Carroll, Iowa."

G.P. Putnam's Sons: The Hike by Lucy Clarke

International Update: Winter Institute Limited to North Americans, European Reading Habits Study

In-person attendance at the American Booksellers Association's Winter Institute, scheduled for February 13-16 in Cincinnati, Ohio, will be limited to North American booksellers as organizers navigate the Covid-19 pandemic, the European & International Booksellers Federation's NewsFlash reported. In recent years, many booksellers from around the world have attended Winter Institute.

In a statement, ABA CEO Allison Hill said: "Planning our first in-person event during the pandemic is challenging, as we're sure you all can understand. Our focus right now is on reducing variables that could impact the safety of the event. As a result, ABA has made the difficult decision to limit our attendance to North American attendees for Wi22. By decreasing attendance, we can increase social distancing in the venues. By restricting international travel, we can narrow our focus to the government mandates and COVID numbers here in the United States. Both of these will help us reduce risks in our planning and help us reassure ABA members considering attending that we are prioritizing safety."

Hill added: "We have all been through so much in the past 18 months. We want nothing more than to all be together. We will miss you greatly at the event. We have been together in spirit through it all though and will continue to support one another from afar. And we hope some of you will be able to join us at (or watch recordings from) Snow Days, our virtual follow-up event to WI this year for those who are not able to attend."


Survey on Reading Habits in Europe: State of the Art is a recent study by the European Bookfairs' Network (Aldus Up) that "analyzed existing studies on reading habits in various European countries, aiming to find a common thread to adequately compare the results between countries. Looking at data from 20 countries, the network aims to develop a unified methodology for surveys of this kind, which will allow for better comparability of the results, thus providing a comprehensive overview of the development of reading across Europe," EIBF's NewsFlash reported. 

Aldus Up noted that "reading is the key topic of a large number of different surveys throughout Europe. But while there is plenty of data on reading habits it is often difficult to compare the individual results and to put them into perspective." 


Cool Idea of the Day: "Move over wine pairings. Hello Wool Pairings!" Scottish bookseller the Highland Bookshop, Fort William, advised in a Facebook post. "As the autumnal chill approaches, time to break out the needles and get stitching! What better way to start than with a new book and some of the fresh and fantastic wool from the Caledonian Wool Co.'s beautiful selection. " --Robert Gray

National Book Foundation Honoring Nancy Pearl

Nancy Pearl

Nancy Pearl, the former librarian and "energetic champion for readers across the country," is the 2021 recipient of the Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community "for her expansive service to readers and the literary community." Presented by the National Book Foundation, the award honors "an individual for a lifetime of achievement in expanding the audience for books and reading." Pearl will receive the award from the Washington Post's Ron Charles at the 72nd National Book Awards ceremony on November 17.

The foundation noted that "for nearly four decades, Pearl worked in the public library systems in Detroit, Tulsa, and lastly, Seattle, where she was the executive director of the Washington Center for the Book. From the creation of the pioneering One Book, One City program to her commitment to promoting books and authors, Pearl is an energetic champion for readers across the country."

"Libraries are an empowering force in the United States, and are vital to our communities," said David Steinberger, chair of the NBF's board of directors. "The work that librarians do to ensure free and open access to our shared culture is unparalleled, and Nancy Pearl's lifetime of service is a reinforcement that libraries are of the utmost importance for all. We are honored to recognize her contributions, and we are grateful for her passionate advocacy to connect readers with books."

NBF executive director Ruth Dickey commented: "Nancy Pearl's energetic commitment to spreading the joy of books has truly helped build our national culture of reading. For decades, Nancy has worked closely with libraries, literacy organizations and community groups, in the U.S. and abroad, to share her infectious love of books with individual readers and entire communities. We are delighted to celebrate her long career of important work keeping literature at the center of conversations."

Obituary Note: Michael Newton

Michael Newton

Michael Newton, who wrote several hundred westerns, thrillers and men's adventure novels, died on September 6. He was 69.

He wrote his own obituary:

C'est la vie, and adios y'all.

Michael was born in Bakersfield, Calif., in September 1951. He cultivated dreams of a writing career from age seven, producing small "books" illustrated with photos and original drawings, given or sold for a pittance to classmates. On the practical side, he earned a B.A. in History and Political Science, with a teaching minor in English, pursuing sundry jobs in public education in California (1973-76) and later in Nevada (1979-86).

Nearly by accident, Michael advanced his writing dream in 1976, penning a fan letter to the author of his favorite action/adventure novels, the bestselling "Executioner" series. He had forgotten that whimsical letter two months later, when series author Don Pendleton phoned from his home in Indiana, inviting Michael to contribute a substantial chapter to his latest work, The Executioner's War Book. That entry became Michael's first professional publication and earned him an invitation--with colleague Stephen Mertz, author of many books under sundry pen names--to work with Pendleton in Indiana. There ensued a priceless eight-month apprenticeship, during which Michael also cultivated a love for the verdant hills of Brown County. After that partnership dissolved in August 1977, Michael published 11 books under his own and various pen names. In 1980, he received a startling letter from Harlequin Books, thanking him for his interest in their new Gold Eagle action/adventure imprint, poised to revive and vastly expand the briefly moribund Executioner series. Divining that Don Pendleton had placed his name "in the hat," Michael auditioned for the team and won a spot as one of four. By the time Don passed away in 1995, Michael had penned 50 series episodes. He went on to publish a total of 136.

Michael met his best friend and soul mate, Heather, in 2000, and they married at Fort Augustus, Scotland, on the shore of Loch Ness, in 2003.

Diagnosed with an untreatable hereditary kidney disease in 1988, Michael lived normally until declining health forced him into home dialysis in 2013. From there, he gained a new appreciation of two favorite singers: Mick Jagger ("What a drag it is getting old") and Jim Morrison ("No one here gets out alive").

As of 2021, Mike had published 357 books (a tribute to the .357 Magnum pistols, perhaps?), which included 258 novels and 99 nonfiction books. He also published 91 nonfiction articles, and 58 shorter pieces, including chapters in several bestselling true-crime anthologies. In 2017, Michael received the Lifetime Achievement Peacemaker Award from Western Fictioneers, honoring his publication of 62 western novels.

If any form of consciousness remains, he said he'd miss Heather, their cats, writing and reading.

In lieu of flowers, Mike would love a PayPal donation to go to his favorite cat charity, Mara's Heaven, an amazing nonprofit in Romania, run by Ada Constantinescu. (PayPal: Check out her FB page and you'll see the amazing work she does.


Image of the Day: BookPeople of Moscow Celebrates Josh Ritter

BookPeople of Moscow, Idaho, hosted hometown celebrity singer/songwriter Josh Ritter, whose new novel is The Great Glorious Goddamn of It All (Hanover Square Press), in conversation with actor Rainn Wilson last evening. Some 150 people tuned in to the event from around the world. Pictured: (clockwise from top left) Josh Ritter; BookPeople's Sarah Bofenkamp and Carol Price; Rainn Wilson.

'Bookstore Birthday Tour' at the Novel Neighbor

The Novel Neighbor, St. Louis, Mo., shared a pic of happy customers on a bookstore birthday tour, noting: "Birthday alert! @mel-james99 and @ejdoores took @the_dnd_artist on an independent bookstore tour for her birthday this weekend. (This sounds like the best possible way to spend a birthday to us.) They loved our store so much that they came back again the next day! We [love] bookish birthday celebrations and we were so happy to spend your special day with you, @the_dnd_artist!"

Costco Picks: A Slow Fire Burning

Robert Poole, Costco's book buyer, has selected A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins (‎Riverhead, $28, 9780735211230) as his pick for September. In Costco Connection, which goes to many of the warehouse club's members, he writes:

"A Slow Fire Burning, by Paula Hawkins, tells the story of a murdered man and the three women in his orbit: his most recent conquest, his aunt and a nosy neighbor.

"On the surface the three women have no connections other than their ties to the murdered man. However, each is simmering with resentment, and each wants to right the wrongs that have been done.

"This thriller is filled with all of the plot twists and unexpected turns that readers expect from Hawkins."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Ian Millhiser on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Ian Millhiser, author of The Agenda: How a Republican Supreme Court Is Reshaping America (Columbia Global Reports, $15.99, 9781734420760).

This Weekend on Book TV: Andrew Aydin on Run: Book One

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 this weekend from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday and focuses on political and historical books as well as the book industry. The following are highlights for this coming weekend. For more information, go to Book TV's website.

Sunday, September 12
8 a.m. Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell and L. Fury, co-author and illustrators of Run: Book One (‎Abrams, $24.99, 9781419730696). (Re-airs Sunday at 8 p.m.)

9 a.m. Arnold L. Punaro, author of The Ever-Shrinking Fighting Force (‎Punaro Press, $34.95, 9781735911403). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m.)

10 a.m. Josh Mitchell, author of The Debt Trap: How Student Loans Became a National Catastrophe (Simon & Schuster, $27, 9781501199448). (Re-airs Sunday at 10 p.m.)

2 p.m. Joanne Golann, author of Scripting the Moves: Culture and Control in a "No-Excuses" Charter School (‎Princeton University Press, $27.95, 9780691168876). (Re-airs Monday at 2 a.m.)

4:40 p.m. Michael Bernick and Louis Vismara, authors of The Autism Full Employment Act: The Next Stage of Jobs for Adults with Autism, ADHD, and Other Learning and Mental Health Differences (Skyhorse, $22.99, 9781510767324). (Re-airs Monday at 4:40 a.m.)

5:30 p.m. Michelle Easton, author of How to Raise a Conservative Daughter (Regnery, $28.99, 9781684512263). (Re-airs Monday at 5:30 a.m.)

6:20 p.m. Rafia Zakaria, author of Against White Feminism: Notes on Disruption (Norton, $23.95, 9781324006619). (Re-airs Monday at 6:20 a.m.)

7:25 p.m. Dave Rubin, author of Don't Burn This Book: Thinking for Yourself in an Age of Unreason (Sentinel, $27, 9780593084298). (Re-airs Monday at 7:25 a.m.)

Books & Authors

Awards: Women's Prize for Fiction Winner

Susanna Clarke has won the £30,000 (about $41,450) 2021 Women's Prize for Fiction with her second novel, Piranesi (Bloomsbury). Her debut novel, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, was published in 2004.

Chair of judges Bernardine Evaristo said: "We wanted to find a book that we'd press into readers' hands, which would have a lasting impact. With her first novel in seventeen years, Susanna Clarke has given us a truly original, unexpected flight of fancy which melds genres and challenges preconceptions about what books should be. She has created a world beyond our wildest imagination that also tells us something profound about what it is to be human."

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, September 14:

Harlem Shuffle: A Novel by Colson Whitehead (Doubleday, $28.95, 9780385545136) is a crime novel set in 1960s Harlem.

1984: The Graphic Novel by George Orwell and Fido Nesti (‎Mariner, $22, 9780358359920) is a graphic adaptation of the dystopian classic.

Crazy Sorrow by Vince Passaro (‎Simon & Schuster, $27, 9780743245104) follows a couple over four decades in New York City.

Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty (Holt, $28.99, 9781250220257) follows four grown siblings whose mother is murdered and father suspected of the crime.

Bear Is a Bear by Jonathan Stutzman, illus. by Dan Santat (HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $18.99, 9780062880512) is a picture book about a girl and her bear.

The Hollow Heart by Marie Rutkoski (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $18.99, 9780374313845) completes the duology that began with The Midnight Lie.

A Most Clever Girl: A Novel of an American Spy by Stephanie Marie Thornton (Berkley, $17, 9780593198407).

The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood (‎Berkley, $16, 9780593336823).

IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:

Where the Truth Lies: A Novel by Anna Bailey (Atria Books, $27, 9781982157166). "You'll find yourself invested in and rooting for each of the young people in this book as they navigate secrets and prejudices to unravel the mystery of what happened to their sister and friend--and why." --Alana Haley, Schuler Books, Grand Rapids, Mich.

The Reading List: A Novel by Sara Nisha Adams (Morrow, $27.99, 9780063025288). "A beautifully written novel about people connected by a local library and an amazing reading list. As the characters' lives are revealed through interweaving storylines, readers will root for them, cry for them, and celebrate their victories." --Lisa Driban, Hockessin Book Shelf, Hockessin, Del.

Nine Shiny Objects by Brian Castleberry (Custom House, $16.99, 9780062984418). "Nine characters' stories entwine over 50 years in a novel that will make you think, work through the characters, and come out with a complex but beautiful story describing America since 1947." --Kappy Kling, HearthFire Books, Evergreen, Colo.

For Ages 4 to 8
Amara and the Bats by Emma Reynolds (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, $17.99, 9781534469013). "This is a baterrific story about Amara's fascination with bats that began with a bat being trapped in her attic. Amara and the Bats proves that even a child with one small idea can begin to change our world." --Marilyn Robbins, BookBar, Denver, Colo.

For Ages 8 to 12
Weird Kid by Greg van Eekhout (HarperCollins, $16.99, 9780062970602). "Ever feel like you don't belong? Maybe you're actually an alien made of goo that shifts into being a seal or screech owl when you hear a certain frequency. This adventurous and funny novel plays this straight, with fantastic results. Plus, butt jokes, so everyone wins!" --Robin Stern, Books Inc., San Francisco, Calif.

For Teen Readers: An Indies Introduce Title
Me (Moth) by Amber McBride (Feiwel & Friends, $18.99, 9781250780362). "This book is simply beautiful! Told in verse, it's a story of love, tragedy, and forgiveness. It's about finding yourself again in the midst of grieving. Each poem could stand on its own but, together, they tell a story that gets you all in the feels. I just want to hug Moth." --Kim Brock, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Cincinnati, Ohio

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: Shelf Life: Chronicles of a Cairo Bookseller

Shelf Life: Chronicles of a Cairo Bookseller by Nadia Wassef (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $27 hardcover, 240p., 9780374600181, October 5, 2021)

Egyptian-British author Nadia Wassef's gorgeous, entertaining memoir recounts the launching a modern bookstore, the first of its kind, in Egypt's chaotic capital of Cairo at the turn of the 21st century. With chapters corresponding to the different sections of the bookstore and its cafe, Shelf Life: Chronicles of a Cairo Bookseller celebrates the remarkable success of the venture while sharing with humble honesty and wry humor the personal and professional challenges it created for the author.

Named Diwan, an Arabic word for "meeting place," the bookstore embodies Wassef and her sister Hind's dream to establish a female-led literary hub in patriarchal Egyptian society, where culture had atrophied, illiteracy was common and book lovers had few options to satisfy their intellectual cravings. Along with their friend Nihal, the sisters envisioned Diwan as a person with a distinct personality and aspirations to bring people and ideas together. Diwan's beautifully designed shopping bags quickly gained iconic status and the store's contrasting shelf displays were intricately staged, allowing the books to participate "in lively conversation" with each other.

Wassef's exuberance at realizing her dream was tempered by the reality of Egyptian society's cultural aversion to women in power and the suffocating encroachment of governmental bureaucracies. A shipment of The Naked Chef by Jamie Oliver placed Diwan directly in the crosshairs of Egypt's archaic censorship laws, and Wassef worked hard to convince the censorship bureau official--via her male lawyer--that The Naked Chef was not offensive to public morals.

Shelved in the Classics section of the bookstore, the Middle Eastern folktale collection One Hundred and One Nights came to represent Diwan's liberal, open-minded stance on access to culture. While the book was banned elsewhere, Diwan proudly carried a popular translation that disapproving customers felt contained too much sexual language and the exaltation of wine.

Wassef's debut brims with wistfully elegant musings on the consolation and inspiration offered by literature, and the power struggles of parenting two young daughters while serving at the helm of Diwan's expanding empire. She places Diwan's inauguration and evolution in the colorful context of Egypt's fluctuating social and political climate, the expansion of the bookstore and the variety of its offerings mirroring the shifting tastes of Cairo's reading public.

From a visionary who is passionate about the written word, Wassef's memoir is both an intimate reckoning with motherhood, marriage and feminism and a thoughtful meditation on Egyptian literary culture and history. --Shahina Piyarali, reviewer

Shelf Talker: An Egyptian British female entrepreneur recounts her remarkable adventure launching the first modern bookstore in Cairo, and its transformative impact on the city's cultural scene.

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