Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Margaret K. McElderry Books: Tender Beasts by Liselle Sambury

Scholastic Press: Heroes: A Novel of Pearl Harbor by Alan Gratz

Flatiron Books: Anita de Monte Laughs Last by Xochitl Gonzalez

Peachtree Publishers: King & Kayla and the Case of the Downstairs Ghost (King & Kayla) by Dori Hillestad Butler, illustrated by Nancy Meyers

Doubleday Books: The Husbands by Holly Gramazio


Schuler Books Opening a New Location in West Bloomfield, Mich.

Schuler Books is opening a new location in West Bloomfield, Mich., early next year. The 19,000-square-foot store will carry new and used books for all ages and across all genres. There will be enough space to seat 200 attendees during author events, and the non-book inventory will include stationery, gifts, games, puzzles and toys.

Bill and Cecile Fehsenfeld

"We've long dreamed of having a bookstore in the metro-Detroit area and spent a lot of time looking for a spot that was just right," said Bill Fehsenfeld, who co-owns Schuler Books with his wife, Cecile Fehsenfeld. "We think West Bloomfield is the perfect location."

The Fehsenfelds and their team are hoping to open the store at 7260 Orchard Lake Road in February or March of next year. Alana Haley, marketing coordinator for Schuler Books, noted that Schuler Books still has all of the fixtures from its Eastwood store in storage, so they won't have to source much in the way of new fixtures.

The Fehsenfelds founded Schuler Books in 1982. It has locations in Grand Rapids, Okemos and Ann Arbor, and it will celebrate its 40th anniversary next month.

Holiday House: The Five Impossible Tasks of Eden Smith by Tom Llewellyn; The Selkie's Daughter by Linda Crotta Brennan

AAP Sales: 3.7% Slip in May

Total net book sales in May in the U.S. fell 3.7%, to $837.8 million, compared to May 2021, representing sales of 1,368 publishers and distributed clients as reported to the Association of American Publishers. (Figures do not include pre-K-12, because of delays in data collection.) For the first five months of the year, total net book sales were down 2.5%, to $4.62 billion.

Trade book sales fell 3.3%, to $673.1 million. Trade hardcover sales fell 10.7%, to $227.8 million, paperbacks rose 5.6%, to $249.8 million, mass market dropped 46.6%, to $10.3 million. Total e-book sales dropped 5.7%, to $82.5 million.

Sales by category in May 2022 compared to May 2021:

Amistad Press: The Survivors of the Clotilda: The Lost Stories of the Last Captives of the American Slave Trade by Hannah Durkin

Bookstore Romance Day Set for August 20

The third Bookstore Romance Day is set for Saturday, August 20.

Independent bookstores around the country will be celebrating the romance genre through a variety of in-store activities, and throughout the afternoon there will be live-streamed panels about various romance sub-genres, including YA romance, queer romance, historical romance and more.

Booksellers can sign up for more information about Bookstore Romance Day here, and can sign up for the online events here.

Bookstore Romance Day was founded in 2019 to help strengthen the relationship between indie bookstores and the community of romance readers and writers.

Obituary Note: Charlotte Pomerantz

American author and journalist Charlotte Pomerantz, "who brought an ingenious use of language and the occasional sly subversive touch to stories about mud-loving pigs and parachuting cats written for young children," died July 24, the New York Times reported. She was 92. Pomerantz wrote 35 children's books, some in prose, some in verse. Her "clever manipulation of words gave young readers a laugh and food for thought," as in this excerpt from Halfway to Your House, illustrated by Gabrielle Vincent (1993):

Annabelle peered
in the looking glass
and said,
"Am I not the prettiest lass?"
"Alas," said the glass,
"that isn't quite true:
The lass in the glass
is as pretty as you."

One of her most popular books was The Piggy in the Puddle, illustrated by James Marshall (1974), which has been used in countless library story times. Pomerantz's first children's book, The Bear Who Couldn't Sleep, was published in 1965. One of her books, Here Comes Henny, illustrated by Nancy Winslow Parker (1994), was inspired by a passage in James Joyce's Finnegans Wake.

Pomerantz was married to Carl Marzani, "who in the early days of cold-war witch hunting had gone to prison for not revealing a past Communist Party connection to government loyalty examiners," the Times wrote. Before she started writing children's books, she worked at a leftist publishing house he had helped found, where her projects included editing a book of essays, A Quarter-Century of Un-Americana, 1938-1963: A Tragico-Comical Memorabilia of HUAC (House Un-American Activities Committee).

Her children's books sometimes had social or political causes woven into them, including The Day They Parachuted Cats on Borneo, illustrated by Jose Aruego (1971), and Mangaboom, illustrated by Anita Lobel (1997). She once said in an interview: "The political and feminist undercurrents are there because I'm the sum of all my experiences, and those are the things I experienced."

Julia L. Mickenberg, a professor of American studies at the University of Texas at Austin, included the story about the parachuting cats in Tales for Little Rebels: A Collection of Radical Children's Literature, a 2008 book she edited with Philip Nel.

"Charlotte definitely had a 'little rebel' streak in her," Mickenberg said, adding that she had been drawn to the story "for several different reasons. The first was that it is an environmentalist story, and we wanted more of those, but it is also an environmentalist story written as an extended poem with rhyme but also, and more importantly, with humor and creativity."


Image of the Day: The Wild Hunt at Elliott Bay

Last evening, Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, Wash., and Tin House Books presented writer/photographer Emma Seckel reading from and discussing her debut novel, The Wild Hunt, with Shelf Awareness's own Marilyn Dahl.

Craig Popelars, publisher of Tin House, also shared some of the publisher's new and forthcoming releases, and the in-person event included cool swag, giveaways and libations.

Pictured: Emma Seckel; Karen Maeda Allman, Elliott Bay Book Co.; Marilyn Dahl; Rick Simonson, Elliott Bay Book Co.; Craig Popelars.

Personnel Changes at Harlequin

Sophie James has been promoted to publicist at Harlequin Trade Publishing.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Scott Higham on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Scott Higham, co-author of American Cartel: Inside the Battle to Bring Down the Opioid Industry (Twelve, $30, 9781538737200).

Good Morning America: Bola Sokunbi, author of Choosing to Prosper: Triumphing Over Adversity, Breaking Out of Comfort Zones, Achieving Your Life and Money Dreams (Wiley, $26.95, 9781119827368).

CBS Mornings: Michelle Tea, author of Knocking Myself Up: A Memoir of My (In)Fertility (Dey Street, $27.99, 9780063210622).

TV: The Wager

Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese are teaming up again to adapt the upcoming David Grann nonfiction book, The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny, and Murder. The Hollywood Reporter wrote that Apple Original Films "has landed the rights to the book, due out in April 2023. The project reteams the key players and companies behind the recently wrapped adaptation of Grann's true-crime tome Killers of the Flower Moon."

Scorsese will direct, with DiCaprio starring. Producers are Dan Friedkin and Bradley Thomas of Imperative Entertainment, Scorsese via Sikelia Productions and DiCaprio and partner Jennifer Davisson via their Appian Way Productions. Richard Plepler will executive produce through his Eden Productions.

DiCaprio and Scorsese "are one of the great pairings in cinema," THR wrote, adding that "in the last 25 years the two have worked together on six movies that have generated multiple Oscar wins. The list includes Gangs of New York, The Aviator, The Departed, Shutter Island and The Wolf of Wall Street, with Flower Moon next to be released."

Books & Authors

Awards: Edna Staebler Creative Nonfiction Shortlist

Finalists have been announced for the C$10,000 (about US$7,600) 2020 Edna Staebler Award for Creative Nonfiction, which recognizes "a Canadian writer of a first or second published book with a Canadian locale and/or significance." The winner will be named later this month. Quill & Quire reported that shortlists for the 2021 and 2022 prizes will be released later this year as Wilfrid Laurier University catches up after a pause for the pandemic. The 2020 shortlisted titles are:

We Have Always Been Here: A Queer Muslim Memoir by Samra Habib
Chop Suey Nation: The Legion Cafe and Other Stories from Canada's Chinese Restaurants by Ann Hui 
In the Valleys of the Noble Beyond: In Search of the Sasquatch by John Zada 

Book Review

Review: Dinners with Ruth: A Memoir on the Power of Friendship

Dinners with Ruth: A Memoir on the Power of Friendships by Nina Totenberg (Simon & Schuster, $27.99 hardcover, 320p., 9781982188085, September 13, 2022)

Longtime NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg met Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the 1970s, early in both their careers. Totenberg's thoughtful first book, Dinners with Ruth, traces their five-decade friendship. But it also provides broader meditations on friendship and building community, as well as a candid glimpse into Washington insider politics and the challenges of being a woman in that male-driven environment.

Totenberg begins at the end: "The last time I saw Ruth, it was for supper." She gives a brief overview of her long bond with Ginsburg, which lasted through grief, professional challenges, health struggles and the Covid-19 pandemic, and included many meals together. She then takes readers on a tour of her early life and family history as well as Ginsburg's, noting their similarities along with the deep differences in their backgrounds. The book continues in this way: it is primarily Totenberg's story, but she shares biographical information about Ginsburg, weaving the facts together with anecdotes from their friendship. Totenberg also emphasizes her ties to NPR colleagues Cokie Roberts and Linda Wertheimer, and the ways they supported each other personally and professionally: "natural allies as well as friends."

While the book centers on the relationship between Totenberg and Ginsburg, the chapter titles hint at its broader range of insights: "Unexpected Friends," "Fame and Friendship," "Friendship Is a Choice." Totenberg muses on her parents' friendships, which she witnessed as a child; her own budding friendships as a young woman and early-career reporter; and the longtime connections that have sustained her through subsequent years. She shares stories from her first marriage to a much older man, and the ways her friends carried her through his illness and death. Totenberg also writes joyfully of her second marriage to Dr. David Reines, a surgeon who became a close friend and medical adviser of Ginsburg. She explores the different aspects of friendship against the backdrop of highly educated, highly political Washington circles, emphasizing the simple acts of care that deepen a bond: listening, sharing meals, showing up.

Ginsburg herself appears much as readers may have already seen her: a fierce intellect with a wry sense of humor and a deep commitment to the law. But Totenberg's warm recollection of their years together reveals a different side of Ruth: her love for shopping and French bouillabaisse, her appreciation of gossip, her tenacity in being there for friends despite illness, work and other challenges. Readers will come away with a fuller portrait of RBG, but also a wonderful rendering of Totenberg's friendships and perhaps a deeper appreciation for their own. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

Shelf Talker: NPR correspondent Nina Totenberg chronicles her long connection with Ruth Bader Ginsburg and muses on other deep friendships.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Things We Never Got Over by Lucy Score
2. Wreck & Ruin by Emma Slate
3. Resilience After Dark by Marie Force
4. The Trouble with Whiskey by Melissa Foster
5. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki with Sharon L. Lechter
6. From WTF to OMG, with a Little LOL by David Corbin and Kerry Jacobson
7. Perfect Target (Off the Grid: FBI Series Book 11) by Barbara Freethy
8. Heart Bones by Colleen Hoover
9. Kiss Me Forever by Layla Hagen
10. Reckless Truths (Lost Kings MC Book 21) by Autumn Jones Lake

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