Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Flatiron Books: The Courting of Bristol Keats: [Limited Stenciled Edge Edition] by Mary E Pearson

Forge: My Three Dogs by Bruce W Cameron

Running Press Adult: Scam Goddess: Lessons from a Life of Cons, Grifts, and Schemes by Laci Mosley

Chronicle Books: Taste in Music: Eating on Tour with Indie Musicians by Luke Pyenson and Alex Beeker

Doubleday Books: Death at the Sign of the Rook: A Jackson Brodie Book by Kate Atkinson

Groundwood Books: Who We Are in Real Life by Victoria Koops

Agate Bolden: 54 Miles by Leonard Pitts Jr.


Our Best Books of 2019

Out of the thousands of books published this year, how to choose just 10 fiction titles and 10 nonfiction? Some passionate arguments ensued, but we're all still friends and, ultimately, book lovers. (Click here to see our reviews of these titles.)

Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James (Riverhead)
The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman (Berkley)
Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid (Ballantine)
Feast Your Eyes by Myla Goldberg (Scribner)
Fleishman Is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner (Random House)
Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir (Tor)
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo (Grove)
Mostly Dead Things by Kristen Arnett (Tin House)
Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston (St. Martin's)
Trust Exercise by Susan Choi (Holt)

The Book of Delights
by Ross Gay (Algonquin)
The Collected Schizophrenias by Esmé Weijun Wang (Graywolf)
Dreyer's English by Benjamin Dreyer (Random House)
God Land by Lyz Lenz (Indiana Univ. Press)
How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi (One World)
How to Do Nothing by Jenny Odell (Melville House)
Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Three Women by Lisa Taddeo (Avid Reader)
Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino (Random House)
The Yellow House by Sarah M. Broom (Grove)

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More Nobel Literature Prize Turmoil

In the latest round of turmoil involving the Nobel Prize for Literature, two members of the five-member "external committee" have quit, one citing the slow pace of reforms and the other citing the award of the prize this year to Austrian author, playwright and translator Peter Handke. Handke has been widely criticized for supporting the late Yugoslavian and Serbian president Slobodan Milošević, who was accused of genocide and war crimes following the collapse of Yugoslavia in the 1990s.

In an article in the Svenska Dagbladet, Kristoffer Leandoer said he was resigning because he has "neither the patience nor the time" to wait for the committee to make its reforms, according to Reuters (via the New York Times). "The Academy and I have a different perspective on time, one year is far too long in my life and far too short in life of the Academy."

Gun-Britt Sundstrom said in a statement in Dagens Nyheter that the choice of Handke "had been interpreted as if literature stood above politics and she did not share that view," Reuters wrote.

In response to the two resignations, Mats Malm, permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, said, "We are grateful for the significant effort they made during the year and we are now reviewing how the work of the Nobel Committee will be organized for the 2020 Nobel Prize in literature."

The crisis at the prize began in late 2017 with accusations of assault by 18 women against French photographer Jean-Claude Arnault, who was married to Academy member Katarina Frostenson. After a series of protests and resignations, the Academy didn't have enough members to elect new members.

The Academy postponed the 2018 award (it was awarded in October to Polish novelist and poet Olga Tokarczuk, at the same time the 2019 award went to Handke). It also announced a series of reforms involving governing statutes, organizational structure and working procedures--and the addition of five external members, including Leandoer and Sundstrom.

But with the award of the 2019 prize to Handke, the Swedish Academy created a new controversy that detracts from its efforts in trying to overcome the ongoing crisis.

Fla.'s San Marco Books Reopens After Fire

San Marco Books and More in Jacksonville, Fla., reopened last week after a fire in an adjacent diner filled the 47-year-old new and used bookstore with soot and smoke, First Coast News reported.

Manager Desiree Bailey told FCN that the fire, which broke out on November 2, destroyed all of the store's new books and around 80% of the inventory in total. Immediately after the fire, she began salvaging what she could of the inventory, and in the weeks since, the store has received a new coat of paint and new carpets have been installed. And though there is still a ways to go until the store is fully stocked, Bailey has brought in more new books to help rebuild the inventory.

The store reopened in time for Black Friday and Small Business Saturday, and Bailey hosted guest authors throughout the weekend. Bailey added that Beaches Diner, the eatery that caught fire in November, was a major source of the bookstore's foot traffic, and she hopes the community will rally around her store until the diner reopens in April. She said: "I'm hoping for sustained support through the reopening."

Penn Book Center Now People's Books & Culture

Penn Book Center, Philadelphia, Pa., has a new name: People's Books & Culture, a moniker that nicely keeps the old name's initials but gives them new meaning.

The change is one of several that the new owners are making. As Matthew Duquès and Diana Bellonby noted in an announcement yesterday, "December entails making the store changes that we have been planning for the past few months. We are not a big business, not even close, so all of our changes cannot happen overnight. Each week or so this month, though, we will share something fresh with you from PBC: the store's new name and logo; a redesigned website; new tote bags, bookmarks, and mugs; a reconfigured store layout."

The pair bought the store in August after the previous owners, Ashley Montague and Michael Row, had said that they could no longer keep the store open. In reaction to the possible closing, University of Pennsylvania faculty and students rallied around the bookstore, and some 5,000 people signed a supporting petition.

At the time, Duquès and Bellonby, who are both academics and are married, were in the process of moving to Philadelphia, with the intention of opening a bookstore of their own. They have talked extensively with local writers, students and university faculty about what they want to see from the bookstore.

In their announcement, Duquès and Bellonby added, "Bear in mind that these changes are only possible because of your continued support. With your help, that is, we think we believe that we can keep this treasured, independent bookstore 'where scholars meet' going. Prove us right. Keep shopping with us, in person and online. Take a break from your labor, if you can spare it. Browse for new books and for books you've long had on your reading list, for yourself and also for others. Stop in and chat with us about what you're reading and feel free to ask us about what we are reading."

Houston's Katy Budget Books Relocating

Katy Budget Books, the new and used bookstore in Houston, Tex., is relocating this week to the Mason Creek shopping center at 870 S. Mason Road #101 from its previous location on Fry Road. The bookshop closed December 1 for the move and will reopen December 6 in a space that "is significantly more convenient for most of our customers, but it is only 10 minutes from our current location."

Owner Tamra Doré launched KBB in 1983, when she "bought a shelf of books and a cash register," according to the shop's website. "In most of the 36 years since, KBB has remained at the same intersection. The Katy area, meanwhile, has grown in all directions. This growth has expanded our community--as the independent bookstore serving Katy, our customers now span great distances. Since its start, KBB has always evolved to meet Katy's reading needs."

Yesterday, KBB offered an update on Facebook, where it has been chronicling the relocation process: "Met at 8am Sunday morning and began what was a Herculean effort on day 1. Started taking all books off the shelves and placing them on large commercial rolling carts. Labeled each card with a number and the genre that it contained. As that progressed a second-team began to dismantle the wooden shelves.... The majority of these shelves will be transferred to the new location. 13 hours later, (9 p.m.) mission accomplished. We had removed probably 95% of the books; place them on the carts and dismantled the shelves.

"We are now back for day #2. We begin the process of transferring shelves to our new location and mounting them in the store. As these shelves are put in place and secured, we will begin the process of transferring books to the new location. Sounds simple but this process will take two to three days. During the process yesterday, we did find a 'Snickers' dated 1986 and an Apple I pc owner's manual."

Obituary Notes: Sally Lindsay, Bob Cross

Sally Lindsay

Sarah Catherine "Sally" Lindsay died November 27 at her home in Rockville, Md. She was 70.

For more than 25 years, Lindsay worked at Koen Book Distributors, where she was v-p of merchandising and marketing. Later and until her retirement, she was director of special sales and telemarketing at Chesapeake & Hudson Publishers Representatives. She was also co-founder of niche publisher Two Lives Publishing, and before joining Koen, she was a bookseller at David's Bookshelf in Morrisville, Pa., and at the first Encore Books location, in Philadelphia.

Lindsay was an avid photographer and focused on mentoring those seeking careers in publishing and journalism. She was passionate about music, human rights, national parks and the Philadelphia Phillies.

Relatives and friends are invited to share in a relaxed Celebration of Sally's Life with songs, poems, and stories on January 4, 2020, at noon at the Woman's Club of Bethesda, 5500 Sonoma Road, Bethesda, Md.

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made in memory of Sally Lindsay to: Giffords: Courage to Fight Gun Violence, Planned Parenthood Action Fund or the American Booksellers for Free Expression.


Bob Cross

Robert "Bob" Henry Cross, longtime general manager of the University Book Store at the University of Washington in Seattle, died on November 20. He was 82.

He started his career in 1957 at the University Book Store. After a one-year mobilization in 1962 with the Army Reserves, he returned to the store, where he was appointed textbook assistant manager. In 1974, he was promoted to general manager, where he remained for 26 years, until his retirement in 2000.

Shelf Awareness's Marilyn Dahl, a University Book Store veteran, called Cross "well-respected both in the general books and the college store community, and he oversaw a great period of growth for University Book Store. I remember him most for his dry wit. He could intimidate with his laser stare, but was a caring person who always wanted to bring out the best in people."

A funeral mass will be held on Thursday, December 5, at 3 p.m. at St. Bridget's Catholic Church at 4900 NE 50th St. in Seattle, and a reception will follow at the UW Club. All are welcome to attend and celebrate Bob's life.

In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made to the Kaplan Cancer Research Fund, or service attendees can make cash donations that will be used to purchase needed items for the Children's Hospital NICU.

#CiderMonday: 'The Internet Can't Do That'

Yesterday marked the seventh annual celebration of Cider Monday, the bricks-and-mortar response to Cyber Monday. It was originally launched by Willard Williams, owner of the Toadstool Bookshops in Keene, Peterborough and Nashua, N.H. Here's a sampling of #CiderMonday highlights posted on social media:


At Toadstool Bookshop

The Toadstool Bookshop, Keene, N.H.: "Cider Monday is much more fun than Cyber Monday. Come take a byte out of the cyber world and enjoy a warm cup of real cider."

{pages} a bookstore, Manhattan Beach, Calif.: "Phooey on Cyber Monday! We’re celebrating Cider Monday @pagesabookstore AND we have books. Join us for a hot cup of cider and a welcome respite in your cozy local independent bookstore!"

Source Booksellers, Detroit, Mich.: "Forget Cyber Monday and come into the store for Cider Monday & Drink Books on Sale!"

The Mulberry Bush Bookstore, Parksville, B.C., Canada: "Today is Cider Monday in our stores.... Our hot apple cider and cookies are delicious and complimentary today. We hope to see you soon!"

At Titcomb's

Titcomb's Bookshop, East Sandwich, Mass.: "Happy Cider Monday!! Come have a hot cup of cider with our gnome friend!"

Left Bank Books
, St. Louis, Mo.: "Come by the store to celebrate Cider Monday for free all day! (Although we're not gonna lie, you'll probably also find something for your shopping list.)"

Bridgeside Books, Waterbury, Vt.: "CIDER (not cyber) MONDAY. We invite you to step away from the screen and come on down to Bridgeside Books for a cup of hot mulled cider, a Cold Hollow Cider Mill donut, and some good ol' fashioned customer service! We enjoy recommending books and gifts for everyone on your list, plus we offer complimentary gift wrap! Keep it LOCAL!"

At the Briar Patch

The Briar Patch Books, Bangor, Maine: "Happy Cider Monday! Our annual tradition of sharing warm mulled cider with our customers continues today. Drop in for complimentary cup and a donut. Thank you for shopping local at your friendly neighborhood bookstore."

Wheatberry Books, Chillicothe, Ohio: "Perhaps you've heard of 'Cyber Monday.' Well, we are happy to bring you our second annual 'Cider Monday!' Stop by today 10-7 for a cup of apple cider while you shop."

hello hello books, Rockland, Maine: "Thanks to our pals at Rock City, we'll have free hot cider to sip while you browse and buy today. The Internet can't do that."

The Well-Read Moose, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho: "We celebrate Cider Monday instead of Cyber Monday.... From 4 pm to 6 pm TODAY, North Idaho Cider will be at our store, giving away tasty samples of their cider. If you need a break from your computer today, come have a glass with us!"

Tattered Cover, Denver, Colo.: "It's #CiderMonday! Come in from the digital cold of Cyber Monday for some treats. Visit any TC location, excluding the DIA stores, today & enjoy complimentary hot apple cider, while supplies last. We hope you enjoy browsing in our cozy stores & talking to real people."

Page 158 Books, Wake Forest, N.C.: "Join us all day for #cidermonday! Rather than shopping online, stop by for personalized recommendations from our A.I. (Actually Intelligent) booksellers. We will have cider available throughout the day!"

Hickory Stick Bookshop, Washington Depot, Conn.: "Come to the Hickory Stick Bookshop on Monday, December 2nd and enjoy a cup of cider and a snack as you have an old-fashioned holiday shopping experience in a real bookstore with real people to help you. We promise our 'servers' won't crash, but instead they will offer recommendations that will help you with your selections. We'll even wrap your gifts!"

One More Page Books & More, Arlington, Va.: "Be sure to stop in for a sip of cider today! Celebrate Cider Monday in the store with us! If you are shopping online today though, remember you can shop our website.... Purchase to pick up in the store or have it shipped. You can also browse and create your own wish list!"

Subterranean Books, St. Louis, Mo.: "Cyber Monday? More like Cider Monday. Look up, let your eyes readjust to the lighting of the real world and stop in for a cup of warm cider and the comforting smell of real books."

City Lights Bookstore, Sylva, N.C.: "Please keep more of your hard-earned money within the local economy. If you had online shopping in mind this Monday, try our website using 25%-off coupon code: CIDER. Or, visit the shop IRL where our Holiday Sale continues and we'll be celebrating Cider Monday with apple cider, spiced tea, and real people (and a real cat)."


Image of the Day: Detroit Stories

Story and Song Bookstore, Fernandina Beach, Fla., hosted Jodie Adams Kirshner (left), author of Broke: Hardship & Resilience in a City of Broken Promises (St. Martin's), in conversation with educator Nancy Dickson. The store reported that "Kirshner's stories about Detroit's bankruptcy, and how it affected the lives of ordinary citizens just trying to get by, were touching and revealing."

'3 Small Local Bookshops' on Boston's North Shore

"Book lovers of the North Shore are lucky to have an array of these independent retailers to accommodate their literary desires," Northshore magazine noted in showcasing "3 Small Local Book Shops on the North Shore," including:

The Book Shop of Beverly Farms, Beverly, Mass.: "At first glance, the big yellow house with its beautiful flower gardens might look like a private home. Inside, however, readers will find one of the North Shore's oldest bookstores; the shop turned 50 this year.... Because the space is small, owners Pam Price and Lee Brown focus on quality over volume, carefully choosing the best books in each category."

The Bookstore of Gloucester, "operating out of a small storefront in the city's quaint, bustling downtown since 1975, has become something of a local tradition." Owner Arwen Severance, who bought the store last May after working there for 17 years, said, "People come in here and remember coming back when they were kids--there's a lot of community love for the store."

Wicked Good Books, Salem: "Denise Kent had always dreamed of owning a bookstore. Then, the last mainstream book shop in Salem closed and Kent decided it was time to pursue her goal. Thus, four years ago, Wicked Good Books was born with the mission of ensuring Salem always has a local bookstore. The shop occupies a 900-square-foot space in a historic brick building."

Personnel Changes at Sourcebooks

Caitlin Lawler has joined the marketing department at Sourcebooks as marketing associate. She previously was sales coordinator at the company.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: B.J. Miller on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: B.J. Miller, co-author of A Beginner's Guide to the End: Practical Advice for Living Life and Facing Death (Simon & Schuster, $28, 9781501157165).


CBS This Morning: Sean Brock, author of South: Essential Recipes and New Explorations (Artisan, $40, 9781579657161).

Good Morning America: Rachel Beller, author of Power Spicing: 60 Simple Recipes for Antioxidant-Fueled Meals and a Healthy Body (Clarkson Potter, $16.99, 9780525574668).

Rachael Ray: Neil Patrick Harris, author of the Magical Misfits series.

The View: Michael Eric Dyson, author of Jay-Z: Made in America (St. Martin's Press, $25.99, 9781250230966).

Tonight Show: John Lithgow, author of Dumpty: The Age of Trump in Verse (Chronicle Prism, $19.95, 9781452182759).

Movies: Babette's Feast

Alexander Payne (The Descendants, Sideways) will direct a re-imagining of Babette's Feast, the 1988 Oscar-winning Danish film which Gabriel Axel wrote and directed from a story by Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen). Deadline reported that the script will be written by Guy Branum (The Other Two, The Mindy Project).

The film "will be set in a religious community in small-town Minnesota, where two older, unmarried sisters accept a refugee, who leads them to confront their regrets, over an extraordinary meal," Deadline wrote.

Books & Authors

Awards: Wingate Literary; Diagram Oddest Book Title

The longlist has been unveiled for the £4,000 (about $5,130) Wingate Literary Prize, awarded to "the best book, fiction or nonfiction, to translate the idea of Jewishness to the general reader." A shortlist will be announced in early February the winner named March 16. The longlisted titles are:

Where to Find Me by Alba Arikha
Kafka's Last Trial: The Case of a Literacy Legacy by Benjamin Balint by Nathan Englander
A Stranger City by Linda Grant
Liar by Ayelet Gundar-Goshen
Live a Little by Howard Jacobson
Survival of the Jews in France, 1940-1944 by Jacques Semelin, translated by Natasha Lehrer and Cynthia Schoch
Inheritance by Dani Shapiro
Lake Success by Gary Shteyngart
Katalin Street by Magda Szabo, translated by Len Rix
The Photographer at Sixteen by George Szirtes
The Order of the Day by Eric Vuillard, translated by Mark Polizzotti


The winner of the 2019 Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year is The Dirt Hole and Its Variations, a re-released classic hunting and trapping guide by Charles L Dobbins. The Bookseller, which sponsors the prize, reported that the winning title "swept away the competition, claiming 40% of the public vote." Catherine Donnelly's Ending the War on Artisan Cheese was second (24%), followed by Xanna Eve Chown's Noah Gets Naked (18%).  

Horace Bent, administrator of the prize, said: "Once again it has been a standout year for this, the world's most prestigious literary gong. I salute the late, great Charles L Dobbins, The Dirt Hole... and all its many beautiful variations, although I doubt the variations are beautiful to the foxes, bobcats and coyotes they are designed for. I also tip my hat to Dobbins for contributing a number of Diagram-worthy odd titles to the world."

Because no prize could be given to the author, Dennis Drayna, who nominated this year's winner, was awarded the traditional "passable bottle of claret."

Book Review

Review: Wilmington's Lie: The Murderous Coup of 1898 and the Rise of White Supremacy

Wilmington's Lie: The Murderous Coup of 1898 and the Rise of White Supremacy by David Zucchino (Atlantic Monthly Press, $28 hardcover, 336p., 9780802128386, January 7, 2020)

Wilmington's Lie: The Murderous Coup of 1898 and the Rise of White Supremacy is a remarkable account of a distinctive historical moment: the only violent overthrow of an elected government in U.S. history. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Zucchino, author of Thunder Run and Myth of the Welfare Queen, pierces layers of myth and invented history, built up by the successful perpetrators of the coup and their white supremacist allies, to depict the terrifying violence that set the stage for more than half a century of Jim Crow rule.

At the end of the 19th century, Wilmington, N.C., was a thriving mixed-race community with numerous black officials, including police officers. One of the wealthiest men in the city was a black man, and a sizable black middle class had developed. North Carolina was ruled by the proponents of a powerful compromise known as Fusion politics, which allied the Republican and Populist parties against Democrats. Republicans actively campaigned for black votes, and rewarded those votes with political appointments. It was a far cry, in other words, from Southern states where white Democrats had already "redeemed" state and local governments.

The violence in Wilmington has sometimes been portrayed as a spontaneous outburst of racial animus. Wilmington's Lie definitively shows that the coup and the violence used to enforce it had been thoroughly planned by white supremacists. Zucchino describes how racial hatred was used as a tool by practical-minded Democrats who sought a way back into power. Newspapers pushed white supremacist talking points, railing against what they called "Negro domination" and the mythical specter of rampaging black rapists. Wilmington's Lie demonstrates that an appetite for violence was stoked and then carefully directed to align with Democratic electoral objectives. Voter suppression techniques, intimidation and ballot-stuffing ensured Democratic victory in the 1898 election, but that wasn't enough for the white supremacists: Republicans still in office, including the mayor, were thrown out.

Zucchino's account of the terror and violence that accompanied the Wilmington coup unfolds in horrifying detail. Military units summoned to quell a supposed black riot joined in the killing, adding to whites' overwhelming advantage by deploying fearsome rapid-fire guns. More than 60 black men were killed. Again, Zucchino emphasizes how what might seem like random violence in fact served practical political aims. The terror and a subsequent banishment campaign denuded the black middle class and inspired a mass exodus of black Wilmingtonians. Zucchino writes: "They had turned a black-majority city into a white citadel."

Some of Zucchino's most provocative reflections come in the epilogue, where he draws comparisons between the voter suppression methods of the 19th century and the recent efforts of North Carolina's Republican politicians to limit black, and therefore Democratic, voting. He also writes about the disputed memories of the coup, still a contentious issue after more than a century. Zucchino never needs to stretch to find connections between the 1898 coup and the present day. The trauma--as well as political and economic consequences--still linger. --Hank Stephenson, manuscript reader, The Sun magazine

Shelf Talker: Wilmington's Lie reconstructs the only violent overthrow of an elected government in U.S. history, tying the white supremacist bloodshed to political goals that are still relevant today.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Nantucket White Christmas by Pamela M. Kelley
2. Make 'Em Beg to Work for You by Angela E. Lauria
3. Outmatched by Kristen Callihan and Samantha Young
4. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki and Sharon L. Lechter
5. Stormy Day Mysteries: Series Bundle by Angela Pepper
6. Wall Street Titan by Anna Zaires and Dima Zales
7. The Story of Us by Melody Grace
8. In the Unlikely Event by L.J. Shen
9. The Brothers of Auschwitz by Malka Adler
10. Point Count: From Image to Influence by Phillip Wexler and David Corbin

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