Shelf Awareness for Monday, July 6, 2020

Algonquin Young Readers: the Beautiful Game by Yamile Saied Méndez

Berkley Books: Books that will sweep you off your feet! Enter Giveaway!

Feiwel & Friends: The Flicker by HE Edgmon

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: The Pumpkin Princess and the Forever Night by Steven Banbury

St. Martin's Griffin: Murdle: The School of Mystery: 50 Seriously Sinister Logic Puzzles by GT Karber

Quotation of the Day

'There's No Question We Need Book Fairs'

"There's no question we need book fairs. We need book fairs to build relationships in the first place, to meet new customers. I think what will happen after Frankfurt is publishers and booksellers will realize that they've saved a bit of money by not attending and they think in future that they'll have to make maybe more brutal decisions about who actually attends and how it's organized in the future. But there's no question we need book fairs and we need the excitement and the drama of a book fair to launch books."

--Jonathan Atkins, international director at Pan Macmillan, in a webinar on exporting after Covid-19, organized by the Bookseller

Blackstone Publishing: Rogue Community College: A Liberty House Novel by David R Slayton


Fulton Street Books and Coffee Opens in Tulsa, Okla.

Fulton Street Books and Coffee, Tulsa, Okla., has opened in its permanent, 1,600-square-feet location and is following health and safety procedures, including offering curbside pickup, NewsOn6 reported. Owned by Onikah Asamoa-Caesar, the store had made its debut as a pop-up shop at Mother Road Market in December.

Asamoa-Caesar told the station, "I always say this is a place for people who have often felt like there was no space created for them. Seventy percent of our books at least are written by or featuring black indigenous people of color. So we center the narrative, the stories and the lived experiences of people of color in this country."

Onikah Asamoa-Caesar

As the store's website says, "Fulton Street is a space to call home. It is a space to build community and to change our city through civic discourse. It is a space on a mission to increase literacy, with people at the center of all the work that we do. It is a space for coffee, books, and a good time. It is a space for you; you who have been longing for a space created with you in mind. At Fulton Street, we center the stories, narratives and lived experiences of people of color and marginalized communities. Welcome to Fulton Street. Welcome home."

Asamoa-Caesar spent her early career working in child welfare in California. In 2013, she moved to Tulsa as a Teach for America Corps member. She then worked on several state level criminal justice policy initiatives under the office of Senator Mike Johnston in Denver, Colo. Most recently, she helped launch the Birth through Eight Strategy for Tulsa, an initiative of the George Kaiser Family Foundation, focused on creating a cycle of opportunity for Tulsa's most vulnerable families.

Last summer, Fulton Street Books and Coffee ran an Indiegogo campaign that raised more than $20,000 to help finance the store.

Strand Openings: LaGuardia Airport and the Upper West Side

The Strand at LaGuardia Airport

New York City's Strand Bookstore has just opened one new branch and will soon open another.

Last month, the Strand opened a store in the new Terminal B at LaGuardia Airport in association with Marshall Retail Group. The store is part of MRG's Bowery Bay Shops, which aims to offer "a world-class, New York-centric shopping experience that connects travelers to an array of iconic brands, locally-sourced artisan confections, gourmet eats, cutting edge electronics, Made in Queens gifts, local and national beauty brands, and more." Besides the Strand, the 15,000-square-feet Bowery Bay Shops includes Artists & Fleas, Brooklyn Roasting Company, Kate Spade New York and Magnolia Bakery.

As the store noted on Facebook, "Even though most of us won't be traveling any time soon, here's to hoping you'll all get to experience it in-person in the near future."

The Strand's new branch on Manhattan's Upper West Side, on Columbus Avenue between 81st and 82nd Streets, is opening mid-month, according to the West Sider Rag. "Can't promise an exact date, but soon," a spokesperson told the Rag. The Strand has put up a permanent sign outside the building.

The store is in the former location of a Book Culture and was supposed to open in March, but was delayed because of the pandemic.

How Bookstores Are Coping: Careful and Delayed Reopenings; Supporting Protesters

In Neptune Beach, Fla., The BookMark closed to browsers in the last week of March and began offering outdoor pick-up, local delivery and free shipping, reported owner Rona Brinlee. During that time, Brinlee was the only one in store and she had all incoming bookstore calls transferred to her cell phone. Customers, she said, were very understanding.

Brinlee did not immediately reopen her store as soon as it was allowed. Instead, she took the time, now with the help of her staff, to move furniture and fixtures to make the store suitable for social distancing. They rearranged sections to minimize lingering and removed all dumps and end caps. It also took some time to get all of the supplies needed, including hand sanitizer, wipes and masks.

The BookMark reopened for browsing several weeks ago, with hours reduced to 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Facemasks are mandatory, and Brinlee and her team offer free masks to anyone who needs one. Most customers are glad that the store is requiring masks, and only a few people have decided to not come in. There hasn't been any real pushback, Brinlee continued, although a few people brought up ADA concerns last week. 

"Like all small businesses, we offered appropriate accommodations, as we always would for anyone," she said. "They have not returned."

Neptune Beach is located just east of Jacksonville, Fla., and Brinlee said there has been a lot of concern in the beachfront community about opening the beaches and allowing large gatherings. There has been a spike of cases in the area, and the city of Jacksonville recently ordered bars to close for a second time and issued a mandatory mask requirement for the city and beaches, Neptune Beach included.

On the subject of the protests against police brutality and systemic racism that began in late May, Brinlee said there was a Black Lives Matter march scheduled for last weekend, but the "weather did not cooperate" and it didn't happen. Prior to the march, however, Brinlee and her staff created a window display featuring books by Black authors and books about the power of protesting.


Dave Shallenberger, co-owner of Little Shop of Stories in Decatur, Ga., said he closed his shop to foot traffic on March 17 and switched to a system of online, phone and e-mail ordering, with curbside pick-up, free home delivery and mostly free shipping available to customers. Despite Georgia lifting its restrictions quite a while ago, Shallenberger added, he has not reopened for browsing. 

"Georgia hasn't been able to reduce the number of new cases of coronavirus--in fact they've significantly risen over the past month," he said. "As such, we do not anticipate opening up anytime in the near future. The health of our community and our employees has to be a principal priority."

Luckily, the store's community has been "incredibly supportive," with face masks being the norm for "folks who are out and about." Everyone at Little Shop has remained employed with full benefits including health care. The store celebrated its 15th anniversary last week, and Shallenberger and his team have asked for $15 donations to the store's GoFundMe campaign, to help weather the financial crisis.

Going back to early May, there was a series of racial incidents in Decatur caused by white high school students. The Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights, which is based in Decatur, was responding to those incidents when George Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis. Over the following weeks, numerous demonstrations were held on Decatur Square, where the store is located.

Madison Hatfield, one of Little Shop's booksellers, spoke at one of the protests about removing a Confederate monument from Decatur Square (it was finally taken down on the eve of Juneteeth). The bookstore distributed water at these events and is donating a percentage of sales to the Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights.

Ingram Making Major investments in Global POD Operations

As the Covid-19 epidemic has disrupted the book supply chain, from printing operations to shipping, Ingram Content Group said it is making "a significant investment" in global print-on-demand operations.

The company's Lightning Source POD and distribution arm plans "capacity growth through equipment investments" in the U.S., U.K. and Australia, which comes three years after replacing and upgrading its print capabilities.

In the U.S., the company said it is investing "millions of dollars" to increase capacity in its manufacturing plants in Allentown, Pa., and Jackson and La Vergne, Tenn. New printing, binding, trimming and shipping/sortation equipment is being installed now through October that will increase U.S. capacity by "double-digit percentages." As a result, Ingram plans to hire hundreds of new employees in the three facilities.

In the U.K., Ingram recently completed the move of the NBNi warehouse operation (it bought NBNi in 2017) from Plymouth to a new 98,000-square-feet facility in Milton Keynes, near its established POD operation. The Milton Keynes POD facility is completing further equipment upgrades and other manufacturing investments that are projected to increase print capacity by double-digit percentages.

In Australia, Ingram is investing in a new plant in Melbourne, along with additional printing and finishing equipment. The 50,000-square-foot plant will open later this year, doubling Ingram's print and shipping capability in Australia, at a time when local printing options have become more attractive to overseas publishers.

Ingram said it has been playing "a vital role in making virtual inventory a reality. For publishers the model helps in fulfilling the unpredictable challenges of managing consumer and retail demand. For retailers and libraries, Ingram's print on demand services capture every sale and circulation by showing inventory availability. Connecting Ingram's global network of manufacturing and distribution helps make millions of titles available for purchase all over the world."

International Update: Bookseller Adapts in Canada; Bookshop Visit in India

In the latest installment of BookNet Canada's series highlighting how Canadian retailers and publishers are responding to social distancing measures and the changes put in place due to Covid-19, Ben and Doug Minett of the Bookshelf in Guelph, Ont., fielded questions, including:

How have you adapted your business in response to Covid-19? Are there particular initiatives that you'd like to share?
Just days before the lockdown, we were in the final phases of shifting our website buy button from Shopify to Snipcart. The day before the quarantine our website became fully functional for online selling.

Before the pandemic, our website was primarily used for people to check cinema listings or customers checking our inventory. At the [same] time that Amazon de-prioritized book delivery, and Indigo's online store was inundated with orders, The Bookshelf decided to offer free same day delivery to customers in Guelph.

The day before [Prime Minister Justin] Trudeau announced the wide spread shutdown of the Canadian economy, we announced pre-emptively that we would be shutting our doors to the public and offering free delivery for phone and online orders in Guelph to try to flatten the curve. Check out our public statement here.

The response from our customers was incredible. We have delivered books to every corner of Guelph and people were also using our curbside pick-up option.

Will you continue with any of these initiatives or business practices when brick-and-mortar bookstores reopen to customers?
We will be continuing free delivery in Guelph after the lockdown is lifted and we are back to a semblance of normalcy.

What is your biggest takeaway from working as a bookseller while physical-distancing measures have been in place?
Adapting to rapidly changing conditions is an essential skill of a bookseller in 2020.


"Among all the bookstores in Delhi, there isn't another with which I've had as long an association as I have with the Book Shop," Divrina Dhingra wrote in a piece about her first trip to a bookstore after 45 days in lockdown.

"When I arrived, the Book Shop looked reassuringly the same. The same shelves full of colored spines, the very welcome smell of paper, ink, and vanillin. Even the resident cat was there, curled up and asleep in her spot. All the store asked was that customers be limited to two at a time, that they be masked and sanitize their hands. The gentleman at the door was the same person who's been there for years, but now he also dispensed sanitizer to everyone entering. Overall, nothing at all unreasonable or unexpected.

"At home, I'd dismissed the unceasing instructions around distance, contaminated surfaces, aerosol droplets as slightly paranoid. Now, my confidence waned. Sweating behind my mask, I wondered if I should touch the books or pick them up to read a blurb or opening page. Could I lower my mask to ask a question or smile, was it permissible to loiter even a little while a small queue formed outside? The one other person in the shop with me gave me a very wide berth and seemed alarmed that we had to maneuver around one another in the narrow aisles, but then I couldn't read her expression from behind her mask....

"Objectively, very little had changed; I got my outing, my books, and my glimpse into a recent past. But perhaps it was that I had come seeking reassurance and was already mildly reeling from the surreality experienced on the road, that caused me to not find comfort in this familiar activity. It in turn made me feel worse.

"Dispirited as I was, I hadn't come away with the feeling that physical book stores were a hazard, or that I'd be doing more e-book reading. If anything, the opposite felt true. Given social distancing, the inability to physically express emotion, and all that does to the mind, spaces like the Book Shop unwavering in their calm are pure solace. The books they sell offer the catharsis and space in which at least the mind can run free."

G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!
A Forty Year Kiss
by Nickolas Butler
GLOW: A Forty Year Kiss by Nickolas Butler

A Forty Year Kiss by Nickolas Butler is a passionate, emotionally complex love story that probes tender places within the heart and soul. When 60-somethings Charlie and Vivian--married then divorced in their 20s--reunite after four decades, they are swept up by the very best of what their romantic relationship once offered. "Anyone who has ever thought about what might have been will find this book fascinating," says Shana Drehs, senior editorial director at Sourcebooks Landmark. "The story is a brilliant exploration of a second chance at love, always realistic but never saccharine." As Charlie and Vivian build a bridge from past to present, their enduring love paving over potholes, Butler (Shotgun Lovesongs) raises questions about how life changes people--or does it?--and delivers another heartening, unforgettable novel. --Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines

(Sourcebooks Landmark, $27.99 Hardcover, 9781464221248, 
February 4, 2025)


Shelf vetted, publisher supported


Image of the Day: Raven Book Store's The Sound and the Purry

From Danny Caine at Raven Book Store, Lawrence, Kan.:

"We recently discovered that this winter, Raven bookseller Lily Bay had been opening a word document every time Dashiell, one of our cats, fell asleep on the keyboard. The result was 50+ pages of, shall we say, 'experimental' text. With Lily and Dashiell's permission, we've decided to publish the document as a limited-edition zine called The Sound and the Purry: A Novel by Dashiell the Bookstore Cat. All proceeds will go to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the Lawrence Humane Society, where Dashiell and his fellow Raven cat Ngaio originated."

The novel will be released tomorrow, July 7, and the store is holding a live q&a with Dashiell on Crowdcast at 2 p.m. Central. 

N.J.'s First Lady Visits the Little BOHO Bookshop

New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy recently stopped by Bayonne's the Little Boho Bookshop, which noted: "In addition to the enjoyable conversations about books, our local bookshop and our community, we sincerely appreciated the opportunity you created for us to address the impact of the three month Covid-19 shutdown on local small businesses like ours, the steps being taken to keep our team members and customers safe as we all cautiously reopen, as well as what the other side of the pandemic will mean for many of us."

Murphy, who was joined by council president & council member at-large Sharon Ashe-Nadrowski, and 1st Ward council member Neil Carroll III, picked up copies of The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett, Where the Crawdads Sing by by Delia Owens, Principles by Ray Dalio and The World Needs More Purple People by Kristen Bell & Benjamin Hart.

Cool Idea of the Day: Socially Distanced Tailgate Story Time

Posted on Facebook last Friday by Where the Sidewalk Ends Bookstore, Chatham, Mass.: "Such a full heart for this book-loving soul! Our first ever socially-distanced Tailgate Story Time sold out right away and brought awesome families to our parking lot, snuggled into trunks of cars, to celebrate with 4th of July books. Story Time Re-imagined! Twice a week all summer, with varying themes and spots reserved online. Happy 4th of July, readers!!"

Masking Up: Cool Kids' Posters at the Country Bookshop in N.C.

Kimberly Daniels Taws of the Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, N.C., told us that when Governor Roy Cooper put in mask requirements, the rules stated that children under 11 were "encouraged (not required) to wear masks. We had been requiring all who enter to wear masks (if your child does not want to wear one it is ok if you keep them in a stroller or carry them). Immediately after his announcement we had parents saying their children did not have to wear masks because they were under 11.

"Trying to have a discussion around the rules to be in this space began to get uncomfortable and we reached out to author and illustrator Matthew Myers (Hum and Swish), a fellow North Carolinian, to see if he could help us come up with something that would keep the conversation still and light and welcoming but still enforce our desires for all who enter to wear masks. He came up with these brilliant designs with our logo at the bottom (the ones in the link have room for anyone to add their logo). He generously wanted to make these available to other indie stores as well."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: D.L. Hughley on Jimmy Kimmel Live

The View repeat: Symone Sanders, author of No, You Shut Up: Speaking Truth to Power and Reclaiming America (Harper, $26.99, 9780062942685).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert repeat: Chris Wallace, co-author of Countdown 1945: The Extraordinary Story of the Atomic Bomb and the 116 Days That Changed the World (Avid Reader Press/Simon & Schuster, $30, 9781982143343).

Good Morning America: Jim Carrey, co-author of Memoirs and Misinformation: A Novel (Knopf, $27.95, 9780525655978).

The View repeat: Senator Tim Scott, author of Opportunity Knocks: How Hard Work, Community, and Business Can Improve Lives and End Poverty (Center Street, $28, 9781546059134).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert repeat: Stacey Abrams, author of Our Time Is Now: Power, Purpose, and the Fight for a Fair America (Holt, $27.99, 9781250257703).

Tonight Show repeat: Jonathan Van Ness, author of Peanut Goes for the Gold (HarperCollins, $18.99, 9780062941008).

Jimmy Kimmel Live: D.L. Hughley, co-author of Surrender, White People!: Our Unconditional Terms for Peace (Morrow, $27.99, 9780062953704).

Movies: An American Pickle

"For everyone who has ever wished for a film starring Seth Rogen as two characters--one with a penchant for pickles--the trailer for An American Pickle has easily made their hyper-specific dream come true," IndieWire reported, noting that the project is HBO Max's first original film.

Directed by Brandon Trost (This Is the End, Neighbors, The Interview) and based on Simon Rich's novella "Sell Out" (from his collection Spoiled Brats: Stories), An American Pickle stars Rogen "as both Herschel Greenbaum, a struggling laborer who immigrates to America in 1920, and Ben Greenbaum, Herschel's mild-mannered computer programmer grandson," Indiewire wrote. Sarah Snook (Succession) also stars. An American Pickle will premiere August 6 on HBO Max.

Books & Authors

Awards: Desmond Elliott Winner

That Reminds Me by Derek Owusu has won the £10,000 (about $12,485) 2020 Desmond Elliott Prize for the year's best debut novel, the Guardian reported. It called the book a "semi-autobiographical novel [that] follows a British-Ghanaian boy, K, as he passes through different foster homes. It explores identity, sexuality, mental health and abuse as K moves from the Suffolk countryside to inner-city London. Owusu began writing it while he was in a mental health facility, creating the character of K to help him understand the breakdown he was going through."

Chair of judges Preti Taneja said that That Reminds Me was "written with a rare style that wrings pure beauty from every painful, absurd moment K must face. Despite the terrors around him, this young black man has an instinctive love for the world which burns at the core of the book. The judges and I were as shattered by the truths of the story as we were moved by the talent of its writer. Derek Owusu has given us a unique, profound and transcendent work of literature: we want as many readers as possible to discover it--once they do they will return to it again and again."

Reading Group Choices' Most Popular June Books

The two most popular books in June at Reading Group Choices were The Last Flight by Julie Clark (Sourcebooks Landmark) and The Boy Who Followed His Father into Auschwitz: A True Story of Family and Survival by Jeremy Dronfield (Harper).

Book Review

Review: Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson (Random House, $32 hardcover, 496p., 9780593230251, August 4, 2020)

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Isabel Wilkerson (The Warmth of Other Suns) offers a singular and vital perspective on American society with Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents. This examination of caste and its consequences on every aspect of culture is unusual, eye-opening and of life-or-death importance. As in her previous work, which she continues and deepens here, Wilkerson lives up to the scope and significance of her subject matter, delivering a book that is deeply researched, clearly structured, well-written and moving.

The root of so many social ills in the United States, Wilkerson argues, is not precisely racism but casteism, which is closely linked to the concepts of race invented and reinforced since before the country's founding. "Caste and race are neither synonymous nor mutually exclusive," she writes, and then explicates and defines her terms precisely, with the support of exhaustive research. "Caste is insidious and therefore powerful because it is not hatred, it is not necessarily personal. It is the worn grooves of comforting routines and unthinking expectations, patterns of a social order that have been in place for so long that it looks like the natural order of things."

Wilkerson interrogates and defines caste systems by comparing and contrasting three: those of Nazi Germany, India and the United States. The job of analyzing more than 400 years of American history, social structures on three continents and the complexities of sociology, psychology, history, anthropology, philosophy and more is an enormous one, but Wilkerson is more than capable. She lays out eight pillars of caste, including divine will, heritability, occupational hierarchy, and terror as enforcement. She puts to work a number of convincing metaphors to illustrate her points: infectious disease, the challenges of owning an old house, actors (mis)cast for a theater production, rungs on a ladder, the biblical concept of the scapegoat. She uses a new vocabulary to recast old problems, usually referring not to terms of race or class but of caste, and discusses recent electoral politics with descriptions rather than names, defamiliarizing the familiar and thereby offering her reader a fresh perspective.

Wilkerson's understanding of caste proposes a nuanced take on the Trump election: many working-class white voters did not in fact vote against their interests, but rather prioritized one interest--upholding the caste system--over others, including access to health care, financial stability and clean air and water. She effectively argues that while "caste does not explain everything in American life... no aspect of American life can be fully understood without considering caste and embedded hierarchy," and shows how it causes psychological and physical health damage to everyone living within this system.

Caste is a thorough, brilliant, incisive investigation of the often invisible workings of American society. Original, authoritative and exquisitely written, its significance cannot be overstated. --Julia Kastner, librarian and blogger at pagesofjulia

Shelf Talker: In this meticulously researched and beautifully crafted book, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Isabel Wilkerson argues that the U.S. has a race-based caste system.

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