Also published on this date: Monday, August 17, 2020: Maximum Shelf: Black Fatigue

Shelf Awareness for Monday, August 17, 2020

Aladdin Paperbacks: The First Magnificent Summer by R.L. Toalson

Del Rey Books: Thief Liar Lady by D.L. Soria

Chronicle Books: Is It Hot in Here (or Am I Suffering for All Eternity for the Sins I Committed on Earth)? by Zach Zimmerman

First Second: Family Style: Memories of an American from Vietnam by Thien Pham

Harvest Publications: The Dinner Party Project: A No-Stress Guide to Food with Friends by Natasha Feldman

Wednesday Books: Guardians of Dawn: Zhara (Guardians of Dawn #1) by S. Jae-Jones

Quotation of the Day

Work in a Bookshop or Library 'Before You Get a Job in a Publishing House'

"I've long been shocked at the disconnect between publishers and bookshops.... If more people in publishing had worked in bookshops, it would radically change what stories are told. Seeing unexpected pairings of readers and books quickly dispels the idea of who reads what, why, how and when. Once the assumptions are gone, it opens up many different narratives to the widest range of readers....

"In Germany, you need to do seven years' apprenticeship to become a bookseller. I believe you must spend a year serving customers and readers by working in a bookshop and a library before you get a job in a publishing house. We should no longer be allowed to stipulate who the reader is unless we have experience of them directly."

--Sharmaine Lovegrove, publisher of Dialogue Books (via the Guardian)

Blackstone Publishing: All Is Not Forgiven by Joe Kenda


Bookstore Sales Fall 35.4% in June, Improving over April and May

In the fourth month of data reflecting public health measures taken to fight the Covid-19 pandemic--including the closure of many bookstores for a time and limited access since then--in June sales at bookstores dropped 35.4%, to $384 million, compared to June 2019, according to preliminary Census Bureau estimates. Still a steep drop, the June sales figure is an improvement over previous months' sales compared to the same periods in 2019. By comparison to June's 35.4% sales drop, in April bookstore sales fell 74.1%, to $163 million, and in May bookstore sales were down 59.9%, to $271 million.

During the first half of the year, bookstore sales fell 32.6%, to $2.74 billion.

Total retail sales in June rose 3.4%, to $536.1 billion. During the first half of the year, total retail sales fell 3.2%, to $2.99 trillion.

Note: under Census Bureau definitions, the bookstore category consists of "establishments primarily engaged in retailing new books." The Bureau also added this unusual caution: "Due to recent events surrounding COVID-19, many businesses are operating on a limited capacity or have ceased operations completely. The Census Bureau has monitored response and data quality and determined estimates in this release meet publication standards."

KidsBuzz for the Week of 03.27.23

New Owner for Bookworm of Edwards

Nicole Magistro, owner of The Bookworm of Edwards in Edwards, Colo., has sold the 24-year-old store to Matt Lee, an entrepreneur and local resident.

Magistro has been a part owner of the store since 2005 and sole owner since 2013. She started to consider selling the store earlier this year so that she could take her career in another direction. Lee, who had recently moved to Edwards with his family, learned of Magistro's interest in selling and after doing his due diligence decided he wanted to be the one to oversee the store's next chapter.

Lee plans to keep The Bookworm's staff in place and carry on its community-first mission statement. At the same time, he is "wide open" to new ideas and hopes to hear what community members and bookstore patrons want from their local bookstore moving forward.

"Be assured that I will be around," wrote Magistro in a message to customers announcing the sale. "I am not moving or going anywhere--except maybe on a short vacation! I want to be able to walk into my beloved Bookworm and pick out books and order smoothies and slurp tomato soup and see your smiling faces. You can count on me to make sure it goes as smoothly as possible, and that I have total faith that it will."


Texian Books Reopens in New Downtown Location

Texian Books, which made its debut last year in Victoria, Tex., reopened Saturday in its new location at 201 S. Main St., where the "spacious store with high-ceilings houses a newly expanded inventory of more than 3,000 titles spanning all genres," the Advocate reported. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the bookshop, owned by Eveline and Kenneth Bethune, has been hosting a book club for adults over Zoom as well as clubs devoted to the YA and true crime genres.

Store manager Justin Salinas said he hopes the store, with its ample seating, carpeted kids' section and coffee station, will be a "creative space" for the Victoria community. "For book lovers, we hope they'll drop in, grab some coffee and lose themself in a book. Pop in your laptop. If you're writing the next great American novel, we want you to do it here.”

Salinas added that the Bethunes' goal of "making downtown Victoria a gem" inspired the move to the newly renovated Lapham building.

Early last week, Texian Books had posted on Facebook: "Saturday can't come soon enough! We are excited to share our new location with y'all. Due to Covid-19, we decided not to have a big hullabaloo, but you betcha we will celebrate our anniversary extra big when it's safe to have big gatherings again."

On Saturday, the bookshop posted: "Thank you to everyone who stopped by today for our reopening! We had a fantastic day & loved seeing our wonderful customers again!"

Bookstore Romance Day: 'Love What You Read! Read What You Love!'

Love in the age of social distancing was in the air Saturday for the second annual Bookstore Romance Day, a nationwide celebration of the romance genre by independent bookshops, with more than 175 stores participating. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, indies rallied with virtual events and an enthusiastic social media presence. Here are some highlights:

Free tote with purchase at Third Place Books.

Third Street Books, McMinnville, Ore. (home base of Bookstore Romance Day organizer Billie Bloebaum): "Bookstore Romance Day is this Saturday! Due to Covid it is going to look a little different this year. Go check out @bkstoreromanceday for all the virtual panels and author discussions that are planned. Billie has done an amazing amount of work to adapt her brain child to a more virtual format. We're so excited to celebrate this day!"

Harvard Bookstore, Cambridge, Mass.: "So why is there a Bookstore Romance Day, one might ask. And the truth is that romance has a rocky history at indies. Still does some places. We didn't have a romance section for the vast majority of our 88 year history. It just wasn't *serious* enough for us...." [Check out the complete Twitter thread.]

At Queen Anne Book Company

Queen Anne Book Company, Seattle, Wash.: "Love what you read! Read what you love! Join our staff in celebrating Bookstore Romance Day."

Women & Children First Bookstore, Chicago, Ill.: "We love the complexity and array of voices celebrated by romance and we're excited to finally have a dedicated section! We spy some favorites on the staff picks shelf and on the romance recommendation list on our website! Swipe for a quick run down of Jamie's favorites (we've all been buying from her recommendations for years!) and a peek at the section! Let us know your favorite titles, too."

At Quail Ridge Books

Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, N.C.: "Happy Bookstore Romance Day! We'll be bringing you recommendations and virtual events all day today because #IndiesLoveRomance! Assistant general manager Amber says, 'Nora Roberts was my gateway romance, and even 15 years later, Montana Sky and the Key Trilogy are some of my absolute favorites! If you love a good murder mystery, or if fighting magical evil with books and art is more your style, Nora Roberts doesn't disappoint....' "

At Changing Hands Bookstore

Changing Hands Bookstore, Tempe & Phoenix, Ariz.: "Things are heating up at Changing Hands, and we're not talking about the weather. August is Read-a-Romance Month, and today is Bookstore Romance Day. Here are our buyer Michelle's top romance picks from some of the new masters of the genre, who prove there's a love story for everyone. Come find yours."

Anderson's Bookshop, Naperville, Ill.: "Happy Bookstore Romance Day! One of our favorite local authors, Sonali Dev, shared some of her favorite romance titles with us. These books, and all of Sonali's own, are all 20% off today at both stores, plus we have special totes to give away, too! Enjoy!"

Bards Alley Bookshop, Vienna, Va.: "Don't worry--no marriages were harmed in the making of this #BookstoreRomanceDay #bookstoreproposal video."

Foggy Pine Books, Boone, N.C.: "We love our romance readers almost as much as we love reading romance, which is why we're so excited to celebrate this day with you! If you buy a romance book from us today, we'll give you a FREE Romance Day bag.... So, check out what we have & find the perfect happy ending to brighten your shelves!"

The Briar Patch, Bangor, Maine: "The video you didn't know you were waiting for. Our 2nd annual music video to celebrate Bookstore Romance Day!"

Liberty Bay Books, Poulsbo, Wash.: "Need romance title suggestions? Well, when Doug and Walker learned they'd be working on Bookstore Romance Day, they did a ton of reading (not really.) But we left them all sorts of suggestions so come on down and grab some fun summer reads!"

At Copperfish Books

Copperfish Books, Punta Gorda, Fla.: "Thank you to everyone who celebrated #bookstoreromanceday with us both in person and online today! We had a fantastic day, and we hope all of you did too!"

Loves Sweet Arrow, Tinley Park, Ill.: "We had a great day hosting 2 virtual events and welcoming customers into the store! Thank you to everyone who helped make Bookstore Romance Day so successful! Especially Billie Bloebaum, you rock!"

Indie Booksellers to Trump: 'We Support the USPS!'

As President Trump continues his attacks on, and opposition to emergency funding for, the U.S. Postal Service, many independent booksellers are speaking up for the USPS, which has been a lifeline for small businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic.

"The Postal Service has been the difference between keeping our team intact and employed and working during the pandemic, and not," Danny Caine, owner of the Raven Book Store, Lawrence, Kan., told NBC's Today show recently.

As part of the Raven's plans for Independent Bookstore Day on August 29, Caine will release a new zine, Save the USPS: A Small Business's Love Letter to an Essential American Institution, to serve as "a quick introduction to the struggles facing the USPS and why it needs to be saved." Caine tweeted: "Naturally, every copy of this zine will be sent via @USPS. Further, $1 of every sale will go towards buying stamps that we're going to give away. #SaveTheUSPS."

Astoria Bookshop in Queens, N.Y., recently shared a link to a local TV news report on the issue, noting: "Thank you to Clodagh McGowan of Spectrum News NY1 for taking the time to speak with our owner Lexi [Beach] about the essential work of the U.S. Postal Service, and how important their service is to small businesses like ours!"

Penguin Bookshop, Sewickley, Pa., posted: "We visit our corner mailbox and local post office EVERY DAY! Mailing books to our customers using media mail is a vital part of our business. We support the USPS!"

And Once Upon a Time Bookstore, Montrose, Calif., shared a photo of its favorite local postal workers in action: "We love and support #usps, especially our friends and #essentialworkers Bernie and Tom at the #montrose post office. Our business would not have been able to serve you without them and our country needs them in order to safely and responsibly exercise our right to vote in this year's election. #saveusps by contacting your representatives, buying stamps, and thanking your own postal workers."


Video: 'Sunday Morning Browsing' with Mitchell Kaplan

In a recent "Sunday Morning Browsing" Instagram video, Mitchell Kaplan, owner of Books & Books, with stores in South Florida and the Cayman Islands, spends a little quiet time in one of his stores and "takes ya through some of his current recommended reads centered around South Florida."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Dr. Jill Biden on the View

The Real repeat: Grace Byers, author of I Believe I Can (Balzer + Bray, $18.99, 9780062667137).

The View repeat: Dr. Jill Biden, author of Joey: The Story of Joe Biden (Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman, $19.99, 9781534480537).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Susan Rice, author of Tough Love: My Story of the Things Worth Fighting For (Simon & Schuster, $20, 9781501189982).

Good Morning America: Chad Veach, author of Help! I Work with People: Getting Good at Influence, Leadership, and People Skills (Bethany House, $22.99, 9780764236136).

Also on GMA: Deborah L. Spar, author of Work Mate Marry Love: How Machines Shape Our Human Destiny (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $28, 9780374200039).

The View repeat: Jacob Soboroff, author of Separated: Inside an American Tragedy (Custom House, $29.99, 9780062992192).

Jimmy Kimmel Live: Stacey Abrams, author of Our Time Is Now: Power, Purpose, and the Fight for a Fair America (Holt, $27.99, 9781250257703).

TV: The Henna Artist

Miramax TV has optioned the rights to Alka Joshi's debut novel The Henna Artist for series development, and Freida Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire) will star and produce through her Freebird Films, with Michael Edelstein exec producing, Deadline reported. The novel was Reese Witherspoon's Hello Sunshine Book Club Pick of the Month in May.

"Alka has crafted a beautiful story of independence, family, heartbreak and success, led by a captivating heroine with an indomitable spirit, and we are very excited to collaborate with Alka, Michael and Freida to bring this extraordinary journey to the screen," said Miramax head of worldwide television Marc Helwig.

"It was clear to me from the first chapter that Freida was born to play Lakshmi," Edelstein said. "Fortunately, the project is blessed that not only is Freida a brilliant actress, but she is the perfect producing partner to help bring this project from book to screen."

Pinto added: "As an actress, I cannot wait to dive back into the stories of my motherland and make my women (and my men) of all backgrounds, with all their good and their complexities, feel seen and heard. Lakshmi Shastri is not a puritanical woman. She empowers me, and I am honored to pass that feeling on to a very global audience.... The Henna Artist has tremendous potential to become that bingeable, high-quality, multilayered television show that honors the glory and beauty of India, its culture and its people."

Books & Authors

Awards: Edwin Morgan Poetry Winner

Alycia Pirmohamed won the £20,000 (about $25,060) Edwin Morgan Poetry Award, presented online during the Edinburgh International Book Festival. The judges said her collection The Ghosts that Visit Us as We Dream "stood out immediately, not only because the work is so compelling but because it seemed to be opening up a new front in Scottish poetry [...]  these varied, tender poems respond to Alycia's experience of her cultural background; their lovely specific imagery and exciting diction arises from places as diverse as Dar Es Salaam, Saskatchewan and Scotland. She controls vibrant language with a formal precision and focus, creating an original and illuminating world."

Scotland’s first modern Makar (national poet), Morgan specified that the award be funded through his estate and given to a Scottish poet under the age of 30. "Never forgetting his difficulties in his early years as a poet, he wanted to lend a helping hand to promising poets at what can be a discouraging period in their career."

Book Review

Review: That Time of Year

That Time of Year by Marie NDiaye, trans. by Jordan Stump (Two Lines Press, $19.95 hardcover, 9781931883917, September 8, 2020)

At a little more than 100 pages, That Time of Year by Marie NDiaye (Ladivine) might initially seem spare. The intriguing complexity, however, contained in her superb novel underscores again why she is one of France's most lauded contemporary writers, having received her country's highest literary honors, including the Prix Femina and the Prix Goncourt. NDiaye's taut, noirish horror, complicated by Kafka-esque obstacles, is seamlessly translated into English by professor Jordan Stump.

Each June, Herman travels with his wife, Rose, and their son to a remote village where the family has a summer home. As a Parisian, "he'd made it a point of pride to behave with the slightly superior civility he thought the only suitable stance for citizens of the capital, always intent on revealing their sophistication but too fine to make a show of it." Even after 10 summers, Herman and his family are still considered tourists by the locals and, as such, are expected to leave by August 31. This year, however, they've veered from predictable habits and stayed an extra couple of days. Consequences loom: "by letting September come to them here when September was a month they knew only in Paris, he and Rose had laid themselves open to unknown tribulations they might not be strong enough to withstand."

That September 1 afternoon, mother and son venture out to buy eggs. Hours later, they have not returned. The sunny warmth that's always lasted, as least through August 31, has suddenly turned to cold rain. Worried, Herman visits the neighboring farm, but the surprisingly inhospitable woman there insists she hasn't seen his family, nor does she even offer him dry shelter. He next searches the village shops, and eventually arrives at the gendarme's office in heightened concern. The lone officer is of no help, insisting Herman must return the next morning during official hours. He survives a remorseful night. Bypassing the unhelpful gendarmerie, he seeks the mayor instead, and is met with labyrinthine, impenetrable bureaucracy. Only the Chamber of Commerce president seems to be willing to help. His bizarre edict that Herman must "become a villager [him]self--invisible, insignificant," is Herman's only hope of family reunion. And so, he stays.

Reminiscent of a Beckett play--NDiaye is also a notable playwright--this surreal narrative quickly devolves into a nightmarish fever dream. With adroit precision, NDiaye transforms Herman's situation, his choices (or lack thereof), his complicity, his feeble attempts at rebellion, into a biting, brilliant exposé on class and privilege, entitlement and hypocrisy, power and control. --Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon

Shelf Talker: At the end of their summer holiday, a Parisian schoolteacher's wife and son never return from a simple errand, setting off a surreal search in a remote French village.

KidsBuzz: Highwater Press: Heart Berry Bling by Jenny Kay Dupuis, illus. by Eva Campbell
Powered by: Xtenit