Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, September 1, 2020

William Morrow & Company: Polostan: Volume One of Bomb Light by Neal Stephenson

Shadow Mountain: The Legend of the Last Library by Frank L Cole

Atlantic Monthly Press: The Elements of Marie Curie: How the Glow of Radium Lit a Path for Women in Science by Dava Sobel

Ace Books: Dungeon Crawler Carl by Matt Dinniman

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: The Millicent Quibb School of Etiquette for Young Ladies of Mad Science by Kate McKinnon

Annick Press: Bog Myrtle by Sid Sharp

Minotaur Books: Betrayal at Blackthorn Park: A Mystery (Evelyne Redfern #2) by Julia Kelly

Quotation of the Day

Ann Patchett: 'We're Walking Around in Blindfolds Trying to Find the Piñata'


"You know, we're all walking around in our blindfolds with sticks trying to find the piñata. Somebody spun us around three times and pushed us into the center of the room. That's kind of how it feels. We haven't figured it out--none of us--though what's been lovely is that independent bookstore people are really coming together. We've been very supportive of one another, and we're all in touch. 'How are you doing? What are you doing? What are you thinking? What is your plan?' People have been very willing to share. 'Do you want to partner on this event?' "

--Ann Patchett, on how she and other booksellers are responding to the pandemic in an Oprah magazine article "Novelist Ann Patchett Gets Real About Running an Independent Bookstore During Covid-19."

Running Press Kids: Your Magical Life: A Young Witch's Guide to Becoming Happy, Confident, and Powerful by Amanda Lovelace


Sea Howl Bookshop Opening in Orleans, Mass.

Jonathan and Kazmira Nedeau

Sea Howl Bookshop will open this Saturday, September 5, at 46 Main Street, Orleans, Mass., the site formerly occupied by Main Street Books, which closed recently. The new bookstore is owned by Jonathan and Kazmira Nedeau, who said they "are honored to continue providing a space where all are welcome, and people and books can meet and become great friends."

Sea Howl Bookshop will be offering "a thoughtfully curated selection of new books of all genres," along with a smaller number of used, vintage and out-of-print titles and periodicals, as well as paper goods, puzzles and games.

​Opening a new bookstore is an uncertain proposition in the best of times, but a coronavirus pandemic presents special challenges. "We went into this whole thing knowing the risk of another shutdown," Jonathan Nedeau told the Cape Cod Chronicle, adding that the "technology is in place" for online sales and, ironically, it is the pandemic that gave them the time and will to found the business.

"We're both victims of Covid-related layoffs," he noted. They moved to Orleans in 2015 and, for the past five years, Jonathan commuted to work in Boston while Kazmira was employed in marketing and communications for Outer Cape Health Services.

When they learned that Main Street Books was vacant, "they knew they wanted to fulfill a dream by opening a bookstore," the Chronicle wrote.

"In the months we've had this lease, among locals, people are clamoring to have their bookstore back," Nedeau said. "The pressure is building on us."

G.P. Putnam's Sons: William by Mason Coile

Copperfield's Moves to Downtown Napa, Calif.

Copperfield's Books has completed the move of its store in Napa, Calif., back to the city's downtown, across the street from where Copperfield's Books Napa first opened its doors in the 1980s. "We're back!" Copperfield's announced to customers.

The Napa Copperfield's is in a new, 3,665-square-foot storefront that is part of the First Street Napa development, which includes retail, restaurants and tasting rooms, offices, a hotel and collaborative work spaces. The store had been in Bel Aire Plaza, two miles north of downtown.

"Being so community oriented, we're delighted to be back in the vibrant downtown environment we once occupied," Copperfield's president Paul Jaffe told the Napa Valley Register earlier this year.

With headquarters in Sebastopol, Copperfield's has nine locations in Sonoma, Napa and Marin counties in Northern California.

International Update: PRH Aided by Logistics, Online Sales; #ChooseBookshops in the U.K.


Penguin Random House, whose global sales fell 1.4%, to €1.63 billion (about $1.95 billion), in the first half of 2020, had "growth in the leading book market, the United States," with "strong bestsellers, total availability of its titles in digital formats, and state-of-the-art logistics," which have proven "advantageous during the coronavirus pandemic," parent company Bertelsmann said today. Bertelsmann added that PRH worldwide had a 15% increase in revenue from digital formats, consisting of e-books and audiobooks. Also during the period, Bertelsmann became the full owner of PRH, buying the last part that had been owned by Pearson.

In a video message to PRH staff, CEO Markus Dohle noted, too, that the shift of "German sister company" Verlagsgruppe Penguin Random House to become an official part of PRH was completed last month, adding 47 imprints and almost 1,000 colleagues to PRH. He also said that despite the "unprecedented challenges" of 2020, "we successfully forged our way into the last third of this year." In part, this was because of the growth in digital sales. "We never could've predicted a global pandemic, but we've been working toward a world in which online sales channels would have an even larger share of our overall book sales. A world in which we would need to activate every single competitive advantage we have been investing into over the last 10 plus years. So now is the time. The time to benefit from all our investments into supply chain, into corporate marketing, into consumer marketplace developments, and to focus even more on driving sales online... And as much as we've seen different impacts of the pandemic on various markets, we've also globally seen further evidence of what we've always known to be true: books are essential culturally and very resilient commercially."

He added that he is confident that "we will emerge from this crisis stronger than ever before. Together, we will ensure that our authors' stories will be read, and their voices will be heard--today, tomorrow and for generations to come. And we'll continue to do our part to shape a world that is more equitable, and a world that is healthier than the one we live in today."


A week after the August 4 explosion that ripped through the port in Beirut, Lebanon, Aaliya's Books posted on Facebook: "Thank you so much to the many, many people who have been so generous to us. Our community comprises not only our customers, but also our neighboring businesses, including Fern Ghattas, whose team greet us each morning and provide many of us with the manouche that fuels us through the day. When we come back from this disaster, we want our neighbors right there beside us."

Yesterday, the bookseller posted: "For three years we've had this pizza oven hidden (behind the blackboard wall) in the back of Aaliya's. Today @naila.h.r.saba and the Fern Ghattas team uncovered it. Tomorrow it will make its exit from our shop and head to its new home a few stores down at Fern Ghattas, where we hope it will long continue the #Ghattas family's 100-year-old tradition of fueling #gemmayzeh with #manouche. #beirut #rebuild #neighborshelpingneighbors."


The Booksellers Association of the U.K. & Ireland has released a video "encouraging the public to visit bookshops, as the industry prepares for spate of heavy publication release days this autumn," the Bookseller reported. Filmed in Sevenoaks Bookshop, #ChooseBookshops is being promoted across the @BooksAreMyBag social channels in anticipation of Bookshop Day, October 3.

"We're delighted to release our short, feel-good video illustrating the joy of bookshops to consumers and we hope it reinforces what a pleasure it is to visit a bookshop--especially in the lead up to Christmas, more crucial this year than ever before for our members," said BA managing director Meryl Halls. "While the autumn book bonanza is good news in many ways for booksellers, there's no question that bookshops continue to face a huge number of challenges, from Covid-19, and other obstacles, including rent pressures and unhelpful landlords, many of whom refused to offer any rent relief during lockdown, as well as ongoing uncertainty on business rates due and the ongoing threats from online growth to high street, bricks and mortar retailers."


Bookstore Day in the Netherlands will be held September 12. Boekhandel Van Piere in Eindhoven posted on Facebook: "Save the date: Bookstore Day! Due to the current circumstances we had to wait for it but luckily there is a new date for Bookstore Day: September 12th. Put it in your calendar, because only on this day do we have exclusive expenses, signed expenses, daily deals and other offers. For more information please visit or keep an eye on our socials." --Robert Gray

AAP's Kelly Denson Promoted to V-P, Education Policy & Programs

Kelly L. Denson

Kelly L. Denson has been promoted to v-p, education policy and programs, at the Association of American Publishers. She joined the AAP in 2019 as a senior director for higher education initiatives. Earlier she was director of education policy and government affairs at Discovery Communications, where she spent nearly eight years, and before that, she worked for seven years at the Educational Testing Service, holding policy and public affairs positions. Earlier in her career she worked in student affairs at Boston University, and began her career as a middle school teacher at the Dalton School in New York City.

Maria Pallante, president and CEO of the AAP, said, "In a relatively short time at AAP, Kelly has displayed an unbeatable combination of leadership, creativity, collaboration, and service.  She has guided important affordability discussions with higher education partners and led advocacy and coalition efforts to support stimulus funding for schools.  As Kelly turns her attention to policymakers and stakeholders from all parts of the education landscape--and every level of learning--she will be a passionate and principled advocate, not only for AAP's member companies, but also for the student empowerment and equity objectives that drive education publishing.

"Kelly steps into her leadership post at a time of unprecedented upheaval in school districts across the country, as the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic continues to trigger health, safety, and economic challenges for so many people. While experts work around the clock to construct new paradigms for both classroom and online instruction, publishers, too, are at the table, dedicated to delivering the high-quality content, innovative learning solutions, and public private partnerships that are so essential to achieving success for all students."

Obituary Note: Max Evans

Max Evans, whose work "often addressed the challenges faced by men and women coming to grips with the postwar transition of the American West," died August 26 at age 95, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported.

His friend and Western fiction writer Johnny D. Boggs commented: "Evans showed publishers and readers that the American West didn't end by 1900. He told often-autobiographical fiction and nonfiction set during the Great Depression, World War II and beyond."

Evans drew on his own hardscrabble, hard-living life, which included stints as a soldier in Europe in World War II, a cowboy, a miner, an artist, a smuggler. "Evans was not so much a larger-than-life character than a life-like character who liked to see how far he could push the fun to be had every day," the paper wrote. "His send-off catchphrase was always: 'Have fun!' "

His first major novel was The Rounders, published in 1960, about "two contemporary cowboys who just want to live, love and avoid trouble, but whose simple dreams are foiled time and again by a rambunctious, impossible-to-tame horse," the New Mexican wrote. "The horse, like Evans himself, survives efforts to abandon and kill it and proves to the two hapless cowboys that the spirit of the Old West is pretty hard to extinguish." Glenn Ford and Henry Fonda played the two cowboys in a film version directed by Burt Kennedy.

His 1962 novel The Hi Lo Country was about two New Mexico cowboys returning home from combat service in World War II. "They are thrust into another battle to save the West they once knew as progress--in the form of larger corporate outfits and trucks--envelops the land," the paper noted.

Other books included the 2004 autobiography Ol' Max Evans--The First Thousand Years, written with Slim Randles; the nonfiction book Madam Millie: Bordellos From Silver City to Ketchikan; and Bluefeather Fellini, a collection of animal stories.

Evans's last novel, The King of Taos, was published June 1 by the University of New Mexico Press, which wrote, "Set in the late 1950s, the novel tells the stories of sharp-witted Zacharias Chacon, aspiring artist Shaw Spencer, and a circle of characters who drink, fight, love, argue, and--mostly--talk. Readers will enjoy this witty and moving evocation of unforgettable characters as they look for work, love, comfort, dignity, and bottomless oblivion."


Image of the Day: Belated Independent Bookstore Day

Sausalito Books by the Bay, Sausalito, Calif., celebrated Independent Bookstore Day a bit late, on Sunday, August 30, with events that included a book sale, free coffee and wine, live music and a local artist in residence. The store showcased the work of local authors, and many stopped by to say hello. All pandemic protocols were strictly adhered to. Owner Cheryl Popp reported, "Even with limited capacity in our bookshop and careful monitoring of activity outdoors along our waterfront wharf, we tripled our normal Sunday sales. In fact, the whole weekend was a grand slam. Members of the store's Community Supported Bookstore program were invited to add $150 to their accounts to receive additional discounts. (When the Covid crisis first hit, we raised $20k in one week thanks to our CSB members!)" Pictured (l.-r.): booksellers Matthew Kline, Jeff Battis, Angela King and owner Cheryl Popp.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Scott Anderson on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Scott Anderson, author of The Quiet Americans: Four CIA Spies at the Dawn of the Cold War--a Tragedy in Three Acts (Doubleday, $30, 9780385540452).

Today Show: Brad Thor, author of Near Dark: A Thriller (Atria/Emily Bestler, $28.99, 9781982104061).

TV: The Stand Teaser Trailer

The first trailer for the "timely 2020 reboot of Stephen King's The Stand is here," Entertainment Weekly reported, adding that the production is "a fresh take on King's 1978 classic post-apocalyptic novel about a group of survivors in the aftermath of a pandemic that wipes out 98% of the population."

The CBS All Access limited series, which makes its debut December 17, stars Whoopi Goldberg, Alexander Skarsgård, James Marsden, Odessa Young, Jovan Adepo, Amber Heard, Owen Teague, Henry Zaga, Brad William Henke, Irene Bedard, Nat Wolff, Eion Bailey, Heather Graham, Katherine McNamara, Fiona Dourif, Natalie Martinez, Hamish Linklater, Daniel Sunjata and Greg Kinnear. The Stand previously aired as an ABC miniseries in 1994.

"During the two years we spent making The Stand, we all felt the responsibility of adapting what may be the most beloved work of one of the world's most beloved storytellers, but none of us could have imagined that Stephen King's 40-year-old masterpiece about a global pandemic would come to be so eerily relevant," said Benjamin Cavell, showrunner and executive producer. "We're honored to tell this sprawling, epic story, including a new coda that Stephen King has wanted to add for decades. We're so proud of this show and its attempt to find meaning and hope in the most uncertain of times."

Books & Authors

Awards: Sunburst Winners

Winners have been announced in three categories for the 2020 Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic. In addition to a medallion that incorporates the Sunburst logo, winners of both the adult and YA awards receive C$1,000 (about US$765), while the short story winner gets C$500 (about US$380). This year's winning titles are:

Adult: Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
YA: The Ghost Collector by Allison Mills
Short story: "The Fourth Trimester is the Strangest" by Rebecca Campbell (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, May/June 2019)

Book Review

Review: Flying Free: My Victory over Fear to Become the First Latina Pilot on the U.S. Aerobatic Team

Flying Free: My Victory Over Fear to Become the First Latina Pilot on the Us Aerobatic Team by Cecilia Aragon (Blackstone Publishing, $26.99 hardcover, 9781982642464, September 22, 2020)

Bullied as a child in her small Indiana town, Cecilia Rodriguez Aragon learned early on that staying quiet meant staying safe. The daughter of Chilean and Filipina immigrants, Aragon excelled in school, especially math class, but learned to keep her brilliance under wraps. She found her way to a career in computer science, but still struggled with crippling fear and anxiety. When a coworker's love for flying ignited her own, Aragon--to her own surprise--found herself spending weekends at airfields, learning to fly increasingly complex maneuvers and dreaming of buying her own airplane. Her memoir, Flying Free, chronicles her journey from INTF--her own "personality label" of Incompetent, Nerd, Terrified, Failure--to a strong, confident woman who became the first Latina to compete on the U.S. Unlimited Aerobatic Team. 

Aragon begins her narrative with her first exhilarating flight, an after-work joyride in a Piper Archer plane belonging to her coworker Carlos. She then looks back on her childhood, vividly rendering both her father's belief that she could excel at anything, and the continual bullying by white boys who gave her doubts. She tells the story of pushing herself to find a flight instructor, going out to a local airfield for the first time, finally speaking up and telling the same instructor that she was ready for a solo flight (after logging far more than the required hours in the air).

Aragon's crisp, straightforward narration mirrors the steps she had to take before, during and after every flight: plot a course, perform the necessary mechanical checks, load the plane, strap herself in, take off. Soon, readers are following Aragon not only to the airfields near her home in San Francisco, but up to Seattle and over to Oklahoma in pursuit of higher-level planes and more advanced instruction. She learns (and instructs her readers in) the nuances of spins, rolls, stalls and other complicated maneuvers, which eventually become sources of joy instead of heart-stopping fear. And she calls out the consistent sexism in the world of competitive flying, as well as the costs and challenges for pilots who are not independently wealthy. Readers will cheer Aragon's journey, which eventually takes her to France for the World Aerobatic Championships.

Today a professor of engineering and data science at the University of Washington, Aragon has used her flying experience to build confidence and overcome fear elsewhere in her life. Her memoir is a paean to flying, a testament to grit and hard work, and a real-life model for anyone longing to cast their fears aside and fly free. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

Shelf Talker: Data scientist Cecilia Aragon's memoir chronicles her journey as a solo pilot and how it helped her overcome her fears.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Gators and Garters (A Miss Fortune Mystery Book 18) by Jana Deleon
2. The One for Me by Corinne Michaels
3. Forever Saved (Forever Bluegrass #14) by Kathleen Brooks
4. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki and Sharon L. Lechter
5. A Haven on the Bay by Nicole Ellis
6. Dark Fairy Tales by Various
7. A Guy Walks into My Bar by Lauren Blakely
8. The Inn at Willa Bay by Nicole Ellis
9. Hidden Creed by Alex Kava
10. Can't Hurt Me by David Goggins

[Many thanks to!]

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