Also published on this date: Thursday, September 3 Dedicated Issue: DC Hill House Comics

Shelf Awareness for Thursday, September 3, 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

'We Want to Show Our Connection to Community'

"We received an extraordinary amount of support from both our customers based in the city and from supporters around the world. Our brick-and-mortar store was open, and we had just experienced a robbery, so it was even more so a level of support and commitment to independent bookstores that we'd ever really seen before. We had lines around the block. There was a line wrapped around the store for eight hours as we moved people in and out, observing social distancing guidelines....

"We really want to show some of the things that we do that make us who we are, that are very different from a large, big box retailer or an online Amazon-type store. We want to show our connection to community. But we also want to show our ability, especially in the era of Covid, to be able to operate digitally, and also at a national or international conscience."

--Marc Lamont Hill, owner of Uncle Bobbie's Coffee and Books, Philadelphia, Pa., in Bookselling This Week's Independent Bookstore Day roundup

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


Bookends & Beginnings, Evanston, Ill., Expanding

Bookends & Beginnings, Evanston, Ill., is expanding, adding a storefront around the corner where it had recently begun creating its first window displays. The location has 900 square feet of space and street visibility, and should open in late October.

The plan is to turn the new additional space into a stationery, gifts, and bestsellers boutique, allowing the store to expand the selection of books it offers, particularly children's books and genres like mystery and romance that it hasn't had the space for before.

In an announcement to customers, owner Nina Barrett wrote, "You may ask: Are you insane? We're in a pandemic and a total retail apocalypse. And: A****n! This is all true, but from the beginning people told us we were nuts, opening up right down the block from the kind of big shiny chain store that drove Meg Ryan's little Shop Around the Corner out of business in You've Got Mail.

"Truly, this is a leap of faith. But we think some of the tables have turned in the two decades since that movie came out. Chain store shopping has lost its luster. And while A****n's cheap books and instant gratification are formidable competition for us, we also think that more and more people value the benefits that an independent business like ours brings to the community. We're a place you can visit, a place you can bring your friends, a place where you can discover books you didn't know about, through chatting with a knowledgeable staffer or by browsing the shelves. Where you can literally (though for the moment only virtually) meet authors of the books you're reading. In fact, our lineup of upcoming Literary Lunchbreaks and other virtual events is one of our best ever!"

Bookends & Beginnings was founded in 2014 in space formerly occupied by Bookman's Alley, the longtime antiquarian bookstore.

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

International Update: 'Super Thursday' in U.K., Indie Online Platform in Italy

Today marks the first of three "Super Thursdays" this fall in the U.K. and Ireland, with 600 new hardcover titles being released, a 28% increase over the equivalent day last year. The Booksellers Association reported that with many releases having been pushed back due to Covid-19, "bookshops are now gearing up for a bumper autumn, with thousands of books set to be released."

The BA noted that while the "autumn book bonanza is good news in many ways for booksellers, bookshops continue to face a huge number of challenges, both as a direct result of Covid-19, as well as prevailing obstacles. As the next rent day approaches, 25% of booksellers have reported that landlords refused to offer any rent relief during lockdown; ongoing uncertainty on Business Rates due to the Government's long-awaited review; and small retail businesses are under more pressure than ever before to compete against large online conglomerates."


From the European and International Booksellers Federation's Newsflash:

  • More than 120 small bookshops across Italy have joined together to create a new e-commerce platform called Bookdealer. Launched last week, the platform "will allow independent bookshops to sell books online, be found more easily by customers, and thus offer an alternative to Amazon."
  • Danish booksellers will celebrate World Book Week September 5-12, with the goal of improving reading outcomes for children ages 9-12. "During the week families are encouraged to visit participating bookstores, where children will receive a complimentary copy of the book Tyvefældens forbandelse. The campaign is jointly coordinated with authors, publishers, and booksellers."
  • Booksellers, publishers and writers associations in Sweden met with the country's Minister of Culture Amanda Lind last week "to inform the government of the precarious situation the sector is left in after the pandemic." The Booksellers Association has proposed that SEK 20 million (about $2.3 million) be set aside and distributed among Sweden's booksellers as immediate relief. 


The International Publishers Association has called on the Brazilian government to support its book industry and immediately drop plans to impose a Value Added Tax (VAT) on books, urging authorities to explore other positive measures to support the country's publishers.

"The IPA has been encouraged in recent years to see more governments around the world zero-rate books," said José Borghino, the organization's secretary general. "Books are fundamental to creating the knowledge economy of the future, but the book market is highly price-sensitive. Any increase in cost, however small, can inflict serious damage to sales and therefore investment. In order to support the knowledge economy, to encourage reading and to promote the benefits of lifelong education, the IPA recommends zero-rating VAT for all books. The Brazilian government's reported plans are a backward step that will harm local publishers, as well as undermining literacy programs in the country." --Robert Gray

Cherry Lake Publishing Founds Graphic Novel Imprint

Cherry Lake Publishing Group, which includes Cherry Blossom Press, Cherry Lake Press, 45th Parallel Press and Sleeping Bear Press, has created a graphic novel imprint called Torch Graphic Press. The new imprint aims to publish "entertaining stories in a striking graphic format that engages all readers, from the avid to the struggling and reluctant. Distinctive storytelling, character-driven plots, and original graphics let students immerse themselves in adventure, while discovering more about the world around them." The first titles, appearing this fall, are the STEM Files and the Secret Society of Monster Hunters series.

The STEM Files focuses on "the hilarious, top secret stories of ambitious, but inept, would-be evil villains. Blundering characters try their hardest to take over the world and unleash their evil plan only to fail miserably due to their lack of STEM understanding."

In the Secret Society of Monster Hunters series, a group of friends "travel through time, from the 1920s to the 1990s, hunting mythical monsters in order to keep them safe from history's drama." The books include monster profiles and survival tips, as well as in-depth content on the social and political climate, entertainment, fashion and popular idioms of the decade.

Obituary Note: Randall Kenan

Randall Kenan
(photo: Miriam Berkley)

Randall Kenan, "the unapologetically Black, gay Southerner who used all his identities to tell the stories only he could tell," died August 28 at age 57, the News & Observer reported. He had heart-related health problems and had suffered a stroke several years ago.

Kenan's first novel, A Visitation of Spirits, was published in 1989, followed by a 1992 short story collection, Let the Dead Bury Their Dead, which was nominated for the Los Angeles Times Book Award for Fiction, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and was one of the New York Times Notable Books of the year.

His other work included nonfiction books--a YA biography of James Baldwin; Walking on Water: Black American Lives at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century; and The Fire This Time.

Kenan's most recent short story collection, If I Had Two Wings, was published a month ago by Norton, and he also just published an essay, "Letter from North Carolina: Learning from Ghosts of the Civil War," about Chapel Hill, N.C., in "the season for toppling Confederate monuments."

Kenan won a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Award, the Sherwood Anderson Award, the John Dos Passos Prize and the 1997 Rome Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He received the North Carolina Award for Literature in 2005 and was made a Fellow of the Fellowship of Southern Writers in 2007. He was inducted into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame in 2018.

Author Lee Smith called Kenan "one of America's best short story writers. He took a lot from old Black folk tales and passed it down... I think he owes a lot to the Southern oral tradition and the church."

Author Allan Gurganus said of Kenan: "I always loved his sense of humor... his work was beautiful. It was the work of a born storyteller. It had all the charm of folklore and fairytales with surprising turns. It was beguiling and filled with wit and wisdom."

Ed Southern, executive director of the North Carolina Writers' Network, said Kenan "probably has as significant of an impact of any North Carolina writer of the last 40 or 50 years. He had a national and international reputation and audience. He remained deeply rooted in North Carolina." Southern added that Kenan was "unfailingly generous" to aspiring writers. "There are writers across the country, who are at work today because of his teaching and encouragement."

Daniel Wallace, the director of the creative writing program at UNC-Chapel Hill, where Kenan was a professor of English and Comparative Literature, said Kenan was "a brilliant writer and a mentor to so many writers who came behind him--particularly young, Black gay writers who looked at him as a hero. His best work was ahead of him. On every conceivable level this is a tragedy."


Happy 40th Birthday, Books of Wonder!

Congratulations to Books of Wonder, New York City, which, 40 years ago, opened its original "tiny hole-in-the-wall store down at 444 Hudson Street in Greenwich Village."

Now with stores on W. 18th St. and W. 84th St., Books of Wonder is celebrating its anniversary by offering the first 150 people who order $35 or more on its website a gift: one of 150 different small drawings, prints, and autograph remarks provided through the #KidLitArtSurprise campaign. These gifts were created by more than a dozen authors and artists, including Paul O. Zelinsky, Steve Light, Ruth Chan, Cornelia Funke, Caren Berger, Elisha Cooper, Il Sung Na and more.

In addition, over the next two weeks, anyone making a purchase of $35 or more in the stores can select one of 10 classic titles (while supplies last) as an anniversary gift.

"This is our way of showing in a small way our huge appreciation for your incredible support over the last 40 years," owner Peter Glassman wrote to customers. "We quite literally could not have done it without you! Over the past 40 years so many wonderful people have shared their talents with us on our sales floor and behind the scenes. They and all of us at Books of Wonder wish to thank you for allowing us to share the joy and beauty of children's books with you.

"And, for those of you who are wondering how to best share and celebrate this special anniversary with us, the answer is simple--buy books for the readers you love! Or buy them a gift card! There's no better way to celebrate what Books of Wonder is all about than by sharing great books with those you love! Flowers fade, champagne's bubbles bust, but a great book stays with us forever and every purchase you make helps us continue to do what we love most--sharing the magic of books with others."

Reading Group Choices' Most Popular August Books

The two most popular books in August at Reading Group Choices were The Yellow House: A Memoir by Sarah M. Broom (Grove Press) and When We Were Vikings by Andrew David MacDonald (Gallery/Scout Press).


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Dan Brown on the Today Show

Today Show: Dan Brown, author of Wild Symphony (Rodale Kids, $18.99, 9780593123843).

Good Morning America: Kim Powers, author of Rules for Being Dead (Blair, $25.95, 9781949467352).

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).

Wendy Williams repeat: Elvis Duran, author of Where Do I Begin?: Stories (I Sort of Remember) from a Life Lived Out Loud (Atria, $26.99, 9781982106331).

This Weekend on Book TV: Lesley M.M. Blume on Fallout

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 this weekend from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday and focuses on political and historical books as well as the book industry. The following are highlights for this coming weekend. For more information, go to Book TV's website.

Saturday, September 5
6:45 p.m. Lesley M.M. Blume, author of Fallout: The Hiroshima Cover-up and the Reporter Who Revealed It to the World (Simon & Schuster, $27, 9781982128517). (Re-airs Monday at 1 a.m.)

7:45 p.m. Katherine M. Gehl and Michael E. Porter, authors of The Politics Industry: How Political Innovation Can Break Partisan Gridlock and Save Our Democracy (Harvard Business Review Press, $30, 9781633699236). (Re-airs Sunday at 10 a.m.)

8:45 p.m. Shaun King, author of Make Change: How to Fight Injustice, Dismantle Systemic Oppression, and Own Our Future (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26, 9780358048008).

10 p.m. Joel Pollak, author of Red November: Will the Country Vote Red for Trump or Red for Socialism (Center Street, $28, 9781546099840). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. Nicholson Baker, author of Baseless: My Search for Secrets in the Ruins of the Freedom of Information Act (Penguin Press, $30, 9780735215757), at Harvard Book Store in Cambridge, Mass. (Re-airs Monday at 2 a.m.)

Sunday, September 6
12 p.m. Live In-Depth q&a with Ralph Reed, author of For God and Country: The Christian Case for Trump (Regnery, $28.99, 9781684510573). (Re-airs Sunday at 10 p.m.)

4 p.m. Joshua M. Myers, author of We Are Worth Fighting For: A History of the Howard University Student Protest of 1989 (NYU Press, $30, 9781479811755).

Books & Authors

Awards: Ruth Lilly Poetry, Pegasus Criticism Winners

Marilyn Chin is this year's recipient of the $100,000 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, which honors "a living U.S. poet whose lifetime accomplishments warrant singular recognition." Saskia Hamilton was named winner of the $7,500 Pegasus Award for Poetry Criticism. The awards are sponsored and administered by the Poetry Foundation, which publishes Poetry magazine, and will be presented at a virtual ceremony in September.

"Marilyn Chin and Saskia Hamilton have made invaluable contributions to literature through their work as poets, scholars, and educators," said Kate Coughlin, Poetry Foundation CFO. "Their shared commitment to craft and interrogation creates art that is deeply human; it is an honor to recognize their extraordinary accomplishments."

In addition, the Poetry Foundation is extending the tenure of current Young People's Poet Laureate, Naomi Shihab Nye, to 2022. The foundation noted that Nye "was awarded the honor and two-year term in 2019, but has had to cancel a number of her readings and programs due to the Covid-19 pandemic; the extension of her tenure allows for new initiatives to take the place of those that were cancelled and for Nye to maintain her commitment to celebrating poetry in geographically underserved and rural communities."

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, September 8:

Disloyal: A Memoir: The True Story of the Former Personal Attorney to President Donald J. Trump by Michael Cohen (Skyhorse, $32.50, 9781510764699) is the much-anticipated memoir by Trump's currently incarcerated former lawyer.

Compromised: Counterintelligence and the Threat of Donald J. Trump by Peter Strzok (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $30, 9780358237068) is written by an FBI agent who investigated the 2016 election.

Inside the NRA: A Tell-All Account of Corruption, Greed, and Paranoia within the Most Powerful Political Group in America by Joshua L. Powell (Twelve, $30, 9781538737255) explores decades of mismanagement at the National Rifle Association.

Everything Beautiful in Its Time: Seasons of Love and Loss by Jenna Bush Hager (Morrow, $26.99, 9780062960627) is a memoir about the Bush family.

Shadows in Death by J.D. Robb (St. Martin's Press, $28.99, 9781250207234) is the 51st mystery with Lt. Eve Dallas.

Monogamy: A Novel by Sue Miller (Harper, $28.99, 9780062969651) follows a widow who discovers her late husband was unfaithful.

Anxious People: A Novel by Fredrik Backman (Atria, $28, 9781501160837) takes place during a hostage situation at an apartment open house.

One by One by Ruth Ware (Gallery/Scout Press, $27.99, 9781501188817) is a thriller about a corporate retreat trapped on a snowy mountain.

Think Like a Monk: Train Your Mind for Peace and Purpose Every Day by Jay Shetty (Simon & Schuster, $27, 9781982134488) gives ways to cultivate inner peace from a monk and podcaster.

Born to Fly by Sara Evans (Howard, $27, 9781501162589) is the autobiography of the country music star.

Charming as a Verb by Ben Philippe (HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $18.99, 9780062824141) is an #ownvoices YA romantic comedy.

All Stirred Up: A Novel by Brianne Moore (Alcove Press, $16.99, 9781643855318).

IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:

Universe of Two: A Novel by Stephen P. Kiernan (Morrow, $27.99, 9780062878441). "Many people were involved in the creation of the atomic bomb in the mid-1940s, and Charles Fisk was one of them. Like many of those developmental scientists and engineers, Fisk remained deeply troubled and forever changed by the outcome of his efforts. This finely crafted love story--and a love story it is--weaves a well-researched history of the shrouded creation of the atomic bomb with the blossoming love of two people. Kiernan's work exposes a terrifying truth and renders a valuable education while pulling the reader into a fast-paced narrative of love and loss."--Renee Reiner, Phoenix Books Essex, Essex Junction, Vt.

The Bright Side Sanctuary for Animals: A Novel by Becky Mandelbaum (Simon & Schuster, $26, 9781982112981). "The Bright Side Sanctuary for Animals is a story of struggle, relationships, understanding, and forgiveness. When a daughter is compelled to return to the home she ran from years earlier, she must confront the truth about why she left and whether all fences can be mended. Becky Mandelbaum weaves together all of the threads of this story until it becomes a beautiful tapestry." --Mary O'Malley, Anderson's Bookshop, La Grange, Ill.

Cape May: A Novel by Chip Cheek (Celadon, $16.99, 9781250297464). "This book is extraordinary. In a small, empty beachside town after the season ends, a couple on their ill-planned honeymoon, slowly awakening to all the ways they can disappoint each other, stumble across a Gatsby-ish household of worldly beautiful people who embrace them wholeheartedly. The days pass in a glorious gin-soaked daze; erotic tension charges every encounter. Chip writes like James Salter, with a sense of humor and a fuller appreciation and understanding of female desire. Moving, so gorgeous, and absolutely brilliant." --Mary Cotton, Newtonville Books, Newton Centre, Mass.

For Ages 4 to 8
The Ocean Calls: A Haenyeo Mermaid Story by Tina Cho and Jess X. Snow (Kokila, $17.99, 9781984814869). "Tradition stands the test of time in this lovely story about the haenyeo--older Korean women who dive for abalone and other sea treasures, and are known locally as mermaids. Dayeon longs to be brave and strong like her diver Grandma, and through patience and experience learns to love the gifts of the sea. This beautiful tale of bravery and familial bonding rooted in matriarchal love will touch hearts while educating readers about a revered aspect of another culture." --Melissa Posten, The Novel Neighbor, Webster Groves, Mo.

For Ages 9 to 12
The Girl and the Ghost by Hanna Alkaf (HarperCollins, $16.99, 9780062940957). "A marvelously unique story that incorporates both an unfamiliar modern-day world and an uncommon mythology. Should be a great fit for fans of Percy Jackson and the books of Erin Entrada Kelly." --Rosie Lee-Parks, Readers' Books, Sonoma, Calif.

For Teen Readers
Lobizona by Romina Garber (Wednesday Books, $18.99, 9781250239129). "Move over Twilight, there are new werewolves in town! Romina Garber's Lobizona is a wonderful blend of Argentinian witch and werewolf lore, a magical school setting, and contemporary commentary on immigrant justice. Its unique magic system acts as the perfect setting to explore themes of belonging, love, family legacy, and what it means when we call a person illegal. This richly told story will entice young readers who've enjoyed the Harry Potter or Shadow and Bone series. I can't wait for readers to connect with this epic story!" --Julia DeVarti, Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor, Mich.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: A Deadly Education

A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik (Del Rey, $28 hardcover, 336p., 9780593128480, September 29, 2020)

Naomi Novik (Uprooted; Spinning Silver) starts her Scholomance series with A Deadly Education, an aptly named novel about a teen wizard in a magic school full of things that would like to kill her. Intricate world-building, a nuanced and diverse cast and a thrilling plot culminate in the kind of pulse-pounding ending that resolves much, but sets up the next installment with unanswered questions and dangers both new and old.

El attends a school suspended in "the void" that's designed to protect magical youth from attacks by maleficaria (mals), but it also requires regular feedings in order to keep existing. At the end of every year, this ever-shifting tower twists down one level, dropping the graduating students back into the real world and straight into a pit of hungry monsters, able to lurk there due to a broken automated monster-killing system. Although enrollment in this school has drastically reduced youth death rates, small mals are able to sneak into the upper levels via heating ducts and plumbing, killing a not-insignificant number of students, feeding both themselves and the school.

As a junior, El isn't in immediate danger of graduating, but due to her magical affinity for destruction she has always been a magnet for mals, so they find her anyway. Privileged and powerful, Orion Lake has dedicated his last three years to protecting his classmates with his affinity for monster-slaying. Unfortunately, this upsets the balance and without all those dead students feeding the mals and the school itself, the mals waiting below are hungrier than ever and desperate to break into the school.

Orion doesn't have any friends who don't want something from him, so he starts following El around. She's caustic, sarcastic and absolutely unimpressed with his heroics. She's also the only person who treats Orion like a person. Faced with sudden Orion-induced popularity, El has to decide who she wants to be and how she wants to get there. Between the setting and the coming-of-age story, this could have been written as a young adult novel, but the prose and world-building are more like the adult fantasy it's billed as.

Told entirely from El's point of view, A Deadly Education delivers a heroine working hard to thwart a dark destiny. She's determined not to care what her classmates think, making her character arc--based on reluctant friendships and grudging alliances--satisfying, as is her growing mastery of her magical affinity. Novik somehow conjures up a heroine perched on the line between good and evil, a protagonist readers can cheer for even as they wait for her to dip her toe into the darker side of magic. A Deadly Education is a spellbinding start to Novik's new series. --Suzanne Krohn, editor, Love in Panels

Shelf Talker: Naomi Novik's A Deadly Education is a dark, nuanced take on the magic school genre, featuring a heroine with sharp edges in a diverse world.

The Bestsellers Bestsellers in August

The bestselling audiobooks at independent bookstores during August:

1. The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett (Penguin Random House)
2. Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Penguin Random House)
3. The Guest List by Lucy Foley (HarperAudio)
4. Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer (Hachette Audio)
5. Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo (Blackstone Publishing)
6. Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid (Penguin Random House)
7. Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir (Recorded Books)
8. Luster by Raven Leilani (Macmillan Audio)
9. The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune (Macmillan Audio)
10. The Dutch House by Ann Patchett (HarperAudio)

1. Caste by Isabel Wilkerson (Penguin Random House)
2. How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi (Penguin Random House)
3. Untamed by Glennon Doyle (Penguin Random House)
4. The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson (Brilliance Audio)
5. White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo and Michael Eric Dyson (Beacon Press)
6. Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall (Penguin Random House)
7. Becoming by Michelle Obama (Penguin Random House Audio)
8. So You Want to Talk about Race by Ijeoma Oluo (Blackstone Publishing)
9. Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds (Hachette Audio)
10. The Truths We Hold by Kamala Harris (Penguin Random House)

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