Also published on this date: Monday, October 5 Dedicated Issue: JY

Shelf Awareness for Monday, October 5, 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


New Name, Business Model for Mich. Bookstore

Mitten Word Bookshop, Marshall, Mich., is taking on a new business model and name, New Story Community Books. Founded by Ginny and Jim Donahue in 2018, the bookstore was purchased last spring by Kimberly and Tom Batterson.

In a letter to the community posted on Facebook yesterday, the owners wrote: "For two years our bookstore has served our customers as a general bookstore. It has been a journey filled with learning and surprises. This year has seen a change at the helm of the bookstore as the Donahues, who founded the bookstore, have moved into a well-deserved retirement and longtime bibliophiles and booksellers the Batterson family have taken over."

By making the transition to "a more community based model bookstore," the Battersons will "seek to serve all of Calhoun County through unique programs and partnerships (more on that in the months to come).... The name change comes after a long discernment process as we have sought how to follow the vision we have for an interconnected and highly literate community of readers and authors.

"Rest assured though that the quality of our books, bookish gifts, and services we offer will continue to improve as we transform into this new thing. We want to become the go to place for all Calhoun County residents to be inspired to find a new story. Look for our future escapades, pop up shops around our community, book giveaways, costume character visits, Author events, as well as events and offerings at our home base brick and mortar store in downtown Marshall."

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

Twin Cities Booksellers Promote 'Shop Local, Shop Early' with Contest


Some 20 indie bookstores in Minnesota are participating in the Twin Cities Independent Booksellers's "Shop Local, Shop Early" contest for the holiday shopping season. The contest encourages customers to visit independent bookstores and their websites and purchase holiday gifts early. Customers who visit eligible stores from October through December can enter to win gift cards that can be redeemed at participating Twin Cities independent bookstores. The contest encourages early shopping by requiring fewer store visits in the earlier months.

During October, customers who visit 10 participating stores are eligible to win one of three $50 gift cards. In November, entrants must visit 15 stores to be eligible. Finally, in December, entrants must visit all 20 participating stores. No purchase is necessary to enter the contest. All entrants--regardless of the month they enter the contest--are entered to win a grand-prize $150 gift card.

In-store, online and curbside pickup visits are all valid. Customers must submit documentation of their visit (a selfie in a store open for browsing, screenshot of their shopping cart on a store's website, or any proof of purchase) through the online entry form before the seventh day of the following month. Additional details can be found at the Twin Cities Independent Booksellers website.

As Twin Cities Independent Booksellers noted, the emphasis on buying early stems from the pandemic's effect on them and on the book supply chain, as well as problems at book printers and problems at the Postal Service. The contest echoes the ABA's recently announced "Buy Local, Buy Early--October Is the New December" campaign.

"Every year, the holiday season presents a significant and unique challenge to independent bookstores," said Robert Martin of, which is partnering on the contest. "This year brings additional challenges as independent bookstores contend with major health, safety, and supply chain issues. Twin Cities residents can best support their local bookstores by purchasing their gifts early. The 'Shop Local, Shop Early' contest will further reward early shoppers at independent booksellers."

Matt Keliher, manager of Subtext Books in St. Paul, commented: "We are grateful for the sustained outpouring of community support during this difficult year. Unfortunately there remain many obstacles that make fulfilling last-minute holiday purchases challenging for our small businesses."

And Angela Schwesnedl, co-owner of Moon Palace Books in Minneapolis, said, "The best way for customers to continue to support independent bookstores is to shop local and shop early. We hope this contest will build more enthusiasm for the fabulous independent booksellers in the Twin Cities. The 'Shop Local, Shop Early' contest is a win-win for booksellers and our loyal customers."

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

#BookshopDay, #LoveYourBookshopDay: 'Oh. My. Word.'

Saturday was a double celebration for independent bookselling, with the Booksellers Association sponsoring Bookshop Day in the U.K. and Ireland, while the Australian Booksellers Association promoted Love Your Bookshop Day. In a tough year, many indies shared their modified revels and customer appreciation on social media. Here's a sampling:

Drake the Bookshop, Stockton on Tees: "Oh. My. Word. We are acutely aware that we have THE best customers (and friends) in the world (gauntlet laid down) but today they proved beyond doubt. The foulest of days and still they came! Thank you SO much for continuing to #choosebookshops #BookshopDay."

Rossiter Books, Ross on Wye: "It is Bookshop Day! And with weather like this what better than to pop out to your local bookshop, buy some books and then curl up and read them?"

Gay's the Word, London: "Happy #BookshopDay. Thank you to all of our lovely customers who make working in Gay's the Word such a delight."

The Portobello Bookshop, Edinburgh: "It's Bookshop Day! It's pretty dreich today, but we're here as ever and now open 7 days a week! Thanks from us for all your kindness and support these past few months."

Pigeon Books, Southsea: "Happy Bookshop Day! We're open and ready to sell you some excellent books, we have some free stuff to give away and it's going to be ace. Come visit!"

Lighthouse--Edinburgh's Radical Bookshop: "It is #BookshopDay and it is WET! But BOOKS! What's a little rain when THIS awaits? And to mark first weekend of #blackhistorymonthuk, if you buy a book by a Black writer we'll gift you a £5 National Book Token. Read more! Read more Black writers! #ChooseBookshops."

Harris & Harris Books, Clare: "Thank you to each and every single one of you who helped me celebrate Bookshop Day in immense style and jubilation yesterday.... It started with a 'clawing at the door' and finished... late. In between was filled with non-stop beautiful people with wide eyes, book lists, excited chitterchatter and many MANY filled book-bags of 3 for 2s.... So despite giving away every third book, yesterday was the very BEST day in all the 9 years, 1 month, 1 week and 1 day in the history of Harris & Harris Books. So I thank you, dear readers, from the bottom of my weary but jubilated bookseller's heart."

Forum Books, Corbridge: "Yesterday #BookshopDay was IMMENSE!! HUGE thanks to everyone who visited despite the rain! And just as BIG thank you for shopping online too! You're keeping us going! Literally!!"

Round Table Books, London: "It's the day AFTER #BookshopDay... do we call today Bookshop Boxing Day? We're boxing up all those online orders that came in yesterday."

Farrells Bookshop, Mornington: "Today is Love Your Bookshop Day. Normally, we'd have decorated the shop with some colorful balloons and fun activities planned, but this hasn't been a very normal year. We're very disappointed we can't welcome you all to celebrate LYBD in store this year, but we're not far off being able to see you all again, so we'll just be grateful and look forward to that. We've been so humbled by your love and support during these difficult times.... Enjoy, bookshop lovers--we'll see you all soon!!!"

Readings, Melbourne: "It's Love Your Bookshop Day and while we aren't yet able to welcome you back into our bookshops, we wanted to thank our customers for all their support, good cheer and appreciative comments in the past few months. To celebrate we're giving away five $50 Readings gift vouchers to keep you reading until we can open our doors again."

Matilda Bookshop, Adelaide: "A very earnest thank you from the bottom of our puffed hearts to everyone who came by yesterday and celebrated @loveyourbookshopday with us. It was lovely, to put it mildly, to share a special day with you all, to show you our deep appreciation for your support this year and to hear of your continuing love of our bookshop.... Very importantly, between our sales yesterday and the two auction items, we raised a significant sum for the @indigenousliteracyfoundation and this makes us happy."

Lindfield Bookshop, Lindfield: "Today is LOVE YOUR BOOKSHOP DAY. Please show your support for your local booksellers and the efforts they go to to stay in business in these challenging times to continue to bring you the best of books for your reading pleasure.... If you're not going out today, why not alternatively 'love your online bookshop?' "

Not Just Books, Burnie: "It has been a very interesting and difficult year with world events. This year for Love Your Bookshop Day, we want to say thank you to everyone for their continued support."

The Bookshop Darwin, Darwin: "Today! Love your Bookshop Day! If you're in the city, come and say hello! If you're at home, you can also show your love by shopping online."

Regionals to Present Closing Keynote Featuring Allie Brosh

The eight regional booksellers associations are jointly presenting a trade show season closing keynote event on Wednesday, October 14, at 7 p.m. Eastern. The event will feature author and artist Allie Brosh, whose Solutions and Other Problems, an Indie Next Pick for October, was just published by Gallery Books.

Brosh's debut title, Hyperbole and a Half, was a #1 Indie Next Pick and #1 Indie Bestseller and introduced readers to her comic instincts and ability to capture complex emotions with deceptively simple drawings. Solutions and Other Problems is an original, full-color collection of autobiographical, illustrated essays, encompassing hilarious stories from Brosh's childhood; the adventures of her simple, yet sneaky, pets; a dissection of her own character flaws and drastic measures to eradicate them; essays on powerlessness, loneliness, and grief; and reflections on the absurdity of everyday life.

At the event, Brosh will discuss her new book with Jenny Lawson, author of Broken (in the best possible way), which will be published by Holt on April 6, 2021, and owner of Nowhere Bookshop in San Antonio, Tex. Mary Laura Philpott, author of I Miss You When I Blink, will introduce the session.

This free virtual event will be held via Zoom webinar, and access will be limited to association member booksellers. Booksellers may register here. Attendance will be limited to 500, with a waiting list. Approved registered attendees will receive a Zoom link prior to the event.

PNBA Keynote: 'WAIT (White Allies & Advocates In Training)... The Time Is NOW!'

At the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association virtual fall show's Thursday keynote lunch, Rashad Norris of Relevant Engagement Consulting ​led the audience in a 90-minute interactive session called "WAIT (White Allies & Advocates In Training)... The Time Is NOW!" Grace Rajendran, event host for Seattle's University Book Store, welcomed everyone and pointed out that antiracist books have been independent booksellers' bestselling category. She also said that "it's important to be good allies," and the goal of the day's workshop was "understanding allyship and equity."

Rashad Norris

Rajendran introduced Norris, who acknowledged the ancestral homelands of the Puyallup tribe, from which he was speaking in his office in Tacoma, Wash., and asked for a moment of silence while attendees honored the "Heir Names" of African American lives lost, printed on a slide before his presentation began.

With warmth and wit, Norris told his own moving story, of relocating with his military father and family from Fort Bragg, N.C., to the Netherlands at age 6. He struggled with a speech impediment, but his mother told him, "One day people are going to pay to hear you talk." His loving family served as antidote for a young Rashad, who was becoming aware of what being Black meant in a country that celebrates Zwarte Piet, whites in blackface who accompany Santa.

Norris quoted James Baldwin, "If you don't know what happened behind you, you don't know what's happening around you." He spoke of the 1921 destruction of Black Wall Street in Tulsa, Okla., over a white woman's allegation that a Black teen assaulted her in an elevator, and teenage Emmett Till's murder as revenge over allegedly whistling at a white woman in 1955 Mississippi. Norris also talked about almost leaving college because he was one of only two Black students, but a white teacher became a mentor, introducing Norris to The Narrative Life of Frederick Douglass. Dr. Joy DeGruy also became a mentor; she explains her research in her book Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome, and Norris played a video clip of her describing how the past shapes the present. 

Norris's message was one of healing. The logo for his company, Relevant Engagement Consulting, is the (West African) adinkra symbol for collaboration. He emphasized a "Call In" vs. "Call Out" culture and offered helpful prompts for discussion for whites doing antiracist work: "I need to stop you there because something you just said is not accurate" or "I'm having a reaction to that comment. Let's go back for a minute" or "There's some history behind that expression that you just used that you might not know about."

Norris built his work on that of clinical psychologists Derald Wing Sue and David Sue and what they call the four pillars of the "Foundations of Justice" and gave a question for each. Awareness: "How do I contribute to injustice?" Knowledge: "What do I need to understand about others?" Skills: "What can I do differently, to honor difference?" Action/Advocacy: "What do I need to do to institutionalize change?"

Norris recommended books, too, one he called a "hidden gem," The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter G. Woodson, as well as What a Coach Can Teach a Teacher: Lessons Urban Schools Can Learn from a Successful Sports Program by Jeffrey M.R. Duncan-Andrade.

He suggested ways that bookstores can be safe havens for BIPOC people: offering workshops on how to get small business loans, making books available for research, being welcoming through book displays that reflect BIPOC authors and artists, and employing staff members of color. --Jennifer M. Brown, senior editor


Cool Idea: Halloween 'Boo Bags'

"Boo Bags have begun!" Little Shop of Stories, Decatur, Ga., posted on Facebook, noting: "This year, we're taking this Halloween tradition up a notch! Have a friend or family you want to boo? We will put together a fun and spooky/not spooky bag and deliver it to their door, beginning October 1st. Boo Bags start at $20 and will include books and other Halloween themed goodies. If you've been booed, be sure to post our fun graphic in your window to let your neighbors know!"

The Magic of Books Bookstore's 'Scarecrow Bookworm'

Posted by the Magic of Books Bookstore, Seymour, Ind.: "Everyone check out the newest addition to the bookstore! Meet our scarecrow bookworm! We need help picking out a name for him! I like the name Melvin but Herman is not a fan. So we need your help! Let me hear some suggestions for a name for Herman's new friend! ________ the Bookworm. Oh don't forget to stop by the store and vote for our bookworm scarecrow! Voting starts up tomorrow and lasts until the end of the month!"

Personnel Changes at Post Hill Press

Jessica Vandergriff and Katherine Reid have joined Post Hill Press as associate publicists.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Jerry Seinfeld on GMA, Colbert's Late Show

Good Morning America: Jerry Seinfeld, author of Is This Anything? (Simon & Schuster, $35, 9781982112691). He will also appear tomorrow on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

Kelly Clarkson Show: Jenna Bush Hager, author of Everything Beautiful in Its Time: Seasons of Love and Loss (Morrow, $26.99, 9780062960627).

Good Morning America: Henry Winkler, co-author of Lights, Camera, Danger! (Amulet Books, $14.99, 9781419740992).

Drew Barrymore Show: Jay Shetty, author of Think Like a Monk: Train Your Mind for Peace and Purpose Every Day (Simon & Schuster, $27, 9781982134488).

The View: Alyssa Milano, co-author of Project Class President (Scholastic, $14.99, 9781338329421).

Late Night with Seth Meyers: Bob Woodward, author of Rage (Simon & Schuster, $30, 9781982131739).

On Stage: Like Water for Chocolate

A musical version Laura Esquivel's 1989 novel Like Water for Chocolate is in development as a stage production, Deadline reported. Directed by Tony Award winner Michael Mayer, the project will feature original music by the band La Santa Cecilia, writing lyrics along with Pulitzer Prize winner Quiara Alegría Hudes. The book is by Lisa Loomer (The Waiting Room, Girl, Interrupted). Tom Hulce and Ira Pittleman are producing. The novel was adapted as a film in 1993.

"In times of waiting many wonderful things happen," Esquivel said. "Dreams take shape and become voices, harmonies, dance. The musical Like Water for Chocolate waited until a group of extraordinary dreamers came together... the ideal group to give voice to the culture that runs through our veins and waited years to be seen and heard. My thanks to all of you for dreaming the dream of a dream." A timeline for the stage musical has not been released.

Books & Authors

Awards: Truman Capote Literary Criticism Winner; Goddard Social Justice Shortlists

Black and Blur by Fred Moten (Duke University Press) has won the $30,000 2020 Truman Capote Award for Literary Criticism in Honor of Newton Arvin, the largest award for literary criticism in English.

Fellow poet and scholar Maggie Nelson wrote about Black and Blur: "Simply put, Moten is offering up some of the most affecting, most useful, theoretical thinking that exists on the planet today... Moten's work makes the activities of reading and thinking feel palpably fresh, weird, and vital."


The shortlist has been announced for the Stephan Russo Book Prize for Social Justice, sponsored by Goddard Riverside and celebrating "the power of the written word to create change in the name of justice for all." Winners will be announced October 29. The shortlist consists of:

Abandoned: America's Lost Youth and the Crisis of Disconnection by Anne Kim (The New Press)
Begin Again: James Baldwin's America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own by Eddie S. Glaude Jr. (Crown)
Big Dirty Money: The Shocking Injustice and Unseen Cost of White Collar Crime by Jennifer Taub (Viking)
Golden Gates: Fighting for Housing in America by Conor Dougherty (Penguin Press)
Open Season: Legalized Genocide of Colored People by Ben Crump (Amistad)
The Turnaway Study: Ten Years, a Thousand Women, and the Consequences of Having--or Being Denied--an Abortion by Diana Greene Foster (Scribner)

And a shortlist has been announced for the new Goddard Riverside/Children's Book Council Youth Book Prize for Social Justice, recognizing "nonfiction books for children and teens related to urban life and issues that support values such as community, equality, opportunity, mutual understanding, respect, caring and justice":

All the Way to the Top: How One Girl's Fight for Americans with Disabilities Changed Everything by Annette Bay Pimental, illus. by Nabi H. Ali (Sourcebooks Explore/Sourcebooks Kids)
For Beautiful Black Boys Who Believe in a Better World by Michael W. Waters, illus. by Keisha Morris (Flyaway Books)
Harlem Grown: How One Big Idea Transformed a Neighborhood by Tony Hillery, illus. by Jessie Hartland (Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books)
Lizzie Demands a Seat!: Elizabeth Jennings Fights for Streetcar Rights by Beth Anderson, illus. by E.B. Lewis (Boyds Mill & Kane/Calkins Creek)

Reading Group Choices' Most Popular September Books

The two most popular books in September at Reading Group Choices were The Wright Sister: A Novel by Patty Dann (Harper Perennial) and The Rescuer: One Firefighter's Story of Courage, Darkness, and the Relentless Love That Saved Him by Jason Sautel (Thomas Nelson).

Book Review

Review: The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop

The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop by Fannie Flagg (Random House, $28 hardcover, 304p., 9780593133842, October 27, 2020)

Fannie Flagg's enduring Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café was published in 1987 (and made into a movie in 1992). The heartwarming novel explored the friendship between Evelyn Couch, a disillusioned, middle-aged housewife, and Ninny Threadgoode, an elderly woman living out her days in a nursing home. Ninny had astonishing tales to tell about a bustling railroad cafe in a small Alabama town east of Birmingham in the 1930s. The story focused on themes of family and friendship--and sacrifices made therein--as well as aging, changing landscapes and racism.

Flagg's long-awaited sequel focuses on Buddy Threadgoode, Jr., son of the late Ruth Jamison, who once ran the Whistle Stop Cafe with Imogene "Idgie" Threadgoode, an adventurous, rebellious tomboy. Through a patchwork quilt of scenes, Bud's history unfolds from the 1930s: how he managed life with a missing arm, an injury incurred in a train accident when he was six years old, and became a veterinarian; how Aunt Idgie became Bud's best friend and cheerleader, even after she sold the café and moved to Florida; how Bud fell in love with and married his childhood sweetheart, and they raised a daughter, Ruthie, a woman with her own story to tell.

As in Fried Green Tomatoes, Flagg infuses short chapter vignettes with cozy snippets of gossip about Whistle Stop townsfolk--memorable characters from the first book--who left town and set down roots elsewhere. They include Dot Weems, postmistress and infamous letter writer; Opal Butts from the local beauty shop; Sheriff Grady; and Sipsey and Big George, former cooks at the café. However, it's Bud's story that serves as the main thread that binds Flagg's fun, spirited tapestry narrative.

Bud--now in his 80s, retired and widowed--looks back lovingly and longingly at his Whistle Stop days. He resides in a senior home in Atlanta near daughter Ruthie, a wife and mother trapped in a power and class struggle with a domineering, elitist mother-in-law. Devoted father and daughter weather storms that ultimately entwine the wistful, bygone nostalgia of the past with challenging realities of life in the present. Then colorful Evelyn Couch unexpectedly re-emerges, and the now successful, innovative business tycoon living in Birmingham, Ala., cleverly transforms both of their lives.

The story blossoms in vintage Flagg style--folksy and feel-good. An abundance of Southern charm will delight both readers eager to journey back to beloved Whistle Stop and also those wanting to visit for the very first time. --Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines

Shelf Talker: Fannie Flagg delivers feel-good fun, revisiting stories about a small Alabama town--focusing on a beloved local--from her popular 1987 novel.

The Bestsellers Bestsellers in September

The bestselling audiobooks at independent bookstores during September:

1. The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett (Penguin Random House Audio)
2. Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi (Penguin Random House Audio)
3. Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Penguin Random House Audio)
4. Anxious People by Fredrik Backman (Simon & Schuster Audio)
5. All the Devils Are Here by Louise Penny (Macmillan Audio)
6. Dune by Frank Herbert (Macmillan Audio)
7. When No One Is Watching by Alyssa Cole (HarperAudio)
8. The Guest List by Lucy Foley (HarperAudio)
9. You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria (HarperAudio)
10. Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith (Hachette Audio)

1. Caste by Isabel Wilkerson (Penguin Random House Audio)
2. How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi (Penguin Random House Audio)
3. Rage by Bob Woodward (Simon & Schuster Audio)
4. Untamed by Glennon Doyle (Penguin Random House Audio)
5. The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson (Brilliance Audio)
6. A Promised Land by Barack Obama (Penguin Random House Audio)
7. Eat a Peach by David Chang and Gabe Ulla (Penguin Random House Audio)
8. Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall (Penguin Random House Audio)
9. The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown (Penguin Random House Audio)
10. Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell (Hachette Audio)

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