Shelf Awareness for Thursday, January 7, 2021

Union Square Kids: Julia and the Shark by Kiran Millwood Hargrave, illustrated by Tom de Freston

Tor Teen: Into the Light by Mark Oshiro

Peachtree Teen: Junkyard Dogs by Katherine Higgs-Coulthard

Blackstone Publishing: The Wisdom of Morrie: Living and Aging Creatively and Joyfully by Morrie Schwartz and Rob Schwartz

Neal Porter Books: All the Beating Hearts by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Cátia Chien


D.C. Stores Shut Early After Yesterday's Insurrection and Rioting

The rioting, terrorism and attempted insurrection in Washington, D.C., yesterday caused the early closings of a range of bookstores in the capital and cancellations of events, with many stores closing before the 6 p.m. curfew.

Loyalty Bookstore closed its store in D.C. as well as its suburban Silver Spring, Md., location at 5 p.m. "so our staff can get home safely" before the curfew. Loyalty also canceled last night's PJ Storytime but went ahead with its 8 p.m. event. Today it is opening both stores at noon, as planned, and for now, will continue with scheduled events.

Solid State Books closed at 4 p.m., adding, "Please stay safe out there."

Politics & Prose closed all its stores at 5 p.m

Around 3:30 p.m., Kramerbooks tweeted that it was closing immediately, adding, "Please stay home and stay safe."

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Loyalty by Lisa Scottoline

Bayou Book Co. in Niceville, Fla., Closing

Bayou Book Co. in Niceville, Fla., will close permanently at the end of the month, store owners Mike and Carolyn Chesser have announced.

"After lengthy consideration of many options, we have reluctantly decided to close our store," wrote the Chessers, who opened the store in 1986. "We have had 34 wonderful years with our dear friends and customers and will miss this part of our lives immensely."

Chesser told NWF Daily News that there was a "perfect storm" of circumstances that contributed to the decision to close. Some of her fondest memories of the store included their first midnight event for Harry Potter, cooking demos with local chefs and simply getting to know the Niceville community.

"I want to thank everyone, especially my wonderful employees, who have invested much of their time and energies and passion into making our shop a home within our community," Chesser wrote. "Life goes on, and we wish the best for those who have become such an important part of our lives here in Niceville."

GLOW: Tordotcom: The Crane Husband by Kelly Barnhill

How Bookstores Are Coping: Fantastic Sales; In Good Shape

In Sisters, Ore., Paulina Springs Books saw "fantastic" sales to close out 2020, store owner Lane Jacobson reported. The bookstore was up more than 40% compared to December 2019, and the bulk of that "definitely came from increased sales in the first half of the month." Sales were also up in the second half of December, but not so much.

The store's busiest shopping day is usually the day before Christmas Eve, and that held true this year, Jacobson said. In fact, it was the bookstore's busiest day in its entire 28-year history. The "overwhelming majority" of the store's business is still being done in-person rather than online, and the sales numbers are "pretty amazing" given the strict occupancy limits the store is operating under.

The single biggest difference in customer shopping habits was that people actually heeded the "shop early" messaging. The store had a very strong November, and the first half of December was up almost double compared to 2019.

Paulina Springs Books sold many puzzles over the holidays, as the store has throughout the entire year. The store's biggest books of the year were A Promised Land by Barack Obama, The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson, Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer and The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy, as well as Something Worth Doing by local author Jane Kirkpatrick and The Bear by Andrew Krivak, which Jacobson said he and his entire staff championed.

On the subject of shipments and stock levels, Jacobson said they "actually had a fairly smooth season" in that regard. The only big surprise was The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse, which went out of stock almost immediately after it was featured on CBS Sunday Morning. The store was unable to get copies back in until December 23, and it was still the store's #2 bestseller. He noted that he can't remember ever seeing a publisher's whole inventory get "snagged" like that based only on one appearance on the news.


Alsace Walentine, owner of Tombolo Books in St. Petersburg, Fla., reported that her store's bestselling titles for the holiday season included a local cookbook; local fiction, such as Confessions on the 7:45 by Lisa Unger, Grounds for Murder by Tara Lush and the collection Tampa Bay Noir edited by Collette; and major national titles like A Promised Land, The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett, Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, Untamed by Glennon Doyle and Home Body by Rupi Kaur.

When asked how this year compared to past holiday seasons, Walentine noted that her bricks-and-mortar location opened in mid-December 2019, so it is hard to make the most accurate comparison. But the store's sales for the second half of December 2020 were up 66% over the previous year, and the Saturday before Christmas remained the store's busiest day.

Thanks to the warnings about potential stock shortages and shipping problems that the ABA and her sales reps issued back in the early fall, Walentine and her team ordered accordingly and "were in good shape throughout the holidays." They ran out of only a few titles, and only for a couple of days at a time. --Alex Mutter

Soho Press: Black Dove by Colin McAdam

International Update: Covid Lockdown in Germany Extended, Blackwell's Closes Stores Temporarily

The country-wide lockdown initiated in Germany on December 16 and scheduled to last until January 10 has been extended to the end of January. At six weeks, it will last longer than the spring lockdown. Under the current lockdown, some states, including Berlin, Brandenburg and Saxony-Anhalt, have allowed bookstores to open, while North Rhine-Westphalia has allowed customers to pick up books from closed bookstores. But in most states, bookstores are among the many businesses closed to the public, and sales, which had been strong until mid-December, continue to be hurt.

At the same time, as reported by Börsenblatt, a survey of more than 700 members of the Handelsverband Deutschland (Business Association of Germany) showed that two-thirds of inner city/downtown businesses fear closing for good and three-quarters say that government support isn't strong enough to avoid bankruptcy.

Stefan Genth, head of the association, said in a letter to Chancellor Angela Merkel that "it's already shortly before midnight. In the last week alone, retailers affected by the lockdown have lost around five billion euros [about $6.15 billion] in sales. For all of 2020 that amounted to 36 billion euros [$44.3 billion]. The businesses can't offset that without help. When the state minister presidents and the chancellor agree on an extension of the closing of our businesses, they also must provide necessary support."


In England, Blackwell's is closing its stores, furloughing staff and, with one exception, not offering click-and-collect services in response to the latest Covid-19 full lockdown measures, the Bookseller reported. Waterstones announced a similar decision earlier this week.

"We will offer click and collect from Oxford Broad Street as we have people on site picking to fulfill website orders," said Blackwell's CEO David Prescott, adding: "We also have two campus branches where they have book bundles which we can't get to the students in any other way--so there will be a very limited short-term service just to allow students to safely collect those bundles. Otherwise, all shops closed and no click and collect service."


Independent booksellers in the U.K. expressed mixed views regarding click and collect during the lockdown, the Bookseller noted. "We will be doing a lot more home deliveries, rather than the click and collect option, though it really helped us in November," said Sanchita Basu De Sarkar, owner of the Children's Bookshop, London. "If people can't get to us, we're going to do everything we can to get to them, because I think the parents will need [the books] again."

Caroline Johnson, co-owner of the Bookshop in Mold, Wales, noted: "I don't want to encourage people to come out, and also I don't really want people coming to the door for our own safety."

But Hazel Broadfoot, owner of Village Books in London plans to continue with click and collect: "We'll be encouraging customers to support us via, and we're offering both local deliveries and a click and collect service which worked well for us in the very strict March lockdown."

Georgia Eckert, owner of Imagined Things in Harrogate, said: "We'll certainly be running click and collect in some capacity, but I'm not sure if we'll be busy enough to justify having a bookseller in every day for this--it's very hard to gauge."

Emma Milne-White, co-owner of the Hungerford Bookshop in Berkshire, said, "I am glad the government has allowed click and collect. Each bookshop is different and they will know what works best for them. For us click and collect works well, and our customers appreciate it."


Although Waterstones managing director James Daunt expressed doubts this week about the adequacy of the government's one-off grants of up to £9,000 (about $12,170) to independent bookshops forced to close because of England's lockdown, the Booksellers Association welcomed the initiative, the Bookseller wrote.

BA managing director Meryl Halls said: "The grants for retail and hospitality announced by the chancellor are a very welcome investment in the frontline services represented by retailers, including booksellers, and will go some way towards keeping those businesses operational during this third lockdown in the U.K.

"Though it's a drop in the ocean compared to the lost turnover of 2020, especially over the Christmas period, it will for many businesses help them survive and, taken with the extension to the furlough scheme, allow them to continue employ their dedicated shopfloor booksellers, and keep offering crucial home ordering options to their customers, including online, call-and-collect, email and often home delivery."


On average a new bookstore is opening every three months in New Zealand, Booksellers NZ CEO Dan Slevin told TVNZ 1. "The people going into the book business tend to be older, they tend to be looking for a career change," he said. "I think lots of people have gone off the idea of e-books, they realize they're buying books online and they're not exactly putting money back into the local economy."

The rise in popularity of bookstores is reflected in Greytown, where Millie Blackwell has opened Mrs. Blackwell's Village Bookshop, the first dedicated bookshop to open there in 20 years. Calling the decision a "brave move in the middle of a pandemic," TVNZ 1 noted that Blackwell "believes she can make a living out of the store, having already run one business in the thriving small town."

"We have been really surprised with how the shop has performed since we opened," she said. "[But] if you talk to anybody in Greytown they'll say the thing that Greytown is missing is a bookshop, even visitors, so we just felt the time was right for books." --Robert Gray

Weiser Books: Mexican Sorcery: A Practical Guide to Brujeria de Rancho by Laura Davila

Obituary Note: Brandon Terrell

Brandon Terrell, the author of many children's books and a writer for The Choo Choo Bob Show, an educational children's television program about trains, died on Monday, January 4. He was 42.

Terrell wrote nearly a hundred books for kids, including picture books, chapter books, and graphic novels that ranged from sports stories to spooky tales and mysteries. His work included the Horrorwood comic book series with illustrator Brent Schoonover, six volumes in the Tony Hawk's 900 Revolution series, and several Sports Illustrated Kids graphic novels. His most recent books, published last fall, are Archie Strikes Gold (Capstone/Smithsonian); two Michael Dahl Presents: Mysteries: The Incredible Shrinking Horror and The 30,000-Foot Ghost (Capstone); and two Jake Maddox graphic novels: A Taste for Victory and Home Ice Rivals (Capstone).

Terrell was a graduate of Hamline University's MA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults. While at Hamline, he received the Herman W. Block Award, a scholarship judged by Kate DiCamillo.

Terrell's friend David Beard, a professor at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, commented: "Somewhere, out there, today, there are children who love sports and came to love reading through his Jake Maddox graphic novels. There are readers who discovered Robin Hood by taking a role in choosing their path through the story (in Howard Pyle's Merry Adventures of Robin Hood: A Choose Your Path Book). And there are children writing their own mysteries in spiralbound notebooks because of the passion ignited by his Snoops, Inc. novels."

Beard added: "I met Brandon when we were both booksellers at Barnes & Noble. We were friends the way co-workers become friends, and when he began working in comics and attending conventions, I read Horrorwood and promised myself that I would 'catch up' on my friend's work. And the list of books got longer and longer and I didn't realize that the time was so short."


Image of the Day: Why Did the Chicken Go Into the Bookstore?

Kona Stories bookstore, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, had an unexpected visitor recently. Co-owner Joy Vogelgesang told us: "Feral chickens are common here, but we don't often see them in the courtyard of our shopping center. We certainly have never had one come into the store! Our cats, Loki, Chole, and Kinsey were curious, if a bit intimidated. The chicken was very brave; she went in and out of our store four times. She checked out the books but was actually looking for a place to nest. She ignored the staring of the cats and various customers and eventually settled under our counter behind the routers and modems.... You can't make this stuff up." Holding the egg in the photo is co-owner Brenda McConnell.

Personnel Changes at S&S Children's Publishing; Henry Holt

Nadia Almahdi has joined Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing as senior manager, digital & social marketing. She was most recently marketing manager at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.


At Henry Holt:

Catryn Silbersack has been promoted to publicist.

Sarah Fitts has been promoted to associate publicist.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Lawrence Wright on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Lawrence Wright, author of The End of October (Knopf, $27.95, 9780525658658).

Kelly Clarkson Show: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, author of Keep Sharp: Build a Better Brain at Any Age (Simon & Schuster, $28, 9781501166730).

Live with Kelly and Ryan: Sarah Smith, author of Simmer Down (Berkley, $16, 9781984805447).

On Stage Online: The Sorcerer's Apprentice Musical

The world premiere of The Sorcerer's Apprentice musical, a "gender-swapped twist on the Johann Wolfgang von Goethe poem" that had been scheduled for in-person performances at London's Southwark Playhouse beginning January 9, "will now be streamed due to the pandemic and continued lockdown," Playbill reported. The pay-per-view stream will be available January 26 to February 14.

Directed by Charlotte Westenra, the production features Olivier nominee Nicola Blackman (Destry Rides Again), Dawn Hope (Follies), Mary Moore, Marc Pickering (Seussical), Yazdan Qafouri (The Band), and Olivier winner David Thaxton (Passion) with Tom Bales, Ryan Pidgen, Vicki Lee Taylor, and Kayleigh Thadani.

"The latest national lockdown leaves us with a show ready to perform which we are unable to share with live audiences," producer James Seabright said. "I have been inspired by the determination and resolve of our cast, creative team to make this possible whilst maintaining the highest safety standards for everyone on and off stage."

This Weekend on Book TV: Michael Eric Dyson

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, January 9
8 a.m. John Mackey, co-author of Conscious Leadership: Elevating Humanity Through Business (Portfolio, $27, 9780593083628). (Re-airs Saturday at 9 p.m. and Sunday at 11 p.m.)

1:10 p.m. Delphine Minoui, author of The Book Collectors: A Band of Syrian Rebels and the Stories That Carried Them Through a War (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $25, 9780374115166). (Re-airs Sunday at 7:55 p.m.)

2:15 p.m. Nicholas Griffin, author of The Year of Dangerous Days: Riots, Refugees, and Cocaine in Miami 1980 (37 Ink, $26.99, 9781501191022), at the Miami Book Fair.

4 p.m. Jacob Tobia, author of Sissy: A Coming-of-Gender Story (Putnam, $17, 9780735218840).

6:10 p.m. Doris Weatherford, author of Victory for the Vote: The Fight for Women's Suffrage and the Century that Followed (Mango, $27.95, 9781642500530), and Marlene Wagman-Gellar, author of Fabulous Female Firsts: The Trailblazers Who Led the Way (Mango, $16.95, 9781642501803), at the Miami Book Fair.

8 p.m. Alicia Garza, author of The Purpose of Power: How We Come Together When We Fall Apart (One World, $27, 9780525509684).

10 p.m. Catherine Flowers, author of Waste: One Woman's Fight Against America's Dirty Secret (The New Press, $25.99, 9781620976081). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

Sunday, January 10
12 a.m. Michael Eric Dyson, author of Long Time Coming: Reckoning with Race in America (St. Martin's Press, $25.99, 9781250276759). (Re-airs Sunday at 12:40 p.m.)

8:30 a.m. Wolfgang Ischinger, author World in Danger: Germany and Europe in an Uncertain Time (Brookings Institution Press, $29.99, 9780815738435). (Re-airs Monday at 1 a.m.)

3 p.m. Özlem Cekic, author of Overcoming Hate Through Dialogue: Confronting Prejudice, Racism, and Bigotry with Conversation--and Coffee (Mango, $24.95, 9781642503760), and Eric Martin, author of Your Leadership Moment: Democratizing Leadership in an Age of Authoritarianism (Mango, $18.95, 9781642502671), at the Miami Book Fair.

4:10 p.m. Ross Douthat, author of The Decadent Society: How We Became the Victims of Our Own Success (Avid Reader Press/Simon & Schuster, $27, 9781476785240), and Bruno Macaes, author of History Has Begun: The Birth of a New America (Oxford University Press, $29.95, 9780197528341), at the Strand Bookstore in New York City.

5:10 p.m. Terry Tempest Williams, author of Erosion: Essays of Undoing (Sarah Crichton Books, $27, 9780374280062).

Books & Authors

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, January 12:

The Lost Boys by Faye Kellerman (Morrow, $27.99, 9780062910455) is book 26 in the Decker/Lazarus mystery series.

The Scorpion's Tail by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (Grand Central, $29, 9781538747278) is the second thriller with archaeologist Nora Kelly.

Saving Justice: Truth, Transparency, and Trust by James Comey (Flatiron, $29.99, 9781250799128) is the former FBI director's look at the federal justice system.

Niksen: Embracing the Dutch Art of Doing Nothing by Olga Mecking (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $19.99, 9780358395317) is a guide to taking a break from everyday busyness.

The Children's Blizzard: A Novel by Melanie Benjamin (Delacorte, $28, 9780399182280) is based on the blizzard that struck the Great Plains in 1888.

The Revolution According to Raymundo Mata: Novel by Gina Apostol (Soho Press, $27, 9781641291835) won the Philippine National Book Award.

Dear Miss Kopp by Amy Stewart (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26, 9780358093107) is book six in the Kopp Sisters historical fiction series.

American Daughter: A Memoir by Stephanie Thornton Plymale and Elissa Wald (HarperOne, $27.99, 9780063054332) is the memoir of a woman with a troubled mother.

Ask Your Developer: How to Harness the Power of Software Developers and Win in the 21st Century by Jeff Lawson (Harper Business, $32.50, 9780063018297) looks at the role of software developers.

Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas (Balzer + Bray, $19.99, 9780062846716) is the author's third YA novel and takes place in Garden Heights 17 years before The Hate U Give.

Tales from the Hinterland by Melissa Albert (Flatiron, $19.99, 9781250302724) is an illustrated collection of young adult fairytales from the fictional land featured in the author's The Hazel Wood and The Night Country.

The Resisters: A Novel by Gish Jen (Vintage, $16.95, 9780525657224).

Find Me in Havana: A Novel by Serena Burdick (Park Row, $16.99, 9780778389361).

The Historians by Cecilia Ekbäck (Harper Perennial, $16.99, 9780063043008).

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:

Shed No Tears: A Novel by Caz Frear (Harper, $26.99, 9780062979858). "Caz Frear's third installment of Cat Kinsella mysteries doesn't disappoint! Kinsella is whip smart, takes no nonsense, and is a wry-one-liner machine. In their newest case, Kinsella and her partner, Luigi Parnell, find a connection to a serial killer. Christopher Masters was arrested for the kidnapping and murder of four women six years ago. His final victim wasn't found until now, so Kinsella may finally have the evidence to close the case once and for all. But as they dive back into a cold case, they find some troubling issues. As they dig deeper, they head into a rabbit hole they may never be able to get out of. Wonderfully twisty and satisfyingly puzzling, the newest mystery by Frear is a must for all thriller fans." --Scott Lange, The Bookman, Grand Haven, Mich.

The Arctic Fury: A Novel by Greer Macallister (Sourcebooks Landmark, $16.99, 9781728215693). "Greer Macallister has a proven track record for writing excellent historical fiction. She is at the top of her game in The Arctic Fury, in which a dozen women are recruited to journey to the frozen tundra in hopes of finding a lost expedition. Facing a brutal climate, clashing wills, misogyny, and death, these women rise to accept a challenge that no male explorer has been able to accomplish. Macallister has created strong, memorable characters facing unfathomable conditions and choices. Alternating between the arctic journey and a riveting courtroom drama, The Arctic Fury is a non-stop thrill." --Pamela Klinger-Horn, Excelsior Bay Books, Excelsior, Minn.

For Ages 4 to 8
Amy Wu and the Patchwork Dragon by Kat Zhang, illus. by Charlene Chua (Simon & Schuster, $17.99, 9781534463639). "After sharing a story about dragons, a teacher encourages their students to draw and create their own, but Amy's dragon doesn't look like any dragon the other kids have ever seen. When she mentions it to her grandmother, Grandma tells her stories about all the dragons that she knows from China, including the slinky, horned ones just like the one in the attic. But how can Amy make it her own? Well, glitter--lots of glitter--helps, and so do her friends. A sweet story about discovering your family tales and making your own mark on them." --Rene Kirkpatrick, University Book Store, Seattle, Wash.

For Ages 9 to 12
Exploring the White House: Inside America's Most Famous Home by Kate Andersen Brower (Quill Tree Books, $16.99, 9780062906410). "This fun and informative book is perfect for young history buffs. Middle readers will learn the history of the White House through the lens of the people who lived and worked there over the years, and learn as much about the spouses and children as about the presidents. The best stories come from the hundreds of interviews Brower held with current and former White House staff, many of whom worked there for decades. These staff are amazingly non-partisan in their approach to the job and are dedicated to the families and the institution they serve. Kids and adults will enjoy this exploration, and it will likely spur some kids to start reading biographies of American presidents." --Shirley Freeman, Bookbug, Kalamazoo, Mich.

For Teen Readers
The Good Girls by Claire Eliza Bartlett (HarperTeen, $17.99, 9780062943101). "Who killed Emma? Was it the perfect, popular, and beautiful cheerleader? The suspects at Emma's high school are like those at every other high school--except one of them is the killer. Nothing is as it seems in this page-turner, which you will want to share with your nemesis and friends!" --Suzanne Lucey, Page 158 Books, Wake Forest, N.C.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: If I Disappear

If I Disappear by Eliza Jane Brazier (Berkley, $26 hardcover, 304p., 9780593198223, January 26, 2021)

"I have been alone for the past year, trapped on my bed in my room, listening to you. I have accomplished nothing, apart from memorizing your every word." As far as obsessive fans go, there are worse than 33-year-old Sera Fleece, who narrates Eliza Jane Brazier's seductively disquieting debut, If I Disappear, as though she's speaking directly to the object of her infatuation.

Sera is sure that something has happened to Rachel Bard--something along the lines of what's befallen the missing women Rachel has discussed on her true-crime podcast, Murder, She Spoke. What's more, Sera is certain that Rachel saw it coming: "I sometimes wonder if I'm destined to disappear. You said this on March 27, your final episode, and then you disappeared. No podcasts, no posts."

Sera knows from Rachel's podcasts that she broadcasts from a house at Fountain Creek Guest Ranch, which is run by her parents and located just outside Happy Camp, in Northern California. Sera drives the three hours from her apartment to the property, where she meets Rachel's mother, Addy, and tells her that she's looking for work. Since Sera has experience with horses, Addy hires her to tend to the animals. Addy assigns Sera to the staff cabin on the ranch, which has no guests and only one other hired hand, and discourages her from talking to the locals. When Sera asks why, Addy says, "Would you want to hang around a bunch of liars?" Of course, Sera remembers exactly what Rachel said about Addy in Episode 66: "She believes every fact is a lie spawned by the government to target her specifically."

Addy isn't the only tough nut that Sera meets while she's sniffing around, and as she inquires into Rachel's whereabouts, she hears spurious things and faces hostility that's in discombobulating contrast to the book's bucolic setting. As for Sera's own reliability, she is self-aware enough to question the advisability of her mission but resents what she's starting to see as the routine pathologizing of women operating on the margins: "She was crazy, she was a bitch, she was alone. You never fit, and so you make more sense a mystery, a disappearance." Brazier's unsettling thriller is really about two missing women: one who seems to have been taken against her will and her putative rescuer, who is convinced that only by disappearing from her old life can she find herself. --Nell Beram, author and freelance writer

Shelf Talker: In this alluringly unsettling thriller, a fangirl travels to a Northern California ranch to look into the disappearance of a female podcaster who, as it happens, does stories about missing women.

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