Also published on this date: Wednesday, May 12, 2021: Maximum Shelf: We Are the Brennans

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Little Brown and Company: This Bird Has Flown by Susanna Hoffs

St. Martin's Press: Hello Stranger by Katherine Center

Dundurn Press: Chasing the Black Eagle by Bruce Geddes

W by Wattpad Books: Hazel Fine Sings Along by Katie Wicks

St. Martin's Press: The Girls of Summer by Katie Bishop

Soho Crime: The Rope Artist by Fuminori Nakamura, transl. by Sam Bett

Flatiron Books: Once Upon a Prime: The Wondrous Connections Between Mathematics and Literature by Sarah Hart

Grand Central Publishing: Goodbye Earl: A Revenge Novel by Leesa Cross-Smith

Quotation of the Day

'Thanks to the Three Indies Who Lovingly Handsold My First Book'

"Thank you to the three independent bookstores who lovingly handsold nearly 15% of all first edition hardcover copies of my debut book, which allowed me to continue doing this professionally: Anderson's Bookshop in my childhood home of Naperville, Ill.; Octavia Books in New Orleans; and East End Books in Provincetown, Mass. Buy your books from them and not from the Evil Empire, folks. I am forever grateful to these stores."

--Robert Fieseler, author of Tinderbox: The Untold Story of the Up Stairs Lounge Fire and the Rise of Gay Liberation (Liveright), from his virtual acceptance speech for the Publishing Triangle's Betty Berzon Emerging Writer Award (photo: Ryan Leitner)

Parallax Press: Radical Love: From Separation to Connection with the Earth, Each Other, and Ourselves by Satish Kumar


Elliott Acquires Paper Source, B&N's Daunt to Oversee

Elliott Investment Management, owner of Barnes & Noble, is acquiring the assets and business operations of Paper Source Inc., allowing the stationery and gift retailer to emerge from Chapter 11. Paper Source will operate approximately 130 stores across the U.S., as well as and its wholesale division, Waste Not Paper by Paper Source. B&N CEO James Daunt will oversee both companies. (Daunt is also managing director of Waterstones, owned by Elliott Management Corp.)

"I look forward to working closely with everyone at Paper Source," Daunt said. "This is a wonderful brand, with a unique culture and community. With Paper Source's management team, we will support and accelerate the brand's strategic growth initiatives. Alongside this, the opportunities for Paper Source to work with Barnes & Noble are tremendously exciting for both businesses."

Winnie Park, CEO of Paper Source, commented: "All of us at Paper Source are delighted with Elliott's investment in the brand and look forward to working with them, and with James and the team at Barnes & Noble. I am so grateful for the community who have supported Paper Source through both the pandemic and the Chapter 11 process--our amazing teams, our incredibly loyal customers, landlords, and our partner and vendor community.”

Paul Best, portfolio manager and head of European private equity at Elliott, added: "As the country's leading specialty retailer of stationery, cards and gifts, we see tremendous future potential in Paper Source's business. We look forward to working closely with the management team to position the brand for continued growth coming out of the pandemic."

William Morrow & Company: The God of Good Looks by Breanne Mc Ivor

The Next Chapter Bookstore Opens in Hermiston, Ore.

The Next Chapter Bookstore opened recently at 1000 South Highway 395, Suite C in Hermiston, Ore. Alexis McCarthy, co-owner of the new bookshop with her mother, Angela Pursel, told the Herald that they own a dance studio next door and had some extra space in the building, so they decided to use it to pursue a project they've always dreamed about.

"Both of us have always wanted to run a bookstore. Always, always," she said, adding that while the bookstore's title selection is "robust.... one of our biggest things right now is to find out what people in the community are reading and stock up accordingly."

In addition to books, the store offers reading glasses and "bookish" gifts, as well as a selection of puzzles and toys and what McCarthy referred to as "nerd games," such as Splendor and Settlers of Catan. "They're more specialty games you wouldn't necessarily find next to Monopoly," she said, noting that she really enjoys Monopoly, too.

McCarthy and Pursel "were overwhelmed and grateful for the support they received their first weekend open, and look forward to helping people discover their new favorite books," the Herald wrote.

Shelf Awareness Job Board: Click Here to Post Your Job

The Black Reserve Bookstore Reopens in New Home

The Black Reserve Bookstore, an all-ages bookstore focused on titles by Black authors, has officially reopened in its new home in Lansdale, Pa. Owner Shaykh Anwar Muhammad held a grand opening celebration and ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new space on May 1.

Per the Reporter, the new space at 319 W. Main St. No. 8 is larger than the bookstore's original home. Muhammad has used that extra space to expand the store's selection of books, comics, apparel, jewelry and more.

Muhammad, who is the author of The Written Mixtape Vol. One the Awakening, opened the store in August 2017. He had initially considered opening an online bookstore before finding a great storefront.

International Update: BA Launches Diversity Action Group, EIBF's Global Bookselling Market Overview

The Booksellers Association of the U.K. & Ireland has launched an Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Action Group as part of its work to improve diversity within bookselling and the wider publishing world. The group will examine the diversity challenges within bookselling as a career, representation issues around titles, and how booksellers engage with publishers and other groups within the industry. These findings and recommendations will help to set the BA's agenda for future diversity and inclusion projects, aiming to be a force for change in the industry.

"We are pleased to announce the creation of the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Action Group, as part of our continued commitment to advancing inclusivity within the bookselling community," said BA managing director Meryl Halls. "As we know, the pandemic has only increased inequality in our society, and with bookshops reopening, the time feels right for the BA and its members to return to the key areas of equality and inclusion. Bookshops have a role to play in ensuring that children have access to reading, that readers find books that speak to them, and that communities can start flourishing again.

"As we look ahead, we intend to work with our members to move equality and inclusion back up the agenda and to start making inroads into the challenges facing our industry, so we can emerge post-pandemic stronger, more relevant, diverse and representative than ever."

The BA is planning to convene the first action group virtual meeting in early summer, once bookshops have fully reopened.


With additional funding from the German government's Neustart Kultur program, the Frankfurt Book Fair will allow exhibitors to this October's fair to cancel with no financial penalty. "Even if the fair is cancelled or if exhibitors are unable to travel to Frankfurt in October on short notice due to the pandemic situation, no cancellation fees will be charged," the fair said. Director Juergen Boos added, "This assistance gives all of us planning security, so we can work together to realize a successful relaunch this October after a long period without physical events and face-to-face meetings."


The European & International Booksellers Federation has released its Overview of the Global Bookselling Market in 2020, an analysis of the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on the bookselling industry.

"Behind us is an unprecedented year that completely turned our lives around--from stopping our social gatherings and closing many businesses for weeks on end, to facilitating a big swing to digital services," EIBF co-presidents Fabian Paagman and Jean-Luc Treutenaere write in the introduction. "The book industry as a whole faced a substantial impact: canceled trade fairs, seized supply chains and frozen rights sales. Booksellers, as many of their retail counterparts, were forced to shut their doors--resulting in drastically reduced sales numbers."

The EIBF carried out a survey among its members and partners in March. The national booksellers associations from 17 countries responded to a written questionnaire, shedding light on challenges they and their members had faced since the outbreak of the pandemic early last year.

The new report collates insights into the bookselling industry of 2020, analyzing the impacts of national policy responses to the pandemic, exploring the total sales numbers for the past year and highlighting public and private initiatives launched to help the sector sustainably develop going forward.


For the first time, the Children's Book Council of Australia's Book Week artwork is available as a limited edition, signed giclee art print. Shaun Tan, winner of the 2019 Picture Book of the Year for Cicada, created the illustration for this year's theme "Old Worlds, New Worlds, Other Worlds." CBCA's Book Week is scheduled for August 21-27.

CBCA noted that Tan started working on this oil painting in 2020 around the time that the first major Covid-19 lockdown in Melbourne began to ease. The basis for the initial concept drawing was a photo of his youngest child taken at a local playground--their first visit in months.

"That feeling of sudden openness and airy space was the main thing I wanted to capture, which is also the feeling conjured for me by the words 'old worlds, new worlds, other worlds,' " said Tan. "That sense of limitless possibility, or cresting some kind of high point in a landscape that allows you to see across space and time." --Robert Gray

Obituary Note: Warren Bodine


Warren Bodine

William Warden (Warren) Bodine III, longtime owner of the Reading Corner bookstore in Rockland, Maine, died on April 30 at age 73, the Penobscot Bay Pilot reported.

In 1978, Bodine bought the Reading Corner, and the following year moved it across the street into a larger location, "where it remained a vital part of the downtown shopping district for almost 40 years," the paper wrote. "Warren loved his staff and customers at the Reading Corner, and his business is often credited with leading the 1980s revival of downtown Rockland."

Bodine's longtime housemate, friend and bookstore manager Brian Harden remembered the store being "remarkably well stocked by Warren, who always bought too much for the budget... but the customers loved it. He also refused to cut hours or lay off staff when business was slow, knowing that they depended on him for their employment." The store had a very popular children's room, run for many years by Nancy Bryant, and was known for its window displays created by Gail Cooke and the staff. Bodine and Harden co-ran the Reading Corner and stayed active in the Downtown Rockland Association until Bodine closed the store and retired in 2015. He later sold the building to Loyal Biscuit Co.

Bodine will be remembered by all who knew him as a person of character and commitment. He was incredibly generous, humble, and kind, and the warmth, humor and good company he brought to every room will be deeply missed.

Family and friends are invited to visit this Friday, May 14, 6-8 p.m., at Burpee, Carpenter & Hutchins Funeral Home, 110 Limerock Street, Rockland. A funeral service will be held on Saturday, May 15, at 2 p.m., at the Rockland Congregational Church, 180 Limerock Street, Rockland. All are invited, but please wear masks and practice social distancing. The service will be broadcast via Zoom. For details, please call the church at 207-594-8656 on Thursday May 13, between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Burial will follow at Achorn Cemetery. Because of the Covid-19 virus there will be no reception. In lieu of flowers, contributions in Bodine's name can be made to the Rockland Historical Society, P.O. Box 1331, Rockland, Maine 04841, which was one of many local civic organizations that he was involved in.

To share a memory or condolence please visit Warren's Book of Memories.


TikTok Success for the Novel Neighbor

The Novel Neighbor in Webster Groves, Mo., reports that in the three weeks since the bookshop set up its TikTok account, "we've grown it to a following of over 7,300, and our most recent video currently has 231,500 views, 54,700 likes, and has resulted in about three dozen individual sales of the book featured in that most recent video (Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers) from our store.... Obviously, TikTok is a relatively new platform for bookstores, but [we] wanted to show that investment in it can result in sales and growth for indie bookstores across the country."

Personnel Changes at the University of Washington Press; Abrams

Laura Fish has joined the University of Washington Press as marketing manager. She entered university publishing as a University of Texas Press fellow, working within the marketing, rights and permissions, and acquisitions departments, and then continued at the press as an editorial assistant.


Victoria Reynolds has joined Abrams Children's Books as digital & social media marketing coordinator. Reynolds was formerly marketing coordinator at University Press of Florida.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Julianna Margulies on the Drew Barrymore Show

Drew Barrymore Show: Julianna Margulies, author of Sunshine Girl: An Unexpected Life (Ballantine, $28, 9780525480259).

Ellen: Oprah Winfrey, co-author of What Happened to You?: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing (Flatiron, $28.99, 9781250223180).

Watch What Happens Live: Amber Ruffin, co-author of You'll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey: Crazy Stories about Racism (Grand Central, $28, 9781538719367).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Seth Rogen, author of Yearbook (Crown, $28, 9781984825407).

Movies: The Premonition; Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris

Universal Pictures has purchased screen rights to The Premonition: A Pandemic Story by Michael Lewis, Deadline reported. Phil Lord and Christopher Miller will direct and produce with Aditya Sood. Also producing are Amy Pascal and Rachel O'Connor.

"They need to secure a screenwriter and the hope is that the directors will take on the project after they complete Project Hail Mary, with Ryan Gosling starring for MGM," Deadline wrote. Andy Weir's latest novel and The Premonition were both released last week.


Mrs. Harris Goes to Parish, the film adaptation of Paul Gallico's novella Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Paris, is set for a theatrical release March 4, 2022, via Focus Features in the U.S. and Canada, Deadline reported. Directed by Anthony Fabian and in partnership with the House of Dior, the project stars Lesley Manville, Isabelle Huppert, Jason Isaacs, Lambert Wilson, Alba Baptista, Lucas Bravo and Rose Williams.

Carroll Cartwright, Fabian, Keith Thompson and Olivia Hetreed adapted. Producers are Xavier Marchand, Guillaume Benski, and Fabian. Universal has also set a February 25, 2022 release in the U.K. and abroad.

Books & Authors

Awards: RSL Ondaatje, Doug Wright Winners

Ruth Gilligan won the £10,000 (about $13,890) Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize, which honors an outstanding work of fiction, nonfiction or poetry that best evokes the spirit of a place, for her novel The Butchers.

Chair of judges Lola Young commented: "Our winning title is about a moment in time, in a particular place. It's been described in many different terms: Literary thriller, coming of age story, historical fiction, an account of superstition and the supernatural, but it doesn't matter how it's categorized--it's a page turning, roller coaster of a read."

Judge Helen Mort called the winning novel "utterly compelling, combining a complex and subtle narrative with spare, poetic style," and Adam Rutherford said Gilligan's writing "is almost annoyingly good. Her language bounds off the page and paints incredibly engaging characters and situations."


Winners of the 2021 Doug Wright Awards, which honor "the finest in Canadian comics and graphic novels, both past and present," were announced during a virtual ceremony. Winners in each category receive a small cash prize along with their trophy (or bowler hat, in the case of the Pigskin Peters). The winner of the Nipper will also receive a week-long stay at the Valleyview Artist Retreat, in Caledon, Ont. The Doug Wright winners are:

Best book: Lonely Boys by Sophie Bédard 
Emerging talent (the Nipper): Veronica Post for Langosh & Peppi: Fugitive Days
Small or micro-press book (the Pigskin Peters): The Noiseless Din by Scott Carruthers
Kids' book (the Egghead): A Slug Story by Mandi Kujawa, Hana Kujawa, Claude St. Aubin and Lovern Kindzierski

In addition, the late Fred Kelly was inducted into the Canadian Cartoonist Hall of Fame.

Reading with... Kwame Mbalia

photo: Bryan Jones

Kwame Mbalia is a husband, father, writer, bestselling author and a former pharmaceutical metrologist, in that order. He is a Howard University graduate and a Midwesterner now living in North Carolina. Mbalia's debut middle-grade novel, Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky, received a Coretta Scott King Author Honor. It, and the sequels Tristan Strong Destroys the World and an untitled third book, are all published by Rick Riordan Presents. Mbalia is the co-author with Prince Joel Makonnen of Ethiopia of Last Gate of the Emperor, an Afrofuturist adventure about a mythical Ethiopian empire, just published by Scholastic.

On your nightstand now:

Dracula by Bram Stoker. I actually have no idea why this is on my nightstand. Maybe I was running out of space on my bookshelves in my office? I am a big fan of the epistolary novel and the many variations it can take, so maybe I was trying to gain some insight into how to pull it off.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. The whole omnibus, not just one of the individual books, because that's how I read it in the sixth grade--all of them in one cover. I won tickets to see Michael Jordan because of that page count in that book, so of course it's my favorite.

Your top five authors:

Toni Morrison, James Baldwin, Octavia Butler, Zora Neale Hurston, Doreatha Mbalia. I'm not sure I ever told that last author this, so maybe I should take the time now to give her the flowers she's due.

Book you've faked reading:

The Great Gatsby by (...takes a moment to Google the author's name) F. Scott Fitzgerald. It was (one of many such books) assigned for class and it didn't hold my interest. No shade to Mr. Fitzgerald.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Legendborn by Tracy Deonn. This one should be assigned to every class and it did hold my interest. Tracy is a phenomenal writer and blends the historical, the mythical and the fantastical in a superb manner. And that ending... (explosion sounds reverberate inside my skull).

Book you've bought for the cover:

Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse. Maggie (the main character) standing on the hood of the pickup truck with lightning zigzagging through the sky behind her is absolutely iconic.

Book you hid from your parents:

Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel. Should I say why? Do I have to? Really? Fine. It's not meant for children. There aren't any bears, at least not in the way I expected. I thought I'd find Yogi or Winnie the Pooh. Instead, I found [memory repressed].

Book that changed your life:

Slam! by Walter Dean Myers. I played basketball (not very well, but I made the team at least) in high school, and Slam! captured the dynamics of high school competition, friendships devolving and being caught between your old life and a new one.

Favorite line from a book:

"Did you just shush Gum Baby?" from Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by some dude. That line was epic.

Five books you'll never part with:

Beloved (Toni Morrison), Kindred (Octavia Butler), The Belles (Dhonielle Clayton), Dread Nation (Justina Ireland), Trail of Lightning (Rebecca Roanhorse). The first two continue to teach me about writing and the latter three were the books I constantly referred to when figuring out how to write my first book.

Book you most want to read again for the first time:

Legendborn by Tracy Deonn. READ THE BOOK. I'LL WAIT.

What's your favorite part of answering questions about books?

How I immediately forget every book I ever read, even when they're sitting on the bookshelf in front of me. Never fails. "What's your favorite book, Kwame?" I don't know, I've never read a book before apparently, at least that's what my goldfish brain thinks.

Book Review

YA Review: My Contrary Mary

My Contrary Mary by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows (HarperTeen/HarperCollins, $18.99 hardcover, 512p., ages 13-up, 9780062930040, June 22, 2021)

This hilarious and irreverent start to a new trilogy by the trio of YA authors who created the Lady Janies series gives Mary, Queen of Scots, a much cheerier future than a beheading.

My Contrary Mary takes the true story of the young, ill-fated (weren't they all?) queen of Scotland and (oh-so-briefly) France and twists it into a thoroughly delightful pretzel of magic, intrigue and intentional anachronisms. Mid-16th-century Europe is divided in many ways, but authors Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows insert yet another partition: the world that Mary inhabits is filled with Eðians and Verities. Eðians are shapeshifters, transforming themselves into their animal form on demand. Verities are "not amused" by Eðians, believing that "people should be people, period." Mary is on the verge of marrying Francis, the future king of France, a country that is officially and firmly in the Verity camp; the fact that Mary is secretly an Eðian, capable of becoming a very sneaky mouse, is a problem. Another issue: Mary's uncles, supposedly her biggest supporters, are always on the lookout to benefit themselves and their family. Killing off the king would help them immensely but would also propel Francis and Mary onto their thrones prematurely. It will take more than the potions and prognostications of Nostradamus, seer and spiritual adviser to the throne, and his daughter, Ari, to fix the mess in which the royal families and their hangers-on have found themselves.

My Contrary Mary is packed with sly jokes and references to contemporary culture. Ari, who sees herself as a failure as a prognosticator, actually foretells movies like Frozen, The Sixth Sense and Star Wars, although she is as mystified as anyone about what her visions of a man in black who breathes strangely can mean. Points of view alternate by chapter among Mary, Ari and Francis. Readers catch delicious glimpses into Francis's anxiety about the pressure to produce an heir with Mary, his lifelong pal and growing love interest; Ari's professional insecurity and raging--and reciprocated!--crush on one of Mary's ladies-in-waiting; and Mary's dawning understanding of what it really means to rule a country (or two, or three...). Like My Lady Jane, this inventive work of historical fiction (emphasis on fiction) is a tremendously entertaining feminist version of French Renaissance life. We are very amused. --Emilie Coulter, freelance writer and editor

Shelf Talker: This uproariously funny alternative history of the rapid throning and dethroning of Mary, Queen of Scots, has all the juicy elements of any royal intrigue, with a splash of the fantastic.

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