Shelf Awareness for Thursday, July 1, 2021

Margaret K. McElderry Books: Tender Beasts by Liselle Sambury

Scholastic Press: Heroes: A Novel of Pearl Harbor by Alan Gratz

Flatiron Books: Anita de Monte Laughs Last by Xochitl Gonzalez

Peachtree Publishers: King & Kayla and the Case of the Downstairs Ghost (King & Kayla) by Dori Hillestad Butler, illustrated by Nancy Meyers

Doubleday Books: The Husbands by Holly Gramazio

Quotation of the Day

'A Bookstore Is Not a Completed Thought'

"Just like a novelist might have a notebook of ideas, characters, or plots jotted down to aid a forgetful mind, I have a notebook of social media ideas and potential posts, pictures, quotes, overheard anecdotes, etc., so when the time is right, I have content to upload.

"It's been weird, then, to read back through pre-pandemic ideas, scattered notes, and potential posts. Like this one below. I stood in the middle of Washington Ave and snapped this photo, then jotted down these words, which I still think has truth. Yet it feels so strange reading this note, which I wrote sometime in the winter of 2020, just before the pandemic hit:

" 'A bookstore is not a completed thought, though many of the books inside of it are. A bookstore is constantly evolving, etched and scribbled and revised and rewritten by the people who support it. As we enter this new era, I wonder what plots will stay the same, which will change, and what the story arc of independent bookstores will become. Because, no matter what struggles are ahead, I still believe.' And I still wonder. And I still believe."

--Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor, Mich., in a Facebook post

Holiday House: The Five Impossible Tasks of Eden Smith by Tom Llewellyn; The Selkie's Daughter by Linda Crotta Brennan


Leopold's Books Bar Caffè Opening Next Week in Madison, Wis.

A bookstore, bar and cafe called Leopold's Books Bar Caffè will open on July 6 in Madison, Wis., the Wisconsin State Journal reported.

Drawing inspiration from the London bookseller Daunt Books--owned by Barnes & Noble CEO and Waterstones managing director James Daunt--co-owner Sam Brown and his book manager, Molly Fish, have decided to organize the bookstore's roughly 5,500 titles not by genre but by country of origin.

Brown offered the country Greece as an example, noting that the section would include not only travel guides and language books but also Greek cookbooks, contemporary Greek fiction and even Lord Byron's poetry that was written while he was in Greece. "We think it's a really compelling way to browse books," he said.

Initially the cafe side of the business will have a limited menu mainly pastries, but as the store finds its footing, Leopold's will start offering charcuterie boards and a variety of small plates. The cafe and bookstore will open at 10 a.m. while bar service will begin at 2 p.m., and in the evenings the staff will set up bar stools at the coffee counter. The drinks menu will focus mainly on classic cocktails.

The store also draws inspiration from Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe and Busboys and Poets, which Brown visited often while attending college in Washington, D.C. Leopold's has been in the works for a while, but the Covid-19 pandemic slowed down construction.

Amistad Press: The Survivors of the Clotilda: The Lost Stories of the Last Captives of the American Slave Trade by Hannah Durkin

The Artsy Bookworm Comes to Rock Island, Ill.

The Artsy Bookworm, a bookstore with a focus on diversity, inclusion and social justice, has opened in Rock Island, Ill., WQAD reported. In addition to books for children and adults, the bookstore features artwork sourced from local artists.

Owner Tamara Felden told WQAD that she noticed several art galleries in the Quad Cities area had closed during the pandemic. She wanted to make sure there was a place for people to display their art, especially artists from diverse backgrounds.

"I think people can see themselves reflected in the merchandise they find," Felden said. "They don't necessarily see themselves reflected elsewhere and that is very much a part of my mission."

While some of the art is on permanent display, much of it will rotate every few months, with the work of nine artists currently on display until September. After that, Felden will begin looking for art from other Quad Cities artists. Felden has also sourced a variety of gift items from Black business owners and artisans in the area.

Next month Felden is launching the event series Artsy Stitchers, which will meet on the second Wednesday of every month. Customers and community members will be able to gather for an hour and work on their knitting, crochet, needlepoint or other "stitchy" project in a group. And in August, Felden will start Artsy Talkers, the store's monthly book club. The first reading selection is My Life as a Rat by Joyce Carol Oates.

DeMoir Books & Things Opens in Memphis, Tenn.

Owner Jay DeMoir and staff.

DeMoir Books & Things, Memphis, Tenn., opened last month at 739 White Station Road in the Cloverleaf Shopping Center. The Business Journal reported that while the "store may be Memphis' first Black-owned bookstore, beyond the COGIC Bookstore," owner Jeremee DeMoir said "his store is not necessarily a Black bookstore."

"We are all inclusive," he noted. "I believe that a bookstore should look like America. America looks like all of us, and so our books have to reflect that on so many different spectrums."

An admitted "book nerd," DeMoir is an author, who also teaches English and creative writing at White Station Middle School. His students were a catalyst for opening the store. "I have always loved reading. Books are my safe place," he said. "A few years ago, I really had this urge to open a bookstore. So many of my students don't have access to a local bookstore."

DeMoir "takes special care to stock books that reflect his students interests--those that address trans issues and LGBTQ topics. He carries books on the immigrant experience," the Business Journal wrote. The 1,200-square-foot bookstore features both new and used titles.

One of his favorite things about owning a bookstore is meeting customers and learning what they like to read, as well as having the opportunity to do more reading himself: "I've always wanted to be able to work and read at the same time. I just love being surrounded by books. I've found it's my happy place."

Shelf Awareness Delivers Indie Pre-Order E-Blast

Yesterday, Shelf Awareness sent our monthly pre-order e-blast to more than 850,000 of the country's best book readers. The e-blast went to 857,859 customers of 178 participating independent bookstores.

The mailing features eight upcoming titles selected by Shelf Awareness editors and a sponsored title. Customers can buy these books via "pre-order" buttons that lead directly to the purchase page for the title on each sending store's website. A key feature is that bookstore partners can easily change title selections to best reflect the tastes of their customers and can customize the mailing with links, images and promotional copy of their own.

The pre-order e-blasts are sent the last Wednesday of each month; the next will go out on Wednesday, July 28. Stores interested in learning more can visit our program registration page or contact our partner program team via e-mail.

For a sample of June's pre-order e-blast, see this one from the King's English Bookshop, Salt Lake City, Utah.


Image of the Day: Anderson's Adventure Windows

Anderson's Bookshop, Naperville, Ill., created a series of interactive display windows around the theme "Books Take You on an Adventure. Where Will Your Adventure Lead?" The five scenes are titled Magical Kingdom, Distant Worlds, Enchanted Forest, On a Mystery and Under the Sea. Customers can step onto sidewalk footprints and assume the position of painted window silhouettes. The windows were created by the bookstore's resident artists Jennifer Finlen, Grace Benstine and Nikki Siebert.

Cool Idea of the Day: Tattered Cover's Immersive Baseball Experience

To celebrate the 2021 MLB All-Star Game being held at Coors Field in Denver, Colo., on July 13, Tattered Cover Book Store has planned a week-long immersive baseball experience

The festivities will take place at Tattered Cover's new McGregor Square location, which just so happens to be adjacent to Coors Field. The bookstore will set up a baseball-themed pop-up shop in its 120-foot outdoor breezeway featuring 1,000 titles. There will be children's books, baseball history books and a section on the Negro League curated by the Hue-Man Experience. The pop-up will run from July 8 to July 13.

Tattered Cover is inviting customers to vote on their favorite baseball books and will host special events--virtual and in-person panels, signings and book talks--with baseball writers Jane Leavy, David and Andrew Maraniss, Bill Madden and Howard Bryant, as well as MLB analyst Tim Kurkjian and Baseball Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson.

Full details of the experience can be found here.

Midtown Scholar's Pandemic Lessons

A Harrisburg News piece written by Harvey Freedenberg, Shelf Awareness book reviewer extraordinaire, focuses how the Midtown Scholar Bookstore in Harrisburg, Pa., fared during the pandemic, when its doors were shut to customers for more than 400 days.

While the store's online sales efforts before Covid-19 had focused on used book, as the pandemic started, it "pivoted to sales of new ones as customers, eager for fresh reading material during the pandemic, enthusiastically embraced online book buying," Freedenberg wrote.

The store moved its calendar of author readings and interviews onto Zoom and "significantly expand their frequency, occasionally featuring two events in a single evening. The bookstore became one of the first in the country to make the shift--within a week of the shutdown--and, by the time of the re-opening, it had presented some 150 of these programs."

According to manager Alex Brubaker, a typical event drew about 200 viewers and several attracted audiences of more than 1,000 from around the world. It also drew some authors who likely would not have made an in-person appearance at the store.

Another important move: beginning in May 2020, the Midtown Scholar began holding weekly sidewalk sales on Fridays and Saturdays. "These allowed customers to maintain their physical connection to the store, even if they couldn't enter to browse the shelves or sip a latte from the café."

Still, Brubaker says that the pandemic taught him that nothing will replace the in-person book browsing experience: "If anything, it confirmed what I do for a living and that independent bookstores need to be here as physical locations in order to grow a literary community," he said. "Once that was taken away, it made me realize how important that is to a community."

Personnel Changes at Tom Doherty Associates

Michael Dudding has joined Tom Doherty Associates as associate director of marketing. He was formerly senior marketing manager at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, where he worked on a range of adult fiction and nonfiction titles. Earlier he was at Grove Atlantic, most recently as digital publishing and marketing manager.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Rodney Scott on Rachael Ray

Live with Kelly and Ryan: Wendy Troxel, author of Sharing the Covers: Every Couple's Guide to Better Sleep (Hachette Go, $28, 9780306875007).

Rachael Ray: Rodney Scott, co-author of Rodney Scott's World of BBQ: Every Day Is a Good Day: A Cookbook (‎Clarkson Potter, $29.99, 9781984826930).

The View repeat: Dorothy A. Brown, author of The Whiteness of Wealth: How the Tax System Impoverishes Black Americans--and How We Can Fix It (Crown, $27, 9780525577324).

Late Night with Seth Meyers repeat: Casey Wilson, author of The Wreckage of My Presence: Essays (Harper, $26.99, 9780062960580).

Jimmy Kimmel Live repeat: Quentin Tarantino, author of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood: A Novel (Harper Perennial, $9.99, 9780063112520).

This Weekend on Book TV: In-Depth with Annette Gordon-Reed

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, July 3
11:45 a.m. Ben Rhodes, author of After the Fall: Being American in the World We've Made (Random House, $28, 9781984856050).

2 p.m. Patricia Sullivan, author of Justice Rising: Robert Kennedy’s America in Black and White (‎Belknap Press, $39.95, 9780674737457).

6:05 p.m. Daisy Hernández, author of The Kissing Bug: A True Story of a Family, an Insect, and a Nation's Neglect of a Deadly Disease (Tin House, $27.95, 9781951142520).

7 p.m. John Feffer, author of The Pandemic Pivot (‎Seven Stories Press, $17.95, 9781644210932).

8 p.m. Mark Carney, author of Value(s): Building a Better World for All (‎PublicAffairs, $35, 9781541768703).

9 p.m. Jack Phillips, author of The Cost of My Faith: How a Decision in My Cake Shop Took Me to the Supreme Court (Salem Books, $24.99, 9781684510801).

10 p.m. Ursula Burns, author of Where You Are Is Not Who You Are: A Memoir (Amistad, $27.99, 9780062879295). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

Sunday, July 4
12 p.m. Live In-Depth q&a with Pulitzer Prize-winner Annette Gordon-Reed, author of On Juneteenth (‎Liveright, $15.95, 9781631498831). (Re-airs Sunday at 10 p.m.)

5:05 p.m. Rebecca Hall and Hugo Martínez, author and illustrator of Wake: The Hidden History of Women-Led Slave Revolts (Simon & Schuster, $29.99, 9781982115180).

6:10 p.m. Scott Borchert, author of Republic of Detours: How the New Deal Paid Broke Writers to Rediscover America (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $30, 9780374298456).

Books & Authors

Awards: Arthur C. Clarke Shortlist

For the first time, six debut novels comprise the shortlist for the 2021 Arthur C. Clarke Award, given to the best science fiction novel first published in the U.K. during the previous year, the Bookseller reported. The winning author will be announced during an award ceremony in September. This year's shortlisted titles are:

The Infinite by Patience Agbabi 
The Vanished Birds by Simon Jimenez 
Vagabonds by Hao Jingfang 
Edge of Heaven by R.B. Kelly 
The Animals in that Country by Laura Jean McKay 
Chilling by Valerie Valdes 

Chair of judges Andrew M. Butler said: "As always, the shortlisting process was closely argued, and it was especially tough for the judges to get the shortlist down to just six. To everyone's surprise, each of the titles is a debut novel. This has never happened before."

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, July 6:

Falling: A Novel by T.J. Newman (Avid Reader Press/Simon & Schuster, $28, 9781982177881) finds an airline pilot's family held hostage.

Fallen by Linda Castillo (Minotaur, $27.99, 9781250142924) is the 12th Amish mystery with Kate Burkholder.

The Bone Code by Kathy Reichs (Scribner, $27, 9781982139964) is the 20th mystery with forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan.

The Very Nice Box by Eve Gleichman and Laura Blackett (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $25, 9780358540113) follows an engineer at a furniture company with a charming but devious new boss.

Trejo: My Life of Crime, Redemption, and Hollywood by Danny Trejo and Donal Logue (Atria, $27, 9781982150822) is the memoir of an actor with a rough past.

The Man Who Hated Women: Sex, Censorship, and Civil Liberties in the Gilded Age by Amy Sohn (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $30, 9781250174819) tells the story of anti-vice activist Anthony Comstock and his war against women's rights.

Hatchet Man: How Bill Barr Broke the Prosecutor's Code and Corrupted the Justice Department by Elie Honig (Harper, $28.99, 9780063092365) chronicles the profoundly unethical conduct of Trump's attorney general.

Across the Airless Wilds: The Lunar Rover and the Triumph of the Final Moon Landings by Earl Swift (‎Custom House, $28.99, 9780062986535) explores the last Apollo missions.

The Musical Child: Using the Power of Music to Raise Children Who Are Happy, Healthy, and Whole by Joan Koenig (‎Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28, 9781328612960) sings the praises of music in early childhood development.

Any Way the Wind Blows by Rainbow Rowell (Wednesday Books, $19.99, 9781250254337) is the final book in the Simon Snow trilogy.

If You, Then Me by Yvonne Woon (HarperCollins/Tegen, $17.99, 9780063008649) features a talented young woman who enrolls in Silicon Valley app incubator for tech prodigies.

The Exiles: A Novel by Christina Baker Kline (Custom House, $16.99, 9780062356338).

The Tiger Mom's Tale by Lyn Liao Butler (Berkley, $17, 970593198728).

Incense and Sensibility: A Novel by Sonali Dev (Morrow, $15.99, 9780063051805).

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:

One Two Three: A Novel by Laurie Frankel (Holt, $26.99, 9781250236777). "I absolutely loved this heartwarming story of three courageous sisters fighting for justice in their town. It's a modern David and Goliath tale of small-town America told with wit and heart. Frankel is a superb storyteller, and I did not want my time with this wise and endearing family to end." --Shannon Burgess, The Bookstore of Glen Ellyn, Glen Ellyn, Ill.

Rabbits: A Novel by Terry Miles (Del Rey, $28, 9781984819659). "Oh the joyride that is Rabbits! A game? A conspiracy? Quantum physics? A clever puzzle of a novel that is a compulsive read. Stranger Things meets Ready Player One. It's fun!" --Melissa DeMotte, The Well-Read Moose, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

Walking on Cowrie Shells: Stories by Nana Nkweti (Graywolf Press, $16, 9781644450543). "From comic book conventions to zombie outbreaks to a nightclub bathroom, Nkweti has crafted characters that shine in their unique predicaments. I'm obsessed with these stories, and grateful to Nkweti for sharing a part of the Cameroonian-American experience with us." --Halee Kirkwood, Birchbark Books and Gifts, Grand Marais, Minn.

For Ages 4 to 8
What If, Pig? by Linzie Hunter (Harper, $17.99, 9780062986092) "What a sweet, charming, and relatable little pig. Readers will fall in love with this anxious porcine friend." --Betsy Covert, The Toadstool Bookshop, Keene, N.H.

For Ages 8 to 12
Both Can Be True by Jules Machias (Quill Tree Books, $16.99, 9780063053892). "Middle school is hard, but trying to figure out identity--who you are--is probably the hardest part. Ash and Daniel face all of those genuinely awkward, confusing, and wonderful questions in big-hearted ways in." --Cat Chapman, The Oxford Exchange, Tampa, Fla.

For Teen Readers
Pumpkin by Julie Murphy (Balzer + Bray, $17.99, 9780062880451). "A wonderful return to Clover City, Pumpkin has all the elements we loved from Dumplin' and Puddin' with cameos of favorite characters. Waylon is nearing high school graduation and planning his next move without knowing what he wants to do or how to get there. Heartwarming and encouraging!" --Rebecca Waesch, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Cincinnati, Ohio

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: The People We Keep

The People We Keep by Allison Larkin (Gallery Books, $27 hardcover, 368p., 9781982171292, August 3, 2021)

It is 1994 in Little River, N.Y., when 16-year-old April steals her neighbor's car to drive into the next town for an open mic night. She returns the car when she's done, but the teasing taste of freedom she finds on the road--and the crowd's positive reaction to her songs--set the standard for the rest of this propulsive novel. Allison Larkin's The People We Keep is the story of April's journey away from Little River: escape, both seeking something (home, community) and fleeing from it.

Her mother is long gone and barely remembered; her father alternates between abuse and neglect, but he also gives April her first guitar. It is clear that her music is essentially her only lifeline: "My dad used to say that good folk music is etched with the rhythm of the road. I always listen for it in songs and I find it in the best ones. So when I'm driving, I pay attention to all the noise... and I start my song. It begins like a story in my head...."

April finds her first hope and solace in Ithaca, a town with hippies and colleges and baffling coffee drinks, and where she gets a job and a lover and makes her first true friend. Thanks to her past and trauma, though, she both yearns for and fears attachment; she has to keep moving. The rest of the novel follows April up and down the eastern seaboard, living out of her car, busking and playing bars and coffee shops, finding and losing what she most wants, over and over again.

The People We Keep is intimate, urgent and direct; April's first-person voice is magnetic, compelling. She is damaged and still so young--years go by and she is still in her teens--but extraordinarily resilient, a "miracle girl who is so full of piss and vinegar that she survived it all." Just when it begins to feel like she'll never learn to stop moving, she makes a discovery. "We have people we get to keep, who won't ever let us go. And that's the most important part."

This is a novel of great empathy, about connections and coming of age, built families and self-acceptance. It contains heartbreak and redemption, and a plucky, irresistible protagonist. For any reader who's ever wished they could go, or wished they could stay. --Julia Kastner, librarian and blogger at pagesofjulia

Shelf Talker: In this propulsive, empathetic novel, a teenaged singer-songwriter takes to the road, both hoping for and running from an experience of love and acceptance.

The Bestsellers Bestsellers in June

The bestselling audiobooks at independent bookstores during June:

1. Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid (Penguin Random House Audio)
2. One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston (Macmillan Audio)
3. The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave (Simon & Schuster Audio)
4. People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry (Penguin Random House Audio)
5. The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune (Macmillan Audio)
6. Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers (Harlequin Audio)
7. The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris (Simon & Schuster Audio)
8. While Justice Sleeps by Stacey Abrams (Penguin Random House Audio)
9. The Midnight Library by Matt Haig (Penguin Random House Audio)
10. Firekeeper's Daughter by Angeline Boulley (Macmillan Audio)

1. How the Word Is Passed by Clint Smith (Hachette Audio)
2. Somebody's Daughter by Ashley C. Ford (Macmillan Audio)
3. Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner (Penguin Random House Audio)
4. The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green (Penguin Random House Audio)
5. Broken Horses by Brandi Carlile (Penguin Random House Audio)
6. Caste by Isabel Wilkerson (Penguin Random House Audio)
7. Empire of Pain by Patrick Radden Keefe (Penguin Random House Audio)
8. After the Fall by Ben Rhodes (Penguin Random House Audio)
9. Yearbook by Seth Rogen (Penguin Random House Audio)
10. What Happened to You? by Oprah Winfrey and Bruce D. Perry (Macmillan Audio)

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