Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, July 28, 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

Quotation of the Day

'Being in an Indie Bookstore Is a Glimpse into a Community More Broadly'

"At first, I thought I wasn't going to miss touring for my new book at all, but I ended up missing it a lot. I missed the booksellers I meet on the road who are so kind and eager to show me the world they live in: restaurants, sneaker spots, music spots. Being in an indie bookstore is a glimpse into a community more broadly, and I really appreciate that."

--Hanif Abdurraqib, author most recently of A Little Devil in America, in an Indianapolis Monthly q&a response to the question: "Why do local bookstores mean so much to you?" 

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


The Dog-Eared Page Finds a Home in Danville, Va.

Catherine Carter has found a location for her bookstore, The Dog-Eared Page, in Danville, Va., and plans to open by the end of the summer, WSET reported.

The store will sell mostly new books, and will reside at 525 Main Street in Danville's River District, in a building that previously housed an insurance agency. It will be the first bookstore to open in the River District in years.

Earlier this year Carter received a $25,000 grant from the Dream Launch business bootcamp and pitch competition to help her open the bookstore. She told The Morning Jam on VTRN that the idea to open a store grew out of a book club that she organized with her coworkers during the pandemic. The members started talking one day about how nice it would be to have a place to meet, and from there Carter started thinking about opening a bookstore of her own.

Carter noted that as the country is moving out of the pandemic, people are once again wanting to connect with others. "You can't just get that ordering a book on Amazon or downloading something on a Kindle."

She added that as soon as she saw the old insurance building she thought, "that's gonna be my store," even before she received the grant.

GLOW: Tordotcom: The Crane Husband by Kelly Barnhill

Morgenstern Books 'Reopens' in Bloomington After 25-Year Hiatus

At Morgenstern Books: Rick Morgenstern, operations manager Sandy Hayes, Mitch Teplitsky

Morgenstern Books, the Bloomington, Ind., bookstore that closed in 1996, opened Monday in a new location at 849 S. Auto Mall Rd. WFIU News reported that the store "saw a busy first day, with its parking lot full of customers wanting to support the local business. The opening date was originally set in 2019, but the pandemic caused a delay as more funding was gathered. The store plan will have some of its old characteristics--like a community space that can be reserved and occasional live entertainment. But new ideas like a coffee café and selling local artisan goods are planned too."

Earlier this year, the Indiana Daily Student noted that Rick Morgenstern, who was the original owner, had partners in the revived bookstore. Mitch Teplitsky, who handles public relations and communications for Morgenstern Books, said the impetus for the reopening came in 2018, when Morgenstern "published a letter in the Herald-Times asking former customers how they felt about him reopening. The response to the letter was extremely positive."

Morgenstern Books chronicled its "soft opening" on Facebook, including posts on the anticipation ("Are you ready for the long-awaited return of Morgenstern's?"); the founder ("A comeback for the ages: 25 years after Rick closed the original Morgenstern's, the beloved bookstore is back!"); the bookshelves ("The amazing Jerry Maners (right) designed and built the beautiful oak bookcases throughout the store. Someone buy this man a coffee! For a year!"); and many community members who stopped by to express their support for the new venture."

Soho Press: Black Dove by Colin McAdam

Bookhunters New & Used Books Opens in Batavia, Ill.

Bookhunters New & Used Books has opened in the Fabyan Randall Plaza shopping center in Batavia, Ill., the Daily Herald reported, noting that co-owners Vicki and Derrick Allison "want their store to be a fun place for readers to visit and browse."

"I grew up in a house with thousands of books," said Vicki Allison, a native of Johnson City, Tenn., who worked in a bookstore owned by her father, a Baptist minister, before opening her first bookstore in Carmel, Ind., under the Bookhunters name. She and her husband later operated a Bookhunters on Route 59 in Naperville, Ill., from 2009 to 2014.

After spending several years selling mail-order through online vendors, they learned of the vacant retail space at 1938 W. Fabyan Parkway in Batavia. "With a Trader Joe's grocery store next door, the Allisons decided the location and time were right to get back into the brick-and-mortar game," the Daily Herald wrote. 

"It seemed like the demographics were right for us," Derrick Allison said.

Since opening July 1, Bookhunters has seen a steady stream of foot traffic and sales, though online sales remain a major part of the business.

Vicki Allison said they had anticipated that online sales would continue to make up the bulk of the sales (about 80%), but sales made directly from the shop and purchases made online have been about evenly split so far, which she considers an encouraging sign.

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

Sidelines Snapshot: Water Bottles, Puzzles, Tea and Toys

From Swig

At Anderson's Bookshop in Naperville and Downers Grove, Ill., "anything book-related is going well," reported gift buyer Sally Blackburn, pointing to items like Paddywax literary candles as well as socks and pins from Out of Print. Water bottles and other items from Swig, she added, are also doing particularly well, and the store is looking forward to Swig's holiday versions.

Anderson's added products from Wrendale Designs this year, which includes greeting cards, stationery, socks and scarves, with Blackburn noting that the packaging is "beautiful." Asked whether popular items or customer buying habits have changed much recently, Blackburn said the bookstore team has not "identified any changes for pre- and post-pandemic."

Chicago Rocks Glass from Well-Told Design

On the subject of locally made sidelines, Blackburn pointed to custom mugs for the Downers Grove and Naperville stores made by the company It Takes Two. Anderson's also carries barware made by Well Told, which features etched maps of Naperville and Chicago. Both of these companies, she said, have been easy to work with and their products sell well.

Some of the store's perennial favorites, meanwhile, include socks, aprons, bags, oven mitts and kitchen towels from Blue Q, tea from Republic of Tea, Chronicle puzzles with book-related images and Swedish dish cloths from a variety of vendors.


Beth Black, co-owner of Bookworm of Omaha in Omaha, Neb., said that puzzles, candles, board games and strategy games, as well as notecards and stationery, have been selling well at the moment. The store has not brought in many new sidelines lately; they've been focusing instead on "ordering heavier" in categories that have proven track records.

Considering whether shopping habits have changed since the start of the pandemic, Black said customers seem to be buying things that make them feel better or feel nostalgic about "how things used to be," which she called "comfort buying."

Asked about some of the store's steady sellers, Black pointed to Thymes fragrances; puzzles from vendors like Springbok, Ravensburger and White Mountain Puzzles; Abdallah candies; greeting cards from Crane and Caspari; reading glasses from I Heart Eyewear and 2020 Vision; and children's plush toys from Folkmanis and Gund.


In Greensboro, N.C., Scuppernong Books has done especially well with store-branded merchandise, owner Brian Lampkin said. Totes, mugs and stickers with the store's name have all done nicely since the start of the pandemic, with Lampkin attributing that success to customers wanting to support the bookstore in any way they can. Some of those branded items were difficult to get back in stock; Lampkin noted that mugs in particular took "months" to arrive.

Scuppernong finally "reopened in earnest" in early June, with the bookstore's bar open again for the first time since early 2020 and no occupancy restrictions in place. The increase in traffic has led to better sales for sidelines, including puzzles, particularly those made by a local puzzle maker that feature Greensboro, and stuffed animals from Douglas Cuddle Toys. Greeting cards and reading glasses, Lampkin added, have been consistently popular, too. --Alex Mutter

If you'd like your store to be featured in a future Sidelines Snapshot article, please reach out to Alex Mutter at

North Carolina's Combination Tattoo Shop, Museum and Bookstore

Husband-and-wife team Chuck Eldridge and Harriet Cohen own and operate Tattoo Archive, a combination tattoo shop, tattoo museum and tattoo bookstore, in downtown Winston-Salem, N.C., the Winston-Salem Journal reported.

The bookstore side of the business, which sells books about tattooing as well as children's books, cards and postcards, has grown out of The BookMistress, a business Cohen started years ago out of her dining room.

In addition to being a working tattoo parlor, Tattoo Archive features photographs of 150 years of tattoo history and is also home to the Paul Rogers Tattoo Research Center, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving tattoo history. Rogers was a tattoo artist who started tattooing in 1928, and upon his death in 1990 he left his entire tattooing collection to Eldridge.

Eldridge opened his first tattoo parlor in Berkeley, Calif., in 1980, which he described as a miniature version of the current Tattoo Archive. He and Cohen met in that shop in 1982 and remained in California until 2007, when they moved to North Carolina.


Image of the Day: Eddie Muller Signing Dark City in L.A.

Author Eddie Muller stopped by Larry Edmunds Bookshop in Los Angeles to sign copies of Dark City: The Lost World of Film Noir, from TCM/Running Press. (photo: Jeff Mantor)

Pagination Bookshop in the 'Business Spotlight'

The Springfield, Mo., Business Journal trained its "Business Spotlight" on Pagination Bookshop, noting that after being forced temporarily to close the shop to customers last year amid the Covid-19 pandemic, co-owners Jennifer Murvin and Kory Cooper "feared their young independent bookstore was going to be a short story."

The shop, which opened in April 2019, was just weeks shy of its first anniversary when in-person shopping was suspended for several months.  Prior to that, the owners had viewed the shop's website as a nonfactor, since only one or two orders were placed online per month.

"We were in talks to close our website because we didn't do very much on it," Cooper said. "Then there was the shutdown and our website saved us."

Noting that annual revenue grew 115% in 2020, Murvin added: "Everything pivoted online really beautifully. People maybe didn’t realize we had a full online store.... It helped that Amazon stopped shipping books for a couple months right at the beginning of the pandemic. There was also a kind of wonderful push and energy of everybody supporting local community businesses. I just wasn’t expecting that, which was awesome."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Elaine Welteroth on The Drew Barrymore Show

Drew Barrymore Show repeat: Elaine Welteroth, author of More Than Enough: Claiming Space for Who You Are (No Matter What They Say) (Penguin Books, $17, 9780525561613).

Movies: The Phantom of the Open

Sony Pictures Classics has acquired North America, Thailand, France and China rights to director Craig Roberts's The Phantom of the Open, adapted by Simon Farnaby from the book he co-wrote with Scott Murray. 

The movie "follows Maurice Flitcroft (Oscar winner Mark Rylance), a dreamer and unrelenting optimist who managed to gain entry to the British Open Golf Championship Qualifying in 1976 and subsequently shot the worst round in Open history, becoming a folk hero in the process," Deadline reported. Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine) co-stars. 

"I'm extremely grateful that SPC share our love for Maurice and his wonderful story," said Roberts. "They are the perfect fit for this project. I'm very proud of what our cast and crew have created. I hope that Maurice's superpowers make the world a better place."

Books & Authors

Awards: Sisters in Crime Davitt Shortlists

Sisters in Crime Australia has released "a rather long shortlist" for the 2020 Davitt Awards, recognizing the best crime and mystery books by Australian women. Pandemic lockdown permitting, awards will be presented in six categories--adult novel, YA novel, children's novel, nonfiction book, debut (any category) and Readers' Choice (as voted SiC members)--on August 28 in Melbourne. Check out the complete shortlists here.

Reading with... Shelley Parker-Chan

photo: Harvard Wang

Shelley Parker-Chan is an Asian Australian former diplomat who worked on human rights, gender equality and LGBTQ+ rights in Southeast Asia. She was raised on Greek myths, Arthurian legend and Chinese tales of suffering and tragic romance, and her writing owes more than a little to all three. Her debut novel, the Chinese historical fantasy She Who Became the Sun, was just published by Tor.

On your nightstand now:

Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto, which is a super fun rom-com caper. The details of Chinese-Indonesian family dynamics are a delight--I've been howling in recognition and texting the best lines to all my friends. I've also just stolen back my early copy of Zen Cho's Black Water Sister from my book-thieving family. Nobody does a comedic-terrifying Chinese grandma as well as Zen.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Tamora Pierce's Tortall books! I was obsessed with fierce-tempered Alanna, who disguises herself as a boy to take her brother's place as a knight-in-training. I remember finishing Wild Magic, the first book in her next series, and discovering to my shock that the next one wasn't out yet. It was the first time that had ever happened to me. I was so desperate for it that I started to dream about finding it in random places. I was always pleased with the genius story that dream-me was reading, until I woke up and it was ridiculous.

Your top five authors:

As a proxy, I'll say my current fiction auto-buys are: Tana French, Nghi Vo, Madeline Miller, Naomi Novik and Tasha Suri.

Book you've faked reading:

Jin Yong is the granddaddy of the wuxia Chinese martial arts adventure genre, but for a long time his books weren't readily available in English. I read an incomplete fan translation of The Legend of the Condor Heroes back in the day, and I suppose I have some secondhand knowledge from TV dramas, but I generally just nod and sweat when people start talking about famous wuxia sects. Though now that there are new translations by Gigi Chang and Anna Holmwood, I no longer have an excuse.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Garth Greenwell's Cleanness. In particular the story "Gospodar," which is a single BDSM scene, is a revelation. It excavates that incommunicable interiority that gives rise to both the excitement and disappointment of (queer) sexual encounters with strangers. I've never read anything like it.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Who could pass over the strutting, butch, goth brilliance of Tommy Arnold's cover for Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir? The cherry on top is the Charles Stross blurb that was heard around the world: "Lesbian necromancers in space." I couldn't imagine a better cover for a book that begins, "Gideon Nav packed her sword, her shoes, and her dirty magazines, and she escaped from the House of the Ninth."

Book you hid from your parents:

My parents didn't mind what I read, but before discovering the romance genre, I did hide in the library stacks and surreptitiously re-read the spicy scenes in David Gemmell historical fantasy books. Good ancient Greek warrior content.

Book that changed your life:

Probably Roméo Dallaire's Shake Hands with the Devil. Dallaire commanded the UN's mission to Rwanda in 1993, and his book is a searing indictment of the international community's refusal to take action in the face of genocidal violence. I was a jaded cog in the international bureaucracy at the time, and I was very familiar with that brand of cowardly, self-serving pettiness. That book told me it was time to get out.

Favorite line from a book:

"The boy thought that there was something wrong with him. All through his life--even when he was a great man with the world at his feet--he was to feel this gap: something at the bottom of his heart of which he was aware, and ashamed, but which he did not understand." --T.H. White, The Once and Future King.

I've always loved this line about Lancelot, whose deepest desires were to be cruel, and because of that strove all the harder to be kind. I never knew, until I read Helen Macdonald's brilliant memoir of grief, H Is for Hawk, that White spent his whole life tormented by his (gay, sadistic, unspeakable) sexuality. It makes this line unbearably sad.

Five books you'll never part with:

Underland by Robert Macfarlane (brain-opening!), The Shock of the New by Robert Hughes (stunning work of art criticism), The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen (brutal), Wintercombe by Pamela Belle (perfect high-stakes historical romance), House of Aunts by Zen Cho (absolute tearjerker).

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

When you have friends who are incredible writers, you have the privilege of seeing their books take shape. But it also means you'll never read those finished books for the first time; you'll never get that thrill of opening them and realising they're what you've been looking for. I wish I could experience C.S. Pacat's Kings Rising without knowing how it was going to end the Captive Prince series. I wish I could discover Vanessa Len's time-traveler London of Only a Monster for the first time.

Book Review

Children's Review: Paradise on Fire

Paradise on Fire by Jewell Parker Rhodes (Little, Brown, $16.99 hardcover, 256p., ages 8-up, 9780316493833, September 14, 2021)

In this gripping, moving and life-affirming middle-grade adventure, survival requires not only smarts but also compassion for others, the planet and oneself.

Jewell Parker Rhodes, award-winning author of Ghost Boys, introduces Addy, a Nigerian American teen girl participating in a summer program for Black city kids to develop wilderness skills. "Escape. Survive."--that's Addy's mantra. Her parents died in a fire when she was four, but she lived. Now, on her flight to Paradise Ranch in California, she maps the exits, preparing for an emergency. At the ranch, she avoids the fireplace, trying not to summon unwanted flashbacks. She misses the Bronx and Grandma Bibi, who left Nigeria to raise Addy and who encouraged this trip: "To know yourself, you need to journey, Adaugo." As events lead to a climactic forest fire, Addy endeavors to follow Bibi's words.

Paradise on Fire is a brilliant melding of captivating storytelling and crucial teaching moments. Every morning, Leo, the ranch boss, takes Addy hiking, acquainting her--and readers--with topography, wildfires and forest health, as well as humanity's role in deforestation and climate change. "Half of Earth's forests are gone," Addy learns, and she wonders how to save them. Rhodes particularly exemplifies how friends can bring out one's latent strengths. While rappelling, Addy prompts DeShon to think of his favorite music to help him brave the climb. A frightened A'leia inspires Addy to lead on the zip lines, and Nessa swears she'd follow Addy if there's trouble, because Addy pays attention. "If the plane fell," Jay tells Addy of their trip, "I wouldn't have been surprised if you grew wings."

Through the kids' candid dialogue and Addy's expressive narration, Rhodes also weaves in issues of race and class. Aware of the opportunities they've lacked as Black city kids, Kelvin jokingly calls s'mores "white people's food" and notes the weirdness of sleeping outside. The ranch dog reminds Addy of how a dog is "one mouth too many to feed." DeShon, cognizant of how "white people's charity" funded the trip, feels like someone's "summer project." Addy's reverent perspective places readers under "towering, magical" trees in "bracing [air], smelling of green, cedar, and smoke." This immersive prose adds urgency to Rhodes's message that 97% of wildfires are caused by humans, a topic cited as the book's inspiration, along with the 2018 Camp Fire, in the afterword. Inspiring both action and hope, Paradise on Fire heralds the importance of believing in one's own power to make a difference. --Samantha Zaboski, freelance editor and reviewer

Shelf Talker: A Black teen from the city, who survived the fire that killed her parents, confronts the destructive reality of forest fires in this passionate, galvanizing middle-grade survival adventure.

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