Also published on this date: Wednesday, July 29, 2020: Maximum Shelf: Modern Madness

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Holiday House: Ros Demir Is Not the One by Leyla Brittan

HarperAlley: I Shall Never Fall In Love by Hari Conner

W. W. Norton & Company to Sell and Distribute Yale University Press and Harvard University Press

Clarion Books: The Man Who Didn't Like Animals by Deborah Underwood, Illlustrated by LeUyen Pham

Holiday House: Bye Forever, I Guess by Jodi Meadows and Team Canteen 1: Rocky Road by Amalie Jahn

Wednesday Books: Dust by Alison Stine


Bay Books in Mich. Reopens in New Home

Bay Books in Suttons Bay, Mich., has reopened in its new home after moving earlier this month, the Traverse City Record Eagle reported.

The store, which originally opened in May 2018, did not move far--from a 600-square-foot location on N. St. Joseph St. to a space about double that size on the same street. A "parade of volunteers" helped store owner Tina Greene-Bevington move, and it took less than an hour and a half to move the store's inventory of around 10,000 books. 

"They decorated their hand carts, dollies and wagons," Greene-Bevington told the Record Eagle. "It was amazing; it was just wonderful. It still amazes me when I think of everything they moved that day."

Greene-Bevington held a grand reopening in her new space on Monday. She plans to use the extra square footage eventually to host more events, such as book clubs and even yoga classes. In the meantime, Bay Books will continue to host a Books and Wine book club over Zoom, as well as other online events.

 Treasure Books, Inc.: There's Treasure Inside by Jon Collins-Black

Uncle Bobbie's Coffee & Books Burglarized

Uncle Bobbie's Coffee & Books, a Black-owned independent bookstore and cafe in Philadelphia, Pa., was broken into last weekend, BillyPenn reported.

At some point late Saturday night or early Sunday morning, the store's front window was smashed and cash and some equipment were stolen. Store owner March Lamont Hill wrote on Instagram that "no one was hurt and we didn't lose too much," with a police department spokesperson saying $650 and an iPad were taken.

Once the sun rose Sunday morning, neighbors almost immediately began gathering at the store to help clean up. They assisted Hill in sweeping glass from the sidewalk and boarding up the front window.

"In the end, I'm sad that someone is in a situation where they have to do harm to survive," Hill said in an Instagram caption. "I hope that we can figure out ways to help them and others meet their needs in a different way. Most importantly, I'm grateful for a loving community of people who believe in our mission and stand with us."

Hill founded Uncle Bobbie's in 2018. The cafe has been closed since March, but Hill launched a GoFundMe campaign to support the store during the pandemic that has raised just shy of $80,000.

Help a Bookseller, Change a Life: Give today to the Book Industry Charitable Foundation!

BAM's Jacksonville Beach, Fla., Store to Remain Open

Books-A-Million has signed a renewal of its lease at South Beach Parkway Plaza in Jacksonville Beach, Fla., just days after the company had announced it would close the location after 25 years in business.

"We are delighted to be able to continue to serve the communities of Jacksonville Beach and Ponte Vedra Beach," BAM CEO Terrance G. Finley said. "We believe bookstores play a special and essential role in the cultural life of the communities we serve and since 1995 Jax Beach has been an important part of the Books-A-Million family. We appreciate Sleiman Enterprises & Retail Planning Corporation working with us to assure that we can commit to this vibrant community for years to come."

Speaking on behalf of Sleiman Enterprises, v-p of asset management Paul Thomas said BAM "is a valued merchant at South Beach Parkway Plaza. We share the belief that bookstores are an important asset for any community. We are pleased that Books-A-Million will remain part of the beaches' retail landscape."

Earlier in the week, Melanie Smith, BAM v-p of marketing, had confirmed the planned closure, for which a final date had not been set. She told the Florida Times-Union that the store was among several the company intended to shutter following a regular assessment of its real estate portfolio. "We align our store locations with growing demand and customer needs in the communities that we serve. That is a location that we assessed and found that we need to close that one."

But on Friday, Smith informed the Daily Record: "We thought we were leaving, but turns out after a few conversations, now we don't have to! We're excited to stay."

Booksellers Auctioning Collectibles for Binc Fundraiser

Chuck and Dee Robinson, co-founders and former owners of Village Books and Paper Dreams, Bellingham and Lynden, Wash., are offering a large collection of first editions, many of which are signed or inscribed, as well as ARCs and book ephemera, in a 10-day auction that will benefit the Book Industry Charitable Foundation. The auction will run from August 7 through August 16, with all proceeds going to Binc. Anyone may participate by registering here.

An inscribed first edition of Raymond Carver's Where I'm Calling From

Over the years the Robinsons, like many booksellers, have acquired a large selection of collectible titles. Among the items being auctioned are signed or inscribed copies by John Grisham, Dan Brown, Margaret Atwood, John Updike, Bob Hope, Cormac McCarthy, William Safire, Salman Rushdie, Condoleezza Rice, Chuck Palahniuk and many others. There's also a signed letter from Jackie Kennedy Onassis.

The Robinsons have been big fans of and regular donors to Binc for some time, and Chuck Robinson serves on the Binc board. His earlier fundraising effort for Binc was a cross-country bicycle ride that raised more than $22,000.

Obituary Note: Peter Graham

British food writer Peter Graham, whose last and most popular book, Mourjou: The Life and Food of an Auvergne Village (1998), was "an evocative account of the many meals he ate, and the many years he lived, in a small village in a quiet part of central France," died July 7, the Guardian reported. He was 80. Mourjou "was suffused with a deep knowledge of France, and was every bit as seductive as the work of his more celebrated compatriot, Peter Mayle, author of A Year in Provence."

Graham's writing "revealed a limitless enthusiasm for eating, a sensitive and intelligent palate, a wide base of reading and an enlightened curiosity about the meaning of the words used in French cooking--be they from French dialect, Occitan, Provençal or Ligurian Italian," Tom Jaine wrote in Guardian, adding that his recipes "were eminently do-able, as he demonstrated in another well-received and enduring book, Classic Cheese Cookery (1988), which won the André Simon Memorial prize for the best food book of the year."

His early writing was about film for English-language publications in France, but eventually Graham's focus turned to his other love, food. He wrote about food and cookery for several publications before moving from Paris to Mourjou, where he bought a former cafe and grocer's shop and began to pursue various food writing projects, beginning with a translation of a Jacques Médecin recipe book Cuisine Niçoise: Recipes from a Mediterranean Kitchen (1983).

"As a measure of the respect and affection with which Peter was held in Mourjou, the locals, for whom the surrounding groves of chestnuts have been an important source of food for centuries, bestowed upon him the title of Grand Master of the Chestnut Confraternity," Jaine wrote. "These days the nuts are the focus of green tourism, and the October chestnut festival brings thousands to the village. A chestnut museum--the Maison de la Châtaigne--was created in a barn that once belonged to him, and he lived in the village for the rest of his life, with visiting friends finding a welcome table and a perceptive host."

G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!
Private Rites
by Julia Armfield
GLOW: Flatiron Books: Private Rites by Julia Armfield

In Private Rites, Julia Armfield (Our Wives Under the Sea; salt slow) offers an atmospheric meditation on sisterhood and loss at the end of the world. Living in a bleak, water-inundated city where the rain rarely stops, Isla, Irene, and Agnes are shocked at the abrupt death of their father, who has left his house to only one of them. As they grapple with his last manipulation, they must grapple, too, with what it means to have relationships with each other beyond his reach. As Flatiron Books executive editor Caroline Bleeke notes, Armfield's novel may be about "difficult things," yet it "manages to be so funny, so loving, so brilliant, and so beautifully, singularly written." Private Rites is a testament to the light that can be found in each other, even in the darkest of times. --Alice Martin

(Flatiron, $27.99 Hardcover, 9781250344311, December 3, 2024)


Shelf vetted, publisher supported


Introducing: Run for Cover Bookstore's Owner

Marianne Reiner, owner of Run for Cover Bookstore, San Diego, Calif., decided to introduce herself to new followers of the store's Facebook page: "Today seems a good time to do some introduction to the many of you who have recently decided to follow Run for Cover Bookstore. Thank you! I am a French-American, book lover, human rights defender, baker in my spare time, fairly newly runner, mother of 2, married to their dad for as long as I can remember, sarcastic in my humor preferences, going to bat for what I believe in, friend to many and truly dedicated to few that matter most, traveler, occasional camper (in a real tent!), eternal optimist on most days, cheese lover, beekeeper's wife, public radio and podcasts junkie, movie buff at real theaters (one day again but wear your mask people), believer in science, equity and equality, defender of small businesses and communities, convinced there is a book for everyone out there (and that my mission, if you let me, is to help you find it) 46-year old bookseller! Oh yay, and my name is Marianne and I am so happy you have found Run for Cover Bookstore. Keep supporting our work and tell everyone about the little bookseller that could!"

Bookseller Moment: Old Firehouse Books

Posted on Sunday by Old Firehouse Books, Fort Collins, Colo.: "It's so quiet! The view from behind the sneeze guards is a welcome one, even if it's empty. Some of us who have been working from home have crept back into the store after hours to work on orders and inventory and we're happy to be back with the books! Thanks for keeping the lights on so we could come back, even to a customer-less time of day when we feel safe and comfortable and are able to do our jobs and keep getting books out to you!

"Don't forget, we're happy to hand deliver books to your doorstep, Wed/Fri/Sun, so you don't have to leave your house! We're here, packaging up orders long after the last customers have left for the day. We are so grateful, always, for your continued support. We love you, FoCo!"

Chalkboard: Wardini Books

New Zealand bookseller Wardini Books, Havelock North, shared a photo of its mystery-themed chalkboard, which featured new developments in the case: "Amy's crime scene body outline has been beautifully adapted by a young person. I think Jane Doe now has lungs (and a pony tail)--what a relief! Our Pop Up Crime Book Club is on TONIGHT (29th July): 7pm in the Bookshop of Good and Evil, Wardini Books Havelock North. See you there, with your lungs."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Steven Greenhouse on the Takeaway

The Takeaway: Steven Greenhouse, author of Beaten Down, Worked Up: The Past, Present, and Future of American Labor (Anchor, $16.99, 9781101872796).

The Talk: Al Roker, author of You Look So Much Better in Person: True Stories of Absurdity and Success (Hachette Go, $28, 9780316426794).

Movies: You Never Had It--An Evening with Charles Bukowski

A new trailer has been released for the documentary film You Never Had It--An Evening with Charles Bukowski, which will be released in North America on Kino Lorber's Kino Marquee revenue share platform on August 7 to mark the centennial of Bukowski's birth, Deadline reported.

Directed by Matteo Borgardt, the documentary features "lost footage of the cult writer in conversation with Italian journalist Silvia Bizio in 1981. During the evening, the two and others, including Bukowski's soon-to-be wife Linda Lee Beighle, smoke cigarettes, drink wine and engage in intimate conversations about sex, literature, childhood and humanity," Deadline wrote. Bizio found the video of the interview in her garage in 2014, 20 years after Bukowski's death. The film made its debut at Venice in 2016 and played at Slamdance in 2017, but didn't have a broader release.

Books & Authors

Awards: Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel Winner

Adrian McKinty has won the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year award for his novel The Chain. Previously nominated in 2011, 2014 and 2016 for his Sean Duffy series, McKinty will receive £3,000 (about $3,760) and an engraved oak beer cask, hand-carved by one of Britain's last coopers from Theakstons Brewery.

Simon Theakston, executive director of T&R Theakston, called McKinty "a writer of astonishing talent and tenacity, and we could not be more grateful that he was persuaded to give his literary career one last shot because The Chain is a truly deserving winner. While we might be awarding this year's trophy in slightly different, digital circumstances, we raise a virtual glass of Theakston Old Peculier to Adrian's success--with the hope that we can do so in person before too long, and welcome everyone back to Harrogate next year for a crime writing celebration like no other."

McKinty commented: "I am gobsmacked and delighted to win this award. Two years ago, I had given up on writing altogether and was working in a bar and driving an uber, and so to go from that to this is just amazing. People think that you write a book and it will be an immediate bestseller. For 12 books, my experience was quite the opposite, but then I started this one. It was deliberately high concept, deliberately different to everything else I had written--and I was still convinced it wouldn't go anywhere... but now look at this. It has been completely life changing."

Reading with... Aimee Bender

photo: Mark Miller

Aimee Bender is the author of the novelsThe Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake and An Invisible Sign of My Own, and of the collections The Girl in the Flammable SkirtWillful Creatures and The Color Master. Her works have been widely anthologized and have been translated into 16 languages. She lives in Los Angeles with her family, and teaches creative writing at the University of Southern California. Her new novel, The Butterfly Lampshade (Doubleday; July 28, 2020), is a luminous and poignant meditation on identity, family, memory and mental illness.

On your nightstand now:

Ursula Le Guin, Conversations on Writing with David Naimon
Freshwater, Akwaeke Emezi
Signs Preceding the End of the World, Yuri Herrera
Minor Feelings, Cathy Park Hong
This Is Pleasure, Mary Gaitskill
The Tradition, Jericho Brown
And War and Peace, Tolstoy, for A Public Space's reading together series, but I am way behind.

Favorite book when you were a child:

There were so many! The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles by the inimitable Julie Edwards (Andrews) was one.

Your top five authors:

This is hard. I have an ever-fluctuating list. James Baldwin, Marilynne Robinson, Samuel Beckett, Denis Johnson and Haruki Murakami are today's.

Book you've faked reading:

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. I really love Joyce but not that Joyce.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Cruddy by Lynda Barry. I loved it when I read it and then taught it years later and kept laughing at how dark it is, how funny, how fresh. She is just a master at voice and surprise.

Book you've bought for the cover:

The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis. Also for the insides! But that cantaloupe cover and small size book for those dense intense beautiful nuggets of story. Yes.

Book you hid from your parents:

Forever, Judy Blume

Book that changed your life:

The Fever by Wallace Shawn. I heard him read from it at Tin House Writers Conference years ago and bought and read it (it's a monologue) and couldn't get it out of my head. What a provocative and effective way to encounter the idea of white privilege.  

Favorite line from a book:

Again, so hard to pick! I have lines marked in all my favorite books. But how about this one, from Gabriel García Márquez, Love in the Time of Cholera:

"Both she and the servants were surprised because they had never heard of anyone who had drunk boiled window, but when they tried the tea in an effort to understand, they understood: it did taste of window."

Five books you'll never part with:

I bought a paperback copy of Annie John by Jamaica Kincaid with money I made for my first story sale to a college literary journal. Then an edition of Rinkitink in Oz I bought with money I made from my first book sale. A first edition of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle that a kind friend gave me when I was having a tough time going through a divorce. Several signed books by friends from graduate school, including Caucasia by Danzy Senna, and The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, because it was absolutely extraordinary to see those remarkable books on regular paper in workshop and then one day hold them, bound, in my hands.

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

I recently reread Beloved, and it was almost like reading it for the first time; it had been 20 years. And it was so astonishing to read what she was doing again, the risks she took so freely to let us into the worlds of her characters, the time, the place. I'd love to read it again for the first time. I also saw her influence in a way I hadn't 20 years ago--how so many of the books I'd read in those decades were so clearly and vividly impacted by her.

Book Review

Review: Before the Ever After

Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson (Nancy Paulsen/Penguin, $17.99 hardcover, 176p., ages 10-up, 9780399545436, September 1, 2020)

The best middle-grade novels centered on sports--among them books by Mike Lupica and Kwame Alexander, and now Jacqueline Woodson--are often not really about sports. In Before the Ever After, 12-year-old narrator ZJ doesn't even especially like sports. But he's crazy about his dad, the NFL dynamo Zachariah Johnson.

Before the Ever After begins in 1999, when Zachariah starts behaving like someone other than himself: his hands shake and he sometimes doesn't recognize people's faces. He gets monstrous headaches. For the first time in ZJ's life, he has a dad who's a yeller. ZJ lays all this out in free verse, a form that Woodson employed just as fruitfully in Brown Girl Dreaming: "Used to be I said my dad was home and people would/ come running to my house./ Now it feels like they're trying to run away." ZJ withholds how he feels from even his best friends--"I don't tell them that the quiet in our house/ is like a bruise. Silent./ Painful."

ZJ's mom takes Zachariah to various doctors for tests to try to get to the bottom of the mysterious headaches and memory lapses. (Woodson's author's note explains that in 1999 and 2000, when Before the Ever After is set, the medical community was still fuzzy on the link between brain injuries and tackle football.) Finally a doctor has an explanation; as ZJ interprets it, "All those times he got knocked down/ and knocked out, my daddy kept getting up/ but maybe some part of him/ stayed on the ground."

Before the Ever After may spur readers to mull over the risks of playing tackle football, but at heart the book is a love story. ZJ, a skinny kid who could practically swim in his dad's size 14 shoes, is as besotted with music as his dad is with football, and Zachariah has always accepted this about his son. He bought ZJ a guitar when the boy was seven--Zachariah had wanted to learn to play as a child but his parents couldn't afford lessons. Part of the heartbreak of Before the Ever After is the reader's gradual understanding of how far Zachariah came--to achieve professional greatness, to attain material wealth--only to find himself losing his ability to enjoy his success, not to mention parent his child. Woodson's text may be spare, but it has the emotional wallop of an offensive tackle. --Nell Beram, freelance writer and YA author

Shelf Talker: In this heartbreaking free-verse novel for middle schoolers, a 12-year-old describes his NFLer dad's decline due to head injuries sustained on the football field.

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