Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, April 7, 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


Wise Blood Booksellers on the Move in Kansas City, Mo.

Wise Blood's current store.

Wise Blood Booksellers, a new and used bookstore in Kansas City, Mo., will be moving at the end of the month into Mills Record Company at 4045 Broadway Blvd. On Facebook, co-owners Dylan Pyles and Judy Mills posted: "We've thought long and hard about this, and believe that this move is the best way for us to expand and grow (which means more books and open seven days a week) while investing in the future of Wise Blood (which means we're gonna be around for a long time!).  

"As many of you know, Wise Blood was born out of Mills Record Company (which, if you're not familiar, is just around the corner from our current location). When we started this project, no one could have imagined the year we were going to have in 2020. We are where we are now because of your support through the last 12 months, and hope that you'll join us as we make the transition into the new space."

Wise Blood will shutter its current space April 25, the day after Independent Bookstore Day. "Let's have a blast that day, and look forward to a future filled with all the imagination you can handle," the co-owners said.

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

Swamp Fox Bookstore Expands, Launches Swamp Fox Kids

Swamp Fox Bookstore in Marion, Iowa, has launched a children's division called Swamp Fox Kids. Both are "micro shops" located within the West End Marion, with Swamp Fox Bookstore now occupying a new, larger space while Swamp Fox Kids occupies the space in which Swamp Fox Bookstore used to reside.

Thanks to the creation of Swamp Fox Kids, the main bookstore now carries an expanded selection of books and gifts for adults and young adults. The children's store, meanwhile, carries books for kids, educational games and gifts for children and families.

Owners Ursla Lanphear, Terri LeBlanc and Amanda Zhorne founded Swamp Fox Bookstore last July. Both shops are currently open for business, and a grand opening celebration and ribbon cutting are planned for Saturday, April 24, the same day as Independent Bookstore Day.

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

IBD Preparation: Bookstore Shout-Out; Offer; Left Bank Celebrations

With Independent Bookstore Day 2021 less than three weeks away (Saturday, April 24), the American Booksellers Association and IBD have launched Bookstore Shout-Out, a consumer-facing social media campaign. 

The campaign began yesterday with a video from Glennon Doyle, the 2021 author ambassador. Booksellers and authors are encouraged to take part by amplifying existing posts and creating their own. Those posts can include videos or still images pertaining to bookstores, the bookstores the poster plans to visit on IBD and the hashtags #BookstoreShoutOut and #IndieBookstoreDay. Social media users are also encouraged to tag two of their favorite readers in their posts to help spread the word.

From April 17 to April 24, IBD and the ABA will choose a random winner from the people using the #BookstoreShoutOut and #IndieBookstoreDay hashtags to receive an Independent Bookstores of the United States Map from Pop-Chart, a free three-month subscription from and a 2021 IBD tote bag. And on Wednesday, April 21, there will be an IBD Twitter Party at 4 p.m. IBD assets and other material can be found here.


Between April 24-26, will give a free audiobook to any customer who spends $15 at any independent bookstore. Online and in-store purchases are eligible, and customers can submit their purchase details on's website to claim one of 12 audiobooks.

The available audio books are: Libertie by Kaitlyn Greenidge, Hummingbird Salamander by Jeff VanderMeer, You'll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey by Amber Ruffin & Lacey Lamar, Lost in the Never Woods by Aiden Thomas, Firekeeper's Daughter by Angeline Boulley, Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston, Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert, Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas, We Keep the Dead Close by Becky Cooper, I Want to Be Where the Normal People Are by Rachel Bloom, Remote Control by Nnedi Okorafor and How to Resist Amazon and Why by Danny Caine.


Left Bank Books in St. Louis, Mo., will reopen to in-store browsing on IBD. Customers will be able to browse from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and take part in a variety of special promotions and activities. 

Plans for the IBD and reopening celebration include an outdoor Dance Party Storytime in the morning and an outdoor Young Adult Open Mic in the afternoon, followed by a virtual poetry event at 7 p.m. Hosted on Facebook Live, the event will feature several area poets and will honor both IBD and National Poetry Month. Throughout the day customers will also have a chance to win $15 bookstore gift certificates.

IBD promotions will include free shipping on online orders totaling $75 or more, a free tote bag with in-store purchases of $50 or more, and a free "blind date with a book" when someone makes a donation of at least $5 to the Left Bank Books Foundation nonprofit. Exclusive IBD merchandise will be available in-store only starting at 10 a.m. Any exclusive items not sold after 6 p.m. will then be available online.

Co-owners Kris Kleindienst and Jarek Steele closed the store to in-store browsing over a year ago. Curbside pick-up, shipping and home delivery will all still be available after April 24, and there will be strict social distancing and safety protocols in place.

Shelf Awareness Job Board: Click Here to Post Your Job

International Update: Canadian Independent Bookstore Day Set, Edicole Opens in Perth

Canadian Independent Bookstore Day "is making a comeback in 2021," Quill & Quire reported, adding that the celebration, set for April 24 to coincide with IBD in the U.S., "was taken over by the Retail Council of Canada in 2018, but booksellers felt the campaign got lost in the organization's broader mandate. But now, boosted by the organizational muscle of the Canadian Independent Bookstore Association, this year will feature more than 60 stores participating across Canada and seven publishers... offering discounts."

"Perhaps bookstores had not jumped on board previously because they felt they were too small, too far flung, too off-the-beaten track," said Shelley Macbeth, CIBA board director and owner of Blue Heron Books, Uxbridge, Ont. "The focus used to be on getting authors into your stores. The point this year is to celebrate who you are, where you are. What you do in your community."

Noting that because of the pandemic, "it's unfortunate that the first time we are really trying to ramp this up, we kind of can't," Macbeth said that nevertheless there are already plans underway to elevate the campaign for 2022. "The overarching theme is to promote the fact that Canadian indie bookstores are an integral part of our culture and they are champions of Canadian authors and creators from diverse backgrounds. We are trying to get that word out."

On Facebook, CIBA posted: "#CIBD2021 is an opportunity to celebrate the remarkable contributions that indie booksellers make to Canadian culture. Indies are deeply passionate about their work, provide best-in-class customer service, and serve as pillars of the community. They also play a vital role in the Canadian literary ecosystem. They champion Canadian creators at all career stages, promote writers who identify as Indigenous, Black, People of Color, and LGBTQ2S+, and sell Canadian books at twice the rate as the rest of the market. The past year has been challenging, but indie booksellers have continued to adapt and persevere for the benefit of their communities. CIBD 2021 is our opportunity to thank them and show our support."


Described as "a bookstore for the modern explorer," Edicole, which opened recently in Perth, Australia's historic State Buildings, features "shelves lined with beautiful books on travel, photography, art and architecture," Broadsheet reported. "Sitting in the elegant Postal Hall at the heart of the building alongside Post and Wine Merchant, the shop... stocks more than 350 titles including rare publications such as books from luxury Italian publisher Assouline."

"It's a passion project for me," said founder Brendan Lee, a bibliophile with a background in finance. “One of my favorite things is wandering around bookstores, especially in New York, where I drew a lot of inspiration from."

Creative director Carolina Holland observed: "The Edicole customer is someone who's looking for something a little bit out of the realm, a unique gift or something beautiful to extend their library. While the focus is on coffee table and luxury style books, people will find a smaller selection of fiction and nonfiction."


Polish bookseller Massolit Books in Kraków was the focus of Books + Publishing's latest profile, run in partnership with the Melbourne City of Literature Office, of bookshops in the UNESCO Cities of Literature network.

"Massolit is outright leader of the shortlist of must-go places when you visit Kraków as a foreigner," said Kraków UNESCO City of Literature's Elżbieta Foltyniak. "A bunch of excellent books, friendly booksellers, delicious coffee and the unique cozy atmosphere--sounds like a perfect bookstore, doesn't it?"

Founded in 2001, Massolit Books was conceived as "an English-language independent bookstore/infoshop to promote progressive ideas among both locals and foreigners living in Poland," said staff member Robert Kluczkiewicz. "Our focus is not so much the bestseller list, but rather a curated selection of less-known but nonetheless important books from all fields of interest.... It is rather unusual for a bookstore in Poland to operate continuously in the same location for more than ten years, so I'd say it's no small feat that we have managed to stay in business for all these years." --Robert Gray

Obituary Note: John W. Borek

John W. Borek, former co-owner of the Village Green Bookstore, Rochester, N.Y., died on April 3. He was 71 and had been ill with leukemia.

Borek was a co-founder of Village Green in 1972, starting in a 600 square foot space. As recalled by the Democrat and Chronicle, the store expanded quickly, adding magazines and newspapers, a coffee bar, and a range of sidelines. In an unusual move for an indie bookstore, it went public in 1986 and expanded to other locations in upstate New York as well as Pennsylvania and New Jersey. But financial problems involving a major investor and the arrival of Borders and Barnes & Noble in the area led to a Chapter 11 filling in 1998 and the closing of its last store the following year.

WXXI noted that the Rochester City Council proclaimed February 16 as "John W. Borek Day," celebrating "a life story greater than the sum of all its chapters."

Those other chapters included being a legislative aide to a City Councilman for 15 years, president of the 19th Ward Community Association, recording rap albums, writing plays and performing in them as artistic director at Multi-use Community Cultural Center. And last year, he published The Club Van Cortlandt (New Shelves Books), about his freshman year at Columbia University. (For more about the book and Borek's "page-turner of a life," see this story in the Rochester City Newspaper.)

G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!
The Wisdom of Morrie:
Living and Aging Creatively and Joyfully
by Morrie Schwartz, edited by Rob Schwartz
GLOW: Blackstone Publishing: The Wisdom of Morrie: Living and Aging Creatively and Joyfully by Morrie Schwartz, edited by Rob Schwartz

Twenty-five years ago, Mitch Albom immortalized his former college professor in Tuesdays with Morrie, the blockbuster memoir that shared Morrie Schwartz's profound insights about life as he was dying of ALS. In The Wisdom of Morrie, Rob Schwartz, Morrie's son, resurrects his father's voice, sharing Morrie's philosophical wisdom and humor about the aging process--what can be an emboldening period filled with meaning and purpose. "This book is invaluable to anyone interested in improving their quality of life," says Rick Bleiweiss, head of new business development at Blackstone Publishing. "Readers who enjoy[ed] The Last Lecture and When Breath Becomes Air will expand their awareness and find new ideas and insights into living more fully." Schwartz's musings are timeless, and inspirational for readers of all ages. --Kathleen Gerard

(Blackstone Publishing, $25.99 hardcover, 9798200813452,
April 18, 2023)


Shelf vetted, publisher supported


Image of the Day: Proud Parent at Jabberwocky Bookshop

Erik Hoel with his mother, Sue Little, owner of Jabberwocky Bookshop, Newburyport, Mass., 33 years ago (top) and yesterday, publication date for his new novel, The Revelations (Overlook Press/Abrams). He'll also be part of the Newburyport Literary Festival later this month.

B&T Publisher Services Adds Three Client Publishers

Baker & Taylor Publisher Services has added three new publisher clients, offering full sales representation and distribution.

Fern Books, a new press being launched by Kristina Kearns, the previous publisher, executive director, and editorial director of McSweeney's, and Daniel Levin Becker, an author, translator, and longtime editor of both McSweeney's and the Believer. With a mission to publish books that "make the world a more enchanting, welcoming, and sane place," Fern's first book, publishing in September, is An Ideal Presence by Argentinian novelist Eduardo Berti. (Worldwide; effective immediately.)

The Word for Word Bible Comic, which focuses on graphic novels presenting Christian scripture. Its first release is The Gospel of Matthew: Word for Word Bible Comic, publishing in September, along with a corresponding Spanish-language edition using the NVI translation. (U.S. and Canada only; effective immediately.)

Oscar Riera Ojeda Publishers, which specializes in architecture books, with a focus on contemporary architecture and design. Although international in focus, many of the titles are about U.S. architectural firms or architects. Some of its bestsellers include Cutler Anderson Architects: The Houses and The Legacy Project: New Housing New York: Best Practices in Affordable, Sustainable, Replicable Housing Design. (Effective May 1; U.S., Canada, Central and South America only.)

Personnel Changes at Simon & Schuster

Elizabeth Worthy has been promoted to director, event management, at Simon & Schuster. For more than 20 years, she has managed thousands of events, from author tours to fan conventions to international and domestic trade shows, and now more and more virtual events as well.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Hunter Biden on Jimmy Kimmel Live

NPR's Here & Now: Julie Lythcott Haims, author of Your Turn: How to Be an Adult (Holt, $26.99, 9781250137777).

Fresh Air: Reem Kassis, author of The Arabesque Table: Contemporary Recipes from the Arab World (Phaidon Press, $39.95, 9781838662516).

The Talk repeat: Steve Leder, author of The Beauty of What Remains: How Our Greatest Fear Becomes Our Greatest Gift (Avery, $26, 9780593187555).

A Little Late with Lilly Singh: Padma Lakshmi, author of Tangy Tart Hot and Sweet: A World of Recipes for Every Day (Hachette Go, $17.99, 9780306926044).

Jimmy Kimmel Live: Hunter Biden, author of Beautiful Things: A Memoir (Gallery, $28, 9781982151119).

TV: Summer of '69

Elizabeth Gabler's 3000 Pictures has optioned the rights to Summer of '69 by Elin Hilderbrand for a limited series. The Hollywood Reporter noted that the "famed 'beach reads' author, repped by UTA, Inkwell Management and Kleinberg Lange, has been on a Hollywood hot streak as of late, placing several stories for adaption across film and series." Gabler, Erin Siminoff and Nikki Cooper are overseeing the project for the production company.

Under her pact with ABC Signature, Ellen Pompeo has teamed with Mad Men writers André and Maria Jacquemetton to adapt Hilderbrand's Paradise book trilogy to ABC as a limited series. MRC Film acquired the feature rights to Hilderbrand's 28 Summers, and several of her books--The Identicals, The Blue Bistro and The Matchmaker--are being developed as drama series by Amblin Television and Hulu.

Books & Authors

Awards: Gotham Book, PEN/Faulkner for Fiction Winners

James McBride won the inaugural $50,000 Gotham Book Prize for Deacon King Kong. Honorable mentions went to The City We Became by N.K. Jemison, Luster: A Novel by Raven Leilani and You Again by Debra Jo Immergut.

"We created the Gotham Book Prize at the beginning of the pandemic to honor New York City and support the novelists who best captured the spirit of our city," said founders Howard Wolfson and Bradley Tusk. "It was an honor to come together with such a talented group of jurors as we discussed and debated what it means to live in New York City, especially during such a transitional time. James McBride's novel so perfectly embodies the essence of our city right now, reminding us that in hardship there is hope and love for each other and our communities. We hope this prize continues to inspire novelists to write about what makes our city so special so it continues to be a place where people all over the world dream of living or visiting one day."

"It's a thrill to be honored in your own hometown. It's like having your very own parade," said McBride. "This award landed in my lap nearly the same day as my late mother's 100th birthday (April 1). She was the subject of my first book, The Color of Water. She loved New York. Despite the hardship of raising 12 kids here, she always felt that there was no better place in the world. She would be prouder of this than anything I've done, just because it bears the stamp of our ragged, proud metropolis. If it were wrapped with yesterday's fish, in yesterday's Daily News, she'd still love it.  

"The fact is, there are many writers who are equally if not more deserving of the Gotham Book Prize than I," he continued. "I hope my moment in the sun is seen by my fellow writers as a kind of victory for all of us, since there are plenty of buildings and monuments in this town honoring developers, and so few elements honoring what we do. That's why the Gotham Book Prize is important, because there's a novel in every page of New York life. The great Pete Hamill, one of the greatest writers this town ever produced, understood that well. We lost Pete last year. But the level of decency, humanity, kindness, talent, and courage that his writing life typified, is something every writer should aspire to. So this year, I hope he is remembered."


Deesha Philyaw won the 2021 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction for her debut short story collection, The Secret Lives of Church Ladies (West Virginia University Press). She will receive $15,000, with the other shortlisted writers each getting $5,000. All five will be honored May 10 at the annual PEN/Faulkner Award Celebration, a live virtual event.

"Choosing from among our five exceptional finalists was a supremely difficult task for our judges," said awards committee chair Louis Bayard. "But we are confident that Deesha Philyaw's short story collection is a book that people will be reading and talking about and learning from for many years to come."

The judges noted that in her collection, "Philyaw speaks in the funny, tender, undeceived voices of her title characters, who have more in common perhaps even than they know, from love to loss to God. In the group portrait that emerges, Philyaw gives us that rarest and most joyful fusion--a book that combines the curious agility of the best short fiction with the deep emotional coherence of a great novel."

Noting that she was "deeply honored and thankful" to receive the award, Philyaw commented: "I wrote The Secret Lives of Church Ladies in hopes that Black women would see and hear themselves in my characters who are all, in some way, striving to get free. Winning this award during a time of unconscionable loss, grief, and injustice, I'm reminded just how tenuous our freedom is. I'm reminded of and encouraged by Toni Morrison's words: 'The function of freedom is to free someone else.' On the other side of this time of reckoning and the fight ahead, may we all be free."

Reading with... Laura Lindstedt

photo: Heini Lehväslaiho

Finnish author Laura Lindstedt's first novel, Sakset (Scissors), was published in 2007 and nominated for the Finlandia Prize, the most prestigious book award for fiction in Finland. Her second novel, Oneiron (2015), earned the Finlandia Prize. My Friend Natalia, Lindstedt's third novel, is an erotic story of an ambitious therapist's sessions with an unforgettable patient, translated by David Hackston and just published by Liveright.

On your nightstand now:

My bed is always surrounded by books. Some of them I have already read, some of them I will truly read, some of them are doomed to be left unfinished, and some of them are just there, keeping me company: Chris Kraus's I Love Dick, a collection of Kafka's short stories, Samuel Beckett's The Unnamable (L'Innommable), Oulipo Compendium, Gertrude Stein's The World Is Round, Lucia Berlin's A Manual for Cleaning Women, Kate Elizabeth Russell's My Dark Vanessa--just to pick some examples.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar. This little omnivorous larva eating its way through the pages fascinated me immensely. The book itself embodies bookwormishness. It is an allegory for a voracious readership. The Hungry Caterpillar showed me from the very beginning that a book as an object of art doesn't have to be sterile and intact. It can carry with it whatever you can imagine: holes, ruptures, traces of passion.

Your top five authors:

Maggie Nelson, Thomas Bernhard, José Saramago, Marguerite Duras, Imre Kertész.

Book you've faked reading:

I try not to fake actively that I've read something I haven't. Nevertheless, I have certainly referred to some books so knowingly that misunderstandings might have occurred. For instance, to Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace.

Book you're an evangelist for:

At the moment it is Maggie Nelson's The Red Parts. I just love her intellectual, unyielding and honest writer's voice! "I became a poet in part because I didn't want to tell stories," she writes. "As far as I could tell, stories may enable us to live, but they also trap us, bring us spectacular pain." The format of a story leads us to believe that there is a closure, a final conclusion. But this is a dangerous illusion. I believe one of the main tasks of today's literature is to battle against these tempting but false closures. In this endeavor, writers like Maggie Nelson make good company.

Book you've bought for the cover:

It was a photo of Nina Hagen tied up with a rope against a chair that made me buy the art book of Pierre et Gilles published for the Turku Art Museum exhibition. This eye-striking picture was originally created for the cover sleeve of Hagen's album Revolution Ballroom.

Book you hid from your parents:

I snuck the illustrated book titled Sexorgies in Pictures Through the Ages from my parents' bookcase. They didn't try to hide it from me, maybe they didn't even remember they had it. It was me who browsed through it from time to time in total secrecy.

Book that changed your life:

There's no question about it. French author Nathalie Sarraute's The Golden Fruits (translated by Maria Jolas) changed my life's direction. I wrote my proseminar research paper on this novel in the late '90s--oh, how little I knew then! I continued working with her oeuvre, and, well, this year my Ph.D. thesis on Sarraute will come of age.

Favorite line from a book:

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." --from Virginia Woolf's essay "Modern Fiction."

Five books you'll never part with:

Herman Melville's Bartleby, Marguerite Duras's The Vice-Consul (translated by Eileen Ellenborgener), Marja-Liisa Vartio's The Parson's Widow (translated by Aili Flint), Herta Müller's Nadirs (translated by Sieglinde Lug), Svetlana Alexievich's Chernobyl Prayer: A Chronicle of the Future (translated by Anna Gunin).

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

If I had a time machine, I would love to read Lucy Maud Montgomery's Emily of New Moon (1923) with new eyes. I might never again reach that kind of innocent identification in my life as a reader.

The book you would have loved to write:

The debut novel HHhH (translated by Sam Taylor) by French author Laurent Binet. This brilliant book is about the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, who was a Nazi leader in Prague during World War II. As a narrator, Binet is painfully aware of the amount of fictionality in the history-oriented writing. This awareness grabs hold of the reader from the very first page till the end of the novel. Despite the abundance of self-reflexivity, HHhH is a thoroughly captivating novel. I felt both sorry it had to end and envious of not having written it.

Book Review

Children's Review: We All Play

We All Play by Julie Flett (Greystone Kids, $17.95 hardcover, 48p., ages 3-7, 9781771646079, May 25, 2021)

In a note at the back of We All Play, the Cree-Métis author/illustrator Julie Flett writes that when she was growing up, "my dad shared a lot about our relationship to animals and to each other, including the land, plants, beetles, the earth, wind, water, and sky." We All Play is a picture book showcase of that reciprocity. It stars cavorting kids and animals keen to illustrate the idea that, as Flett puts it, "we are all connected, living in relationship and in care to one another, in kinship"--or, to use the Cree word the author provides, wâhkôhtowin.

"Animals hide and hop/ and sniff and sneak/ and peek and peep." So begins a trio of animal-centered riffs that conclude with the refrain "We play too!/ kimêtawânaw mîna." The illustrations corresponding to the refrain show kids carrying out the human version of the animal actions demonstrated on previous pages, as when a picture of three bears romping in the snow segues into one of children in winter gear sledding on a hill.

After all that rollicking, who wouldn't be tuckered out? Quite understandably, the book's concluding action-verb-packed riff ("Animals rustle and roost/ and nudge and nuzzle/ and yip and yawn") ends with a sober pronouncement: "And slowly, side by side, animals fall asleep./ We do too. nîstanân mîna.../ zzzz." For the animals' big snooze, Flett gives them all a double-page curtain call in which, as sharp-eyed readers will note, even the bats who turned up in an earlier spread make an inverted appearance.

Flett (Birdsong; Johnny's Pheasant) delivers her customary clutter-free layouts, ensuring that the reader's focus will be squarely on the gamboling or otherwise occupied children and critters. All creatures are set against off-white backdrops harboring a contextualizing detail or motif. A goose and some goslings traipse through green clover. Kids relax in a pile of leaves. A bobcat rolls on a patch of ground dappled with paw prints. At the back of the book is a list of the featured animals' names in both English and, in singular and plural form, Cree, as well as a basic pronunciation guide for the Cree words. The animal-names list also includes the "younger, smaller, cuter" form of every creature's name in Cree. But let's be clear: as far as "cuter" goes, all of Flett's critters would qualify. --Nell Beram, freelance writer and YA author

Shelf Talker: This jubilant picture book uses gamboling animals and kids to illustrate the Cree concept of wâhkôhtowin, or the kinship among living things.

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