Shelf Awareness for Friday, April 9, 2021

Crown Publishing Group (NY): Here One Moment Liane Moriarty

Minotaur Books: Betrayal at Blackthorn Park: A Mystery (Evelyne Redfern #2) by Julia Kelly

Tor Books: Blood of the Old Kings by Sung-Il Kim, Translated by Anton Hur

Del Rey Books: The Book of Elsewhere by Keeanu Reeves and China Miéville

St. Martin's Press: You'll Never Believe Me: A Life of Lies, Second Tries, and Other Stuff I Should Only Tell My Therapist by St. Martin's Press

Watkins Publishing: A Feminist's Guide to ADHD: How Women Can Thrive and Find Focus in a World Built for Men by Janina Maschke


The Bookworm Is Moving to South Dakota from Michigan

The Bookworm in Houghton, Mich., is closing.

The Bookworm in Houghton, Mich., is closing April 10 after 17 years in business due to the sale of its building, the Daily Mining Gazette reported. Owner Arthur Lampinen said he is moving to De Smet, S.Dak., later this month and plans to open a store there: "We looked for property here in the downtown area (of Houghton), but we just couldn't find anything. It's unfortunate, but the good part is that we will get to stay open."

Lampinen and his sister first opened the Bookworm in the Huron Centre in 2004. "We've always had a passion for books," he said. "We moved to our current location in 2010 and we were able to expand into a full coffee shop as well as offering gift items and even ice cream as the years have gone by.... We've just taken it day-to-day and kept expanding. What has been the key is our loyal customer base. The community has really supported us, and I have loved every minute of it.... We are sad about leaving, but excited about a new opportunity and a new chapter."

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Shame on You: How to Be a Woman in the Age of Mortification by Melissa Petro

Harper's Books in Tenn. Recovering from Flood Damage

Harper's Books was one of several Lebanon Square merchants in Lebanon, Tenn., that were forced to shut down temporarily following the heavy rainfall on March 27-28 that brought as much as 32 inches of floodwater to the area, the Wilson Post reported. 

Owner James Kamer said the store would probably be closed "a few weeks" after the flood resulted in substantial damage to inventory, flooring and shelving. "We got hit hard. Of course, just the sheer nature of being a bookstore, books don't fare well with water." 

Although he had water damage insurance for the bookstore, it does not cover flooding. "I got zero," Kamer said. "I got nothing from insurance. Coming off 2020, which was a rough year anyways, it was a kick in the teeth to hear that." A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to help with the recovery.  

Harper's Books has been chronicling the post-flood challenges on the shop's Facebook page ever since the first morning after. In an update yesterday, Kamer noted: "We have cleared all inventory from the floor. This weekend we should be able to move all salvageable fixtures into storage so we can begin removing the ruined flooring. I will keep everyone updated on where we are, but right now it looks like we are still some time away from fully reopening. Thanks again to all who have shown their support for us. I am eternally grateful for the people in this community who have reached out to help us while we are down. Fun fact to end on: The picture below is of our back room. It now contains 646 small moving boxes and 42 plastic 10 gallon totes. I am estimating that we were able to save about 19,000 books."

Harpervia: The Alaska Sanders Affair by Joël Dicker, Translated by Robert Bononno

Book Warehouse Opens Store in Hershey, Pa.

Book Warehouse has opened a store in Hershey, Pa., at the Tanger Outlets Hershey, in the former Bass retail space next to the Calvin Klein store, PennLive reported. Emphasizing bargain and remainder titles, Book Warehouse has more than 40 stores across the country, including at Tanger Outlets Lancaster and the Outlet Shoppes at Gettysburg.

International Update: Bologna Children's Book Fair Goes Digital, Aid for Dutch Bookshops

The Bologna Children's Book Fair, which had already been postponed from April dates to June 14-17 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, has canceled this year's physical events and will go digital-only, the Bookseller reported. The event will run alongside BolognaBookPlus and the Global Rights Exchange.

Gianpiero Calzolari, president of BolognaFiere, said: "Bologna Children's Book Fair, BLTF and BBPlus offer a home-from-home for the international publishing community to meet, do business and launch new projects. As international travel remains so uncertain during the continuing global pandemic, and therefore the presence of international participation, the painful decision to postpone the physical fair to 2022 was taken thus allowing us to concentrate on the extensive digital program in anticipation of meeting in spring 2022--in Bologna, in person."

BCBF director Elena Pasoli commented: "Despite our earlier optimism for an improved global pandemic picture, in order to allow our exhibitors and visitors to plan, we know that the responsible course of action is to share our decision at this point.... We are putting all our energies into the digital programme and look forward to welcoming everyone in person in 2022 for the 59th edition of BCBF with BLTF and the second edition of BBPlus.”

Jacks Thomas, guest director of BBPlus, added: "Flexibility is the name of the game in planning any event during these unprecedented times and as the transition to a digital only model has been key in our thinking. We look forward to getting the globe together virtually in June and face to face in spring 2022."


In the Australian Booksellers Association's latest newsletter, CEO Robbie Egan wrote: "I am happy to be able to report that an application for Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) funding by the Australian Publishers Association in partnership with the ABA has been successful. Letters of support came from booksellers, ALIA, ASA and other industry stakeholders. Thank you to the booksellers who provided support without notice. Pulling the application together was a huge task and our thanks go to Cat Colwell, TitlePage and Supply Chain Manager at the APA, who put together a coherent and successful proposal in swift time. Cat consulted widely and was patient and accommodating to my endless lobbying for bookshops, and we are delighted to partner on this project to improve supply chain efficiency in our industry."


Dutch literary organizations will offer aid dedicated to bookshops. The European & International Booksellers Federation NewsFlash reported that earlier this year, Dutch cultural and literary organizations initiated a temporary support measure for writers, "which has seen a great successes in facilitating over 1,400 online events for authors. As a follow-up to the success of this scheme, the organizations behind the aid, including the Dutch Booksellers Association, will be introducing an additional arrangement for writer's appearances in bookstores in the Netherlands later this spring."


Award-winning illustrator Dapo Adeola is the creator of this year's Books Are My Bag limited-edition tote, which will be available exclusively in bookshops across the U.K. and Ireland on Bookshop Day, October 9. 

"I was super stoked to be asked to illustrate this years Books Are My Bag tote," said Adeola. "Supporting bookshops is and has always been a huge part of my journey in this industry, so saying yes to this opportunity was a no brainer. Now more than ever bookshops need our help to stay afloat. We're gonna need the type of magic only they can provide when things go back to normal, so anything we can do to help them in the meantime should be done. Let's keep these wonderful hubs for magic and community alive." --Robert Gray

Traci Lester Named Center for Fiction Executive Director

Traci Lester
(photo: Melanie Einzig)

Traci Lester has been named executive director of the Center for Fiction, Brooklyn, N.Y. She was formerly executive director of the National Dance Institute and earlier was executive director of the early literacy nonprofit Reach Out and Read of Greater New York and held other executive leadership positions.

Lester serves on the boards of the NYC Arts in Education Roundtable and the Black Agency Executives of New York, and on the Education Committee of the Board of the New York Philharmonic. She is also a member of the Greater New York Association of Fundraising Professionals.

Lester is the recipient of the American Association of University Women's Selected Professions Fellowship and the National Association of Health Service Executives Community Service Award. She also served as an Urban Affairs Fellow of the San Francisco Foundation and was named to TheGrio's 100 List as an African-American history maker and industry leader in the field of education.

Lester succeeds interim executive director Michael Roberts, who assumed the role last June after the retirement of longtime director Noreen Tomassi. Founded in 1820, the Center was formerly known as the Mercantile Library.

Chairman of the board Erroll McDonald called Lester "a proven leader with an extensive background in education and the arts. She brings more than 25 years' experience in the nonprofit sector with an impressive track record of organizational development and growth. I am confident she will lead the Center with vision, creativity, and managerial skill as we continue to enhance and expand our programming."

Lester said, "I am so excited to join the Center for Fiction with its mission to encourage people to read and value fiction. The Center has an unending commitment to storytelling in all its forms and advances the work of authors from diverse backgrounds whose voices deserve to be heard.

"The global pandemic and our national political divide have challenged us in so many ways. Through fiction, The Center works to elevate our shared humanity, which is so very important, especially during these unprecedented times."

Obituary Note: Dorothy Sloan

Dorothy Sloan

Dorothy Sloan, the antiquarian bookseller who owned Texas-based Dorothy Sloan Rare Books and was a "pioneering woman in the book trade," died last month at the age of 77.

Over the course of her long career, Sloan dealt in rare books, maps and works of art. She handled such rare items as an imperial folio of Audubon prints and two complete collections of the Zamarano 80, a list of books representing the most significant early volumes published on the history of California. She specialized in Texana, and according to the Austin American-Statesman, she even helped musician Phil Collins acquire objects for his collection of artifacts from the Alamo.

She was adept at spotting forgeries and fakes, and her daughter Jasmine Star told the American-Statesman that Sloan sometimes "burned bridges" with clients when she came across stolen material and tried to return those items to their proper homes.

Kurt Zimmerman, a collector who worked for Sloan in the 1990s, called her research and cataloguing skills "unparalleled, and she took great pride in the quality of her catalogues.... She was witty, funny and occasionally exasperating--she demanded the best out of you and expected complete 24/7 commitment to rare bookselling. Her enthusiasm for books and maps has stayed with me. I was fortunate to have her as an early mentor."

Born and raised in Houston, Tex., Sloan fell in love with the world of rare books after moving to San Francisco, Calif., where she took an apprenticeship at John Howell Books. In 1979 Sloan returned to Texas, where she worked for the Jenkins Company until 1984. That year she founded her own business, Dorothy Sloan Rare Books, at a time when the trade was dominated by men.

"Thanks largely to her unparalleled scholarship, persistence, and ethics, she rose to become one of the leading lights of the rare book trade in the United States and beyond," Sloan's daughter wrote. She added that her mother also became a skilled auctioneer, which was "amazing given how shy she was."

Star continued: "As long as rare books, bibliographers, and rare book dealers exist, she will be remembered, and her body of work will illuminate the way forward."


Happy 10th Birthday, Buffalo Street Books!

Congratulations to Buffalo Street Books, Ithaca, N.Y., which is celebrating the 10th anniversary of being a community-owned bookstore. The Ithacan reported that in February 2011, "a quarter-million–dollar community-led buyout took place, transforming the store into a community-owned workplace. For $250, Ithacans can buy a stake in the store, gain the opportunity to vote on policy decisions and run for the store's executive board."

The store was founded in 1991 as the Bookery II, referring to its former neighboring bookstore, the Bookery, and in 2009 was renamed Buffalo Street Books.

Manager Lisa Swayze said that by connecting with the Ithaca community through curating bookshelves with current events in mind--like its bookshelf highlighting Black female writers--and creating an event-heavy schedule, the store has found stability and success. Last month, Buffalo Street Books created bookshelves for the community with the Southside Community Center, and has held virtual events during the pandemic as well as expanding its website for ordering books.

"We fit a really unique place," Swayze said. "We are doing all of these things to strengthen our community that builds a culture of books and learning and literacy."

Bob Proehl, director of operations, added that he believes that after the pandemic the store has a purposeful future: "My hope is that it can come back to being a community place. That's always one of the aspects of it that's really dear to me, is the idea of the bookstore as a community space, as a third space, as a communal space."

The Biking Bookseller at Tombolo Books

Alsace Walentine, owner of Tombolo Books, St. Petersburg, Fla., and her book-delivering bicycle were the focus of a piece by 10 Tampa Bay, which reported that she bought the green bike after moving from hilly North Carolina. She opened the bookstore in December 2019, but everything came to a halt on March 16.

"I do not like Covid. It was a night full of tears. I knew what we had to do for safety," she said, adding that the store focused on its website and boosting online sales, but she wanted a more personal touch during a for local deliveries. 

"I do love my bike, obviously," she said. "We did over 200 deliveries while we were shut down."

Even after re-opening Tombolo to limited occupancy in June, "the bike remained a useful weekly tool," 10 Tampa Bay noted. "Regular customers would expect to see a masked Walentine pull up on her bike and leave a brown paper sack full of books on their front porch."

"I've been a bookseller for 20 years and we've never done anything like this," said Walentine. "It's fun to change an old tradition.... The great part about (deliveries) is we get a little bit of face time with people. Some people really are still indoors at their homes and that's it."

Diamond to Distribute FairSquare Comics

Diamond Book Distributors will exclusively distribute FairSquare Comics titles to the North American book market.

FairSquare Comics is a comic book and graphic novel publisher founded in 2019 by Fabrice Sapolsky, co-creator of Marvel's Spider-Man Noir and former senior editor at Humanoids. The company promotes immigrants, minorities and under-represented creators in the world of comics and has the mantra, "comics for the rest of us." Its titles range from action/adventure, to mysteries, anthologies. Crime-comedy series One-Hit Wonder focuses on a former child-star turned hitman for the Hollywood mafia. Noir Is the New Black is a graphic novel anthology collecting 16 noir stories written and drawn by Black creators. Intertwined, a Kung Fu Noir graphic novel, tells the tale of a hero, a protector of the Elements, from the perspective of an immigrant. Lady-Bird tells the story of two young women, living more than 100 years apart, and mysteriously connected and whose goal is the same: freeing themselves from patriarchy, abuse and exploitation.

FairSquare Comics offers both company-owned and creator-owned material. FairSquare GREEN represents the core line and books, graphic novels, and comics owned by the company; FairSquare PURPLE represents books from other creators, which are fully creator owned; and FairSquare BLUE represents magazines, merchandise, and other endeavors.

Personnel Changes at Rizzoli/Universe

Jessica Fuller has been promoted to associate publisher of Rizzoli New York's Universe Publishing imprint, which specializes in the pop-culture worlds of humor, beauty, sports, performing arts, and gay and alternative lifestyles books and has a major calendar program. Fuller is a longtime Rizzoli/Universe employee.

Book Trailers of the Day: Minor Characters and the Charlie Martens Trilogy

Minor Characters: Stories by Jaime Clarke (Roundabout Press), a collection that includes many original stories by other authors based on characters in the Charlie Martens trilogy by Clarke, co-owner of Newtonville Books, Newton, Mass. The trilogy consists of Vernon Downs, World Gone Water and Garden Lakes.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Heather McGee on Real Time with Bill Maher

HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher: Heather McGee, author of The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together (One World, $28, 9780525509561).

TV: The Mosquito Coast

Apple TV+ released a trailer for The Mosquito Coast, a drama series adapted from Paul Theroux's novel, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. Starring Justin Theroux, Melissa George, Logan Polish and Gabriel Bateman, the series will premiere globally with the first two episodes on April 30, followed by new episodes every Friday.

The seven-episode series was created for TV and executive produced by Neil Cross. Rupert Wyatt directs the first two episodes and serves as executive producer alongside author Paul Theroux, star Justin Theroux and Edward L. McDonnell. Alan Gasmer, Peter Jaysen and Bob Bookman also serve as executive producers for Veritas Entertainment Group. Developed by Neil Cross and Tom Bissell, The Mosquito Coast is a Fremantle Production for Apple TV+.

Books & Authors

PEN America Literary Award Winners Honored

Ross Gay's Be Holding: A Poem (University of Pittsburgh Press) was honored with the $75,000 PEN/Jean Stein Book Award at last night's virtual PEN America Literary Awards ceremony. Accepting the prize, Gay spoke of his desire to put into practice the "understanding that we are made of each other. I mean, the trees. And I mean the microbes. And I mean the breeze. And I mean the light that will go across the wall. I mean that we are made of each other."

Asako Serizawa, winner of the $10,000 PEN/Open Book Award for Inheritors (Doubleday), commented: "This is really an honor especially given what's been happening in New York and Atlanta and Minneapolis and really everywhere. What's been helpful to me is the coalition of voices that are resisting easy answers and positions, and PEN America has advocated for so many writers I admire who do this work towards coexistence."

In remarks memorializing literary giants lost this past year, PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel said: "Another lesson of this year of tumult and torment lies in the power of those taken away from us to evoke, mobilize, and motivate. We have learned how saying their names can convert their will to live into a fire that burns inside each of us."

Other award winners named at the event included:

PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Short Story Collection ($25,000): Further News of Defeat by Michael X. Wang (Autumn House Press)
PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Fiction ($10,000): Sharks in the Time of Saviors by Kawai Strong Washburn (MCD)
Pen/Voelcker Award for Poetry Collection ($5,000): Obit by Victoria Chang (Copper Canyon Press)
PEN Translation Prize ($3,000): A Country for Dying by Abdellah Taïa (Seven Stories Press), translated from the French by Emma Ramadan
PEN Award for Poetry in Translation ($3,000): Raised by Wolves: Poems and Conversations by Amang (Phoneme Media), translated from the Chinese by Steve Bradbury
PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay ($15,000): Had I Known: Collected Essays by Barbara Ehrenreich (Twelve)
PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Prize for Biography ($5,000): Stranger in the Shogun's City: A Japanese Woman and Her World by Amy Stanley (Scribner)
PEN/E.O. Wilson Prize for Literary Science Writing ($10,000): Owls of the Eastern Ice: A Quest to Find and Save the World's Largest Owl by Jonathan C. Slaght (FSG)
PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction ($10,000): Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Riotous Black Girls, Troublesome Women, and Queer Radicals by Saidiya Hartman (Norton)
PEN/Nabokov Award for Achievement in International Literature ($50,000): Anne Carson
PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award ($10,000): Daniel Alexander Jones
PEN/Mike Nichols Writing for Performance Award ($25,000): George C. Wolfe
PEN/Nora Magid Award for Magazine Editing ($2,500): Kwame Dawes, Prairie Schooner
PEN/Ralph Manheim Award for Translation ($1,000): Pierre Joris

Reading with... Stephanie Dray

photo: Kate Bailey

Stephanie Dray is an author of historical women's fiction. Her work has been translated into eight languages and often tops lists for the most anticipated reads of the year. She lives near the nation's capital with her husband, cats and history books. Her newest novel, The Women of Chateau Lafayette (Berkley, March 30, 2021), is based on the true story of an extraordinary castle in the heart of France and the remarkable women bound by its legacy.

On your nightstand now:

I've got Kristin Harmel's The Book of Lost Names ready to be cracked open!

Favorite book when you were a child:

I was a weird kid. I loved anything by Judy Blume, but I loved Edith Hamilton's Mythology more. I was so engrossed reading it during recess that I didn't realize class had started, and the teacher sent me to the principal's office for punishment. But I would like to inform Mrs. Sutcliffe that what I was reading turned out to be far more important to my career than that spelling test!

Your top five authors:

Do I have to choose? I'm just going to say the first five loves that come to mind that I don't personally know, and in no particular order: Ken Follett, Philippa Gregory, George R.R. Martin, Octavia Butler and D.H. Lawrence.

Book you've faked reading:

Ha! I once met an author whose online presence I admired. I was nervously fangirling the author, so she assumed I had read her book, and began talking to me about it. I had to pretend that I read it and loved it so as not to make the moment even more awkward. I felt so guilty that as soon as I got home, I read the book. Unfortunately, I didn't like it much, so I will never tell which author, or which book!

Book you're an evangelist for:

Absolutely anything by my brilliant friend Kate Quinn, including her newest, The Rose Code. She's a historical fiction genius.

Book you've bought for the cover:

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant. All that billowing red fabric was mesmerizing. Thankfully, so was the book itself.

Book you hid from your parents:

Like most kids my age, Judy Blume was a favorite, treasured young adult author. But when I picked up her book Wifey, I got the titillating shock of my little life. It was definitely not for young adults. But I kept reading anyway and kept it out of sight. I'm pretty sure I owe my sexual education to Ms. Blume.

Book that changed your life:

The first one I ever wrote. It was terrible but I wrote it when I was 16, proving to myself that I could write a novel!

Favorite line from a book:

"If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary." It's from the Federalist Papers, a book I was assigned in college, never realizing that it would resonate the rest of my life. The quote itself is from Federalist 51, an essay by James Madison. It captures the eternal struggle human beings face in trying to govern themselves, and why we must govern ourselves. That struggle is at the center of so many of my novels!

Five books you'll never part with:

I love books, as my sagging shelves attest. But I seldom re-read them, which means that I need to learn to let go and collect more experiences than things.

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

I'd love to experience reading A Game of Thrones for the first time again without all the baggage we now have from the TV show because I like a book that upends genre expectations, a book that shocks me.

Book Review

Review: The School I Deserve: Six Young Refugees and Their Fight for Equality in America

The School I Deserve: Six Young Refugees and Their Fight for Equality in America by Jo Napolitano (Beacon Press, $25.95 hardcover, 224p., 9780807024980, April 20, 2021)

Refugees who come to the United States often face multiple barriers to education: financial hardship, unfamiliar languages and confusing cultural practices. But as Jo Napolitano asserts in her compelling first book, The School I Deserve, young refugees can and should be given every chance to succeed. Napolitano, a veteran education reporter, recounts a landmark case in Lancaster, Pa., in which six refugees from various countries sued the school district for the right to attend McCaskey, the district's high-performing high school, instead of being shunted to Phoenix, a punitive alternative campus. Their courage would have far-reaching effects not only on their own lives, but for young refugees who came after them.

Napolitano--herself a Colombian immigrant who knew education was her key to a successful life--centers her story on two students: Khadidja Issa, who came to the U.S. from Sudan with her mother and siblings, and Mahamed Hassan, a Somalian refugee who had never been to school before. Both of them, as well as the other plaintiffs in the case, had attempted to enroll at McCaskey in hopes of attending its well-regarded International School. But each of them met with resistance--sometimes in the form of outright lies from administrators who told them they were too old to enroll. Their subsequent time at Phoenix improved neither their English skills nor their general knowledge, though the district insisted they were mastering the necessary material to advance.

Weeks before the 2016 election, the young people and their lawyers argued their case in federal court. Napolitano weaves together the refugees' personal experiences with the broader trends of forced mass migration around the world, the squalid living conditions in refugee camps, and the complicated relationship between the U.S. and immigrants of all kinds. She details the reasons school districts are reluctant to enroll older refugees. Their often spotty educations and language challenges are only two of the reasons refugee students are less likely to graduate alongside their American-born peers, and school districts--already strapped for funding and resources--often push them toward adult literacy centers or alternative schools. Especially as Donald Trump's political campaigns and his incendiary comments about immigrants gathered steam, many young refugees like the plaintiffs feared they would be barred from school altogether.

Meticulously researched and compassionate, The School I Deserve is a fierce defense of refugees' right to a quality education--a key tenet of the American promise. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

Shelf Talker: Education reporter Jo Napolitano details a landmark case in which six refugees fought for their right to attend high school.

Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: Fresh Water for Flowers in a Time of 'Lockdown Reads'

The way one closes a novel one has fallen in love with. A novel that's a friend from whom it's hard to part, because one wants it close by, in arm's reach.

--from Fresh Water for Flowers by Valérie Perrin, translated by Hildegarde Serle (Europa Editions)

What's your favorite "lockdown read" thus far in the time of pandemic? This is at once a hard and beautiful question, perhaps more so because this week I'm writing about a brilliant novel in which the main character, Violette, is a cemetery caretaker--in every sense of the term--in a small French town.

I've had a few great lockdown reads since last spring, but Fresh Water for Flowers was my first in 2021. I didn’t find it as quickly as I should have. The novel, which will be released in paperback next month, was published in the U.S. last July. Despite being an Indies Introduce and Indie Next pick, as well as garnering many bookseller endorsements, it had a relatively quiet HC debut here, even as the book was striking a chord with European readers. An international bestseller, it reached #1 in Italy and in France, and was dubbed 2020's favorite "lockdown novel."

Describing the book as "a publishing sensation," Il Post reported (trans. by Europa editor Edoardo Andreoni) that although the novel, published in Italy by E/O editions, "was released to little fanfare in the summer of 2019, it became the 'lockdown novel' for tens of thousands of readers.... Not because Fresh Water for Flowers deals with grief--something that many people are experiencing right now--but because of the hiatus in the release of new books and, paradoxically, the closure of brick-and-mortar bookstores, which lent greater importance to the advice of booksellers."

A stack of Fresh Water for Flowers at Libreria Lovat in Villorba.

"It benefited from the lack of new releases, which gave more space to the books that were already out," said Nicolò Lovat of Libreria Lovat in Villorba. "All booksellers read it and recommended it when we started doing direct-to-home sales. We almost struggled to keep up with demand: the book exploded."

Europa Editions editor-in-chief Michael Reynolds recalled: "As Fresh Water started to really gain momentum abroad last year, I confess to feeling as if we had failed it. It came out at what might have been the hardest time for debut novels in translation published by indie presses in the last decade, during the first few months of the pandemic and lockdown. But it succeeded abroad even during lockdown in a way that we couldn't seem to make happen here in the U.S. All this despite strong indie bookseller support and some vociferous supporters. We tried everything, but we couldn't get it into the hands of enough readers to really kickstart word-of-mouth. But slowly, slowly it has been gaining momentum, and now with the paperback coming out, I feel we have a real shot at getting it to its readers. I don't want to overstate it, but I think this is a book that slews of readers will not only adore but that they need after this complicated year."

Sheryl Cotleur

Sheryl Cotleur of Copperfield's Books, Sebastopol, Calif., agreed: "What captured me about this absolutely wonderful novel is how it authentically covers pretty much all the varieties of emotion and experience. It's a lyrical love story but with a tragedy at center. It's quirky in all the right ways.... But overall it's a novel, beguiling in its ability to draw readers in to deeply caring about each character--or at least be deeply curious. After I read my galley I pushed it on two dear colleagues both of whom work at neighboring bookstores and both of them loved it and increased their orders so we could all hand sell it madly. Fresh Water for Flowers is that marvelous kind of novel that is a well told tale with people you wish you could know forever."

Describing the book as "one of my favorites," Stephanie Crowe of Page and Palette Bookstore, Fairhope, Ala., said: "What impressed me the most was the character, Violette. I was captivated by her personality. All of the characters were so uniquely drawn. We have a Europa bookclub and reviewed this book when it was first released. Everyone loved it! I have been passionate about it and have sold many copies and everyone that has read it has loved it! Beautiful writing and a lovely story that is not afraid to capture life. I think the paperback will do extremely well. It is a must read as far as I'm concerned."

Rachel Watkins

Rachel Watkins of Avid Bookshop, Athens, Ga., added: "I'm trying to read more translated works, and Fresh Water for Flowers was absolutely delightful. The luscious descriptions of the gardens and the tombstone inscriptions set such a peaceful mood for the various visitors to Violette's cemetery. To be honest, the hardcover didn't sell very well for us and I can't wait for it to be in paperback. We send our paperback books for our very successful subscriptions program, and I've been anxious to get this into the mailboxes of several of our subscribers! It's just a perfect novel with several love stories and mysteries and just luscious writing."

"Why do books attract us the way people do?" Violette wonders. "Why are we drawn to covers like we are to a look, a voice that seems familiar, heard before, a voice that diverts us from our path, makes us look up, attracts our attention, and could change the course of our life?" Good questions. We know the answer.

--Robert Gray, editor

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