Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Flatiron Books: The Last One at the Wedding by Jason Rekulak

Ace Books: Servant of Earth (The Shards of Magic) by Sarah Hawley

Ace Books: Toto by AJ Hackwith and The Village Library Demon-Hunting Society by CM Waggoner

Webtoon Unscrolled: Age Matters Volume Two by Enjelicious

St. Martin's Press:  How to Think Like Socrates: Ancient Philosophy as a Way of Life in the Modern World  by Donald J Robertson

Hanover Square Press: The Dallergut Dream Department Store (Original) by Miye Lee, Translated by Sandy Joosun Lee

Nosy Crow: Dungeon Runners: Hero Trial by Joe Todd-Stanton and Kieran Larwood

Andrews McMeel Publishing: A Haunted Road Atlas: Next Stop: More Chilling and Gruesome Tales from and That's Why We Drink by Christine Schiefer and Em Schulz


Baltimore's Red Emma's Building New 'Forever Home'

Future home of Red Emma's

Red Emma's, the worker-owned cafe and bookstore in Baltimore, Md., is "building a new permanent home" at the intersection of 32nd Street and Greenmount Avenue, in the Waverly/Abell neighborhood. 

With the support of Central Baltimore Partnership, Central Baltimore Future Fund, the Baltimore Roundtable for Economic Democracy and Seed Commons, Red Emma's is purchasing the building at 415 E. 32nd Street and adjacent storefront at 3128 Greenmount Avenue. The plan is to renovate them to create a multi-level community coffeehouse, bookstore and social center.

"We're so excited to call Waverly our forever home," Red Emma's noted in a statement. "Many of us live in Waverly/Abell, and we are so excited to join the diverse community of businesses that are already here, like Urban Reads, Normals, Peabody Heights, My Mama's Vegan, Petes Grille, and Local Color Flowers and to work together reimagine a Greenmount avenue commercial district that is community-focused and meeting the needs of the neighborhoods that border it."

The current Red Emma's location at 1225 Cathedral St. in Mount Vernon "will continue to serve food for takeout, delivery and outdoor dining," the Baltimore Business Journal reported, adding that co-founder Kate Khatib said that Red Emma's, founded 17 years ago, is aiming to open the Waverly space in phases, with the first of those slated to debut by the end of the year. The entire project is expected to take between 18 and 24 months to complete.

Khatib added that the pandemic gave the collective of worker-owners an opportunity "to take stock of what we were doing and think about what do we want to look like when we come back.... Where we landed is that our current location is a beautiful space that we have loved being in, but it's really designed and geared for being a high-volume restaurant. It's designed to be transactional; your goal is to move people through as quickly as possible so you can turn the tables. Our intention has always been to be a community space that encourages people to stay and linger and meet new friends and make connections, and we felt like we just weren't able to do that in the current location."

Farrar, Straus and Giroux: Intermezzo by Sally Rooney

Books & Books in Butte, Mont., Moving to Larger Location

Books & Books' current store

Books & Books in Butte, Mont., is moving to a larger location in town, the Montana Standard reported. The new space will include a coffee and pastry shop as well as a seating area, and owner Medellee Antonioli will be able to expand her inventory from about 35,000 books to 100,000. She hopes to have the move completed by August.

Jo Antonioli, Medellee Antonioli's grandmother-in-law, opened the Butte Books & Books in March of 1980. Late last year, she sold the store to Medellee, who also owns the used bookstore Isle of Books in Bozeman, Mont.

Medellee Antonioli has a master's degree in library science, and prior to purchasing Books & Books worked at several bookstores. She got a job at Russell Books while living in Victoria, B.C., and quickly became the store's inventory manager.

"Butte is filled with so much history and has such potential," Antonioli told the Standard, adding that the community has been very supportive. "It is ripe for growth."

PM Press: P Is for Palestine: A Palestine Alphabet Book by Golbarg Bashi, Illustrated by Golrokh Nafisi

Family Business, the Ingram Story: Virtual Book Launch Tomorrow

Tomorrow, April 28, at 6 p.m. Central, Parnassus Books, Nashville, Tenn., will host a virtual book launch event on the store's Facebook page for Family Business: How Ingram Transformed the World of Books by Keel Hunt (West Margin Press). Moderated by Elyse Adler, the event features Hunt in conversation with John Ingram, chairman of Ingram Content Group. All are invited to attend.

Family Business, based on more than 70 interviews, traces the growth of Ingram over the past 50 years from its beginnings, when Bronson Ingram purchased a small Nashville textbook depository, to the leading book wholesaler with branches around the world, state-of-the-art print-on-demand facilities, self-publishing operations, distribution subsidiaries, software systems, book data and more--a full range of services and infrastructure that help publishers and others publish, distribute and sell their titles.

As West Margin Press--distributed of course by Ingram Publisher Services--says, "Over the past 50 years, from its headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee, Ingram has played a pivotal role in modernizing the book business. Two members of the founding family have led the way: Bronson Ingram, a tough-minded industrialist who instinctively recognized a golden opportunity to apply modern efficiencies to antiquated logistical systems, and Bronson's son John Ingram, an 'intrapreneur' with a keen understanding of both the opportunities and the risks created by the new digital technologies. Led by these two brilliant managers, Ingram has used its unparalleled industry-wide connections to help transform book publishing from a tradition-bound business into a dynamic, global 21st century powerhouse."

Hunt is an editorial columnist for the Tennessean and author of Coup: The Day the Democrats Ousted Their Governor and Crossing the Aisle: How Bipartisanship Brought Tennessee to the 21st Century and Could Save America.

International Update: Virtual 'French Week' Replacing Trade Fairs, U.K. Bookshops 'Creeping Back to Normal'

The International Bureau of French Publishing (Bureau International de l'Edition Française) plans to hold a virtual "French Week" May 17-28 to replace the professional trade fairs canceled since the Covid-19 pandemic began, the Bookseller reported (via Livres Hebdo).

The week will bring together 75 of BIEF's 280-plus members and foreign publishers. BIEF has launched a digital platform and will post a series of English-subtitled videos between May 17 and 21. The Bookseller noted that these "were filmed in specialist bookshops and will highlight the latest French editorial trends." Each day will have a different theme: fiction, nonfiction & humanities, children's books, graphic novels and illustrated books. Digital catalogues will be made available throughout the event.


"The first sign that things were finally creeping back to normal in my shop was when a customer bounded in and said: 'You were the last non-essential shop I went to before lockdown, and I wanted to make you the first I visited when it was over.' It was a happy, hopeful moment," wrote British bookseller Suzy Prince, co-owner of Bopcap Books in Levenshulme, Manchester, in the Guardian

Bookshops in England and Wales were allowed to reopen April 12. "Now, here we are finally: open once again, and hoping against hope that this is the end of lockdowns especially in Manchester where ours has gone on for so long," Prince noted. "I felt jittery and nervous about reopening two weeks ago, not least because I'm still waiting for my vaccine.... Any nerves, however, only lasted for about half an hour on day one. They were swiftly overtaken by a sense of relief and sheer joy, from both our customers and ourselves.... I started out feeling overwhelmed, and ended our first day feeling tired but exhilarated. Just what the doctor ordered."


With India currently overwhelmed by Covid-19 cases, the Bookshop in Jorbagh, New Delhi, offered some words of solace on World Book Day last Friday: "While it can be easy to sit beside our own interest and talk about reading and literature, more so during the pandemic, what we'd really like to do is take a big long look at our own shelves at home. Each of us is carrying great griefs, perhaps trying   to honor the greater griefs of those around us. It is difficult to look away beyond a point, and not everyone can afford to go back to our hobbies and hiding places.

"So if you are reading or not reading, whether you feel sane or not, and regardless of which circumstance you're in, take a moment to look at your bookshelves, at all the things you've loved, and all the books you've hoarded and stockpiled.... There is more to life than what we are left with at the moment. When you look at your own libraries, remind yourself that you do believe in the possibilities of those many lives you are yet to live. (You've read so much because you do!) Perhaps even without some people you deeply loved that you may have lost in this deeply unjust time. 

"Take a moment, take a look, and carry on being the big strong selves you've been for your families, friends, and communities. You built a life full of imagination, and there are ways in which this imagination will continue to fuel your strength." --Robert Gray

Obituary Note: John C. Pelan

John C. Pelan, author, editor and publisher, died April 12 of an apparent heart attack. He was 63.

"A significant figure in the dark fantasy and horror field, best known for founding numerous small presses and editing anthologies," Locus magazine wrote, Pelan founded Axolotl Press in 1986, publishing work by James P. Blaylock, Charles de Lint, Tim Powers, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Michael Shea, and more. In the 1990s, he founded Darkside Press, bringing classics of genre fiction back to print, and Silver Salamander, an imprint devoted to modern horror that published work by Brian Hodge, Thomas Ligotti, Elisabeth Massie, and more. At the same time, he co-founded Midnight House. In recent years, he ran the Dancing Tuatara imprint at Ramble House.

Pelan was a well-known anthologist, prolific essayist and reviewer. He also published more than 30 stories, some in collaboration with Edward Lee. Some of his short fiction was collected in Darkness, My Old Friend (2016). His longer works include The Colour Out of Darkness (1998) and two collaborations with Lee, Shifters (1998) and Family Tradition (2002).


Image of the Day: RJ Julia's Book Stop

RJ Julia Booksellers, Madison, Conn., celebrated Independent Bookstore Day and its 31st birthday with the opening of the Book Stop on Book Lovers Lane, a new curbside pickup option on the side of the store. Customers were treated to cookies decorated with Book Stop logos, and owner Roxanne Coady highlighted an apt T-shirt for IBD.

Earlier she had written to customers, in part, that this year "we have witnessed and felt your extraordinary support; we have watched our intrepid staff work incredibly hard with a commitment to our readers that astounds. We are here at the beginning of our 32nd year sturdy, excited, and grateful beyond measure. We are here to do our part--inspire you, inform you, entertain you, and yes, create a place of fortuitous learning that can shape your life in unimaginable ways."

Personnel Changes at HarperCollins; Simon & Schuster

Emily Mannon has joined HarperCollins Children's Books as marketing manager. She was previously at Holiday House.


Alyssa diPierro has joined the Simon & Schuster imprint as a marketing coordinator.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: John Grisham on the View

Good Morning America: Justin Baldoni, author of Man Enough: Undefining My Masculinity (HarperOne, $28.99, 9780063055599).

Good Morning America: Leslie Jordan, author of How Y'all Doing?: Misadventures and Mischief from a Life Well Lived (Morrow, $26.99, 9780063076198). He will also appear on the Talk.

Drew Barrymore Show: Action Bronson, author of F*ck It, I'll Start Tomorrow: A True Story (Abrams, $26, 9781419744785).

Ellen: Ellen Bennett, author of Dream First, Details Later: How to Quit Overthinking & Make It Happen! (Portfolio, $27, 9780593083451).

The View: John Grisham, author of Sooley: A Novel (Doubleday, $28.95, 9780385547680).

Tonight Show: Rupi Kaur, author of Home Body (Andrews McMeel, $16.99, 9781449486808).

TV: The Fear Index

Josh Hartnett (Penny Dreadful, Sin City) will star in Sky's four-part limited series The Fear Index, based on the novel by Robert Harris, Deadline reported. The cast also includes Leila Farzad (I Hate Suzie), Arsher Ali (The Ritual) and Grégory Montel (Call My Agent). 

Directed by David Caffrey (The Alienist), the project is being adapted by writers Caroline Bartleet and Paul Andrew Williams (Broadchurch). Filming begins in Hungary this month, with Left Bank Pictures producing in association with Sky Studios. NBCUniversal Global Distribution is distributing.

Books & Authors

Awards: Ondaatje Shortlist; Joyce Carol Oates Winner

The shortlist for the £10,000 (about $13,860) Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize, for "a distinguished work of fiction, nonfiction or poetry evoking the spirit of a place," consists of:

The Butchers by Ruth Gilligan
This Lovely City by Louise Hare
Box Hill by Adam Mars-Jones
Magnolia, 木蘭 by Nina Mingya Powles
English Pastoral by James Rebanks  English Pastoral
Square Haunting by Francesca Wade

The winner will be announced on May 11.


Danielle Evans, author of The Office of Historical Corrections (Riverhead) and other works of fiction, has won the $50,000 2021 Joyce Carol Oates Prize, sponsored by the New Literary Project (formerly the Simpson Literary Project) and honoring "a mid-career author of fiction who has earned a distinguished reputation and the widespread approbation and gratitude of readers."

Evans will appear under auspices of the New Literary Project in Bay Area events during 2021-2022 and will take up short-term residency at University of California Berkeley during the Spring Semester of 2022. She will also be featured in a virtual Meet the Joyce Carol Oates Prize Winner event on May 5, 4 p.m. Pacific, in conversation with Joyce Carol Oates, co-hosted by the Project and the Lafayette Library and Learning Center.

Joseph Di Prisco, chair, New Literary Project, said, "Danielle Evans has more to teach us than we may be prepared to learn. Her subtle control of character and language enthralls us, and her stories dazzle with wit, passion, and insight. As we know, in Hebrew and Christian scriptures there is a Book of Daniel. He is a visionary who is dispatched into that famous den of lions by a corruptible, self-serving ruler, with every expectation he will be torn to pieces. He is miraculously spared, however--angels may have played a role--and he returns to the light of day with new stories, new prophecies. In the Books of Danielle, Danielle Evans that is, something related seems to have occurred. She published her Office of Historical Corrections during the election season of 2020, a period of unprecedented vexation and political turmoil. In the course of her marvelous career this author returns again and again from danger with prophetic stories of her own, radiant with intensity and conviction and grace. Lions never have a chance."

Top Library Recommended Titles for May

LibraryReads, the nationwide library staff-picks list, offers the top 10 May titles public library staff across the country love:

Top Pick
People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry (Berkley, $16, 9781984806758). "An aching slow-burn romance focused on chaotic sprite Poppy and buttoned up Alex and their twelve years of summer vacations. Set in present day Palm Springs and interspersed with flashbacks from the previous vacations, this story is full of yearning, friendship, and discussions of what it means to find a home. For fans of This Time Next Year, One Day in December, and Waiting for Tom Hanks." --Elizabeth Gabriel, Milwaukee Public Library, Milwaukee, Wis.

Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala (Berkley, $16, 9780593201671). "This fast-paced, cozy mystery with a diverse and colorful cast will make you laugh, cringe, and salivate. Lila has returned home to help with the family's failing Filipino restaurant, which is repeatedly panned by her food blogger ex. When he comes to lunch and ends up face down in his dessert, Lila becomes the prime murder suspect. For readers who enjoyed Dial A for Aunties and Mimi Lee Gets a Clue." --Laura Eckert, Clermont County Public Library, Milford, Ohio

The Bookshop of Second Chances: A Novel by Jackie Fraser (Ballantine, $17, 9780593355657). "Nothing like turning a page in an upended life to find a surprising plot twist leading to a satisfying ending. That's what readers will find in this charming novel. The power of books to soothe will attract bibliophiles, but stay for the lively banter of the romantic leads, the quirky local residents, and the brisk Scottish countryside. Perfect for fans of Evvie Drake Starts Over and The Bookish Life of Nina Hill." --Kaite Stover, Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Mo.

The Guncle by Steven Rowley (Putnam, $27, 9780525542285). " 'Gay Uncle Patrick,' a reclusive TV star, takes in his niece and nephew for the summer after the death of their mother, his dear friend. As the three navigate their grief together, Patrick finds he needs the kids as much as they need him. By turns funny and poignant, this heartwarming story is great for fans of actor (and Instagram fave) Leslie Jordan and for readers who like Fredrik Backman." --Heather Bistyga, Anderson County Library, Anderson, S.C.

The Invisible Husband of Frick Island by Colleen Oakley (Berkley, $17, 9781984806482). "Anders, a journalist, is sent to Frick Island to cover a Cake Walk, where he meets Piper, a widow who behaves as if her husband had never died. The strangest thing is, the entire island goes along with this delusion, and Anders, who is smitten with Piper, is determined to find out why. For fans of The Story of Arthur Truluv and The Garden of Small Beginnings." --Aubrey Parker, Montgomery County Memorial Library, Conroe, Tex.

Mary Jane: A Novel by Jessica Anya Blau (Custom House, $27.99, 9780063052291). "It's 1975 and Mary Jane takes a job babysitting while all her friends are away at summer camp. The job comes with exposure to a celebrity and her addicted rock star husband and Mary Jane experiences a world very different than her own. For readers who enjoyed Be Frank with Me, Nothing to See Here, and This Tender Land." --Jan Fisher, Fairfield Public Library, Fairfield, Conn.

The Newcomer: A Novel by Mary Kay Andrews (St. Martin's Press, $28.99, 9781250256966). "Letty is on the run with her four-year-old niece, afraid she will be accused of her sister's murder. She ends up at a beach front motel in Florida full of interesting and entertaining characters. Murder, fugitives, romance, and a great cast of characters. A perfect beach read. For readers who enjoy books by Elin Hilderbrand and Janet Evanovich." --Sandy Ruhmann, Allen Park Public Library, Allen Park, Mich.

Talk Bookish to Me: A Novel by Kate Bromley (Graydon House, $15.99, 9781525806438). "A must-read romance novel, this enemies to lovers contemporary romance has enough tension and sizzle to satisfy any romance reader. Bonus, the lead character is a romance writer and readers get a romance novel within a romance novel. For readers who loved Much Ado About You and The Invitation." --Hannah Spratt, New York Public Library, New York, N.Y.

While Justice Sleeps: A Novel by Stacey Abrams (Doubleday, $28, 9780385546577). "Avery's boss is a Supreme Court Justice and he is currently in a coma after naming Avery (instead of his wife) as his guardian. This situation is further complicated by the fact that the judge is a swing vote in a very important decision before the court. How well Avery knows her boss will determine the fate of both of them. For readers of John Grisham and Robert Dugoni." --Kimberly McGee, Lake Travis Public Library, Austin, Tex.

The Woman with the Blue Star: A Novel by Pam Jenoff (Park Row, $17.99, 9780778389385). "Based on the true stories of Jewish families who utilized the sewers to escape persecution during World War II. Sadie struggles to come to terms with loss. Ella struggles to figure out where she fits in amidst the chaos. Their friendship brings them hope and purpose. For readers who enjoyed The Rose Code, Our Darkest Night." --Kate Eminhizer, Pamunkey Regional Library, Hanover, Va.

Book Review

Review: Nervous System

Nervous System by Lina Meruane, trans. by Megan McDowell (Graywolf Press, $16 paperback, 176p., 9781644450550, May 18, 2021)

Lina Meruane's Nervous System is a novel both fanciful and visceral, pairing the study of the cosmos with medical mysteries and wounds on earth. It is set dually in "the country of the present" and "the country of the past," the latter swimming with political violence and trauma, and bearing a resemblance to Meruane's native Chile. Megan McDowell's translation from the Spanish establishes an eerie tone, both emotional and detached.

The protagonist is Ella. Her partner is El: Are these names, or the Spanish pronouns She and He? El is also known as "the bone guy," a forensic scientist combing through mass graves, "more migrant bodies made to disappear piece by piece," to determine cause of death. Ella's father is simply the Father, her stepmother the Mother; only gradually the reader becomes aware of the Firstborn and the Twins (Boy Twin and Girl Twin), completing a family filled with holes and secrets. Ella is supposed to be writing her doctoral dissertation in astrophysics, but she has stalled. "This final attempt would be spent on stars that had already lost their light and collapsed in on themselves, forming dense black holes." Instead, she winds up tracking not solar systems but the systems of her own body, as an undiagnosed condition contributes to her long, slow downfall.

The narrative unfolds in a bit of a fever dream, as Ella's thought process combines words in lyric but not-quite-literal forms, and chronology moves backward and forward. Chapters are set in "future time," "restless present," "between times" and "past imperfect." "The universe has never known harmony, has never been a perfect mechanism, it's no good for measuring time precisely." Ella's "voice is many voices, her question is nervous nebulous shooting short circuit of stars."

The novel is narrated in a third-person perspective close to Ella's own consciousness, and characterized by a dreamy, distant way of describing even horrendous events, "women hacked to pieces and children lost in arid lands." Eventually readers understand that illness, injury and all sorts of damage manifest in the body and in the memory, and great love and animosity can and frequently do exist side by side. Amid these personal and political traumas, family and history, lies commentary on the modern world, relationships, grief and connection. "Maybe with time everything would be restored, but maybe not, because there in the night the stupid stars still hung and sprinkled calcium over the universe." Nervous System is filled with anguish and unease, but also starlight, which touches Ella at its close. --Julia Kastner, librarian and blogger at pagesofjulia

Shelf Talker: This complex novel moves between outer space and private torments to embrace bonds forged in pain.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Finding Elodie by Susan Stoker
2. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki with Sharon L. Lechter
3. The Virgin Rule Book by Lauren Blakely
4. Mr. Smithfield by Louise Bay
5. From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout
6. Impact by Ronald Cohen
7. Devil's Lair by Anna Zaires
8. Bombshells by Sarina Bowen
9. The Deep Rig by Patrick Byrne
10. Twisted Steel by Elizabeth Knox, et al.

[Many thanks to!]

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