Shelf Awareness for Friday, July 16, 2021

Atria Books: The Silence in Her Eyes by Armando Lucas Correa

Labyrinth Road: Plan A by Deb Caletti

Harper Muse: Unsinkable by Jenni L. Walsh

Mariner Books: Everyone on This Train Is a Suspect by Benjamin Stevenson

S&s/ Marysue Rucci Books: The Storm We Made by Vanessa Chan

W by Wattpad Books: Night Shift by Annie Crown

Shadow Mountain: Under the Java Moon: A Novel of World War II by Heather B. Moore


Your Brother's Bookstore Coming to Evansville, Ind., This Fall

Brothers Sam and Adam Morris are opening Your Brother's Bookstore in Evansville, Ind., this fall, the Courier & Press reported.

The brothers have found a space in downtown Evansville located between a children's museum and an ice cream parlor. The 1,600-square-foot bookstore will sell a mix of new and rare titles, with about a third of the store devoted to children's books. They'll also carry books by local authors and work from local artists.

"While we were away, we found homes away from home at bookstores, getting to know the guy behind the counter," Sam Morris told the Courier & Press. "We wanted to bring that experience to Evansville in a similar way, especially to Downtown. Downtown is wonderful and changing; it's different than when we left, but it's mostly bars, and we wanted to bring a more family experience."

Both Morris brothers grew up in Evansville but eventually left. Sam Morris lived in Texas for a time and served in the Air Force for six years, while Adam Morris moved to New York and worked on Wall Street.

"Everybody, when they are younger, wants to get away from Evansville, but I’ve lived on both coasts, in huge cities, and nowhere is like home in Evansville," Sam Morris said.

The brothers are eyeing an opening date of October 1. They plan to launch a crowdfunding campaign in the coming weeks to help assemble their opening inventory.

Flatiron Books: Anita de Monte Laughs Last by Xochitl Gonzalez

I AM Books Reopening in Boston's North End This Fall

I AM Books' new home.

I AM Books, an Italian-American bookstore and cultural hub that opened in Boston, Mass., in 2015 and closed its physical store last summer, will reopen in a new space in Boston's North End this fall.

Owners Nicola Orichuia and Jim Pinzino have found a new space at 124 Salem St. that is more than three times the size of the original store and has 10 sidewalk-facing windows. With the extra square footage they'll carry more books and sidelines and have space for events. The store's new neighbors include local restaurants, bars and bakeries, and the space is much more visible than the original.

"When we said goodbye to our old space on North Street, one of the things I knew I'd miss the most was the North End neighborhood," Orichuia wrote. When he began to look for a new space for the store, he "never even considered looking outside the North End. It is our neighborhood, and there is no other place in the world where I AM Books can and should belong."

Orichuia noted that a lot of work still needs to be done in the new space, and he'll have a firmer idea of a reopening date in the weeks and months ahead.

Britannica Books: Britannica's Encyclopedia Infographica: 1,000s of Facts & Figures--About Earth, Space, Animals, the Body, Technology & More--Revealed in Pictures by Valentina D'Efilippo, Andrew Pettie, and Conrad Quilty-Harper

Harriett's Bookshop Moving to Larger Space

Harriett's current location.

Harriett's Bookshop, Philadelphia, Pa., will be moving to a larger location in Fishtown. Owner Jeannine A. Cook announced the news on social media and her gofundme page, noting that she is now under contract for the new space and less than a month away from closing and "100% complete OWNERSHIP!!!" Harriett's will remain open at its current location through the purchase and renovation process. 

Almost three times larger than its current location, the new site includes multiple floors, indoor and outdoor green space, and meeting rooms, giving customers "enough space to engage with one another. Cook is also excited to add more books and merchandise," Al Día reported. 

"It will be designed to historically replicate the time that Harriet Tubman spent in Philadelphia in the 1800s," Cook said, noting that the new location will also act as a museum and a monument.

Cook said she is excited to welcome more locals into her new space once it is up and running: "We are just doing our part to repair the harm and usher in a new way. We are happy to serve society in this capacity."

GLOW: Carolrhoda Books: Pangu's Shadow by Karen Bao

International Update: New Australian Booksellers Assn. President, London's Al Saqi Bookshop Flooded

Jane Seaton

Jane Seaton of Beaufort Street Books in the Perth suburb Mount Lawley is the new president of the Australian Booksellers Association. ABA CEO Robbie Egan noted that Seaton "has been on the committee of management for seven years, and has built up her bookshop over the past 11 years." 

Also named to the committee were Mark Laurie of South Seas Books in Port Elliot and Joe Rubbo of Readings bookshops, Melbourne. The three booksellers succeed Tim White (Books For Cooks, past president), Leesa Lambert (Neighbourhood Books) and Suzie Bull (Farrells Bookshop). "All three helped me immeasurably in the task of rebuilding the ABA, and Tim has been a trusted ear and a calming voice when I've needed counsel. I will miss them all," Egan wrote.

"It has been a tumultuous 18 months due to Covid and I anticipate we may have at least another 18 months of potential interruptions to our businesses," Seaton observed, adding: "I believe that the strength and quality of Australian fiction and stories is what truly saved us last year. Whilst we know books are essential, our communities of book readers grew particularly in the initial lockdown in March 2020 and continue to be sustained as shown in the Nielsen data presented at the ABA conference last month. Considering this, it is probably understandable that there has been a surge of new membership applications from those looking to open a business in 2021/22. Looks like books are a thing!!!"


On Monday, flash floods hit several areas of West and South London, caused by nearly three inches of rainfall in just 90 minutes. One of the businesses affected was 43-year-old Al Saqi Bookshop, where the basement was flooded with wastewater, damaging the building on 26 Westbourne Grove and hundreds of books. The bookseller has launched a crowdfunding campaign, hoping to raise £15,000 (about $20,850), which will go toward replacing the ruined stock and proofing the basement against future flood damage.   

A family-run, independent bookshop already struggling to recover from months of closure due to Covid-19, Al Saqi was able to re-open full-time only in June. The bookshop is also home to Saqi Books, a leading independent publisher of trade and academic books on the Middle East and North Africa. 

"Since first opening our doors almost half a century ago, we have survived wars, smashed windows, death threats, the bombing of our warehouse in Beirut during the 2006 War, and censorship of the books we publish," said bookshop director and Saqi publisher Lynn Gaspard. "It's fair to say that we have had our fair share of tough times. But the challenges of the last 18 months have been unprecedented. A large proportion of our regular customers travel to Saqi annually from overseas--this has been impossible since the start of the pandemic and has resulted in a drop in sales. Further, due to the political and economic crisis in Lebanon, the supply chain has broken down and we haven't been able to order new Arabic books into the shop for over a year. All of which isn't aided by this flood and the resulting loss of our precious stock of books."


Results from a pandemic book market analysis conducted by the Börsenverein (the German book trade association) shows that "people are reading more during the pandemic. Bookstores and publishers have been able to inspire people to read and supply them with books via creative and digital channels, despite stores being closed for months. Local bookstores in particular have significantly increased their online sales, but overall, they are under heavy economic pressure due to higher handling costs and significant losses in the physical bookstore business." The European & International Booksellers Association's Newsflash reported.  

Online business grew by 21% and accounted for approximately a quarter of total sales revenues in the 2020, while business in local bookstores remained the strongest sales channel, yet still recorded losses of 9%. The outlook for 2021 remains uncertain: after the first half of the year, the sales shortfall in the local book trade amounts to 23% compared to 2019. --Robert Gray

Soho Crime: My Favorite Scar by Nicolás Ferraro, translated by Mallory Craig-Kuhn

B&N College Managing Antelope Valley College Bookstore

Barnes & Noble College has taken over management of the Antelope Valley College bookstore, in Lancaster, Calif., effective July 1, the Antelope Valley Press reported. The agreement is good through June 30, 2024, and can be extended for two successive one-year periods upon written agreement by both parties.

B&N is providing the college a $10,000 signing bonus. B&N offered a 7% commission to the college on all gross sales, which the college has decided to return to students, faculty and staff.


Image of the Day: Drinks with Archipelago

Celebrating Bastille Day and books in translation, Jill Schoolman, publisher of Archipelago Books and Elsewhere Editions, visited Boston-area bookstores and raised a glass with some old friends. Pictured (l.-r.) Brookline Booksmith co-owner Lisa Gozashti; Porter Square Books co-owner David Sandberg; Schoolman; and David Goldberg, sales and marketing director of Steerforth Press, which distributes Archipelago via PRHPS. Gozashti and Sandberg developed ideas for bringing their stores' communities together this fall with a series of multimedia events highlighting Archipelago's work.

Fables & Fairytales Gets Martinsville, Ind., Outstanding Business Award

Fables & Fairy Tales Bookshop owner Jennie Middleton and her team were presented with the Chamber of Commerce's Outstanding Business Award by board chair Darcy Quakenbush and State of the City MC Jamin Baxter. The award recognizes businesses in or around the city of Martinsville for noteworthy accomplishments, long-standing contribution to the community, and significant community service efforts.

From the submitted nomination: "Fables & Fairy Tales has done a remarkable job of navigating the many challenges of the past year, including a global pandemic, downtown construction and more. What's more, they have done so with a smile on their faces and a heart toward helping others.... 

"As a nurse, owner Jennie Middleton knew the difficulty that medical professionals faced in wearing PPE all day, every day. Fables & Fairy Tales began producing and donating plastic devices to help ease some of the discomfort, taking donations from customers to help increase their reach. These ear-saving devices were distributed free of charge to health professionals not just locally, but in other communities (and states!) as well.... It's this kind of attention to detail and care for customers that make Fables & Fairy Tales a wonderful example of the kind of business we want and need in Martinsville."

Schuler Books' 'Speed Rec Videos' Go Viral on TikTok 

From Alana Haley, marketing coordinator at Schuler Books, Grand Rapids and Okemos, Mich.: "As she posted the newest TikTok video to the Schuler Books account last Thursday afternoon, bookseller and marketing intern Hailey Ciesluk expressed the wish that just one of our videos go viral. And overnight, much to our surprise, that's exactly what happened. In one week our account went from 158 followers to 10.3K with 188.6K likes and climbing.

"Check out our series of speed rec videos that feature our Grand Rapids store booksellers just being their wonderful selves (truly all one-take wonders.) And if you need some feelgood, read the comments. They range from heartwarming to comic gold!"  

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Kate Biberdorf on Wendy Williams

Wendy Williams: Kate Biberdorf, author of Kate the Chemist: The Awesome Book of Edible Experiments for Kids (‎Philomel, $17.99, 9780593116197) and It's Elemental (Park Row; $27.99, 9780778389422).

Fresh Air focuses on the new documentary released today Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain, the late author of Kitchen Confidential, Medium Raw and other titles as well as host of the series Parts Unknown.

TV: Homeland Elegies

A high-profile, eight-episode limited series adaptation of Homeland Elegies by Ayad Akhtar is in development at FX, Deadline reported, adding that Kumail Nanjiani (The Big Sick) will star and is executive producing. Akhtar (Disgraced) is writing the adaptation with Oren Moverman (The Messenger), who will direct the project, which is being produced by FX Productions. The series comes from from Sight Unseen (Bad Education) and Nimitt Mankad (Captain Fantastic) and his Inimitable Pictures.

Books & Authors

Awards: Center for Fiction First Novel Longlist; Nature Writing Prize for Working-Class Writers Shortlist

A longlist of 27 titles has been selected for the 2021 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, which honors the best debut fiction of the year. The winner receives $15,000, and each of the other shortlisted authors receives $1,000. The shortlisted titles will be announced this fall, and the winner will be announced in December at the Center for Fiction's Annual Awards Benefit.


Dal Kular, Joanne Key and Jasmine Farndon have been shortlisted for the 2021 Nature Writing Prize for Working-Class Writers. The Bookseller noted that the award was set up in 2020 by Natasha Carthew to "help break the stereotype of what is perceived as a nature writer." It is free to enter for writers all over the U.K., and is sponsored this year by Gaia Books and the National Trust. 

The prize includes editorial feedback from Gaia Books, a stay with National Trust Holidays worth £500 (about $695) and a nature writing commission with the National Trust based on the stay, publication in the Countryman magazine, and a selection of Little Toller books of their choosing. The overall winner will be named later this year.

Reading with... Cheryl Diamond

photo: Evan Firestone

As a child, Cheryl Diamond lived in more than a dozen countries, on five continents, under six assumed identities, her family on the run from Interpol. She became a fashion model in New York, and her first book, Model: A Memoir, was published when she was 21. She now lives in Rome; her second book, Naked Rome, features interviews with some of the city's most fascinating people. Nowhere Girl: A Memoir of a Fugitive Childhood (Algonquin, June 15, 2021) is a harrowing and surprisingly humorous testament to a childhood lost and an adulthood found.

On your nightstand now: 

Memoirs of Hadrian by Marguerite Yourcenar. I'm savoring this book and reading it slowly because the style of writing and the way she humanizes such a complex and legendary person is fascinating.

Favorite book when you were a child:

The Hardy Boys, I think I read every single one of their adventures when I was little and can remember having a crush on one of the brothers in the book. Can't remember which one now, how fickle!

Your top five authors:

George Orwell, Khaled Hosseini, Maya Angelou, David Sedaris, Paulo Coelho.

Book you've faked reading:

There have definitely been books I didn't enjoy much, but I don't think I ever faked reading one. Ever since I was a teenager, I would read just about anything, at least for a little while. Since I stopped school at 13, reading was my best way of learning and my library card was always maxed out.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Papillon by Henri Charriere. For me, this book is a classic story of survival against the odds. It gave me a lot of comfort over the years, and I found his absolute refusal to lose hope inspiring. My copy of Papillon came with me through all my own escapes, and surprisingly both of us made it out on the other side.

Book you've bought for the cover:

The Devil Wears Prada. I fell prey to that stiletto heel.

Book you hid from your parents:

The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle. This was when I was about nine and knowing that I was an empathetic, imaginative kid, my mom thought this particular Sherlock Holmes novel would give me nightmares. My stubborn streak came out to play, and I read it anyway in secret, because I just couldn't miss out on anything from my favorite detective. 

And then I couldn't sleep for three nights. Fabulous book.

Book that changed your life:

Resilience by Boris Cyrulnik: written by a French neuropsychiatrist, this book examines the root of strength and why some children and people are able to survive the unimaginable. He suggests that it is often creativity and imagination itself, the ability to turn pain into art, that can set people free. I think it was the first time that I began to see being a sensitive dreamer as something powerful, rather than a weakness that didn't fit in with the rest of the world. 

Favorite line from a book:

"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you." --Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Five books you'll never part with:

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck
The Spell of the Yukon, poems by Robert Service
The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer
Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl

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

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith, a beautiful coming-of-age story that I find timeless.

Favorite poem:

"Invictus" by William Ernest Henley. I was a teenager the first time I read it, but even then, perhaps especially then, it resonated very deeply.

Book Review

Review: Mrs. March

Mrs. March by Virginia Feito (Liveright, $26 hardcover, 304p., 9781631498619, August 10, 2021)

If Virginia Feito's Mrs. March were a film, it would be called highly stylized, so deliciously drenched is it with the signifiers of an upscale Manhattan of decades past. The novel's cinematic aspect has also been noted by Elisabeth Moss, who is slated to produce and star in a film based on Feito's debut, and no wonder she wants in: Mrs. March is window-dressed to perfection as a psychological thriller-cum-cosmopolitan grotesque.

Mrs. March, a housewife and mother referred to by her married name throughout the novel, resides on Manhattan's Upper East Side in an alluringly nebulous time period: although she lives in a world in which the honorific "Ms." is in general use, women of Mrs. March's social status wear fur coats, kidskin gloves and pantyhose to run errands--or at least she does. She's married to George, a college professor turned novelist whose latest book is the talk of the town. One day the manager of a shop that Mrs. March frequents asks her, "Isn't this the first time he's based a character on you?... I could be wrong, of course, but... you're both so alike...." Mrs. March hasn't yet read George's new novel but knows that its protagonist is a long-in-the-tooth prostitute--"She's ugly and stupid and everything I would never want to be."

Later that day, while poking around in George's study in search of a copy of the novel--she can put off reading it no longer--Mrs. March spies a news clipping peeking out from one of his notebooks, its headline "Sylvia Gibbler still missing, presumed dead." Mrs. March has heard about this young woman from Maine: her disappearance from her hometown has been in the news. Mrs. March concludes that George is using the article for research, but when she gets an update on the Gibbler story, a seed of doubt takes root.

The earliest pages of Mrs. March suggest that Feito, a Spaniard, has committed to a straight-ahead retro thriller of old New York, but gradually, Mrs. March becomes something more than an amateur sleuth: she doubles as the novel's subject. Her curious behavior includes, but is hardly limited to, swiping a silver cigarette case belonging to an attractive female guest at the book party Mrs. March throws for George. She could be describing Feito's novel when she refers to the life of the prostitute in George's book as "something so ugly described so beautifully." --Nell Beram, author and freelance writer

Shelf Talker: This haunting debut, about a Manhattan housewife whose novelist husband may be covering up a crime he committed, is part thriller, part cosmopolitan grotesque.

Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: It's Never 'Only a Game'

In June, Marcus Rashford, the British football star who plays for Manchester United and England's national team, launched a partnership with Macmillan Children's Books and Magic Breakfast for the Marcus Rashford Book Club, which aims to develop a love of reading and literacy. He has just released his own children's book, You Are a Champion: Be the Best You Can Be (co-authored by Carl Anka), and was recently featured in conversation with former U.S. President Barack Obama. Rashford has also used his social media presence to compel the British government to reverse policy on free school meals for the country's most disadvantaged children. 

But let's talk about last Sunday, when England played Italy in the finals of the UEFA European Cup championships. The game ended in a 1-1 tie after regulation and overtime, which meant it had to be settled by penalty kicks: five players from each side going one-on-one against the opposing team's goalie. (Trust me, if you don't know what that means, you're better off. It's a terrible way to decide a game)

England lost the match after three players (Rashford, Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho) missed their penalty kicks. It happens. In fact it happens a lot; in fact, England's manager, Gareth Southgate, missed his own penalty kick in the 1996 European Championships to eliminate England in a semi-final match.

Coincidentally, the three players who missed on Sunday were Black men, which sparked a torrent of racist abuse on social media from rabid "supporters," some of whom had already embarrassed themselves before the game when ticketless mobs stormed Wembley Stadium and essentially rendered both Covid checkpoints and security ineffective. 

There has since been plenty of media coverage of the day and its aftermath. The Big Issue reported that "the Metropolitan police say they will investigate the 'offensive and racist' posts directed at players. Greater Manchester police are also conducting an inquiry into 'racially aggravated damage' after a mural in south Manchester celebrating local hero Marcus Rashford was defaced."

Withington Walls, a street art project in the Manchester suburb, raised almost £40,000 (about $55,605) in less than 24 hours to repair and protect the mural. The group said: "The England team may have lost, but they have done us proud on and off the pitch. This team has shown us the nation we can be. They have proved that diversity is our strength."

And even though it might be perceived as a small victory in the larger context of what happened (has happened, keeps on happening), Rashford's You Are a Champion, a "guide for young people in which the footballer shares stories from his own life and reveals how to 'dream big' and 'find your team,' " is at the top of the bestseller charts in the U.K., the Guardian noted.

Indie booksellers have launched a range of crowdfunding initiatives this week to get copies of the book to as many children as possible. Book-ish in Crickhowell, Wales, has raised more than £8,000 (about $11,120) to buy copies for local secondary school children, with Mirror Me Write in Manchester, Gullivers Bookshop in Wimborne Minster, and Griffin Books in Penarth, Wales, undertaking similar initiatives. Pan Macmillan has pledged an additional 20,000 free copies to the crowdfunding bookshops' campaigns. 

"Marcus was already a hero in our eyes--for all that he has done and for all that he stands for," Winstone's Hunting Raven in Frome posted. "His maturity in the wake of the European Cup Final and all that followed is yet another mark of this young man's formidable character. Which makes his motivational book for young readers all the more prescient."

Vivian Archer of Newham Bookshop in London said, "I am overwhelmed by the generosity of people who have donated over £1,000 [about $1,390] to get his book to local children. One person who bid for a signed copy said he will donate that to a child who could be inspired to go on to great things. Thank you Marcus."

Emma Corfield-Walters of Book-ish told the Bookseller: "Especially on the back of everything that's happened with the Euros we just thought his whole story is really inspirational and I wouldn't want the fact that they didn't win to blight that. All of the good work that he's done needs to be at the fore of everything now and all of the conversations that we have because he's just an inspirational figure.... You know, I don't watch football, but I watched some of the match last night because I thought the team really deserved to win for all of the things they have been doing and what they represent and how we want things to go forward. I think lots of people want to support that and put some money where their thoughts and their sentiments are."

In a compelling note posted on Twitter, Rashford observed: "I can take critique of my performance all day long, my penalty wasn't good enough, it should have gone in, but I will never apologize for who I am or where I came from.... I dreamt of days like this. The messages I've received today have been positively overwhelming and seeing the response in Withington had me on the verge of tears. The communities that always wrapped their arms around me continue to hold me up. I'm Marcus Rashford, 23-year-old black man from Withington and Wythenshawe, South Manchester. If I have nothing else I have that. For all the kind messages, thank you. I'll be back stronger. We'll be back stronger."

--Robert Gray, editor

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