Shelf Awareness for Friday, July 23, 2021

Mariner Books: Everyone This Christmas Has a Secret: A Festive Mystery by Benjamin Stevenson

Grove Press: Brightly Shining by Ingvild Rishøi, Translated Caroline Waight

Running Press Adult: Scam Goddess: Lessons from a Life of Cons, Grifts, and Schemes by Laci Mosley

Broadleaf Books: Trespass: Portraits of Unhoused Life, Love, and Understanding by Kim Watson

Nancy Paulsen Books: Sync by Ellen Hopkins

Running Press Adult: Cat People by Hannah Hillam

Beaming Books: Must-Have Autumn Reads for Your Shelf!

Dial Press: Like Mother, Like Mother by Susan Rieger


Booksweet to Open in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Booksweet will be opening early next month at 1729 Plymouth Rd. in Ann Arbor, Mich., site of the former Bookbound Bookstore, which recently closed. WDIV-4 reported that for co-owners Shaun Manning and Truly Render, the shop "is a passion project the couple has been dreaming about for over a decade." Booksweet is hosting a soft opening August 6 and a community open house on August 12.

"Shaun and I have been talking about this for about 15 years," said Render. "We are lovers of books, avid readers, and reading and writing has always been a very important part of our lives."

Bookbound's closure, while upsetting, became an opportunity. "We were actually frequent customers of Bookbound," she added. "This summer, when we saw that they were closing and they were not super impacted by pandemic realities... I said to Shaun: 'What if we bought it?' We reached out to Peter and Megan [Blackshear] and they've been incredibly generous throughout the process."

Manning and Render are purchasing Bookbound's inventory "and are already working on bringing more inventory in. Part of the new orders will be an expanded middle grade and YA section," WDIV-4 noted.

"We have a middle school child so we really want to make sure our graphic novel section is robust," Render said.

"I've been fortunate enough to work with books in some capacity for most of my adult life," Manning observed. His background includes working in the publishing department of the Art Institute of Chicago and more recently for the University of Michigan Press. He has published several graphic novels and short comics. 

Booksweet's owners "aim to curate titles that speak to the community's interests and to create a welcoming and affirming environment to all who walk through their doors," WDIV-4 noted.

"We're small, we're personal and we live on the north side so you're not just our customers, you're our neighbors," Render said. "We really do live that and we feel that."

Peachtree Teen: Compound Fracture by Andrew Joseph White

For Sale: The Bookies Bookstore, Denver, Colo.

Following the death of Sue Lubeck, owner of The Bookies in Denver, Colo., earlier this month, her family has taken over day-to-day operation of the store while searching for a buyer who wants to "continue the traditions of the store and the vision that Sue originally had."

Lubeck founded The Bookies in 1971 after seeing the need for a children's bookstore in Denver. She ran the store out of her basement for years before moving The Bookies to its first bricks-and-mortar space at Sixth Avenue and Ogden Street. Eventually the business relocated to 4315 East Mississippi Avenue, where it has remained for decades. The bookstore will celebrate its 50th anniversary next month.

The bookstore carries a wide variety of children's books along with educational items, toys, board games, stuffed animals and more. Lubeck's family will continue to manage the store and help maintain her vision "so long as it is possible." Interested parties should call Rob Lubeck at 303-903-9600.

Inner Traditions: Expand your collection with these must-have resource books!

NYC's Huemanbooks Reboots with Coffee Shop Partnership

Huemanbooks display at Ground Central

New York City bookstore Huemanbooks, which focuses on diversity and elevating voices from marginalized groups, has rebooted through a partnership with the independent coffee company Ground Central Coffee.

Through the partnership, called "Hueman books on the go," selections of books curated by the Huemanbooks team will be displayed at seven Ground Central locations throughout New York. The selections will include bestsellers and new releases, along with "Huemanbooks standards and geographically relevant books" pertaining to areas of New York like Hell's Kitchen, the Financial District and more.

Two of the Huemanbooks pop-ups have already opened, at 888 8th Ave. and 498 7th Ave., while the rest will be ready to go by September. Huemanbooks is also selling a much wider selection of books from its online store and will organize events at Ground Central locations in the months ahead.

Marva Allen

"The past four years have shown us the need for deep cross-cultural understanding," said Huemanbooks co-owner Marva Allen. "We know how important this is to the well-being of all people, and as we reboot, we are taking our concept one step further to what we call 'Huemanbooks on the go.' We felt the best way to do this was through a strong collaboration with a partner that shares our values and vision. In these times of cultural crisis, we find it imperative to reinvent ourselves as one of America’s most beloved bookstores."

Huemanbooks's previous iteration, Hue-Man Bookstore & Cafe, was founded by Clara Villarosa (who retired in 2005) and operated for 10 years on Frederick Douglass Blvd. in Harlem. Allen closed the store after its lease ran out in July 2012, citing an unsustainable business model. She and her team have decided to reboot after seeing the "deep need for human reconciliation" in the U.S.

The Children's Bookstore in Baltimore to Close

The Children's Bookstore, Baltimore, Md., will close July 25 after more than four decades in business. Owner Melissa Doty cited "unforeseen medical issues" as the reason for the decision, which she shared "with a mixture of pride and sadness," adding: "It has been a wonderful 43 years! We want to thank all of the customers, friends, and children we've had the honor and privilege to serve. The Children's Bookstore is extremely thankful to have moved its location to Lauraville, the neighborhood where all employees currently call home. Thank you so much for your support!"

Doty, who bought the store three years ago from founder JoAnn Fruchtman, told Baltimore Fishbowl she is scheduled to have an operation later this month and no one on the staff was in a position to take over and keep it going in her absence.

"Honestly, 43 years... is a very good run for an independent bookstore," she observed. "I've been doing this since the mid-1990s and a lot of the independents from when I started are gone. A lot of big chains are gone."

The current Harford Road address is the bookstore's fourth location. Doty, who worked with Fruchtman for about 15 years before buying the store, said she transferred ownership of the business and contents to Samuel Polakoff, the developer behind SoHa Row and landlord of the building the store is in, Baltimore Fishbowl wrote. 

Although people had contacted her about buying the store, Doty said she didn't feel comfortable: "I don't want to hand the bookstore over to someone I don't know."

She added that the business has developed a reputation for selling high-quality children's books and she trusts Polakoff to respect that, whatever he does, noting: "I want to honor JoAnn's legacy. I trust Sam. I know he'll do the right thing."

Many Bookstores in Flooded German Areas Destroyed, Heavily Damaged

Flood damage at Buchhandlung Mütters

The heavy flooding a week ago that killed hundreds in Germany and Belgium has destroyed and severely damaged many bookstores in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia although the full extent of the damage has yet to be determined, according to Buchreport.

The Buchhandlung Backhaus in Nettersheim was flooded by a meter and a half (about five feet) of water and had to be completely emptied, Buchreport wrote. Owner Martin Schwoll said customers, friends and volunteers from other parts of the country are among the people providing "support and solidarity during the cleanup," and that he is looking for an emergency location in a tent or stand, and wants to start ordering books again as soon as possible in part "as a sign of courage for the community." Luckily he has flood insurance and the bookstore has other locations in the general area.

Ruined merchandise at  Buchhandlung Backhaus in Nettersheim.

The Buchhandlung Mütters in Bad Münstereifel said right after the flood that the store was wrecked (owner Josef Mütter wrote, "We are simply speechless"), and has started a GoFundMe campaign that has raised €27,151 (about $31,950), well beyond its initial goal of €20,000 ($23,540).

Buchhandlung Oelrich & Drescher in Eschweiler estimated damages at €50,000 (about $58,850) for the furnishings and another €50,000 for inventory.

Wholesalers Zeitfracht, Libri and Umbreit reported that deliveries have been disrupted for many bookstore customers, in Zeitfracht's case 18 bookstores. It has also promised immediate emergency help of €50,000. Libri said that a few stores are inaccessible, while others have been affected by power blackouts and damaged telephone networks. Umbreit said that the delivery chain is less affected than feared and that it is contributing to Sozialwerk des Deutschen Buchhandels, a Börsenverein organization much like Binc in the U.S.

In addition to Sozialwerk, regional groups of the Börsenverein are helping, too, and publishers and others in the business are contributing in a variety of ways.

Obituary Note: Carol Easton

Carol Easton, "whose curiosity about creativity inspired her to write biographies of four prominent figures in the arts--Stan Kenton, Samuel Goldwyn, Jacqueline du Pré and Agnes de Mille," died June 17, the New York Times reported. She was 87.

"She was always fascinated with people, especially creative people in the arts," said her daughter, Liz Kinnon. "After working as a freelance writer for years, she decided she wanted to write her first biography."

Her first subject was the jazz composer and orchestra leader in Straight Ahead: The Story of Stan Kenton (1973). Easton followed that with The Search for Sam Goldwyn (1976), a profile of the pioneering Hollywood producer; Jacqueline du Pré: A Biography (1989), about the child prodigy cellist who developed career-ending multiple sclerosis in her late 20s; and No Intermissions: The Life of Agnes de Mille (1996), which explored the life of the choreographer.

Easton was raised in Hollywood. Her son Kelly told the Times she used to sneak onto the Samuel Goldwyn Studios lot as a child and managed to be cast as an extra in the 1943 antiwar film The North Star.


Bookseller Moment: Blacksburg Books

Posted on Facebook yesterday by Blacksburg Books, which is opening soon in Blacksburg, Va.: "Sometimes you're exhausted from struggling to get the final bookshelf into the store, and grumpy because you know you have to polyurethane the whole dang thing--twice!--but then someone walking by pokes their head in the door to say how excited they are that we're about to open, and it puts a smile on your face that you can't shake. Thanks to everyone for your enthusiasm for our project--we can't wait to see you all in person!"

Personnel Changes at Little, Brown; Simon & Schuster

At Little, Brown Young Readers:

Sydney Tillman has been named publicity manager, effective July 26. She was most recently a senior publicist at Scholastic and previously worked at Random House Children's Books. She has served on multiple committees advocating for BIPOC industry advancement, including the planning committee for the inaugural Bronx Book Festival, the diversity and inclusion steering committee for Random House Children's Books, the public relations and events committee for People of Color in Publishing, and she is currently on the Children's Book Council's diversity committee.

Hannah Klein has been named publicity assistant, also effective July 26. She has held internships at Hachette for Perseus's subsidiary rights team, Slate Magazine, Aevitas Creative Management and Anthem Press.


Kyle Daileda has joined Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing as children's library marketing coordinator. They were most recently an intern at Pegasus Books.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Judy Chicago on Weekend Edition

On NPR's Weekend Edition: Judy Chicago, author of The Flowering: The Autobiography of Judy Chicago (Thames & Hudson, $40, 9780500094389).

TV: Three WomenShining Girls

Shailene Woodley (Big Little Lies) will star in Three Women, a Showtime hourlong series based on the nonfiction book by Lisa Taddeo, who is adapting. Deadline reported that Showtime "has given the project a straight-to-series order, with filming set to begin in the fall."

Three Women is executive produced by Taddeo, showrunner Laura Eason, Kathy Ciric and Emmy Rossum. Louise Friedberg (Y: The Last Man) will direct the first two episodes, which she will also executive produce.

"Shailene Woodley is an undeniable powerhouse who never fails to give an unflinchingly honest performance," said Amy Israel, executive v-p, scripted programming, Showtime Networks. "We are beyond thrilled that she will be at the forefront of this electrifying show. Three Women promises to be a riveting and immersive exploration of female desire, told by women in charge of their own narratives. Lisa Taddeo and Laura Eason's adaptation crackles with emotion and edge and, coupled with Louise Friedberg's exceptional direction, this Showtime series promises to be everyone's next obsession."


Emmy nominee Phillipa Soo (Hamilton) has joined the cast of the AppleTV+ series Shining Girls, based on the 2013 novel by Lauren Beukes, in a series regular role. Deadline reported that Soo "will portray the intelligent and sure-footed Jin-Sook who works in the research department at the Adler planetarium." 

She will star opposite Elisabeth Moss, who is an executive producer on the project. The cast also includes Wagner Moura and Jamie Bell. The series will be adapted for TV and executive produced by Silka Luisa, who also serves as showrunner.

Books & Authors

Awards: World Fantasy Nominees

Nominees in eight categories for the World Fantasy Awards can be seen here. Winners will be announced during the World Fantasy Convention 2021, to be held November 4-7 at the Hotel Bonaventure in Montreal, Que. The convention is also presenting Life Achievement Awards, honoring individuals who have demonstrated outstanding service to the fantasy field, to Megan Lindholm and Howard Waldrop.

Reading with... Annette Christie

photo: Michael Christie

Annette Christie is a Canadian American hybrid with a BFA in Theatre and a history of very odd jobs. She's had articles featured in various publications including HelloGiggles and the Guardian, and the back of her head is featured prominently in the film Mean Girls. She resides in Alberta with her husband and two children. The Rehearsals (Little, Brown, July 13, 2021) is her adult debut, about a couple who call off their wedding after a disastrous rehearsal dinner, only to wake up the next morning trapped in a time loop.

On your nightstand now:

When No One Is Watching by Alyssa Cole: I first became aware of Alyssa Cole years ago when I was discovering my love of romance novels, and now I'm engrossed in her thriller. Is there anything she can't write?  

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab: I deliberately slow-burned this beauty of a book because I didn't want it to end and now I'm just keeping it close. For company. As one does.

Deaf Republic by Ilya Kaminsky: Reading poetry is good for my soul and this book is stunning.

Several X-Men comics: These belong to my son. I'm going to read them so we can have a little comic book club.

The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon: This book quickly became one of my favorite romantic comedies of all time. Since I reread books as a way to manage anxiety, it's there just in case I need it.

Favorite book when you were a child:

When I was quite little, my favorite book was The Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone, illustrated by Mike Smollin. Who am I kidding, this is still one of my favorites. It's hilarious. And, like Grover, I have discovered I am my own monster.

Your top five authors:

Douglas Coupland: Someone gave me a copy of Shampoo Planet when I was 15 or 16, and it cracked my imagination open with its wit. I don't know that I'd be a writer without Douglas Coupland's books to help me see that my weirdness just might be one of my greatest assets.

Jia Tolentino: Reading her essays feels like having a meaty conversation with my best friend. My best friend who also happens to be an insightful genius.

Tana French: Her mysteries are engrossing, her prose is lush and, as an added bonus, whenever I read her books I start mentally narrating my day in an Irish accent. My ancestors would be proud. Or embarrassed. Or both.

Roselle Lim: Her writing is exquisite, and each book shows a new side of her. She's also a well-known foodie and her books make me very, very hungry.

Jason Reynolds: Not only are his books wonderful, but he is such a powerful force of good in the world. I really admire him.

Book you've faked reading:

The Iliad by Homer. In my senior year of university, I decided it was a good idea to talk a professor into letting me do an entire Classical Mythology course in the span of just a few weeks. I faked reading a lot of things during those weeks, but I also managed to graduate on time.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Blood Water Paint by Joy McCullough. I love a good novel in verse and this is one of the best. It's based on the life of artist Artemisia Gentileschi. It's raw and fierce and beautiful.

Book you've bought for the cover:

I bought one of Amanda Lovelace's poetry books because of the stark cover and intriguing title. And then I bought all of Amanda Lovelace's books.

Book you hid from your parents:

Sweet Valley High: The New Jessica by Francine Pascal. I borrowed it from my older sister (okay, I stole it from her). My mother thought it was too racy for an eight-year-old (or perhaps she was just upset I had taken it without asking?). In my defense, that same sister had recently stolen--and hidden--my Rick Astley cassette. I never saw that cassette again. One might say my sister did the opposite of Rick-rolling me and stealing her book was payback.

Book that changed your life:

So You've Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson. I recently listened to the audiobook and it's absolutely altered how I look at social media.

Favorite line from a book:

"Thankfully, persistence is a great substitute for talent." I read Born Standing Up by Steve Martin around the time I decided to pursue a writing career in earnest and this clever line stuck with me. Whenever imposter syndrome or self-doubt comes knocking, I remind myself that tenacity is my friend; whatever I lack in natural ability, I can make up for with the determination to get better. You can always get better at something. (Note: This apparently does not apply to bowling. No matter how many times I go bowling, I remain terrible.)

Five books you'll never part with:

I volunteer for a writing mentorship organization called Pitch Wars. Through it I've found my community of writers and I'll never part with books by people I love, like:

Throwaway Girls by Andrea Contos
I Think I Love You by Auriane Desombre
Have a Little Faith in Me by Sonia Hartl
Last Chance Books by Kelsey Rodkey

I'm also going to cheat and list a book that hasn't been published yet, but I'm sure will be one day because it's a masterpiece: Jackal by E.E. Adams.

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

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne. When I finished it, I experienced such a brutal book hangover that I immediately started it over again from the beginning.

Upcoming releases you are looking forward to most:

The Make-Up Test by Jenny Howe
Well Matched by Jen DeLuca
Seoulmates by Susan Lee

Book Review

Review: The History of Bones

The History of Bones by John Lurie (Random House, $28 hardcover, 448p., 9780399592973, August 17, 2021)

In his memoir, The History of Bones, the musician, actor and painter John Lurie demonstrates that he can be, among other things, petty, defensive, self-aggrandizing, self-pitying, gratuitously provocative and regularly obscene. Not at all unrelatedly, The History of Bones is a fantastic read.

Like his friend the painter Jean-Michel Basquiat, about whom he has much to say, Lurie helped build the downtown New York art scene of the 1980s. In The History of Bones, he charts how he got there following his semi-delinquent childhood in Worcester, Mass. ("When Ted Kennedy came to speak at our high school shortly after Chappaquiddick, I was locked in the principal's office by myself because they were terrified of what I might do or say"). In the midst of his thrill seeking and drug taking, Lurie got his first saxophone, and his love of and facility with the instrument led to the Lounge Lizards, the storied New York jazz band that he cofounded in 1979 with his brother, Evan.

Lurie's habit of pulling pranks and making flip comments for laughs had a way of coming back to bite him--a reliable source of his book's abundant humor. His recap of wrangling a live eel in his bathroom so that it could be photographed for an album cover is a comic set piece. And Lurie is an ace storyteller with perfect pitch; a typical chapter opener: "Martin Meissonnier lost most of his money because Fela Kuti, his eighteen wives, and his enormous band roasted an entire goat in their hotel room."

Although Lurie drops some names, most land on pillows, and he can be endearingly disarming with understatement ("Perhaps I have not managed my career so well"). He surely traffics in some hyperbole, but The History of Bones contains dozens of what seem like unguarded moments, as when Lurie recounts his spiritual pursuits, his tussles with drug addiction and his ambivalent relationship to fame, especially when he achieves it outside the musical realm: "I am suddenly the hot new independent film star. This is very strange. Do I want this? One is supposed to want this." Readers will leave Lurie's book, which carries them through the 1980s, with the impression that they have been keeping company with a kvetchy but wildly entertaining uncle who's bent on proving that things were better in the old days. Going by The History of Bones, they probably were. --Nell Beram, author and freelance writer

Shelf Talker: In his compulsively entertaining memoir, the musician, actor and painter John Lurie recalls his life in New York's thriving downtown art scene in the 1980s.

Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: Freedom Day vs. the Walking Unvaxxed

Monday was "Freedom Day" in England, as the country "lifted most remaining coronavirus restrictions after more than a year of lockdowns, mask mandates and other pandemic-related curbs on freedom," the Associated Press reported. 

At the moment, Covid Delta variant rates are soaring. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Treasury chief Rishi Sunak are both self-isolating for 10 days after contact with Health Secretary Sajid Javid, who has tested positive for Covid-19. The AP noted that Johnson's "decision to scrap the legal requirement for face masks in indoor public spaces--while recommending people keep them--has also sowed confusion."

Ah, freedom. 

Not long ago, I saw an altered still from the opening sequence of the old Mary Tyler Moore Show. Instead of Mary tossing her hat into the air in downtown Minneapolis, she was throwing away her face mask. At last! 

That was so last month. Thanks to the Delta variant and hordes of the Walking Unvaxxed amongst us, masks are in again, at least as a point of contention. And just as a new face mask debate variant emerges, I happen to be reading actor Ron Perlman's 2015 memoir Easy Street: The Hard Way (Da Capo Press), which I discovered a bit late after noticing a book signing he did in June at Next Chapter bookstore in Camana Bay, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands. 

A not insubstantial part of Perlman's acting career has been spent in roles that required high-end masking up (Quest for Fire, Cronos, Beauty and the Beast, Hellboy, The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Name of the Rose, etc.). "I would say that the first 20 years of my career was spent behind masks, and these days that's the minority of my roles," he told the Guardian in 2013. 

In his memoir, Perlman recalls: "The makeup for the characters I played in Quest for Fire and Name of the Rose both took about four or five hours to apply, depending on the weather. The Beast took the same. You got to be still, keep your face unflinching all that time. You can't just fall asleep; rather, you have to engage in the transformation. I guess that's the mindset I have when I get into the chair." 

You do what it takes to get the job done. If face masks are to be with us for awhile (forever?), then Perlman's infinite patience in the makeup chair is my new inspiration.  

Indie booksellers, as usual, are having to figure out and reconfigure all this on the fly, and England's Freedom Day isn't helping. The Booksellers Association just published an update, noting that "most BA members are cautious about the lifting of restrictions as regards mask-wearing and are keen to protect their staff and customers."

The Bookseller reported that indies "overwhelmingly said they intended to keep some sort of restriction in place ahead of the day, and so far are experiencing compliance and positive feedback from customers."

Jon Woolcott, publisher and bookseller at Little Toller Books, said they would proceed as if "nothing has changed.... As an industry, I think we're lucky--most readers seem to be considerate people keen to do the right thing. But we also believe that this last stage of opening up was premature in the face of rising case numbers." 

Chrissy Ryan, owner and founder of BookBar in Islington, north London, is asking customers to wear masks while browsing, and to keep socially distanced. "The response we've had from our customers so far has been really encouraging.... I think that having clear messaging around safety is going to encourage people into the shop as they will see how seriously we are continuing to take the pandemic and our responsibility as a business to keep staff and customers safe.”

Richard Drake of Drake--The Bookshop in Stockton-on-Tees, said that Freedom Day had been "really no different to any other for the past 16 months and masks have been on as people have entered the shop and people who want it are still seeking out sanitizer, which is all good. We won't be policing things formally, because we haven't had need to."

Sue Lake, director of White Rose Books Cafe in Thirsk, agreed: "It felt like business as usual as customers came in with their masks on. We didn't have to ask anyone to wear one. The general feeling, I'm picking up on, regarding Freedom Day, is that it is 'too much too soon.' "

Moomintroll, star of Tove Jansson's Moomin series of children's books, was enlisted by the Little Apple Bookshop, York, to share the bookseller's concerns: "Please spare a thought for shop workers. We come into contact with thousands of people per week. With small shops/businesses, if we get pinged or ill, there's often no Plan B. We self-isolate. We close. (Or we get this guy to mind the fort, but he worries easily!!)."

If a little tough love is needed, we still have Ron Perlman's tweet from June 16, 2020 to fall back on: "Sure, wearing a mask is about 60% likely to protect you from contracting the virus but it's 100% certain to prevent you from being an a**hole." 

--Robert Gray, editor

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