Shelf Awareness for Thursday, January 20, 2022

Workman Publishing: What a Blast!: Fart Games, Fart Puzzles, Fart Pranks, and More Farts! by Julie Winterbottom, illustrated by Clau Souza

Berkley Books: Once Upon a December by Amy E. Reichert; Lucy on the Wild Side by Kerry Rea; Where We End & Begin by Jane Igharo

Kensington Publishing Corporation: The Lost Girls of Willowbrook by Ellen Marie Wiseman

St. Martin's Press: Wild: The Life of Peter Beard: Photographer, Adventurer, Lover by Graham Boynton

Bloomsbury Publishing: Girlhood by Melissa Febos

Park Row: The Two Lives of Sara by Catherine Adel West


Philadelphia's Joseph Fox Bookshop Closing

Joseph Fox Bookshop, the 70-year-old independent bookstore in downtown Philadelphia, Pa., will close for the last time on January 29. Owners Michael and Judi Fox told the Philadelphia Inquirer that between the time commitment necessary to run the store and the fact that sales have not returned to pre-pandemic levels, they are ready to step away from the business.

"I'm old enough that I felt it was time to retire," said Michael Fox, who began working at the bookstore in his 20s and took over the store from his father, Joseph Fox, in the 1990s. "I feel sad for my customers, I do. I feel sad for the city, that they're losing a good bookstore."

Fox noted that "Center City hasn't recovered," with office buildings still empty and foot traffic in the neighborhood "just dead." Businesses have also stopped putting in bulk book orders for retreats and corporate events, which constituted a significant part of the bookstore's business prior to the pandemic. Around the beginning of the year, the bookshop stopped taking online orders and started encouraging customers to use their gift certificates before the end of the month.

Joseph Fox opened the store in 1951, in a basement level storefront in the same building in which it resides today. The shop gained a reputation for its selection of architecture, art and design books, as well as its children's section curated by Joseph's wife, Madeline. In 1986, Joseph Fox purchased the bookstore's building, and in the next decade Michael Fox moved the bookstore upstairs. Under his ownership the store started hosting book signings and events throughout Philadelphia.

"We don't have self-help books, we don't have books on computers, and we don't have much popular fiction," Fox told the Inquirer. "The worst complaint we ever had was, 'We can't leave without buying something else.' "

Asked what he'll do in retirement, Fox said he and his wife haven't figured it out entirely, but he plans to "read history and philosophy, work out, walk my dog."

Beaming Books: Sarah Rising by Ty Chapman, illustrated by Deann Wiley

Community Bookstore Co-owner Ezra Goldstein Retiring

Ezra Goldstein, co-owner of Community Bookstore and Terrace Books in Brooklyn, N.Y., will retire from bookselling on February 18. Stephanie Valdez, with whom he has owned and operated Community Bookstore for nearly 12 years and Terrace Books for close to 10, will assume full responsibility for the business going forward.

"I am retiring because I'm old enough to do so (73), wise enough to get out while I have my wits about me, still fit enough to keep up with my hyper-active, outdoorsy wife and offspring, and, cruel as it may sound, eager to spend more time with my new grandson than with my bookstore colleagues, as much as I love them all," Goldstein wrote in a message to customers and community members announcing his retirement.

He said he was "immensely proud" of all that he and Valdez have accomplished. Though he and Valdez did not officially own the bookstore until about 2011, they had been deeply involved with the store since 2007. At that time, closure was a very real possibility for the bookstore, a Park Slope institution dating back to 1971. Over the next few years they "brought Community Bookstore out of debt and into the black," and in 2013 they did the same with Terrace Books in Windsor Terrace, previously known as Babbo's Books.

Goldstein added that he still very much loves the stores and their staff, and hopes "Stephanie will have me back to work the occasional shift, just for the pleasure of it." He noted that as much as things have changed since they first bought the store, two things have remained constant: the bookstores' "always thoughtful, interesting, well-read, likable, adaptive and resourceful" staff, and his partnership with Valdez.

"Partnerships can be fraught, but one more thing I can say with pride is that we've been a great team," he continued. "I will miss working with her."

He praised the stores' customers, thanking them "not just for their support through everything," but also for "being so darned smart and such good readers." He looks forward to "making the transition to becoming one of those customers myself."

Valdez said she was "both excited for him to spend time with his grandson and sad that our work partnership of over a decade would be over." Together they "helped Community Bookstore reach its 50th year in business, a rare milestone for small businesses in this era."

She continued: "Ezra's great legacy will be the daily attention he paid to the store as he nursed it back to health from a particularly rough patch. His steadfast care made incremental progress snowball until it looked like overnight success. Thank you for everything, Ezra."

KidsBuzz for the Week of 05.16.22

Good Brotha's Book Café Expanding in Pa.

Good Brotha's Book Café in Harrisburg, Pa.

A year after opening Good Brotha's Book Café in Harrisburg, Pa., store owner Stefan Hawkins is opening a second location in nearby Steelton, Pa., later this year, Keystone Edge reported.

Hawkins opened Good Brotha's Book Café, the city's first Black-owned bookstore and coffee shop, on Martin Luther King Day in 2021. The bookstore's inventory highlights African-American literature as well as "brilliant authors who don't get much national attention." Along with books, the shop features works by African American artists, espresso drinks, drip coffee and tea, and food items like wraps, sandwiches and salads made on-site by Mi's Island Vibes.

Hawkins, who also runs his own coffee company called Fifth Acres Coffee, told Keystone Edge: "Whether people are interested in activism, Black Lives Matter, the LGBTQ+ community or whatever, we allow anyone who wishes to come here to meet in a safe space. We don't have a political affiliation--we're just a place for people to come and have a conversation about issues that concern them."

Fifth Acres Coffee is now available at nine grocery stores in Pennsylvania, and Hawkins recently partnered with Foot Locker to supply coffee to a warehouse coming to Mechanicsburg, Pa. He also plans to expand Good Brotha's Book Café beyond the new Steelton store; he wants to bring the business "to the Allentown, Lancaster, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and York markets."

Blackstone Publishing: Run Time by Catherine Ryan Howard

Registration Opens for ABA's Expanded Snow Days Virtual Retreat

The American Booksellers Association has set its schedule for Snow Days, the virtual bookselling retreat that has been expanded since the cancellation of the Winter Institute, which had been scheduled for February 13-16 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Instead, Snow Days will be held March 8-10 and include a range of panels, workshops, roundtables, poetry readings, a publisher expo, a virtual galley room and community gatherings. Registration has opened.

Among the highlights:

A keynote with Grammy Award-winning recording artist Alicia Keys, whose new book is Girl on Fire, in conversation with Donya Craddock, co-owner of the Dock Bookshop, Fort Worth, Texas.

Jane McGonigal, author of Imaginable: How to See the Future Coming and Feel Ready for Anything--Even Things that Seem Impossible Today, will speak on "How to Imagine the Future of Bookselling."

"Storytelling in the Cultural Moment," featuring Jennifer Egan, Kali Fajardo-Anstine, and Celeste Ng in conversation with Emma Straub, author and co-owner of Books Are Magic, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Roundtables on such subjects as finances; best practices for optimizing store-branded merchandise; nonprofits and employee- owned co-ops; microstores; book banning challenges in schools and libraries; business adaptations from 2020 and 2021 worth keeping; mobile and pop-up stores; and genre book buzz.

Poetry readings, which include Danny Caine, who is also co-owner of the Raven Bookstore, Lawrence, Kan.

In addition, and separate from Snow Days, the ABA will hold a Town Hall on Thursday, February 17, 3-4 p.m. Eastern, at which booksellers can share "opinions, concerns, and ideas" with the ABA board. Those who want to submit questions in advance can do so via e-mail.

Ace Books: The Witch and the Tsar by Olesya Salnikova Gilmore

Obituary Note: G.M. Ford

G.M. Ford

Mystery novelist and raconteur G.M. Ford died on December 1, 2021, his agent, Lisa Erbach Vance of the Aaron M. Priest Literary Agency, reported. He was 76.

Ford's first novel, Who in Hell Is Wanda Fuca?, introduced the irreverent Seattle private eye Leo Waterman and was a finalist for the Anthony, Shamus and Lefty Awards. The Waterman series extended through 11 more books, the most recent of which, Heavy on the Dead, was published in 2019. His work also included the six-book Frank Corso mystery series and several stand-alone novels. His wife, author and photographer Skye Moody, said that "he will live on in his many books and in our broken hearts."

G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!
The Two Lives of Sara
by Catherine Adel West

GLOW: Park Row: The Two Lives of Sara by Catherine Adel WestWhen Sara King arrives in Memphis in the 1960s, she's unmarried, pregnant and on the run from a harrowing past in Chicago. She finds respite at The Scarlet Poplar boarding house, where she'll help Mama Sugar cook mouthwatering Southern food and pursue a second chance for herself and her baby son. Laura Brown, senior editor at Park Row Books, recommends this to readers of Kaitlyn Greenidge's Libertie and Dawnie Walton's The Final Revival of Opal & Nev. "We're finally starting to see more historical fiction that doesn't center the white experience," Brown adds. Rich with research into segregation and the civil rights movement, this vibrant novel pairs a wrenching portrait of an unwed mother with a joyous celebration of African American culture in the South. --Rebecca Foster

(Park Row, $27.99 hardcover, 9780778333227, September 6, 2022)


Shelf vetted, publisher supported



Image of the Day: The Brothers Guterson

Brick and Mortar Books in Redmond, Wash., hosted David Guterson (r.) for a signing of his new novel, The Final Case (Knopf). He was joined by his brother Ben Guterson, who signed copies of his middle-grade Winterhouse trilogy (Holt).

Napa Bookmine's #WeddingWednesday

"Is #WeddingWednesday a thing?! Because it is now!" Napa Bookmine, Napa, Calif., posted on Facebook. "We were so honored to open our Pearl St. doors to Lynette and Tristan for their wedding day earlier this month. We can't think of a better way to start the year than filling our shop with love and community. Congratulations to the wonderful couple!"

Personnel Changes at Casemate; S&S Children's; Sourcebooks

Casemate Group has announced the following promotions:

Michaela Goff to senior v-p, U.S. distribution services.

Curtis Key to group v-p, business development.

Kate Stein to v-p, sales & marketing.

Will Farnsworth to sales director.

Daniel Yesilonis to marketing director.


At Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing:

Ashley Mitchell has joined as director of digital marketing. She was previously associate director of marketing at Morrow.

Samantha McVeigh has joined as publicist. She was previously publicist at Harlequin.


Rebecca Atkinson has joined Sourcebooks as senior marketing and publicity associate.

Audrey Barsella has joined Sourcebooks as communications marketing manager.

Media and Movies

TV: Jane of Austin: A Novel of Sweet Tea and Sensibility

Filmmaker Charlie Matthau (Freaky Deaky, The Grass Harp) has acquired the rights to Hillary Manton Lodge's novel Jane of Austin: A Novel of Sweet Tea and Sensibility, which he will develop and produce as a TV series, Deadline reported. A search for a writer is underway.

"Jane of Austin is one of the most charming books I have read in ages," Matthau said. "The three sisters are very warm and engaging characters that one could spend years with, and the Austin, Texas backdrop makes for a unique and timely setting."

This Weekend on Book TV: Salman Rushdie

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 this weekend from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday and focuses on political and historical books as well as the book industry. The following are highlights for this coming weekend. For more information, go to Book TV's website.

Saturday, January 22
3 p.m. James Oakes, author of The Crooked Path to Abolition: Abraham Lincoln and the Antislavery Constitution (Norton, $17.95, 9781324020196). (Re-airs Sunday at 3 a.m.)

Sunday, January 23
8 a.m. Paul Lockhart, author of Firepower: How Weapons Shaped Warfare (Basic Books, $35, 9781541672963). (Re-airs Sunday at 8 p.m.)

9:15 a.m. Michael Eric Dyson, author of Entertaining Race: Performing Blackness in America (St. Martin's Press, $32.50, 9781250135971). (Re-airs Sunday at 9:15 p.m.)

10 a.m. Leonard Mlodinow, author of Emotional: How Feelings Shape Our Thinking (Dutton, $28, 9781524742874). (Re-airs Sunday at 10 p.m.)

2 p.m. Joy Harjo, author of Poet Warrior: A Memoir (Norton, $25, ‎ 9780393248524).

2:45 p.m. Stanley McChrystal, author of Risk: A User's Guide (Portfolio, $30, 9780593192207).

3:15 p.m. Derecka Purnell, author of Becoming Abolitionists: Police, Protests, and the Pursuit of Freedom (Astra House, $28, 9781662600517).

4:15 p.m. Martin Indyk, author of Master of the Game: Henry Kissinger and the Art of Middle East Diplomacy (Knopf, $35, 9781101947548).

5:15 p.m. Salman Rushdie, author of Languages of Truth: Essays 2003-2020 (Random House, $28, 9780593133170).

6:05 p.m. Ted Osius, author of Nothing Is Impossible: America's Reconciliation with Vietnam (Rutgers University Press, $29.95, 9781978825161).

Books & Authors

Awards: Edgar Nominees; Australian Indie Book Shortlist

The Mystery Writers of America has announced the nominees for the 2022 Edgar Allan Poe Awards, honoring the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction and television published or produced in 2021. The awards will be celebrated on April 28 in New York City. To see the full list of nominees, click here.


Australian independent booksellers have announced the shortlist for the Indie Book Awards 2022. Established in 2008, the prize recognizes and celebrate the country's literary talent, as nominated and judged by booksellers. Category winners and the overall book of the year will be named at a virtual awards event on March 21. Check out the Indie Book Awards shortlist here.

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, January 25:

Violeta: A Novel by Isabel Allende, trans. by Frances Riddle (Ballantine, $28, 9780593496206) follows a South American woman through the 100 years of her life.

The Hummingbird: A Novel by Sandro Veronesi, trans. by Elena Pala (HarperVia, $27.99, 9780063158559) follows a Florentine family from the 1960s to the present.

Greenwich Park by Katherine Faulkner (Gallery, $27.99, 9781982150310) is a thriller about an expecting mother and an unstable new friend from prenatal class.

The Confident Mind: A Battle-Tested Guide to Unshakable Performance by Dr. Nate Zinsser (Custom House, $28.99, 9780063014831) is written by the director of West Point's performance psychology program.

American Injustice: Inside Stories from the Underbelly of the Criminal Justice System by David S. Rudolf (Custom House, $27.99, 9780062997357) is written by Michael Peterson's defense attorney from the Netflix series The Staircase.

Justice Is...: A Guide for Young Truth Seekers by Preet Bharara, illus. by Sue Cornelison (Crown Books for Young Readers, $17.99, 9780593176627) is a picture book introduction to the concept of justice.

Eyes That Speak to the Stars by Joanna Ho, illus. by Dung Ho (HarperCollins, $18.99, 9780063057753) is a picture book companion to Eyes That Kiss in the Corners in which an Asian American boy learns to love his eyes.

The Roughest Draft by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka (Berkley, $16, 9780593201930).

IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:

The Latinist: A Novel by Mark Prins (Norton, $26.95, 9780393541274). "Despite the title and the focus on a second-century Roman poet and Latin, this novel is very readable, and I found myself staying up late to finish the last half of the book! An excellent debut!" --Lee Cornell, Beagle and Wolf Books & Bindery, Park Rapids, Minn.

Bibliolepsy: A Novel by Gina Apostol (Soho Press, $26, 9781641292511). "A book lover's dream filled with hilarity, poetry, and rampant bibliophilia--or, as she calls it, bibliolepsy." --Jeff Sjerven, Left Bank Books, St. Louis, Mo.

Mirrorland: A Novel by Carole Johnstone (Scribner, $17, 9781982136369). "You will tie yourself in knots figuring out what's happening in this story of two sisters growing up with different stories attached to the games they play, stories that take on a life of their own years later as buried memories arise." --Pete Mock, McIntyre's Fine Books, Pittsboro, N.C.

For Ages 4 to 8
Friends Are Friends, Forever by Dane Liu, illus. by Lynn Scurfield (Holt, $18.99, 9781250778185). "Although the story features Lunar New Year celebrations, this book will be one to enjoy year-round, with a sweet story of friendship and the value of shared experiences." --Tegan Tigani, Queen Anne Book Company, Seattle, Wash.

For Ages 8 to 12: An Indies Introduce Title
Hide and Geek by T.P. Jagger (Random House, $16.99, 9780593377932). "The perfect middle grade book for fans of mystery and puzzles. You'll want to be part of the friend group, The GEEKs, as they go on a treasure hunt to solve the puzzles left by a famous puzzle maker in order to save their town." --Shoshonna Roberts, Maggie Mae's Kids Bookshop, Gresham, Ore.

For Teen Readers
The Kindred by Alechia Dow (Inkyard Press, $18.99, 9781335418616). "The Kindred is utterly unique and so, SO beautifully written. I can't wait to see what's next in this intergalactic kingdom!" --Hannah Oxley, Mystery to Me, Madison, Wis.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: School Days

School Days by Jonathan Galassi (Other Press, $25 hardcover, 224p., 9781635421897, April 5, 2022)

Small wonder so many novels are set at prep schools. As Sam Brandt, graduate of Connecticut's prestigious Leverett School and longtime Leverett English teacher, puts it in School Days, "It was human nature, wasn't it? Put warm bodies together in a sealed environment--a nunnery, a prison, a boarding school--and unnaturally intense attachments were bound to form." Jonathan Galassi's short but engulfing novel is about such attachments within and across generations, and particularly about the point when these attachments begin to reflect not steadfastness so much as stagnation.

School Days opens in October 2007 with the adult-directed equivalent of a note from the principal's office: Leverett's headmaster, Boris Krohn, has summoned Sam to discuss an unfortunate development. Ron Bryden, a former Leverett student who would have graduated with Sam and the class of '67 if Ron hadn't dropped out, has written to Boris requesting "a few amends" for the abuse perpetrated on him by "one of your star pedagogues, the ones you're always touting as embodying what makes a Leverett education so unique." A problem for Leverett becomes a problem for Sam when Boris asks him to do some digging into Ron's experience at the school, including his reason for leaving after two years.

For Sam and many of his classmates, Leverett, an all-boys school at the time, functioned as a safe-enough space to playact as gay adventurers; like Sam, most of the boys would go on to marry women, although School Days finds him separated from his wife of decades. Ron's letter has the effect of casting a pall over Sam's 40-year-old memories--they're inescapable once he gets Boris's assignment--of youthful sex with male partners and of camaraderie with school faculty: Might the "star pedagogue" Ron mentions have been one of Sam's beloved teachers? And what responsibility does Leverett bear now for what happened then?

Galassi, chairman of Farrar, Straus and Giroux and author of three poetry books and the novel Muse, crafts supple sentences with atavistic touches; young Sam "was the chump who actually believed the poems and pop songs and old nostrums." As for older Sam, readers may be moved to wonder if by staying true to Leverett, he wasn't so much affirming his past as guaranteeing that he would never have to grow up and face the possibility that love was, as a classmate once defined it, "no more or no less than unrequited lust." --Nell Beram, author and freelance writer

Shelf Talker: In this big-impact little novel, a prep school graduate turned faculty member is asked to investigate a former classmate's allegation of abuse by a charismatic former teacher.

KidsBuzz: Katherine Tegen Books: Case Closed #4: Danger on the Dig by Lauren Magaziner
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