Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, March 29, 2022

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


The Buzzed Word Building Community in Ocean City, Md.

The Buzzed Word, a bookstore, natural wine store and wine bar, is finding its footing since opening in Ocean City, Md., about eight months ago, Delmarva Now reported.

Owner Mickie Meinhardt and her team carry general-interest books with a focus on diverse voices and titles from Black authors as well as LGBTQ authors. There are sofas throughout the store as well as a 14-seat bar, and the Buzzed Word's event offerings include book and wine clubs, tastings and pop-up events with local vendors. Going forward, Meinhardt intends to host more events with local artists and writers and make the store a community hub.

"Anything that they love and they want to use the space for," she elaborated. "I hope it feels open and welcome for that."

Meinhardt's bookstore grew out of an Instagram account that she started while living and working in New York City. An avid reader and a wine enthusiast, she began posting book reviews on Instagram that were paired with bottles of wine. That Instagram account eventually led to an event series called Books & Bottles, which saw authors discussing their work with a paired selection of wine.

After the Covid-19 pandemic began, Meinhardt returned to Ocean City, her hometown, to spend time with her sick mother. Though in-person gatherings were on hiatus, she started thinking about turning that Instagram account and event series into a bricks-and-mortar bookstore. She also wanted to give Ocean City a bookstore of its own and a place for community members to gather.

Meinhardt told Delmarva Now that the community's response has been thrilling. "It's really kind of gone beyond what I've even dreamed it would be, because people have been so grateful that we're here."

Flatiron Books: Anita de Monte Laughs Last by Xochitl Gonzalez Certified as B Corporation has been certified as B Corporation, a designation the B Corp movement uses to indicate that a company meets high standards of social and environmental impact, transparency, and accountability to stakeholders, rather than just shareholders. As Bookshop said, "The certification demonstrates the platform's commitment to sustainable and ethical shopping." There are just 4,750 B Corp businesses globally. B Corps must undergo recertification every three years.

Andy Hunter, CEO of, said: "Achieving B Corp certification is something we have been working towards since we first launched. While Amazon gains notoriety for its lack of ethical shopping options, we are delighted to be recognized for our efforts to offer an alternative that is better for our bookstores, the communities they serve and the world around us.

"Our customers shop with us because they want to support independent bookstores, should they not be able to visit their favorite indie in person.'s recognition as a Certified B Corporation business reaffirms our mission to create a more sustainable alternative to buying books online."

Bookshop launched in January 2020, just before the pandemic hit the U.S., and has raised almost $20 million for independent bookstores. Bookshop also launched a U.K. site in November of 2020, which has generated more than £2 million (about $2.6 million) for stores in the U.K.

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

Push for Bronx B&N Reopening Continues

A petition to bring a Barnes & Noble location back to the Bronx has garnered more than 4,100 signatures over the past week, the Bronx Times reported.

B&N's location at the Bay Plaza Mall closed in 2016, leaving the Bronx as the only New York City borough without a B&N store and, at the time, without a general bookstore at all. Following a passionate community response, "organizers behind the reopening said that Barnes & Noble officials promised a reopening 36 months after its 2016 closure."

The bookstore has yet to reopen, however, and Bronx residents Jaeydon McBayne and Hadiyah Braithwaite felt compelled to launch the petition. On the page they wrote: "The lack of an accessible place for Bronx residents to acquire a wide range of novels, textbooks, test prep guides, and children’s books can make it more difficult for the community to uplift and inspire the next generation of children to reach such heights.”

Sam Shalem, chairman and CEO of Prestige Properties, which owns the Plaza Shopping Center, told the Bronx Times that although B&N is still on the lease, there have not been any conversations about reopening a store there. A B&N spokesperson, meanwhile, said there is "strong motivation" to open a store in the Bronx and they are currently canvassing for suggestions for potential locations.

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

Obituary Note: Hassan Al Beer

Hassan Al Beer

Hassan Al Beer, founder and owner of the Arab Culture Kiosk on King Faisal Street and "downtown Amman's favorite bookseller," died March 25, the Jordan Times reported. Also known as Abu Ali, his kiosk "is considered one of the most prominent landmarks in Amman." He was awarded the Order of Independence of the Fourth Class, as well as the silver medal of the second-class on the occasion of celebrating Amman as the Arab Culture capital in 2002.

In a statement, Culture Minister Haifa Najjar expressed her condolences, noting that Abu Ali's kiosk is considered "a beacon for spreading awareness and culture, through his constant quest to urge generations to buy books."

"Abu Ali was not just a bookseller; I remember he had read most of the books before selling. He used to go through political, economic and cultural discussions with the buyer before recommending a book," said Abu Faris, adding that the kiosk was "a remarkable place for most of Amman's visitors and residents, it is a part of Amman's heritage."

Maria Escamilla, a U.S. citizen who lives in Amman, told the Jordan Times that many people directed her to the Arab Culture Kiosk when she was looking for the latest releases in fiction.

Wafa' Abu Rub said the kiosk has always been one of her favorite spots in Amman: "I used to visit this kiosk when I was a university student." She added that a long time before the Internet they had to look for "real" books to find resources for her research and Abu Ali used to bring most of the books students needed at the time.

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


Image of the Day: 'Picture the Dream' Exhibit

Last night at the New-York Historical Society on Manhattan's Upper West Side, artists, authors and performers gathered for the opening of "Picture the Dream: The Story of the Civil Rights Movement Through Children's Books," which runs until July 24. The exhibition was co-organized with the Museum of High Art, Atlanta, and the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Mass.; it is dedicated to Jerry Pinkney and Floyd Cooper.

Pictured (l.-r.): curator of the exhibit and author Andrea Davis Pinkney; her husband and frequent collaborator, Caldecott Honor and Coretta Scott King-winning artist Brian Pinkney (whose artwork is featured in the exhibit); and Gloria Jean Pinkney, author and collaborator with her late husband, Caldecott-winning artist Jerry Pinkney.

Personnel Changes at Berkley; Insight Editions

Kristin Cipolla has joined Berkley as a publicist. She was previously at HarperCollins.


Kristi Visser has been promoted to senior sales coordinator at Insight Editions.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Ira Rutkow on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Ira Rutkow, author of Empire of the Scalpel: The History of Surgery (Scribner, $29.99, 9781501163746).

TV: Gentleman Jack

A trailer has been released for the second season of the HBO/BBC series Gentleman Jack, based on the diaries of 19th century landowner and social rebel Anne Lister. Deadline reported that Sally Wainwright's period drama "turns all eyes to Suranne Jones' Anne Lister and Sophie Rundle's Ann Walker as they set up home together at Shibden Hall as wife and wife, while BAFTA-winning After Love star Joanna Scanlan will join the cast as Isabella 'Tib' Norcliffe, Anne Lister's outrageous former lover."

Series two premieres its eight episodes weekly on BBC One beginning April 10 and drop on HBO at a later date. Executive producers are Wainwright and Jones; Faith Penhale and Will Johnston for Lookout Point, and Ben Irving for the BBC. The project will be directed by Edward Hall, Amanda Brotchie and Fergus O'Brien, produced by Lookout Point for the BBC, and co-produced with HBO. 

Books & Authors

Awards: Sheikh Zayed Shortlists

The Sheikh Zayed Book Award, honoring "Arab literature and culture," has announced shortlists for its nine categories. (See details here and here.) The winners will receive prize money of 750,000 UAE dirhams (about $204,000) and be celebrated at a special ceremony at the Louvre Abu Dhabi on May 24. The Cultural Personality of the year will receive a prize of 1 million dirhams (about $272,000).

Top Library Recommended Titles for April

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

Top Pick
Lessons in Chemistry: A Novel by Bonnie Garmus (Doubleday, $29, 9780385547345). "In the '50s and early '60s, when women were viewed as little more than chattel for men's convenience, Elizabeth Zott had the temerity to become a chemist. With complex and wonderful characters, her story is funny, sad, enraging, hopeful, and will have readers cheering for every character and all women everywhere. For fans of Where'd You Go Bernadette?, The Rosie Project, and Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine." --Judy G. Sebastian, Eastham Public Library, Eastham, Mass.

The Good Left Undone: A Novel by Adriana Trigiani (Dutton, $28, 9780593183328). "Following the lives of various generations of the Cabrelli family, Trigiani takes readers through the 1920s, World War II, and modern day Italy and Scotland. With descriptive language and well-drawn characters, each generation's story is woven seamlessly into the next. For fans of Love and Ruin and The Guest Book." --Janet Makoujy, New City Library, New City, N.Y.

I'll Be You: A Novel by Janelle Brown (Random House, $28, 9780525479185). "Sam and Elli, identical twin sisters and former television stars, have their issues. Sam is a recovering addict, and Elli has been taken in by a cult. But they are quite likable, and the story is totally engaging, a bit suspenseful, and includes well developed plot points. Give to fans of The Good Sister and The Girl in the Mirror." --Evelyn Cunningham, Norwalk Public Library, Norwalk, Conn.

Insomnia: A Novel by Sarah Pinborough (Morrow, $27.99, 9780062856845). "Emma has the perfect career, husband, and family. She also has a secret that is about to catch up with her. She is turning 40 and slowly spiraling out of control as the past creeps closer. Is her insomnia touching her with insanity, or is she about to relive what she has been trying to hide all these years? For fans of The End of Her and Mrs. March." --Selena Swink, Lake Public Library, Lake, Miss.

To Marry and to Meddle: A Novel by Martha Waters (Atria, $16.99, 9781982190484). "After six seasons, Emily's only suitor is a gambling house owner whose father owes a lot of money. Fortunately, Julian wants to marry her to elevate him in society, which will lead to more respectable people coming to his theater. He proposes a marriage of convenience, and of course, love has to find its way. A fun, witty romance for fans of Bridgerton and A Rogue of One's Own." --Claire Sherman, Clearwater Countryside Library, Clearwater, Fla.

The Memory Librarian: And Other Stories of Dirty Computer by Janelle Monáe (Harper Voyager, $28.99, 9780063070875). "These science fiction stories are set in a universe adjacent to the one featured in acclaimed actor/musician Monáe's concept albums and offer hope when despair is at its ripest. Tales of invented homes, found families, hard choices, and the exhausting work of imagining a better future jump off the page. For fans of Octavia Butler and Rivers Solomon." --Krista Feick, Columbus Metropolitan Library, Columbus, Ohio

Portrait of a Thief: A Novel by Grace D. Li (Tiny Reparations Books, $26, 9780593184738). "Li's debut novel is a fun heist book focusing on five Chinese-American college students recruited to steal artwork from Western museums and return them to China. The book looks at issues of diaspora, colonization, and the character's different relationships with culture and identity. Give to readers who liked The Verifiers and Skin Deep." --Allie Williams, Camarillo Library, Camarillo, Calif.

Sister Stardust: A Novel by Jane Green (Hanover Square Press, $26.99, 9781335425782). "Teen Claire leaves England for Marrakech and falls in with charismatic socialite Talitha Getty and her coterie of rock stars, fashion icons, and millionaires amid a buffet of sex, drugs, and alcohol. Fans of Daisy Jones and the Six will find much to love in this book, beautifully told in a manic pace that takes you down the rabbit hole of the swinging '60s." --Kimberly McGee, Lake Travis Community Library, Austin, Tex.

Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez (Berkley, $27, 9780593337691). "A well-paced, wrenching book about the reproductive rights of Blacks and the poor in the mid-20th century. The story moves back and forth in time with fully drawn characters, giving the reader a view of the consequences of the health care system's policies and fresh outrage at the wrongs perpetrated upon Black women. For readers of Celeste Ng and Rebecca Skloot." --Leona Arthen, The Worthington Library, Worthington, Ohio

The Wedding Crasher: A Novel by Mia Sosa (Avon, $15.99, 9780062909893). "After Solange stops Dean's wedding of convenience, they start a mutually beneficial fake relationship: Dean can make partner at his law firm and Solange can get her meddlesome family off her case. With heart, laughs, and characters you'll fall in love with, this follow up to The Worst Best Man is perfect for fans of Casey McQuiston and Talia Hibbert." --Jillian Hayes, Queens Public Library, Jamaica, N.Y.

Book Review

Review: Our Last Days in Barcelona

Our Last Days in Barcelona by Chanel Cleeton (Berkley, $17 paperback, 320p., 9780593197820, May 24, 2022)

Cuban American novelist Chanel Cleeton (Last Train to Key West; When We Left Cuba) returns to her lush, compelling saga of the Cuban American Perez sisters in her fifth historical novel, Our Last Days in Barcelona. In 1964, eldest sister Isabel takes an impulsive trip to Spain in search of her sister Beatriz. Worried Beatriz's intelligence work and devil-may-care attitude may have put her in danger, Isabel nevertheless jumps at the chance to escape her unhappy marriage for a time. What Isabel finds in Barcelona, including an old family photograph she's never seen before, raises more questions than answers about both Beatriz's whereabouts and their family's history.

Cleeton deftly weaves Isabel's narrative together with that of her mother, Alicia Perez, who fled to Barcelona to escape her own troubled marriage in 1936, with toddler Isabel in tow. As the Spanish Civil War escalates, Alicia and her family are caught up in the violence and uncertainty, as well as other, more personal crises. Both narratives also involve Rosa, Alicia's dear friend and cousin by marriage, who must make some difficult decisions regarding her relationships and where she wants to build her life. Cleeton vividly describes Barcelona through the eyes of her protagonists; the city, and its mixture of art and tragedy, is the perfect backdrop for Alicia's struggle and Isabel's soul-searching.

The Perez women display their strength in very different ways, and Cleeton celebrates each for their fortitude: Isabel's quiet determination to find Beatriz and sort out her own personal challenges; Beatriz's fiery temperament and her passion to improve the world; and Alicia's deep love for her family, which aids her in making impossible choices. Cleeton sensitively explores the multiple factors that affect her characters' decisions. Their lives are shaped not only by political events at home and abroad, but by their family's expectations and their precarious social status as immigrants to the U.S. Alicia and her daughters must wrestle with the push-pull between family responsibilities and the inner tug to find and live their own lives. While each of the women has at least one man in her life, the narrative goes far beyond romance: especially for Isabel, it is about choosing to live a complicated but honest life on her own terms.

Full of rich historical detail and vibrant characters, Our Last Days in Barcelona stands on its own, but also gives readers another glimpse into the continuing story of the Perez family. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

Shelf Talker: Chanel Cleeton's fifth historical novel takes two of her characters on parallel journeys to Barcelona, a generation apart.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. The War of Two Queens by Jennifer L. Armentrout
2. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki with Sharon L. Lechter
3. Shenanigans by Sarina Bowen
4. Tangled Up in You by Barbara Freethy
5. Empathy in Action by Tony Bates and Natalie Petouhoff
6. Foes, Friends and Lovers by Stephanie Laurens
7. Once Upon a Broken Crown by Various
8. Savage Bloodline by Various
9. The Preventable Epidemic by Arun Gupta
10. Fallen Creed by Alex Kava

[Many thanks to!]

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