Shelf Awareness for Friday, April 8, 2022

Atlantic Monthly Press: Those Opulent Days: A Mystery by Jacquie Pham

Feiwel & Friends: The Flicker by HE Edgmon

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: The Pumpkin Princess and the Forever Night by Steven Banbury

St. Martin's Griffin: Murdle: The School of Mystery: 50 Seriously Sinister Logic Puzzles by GT Karber

Carolrhoda Lab (R): Here Goes Nothing by Emma K Ohland

Allida: Safiyyah's War by Hiba Noor Khan

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


Shelf Awareness Launches Shelf for Readers 2.0

Those of you who subscribe directly through us for Shelf Awareness for Readers will notice a new look for today's issue: the e-mail that lands in your inbox gives a lively taste of the complete issue, which is on a custom landing page that readers can click through to and explore at their leisure, focusing on what's of most interest to them. All the features our readers love are still there--reviews of the best books out this week, Book Candy, Writer's Life and Great Reads--and now there are some new features, too:

  • Starred reviews will be featured prominently, at the top.
  • The lead editorial will focus on what is in the issue, and when appropriate, will highlight news items from Shelf Awareness Pro that will be of interest to indie bookstore customers.
  • The new, neutral look allows the art of book covers to take center stage.

After we test this new version with the 130,000 subscribers who've signed up directly, we'll roll it out to our more than 200 partner bookstores, on May 6. At that time, Shelf Awareness for Readers will move from a twice-weekly publication schedule to once a week, on Fridays. (Don’t worry, we will still be reviewing the same amount of books, approximately 25 each week.) We're also changing the name slightly, to Shelf Awareness, different from our daily trade publication, Shelf Awareness Pro.

The bookstore version will also have some new features:

  • Bookstores will be able to customize even more content. We will choose titles to highlight each issue, but stores will be able to override this in a customizable section and title the section and choose which books to feature with headings such as Staff Recommendations, Upcoming Events, Local Authors, etc.
  • Through our stats dashboard, partner bookstores will be able to log in and see the data about their mailings. This feature will be incredibly helpful in having the stores understand what is of interest to their audience and help them adjust their stock and titles accordingly.
  • Delivery times can be customized. We will normally send the issue on Fridays, but bookstores can choose a different day or time over the weekend.

Otherwise, all the previous options for bookstores remain intact, including events feeds, the ability to write an editorial, etc. If you are an indie bookstore and want to sign up for this free service, contact us via e-mail.

Publisher Jenn Risko says, "It's been almost 12 years since we launched our consumer facing Shelf for Readers. While we've made many updates along the way, it was time for a refresh. Following the success of our Pre-Order Eblast, we have incorporated our customizing tech into Readers and have built an incredible stats dashboard that will make all of what we do stickier. Indie bookstores have done an incredible job of innovating during the pandemic and have learned a great deal about what online marketing has worked best for them. We have listened and learned from our partner bookstores' experience and our own and have incorporated these findings into the new Shelf for Readers 2.0."

We eagerly await your feedback about the new look; please let us know what you think at feedback@shelf-awareness.

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

New Owners at Union River Book and Toy Company, Ellsworth, Maine

Molly and David DiLena have purchased Union River Book and Toy Company in Ellsworth, Maine, from retiring owner Michael Curtis, who originally bought the store in 2010. Per the Bangor Daily News, Molly DiLena has been working with Curtis for a few weeks and is planning to take over officially on June 1.

At 70 years old, Curtis said he is ready to step back, concentrate on maintaining his commercial properties and take more time for himself, especially after the difficulty of guiding the shop through the pandemic. While he is selling the store, he is retaining ownership of the book and toy store's building, which includes other commercial units and upstairs apartments. When he bought the store in 2010, it was called Four the Fun of It and sold toys and games only.

Molly DiLena, who was previously an elementary school teacher, said she doesn't have any major changes in mind, although she may expand the store's book selection, which focuses on children's books and is predominantly remainders. She and her husband may also expand the store's game selection and turn the basement into a game room and area for discount books and toys.

"I will take a little time to figure all that out," DiLena told the Daily News. "It's a good place for families to come for a little bit of everything."

Farrar, Straus and Giroux: Intermezzo by Sally Rooney

The Bookstore Comes to Pine City, Minn.

The Bookstore, a new and used independent bookstore with titles for all ages, has opened in Pine City, Minn. Store owner Dana Volkers Phillips told WCMP that she's planning a grand opening celebration on April 9, and until then all used books will be 15% off.

"We have all genres of books," she said. "We have a really great selection of children's books, some home school curriculum, lots of parenting books, as well as adult fiction and nonfiction."

With her store being the only one in the area, Phillips makes a point of trying to "cater to everyone's tastes" and have the widest selection possible. In addition to books, she carries store apparel, educational toys, puzzles and board games. Phillips plans to start hosting free community programs over the summer, and her store's website features a list of suggestions for "family field trips" in the area.

After her daughter left for college, Phillips recalled, she felt she needed a new project. She prayed about it, and "a bookstore is what came to me." As she did more research and talked to community members, she became increasingly excited about the idea.

Binc Names DPI Scholarship Winner

Hanna Amrollahi

Hannah Amrollahi, the children & YA department manager at the Bookworm, Omaha, Neb., has been awarded a scholarship to attend the Denver Publishing Institute this summer.  A collaboration of the BookIndustry Charitable Foundation, Sourcebooks and the DPI, the scholarship includes tuition, room and board, and up to $2,000 to cover travel and lost wages.

"I am ecstatic at the opportunity to attend the established program at DPI with input from industry professional across the publishing world," said Amrollahi. "The symbiotic relationship between bookselling and publishing is key and I am excited for this chance to better understand both parts of getting books to readers--the shared passion of booksellers and publishers everywhere."

DPI director Jill Smith commented: "We look forward to welcoming Hannah into the DPI community. We are especially impressed by the passion and innovation that she has brought to her bookselling career and know that her unique outlook will enrich the program experience for students and speakers alike. DPI is thrilled to be a part of her professional journey."

Valerie Pierce, senior director-retail marketing & creative services for Sourcebooks, added: "A huge congratulations to Hannah! Sourcebooks is thrilled to be part of this important initiative that helps individuals received integral information about the publishing industry. We are so incredibly thankful to the brilliant masterminds at Binc for creating this scholarship program, and for giving us the opportunity to be part of it. We can't wait to meet Hannah in the future!"

Binc's executive director Pam French said, "We would like to give a special thanks to our partners at Sourcebooks and the Denver Publishing Institute for working with us to put together this scholarship opportunity to attend DPI."

B&N in Cheyenne, Wyo., Moving to Temporary Space

Barnes & Noble will close its location at 1851 Dell Range Blvd. in Cheyenne, Wyo., on May 15, and reopen in a temporary space at 1400 Dell Range Blvd. later this spring, Wyoming News reported.

After 27 years, the store's landlord has decided to redevelop the space as a Natural Grocers location. The bookstore's existing staff will stay on through the transition to the temporary space, and B&N will search for a permanent home in the area.

David C Cook Launches Esther Press

Nonprofit Christian publisher David C Cook has launched an imprint called Esther Press that will publish biblical resources by and for women. 

Susan McPherson, acquisitions editor and women's community lead for David C Cook, will head the new imprint. Esther Press will publish three titles before the end of 2022: Stand in Confidence by Amanda Pittman, Take Back Your Joy by Nicole Jacobsmeyer and Follow God's Will by Brittany Ann. Nine titles are slated to follow in 2023.

Established as a provider of Sunday school material in 1875, David C Cook continues to publish those resources, along with Christian fiction and nonfiction.

Obituary Note: Alan J. Hruska

Alan Hruska

Alan J. Hruska, co-founder of Soho Press, died March 29. He was 88. In 1986, together with his wife, Laura Hruska, and former Dial Press editor Juris Jurjevics, he founded the independent, award-winning book publishing company that remains a family business.

Bronwen Hruska, his daughter, has served as Soho's publisher for more than a decade, "growing the revenue and staff of the well-respected house more than three-fold and securing its reputation as a preeminent midsized independent press," the company noted. 

In addition to his 44-year legal career at Cravath, Swaine & Moore and his unwavering support of Soho, Hruska was an author, playwright and film director. His first novel, Borrowed Time, was published in 1985 and, beginning with Wrong Man Running in 2011, he published a series of critically well-received legal thrillers, including Pardon the Ravens (2015); It Happened at Two in the Morning (2017); and The Inglorious Arts (2019).

Soho Press "made its reputation by welcoming unsolicited manuscripts from little-known writers. Its ambitions, Mr. Jurjevics said, were 'not to have a certain percentage of growth a year and not to be bought by anybody,' " the New York Times reported, noting that the publisher "has specialized in literary fiction and memoirs with a backlist that includes books by Jake Arnott, Edwidge Danticat, John L'Heureux, Delores Phillips, Sue Townsend and Jacqueline Winspear." The company also includes the Soho Teen and Soho Crime imprints.

Hruska wrote and directed the film Nola, which opened at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2003. Other films include The Warrior Class and The Man on Her Mind. He made his theatrical debut directing an Off Broadway revival of Waiting for Godot in 2005. Ten years later, his play Laugh It Up, Stare It Down was produced at the Cherry Lane Theater.

A memorial for Hruska will be held in June, with details to be announced.


Cool Idea of the Day: National Poetry Month Book Donation Drive

Amanda Gorman, Penguin Young Readers and Amanda Gorman are teaming up for a national poetry month book donation drive featuring copies of Gorman's poetry collections. Through the book drive, which runs until May 13, Bookshop customers can donate copies of Gorman's The Hill We Climb, Change Sings and Call Us What We Carry to schools and community organizations across the country. Bookshop's network of independent booksellers has identified local organizations such as schools, libraries and book banks to benefit from receiving donated copies, and booksellers will receive 30% of the retail price.

Bookshop CEO Andy Hunter said: "Bookstores play a crucial role in ensuring important poetry such as Amanda Gorman's live on within our communities. By purchasing a copy of her books through this National Poetry Month, not only are customers able to donate and give hope to people who may not otherwise had access to these books, but they are also able to financially support a local independent bookstore of their choice."

To donate copies of the books and learn more, visit

Personnel Changes at HarperCollins

At HarperCollins Children's Books:

Mimi Rankin has been promoted to senior manager, school & library marketing, from manager.

Christina Carpino has joined as marketing coordinator, school & library marketing. Carpino was formerly a librarian at the Essex Library System.

Josie Dallam joined as marketing coordinator, school & library marketing. Dallam formerly was a sales coordinator at Little Bee Books.

Book Trailer of the Day: Empire of Iron

Empire of Iron by Debra May Macleod (Blackstone Publishing), the third and final book in the Vesta Shadows series.

Media and Movies

TV: Straight Man

Bob Odenkirk (Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul) will star in a TV series adaptation of Richard Russo's novel Straight Man. Deadline reported that AMC network has ordered scripts for the project, and if greenlit, is eyeing a 2023 release. The project comes from Aaron Zelman and Paul Lieberstein, who are adapting the book and would serve as co-showrunners.

Odenkirk said, "I loved Paul and Aaron's take on Richard's excellent, entertaining novel. Once again a project with AMC with a focus on character depth and sensitivity. This milieu (academia) seems very pertinent to the conversations we're all having. I am drawn to the tone of humanity and humor in the novel and I look forward to playing this role--something lighter than my recent projects but still closely observed and smart."

"Bob Odenkirk is just as good as it gets," added Dan McDermott, president of entertainment and AMC Studios for AMC Networks. "We feel so fortunate to be developing a new show that would keep him at AMC after Better Call Saul and Breaking Bad, two iconic series that have been beloved by millions of fans and helped define AMC and its reputation for unforgettable characters and high-quality storytelling for adults." 

Books & Authors

Awards: International Booker Shortlist, Hugo Finalists

The shortlist for the International Booker Prize, honoring a book "written in another language and translated into English," has been released. The winning book will be announced May 26, with the £50,000 (about $65,360) prize money divided equally between the author and translator. In addition, the shortlisted authors and translators each receive £2,500 (about $3,270), increased from £1,000 (about $1,305) in previous years. This year's shortlisted titles are:

Heaven by Mieko Kawakami, translated from Japanese by Sam Bett & David Boyd
Elena Knows by Claudia Piñeiro, translated from Spanish by Frances Riddle
A New Name: Septology VI-VII by Jon Fosse, translated from Norwegian by Damion Searls
Tomb of Sand by Geetanjali Shree, translated from Hindi by Daisy Rockwell
The Books of Jacob by Olga Tokarczuk, translated from Polish by Jennifer Croft
Cursed Bunny by Bora Chung, translated from Korean by Anton Hur

Frank Wynne, chair of the judges, commented: "Translation is an intimate, intricate dance that crosses borders, cultures and languages. There is little to compare to the awe and exhilaration of discovering a perfect pairing of writer and translator. As a jury we have had the pleasure of reading many extraordinary books, and choosing a shortlist from among them has been difficult and sometimes heart-breaking. These six titles from six languages explore the borders and boundaries of human experience, whether haunting and surreal, poignant and tender, or exuberant and capricious. In their differences, they offer glimpses of literature from around the world, but they all share a fierce and breath-taking originality that is a testament to the endless inventiveness of fiction."


Chicon 8, the 80th World Science Fiction Convention, has announced finalists for the 2022 Hugo Awards, Astounding Award for Best New Writer, and Lodestar Award for Best YA Book, which can be seen here. The awards are scheduled to be presented September 4 at a ceremony during Chicon 8 in Chicago, Ill.

Reading with... Maud Newton

photo: Maximus Clarke

Maud Newton is a writer and critic. Her first book, Ancestor Trouble: A Reckoning and a Reconciliation (Random House, March 29, 2022), grew out of family history posts on her blog and a 2014 Harper's cover story on Americans' obsession with genealogy. Her work has also appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Narrative, the New York Times Book Review, the Oxford American, Harper's Bazaar, the Los Angeles Times, the Boston Globe, Granta, Bookforum, the Paris Review Daily, the New Republic, the Awl and many other publications and anthologies, including the bestselling anthology What My Mother Gave Me.

Handsell your book to readers:

Ancestor Trouble flowed from decades of wrestling with my own strange and troubled Southern family and broadened into an exploration of history, psychology, genetics, spirituality and the transformational possibilities our ancestors have for all of us. 

On your nightstand now:

I'm currently reading Robin Fleming's Britain After Rome, Caitlin C. Gillespie's Boudica, Owen Davies's Grimoires and Elaine Pagels's Beyond Belief (about the Gospel of Thomas), all fuel for the novel I'm working on, which seems to want to have an unexpected historical component.

Favorite book when you were a child:

One of my favorites was E.B. White's Charlotte's Web. My first-grade teacher read the book aloud to our class a chapter at a time, and she and I weren't the only ones sobbing by the last page.

Your top five authors:

Impossible to choose just five, but lately I've been rereading James Baldwin, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Muriel Spark, Jamaica Kincaid and W.S. Merwin. Merwin's late poetry tends to treat the Earth as kin to humans and in that way, it resonates deeply with changes in my own approach to life.

Book you've faked reading:

I was supposed to read Søren Kierkegaard's Either/Or for a college existentialism class but found it tedious. His Fear and Trembling was a more interesting entry point, although I'm still not a fan.

Book you're an evangelist for:

So many! It really depends on the person I'm evangelizing to. Books published over the past year that I can't stop recommending include Honorée Fanonne Jeffers's The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois, Xochitl Gonzalez's Olga Dies Dreaming, Lauren Groff's Matrix, Rebecca Donner's All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days, Kaitlyn Greenidge's Libertie, Sarah Schulman's Let the Record Show and Taylor Harris's This Boy We Made.

Book you've bought for the cover:

I don't think I've ever bought a book for the cover alone, with the possible exception of the 1991 RE/Search zine Angry Women, edited by Andrea Juno and V. Vale, which introduced me to Wanda Coleman, Kathy Acker, Diamanda Galás, bell hooks, Susie Bright, Lydia Lunch, Holly Hughes and so many other mind-blowing artists and activists. The cover depicts a stern, slightly scowling, somewhat bemused or amused contemporary Medusa figure, whose face is surrounded by snakes in place of hair.

Book you hid from your parents:

My parents were strict Christians, one very evangelical and one more fundamentalist, so I hid quite a few books--from Judy Blume novels like Deenie, Forever and Then Again, Maybe I Won't as a preteen to Jay McInerney's Bright Lights, Big City and Bret Easton Ellis's Less Than Zero in my teen years. When I was in college and home for the summer, my mom confiscated my copies of Jean-Paul Sartre's Nausea and Friedrich Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra, telling me they would "mess up" my mind.

Book that changed your life:

Nearly every book I love changes me a little bit. One from the past several years is Elaine Pagels's The Gnostic Gospels. Understanding the diversity of interpretations of Christianity in the century or two after Jesus's death, the extent to which the canonized Bible is arbitrary and the ways that Gnosticism reflects and might have been influenced by Buddhist thought has given me an interesting entry point into re-examining the religion of my childhood.

Favorite line from a book:

One passage that stayed with me as I worked on Ancestor Trouble is from Robin Wall Kimmerer's Braiding Sweetgrass: "After all these generations since Columbus, some of the wisest of Native elders still puzzle over the people who came to our shores. They look at the toll on the land and say, 'The problem with these new people is that they don't have both feet on the shore. One is still on the boat. They don't seem to know whether they're staying or not.' "

Five books you'll never part with:

So many! But here are five incredible, impeccable books by writers I know that I'll keep forever: Laila Lalami's The Moor's Account, Maaza Mengiste's The Shadow King, Sarah Smarsh's Heartland, Nicole Chung's All You Can Ever Know and Madeline Miller's Circe.

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

I'd love to be able to go back in time to my college years and read Alexander Chee's How to Write an Autobiographical Novel at that age. I feel like it would have prevented so much uncertainty around writing as a calling for me. Instead I urge the book on every young writer I know.

Books that were important for writing Ancestor Trouble:

To name just a few, I drew from personal memoirs, like Emily Raboteau's Searching for Zion and Dani Shapiro's Inheritance; from books about genetics and epigenetics written for a popular audience, such as Carl Zimmer's She Has Her Mother's Laugh and Siddhartha Mukherjee's The Gene; from scientific histories of heredity compiled for scholars, such as Heredity Produced: At the Crossroads of Biology, Politics, and Culture, 1500-1870, edited by Staffan Müller-Wille and Hans-Jörg Rheinberger; from books on biological inheritance in ancient and modern philosophy, from Aristotle's and Hippocratic writings to Jenny Davidson's Breeding and John Waller's Heredity; books on psychology, including Anne Ancelin Schützenberger's The Ancestor Syndrome, Kay Redfield Jamison's Touched with Fire, Carl Jung's Memories, Dreams, Reflections and James Hillman and Sonu Shamdasani's Lament of the Dead: Psychology After Jung's Red Book; and books on the role of ancestors in spiritual life, including Eternal Ancestors edited by Alisa LaGamma, the works of Malidoma Patrice Somé, Peter Brown's The Cult of the Saints, Francesca Stavrakopoulou's Land of Our Fathers, Ronald Hutton's Pagan Britain, the works of Graham Harvey and Ancestors in Post-Contact Religion edited by Steven J. Friesen.

Book Review

Review: A Down Home Meal for These Difficult Times: Stories

A Down Home Meal for These Difficult Times: Stories by Meron Hadero (Restless Books, $26 hardcover, 224p., 9781632061188, June 28, 2022)

The characters in Meron Hadero's sharp-eyed debut collection of 15 short stories, A Down Home Meal for These Difficult Times, often find themselves caught between worlds. Whether arriving in the U.S. to pursue an education ("Medallion"), visiting family in Addis Ababa and feeling out of place ("The Suitcase"), or conversing with an elderly German neighbor in Iowa ("The Wall"), Hadero's characters are keenly aware of the contrasts between the places they have left and the places they inhabit. As they engage in "this most sacred and difficult task of staying put," they rely on their communities, which are often makeshift but become vital in keeping them grounded where they are.

While most of Hadero's characters have suffered and sacrificed to arrive in their new homes (or even to visit their children abroad), her stories focus on what happens after arrival: the bewildering blur of new customs and languages, the casual racism and mystifying paperwork, the layers of confusion and discrimination they must push through to build a home. Yet her characters find ways to make ends meet, and sometimes to thrive, in these unfamiliar settings. In the title story, two women meet in the back of a church classroom where their children are learning Amharic, buy a Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook to share and eventually launch a successful food-truck business. Two cousins share a cab and a bed in "Preludes," using each in shifts so they can earn a living and also rest. And an enterprising young man named Getu, after being let down by his contact at an NGO, finds a last-minute way to capitalize on the connections he has built among expats and aid workers.

Hadero sometimes veers into satire, as in "The Case of the Missing Prime Minister," a narrative told in reverse chronology about the prime minister of an unnamed country who disappears abruptly, to the chagrin of his countrymen and their press. She deftly skewers both politics and the media in "The Life and Times of the Little Manuscript & Anonymous," which explores the twisting journey of a novel that calls the corrupt power brokers of a nation to account. In "The Elders," she sets up a debate in an Ethiopian expat community about where to bury one of their own--his homeland or his adopted country--told with humor and also deep sadness.

From the crowded streets of Addis Ababa to the basketball courts of Brooklyn, Hadero--who was born in Ethiopia and came to the U.S. as a child refugee--explores displacement, immigration, the plight of refugees and the deeply human longing for home and community. Told with fierce honesty and compassion, Madero's collection lives up to its title, providing a flavorful, nourishing feast. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

Shelf Talker: Debut Ethiopian American author Meron Hadero explores the nuances of immigration, displacement and building a home in a sharp-eyed collection of 15 short stories.

Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: The Last Face Mask Column I'll Ever Write... Maybe

Staring down the store's staff as she wracked her brain, local woman Monica Hadwin was reportedly desperately seeking an excuse to assault retail workers Tuesday now that the state's mask mandate had been lifted. --The Onion

The shop koala at Fullers Bookshop in Hobart, Tas., Australia, offers spare face masks

While quoting a satirical news item from the Onion may be a dubious way to introduce a column about face masks during a pandemic, the question remains as we enter yet another stage of this seemingly endless journey: "What's next with face masks?

The answer, as anyone who's left their house during the past two years can attest, remains an unsettling, "It depends." As recently as last month, Canadian bookseller Massy Books in Vancouver, B.C., shared online messages from "anti-masking bullies" who were encouraging people not to shop there because the bookshop asks customers to wear masks while in the store. The owners tweeted: "Fyi--we have a safe plan to deescalate in place and looking into a doorbell. If we lock the front door, it's only until we can open it for you, we are NOT shutting down :) Thanks all for your concern."

Lifting mask mandates (or occasionally reinstating them for a Covid variant surge: "Philly revives indoor face mask recommendation") complicates matters. Boston eased its masking requirements recently. "It's sort of the light at the end of the tunnel, and hopefully that tunnel is getting very short," said Brattle Book Shop proprietor Ken Gloss. WBUR reported that "in recent times, he and his staff have also taken on the role of the 'mask police,' stopping any uncovered face that walked through their doors. Some people had simply forgot to put it on and did so when asked. Others, not so much."

When WBUR stopped by the bookshop on a Saturday morning after the mandate was lifted, "it was a mix of masked and unmasked faces looking through the stacks. Customers and staff alike can go mask-free in the shop, but Ken Gloss still expects most of his staff to keep their masks on." Bookseller Rory Pryor said that because they interact with so many people, they're choosing to stay masked and would consider removing it once masks are not required on public transit and in healthcare facilities, adding: "That means someone is still being very cautious and I'd like to be as cautious as them."

One thing I've noticed thus far this year is that bookseller posts about face masks on social media are a bit less ubiquitous, but often more pointed and personal. I was particularly impressed by these three thoughtful posts:  

A Novel Idea, Philadelphia, Pa.: "Masks will continue to be required to shop at A Novel Idea. As many of you know, Christina is immunocompromised, and as such, we have taken Covid-19 extremely seriously. There are others in our community that are also immunocrompromised and their health and safety comes first. We will continue to monitor the number of cases and percentage of vaccinated folks. We appreciate your support."

"The mask mandate ends tomorrow," A Room of One's Own, Madison, Wis., noted on Instagram. "We are glad to see positive rates falling and would like to CONTINUE seeing them fall, to see hospitals have more space and to see hospital staff less worked, so we are staying masked!!!!! We want to take care of folks we know and love (and the ones we don't!) who are immunocompromised or suppressed and staying masked is the best way to do that. All browsers over 2 years old are required to wear a mask. Don't want to wear mask? That's okay, you just can't come in. We are happy to take an order for you over the phone and pass your bag off to you outside. This has been a tremendously hard couple of years and we hope to someday live in a post-covid world but this ain't it. We ask that all browsers wear KN95s or surgical masks at the very least. Cloth masks have proven to not be very much help. We have extra masks (available for free) if you need them!!! Just ask. We love you. In community care, Room."

Under the Umbrella bookstore, Salt Lake City, Utah, posted: "I have no idea what the current city/county/CDC masks requirements are (probably nothing?), and I honestly don't care. Under the Umbrella continues to require masks in store because it's the very actual literal least we can do to try to keep our community safe. Part of our mission is taking care of the most marginalized and vulnerable among us, including those who are immunocompromised--and staying masked is how we do that. We have free masks (for now--turns out those aren't actually free so please please remember to bring your own) but if you aren't interested in wearing a mask in store, you can order online and we will ship to you, or bring your purchase out for free curbside pickup during business hours. We ask that individuals over two years old wear N95s or surgical masks, as cloth masks don't do much to protect us against current strains of coronavirus. We keep us safe. In community, UTU."

As for me, still reading, still masked.

--Robert Gray, contributing editor

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