Shelf Awareness for Monday, April 18, 2022

Chronicle Books: Poetry Comics by Grant Snider

Berkley Books: We Love the Nightlife by Rachel Koller Croft

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: Waiting in the Wings by Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton, Illustrated by Eg Keller

Webtoon Unscrolled: Boyfriends. Volume Two: A Webtoon Unscrolled Graphic Novel by Refrainbow

Shadow Mountain: The Witch in the Woods: Volume 1 (Grimmworld) by Michaelbrent Collings

Hell's Hundred: Blood Like Mine by Stuart Neville

Delacorte Press: Last One to Die by Cynthia Murphy


New Owner for Back of Beyond Books in Moab, Utah 

Back of Beyond Books, Moab, Utah, which was put up for sale last fall, will soon have a new owner. The Sun News reported that former Moab city manager David Everitt anticipates closing on the sale in May and taking over operations from longtime owner Andy Nettell. 

"I'm really looking forward to being part of the Moab community from this vantage point," said Everitt, who treasures the atmosphere of the store as it is and has no plans to change it. "I love the feel of the place, I love the mission of it. You can almost feel the sand under your feet when you're in there--you know you're in Moab when you go into that bookstore. And I know there's a sense of that both for locals and for visitors." 

Nettell said he knew he wanted to wait until the right buyer came along--someone who would carry on the spirit of the store--and is pleased to pass Back of Beyond to Everitt. Nettell plans to focus on his and his wife's new business, Stellar Books and Ephemera, trading in rare and antique books as well as items like photographs and journals.

A Florida native, Everitt first came to Moab in the 1990s to work as a volunteer ranger in Arches National Park, where Nettell, also a ranger, was his supervisor for a time. Everitt later worked for Nettell again at Arches Book Company, a local bookstore that once coexisted with Back of Beyond. And, Nettell noted, he was always a customer of the store.

"He's got so many ties to Moab, both professionally and personally, that it seems really perfect to me," Nettell said. "If we'd written a script, it's about spot-on."

Moab has "always been the landscape that I've felt the most at home in," Everitt observed. After leaving Moab City, he had served as an interim administrator for San Juan County and then worked in Park City, but he saw the Back of Beyond sale announcement as an opportunity to make a life change. 

"It's a great way to be able to come back to Moab. I turn 50 this year and it's time to seek a little bit different balance in life," he noted. "There's a really great group of employees that are making the store what it is today. It really is just its own community institution... the people that are working there give it that feel." 

He plans to spend a lot of time in the shop, learning the ropes and greeting customers: "I'm looking forward to that--it will be fun. I know that I don't know things--I know I have a lot to learn, no question." But Everitt said he sees that awareness of how much he has to learn as a strength, and trusts that the experienced store employees will help him grow.

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Summer Romance by Annabel Monaghan

Roundabout Books, Bend, Ore., Reopening on IBD

Roundabout Books in Bend, Ore., will host a grand reopening celebration on Independent Bookstore Day, after expanding into an adjacent hallway and next-door suite. Store owner Cassie Clemans reported that the expansion has given the store an additional 1,000 square feet and allowed her and her team to increase the bookstore's inventory by about a third.

Roundabout's children's section now has its own dedicated space, and the adult fiction and nonfiction departments have grown as well. Clemans and her team also created a staff office and workroom, replaced the flooring and added more seating areas. The plans, which Clemans announced on Independent Bookstore Day 2021, also include an expanded cafe and additional cafe tables. She expects those changes to be completed by June.

On April 30, Roundabout Books will give away 40 IBD tote bags full of free books to the first 40 customers who spend $40 or more. There will be exclusive items and giveaways throughout the day, along with free cake. From 12-2 p.m. the store will host six local authors for an Author Speed Dating session.

University of Texas Press: Loose of Earth: A Memoir by Kathleen Dorothy Blackburn

Chapter2books in Hudson, Wis., for Sale

Brian and Sue Roegge, who founded Chapter2books, Hudson, Wis., in 2011, have put the store up for sale.

In an announcement via the Midwest Independent Booksellers Association, the Roegges said that the store leases some 2,400 square feet of space and sublets the majority of it to BackRoom Vintage, a seller of home décor, refurbished furniture and vintage household items, which is included in the sale. Chapter2books handles BackRoom Vintage's sales and maintains its books for an addition 10% of gross sales.

Chapter2books primarily sells new books but also carries sidelines and some used books. Sidelines (cards, magnets, buttons, etc.) amount to 7%-8% of total sales and used books about 5%. The store also sells print books, audiobooks and e-books online.

The store features many local authors, both on a consignment basis and in regular inventory. "We enjoy good relationships with both the Hudson and the River Falls Public Libraries and handle sales at many of their author events," the Roegges continued. Hudson, Wis., is about 18 miles east of St. Paul, Minn.

The sale price is $60,000. For more information, including financial details, contact the owners at 715-220-8818.

Harper: Our Kind of Game by Johanna Copeland

BookMonster Closes Santa Monica, Calif., Location

BookMonster, a new and used bookstore that operated in downtown Santa Monica, Calif., for around four years, permanently closed its storefront on April 3, the Santa Monica Daily Press reported. Though the physical store has closed, the online store is still open for business and customers can continue to buy and sell books, CDs and movies online.

From March 19 until the final day of business, all purchases were 50% off, and the BookMonster team encouraged customers and community members to vote for the store as the Most Loved Downtown establishment in a Santa Monica community poll, in order to "let everyone know there should be a bookstore downtown."

Founded as an online store in South Korea in 1999, BookMonster has opened 42 physical stores throughout Korea in the last 10 years. The Santa Monica store was the only bricks-and-mortar BookMonster location in the U.S.

Chronicle Books: Life Wants You Dead: A Calm, Rational, and Totally Legit Guide to Scaring Yourself Safe by Evan Waite, Illustrated by Paula Searing

Obituary Note: Lygia Fagundes Telles


Lygia Fagundes Telles, "one of Brazil's most popular writers, whose stories of women trapped in unsatisfying relationships could also be read as allegories of her country's political situation," died April 3, the New York Times reported. She was 98. Despite her literary success, she continued working as a lawyer in civil service for much of her career.

In a 1980 memoir, The Discipline of Love, Telles recalled that an early critic found her stories suffered only from lacking a "bearded author." She wrote: "I was super happy: To write a text that deserved to come from the pen of a man, that was the greatest thing for a girl in a bonnet in 1944. I worked, I studied and I chose two vocations that were clearly masculine: I was an unconscious feminist but I was a feminist."

Her best known novel, The Girl in the Photograph (1973), "tells the story of three starkly different young women during the regime's most repressive years and includes graphic descriptions of officially-sanctioned torture, a subject that seemed certain to get the work banned by military censors. But in a twist of fate, the censor apparently found the book so boring that he gave up reading before he got to that part," the Times wrote.

She self-published her first book of short stories, Cellar and Townhouse, in 1938 at age 15. Her second collection, Living Beach, found a publisher in 1944, a year before she earned her law degree. For several years, Telles wrote a weekly column in A Manhã, a Rio newspaper, before publishing The Marble Dance (1954), "her first collection to deal frankly with female sexuality. It was this book that Ms. Telles felt marked her arrival as a writer and led her to disavow her earlier works," the Times wrote. Her other books include Summer in the Aquariu (1963), Before the Green Ball (1970) and The Garden Gnome (1995).

Telles earned several literary honors. In 1985, she became the third woman elected to a seat in the Brazilian Academy of Letters. She won the Camões Prize, sponsored by the governments of Portugal and Brazil, in 2005 and was nominated for a Nobel Prize in Literature in 2016 by the Brazilian Writers' Union.


Image of the Day: One Author, Two Books, Two Editors

Watchung Booksellers, Montclair, N.J., hosted Newbery Award-winning author Kelly Barnhill (center) last week. Among the guests were the editors of both of her new books. On the left is Lee Boudreaux, v-p and executive editor at Doubleday, which will publish When Women Were Dragons on May 3. On the right is Elise Howard, publisher of Algonquin Young Readers, which just released The Ogress and the Orphans, which Barnhill presented to a rapt, in-person audience at the bookstore.

Bookshop Music Video: CoffeeTree Books

CoffeeTree Books, Morehead, Ky., shared a YouTube video for the song "Fiction," the latest release from A.p. Harbor. The video was filmed in the bookstore after hours by the co-manager of the adjoining coffeeshop, the Fuzzy Duck. CoffeeTree Books noted: "It seemed worth sharing. A reminder of the importance of books and stories and their impact on children. And a good, sweet song in the bargain."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Zibby Owens on Good Morning America

CBS Mornings: Janelle Monáe, author of The Memory Librarian: And Other Stories of Dirty Computer (Harper Voyager, $28.99, 9780063070875). She will also be on Live with Kelly and Ryan tomorrow.

Good Morning America: Nyle DiMarco, co-author of Deaf Utopia: A Memoir--and a Love Letter to a Way of Life (Morrow, $27.99, 9780063062351).

Drew Barrymore Show: Garcelle Beauvais, author of Love Me as I Am (Amistad, $27.99, 9780063099586).

Tamron Hall: Michelle D. Hord, author of The Other Side of Yet: Finding Light in the Midst of Darkness (Atria, $28, 9781982173524).

Kelly Clarkson Show: Rachel Bloom, author of I Want to Be Where the Normal People Are: Essays and Other Stuff (Coronet, $14.99, 9781529354676).

The View repeat: Seth Meyers, author of I'm Not Scared, You're Scared (Flamingo Books, $18.99, 9780593352373).

Today Show: Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush, authors of The Superpower Sisterhood (Little, Brown, $18.99, 9780316628440).

Good Morning America: Zibby Owens, author of Princess Charming (Flamingo Books, $17.99, 9780593326787).

Drew Barrymore Show: Alexis deBoschnek, author of To the Last Bite: Recipes and Ideas for Making the Most of Your Ingredients (Simon & Schuster, $32.50, 9781982151386).

Kelly Clarkson Show: Sabaa Tahir, author of All My Rage: A Novel (Razorbill, $19.99, 9780593202340).

The View repeat: Chelsea Clinton, author of She Persisted in Science: Brilliant Women Who Made a Difference (Philomel, $17.99, 9780593353295).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Neil deGrasse Tyson, co-author of Welcome to the Universe in 3D: A Visual Tour (Princeton University Press, $24.95, 9780691194073).

On Stage: Sherlock Holmes

Tony winner Rob Ashford (Thoroughly Modern Millie, Frozen, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying) will direct a new production of Rachel Wagstaff and Duncan Abel's Sherlock Holmes, which will be developed in London for West End and Broadway runs, Playbill reported. 

Produced by Antonio Marion, the show, based on the characters created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, will have choreography by Akram Khan (Outwitting the Devil, XENOS, Until the Lions). Additional creative team members, casting and production dates will be announced eventually.

"When we identified that the setting of our production wasn't necessarily a place, but perhaps an emotion, with characters driven by their souls and desires, I realized we had a project that demanded being brought to life on the stage," Ashford said. "Wagstaff and Abel have created a new, sweeping Sherlock Holmes with modern versions of the classic characters fighting hidden demons in a visceral, emotional, sensual thrill ride that could derail at any moment."

Khan added, "Ever since I was a teenager growing up in London, I've felt a sense of familiarity and often connected with the struggle and bond to each other that Holmes and Watson inhabit. Their complex and dynamic relationship is what makes great theatre. It's the adventure of a lifetime to work with Rob and these literary legends on a new production which will bring a new generation of audiences to the world of Holmes."

Books & Authors

Awards: Griffin Poetry Shortlists

The Griffin Trust has released this year's international and Canadian shortlists for the Griffin Poetry Prize. Two winners will be named June 15, each receiving C$65,000 (about US$52,065), while the other finalists will each be awarded C$10,000 (about US$8,010). The shortlisted Griffin titles are:

Late to the House of Words by Sharon Dolin, translated from the Catalan by Gemma Gorga
Sho by Douglas Kearney
Eccentric Days of Hope and Sorrow by Ali Kinsella and Dzvinia Orlowsky, translated from the Ukrainian by Natalka Bilotserkivets
Asked What Has Changed by Ed Roberson

Dream of No One But Myself by David Bradford
Letters in a Bruised Cosmos by Liz Howard
The Junta of Happenstance by Tolu Oloruntoba

Book Review

Review: Metropolis

Metropolis by B.A. Shapiro (Algonquin, $27.95 hardcover, 368p., 9781616209582, May 17, 2022)

Metropolis begins like a classic whodunit: reports that someone fell down an elevator shaft at Cambridge's Metropolis Storage Warehouse, after which the individual was rushed to the hospital with critical injuries. According to the news story, "Neither police nor hospital officials identified the victim." As B.A. Shapiro's ingeniously plotted hybrid social/suspense novel unspools, readers will try to determine who fell and why. But Metropolis prompts other, equally consuming questions: What would compel people to take up residence in their self-storage units, and what would it take to turn their lives around?

Among the renters at Metropolis, a six-story brick pile near MIT on bustling Mass. Ave., are Jason, a Black immigration lawyer who left his corporate job to strike out on his own, his storage unit his new office; Liddy, who is under the thumb of a rich and, recently, violent husband; Marta, a Venezuela-born doctoral candidate in violation of a deportation order, the result of clerical errors; and Serge, a street photographer who has never shown his work to a soul. Although Serge's grasp on reality is shaky, he manages to hold a job washing dishes to cover his Metropolis rent, as well as another, less practical expense.

Rose manages Metropolis. She is a mother of three and wife of an injured Afghanistan veteran with diminished earning power. For an under-the-table fee, Rose lets Marta and Serge live illegally in their storage units. There's even more money in it for Rose in exchange for letting Serge snap photos of the contents of people's units when they're not around. As one character who manages to see these remarkable images puts it, "They somehow still contain their owners, who hover, invisible and ghostlike." Metropolis's owner, Zach, a Yale dropout who bought the property 10 years earlier with laundered drug money, is unaware that Rose is on the take.

The novel's perspective wanders among the story's key players, whose lives intersect in fate-altering ways. The building's dodgy history is yet another of Metropolis's finely etched dramas, which are steered by both personal choices and forces beyond characters' control. Shapiro, who specializes in novels about art (The Art Forger; The Muralist; The Collector's Apprentice), will hopefully indulge the reviewer a sports metaphor, especially given that the Boston Red Sox are a touchstone in Metropolis: she takes her time loading the bases, and in the last inning, she hits it out of the park. --Nell Beram, author and freelance writer

Shelf Talker: In this ingeniously plotted novel, readers are challenged to determine the identity of the person who fell down an elevator shaft in a Boston-area storage facility.

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