Shelf Awareness for Thursday, June 2, 2022

Spiegel & Grau: Other People's Words: Friendship, Loss, and the Conversations That Never End by Lissa Soep

Berkley Books: The Sweet Blue Distance by Sara Donati

Chronicle Chroma: Addie Ant Goes on an Adventure by Maren Morris and Karina Argow, illustrated by Kelly Anne Dalton

Albatros Media: Words about Where: Let's Learn Prepositions by Magda Gargulakova, illustrated by Marie Urbankova

Blackstone Publishing: Ordinary Bear by C.B. Bernard

St. Martin's Griffin: One Last Shot by Betty Cayouette


Gibson's Michael Herrmann Resigns from ABA Board

Michael Herrmann

Michael Herrmann, owner of Gibson's Bookstore, Concord, N.H., has resigned from the board of the American Booksellers Association, Bookselling This Week reported. The resignation was, Herrmann said, "due to an illness in the family. I hope to continue supporting the board as a civilian in the months ahead."

ABA president Christine Onorati, owner of WORD Bookstores, Brooklyn, N.Y., and Jersey City, N.J., commented: "We loved every minute of having Michael on this board and will miss him terribly. We send all our love and strength to him and his family."

The board will make an appointment soon to fill the seat.

In January, Herrmann was appointed to fill the spot vacated by Kenny Brechner, owner of DDG Booksellers, Farmington, Maine, who resigned in November. In April, Herrmann was elected to a three-year term.

Peachtree Teen: The Absinthe Underground by Jamie Pacton

Winding Trail Books, St. Paul, Minn., Closing Physical Store

Winding Trail Books in St. Paul, Minn., will close its bricks-and-mortar store this Saturday

Owners Sue Costello and Rick Gahm told the Park Bugle that they'll host a moving sale from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on June 4, the shop's last day of business. And though the physical location will close, the owners are already "actively looking for a new store location" and plan to continue serving the community through online sales and pop-up appearances.

Gahm and Costello, who opened the store in July 2019, thanked their customers in a message posted to the store's website. "We can't say enough good things about the customers we have met and especially all of the students and people in the St. Anthony Park area who have come into our store. This time that we have had has only deepened our love of community and literature."

They explained that the combination of "being closed, slow shopper return, new Covid strains, cancellations of in-person events and limited rent relief," made staying in the current location untenable. In addition to books for all ages, the store carried puppets, stuffed animals and wooden statues and other collector items from an Italian business called Bartolucci.

University of California Press: The Accidental Ecosystem: People and Wildlife in American Cities by Peter S. Alagona

Jason Jefferies Named GM of Explore Booksellers, Aspen, Colo.

Jason Jeffries

Later this month Jason Jefferies will become general manager of Explore Booksellers in Aspen, Colo. Currently Jefferies is the general manager of Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, N.C., as well as the host of the podcast Bookin'. His last day at Quail Ridge will be June 10, and he'll start at Explore Booksellers on June 22.

"It has been one of the greatest honors of my professional career managing Quail Ridge Books through the Covid-19 pandemic," Jefferies said. "I am looking forward to joining another legendary independent bookstore in Aspen, and I cannot wait to start at Explore Booksellers."

Prior to working at Quail Ridge Books, Jefferies was a manager at Borders Union Square in San Francisco, Calif. He is also the former co-director and co-owner of the North Carolina Book Festival, and is a member of American Booksellers Association's Indies Introduce Committee. His podcast features a new author interview each week, and guests have included Hanif Abdurraqib, Ann Patchett, John Grisham and many more.

Founded in 1975 by the late Katherine Thalberg, Explore Booksellers carries books for all ages, with an emphasis on literary fiction, business, history, self-help, art, YA, travel, cooking and regional titles.

International Update: English PEN Launches Sample Translations Program; Big Jubilee Read Campaign Underway

English PEN has launched PEN Presents, a platform to showcase and support sample translations, including funding literary translators' work of creating samples, giving publishers access to titles from underrepresented languages and regions, and helping diversify the translated literature landscape. 

The initiative follows a 2021 research collaboration between English PEN and Translating Women, which consulted with translators, agents, publishers and literature organizations, and found a widespread desire for an initiative supporting and showcasing sample translations. The research found that funding the unpaid labor of sample translations was seen as a vital part of efforts to increase accessibility and diversify the literary translation community. PEN Presents will initially run in 2022–23, with the aim of becoming a long-term, permanent program. 

"I am delighted that, after intense conversation with the sector about the pressing needs for translated literature, we are launching this program for the benefit of translators, publishers and, ultimately, readers," said Will Forrester, translation & international manager at English PEN. "PEN Presents is about diversifying the literary landscape, about connecting translators and publishers more closely, and about recognizing the ways in which pay and conditions are fundamental to efforts to make the translation community accessible and inclusive. We're excited to see the literature and voices that emerge from the initiative."

PEN Presents launches with two rounds. The first will open to submissions from translators on July 1 and focus on literatures of the languages of India. The second round will open January 1, 2023, and be open to all languages, regions, forms and genres. The selection of proposals for PEN Presents will be overseen by Preti Taneja and So Mayer, co-chairs of English PEN's Translation Advisory Group. 


In England, the run up this week to Platinum Jubilee Central Weekend includes the Reading Agency and BBC's Big Jubilee Read campaign, celebrating great books from authors across the Commonwealth to coincide with the Queen's festivities. To create the list, 10 iconic titles were selected from each decade of Queen Elizabeth II's reign, and organizers say the campaign "will enable readers to engage in the discovery and celebration of great books, while shining a spotlight on lesser-known works and authors deserving greater recognition."

Karen Napier, CEO of the Reading Agency, said: "We're thrilled to be partnering with BBC to celebrate the proven power of reading at this historic moment of national celebration. The Reading Agency hugely values the support of our library partners bringing this fantastic book list to life in the heart of communities across the country this summer."

There's also a roster of Big Jubilee Read events organized by the Reading Agency and Libraries Connected. Run in collaboration with six regional Libraries Connected Networks, the series will be streamed on YouTube and accompany the Big Jubilee Read booklist, exploring six key themes influencing writing, including journeys and migration, multiculturalism and diversity.

Many indie booksellers are also in a Jubilee mood, including:

Wallingford Bookshop, Wallingford: "Fiona has cut out these colorful red and blue corgies for our Jubilee window. Let the celebrations begin. Whoop!"

White Rose Books & Coffee Bar, Thirsk: "Take a break and try the Queen's Jubilee BLT Stack or our delicious Triple Layer Cake, with a Tea or Filter Coffee." And: "From Thurs 2nd June to Sat 4th June we are closed, and we wish you all a happy Jubilee Weekend."

Maldon Books, Maldon: "Did somebody say party?! We're open every day across the Jubilee weekend with the following hours: Enjoy yourselves, and give these two a little wave if you're passing!"

Stanfords Travel, London: "A jubilee edition of #dogsinbookshops thanks to a visit from Tayto the corgi." 


The European & International Booksellers Federation showcased the Apollo bookstore chain in Estonia, which opened its first store in 2000 and has grown to 18 bookstores, while also expanding its presence in various nonbook-related businesses. At the recent International Booksellers Conference in Sharjah, Agne Ahi, Apollo's product manager of foreign-language books, "highlighted the chain's diversification model and explored how this allowed the bookshop side of business to thrive," EIBF noted. 

"We decided not to diversify just inside the stores, focusing on what we sell, but the business itself. By 2016, we created what we like to call the Apollo entertainment complex. This includes bookstores, cinemas, and restaurants. To combine these together, we created Apollo loyalty club," Ahi said. 

Ahi was on a conference panel spotlighting how diversification can work in practice and looking at experiences from four countries. "From cinema partnerships to innovative book-tuk truck that bring books to children in rural areas in India, the panelists highlighted the important role of bookselling for enabling access to books and culture to all," EIBF noted. --Robert Gray

Obituary Note: Stephen S. Thompson

Stephen S. Thompson, novelist and writer of BBC1's Bafta-winning drama Sitting in Limbo, died May 26. He was 56. The Bookseller reported that Thompson, an acclaimed novelist of Jamaican descent, published his first book, Toy Soldiers, in 2000, and went on to write three further novels, including Missing Joe (2012). 

His powerful feature-length drama, Sitting in Limbo, was written "in response to his brother Anthony Bryan's fight against deportation amid the Windrush scandal," the Bookseller noted. Broadcast on BBC1 in June 2020, the film was directed by Stella Corradi and starred Patrick Robinson. 

"We are so sorry to hear of the passing of Stephen S. Thompson--a brilliant screenwriter who won a TV Bafta for single drama Sitting in Limbo and was nominated for Emerging Talent: Fiction in 2021," said Bafta in a statement. "Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time."

Bafta chair Krishnendu Majumdar, who was close to Thompson, tweeted: "Absolutely devastated to hear about the loss of a blazing talent, a dear friend and colleague... gone far too soon. Feel lucky to have known Stephen S. Thompson & bathed in his brilliance."

Thompson's latest book, No More Heroes (2015), "was about the 7/7 London terrorist bombings," Deadline reported, adding that it was in development at the BBC, with Left Bank attached, according to Cassarotto Ramsay & Associates.

G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!
The Silver Bone
by Andrey Kurkov
trans. by Boris Dralyuk
GLOW: HarperVia: The Silver Bone (Samson Kolechko Investigates #1) by Andrey Kurkov, trans. by Boris Dralyuk

A young man runs an errand with his father in post-World War I Ukraine, and their lives are changed forever in Andrey Kurkov's riveting The Silver Bone. Samson Kolechko's father is killed during a violent clash between looters and the military, and the youth's ear is severed. Miraculously, the detached ear continues to pick up sounds; Samson uses it to hear conversations while he's not in the room. This comes in handy when he's offered a job with the Kyiv police department. With wry wit and a fabulistic touch, Kurkov delivers a crafty story. HarperCollins editorial director Juan Milà calls it a "historical mystery brimming with the shrewdness and vigor of a Ukrainian Stieg Larsson." That's the kind of buzz even a severed ear can hear. --Paul Dinh-McCrillis

(HarperVia, $28 hardcover, 9780063352285, March 5, 2024)


Shelf vetted, publisher supported


Bookstores Show Their Pride

Below, a selection of the displays created by independent bookstores in honor of Pride Month:

In response to the "dramatic uptick in school book banning and outright laws attacking queer families," the Golden Notebook Bookstore, Woodstock, N.Y., decided to "put actual out and proud faces on the side of our building to counter such attempts to push us back in the closet and to promote our hard-earned visibility," said owner James Conrad.

Through social media and word-of-mouth, the Golden Notebook put out a call for images; more than 50 photos came in, representing some 100 LGBTQ+ members of the community. 

The banner will be up throughout June for Pride Month. "And maybe all summer!” Conrad said. "I’d like to see other communities do this. Out representation is so important in our country right now."


At the Ripped Bodice Bookstore in Los Angeles, Calif., owner Leah Koch created this striking window display using hundreds of damaged and unsalable books. (photo courtesy The Ripped Bodice)


Let's Play Books, Emmaus, Pa, shared this photo of the store's Pride display, writing: "We're here for you. Everyday."


"Happy Pride! Come see our triple-wide display, and find your next great LGBTQ read!" posted Zenith Bookstore, Duluth, Minn.

Happy 50th Birthday, Full Circle Bookstore!

Full Circle Bookstore in Oklahoma City, Okla., is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a special event this afternoon. The Journal Record reported that the celebration will include wine and champagne, birthday cake and live music. Store owner Jim Tolbert, along with an assortment of longtime friends of the store, will toast the bookstore and its history.

"We are more than a bookstore, we are a place where memories are made," said general manager Dana Meister. "We have hosted weddings and proposals, baby showers and memorial services.

The celebration will last until 5 p.m., and throughout the day all of Full Circle's 60,000 titles will be 15% off.

Personnel Changes at Simon & Schuster

Amanda German has joined the Simon & Schuster special markets team as assistant manager, gift sales.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Emmanuel Acho on Ellen

Tamron Hall: Colton Haynes, author of Miss Memory Lane: A Memoir (Atria, $28, 9781982176174).

Ellen: Emmanuel Acho, author of Illogical: Saying Yes to a Life Without Limits (Flatiron, $27.99, 9781250836441).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert repeat: James Stavridis, author of To Risk It All: Nine Conflicts and the Crucible of Decision (Penguin Press, $28, 9780593297742).

This Weekend on Book TV: Alice Walker

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, June 4
3:05 p.m. Peter Golenbock, author of Whispers of the Gods: Tales from Baseball's Golden Age, Told by the Men Who Played It (Rowman & Littlefield, $24.95, 9781538154878).

4:45 p.m. Wilfred Codrington III, author of The People's Constitution: 200 Years, 27 Amendments, and the Promise of a More Perfect Union (The New Press, $29.99, 9781620975619). (Re-airs Sunday at 4:45 a.m.)

5:48 p.m. Charles Knight, author of From Arlington to Appomattox: Robert E. Lee's Civil War, Day by Day, 1861-1865 (Savas Beatie, $39.95, 9781611215021). (Re-airs Sunday at 5:48 a.m.)

Sunday, June 5
8 a.m. Alice Walker, author of Gathering Blossoms Under Fire: The Journals of Alice Walker, 1965–2000 (Simon & Schuster, $32.50, 9781476773155). (Re-airs Sunday at 8 p.m.)

9:15 a.m. David Mamet, author of Recessional: The Death of Free Speech and the Cost of a Free Lunch (Broadside Books, $28.99, 9780063158993). (Re-airs at 9:15 p.m.)

10 a.m. Dave Rubin, author of Don't Burn This Country (Sentinel, $27, ‎9780593332146).

11 a.m. Katherine Schweit, author of Stop the Killing: How to End the Mass Shooting Crisis (Rowman & Littlefield, $34, 9781538146927).

12 p.m. Live In-Depth q&a with Sam Quinones, author of The Least of Us: True Tales of America and Hope in the Time of Fentanyl and Meth (Bloomsbury, $28, 9781635574357). (Re-airs Monday at 12 a.m.)

4 p.m. Yascha Mounk, author of The Great Experiment: Why Diverse Democracies Fall Apart and How They Can Endure (Penguin Press, $28, 9780593296813). (Re-airs Monday at 4 a.m.)

7:15 p.m. Bill Browder, author of Freezing Order: A True Story of Money Laundering, Murder, and Surviving Vladimir Putin's Wrath (Simon & Schuster, $28.99, 9781982153281). (Re-airs Monday at 7:15 a.m.)

Books & Authors

Awards: Donner, IndieReader Discovery Winners

Dan Breznitz won the C$50,000 (about US$38,950) Donner Prize, which recognizes "excellence and innovation in Canadian public policy thinking, writing, and research," for his book Innovation in Real Places: Strategies for Prosperity in an Unforgiving World. The other shortlisted titles receive C$7,500 (about US$5,840) each.

The jury called the winning work "essential reading for anyone interested in policy for industry, science, finance, competition, and regional development. There is little doubt that innovation is the key driver of economic progress, and Breznitz provides the most interesting and innovative take on the process of innovation in promoting community-wide development. He goes well beyond the current fetish of focusing on the highest end of technology in an attempt to emulate the admired, but inequitable, features of Silicon Valley. He urges communities to focus on the stage of the production process that allows them to realize their own advantages and build an ecosystem that fosters surprising forms of specialized innovation."


The winners of the IndieReader Discovery Awards, sponsored by IndieReader, have been announced. Winners in the many categories can be seen here, and winners' acceptance speeches can be seen here. The winners of the fiction and nonfiction categories are:

First place: Pushing Pawns by Dima Novak
Second place: The Cypress Club by Jeff Wiemiller
Third place: Stones Corner by Jane Buckley

First place: The Original People by Gregory Vizzi and Chief Dick Quiet Thunder Gilbert
Second place: Evolve: A Children's Book for Adults by Jean-Pierre Weill
Third place: Built from Broken by Scott Hogan

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:

Kaikeyi: A Novel by Vaishnavi Patel (Redhook, $28, 9780759557338). "I was swept away in this richly told story of Kaikeyi. A fresh, feminist, and powerful depiction of the vilified queen of the Ramayana, full of mythology and utterly captivating. Kaikeyi is a fiercely told story of power, fate, and love." --Kelly Orazi, Mysterious Galaxy Books, San Diego, Calif.

Marrying the Ketchups: A Novel by Jennifer Close (Knopf, $28, 9780525658870). "This will top the list of family stories! I adored every minute with the Sullivans. The Chicago setting, baseball, the aftermath of the 2016 election, and the family restaurant at the heart of it all created an unforgettable experience." --Amy Traughber, pages: a bookstore, Manhattan Beach, Calif.

Saint Sebastian's Abyss: A Novel by Mark Haber (Coffee House Press, $16.95, 9781566896368). "Quietly hilarious, this slim novel encapsulates the absurdity of academia and honors the impact art has on our lives. From compulsive phrases to the judicious reveal of what imploded a friendship, Haber has crafted a marvelous book." --Madeline Hausmann, BookPeople, Austin, Tex.

For Ages 4 to 8
Growing an Artist: The Story of a Landscaper and His Son by John Parra (Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books, $18.99, 9781534469273). "A beautifully illustrated story by John Parra on his inspiration to become an artist. This tender rendering of his landscape architect father's work brings simplicity, joy in doing, and a passion for plants to a new level. Exquisite!" --Maureen Palacios, Once Upon a Time, Montrose, Calif.

For Ages 8 to 12: An Indies Introduce Title
A Comb of Wishes by Lisa Stringfellow (Quill Tree Books, $16.99, 9780063043435). "A wonderfully told tale of family, friendship, grief, and longing. When a powerful mermaid is determined to reclaim what is rightfully hers, Kela discovers what really happens when you get the one thing you most want in the world." --Susan Williams, M. Judson Booksellers & Storytellers, Greenville, S.C.

For Teen Readers
Hollow Fires by Samira Ahmed (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, $18.99, 9780316282642). "I was immediately consumed with the power and uniqueness of this novel. A timely topic portrayed in profound writing, told from the viewpoint of a young boy who was killed and the young woman who found his body. This is truly beautiful." --Kappy Kling, HearthFire Books, Evergreen, Colo.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: Good Grief: On Loving Pets, Here and Hereafter

Good Grief: On Loving Pets, Here and Hereafter by E.B. Bartels (Mariner Books, $27.99 hardcover, 272p., 9780358212331, August 2, 2022)

"When we open our hearts to animals, death is the inevitable price," writes E.B. Bartels, a former bookseller at Newtonville Books, Mass. Good Grief, her impeccably researched first book, offers deeply personal stories about the many ways companion animals enrich lives and how animal lovers must ultimately cope with the pain of their loss.

Having a pet is a voluntary choice, and mourning pets is nothing new. Bartels notes, "67 percent of American households, 84.9 million homes, own 'some sort of pet'... despite the inevitable loss that comes with that relationship, the ways people grieve a dead pet aren't always taken seriously." Bartels, a lifelong and devout animal lover, has grappled with this predicament since she was a child. Her father loved animals, but her mother claimed she was "violently allergic" to "anything with fur, feathers, or hair." That left young animal-loving Bartels to cultivate freshwater fish in tabletop aquariums. When "trouble in (fish) paradise" began and occupants were found floating in the tank and/or were swallowed up by larger fish, Bartels became intrigued by the nature of loss and grief. Starting in kindergarten, she developed something of a "pet aftercare industry," where she assisted with animal funerals and burials with peers at school.

This in-depth, splendidly informative narrative is replete with down-to-earth stories from Bartels herself and those of ordinary pet owners, pet care professionals, celebrities and historians. The pivotal roles pet birds, reptiles, rodents, horses, dogs and cats have played in personal lives--and how they are ultimately grieved and remembered--are interspersed with fascinating historical facts: the Egyptians treasured the intimacy offered by pets and exotic animals and were known to bury them alongside humans in the same sarcophagus. The Summum community, a contemporary religious group in Utah, mummifies--preserving, in whole--their beloved animal companions. Popular icon Barbra Streisand was so devastated by the loss of her beloved 14-year-old dog, Samantha, that she had her cloned in order to keep "some part of her alive." Bartels thoroughly examines these and many other topics, including euthanasia, taxidermy, ideas about reincarnation and pet cemeteries.

Readers, like Bartels, who long to consciously comprehend the pet-human bond--why people care so much for their pets, in life and in death, and what makes the bond so worthwhile and why--will be well educated and find much to reflect upon in Good Grief. --Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines

Shelf Talker: A lifelong animal lover offers a captivating and impeccable study about the many ways companion animals enrich lives and how people mourn and grieve their loss.

Powered by: Xtenit