Shelf Awareness for Friday, July 22, 2022


Flatiron Books: White Horse by Erika T. Wurth

Shadow Mountain: To Capture His Heart (Proper Romance Victorian) by Nancy Campbell Allen

Zest Books (Tm): Braiding Sweetgrass for Young Adults: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer, adapted by Monique Gray Smith, illustrated by Nicole Neidhardt

Henry Holt & Company: Mihi Ever After (Mihi Ever After #1) by Tae Keller, illustrated by Geraldine Rodríguez

Berkley Books: River Sing Me Home by Eleanor Shearer

Oxford University Press, USA: The World According to Proust by Joshua Landy

News

The Next Chapter Finds Permanent Home in Huntington, N.Y.

The Next Chapter's future home.

The Next Chapter, the bookstore founded by Mallory Braun to fill the gap left by the closure last year of the much-loved indie Book Revue, has found a permanent home in Huntington Village, N.Y. Braun, who was Book Revue's store manager before it closed, reported that the space she found at 204 New York Ave is just a five-minute walk from Book Revue's old home.

"I'm not kidding," she wrote in a message to customers announcing the new space. "I timed it."

The new space has ample parking and is next door to the restaurant Stella Blue Bistro. Braun noted that "it's going to be a while before we are open there. There are permits and materials to be acquired and a lot of expensive work to be done."

Until that time, Braun will continue selling books at pop-up appearances and online. Today and tomorrow Braun will set up shop at Main Street Nursery in Huntington, where shoppers can buy a book and receive 10% off their purchase at the nursery. They'll also be entered to win a set of wooden bookends. Next week the Next Chapter pop-up will be located at Southdown Coffee in Glen Cove, and Braun is looking to host more pop-ups throughout the summer.

"This is a good spot--I hope you're as excited as we are," Braun said of the new space.

Last December, Braun launched a Kickstarter campaign for the Next Chapter that raised more than $257,000 with the help of 2,216 backers. Book Revue closed in September of 2021, and in October Braun announced her plans to open a new store that would carry on its legacy.


Grand Central Publishing: Sink: A Memoir by Joseph Earl Thomas


Nook & Cranny Books Opens in Seattle, Wash.

Maren Comendant opened Nook & Cranny Books earlier this month at 15th Ave E. in Seattle, Wash., formerly the site of the Oh Hello Again bookshop. The Capital Hill Seattle blog reported that in March, Kari Ferguson had announced she was seeking a new owner for Oh Hello Again "after just over a year of business at the little bookstore where she introduced the idea of retail bibliotherapy to Seattle with a shop organized by topics--'mental health, everyday problems, bettering yourself, relationships, travel and many more.' "

Comendant purchased the business, including Ferguson's stock, and set about shaping her own shop. She has stuck with the bibliotherapeutic organization, saying she and Ferguson share "a very similar literary aesthetic.... They are books I wanted to read, mostly."

Active in the city's arts and drama scene, Comendant is still working as a catering chef. Although her original dream was to have a book cafe where she hoped to mix her love of the written word with food and drink, after learning about the bookshop's availability she decided to build from the book side of things. 

"I do want to bring a more culinary angle to it but that might be more subtle than I first thought," she added.

Nook & Cranny's "tiny dimensions are also a natural gate on ambitions," CHS wrote, adding that "the size limitations also inspire creativity. As the business settles in on 15th Ave E, Comendant says she hopes to eventually add events that could spill onto the street around the store." For now, she continues to work as a chef while also spending time behind the counter. Her sister also works at the shop and is helping to curate Nook & Cranny's kids selections.

Comendant said she is happy to see regulars returning, and that the space has turned out to be a perfect starting point for her journey in bookselling, with a steady stream of passersby and foot traffic in the busy commercial neighborhood. Thoughts of a book cafe still linger even in this smaller, simpler form.

"I want to celebrate the stories in my community," she said. "More than what is printed in the books.... My mission has not changed."


Blair: A Girlhood: Letter to My Transgender Daughter by Carolyn Hays


Vintage Bookstore & Wine Bar Coming to Austin, Tex.

Vintage Bookstore's future home.

Vintage Bookstore & Wine Bar will open this September at 1101 East 11th St. in Austin, Tex. EATER Austin reported that the bookstore/wine bar is located in the historic Haehnel Building, "which had been a grocery store in the 1800s, Shorty's Bar from the 1960s to the 1980s, and a wine shop at some point." Office tenants are currently being sought for three of the unused spaces in the building.

Owner Jean Elizabeth Buckner was working for a tech company when she decided to embark on her bookstore path. Developing a plan with her husband, she quit her job last fall to start working at Bell Springs Winery in Dripping Springs while simultaneously taking online bookselling courses, with a goal to open a books-and-wine business.

"I look forward to being behind the bar and talking to our customers about this season's newest releases and my recommended book and wine pairings. I hope to build a place of inclusion and connection, a place that brings people together," said Buckner, referring to Vintage as "Austin's living room." She also noted that "books and wine have gone together since the dance of time.... I realized I would love to have a chill environment to read with a glass of wine in hand that wasn't my own home. And if I could browse while drinking wine? Even better." 

The book selection focuses on new titles spanning a variety of genres, including her personal favorites: fiction, especially fantasy and contemporary romance. The shop will also host a free book exchange stand on the patio. The bar-service space at Vintage Books & Wine will include bookshelves, as well as lounge seating with tufted armchairs and velvet sofas. There will be two patios and a small stage for hosting events. In anticipation of the physical store, Buckner had been selling books at local farmers markets as well as online at Bookshop.org. 

Despite the name, Vintage Books & Wine will not be selling used books. For Buckner, there is a grander meaning behind the word: "Items described as 'vintage' are perceived as unique and personal with the understanding that they've seen a lot of life. We believe our store is exactly that. We offer a welcoming space rooted in the community that is as unique as our wonderful neighbors. And our decor and aesthetic reflect that as well."


PNBA Holiday Catalog 2022


IndieCommerce 2.0 Rollout to Start Next Week

Beginning on Monday, July 25, the American Booksellers Association will begin a phased rollout of new IndieCommerce 2.0 websites to bookstores "so that their staff can familiarize themselves with the new platform and start customizing their site to fit their needs," Bookselling This Week reported.

In the first phase of the transition, the focus will be on stores that recently joined IndieCommerce, IndieLite stores and some IndieCommerce stores that have a limited need for advanced features. This group represents a majority of IndieCommerce stores. Larger stores that require more advanced website features will be moved in later phases. The transition will take a two-month pause during the holiday season, from November 1 to December 31, and resume on January 1.

The ABA noted that even stores that don't make the transition this year will "still experience an improved platform this holiday season due to the changes made to the current platform." These include ADA compliance modifications, integration with most major bookstore POS systems and real-time postage quotes from USPS.

The ABA's e-commerce senior manager Geetha Nathan will host an Introduction to IndieCommerce 2.0 webinar next Monday, July 25, 1-2 p.m. Eastern, that will review new features and services on the new platform.


Brooklyn's Polonia Bookstore Requests Community's Help

Because of Brooklyn's ongoing gentrification and rising rents, "signs of Greenpoint's Polish footprint have been dwindling as of late, and the latest local Polish business to reach out for assistance from neighbors is Polonia Bookstore," Greenpointers reported. 

For more than two decades, Polonia has been offering authentic Polish literature, folk art, gifts, toys and more, but on July 6 the store put out a call for support on Facebook: "Greenpoint. We've been written in his story for 24 years. We need your support, dear customers, so that the Polish bookstore survives. We hope for your understanding. It would be good to have a Polish place waiting for you, whenever you want to come there."

Observing that the appeal was "most likely due to a mix of dwindling Polish speaking neighbors, the pandemic's impact on small brick-and-mortar businesses, and the rising cost of commercial rent," Greenpointers wrote, "While Polonia does not have a website to shop from, they do offer nationwide shipping and prior customers have praised their customer service (including the ability to call and order over the phone) and a vast selection of titles."


The Clear Lake Book Project Comes to Clear Lake, Iowa

The Clear Lake Book Project, a mobile bookstore based out of a renovated 24-foot trailer, has opened for business in Clear Lake, Iowa. According to 3 News Now, owner Ashley Bruce Lumpkin carries predominantly used titles with a small selection of new books and sets up shop weekly at Clear Lake's Thursdays on Main event.

The Book Project carries titles for all ages in a wide selection of genres. Bruce Lumpkin has started a book club that meets on Mondays; the club's first selection is Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. While the mobile bookstore is open only one day per week at the moment, Bruce Lumpkin is looking to expand her hours. As the school year approaches, she also plans to start donating books to local teachers.

Bruce Lumpkin found the trailer that would become her bookstore on Facebook Marketplace while on a trip to Minnesota. She and her husband, Sean Lumpkin, had to drive home to Iowa and borrow someone's truck to return to Minnesota and bring the trailer home. Renovations and redecoration took several weeks. She noted that it takes only about 15 minutes for her to set up and break down the bookstore during appearances.

With the nearest bookstore about an hour away, the Clear Lake Book Project has seen a strong community response. "It's just been really cool to see all the people excited," Bruce Lumpkin told 3 News Now.


Notes

New Yorker Profiles Square Books' Richard Howorth

In a long, informative, entertaining profile entitled "Letter from the South: The Bookseller Who Helped Transform Oxford, Mississippi," the New Yorker tells the story of Richard Howorth (and a lot about his wife, Lisa), the owners of Square Books in Oxford, Miss.

The store--actually, stores--is "one of the most beloved and influential bookstores in the country," author and New Yorker staff writer Casey Cep wrote. "Like City Lights, in San Francisco, or Shakespeare & Company, in Paris, Square Books has become as well known for nurturing writers as it is for selling their work. It has also become a small empire, consisting of four stores with some fifty thousand books on five floors of three different buildings, all in the town of Oxford, Mississippi. The Howorth family will tell you that they don't know how this happened, but everyone else will tell you that it happened because of the Howorth family."

Richard Howorth

Among a few of the many gems in the story:

When the University of Mississippi's Center for the Study of Southern Culture's Encyclopedia of Southern Culture was published, "the Howorths planned an 'encycloparty' for the launch, and dozens of contributors came dressed as entries, from Elvis to kudzu to Brown v. Board of Education. Square Books sold hundreds of copies of the more than thousand-page volume, advertising them as the bargain they were: 'Only $5.98 per lb. Same as catfish fillets.' "

The Howorths have hosted many of the authors making appearances at the store at their home. "They cooked for them and entertained them with sing-alongs, driving tours, juke-joint visits, and, in the case of the Irish novelist Patrick McCabe, an impromptu St. Patrick's Day parade. One morning, the couple woke to find James Dickey, best known for his novel Deliverance, drinking beer on a stool in their kitchen while regaling their son, then in his single digits, with heaven knows what kind of stories while the boy ate his breakfast cereal."

And among the many tributes from authors and other booksellers is this from Richard Ford: "Square Books would be a great bookstore in Duluth or Del Rio, but in Mississippi, to be such a rare locus of humanist and literary decency has conferred a missionary zeal which they and their entire family take completely to heart.... Richard and Lisa's profound, mirthful, decent dedication to books, writers and intelligence shine like a bright beacon out of the most benightedly ill-run state in the Union."


Image of the Day: WORD Hosts Pollan

WORD Bookstore in Brooklyn, N.Y., hosted a sold-out crowd for the paperback launch of Michael Pollan's This Is Your Mind on Plants (Penguin). The event, featuring Pollan in conversation with Kurt Andersen, took at the nearby St John's Church in Greenpoint. Pictured: WORD events coordinator Mindy Chen with Pollan.


Personnel Changes at Abrams; Putnam

Taryn Roeder has joined Abrams as executive director of publicity, adult books. She was most recently senior director of publicity at Morrow and before that was at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for 17 years.

---

Nicole Biton has been promoted to publicist at Putnam.


Media and Movies

On Stage: The Kite Runner

Video highlights have been released from Broadway's The Kite Runner, a stage adaptation of Khaled Hosseini's novel that began previews July 6 at the Hayes Theater, and will officially open July 21 for a run through October 30, Playbill reported. The production, directed by Giles Croft, comes to New York after premiering in the U.K., including two runs in London's West End. 

Adapted by Matthew Spangler, The Kite Runner stars Amir Arison (NBC's The Blacklist) as Amir and Faran Tahir as Baba. They are joined by Mazin Akar, Barzin Akhavan, Demosthenes Chrysan, Azita Ghanizada, Danish Farooqui, Joe Joseph, Déa Julien, Dariush Kashani, Beejan Land, Amir Malaklou, Christine Mirzayan, Haris Pervaiz, Alex Purcell, Eric Sirakian, Houshang Touzie, and Evan Zes. Salar Nader plays the tabla, a percussion instrument.


TV: Tiny Beautiful Things

Quentin Plair (The Good Lord Bird) has joined the cast of Hulu's Tiny Beautiful Things, based on Cheryl Strayed's book about her stint as an advice columnist, as a series regular. Deadline reported that Plair will play Danny Kinkade, "a creative spirit and musician; bright and level-headed," who is "frustratedly in love with his wife Clare (Kathryn Hahn) and at his wit's end over her selfish and self-destructive antics."

Told in multiple timelines, Tiny Beautiful Things is a half-hour series "about a woman who reluctantly becomes Dear Sugar--an anonymous, revered advice columnist--when her own life is falling apart." Liz Tigelaar serves as creator/executive producer of the series. Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Lauren Neustadter, Stacey Silverman, Jayme Lemons, Strayed and Hahn are also executive producers on the series from ABC Signature and Hello Sunshine.



Books & Authors

Awards: Waterstones Debut Fiction Shortlist

Six "bold and original new voices" comprise the shortlist for the inaugural Waterstones Debut Fiction Prize, which aims to be an "extension and catalyst for the alchemy of bookseller word of mouth recommendation" and is voted for by booksellers from Waterstones, the Guardian reported. The winner will be named August 25. The shortlisted titles are:

How High We Go in the Dark by Sequoia Nagamatsu
Vagabonds! by Eloghosa Osunde
Memphis by Tara M. Stringfellow
Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
The Rabbit Hutch by Tess Gunty
Trespasses by Louise Kennedy


Reading with... Casey Sherman

photo: Dina K Photography

Journalist and screenwriter Casey Sherman is the author of 15 books of fiction and nonfiction, including The Finest Hours (co-authored with Michael J. Tougias and adapted into a major motion picture), Boston Strong (with Dave Wedge and adapted into the movie Patriots Day) and The Last Days of John Lennon (with James Patterson and Dave Wedge). His latest book is Helltown: The Untold Story of a Serial Killer on Cape Cod (Sourcebooks, July 12, 2022), which is in development for a limited television series with producer Robert Downey Jr.

Handsell readers your book in 25 words or less:

Literary giants Kurt Vonnegut and Norman Mailer investigate a vicious serial killer preying on beautiful young women on Cape Cod in 1969.

On your nightstand now:

Riding with Evil by Dave Wedge and Ken Croke. It's a thrill ride through an undercover infiltration of the notorious Pagan Motorcycle Gang.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Richard Scarry's Best Little Word Book Ever. Scarry taught me how to read.

Your top five authors:

Ernest Hemingway
Norman Mailer
Kurt Vonnegut
Robert Ludlum
William Martin

Book you've faked reading:

War and Peace. I got through the war but couldn't finish the peace!

Book you're an evangelist for:

The Alienist by Caleb Carr. It's one of my all-time favorites. It's dark, mysterious and ultimately terrifying.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Expedition Whydah by Barry Clifford. I was captivated by the idea that a legendary pirate ship had sunk off the coast of Cape Cod where I grew up.

Book you hid from your parents:

None. My parents were hippies and urged me to read everything.

Book that changed your life:

Tom Clancy's Patriot Games. It unlocked my passion for reading and, ultimately, for writing. I have a lot to thank Clancy for.

Favorite line from a book:

"If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast." --from A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

Five books you'll never part with:

For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
A Moveable Feast by Hemingway
John Adams by David McCullough
Tao of Jeet Kune Do by Bruce Lee
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

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

Manhunt by James L. Swanson. It's one of the most thrilling and descriptive true crime novels that I've ever read.


Book Review

Review: Jollof Rice and Other Revolutions: A Novel in Interlocking Stories

Jollof Rice and Other Revolutions: A Novel in Interlocking Stories by Omolola Ijeoma Ogunyemi (Amistad, $27.99 hardcover, 256p., 9780063117044, September 13, 2022)

The nearly 15 years Omolola Ijeoma Ogunyemi spent writing and rewriting proves to be tenacity well invested, resulting in her audacious debut, Jollof Rice and Other Revolutions: A Novel in Interlocking Stories. The 10 chapters here work as standalone pieces (many were previously published in prestigious journals and collections), but to read them together rewards audiences with mesmerizing intertwined narratives highlighting four Nigerian best friends and their extended circles through a century-and-a-half across continents and cultures.

Feisty, independent Aisha, Nonso, Remi and Solape meet as 10-year-olds entering an all-girls' boarding school; their sisterhood, inspired by a hazing prank and solidified by the death of one among them, is everlasting. But before they meet, the opening story, "Fodo's Better Half," introduces spirited ancestor Adaoma, who married another woman--in 1927!--in order to have a child against all odds, and who eventually chose to raise him on her own. Adaoma's blood might not run through any of the girls' veins, but her fearlessness will be their legacy in the stories that follow.

After their Nigerian childhoods, Aisha, Nonso and Remi all immigrate to the United States, where each finds love (Aisha marries twice) and two have children. Aisha's marriage to Polish immigrant Andrew doesn't last, but her union with Ade engenders her greatest joys. Nonso flees her Harvard-enabled, high-power New York investment banking job and her hazel-eyed husband (albeit the latter, temporarily) and returns to Nigeria after 17 years of living as a foreigner. Remi binds herself to another Nigerian transplant with whom she has twin boys, who give her the strength to confront her absent yet still demanding father. Almost 70 years later, having all returned to their birth country, the beloved friends will rally to help save the life of Aisha's dying son--no matter the cost.

Born and raised in Nigeria, Ogunyemi deftly filters the personal, historical and political throughout her collection, weaving autobiographical details from her own career as a biomedical informatician with Christianity's culturally destructive colonialism, senseless police violence, labyrinthine healthcare and the consequences of the radical and racist polarization of U.S. society. Yet, Ogunyemi never forgets to engage and entertain even as she slyly exposes and educates: the bully dethroned by shame; a dexterously comical display of code-switching; a village girl judging (then lauding) her "madam... [who] behave like somebody whose head is not correct." For admiring readers, the radiance of Ogunyemi's debut hopefully signals more dazzling fiction to come. --Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon

Shelf Talker: Nigerian writer Omolola Ijeoma Ogunyemi makes her splendid debut with 10 interlinked stories revealing four Nigerian best friends' lives across continents and decades.


Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: Key Components to Booking a Summer Holiday

(photo by Filip Mishevski)

"Have you booked a summer holiday this year?" the Chartered Institute of Editing & Proofreading asked on Facebook last week. None of your business; that was my instinctive response. Admittedly I'm pretty rubbish at the whole vacation thing, so maybe the question just struck a nerve. 

On the other hand, I have booked some excellent summer reads thus far (currently Claire Keegan's Orwell Prize-winning Small Things Like These), so maybe it's just a matter of reinterpreting that word "booked." As it happens, I have been doing this--and more--for the past couple of weeks as my reading has accidentally drilled down beneath the books to their component parts: words, punctuation, structure.

One example was CIEP's post, which noted that "several new words related to holidays are doing the rounds" and linked to a Cambridge Dictionary "About Words" blog entry featuring three vacation-themed wannabe words that have been making the rounds of the hippest lexicological hot spots this summer. Cambridge was seeking the public's advice on whether the following terms should be added to the dictionary:

Gratification travel: going on long, expensive holidays, usually to faraway destinations
Edu-vacation: a holiday that includes some educational activities, such as classes, cultural tours etc.
Hometel: a hotel that is designed to make guests feel as though they are living in a comfortable home

Beach reads from Laguna Beach Books.

I'd initially fallen down this component rabbit hole last month when Ohio State University trademarked "THE." In the Wall Street Journal, Jason Gay offered a suitably snarky analysis: "If you didn't hear THE big news: Ohio State has successfully trademarked the word 'THE' after applying to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The trademark applies the use of the single word on apparel like sweatshirts, baseball caps, and the $19.99 T-shirt you buy for your father at a gas station just before arriving at your parents' house for Christmas.... La-de-dah, they actually did it. Ohio State, which likes to dramatically refer to itself as 'THE Ohio State University'--have you ever asked a proud Buckeye where they went to school?--finally got its mitts on the, well, the."

Gay called trademarking a three-letter article "some kind of crazy power-grabbing hubris. To be clear, Ohio State doesn't now own the use of the word 'the'.... When your Dad refers to Instagram as 'the Instagram,' he doesn't owe money to the administration in Columbus. The, the, the, the, the--see, I can use the word as much as I want, and Ohio State can't ask for a penny. Even if they did, try and get it, suckers."

Suggested summer reads at Hickory Stick Bookshop.

Sports Illustrated pointed out that Ohio State Football celebrated by tweeting a picture "with 'THE,' giving a nod to SpongeBob SquarePants in the process. Take a look."

Also lurking down the rabbit hole was an IPWatchdog piece headlined "Devil in the Details: Does 'A' Mean 'One' or 'At Least One'?", offering this advice: "Patent drafters should be cautious about the proper use of indefinite articles 'a' and 'an.' Generally, when a claim is open-ended or partially open-ended, the term 'a' or 'an' means 'one or more' unless the context indicates otherwise. However, this is not a hard and fast rule, and the indefinite articles 'a' or 'an' can mean 'one and only one.' "

Wait, what? Let's switch to punctuation. A recent New Yorker Daily Shouts item imagined "collegiate punctuation marks trying to be the next Oxford comma." These included:

Notre Dame Semicolon: used to indicate a strong pause between two clauses, handy when cherry-picking political or religious beliefs.
U. of North Carolina Square Brackets: used when transcriptions of statements made by inebriated March Madness fans need more clarity.
Harvard Apostrophe: used when explaining how nepotism or social connections led to a speaker's current position.
Iowa Writers' Workshop Em Dash: used to clarify the full name of a celebrity or industry person previously referred to by a nickname.

Should we expand our reach to "past lives of the paragraph?" From the Hedgehog Review last week: "The paragraph began as a reader's mark; to the reader it should return. Certainly, we have the technology to make paragraphs malleable, whether by loosening the controls of digital environments or taking up a pencil in print ones. A pilcrow or a paraph will do. In fact, making a new paragraph is as easy as drawing a thin line in the margin."

Just as the rabbit hole seemed to be getting a bit too deep, I hit bottom at last with "From Motörhead to Mötley Crüe: A History of the Umlaut--Rock's Most Peculiar Punctuation," in which Mental Floss highlighted Vince Neil's umlautian recollections (Vanity Fair, 2009): "I can remember it like it was yesterday. We were drinking Löwenbräu, and when we decided to call ourselves Mötley Crüe, we put some umlauts in there because we thought it made us look European. We had no idea that it was a pronunciation thing.... When we finally went to Germany, the crowds were chanting, 'Mutley Cruh! Mutley Cruh!' We couldn't figure out why the f**k they were doing that."

OK... ("very probably the most widely recognized word in the world. And its origin story is literally a joke," according to Merriam-Webster). And now, it's time for me to book on out of this rabbit hole.

--Robert Gray, contributing editor

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