Also published on this date: Wednesday, July 27, 2022: Maximum Shelf: White Horse

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Flatiron Books: The Last One at the Wedding by Jason Rekulak

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

Ace Books: Toto by AJ Hackwith and The Village Library Demon-Hunting Society by CM Waggoner

Webtoon Unscrolled: Age Matters Volume Two by Enjelicious

St. Martin's Press:  How to Think Like Socrates: Ancient Philosophy as a Way of Life in the Modern World  by Donald J Robertson

Hanover Square Press: The Dallergut Dream Department Store (Original) by Miye Lee, Translated by Sandy Joosun Lee

Nosy Crow: Dungeon Runners: Hero Trial by Joe Todd-Stanton and Kieran Larwood

Andrews McMeel Publishing: A Haunted Road Atlas: Next Stop: More Chilling and Gruesome Tales from and That's Why We Drink by Christine Schiefer and Em Schulz


Books Are Magic Opening Second Brooklyn Store

Michael Fusco-Straub and Emma Straub outside the new store.

Books Are Magic, which opened its Cobble Hill store in Brooklyn, N.Y., five years ago, will launch a second store, at 122 Montague St. in Brooklyn Heights, this fall. In an Instagram post yesterday, co-owners Emma Straub and Michael Fusco-Straub announced: "The secret is OUT! We've been *dying* to tell you about our second location, and we just couldn't hold it in anymore. Books Are Magic is coming to Montague Street, tell everyone. While you're here, drop your favorite Brooklyn Heights lunch spots down in the comments so the booksellers will know where to go first."

In a joint statement, the co-owners and their staff said, "One consequence of opening a physical space is that almost immediately, people start asking when you're going to open a second." TimeOut NY reported they compared the experience to "having a baby and strangers asking about siblings, but in this case, real estate developers were hitting up the Books Are Magic inbox with rentable space in Manhattan and Los Angeles. It was a lot and also didn't suit the Books Are Magic brand, which has built a home in a cozy corner shop in a residential neighborhood."  

Books Are Magic's "success and popularity since opening in 2017 has raised some questions about expansion, and a regular commute to school in Brooklyn Heights intrigued the Fusco-Straubs, entrepreneurially and architecturally," TimeOut NY wrote. "After looking at half a dozen spaces that were ruled out for all the typical New York reasons (too small, too many stairs, etc.), this spring they stopped into the former spot of a Housing Works and of Fishs Eddy, and felt a connection to the retail space, which is, conveniently, next to an ice cream shop."

"We signed the lease, and have started building a new bookstore," they noted. "The friend who helped us build the store on Smith Street is helping us again, and right now, we are brainstorming with the booksellers about what the space should be."

Five years ago, the original Books Are Magic "was greeted with much fanfare and anticipation," Patch Brooklyn wrote, adding that the bookstore "quickly grew into a destination in its own right, specializing in a range of hard-to-find-elsewhere books plus free readings by authors. News of a second outpost was greeted with similar excitement, eliciting thousands of 'likes' and hundreds of comments on Instagram in a matter of hours."

Farrar, Straus and Giroux: Intermezzo by Sally Rooney

New Owners for Off the Beaten Path Bookstore, Steamboat Springs, Colo.

Danielle and Mike Skov are the new owners of Off the Beaten Path Bookstore and Cafe in Steamboat Springs, Colo., the Steamboat Pilot reported. On July 13, the Skovs officially took over from previous owners Ron and Sue Krall, who purchased the bookstore from Dick and Leslie Ryan in 2008.

"The primary thing was knowing that Danielle and Mike would be wonderful stewards of the community treasure that the bookstore has become," Ron Krall told the Pilot. "We weren't otherwise really looking for anybody to sell the bookstore to, but when Danielle and Mike came forward and expressed their interest to us, we felt like the investment of nearly 30 years that the Ryans and we had made in the bookstore would be in good hands."

The Skovs plan to spend the first several months learning the ropes and getting to know the bookstore's 20-person staff. Once they have a better feel for the business, they'll brainstorm as a team about any changes they might want to make. "I feel so fortunate that our staff has stayed the same," Danielle Skov said.

"We feel like it's really important for our town to have a bookstore, specifically an independent bookstore," she continued. She and her husband have lived in Steamboat Springs for about 24 years, and her professional background is in teaching. As she thought about what she wanted to do when she stopped teaching, she and her husband approached the Kralls and said if they were ever interested in selling the store, they'd like to buy it.

Off the Beaten Path first opened in the late '80s under the name Boomtown Books. The Ryans purchased it from the original owners after seeing a classified ad in the Wall Street Journal, though they lived in Los Angeles at the time. They moved to Steamboat Springs, where they'd already bought a home. They owned and operated the store for a year before moving it to a new space, adding the cafe and changing the name to Off the Beaten Path.

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

First Light Books Coming to Austin, Tex., Next Year

Independent bookstore First Light Books will be one of two businesses opening next year in a building in Austin, Tex., that was formerly a post office, MySanAntonio reported. The planned community bookstore will span 2,530 square feet and has a projected construction completion date of March 1, 2023.

Owner Robin Bruce told MySA that when she and her husband travel, they always seek out the best indie bookstore in town, and she plans to model First Light Books after those stores. "We really believe that they, when done well, can become places that gather the community and create spaces for ideas and connections and kind of old-school conversation, that sort of small-town feel within a neighborhood that feels harder and harder to find."

The bookstore will share the building at 4300 Speedway with a local grocery store called Tiny Grocer, which will cover 3,200 square feet Tiny Grocer owner Steph Steele said she was excited to have a bookstore as her future neighbor. "I love a bookstore. I think that it helps that they're symbiotic, hopefully it's the same kind of shopper on some level."

Galaxy Bookshop Finds Temporary Office Space, Launches Fundraiser

The Galaxy Bookshop, Hardwick, Vt., has found temporary office space and launched a $20,000 GoFundMe campaign to help in its recovery from significant water damage to the store and its inventory. Last week, a small fire in an upstairs apartment set off the building's sprinkler system and flooded the store below. 

In an e-mail to customers, Galaxy wrote: "First of all, THANK YOU (we'll be saying this a lot) to everyone who has reached out by e-mail, phone, or in person, to express your support and offer help in one way or another, since last week's flood. We can't truly put into words how grateful we are for our community, but we hope you can feel that gratitude."

For the time being, co-owners Andrea Jones and Sandy Scott have been working from their "quickly assembled home office at Andrea's house to take care of logistical tasks relating to the flood and to make plans for getting back to the business of bookselling. We don't yet know how long it will be before we can move back into our South Main Street space and begin the physical work of rebuilding the bookstore, but in the meantime, we are going to be able to accept book orders with options for pickup in Hardwick or mailing to your home!"

Galaxy's new temporary base will be part of the shared office space in the Gohl building at 101 South Main Street on the second floor (above Front Seat Coffee). Beginning August 1, the bookshop will be accepting orders through its website, by phone and by e-mail. All book requests will be ordered, with Galaxy mailing them to customers or arranging pick up during office hours.

On the GoFundMe page, Galaxy noted that donations "will go towards mitigation fees, expenses for Tara Goreau--the wonderful artist of the bookstore's mural--for restoration and preservation of the piece, paying our vendors, and keeping us afloat as we work from a temporary space to get back to providing books to the community (in some capacity) as soon as possible.... Any money not used will be dispersed to community organizations."

International Update: Amazon's U.K. Tax Dodge; Bestselling Author Buys Aussie Bookshop

Amazon's main U.K. division paid no corporation tax in 2021, despite profits increasing 60% to £204 million (about $241 million). The Bookseller reported that the online retailer "used the former Chancellor and now Tory leadership hopeful Rishi Sunak's 'super deduction' scheme for businesses that invest in infrastructure, by opening four new fulfilment centers. The relief, which allows companies to offset 130% of investment spending on plants and machinery against profits for two years from April 2021, resulted in Amazon getting a rebate on its prior year tax payment of £18.3 million [about $21.6 million] in 2020, with nothing to pay in 2021." 

Revenues at Amazon UK Services, which is the retailer's warehousing facility, surged by more than £1 billion (about $1.2 billion) last year--from £4.9 billion (about $5.8 billion) to nearly £6.1 billion (about $7.2 billion), the Bookseller noted, adding that revenue for the whole U.K. business was £23.19 billion (about $27.4 billion).

In a blog post on its economic impact in the U.K. for 2021, Amazon said: "The stated purpose of this capital allowance was to encourage businesses to make productivity enhancing investments and promote economic growth. Any tax reduction as a result of these capital allowances is more than made up for by the thousands of additional jobs created and the economic growth which has been stimulated by these investments." 


Phillip and Margaret Schwebel, founders of Collins Booksellers Orange, handed the keys to new owner Kelly Rimmer.

In Australia, author Kelly Rimmer "has decided to make the transition from writing books to selling them too after buying her regional community's last bookshop," ABC News reported. Collins Booksellers in Orange, NSW, was founded 22 years ago by Margaret and Phil Schwebel. Rimmer did not want to see the city's last bookshop close down or ownership move out of the region.

"It really matters to me and my family that the Orange bookstore is owned by people who live in Orange or close to Orange," she said. "It's always been a family store. And so there's something really, really unique and special about continuing that tradition too."

Rimmer, whose books include The Things We Cannot Say and The Warsaw Orphan, plans to get her whole family, including her children, involved in running the shop: "I think there's something powerful for kids about being surrounded by books in a bookstore or in their home. I hope that they come to see that literacy and reading really matter and that the right book at the right time can actually change someone's life."

She is optimistic about the prospects for her new venture, noting: "I obviously wouldn't be purchasing a physical bookstore if I didn't believe 100% in the future of that technology. In Australia, we really like to go to the bookstore, have a browse, have a chat and have a book recommended to us. There's no substitute for that."

Former owner Margaret Schwebel said the store "needs to be suited just to that community. And that's what we've been aiming for. I can see that's what Kelly is going to continue, so Orange is going to be very well serviced." 

Rimmer added: "There's a thriving, independent bookstore culture in Australia, and it's pretty exciting to get to be a part of it."


The Canadian Independent Booksellers Association is running a special social media contest this summer to "encourage readers to shop at indie bookstores, show off their purchases online, and promote the value of shopping local." 

To enter, Canadian readers can visit their favorite indie bookstore and post a photo of their purchases on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag #IndieBookshopHaul. Every unique post will count as one contest entry, with no limit to the number of times a reader can enter. CIBA will share entries and remind readers to enter on a weekly basis through September 5.

From the pool of entries, the CIBA team will randomly select a winner, who will receive a prize pack of books and merchandise worth C$250 (about US$190), curated by a Canadian indie bookseller. The winner will be asked to provide some information about themselves as well as their preferred bookstore, which CIBA will reimburse for books, merchandise, packaging and shipping costs.

"Here are two stacks we made as inspiration!" Shelf Life Books, Calgary, Alb., posted on Facebook. --Robert Gray


Image of the Day: Read with Jenna's July Pick

Author Nikki Erlick was on Today with Hoda & Jenna to celebrate her debut novel, The Measure (Morrow), being selected as the July Read with Jenna title. Pictured in the studio (l.-r.) are Erlick's editor Liz Stein, Jenna Bush Hager, Nikki Erlick and Hoda Kotb.

Obama's Summer Reading List 2022

Barack Obama has released his summer reading list. On Facebook, he wrote, "I've read a couple of great books this year and wanted to share some of my favorites so far. What have you been reading this summer?" Obama's list:

Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel
Why We're Polarized by Ezra Klein
The Candy House by Jennifer Egan
A Little Devil in America: Notes in Praise of Black Performance by Hanif Abdurraqib
To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara 
Silverview by John Le Carré
Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson
Family Chao by Lan Samantha Chang
Velvet Was the Night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Mouth to Mouth by Antoine Wilson
The Great Experiment: Why Diverse Democracies Fall Apart and How They Can Endure by Yascha Mounk
The School for Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan
Razorblade Tears by S.A. Cosby
Blood in the Garden: The Flagrant History of the 1990s New York Knicks by Chris Herring

Michigan Bookseller Running for State Representative

Emily Dievendorf

The latest of the many booksellers who have run for and held political office is Emily Dievendorf, co-owner of the Resistance Bookstore, which opened in Lansing, Mich., in February. She is running for a seat in the Michigan State House and is in a Democratic primary that takes place next Tuesday, August 2, the Lansing State Journal (via Yahoo) reported.

"I have never picked a job because it was fun," Dievendorf told the newspaper. "I think that civil rights, I think that's what politics should be--I think politics is supposed to be about representation. And, to me, this is making sure the community is in the office.

"I always say I'm an easy Google," she continued. "And when you Google me, you're going to find a lot of people who love me and a lot of people who hate me, and the people who hate me, I am happy with it. Because they are the same folks who are working very hard to keep the most vulnerable from having equality under the law."

Personnel Changes at Clarkson Potter/Ten Speed

Joey Lozada has joined Clarkson Potter/Ten Speed Press as marketing manager. Lozada formerly was at OXO International.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Briana Scurry on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Briana Scurry, author of My Greatest Save: The Brave, Barrier-Breaking Journey of a World Champion Goalkeeper (Abrams, $26, 9781419757679).

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

TV: All the Way Home

David Giffels is adapting his 2009 memoir All the Way Home: Building a Family in a Falling-Down House into a half-hour series, Deadline reported. Giffels, who wrote on MTV's Beavis and Butt-Head, and Lee Kirk, who directed the film Ordinary World, will create the series, known as Wreckless. Steve Basilone, a co-exec producer on ABC's The Goldbergs, is the showrunner. Process Media's Tim Perell will executive produce alongside Basilone and Brad Petrigala of Brillstein Entertainment Partners.

"The book tells the real-life story of how my wife Gina and I started our family together, by moving into a condemned mansion in Akron, Ohio, and trying to turn it into our home," Giffels said. "It's a crazy love story filled with angry raccoons, flying chainsaws, and collapsing floors."

Perell added, "I couldn't put this book down when I read it. It has the construct of The Money Pit with the razor-sharp relationship humor of Catastrophe and all the heart of Ted Lasso."

Books & Authors

Awards: Booker Longlist

The 13-title longlist for the £50,000 (about $59,140) 2022 Booker Prize has been released, featuring the youngest and oldest authors ever to be nominated, as well as the shortest book and three debuts. The shortlist will be announced September 14 and the winner named October 17. This year's longlisted titles are: 

The Colony by Audrey Magee
After Sappho by Selby Wynn Schwartz
Glory by NoViolet Bulawayo
Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan
Nightcrawling by Leila Mottley
Maps of Our Spectacular Bodies by Maddie Mortimer
Case Study by Graeme Macrae Burnet
Treacle Walker by Alan Garner
The Trees by Percival Everett
Trust by Hernan Diaz
The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida by Shehan Karunatilaka
Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout
Booth by Karen Joy Fowler

Chair of the judges Neil MacGregor said, in part: "The skill with which writers shape and sustain those variously imagined worlds, and allow others to inhabit them, has been our main criterion in proposing this longlist of 13 books. Exceptionally well written and carefully crafted, in whatever genre, they seem to us to exploit and expand what the language can do.... These are 13 books--challenging, stimulating, surprising, nourishing--that we recommend for close and enjoyable reading."

This year's Booker Prize longlist features 20-year-old Leila Mottley and 87-year-old Alan Garner, the youngest and oldest authors ever to be longlisted. At 116 pages, Claire Keegan's Small Things Like These is the shortest book recognized in the prize's history. Three debut novelists make the list: Maddie Mortimer, Leila Mottley and Selby Wynn Schwartz. 

Reading with... W.P. Wiles

W.P. Wiles was born in India in 1978 and now lives in east London with his wife and two children. He is the author of the Betty Trask Award-winning The Care of Wooden Floors; The Way Inn; and Plume. He also writes about architecture, and is a regular columnist for RIBA Journal. The Last Blade Priest (Angry Robot, July 12, 2022) is his first fantasy novel, an epic grimdark fantasy with rich world-building and a wry take on genre conventions.

Handsell readers your book in 25 words or less:

A holy mountain, the source of all magic, is guarded by monstrous demigods and a decadent religion. But they are dying.

On your nightstand now:

I tend to read a few things at once. I write about architecture, because I have always enjoyed reading about it, so there's a lot of that alongside fiction. At the moment: Gothic: An Illustrated History by Roger Luckhurst; Queer Spaces: An Atlas of LGBTQIA+ Places and Stories by Adam Nathaniel Furman and Joshua Mardell; The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu; Tell Me I'm Worthless by Alison Rumfitt.

Favorite book when you were a child:

I was very fond of Joan Aiken--both the anarchic comedy of the Mortimer stories and the fantasy of The Wolves of Willoughby Chase. I loved Norman Hunter's Professor Branestawm stories. Terry Pratchett was also a favourite--in particular, The Carpet People.

Your top five authors:

J.G. Ballard; Don DeLillo; Ursula K. Le Guin; Nicola Barker; and the architecture writer Owen Hatherley, who deserves to be known and loved far beyond that narrow world.

Book you've faked reading:

I didn't study English literature at A-level or university, so my knowledge of "the canon" is pretty fragmentary. This means I've nodded my way through a few conversations about, say, Charles Dickens.

Book you're an evangelist for:

"Evangelist" is the right word here. A book I've recommended more than most others is The Pursuit of the Millennium by Norman Cohn, a study of apocalyptic cults and religious uprisings in the Middle Ages. That sounds a little specialist, but it's astounding--on the one hand, akin to epic fantasy in its vastness and weirdness, but also a vital textbook for understanding human beings. Its influence runs right through The Last Blade Priest.

Book you've bought for the cover:

More than I'd like to admit, I have a weakness for the ancient hardback Everyman editions with the gilded decoration on the spine, which look lovely lined up on a shelf. I have another, even more deadly, weakness for thick books. I've recently been packing up my books for a move, so I've found scores of unread hardback novels bought for their covers: David Foster Wallace's The Pale King, Sergio de la Pava's A Naked Singularity. I'll get to them. I don't understand the argument that it's embarrassing to have unread books on your shelves. The whole point of hoarding books is to always have something unexpected to read. Once I've read something, it often goes to charity so that I can save space. Unless it looks nice.

Book you hid from your parents:

My parents had a lot of '60s beatniky stuff--Colin Wilson's The Outsider, Sartre, Nietzsche--so I gnawed unhappily at inappropriate ages through things like Thus Spake Zarathustra and Iron in the Soul without feeling like I had to hide my reading. What I hid was smut--of a relatively innocent kind. Tom Sharpe's bawdy novels, Eric Stanton, that sort of thing. This was before the Internet, you see.

Book that changed your life / Favorite line from a book:

If you'll allow it, I'd like to lump these questions together, because it's the same answer. From We Wish to Inform You that Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families, Philip Gourevitch's vital and upsetting book about the Rwandan genocide:

"to a very large extent power consists in the ability to make others inhabit your story of their reality."

Not a beautiful line but an important one, and one that went off like a grenade inside me when I read it 20 years ago. It's an important truth about the nature of power and the nature of narrative and storytelling. Having read this, I felt like I understood the world around me like never before. It was like being given a key to events and phenomena, even ones that seem baffling or illogical. And I think all writers should have it etched in them, because we are fed a lot of very syrupy self-help stuff about how powerful stories are and how they change lives. And that's absolutely true, but we have to understand that it might not always be good.

Five books you'll never part with:

This will sound bizarre, but I have read The Great Crash, 1929 by James K. Galbraith at least half a dozen times. It's economic history, but it's paced like a thriller and written in a wonderful tone of dry humour. And as a tale of folly and disaster, hubris and nemesis, it's hard to beat. My copy is disintegrating. Ballard's short stories are wells I return to over and over. I wonder if we could cheat and cram them into a single 2,000-page volume. M.R. James's ghost stories are also a continual joy. Keeping things gothic, Thus Were Their Faces by Silvina Ocampo is a treasure house of dark gems. Eleanor Catton's The Luminaries is a novel I could spend a lifetime rereading, I think.

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

I have read and reread Iain (and Iain M.) Banks's novels many times, and the pleasure doesn't dim. But I wish I could enjoy their delicious twists for the first time again.

What appeals to you about thick books:

They look handsome on a shelf, but honestly I think there is something special about longer books. It's nice to have a book as a companion for a long time, especially if they're the sprawling, multifaceted kind. I think it's possible that this affection comes from cutting my teeth as a reader on chunky fantasy volumes, but it applies to literary fiction as well. The first really long adult novel I read as a teen was Tom Wolfe's Bonfire of the Vanities, and I remember ploughing through that thinking, hey, this isn't any harder than Terry Brooks. Certainly a lot more fun than Sartre. Anyway, at the moment literary Twitter is agreed that short books are best--the shorter, the better--and I would like to respectfully disagree. Longness is no guarantee of quality, but neither is shortness.

Book Review

Children's Review: Attack of the Black Rectangles

Attack of the Black Rectangles by Amy Sarig King (Scholastic, $18.99 hardcover, 272p., ages 9-12, 9781338680522, September 6, 2022)

A sixth-grader confronts school censorship and tackles his own insecurities in the process in this timely and impassioned middle-grade novel about difficult truths, agency of youth and the importance of having grace in complicated circumstances.

Laura Samuel Sett's reputation precedes her. She is known for letter-writing campaigns, convincing the town to enact ordinances restricting such things as junk food, and for believing "rules equal safety." Mac Delaney, his anxious and loyal best friend Denis and noted feminist Marci all land in Ms. Sett's classroom. A "too perfect" first day of school gives way to conflicts when the students find black rectangles obscuring sections of their literature book, Jane Yolen's The Devil's Arithmetic. "Those areas of the book made some students very uncomfortable and made some of the boys in class giggle," the principal explains, "so [Ms. Sett] took care of the problem." Mac and his friends respond by demanding answers from an administrative system that rarely respects the maturity and wisdom of the children whose educations are shaped by its policies. And, thanks to some encouragement from Mac's patient and clear-minded mother and a great deal of support from his war veteran Grandad, they bring a frustrated township along in the process. Meanwhile, Mac also makes peace with erratic behavior from his troubled father, makes space for shame caused by insecurity and, with his friends, makes change that ripples throughout the community.

Printz Award-winning author King (Dig; The Year We Fell from Space) offers here an empathetic protagonist whose personal growth should empower readers to evaluate for themselves whether the way things are is the way things ought to be. King discusses enslaver founding fathers as well as colonization by Christopher Columbus to show that Mac understands "if we want to change the world so it's good for everyone, it's important to talk about the truth." Short chapters punctuated by newspaper letters accelerate the story's pace, and authentic side plots about family, friendship and a first crush keep the weighty theme of censorship from overwhelming readers. King does an outstanding job of normalizing messy emotions and is especially deft when allowing for Mac's disappointment around his father and confusion over Ms. Sett's seemingly contradictory behaviors. An author's note explains King's personal connection to the story.

An empowering and instructive affirmation of youth, truth and intellectual freedom, this is an essential read given the alarming proliferation of book challenges. --Kit Ballenger, youth librarian, Help Your Shelf

Shelf Talker: A sixth-grader and his friends confront their teacher's censorship of a book, leading Mac to address his own complicated emotions and truths in this aptly timed and empowering middle-grade story.

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