Shelf Awareness for Thursday, August 4, 2022

Viking: The Bookshop: A History of the American Bookstore by Evan Friss

Pixel+ink: Missy and Mason 1: Missy Wants a Mammoth

Bramble: The Stars Are Dying: Special Edition (Nytefall Trilogy #1) by Chloe C Peñaranda

Blue Box Press: A Soul of Ash and Blood: A Blood and Ash Novel by Jennifer L Armentrout

Charlesbridge Publishing: The Perilous Performance at Milkweed Meadow by Elaine Dimopoulos, Illustrated by Doug Salati

Minotaur Books: The Dark Wives: A Vera Stanhope Novel (Vera Stanhope #11) by Ann Cleeves


Fla.'s Barrel of Books & Games Moving to Larger Location

Barrel of Books' current location

Barrel of Books & Games, Mount Dora, Fla., is moving to a much larger space this fall. The Mount Dora Buzz reported that the bookstore, owned by Crissy Stile, is relocating across the street, from 4th Ave. to 403 N. Donnelly St. This will be the third location downtown for Barrel of Books & Games, which has outgrown two previous retail spaces. The retailer currently has 1,210 square feet of new and used books, as well as games and collectibles. The move into the historic building is anticipated for October 1 and will more than triple the store's square footage.  

Featuring a large sheet-glass storefront, the new space "will enable the store to expand the children's book section and bring in more back-issue comic books.  There will also be more games, puzzles, collectibles, toys and a huge selection of retired Funko Pops," the Buzz noted.

Stile began as an online retailer specializing in used book series in 2006, but as her regular customers requested new releases in the series, she started selling new books. "That snowballed into bobble heads and collectibles, and Barrel of Books & Games was born," she said. "My parents, who live in Apopka, always owned their own businesses, so it's in my blood."

Stile is also the mayor of Mount Dora, and her store often functions as a de facto office for residents who pop in to ask questions or bring up issues in their neighborhoods. 

BINC: Do Good All Year - Click to Donate!

Blue Umbrella Books, Westfield, Mass., Closes

Blue Umbrella Books in Westfield, Mass., closed for the last time on July 31, after nearly six years in business. While owner Russell Atwood hopes to reopen in a new space at some point in the future, he has no immediate plans to do so. 

"Blue Umbrella Books was a gigantic success while it lasted," he wrote. "We excited, stimulated, challenged and amazed our customers from toddlers to senior citizens, and were best known for our book events and eye-popping window displays."

Atwood, who is also a mystery writer and puppeteer, attributed the closure to a number of factors, including back rent owed, lingering effects of having to close for five months in early 2020 and personal exhaustion during the pandemic.

Despite the closure, "it was the journey along the way and the creativity we sparked in the hearts and minds of our community that allows me to state with complete confidence: we succeeded even in failing. Thank you, and always fight the good fight."

GLOW: Milkweed Editions: Becoming Little Shell: Returning Home to the Landless Indians of Montana by Chris La Tray

The Macmillan Booksellers Professional Development Scholarship Returns

After a two-year hiatus brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Book Industry Charitable Foundation and Macmillan are partnering again for the Macmillan Booksellers Professional Development Scholarship.

Applications are now open for the scholarship program, which provides $500 to booksellers from traditionally under-represented groups to attend their region's fall trade show. Each scholarship can be used to cover the cost of travel, lodging and meals for one bookseller at each regional independent bookseller association's fall trade show.

To be eligible for a scholarship, a bookseller must have worked in a bookstore as a regular full or part-time employee for a minimum of 90 days, and the bookstore must be a member in good standing of one of the regional trade associations. The application includes three brief essay questions, and a panel comprised of publishers from Macmillan and members of the Binc program committee will choose the recipients.

Eligible booksellers have until 5 p.m. Eastern on August 15 to apply. More details can be found here.

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Four Weekends and a Funeral by Ellie Palmer

Trinity University Press Launches New Imprints, Hires New Editor-at-Large

Trinity University Press has launched two imprints, Tinta Books and Terra Firma Books. Tinta Books will highlight the history, culture and current affairs of Mexico and Mexican American life, while Terra Firma Books will explore the relationship between humans and their physical environment, from nature and wilderness to architecture and urban studies.

Tom Payton, publisher and director of Trinity University Press, said: "As a mission-driven organization that has grown considerably over the past ten years, we're excited to see this evolution in our publishing program and the audiences we serve."

Yvette Benavides, a professor of English and creative writing at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, Tex., is now editor-at-large for Trinity University Press, which is also located in San Antonio. She will focus on shaping and growing Tinta Books but will also acquire more broadly for the press.

"One of our main goals in publishing is to help readers move to a more profound understanding and appreciation of the rest of the world," Benavides said. "For us, the connection to Mexico is something we already admire and value. We're excited about strengthening that connection and our mission to bring works by and about Mexicans and Mexican Americans to more and more readers."

Obituary Note: Michael O'Brien

Michael O'Brien

Michael O'Brien, co-founder of the independent Irish publisher the O'Brien Press, died July 31. He was 81. The Bookseller reported that the "hugely well-known and influential figure in Irish books and publishing... established the press in 1974 with his father, Thomas. It evolved out of a family-run printing house, publishing its first book, Me Jewell and Darlin' Dublin by Éamonn MacThomáis, in the year it launched."

"For someone so utterly involved in so many organizations and groups, as well as family and our company, to be pulled so quickly away from us is shocking," said Ivan O'Brien, his son and managing director of the company. "His bravery and willingness to take real risks and follow his instincts was always so impressive. He built a fantastic team of creative and highly-skilled people at O'Brien Press--predominantly women from its earliest beginnings--which was a testament to his unwavering belief that talent will deliver.

"Michael believed in telling great stories, in equality and tolerance and in Ireland's place in the world. He challenged everything, but also built so many things and committed his time and energy to national and international organisations because it was the right thing to do. We will take this legacy and do our best to maintain and build on it."

O'Brien Press was the first company to publish bestselling author Eoin Colfer. To date, the press has "published more than 2,000 books in its 45-year history, and has a reputation for promoting Irish authors including Máire Mhac an tSaoi and Frank McGuinness," the Bookseller wrote.

Among the many honors the O'Brien Press has received is the Reading Association of Ireland Special Merit Award in 1997, while O'Brien himself won a Children's Books Ireland award for services to children's literature in 2006.

Bob Johnston, owner of Gutter Books in Dublin, tweeted: "Very sad to hear of the death of publisher Michael O'Brien of The O'Brien Press yesterday. He was a big supporter of Irish authors and publishing and the whole book industry in Ireland. Our thoughts are with Ivan O'Brien and all his family, and with everyone at O'Brien Press."

Audrey Keane, literature manager at the Arts Council, said O'Brien had a highly distinguished career in Irish publishing. "He worked tirelessly and with unswerving dedication and commitment and his influence in the area of Irish publishing for children in particular leaves a lasting legacy. We send our deepest condolences to his friends and family and all at The O'Brien Press." 

Describing O'Brien as a "pioneering, brave and encouraging publisher," Ireland's President Michael D. Higgins said, "He had a deep love of Dublin and its people which was reflected in his publication choices. He was rightly proud of the tradition that he and his father shared."


Image of the Day: Jamie Ford at Third Place Books

Tuesday evening, Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park, Wash., hosted the launch event for Jamie Ford's The Many Daughters of Afong Moy (Atria Books). Events manager Spencer Ruchti reported, "135 Seattleites came to see the author talk about his fourth novel since Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet."

Bookseller Moment: Lock City Books Cart

Posted on Facebook by Lock City Books, Lockport, N.Y.: "It's a beautiful day to visit the Lockport Community Market Enjoy live music from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and shop local vendors. Our Lock City Books cart will be set up from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. with lots of great titles!"

Personnel Changes at Chronicle

At Chronicle Books:

Frankie Johnson has been hired as senior sales manager, special sales.

Caitlin Ek has been hired as publicist, children's.

Tracey Vega has been hired as senior sales manager, mass market.

Christopher McCarry has been hired as export sales assistant.

Floor Display: Narrow Gauge Book Cooperative

Narrow Gauge Book Cooperative, Alamosa, Colo., is celebrating Women in Translation Month with a cool sales floor display and chalkboard, noting: "It's finally #witmonth and we couldn't be more excited! WIT stands for Women in Translation, and for the month of August we'll be displaying some of our favorite books written by women from around the world and translated into English. Come browse our display and choose something amazing to read this month."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Charles Marsh on Good Morning America

Good Morning America: Charles Marsh, author of Evangelical Anxiety: A Memoir (HarperOne, $27.99, 9780062862730).

This Weekend on Book TV: Dan Pfeiffer on Battling the Big Lie

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, August 6
9:30 a.m. Bob Calhoun, author of The Murders That Made Us: How Vigilantes, Hoodlums, Mob Bosses, Serial Killers, and Cult Leaders Built the San Francisco Bay Area (ECW, $19.95, 9781770415492). (Re-airs Saturday at 9:30 p.m.)

2 p.m. David Eisenhower, author of Going Home to Glory: A Memoir of Life with Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1961-1969 (Simon & Schuster, $20.99, ‎9781439190913). (Re-airs Sunday at 2 a.m.)

Sunday, August 7
8 a.m. Betsy DeVos, author of Hostages No More: The Fight for Education Freedom and the Future of the American Child (Center Street, $29, 9781546002017). (Re-airs Sunday at 8 p.m.)

9 a.m. Dorothy Roberts, author of Torn Apart: How the Child Welfare System Destroys Black Families--and How Abolition Can Build a Safer World (Basic Books, $32, 9781541675445). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m.)

11 a.m. Stuart Mackintosh, author of Climate Crisis Economics (Routledge, $44.95, 9780367478698). (Re-airs Sunday at 11 p.m.)

12 p.m. Live In-Depth q&a with Larry Elder, author of The Ten Things You Can't Say in America (‎St. Martin's Press, $23.95, 9780312266608). (Re-airs Monday at 12 a.m.)

4:40 p.m. Dan Pfeiffer, author of Battling the Big Lie: How Fox, Facebook, and the MAGA Media Are Destroying America (Twelve, $30, 9781538707975).

5:50 p.m. Lisa Forbes, author of I Can Take It from Here: A Memoir of Trauma, Prison, and Self-Empowerment (Steerforth Press, $17.95, 9781586423049).

6:25 p.m. Chris Hedges, author of Our Class: Trauma and Transformation in an American Prison (Simon & Schuster, $26.99, 9781982154431).

7:30 p.m. Reginald Dwayne Betts, author of Felon: Poems (Norton, $15.95, 9780393542035).

Books & Authors

Awards: Gordon Burn Shortlist

The shortlist has been selected for the £5,000 (about $5,915) Gordon Burn Prize, recognizing "the year's boldest and most innovative fiction and nonfiction." In addition to the cash prize, the winner, who will be named October 13 at the Durham Book Festival, has the chance to undertake a three-month retreat at Gordon Burn's cottage in the Scottish Borders. This year's shortlisted titles are:

About a Son by David Whitehouse
Aftermath by Preti Taneja
Case Study by Graeme Macrae Burnet
Constructing a Nervous System by Margo Jefferson
Free: Coming of Age at the End of History by Lea Ypi

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, August 9:

Heat 2: A Novel by Michael Mann and Meg Gardiner (Morrow, $28.99, 9780062653314) is both prequel and sequel to Michael Mann's 1995 film.

Life on the Mississippi: An Epic American Adventure by Rinker Buck (Avid Reader Press, $32.50, 9781501106378) chronicles the author's attempt to use a wooden flatboat in the style of 19th century river travelers.

Swerve or Die: Life at My Speed in the First Family of NASCAR Racing by Kyle Petty and Ellis Henican (St. Martin's Press, $29.99, 9781250277817) is the memoir of the stock-car racer, country singer and sports broadcaster.

Sister Friends Forever by Kimberla Lawson Roby (Grand Central, $29, 9781538708958) follows four lifelong friends with relationship problems.

The Family Remains: A Novel by Lisa Jewell (Atria, $28, 9781982178895) is a psychological suspense sequel to The Family Upstairs.

Moth: A Novel by Melody Razak (Harper, $26.99, 9780063140066) follows an Indian family during the 1947 partition of Pakistan from India.

Black Boy, Black Boy by Ali Kamanda and Jorge Redmond, illus. by Ken Daley (Sourcebooks Explore, $17.99, 9781728250649) is a motivational picture book about inspirational Black men in history.

The Lies We Tell by Katie Zhao (Bloomsbury, $17.99, 9781547603992) features a Chinese American college freshman investigating the murder of her former babysitter.

The War Librarian by Addison Armstrong (Putnam, $16.99, 9780593328064).

To Fall in Love, Drink This: A Wine Writer's Memoir by Alice Feiring (Scribner, $16.99, 9781982176761).

Bend Toward the Sun: A Novel by Jen Devon (Griffin, $16.99, 9781250822000).

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:

The Mermaid of Black Conch: A Novel by Monique Roffey (Knopf, $26, 9780593534205). "Tragedy displaces pain after a curse born of a thousand-year-old jealousy exiles the beautiful Aycayia to a life in the sea. The Mermaid of Black Conch is a modern-day embodiment of our longing for community. Ruthless and beautiful." --Kayleen Rohrer, InkLink Books, East Troy, Wis.

The Boys: A Novel by Katie Hafner (Spiegel & Grau, $27, 9781954118058). "Sometimes a novel just settles into your heart. Such is the case with The Boys. Sweet, heartbreaking, and completely original, this novel by Katie Hafner is wholly unforgettable." --Mary O'Malley, Skylark Bookshop, Columbia, Mo.

Paperback: An Indies Introduce Title
Night of the Living Rez: Stories by Morgan Talty (Tin House, $16.95, 9781953534187). "Night of the Living Rez explores the way the past informs the present, and how each small moment makes a heartbreaking, funny, beautiful life. Talty's characters live and breathe on the page. This book is a celebration of life and language." --Margaret Leonard, Dotters Books, Eau Claire, Wis.

For Ages 4 to 8
A Spoonful of Frogs by Casey Lyall, illus. by Vera Brosgol (Greenwillow, $17.99, 9780062890290). "Grab your witch's hat and your cauldron for a hilarious new picture book sure to make you giggle with impish delight. Frogs not included!" --Jessica Palacios, Once Upon a Time, Montrose, Calif.

For Ages 8 to 12
Lumberjackula by Mat Heagerty, illus. by Sam Owen (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, $21.99, 9781534482586). "Oh man this was such a cute graphic novel about a boy torn between two schools--either lumberjack or Vampire--while he doesn't want to disappoint his parents when his real passion is revealed as a dancer." --Stephanie Rivera, Chapter Two... a Bookstore, Lompoc, Calif.

For Teen Readers
Crumbs by Danie Stirling (Clarion, $24.99, 9780358467793). "Crumbs is a delightful graphic novel. I loved the diverse characters and earnest relationships of all kinds. The magical twist was the cherry on top. Great graphics, fast writing, and wonderful characters! I want to be friends with them!" --Lauren Nopenz Fairley, Curious Iguana, Frederick, Md.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: Motherthing

Motherthing by Ainslie Hogarth (Vintage, $17 paperback, 288p., 9780593467022, September 27, 2022)

Ainslie Hogarth's Motherthing is a grim, disturbing novel of family drama and mental illness, yet a bizarrely funny glimpse into one woman's mind. In its opening pages, Abby, who narrates, and Ralph have recently moved in with Ralph's mother, Laura, hoping to nurse her through her depression. But instead, Laura takes her life, Abby purloins Laura's coveted opal ring and Ralph falls into despair. "Because even though he'd been strong when we'd moved in, strong enough to move in--equipped with resources he'd downloaded from a website called the Borderline Parent, and a swear-on-your-life promise from me that I could handle this temporary uprooting--being near her stirred rotten dangerous things inside him."

Abby, very much in the throes of dealing with her own mother's shortcomings and abuse, has identified Ralph as part mother, part god, the "Perfect Good" in her life and "the most genuinely good person in the entire world." "Ralph would make eggs too, not specially because I was there, but because a person has eggs for breakfast. And soon, I remember thinking, clutching fistfuls of duvet to steady my overwhelming joy, I would be a person too." In flashbacks to her childhood, she recalls a beloved couch she calls Couchy Motherthing, and constantly circles and ponders the ideal mother figure; she relies on a cookbook "for the mothers of good, happy, wholesome families, with lots of mouths to feed. And that's the kind of mother I am too, even if I'm not yet"--because Abby desperately wants to have a child of her own, to embody the kind of mother that neither she nor Ralph got to have. She works at a nursing home where she considers her favorite resident her "baby" and, simultaneously, the perfect mother she never had. This fantasy is disrupted by the appearance of the woman's real daughter, which might just push Abby over the edge. Because paired with her nurturing impulse, Abby secretly harbors intense rage, "murder so much more manageable right now than creating a whole entire family." Her love verges on violence.

Hogarth (The Boy Meets Girl Massacre (Annotated)) rocks readers via Abby's turmoil, her swings from devotion to fury, self-loathing to self-aggrandizement. Motherthing keeps readers as unstable as its narrator, struggling to manage the traumas and the waves of emotion. Abby copes with a focus on a few objects that she imbues with special significance: Laura's ring (symbol of rejection, as Laura judged her daughter-in-law "more of a Kay Jewelers type than a vintage-family-heirloom type"), Abby's cookbook and the recipes she hopes will save Ralph (an obsessed-over jellied salmon and an unusual iteration of Chicken à la King). The result of these roiling thoughts and images is a darkly comic, kaleidoscopic novel of unhealthy fixations, love, murder, the gifts and wounds that family can inflict and one woman's fight to save herself. --Julia Kastner, librarian and blogger at pagesofjulia

Shelf Talker: Mothers and motherhood haunt this alarming, dark, weirdly funny novel of family ties and the power of just the right recipe to heal all wounds.

The Bestsellers

Top Book Club Picks in July

The following were the most popular book club books during July based on votes from book club readers in more than 75,000 book clubs registered at

1. The Lincoln Highway: A Novel by Amor Towles (Viking)
2. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo: A Novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid (Washington Square Press)
3. Lessons in Chemistry: A Novel by Bonnie Garmus (Doubleday)
4. The Maid: A Novel by Nita Prose (Ballantine)
5. Verity by Colleen Hoover (Grand Central)
6. The Last Thing He Told Me: A Novel by Laura Dave (Simon & Schuster)
7. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (Penguin)
8. Remarkably Bright Creatures: A Novel by Shelby Van Pelt (Ecco)
9. The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray (Berkley)
10. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab (Tor Books)

Rising Stars:
The Crimson Thread by Kate Forsyth (Blackstone Publishing)
Book Lovers by Emily Henry (Berkley)

Powered by: Xtenit