Shelf Awareness for Monday, May 1, 2023

Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books: Ethan and the Strays by John Sullivan, illustrated by Hatem Aly

Wednesday Books: Hope Ablaze by Sarah Mughal Rana

Little, Brown Ink: K Is in Trouble (a Graphic Novel) (K Is in Trouble #1) by Gary Clement

Fly Paper Products: Literary Gifts

William Morrow & Company: The Stone Home by Crystal Hana Kim

Berkley Books: The Chaos Agent (Gray Man) by Mark Greaney

Labyrinth Road: Plan A by Deb Caletti


Independent Bookstore Day Turns 10 With Celebrations from Coast to Coast

Nearly 1,100 stores participated in Independent Bookstore Day on Saturday, offering a range of imaginative events, sales, giveaways, and exclusive IBD products from publishers and others. Stores were busy, filled with very enthusiastic customers and booksellers celebrating the strength and vitality of indie bookstores. (See below!) Local press coverage was strong, and for many stores, it was among their best sales days of the year. This year Celeste Ng was IBD ambassador, and other groups, including American Express, supported the event.

At Gibson's Bookstore, Concord, N.H.

To celebrate IBD, offered more than a thousand audiobooks for $5 or less, including In Praise of Good Bookstores by Jeff Deutsch, We Were Eight Years in Power by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris, and Chokepoint Capitalism by Rebecca Giblin and Cory Doctorow. And more than 250 partner bookstores hid a golden ticket, good for 12 free audiobooks, in their stores for customers to find. reported that it had an 85% increase in new visitors compared to last year.

For its part, offered free shipping all weekend.

To honor indie bookstores and IDB, the Independent Book Publishers Association created Spring into Indie Books, a three-day contest culminating on Saturday that awards $100 to one customer each at three indies. The Instagram campaign encouraged booklovers to visit their local store and post a picture showcasing the store with the hashtags #indiebookstoreday, #supportindies, @ibpalovesindies, and the store's hashtag. Entries will be selected by May 8.

At Betty's Books, Webster Groves, Mo.

This was the 10th anniversary of Independent Bookstore Day, whose first iteration was California Bookstore Day, held May 3, 2014. The idea came from Pete Mulvihill, co-owner of Green Apple Books, San Francisco, Calif., and was adopted by the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association, which worked with the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association (in 2020, the two associations merged to create the California Independent Booksellers Alliance) to take it statewide. NCIBA executive director Hut Landon was an enthusiastic proponent, and as coordinator and, later, program director, Samantha Schoech built the event into the widely popular celebration it has become.

The Strand in New York City hosted a literary drag show.

Following a now-familiar template, in 2014 the 93 participating California Bookstore Day stores held a range of events, including author appearances and parties, and sold exclusive items such as a limited-edition Neil Gaiman story inspired by Sleeping Beauty; a signed and numbered (and doodled upon) edition of a George Saunders speech; a Don DeLillo stencil; Do You Smell Carrots?: A Joke Book for Kids, with contributions from Lemony Snicket, Jon Scieszka, Katherine Applegate, Jeff Kinney, and others; and A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius tote bag.

The event was such a hit that other indies around the country wanted to be a part of it--and several indies around the country created their own local independent bookstore days. Soon all the regional independent booksellers associations agreed to make it a national event, and the first Independent Bookstore Day was held on May 2, 2015, organized by NCIBA and supported by the American Booksellers Association. The ABA took over management of IBD in 2019, and Schoech left IBD in 2021.

Here's to Pete Mulvihill, Hut Landon, Samantha Schoech, the NCIBA and SCIBA (now CALIBA), the other regionals, and the ABA for creating and expanding IBD!

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Come and Get It by Kiley Reid

#IndependentBookstoreDay: 'Thank You to Everyone Who Came & Celebrated With Us!'

At Carmichael's Bookstore, Louisville, Ky.

The reviews are in, and the watchwords for Independent Bookstore Day are "Thank you." Social media was buzzing as usual Saturday with #IBD2023 excitement, as booksellers nationwide shared the joy of the day and expressed gratitude to their customers. Here's a sampling:

Bookery, Cincinnati, Ohio: "Sometimes the right words are (ironically enough, when we're surrounded by a vast ocean of words and pages and books every day), the shortest. The two right ones for today and every day: thank you."

Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, Wash.: "THANK YOU to all the folks who came in today. We had so much fun and we can't wait to celebrate again with you all next year."

Mac's Backs, Cleveland, Ohio

Legends Bookstore, Cody, Wyo.: "We can't say enough about the support this community gives us. The first year that we held an Indie Bookstore Day event, I felt sure that it was a nice thing to do, but few people would really care. I was wrong. You showed up then, and your numbers have grown and you continue to show up.... Thank you from the entire Legends Team for your support and encouragement."

Books of Wonder, New York, N.Y.: "A huge thank you to everyone who came out for Independent Bookstore Day!!!"

Hickory Stick Bookshop, Washington, Conn.: "Wow!! What a great day it's been! Thank you to everybody who braved the lousy weather to come and celebrate Indie Bookstore Day with us. It was wonderful to see so many happy, smiley faces!"

Newtonville Books, Newton, Mass.

Booksweet, Ann Arbor, Mich.: "What an amazing #indiebookstoreday2023! Readers, it was so good to be with you all today. We appreciate your perspectives, conversations, and enthusiasm for great stories more than you'll ever know. You are amazing and we are so grateful to you all. A HUGE thanks to Team Booksweet--Aricka and Zoe--for being great colleagues and rolling with one of our busiest ever days with grace, humor, and skill."

Blue Willow Books, Houston, Tex.: "Thank you all so much for an incredible Indie Bookstore Day! The shop was bustling all day with new and familiar faces. And us? Well, we can't stop smiling."

At Interabang Books, Dallas, Tex.

Carmichael's Bookstore, Louisville, Ky.: "That's a wrap on another fabulous Independent Bookstore Day! Thanks everyone for coming out making today so dang fun!"

City Lit Books, Chicago, Ill.: "Thank you to everyone who came through today! Despite the typical April weather, we had the BEST day ever and appreciate all of your support. Such fun to see all the indie bookstore love! And a special shout out to the group who traveled by limo! Y'all know how to have a good time and made our day!" 

Poppy Books & Gifts, Spanish Fork, Utah: "We had the most amazing first Independent Bookstore Day!! We are so grateful to our community that has constantly supported us in these few months we've been open! Huge thank you to everyone that has made our dream of having this little bookstore a possibility. We could not be more grateful!!"

Flint Hills Books, Council Grove, Kan.

Flint Hills Books, Council Grove, Kan.: "It is affirming and reassuring when book people show up and support Independent Bookstores. From all of us at Flint Hills Books, THANK YOU for your support today. Book people are the best people."

Page 158 Books, Wake Forest, N.C.: "We had an amazing #indiebookstoreday because of you!... Thank you Wake Forest and the people who drove in from Georgia, Charlotte and Virginia."

Neighborhood Reads, Washington, Mo.: "Our Independent Bookstore Day was pure joy! Thank you to EVERYONE who came and celebrated with us! We love our bookstore community."

Bookworm of Edwards, Edwards, Colo.

Bookends and Beginnings, Evanston, Ill.: "We want to thank all of our amazing customers for making this our best #independentbookstoreday EVER! Our bodies are exhausted but our hearts are filled with so much joy. We love you!"

Neighborhood Books, Presque Isle, Maine: "THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU. Another day that I'm simply blown away. You AMAZE us!!!! Don't ever let anyone tell you people don't read anymore or that bookstores can't survive! WE ARE DOING IT!"

At Books & Books in Miami, Fla.

Whitelam Books, Reading, Mass.: "And that's a wrap on Independent Bookstore Day! A huge & hearty thank you from the Whitelam flock to everyone that celebrated with us today. We love being part of this community and we love being your indie!"

Rudolph Girls Books, Westminster, Md.: " 'Thank you' does not feel like enough. Once again, we are completely overwhelmed by your support. Thank you for an amazing #independentbookstoreday, Westminster!"

At Books on the Square, Providence, R.I., bookseller Vanessa Krebs created a display featuring ABA bookstore cat mascot Stacks.

Read Books, Virginia Beach, Va.: "What a day!!! Thank you to all our bookish friends, new and old. Ya'll are the best!"

2 Dandelions Bookshop, Brighton, Mich.: "We'd like to take a moment to express our very sincere thanks to all who came to celebrate Independent Bookstore Day! We are once again equally so happy to be part of such a vibrant community of readers and so humbled by your consistent support."

Black Garnet Books, St. Paul, Minn.: "wow. thank you to my team for being so personable even as the line curved through the store for 3 hours straight. thank you to all the folks who visited us for the first time. thank you to all the familiar faces visiting again!... our first independent bookstore day was a success, and fun as hell. LONG LIVE INDIE BOOKSTORES!!!"

Britannica Books: Britannica's Encyclopedia Infographica: 1,000s of Facts & Figures--About Earth, Space, Animals, the Body, Technology & More--Revealed in Pictures by Valentina D'Efilippo, Andrew Pettie, and Conrad Quilty-Harper

#IBD: Pictures from a Celebration

Across the country, booksellers, authors and readers celebrated the 10th annual Independent Bookstore Day.

The Novel Neighbor, St. Louis, Mo., posted: "Safe to say that yesterday was the best Indie Bookstore Day EVER!🪩✨ THANK YOU to everyone who came and celebrated with us.... It was just a blast, we're still glowing!"

Showing off the bookstore swag at Copperfish Books, Punta Gorda, Fla.

At Watermark Books, Wichita, Kan., booksellers stand ready for IBD.

An Unlikely Story, Plainville, Mass., shared: "This Indie Bookstore Day was one of our best yet! Huge thanks to the Unlikely Strummers and Lyle the Crocodile for visiting us, and to our incredible staff who work so hard every day to make An Unlikely Story such a fun and welcoming place for the community. And thank you to all of our customers who shopped today (and every day!) We couldn't do this without you!"

Bookstore love from Octavia Books, New Orleans, La. The store teamed up with other New Orleans independent bookstores for a citywide literary crawl, and celebrated with music, readings, activities for kids, and more.

Canadian IBD 2023: 'Today Has Been Incredible'

#CIBD2023 art by Alex MacAskill

"Today has been incredible. Thanks for helping us show indies how much we appreciate them," the Canadian Independent Booksellers Association posted on Facebook Saturday as Canadian Independent Bookstore Day was winding down. CIBA noted that the annual celebration brings readers, writers, illustrators, publishers, and other industry supporters together to celebrate indie bookstores across Canada while "advocating for independent businesses, supporting a flourishing bookselling community, and investing in Canadian culture."

"A big part of it is both thanking our customers for shopping locally and also celebrating and raising awareness of the role that bookstores play in communities," Jessica Walker, managing partner of Munro's Books, Victoria, B.C., and CIBA v-p, told CBC Books.

This year, CIBA commissioned artwork from Canadian artist and illustrator Alex MacAskill to help celebrate #CIBD2023. MacAskill's illustration is a bright and dynamic ode to the role that indies play in their communities. Another highlight was the "Dancing in Bookstores" initiative, which saw dancers celebrate Dance Day x Independent Bookstore Day in local bookshops across the country.

Dancing in Bookstores!

"Curious about our 'top secret project?' " Entershine Bookshop, Thunder Bay, Ont., noted in a Facebook post. "Well the secret is out! Dance Day and Independent Bookstore Day fall on the same day this year, so dancers and bookstores have collaborated to celebrate this special day! We had the honour of having Cassidy J. come in to dance in light of Dancers and Independent Bookstores across Canada. Thank you, Cassidy for sharing your moves!"

Bestselling Canadian author Louise Penny paid tribute to CIBD in a Facebook post: "It's Independent Bookstore Day in Canada! Thank you to all the booksellers, everywhere, who handsell, and recommend, and are passionate about books. Who take the time to get to know their clients. And who put on great book events! You, and the support of librarians, are what made the Gamache books a success. And fun to promote! Thank you, especially, to Danny and Lucy at the great Brome Lake Books [Knowlton, Que.]! I love you guys."

Many Canadian indies shared their #CIBD2023 fun on social media, including:

Upstart and Crow, Vancouver, B.C.: "It's here! Canadian Independent Bookstore Day is upon us! Come stop by for a visit today; it'd mean a lot to us.... CIBD has a huge impact on our sales; sales that help this indie literary studio run programs like our writer in residences, in translation book clubs, library partnerships and more. We LOVE this day that is all about community."

The Book Wardrobe, Mississauga, Ont.: "The comeback of the Canadian independent bookstore!!! Thank you, all, for making it a SOLD OUT book launch for Lily Chu's The Comeback on Canadian Independent Bookstore Day!"

Librairie Saga, Montreal, Que.: "Canadian Independent Bookstores Day is today!!! Contests, free goodies (even chocolate bars!), good humor and fantastic books!"

Bookmark, Charlottetown, P.E.I.: "What a day! Speechless, appreciative, and humbled! CIBD2023 is over and what a day it was @bookmarkpei. We set new records for the day, felt incredibly loved by all the kind comments shared with us throughout the day, and are humbled by the support given to us.... We love our community and thank everyone who helped make the day a success."

Turning the Tide Bookstore, Saskatoon, Sask.: "#IndieBookstoreDay is today! We open at 10--the first 50 customers get a free gourmet @darksidedonuts donut which are out-of-this-world delicious. See you here for book discounts, swag, and authors...."

Glass Bookshop, Edmonton, Alb.: "Happy Canadian Independent Bookstore  Day! We are so thankful for all the support and love you shower us with, and we're so excited to celebrate with you!... And sending love to all our dreamy indie pals! Have such a fun day!"

Blue Heron Books

Blue Heron Books, Uxbridge, Ont.: "A big 'Thank You' to everyone who celebrated Independent Bookstore Day with us yesterday! We hope you're spending this rainy day curled up with a good book."

Beggar's Banquet Books, Gananoque, Ont.: "We just wanted to take a minute to thank all our customers from near and far who came to visit us yesterday for Canadian Independent Bookstore Day 2023. Because of you we had our busiest day since just before Christmas last year and attendance was up well over 50% from last year with our sales being nearly double last year's!! THANK YOU!!!!! Also want to thank the CIBA for pulling everything together to make this day so special!"


Stories Like Me Named Pitt Innovates Small Business of the Year

The University of Pittsburgh's Innovation Institute named Stories Like Me this year's recipient of the Pitt Innovates Small Business of the Year award, which "is presented to a regional small businesses that is successfully growing in part due to the assistance they received from the Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence."

On Instagram, Stories Like Me posted: "Yesterday, we were honored to accept the award of Small Business of the Year, presented by the UPitt Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. A huge thank you to the SBDC and all that they have done to help us grow our wild idea into a fully-fledged reality, and to everyone else who supported us and helped us along the way! Congratulations to the other Pitt innovators! And thank you to @pittinnovates for the recognition." 
Stories Like Me "is an independently owned bookstore and community hub promoting equality, equity, and inclusion," Pitt Innovation Institute added. "Their mission is to be the most comprehensive resource for diverse, accessible and empowered children’s literature and to share the stories of the world with a focus on generating empathy and peace through books. They recently opened a new physical bookstore at 4381 Murray Avenue in Pittsburgh’s Greenfield neighborhood."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Justice Malala on Fresh Air

Good Morning America: Jancee Dunn, author of Hot and Bothered: What No One Tells You About Menopause and How to Feel Like Yourself Again (Putnam, $29, 9780593542569).

Also on GMA: Ali Wentworth, author of Ali's Well That Ends Well: Tales of Desperation and a Little Inspiration (Harper Paperbacks, $18.99, 9780062980878).

CBS Mornings: Ryan Holiday, author of The Daily Dad: 366 Meditations on Parenting, Love, and Raising Great Kids (Portfolio, $30, 9780593539057). He will also appear tomorrow on Tamron Hall.

Live with Kelly and Mark: Deborah Roberts, author of Lessons Learned and Cherished: The Teacher Who Changed My Life (Andscape Books, $26.99, 9781368095051). She will also appear tomorrow on Good Morning America.

Fresh Air: Justice Malala, author of The Plot to Save South Africa: The Week Mandela Averted Civil War and Forged a New Nation (Simon & Schuster, $28.99, 9781982149734).

Watch What Happens Live: Miranda Lambert, author of Y'all Eat Yet?: Welcome to the Pretty B*tchin' Kitchen (Dey Street, $35, 9780063087781), and Meghan Trainor, author of Dear Future Mama: A TMI Guide to Pregnancy, Birth, and Motherhood from Your Bestie (Harper Horizon, $28.99, 9781404117594).

Tamron Hall: Chita Rivera, author of Chita: A Memoir (HarperOne, $29.99, 9780063226791).

Today Show: Luke Russert, author of Look for Me There: Grieving My Father, Finding Myself (Harper Horizon, $28.99, 9780785291817).

Good Morning America: Dr. Vivek Murthy, author of Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World (Harper Wave, $19.99, 9780062913302).

Live with Kelly and Mark: Minka Kelly, author of Tell Me Everything: A Memoir (Holt, $28.99, 9781250852069).

Late Night with Seth Meyers: Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, author of Chain Gang All Stars: A Novel (Pantheon, $27, 9780593317334).

Movies: Blood Meridian

New Regency is adapting Cormac McCarthy's 1985 novel Blood Meridian into a feature film, with John Hillcoat set to direct, Deadline reported. The movie will be produced by New Regency, Black Bear Pictures' Keith Redmon, and Hillcoat. McCarthy and his son, John Francis McCarthy, will serve as executive producers.

Hillcoat also directed the film adaptation of McCarthy's The Road. He most recently directed episodes of the Showtime limited series George & Tammy, starring Jessica Chastain and Michael Shannon. 

Books & Authors

Awards: Publishing Triangle Winners

The winners of the Publishing Triangle annual awards, presented last Thursday:

The Audre Lorde Award for Lesbian Poetry: Her Birth and Later Years: New and Collected Poems, 1971-2021 by Irena Klepfisz (Wesleyan University Press)
The Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry: Invisible History: The Collected Poems of Walta Borawski by Philip Clark and Michael Bronski (Rebel Satori Press)
The Publishing Triangle Award for Trans and Gender-Variant Literature: Togetherness by Wo Chan (Nightboat Books)
The Joseph Hansen Award for LGBTQ Crime Writing: Survivor's Guilt by Robyn Gigl (Kensington Books)
The Randy Shilts Award for Gay Nonfiction: Boy with the Bullhorn: A Memoir and History of ACT UP New York by Ron Goldberg (Fordham University Press)
The Judy Grahn Award for Lesbian Nonfiction: Brown Neon by Raquel Gutierrez (Coffee House Press)
The Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction: Arribada by Estela Gonzalez (Cynren Books)
The Ferro-Grumley Award for LGBTQ Fiction: Didn't Nobody Give a Shit What Happened to Carlotta by James Hannaham (Little, Brown)
The Michele Karlsberg Leadership Award: The Bureau of General Services/Queer Division
The inaugural Publishing Triangle Torchbearer Award: Drag Story Hour NYC.
The Betty Berzon Emerging Writer Award: Crisosto Apache
The Bill Whitehead Award for Lifetime Achievement: Patrick Califia

Book Review

Review: The Book of Charlie: Wisdom from the Remarkable American Life of a 109-Year-Old Man

The Book of Charlie: Wisdom from the Remarkable American Life of a 109-Year-Old Man by David Von Drehle (Simon & Schuster, $26 hardcover, 208p., 9781476773926, May 23, 2023)

In 2007, longtime Washington Post columnist David Von Drehle and his wife, tired of the "hassles of urban parenting," uprooted their children and moved from Washington, D.C., to the suburbs of Kansas City, Mo. There, where "the skies are bigger than the egos," they settled into a new life. One day, Von Drehle spied a neighbor across the street washing a car in the August heat. That man was 102-year-old Charlie White, self-made, "hale and sturdy and razor-sharp," who would become a very good friend of Von Drehle--and an influence so profound that he inspired The Book of Charlie, a splendidly woven, inspirational memoir that explores the meaning of life and the resilience of the human spirit.

Over the course of seven years, Von Drehle became fascinated by Charlie and his history. He was born when William Howard Taft was president, and he experienced life before the existence of highways, radio, movies, even penicillin. Whip-smart, independent, and crafty Charlie grew up with four siblings in a family that accommodated his father, a Christian pastor--who died at the age of 42 in a freak accident when Charlie was eight. The tragedy forged an indomitable, stoic resourcefulness in Charlie, inspiring him to set off on adventures that included traveling across the country in a Model T and by hopping trains; playing saxophone in Jazz Age bands; putting himself through college; and serving in World War II. Along the way, there was a deeply rewarding career as a doctor, as well as marriages, children, and familial challenges. Through it all, Charlie endured and thrived. He chose not to dwell on unhappiness. He simply "didn't have time to be sad." He understood and accepted that "every life is a mixture of comedy and tragedy, joy and sorrow, daring and fear," and barreled on.

Charlie made an art out of living; in much the same way, Von Drehle--with eloquence, care, respect, and admiration--makes art out of Charlie's life story. As demonstrated in his other books (Rise to Greatness; Triangle: The Fire that Changed America), Von Drehle's appreciation for history shines throughout the narrative. This deeply engaging personal portrait of a remarkable centenarian also offers an absorbing account of the inventiveness of U.S. citizens--and the U.S., as it continually strives to evolve and improve. -- Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines

Shelf Talker: The fascinating story of a remarkable centenarian who lived through decades of U.S. history and forged a life that will greatly inspire others.

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