Also published on this date: Monday December 11, 2023: Maximum Shelf: Long Island

Shelf Awareness for Monday, December 11, 2023

Blackstone Publishing: An Honorable Assassin (Nick Mason Novels #3) by Steve Hamilton

Clarion Books: The Man Who Didn't Like Animals by Deborah Underwood, Illlustrated by LeUyen Pham

Holiday House: Bye Forever, I Guess by Jodi Meadows and Team Canteen 1: Rocky Road by Amalie Jahn

Wednesday Books: Dust by Alison Stine

Running Press Kids: The Junior Witch's Handbook, The Junior Astrologer's Handbook, and The Junior Tarot Reader's Handbook by Nikki Van De Car

Scholastic Press: Ruin Road by Lamar Giles


Grit City Books Opening Physical Store in Tacoma, Wash.

Grit City Books, an online bookstore that launched in November, plans to open a physical bookstore at 3116 Sixth Ave. in Tacoma, Wash., next year. Noting that the location is part of the ground-level commercial space of Sixth & Alder Apartments, the News Tribune reported that co-founders Jeff Hanway, husband Kegan Hanway, and Kaitlin Chandler "hope to have the bricks-and-mortar version of their store open in the spring."

Grit City founders Kaitlin Chandler, Kegan Hanway, and Jeff Hanway.

The co-founders all graduated from the University of Puget Sound more than a decade ago, though the Hanways didn't meet Chandler until years later, when they rented office space at TractionSpace, where she works as director of operations.

Jeff Hanway, who has worked in business operations and healthcare business development-consulting, said, "[Chandler] was the perfect addition to our ownership group." Chandler explained: "I worked in high-end and high-volume retail for 10 years." Kegan Hanway works in technology.

Chandler added: "We envision Grit City Books eventually being embedded in the Tacoma community.... Our goal is to provide a safe space for marginalized communities through our collective love of books, reading, and learning."

Kegan Hanway explained that "the idea of this bookstore grew out of our navigating Covid and lockdowns and the realities of working in a corporate environment... that reevaluation that I think a lot of us went through during Covid... that there was other stuff we could be doing that might have more value to us, to our community." 

"Jeff and Kegan had the original vision for the bookstore," Chandler noted. "It didn't take much convincing, really. I was in pretty much immediately. Every Millennial dreams of opening a bookstore or a coffee shop or whatever niche thing they're passionate about." 

The owners had been searching for a physical space since June. "We first toured the Sixth & Alder space in early September. And then we kind of fell in love with the location. It was the right size [and] gave us a lot of flexibility with it being a brand new space that hadn't ever been built out before," Jeff Hanway noted. 

Chandler added: "We love books and Tacoma and couldn't think of a better way to share our passion than to open an independent bookstore in the city we call home."

"We want to make sure that we are supporting our LGBTQ+ community of all ages to make sure that there's a safe space, a feeling of inclusion," Kegan Hanway said. "And it's not just LGBTQ+. We're interested in partnering with local book clubs, author tours, you name it, poetry readings, open mic sessions... it's like: 'What can't we do?' " 

Help a Bookseller, Change a Life: Give today to the Book Industry Charitable Foundation!

The Last Chapter Opens in Bridgeport, W.Va.

The Last Chapter bookstore, featuring new and used titles, opened in September within Market on Main at 103 W. Main St., 2nd floor, in Bridgeport, W.Va. The Bridgeport News reported that co-owner Kara Findley's love of mystery books and her husband Justin's love of science fiction inspired the pair. 

"It was something we had planned in our future, but things worked out very nicely to open it now," she said. "We were thinking to do it when our kids were older, but I met [Market on Main owner Parris Ford] while shopping for vegetables for myself, happened to tell her about my ideas. She said 'I have space,' and here we are. It was the end of March I came in, and by the end of April I had my business license. Waiting for it to get mailed was the longest part."

Findley added: "There are so many authors out there and so many good books. If I haven't read it, I'll usually sit here and read it to tell people about the book. I've probably read 50 books since we've opened. I'm all about the kids and reading. I want kids to be able to have books, for them to be affordable for parents."

She described the family's partnership with Market on Main owner Ford as "a blessing.... I love the small-town, personal bookstores. When we're traveling on vacations, we look for coffee shops and bookstores. And we've come across some really cool places, so my dream is to keep expanding and make this one of those places we've traveled to--a cozy, open place where you get to meet the community and do a lot of reading," she said.

More adult books are being added and a children's reading/play area has been expanded to the second-floor landing so adults can shop in other parts of Market on Main.

New Owner, Name for Happy Owl Bookshop in Manistee, Mich.

Happy Owl Bookshop, Manistee, Mich., is under new ownership. The News Advocate reported that longtime employee Teresa Feagins has purchased the business from Dan Bailey, who bought the store in 2014. The shop is expected to close from late December through January 2024, and will reopen as the Hoot & Honey Bookstore.

Feagins said she wants to keep the bookshop similar to what loyal customers have come to expect from their neighborhood bookstore: "We are going to change the name, carry a few different products, but it will be your independent hometown bookstore, as it always has been.... We'll be the same happy bookstore on the inside."

The name Hoot & Honey is meant to give the store an "outdoorsy" feel. "Little kids, when they come up now they say 'we have to go to the owl'--that's what they call our store," Feagins said. "Well, we've got to keep the owl as part of the name, hence the hoot. And I love bears, so that's where the honey bear, the honey comes in."

Feagins will add some new items to complement the store's current offerings, including a selection of teas, lotions and specialty soaps, locally made jams, and honey. 

"I have loved books since I was a child, and when I moved to Manistee, I started working for [Manistee Area Public Schools] and I was the librarian at Jefferson School," said Feagins. "So when I left that job, that's when I started at the bookstore. And I like to say I can still play with my books but I don't have to go out for recess."

That motivation saw her through stints at Daul's Read-Mor Bookstore and Bookmark before moving on to the Bookstore, then owned by John and Priscilla Rulison but renamed Happy Owl Bookshop by Bailey.

Reflecting on his time owning the Happy Owl, Bailey said, "The town has been great--the people that come in just because they want to walk into a bookstore with books on the shelves and smells like books and walk on hardwood floors, have just been terrific."

Escape Into Fiction, Franklin, Mass., for Sale

As noted in NEIBA News, Escape into Fiction, Franklin, Mass., is for sale. The store "has a great community with a supportive downtown partnership, and the current owner, April Rock, would love to find a buyer that is committed to community. The space--a combination book shop/art gallery--is approximately 3,000 sq. ft. Currently, the local Art Association rents a back room to hang the gallery and the bookstore sells the work for consignment.

"Rock is open to selling assets and stock with or without the brand and name, depending on buyer preference. Please contact with inquiries."


Image of the Day: The Power of the Printed Word

From Copperfield's Books in Petaluma, Calif.:

"Someone parked a car outside the bookstore, locked it--and left without setting the parking brake. The car began slowly rolling backwards down the street, while passersby tried in vain to stop it. Ashley Collingwood, Copperfield's Petaluma assistant manager, thought fast and grabbed two boxes of books to wedge under the back tires, stopping it in its tracks. A cheer went up from all who'd tried to help. It takes a village--and a bookstore."

Henry Kissinger's Unintentional 'Gift' to Left Bank Books

Thanks to Henry Kissinger?

In a Substack essay, Kris Kleindienst, owner of Left Bank Books, St. Louis, Mo., remembers the unintentional role the late Secretary of State played in helping Kleindienst define her store--for herself and the community. The catalyst: turning down the publisher's offer to host an event for the third volume of Kissinger's memoirs, published in 1999.

Kris Kleindienst

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch gossip columnist heard about the refusal, spoke with Kleindienst, and quoted her saying, "We have to stand for something. We respectfully declined based upon profound differences of convictions. It's hard for us to forget about the secret bombings of Cambodia. In my opinion, he's kind of a war criminal. Times are hard, but not that hard!"

Kleindienst recalled fearing a backlash, and yet other than some initial crank calls, the reaction was positive. "People went out of their way to stop by and let us know that even if they did not think Kissinger was a bad man, they appreciated that we had stood by our convictions. Some told us they were even Republicans but respected our decision."

Kleindienst added: "What I took from this was that you can run a business with a conscience. That profits don't have to be based on going against your core values. Of course, we were far from profitable at that time and still hope to stand on the horizon of profitability one day, but the support we have received, often in the form of generous donations to the nonprofit we started, speaks volumes about the importance of a space like ours to its community. I have always thought that if I was going to give my life to something that would barely support me financially, at least I should be able to live with myself at the end of the day."

Personnel Changes at Random House

Personnel changes at Random House:

Scott Shannon has been named president of Random House Worlds. He has been with Penguin Random House for 18 years and will continue to head Del Rey, RH Worlds, and Inklore.

Keith Clayton has been promoted to v-p, publisher, Random House Worlds and Inklore, and co-publisher, Del Rey. He has been at Random House more than 20 years,

Tricia Narwani has been promoted to v-p, co-publisher and editor-in-chief of Del Rey. She joined the Random House group as an assistant for the Del Rey Manga team in the early 2000s.

Dreamscape Media to Distribute Mayo Clinic Press Audiobooks

Dreamscape Media is distributing globally audiobooks that Mayo Clinic Press has already published and will produce and publish more than 40 new Mayo Clinic Press titles for adults and children over the next three years.

Mayo Clinic Press publisher Dan Harke commented: "We are thrilled to partner with Dreamscape to bring our exceptional collection of audiobooks to an even wider audience. With Dreamscape's commitment to producing high-quality content and their personalized distribution service, we can ensure that our valuable resources and expert insights will be accessible to an even broader audience. Together, we will continue to empower individuals to make informed decisions about their health and well-being."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Henry Winkler on CBS Mornings

Today Show: Danielle Kartes, author of Butter, Flour, Sugar, Joy: Simple Sweet Desserts for Everyone (Sourcebooks, $29.99, 9781728278018).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Liz Cheney, author of Oath and Honor: A Memoir and a Warning (Little, Brown, $32.50, 9780316572064).

Today Show: Massimo Bottura, co-author of Slow Food, Fast Cars: Casa Maria Luigia--Stories and Recipes (Phaidon Press, $59.95, 9781838667245).

CBS Mornings: Henry Winkler, author of Being Henry: The Fonz... and Beyond (Celadon, $30, 9781250888099).

Tamron Hall: Eli Rallo, author of I Didn't Know I Needed This: The New Rules for Flirting, Feeling, and Finding Yourself (Harvest, $24.99, 9780063298460).

TV: Apple TV+ Renews Foundation for Third Season

The Apple TV+ series Foundation, based on Isaac Asimov's classic sci-fi novels, has been renewed for season three. Produced by Skydance Television, with David S. Goyer as showrunner and executive producer, Foundation stars Lee Pace and Jared Harris.

"I'm thrilled Apple has given us the opportunity to continue chronicling Asimov's pioneering galactic saga. This time, the stakes for Foundation and Empire are even higher as the Mule takes center stage, along with fan-favorites Bayta, Toran, Ebling and Magnifico Giganticus," said Goyer. 

Matt Cherniss, head of programming for Apple TV+, added: "We have all been incredibly impressed with the ambitious, action-packed and imaginative adaptation that David and the rest of this gifted creative team and cast have brought to life with this premium sci-fi series from day one. To watch Foundation become such a global hit has been beyond exciting with audiences around the world continuing to be captivated week after week by this dramatic and compelling journey to save humanity. We can't wait for everyone to experience what is in store for characters old and new in season three." 

The cast also includes Lou Llobell, Leah Harvey, Laura Birn, Cassian Bilton, Terrence Mann, Isabella Laughland, Kulvinder Ghir, Ella-Rae Smith, Holt McCallany, Rachel House, Nimrat Kaur, Ben Daniels, and Dimitri Leonidas.

Books & Authors

Awards: An Post Irish Book of the Year; Gordon Burn Longlist

The Bee Sting by Paul Murray has won the 2023 An Post Irish Book Awards Book of the Year, the overall award of the book awards program. The Bee Sting had won the Eason Novel of the Year category of the An Post Irish Book Awards. It was published in the U.S. by Farrar, Straus & Giroux.

Judging panel chair Madeleine Keane said: "The Bee Sting was the judges' unanimous choice as the An Post Book of the Year. Paul Murray is an exceptional contemporary Irish novelist as evidenced in his fine body of work, culminating in this dazzling achievement. The Bee Sting is a bravura feat--a wildly funny, tragic giant of a novel with a symphony of compelling voices. Murray evokes Ireland's complexities and vagaries while taking in vital universal themes of love, greed, desire, and disappointment. Along with my fellow judges, I am very proud to see it crowned the most outstanding book of 2023."


The longlist has been selected for the £10,000 (about $12,530) 2023-2024 Gordon Burn Prize, honoring "fiction and non-fiction books that are fearless in their ambition and execution." The shortlist will be announced in January and the winner in March.

Chair of judges Terri White commented: "Our longlist of 12 takes in fiction, memoir, true crime, investigative journalism, folklore, poetry and work that frankly doesn't care about our definitions (and limitations) of genre. Books that explore intergenerational trauma, the contemporary thirst for true crime, re-imagining of histories, our relationship with celebrity culture, the impact of coming of age online, and the radical nature of an ordinary life. That all, in some way, speak to living in 2023, and vitally, keep the spirit of Gordon Burn alive and well."

The longlist:
Chain-Gang All-Stars by Nana Kwame Adeji-Brenyah
Killing Thatcher by Rory Carroll
Bellies by Nicola Dinan
Is This OK? by Harriet Gibsone
If I Survive You by Jonathan Escoffery
Busy Being Free by Emma Forrest
Wifedom by Anna Funder
Cuddy by Benjamin Myers
O Brother by John Niven
Ordinary Human Failings by Megan Nolan
Kick the Latch by Kathryn Scanlan
Split Tooth by Tanya Tagaq

Book Review

Review: A Map of Future Ruins: On Borders and Belonging

A Map of Future Ruins: On Borders and Belonging by Lauren Markham (Riverhead, $28 hardcover, 272p., 9780593545577, February 13, 2024)

In A Map of Future Ruins: On Borders and Belonging, journalist Lauren Markham (The Far Away Brothers) considers the global refugee crisis by focusing on one nation--Greece--and thoughtfully linking her investigation both to broader questions of identity and belonging, and to her own family's migration from that country more than a century ago.

Between 2019 and 2023, Markham made multiple trips to Greece to report on the plight of refugees from countries like Afghanistan and Syria, who embarked on dangerous land and sea voyages to find asylum in European nations that are becoming increasingly hostile to their arrival. Central to her story is the Moria refugee camp on the island of Lesbos. Built in 2013, it housed some 20,000 refugees at its height, but on September 8, 2020, it was destroyed in a massive fire. Among the six young immigrants charged with arson was Ali Sayed, a 14-year-old Afghan refugee who had fled first to Iran, hoping eventually to make his way to Germany. Markham follows his story, exposing the flaws in the investigation that led to his prosecution as an adult, despite his age.

But Markham is interested in much more than one young migrant's sad plight, and she both widens and narrows the scope of her inquiry. For her, the story of the Moria blaze and its aftermath was about "the criminalization of contemporary migration, yes, but also about the valorization of times and migrations past." That insight leads her to consider a variety of subjects that include myth, most notably the "myth of Western identity itself"; race and, especially, the idea of "whiteness" in contemporary battles over immigration; the power and limits of storytelling; and how our thinking about immigration often is distorted by our notions of maps and borders.

Though she never strays far from these journalistic and historical paths, Markham makes clear that during her visits to Greece she also was eager to examine her own family's origin story. In 1914, her 16-year-old great-grandmother, Evanthia, left the island of Andros for Athens with her mother and younger brother, passing through Ellis Island after a month at sea before settling in New Haven, Conn. When, near the end of the book, Markham finally arrives at the tiny village Evanthia abandoned to make a life in a new world, she acknowledges that "there wasn't much to see, but the place didn't seem to want to let me go."

In his 2017 novel Exit West, Mohsin Hamid imagined a series of magic doors that could instantly transport people fleeing violence and persecution to safety. As Lauren Markham reveals in her fiercely honest book, the reality in a world teeming with displaced people is much more prosaic and perilous. --Harvey Freedenberg, freelance reviewer

Shelf Talker: Journalist Lauren Markham investigates the immigration crisis in contemporary Greece and her own family's migration from that country.

The Bestsellers's Top 10 Bestselling Audiobooks of 2023's Top 10 Bestselling Audiobooks of 2023:

Spare by Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex, narrated by Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex (Penguin Random House Audio)
The Woman in Me by Britney Spears, narrated by Michelle Williams (Simon & Schuster Audio)
Tom Lake by Ann Patchett, narrated by Meryl Streep (HarperAudio)
Happy Place by Emily Henry, narrated by Julia Whelan (Penguin Random House Audio)
I Have Some Questions for You by Rebecca Makkai, narrated by Julia Whelan & JD Jackson (Penguin Random House Audio)
Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros, narrated by Rebecca Soler & Teddy Hamilton (Recorded Books)
The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese, narrated by Abraham Verghese (Recorded Books)
Iron Flame by Rebecca Yarros, narrated by Rebecca Soler & Teddy Hamilton (Recorded Books)
Yellowface by R.F. Kuang, narrated by Helen Laser (HarperAudio)
Pageboy by Elliot Page, narrated by Elliot Page (Macmillan Audio)

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