Shelf Awareness for Thursday, April 11, 2024

Flatiron Books: The Courting of Bristol Keats: [Limited Stenciled Edge Edition] by Mary E Pearson

Forge: My Three Dogs by Bruce W Cameron

Running Press Adult: Scam Goddess: Lessons from a Life of Cons, Grifts, and Schemes by Laci Mosley

Chronicle Books: Taste in Music: Eating on Tour with Indie Musicians by Luke Pyenson and Alex Beeker

Doubleday Books: Death at the Sign of the Rook: A Jackson Brodie Book by Kate Atkinson

Groundwood Books: Who We Are in Real Life by Victoria Koops

Agate Bolden: 54 Miles by Leonard Pitts Jr.


Latest Round of James Patterson Bookseller Bonuses Announced

James Patterson

Bookselling This Week listed the winners of James Patterson's bookseller bonus program for Spring 2024. The latest of the author's bookseller bonus programs, this was announced in February and celebrates the release of his latest book, with Matt Eversmann, The Secret Lives of Booksellers and Librarians, which Little, Brown published on Tuesday.

The bonuses of $500 go to up to 500 booksellers from the American Booksellers Association, for a total donation of up to $250,000. The ABA offered its congratulations to the recipients and "a huge thank you to Mr. Patterson for his continued generosity to booksellers."

BINC: We want your feedback. Take the survey!

Tropes & Trifles, Minneapolis, Minn., Reopening Saturday

Tropes & Trifles, a romance-only bookstore that made its debut last year in Minneapolis, Minn., is reopening Saturday after a remodel and expansion, the Star Tribune reported.

The new interior of Tropes and Trifles in progress.

Store owners Caitlin O'Neil and Lauren Richards opened Tropes & Trifles at 2709 E. 38th St. in November and operated as a holiday pop-up for the rest of 2023. The store did so well that Richards and O'Neil decided to stay in the same 1,000-square-foot space, but closed early in 2024 to do some remodeling and construction work. 

Over the past few months, they've increased the store's selling space from 500 square feet to 800 square feet, and they've added plenty of new inventory. They carry all manner of romance sub-genres, including paranormal, contemporary, historical, dark romance, and more, along with a small selection of romance-adjacent titles.

The grand opening celebration planned for Saturday will feature Denise Williams, author of Technically Yours, and Laura Moher, author of Curves for Days.

Black Cat Books & Oddities, Medina, Ohio, Is Expanding

Black Cat Books & Oddities, Medina, Ohio, which opened last August, has launched an expansion "that will transform the Black Cat experience into an even more immersive literary adventure" called the Black Cat Books Block, co-owners Alicia Hoisington Frazier and Max Frazier announced. 

Black Cat Books will be expanding into an old Victorian house located at 119 Lafayette Road, directly behind its current location at 420 S. Court St., "effectively connecting the wonders of literature through a parking lot that serves as a gateway between two worlds of wonder," according to the store. The change adds four new rooms, bringing the total to 10 rooms across the two houses.

Among the benefits listed by Black Cat with the change will be expanded selections, more immersive experiences, more events space, increased convenience with more parking, and employment opportunities.

"We're keeping the themes of our new rooms under wraps for now but prepare for sneak peeks and teasers as we gear up for our grand opening this summer. The anticipation is part of the adventure, and we promise it will be worth the wait," said the owners.

Ferguson Books & More Closing Bismarck, N.Dak., Store

"After a few failed attempts to find a buyer, an expiring lease and much thoughtful and prayerful consideration," Ferguson Books & More has decided to close its Bismarck, N.Dak., location, the store announced on Facebook. The last day will be April 27. The store opened in 2018; Ferguson also has a store in West Fargo, which opened in 2020 and remains open.

"After almost six years, we are hopeful our customers cherished our time downtown Bismarck as much as we have," Ferguson Books noted. "We are so thankful for God's blessings even when things don't go as planned. We are extremely grateful for all the customers, delivery workers, and downtown stakeholders we've worked with over these years, and will miss you all dearly."

Last October, Ferguson closed its Grand Forks, N.Dak., location and sold inventory, fixtures, and its customer lists to longtime employees Patricia and Sterling Reed, who opened Silver Dawn Books.

Obituary Note: Marshall Curatolo 

Marshall Curatolo

Marshall Curatolo, who founded Walden Pond Books, Oakland, Calif., in 1973 and "officially" retired a year and a half ago, died February 29. He was 95. Walden Pond Books celebrated its 50th anniversary last year, and it remains family-owned and operated. 

Walden Pond Books shared photos of Curatolo on Instagram: "Here he is in 1988 (after our victory over Kmart/Waldenbooks demanding we change our name), with his son Paul in 1998, and again with Paul pricing used books from storage in March 2023 in Humboldt County... still working!"

In another post, the bookstore noted: "One only has to peruse the aisles of Walden Pond Books to know Marshall. He was a bohemian, a progressive, a proponent of the arts, a lover of music, and, of course, a worshiper of the written word. His generosity and humility drew people in--customers quickly became friends. Over the years, the bookstore has served as a beloved community space, where locals and visitors alike encountered themselves and each other in the pages of its wares. As the latest bestsellers change from week to week and Walden Pond shifts and grows to mirror the community which has so embraced it, Marshall's vision will remain at the core of Walden Pond Books....

"We are grateful to Marshall for establishing an institution that will always belong to Oakland. He will be remembered fondly by the community for having helped shape generations of Bay Area readers, writers, and thinkers."


Image of the Day: A Long-Awaited Visit at Story & Song Bookstore Bistro

Author Patti Callahan Henry (center) celebrated the release of the paperback edition of The Secret Book of Flora Lea (Atria) at Story & Song Bookstore Bistro on Amelia Island, Fla., with a sold-out Literary Luncheon event. Owners Mark and Donna Paz Kaufman reported that they first met Henry at a Southern Independent Booksellers Association event in 2017, when she promised to visit: "It took this long to make it happen!"

Personnel Changes at Simon & Schuster; The Book Group

Jasmine Normil has joined Simon & Schuster as children's education & library marketing coordinator. She was most recently publicity & marketing coordinator at Hachette Audio.


Caitlin O'Shaughnessy has joined the Book Group in the new hybrid role of director of strategy & business development and literary agent and will start in June. She was previously v-p, associate publisher at Holt.

Book Trailer of the Day: Animal Albums

Animal Albums from A to Z by Cece Bell (Walker Books US), a trailer in which VJ Victoria Jamieson shares the music video for "Gnarly Gnomes" from Animal Albums from A to Z.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Fareed Zakaria on Colbert's Late Show

Good Morning America: Ruth Chou Simons, author of Now and Not Yet: Pressing in When You're Waiting, Wanting, and Restless for More (Thomas Nelson, $28.99, 9781400225057).

Kelly Clarkson Show: Maren Morris and Karina Argow, authors of Addie Ant Goes on an Adventure (Chronicle Chroma, $18.99, 9781797228914).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert repeat: Fareed Zakaria, author of Age of Revolutions: Progress and Backlash from 1600 to the Present (W.W. Norton, $29.99, 9780393239232).

This Weekend on Book TV: Batya Ungar-Sargon on Second Class

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, April 13
9:30 a.m. B.J. Hollars, author of Wisconsin for Kennedy: The Primary That Launched a President and Changed the Course of History (Wisconsin Historical Society Press, $24.95, 9781976600173). (Re-airs Saturday at 9:30 p.m.)

2 p.m. Richard Blackett, author of Making Freedom: The Underground Railroad and the Politics of Slavery (The University of North Carolina Press, $22.95, 9781469636108).

3:10 p.m. Mark Calhoon, author of General Lesley J. McNair: Unsung Architect of the U.S. Army (University Press of Kansas, $54.95, 9780700620692).

Sunday, April 14
8 a.m. Craig Shirley, author of The Search for Reagan (Post Hill Press, $28.99, 9798888452936). (Re-airs Sunday at 8 p.m.)

9 a.m. Abigail Shrier, author of Bad Therapy: Why the Kids Aren't Growing Up (Sentinel, $30, 9780593542927). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m.)

10 a.m. Batya Ungar-Sargon, author of Second Class: How the Elites Betrayed America's Working Men and Women (Encounter, $29.99, 9781641773614). (Re-airs Sunday at 10 p.m.)

2:55 p.m. Jonathan M. Metzl, author of What We've Become: Living and Dying in a Country of Arms (W.W. Norton, $29.99, 9781324050254).

4 p.m. Rob Henderson, author of Troubled: A Memoir of Foster Care, Family, and Social Class (Gallery, $28.99, 9781982168537).

5:15 p.m. Gerald Epstein, author of Busting the Bankers' Club: Finance for the Rest of Us (University of California Press, $26.95, 9780520385641).

6:15 p.m. Robert Kuttner, author of Going Big: FDR's Legacy, Biden's New Deal, and the Struggle to Save Democracy (The New Press, $23.99, 9781620977279).

Books & Authors

Awards: Oregon Book Winners

Winners have been announced for the 2024 Oregon Book Awards, sponsored by Literary Arts:

Ken Kesey Award for Fiction: The Librarianist by Patrick deWitt (Ecco)
Stafford/Hall Award for Poetry: Chorus by Daniela Naomi Molnar (Omnidawn)
Frances Fuller Victor Award for General Nonfiction: Where We Call Home: Lands, Seas, and Skies of the Pacific Northwest by Josephine Woolington (Ooligan Press)
Sarah Winnemucca Award for Creative Nonfiction: Wolfish: Wolf, Self, and the Stories We Tell About Fear by Erica Berry (Flatiron Books)
Leslie Bradshaw Award for Young Adult & Middle Grade Literature: The Very Unfortunate Wish of Melony Yoshimura by Waka T. Brown (Quill Tree Books/HarperCollins)
Eloise Jarvis Mcgraw Award for Children's Literature: Too Early by Nora Ericson (Abrams Books for Young Readers)
Graphic Literature: The Faint of Heart by Kerilynn Wilson (Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins)

The Stewart H. Holbrook Literary Legacy Award: Ellen Waterston

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, April 16:

Knife: Meditations After an Attempted Murder by Salman Rushdie (Random House, $28, 9780593730249) reflects on the near-fatal attack on the author in August 2022.

An Unfinished Love Story: A Personal History of the 1960s by Doris Kearns Goodwin (Simon & Schuster, $35, 9781982108663) is a memoir of the period when the author worked for President Lyndon Johnson and her future husband, Richard Goodwin, worked for Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, Robert F. Kennedy, and Eugene McCarthy.

A Calamity of Souls by David Baldacci (Grand Central, $30, 9781538765029) follows a racial murder case in 1968 Virginia.

Close to Death: A Novel by Anthony Horowitz (Harper, $30, 9780063305649) is the fifth Hawthorne and Horowitz literary whodunit.

The Murder Inn by James Patterson and Candice Fox (Grand Central, $32, 9781538710951) follows a former cop who takes over a beachside inn.

To Gaze Upon Wicked Gods by Molly X. Chang (Del Rey, $30, 9780593722244) is a blend of romance, sci-fi, and fantasy.

It Had to Be You by Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke (Simon & Schuster, $27.99, 9781982132576) is book eight in the Under Suspicion mystery series.

Shiny Misfits: A Graphic Novel by Maysoon Zayid, illus. by Shadia Amin (Graphix, $24.99, 9781338752519) is the comedian, actress, writer, and disability advocate's first book for children.

Taming 7 by Chloe Walsh (Bloom, $14.99, 9781464216053) is the fifth book in the popular Boys of Tommen YA series and focuses on characters Gibsie and Claire.

Seriously, So Good: Simple Recipes for a Balanced Life by Carissa Stanton (Simon Element, $35, 9781668020722) is a cookbook by the creator of Brocc Your Body.

Everest, Inc.: The Renegades and Rogues Who Built an Industry at the Top of the World by Will Cockrell (Gallery, $29.99, 9781982190453) is a history of guided climbing on Mount Everest.

Alien Earths: The New Science of Planet Hunting in the Cosmos by Lisa Kaltenegger (St. Martin's Press, $30, 9781250283634) surveys the search for exoplanets.

As Long as You Need: Permission to Grieve by J.S. Park (Thomas Nelson, $19.99, 9781400336845).

Late Bloomer by Mazey Eddings (Griffin, $18, 9781250847089).

Christa Comes Out of Her Shell by Abbi Waxman (Berkley, $17.99, 9780593198780).

Bitter Water Opera: A Novel by Nicolette Polek (Graywolf Press, $15.99, 9781644452837).

Familiarity Breeds Content: New and Selected Essays by Joseph Epstein (Simon & Schuster, $20.99, 9781668009727).

Deluge: Gaza and Israel from Crisis to Cataclysm, edited by Jamie Stern-Weiner (OR Books, $21.95, 9781682196199).

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:

Annie Bot: A Novel by Sierra Greer (Mariner, $28, 9780063312692). "Annie is an AI-enabled sex doll that learns from her mistakes to please humans. What happens when her intelligence turns inward? A novel about power, intimacy, artificial intelligence, and an imperfect relationship under patriarchy." --Jennifer Carney, Sidetrack Bookshop, Royal Oak, Mich.

The Woods All Black by Lee Mandelo (Tordotcom, $19.99, 9781250790316). "A visceral queer revenge story wrapped in the mists of post-World War I Appalachia. Mandelo's rabid, religious community unsettles with its modern parallels. But it's his eerie, possibly unhealthy forest that will drag you in and refuse to let go." --Christy Peterson, Vintage Books, Vancouver, Wash.

The Tree Doctor: A Novel by Marie Mutsuki Mockett (Graywolf Press, $17, 9781644452776). "Verdant, potent, real, The Tree Doctor explores so much about relationships as one woman lives through the isolation--the unexpected wintering of one pandemic year along the California coast. This book is the spring that arrives at last." --Melinda Powers, Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, Calif.

Ages 4 to 8
Small Things Mended by Casey W. Robinson, illus. by Nancy Whitesides (Rocky Pond Books, $18.99, 9780593529812). "With Small Things Mended, Casey Robinson transcends kids' expectations of adults and shows just how infectious and healing kindness can be. The illustrations will bring big smiles and a jaunty pep to your step all day long." --Gibran Graham, The Briar Patch, Bangor, Maine

Ages 8 to 12: An Indies Introduce Title
Daughters of the Lamp by Nedda Lewers (Putnam Books for Young Readers, $18.99, 9780593619308). "A magical tale of a science-minded kid encountering things she can't explain as Sahara and her father travel to Egypt for a family wedding. This was an adorable book full of family love and Arabian traditions!" --Andi Richardson, Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, Va.

Teen Readers
Skater Boy by Anthony Nerada (Soho Teen, $18.99, 9781641295345). "Skater Boy is a thoughtful and honest coming-of-age romance, centering a lot on the idea of who we are, and who we want to be--and how to navigate it, as simple and complicated as it can all be." --Andrew King, Secret Garden Bookshop, Seattle, Wash.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: The Sons of El Rey

The Sons of El Rey by Alex Espinoza (Simon & Schuster, $28.99 hardcover, 384p., 9781668032787, June 11, 2024)

The tender and revelatory family drama The Sons of El Rey by Alex Espinoza (The Five Acts of Diego León) follows three generations of Mexican-American men as their passion for lucha libre sustains them through immigration, loss, and secret heartache.

In the 1960s, Ernesto Vega leaves his life as a pig farmer in a Mexican village to move to Mexico City, joined by his strong-willed wife, Elena, who refuses to stay behind and wait for him. There he becomes the successful luchador El Rey Coyote, immersed in a world of battle and pageantry that embraces a performative version of queerness in a society shrouded by homophobia. His forbidden love for his best friend overshadows his fame and marriage, although he cannot make the relationship public without destroying his reputation.

Decades later in 2020, Ernesto is now an old man dying in the hospital and his son Freddy struggles with the pandemic-mandated closure of the family gym Ernesto founded 40 years ago after emigrating to Los Angeles. Freddy can "feel him in every corner and cold pocket," helpless against the closure just as he is helpless against his father's impending death. Freddy's son Julian is frustrated by his father's macho reluctance to accept his help or emotional support. Julian's financial struggles following grad school lead him into high-end sex work, in which he finds himself playing out a client's reductive fantasies about Mexican-American men. Layers of unspoken loss and longing divide the Vega family as the alternating narratives of father, son, and grandson come to light across decades of both metaphorical and literal fighting to build a future.

Most great family dramas have a mystery at their cores, a secret thorn buried in the family's foundation and shrouded in protective silence, and The Sons of El Rey is no exception. Espinoza draws readers into the ripple effects of toxic masculinity, racism, and unspoken truths as the Vega men fight in succession to reconcile their inner lives with societal expectations of their identities with varying degrees of success. Espinoza's prose hits with raw emotional power, illuminating the ways in which "[t]he hurt is what shapes us." This saga of fathers and sons, literal and metaphorical masks, and the American dream spans several turbulent decades and highlights the need for each generation to keep moving forward and keep fighting. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads

Shelf Talker:Three generations of Mexican American men grapple with masculinity, identity, and their family's legacy in the lucha libre world.

Powered by: Xtenit