Shelf Awareness for Monday, April 30, 2018

Dutton Books: The Magnolia Palace by Fiona Davis

Berkley Books: Enter giveaway to meet the new members of your book family!

Thomas Nelson: Opal Lee and What It Means to Be Free: The True Story of the Grandmother of Juneteenth by Alice Faye Duncan, illustrated by Keturah A Bobo

Ballantine Books: The Unsinkable Greta James by Jennifer E Smith

Europa Editions: Trust by Domenico Starnone, translated by Jhumpa Lahiri

St. Martin's Press: The Golden Couple by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen


IBD 2018: Festive, Fun--and Big Sales Gains

At Greenlight Bookstore, Brooklyn, N.Y.

The fourth Independent Bookstore Day was more engaging and celebrated by more people than ever, according to reports from booksellers and participants. As our own editor emerita Marilyn Dahl, who visited 19 Seattle-area stores on Saturday, wrote, "It was really so much fun! It will be interesting to see how many more people were involved than last year. Tons, it seemed like. We are fortunate up here to have so many stores and booksellers who think of themselves as a team; competitors, yes, but in it together."

Like her, many other book lovers enjoyed the passport programs that booksellers put together in Seattle, San Diego, Chicago, Minneapolis, Boston and elsewhere. People who completed the bookstore tours proudly posted pictures with their completed passports--most of which were good for discounts on purchases during the coming year. This, too, made for a friendly competition.

Crowd at Bookbar, Denver, Colo.

Many stores said that Saturday's IBD was the busiest, with the most sales ever. For example, yesterday BookBar, Denver, Colo., tweeted to customers, "Thank you! Because of you, we had our best sales day so far of 2018 yesterday for Independent Bookstore Day. Thank you for sharing in the fun, value, and fierce passion of indie bookstores."

Bookends & Beginnings, Evanston, Ill., had the best IBD ever, too, owner Nina Barrett reported yesterday. "We're still feeling the glow." She noted that IBD and the store have grown up together: the store was in its first year of business when the first Independent Bookstore Day was held. That first IBD "traffic was underwhelming," she continued, "but I can't say whether that was because hardly anyone had heard of IBD or hardly anyone had found us in our alley--yet. The second year I wasn't sure it would even be worthwhile to try it again, but I signed up anyway out of loyalty to the Cause, and it was better. And then last year, our third year, was definitely robust. But this year sales were another 49% above last year--on par with our sales in the last few days before Christmas!"

Sidewalk chalk art contest at Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, N.C.

Barrett attributed the gains in part to the store's own growth; to IBD "gaining a LOT of traction nationally--and I think underlying that is that people are increasingly getting the shop-small, shop-local message"; and what she called "the solidarity of the ChIBA [Chicagoland Independent Booksetore Alliance] stores in marketing 'indie bookstore tourism' as a cool thing to do in the Chicago area." She noted that when the store opened Saturday, there were people waiting outside to get an early start on the ChIBA bookstore crawl.

Joelle Herr, owner of Her Bookshop, Nashville, Tenn., said, "It was our biggest sales day yet, surpassing even our two Small Business Saturdays (since our opening in 2016). We were blown away by the turnout. It was lovely seeing so many of our loyal customers and meeting folks who ventured in for the first time. Our hearts are feeling very full, and we're so grateful for the support of our community."

Maryelizabeth Yturralde, co-owner of Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore in San Diego, Calif., reported that IBD was a "resounding success and great fun," with the store's booksellers spending the day talking to readers, selling books and stamping passports of those participating in the second annual San Diego Bookstore Crawl. Yturralde added that four independent authors stopped by Mysterious Galaxy to help with the day's festivities.

NCIBA executive director Calvin Crosby at Vroman's.

At Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena, Calif., the festivities began at 11 a.m. with a meet-and-greet with children's illustrator Chris Robertson (Giraffes Ruin Everything and If I Didn't Have You) and continued into the afternoon with literary trivia and a celebration of author Octavia Butler. Throughout the day, Vroman's customers could take pictures in an IBD-themed photo booth, complete with bookish props, and write why they love the store on an IBD poster. Responses praised Vroman's wide selection of books, bike parking, and the "awesome community of people who work and hang" there.

Vroman's sister store, Book Soup, in West Hollywood, held a Drag Queen Story Hour featuring Pickle, who read a selection of picture books about raccoons, pizza and more. In addition to exclusive IBD items being on sale, there were freebies and giveaways, and Book Soup's sidewalk chalkboard poll asked customers how they felt about "bathtubs that look like they have feet."

At Books Kinokuniya in Carrollton, Tex., IBD events featured readings by local writers, including David Eric Tomlinson, author of The Midnight Man, and Jeanne Skartsiaris, author of Dance Like You Mean It. Kinokuniya's Shigekazu Watanabe reported that the store was "packed with customers. It's a great opportunity to have the local authors connect to local people who love books."

In Montrose, Calif., Once Upon A Time Bookstore hosted a special IBD story time session in the morning and ran a variety of all-day activities and sales. Customers who brought in either IBD or Once Upon A Time tote bags received $5 of a purchase of $15 or more, and all books about books and bookstore were 10% off. There were treats and goodies available for customers, including See's Candies, and Once Upon A Time's "bookstore kitty" Pippi was on hand to greet shoppers.

Blue Willow's winner.

In one of the more heartwarming stories on Independent Bookstore Day, Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, Tex., tweeted that the winner of its book basket giveaway was a reader who had lost all of her books in Hurricane Harvey last year. We second the store's comment: "We can't think of a more deserving recipient."

In Rockland, Maine, hello hello books skipped "the awkward public photo booth" by "offering something that matches our bookish temperaments. Introducing our newest invention, the #introvertphotobooth! Volunteers of all skill levels will be here doing quick pencil portraits of anyone who wants one--you can choose to sit with your eyes closed, or have the sketcher close their eyes, or you both can close your eyes... whatever makes your inner introvert happy. The sketchers will take a photo of their creation--which we might feature on Instagram!--but then it's yours to keep."

Independent Bookstore Day program director Samantha Schoech makes a new friend at Bookshop West Portal.

One of the more unusual events on a day that featured a range of cool, imaginative events took place at Bookshop West Portal, San Francisco, Calif. For much of the day, the store had three llamas in its courtyard to celebrate Llama Llama Loves to Read by the late Anna Dewdney and to raise funds for Heifer International, which aims to end hunger by partnering with small-scale farmers and donating livestock and resources. Apparently participants had "a llama fun"--the llamas were a big draw to younger indie bookstore lovers.

Literary trivia with Sara Benincasa at Skylight Books.

In Los Feliz in Los Angeles, Skylight Books welcomed shoppers with donuts, mimosas and other free treats, and in the afternoon hosted its first ever literary trivia contest. Teams vied for the first place prize of a $25 Skylight gift card, and some questions included: "to which author is Moby-Dick dedicated?"; "what book had the alternate title of The Fireman?"; and "which author included a Powerpoint chapter in her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel?" Free drinks were available to participants and Skylight accepted donations for the L.A. nonprofit Women's Center for Creative Work. And in the evening, the store celebrated the launch of third issue of the Exposition Review, entitled "Orbit."

Trident Booksellers ready to help. (photo: Boston Book Blog)

The Boston Book Blog noted that Trident Booksellers & Café, Boston, Mass., which is temporarily closed because of severe water damage after a fire at the end of February, nonetheless was "representing hard" on Independent Bookstore Day. Outside the store, a "bookseller is in" stand featured "a blind date with a book." joined with indies to celebrate IBD, offering six free audiobooks and two samplers for download through its bookstore partners. Many indies featured in announcements and posts about IBD. also collected author quotations in support of indie bookstores, which included praise from Celeste Ng (official spokesperson this year), Emma Straub (also a bookstore owner), Neil Gaiman, Junot Díaz, Dan Pink and many more. CEO Mark Pearson said that the celebration of Independent Bookstore Day "also happened online where stores and booksellers shared the audiobook offer with the hashtag #BookstoreDay. Customers of independent bookstores are the best, and the free audiobook offer was our way to thank them for their support--and introduce them to audiobooks."

Broadleaf Books: The Lightmaker's Manifesto: How to Work for Change without Losing Your Joy by Karen Walrond

IBD 2018: Pictures from the Parties

Across the country on Saturday, book lovers celebrated their local independent bookstores, who put on a range of creative, thoughtful and fun events.

Some of the Shelf Awareness crew at Eagle Harbor Book Company, Bainbridge Island, Wash., one of the early stops on their impressive Seattle Bookstore Day journey: 12 hours, two ferries, 19 bookstores! (Or, as Marilyn put it: "125 miles, 19 stores, 2 ferry rides, rain, 3 croissants, 3 molasses ginger cookies, 3 bananas, too much coffee, 15 books, 3 shots of tequila.") Pictured: (l.-r.) Paul Gjording, Marilyn Dahl, Jenn Risko and Kristianne Huntsberger.

Left Bank Books, St. Louis, Mo., had a full day of events and activities, including a pancake artist (!); a handselling competition, a journaling class, flash sales, a scavenger hunt and literary cocktails.

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (author of Fascism: A Warning), pictured with co-owner Pete Mulvihill, made a surprise stop at at Green Apple Books in San Francisco.

She later tweeted: "If you want to defend truth and democracy, a good place to start is an independent book store--celebrating #IndieBookstoreDay in San Francisco with an impromptu signing at @booksinclaurel and @greenapplebooks."  

The Boozy Booksellers (aka buyer Lelia Nebeker and events coordinator Rebecca Speas) get ready to offer advice at One More Page Books in Arlington, Va.

At the Book Stall, Winnetka, Ill.: guest author Rebecca Makkai, events manager Robert McDonald, guest author Christine Sneed and Book Stall owner Stephanie Hochschild, "drinking mimosas, talking books and recommending books on #indiebookstoreday!"

Harvard Book Store asked customers to "Tell Us Why You Love Your Bookstore." Later, the store tweeted: #BookstoreDay is drawing to a close, and our hearts are as full as this banner."

GLOW: Gibbs Smith: Ordinary Equality: The Fearless Women and Queer People Who Shaped the U.S. Constitution and the Equal Rights Amendment by Kate Kelly, illus. by Nicole LaRue

Canadian IBD: New Name, Still 'Amazing'

On Saturday, U.S. booksellers' colleagues to the north participated in the first Canadian Independent Bookstore Day, a "new look" version of the former Authors for Indies Day. Under the auspices of the Retail Council of Canada, CIBD highlights "the amazing independent bookstores in communities across Canada that develop and maintain a thriving book industry across the country. It is a day to go out into your community and enjoy the unique intersection of art, culture, business and opportunity that bookstores provide." Here's a social media sampling from #CIBD2018:

Argo Bookshop, Montreal: "The sun is out! Why not go for a walk and check out our #CanadianIndependentBookstoreDay specials?"

McNally Robinson Booksellers, Winnipeg, Man.: "Today is Independent Bookstore Day. To celebrate, we asked a number of our favorite authors to share with us their book recommendations, which we'll be sharing via individual posts over the weekend (watch for them!). We'd also like to take this opportunity to thank you, dear reader. It's no secret that the bookselling trade has seen dark times in recent years, what with the competition of online shopping and e-books. But we've stood strong through it all, and that's thanks to your continued support, which has allowed us to remain Canada's largest independent bookseller. So thank you for reading, and thank you for choosing us as your bookseller."

Another Story Bookshop, Toronto: "Check out our Instagram for our #DogsWhoRead contest. Prize packs include goodies from @wholesomecanine So cute!"

Otter Books, Nelson, B.C.: "Happy Canadian Independent Bookstore Day! #photobooth."

Forster's Book Garden, Bolton, Ont.: "The cake is here! #CBID @cdnbookstoreday is here! Everyone welcome!"

Leslie Hurtig (artistic director, Vancouver Writers Fest): "Celebrating @cdnbookstoreday by visiting some of my Vancouver favourites and thanking my mom and dad for opening western Canada's first in 1956."

Novel Spot Bookshop, Toronto: "What a great @cdnbookstoreday Loyal customers, new customers, local authors @genville Kim Echlin Mary Rose Donnelly, friends, family & amazing booksellers made it special. We wouldn't be here w/out you. Please continue to support indies all year. It means a lot to us."

Munro's Books, Victoria, B.C.: "Thanks book lovers--it was a swell #BookstoreDay #CIBD2018! Hope you had as much fun as we did!"

CIBD: "What an AMAZING #CanadianIndependentBookstoreDay. Thank you to all of the authors, publishers and communities for supporting our fantastic indie bookstores across the country! Can't wait for next year! #CIBD."

Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books: Mina by Matthew Forsythe

Moravian Book Shop Gets New Owner, B&N Management

The Moravian Church Northern Province is transferring ownership of the Moravian Book Shop in Bethlehem, Pa.--widely considered the oldest continuously running bookstore in North America--to Moravian College, which will have Barnes & Noble manage the store. The Morning Call reported that when the move occurs in mid-June, "the college then will close its current campus book shop, which Barnes & Noble runs."

"Our primary bookstore will be the Moravian Book Shop now," said Michael Corr, a spokesman for the college. He added that the book section of the shop will look essentially the same, though "you'll probably see more Moravian [College] gear and more Moravian textbooks for sale."

Corr had no information on what will happen to the shop's current staff, who were notified Friday afternoon of the pending transaction. "Members of the book shop board are putting together a committee to see how it will impact employees," he said. "It probably will be a joint decision between the college and the church. I don't think there will be any drastic changes immediately. It's not a hostile takeover or anything like that."

The Moravian Church, which founded the college in 1742, opened the bookshop in 1745. The shop was moved to several Bethlehem locations before it settled at its current location 147 years ago. A second store, which opened in Allentown in 2015, closed last spring.

Moravian College president Bryon Grigsby said the school "plans to replace its Barnes & Noble-run north campus bookstore with a smaller pop-up store to handle students' needs," Lehigh Valley Live reported. Grigsby added: "Barnes & Noble and Sodexo [food service] will be be assisting us with the operations (of the Moravian Book Shop), but it will remain Moravian College's and retain the look and feel of the current Moravian Book Shop."

2018 Nobel Literature Prize May Be Skipped

The crisis at the Swedish Academy has become so serious that the head of the panel that awards the literature prize--the most prestigious book award in the world--has said the prize may not be awarded this year, the Bookseller reported.

At the core of the crisis are accusations of assault by 18 women "against French photographer Jean-Claude Arnault, who is married to an Academy member, Katarina Frostenson. Arnault has denied the allegations. The photographer is also accused of being part of a breach of the Academy's secrecy rules by leaking the names of past Nobel prize-winners in advance, which again he has denied."

In addition, the Swedish Academy last week released a statement confirming that "unacceptable behavior in the form of unwanted intimacy" had taken place at its functions and that the literature prize's reputation had "suffered greatly" from publicity surrounding recent events.

The Academy meets on Thursday, May 3, to decide whether or not to award a prize this October. If it doesn't award a prize in 2018, it would award two prizes for literature in 2019.


'62 of the World's Best Independent Bookstores'

To celebrate Indie Bookstore Day, Atlas Obscura featured "62 of the world's best independent bookstores" as recommended by its readers, noting: "From small towns to big cities, hundreds of readers wrote in to explain exactly why they love their favorite independent bookstore, in words and in photos."

Personnel Changes at Sourcebooks

At Sourcebooks:

Hannah Carmack has joined the company as events marketing specialist.

Ashlyn Keil has joined the company as author marketing associate.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Alex Wagner on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Alex Wagner, author of Futureface: A Family Mystery, an Epic Quest, and the Secret to Belonging (One World, $28, 9780812997941).

Daily Show: Kevin Young, author of Brown: Poems (Knopf, $27, 9781524732547).

The Opposition with Jordan Klepper: Cecile Richards, author of Make Trouble: Standing Up, Speaking Out, and Finding the Courage to Lead--My Life Story (Touchstone, $27, 9781501187599). She will also tomorrow on CNN's New Day.

Late Show with Stephen Colbert: David Duchovny, author of Miss Subways: A Novel (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $26, 9780374210403).

Jimmy Kimmel Live: Jake Tapper, author of The Hellfire Club (Little, Brown, $27, 9780316472319).

Steve Harvey: Beverly Bond, author of Black Girls Rock!: Owning Our Magic. Rocking Our Truth. (Atria/37 INK, $30, 9781501157929).

Harry: Charlamagne Tha God, author of Black Privilege: Opportunity Comes to Those Who Create It (Touchstone, $16, 9781501145315).

Last Call with Carson Daly: Leland Melvin, author of Chasing Space: An Astronaut's Story of Grit, Grace, and Second Chances (Amistad, $15.99, 9780062496737).

Books & Authors

Awards: James Beard; Stephen Leacock Humor

The winners of the 2018 James Beard Foundation Book Awards are:

Book of the Year: The Cooking Gene by Michael W. Twitty (Amistad)
Cookbook Hall of Fame: Betty Fussell
American: The Sioux Chef's Indigenous Kitchen by Sean Sherman with Beth Dooley (University of Minnesota Press)
Baking and Desserts: BraveTart: Iconic American Desserts by Stella Parks (Norton)
Beverage: Meehan's Bartender Manual by Jim Meehan (Ten Speed Press)
General: Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by Samin Nosrat (S&S)
Health and Special Diets: Deepa's Secrets by Deepa Thomas (Skyhorse)
International: Nopalito by Gonzalo Guzman and Stacy Adimando (Ten Speed Press)
Photography: Cook Beautiful by Johnny Miller (Abrams)
Reference, History, and Scholarship: Champagne by Peter Liem (Ten Speed Press)
Restaurant and Professional: Modernist Bread by Nathan Myhrvold and Francisco Migoya (The Cooking Lab)
Single Subject: The Pho Cookbook by Andrea Nguyen (Ten Speed Press)
Vegetable-Focused Cooking: Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables by Joshua McFadden with Martha Holmberg (Artisan Books)
Writing: The Cooking Gene by Michael W. Twitty (Amistad)


A 10-title longlist has been released for the C$15,000 (about US$11,660) Stephen Leacock Medal for Humor, which honors the best book of humor written by a Canadian. A shortlist will be unveiled May 2 and the winner named June 9. This year's longlisted titles are:

Stella Ryman and the Fairmount Manor Mysteries by Mel Anastasiou
Gone to Pot by Jennifer Craig
Six Degrees of Freedom by Nicolas Dickner
Class Mom by Laurie Gelman
Beforelife by Randal Graham
The Discovery of Honey by Terry Griggs
Opportunity Knox: Twenty Years of Award-Losing Humour Writing by Jack Knox
One Day We'll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter by Scaachi Koul
The Gynesaurs by P. H. Oliver
Love and Laughter in the Time of Chemotherapy by Manjusha Pawagi

Book Review

Review: Last Stories

Last Stories by William Trevor (Viking, $26 hardcover, 224p., 9780525558101, May 15, 2018)

Though his fans can hope for the discovery of a posthumous trove of William Trevor short stories, barring that happy event they'll have to take the title of this collection at face value and enjoy the offering of 10 new tales--three of them previously unpublished--from a 20th-century master of the form.

These muted stories, the majority of them set in England, where the Irish-born Trevor (Love & Summer) spent most of this life, are noteworthy less for their dramatic action than for his keenly observed depiction of melancholy protagonists longing for something that's missing from their lives. Representative of that quality is "An Idyll in Winter," in which a man named Anthony reconnects with a woman he tutored years earlier as a teenager at her home on the Yorkshire moors. Now married and a father, he must confront his deep affection for her, while she understands she was "living in the past, that the past would always be there, around her, that she was part of it herself."

Also among the most moving stories is "Giotto's Angels." The protagonist is an aging prostitute who encounters a man suffering from an "amnesic abnormality" in a bar. When she accompanies him to his flat, she discovers that he's a skilled art restorer, in the process of unearthing a cache of money he's almost certainly forgotten himself. She must decide, after initially relieving him of it, whether to restore the stolen funds, as a "distant longing nagged, too far away, elusive now."

But all is not darkness, for even in the bleakest tale Trevor sometimes flashes a penetrating wit. "Mrs. Crasthorpe" is the story of a middle-aged widow's tragic search for love after the death of her much older husband. The sole mourner at his funeral, she stews over the arrangements he'd made, as she'd "become used to blaming him in his lifetime and couldn't help doing so still." "Making Conversation" portrays the absurdist encounter that ensues when the wife of a man named Vinnicombe appears at the door of the woman she believes is her husband's lover in order to persuade him to return to his family in Brighton. While attempting not to give offense, the suspected paramour struggles to persuade Mrs. Vinnicombe that she could not have any possible interest in her husband.

Noteworthy for their striking openings and sometimes enigmatic endings that will leave readers pondering the fate of Trevor's characters long after finishing the final sentence, these stories fully embody his artistic gifts. His graceful writing and sharp insight into the tragic dimensions of human existence make this collection a fitting testament to a long and distinguished career. --Harvey Freedenberg, freelance reviewer

Shelf Talker: This posthumous collection of 10 stories displays the Irish writer's affinity for plumbing the depths of human sadness.

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