Also published on this date: Wednesday, May 5, 2021: Maximum Shelf: Smile: The Story of a Face

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Hanover Square Press: Before the Coffee Gets Cold series by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

Del Rey Books: The Book of Elsewhere by Keeanu Reeves and China Miéville

St. Martin's Press: You'll Never Believe Me: A Life of Lies, Second Tries, and Other Stuff I Should Only Tell My Therapist by St. Martin's Press

Watkins Publishing: A Feminist's Guide to ADHD: How Women Can Thrive and Find Focus in a World Built for Men by Janina Maschke

Soho Teen: Only for the Holidays by Abiola Bello

W. W. Norton & Company: Still Life by Katherine Packert Burke

Shadow Mountain: A Kingdom to Claim by Sian Ann Bessey


Omaha's Dundee Book Company Finds Permanent Location

Ted and Nicole Wheeler, owners of the mobile bookstore Dundee Book Company in Omaha, Neb., opened a permanent location in March at 4915 Underwood Ave. The store is located in a 1910-era house on a bustling street in the Dundee neighborhood, and features 10 times the amount of inventory than was previously offered.

For most of 2020, the mobile bookstore was inactive due to Covid-19 restrictions. Now, in a permanent location with outdoor space, the bookshop will look to host readings and events where people can engage while safely distanced outdoors. With a mid-May start date, the events are open to Dundee Book Company members and their guests.

"The neighborhood has been so welcoming and we enjoy seeing so many friends from the book cart days that can stop in regularly," said Ted Wheeler. "The support from everyone, new and old, has helped our first month go very well for us. Honestly, we didn't really know what to expect, opening a bookstore during a pandemic. The response has been almost overwhelming, and very heartening. We're so excited to find our place in the community and are excited for what the future will bring. That's no small thing these days."

The bookstore's expanded selection includes more titles in the Wheelers' focus areas: new and emerging authors, translated titles and under-the-radar classics. They are also using the extra space to increase the selection of titles in languages other than English. Generous poetry and local author sections reflect priorities within the store.

Dundee Book Company launched in 2017 as a "roving bookstore"--a book cart that popped-up around town to share the love of reading and well-crafted books. The Wheelers chose titles for each event in order to amplify the experience of the specific location where the cart popped up. Ted Wheeler is also the author of three books, including the novel Kings of Broken Things.

W. W. Norton & Company: Still Life by Katherine Packert Burke

The Dog-Eared Page Bookshop Coming to Danville, Va.

The Dog-Eared Page, a new and used bookshop, will open in Danville, Va.'s River District later this year, "thanks to grant assistance from the River District Association's Dream Launch program," the Chatham Star-Tribune reported.

Owner Catherine Carter completed the Dream Launch business bootcamp and pitch competition, and received $25,000 to reach her goal of opening a bookstore downtown. Although the business does not yet have a location yet, she is anticipating a fall opening date.

The idea evolved from a book club Carter was in with her coworkers at Riverside Health and Rehab. The members thought it would be nice to have a place for their club to meet, as well as a bookstore. 

"I started thinking that it would be cool if we even had a bookstore in town," Carter said. "My parents are big readers, and they took me to bookstores growing up. I want that experience for my own son as well as my friends who love to read. You can't always drive 45 minutes to Greensboro to go to a bookshop. It would be nice if we had it within our own community."

She presented the idea to Kelvin Perry, project manager at Danville's Office of Economic Development, and he referred her to the Dream Launch program.

Carter said she is looking to build her business "with purpose" to bring the community together. "I hope to be able to be a place for parents to bring their kids to instill that love of reading and conversation and literacy at a young age. I'm hoping to encourage people to seek the advantages that come from a good book.... People are really excited about it, and it makes me even more excited. I'm thankful for the opportunity to be able to do this. The one thing the pandemic has taught me is that life is short and that I don't want to get to the end of things and wish I had done things differently."

GLOW: Sourcebooks Landmark: Remember You Will Die by Eden Robins

Hedgehog INK, Fort Scott, Kan., Expands

Hedgehog INK, a used and new bookstore in Fort Scott, Kan., has expanded into an adjacent space, Fort Scott Biz reported.

Owners Jan and Dick Hedges began the expansion in January, when they took over the back room of the building next door, which measures around 1,200 square feet. They've expanded their children's section and created a space that can be used for author talks, writing groups, book clubs and more. The extra room has also allowed them to expand existing sections.

"We were running out of space for all our books," Jan Hedges told Fort Scott Biz. She and her husband opened the store in October 2018. "With the additional space we are able to spread out our fiction area more, to be able to see them better."

The bookstore's building was built in the 1870s and is owned by the same person who owns the adjacent building into which the store expanded. Hedges noted that the renovations are still going on, and she hopes to start hosting children's storytime sessions in September.

Chicago Review Press Acquires Ripple Grove Press Titles

Independent Publishers Group's Chicago Review Press has acquired the catalogue of Ripple Grove Press and is making it a part of Chicago Review Press's children's list.

Ripple Grove Press is a children's publisher founded by Rob and Amanda Broder in 2014 and distributed by IPG. It has specialized in hardcover picture books, including titles like Mae and the Moon; Iver & Ellsworth; Seb and the Sun; and Ripple Grove by Rob Broder, illustrated by Melissa Larson, set to release in 2022.

"We started Ripple Grove Press from the ground up," the Broders said. "We put our heart and soul into each book and our press. We are beyond grateful for every author and illustrator that wanted to make a book with us. And after all these years, it's time to experience a new chapter."

Cynthia Sherry, group publisher for Chicago Review Press and Triumph Books, said, "Ripple Grove Press has produced some of the most beautiful and tenderhearted children's picture books and I'm proud to be adding them to our children's list. The splendid illustrations and quietly powerful stories of friendship and compassionate interaction with people and the environment in Seb and the Sun, Iver & Ellsworth, A Girl Named October, and The Full House and the Empty House are just what the world needs right now and they make the most calming bedtime stories."

Obituary Note: Jason Matthews

Jason Matthews

Jason Matthews, the retired CIA officer and bestselling author of the Red Sparrow trilogy, died on April 28 following a prolonged battle with a rare neurodegenerative disease called corticobasal degeneration. He was 69.

Prior to publishing his debut spy thriller, Red Sparrow, in 2013, Matthews spent 33 years in the Central Intelligence Agency's Directorate of Operations, where he served as an operations officer and senior manager. He specialized in counter-proliferation, denied operations, counterintelligence, coutnerterrorism, foreign cyber threats and operational training. He received the CIA Intelligence Medal of Merit and the CIA Career Intelligence Medal and retired from the CIA in 2010.

Colin Harrison, Matthews's editor and the v-p and editor-in-chief of Scribner, said it "appeared to be a great mystery" how a quiet CIA operations officer became a "bestselling, critically acclaimed spy novelist," but "when you learned Jason Matthews spoke six languages, had read widely for decades, was an astute observer of human behavior, and was adept at composing long classified narratives, it all made sense. His books were not only sophisticated masterpieces of plot and spy craft, but investigations into human nature, especially desire in all its forms."

Matthews followed Red Sparrow up with Palace of Treason in 2015 and The Kremlin's Candidate in 2018.


Mother's Day Reminder from novel. Memphis

"Don't Forget this Sunday Is Mother's Day!!" novel. in Memphis, Tenn., posted on Facebook, noting: "First of all--your mom would look SO cute in one of these aprons. But if she's not into that kind of thing and you're stuck on what she would like, just come in and let us help inspire you! And don't forget we offer personal shopping services with a little advanced notice."

Bookshop West Portal on San Francisco's '30-Day Small Business Challenge'

Bookshop West Portal was featured in an ABC TV newscast announcing San Francisco's "30-Day Small Business Challenge," in which Mayor London Breed is encouraging all San Francisco residents to refrain from shopping from national chains or online stores for the entire month of May. 

Anna Bullard, co-owner of Bookshop West Portal with her husband, Neal Sofman, was interviewed for the story: "We are grateful to the Mayor and the citizens of San Francisco for recognizing the vital importance of small business to the social fabric of San Francisco," she observed. "If everyone redirects their purchasing to local stores and restaurants, it will make a real difference. I hope that this 30-day challenge idea spreads to other communities."

Chicago Distribution Center to Distribute ALA

The University of Chicago Press and the Chicago Distribution Center will distribute American Library Association publications in North America, effective July 1. This includes books published by ALA Editions/ALA Neal-Schuman, ACRL Publications, and other ALA units; posters, bookmarks, READ-branded and other items that promote literacy and libraries, published by ALA Graphics; and ALA's physical award seals such as the Newbery, Caldecott, Printz, and Carnegie Medals seals.

Mary Mackay, ALA associate director of publishing, said, "The opportunity to partner with a company whose values so closely align with where ALA is right now and where ALA is headed in the next few years is exciting. We have been delighted by CDC's responsiveness, their willingness to learn about our business, and their commitment to pivoting with us as we all move into the future of publishing. And they clearly understand our work and our operation, given their deep experience with non-profit publishers."

Joseph D'Onofrio, director of the CDC, added: "We're honored that ALA has chosen to join the Chicago Distribution Center's family of publishers, university presses, museums, and associations. We are looking forward to partnering with ALA and its members to help them continue to advance ALA's mission today and forward into the future."

Personnel Changes at PRH Audio

At PRH Audio:

Ellen Folan has joined PRH Audio as director of publicity. She was formerly associate director of publicity at Crown. She will work with Random House Publishing Group titles including Crown's.

Julia Tabas has been promoted to senior publicist, working with Folan on Random House Publishing Group titles.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Alison Bechdel on Fresh Air

Good Morning America: Jason Goldstein, author of The Unhappy Sandwich: Scrumptious Sandwiches to Make You Smile (Familius, $19.99, 9781641704601).

Fresh Air: Alison Bechdel, author of The Secret to Superhuman Strength (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $24, 9780544387652).

Drew Barrymore Show: Patricia Heaton, author of Your Second Act: Inspiring Stories of Reinvention (Simon & Schuster, $17, 9781982141615).

Wendy Williams: Norma Kamali, author of Norma Kamali: I Am Invincible (Abrams, $35, 9781419747403).

The View: Emmanuel Acho, author of Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Boy (Roaring Brook Press, $17.99, 9781250801067).

Movies: Emily; All Quiet on the Western Front

A first look is available of Emma Mackey (Sex Education) in Emily, the origin story biopic of author Emily Bronte, Deadline reported. Production is underway in the U.K. on the project that marks the writing and directing feature debut of actress Frances O'Connor (The Missing). 

The cast also includes Fionn Whitehead (Dunkirk), Oliver Jackson-Cohen (The Haunting of Hill House), Alexandra Dowling (The Musketeers), Amelia Gething (The Spanish Princess), Gemma Jones (Ammonite) and Adrian Dunbar (Line of Duty). 


Filming is underway in the Czech Republic, near Prague, on Netflix's World War I film All Quiet on the Western Front, based on the classic novel by Erich Maria Remarque, Deadline reported. The book was previously adapted by Universal and Lewis Milestone in 1930 and won Oscars for best picture and director.

Directed by Edward Berger (Patrick Melrose), the German-language version of the anti-war story stars Felix Kammerer, Albrecht Schuch, Moritz Klaus, Aaron Hilmer, Edin Hasanovic, Daniel Brühl, Adrian Grünewald, Devid Striesow, Andreas Döhler, Sebastian Hülk, Alexander Schuster, Luc Feit, Michael Wittenborn, Michael Stange, André Marcon, Tobias Langhoff and Anton von Lucke.

Books & Authors

Awards: Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel Longlist

An 18-title longlist has been released for this year's Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award, which celebrates "crime writing at its best" by U.K. and Irish authors. The prize is run by Harrogate International Festivals and sponsored by T&R Theakston Ltd, in partnership with WH Smith and the Express. Check out the complete longlist here. 

The shortlist will be announced in June and a winner named July 22 at the opening night of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival. The winner receives £3,000 (about $4,165), and a handmade, engraved beer barrel provided by Theakston Old Peculier. 

Reading with... Maryanne O'Hara

photo: Michael Bavaro

Maryanne O'Hara wrote and published short stories before researching and writing Cascade, a novel that explores "what lasts." It was the Boston Globe Book Club's inaugural pick, a finalist for the Massachusetts Book Award and a People magazine Book of the Week. Shortly after Cascade's publication, O'Hara's daughter Caitlin's lifelong cystic fibrosis worsened, requiring the family to uproot from Boston to Pittsburgh for more than two years to wait for a lung transplant. Little Matches: A Memoir of Grief and Light (HarperOne, April 20, 2021) is O'Hara's memoir of this time. Since Caitlin's death, O'Hara has become certified as an end-of-life doula, so that she may better speak to the state of end-of-life care in our culture. 

On your nightstand now:

I recently finished Ayad Akhtar's Homeland Elegies, and it is exhilarating, a work of brilliance. My 25-year-old book club is reading Sigrid Nunez's What You Are Going Through, and oh my. It's the kind of novel I relish: stimulating and thought-provoking, a book best read with a pen. I just read the galley for Last Words on Earth by Javier Serena, which Open Letter Books is publishing in English in September. It's haunting and ruminative and will make your heart ache, a fictional biography of a Bolaño-esque figure. One of the dearest people in my life, my daughter's almost-sister, Katie Whittemore, translated it from the Spanish, and I am in awe of the work she is doing. I'm also in the middle of another translation, from the Danish by Misha Hoekstra: Dorthe Nors's Wild Swims. These stories are a marvel of compression--so much is suggested by what's left out. My daughter loved Paul Harding's Tinkers, and recently I found a note she sent the author: Let me start by saying how much I loved Tinkers, so much that I read it twice, turning right back to page one as soon as I finished. It brought me to a quiet, almost meditative place, which is rare for a novel, and was so wonderfully compelling in its character portraits and narration. Now I am reading her copy slowly, a few pages at a time, making illustrative notes and drawings in a reading journal. I'm also halfway through After, by Bruce Grayson. He accidentally became involved in near-death experiences research early in his career. His research is exact, compelling and it's telling to hear him acknowledge that as a young doctor, he feigned more skepticism about NDEs than he felt, terrified that such research would destroy his career.

Favorite book when you were a child:

My first obsession was a chapter book that was already then quite old and old-fashioned: Singing Wheels by Mabel O'Donnell, a story about pioneer life. It was terribly sexist, i.e., realistic, but it was detailed and immersive and made me long to live the life that existed before mass communication.

Your top five authors:

Alice Munro, always, for her ability to make genius story from anything. I grieve that there will be no more Alice Munro stories. Aside from Virginia Woolf, other "top" writers otherwise fluctuate, and at this point in my life, I would point to the books that meant everything to me during various periods: the drink-blurred beauty of the stories of John Cheever in my 20s; Milan Kundera's inventive Immortality, which intoxicated me with its fluid meditations on existence in my 30s; Patti Smith's M Train, which was my bible while we lived in Pittsburgh, waiting for Caitlin's transplant. Alan Lightman's Searching for Stars on an Island in Maine was my bible post-Caitlin.

Book you've faked reading:

There are times when I have purchased a book, looked through it, and will start to converse about it as if I've already read it, and then I realize what I'm doing and, um. Not a good feeling.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Most recently, Richard Powers's The Overstory. Trees were my first friends, truly, and I wept with appreciation for that book.

Book you've bought for the cover:

I bought the hardcover of Annie Proulx's Close Range for the color plates.

Book you hid from your parents:

A copy of Portnoy's Complaint, but honestly, it disturbed me. One of my first published stories was about a kid who was conflicted to be coming of age during a time of freewheeling sexual mores.

Book that changed your life:

I read Cormac McCarthy's The Road straight through, then went back to page one, read the entire thing again, then went out into my backyard and looked up at the stars and thanked every force in the universe that our planet, our lives, were still intact.

Favorite line from a book:

The title of my memoir, Little Matches, comes from one of them, a late passage in Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse: "What is the meaning of life? That was all--a simple question; one that tended to close in on one with years, the great revelation had never come. The great revelation perhaps never did come. Instead, there were little daily miracles, illuminations, matches struck unexpectedly in the dark; here was one." 

Five books you'll never part with:

We are talking about physical copies that have meaning almost apart from the texts, right? Almost Dead, written and illustrated by Caitlin O'Hara, age 7. Hysterically funny. Her copy of The Stone Diaries. Our old To the Lighthouse, marked-up by both of us during school years. My faithful, plaid-covered Friend of My Youth by Alice Munro. The copy of Mary Oliver's Upstream we read to Caitlin while she was unconscious in the ICU.

Book you most want to read again for the first time:

Ishiguro's The Remains of the Day, Byatt's Possession, Kundera's Immortality, Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, Woolf's To the Lighthouse. Also, many individual stories come to mind: Chekhov's "The Lady with the Pet Dog"; Gogol's "The Overcoat"; Dybek's "Paper Lantern"; Munro's "Carried Away," "Differently" and "Meneseteung" and oh, so many of hers; Lahiri's "The Third and Final Continent"; Cheever's "The Swimmer" and "The Enormous Radio"; Baldwin's "Sonny's Blues." You can live inside some stories over and over again.

Art forms you would like to mix:

I welcome the mixing of the arts, creating a world for all the senses. HarperOne has done endpapers for Little Matches, and to create them, I assembled a tableau of images and objects from Caitlin's life. I recently recorded the audiobook for Little Matches and would have loved to include enhancements like the recording of The Sound of Silence that our Uber driver made and played for us as we left Pittsburgh for the last time. We did insert, in the afterword, a snippet of Caitlin's voice. I love printed words, of course I do, but I'm always conscious of the fact that storytelling started with speakers and listeners and drawings on cave walls.

Book Review

YA Review: The (Un)Popular Vote

The (Un)Popular Vote by Jasper Sanchez (Katherine Tegen Books, $18.99 hardcover, 416p., ages 14-up, 9780063025769, June 1, 2021)

Jasper Sanchez's dynamic #ownvoices debut, The (Un)Popular Vote, conveys the raw energy and tenderness of protagonist Mark Adams and his passionate, politically-minded queer friends as they embark on the student government campaign trail.

Mark, a West Wing fanatic and white trans high school senior, hadn't planned on running for student government. Early in the year, an acquaintance became the target of threats and homophobic slurs at their satirically named Utopia High School; the school responded by victim-blaming. Sick of waiting around for things to get better for himself and other marginalized peers, Mark decides to throw his hat in the ring.

Mark's populist campaign is backed by his friends in the French Club, a front for their "underground pride club." His best friend, Jenny, is aromantic, and the deputy campaign manager, Nadia, is a hijab-wearing transfeminine Muslim. Despite Nadia's strategic campaigning to help Mark win over swing voters like the girls' soccer team and the school's resident stoners, Mark's campaign and livelihood face a very real threat: no one knows he's trans. After starting at a new school to protect his congressman father's high-profile reputation, Mark is forced to mask his trans identity so his dad can maintain a squeaky-clean heteronormative facade. "Dad deals with my transness the way Republicans talk about global warming: a complete and categorical denial." Luckily, Mark is living with his supportive mother, 40 miles away.

Sanchez deftly portrays the tension and irony between Mark's attempt to alter his new school's vox populi while also having to silence his inner voice and hide his truth to win his absent father's approval. "I know... that there's privilege in the way I live.... So many trans people would kill to be stealth. But I'm not one of them. I want to be out and loud and proud." The author gracefully navigates Mark's perception of how to be a white trans man running for political office: initially Mark postures himself as a "true statesman" to his constituents, with slick talk and a perfectly coiffed hairstyle while maintaining a hypervigilance around his physical form. Eventually, though, Mark begins to "rewrite the script of what masculinity is supposed to look like."

Sanchez balances the characters' quick-witted banter and mature political savvy with Mark's well-developed character arc. After temporarily reveling in his outward successes, Mark grapples with the increasing parallels between his own imposter syndrome and his villainous father's contrived persona and crippling narcissism. Sanchez expertly portrays political drama, toxic masculinity and activism all in a character holding fiercely to his queer identity. --Kieran Slattery, freelance reviewer, teacher, co-creator of Gender Inclusive Classrooms

Shelf Talker: When he runs for student body president, a trans teenager must compromise his identity to protect his father's image in this politically savvy celebration of young passion and queerness.

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