Shelf Awareness for Thursday, July 29, 2021

Yen Press: The God of Nishi-Yuigahama Station by Takeshi Murase, Translated by Guiseppe Di Martino

Peachtree Publishers: Erno Rubik and His Magic Cube by Kerry Aradhya, Illustrated by Kara Kramer

Beacon Press: Kindred by Octavia Butler

Inkshares: Mr. and Mrs. American Pie by Juliet McDaniel

Tundra Books: On a Mushroom Day by Chris Baker, Illustrated by Alexandria Finkeldey

Simon & Schuster: Register for the Simon & Schuster Fall Preview!

St. Martin's Press: Sacrificial Animals by Kailee Pedersen


27th Letter Books Opens in Detroit, Mich.

27th Letter Books, a general-interest independent bookstore that debuted as a pop-up shop and online store, has opened in a permanent space in Detroit, Mich., Model D reported.

Founders Andrew and Erin Pineda officially opened their doors at 3546 Michigan Ave. on June 12 and have brought in Jazmine Cooper as general manager and co-owner and Jake Spease as co-owner and art director.

The space, which previously housed an art gallery and workshop called Holding House, has both retail and event space as well as a yard and a lower level with room for workshops. The building was already ADA accessible, which was a big draw for the Pinedas. As the store finds its footing, they plan to bring in more inventory and build out the basement.

27th Letter carries titles for children and adults, with a curated selection focusing on diverse and international authors, books from small presses and other work that may generally fly under the radar. The store will also feature space for local artists to sell their work.

Drew and Erin Pineda

The bookstore team has already started hosting events, with storytime sessions on Saturday mornings and adult book club meetings on the last Wednesday of every month. They have other community events in mind, including art classes and writing groups.

In 2019 the Pinedas received a $100,000 grant from winning the Comerica Hatch Detroit contest. They continued to look for a space for the bookstore while hosting pop-ups and events and working their respective day jobs. Then the pandemic hit, pop-up appearances were canceled and the Pinedas had to focus entirely on their day jobs. They spoke to Cooper and Spease frequently throughout the search and gradually the idea of being business partners grew. They found their future space not long after Spease and Cooper joined the team.

Erin Pineda told Model D that the space at 3546 Michigan Ave. was the "first space we'd been in where we felt we could grow into all the different visions we have for the store."

BINC: Do Good All Year - Click to Donate!

Grand Opening Set for Joy and Matt's Bookshop in Cincinnati

Joy and Matt's Bookshop will host a grand opening celebration August 14 at 1515 Vine St. in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood of Cincinnati, Ohio. The Business Courier reported that the new store "will carry a handpicked collection of new and used books of all genres" curated by co-owners Haixia "Joy" Niu and Matt Stonecash, whose goal "is to provide a collection of books that entertain, educate, challenge and inspire."

Residents of nearby Mt. Auburn, they hope to use their passion for books to add to the vibrant culture of the local community, WLWT noted.

"I loved the Booksellers on Fountain Square. Since it closed, there has been a shortage of spaces to browse and discover books, especially new titles. Joy and I are excited to take that challenge on and provide a new space for discovery," Stonecash said.

Niu, who immigrated from China in 2012, added: "When I started life in the U.S., books helped me learn English, but also opened my eyes to the world outside the research laboratories I worked in. We want to let our community have this opportunity, to know books as essential nutrients that make the mind grow stronger."

On the bookstore's website, the owners describe their shop as "small (for now), but it has the best collections of books. We select books by our heart. All the books in our store are the ones we want to put on our own bookshelves.... We will let our community know reading is enjoyable. We want to let our community know reading is our true power. We want to let our community know that books are our essential nutrients to get stronger. We want out community to know that books are our friends."

GLOW: Torrey House Press: Life After Dead Pool: Lake Powell's Last Days and the Rebirth of the Colorado River by Zak Podmore

A Room of One's Own, Madison, Wis., Reopening in New Space

Future home for A Room of One's Own

A Room of One's Own in Madison, Wis., will reopen in its new home in Madison's Atwood neighborhood on August 5. The store closed on July 25 in advance of the move and has been closed to in-store browsing since March of last year. When it reopens in its new 4,500-square-foot space at 2717 Atwood Ave. it will welcome shoppers inside for the first time in over a year, Channel 3000 reported.

Store co-owner Gretchen Treu told Channel 3000 that the store will likely see fewer tourists and students in the new spot, but Atwood has plenty of small businesses and families and is known for its walkability. The new space is smaller than the previous location, which will likely lead to some winnowing of the store's used book inventory, but has skylights, a garden in the back and wooden ceilings.

A Room of One's Own announced the move earlier this year, after real estate developers purchased the bookstore's building with plans to demolish it and replace it with a mixed housing and residential development. The new location was most recently occupied by a community space called Threshold, and after securing a 20-year lease, A Room of One's Own will not have to move for a long time.

Treu has co-owned A Room of One's Own with Wes Lukes and fantasy author Patrick Rothfuss, who is a silent partner, since 2018. The bookstore was founded in 1975 as a feminist bookstore and has had several locations in Madison. It was in its 6,000-square-foot space in downtown Madison for 10 years.

Harpervia: Only Big Bumbum Matters Tomorrow by Damilare Kuku

72nd National Book Awards to Be Held In-Person

The 72nd National Book Awards ceremony and benefit dinner will be held in-person on November 17, 2021, at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City. All attendees must be fully vaccinated, and the ceremony will be broadcast on YouTube and Facebook.

"The National Book Awards are a celebration of books and the community that has a hand in creating them," said David Steinberger, chair of the board of directors. "Last year, for the first time in National Book Awards history, we hosted a completely virtual event. When gathering in-person was not possible, we were heartened and inspired by the support of the literary world. After carefully considering the options for this year’s National Book Awards and closely monitoring best health and safety practices associated with Covid-19, the board and staff of the National Book Foundation plans to host an in-person ceremony and benefit dinner, while taking steps intended to protect the health and safety of every attendee."

Attendees will be able to confirm their vaccination status through the CrowdPass app prior to the event or by showing their paper vaccination certificate at check-in. Should New York State protocols or health measures change, the National Book Foundation will make adjustments as necessary. For this year only there will be no awards after-party.

"We are grateful for the opportunity to gather as a book community, while still ensuring safety for in-person attendees and accessibility for at-home viewers. Communication with sponsors, publishers, writers, judges, and all attendees will be a priority," Ruth Dickey, the NBF's executive director, said. "Through the tremendous efforts of this year’s judging panels, we look forward to championing extraordinary writers and their work this fall. Books have always been a source of solace and joy, education and inspiration, and we cannot wait to celebrate with the book community and readers everywhere."

Really Useful Media, the production team behind last year's virtual National Book Awards Ceremony and finalist reading, will handle all of the virtual elements for the 2021 awards. Those include the traditional National Book Awards week events, such as the finalist reading and the teen press conference, which will be held virtually on Tuesday, November 9, and Wednesday, November 10. The National Book Foundation's 5 Under 35 ceremony will be held in the spring going forward.

International Update: BA Membership Hits 1,000 Milestone, Online LBF a Success

The Booksellers Association of the U.K. & Ireland currently has 1,005 independent bookshops as members, up from 875 pre-pandemic. The organization also announced the addition of three booksellers to its advisory council: Allison Jinks, owner of Wallingford Bookshop in Oxfordshire; Jess Paul, owner of Max Minerva's Bookshop in north Bristol; and Sheryl Shurville, owner of London's Chorleywood Bookshop. They join effective immediately alongside Lucy Swinburn, head of books at WH Smith, who has succeeded Ben Carrington.

BA managing director Meryl Halls said: "All three are dedicated and knowledgeable booksellers who come with experience and industry insight that will be invaluable to the BA and its members as we look ahead to post-lockdown bookselling. As bookshops come together during a challenging time, with BA membership rising to numbers not seen for nearly 10 years, it is more important than ever that we have experienced, representative and committed booksellers on hand to help steer policy and ensure that we tackle the most important issues facing bookshops today."

The council, led by BA president Andy Rossiter, founder of Rossiter Books, is comprised of 21 booksellers from across the U.K., and includes representatives from Waterstones, Gardners, WH Smith and Blackwell's. 


This year's digital version of the London Book Fair, held June 21 to July 1, "surpassed expectations" with boosted global engagement, the Bookseller reported, noting that LBF attracted considerable attention from around the world, with visitors from over 90 countries and six continents attending sessions, according to organizers. Plans call for the fair to return as an in-person event next year.

LBF director Andy Ventris said: “We're delighted with how the Online Book Fair has gone--it really has surpassed our expectations. It was fantastic to see the breadth and diversity of talent and knowledge found in the publishing industry reflected in both the program speakers and the global audience interacting with the sessions. We've had some excellent feedback and I believe we've been able to create a valuable business platform for our customers, expanding our global reach and attracting new audiences through our digital events program." 


Congratulations to Canadian indie NovelTea Bookstore Café, Truro, N.S., which reopened this week. The bookshop posted on Facebook: "From a devastating fire at the original location to the new Cafe at 604 Prince St, the last 10 months have been a whirlwind. The phoenix rising from its ashes has been a constant symbol for us of hope and rebirth after devastation and loss. We'd love to hear if you think the Phoenix design properly captures the Noveltea journey! It won't replace our original logo, but we'll be using it for a number of things for our re-opening!"

And later: "WOW Truro, you SHOWED UP!! We are absolutly over the moon with seeing so many of you today, and reading all of your amazing well wishes, positive feedback and shares on our media to boot. We definitely feel the love and want you to know how much each and every one of us here at NovelTea appreciates it.'s off to bed, so we can get up and do it all again!" --Robert Gray


Image of the Day: Cookbook Author's Tour of NYC

Last week, Laurel Evans, author of Liguria: The Cookbook (Rizzoli, September 21), made the most of her time on a stopover in New York City while traveling between her home state of Texas and her current home in Italy. Four subways, two boroughs and more than seven miles on foot, visiting press and bookstores in advance of the publication, Evans touted the cuisine of Liguria (home of Genoa, Portofino, and Cinque Terre), renowned for pesto and focaccia. Covid-friendly visits included stops at Rizzoli Bookstore, B&N 5th Avenue and Kitchen Arts & Letters (with Matt Sartwell, pictured). Photo: Rizzoli New York.

Ursula K. Le Guin Forever Stamps Issued

Acclaimed author Ursula K. Le Guin is being celebrated with a new Forever stamp, the 33rd in the U.S. Postal Service's Literary Arts series. The stamp was unveiled in a ceremony this week at the Portland, Ore., Art Museum.

"Ursula once said she wanted to see science fiction step over the old walls of convention and hit right into the next wall--and start to break it down, too," said Joseph Corbett, USPS CFO and executive v-p, who served as the stamp ceremony's dedicating official. "She felt the ideas represented in her fiction could help people become more aware of other ways to do things, other ways to be and to help people wake up."

The stamp, designed by Donato Gionacola, with Antonio Alcalá as art director, features a portrait of Le Guin based on a 2006 photograph and a background that references the wintry world and characters she created in The Left Hand of Darkness. The Le Guin stamps can be purchased through the Postal Store at, by calling 844-737-7826, by mail through USA Philatelic, or at Post Office locations nationwide.

Bookseller Moment: M. Judson Booksellers

Posted by M. Judson Booksellers, Greenville, S.C.: "We opened our doors for the first time on this day in 2015. That plan had been some beautiful years in the making, but we never could have imagined where our path would take us. To say we've learned a lot would be an understatement. But we also found our people. Thank you, Greenville, for all your support. We love you."

Personnel Changes at Random House

In the Random House group's publicity department, Gwyneth Stansfield has been promoted to associate director of publicity and Christine Johnston has been promoted to the role of senior publicist.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Chris Bosh on Jimmy Kimmel Live

Jimmy Kimmel Live repeat: Chris Bosh, author of Letters to a Young Athlete (Penguin Press, $26, 9781984881786).

This Weekend on Book TV: Robin DiAngelo

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, July 31
9:15 a.m. Bradley Gottfried, author of The Maps of the Cavalry in the Gettysburg Campaign (Savas Beatie, $34.95, 9781611214796). (Re-airs Saturday at 9:15 p.m.)

2 p.m. Kai Bird, author of The Outlier: The Unfinished Presidency of Jimmy Carter (‎Crown, $38, 9780451495235). (Re-airs Sunday at 2 a.m.)

6 p.m. Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones, author of The Nazi Spy Ring in America: Hitler's Agents, the FBI, and the Case That Stirred the Nation (Georgetown University Press, $29.95, 9781647120047). (Re-airs Sunday at 6 a.m.)

7 p.m. Anne Sebba, author of Ethel Rosenberg: An American Tragedy (St. Martin's Press, $28.99, 9781250198631). (Re-airs Sunday at 7 a.m.)

Sunday, August 1
8 a.m. Tara Kangarlou, author of The Heartbeat of Iran: Real Voices of a Country and Its People (‎Ig Publishing, $19.95, 9781632462053). (Re-airs Sunday at 8 p.m.)

9 a.m. Jonathan Rauch, author of The Constitution of Knowledge: A Defense of Truth (‎Brookings Institution Press, $27.99, 9780815738862). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m.)

10 a.m. Robin DiAngelo, author of Nice Racism: How Progressive White People Perpetuate Racial Harm (Beacon Press, $24.95, 9780807074121). (Re-airs Sunday at 10 p.m.)

11 a.m. Lauren Aguirre, author of The Memory Thief: And the Secrets Behind How We Remember (‎Pegasus Books, $28.95, 9781643136523). (Re-airs Sunday at 11 p.m.)

12 p.m. Live In-Depth q&a with Ken Starr, author of Religious Liberty in Crisis: Exercising Your Faith in an Age of Uncertainty (Encounter Books, $26.99, 9781641771801). (Re-airs Monday at 12 a.m.)

4 p.m. Elie Honig, author of Hatchet Man: How Bill Barr Broke the Prosecutor's Code and Corrupted the Justice Department (Harper, $28.99, 9780063092365). (Re-airs Monday at 4 a.m.)

5 p.m. Eliot Brown and Maureen Farrell, authors of The Cult of We: WeWork, Adam Neumann, and the Great Startup Delusion (Crown, $28, 9780593237113). (Re-airs Monday at 5 a.m.)

6:05 p.m. Bob Bauer and Jack Goldsmith, authors of After Trump: Reconstructing the Presidency (Lawfare Institute, $15.99, 9781735480619). (Re-airs Monday at 6:05 a.m.)

7:10 p.m. Brandy Schillace, author of Mr. Humble and Dr. Butcher: A Monkey's Head, the Pope's Neuroscientist, and the Quest to Transplant the Soul (Simon & Schuster, $27, 9781982113773). (Re-airs Monday at 7:10 a.m.)

Books & Authors

Awards: Ned Kelly Shortlist

Shortlists in the four categories of the 2021 Ned Kelly Awards have been announced and can be seen here. Sponsored by the Australian Crime Writers Association, the awards honor published works in the crime fiction and true crime writing in the categories of best crime fiction, debut crime fiction, true crime and international crime fiction. 

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, August 3:

Every Minute Is a Day: A Doctor, an Emergency Room, and a City Under Siege by Dr. Robert Meyer and Dan Koeppel (Crown, $28, 9780593238592) gives an insider account of a Bronx emergency room during COVID.

The Viking Heart: How Scandinavians Conquered the World by Arthur Herman (‎Mariner Books, $30, 9781328595904) explores the past and present influences of Scandinavians.

We're Not Broken: Changing the Autism Conversation by Eric Garcia (Mariner Books, $27, 9781328587848) chronicles the systemic hurdles facing people with autism.

The Turnout by Megan Abbott (Putnam, $27, 9780593084908) is a thriller set in a family-run ballet studio.

Down Range: A Novel by Taylor Moore (Morrow, $27.99, 9780063066502) is the first thriller with undercover DEA special agent Garrett Kohl.

Savage Tongues: A Novel by Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi (Mariner Books, $24, 9780358315063) tracks the fallout of a teenager's affair with an older man in Spain.

Cat Problems by Jory John, illus. by Lane Smith (Random House Studio, $17.99, 9780593302132) features a very annoyed cat and a put upon kitten.

Sugar Town Queens by Malla Nunn (Putnam, $17.99, 9780525515609) is a YA novel about a young woman seeking answers about her family history.

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:

Dear Miss Metropolitan: A Novel by Carolyn Ferrell (Holt, $27.99, 9781250793614). "This novel is, in a word, heartbreaking. Dear Miss Metropolitan is going right to the top of my recommendation list for 2021." --Kelsey Jagneaux, Tombolo Books, St. Petersburg, Fla.

Island Queen: A Novel by Vanessa Riley (Morrow, $27.99, 9780063002845). "Both sweeping and intimate, beautiful and painful, this novel based on the life of Dorothy Kirwan Thomas is exquisite. Riley's research is palpable in the detail of each chapter, and readers will find themselves compulsively turning the pages until the end." --Destinee Hodge, East City Bookshop, Washington, D.C.

Winter Counts: A Novel by David Heska Wanbli Weiden (Ecco, $16.99, 9780062968951). "Weiden's book is a thriller with an important social and political message. Following a Lakota 'enforcer' who enacts extrajudicial punishment to fill the gaps in the legal system, Winter Counts is a twisty new addition to the growing Indigenous literature canon. Weiden's exploration of the injustices of reservation life are vital." --Ashley Baeckmann, Briars & Brambles Books, Windham, N.Y.

For Ages 4 to 8
Never, Not Ever! by Beatrice Alemagna (HarperCollins, $17.99, 9780063076495). "Pascaline doesn't want to go to school, but she goes, with her tiny parents tucked under her wing. School turns out to be pretty great. But it'd be better if she didn't have to take care of her tiny parents! Alemagna captures all of Pascaline's emotions in this delightful book." --Marika McCoola, Porter Square Books, Cambridge, Mass.

For Ages 8 to 12
Kiki Kallira Breaks a Kingdom by Sangu Mandanna (Viking, $17.99, 9780593206973). "Kiki Kallira Breaks a Kingdom is not only a fantastic fantasy full of imagination, daring, and mythology, it's also an incredible story about finding exactly what you need inside yourself, even--and especially--in the face of anxiety and self-doubt." --Kinsey Foreman, High Five Books, Florence, Mass.

For Teen Readers
Rise to the Sun by Leah Johnson (Scholastic, $17.99, 9781338662238). "Leah Johnson is back with another stunning, emotion-filled story of love, self-discovery, and meaning. Set over a three-day music festival, the narrative splits between two compelling and relatable young girls who are trying to figure out who they are and who they want to be." --Miranda McGowan, An Unlikely Story, Plainville, Mass.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: Don't Forget Us Here: Lost and Found at Guantánamo

Don't Forget Us Here: Lost and Found at Guantánamo by Mansoor Adayfi, Antonio Aiello (Hachette Books, $29 hardcover, 384p., 9780306923869, August 17, 2021)

Written in collaboration with Antonio Aiello, Yemeni artist Mansoor Adayfi's memoir Don't Forget Us Here: Lost and Found at Guantánamo is a remarkable feat of storytelling by an innocent man held without charge for 14 years at the infamous Guantánamo Bay detention center.

The intimate truths revealed here, on the eve of Guantánamo's 20th anniversary, require fortitude on the part of readers, yet the shocking reality of how the U.S. government purchased hundreds of men, kidnapped and sold by greedy, untrustworthy Afghan warlords, and subjected them to torture and inhumane confinement is only one slice of the narrative. Adayfi divides his story into sections titled Arrival, Resistance, Hunger and Departure, and interplays dark comedy and graceful imagery to illustrate how detainees who represent 50 nationalities and speak more than 20 languages found "small moments of joy and beauty, of friendship and brotherhood" despite being caged like animals.

During his captivity, Adayfi became a resistance leader, hunger strikes being the preferred form of protesting cruel treatment. It was the small things that lifted his spirits: memories of his mother making tea, his bond with a wild animal, a detainee's beautiful singing, the soothing balm of prayers and a Black guard's kindness. "The Black officers were always nicer. I don't know why," he writes.

Raised in a small village, Adayfi likens his hometown to "Little House on the Prairie but in Yemen." He was a student preparing for college when he was kidnapped and sold to Americans who were somehow persuaded the fresh-faced teenager was a middle-aged Egyptian al Qaeda general with a history of terrorist involvement. No amount of logic would dissuade his interrogators, although Adayfi was told upon release his captors knew they had the wrong man but chose to continue his detainment to avoid the political repercussions of their mistake.

Adayfi is a talented artist who was forcibly relocated to Serbia after discharge. His writing is featured in the anthology Guantánamo Voices, edited by Sarah Mirk, and in the New York Times Modern Love column "Taking Marriage Class at Guantánamo." In sharing his experiences, Adayfi hopes to quiet the ghosts that still haunt him and to chip away at the stigma of being a Guantánamo detainee. By shedding light on the broader story of the detention center, Don't Forget Us Here offers an immensely valuable lens for readers willing to confront the moral and ethical--not to mention legal and public relations--disaster that is Guantánamo. --Shahina Piyarali, reviewer

Shelf Talker: In this exceptionally moving memoir, a talented Yemeni writer, artist and former Guantánamo detainee remakes his life in Serbia.

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