Also published on this date: Monday, April 25, 2022: Maximum Shelf: The Clockwork Man

Shelf Awareness for Monday, April 25, 2022

Harper Voyager: Dragon Rider (Soulbound Saga #1) by Taran Matharu

Albatros Media: Words about Where: Let's Learn Prepositions by Magda Gargulakova, illustrated by Marie Urbankova

Blackstone Publishing: Ordinary Bear by C.B. Bernard

St. Martin's Griffin: One Last Shot by Betty Cayouette

Flatiron Books: Anita de Monte Laughs Last by Xochitl Gonzalez

Page Street YA: The Final Curse of Ophelia Cray by Christine Calella


Shakespeare & Co. Closing Philadelphia Store

Shakespeare & Co., is closing its store in Philadelphia, Pa., which opened in 2018 and was the first Shakespeare & Co. outside New York City, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Owner Dane Neller told the newspaper that Covid was the main cause: business at the Philadelphia store was much worse than in the two New York City stores. As the Inquirer wrote, "Rittenhouse Square relies heavily on offices and tourism from foot traffic--both of which, Neller said, had stayed low enough to keep business below pre-pandemic levels."

Neller emphasized that the store's lease ends in May and that he hopes to open elsewhere in Philadelphia. About operating in the city, he said, "Overall, it's been a good experience, and we're looking to remain."

The store had closed its café some time ago and is holding a major sale.

HarperOne: Be a Revolution: How Everyday People Are Fighting Oppression and Changing the World--And How You Can, Too by Ijeoma Oluo

Inaugural Greater Pittsburgh Festival of Books Set for May 14

The inaugural Greater Pittsburgh Festival of Books will be held Saturday, May 14, in the East Liberty neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pa.

More than 30 authors and poets will be highlighted during the daylong series of readings and discussions at six venues in East Liberty. Among the authors and poets appearing are Billy Porter, Nathaniel Philbrick, Jennifer Haigh and Stewart O'Nan, Pittsburgh natives, and award-winning poets Toi Derricotte and Lynn Emanuel. There will also be children's storytelling, artwork and puppet shows as well as book sales, author signings and music. The festival opens at 10 a.m. and closes with a program of jazz honoring Mary Lou Williams and Lena Horne, legendary entertainers with Pittsburgh ties.

Harpervia: Behind You Is the Sea by Susan Muaddi Darraj

Sidelines Snapshot: Candles, Pins, Grow Kits and Coffee

Seasonal Pages stickers

At Kew & Willow Books in Queens, N.Y., it's "always tote bags and stickers," reported store co-owners Holly Nikodem and Vina Castillo. The bookstore's newest tote bags are from Anna B. Shop, while the store's most popular stickers and bookmarks are from the Seasonal Pages. Kew & Willow also recently brought in journals and a collection of engraved wood accessories from Bumble Birch, which Nikodem said "smell amazing." They've also sourced some "adorable" Japanese pens and stationery from JPT America

Asked about locally and regionally made sidelines, Nikodem said the store carries chakra and intention candles made in Kew Gardens by Ritual Junkie, as well as a line of greeting cards by Belle Belette in Richmond Hill, Queens. On the subject of perennial favorites, Nikodem pointed to buttons from the Pin Pal Club and totes, stickers and enamel pins from Rather Keen. There are also classics like Decomposition Notebooks and Out of Print socks and totes always on hand. Finally, every month they bring in new book-themed candles from North Ave. Candles.

Nikodem added that they haven't had any supply-chain issues to speak of, and in general "signing up for Faire has been a pretty convenient game-changer when browsing for new vendors and items to try." She noted that Faire also tends to offer promos for opening orders with new vendors.


Page Petal bookmark

Kimberly Baston, co-owner of Fabled Bookshop in Waco, Tex., said bookmarks from Page Petal, tea towels and tote bags are selling very well at the moment. She and store co-owner Alison Frenzel have brought in some flower press kits lately that are popular with both kids and adults, and stick-on earrings by Great Pretenders "have been a huge hit lately." The store also recently debuted candles from Phantom Row that the team is very excited about--they are "gorgeous, smell amazing and have a great price point."

Baston remarked that the store has some "fantastic local partnerships." A local pottery company called Black Oak Art makes custom, hand-thrown mugs for the store, while a local vendor called Sticker Universe makes the store's "Reader's Thumb," which is a perennial bestseller. Local wood-working vendor Woods By Wheat also provides custom pens, tops and spinners for the store. All of the store-branded shirts, hats and totes, along with several of the mugs, are printed through Hole in the Roof, a local printer, and in the cafe, the coffee comes from the local roaster Native Sons Coffee Roasters.

Expanding on perennial favorites, Baston said puzzles and journals are always favorites, as are stuffed animals, foam toys and swords, and even umbrellas, which "was a little surprising." She added that supply chain issues have not been too bad, although availability for stuffed animals can still be spotty.


Winter Hill earrings

Lisa Gozashti and Peter Win, co-owners of Brookline Booksmith in Brookline, Mass., reported that gift buyer Kerri Budryk has recently brought in a line of sustainable, handmade candles from Bavaria called Pink Stories, as well as 3D printed earrings of fruits and vegetables made by Winter Hill in nearby Somerville, Mass. Other new items include food-themed dog toys called Wagsdale made by a company called Fringe Studio, and gourmet marshmallow rice crispy treats from the Crispery.

The store carries "tons" of sidelines from local and regional suppliers, with some of the most popular being jewelry from Scout Curated Wares, candles from Soy Much Brighter, small batch chocolates from Chequessett Chocolates, popcorn from Coastal Maine Popcorn Company, cocktail syrups from Woodstove Kitchen in N.H., and socks, oven mitts, dish towels and more from Blue Q, which is in Pittsfield, Mass.

On the subject of perennial favorites, customers "adore" the store's grow kits from Modern Sprout, as well as the flower and herb grow kits from Urban Agriculture. Other bestselling gift categories include kitchenware, such as bowls, mugs and spices, along with lifestyle and home gifts, like candles, frames and blankets. Any and all merchandise having to do with wellness and mindfulness, like shower steamers, incense, crystals and tarot decks, have become increasingly popular. Socks, meanwhile, continue to be the store's #1 nonbook bestseller.

Asked about supply chain issues, Gozashti said the worst occurred during the 2021 winter holidays, and Budryk has been adapting by buying smartly, sometimes in "huge bulk," and buying from more local and U.S. companies. --Alex Mutter

Obituary Note: Louisa Solano

Louisa Solano, former owner of the Grolier Poetry Book Shop in Cambridge, Mass., died April 20. She was 80. The bookshop was founded in September 1927 by Adrian Gambet and Gordon Cairnie. Solano purchased and took over its operation in 1974 after Cairnie's death. In 2006, she sold the bookshop to Ifeanyi Menkiti, who died in 2019. His family still runs the business.

In a tribute on Facebook, the bookstore noted that in her heyday as owner, the Harvard Square indie was "a creative wellspring for new and well-known poets.... Solano's vision, hard work and inspiration made the Grolier Poetry Book Shop a precious Jewel in the Crown of Cambridge. Her memory and legacy lives on at the Grolier."

When Solano was in high school, she had a part-time job in the Cambridge Library, where a circulation desk librarian "took an interest in her and introduced her to the Grolier Book Shop and the most memorable event of her life, first looking through the door of the Grolier with its tables of jumbled piles of books, armchair, and paintings and drawings, and feeling that she would own it one day," the Grolier wrote.

After graduating from Boston University in 1966, she worked in Goodspeed's (antiquarian) Book Shop. She became Grolier Book Shop's owner in 1974, and by 1979 had developed it into an all-poetry store and one of the cultural highlights of Harvard Square.

Solano's many honors include the Local Hero Award from New England Monthly, the Women's National Book Association Award, the Cambridge Peace and Justice Award, the Best of Boston Award (twice), a special Excellence in Business Award from the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce and the Harvard Square Business Association, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from Ibbetson Press.

"Her true literary legacy was turning the Grolier Poetry Book Shop in Cambridge into a more welcoming place for writers and readers as she made room on shelves for those whose books hadn't found a home with the previous owner's preference for poetry's white male pantheon," the Boston Globe reported.  

"Louisa rescued one of the greatest institutions in Harvard Square," poet Gail Mazur observed. "It seems, in retrospect--it seemed then--that it was a miracle, that a tiny bookshop adamantly dealing only with poetry, could survive into the era of crazy rentals and transient businesses. We who loved the Grolier were grateful, and awed!"

"I suppose my mission in life is to make sure that poetry stays alive in America," Solano once said. "I'll do everything I can for it."


Image of the Day: NCAC's Finan on the First Amendment

Theodore's Books in Oyster Bay, N.Y., and the Raynham Hall Museum hosted Christopher Finan, executive director of the National Coalition Against Censorship, who discussed his new book, How Free Speech Saved Democracy: The Untold History of How the First Amendment Became an Essential Tool for Securing Liberty and Social Justice (Truth to Power) with Oren Teicher, former CEO of the American Booksellers Association. Pictured: Finan; former Congressman Steve Israel, owner of Theodore's Books; and Teicher.

Bookseller Dog: Buster at Loyalty Books

"Buster loves to 'help' with shelving!" Loyalty Books, Washington, D.C. noted in an Instagram post, adding in a photo ID: "Bookseller Amani is putting a kids' graphic novel onto the shelf with one hand and holding Buster, a white dog, with the other arm in Loyalty's Silver Spring location. Buster and Amani, the best of friends, are both looking towards the camera. Amani is smizing behind her mask, and Buster has an expression that says, 'I have all of Loyalty's booksellers wrapped around my little paw, and I know they will happily indulge my every whim at a moment's notice, even if that means they have to shelve all the books one-handed.' "

Reading Group Choices' Most Popular March Books

The two most popular books in March at Reading Group Choices were The Golden Couple by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen (St. Martin's Press) and Woman on Fire by Lisa Barr (Harper).

Personnel Changes at Dynamite Entertainment

Adam Philips has joined Dynamite Entertainment as director, marketing. He most recently headed the comics marketing agency Untold Stories Marketing, with clients including Dynamite Entertainment, ComicsPro,, Zoop, and others. Before that, he was a longtime staff member at DC Comics, which he joined in 1994 as copywriter. He later moved to the marketing department, becoming director, marketing services, and left in 2021.

Philips began his career in comics as a freelance writer for Marvel Age Magazine before joining the staff of Marvel Comics as assistant editor in 1985. He was also an editor at Welsh Publishing Group, working on licensed magazines for young readers starring Superman and Batman, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Garfield, the Simpsons, the Real Ghostbusters, and more.

In 2021, Philips created the comics podcasts "Defenders Dialogue with Carr and Adam" (in partnership with Carr D'Angelo, owner of Earth-2 Comics) and "One-Shot Wonders with Adam Philips."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Dr. Deborah Birx on Good Morning America

CBS Mornings: Tina Brown, author of The Palace Papers: Inside the House of Windsor--the Truth and the Turmoil (Crown, $35, 9780593138090).

Good Morning America: Dr. Deborah Birx, author of Silent Invasion: The Untold Story of the Trump Administration, Covid-19, and Preventing the Next Pandemic Before It's Too Late (Harper, $29.99, 9780063204232).

Also on GMA: Daphne Oz, author of Eat Your Heart Out: All-Fun, No-Fuss Food to Celebrate Eating Clean (Morrow Cookbooks, $30, 9780062426925).

Tamron Hall: DJ Envy and Gia Casey, authors of Real Life, Real Love: Life Lessons on Joy, Pain & the Magic That Holds Us Together (Abrams Image, $26, 9781419752780).

Ellen: Robin Roberts, author of Brighter by the Day: Waking Up to New Hopes and Dreams (Grand Central, $24, 9781538754610).

Late Night with Seth Meyers: Terry Crews, author of Tough: My Journey to True Power (Portfolio, $27, 9780593329801). Crews will also be on CBS Mornings tomorrow.

CBS Mornings: Paul Holes, author of Unmasked: My Life Solving America's Cold Cases (Celadon Books, $28.99, 9781250622792).

Good Morning America: Kelly Rowland, co-author of Always With You, Always With Me (Viking Books for Young Readers, $17.99, 9780593465516).

Drew Barrymore Show: Jonathan Van Ness, author of Love That Story: Observations from a Gorgeously Queer Life (HarperOne, $27.99, 9780063082267).

Tamron Hall: Josh Peck, author of Happy People Are Annoying (HarperOne, $26.99, 9780063073616).

The View: Viola Davis, author of Finding Me: A Memoir (HarperOne, $28.99, 9780063037328).

Watch What Happens Live: Gary Janetti, author of Start Without Me: (I'll Be There in a Minute) (Holt, $27.99, 9781250225856). He will also appear on the Real.

Jimmy Kimmel Live: Randy Rainbow, author of Playing with Myself (St. Martin's Press, $28.99, 9781250276254).

Movies: The Infinite Machine

Scott Free Productions will produce a film adaptation of The Infinite Machine: How an Army of Crypto-hackers Is Building the Next Internet with Ethereum by Camila Russo, Deadline reported.

The film will be written for the screen and directed by Shyam Madiraju, with Ridley Scott, Tom Moran and Vera Meyer of Scott Free producing alongside Alejandro Miranda of Versus Entertainment.

"It's incredibly exciting to have Ridley Scott and the crew at Scott Free produce the movie of The Infinite Machine alongside us," Russo said. "I can't imagine a better team to turn the riveting story about the people behind the most revolutionary technology since the internet into a feature film that will capture the hearts of our generation."

Books & Authors

Awards: EU Prize for Literature

The overall winner and five special mentions have been announced by the European Union Prize for Literature, which recognizes "emerging fiction writers from the European Union and beyond."

The winner is Iva Pezuashvili, for A Garbage Chute (Intelekti), Georgia

Special mentions are:
Gaea Schoeters, for Trophy (Uitgeverij Querido), Belgium
Slađana Nina Perković, for In the Ditch (Imprimatur), Bosnia and Herzegovina
Tadhg Mac Dhonnagáin, for Madame Lazare (Barzaz), Ireland
Jacobo Bergareche, for Perfect Days (Libros del Asteroide), Spain
Eugenia Kuznetsova, for Ask Miyechka (Old Lion Publishing House), Ukraine

Book Review

Review: The Golden Season

The Golden Season by Madeline Kay Sneed (Graydon House, $26.99 hardcover, 352p., 9781525899836, May 31, 2022)

Madeline Kay Sneed explores faith, sexuality, high school football and the complexities of community in her gorgeous, thoughtful debut novel, The Golden Season. Sneed's narrative follows Emmy Quinn, daughter of a West Texas small-town football coach, who loves the game and her dad, Steve, more than almost anything. But spending a few years away at college in a nearby, slightly larger city has given Emmy the confidence to deliver some big news: she's attracted to women, always has been, and has no interest in changing or hiding this part of herself anymore. Emmy's revelation comes right as Steve has landed his dream job as head coach of the Steinbeck Mustangs, and the novel explores the challenges father and daughter face as the 'Stangs pursue a bid for a state championship.

Sneed captures the climate, both geographical and social, of West Texas: hot, dry fields crisscrossed by seemingly endless highways, which lead to physical horizons much wider than the social ones in Steinbeck. High school football plays a pivotal role in the town's life, and both players and coaches are idolized and scrutinized. After years of patient toil as an assistant coach, Steve knows he's got one shot to succeed as head coach. He adores his daughter, but he's convinced her sexuality is a sin--and both Steve's pastor and the president of his booster club let him know in no uncertain terms that Emmy's news and his new job won't mix.

Sneed sensitively captures the challenges her characters face: Steve, longing to prove himself on the biggest stage Steinbeck has to offer, aching to share the experience with his daughter but struggling with what he's always been told about "those people." Emmy herself gradually blossoms as she embarks on her first relationship with a woman: Cameron, a whip-smart graduate student from Massachusetts. Emmy relishes discovering this previously hidden side of herself, but the longer she and Cameron are together, the more Cameron's possessiveness--and her complete dismissal of Emmy's family and her roots--worries her. Emmy's mom, Lucy, isn't sure at first what to think of her daughter's confession, but gradually comes to accept Emmy for who she is, including a Thanksgiving meal with Emmy and Cameron that is both awkward and tender. 

A native Texan, Sneed renders the social landscape in pitch-perfect detail, from the bless-your-heart church ladies to the hipster pastor to the wise friendship that comes from sometimes unexpected quarters. Emmy's journey toward acceptance--from her parents and of herself--isn't nearly as clear-cut as a high school football season. But in Sneed's hands, Emmy's personal challenges and the Mustangs' quest for a state title are vivid, layered and ultimately satisfying. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

Shelf Talker: Madeline Kay Sneed explores faith, sexuality, family and Texas high school football in her thoughtful, gorgeous debut novel.

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