Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Atlantic Monthly Press: Those Opulent Days: A Mystery by Jacquie Pham

Feiwel & Friends: The Flicker by HE Edgmon

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: The Pumpkin Princess and the Forever Night by Steven Banbury

St. Martin's Griffin: Murdle: The School of Mystery: 50 Seriously Sinister Logic Puzzles by GT Karber

Carolrhoda Lab (R): Here Goes Nothing by Emma K Ohland

Allida: Safiyyah's War by Hiba Noor Khan

Ace Books: Servant of Earth (The Shards of Magic) by Sarah Hawley


Grand Opening Set for Strive Bookstore in Minneapolis, Minn.

Strive Bookstore, an all-ages bookstore in Minneapolis, Minn., focused on Black authors and stories, will celebrate its grand opening tomorrow.

Located within the Sistah Co-Op group of shops in downtown Minneapolis, Strive Bookstore is a part of Strive Community Publishing, an independent publisher focused on helping Black authors tell their stories. The bookstore occupies 200 square feet in the much larger Sistah Co-Op space.

Mary Taris, the founder and owner of Strive Community Publishing, reported that the inventory is split about "half and half" between children's books and adult books. There are books from Strive's authors as well as books published by other Black-owned publishing houses and books by local independent authors. Taris noted that there is a small selection of national titles, such as Will Smith's memoir Will and Viola Davis's memoir Finding Me, and Strive has a page so customers can order whatever they like through the store.

"We really are finding that the community wants a well-rounded selection of books," she remarked.

Mary Taris

The grand opening celebration will run from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and have an open house format, Taris continued. Strive author Anthony Walsh will read from his upcoming children's book Hockey Is for Everybody, and other Strive authors will be in attendance to talk about their books. Barbara Thomas, the artist who did the cover for Blend In or Fade Out, a memoir by Colnese M. Hendon published by Strive, will also be showcasing some of her work. Guests will have the opportunity to shop the other businesses in the Sistah Co-Op, which are all Black, women-owned businesses. Coconut Whisk, another local small business, will have a station serving food, and the mayor of Minneapolis is scheduled to stop by.

Taris pointed out that the grand opening will also kick off Strive's summer book talk series. Through the rest of the summer the store will host children's book talks every other Saturday, and on every other Wednesday there will be adult and YA book talks. Taris intends to use the space for book clubs as well, adding that Strive has two of them already. One is a group of Black women who are currently reading Finding Me, and the other is a virtual book club reading Blend In or Fade Out.

Strive Bookstore opened for business in the Sistah Co-Op in October 2021. Taris explained that she did not do much advertising at the time, instead focusing on building the bookstore's inventory; now she feels ready for the fanfare. She added that she is looking to open a second, bigger location in downtown Minneapolis next spring, and she's hoping to get plenty of feedback about what people would like to see in a downtown bookstore.

Taris founded Strive Community Publishing in 2018, out of her frustration as a teacher at not seeing enough diversity in children's books. Initially Strive focused entirely on children's books, but after the murder of George Floyd in 2020, Taris received "so many inquiries from people who wanted to be able to tell their stories, to be heard," that she began publishing adult books.

She recalled celebrating Strive's founding with a big gala at the James J. Hill Center's historic library in St. Paul. Around 160 people attended, Taris said. "It was a beautiful, memorable event. It showed that people cared about what we're doing." --Alex Mutter

PM Press: P Is for Palestine: A Palestine Alphabet Book by Golbarg Bashi, Illustrated by Golrokh Nafisi

Greenwich Village Bookstore Stays Open As Pop-up

Unoppressive Non-Imperialist Bargain Books' old location.

Unoppressive Non-Imperialist Bargain Books in Greenwich Village, New York City, is staying open via a smaller, pop-up location after being priced out of its longtime home, the New York Post reported.

In June, owner Jim Drougas had to leave the space at 34 Carmine St. due to a rent hike, and instead of closing down entirely, he has set up a 300-book pop-up shop in Temperance, the wine bar and bistro next door. The pop-up will run through the summer as Drougas looks for a new, permanent home.

He told the Post that the two shelving units inside Temperance contain the "choicest, the crème de la crème of libros." It will be accessible Tuesday through Sunday, except when the wine bar is hosting private parties. Drougas also intends periodically to set up folding tables on the sidewalk and sell books outside.

The owner of Temperance offered the space to Drougas after he told the former that "things were going downhill" with his bookstore. The wine bar even created a cocktail named after Drougas's store, the Unoppressive, Non-Imperialist Americano, which features vermouth and club soda.

"It's really fun that it's right next door, on the other side of the exact same tree I've always been on," he told the Post, adding that the bookstore's cat is now living at a friend's townhouse in Midtown.

Farrar, Straus and Giroux: Intermezzo by Sally Rooney

B&N in Holmdel, N.J., Relocating

The Barnes & Noble in Holmdel, N.J., will relocate to a smaller storefront in its current shopping center, the Commons at Holmdel. The Two River Times reported that B&N has occupied its current location "as one of the center's flagship stores for the past 21 years." At 18,000 square feet, the new store will be about 4,000 square feet smaller than the present one, which will close this fall and reopen in the new space in January.

Janine Flanigan, director of store planning and design for B&N, said, "We're very sad to leave one location but very, very excited that we’re staying in very close proximity to the current store. We are really looking forward to opening our new store and welcoming the customers to the new building, new furniture, new seating and new cafe.... We've found that a slightly smaller footprint is the right size for us. Also, as our leases come up, we have an opportunity to refresh the building and go into new fixturing."

Obituary Note: Alain Gründ

Alain Gründ, former president of the International Publishers Association, died July 14. He was 83. Gründ took over the family business, Editions Gründ, from his father in 1963 and managed the company until he sold it to Editis in 2007. At various times in his career, he served as head of Syndicat National de l'Édition (the French publishers association), the Federation of European Publishers, the IPA and the International Bureau of French Publishing.

"The IPA is built on publishers who have dedicated so much of their lives to bringing us, as an international community, together," said current president Bodour Al Qasimi. "If I am able to be president of IPA today, it is thanks to the stewardship and leadership of people like Alain. His shared legacy stands as fitting testament for the sector he dedicated his life to."

Hugo Setzer, immediate past IPA president, paid tribute to Gründ: "I met Alain during the time of his IPA presidency and admired him for his intelligence and humbleness. He was thoughtful and resolved. Alain was tough on problems but soft with people. He was a true gentleman. It was in my early days in IPA and I looked up to him and thought that perhaps one day I might also become president, like him. He was a role model to me and in time became a cherished friend. He will be dearly missed."

As a tribute to Gründ's memory, the IPA has brought forward the release of the first chapter of The Fifth Quarter Century: The International Publishers Association 1996-2021 by Setzer, who noted: "I interviewed Alain as I prepared to write this book which tells the story of IPA during the last 25 years and this first chapter tells the story of Alain's period as president, the challenges he had to face, as well as his many achievements. I hope you will enjoy reading it."

FEP director Anne Bergman-Tahon told the Bookseller she remembered "a man devoted to the cause of books, particularly to fixed book price and copyright. Alain Gründ laid the foundations of the FEP which, more than 30 years later, remains the voice of European publishers in Brussels and Strasbourg. On behalf of the colleagues of the FEP, our board and in a personal capacity, I salute a personality who has marked our sector and contributed to its recognition. We offer our deepest condolences to his wife and family."

Richard Charkin of Mensch Publishing also paid tribute, recalling Gründ's role as an active member of the advisory board of the Frankfurt Book Fair: "He was quite silent for most of the meetings but would then pop up with what can only be described a 'le mot juste'.... We shall all miss his verve, his sly sense of humor and his presence at book fairs and wherever international publishing was being discussed."


Image of the Day: Sun Valley Writers' Conference

The Sun Valley Writers' Conference took place this past weekend, bringing together readers and writers in Sun Valley, Idaho. Pictured: (l.-r.) Mitchell Kaplan, owner of Books & Books in South Florida and SVWC board member; author John Burnham Schwartz, editor-at-large, Penguin Press, and SVWC literary director; and agent David Black, David Black Agency, New York City.

Happy 50th Birthday, Half Price Books!

Half Price Books' flagship store in Dallas.

Congratulations to Half Price Books, which is turning 50 this year. Founded in 1972 in Dallas, Tex., by Ken Gjemre and Pat Anderson, the company now has more than 120 stores around the country that sell new and used books, DVDs, CDs, magazines, video games and more.

D Magazine has a long tribute to Half Price Books, now headed by Pat Anderson's daughter Sharon Anderson Wright, better known as "Boots." The article includes interviews and photographs of a range of customers, who love to buy--and sell--at Half Price Books.

"Half Price Books is a 50-year social experiment," D Magazine wrote. "By design, the store you visit Sunday won't be the same Monday. It's a living organism in a continuous state of evolution. One man purges, another consumes, each Half Price location a creation of its own unique community."

And in the words of co-founder Pat Anderson, the Half Price motto remains, "Be fair to customers and our employees, promote literacy, be kind to the environment and remain financially viable so we may continue."

Personnel Changes at Artisan; Sourcebooks

Allison McGeehon has been promoted to a new role executive director of publicity, marketing, and publishing strategy for Artisan. Previously, she was associate publisher and director of publicity & marketing.


Zach Ramsdell has joined Sourcebooks's sales team as special markets coordinator.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Ice-T and Spike on the Today Show

Today Show: Ice-T and Spike, co-authors of Split Decision: Life Stories (Gallery Books, $28.99, 9781982148775). They will also appear on the View.

Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Michael Pollan, author of This Is Your Mind on Plants (Penguin Books, $18, 9780593296929).

TV: A Man in Full; The Buccaneers

Diane Lane will play the female lead opposite Jeff Daniels in A Man in Full, Netflix's six-episode limited series based on Tom Wolfe's 1998 novel. Deadline reported that David E. Kelley serves as writer, executive producer and showrunner, with Regina King directing three episodes and exec producing as part of her first-look deal with Netflix via her Royal Ties production company. Matthew Tinker also executive produces.


Christina Hendricks has been cast as Mrs. St. George in a TV series adaptation of Edith Wharton's unfinished final novel, The Buccaneers. Deadline reported that the six-time Mad Men Emmy nominee joins buccaneers Kristine Froseth, Alisha Boe, Josie Totah, Aubri Ibrag, Imogen Waterhouse and Mia Threapleton in the Apple TV+ drama series. Written by Katherine Jakeways and directed by Susanna White, the untitled series is produced for the streamer by the Forge Entertainment. Production is under way in Scotland.

Books & Authors

Awards: Crook's Corner Longlist

The longlist for the $5,000 Crook's Corner Book Prize, highlighting the best debut novel set in the American South, has been selected. The shortlist will be announced in September and the winner in January 2023. The longlist:

Groundskeeping by Lee Cole (Knopf)
Black Cloud Rising by David Wright Faladé (Grove Atlantic)
Here Lies by Olivia Clare Friedman (Grove Atlantic)
Shadows of Pecan Hollow by Caroline Frost (Morrow)
The Sweetness of Water by Nathan Harris (Little, Brown)
Between Tides by Angel Khoury (Dzanc Books)
All Her Little Secrets by Wanda M. Morris (Morrow)
A Hand to Hold in Deep Water by Shawn Nocher (Blackstone Publishing)
The Violin Conspiracy by Brendan Slocumb (Anchor)
Bewilderness by Karen Tucker (Catapult)

Book Review

Review: The Marriage Portrait

The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O'Farrell (Knopf, $28 hardcover, 352p., 9780593320624, September 6, 2022)

The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O'Farrell--the National Book Award-winning author of Hamnet--unspools the immersive and poignant story of the woman who was the inspiration for Robert Browning's famous poem "My Last Duchess," Lucrezia di Cosimo de' Medici. Lucrezia is only 15 years old in 1560 when she is forced to leave her home in Florence to marry Alfonso II d'Este, the Duke of Ferrara. Originally engaged to marry Lucrezia's recently deceased sister, Alfonso is desperate for an heir to consolidate his power. But while Alfonso appears considerate and patient at first, Lucrezia soon begins to see that a much different, much more dangerous, man lurks beneath his calm exterior.

Like Hamnet, The Marriage Portrait captures a time and place in such textured and atmospheric detail that it is easy to get lost in its world. This novel, however, manages to juggle this cinematic portrayal of a period alongside a startlingly intimate portrait of a woman whose rebellious spirit must be confined to the wild images she hides in her landscape paintings. And while Alfonso's Janus-faced personality takes on a brutality that is the stuff of nightmares, Lucrezia's realization that "if she is to survive this marriage, or perhaps even to thrive within it, she must preserve this part of herself and keep it away from him, separate, sacred. She will surround it with a thorn-thicket or a high fence, like a castle in a folktale" speaks to the uncanny power dynamics of marriage more broadly.

Despite being, at its heart, a keenly insightful character study, O'Farrell's novel also succeeds as literary suspense. The book's creeping escalation of tension and its labyrinthine castle hallways, which must be traversed slowly in layers of dense fabric, produce a sense of almost gothic horror. Rather than staying within the predictable arc of such a tale, however, O'Farrell's careful plotting, intricate world-building and dedication to capturing what is both beautiful and horrifying about such a world ensures a perspective that, like her heroine, refuses to be confined by traditional narratives or societal expectations. Just as Lucrezia notices "the boldness of the girl's expression, the way she seems to pose questions to the viewer" in her own portrait, in The Marriage Portrait, O'Farrell continues to be invested in exploring the under-told and often paradoxical existences of those just out of the center frame in history. --Alice Martin, freelance writer and editor

Shelf Talker: An expertly crafted, engrossing character-focused historical fiction, The Marriage Portrait will satisfy fans of Hamnet and those new to Maggie O'Farrell.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki with Sharon L. Lechter
2. The Inn on Harmony Island by Anne-Marie Meyer
3. Modern Leader by JeVon McCormick
4. Gage by Sawyer Bennett
5. Man Overboard by Wayne Stinnett
6. A Love Affair With Failure by Akintoye Akindele
7. The Boss Project by Vi Keeland
8. My Killer Vacation by Tessa Bailey
9. Heart Bones by Colleen Hoover
10. Things We Never Got Over by Lucy Score

[Many thanks to!]

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