Also published on this date: July 11, 2023 Dedicated Issue: Usborne

Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, July 11, 2023

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


More Than Words Opens in Moorhead, Minn.

More Than Words, a 2,400-square-foot bookstore selling new and used titles, opened on Saturday in Moorhead, Minn., Inforum reported.

Owner Sydni Kreps welcomed customers for the first time on Saturday, July 8. The first 100 customers received store-branded tote bags filled with goodies, local author Jenna Miller was on hand to sign copies of her book Out of Character, and there were gift card giveaways and much more.

Kreps sells books for all ages across a wide variety of genres. She noted that her personal reading tastes tend toward literary fiction, memoirs, and mysteries, though she carries much more than that.

"I'm being intentional with the curation," she said. "My plan is to listen to the community. But we'll start with a little something for every reader."

Most of the store's used books have been pulled from Kreps's own collection or donated by friends, and eventually she plans to set up a program for buying customers' books for store credit. There's a room dedicated to children's books and a space for events; her event plans include book clubs, author talks, and writing workshops.

A lifelong reader who has wanted to open a bookstore since she was a child, Kreps left a career in teaching to start More Than Words. She told Inforum that after her father died in 2020, she decided to keep his memory close by fulfilling her bookstore dream. The store's name comes from a phrase her father frequently said: "I love you more than words." And after finding a storefront near the Moorhead Center Mall, she learned that her grandfather had helped construct it. It all "felt very serendipitous."

Kreps announced her plans to open a bookstore on Independent Bookstore Day 2022. At the time she thought she would open by the fall, which now makes her "kind of laugh." She added that the store currently has a grab-and-go cooler with non-alcoholic drinks, which she plans to replace at some point with an espresso bar.

"I don't think Moorhead has ever had a bookstore and I love to see new businesses in Moorhead," she said.

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

Adanne, Brooklyn, N.Y., Raising Funds for Move

Darlene Okpo

Darlene Okpo, owner of Adanne in Brooklyn, N.Y., has launched a crowdfunding campaign to help her move the store from its original space in DUMBO to a new storefront in Bed-Stuy, BK Reader reported. Okpo is looking to raise $30,000 by August 31; so far she's brought in over $11,600.

Okpo opened the store, which focuses on books by BIPOC and women authors, in DUMBO in 2021. This summer she received a sudden notice from the store's landlord that she would have to vacate the space by July 31.

She has found a space in Bed-Stuy, where she grew up, that is larger, has its own outdoor space, and is in a prime location. In that space, Okpo will also have the opportunity to partner with a local cafe, which will further help with revenue. Money raised will go toward renovating the new space as well as covering rent and buying furnishings and equipment.

Okpo told BK Reader: "For me, it's a full circle moment because I've been in this community so long. This is not a trend for me; this is where my customers are."

Harpervia: Behind You Is the Sea by Susan Muaddi Darraj

Old Town Books, Alexandria, Va., Temporarily Closing

Ally Kirkpatrick

Old Town Books in Alexandria, Va., will close temporarily while owner Ally Kirkpatrick focuses on her health, Alexandria Living reported.

In an Instagram post announcing the closure, Kirkpatrick explained that she is suffering from a medical condition that is causing her to rapidly lose her eyesight. Though she is closing the store, she does plan to return eventually and she said all of her employees will keep their jobs and get paid "during this mini-sabbatical."

She described the transition as "super hard," and noted that she's working with a new store manager, as well as two consultants, to help her figure out "how to adapt to being a blind small business owner." Kirkpatrick added that she is "so grateful for the smart and beautiful women who helped me grow this store," and she said she's going to be back "better and blinder than ever in a little while."

Applications Open for Wi2024 Scholarships

Applications have opened for scholarships to attend Winter Institute 2024 in Cincinnati, Ohio, next February 11-14.

Scholarship recipients will have WI event fees waived and their hotel rooms comped, and receive up to $600 in travel reimbursement. Booksellers from ABA member stores are eligible, unless that store was awarded a scholarship for Winter Institute 2023 or Children's Institute 2023, or that store has a bookseller representative on the ABA board.

Booksellers have until Friday, July 28, at 5 p.m. Eastern to submit their applications. More details, as well as the application form, can be found here.

Obituary Note: Minnie Bruce Pratt

Minnie Bruce Pratt, "a prominent poet and essayist who explored issues of gender fluidity, the friction between acceptance and intolerance and personal struggles such as living apart from her sons after coming out as lesbian in the 1970s," died July 2, the Washington Post reported. She was 76. Pratt "moved between the worlds of literature, scholarship and activism over nearly five decades as the LGBTQ+ community achieved gains such as legalization of same-sex marriage and greater recognition of trans and nonbinary identities."

The author of more than 10 books and anthologies, Pratt said her work was about trying to connect the dots. She called it the "understandings of the intersections," such as how laws can codify discrimination or how views can be shaped by culture and social class, noting: "None of us is just one thing." 

Pratt took part in early pride events and other outreach projects in the 1980s and early 1990s. In 1984, she co-founded LIPS, a lesbian-led activist group in Washington, and joined other organizations including the National Women's Fightback Network.

Her years in Washington also marked some of her defining works including Rebellion: Essays 1980-1991 (1991), a mix of autobiography and observations that have been incorporated in many college feminist studies programs, and Crime Against Nature (1990), a collection of poems on her relationship with her sons as a lesbian mother of boys who lived with their father. Her other books include Yours In Struggle: Three Feminist Perspectives on Anti-Semitism and Racism (1984), co-authored with Elly Bulkin and Barbar Smith; The Sound of One Fork (1981); Walking Back Up Depot Street (1999); and The Dirt She Ate (2003).

Her long relationship with author and activist Leslie Feinberg, which began in the early 1990s, provided a grounding for some of Pratt's meditations on gender and her own place in the spectrum. Pratt's 1995 volume of memoir-style essays, S/He, "takes readers through her girlhood questions over gender roles, her contempt for a society that she feels shackles women and the fateful moment when her husband finds her 'love notes' to another woman. It leads to the pivotal tale about a lover who is not named but clearly an homage to Feinberg," the Post wrote.

In Magnified (2021), which was dedicated to Feinberg (who died in 2014), Pratt deals with subjects of mortality and memory. Pratt and Feinberg became domestic partners in New Jersey in 2004 and had a civil union in 2007. In 2011, they were married in Massachusetts.

In a remembrance at Lambda Literary Review, Julie R. Enszer wrote, in part: "There are so many ways Minnie Bruce's life and work persist beyond her death. She leaves us a rich legacy from which we can challenge oppression and bigotry. Through her life we can model our own profound commitment to anti-racist work; we can imagine our own strategies of facing and reckoning with the systems in which we were raised and challenging them for systemic change. We can participate in activism like her work with LIPS and Camp Trans. We can read and learn and speak and act. Perhaps most profoundly we can engage in the family and community building work that Pratt did throughout her life. During her sickness and as the news of her death reached out into various communities, the ways that she knit kinship have been visible and profoundly moving. She was in her life surrounded by family in the most expansive sense of the word. Her sons and their partners, her grandchildren, chosen family, women and men that she mentored, offering support and advice as they found and did their work in the world, comrades, confidants, and more. Minnie Bruce created a world with vibrant social, political, and emotional connections."


Reese's July Book Club Pick: Yellowface

The July pick of Reese's Book Club is Yellowface by R.F. Kuang (Morrow). Reese Witherspoon wrote, "This contemporary psychological thriller follows Juniper Song--a bestselling author who is not who she's pretending to be. She didn't write the book she claims she penned, and she is not Asian American. Clear your schedule because the moment you start reading you won't be able to put it down. This story circles themes like the dark side of book publishing, social media culture and so much more.... When you finish it, you'll want to talk about it immediately."

Personnel Changes at Chooseco

Chooseco, publisher of Choose Your Own Adventure gamebooks, has hired Jason Miller, formerly of Bee's Wrap, as its new CFO/COO.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Laura Vanderkam on Today

Today: Laura Vanderkam, author of Tranquility by Tuesday: 9 Ways to Calm the Chaos and Make Time for What Matters (Portfolio, $27, 9780593419007).

Jennifer Hudson Show repeat: Sandy Yawn, author of Be the Calm or Be the Storm: Leadership Lessons from a Woman at the Helm (Hay House Business, $24.99, 9781401967680).

TV: The Leopard

Netflix has released first-look images from The Leopard, a new limited series based on the classic novel by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa that marks "the streamer's most ambitious Italian original to date," Variety reported, adding: "Production on the lavish historical tapestry with elements comparable to Downton Abbey or The Crown--and potential to make a global mark--is currently underway in the Sicilian cities of Palermo, Syracuse and Catania."

The six-episode epic series stars Deva Cassel (The Beautiful Summer), Kim Rossi Stewart (Romanzo Criminale), Saul Nanni (Love & Gelato), and Benedetta Porcaroli (Baby). The Leopard, originally published in 1958, was previously adapted by Luchino Visconti into a film starring Claudia Cardinale, Alain Delon, and Burt Lancaster. It won the 1963 Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival.

Eleonora Andreatta, Netflix's v-p of Italian originals, said the series "represents the great artistic and productive ambition of Netflix in Italy," and added that the project "aims to turn into a sumptuous and exciting series the vitality and contemporary relevance of Tomasi di Lampedusa's masterpiece.... Just as in the novel, even today we are faced with a society caught in the uncertainty of a transition, in which old traditions collide with new emerging ideas and values."

British director Tom Shankland (The Serpent) is the lead director on The Leopard series. Richard Worlow, who previously worked with Shankland on The Serpent, is writing the script alongside Benji Walters. Italian directors Giuseppe Capotondi and Laura Luchetti are helming Episodes 4 and 5, respectively.

"Freedom of thought, equality and the desire for change in the face of stagnation are among the fundamental themes that writers Warlow and Walters have cleverly woven into the scripts throughout the six episodes of the season," said producer Fabrizio Donvito of Italy's Indiana Production, which is producing The Leopard in tandem with Moonage Pictures.

Books & Authors

Awards: Caine for African Writing Shortlist

Finalists have been announced for the Caine Prize for African Writing, which "celebrates the richness and diversity of African literature and recognizes outstanding achievements in African storytelling." The winner will be named October 2 in London. This year's shortlisted writers are:

Yejide Kilanko (Nigeria) for "This Tangible Thing" (RELATIONS: An Anthology of African and Diaspora Voices, HarperVia)
Tlotlo Tsamaase (Botswana) for "Peeling Time (Deluxe Edition)" (Africa Risen, TorDotCom)
Mame Bougouma Diene and Woppa Diallo (Senegal) for "A Soul of Small Places" (Africa Risen, TorDotCom)
Ekemini Pius (Nigeria) for "Daughters, By Our Hands" (Isele Magazine)
Yvonne Kusiima (Uganda) for "Weaving" (Isele Magazine)

This year's shortlist features a joint submission and an all-women judging panel, "marking significant milestones in the history of the Caine Prize," organizers noted.

Book Review

Review: First Gen

First Gen by Alejandra Campoverdi (Grand Central, $28 hardcover, 288p., 9781538757185, September 12, 2023)

Alejandra Campoverdi's incisive memoir, First Gen, explores the steep challenges facing Americans who strive to break generational cycles of poverty and struggle. A Latina daughter of immigrants, raised by a single mother (plus aunts and grandparents) in Los Angeles, Campoverdi has built a career that took her first to Harvard and then to the White House as an aide to President Obama. But she has continued to deal with the emotional and financial hardships of being what she calls a "First and Only"--"those of us who are the 'first generation' or the 'only' person in our family... to cross a threshold"--and her memoir provides a vivid, validating story for those who share her complicated experiences.

Campoverdi breaks down some common dynamics of being a First and Only, exploring them through the lens of her own life. By telling the stories of the women in her family and their entanglements with abusive men, she illustrates how what she terms "Invisible Inheritances" ("the bearing of emotional and behavioral patterns passed down by our ancestors") often can prove unhealthy. She paints a portrait of what she calls "Chutes and Social Ladders" through her struggles to fit in--both with the tough chola girls as a teenager and at the University of Southern California as an undergraduate rushing in a lily-white sorority. In her quest to build a career in policy work and journalism without a financial safety net or family connections, she engages in what she calls "Blindfolded Cliff Jumping." She fights against, ignores, and finally begins to come to terms with "Impostor Syndrome Plus" throughout her early life and career.

Despite--and because of--the multiple obstacles she has faced, Campoverdi is proud of her heritage. She writes with great affection about her mother, her younger sister, and her Abi (short for Abuelita), the beloved grandmother who served as her second mother. Throughout her childhood and college years, and even now as a well-traveled adult, Campoverdi has always come back to her family as a kind of emotional center, even as her career and well-being led her to opportunities farther afield. She champions the people who have helped her navigate her life, including the man who taught a GMAT course (which Campoverdi took four times before getting into Harvard) and the fellow aide who became her first friend at the White House. Campoverdi gradually began to peel back the layers of her own pain as she built a more secure life for herself, acknowledging her own trauma and the particular strengths it has given her.

This powerful and down-to-earth memoir is a vital glimpse into a set of experiences common to many Americans, and it's a celebration of the strength found in owning every part of a multifaceted identity. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

Shelf Talker: Health advocate, journalist, and former White House aide Alejandra Campoverdi's memoir explores the multifaceted challenges of being what she calls a "First and Only."

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. We've Got This: Unlocking the Beauty of Belonging by Ritu Bhasin
2. Twisted Love by Ana Huang
3. Twisted Games by Ana Huang
4. Never Lie by Freida McFadden
5. Behind the Net by Stephanie Archer
6. Haunting Adeline by H.D. Carlton
7. The Perfect Marriage by Jeneva Rose
8. The Unwanted Marriage by Catharina Maura
9. The Ritual by Shantel Tessier
10. Pucking Around by Emily Rath

[Many thanks to!]

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